Refined carbohydrates and sugar upset cholesterol metabolism and increase blood cholesterol levels. When whole grains are refined, the ban (skin) is removed. Bran has been found to therapeutically lower cholesterol levels. It influences the amount of chenodeoxycholic acid, a natural bile acid that lowers cholesterol (and dissolves gallstones!).
Diet remains the single most causative factor in high cholesterol. Sugar not only increases triglycerides, but it also affects platelet adhesiveness leading to heart disease (number one killer in developed nations), elevates uric acid levels, and blood pressure.
Firstly, let's understand that cholesterol is not the "bad guy." We need cholesterol to ensure proper cell membrane function, in fact cholesterol is embedded into the cell membrane structure of every cell in your body to assist in the transport of other molecules. From cholesterol, the liver makes bile acids which are vital in the digestion and absorption of fats, oils, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Very important hormones like testosterone and estrogen amongst other sex hormones, adrenal corticosteroids such as aldosterone and cortisol and vitamin D are made from cholesterol. The skin uses cholesterol to protect against the wear and tear from the sun, wind, and water helps damaged skin to heal and prevents infections from foreign agents. Cholesterol also acts as an antioxidant, when needed, and protects us from certain cancers. Without cholesterol, we would die, too little is implicated in many disease states.
The body makes enough cholesterol for the entire body from fruit sugar, proteins, and essential fatty acids. Our cells make the cholesterol it needs for daily needs.
There is no such thing as "bad" cholesterol and "good" cholesterol, it is all good. LDL's, the so-called "bad" cholesterol is just as important as the HDL, or so-called "good" cholesterol. LDL's carry cholesterol, triglycerides, and fat-soluble vitamins to cells where they are needed. HDL's take them back to the liver as required. The correlation of bad and good exists because a high LDL reading simply means that our system is being overloaded by cholesterol either from food, from abnormally high synthesis, and/or from too slow removal. It does not necessarily mean we are at a greater risk of heart disease or stroke.
People in many other cultures consume far more cholesterol than we do and have far less heart disease. For example, the Masai consume mostly meat, blood, and milk, up to 2,000 mg of cholesterol a day, yet maintain a 3.5 mmol/l serum cholesterol and have a low incidence of heart disease.
Drugs that lower cholesterol do not statistically lower heart attacks or deaths from atherosclerosis (heart disease). Before you add medications to your diet, try changing your diet first. A registered dietitian can help you boost your liver and gallbladder to open up the channels of communication between your cholesterol processing organs to help you effectively lower cholesterol.
To your health! Raquel Lopez RDN LDN