News

My Health Markers After 10 Years on a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet

Blood

I should have been dead a long time ago, according to some people. But I feel as healthy as ever.

In 2006 I started eating an LCHF diet – low carb and high fat. I’ve now been on it for ten years, so it was time for the big checkup.

What has happened to me during these years? Here are the results from my repeated blood work:

Background

I’m basically healthy. But as a 44-year old dad to two small children, with some sleep deprivation and little time for exercise, and who regularly works 60-hour weeks, this is probably the time when my health should start to fail.

If LCHF doesn’t save me.

I’ve eaten an LCHF diet for ten years, at times very strict, at other times less strict. Plenty of butter, eggs, meat and heavy cream – and vegetables.

For the last two years I’ve also done intermittent fasting, 16:8, on most weekdays (I skip breakfast). Very occasionally I also do one or two full days of fasting.

Results

Here’s a summary of my results.

Markers

The recent test results are in the colored columns. Numbers converted to US units to the right.

Comment

The wild rumors about how dangerous LCHF is long term don’t get validated in my blood work. After ten years on LCHF they are excellent, just as when I started. There simply aren’t any big changes during these years.

Many things are typical and the trends are also confirmed in studies on low-carb diets:

  • Low triglycerides (good)
  • Excellent HDL cholesterol levels
  • Nice ApoB/AI ratio
  • A low fasting blood sugar and a low HbA1c (good)
  • Very low insulin levels, measured as C-peptide (probably excellent)
  • Low IGF-1 levels (probably great)
  • A normal weight and a normal waist circumference
  • A low normal blood pressure (excellent)

To summarize, all problems associated with the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes usually improve on LCHF. Obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high insulin levels and dangerously abnormal cholesterol numbers (high triglycerides and low HDL).

My test results also show that the inflammatory level in my body – as measured CRP – is non-detectible on all test occasions.

With these results in mind the fantasy talk about long-term risks with LCHF doesn’t seem to be valid, at least not in my case. Perhaps you’ll have to put up with me for 50 more years.

Weight

I’ve kept my weight at a normal weight level effortlessly and without any calorie counting during these years. I’ve gone up and down a few pounds within the normal range.

During my experiment with a strict LCHF diet and ketone measuring, I lost 12 lbs./5 kg. They came back when I returned to liberal LCHF, but disappeared again when I added intermittent fasting.

My experience is that the latter is clearly the easier alternative. At least if you’re like me, and not that sensitive to carbohydrates. So I will continue with moderate or liberal LCHF with the addition of 16:8 on weekdays.

What Do You Think?

What has happened to your health markers on LCHF?

More

LCHF for Beginners

challenge_pic2

How to eat LCHF4.5 out of 5 stars5 stars71%4 stars14%3 stars8%2 stars3%1 star3%1095 ratings1,09511:18What is Fasting? – Dr. Jason Fung4.4 out of 5 stars5 stars68%4 stars14%3 stars8%2 stars2%1 star6%932 ratings93205:21

Previously

My Health Markers After Eight Years on LCHF

Great Cholesterol Numbers After 4 Years on an Ultra-Strict LCHF Diet

Low Carb Made Easy How to Lose Weight Low-Carb Recipes Low-Carb Success Stories

34 Comments

  1. Chris
    It's very pleasing and confidence building to have someone record their progress over an extended period. I applaud your work and vision.

    What measure of fiber would you consume on a daily basis on average? Do you eat any probiotic foods are take any probiotic supplements? Do you feel your diet is contributes sufficient fiber for your personal health?

  2. Diane
    Thanks for posting your numbers Andreas. Interestingly, they are very similar to mine since I have been following LCHF for about 5 years now - makes me think I am not doing too badly! :)

    One thing I will mention though is that I am part of a group on Facebook called Reversing Diabetes (using LCHF) and most of the people on this group are aiming to get and keep their HbA1c under 5% and prefer their fasting BG to be 80-90mg/dl or even lower. They consider that the targets set for normal blood sugar ranges are actually set too high and that having FBG over 95 mg/dl signals increased insulin resistance and the beginning of the process that leads to Type 2 diabetes.

    There is some research that shows that once your HbA1c goes over 5% your risk of heart disease begins to increase.

    There is also research that shows an increase in risk for dementia with fasting blood glucose that is at the high end of normal - greater than 95 mg/dl.

    Just wondering what you make of this. It i something that worries me as Alzheimer's disease runs in my family and so I am aiming to get my FBG and A1c as low as possible.

    Reply: #5
  3. Kamila
    Very nice numbers and nice trend. Thank you for all the work you put into this.
  4. bill
    Dr E:

    Do you think it's time to disconnect
    AuthorityNutrition from your Blog
    News?:

    https://authoritynutrition.com/what-is-spelt/?utm_source=feedburner&#...

    How does this post (and many others
    he has posted recently) further the goals
    of LCHF?

    Reply: #15
  5. BobM
    Diane, that's difficult to do. I've been on low carb for almost three years, with intermittent fasting (rarely eat breakfast, fast at least 24 hours one-multiple times per week, many 3+day fasts) for about the last year, and still have a hemoglobin A1c at 5.2 and "fasting" blood sugar not much below 100. And I eat LCHF except on rare occasions. I exercise 3 days per week, an hour of exercise per time. I often fast the entire day after exercise. I literally do not know what to do to get my blood sugar lower.

    I've had two tests where I fasted for 4.5 days before having the test done, and had fasting blood glucose of 63 and 74. However, my "normal" fasting results (a 12 hour fast) are in the mid to upper 90s.

    By the way, don't get your cholesterol tested after 4.5 days of fasting -- It's completely different from "normal" fasting. Check out these results, where 2/29 is after 12 hours of fasting and 3/4 is after 4.5 days of fasting:

    Date TC LDL HDL TGs Non HDL Chol
    mg/dL mg/dL mg/dL mg/dL mg/dL
    2/29/16 168 103 52 65 116
    3/4/16 188 121 36 157 152

  6. Diane
    I think those that have managed it are eating a very high fat, very low carb and very moderate protein ketogenic diet. Another person who is managing to get these low blood sugar levels is Steve Cooksey of http://www.diabetes-warrior.net/

    My own fasting BG varies from about 90 - 99 most of the time now and my HbA1c was 5.2. However, I am just not sure if these numbers are good enough to reduce the risk of early onset Alzheimer's. Perhaps though, keeping ketones high, insulin low and not having any blood sugar spikes may be protective.

    Reply: #7
  7. BobM
    I eat as much fat per day as I can, when I eat, and I eat as low carb as I can. I have, however, been adding potato starch and green plantains recently to my diet, though, to increase my resistant starch.

    I don't think anyone knows the answer to your questions. No one knows what causes Alzheimer's and no one knows whether reduction in blood glucose/HbA1c/insulin resistance will prevent that. The studies you are referencing are epidemiological, meaning they cannot prove causation. And there are no studies I can find that have had people go on low carb diets, reduce their blood glucose/HbA1c/insulin resistance, and follow them for enough years to determine what happens.

    And there are also studies out there indicating the opposite:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8463769

    In this study, people with Alzheimer's had LOWER blood sugar:

    "CONCLUSIONS:

    AD was clearly different to other dementia patients. They had lower blood pressure, blood glucose and higher prevalence of hypothyreosis than the healthy, age-matched population. These findings may indicate that AD could be a hypometabolic disorder."

    See this, too (though this is for diabetics with low blood sugar):

    https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/blood-sugar-trigger-dementia-diabetes/

    So, it's unclear to me that reducing blood sugar or HbA1c to very low levels will prevent Alzheimer's (or not cause any deleterious effects -- remember, without long term studies, one could be causing more harm by doing this).

  8. Bob Niland
    Thanks for posting the numbers. I daresay the majority of consensus practitioners would be too embarrassed to publish theirs. Some observations (as a healthcare non-professional):

    It's time to add some advanced lipoprotein lab numbers. We can actually measure LDL particles ("LDL-P") nowadays, so there's no need to rely on the ancient Friedewald approximation (that falls apart for LCHF anyway).

    The standard lipid panel is only about 50% useful. TC and LDL-C appear to be meaningless unless at extreme values. Of the useful lipid values, your HDL is trending adversely. TG could go lower.

    I would want Fasting BG below 90 mg/dL. What really matters, postprandial, or a series thereof, is not shown, and would be impractical to post for every meal anyway, so we rely instead on HbA1c, which is trending adversely. I concur with the earlier remark about using a 5.0% target (until we have better data on A1c vs. all-cause mortality in an LCHF context).

    TSH is in the TC & LDL-C rank: not terribly diagnostic - it's a pituitary test after all, and not an actual thyroid test. Anything over 1.5 mIU/L suggests that it would be worthwhile to get actual thyroid testing, including fT3, fT4, rT3 and TA. I don't know if those "T3" and "T4" numbers are free or total, so can't speculate on them.

    Are you traveling more now? Circadian disruption and the difficulty of finding safe human food on the road could be significant factors here, and explain what are otherwise close to excellent numbers.

  9. wendy
    Great numbers. Thanks for posting. Great to see long term effects. I've never had numbers done but getting conscious of it as I approach 40.
  10. meg
    Your current cholesterol is 26% HIGHER this year than when you started LCHF.

    Your triglycerides are 43% higher. Your HDL (Helathy) cholesterol is LOWER, but your LDL (Unhealthy) is nearly 50% HIGHER.

    Your fasting glucose is also higher than when you started LCHF, and at 97 you're still at the high end of normal. You're only 2 points below pre-diabetes.

    Although your labs are all still within the normal range, I would expect all those numbers to go down. Mine did when I was eating low-carb, although I wasn't eating high fat. My test results improved enough that I was taken off cholesterol medication completely.

    What your test results show is simply that your labs stayed within normal levels over a span of time, but that can also happen with a low-fat diet. You didn't show significant improvement in any areas, and some got worse.

  11. Sara
    I am fighting some of these issues too. I don't understand what your numbers mean. Please explain what is good and what is bad numbers. I also don't understand what some of the abrevations mean. Could you expain?
  12. Hanna
    For cholesterol, lower does not necessarily mean better. A cholesterol of 5.2 is still well within normal range and research shows that as people get older a higher cholesterol means a longer life. Cholesterol levels are not a result of fat in our diet. As for fasting glucose, these numbers can also be affected by cortisol, which is related to stress. Peter Attia discusses this with Chris Kresser in an interview and tells how poor sleep and stress can raise blood sugar levels. Having a young family can certainly do that. Dr. Jason Fung says HbA1c is more accurate.
    I believe Andreas was aiming to demonstrate not so much that his numbers had improved as that they had stayed within normal range over 10 years and that his LCHF had not caused the damage that critics predict. His C-peptide and C reactive Protein levels are excellent.
  13. Marion
    My husband and I have just started LCHF, 2 months, we are both feeling really good and have lost some weight. My husband had bloods done and his " bad " colesterol is 6.6, do we start panicking or do we continue
  14. Drachula
    The numbers don't prove association w heart disease. They may show increased fat availability for use by the body.
    See BobM's fascinating numbers that look "worse" after fasting for days.
    The important thing is long term effects and outcomes as these results are simply surrogate markers which may not be relevant to outcome.
    To look at the effects of LCHF we would need to follow lots of people over years, and look at disease burden all cause mortality.
    In the mean time I think the main thing is to stay healthy, do whatever it takes to keep at a healthy weight, LCHF if carb sensitive /insulin resistant, exercise enough and live the life you have!
  15. Steffan
    It might be a good idea to make him watch this presentation:
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/where-the-ancient-egyptians-healthy-while-b...
    It is imho one of the and maybe even the best presentation regarding grain consumption?
    Reply: #16
  16. bill
    That's right Steffan. Dr. E doesn't
    seem to get it lately. He seems
    to be focused on "excess sugar"
    and "refined carbohydrates."
    He doesn't answer whether he
    understands that a potato turns
    to glucose in the blood, as does
    wheat, processed or not.
    Reply: #17
  17. Steffan
    I was thinking that the poster of the article you linked to at Authority Nutrition should see it ;)
    I am pretty sure Dr. A E has seen the presentation?
  18. bill
    Oh, ambiguity. The devil's playground.
  19. taz
    I am sorry but I don't see an improving trend in these stats. You started out as a healthy 34 year old with good numbers, not overweight and no diabetes. 10 years later you have elevated cholesterol levels. This doesn't prove anything other than fat intake increases your cholesterol levels. Obviously you don't understand the complications of diabetes and obesity. Your knowledge is academic and not experiential. I've been on a strict low carb for the last 3 weeks and haven't lost a pound and blood sugar is slightly lower but still high. I am disappointed with LCHF. About 5 years ago, I became a vegetarian for a year and lost 70 lbs, I ate too much fruit and my BG when through the roof so I quit. I think I need to become a veg again and no fruit this time.
  20. Lisa Ann Homic
    These reference ranges are so different compared to the U.S. Docs here want cholesterol 200 or less. and triglycerides below 150.
  21. Bob
    What does "16:8" mean?
    Reply: #22
  22. It means that you are fasting 16 hours and have an 8 hour eating window. Some do it every day, others a few days of the week.

    What does "16:8" mean?

  23. Glenn G
    I won't bore you with too many numbers but my doctor has been banging on about my cholestetrol levels for years I am 56 years old & love to eat & drink beer. Here in NZ 5 was a good cholesterol figure & i was always around 7 with lots of LDL & no HCL. At one point after coming out of hospital after breaking my back ( another story ) it went to 9 so I went onto statins & managed to get it below 6 still lots of bad cholesterol & triglycerides. Then my doctor said there is only one way to find out & that is to get an MRI ( I think thats what it was ) anyways it measured the amount of calcification in & around the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The results came back & there was no detectable calcification at all to which he said that I was just a freak of nature & he advised me to stop taking the statins.
    As of January I started LCHF & three months later the results are as follows & my doctor was astounded
    High blood pressure now normal
    Cholesterol 4.5 low LDL high HDL Triglycerides normal
    Fatty liver gone
    Pre-diabetes gone
    Works for me, I eat as much fat as I can & still drink as much beer as I ever have & still lost 5kg
  24. Susan
    Perhaps I'm reading the chart (using the US metrics) wrong, but it appears your LDL has gone UP as your HDL has gone DOWN--although the numbers are still pretty good, isn't this the opposite of the expected result? Don't get me wrong, I totally am on board with LCHF but I'm surprised at the trend. FYI I'm a 57 year old woman, have basically been following this way of eating for 3 years but have fallen off the wagon a bit in the last 4 months (due to an increased social life and I love potatoes!) but my most recent lipid profile showed LDL around 80 (want it under 100 I believe), HDL 90 (want it over 50) and total cholesterol just a bit over 200, but I believe that's expected with a very high HDL. (Don't remember the exact numbers.) BTW Your website is great---Thank you for this wealth of information, including the links to studies in the literature to support your advice.
  25. June
    Just finished 8 weeks on Michael Molesey's 8 week Blood Sugar Diet. Ate a lot of butter, cheese, cream, olive oil and bulletproof coffees. Didn't bother doing blood tests before starting as I had some done mid Jan of this year. Total cholesterol has gone up from 199 mg/dl to 271 (recommended max 248). LDL up from 130 mg/dl to 210 (recommended max 190). All of these levels are giving me concern. On a positive note HDL up from 40 mg/dl to 44 in the middle of the recommended range and triglycerides down from 148 mg/dl to 85, again in the middle of the range. Glucose down from 95 mg/dl (top of the range) to 89.
    I can't get the LDLP particle test done in the country where I live and have never met anyone here in the medical profession who doesn't still think low fat high carb is healthy eating! I can pretty much predict what a cardiologist will tell me to do including start swallowing statins.
    Would appreciate any comments.
  26. Sue
    Diabetes UK have the low carb program on their website now - that should convince you if you read it!
  27. Sue
    I was disgnosed with Type2 Diabetes in Feb 2011 after years of trying to get my GP to take my symptoms seriously but was determined to manage diabetes by diet and exercise alone. I refused to take statins. Lost 2.5 stone by low fat low calorie diet and reduced HbA1c and cholesterol to safe levels but as soon as I eased up on diet weight went straight back on. 2014 and 2015 were bad years personally but over Christmas 2015 I took the family away where we could have an active break and ensured there was absolutely no sweet or starchy food in the house on my return. I cut out all sugar and cut down on carbs and moved on to the LCHF diet at mid Feb 2016 after reading Michael Mosely's BLOOD SUGAR DIET but at my blood test on March 1st 2016 my HbA1C was highest it had been 7.8% and cholesterol was up and I was told that I had to take blood glucose lowering drugs and statins but I told the diabetic nurse that I had already made the changes that guaranteed results but that the change in my HbA1c would not be seen in my blood tests for another 3 months. She was scathing in her criticism and disbelief. Despite extremely limited ability to exercise following breaking my foot in April, by June 2nd my HbA1c was 6.3% - at pre-diabetic level but my doctor refused to accept the evidence and questioned my previous high cholesterol values whilst refusing to allow a re-test . Finally got those done again and HDL up, tri glycerides down and Total: HDL at 3.5 whilst increase in LDL will be due to large fluffy molecules which is beneficial - consulted a diff GP who said I should not take statins and was doing really well as I was without any drugs. Have confidence - the medical profession have been taught the wrong strategies based on flawed studies for many years - this is explained in the video if you sign up for the free low carb program emails and links on Diabetes UK website. It takes at least 3 months for improved HbA1C to show up in blood test as glucose tolerance/insulin resistance change and longer for cholesterol changes. On the website f you can find ways of eating less carbohydrate and more healthy full fat with dozens of different fruit,vegetables, nuts and seeds every week and you will succeed and see results. Good luck.
  28. gbl
    My last cholesteral test four months ago was 11. something mmol. I haven't bothered to care about this for ages anyway and only comply with demands for testing if I'm bored and can look forward to being amused by torturing the doctors. I don't have cardiovascular disease (or TD2). My HDL is high and my triglycerides very low. I can't just demand, here, that it be tested again since I am eating low carb, so I have no idea if it's worse or better since adopting relatively low carb.
  29. Cindi
    My cholesterol doubled, but I don't view that as a bad thing (new paradigm, it's only bad if it's oxidized.) My HDL went from 75 to 114. Trilycerides down. Went from a Pattern A/B on particle size to a Pattern A (larger particles which is good.) Fasting glucose runs between 74 and 80. Big drop in HbA1C. My family has a lot of heart disease and high lp(a) so I watch these things. I don't do actual ketonogenic diet, just eat lots of fats and few carbs.
  30. Christine Pielenz
    I've been on LCHF for two years now due to diagnosis of pre-diabetes. My LDL-D and LDL-P almost immediately exploded to heretofore unknown heights. Everything else cholesterol improved. So I switched away from animal based fats to vegetarian fats (olive oil and avocados, nuts etc) 1.5 years ago and I'm eating ca 7oz lean meat per day, but the numbers have hardly budged. I have a BMI of 18, so weight isn't an issue. The LDL is of considerable concern to me. My doctor feels statins aren't necessary right now, since a CIMT test done 6 months ago was fine. But still... will the numbers ever come down or is this the wrong diet for me? My blood sugar is normal now, which is one reason why I'd like to stay on LCHF.
  31. Anurag
    I read a news that such a diet in children may lead to damage of brain in Children. Would like to get your view on this topic
    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20161116/High-fat-diet-may-have-nega...
    http://www.thelocal.ch/20161116/swiss-study-finds-junk-food-damages-c...
  32. Jennifer
    There's a mismatch on the US conversion chart, and I'm basing this on my own test results from 12/2016. Cholesterol range should be 100-199, at 201 (above) I know my doctor would tell me it needs to drop more - it's definitely better than my most recent range; but I can hear him telling me to keep losing weight. Triglycerides, the range for that is 10-150 mg/dL so the range is way off on what's shown above. HDL should be between 40-59 mg/dL, LDL should be between 0-130 mg/dL and Cholesterol/HDL between 3.5-5.0. Also, fasting glucose should be between 70-105. I don't know why there's a difference between what's posted above vs my own personal report, but I thought it might be important to point out. Perhaps the US recently changed their ranges? Either way, I'm hoping that by starting this diet it will show improvements in my own blood tests, which I'm due to retake in June 2017.
  33. Gentiann
    I think the numbers on the so-called US chart on the right are the literal translation of the numbers on the left, which is the European norm that may differ from the US norm.... there are differences between countries in the levels considered healthy.
  34. Flo
    Thank you Andreas for sharing your information. I will be happy to continue with LCHF now. I have developed a ?gout type problem in my hand and was concerned about what to do next. Your article has helped me much.
    Flo

Leave a Reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts