Posted by: Renè  | 2013-01-13

Underweight with high cholesterol

Good day.

I recently went for screening for my cholesterol on warning from my 14 year old sister, as her levels were high. My father struggles with cholesterol, so I''m assuming it is genetic as I am generally very healthy. I am 21 yrs old, 1.72m tall, and I weigh 50.6kg. I exercise moderately, and I have always struggled to gain weight, but I''ve always tried to eat as healthily as possible too.

My cholesterol is 5.3. I''m now not really sure of what I should be eating, as I want to lower my cholesterol levels, but gain weight at the same time.

Could you please offer some advice?
Much appreciated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Rene
If you suffer from so-called 'familial' raised cholesterol levels, then you need to consult a registered dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). You may find that you and the other members of your family do not respond to a low-cholesterol diet and that you may need to take medications called statins. Discuss the possibility of having your genetic makeup tested by one of the genetic laboratories such as DNAlysis (check on, to help you plan the most sensible programme for lowering cholesterol levels. The dietitian can also assist you to gain some weight because your current BMI = 17,1 which is very low and tending towards undernutrition. It would be desirable if you could hae a BMI of 22 and weigh 65 kg (an increase of about 14 kg). Click on 'Diet & Nutrition' at the top of this page and then on 'Nutrition Basics' and 'Weight gaining' to read articles on how to gain weight. Most of the liquid meal supplements mentioned in the articles do not contain high cholesterol or fat levels.
Best regards

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