One of the most common myths about cooking oils is that they are made up of cholesterol, however it's not true. We often use the terms Fats and Cholesterol interchangeably, not knowing that both are different. Fats and Cholesterol are both lipids but they both are different in composition, health benefits, health risks, sources, etc.
What is Fat?
Dietary fats, also known as triglyceride are sub-group of lipids found in plants parts and animals. Fats are also a primary energy source for the body, and several types of fats are essential for survival. The right fats are important for supporting immune function, insulating internal organs, regulating body temperature, maintaining healthy skin and hair, and aiding in the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), among other crucial functions.
What is Cholesterol?
While, cholesterol are sub-group of lipids found in animal products, they are essential for making our cell membrane and our cell structure and they are vital for syntheses of our hormones, Vitamin D, etc.
How are they produced?
Cholesterol is produced by the liver and also consumed through animal-products, while fat is typically found in plant-based products , dairy products and animal products. Cholesterol can’t be found in plant-based products. Plant-based cooking oils like sesame oil, coconut oil, etc. don’t have cholesterol in them. Infact, any plant based product does not any cholesterol.
How Fats and Cholesterol work together?
Dietary fats and Cholesterol are carried through the blood with the help of a water-soluble protein called lipoprotein. Cholesterol is normally differentiated as LDL- Low Density Lipoprotein (“Bad Cholesterol”) and HDL- High Density Lipoprotein (“Good Cholesterol”). The production and quantity of both types can be triggered by the type of fats you are consuming. LDL levels in body shouldn’t be high as they are not healthy and can increase heart-diseases risk while HDL is more beneficial when it comes to heart.
Trans fats and saturated fats found in desserts and processed food can raise the LDL level while unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, fishes, etc can lower LDL and increase HDL in body. It is generally suggested to eat more unsaturated fats rather than trans fats and saturated fats to balance a healthy cholesterol level in body since it decreases not only heart-disease risk but also cancer risk.
Even though Fats and Cholesterol are different, they do go hand in hand as the fats we consume has major impact on regulation of LDL and HDL cholesterol. It is necessary to monitor our diet and the food we consume so that our cholesterol levels stay balanced. Remember, just because your cooking oil is cholesterol-free, it doesn’t mean it won't affect your body cholesterol.
Stay tuned to know more about foods that increase or decrease good and bad cholesterol!