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Very High Triglycerides and high cholesterol on raw vegan high carb diet

Hey guys,

PS: Attaching my test results.

I have been on a raw vegan diet since June, 2014. I had gotten my blood tests done last year and everything was good except I was low on Vit D3. I started taking Vit D3 supplement (I was already taking Vit B12 supplements). I got my blood tests done again and everything else is normal BUT I am VERY HIGH on fasting triglycerides and my cholesterol is high!

I am confused. I workout 6x a week and I eat fruits and veggies, a ton of dates. I used to take omega3 and multivitamin supplements earlier that I stopped later thinking I shouldn't need them. Googling tells me I am eating too many carbs (which I do, I eat a ton of dates too) or too much fat (which I don't), or not enough omegas. 

Regarding fats, I am quitting nuts and seeds in favor of avocados as its easier on the digestion. Does that mean I should definitely supplement for omegas?

Anyone else experienced the same issue? What should I do?!! 


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Hi Yogi! 

Yes... I have struggled with these issues... life or death serious in my case -- with no health insurance and no doctors (thank God). 

You may need to take a break and read Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn  and nip your problem in the bud.


Free Omega 3's are emergency drugs for the most part..  Dr. Gregor of nutritionfacts.org is recommending DHA in general,   but my experience with these substances says that this recommendation is fishy (pun intended).  

I did use them successfully in an emergency situation where my blood pressure was going out of control... but the good effects quickly wore off,  and by the time I realized what was happening,  all benefits had been nullified,   and some toxic effects remained for some time.  Overall it was a setback and just delayed real solid progress .... which requires a carefully planned very low fat , high carb (really too broad of a term --- McDougall is right = starch)  ,  whole foods, plant based, vegan diet.

SAFEST and BEST route is to step back,  go for a little while with McDougall, Barnard, and Esselstyn ---- and Esselstyn does really have a firm grip on getting people's "numbers" in order.   Then, when your numbers are within range and are stabilized for a while,  a return to the high energy, raw till 4 type diet can be pursued. 

Most likely you will have to refrain from Avocados, nuts, and seeds until you can judge your ability to eat them in extreme moderation --- meaning like 1 nut per day max,  1 teaspoon of avocado --- better just to drop them as Dr McDougall recommends. (see Esselstyn video on youtube -- symposium films-- https://youtu.be/rWOwZTo6GBE)

I don't know how old you are --- but with this --- a floppy attitude can mean life or death. Not to scare anyone,  but,  I'm sure you want to value being alive and not having a stroke.   Dr. Gregor pushes the nuts and does Fuhrman but caution is better... because the tendency will be always to eat too much of them.

Exercise:    watch Freelees and DurianRiders videos ---  EASE is the rule ....  a solid base of uncompromising ease is needed.  All falsehood needs to be rooted out!  No ego games.      It can be difficult,  especially if you like to play hard.     Improper exercise causes excessive stress hormones to be released,  esp cortisol!  Study what happens from excess cortisol --- all kinds of cardiovascular disease.   Improper exercise will be just as bad as stress from a bad job, living in a war zone, etc.   

Seeing that terrifying Triglycerides number on your blood test... one might be better advised to spend some time in quiet reflection,   or walking and putting one's mind on ones body with care filled attention.  Develop an intimate spiritual connection with your body ... learn the meaning of physical (and emotional) feelings -----  could some subtle feelings you have be reflected in certain blood test numbers ?    This is your chance to come to realize what the numbers mean in real life... don't miss this opportunity!  

Take note of objective signs as well... aspects of your physical appearance that might also be related to the numbers and the feelings.

CONCLUSION:   Read and implement Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn,   also consult Dr. McDougall, Neal Barnard,  and T. Colin Campbell .... it will still take some personal experimentation to find the most precise solution for you yourself.

Be serious about your self, your life, and your future...   then when things are better,  and you win this one, you can grab your papayas, head for Thailand,  and laugh about a once big problem turned small.

I say eat a whole foods diet while keeping an eye on GL (glycemic load) of foods. I had high triglycerides as well and the focus on GL of foods --- keeping it low --- made all the difference.

You two gave great responses, but now I am a little concerned! I haven't had my labs done (no insurance). Why is the cholesterol high? Any more info you would be willing to share would be so helpful.....thanks!

Cholesterol can be problematic for a number of reasons.   The jpg of Yogi's blood work shows very low HDL and very high LDL cholesterol -- . The first question that has to be answered clearly and convincingly is "is Yogi aware of and reporting accurately ALL foods eaten over a reasonable time leading up to the blood test?" 

Not to offend Yogi at all.... however,  keeping accurate mental records and retrieving them thoroughly  can be difficult.

Unless we are doctors and lawyers,  many of us have not been trained in the kind of meticulous accuracy that can be required for some problems ... such as a predisposition for cardiovascular disease,  or cancer,  or some other very challenging problem(s) . 


Yogi claims to have decided to trade the nut eating habit in exchange for avocados .  

We should realize that the moderate consumption of nuts in an appropriate context CAN be health promoting.   BUT MODEST really probably means 1 ounce of nuts twice a week ... or 2 brazil nuts a month. 

I havn't found any "scientific" evidence or Journal entries to link here.  But I believe excessive nut consumpton can and will play a role in causing cholesterol problems and other cardiovascular problems.   I also believe it is nearly impossible to eat nuts in moderation... better to forget nuts, seeds, and avocados.    Maybe the large, lowfat, sweet avocadoes as opposed to the very fatty haas avocados could be eaten?

With the utmost and all due respect...   Yogi may very well be eating too many nuts or other high fat foods and doing it frequently.   Forgive me if I'm being presumptuous.

Also,  with the utmost of courtesy... nut, seed, avocado, and other fat consumption will lower the glycemic load of a meal (and of Yogi's meals) ...  also Neal Barnard has shown us in various speeches and in his "Reverse Diabetes"  that this is not necessarily beneficial. 

And while there may be a few examples of this having a beneficial effect on cholesterol... for those of us with more challenging health problems the effect is likely to be negative for cardiovascular health including endothelial function, plaque formation, etc.

Nuts, seeds, avocados, and other fats probably need to be reserved for emergencies (in other words, if you want to create and emergency)...
and for those in the wilderness who have a highly developed and keen intuition as well as tremendous self-discipline.

Beyond this,  we don't really know enough about what Yogi has been doing,  what his habits are,  how much stress he has,  what he does for work,  how he exercises,  his family genetics,  inherited traits, and environmental factors ...   to be able to make strong statements about why his cholesterol is showing ill health.

It was very shocking for me to find out I have cholesterol issues, and humbling and now liberating as I get myself educated.

I have "fatty liver" as analyzed by an iridologist recently. I'm cutting out on all nuts, seeds or avocados. I need my omegas so I will either supplement or try 1 tbsp chia a day or 1 tbsp of flaxseed a day.

I will keep an eye on my sleep and try and get 8 hours every day.

I will double check my strenuous exercise routine and shift some of the bootcamps with light cardio.

I will continue on high fruit diet, will continue to snack on dates as they shouldn't be the problem. Continue to lift weights 3x a week and continue to drink lots of water.

I will continue with Vit D3 and Vit B12 supplements.

Anything else I must do? Thanks a ton!!!!

Thanks Mike. This information is SO crucial for me.

(1) Little did I know that the healthy quantity of nuts and seeds is 1-2 nuts a day! I have been having a handful (thats whats preached widely) of soaked-overnight almonds or walnuts daily for fats. Not really eating that much avocados. So, I should just eat 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed OR 1 tbsp of chia seeds daily for my omegas? I sometimes add half an avocado to my salad. I read that adding avocado can increase nutrient absorption from the other veggies by up to 5 times?! So when I add half an avocado to my salad, I can skip the flaxseed or chia seeds?

(2) Whats the incorrect way of exercising? I do want my body to be toned and I like the endorphins rush in the morning as it makes my whole day productive and energized. I workout 6x a week quite strenuously (bootcamp 3x a week and weight lifting 3x a week) and sometimes sleep for 6 hours only as I need to wake up at 5.45 am to head to the gym or bootcamp so I can still get to work on time. Could that be causing hormonal issues?!

Right now, I am staying away from ALL fat. Any suggestions on how to go about it? I don't want to become low in fat and then go on a binge. I want to get into a habit that I can maintain. I should start taking 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed every night and alternate with 1 tbsp of chia seeds every other night? How does that sound? Any tips of whats the optimal way to exercise?

Thanks a ton!!

Thanks for all of your advice, Mike  :)

According to peer-reviewed articles, nuts DO lower LDL cholesterol- here's an excerpt from one:

Over 40 dietary intervention studies have been conducted evaluating the effect of nut containing diets on blood lipids. These studies have demonstrated that intake of different kinds of nuts lower total and LDL cholesterol and the LDL: HDL ratio in healthy subjects or patients with moderate hypercholesterolaemia, even in the context of healthy diets. Nuts have a unique fatty acid profile and feature a high unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratio, an important contributing factor to the beneficial health effects of nut consumption. Additional cardioprotcctive nutrients found in nuts include vegetable protein, fiber, a-tocopherol, folic acid, magnesium, copper, phytosterols and other phytochemicals.

Also- yes, supplement for omegas. They are called essential fatty acids because our body doesn't make them, so they are necessary in our diet. 

Nuts are not good based on my experience. I have been keeping fats around 20-25 gms daily from nuts and close to 10% of my daily calories but I still ran into issues. I am cutting on nuts, seeds and avocados 100% and switching to 1 tbsp ground flaxseed OR 1 tbsp chia seeds OR omega3 supplements daily.

"Health benefits of unsaturated fatty acids are widely studied. The article of Ros and Mataix published in 2006 in British Journal of Nutrition indicates that fatty acids from nuts protect from coronary heart disease (CHD) development. The paper of Willett published in American Journal of clinical nutrition also reports that diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids reduces cardiovascular disease associated mortality."

Brazil nuts improve cholesterol metabolism

"Brazil nuts are source of unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and copper.

Of special importance is that Brazil nuts contain an essential nutrient for human health – selenium. Its concentration in Brazil nut is among the highest found within foods consumed by humans. Its biological functions are mediated by the expression of about 20 selenoproteins which have selenocysteine at their active centers. These proteins have antioxidant properties, improve cardiovascular function, prevent the oxidative modification of lipids and modulate inflammation.

The results of clinical study of Brazil nuts indicates that they are beneficial for lipid metabolism normalization in humans. Healthy people consumed Brazil nuts in different doses (0, 5, 20, or 50 g). And 6 hours after a significant increase of the plasma selenium levels was observed within the groups receiving the nuts. 9 hours after treatment serum LDL-c (“bad” cholesterol) was significantly lower, whereas HDL-c (“good” cholesterol) was significantly higher in case of patients, which ate 20 or 50 g of nuts. Importantly there were no side effects: the biochemical parameters of liver and kidney function were not modified by ingestion of nuts.

Thus, the study indicates the benefits of Brazil nuts consumption on atherogenic parameters."



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