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Fried Food vs. Healthy Food: The Cholesterol Dilemma

Dallas area primary care doctor Kwame Fiakpornoo explains the cholesterol dilemma.

Dr. Kwame Fiakpornoo
Dr. Kwame Fiakpornoo
Dr. Kwame Fiakpornoo

Disclaimer! "Fat" is palatable! It makes us want more! Unfortunately that IS the problem. Do you wonder why a piece of fried chicken tastes better to most people than a baked breast?

In the last couple of weeks, issues surrounding our health in relation to fats and cholesterol have been quite prominent. The effects of high cholesterol just don't make us sick like we would with the flu or like a headache! Well, not until it causes real damage to our bodies. Incidentally there 
may be a genetic component to having high cholesterol… but more on that next time. 

Types of Cholesterol: HDL (Good Cholesterol): This protects us from hardening of our arteries through cholesterol deposits. I recommend eating foods rich that are rich in HDL, including seafood, nuts and olive oil. In fact, the higher the HDL, the better. LDL (Bad Cholesterol): In this case, the lower, the better! High LDL leads to plaque build-up in our arteries that will increase the risks outlined below. Foods that would increase our LDL are 
those with trans-fat, such as partially hydrogenated oils, red meats, whole milk, egg yolks, and others. 

TG (Triglycerides): Frequently forgotten, but very important! Triglycerides are typically associated with fried foods, obesity and high alcohol consumption. The health risks are equally significant, including inflammation of the pancreas, which is the organ that produces material that helps us digest the foods we eat.

By calculation, all these foods comprise our TOTAL CHOLESTEROL. Talk to your doctor about what your acceptable levels should be based on your risk profile. 

A Few Words About Trans Fats 

These are specially modified fats, which are typically not naturally occurring. The process of modification makes these easier to cook with and they keep better than naturally occurring oils. However, the health risks of significantly increasing our BAD Cholesterol and lowering our GOOD cholesterol far outweigh any benefits, hence the recent push on a global ban by the 
FDA. 

What Abnormal Cholesterol Does to Us 

Abnormal cholesterol levels have been associated with very serious health risks. This condition usually causes hardening and blocking of arteries, resulting in heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, vascular disease leading to loss of limbs, and high blood pressure. Abnormal cholesterol, in combination with smoking, sedentary lifestyles and excessive alcohol use is a sure recipe for 
debilitating illness. Unless you have annual blood tests, your doctor may not know that you have abnormal cholesterol levels until it is too late to help you. 

Recent Medication Recommendations 

There are the traditional statins and fibrates used in control of high cholesterol. Guidelines have been changing regarding who should and when they should be treated in a more aggressive fashion to reduce risk. 

What You Can Do

Talk to your doctor about your risk. Avoid foods high in fat. Eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less meats and increase your exercise routine. Work with your doctor to ensure that other simultaneous risks are well controlled. 

Dr. Kwame Says 

Simple blood tests can help determine your risk. Getting checked makes absolute sense. Early detection and management would be the key to a healthy future. 

Dr. Kwame Fiakpornoo is a Board Certified Internist/ Primary Care Doctor and Medical Director of CobbWest Internal Medicine Associates located in Dallas. Visit http://www.cobbwestim.com or call 678-324-7021 for more information.

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