Cholesterol Questions


My mom got a phone call from the doctors office last week, asking her to come in for a visit. This was a first. After having  two brain surgeries and other serious health issues, she seemed to be doing extremely well recently. So I thought it was odd and I was worried and extremely curious about why the doctor needed to see her. I later found out that the doctor needed to tell her to eat less butter because her cholesterol was high. 

Mom wanted to know what I thought. (I was shocked).  

The next day my friend called to tell me about her blood test results. She got tested after eating Paleo for a few months (in part to put her family at ease about the harm they are sure she is doing by eating fatty food). She had the lowest triglycerides her doctor had ever seen (0.18) and very low cholesterol. 

She asked me what she could do to get her HDL up because she felt it was unhealthily low. 

The answers to these questions depend upon how much you want to learn about Cholesterol.  To start, here is a great reference by the Mayo Clinic to see how typical doctors are interpreting your blood work. It shows American and Canadian measurements. 

My short answer is:
  • Eating saturated fat does not increase cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Lowering your LDL is not going to reduce your risk of CVD
  • Increasing your HDL isn't going to make you healthier
For a slightly longer, yet easy to read answer, I recommend this post by Chris Kressler,
5 reasons not to worry about your cholesterol numbers.  

Also, This post is a great summary of the issues by Dr. Kurt Harris (and what you can do).

If you would like to learn more about Cholesterol, Chris Masterjohn is the man!
His webiste is  and his blog is The Daily Lipid.

I think it is easier to listen to Chris and Chris do a three part podcast about Cholesterol

Or check out the new Jimmy Moore podcast (from February 16th, 2012) with Chris Masterjohn called Cholesterol 101.


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