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High LDL cholesterol - Doctor suggests olive oil instead of butter. What does anyone think?

Commented on November 08, 2013
Created November 07, 2013 at 8:54 AM

My doctor (UK) is not pushinhg statins but is concerned. I don't want to change my diet drastically but I am happy to show willing if it will help. She is advocating the 'mediterranean diet' and I think olive oil instead of butter may even be more paleo. Any ideas?

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 08, 2013
at 05:24 PM

Mea culpa. I inferred that since Paleo gurus avoid recommending chicken fat, all fat from fowl was shunned.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on November 08, 2013
at 07:22 AM

Thanks. I'll have a look at Peter Attia's series.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 08, 2013
at 04:25 AM

So I guess might as well toss out Kresser's advice jake?

http://chriskresser.com/5-fats-you-should-be-cooking-with-but-may-not-be

You're trying to portray duck fat as some kind of poison? What you're talking about regarding inflammation MIGHT be relevant to someone with rheumatoid arthritis.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 07, 2013
at 08:58 PM

Fat type matters a lot. The fat from all fowl is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, especially the dark meat. Eating a concentrated dose of duck fat will contribute to systemic inflammation.

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8 Answers

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 08, 2013
at 11:50 AM

Your doctor's information is a couple of decades out of date. Doesn't mean he's a bad doctor, just means the updated info just hasn't reached him yet.

That said, olive oil - the real stuff (try to find one that's certified, so it's not cut with canola), if you can get it, is wonderful for salads. It's just not good for cooking however. Instead, you'd use butter, ghee, lard (from animals), palm oil, or coconut oil.

If you're using a real butter, such as Kerrygold, you're doing yourself a huge favor. The butyrate is very beneficial to gut flora as well as our brains.

Be careful, the "whipped" butter stuff isn't always butter, and may have nasty additives, plus by whipping they mix in air to increase the volume and sell you less actual butter.

The other thing you need to known, is that in general LDL is not created by saturated fats, but rather by carbs, and LDL in most tests isn't an actually measured value, rather, there's a flawed formula they use to estimate it. Even then, there's multiple types of LDL, and it's only the small dense type that's a risk.

see this series:

http://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on November 08, 2013
at 02:04 AM

Olive oil is probably better than CAFO butter. But it is worse than grass fed butter.

0
A7c1857ce53fb11a9351d05718c7070d

(283)

on November 08, 2013
at 12:10 AM

I would suggest reading Grain Brain. Great description in there about higher cholesterol being protective against all cause mortality and neurodegenerative diseases. It also notes that there is no true link between high cholesterol (as it is standardly measured) and heart disease.

Also, I would check out Peter Attia's blog and his series "The Straight Dope on Cholesterol", it's long a boring but very informative. A link to each post in his series is listed here, along with other information and links. It's about half way down the post. Basically the gist is that LDL particle number (LDL-P) is the cholesterol test that is best correlated with heart disease risk. This is not the standard test that is ordered in a blood lipid panel from your doc. Maybe ask her if she is willing to order an LDL-P test for you, it's nice when a member of the medical community is willing to discuss and work with you. However, I would suggest that you read Peter's cholesterol series first, and maybe send it to her also.

Just a thought, hope it helps.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on November 08, 2013
at 07:22 AM

Thanks. I'll have a look at Peter Attia's series.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 07, 2013
at 07:04 PM

I think an N=1 study would help you. If you are currently eating a high % fat paleo diet, the med diet will lower your fat consumption. It's in the range of 35% dietary fat, 50% carbs, 15% protein. So if you don't increase the amount of food you eat overall the fat calories will go down. You could try it for a couple months and see if it affects your LDL, and if not go back to your original plan.

I don't think fat type matters as much as fat quantity but it's easy enough to find out. If you want to use an animal fat which is closer to olive oil, you could trade duck fat for butter.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 08, 2013
at 04:25 AM

So I guess might as well toss out Kresser's advice jake?

http://chriskresser.com/5-fats-you-should-be-cooking-with-but-may-not-be

You're trying to portray duck fat as some kind of poison? What you're talking about regarding inflammation MIGHT be relevant to someone with rheumatoid arthritis.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 08, 2013
at 05:24 PM

Mea culpa. I inferred that since Paleo gurus avoid recommending chicken fat, all fat from fowl was shunned.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 07, 2013
at 08:58 PM

Fat type matters a lot. The fat from all fowl is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, especially the dark meat. Eating a concentrated dose of duck fat will contribute to systemic inflammation.

0
7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on November 07, 2013
at 06:02 PM

Thank you for your messages. I am pretty sure that my cholesterol numbers are not a problem and I am only prepared to do something if it won't do any harm. However, I am going to stay with this doctor so I want to show willing! After all, she has to do what the NHS tell her. I'll try the coconut oil. I have read the book before and I agree that it's a great read.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on November 07, 2013
at 04:30 PM

I think you should read this and bring the copy to your doctor. I chose a fellow UK doc for you.

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 07, 2013
at 02:40 PM

In general, I think that's good advise. Butter starts to look better the closer you get to extremely low carb diets in active people.

Lately I'm curious what people's daily kcal is and their ratio of fat-protein-carbs. If you're in the low-fat, high-carb, high-cal territory, olive oil is probably a better bet than saturated fats. (Although, who knows.)

If you're in ketosis right now and you're trying to decide whether to drink more olive oil or more butter, I can't quite make up my mind which way to go with it.

You could try each with blood testing and report the results.

0
Medium avatar

on November 07, 2013
at 02:20 PM

First thing to know is that the capacity of an oil to alter blood lipids does tell you nothing about its effect on overall health. PUFA-rich oils such as canola, lineseed, sunflower and soy oil lower your LDL cholesterol but lead to a higher overall mortality. Hence, one should give up thinking in "will x/y lower/heighten my blood cholesterol", it makes no sense.

Olive oil is healthier than PUFA-rich oils such as canola, sunflower and soy, but no evidence indicates that it is healthier than butter. It doesn't really lower your LDL cholesterol.

If you want to lower your LDL cholesterol a little bit, switch from butter to coconut oil, as coconut oil leads to less elevation of LDL cholesterol than butter. But don't forget that the whole higher/lower cholesterol premise when it comes to choosing the right oil makes not much sense.

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