Signage in the Cardio waiting area of the NHS hospital, The Royal Free. I was chuckling to myself sitting in front of this poster: How much salt? First – take a look at WHAT you’re eating. I don’t really think salt is the problem here. But no real dietary guidance will be given to those who need it.
I sat down to wait. In front of me was a “health” poster showing good and bad choices when it came to salt intake. (Salt intake being “bad” and something to avoid.) Such an odd choice – I didn’t really see any other public literature, and this one was a huge poster that had pride of placement. Really? While excessive salt intake is not advisable, it’s not exactly one of the priority items to improve heart health – studies have shown mixed results with salt reduction. And the “healthy foods” that are being advised on the poster include these non-healthy gems: A chicken salad sandwich, fish with potatoes, shepherd’s pie, and yes, one salad option that looked like butter lettuce with a couple of veg thrown on it – not inspiring pictures of health! And certainly far afield from the outcomes of thousands of studies pointing the way to foods such as oatmeal, blackberries, broccoli, avocados, walnuts, almonds, etc. that have been studied and proven to significantly improve heart health indicators such as cholesterol.
I strongly believe, it’s what you add to your diet that is important, much more than what you take away. So I as well as many others waiting, were taken aback when this idea was shockingly flaunted in our faces.
An orderly goes down the hall, past all of us waiting patients, and is selling snacks by calling aloud what he has “on offer”. Of course, you’d expect these to be healthy snacks, right? This is inside of a government backed hospital, in the waiting area for cholesterol specialists. The reality is less than inspiring.”Does anyone want to buy some biscuits, how about a chocolate bar while you wait?” Seriously? This is the latest money maker? Selling a Dairy Milk to patients who are sitting there to see a specialist because they have issues with their heart health?
Even the NHS website does not advise these foods. They say on their webpage about cholesterol “The first step in reducing cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.” The sugar and bad fats in biscuits and chocolate bars, are very clearly linked to heart disease. Why was it that myself, as well as my fellow patients all spotted this incongruous fact? One man was bothered so much that he jumped up from his chair and asked the orderly “Surely, you are not seriously selling these things in a cardio waiting area?”
But shockingly this is what’s happening at the government-led NHS hospitals today in November 2012, despite the fact that the science clearly spells out a clear and effective approach to cholesterol reduction and heart health via well chosen, researched food options.
As for me? I’m doing excellently thank you very much. I will post more about this, but by not following the NHS recommendations and doing my own research on what I need to be eating for heart health, I have seen outstanding cholesterol LDL reduction back to within normal levels, all without statin drugs (or shepherd’s pie).