Three hundred ninety-one. That was the total cholesterol count staring back at me 2 months ago from my lab results. Now, when I asked my doctor to order the test, I was expecting it to be out of range. 250 or so was what I expected and I was rehearsing some BS response to what I expected my doctor to say. After all, my diet consisted of 2 lamb steaks per day cooked in lots of butter, which I would then pour onto it after cooking. I was eating a lot of spinach then that was swimming in butter. When I would eat potato or sweet potato I would make not insubstantial percentages of the butter block disappear into it. If there was a way to cram some butter into a meal, I was doing it. I commented in another thread how I suspected that I was personally putting the kids of the owners of Organic Valley through college.
I just got another cholesterol test yesterday from the same doctor/test/lab and it came back 323. I've been largely butter-free for the last 5 weeks. So 5 weeks of more carbs and way less butter accompanied these changes:
TC: 391 to 323
HDL: 55 to 67
TGs: 54 to 37
LDL (Iranian): 269 to 192
So what's so special about butter? It appears that the 3 specific hypercholestemic fatty acids (lauric, myristic and palmitic) are present in significant quantities in butter. Coconut oil has them too, but it's skewed more toward the less potent lauric acid, with roughly the same myristic acid (the most potent), and much less palmitic acid, the second most potent. From this study: http://www.jlr.org/content/36/8/1787.full.pdf it was concluded that butter has twice the total and LDL-raising potential as coconut oil. It may be even more pronounced with pasture butter, the type I was eating.
I happen to be allergic to coconut oil, so during that period I ingested none of it. Though not shown in the aforementioned study, we see higher HDL increases in those ingesting coconut oil primarily due I'm sure to that ratio of fatty acids. Coconut skews cholesterol toward HDL, butter toward LDL.
As for whether really high LDL and total cholesterol by themselves are medically significant I can't say. I can say that ridiculous butterfat intakes are without a substantial evolutionary precedent. As such, I think the burden of proof would be on those arguing that such things are harmless. I'm personally unwilling to bet my life on it, and have thus decided to eliminate dairy fat from my diet. I still eat substantial quantities of grass-fed ruminant flesh and fat, the consumption of which of course has an extensive history among hominins. At the very least, we might use this knowledge to game cholesterol tests that affect us financially.
If anyone here has really high cholesterol and doesn't eat butter, or eats massive quantities of butter but doesn't have really high cholesterol, please chime in. I may be a particularly susceptible individual, but I'm guessing that there are others like me in the community.