Each year my employer provides us with a free health screening and each year my cholesterol numbers have been troublesome.

My total cholesterol was usually around 220 to 230.  “They” say it should be less than 200.

My HDL — the good cholesterol — has consistently been less than 40.  “They” say it should be greater than 40.

Each year I read all the documents they would provide about cholesterol.   The recommendation always seemed to limit my cholesterol intake.

However, in Gary Taubes book, Why We Get Fat, he referenced studies that suggested limiting cholesterol intake could have the opposite effect.  These studies showed that low cholesterol diets could make your cholesterol numbers worse, especially the good type, HDL.

What stuck was that the studies kept describing some of my low-cholesterol foods as the troublemakers.  To paraphrase, it said folks who ate cereal with skim milk, and fruit think they are doing themselves favors, but could be hurting their cholesterol figures.  That was me.

Taubes provided cholesterol analysis of some “high” cholesterol foods, like eggs (with the yolks) ,and found these foods to have much more beneficial cholesterol than people think and not as much harmful cholesterol.

So, I thought I would give it a try.  Instead of eating my normal skim milk, cereal and fruit, I switched to a turkey bacon, 2 egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin.  I eat that 3-4 days a week.  The other days I eat the cereal and fruit or yogurt or pancakes, eggs and turkey bacon.

I’ve been doing that for several months.  It takes about as long to make the sandwich as my cereal since I learned how to microwave eggs and I use pre-cooked turkey bacon.

At the health screening this week, by total cholesterol was lower at 206, and my HDL was 55 (remember the recommendation is greater than 40).  That’s the first time I recall my HDL ever being on the right side of the recommendation.

I was really surprised.  I expected my cholesterol levels to be off the charts.  I thought the health screening would prove my dietary experiment to be a sham and that I was foolish for even trying.

It seems to have helped.

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