Cholesterol and Obesity: Not Necessarily Causally Linked

Cholesterol and obesity do not necessarily have a causal link with one another.

Just as we are not equal when it comes to weight, we are not equal when it comes to cholesterol either.

And although obesity is often accompanied by hypercholesterolemia, that doesn't mean there is a cause and effect.

Similarly, thin people are not immune to high cholesterol either.

Drawing Of Overweight Man Standing On Scale At Doctor'S Office With Focus On Right On Blood Tests And Heart Disease Symbolizing Non Causal Link Between Cholesterol And Obesity

Cholesterol in our body via the liver and food

Cholesterol is a fat mainly produced by the liver, some 66 to 80%. Our diet only affects our cholesterol levels to a limited extent, some 20 to 33%.

66-80% of Cholesterol produced by the liver
Current Progress
Current Progress
66-80% of Cholesterol produced by the liver
20-33% of Cholesterol through diet
Current Progress
Current Progress
20-33% of Cholesterol through diet

In other words, excessive cholesterol is due to more than just your current diet. Read all the details about it in our article on what cholesterol is and where it comes from.

Cholesterol levels in your blood can rise depending on many factors, only one of which is poor eating habits.

For example, foods with a lot of saturated fatty acids can be responsible for high cholesterol levels in your body. 

How it works: Cholesterol reaches the various organs using 2 types of transporters that circulate it in the blood. 

These 2 types of carriers are as follows:

  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and
  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein).

When LDL malfunctions or is excessive, cholesterol in the blood increases and accumulates.

As a result, plaques are formed inside the arteries that gradually block the arteries and may cause blood clot formation. 

Because of these harmful effects:

  • LDL is known as bad cholesterol, and
  • HDL is known as good cholesterol.
Drawing Showing Hdl Good Cholesterol At The Top And Ldl Bad Cholesterol At The Bottom And Relationship To Liver And Diet

The difference between good and bad cholesterol cannot be underestimated and is essential to better understand this widespread health problem.

Cholesterol and obesity: Beware of making assumptions about the correlation

Sentence Don'T Make Assumptions Written With Black Marker On White Sheet Of Paper Regarding Link Between Obesity And Cholesterol

We must realize that cholesterol and obesity are not necessarily related. 

Yes, people with overweight, on average, have higher cholesterol levels than those who are not overweight.

But this is primarily related to the fact that, on average, these patients also have a higher-fat diet.

It is common knowledge that a low-fat diet can lower both weight and blood cholesterol levels. 

But conversely, you can be (very) lean and still have high cholesterol.

Genetics plays a role

The body can produce excess cholesterol for genetic reasons. 

For example: An abnormality in our cells passed down from one of our parents could upset the balance between the production and removal of cholesterol. 

So we are not all the same when it comes to high cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia.

A sedentary lifestyle is bad

Red Prohibition Sign With Stop Written On It With Cardiogram On Left And Right And Sedentary Lifestyle Written Below It

Regardless of our genetics, we can proactively reduce our blood cholesterol levels.

For example, a sedentary lifestyle should be avoided at all costs.

Namely, a sedentary lifestyle can exponentially increase cardiovascular risk when combined with excessive cholesterol. 

Sufficient physical activity is crucial to preventive action against heart disease and the silent killer cholesterol

The accumulation of this fat in your arteries can lead to a stenosis in your vascular system, preventing the passage of blood, such as a narrowing of an artery.

This can then lead to blood clotting and oxygen deficiency in your organs, such as the heart or brain.

So don't hesitate to put on your walking shoes or runners and get moving. 

Exercise is beneficial for lowering total cholesterol in your body and increasing the amount of good cholesterol. 

In other words, sports and exercise are faithful allies for your arteries, heart, and brain!

How to lower cholesterol: Focus on healthy eating

Colorful Collage Of All Kinds Of Fruits And Vegetables Below And At The Top With The Words Fruits And Vegetables At The Center Perfect For Lowering Cholesterol

Cholesterol is high in egg yolks, organ meats, caviar, mayonnaise, and foie gras. Therefore, avoid excessive consumption of these foods.

Overweight individuals with high cholesterol can lower cholesterol levels without too much effort. 

Cholesterol-rich foods contain many calories, so you should avoid excessive consumption of foods with cholesterol-forming animal fats. 

Also, reduce your overall food intake and focus on a heart-friendly diet with more fruits and vegetables, low-fat margarine, more fish, and lean meats. 

Custom food products are available today, especially in the cheese department, that give you all the pleasure while helping to reduce excess cholesterol. 

Such healthy foods for the heart are very helpful if you are suffering with your cholesterol levels!

Tip: There are also several nutraceuticals, real functional foods that can help you lower your cholesterol!

Naturally, changing your eating habits is easier said than done! Such changes require conviction, perseverance, and discipline. 

Would you like more tips and inspiration for sticking to a new diet? Then definitely read our tips on how to maintain a heart-healthy diet in the long run.

Cholesterol and obesity: Conclusion

Grim Reaper In Black Cloak With Scythe Terrifying Depiction Of The Silent Killer Cholesterol And Artery Calcification That Can Cause Sudden Death Without Warning Or Symptoms

Finally, an important warning: 

Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) is a silent and dangerous life-threatening disease. 

Remember, however, that cholesterol and obesity are not necessarily correlated.

The most important thing is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and change bad habits as part of cardiovascular disease prevention. And remember to have your blood levels checked regularly. 

Be sure to also read up on the answers to the most frequently asked questions on how to treat high cholesterol.

Small strategic interventions, such as exercising more and getting enough sleep, can prevent arterial calcification and save your life in the process.

This is because there are often no apparent symptoms of a narrowing of the arteries. By the time the symptoms of arteriosclerosis manifest, it is often already too late.

Overview of cholesterol-related articles