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5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

7 posts Page 1 of 1
26 Mar 2013, 08:59
I read that triglycerides rise quite a lot when fasting - is this just initially, for the first few fasts, and then do the levels decrease? And why do the triglycerides rise during a fast?
Re: triglycerides?
26 Mar 2013, 09:10
Yes blood lipids rise during fasting because the stored fat has to be moved around the body to where it can provide energy so the lips levels in you're blood reflect this activity. The levels drop back on refeeding. There's a study summarising this ( The researchers looked at healthy volunteers who fasted on water only for 24 hours. On another day they ate normally and the values for cholesterol and so on were compared across the two days. The study found that cholesterol levels (all types) had increased significantly by the end of the fast because the liver was mobilising fat from stores to use as food. Also increased were growth hormone levels (which acts to stop muscle being broken down for food and increases the release of fat from stores). Weight decreased. After eating, all levels went back to what was normal for the person except for weight. The authors conclude that "repeated episodes of periodic short-term fasting should be evaluated as a preventive treatment with the potential to reduce metabolic disease risk." which is to say that intermittent fasting might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Of course, we are doing that experiment for them now!

It occurred to me, however, that if you are going to the doctor's to have your cholesterol checked you should probably not schedule it for the day after a fast as it might give a misleading result!
Re: triglycerides?
28 Apr 2015, 20:04
Thanks so much for this! I've been fasting for over two years now. After the initial weight loss it's mainly been about maintaining rather than losing weight. After recently turning forty, and having heart problems in my family, I was called for a routine blood test. I got the results last week and my cholesterol was high, 6.2, but the nurse said that my triglycerides were too high to take an accurate measurement. Searching about triglycerides led me here.

I fast on a Tuesday and Thursday, my blood test was 10.30 am on a Wednesday. So this makes a lot of sense.
Since I got my results I've been using "my fitness pal" to monitor my eating, and I've had no dietary cholesterol all week, and generally eat healthily. I've made an appointment to see the nutritionist in about 6 weeks and I want to get their views on it before I decide if I carry on the 5:2. I don't want to give up!
Re: triglycerides?
28 Apr 2015, 21:32
Studies tend to show that dietary cholesterol doesn't impact blood cholesterol all that much. Actually, for some people, avoiding cholesterol altogether makes the liver produce MORE of the bad stuff to fill your arteries!

I have read that fish oil is *only* useful for treating high triglicerides. It's not actually useful for other cardiac issues as most people think. My mom had very high triglicerides and she's been on fish oil for two years. It's helped a lot - she refuses to take any medication, but for some reason supplements are a-ok in her book (insert eyeroll here).

As Carorees said, avoid fasting before a cholesterol screening. If I were you, I would avoid fasting for two days, just to be sure! So maybe eat normally on the weekend, and get your bloodwork first thing Monday morning. Best of luck.
Re: triglycerides?
28 Apr 2015, 21:40
It doesn't say where you live. In the UK, a nutritionist might understand fasting. Or they might not. In the US, I would bet money that most nutritionists do NOT understand the science behind fasting. Interestingly, the Physician's Assistant in my Endocrinologist's office thinks fasting is a great idea and he's read about the science. The Endocrinologist, however, isn't sure, and would rather push books like "wheat belly" and, not kidding, meditation as a weight loss tool. O.o

It's worth noting that medical professionals are busy people and may or may not be up on the latest studies. They tend to have a wide spectrum of opinions, just like people anywhere. If they're saying something that sounds uneducated or weird, feel free to do your own research. Don't let a nutritionist tell you to avoid fasting, if they're not well versed on Dr. Varaday's research.

Now if they *are* well versed on the research and can cite studies showing fasting is ok unless you have condition x, y or z, then that's a more considered opinion, in my book
Re: triglycerides?
29 Apr 2015, 06:51
Don't know where you are based but there have been some early experiments with Berberine to help reduce tryglycerides. I can't find the right paper, but this might be helpful Depends on whether you like to take supplements or not and a nutritionist might lead you there anyway. Not recommending but might be worth reading up.
Re: triglycerides?
25 Jun 2015, 14:51
I think that may be why I had a higher than normal Total Cholesterol and LDL recently - ie I had done a few fast days in the days before the blood test and stopped eating 18 hours before the blood was taken. The triglycerides were well within normal limits as was everything else. Have noted Carorees comments on another post about counting calories so will look at my carb intake and monitor it until the next blood test in a few months time.
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