Does Sugar Raise Cholesterol?
The ultimate question for people with high cholesterol is, whether there is a connection between sugar and high cholesterol? There are a lot of factors that go into high cholesterol and ways to combat the side effects as well. Learning about dietary guidelines is one of them. Learn what cholesterol is and how to control it. Also, learn how sugar dictates your overall health. Now let's get into what cholesterol is.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood. The body needs to function properly, but too much cholesterol can be harmful. High cholesterol can cause chest pain, heart disease, and stroke. Sugar does not directly raise cholesterol but can contribute to weight gain, leading to high cholesterol. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet to keep cholesterol levels under control.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, talk to your doctor. They can perform a blood test to check for high cholesterol and make treatment recommendations. Treatment may include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, nutraceuticals, or medication. These changes can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.
The bottom line is that sugar does not directly raise cholesterol but can contribute to weight gain and other health problems leading to high cholesterol. Therefore, eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight are important to keep your cholesterol levels under control.
Why does sugar intake raise cholesterol?
The symptoms of high cholesterol are often silent, which is why it's important to get your cholesterol checked regularly. A simple blood test can tell you what your cholesterol levels are. If your cholesterol is high, there's too much LDL (low-density lipoprotein) in your blood. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the "bad" cholesterol that can build up in your arteries and lead to heart disease.
When you eat foods high in sugar, your blood sugar levels go up, and this causes your body to make more LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Too much sugar can raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease.
Someone with a sweet tooth may develop more "bad" cholesterol than someone who sticks to more complex dietary guidelines. Another thing you have to worry about while watching your cholesterol levels is keeping an eye on your blood glucose levels. In line with keeping your heart healthy, this means avoiding eating sugar.
Obtaining a sugary diet gives you an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Sugar and cholesterol go hand in hand, especially when it comes down to heart health. This is also a one-way ticket to high blood pressure. Avoid refined sugar and refined carbohydrates when you can. The best way to consume sugar with your diet is with fresh fruit. Take it a step further and find the fresh fruit that is good for your heart. Limit sugar and health complications all in one.
High fructose corn syrup.
There is no definitive answer to this question. Some studies suggest that sugar may contribute to higher cholesterol levels, while other studies are inconclusive. However, it is worth noting that sugar - particularly high fructose corn syrup - can significantly impact blood sugar levels. For people with diabetes or prediabetes, this can be a serious concern. If you have high cholesterol, it is important to work with your healthcare provider to determine appropriate dietary changes.
Some research suggests that sugar consumption may lead to higher cholesterol levels. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who consumed 25% or more of their calories from sugar had significantly higher levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) than those who consumed less sugar. However, it's important to note that this study did not prove that sugar affects cholesterol levels. High blood sugar levels increase the body’s need for insulin. Insulin can increase cholesterol levels.
Saturated fats are a type of fat that can raise your cholesterol levels. They're found in animal products such as butter, cheese, and red meat. You can also find them in plant-based foods, such as coconut and palm oil. Eating too much-saturated fat can cause symptoms like weight gain, heart disease, and stroke.
Sugar may indirectly affect cholesterol levels. However, it is often consumed in large amounts alongside other foods that do raise cholesterol levels, such as saturated fats. Saturated fats are found in animal products, such as meat and dairy, and they can also be found in some plant-based oils, such as coconut oil. Consuming too much-saturated fat can increase LDL cholesterol, which is the "bad" type of cholesterol, and this can put you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
What is High-Density Lipoprotein?
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a type of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is often called "good" because it helps remove other types of cholesterol from your arteries. It takes the extra LDL cholesterol back to your liver to be eliminated. A high level of HDL cholesterol (>60mg/dL) can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
What is Low-Density Lipoprotein?
Low-density lipoprotein is the type of cholesterol that is considered “bad.” It is associated with cardiovascular disease. Newer research has shown that a specific type of LDL, called Apolipoprotein B is the form of LDL that is more closely associated with cardiovascular disease risk.
Most people with elevated cholesterol do not know it unless they see their doctor for routine blood tests. However, the longer your cholesterol is elevated, the greater the chance you may develop atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, or vascular disease.
As these diseases progress, you may develop different symptoms that are associated with high levels of cholesterol. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms indicate that you may have blood flow restriction to certain areas of your body, which can be an emergency. You don't want your LDL levels to spike since it can prevent the blood flow from being smooth and lead to serious complications.
A simple blood test can determine if your cholesterol levels are high, and treatment for high cholesterol typically involves lifestyle changes and medication.
Making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can help reduce your cholesterol levels. With the proper nutrition, food can provide many beneficial phytonutrients. A Mediterranean-focused diet that includes lots of vegetables, lean meats and fish, complex carbohydrates, and some fruits has been shown to be very beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Increasing your movement throughout the day through walks, trying to stand instead of sit, cardiovascular exercise, and strength training are also key to healthy cholesterol levels. In some cases, it may be necessary to talk with your doctor to discuss medications. Different cholesterol-lowering medications are available, and your doctor will work with you to determine the best medication for you based on your individual needs.
Your lifestyle needs to change to make a difference in your cholesterol. Avoid too much of any food, such as excess sugar, fruit juice, alcohol, or crash diets. Think about talking to a health coach; who can assist with overcoming hurdles to making lifestyle changes.
Check Out Index Health.
We don't believe medical care should be a mystery to the patient. We're here with you every step to understand our process and the reasoning behind your treatment.
We dedicate time to understanding your genetics, history, lifestyle, and goals. Combined with advanced lab tests, our functional medicine approach gives you in-depth information about your health and body.
We identify and address the root cause of disease and plan for prevention and long-term health using functional medicine-based changes in nutrition, lifestyle, and targeted supplements.
With proactive 30-60 min functional medicine appointments, primary care, unlimited messaging, and mini-visits, we ensure that you achieve your health goals.
Key Takeaways About Sugar and Cholesterol.
High fructose corn syrup, saturated fats, and low-density lipoprotein are all subjects we addressed throughout this article. There are a lot of risk factors that go into managing your health. Watching your sugar intake, your saturated fat intake, and also managing to lose weight. This article taught you about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).