Like fairytale magic, cholesterol has its good side (high-density lipoprotein found in vegetables) and its dark side (low-density lipoprotein found in everything you actually want to eat). These two opposing cholesterol factions are constantly locked in mortal combat with each other, battling for ultimate control of the human bloodstream. Alas, unlike fairytale magic, the dark side usually triumphs in the end: the handsome Prince must wake Snow White with a cardiac defibrillator instead of a kiss; the seven dwarfs each require a triple bypass, all except Dopey who probably needs a quadruple and Sleepy who might even die on the operating table.
According to most nutrition experts, the best way to beat dark cholesterol is to simply not be an American. Unfortunately this is harder than you think, especially if you live there. You might think that you are confining yourself to a so-called Mediterranean diet, but in all probability those dainty little olives and lumpy yogurts have been marinated in harmful saturated fats (pronounced: saturated fatsssssss) by unscrupulous food processing factories.
This dark cholesterol epidemic is similar to the crisis of Global Warming: your body is being inflated to death by the over-frying of fossil cheese in millions of unregulated fast food restaurants; by an oil slick of sugary drinks polluting your bloodstream; and by chunks of processed meat product with a nuclear half-life of twenty million years. Your frequent bouts of belching and uncontrollable flatulence are enough to shake the Earth to its very core.
I've always imagined cholesterol as a big greasy balloon filled with rancid custard, but medical images suggest that it actually resembles tiny heaps of Venetian corn polenta: not what you would expect a merciless killer to look like. Yet cholesterol is a silent and deadly assassin, content to loiter in the arteries of its victim for years disguised as that vaguely unpopular Italian side dish, before finally emerging from the shadows to strike when the fateful hour arrives.
So how can we defeat bad cholesterol, you ask, when the odds are stacked so heavily against us. Of course, we could decrypt the hieroglyphics of the Food Pyramid: consume less low-density lipoproteins (things we actually want to eat) and replace them with more high-density lipoproteins (vegetables). We could even increase our daily amount of exercise by replacing our gleaming SUV with a rickety ten-speed and biking everywhere. And we do all of these things to a degree; but by far the least strenuous and complicated method is to cheat by taking drugs such as Simvastatin and Lipitor.