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Cholesterol & Triglycerides Health Center

Slim Down for Lower Numbers

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When you have a lot to lose before hitting your goal weight, success takes time. Here’s a win within reach -- lose 5% of your total weight to lower your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. When you do, you’ll:

  • Lower your triglyceride levels by as much as 20%
  • Cut your LDL “bad” cholesterol by 15%
  • Boost your HDL “good” cholesterol by 8%

Pick Three

Choose three of the tasks below to start today. Pick the ones you think will be easiest for you to accomplish. Give yourself a couple of weeks to make a habit. Then, pick three more to work on. This approach is easy to master for most people and helps you gain confidence early on.

Cook at home. Make this your first step toward losing weight, and you will notice a difference. The less you eat at restaurants, the more weight you lose in the first 6 months.

Give drinks a makeover. One proven weight loss strategy is to cut way down on sugary beverages. If you find water boring, jazz it up. Try adding strawberries and mint leaves, or lemon and basil. For the tastiest results, let the flavors chill in the pitcher for a few hours.

Reduce how often you eat dessert. A powerful predictor of weight loss is how frequently you eat dessert.

Make smart food choices. Fill up your plate with veggies and fruits, and enjoy as much as you want.

This combo can cut triglycerides another 10%:

  • Eat fewer items with added sugar or fructose.
  • Choose unsaturated fats more often -- vegetable oils, fish, and nuts.

Right-size your snacks. It turns out those 100-calorie snack bags are a real weight-loss winner. People who eat from a snack-sized bag typically eat half as many calories as people who eat from a larger package. If your favorite snack doesn’t come packaged this way, split a large bag into several smaller baggies.

Substitute fish for meat. Boost fish servings to about five to six a month, and eat about half an ounce less of meat and cheese every day. This recipe for success pairs up to promote long-term weight loss.

Swap some ingredients. Swap out just a few high-calorie ingredients for a lower-calorie counterpart. Some examples:

  • When cooking with ground beef, use half as much meat as usual, and make up the difference in bulk with finely chopped veggies like eggplant, mushrooms, and peppers.
  • For baked desserts, replace half the butter or margarine with applesauce.
  • In cake or cookies, replace 1 ounce of baking chocolate with 1/4 cup of cocoa.

 

Reviewed on October 26, 2012

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Is Your Cholesterol Level Heart Healthy?
What is your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level?

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Answer:
Desirable
0-199
Borderline
200-239
High
240+

Your level is currently

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal.

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is borderline high. If your LDL goes higher, your total cholesterol level could become Borderline High. Consider reducing the amount of foods you eat with saturated fats and increasing physical activity. If you get more exercise, your level of "good" HDL cholesterol may increase, which could also help to keep your levels of LDL and total cholesterol in check.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL. The HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL because the HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. But your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as statins. Following medication, dietary, and exercise instructions should result in improvements.

Your total cholesterol level is High, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe statins or other cholesterol-lowering medications.

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