Hyperlipidemia/dyslipidemia is an elevation of one or more of the following: cholesterol, cholesterol esters, phospholipids, or triglycerides. Although cholesterol has received much negative press, in normal quantities, it is essential for life. Cholesterol and triglycerides, as the major plasma lipids, are essential substrates for cell membrane formation, steroidal hormone synthesis, and production of bile acids. Effective management of hypercholesterolemia requires understanding the biochemistry of cholesterol and the importance of cholesterol in normal physiology. In recent years, studies have consistently shown that abnormalities of plasma lipoproteins can result in a predisposition to coronary artery disease, pancreatitis, or neurologic disease. Accumulating evidence has linked elevated total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) to the development of coronary heart disease.
Foods that may help to lower elevated cholesterol levels include soy products, oat bran, yogurt, carrots, walnuts, and onions. High fiber foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes can also help to lower cholesterol levels.
Researchers at Emory University assessed the association between consumption of added sugars and lipid measures, such as HDL-C (good cholesterol), LDL-C (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. In this study, added sugars are defined as sweeteners used in processed or prepared foods. The study involved 6,113 US adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2006. Results were average daily consumption of added sugars was 3.2 ounces (359 calories) representing 15.8 percent of total daily caloric intake which was substantially higher than added sugar intake from 1977-1978 of 10.6 percent of total daily calories consumed by adults. Participants consuming higher amounts of sugar had lower HDL-C levels, higher triglyceride levels and higher LDL-C levels. The authors wrote “The results of our study demonstrate that increased added sugars are associated with important cardiovascular disease risk factors, including lower HDL-C levels, higher triglyceride levels, and higher ratios of triglycerides to HDL-C.”1
1 Welsh JA, Sharma A, Abramson JL, et al. Caloric sweetener consumption and dyslipidemia among US adults. JAMA. 2010;303(5):1490-7.