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Nutrition

October 16, 2020 - The Vegan Society

The lowdown on vegan diets and cholesterol for National Cholesterol Month

The lowdown on vegan diets and cholesterol for National Cholesterol Month
Heart healthy whole foods, no cholesterol© Photabulous!

Why is cholesterol important? Your liver makes cholesterol, a fatty substance which is found in the membranes of every cell in your body. It is used to make vitamin D, hormones and bile, which helps you to digest fats.

It’s normal to have cholesterol in your blood but a high level increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. According to HEART UK, half of UK adults have raised cholesterol.Lifestyle changes can help people to lower and maintain their cholesterol levels.

Are vegans affected by cholesterol issues? The short answer is yes! Some people think that vegans don’t need to worry about their cholesterol levels because they don’t consume dietary cholesterol, which is found in animal products. In reality, there are many dietary and non-dietary factors that affect our risk of high cholesterol, including some that we can’t influence like our age, family background and genes.

It’s becoming increasingly easy for vegans to consume diets high in saturated fat, which can lead to high cholesterol. This is partly due to the popularity of coconut products and heavy use of saturated fats like coconut, palm and shea oils in the manufacturer of some vegan alternatives, such as plant-based butter and cheese and some convenience foods.

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