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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

>80% of the cholesterol in your bloodstream is produced by your liver. If you take in cholesterol in your diet, then your liver produces less. If you decrease your consumption of cholesterol and saturated fats, then your liver produces more cholesterol. High blood levels of cholesterol (>240) is a symptom, not the problem. Cholesterol is vital for cell survival. Too low of a cholesterol level can be just as bad if not worse than too high of a cholesterol level. In fact, the studies that have shown an increased risk of heart disease associated with high cholesterol levels have shown even more deaths from all causes associated with very low cholesterol (<160). Anyway, your body tries to regulate cholesterol within a certain band by varying the production of it in your liver.

Cholesterol is used in the repair of cell damage. High levels indicate that you have cellular damage taking place and your body is releasing cholesterol into the bloodstream in an attemt to repair it. It is kinda like having a high white blood cell count when you have an infection. Attempting to lower your cholesterol without fixing what is causing the cell damage is about equivalent to trying to lower your white blood cell count without removing the cause of infection. Not a good thing.

High levels of insulin circulating in the bloodstream is typically the cause for the cell damage taking place in your arteries and the reason for high cholesterol. High insulin levels are known to contribute to or be the primary cause of hardening of the arteries. So what is causing the high insulin levels? A diet that causes blood sugar levels to be high (a high-carbohydrate diet) combined with an individuals tendency for insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is where the cells don't respond to insulin's action to get the glucose (bloodsugar) out of the blood stream and into the cells for fuel or long term storage as fat. If the cells are resistant to insulin's action, then the pancreas responds by releasing more and more insulin until bloodsugar levels return to normal (70-110). If you eat one high carbohydrate meal after another, this results in high levels of insulin in the bloodstream on a nearly continuous basis, and hence damage to your arteries and high cholesterol to fight the damage. Eventually, insulin resistance can lead to Type II diabetes if diet is not corrected.

So what is the best diet to control cholesterol and insulin resistance and prevent Type II diabetes? A diet low in sugars, refined carbohydrates, and carbohydrates that turn to sugar in the bloodstream very quickly. Foods to severly restrict or avoid: sugar in all of its many forms, grains (bread, cookies, cakes, pasta, rice, corn, etc.), potatoes, bananas and other high sugar fruits. This is just a sample of what needs to be restricted. You can do an internet search for "glycemic index" and find other foods high on the index that need to be minimized in your diet.

So what is good to eat? Animal products (meat, eggs, cheese, etc.), non-starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits (berries likes strawberries and raspberries are a good choice), nuts (real nuts, not legumes like peanuts or soy).

Another benefit of animal products is that they raise HDL levels - the "good" cholesterol. And cutting out the carbs will lower trigylcerides (these are what glucose is converted to if not needed immediately for energy), which is probably a better marker for heart disease than total cholesterol. The latest reasearch indicates that the ratio of tryglycerides/HDL >5 is a good heart disease indicator. To keep the ratio low (<5 and the lower the better) keep HDLs >50 or so and keep triglycerids <150 or so for a ratio of <3.

If you feed your body what it needs and keep out the harmful stuff it will more than likely take care of itself. You really are what you eat. If you put junk in, well ......

A good book on the subject is "Protein Power" by Dr. Eades available at any bookstore for about $6.00.

Alan S.

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