Thursday, August 6, 2009

Time to Catch Up (a Bit)

I know I have been neglecting my blog lately. What can I say? I've been working on other projects and none of them are knitting (although I do have something in the works there). But I have not stopped reading and have found tons of things that I thought might be of interest here. Let me quickly post a few links this morning to try and clear the backlog.

In the Low-Carb world, there is a lot of talk about lipids right now. If you want a primer on fats and especially saturated fats, read this Mark's Daily Apple entry,
The Definitive Guide to Saturated Fats.

Mark has also recently posted about
red palm oil, which is the newest food in my larder. Mine comes West Africa made by Jungle Products. It has a strong taste which I love, especially on chicken and ground meats. but it has also given my calves' liver a wow flavor! Cleaning up can be tricky since it can stain anything made from plastic red, so I rinse out my pan immediately after cooking with hot water.

Other blogs that have recently devoted a lot of space to lipids include Stephan Guyenet's
Whole Health Source, Chris Masterjohn's The Daily Lipid, and Peter at Hyperlipid (you can browse through his labels list for all kinds of interesting stuff).

Of course there's always the Drs. Eades. Try Mary Dan's mayonnaise recipe. It's great! I make mine with 3/4 cup of melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup of a light-tasting olive oil. And leave out the Splenda! Dr. Mike has found Twitter and keeps a running commentary there on whatever he has been reading and he is a voracious reader! Here is a recent post of his on lipids, Low Carbohydrate-diets increase LDL: debunking the myth.

It seems that if you are a low-carb eater, your HDL tends to go way up and your triglycerides also go way down. If that happens then the Friedewald Equation which they use to determine your LDL levels comes out too high. Yes that's right, most routine lab tests do not measure LDL directly, it is derived from the values for total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides divided by 5. The equation is:

LDL = Total Cholesterol - HDL - Triglycerides/5

So if your HDL goes up, which is supposed to be a good thing, your total cholesterol goes up (bad). Likewise, if your triglycerides go down (good), then when you divide that number by 5 which is constant in the equation, you get a smaller number. End result, the LDL goes way up (very bad) and it was never actually measured! Dr. Eades provides an equation that corrects for this error. He calls it the Iranian Equation and cautions that it only works for total cholesterol over 250 mg/dl. I'll give it here because it is buried in the comments of his post:
For readings in mg/dl (units used in the US) use this equation:

LDL = (total cholesterol/1.19 + triglycerides/1.9 – HDL/1.1) – 38

For readings in mmol/L (units used in Europe and the rest of the world)

LDL =(total cholesterol/1.19 + Triglycerides/0.81 – HDL/1.1) – 0.98

Of course, you can always ask to have your LDL measured directly, a more expensive test. What you really want to know is how much of your LDL is the small, hard, and more easily oxidized kind (bad) or the light, fluffy, and larger kind (good). One person made a very interesting comment to this blog posting which gives food for thought and that is that when your LDL gets really large, some of the smaller HDL gets counted as LDL. No sources are given, but it does point to the fact that measuring our cholesterol may not be as straightforward as we have been led to believe.

And then there is Dr. William Davis's blog, The Heart Scan Blog. When Dr. Davis wrote his book, Track Your Plaque, he was generally in the mainstream as far as saturated fat and diet goes; he considered a vegetarian diet to be very healthy for your heart. It was interesting to watch, through his blog postings, as he made a complete turnaround and now espouses low-carb eating including healthy saturated fats. He credits his reversal to Gary Taubes's book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. So here is a thoughtful doctor who is well-acquainted with the topic of heart disease, who deals with people with heart problems all the time, and who has recently learned to question the prevailing dogma.

His latest post is on Sun, Fish, and Seaweed, which I intended to be the topic of my next post.


  1. No knitting? I've been looking forward to wearing my birthday sweater this fall! :O)

  2. Yes, my guilty conscience has been nagging me about that. It's at the top of the list.