Low Carb High Fat – 6 month results

Omelette Ingredients

For 6 months straight I have started my day with 3-4 eggs (which if scrambled or made as an omelette will have cheese, avocado and sour cream added), 5-7 pieces of bacon, and a cup of coffee with coconut oil added.  I have also consumed 65-70% of my calories from fat.

 

Before I get to my cholesterol test results after 6 month of eating this way – here is a bit of my back story as to why I changed my diet: (or skip to the results)

Why I went Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) –

6 months ago, I made the decision to start a Low Carb High Fat diet.  I made this decision because after 2 1/2 years of eating a “healthy”, balanced, low fat (high carb) diet, I saw no change in my cholesterol numbers.  My cholesterol numbers remained the same as they were in the days of a diet that included a huge amount of Big Macs, French Fries, Soft Drinks and lot’s of beer.  While I had lost weight, a “healthy” diet hadn’t appeared to make me any more healthy.

Sure I was lighter, leaner, and on the surface appeared to be healthier,  but lurking beneath my outward healthy appearance, my incredibly high cholesterol remained.

In addition to my high cholesterol, my good cholesterol (HDL) was low, my “bad” cholesterol (LDL) was high, and my Triglycerides were through the roof!

Jimmy Moore – “Cholesterol Clarity, what the HDL is wrong with my numbers?”

I started researching, and at the advice of a friend (Jo the Stalker), I purchased Jimmy Moore’s book “Cholesterol Clarity – what the HDL is wrong with my numbers?”

This book (along with additional followup and researching the relationship between diet and cholesterol) changed my beliefs about cholesterol and the relationship it has to heart disease (and risk for a heart attack.)  My concern about my risk for a heart attack is what motivated me to lose weight, get in better shape, and change my diet.  I had this concern because both my father and my grandfather had their first heart attacks in their 40’s.

With my new found knowledge of cholesterol, I was no longer worried about my total cholesterol or my “bad” cholesterol levels.  I was however very alarmed at my Triglyceride to HDL ratio (4.26) and was determined to improve my numbers.

So on 12/26, in an effort to improve my Triglyceride to HDL ratio, I started my new LCHF diet.

CT Heart Calcium Scan

In Jimmy’s Book, I also learned about a CT heart calcium scan.  This is a test that “looks for specks of calcium in the walls of the coronary (heart) arteries.”  These specks of calcium are an early warning sign of Coronary Heart Disease, and can be associated with a higher risk of heart attack (or stroke) which my grandfather had several. (Source)

According to information in Jimmy’s book (from what I remember) – if you have high cholesterol, but have a ZERO heart calcium score, (meaning no calcium buildup in your arteries) your high cholesterol really doesn’t matter.  A Zero calcium score would indicate no inflammation.

So on 1/20/14 – I had a CT Heart Calcium Test done.  The results of that test were not favorable. It turns out that my score of 287.1 put me in the 90th percentile for men my age, meaning less than 10% of men my age would score higher!

This bit of information only reinforced my decision to go LCHF, as clearly eating a “healthy” diet (and going from being a couch potato to being physically fit enough to complete and Ironman Distance Triathlon) were not enough to lower my risk for that heart attack I’d been trying to avoid.

My Cholesterol Numbers (after 6 months of lchf) – 

Marker 12/9/2013 6/10/2014 Percent Change
Total Cholesterol 344 387 12.50%
Triglycerides 162 88 -45.68%
HDL 38 64 68.42%
LDL 274 305 11.31%
LDL/HDL Ratio 7.2 4.8 -33.33%
Cholesterol / HDL Ratio 9.1 6 -34.07%
Triglyceride/HDL Ratio 4.26 1.38 -67.75%

I AM ECSTATIC ABOUT THESE NUMBERS!  My doctor however is “alarmed” at my high cholesterol and still recommending that I take a stating drug to lower my cholesterol.  I politely refused (and I am looking for a new doctor that is more “Paleo”/”LCFH” friendly).

Why am I ecstatic?  Because I see a minimal increase in my total cholesterol and my “bad” cholesterol (12.5% & 11.3% respectively) while I decreased my Triglycerides by 45% and increased my HDL (good cholesterol) by a whopping 68% (Both sides of the cholesterol debate agree that HDL is good, that’s why I don’t put “Good”in quotes).  My Tryglycerid to HDL ratio dropped from a dangerous 4.3 to a healthy 1.4.

On the surface, at least for my body (which I realize does not make this conclusive scientific evidence), there seems to be some validity to Jimmy’s argument that eating cholesterol (and fat) does not increase your cholesterol.  To me, eating as much fat (and cholesterol) as I have for 6 months, a 12.5% increase in total cholesterol is very small (especially when you balance that with the massive decrease in triglycerides and the even greater percentage increase in HDL).

Remember, I no longer believe that total cholesterol is relevant in my risk for Coronary Heart Disease, and I definitely don’t believe that LDL is “bad” cholesterol (even though I believe there is such a thing as bad LDL, but the standard blood test does not measure LDL particle size, so the number on this test is irrelevant).

I can’t wait for my follow up CT Heart Calcium Scan.  I haven’t decided if I will get that done in the near future, or wait until the 1 year mark.  I am almost more excited for those results than I was for this blood work.

As a footnote – my sports performance has not suffered at all on this diet.  I have actually gotten faster this year, and while I can’t say it’s a result of switching from carbs as a fuel source to fat as a fuel source, I can say that I don’t think being fat adapted has hampered my performance at all.

 

 

16 Responses so far.

  1. Shawn Fennelly says:

    Hi Chad,

    Great to see this post. My lipid numbers are trending the same way. There is some much disbelief out there that you can have these kind of numbers and actually be healthy.

    Good luck!
    –Shawn

    • Muskrat37 says:

      This experience has been eye opening for me, and it took a lot of research, reading, and weeding through the myriad of “experts” on the web for me to finally believe that high cholesterol, in and of itself, is not an issue (I didn’t just take Jimmy Moore’s word for it, although his book was the catalyst that got this ball rolling). I believe that each of us has to have our own catalyst to make a change that dares to fly in the face of the conventional “wisdom” that fat clogs arteries. Most people never stumble upon (or seek) that catalyst as it’s so much easier to go with the status quo and believe everything your doctor says, even if that means popping pills the rest of your life and at the expense of your own pocket book and Americas. I can only hope that this blog, my post, and all the hard work of people in this “movement” pays off and that the USDA, FDA, and anyone else setting policy for what is “healthy” will eventually see the light. Only then will there be a substantial dietary change in America and millions will suddenly get healthier. Until then, I will chug along, document my progress, and continue spreading the word. Hopefully it will lead to helping at least one more person!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. charles grashow says:

    Please show me ONE study where plaque regression occurs on a LCHF diet!

    Plaque regression ONLY occurs when LDL-C <60

    What will you say/do when your next CT Scan show higher score??

    • Muskrat37 says:

      Thanks for your concern. At this point, I will continue with my LCFH diet. IF (a BIG IF IMO) my next CT scan shows a higher score, it will be back to the drawing board for me.

  3. charles grashow says:

    Have you had a test to see if what your ApoE is?
    Have you been tested to see if you have FH?
    Have you had a complete thyroid panel done?
    Have you had your Vit D3 levels checked?

    With your father and grandfather BOTH dying from heart attacks in their 40’s listening to Jimmy Moore is the worst thing you can do.

    I suggest you read Track Your Plaque by Dr William Davis. His protocol achieves plaque stabilization/regression.

    • Muskrat37 says:

      Thanks for the book suggestion. I will add it to my list. I like to read / research all sides, so I sincerely appreciate the suggestion.

    • Muskrat37 says:

      Charles – I did not have those tests… not covered under insurance, and my impression was that they were very expensive. I have however found a local lab that does a “know your numbers” test that does include the thyroid and the Vit D3.. they also offer up a low priced Particle size test. I will get that done, as I was previously under the impression that the particle size test was expensive…it’s not.

  4. Muskrat37 says:

    To assume that Barry Groves died “early” at 77 BECAUSE of his LCFH ways is ridiculous. Their could be a myriad of factors that led to his death at 77.
    I don’t have the time to research now, but in a quick search saw that he was (can’t find evidence yet) a smoker.

    Barry may be the exception, not the norm.

    Should I just give up running because a running advocate died running? Seriously, what’s your point?

    Correlations does not equal causation. If he had brown hair, you might as well say that brown hair caused his death.

    I appreciate the comments if your intent was to honest.

  5. eddie says:

    Hello,

    I am seeing at trend this way to… But I all my numbers are great blood pressure 97/65 my standing rate 72 cardiac calcium score a (1) I have strange numbers good hdl , particle size

    Im seeing my small LDL-P go down
    but my over all LDL P total particles go up
    my cholestrol numbers dont move now hang in the 60 for HDL hang 110-120 LDL

    I d low to see you do an NMR LIPO PROFILE cholestrol test every 3 months for 9 months , and show whats happening

    I also been tracking the types of bacteria in me — and dont have the normal make up

    • Muskrat37 says:

      I want these numbers too… specifically particle size.

      I just found a place in my area that will do the particle size for $99… not bad – I thought it was a much more expensive test. Thanks for the advice. Stay tuned, I will most definitely post results of particle size as I get them.

      • charles grashow says:

        Do you know you APOE genotype?

        The apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype is a genetic risk factor for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). It includes three alleles (e2, e3, e4) that are located on chromosome 19q3.2. The e3 allele is the most common and is more common in people of Northern European ancestry and less common in those of Asian ancestry. Those with at least one e4 allele are at increased risk for CVD outcomes.

  6. Muskrat37 says:

    I don’t see these examples as definitive “proof” that LCFH causes early death. Correlation is not Causation. There are way to many factors in play when someone dies to say if they died early or late.

    I would say the same thing to someone offering up 1 example of an LCFH person living to 100. Correlation is not Causation. I’m sure with a little digging, I could find vegetarians, vegans, or any other type of dieters that die “young”. It does not mean that they died because of their diet.

    Who’s to say that Mr Su would not have died when he was 61 if he had continued eating a traditional american diet high in carbs?

    Now if 20 years from now there are studies showing that 80% of people eating LCFH for 20 years or more die early from heart attacks in their 60’s…that would probably be statistically significant.

  7. […] he needed to take statins six months ago, decided he’d try the LCHF approach first.  I put this on twitter and it’s still getting a lot of […]

  8. Graham says:

    A rise in HDL on a high fat diet is to be expected as it’s the body defense against high fat, it’s not a matter to rejoice. It rises since it is involved in reverse cholesterol transport. HDL is also not always “good” and can be pro-inflammatory in the presence of inflammation. As Sir William Osler said “A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient.” And as Charles Grashow has said above, coronary atherosclerosis only regresses when the LDL falls, not when it rises.

  9. Graham says:

    I read about Seth Roberts today and thought of your own journey. Seth was the author of “The Shangri-La Diet”. From 2009 approx he started eating a stick of butter a day. He too had a calcium score done (http://blog.sethroberts.net/2013/10/25/saturated-fat-and-heart-attacks/) which was average for his age. He repeated it 1.5 years later and apparently the calcium score improved. A cardiologist in the audience at one of his talks said he was killing himself. Seth disagreed. Seth dropped dead in April 2014 and autopsy showed coronary atherosclerosis and cardiomegaly. Just like Dr Robert Atkins. I suspect we will see more of these reports from the proponents of the high fat low carb diet.

  10. Wang says:

    Paleo Website Advocate dies age 52 of massive heart attack.
    He was trained by Robb Wolf.

    http://crohnsend.com/2012/07/rip-alan-schachter/

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