Cholesterol Confusion

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Understanding
nutrition is difficult at best because there is so much conflicting
information. Understanding nutritional supplements is also difficult
because one person will get great results using a specific herb
or vitamin and the next person will get not results on the same
product. There are so many studies that report on a single nutrient
– for example, cinnamon seems to be the most popular supplement
for controlling blood sugar. But what about chromium, vanadium and
biotin? They still work and are available in blood sugar control
formulations?

Our human nature
makes us tend to focus on the "one" thing that will make
us healthy instead of following a balanced approach. I like to think
about how the body actually works and use common sense. For example,
are those who are using cinnamon for blood sugar control doing anything
else to help manage blood sugar? What about dietary changes such
as eating low glycemic index foods and eliminating the wrong kind
of fats? What about regular exercise which is proven to be a crucial
component of managing blood sugar levels? What about magnesium which
most diabetics tend to be deficient in?

The cholesterol
craze is another single focus issue that many are concerned about.
When you know how the body works, then you can take a balanced approach
to managing it. One component of the cholesterol puzzle is what
you eat – not only the wrong kind of fats, but too many refined
carbohydrates as well. A sign of poor carbohydrate metabolism and
a diet too high in refined carbohydrates is high cholesterol combined
with high triglycerides. People with this problem tend to either
be diabetic or have insulin resistance (meaning compromised blood
sugar handling). Low glycemic diets and supplements that help manage
blood sugar levels help reduce both cholesterol and triglycerides.

Another part
of the cholesterol puzzle is the understanding that the body eliminates
cholesterol through the digestive system. The bile which is made
by the liver to emulsify fats contains cholesterol which is meant
to be carried out of the body with other waste products through
the colon. Fiber acts like a sponge and soaks up the cholesterol
so that it can be eliminated naturally. If the diet does not contain
enough fiber, or if there is a problem with constipation, then the
cholesterol is reabsorbed rather than being eliminated.

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June
21, 2010

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