Back in December I received some troubling news regarding my latest lipids panel. I’d been concerned about it for years, and have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. After about 6 months on a ketogenic diet my lipids were a bit out of control. Of course, the ketogenic diet did exactly what it is designed to do…I lost body fat…30 pounds of it in fact. In retrospect I could have managed the diet a bit better to ensure that I was eating cleaner fat sources, but I was really excited about the weightloss and didn’t pay too much attention to my source intakes to maintain a good ketosis-generating fat ratio. I was pretty draconian in my application of the diet, but wasn’t very picky with where my fat sources came from. Not all fats are created equal.
So, when I decided to stop my adherence to the diet, I also looked for recommendations on how to lower my cholesterol levels…primarily my LDL, or so called ‘bad cholesterol.’ My primary care provider had a recommendation for me. That was, a Red Yeast Rice Extract (RYR) Powder supplement. I also used a Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10) supplement after doing some of my own research. After another 3 months of being a little more careful with my diet, and disciplined use of those reportedly effective supplements for lowering cholesterol, I was back down to a normal level with a low LDL. My HDL was still classified as ‘high,’ but of course, that is the ‘good’ cholesterol. Again, I’m no nutritionist, dietitian, or doctor so what worked for me may not work for you in the end.
So, what are the normal ranges? A pretty good resource can be found here: Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know. The American Heart Association also has a great breakdown of how to prevent and treat high cholesterol. One of the popular medical avenues are prescriptions for statins. I, however, chose to focus my energy and effort on changing my diet habits. My will power was enough to change my diet to keto for weight-loss, so I leveraged the same will power for changing it to a heart-healthy method to getting my lipids back within normal range (without meds).
I’ll still be keeping tabs on my lipids panel every 3 months or so. I’ve been doing that very thing over the last 5 years. Some results are better than others, but the results do always seem to go with the ebb and flow of my diet. I hope that my description of my experience with keto and cholesterol is of some value.