Carbohydrates Drive Up Cholesterol

Evil ToastOctober 16th, 2009 – Despite what your doctor and favorite fitness magazine tell you, dietary cholesterol is not the enemy. In fact, our own cells manufacture roughly 80% of the cholesterol in our body (1). Increase your dietary intake, and normally the body will compensate by producing less of its own. Decrease, and your body will make more.

So where do carbohydrates fit in to all of this?

When you ingest carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose and released into the blood stream. This raises blood sugar levels, and the body releases insulin to deliver the sugar to the various cells in the body for use as fuel. Aside from storing nutrients in the body, insulin also stimulates the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which determines the rate and amount of cholesterol produced by our cells. (2) The more cholesterol our cells produce, the less they remove from the LDL particles in the blood, and the more cholesterol remains in circulation.

Take home message – It’s the toast, not the eggs.


1. Protein Power
Dr. Michael Eades
New York, NY: Creative Paradox LLC (2000)

2. Interaction between cholesterol and glucose metabolism during dietarycarbohydrate modification in subjects with the metabolic syndrome
Maarit Hallikainen, et al.
Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, Dec 2006; 84: 1385 – 1392.

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