It might be best to start by examining what all this cholesterol hu ha is all about first.........
Cholesterol is a waxy substance, one of the fats (lipids) present in the body. It is essential to life. Cholesterol is an important part of all cell membranes, with about 25% of the body’s total cholesterol in the cell membranes of the nervous system, where it is a major part of the fatty sheaths that insulate nerves.
It also provides the basic skeleton for the synthesis of many hormones – the sex steroids, such as oestradiol and testosterone, the steroid hormones synthesised by the adrenal gland, for example cortisol, as well as the precursor of vitamin D (7-dehydrocholesterol). Cholesterol is also an essential precursor of the bile acids and is therefore vital to fat digestion. An adult body contains about 150g of cholesterol.
So how much cholesterol actually comes from the diet?
Although nearly all body tissues can synthesize cholesterol, most is synthesized by the liver and intestine. It is therefore naturally present in the blood, irrespective of dietary cholesterol intake. The liver must produce a certain amount of cholesterol - without it the body would cease to function properly. It is estimated that an adult synthesizes 0.5-1.0g of cholesterol per day, which is more than would usually be absorbed from the diet.
Cholesterol is also sourced from foods including eggs, butter and cream, liver and kidney. Average western diets are estimated to contain 250-750 mg per day, approximately half of which is absorbed by the intestine to enter the circulation.
The total amount of cholesterol in our bodies then, at any one time, will depend on the amounts synthesized and excreted and the amount of dietary cholesterol absorbed. Usually only about ONE THIRD of the cholesterol in the body comes from the diet.
So it is not really true to say that the main sources of Cholesterol come from the diet..............two thirds are manufactured by the body for life to go on at all. This will apply whether you are an Omnivore or strict vegetarian.
I think we have all been brainwashed and educated to believe that there is a "good" & "bad" form of cholesterol, which simply just isn't true, and vegetarians no more need to maintain high HDL or LDL than anyone else.
Let's look at this in another way; animals that are designed by Nature to consume meat as a predominant part of their diet, must consume high amounts of dietary Cholesterol, BUT, only humans become the victims of Heart attacks and heart disease.