You may remember my post ‘You are what you eat’. My carer was diagnosed with high cholesterol a few weeks ago and is trying to reduce the cholesterol and lose weight.
I decided to get my cholesterol checked by my doctor; as I do far less exercise and probably eat a lot more than my carer.
I was surprised to find it was ‘OK’; although my BMI was high and I am categorised as overweight. My question is, How can this be? We both eat the same meals?
Our bodies burn up calories differently. Some people are more likely than others to have high cholesterol. This can be for a number of reasons, which do not necessarily relate directly to the food they eat.
Between us we have learnt a lot about reducing cholesterol. It isn’t as straightforward as I had first thought.
Learning about the different types of fat, such as saturated and unsaturated fats has been tricky, when trying to select food. Also good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Butter or its equivalents was very confusing. Fat spreads are high in saturated fat but some contain plant sterols which help to reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. They work by blocking some cholesterol being absorbed into the blood stream from the gut.
The British Heart Foundation has produced some guidance about food labelling which is really useful when choosing healthy food.
In a nutshell it really means eating a healthy balanced diet which is low in saturated fats.
Losing weight and lowering cholesterol are two different things, but combined you can do both by cutting out food high in fat and saturated fat.
So far I have good and bad news; the good news is…..
My carer has managed to lose almost all the weight required in roughly two weeks. I asked ‘What’s your secret to this amazing weight loss?’ Apparently not eating unhealthy snacks throughout the day. If you feel hungry substitute the unhealthy food with different types of fruit. Most drinks are OK, as they contain no fat/calories and having a drink rather than food can help to make the stomach feel full. Also cutting out cake and biscuits which pile on the pounds.
My results so far are less encouraging, I have only lost 2 lbs in about two weeks. Having fibromyalgia I think it’s harder to stick to a diet. I have cut back drastically on snacks now and we longer eat cake for tea. Both of which were piling on the pounds and are full of saturated fats. I’ve stopped eating cheese, only cottage cheese. But chocolate, my favourite snack I’m still eating. Dark chocolate is better; so I have a small piece at a time.
The good news for me is, I have noticed I’m not wanting to eat as much or eat as many snacks. My clothes are also a lot looser around the waist! I’m taking it slower losing the weight and hopefully I will be able to stick with it.
If you want to find out about high cholesterol the NHS website has more information.
Another site that has a lot of facts about reducing cholesterol is Heart UK .
I also came across an interesting article by Dr Axe an American clinical nutritionist about reducing cholesterol naturally without using statins.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions about this please let me know. It would be great to share others experiences.