Vs. Cholesterol Connection:
The holiday season is a time of celebration, and what better
way to celebrate than to splurge on a shellfish feast? What about the
cholesterol connection? It's overrated shellfish have suffered a bad
rap, according to many experts, including Dr. William P. Castelli, Director
of the Framingham Heart Study, and Anne M. Fletcher, M.S. R.D., former
editor of the Tufts University Diet & Nutrition Letter. In early assessments,
outdated scientific methods detected cholesterollike substances as well
as cholesterol, and the resulting readings were falsely high. Says Dr.
Castelli, "Most of the cholesterol in our bodies is manufactured by our
bodies. It doesn't come from eating cholesterol, it comes from eating
too much saturated fat." He adds that although some shellfish contain
higher amounts of cholesterol than the average finfish, they are "excruciatingly
low in saturated fat." Anne Fletcher points out that a serving of just
about any shellfish is well within the 300 mg daily limit recommended
by leading health organizations, including the American Heart Association.
"In fact," she says, "most shellfish provide just a fraction of what's
allowable for cholesterol." That's decidedly good news for shellfish lovers.