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Slim and still have high Cholesterol?

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  • Slim and still have high Cholesterol?

    Hi Mark

    I discovered your website after researching on Google for foods that lower cholesterol. This is the first time I have come across the argument that it is carbs, and not fat, that actually increases cholesterol, and from the pretty clear explanations and scientific evidence you provide, this now seems so logical its a bit laughable.

    The question I still have is though, and one that I am finding very hard to get clear answers to, is, how can I be slim and still have high cholesterol?

    I thought my diet was pretty healthy because I eat low fat everything, however in reality I now see that low fat is not low carb, and I love things like pretzels, crackers, rice, pasta, etc.....all the bad carbs that obviously turn into bad things in your body.

    You have very much concentrated on obestity and diabetes being the end result of eating all the wrong carbs, however obviously obesity is not a problem for me so I am wondering if cutting out all the bad carbs and following your eating regime will lower cholesterol.

    My GP cannot find any real explanation as to why I have high cholesterol, and I've only ever had suggestions of what foods to eat to lower cholesterol, not what foods not to eat, ie grains, pasta etc.

    BTW I am 50 years old, been slim pretty much all my life, not a crazy exerciser but am pretty active with walking, and jogging occasionally, eat a couple of pieces of fruit daily and less vegies than I should, and love meat and chicken, but not much of a fish eater.

    Anyway if you have any advice I would much appreciate it.


  • #2
    Your diet seems high in grains.
    What are your actual numbers?
    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
    Don't forget to play!


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum.

      Mark generally does not answer questions on this forum (although he will occasionally chime in). However, there a quite a few regular members with a lot of knowledge on cholesterol.

      Any chance you have your recent cholesterol labs that you could share to help us understand your situation better? LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides would be great. If you have other labs that could be helpful to.
      Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )


      • #4
        Could it be genetic? While it is possible to be slim and have high visceral fat ("skinny fat" is the popular term for it these days), there has been shown to be a genetic link to having high cholesterol. Did your parents also suffer from high cholesterol?
        F 28/5'4/100 lbs

        "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."


        • #5
          You might find it better to approach the question of what causes raised ldl and then remove the cause. Here is an interesting link with some ideas:

          Perfect Health Diet » Answer Day: What Causes High LDL on Low-Carb Paleo?

          Big-Picture View of the Cause of High LDL

          So, on a micro-level, I think vascular damage causes high LDL. But what causes vascular damage?
          Here I notice a striking difference in commenters’ perspectives and mine. I tend to take a big-picture, top-down view of biology. There are three basic causes of nearly all pathologies:
          1. Toxins, usually food toxins.
          2. Malnutrition.
          3. Pathogens.
          Being slim is not proof of good health. A diet high in processed carbs will do damage even if you do not gain weight. My father believes that because he is slim he is healthy. But he has heart disease and Alzheimer's. I would prefer to avoid these if I can.
          Last edited by jo; 04-02-2012, 10:21 PM.
          My website:


          • #6
            What do you consider "high" cholesterol? My Total Cholesterol (measured) is about 260. I do not consider that to be high, i consider that just about right. What's more important are your ratios.

            Give us you total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL and HDL numbers and we can help you better figure out how much of a risk your numbers really are.

            total/HDL - you want this ratio to be BELOW 5

            Trig/HDL - You want this ratio to be BELOW 2

            LDL/HDL - You want this ratio to be BELOW 4.3



            • #7
              Thanks everyone for your feedback.

              My GP made the judgement call that it was 'high' after blood tests results were received, I thought around the 5.5 mark was getting up there so am assuming she's on the right track, my labs below but looking at the above figures for comparison I'm not sure now where I sit:

              Chol - 6.4
              Trig - 1.3
              HDL - 1.7
              Chol/HDL - 3.8
              VLDL - .6
              LDL - 4.1


              • #8
                Don't worry about the total until it gets a lot higher. Don't worry about the LDL at all.

                The Trig and HDL are what's important. You should be able to get the trig down by following a low carb primal diet. HDL should rise as well, although 1.7 is good.

                Cutting out inflammatory foods will definitely improve trigs and HDL but may not lower the total. But the total is unimportant
                Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine


                • #9
                  Your ratios is total/HDL and trigs/HDL both put you in the low risk category for cardiovascular disease according to the current data. I would not be concerned if these were my own results.

                  Here are a couple vids for fun though. And go ahead and check out some of his heart disease articles while your there. I have high cholesterol, and I don’t care
                  Last edited by Neckhammer; 04-03-2012, 07:05 AM.


                  • #10
                    I HIGHLY recommend that you listen to this series (start with part 1).

                    Chris Masterjohn on Cholesterol and Heart Disease (Part 3)

                    You'll learn a lot about cholesterol, what you should be concerned with, and how to address any possible problems.
                    Primal since March 2011

                    Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by activia View Post
                      I HIGHLY recommend that you listen to this series (start with part 1).

                      Chris Masterjohn on Cholesterol and Heart Disease (Part 3)

                      You'll learn a lot about cholesterol, what you should be concerned with, and how to address any possible problems.
                      Yeah, I think both masterjohn and kresser are pretty up to speed on this stuff. If you watched the bit by Kresser on paleo summit though you can see how quick someone can change their stance these days though. He use to be a pretty large proponent of partical size testing for LDL till he saw that the literature shows something like 30-50% variability between tests.....I'm kinda guessing cause I don't remember the exact numbers, but they were in that realm. So now he's back to Total/HDL ratios and not even worrying about total until its well above 250 in most cases, as that may indicate some other underlying inflammatory issues.


                      • #12
                        My husband is a very healthy weight for his height, and except for a loaf of bread a week is pretty much paleo (doesn't consume dairy, doesn't really care for sweets, etc). His LDL cholesterol is a bit elevated, but his HDL is fine. Doc said only thing he can do to improve it is train for a marathon.
                        So make sure you're being active and it should help. My doc said cholesterol is 70% DNA and 30% diet. My LDL is terrible (173), despite eating a Primal diet. We get our meat from our local farmer who grass-feeds. Both of my parents have less than stellar cholesterol, and my dad has heart attack history. Again, 70% DNA.
                        --Trish (Bork)
                        TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
                        FOOD PORN BLOG!


                        • #13
                          You might want to read the Primal Blueprint for a good explanation on cholesterol. Also, Diana Shwarzbein, an endocrinologist, has written several good books.
                          This article has some good info also:
                          Cholesterol, longevity, intelligence, and health.


                          • #14
                            Thanks again to everybody for your feedback, very much appreciated.

                            All the advice and reference info provided has been great and very enlightening and I feel like this is all starting to make really good sense. I have also put my 'high' level of cholesterol into a bit more perspective and understand a little more what the figures really represent.

                            I am keen now to try to take on (or maybe ease into is a better description!) the paleo diet/lifestyle as I think there are many benefits so it is onward and upward from here!......oh and maybe better learn some new recipes too.

                            Thanks again!! cheers