Unchain my heart...

Anyone who undertakes a Low-Carb/High-Fat eating plan will likely get a lot of questions related to their pending early demise due to heart-attack.   This is a valid question if you undertake the plan half-heartedly and eat lots more fat and continue to eat a high amount of carbs.  If, however, you follow the plan and stay within the food lists of healthy non-processed food, your heart-health will definitely improve. 

In September of 2012, I had my cholesterol tested and it was 229 – A little high for a total number, but my Triglycerides and HDL were good (as was the ratio of HDL to Triglycerides) so my doctor was not concerned – this is how it broke down:

HDL: 66
Triglycerides: 91
LDL: 145

The number most people (and doctors) focus on is the total cholesterol level.  This is a misleading number in that a very high HDL (“good” cholesterol) number will make your overall number higher, even though a higher HDL is supposedly a good thing. 

Ideally your Triglycerides are under 100 and the ratio of Triglycerides to HDL is around 1.  In fact, ratios give the most accurate picture as it ignores the total numbers and focuses on the relationships between the numbers (A great calculator and how to interpret the ratios can be found here )

Here is what my number from above look like when translated to the ratios: 

(click on the chart to see it larger)

Most studies are now zeroing in on triglycerides as the most direct predictor of heart disease.   Triglycerides  are produced when you ingest more calories than you can use immediately - This happens ALL the time when you are eating carbs.  Your body responds to the rush of easy calories by engaging an insulin response and storing the energy in fat cells to be used later.  There is a very direct relationship between how many carbs you ingest and how high your triglyceride levels will be.

I had my cholesterol retested after 3 months on the low-carb/high-fat plan (started in October 2012) – Total Cholesterol down to 217
HDL: 77
Triglycerides: 47
LDL:  130

(click on the chart to see it larger)

My doctor was really pleased with the triglyceride numbers – this very low number sets up a very good ratio with HDL.

I am surprised my LDL didn’t drop more (Although it had only been 3 months) – I need to go get it tested again as it has now been more than a year.   Will get that done soon and update this post with the current state of my coronary affairs!

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