The Real Cholesterol Number You Should Be Paying Attention To...



I just got home from a nice little walk, and guess what I was thinking about on my walk?


Cholesterol, and more precisely, triglycerides. 


Now I know that sounds really weird, but not really if you know me as a nutritionist. 

I had a couple clients this week come to see me because they have high cholesterol. Their doctors wanted them to see the nutritionist to work on their cholesterol levels. 


When I looked at their numbers, I noticed their HDL was really good. Their LDL was a little elevated, but not out of the park high. The number that was really high was their triglycerides and that is the number that is super connected to our diet. That is the number that really gives us some insight into how we are eating, and how the body is responding to how we are eating.


Triglycerides are fat molecules that are in your bloodstream. If this number is high, this means there's more fat in your blood, and that also means that your liver  is storing fat.  


If you do take a test and you're not fasting and you've eaten, then it could be falsely elevated. But if you are fasting in the morning and it's elevated, then that tells us we have some work to do with your diet. 


When triglycerides are elevated, it means you're eating more carbohydrates, probably simple refined carbohydrates or sugar that your body can’t handle. When you eat carbs, once they leave your digestive tract and go into your bloodstream, they’ll get escorted to your cells. Anything extra will  go to the liver, and the liver will convert the sugar to fat, and store it for later. 

If you have insulin resistance you're also going to have more carbs and glucose going to your liver because the cells are resistant to the sugar and insulin, turning that into fat, creating high triglycerides. 


You want to make sure that you are not overeating carbohydrates that can elevate cholesterol, specifically triglycerides


So you want to make sure, number one, you are not eating too many carbs.


And number two, you want to make sure your body can take in the insulin and glucose, and that they're not insulin resistant so that we can get the most out of our food. 


High triglycerides means a fatty liver, and that is a liver that is sluggish and is not going to be performing as well as it can, for it’s many important jobs in the body. It's going to be slow and sluggish and it's going to be hard to lose weight. 


This is of utmost importance to bring those triglycerides down. 


On a standard lab, they should be under 150. I like to see them under 100. And if I really want to call you an Ultimate Rock star, I love to see them under 70. That reflects low carbohydrate intake, and  good blood sugar control. 

Of course there's a lot you can do to lower this number, but I'm going to keep this simple. 

You've got to watch your sugar intake. Also you've got to watch anything that contains high fructose corn syrup or just fructose. I'm talking refined fructose added to processed foods. 


Eating fruit is fine. I think fruit is wonderful. Eat one to two  servings per day, especially if it's low glycemic. 


Ingesting  things with high fructose corn syrup, found in sodas and processed foods should be avoided.


And it’s important to move your body and exercise. What happens when we exercise is our blood flow increases and it cleanses out and helps clean out the filter of the liver. 


So you want to move and get that cardiovascular system going and flush out that big filter that is your liver as much as you can. OK. So those are today's tips and I think it's a really important one because cholesterol is a big deal, and one that we want to understand so we can take action. 


If you get a diagnosis of high cholestero, there's a lot of medications out there for it, but there is a lot we can do to change it. 


Get out there and move, eat whole foods and bring your sugars down naturally. That's the secret. That's the way in.

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