Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 18

I can't believe that I've managed to write a blog post every day. This post, however, is going to be short. I'm reading a fascinating book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, that discusses the history and controversy around what's now medical and dietary dogma that cholesterol and saturated fats are responsible for heart disease and obesity in this country. I decided to read it again, given the recent update to cholesterol guidelines.

I find that more and more, I distrust the medical industry. We treat symptoms only and are much to quick too prescribe drugs, rather than search for the underlying cause of an illness or malaise and attempting to remedy it with lifestyle changes first. And yes, I do understand that getting the majority of the population to be compliant with lifestyle changes is challenging, at best.

I'm pretty sure that when I go for my next physical, my doctor is going to try to prescribe statins for me. My cholesterol is higher than what is recommended. But my risk factor, when looking at the ratio of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, is below average. So why put a drug into my system that's going to mess with my body, when there isn't a clear and present danger?

Most, if not all, of the the studies that recommended low-cholesterol diets were done with a population of middle-aged men. I'm not a middle-aged man. I suspect a lot of the statin trials were conducted on a similar population. There was a piece in the Huffington Post, The Statin Insanity, that looked at some of the numbers associated with the effectiveness of statins: "Even for heart patients, a group in whom the benefits of statin drugs are broadly accepted, 80 people have to take the drug for one life to be saved. And just one in 40 will be spared from a heart attack. For these scraps of hopeful benefit, there is a price: the drug will give one in every 50 diabetes."

My philosophy is to eat a well-balanced diet, one that includes local pastured beef, pork, chicken, eggs, lots of local veggies, some fruit, some grains. I need to work on reducing the amount of sugar in my diet (I do love me a little dessert after dinner). And I think it's important to work to reduce inflammation in your body. According to one source (which I cannot find), inflammation in your blood vessels creates a surface so that lipids adhere, thus clogging the veins and arteries. But yet the test that can detect inflammation isn't given (or rather, isn't covered by insurance) unless you are already presenting symptoms of heart disease. That doesn't make much sense to me.

At any rate, I find the various discussions interesting. I probably should have been a biologist. Except there was the little problem of chemistry class...

No comments:

Post a Comment