Hmm.. you’ve got high cholesterol? I don’t know how to tell you this; so, I’m just going to come out and say it…
- Steak and eggs aren’t the main reason you have high cholesterol.
- Cheerios aren’t going to save you.
I don’t know how many of my patients believe these two things. They come to me with cholesterol numbers that are completely out of target and proudly announce that “Everything is okay. I’ve switched to egg beaters and I’m eating Cheerios every morning.”
Oh. Okay, then. I’m glad you’re on top of it.
Except… you’re not. Not really, anyways.
The biggest factor isn’t really the fact that you’re eating animals. The biggest problem is that YOU are an ANIMAL. Your animal lifestyle indicates what kind of cholesterol your body should produce.
A Quick Lesson on Components of Cholesterol:
- HDL– otherwise known as the “good cholesterol.” You can increase your good cholesterol by leading an active lifestyle with plenty of exercise, eating healthy foods (like fruits, vegetables, wholegrains) with monounsaturated oils (like olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados) and omega 3 oils (like ocean fish).
- LDL – otherwise known as the “bad cholesterol.” You can decrease your bad cholesterol by avoiding the following things: inactivity/sedentary behavior, smoking, stress, excessive amounts of saturated fat (fatty meats, butter, cheese, ice-cream, whole milk), trans fat (like stick margarine, tub frosting, canned cinnamon rolls, refrigerated cookie dough).
- Triglycerides – we call this the “ugly one” in diabetes class. High triglycerides can be lowered by eating regular, normal size meals (which means eating out less, avoiding buffets, avoiding dessert and fried foods), consuming less refined carbohydrates (crackers, cookies, candy, cake, cereal, chips, granola bars, etc), drinking less sugar (soda, juice, Kool-aid, lemonade, sweet tea, Starbucks, etc), lowering your blood sugar (if it’s elevated), and drinking less alcohol.
Your animal lifestyle indicates how much and what kind of cholesterol your liver will make.
If you want to make less bad cholesterol and more good cholesterol, you should really work on controlling your lifestyle factors.
Lifestyle factors that really matter: EXERCISE, eating habits (healthy fats, limited refined carbohydrates, drinking water), smoking cessation, stress management, regularity of meals, alcohol consumption, and blood glucose control.
When we focus on eating less eggs and steak, we’re ignoring the major problem. The major problem is the cholesterol YOU make. Not the cholesterol in the foods you’ve been eating. You’d be better off worrying about what’s contributing 80% of your problem instead of the 20%.
Okay, go run and play, animal. Your cholesterol depends on it.