Dec 09

December Ninth, Twenty Fifteen


On December 9th, exactly two years ago, I received a document that would change my life forever. It was an advanced cholesterol test known as an NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance).

I had only taken one before that, about two weeks earlier at the end of November. That first test had put me into a depression. I saw that my LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) had skyrocketed from my average of 130 to 239, and my LDL particle count (LDL-P) was a whopping 2,705. I had never measured my LDL-P before then, but I knew the “reference range” for it was below 1,000.

I decided to schedule the December 9th test, hoping it might suggest this first one was a lab error. And for 15 long days, I dropped everything I was doing to read and learn all that I could about cholesterol and the lipid system that trafficks it. Surprisingly, I found this system had quite a lot in common with networks in my own field of software engineering. In fact, I started to wonder if I was simply projecting my own beliefs where they didn’t belong, as a way to cope with this miserable time.

When my results came in for the December 9th test, there was a resounding “click” in my head!

You see, while I was experiencing this terrible depression, my appetite waned. I resolved I wouldn’t eat one more bite of saturated fat than I was truly hungry for. This led to my eating about 1/3rd of the calories I normally do, even while still being on a ketogenic ratio. So overall, my dietary fat dropped significantly. Thus, if my dietary fat was way, way down — then my LDL-C and LDL-P would have presumably dropped, right?

Instead, my total and LDL cholesterol had gone even higher!

Now I realize this won’t make sense to a lot of you, but that was very relieving. As an engineer, I immediately understood two things:

  1. This was indeed an energy distribution system above all else. Cholesterol is a passenger, not a driver.
  2. I had a lot of work ahead of me!

Here I am a couple years later, and I can remember that moment like it was yesterday. I was alone and determined when this all began, but now I’m proud to share this journey with so many others who are helping to change the paradigm.


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36 Comments on "December Ninth, Twenty Fifteen"

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Hi Dave, I want to thank you for your priceless research. My life changed in a similar way in June 2012, ‘numbers’ confirmed six months later and again in August 2014. After that I didn’t see much point in testing further, because my body and my mind told me I was doing great and I figured it didn’t matter what those damn stubborn LDL figures said. That, and I was tired of the guilts from the docs who told me I shouldn’t believe what I was reading on the internet. Even though I had to tell them what an apolipoprotein… Read more »
Hey Dave, 36 yo male 6’6″ 250# W/H Ratio .51 Low carb 3 years In 2016 my cho #’s Total 217 Trig 44 Hdl 68 Ldl 140 In 2017 #’s Total 242 Trig 47 Hdl 57 Ldl 176 I have 2 questions.. 1) My diet stayed pretty much the same du ring these 2 tests. Why is it that my hdl went down so much? I may have exercised a little less in 2017, could that be it? Or does hdl also fluctuate quite a bit? 2) Also, is it pretty much universal that the Freidwald method for figuring ldl… Read more »
Ok, so here is a quick lowdown on where I am and the reasons why I am panicking slightly as my numbers are not looking good. • I am 39 yo, weigh 189lbs (85kgs) and have a BMI of just under 25 (although not carrying much fat at all, approx. 15% body fat). • LCHF for 5 yrs – slowly fell off the wagon about 18 months ago due to 2nd child and working away from home a lot with no control of my food (military). When I was home my wife generally prepared food for me coming in from… Read more »
Hi Dave, firstly thanks for all this great work you are doing! I’m a 49 years old bloke in the United Kingdom. 3 years ago I had a cholesterol test showing my total cholesterol as 6 mmol/l / 232 mg/dl. I was told it was a little high and I needed to exercise and lose a little more weight. I’m 5′ 11″ and was over 13 stone. So I started doing more exercise and changed my diet, initially trying to stick to paleo but in reality more focused upon getting enough protein and sometimes slipping to have pizza. I tried… Read more »
David Roberts

Hi Dave. Thanks so much for the work you have been doing 🙂 Groundbreaking!

I’ve just had my 1st basic cholesterol test results since starting a Keto diet 12 months’ ago. I’m a little different from most people, as I have had high lp(a) in the past and have had Dientamoeba Fragilis / parasites infection from Aug 2015 to Sept 2016. Since then I’ve had HPA Axis Dysfunction / Adrenal Fatigue. Is there an email address I can send you a pdf of my blood test results? I’d like to make them available to add to your research.

Hey Dave: Migrating the basics of my previous Twitter conversation to this space. My TGs are low. So what determines whether the body ups its LDLp or LDLc to provide transport to carry energy? Can we narrow this down even further and ask whether it’s ALWAYS the body’s 1st choice to use LDLp to ferry fuel? If LDLp is the most optimal transport vehicle, it must chemically be more suited to the task, right? For everyone, right? If this logic is correct, then why would some people inherently produce lots of LDLc, if it serves no function (unless your research… Read more »


LDL-P is a measure of the number of LDL particles not a type of LDL.
LDL-C is a measure of the amount of cholesterol mass in the LDL particles not a type of LDL.
There are two types of LDL: pattern A (large particles) and pattern B (small particles).
A low LDL-P result equals more large particles (pattern A) which is deemed good.
A high LDL-P result equals more small particles (pattern B) which is deemed bad.
Eating sugar and carbs leads to pattern B and eating saturated fats leads to pattern A.

Hope that clarifies and happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

David Roberts
Hi again. I’ve decided to put my blood test results below so everyone can see them and add to the data on cholesterol and Keto / Low Carb. 27/2/12 cholesterol results: TC 6.2 TG 1.2 HDL 1.2 LDL 4.4 Lp(a) .87 From Feb 2014 to Feb 2015 I was on Crestor statin due to the above Lp(a) and LDL and TC. 30/10/14 Cholesterol results TC 3.3 TG 0.6 HDL 1.11 LDL 1.9 My hand wouldn’t close properly after using Crestor, so I went off Crestor in Mar 2015 In Aug 2015 – Sept 2016 I had Dientamoeba Fragilis parasites, which… Read more »
David Roberts

Thanks for you comments Dave. It is reassuring to have someone else in the Low Carb community who has researched cholesterol a lot give positive feedback. Sorry, in my rush I left off my HDL had improved to 1.25 on the 9/12/17, so I was very happy with my results. I’m hoping to educate my GP using your website and other Low Carb health professionals ☺️

Dave, I’m 53 yo female. Started Low Carb High Fat (not Keto) back in June. Lost 15 pounds in the first 3 months, maintaining since then. I’d like to lose 10 more pounds. Below 25 BMI now. (5’3″ tall). Heart Disease runs in the family. Which blood tests do you recommend I get at this point? I want to be informed and armed with info when I head to the doc next year and she freaks at my LDL. I’m willing to pay for the blood tests (to a point), so which tests are most informative? Thank You!
Justin Tondt

Hey Dave,

Just reminding you about this paper:

“increasing circulating dietary cholesterol levels may drive LD [lipid droplet] expansion in adipocytes (126). Cholesterol abundance triggers transfer of CAV1 proteins from the plasma membrane to LDs to facilitate their expansion (123).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29243339


Michael Holzheid

Please take a look at this research report: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP275075/epdf

Could this explain the caution about to much protein? Maybe it’s really the BCAAs? What I find confusing, they seemed to achieve favorable health benefits and rapid fat loss on a protein-restricted (to achieve low BCAA) and High carbohydrate diet. If the subject are eating all these carbs, they can’t be in ketosis. So, how are they burning fat?

Hi Dave, I’ve been LCHF for over a year. I don’t really track too carefully and slip up occasionally. I am also a marathon runner. I just had my blood tests done recently and have been baffled about the results. I’m in Canada but did convert them. Total Cholesterol 8.93 mmol/L (345) LDL 4.32 mmol/L (167) HDL 4.39 mmol/L (169) ….I was told this is impossible by someone/another said highest they’ve ever seen Triglyceride 0.48 mmol/L (45) CRP 1.87 mg/L I have my results from 5 years ago for reference: (only in Canadian values) Marathon runner Cholesterol 7.33 mmol/L LDL… Read more »
Hey Dave, I’ve been strict LCHF for 8 months (less than 50 grams of carbs/day). Lost 15 pounds. 53 y.o. female. Here are my recent blood test results. Freaking me out a lot. After 8 months with low carbs, shouldn’t my triglycerides be way lower? And that CRP!!! It’s scary to see “HIGH” after just about every test score. NMR LipoProfile: LDL-P 2132 LDL-C 159 HDL-C 57 Trig – 159 Cholesterol (Total) – 248 HDL-P (Total) 41.5 Small LDL-P – 970 LDL Size – 20.7 LP-IR Score – 55 Lipoprotein (a) – 4 C-Reactive Protein (Cardiac) – 5.10 (YIKES) Should… Read more »

And the LDL-P number? and Small LDL-P? Both just reflecting carbs? I feel like I’m not getting many (any) other than from berries and veggies. Guess I’ll stay away from those for a while and re-test.