Oxidized Cholesterol, cooking and heart diseases 
By Michael Gregor; Facitated by Walter Sorochan

Posted August 3, 2023.

You have been blamed for eating fat, meats and cholesterol. Your doctors have scared you by telling you that eating these bad fats cause heart disease and dying prematurely. But it is not bad fats that cause heart disease. Have you heard of oxidized cholesterol being the real culpurt?

Yes, just like iron exposed to the oxygen in the air can cause iron to rust, so oxygen can cause food to rust. It is called oxidized cholesterol and it clogs up of your arteries. It has to do with how you prepare food. This article is about oxidized cholesterol.

Oxidized cholesterol

What is oxidation: The short video below explains how oxidation occurs in nature and the body:

What is oxidation?

Source: www. matt-pottinger.com

Here is Michael Greger's take on oxidized food:  Greger: Sources of Oxidized Cholesterol 2022

“A significant body of evidence indicates that oxidized cholesterol, in the form of oxysterols, is one of the main triggers of AD [Alzheimer’s disease].” But, that’s not all. Cholesterol oxidation products (COPs) “are associated with the initiation and progression of major chronic diseases,” including heart disease, diabetes, and kidney failure. COPs are produced when animal products are heated. All forms of cooking can do it, since you can get “maximum cholesterol oxidation and COP production” at only about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indeed, microwaving chicken or beef appears to produce about twice as much cholesterol oxidation as does frying. If you look at bacon, though, raw bacon didn’t have any oxidized cholesterol. Like all animal products, it has cholesterol, but it’s not oxidized until you cook it. Grilling seems to be the safest if you eat the meat right away, but if you put leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat them later using the same method, all the oxidized cholesterol levels shoot up.

Unless you keep meat in some kind of vacuum pack, the oxygen exposure alone can shoot up oxidation levels even in a dark refrigerator or the freezer. Cooking raw fish can boost cholesterol oxides levels from 8 μg/g to 18 μg/g, but, after a few months, frozen fish—even frozen raw fish—starts out about ten times higher and just goes up from there.

In terms of which meat is the worst, chicken was twice as bad as beef, whether microwaved or fried. It seems the reason has to do with the polyunsaturated fat content of the muscle, which “decreases in the order fish [with the highest content] > poultry > pork > beef > lamb.” So, white meat is more susceptible to cholesterol oxidation. Red meat has more saturated fat, but fish and chicken tend to build up more oxidized cholesterol. So, chicken and roasted salmon have been shown to generate greater amounts of cholesterol oxidation products than other types of meat. Surprisingly, though, the highest increase of oxidized cholesterol in salmon was found through steaming, mainly because it’s just exposed to heat longer. Cholesterol oxidation increased after each cooking procedure, but “steaming increased the total amount by more than 1000%.”

Same problem with eggs. Egg powder in processed foods is good for shelf life, but it may not be so good for human life. Some examples of packaged foods with egg products include some pastas, many baked goods, and mayonnaise. So, even people who stay away from eggs out of the egg carton may still be exposed unwittingly through processed foods if they don’t read the ingredients label.

There are several measures that can be taken to reduce cholesterol oxidation in foods: reducing the total cholesterol content of foodstuffs by not cooking food with cholesterol-containing fat [like butter or lard], feeding animals with antioxidants, adding antioxidants to food, processing food at low temperatures, using oxygen-excluding packs [opaque vacuum packing, for example], and storing food in the dark.” But, if you take a step back, you see that only foods starting out with cholesterol can end up with oxidized cholesterol. So, in terms of reducing cholesterol oxidation in foods, the primary method may be to “reduce the total cholesterol content of the food”—that is, don’t just avoid adding extra butter; instead, center one’s diet around whole plant foods, which don’t have any cholesterol to get oxidized in the first place.

Oxidized cholesterol refers to cholesterol molecules that have undergone a process called oxidation. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is naturally produced by the body and is also found in certain foods. It plays important roles in the body, such as being a building block for cell membranes and serving as a precursor for the production of hormones.

When cholesterol is exposed to oxygen and other reactive molecules, it can undergo oxidation just as iron can be oxidized to form rust. This process can occur during food processing and cooking, particularly at high temperatures or with the addition of certain chemicals. Oxidized cholesterol can also be formed in the body as a result of oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and the body's ability to detoxify them.

Oxidized cholesterol molecules are chemically altered and can have different properties compared to non-oxidized cholesterol. They are thought to be more harmful to health due to several reasons:

It's worth noting that the oxidation of cholesterol is a complex process. However, reducing the consumption of oxidized cholesterol-containing foods, such as highly processed and fried foods, and adopting a diet rich in antioxidants may help minimize the potential negative effects of oxidized cholesterol.

Why is oxidized cholesterol a concern? The information provided by Gregor about oxidized cholesterol has negative effects on health. Additional  studies have suggested that oxidized cholesterol may promote the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries, leading to reduced blood flow and an increased risk of heart disease. The mechanisms by which oxidized cholesterol may contribute to atherosclerosis are complex and not fully understood, but it is believed that these modified cholesterol molecules can trigger inflammation and contribute to the formation of artery-clogging plaques.

Chicken, fish, and egg powder in processed foods present greater risk from cholesterol oxidation byproducts, but there are things you can do to reduce exposure.

Therefore, it is generally advised to limit the consumption of oxidized cholesterol and take steps to minimize its formation. This includes reducing the consumption of highly processed and fried foods, as well as avoiding the reuse of cooking oils at high temperatures, as repeated heating can increase cholesterol oxidation in oils and foods.

Change you lifestyle and eating habits. Eating a balanced diet, rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, can help promote heart health and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Refer to the Almighty veggie diet for more information: Almighty veggie diet

Everyday you eat oxidized foods just shortens your life one day. You incubate diseases silently.


Greger Michael, "Sources of Oxidized Cholesterol," Nutrition Facts.org, April 28, 2022.  Greger: Sources of Oxidized Cholesterol 2022

Rhoads Jillian P. and Amy S. Major, "How Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein Activates Inflammatory Responses," Crit Rev Immunol. 2018; 38(4): 333–342.  Rhoads: Oxidized lipoprotein 2018

Sandolu Ana "Type of natural sugar may prevent arteries from clogging," Medical News Today, June8, 2017.  Sandolu: Natural sugar may prevent artey clogging 2017