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 – in other words a keto diet. 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

Low carb for beginners

challenge_pic2

How to eat LCHF
What is Fasting? – Dr. Jason Fung

Cholesterol

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62 comments

  1. Mark Littlewood
    Here is what happened to me. Five years ago I dropped all processed sugars and simple carbs. Bread went as did pasta I also dropped meat although I never ate that much only chicken. Fish stayed in and I thought at first that was lowish carb but realise, without knowing the factions, that its nil simple carbs but as I eat things like rice, plantain, yams and cassave and mono and some poly fats eg Omega 3. My weight dropped from 14st to 11st 7lbs in about 2 to 3 months. My LDL went from 3.9 to 3.0. HDL stayed about the same at 1.8, trigs were always low below 0.9. CRP was low although I never measured it before the diet change. I did however manage to find some achilles heels in the form of Homocysteine and T3 (thyroid test). Homocysteine came in at 21! but with B12 and Folate its now 9.
    T3 was at 51 below the low end of OK range at 61. With Sea Iodine it is now 71.

    Some experimentation with foods for breakfast has revealed that I work fine on a bowl of rice (blood sugar 83) but surprisingly oats put me at around 110

    The problem I have with LCHF is that I cannot find any real long term studies of people on such a diet. All the long living groups of people or Blue Zones do not live on a high fat diet

  2. 1 comment removed
  3. Pamela
    Melissa, Dr. Sarah Hallberg did a talk on this. I couldn't find the video on DietDoctor, so maybe it's on YouTube. You are right, LCHF is not for everyone. For some it makes their health worse and even increases their risk for type 2 diabetes. She was talking to healthcare people, saying this is a fact for 1-2% of the population and we need to find out why. She was very clear that, at this point, no one knows why.
    Something I am enjoying with the LCHF community is that, for the most part, there is an understanding that every person's body is different. We need to play around to find the best way of eating for us individually. I am doing well with LCHF. I hope we who are helped by it respect and support those who aren't.
  4. Ani703
    Hi. I'm curious. Did you see any impact of LCHF diet on your Lp(a) levels?
  5. Karen
    This may be a dumb question, but I’m using the Carb Manager App to record my intake of carbs( 20 or less), protein and fat. Your program doesn’t seem to recommend how much or little protein we should have. Where can I get this answered??
  6. 1 comment removed
  7. Shelly toly
    Help I have done keto for over a month with some intermittent fasting 16-8 and my LDL has doubled . I have lost about 6-7 lbs ( I could potentially lose 5 more pounds but really am not needing to loose more weight) and feel good but now am worried and feel like I need to stop the fats to get my blood work healthy again! I think I may be in that 1-2% population ( family history of boys having elevated cholesterol) anyway I really want to maintain a low to mod carb base and saw the need for fat in my diet just over the month but not 100% sure how to navigate now with fats and feel kind of frozen as far as increasing my carbs - don’t want to undo what I have done over the last 5 weeks - but in the short term as I try to figure it out I am just now feeling hungry! How should I proceed ? Ideas?
    Reply: #58
  8. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor
    Shelly, it can take 6+ months for cholesterol levels to normalize. Here is a great article about cholesterol when eating keto/low carb. Congratulations on your progress so far.
    https://www.dietdoctor.com/concerned-cholesterol-low-carb-read
    Reply: #63
  9. JohnTaylorHK
    Nurses are for giving injections (IV not IM, you can do those yourself). Doctors are advisors. Food scientists and researchers give facts (limited to the nuances of their studies). There has NEVER been a program to determine the TRUTH about dietary health, and there can be NO nutritional plan which will suit everyone (even now the BOND study will not publicly release their findings on the efficacy of Iron supplements until Mid-2019). You must become your own researcher, and change your lifestyle according to your findings if need be. NO OTHER WAY IS RELIABLE. Namaste.
  10. JohnTaylorHK
    .... and for goodness' sake, GET A LIPID PROFILE BEFORE you start any diet. If LCHF, get a familial hypercholesterolemia test done also. LCHF may be the best thing you've ever done, it MAY KILL YOU.
  11. 1 comment removed
  12. Sherry Lynn
    A year ago, I was warned by my doctor that my cholesterol needed an adjustment. She said she'd give me a year to improve. After several months of eating the "keto" way, but cholesterol is perfect. Triglycerides etc are all in excellent shape. Thank you Diet Doctor
  13. Tylden Rogue
    That link is now broken. Was it taken down, I ran into the same thing where after 6 weeks my LDL nearly doubled.
    Reply: #64
  14. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    That link is now broken. Was it taken down, I ran into the same thing where after 6 weeks my LDL nearly doubled.

    Here is the overall cholesterol guide.
    https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/cholesterol-basics

  15. Joanna
    I’ve done Keto for 8 months - no cholesterol problem before and now I have LDL 6.2 and HDL 5.3 - doctor telling me to take statins which I’m not going to. I’ve lost 83lbs and am wondering if anyone else has had really high cholesterol readings after losing weight? I’ve stopped putting butter on everything and replaced with virgin olive oil and introduced a few peanuts. Cut the red meat down a bit and am hoping this will help. Anyone with a similar problem who has managed to get their readings down? I’d love to hear any help appreciated. Don’t want to go back to unhealthy eating.
    Reply: #66
  16. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    I’ve done Keto for 8 months - no cholesterol problem before and now I have LDL 6.2 and HDL 5.3 - doctor telling me to take statins which I’m not going to. I’ve lost 83lbs and am wondering if anyone else has had really high cholesterol readings after losing weight? I’ve stopped putting butter on everything and replaced with virgin olive oil and introduced a few peanuts. Cut the red meat down a bit and am hoping this will help. Anyone with a similar problem who has managed to get their readings down? I’d love to hear any help appreciated. Don’t want to go back to unhealthy eating.

    Hi Joanna, you may be interested in reading our full cholesterol guide - https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/cholesterol-basics

  17. Nicole CLEMENTINE
    my health numbers look almost identical to yours ....i been living like this 5 1/2 months now .
    i feel great and i am never going back to the way i use to eat . my age is 49
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