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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Could Weight Watchers Be Oprah's Biggest Loser?

After missing its fourth quarter earnings estimates, Weight Watchers (WTW) stock took a 29 percent tumble Friday, costing bread loving investor and board member Oprah Winfrey a lot of dough. While the multi-million dollar loss is pocket change for the yo-yo dieting billionairess, her bigger loss is her personal cred for promoting a failed commercial diet scheme based on shaky science.

Weight Watchers stock price has gone on a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride since October 2015 when the former chat queen bought a 10 percent stake in the company and declared she was on the company's diet program. The company's share price doubled in one day.

But like a souffle built on hot air, the gain could not stand the test of time because the company's stock price is based on the Jelloish premise that most people can out-exercise a bad diet and lose weight consuming low-fat high-carb foods.

Regardless of how many online services and coaching programs Weight Watchers adds to its program menu, its celebration of mainstream nutrition's moderation theory of dieting virtually guarantees people will not be able to maintain their weight loss even if they manage to lose a few pounds. Carbohydrates are so addicting that once a person reaches their goal weight the will power to refrain from eating too many carbs is almost impossible to muster.

Weight Watchers has all but given up on marketing its program to millennials who are too savvy to buy into its old school premise. In recent years, the company has targeted older pre-diabetic adults.

In a cynical move, Weight Watchers sponsored an Indiana University School of Medicine study published in the American Journal of Public Health. And...


“The findings suggest that Weight Watchers, a widely available, empirically validated weight management program, could significantly expand access to effective diabetes prevention programs,” said the study's lead investigator, Dr. David Marrero.

Not surprised was Harvard Medical School professor and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center, David Ludwig, who told the New York Post, “We found that if a food company sponsored a research study, the outcomes were four to eight times more likely to be more favorable to that company’s interests than if the study was independently funded.”

“If you just look at the funding, you can make a very good guess as to what the study will show without reading anything else,” he added.

In other words, Weight Watchers paid for research that "proved" its diet works.


Since most media reports did not include Weight Watchers' role in sponsoring the study, the news spiked the stock price more than 18 percent, not to mention dieters' insulin levels from metabolizing all the excess carbohydrates they consumed.

Meanwhile, Oprah released a TV commercial in January in which she passionately declared she had lost 26 pounds on Weight Watchers while eating bread every day.

And -- in case you're wondering -- Weight Watchers' stock price went up on this breaking news, too. There's a lot of bread to be made telling people they can follow a diet that allows you to munch on bread every day. A page on Weight Watchers' website "cleverly" titled The Skinny on Bread (you can't make this stuff up!) strategically echoes Oprah's perspective:

"Who hasn’t heard that bread is fattening? Some people would have you believe that eating a slice is akin to downing an entire birthday cake, frosting and all. But in reality, if you stick to whole grains, bread can be downright healthy. Here’s a guide to navigating the bread aisle.

"Whole grains — for example, wheat flour milled using the entire grain, which preserves all the fiber, vitamins and minerals — have multiple health benefits. According to the USDA, people who consume at least three servings of whole grains each day are at lower risk for diabetes and heart disease. And several studies have shown that diets high in whole grains are associated with lower body weight."

This view, however, contradicts the preponderance of research that for people with insulin resistance, bread is fattening because it spikes insulin, thus facilitating fat storage.

The bottom line is we all know Oprah can lose weight. Like the old joke about smokers, she's done it a million times.

The real question is can she maintain her weight loss months and years later when she has to depend on will power to control her carb addiction? And how is her insulin spiking, inflammation producing diet that favors vegetable oils over butter and bacon affecting her heart, liver and overall health, regardless of whether or not she temporarily sheds a few pounds.

Now that she's putting her money where her mouth is, Oprah needs to read up on low-carb high-fat diets and have another epiphany. Like a bad boyfriend, it's time for Oprah and bread to break up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ralph Waldo Noakes? Why Tim Noakes Changing His Mind About Carbohydrates and Fat Was an Act of Courage

If the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is one of the most embarrassing US publications foisted upon the English speaking global community, Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self Reliance" may be one of its finest.

One of Emerson's most famous quote from this essay, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," makes uttering the phrase, "I was wrong" an act of intellectual integrity instead of a shameful admission of fault.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the case of Professor Tim Noakes of South Africa, a medical doctor, scientist and marathoner, the heroic turnabout concerned his long-standing recommendation to consume a high-carb low-fat diet to enhance athletic performance.

Noakes was following the conventional dietary "wisdom" of his day, entrusting registered dietitians and nutrition researchers to make scientifically based dietary recommendations. Despite his "healthy" regimen, Noakes found himself overweight and pre-diabetic.

Serendipitously, the A-1 rated researcher read a book by medical doctors Eric Westman, Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek and another by Gary Taubes that for the first time made him suspect that for carb resistant (CR) people -- possibly half of all adults -- consuming recommended amounts of carbohydrates could cause more harm than good. More shocking, the evidence to support nutritional advice given by most registered dietitians, medical doctors and government guidelines was very shaky.

Noakes' father and uncle suffered from Type 2 Diabetes and the scientist saw himself going down that pot-hole riddled road himself -- despite following his government's high carb low fat dietary guidelines and being an elite athlete.

Professor Tim Noakes, MD
The author of Lore of Running, first published in 1985, recommends tearing the chapter on nutrition out of his original book. His more recent books written after his dietary epiphany -- The Real Meal Revolution (for adults) and Raising Superheroes (for children) -- recommend a modified Banting diet (high fat, moderate protein and low carb).

Back in the 90s, I read the work of Dr. John McDougall, who convinced me the "rich Western diet" was the root cause of obesity and chronic disease. For several years I subsisted on a low-fat vegan diet but never realized the myriad health benefits promised by this way of eating; so I returned to a conventional (albeit, also wrong-headed) diet. Yet even as a totally obscure person with no followers other than my husband and children, it was still very difficult for me to acknowledge the extreme dietary regimen my family had been following for two years was not the most healthy way to eat.

So I can only imagine how hard it must have been for Dr. Tim Noakes to tell the world he had made a mistake by recommending a high-carb low-fat diet and that for many, if not most, people the optimal way to eat was virtually the complete opposite. Like Superman's Bizarro world, fat was good; carbs, bad.

Since following with keen interest the "Banting for Babies Trial" -- the Health Care Professions of South Africa (HCPSA) extended hearing on charges that Noakes acted unethically by providing unconventional dietary advice on Twitter to a nursing mother in response to her innocent suspicious query -- I have been struck by how courageous Noakes was to stray from the medical herd and admit he had given bad dietary advice for many years. (For details on this fascinating saga, read these articles.)

Just prior to the landmark Old Mutual Health Convention he hosted with Karen Thomson in South Africa in February of 2015, Noakes released this official statement:
"... “The mainstream dietary advice that we are currently giving to the world has simply not worked. Instead, it is the opinion of the speakers at this summit that this incorrect nutritional advice is the immediate cause of the global obesity and diabetes epidemics. This advice has failed because it completely ignores the history of why and how human nutrition has developed over the past 3 million years.

“More importantly, it refuses to acknowledge the presence of insulin resistance (carbohydrate intolerance) as the single most prevalent biological state in modern humans. Persons with insulin resistance are at increased risk for developing a wide range of chronic medical conditions if they ingest a high carbohydrate diet for any length of time (decades).

"Armed with this knowledge we have two choices. Either we can continue to ignore the evidence presented at this summit, and go on blaming the obese and diabetic for their sloth and gluttony (that is supposedly the sole cause of their obesity and diabetes). Or, if we are ever to reverse this epidemic that has become the greatest modern threat to human health, we need to admit that we have been wrong for the past 40 years, and must now change."
Sadly, too few famous people have the courage of Tim Noakes to change their mind in public and risk being ridiculed by their peers for flip-flopping or flouting convention. Noakes understands that cognitive dissonance makes it uncomfortable for most people to accept conflicting information and have a psychological need to ignore or impugn any data that does not fit their scheme.

Instead, they will continue dispensing the same bad dietary advice that has led to an epidemic of T2D and other metabolic diseases, most of it based on shaky science and funded by Big Food companies who control the message most registered dietitians dish out to a trusting public.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Confessions of an Imperfect Low Carber

I was reading an old blog post in Tuit Nutrition yesterday, and was struck by a quote Amy Berger shared from Mark Sisson:

“You should follow the most restrictive diet you can enjoy, not the most restrictive one you can tolerate.” 

As a 50-something, I learned a long time ago the perfect is the enemy of the good. For many years, I didn't want anyone in my house unless it was immaculate. Then I figured out it takes a lot less time to apologize for a messy house than to clean it; so now, as long as my guests have chairs to sit on that are not covered with cat hair, I'm good.

When it comes to diet, I could get equally obsessed with perfection, eating only the cleanest grassiest fed organically raised food from racially mixed family farms within a five mile radius of my house.

I could become so restrictive that one day my inner James Dean would finally rebel and my husband would find me in a carb induced coma outside a pizza joint or doughnut shop.

Fortunately, I am far from perfect.

Since losing 35 pounds two years ago, I have maintained my optimal weight eating foods that have zero or relatively few carbs, such as meat, whole-fat dairy, nuts, avocados and non-starchy vegetables.

Admittedly, I do not always eat foods in their most whole -- or least processed -- form.

When I want my lemon water to be less tart, I use a packaged product called Lakanto, which is a combination of erythritol and luo han guo (monk fruit). For me, this is an acceptable alternative to sugar, Splenda or the myriad other natural and artificial sweeteners that either spike my blood glucose or mess with my microbiome.

I also eat one low-carb Mama Lupe's tortilla every morning as a vehicle for the cheesy and buttery quesadilla I eat for breakfast. Though its macronutrient profile is good, this processed food contains some undesirable ingredients. But I really love starting my day with a quesadilla and think it's better to eat a sub-optimal low-carb tortilla than an inferior grocery store tortilla.

Another confession:

Most days I eat a GNC chocolate chip cookie dough protein bar, which also contains some sketchy ingredients. But eating this bar helps me not crave cookies, brownies, cake, doughnuts, ice cream and the like; so it's a trade off I am willing to make.

And when I eat at restaurants, I can pretty much bet the chicken or cow was not raised in a grassy meadow surrounded by butterflies and rainbows, and my salad greens may have taken a pesticide bath in Mexico. But as a semi-social person, I sometimes dine out with friends and am willing to make some trade offs to partake in this enjoyable ritual.

The bottom line is that most of my diet consists of relatively whole, relatively healthy low-carb high-fat foods. The few imperfect food-like items I allow myself to consume allow me to maintain a healthy diet (by my definition) most of the time.

In other words, I have found the most restrictive diet I can enjoy, not just tolerate; and if I can maintain it for the next few decades, that's pretty good.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

'Cooking Light' Is Lying to Its Readers

Cooking Light Continues to Spread Low-Fat High-Carboganda

While web surfing recently I learned that I should be dead or obese since I follow a low-carb high-fat diet.

Happily, as of today, I am neither.

My misinformation came from Cooking Light magazine, which is as relevant to modern day Americans as a telephone book.
In response to its readers' question -- "Can I Eat Carbs and Still Lose Weight?" -- Cooking Light contributing editor Carolyn Williams, RD, Ph.D., replied, "Banishing carbs altogether in an effort to lose weight isn't realistic or even desirable."

Williams did not really address the concern because low-carb is not the same as "banishing carbs altogether" (although some people do just that and survive). More commonly, people elect to follow a severely reduced carbohydrate diet, which can be as high as 50 or 60 grams of carbs per day, mostly in the form of vegetables, berries, nuts and dairy. They  not only lose weight, but also reduce or eliminate the need for Big Pharma medications (many of which are advertised in -- yes, you guessed it, Cooking Light!).

Williams also misled readers about the role of carbohydrates in causing obesity, blaming the media for training the public to "associate carbs with weight gain." In her best dietitianspeak, she declared, "Forget what you may have heard, and let me try to clarify how carbohydrates and weight loss are intertwined, how you can lose weight eating them, and how it’s even essential that you eat carbs to burn fat."

Yes, she said essential.

In Williams world, "carbs are designed to be your body’s primary source of energy, and you need an ample amount of carbohydrates each day for your brain and body to function effectively. Only when your body is adequately fueled with carbs can your body also break down fat stores."

She never revealed who exactly "designed" carbs to be the body's primary source of energy since dietary carbohydrates are not only non-essential to human health, they spike insulin and cause the body to store fat.

"If you aren’t consuming enough (carbs)," Williams contended, "you’ll feel the effects—low energy, sluggishness, brain fog, trouble paying attention, and your body will actually go into starvation mode. You’ll start breaking down lean body mass, and your metabolism will slow."

That's exactly what happens to most people who eat the standard American diet (aptly named SAD), of which the majority of calories comes from carbohydrates.

Not surprisingly, Williams fell back on the old energy balance theory popular with the moderation crowd and perpetuated by Coca Cola and other BFFs of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics. "Weight loss happens when calories burned daily exceed the calories consumed," she said, "so ultimately weight loss boils down to total calories, not necessarily the specific foods you eat."

Without citing any sources, she stated, "Research even shows that the most effective weight loss occurs when people consume approximately 60% of their calories from carbohydrates" -- as if there were settled science that proves this belief is a fact.

Worse, she backed up her claim by citing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a highly controversial set of recommendations that advises humans to consume 45-65% of their calories from carbs.

To her credit, Williams conceded that the quality of carbohydrates counts; so broccoli is better than Cheetos. But her definition of quality is wanting. Williams considers low-fat dairy to be a nutritional good guy, even though it is unsatiating, relatively high in sugar and does not contain enough fat to absorb the re-added vitamins that are lost when dairy processors turn whole milk into expensive white water.

Cooking Light can do much better by its readers and acknowledge, as have many experts in the field who once advocated for low- fat high-carb diets, that the whole concept was a big fail based on bad science.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dietary Guidelines in a Post Truth Society

One of my favorite morning radio guys used the term post truth society recently concerning politicians who repeat fictitious statements until they're accepted as dogma. Thus, Muslims in New Jersey danced on rooftops, according to Donald Trump, despite the fact not one media source has footage of this happening.

And it's why the federal government and registered dietitians advise Americans to limit saturated fat to no more than 10% of one's daily calories, despite the fact there is no settled science to support this.

Because if you repeat something enough times, it becomes true. Even when it's not true.

I wish it didn't matter what the feds and dietitians had to say about healthy diets, but their opinions weigh heavily on our nation's health in myriad ways. The school lunch program, nutrition facts on packaged foods and even physician's medical advice are heavily controlled by what a handful of "experts" deem nutritious every five years.

And because medical professionals are kept hostage by licensing agencies, few dare to challenge the word of dietitians who are typically marionettes of the corporations who indirectly pay their mortgages. Thus, the task of declaring, "The emperor has no clothes," has been largely left to journalists like Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz who, at the risk of mixing kiddie lit metaphors here, persist in exposing the Wizard of Oz as just another Joe Schmo from Kansas.

Even though Americans have gotten sicker and fatter since the first iteration of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980, the new guidelines released this week are very similar to those released five years ago and five years before that. This, despite many studies clearly showing low-carb high-fat diets have the potential to reverse many chronic illnesses caused by the low-fat high-carbohydrate diets the Dietary Guidelines endorse.

I follow quite a few medical experts who favor low-carb high-fat diets and am heartened by the groundswell movement by people with bona fide credentials to change the status quo. One of the most hopeful signs is an organization started last year called the Nutrition Coalition whose aim is "to strengthen national nutrition policy so that it is founded upon a comprehensive body of conclusive science, and where that science is absent, to encourage additional research."

In other words, to stop telling people how to eat based on sketchy, often biased, research.

One of the leaders of this truth-based nutrition movement, Nina Teicholz (New York Times best selling author of The Big Fat Surprise), is a driving force behind the Nutrition Coalition as is another of my #LCHF heroines, Dr. Sarah Hallberg, who has embarked on a ground breaking research project on reversing type 2 diabetes with her Arnett Health Medical Weight Loss Program patients in Lafayette, Indiana.

Meanwhile, I cling to a shred of hope for the future as I meet more and more ordinary Americans who are discovering via personal bio-hacking that conventional dietary foolishness is not only wrong, it's potentially dangerous. An acquaintance with type 2 diabetes recently shared, for instance, that she follows a low-carb high-fat diet because she discovered that following the American Diabetes Association diet made her sicker and more dependent on diabetes medication.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Why You Should Consider Switching to a Low-Carb High-Fat Diet in 2016

As a foodie who has spent more than five decades on this planet, I have followed almost every diet known to humans shy of eating monk fish and bananas exclusively (no, that is not an actual diet, but it could be one day). From a health, weight control and compliance perspective, my favorite diet so far has been low-carb high-fat. I could follow this eating plan for the rest of my life without feeling the least bit deprived.

The most amusing and telling RD response
to why Dietary Guidelines don't work
is that people don't follow them.
And though we all have our own metabolic idiosyncrasies and unique microbiomes, I suspect many people who love food as much as I do should also part ways with such failed diet concepts as "moderation" and high-carb low-fat recommended by both the USDA, Coca Cola and Big Food.

If you are one of the rare people who can subsist on donuts, Marlboros and Mountain Dew and still live to 100, please ignore what follows. Most people, however, need to make conscious food choices to look and feel good, choices which can be hard to make when the government-healthcare-media complex continues to push yesterday's discredited dietary advice as if it were handed down by God on stone tablets.

The historic rationale behind our dietary misguidelines is very complex, but you can find a most entertaining detailed recap here. The Readers Digest version is we have rabbits, lazy researchers and failed presidential candidate George McGovern to blame.

I happened upon low-carb high-fat eating by accident, basically after following the Medifast Take Shape for Life program and dropping 35 pounds with minimal effort. I no longer eat any Medifast foods; nor do I endorse its low-fat manufactured food approach; but what that diet did teach me was I did not need to eat pasta, potatoes and bread to feel satisfied.

In fact, by eliminating what I like to call "the whites," I could eat more of the foods I liked better, like avocados, steak, bacon, nuts, seeds, butter, and whole-fat cheese (along with vegetables and low-sugar fruits like blueberries) -- and not feel hungry between meals.

Satiety is the key to being compliant on any diet since if you don't feel satisfied you will be jonesing to eat foods that are not on plan. That is why people cheat on their diets and then binge on more forbidden foods because they feel guilty or bad about themselves.

Since following a low-carb high-fat way of eating, I don't ride that merry-go-round any more.

What's funny is that even with all the publicity in recent years suggesting studies on saturated fat were bogus and carbohydrates are the real culprits behind our nation's chronic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes (no longer called Adult Onset Diabetes because children are now being diagnosed with it), many people have not yet gotten the memo. This, despite the documented success doctors like Sarah Hallberg, Andreas Eenfeldt, Rangan Chatterjee, Tim Noakes and others have had with patients following high-fat low-carb diets.

Not to mention myth shattering books like Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories and Nina Teicholz's The Big Fat Surprise.

Sometime this month, the federal government is going to issue another set of U.S.D.A. Dietary Guidelines that will likely continue to make Americans fatter and sicker. Fortunately, there are many books and articles now available that refute the faulty research on which the guidelines are based and demonstrate how and why low-carb high-fat diets are healthier for most people.

So before drinking that Diet Coke and driving to the gym to work off the egg white omelet you had for breakfast, resolve on this first day of 2016 to do your own research to determine which diet is healthiest for you.

You may never have to subject yourself to a sad low-fat dinner of poached chicken breast, quinoa and steamed broccoli again.