Vegetarian with high cholesterol?

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GabrielC posted on Tue, Apr 14 2009 8:05 PM

Hello All,

I've had type 2 diabetes for about 9 years. I'm 36 years old, 175 lbs., and generally very healthy. My two most recent A1cs have been 6.5 and 6.8, which is great. My cholesterol count two weeks ago was a s follows:

total: 188 mg/Dl
Trigclycerides: 56 mg/Dl
HDL: 70 mg/Dl
LDL: 107 mg/Dl

So, the calculated LDL cholesterol is high (should be under 100). Now, here's the thing: I'm a vegetarian and a very healthy eater, and have been for the past 2 years. I don't eat meat (only fish, about twice a month), and stay away from processed/preserved food. I don't eat junk food at all, and mostly eat fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. I avoid trans fats like the plague, and do not eat dairy products (a bit of cheese here and there). Whenever I use oils, I use olive oil. This is quite baffling and very frustrating, considering that I've taken care of my diet so well. Even though my numbers are not that high, it is still surprising.

Any thoughts? I know each body is different and we all have different makeups, but has anybody experienced this?

Best wishes,

--Gabriel
 

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Ron AKA replied on Tue, Apr 14 2009 8:36 PM

I managed to get my LDL into the 70 range without drugs a few years ago. It required me to get my weight down to a BMI of 22, and a very low fat diet (less than 20 grams per day), and high fiber (more than 30 grams per day). Further I was exercising for 1 hour per day at 80-85% of my maximum heart rate.

On a vegetarian diet, you also have to watch the saturated fats, as some things like palm oil and avocados are quite high in fat, and are partly saturated. It is good to avoid saturated fats as well as trans fats. On oils I think canola is healthier than olive oil, but of course the taste is not the same.

So it is a tough go, without the help of statins. The current recommendations for diabetics is to have the LDL under 70 not 100. Most are not going to achieve this without statins. Some argue that it is not natural to bring LDL down to levels which cannot be achieved with a healthy diet alone. The contrary argument of course is that you have diabetes and that is not natural either and has huge CVD risks. The way I look at iy is that you are trading off the very low risk of statin complications against the almost certain risk of CVD developing from diabetes.

Ron

Not a med prof. Just diabetic type 2 on Prandin, Levemir, ramipril, bisoprolol, & Crestor. Diag. Feb/01.

"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work." - Thomas Edison

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shortie replied on Tue, Apr 14 2009 8:51 PM

Ron you do not mention the fact that our bodies are very good at making cholestrol?

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GabrielC replied on Tue, Apr 14 2009 9:00 PM

Thanks for your words, everybody. My bmi is in the low 20s, and I try to avoid fats as a general rule, although I do eat avocados on occasion. I'm also pretty physically active, although after starting a new job about 6 months ago I reduced my workouts significantly. I'm just now starting to exercise again, which hopefully will help. I was just very surprised by my results, and unable to really link them with my diet.

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Ron AKA replied on Tue, Apr 14 2009 9:07 PM

shortie:

Ron you do not mention the fact that our bodies are very good at making cholesterol?

Yes our genes are responsible for that cholesterol. However, that is the cholesterol that statins can reduce.

Ron

Not a med prof. Just diabetic type 2 on Prandin, Levemir, ramipril, bisoprolol, & Crestor. Diag. Feb/01.

"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work." - Thomas Edison

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Does dietary intake of cholesterol lead to high blood cholesterol levels?  I eat a very low carb diet that is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and my total cholesterol is 176.  Actually, I'm not at all convinced that cholesterol is as bad as commonly believed.   In any case, I don't have high cholesterol though one would think my high saturated fat diet would result in high cholesterol levels.   My triglycerides are also very low.

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shortie replied on Wed, Apr 15 2009 5:00 PM

Again not only does our body make cholesterol for its healthy functions, genetically we can be prone to high cholesterol as each of my brothers and sisters have.   And you are an example of someone who eats the saturated fats and yet has low numbers.....

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donw replied on Thu, Apr 16 2009 9:41 AM

Gabriel, you didn't mention if you were exercising along with your diet.  That really helps to regulate the cholesterol levels.

Don

"O Diem Praeclarum!"Big Smile

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Dear Gabriel C:

As some of the other posts have mentioned LDL (low density lipoprotein) levels are a function of two factors: dietary influences and genetics.  Some peoples' genes instruct their livers to produce more cholesterol than is healthy for them. There may have been some adaptive reason for this long ago, as is the case with sickel cell trait, but if so it is no longer relevant in our current society.     The higher your HDL the better and for a male yours is in a very good range.  This then becomes a discussion for you and your health care providers : is the risk of your slightly elevated LDL in light of your higher HDL and whatever other risk factors you may have enough for you to require medication.

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