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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cholesterol and My VAP test results.

     So I am way behind on posting this but I wanted to put it out there for anyone who might be doubting this way of eating.  Some of the things you might hear from family or friends, "won't all that fat clog your arteries?" or "surely eating butter, bacon and coconut oil will raise your cholesterol!"  The simple answer is, "NO!".  Well, not like you think anyway.

     If you are a follower of this way of eating ie low-carb high-fat, Paleo, Primal or ketogenic you probably know this already,  but here is a refresher.  Half a century ago, this guy named Ancel Keyes proposed a theory.  It is commonly known as "The Lipid Hypothesis".  He published this study of 22 countries that associated saturated fat with heart disease.  The problem with his study is that it was completely bogus.  It was cherry picked.  He started with 22 countries but many didn't jive with his theory so he just threw out that data.  He only ended up with 7 countries that fit his criteria.  This became known as "The Seven Countries Study" which seemingly showed that there was a strong correlation between serum cholesterol and coronary heart disease mortality.  When this study was repeated by other scientists, including all the countries, the correlation disappeared.

     In 1960, Ancel Keyes was sitting in the American Heart Disease Committee that advised a low-fat diet for those at risk for heart disease.  As we know, things just went down-hill from there.  The public was blasted with advice that has since led to obesity, diabetes, stroke and yes-heart disease!  "Eat a diet low in saturated fat and eat these healthy vegetable oils instead!  Eat plenty of whole grains,  starches, fruit and vegetables!"  We can see how that turned out.   Obesity rates have skyrocketed.  As of 2011, 25.8 million people are diabetic-8.3% of the population!  79 million people are considered, "pre-diabetic". ( Two-thirds of the US adults are overweight or obese.  Heart disease is the NUMBER ONE cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.  today. (  Yeah, this plan worked out great.

        The tide is turning however albeit slowly and painfully.  In the past ten years a myriad of studies have come out showing NO correlation between saturated fat and heart disease.  "Twenty-one studies identified by searching MEDLINE and EMBASE databases and secondary referencing qualified for inclusion in this study. A random-effects model was used to derive composite relative risk estimates for CHD, stroke, and CVD


A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat."  Has this changed the recommendations?  Not so much.  It would be kind of difficult for the experts to just admit, "oh wow, we've been wrong for the last 50 years and gosh we must have killed a lot of people.  Whoops."  

     So back to cholesterol.  When asked about their cholesterol, most people just think about total cholesterol, but this is just a teeny tiny part of the picture.  Did you know that 50% of people who were hospitalized with coronary artery disease had "normal" cholesterol and that 75% of patients who had heart attacks fell within the current guidelines set for LDL?(  Sounds like we're missing something huh?  

     We have "good cholesterol",  "bad cholesterol", triglycerides, VLDL and that's just on a basic lipid profile which is almost certainly all your doctor is testing.  This still is only a small portion of the total picture.  Yes, we want high HDL, "good cholesterol" lower LDL (bad cholesterol) low triglycerides and VLDL but an important factor that most doctors are overlooking is the LDL particle size pattern.  A diet that is low-fat and grain based results in small, hard dense LDL particles or "pattern B" which is harmful-a heart disease risk factor, high triglycerides and VLDL whereas a grain-free, low-carb diet high in saturated fat (think animal fats, butter, coconut oil and dairy fat) results in large buoyant benign LDL particles known as "Pattern A".  Most likely your doctor will say, "your cholesterol is high, lets put you on a statin" or "your LDL is higher than I'd like, lets start a statin" no matter what your LDL pattern is, completely ignoring the fact that if your LDL is pattern A, your LDL is benign, even beneficial.  
 Going beyond LDL particle size patterns we have lipoprotein classes and subclasses.

     A VAP test covers all these.  So why isn't this test routinely done?  I begged and pleaded for my doctor to run one for over 3 years and was always given the same explanation, "it won't change the outcome, there is no point".  There absolutely is a point!  I'm not taking a pill if I don't need to.  Finally, I convinced him to run it.  

     So enough of the explanations.  Here are my results:

     As you can see they are awesome!!!  My HDL (good cholesterol) is 93.  They want it above 40.  I'd like to see a grain eater with an HDL that high!  My LDL is 119.  Some would consider this on the high side but if you look down to Real-LDL size pattern, my LDL is Pattern A!!!  Large, buoyant fluffy LDL, the good kind.  My triglycerides are nice and low at 44, my VLDL is 13, my APO B 100 is 82, 11 and my real LDL C is 101.  LPA is 11, HDL-2 is 35, HDL-3 is 58, VLDL-3 is 7.  My total cholesterol to HDL ratio (preferably under 5) is 2.42- VERY LOW CARDIOVASCULAR RISK!!!  My triglycerides/HDL ratio is 0.69 (preferably under 4, ideally under 2).  

     These numbers are terrific!  If I had only had a basic cholesterol test however, a doctor would say, "oh my, your total cholesterol is 225!  That is high and you need to be put on a statin immediately!  This is why the VAP test is so important.   So many people are needlessly taking cholesterol medication.  The other major point here is that I obtained these awesome cholesterol numbers by following a very high fat (80% mainly saturated) low carb meal plan!  I am not clogging my arteries!  Here is the proof.

1 comment: said...

Hi Allison,

Healthline recently put together an infograph showcasing heart disease statistics and facts to help someone understand their risk for a heart attack or other heart-related issues. You can see the infograhic here:

I am writing to you to see if you can help spread awareness about heart disease by sharing this with your followers or including it as a resource on your page:

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Warm regards,
Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

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