Today’s English lesson is all about figuring out how fats and cholesterol affect our diets, and helping English language learners get a better grip on the language and good eating habits. So is your diet a good one?
In this English lesson, you will learn all about two completely different professional points of view on cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood that can lead to health problems, but does it? By introducing you to the vocabulary related to health and diet, you can learn new English words and phrases while simultaneously understanding more about the changing medical views around good and bad fats. By listening to our podcasts, you will practise your English language comprehension skills and gain a better understanding of how English is spoken in the real world.
Learning English comprehension talking about healthy diets, fats and cholesterol is an exciting way to improve your listening skills and increase your knowledge of nutrition. Listening to audio recordings of English conversations about healthy diets, fats, and cholesterol, you can gain a better understanding of how to nourish your body properly.
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You’ll learn about the different types of fats, their benefits and disadvantages, as well as how to balance them in a healthy meal plan. You can also learn about the role of cholesterol in a healthy diet and how to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Finally, you’ll gain a better understanding of
the importance of doing your own research on healthy eating habits and how to make sure that your diet is balanced and nutritious. With this English listening practice, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about how to nourish your body and stay healthy.
- Cholesterol: A fat-like substance in your blood.
- Diet: The food you eat every day.
- Lipid: Another word for fats in your body.
- Cardiovascular: About the heart and blood vessels.
- Simultaneously: Happening at the same time.
- Stroke: A sudden problem in the brain due to lack of blood.
- Saturated: Filled completely, often used to talk about a type of fat.
- Carbohydrate: A type of nutrient in foods like bread and sugar.
- Fast: To not eat for a certain amount of time.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
Hi there, and welcome to this podcast. Well, it's the new year. And traditionally, this is the time of year where people start to worry about their health, their weight, their general fitness. So let's talk today about one health measure that people are concerned with, a measure of your health. And that is your cholesterol level. That's C H O L E S T E R O L.
And here are two very different sources of information about cholesterol level and what's good for you. Let's check them out. Let's see what conflicting advice they give!
So this is one of those podcasts where you learn something interesting as well as lots of useful English language vocabulary at the same time. Your brain will get to practise English while we're talking about the issue of cholesterol. Happy listening!
Before I start with this really interesting stuff, please don't forget to subscribe. Our podcasts are free and this is a good way of repaying us. So please subscribe today on wherever you listen to Adept English.
OK, so vocabulary, first of all. What is cholesterol? I'll spell it again for you. C H O L E S T E R O L. Measuring cholesterol?. Well, a cholesterol test is a measure of the lipids, L I P I D, or fats in your blood. And it's a measure of your health. And your blood, B L O O D is the red liquid that runs through your veins all around your body. That's your blood. And it's what your heart pumps around your body. Your heart is here. That's H E A R T, 'heart'.
So if you have what's called a cholesterol test, then a small amount of blood is taken from you, and this blood is tested for the levels of fats or lipids.
Why is cholesterol level important? Well, because it's believed that having low cholesterol, so a low amount of fat or lipids in your blood is very good for you. It's seen as important to help you avoid having heart disease, diseases of the heart. These tend to happen in later life, and if you look at statistics on what health conditions kill people the most, then heart disease is easily top of that list. So it's something that all of us want to be conscious about, I imagine.
So that's diseases of the heart or diseases of the cardiovascular system. The word 'cardiovascular'? Well, 'cardio', C A R D I O, that means 'anything to do with the heart'. And 'vascular', V A S C U L A R means 'to do with your veins'. Those are the little tubes that take the blood around your body.
So having a low cholesterol level is seen as a good thing, and having a high cholesterol level is seen as a bad or negative thing. Apparently high cholesterol increases your risk of heart attack because the fat deposits, it puts itself on the inside of your veins. Heart attacks or something called 'stroke' in English, S T R O K E, that's when there is a blockage of blood to the brain. And that's also very serious, like a heart attack.
The trouble is that most of what determines your cholesterol level is genetics. It's in your genes. Around 80%, it's estimated is genetic and only 20% is to do with your lifestyle. So the tendency to have high or low cholesterol 'runs in families', as we say. This has come up for me as I had a routine heart check.
On the whole. Most things are good for me. I have a slow heartbeat. My blood pressure is fine. My weight is good. The only 'fly in the ointment', as we say, that means 'the one little bad thing amongst all the good' - my cholesterol level is higher than desired. I knew this might be the case because other family members have high cholesterol.
So NHS - National Health Service information? The NHS cholesterol test measures your 'good' cholesterol, your HDL or 'high density lipoproteins' in your blood. And it also measures your LDL, 'the bad stuff', the 'bad' cholesterol, or so they say. Your level of 'low density lipoproteins'.
So I've got high HDL, but I've also got high LDL. So this is seen as 'not a good thing'! Do I need to worry about this given that my weight, my blood pressure, my heart rate are all good? Well, not sure yet. I've had a second test to confirm the results and they will check for a few other things as well, which is great. Thank you, NHS!
However, as you know, I like to do my own research on things.
And what I'm amazed by is the huge difference in the advice, between the NHS and other 'trustworthy sources of information', or ones I find trustworthy, at least.
If you go with the NHS leaflet, which is this one which I've been given, following my first cholesterol test result, this leaflet advises you 'to reduce saturated fats'.
That means butter and fat from meat. You have to cut those down. And that phrase 'saturated fat', S A T U R A T E D, that's all the fat in our diet that's seen as 'bad fat'.
So this NHS leaflet advises me to 'avoid using butter and coconut oil and fat from meat'. And tells me instead to use rapeseed oil and sunflower oil for cooking. The leaflet advises 'moving to low fat products, when I'm shopping', with the idea that eating saturated fats will cause my cholesterol level to be high and will cause my veins to clog up with fat, making heart attack more likely, or stroke more likely.
And as you can see, there's even a picture of a burger on the front of the leaflet just to emphasize what's bad. So the NHS website advises to do 'a low fat diet' and 'eat a carbohydrate-based diet'. So it says I should 'base my meals on food like potatoes, bread, rice, or pasta'. And again, I should choose rapeseed oil and sunflower oil and margarine. And not eat butter, or full fat cheese.
When I said to the nurse who did my cholesterol check, 'Ah, but I've researched this and there is other information which contradicts that'. She said to me, 'Ooh, you don't want to read any other research than what's on the NHS website'. The trouble is I do, and I like to do my own research, as you know.
And research that I've done in the past and now suggests to me that if you're looking at a burger and chips, the problem is much less the meat burger and much more the burger bun and the chips. That's what my independent research tells me anyway. It's not fat so much that's the problem or saturated fat. It is high carbohydrate diets and high sugar diets. That's opposite to the current NHS advice, it seems.
So what are my sources of information? Who do I actually trust on cholesterol? Well, I'll mention two people.
So the first 'trusted source of information' for me, the first trusted person on something like cholesterol level? Michael Mosley. That's M O S L E Y. You can find lots from him online and I include some links in the transcript too. If you listen to my other podcasts, I've quoted him as the inventor of the 5:2 diet. ( Podcast 441 )
He's made very popular the practice of fasting. 'To fast', F A S T means 'to go without food for a period of time' - for the benefit of your health. I think Michael Mosley has been extremely influential in terms of making that popular.
He's also done good work on sleep and he's the person whose advice has led me to stand on one leg every morning with my eyes closed while I brush my teeth. This helps train my brain to balance properly. There's a podcast on that if you'd like to know more about it. ( Podcast 503 )
A man with no food on his plate. Help English language learners gain a better understanding of the language and learn healthy eating habits. Today’s English lesson focuses on fats and cholesterol in our diets.
So Michael Mosley is trained as a doctor, but he's an influential Science Journalist in the UK. He's written numerous books. He likes to experiment on himself, and he's a fan of what's called 'Preventative Medicine'. 'Preventative' just means 'it's much better to prevent these illnesses and diseases from happening in the first place rather than to try and treat them with medicine once they've come'.
Michael Mosley sees high blood sugar and eating the traditional high carbohydrate diet, as recommended by the NHS, as being the problem. And high carb and high sugar diets are often what you end up eating if you follow this low fat advice.
The other person who influences me, this is another British doctor, Dr Aseem Malhotra. And again, the message from this very well qualified cardiologist, so he's a heart specialist - ' saturated fat really isn't the problem, nor is high cholesterol.' That might seem very different advice if you've not heard it before, so I'll repeat it.
'Saturated fat is not the problem, nor is high cholesterol'. In fact, he says this is very damaging information. Dr Aseem Malhotra says that actually our western diets are high in sugar and high in carbohydrate. And again, Dr Malhotra also has the opinion that if you look at that burger and chips, it's much more the bun and the chips that will do damage than the burger itself!
So Dr Aseem Malhotra has pioneered this diet. This book here talks about the diet, 'The Pioppi Diet'. It's a Mediterranean diet, which is pretty low carbohydrate.
'Pioppi', P I O P P I. There you go, As in that book, there - simply a town in southern Italy that typifies this Mediterranean diet. Dr Aseem Malhotra advises to 'completely avoid' oils like rapeseed oil and sunflower oil. They are extremely damaging to your health, and he says 'Cook instead with olive oil, butter or coconut oil. They're much better for you'.
He recommends 'eating full fat cheese and dairy products - as much as you like - as well as meat and fish and lots of vegetables'. And he absolutely advises against white flour, bread, cereal, and potatoes, and anything containing sugar, including some fruit.
So of these. Or three if you like, 'cause that's one of Michael Mosley's books there.
Which of these do I go with? Which seems the most convincing advice?
Do I go with the NHS advice to do low fat and eat a 'carbohydrate-based diet' as it recommends on the NHS website?
Or do I go with Michael Mosley and his research and advice on blood sugar levels being the most important factor in the development of heart disease and the rest? And the benefits of intermittent fasting. And do I go also with Dr Aseem Malhotra and his advice to eat as much as you like of meat and full fat cheese and butter and eggs and vegetables and some fruits and to avoid carbohydrate and sugar?
I look forward to getting my second test results and having a discussion with my doctor. They'll tell me my HDL and my LDL level and with a bit of luck, something else called my 'triglycerides'. I've asked for that anyway. If you're interested, I'll let you know how I go on.
So there's some interesting information on cholesterol and some conflicting health advice. Pass this podcast on to your family and friends. And I'm interested to hear whether you're getting conflicting health advice in your country too. Listen to this podcast a number of times until you can comfortably understand all of it. And give us some feedback too.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com
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- Eating a balanced diet
- Your 5:2 journey
- Blood sugar diet
- Dr Aseem Malhotra
- Prevent and reverse heart disease without lowering cholesterol
- Podcast 503: English Listening Skills-Living Longer
- Podcast 441: Intermittent Fasting
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- More great listening lessons
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