Alzheimers

Healthy Diets and ScienceI have just discovered a really good resource for those interested in the science behind healthy nutrition, Healthy Diets and Science, by David Evans.

I’ll leave you to explore the over 1000 articles in there yourself, but I thought that people interested in the Ketogenic Diet might find these articles interesting:

See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

Joseph Arcita, Before and After

This post is a meta-guide!

(That means it’s a guide to a guide).

This is Joseph Arcita: on the left is a “before” picture and on the right is “after”.  Click the pictures to read Joseph’s story.

Part of his story is his use of the ketogenic diet (KD) as his nutritional plan.  KD is something that interests me greatly: I am a frequent contributor to Mark Maunder’s Basic Ketogenic Diet blog and to two Facebook groups: The Ketogenic Diet Group (it’s a closed group, but you can ask to join), and Ketogenic Dieters, an open group with close to 500 members.

And I have blogged about this stuff before: On Ketogenic Diets back in December 2012, particularly looking at the reports of the effects of ketosis on cancer, and I also summarised and commented on some (203!) of the comments on Mark’s blog “203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet” in February 2013.

See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

On the FB groups people are often asking how to get started, and there is food advice there.  But today someone pointed me to Joseph Arcita’s “A Guide to Ketosis“.  It has to be one of the most comprehensive guides I’ve seen.  I hope he turns it into a book.

It is so comprehensive that you might like to know what’s in it: here’s the Table of Contents (copied and pasted from his site, so all of these links are clickable).  I have one or two minor points of contention (like there is no “good” and “bad” cholesterol; it’s all good, and you need it … but what he probably means is small-particle Low-Density-Lipoprotein) and I’ll discuss those at the end of this post.  But if you never get that far, don’t worry: the man is a hero!  Joseph says:

Here is the guide to ketosis. The contents of this article can be located here. If you’re currently wondering what on earth ketosis even is, then you’re in luck for I plan not only to befuddle but also to enlighten. All you have to do is read on.

I’ve personally had fantastic results on keto, and I really believe in the validity of this diet – not only in terms of fat-loss, but also in terms of health-gain. There is a lot of understandable skepticism and tons of misconceptions about keto; I want to let newcomers know, however surprising it may be, that keto (or at least a diet low in grains/sugars and high in fats) is a very healthy diet with numerous benefits.

This guide is very long so I’ve partitioned this post into subsections. The links contained within the contents are ‘clickable’ and will transport you directly to that section. You can also right click and select “copy link address” of a particular section/section title, and you can either bookmark it so that you can return to a specific section easily or you can give the link to a friend if you want them to read a particular section. If you want to return to the contents of the page simply click on the ‘upwards’ arrows that are next to each of the section titles within the main article.

I. Why You Should Care About Ketosis: The Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
1A. Ketosis Increases Neuronal Stabilization and Mental Focus
1B. Ketosis Promotes the Loss of Body-Fat and LDL Cholesterol
1C. Ketosis Eliminates Various Ailments such as Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension
1D. Ketosis Treats Several Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Various Cancers
1E. Ketosis Promotes Cardiovascular Health
1F. Ketosis Preserves Lean-Body Mass
1G. One Will Lose Body-fat More Quickly on Keto Than Not
1H. Ketosis Blunts Appetite and Increases Meal Satiety

NOTE:  Unless you are of a VERY scientific frame of mind, SKIP SECTION TWO!!!

Summary: Metabolism is how your body gets energy.
Human bodies can do it a number of ways
You can “burn” glucose, or you can “burn” fat.
How this happens is pretty complicated: show it to you doctor; there’s probably an evens chance that he/she won’t understand it, either!
Quoting Joseph:

In other words, under a ketogenic metabolism, the body uses dietary and bodily fats as its primary energy source.

It is possible to induce the initiation of this metabolism thru a careful diet; this diet must contain limited amounts of carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins, and should be comprised primarily of fats.

II. Understanding Ketosis; An Overview of Metabolism 
2A. Metabolism Defined
2B. The Krebs Cycle
2C. Glycolysis
2D. Fat Lipolysis and Fatty Acid Beta-Oxidation
2E. Citrate Synthase Inhibition and Beta-ketothiolase Activation
2F. Ketogenesis and Ketosis

He refers to LBM=Lean Body Mass — what would be left if you lost all of your fat.  You never do want to lose all of your fat, but most of us could do with less fat and more lean.

He also refers to “energy deficit”.  In a nutshell: if you are big you won’t need to count calories at first, because a keto diet leaves you feeling full and you won’t eat so much.  But weight loss always does require consuming less calories than you use, so as you get close to your goal weight, or close to your goal for lean body mass, you may need to count calories.

III. The Basics of the Ketogenic Diet 
3A. Entering Ketosis: A Macro Ratio for Keto

PUFAs: summary: you will lose weight faster:

 if a majority of your fat percentage comes from things like seeds, nuts, oils, and fatty fish

It also says that there is NO science that says that butter is bad for you (you’ll see why if you get the science; otherwise skip to section 3C.)

3B. Saturated vs. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
3C. Sample Ketogenic Meal Plan
3D. The Wonders of Fiber
3E. How to Enter Ketosis Quickly, Easily, and Reliably
3F. How to Know You’re Under Ketosis
3G. The Gloom of Induction
3H. Losing Body-Fat
3I. Building Muscle-Mass

Summary: Don’t do intensive exercise once you’re in ketosis.  My own recommendation is Nordic Walking: http://www.WalkingForHappiness.co.uk

3J. Aerobic Exercise
3K. Glycogen Refeeding
3L. Reentering Glycolysis Correctly
3M. A list of Ketogenic Foods
3N. Step by Step Guide to the SKD, TKD, and CKD

IV. Keto Testimonials 
4A. ladysixstring
4B. Dominaterisk
4C. sepatown
4D. vgisverbose

V. Useful Resources and Websites for the Keto-Minded 
5A. The Cook’s Thesaurus
5B. Restaurant Nutrition Facts
5C. Keto Macro-Nutrient Calculator
5D. Keto Goods Online
5E. Keto Recipes Galore
5F. Further Information

VI. Keto FAQ 
6A. What is the ketogenic diet in simple terms?
6B. Is ketosis unhealthy?
6C. Is ketosis unnatural?
6D. How can you lose fat if you eat fat?
6E. Is it best to bulk on keto or on a normal diet?
6F. Are ketostix reliable?
6G. Please leave any questions in the comments.

IFWe are not suggesting that as our ancestors ran across the plains of Africa they were nibbling on chunks of chocolate!

While the basic ingredients in good chocolate are real food, and really good for you, it is difficult to find commercial chocolate that doesn’t contain stuff that paleo people wouldn’t want to eat, like high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, various preservatives, etc.

So here’s a recipe that you can use to make your own, “real food” chocolate.  This is another “n=1″ piece of research (or n=x, where x is the number of people in your family!) in that the taste is very much down to personal preference.  It’s a case of “suck it and see” (sorry!)

It is also ketogenic chocolate (see the section on nutritional information at the bottom of the page).

In the equipment list and the ingredients lists below, if you click any of the pictures it will take you to Amazon where you can buy these things if you don’t have them.  We are making this chocolate while we are in Florida; availability of equipment and ingredients may vary in other countries.  When Susan talks in volumetric measurements, she’s talking American cups, spoons, etc.

You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).

In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart.  Right click the link and choose Save As to download.

There are six videos taking you through making paleo chocolate.  Here’s the first (the others are spaced down the page).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umbDYDjY6V0

Equipment

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B0014CZ594" locale="us" height="96" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51APSfuwBrL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Double boiler.

There are dozens on Amazon; this is one of the cheapest but has good customer reviews. You can spend up to $300 on a beautiful, traditional copper “bain marie”, but that isn’t necessary!

You can also pop a basin on top of a saucepan of hot water!

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B000PSB5VU" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21bmJVYBElL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Pouring Funnel

If you are going to put your chocolate into forms or moulds (molds) then this is essential.

If you are making “bark” by just tipping the chocolate into a baking try lined with parchment (greaseproof) paper, then it’s not necessary (but you get big, hard lumps of chocolate: I broke a tooth on a piece!)

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B0013IDHTO" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QpH2onrWL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Scales

There is no need to get this sophisticated: however it is a good idea to have some scales in your kitchen to measure ingredients.  Americans: this may be radical for you, as you are used to working in “cups and spoons”.  The rest of the world is used to working in weight: I’ll translate from ounces (oz) to grams as we go.

However, these are brilliant: they will analyse and weigh all your ingredients so that you can have the equivalent of a professional “nutrition label” for your chocolate.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B003VIIQJ0" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VUv8zJKgL._SL110_.jpg" width="110"]Moulds or Forms

… or “molds” if you’re in America!  There are lots of different ones on Amazon.

We used to make “bark”: Susan would line a baking tray with grease-proof (parchment) paper and just tip the molten chocolate in it, and put it in the freezer.  When it was solid we’d break it into lumps and put it in zip-lock bags, back in the freezer.  You do tend to get BIG lumps that way!

In addition to the above you will need some sort of mixer or beater, some measuring cups and spoons and a spatula.

And quite a lot of dish-washing liquid and cloths: it does have a tendency to get everywhere!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fiLq6-P0fw

Ingredients

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B009XEANGU" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4110hzoGSyL._SL110_.jpg" width="110"]Organic Cocoa Butter

Whether or not you use organic or inorganic is, of course, up to you.

But you are making high-quality chocolate here, so why not go for the best ingredients?!  The brand shown here is Kakosi, which is what you see Susan using in the video.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B000GAT6NG" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Iy4KB3ODL._SL160_.jpg" width="109"]Coconut Oil

We use Nutiva coconut oil.  It seems to be a reasonable price for the quality: again, we are looking for organic.

On Amazon there are all sorts of brands and all sorts of “qualities”: Certified Organic, Extra Virgin. etc., and they all seem to have pretty good customer ratings and comments.

Another “suck it and see” area, I think.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B007QR6A7C" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51x47kuvRcL._SL160_.jpg" width="157"]Organic Baking Cocoa

Equal Exchange seems to come with a version that says “vegan” in the title, and cost a lot more.  But ours says “vegan” on the tin, so I don’t understand the difference.  This is also fair-traded, so your chocolate is not only healthy, but also ethical!

Susan used to use a mixture of cocoa powder and carob powder, and it’s certainly true that the chocolate that had carob in it felt slightly gritty in the mouth.  Now we just use cocoa powder, and it tastes fine.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B003BHZ71G" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21%2B6N1PhpBL._SL110_.jpg" width="54"]Sunflower Lecithin

The brand that Susan is using in the video is currently (March 3 2013) out of stock at Amazon, so I searched for “Sunflower Lecithin Organic” and it came up with soy lecithin granules, not organic, so beware!

The brand here is liquid, is sunflower, has no GMOs, and no soy, so I think that Susan would approve.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B003IO20T4" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/11AKx5je5gL._SL110_.jpg" width="70"]Sweeteners and Flavourings

Susan uses a mixture of stevia powder (which she gets at our local whole food store, Hoovers Market) and Luo Han Guo (Chinese Monk Fruit!).  If we were back in the UK, we would probably use liquid stevia from our medical herbalist, Alan Hopking.  If you haven’t come across stevia before, check out what Alan says about it, here.

In the video Susan mentions her Sweetener equivalents chart.  Right click the link and choose Save As to download.

When looking for stevia, you can get the powdered leaves, and that powder is green.  I know that Alan would tell you that it’s one of the purest forms, and I’m sure that as a medication it’s the best.  But I tried it, and to me it tastes of grass (not “grass”, but that green stuff on your lawn!) and I don’t want my chocolate to taste like it’s just been mowed!

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B002LIGPR6" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FjhpuK7oL._SL110_.jpg" width="57"]Once upon a time stevia was hard to come by, because it hadn’t been approved by the FDA as a food stuff.  Now it has, and everyone is in on the game, and it’s harder to get good stevia.  We know that the major soda drinks manufacturers are starting to use stevia, and the suspicion is that, at least in the USA, they are producing GMO stevia, so we avoid Truvia and PureVia.  Vanessa Romero has a good article about it here.  The picture on that page, of  NuNaturals stevia is what I use in my coffee: but it’s not as sweet as the pure stevia that Susan is using in the video (it has bulking agents so that the contents of the little packet are about the same sweetness as in any other packeted sweetener).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng0t1nKTtR4

Process

  1. Melt 4oz (115 g) of cocoa butter and 4-5 ozs (115g – 140g) of coconut oil and 1 tsp (5ml) lecithin in the double boiler.  Stir until it is all melted.
  2. Add a cup (250ml) of cocoa powder and mix with your mixer until it is all mixed in.
  3. Add a quarter teaspoon (1.25ml) of stevia powder and a couple of teaspoons (10ml) of luo han guo powder.
  4. Stir, taste, and add more cocoa powder, stevia and luo han guo to taste.  This really is an experiment.  You won’t produce anything inedible, but it may take several goes to get the feel for what is your favourite.
  5. If adding orange flavouring (or vanilla, or any other) add that last, just a little at a time.
  6. Pour the mixture into your pouring funnel and fill the molds.
  7. MAKE SURE YOU ALREADY HAVE A FLAT AREA, BIG ENOUGH, IN YOUR FREEZER!  (I can’t tell you how long it takes to clean once runny, now frozen solid chocolate off of the inside of your fridge or freezer.  We went off chocolate for quite a while after that incident!)
  8. Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, until it’s hard.
  9. Remove from the molds, pop into zip-lock bags, and continue to store in the freezer.

Are you old enough to remember “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”?  This melts in your mouth, your hands, on the plate you serve it on, on the rug, your mother’s pure white carpet, the sofa, your clothes … (’nuff said?)

You can download a printable version of Susan Courtneys Healthy Dark Chocolate here (right click and choose Save As).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXbcGj7xBM

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1591203198" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51w6FncNM7L._SL110_.jpg" width="74"]Alzheimer’s Syndrome

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B0019LRY8A" locale="us" height="150" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21royfiStHL._SL160_.jpg" width="85"]We don’t know that this chocolate will cure, prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s, but that’s what got us looking, as Susan says on the video. She was inspired by Dr Mary Newport and her website, www.coconutketones.com. Check out Dr Newport’s book and website: in particular, watch the latest video from CBN news.

Susan also talks about MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides).

We use it a lot, but haven’t tried it in the chocolate: it would probably make it even meltier at room temperature!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8-9XoQA4cw

Nutritional Information

I was so keen to get the videos made that we didn’t stop to use our fancy scales properly, so I will have to do these calculations by hand (well, spreadsheet!)  I am only going to consider the fats and the cocoa powder; everything else is present only in vanishingly small quantities.

Main Ingredients

 Cocoa Butter  Coconut Oil  Cocoa Powder
 IF  IF  IF
Fat 108g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g Fat 140g, Carbs 0g, Protein 0g Fat 255g, Carbs 32g, Protein 16g

These figures are for all of the ingredients.  Note that the carbs in the cocoa powder are all dietary fibre, so most people would ignore them.

However, given that we got 45 chocolates out of this mixture, it shows that each chocolate is almost 6g of fat, 0.7 gm of carbs (of which 100% is dietary fibre), and 0.35 gm of protein.

I therefore declare that these chocolates are ketogenic chocolates!  If you restrict yourself to 20gm of carbs a day, and include fibre in that (which is being very strict), you could still eat 28 chocolates a day and stay within your limit.  That assumes you eat no other carbs, but I reckon if you eat 28 of these a day you wouldn’t want to eat anything else!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPqDXe0cvco

There are a number of popular memes I come across on the Internet connected with what we do (or don’t) eat, and how we can lighten up, lose weight, conquer obesity, get healthy, and all the rest. Some make sense to me; others seem like arrant nonsense. Some are arrant nonsense, from people who should know better—for instance, qualified medical people who apparently can’t differentiate between ketosis (good) and keto-acidosis (very bad).

If it wasn’t that I’m working to fit into my new self-image of a kindly and reasonable ordained minister (and to keep the friends I have) I would be tempted to explode and “flame”. But I just passed my 65th birthday so am exchanging that youthful but intemperate passion for the “wisdom” of increasing years.

My number one bête noir is “Diets Don’t Work”. The other is “But can you live that way for the rest of your life?” Let’s take them one at a time.

Do Diets Work?

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1582702187" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514y%2BP4rk4L._SL160_.jpg" width="100"]Of course they do! I regard this as a non-question but I keep hearing people say “Diets Don’t Work” and to me this seems an empty statement.  I addressed it some time ago in a blog post, referring to Jon Gabriel and I thought I had done with the matter.  But I recently had a sweet lady, a vicar’s wife from a rural parish in the heart of England, an intelligent, erudite, educated lady, a lady with seven grand-children, actually SHOUTED at me that DIETS DON’T WORK.

So, before I lose my English gentlemanliness and my ordained-minister composure, and the aforementioned wisdom that came to me as I recently passed the grand-old age of 65, let me take a breath, put my teeth in straight, connect with higher things, and start to take this empty assertion apart.

I suspect that we will have no differences of opinion about the words “do not” so let’s start with the word “diet”.  The word is derived, according to Merriam-Webster:

Middle English diete, from Anglo-French, from Latin diaeta, from Greek diaita, literally, manner of living, from diaitasthai: to lead one’s life

First Known Use: 13th century

Interestingly, I had it in my mind that it came from the Latin “dies” referring to something daily and that it meant “that (food) which we consume on a daily basis”. Either way, we’re in the same ball park. Most modern-day dieticians and nutritionists would have a slightly wider definition.  They would take “diet” to mean the food or nutrition that we consume on a regular basis.  Well, already I hope we can see that the sentence “the nutrition that we consume on a regular basis doesn’t work” needs some further discussion.  I will put on one side, for now, the difference between food and nutrition and come back to it later.

We still have “work” to look at, and now we have introduced “we”.  Let’s start with “work”. What would we mean if we were to assert that a diet did, or did not, work.

I am going to be bold and say that for me any particular diet (that is any particular set of foods eaten on a regular basis) could be said to work if it led me to be fit and healthy, to be disease-free and allowed me to live a long and happy life. If at the same time that set of foods were highly palatable, and relatively easy to obtain without having an overly adverse effect on others or the environment, I would say that that diet could be said to work. On that basis I think that there is some doubt as to whether the nutritional plans followed by many “civilised westerners” are working, at least as well as we might like.

Others might have a different definition of whether a diet is working.

The objective of the systems built by our DNA and driven by our hormones and our psyches over millions of years might be to make sure that we have the necessary energy reserves to survive the hard times that come from time to time and to have enough energy to successfully pass on our genes. In that case I guess for many of us our diets are working… or would be, if only those hard times would come along a little more frequently in the “first world”.

Here’s an interesting aside. If you talk to anyone who was an adult civilian, living in Britain during the Second World War, they would tell you that with all that food rationing, times were hard. But apparently, apart from being bombed, the UK population has never been so healthy1. That diet worked. It worked for those that defined it: their purpose was to keep the population alive and healthy given the restrictions imposed by wartime. Many who were obliged to follow it might have said it didn’t work: it wasn’t that palatable, often left them hungry, was boring, and was hard work.

If you were a character in a murder novel hoping to bump off the fifth earl so that you could inherit, and you were doing it by feeding him dinners laced with arsenic then I’d imagine you’d be hoping for a different outcome from most people’s idea of a successful diet.  If someone had stolen your arsenic and replaced it with self-raising flour then it would be fair to say that that particular diet wasn’t working (for you: I would guess that the fifth earl would be content).

So, I’m quite happy to concede that some diets don’t work, for some people, for some of the time… it all depends on the people involved, the set of foods in question and the desired outcome.

During the 1960s there was an apparent surge in deaths from cardio-vascular disease in American men. This was an odd anomaly caused by two artifacts.  One was that previously there had been a life-expectancy of adult males of around 49 years due to a high-incidence of infectious diseases. Then we invented antibiotics; life expectancy rose and people died of different things: degenerative diseases as opposed to infectious diseases.  The other artifact was even sillier.  There is in the medical world almost a fashion as to what is written on the death certificate. At one time a doctor might have written “natural causes” where now they might write “heart failure”.  Both Susan’s mother and my mother have “heart failure” as the cause of death on their death certificates. Neither woman had a history of heart problems. Neither woman had an autopsy.  Susan’s mom wasn’t even attended by a physician when she died.  Basically the statistics say that these women died because their hearts stopped beating.  Well, yes, but those statistics don’t tell us anything useful. They told us even less back in the 1960s.

But back then nobody noticed this and one scientist who had a bee in his bonnet about dietary fat managed to get his hypothesis to hold sway, and over the last 50-60 years we have been persuaded to leave fat out of the set of things we consume on a regular basis. This makes that set of food stuffs less nutritious and less palatable.  The palatability issue was addressed when food manufacturers noticed a (for them) heaven-sent opportunity. America has a huge amount of land ideally suited to growing corn: sweet corn. From sweet corn you can easily derive high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and, provided you have a sweet tooth (and a sweet tooth is fairly easy to develop in a population, by gradually increasing the quantities of HFCS in the foods you manufacture, and judicious use of TV advertising) HFCS makes all that bland, fat-free food taste good (well, better!)

Then governments around the world got more and more worried about the failing health of their populations and the increasing cost of health care and they advocated nutritional regimes (dare we call these “diets”?) that made matters worse. They put increasing store on avoiding dietary fat, got the message about cholesterol back to front and upside down, and recommended the very things that were making us sick: cereal grains, sugars, and fructose.

These nutritional regimes resulted in an overwhelming rise in obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and, ironically, cardio-vascular disease; the very thing that they were trying to address in the first place. They were also responsible for a surge in Alzheimer’s Syndrome in the elderly (and, increasingly, not so elderly) to the point that some people are now calling Alzheimer’s Type III diabetes.

So, all right, the diets suggested by most modern, western health authorities don’t work that well. We all know they don’t work—that well. I am writing this sitting in an Internet cafe right opposite the checkout line in a supermarket in Florida. I am not medically qualified. I am not a qualified nutritionist or health adviser. But I don’t need to be to see that the majority of people going through these checkouts are not peak physical human specimens. And I’m not being arrogant saying this: neither am I! My purpose here is not to preach from the pulpit, despite my newly-arrived white collar (I’m not wearing it because the shirt doesn’t fit—yet!). My purpose is to raise the banner and see if we can’t educate ourselves and take our nutrition and health back into our own hands. And to do that we are going to need food, but food that fits into a different nutritional regime than the one(s) that brought us here.

We are going to need diets that do work.

When I read “Diets Don’t Work” I suspect that what is being referred to are those hastily thrown together dietary plans that are published in women’s (and men’s) magazines, with increased magazine circulation more in mind than increased health for the readers. But is it true that universally these diets don’t work? I don’t think so. I suspect that all of these diets have worked, according to some set of criteria or another, for some people, for some of the time.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B00AWQWYVK" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516RY%2BHkMDL._SL160_.jpg" width="100"]Before I move on to the second “nutritional meme” I just need to spend a moment with a thread I just saw on a lifestyle forum where someone had posted a question about ketogenic diets and someone else (let’s call him “John”) had posted a response:

@john: I find that these diets don’t work because people don’t stick to them.

Well, there is a sentence that could keep people from a host of different disciplines occupied for many a happy hour. But I will just stick with reflecting about the use of “I” as in “I find…” and “people”. Later on this book we will begin to look at how we can support each other and how we can build a supportive environment. One small aspect of that is “owning”. So, with our Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) hat on, we might ask @john if he can own that for himself.

“Who are these people, John”, we might ask, “who can’t stick to the diet?” We might wonder what motivated him to write that.

Now let me get on to the second “nutritional meme” that’s irritating me.

Can you live this way for the rest of your life?

No. So?

This challenge is thrown out as a criticism against various nutritional regimes.  ”This isn’t a regime”, says the pundit, “that you can follow for the rest of your life, ergo, it’s of no value at all”.  I don’t agree.

Let’s imagine that, cycling home from Winn Dixie (which is where I am right now, drinking their free coffee and using their free Wi-Fi) I get knocked off my bike, break my leg, and wind up in the Emergency Room at the local hospital. The doctors take an x-ray of my leg, proclaim that I have a fracture and propose to re-position the bones and then plaster my leg and issue me with crutches and some analgesics and instructions to take it easy while the bones knit together.

“Oh no, doctor”, I cry, “I can’t possibly live that way for the rest of my life!”

The doctor looks at me and wonders whether he shouldn’t call for the on-duty psych consultant.

“Of course not”, he says patiently. “You have broken your leg: the plaster cast will hold it in position while the bones heal themselves, helping them to heal cleanly, and when that happens we will remove the plaster cast”.

Whew! I am relieved. I thought I would be in a plaster cast for the rest of my life, and didn’t want to live that way.

So, for the next few weeks while the bones heal, I consider what I could have done, that fateful day, to have avoided being knocked off my bike. Remembering that I was in the USA and not the UK and cycling on the correct side of the road might have helped. Stopping before making a blind left turn might have helped. Indicating my intentions with hand signals might have helped.

A few weeks later I go back to the ER and have an X-ray: my leg is healing fine and they take off the plaster cast. The weeks of inactivity have left me feeling very weak. I have difficulty even walking.

“Doctor! I can’t live the rest of my life this way”.

The doctor sighs and patiently explains that I will have some sessions with the physiotherapist (“physical terrorist” as Mom used to say) and she (I hope it’s a she) will teach me some exercises that will re-condition my muscles to get me into a good shape for living the rest of my life. And I continue to reflect on my new, accident-free cycling style.

Does this seem like an extreme example to you? Well, I guess it all depends on why you want to lose weight, what else is going on with your body, how much weight you need to lose, and so on.

If you went a little wild over the holiday season and put on a few pounds so that now your favourite pants are a little more snug round the middle than you’d like, then a gentle adjustment to your lifestyle will do the trick. Probably losing 1-2 lbs a week is going to be fine: you’ll be back in shape before January is out and you’ll be on a regime that works for the rest of your life (except, perhaps, the winter holiday season!)

But that’s not the situation that I, and literally millions of people like me, am in. For whatever reason, parts of my system are as broken as my leg in the above example, and it’s fatuous for me to cry to the doctor that I can’t live like he proposes for the rest of my life.

If I don’t let the doctor reset my leg and put it in plaster my leg would get worse and worse and, quite likely, I would be crippled for the rest of my life. Maybe my life would have been shortened: gangrene setting in and so on. Could I live the rest of my life that way? Yes, obviously. But the rest of my life may be shortened and I certainly would be a less-than-happy bunny.

Well, it’s not my leg that’s broken; it’s a part of my endocrine system. The bits that are connected with the hormone insulin aren’t working properly. As a result I’m not just a few pounds over the top, I’m 65% too heavy. I have type II diabetes, high blood pressure and I can already feel the damage that high blood sugar is doing to my legs and feet. I could find a nutritional regime that I could follow for the rest of my life. It might, eventually, lead to my type II diabetes going away. If it followed the well-known “safe rate of weight loss” (1lb per week) it would take me the best part of three years to get down to my goal weight.

Whichever way you look at it, this isn’t a gentle lifestyle issue! I need to get healthy. I need a reset, I need to be “put in plaster” until my body re-builds itself, then I need a re-hab period (what we would call convalescence in the UK) until I have built up my strength around my newly healthy body. Then, and only then, I need a regime that will work for the rest of my life to stop this happening again.

Let’s go back to the broken leg scenario. Once my leg is healed, once the physio has signed me off, I might go walking to build up my strength. I might even start running from time to time. I might go and take some cycling road-safety lessons, and all of these constitute a new approach that is viable for the rest of my life. But none of it is appropriate while the fractured ends of the bones are still rubbing together. If I try walking, running, cycling before the bones have healed I will just set myself back and back and my leg may never heal.

So we are probably looking at a number of phases. Let’s look at the Emergency Medicine scenario. An accident happens. Those first on the scene, probably the paramedics, are initially concerned to make sure that things don’t get worse. Is the traffic being diverted? Are we safe from fire or electricity? Airways, breathing, circulation: the ABC of first aid. Staunch bleeding, stabilise the body with back board, neck brace. When the patient is stabilised we can take them to the hospital and the doctors can begin the therapeutic stage: having made sure that things aren’t going to get worse, we can look at how to help the patient begin to get better. The third stage is rehabilitation or convalescence: getting used to being healthy again. The fourth stage is to take advanced driving lessons.

The same is true with nutrition and nutritional ill health. If you are eating toxic food the intervention of first cause is to stop. Once you are reasonably stable we can look at therapeutic interventions: there are nutritional plans that have therapeutic effect: they can help the body heal itself from all sorts of conditions. Various forms of the ketogenic diet, for instance, have been showed to help epileptics keep free of seizures, clear cancer, and allow diabetics (even type one diabetics, to my amazement) heal themselves. And ketogenic diets, by their very nature, help obese people to burn that fat: ketogenic diets are fat-burning diets. It is possible (I know, I’ve done it) to lose weight at the rate of 1lb per day rather than 1lb per week. It’s not do-able through just reducing what you eat, and it certainly isn’t a regime anyone could (or would want to) follow for the rest of their lives. But I started that regime on a Thursday morning and, on urgent medical advice stopped my diabetes medication on Sunday morning and didn’t require it again. I was on a therapeutic diet, rather than a long-term, sustainable regime. There is a place for both.

The Jaminets (“[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="145169914X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51AHwQW%2BtCL._SL160_.jpg" width="106"]”: I know I’ve mentioned them elsewhere) make an interesting point that helps differentiate between food and nutrition. Pretty much all mammals need the same (or very similar) nutrition. That’s the same whether you are a polar bear or an elephant, a lion or a cow, a human or a lowland gorilla.

But they all need very different food. A cow couldn’t become a carnivore (look what happened when feed manufacturers tried to make that happen: BSE!) A lion can’t become a vegetarian. Why? Because each of us has a different digestive system, designed to produce the nutrition that we need from the food that we (naturally) eat. A cow, for instance, has four chambers to its stomach and regurgitates its food so that it can re-digest it. Horses, who also eat grass, only have one stomach, but a very long digestive tract. There are foods that are natural to each type of animal: foods that its digestive system has evolved to process to provide optimum nutrition.

The problem is that most of us who live in western civilisation don’t eat what is natural. Most of us can, I suspect (I certainly can) reflect on what my parents and grandparents ate, and see how different it is from what we (I!) eat today. I couldn’t be in a better place to see this: I am sitting in an internet cafe in a major American supermarket and I am directly across from the checkouts. There are only 12 checkout lines and I can easily see at least a dozen medically obese people—and I can also see what they have in their shopping carts! Mostly packets of things my grandmother would never have seen. But this is only a perspective of 50-100 years. Human kind has been around for millions of years (probably around two million years) and has only been living an agricultural existence for around 10,000 years. That’s about 0.5% of the total. That’s not enough time to evolve to cope with the “new” agricultural diet. And it’s only been 50 years at most that we’ve had an industrial diet (manufactured food). That’s 0.0025% of the time we’ve been around. That really isn’t enough time to evolve to cope with our new diet.

So, do diets work? Well, the “Standard American Diet” certainly doesn’t seem to work as well as it could, or should. In which case, we need to replace it.

How can we decide how to change our diet?

Most of those “diets” suggested in magazines, the ones that my vicar’s wife and @john and Jon Gabriel say don’t work, are prescriptions for reducing the quantity of what we eat. Sometimes it’s the overall quantity of what we eat (calorie counting), sometimes it’s reducing some component of what we eat (such as a low-fat diet).

Do these work? Well, it’s a truism to say that for some people they don’t work. People try them and they don’t lose the weight. Sometimes that’s because the diet is not well designed, or it’s difficult to stick to (my guess is that’s the sort of diet john encountered). Sometimes it’s a matter of management of expectations. I sometimes comment on a blog about ketogenic diets and have come across people who want to switch to the ketogenic diet because they tried xxx diet for 5 days and nothing much has happened.

Very often these diet plans are based on a false assumption, or on a set of false assumptions. Often the objective is to lose weight; sometimes that is achieved. If you overdid it over the holiday season and normally you eat healthily then simply cutting down on what you eat for a short while will probably bring you to your objective. Actually, simply returning to your normal healthy diet will probably bring you to your objective, but cutting down a bit might achieve your goals more quickly. Very few nutritionists would put their name to a recommendation to do this (they would prefer that you just return to your normal healthy regime), but they won’t ring alarm bells and have you sectioned, either.

But, as someone I read recently (it was probably Paul Jaminet) said:

Eating less of a bad diet is simply a worse diet.

If you are currently eating foods that don’t support a healthy body and a healthy mind, just eating less of them won’t really help. And reading one diet book and sticking to its recommendations slavishly won’t help, either. You have to know your own body and take responsibility for its health.

You have to find the diet that does work, for you. And that might be just one nutritional plan that will work for the rest of your life, or it may be a set of diets, each designed to take you through a therapeutic process until you are well enough to move on to your lifetime plan.

The question is, how do you find that diet or diets? I will deal with that in a future post.

 

It’s been an age since I blogged.  Went through some tough and busy times this year, but am now back in Florida where it’s sunny and the sky is blue, and I decided to crack this obesity thing once and for all, even if I don’t (yet) have my Together We Can group.

So I started to “Lighten Up” the second we got back to Apopka and by the end of the first week I had lost 12lbs, but my body fat percentage had gone UP by over 10%. So whatever I was losing it wasn’t fat, and I was TIRED.  Went for a five-mile walk on the Thursday and tried to repeat it again on the Saturday and “ran into the brick wall” big time.  I couldn’t move.

And whenever I checked for ketones, there was barely a trace.

So a few days back I started Googling “ketogenic diets” and have come up with some very interesting stuff and have put myself on a ketogenic diet.  My weight loss seems to have plateaued, but the fat percentage is coming down, so presumably I am burning fat while I replace whatever it was that I lost last week.  One  of the best / simplest versions of the Ketogenic Diet I found on Mark Maunder’s blog (that’s him, looking all slim and fit over there on the right).  And it’s what inspired me, but with some changes, and those changes have been inspired by Elaine Cantin, who cured herself of aggressive breast cancer in two weeks flat, also using (her own) version of the ketogenic diet.  She has written a book describing how she used the ketogenic diet not only to cure her aggressive breast cancer, but also to cure her son’s type 1 (yes, really, type ONE) diabetes.  It’s an inspiring story.

Here’s how it works:  My friend, JP, has a car that is “dual fuel”. It runs on either LPG or petrol, and he can change between the two by the flip of a switch. LPG is cheaper, and greener, but isn’t that easily available, so he fills up on LPG when he can, but if he runs out of LPG he flips the switch and, hey presto, he’s running on petrol.

Well, the human body is the same. It is dual fuel. It can run on glucose, or it can run on “ketone bodies” – usually just called ketones. Glucose comes from carbohydrates and ketones come from fats. If you have glucose in your bloodstream then the body won’t bother to burn ketones. It is also fairly well known (well, it’s very well researched, but the news hasn’t got out to many doctors yet!) that the body runs more efficiently on ketones than it does on glucose (the brain is much sharper, for one), but it does take a little effort to get the body to switch.

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1477567593" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31Ntu24N%2BjL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]But here’s the thing that I didn’t know until a couple of nights ago, and it’s the thing that made me buy Elaine’s book (I got the Kindle version so I could start reading straight away). Every single cell in the human body runs just fine on ketones … except cancer cells. Cancer cells can’t use ketones: they must have glucose. So, if you put yourself on a “ketogenic diet” and clear the glucose out of our system, then your body will appreciate it – but the cancer cells will starve to death. There are all sorts of reports on the internet, but it looks like it takes around two weeks for them to die: maybe longer if it’s a truly massive cancer.

Elaine had an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy but refused chemo and radiation, and the lump came back. By the time she saw her oncologist the lump was 2cm big and the oncologist wanted to rush her to the surgeon. She had only just started her diet and wanted to give it a chance. Two weeks later the doctors could find no sign of any cancer and wondered if the oncologist had made a mistake!  And she’s not the only one to report this effect.  Check out this video from CBN News:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLClqy5CbTQ

Elaine introduced me to a simple method to know whether a food is going to work in a ketogenic diet.

Egg IngredientsCheck out this ingredient list for a fried egg.  It’s from a brilliant website called http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition.  This is for a fried egg.  You will notice that there are 7.04 grams of fat in your egg and 6.27 grams of protein.  Add these together (we don’t need several places of decimals — let’s just call it 13).  Now compare that with the figure for carbohydrate: 0.4 grams.  If you divide both sides by 0.4 (you may need a calculator, but here it is roughly) you get a ratio of 26:1.  That makes an egg (especially a fried one) an excellent food for a ketogenic diet. We are looking for a ratio of from 3:1 to 5:1 or above.  I had been existing on almost exclusively different forms of cabbage: sauerkraut (ratio of 0:3.  Bad!), raw cabbage (0.28:1), onions (0.1:1).  No wonder I wasn’t getting into ketosis.  I was having very low levels of calories, but all my calories, few as they were and healthy as they were, were carbohydrates (I only just looked up red onions, and I was shocked!)

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="145169914X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51AHwQW%2BtCL._SL160_.jpg" width="106"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="1477567593" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31Ntu24N%2BjL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="193630323X" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41BWLjR7ryL._SL160_.jpg" width="134"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B008WTOVOC" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Sh96N1gCL._SL160_.jpg" width="100"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="B009LNGZ74" locale="us" height="127" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DlUcuFYnL._SL160_.jpg" width="160"]Now I am using this formula all the time.  For breakfast I had sugar free Canadian bacon (24.25 : 1 Great!!!) and scrambled eggs (14.4 : 1) with some grated Gruyere cheese (176.2 : 1 !!!).  Instead of having black coffee, I now have coffee with cream (coffee 0.5 : 1, not good, but heavy cream is 14 : 1 so that more than evens things out).  And notice that it doesn’t work with milk (1.12 : 1).  If you want to use non-dairy creamer, check the labels carefully.  Some work well, others are a disaster.

I was also inspired by two articles by Mr and Mrs JaminetKetogenic Diets, I: Ways to Make a Diet Ketogenic and Ketogenic Diets 2: Preventing Muscle and Bone Loss on Ketogenic Diets.  This inspired me to order their book, The Perfect Health Diet, but it won’t be here until after Xmas (make a Kindle version, please, Mr and Mrs Jaminet!)

It’s going to be fun applying the formula to turkey and Brussels sprouts over the next few days.  Unfortunately it looks like one of my Xmas favourites, roasted potatoes is going to be a no-no (0.35 : 1).  No amount of cheese is going to correct that imbalance!

See also:

Ketogenic What is a Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell?
Ketogenic A Guide to Ketosis
Ketogenic What is the Ketogenic Diet Good For?
Ketogenic Tips for Starting and Restarting Ketosis
Ketogenic On Ketogenic Diets
Ketogenic How to Use the Keto Calculator
Ketogenic Ketone Testing
Ketogenic A one-page intro to Ketogenic Diets, to hand to medical sceptics
Ketogenic 203 Comments on Mark Maunder’s “Basic Ketogenic Diet”

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