A healthy well-rounded diet should include an adequate amount of fat and cholesterol, even if you are trying to lose weight. Today, however, people are consuming way more fat and cholesterol than the body needs. Restaurants that do serve healthier fares still serve large portions. Fast food establishments now include the nutritional info on every food item, yet they still offer super-sized meal options. Excess levels of fat and cholesterol can be life-threatening over time.
Cholesterol is essential for proper bodily function. The body produces cholesterol and also gets it from certain foods. Too much cholesterol in the diet can lead to atherosclerosis. According to the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute, atherosclerosis develops when a significant amount of cholesterol accumulates in the arterial walls and forms a plaque that narrows the arteries. Bloodflow through the arteries is reduced, which can result in a heart attack or angina, also called chest pain. High cholesterol also contributes to coronary disease. Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol is a so-called silent killer that can exist for a years before the condition is discovered, usually after a heart attack.
The body needs some fat to burn energy and provide a back-up energy source when the body is without food for a long period of time. Fat aids in the absorption of nutrients and provides insulation from the heat and cold. Too much body fat can lead to being overweight or obese. According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, obesity can cause sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes and gallstones. It can also cause irregular menstrual periods and female infertility. Being overweight puts a strain on the joints and wears away the cartilage between the joints, causing joint pain. Being overweight also increases your risk of certain cancers like gallbladder, breast and colon cancer.
According to the Obesity Society, excess body weight contributes greatly to the onset of diabetes, and it is reported that 90 percent of diabetics are also obese. Overweight people are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes than persons of normal weight. Excess fat impairs the body’s ability to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to kidney disease, stroke and blindness.
Excess fat and cholesterol is a dangerous combination that can cause a stroke. A stroke is occurs when the blood flow to a part of the brain is severely reduced or interrupted. The affected brain region is then deprived of food and oxygen, and brain cells begin to die. An artery narrowed by a buildup of cholesterol or a blood clot is often the culprit. Being overweight or obese forces the heart to work harder, and this can result in high blood pressure. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, high blood pressure is the number one risk factor for a stroke.