By Marie Dufour, RD – It’s Sunday, and I know North America is gearing up for its last summer BBQs just as much as South America is firing up its ritualistic Domingo Asados. And why should you think twice? You’ve been faithfully downing your statin pill every night and feel safe about your cholesterol level. But think again. On the cell oxidation scale and heart disease risk, world-champion LDL (”bad”) cholesterol has just been toppled by the new challenger: OXYCHOLESTEROL.
This new heavy weight is formed to some extent in our bodies by oxidation, the reaction between fat and oxygen. But the major food source of oxycholesterol comes from heated fats, fast foods and partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
And now, I’m going to ruin your Sunday BBQ & asado. Don’t think that because you’re grilling your burgers, you’re safe from the oxy-gorilla. Just the process of heating animal fat produces oxycholesterol. Adios charbroiled burgers, grilled steaks, fried chicken, and “milanesa.” The worst on the oxycholesterol scale? Fast foods, according to researchers.
Where to hide? Not in partially-hydrogenated oils, not in margarine, not in trans-fats. The hydrogenation process of oils creates the monster as well.
But there is a way to compensate the oxidative action of oxycholesterol: with antioxidants. You know … fruits and vegetables, beans, herbs and spices, and nuts.
Since scientists have no idea yet whether or not statins lower blood level of oxycholesterol, go ahead and self-medicate. When you decide to have a BBQ, serve a nice green salad with walnuts, throw halved tomatoes, zucchini and asparagus on the grill, serve a pot of black beans, fill a basked with strawberries and cherries and decorate the table with grapes and plums.
Now, enjoy your burger in a whole-wheat-sunflower-seeds bun with portabella mushroom… it’s a healthy thing!
Ref: American Chemical Society (2009, August 23). Little Known Type Of Cholesterol — Oxycholesterol — May Pose The Greatest Heart Disease Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090820123923.htm