Consumers can’t identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lycored urges French consumers to eat more fruit and veg in outreach effort
Lycored urges French consumers to eat more fruit and veg in outreach effort

Related tags: Atherosclerosis, Nutrition, Lycored

The results of a new survey suggest that consumers struggle to identify so-called ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol.

While most consumers know that there is a difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, the majority fail to identify which kind of cholesterol is considered bad for health, research funded by colour and nutraceutical company Lycored revealed.

In an online survey of UK consumers carried out earlier this year, 82% of respondents claimed that they are aware that there are two main forms of cholesterol – one considered ‘good’ and one considered ‘bad’. However, when asked which type of cholesterol is beneficial, 58% named LDL (low-density lipoprotein) rather than HDL (high-density lipoprotein).

High levels of oxidised-LDL cholesterol in the blood are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, high levels of HDL are associated with reduced risk of heart disease.

Need for education

Lycored said that the results highlight the responsibility of manufacturers to support consumer education.

"Most consumers understand that there’s 'good' cholesterol and 'bad' cholesterol, but beyond that, things get a bit hazy. Our research highlights the importance of educating consumers – not just selling to them,”​ head of marketing Zev Ziegler said.

Earlier this year, Lycored launched ‘Lycopedia’ – what it describes as an “interactive educational hub”​ to provide detailed information to consumers.

Ziegler told FoodNavigator that this is one part of Lycored’s education efforts, which also include face-to-face outreach.

“Companies should be looking at all the tools available to them to support consumer education. Online resources like Lycopedia are part of the picture, especially for people who are already engaged, but we try to be more proactive than that to get health messages out more widely.

“Ultimately, consumers are most likely to be receptive if you speak to them face to face. We hold an annual Heart and Soil Day​, when our teams head out into their local communities and talk to them about health and wellness. So for example, we went to Paris and set up a “rainbow of fruit” stand to encourage passers-by to appreciate the healthy possibilities offered by fruit.”

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1 comment

There is only one type of cholesterol

Posted by Bjorn Falck Madsen,

I read with great interest your article about "good" and "bad" cholesterol. As far as I am informed, there is only one type of cholesterol. However, there are various types of lipoproteins, and the two that are most commonly referred to are LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). The lipoproteins carry cholesterol back and forth from the liver to various tissues. Cholesterol is an essential structural component of all cell membranes and is also biochemically involved in the synthesis of hormones. While HDL is largely associated with positive health properties, LDL - especially when levels of this lipoprotein go up - tends to set the stage for inflammatory response and atherosclerosis. So, essentially, it is not correct to talk about good and bad cholesterol. There is only one kind. What causes cholesterol to act in a way that is either good or bad is the type of lipoprotein it is incorporated in.

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