I keep hearing "good cholesterol, bad cholesterol" everywhere, and how certain food sources of cholesterol raise LDL and certain other raise HDL.

I don't understand how any food can increase specifically HDL or LDL. I just don't understand the mechanism. Cholesterol is cholesterol, regardless of whether it ends up in LDL or HDL, or whether it came from eggs or or dairy. Somebody please explain to me how specific sources of cholesterol raise HDL and why others raise LDL; how does the body differentiate between the source.

As far as I know, all cholesterol and fat digested from the intestines, regardless of the source, are packaged in chylomicrons as 1) phospholipids, 2) triglycerides, 3) cholesteryl esters, and enter circulation from the lymphatic vessels, then deposited as a chylomicron remnant (CR) in the liver.

How does the liver know whether the 3 particles in the CR came from a good source or bad source? And how does this trigger HDL vs LDL synthesis? [Btw, if im not mistaken, the liver only makes HDL and VLDL, not LDL]

I'm looking for the biochemical pathways behind these claims. I just cannot picture the mechanism.

  • $\begingroup$ The body doesn't differentiate between types of cholesterol. It simply does what it does. Cholesterol is cholesterol, that's a fact. You need to read about the difference in HDL and LDL, with emphasis on the "L" (lipoprotein). That's what matters, not the cholesterol. You might want to edit your question. $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2018 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ I know the difference. I'm asking the mechanism behind claims such as: "olive oil raises HDL, butter raises LDL" etc. $\endgroup$
    – Samid
    Jun 29, 2018 at 15:02


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