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High Cholesterol Message Board


High Cholesterol Board Index


The reasoning behind my diet starts with Dr. Ornish's reversal diet. His diet has been shown to halt and even reverse atherosclerosis with no medications at all.

However, I found his diet to be more or less silent on FH except to mention that several people in his diet study had genetic cholesterol problems and showed some reversal even though they were unable to get their cholesterol levels below 200 and into good target ranges.

His suggestion that if you follow the diet you can merrily go about your business and hope for the best under those conditions seemed unsatisfactory to me, especially since he had neither specifically studied FH patients, nor could explain reversal in the ones he had given their readings indicated they should not have.

That said, a balanced low fat diet with little sat fat seems far more sensible than the voodoo of the atkins diet.

Modifications:

Ornish doesn't suggest calorie counting, but I'm goal oriented, and want to lose weight safely, but quickly, hence 1700 was picked as a daily calorie intake, and exercise was increased until I was burning 400 calories per day.

Fat:
Ornish makes an important point about fat: After you get the 6% or so your body needs, there is no requirement for more. I've had dieticians actually suggest I increase my saturated fat!!! Insane! Many dieticians suggest increasing monosaturated fats. That seems fine as a relacement for sat fat, but what is the positive of adding mono or poly fat except as a replacement? Better to reduce in general.

Take Control:
Having just said the above, I've started taking 1.5 doses of this plant sterol ester per day because it acts as an agent in the small intestine to impede the reabsorption of cholesterol into the blood. I've used it before with no apparent results, but felt it was worth another try as long as I could fit it into my Ornish diet. Ornish forbids oils, but his diet predates this treatment.

My one concern is that that Take Control REPLACED ordinary margerine or butter in clinical tests. That means some of the reduction may have been gained by not taking the Take Control at all and simply removing the butter. Still...at the 1.5 dose level I'm able to just fit it into my diet without exceeding recommended fat.

Metamucil:
I'm taking 6 teaspoons a day after meals of the sugar free variety

Soy:
I'm having 1 cup a day of plain soy milk per day for the isofavones

Alcohol:
I have 1 drink per day. Usually red wine about 4 0z. Once or twice a week, I'll take a second drink. I drink only with or just before a meal.

Why? Alcohol has been proven to increase sensitivity to insulin. Insulin resistance is associated with HDL repression, and indeed ingesting alcohol does increase HDL.

There is some controversy about that because HDL[SIZE=1]2[/SIZE] is thought to be the part of HDL that helps in LDL removal, and alcohol only increases HDL[SIZE=1]3[/SIZE] or at best only increases HDL[SIZE=1]2[/SIZE] marginally.

What is clear though is that alcohol increases Apolipoprotein A levels about 10 per cent, thus increasing the efficiency of HDL. Alcohol in moderation clearly is a help. It is very funny that paper after paper that I read online suggests that alcohol is helpful, and yet most doctors cannot bring themselves to recommend taking it. That said, they can't resist telling you what the proper dose is!!!!

They suggest one to two drinks per day. However I agree with Dr. Kenneth Cooper (of aerobics fame) that more than 10 drinks per week for most people will cause more problems than it helps.

My father told me when I was a kid that a glass of wine is good for the blood. He was exactly right!

A final note:

Carbs and triglycerides: One thing that can't be emphasized enough is the difference between simple and complex carbs. The latter are harder to digest, and thus they cause a slower insulin response and also cost more calories to break down. It is sooooooooo easy to start sneaking in simple carbs, because complex carbs are tougher to eat..in my opinion.

I'm hoping that my trigs don't bounce too much or at all, but I'd trade a slightly higher trig level for a very low LDL level and an increased HDL level. We'll see.

mark





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