This is my last cholesterol special and a few more of your questions
Here are your questions answered in this episode:
- I have been LCHF for three months, and am putting on weight around buttocks and stomach. What is going wrong?
- Will the book Bring Back the Fat help with insulin, candida and weight gain?
- I can’t tolerate milk, cream or a lot of cheese and am a non-medicated diabetic, is this way of life doable for me?
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Welcome back to my last cholesterol special.
Previously I mentioned that we generally don’t look at total cholesterol unless it is too low; it is not a good marker for predicting heart health. The best indicators of heart health are a good (high) level of HDL and low triglycerides (under 1.0), or 88 for those in the US.
When we have low trigs and high HDL then it is an indicator that our LDL particles are large and fluffy (not small and dense, which is a risk factor).
Most people who go LCHF find that their trigs will drop and their HDL will rise, which is exactly what we want.
Now, what if our trigs haven’t dropped on LCHF?
Then it is worth testing insulin, because it is when the insulin drops that we tend to see the biggest change. High insulin will keep trigs elevated and HDL low.
If you haven’t seen my other videos on insulin, you can ask your doctor to test insulin by asking for a fasting, serum, insulin test. It is essential with that test that it is done fasting, and done before 8 am. And, that you don’t skip dinner the night before. If you fast for too long before the test, the insulin can come down temporarily while you are fasting, and is not a good indication of actual insulin levels.
But there are also a few other things worth knowing about triglycerides. If stop cholesterol lowering medication, all cholesterol will come up temporarily to make up for the shortfall, including trigs. If we have been on a very low fat diet, particularly vegan or low-fat vegetarian diets, the same will happen. In these cases, it is generally best to wait and see how it levels out.
The other thing to remember that cholesterol rises when there is something to heal, and triglycerides can do the same. Infectious diseases are often followed by high triglycerides; the endotoxins (toxic bacterial products from the infection) are bound by triglycerides, and transported to the liver for elimination.
Just remember this triglycerides are not bad. Why do we like to see them low? Because it is an indication that there is no issue. Chronically elevated triglycerides indicates something else in the body that is causing damage; inflammation or something else that is likely to increase risk for heart disease. The triglycerides come up to try to heal the damage; they are not causing the issue.
The other thing is that triglycerides always come up after food, so a fasting test is a MUST. I am constantly surprised how many people have been sent for cholesterol tests and the doctor has not specified fasting. Whenever I see someone with a high triglyceride reading, and their test hasn’t been fasting, I send them for a new test.
And, like I also mentioned previously, just like other cholesterol tests, triglycerides can be variable and are affected by many factors, so whenever we see a result we are not expecting, it is best to have another test.
Location: Qld, Australia
I have been on the LCHF plan for over 3 months and am putting on weight around buttocks and stomach. I have 2 scrambled eggs cooked with cream, onion, capsicum and spinach. Also a large mushroom (at least palm of hand size cooked in butter and I have a couple of slices of cheddar cheese also for breakfast. Sometimes I have a couple of pieces of bacon too but can;t eat 3 eggs so far. I don’t feel like much lunch so I have three quarters of a cup of full fat greek yog with 4 tablespoons pure cream, 1tbsp coconut flakes, 1 scoop protein powder and 1/4 cup berries. Dinner is protein (meat, chicken with skin, pork etc and green veggies with butter. Later at night I have a mug of tea and 3 small squares of ‘Well Naturally’ dark choc (no sugar, made with Stevia). I have a round 3 glasses of bubbles on the weekend. I feel I am probably not eating enough fat but am not sure. Can’t believe I am putting on weight.
It is not actually unusual to put on weight at the beginning of this process as the body recovers from starvation stress; it is normally just temporary though and tends to sort itself out if we keep focused on healing the body.
However, there are a few things you could probably adjust that may well improve the weight gain.
For example, dairy can be a culprit for many people; if you try eliminating it (except butter) and it makes a difference, then you may need to have less of it. It would be better to have 3 eggs in the morning, but take out the cream and cheese (which is very filling and might be a reason you can’t eat three eggs).
Also, it is best to avoid soy and erythritol, which are in the Well Naturally chocolate. Erythritol can affect our digestion, and good digestion is imperative for weight loss.
The three glasses of bubbly can also be a factor. In the clinic, most of the time when someone isn’t losing, they are drinking on the weekends or on some evenings.
During the initial three months, it is best to avoid alcohol because when we drink, our body has to stop burning fat to process the alcohol. The bubbly also has quite a high sugar content.
I hope that helps
Location: Qld Australia
Will the book ‘Bring back the fat’ tell me all I need to know re candida, insulin weight gain solutions etc, as i lost 2.5 kg first 2 weeks then put on weight and Candida out of control and no fat burning! Many thanks Catriona.
Yes, actually, Bring Back the Fat is perfect for that, the diet recommended in it is great for lowing insulin and dealing with Candida, and also for burning fat. Sometimes we don’t get the carbs low enough to burn fat or to deal with candida. A strict keto diet is best for that, along with taking coconut oil, which is antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. It kills yeast. It is best to take at least a tablespoon a day, two if possible. I mix my coconut oil into yoghurt with a whisk until completely smooth because I don’t like taking on a spoon. And, I don’t taste the coconut oil.
Location: Qld Australia
I have tried doing LCHF before and found that I could not tolerate Milk, cream or a lot of cheese. I am also a non medicated diabetic with fluctuating blood sugar levels that swings between high and low. I have high Blood pressure also non medicated because i am sensitive to meds and chemicals so I would appreciate any adivice on these areas in conjunction with LCHF as im keen to sort all these issues out once and fo all. I have fish and seafood allergies and am intolerant of cauli and Brocolli. Do you think this way of life is doable for me.
One of the great things about LCHF is that if it is done right, it can be very healing for the gut, which can improve allergies. I used to have over 20 allergies, but I healed my gut and was able to get rid of all of them. I did that by taking a tsp of glutamine every morning, which helps heal the gut, and also staying away from irritants like grain, seeds etc.
Many people with allergies will not tolerate dairy because of the issues with the gut, so it often helps with that too, but it is best to stay away from all dairy except butter while the gut heals.
The keto version of LCHF is also what we recommend for our patients who are trying to manage their diabetes naturally; it works really well to bring insulin and blood sugar down.
Have you had an insulin test? We always recommend an insulin test at the beginning so we can see what we need to work with. Insulin should be between 3 and 5 mU/L.
We also like to see fasting blood sugar at around 4.7 mmol/L (or at least less than 5.0).
The best way to do that is to go keto (very low carb, under about 20 g per day), no fasting (it spikes blood sugar and insulin).
If you want really detailed instructions on how to do this, it might be worth considering the 12 week program; it is the exact diet to do all of the above, and includes the recommendations for healing the gut etc.