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Question #91246 posted on 05/16/2018 6:54 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Protein shakes and the like always seem to have really high levels of cholesterol in them, would that usually be good cholesterol or bad cholesterol?

-My Name Here


Dear My Name Here,

So, there's really no such thing as "good cholesterol" and "bad cholesterol." There's just cholesterol. When you hear the terms "good cholesterol" and "bad cholesterol" being tossed around, what that's actually referring to is high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which are cholesterol transporters. Having a higher ratio of LDLs compared to HDLs is a strong indicator that something is wrong with your cardiovascular system. It doesn't cause the problem itself, it's a symptom of it. This is just a basic summary but if you'd like to dig deeper, you can always read the Wikipedia page on cholesterol. Also, be sure to check out this article from the Harvard Health Blog, this other article from ScienceDaily, and one last article from PubMEd on the current scientific conclusions about dietary cholesterol. Turns out, it might not be the enemy scientists used to think it was.

If you're trying to cut back on cholesterol in general, I'd recommend a protein shake sourced from plants. I drink Orgain Protein Powder, which has zero dietary cholesterol because it's sourced from plants; however, I typically mix it with cow's milk, which does contain some dietary cholesterol. My husband drinks Optimum Nutrition, which is sourced from whey, and does contain some dietary cholesterol on its own. 

-Sky Bones