LDL cholesterol / atherosclerosis

Yesterday I was at the morgue/in the dissection room. Among other things, I saw the effects of atherosclerosis on blood vessels. This buildup can in part be accounted to LDL cholesterol, which is found in food products with saturated/trans fats (mainly dairy, red meats, lean meats, eggs, processed foods). So, let’s cut all that out, and we’ll be peachy keen?

I don’t know. I also watched (half, so far) of the lecture below, where a neuroscientist became healthier and lost weight through the Atkins diet (which basically consists of dairy, eggs, and steak). The crew that defends that side claims that it is the sugar and processed foods that are the culprits, which, of course, are products that I don’t promote either. They like to refer to the fact that this kind of disease entered the stage at the point where we started to consume more starch and sugar from processed foods, but also from things such as potatoes. The thing there, I think, is that before the industrial revolution, there wasn’t a Mickey D’s on every corner, and people were moving. They weren’t still all day. If you do that, you can eat potatoes (and pasta I guess, but I don’t like to advocate processed foods regardless of one’s lifestyle). The reason why a plant-based diet could be more beneficial today (when it comes to personal health), is because the foods that it includes are not as energy-dense, and they have more fiber, which makes you feel saturated; basically, you can eat more with less caloric content, but often you won’t, because the fibers satiate you.

And, there is evidence that a plant-based diet is also preventative of atherosclerosis, not to mention the average lower BMI (this link is surely biased, but there’s no lack of scientific articles either, I’m just too lazy to get them now). However, the point I wish to raise is not necessarily about what diet will aid in the health issue only, because there seems to be different ways that one can go. As per usual, I want to talk about the parts that are left out, which concerns… The bigger picture! I won’t argue whether or not people can eat themselves to lower LDL levels etc. by consuming carcasses. I want to argue that excessive consumption of animal derived proteins (which are not confined to meat only) have been associated with other chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, cancer, and so on and so forth. Does that not deserve to be mentioned? Maybe, this guy in the lecture is (as he jokingly said) sponsored by the meat industry, what do I know. The last point left out that I want to include in the picture today, is sustainability.

The number of people who presently are starving from not having enough food to eat is immense, as is the number of others that are suffering from malnutrition from eating too much of the wrong foods, which cause them to be chronically hungry, and thus keep consuming more of the wrong foods. Furthermore, the population is not decreasing; what is happening is quite the opposite, and the same goes for prevalence of this type of disease. So where does that leave us? If we have two diets that are equally proficient in reducing certain non-communicable diseases, should we choose the one that would also eradicate world hunger and put an end to speciecism, or the one that is simply not a feasible choice, even for a small portion of the world’s population (which seems to be the status quo)? Does this question even have to be asked?

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3 responses to “LDL cholesterol / atherosclerosis

  1. I agree. I don’t think my comment was helpful:) Feel free to delete it. I just watched Vegucated the other day and am still emotional about it.

  2. Well said Eva. Seriously. I’d like to throw a guru promoting large amounts animal protein (for health, supposedly) into a waste/feces lagoon on a hog farm and see how they feel this is promoting good health for the earth and folks that live around it! Agh! Good health is more than a number on the cholesterol panel.

    • Diet surely is only one aspect of health, albeit an important one. I get upset too, but I believe that some people cling onto old habits simply because they don’t think that they can get the same satisfaction from another source, and I think we need to have compassion for them in a way, and direct some effort into making them realize the greater picture =)

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