Ever since the 1950s, and perhaps more today than ever, people are terrified of cholesterol. Some landmark studies found cholesterol to be associated with heart disease, other people picked it up and the idea snowballed into a nationwide, if not a global low-cholesterol frenzy.
Unfortunately, the research implicating cholesterol as a cause of heart disease was (and continues to be) far from conclusive. Some studies have found cholesterol in general to be correlated with heart disease, and still more have found LDL cholesterol to be associated with heart problems, but no cause and effect relationship has been established.
Current scientific understanding suggests that cholesterol itself has nothing to do with actually causing heart disease, but the same processes that raise cholesterol and specifically LDL cholesterol also lead to higher rates of heart disease.
Another important thing to note is that a low fat diet plan or a low cholesterol diet plan isn’t a good way to target the processes that lead to higher cholesterol. Dietary fat from whole food sources doesn’t cause heart disease and neither does dietary cholesterol. Humans have eaten foods high in fat and cholesterol for thousands of years, but heart disease has only become a leading cause of death in the last few hundred years.
Recent research suggests that the causes of heart disease, as well as virtually all disease of civilization (diseases that are virtually non-existent in hunter-gatherer populations) are caused by new additions to our diets that we didn’t evolve to process properly, not cholesterol or saturated fat.