An interesting phenomenon seems to occur every year around this time, and after much self-analysis and reflection I have come to a most likely causation of this phenomenon: I love food. And it appears I love it enough to possibly eat to much, which may explain why I need a new belt for Christmas. That being said, I thought to implement a plan to counter my well-earned plumpness, and so I decided to increase my fitness routine along with the Ketogenic “diet”.
To those unaware, the Keto plan is high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate. I mentioned this to a few of my patients and friends and some of the responses I got back shook me up a bit. “Don’t you know what that will do to your cholesterol levels?”, “that diet is so hard on your kidneys”, and many other comments from my well-meaning friends. Because we could take up this entire journal debating the pros and cons of the hundreds of “diets” circulating around out there, just know I am confident and comfortable with the Ketogenic diet, for me, and we can leave it at that. What I can’t leave alone are the outdated and incorrect misconceptions regarding cholesterol, fats, carbohydrates and how they affect your health and longevity.
With over 25% of the U.S. population on cholesterol lowering statin drugs and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke climbing every year, the truth needs to be told. There continue to be individuals and/or organizations even today which push the low-fat, high carb diet as a means to lose weight. If you are seeking obesity, type II Diabetes, cholesterol abnormalities and metabolic syndrome as your long-term goal, then by all means, low-fat-high carb it is.
The next few statements may startle some, and will most likely aggravate some, but my hopes are that they will awaken others to stay up to date on the current research as it pertains to your health.
Statement #1– Dietary cholesterol has almost zero influence on your blood cholesterol levels.
Statement #2– Total cholesterol levels in the blood have almost zero influence on cardiovascular disease(CVD) and/or stroke.
Statement #3– Saturated fat (butter, meats, bacon, etc.) intake has no effect on CVD. Now that I have dropped that bomb, lets dig a little deeper into the realities of those statements.
75% of your bodies cholesterol is produced by your liver, with the remaining 25% arriving via your food intake. Increasing your intake of healthy fats raises the levels of good HDL cholesterol and decreases the level of triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol, which are the true markers for CVD, not total cholesterol as many people believe. Processed carbohydrates, grains and sugars along with polyunsaturated fats (soybean oil, corn oil and sunflower oil to name a few) release cytokines into the system which in turn creates an aggressive inflammatory reaction within the vessels. It is this chronic inflammation which causes the scarring and subsequent narrowing of the blood vessels.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) has Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios somewhere between 15:1 and 30:1, when a healthy ratio is close to 3:1. Switching over to healthy oils such as avocado, olive and coconut in addition to adding grass fed butter and meats would bring us much closer to a healthy ratio. Please don’t be sucked into the old school thinking that fat makes you fat. Eating the wrong fats in combination with dumping your system with too much Insulin, as a result of excessive bad carbs, is what contributes to fat gain. Next month I will tie this in with the current research on statin medications and the pros and cons as they relate to your health as well as specific research articles relating to todays discussion. I pray you all had a blessed year and that 2018 is better yet.
Dr. Derek K. Albrecht D.C. is a partner at OsteoStrong in Murrieta as well as continuing in his private practice. For more information, call (951) 461-9584.