In most Western countries, the Friedewald formula is used to calculate LDL levels. Because measuring the LDL directly is time consuming and requires more expensive equipment, for years, labs have been using this equation:
LDL= [total cholesterol] – HDL – [Triglycerides/5]
The total cholesterol, HDL and triglyceride measurements are used to calculate the LDL. The problem is, the equation doesn’t always work. Pathologists know it doesn’t work when triglycerides are high, but studies have shown that it also doesn’t work when triglycerides are low. One of the pleasant side-effects of being on a low-carb diet is that our triglycerides will drop. If you get your cholesterol checked, it may look like you have elevated LDL, and the doctor might read you the riot act or suggest ‘treatment’. But, if your triglycerides are low, your LDL reading on your test will be incorrect.
You can ask the doctor for a direct LDL test, which solves the problem. But, a new formula has been developed that is much more accurate for calculating LDL levels when your triglycerides are less than 1.0 mmol/L (100 md/dL). Thanks to this calculator, you can figure out accurate LDL levels yourself. I had my LDL checked directly, and the calculator was spot on with its result.
Simply enter your total cholesterol, your HDL, and your triglycerides, and you will get a much more accurate calculation.
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Note: The calculator measures both mmol/L (Australia/New Zealand/UK), and md/DL (U.S.). Click the link at the top to change to the alternate measurement.