‘Have you ever heard of somone’s uric acid go­ing up when they go into ke­to­sis?’


Q: When I started LCHF my blood glu­cose read­ings dropped by al­most half but my LDL choles­terol shot up. Should I be wor­ried?

A: It is nor­mal for a lot of peo­ple, and noth­ing to worry about. Well done on drop­ping your blood glu­cose the way you have! But when the body loses a lot of weight, es­pe­cially rapidly, a lot of body fat (called adi­pose tis­sue) is then mo­bilised and ‘burned up’ as en­ergy. In the process, it will ar­ti­fi­cially raise LDL lev­els for the pe­riod of time that you are los­ing weight. My rec­om­men­da­tion is to ig­nore this read­ing un­til 3-6 months after reach­ing your goal weight.

At the other end of the spec­trum, some­thing of­ten over­looked due to the panic at the raised LDL, your HDL also goes up – by around 10-15%. This is great news! HDL is usu­ally called the ‘good choles­terol’, but know that ALL choles­terol is good: LDL and HDL sim­ply carry out dif­fer­ent func­tions; they are not re­spon­si­ble for heart dis­ease. Choles­terol which is ox­i­dised (‘rusty’) is a prob­lem if you have in­flamed ar­ter­ies. Then, if the par­ti­cle size is too small, it is able to mi­grate un­der the en­dothe­lium and cause a nar­row­ing of the ar­ter­ies. It’s al­ways the par­ti­cle size that mat­ters, not the read­ing! So if you have a higher HDL than triglyc­erides (an­other blood read­ing you need to get), you will know that you have the larger, ‘fluffier’ and safe par­ti­cle-size LDL that can­not mi­grate un­der the en­dothe­lium. The take­home mes­sage is that on an LCHF diet it doesn’t make any dif­fer­ence if your LDL goes up, as long as you don’t have the small, dense LDL par­ti­cles that arise from poor di­etary prac­tice. When it comes to LDL, size is what mat­ters.

Q: Have you ever heard of some­one’s uric acid go­ing up when they go into ke­to­sis?

A: Yes, it hap­pens some­times. It’s one of the rea­sons I never rec­om­mend that you go from a ‘su­per­mar­ket diet’ straight into ke­to­sis. If you’ve been do­ing LCHF for some time and want to try ke­to­sis, fine – but don’t leap straight into it, as it can be very stress­ful on the body. Uric acid lev­els in the body gen­er­ally dou­ble in the first week of a ke­to­genic diet (or when you fast) be­cause uric acid and ke­tones com­pete with one an­other for ex­cre­tion by the kid­neys in the adap­ta­tion stage. This is why peo­ple who go into ke­to­sis some­times de­velop kid­ney stones or ex­pe­ri­ence a gout at­tack. It’s not the LCHF diet; it’s just a process of clear­ance and ex­cre­tion of some­thing that was al­ready there. Over a few months the uric acid lev­els will re­turn to nor­mal. If you suf­fer from gout, don’t try to go into ke­to­sis right away. And when you do, go easy on or­gan meats in the be­gin­ning as they are higher in uric acid pre­cur­sors. In time, things will nor­malise and you can en­joy more of these foods.

Q: What is wrong with hav­ing veg­etable oils like sun­flower, canola and other seed oils?

A: We ad­vise against seed oils be­cause they

are un­sta­ble, in­flam­ma­tory oils. They’ve been heav­ily pro­cessed by man, ma­chin­ery and of­ten, un­healthy chem­i­cals. Oils like mar­garine, soy­bean oil, cot­ton­seed oil, peanut oil, grape­seed oil, flaxseed oil and hempseed oil all have one thing in com­mon: they are very high in omega-6, which is in­flam­ma­tory – even those that boast they have higher-than-usual omega-3 present (like flaxseed and hempseed oil) ac­tu­ally con­tain an in­flam­ma­tory ver­sion of omega-3 called ALA, which is not ef­fi­ciently con­verted to the anti-in­flam­ma­tory form of omega-3 – DHA and EPA – found in fatty fish and fish oils.

Be­lieve it or not, your body doesn’t like polyun­sat­u­rated fats – it wants to burn sat­u­rated and mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat. ‘Veg­etable’ oils, which all these seed oils fall un­der, are all polyun­sat­u­rated. While omega-6 is an es­sen­tial fatty acid, we get more than enough of it from nuts, seeds and all our other food – it’s best to steer clear of adul­ter­ated oils which are so un­sta­ble that they go ran­cid very quickly and cause dam­age to our cell mem­branes. Ideally, we want a ra­tio of 1:1 or 1:2 omega-6 to omega-3, but the su­per­mar­ket diet and the way that many peo­ple live to­day will give you a ra­tio of about 20:1, or even up to 50:1. This is how dis­ease starts and quickly pro­gresses.

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