Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Measuring Health

Friday's post addressed how difficult it is to quantify what causes the diseases of the West, and how to measure whether one is more or less likely to suffer that variety of afflictions.  Summary:  discrete biomarkers may be manipulated via drugs or even just vitamins or foods (e.g. niacin or olive oil), but those manipulations do not seem to change disease risks.  

So what biomarker can you manipulate and measure that WILL control your health?

Glucose, thanks to the epidemic of diabetes in our country, which has created such a demand for glucose meters that you and I can get one for $50 with a month's worth of strips.

If you control your glucose, your BP will normalize (lose those BP meds), your lipid profile will normalize (no more statins), you'll lose weight from around your belly (innumerable benefits from this), you will most likely eliminate the need for gout meds if you use them, and in short - it'll all be good.  

If you eat meat and vegetables, some nuts and seeds, little fruit and starch and no sugar/no wheat, you will control your blood glucose, and when you confirm that with a glucose meter (take a measure just before you eat and one hour later) if will reinforce your choices.  It will also reinforce which foods that send your glucose levels into the stratosphere.

What's the downside?  The G meters are not perfect.  It's not fun poking holes in your fingers.  In other words, very little compared to the power the tool gives you to evaluate your health.  As with everything, there's a caveat.  If you are over-consuming fructose, your short term glucose readings won't necessarily be high, but long term, as the fructose accelerates your insulin resistance, the G readings will always be higher than you would hope for.   

Tim Ferriss illustrates in the Four Hour Body just how much you can do with a G meter, but all you really need to know is less G is better for your health.

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