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  • Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?

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    Old 08-05-2004, 07:21 PM   #1
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    Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?

    I have been on this same journey...needing to lower LDL and increase HDL (and lose weight)....but unable to take statins. So, I've been researching alternative solutions. Today while at the library, I stumbled onto this book, "The Carbohydrate Addict's Healthy Heart Program." Being a sceptic, I decided I needed to do more research on low carb diets and was blown away by what I found.

    I invite you all to read the research on this site... ...and read what a low carb diet can do. After hearing discussion of Atkins and the South Beach Diets, I wasn't thrilled with the idea of low carb, but after reading this book and the research, I am reconsidering!! Please DO read the research and then come back and tell us what you think! I would love to hear what others of you believe after reading this. I wonder if statins would be so necessary if we only ate in healthy ways.

    The Addict's diet is different from Atkins in that it requires that you eat one very balanced meal a day (including carbs) while eating two very low carb meals. This sounds more healthy and reasonable to me. What do I know? Nothing! Just using a bit of common sense here.

    If you feel as excited about the info as I do, let's talk more about this. I am curious about why this information isn't being shouted from the rooftops...I guess there's more money to be made perscribing statins!???

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    Old 08-06-2004, 05:54 AM   #2
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    Re: Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?


    From my experience the answer is a resounding NO.

    Old 08-06-2004, 10:30 AM   #3
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    Re: Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?

    It did work for me. I went from an LDL of 141 to 92 and lost 25 pounds. It will certainly lower your triglycerides. I am also diabetic and Dr Berstein's book The Diabetes Solution states that cutting carbs is the way to lower cholesterol. He limits himself to 12 gm carbs per meal, 6 for breakfast, and his HDL is 116 and his LDL is 63. His total cholesterol was over 300 before he tried this diet. He does exercise a lot. It may not work for everyone but it is worth trying.

    Old 08-06-2004, 11:38 AM   #4
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    Re: Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?


    I think that there are times when two paramters get confused. Will a low carb diet result in lower cholesterol (without specifying LDL, HDL, TG...) Yes and no. Will a low fat diet? Yes and no, again.

    If you can lose weight doing low carbs, then yes, the cholesterol will drop because for many people, there is a correlation between weight and total cholesterol (esp.TG and to a lesser extent, LDL). If you can lose weight doing a low fat diet, a drop in cholesterol (total) will be observed, normally, again.

    When I ate low carb, high fat and protein, my total cholesterol was near 300 (292) with a huge TG level. Some people have a genetic flaw that results in high circulating triglycerides, but that's another topic for another discussion.

    When I ate high carb, low fat, controlled protein, my total cholesterol was between 94-102 mg/dL. My triglycerides were in the 30-40 mg/dL range.

    What really changed in there was that I lost 70 slbs of weight, and went from a sedentary lifestyle to running daily.

    My cholesterol hovers from 100-150 mg/dL now, depending partly on how much fat I eat. But...the effect on eating more fat (esp. sat fat) is not that I believe I become unhealthier, my ratio of total/HDL stays about the same. My LDL goes up, but so does my HDL. My triglycerides remain about the same.

    My last cholesterol check was a week ago. It came back with a total of 113 mg/dL (TG: 47, HDL: 49, LDL: 55). What changed since last time was that I was losing weight due to training for a race. I was taking in 400-480 g of carbs per day, running 4.5-7.5 miles per day. My ratio went from 2.5 to 2.2 (total/HDL), even though my HDL dropped.

    What I am trying to say is that yes, diet will influence your total cholesterol to an extent, but so will periods of weight gain and loss. Ultimately, exercise and current weight will have an impact on your ratios, yet you can increase the levels of all your cholesterol values by increasing fat in the diet. The additonal fat won't make you unhealthy. Likewise, additional carbs in your diet, when you use them and burn them, also will not make you unhealthy.

    From some of us, such as in my case, only when we do it in excess, and become unhealthy, will there be a problem.

    The thing to keep in mind is that what works for me may not work for you, or for Zip, or for Arizona (Arizona is blessed with good HDL from what I recall). Genetics does play a role, but many of us can impact our progression of heart disease by lifestyle choices. The person I am dating has an LDL of about 80 mg/dL, and and HDL of over 100 mg/dL (104), with a TG identical to mine (47 mg/dL). Needless to say I am jealous. I am out watching my diet, keeping my weight down, running miles daily. Meanwhile, she is blessed with an incredible ratio, and doesn't need to exercise... Granted that may change after menopause and she does know that... Anyway, I should stop here--I am off on all kinds of tangents now.

    Old 08-10-2004, 07:09 AM   #5
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    Re: Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?

    From my experience the answer is a resounding YES combined with aerobic exercise and maintaining my ideal weight over the past three years. The only question is how much weight loss and exercise has affected my lipid levels. There is no way for me to determine that but my low carb diet has been the key for me in losing and maintaining my weight loss.

    I don't take any statins but I do take MaxEPA fish oil, alpha lipoic acid, biotin, folic acid and evening primrose oil supplements.

    Normal (HIGH) carb low fat diet recommended by the American Heart Assoc., American Dietetic Assoc., etal: no eggs, no red meat, low-non fat everything:

    TC: 253
    HDL: 29
    LDL: 100
    TG: 618
    HDL/C: % 11.4 - Above avg risk
    C/HDL: 8.7 - Above avg risk
    LDL/HDL: 3.4 - Avg risk

    Low carb high fat diet: whole eggs, meat, chicken, fish, olive oil, green leafy/non starchy vegetables, nuts, berries, sunflower/pumpkin seeds. No sugar, flour, grains, trans-fats or pasta etc:

    TC: 130
    HDL: 50
    LDL: 68
    TG: 58
    HDL/C %: 38.4 - Below avg risk
    C/HDL: 2.6 - Below avg risk
    LDL/HDL: 1.3 - Avg risk

    If you do a search on Dr. Mercola's website for "How to Determine Your Cardiovascular Health" he has some very good info on lipid levels and associated risk factors.

    Last edited by ZippyDawg; 08-10-2004 at 07:12 AM.

    Old 08-10-2004, 04:58 PM   #6
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    Re: Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?

    Well, that just goes to show that you can't always listen to everything that the American Heart Association tells us. They've been steering people the wrong way for the past 30 years. But I'll say one thing about a low-carb diet. It sure sounds a heck of a lot more appetizing than a low-fat diet.

    Old 08-11-2004, 12:19 PM   #7
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    Re: Is a Low Carb Diet the Answer to Lowering Cholesterol?

    Well, I've settled on the South Beach Diet which cuts out carbs for the first two weeks then reintegrates complex carbs in a second phase. This diet was developed by a cardiologist who used it himself, then tried on patients and found it very effect at reducing weight and lowering over-all cholesterol with good effects on triglycerides and HDL. You may know that it is one of the big lifestyle change diets that many people are using to lose weight.

    I am now researching polycosinol which is a natural cholesterol lowerer that several sites claim is as effective as statins. If you're interested, check it out here

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