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Is Paleo Safe for High Cholesterol and High Triglycerides?

Jeremy Hendon | July 9
is paleo safe for high cholesterol and high triglycerides

Is Paleo Safe for High Cholesterol and High Triglycerides?

I’ve been asked this question a lot lately, and I know it worries a lot of people who are starting or who are thinking about starting a Paleo diet.

First of all, I can’t give anybody specific medical advice (I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know the particular situation).

But I can share my thoughts and personal experiences.

In General, Eating a Paleo Diet is Excellent for Cholesterol Issues

For many years, many doctors have believed that fat and cholesterol in our foods were a problem, but it turns out that those things have very little impact on cholesterol for the majority of people.

paleo diet triglyceridesGenerally, the human body produces about 85% of its own cholesterol, so only around 15% comes from our food.  And if you eat more cholesterol from food, then your body tends to produce less of its own.

In other words, the amount of cholesterol you eat makes very little difference in most cases to the numbers you see on a blood test.

Eating Junk Food Is The Worst Thing You Can Do

More importantly, the most problematic cholesterol measures (such as high triglycerides) are driven predominantly by inflammation (often a result of grains and foods that irritate the gut) and processed sugar.  This has been the subject of much recent scientific research.

What all of that means is that cutting out the foods that irritate your gut (grains, processed sugars, vegetable oils, etc.) is typically quite effective at improving your blood markers.  In addition, eating more fat (the good kinds – not Omega-6 fats) and cholesterol tends to have relatively little impact at all.

To be fair, there are individual circumstances that don’t fall in this general picture.  In addition, most doctors are not current on the research and thinking, since it’s not what they were taught in medical school (nor is it what the drug companies promote).

I’ve seen a lot of people dramatically improve their blood markers by going on a Paleo diet.  And in cases where this doesn’t happen (like my own, actually), there are often other factors (in my case, thyroid and adrenal issues).

In the end, there’s no single answer to this question, but I’d start with the presumption that eating the real foods that humans have been eating for millions of years is an all-around good thing, including for high cholesterol.  However, I’d definitely encourage you to read more about it – check out chriskresser.com or marksdailyapple.com – and don’t just take my opinion.

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