How does dietary cholesterol affect your cholesterol levels?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by fuzzybabybunny, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. fuzzybabybunny

    fuzzybabybunny Moderator<br>Digital & Video Cameras
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,191
    Likes Received:
    8
    Being on a Paleo diet, I eat a lot of whole eggs every day and I'm also particularly fond of shellfish. What's the consensus on how dietary cholesterol effects your LDL and HDL levels?
     
  2. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    It doesn't, unless you're part of the 30% of the general population that is cholesterol sensitive.
     
  3. fuzzybabybunny

    fuzzybabybunny Moderator<br>Digital & Video Cameras
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,191
    Likes Received:
    8
    Oh wow, so if I'm not cholesterol sensitive I can eat like 8 eggs a day and a ton of shellfish and have no worries? How do I tell if I'm cholesterol sensitive? Get bloodwork now, then eat tons of high cholesterol foods and go get blodwork again?
     
  4. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    To a certain degree, yes. Essentially what happens is that, as you eat more cholesterol, your body reduces its normal production of that. I'm unsure of the amount the human body produces at the moment, but I believe, if you really tried, you could out-eat your typical cholesterol synthesis. Don't be a glutton, but you also don't have to be afraid of cholesterol, if you're not cholesterol sensitive.

    Essentially, that's the way you check it. The Paleo diet does have links with higher total cholesterol and LDL though, regardless of cholesterol consumption. It encourages above average saturated fat consumption and, if especially if you're not eating free-range/grass-fed meats, it will affect your lipid panel negatively many times.
     
  5. Mr. Pedantic

    Mr. Pedantic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    5,040
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am fairly certain that de novo synthesis of cholesterol can entirely suffice for general purposes - don't quote me on this, however.

    What SociallyChallenge posted is good information. At the risk of having what I am about to say taken in the wrong context and for the wrong agenda, just a high LDL does not mean very much. Cardiovascular risk is contributed to by a number of different factors including blood pressure, smoking, diet, and weight status, exercise, total lipid, total cholesterol, etc. Obviously a high LDL is not good, but nor is it necessarily all that bad, if everything else in your bloods are normal.
     
  6. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    Right, but with a Paleo diet, triglycerides tend to be up, HDL to total cholesterol ratio tend to be down, etc. Essentially, I'm saying the Paleo diet isn't optimal for having healthy cholesterol values overall. However, if the OP eats fewer animal fats (focus on leaner meats like chicken, fish, lean beef, etc), then the Paleo diet can be quite good for you.
     
  7. fuzzybabybunny

    fuzzybabybunny Moderator<br>Digital & Video Cameras
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,191
    Likes Received:
    8

    I'll give it a go. I know that the Paleo diet has some caveats - whatever meats they had at the time were fine for paleolithic people because all the meat they had was wild and generally leaner and had better fats. Modern farmed animals don't have that - they are super fatty with bad fats, bad colesterols, etc. I think I read somewhere that modern industrially farmed cattle, if not slaughtered, would all die soon afterwards from heart disease... so we're all eating a bunch of obese cows with heart disease unless they're grass fed and stuff.
     
  8. spamsk8r

    spamsk8r Golden Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,787
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not sure this is fully true. From the research I've read triglyceride levels tend to be more linked to carbohydrate intake versus saturated fat. Also, most testimonials I've seen from Paleo people (usually Crossfitters) show much improved blood panels, with drastically reduced LDLs (although not much info on VLDL or particle size) and increased HDLs over a standard American diet, along with improved triglycerides. That said, other factors such as weight loss can influence these factors independently of diet, to some extent. I think worrying too much about animal fats is a bit overblown, but I also think quality matters in the long run. Get quality pastured eggs, pastured dairy, grass-fed or pastured meats, etc. whenever possible, and if your meat isn't high quality then limit the fat intake (more due to n-6 PUFAs than anything else).
     
  9. Mr. Pedantic

    Mr. Pedantic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    5,040
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a few questions, I hope you don't mind if I quote all over your post.

    I thought this depended on the type of carbohydrate - complex carbohydrates high in fiber versus HFCS or sucrose?

    What do you mean by a standard american diet? Because that brings to mind this sort of thing:

    [​IMG]

    Not exactly super beneficial to LDLs and HDLs, I'm sure you'll agree. Whereas my parents and grandparents are traditional asian-type and very focused on balance in diet, and we often go several days without eating meat, and eat more fresh vegetables in a single meal than many of my friends go through in a week. Yet until a few years ago I thought my diet was very 'typical' and that everyone everywhere ate roughly what I did.

    I agree. Quality of food matters, but I think refined sugars have a much greater impact on health than having a moderately high fat intake.
     
    #9 Mr. Pedantic, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  10. eits

    eits Lifer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    25,203
    Likes Received:
    2
    to an extent, this... i guess the only thing i've gotta add is that you've gotta be doing heavy lifting if you're gonna eat like that. you can't have a sedentary lifestyle and expect it not to affect your cholesterol.

    personally, i think that cholesterol meds are ruining health left and right. it messes with hormone balances, liver function, and stresses the body big time, causing rampant inflammation systematically.
     
    #10 eits, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  11. eits

    eits Lifer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    25,203
    Likes Received:
    2
    lots of heavy lifting and exercise will decrease triglycerides and increase hdl levels. animal fats are not the problem when it comes to cholesterol... it's the sugars and simple carbs.

    eating only lean proteins, if you're working out hardcore, will not provide you with enough cholesterol levels to boost/maintain necessary hgh and testosterone for the level of activity being done. you need to moderate how much exercise is being done through heavy lifting with how much fats are included in the diet. if you don't do much, you should stick to lean protein... if you lift heavy and sprint on a daily basis, then a relatively higher animal fat content is helpful.
     
  12. eits

    eits Lifer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    25,203
    Likes Received:
    2
    this.
     
  13. Zen0

    Zen0 Senior member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    980
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is steak considered lean beef? I love steak :)
     
  14. eits

    eits Lifer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    25,203
    Likes Received:
    2
    filet, sirloin, and flank = lean

    anything else = no
     
  15. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've read about and spoken with 10+ individuals who have completed a Paleo challenge (and gotten a lipid profile) and most of their "negative" values went up - LDL, triglycerides, LDL to HDL ratio, etc. I understand that exercise does modify this, but only to a certain degree. Aerobic exercise acts on this most predominantly and CF tends to be less aerobic than, let's say, distance running. A distance runner could get away with eating more animal fat than a CFer. On top of that, most of these individuals were at a healthy body weight and body fat percentage. They were just trying to optimize their recovery.

    Actually, I haven't read one online CF posting where the individual's lipid panel improved... and I hang out on the CF forums a lot.
     
  16. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    Actually, weightlifting has a lot lower effect on cholesterol than aerobic exercise. Weightlifting acts moreso on insulin sensitivity than anything.
     
  17. eits

    eits Lifer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    25,203
    Likes Received:
    2
    i think i'm gonna have to disagree with you, sir. but it's all good :) we're still friends
     
  18. Zen0

    Zen0 Senior member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    980
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sirloin Steak, Filet Mignon and Flank Steak then?
     
  19. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    I didn't say it doesn't do good things, but it does less so than aerobic exercise :p
     
  20. eits

    eits Lifer

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    25,203
    Likes Received:
    2
    yup
     
  21. spamsk8r

    spamsk8r Golden Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,787
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd be willing to bet that the levels were still within the healthy range, though. I'm mostly referring to people who lost appreciable fat mass through a Paleo/Primal diet, so like I said that's something to take into account. To the OP I would say get your levels tested, do the diet for 6-8 weeks, then get re-tested and see how it goes. I wouldn't be concerned with any fluctuations within the healthy range, to be honest, as long as they weren't on the borderline of unhealthy (although a lot of this is theoretical anyway, as what is a truly healthy cholesterol/triglyceride measurement for one person may not apply (with regards to mortality) to another, based on race and other genetic factors, but I digress).
     
  22. destrekor

    destrekor Lifer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,511
    Likes Received:
    49
    Have they not tried to boost their Omega-3 and in general polyunsaturated fatty acid intake? ALA or EPA (18- and 20-carbon Omega-3) both should be consumed daily. It's actually fairly difficult to get a ton of the stuff daily, and a gelcap of it will provide roughly 1g between a few different Omega-3 fatty acids, typically only EPA and DHA (20- and 22-carbon). If one is going to focus on Omega-3 consumption, it's best to go with ALA, because the body can at least partially synthesize the longer-chain fatty acids using the shortest base... but it's otherwise incapable of any natural synthesis. ALA is more commonly plant related, and flax seed is really the best source. Flax seed oil is a good way to add it to various dishes or nutritional concoctions. For example, it works well in a smoothie with strawberries, banana, yogurt, and protein powder.
    Due to the quality (or lack thereof) of readily-available meat, and the cost of free-range meat, most often a good fat and protein-based diet needs to include various nuts as a daily snack, and other fatty acid cheats like fish oil and flax. That's my approach at least, based on costs and resources readily available. That, and I dislike anything related to seafood. There's an underlying taste common to everything of the sea, and I find that basic flavor disgusting. Blackened mahi-mahi has been the only seafood dish I've actually enjoyed. :)
     
  23. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    Most of the CF individuals supplement heavily with fish oil so yes, they're getting plenty of omega-3s. And what you're saying has no basis in research. ALA is poorly converted into the useful constituents that reduce inflammation, promote good lipid skews, improve neural function, etc. We don't synthesize the enzymes to convert them into useful biochemical agents. The most useful are DHA and EPA because we can convert them into useful compounds. If you look at the research, flax seed oil is much less effective than fish oil.
     
  24. SociallyChallenged

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    10,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nearly every result I've seen, the cholesterol total has been over 220-230 and the LDL has been 130+, both over recommended levels. The issue with saying "If your HDL is high, you're fine," is that you have a compensatory increase in HDL to return the excessive amount of triglycerides, fats, etc that are brought out into the body by LDLs. It's not a good thing - it's a pathological thing in that case.
     
  25. dmw16

    dmw16 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2000
    Messages:
    7,613
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a great thread. I CrossFit and eat paleo and my friend who is about to graduate from pharmacy school was insisting I can't be healthy eating 3 eggs a day.

    The trouble with people who go to school for such things is sometimes they think their way is the only way and the medication is always the answer for everyone. (end rant)