Sorry for the long and boring medical post, but if you have weight or cholesterol issues, it might be worth a read.
Some of you might have caught on that I have changed my diet over the last two or so months. (About as long as I have been growing my beard!)
During my annual physical two months ago, I was told I need to go back on medication to get my cholesterol in check. I made a deal with the doc. The deal: that I can get my cholesterol down with diet, and if I can prove it, no pills. He told me to eat a low fat and low cholesterol diet and retest in 2 months.
Today, I just got a letter from him:
Dear Mr. Poldervaart,
Please find below the results from your recent visit:
The total cholesterol was 225 – slightly elevated, but getting better. The LDL (“bad”) cholesterol was 153 – slightly elevated, but getting better. The HDL (“good”) cholesterol was 49 – good. The triglycerides were 113 – good. The cholesterol labs were slightly elevated, but are getting better.
I recommend to continue your low cholesterol/fat diet, continue exercise, and recheck labs in 2 months.
So here’s the punch line. I didn’t eat a low cholesterol or low fat diet. In fact, I believe I significantly INCREASED my fat and cholesterol intake. Also, I don’t think I exercised at all during the period. Okay, my wife makes me take a walk with her every so often…but I intentionally avoided “real” exercise. Why? Because I wanted to see how my lab tests would change if I did just one thing: Cut sugar and refined carbohydrates from my diet as much as possible.
That’s all I did. Less sugar, less pasta, less bread, less potatoes. More fat, more meat, more butter, and MORE BACON. Of course, more fruit and vegetables too.
And my numbers, while not perfect, are certainly trending good. In only two months, here are the changes:
- Cholesterol from 260 to 225
- Triglycerides from 133 to 113
- HDL (good) Cholesterol: from 44 to 49
- LDL (bad) Cholesterol: from 189 to 153
- Total Chol/HDL Ratio: from 5.9 to 4.6
Everything that was bad went down, and everything good went up. Another interesting fact? Here are the numbers from when I was taking medication every single day to lower my cholesterol chemically. This is from Sept, 2012:
- Cholesterol: 205
- Triglycerides: 171
- HDL (good) Cholesterol: 42
- LDL (bad) Cholesterol: 129
- Total Chol/HDL Ratio: 4.9
Let’s look at that for a moment. Sure, my total and bad cholesterol was lower back then (taking medication every day), but my triglycerides were through the roof! My good cholesterol was lower than it is now, and my Chol/HDL ratio was worse! I was at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes when I was on medication for 10 years than I am after only two months of trying something new with my diet. Not to mention that I feel much better, more energetic, less cranky, and less groggy. I even think I have lost some body fat, although that’s never been my chief symptom. And I haven’t even started excercising again yet!
So the moral of this long story. It’s not the fat in your diet that is the problem. It’s the sugar. Plain and simple. Cut out that crap first, and you will find everything else fall into place. This is proof that the “low fat diet” isn’t the right answer. At least for me.
That is all.