Measure Your Ldl And Other Blood Lipids
Everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years through a blood test. The guidelines recommend you have a complete “lipoprotein profile” that measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides, another type of fat in the blood stream. The test should be performed after fasting.
How Fat Moves From Food To The Bloodstream
Fat and cholesterol cant dissolve in water or blood. Instead, the body packages fat and cholesterol into tiny, protein-covered particles called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins can transport a lot of fat they mix easily with blood and flow with it. Some of these particles are big and fluffy, while others are small and dense. The most important ones are low-density lipoproteins , high-density lipoproteins , and triglycerides.
- Low Density lipoproteins
Low-density lipoproteins carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Cells latch onto these particles and extract fat and cholesterol from them. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles can form deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries throughout the body. Such deposits, called plaque, can narrow arteries and limit blood flow. When plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad, or harmful, cholesterol.
- High-density lipoproteins
High-density lipoproteins scavenge cholesterol from the bloodstream, from LDL, and from artery walls and ferry it back to the liver for disposal. Think of HDL as the garbage trucks of the bloodstream. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good, or protective, cholesterol.
In general, the lower your LDL and the higher your HDL, the better your chances of preventing heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Causes Of High Triglycerides
There are many causes of high triglyceride levels. The list below includes common causes for people who have type 2 diabetes and related problems:
Poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes: When your diabetes is not well-managed, you are more likely to have high levels of both glucose and insulin in your body. Insulin helps convert glucose into glycogen and helps to store glycogen in the liver. When the liver becomes too saturated with glycogen, though, glucose is instead used to create fatty acids that are released into the bloodstream. These fatty acids are used to make triglycerides, which build up in fat cells and contribute to body fat.
Eating more calories than you burn: Triglycerides are used as a quick energy source between meals. Leftover calories are stored in your body cells as triglycerides.
High carbohydrate intake: When you eat foods with carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks the food down and extracts glucose. The glucose is then absorbed through the intestines into the bloodstream. As described above with poorly controlled diabetes, excess glucose can be used to make triglycerides. Carbohydrates come from milk/yogurt, grains , starchy vegetables , legumes, fruit, sugary foods – sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes, candy. Not all carbohydrates are unhealthy foods, however, if you overeat carbohydrates your triglycerides can increase.
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What Do Your Cholesterol Levels Mean
Cholesterol is a type of fat that has many important functions in the body. The body makes a lot of cholesterol on its own.
We require an optimal balance of cholesterol, but, we can disrupt this balance with a poor diet, inactivity, stress, and more.
When your doctor draws a cholesterol blood panel, they are usually looking at four things: triglycerides , LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol.
How To Lower Triglyceride Levels
These tactics are recommended by the American Heart Association:
- Eat a healthy diet low in carbohydrate, sugar, saturated fat and trans fat
- Eat an adequate amount of heart-healthy fat – fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil
- If you smoke, work to quit
- Get your blood sugars to target
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Talk to your healthcare provider about trying medications or supplements like fish oil if the above lifestyle changes are ineffective or if your high triglyceride levels are genetic
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Cholesterol And Sugar Does Sugar Raise Cholesterol
High cholesterol and sugar consumption are closely related. A recent study from The Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who consume high amounts of sugar have higher levels of triglycerides and LDL bad cholesterol, as well as lower HDL good cholesterol levels.
If you have been told that you have high cholesterol, and moreover you love sweets, then you want to better understand the connection between cholesterol and sugar. )
Risk Factors For Diabetes
Considerable confusion exists with regard to the potential impact of added sugars on risk factors for diabetes. A great deal of attention was paid to this issue in the media following two ecological studies which suggested that availability of sugars correlated with increased risk of diabetes . These types of ecological studies, however, must be treated with great caution. Ecological studies are considered one of the lowest forms of evidence. Furthermore, these studies have been criticized on a variety of technical grounds. In one ecological study, Goran et al. reported that diabetes prevalence was 20% higher in European Union countries with higher availability of HFCS compared to countries with low availability. As noted by van Buul et al. however, HFCS consumption data in EU countries reported in this study were, in fact, not consumption data at all but production data . Since HFCS travels freely across EU borders, production data cannot be assumed to be the equivalent of consumption data. In another ecological study, Basu et al. used food supply data from the UNFAO to determine market availability of different food items worldwide and concluded that sugar availability was associated with higher diabetes prevalence. Market availability of food, however, is a highly unreliable indicator of sugar consumption .
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The Truth About Sugar
No sugar is created equal. Just like good and bad fats, there is good and bad sugar. Knowing the difference, however, can be challenging. Health blogs tell us to cut back on sugar, but fruit has a ton of natural sugar. So, is it good or bad for you?
America has a longstanding relationship with sugar, but the relationship seems to be a toxic one. Now more than ever, the food we buy is being made with more and more sugar, pre-made food, especially. Added sugar can be found in tomato sauces, cereal, and even cans of tuna.
The sugar found in such products is not natural sugar, but a refined sugar. It gets processed from two different types of sugar sources, typically sugar beet and sugar cane. This is what weve come to know as white sugar. Love it or hate it, refined sugar is in way more food than youd imagine. And, its making us all unhealthy.
But what about fruit sugar? Many have concluded that if something is natural then it must be good for you. Even an over-consumption of natural fruit sugar can have unhealthy repercussions on the body. Unlike refined sugar which has zero nutritional value, fruit provides healthy carbs, fiber and lots of vitamins.
The bottom line is that eating less sugar, refined or natural, is better. Though fruit is natural, it can still cause your body to crash when too much sugar is consumed all at once.
Sugar And Cholesterol: Whats The Connection
If eggs and other high-cholesterol foods dont raise our cholesterol, then what does?
Added sugar is one of the main culprits.
Simply put, added sugar is any sugar that is not naturally found in the food itself. Foods high in added sugar include candy, baked goods, soda, cake, cookies, juice, granola bars, and more.
Diets high in added sugar can significantly raise triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol levels .
Added and refined sugars can also increase inflammation and your overall risk of heart disease .
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To Sum It All Up Does High Cholesterol Cause Diabetes
We have learned that diabetes is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but does high cholesterol cause diabetes? Researchers are still unsure. However, there are some characteristics of diabetes that seem to affect cholesterol levels. To review, they are
- people with diabetes have smaller and denser cholesterol particles that attach to arteries forming plaques
- high glucose in diabetes contributes to LDL-C cholesterol staying in the bloodstream longer than it normally would
- lower HDL-C and higher triglycerides in Type 2 diabetes increase cardiovascular risk
- circulation difficulties compound the problems of high cholesterol
- high triglycerides have been shown to be a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes
I hope you learned the relationship between cholesterol and diabetes. If you have any comments on the connection of cholesterol and diabetes let us know.
TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Christine Traxler MD on June 03, 2020
Sugars Impact On Cholesterol
Your body is an amazing machine, and its parts all work together to keep you functional and healthy. No part works in isolation, and this is why it is essential to take a holistic approach to maintaining your health. One factor to consider when trying to maintain or improve health is your cholesterol levels, since they can help or harm your body in various ways.
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Myths About Dietary Fat And Cholesterol
For decades, people have avoided fat- and cholesterol-rich items, such as butter, nuts, egg yolks, and full fat dairy, instead opting for low fat substitutes like margarine, egg whites, and fat-free dairy in hopes of bettering their health and losing weight.
This is due to the misconception that eating foods rich in cholesterol and fat may increase your risk of various diseases.
While recent research has disproven this notion, myths surrounding dietary cholesterol and fat continue to dominate headlines, and many healthcare providers continue to recommend very low fat diets to the general public.
Here are 9 common myths about dietary fat and cholesterol that should be put to rest.
Add More Fruits And Vegetablesincorporate Into Every Meal
We know youve heard it before but bears repeating: you can probably benefit from increasing the amount of fruit and vegetable servings you eat daily. All the dietary fiber in fruits and vegetables can help lower your blood cholesterol, increase your sense of fullness, and reduces the risks for many types of cancer, too. So try to build your meals around the fruits and vegetables, aiming for at least five but really 9 servings are neededyes NINEservings daily,1 according to the United States Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
So you realize that you are not getting nearly enough fruits or vegetables, and want to boost your intake. To begin, always plan your meal by starting with the fruit or vegetable and build from there. Do you feel like having cranberries? Then maybe goal with oatmeal. If you want eggs for breakfast, pull out the vegetables you have in the fridge, chop them up and make a frittata or prepare your eggs your way and have some stir-fried or roasted veggies on the side.
Here are some other ways to boost your produce intake:
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How Fat And Cholesterol In Food Affect Blood Cholesterol Levels
The types of fat in the diet help determine the amount of total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. The types and amount of carbohydrate in the diet also play a role. Cholesterol in food matters, too, but not nearly as much.
- The discovery half a century ago that high blood cholesterol levels were strongly associated with an increased risk for heart disease triggered numerous warnings to avoid foods that contain cholesterol, especially eggs and liver. However, scientific studies show a weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and his or her blood cholesterol levels
- In studies of more than 80,000 female nurses, Harvard researchers found that consuming about an egg a day was not associated with higher risk of heart disease. However, people who have heart disease or diabetes should monitor egg consumption.
For most people, the amount of cholesterol eaten has only a modest impact on the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. For some people, though, blood cholesterol levels rise and fall very strongly in relation to the amount of cholesterol eaten. For these responders, avoiding cholesterol-rich foods can have a substantial effect on blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, at this point there is no way other than by trial and error to identify responders from non-responders to dietary cholesterol.
What Are The Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein traveling together are called lipoproteins .
Low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein are the lipoproteines that most of us have heard about.
Low-density lipoproteins, or “bad cholesterol,” can build up on the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol and other substances in the blood form plaque . Plaque buildup can make blood vessels become stiffer, narrower, or blocked. Plaque makes it easier for blood clots to form. A blood clot can block a narrowed artery and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Atherosclerosis , or hardening of the arteries, also leads to decreased blood flow to vital organs, including the brain, intestines, and kidneys.
High-density lipoproteins, or “good cholesterol,” carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. In the liver, cholesterol is broken down and removed from the body.
High levels of LDL and low levels of HDL increase a person’s risk of heart disease.
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May Have Protective Effects Against Cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells. There is a lot of hype online about the anti-cancer effects of apple cider vinegar. Some studies have shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
However, all of the studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes, or rats, which proves nothing about what happens in a living, breathing human.
Additionally, most of the studies were done on rice vinegar, not apple cider vinegar. That being said, some observational studies have shown that vinegar ingestion is linked to decreased esophageal cancer in China, but increased bladder cancer in Serbia.
Overall… it is possible that apple cider vinegar may help to prevent cancer, but it is definitely premature to make any recommendations based on the current research.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels And Fights Diabetes
Vinegar and diabetes, they complete each other. By far the most successful application of vinegar to date, is in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
Can apple cider vinegar lower blood sugar immediately?
Studies of apple cider vinegars impact on blood sugar levels tend to be small and have mixed results. Most studies on apple cider vinegar have examined its potential to reduce blood sugar. However, elevated blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes. it is believed to be a major cause of ageing and various chronic diseases.
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So, pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels stable. The most effective way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also have a powerful effect. Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels:
Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19-34% and significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin responses.
Reduces blood sugar by 34% when eating 50 grams of white bread.
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.
Numerous other studies, in both rats and humans, show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.
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High In Acetic Acid Which Has Potent Biological Effects
Vinegar is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made.
The first step exposes crushed apples to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol.
In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid… the main active compound in vinegar.
In French, the word “vinegar” actually means “sour wine.”
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance.
Some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.
Apple cider vinegar only contains about 3 calories per tablespoon, which is very low.
There are not many vitamins or minerals in it, but it does contain a tiny amount of potassium. Quality apple cider vinegar also contains some amino acids and antioxidants.
What Are The Various Forms Of Cholesterol
In order to move around the body, cholesterol is carried by certain proteins known more specifically as lipoproteins, and chylomicrons:
- Chylomicrons: these triglyceride rich particles are synthesized in the intestine and transport cholesterol and TGs to peripheral tissues and the liver.
- VLDL: these very low-density lipoproteins deliver TGs to muscle and fat tissue
- LDL: these low-density lipoproteins contain the majority of cholesterol and more easily bind to agents in the walls of arteries
- HDL: these high-density lipoproteins actually remove cholesterol from peripheral tissues and return it back to the liver, reducing the chance of atherosclerotic plaques from building up.
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S You Can Take To Help Manage Your Blood Fats
- You should have your blood fat levels checked normally once per year. Things might be a bit different at the moment though. Read our information on what care to expect during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Ask for support to lose weight if you are living with obesity or overweight
- Eat a healthy diet based on more fruit and vegetables, nuts, oily fish and wholegrains. See our 10 tips for healthy eating with diabetes.
- Keep a check on how much alcohol you drink . Read more about alcohol and diabetes.
- If you smoke, get support to quit smoking
- Keep active and sit less. We have lots of advice on this in our article on exercise and diabetes.
Your GP can also refer you to a dietitian who can help. They will advise you to cut down on saturated fat and increase your intake of fibre.
There are natural foods you can eat to help protect your heart and products on the market that claim to lower your cholesterol but do they work?
We looked into the best foods to eat and looked at the products you can buy.