Heart & Cardiology/lowering ldl


hi dr. ahmed, im confused about cholesterol. my ldl on my blood test was 152 and it should be 129 or less. what increases ldl, is it saturated fat or sugar. i'm taking 20mg of pravastatin to lower it. what kind of diet and exercise do you recommend to be the best way to lower ldl cholesterol. thanks.


You ask a great question, which is a topic of intense debate. Which is the “problem” macronutrient? Fat, carbohydrate, protein? The answer is a little bit of all three. Each macronutrient has their own “problem area.” Each macronutrient has something that you need to stay away from, in order to lower your LDL and live a long and healthy life.

For fat, avoid animal fats - specifically, fatty land animals. Lean meat and fish is encouraged, dairy is acceptable in moderation.
For carbohydrates, avoid refined and processed carbohydrates - also known as “simple” carbohydrates and processed sugars.
For protein, avoid red meat and processed meats. As stated before: Lean meat and fish is encouraged, dairy is acceptable in moderation.

Not all protein foods are created equal. Certain protein foods are better than others when it comes to preventing weight gain. Nuts, peanut butter, fish, yogurt and low-fat cheese are associated with weight loss while red meat and processed meat are associated with weight gain. This study confirms that the quality of your diet matters for keeping your weight in check over a long period of time. A balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help you maintain a low glycemic load. Choosing lean protein sources like chicken, fish, nut butter, and low-fat cheese will reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Both glycemic load and protein type are indicators of your diet quality, and will affect your weight.

Although statins do lower LDL, so do omega-3 fatty acids, exercise, and a Mediterranean and low carbohydrate diet.

In summary, here are some lifestyle changes for lowering LDL and improving overall cardiovascular health:

1. Adhering to a heart-healthy diet (the Mediterranean Diet or The Balanced Diet from NHS)
2. Regular exercise habits (stay physically active for at least 150 minutes at moderate intensity or 75 minutes at vigorous intensity each week)
3. Maintenance of a healthy weight (BMI <25)
4. Avoidance of tobacco and alcohol products

Hope that was helpful,  

Heart & Cardiology

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Mustafa Ahmed MD


Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Hypertension, Pulmonary Embolism, Structural and Valve Disease


Board Certification Internal Medicine and Cardiology Interventional and Structural Cardiology


Multiple Publications In High Quality Peer Reviewed Journals. Internationally Recognized.

MD from The Royal Victoria University of Manchester, England Medicine, Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Research Training - University of Alabama

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