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7/27/13 5:46 P

Weight loss can most definitely improve one's lipid profile in someone who is overweight/obese. Research shows this with "both" a lower carb dieting approach or a lower fat dieting approach. Usually a 5-10% weight loss will improve lipid profile as well as blood sugar readings, triglycerides, etc. This is well supported by research.

If you reread my post I think you will see that I was stating the lack of "long term" (5 year follow up) research regarding:

coconut oil boosting HDL level (especially in people who are at a healthy body weight)
a high fat diet (45% fat or higher) boosting HDL level in adults with a healthy body weight.

I do follow research closely. I often look up studies on:

I always appreciate when our members share their findings of well conducted, peer-reviewed, published in medical journals research too. It is the way to stay current in the ever-evolving field of nutrition science.

If you know of studies addressing the specific issues listed above---please provide a link.

SP Registered Dietitian

KARENKANDO SparkPoints: (4,232)
Fitness Minutes: (698)
Posts: 285
7/27/13 10:32 A

After reading this thread start to finish, I have a question for Becky - the registered dietitian. My question is this: That you are "not aware of research" . . . does that mean it does not exist? I am a lay person - as I believe most SP folks are, and even I have seen a plethora of scientific, peer reviewed, data supporting low-carb, high protein/fat diet for overall good health - including matters involving cholesterol levels. My MD researched it as well more than 15 years ago, and she concluded that Atkins was a sound - health promoting program that she recommended not only for herself but for all of her patients who suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, arthritis and heart disease. After reading your post, I was just wondering if my MD and others in the scientific community were wrong since you haven't seen any evidence yourself. I would also like to comment about SP's policies regarding members not prescribing any particular diet, remedy, cure and whatnot without using evidence based research data. I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but there is a tremendous about of junk science on this site. I just ignore it, but I'm not so sure that other members do. Just thought you might want to know. Thank you for your time and concern.

7/21/13 8:38 A

Thank you for sharing more about your medical history. It would not be safe or appropriate (and could be dangerous for you) for this site, our members or our experts to provide exercise suggestions given your medical history. I know that you work closely with your medical team. This team of experts would be that ones to determine "if" and "what type" of exercise is doable, safe and appropriate. I would assume "if" exercise was an option, then your doctor would (or has) put you in touch with a physical therapist?

SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
7/21/13 3:54 A

... so... "off the top of [your] head..."
Please suggest to me how I may increase my daily exercise within the following restrictions:

* My scleroderma is causing progressive and non-improvable muscle wasting. Greater usage results in longer recovery (a couple days to get over a non-stressful outing, like grocery shopping in their electric shopping carts)
* I broke my knee a bit over a year ago due to instability from aforementioned muscle degeneration. It's healed as well as it's going to, after nearly the entire year of "healing." I can lift that leg only barely; the other, a bit more. Keeping in mind using those muscles much goes contrary to the popular thought that using them *should* strengthen them (not true in my case)
* I have rotator cuff injuries in both shoulders; I can't lift anything greater than about 20 pounds, and nothing over shoulder height
* I have severe arthritis in my right hand, so I am limited in what I can grasp with it
* I am able to "walk," meaning I can get up from my powerchair into my walker and get from my sleeping site to and from the bathroom, or across our apartment. Again, too much of this results in a day following when I'm pretty much unable to do anything at all
* I do get up and stand whenever I can for as long as I can
* I have some chair-exercise DVDs which I use as best I can, and a set of low-impact TaiChi DVDs which I was enjoying while I still had balance, stability, and strength to use them. I wish that was still the case

Just would like your good recommendations for how I should help my HDL with exercise.
I'm perfectly willing to give it a shot, because although I know the scleroderma is going to "get" me eventually, it would be nice to prolong the inevitable

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/18/13 3:59 P

I have also heard that saturated fats raise HDL, Exotec. I started eating more red meat, and butter, and my HDL had gone from 24 to 37 to 29, so I don't know. It's up, but I cut exercise for a few months before the last test, so hoping it is why it dropped, and will pop pack up into the 30's next test.

I thought my recent 104 TChol, LDL 51,HDL 29, and triglycerides 78 was pretty good, and thank low carb for that, even if I need to get HDL higher.

However the Harvard Nurses Study actually showed that very low cholesterol is more likely to lead to a shorter life, than a long one. I don't know if exercise or increased saturated fats will raise my HDL, but I have a feeling that most people will just increase the exercise, and hope that is Your numbers are very reassuring to me, but I am not sure, eat more bacon and butter will be heard over the noise of people gasping, as that idea registers.

I started Atkins to lose weight, and getting off my diabetes,and statin drug are just awesome side benefits.I never thought to worry about 1 test #. My goal was overall health, since I have CHF. HDL seemed to be the last # I need to get into a normal range.

Now I am worried my TChol is too low.. emoticon

7/18/13 3:58 P

There is some misinformation on this thread that needs a little clarification.

This site does not control the nutrition content provided on other sites.
This site and our experts respect your choice to eat foods as you desire.

However, there are several statements that are not backed by scientific research. This site is not about being an experiment of 1. The goal of this site is to help our 12 million members achieve and maintain a healthier body through evidence based, peer-reviewed published research on nutrition and fitness.

As a Registered Dietitian,...
I am not aware of any research evidence the shows long term usage of coconut oil to boost HDL level.
I am not aware of any research evidence that shows that long term usage of a high fat diet boosts HDL level.
Please be careful with the information provided.

While you may share what you are personally doing; we do have guidelines here at Sparkpeople asking all members to use evidence based research data when sharing nutrition and fitness content.

Thank you
SP Registered Dietitian

Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 7/18/2013 (16:15)
EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
7/18/13 12:10 P

Well, what I "meant to write" was that I am concerned about my low TChol, as mentioned by the OP in this thread. From the current thinking on cholesterol, *LOW* values are more associated (in middle-aged and older women) with CVD than high ones. Hence, my concern. I believe the OP also mentioned similar thoughts.

Thank you JUSTEATREALFOOD for the links! I've read that podcast transcript before, and found it very enlightening - along with many topics and blogs on that website. It saddens me to still see the fierce adherence in the established medical and nutritional community about saturated fats: removing the skin, nothing but lean meats, low-fat or reduced-fat (or other "fake" fat) products... We still demonize fats, even though there's good information now (and really has always been) about the healthy aspects of real-food fats from animal sources, and how we've been damaging our health since the advent of so-called "healthy" seed oils. Canola and corn and other oils are driving our health down, and yet the common mentality is STILL that we'd better steer way clear of butter and bacon renderings (which even our more recent ancestors - grandparents, for example) lived on with good health, and use MORE of those processed oils. These notions are so entrenched now that you can barely discuss it intelligently without opening a minefield of antipathy.

So, for clarification, the post I was referring to from the other site is...

(gen'l chem)
BG - 82 mg/dl, fasting (ref range: 66-100)
Hgb A1C, 4.8% (RR: 3.0-6.2)

Cholesterol (total), 156 mg/dl (RR: 0-200)
triglycerides, 45 mg/dl (RR: 35-149)
HDL 48 mg/dl (RR: 40-60)
TChol/HDL, 3.3 (RR: 2.8-6.6)
LDL (direct) 99 mg/dl (RR: 0-129)
total T3, 0.33 ng/ml (RR: 0.85-2.02) L
VitD (25-OH, total) 45.6 ng/ml (RR: greater than 30.0)

NMR Lipoprotein Fractionization:
LDL particles, total 1543 nmol/L (RR: 1016-2185)
LDL particles, medium and small, 420 nmol/L (RR: 243-754)
LDL particles, very small, 319 nmol/L (RR: 313-809)
HDL particles, large 7844 nmol/L (RR: 5038-17886)
HDL peak diameter 228.1 angstroms (RR: 216.0-234.3)
LDL phenotype A

I'm supplementing Vitamin D and omega-3s like crazy. I'm mostly content with these results, except I'd like to see the large HDL higher. I think. (?)
I'm not sure how to accomplish that, or if it's necessary. I've got a long way to go in that "normal" range.

On the topic of omega-3s... I don't know how to calculate what amount I should be taking. Since I also don't know what amount of omega-6s I'm taking in, I haven't a clue how to calculate the ratio. I'm sure I'm getting more '6s than I should, since I do eat some grocery (grain-finished) meats. I've also discovered recently, alas, that the Evening Primrose Oil I'm taking is chock-full of omega-6.

Anyway, I'm curious as to your assessment and suggestions.
Advanced Low-Carber
Posts: 172
Those numbers look great!!! I think that HDL is a good thing but I don't know for sure. You have the lowest cholesterol I've ever seen on a person doing a low carb diet without statins. This gives me a lot of hope. Anyways, coconut oil is well known for boosting your HDL so try it.
Posts: 9,333
Definitely not shabby at all. HDL should be above 50, but bump up the fat to get there easily. WOO HOO!


Yes, that HDL was my concern. It's in the reference range for my lab, but it's still low, and I don't like it. Our lab counts 60 as the upper limit of "normal" for HDL cholesterol, BTW. Each lab establishes their own ranges, and it's not good practice to interpret data from different labs by a set standard.

I wasn't advocating raising triglycerides overall, only in altering the composition and ratios of the various particle sizes. I'm happy with my very small ("lousy") LDL particles being very near the rock-bottom end of the reference range. I'm less content with the large ("good") HDL particles being in the lower third of the reference range. I was enquiring as to how to improve that, if possible, or even if necessary.

Genetics does, indeed play a big role in health. My paternal side of the family had troubles in the cardiovascular department. Luckily, I phenotypically (and medically) resemble my maternal side predominantly. Even so, I get a lot of worried admonitions and dire warnings about my chosen nutritional plan, and how I'm dancing on the razor's edge of keeling over from the way I eat. I see no evidence of it, even after 6+ years on my dietary plan (which was, BTW, our endocrinologist's prescription). In fact, our various specialists tell me that whatever we're doing is having good effect on our health, and don't change anything (other than I need to keep the weight trickling off). Our GP has even asked me for my insight into how he might incorporate some of what we do into his own nutritional regime. I'm no expert, but I do research what I do, and I do still follow the overall recommendations of our healthcare team (why pay for their service and advice and then refuse to comply?).

This post is not a "recommendation." It's simply my n=1 experience, relative to the OP's question and concern. The fact that I haven't got a databank of personal research to impart doesn't make my singular experience any less valid, but I don't advocate it on any basis other than, hey, it works for me. Much like everyone else here is doing. Take it for consideration, research it how you can, and present it for intelligent discussion with your healthcare team. It could very well be your answer. It also may not be - health isn't a pinpoint issue. There are many factors on the leveling plain for each person.

Edited by: EXOTEC at: 7/18/2013 (12:31)
7/17/13 4:00 P

I am not a doctor or an RD.

Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis.

Cholesterol may not be as bad as previously thought.

Rethinking dietary cholesterol.

High carbohydrate diets, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, and coronary heart disease risk.

Low cholesterol is associated with mortality from stroke, heart disease, and cancer: the Jichi Medical School Cohort Study.

Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid? Ten years prospective data from the Norwegian HUNT 2 study.

Chris Kresser talks about that study here.

A great book on the topic of cholesterol.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 7/17/2013 (16:01)
LDHAWKE SparkPoints: (19,069)
Fitness Minutes: (1,818)
Posts: 771
7/17/13 3:28 P

EXOTEC, what works for you does not necessarily work for others.

I highly recommend no one try eating like that unless you get your doctor's approval.

LADYSTARWIND SparkPoints: (83,751)
Fitness Minutes: (65,809)
Posts: 4,983
7/17/13 11:17 A

Exotec: " I was told that my HDL was "the lowest [he's] ever seen on a person not taking statins,"

Is that what you meant to write?? Or were your LDL's the lowest??!
HDL = Healthy (less than 40 considered abnormal low; greater than 60 considered normal..)
LDL = Lousy....

And I've NEVER heard of any reason to Raise your Triglycerides! I've not seen any research that states low to moderate Triglycerides are associated with any unhealthy clinical condition. If you have some reliable info, perhaps you could reference it....

One important point to keep in mind is that genetics plays a Very Big Role in your Cholesterol fraction levels. Cholesterol and HDL,LDL,Trigs can be controlled through diet for some people, but not all.

Edited by: LADYSTARWIND at: 7/17/2013 (11:23)
SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,252
7/17/13 11:01 A

In 6 months I dropped 51 points in cholesterol by eating seeds, nuts, fiber, lots of water and raw veggies.....and oatmeal.

MORE CHOLESTEROL IS PRODUCED from eating sugar than fat....Excess carbohydrates can be turned into fat. Concentrated sweets are foods that contain sucrose, which can be converted to fat. Common examples of concentrated sweets include cakes, candies, and pies.

Eat foods with less fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Replacing the saturated fat in butter with olive and canola, helps to improve your overall cholesterol profile. Use Benocal Spread as it has plant sterols. Also, EAT raw foods, of vegetables and fruits, and of fiber

Oatmeal is probably the best way to lower cholesterol, because it contains soluable fiber...just like kidney beans, apples, pears, mushrooms and even barley. Eating oatmeal also helps build cartilage. Have a 1/2 to 1 cup daily with the almonds or walnuts and some blueberries.

Take off the skin and fat from meat, poultry, and fish. Eat food that has been broiled, baked, roasted, or poached instead of fried. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables everyday.

Sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds, sesame seeds and pecans are the top five for lowering cholesterol....Pistachios lower cholesterol and blood pressure...cashews lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increase good (HDL) levels..also use caraway seeds, poppy seeds, flaxseeds and celery seeds....

Pumpkin Seeds are good reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol.

Cannellini beans are loaded with nutrients your body needs. They help reduce cholesterol. Mushrooms are extremely low calorie are fat and cholesterol free. Popular choices are Portabella mushroom burger or mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat, or raw with a dip.
Green beans can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol
Romaine Better than iceberg as it contains Vitamins and reduces cholesterol
Garlic and cinnamon can lower cholesterol

Oregano has omega 3's. Basil, is good for the heart and prevents the cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels

Beans and lentils, sardine and Citrus is rich in hesperidin, a plant compound that cuts cholesterol....oranges, grapefruits etc

Cranberries will help that keep LDL from sticking to artery Walls...a few spoonfuls of sesame seeds a day...LDL should drop 10%. I put them on salads, cereal, sandwiches, veggies

The European Heart Journal reports that sitting for long periods causes changes in the body that lead to higher triglycerides and higher levels of inflammation which lower your good HDL cholesterol. Regular standing breaks stops heart damaging processes before it can kick in. High triglycerides use grape seed oil because it's loaded with antioxidants...2 tbs. daily.

I read another article that said to move or at least stand up every 20 minutes all day long...and I do that religiously now.

Please note that this information is not a diagnosis, just what works for me...please check with your medical professional for guidance

Edited by: SUNSHINE6442 at: 7/18/2013 (16:46)
MEG-NATALIA07 Posts: 679
7/17/13 12:12 A

Exercise helps, especially cardio.

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
7/16/13 11:56 P

And yet, even Ancel Keys stated that there was nothing linking saturated fat to high cholesterol. Where and why we've adopted that notion and cling to it so fiercely is a mystery to me. The current thinking is that (at least for middle-aged and older women) that the recommended ranges for total cholesterol are too low. *Low* cholesterol is more associated with "cardiovascular events" than high cholesterol is.

I posted some recent lab results on another nutrition website recently for a critique. I was told that my HDL was "the lowest [he's] ever seen on a person not taking statins," and another poster said he thought my numbers were great (these are both respected and reliable sources for information, IMO). I had some concerns to bring up my large triglyceride particles, which are only in the lower or mid-range for the lab which performed the test. I was told to eat more fat. Saturated fat. The stuff everyone warns us off of. I'm already eating as much as I can muster (it's not hard: I love bacon and butter and coconut oil!). I eat tons of eggs. I need to try to increase my meat protein, but that's more difficult for me. The eggs, no problem! The WHOLE egg. Not that fake egg-white stuff. No low fat or reduced fat ANYthing.

Eating this way gives my family and friends some kind of palpitations! They give me worried looks and warnings every time they see what I'm eating. But I challenge them to put their metabolic proofs (lab results) beside mine, and *show* me how I'm doing myself any harm. I feel great. I love what I'm eating, and I love how it "works." I just wish the diet police would come around to the more current research. Fear and habit are tough demons to exorcise, unfortunately.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/16/13 9:36 P

Ancel Keys was a hack. He invented K-rations in WW2, and included a cigarette to dry out the

I was unaware that anyone thought there were different forms of cholesterol. Most people who do not know about Low- and High density lipoproteins, or that triglyceride is just the same as the body fat on your belly( glycerol, and 3 fatty acids ), aren't paying attention to those numbers anyways. Most people are just looking at the total cholesterol.

The article clears up any confusion though.

GDBEAR65 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 574
7/16/13 8:23 P

KPA1B2 Posts: 785
7/16/13 7:14 P

My Doctor's suggestion was to limit red meat & eggs and to walk 30 min. a day.

7/16/13 6:12 P

Off the top of my head I would say a great way to increase HDL is with daily exercise.

You may also want to read some of the articles in our SP Heart Healthy Resource Center.

You can also see improvement with:
stopping smoking
achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight
Then comes the fat intake, saturated fat, etc
Then comes fruits and veggies and whole grains and fiber....etc, etc.
Check out the center for more

SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

ROXIELU0422 Posts: 317
7/16/13 5:41 P

I'm not sure how to raise your good cholesterol. My dr. said I need to do the same thing, but lower my high cholesterol. I figure it will balance out.

SHe told me to not eat as many whole eggs, use egg whites. Avoid avacados, red meat, dark meat chicken and pork. Said to add in more fish, shrimp, chicken and turkey and tree nuts. Almonds, pine nuts, cashews, etc.

MODERNHOUSEWIFE SparkPoints: (498)
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Posts: 11
7/16/13 4:46 P

Just to add on to your question, ASHFIT-- does anyone have any suggestions for lowering cholesterol in general? I know exercise helps, but what foods should be avoided? I know you shouldn't eat a lot of meat and stick to fruits, veggies, whole grains, and fat free dairy. Are there any foods that have a lot of cholesterol, but maybe aren't as obvious? Thanks!

ASHFIT13 SparkPoints: (88)
Fitness Minutes: (100)
Posts: 21
7/16/13 4:37 P

I just got the results of a health screening back and my cholesterol levels were off. My total cholesterol was actually a little below the healthy/normal range. My LDL (bad cholesterol) was in the normal range but my HDL (good cholesterol) was at the very bottom of the healthy range.

Any tips on what I can eat or do to raise my HDL without raising my LDL? High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes all run in my family on both sides. I want to improve my HDL but I need to keep the LDL under control too.

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