Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Cholesterol is not fat, but does act in connection with fats in the body. Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that gets into your bloodstream in several ways. The liver and the intestines can manufacture it. Or, it can enter the body through the foods you eat. Cholesterol is found in animal products such as fatty red meats, egg yolks and whole dairy products.
When the body contains too much cholesterol, the cholesterol deposits itself on the walls of your arteries, which causes them to close down or clog completely.
The amount of cholesterol consumed in a day should not exceed 300 milligrams according to Canada and most of Europe.
The U.S. and some other countries believe it should be 200 or lower.
US and other countries
- Below 200 mg/dL – Desirable.
- 200-239 mg/dL – Borderline high.
- 240 mg/dL and above – High.
Canada and most of Europe
- Below 5.2 mmol/L – Desirable.
- 5.2-6.2 mmol/L – Borderline high.
- Above 6.2 mmol/L – High.
Stat source: Mayo Clinic
The body makes two types of cholesterol:
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein) the good.
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) the bad.
HDL is good because it sweeps cholesterol from the arteries and carries it back to the liver, where it is reprocessed or eliminated. LDL is bad because it is deposited into the arteries. In addition, saturated fat is bad because it raises the level of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. This makes you more susceptible to clogged arteries. By contrast, unsaturated fat is thought to help prevent heart and vessel disease.
Researchers and experts believe unsaturated fats work to lower the amount of bad cholesterol. They may even help raise the level of good (HDL) cholesterol. But this is not a free ride to go nuts on fat. What this information tells you is why unsaturated fats are recommended over saturated fats.
Because you or someone you love has diabetes, your doctor will recommend certain tests. S/he will want to check your HDLs and LDLs. HDLs should be over 35mg/dl and LDLs under 130mg/dl.
Triglycerides, a type of storage fat in your body, needs to be checked as well. High blood sugar can raise the amount of triglycerides in your body. To reduce triglycerides one needs to lower their intake of carbohydrates, shed any extra pounds, avoid alcohol and exercise regularly.
Diabetics are more likely to have problems with HDL and LDL levels, as well as triglycerides, which increases the threat of heart and artery disease. This is why it is important you understand their role in your dietary needs.