Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eat Fat to Lower your Cholesterol?

I've noted before that a ketogenic diet (low carb, high fat) is often used to treat epilepsy in children.

It is also potentially a healthy diet, as I've also pointed out before. For those worried that a ketogenic diet might not be healthy, here is an interesting study:

High cholesterol levels drop naturally in children on high-fat anti-seizure diet, Hopkins study show

Elevated cholesterol levels return to normal or near normal levels over time in four out of 10 children with uncontrollable epilepsy treated with the high-fat ketogenic diet, according to results of a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study reported in the Journal of Child Neurology. The study appears online ahead of print here.

Here is the abstract:

A prospective study was performed of all children started on the ketogenic diet at our institution for intractable epilepsy from January 2003 to March 2007 (n = 137), examining for baseline and follow-up total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Interventions for dyslipidemia were analyzed for their effectiveness. At baseline, 25% of children had hypercholesterolemia (>200 mg/dL), which increased to 60% for those receiving the ketogenic diet. Children receiving a solely formula-based ketogenic diet were less likely to have hypercholesterolemia than those eating solid food after adjusting for age and initial ketogenic ratio (P < .001). Only a slightly higher likelihood of a 20% decrease in cholesterol occurred for those children in whom a dietary intervention was made compared with observation alone (60% vs 41%; P = .11). Hypercholesterolemia occurs in most children receiving a solid food based ketogenic diet but improved in approximately half, even without interventions.


susan allport said...

Thought you might be interested in this short omega-3 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIgNpsbvcVM

Peter said...

Hi Chris,

The scary part was substituting vegetable oils for saturated fats to treat a lab number, especially when doing nothing seems pretty effective too. Be interesting to see the changes in LDL particle numbers/sizes which occurred on the switch to corn oil. I'd stick with large fluffy LDL if that's what saturated fats give me...


Chris said...

Thanks for comments. There seems no doubt that a ketogenic diet is better for epiliepsy (although there is no money in it for the drug companies) , but these clinicians always seem to use dodgy fats rather than natural ones.....

rain gem said...

Not all clinicians do, actually. For example - Dr. McCleary does recommend natural dietary fats to migraine patients. The idea was to switch brain from eating glucose to ketones.
But you are right, those doctors are hard to find.

I am even doing an experiment by going a little bit farther - a ketogenic diet, more or less. Practically no carbs or sugar beyond what's in protein shakes.

Chris said...

RainGem - hopefully you'll get lots of good fat in there too? Make sure you check out Peter's blog Hyperlipid

rain gem said...

Oh yah, I've been reading his blog for a while now. As well as yours and Mark's Daily Apple, to name a few. These blogs made me come back and re-examine Dr. McCleary ideas - I've tried them once before, didn't work for long. Now, that I've made more profound changes in my diet, it has been working much better.

I don't skip on the fats at all. Cook with butter, leave the fat on the stakes, take additional MCT and fish oil.

Protein shakes are there only for one simple reason - it's difficult for me to cut out carbs almost completely and still get enough calories (not a big eater :P). Thus, I take additional protein to keep my muscle mass and for the extra calories.