Thursday, March 29, 2007

HDL and Carbohydrates

I think I eat a lot of carbohydrates, so you can imagine my consternation when I read that eating carbs causes a reduction in HDL, the ‘good’ cholesterol. I could not imagine giving up pasta or any other carbs for that matter. Yet I wanted to increase my HDL, because it is supposed to help fight heart disease and clogged arteries. This article, however, says that eating carbs may not be a problem after all. Sure, they still lower HDL, but according to the article “lower HDL probably means less HDL is needed to remove cholesterol from peripheral tissues.”

I don’t know about all that, but I do feel somewhat better having read the above article. Here is another article that credits a low fat, high carb diet with a 12% reduction in overall risk of cardiovascular disease compared with the average American diet. That looks good. And besides, these diets do not exist in a vacuum. For example, if I exercise for an hour per day, that has a beneficial effect on my HDL level, doesn’t it? And certain foods in my diet also have a similar effect, not to mention taking niacin. So even though HDL levels may fall under certain circumstances, they also rise under certain other circumstances.

There are a lot of articles out there that talk about raising HDL or reducing LDL. Here is one article on boosting your HDL levels. Here is an article on food and cholesterol.

The Mediterranean Diet is supposed to be very healthy, but it contains a significant amount of carbs. (Can you imagine Italians not eating pasta or pizza? Give me a break.) Some other diets are not intrinsically unhealthy. For example, can you imagine billions of people in Asia not eating rice?

This article says “a healthy diet should consist of approximately 60% carbohydrates.” That sounds good. I think I will stop worrying. We need carbs. And besides, what are my options, start eating meat again? That is not going to happen. So I will just enjoy my meals with pasta or rice or bread and do all I can, aside from that, to live a healthy lifestyle, with exercise and stress reduction. That is all I can do, at least for now.

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1 comment:

Raggedy said...

Great post and links.
Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one