This page is neither medical advice, nor is it a guarantee – but as of this writing, it has been used successfully by myself and now
about a half dozen others [UPDATE 3/1/17] twenty three [UPDATE 8/22/17] over fifty [Update 1/15/19] somewhere north of 300 (lost count) who have tried it as well. This was first performed simultaneously with the presentation of my initial data at the Ketogains Seminar in October 2016.
And once more – with extra emphasis – use at your own risk.
For those on a ketogenic/lchf diet, this experiment seeks to drop cholesterol rapidly by boosting up dietary fat in the days just before a cholesterol blood test.
If you’ve followed this blog or my podcast interviews, you are already familiar with the data. If you’re new here, though, you probably think I misstated the above, given that it goes against virtually every common piece of medical advice on lowering cholesterol with diet (e.g., “Avoid saturated fat!”).
- This is not an intended long term solution, it’s more to prove the dynamic nature of the cholesterol in your body and why it is very different from what current science believes.
- All of the people who performed this experiment have been following a low carb, high fat diet (LCHF) for a significant period of time. This may or may not be meaningful; since this has not yet been tested in people following other types of diets (for example, low fat, vegetarian, strict Paleo [dairy free]), we cannot extrapolate the data to these other diets.
- This protocol appears to have about an 85% success rate, and thus, a 15% failure rate. Please keep this in mind.
Pick One of the Three Versions
There are actually three versions to this experiment:
- Three and a Half Days, One Blood Test. All you do is spike your total calories for three days while on the same macronutrient ratios or with a higher proportion of fat (see below). Then take a blood test the morning after.
- Six and a Half Days, Two Blood Tests. Like (1) above but with low calories for the first three days followed by the first blood test, then high calories for the last three days followed by the second blood test.
- Ten and a Half Days, Four Blood Tests. This is a replication of the experiment I underwent October 2nd-12th for the Ketogains Seminar (see here, here, and here). I had the first test on the mornings of days 4, 6, 9, and 11. This was to capture not just the three day change we see with LDL-C, but the longer five day changes we see with LDL-P. Needless to say, this is the most useful and data-rich version of this experiment and one I wish I could get a large group of individuals to perform! (Anyone know of a health-minded philanthropist who might be interested in funding this?)
Low Days and High Days
Throughout this experiment you should either keep to a standard LCHF ratio (75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs) or one with an even higher proportion of fat (such as 80% or 85% fat).
A “Low Day” will be any day you are having a very low amount of calories, yet keeping to a low carb, high fat ratio. This should be as low as you can reasonably stand without actually fasting. For example, if you found you could consume 1/3rd of your usual daily calories, you might try that.
For example, let’s say you commonly consume 2,100 calories a day. But you found you could drop it down by 2/3rds to 700 calories a day and get by.
A “High Day” will be like the Low Day above but with a very high amount of calories — but again, with the same or a higher percentage of total calories from fat. Unlike the Low Day, this should be as much food as you can reasonably eat. (NOTE: To be extra safe, we recommend not exceeding 3X the level of your maintenance level calories.)
For example, let’s say you commonly consume 1,500 calories a day. You might find you could get up to around 2X that amount to 3,000, or even 3X that amount for 4,500. Again, your own comfort level is key.
IMPORTANT: What to Avoid
Avoid coconut or MCT oils! These are metabolized more readily to ketones without first going through the bloodstream as lipids. You’d think this would result in lower LDL, but in some who have tried this it actually increased it unexpectedly.
Avoid coffee! This instruction wasn’t originally here, but we’ve had many who have shown this to be a common denominator when getting unexpected results. Lots of studies have been sent my way that show coffee can impact lipolysis and thus increase resulting LDL (even a day or two later).
Track Your Food, Drink, and Supplements
Keep extremely close track of your diet throughout the experiment. My preferred method is the Food Logging Protocol, which I practice myself. Even if just for the length of this experiment, it is helpful to have a complete record of everything in your diet without exception, again, so we can better assess relationships between the foods consumed and the cholesterol dynamics.
Fast For 12 to 14 Hours Before the Blood Test
You want to plan your last meal for the evening to be 12 to 14 hours from the blood test you’ll be taking the next morning. This is especially challenging on High Days because of how many calories you are trying to eat over the course of the day, so plan accordingly!
Rather than a typical cholesterol test, I highly recommend an NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) blood test. You can usually order one privately on a commercial website like RequestATest.com for $99. However, I may be able to get even better prices if you reach out to me directly depending on your location (but no promises).
If you can afford it, it is likewise worth adding a few other tests to the blood draw as well. At a minimum, I recommend adding Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), Insulin, and High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP). If you can do even more, add CBC with Differential, ApoA1, ApoB, Cortisol, Thyroid Panel, Vitamin B12 and Folate, Uric Acid, hbA1c, and Ferritin.
And Finally, Please Share!
Obviously I encourage everyone to share their data with the community! Feel free to comment with your results here or message me directly. We are at the tip of the spear here — the leading edge of something that could very well revolutionize everything we “thought we knew” about cholesterol. But we can’t do that with guesswork. Hunches and theories are great places to start, but our collective data is what will really have an impact.