Weight Loss Support - How Do I Lower My Cholesterol?




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WaistingAweigh
07-18-2006, 07:49 AM
I had bloodwork done last week and got the results back yesterday. I am a borderline diabetic with slightly elevated cholesterol. I've known about the pre-diabetes for some time now, though I have not done much to better that. But now I'm scared with the cholesterol thing. The lab guy kept trying to push meds on me to help lower it because that's what my doctor suggested. I do not want to start taking a bunch of medications if there is anything at all I can do that's within my power to change.

I think I've been in denial about the diabetes, but yesterday was like a wakeup call for me. I need to really do something about this. Yet I have no idea on how to lower my cholesterol. The lab guy said to eat lots of oatmeal, and to stay away from chocolate and eggs. But that can't be all that there is. Is it safe to say .. if I start eating foods that do not have a lot of cholesterol that my cholesterol level will go down? Or should I be doing more? :?:


Ruthxxx
07-18-2006, 08:06 AM
Cholesterol is produced by the body as well as coming from foods. I'm a type II diabetic, now completely controlled, and did try to reduce my cholesterol levels with food - flax seed, Metamucil, garlic, fish. It worked a bit but I'm on medication now. It's worth a try to knock it down with food but you may not be able to lower it enough. Give it a try though and then get retested.

As to the pre-diabetes, I found that cutting carbs and completely eliminating sugar has normalized my blood sugar levels. Do not stay in denial - we buried a friend's mother last weekend who just ignored the problem!

northernbelle
07-18-2006, 08:09 AM
Lowering cholesterol is somewhat like lowering your blood sugar levels. Eat clean and exercise.

There is some controversy over the intake of dietary cholesterol raising your numbers. Each individual is different. Above all avoid trans-fat; avoid too much saturated fat; you should take in no more than 30% calories from fat (tops) and no more than 10% of that should be from saturated fat. Keep your daily intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg. Luckily, nutrition labels are required on foods.

Regular exercise helps reduce cholesterol numbers. Cardio in the 'fat burning zone' burns fatty acids in the bloodstream. Resistance exercises build muscle, which in turn revs up your metabolism, burning even more calories and fat.

Be aware, however, that high cholesterol may also be genetic, in which case it can only be controlled by medication. Make a lifestyle change first to see if both your blood sugar and cholesterol numbers go down, then decide with your doctor if medication is required.

Hope this helps...


holicanmc
07-18-2006, 09:29 AM
I know that soluble fiber is good for lowering cholesterol, as well as eating lots of veggies, and fish I think. The Omega 3's are good for the heart. But since I am no medical expert here I did a quick google search and found this (http://www.healthcastle.com/low-cholesterol-diet.shtml) site, seems to have a *lot* of info on cholesterol in general as well as how to lower it through diet. I hope it's okay to post the link.

NinaV
07-18-2006, 12:01 PM
I know that exercise is a biggie when it comes to blood sugar and cholesterol. Definitely don't ignore it, because it will NOT just go away.

telemetrynurse
07-18-2006, 01:49 PM
Here is a link to the American Heart Association's website on lowering cholesterol: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1516

They offer lots of useful information, hope it helps! Good luck!

buckettgirl
07-18-2006, 02:19 PM
BTW, the advice about staying away from eggs is entirely wrong. Eggs are probably the perfect food (in moderation). They aren't going to do anything to your cholesterol - that is a long perpetuated myth. They are high in protein, low in carbs and not bad with fat. Eggs are good for you, don't avoid them.
If you want to get this stuff under control, then clean eating, exercise and getting the weight off have a pretty good potential to solve these problems. But of course, for some people their cholesterol must be controlled with meds no matter how well they eat or how much they exercise (or how much weight they lose). You won't know until you try. You don't have to be a diabetic - its up to you to change your eating habits. Check out www.glycemicindex.com
This gives alot of good information (for free - but there are books for sale as well) about good foods to eat to keep blood sugar stable - mainly it involves eating lean proteins, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and some dairy. Stay away from processed food as much as you can, those are the ones that truely hurt your body.

Eldubu
07-22-2006, 12:53 PM
One thing I have done is to take a fiber supplement every day. I also take Niacin. Beware of Niacin, though, and make sure you are taking "non-flushing" Niacin. I made the mistake of buying regular Niacin and the flushing freaked me out because I didn't know that happens! It is like having a really bad sunburn, to the point of your skin feeling like it is tearing...yikes! Taking non-flushing or Niacinamide, though, is okay and it helps to lower cholesterol, slightly.

Abbeycat36
07-22-2006, 01:03 PM
Hey you know what.. I have been taking non-flush Niacin for a couple of months. (my cholesterol is ok, I just take it because it's B vitamin) My right leg has been red and sore for the last month or so.. like a sunburn, like you describe. I went to the doc and they gave me anti-biotics in case it was some kind of infection but it didn't clear up. I forgot to take my niacin for a couple of days, and it seemed to be lessening.. I thought maybe it was the anti-biotics clearing it up..

Now that you mention it.. I wonder if it could be the Niacin even tho it is the non-flush type. I'm going to stop the Niacin for a week and see if it clears my skin redness up. Thanks for the lightbulb, that might just be what it is!


One thing I have done is to take a fiber supplement every day. I also take Niacin. Beware of Niacin, though, and make sure you are taking "non-flushing" Niacin. I made the mistake of buying regular Niacin and the flushing freaked me out because I didn't know that happens! It is like having a really bad sunburn, to the point of your skin feeling like it is tearing...yikes! Taking non-flushing or Niacinamide, though, is okay and it helps to lower cholesterol, slightly.

veggielover
07-22-2006, 01:11 PM
To be quite honest, I'm rather mixed with the whole cholesterol thing.

Everyone in my family has high cholesterol and at one point in their lives, all had to take medication to lower it. Medication usually worked well for them, lowering it to 200, which is the base level for high cholesterol. I tend to stay away from most cholesterol foods only because I'm not a big fan of animal products.

THey say that high fiber will lower cholesterol, decreasing your intake of animal products (yes, lean meat has a lot of cholesterol as well.. etc) will help . But I wouldn;t stay away from them all together. I believe that you can significantly lower your cholesterol just by watching what you eat, not excluding things altogether. Some products with plant sterols (plant synethsize a steroid hormone that is their version of cholesterol) help to lower your VDLs and LDLs and up your HDLs. You might want to try those (I believe some yogurts have it these days) if you want to try new things. But then again, it's never a complete yes or no regarding whether or not they work. Exercise, I believe, is the best remedy up to date, and will always be.

Siena1383
07-22-2006, 04:55 PM
To lower your cholesterol safely:

1) Eat foods that are lower in fats, especially the less-processed kind. In other words, veggies/fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and meats.
2) Eat foods with more fiber in them -- again, veggies/fruits, whole grains. If you can manage oatmeal most days for breakfast (the kind you cook for 5 minutes, not the little sugary microwaveable packets), it's supposed to just ferry the cholesterol right out of your body. They say 30 days will show a significant difference.
3) Walk or do some kind of sustained (longer than 10 minutes) exercise. This changes the balance of your HDL-LDL cholesterol. High cholesterol is less of a problem if your HDL cholesterol is higher than the LDL.

1TiredGradStudent
07-22-2006, 05:42 PM
BTW, the advice about staying away from eggs is entirely wrong. Eggs are probably the perfect food (in moderation). They aren't going to do anything to your cholesterol - that is a long perpetuated myth. They are high in protein, low in carbs and not bad with fat. Eggs are good for you, don't avoid them.
If you want to get this stuff under control, then clean eating, exercise and getting the weight off have a pretty good potential to solve these problems. But of course, for some people their cholesterol must be controlled with meds no matter how well they eat or how much they exercise (or how much weight they lose). You won't know until you try. You don't have to be a diabetic - its up to you to change your eating habits. Check out www.glycemicindex.com
This gives alot of good information (for free - but there are books for sale as well) about good foods to eat to keep blood sugar stable - mainly it involves eating lean proteins, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and some dairy. Stay away from processed food as much as you can, those are the ones that truely hurt your body.

As a matter of fact, it is not entirely wrong. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that consumption of eggs puts diabetics at an increased risk for heart disease. The OP did say she is dealing with borderline diabetes. Eggs may not be so good for her after all. Although researchers feel that more research is needed about the diabetes/heart disease connection, it is best to be careful.

LLV
07-22-2006, 07:40 PM
High fiber and low fat is a good way to do it. Saturated fat affects blood cholesterol levels even moreso than a cholesterol-containing food, such as eggs and shrimp. You can eat foods with zero cholesterol, but if you eat foods that are high in saturated fat, your cholesterol levels will still shoot up there.

If you like eggs, you don't have to stay completely away from them, just eat them, like anything else, in moderation. Buy Eggland's Best (or any other egg from vegetarian-fed hens) because these eggs are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol than regular type eggs.

The main thing to cut drastically back on is saturated fat. 2 years ago, before my lifestyle change, I had high cholesterol, including triglyceride (blood fats) levels that were off the charts. My cholesterol is now normal and my trigs are at a healthy level. I did it by eating very little saturated fat, trying to get more fiber in my diet, and taking fish oil every day. Whether or not the fish oil played a part, I don't know. But I heard that fish oil was especially good for lowering triglycerides and my trigs are now 120 where they used to be over 800. I still take the fish oil every day.

I decided to do this on my own. My doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol-lowering drugs, but I refused to take them. So I've done this without the drugs.

WaterRat
07-22-2006, 08:50 PM
All good advice. And I've done all of it - and my cholesterol didn't go down significantly. :( So, yes, I take medication. But, everyone in my family has high cholesterol, some worse than mine, so it's definitely a genetic thing. My advice is to talk to your doctor - the lab tech should not be giving you medical advice, btw - and let her/him know that you'd like to try to lower it using diet and exercise. But if that doesn't work after x weeks/months, be prepared to use meds. It's not a big deal. I take one tiny pill each morning - smaller than an aspirin - and my levels are in the normal range. :)

LLV
07-22-2006, 10:22 PM
All good advice. And I've done all of it - and my cholesterol didn't go down significantly. :(
Yep, diet and exercise alone doesn't work for everybody. Thankfully it worked for me because, frankly, I was terrified of taking the statins.

kierr
07-24-2006, 02:17 AM
Having diabetes puts you at as much of a risk of a heart attack as someone who has already had one.

If you are able to lose weight, many people become non-diabetic, even a lot of diabetics are able to stop their medicine or downgrade.

Losing weight also lowers your bad cholesterol and increases the good cholesterol.

It is important for your health that you really work at this.

I know because I'm there. I was about 242 pounds and diagnosed with high cholesterol in my 20's. What's worse is I was diagnosed in january at 32 years old with coronary artery disease.... ALREADY.

Diet and exercise doesn't work for everyone but for many, a SERIOUS diet does. I have a diagnosed genetic condition, extensive and studied. Everyone in my family says diet doesn't help. Well, it does if you are serious, and you stick to it. Lowfat is like zero saturated fat by the way. Too many people eat 30% fat and call it lowfat. It's not. If you can try 10% or less from fat for 6 weeks, then retest, do it. You may not need the drugs if you have the willpower.

Being scared has really motivated me to get off my butt and do something about my own health. I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but I wish somebody would have kicked me in the butt sooner. You can do it. It is work but it is so worth it. :)

Misti in Seattle
09-02-2006, 01:48 PM
I was happy to find this thread even though it's a bit dated. :) I was really surprised today to get my lab results and find my "bad" cholesterol at 140.80 (s/b under 130) since I am eating so healthy and exercising like crazy. At my exam my doctor even said she would be very surprised if I had high cholesterol. But perhaps it is just the results still of having gotten so fat and out of shape. I used to take flax seed oil and stopped but am going to go out and get some. A friend of mine also was told by her doctor to take red yeast rice pills.

The good news though is that EVERY other blood level was well within normal range... my triglycerides are 71 (s/b under 150)!!!! And blood glucose 87 (s/b under 100). So the healthful diet and exercise IS paying off!

And I agree about the eggs... they are so healthful and this is an old wives' tale that they are bad.

Yogini
09-02-2006, 03:50 PM
Misti, sometimes when a person is burning fat and reducing, the actual blood level can sometimes be elevated...perhaps this is the case with you? Good job taking charge of your health, at any rate ;)

And I agree about the eggs... they are so healthful and this is an old wives' tale that they are bad.

As a nutritionist, I have to say that there are many reputable studies that have been done that suggests that reducing, limiting or eliminating egg consumption has benefits that are quantifiable. I don't view eggs to be 'healthful' for those who are looking to reduce cholesterol, especially.

General comment to those in this thread:

When people say that they have tried 'everything' to lower their cholesterol before resorting to medication, I am curious as to what that really means.

Let me say this: In working closely with Doctors, I have never seen a person who was told or claims that their elevated cholesterol was 'genetic' *not* see significant reduction when following a whole-foods, lower-fat, high fiber vegan diet with frequent exercise. I have seen amazing things happen in as little as 6 weeks! That being said, I am sure that there are some people whose cholesterol levels would remain at higher than optimal even with a rigorous lifestyle adjustment such as following a whole-foods, lower fat, high fiber vegan diet with adequate exercise-I have just never personally seen or heard of anyone who didn't drastically improve when doing this consistently.

To the OP: Let your Doctor know you wish to look into natural ways of dealing with your health issues. Get him/her to work with you and devote yourself to whatever plan you decide on 100%;Give it a good chance and allow the plan to work before deciding that it won't work...your body wants to be in balance and it may just do that when given the chance. Do research and look for alternatives. If all this fails to balance your levels significantly after the time your Doctor has allowed for you to work on it, do what you and your Doctor feel is best for your health.

Best of luck to you and everyone else! :carrot:

Misti in Seattle
09-02-2006, 05:53 PM
Thanks for the good responses. Actually I am not that concerned since I trust my doctor highly and she said in her note to continue to work on diet and exercise and "you're doing a great job." She didn't even want a repeat for 1 year. I am just wanting it to be within range like all the other readings. :)

JayEll
09-03-2006, 08:22 AM
Some people have high cholesterol running in their family. This type sometimes is so severe that statin drugs are necessary. But for the rest of us, I'd like to suggest that the cause of elevated cholesterol is stress and too much carbohydrate.

Exercise not only burns calories, it reduces stress and it lowers blood sugar.

If you would like to read more about the connection between low fat/high carb and cholesterol, look up The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. She found that most heart patients who were put on low fat/high carb diets developed diabetes AND had high cholesterol. She was one of the first doctors to recommend lower carbohydrates and higher protein.

Good luck!

Jay

Misti in Seattle
09-03-2006, 10:54 AM
Thanks Jay... and others... for the valuable input! I decided I am overreacting since my doctor wrote that I am doing a great job and to continue to work on diet and exercise, return in 1 year. :) All of my other lab results were fantastic! I did buy some flax seed oil and I am going to ask her about red yeast rice pills... also start using oatmeal instead of crumbs for coating. But I asked her at my checkup if there was any way to improve what I am doing (diet and exercise) and she said it is "perfect" and to keep it up... so I am not going to make major changes. She is very diligent so my "logic" knows if she is not concerned I don't need to be. :) I did make an appointment just to discuss it.

And darn... I was hoping the cholesterol would be low enough so I could eat more chicken livers and make pate as I LOVE it and it is low in calories... but guess that had best go on "hold" for now LOL.

Yogini, as to your comment about the eggs... good point... while I personally don't believe they are harmful, it's not wise for me to express that opinion publically and maybe influence others to go ahead and eat them since I most definitely am not a nutritionist. :)

lilybelle
09-03-2006, 01:35 PM
I just wanted to add that if a person has liver disease, such as fatty liver, PBC, auto-immune hepatitis or any number of liver diseases that their cholesterol can be astronomically high. Mine personally is over 500 and my hepatologist has said that it is not the type of cholesterol that clogs the arteries and causes heart disease. I do have cholesterol deposits under both eyes. He recommends a low-carb diet. Which is what I follow. Also with liver disease a person is unable to take cholesterol lowering meds as it can triple your cholesterol in just a couple months time and make transplant imminent. I do eat Oats and low-fat to try to help as much as possible. He also informed me that many people with liver disease have a cholesterol level over 1000. Also, even with this high of cholesterol, I have had every heart study known to man, and I have no heart disease and my arteries are clear.