Tracking your own cholesterol

If there’s anything that sets the most hardcore foodie straight, it’s “cholesterol”
Think about all the recent meals you’ve enjoyed yourself with friends. At least half the time is wasted on discussions about cholesterol. And if you overhear the discussion at the neighbouring table, you’ll find that they’re talking about the same topic. Might as well rename restaurants as “cholesterol discussion centers” and you wouldn’t be far off the mark.

Personally, I despise this. It’s good to be concerned about something, if you are taking action about it. If all you’re going to do is talk about it endlessly, and not change the way you behave, I don’t see the point.

The post below is an overview on how to monitor your lipid levels after you make a change in your diet. Everyone has downy responses to the same diet. You can’t expect the exact changes in everyone’s lipid profile after prescribing the same diet.

I will not be discussing which diet is best, in this post. What I want to focus on, is how to monitor if your lipid levels are responding favourably to the newly instituted dietary changes.

Total cholesterol is not the best indicator for good metabolism. In fact, there’s no, one single best indicator for metabolic health. You’d have to look at multiple factors to get an idea of what your metabolism is doing. You’d also have to look at how they’re trending to come up with a good idea of what’s happening inside you.

Things you need to be looking at when modifying your diet.
1. Triglyceride levels.
2. HDL levels
3. HDL: triglyceride ratio
4. Waist circumference
5. LDL levels
6. Thyroid function tests
6. How you feel/ tired /energetic etc
7. How you’re sleeping
8. If your health problems are reducing
9. Whether you’re facing any new ones
10. Body weight

The main things to talk about are
Triglyceride levels
-in general, lower the better
-looked at, in relation to HDL levels.
-you need an ideal relationship of 1:1 between triglycerides and HDL

-simplistically speaking, higher the better
-looked at in relation to triglycerides as mentioned above

HDL : triglycerides
– should be ideally 1:1
– upto 1:2 is acceptable
– above 1:3 pushes up risk of cardio vascular events

-will fluctuate up and down
-usually up, with a higher fat diet
-but, if at the same time, HDL :triglyceride ratio is improving, the risk posed by a rise in LDL isn’t worrying
-a rise of up to 30 points in a higher fat diet is acceptable, if the HDL :triglyceride ratio is near the ideal 1:1

Thyroid function tests
– free T3 and T4 should be within normal range
– TSH should stay near lower limit of normal, and should not trend upwards with the introduction of a new diet.

The rest of the factors are self explanatory and not controversial.

There’s enough studies available on the net if you want to know more where the evidence comes from.

This is what I use to track my progress.

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