BSD Day 10 – Cholesterol

A few years ago I found out I had slightly raised cholersterol but, everything taken into account, it wasn’t going to do me much harm. However, I was fascinated because my diet seemed very healthy and, at the time, low fat. After much internet searching, I came across a study on raised cholesterol in people who drink coffee brewed without any filters. As a longtime cafetiere brewer who drinks at least two large mugs of coffee every day, I decided to start pouring my brewed coffee through a filter into my mug.

A few months later I had another blood test and got that dreaded call from the surgery to say the doctor wanted to speak to me. Amusingly, it was to find out how I’d managed to drop my cholesterol so dramatically, so I told her about the filters and I didn’t think about my cholersterol again.

That is, until a routine full blood count about 8 months ago for a completely unrelated reason revealedĀ  startlingly high cholesterol – way beyond what my previous highest level had been and high enough to get me an appointment with a lipids specialist at the local hospital. I have a feeling alarms rang and lights flashed when they entered my numbers into a computer.

So off I trotted to the hospital (almost literally; it’s a mile walk through the countryside from my house) for my appointment. First I got measured and weighed only to be told I was a whole centimeter taller than I’d spent the last 40 years saying I was. I promise I haven’t grown but I decided to go with it. Why argue?

Then, I spent a good half hour with a dietician who had apparently never met anyone so in tune with her diet. (Read: a little on the spectrum about keeping records. It’s a family thing, unlike cholesterol.) Anyway, after a quick run-through of my diet, we ended up talking about what her mum could do about her menopausal symptoms.

When I finally saw the consultant, she was a little bit taken aback at my high numbers with no family history of heart disease or high cholesterol. She also asked about my diet and I got to share my brilliant coffee story. I was very relieved to hear her say that she didn’t really want to start me on statins (I’d done some reading about women and statins) and was more interested to see what I could do via diet alone. Apparently, if you’ve been able to change your cholesterol levels with diet alone then you can’t have the familial problem, but I remained a bit of a mystery.

Even though my diet was very healthy, on reflection, I’d been completely taken in by the “high fat dairy is better than low fat dairy” argument. We’d also been eating very low carb and our protein (much of it meat-based) was higher than it needed to be. For the past seven months, we’ve halved the protein portions in our meals and I’ve gone back to eating low and non-fat dairy and getting my fat from olive oil and some nuts and seeds.

Tomorrow is my follow-up fasting lipids test so I’ll know in a couple of weeks what effect the diet has had. Stay tuned.

This may not seem Blood Sugar Diet related but it bangs on about full fat dairy being fine and theĀ  myth that low fat dairy has more sugar and carbs than high fat dairy is repeated frequently on the BSD800 website forum. I’ll blog about that when I get my blood test results.