Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Body › Medical conditions and fasting › Cholesterol WORSE after 9 months 5:2?
This topic contains 74 replies, has 36 voices, and was last updated by bigbooty 6 months, 2 weeks ago.
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7 Oct 14
Pattience “What is the difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats?”
The difference is major…steel cut oats take quite a while to cook, are way less refined and have a much lower GI…try googling…you can get them in health food stores.
For people with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, they are a much better choice.
Nothing to worry about – I took this combination of Simvastatin and Ezetimibe for years. Simva is one of the oldest statins on the market and among the best tolerated ones. 20mg is a low dosage.
I’m taking now Atorvastatin and Ezetimibe since I needed a higher dosage and Atorvastatin is more powerful in lowering LDL.
But even that never got me that low like fasting and lowCarb has managed it!
@ Pat: rolled oats are softened with steam so much better available carbs.
The insulin response can be measured; it’s hardly connected with hunger or appetite. insulin goes up if sugar load of the blood rises and needs to be stored or used somewhere.
Stuff with a lox glyx cause a lower and slower response of the insulin system that others.
And you’ll find at leat my story under
My cholesterol a family heritage and not weight-affected.
I gotta say trying to find a list that actually shows the difference in GI is not so simple. Every link i open up has everything else but the numbers. I was dubious about there being any difference because they look almost exactly alike but i’ll take your word for it if there is a difference. One doesn’t see steel cut oats where i live. Perhaps you have to go to a health food shop.
So the insulin response, are you taking measurements after you eat on a regular basis? Is that how you know? That’s what i was getting at. Otherwise how you know when its happening if its not a blood test or similar? Do you have any actual subjective experience of it or do you simply measure your blood glucose. That’s what i was asking because to my ear, the way you all speak of it, its as if you are having a direct physical experience that you are aware of.
Well, I know the difference between rolled oats and stee cut oats because I have taken my blood glucose reading after eating rolled oats (high blood glucose for me) and steel cut oats (no peak in my blood glucose level).
How I know about my insulin responses is I have had them tested and they are not the same as blood glucose…different and more expensive tests…I have joined several diabetes research studies and I have had sophisticated onitoring as part of those studies. One on Tai Chi and diabetes, one on resistance training and diabetes, one on eggs and diabetes (I ate two eggs a day five days a week for a year for that one, results due out in the next few months I think). I also track my own diabetes status with insulin tests every now and then.
People with insulin resistance have stronger insulin responses than healthy people without insulin resistance…often have a strong insulin response after eating simple carbohydrates which makes them feel extremely hungry and they want to eat more carbohydrates, then they gain weight etc etc.
Perhaps it is not something that affects you.
I haven’t read the whole thread, so perhaps am on the wrong track. However, regarding steel cut oats…they have been recommended as an alternative for those with diabetes type 2 for years, I first read about them in a book by Atkins in the nineties and went looking for them.
They are the same consistency as bulgur wheat, small, hard. To cook takes about thirty minutes simmering unless you soak them overnight first. They contain a lot more fibre than rolled oats, are a lot less refined.
Re cholesterol…if you are worried about your heart, have a calcium cardiac score done and that is way more predictive of heart problems than cholesterol is, plus your families history and genetics.
I had a cardiac calcium score of zero, therefore am not tracking my cholesterol and fend off any well intentioned suggestions to medicate to reduce them. I regard it as a furfy by the pharmaceutical companies, unless you are male and have already had a heart attack. I have a brilliant cardiologist who studied with Atkins way back who told me to disregard the cholesterol numbers, because he said, “they are just numbers and you have no risk factors”.
The reason I am not wanting to go near statins is the large percentage of fat in the brain. Don’t want any pharma messing with my brain…I need it intact! 🙂
8 Oct 14
Thanks so much Matrika. I know it took some effort but that is the sort of thing i really like to read.
My father takes statins and i really don’t believe he needs to. He watched the show which outed them but like many patients here, the doctors have advised most patients to disregard all that and keep on with the meds. I believe my father is at a very low risk of heart disease. And his cholesterol has been low for ages too. But its good to know what test one needs to get done to know about that.
As regards insulin, for years i ate tons of sugar and i don’t really know if i have any insulin resistance issues. I can’t stop eating sugar once i start, unless its unavailable or there are social restraints. But i suspect for me that its more down to some neural pathway stuff to do with dopamine which i have read about but can’t regurgitate so well. I don’t have a major appetite response to eating pasta or bread or rice but i have read about many people who do so i guess they have insulin resistance and i don’t but i don’t really know. And i don’t have an apple shaped figure though i did develop a rather gross and horrifying frontal bulge in recent years. But now that’s all gone so i guess i don’t really have much to worry about if i can keep it off.
Of course with the sugar, i put on weight very rapidly because i eat a lot of it when i eat it and don’t eat much of anything else.
When i was eating a lot of sugar, i also ate a great deal of saturated fat because i was eating ice-cream and chocolate in bulk as well as lots of milk with cereal, though mostly oats. (we don’t call it oatmeal, we say porridge in Australia or muesli.) I rarely ate those sugary cereals that Americans seem addicted to. Although Atkins and others have convincingly written about how saturated fat is not the health risk we’ve been lead to believe for so many years, when its combined with so many calories, i think it probably still is a problem and it may indeed have had affects on my cardiac health but i can’t know unless i get myself tested. The studies they do, don’t seem to reflect what people do in real life. They seem to be necessarily too reductive to give me much confidence in the results.
But anyway, i am definitey, not giving up my full cream dairy any time soon. Just the sugar.
31 May 15
I have found the above exchanges to be very informative and psychologically of great reassurance for one who has just undergone a 20 week fasting diet reducing from 115kg to my target 100kg, I am now in the position of maintaining my target weight. My post weight loss Cholesterol levels have been a great source of angst.
Pre weight loss (115kg) (58 year old male, non smoker, healthy blood pressure, low level of excercise)
Cholesterol 6.1 mmol/L
Triglyceride 1.7 mmol/L
HDL 1.4 mmol/L
LDL 3.9 mmol/L
Post weight loss (100kg) Diet only no additional exercise over period
Cholesterol 6.9 mmol/L
Triglyceride 2.4 mmol/L
HDL 1.2 mmol/L
LDL 4.6 mmol/L
My diet over 17 weeks to lose the 15 kg has comprised a daily fast limiting food intake until after 6pm every evening, just a couple of black coffees during the day and water (some people call it the Ramadan diet). Evening meal no different to pre diet, but with an “attempt” to eat less. After meals similarly an “attempt” to reduce snacking. I say attempt on both of these as psychologically dieting is a major mental challenge and when you have a craving for something best give in and have it – but law of averages is that if you are continually aware of the need to be frugal on snacking and portion size – the battle to lose weight over time will prevail.
To get to my target weight, from weeks 15 to 17, as weight loss was not moving down as I wanted, I incorporated the 5:2 diet to the above which basically meant skipping a whole evening meal and snacks thereafter for one night a week. So from 9pm on a Tuesday evening I ate nothing until 6pm on a Thursday evening. Effectively 2 days with no sustenance which for me complies with the 5:2 concept.
I fully understand that dieting is very personal and a challenge to each individual, for me I tried to restrict my food intake to 500 calories/day on fast days but that was extremely hard as once you opened the flood gates to accept food very difficult to then limit the intake. Like taking the dog bowl away from a famished dog. Mentally eating nothing is far easier for me to control even though people around you may be eating – it is doable and like you feel good just like those who do exercise feel good after doing it. When in Ketosis it suppresses appetite.
The boost of 5:2 has worked very well for me as I am now progressively relaxing my diet, on weekends I have removed restrictions on what I can eat which is great. I suppose the advantage I have had to maintain my “Ramadan diet” is that I work weekdays and I am therefore distracted away from thinking of food so it has not been a burden for me – weekends has been harder admittedly when you are not occupied. Trick is then to do gardening odd jobs etc to distract – getting that much needed exercise also.
I have done many diets over the last 20 years with my weight yoyoing, the ones combined with exercise required more will power to do the 1 hr walks each day, but also I found caused erratic movements in weight if you failed to do your exercise for a few days weeks, as muscle converted to fat etc. I found the fasting diet alone above far more constant (less erractic) in the circa 1kg a week weight loss. Yes there would be variations of a 1kg to 1.5kg a week on trend – some weeks you show no weight loss or small gain – but then a much larger loss the next – probably to do with water retention, exercise. best to take your weight weekly on same day and not every day.
Coming back to Cholesterol having read the email chain above, whilst initially alarmed and dumb founded at my cholesterol results, how on earth my cholesterol readings could have got worse after losing 15kg, feeling so much better etc…. I am no longer alarmed at the significant increase in bad cholesterol and reduction in good cholesterol as I took the last blood test after my fast day. My aim now is to stabilise over the next 2 months and then take the blood test after a stabilised day where I have not been through ketosis, which should be better as my body must aclimatise to a new benchmark. If not I will have to consider statins as I do take the cholesterol readings seriously – I have used statins in the past at very low dosages and worked a treat – but I was overweight then and not feeling healthy. Fact is that I now feel very much more healthy, can walk up hills not feeling out of breath etc (having done no extra exercise than a normal sedentiary lifestyle), so the fact that a cholesterol test is raising the alarms, I will address but not in a knee jerk way. Fact is I have got to my goal – there just needs to be some work done on fine tuning – possibly cholesterol reducing foods such as rolled oats, flora proactive – which has worked well for me in the past.
I will keep this site posted on the results.
I would be interested in others views on my journey above.
23 Jul 15
To ‘Eat Less Food’, I am still in the process of analyzing the results to get the full picture, but my experience so far has been very similar to yours. I started at 110 kg and am now just under 100 kg after about six months. I had hoped that my cholesterol levels would have decreased, but in fact they have risen, from 5.8 mmol/L in March to just over 7 mmol/L now. I do not yet have the recent HDL/LDL figures, and my reading of the literature suggests that the HDL/LDL ratio is a more valuable diagnostic than mere overall cholesterol levels.
My GP has responded by prescribing 20 mg/D Atorvastatin, but I am concerned that this was done without taking the possible effects of 5:2 fully into account. What those effects are seems to be controversial and variable, but I suspect that an accurate diagnosis of the need/value of statins depends on the patient not being in a dynamic weight situation. I have never taken statins and, after reading the warning notes with the drug, am even less inclined to now, but I do not feel that I yet have the full picture. I will report back here when I do.
I would get down to a healthy weight range eating healthy foods before considering the statins. Of course i’im not a doctor. But i can see with my father who takes statins that he is unable to make muscle despite what he does in the gym. I myself would not be tempted to take statins unless my heart health was assessed and shown to be bad.
I don’t think my father should be taking statins but he started a number of years ago simply becuase his cholesterol was high. And he was a bit overweight at the time. His cholesterol has been good for a while and his weight is now pretty good but he’s still taking the tablets. It bothers me. I think its undermining his health.
You can get your cholesterol down by not overeating. Beans are also said to be good cholesterol reducing food.
Picking up on Patti’s comment
re: foods to reduce cholesterol, you might be interested in the following:
24 Jul 15
I’ve now got more detailed results to go with my post of yesterday. Although my total blood cholesterol level has risen from 5.8 mmol/L in March (about seven weeks into 5:2) to 7.0 now (26 weeks into 5:2), my total/HDL ratio (the better predictive indicator?) has dropped, from 4.72 to 4.49, caused mainly by an increase in (‘good’) HDL from 1.23 mmol/L to 1.56 mmol/L. Put another way, it’s moved 32% of the way towards a ‘good’ ratio of 4.0.
Interpreting these figures in the light of the physiological dynamics promoted by 5:2 is hard, and I now have to decide whether to go along with my GP’s wish to start Atorvastin. I am trying to resist the wicked idea of secretly taking 2 grams of plant sterols/day plus lots of beetroot instead, just to see what the results are.
On QRISK2-2015 my current risk of a CVA in the next 10 years is 18.9%. That is below the old NICE threshold for the prescription of statins (20%), but well above the new NICE (possible unachievable) guideline of 10% – how can *anyone* aged 66 have only a 10% risk of CVA?. My weight loss so far on 5:2 has brought the risk down from 19.2%, and if I make my desired target weight of around 80 kg next year, it will be 17.2%. However, the biggest single factor that appears to affect the QRISK score is whether or not one is on blood pressure medication. I currently am, but with further weight loss may no longer need it. QRISK also requires a systolic blood pressure, but my experience is that this is *highly* variable over the course of a day.
QRISK2-2015 is here if anyone wants to depress themselves with it: http://www.qrisk.org/index.php.
After 10 months and 10 kg lost on 5:2, mine’s worse too.
Scraping by on the hdl (good):ldl (bad) ratio but that’s all.
I was previously on “BergaMet” which helped my levels well but I stopped bc of cost and bc 5:2 was supposed to lower my cholesterol. Hasn’t one bit.
Puzzled and disappointed.
Prob need to go back on $45/month BergaMet 🙁
25 Jul 15
Not here to give advice, and everyone is different. A few years ago my cholesterol was at 6.1 total, more HDL than LDL though.
For other reasons, I stopped shallow frying in oil and started using butter instead. Better for flavour, and don’t use as much. My cholesterol dropped to 4.8, but I don’t know the breakdown as the doctor only gave it over the phone. It may be worth trying, if it is practicable.
I haven’t been on the 5 2 long enough to see the effect. Well, I have, but it means appointments, blood tests etc.
To Serena, I eat hardly any fried food, and if I do I use rapeseed or olive oil. I switched from the vile and costly Benecol spread to butter several years back, but I don’t eat much of that either. Nor a lot of dairy. But thanks for taking an interest.
This statin decision is a pig.
I don’t know what your diet currently consists of, but the link I posted suggests that dietary changes can be as effective as statins. I know which I’d prefer.
HappyNow, you are right. I have to admit that I managed to read the article you posted while completely missing the data on Michael’s results in the sidebar. They are highly significant, and, as the article points out, comparable to statins. I will definitely give this a try before resorting to statins. Thanks.
Funnily enough, I have both oats and almonds in store, from making biscotti and oat and cranberry cookies. I might work up a ‘daily dose’ biscuit 😉
As an aside, I note that the explanatory leaflet that came with the Atorvastin tablets says ‘Your doctor will have put you on a low-cholesterol diet’. This raises two issue in my mind. Firstly, he hasn’t – diet has never been discussed – and secondly, if he had, how would one know whether any positive results obtained were due to the statins rather than to the diet?
Just as another aside, this deal with fast days too: 60 grams of almonds and five oatcakes is about 570 kcals!
20 Aug 15
I’ve been using Michael Moseley’s suggested ‘diet’ of 2,000 mg sterols (Benecol), 75 grams oats and 60 grams almonds for only three weeks (significant results are usually expected to take a few months).
Here’s what happened:
Date HDL (‘good’) LDL (‘bad’) Overall level HDL/total ratio
9/7/15 1.56 5.4 7.0 4.5
17/8/15 1.56 4.7 6.3 4.0
According to NHS data, overall level should be 5.0 or lower, LDL should be 3.0 or lower, HDL should be above 1.0, and HDL:total ratio (the most significant clinical predictor) should be below 4.0. My ratio has come down from 4.5 to 4, while the ‘bad’ cholesterol has also reduced significantly.
Put another way, my HDL/total ratio is now better than it’s ever been with this GP practise, which I joined in Sept 2012.
Now to decide the way forward…
22 Aug 15
If you don’t like the thought of statins or have had bad side effects, there are alternatives. I am currently taking fenofibrate (trade name Lipidil) to reduce my cholesterol which went up to 6.8 after I stopped taking statins (with doctor’s approval after starting the 5:2 diet). He said that it is probably genetic and that I need to take something (my Mum died from a heart attack at age 64). The reason I stopped taking statins was the horrendous pain that started waking me up in the middle of every night, just below my shoulder. I thought I had pulled a muscle at the gym and although there was a small tear it wasn’t thought to be serious enough to be the cause. A steroid injection didn’t help either. I went to the UK in August 2013 and my brother in law said that muscle pain was a known side effect so I stopped taking the statins while I was there. Within a week or so, the pain eased as did the heartburn I had been suffering from and was taking Pariet for. Since stopping the statins I have never had to take the Pariet again. When my cholesterol went up I was determined not to go back on the statins and the alternative has reduced my total cholesterol to 5.2, which I am happy with. Even though the 5:2 diet didn’t help my cholesterol, it has helped in gradual weight loss. I am full of energy now, even on fast days and I am now around 13kg lighter with only 3 to go.
26 Dec 15
I had elevated cholesterol levels for the 13 years or so that I had been having tests. Not high enough to require medication, although as I got older my doctor started to raise this as the solution. I wasn’t over-weight, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink too much, ate pretty well and didn’t have high blood pressure, and was very fit, so was always able to talk the doc out of it. I would then go home to work out a strategy to reduce my cholesterol. That was the problem – I already exercised heavily, ate porridge (oats) most days, ate plenty of fish, and generally avoided high fat or high sugar foods. I didn’t like butter or margarine so using a statin spread didn’t make sense to me. I tried the statin rich milk but don’t know if that made a difference. I started the 5:2 in March 2015, and had my annual check-up and blood tests at the start of December – wow! My good cholesterol increased by 33%, my bad decreased by ~15%, and my overall ratio was 25% lower than the previous year and between 25 and 30% lower than any previous recording over the past 13 years. Maybe it’s an anomaly – I don’t know, but it’s enough for me to stay on the 5:2 for the next 12 months until my next test at least. In addition to the cholesterol benefits, I have higher energy levels, have lost weight and cm’s, and generally feel better. My attitude to food and eating has also changed for the better. I am not fixated on 3 meals a day like I previously was and generally eat less even on the days I can eat what I want. Very happy with this lifestyle change.
27 Dec 15
Excellent result for you, Steve – anomaly or not 🙂
26 Jan 16
Im not he medically trained so consult your Dr and ask him/her about this first. From what I have read better markers for cardio problems are LDL-P (the number of LDLs rather than the “cargo” they carry which is cholesterol) and hs-CRP (an inflammation marker). So get your doc to use more current tests rather than simply getting total cholesterol.
4 Feb 16
Four years ago, at the age of 67, I had my cholesterol checked as part of a routine medical. It was 6.2 and I was offered statins, which I declined. I was given a 20% chance of a heart attack in the next ten years. I did the same medical in December, now 71yrs. Cholesterol is down to 5.6, blood sugar is 5. My Doc knows I don’t want statins, knows I have been doing 5:2 and taking exercise and that I have lost 37 lbs between medicals. I intend to lose another 10 lbs this year. He is happy with this approach and didn’t push statins. Lighter and fitter I may be, but my chance of a heart attack in the next 10 years has gone up to 23% – can’t beat old age.
Last week I had surgery for colon cancer. Out of hospital very quickly with favourable comments on general fitness and a clean bill of health. A lifetime of hard physical exercise before 5:2 never took the weight off, I was one of the fit fat. A combination of exercise and 5:2 has worked. My next stage, when the recent surgery permits, is to move from the traditional approach of “lots of sustained hard exercise” to HIT. I am sitting with a copy of “Fast Exercise”
6 Sep 18
I am new to the 5:2 diet and often read different threads. This one about cholestrol really interests me as mine is above 10. This is the whole reason I am doing the 5:2 as I am also alergic to statins.
For the next year I am expecting my cholestrol to get worse for two reasons.
The first reason is thst I am forcing my body to raid my fat stores which I assume will at some point be transported off via the blood stream to get burnt. If this is the case then it stands to reason that they will be more fat in my blood whilst this process continues.
My second reason is the dilution factor. Surely if you lost 15% of your total body mass but your cholesterol when up by 5% then it stands to reason you levels are lower by volume/mass. By this I mean if you suddenly put the 15% body mass back on and cholesterol rose only by 5% then it would be less that the original amount.
Would be interested on anyones thoughts on this.
Your cholesterol level is not a percentage of your weight or the amount of body fat you have but a measure of how much is present per ml of blood.
@Bibbyite. I think you are confusing cholesterol and triglycerides (fat). Most of the cholesterol is produced by your liver (some is eaten). LDL is usually referred to as the bad cholesterol and HDL the good cholesterol. Its a lot more complicated than that however. Certain foods can reduce your cholesterol such as beans and nuts. So eat these foods. You may see a small increase in cholesterol levels as you lose weight but that should improve as your weight comes down. Your cholesterol is not measured against your body weight. Its measured as mmol/L or mg/dL (per unit blood, not body weight).
Get onto youtube and watch videos by Ken Sikaris if you want to understand the topic better.
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