T Nation

Cholesterol - What Gives?

So I’ve recently lost a significant amount of weight, eating red meat, eggs, bacon, and dairy products. Everyone around me seems to think that I’m some sort of death wish and I’m on my way to a heart attack. People are always saying that my cholesterol is going to go through the roof, and I don’t really know what to think. I don’t eat as much as many on these boards, and certainly don’t get as much cholesterol as those on low-carb and carb-cycling diets.

My question is, should I even care about cholesterol? The more I read about it, the more mysterious it seems. What real health risk does high cholesterol pose? Does my diet change my levels significantly at all? I keep finding extremely contradictory information. I just want to make sure that I’m not killing myself or anything. Any insight from those with more experience would be appreciated.

Use the search engine. There have been lots of posts about it.

The short answer is no, you don’t have to worry about it. Keep eating your meats, eggs, nuts, fruits and veggies and limit your sugars, starches etc.

However, I would suggest you examine the quality of your meat and eggs, because the lipid profiles in the meat do matter (such as the nearly 1:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in grass-fed beef).

You should ALWAYS care about your cholesterol levels.

But I’ve read a number of RECENT articles about how dietary cholesterol from food has very little effect on blood (serum) cholesterol. I think some people are just stuck in the past and aren’t willing to accept anything besides what they’re used to believe.

I say if you’re eating those food in moderation with enough exercise, then you needn’t worried too much. If you’re that worried though, just get a blood test. I’m willingly to bet your cholesterol level is lower than those ignorant fucks who say otherwise.

As just stated, dietary cholesterol has very little effect on serum cholesterol. It is saturated fat that raises LDL. But saturated fat is still not the scourge some think it is. We need some to regulate hormone function. Dr. Berardi recommends 1/3 of your fat intake to be saturated. And 1/3 poly and 1/3 mono unsaturated. Both these unsaturates, particularly Omega 3s, have positive effects on cholesterol.

[quote]bobo86 wrote:
You should ALWAYS care about your cholesterol levels.

[/quote]

That’s true. It has been shown that low cholesterol levels are correlated with higher all-cause mortality (including heart disease, cancer, and stroke).

i had high cholesterol, after going on a low carb high meat diet i dropped it to 137, that was mainly bacon and eggs for breakfast, then chicken or steak for dinner, i think just losing weight has helped it alot

What others have said seems to be true - diet will probably not play a significant role in raising blood cholesterol levels. But beyond that, have you gotten your cholesterol levels checked recently? I ask because if you did, then you would know if it is high or not, and could judge whether you, personally, are affected by a high-cholesterol diet. You’ll probably find that your levels are just fine.

Thanks for the insight, everybody. I did search the topic before posting, but failed to find accurate, specific information.

I haven’t had my blood checked recently, but what I eat now isn’t drastically different from what I’ve eaten before, macronutrient-wise. I’ve never had a previous cholesterol problem.

Regarding the types of fat, I think that I eat a decent variety of foods, but what do you all recommended to keep my fats balanced? I take fish oil capsules, and eat a can of tuna daily. Do I need to increase omega-3s? I’m not currently eating an ungodly amount of food, as I’m recovering from injury, and not training at 100%.

Oh pfffff… if you’re already taking fish oil, you’re all game, set, and match! Fish oil has been shown to reduce high cholesterol quite significantly.

But get a blood test just to make sure.

[quote]MeinHerzBrennt wrote:
What others have said seems to be true - diet will probably not play a significant role in raising blood cholesterol levels.
[/quote]

WHAT???

I think you mean dietary cholesterol intake will not significantly affect levels very much.

Overall diet, balance of fats, low carbs, will all significantly affect ones cholesterol levels.

Of course I would always be a ‘bit’ concerned about cholesterol levels - certainly enough to get regular blood work, even if it’s once every 5 years. Whatever you diet and exercise routine, you could naturally/genetically have very high cholesterol, and that’s not too good.

[quote]Dirty_Bulk wrote:

Regarding the types of fat, I think that I eat a decent variety of foods, but what do you all recommended to keep my fats balanced? I take fish oil capsules, and eat a can of tuna daily. Do I need to increase omega-3s? I’m not currently eating an ungodly amount of food, as I’m recovering from injury, and not training at 100%.[/quote]

I would suggest dropping the can of tuna and eating canned (wild) salmon instead. The reason is two fold. Much more Omega-3 in salmon, and you ar eliminating a lot of murcury that is contained in tuna. Some canned salmon is expensive, like Sockeye, but the best deal in canned salmon I can find is a brand called “Demming’s”. It’s wild Alaska Salmon in a 14oz? can and it’s under 2 dollars. A whole can contains around 90 grams of protein and is loaded with Omega-3’s.

cueball

all of this discussion is really just fumbling around in the dark unless you get tested regularly. everyone is different…my brother and i are a year apart and we pretty much eat the same stuff which includes regular eggs, milk, beef, butter etc. the first time we got ours checked mine was optimal but he had some work to do.

the only difference in our diets was sugar. i didn’t eat any but he used a good amount daily…in coffee, cokes, pastry, ice cream, m&ms or whatever. anyway when he cut sugar out of his diet completely, otherwise eating the same stuff, his cholesterol came around. but that’s him and me. everyone is different and you’ll never know until you check.

there’s an excellent article here:
http://www.lammd.com/A3R_brief_in_doc_format/Cholesterol.cfm