Just when you didn’t think food advice could become any more confusing, a new study from the University of Copenhagen has found a possible link between HDL cholesterol (aka the good one) and increased mortality.
There are two types of cholesterol (or rather two types of carriers for cholesterol but let’s keep it simple,) high density (HDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL).
LDL cholesterol was traditionally known as the bad cholesterol as a high level leads to build up of cholesterol in arteries. HDL was known as the good cholesterol as it carries cholesterol back to your liver where it can be removed from the body.
It was thought that high levels of LDL cholesterol increased your chances of heart disease while high levels of HDL decreased your chances.
But in this latest study involving over 100,000 people, the researchers found that high (albeit extremely high) levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with all cause mortality. Low levels were also associated with all cause mortality. In fact the association is U shaped, so a moderate level of HDL cholesterol is the best.
They conclude that these surprise findings need to be confirmed by other studies.