Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of people say their diet is ok because their “numbers” are good.
Numbers that matter
Unless your doctor is super up-to-date on current science and nutrition information (most aren’t) the numbers you’re looking at probably don’t mean much.
The normal checks for high cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI rating, EKG’s, Stress tests, and other common risk markers do tell part of the story. However, they are not specific enough, and in many cases have shown to provide false positives, where someone came out with great numbers and had a heart attack or stroke weeks or even days after they were tested.
Tests and evaluations that many doctors don’t do, that they should:
LDL Particle Number, LDL is the bad cholesterol. This tells us how many particles of bad LDL you have in comparison to the good. The lower the number, the better. This also works in conjunction with the next risk factor. https://www.docsopinion.com/2013/10/20/ldl-cholesterol-particle-number-particle-size-made-easy/
LDL Particle Size, Secondary to how many LDL particles you have, you want them to be as big as possible, The lower your small LDL Particle count the better. https://www.internationaljournalofcardiology.com/article/S0167-5273(17)37884-1/abstract
HDL to Triglyceride Ratio, Having a good ratio of higher HDL to lower Triglycerides (less than 1.0) indicates that your LDL particles are large and less likely to become an issue that could lead to heart disease.
HOMA-IR, This provides a better indication of how blood glucose and insulin relate to each other in your body. This can be a good early indicator of insulin resistance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeostatic_model_assessment
Carotid Intima-Media Thickness, Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is a relatively simple, noninvasive measure that uses ultrasound to detect the presence and extent of atherosclerosis in an artery. https://www.docsopinion.com/2016/01/10/carotid-intima-media-thickness/
Body Fat %, This is a simple one folks. The higher your body fat %, the more risk you are of having cardiovascular disease. You don’t have to be 50 pounds overweight either. Body fat % is not about overall weight. https://www.clinicaldensitometry.com/article/S1094-6950(16)30252-9/pdf https://inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/how-to-fight-diabetes-with-improved-body-composition/
Glucose Tolerance Test, The problem with regular glucose blood testing is that in many cases it is done as part of a fasted blood draw. It is not truly testing how your body reacts to food and manages glucose. The Glucose Tolerance Test is done before and after eating to check for proper glucose management. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/glucose-tolerance-test/about/pac-20394296
C-Reactive Protein, Inflammation combined with bad cholesterol, causes heart attacks. The CRP is a very sensitive test for overall inflammation and stress in your body. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/c-reactive-protein-test-to-screen-for-heart-disease
The numbers you’re looking at could be good, but are they the right numbers?
Quality of life counts
Numbers can only get you so far. If you have IBS, Sleep Apnea, Eczema, Arthritis, or any number of other inflammatory or autoimmune issues, what good are your numbers doing you?
So many people deal with chronic conditions that could be rectified with nutrition and fitness activities.
Here’s a list of a few things we’ve seen people improve:
- Eczema and psoriasis
- Joint pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Lyme’s Disease
Numbers mean nothing when it comes to improving how you feel and live your life.
But are you healthy?
Your numbers are good? Why do you have a high body fat%? Can you squat your body weight or lift 50 pounds over your head?
Physical performance is an integral part of determining health. What good is having low cholesterol if your’e too weak to wipe your own butt when you get older?
Doing everything you can to live longer is a complete waste of time if that longer life is limited to sitting in a rocking chair watching old movies of Clint Eastwood on the TV.
The biggest contributor to death in people over 65 is lack of muscle mass and overall strength. There is an epidemic of weakness that prevails through our society that assumes frailty comes with old age.
The whole idea of being “Over the Hill” is the start of it and it needs to end somewhere. Everyone should be able to move their bodies, move weight around their bodies and enable themselves to move freely and enjoy their surroundings.
That’s what matters.
Don’t rely on your numbers alone. Look at your life in the big picture. Can you do what you want to? Do you feel your best all the time? Are you happy in your skin? If everything is great AND your numbers (the right numbers) are good, then keep it up!