If you've tried and failed to lower your cholesterol with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, the problem may have been the carbohydrates you were eating. Refined carbohydrates (those that are high on the glycemic index, a system of ranking foods by their effect on blood sugar) can cause rapid increases in blood sugar, prompting the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn signals the liver to pump more triglycerides into the bloodstream. Instead, try eating high-fiber items that are low on the glycemic index. (You can find a list with the rankings of common foods at glycemicindex.com.) Try to stick to foods that rank below 55. Also, recent research indicates that saturated fat consumption may not raise the risk of coronary disease. Other steps that can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health include eliminating alcohol, losing weight, and getting regular exercise.