Do you have high cholesterol and have tried everything you’ve been told to lower it – eat less cholesterol-rich foods, eat less saturated fat, exercise more? Are you doing all you think you can and yet the numbers won’t budge? Is your doctor starting to talk about cholesterol lowering medications?
Stop before heading down the prescription path. Did you know that the amount of sugar you eat is directly related to your cholesterol levels? In fact, those who consume less than 5% of their calories from sugar have healthy levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol, total. However, those who eat more than 15% of their calories from sugar have higher levels of total cholesterol and unhealthy levels of HDL, the good cholesterol.
It’s recommended that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day and men keep it under 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. That may sound like a lot, but your average can of soda contains about 11 teaspoons of sugar. To determine the number of teaspoons in your soda, cereal, juice, or cookies, divide the grams of sugar by 4. For example, a soda with 44 grams of sugar, divided by 4, comes out to 11 teaspoons of sugar. Shocking!
Over the past 40 years, our average sugar consumption has gone from 10.6% in the 1970s to 15.8% in 2012. During this time, our cholesterol levels, along with diabetes, obesity rates, heart disease, and cancer rates, have gone up as well. The problem is portion control, the amount of packaged/processed foods we tend to consume and the amount of sugar that’s added to those products. Pick up a loaf of bread – yes bread – and you will see sugar in the ingredients list – who knew! If you make homemade bread, rarely will you see sugar in the ingredients list, unless of course you are making sweet breads. Yeast-based bread for sandwiches traditionally do not contain added sugars, but take a look at the grocery store bread aisle and you will find sugar added to most loaves of sandwich bread. Read other labels of foods you typically buy and you will see sugar in unsuspected places like soups, sauces, salsa, canned goods, processed meats, crackers, and salad dressings.
Are you ready to make positive changes to lower your cholesterol but don’t know where to start? You can get nutritional counseling from an expert, such as a Health Coach who can show you how to lower your cholesterol with proven techniques you can use for a lifetime!
Start by making small changes:
- Read more labels and eat foods with less added sugars.
- Eat more veggies and even roast them for naturally sweet flavors.
- Add more whole grains and start to crowd out the refined and white flour grains.
- Use smaller amounts of sugar in your coffee and tea.
- Create meals that rely less on packaged products that contain a lot of added sugars.
- Make your own sauces for stir fries, marinades for grilling, and salad dressings.
- Scale back on sweetened beverages: soda, coffee drinks, juices.
- Drink more water to hydrate to help cleanse your body.