Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Effects of a High-Fat Diet on Health and Weight - Blood Test Analysis Part 2/2

Glucose is also known as grape sugar. (Photo by AHMED)

Continuing with the results of my high-fat diet experiment, I'm going to analyse the rest of the numbers today. If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, you may wish to start reading from the beginning.

There are all kinds of strange names of tests done on my blood in the letter I got from the doctor, so I'm going to have to turn to good old Google for explanations. First in line appears to be blood glucose, which is used to measure the amount of a type of sugar (called glucose) in your blood. A high blood glucose is an indication of diabetes. Abnormally low blood glucose, or hypoglycemia, is uncommon in adults.

Since glucose comes from carbohydrates, it would seem logical that a diet high in fat and protein does not raise blood glucose levels. Normal levels depend, once again, on who you ask: according to the Diabetes Health Center, fasting levels below 5.5 mmol/l are normal, whereas the Finnish health care system defines levels between 4-6.1 mmol/l as normal. My blood glocuse is 5.0, which seems to be in the normal range. It's difficult to say whether my blood glucose level has increased, decreased or stayed the same, since this is the first time I've had it measured, but at least in my case eating lots of saturated fat and protein did not result in elevated blood glucose levels.

Next up is hemoglobin. The normal levels for men are between 13.5-16.5 g/dl in America and 13.4-16.7 in Finland. Lower levels are usually caused by iron deficiency and lead to symptoms of anemia, so a very low hemoglobin level is unhealthy. My hemoglobin is 17.0 g/dl. The last time it was measured it was slightly above normal, so it seems not to have been affected by the diet. Also, high hemoglobin runs in my family (even though we eat very differently), so I presume it has more to do with your genes than your diet.

All the other tests seem to measure the amount and size of red and white blood cells. All the levels are within normal range, so I'm going to make the assumption that eating a high-fat diet did not mess up my blood cells.

When reading these results, keep in mind that I excluded things like bread, pasta and potatoes from my diet, so these results don't say much about what would happen if you ate large amounts of both complex carbohydrates and (saturated) fats. That, however, is an experiment I'd rather not perform on myself...

Go to next post on this experiment

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