Cholesterol And Sugar: Is Something Sweet Turning Your Cholesterol Sour
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Added sugars are found in processed foods and beverages, from donuts sitting in the break room to the soft drink that gets you through your 2 p.m. slump, and the bowl of ice cream you enjoy before going to bed. And they could be affecting your cholesterol levels as well as your weight.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the typical American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, which is equivalent to 350 calories. These extra calories could spell trouble for your cholesterol.
If youre concerned about your cholesterol levels, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Instituteto meet with a doctor.
Diabetes Prevention Programs For Pre
Diabetes Prevention Programs have popped up all around the country. These programs are geared toward achieving weight loss, nutritional, and activity goals in order to prevent Type 2 diabetes later on. The Centers for Disease Control has a model of Diabetes Prevention Programs , and organizations such as the YMCA and others have started to bring these programs to communities. Some insurers have hopped on board with providing these programs, and scholarships are also available in some areas. Check with your individual insurance carrier for benefits that might include these programs, and with local programs providing DPP for scholarship opportunities. On top of decreasing your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, you will be learning healthy lifestyle changes, including a heart healthy diet, which will also help to get your cholesterol numbers where they need to be.
What Are The Causes Of High Cholesterol
Many different things can cause a person to have high cholesterol levels. Some we can control, and some we cannot control. The factors that we cannot control are:
- our gender
- certain diseases and conditions that we already have, such as thyroid disorder
Though we cannot control our genetics, how old we are, or whether we are male of female or have a certain disease for the most part, there are risk factors for high cholesterol that can be controlled. Interestingly, the same risk factors that can be controlled to bring down high cholesterol also can bring down our risk for diabetes.
- our nutritional intake, including how much bad and good cholesterol is in the foods we eat
- our weight as extra pounds increase cholesterol levels
- whether or not we are physically active
- whether or not we are taking certain medications
Does Alcohol Smoking Sugar Or Salt Affect Cholesterol
Its clear that lack of exercise, bad diet , and obesity can factor into high cholesterol. Furthermore, if you have a family history of the condition, this may also increase the risk. And for everyone, the risk increases with age. How about sugar, salt, cigarette smoking, and alcohol do they also have an effect on blood cholesterol?
Does drinking alcohol affect your cholesterol?
Probably, its still OK to drink alcohol in moderation. Even this may help keep blood cholesterol on its healthy level. In particular, for red wine!
One study showed that red wine might help protect the arterys wall. Its not known how this works. Its thought that this benefits may have to do with its essential natural plant chemicals and antioxidants .
Another theory, drinking alcohol moderately might help improve HDL, your good cholesterol. HDL can help lower your LDL . So, more HDL in the blood is a good thing. See more how HDL controls your LDL on this section!
However, there are also some crucial issues you need to concern.
The excessive consumption of alcohol can be counterproductive. This causes increased risk of stroke, arrhythmia , and heart muscle disease.
Furthermore, drinking alcohol factors into a traffic accident. It also has to do with increased blood pressure.
For these reasons, still alcohol is commonly not recommended for people with high cholesterol. It is not recommended to specifically treat high cholesterol according to the recommendation by AHA .
How Sugar Affects Triglycerides
Triglycerides are another way that sugar can negatively affect your cholesterol and heart health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you consume more calories than you can use, which can happen if your diet includes a lot of high-carbohydrate foods, your body converts those calories into triglycerides, which are a type of lipid found in your blood. Simple carbs simple sugars are easily converted into triglycerides, and so is alcohol, which is high in calories and sugar, Mayo says.
If your triglyceride level gets too high, it increases your risk for heart disease. That’s because as your triglyceride level goes up, your HDL cholesterol level goes down, and it’s higher levels of HDL that help keep your risk for heart disease in line, explains Harvard Health Publishing.
Ways to reduce your triglyceride levels, advises Mayo Clinic, include avoiding refined sugar and carbs, limiting alcohol, choosing healthier fats and exercising.
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Insulin Resistance And Cholesterol Changes
After eating a meal, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose by your digestive system. This glucose is then absorbed through the wall of your intestines into your bloodstream.
Once there, insulina hormone, made by your pancreas, that is the primary regulator of carbohydrate metabolismbrings glucose into various cells, so they have the energy to function and do their jobs. Insulin also blocks the breakdown of fat into fatty acids within your body.
Insulin resistance is when the cells become less responsive to this process. As a result, blood sugar eventually increases, which is why it’s considered a precursor to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Fats are also broken down within the body at an increased rate, and this ultimately leads to various cholesterol changes. Specifically, insulin resistance lowers HDL and raises triglycerides and LDL.
A low HDL level or a high LDL level paired with a high triglyceride level is linked to the buildup of plaque in the walls of arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis and it increases your risk of developing a heart attack and stroke.
Do You Have High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is a natural and essential part of all cells in your body. It helps produce hormones, make vitamin D, provide cells with structure, and plays a role in the process of digesting fats. The liver creates all of the cholesterol that your body needs, so it is not required that you get it from foods. Foods that come from animals such as meat, cheese, and eggs all provide dietary cholesterol to the body.
There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins . HDL is thought of as the good type of cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from your blood to your liver to be removed. This is helpful to the heart. LDL is the bad type of cholesterol: It causes a buildup of cholesterol in the blood, which leads to furring up of the arteries. This is called atherosclerosis and is a direct cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. They are separate to and different from cholesterol, but they are nearly always included in the cholesterol lab panel since they have a similar effect on your heart and overall health. Triglycerides come from eating too many calories . These extra calories are stored in the blood as triglycerides. High triglyceride levels can lead to heart disease and problems in your pancreas and liver, including fatty liver disease.
Here are the normal ranges for cholesterol and triglyceride levels in adults :
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What Is The Function Of Cholesterol
This is a broad question, so the broadest answer is that cholesterol is a component of animal cell membranes that is synthesized in the liver and helps communicate between other cells throughout the body. To be a little more specific:
- Membrane fluidity Cholesterols main role is as a buffer against the changes that occur in cells due to temperature fluctuations.
- Nerve conduction Cholesterol is a large component of something known as the myelin sheath, membranes that wrap around axons in cells of the nervous systems and help promote signal conduction. To drive this point home, a 2019 study published in JAMA found that lowering serum cholesterol levels in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had more severe diabetic peripheral neuropathy . DPN is a risk in type 2 diabetics as chronically elevated blood sugars can destroy nerve tissue. The study demonstrated that lowering cholesterol levels was associated with a higher number of nerve lesions and reductions in nerve conduction velocity.
- Precursor Cholesterol is needed for the synthesis of bile, and therefore is important for fat digestion and the proper absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. Cholesterol is also involved in the actual synthesis of vitamin D and other steroid hormones throughout the body, including sex hormones.
All of this to say that cholesterol has a critical role in our body, otherwise humans wouldn’t have evolved a mechanism in the body to produce it ourselves!
Food Supplements That Do Not Help With Cholesterol
Many extracts and supplements have been promoted for their overall health benefits and lipid-lowering effects, but do they work?
We reviewed the available scientific research and found that the following supplements had no good evidence to support those claims:
Selenium: Supplements may help lower cholesterol in people with low levels of selenium, but not in people with normal levels of selenium. There is not enough scientific evidence to say that selenium protects against cardiovascular disease.
Calcium: Results here are mixed, but the bottom line is calcium supplementation does not improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic supplements: Raw, powdered, and aged garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels.
Policosanol: This substance, which is extracted from sugar cane wax, did not improve cholesterol.
Coconut oil supplements: There is mixed evidence about the cardiovascular benefits or harm of coconut oil. It is not an evidence-based alternative treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Coconut water: There is no high-quality data about coconut water improving cholesterol levels.
Resveratrol supplements: There is no evidence that these improve cholesterol levels in humans.
Soy isoflavones supplements: Taking supplements of soy isoflavones does not improve cholesterol levels.
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What You Need To Know About Coffee And Cholesterol
Coffee is a popular beverage that can help boost energy. Research suggests that it may also provide antioxidants and nutrients that are good for your health. But coffee has a downside, potentially causing insomnia, restlessness, and stomach upset, especially if consumed in excess. Adding to the risks are studies that suggest that coffee may not be good for you if you have high cholesterol.
Coffee is a central part of many people’s daily rituals, and the question is whether the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks? And, if risks do exist, are there ways to reduce them if you’re struggling to control your cholesterol?
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and regular physical activity, are very important to help reduce high LDL cholesterol.
You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.
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Soluble Versus Insoluble Fiber
Foods such as whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal have insoluble fiber. This is great for decreasing constipation, but doesnt do much to lower cholesterol numbers. Fiber found in thinks like oats and oat products, dried peas and beans, such as lentils or chickpeas, barley, flaxseed and nuts, as well a brussel sprouts and prunes, oranges, and apples have something called soluble fiber. This kind of fiber is great to help lower LDL-C or bad cholesterol by piggy backing it out through the gut. In other words, it grabs the bad cholesterol, and moves it on out of the body.
In order to lower LDL-C with soluble fiber foods, you need to be eating between 7 and 13 grams of it in a day. The rest you should get from insoluble fiber, so that you are getting a total of 20-35 grams per day of total fiber. This could get you up to seven percent LDL-C lowering, and a two to three percent total cholesterol reduction. And thats not too shabby, so best to increase fiber in your diet when you have high cholesterol.
When To See Your Heathcare Provider
If you haven’t gone in yet for your yearly health check-up, or if you are experiencing potential symptoms of high blood sugar , it’s important to make an appointment with your internist or family physician.
Most people with high blood sugar and insulin resistance have no symptoms, which is why regular screening with your healthcare provider is important.
Your healthcare provider can perform blood tests, such as a fasting blood sugar test or a hemoglobin A1C test, to check for pre-diabetes and diabetes. He can also order a lipid panel to check your blood cholesterol levels, in addition to checking your blood pressure and weight.
Based on your healthcare provider’s assessment and laboratory results, together you can come up with a plan to ultimately reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
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Sugar And Cholesterol: Whats The Link
On average, Americans take in 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day that can add up to 350 extra calories.
Added sugars are different from the ones naturally found in things like fruits or milk. Added sugars includes sweeteners you add to your food, like:
- Artificial sweeteners made from high fructose corn syrup.
Added sugars contain calories but not nutrients. These additional empty calories, besides affecting your weight and raising your chances for diabetes, also impact your cholesterol levels. And sugary foods affect your liver, which makes cholesterol.
Itâs important to understand that your body needs cholesterol to work well. Itâs a key ingredient your body needs to build new cells.
There are two types of cholesterol:
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol . When you have high levels of this “bad” cholesterol, the waxy, fat-like substance can build up in the walls of your arteries and can clog it. This raises your chances for a heart attack or a stroke.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol . This is the “good” cholesterol. It picks up all the extra LDL in your bloodstream, takes it back to the liver, which then removes it from your body. HDL also lowers your chances of heart disease.
Triglycerides are stored in your fat cells and released between meals when your body needs more energy.
Rethink Butter And Margarine
Butter and margarine are high in unhealthy saturated fat and trans fats, which raise triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Use olive oil in place of these fats when you are cooking meat, sautÃ©ing vegetables, or whipping up a salad dressing. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and it has some polyunsaturated fats, both of which are better for you than saturated fat. Other alternative oils that can be used for cooking to reach your triglyceride-lowering goals include canola, flaxseed, and walnut oils. Swapping high saturated fat butter and margarine for healthier oils is an easily lifestyle change that may help lower triglycerides and improve cholesterol levels.
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How To Reduce Cholesterol In People With Diabetes
For people with diabetes and related dyslipidemia, diet and exercise may not be enough to lower LDL-C to less than 100 mg/dl. People with diabetes may need a statin or other medication in order to get their cholesterol to goal. Care should be taken to get people with diabetes to their cholesterol goals, as it can significantly impact their health over the long term if blood glucose and blood pressure are also controlled.
Sugary Drinks Worsened Cholesterol Levels Over Time
Researchers found that middle-aged and older adults who drank sugary beverages daily were at greater risk for developing abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared with those who rarely drank those beverages.
With this study, we have shown that SSB intake is also associated with greater risk of developing dyslipidemia and with adverse changes in lipoprotein concentrations related to triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, McKeown said.
Sugary beverage drinkers had a 98 percent higher chance of developing low HDL cholesterol and a 53 percent higher chance of developing high triglycerides, according to the study.
Cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart attack and stroke. Managing your cholesterol is extremely important, and at least once a year checkups are vital for keeping on top of it, Peterman said.
The findings also suggest that high sugary beverage intake is associated with HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels that worsened over time in daily sugary beverage drinkers when compared with those who rarely drank sugar-sweetened beverages.
Sugar intake and diabetes play a huge role in your cholesterol levels, Peterman said.
He explains that metabolic syndrome is a term that encompasses a host of issues, and cholesterol abnormalities, body weight, and diabetes are all interrelated.
This study makes a good point in showing that eating too much sugar has a negative impact on your cholesterol levels, Peterman said.
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How Can High/bad Cholesterol Be Prevented In Diabetes
With lifestyle changes and intensive statin therapy, we can significantly affect the rate of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. Even with LDL-C levels at borderline high and not greater than 160 mg/dl in most diabetics, these borderline numbers have been shown to significantly affect heart health in people with diabetes.