Parent Health and Nutrition Check
By Leslie Funk
Why are so many Americans metabolically unhealthy? It is the food we eat. Being labeled as “overweight” or “obese” by the medical system is irrelevant.
All parents want their kids to be healthy. Children learn by observation; watching what you do and how you do it. This is very important when it comes to food choices, food preparation and eating habits. Now is a great time to take an honest look at your own health and the choices you make regarding food. This is not about dieting, it is about learning to choose foods that improve your health, not harm it. Preventive medicine through the consumption of fresh, real foods is the goal.
How is your metabolism?
Healthy adults come in many shapes and sizes. In this country 31% of adults are overweight and 43% are obese. In clinical studies evaluating the metabolic health of people designated “obese,” findings show that 80% have poor metabolic health while 20% have good metabolic health. This illustrates that health cannot be confirmed by falling into the “normal” body weight category. In studies of the “normal weight” population, 40% have Metabolic Syndrome; a clustering of conditions that lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. This group is now designated as “TOFI,” which stands for “Thin on the outside, fat on the inside.”
Why are so many Americans metabolically unhealthy? It is the food we eat. The offerings at your local grocery store or supermarket are about 30% real and minimally processed food and 70% highly processed non-foods disguised as healthy. If it contains “added sugar, partially hydrogenated oils of any kind, added flavorings, added colors or added fiber” it is a non-food and damages your metabolism.
Being labeled as “overweight” or “obese” by the medical system is irrelevant. To evaluate your health look at the health of your metabolism. Right now 88% of adults in the United States are metabolically unhealthy. How can you find out where you stand? Ask your primary care physician to run the following:
- Fasting blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1c
- Fasting Triglycerides
- Fasting Lipids: specifically your good cholesterol: HDL level
- Liver Function: ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase enzyme)
- Blood Pressure
- Fasting blood glucose < 100mg/dl
- Hemoglobin A1c < 5.7%
- Fasting Triglycerides < 150 mg/dL
- HDL levels: > 40 mg/dl for men, 50 mg/dl for women
- Liver ALT < 25 Units/L excellent for men and women
acceptable ranges:10-40 Units/L for men 7-35 Units/L for women
- Blood Pressure < 120 systolic/80 diastolic mmHg
To be categorized as “metabolically healthy” you hit the goals above and you are not taking medication to improve any of the goals. If you are on medication for glucose control, lipid levels, blood pressure or other lifestyle disease your doctor is trying to “buy you some time” to change your food choices. Are you ready? Now is the ideal time to make changes and the best team to do it with lives at your house. Lifestyle changes are made at home, not at the doctor’s office and not in the gym. Enlist your family, make a plan together and jump right in! Small changes that become habits will lead the way, you are on the slow, steady path to excellent health.
This article is Part 1 in a monthly series; to help you revamp your family’s relationship with food and the practices you use to eat healthy at home.
How is Your Metabolism?
Hunting for the REAL Food
Learning to Make Great Meals
Stock the Kitchen
Grow Something Edible