My calcium plaque score was ZERO. yes!
That is a perfect result, essentially indicating almost a zero chance of heart disease or heart attack in the next 15 yrs, according to studies. A zero score isn't that unusual, if I read the stats correctly, about 1/3 of white males age 57 tested get a zero result. That being said, false negatives are possible with some blockage material being too low density to be seen on such a scan. But, I'm encouraged.
It affirms the benefits of the fact that I haven't eaten beef or pork for 26 yrs, and only recently started occasionally eating poultry. And, I've never allowed myself to become overweight or obese, never having exceeded a BMI of 25.
Unlike some who might celebrate this result with steak and ice cream, I'm going to persevere with the dietary recommendations that were given to me as mentioned in my previous post.
As someone stated, one of my risk factors is triglycerides and that makes sense because I've not been able to correct is my massive intake of sugar. Now, I say sugar, and we all know sugar is sugar, but I am very particular about the sugar I use. I use only 2 types of sugar exclusively: 1) raw turbinado or 2) pure maple. If you have to eat sugar, these are miles better than white sugar, and they taste soooo much better too. I have not ever purchased granulated white sugar. But I will tell you this: I would opt for the deadly pure white sugar in a heartbeat before I'd take a chemical sweetener like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame, or any of the others. I hate chemical sweeteners with a passion. It sickens me to see how pervasive sucralose has become. I read labels religiously before I buy anything.
I consume almost all of my sugar in coffee or tea, which I probably also drink too much of. I use sweet coffee and tea to ward off hunger when I am cutting fat off my body in preparation for race season. Even in the widest swings, I'm only varying 10 or 11 lbs maximum. To get that last 5 lbs of firm fat off prior to competition, takes some extraordinary measures. Like eating one main meal a day and completely eliminating starchy carbs. Essentially fish and vegetables, nuts and fruit.
Today, I tried a natural zero calorie sweetener blend of stevia and monk fruit. It was ok in my oat bran, but terrible in tea. But it was ok in cappuccino, not great.
So, I'm going to try and kick the sugar habit for a while and see how it goes. I've decided that it's ok to eat some artisan baked wheat bread. But oat bran + flax seed cereal and blueberries will be my go to in the morning, or for the first meal ... instead of sugar and caffeine.
What is healthy? I guess olive oil is NOT
Everyone talks about the benefits of olive oil and the 'Mediterranean Diet.' Olive oil is high in mono unsaturated fat. Well guess what: studies in apes show monounsaturated-fat-rich diet and saturated-fat-rich diet were equally damaging. That's right, olive oil was no better than saturated fat.
“The monkeys fed monounsaturated fat developed equivalent amounts of coronary artery atherosclerosis as those fed saturated fat,” wrote Dr. Lawrence Rudel and colleagues at Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston–Salem, North Carolina. “The point here is, we’ve got to look beyond blood lipids. We’ve got to examine exactly what happens to our arteries,” asserts Dr. Jay Kenney, Nutrition Research Specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida. As this very important long-term study on monkeys demonstrates, “better” blood lipids do not necessarily lead to better arteries. Though the monkeys on the mono-fat-rich diet had lower LDLs and higher HDLs than the monkeys on the sat-fat-rich diet, they ended up with the same amount of damage to their arteries.So what is it about the 'Mediterranean Diet?' Well, it's really not just the diet, it's the lifestyle. If you are a farmer or a sheep herder in coastal Mediterranean community, you're on your feet and walking up hills a lot. THAT is what gives the benefit as much as diet. In the diet, it's not so much the olive oil but the other stuff:
“The beneficial components of the Mediterranean diet,” concluded Robert Vogel, MD, and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables, fruits, and their derivatives such as vinegar, and omega–3–rich fish…So, read this article if you think olive oil is so great. Apparently, the science say it's not. The science supporting claims that monounsaturated fats are heart protective is weak, based largely on population studies, not controlled trials. Whatever modest health benefits are associated with consuming olive oil are largely due to the beneficial plant chemicals, such as polyphenols and plant sterols, found in the extra virgin olive oils, but these plant chemicals are largely lost in the more processed ‘light’ olive oils... the kind my mother tends to use, unfortunately.
The article is full of scientific references, some studies of course better, larger and more conclusive than others. But the bottom line is that all fats are generally bad in excess. However, my personal experience is that fats seem to affect my blood sugar and put weight on me far LESS than starchy carbs.
I guess it's back to that old saying.... everything in moderation.