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After Two Years on Paleo Diet My Cholesterol Numbers Look Very Bad

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Paleo0731 View Post
    Just because your LDL is up may not mean anything bad. Your last blood test was two years ago which is hardly a trend. Your LDL levels are the total amount of cholesterol in your LDL particles. The size of the particles is what matters. Large is good and small/dense is bad. I would get retested and take it from there. Have you had your mineral levels checked? Personally, I wouldn't be worried.
    You make these assertions as though they are established facts. The more research you do, the more you realize that there is no concensus regarding lipid risk factors. Even some of the highly regarded scientific oriented folks like Peter Attia have been all over the place on this subject.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Artbuc View Post
      Even some of the highly regarded scientific oriented folks like Peter Attia have been all over the place on this subject.
      Attia had a presentation where he asked the important question -- if on a paleo diet every single metric moves in the right direction except LDL, does it really matter…meaning is high LDL on a paleo diet actually a risk factor? If it's fructose and omega-6 and other crap that oxidizes LDL, then what does it matter for paleo eaters?

      But you're right, it's an interesting question and something he should dig into. That said, I bet 10 years from now we'll know that high LDL from healthy things like coconut oil is a good thing, and that high LDL from things like vegetable oil is a bad thing.

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      • #18
        Wild humans keep their cholesterol down with parasitic infestations, so there's always that...
        Crohn's, doing SCD

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Annieh View Post
          Well done then on eliminating the wheat and grains then, it sounds like that has definitely helped your state of health. Also good improvements on your muscle tone, it's all progress and considering that you have never enjoyed good health previously it may take quite a long time to nurture your body and bring it up to an even better condition.

          A few thoughts:

          You likely need to focus on the most healing and nutrient-dense foods possible such as bone broth.
          This is something a nutritionist would need to help me identify and structure. I'm very open to trying that.

          I will say the one time I tried to make bone broth it tasted horrible, but I think this reflects my lack of experience.

          If you know some Paleo nutritionists you like, feel free to name drop.


          Would cooking your fruits and veges make them easier on your digestion?
          I certainly cook the veggies. I guess cooking fruits isn't going to remove any fructose, and it's that fructose that is the suspect element. I think cooking the fruit would destroy antioxidants, and it might actually make the fructose absorb faster by breaking down the fiber in the fruit. Just speculating....


          Your breakfast looks to me as if it could benefit from some protein, maybe add an egg or leftover meat, or make a banana pancake.
          I get a LOT of protein. Here is a typical breakfast for me:

          1) Slice of turkey
          2) Slice of smoked salmon
          3) Egg
          4) 1 Cup of whole fruit (measured), drowned in coconut milk or coconut creme (REALLY RICH) or organic whipping cream

          Usually it's after I have that bowl of fruit that I start to slow down.

          But as you can see I have plenty of protein, and I vary the sources.


          I'm wondering why you find the need to sweeten foods, are you not finding them sweet enough?
          Well some foods are truly tasteless without a sweetener. Any kind of bread or pancake from coconut flour is horrible without a sweetener. When I whip up cream, I find it doesn't have enough taste until I add some vanilla and sweetener. I have started making breads using blanched almond flour (fantastic bread too I might add) and with sweetener that becomes really delicious. I could train myself to live without, but if I can get the sweetener without a cost to my health why not enjoy it?

          The other point is that I have to convince other people in this household to eat food on my diet. I'm competing against the processed foods industry, which loads its products with sweetener. I want to have my bread compete well against commercial breads based on wheat flours otherwise I will be facing a household revolt. I have gotten very good at mixing different sweeteners in the right combinations to create flavors anyone would accept.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Wilhemina View Post
            I think Annieh's suggestions are good and she has a point about the sweetener. The craving for sweet things can actually represent or mask a craving for food. I'm thin too, and lost weight on the palaeo diet which I didn't need to lose because I was taking everything to heart on the blog and the forum without considering that actually I wasn't someone who needed to cut the carbs.

            Given that you say your energy levels are no better, I'm wondering if, in fact, you are simply eating enough? If you are putting stress on your body by not providing it with enough fuel, could that be having an impact on your readings?
            I did not make up for lost carb calories until about six months into the diet. When I finally jumped into coconut oil, coconut milk, and cream, I stopped the weight loss completely. I get plenty of calories now. In fact, I think step one here is going to be to get a nutritional assessment of what percentage of my calories come from saturated fat, and probably I need to start cutting back. I think I went overboard there to gain calories and that may be part of what causes my bad cholesterol numbers.

            I'm just really disappointed. I thought the formula to good blood chemistry was going to be as simple as 1) cut out sugars and grains; 2) add lots of saturated fat. For me, that isn't working. It looks like reality is more complex.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by janie View Post
              I'm thinking that a better action to stop weight loss would have been adding some safe starches to your diet (i.e. potatoes, white rice, taro, winter squashes, bananas, etc.) Don't get me wrong - I think eating good fats is important, but in trying to stop weight loss, you may have over done it a bit. That said, your numbers are not terrible, unless, of course, you are buying the CW stance, which is pushed on us endlessly, when, in fact, there is no evidence that a high fat diet causes heart disease.
              I think my last blood test tells me I am in no position to lecture anyone, so I am open to all ideas. But I wanted to try a nutritional experiment. I wanted to convert to a hardcore paleo diet and I wanted to strictly avoid any kind of carb that didn't have fiber intact. I stayed with leafy greens, fruits, whole veggies, etc. I allow some sweet potatoes too. But I really wanted to make a go at low carb, high saturated fat, and I was hoping to get a miracle I didn't get.

              So now I am back to drawing board. I probably should get a nutritionist to help me add calories so I don't end up starving again as the saturated fat gets cut back a little.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Artbuc View Post
                +1. I made coconut a staple. Ate tons of shredded coconut, coconut oil, fresh coconut and coconut milk. My TC skyrocketed to almost 400. HDL and LDL both went up dramatically. Ratios actually improved except I could not find any research which suggested my ultra high HDL was beneficial. Stopped the coconut binge and cholesterol levels went back to baseline.
                What is your source for saturated fat now, and how much of it are you still getting? Are you using any cream / dairy fat?

                I've heard three people now tell me that they could eat animal based saturated fats without any issue, but coconut oil made their cholesterol soar. TC of 400 sounds terrifying. What did that go back to without coconut?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by KimchiNinja View Post
                  Numbers moved the same direction as most people on paleo -- HDL up, TG down, LDL up, Total-C up. Your TG/HDL ratio improved from 2.2 to 1.1 (massive improvement). This ratio is the most important metric in many people's opinion.

                  LDL matters if it's small dense particle, don't know enough about particle counts to comment. But here are some ideas from a book I'm reading. It says if LDL is high despite an optimal diet look at 1) iodine or selenium deficiency (iodine materially lowers total C, LDL and TG), 2) deficiency in copper or zinc (copper deficiency is a common cause of high LDL), 3) insufficient exposure to sun, 4) endotoxemia from gut dysbiosis, or bacterial infection.
                  I'm taking salted / brined salmon eggs every day at lunch, with a salad, so I think I am getting plenty of salt.

                  How does one diagnose endotoxemia from gut dysbiosis? And in general how can one test that the gut is performing optimally?

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                  • #24
                    It's only terrifying if it means anything. Having your car door open on the highway is terrifying. Having it open in your driveway with the engine off sounds fine. As far as anyone knows, high TC in the absence of refined flour, etc., is as safe as opening your car door in the driveway, if you get my analogy. In women especially, high TC correlates with better longevity, and many women through their eighties and nineties maintain TC levels in excess of 300 with little issue.
                    Crohn's, doing SCD

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                    • #25
                      Westes, you said you are strict paleo, but are you eating grass-fed meats and pastured eggs with regards to eating paleo? If not, I would assume that will have an impact on your LDL levels.

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                      • #26
                        How is your exercise schedule? Exercise will help to lower your LDL. Especially weight training and sprinting. but also walking for a few hours a week will help.

                        How much meat and fat do you eat. I'd advise eating more veggies and a little less meat/fat. Try to hit your target protein but not much more, fill up the rest with veggies. Try it for a while. on your weight lifting days you can eat more protein.
                        Eggs and coconut are adding up to your cholesterol, try to minimize the intake of them for a while. I eat about maximum 3 to 4 eggs per day in total (so that included the one that goes on the meatloaf or the two that are going into banana pancakes) and my cholesterol has always been nicely low.
                        My story, My thought....

                        It's all about trying to stay healthy!!!!

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
                          It's only terrifying if it means anything. Having your car door open on the highway is terrifying. Having it open in your driveway with the engine off sounds fine. As far as anyone knows, high TC in the absence of refined flour, etc., is as safe as opening your car door in the driveway, if you get my analogy. In women especially, high TC correlates with better longevity, and many women through their eighties and nineties maintain TC levels in excess of 300 with little issue.
                          If I had large particle LDL and lots of HDL I wouldn't be concerned about total cholesterol. But I don't have that situation. I have lots of particles, and lots of small particles, and that situation is associated with heart disease.

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                          • #28
                            There is at least one anecdotal report showing that particle count may not be the be-all-end-all number as it currently is widely believed to be:
                            Arizona Sun Family Medicine: Does LDL-P Matter?

                            A few years ago, particle size was the thing everyone was concerned with. Now it is particle count. Who's to say that in another few years another metric won't be the thing that we are told to be concerned with.

                            I also had elevated cholesterol in the recent past. About a year ago, maybe more, my total was over 300. When I had it checked a few months ago, it was back down to 218 total. The main thing that changed was that my stress level went down drastically. I don't think I changed my diet all that much honestly. If you are stressed, try working on that in any way you can. Yoga and meditation are helpful if you can't directly effect changes to the things that cause you stress (relationships, jobs, etc.). Also, keep in mind that intense exercise and fasting are stressors. If you are doing too much of either one, the cumulative effect can be too much stress when other sources of stress are taken into account.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Paleo0731 View Post
                              Westes, you said you are strict paleo, but are you eating grass-fed meats and pastured eggs with regards to eating paleo? If not, I would assume that will have an impact on your LDL levels.
                              I'm buying grass fed beef, but I'm sure some of the meats are slipping through that are not grass fed.

                              Pasteured eggs are a joke. I did a long examination of the practices of commercial "organic" chicken farms that make the claim they are pasteured, and they are feeding all of those chickens wheat. They let the chickens forage, but when push comes to shove the chicken is deriving 50%+ of its calories from grains and from wheat grains.

                              There is an organization locally that sells only grass fed and pasteured products. I inspected or asked questions to every one of their chicken farmers, and every single one of them failed. None of them raise their chickens the way a natural bird like a junglefowl would eat. So while we both share the goal of finding pasteured eggs, I am here to tell you that people are not being honest about what they are selling 95% of the time. I have decided the only way to get a paleo egg is to raise your own chickens and feed them grass fed beef, wild-caught fish, lots of insects, sprouting grains, etc. And be prepared for that to cost about 10 times as much per egg, in feed costs alone. The reason commercial farmers don't feed chickens that kind of diet is that no one could afford a $15 carton of eggs.

                              Another area that is a total joke is salmon. 90%+ of salmon sold in stores is NOT wild-caught Pacific Salmon. Anything that says "Atlantic" is farm raised and they feed them grains. MOST of what is called Pacific Salmon is also not wild-caught. Yet all of these products are filled with deceptive words trying to make you believe the fish are "organic" or "wild" when they are being fed "organic grains" in large pens in the "wild ocean environment" which usually means in a coastal bay connected somehow to an ocean.

                              There is a major scam ongoing trying to sell "organic" meats to unsuspecting buyers. I try to be careful, but even when you ask the right questions, sometimes no one can give you the right answer. And I'm not prepared to raise my own chickens yet. But I may get there.
                              Last edited by westes; 12-03-2013, 05:16 AM.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by MarielleGO View Post
                                How is your exercise schedule? Exercise will help to lower your LDL. Especially weight training and sprinting. but also walking for a few hours a week will help.
                                I am planning to add high intensity sprints and swims about three times a week. Getting discipline to not drop that schedule is tough for me, but I agree this might help.

                                I want to alternate the high intensity days with weight lifting to gain muscle mass.


                                How much meat and fat do you eat. I'd advise eating more veggies and a little less meat/fat. Try to hit your target protein but not much more, fill up the rest with veggies. Try it for a while. on your weight lifting days you can eat more protein.
                                Eggs and coconut are adding up to your cholesterol, try to minimize the intake of them for a while. I eat about maximum 3 to 4 eggs per day in total (so that included the one that goes on the meatloaf or the two that are going into banana pancakes) and my cholesterol has always been nicely low.
                                The problem here is that vegetables that have the fiber intact tend to not have a lot of calories. I can eat an entire bowl of green spinach and that is about 50 calories. So if I cut out the fat too much, I really lose calories. So in my bowl of spinach salad, I'm adding fish eggs and a lot of olive oil.

                                For lunch, I might have steak/pork/fish and two servings of veggies.

                                I'm having one egg in the morning with breakfast. My guess is there is about one or two eggs in other things I eat.

                                But I'll bet the amount of coconut milk and cream I am consuming really load up the cholesterol. I think I need to have a nutritionist add that all up for me.

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