I’ve been breaking in a new doctor and with the new doctor and a few other revelations, my blood work had to be redone. Well it came back the other day and it appears as though my cholesterol has been creeping up over the last ten years or so. I’m still within acceptable, healthy range but when last I checked my cholesterol was lower than 150 (high on the good end and low on the bad). So with the little jump – which may be an anomaly, the blood was taken without having fasted as is usually recommended because the doctor’s office failed to inform me that I needed to – will come an active change in my diet whether or not the new test (which will be taken in December) requires it.
My diet, as has been explained previously, requires a little finesse. I am not able to consume enough “good” food to replace the calories that I burn through cycling. Whether we say that my stomach isn’t big enough or I don’t eat often enough makes no difference to me. The simple fact is that if I rely on fruits and veggies for snacks and three squares a day, I’ll waste away to 130 pounds – I’ve started down that path too many times in the last couple of years. So the first thing I explained to the doctor was that fast food, while most find it obnoxious, wasn’t going anywhere and much to my surprise, he was very okay with that (on a limited basis of course). On the other hand, he took a scalpel to my penchant for sweets and the occasional cola.
The explanation was this: Candy and soda cause a spike in blood sugar. To level that out, the body produces insulin and the liver produces cholesterol – the new thinking is that this is why Europeans can eat a high fat diet yet walk around with cholesterol levels in the low 100’s while in the US, where we’re cutting fat, but pounding sugar like it’s sexy, we’re walking around in the 300’s. I’m not a doctor so I really will just leave figuring that out to them (the truth is that even the best thinking today will change in a year or two, or at least that’s been so since they decided the earth wasn’t really flat after all). The unvarnished truth is that the notion makes logical sense so that’s why I’m taking the advice.
There’s another interesting twist to this though: I drink Gatorade after I ride to replace electrolytes. Gatorade does have sugar in it so I asked if it would be okay to stay with it – I’ve tried going without and it just doesn’t work for me. I can’t get my proper balance without it (my sweat even stops tasting salty after a couple of weeks). My doc said that I should be okay with the Gatorade but cut the rest of the junk, but that still got me to thinking, “something’s fishy”… So I went home and checked on the sugar per 12 oz serving of Gatorade: 7 grams. Then I checked the last bottle of root beer that I’ll have in the house for quite some time: 43 grams of sugar. Now I understand why the Gatorade is okay but the soda’s gotta go. Six times the sugar!
Now I’ve got four and a half months to put this one to the test and see where I shake out… I’ll be sure to write about it – I’m going in to give blood on the second anniversary of my blog.