“I’m trying to lose weight and ‘tone up…And I also want to lower my cholesterol…
Should I be eating a low fat diet and which foods will help me lose weight and lower my cholesterol?”
^^^ A question I get from a lot of ladies on our Fit For Life Programme.
I get it. It’s confusing out there. It seems like they change their mind about butter, eggs and cheese every day.
Forgetting ONE key thing I’m going to share with you today.
So, first things first….There are certain foods which MAY lower your cholesterol.
Here’s 4 ‘cholesterol lowering’ (types of) foods:
1) Oats – they contain beta glucan which can bind to cholesterol and interfere with it’s absorption. 3g of a type of fibre (beta glucan) found in oats per day has been shown to reduce cholesterol
(that’s equivalent to 3 bowls of porridge per day, however…)
2) Unsaturated fats – swapping saturated / trans fats for polyunsaturated, such as oily fish, olive oils and nuts, or monounsaturated fats, such as avocado and olive oils can have cholesterol lowering effects (you could also fry with ‘fry light’ instead of butter / coconut oil)
That said, saturated fats seems to have a neutral effect…so I’m not saying you have to avoid them.
3) Plant sterols and stanols – They are similar in structure to cholesterol so may block the absorption of cholesterol.
They are found in veggies and nuts.
However, you’d probably need to eat a ton of these to get the amount needed for the ‘cholesterol lowering’ effect (hence the yoghurts etc..but even them, you still have to eat quite a bit of the stuff)
4) Soluble fibre – Yep, found in good old fruit, veggies, and pulses like lentils and beans! Your other half won’t thank me for that one…
But are we missing what’s REALLY important here?
Well, the scientists looked at the effect of high fat vs low fat diets on cholesterol levels and found:
* Low fat diets decreased bad (LDL) cholesterol
* High fat diets were superior to low fat diets with respect to good (HDL) cholesterol
^^^ Controversial, right?
Because we now know that your ratio of good (HDL) to bad (LDL) cholesterol is a key indicator in heart disease.
And is perhaps a better indicator than TOTAL CHOLESTEROL…
But there’s more
Weight loss / FAT LOSS through diet and exercise is important
as every kilogram of weight loss is associated with a DECREASE in your bad cholesterol and an INCREASE in your GOOD cholesterol
So, whether you go high fat or low fat…losing fat and ‘toning up’ (which muscle strengthening exercises will help with) appears to be the key
Which brings me back to something I’ve been talking about a lot this week…
Being a bit rough around the edges with your diet.
And it’s why having a flexible approach to your diet that allows you to eat the foods you actually ENJOY..
^^^ Depending on whether you’re in the mood for a carby risotto or a juicy steak (always rare for me)…
Whilst still balancing your total calorie intake
Will probably help you lower your cholesterol MORESO
than just hoping that a few cholesterol lowering yoghurts will do the trick….
Especially as one study found that half of the patients aged 40-54 with ‘normal cholesterol’
still had high risks of heart disease
suggesting that it’s not all about this one number
and that everything from your stress management, exercise habits, eating and sleep
Are probably all things we can look to improve today
no matter how small…
progress is progress.