Have you been told that your cholesterol is too high? Or are you worried that you have to check food labels to check for the levels of cholesterol in food? Should you get your cholesterol checked every year? Have you read or been told that high levels of cholesterol can cause an increase in the risk of heart disease or stroke?
Many people have a lot of questions about cholesterol—and specifically, how food can impact cholesterol.
Here are some simple truths regarding cholesterol.
Cholesterol can be an issue if your levels of LDL or VLDL (bad cholesterol) are increased and your levels of HDL (good cholesterol) are decreased. This can typically occur during prolonged periods of insulin resistance and is of special significance if your waist circumference measurement is increasing or your resting blood pressure is creeping up.
This is the most common clinical presentation in a patient with high cholesterol and has literally nothing to do with the amounts of cholesterol consumed from the diet. These clinical features are the beginning phases of metabolic syndrome.
Of course, the consumption of higher amounts of saturated fat from animal products like meat, cheese, butter, and lard can increase LDL cholesterol, but it does not decrease HDL cholesterol which can be just as troublesome as far as heart attack risk is concerned.
Over 60% of patients hospitalized for heart disease have normal levels of blood LDL cholesterol. They had lower levels of HDL cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, blood pressure, and were more likely to be obese. These patients all had metabolic syndrome to a varying degree.
Metabolic syndrome is attributed to the increased consumption of calories from sugar and refined carbohydrates over time which causes insulin resistance, inflammation, and some important metabolic changes in the liver. The most important of these is the over production of LDL cholesterol. You see, although LDL cholesterol levels are influenced from the diet, their levels in the blood are mostly controlled by their production in the liver. During prolonged periods of insulin resistance, high insulin levels, and prolonged periods of inflammation, LDL and triglyceride production in the liver greatly increases which is associated with metabolic syndrome. This situation is not good for obvious reasons!
Lower Your Cholesterol with This Diet
In my clinical opinion, if you would like to lower your levels of harmful cholesterol, something will need to be considered first. The first step is to consume much less sugar, white flour products, white rice, pasta, soda, fruit drinks, fructose sweeteners, breakfast cereals, confectionary, and desserts. Cut back on commercially produced red meat, full-fat dairy products, and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Try to eat more fatty fish, fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil which can improve insulin resistance, lower inflammation, and keep blood sugar regulated.
Reducing body fat around the waist is also a crucial step in eliminating metabolic syndrome in its earliest stages when the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke is much lower.
Remember, a high level of LDL cholesterol is a symptom of insulin resistance. To address this problem properly, the underlying cause must be managed adequately.