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What Causes High Cholesterol?

Learn Which Risk Factors You Can Control


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    It's time to update this article with more recent studies. Several years ago, I went on a low-carb diet, after eating the "normal" American diet of higher carbs.

    Surprise, surprise! - My cholesterol AND my triglycerides went down to normal ranges. After going back to my higher carb (whole grains, not cakes and cookies), both of those levels went back to above normal.

    Since then, I've cut out processed carbs - I still eat oatmeal, veggies and fruit, and occasionally brown rice, but mostly protein. My cholesterol and triglycerides are back in the normal range again.
  • I should have said that my cholesterol went higher after menopause and I know now it is the hormone issue. Have not tried the substitute hormone therapy but it remains a possible alternative.
  • I had borderline high cholesterol until I hit menopause . My Dr,. allowed me to try the 8 week Chiolesterol Cure muffins regimen suggested by Robert Kowalski. Just eating the regimen of oat bran/day lowered me significantly to ok levels. I also am coming to a newer understanding of cholesterol intake in my diet - and do not see all I eat as bad -- the Spark nutrition tracker allows me to track the amount of my cholesterol intake/day and fats and this has helped me to be conscious of being careful. I also appreciate the way I can track this on recipes. I no longer worry if a recipe uses --say - butter or eggs - because if it is only a small amount/serving then I can use it reasonably. I've also learned how to use egg substitute and egg whites and things like that to make all this easier to deal with.
  • I'm still trying to figure this one out..... after 20 years of being vegetarian/vegan, eating 'healthy', and high exercise levels (racquetball, etc), my Dr had to put me on Rx for high (bad) cholesterol levels.

    Ten years later, and 5 years into being a carnivore, including eggs and pork, and lower exercise levels, my Dr took me off the Rx because my cholesterol levels had dropped to normal.

    I'll be very interested what tests results have to say this year when I go in for blood work.

  • There is no question genetics play a role in cholesterol. My mom is tiny as can be, eats only healthy foods and appropriate portions yet her cholesterol is off the charts. Her good cholesterol is particularly high so the doctors just monitor it. She doesn't exercise a lot but she has been a nurse for years which inherently keeps people moving.

    I control mine with Simvistatin. I also have hypothyroidism which increases my predisposition to high cholesterol. Eating a healthy diet, exercising and medication are my best controls. Eggs and the like don't directly impact my or my moms cholesterol levels.

    It all boils down to monitoring, eating right and exercise but sometimes you can't beat the genetics without meds.
  • I agree with WAPFROCKS, and having read "The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease" and feel it's required reading for everyone in the field of health and nutrition. The authors' arguments are staggering!

    science has now determined that Saturated Fat DOES NOT contribute to high cholesterol. The science was skewed to show a correlation that did not in fact exist. The recommendation now is to eat more "bad fat" food and leave the low fat on the shelf. ie full fat yogurt vs the 0 fat varieties.
  • Outdated information, Spark!
  • Even the Egg Council agrees that a certain percentage of the population (25%) IS affected by dietary cholesterol and should limit their intake. I'm one of them and so was my Dad. I can't control what my body makes on its own. That's genetic, but I sure don't have to add to it. Those who make pronouncements like "don't worry about dietary cholesterol" are as misleading as those who used to tell us to avoid it entirely. Figure out how YOUR body works.
    I had slightly high cholesterol but even changing my diet didn’t make a lot of difference.
    My doctor told me that if I couldn’t get it down in a month I would have to take statins. I was dreading that as my brother is on them and gets terrible pain.
    Since I started taking the capsules my cholesterol has gone back to normal again. I’m so relieved.

    I ordered them from
  • Seriously, this article needs to be updated. Current studies show diet has little to nothing to do with cholesterol levels. Please Sparkpeople quit with the dietary cholesterol, fat, etc. connection. It looks like you are pandering to monetary interests.
    I agree with other people who have commented that there have only been 2 ways my cholesterol has ever been elevated. 1. Hypothyroidism/subclinical as my TSH goes up so does my cholesterol levels and will drop when my dose of thyroid meds has been increased. 2. When I went off low carb eating and added some pasta and breads back into my diet. Eliminated the bread and pasta again and my labs next go where back to good levels. In fact one doctor I had told me that she had never seen such good levels. She kept my thyroid in check and I was eating more low carb. Was easier to keep my weight in check also.
    Hi! my name is Lee Garner. I just joined Spark People. I am excited and anxious to get started. I need to lose weight fast because I am experiencing major problems, however I do not know how to get started. For example, how do I find out how many calories I had today? Please help
  • Loved the article.

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