How carbohydrates (grains, cereals, sweets) link to high cholesterol

Posted on Nov 30, 2011 | 1 comment

Many people think that a high cholesterol reading must be indicative of a high-fat diet.  It can be, if the consumption of overall fat is high but excess sugars are converted into fat and few people know this, especially in relation to excess alcohol (a sugar) and excess bread/pasta/rice/confectionary.

Carbohydrates such as grains, breakfast cereals, breads, pasta, rice, sweets, baked goods, soft drinks like coca-cola, alcohol and excess fruit or fruit juice, when eaten over a day can lead to high calories, weight-gain and may contribute to high cholesterol.

The sugars we eat are burnt to supply fuel, so if you move alot, you need alot to provide fuel. The excess sugar is stored as glycogen mainly in the muscles and liver. This storage space is limited (the figure below shows what a human body is made up of and see the left hand arm of the figure marked as glycogen – this is indicative of the space given over to gycogen storage) and if you don’t move much, the excess sugar is converted into fats. 

 Once glycogen  stores are full, any excess sugar is converted by the liver into cholesterol called VLDL’s which is pumped out of the liver into your bloodstream to be stored as FAT. If dietary fat intake is also high, this is added pressure. Your doctor can measure your VLDL, LDL and HDL cholesterol in your blood. High VLDL’s, high LDL’s and low HDL’s are a warning that your fat management system is struggling to cope.   Read my blog for tips in choosing a healthy carb



When the liver is struggling to cope with the workload, (drugs, alcohol, stress, excess kcals, pollution, virus etc) VLDL readings can decline as the liver becomes fatty, like a force-fed goose, and stores the fat.  

Hello, I am Joan Moloney, Nutritionist. When we understand how our body works, I believe that this gives us greater motivation to change our eating habits and exercise regimes. I have researched the published scientific papers on cholesterol and the foods that help to reduce it. Altering your diet,moving a little more than you usually move and building up new habits over a period of time may help you improve your health. Contact me 



1 Comment

  1. I have been struggling with high cholesterol for over 10 years after my primary care physician sounded the alarm (396 total about 12 years ago). I stopped taking statin drugs about 3 years ago because of elevated liver enzymes and saw my number rise. Then 2 years ago I received a stent in my right coronary artery, (95% blocked) and my cardiologist put me on Crestor every other day and now my levels are at 198 total. My diet consist of mostly fish and chicken but I due eat a lot of whole grain bread and an occasional sugar products. After researching articles like yours I am thinking about stopping eating grains/sugar all together in an attempt to lower my numbers. What is your suggestion because I am at a loss. All my doctors say my primary cause of the high numbers is mostly hereditary.

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