Let’s focus on some of the program goals that are achievable in various lab values that reflect metabolic health.
These values reflect the status of your insulin resistance or sensitivity; the status of fatty liver; markers for cardiovascular risk; liver health; and thyroid status.
Measures to consider therefore include an NMR lipoprotein panel (with lipoprotein(a) on the first time this is run); hemoglobin A1c, fasting glucose, fasting insulin; 25-hydroxy vitamin D; TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, thyroid antibodies; AST, ALT.
Among the metabolic goals you can aim for are:
- HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dl or greater—HDL is a useful index of the quality of your diet and health. Low HDL values of, say, 42 mg/dl, reflect excess weight, inflammation, high carbohydrate intake, etc.
- Triglycerides of 60 mg/dl or less—Like HDL, triglycerides are also a useful index of diet and health. When maintained at or below 60 mg/dl, it means that VLDL particles in the bloodstream rich in triglycerides are relatively unavailable to create small LDL particles that lead to heart disease and stroke. In other words, maintaining triglycerides at this low level (not the ridiculous 150 mg/dl or conventional guidelines associated with flagrant quantities of small LDL particles) means that small LDL particles have been minimized or reduced to zero.
- Small LDL particles of no higher than 200 nmol/L—Though I am most reassured by small LDL particles of zero, obtained by not consuming the foods that provoke the formation of small LDL particles: grains and sugars. (The amylopectin A carbohydrate of wheat and grains are flagrant triggers of small LDL particles, as they are of postprandial, or after-meal, rises of VLDL that lead to small LDL.)
- Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) of 5.0% or less—Keeping glycated hemoglobin, i.e., HbA1c, to such low levels tells us that you have eliminated the huge rise in risk for cardiovascular death and events from this measure and that you have slowed the process of aging via glycation of body proteins to a minimum.
- Fasting glucose of 60-90 mg/dl—We want none of the excess risk for common diseases associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugars. Blood sugars even below the pre-diabetic range pose excess risk for such things as cardiovascular death. We therefore aim for perfect blood sugars—easily and readily achievable on this lifestyle.
- Fasting insulin of 4.0 mIU/L or less—Low levels of insulin suggest that insulin sensitivity is restored and that you need very little insulin to process glucose. Pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics typically have values of 30, 50, or 80 mIU/L, sky-high values reflecting insulin resistance. (Just bear in mind that an occasional person can have a low insulin level because of pancreatic failure: prior damage to the pancreas from grain and sugar consumption, glucotoxicity, lipotoxicity, autoimmunity, and are incapable of making sufficient insulin any more. This applies to a minority of people. See Wheat Belly Total Health for further explanation.)
- TSH 2.0 mIU/L or less—Along with free T3 and free T4 in the upper half of the reference range. Normalization of thyroid antibody levels.
- AST/ALT—These liver markers should be kept in the normal range, markers of liver damage as in fatty liver.
Getting all these values in line is associated with magnificent health and freedom from hundreds of chronic health conditions, all achievable on the Undoctored Wild, Naked, Unwashed program.
There are, of course, many other parameters you can track such as hormonal measures, a wider inflammatory assessment, PTH and hypothalamic/pituitary assessments, apo E genotype, and many others. But the above will provide a broad and fairly detailed of the changes that you experience on the Undoctored Wild, Naked, Unwashed program. Note what is absent: total and LDL cholesterol, two virtually useless markers for heart disease risk that should have been abandoned decades ago except that Big Pharma found a way to turn ignorance into a pot of gold.
But remember: NEVER have such values drawn if you are actively losing weight or have lost weight within the past 4 weeks, as the natural process of weight loss introduces transient distortions due to the mobilization of triglycerides stores in fat cells. Once weight has plateaued for a minimum of 4 weeks, then your lab values will truly reflect your metabolic health, undistorted by the process of weight loss.