In my previous post, I wrote about a recent study which compared the effects of a very low-carbohydrate, high-saturated-fat diet with a low-fat diet to evaluate long-term weight loss over a one-year period. The outcome of the study was that the low-carb group lost more weight and had greater decreases in triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, which is all good. But they also increased their LDL cholesterol.
According to everything we’ve read and heard, an increase in LDL is not so great because LDL is, supposedly, the bad stuff that clogs arteries and causes heart disease. But it turns out that this is not the case.
In a recent post Dr. Eades discusses the same study and dispels this myth. First Dr. Eades points out that “numerous studies have shown that whenever subjects go on low-carb diets, they end up increasing the size of their LDL particles.” He goes on to state that “large, fluffy LDL particles are not only harmless, but may be protective. If they are protective, what’s wrong with having a bit more of them?”
The second point he makes is that LDL is hard to measure. So the number you see on your lab report is calculated using the William Friedewald equation. And here’s where it gets interesting. It’s well-known that if your triglycerides are over 400 mg/dl the equation doesn’t work, which is noted on the lab report.
But what is less well-known is that the same holds true if your triglycerides are under 100 mg/dl… the equation is no longer valid and your LDL should be measured.
I know that my triglycerides are well under 100mg/dl. And I’ll bet that the same is true for many of the readers of this blog.
So if you’ve been eating low-carb and your triglycerides are under 100mg/dl, the next time you have your blood work done, have your LDL measured and not calculated. And have the size of the LDL particles tested, as well.
Then the next time someone tries to tell you that the low-carb diet is not good for your health you can inform them that: Not only is a low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight. It will also improve your health and longevity!