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Sunday, October 28, 2012

OK, I'm pretty pissed the world in so called experts.

Here's the deal;

I had my annual physical done on Friday. Tuesday I went in and gave them a few liters of blood so they could have all the labwork done when I sat down with the doc.

Fast forward to Friday....everything is checking out just fine...hearing, eyes, weight, blood pressure. Even the doc takes a look at me as I walk in and says, "Hey you look great!"

Then we get to the labwork.

Cholestrol is 300!


Now for the last 25 years my cholesterol has beeped and bopped between 180-210....last year this time it was 202.

So what the hell happened?!?!

Well in my zeal to adapt to a ketogenic diet, I lowered my carbs down to below 50gms/day. Most days I am below 30 gms/day. All the reading I have done tells me I should be in ketosis, that is, switching from burning carbohydrates as a primary fuel to burning fat.

To fuel your new metabolism.....SO THE THEORY need to increase your fat intake....of all kinds....mono to saturated fats.

And I did so. For 5 happy months I stopped eating sugars and breads, starches and rice. I watched my waistline and belly tighten & shrink. I saw my bodyfat drop 4-5 percentage points. I started having fresh eggs for breakfast, I ate steaks with the fat, I put butter on my veggies, had bacon every chance I got.

For months I had been waiting for this physical, imagining that I would be the poster boy for this year's "Patient of the Year" award.

Instead the doc had a serious talk with me about starting a regimen of statins to lower my cholesterol!

I confessed to her my recent experiment of increasing my fat intake as I limited my carbs.....she just stared at me and again asked when I wanted to start the statins.

I pleaded for another 3 weeks to readjust my diet....this had to be an anomaly....either that or they switched my blood samples in the lab.

Now I'll admit, everything else looked great.....HDL was way glucose readings were great (apparently they have the ability from one sample to know what your levels have been for the last 6 weeks....amazing!). Apparently my risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is wicked low (which was my goal).....but I set off the medical alarm bells and warning lights for a potential heart attack!

Needless to say SWMBO was pissed. She gave me the "I told you so" stare. We spent Friday night walking around the beach figuring out how to fix me.

So I've been on a massive re-evaluation these past 2 days.

I think the low carb thing works for me.....I don't think that correlates to increasing my fat intake....definitely not saturated fats.

I track every damn thing I eat, so I'm going to have to do a little chemistry mixing to re-adjust some of my nutrients.

Yeah, I'm pissed, but I've come way to far too screw around. I've been making all sorts of changes in my diet and health these last 2 years on SP and I'm not about to chuck it all out the window because of this. It just means, yet again, a massive re-direction in how I hard can that be?!?!?

More to follow.....have a great night Spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow, that's a lesson. However, who never tries, never wins. Happy that you make medical checks so such things pop out in time!
    1896 days ago
    No need to add my two cents - right?- cuz everyone else here has given you plenty of support and good advice. Soooooo, I'll simply say, I BELIEVE IN YOU!

    Oh hell ... I gotta say more than that:
    Make the changes that YOU believe will make a difference. Proof will be in the pudding. Oooops, I mean, in the LEANER cut of meat.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1905 days ago
    Woah! I am a firm believer in education, reading and research. I know you'll find what works for you in your quest for health- to find a balance so you can keep up what is working, yet lower your cholesterol. That would be quite the wake-up call!

    1929 days ago

    Well, you enjoyed the experiment while it lasted...

    Maybe more protein, less fat is the answer?

    Good luck!

    1932 days ago
    Oh, no! Pissed indeed! But take the three weeks and see what you can do.

    Also, it really could be an anomaly. My cholesterol reading was the same -- give or take 2 points -- for two years and then suddenly jumped 40 points in six months. I hadn't been doing anything different. My doctor assured me that it was no big deal, but I had another test run. The result? Back to my regular number. So misreadings DO happen.

    Keep us posted!
    1937 days ago
    How discouraging after all your efforts! But I am sure you'll find what works for you and get a healthy cholesterol level again... Take care of yourself!
    1938 days ago
  • PROT358
    That would be frustrating! You might be able to reach a dietary middle ground. My parents both have high cholesterol, and they limit red meat, and maybe if you have oatmeal every day ... it seems a shame to completely abandon ship when the past few months have otherwise been going very well for you. I would ask for lifestyle changes you can tweak to make the numbers more favorable rather than pills, if you can avoid it. Good luck! I really hope you figure this out. Keep us posted!
    1941 days ago
    You'll figure it out and adapt.
    1943 days ago
    Oh dear--I'm glad to hear you turned down the chance to take statins! I see that you checked out the link I posted to Chris Kessler's article. It sounds like you might want to have a closer look at the specifics of your numbers, and also consider what he said at the end of the article, about there being a possible source of inflammation and that being the cause of the high reading.

    I'm sure it was a real shocker to learn those numbers after you had such great success with your weight loss and fitness. I think you'll be able to figure out what's going on and get it turned around, though it sounds like it's going to take a bit more experimentation. Hang in there, you can do it....

    P.S. Attia's Eating Academy site that Egalitaire suggested is great.
    1943 days ago
  • BILL60
    Something very similar happened to me years ago while on the Atkins. While I lost a ton of weight, my cholesterol went through the roof. Hang tough!! I'm confident that you'll figure out what works for you.
    1943 days ago
    I can only imagine how disheartening and disconcerting that news was, particularly with the focus on statins in the popular media and Conventional Health community.

    I won't espouse my own theories, but will advocate you do some extensive research on your own. I have read a lot of information recently that seems to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom about cholesterol. I may be more of an marker for other conditions, than it is causal for heart disease.

    I will have to do some research to find the article I read a number of months ago - it was on marksdailyapple, so maybe if you want to look there yourself. Anyway, the essence of the article is that cholesterol numbers and production are function of much more than diet - in fact, dietary fat accounts for less than 15% of all the cholesterol in our bodies. Further, when we reduce the amount of cholesterol we eat, the body often produces more and vice versa.

    So the bottom line is that high cholesterol numbers are typically the result of something other than diet. The two main culprits are 1) inflammation in the body - cholesterol is used to repair damaged cells, so the more damage, the more cholesterol is needed to make those repairs 2) Some people's cholesterol numbers go up in the first few months of a primal style diet because as their bodies start to use fat as a primary source of energy their is more fat being transported in the blood.

    Check out Petter Attia's blog as well - he has very good information on cholesterol and insulin production, low carb, etc.

    Yes, people with heart disease often have higher cholesterol, that means it correlates, not that it is causative. If the cholesterol is being sent by the body to prepare damaged cells, maybe the damaged cells are the initial cause of the heart disease.

    If the above is true, an analogy that seems appropriate is blaming cholesterol on heart disease is like blaming firefighters for starting fires. Every time you drive by a fire, there's a whole group of firefighters there, and you never see a whole group of firefighters congregating except when there is a fire - clearly, incontrovertible evidence - firefighters cause fires.


    Hope you are able to find out what works for you and your health
    1943 days ago
    That is very interesting to me. Thanks for posting.
    After 2 months of low carb (around 80grams/day) my cholesterol came in at 202 in September. It had always been very low previously. So, I had similar results but they were not really alarming. A Spark friend that researches cancer and obesity told me that rats that are put on a diet with around 35% fat/day or higher develop much more often cancer.

    So, I backed away a bit from the fat and low carb since then. As you know I don't eat meat, so my guess was that the fatty milk products and the eggs were the "evil guys" in my diet. The same spark friend gave me the advice to cut back on fatty milk products but told me to keep the eggs. She did not think they had a bad influence on my cholesterol. I decided to clean out things like blue cheese and am trying to stay at around 150grams of carb/day and not exceed 35% of fat intake a day. I will see in 6 months whether that has worked for me or not.

    I am sure you will find how to readjust your diet in a way that is best for you. You have so much experience with it. I guess all you need to do is cut back on the "bad" fat and your cholesterol will go down again. Good luck!
    1944 days ago
  • BOB240
    well.. this is interesting...I have no idea why this happened..
    I can understand the drive to use statins.. but it would be really useful to tweak your diet without... but there again.. you aren't a lab guinea pig.

    Keep us posted.. I think I'd better get my level checked too...:(
    1944 days ago
    I am going to raise my cholesterol, per your previous diet, just so I can lose the kind of weight you lost. Then I'll worry about the cholesterol problem, you should have it figured out by then. :D
    1944 days ago
    Confucius say "Better to be pissed off than pissed on!"

    Surprising news about the cholesterol. I always knew bacon was evil, now I have proof to point to.

    But if anyone can get the levels back down, you can. Without the drugs. Don't you just hate that a doctor's first, second and third instinct is to push pills? Instead of first seeing if there is a way to fix what is causing the problem instead of using pills to mask it.
    1944 days ago
    I'm kind of surprised at your high cholesterol. Were the LDL's up as well?

    I'm doing a carb avoidance diet. No strict limit. Simply not eating potatoes, pasta, bread and starchy vegetables as I used to. This means that fat comes in around 50% of calories.

    About 15 years ago, after I had been on a reasonably low fat diet for years my doc put me on statins. Said that some folks simply cant get their cholesterol under 220 without help. I'm on them now.

    But with the statins and a diet relatively low in carbs and relatively high in fat I've had a cholesterol near 100 and an LDL near 120 for two years. My doc says he's not surprised and that low carb folks sometimes come in with great lipid profiles even without statins.

    You seem a conscientious sort. As you look at modifying your diet, I'm sure you'll look with care and work with your doc or a nutritionist to find out what is actually responsible for the change you saw.
    1944 days ago
    Yikes! I'm glad you didn't just grab the Rx for statins and go. Make a course correction with less of the saturated animal fats and I bet you will be lower on a retest. The low carb is working for you so make the adustment to the fats and replace with a little more veggie carbs.
    1944 days ago
    Ah, man, what a bummer! A few more blogs from you regarding low-carb, and I was gonna go there myself. I hope that your cholesterol is at a good level in 3 weeks! You can do it!
    1944 days ago
  • CHEEKY1000
    Um, yowzer! 300! I can see why you'd be pissed. The beauty of SP is that it is as adaptable as we want it to be (and as adaptable as we are). You know that already (call me Captain Obvious).

    Let us know what conclusions you come up with during your re-eval. I don't want to be a nay-sayer, but with so much fat intake, is the 300 really a surprise? Again, not a criticism--just wanting education. Much like me forgetting that pre-packaged foods are loaded with sodium *sigh*.

    Sorry your physical didn't go as well as you'd wanted overall. FYI, I love the way your wife gave you the "I told you so" look. Such skillfull non-verbal communication skills. LOL

    1944 days ago
    Oh man! That totally sucks! I'm so sorry that your results weren't what you wanted but now you have something to work on and from what I know about you on Spark - you'll do it. I have faith in you. Good luck!
    1944 days ago
    Wow...I have to admit I'm surprised. I had my physical last month, and all my numbers aligned into the excellent category. I'm sorry to hear about this.

    Maybe a full time ketogenic diet may not be the best for you - I know that you are very active lifting and spinning. Personally, I only dip into keto levels briefly as a reset button. If you've read my recent blogs, I mention that I've shifted into higher intensity exercise, so I've somewhat increased my carbs in response, mostly fruit and potatoes.

    Have you read this article from Mark's Daily Apple?


    I don't blame you for wanting to avoid the statins. I'm sure you'll find the right balance without them.
    1944 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/28/2012 8:57:17 PM
    I'm so sorry to hear about the disappointing cholesterol news. Although you may have to tweak some things and balance out some of the fats, you should still proud of all the other accomplishments. After trying so many diet approaches only to eventually regain the lost weight, I truly believe it is about finding the right balance for your body. There is no one size fits all approach or miracle cure.
    1944 days ago
    1944 days ago
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