The Cholesterol portion of the nutritional label refers to dietary cholesterol, which is only one of the things found in food that can cause your cholesterol to go sky-high. (A bigger contributor to elevated cholesterol? A high-fat diet.) It's also believed to be the least important. Saturated fat (found in animal foods and dairy products) and trans fats (found in packaged foods) appear to have a far greater impact on low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol that causes atherosclerosis, than dietary cholesterol.
When most people hear "cholesterol" they think "bad." The reality is more complex. High cholesterol can be dangerous, but cholesterol itself is essential to various bodily processes, from insulating nerve cells in the brain to providing structure for cell membranes.
The role of cholesterol in heart disease is often misunderstood. Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream by low-density and high-density lipoproteins (LDL and HDL). LDL, known as bad cholesterol, and not the cholesterol it carries per se, is responsible for atherosclerosis.
Health.com posted on May 23, 2013, "5 Cholesterol Myths and Facts", www.health.com.