Cholesterol and Muscle Building
High Cholesterol Is Good for Building Muscle.
Not so long ago I got an email from a guy who was frustrated with his inability to gain muscle weight. The results he reported were truly horrible. He was seemingly doing everything right, eating to a caloric surplus, working out with a good routine and schedule, etc. And he was gaining weight, its just that 80% of the weight gain came in the form of increased body fat.
I was unable to pinpoint a reason for his lack of success until he proudly told me that he was one heck of a disciplined dieter - that less than 5% of his diet was fat and he consumed virtually no saturated fat. His reason for the low-fat diet was to discourage fat gain and protect his heart health.
There is abundant evidence that low-fat doesn't translate into weight loss or decreased fat gain. In fact, as the guy above demonstrated, it does the exact opposite. The reason is that a lack of dietary fat will hurt your muscle building hormone production.
The effects of such a diet to your general health are questionable, the effects on your ability to build muscle shouldn't be in question. You simply won't maximize your ability to build muscle with a diet that is so low in fat. Fat, and the resulting cholesterol, is clearly an important part of the muscle building equation.
Isn't high cholesterol a killer, doesn't it cause heart attacks? This is a big issue and I won't pretend to be qualified enough to dissect it. The correlation between cholesterol and heart disease, however, isn't as cut and dried as most people think. Some will even say that its a complete fabrication being kept alive only by the pharmaceutical companies greed to market their statins despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
What is clear is that, as the above article concludes, there is still a lot we don't know about cholesterol. After all, maintaining muscle mass is a positive step to avoiding heart disease.
My hypothesis is, as always, that as studies finish up and science progresses, the actual "most healthy diet" recommended for all by the mainstream will become closer and closer to what the experienced natural bodybuilder of today eats. My hypothesis continues to be proven correct.
Suggested Reading for those looking for more information on the dissenting opinion of cholesterol's role in heart disease: Anthony Colpo has some very well-researched stuff on the topic - A few must-read articles are here. Definitely check out the one on low-fat diets and his results from trying to maintain health and a presentable physique on them. He also has a book The Great Cholesterol Con. I haven't read that but Colpo used to have a very extensive website on the subject of which I was a big fan (he has taken it down in hopes of spurring book sales).
Also, Fat Head, The Movie (a response to the inaccuracies of the popular Super Size Me movie) is good stuff - Interesting trailers are here, some interesting cholesterol facts are here. And some reccomended reading is here.
And from the site: Food to Gain Weight: Fat (EFAs)