Are High Carbohydrate & Cholesterol Heavy Diets Responsible for Higher Risk of Heart Disease?
Are the 2 connected?
Well, it seems so, according to researches and studies.
Health experts debating on the benefit of a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates (primarily to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain forms of cancer and to lose weight), seem to think so.
The findings would surprise you – that replacing fat with carbohydrates in a diet doesn’t show to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
In fact, a high carb diet is associated with elevated triglycerides in the blood.
Though levels of LDL (low density lipoproteins), known commonly as “bad” cholesterol remain unchanged, significantly lower levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins), or “good” cholesterol, take place.
These changes in blood lipids cast more concrete evidence to the health risk of high cholesterol / high carb diets and raise the alarm on the popular dieting practice that banks on high carbohydrates and low fat.
Also, these kinds of changes in blood lipids are associated with a greater probability of atherosclerosis.
And to lower LDL, studies suggest that we replace saturated fat with monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fat, not carbohydrates, in our diet.
That’s one ugly side of a low fat / high carb plans.
Do you Notice you’ve been Consuming More Sugars than Before?
I’m not talking about sugars such as sweets, honey and syrups but simple sugars in the forms of refined white bread, pasta, noodles, rice, starchy potatoes, yams and the likes.
All these foods turn quickly into sugars once inside your body.
What happens then to your cholesterol when you eat a pure high simple sugar diet like this?
According to studies, it shoots up.
Basically, sugar lowers good HDL cholesterol and raises bad LDL cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Elevated triglyceride blood level in itself is a strong and independent risk factor for heart attack among middle-aged and elderly men. In fact, studies have shown that blood triglyceride level was a stronger risk factor than total cholesterol alone.
It’s estimated that a high sugar intake could account for as many as 150,000 premature deaths from heart disease in the US each year.
Think high cholesterol is a man’s problem, huh?
If you’re pre-menopausal, you’re usually protected from high LDL (bad) levels of cholesterol, because the female hormone estrogen tends to raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
But cholesterol levels tend to increase as you age. If you’re post-menopausal, you may have high cholesterol levels despite eating a heart-healthy diet and do regular exercise.
So, get your cholesterol checked.
Right. This High Cholesterol / High Carbohydrate Diet Stuff Sounds Bad
However, you can control this vie diet and exercise.
But what about LDL (bad) cholesterol that’s manufactured naturally by your body?
See, the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood is controlled by your liver and intestines.
Your liver produces cholesterol (using it to make digestive or bile acids) and also removes cholesterol from the blood.
Your intestines absorb cholesterol, which comes from food and from bile.
If your liver produces more cholesterol than your intestines can absorb, you’ve excess cholesterol in your blood, regardless of diet and exercise.
That’s real bad.
You got to control it by medication, on top of diet and exercise.
What I want to reinforce is that your choice of diet and exercise is responsible for your cholesterol level, most of the time.