• This topic has 24 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago by poah.
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  • High Cholesterol & fuelling during rides
  • asbrooks
    Full Member

    I have just received the results for the heath checkup and it seems that I have high cholesterol at 7.5 which has come as bit of a shock.
    I’ve the option to control it through diet or medication, I have to go back in 3 months for a re-test.

    The list of now forbidden foods is quite shocking in that it includes some foods that we are told are good for us. Foods like avocados & nuts. Now I am a vegetarian so my diet is already restrictive, no fatty meets, pies etc. So I’ll have to make some further tough choices.

    Day to day diet aside, when riding I usually eat things like flapjacks, malt loaf, dried fruit & nut mix, wine gums for a hit and on occasion gels. All of them are now on that list which now means rides longer than a couple of hours are off limits for now unless I can find alternatives.

    My question, are any of you in a similar situation? Any tips on fuelling on longer rides?

    Thanks!

    Yak
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t worry about riding food. It’s more about the overall day-to-day foods. And you need to make sustainable changes. Not go all out for 3months, get the all clear because you have dropped to 5.5 or whatever you get to, then let all the sweets back in.

    Also, when I had the same, sugars were not on the list iirc. It was more about lowering saturated fats, increasing plant stanols and increasing soluble fibre.

    fossy
    Full Member

    Can be genetics too – I checked in at 7.5 some years ago and diet didn’t change it. 20mg of atroavastatin ‘when I remember’ – no side effects, and it’s normal again. Both parent’s have high cholesterol. I’ve a few other riding mates the same.

    Try the diet first though.

    tpbiker
    Free Member

    Avocados and nuts??

    The former are meant to be brilliant for reducing bad cholesterol (as they Increase good cholesterol), as do Brazil nuts apparently

    I got my bad cholesterol down from 4.1 to 1.3 simply by eating avocados and cutting out cakes and fatty junk food. I subsequently went on a low does of statin (I have some plaque build up and apparently if you can reduce bad cholesterol to really low numbers you can shrink it) and my last number was 0.6

    I eat plenty enough to fuel on the bike, just watch saturate intake like a hawk.

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    Yeah mine was 8 or something. Tried diet including ditching alcohol (not that my diet was that bad anyway) and didn’t work, now on statins.

    Blackflag
    Free Member

    Also have high cholesterol and also a veggie. I tried to do it through diet but pretty much everything seems high and best efforts did nothing. I concluded that genetics played a part so went on statins.

    asbrooks
    Full Member

    Hmm, thanks for the replies so far.
    I’m going to try to do with diet to begin with and not bother too much about what I eat when riding/exercising.
    My diet could be better, when asked about my diet my immediate response is that it is quite good. When I step back and think about it more objectively, I do snack quite a bit during the day. Job is pretty dull and I eat for entertainment during the day.

    imnotverygood
    Full Member

    Pretty much the same as you. High cholesterol despite being a vegetarian & pretty fit. Tired cutting out saturated fat entirely & brought the cholesterol to a normal level, but the diet was very restricted & I didn’t think it was viable long term. 10mg of atorvastatin achieved the same effect

    dyls
    Free Member

    Do you mind me asking how long have you been a vegetarian? and do you consume processed foods?

    MrOvershoot
    Full Member

    It’s not fair is it, I’m a fat old unit and have let my exercise slip a lot, I drink too much and yet on my yearly “Your an old git medical”

    My total level was 3.9, HDL 3.1 LDL 2. giving me a ratio of 1.26. But:

    BP was a bit high at 143/81 plus high haematocrit & haemochromatosis give me other problems.

    This getting old lark is rubbish.

    mccraque
    Full Member

    I’m in the same boat. North of 7, and I had one of the tests in February after a month of dry January and eating as healthily as I could to try and move the needle. I couldn’t seem to. My understanding is that it’s probably the last 3 months the impact the cholesterol reading though and I do like a tipple over xmas.

    I thought avocado and nuts were the good guys! But pizza, fish and chips and the like are horrific. I try to make sensible swap outs in the supermarket from time to time – and then over time tend to forget. (No amount of benecol is going to outweigh a block of mature cheddar).

    Even eating relatively sensibly, I find it hard – especially in a rush, or mid ride, not to tuck into something that really spikes the cholesterol. Any tips gratefully received. (Before I have a stroke)

    imnotverygood
    Full Member

    Do you mind me asking how long have you been a Do you mind me asking how long have you been a vegetarian? and do you consume processed foods??

    If that’s aimed at me. Since about 1989 and yes I do eat processed foods but relatively infrequently.

    Jordan
    Full Member

    @tpbiker how did they know you have some plaque? If you don’t mind me asking.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Iirrc if you have familial or genetic high cholesterol diet plays little part.

    tpbiker
    Free Member

    @jordan

    I was getting some nasty palpitations so had an echocardiogram that was fine

    Whilst speaking to the cardiologist however I asked (given I was a smoker with numerous other vices and a terrible diet for 20 years) if there was any way to check state of my arteries. He said that I could have a cat scan if I was concerned however that wouldn’t be the cause of the palpitations

    Basically I have a mild lesion in one artery which ain’t great but apparently not uncommon in folks my age. I did some studying up and apparently a study in the us showed the autopsies of 20% of folks aged 30-40 who died from non heart related issues had worse plaque build up than me (I’m 46)

    Glad I got the scan though. Apparently studies show it can be reversed if you have silly low bad cholesterol levels (under 1.6). Mine was 0.6 at last check, but that’s with 10 mg of statin every day. Got it down to 1.3 without drugs but it was hard work and very restrictive on what I could eat.

    Jordan
    Full Member

    Cheers @tpbiker ! I didn’t know they could check that way. I would be interested to know what state mine are in at 59. I have the genetic high cholesterol, somewhere around 8 if I recall. Was diagnosed at an early age after dad died of a massive heart attack at 44 and autopsy showed very blocked arteries. No idea if his was genetic or was a life fuelled by lard. Mother has high cholesterol same as mine but it still kicking around at 89 with only one recent mild heart attack. Her uncle was just the same with very high cholesterol but was a very fit man until it finally got him at 95 despite a life on port and woodbines. I hope I take after that side of the familly.

    I was on many different statins for many years along with a pretty healthy pescatarian diet. Non of them had much effect, I could only get it down a couple of points. Also, non of them really agreed with me and made me feel generaly tired and slow. Doc told me to stop them while I was investigated for high CK levels a few years ago and never got back on them even though statins were ruled out as the cause.

    Might see if I can get my veins checked though. Have always had a bit of white finger in cold weather but recently noticed I am getting it at warmer temps which makes me wonder if blood is not flowing quite as it should. That and a recent slight rise in blood pressure might be pointing to a slight blockage somewhere.

    clubby
    Full Member

    Don’t underestimate the role of high carbs/sugar consumption in high cholesterol. I’m type one diabetic and went very reduced carb last year. Cholesterol dropped from 5.1 to 3.7 in three months.

    sillysilly
    Full Member

    Don’t take diet advice from GP. Most have about a day training 20 yrs bk.

    Many bro science people are better.

    I.E cut carbs, sugar and alcohol. Sleep well, walk to get your steps and sunlight. Cut out processed food, snacks, bars, ready meals.

    Crazy thing is, if you are absolutely smashing it on your bike you can subsist on dates, nuts and pure electrolyte added to your water.

    Don’t eat avocados 😂😂

    asbrooks
    Full Member

    Do you mind me asking how long have you been a vegetarian? and do you consume processed foods?

    On and off most of my adult life. It began as a means to p***off my family as a teenager in the 80s. Plus it was quite fashionable at the time. I dipped back into eating meet in my 30s, cut it out again for most of my 40s. I finally quit 5 years ago having worked in China, I just couldn’t stomach how they treated animals, strange as they have high regard for animal spirits.

    I mostly cook from scratch and occasion I do eat some processed foods. However, when at work I do eat more unhealthy, when colleagues bring crap that gets brought into the office.

    rone
    Full Member

    I have high cholesterol. Diet appears to adjust by a small amount I was told by GP. 10/15%

    Brazil nuts is the only thing that actually makes a difference for me.

    Beyond that I don’t really care about it. And that’s where the GP led me.

    I got mine down from 7’ish to 5’ish in 6 weeks with my diet – the GP seemed suitably impressed

    longdog
    Free Member

    Yeh they can do a coronary arteries calcium score CAT scan which rates the plaques in your arteries. I had one as my cardiologist was sure I had coronary artery disease given age and terrible family history, turns out it was zero, clean as a whistle.

    Though they have tagged me as having micro vascular heart disease, the small vessels actually in the heart rather than the arteries supply it 😢

    Maybe bro-science, but seems a number of cardiologists say that the cholesterol plague is actually in response to damage to the arteries caused by high sugar levels (not fat), so the cholesterol basically forms a scab over the damaged bit of artery. So less sugar equals less damage equals less plaque.

    Also as many above have said low fat diet plays a minor role as the body (liver) produces cholesterol regardless of fat in the diet, and some are just naturally much higher than what is recommended.

    I couldn’t tolerate the few types of statins they wanted me to try so I’m just on aspirin, but then again despite the microvascular disease, my cholesterol was never out of normal range, and my arteries had zero calcium score. But I do get micro angina and a misfiring heart 🙄

    longdog
    Free Member

    Meant to say that AFAIK when exercising your body treats ingested sugars differently and it goes straight to fuel the muscles; even at z2 you will burn a certain amount of carbs.

    I tried fasted riding (up to 90min rides) and riding using low carb foods (longer rides) for a while as I’m no racer, but it means staying in z2 which pretty made hilly rides harder than usual and left me feeling sluggish with no desire to push the effort.

    I know that Sammi Inkinen (a low carb athlete) has shown s that he can eat carbs and still stay at keto blood levels in a stage MTB race, so it would seem to hold true that carbs eaten during exercise might not count the same.

    longdog
    Free Member

    Meant to say that AFAIK when exercising your body treats ingested sugars differently and it goes straight to fuel the muscles; even at z2 you will burn a certain amount of carbs.

    I tried fasted riding (up to 90min rides) and riding using low carb foods (longer rides) for a while as I’m no racer, but it means staying in z2 which pretty made hilly rides harder than usual and left me feeling sluggish with no desire to push the effort.

    I know that Sammi Inkinen (a low carb athlete) has shown s that he can eat carbs and still stay at keto blood levels in a stage MTB race, so it would seem to hold true that carbs eaten during exercise might not count the same.

    poah
    Free Member

    High dietary cholesterol has little to no effect on most people. Body is pretty good at regulating levels in the blood. Foods like avocados, legumes, nuts, soy foods, fruits, and vegetables have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels. 5-10% weight loss and more exercise also reduces it. There are some people called hyperresponders that diet can affect levels in the blood but not to a huge level.

    Now remember it isn’t actually cholesterol levels rather LDL levels that they are testing. Also there are other factors involved in heart disease not just LDL levels. Reduce your saturated fat intake so no butter, cakes, biscuits, fry ups, cheese, cream, anything that contains coconut or palm oil. Increase fish intake, brown rice and pasta, fibre.

    Excess cholesterol will be removed by the liver.

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