Patty shared the Wheat Belly experiences of her husband and herself recently, an example of how metabolic measures evolve over time:
“My husband and I started Wheat Belly in early January. Jeff has lost 60 pounds and I have lost 33. We both have more energy and sleep better. Even more exciting, these are Jeff’s health stats from November:
Triglyceride 687 to 164
Total Cholesterol 229 to (108 with statins); went off statins, now 178
HDL Cholesterol holding at 36
LDL (calculated) 41 to 109
A1C 11.7 to 6.4 — off two out of 3 diabetes meds
Blood Pressure 130/82 to 130/70
“My arthritic knee is no longer bothering me. Just went on vacation and lots of walking, steep paths, and steps. No problem. Also I had surgery on my shoulder and I felt like I was stuck at about 85% recovery. A couple of weeks after starting Wheat Belly, I was noticing an improvement. Within a month I finally felt like I was at 100%.”
Isn’t that terrific? In addition to the weight loss, Patty has experienced reversal of inflammation: not just in her knee and shoulder, but also in her face that you can even see in her photos. Jeff likewise has lost the ruddy, red, swollen face of the inflamed wheat/grain consumer, now “deflated” with dramatic reversal of inflammation.
But the metabolic blood markers show transitional changes that you need to know about. If you don’t understand this, you can fall into the trap of having your doctor persuade you that you need a cholesterol drug or other nonsensical “treatment” when all you are seeing are values that are in transition. I’ve discussed this before, but it is such a common question that it is worth discussing again.
When people like Patty and Jeff begin the Wheat Belly lifestyle, weight loss ensues: 60 pounds over 6 months for Jeff, 33 pounds for Patty. While some of that weight was edema associated with grain-induced inflammation, the majority of it was fat, much of it inflammatory visceral fat. While you urinate the edema, where did the fat go? It does not just evaporate, of course, but is mobilized into the bloodstream as fatty acids and triglycerides. Many people thereby experience a transient increase in triglyceride levels in the blood—this is good, as it reflects the natural process of fat mobilization during weight loss. Jeff’s situation is a bit more complex, as the substantial visceral fat present (in his abdomen) at the start was releasing oodles of triglycerides into the bloodstream, accounting for the very high starting triglycerides, also made worse by his body’s high insulin/insulin resistance, as well as the drugs he was taking. This process subsides as his visceral fat shrinks, allowing triglyceride levels to drop. The triglyceride level remains high, however, because of his ongoing successful weight loss. Over another few months, Jeff will likely see triglyceride levels drop into the ideal range of 60 mg/dl or lower. So nobody should try to “treat” his highish triglycerides levels with a fibrate drug like Lopid or TriCor, or the ripoff prescription fish oil Lovaza.
HDL cholesterol (“good”: the higher, the better) drops precipitously with weight loss, also due to the same flood of fatty acids into the bloodstream that causes degradation and clearance of HDL particles. Levels even in the 20s can occur. But this is also transient. In Jeff, 6 months have allowed his HDL to rebound back to the starting level. Give it another year or two—HDL is slow to respond—and Jeff will likely enjoy HDL cholesterol values in the ideal range of 60 mg/dl or higher. High levels associated with astounding health, such as 70, 80, or 90 mg/dl are common with this lifestyle.
LDL cholesterol is the most confusing. As Patty notes in the values she shares, LDL cholesterol is not measured; it is calculated. The calculation is simple, but it is deeply flawed, based on crude assumptions in diet and lipoprotein (fat-carrying proteins in the bloodstream) composition that are inaccurate, unreliable, and made even less reliable by any lifestyle that modifies lipoprotein composition, especially reduction in carbohydrates. And, of course, the Wheat Belly lifestyle is about elimination of all wheat, grains, and sugars, while restricting carbohydrates, a lifestyle that dramatically alters lipoprotein composition. The Wheat Belly lifestyle, in effect, renders the equation to calculate LDL cholesterol INVALID—it is worthless. If your doctor tries to “treat” this value, it reflects gross ignorance of the science (or lack of) behind this value. The solution: do the gold standard test, an advanced lipoprotein analysis, such as an NMR Lipoprofile that 1) provides an LDL particle count and 2) reveals what proportion of total LDL particle count are the heart disease-causing small LDL particles. But, because of all the changes that lipoproteins and other markers are undergoing during profound weight loss, Jeff should not have this test performed until at least 4 weeks have passed after he has achieved a weight loss plateau. At that time, he is likely to see a dramatic reduction of total LDL particle number and total or near-total elimination of heart disease-associated small LDL particles.
Jeff has also enjoyed dramatic reduction of hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c, the value that reflects blood sugar values over the preceding three months. He dropped from a flagrant and long-term health-destroying high diabetic range of 11.7% to a pre-diabetic range 6.4%. But HbA1c is also temporarily propped up by the fatty acids flooding his bloodstream. As with the other measures, when Jeff’s weight loss plateaus, HbA1c is likely to plummet even further. Given his extravagant response so far, he is likely to be a non-diabetic within a few more months, perhaps achieving an ideal HbA1c of 5.0% or less.
Likewise, just as with HbA1c, blood pressure can be temporarily kept high by the flood of fatty acids. And, as weight plateaus, blood pressure will likewise drop into the ideal range of no higher than 120/80.
Compound the wonderful changes occurring with the added and substantial benefits of the entire collection of Wheat Belly Total Health and Wheat Belly 10-Day Grain Detox strategies, and health and blood values will improve even further. Vitamin D restoration, iodine supplementation while aiming for ideal thyroid health, cultivation of healthy bowel flora and other Wheat Belly efforts will yield health at a level that Patty and Jeff may have previously thought were unachievable. And now they achieve such extraordinary levels of health without prescription drugs and despite the awful advice given by the healthcare system.