September 02, 2017 | John Paul Catanzaro
Here’s part of an interview that was conducted with me many years ago on the topic of cholesterol. A word of warning: The message goes against the grain. Enjoy the rant!
Are you concerned about the effects of consuming eggs at breakfast on your cholesterol levels? What about the risks of heightened cholesterol from consuming red meat? The truth is that these risks have been overblown and misrepresented in popular media.
If you’re going to enjoy those eggs with toast, cereal, milk, and a glass of orange juice, however, watch out! The truth is that dietary cholesterol makes up just 20% of the overall equation – the rest of the cholesterol in your body is produced by you, and that’s because of the insulogenic response.
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows you to metabolize sugar in the blood. When you consume a lot of high-sugar foods, over time your cells build up a resistance to the insulin your body produces, and you become vulnerable to a host of cardiovascular health issues, including high blood pressure and type II diabetes.
As your cells become more resistant to insulin, your body becomes less efficient at moving glucose out of the bloodstream, and with nowhere to go, three bad things can happen:
1. The sugars are turned into fat and stored in the liver, eventually leading to fatty liver disease.
2. The sugars are metabolized into body fat, which is likely to be stored in your midsection.
3. The sugars promote high levels of unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides in your bloodstream, which can lead to a buildup of fat in artery walls, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
As I mentioned in the video above, the Framingham Heart Study showed that eggs aren’t an important risk factor in developing high cholesterol. Another key finding was that high HDL cholesterol actually decreases your risk of heart disease!
That’s right, sometimes high cholesterol can actually be good for you. There are two main types of cholesterol – low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol can become oxidized and damage the walls of your blood vessels, leading to a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, while a higher concentration of HDL cholesterol is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease. Some of the simplest ways to increase HDL are:
• regular exercise
• reducing sugar and trans fatty acid intake
• increasing fiber intake
• supplementing with fish oil and magnesium
Incredibly, these are all things that are known to be healthy and that you should already be doing!
Next time you or someone that you care about is facing a diagnosis of high cholesterol, skip the drugs and instead, try a month of healthy eating and regular exercise. It works wonders!
Bottom Line: Unless you have a condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia, think twice before you start on cholesterol-lowering drugs.