Low carb diet – my 6 week experiment to see how cutting back on carbs impacted on my blood cholesterol / lipid profile

Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Although very late to the “low-carb” party, here are my experiences of the impact on my blood lipid profile:

Courtesy of The Times 2016 . Please bear in mind this is just a personal experiment, not a trial! Nor am I claiming it is for everyone. And I am well aware it is not a proper LCHF diet – nor was it ever intended to be. It is simply a demonstration that excess carbs can significantly affect your lipid profile – for a number of possible reasons. I have published it here because people have asked me to – not trying to ram it down anyone’s throat. 

You would have to have been living on another planet for the last couple of years to have missed sugar’s rise to the forefront of the debate about healthy eating. We all know that fizzy drinks, cake and confectionery are unhealthy, but what about the sugars contained in more complex starchy carbohydrates like bread and pasta – the sort of foods that make up around half our daily calorific intake?

There has been growing concern that starchy foods may not be as healthy as previously thought. Low-carb campaigners once dismissed as mavericks are fast becoming mainstream, and the low-fat / high-carb mantra that has pervaded healthy eating for decades is being questioned. It has certainly piqued my interest, so I have decided to make carbohydrates the subject of my New Year’s resolution.

I am a pretty healthy chap. At 6’ 2” and 14 stone my weight is acceptable. I am active, training at least four times a week, and I eat a low-fat diet with plenty of fruit and veg. But despite all this I have a poor cholesterol profile – something that is all the more worrying because of my family history of early heart disease.

At 7.5 mmol/l my cholesterol level is 50% higher than “ideal” but it is the mix of fats in my blood that concerns me more. I don’t have that much “good cholesterol” (HDL) and far too many triglycerides – both factors associated with an increased risk of an early heart attack and stroke, and, coincidentally, a high intake of carbohydrates.  And more detailed testing reveals other worrying trends too, including a high Lp-PLA2 reading ( the PLAC test associated with unstable arterial plaque formation – although interpretation is still controversial).

The low-fat approach hasn’t made much impact on my blood chemistry so for 2016 I have decided to try a different tack. Thanks to a sweet tooth and a love of bread I eat far too many carbs so I am going to cut back for 6 weeks and see what it does to my cholesterol profile.

Starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes are supposed to make up around 50% of the energy you consume every day, but my intake is at least 65%. Which means I am consuming a lot of sugar, because that is what starchy carbohydrates are made of – hundreds of little sugar molecules bound together ready to be broken up and absorbed into the bloodstream.

It is generally accepted that big spikes in your blood sugar level are not good for myriad reasons, and starchy carbohydrates often raise it more than refined carbohydrates like sugar. Nutritionists use the Glycaemic Index (GI) to measure this effect on blood sugar using a scale that goes from 0 – 100 where low is good and high is bad, and you may be surprised to discover that granulated sugar has a similar GI to wholegrain bread (58 v 51). A white baguette, my particular bête noir, has a GI index of 95, around half as high again as Coca Cola.

My plan is a simple one. Studies have shown that a low carbohydrate diet can raise your good cholesterol and lower your triglycerides –just what I need – so over the next 6 weeks I am going to put that to the test.

I am not going crazy or super low-carb. The aim is to consume no more than 150 grams a day, which equates to 600 calories, or about 25% of my daily requirement. I will report back with the results.

Six weeks later….

I have been bowled over by the results. The details are outlined below but I shed half a stone in weight, my cholesterol level dropped 20%, my triglyceride level is down by a third and, according to the risk calculator favoured by the NHS, my odds of succumbing to an early heart attack or stroke have dropped by around 15%. Not quite the benefit you might expect from taking a statin but as near as dammit.

I am well aware that one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and just because cutting back on carbs has helped my blood fats, doesn’t mean it will work as well for you. But if you are one of the five million or so middle-aged people like me who, thanks to a combination of poor family history and high cholesterol levels, are now eligible for statins then I would urge you to take a look at your diet first. So what changes did I make, and where have the benefits come from?

First some context. At 6’2” and 14 stone I wasn’t particularly overweight but I had a touch of middle-aged spread with a BMI of 26 (25 is the upper limit of healthy). My cholesterol was raised (between 7 and 8 over recent years – under 5 being “ideal”) and although I ate a healthy diet, I have a sweet tooth and limitless appetite for bread.

The plan was simple. I cut out all fruit juices, bread, cakes, biscuits and confectionery. And I restricted my intake of other starchy foods like rice, pasta and potatoes. I carried on eating fruit and taking sugar in my tea and coffee, and I had a free day every week that, on at least one occasion, included sticky toffee pudding. I made no other changes to my lifestyle. It wasn’t a particularly low-carb diet but it represented a significant reduction for me.

The resulting improvement in my blood profile could have come about in a number of ways. Firstly the weight loss will have altered my metabolism for the better. The drop in triglycerides (high levels of which are a risk factor for heart disease) is a direct result of fewer carbs, but the big reduction in other fats may also have been helped by the fact that I have eaten hardly any butter in the last six weeks. Not only is butter a key component of all the sandwiches I eat, it also features in many carb-rich foods like cakes and other treats.

The hardiest low-carb enthusiasts favour making up lost calories by eating more fat but, with the exception of cheese and eggs (which are both surprisingly cholesterol neutral) I was careful not to do this – an approach that seems to have worked for me.

Up until I started this trial I was considering statins – something I have tried in the past – but my cardiovascular risk (www.qrisk.org ) has now dropped below the new 10% threshold so I am not going to worry for now.

My only regret is that I wish I had tried this in my twenties. I have never subscribed to the view that sugar is the root of the 21st malaise – there is so much more to obesity, diabetes and related disease than just one nutrient – but I am a convert to the view that too much sugar and other carbs (which the body converts to sugar) is more harmful than most appreciate.   My local bakery and sandwich shop may regret my decision, but it is low-carbs for me from now on.

Results at a glance

 

  • After 6 weeks cutting back on carbs my weight dropped from 14 stone (89 kg) to 13 stone 7 lbs (86 kg)
  • My fasting cholesterol level fell from 7.3mmol/l to 5.9 and my triglycerides from 2.5 to 1.5
  • My “good” cholesterol (HDL) fell slightly from 1.3 to 1.2
  • I did not monitor my blood sugar levels as these have always been well into the healthy range, but those at risk of diabetes should expect a significant drop here too.

 

Carbohydrate guidelines

 

  • Refined carbohydrates should make up no more than 5% of daily energy intake – that equates to around 30 grams or 7 teaspoons of sugar a day for the average adult (less than the amount in just one can of cola)
  • Current guidance advises total carbohydrate intake – sugars plus starchy foods – should make up around 50% of your daily calories (230g for the average woman and 300g for the average man, where 1 gram = 4 calories approx)

 

END

63 Responses to “Low carb diet – my 6 week experiment to see how cutting back on carbs impacted on my blood cholesterol / lipid profile”

  1. Jennifer says:

    NO Mark…..230g-300g carbohydrate per day is NOT good for us. You use the word ‘supposed’, when quoting how much we ought to eat……there is no ‘supposed’ at all! We DO NOT need CHO above the amount found in natural, fresh food….and even good vegetables, full of minerals and vitamins, will inevitably contain CHO. We cannot get away from CHO, but there is absolutely NO need to add non-nutrient sugar, or superfluous, industrialised CHO.
    And as to ‘cholesterol’, ……well……CHO intake interferes with its natural formation by our physiological processes…..and eating foods containing cholesterol are a complete red herring in the equation.

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      Only reflecting current guidance when I wrote “supposed”. Don’t shoot the messenger.
      Mark

      • jillm says:

        Interesting experiment, Mark. 150g carb per day is a lot. I am happy on less carb. I tested my blood glucose after a fat and protein meal: 4.9. After a ‘healthy’ carb meal, it was 11.2. I have been low carb since that test, 9 years ago. Trigs .7. HDL 2.5. LDL? Don’t care. I am goal weight now. Very happy.

  2. Aud says:

    Well done Mark – glad you benefitted. Curious as to why you cut butter and are trying to get your total cholesterol down to 5? If you look at studies higher TC is correlated with longer life expectancy in the over 50s.

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      I cut butter out be default – on my bread and in all the cakes etc I love. Not aiming for 5 just was not happy with my triglycerides and lipid mix – I have a strong FH of heart disease and lipids are part of that.
      Best wishes
      Mark

      • Aud says:

        Well you’re definitely on the right track. Good luck! Now the governments Eatwell Plate needs to be revised to include much lower carb and higher good fat

        • Leigh says:

          Agree wholeheartedly Aud. I am a personal trainer, we are only allowed to give nutrition advice using current government guidelines…….which quite frankly is a load of rubbish

          • robert lipp says:

            “load of rubbish” – you are being much too polite. something on the lines of horse manure may be more appropriate

            Mark, agree for somebody (apparently) not evidencing metabolic syndrome a more Mediterranean diet (which does not have a clear definition see Big Fat Surprise) may be appropriate. but you did not follow a LCHF diet! no ways!

          • Dr. Mark Porter says:

            I did not Robert. As I pointed out I just cut carbs back to no more than 150g a day. That is not a LCHF diet of course – not did I claim it to be.

  3. That is fantastic results. If you drop carbs under 50g/day – you can expect more great results.

  4. Dear Doctor Mark Porter. I am very pleased and happy you decided to trial yourself using a low-carb diet. Yes it does wonders for the health and if you stay on it your results will be even better in due course especially the HDL. I am due to open a Clinic, where I will help obese people, pre-diabetics and diabetics and people with many other ailments, especially Autoimmune Diseases. The Ketogenic Diet can reverse or halt many of these. Again thanks for opening your mind – many doctors don’t

  5. Maya says:

    My CVD risk was under 1% but because my LDL cholesterol was high my doctor wanted to put me on a statin. I’ve switched doctors. I eat butter but avoid sugar, grains and starch. weight: 10 stone, 6 lbs; height: 69.5 inches.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Dear mark,
    What about alcohol? You don’t mention this but surely it is stuffed full of sugars?

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      Most of the sugars in fermented alcoholic drinks are converted to alcohol by the yeast, but wine and beer etc can still contain quite a few carbs. But other sweeter varieties are indeed packed with sugars.
      But I carried on drinking as normal for my experiment.
      Mark

      • Natalie says:

        Yet alcohol is metabolised into fat by the liver in exactly the same way as fructose, hence fatty liver disease appearing in both big drinkers of alcohol and soft drinks. No one ever seems to mention this when they discuss low sugar /low carb diets which surprises me. It doesn’t matter if there’s no “sugar” in a glass of red wine, the alcohol behaves the same. Drop the booze = drop the pounds.

    • Antony Carter says:

      Spirits and red wine OK especially red wine.

  7. Haidee says:

    Hi mark, sounds incredible, I have just completed a very strict 21 day cleanse, caffeine, sugar, dairy, meat and carb free. I felt like my throat was cut at times but have altered shape even in a short time, I’m not bloated. My husband lost nine kg and three for me. We both believ that carbs are a problem for us. I will continue in for a another month to consolidate the sugar from my system.

    All the best for your low carb future
    Haidee

  8. Pennylope says:

    Well done Dr Mark Porter. It needs more people of your standing to fly the lower carb flag. I have a FH of type 2 diabetes, and was very surprised when I had a regular check up a couple of years ago, that my blood sugar levels were quite high…I thought I ate healthily, and don’t add sugar to anything, or drink soft drinks, etc.

    I discovered a book called The Greek Doctor’s Diet, and because I live much if the time in Greece, decided to give his eating regime a try. The author also has a FH of diabetes, and did a lot of research into the condition, as he, like me, is in the higher risk bracket. He came up with the glycemic load, based on Gi, but with a few surprising differences.

    For the past two years, I have been on a low carb/practically no added sugar regime. I lost my midriff bulge, (I was never over weight, but my little bit of fat needed redistribution), never suffer from indigestion or discomfort after eating, and have kept my sugar levels within reasonable limits.

    Bravo to you. Keep it up!

  9. Debi says:

    hi there congrats on your results, but what did you eat,we seriosly want tocut out carbs, but what to eat that fills you plus need foods to be able to sustain strong pain meds without them making me queasy, my man had a triple heart bypass 3 years ago only aged 45, now diabetic ,but we seriously need help knowing what to eat ..

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      I just cut out the foods listed in the article and ate more of everything else. So bacon and eggs instead of a bacon sandwich, chicken salad instead of chicken baguette etc. More meat, probably more cheese too. But a lot less “crap”.

    • Antony Carter says:

      Read Prof Tim Noakes The Real Meal Revoltion and The Fat Revolution by Christine Cronau

      • robert lipp says:

        Google LCHF and/or Paleo for 2 of the low carb lifestyles. Remember this change is not for a period to lose weight it is a change for life to correct build maintain your health. Remember to consume only healthy fats. Eliminate trans fats and vegetable fats (sunflower etc etc). Healthy fats are from olive oil (I have 3 desserts spoons/day) coconut oil butter lard and such preferably organic free range etc. Eggs are nature’s wonder food. Noakes and Cronau are good sources there are many more.

        • robert lipp says:

          I consume NO added or hidden sugar the only sugar I eat is found naturally in real food examples tomatoes or cabbage etc.

    • Elle says:

      Also add in The Harcombe Diet by Zoe Harcombe. Very easy to read and understand and is just real food. Amazingly the recipes are wonderfully tasty and in imperial and metric of familiar foods. Look out for the Public Health Consortium when it starts up soon The great and the good of the British low carb movement finally got together.

  10. Mandy Hockley says:

    This is a great article. We are making real efforts as a whole family at the moment and this is very helpful. Can I ask what amount per day you would recommend for children. I have a “very complicated ” 14 year old daughter with several medical consitions, one of which is intercranial hypertension (pressure was 41 on first lumbar puncture). We are undergoing lots of tests and MRI etc but have started changing her diet as Losing some weight and healthy eating will indeed help. (My husband is type 2 diabetic too). One of our problems are ‘Childrens’ healthy products – they are not healthy! Cereals/snack bars and even yoghurts are loaded with sugars. It’s quite scary when you read all the labels. One of the best sheets of info we was a gi guide showing low/medium/high foods but following it for a child and adult shift worker is very tricky. Lovey to read an unbiased and helpful article.

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      Hello Mandy,
      A good start is to ensure that she stays under 5-6 teaspoons of sugar a day. That is less than in one can of cola. Check the labels (4g = one teaspoon) and it soon mounts up. And be careful of ‘natural” sugars in juices too – particularly orange, ago and apple juice which tend to be very sweet. She is better off eating her fruit than drinking it.
      Best wishes
      Mark

  11. Marko says:

    Great results. Is there any merit in including food with the “healthy” fats that lower cholesterol? Im looking at using more olive oil and spanish jamon.

  12. Annie Walker says:

    What makes you think that you should have a cholesterol level of under 5mmol/l when mother nature has decreed 5 – 6mmol/l to be the national average? Did mother nature get that wrong, or have you and the statin industry got it wrong?

    Haven’t you heard of John Yudkin’s ‘Pure, White and Deadly’, warning us about the danger of refined sugar way back in the l970’s? He was villified by the sugar industry and his career destroyed, but he was right. The problem wasn’t high fat and cholesterol, it was sugar and corn syrup. He is rapidly becoming a national hero.

    Have you read Duane Gravelline’s ‘Statin Damage Crisis’ explaining the damage done by statins to the melvalonate pathway, destroying not only essential cholesterol but CoQ10, dolichols and heaven knows what other essential elements that keep our bodies going. Check out the 500 scientific papers published in David Evans’ Statins Toxic Side Effects’ about the people who have been poisoned.

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      Wind your neck in Annie 🙂
      I am well aware of the points you have made which is why I put “ideal” in inverted commas in the article. The figure reflects current NHS guidance.

  13. Carly Telford says:

    I think if you were to drop your carbs further and delicious butter you would probabaly loose more. When you drop the carbs you need to eat fat to remain satisfied and for your main energy source. If people need advice on what to eat I recommend this great Swedish site http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf which is run by Doctor Eenfeldt, loads of free advice, videos and the science to back it all up. I’m afraid the Government do not have our best interests at heart health wise, they make too much money from the sugar companies. It’s good to see a well known British Doctor giving it a go!

  14. Anne-Marie Keightley says:

    I have had numerous professions say that cholesterol levels do NOT affect your chances of having a heart attack. I am sick of hearing it does. Inflammation causes heart attacks and that is caused by eating sugar and processed foods and seed oils!

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      Not quite that simple Anne-Marie,
      High levels of cholesterol (particularly a “poor” mix) are definitely associated with an increased risk of heart disease. And lowering them with statins is associated with reduced risk (by around a quarter on average). But you are right, inflammation is key as well – as are the presence of inflamed unstable lipid deposits in the walls of arteries. It is multi-factorial and we should be careful to concentrate just on cholesterol numbers – indeed many believe it is simply an innocent bystander in the process, although this view still remain controversial.
      But the it’s “nowt to do with cholesterol” camp at one extreme, and the “it’s all to do with cholesterol” camp at the other are too polarised in their views in my opinion. As is often the cases where expert opinion is polarised the truth lies somewhere twixt the two.
      Regards
      Mark

      • eli_aus says:

        But what do we do re inflammation? I have always eaten a low refined sugar diet (ie no added sugar except for 2 tspns in 1 cup of coffee a day, unsweetened tea for the rest, no sweet biccies in the cupboard – so none to eat,no lollies, rare soft-drink after all must have an odd g&t in summer!, etc.) but pasta or rice or potato at dinner – eating red or white meat 100g-110 gms once or twice a week, soy protein one a fortnight, fish (dinner 1-2 a week (eg salmon or tuna), lunch 2 a week (tuna, sardines), vegetarian other dinners and lunches) olive oil for cooking and salads etc, winter breakfast is porridge, summer is 1.5 weetbix with walnuts and sultanas (bread at 1-2 slices a day, 2 if sandwich for lunch – often eat raw carrots for lunch instead) BUT have angina, narrowing of key arteries (heart/neck), polymyalgia rheumatica both indicative of a degree of inflammation …. so how do we attack inflammation???
        Feel so guilty for using veg seedoils for frying and margarine for kids and us adults and increasing carbohydrates as a result of advice received in their childhood … glad continued to cook with butter …
        Part of the problem in most people’s diets though is just the sheer VOLUME of what they eat. This is certainly associated with diabetes for example. We were never given more than 4ozs of meat per evening meal (110g) and traditionally served with 3 veggies – 1 green (peas/beans), 1 white (potato), 1 orange (pumpkin, carrot) and sometimes an extra (eg cauliflower, broccoli, onion) and REAL veggie soup (dried bean base, tomatoes, other veggies etc)

        • Dr. Mark Porter says:

          You exercise, maintain a healthy weight, eat a good diet and don’t smoke in a nutshell.
          But conditions like some types of arthritis increase inflammation. As do other factors.
          Ironically it is widely accepted that statins probably exert much of their protective effect by an “anti-inflammatory” type action on plaque in arterial walls – Google statins and plaque stabilisation for more details.
          MP

  15. Lucy says:

    Hi Mark. Although not directly related to your trial I would appreciate your advice. I’ve so far lost 3.5 stone following slimming world but my weight loss has virtually stopped. As a vegetarian, I eat a lot of carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes and cous cous. I barely eat bread. How can I reduce my carbohydrate intake as a vegetarian to lose weight? Many thanks

  16. Geri says:

    My HDL was always low when I was trying to eat low fat. Now that I eat lower carb and plenty of good fats, it is up from 48 or so to 70!

  17. Andre Louw says:

    Hi Mark. I fear this article may confirm to the low carb / high fat believers that they are on the right track while they are probably doing more harm to themselves than they realize.

    The enemy is not carbs, it is refined carbs. They cause the rapid blood sugar spikes implicated in high blood triglyceride levels, systemic inflammation, pervasive cell damage and of course, insulin resistance.

    Unrefined carbs, i.e. full grains, legumes etc. are an important part of the human diet as they are rich in nutrients and soluble and insoluble fibre, They are not associated with elevated blood levels of triglycerides, cholesterol or obesity.

    Your numbers should look a lot better than before since you all mainly did was to eliminate refined carbs. You cut out “fruit juices, bread, cakes, biscuits and confectionery”, all made from HIGHLY REFINED

  18. Andre Louw says:

    Hi Mark. I fear this article may confirm to the low carb / high fat believers that they are on the right track while they are probably doing more harm to themselves than they realize.

    The enemy is not carbs, it is refined carbs. They cause the rapid blood sugar spikes implicated in high blood triglyceride levels, systemic inflammation, pervasive cell damage and of course, insulin resistance.

    Unrefined carbs, i.e. full grains, legumes etc. are an important part of the human diet as they are rich in nutrients and soluble and insoluble fibre, They are not associated with elevated blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol or obesity.

    Your numbers should look a lot better than before since you all mainly did was to eliminate refined carbs. You cut out “fruit juices, bread, cakes, biscuits and confectionery”, all made from HIGHLY REFINED carbs.

    People love the high fat and protein / low carb diets as their main objective is weight loss and sadly not general long term health and longevity. The longer digestion time of fats and protein leaves people feeling full for longer. It is my contention that a low carb / high fat diet provides short term benefit at the expense of long term detriment.

    The problem is the substitutions used for the carbs. They are often substituted with meat, especially processed meat, eggs and dairy, all linked to increased mortality.

    I think a good place for the layman to start reading about this would be an article like this one: http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/why-i-still-restrict-meat-eggs-and-milk.html

    As an aside, I find the articles of dr Mirkin to be generally accurate, concise and well referenced, and even as a professional worth reading.

  19. Chris says:

    Thanks Mark, great to see you try this. My cholesterol is about 6.5, I have some ‘middle age spread’ but otherwise have no other risk factors. The thing I can’t seem to shift is my ‘good’ cholesterol. When I drop dairy, alcohol or cut carbs, overall cholesterol goes down but good cholesterol goes down more, so the ratio gets worse. I’ve tried increasing nuts, olive oil, eggs…but to no avail.

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      At that level if the HDL/LDL ratio improves then don’t worry too much. You might want to try exercising more though. Some find LCHF diet increases their HDL too.
      MP

  20. Antony Carter says:

    Mark well done. Could I suggest some books for you to read? I had open heart surgery 2 years ago for an aortic aneurism. Am now 71 and very well – same height and weight as you.
    By the way Statins are totally unnecessary they and chemo are 2 of the largest industries in the world – chemo will kill you eventually and does not “cure” cancer”. However marijuana oil cures cancer
    The Real Meal Revolution by Prof. Tim Noakes
    The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden & Stephen Sinatra
    Fat Chance by Dr. Robert Lustig
    The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz – one of the best books that I have ever read.
    Check out Dr. Aseem Malhotra – Cardiologist
    Cheers
    Tony C in OZ

    • Shane Wilson says:

      Great books Antony. Disappointingly too many GPs here in Australia have closed minds on this subject. The books you quote would benefit all GPs and specialists. Mark should be congratulated on taking a gutsy step in what is a very conservative profession.

  21. Keryn says:

    What is your opinion on taking a good COQ10 supplement as well as being on Lipitor, 10mg only?
    My husband has bn on Lipitor for several years, eats well, is lean, very active, but has FH. He believes the statin has caused serious side effects like heavy, aching legs. He was on Crestor once and it was torturous. Only on COQ10 a few weeks, he has less aches…it appears. Concurrently we have also been reducing sugar from our diets as per the I QUIT SUGAR (IQS) program.

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      Some people, not all, prone to statin related aches do appear to benefit from Q10 (around 100mg /day).
      MP

      • jillm says:

        Is there any evidence that women, or men without previous heart trouble, benefit from trying to lower cholesterol? I like Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s articles.

        • Dr. Mark Porter says:

          Jill, there is plenty of data to show poor lipid profiles increase risk (as my late father and both grandfathers discovered too early), but that it is not my intention to show that is necessarily beneficial. There is however plenty of data to support Mediterranean type diet with impressive numbers needed to treat (in secondary prevention).
          The article is about my concern over my own profile and poor FH, and whether or not carbs might improve it. They did. That is all I wanted to share. Risk calculators based on measures that include lipids suggest my outlook is better but I am not claiming that. But I also lost a bit of weight and I suspect my HBA1c and insulin levels etc are better too. All in all I am happy. And it was not about about going very low carb, just cutting out much of the “crap” in my diet (and a lot of bread which I miss) 🙂

  22. richard morris says:

    Those are great results from just dialing back carbohydrates.

    You do know you’ve transitioned from a high carb diet to a high fat diet. It is just that the fat is coming from energy you may have stored decades ago. Eventually you will need to replace body fat with dietary fat – as increasing calories from carbohydrates, protein or ethanol are all be problematic.

    I highly recommend http://www.artandscienceoflowcarb.com/ which was written by two of the most experienced researchers in the field of low carbohydrate nutrition, and was written specifically for physicians and technical readers.

    Personally that book helped me transition from a type 2 diabetic HbA1c of 11.2 to a non-diabetic HbA1c of 5.2 … which is a minor miracle.

    It is quite an epiphany when you realise that eating fat doesn’t have to make you fat, in fact eating fat encourages your body to adapt to becoming rather good at burning fat.

  23. Theo says:

    Best results obtained by following LCHF, healthy oils & animal fat butter. My Insulin-dependant wife is steadily able to reduce Insulin intake, now 75% less, weight 27kg less,increased energy,better health, so don’t dither. Do it

  24. Rupert says:

    Hi Mark, it sounds that, like me, you have a high risk of coronary heart disease due to family history and cholesterol profile. I recently had a Coronary Artery Calcium Scan which, to my dismay, indicated I am in the 93rd percentile of arterial calcification for my age (51). I have been put on statins (mainly for the anti-inflammatory/stabilising effect they have on plaque deposits) and daily aspirin. But I have also gone low carb. Lost 1.5 stone so far in 8 weeks, another 3 stone to go. I searched your blog and could nothing on coronary calcium scans: I was completely asymptomatic and only did one because I had turned 50 and my brother persuaded me to do one as our dad died of heart attack aged 56. Have you ever done one (ie a CAC? And why not publicise the benefits of doing one for people >45 with poor cholesterol profile?

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      The problem with these types of tests is that they don’t spot the most dangerous soft plaque. I had a CAC which was average for my age, but a PLAC test (which supposedly measures “inflamed” soft plaque likely to rupture) that was very high.
      Which should I believe?

  25. RD Magda Pieters says:

    I am a RD, been eating a relatively LC diet for decades, no sugar/sweets/juice/sweetened foods/fast foods/refined carbs/ – I get my carbs&sugar from non-root veggies, fruit, and on very special occasions (Xmas/guests) include a small portion of desert /dark chocolate, never more than once a week. Bread? hardly ever, and if i do not more than one slice/day.
    I also did an experiment: Since 1999 i do not use fat-free products, margarine or seed oils. I use butter, and focus on HEALTHY fat (Not HiF as in LCHF) -so i enjoy my avos, coconut, fatty fish, olives.. not extracted, but in the whole food. but i carried on cutting excess fat from meat & removing skin from poultry.
    The last 8 months I started eating the fat on the meat & the poultry skins..
    went for a cholesterol check yesterday, was 4.9mm/l in March 2015, yesterday 7.2mm/l!
    i will do my lipogram to see what fractions rose. But i am shocked… &my gran & dad had high cholesterol..

  26. Sush Rose Goodridge says:

    Glad you gave it a go, albeit a scaled down version of it! My ex hubby did extremely well a few years ago in losing both weight and bringing down his cholesterol to a level where he didn’t need statins.
    Here’s a link to some very good, simple advice on the LCHF way of eating, which I like as it isn’t too complicated and people can make their own minds up. Lynn also runs a FB support page and people do so well. Worth a look, at any rate.
    http://www.travelinglowcarb.com/start-low-carb-diet/

  27. Adrienne says:

    The banting diet has seen amazing results in weight loss and lowering cholesterol and benefits diabetes.

  28. Martin Charlton says:

    Hi Dr.
    My father died recently from type 2 diabetes, I did a bit of research and have been on LCHF diet ever since. Lost 6 kg and feel better.
    Do you think the eat well plate is wrong? It certainly seems so to me.
    I’m also pretty convinced that saturated fat is only bad when taken with a high carb diet.
    Can you use your broadcasting, or your position to help to change government policy?
    I’m a great fan of your radio programme, and went back to listen to the one on saturated fats. Very interesting.
    Cheers
    Martin

    • Dr. Mark Porter says:

      I think it needs review certainly Martin. But as a first step most people would be healthier is they followed it (so poor is many people’s diet).

      • Martin Charlton says:

        It’s a big ask to get people to change their diet. If we’re asking them to change it to the eat well plate and it doesn’t work, as it didn’t for you and won’t for about 60% of the population, then they will just get put off.
        Do you discuss the option of LCHF diets with your type 2 patients, as well as medication?

        • Dr. Mark Porter says:

          I always start with diet, weight loss and exercise where possible (sometimes you need to start medication immediately) – and diet wise we normally start with carb restriction depending on what they are eating (they are nearly always on a high carb, high fat, high calorie diet).

Leave a Reply