Q & A: HDL Cholesterol and Fasting

You hear a lot of LDL cholesterol, i.e. bad cholesterol, but HDL cholesterol—the good stuff—is just as important to heart health, especially when you’re losing weight. In this quick discussion from Dr. Fuhrman’s member center, he talks about LDL, HDL, weight-loss and fasting:

Question: My HDL went from 26 to 21. My cardiologist told me to eat more avocados to improve it. I did and my weight responded immediately. I gained weight. I think this was a bad idea. Am I right?

Also, I heard you say that the best treatment for heart disease is a combination of nutrition and fasting, but I read in your book it's not wise to fast if you're overweight. I went from 245 to 210 on Eat to Live in a few months, but I'm still overweight.

So I am confused. On the one hand, you say don't do fast when you're overweight, but on the other hand, you recommend fasting instead of do surgery.

Dr. Fuhrman: Listening to the nutritional advice of typical doctors is like asking your mailman for advice on your taxes. They typically have little knowledge or experience. Focusing on HDL and not your weight is a mistake.

A low HDL reading is of no practical consequence, just get rid of your plaque and keep LDL low. A high HDL can benefit a person with a higher LDL, but a low HDL does not hurt a person with a favorable, low LDL.

Weight loss is much more important than your lipid numbers because the plaque can be reduced most effectively once you have reached a lower body fat percentage, i.e. below 10%.

Image credit: Joana Roja - in and out-Happy 4th