THIS is why science is important. The whole "eat less" or "eat less fat" or "exercise more" or "" needs to stop. There is actual science behind our bodies and how they work, but so many people are just looking for the quick answer. Empty your cup, forget what you know, and look at what the science tells you. That include doctors as well, they need to get back to science and rely less on what they were taught in medical school 50 years ago.
My father just had two stents put into one artery - it was 99 percent blocked and 50 percent blocked in another area. He is in his 70s, and has always been in pretty good health. I asked him to find out what his cholesterol levels were from the tests, and they were exactly what I expected - they were great. Just as they had been his whole life.
For four years now I have been following a paleo/primal diet. I have never felt better! I lost some weight and haven't even had to think about it since. That wasn't my goal, as I was about 173 at the time, I am right at 160 now, and have dipped to 155. I have learned so much about cholesterol, fat, and diet even though I thought I knew a lot before. I've read books by Mark Sisson, Gary Taubes, and some others, as well as articles/talks by Dr. Peter Attia. Attia had some really in-depth blog posts on cholesterol that were very enlightening, and his vimeo video on the limits of scientific evidence is really great. The other thing to be aware of around artery "hardening" is with oxidation. It's not really cholesterol clogging your arteries, it's is more like your arterial walls thickening, oxidizing and lesioning, and your body repairing them. So not clogging, more like spackling. :)
My diet has essentially been no calorie restrictions at all, but no grains (included corn) or grain based products (including oils, and beer), extremely low sugar, low carb, no legumes or legume products (soybean/peanuts), and high saturated fat. The only thing in my bloodwork that didn't improve drastically was my cholesterol. It is still high. However, what I've learned is that isn't a bad thing! My father has always had low cholesterol, and my mother's is high. After his near miss this year, my mother got a battery of tests too - she has no significant blockages, with her cholesterol nearing and sometimes over 300! They've tried to put her on meds, but they make her ill.
A couple of years ago I tracked what I ate for a week. Daily I was 2258 calories, 54 grams carbs (18 were sugars), and 186 grams of fat.
I have wanted to write down all of my experiences with this over the last few years. I know that this is all heresay and circumstantial, but to ME it's relevant and real. Here are some of the benefits I had:
- no nagging joint pain (less inflammation)
- skin was better (same)
- no bloating or tired feeling after eating - EVER
- no craving for sweets or that "blood sugar" high
- my teeth are better - I still brush and floss, but my semi-annual cleaning takes about 10 minutes.
- better lung capacity
-- there is a story here that I still find hard to believe. At the time I started this, we had a swimming pool (I lived in AZ). Every year when I first got in the pool in the spring, I would attempt to swim down and back under water. I could usually do it, but sometimes not. I started this diet in November, and when it got to May/June it was time to go swimming again. I went down, and back... and wasn't even wanting for air, so I went DOWN again. So 50% better than I had ever done before. And when I came up, I wasn't gasping either. I was baffled, and still am quite frankly. I think it has to do with less inflammation, and that my body overall is just more efficient because it's fighting less and less against what grains/carbs do you our bodies.
It's really about health. I had to break my body's physical addiction to the blood sugar roller coaster. Once that was done (about 3 weeks) it's effortless, and I am healthier for it. I am in my upper 40s, and have a 32" waist. I didn't consider myself unhealthy before, but I can feel a difference and it's all better.