I tend to be wary of numbers.  All too often, I have seen numbers misused to prove a point. Assumptions are made and then relied on even when they are extended beyond the limits of their reliability.

The basic blood test for LDL Cholesterol relies on a calculation which may be less than valid for Low Carbers.  I will use my own numbers as an example.

My last test came back with LDL-C at 82 which is super since it is in the proper range.  But – the notation after it was “calc” – it was a calculated number – not a direct measurement. 

The formula is: LDL-C = Total Cholesterol – [HDL-C + (Triglycerides/5)]

Plug my numbers in and you get: LDL-C of 82 = 170 – [78 + (50/5)]

What if I was not on a Very Low Carb diet.  My Triglycerides – even if not in the dangerous zone – would probably be about 150.  That would give me an LDL-C of 62 an even better number.

Obviously – for those who are just starting out on a VLC diet and exercise program, their numbers are going to be even more out of whack since their Triglycerides react the fastest to this eating plan.  The knee jerk reaction – based on a fallacy – is that the Low Carb diet was hurting you.

I would not go on an LDL-C lowering drug without a direct test – not a calculated one.

Now – go for the particle size of the LDL-C.  Absent more sophisticated measurements, the formula is: Triglycerides/HDL-C.  If the resultant number is above 3.5 – “Ya got trouble, Right here in River City!”  My particle size number is 50/78 = .65 – I would need a Triglyceride level above 270 to be worried.  These numbers make me feel good – but I do not know if they are even close to reliable.

There is a fallacy inherent in a calculated number.  No problem – unless the Doc wants to rely upon those calculations and put you on drugs. 

Be an educated consumer of medical services and don’t buy the hype put forth by the pharmaceutical industry.