Fueling with Maurten/Carbs and effect on Cholesterol

I have been always on the high end of cholesterol. borderline high. Its been around total cholesterol of ~200 since 2016. My LDL is also elevated at around 140-150. I weigh 137 pounds

In 2022, I made a conscious effort to eat more veggies and also “dont be afraid to fuel”. So I usually do one bottle per hour with 30-60 grams of carbs inside, and for long events outside.

Just before the 2022 holidays, i got some bad news and my doctor said my cholesterol is 261 and my LDL is 177! I must admit that while I have been eating less meat, I have been indulging more on croissants and bakes goods as well as Greek yogurt.

So now. I am on a statin per my doctor. 10mg Crestor for a few months.

My question is, does anyone else have concerns of fueling with simple sugars on the bike and their long term health. Of course I want to fuel my workouts well to capture as much performance as possible, but I do have serious worries about my blood work now. There is lots of anti processed food, anti maltodextrin content out there, and I know everything has a time and a place. Nothing is good or bad without context. thanks a bunch everyone

Maltodextrin, nor any other sugar, will independently raise your LDL cholesterol.

Here are the things I generally see raise folks’ cholesterol:

  1. Increased saturated fat consumption.
  2. Increased body weight due to an increase in calories relative to expenditure.

There are three very good arguments against increasing your carb intake on the bike, which is a hot topic these days. Here are all 3:

  1. Dental health. Chase with water. Consider brushing before training to disturb mouth bacteria so they can’t sit and feed off the sugar and produce acid that damage enamel. I welcome any dentists to chime in here, because I’m not one!

  2. If you are currently type 2 diabetic or prediabetic. Blood sugar dysregulation generally should be fixed before increasing intra-workout fueling. Under guidance from a pro, you can do both at the same time.

  3. Weight gain resulting from increased consumption on the bike, and no adjustment of habitual eating off the bike. Many of us who tend to under-fuel training, also tend to raid the kitchen at night. If you keep doing that, while fueling training more adequately, weight gain can happen.

If you fall into camp number 3 above, the fix is as follows:

  1. Nix the croissants.
  2. Nix the baked goods.
  3. Continue the greek yogurt.
  4. Continue the fueling, but consider modest reduction for your easiest / shortest rides.

I’d bet that if there has been no weight gain during the time you’ve been increasing your workout fuel intake, the saturated fat content of the baked goods and croissants is the culprit for the increased LDL.

It’s also possible that you’ve had some body composition changes (muscle loss, fat gain) if you’ve cut out some meat and replaced with not quite as much protein.

The solution does not need to be consume more lean meat, though it could be. But I’d make sure you’ve not shifted your diet towards more saturated fat and less protein.


Very important key point :wink: Jokes aside, as someone who consumes a lot of greek yoghurt, make sure to get the fat free one :slight_smile: 10% fat is the norm, and thats quite a lot if you use greek yoghurt for protein/snacks etc.

I can also att that for endurance rides under 90min, given that you have fuelled properly on and off the bike for all other rides, you can do those rides fasted.

You have enough glycogen stored for 90min of easy riding.

With that said, for anything over 90min, or any intensity over low intensity, you need to fuel properly before and during.

One thing that is very very seldom discussed here on the forums (since everyone just obsesses over on-the-bike fuelling) is making sure you fuel properly the day before.

If you have a hard ride tomorrow, having more carbs for dinner (and to balance it, less fat and a tad less protein) is key to making sure you are fuelled properly, that in combination with carb focused meals the day of, before the ride.

In regards to health and simple sugars, it’s very different consuming simple sugars that the body will transport to be used as fuel for work that is being done.

Keep the simple sugars for pre workout and on the bike, and focus on carbs off the bike.

My dad is pre diabetic so theres family history there. I am actually at my lowest weight in years, its frustrating i was 10-12 pounds heavier in 2016 yet had much lower cholesterol. thanks for the answers!

Fage comes in normal, And so you’re saying that’s 10%?!??!?! Yeah, I am switching over to 0% sigh

Great point!

As for the dental side, I was told to reduce the frequency of eating sugar during a ride. Instead of 5 haribo every 10 mins, can I just eat 30 haribo every hour.

The amount of sugar is not the driving factor on the bad teeth side, its the frequency of consumption, your saliva/mouth will clear it within 15mins, so scran as much sugar as your gut can take as infrequently as possible, use high fluoride toothpaste on days of high sugar content like big rides. This is what my dentist told me to do. if you eat sugar every 15 mins, your teeth will constantly be coated, which will be 4x as bad as the every hour method.

I eat 60g of carbs on the hour every hour during a long ride if I can, seems to help.

1 Like

Haha, I have no idea about Fage, but in Sweden, Arla and the other big brands have 10% as their normal (which is fantastic and super good), but its too much fat :slight_smile:

I can easily eat 400g a day, having it be 10% fat is a disaster if I am eating those amounts…

But it tastes SO much better. Is it really a disaster as long as its part of a well balanced diet?

It depends on what your goals are.

There are 58kcal per 100g in the fat free one…

There are 130kcal per 100g in the 10% fat one…

Eat 400g a day (which isn’t a crazy amount if you use it for snacks, complement for dinner, in tzatziki etc) and you’re looking at another 30min on the bike to burn those extra calories over the fat free version.

1 Like

nice, we went to Sweden last summer and really enjoyed all the food in general. I do remember liking the yogurt alot there i am pretty sure i ate a lot of pastries too

1 Like

We are blessed with insanely high quality food, both supermarket but also in cafes and restaurants.

You get a chock sometimes when travelling abroad… :sweat_smile: