Updated: Jun 8
A large number of EHFix clients have high cholesterol or are treated or threatened to be treated with STATINs (atorvastatin/Lipitor, rosuvastatin/Crestor, simvastatin/Zocor) and other cholesterol lowering meds. These clients are either high risk for heart attack or have actually had one or more heart attacks. If you or someone you love has high cholesterol- a low carb diet is RIGHT FOR YOU!
Most people who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol fear going on a diet that includes more meats, fats, and cholesterol. Rightfully so, given the messages we all received in the 1980's. The science regarding cholesterol has radically changed over the last 20 years. Most people don't know very much about modern cholesterol science at all.... this includes a lot 0f DOCTORS!
NO DOCTOR OR SCIENTIST WILL DISPUTE THIS: A HEALTHY DIET is the NUMBER ONE BEST WAY TO FIX YOUR CHOLESTEROL. PERIOD. This is why your doctor will "give you a chance" to improve your diet PRIOR to placing you on STATINS. If you've had a heart attack, you are not even given the choice! But... are statins the BEST way to reduce your cholesterol and chance of another heart attack? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Most doctors do not tell you HOW EXACTLY to change your diet to IMPROVE your cholesterol simply because they don't know. Please note: I did NOT say LOWER your cholesterol. A lower TOTAL CHOLESTEROL is NOT going to save you from having a heart attack. Here's a little known FACT: The vast majority of people who have heart attacks have a NORMAL cholesterol level. On the other hand, almost ALL people who have had a heart attack have a POOR CHOLESTEROL PROFILE- this is called dyslipidemia. This means your body has too much of the WRONG TYPES of cholesterol which can lead to problems.
Let's review some facts about CHOLESTEROL:
FACT #1: The cholesterol you eat DOES NOT translate directly into the cholesterol your body makes. The fat you eat is MOSTLY triglycerides, not cholesterol.
The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory committee now says “DIETARY CHOLESTEROL IS NOT A NUTRIENT OF CONCERN" and have lifted ANY recommendations to restrict dietary fat in the diet!
THIS IS NOT being shouted from the rooftops: it's essentially admitting they have been WRONG For the last 50+ years!!😳 Have you noticed that the "no red meat and no yolks" message has just sort of slipped away from the headlines🤔
FACT #2: Cholesterol is CRITICAL for your body, but it is NOT ESSENTIAL (you don’t HAVE TO eat it)! WHY? Cholesterol is SOOOO IMPORTANT, your body MAKES IT'S OWN CHOLESTEROL in your liver!🤔
Cholesterol is a critical component of ALL your hormones, your cell membranes (part of EVERY SINGLE CELL), and your brain/nerve cells.
At least 25% on the cholesterol in your body is contained in your brain and nerves. Cholesterol keeps your brain thinking clearly and your muscle and nerve reaction times smooth and fast.
FACT #3: Cholesterol ITSELF is not inherently GOOD or BAD-- this is why doctors should no longer talk about "HIGH CHOLESTEROL" as a "medical problem"-- the correct medical diagnosis these days is known as DYSLIPIDEMIA (having the wrong number of certain types of cholesterol LIPOPROTEINs). Learn about the lipoproteins LDL, HDL, VLDL, and IDL below👇
FACT #4: Your cholesterol levels change HOURLY🤔-- what you EAT in the days before your cholesterol gets tested and how long you FAST prior to your study can change your NUMBERS GREATLY!!! YES! You can actually manipulate this for insurance testing!!! 😲
HERE's WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
When you start eating low carb, your cholesterol numbers will begin to shift dramatically. By month 3, you will have a tremendous amount of cholesterol floating in your blood. This is a GOOD SIGN! This is your FAT CELLS CLEANING OUT! This is a healthy process and is not dangerous! Levels drawn at this time can be misleading and can lead to scary phone calls from some "uneducated in what to expect with low carb" professionals!
I do not recommend you get your levels drawn for at least 6 months after beginning low carb. If you happen to have them drawn beforehand, please contact me with ANY concerns! DON'T FREAK OUT and don't START any new meds!🤪 Many doctors are completely CLUELESS about the changes to expect with a low carb client!🤦♀️ This is not taught in medical school. Medical school is where you learn to RECOGNIZE and TREAT ILLNESS, not PREVENT IT!
When you do get your cholesterol drawn, make sure your doctor orders a full panel including your Total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, and VLDL. You cannot fully assess your risk for heart disease and stroke on your cholesterol numbers alone, There are, in fact, MANY OTHER risk factors! Your risk, BASED ON CHOLESTEROL ALONE, can be assessed in several ways:
You are low risk if your triglycerides are < 45 (in fact, you can probably STOP right there!! If not, continue on with the OTHER indicators)
You are low risk if your HDL >55
You are low risk if your triglyceride: HDL ratio is <2
You are low risk if your total cholesterol to HDL ratio is less than 5
You are low risk if your LDL : HDL ratio is < 3.5
You are low risk if your Total cholesterol minus (HDL +LDL) is < 30 (a.k.a. Remnant cholesterol)
AS you can see ☝️, how the various numbers in your PROFILE stack up matter much more than the overall TOTAL cholesterol alone. The longer you stick with a low carb diet (the majority of the time!) the more your cholesterol profile will straighten up and begin to fall in line!😉 Keep at it!! You've got this!
What we know about cholesterol has been part of new and emerging science over the last 50 years. My previous blog about cholesterol includes some of this history. I linked a video, podcast, and even a movie about modern cholesterol lowering diets in my prior post. If this is a particular concern of yours, please start there: https://manage.wix.com/dashboard/a12ac248-4db8-4067-8d7c-6a815cb2e8fd/blog/e718c85d-e7bf-44ee-bcc0-544ae90a7036/edit
If you are ready to SUPER GEEK out with more cholesterol experts check out these two discussions:
(1) Dave Feldman, software engineer and creator of cholesterolcode.com can walk you through understanding the TYPES of cholesterol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LuKwsz9Woc
(2) Dr Paul Mason- discusses the importance of a higher HDL and lower triglycerides PLUS how the ratio of triglycerides:HDL can be used. He also addresses a growing recognition and understanding of LDL HYPER-RESPONDERS within the low carb community. An increase of 50% or more in LDL cholesterol can occur rarely. When this happens, you need an expert to weigh in on your safety:
Elevating that HDL seems important right? Here are some ways to raise your HDL cholesterol specifically:
Consume olive oil
Follow a low carb or ketogenic diet
Add coconut oil to the diet
Eat fatty fish often
Eat PURPLE produce including: