February 3, 2008

Numbers Game: Answer

A 2007 Internet survey of 20,000 adults in the United States by the National Lipid Association found that three percent were able to identify the desired values for total cholesterol, HDL ("good") cholesterol and triglycerides.

A shockingly low figure.

I'm willing to bet that the remaining ninety-seven percent not only do not know what ideal values they should have, but are also unaware how nutrition affects those numbers!

As far as figures go, when it comes to total cholesterol, you want to be at less than 200 mg/dL.

A number between 200 and 239 is considered a moderate risk
(this risk is lowered if the number is a result of low 'bad' cholesterol -- LDL -- and very high 'good' cholesterol -- HDL), and anything over 240 significantly increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Moving on to HDL (
'good cholesterol', which sucks up cholesterol in the body and transports it to the liver for processing), a value of at least 60 mg/dL is required for it to serve as a protective force against heart disease.

Anything below 40 men and 50 for women is considered low and another risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Although triglycerides are a lipid, high values are linked with excessive intake of refined carbohydrates (processed flours, sugar, etc.)

Anything below 150 mg/dL is great,
while a number between 150 and 199 should raise the "Caution!" flag.

Triglyceride levels are considered high at anywhere between 200 and 499 mg/dL, and anything above 500 is cause for serious concern.

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