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ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
12/20/13 4:08 P

I'm as close to being a vegetarian as a person who averages two hamburgers a month can be. Add to that the holiday meals when I indulge in restaurant fish AND chips and everything else that looks good - I'm still very close to being a vegetarian.

Diet is so individual, I can't imagine prescribing MY diet to anyone, even if they are frustrated with their diet. My diet may be the worst thing for them. On paper, it looks like I am destined to be a type 2 diabetic, as my father and his mother suffered from that malady. But my blood sugar is the lowest it has been in the last 7 years. My other chemistry results are exemplary also, either staying the same (HDL) or going down. Triglycerides are also the lowest in years - 64! Awesome.

I love potatoes and eat them heaped with non-fat cottage cheese (my favorite hot meal late at night), along with butter I've diluted with canola oil. I track my saturated fat intake. I track everything. Calories - of COURSE!

It is not an 'only low-fat' world. The world inhabited by research scientists is vast and varied and they are busy! I skip the Attias and spend my time instead reading the emails sent to me automatically EVERY day, free from

It is a free resource for anyone who wants to stay informed about a topic or even just the work produced by a certain researcher. When you put in your search argument (after you have joined NCBI and have an ID and password), you can save that search argument and specify how often you want to receive the abstracts, summary and conclusions of all the research produced on that topic.

It's a wonderful, wonderful thing - can't believe it's free!

Barley - also a wonderful thing!

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 12/20/2013 (17:31)
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12/20/13 12:33 P

I have also read Gary Taubes, Peter Attia, Volek & Phinney, etc. and find they make a compelling case. What I also have found until now is that the established/orthodox nutritional community has not made a good faith effort to engage in open and constructive dialogue with the alternative hypotheses these scholars/scientists/writers put forth. I don't think that is helpful for anyone. I would like to think that on SP, of all places, we could have this positive exchange of ideas. I have a good deal of respect for Dietician Becky and look forward to seeing what she has to say about the Peter Attia article that HOUNDLOVER linked.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
12/20/13 12:12 P

I just read the earlier posts in this thread and found your post about evidence. I agree that we need to use evidence when making recommendations to people in general.
Unfortunately anyone can pick and choose only that evidence that fits into their preconceived ideas of what is true. Concerning metabolic syndrome and all the diseases that come from it like diabetes, heart disease etc. there are two competing hypotheses, the traditional one and the alternative hypothesis, one supported by people like Gary Taubes, Peter Attia, Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney and many other serious researchers in the field of nutrition.
For those who are not familiar with it here is a very short summary:

Alternative Hypothesis – Obesity is a growth disorder, just like any other growth disorder, and fat accumulation is determined not by the balance of calories consumed and expended but by the effect of specific nutrients on the hormonal regulation of fat metabolism.
Using an example that makes it easy to understand: Hormones are the reason why children who are eating a healthy diet will grow in height, not just get fat.
This alternative hypothesis argues that what we eat has an influence on our hormones which will influence how the calories we are consuming are used, for energy or stored as fat.

N=1 is of limited value for sure but N=1 repeated by many thousand people with very similar results that can be found quite easily by going on a couple of low-carb forums, is to be taken quite seriously IMHO, not the same as large research studies, but enough to consider doing large studies as are currently on the way in many research institutions.
In the meantime, many of us will have to do N=1 experiments if conventional wisdom did not work. I know doing so saved me from type 2 diabetes and possibly heart disease when a "balanced" diet that is lower in fat and high in whole grains and even a mostly organic diet made things worse for me.
I would like to know how you interpret this article, written by Peter Attia:


Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 12/20/2013 (12:14)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
12/20/13 11:40 A

I just had my cholesterol panel done, the more detailed one called a VAP. I will still have to talk to my doctor about the details later today but my HDL is high, dangerous type of LDL low and I'm negative for metabolic syndrome.

My triglycerides are at their lowest ever after 18 months on a very low-carb/high-fat (ketogenic) diet that is also very high in saturated fat : 37

After 6 months on this diet my triglycerides were at 51.

But the more important thing for me was that while I did not lose any additional body weight during this year I did lose a very significant amount of belly fat and my body fat % went down from about 24 to under 20%.
Also my H A1c levels (blood sugar) can only be kept in the normal range by keeping carb levels under 50 grams/day. The inflammation that accompanies insulin resistance/pre-diabetes is a huge risk factor for heart disease/metabolic syndrome. A low-carb diet alone without any meds allows me to get in the normal range for daily blood sugars and A1c. It is the easiest diet to follow for life from my experience.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 12/20/2013 (11:46)
EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
12/20/13 10:36 A

Since the OP opened this topic as a question and discussion, I will respond on that basis.
I'm not a doctor, and I'm retired from the healthcare field I was in for the length of my career. My experience may or may not be what anyone else might experience, nor should it circumvent any recommendations or consultation from your PCP.

But in short, YES! Our prescribed diet, restricted carb and mostly Primal, has resulted in great health benefits for both my husband (T2D) and myself (following it for weight loss and leaky gut).
My triglycerides are near the very bottom of the reference range for the various labs performing the tests.
The more informative analysis is in the particle sizes, however. Those are found through either a VAP panel or an NMR panel. I've had both done; the "danger" particles for my results were off-the-chart LOW. The "risk profile" for both panels was "phenotype A", which is considered "optimal" for both testing labs.

My only true complaint is that I can't get my total cholesterol *high* enough. It slipped very briefly above 200... but no matter how I try, I can't get it to stay there. It ranges in the 120s-170s, usually. I'm very frustrated by this, since my diet is low-carb and high-fat (moderate protein). But I keep trying!

RUSSELL has had great success with his dietary plan. I'm very encouraged and inspired by him. Again, we're all discussing our own personal experiences. But that's what you asked for, and I hope you can find something useful to research and bring to your healthcare team for their perspectives.

Edited by: EXOTEC at: 12/20/2013 (10:48)
LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/19/13 6:27 P

For example, we can take into account the past studies on how dietary cholesterol affected blood cholesterol. For years doctors, scientists and nutritionists screamed at us to avoid cholesterol-rich foods, saying we're eating ourselves into the ground by consuming eggs and real butter. Well guess what? It's okay to eat cholesterol-rich foods because saturated fat is the real culprit and that affects blood cholesterol levels more than dietary cholesterol.

Fast forward a few more years, now even saturated fats aren't as bad as they once used to be. Eggs are bad for you, no, eggs are good for you. Milk helps you lose weight, no, nevermind, milk doesn't help you lose weight after all. Avoid all fats, no wait, monounsaturated fats are beneficial. You don't know what to really believe anymore, so this is why I don't put too much faith into these so-called 'facts'.

You know, my mother (RIP) brought me up with one simple philosophy that, to this day, I follow: don't believe what you hear and half of what you see.

Am I saying these studies are incorrect? Am I saying these people are fruitcakes that don't know what they're talking about? Of course not. They report statistics as they find them and the dietary world is ever-changing. I'm just saying that I personally don't constantly change my eating and lifestyle habits based on scientific research.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/19/13 6:12 P

Yes, but my point was that not everyone responds to the same treatments or dietetic changes. Research doesn't always mean solid fact. In some cases it does, but not in all cases. In other words, the 'experts' can suggest what supposedly works and put statistics out there collected from studies and tests they've actually done on real human beings. But that doesn't mean ALL human beings will receive the same result.

12/19/13 10:18 A

So glad that you had great results by following the established guidelines for the treatment and management of having a high triglyceride level. This is one of those areas that "most everyone" responds to the evidence based interventions.

One does not really have to go out and "try to find" what works for them. For high Triglycerides, we already have the research as shared in the link below.

Your SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/19/13 8:42 A

Bottom line here - everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another.

My trigs were VERY high at one point. 840 high. I weighed 220 pounds (I'm a 5'4 female). So I decided to change. I lost weight, cut way back on saturated fat and started taking fish oil (as suggested by my doctor). My cholesterol (total as well as trigs) came down to normal. What contributed to that I can't say. The weight loss? Eating less sat fats? Taking fish oil? Possibly a combination of all three. But in my PERSONAL opinion, the weight loss contributed mostly to the drop in cholesterol levels. The reason I say this is because over the last couple of years I've put some of that weight back on. And guess what, my cholesterol is back up again. Not as high as it was before, but high enough that my doc wants me on statins, which I refuse to take (personal reasons).

However, I'm convinced that if I were to drop back off the weight I've gained, without changing what I eat (except for the amount, of course) that my cholesterol would come back down again. I should mention that I've never counted carbs. I ate carbs when I was overweight and I ate carbs as I was losing. Of course, to lose weight, I was consuming fewer carbs because I was consuming fewer calories overall. But I still ate bread and pasta and potatoes. That never changed.

So I believe the weight loss was the primary reason for the drop in my triglyceride levels.

12/19/13 8:05 A

As a Registered Dietitian, I would say that of the 8 listed items to help lower one's triglyceride level, the 1 that will have the greatest impact on improving lipid lab values is "losing weight"--for people who are overweight/obese.

You lost weight---therefore you showed improvement. And the only way to lose weight is to be at a calorie deficit. That means you are eating less calories, moving your body more to burn more calories, or a combination of both. So you probably did cut back on calories.

So basically these guidelines and recommendations "did" work for you. They worked for you just as they did for thousands of others who have been used as test subjects to determine recommendations to treat diseases. This is called "evidence". Do we have all the "evidence" for every disease? NO. Do we continue to conduct research, evaluate studies and write new treatment interventions based on the evidence. YES.

As I have said before, our Sparkpeople site is based on evidence (not a study of 1). And we ask that all members use evidence based guidelines when providing tips and suggestions to our 15 million members. I ask that you do the same.

Thank You
Your SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

WESTGATE85 SparkPoints: (120,146)
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12/18/13 8:39 A

I actually had very good success in lowering triglycerides by cutting back on certain carbs. My cholesterol has always been very low over all, with normal HDL and low LDL. My triglycerides were not crazy out of control, but high. I don't have diabetes, or high blood pressure. I tried for 3 months between blood tests to lower it by trying to eat less than 20 fat grams, and 1200 calories per day (more or less). I was also consuming over 300 carbs a day. The blood test did not really change, and the doctor suggested that I limit my high carb staple foods that I was eating every day (pasta, potatoes, corn, peas, rice..certain fruits..) and NOT focus on fat grams and calories. 3 months later, I got the best blood test of my life, everything all very well in the normal ranges. He is very happy. I was just wondering if anyone else had success lowering triglycerides by lowering processed carbs. I still eat carbs, but not the ones I was used to eating. My carbs are now around 50-60 grams per day (Not considered low carb by many, but it is LOWER than MY old style of eating). I am very much digging the new change. It seems to be the solution for me right now.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
12/18/13 6:55 A

The only problem I have with the list of ways to cut triglycerides is that I do the opposite for several of them, and it worked better. Meanwhile, it is exactly what I was told would happen when I started low carb, not by my doctors ( they prophesied doom ), but by the authors of the books I read.

When I started, I was only concerned about weight loss, because as a heart patient at 350 lbs, that was my # 1 concern. Getting healthier inside was just a side benefit. Going back and re-reading the books, everything that happened to me was explained, and they said it would happen exactly as they said it would.

What is confusing is that with no effort at all, they got 100 % of the results they said would happen, and when following my doctor's advice ( admittedly struggling with diet ), I got very small improvements. Many of the suggestions are good no matter what diet, stop eating trans fats, and limit alcohol and sugar consumption, as well as lose weight, and exercise regularly. These I have no issue with.

What bothers me, is listening to people talk about how 8 items will make all the difference, and the success rate of people following ( or attempting to follow ) this plan does not yield the results one is looking for. Some people see improvements in various aspects of their cholesterol numbers, so their is merit to some of the ideas, but when you don't get exactly what you want following this plan, and another does so, one has to stop and ask "why?"

The two that I don't follow are:

1 ) Cut back on calories

2 ) 300 mg cholesterol

I think that if these statements are given as advice, at the very least they should be amended to say * unless you are following a controlled carb diet, especially #2.

1 ) I am eating 2,496 calories today at 192 lbs. I didn't cut back on calories, except the ones I had binges on from eating carbs. I will admit that I may be lower on average now than when I was starting, but I am also 170 lbs lighter, so to lose weight I should have to eat about 1/2 the calories, if " a calorie is a calorie ". I do work out more, 7 days a week 45-60 minutes a day, but not enough to burn all these calories. The calories have to go somewhere, but I think the idea of cutting calories tends to end up with undernourishment. Even here on SP almost every woman ends up in the 1200-1550 range, and tries to stick to 1200-1250. This idea of cutting calories is harmful, I think, in practice, even if unintended.

2 ) I eat about 1,500 mg cholesterol a day. 4 XL eggs, 2 T butter, and over a lb of meat every day, and my cholesterol is 103, HDL 51, LDL is up to 37 ( when I upped saturated fats ), and my triglycerides are in the 70's. I just do not see ANY link between consumed cholesterol, and a rise in total cholesterol, or triglycerides.

I didn't say anything about following/ not following " eating healthier fats ", because I think this is an arbitrary goal. I eat more saturated fats than suggested, and 6 months after doing so ( recommended by Gary Taubes ), my triglycerides jumped from 24 to 37. That along with a much better triglyceride/HDL ratio have cut back on my risk of stroke.

So, while my way of eating may not be desirable, or recommended for anyone else, it does tend to bring up some questions that need to be answered. If I can drop 80 points on cholesterol, and 300 points from my triglycerides, and eat 5-6X the cholesterol to do so, isn't that a sign that maybe there is some flaw in advice that they are stating as fact? At the very least we should explain how it is possible, and see why, so we may find an alternative to cutting cholesterol as the only way. Whereas trans fats, and sugars are not natural substances, cholesterol is, and we may wish to find out why cholesterol, triglycerides, and obesity are soaring in this country, and come up with better answers than cut cholesterol, and cut fat. Many people eat high fat, high cholesterol, and are skinny, and healthy. Something else is a factor here.

I am not saying that one should eat that way ( high cholesterol/high fat ), but if one can be healthy doing so, then it may be those traits COMBINED with another one that is a problem.

For me, I think it was carbs, but only some types of carbs. I handle vegetables, and low glycemic fruits okay, as well as beans, nuts etc., so it isn't that carbs are bad, which is what this thread is all about. Carbs are a part of life. We all eat them. I think that if we ate better carbs from birth, no one would ever need to do a low carb diet. It is a corrective diet, to reverse a lifetime of poor eating.

The problem is processed, and sugary carbs, but we just can't get past the knee-jerk reaction of cutting fat, and cholesterol when they are a problem. I'm fat, so eat less fat.. yet even in the link, it states that excess calories are converted to triglyceride. This done by Insulin, and is bodyfat. It does this, whether you ate high fat, high carb, or high protein. Excess calories are a problem, not fat. With carbohydrates being the most altered foods we eat, they tend to be the foods that are most likely to cause cravings, or binges ( excess calories ahead! ).

In their natural state, I don't think any of the macros are unhealthy. Fats, carbs, or protein. The problem is, we don't get them this way. Our chicken is soaked in 15 % salt solution, our meats come as processed deli meats, and sugar is added to everything to make up for the fact that without fat, it tastes terrible. We add cheeses and sauces to make these low fat foods edible, and that is the big problem here. We started low fat, and people realized the food was horrible, and they stopped buying it. So manufacturers found ways to make it taste better. They weren't healthy, but they were low fat, and they were tastier.

So we eat those foods, and become unhealthy and sick as a nation, and 40 years later we eat 7 % less fat on average, but are fatter. We go to our doctor, and the recommendation is to cut fat more. This means more of those carbs, since protein is pretty much set at 20-25 %. So we switched 7 % of our diet, from fat to carbs, and had an obesity epidemic, and disease increases, as well as higher cholesterol, and triglycerides when we cut cholesterol in the diet, and the answer is to cut even more?

I think they have good intentions, but this makes NO sense at all. What they should do is re-test every theory they have on nutrition, and pair a low carb, and a low fat scientist together, and explore every aspect. Then when they have exhausted their questions, we can actually trust the findings they publish. Explain how a person can eat 1500 mg of cholesterol, and have low cholesterol, and in what cases this is possible. Then test the opposite. Will reducing my cholesterol below 300 mg, drop it under 103? Can a doctor make me that promise? If not, then it isn't the cause of cholesterol dropping, or triglycerides either, unless they can promise mine will drop below 70. If they can't give me any results, why should I cut 80 % of my cholesterol intake?

*** Obviously, for now, you should follow the accepted guidelines as posted, but don't just think that we KNOW what works. The low rate of success we have as a nation is proof that we don't. More questions need to be asked, AND answered. When we stop asking questions, and just accept these guidelines, we stop improving, and end up sick and obese. ***

So set some goals, and hopefully you reach them following these guidelines. Many have. If however, you are two years down the road, with poor reults, it is time to re-evaluate what works for you, with your doctor, and if they tell you that more of the same is the answer, be firm, and tell them that it isn't working, and you need another option. It might scare you to find out that they do not have another option. They are just repeating words on a page.

12/17/13 8:14 P

The link below, provided in SLIMMERKIWI's post is a great overview of the main ways to lower triglyceride levels through diet and lifestyle. Notice that decreasing intake of highly-refined, sugar-filled carbohydrates is one of several recommendations.

I encourage you to ask your doctor for a referral to see a Registered Dietitian who can assess your current food habits and determine the best interventions for your situation.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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12/17/13 7:56 P

Carbs are not high in calories -- they're exactly the same as protein, 4 kcal/g. Many of the things that people think of as "carby", however, are very high in calories, either due to customary eating of very large volumes (pasta for some people, for instance); or more usually, due to fats that are eaten with them (baked goods, ice cream, mashed potatoes with butter for example). Note that the fats in these cases are also often of the less healthy kinds.

Stuff like carrots and plain potatoes and turnips contain more calories than similar volumes of peppers or broccoli or tomatoes because they are more dense and have less water, not because there is anything inherently calorie-ific to their starch compared to whatever makes up the calories in a pepper.

I eat pretty high carbs, including plenty of starch and some sugar. What I don't eat anymore is very much of the stuff in that fat/sugar/salt/starch junk-food-carbs category. All my bad lipids in my blood work dropped like a stone when I made that change (though in my case they weren't high to begin with). I don't consider that or refer to that as "cutting carbs" though, because as soon as you say that people think you're telling them they need to cut out potatoes and wheat bread and rice and every fruit on the planet and who knows what and I think that's misleading and harmful. (Harmful in the sense it could discourage people from trying at all because they think they have to be super crazy restrictive when they probably don't.)

RUNUXTOO Posts: 136
12/17/13 6:40 P

SIMPLY PUT - yes... the kind of carbs.
My triglyceride level was over 600 - (the test did not go higher). I thought I was doing OK in my diet but not.
Then I became a vegetarian and my triglycerides went down, as did my lipid level to NORMAL!
WoW! I was impressed... then... I started eating many carbs because I was not sure of what to eat as a new vegetarian.
Well, the triglycerides went UP to almost 600 again. SO...
I limited my Carbs - all of them - I did not measure or count how many, instead I simply counted calories. Carbs are high in calories, almost like fats but not as bad.

Since I keep within my calorie range, I am now very normal. Triglycerides and lipids are really great now.

So the answer to your question is - YES carbs and what you eat will cause high triglycerides. At least for me...

PS - Stay away from the simple carbs - do not eat anything sugary.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,465)
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12/17/13 3:46 P

below is a link from The Mayo Clinic with a lot of helpful information.

I have taken you to page 2 of the article, so you may want to check out the previous page, too.


WESTGATE85 SparkPoints: (120,146)
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12/17/13 3:34 P

Has anyone had any luck lowering triglyceride levels by limiting carbs?

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