My not good labs

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 3, 2006, 10:23 AM | comments: 13

So my labs came back, and some things are not good. Cholesterol is 205, triglycerides at 410. Glucose at 102, which isn't good considering I hadn't eaten in 12 hours.

Reading up on what the numbers mean (and yes, I'm going to talk to the doctor too), it would appear that it's not so much my fat intake that's a problem, but rather all of the straight sugar and grain. It also appears that it's "simple" to correct by eating more green veggies (that's no shock) and getting off my ass now and then.

And hey, the motivation to do so is good enough. These particular numbers lead to heart disease, stroke, heart attacks and diabetes. None of those are particularly good for you.

I'm a little freaked out, though I shouldn't really be surprised. I just feel like the normal rules shouldn't apply to me. Still, in trying to keep perspective, everything else is quite normal and I don't appear to have any serious damage to my body yet.

Growing up can really suck sometimes.


Eric, November 3, 2006, 4:04 PM #

Did you type that triglycerides number right?

While your doc should be the expert - I know that personally when my triglycerides were high it was because I wasn't exercising enough and eating too many "bad" carbs as opposed to protein, good fat, and "good" carbs.

I guess what I am saying is . . . as a guy with some significant experience in this area, I concur with your comment about food type and exercise.

Jeff, November 3, 2006, 4:10 PM #

Stephanie (who will be done with her nutrition degree next month) told me that the TG's might be high in part from all of the drinking over the weekend, since the cholesterol isn't proportionally crazy high. So I suppose if they come down over time then I'm not as bad off as I think.

But regardless, I know I have to make changes while I'm still young so I don't fuck myself in the long run.

You know, the funny thing is, as much as I feared seeing a doctor for 15 years, the piece of mind I now have makes me realize what an idiot I've been. It's much better knowing what your issues are and dealing with them than being ignorantly blissful. I think women understand this better since they see an OB/GYN every six to 12 months because they're at risk for so many preventable things.

Jeff Young, November 3, 2006, 4:53 PM #

Don't forget the potatoes. They are considered "bad" carbs too. When I started the South Beach diet 10 weeks ago, I really missed potatoes. Then, I realized that it's not really the potato I miss, but all the shit I'd pile on top of the potato. French fries aren't good without ketchup (or bacon and cheese), mashed potatoes need butter, salt, etc. It's crazy to think that the potato is the thing that could be the worst for you instead of the bacon and cheese on top of the fries.

One of the things that the South Beach diet suggests is cooking up some cauliflower, adding butter, salt, and milk, and then blending it. This gives you a substitute for mashed potatoes, and just like potatoes, cauliflower takes the flavor of the butter, milk, etc. They're really not that bad, as long as you blend them the right way and add enough "flavoring." Sure, it's not the same as the real thing, but it isn't bad either.

Eric, November 3, 2006, 5:25 PM #

I would have to disagree that potatoes are "bad" carbs. The ADA guidelines suggest that a potato is a much better choice than pasta or bread. We need starchy vegatables to survive. But I would agree that it's what you add that makes the difference. This coming from someone who meets with an RD (registered dietician) weekly.

But, this is about Jeff's health . . .

Jeff, November 3, 2006, 5:44 PM #

Right, South Beach and many of those diets vilify certain foods and try to create absolutes, which is stupid. None of the reputable dietitians that Steph knows would put you on one of those diets. That's why I think Weight Watchers can work for people that stick to it, because it trains you to eat "normal" portions of whatever, and the "whatever" tends to be healthier stuff because you can eat more of it for less points.

The more I learn about this the more I find that balance, exercise and a lot of common sense goes a long way. There are no "bad" carbs, just too much of anything isn't good.

Kara, November 3, 2006, 6:46 PM #

Is butter a carb?


Eric, November 3, 2006, 7:05 PM #

Only if it's melted - and on crab or lobster.

CPLady, November 3, 2006, 7:40 PM #

For someone who suffers from hypoglycemia, there are certainly bad carbs.

I've felt like crap the past couple of weeks and after keeping track the last week or so, discovered one hour after eating, I was in a stupor.

I had pasta three times, stuffed cabbages with mashed potatos, pizza and chow mein. Last night I stuck with meatloaf and cauliflower and didn't get the same reaction I did with the pasta.

I know Jeff isn't much for the low carb diets and insists they aren't good for you...but that's exactly what my doc has put me on whenever my blood sugar goes nuts. So it's back to cutting carbs for me again.

Catherine, November 3, 2006, 7:55 PM #

I agree with CPLady. While carbs are not the enemy per se, they scare me a bit. This week we have been learning about hyperglycemia and diabetes, and Jeff's labs have me hoping he's not heading down that road toward insulin resistance, which comes a lot of times hand-in-hand with obesity. The bottom line is that the refined carbs and sugars which he frequently puts into his body "train" his cells to be resistant to that lovely hormone which is so critical - insulin. And the danger there is that if your cells do not respond to insulin anymore, there's no way to get your blood sugar back under control. The carbs which everyone puts in the "bad" category are really not carbs at all. They are sugar. White bread, white rice, anything with a high glycemic index. Within a few minutes of you eating it, that's what it is to your body... sugar. meanwhile the vegetables fill you up and don't cause a spike in your blood glucose. Jeff and I will try a little less french fries and more broccoli and maybe some nice brisk winter walks, m aybe we can make some meaningful slow and permanent changes in our lives that will soon reflect in those lab numbers!

Eric, November 3, 2006, 8:06 PM #

"meaningful slow and permanent changes"

As a recent convert to the "good food" club - I think that statement sums it up well. You can be an average guy in average shape (see Jeff) and still have some hidden challenges due to things like sweets and fried foods.

It's not easy, in fact it's a constant struggle - but in the end its worth it.

Besides - asparagus and brussel sprouts are the bomb!

Tekno, November 3, 2006, 9:22 PM #

Having worked around quite a few nurses and doctors, the diets that cut out certain foods are not good for people in any situation. They're 'useful' as a means to drop a lot of weight in a short, drastic amount of time, and so the arguement could be made that in short, they can help you drop a signifigant amt. of weight, but should only be done to jump start a healthier lifestyle as a starting boost.

Jeff, I assume (yeah, I know) that you, like me, probably eat wheat bread and not white? Do you get the sugar free wheat or not? Cause even if it is small, it's still less sugar (which is my main problem).

And aside from the pepperoni rolls, I think it's been about 2 weeks without meat, yay me for sticking with it (although because I love veggies, it isn't that hard).

Neuski, November 3, 2006, 9:35 PM #

Tyler. Needs. Meat.

GregLeg, November 4, 2006, 5:20 AM #

Ok, allow the Type I (ie autoimmune, as opposed to insulin-resistant/overweight) diabetic to chime in :)

High-glycemic-index carbs are "bad" carbs. Refined grains, sugars, etc. White potatoes are (perhaps nonintuitively) worse than "sweet" potatoes/yams. (Yams have more complex carbs, more fiber, a lower glycemic index, more flavor (IMHO), AND more vitamins to boot)

My cholesterol is consistently excellent, to the point where my HDL ("good" cholesterol) is HIGHER than my LDL ("bad" cholesterol). My endo asks me what kind of diet I follow, and the answer is always the same -- I don't follow any special diet, but I pick all things in moderation (even if people who only see me eat at parks don't believe that ;) ) I don't specifically avoid carbs, fats, OR proteins, but rather try for a balance, and make sure I eat plenty of fruits and veggies. A little meat, and NEVER any crap like white bread (granted, the gluten intolerance makes that park easier in many ways, if I ate any of that crap I'd get sick anyway.)

I applaud Jeff for realizing he can still do something about it, though, rather than just sitting there whining while chowing down on a bag of chips like so many people do.

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