Peanuts and cholesterol

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Muse, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Muse

    Muse Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    18,068
    Likes Received:
    41
    I've been concerned about cholesterol since my doctor wanted me to start taking a drug. I asked him if I could try reducing my LDL (it was 170 or so at the time) by modifying my eating/exercise habits (I was already excercising quite a bit, but my diet wasn't fantastic at the time), and I got down to 132 or so in a couple of months. Last test my LDL was 168, and my doctor didn't complain, but I know I have to watch it. I'd like to bring it down.

    I buy organic natural peanut butter at Costco and the label says it has 13% daily limit of saturated fat for each 2 tablespoons. I figure I can reduce the impact on my lipid problem if I replace the standing oil with olive oil. Therefore, the last 3-4 times I've opened a jar of this stuff I've poured off the standing oil and replaced it with olive oil and then stirred it in. Is that sensible/effective?
     
  2. JellyBaby

    JellyBaby Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2000
    Messages:
    9,159
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ideally, it is believed that you want to keep your levels of triglycerides low and you want your levels of HDL high, and the size of your LDL large, since the small patterns are the dangerous ones. Finally, you want your ratio of total cholesterol divided by your HDL to be in the 3-5 range. You should easily be able to reach these goals through diet alone (exercise, too, if you'd like, cardio will help but all is good).

    Dietary fat increases the size of your LDL and increases your HDL, which is what you want. On the other hand carbohydrates reduce the size of the LDL, which you want to avoid. So, avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates and eat more fats. Regarding fats, avoid trans fats and vegetable oils and instead go for long chain saturated and monosaturated fats (eggs, butter, steak, full fat cheese; bacon, olives, avocado).
     
  3. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    Wait, I'd like to pick out some incorrect information for both the OP and you, JellyBaby.

    Firstly, let me explain LDL and HDL. LDL - low density lipoproteins - are typically regarded as not very healthy. They deliver cholesterol and proteins from the liver to the rest of the body. HDL - high density lipoproteins - are typically regarded as healthy. They actually bring cholesterol and proteins back toward the liver, reducing serum cholesterol levels.

    LDL consists of multiple types. There are large, buoyant LDLs which are generally regarded as less harmful than small, dense LDLs. Due to their size, large, buoyant LDLs actually have a harder time slipping into the lining of the blood vessels. Because of this, they can't as easily do damage to the blood vessels. However, small, dense LDLs can easily slip under the lining. Because of this, they can begin a cascade of vessel scarring, lipid formation, and potential thrombus formation. However, both are considered atherogenic (i.e. can cause narrowing of your blood vessels).

    Saturated fat intake (typically taken in as animal fats from meat, cheese, cream, etc) increases both LDL and HDL. Sure, you need some saturated fat intake, but considering it is the most direct contributor to LDL levels, the amount you should take in shouldn't be that large. Monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs) fat intake from natural sources mainly work to increase HDL, which is great. Sources of MUFAs and PUFAs include olive oil, fish oil, fish, seeds, nuts, avocados, high quality meats (grass fed, cage free, etc), eggs. Soluble fiber intake (as found in beans, legumes, veggies, etc) actually decreases LDL. So the optimal diet would include moderate or moderate to low saturated fat intake (depending on how severe your hypercholesterolemia is), moderate to high intake of MUFAs and PUFAs (not from vegetable oils though), and moderate to high intake of fiber (specifically soluble fiber).

    The point I'm trying to make is that JellyBaby entered some incorrect info, which has been propagated by many on the internet without my research to support it. Many proprietors of the Paleo and Atkin's diets say these things, but they haven't proven true whatsoever (specifically with regards to cholesterol. Some claims about weight loss are actually true). Saturated fat has regularly shown in nutrition, health, exercise phys, vascular, etc journals to increase risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, etc as associated with increased LDL. Therefore, suggesting the OP increase saturated fats is a bad idea. Instead, he may want to lower saturated fats (depending on his intake now), increase MUFA/PUFA consumption, and increase fiber intake. In addition to this, aerobic exercise and losing weight (if you're overweight) are extremely important in modifying cholesterol in the best way possible. Aerobic exercise increases HDL and decreases LDL. I believe losing weight does the same.

    I agree that refined carbohydrates may be detrimental to cholesterol levels, therefore your carb sources should be mainly from good, natural-form sources - sweet potatoes, beans, vegetable, potatoes, etc. Many refined products can increase your cholesterol, especially sugar. So keep away from those simple carbs and most importantly SUGAR.

    The other info included from JellyBaby is quite frankly contrary to thousands of research articles. Full fat cheese, regular high-fat steak, butter are all poor choices if you're actually having an issue with your cholesterol. Like I said, you can have some, but don't get crazy. Your consumption of those can be counterproductive.
     
  4. Muse

    Muse Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    18,068
    Likes Received:
    41
    When my doctor suddenly said I should take Lipitor I had been eating significantly more butter than I used to. I subsequently stopped eating butter virtually entirely, cut out the cheese and 2 months later my LDL had fallen from 170 to 132 and my doctor was happy. Currently I eat a little cheese (maybe 2 teaspoons a day!), possibly 2 teaspoons of butter a week, maybe as much as 4 eggs a week. I do a fair amount of exercise, nowhere near as much as I used to when I swam 2 miles every day, but I'm still pretty active.
     
  5. Muse

    Muse Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    18,068
    Likes Received:
    41
    So, do you guys think my replacing the peanut oil in peanut butter with olive oil is a reasonable way to help control my bad cholesterol?
     
  6. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    No, to be perfectly honest, I don't think it changes a thing. Peanut oil is actually pretty easy to extract and, due to that, is processed relatively little. That's considered part of the peanut butter. Just mix it in thoroughly and continue enjoying it. I can confidently say that your peanut butter habits are not what's causing you cholesterol issues.
     
  7. Muse

    Muse Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    18,068
    Likes Received:
    41
    Oh, I wasn't concerned that the peanut oil was the cause of my issues. What I have figured is that controlling my cholesterol issues requires a multifaceted approach, both exercise and diet (my doctor's words). He did not elaborate on either. In terms of diet, I figured that I eat less of some things, more of others. You've mentioned sugar, animal fats, butter, fatty cheese, a variety of oils. I'm familiar enough I suppose with the those except the oils part. I don't understand most of the things you said about the oils. I know that olive oil in particular, as well as fish oil, are regarded as some of the healthiest oils, actually beneficial. Having seen people advise against eating too much in the way of peanuts (a handful a day, OK), I deduced (incorrectly????) that peanut oil is not particularly benficial, is actually detrimental to best cholesterol control. Those things led me to the conclusion that replacing the standing oil in a jar of natural peanut butter with olive oil would be a positive step in my cholesterol program. You think this is not the case?
     
    #7 Muse, Nov 22, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  8. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    People frequently stress moderation when it comes to nuts in general due to their high caloric content. It's pretty easy to sit down and eat 600cal of nuts if you're not careful. Peanut oil is fine, especially that within the natural peanut butters. The oil typically isn't artificially added and is just a result of grinding the peanuts into a paste. Like nuts, nut butters are also high in calories, but if you're 1) burning enough calories and 2) utilizing moderation, they're actually a great source of energy. Just don't eat 6 tablespoons per day :) Olive oil is just an example of a good oil source. Peanut oil, as I said, is not added to peanut butter. It comes as a result of the process of making it. Most peanut butters that aren't natural use emulsifiers to keep the oil in the solution so people don't have to stir it with every use. I think that if you're stringent about your sugar and processed food intake, take in a lot of fruits and veggies, and do aerobic and resistance exercise, you're in the right boat. Keep in mind though that it's mainly aerobic exercise that helps with cholesterol. In addition to this, know that the duration of endurance exercise is correlated with the amount of HDL increase and LDL decrease. So if you're only doing bursts of 10min on the treadmill, I might suggest trying to get up to longer periods a couple times per week.