I have been doing Paleo for 3 months now. Avoiding all grains, dairy and legumes. I feel great and look even better - in fact I lost 35 pounds in 3 months... I get consistent energy all day and can even skip meals without even noticing.
When I started Paleo, I made sure to get my blood work taken and the results were:
I just got re-tested and my cholesterol levels were higher (much to my surprise):
My doctor did mention my Vitamin D was low and I should be taking 2,000 IU per day of Vitamin D3. I should say that during the last 3 months I have not exercised at ALL (I actually tried not to exercise so I can separate my weight loss through diet from exercise).
I was really expecting better lipid results than I got... Should I be worried?
My plan is to start taking Vitamin D and get cardio exercise at least 3 times a week.
Couple of facts that may help - I am male, 31 and weigh 171 lb at 5'9"
Also could just be natural variation between tests. Those tests are not super accurate and your lipids will vary from one day to another as well. Studies have shown that the same sample of blood tested multiple times will yield a fairly large variation between labs and between individual tests. I personally would not worry about a small variation like that.
Also to consider, most paleo eaters do not necesarily agree that cholesterol should be as low as the pill selling big pharma companies like to tell you it should be. That, of course, is a whole nother subject but one you should spend some time researching if you are interested in your health. Consider that high cholesterol is only associated with heart disease in the class of middle aged men with existing heart disease and even then, the association is mild. Why does high cholesterol not associate with illness in women and the elderly? In fact, LOW cholesterol is correlated with increased risk of cancer and in the elderly it is correlated with increased chance of death. One might begin to realize that perhaps cholesterol is not the big bugaboo one might be lead to believe. Research is even beginning to show that cholesterol is an important aspect of proper immune functioning.
Most paleo eaters like to instead look at other numbers to gauge health. One of those is keeping triglycerides at good levels, which looks like you already have. Another is blood pressure not being high and keeping overall decent weight and fitness levels. Maker sure you are getting all needed nutrients by using fitday.com to check your intake (paleo eaters don't blindly follow the RDAs but the RDAs for some nutrients are probably worth tracking at least) Get high quality and proper amounts of sleep. Try to keep stress in your life down as much as possible by both avoiding it at times as well as learning how to deal with problems without stressing. And of course, how you feel overall is also a good gauge of health. I will assume you are already eating healthy so I won't mention that one. I would be concerned with all those things as being much more important than just having mildly elevated cholesterol levels, which are only weakly correlated with problems and even then in only one subset of the population.
To me, these two sets of numbers seem about the same (LDL maybe up a bit), but sometimes lipid panels do show increases when eating a paleo diet at least initially. Take a look at this post by Chris Masterjohn explaining "Why Is My Cholesterol So High On This Diet."
"Why do these numbers matter again?"
If you don't think that there is some level of association between those numbers and relative CHD risks, then you're knowingly sticking your head in the ground. So many of you guys WANT things to be a certain way and WANT for your conspiracy theories to be 100% correct and don't have the courage to admit that you don't know anywhere near as much as you think you do.
Well, I'm no expert, but there seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest that total serum cholesterol is unrelated to heart disease. That being said, I wouldn't worry. Especially since it looks like your VLDL is still very low and that's the stuff that can get trapped in cracks caused by inflammation. But as long as you are avoiding inflammation you should be fine.
This is the short answer. I'm sure someone else can provide a longer one with references.
I have a theory that I am not sure holds water. My theory is that people who are "100%" paleo and experience elevated Lipid panels may be consuming too much fructose. Fruit is good way to replete liver glycogen, but once the liver's glycogen levels are full then the liver starts turning fructose into free floating fat i the blood stream. You mentioned that you are purposely refraining from exercise so glycogen demand for you is pretty low. So that's my theory and I'm interested to see if anyone agrees?
I would have expected TGs to drop and HDL to rise, so that's a little weird, but 3 months is kind of a short period of time.
You should read this cardiologist's blog for how to improve your values: http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/
He's fixed the lipid panels of thousands of people. His recommendations are usually to cut out wheat, cornstarch etc. as we do, add D3 and omega 3s and lose weight. You're on the right track, it would seem.
Personally, I take 5000IU of D3 on days when I don't go shirtless in the sun, which is more than half the year at this latitude. 2000 may be conservative, especially if you are currently low.
If YOU think that you can understand the cholesterol issue by picking out a few research abstracts, then I am not sure where your head is.
Anyway, a few things to think about:
1) Correlation is not cause 2) Relative Risk is a far cry from Absolute Risk 3) Not all of the studies you selected related to the issue at hand which is elevated LDL (at least two were talking about HDL, Triglycerides, and various ratios). 4) You seem to have ignored any research to the contrary of which there is much.
When you do get to the exercising part, which you should have been doing all along, forget all about cardio and concentrate on weighted resistance training. Even bodyweight exercises are better than pointless cardio.