Alright, I just couldn't resist. While I no longer catch a lot of heat for my potato eating ways, there are still a few of the low carb Paleo zealots around. I have in the past reported on my lipid panels, back in 2008 and then again in early 2009, almost two years ago.
Despite the fact that I don't really see cholesterol as any sort of problem to be managed (manage your diet, i.e., eat Real Food, and let the numbers take care of themselves) it is, at least, some measure of confidence that something's amiss in conventional "wisdom," since I ought to have "awful numbers," given the high amount of fat and saturated fat I ingest, albeit mostly all from Real Food sources.
So here's the latest results:
Of course, calculated LDL is bullshit, and especially so when you have low triglycerides. But, the Iranians of all people came up with a better formula for calculating LDL when trigs are low. And so:
Friedewald (1972) Formula: LDL = TC - HDL - TG/5.0 (mg/dL)
Iranian (2008) Formula: LDL = TC/1.19 + TG/1.9 – HDL/1.1 – 38 (mg/dL)
Plugging the numbers into the Iranian formula calculator yields a calculated LDL of 57 mg/dL vs. 91 mg/dL for the Friedewald equation. Well, let's see how it stacks up, because I requested an LDL Direct, where they actually measure LDL instead of calculate it.
So actually, in my case, the Friedewald was actually off by only 9 units, so far closer than the one rendered by the alternative. However, what's important to note is that in my experience for those with low trigs, the Friedewald equation almost always overstates LDL, a very convenient situation for the statin pushers.
Let's take a look at the various ratios. Here they were from March, 2009 (percentages are improvements from the July, 2008 tests).
- Total/HDL = 1.68 (19% improvement; I'm now off the scale)
- HDL/LDL = 2.02 (98% improvement; again off the scale)
- TG/HDL = 0.35 (20% improvement; off the scale)
- Total/HDL = 1.96 (average is 4-6 and ideal is 2-3; still off the scale)
- HDL/LDL = 1.24 (average is .3-.4 and ideal is above .4; off the scale)
- TG/HDL = 0.36 (optimal is <2; off the scale)
And so, I guess those higher carb days, mostly from potatoes are not actually dumping fat into my bloodstream as high triglycerides. 37 mg/dL is pretty dam low. If that's not evidence of an overall low carb diet, I don't know what is.
I have one other issue to discuss and that's alcohol consumption. I'm sure most everyone knows I'm a bit of a boozer. I love my scotch and I tolerate it pretty well. And while I'll go a day or so without, it's pretty much a daily deal for me to ingest a few. And so, I was curious to see what my alanine aminotransferase (ALT) would be.
The alanine aminotransferase (ALT) blood test is typically used to detect liver injury. It is often ordered in conjunction with aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or as part of a liver panel to screen for and/or help diagnose liver disease. AST and ALT are considered to be two of the most important tests to detect liver injury, although ALT is more specific than AST. Sometimes AST is compared directly to ALT and an AST/ALT ratio is calculated. This ratio may be used to distinguish between different causes of liver damage.
The last one I had was in July of 2008, roughly 9 months into pretty clean eating, a year into my working out at the gym, and 6 months into my fasting. I believe my weight was around 210 at the time, down from 235 (I'm now 175ish).
You can click to enlarge, but what you want is 36 U/L or less. Less is better. My test from 2008 was 28, pretty close to the top of the range. I'm now at 16. Here's the graph.
Pretty much cut that enzyme in half. But how can that be? I could see it staying the same, given my boozing ways, but to cut in half?
Here's my speculation: the crap that the "experts" and "authorities" tell you to eat, such as grain products, cereals, much with sugar and in particular, high levels of fructose is, in the final analysis, far worse for you than even heavy alcohol consumption, especially if you drink spirits like I do and not beer and sweet drinks.
Pretty counter intuitive, but I guess I expect nothing less from our Puritanical culture that just has to glorify the stuff really making you fat and damaging your liver while demonizing the stuff that's probably a wash in the context of an otherwise good, Real Food diet that eschews the garbage "foods." Perhaps Dr. Robert Lustig ought to rethink his quote that "fructose is alcohol without the buzz," to something along the lines of fructose and other sugary crap is far worse than alcohol (and still without the buzz).
Still on the subject of alcohol, Martin Berkhan has up a very informative post about alcohol in the context of fat loss and muscle growth.
I do find it interesting that over these two and a half years since first tested, that both my LDL and ALT liver enzymes have dropped. It made me think about Chris Masterjohn's recent post about how elevated LDL on a LC paleo or low-carb diet in general is possibly being caused by your liver clearing out its fat deposits over time.
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