Cholesterol

Teece
Teece Posts: 138
edited March 2012 in Road beginners
Got some blood test results back last week and was told that my cholesterol levels are creeping upwards.
As a result, I've had to cut down on the beers and get rid of the unhealthy foods completely.

So, no more flapjack, cake or Dairy Milk on the long rides.

I know about bananas and nuts, but can anyone recommend any healthy but interesting foods to take on a ride?
Thanks

[PS sorry if this should have been in a nutrition thread, I couldn't see one.]
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Comments

  • Bobbinogs
    Bobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    How much cholesterol is in beer? How does high sugar lead to cholesterol problems? I would have thought eggs, prawns and meat were top of the list to cut out (but I am not a dietician so this is a genuine question)???
  • Kings
    Kings Posts: 14
    to be honest... beer itself is not really a problem, beer generally has a low carb content and fat but the calories are approx 185 per pint. The only way to get a clear picture is to evaluate the LDL vs HDL vs Trigs. I myself have had elevated trigs before but my LDL was 1.5, therefore the cholesterol was low.
    You are absolutely right ref shelfish meat etc, however sugary food and a high carb diet is what elevates triglyceride's and this can lead to an inflamed pancreas and long term diabetes.
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,853
    have a look at your diet, see where the saturated fat is, that's what to cut out

    these days i always read food labels, some things have surprisingly high saturated fat, even some veg oils are bad in this respect

    there's advice on diet here...

    http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyheart ... terol.aspx

    imho it's probably that nasty dairy milk chocolate at the bottom of things, switch to proper dark belgian, that'll sort it
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Teece
    Teece Posts: 138
    Thanks guys.
    It is high cholesterol - that's all the Doc said. I didn't eat for about 9 hours beforehand - I didn't realise I had to fast.

    Still looking for healthy alternatives to take on a ride...
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    There is a lot of rubbish writen above, but some god advice squeezed in.

    Cut down on saturated Fat - cheese is one of the worst offenders, trim fat from meat and avoid teh skin on poultry / fat on red meat. Pastry is also bad and croisaants etc as have high butter content. A dessert like a chocolate mouse or something with lots of cream can have a much sat fat as the main course! avoid pork pies.

    Ride snacks how about -
    malt loaf with a low fat / olive oil based spread.
    flapjack aren't too bad depending on the brand.
    dried fruits like raisins dried mango etc
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  • SBezza
    SBezza Posts: 2,173
    Nothing wrong with flapjacks, especially whilst exercising. If you want to make sure you get decent quality ones, make them yourself, far more likely to suitable for you than shop bought ones. Other alternatives are Nakd bars, and Eat Natural bars, though they do contain fat as there is a fair amount of nuts in each of them, though they are not a problem to be honest. I would steer clear of Dairy Milk though, not the best option for bike snacks (though very tasty).

    I would look at the normal diet first rather than what you eat on the bike, this is likely to have a greater impact than the occasional foods eaten on the bike. Have a read on the web for foods that lower LDL and raise HDL.

    I would avoid processed foods, especially those mentioned above that have pastry around them
  • Teece
    Teece Posts: 138
    Thanks, I think the Mrs has things sorted as far as what I eat at home is concerned.

    I'm just interested in the healthy snacks my cycling brothers take with them on the long rides!
  • Kings
    Kings Posts: 14
    There is a lot of rubbish writen above, but some god advice squeezed in.

    please elaborate!
  • Teece
    Did your Doc tell you what your cholesterol level actually is or what they meant by 'creeping up'?

    As Kings said, you need to know what your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels are to get a full picture - good and bad cholesterol respectively in simple terms. A total cholesterol hovering around the recommended upper level of 5.2 mmol/L can be reduced by up to 10% by taking some of the dietary advice posted above.
    I would also recommend adding plant sterols to your diet - Flora proactive (other spreads are available!), pro-active drinks/yogurts and such like. These are a natural way to reduce your cholesterol and really do work!
  • Kings- how do you know most gps don't know how to interpret LFTs. And why would you even mention that when the op was talking about his cholesterol. Maybe you're confused with lipid profile which looks at cholesterol and trigs. Fasting is not necessary when testing and interpreting lipids unless the trigs are high as total cholesterol and LDL:hdl ratio is not dependent on what has been eaten in the preceding 12 hours.
    There is some shit posted on this thread

    DOI: GP who knows how to interpret LFTs and lipid profiles
  • Kings
    Kings Posts: 14
    Firstly drjohnny, are you really a doctor?

    Lft means liver function test! and HDL, LDL & tryglicerides are key markers of this test... I should have said within this test lipid profiles are also assessed.

    I know about this topic as I have worked within the healthcare environment and specialised in diabetes and hepatic impairment for several years. LDL and HDL ratios were historically the measure of total cholesterol, however over the past years it has become ever more apparent there is a need to measure trig's as they illustrate an increased risk of heart disease and stroke... they are also accompanied as a rule with elevated blood pressure.

    The bottom line is these test outcomes can change dramatically over a 12 week period... my advice would be try and clean you diet up for 3-5months then go and be re-tested.
  • Teece
    Teece Posts: 138
    Teece
    Did your Doc tell you what your cholesterol level actually is or what they meant by 'creeping up'?


    Yes, he told me it was 5.4 which he says is a little higher than he would expect for a fit 37 year old.

    I've done the damage myself with beer and cakes so now it's all lean chicken, fish, fruit and veggies in my house.
    I just think I'll get bored of bananas on the cycle rides!
  • SBezza
    SBezza Posts: 2,173
    Teece wrote:
    I just think I'll get bored of bananas on the cycle rides!

    You probably would if that is all you ate whilst riding, but as mentioned above there are plenty of alternatives.

    Flapjacks - make them yourself, cheap and a fairly healthy option
    Nakd Bars
    Eat Natural Bars
    Malf Loaf

    How far do you ride out of interest as some of these things might not even be needed on a short ride.
  • piquet
    piquet Posts: 83
    Teece wrote:
    Got some blood test results back last week and was told that my cholesterol levels are creeping upwards.
    ]

    GP or haematologist? Many (most?) GP's have limited knowledge.

    I've been on cholesterol reducing medication for 15 years and my haematologist's advice was to be sensible but not paranoid over diet, the key determinant is genetic not diet, and the issue is not foods containing cholesterol but the amount of saturated fat.

    Oily fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils instead of animal fats were his recommendations. But, on the "sensible not paranoid" level he said he and his family had gone back to Butter as it tastes better, but a skim not a thick layer! and no buttery flapjacks!
  • n1ckster
    n1ckster Posts: 158
    Piquet wrote:
    I've been on cholesterol reducing medication for 15 years and my haematologist's advice was to be sensible but not paranoid over diet, the key determinant is genetic not diet, and the issue is not foods containing cholesterol but the amount of saturated fat.

    +1 to this.

    The endocrinology consultant I see at my local hospital with regard to my T1 diabetes says that, in general, cholesterol is 90% genetic and realistically you can only influence 10% of your overall levels through a combination of diet/exercise/medication etc.

    Nick
  • piquet
    piquet Posts: 83
    n1ckster wrote:
    Piquet wrote:
    I've been on cholesterol reducing medication for 15 years and my haematologist's advice was to be sensible but not paranoid over diet, the key determinant is genetic not diet, and the issue is not foods containing cholesterol but the amount of saturated fat.

    +1 to this.

    The endocrinology consultant I see at my local hospital with regard to my T1 diabetes says that, in general, cholesterol is 90% genetic and realistically you can only influence 10% of your overall levels through a combination of diet/exercise/medication etc.

    Nick

    I agree on the diet point but medication can make a much bigger difference. Statins took mine from over 7 to below 5.
  • Teece
    Teece Posts: 138
    SBezza wrote:
    Teece wrote:
    I just think I'll get bored of bananas on the cycle rides!


    How far do you ride out of interest as some of these things might not even be needed on a short ride.

    Not that far on the road bike yet [between 30-40 miles] as I'm still having terrible trouble with numbness - Have got padded bib shorts and will be buying one of those seats with the holes in after Christmas. If that doesn't work then I'll get a bike fit done.

    But to answer your question - I ride all day on my mountain bike when I'm out with my MTB club. That's when the cake, flapjack and chocolate used to come out!
  • Kings- yes I am a doctor. LFTs are a marker of liver function. Although Lipids are regulated by the liver their levels are not a marker of liver function directly.

    With regards to a chlesterol of 5.4 I would advise my patients to try to eat a good balanced diet. I rarely advise people to cut out anything completely as they are more likely to give up. As well as that the posters who stated that cholesterol is mostly genetic are right and you could live like a monk and still have high cholesterol.

    I think anyone who cycles at least semi-seriously ig probably quite health conscious and are doing more benefit for their cardiovascular health than trying to get a cholesterol of 5.4 down will do.
  • Diogenes
    Diogenes Posts: 1,628
    Take a look here http://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/view ... ps=1000139.

    The BHF offer some useful documents which tend to be sensible in their approach.

    Like many of these things the advice is aimed at Joe public who probably does not have the cardio work outs that a typical cyclist will have.

    D :D
  • The government recommends that cholesterol levels should be less than 5mmol/L.
    In the UK, two out of three adults have a total cholesterol level of 5mmol/L or above. On average, men in England have a cholesterol level of 5.5mmol/L and women have a level of 5.6mmol/L.
    The UK population has one of the highest average cholesterol concentrations in the world.
    Millions are now on statins. The public have been scared into taking them. GPs ar told it will keep their patients healthy and they go along with this. And the drug companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

    I have been on cholesterol lowering medication for quite a few years due to naturaly high cholesterol, I was fit then and had a good diet, I also have had Angina and a stent fitted, my overall numbers are around 3.5 now, I ride at 15 - 19 mph on sundays so I am happy with that, but watch out if you are offered tablets, because they ALL have side effects.
  • Teece
    Teece Posts: 138
    Hi guys

    Just got to work after visiting my GP this morning for the latest blood results. His words:

    "You are well hydrated, there's nothing wrong with you, go and enjoy your health."

    Phew, thanks for all the advice, guys. I'm going to eat a lot more healthily now and will hopefully have cholesterol levels below 5 by this time next year! :D
  • Headhuunter
    Headhuunter Posts: 6,494
    Oats are supposed to contain something which reduces cholesterol although I'm not sure whether oats in flapjack, after they've been cooked, retain that benefit. You should also avoid "trans fats" which some research has shown are even worse than sat fats. Trans fats are hydrogenated fats often used in ready meals and commercially available cakes and pies etc. They are considered so bad that some countries (I think Denmark is one) have banned them completely although in the UK they're still completely legal, however I think M&S recently campaigned to say that it no longer uses them in any of its foods

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat
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  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    Teece wrote:
    Hi guys

    Just got to work after visiting my GP this morning for the latest blood results. His words:

    "You are well hydrated, there's nothing wrong with you, go and enjoy your health."

    Phew, thanks for all the advice, guys. I'm going to eat a lot more healthily now and will hopefully have cholesterol levels below 5 by this time next year! :D

    How does that work then ?
    Last week you're told that your cholesterol is creeping up, this week you're told that there's nothign wrong with you.
    what every you've bene eating this week, bottle it and sell it, you'll make a fortune !!!!
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • Teece
    Teece Posts: 138
    MattC59 wrote:
    Teece wrote:
    Hi guys

    Just got to work after visiting my GP this morning for the latest blood results. His words:

    "You are well hydrated, there's nothing wrong with you, go and enjoy your health."

    Phew, thanks for all the advice, guys. I'm going to eat a lot more healthily now and will hopefully have cholesterol levels below 5 by this time next year! :D

    How does that work then ?
    Last week you're told that your cholesterol is creeping up, this week you're told that there's nothign wrong with you.
    what every you've bene eating this week, bottle it and sell it, you'll make a fortune !!!!

    Well, he didn't like my cholesterol being 5.4, so he took more blood, told me come to back in a week when he said the above.
    So my cholesterol is still 5.4 but whatever he was worried about doesn't seem to be a factor anymore. :D
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Utterly bizarre!

    Don't worry, eat sensibly and ride the bike.

    My total hovers between 7 and 8 but it's the high level of triglycerides that's a concern. My diet's already pretty good, I'm not overweight, my blood pressure is fine, I have never smoked, hardly drink, I'm fairly fit and I have no family history of early onset cardiovascular problems.

    So I've agreed with my GP not to start shovelling more pills down me
  • cje
    cje Posts: 148
    I have familial hypercholesterolaemia and when I got tested in 2008 my cholestrol was at 13.5mmol/l! It's now down to 4.8 thanks to medication and exercise. I try to eat sensibly, but I have no qualms about eating flapjacks on a ride.
  • slowondefy2
    slowondefy2 Posts: 348
    Are the over-the-counter cholesterol test kits any good?
  • Peddle Up!
    Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    keef66 wrote:
    So I've agreed with my GP not to start shovelling more pills down me

    At the risk of turning this into a "cake stop" topic, shovelling pills is a concern of mine. I have friends who are on a cocktail of medications for ailments and I really wonder if they are doing the job, and what interactions between the drugs might be occuring. A comprehensive set of published outcomes would help, of course. :?

    In another case a mate was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic, then he wasn't, then he was. :shock: OK, to be fair he was probably borderline but he was faced with lifelong medication. As he wasn't very fit I suggested he got on a bike or put some walking boots on. He did the later, and is fine now.

    I'm not advocating that you go against medical advice, but make sure you are an "informed patient" if you find yourself up against it.
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • cje
    cje Posts: 148
    Peddle Up! wrote:
    keef66 wrote:
    So I've agreed with my GP not to start shovelling more pills down me

    At the risk of turning this into a "cake stop" topic, shovelling pills is a concern of mine. I have friends who are on a cocktail of medications for ailments and I really wonder if they are doing the job, and what interactions between the drugs might be occuring. A comprehensive set of published outcomes would help, of course. :?

    In another case a mate was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic, then he wasn't, then he was. :shock: OK, to be fair he was probably borderline but he was faced with lifelong medication. As he wasn't very fit I suggested he got on a bike or put some walking boots on. He did the later, and is fine now.

    I'm not advocating that you go against medical advice, but make sure you are an "informed patient" if you find yourself up against it.

    Statins are undoubtedly of benefit to an extreme case like myself, but if I were an otherwise healthy person with a slightly elevated cholesterol level, I too would probably give them a miss.

    I should add that my mother and her brothers tested 17mmol/l, 13mmol/l and 11mmol/l in their 50s, before being diagnosed. They're all now in their 60s and none have suffered cardiovascular disease, so there are clearly other factors involved.
  • rake
    rake Posts: 3,204
    i was led to believe colesterol levels can be down to your genes as well, i know that doesnt help but it might not be just what your eating?