These days it’s hard to tell for sure whether what we have on our plates is going to benefit our health or not. For some time now, we’ve been labeling our food based on the kind of fats we take in. Good cholesterol is a term praised in movies, TV and newspapers daily, but a new study comes to challenge the concept.
While for many there isn’t such a necessity to separate food based on the good and bad cholesterol principles, people at risk from heart diseases take the matter really serious. For quite a while now, we were told that good cholesterol or the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) has several health benefits when it comes to heart disease. A new study comes to challenge the “myth”.
The Lancet published recently a meta study that took an in depth look at the actual benefits of what laymen call good cholesterol. Data from over a hundred thousand participants showed researchers that the said benefits of good cholesterol in reducing heart disease are in fact zero.
Because the study’s authors are trying hard not to get into a hairy debate, they explained their data isn’t looking to question the theory that higher levels of good cholesterol in the blood tend to be linked with lower heart disease risk. The authors are trying to emphasize that the relationship at hand is just not causative and that there is an underlying factor at hand that makes it seem likes it’s the good cholesterol benefiting the heart.
Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, director with the Massachusetts General Hospital, led the team of researchers behind the controversial findings. Using a method called the Mendelian randomization, the team could investigate if people with genetic high levels of good cholesterol have a healthier heart.
Dr. Kathiresan explains the conclusion was a bit surprising. “We found absolutely no association between the HDL-boosting variant and risk for heart disease. That was very surprising to us”.
The lead author is concerned that given how well the good cholesterol theory entrenched. people are going to have a hard time accepting the findings. The trouble at hand is that the good cholesterol theory is now part of the conventional wisdom. Given that even the CDC uses the terms, chances are this study’s findings are going to be dismissed by many.