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High Cholesterol Message Board


High Cholesterol Board Index


High triglyceride levels are one of the classic symptoms of insulin resistance and Syndrome X. It all comes down to your diet. No one diet works for everyone because we all have different genetic backgrounds. Some of us have Asian ancestors, some of European descent, and some a little bit of everything. These people of different cultures ate different types of food throughout history. Some where high in protein and fat from animal sources and low in carbohydrate, and some were higher in carbohydrate and lower in animal products. Some at more fish, others at little if any fish. Over thousands of years of eating this way, these people's bodies adapted to that way of eating. If you go and change things rather abruptly (say in 1-5 generations), then the offspring don't have enough time to adapt and the results of eating a diet that is not well suited to your body will show up in your blood and your overall health. And one thing that has significantly changed in the last 100 or so years is the availability of highly processed carbohydrates which wreak havoc on our bloodsugar and insulin levels (processed vegetable oils are another "new" food introduced in this time period). Things like refined white flour and high fructose corn syrup just weren't available way back then. Most peoples bodies just have a difficult time dealing with all of this glucose thrust upon them (all digestible carbohydrates eventually turn into glucose in your body).

Almost all of the newcomers at a low carbohydrate bulletin board that I frequent are amazed at how quickly and how significantly their triglyceride levels drop when they cut out the sugars and other high carbohydrate foods. And these foods are typically replaced with protein and fat from animal sources. People forget that that excess glucose circulating in the bloodstream will get converted to fat, i.e. tryglycerides.

And a high triglyceride/HDL ratio is a much better predictor of heart disease than high cholesterol alone (like 16 times better). This high triglyceride/HDL ratio risk is rather well documented in clinical studies, but mainly all you ever hear about is the total cholesterol vs. heart disease risk. I wonder if this is just another way to promote a low-fat diet since a low fat diet can have a little effect at lowering total cholesterol (but it typically also lowers HDL, the good cholesterol) but it usually results in an elevation of triglyceride levels because of the extra carbohydrate consumed. Dr. Ornish even admits this but doesn't address the consequences. A diet higher in protein and naturally occurring fats and lower in sugars, starches, and other processed carbohydrates will almost always result in a significant drop in triglyceride levels and an elevation of HDL levels. Total cholesterol may not change much because of this rise in HDL and LDL may even go up a little. But the LDL level on your blood screening is rarely if ever measured, but is rather calculated from the other lipid parameters. Plus, there are two main types of LDL, pattern "a" and pattern "b". LDL pattern "a" is the one of concern since it is easily oxidized and more likely to support atherosclerosis. LDL pattern "b" is not easily oxidized and is essentially benign from an athersclerosis standpoint. And here is the kicker. Research has shown that the type of LDL that you have predominately, pattern "a" or pattern "b", and be predicted with high accuracy based on your triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels correlate with a high percentage of the LDL being pattern "a" (the bad stuff) and low triglycerides correlate with a high percentage of your LDL being pattern "b", the benign kind.

So, from the above it is easy to see that the whole cholesterol vs. heart disease risk is a little more complicated than the media or most health professionals let on. They tend to focus on the aspects that promote their ideals or agenda and that is usually the low fat diet lowers cholesterol propaganda. They usually fail to mention that high carbohydrate diets raise triglyceride levels, which is much more risky than total cholesterol.

Alan





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