I don’t know what’s gotten into Dr. Mehmet Oz as of late to suddenly cause him to present positive national television coverage to some of the fundamental messages of the low-carb comm...
Scott Moore's insight:
There was actual mainstream media discussion of the idea that cholesterol isn't bad for you. It happened on the Dr. Oz show. While it wasn't a consistent and clear message because Dr. Oz kinda mucked it up, the two guests actually gave a pretty clear message. So if you listen to them and ignore Dr. Oz, you should get a good understanding of the role of cholesterol in the body.
Eating low carb is definitely a personal choice. It should be the choice of more people, but I realize that it's a personal choice. I wish that was the whole story, but it's not.
It gets to be a story when we start talking about school lunches. Schools have to serve meals that comply with official USDA guidelines, and these guidelines limit the amount of meat and fat that can be served and mandates that a minimum of vegetables and fruit. And if I thought limiting meat and fat was a bad idea? Too bad.
This article discusses recent slight policy changes related to school lunches.
I'm including this article because it's such a mish-mash of strange health advice. It's typical of what you might come across in a daily perusal of the Web. If a reader does not have a clear and correct understanding of physiology, then it would be soooo easy to get led astray. So, let's see what happens here...
Recommends to not to super super strict about eating low sodium while drinking lots of water --- Well, you should absolutely not worry about minimizing the salt you eat. Basically, 99% of people out there shouldn't ever worry about it. Raising your blood pressure? Minimally, and who's to say that blood pressure is what you need to worry about to begin with? Iodized salt delivers (guess what?) iodine, and people in the U.S. are seriously lacking in this element; this can lead to serious health issues (thyroid problems and hormone imbalances). So the recommendation should be "use as much salt as you want to make your food taste good."
Recommends green coffee bean extract for weight loss: This is quack medicine. Yeah, it might work a little, but you have to change how you eat, not add some miracle supplement that will magically melt the pounds off your body. Change how you eat!
Recommends nondrug approaches to lowering cholesterol: Please. Forget about lowering cholesterol. If you're a woman, it's never been shown to be a health risk. If you're a young man who hasn't had a heart attack, it's never been shown to be a health risk. Just forget about it. Every cell in your body needs cholesterol. Your brain has much of the body's cholesterol. It protects from Alzheimer's and cancer. Simply forget about cholesterol as a worry.
In this article the Caveman Doctor provides an extremely in-depth and well-documented look at what health hazards we come in contact with on a daily basis and what we might do to avoid them.
He comes up with an extremely long list, and it doesn't sound good for modern man: plastics, toxins, chemicals of all types and everywhere that can't be avoided. He discusses BPA, organopesticides, phthalates and parabens. Most of these are in the blood stream of most people on earth, even if they haven't been directly exposed to sources of contamination.
So he says the best defense is to limit the amount of these toxins that can be stored in the body. Since they are all stored in fat tissue, the best defense is to minimize the amount of fat you carry around. And, since low carb is the best way to do that...eat low carb for your health!
This article is from a somewhat controversial author in the low carb community; no matter what you end up believing, he's definitely a thoughtful researcher. In this article he reports on two recent research studies that investigate the effect of carbohydrate restriction on health.
From the first: "Most of the subjects in this study were eating diets that were around 50% to 55% carbohydrate, so the study was testing whether it’s better to eat a little above or below this carb intake. It tells us, I think, that a 45% carb diet is healthier than a diet with more than 50% carbs. It doesn’t tell us what carb intake is optimal."
From the second: "The results of this study indicate that a moderately restricted calorie and carbohydrate diet has a positive effect on body weight loss and improves the elements of metabolic syndrome in patients with overweight or obesity and prediabetes. These results underscore the need to provide dietary recommendations focusing on calorie and carbohydrate restrictions … Our results are in agreement with reports produced by other authors who also assessed a carbohydrate-reduced diet …"
The referenced post has lots more details, and it links to both of the original articles.
This article is one of the best, if not the best, analyses of the myriad effects of dietary saturated fats on our health. It contains so much information that you will definitely have to spend a couple of hours reading and examining it. But if you harbor any --- repeat: any --- worries about negative effects of saturated fats, or if you have any relatives who take statins to lower his/her cholesterol, then you must read this article.
Here's a quote from the end of the article: "Supporters of the orthodox view that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease who dismiss [this article and related books], unread, bring to mind George Orwell’s definition of orthodoxy: "Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think." And Frank Zappa put it well when he said, "The mind is like a parachute, it works only when it is open." One needs to approach this subject with an open mind."
I highly recommend this article. I wish it had been available when I started investigating this topic.
Are carbohydrates really fattening? This one question has generated much acrimonious debate over the years. Some believe all that matters is the caloric content of food while others (yours truly,...
This article is by my favorite nutrition writer, Michael Eades, M.D. In this article he deconstructs a research study and tells us what it means to him. Here are two relevant quotes: "And it’s pretty clear that going off the low-carb diet will result in more weight gain than going off of a low-fat diet. Which would have to at least imply that carbohydrates are more fattening than are fat and protein. We can see from the length of this second follow-up – four years – we’re not talking about the immediate water gain that comes from going off a low-carb diet for just a few days, but the long-term weight gain."
"But having said that, this study along with the enormous mass of anecdotal data seems to indicate that weight gain is more rapid after bolting from a low-carb diet as compared to straying from a low-fat diet. If this proves to be true, then it really is indicative that carbohydrates are more fattening than fat or protein."
Certainly, more experiments have to be conducted in order to provide an answer that will convince most people. But, for me, the biology is clear enough and the effects of carbs on me are clear enough that I steer as far away from carbs as I can for purposes of health and weight control.
The answer, in cartoon form, to "Why don't I eat bread?" Bonus: a nose-to-tail feast.
This is such a super cartoon! It is based on an interview with J. Stanton. He has two great soundbites. First, he explains how eating bread is really no better than eating Skittles! This is something that takes quite a while to get used to...but it's true. Second, he said we should eat whole food. What does that mean? His quote is "Food shouldn't have ingredients. Food is an ingredient." Perfect!
I haven't eaten any "food" containing a list of ingredients in years. Basically, just avoid food that comes in a box. Another way of thinking about it --- avoid the center of the grocery store; just shop in the vegetable, meat, seafood, and dairy sections (they're all around the outside of the grocery store).
Oxidative damage was the prevailing theory of aging in the 1990s, and anti-oxidants became the preferred prescription for youthfulness. But in lab animals and in human studies, the cure didn’t pan ...
Anti-oxidants are good for you! Be sure to get enough anti-oxidants! If you want to live long and be healthy, be sure to take a vitamin with enough anti-oxidants! This is established knowledge, not to be denied.
Or is it?
Turns out: not so much. This article examines the evidence and found established knowledge to not be accurate: "There’s no doubt that oxidative damage to the body’s chemistry accompanies aging, and it accelerates at older ages. But this damage is not inevitable. I suspect that the high rates of damage in old age come not from the body’s everyday energy metabolism, but from chronic inflammation, which is known to rise catastrophically with advanced age. Inflammation is the body’s own front-line defense against microbes, turned against the self in old age as a mechanism of programmed death. Oxidative damage may be self-inflicted."
So, his recommendation: "Skip the anti-oxidants. Bring on the anti-inflammatories."
Wow. Is nothing sacred? Bacon is good for you and anti-oxidants aren't? Curiouser and curiouser.
Yes, this is serious. Here's a summary from the article itself: “Cured salted pork crafted as a nasal tampon and packed within the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal hemorrhage promptly, effectively, and without sequelae … To our knowledge, this represents the first description of nasal packing with strips of cured pork for treatment of life-threatening hemorrhage in a patient with Glanzmann thrombasthenia.”
So, bacon isn't only healthy to eat...it also can save your life!
This article is by Gary Taubes, the author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, the most important nutrition book of the last 40 years (at least). This article is a reaction to an email that he received from a friend who told Gary "I know you believe in calories". Here is how he begins his reaction and clarification of his thoughts on the matter:
"I obviously believe in calories as a measure of energy, whatever that means to believe in such a thing. (It’s like believing in miles as a measure of distance.) So that’s probably not what my friend meant. What I don’t believe in is that discussions of caloric consumption and expenditure tell us anything meaningful about why we get fat or why we lose fat, and I believe that the mantra that ‘a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” serves only to direct attention away from the meaningful characteristics of the macronutrients in our diets."
This is the one idea --- yes, the one idea --- that was so hard for me to understand when I started to learn about low carb. It took me probably a year of research to understand that it's the food and the macronutrient content of what we eat that matter. In this article, both startlingly clear and challenging, Gary discusses a series of thought experiments that pushes the reader in the direction of asking questions about nutrition that he thinks need to be answered and that helps us get to grips with the fact that a calories is not a calorie (and, so, shouldn't be the focus of our dietary obsession).
The meta-analysis, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in November 2012, investigates the effects of protein supplementation on adaptation after prolonged resistance training. The results are encouraging: gain of muscle mass and strength gains in both younger and older subjects.
Basically this means that, if you want to maximize the effects of resistance training, then you should ensure that you are getting enough protein. This is certainly not inconsistent with a low carb diet. For maximal fat loss, you should focus on eating near-zero carbs, minimal protein, and a lot of fat. This result says that, while you might be hurting your chances of losing maximal weight, you are gaining the opportunity to gain muscle. So it ends up being a balancing act of weight loss (with some muscle gain) versus muscle gain (with minimal weight loss).
After losing 28 pounds on the Atkins diet, Sharon Osbourne looks and feels fabulous. And she wants to keep shedding pounds, reported the Huffington Post on Nov.
It's funny to see who the diet companies choose for their spokesperson. I'm not sure I would have chosen Ms. Osbourne, but I'm not in charge. She sounds like the Atkins diet has done very good things for her --- weight loss and good health. She's eating a good diet, as she detailed in the article: "Sharon enjoys tea, eggs and bacon for breakfast, a salad with tuna or chicken for lunch and fish and veggies for dinner." Perfect! Just realize that it's eggs (with yolks) cooked in 1-2T of bacon grease, chicken with the skin at lunch, and veggies cooked in lots of butter. Don't be araid of fat!
It’s update time yet again with my n=1 experiment of the concept known as “nutritional ketosis” that I began examining on myself beginnning in May 2012 after reading The Art and ...
This article tracks the health and wellness outcomes for one person 6 months into his plan to eat a very high fat diet (about 75-80%). In short he has lost lots of weight (see the chart) and he has been great at controlling his blood sugar and ketone level. How does he know? Every single day he measures both his blood ketones and blood sugar in the morning and night --- and then he records them, tracking them over time. He also weighs himself every day. He has been doing this, as I said, for over 6 months now. Amazing persistence. He has lost 60 pounds and is on track to lose more.
If/when you have trouble managing your weight while maintaining health and vitality, he has clearly shown how to do it.
Quote from conclusion: "Mirroring modern day hunter-gatherer societies likely involves eating the same foods our ancestors consumed for millions of years. These high fat foods are the same sources of sustenance that our bodies are designed to process, and these foods likely help us to avoid the diseases of civilization, including diabetes, obesity, and even cancer."
In this article the author goes through pretty good data that exists examining the food that modern day hunter-gatherer societies eat. Why do this? I'll let him explain: "Humans have been roaming the earth for roughly 2.5 million years. During this long period of time, our diet has likely changed significantly. Our diet was dependent on the time in history (cooling or warming periods), location (tropical vs. frigid vs. seasonal), season, and based on the food sources that were available at that time. While these factors vary throughout, one thing is certain: only a minute slice of this time involved a diet that included sugar or processed oils and even grains."
So this article goes through several different hunter-gatherer societies and determines what they actually did eat with the end goal of coming up with a recommendation for what a modern day human should eat.
This post is about Dr. William Davis's appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Davis is the author of "Wheat Belly", and a huge proponent of the need for people to eliminate wheat and grains completely from our diets. Here's the "money quote" from the article:
"But there was Dr. Davis with his signature smile and witty analogies making great point after great point even as Dr. Oz sometimes tried to steer the conversation in another direction. When Dr. Oz tried to get Dr. Davis to concede that the non-wheat whole grains were completely fine for people to eat, I love how Dr. Davis said they might be better but that doesn’t make them good."
The analogy that I use is that filtered cigarettes might be "better" for you than unfiltered cigarettes, but that doesn't mean they're good for our health. Same with grains. This is a perfect analogy to white flour and whole wheat flour. Neither are good for you in any way at all. Research that shows that whole wheat is good for you is always done in comparison to processed wheat flour...of course it's going to look better. But if you compared outcomes to a diet with no grain at all, it's going to look a lot worse.
Sad, but true, for all pasta, bread, cake, and cereal lovers.
Give up grains, especially wheat, for your short and long term health.
Just as good as a full carb Crème Brulée only you don’t get the burned sugar on top so I am calling a custard As much as I used to love that, I don’t really miss being I am actually able to...
Here's an absolutely wonderful dessert. It's perfectly representative of the kind of "treat" that you can eat on a low carb diet. Ingredients are 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 whole vanilla bean, and 5 egg yolks. After a bit of preparation you end up with 4 desserts that have around 0 carbs, 7 g of protein, and 25 g of fat. That's good stuff right there --- healthy and tasty.
This article examines the notion that "we should ideally have some sort of fuel inside of us prior to exercise." However, as I have pointed out in numerous places, we also have the idea that we shouldn't eat foods which spike blood sugar, so eating a sugar (energy) intensive food is (we think) a bad idea. So what is one to do?
Many of us exercise in order to maintain our weight. More specifically, we exercise in order to control the amount of fat we have on our bodies. What we want to do is to burn fat as opposed to muscle. The experiment reported on here looked at hour the timing of eating effects the amount of fat that we burn when we exercise.
From the article: "This is just one study, done in a limited number of people, with each condition tested only once and in quite a controlled fashion, so let’s not over-interpret the results. However, there is evidence here which supports the notion that, for the most efficient fat-burning, exercise may perhaps be best performed on an empty stomach."
These aren't exactly "paleo" films and they aren't exactly "low carb" films. There's quite an overlap between these two eating styles anyway, and I have watched (or want to watch) most of these films. He has three lists: Watch it (for free online), See it (paid), and Skip it. Under each list are the name of the film, where it can be found, a link to a trailer, and a short (funny) summary.
Here's his summary for "Dirt: The Movie" (2009): "Synopsis: Agriculture is the worst mistake in human history. The soil of our home planet is crucial to our survival, but we're a pathological species destroying our lifeblood. Fix it or die." That's pretty clear to me! He also links to the trailer on hulu right below that synopsis.
I highly recommend that you work through these videos in order to get a better idea of how food affects your body and how the country's food supply works (and how you might be able to do a little something about it).
"As The Eating Academy approaches its first birthday in about a month, I figured it was as good a time as any to put together some thoughts on a subject I get asked about with great frequency."
Warning! Science alert! This article is extremely "sciencey." You would probably think, given my interests and posting on this subject, that I was a big science nerd in high school. Far from it. Hated the subject. The last biology class I took was in 10th grade. Stayed away from it in college, too. Everything that I have learned about biology I have learned in the last 6 years reading about nutrition --- a few books but mostly blog entries like this one.
This article is the first of a series exploring ketosis. This is the state the body gets in when it is burning fat for energy instead of glucose. Most "normal" people are burning glucose. I try to get into ketosis when I want to lose a little weight. This meas that I focus on eating more and more fat and less and less carbs. (Sounds funny, doesn't it?) People hear this and one of the things they say is that this is bad for people because the brain needs glucose to survive.
This article explains the science behind the refutation of that statement. The science is very well explained (which is not to say that it's easy; it's just well explained).
The leaders of the dietary establishment either keeled over or started arming themselves with pitchforks as I wrote that title.
If you're not going to eat grains and sugars, and should also try to limit protein, then you have to eat more fat. Lots more fat than you're used to eating. It's not easy to do if you're not used to it. This article provides some guidance for those new to this way of eating.
Let's see what he says: 1) Save fats from pan-fried meat (bacon grease, anyone?). Then use this in future stir fries. Or drip it all over the next chicken breast you cook. Yummy! 2) Eat dark meat. 3) Eat fatty fish such as herring, sardines, and anchovies. 3) Bacon! 4) Add eggs (including the yolk!) to lots of things. I use an egg as a hamburger topping. 5) Use non-animal fats, too. Avocadoes (and guacamole!) are always in my house. 6) Full fat, pasteured dairy. 7) Add olive oil or butter to as many dishes as you can.
I buy the highest-fat hamburger that I can. 95/5%? Are you kidding? 80/20% is okay, but 70/30% is awesome! And add a pat of butter the last turn on the grill to let it melt throughout the meat. Top it with bacon, guacamole, an egg, cheese, and a dollop of salsa (no bun, of course). Now that's good eats.
High Protein Low Carb Bread French Toast Recipe With Smart Carb™ Bread French toast and other breakfast staples can be highly missed if you are eating healthy but with Julian Bakery’s Smart Carb #2 Cinnamon Raisin you will not feel guilt whatsoever...
Ha! No no no! If you want to eat low carb, you have to eat low carb. And you've gotta give up stuff like this that points you in the wrong direction. Assuming that the macronutrient for the bread is right, eating one slice of the bread isn't too bad. But who has just one slice of French Toast?!? I generally had 6 slices or so. But then there's the syrup, the dried fruit, and the fruit on the side. I bet you would have 40-50 carbs in this breakfast without trying very hard. Of course this would be less than the 150+ carbs you would have in the "normal" breakfast of French Toast, but 40+ carbs is still waaaaay too much to eat --- for a day, let alone a breakfast.
Just learn to eat eggs, bacon, and other meat when you're hungry. Put some cheese (and bacon!) in the eggs if you're looking for a little different flavor. But don't fool yourself into thinking that the breakfast shown here is really low carb. It's a trap!
Despite the increasing use of very low carbohydrate ketogenic diets (VLCKD) in weight control and management of the metabolic syndrome there is a paucity of research about effects of VLCKD on sport performance.
This article is absolutely amazing. So little research has been done looking into the effects of very low carb ketogenic diets (VLCKD) on sports performance. Specifically, this article, published in July 2012 in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, looks at the influence of a very low carb ketogenic diet on explosive strength performance.
This research used elite artistic gymnasts as its subjects, and put them on a low carb diet for 30 days. Three months later the same before and after tests were performed around a typical western diet (what I have called a standard American diet, or SAD). The results?: "No significant differences were detected between VLCKD and [SAD] in all strength tests. Significant differences were found in body weight and body composition: after VLCKD there was a decrease in body weight (from 69.6 ± 7.3 Kg to 68.0 ± 7.5 Kg) and fat mass (from 5.3 ± 1.3 Kg to 3.4 ± 0.8 Kg p < 0.001) with a non-significant increase in muscle mass."
Wow! Just awesome. This research says that if weight is a concern, or if strength/weight ratio is a concern, then a VLCKD can be quite beneficial compared to a SAD. Okay, raise your hand if you think being stronger relative to your weight wouldn't be a good thing. ... I thought so.
Calling all chocolate lovers! You will think you’ve died and gone to heaven with this one. After testing out a few batches of Super Simple Biscuits, I had a lot of leftover egg yolks. Eight of them went into a traditional custard-based ice cream.
Don't let anyone ever ever tell you that you can't have desserts when on a low carb diet. Holy chocolate Batman! Not a chance! This is one of my absolutely favorite desserts, and it comes from my absolute favorite Web site for low carb treats. This woman is amazing, and her recipes always end up helping me create wonderfully tasty food.
This recipe results in the richest, chocolatiest pudding/custard that you will ever shovel into your mouth. It's basically cream, egg yolks, and dark chocolate (plus a couple of other things). How could it be bad?!? Well, it can't. Enjoy!