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Cholesterol and children (and adults)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM

We are a mostly paleo/primal family. Probably 85%-90%. My two year old loves protein of any source and fruit. Still working on the veggies and healthy fats. He does love bacon. We can't afford pastured bacon but we try to buy the best we can at Costco.

Sometimes I get a bit scared that all the meat and eggs he eats will result in him having heart disease and high cholesterol as a child. It's probably a throw back to the old diet recommendations we used to follow. How do we know that this much saturated fat won't hurt him? Thanks so much!

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on April 25, 2013
at 05:42 PM

I would suggest getting his cholesterol checked through an independent source if you're that worried. Most doctors don't even know what a good cholesterol is for a 2 year old since it's not normally checked, and then you have to decide if the results are really as alarming as a pediatrician may think. Meanwhile, if they are alarmed and suggest treatment, you may be considered a negligent parent if you don't follow their treatment. Scary! Or, seek an integrative medicine physician or naturopath that understands paleo!

E1fe1d569c4bceff7ff7d5355554c8fc

(45)

on April 23, 2013
at 10:07 PM

Thanks everyone. I still get nervous but you are right. Of course getting a dr to order a blood test on a 2 year old will be tough. And getting a two year old to sit for a test- well... We will keep at it. I survived SAD diet growing up and didn't die. I'm pretty sure he will survive paleo/primal. Thanks.

  • E1fe1d569c4bceff7ff7d5355554c8fc

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5 Answers

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on May 09, 2013
at 05:51 PM

Cholesterol is a necessary building block to his body. He needs cholesterol. You need cholesterol. Watch Peter Attia explain. Of particular interest is that the avoidance of dietary cholesterol tends to result in an increase of ingestion of phytosterols, which seem to be more dangerous than cholesterol. Makes sense, given that we aren't plants, and have only recently begun to be exposed to the massive amounts of phytosterols thanks to industrialization.

0
86c97b2779feab3c330f5e1c5fea7e25

(2312)

on April 25, 2013
at 05:15 PM

Just my own n=1 but I eat eggs (farmer's market), grass fed ground beef and high sat fat foods/oils DAILY...I JUST got my numbers in on Tuesday and HDL is 160 while LDL is 63.

Hopefully this helps to ease your mind some.

0
800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

on April 22, 2013
at 06:47 PM

"How do we know that this much saturated fat won't hurt him?" -- you don't. Just like you don't know whether fructose from fruit will spike his trigs and hurt his lipid profile, or whether glucose from starch will screw up his insulin and make his a diabetic. There are no guarantees in ways of eating (other than certain simple ways of killing oneself).

People are different. Some people (called hyperresponders) react to cholesterol in the diet by heightened levels of serum cholesterol. There are not that many of them, but they exist. Some people react to saturated fat, specifically three particular fatty acids, by heightened levels of blood cholesterol. Some people have the ApoE4 gene variant which affects their lipid metabolism. Some people have familial hypercholesterolaemia.

The answer is to look. If you care about cholesterol levels (and some people don't), test them and see. If you think they're too high, adjust diet. Test again and see. Adjust diet. Rinse, repeat.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on April 25, 2013
at 05:42 PM

I would suggest getting his cholesterol checked through an independent source if you're that worried. Most doctors don't even know what a good cholesterol is for a 2 year old since it's not normally checked, and then you have to decide if the results are really as alarming as a pediatrician may think. Meanwhile, if they are alarmed and suggest treatment, you may be considered a negligent parent if you don't follow their treatment. Scary! Or, seek an integrative medicine physician or naturopath that understands paleo!

E1fe1d569c4bceff7ff7d5355554c8fc

(45)

on April 23, 2013
at 10:07 PM

Thanks everyone. I still get nervous but you are right. Of course getting a dr to order a blood test on a 2 year old will be tough. And getting a two year old to sit for a test- well... We will keep at it. I survived SAD diet growing up and didn't die. I'm pretty sure he will survive paleo/primal. Thanks.

0
Ede98d8569d42885d70e07c92d3df34e

(623)

on April 22, 2013
at 06:10 PM

I sympathise with your worry for your child, but at the same time, how can you know fruits and vegetables aren't hurting him? Or anything else, for that matter. It's all belief. I personally put my faith in the anthropological/evolutionary aspect of a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol, but if that isn't enough for you, there is plenty of science to back it up:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20071648

http://www.ajcn.org/content/26/5/524.full.pdf

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/1/78.full

http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/18/3/441.full

The list goes on. In fact, if you really look, you may even struggle to find any study ( observational or otherwise) linking either saturated fat or cholesterol to cardiovascular disease.

0
3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on April 22, 2013
at 05:56 PM

It gets a little tougher than that question. It's a two part, which is: 1. Will eating this much saturated fat raise his cholesterol levels?

and

  1. Will elevated cholesterol levels hurt him?

One thing we've discovered here is that those may not be related. One of the first things to remember is that digested cholesterol raises serum levels by about 10%, and that's not necessarily long term. After all, you body is doing stuff with it, and not necessary plastering the arteries with it. Your body compensates in producing stuff it's eating.

The real easy solution to the first part is to get a cholesterol check. Most pharmacies offer this service for a nominal fee. Get his levels checked and see if you have any concerns after that.

If they're very high (over 280 perhaps?) your son might have a high sensitivity to saturated fats. There's a few people here who have that issue, but others find lower cholesterol levels.

It's important to get a baseline, and a simple cholesterol check will be another point of data for you to make decisions, but not the only one, I hope.

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