High Cholesterol Levels: Atkins Diet or Genetics or Both?
A recent study has shown that the Atkins diet may blame some people for high cholesterol levels. The University of California study in San Francisco looked at the effects of the Atkins diet on rats.
The study found that rats on the Atkins diet had significantly higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" kind of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is a significant contributor to heart disease.
Dr. Michael Luskin, the study's principal investigator, stated that the results "raise severe concerns" regarding the safety of the Atkins diet. A high-protein, low-carb diet that has lately gained popularity is the Atkins diet.
It has been promoted as a rapid and efficient method of weight loss. Even though the present study's findings are unquestionably alarming, it's critical to remember that rats, not humans, were utilized in the experiment. It's also important to note that the American Heart Association, which has criticized the Atkins diet, financed the study.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood's fats (lipids). To function effectively, your body requires some cholesterol. However, if your blood contains too much, it may develop plaque by adhering to the artery walls.
Plaque is a buildup of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances in the artery wall that can narrow the street or even block it. This condition is atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein are the two primary kinds of cholesterol (HDL). LDL is frequently regarded as "bad" cholesterol since it promotes plaque development. Given that it helps remove arterial plaque, HDL is sometimes called "good" cholesterol.
Your total cholesterol level is the sum of your HDL and LDL levels. You want your HDL level to be high and your LDL level to be low.
What causes high cholesterol?
Several things can cause high cholesterol, including diet, genetics, and medications.
- Diet: Eating foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol can increase your cholesterol levels.
- Genetics: You may be more prone to have high cholesterol yourself if it runs in your family.
- Medications: Some medications, such as steroids and birth control pills, can increase your cholesterol levels.
The Atkins Diet and cholesterol
It has been demonstrated that the high-protein, low-carb Atkins Diet can reduce cholesterol levels. A recent study showed that the Atkins Diet lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 18% and raises HDL (good) cholesterol by up to 8%.
The Atkins Diet works by reducing the number of carbohydrates in your diet. This forces your body to burn fat for energy, which helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
If you have high cholesterol, genetics may be a factor. However, lifestyle changes like the Atkins Diet can help lower cholesterol levels.
Genetics and cholesterol
Factors, including your diet, genetic makeup, and lifestyle, determine your cholesterol levels. While you can't change your genes, you can make lifestyle changes and choose foods to help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
If you have high cholesterol, working with your healthcare team to develop a plan to lower your numbers is essential. This may include making dietary changes, taking medication, and exercising regularly.
Dietary changes that can help lower cholesterol include:
- Eating more fiber-rich foods.
- Limiting saturated and trans fats.
- Choosing healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.
Adding fish-rich omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can also help reduce cholesterol.
Medication may be necessary if changing your diet isn't enough to lower your cholesterol levels. There are a variety of cholesterol-lowering medicines available, so be sure to talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
Regular exercise is another critical piece of the puzzle regarding lowering cholesterol. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week can help improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
These lifestyle changes can go a long way toward keeping your cholesterol levels in check. Please work with your healthcare team to create a proper plan for you and stick with it for the long haul!
How to lower your cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, there are things you can do to lower it. You can change your diet, exercise more, and take medicine if needed.
The first step in lowering your cholesterol is to eat a healthy diet. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also means eating less saturated and trans fat. Animal goods like butter, cream, and red meat contain saturated fat.
Processed foods like crackers and cookies contain trans fat. You should also avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta. Instead, choose foods that are high in fiber and protein. Good choices include beans, nuts, fish, and lean poultry.
In addition to changing your diet, you need to get more exercise. Exercise helps your body get rid of cholesterol. It also allows you to lose weight, lowering your cholesterol levels.
On most days of the week, try to obtain at least 30 minutes of moderate activity. Walking, swimming, biking, and jogging are all excellent options. If you need to get used to exercising, start slowly and build up gradually.
Your doctor may prescribe medicine if lifestyle changes aren't enough to lower your cholesterol levels. Several different types of medications can help. Statins are a common type of medicine that lowers LDL cholesterol by preventing it from being made in
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to whether diet or genetics is more important regarding high cholesterol. However, it's important to remember that both factors affect your overall risk for heart disease. If you have high cholesterol, speak with your doctor about lowering your risk through lifestyle changes and medication.