Cholesterol Dietary Guidelines

23 09 2010
Walk, See, Exercise… A Great Way to Live Life to the Fullest

    Many of today’s adults and children are not only overweight, but outright obese.  During my days as a kid the only obese people I recalled seeing around were adults between the ages of 30 and above.  In contrast, you see obesity and hear about high blood cholesterol as a problem for many more people today.  And much of our ill-health problems are occurring due to the high quantities of consumed processed, fried and baked fast foods.  And hidden within these fast foods there is a lot of saturated and Trans fats.  It is also understood genetic predisposition to the body manufacturing more cholesterol than it needs presents health problems and dietary challenges for many people.  However, the fact is American’s simply get too much fat with cholesterol in their diets that is also causing obesity for our children in epidemic proportions. 

     In an earlier article I wrote “Successful Weight Loss Based in Blood Chemistry Fuel,” In this article I talk about various dietary food fuels, weight management and the effected blood chemistry which includes fats and cholesterol from diet.

      “Doctor’s and Dieticians tell us to limit bad fats “saturated (animal products, meat, eggs, etc.) including Trans fats, which also correlates with bad LDL cholesterol and plaque buildup in the arteries.”  Both of these fats are associated with risk for cardiovascular heart disease.”  (MAE, Successful Weight Loss Based in Blood Chemistry Fuel, Woodard, Feb 24, 2010).

     Tran’s fats can be worse for your health than consuming saturated animal fats.  This is because Tran’s fats are blended “unseen” into the baked-processed foods we consume every day.  This should be obvious to anyone that has been watching our fast food and super market stores grow for the last 30 years.  And as these industries grow so does our population’s weight and health problems.

   “A Trans Fat is simply the process of “man” adding more hydrogen atoms (hydrogenation) to a vegetable oil(s) mono-poly unsaturated fat carbon molecule chains.  The vegetable oil than becomes a “Partially” or fully hydrogenated (fat saturated) Trans Fat.”  (MAE, Trans Fats Dangerous for Your Health?  Deceitfully Yes, Woodard, April 23, 2010)

     And lastly, I provide an article that discusses an obesity problem in epidemic proportions for our children and parents like no other generations have experienced before.  Our processed food industries have saturated the fast food restaurant chains and now impact many more of our family dining establishments throughout our communities. 

     “Remember, processed foods have been preserved with man-made chemicals for long shelf life.  There are now literally thousands of preservatives, food substitutes and imitation ingredients and other additives that have replaced organic foods.  Don’t you find it interesting that when you go into a grocery store, it is required by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) that food ingredient labels require nutritional information be disclosed to the public. But when you go to a restaurant there is no requirement to disclose what ingredients, or what processed-organic foods make up the meal you order.”  (MAE, Restaurant Foods Healthy? Woodard, August 25, 2008).

     And when one looks into the meat of the matter (no pun intended), you’ll see that poor dietary habits, processed foods and increased cholesterol counts are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, they have more of a linear relationship.  If you have bad eating habits that include processed and fast foods, it is “more likely than not” you also have high blood cholesterol and carry more weight than you want.

     In order to keep our cholesterol count under control, it is necessary to follow some dietary guidelines for lowering blood cholesterol and to manage weight.  This does not mean you have to give up foods you enjoy.  Just the opposite, once you become more aware and experience healthy foods, you’ll become just as addictive to the natural and organic flavors as you did with the processed baked good blends and fast foods.  “And of course, I recommend you check with your physician for advisement and treatment if you suffer from high cholesterol and obesity problems, or any form of serious ill-health condition(s).”

     Below the Dietary Guideline Tips and Healthy Food Choices  will show you which foods can help you lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the healthy “good” cholesterol (HDL) count.  Changing dietary habits is one of the first preventative measures you can take against high cholesterol and obesity problems caused by poor diet habits.  Also visit our health repository and use the search box to find other great articles.  In the search box simply enter exercise, fitness, obesity, weight, diet etc., also “walking” as the best form of aerobic fat burning activity.

 Dietary Guideline Tips and Healthy Food Choices,

      1.  Choose Complex Carbohydrates such as starch and fibers over saturated fats.  Breads, pasta, beans, rice, cereal, fruits and vegetables are all good sources of complex carbohydrates and fiber, they are also excellent substitutes for foods high in saturated fats.  The mistake many people make with high carbohydrate diets, they tend to add a lot of butter, cheese, cream, whole milk or rich sauces.  Many of these additives are processed foods that are high in saturated and Tran’s fats that equates to excess calories and cholesterol.

     2.  Eat less dietary cholesterol which appears as a waxy fat-like substance found in all animal products.  A good way to describe animal cholesterols appearance is simply to note how any meat cooked than cooled separates the fat.  Recall frying ground beef and after the meat cools, you see the wax like hardened fat substance coagulated around the meat.  Or if you cook a pot of meat broth, after the broth cools, the fat floats on top and many people ladle the fat off the broth surface top.  This is easily seen and can be extracted from many meat dishes that are cooked.  It is also easy to separate the skin from chicken-turkey and trimming fat off of meat before you cook it.  Note: Separation of fat in this way will not remove all the cholesterol from meat dish, but will make it very “fat lean” with little cholesterol.  This is the way my family prepares our meat and poultry dishes.

     3.  Sources of Unsaturated Fats – Polyunsaturated Fats; when cooking with oils, use: Corn, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, safflower oils.  Mono-saturated; sesame, canola, olive and peanut oil.  Olive oil is my family’s favorite cooking oil for which we use in 95% of all our pan fried dishes.  However, if you cook above sautéing temps, you need to read the Smoke Point of oils and how cooking temperatures can denaturize and remove the healthy properties of vegetable oils, especially olive oil.  Since my family rarely fries dishes, this is not a problem.  (MAE, Best Cooking Oils, Smoke Point is Important Why? Woodard, March 19, 2010).

 Balanced food selections to maintain weight and lowering cholesterol.  This is not an all inclusive list of dietary low cholesterol food choices but a significant listing.

     1.  Meats, poultry and fish – Choose sirloin, chuck, loin and 10% fat ground beef.  If 20% ground beef is chosen, cook, set pan elevated to an angle, push “cooked” beef to the elevated level, leaving bottom of pan clear of meat, fat will settled to low end of pan.  When cooled, separate and remove liquid or waxy appearing fat.  Also choose lean cuts of pork-tenderloin ham and Canadian bacon to diversify as other good lean protein dish choices.  Prior to cooking poultry, remember to remove chicken and turkey skin before/after cooking.  All meat and poultry dishes can be set elevated cooled and skimmed of excess cholesterol fat.  Other good sources of low fat, low cholesterol healthy dishes include fish, shellfish and tuna packed in water.  All wild game such as elk and deer is very lean and a good source of protein.

     2.  Dairy products – Consume low-fat yogurt, skim milk 1%, or low fat -buttermilk, or condensed/dry nonfat milk.  Low-fat cottage cheese, or cheese labeled with  no more than 5-7g of fat/oz are preferred over High fat cheeses, i.e., cream cheese, processed, or cheddar, Brie, Swiss, blue, American.  If recipes call for soups, cream soups made with nonfat/1% milk is okay infrequently.

     3.  Eggs – Eat no more than 3 eggs per week.  Otherwise, remove egg yolk and consume egg white.  You can also purchase cholesterol-free egg substitutes.

     4.  Breads, pasta, rice, dried peas, beans and cereals – Eat Granola-type cereals, hot and most dried cold cereals are okay.  Plain pastas and rice (white, brown, or wild) prepared with low-fat cream, butter or cheese sauces is okay.  Beans, “split-black-eye peas,” kidney beans, navy, black garbanzo, lentils, soybean, vegetarian refried bean and tofu all good choices seasoned to taste (light on the table salt).  Breads – Whole grain wheat “I prefer” over white, pumpernickel, rye, English muffins, rice crackers.

     5.  Fruits and vegetables – All fresh fruits, vegetables, juice concentrates are good in promoting a low cholesterol and high dietary fiber diet.  Exception: Beware, over consumption of olives and avocados have a high fat content so use sparingly.

     6.  Sweets & Other Snacks– Granola bars, frozen desserts; sherbet, low-fat yogurt, juice bars, popsicle’s, fig bars, gingersnaps, jello, fresh fruit, honey are all good sweet treats.  Angel food cake, homemade cookies, pies are fine, using Unsaturated oils sparingly.  Avoid cooking these baked goods with lard, shortening or Tran’s fat oil substitutes.  See “oils and smoke point” link above for healthy baking recommendations.  Other healthy choice snacks:  Crackers, breadsticks, saltines, pretzels, graham crackers, popcorn, rye krisp, matzo, Melba toast, corn tortillas.

     7.  Beverages – Consume nonfat beverages such as coffee, tea and decaffeinated carbonated drinks without artificial sweeteners.  Juices made of concentrate are healthy, and of course drink plenty of water.  Avoid high fat drinks such as milkshakes and eggnog.  Also read the following article pertaining to alcohol.

       “There is only one type of alcoholic beverage science has documented having a health benefit with moderate consumption… Red wine, “one to two 5 oz glasses with the evening meal.  The “Resveratrol” found in the red grape skin and seed has proven to increase HDL and lower cholesterol, antioxidant benefits, prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, assist digestion and prevent plaque from forming on the artery walls [“If you would like to receive healthy heart benefits, with all the other benefits listed without the alcohol, “seek our “affiliate” Purity Products Patent Grape Extract Formula“].”  (MAE, Alcohol Consumption Good, or Bad for your Body? Woodard, September 25, 2008).

     Fast food restaurants should be avoided if weight management and cholesterol presents health problems.  However if you must eat out… Salads, broiled/grilled meat, fish, seafood, or chicken, vegetables, fruits, sandwiches, hamburgers without cheese and light on mayonnaise are okay.  Avoid the fried, breaded and vegetable/fries (fried foods).  Also avoid fast food breakfast sandwiches and ordering “super” or “extra” portions.  (See “Restaurant Foods Healthy” link above.).

     A rule of thumb I apply to myself.  Never eat out more that once every other week.  And if you eat out with family, choose a restaurant that you know prepares healthy foods; or you can make food choices without processed canned ingredients included in the meal.  Stay away from fried foods and avoid fattening desserts.  Another tip, if you take your time and allow your stomach and brain to register what you put into your stomach, you simply will not want the dessert.  All too often, we get our foods, eat them within 15-20 minutes and then order dessert.  How many times have you experienced the following scenario?  By the time the dessert comes, you realize your full, but can’t resist eating the dessert once it arrives.  Many of these desserts, regardless of dining establishment are loaded with fat calories and cholesterol.  My model is to avoid this temptation and learn to bake your own healthy deserts at home.

     I’m very conscientious of these dietary guidelines and tips I’ve provided to you.  However, to be honest, I don’t always follow them to the letter, but instead am more aware of what to avoid while moderating my consumption habits.  In the long run I’ve been able to reduce weight and maintain good cholesterol counts without feeling I’ve given up anything.  I also have a greater appreciation for how good food in its natural form tastes.  Once you cut out fast-processed foods from your diet and replace them with healthy food choices you’ll begin to physically and mentally feel better.  In fact, you’ll begin to crave more organic foods and question why you succumbed to harmful processed foods.  At this point, many open their eyes to the world around them without question of what’s causing our nation’s obesity and ill-health epidemic.

Special Thanks to Providence Medical Group, Portland OR for dietary informational food choices.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com





Why Should You be Concerned about Triglycerides?

25 10 2008

Q.   What are Triglycerides, should I be concerned?   I received my blood test last week and my triglyceride count was 184.  I was told this is average for my age.  I also had another friend of mine tell me this is high.  I’m not sure I understand what this means to my health.  Can you help provide a little insight?

A.    In a world where everyone is pinched for time; meal preparations within most family units now rely heavily on processed foods for convenience.  Our country has an obesity epidemic in mass proportions occurring especially seen within our children.  It is my opinion triglycerides should be as concerning to an individual that watches their cholesterol intake.  If you are concerned about your cholesterol also take stock of your triglyceride count.   Before I answer your question directly, let me provide a brief outline of what triglycerides represent to our health and why we should care about them.

Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood much like cholesterol.   Neither one of these fats can dissolve in the blood.  Both fats use lipoproteins to circulate these fats throughout the body to be used by the metabolism.  Cholesterol function is to build cells and various hormones.  Triglyceride function is to provide the body with energy.   However, too much (high levels) of either of these blood fats for long periods of time create health risk and disease.  High triglycerides like cholesterol is thought to cause, or contribute to hardening of the arteries, or increasing the artery wall thickness (atherosclerosis).  Most of us know these conditions can lead to stroke, heart attack and heart disease.  High triglycerides also may trigger diabetes,  or create disease in the thyroid, liver and kidney.  Suspect you may have high triglyceride levels in your blood if you have too much fat around the waist.  “More often than not,” obesity and disease have a direct correlation with high triglycerides, high cholesterol, High blood sugar (glucose) and high blood pressure.  Check your “health risk” to potential disease by entering your weight/height into our fitness calculator at our healthblog page tab (click on the Fitness Calculator Link).

Without a blood test to indicate your level of triglycerides, one may suspect an elevation of the two blood fats if you typically over consume without regard to food intake.  This is not to say one consumes more, or less fatty, or cholesterol type foods.  Blood counts could be inverted.  In other words, you may watch your cholesterol, but because of other food choices, or hormone inefficiencies, consumption of triglycerides in your foods, or hormones don’t store blood fats adequately which can create a constant elevation of  triglycerides above normal levels (hypertriglyceridemia).

Although I believe your triglyceride levels appear decent opposed to many other counts I have seen, the normal level within the medical community sees a normal triglyceride level to be less than 150mg/dl.   Your count of 184 is considered “Borderline High 150 to 199 mg/dl.  High 200 to 499mg/dl, Very High 500mg/dl or above. Note:  Prescriptions can elevate your triglyceride levels, such as birth control pills, diuretics, steroids and breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, etc. 

 RECOMMENDATIONS:

 1.  Maintain “Ideal Body Weight,” Use our Fitness Calculator at home site to determine your IBW.

2.  Reduce excess calorie consumption, especially baked goods, processed foods, sugar, white flour. 

3.  Reduce trans fats found in many baked goods, cooking, crackers, chips, snack cakes etc.  Note – Just because a product states low trans fat there is still trans fat in most of these types of foods!  Even low level trans fat consumption could increase risk of disease.

4.  Avoid Alcohol.

5.  Exercise aerobically at least 30 minutes daily.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2008 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.