Cholesterol

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Jan 2021
9:21pm, 17 Jan 2021
5,629 posts
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Surrey Phil
My last blood test was a couple of years ago and I got a 5.1 score. GP said that I did not need to change anything.

I think with lockdown, I have not exercised as much as I would usually walk two miles a day as part of my commute. An autumnal injury also meant me not running for a couple of months. Over the past few weeks, my chest has become uncomfortable although I have been able to return to running short distances and take my daughter for long walks in her wheelchair.

I have decided to cut back on cheese (a personal favourite) as well as sausages. Those aside, my diet is pretty OK. My wife must stop making fairy cakes!
19 Feb
4:03pm, 19 Feb 2024
30,183 posts
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fetcheveryone
Just bumping this thread. It hasn't been posted on since 2021, but I bet there are plenty of readers still dealing with cholesterol.

I had a blood test for an annual review of my blood pressure meds, and have been told that my 'bad' cholesterol is up from 2.51 to 3.45. In conjunction with my blood pressure, the doctor felt that this was an indication that we should take some sort of action. I have a Q score of 4 apparently.

I was offered (a) statins, or (b) the opportunity to improve my diet to see how this would impact on my cholesterol with a follow-up blood test in six months time. Knowing what I do about my eating habits over the last year, I've gone with (b).

My focus has been on reducing saturated fat, but the information out there feels a bit confusing at times. I've switched from real butter to Flora Light (is that a good thing? It's definitely lower in saturated fat, but is it all smoke and mirrors?); I've given up snacking on cheddar and crackers; ditto for biscuits; and ditto for crisps. I've also been counting my alcohol units, and in the last two weeks, I've had 10 units per week. I only tend to have meat a couple of times a fortnight, and I'm trying to increase my vegetable intake. In that fortnight, my saturated fat only went above 30g in a day on one occasion, when we had fish and chips - but most times it's mid-20s, and on some days it's less than 10g.

I've lost about 5lbs in that time, which is an encouraging side-effect that will hopefully help with the focus, but I want to make sure I am doing the best things.

Stuff like eggs and cashews - I find the messages confusing. I could really do with there being one reference that I could turn to for advice on what I should (a) cut out, (b) limit, or (c) eat more of.

Hoping there are still a few people following this thread :-)
20 Feb
1:56am, 20 Feb 2024
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Jenelopy
It sounds like you've made some big positive changes, well done :)

I'm not a medical Dr, so totally unqualified to answer, but this is the internet, so I will anyway! I've read about this a fair amount as I have a family history of high cholesterol. My understanding is that animal based saturated fat is bad (especially meat and butter), but I am biased as I'm mostly vegan! I believe that eggs in moderation are fine, as the cholesterol in the eggs doesn't affect your cholesterol levels.

I've also read that a high intake of sugar can raise bad cholesterol levels (https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/sugary-drinks-may-raise-levels-of-unhealthy-blood-fats).

There are quite a few Zoe Science and Nutrition Podcasts about fat, cholesterol and so on, featuring a few different experts which may be worth a listen?

Hopefully someone properly qualified will chip in with more accurate knowledge!
20 Feb
1:03pm, 20 Feb 2024
30,187 posts
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fetcheveryone
Thanks Jenelopy.

I've heard similar stuff about eggs, so I think I'll include a few in my weekly intake.

Sugar-wise, I'm staying away from sugary drinks, and don't have it in hot drinks.

I'll have a look at some podcasts, and see what I can find out :-)
20 Feb
1:52pm, 20 Feb 2024
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cackleberry
Put on your tin foil hats folks, but my understanding around cholesterol is that they (they being the researchers back in the day, probably 50's) decided it was bad because they feed lard to rabbits in a lab and funnily enough the rabbits died. When they examined them, they were full of fat and cholesterol.

Rabbits are not designed to eat animals fats, so of course, feeding them lard made them sick and die.

We need cholesterol in our bodies as it helps to regulate our cell membranes form and function. Without it, we melt.

That said, my dad was in the same boat, he swapped to either Flora or Benecol spread (instead of butter) and one of those daily drink things and gave the statins a big swerve. Statins are really bad for you!
He still eats pie and chips regularly, along with cake and fried egg butties and his cholesterol is fine.

(goes back into the weird corner...)
20 Feb
5:35pm, 20 Feb 2024
48,749 posts
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DocM
entertaining anecdote time: i had a patient (some 25 or more years ago) who tried all the then available pills for cholesterol, struggled with the side effects and had no improvement in her cholesterol. She then was told to have half a walnut a day by a friend and bingo success. Also one for the weird corner but I can think of worse things.
20 Feb
5:36pm, 20 Feb 2024
48,750 posts
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DocM
Anyway I would also direct you to some of the Zoe podcasts as the is a lot of debunking of myths among them.
20 Feb
6:08pm, 20 Feb 2024
48,752 posts
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DocM
zoe.com here is one to start you off
20 Feb
8:36pm, 20 Feb 2024
186 posts
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Charlesvdw
The "we need cholesterol in our body" is bullshit. Yes we do have cholesterol in our cell membranes and we use cholesterol to produce hormones but we never have too low cholesterol. So no need to eat unhealthy in order to raise your cholesterol levels because our body "needs" cholesterol.

Cholesterol is mainly produced in the liver. The level of production is influenced by genes and by nutrition.

Some people have very very low cholesterol due to a genetic condition. These people experience no side effects caused by low cholesterol, apart from extreme longevity.
See: health.harvard.edu

@fetcheveryone: you're reducing animal fats, snacks, sugar and alcohol: great. Not only good for your cholesterol but also for your general health.
You may want to increase your intake of soy, fibre, olive oil, vegetables, oats, nuts and stuff like that.

Restricting eggs is not really necessary since cholesterol levels are not influenced by cholesterol intake.
20 Feb
10:28pm, 20 Feb 2024
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cackleberry
Erm, I never said we needed to eat cholesterol to maintain our cells, just that our cells are made of it. If you had zero cholesterol in your body, your cells would disrupt.
Zero cholesterol is impossible, because, as you point out your body makes it, it does not necessarily come from your diet.

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Just how bad is a level of 6.3. Just had an appointment and mine hasn't gone down at all since Nove...

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