There are several different types of fat that circulate in the blood. These fats should not be confused with the fats found in food – they are very different.
Blood Cholesterol is a waxy type of fat found in all animal tissues. It is essential to many of the body’s chemical processes. Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to heart and vascular disease.
The body can manufacture enough cholesterol to meet its needs. It is practically impossible to have blood cholesterol that is too low.
Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood. Instead, it is carried through the bloodstream by transport molecules called lipoproteins.
LDL: Most of the cholesterol is transported by low-density lipoproteins or LDL. This is generally called the bad cholesterol because it deposits excess cholesterol on the artery walls and leads to blockages. The higher the level of this “bad” cholesterol, the higher the risk of heart disease.
HDL: High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is helpful because it carries the cholesterol and fats out of the bloodstream before they harm the arteries. The higher the level of this “good” cholesterol, the lower the risk of heart disease.
Triglycerides: Like cholesterol, triglycerides cannot dissolve in the blood. A diet high in fat, alcohol and sugar can increase the production of triglycerides. High triglycerides can lead to heart disease, probably through their association with low levels of HDL.