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What's the upper limit for cholesterol intake?

by (1005)
Updated about 16 hours ago
Created November 04, 2013 at 12:15 AM

I'm currently averaging a little over a gram a day of cholesterol. Is there a limit I should watch for? (the US Dept of Health & Human Services recommends under 300mg a day.)

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3 Answers

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60 · November 05, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I guess you are asking because you are concerned about heart health and also your cholesterol levels.

It is my understanding that no definite correlation between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol levels in the body has been fully proven, and that also no definite correlation between cholesterol consumption and heart disease has been proven. It seems that it is possible to eat a lot of dietary cholesterol and have healthy cholesterol levels in the body. There have been studies for instance showing that 3 eggs a day (a source of cholesterol) lowered LDL in study participants. In addition some people with low intakes of cholesterol have high cholesterol readings. However, some people who eat a lot cholesterol DO have high cholesterol. On top of that, sometimes people with "high cholesterol" (as determined by conventional medicine) do not end up having heart problems. And sometimes people with "healthy" cholesterol levels have heart attacks. So it would appear that the cholesterol you eat is not going to translate directly into your cholesterol levels and/or heart health and that also "healthy" cholesterol levels are no guarantee of heart health.

Other stuff like inflammation seems to play a much larger role in your cholesterol levels and heart health. I am not a scientist, but from what I have read it seems your body uses LDL cholesterol like a plaster (read as band aid for americans!) on vascular inflammation. So this is why high levels of LDL cholesterol are seen in people with vascular inflammation and heart disease. But it is not the cause, just a symptom. What is causing the inflammation itself is stuff like excess PUFA and sugar, other causes of inflammation like excessive exercise, stress, lack of sleep, etc.

Having said all this, there are plenty of paleo dieters who end up with what their doctors consider to be bad cholesterol levels in the body and then wonder why a diet that is supposed to be so healthy for them seems to be making them unhealthy (at least according to conventional medicine). The situation appears to be related to a number of things - whether the high LDL is actually a problem (particle size seems to be an issue), whether they have inflammation for other reasons, whether the tests used to determine cholesterol levels are accurate, etc. There also appear to be problems caused by not getting certain nutrients like choline (found in, guess what food? eggs! Also liver). A good page about it is here: http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2010/12/10/why-is-my-cholesterol-so-high-on-this-diet/ (this article also links to other relevant pages on Chris' hyperlipid blog which are all worth reading).

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0 · November 04, 2013 at 2:53 AM

upper limit?

Bro, let me tell you something about Cholesterol;

See those cells your body is made of?

Cholesterol.

That anabolic hormone called Testosterone?

Cholesterol.

Way I understand it, so long as it's not trans fats(solidified and chemically treated vegetable oil, or in it's common name "low fat butter", which is the worst lie ever told, since it contains omega 6, which is basically a ticking heart attack bomb), cholesterol is awesome.

keep up with vitamin C intake to make sure it doesn't oxidize to turn into blood vessel clogging sludge, and you should be alright.

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208 · November 04, 2013 at 12:20 AM

I looked back at about a week of eating and I was between 750 - 1180mg. It is not something I pay any attention to. The US Dept of Anything is usually wrong about everything so why pay them any mind?

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