low carb

It’s Susan’s and my eighth wedding anniversary tomorrow, and at the beginning of August it’s nine years since we met.  Happy and interesting years.  Within a very short time of meeting Susan I became aware of her fascination for nutrition and her insatiable appetite for every different nutritional theory, and I have long since got used to living in a house where both cupboard space and nutritional budget is taken up more by nutritional supplements than by nutrition.

I tried to take an interest for a while, but couldn’t get my head around the multiple apparently contradictory theories that were out there.  And it wasn’t that I didn’t need this information.  As the title of this blog will attest, obesity is my problem, and Susan’s is Chronic Fatigue, or M.E.  But I would read first this book, then that, and each would contradict the other, and I’d just throw them both in the bin and give up.

But then our very good friend, the lovely Kali Harmen introduced me to Gary Taubes and I was awakened to the world of nutritional bad science.  It totally opened my eyes, and since then I have been coming across examples everywhere, as well as a rapidly growing awareness happening across society.  And it falls out very simply at the moment, with the “low fat, high carb” people on one side, and the “low carb, high fat” people on the other.  It’s the low carb, high fat people who have the science behind them, and the low fat, high carb that has the politicians, big business, and even most of the public health and medical profession behind them, as Jaques Peretti‘s new BBC program “The men who made us fat” is explaining.

But things are changing.

I’m old enough to remember when people weren’t convinced that smoking was bad for you.  My GP, when I was first married in the very early 1970′s, used to carry around a tin (yes, a round tin) of 50 Player’s cigarettes in his pocket.  But gradually the science changed, and then the politics, and now we all know that smoking kills.  Not everyone (my Dad smoked all his adult life, and lived until he was 91), but the science is solid enough that we all know that anyone who smokes is endangering his or her health, badly.

And it’s the same with drink and driving.  When I was a teenager we thought it smart and fun to drive when very drunk.  We knew it wasn’t a good idea, but we did it anyway.  Now, my own (grown up) children won’t even have a glass of wine if they come round to dinner, and I’m amazed at how “grown up” they are.

Dr Ben Goldacre

Anyway; I digress.  I’m now delighted that, bit by bit, the nutritional quackery is being exposed, and the latest bit I came across concerns Dr Gillian McKeith, who I had always supposed was on the side of the angels.  Apparently, I’m wrong.  Apparently, for instance, she’s not a doctor.  I hadn’t given much thought to whether that “Dr” meant that she was a fully-qualified medical doctor, or whether it meant that she had a PhD in some relevant subject from an accredited university or college.  Apparently, neither.  Just a piece of paper from a correspondence course from a non-accredited American source.

If you have been a follower of “Dr” McKeith (she was recently taken to the Advertising Standards Authority for using the “Dr” title, and agreed to stop using it), you might like to read Dr Ben Goldacre‘s article in the Guardian about her.  It’s called “A Menace to Science” and is pretty hard-hitting.

I wanted to brighten up this post with a picture, and had thought of putting in a picture of “Dr” McK, but after reading a few articles about her, I discovered that she, or her staff, have been threatening people with law suits, so I chickened out, and decided that I’d put in a picture of Dr Ben (he really is a doctor: a medical doctor: studied at Oxford and UCL Medical School, and is currently an academic epidemiologist.  He’s also the son of Michael Goldacre, professor of public health at the University of Oxford.

So I guess he knows what he’s talking about.  Not that all epidemiologists do: there are a lot of them guilty of confusing correlation with causality, but I’m not aware of anyone catching Dr G at that yet.

I blog about this stuff because it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that we have to educate ourselves as best we can on this stuff, because we are being fed bad food and bad information by just about everyone around us, and it’s not clear who you can trust.  I’m not a scientist, by any stretch of the imagination, but I did have enough of a scientific education that I can recognise good science and bad science when it’s pointed out to me.

And I’m not an apologist for all scientists.  There’s a lot of science that doesn’t take into account other factors, and a lot of science that has led us down unhelpful paths over the years.  But suddenly, here in 2012, there is an upswell in good nutritional science, that may just change awareness in the same way that most of now will stop smoking if we can, and won’t drink and drive if we can help it.  Soon we will be cutting down on sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other dietary carbohydrates, and eating more protein and dietary fat.  And we’ll be better able to judge for ourselves which advice to follow, and which not.

Denise Minger

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0307474259" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ni96jsZzL._SL110_.jpg" width="72"] [simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0865479186" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BnNG7qPoL._SL110_.jpg" width="74"] [simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0865478007" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JxCbEPXPL._SL110_.jpg" width="75"][simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0307450724" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YTfTtR%2B%2BL._SL110_.jpg" width="71"] So, get yourself educated.  Read Taubes, Goldacre, the Drs Eades, and especially Denise Minger (yes, I know it’s an unfortunate name, but Americans don’t use the same jargon as us Brits) then decide whether you want to get obese, type II diabetic, increase your risk of cardio-vascular disease and Alzheimer’s, or whether you’d rather have bacon and eggs for breakfast and a good rare steak for dinner!

Jacques Peretti

Brilliant new TV series on BBC 2: The Men Who Made Us Fat.  As of today (17th June 2012) you can still watch Episode 1 on BBC iPlayer.  For those of us who have been studying this for a while, there are our new heroes (Gary Taubes, Dr Robert Lustig), and some old ones (Dr John Yudkin), as well as those baddies we all love to hate (Ancel Keys and George McGovern, amongst others).

The programme is hosted by Jacques Peretti: he has a blog here, and an article “What caused the obesity crisis in the West?” on the BBC News website.

The programme is now available on You Tube: start watching below, and when it  begins click the link about the play list.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE-H__aIEFE

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0241965284" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TbqHq8ckL._SL160_.jpg" width="105"][simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1468161776" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZUxuOCjLL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]

George: Angel Dog

No posts for the last couple of weeks: we’ve been in Florida, looking after Susan’s mom after she got out of hospital after a fall (and taking her back after another fall!)

And then our beloved dog George died while we were away, so we have been grieving.  Best boy ever in the whole wide world.  George came everywhere with us (except Florida) so now, wherever we go we are reminded of George.

And I have been doing some studying.  I have discovered a new hero, Gary Taubes, an amazing physical regime, T-Tapp, and I’ve read the Atkins book and the Jon Gabriel method, and we’ve discovered a wonderful source of organic flax seed, flax meal and flax oil (good for omega-3, lignans, etc) in Sussex: The Flax Farm, run by the lovely Clare Skelton and her team.

More of all that when we get back from picking up some hay or straw for our chickens (whichever the wonderful Beechcroft Farm can spare), because with all the rain in April, the chicken run is a quagmire, and the poor girls have cold, wet feet!

I have been following up some Internet research for a good friend of mine who has followed the “Radical Nutrition Programme” of LFFO, has lost close on 60lbs and looks FABULOUS, but still has some problems.

Some of those are in the mind, and we’re working on that together, but this person also has all the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome:

  • Can’t shift the weight around the middle, even though the BMI says you’re at a good weight
  • High Blood sugar that medication has difficulty shifting (insulin resistance)
  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
  • High Cholesterol

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="1468161776" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZUxuOCjLL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]There are other symptoms, but this is enough.  Susan found an article in “The Week” that was a summary of a longer article in the Daily Telegraph, called “The Bitter Truth About Sugar“.  It’s not a long article but it certainly inspired me to Google the scientist behind the article, Professor Robert Lustig of UCSF.  His video on You Tube (below) has had 2.25 million hits and makes compelling viewing: I just watched it in one go.  He argues that sugar is as toxic as ethanol (alcohol).  The table above summarises the argument: I still think it’s worth watching the video.

At times it gets a bit technical when he delves into the biochemistry, but he’s entertaining and keeps us with him, but if you’ve ever worried about your weight, you owe it to yourself to find the times to watch one of these videos.

Nobody chooses to be obese,” says Lustig. “Nobody. Especially not children. This is a global pandemic. D’you think, all of a sudden, everybody in the world became gluttons and sloths at the same time? Get with the programme!

Read the article and if it catches your attention, and either watch the short version of the video (26 minutes)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14ZIKOQkTiM

… or the long version (89 minutes)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

This isn’t just scare stuff: he suggests what we can do to help ourselves:

Lifestyle Intervention

  1. Get rid of all sugared liquids–only water and milk
  2. Eat your carbohydrate with fibre
  3. Wait 20 minutes for second portions
  4. Buy your “screen time” minute-for-minute with physical activity.

Also, get some exercise: not because you’ll burn the calories (it takes a LOT of exercise to burn a Big Mac!), but because:

Why is exercise important in obesity?

  1. Because it improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity
  2. Becasue it reduces stress and resultant cortisol release
  3. Because it makes the TCA cycle (the basic process that digests food and produces energy) run faster, detoxifies fructose, and improves hepatic insulin sensitivity.

Also, he’s heavy on making sure that you have plenty of fibre in your diet:

Why Is Fibre Important in Obesity?

“When God Made the Poison,
He packaged it with the antidote”

Fructose is a poison, but wherever it appears in nature, it’s packaged with way more fibre.

Fibre:

  1. Reduces the rate of intestinal carbohydrate absorption, reducing insulin response (Fat or Fart)
  2. Increases speed of transit of intestinal contents, raising PYY 3-36 and thus induces satiety signal sooner
  3. Inhibits absorption of some free fatty acids to the colon, which are metabolized by colonic bacteria to short-chain fatty acids, which suppress insulin

So, here’s the summary of the message:

  • Fructose consumption has increased in the last 30 years, coinciding with the obesity epidemic
  • A calorie is not a calorie (fructose is not glucose)
  • You are not what you eat, you are what you do with what you eat
  • Fructose metabolism in the liver leads to Metabolic Syndrome
  • Consuming fructose interferes with obesity intervention
  • Fructose is a chronic liver toxin: it’s alcohol without the buzz.

Here’s an excellent infographic from an article (The Amazing Similarities Between this Toxic Sugar and Alcohol) on Mercola’s website with a wealth of info:
fructose overload infographic

Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic “Fructose Overload.” Use the embed code to share it on your website.

fructose overload infographic

Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic “Fructose Overload.”

Jamie Oliver began his odyssey to change America’s eating habits in Huntington, WV and it was reported in a British Channel 4 documentary, Jamie’s Food Revolution.  Here’s the American trailer:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8CF15HJJ-0

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="1401310478" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/614JYr0BoQL._SL160_.jpg" width="121"]You can still (as I write in March 2013) watch the entire series of programmes on Four On Demand: Jamie’s American Food Revolution, as well articles, ideas, and things to do.

At the time, the British Daily Mail ran an article about Huntington, WV, USA, the Obese capital of America.

So many people think that the individual people of Huntington are being criticized.  I don’t agree.

I frequently visit America (I have family there and we live part of the year in Florda).  I am made most welcome, and people like to take me out to dinner.  I always used to return home ill.  At first I fixed the problem by taking ALL my nutrition with me, and studiously avoiding American food, and then I was fine.  Now I eat paleo/primal/very low carb and I’m fine.

And my American family and friends didn’t understand what I was going on about … but that’s because they have hadn’t experienced anything else.

It’s a puzzle.  They think that Daily Mail article is poking fun (well, its the Mail, it probably is, but Jamie wasn’t).

They don’t recognise the love and care.

Sigh.

[hr]

That’s what I said back in Oct 2010.  Things are changing.  There is a huge recognition of the harm that sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and grains are causing.  It will take a while, but we will get there, eventually.

[hr]

Subsequently Jamie won a TEd talk prize: here’s his brilliant presentation.  I think it is total dynamite. If you have any interest in you and your children living long, healthy and happy lives, then watch this!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIwrV5e6fMY

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