Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and found in animal products such as dairy products, eggs and meat. It is a primary component of cell membranes and is critical in the body’s production of bile acids, steroid hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is essential to life, however too much cholesterol can have a negative impact on health.2
Because fat and water do not mix, the body must combine cholesterol with protein to form a particle known as a lipoprotein, in order to transport cholesterol through the bloodstream. Cholesterol is classified into two types: low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL, referred to as “bad cholesterol”, contains a higher fat-to-protein ratio than HDL. It releases cholesterol directly into the blood vessels. Over a period of time it can collect forming a thick, hard deposit called plaque. Conversely the primary function of HDL, or “good cholesterol”, is to remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream by transporting it to the liver.2
Cholesterol is one of the primary factors linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD continues to be the leading cause of death among both men and women of all racial and ethnic groups age 35 and older in the United States.2 Total cholesterol levels above 240 are classified as “high”, and lead to an increased risk for CVD. Health professionals recommend keeping total cholesterol levels below 200 to help support a balanced, healthy lifestyle.3
FACTORS AFFECTING CHOLESTEROL
There are several circumstances affecting cholesterol levels.
TURTLE MOUNTAIN PRODUCTS
All Turtle Mountain products are naturally cholesterol free, certified vegan, and therefore, do not contain any ingredients that are derived from animals (dairy or otherwise).
None of our products contain trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils or ingredients made with such oils. Hydrogenation is the process of chemically altering the molecular structure of the oil in effect producing trans fatty acids. Recent studies show that consumption of trans fats leads to an increased risk of coronary heart disease and the USDA has recommended that consumption of trans fats be restricted, if not completely eliminated from the diet. In place of hydrogenated oils, Turtle Mountain uses tropical oils (coconut and palm oils) in ingredients such as the chocolate flake or chocolate coating, to help lower the melting point. Lowering the melting point allows the ingredient to be softer when frozen and melt quicker which allows for a more intense chocolate flavor to be experienced.
Tropical oils, while high in saturated fat, are not hydrogenated and do not contain trans fats. Studies of individual saturated fatty acids argue that not all saturated fatty acids are the same and some can even be beneficial. In fact, coconut oil and palm kernel oil both consist primarily of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) and are metabolized differently than longer chain fatty acids which are more difficult to digest.5 MCFA are absorbed in the small intestine, transported directly to the liver where they are broken down immediately and not stored like other fats.5,7Unfortunately, because nutritional information is not provided for individual saturated fatty acids it is difficult to propose guidelines. As such, the USDA recommends saturated fat be consumed in moderation.4
TURTLE MOUNTAIN'S MISSION
Turtle Mountain’s mission is to provide “healthy, dairy-free indulgence” as an alternative to traditional dairy ice creams. CLICK HERE for a nutritional comparison of our super-premium non-dairy dessert line, Purely Decadent, to super- premium dairy ice creams. On average Purely Decadent offers 30% fewer calories, less than half the total fat, little to no saturated fat and is cholesterol free. It should also be noted that Purely Decadent is not the only non-dairy dessert line that our company offers. The other non-dairy frozen desserts we offer are even lower in calories and fat with the majority of flavors containing zero saturated fats. CLICK HERE to go the Products section for nutritional information of other Turtle Mountain products.
1. Schaefer, Ernst J. “Lipoproteins, Nutrition and Heart Disease”. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;75:191-212.
2. “High Cholesterol:Cholesterol Basics”. WebMD Health. Ed. Cynthia Haines. Oct 2004. 20 Apr 2005.
3. “Cardiovascular Disease Facts, Disease Prevention and Treatment Strategies”. Healing With Nutrition. 25 Mar 2005.
4. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.” Health and Human Services. 12 Jan. 2005.
5. Enig, Mary. “Coconut In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century,” presented at the 36th session of the Asia and Pacific Coconut Community, 21-25 June 1999.
6. Khosla, Pramod and Hayes, K.C. “Cholesterolaemic effects of the Saturated Fatty Acids of Palm Oil.” Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 15.2 (1993/1994). Google. 14 January 2005.