This was a great Podcast! I realized while listening that my story is eerily similar to Siobhan’s in some ways. I gained a lot of weight between the ages of 10 and 12 and was told by my doctor at age 12 that I was overweight and should eat healthier and exercise more. That wasn’t really specific enough to be helpful as I already ate a Standard American diet and was a pretty active kid. That year in health class I was told that girls my age should be eating 1200 calories a day and after doing a food log for a week I realized I was eating more than that. When I realized this, I finally had a solution. I cut my calorie intake and stopped eating breakfast to make it easier to eat less calories. I started exercising on my own too…doing sit ups in my room, jumping rope in the middle of the night. All this time I was hiding my new habits from everyone in my life for, idk, disordered eating reasons…I lost about 25 lbs between the time I was 12 and 14. I got to a weight I was happy with, but found it was very hard to maintain the calorie deficit. I was hungry all the time and very food focused. I continued looking for answers because I thought there was something wrong with the fact that I could only eat 1200 calories and it seemed that some women could eat upwards of 2000 a day without gaining weight.
In 2016 I read the book Grain Brain which I think is the first time I heard the term ketosis. My mom had done the Atkins diet so I was also familiar with low carb that way. Because I was kind of immersed in diet research in my spare time I eventually stumbled on the keto diet and then started listening to 2 Keto Dudes. I’ve now listened to every episode at least once and about half of them twice. I guess that because of my experience losing weight as a kid, learning about diet became inherently reinforcing, fueling a bit of an obsession. The especially eerie similarity between Siobhan and my stories is my experience at Ketofest. I went last year and it was literally on my birthday. My husband got me the ticket as a present and my mom paid for the Airbnb (for anyone who didn’t listen to the podcast Siobhan also went to Ketofest for her birthday). I probably looked a bit out of place as I was younger than the average attendee, but I was legit living my best life. I also ugly cried through Amy Berger’s entire talk about habits related to one’s relationship with food.
Getting back to the topic of cholesterol, I have a guess about why LDL goes up in response to inflammation. First, for me at least, I think metabolic dysregulation happens for three reasons, all having to do with things that raise insulin. The first is obviously carbohydrates. The second is an excess of polyunsaturated fat in the diet, which also causes more insulin production. The third is inflammation. Instead of saying inflammation, maybe I should say an overactive immune system in response to foods that the body does not recognize for whatever reason. I believe the reason this would cause higher insulin is that immune responses demand glucose and glucose demands insulin.
So, what does this have to do with LDL? If inflammation demands glucose and glucose demands insulin, this may flip a switch to cause you to store fat rather than burn it. This means that when fat comes in with food, rather than being used as fuel, it is immediately stored. It’s my understanding that a main function of LDL is to transport body fat from the liver to be used as energy throughout the body. So if you have high levels of insulin, the major way that your body will use fat is probably during the night when you are finally tapping into fat that was stored rather than being used as it came in with your diet. Someone who is insulin resistant due to a diet high in carbs, polyunsaturated fats and inflammatory foods will have high LDL because they are having to transport body fat for energy rather than using chylomicrons to transport triglycerides from food. I might be off on some of the technical terms, but I think my general thought process holds up.