1

votes

is cholesterol that irrelevant?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 09, 2011 at 1:14 AM

In a previous discussion on cholesterol, some answered that "high (total) cholesterol does not cause heart disease, it is only a symptom of inflammation or something going bad inside your arteries and blood vessels". This view takes some to say that "you do not need to choose a diet that lowers you total cholesterol, or even your LDL since cholesterol is not the problem, but the ambulance that comes to solve the problem". OK I will not debate this view (neither will I support it) since I do not consider myself that much scientifically wise. Nevertheless, I do have two concerns that show me that this view may be wrong: First most hunter gatherer societies that are still around do show very low levels of total cholesterol, in the order of 150"In a paper called "Diet of Aboriginal hunter-gatherers" Kerin O'Dea (5) reveals that traditionally fed Aborigines had cholesterol concentrations of about 3.9 mmol/l (about 150 mg/dL vs. 210 mg/dL for an average American) # Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (1991), Diet of Aboriginal hunter-gatherers, K. O'Dea, p. 74 ". Also, there is the question of consistency: if "cholesterol is just the ambulance" and you follow a diet that lowers your cholesterol numbers perhaps it is because your diet is creating an improved environment in your body, that does not need to create that much cholesterol, or "send that many ambulances" any more. In other words EVEN under that rejection of the lipid hypothesis (that cholesterol "causes" heart disease) it seems sensible to reduce your cholesterol or ldl levels, because they are markers of cardiocirculatory illness. And I am not suggesting statins at all (that I do not take) just saying there is a point in following a diet that requires "less ambulances i.e. keeps your tot chol and ldl levels down". My questions: how do you make sense of the high cholesterol numbers usual on the low carb paleo diet as opposed to the very low chol. numbers of hunter gatherers AND whether you agree that EVEN if cholesterol/ldl is not the cause of cardiac problems, it might be a relevant signal, that we should better keep it under control.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 08, 2012
at 09:29 AM

Well then just take the traditional veiw if you wish that its the LDL/HDL ratio (+trigs). Your trigs will be automatically low if you dont do sugar, and _if_ your like me, paleo will lower your LDL into the health range where a mostly carb diet made it out of range. If not, sat fats raise HDL and LDL, so you should still have a good ratio. If not, do what you wish about it.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 08, 2012
at 08:40 AM

My TC is 139 mg/dL, does that mean that I'm officially a caveman?

D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

(543)

on March 09, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Cordain addresses this issue to a degree (not in depth) however, and I'm not nearly as well versed as some here tend to be. I have read about the size of particles influencing LDL, Cordain suggests a more cautious approach restricting intake from 6-12 per wk, and that they might be better cooked in aa slower way - avoiding the frying method and mentioning that HG's were not likely to come across such abundance and they were likely to be "seasonal"- as an older person that advice makes sense esp. not knowing the damage already done in my arteries!:)

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:59 AM

just in case I am talking about the levels of tot. chol, ldl and hdl in our blood, not the consumption of food that contain cholesterol whose effect on blood cholesterol is just marginal

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:48 AM

of coursewe live differently but still with an urban modern life you can manage to have lower ldl or tot chol levels if you are so inclined, now that may imply a diet that is not that low carb. Say a paleo with many veggies and some fruits...

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:46 AM

well perhaps some of the answers I received on a previous question were very informative, which does not mean I need to agree that high ldl is good per se...

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:45 AM

I understand this, but still high ldl as a rule (except for cases of family hypecholesterolemia which is something else) do not seem convenient to me

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:43 AM

also this is not so much about how much cholesterol you eat, but about how high your tot.chol and ldl are, as a result of your diet

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:42 AM

Dana I do not say that cholesterol is bad my point is perhaps high total cholesterol and high ldl is bad, at least as a SIGNAL of problems, even if they are not the cause of cardiovascular problems...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 09, 2011
at 01:38 AM

As Chris Masterjohn's girlfriend, I can report that he has two posts on exactly this subject coming up in the next two weeks.

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6 Answers

3
263e2d3f741d1ecb0886454e977f4e6f

on March 09, 2011
at 02:44 AM

My intake of cholesterol is high, yet I don't have high cholesterol. This is in part due to the fact that I do vigorous exercise. Some might be genetics. The truth is, you really have to do what works best for you and your body. I do know one thing, avoid things that have oxidized cholesterol. From my research that is one form that is not good for your body. Just spend a day googleing.

D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

(543)

on March 09, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Cordain addresses this issue to a degree (not in depth) however, and I'm not nearly as well versed as some here tend to be. I have read about the size of particles influencing LDL, Cordain suggests a more cautious approach restricting intake from 6-12 per wk, and that they might be better cooked in aa slower way - avoiding the frying method and mentioning that HG's were not likely to come across such abundance and they were likely to be "seasonal"- as an older person that advice makes sense esp. not knowing the damage already done in my arteries!:)

3
F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:00 AM

If cholesterol were that evil, every cell in our bodies wouldn't make it. And it's clearly not a waste substance, so the other option is that it's necessary to the body. Animals don't suffuse their entire bodies with poison the way plants sometimes do. When an animal makes something that is specifically a poison, it stores it in a special organ for that purpose--which is why we can eat rattlesnake even though its venom can kill a full-grown man.

You think all the information you're providing is contradictory but I wonder if it is. If we argue that cholesterol is used as a repair substance in the body, and if we argue that hunter-gatherers eat a diet that is healthy for them, can we not also argue that a HG's total cholesterol is lower than that of a person in an industrial culture because the latter eats an unhealthy diet and lives in a manner that is otherwise unhealthy? Whereas the HG lives in a generally healthy way and has much less damage to fix internally? You don't see a bunch of ambulances running the roads with lights and sirens going if there isn't anybody to go pick up in the first place.

If you don't want to eat cholesterol, don't eat cholesterol. Not that eating cholesterol has a whole lot to do with your serum cholesterol anyway. Even cholesterol-phobes admit that most of the cholesterol in our bodies was made there from other substances; dietary cholesterol accounts for maybe 15% or so of our total serum amount.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:42 AM

Dana I do not say that cholesterol is bad my point is perhaps high total cholesterol and high ldl is bad, at least as a SIGNAL of problems, even if they are not the cause of cardiovascular problems...

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:43 AM

also this is not so much about how much cholesterol you eat, but about how high your tot.chol and ldl are, as a result of your diet

2
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on March 09, 2011
at 01:32 AM

This link to cholesterol at Chris Krisser's blog pretty much says it all.

http://thehealthyskeptic.org/i-have-high-cholesterol-and-i-dont-care

You can worry about high cholesterol if you want but it is a non starter in the paleo community because most of us understand that TC is not the problem...The real problem is the size of the LDL particles and a paleo diet of meat and fat and low carb changes the composition of the blood from the athroscopic small dense particles to the large bouyant particles that do no harm as they circulate throughout the vascular system.

The small dense particles irritate the vascular system and cause inflammation and then the body lays down plaque to heal the irritations and if this is done over and over during a lifetime, eventually the plaque will build up enough to choke off blood flow to the heart muscle and voila...a heart attack.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:45 AM

I understand this, but still high ldl as a rule (except for cases of family hypecholesterolemia which is something else) do not seem convenient to me

1
Ede6029838b9d17195c84bab64a5d88d

(181)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:12 AM

The question is did those traditionally fed Aborigines live in the cities breathing polluted air, spend most of their time inside home or office, bothered themselves with daily activities such as getting and paying utility bills, mortgages, car loans, re-newing countless memberships, taking garbage bags/bins in and out, vacuuming, filling up gas tanks, going through spam e-mail and other nonsense?

Sometimes I desire to trade city life for hunting and gathering somewhere under tropical sun. Maybe my cholesterol would be the same as theirs?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:48 AM

of coursewe live differently but still with an urban modern life you can manage to have lower ldl or tot chol levels if you are so inclined, now that may imply a diet that is not that low carb. Say a paleo with many veggies and some fruits...

0
77310f6f5e03afaad68b60c4cebb6bbe

on October 08, 2012
at 08:37 AM

Blood "cholsterol" tests do not measure cholesterol. They measure lipoproteins which are a completely unrelated class of compounds.

-1
6e48af15748832350d745f2c2810abbd

on March 09, 2011
at 01:16 AM

How many different ways can this thread be created?

I doubt anyone is going to give you an answer that is going to satisfy you and stop this question from being asked repeatedly here and on every other paleo forum.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on March 09, 2011
at 02:46 AM

well perhaps some of the answers I received on a previous question were very informative, which does not mean I need to agree that high ldl is good per se...

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