Back in May, I wrote on my isocaloric carb swap experiment where I had 3,000 calories/day of keto shakes for five days, then “swapped” out 500 calories of the shakes for 500 calories of bread for the following five days. The first five days I averaged 30g of carbs, but the second five days I averaged around 95g of carbs.
This resulted in a massive drop in my total and LDL cholesterol. In fact, it was much more pronounced than you’d have expected given I had only added a net 65g of carbs, which I go into detail on in the blog post.
So this brings us back to the general theory again: It’s about the energy, not the cholesterol!
The Energy You’re Getting vs The Energy You Have
Okay, so much of what you’ve read on this blog centers around my research regarding the Inversion Pattern. The Inversion Pattern shows the impact of cholesterol numbers in the short term based on diet. And indeed, it has a very significant relevance to what shows up on your cholesterol test.
Yet, what of the “baseline” numbers the Inversion Pattern is starting from? Why would my and many others’ cholesterol go up on a low carb diet to begin with?
While theoretical, I’ve contended for some time that this makes sense on the part of the body when lacking “energy in the tank” of glycogen and adipose stores. If you’re lean and on a low carb diet, the less body fat (adipose) and lower carbs (less relative glycogen stores) may mean the body has reason to mobilize more fat-based energy on hand (LDLp). That appears to get further confirmed by the Lean Mass Hyper-responder pattern.
So how to prove/disprove this? Simple – fill up those glycogen stores!
So again I decided to do the 3,000 calories of shakes per day. These were chocolate Ketolent shakes courtesy of Keto and Co. But this time, I decided to do only two days of swapping bread to spike the glucose (Day 1: 500 calories / 70g net carbs from bread, Day 2: 1,000 calories / 140g net carbs from bread). Then I’d follow up for two days again with the keto shakes and no added carbs.
Obviously, if the drop in cholesterol was only due to the carbs eaten in that short window of time, then it would bounce back in the days afterward. On the other hand, if glycogen was the key and I was topping off its stores above my normal keto diet levels, then we should see the cholesterol drop for much longer, right?
So as you can see, following my intervention days of four and five, days six through ten showed a gradually declining total and LDL cholesterol. Where LDL couldn’t be calculated due to Triglycerides being under 50, we can see Non HDL as a decent surrogate.
I would have continued the keto shakes for days 8 and 9 as well, but travel made it too difficult. That said, I did mean to eat closer to 3,000 calories on both days, but that didn’t end up happening. As an aside, this actually gives even further weight to the energy status theory as we’d expect the Inversion Pattern to increase my total and LDL cholesterol following these days.
Energy Status Change
Since I kept the total calories to 3,000 throughout the seven day period, we can generally rule out overall energy surplus or deficit, which is important for many reasons — particularly regarding the Inversion Pattern itself.
Moreover, the great value of using only the keto shakes and bread on a specific time table means having just two variables to look at. this helps to really confirm the second variable was the key change. Or at least, in this case, the one putting things in motion. (Side note: This highly controlled, only-two-foods for a week on a schedule is very annoying to experience. But such is life as a professional lab rat!)
As mentioned above, it appears a higher energy status (more relative glycogen stores) means the body feels less need to mobilize more energy from fat (triglycerides) in LDL particles. And since cholesterol “ride shares” with triglycerides in the same LDL boat, they don’t circulate as much either – meaning less LDL cholesterol for the blood test to pick up.
In my presentation, I got to show off the success of my experiment yielding an LDL of 131, “the lowest I’ve had since starting Keto.” This garnered a big applause. But this was less an accomplishment than a demonstration.
I’m sure many will read this and appreciate it as a possible way to lower their total and LDL cholesterol scores. And to that end, I’m happy to bring more research to give people that option if it can work for them.
But as with before, I don’t assume any specific cholesterol score as optimum. In fact, the dynamism around energy that my research is exposing should be putting this even further in doubt.