Monday, July 21, 2014

HDL and LDL Cholesterol

What is the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol and how to increase the good and decrease the bad.


Circulates in the blood stream and binds free cholesterol to itself. Carries that cholesterol back to the liver where it is used for other functions.  Without HDL cholesterol, free cholesterol would stay in the blood where it could attach to arteries and cause blockage and/or disease.

HDL cholesterol also helps remove cholesterol from the blood which leads to less buildup of plaque and also removes cholesterol from the arterial wall.  High HDL is associated with lower risk for precursors to heart disease.

HDL can be increased by replacing saturated fats and trans-fats with monounsaturated and following a low fat (25%-35% of total calories) diet.


Saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol the most (should be less than 7% of total calories).  Trans fats also raise LDL cholesterol.  Replacing SFA with MUFA and PUFA decreases LDL cholesterol.

LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to other tissues of the body.  When LDL circulates in the blood for too long it can cause inflammation of the arties which causes precursors to CVD.

Eating foods high in antioxidants (especially vitamins C, E, and Beta-carotene) can prevent LDL cholesterol form causes inflammation of the arteries which leads to CVD.

Margarine spreads that are fortified with plant sterols and stanols have the potential to decrease LDL and total cholesterol quite significantly.  Substituting a product like Smart Balance Heart Right margarine spread could significantly reduce cholesterol levels if substituted for margarines with high saturated and trans-fats or butter. Of course, more does not mean better so use these spreads modestly and also in accordance with a healthy calorie intake.

Weight loss in overweight individuals may be the number 1 way to decrease LDL and total cholesterol because of the wide range of benefits it has on the entire body.

LDL can be modestly-greatly reduced by having a high soluble fiber intake (because soluble fiber stops cholesterol from being produced and also causes bile acids, which are made from cholesterol, to be excreted, which leads to more cholesterol being used to make bile acids which means that there is not as much cholesterol to circulate through the blood) during digestion and allows it to be excreted rather than absorbed.

Check out my video on my Transformation from fat to muscular!