Cutting Carbs, Not Fat, May Be Best for Cholesterol Levels

When a doctor tells someone to watch their cholesterol levels, the first thing most people do is make changes to their diet. It makes sense. While 75 percent of our cholesterol is made by our liver, 25 percent of our cholesterol comes from our diet. Watching what you eat can make a big difference in reaching your cholesterol goals. However, a new study suggests that decades of dietary advice may not be accurate.

People diagnosed with high cholesterol are usually urged to eat less animal protein and avoid all saturated fat. While eating less fat and more vegetables is good advice for everyone, it might not be the best route for people with cholesterol concerns. New research suggests that cutting out carbohydrates, not fat, could be more beneficial to some people.

People with familial hypercholesterolemia, which causes the body to have a hard time clearing “bad” cholesterol, are urged to cut out fat. “For the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been told to lower their cholesterol with a low saturated fat diet,” said lead author Dr. David Diamond of the Univ. of South Florida. “Our study showed that a more’ heart healthy’ diet is one low in sugar, not saturated fat.”

That means that a diet closer to keto or Atkins might be the most beneficial. The researchers said that the diet the American Heart Association suggests is best is actually based on a hypothesis that is “antiquated and evidence-free.” This new research backs up another recent study that has been reviewed and published. They suggest that, instead of cutting coconut oil, cheese eggs and beef, people should avoid potatoes, bread and candy.

This doesn’t mean you should shun starchy foods in favor of high-fat foods. It means that you should give the breadbasket a miss and not swear off eggs. As always, a healthy diet is one that you can follow without feeling deprived. You should be able to enjoy a meal out. It’s just that you should adjust your choices about what you enjoy frequently and what you abstain from.

Before making any significant changes to your diet, speak to your doctor who knows your medical history. Discuss this new research and learn whether this might be the right choice for you. New research comes out all the time to help us make better choices. It might be that this find doesn’t actually pertain to your specific health needs. As always, a diet that mostly focuses on healthy fruits and vegetables as a base is your first step. Finding out what to pair those choices with is your next step toward better heart health.
July 10, 2020
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