The Cholesterol in Your Food Doesn’t Matter – T NATION

Does Cholesterol in Food Affect Your Cholesterol Levels?

It seems that a disproportionate amount of the 5 million or so terabytes of information on the internet are devoted to advising people on how to lower their cholesterol.

The bulk of this advice seems to be a debate about whether it’s okay to eat eggs or shrimp or some other high-cholesterol food; whether they’re “safe” or if they’ll cause your arteries to plug up as snugly as your toilet when your four-year-old nephew tried to flush down a big Idaho potato.

Let me try to shine a little light through that murky sea of terabytes and say that the amount of cholesterol in the food you eat doesn’t appear to matter much at all.

Partake regularly in the Tuesday night, all-you-can-eat “Shrimp-A-Palooza” at the local seafood shanty. It probably won’t make a difference. Pop eggs like you’re in prison and your fellow inmates, to alleve the boredom, bet you a carton of cigarettes that you couldn’t eat 50 of them, hard-boiled. Still won’t likely matter.

Neither situation would probably make much difference because your body makes cholesterol on its own, pretty much no matter what. That’s an over-simplification, but eat a lot of cholesterol and it makes less. Eat less cholesterol and it makes more. Oh, food matters alright in determining your cholesterol levels, but it’s got little to do with the actual amount of cholesterol in that food.

Instead, cholesterol levels have to do with a couple of other issues:

  • The amount and type of carbohydrates in that food.
  • The amount of saturated fat you eat in combination with the cholesterol you ingest.

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Can an avocado a day keep LDL cholesterol at bay? – Medical News Today

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Incorporating avocados into one’s diet can have many health benefits. Zoran Djekic/Stocksy
  • Diet is an essential component of health, and eating a varied diet can help with well-being and quality of life.
  • Avocados can be part of a healthy diet and can provide people with some helpful nutrients.
  • A new study found that eating one avocado a day did not contribute to weight gain, may lower bad cholesterol levels, and increase diet quality.

The latest food trends and diets are constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up. Some experts are now tailoring their research to the health benefits of specific foods. One of these food items is the avocado.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association evaluated the impact of eating one avocado daily compared to a habitual diet.

Although the researchers did not find much difference between the control and intervention groups, they found that the participants who ate an avocado daily had lower bad cholesterol levels and improved their diet quality.

It is also important to point out that the Hass Avocado Board funded the research.

People can get cholesterol from food, but the body also makes cholesterol. There are two main types of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It is essential to keep cholesterol levels, in particular LDL (sometimes called “bad” cholesterol) levels, below a certain amount to prevent adverse health outcomes like stroke or coronary artery disease.

Nutritional expert Dr. Brian Power, who was not involved in the study, explained to Medical News Today how blood cholesterol levels and heart health are connected.

“Convincing evidence from studies paints a picture of blood cholesterol levels being important for heart health. Elevated levels are an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including cerebrovascular disease and coronary heart disease.”
— Dr. Brian Power

Research is ongoing about what factors influence cholesterol levels and how people can modify their diets to keep their cholesterol at healthy levels and improve their overall diet. One area of interest is how specific foods impact health.

For example, eating avocados may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Avocados also contain several helpful vitamins like vitamin C and K, and they are a good source of fiber.

The study in question was a randomized trial and examined the health benefits of eating one avocado daily over six months. Researchers wanted to see if eating a daily avocado helped people to reduce visceral adiposity in participants with an elevated waist circumference (“a waist circumference of ≥35 inches for women and ≥40 inches for men”).

They also looked at the impact on several other health outcomes, including cholesterol levels, body weight, body mass index, and health-related quality of life.

To be included in the study, participants had to have an elevated waist circumference and regular consumption of two or fewer avocados per month. The intervention group (505 participants) consumed one avocado daily, while the control group (503 participants) continued their typical diet. Researchers collected data about dietary intake at the start of the study and at 8, 16, and 26 weeks and used MRI scans to look at levels of visceral adipose tissue or the body fat that lines abdominal organs.

Researchers found that there weren’t many significant differences between the control and intervention groups. The exception was in cholesterol levels. The intervention group had lower total cholesterol levels and lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

There were also slight differences in diet between the two groups, with the intervention group having higher healthy eating index scores. The intervention group took in higher levels of fiber and fat and lower levels of carbohydrates and protein.

In addition, researchers also found no significant differences between the groups regarding weight gain, indicating that incorporating a daily avocado did not contribute to weight gain.

Study author Dr. Alice H. Lichtenstein noted that adding superfoods or health foods to one’s diet did not necessarily translate into significant health benefits.

“The study found that simply adding a ‘healthy food’ in terms of fats and nutrients, in this case, an avocado, to one’s diet did not result in clinical benefits. However, there were no negative effects, and it was associated with a benefit, an improvement [in] overall diet quality.”
— Dr. Alice H. Lichtenstein

This study had some limitations. For example, researchers did not collect data about participants’ medications. Second, participants were only observed over six months, and a longer time frame could have seen different results, particularly in terms of visceral adipose tissue.

Researchers also conducted the study during the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have influenced participants’ lives. They had a high retention rate for participants, but not everyone who started the study completed it. Some data collection, such as about diet, relied on participant reporting, so there is a risk for errors.

Dr. Power noted that the study is a reminder that there is no one “fix it” food when it comes to a healthy diet.

“[The study’s] important message is that focusing on single foods is not a substitute for maintaining healthy dietary patterns as a whole. That said, irrespective of any modest benefit on cholesterol, anything that encourages people to consume more fruit and vegetables as a part of an overall balanced diet is to be welcomed.”
— Dr. Brian Power

High cholesterol: Two types of pain ‘when using the arms’ that signals a fatty build-up – Express

What happens next

Following a formal diagnosis of high cholesterol, you should take steps to lower high levels – diet and exercise hold the key.

There are several foods which are not just part of a healthy diet, they can actively help to lower your cholesterol too.

Cutting down on saturated fat and replacing some of it with unsaturated fat is a great way to lower your cholesterol, says cholesterol charity Heart UK.

Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.

Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol “Effectively” — Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That

High cholesterol can lead to serious health conditions including heart disease and stroke, but just a few lifestyle changes can help make a difference. “Your liver produces cholesterol. In fact, it actually produces all the cholesterol you need. The tricky part is that our diet and lifestyle habits can also influence our cholesterol levels,” says Dr. Joshua Septimus, associate professor of clinical medicine and medical director of Houston Methodist Primary Care Group Same Day Clinics. Here are five science-backed ways to lower your cholesterol effectively. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

Blood Cholesterol Report Test Healthcare
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Cholesterol performs vital functions in the human body, but not all cholesterol is created equal. “HDL, H for happy, that’s good cholesterol, it goes around your body and it’s like a vacuum cleaner,” says cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD. “It sucks out cholesterol from the blood vessels. Now, some people have something called dysfunctional HDL. So you can have very, very high levels of the good cholesterol, the HDL, happy cholesterol, but it goes around your body and does nothing. Now, the bad cholesterol is called LDL, L for lousy. And LDL, the higher level it is, the worse off you are. So when we look at epidemiological studies, when we look at genetic studies, people with very high levels of LDL, they go on to have heart attack and stroke.”

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“The standard American diet is full of refined, processed foods, and these types of foods significantly contribute to high cholesterol levels. These are the foods you find in the inside aisles of grocery stores, such as packaged goods, frozen meals (although frozen fruit and veggies are fine!) and commercially baked snacks, as well as things like bacon and cured meats,” says Dr. Septimus, who recommends a diet focused on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits and unprocessed meats.

Sad woman drinking wine at kitchen.
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Keeping alcohol consumption at a minimum can help lower bad cholesterol, doctors advise. “This is a really important factor,” says Dr. Cho. “People who drink a lot of alcohol, because alcohol is made from sugar, they have very high triglycerides. And really high triglyceride increases your risk for diabetes, for pancreatitis, and having high triglycerides in women is especially problematic because it increases your risk for stroke. And so it’s really important to try to control your triglyceride.”

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Exercise is a highly effective way of helping lower cholesterol levels. “Exercise is a great place to start if you’re trying to lower bad cholesterol,” says Dr. Cho, who recommends brisk walks, cycling, and swimming as the best exercises for lowering cholesterol. “But it doesn’t stop there. Combining exercise with healthier diet and lifestyle choices makes the most impact. Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if your high cholesterol is putting you at more immediate risk for heart disease or stroke.”

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Visceral fat—also known as abdominal fat—is strongly linked to dangerous cholesterol levels, so keep an eye on your waistline and don’t allow belly fat to build. “Importantly, central obesity is a marker for increased inflammation within the body, which can result in cholesterol buildup in your blood vessels,” warns Dr. Septimus. “It’s also a marker for unstable plaque. Remember, once plaque becomes unstable, the risk of stroke and heart attack increase.”

Ferozan Mast

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more

High cholesterol: Healthy fruits to lower bad cholesterol levels – Hindustan Times

Poor food choices can raise levels of bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood. Eating fatty food, consuming alcohol, and leading a sedentary lifestyle can be a deadly combination for high cholesterol levels that could lead to obesity and further increase your chances of heart attack or stroke. Not all cholesterol is bad and there is a need for good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in our body for important functions. Liver makes all the cholesterol your body demands naturally. Red meat, processed meat, fried foods are high on bad cholesterol while ghee, eggs, cheese must be added to diet for getting good cholesterol. (Also read: High cholesterol: Watch out for these warning signs that appear on skin)

Apart from that there are many fruits that can help control levels of bad cholesterol in the body considering they are rich in dietary fibre.

“Several fruits are good to balance the high cholesterol levels of the body. Fruits high in soluble fibre prevent one from heart diseases such as heart stroke, artery blockage, heart attack, and other heart problems,” says Sonia Bakshi, Nutritionist and Founder DtF.

The nutritionist suggests 6 fruits to managed cholesterol levels.

1. Apple

Apple is considered as one of the best fruits when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Apples are rich in soluble fibre which keeps our heart healthy. Additionally, apples contain polyphenols which can help lower our cholesterol levels.

2. Banana

The fiber and potassium in bananas can reduce the level of cholesterol and blood pressure. Banana is especially known as a good source of soluble fibre which will gives one a healthy body and good immune system.

3. Grapes

Grapes get into the bloodstream and carry all the bad cholesterol into the liver where it gets processed.

4. Berries

Blackberry and strawberries have shown results in lowering cholesterol levels in the body. They prevent LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which is believed to be a major risk factor for heart disease.

5. Pineapple

Pineapple is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrition. Bromelain which is present in pineapple breaks down cholesterol deposits in arteries, which support healthy blood flow and reduces our risk of heart disease.

6. Avocados

They are rich in oleic acid, which helps with bad cholesterol in blood flow. Avocados can be consumed in salads, sandwiches, toast, smoothies, and many other ways.

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5 food items to eat for preventing high cholesterol levels – Times of India

Our body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high cholesterol levels can increase the risk of severe health conditions such as heart diseases. Cholesterol is of two main types– low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is the bad cholesterol, and the other one is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good cholesterol.

High cholesterol can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. If appropriate steps are not taken, these deposits will grow and can block the blood flow in the arteries. Sometimes, these deposits can form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol can be inherited, but usually it is due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. On the bright side, with lifestyle modification, these can be changed and the potential health scares can be avoided. What you eat is one such important factor to prevent high cholesterol levels.

An avocado a day can keep the unhealthy cholesterol away – ZME Science

Avocado, a nutritious food that also has some unhealthy saturated fats, has made its way onto our plates and into our hearts — both figuratively and literally. But how good is it, actually? A new study found that eating one avocado a day for six months brings down unhealthy cholesterol levels and improved the overall quality of diets during the study period.

Image credit: Wikipedia Commons.

While previous studies have found a relationship between eating avocados and lower body weight and waist circumference, this one found that it wasn’t the case. The researchers argue their study is the largest and most extensive one so far on the health effects of avocados, so its results should be given more confidence. But even as they don’t make you thinner, avocados could be good for you.

“While the avocados did not affect belly fat or weight gain, the study still provides evidence that avocados can be a beneficial addition to a well-balanced diet,” said Kris-Etherton, study author, said in a statement. “Incorporating an avocado per day in this study did not cause weight gain and also caused a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol.”

Avocados and health effects

It’s fair to say that avocados have become a growingly popular food, with people slicing it to layer on top of toast or blending the creamy fruit in smoothies. It has become a true staple in kitchens around the world — and for good reason. Avocados bring a wide range of health benefits and are also a versatile ingredient when cooking.

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A 100-gram serving of avocado has 485 milligrams of potassium and about seven grams of fiber. Foods with more fiber keep us satiated longer than low-fiber foods, making avocados a good choice for people who are watching their weight. Avocado is also rich in folate, a B vitamin important for brain function and healthy pregnancies.

For this new study, researchers at Penn State did a six-month experiment involving over 1,000 participants experiencing overweight or obesity. Half were told to eat an avocado every day while the other half kept their usual diet, limiting avocado consumption to less than two a month. Fat in the abdomen was measured before and after the study.

“While one avocado a day did not lead to clinically significant improvements in abdominal fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, consuming one avocado a day did not result in body weight gain,” Joan Sabaté, study author, said in a statement. “This is positive because eating extra calories from avocados doesn’t impact body weight.”

The study found that eating avocados daily improved the overall quality of the participants’ diets by eight points on a 100-point scale. Additionally, the study showed daily avocados resulted in total cholesterol-lowering 2.9 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and LDL cholesterol (known as the “bad” cholesterol) decreasing 2.5 mg/dL.

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For the researchers, there’s still a lot more to learn about avocados and diets. For example, participants weren’t told how to eat their avocados each day, and future studies could look at how participants incorporated the avocados into their diets and whether differences in the results are seen based on how the avocados were eaten.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

What is the optimal LDL cholesterol level for patients with cardiovascular diseases? – News-Medical.Net

High blood level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a major causative factor of coronary heart disease. Medicine- and/or diet-mediated reduction of LDL level is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The effectiveness of low LDL level in reducing the risk of atherosclerotic vascular events has been discussed in a recently published article in the journal Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America

Study: LDL Cholesterol—How Low Can We Go? Image Credit: Corona Borealis Studio/Shutterstock
Study: LDL Cholesterol—How Low Can We Go? Image Credit: Corona Borealis Studio/Shutterstock

Background

Hypercholesterolemia is a medical condition characterized by a very high level of LDL in the blood. LDL is considered as “bad” cholesterol as it accumulates in the walls of arteries, leading to narrowing and hardening of arteries and obstruction in blood flow. Initially, a blood cholesterol level of 300 mg/dL was considered the upper normal limit based on population statistics.

Almost all mammalian nucleated cells can synthesize cholesterol and LDL is required only to recycle it. Human newborn babies have very low levels of LDL compared to young children and adults. The large quantities of cholesterol needed for fetal brain development are synthesized within the brain.

Diseases caused by mutations in LDL receptors, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, can significantly increase the blood LDL level, leading to the development of myocardial infarction and other atherosclerotic events.    

The effectiveness of lowering blood LDL level in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease was first discussed in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference held in 1984. In 1987, lovastatin, the first statin medication, was introduced to the market, which showed significant efficacy in controlling blood LDL levels. Afterward, many cholesterol-lowering medicines with high efficacy have been developed, including atorvastatin, and rosuvastatin, ezetimibe.      

The majority of cholesterol-lowering medicines have shown significant efficacy in reducing blood LDL levels, which subsequently reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, and other atherosclerotic events. Treatment with PCSK9 (a hepatic protease)-targeting monoclonal antibodies (alirocumab and evolocumab) in combination with statin medicines has been found to reduce the LDL level by 50%.

According to current European guidelines, a blood LDL level of 40 mg/dL is regarded as a target threshold for treating patients who have suffered two or more major atherosclerotic events.

Safety profiles of cholesterol-lowering medicines

Statins, which are the backbone of cholesterol-lowering therapy, are associated with some adverse side-effects, including muscle injury and new-onset diabetes. However, there is ample evidence indicating that statin treatment-related muscle symptoms are developed due to the nocebo effect (negative treatment outcome resulting from patient’s disbelief about the treatment).

Treatments with alirocumab for more than 6 months have been shown to reduce LDL levels below 15 mg/dL without causing any severe adversities, including cognitive disorders, new-onset diabetes, and hemorrhagic stroke. Similar outcomes have been observed in evolocumab treatment.  

Inclisiran (siRNA)-mediated reduction of PCSK9 blood level by 80% – 90% has been shown to cause a 50% reduction in LDL level without causing any serious side effects. Taken together, these observations indicate that ultralow levels of LDL achieved through cholesterol-lowering treatments are not associated with any major health hazards.

Utility of ultralow LDL level

Many clinical trials have been conducted to investigate the impact of lowering LDL levels in cardiovascular risk reduction. According to these trials, the risk of cardiovascular events can be reduced by 22% per 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL level. A blood LDL level of 25 – 50 mg/dL has been regarded as optimal in patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease. However, it has been observed that lowering LDL levels below 25 mg/dL does not provide any additional treatment benefit in these patients.

Based on available evidence collected from large-scale cardiovascular outcome clinical trials, an LDL level of 40 mg/dL or lower is considered beneficial in terms of significantly reducing the risk of cardiovascular events.

Highlighted observations

Two major points have been highlighted in the current article based on large-scale clinical trial findings. A blood LDL level of 40 mg/dL or lower has been set as a target threshold for cholesterol-lowering medications in patients who have suffered two or more atherosclerotic events.  

Although no adverse side-effect has been documented in response to an LDL level of 25 mg/dL, further lowering of the LDL level might not provide any extra benefit in patients with cardiovascular diseases.

Journal reference:

Cholesterol-Lowering Gene May Increase Risk of Cataracts – Managed Healthcare Executive

In a study, both common and rare HMGCR variants were associated with an increased risk for cataract.

People who have genetic variations associated with lowering LDL-cholesterol similar to statin medications appear to have an increased risk of developing cataracts and having cataract surgery, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).

Previous research has found some evidence that statin medications may increase the risk of cataracts. Statin medications reduce levels of LDL-cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA-reductase (HMGCR).

“We were able to establish a link between genetic variants that mimic inhibition of HMGCR and the development of cataracts,” lead study author Jonas Ghouse, M.D., Ph.D., said in a press release. He is a fellow in the cardiac genetics group, Laboratory for Molecular Cardiology in the department of biomedical sciences at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

He said this research wasn’t able to find any association between newer non-statin, lipid-lowering medications and cataract risk, so this effect is likely specific to statins. “However, it’s important to stress that the benefits of statins for lowering levels of low-density lipoproteins in people who have high blood cholesterol levels completely outweighs the small risk of cataracts, and cataract surgery is effective and safe,” Ghouse said.

Investigators in the JAHA study used large-scale genotyping and exome sequencing from the UK Biobank, which tracks serious health and medical conditions of nearly half a million adults. The researchers focused on five common previously identified genetic variants that lower the level of LDL cholesterol. They then calculated genetic scores based on each variant’s previously identified impact on LDL cholesterol.

The analysis found that common genetic variants in more than 402,000 people, who were not taking statins, that mimic the effects of LDL-cholesterol lowering statins are associated with a higher risk of cataracts and cataract surgery. Compared with non-carriers, carriers of these rare mutations were more than four-and-a-half times as likely to develop cataracts and over five times as likely to have cataract surgery.

In addition, researchers found a found stronger association between the gene and cataract surgery compared with a cataract diagnosis, which they said could reflect a more severe type of cataract.

Investigators conducted analyses of other LDL-lowering pathways, but found no association between the genes NPC1L1 and PCSK9 and cataract risk.

One of limitation of the study is that while carrying these genetic variants constitutes a lifelong risk for the development of cataracts, that risk should not be evaluated the same for people who begin taking statins later in life given the positive impact statins may have by lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Side Effects of “Way Too High Cholesterol” — Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That

We need cholesterol for our overall health, but too much is a bad thing. High cholesterol can cause major health problems and is called a silent killer because there’s often no warning signs. While high cholesterol can be inherited, lifestyle choices like poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking can increase the risk. Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary’s Hospital explains the difference between good and bad cholesterol and how it can affect your health. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

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Dr. Curry-Winchell says, “The ‘good’ cholesterol helps protect vital organs such as your heart from a stroke or heart attack by carrying the unhealthy “bad” cholesterol to the liver. This process ultimately helps decrease the amount of cholesterol (also referred to as plaque) from settling within the walls of your blood vessels. The “good” cholesterol is vital in helping to reduce your risk for a cardiac event.”

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Dr. Curry-Winchell shares, “It’s important to remember your liver naturally makes enough cholesterol for your body. Extra cholesterol comes from the food you eat. The excess amount is referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol. The “extra” can build up in the walls of your arteries. It’s referred to as atherosclerosis, a reduction or blockage that causes narrowing of the blood vessels impacting blood flow to the heart.”

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According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, “You are considered to have high cholesterol if your total cholesterol (which includes your LDL ‘bad’ and HDL ‘good’) is over 200. The goal is to have less than 100 mg/dL of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and more than 40 mg/dL of the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.”

older man experiencing chest pain, heart attack
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Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, “A heart attack or stroke also referred to as a myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accident can be a result from excess cholesterol within the arteries that have decreased or blocked arteries from transporting blood to the heart. A cardiac event from high cholesterol can be life altering.”

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“As cholesterol builds up within your vessels it decreases the amount of blood allowed to flow to your heart,” Dr. Curry-Winchell says. “This leads to less blood flow and oxygen delivered to the heart which ultimately causes more stress on the heart and pain in the chest often referred to as angina.”

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Dr. Curry-Winchell states, “Too much cholesterol can cause gallstones to form. A pain that is linked to intermittent stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.”

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“It is important to know that high cholesterol can be a silent disease,” Dr. Curry-Winchell emphasizes. “You may not have any symptoms. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to get screened. A blood test and talking to your health care provider will allow you to know your risks of a cardiac event.”

Heather Newgen

Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more