Lowering cholesterol by eating fat

Q. I enjoyed your article about saturated fats. My husband and I have been eating saturated fat and avoiding all the “white stuff” like flour and sugar. We have been separating “fuels” by having protein and fats or lean protein with healthy carbs at our meals.

I have lost 30 pounds. My cholesterol went from 204 to 160, and my triglycerides from 140 to 41.

A. For decades, nutrition scientists have told us that eating saturated fat would lead to clogged coronary arteries. This seemed logical, but it was not based on evidence.

The most recent study, called PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology), followed more than 135,000 people for seven years. During that time, about 4,700 had heart attacks or strokes, and nearly 6,000 died. Those who consumed a high-carbohydrate diet rich in sugars and processed flour were more likely to suffer such consequences (The Lancet, online, Aug. 29, 2017).

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According to the authors, “High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality.” Surprisingly, the more saturated fat these individuals consumed, the lower their risk of stroke.

Q. I thought soy milk was supposed to be a healthy food. I have a low thyroid condition. I had checked to make sure there weren’t any food interactions with the Synthroid I was prescribed and didn’t see anything worrisome.

I started drinking a cup of soy milk per day. Over just a few months, I gained 25 pounds, and my TSH reading rocketed up to four times what it had been. I’ve been unable to take that weight gain off even with increasing dosages of Synthroid. My body temperature is low, and I have debilitating fatigue. Are there supplements I should avoid?

A. If you take your Synthroid with soy milk or coffee, you may not absorb the full dose (Clinical Therapeutics, February 2017). ConsumerLab.com recently summarized interactions with supplements. In addition to soy, minerals such as iron or calcium and antacids such as aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide can interfere with levothyroxine absorption. You should leave at least four hours between swallowing any of these and taking your thyroid hormone.

You can learn more about treating your thyroid problem from our “Guide to Thyroid Hormones,” available at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. If taking your Synthroid…

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