High Cholesterol and Diabetes: What to Eat or Not?

Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol is a very important part of a healthy living. However, the same becomes all the more important if you are someone who has been affected by a condition which is as complicated as diabetes. High levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides can certainly come in the way of effective diabetes management and as such, keeping the same under control is extremely important. In this article, we shall explore the relationship between high cholesterol levels and diabetes. So, come and join in for a the article “High Cholesterol and Diabetes: What to Eat or Not?”

Table of Contents

What is Cholesterol and Why Is It Harmful?

Cholesterol is a type of a fat, waxy substance that is naturally present in our blood as well as different body cells. It helps to define the lipid profile in the body. Two main types of cholesterol include:

Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL

This is bad cholesterol as it increases the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases.

High-Density Lipoprotein or HDL

This is often also called good cholesterol as it reduces the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases.

Triglycerides are also a form of fat which is naturally found in our bloodstream. When the doctors check the blood for cholesterol, the levels of triglycerides are also taken into account.

High levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides are harmful as they increase the chances of getting several heart-related conditions. LDL can lead to the formation of plaque in the blood which makes it difficult for the blood vessels to carry blood through the heart and other body parts.

Diabetes and High Cholesterol: What’s The Connection?

When you are diabetic, there are several complications that are involved with this one single disease. You need to effectively manage diabetes in order to avoid various other complications. In a diabetic patient, even if the body has good cholesterol, the same is displaced by the bad cholesterol, causing various diseases and adverse conditions.

Cholesterol and Diabetes

There is a strong relationship between diabetes and cholesterol. Let us see the same in the following points:

  • When you are diabetic, there are greater chances that you will have a high degree of bad cholesterol or LDL.
  • Diabetic people are more affected by the condition known as “diabetic dyslipidemia.” Which is a condition in which the body tends to have very high levels of triglycerides, high levels of LDL, and low levels of With this condition, you are exposed to a higher risk of contracting coronary heart diseases as well as atherosclerosis.
  • People with type 2 conditions are more prone to getting strokes and heart-related conditions at a younger age as compared to those without this condition due to diabetic dyslipidemia.
  • When you have diabetes as well as high cholesterol levels, the problems and complications that are caused due to the presence of high blood glucose in the body only increase with time.

Hence, there is definitely a strong relationship between diabetes and the levels of high cholesterol that the diabetic patient has.

What is the Level of Cholesterol That Should Be Maintained?

As per the American Diabetes Association, the following should be the levels of cholesterol in your body if you are someone who is suffering from diabetes:

  • The LDL or the bad cholesterol level in the adults should be less than 100 mg/dl.
  • The HDL or the good cholesterol levels in male adults who have diabetes should be greater than 40 mg/dl.
  • The HDL or the good cholesterol levels in female adults who have diabetes should be greater than 50 mg/dl.
  • The level of triglycerides in both men and women affected by diabetes should be less than 150 mg/dl.

What to Eat if You Want to Maintain Healthy Levels of Cholesterol?

Keep in mind the following while devising a diet plan for maintaining the recommended levels of cholesterol in your blood:

  • Include a lot of whole grains in your diet. Go for healthy options such as brown rice and quinoa.
  • You should include a lot of nuts, fish, and avocado in the daily diet
  • Include green, leafy vegetables and fruits in the diet. The fruits and vegetables are usually high on the total fiber intake and as such, these can help lower the levels of bad cholesterol.
  • You can also opt for cooking with olive oil or canola oil as these oils have mono saturated fats instead of trans fat and saturated fats. This makes them a healthier option.

The following foods are strongly recommended


Beta-glucan found in oats is known to absorb most of the LDL which helps in promoting the level of good cholesterol in the body.


Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fats and replacing all your saturated fats with food which is rich in Omega-3 will do a great deal in helping you to avoid bad cholesterol.


Black tea is known to reduce the lipid profile of the body by around 10% in just a matter of a few weeks. This, in turn, helps to lower the total amount of bad cholesterol in the body.


The antioxidants present in all our favorite chocolates help to promote the levels of good cholesterol in our body. The regular consumption of chocolates also goes a long way in helping to keep the arteries smooth and prevent any type of clogs. For health-related conditions, the bittersweet and the dark chocolates are a better choice.


These are a great source of food if you want to promote the health of your heart. Beans are a rich source of fiber and that is how they are a very good source of promoting good cholesterol while preventing bad cholesterol at the same time.

Try to follow the above diet along with a good lifestyle, regular physical exercise if you want healthy cholesterol levels.

Foods to Avoid

When you are dealing with the problems of high cholesterol, you need to avoid the food items which might have the following:

  • A high concentration of saturated fats. The foods to avoid include butter, bacon, palm oil, as well as coconut oil.
  • A high concentration of trans fat
  • You should also limit your intake of fatty meats which include hot dogs, sausage, ribs, steak, amongst others. Instead of fatty meats, you can eat lean beef, pork, lamb, or even fishes.
  • You should also limit the total intake of egg yolks.
  • Do not use butter or margarine as an addition to bread, pasta, etc. You can easily use olive oil instead.
  • Fast foods such as burgers, deep fried potatoes, tacos, amongst others contain a lot of saturated fats. Hence, these foods should also be avoided to the maximum possible extent.
  • Avoid milk products such as milk, different types of cheese, etc. instead of these, you can go for low-fat milk and other varieties.
  • Snacks, crackers, muffins, pastry items, cakes, croissants, etc. are best avoided if you are trying to maintain healthy levels of good cholesterol and avoid the increase in bad cholesterol in your body.

Having mentioned the food items that are recommended and that should be avoided for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, it is important to mention that you should definitely consult a medical expert when you are trying to include a food item in your daily diet.

We hope that the above post has been helpful in improving your understanding of the relationship between diabetes and the levels of cholesterol in the body. Maintaining a healthy level of the cholesterol as well as triglycerides form a very important part and go a long way in effectively managing diabetes and its related complications.

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