Sourced from: Infinite Health Blog, by Dr. Davis,
originally posted on the
Wheat Belly Blog: 2012-06-05
weight and my cholesterol . . . went up!
This is a fairly common observation
around these parts: “I eliminated wheat from my diet
and have limited my consumption of junk carbohydrates like corn
and sugars. I lost 38 pounds over three months and I feel
great. I initially lost weight rapidly, but have more
recently slowed to about 1-2 pounds per week. But my doctor
checked some lab values and he flipped! He said that my HDL
dropped, my triglycerides went up, and my blood sugar went up
20 points! He wants me to take a statin drug and metformin
for my high blood sugar. What gives?”
Easy: You are losing weight. Let me explain.
When you lose weight, you are mobilizing
energy stored as fat. That fat is mobilized as fatty acids and
triglycerides into the bloodstream. 10 pounds lost, for
instance, means the equivalent of 35,000 calories of
fat released into the bloodstream.
These fatty acids are not alone.
They interact with the other elements in the bloodstream.
In particular, this flood of fatty acids:
insulin–and thereby increase blood sugar.
A non-diabetic can even become transiently diabetic
during weight loss.
triglycerides–A starting triglyceride
level of, say, 120 mg/dl, can increase to 180 mg/dl
during active weight loss. (Triglycerides contain fatty acids.)
fatty acids and triglycerides modify HDL particles,
causing their degradation and elimination. A starting HDL of
45 mg/dl can drop to 28 mg/dl, for example.
—LDL measures go haywire–The
conventional calculated LDL cholesterol, or even generally
superior measures like apoprotein B or NMR LDL particle
number, can go in any direction rather unpredictably: They
can go up, down, or sideways. Likewise, the (miserably useless)
total cholesterol value can go up, down, or sideways.
—Increased blood pressure–This
is likely due to the enhanced artery constriction that
occurs due to increased endothelial dysfunction, i.e.,
dysfunction of the normal relaxation mechanisms of arteries.
The key is to recognize these phenomena
as nothing more than part of weight loss and the
inevitable mobilization of fatty acids into the bloodstream.
Accordingly, decisions should not be made based on
these values, since they are transient. Your doctor will
likely try to push hypertension medication, statin drugs,
fibrate drugs, diabetes drugs . . . all for a
transient effect. Is there a way to not experience
these changes? Sure: liposuction. To my knowledge, there
is no way short of extracting fat with a trocar to avoid
As a practical matter, avoid
having blood drawn until weight has plateaued for at least
4 weeks and these changes are allowed to reverse.
Only then will you know what you have achieved in your