Jan 20


Please consider supporting my Patreon. All funding for my research and this site come solely from individuals like you. Thank you!

  • If you know little to nothing about cholesterol->
    • And you want to learn the basics->
      • You can check out my Simple Guide to Cholesterol series. It’s full of illustrations and is written for laypeople. Enjoy!
      • Likewise, I have this video that goes over the basic markers for cholesterol while on a low carb diet. (Pictured to the right)
    • You can enter your cholesterol numbers into our popular Report tool to check them against many risk calculations at the same time.
  • If you have seen your cholesterol rise considerably on a low-carb high-fat diet (like myself):
    • You may want to first visit the FAQ.
    • I would strongly encourage you to read through this blog and my own journey revealing the Inversion Pattern. Key moments were the Identical Diet experiment and the Extreme Cholesterol Drop experiment that I wrapped around the first presentation of my data for the Ketogains Seminar.

Mar 19

Dr Drew – Part Deux

As some of you know, I first talked with Dr Drew over the interwebs on his podcast, Swole Patrol.

This time I got to chat with him face to face at Corolla Digital.

Myself with Dr Drew following the recording
Hanging with Vinnie Tortorich before the show

I wanted to post a few things here that were referenced in the podcast. The first being the lipoprotein “boats” that traffic our fat-based energy and play a role in our immune response.

Here is the “Inversion Pattern” I was referencing:

Here are several examples of the Lean Mass Hyper-responders I was referring to earlier: (For more on LMHR, go here)

I’m not quite sure when the podcast will be released, but I’ll post it here on the site when it is.

Mar 03

What I’ve Learned Interview

I really enjoyed this interview with Joeseph of the What I’ve Learned Youtube channel. It has a whopping 850k subscribers and thus many, many new people will be exposed to this research to better understand cholesterol — especially as it relates to the low carb ketogenic diet.

We manage to get into the basics of the energy model and touch on risk as well. If you’re new here and you’d like to learn more, you might want to check out another video interview I had a couple months ago with DietDoctor.com. There’s also an excellent, illustrated Simple Guide to Cholesterol on Low Carb series.

And as always, feel free to plug in your own cholesterol numbers for our risk calculator and/or ask questions at our questions page. Or just comment down below.

Feb 13

Low Carb Cholesterol Challenge – One Year Later

It’s hard to believe it was just one year ago. It feels like much longer.

Here’s the tweet that started it all:

When I wrote it, I genuinely had no idea how many studies would find their way through the door, which is why I was asking for the “best study” in particular. I imagined a flood of studies I hadn’t yet seen piling into my inbox… yet nothing came.

I already had two studies that showed the opposite — people with high LDL, high HDL, and low triglycerides having low heart disease. This included the Framingham Offspring study and the Jeppesen Study as well. So I wanted to ensure I wasn’t just skimming over other studies that would show high HDL and low TG as irrelevant to heart disease. The best way to eliminate your own confirmation bias is to reach out to those with a different opinion and data that substantiates it.

I then respectfully pinged a number of lipid-lowering experts on this as I was curious what evidence existed. I did get one attempt with Brian Edwards, but he didn’t meet the challenge criteria, though I really want to give him props for giving it a shot.

Then after six months, I decided to add some money to the mix with a new #LDLBounty. I offered $300 for any study that met the challenge.

Now the #LCCholesterolChallenge is a full year old today.

It’s really imperative that I double-check there is indeed no study that even shows above average CVD/CHD with high LDL when matched with high HDL and low triglycerides as there are so many low carbers who have this profile. So I’ve decided to up both my total budget to $3,000 and be prepared to give away $1,000 to any study that can meet the original criteria.

Jan 24

The Cholesterol Code Facebook Group Launches Today

This has been a long time coming. But rather than write a long post about it, just come and visit.

’nuff said.

Jan 23

Guest Post – Impact of Coffee on Triglycerides

Note from Dave: Sean is a prolific member of the LMHR Facebook Group and I was keen to share this remarkable experiment with you all as a guest post here. Enjoy!

My name is Sean Brennan and I have been on a ketogenic diet for 14 months now, beginning on Thanksgiving of 2017.  It has been awesome – 35 pounds melted away in the first 6 months and I have a more stable mood, better digestion, resolved eczema, and have more control over my appetite. 

Unfortunately, I did not do a baseline blood test prior to the diet, however, I found a blood test from 2011, while I was eating a High Carb Low Fat/Standard American Diet. I was probably eating a vegan diet at that time: total cholesterol was at 191 mg/dL and HDL at 38 mg/dL.

Test #2 – Unexpected High Trigs  

I had read that if you are in the middle of losing weight you could skew your blood test, so I waited until my weight stabilized to get testing done. Back when I was eating a vegan diet several years ago, I became aware that saturated fat increased my cholesterol. I had tested around 240 mg/dL (the horror!) and I promptly decreased my coconut oil (high saturated fat) intake and saw my number drop to 165 mg/dL.  So, when my initial test came back after a keto way of eating with a total cholesterol of 313 mg/dL, I was not surprised.  However, I was very surprised at my triglyceride reading of 131 mg/dL. 

Typically, on a ketogenic diet it is expected that triglycerides drop like a stone due to the limited carbohydrate intake.  In fact, many people will have a triglyceride to HDL ratio approaching 1:1.  So, I was a little concerned that my ratio was 131:47 or 2.79:1.

Looking For Answers

Thankfully, I was aware of cholesterolcode.com and Dave and Siobhan’s work.  I promptly became a member of their Facebook group for Lean Mass Hyper-responders, and asked for advice regarding my numbers.  Siobhan directed me to a blog post for people who likewise had high triglycerides while on a Low Carb High Fat diet.

Of the suggestions listed, the only one that stood out to me as a possibility was a coffee sensitivity. Prior to test #3, I had 1-3 cups of coffee per day for several months.  So, I decided to cut it out and retest.

Test #3, #4, & #5 – No Coffee  

Somewhat painfully, I was able to cut out coffee for four days prior to test #3.  My triglyceride test result was 76 mg/dL, a dramatic decline from 131 mg/dL!  Better yet, my trig:HDL ratio was 76:51 or 1.49:1.  I was a happy camper!  I maintained my coffee abstinence and achieved similar, if not slightly improving triglyceride results, for test #4 & #5 of 71 & 70, respectively.

Test #6 & #7, Back on Coffee

To confirm the effect of coffee on my triglycerides, I drank a cup of black, French press prepared coffee on two consecutive days and re-tested.  My trigs effectively doubled back up to 140 mg/dL!  For test #7, I drank filtered coffee for a week and saw similar results of 147 mg/dL.

Test #8 & #9 – Decaf Result

I abstained for another week and predictably my triglycerides fell back to 63 mg/dL.  For one final test, I drank decaf for a week and interestingly saw my triglycerides climb back up to 125 mg/dL.

To Sum It All Up…

So, it is clear to me that unfiltered, filtered, and decaf coffee dramatically raise my triglycerides by a factor of 2.  This is quite the effect, although I really am not sure why this happens or if it is harmful (though it definitely makes me uncomfortable). 

Summary of the changes Sean saw.

Dave suggested that there is some evidence to support the hypothesis that coffee increases lipolysis, that is, it possibly super charges fat trafficking. Another interesting tidbit of information is that I have a gene (CYP1A2 – rs762551(A;C)) that indicates slow caffeine metabolism – although this may or may not be related.

Where to Go From Here?

What do I plan to do with this information?  Well, it has been theorized that while eating a low carbohydrate diet, high total and LDL cholesterol may not be harmful especially if one’s trig to HDL ratio is low.  I am comfortable living by this theory, and therefore, I think it is in my best interest to keep triglycerides low by greatly reducing coffee intake (and maintaining my low carb lifestyle).  I don’t think there will be a net loss to my well-being, since coffee tends to lower my energy after the initial bump, boost my stress hormones, negatively affect my digestion, and sometimes interferes with my sleep quality.  So, as the reasons stack up against coffee for me, I plan to only have it as an occasional treat or productivity boost. 

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