Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that’s found in all cells in the body. It has several useful functions including helping to build your body’s cells. The body needs cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin D and substances that help you to digest foods. Cholesterol is only found in animals and animal products such as meats, cheese, eggs and milk. It is not found in plants or plant products.
There are two types of cholesterol circulating in the blood; namely, Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or “Bad” cholesterol and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or “Good” cholesterol.
Good Cholesterol acts as a scavenger by picking up excess “Bad” cholesterol in the blood and taking it back to the liver where it is broken down.
Bad Cholesterol takes cholesterol that is circulating in your blood into the arteries and deposits it on their walls. This build up in the arteries increases your risk of heart disease. The cholesterol deposited in your arteries is called plaque, and can cause narrowing of your arteries.
Elevated levels of “Bad” Cholesterol are caused by high intake of saturated fats such as animal fats and lard, high levels of carbohydrates and obesity.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood and serve as a mechanism for storing unused calories. Their high concentration in the blood correlates with the consumption of starchy and other high carbohydrate foods. High levels of Triglycerides in the blood have been linked to atherosclerosis (plaque deposits on the walls of arteries) and by extension to cardiovascular disease.
Elevated Triglycerides Levels are caused by intake of excessive calories from soft drinks, cakes, ice cream and chocolates, high levels of carbohydrates, obesity, poorly controlled diabetes and high levels of alcohol consumption.
References: National Heart & Lung Institute, Mayo Clinic, American Diabetes Association and Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010