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Diabetes and cholesterol are two conditions that often go hand-in-hand. High cholesterol can be a cause of diabetes and vice versa. That’s why it’s so important to control both conditions through diet. There are certain foods to avoid if you have high cholesterol or diabetes, or both.

In this article, we will talk about what is diabetes, what is cholesterol, and foods to avoid if you have high cholesterol and diabetes.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin or does not properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin allows the body to utilize sugar, starches, and other food for the energy needed daily.

There are three main types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. 

People who have type 1 diabetes should take insulin injections every day to stay alive. Failure to do so can lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be fatal if left untreated. 

The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s immune system destroys the body’s insulin-producing cells found in the pancreas.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce or use insulin properly. 

People with type 2 diabetes can improve their condition by losing weight, exercising, and following a healthy diet. Some people with type 2 diabetes also need to take insulin injections.

The cause of type 2 diabetes is also unknown, but it is believed to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Obesity and lack of exercise are two of the most important risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Some women have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. This condition is called gestational diabetes. 

Gestational diabetes normally goes away once the baby is born, but women who have had it are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Gestational diabetes is caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. These changes can lead to insulin resistance, which is when the body does not use insulin properly.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the foods to avoid if you have high cholesterol and diabetes.

The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are often the same. They include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Slow-healing cuts and bruises
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

Diabetes Diagnosis

A doctor can diagnose diabetes by doing a blood test called a fasting blood sugar test or a hemoglobin A1c test. This type of test measures the level of sugar in your blood once you have fasted in a span of at least eight hours. The test measures your blood sugar level for the previous two to three months.

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. People with type 1 diabetes are required to take daily insulin injections in order to stay alive.

People with type 2 diabetes can improve their condition by losing weight, exercising, and following a healthy diet. Some people with type 2 diabetes also need to take insulin injections.

Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, but women who have had it are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones and build cell walls, but excessive amounts of cholesterol can lead to heart disease.

There are two types of cholesterol. One is the “good” cholesterol, called HDL, which helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood. The other is LDL, the “bad” cholesterol that may build up in your body’s arteries and cause blockages.

Having high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 Americans die from heart disease each year — that’s one in every four deaths. High cholesterol can also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.

High cholesterol doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, so you might not know you have it. A simple blood test can tell you if your cholesterol levels are high. Once you know your numbers, you and your doctor can work together to make lifestyle changes and, if necessary, start cholesterol-lowering medication.

How to Manage Cholesterol and Diabetes

Managing cholesterol and diabetes can be a challenge, but it’s important to do so for your overall health. The main thing to remember is to eat foods that do not contain too much-saturated fat and cholesterol and to avoid foods that are high in sugar.

Aside from a healthy diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are also important in managing cholesterol and diabetes.

It’s also important to visit your doctor regularly to monitor your cholesterol and blood sugar levels and make sure you are doing everything you can to manage your condition. You should take a proactive approach to your health, ensuring that you are doing everything you can to stay healthy and avoid complications.

Cholesterol Issues

If your LDL cholesterol is 100 mg/dL or more, it’s time to take action. Even if your LDL cholesterol is lower than 100, you may still be at risk for heart disease and stroke. That’s why it’s important to know your numbers and talk to your doctor about your risk.

Your total cholesterol level is the sum of your LDL, HDL, and a type of cholesterol called triglycerides. Triglycerides are the main form of fat in food and are also found in your blood.

Your cholesterol levels are affected by the following factors:

  • What you eat
  • How much you weigh
  • Your age and gender
  • Whether you smoke
  • Your family history

You can’t do anything about some of these factors, but there are things you can do to lower your cholesterol.

Healthy Diet

Diet is one of the most important things you can control. Eating foods that are low in saturated and trans fats can help lower your LDL cholesterol.

Animal products such as butter, red meat, and cheese contain saturated fats. Processed foods such as crackers, cookies, and cakes often contain trans fats.

You can also raise your HDL cholesterol by eating foods that contain soluble fiber, such as oatmeal and beans. Soluble fiber can also help lower your LDL cholesterol.

Exercising and Losing Weight

Exercise is another important way to raise your HDL cholesterol and lower your LDL cholesterol. Even 30 minutes of moderate exercise — like walking — most days of the week can make a significant difference. If you have heart disease or are at risk for it, your doctor may recommend more strenuous exercise.

Losing weight can also help lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. Even a small weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds can make a difference. If these lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor may advise you to take medication to help lower your cholesterol. The most common type of medication is statin.

Top 8 Foods to Avoid If You Have High Cholesterol and Diabetes

If you have high cholesterol or diabetes, you need to be extra careful about the foods you eat. Here are eight foods to avoid if you have high cholesterol and diabetes:

1. Foods High in Trans Fats

Trans fats are even worse for your cholesterol levels than saturated fats. Trans fats can be found in foods like margarine, vegetable shortening, and some types of cooking oil. They can also be found in many processed foods, so make sure to check the labels before you buy anything.

2. Foods High in Saturated Fats

Saturated fats can raise your LDL cholesterol and make it harder for your body to process insulin. Foods high in saturated fat include red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream. Make sure to avoid foods that are fried or foods that have been processed with hydrogenated oils.

3. Eggs, Shrimp, Lobster

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in foods like eggs, shrimp, and lobster. Too much cholesterol can increase your LDL cholesterol levels and make it harder for your body to process insulin. Make sure to check with your doctor before you eat foods high in cholesterol.

4. Sugar

Eating too much sugar can raise your blood sugar levels and make it harder for your body to process insulin. Foods high in sugar include candy, cookies, cake, and soda. You should also avoid foods that have a lot of added sugar, such as some breakfast cereals and fruit juices.

5. Salt

Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. Foods high in salt include processed foods, canned soup, and fast food. Make sure to check the labels on foods before you buy them, and try to avoid foods that have more than 2% of their daily value for sodium.

6. Foods With Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are foods that have been processed and had fiber and other nutrients removed. Examples of refined carbohydrates include white bread, white rice, and pasta made with white flour. These foods can raise your blood sugar levels quickly, so it’s best to avoid them if you have diabetes.

7. Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood sugar levels and make it harder for your body to process insulin. If you have diabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. Most of the time, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.

8. Coffee, Tea, Soda

Caffeine can raise your blood pressure and make it harder for your body to process insulin. Foods and drinks that are high in caffeine include coffee, tea, energy drinks, and soda. If you have diabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how much caffeine is safe for you to consume.

By avoiding these foods, you can help keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control. This will help you stay healthy and avoid complications from high cholesterol or diabetes.

What Are the Best Foods to Eat if You Have High Cholesterol?

The best foods for high cholesterol are foods that are low in saturated and trans fats, as well as foods that are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant sterols. Foods to eat include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Nuts

Conclusion

Having high cholesterol and diabetes can be difficult to manage, but making small changes in your diet can make a big difference. Avoiding foods that are high in cholesterol and sugar can help you keep your levels under control.

By following a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you can live a long and healthy life even with these conditions.

Please Note:

The posts published on the ACareConnection.com blog are strictly for educational purposes only. They do not necessarily reflect the type and scope of home health and care services that we, or our nurse registry referred professionals, provide to clients. If you have any questions about the types of services provided by our HHA and NR licensed companies, please feel free to reach out through our contact page.