The Checkup: Is ‘Good’ Cholesterol Really Good?

Researchers question whether high levels of good cholesterol is actually an indicator of good cardiovascular health.

• HDL, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, has long been held as a marker of reduced risk for heart attack; you probably know it best as “good cholesterol.” Now researchers are throwing a wrench in the theory, saying in a new study that high levels of HDL don’t automatically correlate to decreased coronary risk. The study compared people with high heart attack risk to those who inherited a gene that boosts their levels of HDL. Reports AFP: “The study, which looked at nearly 12,500 people with a history of a heart attack and over 41,000 otherwise healthy counterparts, found this was not always the case. The results are important because of the use of drugs, sometimes inflicting side effects, which are administered to boost HDL cholesterol levels.” Bad cholesterol, researchers say, remains a red flag for heart attack risk.

• In the department of Things You Probably Didn’t Want to Know, a recent test of 30,923 entree items from 245 U.S. chain restaurants found that 96 percent of them failed to meet federal nutrition guidelines. Though most of the entrees were under 667 calories (a third of what most adults should eat in a day), they failed because of their combination of calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat, the Los Angeles Times reports. The restaurants included fast-food places, buffets, take-out joints, family restaurants and upscale dining rooms.

• Umm, in case this is something you’re considering, moms and dads, don’t do at-home surgery on your kids. You could get in trouble.