on Cholesterol: Ask the Expert with Dr. Walter Willett:
3. Even if dietary cholesterol doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels, is it possible that other foods – like refined carbohydrates – might raise cholesterol levels?
Dietary cholesterol doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels very much. It’s not that there’s no effect on blood cholesterol levels; there’s a small effect. It can raise both good and bad cholesterol in the blood so that makes it more complicated, and that’s why we need to look at the whole food, not just cholesterol content.
The other main factor that increases blood cholesterol levels is saturated fat in the diet, and that actually has more of an impact than cholesterol in the diet. Then there are other aspects of the diet that can reduce cholesterol levels, specifically the bad cholesterol levels – for example unsaturated fat reduces blood cholesterol, and fiber can reduce blood cholesterol levels. Refined starches don’t have a major effect on bad cholesterol but they drop the good cholesterol. There are other aspects of diet that affect blood cholesterol, both the good and the bad parts of it. ARTICLE