People with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease than those without it. Because the types and amounts of dietary fat and cholesterol are related to the development of this complication, it's important to pay attention to the fat and cholesterol you eat. Here's a quick guide to fats - the good and the bad.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) - the "bad" fats. These are the ones that carry cholesterol and deposit it in your arteries. You want to keep your LDL level under 100 mg/dl. To lower your LDLs:
- Reduce total fat intake.
- Reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat.
- Use unsaturated fat when you do use fat.
- Eat fewer high-cholesterol foods.
- Increase the amount of high-fiber foods you eat.
- Keep your blood sugar under control - high blood glucose increases LDL.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) - the "good" fats. These help to remove cholesterol from your arteries and your body. You want your HDL levels to be 40 mg/dl or above. To increase your HDLs:
- Exercise regularly - five times a week or more; aerobic exercise is best.
- Lose weight.
- Keep your blood glucose under control - high blood glucose decreases HDL.
Triglycerides are also "bad" fats - they increase the risk of heart disease. To lower your triglyceride levels:
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Reduce the amount of simple sugars you eat so that your blood glucose stays under control.
Next week we'll look at some ways to reduce your fat intake.
Lifestyle: diet |
Complications: heart |
Cholesterol channel |
Nutrition and Fitness Channel
Source: The Joslin Diabetes Gourmet Cookbook, p 447-9. Copyright 1993 by Bonnie Sanders Polin, Frances Towner Giedt and Joslin Diabetes Center. Published by Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc.