Welcome to CholesterolCode.com. This site serves as an information and research hub for emerging data on cholesterol. particularly in the context of a low carbohydrate lifestyle.
If you know little to nothing about cholesterol ->
- You can check out our Simple Guide to Cholesterol series. It’s full of illustrations and is written for laypeople. Enjoy!
If you’re wanting to learn more about why cholesterol could be higher, particularly on a low carb diet, we present the Lipid Energy Model (LEM) ->
- Our recently released full paper on the LEM published in Metabolites doi.org/10.3390/metabo12050460
- You can watch our video abstract for this paper here (5 min):
- We also have a more layperson-friendly, simplified overview video (just 5 min) you can watch here
- Or you can watch Dave’s presentation for Stanford University on the model from 2020
If you’re looking to better understand the risk associated with high cholesterol on a low carb diet->
- Note we are still recruiting for our LMHR study through the Lundquist Institute. Check out our official recruitment page at CitizenScienceFoundation.org/study to find out if YOU qualify!
- While several articles on this site present a more “cautiously optimistic” perspective on cholesterol in the context of fat adaptation, we strongly encourage everyone to consider the conventional view as well. Consider reading The Case for Lower LDL on Low Carb by our colleague and co-investigator, Spencer Nadolsky.
If looking to understand the “Lean Mass Hyper-responder” profile ->
- See our dedicated page for Lean Mass Hyper-responders
- Check out our LMHR paper published in Current Developments in Nutrition
- See our in-depth case report published in Frontiers in Endocrinology
If you’d like to understand possible relevance of cholesterol and the immune system, you can read Siobhan’s overview article on the topic here or watch her presentation here
If you’d like to learn more about lipoprotein(a), you can watch Siobhan’s presentation on it here
Lastly — you can always just ask us anything our Questions Page. (Just be aware our site does not constitute medical advice and we always recommend consulting with your doctor.)
What about Hemoglobin A1C levels also being elevated ?
Fasting Glucose 109
not able to find any info on the a1c levels
looks like my numbers are between normal and LMHR’S
any help would be awesome. Carnivore for 1 year now
Hi Kenneth –
We can’t give medical advice as we’re not doctors, so we can only comment with our thoughts in case they may be of interest.
My first question would be what the levels of insulin and C-peptide are, and other surrounding markers like inflammatory markers, etc to lend additional context. Some people on carnivorous diets (or very low carb) have commented they have seen a higher HbA1c/fasting glucose (particularly those who are lean/athletic) but at the same time 1) It tends to be steady throughout the day (when measured by a CGM or home monitor) and 2) is paired with lower insulin level (but not low to the point of potentially being type 1 diabetic). The other thing that I’ve seen in these individuals is that it tends to be higher if they frequently exercise, especially high intensity exercise (Shawn Baker, a carnivore athlete, was one example of this – although I think he took steps to move away from it some years ago, if I remember right).
However, if it were me, I wouldn’t want to assume this is the case, without further evidence to support it/other possible causes ruled out.
Even if it were this type of profile we have seen in others, it’s unclear as to what implication this has one way or the other – although there are some in the LMHR group who are in a similar situation and who may be interested in sharing their experience/perspective/etc although it’s not medical advice either, it may be of interest as well.
thanks so much for this information! It will take me some study to begin to understand. I am looking forward to the process.
Maybe you guys can help me because no one has an answer and all the articles and videos I have seen dont address this, and even on this highly suggested site I dont really see anything on it.
Type 1 Diabetic. 34, male, 5’10”, 238lbs, white
Pre carnivore, lazy keto, 280lbs or so, using about 80 units insulin a day
Post carnivore 6 months after above blood work, steak eggs butter etc, no cheese/milk, 238lbs (weight loss stalled) using around 30 units insulin a day
Why did my A1C go up? My glucose monitor says my numbers are lower than before and more stable. Since im strict 0 carb and have better blood sugar why did Triglycerides go up? I do maybe 10g carbs a week to raise blood sugar as needed, and usually I just eat some meat since it slowly raises me up so I can avoid soda unless I need to raise FAST in emergency (rare)
Before my blood work post carnivore 0 carbs diet, I woke up and within an hour I got my blood drawn. I was about 15 hours fasted. Previous meal was a big ribeye steak the day before. Also about 4 or 5 days before, I did a 53 hour fast where I also managed a avg glucose level of 80 on just 3 units of fast acting insulin as lost about 6 lbs. Gained maybe 2 or 3 after eating again.
Can a diet of too much fat or protein cause this? Is it me fasting for blood work after fasting for so long leading up to blood work that did it? But why the A1C and triglycerides?
Rest of my blood work was fine. No red flags.
Feel free to email me. I dont mind contributing data to your research.
Hi Jay –
We’re not doctors and can’t give medical advice so can only comment with our thoughts in case they may be of interest, and we do always recommend discussing any questions like these with your healthcare team to see if they have any thoughts/suggestions as well.
The disconnect between the glucose readings you’re getting, and the A1c is certainly interesting. I have heard of things that can cause slightly lower hba1c than normal (such as blood donation), but I’m not aware of carnivore decreasing/stabilizing glucose via a monitor but increasing hba1c. I would be curious to see, in such a situation, if fructosamine would show similarly higher than expected values as well. You may want to ask in a group similar to type1grit (if you’re not already in it) and see if anyone else has experienced similar, or perhaps knows of potential confounders of either the glucose monitor/cgm (e.g. needs to be recalibrated/etc) or the hba1c test, etc that may be of interest for you to follow-up on with your healthcare team.
As for the triglycerides, you may want to check out this post and see if anything stands out to you – given the HDL, from what we’ve seen in ourselves and others, it typically suggests something has confounded the test. It sounds like you were 12-14 hours fasted – and likely water only (e.g. no coffee, no tea, no caffeine during the fasting period?), so the other options of e.g. coffee sensitivity more generally may be more relevant.
If re-testing to follow up, limiting other potential confounders (like fasting for 24+ hours) in the week or so prior to the blood test may also be worth considering, even if to rule it out as a potential contributor.
Listened to your visit on ZDog. Great show! Very clear and easy to understand explanations. I’m a RN with similar experience with higher cholesterol with keto and Intermittent Fasting. My providers each year attempt to encourage me to go on statins.