4

votes

Why Are Starches Implicated in High Triglyceride Pathologies?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 05, 2011 at 12:43 AM

On Feb 28th my TGs were 54 and HDL was 55.

Yesterday TGs were 37 and HDL was 67.

In the intervening period, I ate less butter and significantly more carbohydrates. I probably ate in the range of 50-75g of carbohydrates a day in the months leading up to the first test and from that point until now I ate 150-350g of carbohydrates a day.

In the paleosphere especially, I see repeated references to "carbs" raising triglycerides. It seems to me that fructose is wholly responsible for the triglyceride portion of the dyslipidemia that the average person has these days. If you restrict fructose intake and eat starchy carbs to your heart's content (so to speak) there is no such derangement. I'm not saying that increasing carbohydrate intake lowers TGs, simply that dramatically increasing it didn't counter whatever it was that lowered it for me.

Edit: By starchy carbs I meant sweet potato and rice.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on May 05, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Well said; I think the less we create simplistic monoliths and the more we embrace the huge amount of biological nuance, the better we'll be.

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on May 05, 2011
at 03:52 PM

My tris dropped by 75% (yes, they were scary-high) in 75 days when I started Paleo. HDL went up by 20%, LDL dropped from 200 to 170 - all in 75 days!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 05, 2011
at 07:16 AM

Awesome observations, again Travis. As I mentioned in your other post re LDL, Im getting lab results back this week after adding more starch. Should be interesting to see if I have similar results. Stay tuned.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 05, 2011
at 07:14 AM

As always, spot on.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 05, 2011
at 03:49 AM

Very well said.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 05, 2011
at 02:36 AM

I've never had a blood test. But I've been doing sweet potatoes and white rice for a while now - pre and post workout and like the fact that it may be helping my trigs.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Those results are great. I was wondering what my increased starch consumption might be doing to my trigs. It looks like fructose might be the main culprit.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers

7
Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:54 AM

I think the community's general failure to acknowledge a dichotomy inherent within the term "carb" is to blame, but that failure isn't anyone's fault, just that most people don't know a whole lot about science. You can read and understand plenty about core Paleo premises -- insulin sensitivity, gluconeogenesis, fasting, fatty acid oxidation, etc. -- without ever learning a thing about basic biology, that a "carb" isn't a thing, it's a class of things, and that not every member of the class has the same biological activities. Again, most people aren't intimately familiar with that fact, basic as it is, unless they've really delved.

Case in point: glucose versus fructose and the dichotomy you pointed out flying under the radar of a lot of Paleos. Glucose hardly stimulates de novo lipogenesis (production of fatty acids from a Krebs intermediate) yet incurs an insulin response while fructose powerfully activates de novo lipogenesis yet elicits no insulin response. You and I have both seen people unknowingly create some Frankenstein chimera carb that both skyrockets insulin and forces you to pack on the fat and raise serum TGs. Although sucrose could certainly do that, most wouldn't make the distinction and tend to chalk up carbs as the end-all "nutrient" for health, longevity, and leanness. This, I think, is an innocent example of the blind leading the blind, of well-meaning hearsay from those who just didn't know the difference.

This site exists, and questions like this exist, to make the bottom-line information for most people with a loose familiarity with science as accurate and simple as possible. Until that goal is accomplished, minor details like these with major implications will misrepresent essential truths about the body's biochemistry, and many people will take with the bank to them incomplete, inaccurate, and possibly counterproductive knowledge. We just have to catch those little falsehoods when we can and set the record straight.

"Carbs" are not the enemy, but excess glucose, and fructose and sucrose especially, are, all for different reasons.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on May 05, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Well said; I think the less we create simplistic monoliths and the more we embrace the huge amount of biological nuance, the better we'll be.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 05, 2011
at 07:14 AM

As always, spot on.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 05, 2011
at 03:49 AM

Very well said.

2
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on May 05, 2011
at 03:09 PM

Becker, you're onto something here. After succeeding on a low-carb diet, I became convinced that the lower the carbs, the better. Now, I know better. It's the food toxins: gluten, refined carbs, casein, fructose, etc. Reading the PHD, Masterjohn and Guyenet definitely freed me from this thinking.

There is ample evidence that humans evovled eating a variety of diets: ketogenic, VLC to very high carb. Yet these people were all healthy. Why? It's the absence of gluten, excess sugar (fructose). The Kitavans, Okinawans, Southeast Asians. They all lived on a carb-heavy diet. Sweet potatoes were the staple of the diet for these people: for post-War Japan, the Okinawans ate up to 85% of their daily calories from carbs. Check out this link which shows how high their carb consumption was, and how little fish they actually ate (less than 1/4th the mainland Japanese). Yet they produced more centenarians than any other ethnic group.

http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/2010/07/traditional-okinawan-diet-sweet.html

The Southeast Asians ate heavy white rice but stayed healthy, as long as they did not consume sugar (fructose) or gluten. The mainland Japanese were for the most part healthy, too, though not as healthy as those in Okinawa.

Yes, the Inuits were healthy, too. The only carb source for them would have been liver! And perhaps whatever they could have dug out under the Tundra. But there is strong evidence that those who consumed lots of carbs stayed healthy, as long as they were starches devoid of sugar and gluten.

That, really, is the next big distinction the Paleo and Low Carb crowd have to make. Yes, if you have diabetes, you probably cannot tolerate starches and Low Carbing is probably the way. If you're not however, it is perfectly healthy to avoid the bad and embrace the good carbs.

1
796d2266c54ffe57bf43a00b4315b747

on May 05, 2011
at 12:59 AM

you should be a bit clearer on what you mean by "starchy" carbs. there's a difference between starchy veggies and grains.

but i will agree whole heartedly that sucrose(sugar) and HFCS are the culprits of many many things that where once thought caused by fats, for example.

fructose from fruit is different than just fructose because of the fiber in fruit, pulp and skin.

thanks for sharing your finds. i still won't eat potatoes, corn or sweet potatoes and grains don't exist for me.

1
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:55 AM

Someone who is exercising needs about 150g of carbohydrate a day and they will get it whether it be exogenous or endogenous. Low carb diets actually tend to be lower carb than reported because gut bacteria tends to eat the bits of carbs from non-starchy vegetables, this means even more gluconeogenesis will be going on. If they are insulin-resistant and shit be screwing up and making tons of glucose out of amino acids and glycerol they can very well have higher triglycerides without all that much carbohydrate. Whereas someone eating that much and generally metabolically healthy (you, obviously) might even see improvements by resolving nutrient-deficiencies and some other mechanisms. Apparently (although I'm not sold yet) tons of gluconeogenesis can increase cortisol levels, which causes insulin resistance. That's my guess.

I like about 150g of carbs per day combined with IFing to get into ketosis twice a week, but I think that unless someone was super active they're generally going to store a lot of carbohydrate as fat if their carb intake is higher. Indeed, 30% carbohydrate isn't really a problem. The problem is higher carbohydrate intake (60% +), poor metabolic health and inactivity.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!