ARTICLES & GUIDES

CHOLESTEROL

What It Is?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced primarily by the liver in both humans and animals. It is found in all cells of the body. Cholesterol in food is referred to as “dietary cholesterol” and is found only in animal products. The human body makes more cholesterol than it needs — so it is not necessary to get cholesterol from food.

Where Is It Found?

Dietary cholesterol is found in animal products, including:

  • Chicken fat
  • Cream and milk (whole and 2% milk)
  • Dairy products (such as butter and regular/full-fat cheese, cream cheese, and ice cream)
  • Egg yolks
  • Meats and poultry
  • Processed meat and poultry products (such as bacon, hot dogs, jerky, luncheon meats, and sausages)
  • Shellfish (such as lobster and shrimp)
  • Plant foods (such as beans and peas, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and vegetable oils) do not contain dietary cholesterol.

What It Does?

  • Cholesterol is a structural component of cell membranes.
  • Cholesterol is necessary for the production of bile, a fluid made by the liver that aids in the digestion of fat in the intestine.
  • Cholesterol is used to make vitamin D and certain hormones, like estrogen and testosterone.

Source: “Factsheets Cholesterol” Accessdata.fda.gov

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