Q. My husband and I both take fish oil supplements and Benecol Smart Chews to lower our cholesterol, but our doctor wants us to raise our HDL. I started restricting my carb intake to see if that might have an impact.

Since I have celiac disease, I have to eat gluten-free foods. I was looking for something I could use as a pasta substitute when I found tofu shirataki noodles. They have just enough tofu in them to make the texture like pasta. They are sold in our regular grocery stores and Asian markets.

My husband and I both showed a marked improvement in our HDL levels from the prior year after eating these noodles a few times a week.

There is a bit of a trick to preparing them. Rinse them in very hot water when you take them out of the package and dry them out in a non-stick skillet so they don’t make the sauce too watery. For less than 100 calories, I can have a plate of pasta for lunch and it’s healthy for me!

A. A low-carb vegan diet was tested against a high-carb vegetarian diet (BMJ Open, online Feb. 5, 2014). After six months, volunteers eating the low-carb vegan diet had lost more weight and had better lipid levels than those on the high-carb diet.

The vegan diet included soy products as well as vegetables. This may help explain the benefit you and your husband have experienced from eating noodles made from soy and yams.

You may be interested in our one-hour interview with Dr. Peter Green on the topic of celiac disease, or our discussion with Dr. Eric Westman on the health benefits of a low-carb diet. We have also interviewed Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain.

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  1. Gail D.

    I tried Dr. Perlmutter’s “Grain Brain” diet for about 3 months and then had my cholesterol levels taken. Unfortunately, my good cholesterol went down and bad cholesterol went way up. It scared me, so I am afraid to eat the butter and meat that the above doctors are recommending.
    I am still curious however if this is a good diet and cholesterol numbers either don’t matter or what is good and bad cholesterol numbers needs to be adjusted?
    I also don’t understand whether animal protein is pro-inflammatory or not. Many of the diets in the past few years have said that animal protein is inflammatory. None of your doctors above mentioned discussed that issue. I am at high risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and breast cancer so diet is very important to me.

  2. JLB

    If a person needs to increase his/her HDL I have found that the supplement Pantethine will help very much to increase HDL. I have been using Pantethine for several years. I use 300 mg Pantethine as a softgel.
    I had a complete cholesterol test done on 4/1/2014 and the results are as follows: Total Cholesterol 182, triglycerides 84, LDL 100, HDL 65 and this result is from taking just one Pantethine softgel per day. My brother-in-law had very low HDL and I recommended Pantethine. He is using it and his HDL has increased to a normal level.

  3. Linda C

    I have found that liberal inclusion of coconut oil in my diet has markedly improved my HDL:LDL ratio. It is much easier to find, extremely versatile and requires no preparation.

  4. LJW

    Have you posted any information for those of us who have been diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome?
    Would love to read more information and especially some food recommendations.
    People’s Pharmacy response: We did a fascinating interview last year on Leaky Gut Syndrome: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2014/05/31/911/

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