I started in January, when I wrote this post about diets and habits. I went sugar-free and high-fat. We’re now in October, and I’m still a high-fat lover. I’m down 34 lbs. since January. What’s more, I got on a fancy scale at my doctor’s office and in that time I’ve lost exactly 0 lbs. of muscle. It was pure fat. And, it’s been easy.
WHAT DO YOU EAT?
Sour cream, bacon, butter, ghee, heavy cream, oozy cheese, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, lard loving bliss. “Omg, that’s so unhealthy!” Saturated fat isn’t the devil it’s made out to be. And you know what fat-free means? It means, tons of chemicals and sugar. Fat is unhealthy if you’re consuming it with sugar (think donuts) but I can healthfully enjoy all of these fatty things now without counting.
Hell, no. I never look at calories. To be fair, when I began, I tracked every single morsel to ensure that I was eating 30g of net carbs a day, or less. Net carb? Take the total carbs and subtract the fiber and you’re left with net carbs. I never look at calories.
OKAY, BUT REALLY, WHAT DO YOU EAT?
The other night I devoured chicken thighs smothered in melted cheddar, guacamole, and sour cream. Thighs stuffed with smoked gouda and bacon. BLT “sandwiches” with basil mayonnaise. Granted, the tomato slices were thin, and I went without bread, but I was in mad crazy food love. Out to dinner? I ordered the cheeseburger with bacon, avocado, and mayo—no bun. Caesar salad, no croutons. I feel no deprivation. I just love it! Oh, and bring on the deep fried wings with parmesan garlic sauce.
WHAT ABOUT DESSERT?
When I’m craving sweets, I pour strawberries and blueberries into a saucepan, heat them with Swerve and cook them down into a bursting bowl of berry bliss. Top ’em with fresh cinnamon whipped cream I make in minutes. Holy crap I cannot believe how good life is. I don’t have to suffer! Heavy cream has no carbs. Milk, on the other hand, is a nay.
Habit: I used to look forward to dessert every night, in bed, with our shows. Phil with his Oreo’s dipped in milk. Me with cheesecake. Then I fell in love with Tea and heavy cream. New habit locked in.
SATURATED FAT IS BAD, ISN’T IT?
“All that fat can’t be good for you.” High cholesterol runs in my family. My mother is very active and physically fit. Naturally thin, but she has high cholesterol. Her mother did, too. I was obviously concerned about what this diet would do to my cholesterol given that I eat so much saturated fat! And as it is, I have high cholesterol, and everything you see says to avoid saturated fat! I did some research and learned that a regular lipid profile, standard cholesterol test, doesn’t give you the full story.
PARTICLE SIZE MATTERS
What matters most in terms of predictors of cardiovascular disease, is the overall number of LDL particles (LDL-P) but also the particle size of your cholesterol carriers. That’s right. Size matters, boys. You can have low cholesterol, low “bad cholesterol,” think your cholesterol is normal and still have elevated LDL-P. LDL-P is the number that matters.
Within the LDL-C “bad cholesterol” category, there are nice large buoyant fluffy particles that slip and slide here, there, and everywhere, and then there are the evil, small dense particles which are bad news bears. “Studies show that people whose LDL particles are predominantly small and dense, have a threefold greater risk of coronary heart disease. Furthermore, the large and fluffy type of LDL may be protective.” I needed to know where I stood in the small dense particle world, so I asked my doctor for an NMR test in March.
I’m not a doctor. I don’t play one on TV, not even a nurse in the bedroom. Don’t take my advice without first checking with your doctor. I’m only putting out there what has worked for me. I don’t think most traditional doctors are up to speed on this stuff. So, when my annual comes along, I’m sure to ask for what I want.
WHAT TO ASK FOR WHEN GETTING BLOOD DRAWN
When testing your cholesterol, always ask for the NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) Lipid Profile (LabCorp) or Cardio IQ Lipoprotein Fractionation (Ion Mobility) test (Quest Diagnostics). “Bad cholesterol” numbers don’t tell you the full story. Ask that insulin, not just blood sugar, gets measured. Hemoglobin A1c: Anything over 5.6% is high. Just measuring your fasting blood sugar is not enough to detect early problems. Mine was 5.4% (4.0-5.6 normal).
MY SATURATED FAT CHOLESTEROL STORY
According to my lab (LabCorp), total particle number (LDL-P):
Low < 1000
Moderate 1000 – 1299
Borderline High 1300-1599
Very High > 2000
I’m presently a Madonna song, in the borderline zone, at 1498. It’s not ideal, but neither is being 40 lbs. overweight. My blood results from March to October:
LDL-P went from 2024 –> 1498
LDL-C went from 156 –> 147 (aka “Bad cholesterol” )
HDL-C went from 59 –> 59 (aka “Good cholesterol”)
Triglycerides went from 92 –> 85
NMR Total Cholesterol went from 233 –> 223
HDL-P total went from 28 –> 27.4
Small LDL-P went from 948 –> 369 mol/L These are the dangerous particles!
LP-IR Score below 25
Standard Cholesterol Test
Triglyceride went from 87 –>81
Cholesterol went from 227 –> 213
HDL went from 61 –>60
LDL went from 149 –> 137
Total/HDL Ratio: 3.6
Look at that gorgeous drop in small particles! I did nothing different. I was just dropping weight I guess. I just wanted to share this progress for my dysfunctional dieter record! I can’t believe that all my avocado olive oil eating didn’t raise my “good cholesterol.”
Also, boob apologies. I was totally taking the selfie as a record in eyebrow love.