The Paleo Diet and High Cholesterol (it’s not what you think)

I love it when I find articles like this. Articles that totally go in the face of mainstream medicine and demonstrate how misled we have been. Dr Al Sears, developer of the PACE® interval training system is proud that his cholesterol numbers are high because he knows it will mean a long and healthy life. For you, the Paleo diet and high cholesterol foods can be a part of that life.

Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. Cholesterol is what heart disease acts upon. Cholesterol is a good thing. The more you have, the longer you’ll live.

That needs to be a sign that’s posted in every doctors’ office across the country. For too long have we been fed the misinformation that high cholesterol will lead to heart disease. It doe not. It will, in fact, keep you healthy. It is an extremely important part of our bodies.

Why we need cholesterol

Cholesterol is important for every cell in our bodies. It gives the cells the rigidity they need to support cell membranes. The cells would fall apart without cholesterol. Without cholesterol they are like over filled water balloons and would burst. However, cholesterol’s most important function is to supply material for steroids and hormones, which include; estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and more. Cholesterol also prevents the absorption of toxins through our skin and it prevents excessive water loss through the skin. And bones would become brittle without cholesterol. (Source

Cholesterol is a normal and important part of your anatomy. You need your cholesterol. It becomes diseased because there are unnatural inflammatory and oxidative pressures that are distorting it and causing it to be diseased.

Cholesterol isn’t the bad guy. It’s the oxidation and inflammation that are the bad guys.

And you don’t remove the part of your body that the bad guys are acting on.

The solution I use with my patients who have inflammation is to try and get their HDL to be as high as half of their triglycerides.

Dr, Sears has as a goal for his patients; an HDL number that is twice as high as their triglycerides. He says an optimal level for HDL is about 45. Triglycerides should be below 150. But he also says that if you can get your triglycerides to 100, and your HDL up to 50 that is also good.

He used four “secrets” To get his levels to where they are:

  • I ate a whole bunch of garlic….
  • I took 2 grams of niacin every day….
  • I took 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil a day….
  • I worked out with PACE®, ...

Here is where I think the Paleo diet fits right in. He recommends eating a low-glycemic diet Although  a low glycemic diet in not necessarily a Paleo diet, it can easily become so. Dr Sears recommends:

I have my patients stay away from carbs that come from grains, refined sugars and processed foods. I also have them avoid trans-fats, caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, which all increase insulin resistance.

Instead, I have them eat mostly protein from animals. Animal protein has zero effect on your blood sugar. It also raises your insulin sensitivity and lowers your triglyceride levels.

Sounds pretty much like a Paleo diet to me! So what you want to do is to prevent oxidation and inflammation. These are the two main reasons we get heart disease. Removing starchy carbohydrates, damaged fats and all refined sugars will prevent that from happening. I do question avoiding caffeine, since there have been studies done on the benefits of it. However he may be referring to patients who already have heart disease. If you don’t have heart disease, then coffee in moderation is probably okay, but you’ll have to find that out on your own. Dr. Sears has a nice glycemic index list which shows you which foods cause your blood sugar to go up.

Eating low-GI foods stabilizes your blood sugar. This makes your insulin work better, keeping your triglycerides low, and your HDL high. Read the whole article here…..

Having high cholesterol is not a bad thing, in fact I hope I have shown that it is beneficial and important. If we have a broken bone, we don’t remove the bone to fix the problem, we mend the bone. Trying to lower cholesterol is doing exactly that. It is like removing that broken bone. Eating a Paleo diet can be an important part of fixing diseased cholesterol. Any questions comments or observations would be welcomed!


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One Response to The Paleo Diet and High Cholesterol (it’s not what you think)

  1. andrew April 27, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Interesting article! The impact of food and digestion on a bodies restorative abilities is really amazing. The impact of these foods, and grains and refined foods in particular is alarming. Also reference:
    glycemic index chart