2

votes

Cholesterol concerns on Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM

I'm still new to Paleo, but looking to make the leap. My biggest concern is cholesterol.

I've been tempted to go veg, but as a previous question of mine has indicated, I've been getting bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and egg smelling burps prior to the aforementioned three, several times a year.

The reading I've done indicates that an undiagnosed grain allergy could be at the root of this.

Anywho, does anyone have their cholesterol numbers, before and after?

I'm rather curious the effect this diet has on it. Some have suggested that Paleo can be mostly veg, without the grains, with some meat.

80f4020df787605354f03c6bf64f0841

(10)

on August 24, 2011
at 04:01 AM

Yes, my diet is high fat. I've been increasing the carbs lately to maintain my weight, and I eat some dairy - goat cheese and butter.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on August 24, 2011
at 03:41 AM

What's your diet like? High fat? Do you eat dairy?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 23, 2011
at 11:01 PM

well it matters however below 150 is not necessarily optimal. You may not get CHD but I believe cancer risks increase. Too much cholesterol is a problem at some point because the longer the LDL hangs out in the blood the more likely it is to be oxidized, and that's when the atherosclerotic plaques form.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 23, 2011
at 10:48 PM

I don't know if that question is for me, GS, but I'll answer in my case, anyway: I only eat meat; I've eaten nuts maybe three times in the last two years. So my cholesterol numbers "improved" (according to the conventional wisdom) on meat fat alone.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 10:17 PM

I would believe that the source of fats would raise or lower the cholesterol. avacados, nuts, lower, meat fat, raise. no?

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 23, 2011
at 08:58 PM

You can eat fruit. However berries would be best.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 23, 2011
at 07:44 PM

Framingham emphasizes raising HDL, lowering blood pressure and has been around for 50 years or so as a large population study. I'm better served using their FREE assessment tools for coronary risk than buying books by a certain belligerent pop science writer. Said writer is dismissive of the importance of exercise. He misses the whole point of paleo IMHO.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 23, 2011
at 06:28 PM

Hmm -- I don't know about cholesterol numbers going up on VLC/HF. Perhaps short term. My own numbers dropped considerably since eating high fat and extreme LC ("ZC"), including a trig drop to 32 from some unremembered high number (I don't have the old labs, but my insurance premium went up because of that high number years ago; I think it was well over 100, maybe even north of 150).

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Great link, thanks :)

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:38 PM

You should also be aware that many people has allergy to diary, which is also a non-paleo type of food although many people here accept butter and cheese.

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:34 PM

I thought Framingham showed there isn't a cause/effect relationship between high cholesterol and heart disease?

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:16 PM

does this allow for fruit? or all sugars, including fruit?

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:15 PM

I keep going back to grains, specificially refined grains. Also, since I have GERD, and was subsequently diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, I'm looking at a reason for the inflammation as well. The more I read, the more I'm suspecting a food allergy for the inflammation, as much as the GERD, as GERD can cause that inflammation too.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Did you exercise level increase as you went Paleo? What do you attribute you high HDL number to?

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:11 PM

I worried, as my dad had a 'minor' heart attack, that's not what he eventually died of, as well as a family history of the disease.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:18 PM

There's only two factors that I worry about in my lab values. TRIG/HDL ratio is one (should be low, lower than 1 is ideal). LDL particle size is the other (Larger is better, and large particle LDL may be protective against CAD, but I have yet to have this measured. The VAP test from Atherolabs does it). My TC has ranged from 230 to 250 over the last few years and I don't really intend to lower it.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Cholesterol doesn't matter. A study in 2009 of all CAD admissions in the US showed that half had LDL below 100. http://www.ahjonline.com/article/S0002-8703(08)00717-5/abstract

Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:42 PM

Yes, I agree. Paleo can be what works for you in the greater context of paleo-like foods.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:22 PM

How was your veg diet? Meaning, did you consume a bunch of dairy? Not grilling you, just curious.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Doesn't cholesterol matter? I'm not well versed on the Paleo beliefs on cholsterol, but from the other books that I've read, 150 and below (which have often cited the Framington Heart Study as standard) is the number one wants for heart health. I'm around 200 right now. I'm not trying to be a smartass or anything, but still learning about the Paleo way, while trying to solve some physical issues.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on August 23, 2011
at 12:51 PM

Paleo can be a lot of things, tuber based with supplemental animal products, animal product based with supplemental plant food and anything in-between.

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12 Answers

8
Ac74a86b3ed0211ca7b120b53ea6a8c2

on August 23, 2011
at 01:48 PM

I think that a total cholesterol of 200 does not need to be reduced. Low levels of total cholesterol have never been correlated to reduced risk of heart disease or death from a heart attack. However, low cholesterol has been repeatedly shown to coorelate to increased death from cancer and depression (violent death) among other things. link text Here is a really great video to watch that will explain how it is that conventional wisdom came to believe and preach the whole "lower your cholesterol", low fat mantra. Saturated fat is good for you. It is essential to health and well being. Low cholesterol does not necessarily mean optimum health. I'm sure others will chime in with lots of great resources for you.

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:54 PM

Great link, thanks :)

4
Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on August 23, 2011
at 02:38 PM

After being paleo about 6 months, my total cholesterol is 280. But my doctor was ecstatic because it's strongly 'Pattern A' - the large, fluffy, 'good' LDL paleos hope for. She went on and on about it so much I nearly blushed. Thank you, coconut oil, beef tallow and other saturated fats!

From your description, I think the biggest concern would be the digestive issues - and grain products are a likely cause but it might take time to determine what else - some people do poorly on ALL starches because of excessive gut flora for instance, while others are fine. Me, I'm starting to add some fruit back in after a long hiatus, and it feels right. In other words, Your Mileage May Vary!

2
Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

on August 23, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Paleo does not need to be high fat. I am paleo and I combine fish, red meat, vegetables, and so on without being high fat. If you go the very low carb, high fat path your cholesterol numbers will go up . My cholesterol numbers are well below 200. Many on paleo think that cholesterol numbers do not matter, but if you prefer to have low or medium total cholesterol you can choose a paleo version in which you have more vegetables, fruits and fish, same as I do.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 10:17 PM

I would believe that the source of fats would raise or lower the cholesterol. avacados, nuts, lower, meat fat, raise. no?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 23, 2011
at 10:48 PM

I don't know if that question is for me, GS, but I'll answer in my case, anyway: I only eat meat; I've eaten nuts maybe three times in the last two years. So my cholesterol numbers "improved" (according to the conventional wisdom) on meat fat alone.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on August 23, 2011
at 06:28 PM

Hmm -- I don't know about cholesterol numbers going up on VLC/HF. Perhaps short term. My own numbers dropped considerably since eating high fat and extreme LC ("ZC"), including a trig drop to 32 from some unremembered high number (I don't have the old labs, but my insurance premium went up because of that high number years ago; I think it was well over 100, maybe even north of 150).

1
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on August 24, 2011
at 09:52 AM

I have a TC of 363, Trigs 44. I dont consider this optimal. Would like to see it betweeen 200-250. HDL is 112. I am trying to get TC down, i will try to go without butter and see how it changes. Pre paleo TC was 212 which i think is fine.

1
80f4020df787605354f03c6bf64f0841

on August 23, 2011
at 10:45 PM

I have the same concerns about cholesterol. My cholesterol was high before I started Paleo (250 total) and after one year, it's now up to 350. Yikes! My particle size is large and fluffy, and my HDL is very high at 133, so that's good. But I found out that I have high Lp(a) which is bad, and I don't know if that's because of my diet, or if there's another reason. I used to think cholesterol numbers didn't matter, but that was before mine went sky-high. My doctor wants me on niacin, which I tried and didn't like. I would like to modify my diet to get the numbers down, and still be eating Paleo.

By-the-way, my husband's cholesterol numbers got better on a Paleo diet, so there's no predicting how you'll respond.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on August 24, 2011
at 03:41 AM

What's your diet like? High fat? Do you eat dairy?

80f4020df787605354f03c6bf64f0841

(10)

on August 24, 2011
at 04:01 AM

Yes, my diet is high fat. I've been increasing the carbs lately to maintain my weight, and I eat some dairy - goat cheese and butter.

1
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:49 PM

Dietary cholesterol does not have as large of an impact on blood cholesterol as everyone likes to believe. The liver self-regulates, so when dietary cholesterol increases, the cholesterol naturally produced by the body decreases and vice versa.

Total cholesterol is a worthless number, as your LDL, HDL and Tri's are more important. Even vegetarians can have high amounts of bad cholesterol.

Back in December I had a lipid panel done after I'd been on paleo for 4 months.

Total cholesterol: 165 / Trig: 56 / HDL: 63 / LDL: 91

You might also have trouble with sulfuric foods. My friend has a similar problem when she eats meat, eggs and certain vegetables--horrid burps, farts, and a weird burning pain in her esophageal tract.

1
07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:05 PM

Why are you worried about your cholesterol numbers?

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:11 PM

I worried, as my dad had a 'minor' heart attack, that's not what he eventually died of, as well as a family history of the disease.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Cholesterol doesn't matter. A study in 2009 of all CAD admissions in the US showed that half had LDL below 100. http://www.ahjonline.com/article/S0002-8703(08)00717-5/abstract

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 23, 2011
at 04:18 PM

There's only two factors that I worry about in my lab values. TRIG/HDL ratio is one (should be low, lower than 1 is ideal). LDL particle size is the other (Larger is better, and large particle LDL may be protective against CAD, but I have yet to have this measured. The VAP test from Atherolabs does it). My TC has ranged from 230 to 250 over the last few years and I don't really intend to lower it.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Doesn't cholesterol matter? I'm not well versed on the Paleo beliefs on cholsterol, but from the other books that I've read, 150 and below (which have often cited the Framington Heart Study as standard) is the number one wants for heart health. I'm around 200 right now. I'm not trying to be a smartass or anything, but still learning about the Paleo way, while trying to solve some physical issues.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 23, 2011
at 11:01 PM

well it matters however below 150 is not necessarily optimal. You may not get CHD but I believe cancer risks increase. Too much cholesterol is a problem at some point because the longer the LDL hangs out in the blood the more likely it is to be oxidized, and that's when the atherosclerotic plaques form.

0
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 24, 2011
at 03:29 AM

"The evidence is clear and unequivocal: Eating a diet high in cholesterol, does not increase blood levels of cholesterol or the numbers of heart attacks."

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.org.uk/dietary-cholesterol.html

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 23, 2011
at 03:02 PM

Expect that your LDL will go up, since paleo pushes you toward eating saturated fat and red meat. If this alarms you like it alarms me (I have a lot of familial history of stroke and heart disease, and I have more respect for Framingham than Taubes), have your particle size checked. If your LDL is Type B small particle I'd be restrictive about bacon and butter.

And be like Grok. Move a lot. If nothing else it will raise your HDL.

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:34 PM

I thought Framingham showed there isn't a cause/effect relationship between high cholesterol and heart disease?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 23, 2011
at 07:44 PM

Framingham emphasizes raising HDL, lowering blood pressure and has been around for 50 years or so as a large population study. I'm better served using their FREE assessment tools for coronary risk than buying books by a certain belligerent pop science writer. Said writer is dismissive of the importance of exercise. He misses the whole point of paleo IMHO.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 23, 2011
at 02:21 PM

You actually want a high HDL and low VLDL. This is easy with Paleo. Key is removing refined flour from the diet and removing/reducing sugar.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:16 PM

does this allow for fruit? or all sugars, including fruit?

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 23, 2011
at 08:58 PM

You can eat fruit. However berries would be best.

0
Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:42 PM

I had some of the same symptoms before I went paleo, though not nearly as extreme as yours sound.

It takes me about two to three days to get rid of them mostly, and a few more weeks to get rid of them completely.

Also, my cholesterol was stellar both before and after I went paleo, though that's probably due to my young age and good weight/eating habits even before I went paleo.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:15 PM

I keep going back to grains, specificially refined grains. Also, since I have GERD, and was subsequently diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, I'm looking at a reason for the inflammation as well. The more I read, the more I'm suspecting a food allergy for the inflammation, as much as the GERD, as GERD can cause that inflammation too.

0
41e79168f1df5d656b6c4f3fef8c9b46

(630)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:19 PM

I was a vegetarian for 10 years untill this past october. OVerall, as a veg- my cholestrol was low 170ish and good ratio between HDL/LDL. As a paleo, total cholestrol was higher 193, but a significant decrease in LDL and tris. Tris were 52

current numbers total 193 HDL 96 LDL 90 tri 33.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 01:22 PM

How was your veg diet? Meaning, did you consume a bunch of dairy? Not grilling you, just curious.

F304bea43ca3e5193c88fa3973c1eb07

(20)

on August 23, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Did you exercise level increase as you went Paleo? What do you attribute you high HDL number to?

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