What is good cholesterol vs bad cholesterol?

Blood cholesterol is found in particles called lipoproteins, a term derived from lipo, which means fat, and protein. Lipoproteins are complex particles that float around in the blood and contain more or less fat and more or less protein, along with cholesterol and a few other compounds. The more fat they contain, the lighter they are. Lipoproteins are formed in various organs of the body such as the intestinal wall and the liver, and as they travel through the blood, they are modified in various ways. While there are many lipoproteins, we need to focus on only two of them when we think heart disease: LDL and HDL.
The most common of the light lipoproteins is LDL flow-density lipoprotein). LDL is often called the “bad” type of cholesterol because it is this type that deposits as plaque in the arteries. High levels of LDL are a major predictor of heart trouble.

The more protein lipoproteins contain, the heavier they are, and the most common of these is HDL (high-density lipoprotein). The cholesterol found in HDL has become known as “good” cholesterol. Not only does it not clog arteries, it is protective against heart disease, apparently because it acts as a “shuttle service” that removes excess cholesterol from tissues, including the arteries, and brings it to the liver. From there it can be made ready for excretion by the body The word lipoprotein has no meaning when applied to food. You can’t say that a food is high or low in HDL or LDL, only high or low in dietary cholesterol, or high or low in fat.


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