The latest findings on cholesterol research show that genetics are the real culprit, rather than food. Happily, this means there are some foods you can now put back into your regular diet without worrying about how they affect you.
There are still some things you need to avoid, however, if you’re managing cholesterol issues. Read on for clarification of how these new developments affect your lifestyle.
No Longer the Bad Guy
The dietary cholesterol we take in from foods such as eggs and shellfish only forms about 20% of our blood cholesterol. This was previously believed to contribute to higher levels of low-density lipids (LDL), which are considered to be the “bad” cholesterol that contribute to heart disease and strokes.
Genetics Are It
In the hot seat instead is the genetic capability of the body to manufacture cholesterol. This is used for a range of purposes, including:
- The creation of hormones
- Production of bile acids
- Making vitamin D
- Maintenance of healthy cell membranes
Some patients are simply more likely to manufacture unhealthy levels of cholesterol in their blood than others.
Saturated Fats Are Still OUT
Saturated and trans fats are still bad for LDL levels, so you can’t go big on the bacon, cream, cheese and butter suddenly. Many Registered Dietitians have long believed that the type of fat you consume is more important to healthy levels of blood cholesterol than the amount of cholesterol in your diet. Now, that belief has been confirmed as being accurate.
Diet and Lifestyle Remain Important
Keeping a focus on eating adequate quantities of fruit and vegetables, controlling your intake of salt, fats and alcohol is still the best way to stay healthy. Regular exercise, keeping your body hydrated and avoiding excessive quantities of sugar help to maintain physical balance, and if you suffer from a chronic condition such as diabetes you may still be vulnerable to high cholesterol levels.
Finding a Solution
And if you’re genetically predisposed to producing higher-than-ideal cholesterol, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to take medication for the rest of your life, either. By adopting a healthy way of life you have an excellent chance of managing your blood cholesterol through diet and exercise and reducing your risk for any of the conditions in which it plays a role.
With the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee set to update the guidelines with these new findings, it’s a good time to review your regular diet program and see how this affects you. Schedule an appointment with Lifestyle Medical Centers for one of our expert providers to work with you on devising a personalized plan for your health.