True or False: Heart disease and high LDL cholesterol are major problems in the U.S.
True: One in every six Americans has high cholesterol, and heart disease is responsible for one in every three deaths in the United States.
Blood cholesterol is composed of two kinds of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is the “bad” cholesterol because when too much of it circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. HDL is the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove “bad” cholesterol from arteries and prevent blockage. Research from experimental animals, laboratory investigations, epidemiology, and genetic forms of hypercholesterolemia indicate that elevated LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor of cardiovascular disease.
False: While cholesterol levels are generally “programmed” to some extent, there are a variety of lifestyle factors that can be modified to affect cholesterol levels including diet, body weight and physical activity.
1) Foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol can contribute to increases in blood cholesterol. While saturated fat is the worst offender, cholesterol is also a concern. Reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet can help lower your blood cholesterol level.
2) While being overweight is considered a risk factor for heart disease, it is also associated with higher bad cholesterol levels. By losing weight, you can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as raise your HDL levels.
3) Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and raise HDL cholesterol levels.
True or False: The best way to manage cholesterol is to consume a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
True: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/American College of Sports Medicine also recommends engaging in moderate intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes at least five days per week. In addition, to move toward a healthier weight, the USDA’s choosemyplate.gov website recommends two hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level or one hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level.
True or False: Many foods now contain plant sterols, a naturally sourced ingredient, that helps to lower cholesterol.
True: Plant sterols are naturally found in fruits and vegetables. They are structurally similar to cholesterol and therefore help to reduce cholesterol absorption. You can easily find products made with plant sterols by looking for the CoroWise® Naturally Sourced Cholesterol Reducer™ brand logo. Many foods and beverages including Minute Maid® Premium Heart Wise®* orange juice, Corazonas™* chips and oatmeal squares and even healthy VitaTops™* muffin tops with added plant sterols are now available!
True or False: Products with plant sterols can only be found in the U.S.
False: Products that include plant sterols have been used for many years in many parts of the world including Europe, Australia and Japan.
*Minute Maid® and Heart Wise® are registered trademarks of the Coca-Cola Company.
*Corazonas™ is a trademark of Corazonas Foods, Inc.
*Vitatops™ is a trademark of Vitalicious.