SALLY-ANN CREED ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
‘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.