Even a small weight gain in fat can raise your “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and I’m talking a very small weight gain.
“Interestingly, a 10 percent weight loss has been shown to significantly decrease a broad variety of health risk parameters,” says Richard Kelley, MD, a practicing physician in Texas for 20+ years, and author of “The Fitness Response,” “The Three-Hour Appetite” and the ebook, “The Fitness Response ‘Diet’ for Women.”
Dr. Kelley continues, “For example, a woman who is 5 ft. 2 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds, would be at a much healthier weight, at 120 pounds, by body mass index.
“However, it is evident through research and clinical experience, that if this woman even lost 17 pounds (10%) off of her starting weight, a variety of physical parameters tend to improve.
“With a 10 % weight loss, we often see blood pressure improve, blood glucose levels decrease, asthma may improve, as well as decreases in cholesterol levels, including LDL level.”
When I was a personal trainer I had a new client who wanted to lose 15 pounds.
She had gained about 13 or 14 pounds of pure fat from junk food bingeing that resulted from stress. The year prior her LDL or bad cholesterol was in the 80s.
Shortly before seeing me, she had a lipid test and this time the LDL bad cholesterol was in the 130s.
She was floored because she had started eating healthier and less just a few months prior, and had even begun losing a little weight.
I said that the LDL increase was from the 14-pound weight gain, and that had she taken the test eight weeks prior, the bad cholesterol probably would have been even higher.
Dr. Kelley explains, in reference to the 5-2 woman, “Conversely, this same woman might see elevation of her LDL and total cholesterol even with a 5 to 10 pound weight gain, over a fairly short period of time.”
Dr. Kelley stresses that genetics influence LDL response to weight gain and food.
“I have seen many individuals who were well over 100 pounds overweight who had completely normal range LDL and cholesterol panels.
“By the same token, most physicians have seen patients who are rail-thin who have total cholesterol and LDL levels which were off the charts.”
Dr. Kelley adds that he’s been surprised at how much of an improvement some patients experience with their lipid/cholesterol panels with just a 5-10 pound weight loss.
He also explains, “I don’t know that there is any data that shows a direct and specific, linear correlation of increases in cholesterol with specific number of pounds of weight gained.
“Meaning, it is unlikely you will see that a 10 pound weight gain in a susceptible individual, necessarily means that there will be a corresponding, linear increase in cholesterol levels by a particular factor of X.”
Dr. Kelley states that it’s common for doctors to observe increases in total cholesterol including LDL that cannot be attributed to just an increase in a patient’s weight.