If I were a betting man, I’d bet a thousand dollars I’m going to get a lecture from my doctor when I see him for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks. I already gave myself a little lecture, too. I’ll explain why in a moment, but first a little background:
We moved to Tennessee four years ago, but I didn’t bother to look for a G.P. until recently. I’m rarely sick and don’t like going to doctors, so I didn’t see the need. On the other hand, I’ll turn 55 in a few months. By the time my dad was 70, he had colon cancer, severely blocked coronary arteries, and Alzheimer’s. My health habits are way better than his and I don’t expect to develop any of those diseases, but I don’t want to be stupidly overconfident. I was already enrolled in the Vanderbilt health network because of the knee surgery last year, so I scheduled an appointment for a checkup with a doctor at the Vanderbilt clinic that’s closest to our house.
Given all my dad’s health issues, the doctor of course ordered a slew of bloodwork. My appointment at the lab was scheduled for last Wednesday – a few days after my goddaughter’s wedding. At the wedding reception, I ate the carbage that was on the buffet and drank several beers. Special occasion and all that. The next morning, I extended the special occasion by eating two chicken-fried steaks with biscuits and gravy. It was the most junk-filled two days I’ve had in many moons. I had forgotten I had a lab test coming up in a few days, but I probably would have eaten the junk anyway. Like I said, special occasion and all that.
Today I logged onto the Vanderbilt site to check my lab results. Here are the numbers that will no doubt prompt a lecture from my doctor:
Total cholesterol: 245
LDL (calculated): 165
Here are the numbers that prompted a lecture from me to myself, even though the lab report declared them within the normal range:
Fasting glucose: 110
I’ve had three lipid panels (not including last week’s) since going low-carb nearly five years ago. Each time, my total cholesterol was between 200 and 210, HDL was over 60 and triglycerides were below 75. I check my fasting glucose at home a couple of times per week, and it’s pretty much always between 80 and 90. Even after meals, my glucose is rarely above 105.
So there are two possibilities here. The first is that my lipids have been getting worse without me knowing it, since it’s been a couple of years since my last lipid panel. The second is that the party-hearty weekend skewed the lab results. Since my fasting glucose was 20 points higher than usual, I suspect it’s the latter.
On the 2012 low-carb cruise, someone asked Dr. William “Wheat Belly” Davis about having a cheat day on weekends. He replied that if you cheat with wheat or other refined carbohydrates, it’s a bad idea. Just one day of eating wheat can screw up your lipids for the next 3-5 days, he explained, so one cheat day per week can mean you’re spending the majority of the week producing more triglycerides and small LDL. I don’t know if beer produces similar effects, but I can’t think of anything good that comes from drinking beer.
Anyway, I suspect I’ll be getting an earful from the doctor when we go over my labs. Depending on what he does or doesn’t know about nutrition, I may even have to endure recommendations for a low-fat diet and a statin. Naturally, I’ll ignore those recommendations.
The earful I gave myself went something like this:
Hey, Dummy: don’t cheat with wheat. Period.