I know cholesterol is dangerous for adults but children don’t get hardening of the arteries, do they?

  • Posted by Dr. Jay Gordon

Autopsies performed on children six years of age and older who have been killed in accidents have shown that the majority exhibit fatty streaks on their arteries along with some narrowing of the coronary arteries. An autopsy study conducted in the 1950’s during the Korean War showed that 90 percent of the 20-year-old, American boys who were killed in battle had significant, if not critical, narrowing of some of the coronary arteries. This type of narrowing is caused by a diet high in fats and cholesterol.

Heart disease doesn’t begin in your twenties or thirties or forties or fifties. Heart disease begins in the first five to ten years of life, when children get too much fat in their blood. The fat forms plaque on the inside of the arteries, narrowing them and constricting the blood flow.

Cholesterol is only found in animal, and some seafood, products. Plants do not produce it. Because humans are animals, our bodies manufacture all the cholesterol we need to build the cell walls and produce vitamin D and bile acids. Some cholesterol, HDL, is actually good for us and may help prevent arteriosclerosis or arterial plaque.

All fats raise your blood cholesterol levels. It doesn’t matter whether the fat is saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated; so watch your intake of all fats.

Children get cholesterol only from meat, eggs, dairy products and some seafood. Fats, however, come from both animal and vegetable sources. When that fat is processed in the body, it leads to higher levels of cholesterol – shortening life and lessening its quality. A cholesterol level of 180 is considered acceptable in children, but I believe that’s much too high. I want children to stay with levels under 160. And the cholesterol level shouldn’t ever be more than 170 when they’re adults.

This is a good place to remind you that all children should have their cholesterol levels screened on a regular basis. If we only screen the high risk patients, we’ll miss 50% of the children who will be at high risk for heart disease as adults because of unchecked cholesterol levels. The hidden danger for children is in potato chips, processed sweets, and candy, which are all full of greasy oil. If the package says, “No Cholesterol,” it probably never had any to begin with. Cholesterol only comes from meat, poultry, fish, or dairy. But the oils – palm coconut, cotton seed, and the rest – all elevate cholesterol levels. I’ll admit olive oil and canola oil are better, but you still need to keep track of how much you’re eating. Olive oil has the reputation of lowering your cholesterol. The truth is you’d have to drink a cupful each day to lower your cholesterol, and that would add 3,000 calories to your diet. You would then be in danger of death from obesity.

My advice is: “Keep fats out of your child’s diet.” Stay away from meats and dairy products. Read labels. Make certain the percentage of calories that come from fat are below 15% for both you and your child.

Formula For Finding Fat Percentage

Multiply fat grams by 9. Divide the result by the number of calories per serving.

If the label says that one serving has 150 calories with 6 grams of fat, use this formula to determine the percentage of fat in the product.

6 (grams of fat) x 9 = 54
54 divided by 150 (calories) = 36%

This product contains 36% fat when the recommended daily allowance should be 10 to 20%!