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Does Losing Weight Help Cholesterol

How To Lower Cholesterol

Does Weight Loss Lower Cholesterol

The first step an individual can take to lower cholesterol is reaching or maintaining a moderate weight. Reaching a moderate weight decreases triglycerides in the liver and the amount of cholesterol it makes.

Individuals who smoke tobacco products should also try to reduce and quit this habit. Smoking lowers the levels of high-density lipoproteins the good cholesterol. HDL usually protects against fatty buildup in the artery walls. However, smoking damages the arteries, and cholesterol collects in these areas.

Physicians may also prescribe a certain type of medication known as statins to

  • American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling.

Everyone should regard eating well and exercising regularly as long-term habits. However, people can find it challenging to make big changes and incorporate them into their routine. Therefore, it is helpful for a person to make small changes and increase them over time.

For example, an individual could try exercising for 1015 minutes twice a week for 2 months. After that, they could try increasing the length of time or the number of days per week.

Similarly, with diet, an example could be consuming dessert only 3 nights a week. After 2 months, a person could also try replacing one side dish with a small salad or some form of vegetables 5 days a week.

Your Lipids During Weight Loss

Positive caloric balance especially in the setting of overweight or obesity is often associated with elevated triglycerides and low HDL-C LDL-C may not increase, but LDL particle number will usually be elevated resulting in increased risk of cardiovascular disease .

During active weight loss in overweight individuals the good cholesterol levels decrease. This is especially true for weight loss through dietary or drug therapy. However, after weight loss stabilizes, the HDL-C levels may return to baseline , and often increase above baseline. Intense or vigorous physical activity regime involving expenditure of between 700 kcal to 2000 kcal alone can cause significant increase in the good cholesterol levels, and to a lesser extent reduction in the levels of the bad cholesterol .

During active weight loss in overweight individuals, LDL-C may initially become elevated before returning to baseline , and then subsequently decrease. However, changes in LDL-C levels during active weight loss is determined by the nutritional method employed to lose weight. For instance, the use of high carbohydrate and low fat diet will result in increase triglyceride, decrease HDL-C and decrease LDL-C levels during the weight loss process, whereas, the use of low carbohydrate and high fat diets will result in low triglycerides, but elevated HDL-C , unchanged or increased LDC-C levels.

Lifestyle Choices Contribute To Both Obesity And High Cholesterol

Sometimes, high cholesterol is an inherited condition. Other diseases, such as , can also contribute. But most cases of high cholesterol are due to two main lifestyle choices:

  • Eating foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol

  • Getting little to no exercise or physical activity

Its no surprise that these two factors also often lead to obesity.

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Sneaky Causes Of High Cholesterol

If youre doing all you can to lower your cholesterol, but your numbers are still high, know that youre not alone. Here are some of the most common reasons.

1. You have a genetic risk of high cholesterol. If youre someone who has a relatively healthy lifestyle and your cholesterol levels are high if you have an LDL greater than 160 you probably have some genetic component that leads to high cholesterol, says Raj Khandwalla, MD, cardiologist and director of digital therapeutics at Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition that leads to cholesterol accumulating in the bloodstream, according to the FH Foundation.

Once you receive a diagnosis of high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe a statin, a type of medication that blocks a substance your body uses to make cholesterol. Statins help lower LDL cholesterol, which reduces the risk of stroke or death from a heart attack, Dr. Khandwalla says.

2. Youre following a trendy diet. Khandwalla emphasizes that people who have high cholesterol should avoid the keto diet, a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet touted for weight loss. The most effective diets to lower cholesterol are a plant-based diet or vegan diet in which you decrease your dietary intake of cholesterol, says Khandwalla. If you still want to include meat in your diet, stick to lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, and fish.

What Are The Dangers Of Dieting

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Although excess weight raises blood cholesterol levels and increases risk for heart disease and other health problems, repeated cycles of losing and regaining weight are even worse for health. A slow and steady rate of weight loss that you can maintain over the long-term is much more healthful than crash-dieting. Remember that the extra weight probably took a long time to creep on, so it will come off slowly too.

Try to focus on the positive lifetime changes you are making for your health rather than on what the scales say. If you exercise regularly and adopt healthy, low-fat foods as part of your usual diet, you may be surprised at how easily the weight will come off.

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Raising Good Cholesterol Through Weight Training

Good cholesterol is known as HDL, which stands for High-Density lipoprotein. HDL cholesterol is manufactured naturally in your body to help clean out the bad cholesterol .

Think of HDL in your body as sweepers going through your bloodstream and sweeping up the LDL to flush them out of your system.

A high HDL count is good because the more sweepers you have the lower your LDL will be and the healthier you are. HDL carries LDL and triglycerides out to your liver, your adrenals, and your ovaries or testes.

This transportation aids in the removal of the cholesterol as well as in the natural production of steroid hormones.

There is no need to take steroids while you are weight training because your body manufactures them naturally for you.

Although there is little you can do with exercise and diet to raise the good cholesterol, you can certainly work on lowering the bad cholesterol, which reduces your overall total cholesterol and creates a higher good to bad cholesterol ratio.

Most Of The Time Choose Plant Proteins Such As Beans And Tofu Over Meat

We all know that eating lean meat like skinless chicken breast is better for our hearts than fatty meats like prime rib. And certainly, lean meats like white poultry and game meat are part of the Pritikin Eating Plan.

If plant-based, protein-rich foods like tofu have turned you off in the past, youre in for many delicious surprises at Pritikin.

But is your goal ratcheting down your blood cholesterol as much as you can? Are you trying to not only halt but reverse the build-up of plaque in your arteries?

If so, its a good idea to choose plant proteins over meat most of the time. Thats because leaner cuts of meat, including skinless white poultry, still contain some saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. For optimal cholesterol lowering, limit lean meat to no more than once weekly, and to a 3.5-ounce serving or less.

Plant Proteins

Plant proteins like beans and tofu are not only free of artery-clogging saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, theyre also high in soluble fiber, which lowers blood cholesterol.


Another excellent choice is fish, particularly fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and trout. Choose at least 2 times weekly. If youre using canned fish, such as canned sardines, select very-low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties.

Other types of fish do not contain as many omega 3s, but theyre still good choices, preferable to land animal meat.

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Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update

Theres a ton of incredibly promising intermittent fasting research done on fat rats. They lose weight, their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars improve but theyre rats. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and incredibly effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. In addition, many people find it difficult to fast.

But a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.

Will My Statin Drug Cause Me To Gain Weight As A Side Effect

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Maybein two surprising ways. First, taking pills such as atorvastatin, , lovastatin , or simvastatin may make you think you can eat as much as you like, new research suggests. Second, statins can cause muscle pain and weakness, which may make you less likely to exercise.

While the eating habits of people who didnt take statins stayed pretty much the same, those who did take the cholesterol-lowering drugs gradually consumed more and more over time, according to a 10-year dietary study of nearly 28,000 U.S. adults published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. Statin users consumed 9.6 percent more calories and 14 percent more fat in 2009-2010 than they did in 1999-2000, and gained an average of 6.6 to 11 pounds.

Statins appear to provide a false reassurance and a belief that the drugs can compensate for poor dietary choices, wrote Rita F. Redberg, M.D., professor and director of womens cardiovascular services at the University of California, San Francisco, and the journals editor.

Read more about treating high cholesterol with statins in our free Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs report.

Statins might also contribute to weight gain by causing muscle pain and weakness, which in turn can make you less physically active. Some experts estimate that as many as a third of people who take statins are affected. Other published materials suggest the number is closer to between 5 and 10 percent of people.

Teresa Carr

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Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet

When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.

A largely vegetarianâdietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foodsâ substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber soy protein and whole almonds.

Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But itâs a ânaturalâ way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.

Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. Itâs good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.

How Obesity Raises Your Risk Of High Cholesterol

Your body needs some cholesterol. Your liver makes the waxy substance to help build cells and store fat. Your body also uses it to make vitamin D, which is important for a healthy immune system.

The problem starts when thereâs too much LDL in your bloodstream, a condition called hypercholesterolemia. That can create fatty deposits that build up , block your arteries, and eventually restrict blood flow. That could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

One reason being overweight or obese raises your odds of high cholesterol is because it affects the way your body makes and manages lipoproteins, including cholesterol and triglycerides — another fatty substance, or lipid, your body needs in small amounts.

Triglycerides form in your liver from free fatty acids and a kind of glucose . If your body makes too many triglycerides, that can lead to higher levels of other lipoproteins as well, including cholesterol.

So being overweight or obese can raise your chances of high triglycerides and, in turn, high cholesterol because youâre more likely to:

  • Have increased fat tissue in your body, which means higher amounts of free fatty acids are delivered to your liver. This is especially true if you carry the extra weight around your middle.
  • Be insulin-resistant, which can also increase the amount of free fatty acids in your liver
  • Have inflammation throughout your body, which can affect the way your body manages HDL, or âgood cholesterol,â and other lipoproteins

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Can Losing Weight Make Your Cholesterol Go Up

Why Is Your Cholesterol Going Up?

Recently Ive seen some weight loss experts and doctors say that its normal for your bad cholesterol to go up transiently when you lose weight. The reason this may happen is if youre on a ketogenic or similar low carb high fat diet.

I did some research to see if there any studies to support this. Only a couple of small studies showed that your bad cholesterol going up could be normal for some people. Most large studies show that when people lose weight, their bad cholesterol levels do go down. This is what youd expect because theyre eating healthier +/- exercising.

Why Is This Important to You?

The reason this could be important to you is that if your bad cholesterol levels are going up even transiently, you could be potentially forming cholesterol build up or blockages in the arteries of your heart. Your cholesterol levels that you get checked on blood tests are not the best way to tell if there are cholesterol blockages or build up forming in your heart. The best way is testing that look at the arteries of your heart. These are tests like a cardiac catheterization, a cardiac CT or even a calcium score. Youre probably not going to get these tests for many years or until you have other health problems.

What Should You Do?

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Ask About Cholesterol Medication

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Cholesterol medications such as statins may be the fastest way to lower cholesterol for some people usually within 6 to 8 weeks. This allows a person to quickly reduce their heart disease risk while cultivating a healthy lifestyle. During this period, a person can focus on lowering cholesterol over time with lifestyle and dietary changes.

Because high cholesterol is a risk factor for serious heart health issues, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend statins for many groups of people with high LDL cholesterol.

If LDL cholesterol does not drop enough with diet and lifestyle changes and statins, a person might need additional medications.

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When People Are Overweight It Is Where Our Bodies Store The Extra Fat That Causes The Problems

Where is the fat stored?

If the extra fat is stored around our waist, this results in an apple shape. This shape is linked with a higher risk of causing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers.

If the extra fat is stored around our hips this results in a pear shape and this shape is less harmful to your health.

Check your waist measurements

You can use your measurements as motivation to get going. From this moment on youll be back in control and heading in the right direction.

But remember: no one weight is ideal. Theres a range of healthy weights for a particular height.

Also, there is no quick way to lose weight. A steady loss of one kilogram a week is the safest and the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off.

To measure your waist, use a measuring tape and then check the measurements below to assess your risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Men = Less than 94 centimetres
  • Women = Less than 80 centimetres
  • Men = Between 94 and 102 centimetres
  • Women = Between 80 and 88 centimetres
  • Men = More than 102 centimetres
  • Women = More than 88 centimetres

Body mass index

To check your Body Mass Index, a good gauge for your overall weight, please view our leaflet in our resources or call into your local pharmacist.

If you are in the overweight band range of BMI, you should start to follow the following our weight loss tips below and in our leaflet.

Ok, so what can I do?

Motivate and plan ahead

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Reduction Or Elimination Of Medication

Connected to lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease is the ability to eliminate or reduce medicines used to control cholesterol, hypertension , diabetes, and heart problems. Though not having to use medicine for these conditions is beneficial enough, theres an added bonus: You may be able to bypass some of the side effects that come with these medicines.

Some of the medicines used to control blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes have side effects such as drowsiness, headache, cold symptoms, and even erectile dysfunction.

Understanding all of the health benefits of losing weight is often the first step of understanding that you need help to proceed. Here at Ormond Internal Medicine, we are here to help. Call to schedule your consultation at 386-673-2133, or book an appointment online.

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