Cholesterol + diabetes

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Have you been told that you have high cholesterol?

High cholesterol usually refers to high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. The main goal is to lower LDL-cholesterol. Most adults need medications (such as statin) to accomplish this. Weight management, healthy eating, and regular physical activity will also help you reach this goal.

Diabetes management requires good blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol control.


Cholesterol: a fat substance that is naturally present in your blood and cells. There are two main types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL.

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein): often called “bad” cholesterol because higher levels of LDL can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein): often called “good” cholesterol because higher levels of HDL can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease: damage to the heart and blood vessels. One cause is narrowing of the blood vessels due to fat deposits on the vessel walls, which limits blood flow.

Total cholesterol to HDL ratio: a measure of cardiovascular risk calculated by dividing total cholesterol by HDL-cholesterol.

Triglyceride: a form of fat that the body makes from sugar, alcohol or other food sources.

How can I manage my cholesterol through the lifestyle choices I make? 


In addition to taking cholesterol medications as prescribed, being at a healthy weight, having healthy eating habits and doing regular physical activity help you manage cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. 

Healthy eating tips

Make healthier choices from each of the food groups:

Grains & Starches

  • Choose whole grains
  • Choose high-fibre grains, especially those with soluble fibre (such as barley, brown rice, multigrain pasta).
  • Choose low-glycemic index foods.


  • Choose whole and unprocessed fruit for more fibre.


  • Choose a variety of colours
  • Choose high-fibre vegetables
  • Choose fresh vegetables, if possible

Meat & Alternatives

  • Choose at least two meals per week of fatty fish (such as salmon, trout, sardines)
  • Choose plant protein more often (such as tofu, legumes, lentils)
  • Choose lean meats, trim visible fat, remove skin from poultry
  • Choose lower-fat cheese (less  than 20% milk fat [MF])

Milk & Alternatives

  • Choose lower-fat milk (such as skim or 1%) and milk products (such as low-fat yogourt)
  • Choose low-fat milk alternatives such as soy- or rice-based products


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