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If you eat whilst you are relaxed and socialising with friends and family, will your body deal with food in a different way? The sympathetic nervous system will be directing blood from the digestive system, to muscles, acid production in the stomach will be down, the heart rate will be up – and suchlike.At the same time the stress hormone: adrenaline (epinephrine), growth hormone, glucagon, and cortisol levels will be high and surging round your bloodstream.
The other reason for looking at France and Scotland was that, in my formative years, Scotland had one of the highest rates of heart disease in the world, perhaps highest.
More carbs wrapped round the outside, and now dripping with vegetable/polyunsaturated fat. Rates of diabetes were also identical, as were average total cholesterol levels.
In short, I could find no significant difference in ‘classic’ risk factors.
However, the Scottish ‘ meme is so firmly embedded in most people’s brain that it cannot be removed.
Ironically, a Mars bar contains almost no fat at all, it is made almost entirely from sugar a.k.a. If you wrap it in batter, and stick it in a deep fat fryer full of vegetable fats, you have, according to current thinking, just made it significantly healthier. In reality, as with most other well-known facts about heart disease, when I started to look closely, the only significant difference that I could find about the diets in France and Scotland, was that the Scots ate slightly less saturated fat. On the other hand, the French smoked more, took a bit less exercise and, at the time, had an identical BMI and blood pressure to the Scots.
This journey started when I began to take an interest in the rate of heart disease death in Scotland and France.