Friday, March 2, 2012

Eat Fat To Lower Fat Levels

This guy is a potent analyst, and I enjoyed this reminder of what would be considered a paradox for those steeped in the low fat, high carb diet of the last 30 years:  fat content in your blood increases as you increase the carbohydrate intake in your diet.

Why this happens:
1.  Those eating chronically high levels of carbs lose the ability to process fat as fuel (stores of the requisite enzymes fall within the cells that should be able to burn fat).
2.  Excessive carb intake requires that the liver convert blood glucose into triglycerides (three fatty acids bound together with a type of sugar); these are delivered to VLDL and are shunted around the body in the blood stream.
3.  The liver also turns some of the excess glucose into palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid which some say is a factor in leptin resistance.
4.  In conditions of excess blood glucose, most cells preferentially burn glucose for fuel as a defensive measure - as this glucose is burned off, more can be taken in by the cells, helping to prevent glucose toxicity.

In short, in a person taking in excess sugars, whether that be from bread, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or fruit juice, there's an entire chain of downstream effects that generates fatty acids in the blood and then prevents the body from using those fatty acids for fuel. 

This is why a predictable result of carb restriction, starting at 150g/day and increasing as carbs are restricted further, is decreased levels of fatty acids and triglycerides in the blood.  The lipid profile of high triglycerides, low HDL, and high LDL, is being called the atherogenic profile.  You should expect, following carb restriction, to see triglycerides under 100, HDL greater than 50, and LDL should increase or stay the same (beware - LDL numbers for folks on very low carb diets are not accurate - the cheap way to measure cholesterol involves a formula which does not require measurement of the actual number of LDL particles and their cholesterol.  This formula is inaccurate for those eating low carb).   

This is also why it's neither the cholesterol, nor the lipoproteins carrying them around, that are killing you, per se, and why we can't just manipulate these numbers to improve health.  You can use pharmaceuticals to raise HDL and lower LDL, but that does not make you healthy if you are sick from eating too many carbs.  What makes you healthy is to stop eating too many carbs.  Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit/starch, no sugar/wheat.

1 comment:

  1. "Triglycerides are another type of fatty substance in the blood. They're found in foods such as dairy products, meat and cooking oils. They can also be produced in the body, either by the body’s fat stores or in the liver.

    People who are very overweight, eat a lot of fatty and sugary foods, or drink too much alcohol are more likely to have a high triglyceride level. People with high triglyceride levels have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease than people with lower levels."

    triglycerides level