What is the world’s healthiest diet?

It’s written in your genes

Many of the foods that most Australians and New Zealanders consume are, on an evolutionary scale, very new additions to our diets. Sugar, white flour, refined oils, colors, flavors, preservatives and many other ingredients are very recent additions. Some researchers also point out that the regular consumption of grains and dairy products has only taken place for less than 1% of total hominin evolutionary history. Up to 70% of the calories in our current diets would have been rarely or never consumed by pre-agricultural humans, and as such it is unlikely that our genetic machinery has had the time to adapt sufficiently to cope with these foods effectively. This concept is not new, with the work of pioneers such as Weston Price demonstrating that as populations moved from a more primitive, whole food diet to the modern, refined staples that now fill our shopping trolleys, the health of our people degenerated substantially within 1 to 2 generations.

Dyslipidaemia (High cholesterol) is more than just elevations in total cholesterol. From a clinical perspective, it is essential to evaluate all lipid parameters, including low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), triglyceride levels and apolipoprotein levels. These markers can give you as a Practitioner a more detailed insight into a patient’s condition and help you determine the underlying cause of their lipid abnormalities. Understanding a patient’s specific pattern of high cholesterol can also allow for a more targeted and effective treatment strategy. For a summary of key pathology reference ranges see Table One.

‘Normal’ range Ideal range Borderline high risk High risk
Total cholesterol (mmol/L) 3.5 – 5.4 <4.0 5.2 – 6.2 >6.2
LDL cholesterol (mmol/L) 2.5 – 3.4 <2.5 3.3 – 4.8 >4.8
HDL cholesterol (mmol/L) >1.0 >1.5 <1.0 (men)
<1.3 (women)
cholesterol ratio
<4.5 <4.5 4.5 – 8.0 >8.0
Triglycerides (mmol/L) <1.7 <1.7 1.7 – 2.2 >2.2
Triglyceride:HDL cholesterol ratio <1.8 <1.8 1.8 – 2.4 >2.4
ApoA (g/L) 1.0-1.8 >1.5 1.2 – 1.5 <1.2
ApoB (g/L) <1.2 <0.9 0.9-1.2 >1.2
ApoB/ApoA (g/L) <2.0 <0.9 0.9-2.0 >2.0

Normal is not enough

When reviewing pathology test results, it is not always enough to accept that lipid levels in the ‘Normal’ range are indicative of good health. Rather, it is important to aim for the ‘Ideal Range’ to ensure optimal cardiovascular health and risk reduction. Note also that people with lipids in the ‘Borderline High Risk’ range may be at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular issues – they may not have an overt pathology yet, but they are certainly on that path. Treatment of high cholesterol must be a priority for any patient with lipid parameters in the ‘Borderline High Risk’ or ‘High Risk’ ranges.

For more detailed help with individual cases, call our professional Naturopathic Practitioner:

A Natural Self
A Naturopathy Clinic
Dana Kington
244 South Tce
South Fremantle, 6162

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