No more cookies 15. January 2011 William Davis (13) Jeanne enjoyed her Christmas holidays. She especially liked sharing the cookies she made for her grandchildren, sneaking 2 or 3 every day over a couple of weeks. On top of this, she enjoyed the Christmas candy, egg nog, leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce, topped off with a night of nutritional debauchery on New Year's Eve. Lipid panel in October:Total cholesterol 146 mg/dlLDL cholesterol 72 mg/dlHDL cholesterol 64 mg/dlTriglycerides 49 mg/dlLipid panel in early January:Total cholesterol 229 mg/dlLDL cholesterol 141 mg/dlHDL cholesterol 59 mg/dlTriglycerides 147 mg/dlI call the holidays The Annual Wheat and Sugar Frenzy. It's the carbohydrates, especially those from products made of wheat and sucrose, that caused the marked shifts in Jeanne's lipid patterns. Let's take each parameter apart:--Triglycerides go up due to de novo lipogenesis, liver conversion of carbohydrates into triglycerides. Triglycerides enter the bloodstream as VLDL particles which, in turn, interact with LDL and HDL. --LDL goes up because carbohydrate exposure increases VLDL, followed by conversion to LDL. The triglyceride-rich LDL created is converted to small LDL particles. Had we measured small LDL changes in Jeanne, we likely would have measured something like an increase (by NMR) from 800 nmol/L to 1600 nmol/L, a carbohydrate effect.--The increased VLDL also makes HDL triglyceride-rich, cause more rapid degradation of HDL particles. (It also makes them smaller, like LDL.) Given sufficient time (a few more months), HDL would drop into the 40's. --Total cholesterol changes reflect the composite of the above numbers. (Total cholesterol = LDL cholesterol + HDL cholesterol + Trig/5) (Note that, as HDL drops, so will total cholesterol; that's why this value is worthless and should be ignored.) So don't be surprised by the above distortions after a period of carbohydrate indulgence. Although your unwitting primary care doc will see such changes as opportunity for Lipitor, it is nothing more than the cascade of effects from a carbohydrate-driven distortion of lipoproteins.