Rapid Weight Loss & (Temporarily?) Raised Cholesterol

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  • posted by Romano-Gat
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    Hi all,

    I wanted to find out if anyone else has experienced raised cholesterol after a stint of rapid weight loss, what we think might be causing it and what can be done to get cholesterol levels down without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Over a 12 week period I dropped from 91kg to 70kg, 107cm to 85cm waist and 33.8% to 19% body-fat. Even managed to add a bit of muscle during that period as I combined it with regular cardio and resitance sessions. Feeling really good inside and out, body and mind.

    Except… my cholesterol levels went up to 8.8 mmol/L of which HDL was 1.7 and non-HDL was 7.1 The doctor described this as “exceptionally high” which is of course a great worry. I was flummoxed by this as – looking back through MyFitnessPal – my saturated fat content was well below the RDA and I was including a good amount of things like avocado and some nuts. I had also been regulalry training, had completely cut out alcohol and had dramatically reduced my weight – all of which, i kept reading everywhere, where factors that should *reduce* cholesterol.

    Prior to this my total cholesterol ranged in the 5-7 mmol/L rangel which is still outside of the recommened <5 mmol/L range. Even so, it doesn’t explain the spike especially in the context of me (unwittingly) doing many of the major things you it turns out you are advised to do to lower cholesterol.

    Then I came across a few links (https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/weight-loss-can-raise-ldl-etc.125560/ ; https://www.livestrong.com/article/500114-can-losing-weight-raise-your-cholesterol-temporarily/ ; https://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/06/i-lost-weight-and-my-cholesterol-went-up/ ) which hypothesised that rapid weight loss means that fat cells breaking down and being dispersed into the blood system. Hence the – temporarily – elevated cholesterol levels.

    This makes sense to me and I hope is what has happened in my case. My questions to the forum are as follows:

    (1) Has anyone had any similar experiences? Would love to hear your stories…

    (2) Does anyone have any reference points to scientific studies I can show to my doctor? I need him to reflect on my medical notes that it is a temporary issue (if that is what it is) as this will otherwise affect my application to join the army.

    (3) Even if this is a temporary spike for the reasons speculated above, what pro-active measures have people taken. On the basis of HeartUK’s advice (https://www.heartuk.org.uk/ultimate-cholesterol-lowering-plan/uclp-step-1 and also see https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1gwkvHnPHRTlTQgzNrTrndx/the-big-cholesterol-busting-experiment ) I am now including the following daily:

    • 1 x benecol with meal
    • 2 x large glasses of soya millk (500ml)
    • 2 x tbsp of oat-bran (mixed in with the above, warmed up, tastes a bit like ovaltine)
    • 1 x handful of mixed nuts

    Thanks in advance.

  • posted by mistyb
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    Hi Romano-Gat,
    I have been lurking in these forums since 21st January and following all the advice, but this is my first post! I have lost just over two stone and had my first diabetic clinic since starting BSD last week. My Blood Sugar has gone from 68 to 48, so I’ve gone from diabetic to pre diabetic but obviously I want to nail it completely and put it into remission. HOWEVER, my cholesterol reading had gone from 7 to 9 (sorry forgot to get the breakdown) which from the diabetic nurse’s reaction was not good. Luckily, I had read some articles and printed them out, but forgot to bring them with me. I did try to explain, but she looked a bit dubious and suggested I cut out cheese…….. From what I’ve read, once your weight stabilises ie you reach your target and stop losing weight your cholesterol should come down as well – that’s what I’m hoping anyway otherwise I’ll be fending off statins prescriptions. I tried them once with horrendous side effects several years ago. I think the article was in the Take A Look At This thread. Sorry I can’t be of more specific help, but I’m sure someone else will come along with more knowledge than me. Meanwhile I’m just riding the wave of disapproval from my diabetic nurse!! Although she did acknowledge my BS reading was excellent.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Forget about using gimmicky foods like Benecol or cholesterol lowering margerines. They do work but claim to reduce chol by 5%, if your chol is 9 that is a reduction of 0.45 so you would be down to 8.55 and the reduction is not cumulative i.e. you dont keep reducing. Are you using good oils (not vegetable oils) like Olive Oil and rapeseed oil, I use those for making salad dressings and rapeseed for cooking. Only use full fat products like full fat Greek yoghurt, no fruit yoghurts as one contains the sugar equivalent of 10 chocolate digestives. Also, do not use soya milk, it contains plant sterols which have female hormone (estrogen) and also stop the oat bran and use real oats but not too often as it is a carb and high in calories. Around 25g oats is enough for a breakfast serving with some Greek yoghurt and nuts and seeds (just a sprinkling) and maybe some berries. Use things like butter and full fat cheese, but again sparingly.

    I know it is a lot to take in and the message is confusing, I am just trying to point out where I can see you are going wrong so you can change things up a bit. My cholesterol was out of control for years at around 8.0 with a statin dose of 60mg. On moving to France my doctor reduced statins to 40mg as 60mg is not allowed here. After 3 months on the diet my cholesterol was down to 6.6 and continued to fall every time I was tested. Because I told my doctor I was eating good fats he insisted on testing me every 3 months along with my diabetes tests and every time it got lower. I am now on 10mg of statins (simply as a precaution as diabetics are prone to stroke etc) and my total cholesterol is 4.2. I know it goes against everything we have been conditioned to believe but it does work.

  • posted by Firefox7275
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    Consider the balance of different fatty acids in your diet.

    Oily fish and certain seeds (chia, ground linseeds) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which we in the West need to eat much more of. UK healthy eating guidelines are for up to four servings of oily fish each week.

    Many nuts are rich in omega-6 fatty acids which we in the West need to eat much eat less of (also in most cooking/ vegetable oils, processed foods, grains). It has long been known that the balance of omega-3s to omega-6s in the diet is key for health, including blood lipids.

    Olive oil, avocados and a few nuts (almonds/ macadamia) are rich in monounsaturates. These are widely considered heart healthy.

    Animal fats (meat/ dairy/ eggs) vary somewhat in their fatty acid composition depending on how the animal is raised. They contain saturates, monounsaturates and variable amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s. Avoid any intensively-reared animals, or those fed a corn-based or wheat-based diet. Ideally organically reared chickens and dairy animals (cows/ sheep/ goats) that spend as many days grazing outdoors as possible.

    Central and Southern European/ Mediterranean sheep and cattle tend to be grazed outdoors much more than in the UK and the ‘upper half’ of Europe. This is down to the climate and traditional farming methods. Some PDO/ DPO traditional cheeses, Prosciutto air-dried ham (not others) and certain other EU-protected foods have to be made using animals that are grazed in specific regions.

    Eat much more foods rich in soluble fibre: chia seeds, ground or cracked linseeds, pot barley, oat groats or steel cut oats, beans, lentils, oat bran. Not porridge oats or instant oats which are processed, lose quite a bit of the fibre, and are not great for blood glucose levels.

    Please do run all this by your family doctor, practice nurse or dietician.

  • posted by Firefox7275
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    Thought I might comment on the word ‘temporarily’ with my own recent anecdote.

    Over the last few days I scoffed at an entire 200g pack of spicy cashew nuts, and also ate far less vegetables. I have not had any sugary foods, grains, junk food, alcohol at all BTW.

    Been bloated which is a gut issue and possibly a salt issue! Today a patch of eczema/ dermatitis really flaring, which reminded me of a random rough dry patch on my forehead a couple of days ago ….

    I suspect the two are linked. A large intake of omega-6s (inflammatory) from the cashews over a few days. I have long known regular intake of omega-3s (anti inflammatory) help clear my eczema/ dermatitis.

    If it is the cashews, I am surprised it seems to be showing on the surface of my skin so quickly! Not blood lipids of course, but suggests that imbalanced fatty acids can cause problems in a short period of time.

    HTH!

  • posted by mistyb
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    Thank you, that is very helpful. I had been taking Omega 3, 6 & 9 supplement which I am going to bin in favour of just 3! Also a huge container of chia /linseeds is staring at me from the cupboard which I’m now going to use for my yoghurt. I have already cut out all nuts apart from almonds – I have macadamia but they take a huge chunk of the calorie allowance. Thanks again.

  • posted by alliecat
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    Hi there misty, and WELCOME! Western diets have a very unhealthy balance of omega 3 to omega 6, as much as 1:15,
    and the diets that humans ate during the development of our species was more on the ratio of 1:1! Correcting that ratio,
    depending on whether one’s concerns are cardiovascular, cancer preventative or focused on autoimmune diseases can
    greatly reduce mortality rates from such common Western maladies. I don’t use supplements myself, because unless you
    can find very high quality capsules, they can go rancid very quickly. I do rely on bumping up our omega 3 with wild caught
    salmon and other fish, as well as seeds. Wild salmon is the gold standard though, not plant based sources. Th link below
    to research done at the National Institutes of Health (USA) might be interesting to you:

    https://www.ncbi.nih.gov/pubmed/12442901

  • posted by sixturkeys
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    Obviously during the development of our species, it didn’t smoke…But fish and seeds are undoubtedly a very positive component.

  • posted by Jennie10
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    Hi Romano – Gat and mistyb
    I was just browsing and came across this – missed it at the time. It might be too late to help, but I thought I’d add in that my cholesterol did exactly as you describe, mistyb.

    I started BSD when I was diagnosed with Type II. At that point my cholesterol was high. After rapidly losing most of my weight my cholesterol was higher again leading to the statins conversation. (I decided not to take them).
    Next time my cholesterol was taken (after I was at a lower stable weight), it had dropped to a chunk below the original reading. Sorry, can’t remember the figures off the top of my head but I know my Trigs, HDL and LDL were all improved and the ratios (which some experts think are the key things now) were all perfect.
    Jennie xx

  • posted by Patricia1066
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    Yet another similar story, I started this WOE six months ago with prediabetes and high LDL levels. My six months check up showed LDL is 4.5 which is comfortably within the normal range. The hba1c is also lower in the normal range.

    It seems that within 6 months the cholesterol levels settle down into the healthy range when part of a reduced calorie diet.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Sounds like he is getting himself about V.

  • posted by Verano
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    Hi s-g. How are you doing? I can’t quite believe how the nature of the forums had changed over recent months. Rather a pity really. Good to see you are still around.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Hi V, I look in from time to time but found I was posting the same old story over and over. You know, lost a bit, gained a bit, my BG today was etc. I mainly look in for any diabetics struggling but there are so many good people on here who are more than capable of looking after newbie diabetics that I dont often say anything. I am still on BSD, I am losing weight after my last trip back to the UK (lost 3.5lbs last week – my first week back) and still have good BG control.

    Don’t worry, I will keep on keeping on…

  • posted by Verano
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    Hi s-g glad things are going well. As long as we keep the ‘faith’ we’ll keep our BG in the right zone … and that’s what it’s all about for us …. the rest is a bonus. Take care.

  • posted by Scottishgal
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    Good to see you back on the forum SG. I’ve certainly missed you. Your posts were never boring. Us diabetics have to stick together. My weight fluctuates but bg is still staying relatively low, thankfully.

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