Cholesterol and Nutrition

by Simona Manea
Last updated on 3 September 2019

Cholesterol and Nutrition

It is known how harmful cholesterol can be and the fact that high LDL (bad cholesterol) and saturated fats in excess can be detrimental. 

The other important detail which we don’t pay attention to concerning high cholesterol is the consumption of processed foods, sugar, and simple carbs.

First of all, focusing on consuming low-fat foods doesn’t mean you won’t have high cholesterol. We cannot miss out on something essential for the body just because we think it will cause heart problems later on. What we should do, is replace most of the bad fats (butter, processed foods, fast food, lard, fatty meats, high-fat cheese, too many egg yolks, etc.) with good fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, fish, vegetable oils, etc.).

Second, no matter how much low-fat milk and yogurt you consume, the moment you eat simple carbohydrates your body is getting sugar. Sugar will not only increase LDL but lower HDL (good cholesterol) as well. We are very tempted to consume pastry or simple carbohydrates for breakfast because it’s the easiest and tastiest way to get energy. However, when our insulin levels increase so does our LDL. It’s true that we should pay attention to how much bread and pasta we eat, but the main foods which should be avoided are low-fat cookies, fat-free popcorn, etc. The only healthy sources of sugar are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The more time it takes to digest food, the steadier your insulin levels are. This means that the food needs to contain enough fiber. 

Nowadays, there are millions of foods which are made in such a way to make your life easy and stress-free. However, most of them are harmful to the heart. Processed foods, TV dinners, fast food, snacks, cans, commercially packaged sauces, and pastes, juices, sweets etc. contain artificial trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, and/or sugar. These three are the most powerful enemies of the heart. No matter how much stress-free your life might seem (stress being the number one culprit of all types of diseases), a poor diet will actually make you feel worse. And, a bad mood, no matter the cause, leads to higher levels of stress.

The good news is that your cholesterol levels do not get affected by a single meal. It is the average intake of bad fats and/or simple carbohydrates over a few days. But don't use this as an excuse to cheat here and there!

References:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol#section2
https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/heart-health-foods-to-buy-foods-to-avoid
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/cholesterol/

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