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If You’re Thinking About that Fried Food Delight at the State Fair…

Submitted by on October 14, 2013 – 12:25 pmNo Comment

Fried Twinkie - Cholesterol Facts You Should Know

Fried Food: Facts every Fairgoer Should Know About Cholesterol

This year, the State Fair of Texas opened on Sept. 27, but many of the fried food treats regularly served were being touted as can’t-miss fair features before opening day. Dr. Washburn, on the medical staff at Centennial Medical Center, in Frisco, discusses the importance of monitoring fried food intake and how to enjoy fair treats without risking your health.

Q: What is cholesterol?         

Cholesterol is a fat that plays an essential role in the structure of our cells and in the synthesis of many hormones inside the body. It is necessary for life.

Q: What is the difference between good and bad cholesterol?    

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, contains a large portion of cholesterol and a small portion of protein.  High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol, contains more protein. LDL is the major carrier of cholesterol within the bloodstream.   

Q: What is considered a healthy cholesterol level?

Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. A desirable level would be below 200 mg/dL. Borderline high cholesterol would be around 200-239 mg/dL and high cholesterol about 240 mg/dL and above.

Q: How does fried food affect your cholesterol levels?   

Fried food can contain high amounts of LDL cholesterol, and if our cells have an excess of cholesterol, our arteries can become clogged, which is a major risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Q: What are some of the long-term effects of fried food consumption?  

High cholesterol can affect all of the arteries in our body.  If it damages the arteries supplying the brain it can cause strokes. Fat and cholesterol can also be deposited in the liver leading to chronic liver dysfunction.

The major concern with fried foods is the caloric intake. Typically these foods are higher in fat, which ultimately leads to weight gain. The damage caused by high cholesterol pales in comparison to the damage caused by obesity and the long-term health complications that accompany it.

Q: Is there a healthier way to enjoy fried foods?

If you want to have a deep fried meal, choose vegetables or a leaner meat like fish or poultry.  Use a plant-based oil like vegetable, canola or peanut oil. After frying, drain the food to remove as much of the oil as possible. The best way to avoid cholesterol related health complications is through prevention. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight and avoid smoking. You should also have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly.

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