LDL paradox: Hi, last September (2018)I... - Cholesterol Support

Cholesterol Support
8,611 members2,472 posts

LDL paradox


Hi, last September (2018)I went on a plant/fish diet, dropping milk/meat/eggs to try to reduce my cholesterol, which was at that time:

- TC: 209 HDL: 54 TG: 71 LDL: 138

Last week, after four months on PF diet, I was expecting TC to drop to about 180, and here's what I got-- LDL went up 20 pts!

- TC: 232 HDL: 56 TG: 77 LDL: 158

I'm 64 yo, very active, non-smoker, BMI 23, not on any supplements, nor have been. I read one study that said higher carbs raise VLDL and thus LDL. So could it be that by eating legumes (higher carbs) actually raised my LDL?

13 Replies

Welcome timotur! Are you still eating sugar??? I use very little animal protein and I eat a lot of legumes. My cholesterol is good.. I don’t know how except pills, if diet and exersize don’t work.. Although APC is not great .. You have caught at stage #3.. this is big time in your favor.. Don’t give up on diet .....you’re going to be around for some time.. live healthy and find joy in life every single day.. peace to you.....stay in the boat and keep rowing....🌵Scott...

in reply to Whimpy-p

Lulu, thanks very much for the encouragement.... yes, I think my sugar intake has gone up due to eating pomegranate and other fruits, but I normally don't eat sweets except for a little chocolate now and then. I'm guessing the higher LDL is either the increase in carbs from eating beans or the increase in saturated fats from eating lots of nuts.

I've always had borderline high cholesterol around 200, but my TC/HDL ratio has been in the 3.5-4.0 range, so I didn't worry about it until I found out I had PCa. Then, I drastically changed, dropping meat/eggs/milk in favor of vegan/fish only to see LDL go up 20 points. So ironic, that changing two things that favor lower LDL actually increased it...! I guess that supports the idea that dietary cholesterol has low influence on serum cholesterol within bounds.

Now, I think I will test for LDL-P and see what my risk is for heart disease. Also, I'm going to start niacin and garlic supplements. About 15 years ago, when my TC went up to 240, I did slow-release 100mg niacin at night, drank only water after dinner, and ate oatmeal/flaxseed, and my TC dropped to 184 after one month.

in reply to timotur

I think more fruit is almost always a good thing. The fructose is bound to the fiber and so it releases slowly and naturally. I avoid any added refined sugar though (simple carbohydrates).

Oatmeal is great and flax seeds are fantastic for you! If you want to get the most out of them, grind them (I use a coffee grinder) and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Ground fresh every week, otherwise it can go rancid. Avoid any refined oils too, as they can also go bad and you can't really tell.

But as far as fish goes, I don't think it's any better than some cuts of red meat.


in reply to JAS9

JA, thanks for posting that study. Interesting that substituting fish for meat doesn't make much difference and is really not a LDL reduction strategy. Before changing to fish, I was eating very lean red meat anyway, usually tri-tip steak, instead of ground beef. So, I'm going to try plant-based with soy for protein, take niacin/garlic, and retest in about 4 weeks. Also, I'll try grinding the flax seeds to improve digestion. Thanks.

in reply to timotur

I eat a lot of beans and nuts also.. pomegranate is good for pc . But I see it’s high sugar.. Oatmeal and flax are great for lowering ..Hope you can lower yours.

A very interesting discussion going !, Human body produces 80 % cholesterol on demand and 20 % from food and drinks intake.

The question is how the different food and drinks can reduce the 20% of total cholesterol food and drinks intake to o a larger value?

For example total cholesterol is 10, then the body produces 8 and 2 from food and drinks intake, any variation in food and drinks can only lower or increase (2).

i take similar diet (i take egg as well ) and my TC 111 HDL 50 LDL 50 TG 88 .Only difference is I take 5mg statin .I Agree that each individual is different so result might vary

CC, those are great numbers. May I ask which statin you take? How much did it drop your LDL? Thanks, Tim

if i take 80mg my LDL drops to 15 ,with 5mg my level is 50 . I have settled for 5mg as I hear lots of side effects so avoiding higher doses whereas 50 is a safe number


I'm on a whole-foods plant-based diet, eating fish 3x per week, and I have some lean chicken breast once in a while.

LDL-C has little clinical value. Focus on the LDL-P value or its proxy Apo B.

Legumes are a central part of my diet - they are complex carbohydrates and should not spike your LDL-C. Triglycerides drive the LDL-C value - so the focus should be on elimination of all simple or refined carbohydrates. Healthy fats from olives and olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds are all good for you. If LDL-C has increased slightly from the healthy fat consumption, it is not a problem.

Most whole fruits are healthy, just avoid fruit juice.

I have achieved all of my bio-marker targets following triple by-pass in 2015. I stopped taking statins and all other meds over 2 years ago.

I think you're on the right track as long as you avoid simple/refined carbs.

SOS, good comments, thank you. I dramatically increased my intake of nuts, seeds and peanut butter to compensate for cutting meat/eggs, so I think the higher LDL-C is a reaction to the increased fat intake. The peanut butter I eat has 8gms of fat per tbsp, 1.5 of which is saturated fat, so this could be the culprit as I eat about two tbsp's per day at lunch. I'm pretty sure I have hereditary high C, and just need to adjust, and also check the LDL-P count to assess risk. Congrats on achieving your targets after TBS. That's great, it takes discipline.

April 2019: new cholesterol numbers, improved! Lowered plant based intake to legumes 2x/wk. Went back to eggs 3x/wk and small red meat portions 2-3x/wk. No milk. TC now has dropped from 238 to 187, and LDL dropped back to original 138. Dropped regular peanut butter for powdered version. Did one month of Niacin, 100mg/nightly. So plant/nuts doesn't work for everybody!

- TC: 187 HDL: 50 LDL: 138 TG: 75


Sept 2018: original cholesterol test without any dietary restrictions

- TC: 209 HDL: 54 LDL: 138 TG: 71

Jan 2019: Four months on plant/fish diet, with lot of beans/nuts, no milk/meat/eggs. LDL went up 20 pts!

- TC: 232 HDL: 56 LDL: 158 TG: 77

You may also like...