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Effect of Diet On Blood Cholesterol

Effect of Sugars and Starches on Blood Cholesterol Levels

A diet of excess carbohydrates, sugars and starches in general, and fructose in particular, stimulate the production of cholesterol and body fat once energy stores are satisfied.

Sugar, from soft drinks, candy, and sweet bakery products, is broken down into the sugars glucose and fructose. Starches, from bread, cereals, potatoes, and pastas, are broken down into glucose.

These foodstuffs are quickly digested and absorbed into the blood stream as blood glucose and fructose.

Fructose is listed as a low glycemic sugar because it is slowly absorbed from the digestive tract. Once absorbed fructose bypasses some of the pathway glucose must take. Both glucose and fructose produce an intermediary compound called acetyl CoA.

However fructose produces acetyl CoA more rapidly than glucose.

Acetyl CoA can produce
energy,
cholesterol, and
body fat.

Once energy stores are satisfied, excess acetyl CoA will go to make cholesterol and body fat. These pathways are under the control of insulin. Insulin is doing its job to reduce high blood glucose levels by using these pathways.

A diet that produces chronic high blood glucose levels promotes obesity, resistance of body cells to insulin, and chronic inflammation, all of which are powerful risk factors for coronary heart disease, in addition to other chronic debilitating diseases.

Although it's what we eat that's the problem, it's not saturated fat and cholesterol. The high blood cholesterol is a reaction to an unhealthy diet of excess carbohydrates, usually highly refined.

Effect of Dietary Cholesterol on Blood Cholesterol

Cholesterol is obtained only from animal sources. Cholesterol is poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract and will not normally affect blood cholesterol levels. Dietary cholesterol levels below 850 mg per day have very little effect on blood cholesterol levels in any individual.

However what we eat the body does not make. The human body is a frugal metabolic machine. Healthy individuals maintain relatively stable blood cholesterol profiles regardless of the contribution of cholesterol from diet.

The American Heart Association (AHA) says that saturated fatty acids are the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol levels, and dietary cholesterol also plays a part.

Problem is that is not what basic biochemistry tells us.

The average American may eat as much 337 mg cholesterol per day. This is way below the dietary amount that would affect blood cholesterol. We are urged to reduce the amount of animal protein and animal fat to reduce the amount of cholesterol in our diet.

Course of a Normal Meal, Low to Moderate Carbohydrate Levels

After a normal meal a moderate rise in blood glucose levels causes a moderate rise in insulin levels from the pancreas and cells take up glucose and replenish energy stores.

When blood glucose levels fall below normal levels sometime after a meal, the pancreas will secrete glucagon.

Glucagon will stimulate the conversion of non-essential amino acids from protein to make up any glucose shortage.

Glucagon will also stimulate the breakdown of fatty tissues to provide a source of energy if needed.

A diet low in refined carbohydrates, especially sugars and starches, will result in optimal health. Carbohydrates should be obtained from fruits and vegetables. Such a diet is the best way to avoid obesity and diabetes.

Reaction of the Proponents of Saturated Fat-Cholesterol Cause of Heart Disease

The proponents of the saturated fat-cholesterol role in heart disease have acknowledged their solution for many years has not worked. Instead of questioning their approach, they are calling for more stringent cholesterol guidelines, and greater dietary restrictions.

Their recommendations could place many more Americans on cholesterol lowering medications, perhaps turning millions of healthy Americans into patients.

These recommendations would generate millions, if not billions, of dollars for the pharmaceutical drug industry.

And at least some of this vast sum of money would come out of our pockets.

This review of basic biochemistry is from journal articles by Fred and Alice Ottoboni, and their book The Modern Nutritional Diseases. They are retired Public Health Service scientists and researchers.

They have been interested in disease and its prevention for many years of their professional careers. Both have the PhD, and they refer extensively to the biomedical literature.

A diet of refined sugars and starches is harmful to the body, not saturated fat and cholesterol. Is familial hypercholesterolemia a proof that cholesterol in the diet causes heart disease?

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