There is a lot of talk about cholesterol and managing cholesterol particle counts. Mostly what we hear is how important it is to cardiovascular health in keeping cholesterol counts low. When given a cardiovascular risk assessment by the medical field, cholesterol particle counts weigh heavy in this calculation. If cholesterol counts go above a certain marker it increases your cardiovascular risk score. Between what we are told in doctor’s offices and the constant pharmaceutical ads, we’re led to believe that cholesterol has no benefits to the body whatsoever. But, when you look at biochemistry, there is a different story told about cholesterol.
So, what is the mantra from the mainstream inteligencia when trying to control cholesterol? They say stay away from foods that are not low in cholesterol and keep a low fat diet. The problem with this advice is that 80% of the cholesterol in our body is produced by the liver and other cells. The remaining 20% comes from our diet. As well, when we consume less cholesterol, the body produces more, and vice versa. Why does this happen? This happens because cholesterol is a very important molecule necessary for optimal health. Cholesterol is necessary in balancing hormones and is needed by the body to make all our sex hormones. Cholesterol is necessary for absorbing and utilizing vitamin D properly. Bile salts made by the liver require cholesterol and these bile salts are critical to the digestive process. Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant and is vital for proper brain function. Cholesterol is critical in repairing damaged cells and is why cholesterol levels naturally rise as we age.
We do have certain cholesterol molecules and particles that we want more of over the other. We hear a lot about LDL cholesterol being the bad cholesterol but this is not entirely true. We have large particle LDL which are not harmful and we have small dense particle LDL which can potentially be harmful but only when it is oxidized. We also have our HDL cholesterol which is known as the good cholesterol. What’s really good about the HDL is that it protects the small dense particle LDL from oxidizing. When we have proper amounts of HDL and there is very little oxidation going on with the LDL, then the LDL travels back into the liver and gets broken down to be recycled again. In this scenario there is nothing harmful about LDL to our body.
We can massively affect the proper balance of these different classes of cholesterol in our body but it is not through the cholesterol or fat we consume in our diet rather it is through the carbohydrates we consume in our diet. Carbohydrates will change our cholesterol counts because of what carbohydrates do to our insulin levels. High insulin levels have a big effect on our liver and will change the way our liver produces cholesterol. High insulin levels will drive higher LDL counts and will drive lower HDL counts. High insulin levels cause inflammation which will cause the oxidation of the small dense particle LDLs that are responsible for plaque buildup in the arterial walls.
Because high insulin levels, caused by too much carbohydrate consumption, is the enemy when it comes to dyslipidemia, (abnormal concentration of cholesterol molecules in the blood), we always see big improvement in cholesterol counts with our Protein Pantry dieters. We see increases in HDL and decreases in LDLs as well as decreases in inflammatory markers with the dieter’s blood panel. We knock the carbohydrate consumption way down, make sure our dieters consume certain fats and the great results follow.
Sources: The Fat Emperor: Insulin Versus Cholesterol, Ivor Cummins
Fat For Fuel; Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D.