Posted on April 8, 2016 The Dietary Guidelines is required under the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act, which states that every 5 years, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and of Agriculture (USDA) must jointly publish a report containing nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public. Well for 2016 they announced that consuming cholesterol rich foods is a “Good Thing”, and that including these foods in your diet will have no effect on the cholesterol level of your blood. Well, I agree that cholesterol is a nutrient that our bodies need to function properly, but I would hesitate to agree that what we eat doesn’t affect the levels in our blood. It’s a well known fact that if one is trying to lower their cholesterol levels, especially in an extreme way, their body will actually start producing more cholesterol to fill it’s needs. Cholesterols Function: Plays a critical role within your cell membranes. Has an essential role in your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is critical for synapse formation, i.e. the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things, and form memories. It also serves as insulation for your nerve cells. It is involved in the production of all hormones, and bile acids that help you digest fat. Important for the production of vitamin D, which is vital for optimal health. When sunlight strikes your bare skin, the cholesterol in your skin is converted into vitamin D. Low levels of HDL cholesterol has been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, and may also increase your risk of depression, stroke, violent behavior, and suicide. So eating eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol are not as problematic as too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, butter, and many of our processed foods (Microwave popcorn). Along with saturated fats, oxidized cholesterol is the other culprit in developing heart disease. Oxidized cholesterol is formed when polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn, and sunflower oils) are heated, such as in fried foods. This oxidized cholesterol causes increased thromboxane formation—a factor that clots your blood, yet these oils are precisely the types of fats Americans have been, and still are, urged to consume in lieu of saturated fats like butter. So, cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, except if it’s oxidized, which soybean and corn oils can become inside the body, no frying required. I want to mention also that the DGAC report recommended that sugars should be reduced in the diet, and not be replaced with low-calorie sweeteners , an important distinction, since artificial sweeteners are just as bad, if not worse, than natural sugar. The American Beverage Industry took issue with this, claiming such sweeteners help with weight loss, when in reality they’ve been linked to weight gain. How to Optimize Your Cholesterol Levels The goal of the guidelines I’ve listed below is not to lower your cholesterol as low as it can go, but rather to optimize your levels so they’re working in the proper balance with your body. The majority of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will tend to automatically optimize your cholesterol. What a concept!, and a far better choice than taking cholesterol-lowering medication or eating a low-cholesterol diet. 1) Eliminate or reduce grains and sugars in your diet. (More specifically, eliminate gluten-containing grains and dangerous sugars, especially fructose). 2) Consume a good portion of your food raw. 3) Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil. (Research suggests that these oils may improve your total cholesterol and triglycerides and, will increase your HDL cholesterol). 4) Replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with healthy fats, such as olive oil, butter, and coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only, and use coconut oil for cooking and baking). 5) Include fermented foods in your daily diet. This will not only optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity, but will add beneficial bacteria into your mouth. (Poor oral health is another powerful indicator of increased heart disease risk). 6) Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through appropriate sun exposure as this will allow your body to also create vitamin D sulfate, another factor that may play a crucial role in preventing the formation of arterial plaque. 7) Exercise regularly. Make sure you incorporate high-intensity interval exercises, which also optimize your human growth hormone production. 8) Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively. 9) Be sure to get plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep. In closing I want to give you something to ponder regarding statins. If cholesterol is now a good thing that our body needs on a regular basis, wouldn’t taking a statin be counter productive? These medications turn off the livers production of cholesterol, while removing cholesterol from our blood, and eventually our bodies. Another problem with statins is that they also shut down the bodies production of CoQ10, something that every cell in your body requires for survival. What would be the point of using a medication like that? For those of you currently on a statin, if you can’t answer this, you may want to find out right now!