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What is Cholesterol? – Good Cholesterol and Bad Cholesterol, Foods



Many articles, many claims! Cholesterol has always been a hot topic. Lot of confusion is still present in many of us 😱.

Cholesterol is a targeted topic of these days. Many companies claim that, their prodcuts contain “Zero cholesterol”. Are they genuine? 🤷

Let’s know.

Cholesterol is a fat like (lipid) substance, present in foods. It differs from Fats and Oils in it’s structure ( triglycerides and glycerol)

Structure of Cholesterol :

It contains four Hydrocarbon rings linked to each other and a hydrocarbon tail. Thus, forms a steroid like structure.

Basing on the density of the chains, it is of two types.


Types of Cholesterol :

Good Cholesterol 😇: This is a High density lipoprotein (HDL) that carries excess cholesterol in the body, to liver. It is good, as the liver breaks it down and eliminates it from the body.

Bad Cholesterol 😈 : This is a Low density lipoprotein (LDL), which carries the extra cholesterol to the cells of body, Which is required by the cells.

These both types are also useful, in many functions of body.

Uses of Cholesterol :

  • It is necessary for building up( structure component ) of every cell in the body.
  • Cholesterol when broken down, produces bile salts, which are very much needed for the absorption of Fats and some vitamins.
  • It can also help in synthesis of Hormones.

So, both HDL and LDL types are useful in the body but, problem here is with the excess intake.

Do you know? When HDL is taken more, it is healthy. But when LDL exceeds the limit, it forms a fat layer ( Plaque) in the blood vessels and affect the circulation, leading to heart diseases.


So to taking HDL and limiting LDL are to be focused on. Let’s go into the foods, which can do that.

  • Animal foods 🥩 and products like meat, milk, ghee, butter contain high saturated fatty acids, which increase bad cholesterol and even have the direct cholesterol too.
  • But the plant products 🥦 like vegetable Oils, nuts, seed Oils have low levels of saturated fatty acids and are free of cholesterol.


Saturated fatty acids are a type of Fats, that increase bad cholesterol.
Unsaturated fatty acids increase good cholesterol.


Are the company “Claims”, genuine?

Answer : Edible oil products mostly claim to have zero cholesterol in them. But the truth is, no plant based product has cholesterol in it by nature. As plants can’t synthesize it. So that is purely a marketing strategy. 🤑

Note : The only care we can take is, selecting the foods with Low saturated fatty acids or the foods with Unsaturated fatty acids. 😊


Foods with Low levels of saturated fatty acids:

These increase good cholesterol.

  • Ground nut oil
  • Soya oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cotton seed oil
  • Dark chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Whole wheat
  • Nuts


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Foods with high levels of saturated fatty acids:

These increase bad cholesterol.

  • Hydrogenated Oils like Dalda or vanaspati.
  • Fried items.


Tip: Prefer Baking, boiling, steaming over frying. As frying converts the good cholesterol into bad.


So, cholesterol and Fats are all the good ones, they show their other side of being bad, when we consume in excess. And also the choice of foods we take in, must be concerned.

Plan a Balanced diet, which is always suggestible to overcome all these excess eating issues.

Happy Fooding chums! 😋

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