T Nation

Healthy Heart


I've been eating quite a bit of chicken and some beef lately thanks to the advice on this site. My cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Triglycerides scores have always been excellent for my age and I really don't want to mess that up. Now can someone comfort me that eating all this fowl (and a little beef) ain't gonna hurt me? I want to not only have muscle but I want to example of health and vitality and not the typical burn-out American male that I see around me.....


It will probably only hurt your blood profile if you are taking in more saturated fat that you used to consume. Then again, if you are exercising more than before, it might not make a difference. You'll know once you get your blood tested again.


Hmmm. I'm just surprised there's not more research showing how to get the protein without substantially raising cholesterol, etc.


Also, does anyone if the increased calories hurt Triglycerides in general? Or can you avoid that if you eat low glycemic foods, etc.?


An interesting question. If you'll permit me, I'd like to ramble a little on this subject, but I also make some suggestions for you (scroll down if you don't have time to read my mental meanderings...)

Most people will suggest minimizing saturated fat to prevent cholestrol (C) from increasing. Many also will say avoid foods high in C.

I never seem to be in the most-people line. Minimizing saturated fat is good, but I am less certain about its impact on C. High C foods have negligible impact on blood C levels compared with the C manufactured in your liver. Articles like the following tend to keep my mind open and also allow me to filter out some of the flawed advice:

"The Truth about Saturated Fat" - http://www.mercola.com/2002/aug/17/saturated_fat1.htm#

A search engine will find dozens more - each article can conflit with the previous, just to help keep us confused... :frowning:

Personally, I believe eating too much lean chicken / lean beef is not especially healthy for you, even more so if you tend to eat less fruit and vegetables because you can't stuff it all in. I have found I can make satifactory gains at 45 years old without going crazy on the protein intake. I also get some protein from wild fish, organic eggs and also organic milk products too, so you may want to consider these as an alternative method to get your amino acids - but this too is not as simple as the marketeers would have us believe: e.g. fish issues (heavy metals, PCBs, pesticides), and milk issues ("homogenization" and "pasteurization").

In spite of these potential drawbacks, I think they're a good choice to augment a high protein diet.

(On the subject of milk: there's an argument that no other species drinks milk of other animals - frankly, that's more likely because, e.g., a tiger doesn't know a convenient way of milking a goat, so it eats the whole darn thing, udders and all; but I digress...)

Onto triglycerides (Tri's). You're spot on here, in my view: Tri's come largely from your carbs., saturated fat has become guilty by association. This scrwewed with me, because when my C was high, I cut out fats and ate carbs instead (after all, they were "C free - and yes, I fell for that B.S. at the time). Too much sugar in the blood at any one time will promote Tri generation in your liver, for fat storage. You can get too much sugar by eating too much "low GI" carbs, or by eating moderate (let alone excessive) amounts of high GI carbs. Oh that fresh white bread - I used to eat a whole loaf at one sitting, confident that it was GOOD because it was fat and C free. Little did I know...

For a typical western diet, the advice that normally helps many is:

  1. increase protein;
  2. increase fats;
  3. reduce saturated fats;
  4. eliminate (drastically minimize, anyway) trans-fats especially and vegetable oils in general;
  5. by default, increase fats that contain omega 3's and mono unsaturates: fish, flax, avocado, nuts and such;
  6. reduce carbs and minimize / eliminate highly processed carbs;
  7. and drink lots of chlorine-free water.

Being as this subject is so complicated, I suggest you take a guess as to how close to the typical "western diet" you are, then make the appropriate changes. If you're already hitting hard on the daily protein count with chicken and beef, I would suggest you look at ways of substituting that with wild fish, eggs (many with yolks; all free range) and maybe some milk products.

Finally, get your Doc to measure your lipid profile every year or so, for good measure.

Good luck!



It'll be interesting to see. I had blood work done about six months ago if I remember right. Right now I pretty much just eat whole grains, fruit and veges for carbs (and an occasional pop tart!). So it'll be interesting if my blood work stays steady. I won't worry unless something changes significantly.

Right now I don't really care if I die at 75 instead of 85 - I just want T. But I realize I've got to stay rational.

But that's where I was going: the research is now showing that increased fat, less fiber, more beef, more saturated fat, more calories, etc. increase T-levels. But, of course, that flies in the fact of the nutritional advice of the last thirty years.

So I'm wondering if T is good or T is bad? Well, I still believe in an ideal world where you can have your cake and eat it too...