Butter Improves HDL and LDL as Much as Statins

A New York lawyer named Greg reports remarkably clear evidence about the effect of butter on blood lipid levels: It improved them. For a few years he measured his HDL and LDL regularly with a home cholesterol device. For unrelated reasons, he started eating more butter. He ate a half stick (about 60 g)/day, like me. Here’s what happened.

The first five measurements are from lab tests. The rest are from his home machine.

I asked Greg for details.

I’m 36. I bought the cholesterol meter last July after my doctor said he couldn’t figure out why my numbers were a bit high. We both agreed it was not something to worry too much about and that there was no point charging my insurance company for a VAP test every 6 months. We both also agreed that going on a statin was a bad idea. I picked up the meter out of curiosity. I had previously been monitoring my blood sugar (since 2009) and found it to be very interesting, so I thought I could have some fun with the numbers. The result is all the more surprising because I did not expect it. I was tracking my numbers around the time of the experiment [with butter] to make sure they did not go the wrong way like everyone says they should.

The machine is a CardioChek PA [about $600], which is designed for use in doctors offices, not for the consumer market. The device is “CLIA-waived”, which means that the FDA considers it so simple that the user does not need any special training in clinical chemistry (home glucometers fall into the same category). The machine gives significantly different numbers for different people, suggesting it is measuring something real and not spitting out random numbers.

I asked what the reaction to this data has been.

Most people I’ve spoken to have been receptive to the idea [that butter improves blood lipids], but I got no sense that they would be willing to try it for themselves. Most people I know seem to be quite willing to accept the fact that the old stories about cholesterol are not true. In contrast, one conservative cardiologist said I must have “unique genetics”.

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4 Responses to Butter Improves HDL and LDL as Much as Statins

  1. Anne Wright says:

    I have noticed similar results myself. A few years ago I changed from eat SAD eating to real food with lots of grass fed ghee (Ayurvedic-style clarified butter). Comparing the VAP tests from before and ~3 years after the diet change the HDL has gone up and the LDL pattern has changed in the “large fluffy” direction.

    There’s no way to know the relative contributions of the various parts of the change, such as avoiding processed foods I used to eat vs adding the ghee, but the overall effect on lipid tests seem beneficial and consistent with Greg’s results.

  2. Chris Molloy @molloycr says:

    Great article. This underlines the unspoken – shock horror – truth that genetics/epigenetics is real and that the broad human population does not have a uniform physiology. Enabling personal studies like this through inexpensive instrumentation and data sharing adds real insight to all. Crowding the data sounds tough but will only be a matter of crowding people around a single protocol like this one. Think of the real world clinical insight you could develop.

  3. Dave Brett says:

    Very interesting. I have a Cardiochek PA myself and have run a cholesterol test each week for the past three or four years. I’ve been on a low carb diet for the past two years and have seen my numbers, both good and bad, double during this period (TC 400+). I recently noticed that a few numbers during the last two years were significantly lower than those around them and discovered that on the previous day I’d eaten significantly more cholesterol in my diet – mainly eggs, butter and liver. I tested this out and sure enough by eating 750mg+ of cholesterol (mainly bolied eggs) in my diet my “bad” numbers are now almost 50% lower and the “good” numbers have risen.
    I’ll try swapping out some of the monounsaturated fat in my diet and replace it with butter to see if they improve even more.
    You can read more in a post I made at Paleohacks if you’re interested :
    http://paleohacks.com/questions/117484/ldl-high-increase-your-cholesterol-intake-the-elephant-in-the-room#axzz1xljhRFC6

  4. Sarah says:

    I read an article in 2002 called “the skinny on fats”. It was written by a woman, Dr M Enig, whose career has been the study of bio lipids.

    She basically explains that all the original scientific tests that “proved” saturated fats were unhealthy were performed on hydrogenated coconut oil. She says that it’s the hydrogenation process that turns sat fats unhealthy not the fats themselves. She claims that it’s refined sugars and vegetable oils (but not tropical oils i.e. palm and coconut) that make people fat and gives them heart disease, cancer and high bp. She says that the gunk from heart diseased people has a low amount of sat fats and is mostly mono and poly. She explains how the chemical structure of sat fat is strong and makes your body strong.

    Regarding blood pressure I think of it like this:

    Water flows through a hosepipe even if the tap is turned on slightly (Low pressure). If the hose were made of raincoat fabric the tap would need to be on fully (high pressure) even for the slightest trickle.

    Similarly, if my veins and arteries are strong and flexible, this facilitates the flow of blood, so my bp is lower and my heart can do less work. If my veins are weak and flabby the flow of blood is impeded so my heart must pump more and increase the pressure just to achieve the same flow.

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