(I know that total cholesterol is an inadequate measure of health and that the exact relationship between cholesterol and health is still uncertain (AND that this topic has been brought up in numerous other threads, so if this question gets closed I understand), but it is representative of something going on in the body and thus I have a desire to know if anyone else has had a similar experience.)
Last December, during the final month of my HSAD ("Healthy" Standard American Diet) my total cholesterol was 188. Over the course of my adult life, my numbers have been consistently within the 160-190 range, so this was par for the course.
After 7 weeks of Paleo (following the recommendations found in Cordain and Wolf's books, low sat. fat, moderate protein, no dairy, etc.) my total cholesterol dropped to 180.
After finishing my 90-day Paleo challenge (see the whole thing here) I decided to switch to a more Sisson-esque "Primal" diet that included cheese, cream, and fattier cuts of meats such as beef, pork, etc. and a drastically reduced carbohydrate intake.
After a month of "Primal", my total cholesterol was found to be 285 (this was a fasted reading) and the overweight phlebotomist told me that I might need statins. Admittedly, I did have a momentary freak-out, but I was reading "Good Calories Bad Calories" at the time and decided to "stay the course".
Just this past week, I gave blood and received my numbers again. Since the last reading, my diet has since gone even lower carb and higher in fat, but my total cholesterol has dropped to 248.
I'm definitely relieved to see this as the consensus seems to be that cholesterol levels, while not an issue of grave concern, shouldn't skyrocket indefinitely.
There are plenty of threads discussing what seem to be abnormally high TC readings with some individuals after switching to Paleo/Primal, but I want to know if anyone has, like me, seen their numbers "normalize" after a period of time.
*8 Month Update*
Since originally posting this question, I have steadily increased my carbohydrate intake (daily fruit plus some sort of starch from sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, plantains, beans, and white rice) swapped out some animal fat (no more heavy cream, limiting eggs to 6 per week, less butter) for more plant oils (coconut, extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds) and cut down on my pork intake (yup, that means bacon) though I still eat red meat like beef and venison regularly.
Exercise has mostly stayed the same although I have begun to incorporate the vilified "moderate intensity cardio" back into my routine in the form of weekly mountain bike riding and spinning.
Even so, I was still a little worried going in to our I had a health screening at work today, and the results were as follows...
Total Cholesterol 190 mg/dl (optimal, as indicted on the testing paperwork, = less than 200)
HDL 74 mg/dl (optimal = higher than 50)
TC/HDL Ratio 2.6 (optimal = less than 4.0)
LDL did not register as it was too low (optimal = less than 100mg/dl)
Triglycerides did not register as they were less than 45mg/dl (optimal = less than 150)
Fasting blood glucose 88mg/dl (optimal = less than 100)
Blood Pressure 121/70 (optimal = less than 120/80)
Body fat 13.1% ("healthy" = 8% to 19%)
6 ft tall and 192lbs = BMI 26 (optimal = 18.5 to 24.9)
The RN looked at my results and basically said that she couldn't recommend that I do anything other than "keep doing what I am doing". We eventually decided that I could technically "drink more water" just so that she could write something on her sheet.
(On a funny side note, in our discussion she assumed that I was eating "low fat dairy". I mentioned that I don't eat much, but if I do it is cultured sour cream, so I still get my "probiotics". That seemed to make her happy.)