I see lots of questions in the various communities regarding the safety of a ketogenic diet. One frequent concern is about what this diet will do to one’s cholesterol numbers. Because of these questions, I recently went through my EMR data and pulled my last few years of cholesterol tests and decided to chart the trends before and after starting a ketogenic diet. Here are the results:
The further to the left you get from the vertical pink line, the more carbs I was eating in my diet. At some point between March 15, 2011 and July 2011, I started eating lowish carb as described by Dr. Gott in his book, Dr. Gott’s No Flour, No Sugar Diet. And then, I switched over to a strict low carb ketogenic diet consisting of less than of 20g of carbohydrates a day.
Other health complications include: endocrine issues including hypothyroidism and low testosterone.
I used the American Heart Association’s guidance to assess my most recent numbers:
- Current Total Cholesterol: 165 (Under 200 is desirable.)
- Current HDL: 47 (Under 40 for men is considered a risk factor. Over 60 for men is considered protective. )
- Current LDL: 102 (Less than 100 is considered optimal.)
- Current Triglycerides: 78 (Less than 100 is considered optimal.)
I’m lazy, so I used Hugh Chou’s excellent cholesterol ratios calculator.
- Current Total Cholesterol / HDL = 3.5 (Under 5.0 is preferred. Under 3.5 is good)
- Current HDL / LDL = 0.461 (Over 0.3 is preferred. Over 0.4 is ideal)
- Current Triglycerides / HDL = 1.702 (Under 4.0 is preferred. Under 2 is ideal).
These are standard lipid panels. If you really wanted to understand what was going on with my cholesterol, you’d likely want an NMR test. Look for more information on that in my post, A Better Cholesterol Test: Ask For It By Name Wherever Wellness Is Served. Also, if you are concerned about cholesterol, listen to Dr. Thomas Dayspring’s Interview with Jimmy Moore in Ask The Low Carb Experts.