So the proof is in the pudding (no pun intended).
I’ve been on a low-carb, high-fat diet for close to a year now and today I got the latest cholesterol blood test results back. So in this post I’ll list 3 sets of blood test results that I’ve received over the past couple of years, so that I (and for those of you interested) will have a record of the impact of being on a LCHF (low carb, high fat) diet.
Before I reveal the results, I want to explain why I’ve gotten my cholesterol level checked multiple times in a one year period (2011). Basically, the first time was a month or two into the LCHF diet, when I still wasn’t sure exactly what the effect of a diet consisting of dietary fat as the majority of caloric intake would be. Of course, per the literature and prior *objective* scientific research, the expectation was that my HDL (good cholesterol) would go up, bad cholesterol (LDL) would stay the same or go up some, and Triglycerides (i.e., fat in the bloodstream) would plummet. But, hey, like everyone else I was always told it would result in the opposite, so I wanted to get them checked.
I then had another set of tests done midway through the year, simply because the company I work for hosts a free annual “Health Fair” on site. Basically, a bunch of medical folks come and take over a floor of on of our buildings and they do all kinds of tests: blood tests, weight, skin tests, etc. At the end, after performing all of the tests, there is a “Health Advisor” who you meet with privately and he looks over the results of your tests and gives the good or bad news, and steps to rectify. Those results were overhwhelmingly positive, showing marked increases for the better. But, I seem to have misplaced the paper with the results so I’ll leave that set out of this post. No need as we have tests both prior and after to compare.
So, without further adieu, here are the results of the three sets of blood tests I’ve taken throughout the year. Specifically I’ll list the cholesterol, triglyceride, and inflammation test results. For comparison, I’ll also list the blood tests I had gotten as part of an annual physical in early 2010, when I weight about 260 pounds thanks to my body’s inability to cope with the typical high-carb, low-fat SAD (Standard American Diet).
Early 2010 Test Results (While still on SAD diet)
Weight: 260 lbs.
Total Cholesterol: 151
Cholesterol/HDLC Ratio: 4.3
Doctor’s Response after Reviewing Results: he just told me what I’d heard every time before – I’m too fat and, with my family history, will likely be dead by the time I’m 60 unless I get off my lazy ass and start working out and eating less. A low fat diet, per that think-tank of ignorance, the American Heart Association, was always recommended for lowering cholesterol and overall alleged ‘health’.
April 27, 2011 Test Results
Weight: 222 lbs.
Total Cholesterol: 168
Cholesterol/HDLC Ratio: 3.7
Doctor’s response after reviewing results: he was surprised and, just like the ‘Health Advisor’ at the health fair did, he turned around as if the examination room might be bugged/under surveillance and then said in a low voice something like this – “I can’t explain how it’s doing it but every time I see someone who goes on a low-carb diet the results are always positive. So just keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.” Fortunately, my doctor understands that “Total Cholesterol” is a completely meaningless number, and even the calculation is of it is dubious. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether the rise in LDL is bad because no one tests it properly – you need to test actual LDL particle size to determine whether it is the large, fluffy LDL particles (in which case they are GOOD!) or the small killers. I guess health insurance companies won’t pay for those tests so doctors don’t prescribe them.
Also, note that, in people who have a Triglyceride count below 100, the formula used to calculate LDL (IT IS NOT ACTUALLY MEASURED BUT CALCULATED!) fails. So it, like the total cholesterol number, is pretty much meaningless. A good article about this can be found here (make sure to read further down about the LDL/calculation stuff).
December 8, 2011 Test Results
Weight: 198 lbs.
Total Cholesterol: 217
Cholesterol/HDLC Ratio: 3.1
Note the HDLs have skyrocketed for the better! Triglycerides keep going down, and the all important “ratio” (per my doctor) is even lower. How can this be? Isn’t a diet that consist of primarily fat (including lots of saturated fat) supposed to be unhealthy for you? Hmmm….well, no. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Haven’t heard from my doctor regarding these latest test results, as I asked the lab to send a copy of the results to me directly, in addition to him. Usually I call after 3 or 4 days and then wait for a call back. My guess is he’ll look over the results, shake his head in amazement at the HDL increase, which has almost doubled in just a year, the Triglyceride count which has been cut in half in just a year, and either call me to congratulate or, perhaps, ask for diet advice…(wishful thinking) : )
So there it is. Thoughts?