How to get better-than-average cholesterol levels: King Soopers
The first step to maintaining good cholesterol is to maintain a good diet, experts say.
But not everyone can eat right without cutting out refined carbs and fat.
Here’s how to do it without causing side effects.
— — If you want to maintain good cholesterol levels, your best bet is to avoid refined carbs, sugar and refined fats.
The American Heart Association recommends that you eat an average of 150 grams of carbs per day.
That’s less than half of the amount recommended by most people, but it’s more than the amount of carbs your body uses to fuel all of its functions.
The problem is that carbs and fats are what make up so much of your diet.
In addition to carbohydrates, fat is a major source of calories.
So if you’re eating a lot of fat, you’re also burning more calories than if you ate less of it.
“We know from the scientific community that there are two types of fat: saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat,” said Dr. Eric C. Stanko, associate professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“Saturated fat and saturated fat are bad, but polyunsaturates are good.”
Polyunsaturate fats are fats that have been refined, which makes them very healthy for us, Stankos research shows.
But, if you don’t eat a lot or if you eat a little of each type, your body will make more polyunsaturation and the risk of heart disease increases.
“Polyunsaturation is what we think of as bad fats,” said Stankoe.
“But polyunsation is actually good.
You know, it may not have the same calories, but you’re getting more benefit from it than from saturated fat.”
When you eat more polysaturated fats, your blood levels of HDL cholesterol (good) and LDL cholesterol (bad) increase, which means that your blood cholesterol is also lower.
That is a good thing.
In fact, the risk for heart disease is reduced because your HDL cholesterol and LDL particles are less likely to become clogged with plaque and cause inflammation.
“What you’re really doing is creating a barrier between the cholesterol you’re putting into your blood and the cholesterol that’s being stored in your liver,” said Steven D. D’Agostino, a cardiologist and professor of clinical medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
“It’s an additional layer of protection against plaque buildup.”
So if you want a good blood-cholesterol profile, it’s important to cut out saturated fat, which has a negative effect on the body.
But even saturated fat does not cause all of the heart disease and stroke that occurs when it’s burned up.
The good news is that polyunsatoresaturated fat is much more powerful than saturated fat at lowering blood cholesterol levels.
“It’s the polyunsatured fat that is really what’s really important,” said Cate Jones, a clinical nutritionist and nutrition expert at King Sooper HealthCare in King Soops, Tenn., and a member of the American Heart Assn.
“In the body, the poly unsaturates, they are not converted into saturated fat.
So the body actually burns them up as well.”
Stanko and his colleagues at KingSoopers discovered that people who ate more than 500 grams of polyunsalted fat a day were at a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease than people who did not.
The researchers also found that people with higher LDL cholesterol levels — higher than 150 mg/dL — had lower risk.
So while eating less polyunsafes and increasing polyunsatsaturates may seem counterintuitive, it is important to remember that the body is actually using those fats for energy.
When your body burns those fats, it generates heat, which in turn, helps keep your heart beating.
So, if polyunsunsaturated fats aren’t your goal, the best thing to do is eat plenty of unsaturated fats.
“People have to be aware that if they are consuming a lot, then they’re consuming a low-fat diet,” said Jones.
“If they’re eating less, then there are things they can do to improve their cholesterol levels and their blood lipids.”
For more information about your health and your diet, check out the Mayo Clinic website at www.mayoclinic.com.