Cholesterol too high? Less sugar! [study]
Although people with high cholesterol levels are advised to give up fats, they should actually reduce sugar a lot, not fats, a new study suggests.
For decades, people diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia have been trained to minimize their intake of saturated fats to lower their cholesterol levels and minimize their risk of heart disease. But a new study published in the prestigious journal BMJ Evidence-based Medicine found no evidence to support these claims.
In addition to the consensus on the risks of excessive sugar and trans fat consumption, there is a lack of agreement on how other food components influence the incidence of serious cardiovascular events, such as stroke, heart attack or death, people say. of science.
This state of uncertainty has been addressed by researchers who have shown that a fat-free diet rarely brings significant benefits in terms of severe cardiovascular events. Moreover, objections were raised against the recommendations on restrictions on saturated fat consumption. Therefore, despite decades of research on nutrition and cardiovascular disease, there is little consensus on how the consumption of different food categories contributes causally to the development of coronary heart disease.
Sugar is more responsible for raising cholesterol than fat
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder, and affected people tend to have cholesterol levels 2-4 times higher than the rest of the population. Various organizations, including the American Heart Association, have suggested that these people avoid eating foods from animal sources, such as meat, eggs and cheese, as well as coconut oil.
Now, an international team of experts in heart disease and nutrition, including five cardiologists, has reviewed the dietary guidelines for people with familial hypercholesterolemia. They say they could find no justification for health professionals to recommend a diet low in saturated fat to people with high cholesterol.
For the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been told that in order to lower their cholesterol, they need to eat a diet low in saturated fat. This study, however, suggests that a healthier heart diet is low in sugar, not low in saturated fat.
The researchers involved in the study say that adopting a low-carb diet is most effective for people at high risk for heart disease, such as those who are overweight, hypertensive and diabetic. The results of this study are consistent with another paper recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which provided telling evidence that foods that raise blood sugar, such as bread, potatoes, and sweets, should be kept to a minimum. than tropical oils and animal products.
What is currently recommended for normalizing cholesterol
Eat heart-healthy foods
A few changes in diet can lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats, which are found mainly in red meat and fatty dairy products, increase total cholesterol. Decreasing your intake of saturated fats can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). It does not mean that you have to give up red meat, just reduce consumption.
Eliminates trans fats. Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil”, are often used in margarines, biscuits and cakes bought from the store. Trans fats increase the overall level of cholesterol.
Opt for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have healthy benefits for the heart, including lowering blood pressure. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, nuts and flax seeds.
Increases the intake of soluble fiber. They can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream and are found in foods such as oats, dried beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.
Try a dietary supplement. To maintain a healthy cholesterol level, you can take, for example, a supplement based on red rice yeast and vitamin E.
Exercise most days of the week
Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity contributes to the increase of good cholesterol (HDL). It is recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week.
Any type of exercise, even at short intervals several times a day, is useful: a quick walk every day during the lunch break, cycling to work, gardening.
Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits appear quickly: the heart rate stabilizes the very day after you quit smoking, and within three months of quitting, blood circulation and lung function begin to improve. Within one year of quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.
It tends to a normal weight
Even a few extra pounds contribute to high cholesterol. You can lose a few pounds by making small changes in daily habits. If you drink sour juices, replace them with water and mint leaves or lemon juice. If you are used to eating candy, replace it with jellies. Instead of milk chocolate and cream, choose dark chocolate. Look for ways to Incorporate more movement into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
Drink alcohol only in moderation
If you are used to drinking alcohol, be moderate. For healthy adults, this means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men over the age of 65 and up to two drinks a day for men up to the age of 65. Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.
If lifestyle changes are not enough, and your doctor recommends medications to help lower your cholesterol, take them as prescribed, but do not give up healthy lifestyles, because by keeping them, you can keep your dose of medication. low.