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Which Hormone is Keeping you Fat? 

Is cholesterol the real cause for heart disease?

For many years we’ve believed that cholesterol was the main cause of heart disease. Doctors still provide pamphlets explaining that you should limit eggs. But there are several factors to consider. Let’s take a closer look at cholesterol, what it is and how it contributes to heart disease.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance that your body uses to build cells, and produce vitamins and hormones. Your liver is responsible for manufacturing the cholesterol your body needs. You can also get cholesterol from the foods you eat.

But most of the cholesterol in your diet does not contribute to your cholesterol levels. 

HDL and LDL cholesterol

Cholesterol in the body is carried by HDL (high density lipoproteins) and LDL (low density lipoproteins). You’ve probably heard of good and bad cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is called bad cholesterol because it can oxidize in the blood which forms plaques that can lead to heart disease.

HDL cholesterol carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. 

So generally the ratio of LDL to HDL is more important than the total cholesterol levels.

What contributes to your LDL levels?

  • A diet high in saturated fats and trans fats 

  • Lack of exercise and too much sitting.

  • Eating too much sugar

  • Smoking

  • Genetics

But dietary cholesterol from foods like eggs does not raise cholesterol levels. 

How to raise HDL levels

In order to offset LDL levels, the key factors are:

  • Exercise

  • Lose weight

  • Add fibre to your diet mostly through whole foods like vegetables and legumes

  • Eat more omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon.

What else contibutes to heart disease?

Sugar has been overlooked as a major cause of heart disease. Not only does it raise levels of LDL cholesterol, it also contributes to inflammation, blood sugar imbalances and obesity.

Inflammation is a major cause of heart disease.  It can also promote artery clogging plaques which can lead to heart disease. High blood sugar and insulin resistance are also associated with heart disease. Obesity also means an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. 

Triglyceride levels are as important as cholesterol levels when it comes to heart disease. Tryglycerides levels measure the fat storage in your blood. Generally the same things that help with your cholesterol profile also help to keep tryglycerides low, but sugar and refined carbohydrates may be more of a factor here. 

What can you do

Rather than focus on reducing healthy foods like eggs from your diet, look at other areas. Are you eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates? Are you getting enough exercise? Enough fibre?

How I can help

It’s hard to understand where to start when making changes to your diet. I can provide you with a nutrition plan that meets your unique needs. Book a free consultation to find out how.

book a free nutrition assessment to find out how I can help. 

Reference:

https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/myths_facts.htm

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar