Tag Archives: VLDL

Twilight Zone of Diet Studies

Imagine if you will a diet study, a seemingly ordinary diet study. One that compares low carb and low fat diets. Now imagine that you are reading the results, and find the unequivocal superiority of the low carb diet.


Both the Low and Moderate Carbohydrate groups lost significantly more weight as well as inches from their waists and thighs than the Control group, while the Low Carbohydrate group lost a greater percentage of body fat. Although the Moderate Carbohydrate group showed significant reductions in serum cholesterol, the Low Carbohydrate group showed the greatest improvements in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, and very-low-density lipoprotein.

Consider, if you will, how you would write the conclusion to these findings. That all-important snippet of text that will be read by those too busy to read the full synopsis, the snippet that will be picked up in articles and future studies.

Perhaps you will write something that bears some resemblance to the words and phrases in the Conclusion. Something that recognizes the low carb diet as being at least equal in your test for weight loss, yet reducing more body fat than the low fat diet. Consider how you will sum up the findings, that the low carb diet provided significantly better results for cholesterol and triglycerides. But before you put your pen to paper, read the actual conclusion:

Moderate approaches to weight loss such as a moderate-carbohydrate low-fat diet may be prudent.

There is nothing wrong with your eyes. Those are the words the study authors penned. An example, perhaps of cognitive dissonance.

You are traveling through another dimension –a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone of Diet Studies!

How Carbs Influence LDL

One of the fears some have in adopting a low carb diet is the possibility that LDL cholesterol will increase. And indeed, in the typical blood test we take, there is sometimes an increase in this so-called bad cholesterol. But what is the real relationship between carb consumption and LDL particles in the bloodstream?

Dr. William Davis of the Heart Scan Blog has some clarification for us:

1) Increase triglycerides and very low-density lipoprotein particles (VLDL)
2) Triglyceride-rich VLDL interact with LDL particles, making them smaller. (A process mediated by several enzymes, such as cholesteryl-ester transfer protein.)
3) Smaller LDL particles are more oxidizable–Oxidized LDL particles are the sort that are taken up by inflammatory white blood cells residing in the artery wall and atherosclerotic plaque.
4) Smaller LDL particles are more glycatable–Glycation of LDL is an important phenomenon that makes the LDL particle more atherogenic (plaque-causing). Glycated LDLs are not recognized by the LDL receptor, causing them to persist in the bloodstream longer than non-glcyated LDL. Glycated LDL is therefore taken up by inflammatory white blood cells in plaque.

Of course, carbohydrates also make you fat, further fueling the fire of this sequence.

Dr. Davis’ main concern is the impact eating carbs has on your cardiovascular health … not fat, but carbs. He focuses on the most recent scientific evidence and techniques to shepherd his patients past heart disease and toward longer, healthier lives. Is he concerned that the standard blood test may show a rise in LDL cholesterol? Not at all.

The standard blood test uses the Friedewald calculation rather than measuring the blood lipids directly. We have several articles on LDL and the Friedewald calculation for your edification.