Let’s start by saying this, Cholesterol is not that demon it’s been made out to be. In fact, your Liver produces about 85% of the cholesterol in your body which has many vital functions. Cholesterol serves three main purposes:
- It aids in the production of sex hormones.
- It’s a building block for human tissues.
- It assists in bile production in the liver.
Cholesterol is measured in two parts HDL (high-density lipids – the one we like) and LDL (low-density lipids – the one that is less beneficial) that are carried throughout the body in the blood by lipoproteins, which are compounds made of fat and protein.
LDL is often associated with the build-up of plaque and hardening of the arteries, so we like to keep that at 100 or lower. HDL helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
In fact, HDL aids in the removal of LDL from the arteries. It carries the bad cholesterol back to the liver, where it’s broken down and eliminated from the body. Think of it as the good Monounsaturated fats or oil we eat like Olive Oil or Avocado Oil.
Higher levels of HDL protect against stroke and heart attack, while low HDL has been shown to increase those risks. So as you can see looking at Cholesterol as bad is not telling you the whole story.
We like to see total Cholesterol in the 220 range, although the latest medical number wants you to be at 200. We believe that number was adjusted just to get more people on statin medications, but let’s not go there right now. Let’s just say, we’ve been fine at 220-240 for a long time, and that over 240 or 250 is a number we want to bring down a bit.
Here’s where a lot of people get confused. Many medical recommendations tell us to eat foods low in cholesterol and fats when actually that is not the problem. Remember only 15% of our cholesterol comes from food.
Typically, the problem is your body is overproducing cholesterol to deal with inflammation in the body, which is often caused by high insulin. This insulin is being produced as a result of eating too many high sugar carbs or processed foods. This is not always the case, but often your body’s cholesterol is high because it’s been trying to put out the fires caused by a low (good) fat and protein diet, and dealing with too many carbs that spike your insulin levels due to their high glycemic index.
So, our recommendation is to first look closely at your diet and get a blood test that tells you your insulin levels and your A1C (which is your blood sugar level for the past 3 months).
By knowing your numbers, you can draw a conclusion that your cholesterol is a result so fighting these high insulin and blood sugar levels. You could however have blood sugar or triglycerides are at a good number and still have high cholesterol, but it is rare.
A healthy diet along with exercise is the key to reducing your cholesterol numbers, and it is absolutely possible no matter where you are on the chart.