It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Does eating nuts cause a high LDL cholesterol score?

I hope you can help me. I eat peanut butter on wheat toast for breakfast. I eat 1/4 cup of nuts at lunch. My LDL is 89, which is a little high. Does eating lots of nuts cause a higher LDL? My cholesterol is 196 and my HDL is high at 99. Would a high HDL cause my cholesterol to be a little high?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

A slice of bread with peanut butter spread on it

You have an excellent cholesterol profile. Congratulations! We love to see HDL (good cholesterol) over 40 and 99 is fantastic. Having a target of less than 100 for LDL (bad cholesterol) has been shown to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Nuts and seeds of all kinds do help improve HDL and to some extent lower LDL cholesterol as do legumes (the peanuts are actually legumes).

Here's a handout that can help you understand these types of cholesterols better. Keep up the great work with your diet.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet