Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Time Capsule from 2005

In May of 2004, I had some blood tests done by my doctor. My cholesterol was a bit high, so she recommended that I cut back on saturated fat. I ended up making a lot of changes to my diet then - cut saturated fat significantly (I was logging everything back then, so this was easy to say), cut back on fast food, and ate a lot more whole grains and vegetables at home.

I remembered today that I had a c-reactive protein test back then, and I thought I might have emailed Sally about it at the time, so I searched my Gmail for "CRP" and turned up an email I wrote a year later when I had more tests done. I'm interested in CRP because it is a marker of inflammation, which may be one of the causes of leptin resistance, which may be a major cause of obesity.

Anyway, I now present, for your reading pleasure, this email from 2005.

Last May, when I got my high cholesterol numbers (from tests taken
in April), I radically changed my diet. Remember? Sure you do.

I have pretty much kept with those changes, and I have also lost 29
pounds since then.

Well, I just got my blood test results back. Here is a comparison:

total cholesterol: 211 (should be < 200)
hdl ("good"): 43 (should be > 40)
ldl ("bad"): 151 (should be < 130)
triglycerides: 85 (should be < 150)

Now (February)
total cholesterol: 219 (should be < 200)
hdl ("good"): 38 (should be > 40)
ldl ("bad"): 166 (should be < 130)
triglycerides: 112 (should be < 150)

So basically, all of my numbers have gotten WORSE rather than better,
despite my having lost a substantial amount of weight (13% of the
weight I had in April, in fact) and changed my diet in all the
recommended ways (if not to all of the recommended extents).

In addition, this time I had that Cardio CRP test. I got a 10.7.
Here is what the reference numbers are:

< 1.0 Low Risk
1.0 - 3.0 Average Risk
3.1 - 10.0 High Risk
> 10.0 Persistent elevations may represent non-cardiovascular inflammation

Yuck. My doctor wants to have all of this retested in November, and
meantime recommends continued weight loss, exercise, and avoiding
animal fats. (What animal fats? I hardly eat any fucking animal fats
anymore anyway.)

This is kind of freaking me out.
Notice that eating less animal fat, cutting saturated fat from my diet resulted in HIGHER triglycerides (very bad) and slightly worse cholesterol numbers (probably bad), despite the fact that I lost 29 lbs over that time, which would be expected to improve things.

This proves nothing, of course, but unlike most anecdotes, this one at least applies to me specifically.


Sally said...

N = 1 studies aren't quite so bad when the N is you and you want to generalize to yourself.

Can we hope to see comparative numbers from the paleo-ish plan at some point?

Tam said...

I hope so. It probably won't be until the Spring, though.