Saturday, May 28, 2016

Zoodles as a Fat Delivery Vehicle

Though many people attribute the surprising popularity of zoodles to its clever name -- who doesn't like to say zoodles? -- there could be a more compelling reason for the ascendance of this verbal mash-up of zucchini and noodles. As with its vegetable buddy cauliflower, zucchini is a very efficient fat delivery vehicle when shaped as a noodle and is far lower in carbs than the pasta it replaces in recipes. (One cup of cooked spaghetti has 43g carbohydrates versus only 6 grams in one cup of cooked zucchini.)

My daughter recently gifted me an OXO Good Grips zoodle maker for Mother's Day, and it's been fun seeing how much butter, cheese and bacon I can combine with the tasty vegetable noodles. For dinner last night (see photo below), I sauteed the zoodles in butter and added bacon and Parmesan cheese.

Eager to find more uses for my new toy, this morning I searched online for some recipes using zoodles instead of pasta. Some of these recipes skimp on fat because of misguided perceptions perpetuated by old school media and registered dietitians that fat is bad for you; so I will just add more of the good stuff like avocado, cheese, etc. and use the full-fat version of any ingredients with the unfortunate modifer low- or non- before fat.

 Chicken Zoodle Soup from skinnytaste
  Find the recipe for Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Zoodle Soup here.

Shrimp Florentine from Allrecipes

This recipe for shrimp Florentine with zoodles is your basic scampi with spinach and zoodles. I'll probably increase the butter and add some fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Zucchini with Meat Sauce from Butter is Not a Carb

What zoodle recipe sampler would be complete without a zoodles and meat sauce dish? This recipe includes mushrooms, but I may also other veggies hanging out in the crisper and maybe some bacon and cheese.

This is the zoodle maker I received for Mother's Day. It's technically called an OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Spiralizer with StrongHold Suction. It couldn't be easier to operate, clean and store. The color coded blades nest in an adorable storage box when not in use. And, unlike the smaller hand held models like the Veggetti, this spiralizer yields minimal zucchini wastage.
My new zoodle maker is a snap to use.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Will the Real Diet 'Craze' Please Stand Up?

Why Low-Carb Diets Are Not Pet Rocks 

Despite the fact that people have eaten relatively low-carb high-fat diets throughout human history, many dietitians and medical doctors insist on calling low-carb high-fat diets a "craze."

The implication is that sane people eschew fat in favor of carbs, consuming meals like fortified breakfast cereal and skim milk instead of bacon and eggs. Never mind that the fat soluble vitamins sprayed onto enriched cereal flakes will not be absorbed by the body in the absence of the dietary fat that was deliberately removed from the milk for "health" reasons. Or that the popularity of low-fat high-carb diets has led to the biggest epidemic of obesity and associated metabolic diseases since human beings started roaming the planet. 

If you look at a timeline of human history, the relative millisecond in which the medical community has pushed carbohydrates over fat is the aberration from the norm. In reality, it is the low-fat high-carb diet that is the fad, a dietary experiment that has resulted in worsening health throughout most of the first world, which mistakenly followed the United States and its dietary guidelines like lemmings over a cliff.

It should be noted, however, that the United States -- the country that first promoted over-consumption of carbohydrates -- also produced the Kardashians and Donald Trump. As with these pop culture phenoms, it all boils down to money and image management. Medical and dietary groups in first world countries have been bribed encouraged by #BigFood companies like General Mills to redefine a balanced diet as obtaining half of one's calories from carbohydrates (a non-essential macro-nutrient) as a means to move product.

Despite the lack of any solid evidence (read Nina Teicholz's The Big Fat Surprise to learn more about the dearth of good science behind the U.S. Dietary Guidelines), skim milk and margarine were deemed healthy while bacon and butter became dietary devils.

The designers of the high-carb low-fat diet craze turned the tables against the standard American diet it replaced and acted as if humans had been feasting on fruits, grains and lean proteins all along. Using  textbook marketing techniques to confuse a public with limited memory, they labeled historic eating patterns as a craze when just the opposite was true.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why Playing Nice in Nutrition Wars Won't Work

I read a blog post recently by a professor of exercise physiology named Ross Tucker who was peeved about the polarization of people around nutrition. Tucker once put Prof. Tim Noakes on a pedestal, but now he's turned off by his former mentor's seeming certainty that a low-carb high-fat diet is healthier than the low-fat high-carb diet touted by beige government bureaucrats and most registered dietitians.

Prof. Tim Noakes
(This is an oversimplification since Noakes' views are more nuanced; but the A1-rated scientist does posit carbohydrate  resistant people -- likely half the population -- should eat fewer carbs and more fat.)

The main thesis of Tucker's argument, however, is not that Noakes is necessarily wrong, but that his messianic promotion of high-fat low-carb diets creates a rigid mindset that resists shifts in thinking should future scientific data puncture holes in his pet theories.

I'd like to think Noakes would again be wiling to eat his hat if he discovers his views on fat and carbs are wrong. How many authors tell their readers to rip out an entire section from a previously published book as Noakes did when he disowned the nutrition chapter in his landmark book,  Lore of Running?

Given the dramatic health improvements that happen to insulin resistant people who switch from low-fat to low-carb diets, that likelihood is slim. Noakes himself was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes (caused by insulin resistance) after years of doing everything "right" -- including eating whole grains, eschewing saturated fat and running multiple marathons. But it wasn't until he read books like Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories that Noakes had his aha moment that turned his world upside down.

The science behind the diet heart hypothesis that led millions of people around the world to trade butter for margarine and Cheerios for eggs was shaky at best.

More likely, it was dead wrong.

Who knows how many deaths, amputated limbs, failed kidneys and other medical tragedies could have been avoided had the dietary establishment not foisted a high-carb low-fat diet on a trusting public?

The good news is medical professionals and journalists are now challenging conventional dietary wisdom, but they are incurring the wrath of the establishment for doing so. In many cases, ad hominem attacks are being made to discredit the person since they can't discredit the science.

Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, was recently called an "animal" by Dr. David Katz of Yale (the same guy who positively reviewed his own science fiction novel using a pseudonym) and disinvited from a nutrition policy panel because other panelists were afraid to debate her.

Noakes himself has been threatened with losing his medical license by the Health Professions Council of South Africa for posting a tweet that was twisted by a devious dietitian into unconventional medical advice that could harm an infant.

If the conventional thinkers had their way, proponents of  low-carb high-fat diets would sit quietly in the back of the bus while registered dietitians and doctors who do the bidding of Big Food and Big Pharma continue to dispense their deadly advice and then act all surprised when obesity and chronic disease rates soar.

Ample evidence suggests that not only are people harmed by consuming too many carbohydrates and not enough saturated fat, but also that chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, can be reversed by doing just the opposite.

We meed more modern day Paul Reveres
warning people about
dangerous dietary advice
How could one not feel compelled to shout that news from the rooftops like a modern day Paul Revere when they have that knowledge?

Acting deferential to dietitians and doctors who are harming patients may get you invited to tea, but it won't help the people who desperately need evidence based advice on healthy eating.

People with a stake in preserving their legacy are threatened by change, which is why CSPI has never admitted they were wrong about trans fats and dietitians do not admit they were wrong about demonizing egg yolks.

When people question the status quo, polarization is a logical consequence. But instead of railing against the rebels, my hope is more people like Tim Noakes, Nina Teicholz, Sarah Hallberg, Zoƫ Harcombe and many others continue to make noise and keep the conversation going.

Monday, March 28, 2016

'Big Fat Surprise' Author Nina Teicholz Replaced by Mrs. Potato Head on Food Policy Panel

Big Food flack likely to add intellectual equivalent of mashed potatoes to food policy discussion

Nina Teicholz replaced
by potato lobbyist
In what was not a big fat surprise, science journalist Nina Teicholz -- a fierce advocate for basing nutrition policy on rigorous research -- was "disinvited" from a consumer group's Food Policy Panel after two of the panelist refused to appear with her.

The cowed Consumer Federation of America replaced her with Maureen L. Storey, Ph.D., whose curriculum vitae suggests a pattern of auctioning off her academic credentials to the highest bidder. Storey's research findings consistently validate whatever group is currently paying her bills, whether it's the potato industry or Big Beverage.

Ironically, Margo Wootan, one of the panelists behind booting Teicholz from the panel had the nerve to accuse the  ninja journalist of engaging in shoddy science:

Wootan based her charges on a letter signed by 180 conventional dietitian types (seven of whom later withdrew their names) demanding retraction of Teicholz's September 2015 BMJ article on the shaky science behind the US Dietary Guidelines -- a letter that Wootan had engineered and which Teicholz credibly rebutted. The signers were largely people whose research had been discredited by Teicholz in her New York Times best selling book.

Excerpt from "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter,
Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet"
What is ironic is that Wootan is director of nutrition policy for the facetiously named Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a rabid anti-animal fat advocacy group that is largely responsible for the proliferation of trans fats in America's food supply -- a big fat mistake for which they have never apologized and now pretend never happened.

Teicholz is not going down without a fight. Her supporters have started a petition to have her reinstated, which has been shared on social media by a Who's Who of leading edge health advocates, including Gary Taubes, Prof. Tim Noakes, Dr. Sarah Hallberg and Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt.

Meanwhile, in an email sent to colleagues, Teicholz wrote:

“I hope you will consider signing and maybe spread the word. What made me realize that it wasn't me--and that they really didn't want any alternative viewpoints--was the fact that the conference organizers also nixed the Harvard MD whom I suggested to replace me. Instead, they appointed an industry flack from the potato industry (and formerly the American Beverage Association).

“This nonsense must stop! They need to allow real conversation and debate. The insider game in D.C. that drives our country's nutrition policy (and hence, School Lunches, WIC, and everything taught by every MD, nutritionist and dietician in the country) only survives because dissenting views have been excluded. The views of honest science-based experts have not been heard and need to be!”

For those who follow dietary health news, this latest effort to silence dissenting views is eerily reminiscent of the Health Care Professions of South Africa (HCPSA) hearing against Prof. Tim Noakes. The effort by the conventional dietary establishment to discredit the A-rated scientific researcher backfired when Noakes used the hearing as a platform to disseminate accurate information about the benefits of carb restriction and consumption of saturated fat to a global audience.

See also:

Teicholz disinvited from food policy panel in Politico.

Sign petition to have Nina Teicholz reinstated to the Food Policy Panel here.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

What Jamie Oliver Knows About Nutrition Could Fit Inside a Fortune Cookie

Jamie Oliver may be right about the dangers of sugar, but he's wrong about carbohydrates and saturated fat.

Dead wrong... as in people are literally dying from diabetes and cardiovascular disease from avoiding saturated fat as if it were their creepy uncle at Christmas and then consuming way too many vegetable oils and starchy carbohydrates, whole grain or otherwise.

After researching Oliver's background and discovering he is dyslexic and has read maybe a handful of books in his whole entire life, his lack of knowledge about nutrition makes sense. Like most people, he gets his information from the mainstream media and registered dietitians, many of whom are food company shills.

Then he makes half-baked statements on his blog such as the following:
"If we don’t get enough carbohydrates and our bodies don’t get the energy they need, they have to get it from elsewhere and break down fat and protein instead."
Oliver is right that if our body does not get "enough" carbohydrates, it will burn fat instead, but most people are quite happy to burn body fat. As for protein,  research suggests carbohydrate restrictors actually burn less protein (muscle) than starchaholics.

And from the same blog post....
"Starchy carbohydrates are a wonderful thing – they make us feel happy, satisfied and energetic ... plus, we all crave and enjoy them."
If I were to substitute cocaine or sugar for starchy carbohydrates, that statement would still be true. Craving something does not make it good for you, and that burst of energy is soon followed by a crash unless you keep consuming more.

Or, as Homer Simpson would say, "Doh!"

Since helping to get the sugar tax passed in Britain, Oliver has moved on to encouraging new moms to breastfeed and being called a boob by many for "mansplaining" to women what to do with their bodies.

My advice to Oliver is to lay off women's breasts and pay someone to read him some of the following evidence based books:

Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution: Advice and Recipes to Improve Your Health and Reduce Your Weight

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

What the Fat?: Fat's IN: Sugar's OUT Practical guide and recipes

The Harcombe Diet: Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight

The Real Meal Revolution: The Radical, Sustainable Approach to Healthy Eating (Age of Legends)

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers

The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it?

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars

Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health

New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dr. Mark Hyman: Eat the Butter, Not the Bagel

Thank you Mark Hyman!

The functional medicine doctor and New York Times best selling author of Eat Fat, Get Thin has a HuffPo video clip going viral that could help dispel the saturated-fat-is bad-for-you myth spread by dietitians and margarine companies.

If you're one of those people still spraying butter flavored vegetable oil on your food and cookware, STOP IT ALREADY.

Hyman says in the absence of sugar and refined carbs -- and presence of enough Omega 3s -- saturated fat was not linked to heart disease in 72 different studies involving 19 countries and 600,000 people.

(No pre-diabetic Australian mice were involved in these studies as far as we know.)

"Think of butter and a bagel," says Hyman. "That's a problem, because it starts to create inflammation and insulin resistance in the body.
"If I had to choose between butter and a bagel, I'd choose the butter."

See Hyman's video here with a bonus segment on why high LDL cholesterol is not a problem if it's the large, fluffy kind.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Is 'Added Sugar' a Red Herring?

An article tease on my Facebook feed this morning was tasty link bait for this fish since I pretty much click on any piece related to sugar and dietary guidelines, especially if it has a catchy title.

Your body can't tell the difference
between "natural" and added sugar.
But "Trying to Stay Under The Government’s Recommended Sugar Limit Is A Pretty Tough Challenge (But You Might Want To Give It A Try)" turned out to contain more misinformation than I could handle before my first cup of coffee. I vacillated between feeling sorry for this self-described sugar fiend and frustrated by pop media sites that recklessly spread misinformation like margarine on hot toast.

The challenge writer E.S. Huffman undertook was thus:
"In the interest of all things health, wellness, and unwieldy future medical bills, I decided to test out the WHO conservative sugar recommendation for a week. I wanted to see if it was doable, or if I would turn into a label-reading nutter with a constant sugar-withdrawal headache. So last Saturday, with a full night of sleep acting like the wind at my back, I began my experiment."
I can save you the trouble of reading the full article by sharing the author's wisdom gained after her n=1 science experiment here:
"Will I do it again? Well, that’s a complicated question. My body, unfortunately enough, loved this little experiment. I felt great all week long. In theory, I would do this again in a heartbeat. But in practice? Well, there are the leftover brownies, and two types of ice cream in the freezer now, and I also managed to maul a Girl Scout troop on my Friday grocery shopping trip.

"What it will really come down to is self-control. The day I had to measure myself out a half a portion of Ben and Jerry’s was pretty freaking depressing. But afterwards, I felt good about myself. I had had my ice cream, and it was fine. The real question now is, will I be able to do it without the pressure of succeeding for an article?

"I’m not sure. Today, I’ve already had a slice of cake and a scoop of gelato. But there’s always tomorrow. "
Here's my no-sugar-added beef with this piece. The author assumes that added sugar is the most important thing to avoid to prevent diabetes -- not total consumption of sugar. The latter would include the 14 grams of sugar in her "healthy" banana versus the few grams of sugar added to bread and spaghetti sauce.

Given that even conventional dietitians seem confused on this issue, it's not surprising the writer fails to consider total carbohydrates consumed since even bread with no added sugar turns to glucose in the blood.

In other words, E.S. Huffman: if you're going to eat bread and pasta, you may as well eat doughnuts.

One of my biggest disagreements with the article is the author's view that if food companies included added sugar on their product labels, consumers would have the data required to make healthier choices:
"Here comes a rant, though: will the FDA Gods and/or higher-ups please, please, please keep pushing the added sugar labeling requirement? Because gosh darn it, it’s difficult to know when a food’s sugar content is because of added versus natural sugars. Do I really think that my slices of toast had an entire teaspoon of sugar in each one of them? No, not really. Maybe it was lactose from milk or something else—the point is, there was no way of knowing. I know the sugar lobby has argued all sorts of things anti added sugar labeling (“It will confuse the consumer! Oh no! Oh no!”) but in the end, a nutrition label is just a nutrition label, and if people want to eat healthy, they will."
The problem is our bodies don't know if a food's sugar content is from added versus natural sugars. Not only do we metabolize all sugars the same, many "natural" foods have been bred to be sweeter than their ancestral versions. In that context, are modern apples and melons really "natural"?

Further, the word "natural" does not mean a substance is healthy. Try consuming organic arsenic for a week.

While there was so much about the article to dislike, this may have been the most disturbing passage:
"This morning it’s more Darjeeling, more bagel, more cream cheese, more butter. I may not die of diabetes, but heart disease—weeeeell, that’s an issue to tackle later. The only thing that contains sugar in my breakfast is my everything bagel from Panera, at 4 grams."
Yes, the author seriously thinks not eating breakfast cereal or danish containing added sugar means she will "not die of diabetes." She is more concerned the butter and cream cheese she consumed-- not her carby bagel -- puts her at greater risk for heart disease.

I can't really fault E.S. Huffman for perpetuating misinformation about health and nutrition. Unless one commits to reading complex medical studies or scientifically based books like The Big Fat Surprise, The Real Meal Revolution, or The World Turned Upside Down, it's easy to believe the daily diet of nonsense designed to distract the public from the true causes of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

While it's a noble ideal for people to avoid consuming foods containing added sugar, the health benefit is negligible compared to restricting total carbohydrates.