Lose Weight for Better Cholesterol Numbers?

April 4, 2021

Two dietitians answer, does your weight affect your cholesterol or is that just a myth? It does seem that every health problem is blamed on a person’s weight but today we’re aiming to help listeners understand that the cholesterol in eggs does not affect the cholesterol in your blood. The real culprit is the sugar you are eating that makes cholesterol. Listen in to learn more.

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Transcript:

TERESA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I am Teresa Wagner. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And with me today is Britni Vincent, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Both of us have clients who are concerned about their cholesterol numbers and have been told to lose weight in order to bring their cholesterol numbers down. So here's a great question. Does your weight affect your cholesterol or is that just a myth? It does seem that every health problem is blamed on a person's weight.

BRITNI: I agree Teresa. For most people in general do not blame health problems on eating processed carbs or going through the fast food lane but instead they put all the blame on what people weigh. So today we want to help our listeners understand that the cholesterol in eggs does not affect the cholesterol in your blood, but the real culprit is the sugar you are eating that makes cholesterol. That may be a totally new concept for many of you listening. So we're going to explain this in a lot of detail throughout today's show.

TERESA: It’s important to understand the role that cholesterol plays in heart health because cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people in the United States today. Cardiovascular disease causes heart attacks, stroke, sudden cardiac deaths, sexual dysfunction, and poor circulation. Here's a surprising fact: 20% of people who have suffered a heart attack actually have a normal cholesterol profile.

BRITNI: Wow.

TERESA: Isn't that interesting?

BRITNI: It is very interesting.

TERESA: It’s a normal cholesterol profile. So you might wonder why cholesterol or excuse me, why cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer of Americans. Maybe you are thinking, “I'm taking a statin medication for my cholesterol, so I must be safe.” In the past, we were told that unfavorable cholesterol profile was the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. But today elevated blood sugar levels, prediabetes and diabetes, lack of exercise and weight gain, which is called metabolic syndrome, are actually the number one cause of cardiovascular disease. But for some reason, when heart disease comes up, we are always told to lower the saturated fat and cholesterol in our diet.

BRITNI: Yeah; without fail. I mean, we, I don't know about you, but a lot of clients, they'll come in to help to improve their cholesterol numbers and, you know, reduce their risk of heart disease. And then they tell me what they've been told and it's completely different information than, than what we're talking about today. So it's confusing.

TERESA: It is confusing.

BRITNI: Very confusing. And you know, there are several risk factors for heart disease. You know, again, we've been told that cholesterol is dangerous, but in reality, we need cholesterol. And most people just don't realize the important, the importance of having cholesterol. It helps to make your cell walls flexible. Cholesterol is a building block for hormones, such as testosterone and vitamin D. Cholesterol covers the nerve cells with a myelin sheath. Cholesterol helps digest fats because it's converted into bile, which is what your gallbladder secretes. And some forms of cholesterol can, do contribute to arterial plaque growth, while other forms of cholesterol help to prevent that plaque buildup. So as you can see, cholesterol forms and functions are really rather complex.

TERESA: Yes. And we’re, like you said, we're often told that cholesterol is, it has such a negative connotation. Like if something has cholesterol in it, then therefore that thing is bad. Or if you have high cholesterol, that's bad. But it plays such an important role in the body. And without it, we just wouldn't function. So perhaps, I don't know, the higher blood sugar levels is one of the reasons why we have higher instances of cardiovascular disease because higher than normal blood sugar levels can result in all of your hormones getting out of balance. Also, when your blood sugar levels are elevated, you can form sugar-coated proteins that float around in your bloodstream that cause all of your organs in your body to age faster, increasing your risk for a heart attack, for stroke, for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, blindness, and kidney failure. And that process is called glycation, which you don't really need to know. But what I find that's really interesting is that it has an acronym where it's advanced glycation end products. And if you think of the acronym, that's A.G.E.

BRITNI: Mmm.

TERESA: Age.

BRITNI: Yeah.

TERESA: So we don't want those sugary proteins floating around in our bloodstream creating havoc in our body and aging us faster than what we already do naturally.

BRITNI: Yeah; absolutely. And sugar does also impact the cholesterol numbers in your, your profile; the breakdown of your cholesterol. So if you have elevated blood sugar levels in the prediabetes range, you liver produces more of the LDL cholesterol, which increases arterial plaque.

TERESA: So first let's talk about how excess sugar consumption can lead to high cholesterol. Connecting sugar to cholesterol may be a different idea for you. I think many people find it interesting that most of the cholesterol circulating around the body is actually made inside the body, not from the food that we eat. So if we have high cholesterol, we need to ask ourselves, why is our body making so much cholesterol? While we know and it's been confirmed by the 2015 nutrition guidelines, that cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern, which means we don't need to be concerned about the amount of cholesterol in high cholesterol foods, like eggs and shrimp. For the majority of people, when you eat high cholesterol foods, the body just slows down the internal production of cholesterol. So if it's not the cholesterol in the food, then what is causing it; that high cholesterol. There's got to be a reason. Of course there does. There's always a reason. And that reason is, well, what do you think Britni?

BRITNI: Sugar.

TERESA: All carbohydrates are broken down into sugar. When blood sugar levels go up, like they do after eating, say a big bowl of ramen noodles, the body then responds by releasing insulin. Insulin is the hormone that takes the sugar out of the bloodstream to be used for immediate energy. So for, you know, for your muscles, so like lifting your grocery bags or for typing on your computer, just those little muscles in your fingers, or even for your heart to beat, or energy for your brain so that you can think correctly. The sugar that is not used by all of those things that we do in our activities of daily living, that sugar is stored in our bodies to be used between meals. And Britni, where is that sugar stored? In your… your fat cells? Right?

BRITNI: Yup.

TERESA: So this insulin shifts our bodies into storage mode so we can easily gain body fat.

BRITNI: And LDL cholesterol; so going back to LDL. That is a carrier of cholesterol to the areas that your body needs the cholesterol particles. And it's often referred to as the bad cholesterol. I always remembered LDL, the L you want low because it’s bad. And that HDL you want high for the H. That's how I always remembered it. But LDL is not always bad. But we do know if insulin levels go up, LDL levels go up. And if you stored all the sugar you can, and there's still more blood or there's still sugar circulating in your blood, well insulin helps to turn that into fat. And then another result is triglyceride levels go up. Triglycerides are formed this process as well. So triglycerides are the sugar fats floating in your bloodstream. So just remember, sugar causes the release of insulin and insulin is our storage hormone, which causes more storage of the cholesterol in the form of LDL. And as that LDL number rises, the total cholesterol number will also rise, as will triglyceride numbers. So this concept really is not taught much at all to people. And we do know to help reduce cardiovascular risk, it's really necessary to understand how this works, because most people just look at that total cholesterol number. “Oh my gosh. It's over 200. It's too high”; instead of really looking at that breakdown here. And then triglyceride levels; so typically they're a direct correlation to carbohydrates consumed. And I had a woman in one of my Nutrition for Weight Loss classes a few years ago. And she started the class and her triglycerides were in the 300s. So optimally, they should be below a hundred. She got them tested just two months after being in the class. And they were about 175.

TERESA: Oh, good for her.

BRITNI: I mean, that's a dramatic reduction in just two months.

TERESA: Almost by half.

BRITNI: Yeah. And again, what she did was just eating real foods; reducing the sugar; reducing the carbs.

TERESA: Well, that sounds like a good time or a good way to segue into our first break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We are delighted to have you join us to learn the role of cholesterol and how it, and its role in cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular disease being the number one killer of people in the U.S., accounting for more deaths than all forms of cancer. Today, we will explore the nutritional connection to this, this cholesterol buildup to abnormal plaque formation that happens within our arteries, and that contributes to heart disease and death.

BREAK

BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Since heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. we need to learn what is the real cause. Dr. Mark Houston, author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Heart Disease, reveals the truth behind coronary illness. He found seven key pathways to heart disease. The first pathway or concern is inflammation of the arteries and the cause of that inflammation. The least concerning pathway is obesity or too much body fat. Today, Teresa and I will address some of the causes of inflammation of the arteries and what you can do about it to reduce that inflammation.

TERESA: Yeah. So I think, you know, in speaking of inflammation, one of the first things, and one thing that we talk about quite often is sugar. And excess sugar and how it can lead to inflammation and lead to heart disease. Sugar is what we should be worried about in regards to heart health, not saturated fat, like we've been told for years. In a study published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, which JAMA is the Journal of the American Medical Association. Heart disease was found to have an association between a high sugar diet and a greater risk of dying of heart disease. Over the course of the 15 year study, so that's a pretty significant study, people who had 17 to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. So this number, like that 30 or that 17 to 21% of calories from added sugar equates to about 100 grams of sugar or 25 teaspoons of sugar per day. And it probably sounds like, most people are probably thinking, well, I don't eat 25 teaspoons of sugar, because we always just picture table sugar.

BRITNI: Exactly.

TERESA: But that's not what it is. With all the hidden sources of sugar… Well, I mean, it is that, but not just that. With all the hidden sources of sugar, it’s not difficult to consume twenty-five teaspoons of sugar a day.

BRITNI: No, not at all. Increases in sugar consumption can lead to heart disease in a variety of different ways. So it's, we're going to talk about, but I, I was telling Britni that I was talking to my son last night because I have this, this jar of nuts that I bought, and it has the heart healthy label on it. And it gets the check mark from the American Heart Association that it's a certified food that meets the criteria for a heart healthy food. And what the criteria is is that it can be, this food is, is heart-healthy as long as it's a part of a diet that's low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and doesn't result in an increase in caloric intake. So this is a jar of nuts, so of course it has a high caloric naturally content. So what it's saying that basically, because it's low cholesterol and it's low in saturated fat, it's okay to eat for your heart health.

BRITNI: So that contradicts those 2015 guidelines of not, of telling us we don't have to worry about cholesterol in our foods.

TERESA: Exactly. So, it's no wonder everybody's confused because the American Heart Association is telling us we need to have a low cholesterol, low saturated fat diet. Then we have the guidelines saying that cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern. We've got labels that say this is heart-healthy because it is low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol. And then there are other labels and foods, I think you were…

BRITNI: Cheerios.

TERESA: Yeah.

BRITNI: I always think of Cheerios.

TERESA: Right. It gets that it gets the big heart. The bowl is even in the shape of your heart.

BRITNI: But Cheerios, of course, they just send your blood sugar up and break down to sugar.

TERESA: Right. And then of course you have to eat or have it with skim milk because you won't want to have fat and cholesterol in your milk. So we got to skim that off.

BRITNI: Yep.

TERESA: And so then we just have a bowl full of…

BRITNI: Sugar.

TERESA: Sugar.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yes.

TERESA: Yep.

BRITNI: So we're, we're describing how different ways that sugar can increase heart disease. And we know that sugar also increases the risk of other health conditions that are also associated with heart disease. So sugar does cause weight gain. You know, we've talked about that. It causes more body fat storage. There's no denying that. And obesity is a risk factor for heart disease. And obese adults are more likely to have an elevated level of an enzyme that is actually linked to injured heart muscles.

TERESA: And maybe that sounds like we're contradicting ourselves, right, because we just said, is it a myth that it's being overweight is the cause of high cholesterol levels? But perhaps this is one of those situations where it's like, well, what came first? You know, was it the inflammation and then obesity, or is it the obesity that's causing inflammation? And my guess for most people is that the inflammation came first and obesity was the result.

BRITNI: Absolutely.

TERESA: And cholesterol came along for the ride or high cholesterol levels came along for the ride. And what we also know is that cholesterol is anti-inflammatory. So it's trying to help you bring the inflammation down. So if your, if your cholesterol levels are high, it's a sign that there's inflammation in your body and it's trying to bring it down.

BRITNI: Yeah.

TERESA: Cholesterol is your friend.

BRITNI: It's such a good point. Yeah. If you have inflammation, the cholesterol levels go up, those get carried to the areas of inflammation. So like you said earlier, we always have to look at, okay, your cholesterol is high, but what's ultimately causing that? Why do we have a need for more cholesterol for healing? And the inflammation, you know, it goes back to that a lot of times. Sugar also causes high blood pressure, which we'll also talk about more later. But high blood pressure is a risk for heart disease. Sugar, specifically fructose, can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver. And I don't know about you, Teresa, but I would say every week I have a client, at least one client that has been diagnosed with fatty liver. So it is becoming really quite common. And the association between non-alcoholic fatty liver and heart disease is a stronger link than smoking and heart disease.

TERESA: That's incredible.

BRITNI: Yeah; very surprising.

TERESA: Well, and going back to talking about fructose, that is what makes up about 50% of table sugar. So table sugar is 50/50, I believe glucose and fructose. But fructose is also found in high fructose corn syrup, right? So I think that's like a more of a 60/40 percentage. Fructose is also found in fruit. So consuming processed foods with high fructose corn syrup and excessive or too much fruit juice that contains fructose from the fruit can provide your body with large amounts of fructose. Sugar can lead to type two diabetes, which is also a risk factor for heart disease. So a question many of our clients ask is how does excess sugar lead to type two diabetes?

BRITNI: Well, here's how: so when we eat sugar and processed carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels go up. And beyond that healthy range, if we're eating too many of those carbs. And the higher the blood sugar levels go, the more often it happens and the more insulin is needed to get those blood sugars back into the healthy range. So when we don't do that very often, you know, our bodies are resilient. Occasionally eating a sugary treat will pop our blood sugars up out of that healthy range. You know, we can manage. You know, our pancreas secretes insulin and our cells work pretty well to keep us healthy. However, if we are doing that on the day-to-day basis or even meal to meal basis, like a lot of people are, it taxes that system and ultimately it leads to insulin resistance. And there is a spectrum of insulin resistance that I think is important to note. And ultimately, if you don't do anything about it, that insulin resistance will lead to type two diabetes. And we throw around insulin resistance all the time. And what it actually means is, this is when your cells are unable to use the insulin to let the sugar inside of the cell. So we often use that door of a house and a key to unlock the door to explain it. So the cell is the house and the cell receptor is the door and the key is insulin.

TERESA: Right. And in order for the sugar to get into the cell, we need insulin to unlock that cell door. Over time, when we have high levels of sugar and high levels of insulin day in and day out, it's like the cell door locks up and the key doesn't work anymore. It's pretty easy, easy to do this. As far as having high blood sugars over time, you know, we were talking about that 25 teaspoons of sugar that, you know, we're like, well, that seems like such a crazy amount of sugar. But if you think about it like this, you start your day with a toaster strudel in a banana for breakfast. You have a sub for lunch. Maybe you grab a bag of baked chips along with it, which is also just sugar. Maybe you have some stuffed manicotti with some breadsticks and a glass of wine for dinner, throw in a bag of chips, or maybe some cookies for a snack. I mean, it is Girl Scout cookie season.

BRITNI: It sure it.

TERESA: Maybe you have a soda or an energy drink between meals and you will have high blood sugars all day long. Eat like this for years, and it can lead to insulin resistance, which then leads to type two diabetes and inflammation in your arteries.

BRITNI: And I think for a lot of people, this really goes back to what they ate as a child.

TERESA: Oh yeah, absolutely.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. And so let's take a step back and, and I just want to explain when those blood sugar levels go up. So we know that carbohydrates increase blood sugar. Well, it looks like it's time for our second break now.

TERESA: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If inflammation of the arteries can lead to heart attacks and strokes, how do you reduce that inflammation? Again Dr. Mark Houston speaks out. He says, “Avoid artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, aspartame, Equal, saccharin and Sweet’N Low. A small amount of stevia is okay. And avoid refined carbs.” He also says concerning bread, pasta, white potatoes, white rice, sweets: follow this simple rule: if it's white, do not eat it.

BREAK

BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If inflammation is the number one cause of cardiovascular disease, how do you prepare and follow an anti-inflammatory meal plan? Well, it all starts right in your kitchen. I would like to suggest that you join Marianne, our culinary nutrition educator, on April 13th or April 15th to learn how to make Easy Weekday Lunches that will be anti-inflammatory, healthy and delicious. The fast food drive-through is just no longer an option because to prevent heart disease, it is a must to follow an anti-inflammatory meal plan. To sign up for one of these virtual Zoom cooking classes, call (651) 699-3438, or go to our website, weightandwellness.com.

TERESA: Okay, Britni, I just want to circle back to what we were talking about about the white foods and avoiding them. And while I absolutely agree with Dr. Houston about avoiding white foods like white rice and pasta and flour and those types of things, I also want to say that there are some great anti-inflammatory white foods like white onions and cauliflower and white button mushrooms, and jicama, so, you know, we can have some white foods, but the whole, real foods that they grow that way.

BRITNI: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, because let's circle back to blood sugar. That's what we were talking about before break. You know, we know that those processed white foods and really all carbohydrates spike our blood sugar. Protein does a tiny bit, but fat does not at all. I'll repeat that. Fat does not spike our blood sugar. So what does that mean for fat storage?

TERESA: Right. When we're thinking about fat storage, I think what a lot of people think is we're using logic, right? Like it makes a whole lot of logical sense that if you eat dietary fat, so butter, olives, coconut oil or any of those kinds of fats, that it would be a very easy process to take that fat and put it into fat storage. But in fact, it's actually kind of a difficult process to digest fats and then store them because of that, that insulin aspect; because what insulin does as our storage hormone, it really, it's the sugar that's very easily converted into body fat. So dietary fat does not convert to body fat easily, but dietary sugar converts into body fat very easily via that insulin process.

BRITNI: Yup. Yeah. So that's why we always talk about getting healthy fat every time you eat, because that really just helps to keep your blood sugar more balanced. And the protein does too.

TERESA: Right. Yeah. We talk about that fat being the anchor. It pulls the blood sugar down.

BRITNI: Yes, it’s a wonderful way of thinking about it. So going back to the sugar, we know sugar also increases high blood pressure. And sugar is arguably worse for your blood pressure than salt, which again, is not what people are told, because sugar can increase your heart rate and blood vessel constriction, which then results in high blood pressure. In a review article published online in 2015 in the journal, Open Heart, researchers found that a high sugar diet after just a few weeks can increase blood pressure. They also found that beverages specifically sweetened with high fructose corn syrup raise blood pressure more than other sugary beverages. So pop is undoubtedly one of the most consumed beverages that is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. You might also find high fructose corn syrup in sports performance drinks like Gatorade. Energy drinks have high fructose corn syrup. And I've seen it time and time again that clients are able to reduce their blood pressure medication or sometimes go off of them completely by just switching to that real food diet. Or I have clients who have borderline high cholesterol and they're really motivated to prevent medication. And again, just changing what they're eating does that for them.

TERESA: Right. And it's essentially free, right, because we're paying for food anyway.

BRITNI: Yeah.

TERESA: And so it's, you know, there's no money to be made really in eating real food. And so I feel like that's why it's, you know, it's not often promoted.

BRITNI: Yeah. That's very true.

TERESA: Well, excess sugar consumption can also lead to joint pain. Sugar increases inflammation like we've been talking about, and this inflammation increases pain, especially for those suffering from inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia. I had a client explain to me that her joint pain felt like shards of glass were flowing through her bloodstream, getting caught up in her hips and her knees. So if sugar can inflame joints and cause that pain, can you see how that sugar could inflame your arteries?

BRITNI: Yeah. I think having joint pain or, you know, some other physical sign of inflammation, we understand that. But if it's doing that to your body, what is it doing internally that we can't see and we have no idea?

TERESA: Right. And we can't feel it really: inflammation of the arteries is not something we really feel.

BRITNI: Exactly, exactly. And if we keep looking at these heart disease risk factors, we surely must look at prediabetes and metabolic syndrome as a greater risk factor than cholesterol. So in the book, The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman, he said prediabetes or diabetes is a greater risk factor than high cholesterol, and is actually the number one cause of cardiovascular disease. And many nutrition and health experts refer to high blood sugar levels in excess weight or obesity as metabolic syndrome. It's kind of an umbrella term that's often used.

TERESA: Today in the U.S. metabolic syndrome is a huge problem because about 50% of baby boomers have metabolic syndrome. The author of 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, Dr. Steven Masley said, “The bad news is, is that metabolic syndrome can kill you before you even develop diabetes.” Why? Because it changes your cholesterol profile, increases inflammation, raises your blood pressure levels and can cause a heart attack or stroke.

BRITNI: You may be wondering, how does this actually happen? How are higher blood sugar levels causing so much damage? Well, here's why: a high fasting blood sugar level means that your body has lost the ability to regulate your blood sugar properly. This ultimately causes a huge problem because if your blood sugar level is high, your protein and tissues are being sugarcoated, making your tissues age much more quickly. Again, we're not seeing that, right? We're not seeing internally that our body is really aging quickly. And physically, when you look in the mirror, you may notice more of wrinkles, but inside it's really wreaking so much havoc causing inflammation in your arteries and sometimes systemically.

TERESA: Dr. Mark Houston, author of the book that Britni had mentioned earlier, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Heart Disease, says in his book, “Abnormal cholesterol levels are not primary causes or indicators of coronary heart disease, but a fasting morning blood sugar reading of 99 milligrams per deciliter, deemed normal by most labs, is not safe or normal. Instead it indicates an increased risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack.

BRITNI: Yeah. A lot of people think, “Oh my blood sugar’s under a hundred. I'm good to go.” And it's important to note, if you have a fasting blood sugar in the morning that is a healthy range, that doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have insulin resistance, because we don't know what it's doing the rest of the day. And so basically it really just all comes back to blood sugar management. And we, the dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we specialize in helping people manage their blood sugar. For most, but for most people, good blood sugar control does not happen overnight. You know, this takes time and dedication and it takes work based on sound nutrition, knowledge and habits. However, for overall body and brain health, it is an absolute must to get that blood sugar under control.

TERESA: Yeah. So when you're thinking about blood sugar management, what does a day look like for you? I mean, or is that too, is that too much to ask; revealing Britni’s secrets.

BRITNI: Oh man. Yeah. So for me, breakfast is often just leftovers. Yeah. I do not love eggs. And so leftovers; last night I made like an Asian chicken dish and we served it over cauliflower rice and I made a sauce with mayonnaise and sriracha, and then I did quick pickled vegetables. So this morning I had that.

TERESA: You had pickles for breakfast?

BRITNI: I know. Sounds weird, right?

TERESA: Oh yes. Well on that note, we’ll go to our third break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we are always recommending learning and practicing anti-inflammatory eating plans. We help our clients choose the best eggs to have for breakfast. We teach them why butter is better than margarine. We teach clients how to make vegetables taste delicious. Heart disease is a serious disease. And the only real solution is eating a real food anti-inflammatory diet. Is it time for you to get on board? Call us at (651) 699-3438. And we will get you scheduled with one of our dietitians or nutritionists.

BREAK

BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Clients often ask us about supplements. And at Nutritional and Weight and Wellness we believe you cannot out supplement a poor diet, but to support a good diet, you may want to consider two key supplements. To ensure you're getting all the key nutrients for a healthy heart, I often suggest the multivitamin from Ortho Molecular called MitoCore. Two to four capsules will give you a broad spectrum of high quality nutrients. And a lot of people notice a big boost in energy from taking that one. And we know that some multivitamins from the big box stores are, they are less expensive because the quality just isn't there. And ultimately you're not getting much from them often. And it really is important to buy professional quality supplements. And of course, I would also recommend Omega-3 Extra Strength available in softgel or liquid form. Take two to four of these daily.

TERESA: Yeah. Those omega-threes are so great, right? I mean, if you have high cholesterol or if you're worried about inflammation, it is the anti-inflammatory supplement is those omega-three fatty acids. It helps to bring down the inflammation in those arteries. And then it also helps to raise the good cholesterol: the HDL. So there's two ways to raise your HDL. It's omega-threes and exercise. So, yeah, that's a great one. I almost always recommend fish oil because if you're not eating fish every day, fatty fish. So the salmon, mackerel, herring.

BRITNI: Most people aren’t.

TERESA: Yeah. Every day? Like pickles on their breakfast.

BRITNI: So on our website, weightandwellness.com, you can find all of these key supplements that we’ve talked about. And they're going to help to reduce inflammation that can lead to that cardiovascular disease or heart attacks we've been talking about. You know, another supplement that we should mention is CoQ10.

TERESA: Yes.

BRITNI: Especially if you are on a statin medication. The way that statin medications work is they block an enzyme that leads to the production of cholesterol. Well, that same enzyme that gets blocked also blocks the production of CoQ10, which is a very powerful antioxidant in our body. And so if you're on a statin, you absolutely should take CoQ10, at least 200 milligrams a day. I would take it in the morning because it can give you a little burst of energy. If you are concerned about heart health, then you may want to take it. Naturally as we age our production of CoQ10 also reduces. So it's a supplement you can take for many different reasons, really.

TERESA: And, you know, I think I've heard that in certain countries in Europe, that if you are prescribed a statin, that they also prescribe CoQ10 along with it, because they know that it blocks up production and how important CoQ10 is for energy for your, for your whole body, but in particular your heart. And then also if you get a lot, if you're taking a statin and you're noticing that you're really achy, you know, in your muscles and, and things like that, that can be because of that, that, CoQ10 depletion as well.

BRITNI: Good point.

TERESA: So CoQ10 can be really good if you're taking a statin.

BRITNI: Yeah.

TERESA: Highly recommended.

BRITNI: For sure. So before break, I was talking about what I eat in a day to keep my blood sugar balanced.

TERESA: I hope everybody's convinced to put pickles on their breakfast; fermented pickles, because it's a great source of probiotics.

BRITNI: Absolutely.

TERESA: And honestly, I'm just giving Britni a hard time. I mean, I would, I would absolutely eat what she was talking about for breakfast. It's just non-traditional. And a lot of times we are just set up to think that breakfast should look a whole lot like dessert. Right?

BRITNI: Yeah. It's silly.

TERESA: So, okay. Tell us more. What else do you have? I'm really excited to hear what else you're eating.

BRITNI: Well, this afternoon for lunch, I will have a salad, a big salad. I have like cucumbers and carrots that I’ll chop up. And then I have some leftover chicken that I'll throw on there. And I made this weekend like a big batch of slaw with red cabbage and I made dressing, and chopped up some apples and some nuts on top. So I think I'll probably have that for dinner with some sort of protein. We have some beef we can cook up. And then snack; lately I've been doing smoothies for snacks.

TERESA: It is warming up. So just feel kind of like a sweet, cool treat.

BRITNI: Yeah. So I'm moving a little bit out of the soups.

TERESA: Yes.

BRITNI: What about you? What have you been eating or what do you eat to keep your blood sugar balanced?

TERESA: Well, recently I've been on a hard-boiled egg kick. And I have never really been a hard-boiled egg person. So it was one of those situations where I went to the store and Vital Farms had a sale on their, on their eggs and they’re a pasture raised egg. And I was like, well, okay, I'll just try this. And so, so I've been having, I just cut the hard boiled eggs in half. I mash up avocado. I throw a sprinkle of salt on it and “everything but the bagel” seasoning. And I just basically put the avocado on the eggs and eat it like that. And then I'll have like a clementine or something on the side for just a little boost of, of natural sugar on the side. And then one of my really good friends gave me some venison sausage. And so for, I was at work yesterday and I didn't have a lot, I had a really packed schedule. And so I didn't have a lot of time. So I just reheated that venison sausage. I had that and frozen broccoli, just reheated frozen broccoli, threw some butter on it and then that “everything but the bagel’ seasoning.

BRITNI: It’s so good.

TERESA: It's so good. And it just changes how, how things taste. So I had just that combination. It was just a real quick, quick lunch. And then for dinner, I made salmon. And my favorite salmon recipe right now, because it has warmed up just a little bit. We've been able to grill again or at least grill comfortably. And so I grilled salmon. And what I like to do is put a little bit of avocado oil on top of the salmon, just so it doesn't dry out on the grill. And then I add just some dried minced onion, and I just sprinkle it on. I don't measure. So a sprinkle of dried minced onion, a sprinkle of dill, just dried dill. All these are dried, because I don't have any fresh right now; some dried parsley, some dried basil, salt and garlic powder; just sprinkle on; kind of equal parts. I don't know if it's equal or not, but just kind of sprinkle it on. It's got this nice kind of greenish-white, kind of a, a coating on it and grill it. And it is amazing. I absolutely love it. So we had salmon. We did some asparagus that was sautéed in butter and garlic and then some wild rice. And wild rice you have to plan for, right? It takes 45 minutes at least to cook. So, so the wild rice went on first and then, and then everything else came together after that. And it's just, it's a nice, you feel really good, you know, you feel really nourished and, and keeps your blood, blood sugar just nice and steady; anti-inflammatory you know, so you're not, you know, you just, like I said, you just feel really good after eating a really balanced meal plan, like we're both talking about.

BRITNI: Yeah. And the common theme is healthy fat every time.

TERESA: That anchor: it keeps the blood sugar down.

BRITNI: The protein, fiber was in all of our meals and snacks, whether it was like from the berries or the vegetables. Fiber helps to keep your blood sugar stable as well.

TERESA: It also helps with, with cholesterol, like we were talking about.

BRITNI: Yes.

TERESA: Fiber helps to, to bind up some of the cholesterol that we don't need. And, and so we can excrete it.

BRITNI: Yeah. And so I mentioned I was going to be eating beef tonight for dinner.

TERESA: Yes.

BRITNI: So I get, I don't know about you, but I get clients that come in and they ask me, or about beef and heart health, or they've been told that, oh, I should really not eat much beef to reduce my cholesterol. So what do you say to those individuals?

TERESA: Yeah. Well, first of all, you know, really talk about just what we talked about today, how dietary cholesterol and saturated fat have not been found in the research that they increase our cholesterol levels in the vast majority of people. So we, we go over that. We talk about sugar. And then oftentimes they'll say, “Well, what about these meat substitutes that are available? Cause there's all kinds of, my doctor says, or, you know, general, general recommendations from people say, okay, avoid red meat. Right? And so they're like, but I really want to have a burger. And I really want to have, you know, meatballs or something like that. And they're like, well, what do you think about these products that are coming out that are meat substitutes? And so I say, well, let's just look at what this product actually is. You know, it might taste great. I don't, I haven't had it, but it might taste great. But if we look at just what it is, first of all, this meets the definition of an ultra processed food, right? It's a highly, highly processed food. And then we look at the ingredients. Well, what is it actually made out of? Are these ingredients quality ingredients? And so beyond being processed, do, how do, how do they stay shelf stable? It's usually preservatives. How does it get its color? Is it, is it real colors or is it artificial colors? So what is in this product and is it going to be a good substitute for what, for what we're looking for. So generally speaking, we recommend to eat red meat.

BRITNI: Grass-fed is best.

TERESA: And grass fed is best; pasture-raised is best. And to just stick to an anti-inflammatory whole food, real food diet. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us and have a wonderful day.

BRITNI: Thank you

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