Soda And Sugary Beverages
Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda, fruit drinks with added sugars, sweet teas, and others affect your blood cholesterol, too. What may come as a surprise is just how little it takes to make a negative impact. When you look at the science, it’s likely considered one of the worst drinks that cause high cholesterol.
A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association analyzed data from more than 6,000 people over a 12-year period and determined that adults who drank one or more sugary beverages every day had a greater risk of developing high cholesterol. Specifically, the study found that regular drinkers of sugar-sweetened beverages had a 98% higher chance of developing low HDL, the good cholesterol that helps rid the blood of LDL bad cholesterol, and a 53% greater chance of having high triglycerides, a type of blood fat that’s unhealthy at high levels.
The study shows strong evidence that consuming too much sugar impacts your cholesterol levels, one of the key components of metabolic syndrome linked to cardiovascular disease, say the researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston University, and Duke University.
What Treatments Are Available For High Cholesterol
Treatment may include:
Addressing risk factors. Some risk factors that can be changed include lack of exercise and poor eating habits.
Cholesterol-lowering medicines. Medicines are used to lower fats in the blood, particularly LDL cholesterol. Statins are a group of medicines that can do this. The two most effective types are atorvastatin and rosuvastatin. Other medicines that lower cholesterol levels are ezetimibe and PCSK9 inhibitors.
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.
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What Supplements Affect Cholesterol Levels
The most common supplement that affects cholesterol is statins. Statins are drugs that lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood. They are used to treat heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. , a cholesterol-lowering drug, is a type of statin. It is used in people with high cholesterol, such as those with heart attacks, high blood pressure, or high triglycerides. The drug lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood, which is the most dangerous type. LDL is also known as bad cholesterol. When you take statics, your body makes more of it. This makes your LDL more dangerous to your heart. You can also take a statine, called a beta-blocker, to lower your cholesterol level. A beta blocker is an anti-inflammatory drug that lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke. Some people take beta blockers to help them lose weight. Other people use them to reduce their risk for heart problems. If you are taking statines, you should talk to a doctor about taking a supplement to control your high LDL levels.
Dietary Fat And Cholesterol
Dietary fat plays a major role in your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that your body needs to function properly. In and of itself, cholesterol isnt bad. But when you get too much of it, it can have a negative impact on your health. As with dietary fat, there are good and bad types of cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol is the good kind of cholesterol found in your blood.
- LDL cholesterol is the bad kind.
- The key is to keep LDL levels low and HDL high, which may protect against heart disease and stroke.
- Conversely, high levels of LDL cholesterol can clog arteries and low HDL can be a marker for increased cardiovascular risk.
Rather than the amount of cholesterol you eat, the biggest influence on your cholesterol levels is the type of fats you consume. So instead of counting cholesterol, its important to focus on replacing bad fats with good fats.
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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.
Myth: I Would Be Able To Feel It If I Had High Cholesterol
Fact: High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. You may not know you have unhealthy cholesterol levels until it is too latewhen you have a heart attack or stroke. Thats why its so important to get your cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years.1,2 Learn more about getting your cholesterol checked.
Occasionally, some people develop yellowish growths on their skin called xanthomas, which are cholesterol-rich deposits. People with xanthomas may have high cholesterol levels.
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How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
Here are 6 drug-free alternatives for lowering LDL cholesterol.
To avoid a heart attack, research has found that a key strategy is getting LDL cholesterol way down. Striving for LDL levels of 100 and below is good, but dropping to 80 and lower may be even better. Learn how to lower cholesterol naturally.
Go ahead, binge on beans! Enjoy all kinds! Black beans. White beans. Red beans. Pinto beans. Adzuki beans. They’re all champions at actively lowering LDL cholesterol.
What Is Insoluble Fiber
Insoluble fiber is generally referred to as “roughage.” Insoluble fiber promotes regularity, adds bulk and softness to stools, helps with weight regulation and helps prevent many gastrointestinal disorders. Good sources on insoluble fiber include:
- Wheat bran and whole wheat or grain bread/bread products, pasta, cereal and crackers.
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Lower Ldl Levels Are Better
In a JAMA editorial accompanying the study, Christopher P. Cannon, MD, of Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School wrote that aggressive LDL lowering is the ideal lower is better.
The JAMA studys findings echo those of another large 4,162-patient study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded that LDL cholesterol levels of 62 were even better than levels of 95 at preventing death, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular-related problems in people with heart disease.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Foods that contain healthy monounsaturated fats include:
- Unsalted nuts such as almonds, cashews and peanuts
- Cooking oils made from plants or seeds, including: olive, canola, peanut, sunflower, soybean, sesame and safflower.
Foods that contain healthy polyunsaturated fats include:
- Linseed and chia seeds
- Soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola oil and margarine spreads made from these oils
- Pine nuts, walnuts and brazil nuts.
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Increase The Amount Of Fiber In Your Diet
Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diet. The recommended amount is 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. As fiber passes through the body, it affects the way the body digests foods and absorbs nutrients. Fiber can help reduce your LDL cholesterol level. A fiber-rich diet can also help control blood sugar, promote regularity, prevent gastrointestinal disease and help you manage your weight.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of all high-fiber foods. Refined foods, like white bread, white pasta and enriched cereals are low in fiber. The refining process strips the outer coat from the grain, which reduces the amount of fiber that’s left.
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes .
French Press Coffee And Espresso
Don’t worry. Not all coffee is associated with increased cholesterol levels. It depends on how it’s brewed. A potent cholesterol-raising compound called cafestol is found in the highest levels in boiled coffees like French press coffee and espresso. Decaffeination doesn’t reduce cafestrol, however, the compound is removed by paper coffee filters, report researchers from The Netherlands and Baylor College of Medicine in Texas in a 2007 study published in Molecular Endocrinology. Scientists say cafestol raises cholesterol by disrupting a receptor in the intestinal tract that regulates lipoproteins.
However, in order for it to have any negative effects on your body, you would need to consume five to eight cups of unfiltered coffee a day to raise your “bad” LDL cholesterol, according to Harvard Health.
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Myth: Eating Foods With A Lot Of Cholesterol Will Not Make My Cholesterol Levels Go Up
Fact: It can be complicated. We know that foods with a lot of cholesterol usually also have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fats can make your cholesterol numbers higher, so its best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fats. Foods made from animals, including red meat, butter, and cheese, have a lot of saturated fats.
Instead, aim to eat foods with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal and beans, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
Monitoring Intake Of Fat And Cholesterol
Dietary fat and cholesterol are necessary components for a healthy diet. Though, when consumed in excess, they may be harmful to the body and increase ones risk for obesity, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. Keep in mind, however, that dietary cholesterol does not have as much of an effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fat. It is important to regulate ones intake of dietary fat in order to regulate blood LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.
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How Much You Can Eat
Most foods have a combination of different fats. You are better off choosing foods higher in healthier fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats tend to be liquid at room temperature.
How much should you get every day? Here are recommendations from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
- You should get no more than 25% to 30% of your daily calories from fats.
- You should limit saturated fat to less than 10% of your daily calories.
- To further reduce your heart disease risk, limit saturated fats to less than 7% of your total daily calories.
- For a 2,000 calorie diet, that is 140 to 200 calories or 16 to 22 grams of saturated fats a day. As an example, just 1 slice of cooked bacon contains nearly 9 g of saturated fat.
- If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, your health care provider may ask you to limit saturated fat even more.
Are You Serious About Reducing Cholesterol
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Help Lower Your Cholesterol With Plant Sterols
Plant sterols are cholesterol-like substances that can lower cholesterol levels. They are found naturally in foods such as:
Plant sterols are also added to some foods in Australia. You can check the food label to see what a serving size is and if plant sterols have been added. Foods that often have plant sterols added include:
Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
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Facts About Saturated Fats
Saturated fat is a type of dietary fat. It is one of the unhealthy fats, along with trans fat. These fats are most often solid at room temperature. Foods like butter, palm and coconut oils, cheese, and red meat have high amounts of saturated fat.
Too much saturated fat in your diet can lead to heart disease and other health problems.
Myth: All Cholesterol Is Bad For You
Fact: Some types of cholesterol are essential for good health. Your body needs cholesterol to perform important jobs, such as making hormones and building cells. Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body:
- LDL , sometimes called bad cholesterol, makes up most of your bodys cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- HDL , or good cholesterol, carries cholesterol back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up in the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called plaque. As your blood vessels build up plaque over time, the insides of the vessels narrow. This narrowing can restrict and eventually block blood flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause angina or a heart attack.
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How To Lower Your Cholesterol
There are several steps you can take to lower your cholesterol level naturally. You should first aim to change your lifestyle by improving your diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking.
Lowering your cholesterol levels with a better diet can be achieved by:
- Trimming off excess fat on meat and and choosing leaner cuts of meat
- Grilling, steaming or baking foods instead of frying or roasting
- Drinking semi-skimmed or skimmed milk instead of whole milk
- Looking at food labels and choosing food items that have lower fat contents
- Swapping snacks like chocolate, sweets and pastries with healthier options, such as a small handful of unsalted nuts or fruit
Fat Saturation And Cholesterol Synthesis
Modulation of cholesterol synthesis is not a major mechanism by which PUFAs lower plasma LDL cholesterol . This has been confirmed using deuterium incorporation into newly synthesized cholesterol as a sensitive method, with results that closely resemble those obtained from traditional methods such as sterol balance . Both methods revealed that although cholesterol synthesis increases with high PUFA intake , the lowering of plasma LDL-C observed with PUFAs is likely due to other mechanisms, including redistribution of cholesterol between plasma and tissue pools and upregulation of the LDL receptor . In contrast, the observed increases in plasma cholesterol concentrations due to SFAs do not appear to be related to a rise in cholesterol synthesis . However, when intake of TFAs was compared to palmitic acid, an increase in both cholesterol synthesis and plasma LDL-C concentrations was observed , suggesting that cholesterol synthesis contributed to the higher concentration of circulating LDL observed with TFA intake.
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Eating Well + Exercise
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
The Stanford University School of Medicine study involved 200 middle-aged Americans, all sedentary and with poor eating habits. Some were told to launch new food and fitness habits at the same time. Others began dieting but waited several months before beginning to exercise. A third group started exercising but didnt change eating habits till several months later.
All the groups received telephone coaching and were followed for one year. The winning group was the one making food and exercise changes together. The people in this group were most likely to meet U.S. guidelines for exercise and healthy eating , and to keep calories from saturated fat at less than 10% of their total intake of calories.
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
Good Fats Bad Fats And Lowering Your Cholesterol
There has been a lot of debate in the media recently about what kinds of fats can be considered healthy, so it can be difficult to know what to include in your diet.
Firstly, it is important to note that our bodies need fats to function. They are a vital source of energy and are partially responsible for the development of our cells, lining our nerves, producing hormones, absorbing key vitamins and helping sustain body temperature.
Despite this, some fats can be bad for your health in the long-term. This is because certain fats are made by our bodies, while others are not. We should get the fats we dont make from our diets, but should avoid the fats we do make.
However, having too much fat of any kind can lead to weight gain and health problems in the future. The best thing you can do for your health is to eat less fat overall and replace any bad fats with good fats.
In this article, you will learn about the effect of bad fats on your cholesterol, the difference between bad fats, and good fats and tips for lowering your cholesterol levels.
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