Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Testimonial: Moi

I received my final free health check up this month (not really free, you the taxpayer paid for it) in prep for my retirement from a 23 year military career.  In this post, I lamented the fact that so many folks my age are taking drugs for some malady or another - usually hyper tension, lipids or gout.

My BP this year was 120/80, better than when I was a college student 26 years ago.  My fasting lipid profile:
Triglycerides were 37, LDL 108, HDL 77.   Total cholesterol, 192.
Fasting glucose was 88.

Interestingly, when triglycerides are below 75, the formula they use to estimate LDL overestimates LDL - thus it is likely less than 100.  Not that I care.

What's the point?  Am I just crowing about myself, chest thumping?  No, no, no.

A bit.

Yes.  Still ....

How many times have you heard that you should eat less cholesterol to "lower your cholesterol"?  How many times have you heard you should eat less saturated fat to lower your cholesterol?  How many times have you been advised to eat "heart healthy whole grains" to lower your cholesterol?

How many times after those commercials, by the way, have you seen a commercial for either glucose monitors or viagra/cialis?  Man, those marketing folks know how to get you coming and going.  Pardon the pun.

What if I told you I eat over 60% of calories as fat, and that's what gives numbers like the ones above, (drugs not required).  What if I told you there's no reason to limit cholesterol intake?  What if I said I eat more fat than ever but my numbers are "better" than they've been in five years (and they've always been "good")?

The point is the entire field of medicine has run off on a lark with cholesterol, fat and health.  They kicked science to the curb, bit off on bizarre government recommendations and started to peddle meds like candy.  They may not even tell you, since they seem not to know, that if you don't want to use meds you can cure what ails you, for 80 plus percent of the population, via carbohydrate restriction.  If you ask to see the intervention study that shows low fat diets are good for longevity - or even cholesterol management - you'll get a blank stare.  The best studies I have seen show that what you have been told is opposite of the truth - when you eat saturated fat, your cholesterol numbers improve.  When you eat "heart healthy" whole grains, your glucose numbers will be crap.  And if you think trading nasty fasting glucose numbers for a ten point reduction in total cholesterol is a good deal - you should be reading this blog more often.

Of course, I don't expect that you take the numbers from my case and then become a believer - I obviously have good genes as far as fasting lipids go because my numbers didn't look too bad even when I ate nothing but low fat, "heart healthy" junk.  My numbers didn't look bad even when I reached weights over 215 pounds for the first time in my life.  My numbers, except for blood pressure, have never looked bad, no matter how much crap I slammed down my pie hole.  But they look better now that I eat fat first and foremost, with adequate protein, and veggies as convenient.

Whole fat dairy? Yes.  Real butter?  Yes, every day.  Red meat?  Not often enough.  Coconut oil, a nearly 100% saturated fat?  Yup, usually with macadamia nuts or sunflower seeds (or dark chocolate!). Do I eat 5000 servings every 15 minutes of spinach and broccoli?  Only once.  A long time ago.  Not recommended.

The point is - forget the diet wars. Forget the USDA.  Forget the pamphlets that advocate whole grains, fruits until you are broke and veggies until your back yard is completely overrun with tomato plants.  Try carbohydrate restriction.  Shoot for 100g/day or less.  See if it works for you.  Get some help to do it right.  Read a few genius books like the Protein Power Life Plan or The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.  If desperate and broke, just read this blog, each of the thousand posts for the last three years - desperate and broke after all deserves boredom (which I provide for free).  Find some friends - preferably at a CrossFit gym - who also pursue Paleo or Primal or just plain old "not eating too many friggin carbs."

In the process, I bet you will lose weight, lose the drugs, and feel a heck ova lot better.  The side effect of eating too few carbs?  You might get low carb flu for a few days or a couple weeks even - after that, the side effects are low appetite, smaller waist, more muscle, better sleep and better mood.  I think you can buck up for that.  If you can't, there are always statins, beta blockers, Uloric, and the last resort for those that wreck themselves - viagra and cialis.  And don't kid yourself folks, if you don't get a handle on your metabolic problems, that's the road you will walk.

Eat meat, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar/wheat.

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