Low-Sugar & Low-Cholesterol Diet

Eating foods rich in sugar, fat and cholesterol can produce a number of problems. This is especially true if you have diabetes as you cannot properly control blood sugar -- this condition also leads to increased risk of heart disease, underscoring the need for a low cholesterol diet. Tailoring a diet low in cholesterol and sugar does not require any complicated diet plan -- it just requires following the basic tenets of healthy eating.

Freshly sliced strawberries. (Image: AlexPro9500/iStock/Getty Images)

Problems with Excess Sugar

Your body uses carbohydrates to create glucose, the body's primary energy source. When you consume large amounts of sugar, your body stores the excess as fat, explains nephrologist Dr. Sylver Quevedo, writing for Dailystrength.org

If you have a condition like diabetes, poorly controlling the amount of sugar in your blood can lead to blood vessel damage that predisposes you to problems like heart disease, kidney damage and slow-healing ulcers on the feet.

Dietary Strategies for Reducing Sugar

While you obviously need to avoid cookies, cakes and candies loaded with standard white table sugar, you also need to be on the lookout for other forms of sugar found in many products. Examples of not-so-obvious sugars include cane syrup, cane juice, dextrose, maltose, lactose and maltodextrin.

Fruits also contain sugar and if you have an interest in reducing overall sugar intake, you might want to avoid higher-sugar fruits such as bananas, raisins and dates and eat lower-sugar fruits such as berries of all kinds and pears.

Dangers of High Cholesterol

Your body actually produces cholesterol in the liver and it serves many important purposes such as aiding in hormone production and forming cell membranes. Your liver produces much of what you need and when you eat excess fat and cholesterol, excess will build up. This can lead to hardened deposits in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

Daily Fat and Cholesterol Recommendations

The American Heart Association offers suggestions for fat and cholesterol intake to combat high cholesterol for both the general population and for those with risk factors for heart disease, such as already having elevated cholesterol levels. The former should keep daily cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg daily and saturated fat to less than 10 percent of total daily calories. If you fall into the latter category, keep cholesterol to under 200 mg and saturated fat to less than 10 percent.

Dietary Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

Reducing your intake of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol forms the cornerstone of your dietary strategy. This means cutting back on full-fat dairy, egg yolks and meat -- red meat and organ meats such as liver in particular. Choose leaner cuts of red meat such as sirloin, flank and T-bone; eat chicken and turkey without the skin.

You also want to increase your intake of healthy fats as these types of fats can help lower cholesterol levels, explains the Harvard School of Public Health. Good choices include monounsaturated fats found in olive and canola oil, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids also help -- you can find them in fatty fish like salmon, flaxseed, hempseed and walnuts.

Making an effort to craft the majority of your diet from whole grains, legumes, beans, fruits and vegetables will easily reduce cholesterol and fat intake as these foods contain no cholesterol and either little or no fat.

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