23 May 2011

Hollandaise, or: The Wages of Sin is Death

Today I went to give blood for my first ever cholesterol test.

A proper one. HDLs LDLs and all the bumph. To be interpreted by a cardiac disease specialist next week after a good ultrasound look around my arteries. I have a close family history of dead people and elevated cholesterol, and am reaching the age where that's more likely to do me in than my motorcycle habit. So it's a Good Idea.

Wish I believed in someone to pray to:
"Father who art in heaven,
give me this day my daily ciabatta,
and please, please let me have poached egg and hollandaise on top
and still live to 120..."

UPDATE 1 June 2011
Still have to wait for full report, but mostly good news. Ultrasound showed happily pulsing carotid and femoral arteries clean as a whistle, blood pressure lower than average. Cholesterol could definitely be better though, with moderately high LDLs. The Prof reckons I fall into the group with only a 2% probability of dying of heart failure by 60. He said stay away from palm oil. No problem there, palm oil might be pervasive these days, but since I barely every eat processed food, it's not hard to avoid. Particularly since I've seen first hand the horror of palm oil plantations replacing the tropical forests of South East Asia. He then advised a Japanese-style diet with fish four times a week. Ho hum, what now? First, if everybody switched to an every day fish diet, wild fish stocks would be wiped out in a decade, and secondly, and perhaps more important, I'm far too bloody fussy to eat anything except the very freshest fish, and that's hard to come by. Tragically, even if I ignore the fish advice, this probably means even less meat consumption than my already very moderate intake of a 3-4 times a week. Sigh. On the bright side, The Prof did point out that if I were going to partake of any saturated animal fat, it wouldn't make much difference to my cardiac health to have a little or a lot in any given 24 hour cycle. I think a cardiac health specialist just advised me to binge.

And in more good news, my research into egg consumption, including delving into the original scientific literature rather than relying on WikiFact, suggests that actually eating cholesterol, and specifically eating egg, which contains substantial quantities of cholesterol, is NOT linked to elevated cholesterol or heart disease, except in those unfortunate (usually also overweight) souls with type II diabetes. The seminal study by Hu et al (1999) has since been supported by many others.

Frank B. Hu, MD; Meir J. Stampfer, MD; Eric B. Rimm, ScD; JoAnn E. Manson, MD; Alberto Ascherio, MD; Graham A. Colditz, MD; Bernard A. Rosner, PhD; Donna Spiegelman, ScD; Frank E. Speizer, MD; Frank M. Sacks, MD; Charles H. Hennekens, MD; Walter C. Willett, MD 1999 A Prospective Study of Egg Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Men and Women. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 281(15):1387-1394.

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