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  • How does high CARBOHYDRATE intake increase CHOLESTEROL levels?

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    Old 02-08-2001, 04:38 PM   #1
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    How does high CARBOHYDRATE intake increase CHOLESTEROL levels?

    How does high CARBOHYDRATE intake increase CHOLESTEROL levels?

    I have read that people who have high carbohydrate diets may have that to blame for their high cholesterol levels.

    I have had high cholesterol for many years but I also eat alot of carbs.

    I was just wondering what reaction causes the carbs to increase your cholesterol.

    The majority of the carbohydrates that I eat are low in fat (e.g., potatoes, bread, noodles and I don't add butter, creams, or other high fat condiments to these items).

    Thanks for your time and have a nice evening,

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    Old 02-08-2001, 08:42 PM   #2
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    Re: How does high CARBOHYDRATE intake increase CHOLESTEROL levels?

    Ron, I will let someone else reply that understands the technical aspects of this in more detail than I am able to, but what I understand is that highly refined sugars and complex carbohydrates are processed by the body into simpler products and stored as fat. This would be the same fat that the liver will eventually process into cholesterol. As I understand the premise behind the idea of low carb diets, if you cut these things out of your daily intake, then the body is forced to use up it's stored fats when it no longer has the fuel to make more. When my wife and I cut back on sugars and carbs about a year ago, she lost a moderate amount of weight and I lost thirty pounds. I know that I feel better and look better, but it still hasn't cured the cholesterol problem, but I could easily lose another 25 pounds or so. It is also possible that if we cut them out completely, it would get me to a still more ideal weight, but there is way too much of that stuff that I like to eat. Some of us eat to live, others (myself included) live to eat.

    There are a couple of people posting on this board that have read the literature and have a better understanding of this than I do. It does seem to work well for many people, but there are critics that say it is not a good long term solution. I will stay out of that discussion since I really couldn't say if this is a good or bad solution. I will say that from my own experience, the lower the consumption of the carbs, the easier it is to manage weight, so there is a lot of truth to this theory. The process of understanding human metabolism is an ongoing science and it will still be several years before we know exactly what is the nature of how we should eat.

    It is just like the statin drugs. Do they help prevent heart attacks because of the cholesterol reduction, or is it because of some other mechanism at work such as reduction of C-Reactive Protein or the stabilizing factor on unstable plaques? The scientists aren't really sure and there is a lot of discussion and research yet to be done. Somebody like Alan can educate you more on this, he has done a lot of posting on this subject and is well versed.

    Good luck,

    Old 02-09-2001, 01:57 PM   #3
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    Re: How does high CARBOHYDRATE intake increase CHOLESTEROL levels?

    >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.

    Old 02-10-2001, 08:42 PM   #4
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    Re: How does high CARBOHYDRATE intake increase CHOLESTEROL levels?

    Bravo again Alan! In a study led by Dr. Hu of Harvard Medical School and published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition", women with the highest protein intakes were 26% less likely to develop ischemic heart disease. This study was conducted with 80,000 women over a period from 1980 thru 1994. The protein source was animal sourced and was regardless of dietary fat. It included milk, cheese, and eggs. It pointed the strongest finger at refined carbohydrates, (not potatoes, which are not refined). What has thrown so many studies off is the use of lab rats and rabbits, which raise cholesterol and tg's with consumption of meats. Pigs and humans do not. In fact, animal protein tends to increase HDL's. Other problems caused by refined carbohydrates are hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and more. There is a book by Dr Christian Allan that I haven't gotten yet, but I soon will, that explains these things in detail It's titled "Life Without Bread". I am so tired of people telling me my bacon and eggs are going to kill me. God bless Alan...keep up the good work. Oldguy

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