Category Archives: medical

Cholesterol

Pretty understandably, I think, I have been keen to make sure that eating a lot of fat doesn’t clog up my arteries and lead to an untimely death. It turns out that blood chemistry is a lot more complicated than “eat fat, get heart disease” though. Logically perhaps, if you are burning off all the fat you eat (and then some), there isn’t going be that much spare sloshing around your bloodstream. But actually the truth is a lot more prosaic.

25% of blood cholesterol come from your food intake but 75% comes from in-house production in your liver. So the level of dietary control over blood cholesterol is relatively limited. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try of course. Then there’s HDL, LDL-P LDL-C, VLDL  and non-HDL-C  to get your head around, plus the particle sizes and everything else. It’s a complex field. I found this article very helpful.

Despite the available literature, it would be a fool who embarked on a high fat diet, even if it was low carbohydrate, and didn’t at least wonder what it was happening with the cholesterol levels…wouldn’t it?

I am going for tests every 4 weeks or so. Thanks to the nice staff at Lloyds In Stockbridge, Edinburgh, for being interested in what I’m doing.

Date

Total cholesterol CHOL

HDL

Approx. LDL

TC:HDL ratio

22/03/2016

5.08

2.02

3.06

2.5

14/04/2016

3.93

1.47

2.46

2.7

26/05/2016

5.24

1.94

3.3

2.7

04/03/2017

3.91

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Side effects

I’ve posted links to this blog on a few forums:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=638531&v=1#x8276652

http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/ketogenic-diet-blog

and a few of the comments raised have reminded me of things I should mention here. I’ll be updating this as time passes, so it doesn’t really have a chronological place in the archive.

Face flushing

My cheeks stopped flushing after about a month.

Elevated heart rate

During the very early stages of transition to ketosis I experienced a slightly elevated heart rate and found my heart rate really picking up unusually when taking even gentle exercise. This stopped after the initial adjustment period.

Bad breath

The diet can make you a bit dehydrated especially early on. Also if you are skulling back gallons of creamy coffee or other diuretics containing caffeine, like Diet Coke, you will get dehydrated. This reduces mouth saliva which creates an advantageous environment for plaque growth. Also, if you are snacking regularly through the day without brushing, you will get a build up of food fragments around your teeth. Nuts are bad for this as the skins get into nooks and crannies in your mouth. All this can make your breath smell. I am brushing three times a day, sometimes, and flossing and using mouthwash more often. No complaints received so far, but I’ve noticed it myself.

Cardio health

I think anyone doing this diet has to take this subject seriously. My approach was:

  • to do lots of general research into valid and well-documented studies
  • to account for the over-arching influence of the status quo (high carb high sugar low fat) on general nutritional advice
  • consider broadly how humans evolved without vast volumes of cheap carbs available from agriculture, but that historically life was “nasty, brutal and short” too
  • think about the various factors increasing human lifespan today, including a better understanding of nutrition
  • get my blood tested regularly

This article provides an apparently well researched positive outlook, but I have not checked the references:

http://www.ruled.me/the-ketogenic-diet-and-cholesterol/

On the other hand this one contains the most negative data and I recommend following up the references which are linked off the pdf at the end:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2015/05/adverse-reactions-to-ketogenic-diets-caution-advised.html

I recommend you study this data.

My own conclusion was that building my meals around a core of animal fat and cheese was not on; that walnuts nuts, avocados and olive oil were great; and that I needed to get my blood cholesterol checked every two weeks until a pattern emerged.