Does Eating Pure Lard Improve Your Cholesterol?

As I understand it, eating lard increases LDL (“bad” cholesterol) but simultaneously increases HDL (“good” cholesterol). So eating lard would cause total cholesterol to increase, but total cholesterol is a fairly worthless metric when it comes to predicting heart disease/mortality as compared to other cholesterol ratios such as HDL/LDL. Also note that since lard contains no carbohydrates, substituting it for other carbohydrates in the diet will reduce triglycerides.

Suppose you have a person eating the standard American diet. Now suppose this person cuts back his caloric intake, equally reducing from all food sources by, say, 20%. Now suppose he made up this 20% deficit by consuming pure lard (total calories are maintained).

Would his cholesterol improve?


A single anecdote is not data, but my blood lipids improved drastically and stayed down when I went on an Atkins diet 10 years ago. Right now 65% of my caloric intake comes from fats. The only fats I use in cooking are olive oil, butter, and lard. No trans-fats, ever.

It depends on why cholesterol is high in the first place.

If it’s connected to diet, then changing your diet might help. If 90% of the fat you consume is pure lard, then it becomes more a matter of how much fat total than anything else. I’m not sure there’s any real proof that a particular fat alters the LDL:HDL ratios, but if there is, then switching to that fat might help. It’s not an excuse to consume MORE fat, though.

On the other hand, if you have the problem my mom did - a genetic defect that screws up how the body processes cholesterol - then altering your diet won’t make a damn bit of difference in regards to you cholesterol load.

I had similar results from Atkins . . . lower blood glucose (I’m diabetic), lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides and weight loss. It seemed to be a panacea . . . until my doctor told me that my kidneys were damaged from all the protein.

Panache, I don’t have the expertise, but many people in the low-carb community will call out the “all that protein will hose your kidneys” as a load o’malarkey and not likely to happen unless you have another kidney problem, IIRC. I’m not saying that it is not the case for you, just that it’s one of the anti-Atkins phrases we hear all the time.

A lot of people don’t understand that Atkins is a high-fat, not high-protein diet. (Again, not applying this to you).


Here’s the relevant quote from Gary Taubes in his NY Times article “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie” (

"But it gets even weirder than that. Foods considered more or less deadly under the low-fat dogma turn out to be comparatively benign if you actually look at their fat content. More than two-thirds of the fat in a porterhouse steak, for instance, will definitively improve your cholesterol profile (at least in comparison with the baked potato next to it); it’s true that the remainder will raise your L.D.L., the bad stuff, but it will also boost your H.D.L. The same is true for lard. If you work out the numbers, you come to the surreal conclusion that you can eat lard straight from the can and conceivably reduce your risk of heart disease. "

Yep, same story I would tell. (or…This!)

That’s because it’s supposed to be a high fat diet. Don’t replace the carbohydrates with protein, replace them with fat. The rest of my family has trouble believing that I’ve kept the weight off for all these years by pushing fat. I keep fighting to get my fat grams up. Deviled eggs with extra mayo are good for that, and omelettes made with double the yolks.

You guys are blowing my mind. kablooie!

I’ve certainly heard accounts from many people who switch to a diet high in saturated fats and low in carbs that it lowered total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides while raising HDL. Fewer people will see an increase in total cholesterol, with an increase in HDL and lowering of LDL. Almost everyone I have ever heard from who tried a diet heavy in animal fat has dramatic improvements in their lipid panel test results.

I ate the SAD for years, than in the past year I started eating more animal fats and less vegetable oils/sugars/starches and had my first lipid panel: low total cholesterol (under 160), low LDL (around 70), low trigs (50), and highish HDL (70s). For the last few months I have been eating loads of saturated fat (70-80% of total daily calories) and no processed sugars or grains, quite low in total carbs, and at last check all my numbers are pretty much unchanged except my HDL was up about 10 points, which I am pleased about.

I am young (24) and have been full-time with this diet for only a few months, so we’ll see what happens as I age.

Besides the seemingly positive lipid panel results my acne is gone with no effort for the first time in a decade, my digestion is normal for the first time I can remember (no more bloating/gas/frequent pooping), I no longer get menstrual cramps and my cycle is more regular and problem-free, no headaches or migraines (another lifelong problem), haven’t gotten any eczema or rashes (usually have persistant problems with this especially in winter), I am no longer freezing all the time with icy hands and feet, and I am sleeping 6 or 7 hours per night (instead of 8-10 with sleepiness during the day). I am thrilled to death about all of this obviously. :slight_smile:

It’s not really that surprising if you reflect on it for a moment.

What happens to a person when they lose weight? Assuming they’re losing excess body fat rather than lean body mass, their bodies are essentially consuming stores of body fat, and human body fat has a composition very similar to lard.

When people undergo significant weight loss, physiologically they’ve essentially “consumed” huge quantities of their own lard. And yet, their cholesterol levels normally improve under such circumstances.

Lard ought to be considered a “health food.”