High LDL Levels?
Could Changing Your Diet Help?

What are LDLs, and why do doctors check LDL levels?

LDLs act as transportation vessels for cholesterol. Some in the medical community believe that, because of this, high LDL concentrations can lead to health dangers like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and insulin resistance.

Why do authorities worry about low density lipoproteins?

The conventional theory appears to be that an overabundance of LDLs in the blood biochemically leads to the deposition of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries (among other places), thus restricting blood flow and causing further medical problems. (For instance, when the walls of your arteries get clogged up with cholesterol, you can have a heart attack or a stroke.)

Are all classes of low density lipoproteins “biochemically equal”?

In fact, no. A special class of LDLs called very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs) may play a far more prominent role in heart disease and atherosclerosis than other LDL classes.

Many therapies have been recommended to bring LDL profiles under control, including:

  • niacin
  • cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • a class of drugs called statins (e.g. Lipitor and Crestor)
  • improving diet and exercise regimens

The big question raised by these recommenations is: exactly how should we "improve" our diets?

The conventional wisdom is that we should eat less saturated fat and fewer calories.

The low carb counter-hypothesis says that it's the refined sugars and carbs in our diets that cause all the trouble.

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