Friday, November 12, 2010

Myth: Cholesterol in diet causes heart disease.

Fact: Dietary cholesterol has no linkage to the cholesterol in Blood.
Cholesterol in blood closely tracks the carbohydrates in the diet, but not the cholesterol.
Fact: Cholesterol has little to do with heart disease.

Carbohydrates in diet that cannot be used directly for storage as glycogen or as fuel immediately, is converted to saturated fatty acids. These fat particles are then joined together with a glycerol phosphate molecule to create a triglyceride molecule.

The triglyceride molecules are shipped to the fat cells (adipose tissue) in VLDL particles. VLDL particles become LDL particles after delivering the triglycerides. Such LDL particles are small and dense. On a low carb high saturated fat diet the LDL particles become large and fluffy.

The Cholesterol particles are created on demand by the liver depending on the amount of triglycerides produced. The liver will use the cholesterol obtained from diet and will create the balance.

Any extra cholesterol from the diet will be broken down into its constituents and will be used for fuel, as these are basically fat and protein.

The best way to reduce LDL cholesterol is to reduce carbohydrates in the diet or fast. Both will have the same result of reducing carbs in the diet. It doesn't matter whether you are eating cholesterol or not.

Cholesterol does not have any bearing on heart disease. It is just an indication of your diet. There is the case of small dense LDL cholesterol, which does have a bearing on heart disease. But it does not cause heart disease, but it can make it worse.

The LDL particle's membrane is made up of Omega6 poly unsaturated fatty acids, which have a tendency to go rancid. The small sized LDL particles can get trapped into the arteries if it is not in a good condition. The trapped LDL particles stay too long and get rancid. This causes the white blood cells to come to eat them which get stuck with them. Eventually this starts the plaque. Incidently the plaque need not be made up of calcium. That is another issue.

The arteries get bad due to several reasons. A couple of them are that there is not enough copper or if you get a bacterial infection. The bacterial infections is enough to cause the plaque by itself.

Calcium deposition generally happens if Vitamin K2 is missing or in inadequate quantity.

Strokes happen if you get blood clots in the arteries, and they get stuck in a place where the artery has heavy plaque. The reason why blood clots in arteries is O6:O3 imbalance. That is one of the reasons why high omega6 oils must be avoided. This includes all vegetable oils except coconut oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and possibly mustard oil.

Cholesterol levels can become high in blood if Liver is not controlling the level of cholesterol in blood. This can be duet to several reasons. There is familial hypercholestramia, which is a genetic condition. Then there is liver cancer. It could possibly happen due to liver cirrhosis, which is just a fancy name for scarred liver. The liver gets scarred due to too much sugar or alcohol.

I hope this article helps people understand what would help in case of Heart Disease. At least low fat diets will make the problem worse.


  1. Anand,
    In your previous post you have mentioned that you have cured (improved?) your metabolic imbalance and insulin resistance. Congratulations! However, I am really interested in finding out how you concluded that you have achieved the above? Do you have any numbers/ other data for before and after? Could you elaborate on your eating habits and your experience?

    As you know first hand, it is difficult to get people in India to eat in a paleo way..particularly the paleo way advocated here int he western hemisphere. There are religious as well as practical obstacles to eating meat for every meal. Besides I do not think that it is necessarily optimal for a person of Indian/asian heritage to eat that way. Defintion of paleo should differ according to geographical are your paleolithic ancestors thrived in.

    Long story short, I am really interested in understanding all the changes your made- what worked for you - what did not etc and share it with my family.

  2. What data could I provide. I wasn't very sick to begin with. I was fat, with the obligatory Fatty Liver and reduced Liver function. These got cured. Now the visceral fat is not detectable by Ultrasound. I still have a lot of subcutaneous fat, and some intra-muscular fat, but these are not life threatening.

    I will always be susceptible to metabolic imbalance. But I can say that I don't have them now. That does not mean that I can start eating junk and will not get it back again.

    I am not very strict with my diet. My wife is vegetarian, who is still not completely on board with the concept, although she is changing slowly. Living together requires that I bend somewhat.

    I do not follow a strict paleo diet, which is not possible on a mostly vegetarian diet. I do eat some meat with organs now regularly, and avoid grains/legumes (not strictly though). I do eat rice fairly regularly, as in once a week. Most days I will also have Dosa/Uttapam.

    I don't advocate a paleo way advocated by low carb paleo proponents. It is not very balanced. I believe that a lot of vegetables are required in the diet, including potatoes. We did evolve on starchy tubers for at least a million years.

    I don't believe that there is a lot of difference between humans from different parts of the world. At least not genetically. There are epigenetic differences that we should take into consideration.

    I think the major issues that we get from epigenetic differences, are related to susceptibility of different issues to a bad diet. I believe that epigenetic traits do get forwarded to children.

    This is why we see diabetes getting transferred to children. The tissues involved in diabetes, get the same susceptibility. This is the same for me. Diabetes has been there in my family from both my father and my mothers side. Even obesity is pretty common. I do need to restrict my diet carefully to remain healthy.

    Some people do not feel well on eating very low carb, that I believe is due to the health of the adrenal gland. Adrenal gland is supposed to handle low carb diet, by providing sufficient cortisol for converting protein to glucose. Many people have inherited under performing adrenals, possibly including me. I also have trouble going very low carb.

  3. OK now for what changes I have done specifically.
    Remember these changes are based on my wife's acceptability.

    I don't eat breakfast. I do 16 hour fast everyday.

    I prepare some goat meat during the weekends, some of which I will have everyday during lunch.

    Lunch is mainly fruits, vegetable (that my wife makes), and the meat.

    Dinner is whatever my wife is eating. We normally eat Dosa/Appam/Uttapam, with some vegetable. Sometimes I will just eat vegetables.

    My wife will sometimes eat eggs, but she needs bread with it. I don't know why. But I understand that not everybody can eat everything.

    She is still addicted to the wheat. And will sometimes make rotis to pamper her addiction.

    We have got rid of refined oils completely and use only ghee in everything we make.

    We have reduced use of sugar drastically.

    I do weight training. And have started yoga recently. I get bored with running or any type of cardio activity. I should add something for endurance as well. I do like to walk a lot.

    Do tell me what are your impediments, and what are you doing.

  4. One more thing. Potatoes are an increasing part of my wife's diet. She does not like too many green vegetables. So the selection of vegetables becomes less. Also we try to include cheese/paneer as much as possible. She also tries to eat yogurt (curd) everyday.