3 Steps to Controlling Cholesterol Naturally

By Neal D. Barnard, MD Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC Author of the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

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Cholesterol Is Not the Same as Fat

Fat is the yellow layer under a chicken skin or the white stripes in marbled beef. But cholesterol is not the same as fat. Cholesterol is invisible, hiding mainly in the lean portion of meats, in the membranes that surround each cell in an animal’s body. So a bite of chicken, for example, has fat under the skin and in between the muscle cells, as well as cholesterol lurking in the cell membranes that surround each cell.

But if you were to check the cholesterol content of vegetables, fruits, and other foods from plants, their labels would indicate a big zero. So when you set aside animal products, you get a double benefit. You are getting no animal fat and essentially no cholesterol. The result can be a big improvement on your blood cholesterol test.

Step 2: Skip Trans Fats

If you look at the food label on a pack of potato chips or a snack pastry, you might see the words “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.” Also called trans fats, these oils raise cholesterol, just like animal fats.

Avoiding them is easy as searching for “partially hydrogenated oil” on the food label. Instead of a snack pastry, how about an apple or an orange? They never have a drop of trans fat. 

Neal D. Barnard, MD

Article written by Neal D. Barnard, MD
Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC Author of Power Foods for the Brain