Lowering Your Cholesterol

100 Acre Woods
By 100 Acre Woods Latest Reply 2012-07-17 04:57:27 -0500
Started 2011-10-20 20:16:58 -0500

Cholesterol - Increasing Good Cholesterol 

Heart Health Center
By Richard N. Fogoros, M.D., 

Raising Your HDL Levels
Increasing the GOOD cholesterol

HDL cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, appears to scour the walls of blood vessels, cleaning out excess cholesterol. It then carries that excess cholesterol — which otherwise might have been used to make the "plaques" that cause coronary artery disease — back to the liver for processing. So when we measure a person's HDL cholesterol level, we seem to be measuring how vigorously his or her blood vessels are being "scrubbed" free of cholesterol.
HDL levels below 40 mg/dL result in an increased risk of coronary atery disease, even in people whose total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are normal. HDL levels between 40 and 60 mg/dL are considered "normal." However, HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL may actually protect people from heart disease. Indeed, for several years, doctors have known that when it comes to HDL levels, the higher the better. Click here for a quick review of cholesterol and triglycerides.

How can We Increase Our HDL Levels?

Aerobic exercise. Many people don't like to hear it, but regular aerobic exercise (any exercise, such as walking, jogging or bike riding, that raises your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes at a time) may be the most effective way to increase HDL levels. Recent evidence suggests that the duration of exercise, rather than the intensity, is the more important factor in raising HDL choleserol. But any aerobic exercise helps.
Lose weight. Obesity results not only in increased LDL cholesterol, but also in reduced HDL cholesterol. If you are overweight, reducing your weight should increase your HDL levels. This is especially important if your excess weight is stored in your abdominal area; your waist-to-hip ratio is particularly important in determining whether you ought to concentrate on weight loss.

Stop smoking. If you smoke, giving up tobacco will result in an increase in HDL levels. (This is the only advantage I can think of that smokers have over non-smokers — it gives them something else to do that will raise their HDL.)

Cut out the trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids are currently present in many of your favorite prepared foods — anything in which the nutrition label reads "partially hydrogenated vegetable oils" — so eliminating them from the diet is not a trivial task. But trans fatty acids not only increase LDL cholesterol levels, they also reduce HDL cholesterol levels. Removing them from your diet will almost certainly result in a measurable increase in HDL levels. Click here for a quick and easy review of trans fatty acids and the heart.

Alcohol. With apologies to the American Heart Association, which discourages doctors from telling their patients about the advantages of alcohol: one or two drinks per day can significantly increase HDL levels. More than one or two drinks per day, one hastens to add, can lead to substantial health problems including heart failure — and there are individuals who will develop such problems even when limiting their alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day. Click here for a quick and easy review of alcohol and the heart.

Increase the monounsaturated fats in your diet. Monounsaturated fats such as canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil and in the fats found in peanut butter can increase HDL cholesterol levels without increasing the total cholesterol.

Add soluble fiber to your diet. Soluble fibers are found in oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and result in both a reduction in LDL cholesterol and an increase HDL cholesterol. For best results, at least two servings a day should be used.

Other dietary means to increasing HDL. Cranberry juice has been shown to increase HDL levels. Fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can also increase HDL levels. In postmenopausal women (but not, apparently, in 

Mar 2 2011favor of protein and fat.
South Beach vs. Atkins

The South Beach diet begins very similarly to Atkins - with a 2 week initiation phase that radically restricts carbohydrates (and which, Dr. Agatston brashly asserts, should result in a 13-pound weight loss). But after this initiation phase South Beach differs from Atkins (at least the classic Atkins diet) in two significant ways: under South Beach, "good" carbohydrates are not discouraged, and "bad" fats are. (Classic Atkins doesn't like any carbs, and scooping lard from a bucket is a perfectly legitimate snacking strategy.)
South Beach relies on the glycemic index to determine good carbs from bad carbs. Essentially, the glycemic index estimates how rapidly blood glucose levels (and hence, insulin levels) rise after eating a carbohydrate. This is important since keeping insulin levels low is the central principle behind all low carbohydrate diets. (To read why, click here.) So under South Beach, bad carbs with a high glycemic index (like refined flour products, potatoes, pasta, and white rice) are forbidden, while good carbs with a low glycemic index (like whole wheat products and wild rice) are OK.

South Beach also chooses not to ignore the substantial evidence that saturated fats are bad for you. (Atkins maintains that saturated fats are fine as long as you avoid the carbs.) Thus, South Beach wants you to stay away from butter, fried foods, and sausage and instead pushes unsaturated fats like olive oil and fish.

As DrRich has pointed out in the past, scientific evidence is causing the radical low-carb proponents (as exemplified by Dr. Atkins) and the radical low-fat proponents (as exemplified by Dr. Ornish) to converge. The low-carb guys are having to admit that complex carbohydrates (i.e., the low glycemic carbs) are necessary for a healthy diet. Similarly, the low-fat guys have had to concede that certain fats are essential to good health. So, while these radicals continue to fight viciously, if you listen to what they are saying quietly in the background, they're not all that far apart. DrRich notes with interest that the South Beach diet (after the radical initial 2-week phase) lines up pretty much at the convergence point - the place where the radical low-fats and low-carbs are being dragged together, kicking and screaming all the way.

Nutritionists vs. everybody

So what are nutritionists saying about South Beach? According to the Times, they are carping. Nutritionists hate it when physicians (who, everyone knows, know nothing about nutrition) write best-seller diet books, and when those diet books fall under the category of "low-carb" (an approach that turns the exalted food pyramid on its head) they really go ballistic. So: they complain about the shortcomings of the glycemic index (pointing out that carrots really aren't that bad for you,) and about the unhealthy nature of the radical initial phase, and about the promise of losing 13 pounds during the first 2 weeks (which is indeed reminiscent of the seedier weight loss scams).
But they seem to have a hard time arguing with the later phases of South Beach - as well they might. The long-term part of the South Beach diet looks pretty healthy to me, too.

Suggested Reading
Low fats, or low carbs?
Atkins vindicated?
Cholesterol and triglycerides
Elsewhere on the Web
South Beach Diet website
Atkins Diet website
Related Articles
South Beach vs Atkins Diets - Comparison of Atkins and South Beach Diets
South Beach Dining Guide Excerpt - Key Strategies for Restaurant Dining
Key Strategies for Dining Out on The South Beach Diet
South Beach Diet Food Lists - Foods for the South Beach Diet by Arthur Agat…
Questions about Atkins and South Beach Diets
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While Americans traditionally have ingested too much fat in the diet, and while limiting total fat in the diet is useful not only for cholesterol control but also for weight reduction, evidence is emerging that too little fat in the diet can be dangerous. A diet in which fat has all but been eliminated can result in a deficit in the essential fatty acids - certain fatty acids that are essential to life, but which the body cannot manufacture itself. Furthermore, ultra-low-fat diets have been reported to result in a significant reduction in HDL cholesterol in some individuals.
The best advice regarding fat in the diet appears to be this: 1) reduce the fat intake to 30 - 35% of the total calories in the diet - but probably no lower than 25% of total calories; 2) try to eliminate saturated fats and trans fats from the diet, and substitute monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead. (That is, eliminate animal and dairy fat, and substitute unprocessed vegetable fats. Click here for a quick review of the various types of fatty acids.) Such a diet will avoid the problems seen with an ultra-low-fat diet, and should help raise HDL cholesterol levels.

What about drugs for raising HDL cholesterol?

Drug therapy for raising HDL cholesterol levels has, so far, been less successful than for reducing LDL cholesterol. Statins, in particular, are often not very effective at increasing HDL levels.
Of the drugs used to treat cholesterol, niacin appears to be the most effective at raising HDL levels. Niacin is one of the B vitamins. The amount of niacin needed for increasing HDL levels are so high, however, that it is classified as a drug when used for this purpose. Furthermore, "niacin" takes several forms, including nicotinic acid, nicotinamide, and inositol hexaniacinate - and all of these are labelled as "niacin." Unfortunately, only nicotinic acid raises HDL cholesterol, and this drug can be difficult to take because of its propensity to cause flushing, itching and hot flashes. In general, taking niacin to treat cholesterol levels should be supervised by a doctor. ( Read about niacin here.)

A three-drug regimen of niacin, cholestyramine, and gemfibrozil has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol substantially, but this drug combination can be particularly difficult to tolerate.

Now that HDL levels are attracting more and more attention, several drug companies are attempting to develop new drugs aimed specifically at increasing HDL. Unfortunately, there have been early disappointments and it will be several years before we can expect to see such drugs on the market.

27 replies

dIDYMUS 2011-10-21 00:07:28 -0500 Report

Too much info for me. I do have high cholesterol for the first time in my life. I am trying to deal with the diabetes aspect, I really don't want to take more drugs. I will certainly ask my Dr. about this, but I have an underlying problem, and I cannot take statins. sp? So I have a very difficult time trying to relate to all this. Do this, don't do that. It makes me worry more and increases my anxiety. So I prefer not to read this kind of info. I should have known in the beginning that this is not good for me.

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-10-21 00:34:03 -0500 Report

It is rather overwhelming. What I took from the article was that you need to Diet, exercise, not smoke and go on a low fat, low carb diet. If you search around, I posted a low carb veggie list and a low carb fruit list. I think in this case fats ate Virgin Olive oil and possibly Canola oil, that you can use. You can't use other oils.
Hopes that helps to simplify things.
I also believe that on this diet the meat you basically should eat is chcken
That does not have the skin on and is not fried. And fish.
… That's about it.

hughsbayou 2011-10-22 23:41:56 -0500 Report

I ignore all that and eat any meat I like and enough to satisfy my hunger. Along with solid vegetables like beans, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli carrots, etc. No rice, potatoes, pasta. I take fish oil and cod liver oil and some very potent vitamins I was given by my nutritionist. I've lost 30 lbs in 5 months and am now holding stable at my weight I had for 30 years. BG went from 156 morning to 95, after meals it returns to 85 -95 within two hours. If you don't eat the carbs you don't need to worry about the fats. Your body will start to burn them instead of the sugar. I also started to get at least 15 - 20 minutes of aerobic exercise a day on my bike, swimming and walking plus about 10 minutes of very light weight work. Amazing! Never would have believed it. It seems we are meant to eat fat, not carb based food.

If you have too much sugar in your diet your body had to eliminate it as fast as possible because high blood sugar is just bad. If there is also fat in the meal it then stores it for later, which never comes. So you gain weight. It's really pretty simple but out in the world one encounters almost all carb meals everywhere. The bun on a hamburger has 60g. My quota for a day!
The meat and vegetables are ok, just don't eat the damn bun or only half of it. And NO NO NO chips of any kind. ( I break this rule at the Mexican place, but what I do is break a couple of chips into small pieces and take a lot of salsa with each one. That basket they give you has about 150g of carb in it! Enough for an army.)

Good dense vegetables with protein foods, there will be enough fat so don't worry about that and be sure to exercise. After you feel better you won't want to quit that.

And don't eat any foods that have been re-manufactured to be 'low fat' that is done with chemicals and it's bad for you.

Not sure how it's going? Test your blood, it doesn't lie. Kind of like a little science experiment you do on yourself.

It's really not so bad once you get into it. But you have to be willing to change. It can mean getting your life back in ways you didn't know you had lost it.

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-10-23 16:38:51 -0500 Report

In the Heart Site, Heart Hawk stated that some people have fat genes and while I can't remember the name if the other gene, they can Eat grains and low carbs. I cannot eat fat. But grains and low carbs is what I have to eat. People have to identify which gene they have before they know what type if diet to go on. If you don't identify it like you have, then people will be frustrated when a diet doesnt work for them.

dubyadd 2011-10-23 19:00:09 -0500 Report

Why can't you use other oils. If you cook with olive oil at too high a temp or for too long, it will form compounds that are harmful. Olive Oil should not be heated above 250 degrees. Check out rice bran oil ( available on the internet) and grapeseed oil, available in local heath food stores or internet. Both have more antioxidant properties than olive oil AND have a higher smoke point , so they are better for higher temp cooking. And they result in lower calorie cooking on the theory that if you cook at a higher temp, the food cooks quicker and thus less of the oil will be absorbed into the food. Both of these oils have been shown to raise HDL and to lower LDL cholesterol. These are good thing s for your heart. Rice bran oil contains a mixture of special substances…called gamma oryzanol. It's a combination of sterols and ferulic acid . Total cholesterol levels dropped by 42 percent. Bad (LDL) cholesterol levels dropped by a whopping 62 percent. The results were published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology. Gamma oryzanol is available as a supplement…in capsule form. You can get it online or at a health foods store.
I have totally stopped cooking with Olive Oil, and use it in salads only where I used to use margarine or butter.
I now use only rice bran oil or grape seed oil for cooking. The rice bran oil is light but gives a slightly different flavor to the cooked food but has a higher smoke point than the grapeseed oil. The grape seed oil is very light and is used in many cosmetics. It not only is great for cooking but also good for dry skin and massage. Hows that for multi tasking??
By the way if you are looking for a good diet plan for diabetics, you can't go wrong with the Mediterranean Diet. If you can't locate a copy let me know.

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-10-23 19:27:39 -0500 Report

Thanks! I can use all the help I can get. Is that the name of the book? Do they only eat Meditteranian foods/recipes…some people don't cook with oils at all any more. Some use water while many more are using Vegetable Broth.

dubyadd 2011-10-23 21:15:20 -0500 Report

Here is the article on the Med Diet from the Mayo clinic, hope it helps as it is not a book but just quidelines.

Mediterranean diet- Choose this heart-healthy diet option
The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan combining elements of Mediterranean-style cooking. Here's how to adopt the Mediterranean diet.
By Mayo Clinic staff
If you're looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet remain tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, a recent analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality, a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
For this reason, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
• Getting plenty of exercise
• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
• Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
The diet also recognizes the importance of enjoying meals with family and friends.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains
The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice. For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and average nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the "bad" cholesterol that's more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.
Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat (approximately 80 percent of their calories come from fat), but most of the fat is not saturated. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day. For the best nutrition, avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts.
Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet there. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarines, which contain saturated or trans fats.
Healthy fats
The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn't on limiting total fat consumption, but rather to make wise choices about the types of fat you eat. The Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), both of which contribute to heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet features olive oil as the primary source of fat. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat — a type of fat that can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated or trans fats. "Extra-virgin" and "virgin" olive oils — the least processed forms — also contain the highest levels of the protective plant compounds that provide antioxidant effects.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, such as canola oil and some nuts, contain the beneficial linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid). Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting, are associated with decreased sudden heart attack, improve the health of your blood vessels, and help moderate blood pressure. Fatty fish — such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon — are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is eaten on a regular basis in the Mediterranean diet.
The health effects of alcohol have been debated for many years, and some doctors are reluctant to encourage alcohol consumption because of the health consequences of excessive drinking. However, alcohol — in moderation — has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in some research studies.
The Mediterranean diet typically includes a moderate amount of wine. This means no more than 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine daily for women (or men over age 65), and no more than 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of wine daily for men under age 65. More than this may increase the risk of health problems, including increased risk of certain types of cancer.
If you're unable to limit your alcohol intake to the amounts defined above, if you have a personal or family history of alcohol abuse, or if you have heart or liver disease, refrain from drinking wine or any other alcohol. Also keep in mind that red wine may trigger migraines in some people.
Putting it all together
The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they'll never eat any other way. Here are some specific steps to get you started:
• Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains. An abundance and variety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. They should be minimally processed, and try to purchase them when they're in season. Strive for seven to 10 servings a day of veggies and fruits. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-gain rice and pasta products. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks. Fruit salads are a wonderful way to eat a variety of healthy fruit.
• Go nuts. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Choose natural peanut butter, rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Try tahini (blended sesame seeds) as a dip or spread for bread.
• Pass on the butter. Try olive or canola oil as a healthy replacement for butter or margarine. Use it in cooking. After cooking pasta, add a touch of olive oil, some garlic and green onions for flavoring. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter. Try tahini (blended sesame seeds) as a dip or spread for bread too.
• Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and are also rich in health-promoting substances. Season your meals with herbs and spices rather than salt.
• Go fish. Eat fish once or twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid fried fish, unless it's sauteed in a small amount of canola oil.
• Rein in the red meat. Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. When eaten, make sure it's lean and keep portions small (about the size of a deck of cards). Also avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat meats.
• Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese.
• Raise a glass to healthy eating. If it's OK with your doctor, have a glass of wine at dinner. If you don't drink alcohol, you don't need to start. Drinking purple grape juice may be an alternative to wine.

June 19, 2010
© 1998-2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
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Mediterranean diet: Choose this heart-healthy diet option

dubyadd 2011-10-23 22:17:06 -0500 Report

Check Amazon, they have Kindle version of the Med diet starting around $3.00. If you don't have a kindle ( I don't either) you can download the kindle reader for your PC for free. They also have lots of free books to. I have downloaded at least 70 books all for free. I keep them on my desktop and my laptop, so when I leave home for all my Doctor appts I have lots to read, but only 1 thing to bring.

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-10-23 19:23:09 -0500 Report

Hi! Good question! Heart Hawk (the PA) in the heart site us an expert at that type of info. I simply tried eating fats like normal people and gained weight. I stopped eating weight and ate grains and lost weight. Not a scientific answer. But it worked for me. You might want to ask HH for a better answer.

dIDYMUS 2011-10-21 01:15:35 -0500 Report

Somehow lost my whole reply. Thanks for making this more simple. I know that we can only use olive oil. No sweet fruits like pineapple. Fish= only wild salmon with no color added, rainbow trout (fresh caught by us), no white stuff like sugar and flour, turkey, chicken, occasional ham (deli with label, tuna, tomatoes (lots home grown, squash, and herbs). What else to do? Oatmeal, not instant, and what else to do. Sometimes, a Fibre brownie and some home baked angle food cake with berries. This has to work!

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-10-21 01:48:59 -0500 Report

And lots of veggies to fill you up! You have got it! :). Oh and don't forget the Ezekial bread that you get from a health food store! The one in the orange wrapper. Fiber is an excellent way to lower cholesterol. The Ezekial bread is an excellent source of fiber!

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-10-21 15:44:34 -0500 Report

I am sorry but I am not familiar with that bread. I use Ezekial bread. It has been around for several years and was recommended to me by a
Few people as the bread of choice.

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