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what is cholesterol?
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About a century ago, a German pathologist named Rudolph Virchow laid open an artery to examine its interior wall. Along the lining he observed deposits of mushy fat that he called atheromata, a Greek word meaning "porridge." It was from this word that we derived our term, atherosclerosis.

Embedded among the cells of the artery wall along with the fat, Virchow observed some glistening crystals. These turned out to be cholesterol. But how did these fats get into the artery walls? The first theory advanced by researchers was that of "imbibitions," which held that fat droplets were absorbed directly from the blood stream through the lining of the artery walls. When a weakening of the "ground" substance or actual structure of the artery wall occurred cholesterol.

One causative factor that stands out continuously above and beyond all others is fat in the diet. And it is this factor that we can control. These fats from our foods enter our blood stream where, like sharks cruising about, they seek out the weak or vulnerable spots in the arteries. It was seen that in¬evitably the special fat-fighting cells are themselves engulfed by the repeated tidal waves of cholesterol and fats washed into the blood and artery walls by fat-containing foods such as butter, eggs, cream, milk, meat fats, and other animal fats in our diet.

Why is the epidemic particularly strong in the U.S.A.? If you are a typical American, whether you know it or not you consume an unbalanced, obesity-producing diet. People have been urged to "eat the right foods" and to provide plenty of meat, eggs, milk, and cheese for their children. In most areas of the world, this problem of getting enough nourishing food to eat is still of primary importance. But it is not the problem in America. Our problem is somewhat the op¬posite: "living too high on the hog." Our diet is too rich in fat as well as calories, refined sugars, starches, and oils. At the same time, it is low in essential nutriments, minerals and other vital requirements. We are all agreed: the cholesterol found in the blood is made largely in the liver from fats in the diet. It is also believed that cholesterol is produced in the arterial walls themselves. But the main source and the one that we can to a great extent control is fat in our food.

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