When it comes to cholesterol, there is a lot of information that gets passed around. No doubt, there’s plenty of useful tips and recommendations, but there are also many plain old myths you should stop believing, as you may be actually doing more harm than good to your health. Here are five common cholesterol myths – and what they are really all about.
Myth #1: The lower the cholesterol the healthier you are: Normal levels of cholesterol are good for health, but chronically low levels (below normal) don’t necessarily mean you’re healthier. In fact, a study revealed that men with chronically low cholesterol levels were at a consistently higher risk for depression. In an alternative study, chronically low cholesterol was associated with a higher risk of suicide attempts.
Myth #2: Cholesterol causes heart disease: Cholesterol continues to be blamed as the number one cause of heart disease but, in fact, sugar and refined carbohydrates are greater contributors to heart disease than cholesterol is.
Myth #4: Margarine is healthier than butter: A 2013 study found that replacing animal fats (butter) with omega-6 fat (margarine) increased the risk of death among patients with heart disease. Margarine contains synthetic trans fats that can clog arteries. Butter, on the other hand, contains nutrients and healthy fat.
Myth #5: Statins prevent heart disease because they lower cholesterol: Statins are a million-dollar industry with millions of Americans taking them every day to lower their cholesterol levels and ward off heart disease. A meta-analysis involving over 41,000 participants found that people taking statins are at an increased risk for cancer. If you’re on statins, always speak to your doctor prior to changing any medications.