Sunday, February 27, 2011

America: Exporter of Bad Eating Habits

Apparently even the British have fallen for pseudo-science. The other day they released guidelines that people should eat less red meat because of the increase in colon cancer. If you've ever read anything on this, you will know that the data is taken from survey studies where they asked people what they ate, without taking confounding variables into consideration or from rat studies where they fed them all kinds of strange crap.

I really do wonder how they get rats to eat all of the stuff they feed them. Maybe they put it down their throats through a tube? I digress. Anyway, one headline screams "Five burgers a week raises cancer risk," without even stopping to think that when you consume a burger, you're not just consuming red meat. And indeed, even the BBC article on the dietary guidelines stated that eating processed lunch meat increased risk. If for a moment we were going to suspend rational thought and accept the survey results, how many people do you know (other than us crazy low-carbers) eat lunch meat plain? Most people eat it on white bread. Oh, surely the white bread has nothing to do with it!

I think this is all part of the vegan agenda to get everyone to eat fruit all day. Why else the disclaimer in this article that, "'This doesn't mean people have to become vegetarian, but if you're having a steak every day, that's probably not helping,' said Ed Yong, head of health information and evidence at Cancer Research U.K."

Yeah, because cavemen who ate mostly red meat all the time dropped dead of cancer on a regular basis. Why, with eating all that red meat and all, it's a bloody miracle that humanity even evolved to the point that it had fingers to type out such utter tripe!

I'd like for them to do a study where they look at the rates of cancer in people who do not consume sugar or refined carbohydrates. Oh, wait, there's no need because native people who don't consume such things don't have cancer. At all. At any rate, we're back to that I-won't-hold-my-breath theme, because they'll never do such a study. Mum-in-law said even in Italy they've gotten on this low-fat-meat-is-bad-for-you bandwagon. Let's pray the French never do, or cooking as we know it will never be the same. Meanwhile, I had chicken for dinner, so I thank the mum-in-law for not trying to give me colon cancer this evening. I'm sure I'll have some red meat first thing in the morning though, in the form of pork, to contribute to my demise.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Organic Food Movement: A Brilliant Marketing Strategy

I think that labeling food "organic" is one of the worst thing that could have happened to our food supply. I mean, on one level, all food should be organic. Secondly, by definition, there are things that could be termed "organic" that you really wouldn't want to eat. For example, deadly nightshade is pretty organic, I mean, so long as it hasn't been grown with pesticides, right?

I was disappointed to see that the organic heavy cream we buy isn't just cream any more. Yeah, before, there was one ingredient. Cream. Like it should be. Now there are three, Organic Grade A Cream (Milk), Sodium Citrate, Carrageenan. Carrageenan is used to thicken foods. Basically without it, the cream in this container wouldn't have the consistency of cream, because there's not enough cream in it to qualify as being heavy cream. It saves the manufacturer money. And you get not cream, but cream with some other crap thrown in. This is brilliant, from a marketing standpoint.

Sodium Citrate is probably used in this instance as a preservative. As if real cream needs a preservative! Pure cream shouldn't really need a preservative, if it's kept sealed and refrigerated. At the dairy where we get our raw milk, the dairy farmer told us that if we leave the cream on the milk would last maybe three weeks, whereas if we take the cream off, the skim milk left behind will go rancid in a few days. So what does Sodium Citrate being in the ingredient list tell us? It tells us the same thing as having the Carrageenan in it. There's not a lot of real cream in the container.

We're going to quit wasting money on this "organic" crap and get some real heavy cream from a local dairy. The amusing thing is, it's pretty much the same price as the product above.

The whole "organic" food movement is merely a money-maker and Big Agra is getting in on the game. It doesn't urge people to buy locally. They buy things labeled "organic" and think, firstly that the item is good for their health, based on the organic label alone, and secondly that they're doing something good for the environment. On the first part, if you're buying organic french fries, or organic waffles, those are no better for your body than non-organic ones. As for the environment, that's more codswallop. A truck had to bring your groceries probably at least half way across the country, and maybe an airplane had to bring it to the country in the first place. Do you know how much diesel a single truck uses in a day? I do, because I used to drive a tractor trailer. I would typically go through 100 gallons of diesel a day, driving for about 600 miles. That's a single truck.

Consider this article from Business Week:

Next time you're in the supermarket, stop and take a look at Stonyfield Farm yogurt. With its contented cow and green fields, the yellow container evokes a bucolic existence, telegraphing what we've come to expect from organic food: pure, pesticide-free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm.

So it may come as a surprise that Stonyfield's organic farm is long gone. Its main facility is a state-of-the-art industrial plant just off the airport strip in Londonderry, N.H., where it handles milk from other farms. And consider this: Sometime soon a portion of the milk used to make that organic yogurt may be taken from a chemical-free cow in New Zealand, powdered, and then shipped to the U.S. True, Stonyfield still cleaves to its organic heritage. For Chairman and CEO Gary Hirshberg, though, shipping milk powder 9,000 miles across the planet is the price you pay to conquer the supermarket dairy aisle. "It would be great to get all of our food within a 10-mile radius of our house," he says. "But once you're in organic, you have to source globally."

So next time you pick up your "organic" crap at the store, ask yourself how far away it came from, and whether you could get the same thing closer to home, whether it's labeled "organic" or not. Organic certification doesn't mean jack, especially with Big Agra writing all the rules, and local farmers, although their food may be technically organic because they don't use pesticides, may not have the resources, the time, or the interest in getting certification. Buy locally, and ask the farmer how he operates.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Biochemistry for Artists?

We decided to order a biochemistry text book to read. I know, most people don't read biochemistry text books for fun, but then, we're not really like other people. I read the first chapter last night on amino acids, and was wishing that I remembered more of the one chemistry class that I had years ago, and that I had taken more of them. Luckily mum-in-law has a master's degree in Mycology... I'm relying on her to explain some of what I read LOL

I realized reading it, that most "professionals" that are telling you what to eat, don't know anything about biochemistry. And the prime example, is registered dietitians. I always thought that most people who became registered dietitians did so because they couldn't hack it in a real college. I figured most of them were beauty school dropouts. I suppose it just seems that way. They do have to have a four year degree and pass an exam, but there doesn't seem to be any standards about how many science classes they take, or if they even have to have an understanding of biochemistry. It seems they can have a four year degree in food service management with just the minimal science classes required to graduate with a bachelor's degree, and become one. I'm sorry, but there's something wrong with that.

Registered dietitians used to have the job of taking the orders of patients in hospitals for what they wanted to eat for their meals. Now, registered dietitians tell you what you should eat, with little or no understanding of biochemistry or the roles of fats and cholesterol in the VITAL FUNCTIONING OF CELLS. When you listen to dietitians, you're letting someone with an inadequate education and understanding of human biological processes tell you what to eat. You don't let your hairdresser perform brain surgery on you. Listening to a registered dietitian about what you should eat, is for lack of a better word, stupid.

It ought to be that anyone who wants to dispense dietary advice as a "professional" have a degree in biochemistry. Otherwise, they don't understand what they're advocating. If registered dietitians had biochemistry degrees, they wouldn't tell you that fat is bad for you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Is what you're eating real or is it frankenfood?

Listening to an Interview with David Gumpert by Jimmy Moore over at Livin' La Vida Low-Carb about raw milk, I wanted to tell a funny story about a kid who grew up on a dairy farm, as related by the dairy farmer we get our raw milk from.

If for one minute you think that the milk you buy in the store is anything like the milk that comes out of a cow, you've never had fresh milk directly from a cow. Luckily we live in Texas, where you are allowed (as if it should even be a question) to buy raw-milk directly from a dairy. There is also recent legislation to make it legal for dairies to sell their products off the farm, i.e. in towns and cities where most people live.

The dairy farmer we get our raw milk from told us how their kid, on the first day of school, received a carton of milk in the lunch room. He took a sip, and took it back up to the lunch ladies and told them it had gone bad. They gave him another carton, he drank a sip of it, and promptly took it back up as well. It tasted bad to him. At that point, they realized he was a dairy farmers' kid, and gave him chocolate milk for the rest of the time he was in school there. Why? Because pasteurized-homogenized-transported-hundreds-of-miles milk is simply bad milk. I'm not saying that all milk should be raw, rather anything produced in a large industrial dairy has to be pasteurized, because they're not clean. Local small dairies are clean though, so there's no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to sell their product.

A little history, pasteurization came about because people did used to get very sick off of raw milk. Back then they did not understand germ theory, did not have antibiotics, and did not have sanitation or refrigeration either. Pasteurization made milk safe to drink for city people in an age of no refrigeration. We on the other hand, living in the 21st century, have sanitation, we understand bacteria and how disease is transmitted, and we have refrigeration as well. It is perfectly safe to drink raw milk because of this. Sometimes we get caught up living in this advanced era, and forget that as late as the civil war doctors did not know how disease spread, and killed many soldiers they were trying to save because they did not wash their hands between procedures. That was only 150 years ago. One of the first to discover that washing your hands might prevent the spread of disease was Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered this in the mid 19th century, and was thought to be a quack and was ridiculed by his contemporaries. So much for knowing so much.

The moral of this story? Real, fresh food doesn't taste like anything you find in the store. It's like the fresh green beans we grow in the summer. They're so much better than anything you find in the store, even ones from the produce department, because they haven't been transported a thousand miles. When we can't eat them all, we freeze them, and they then aren't as good. Doing things like canning, and freezing food, changes the taste. It doesn't take a big leap of the imagination to realize that it probably changes the vitamin content and the overall healthful nature of the food too.

Individuals are always stupid: Rawesome Raid

"We're not going to take this sitting down! We're going to take it standing, on top of a step ladder, throwing a lawn dart at a barrel of DDT and while eating only half of our recommended daily fiber." LULz

"Individuals are always stupid." --David Atchison, Assistant Commissioner for Food Protection with the FDA, propagator of a nanny state, because not only can you not think for yourself. You shouldn't.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Socialized Illness

Or how what they really want is to medicate all of us for perceived diseases. Just ask the AHA:
"90% of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease," Mary Michaels with the American Heart Association said.

See, it's crap like this that really pisses me off. If you read between the lines, what they're saying is, you probably have high cholesterol (meaning above an abnormally low level) and therefore you need medicine so you don't drop dead of a coronary. Well guess what sherlock, as my father used to say, you ain't getting out of this life alive. So, how do you want to go? If 90% of women have risk factors, could it be because we get old and die. And is this 90% at any given time, or that 90% will have a risk factor at some point in their life. Because I find the prior hard to believe, and the later makes me go "well duh." But, I bet they pulled these numbers out of their ass. Or better yet, their "risk factors" are codswallop.

They want to medicate us for imagined illnesses, and for "risk factors". Why do you think they prescribe statins?

And this article here vilifies fast food as dangerous for heart attack victims. It found that heart attack patients who ate fast food "were also more likely to have unhealthy levels of fat in their blood."

Do you know what fat in your blood is? Triglycerides. Do you know what determines triglyceride levels? Carbohydrate intake. These people could eat fast food, they'd merely need to toss the bun and skip the fries. They're still advocating the wrong things, saying eat more whole grains and more skim milk. And it ain't ever going to change as long as there's money to be made.

What I want to know is, what would you rather die of? A heart attack? Or cancer? Because some of the drugs they want to medicate you with, like statins, have a chance of cancer as a side effect. And they don't do anything for heart disease anyway.

Personally, a sudden heart attack at 90 is probably the best way to go. I watched both of my paternal grandparents succumb to cancer. The last time I saw my grandmother, she looked like she'd just gotten out of Auschwitz. That's not hyperbole either.

Friday, February 18, 2011

If it's bad for you, Tax it!

And so it begins...

A California lawmaker wants to tax soda, because it's unhealthy for us.
"State Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Carmel) wants to add a penny-per-ounce tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. He would tax the manufacturers and distributors, but they'd likely pass that on to consumers, which is exactly what the assemblyman wants.

"Yes, our intent is to see that retail price go up, to dissuade some people from using it as a diet staple," said Monning."

I don't even drink regular soda, so why should I care? We're all low carb and paleo here, right, so this doesn't affect us? Right? Hardly. Next they'll be wanting to tax saturated fat, because that's bad for us too. And anything with cholesterol as well. It's a slippery slope. And on top of that, what prevents them from outright banning of something they think is bad? I never thought there could be a black market for soda pop, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. We do NOT need a nanny state telling us what to eat. We do not need specific foods taxed because they're "unhealthy." What we need is information not filtered by big food and big pharma. We need a government not bought off. Again, another thing I ain't holding my breath over.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." --CS Lewis

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Love (and HFCS) is in the Soup

It's a heartwarming story about a major corporation fighting to end hunger and obesity. The Campbell Soup company is planning an initiative to reduce malnutrition in the town of it's headquarters, Camden, NJ.

It's a great PR story to be sure, no less at the expense of our press advertising it. But if they choose to follow the dietary guidelines spouted by every other nutrition "expert" they won't get very far. And judging by what they put in their products, I'm sure they'll heed the " experts' " opinion.
"Campbell officials have been particularly struck by problems that revolve around food. The company, long a purveyor of vegetables in its soups and V-8 juices, has made efforts to become — and bill itself as — a prime maker of healthy options. It has reduced sodium in many of its soups and other products and introduced whole-grain Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, among other health-oriented developments."

What's ironic about this, is that some of the Campbell Soups are some of the unhealthiest things you could eat. Well, maybe white bread with High Fructose Corn Syrup laden jelly would be worse, but maybe not by much. Their tomato soup has HFCS as the second ingredient and most of their other soups have canola oil or partially hydrogenated cottonseed or soybean oil and MSG. Even their "upscale" looking soups have HFCS.

So maybe while they're on their anti-hunger, anti-obesity kick, they could maybe stop putting crap in their soup? Again, that's another one of those things that I'm not holding my breath over.

About the only way to get soup that comes already prepared without a bunch of junk in it is to pony up $4 for a can or box of organic. Poor people can't afford this. But why are some groceries so cheap in the first place? Because they put cheap, crappy ingredients in it. Truly you can make your own soup at home, easily, and you'll know what's in it. It will have ingredients that you can pronounce. I always hate it when I read an ingredient and first of all can't pronounce it, and secondly don't even know what on this green earth it comes from. Does it come from an animal? A plant? Industrial waste? Who knows?

Would you like to know how to make tomato soup? It is so easy, it makes me wonder why anyone would buy it in a can. You boil chopped tomatoes in chicken broth with a bit of salt, until they're very tender. You can even walk away while this is happening. When they're through, you pour them into a food processor and blend them up. It takes a minute of blending. Pour the mixture back into the pot, straining the seeds with a strainer, and add a bit of heavy cream and a packet or two of stevia or splenda and stir until warm. It is very, very good, and very, very easy.

How about carrot soup? I haven't made this in ages, but it's even easier than the tomato soup. You boil chopped carrots in chicken broth until soft. You then use a hand blender to blend them up, in the pot. Voilà! You have carrot soup. You can do this with just about any vegetable. And the stew-like soups, like our chicken soup are even easier in that there's no blending involved.

I see people all the time buying pre-packaged food, and think to myself that they've probably forgotten what real food tastes like. I'm sure that the five year old kid who weighs 125 lbs mentioned in the story, eats primarily processed carbohydrates.
"Kim Fremont Fortunato, who was hired late last year to head up the anti-obesity efforts, said she recently shadowed a doctor who was treating a 5-year-old Camden boy weighing 125 pounds. She said the doctor warned the boy's grandmother that he would be diabetic by age 10 if his obesity wasn't controlled."

I'd like to believe that the doctor treating him will tell his caregivers to lay off the carbohydrates, but that's probably wishful thinking. I'm sure they'll tell them to cut out the fat and the sodium and give the kid whole wheat bread.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh noes! Trans fats might make you depressed...


Articles are popping up today about how trans fats cause depression. Now, I'm not saying artificial trans fats are good, quite the opposite. It seems they cause damage on a cellular level as well. But you know what else isn't good? The quality of research that has been put into some of these articles. Like this one:
"Of all these, the participants with a high level of consumption of trans-fats, artificially present in industrial cakes and biscuits and in fast food, and naturally in certain full-fat milk products, "showed an increase in risk of depression of up to 48% compared to those participants who did not consume these,"..."

Where do these people get off? I'd really like to know. I'd like to know how you can have a survey of people and act like it's a clinical trial. I'd like to know how you can have confounding variables out the wazzoo and act like you've controlled for a single variable. I'd also like to know why these people don't understand that CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. It's so simple, and yet soooooo beyond the grasp of your basic nutrition "expert" or "journalist".

I don't need to point out that industrial cakes, biscuits and fast food are very high in carbohydrates. But did they decide that carbohydrates cause depression? No. Of course not.

But the thing that is really wrong with this article, and why I decided to write about it, is that it equates naturally occurring trans fats with the industrially manufactured ones. There are trans fats in nature, but they are not the same in chemical structure as the commercially developed ones. The most common one, Conjugated Linoleic Acid does indeed occur in dairy, eggs and meat. (Of course, those are all bad for you! Run away!) What's ironic, is CLA is known to be an anti-carcinogen. Yeah, how does that grab ya? Certain forms of CLA also reduce inflammation and thereby prevent cardiovascular disease. What was that about not eating eggs, whole milk and meat?

And even Time jumped on the band wagon, and failed to do any research on the difference between artificial and naturally occurring trans fatty acids:
"The results of the study may be especially bad news for Americans. While the average Spaniard gets about 0.4% of his or her calories from trans fats — mostly from natural or whole-food sources like milk, butter, meat and cheese — Americans log an average of 2.5% of total calories from trans fats. Americans not only eat more overall, but also eat worse-quality food, getting many trans fats from sources like processed snack foods and fried or fast food."

What do these "journalists" get paid to do? Copy and paste? It took me five minutes to find out about CLAs, and to realize they're not the same as artificial trans fats. But more than that, I realize that this "study" is flawed, and not even worth considering as evidence of anything, except that out of 12k people, a few got depressed.

Low Carb Hearty Chicken Soup Recipe

The mum-in-law made this for dinner tonight and it was delish! It's pretty easy to make too, and something you can walk away from while it's simmering. It's a good dish to make if you're busy.

Low Carb Hearty Chicken Soup

10 slices of thick bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 c. water
3 c. chicken broth
4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 cloves garlic
1 T. salt
1 tsp pepper
15oz can of diced red bell pepper (or equivalent fresh)
2 1/2 c. green beans, frozen or fresh from garden
sour cream for topping (optional)

In a large pot sautée bacon and onion until bacon is crisp and onion is tender.

Pour in water, 2 cups of the chicken broth, add chicken, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is done. Remove chicken and cut up into 1" cubes.

Add chicken back into pot, and add the red bell peppers and another cup of chicken broth. Cook approximately 30 minutes.

Add the green beans and cook until the green beans are tender.

Serve hot, top with sour cream if desired. Makes about 10-12 servings.

Notes on making: We used canned red bell peppers because that was what we had on hand. Feel free to use fresh if you have it. We also used frozen green beans, as we have some frozen from our garden from last year. Also, you could chop the chicken up before cooking it if desired.

Copy and Paste Health Advice

I'm apparently in the wrong industry. I should have been a nutritionist, I could write for a newspaper, and copy and paste articles from the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, etc. I wouldn't even have to think for myself.

Just do a search on Google news on any given day of the week, and I guarantee you will find at least one article (usually more) that have the "typical" dietary advice, that saturated fat is bad for you (they never say why, never cite any studies), that sodium intake is bad for you and if you'll only cut back it will lower your blood pressure (while citing studies that show reducing sodium intake only reduces hypertension by 1-5 mmHg, underwhelming I know), and that cholesterol is bad for you (while recommending you take medicine).

I find it amusing that a lot of articles have started in on denouncing sugar, while at the same time urging you to eat "whole grains." Newsflash: grains turn to sugar upon digestion, whole or not. They just don't get it. Or if they do get it, they're not interested in changing what they're copying and pasting.

But alas, I'd never make a good nutritionist. I'd probably flunk out for citing articles that the schools disagree with, because obviously, nutrition programs are turning out copy and paste robots.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When the dietary guidelines don't fit your agenda, get litigious

When I saw the headline 'PCRM sues federal agencies over dietary guidelines', I chuckled, since I consider the dietary guidelines a crock, and really, what place does the government have telling us what to eat? And then I read the story, and it just about made my blood boil.

Their problem isn't that the government is telling us what to eat, their problem is the government isn't promoting a vegan diet.
"'Yet Defendants intentionally use inconsistent language, ambiguous phrases, and biochemical terminology to avoid providing clear dietary information and guidance for the general public regarding the health benefits of reducing consumption of meat and dairy products. This is due to Defendants’ conflicts of interest.'...

Asked if the PCRM's lawsuit were less a device to correct any problems with the dietary guidelines and more a tool to promote the group's vegan diet, Barnard said the question itself was focused on the wrong issue. He said the evidence is overwhelming that plant-based diets are more healthful and not reporting such information, in clear and unambiguous terms, in the dietary guidelines is misguided."

Of course the USDA has a conflict of interest, and so does PCRM! In other words, yes, they are attempting to use the dietary guidelines to promote their vegan diet. The evidence is NOT overwhelming that a plant-based diet is more healthful, in fact, if you've read Good Calories, Bad Calories, you'll know that it's the freaking OPPOSITE. It's like Orwell's 1984, War is Peace, Slavery is Freedom, and bloody hell if Ignorance isn't Strength.

It's not that I have a problem with people eating a vegan diet. Quite the contrary, if you want to wreck your health, that's your prerogative. It's a free country, eat whatever you want. In fact, if you want to go to McDonald's every day and eat 5000 calories like Spurlock did and gain a ton of weight, then by god, that's your god given right. If you want to eat tofu and sit in a drum circle all night, that too is your god given right as an American. If I want to eat venison I killed myself every night, it's none of your damned business and if you don't like it, you need to STFU. We do not need a nanny state telling us we need to eat one way or the other. THAT is what is wrong with the food guidelines.

What we need, is someone telling us the TRUTH about what medical research finds out, and then we as THE PEOPLE get to decide whether we want to act on that knowledge or not. Anything else is not worthy of a free people.

My mum-in-law just this morning was saying that as soon as more people start eating low carb and paleo that these militant vegans will petition the government to add a tax to everything that has animal fat in it, on the premise that it's bad for us like cigarettes. And indeed, on many forums I have seen the consumption of animal fat compared to smoking cigarettes, as if the two have anything in common. Unfortunately, my mum-in-law may be right.

Low-Carb Venison Meatloaf : Updated

UPDATED: New Pictures 2/15/2011

We had this the other night for dinner:
Low-Carb Venison Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground venison
2 T. pure lard (not hydrogenated crap)
2 eggs
2 c. pulverized pork rinds (put them in a zippy bag and use a rolling pin on them)
2 tsp salt
1 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. chopped green peppers (or sweet peppers)
15 oz. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce, make sure it doesn't have any added crap)

Mix all this in a large bowl until all ingredients are well mixed. Put into a casserole pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Everyone here thought it was very tasty!

New Pics!

We made this again tonight (the 15th) and I took pictures so I could update this post. I think we put in more peppers than the recipe calls for, so take note.

Venison and ground pork rinds

Fresh Yard Eggs, and yes that is a green egg! I think the lady has some Araucana chickens.

Colorful peppers

Peppers are chopped

Mixing it up

In the pan, ready for the oven

And the final piece, enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Health Writers

Who do they get to write these articles? Ninth grade high school drop-outs? I'd say so, except I believe that could be an insult to ninth grade high school drop outs.

The latest article I've come across that is as full of garbage as a neolithic midden, is one from the Miami Herald. I think that a monkey, yes just one monkey, in a room full of type writers could compose better literature than this crap.
"[Trans-fats] act as saturated fat once inside the body...

This expert recommends limiting the consumption of these industry-made foods and to treat the trans fat in them as saturated, equivalent to that of red meat that is so harmful to cardiovascular health...

Researchers at the University of Colorado say that 'it is important to read the nutritional information on all products, including foods marked free of trans fat, since some manufacturers are replacing trans fat with tropical oils from sources such as coconuts and palms, which are also rich in saturated fat.'"

First of all, I doubt seriously that trans fats act anything like saturated fat once in the body. I'm an artist, not a biochemist, but I ain't stupid. First of all, trans fat and saturated fat have different chemical bonds. Trans fats do have something in common with saturated fat, in that they have had hydrogen atoms added to their structure. However, their structure is not the same.

Also, whereas saturated fat is natural and your body has use for it, trans fat is man-made and it's "molecules have unnatural shapes that are not recognized by enzymes such as cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase." Those enzymes are used in the metabolism of fat. Your body cannot metabolize it and it does cellular damage. To imply that saturated fat, something we have been eating for millions of years, causes damage is to declare that evolution and mother nature are idiots. To paraphrase what Tom Naughton said in Fat Head, mother nature is not a dunce! The writers of these articles may be dunces, but evolution is not.

And they go on to malign red meat, and even coconut oil! It's absolute drivel, with nothing to back it up, masquerading as truth. And unwitting people believe it, because they read it in a major newspaper.

The Misconception of Natural Sweeteners

Lots of things are natural, meaning they occur in nature. Arsenic, cyanide, uranium, deadly nightshade. That doesn't mean you'd want to eat them, or even come into contact with some of them. I don't know how many articles I have read decrying the evils of High Fructose Corn Syrup, and yet saying that regular sugar is fine. Now, I'm not saying that HFCS is the same as sugar, it's not, by a long shot, however, neither of them are good for your health. Other naturally occurring sugars are no better, like honey. Sugar is sugar, and the glucose spikes your blood sugar while the fructose portion damages your liver and raises your triglyceride levels. That includes the fructose in fruit.

We have articles in newspapers like this one, since it's Valentine's day:
"But let's not make fructose the only bad guy here. The real problem is our consumption of all added sugar. Naturally occurring sugars like fructose, found in fruit, and lactose, found in milk, are valuable nutrients."
Overall, this article is better than most, but still has some problems. It fails in that it differentiates the fructose in fruit from the fructose in HFCS. There's not one iota of a difference, with perhaps the exception that if you ate a piece of fruit you might get less than if you ate something laden with HFCS. The problem is, our modern fruit has been bred to be bigger and sweeter. The sweeter it is, the more fructose is in it. Also, the fructose found in sucrose (table sugar) is also the same to your cells.

The problem is, they can't let go of the notion, that "everybody knows it's common knowledge" notion, that fruit is good for you. Five hundred years ago everyone knew the earth was flat too, and the center of the universe to boot. We all know what happened to Galileo when he dared to suggest otherwise.
"Does this research mean that eating fruit will increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes? Absolutely not."
That statement may be blatantly false, considering the study out of New Zealand that I wrote about last week, that I might add no American media picked up (good thing I didn't hold my breath).

Another newspaper article, also acts like natural sweeteners aren't a problem:
"While the massive amount of high-fructose corn syrup consumed by many people isn't a great choice, a more moderate amount of natural sweeteners can be a wonderful complement to a healthy diet."
What exactly is their idea of "moderation"? Eating 100 lbs of sugar a year versus the current 150+? Taubes wrote about this in "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and it seems from some reports by doctors who were in Africa and other colonial places a hundred years ago that a sugar intake of approximately 60 lbs was the cut off point of "too much". After consumption rose above that level, and after a time frame of about 20 years consuming such levels, they saw diabetes and metabolic syndrome begin to develop, along with all the other western diseases that go along with them. And really, it might be that a lower consumption just means it takes longer to develop metabolic problems in some people, or maybe even in most people. I doubt seriously the authors of these news articles imagine that we really might need to restrict our sugar intake to a minuscule amount to avoid developing disease.

The first article I cited did have a great line in it:
"If we really looked like what we eat, most Americans would look like kernels of corn."
There's the truth if I ever read it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Grocery Run

I've made it a habit whenever we go to the store now to watch what other people are buying who are in line next to me, just out of curiosity. Today there was a lady in front of us, she had no meat or protein that I could see, except for two cartons of eggs. What she did have, was two loaves of white bread, macaroni and cheese, white spaghetti noodles, among a bunch of other carb laden merchandise. She spent about $200 (that's what the mum-in-law said), I didn't see the total. I could buy a lot of meat for that, and be much more satiated than after eating all that junk. She was overweight, but not terribly so, of course, she would probably be considered obese by the BMI standard.

Behind us was a family, mother, father, and three school age kids, a boy and two girls. They appeared to be a normal weight, although they were talking about sports the kids played, so I'm assuming they are not genetically predisposed to insulin resistance and because they're lean, they play sports and burn the carbs off before they do damage. I believe it was Taubes who said in Good Calories, Bad Calories, that athletes are not thin because they're athletes, they're athletes because they're thin. For some that works well, others, it eventually stops working, which is why many people who are thin when they are young are not when they get past 40. They too had no meat or protein that I could see, except for a box of flax seed meal. They had multiple boxes of granola bars (which in my opinion are nothing more than sugar laden junk food most of the time), pop tarts, frozen bread thingies with cheese on them, snack cups of fruit, along with some other frozen pizzas and other frozen carb junk.

What did we buy? Besides some broccoli (we're making Chicken Divan again tonight, it's delish!), we bought a bunch of marked down chicken livers and ground beef, for our dogs. We decided that we have too many dogs, eight at the moment, so that we can't afford to feed them entirely meat all the time, but we decided we could supplement their dog food. Before you freak out and wonder how or why we have so many, we live in the country and seem to have a knack for accumulating unwanted and dumped dogs. The last dog we got, dug into our fence during a storm. We put up fliers and no one claimed him. We figured he was dumped and decided to keep him since he chose us LOL. One of the dogs is actually mine, the other seven are my in-laws'. My dog was also dumped, we found him at a filling station, curled up in a little ball on the pavement. People had been feeding him hot dogs, he was malnourished, and absolutely covered in fleas. He also had a hurt back. He's completely better now, after being on Previcox for some months, we were able to take him off of it, and his back seems completely better. I don't understand how people can just throw a dog away like it's nothing. But whatever, their loss is our gain.

Anyway, we currently feed them the Costco brand, which isn't terrible, since the first ingredient is chicken, but it still doesn't have enough meat in it I think. The third ingredient is rice. I'm sorry, but the ancestors of dogs, living in the paleolithic probably didn't eat much in the way of rice. They may have eaten some grains from the intestines of the animals they ate, but probably not much. On that note, hubby and I were talking about it, and we wondered if that wasn't how people came to invent bread (and subsequently settle down to get their fix of it). It's possible I suppose, that if ancient people roasted intact, the stomach of big game animals that they may have gotten something the consistency of bread if the animal were eating grains.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We reap what we sow...

And in this case, a lot of wheat and corn are sown, even by our frozen northern neighbors. Canadians are not immune to the bad dietary advice given here in the States. Indeed, it seems that the poor advice has spread pretty much the world over.

A few days ago, the Leader-Post, a Saskatchewan newspaper, published an online article about how "fresh artisan bread... and warm oatmeal raisin cookie[s]" can be part of a weight loss diet. I feel myself gaining weight just thinking about that. They deride the low carb diet, saying:
"Just eight years ago, the lowcarb wave rolled through North America. Admitting to eating bread or even starchy vegetables was like confessing to a crime. Carbs were cut out and weight was lost -initially. When the dust settled, weight was gained back. Low-carb stores closed for good."

First of all, I've never heard of anyone having a problem admitting to eating carbohydrates. It's more like the opposite, where you tell people you don't eat carbs and they look at you like you've got three heads. Secondly, low carb stores? Hmm, never had any of those here. Saskatchewan must be a strange place to live. Maybe the cold has something to do with it, but I digress.

Weight is gained back after going off a low-carb diet, because low carb isn't a temporary diet. You gained weight from eating carbohydrates in the first place, so of course when you go back to eating them, you gain the weight back. That's why Atkins has a maintenance phase, and the carbohydrate intake subsequently is based on how many carbs you can eat and still keep the weight off.

The article goes on to say:
"All vegetables, fruit and grain products are carbohydrates. Since a key weight-loss strategy is to make half the plate vegetables in most meals, eliminating carbs is illogical...

Unfortunately, the wrong carbs are everywhere. Forget to bring food for a busy day and it can mean game over. Many muffins, cookies and even sandwiches available on the go lack fibre. And if vegetables and fruit weren't packed, you might be without them until returning home. If you stumble upon them, will you pay a toonie for a banana at the coffee shop?"

I'd like to know what "key weight-loss strategy" they're thinking of. I suppose they think that if we all just nibble on iceberg lettuce, that surely we'll somehow magically get thin. They go on to give bad advice, first by saying that there's nothing decent to eat on-the-go (by decent, they mean full of fiber), and then saying if you do find it, it will be expensive. I hardly qualify a banana as being "healthy." Most people's insulin levels would spike, and they'd be hungry again in an hour. As for on-the-go food, I was thinking what a great thing the low carb diet is, as you can always get a huge bacon and cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise and then toss the bun. You have a good bit of fat and protein that will keep you satiated for hours.

So why am I writing about this nonsense article, when there are so many other nonsense articles out there? Because two days later the same paper published two articles about how so many people in Saskatchewan are diabetic.
"Saskatchewan has the highest combined prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes on the Prairies and a quarter of our population will be living with either condition by the end of this decade...

It might be a tiresome old message to some ears, but diet and exercise is a good prescription to follow -both for those who have diabetes and those who want to avoid it."
Well, no wonder so many people have diabetes when the advice they're given is rubbish. As the proverb goes, you reap what you sow. In this case, bad advice has sown an epidemic of diabetes and obesity. And what happens? The diabetic gets blamed for their medical condition, a condition brought on by bad advice, which leads to other diseases that eventually cause death in a very long, drawn out, painful way. We can't possibly lay the blame where it belongs, which is at the feet of people who are supposed to be educated in medicine and diet, people who should know better, and yet ignore the evidence that what they're telling people, is making people sick and killing them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fructose and Fetal Harm

Via a comment on Fat Head:

A commenter on Fat Head left a link to this article, from New Zealand that fructose may affect the development of female children. Sucrose (table sugar) is half fructose, and High Fructose Corn Syrup is more than half fructose, depending on the mixture. And I need not point out that HFCS is in just about everything that's manufactured or processed. They slip it into the most innocuous places. Fructose also occurs in fruit, something that a lot of doctors push people, especially diabetics, to eat (detrimentally to their health I might add).

A lot of pregnant women may think that because they're not overweight, or they don't have gestational diabetes, that it's okay if they consume large quantities of sugar or fruit. They often use the fallacy that because we've been consuming sugar for a long time, it's not a problem. The thing is, we've not been consuming sugar or fruit in the quantities we do for very long. Sugar consumption in the past thirty years has skyrocketed to 150+ lbs per person per year in the States, whereas in the 19th century sugar consumption was only in the 15 to 20 lb range per year before 1850. And even just fifty years ago, most people only ate fruit when it was in season, which in most parts of the world is a limited time frame. I'm sure with the powers-that-be and doctors pushing fruit consumption, that it has also risen.

Is fructose safe?
"In the study, where rats were fed diets high in fructose during pregnancy and lactation, the sugar was found to change key metabolic hormone levels in both foetuses and new born offspring...

The fact that we saw no obvious weight gain implies that women may be unaware that their diet could be compromising the development of their fetus."

They don't say what metabolic hormones are affected specifically, but I'm thinking insulin is probably one of them. Now, I also read a study not too long ago that female rat offspring were also affected by maternal dietary salt restriction. Another thing that the doctors push on us, lower your salt intake they say! Salt restriction in the mother made the female offspring insulin resistant with increased adiposity (fat). The male offspring were not so affected. Does this mean that there would be nothing to worry about with males then?

I doubt it seriously. I read that in indigenous populations, such as the Pima, female hormones somehow protect women from getting diabetes, at least for a while. However, they get very obese instead. Eventually they get diabetes, but not before getting fat. It is theorized that the fat protects them from diabetes as long as their bodies can continue to convert excess sugar in the blood to fat and store it. Now, the men don't necessarily get as fat as the women, but they have an increased incidence in developing diabetes.

I'm glad to see that a news organization actually published something that goes against the party line. I guess they don't grow much corn or sugar in New Zealand. I'm waiting for one of the American news organizations to pick this up, but I won't hold my breath. Asphyxiation is no way to die.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parrot: "I'm a doctor!"

Are writers incapable of researching stuff before parroting what they're told? Are editors? I hope some are, but it seems like the majority aren't.

For example, this article from US News states that eating too much sodium leads to high blood pressure. Except it doesn't. A dietary reduction in salt can lead to a whopping 1.1 to 5 mmHg at *most*, if you believe meta-analysis. I'm completely underwhelmed. Most high blood pressure is genetic and diet has very little to do with it. If your blood pressure is high you need medication. That's about the only thing you'll hear me say that you need medicine for.
From the article:
"As a family doctor, I've observed that more and more of my practice is devoted to preventing and treating nutrition-related disorders such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. So I had hoped that the new dietary guidelines would provide me with concrete strategies for helping change my patients' eating habits for the better."

Why don't these doctors do some research instead of relying on Big Brother, er, I mean the government to tell them what to tell their patients? I guess they're too busy to read anything. Or to think for themselves. I find all kinds of interesting information simply searching Science Direct or even google. If they'd recommend to their patients to eat low-carb or paleo, most of their patients' health problems would improve and/or resolve themselves. In fact, I'd bet money on it. I'd even bet a million dollars. I could definitely use a million bucks.

Maybe they're scared? Taubes said in Why we get fat that no doctor was ever sued for recommending a low fat diet. I guess the acceptable killing of patients via the low fat nonsense is preferable to a lawsuit.

Insulin Resistance and Response

I've spent my day reading all about insulin resistance and insulin response. It's a very fascinating subject.

What prompted this was that I saw arguments on some forums that insulin has a short half-life, therefore it cannot have an adverse impact on tissue. I think that this is quite frankly, codswallop. Not because it's been proven one way or the other, but because the amount of time (or exposure) is not the only thing that determines damage. Frequency is just as important to take into consideration. Temporary high blood sugar spikes could possibly damage your internal organs. If it happens once, it might not be a problem, but when it happens repeatedly every day, over the course of time, it would come as no surprise if organ damage developed. Insulin does indeed have a short half-life, it is estimated to be between 9 and 16 minutes in humans.

However, this does not mean that insulin does it's job in this amount of time, nor does it mean that insulin is reduced completely in that amount of time. By definition, a half life is the amount of time it takes half of the thing in question to decay. Because it is always half, if you understand basic math, you will realize that it's exponential as to how long it takes for something to be cleared completely1 from a system.

The math is for n, the number of half lives elapsed, the percentage remaining is 100/(2^n). This does not tell you how much is left after n cycles, the quantity being dependent upon the initial amount produced or in the case of insulin, secreted. It takes five half-lives for complete decay to be achieved. This means that after a meal insulin is in your blood at higher than basal levels for at least 45 to 75 minutes based on the 9 to 16 minute half-life. However, in real life, it may be much longer. Insulin remained elevated in subjects after a meal for more than 120 minutes in this study. If you are eating high carb meals with snacks in-between, how often do you think your insulin levels are elevated?

In a healthy person, perhaps this isn't enough time to do damage, even with frequency (although I doubt it, which may be why almost everyone becomes insulin resistant at some point, even if it's when they're old). However, a lot of people become insulin resistant when young. Insulin resistance means that your cells are unable to use the glucose in your blood. Insulin secretion will continue in waves so long as glucose levels in the blood are raised. If glucose levels remain elevated long enough, your pancreas' β-cells may lose their ability to produce enough glucose and this is by definition diabetes.

So is it just carbs? Not completely. If you are insulin resistant, and trying to lose weight, one reason why it's very important to make sure that on a low carb or paleo diet that a good quantity of your diet is from fat, is because protein can cause an insulin response just like carbohydrates. So get the 'low fat' crap out of your head! One study showed that consuming a steak could cause plasma insulin levels to rise nearly 100 pmol/l above fasting levels, whereas cod fillet only caused a rise of 50 pmol/l. This may very well be because steak has about twice the protein as cod fillet. According to, one ounce of steak has between 7.7 and 8.6g of protein (depending upon the type of steak). The same amount of cod fillet has 4.8g of protein. The study's authors say the difference in insulin response could also be attributed to carnosine, a dipeptide which is found in beef but not cod. Regardless, lean meat can cause an insulin response.

Keep in mind that protein is vital for rebuilding muscles, and if you're weightlifting you may need more than someone who's not.

Now, what do all these studies mean? Not a damned thing if you ask me. Honestly, the people funding the study influence the results. The data can really be interpreted to mean anything. And I do mean anything. We now know that cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease, but rather inflammation and homocysteine probably do. And yet there are dozens of studies about the nefarious effects of cholesterol, most of them poorly done, and the data manipulated to say what the researchers wanted to be said.

So, what causes insulin resistance? It seems no one is very sure, and there may be multiple causes. Some say it's chronically elevated insulin due to elevated blood glucose from over consumption of carbohydrates. Some of it is probably genetic. Whatever causes it, eating low carb or paleo is beneficial, as it reduces inflammation and makes insulin resistance unlikely. Indeed, though it is anecdotal, many people have noticed improved glucose tolerance after eating low carb for a long time.

1 Insulin is never completely cleared from our system. We secrete insulin in small amounts every few minutes, even when we haven't eaten.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Diet Coke causes...

... what? Or another reason why news articles on science in this country are so lackluster.

News organizations are all over the latest finding that diet coke will kill you! I'm not about to say that diet coke is good for you by any stretch of the imagination. However, what I want to know is, how much did the corn industry pay them to write this (from MSNBC):
"The increased likelihood of vascular events remained even after Gardener and her colleagues accounted for risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Pointing the finger more squarely at diet drinks, the researchers found no increased risk among people who drank regular soda." [emphasis mine]

Regular soda is full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. We all know that sugar causes inflammation, which in turn probably causes most cardiovascular disease.

What I want to know is, why they take a survey of 2500 people as proof of anything. A survey shows nothing. You can't control for variables. In fact, there's no control for variables because it's not a clinical trial. In other words, this isn't science. However, it's touted as being "scientific." Maybe the people who drank diet coke were like I used to be, consuming copious amounts of pastries and candy. The pastries and candy have nothing to do with their consumption of diet coke, but may be the cause of their cardiovascular disease.

The only way to find out if a substance is harmful or not, is to do a double blind clinical trial, where you have everything identical in two groups of people (or lab rats) and assign one group the product they want to test (the variable) and the other a placebo (the control).

At least the LA times isn't on the fear mongering band wagon and pointed out that correlation doesn't equal causation. I think most of these news stories are simply to scare everyone into eating in whatever manner the government wants us to eat.

Exercise and take your medicine

This morning on a local morning show, KENS5 Great Day SA, they had a cardiologist on the show. He said that Cardiovascular Disease was preventable, I'm assuming he meant the non-genetic type, and listed the usual risk factors for it. A risk factor in their terminology means that it's "associated with" not that it causes it. Something that most people I don't think quite understand and the "experts" don't usually differentiate between.

Cholesterol was of course included, even though it seems it has little to do with cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol is vital for cell function, and acts to repair damage, which may be why it was erroneously thought to cause heart disease. The line of reasoning goes like this: There are house fires, and there are always firemen at house fires, therefore firemen cause house fires. That of course is ridiculous... unless you're in a sci-fi book, but I digress. So that means that just because Cholesterol is present doesn't mean that it has anything to do with the cause. Correlation is not causation.

The most important thing about cardiovascular disease that we now know, the thing they left out on Great Day SA of course, was inflammation. Inflammation is probably the cause of cardiovascular disease, and yet, they didn't even mention it. Eating a low-carb or paleo diet reduces inflammation. Of course, the day they tell people they ought to eat like that will be the day that the eighth circle of hell has frozen over and Dante has come back to life and is singing poems about homocysteine.

Anyway, what do you suppose they said on the show that you ought to do to prevent heart disease? "Exercise and take your medicine." Yes, folks, that's right. Be sure to take all of that expensive, profit inducing medication. I didn't catch the cardiologists' name, but I assume he's been listening to drug reps.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

There's No Fat in Sugar

We have an obesity epidemic in this country because our government, dietitians and doctors continue to give people the wrong information. Take for example an article on the Pima Indians from the NIH.
"Thirty years of research show that exercising and eating lower fat, fiber-rich foods can at least delay diabetes. "If you delay it long enough," adds Dr. Knowler, "It's almost as good as preventing it...

[NIH doctors] also discovered that high levels of insulin in the blood, or hyper-insulinemia, is another strong risk factor.

Studying this clue, researchers working with patients found that high levels of insulin were linked to insulin resistance. Normally, the pancreas releases insulin to regulate the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood. People who have non-insulin-dependent or Type II diabetes (hereafter referred to simply as "diabetes") produce insulin, but their bodies don't respond to it effectively. NIH researchers have made it clear that people with insulin resistance are those most likely to get diabetes...

The second strategy is to encourage those who are at high risk to change behaviors that can lead to diabetes, such as eating a high fat diet, being physically inactive, and being overweight.

The NIH has begun a major nation-wide program to prevent diabetes in people who increase exercise and eat lower fat foods." [emphasis mine]

Now let me explain something to you that even a five year old should be able to understand. We have three basic nutrients, fat, carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates break down in the blood into sugar. This causes you to secrete insulin, sometimes it makes people insulin resistant, some think quite possibly because of exposure to sugar and/or refined carbohydrates.

Once you are insulin resistant, simply cutting out the sugar and simple carbohydrates doesn't stop you from being insulin resistant. If you continue to eat carbohydrates, depending on genetics, you may become type 2 diabetic. If you don't eat carbohydrates, and restrict them severely, you will not. It's not possible (to my knowledge) to become diabetic if you are not eating carbs, because you don't have an increase in blood sugar if you're not consuming carbohydrates and therefore very little insulin is secreted. Some people can eat more carbs than others and be okay. Some have to cut out all carbohydrates, as in the case Taubes mentions in his book about the du Pont executive who couldn't even eat an apple. Some have said their insulin resistance improves after months of being on a low carb diet, and they can then have some carbs without having problems.

So you tell me why in the hell they are advocating that people who are already insulin resistant eat more carbohydrates? Because that's what they're doing. By lowering fat you raise carbohydrate consumption. Protein intake cannot increase very much, you can't tolerate too much of it (unless you're body building and breaking down muscle).

Why do they blame fat? I think it's because of the mistaken notion that since the Pima were agriculturalists that meant they didn't eat meat and that they only ate carbs. There isn't a single documented case of a native society being completely vegetarian, that I know of anyway. They usually tend to eat whatever they can get their hands on.
"A dietary change common to all these cases [of Native American cultures] has been the increased consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates ... Since the key diagnostic feature of diabetes is high blood sugar, often accompanied by sugar in the urine, diabetes is frequently spoken of as "sugar diabetes" and "I've got sugar" or "I've got high sugar"... All carbohydrates cause a rise in blood glucose, and the glycemic index, a meaure of the impact of food or a meal on the rise in blood glucose, has a significant but transitory effect on both insulin production and glucose homeostasis." --from the Encyclopedia of medical anthropology by Carol R Ember, p 342

Since the Pima didn't grow sugar or refine grain to within an inch of it's life, I'm going to go with door number 1. And that is, the Pima are overweight or obese and diabetic because they consume carbohydrates typically found in the western diet. They may have consumed carbohydrates before contact with Europeans, but they were not the same kind of carbohydrates. Also, because they live in a rather inhospitable place, they may have not gotten enough calories, and this functions in much the same way as carbohydrate restriction if Ancel Key's studies on starvation are worth anything.

It's sad that all of the Native Americans' ancestors were screwed over by the Europeans. But what's even sadder, is that they are continuing to be screwed over even today, just like every other overweight or obese person in this country who has been told that they're fat because they eat too much. They will continue to get type 2 diabetes, will continue to have legs amputated and will continue to die prematurely as long as the lie that fat is the problem is perpetuated.

Low-Carb Nut Based Cereal Recipe

I have the best recipe ever for cereal, and it's so easy to make. I found it by accident when trying to make cookies. I suggest finding raw whole milk to eat with it. The more fat in the milk, the slower the lactose is absorbed by your body.

Low Carb Cereal

1 c. butter (softened)
1 c. splenda (not packets, but bagged kind)
3/4 tsp molasses
3/4 c. peanut butter

1 c. chocolate or vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 c. flax seed meal
1 c. almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a Kitchen Aid mixer (or similar) beat butter until creamy. Add splenda, molasses and peanut butter. Beat on medium until mixed.

Add in dry ingredients. Beat on medium again until mixed, scrape sides of bowl with a spatula.

On a baking sheet that has sides, put a piece of parchment paper. Make sure it covers the surface. Spread the mixture onto the parchment paper with a knife, it should be about 1/4 inch deep. Bake at 375 degrees for about fifteen minutes, or until brown on top. Let cool and cut into small 1/4 inch squares. Best refrigerated and served cold with raw whole milk on it. Everyone here agrees it's really good.

You can also use different types of nuts, like ground hazelnuts, or all flax seed meal, but I've found you might get a slightly different consistency, it might be more or less crumbly. We've tried it different ways and it's all good. You can also use almond butter instead of peanut butter.

We've also found if you leave it sitting out to cool for a few hours before cutting it, that it stays together better and is less crumbly.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance and Obesity Research

After reading about obesity in children, since it's Heart Month there's a ton of obesity articles in general going around, I got to looking for scientific journals on the subject. One of the better articles is "Obese babies and young children: an approach to paedratric management" from the British journal Paediatrics and Child Health, Volume 19, Issue 9, Sept 2009, pages 425-429.

They actually say that the "energy in/energy out" that is used to justify why people should be blamed for being overweight is "too simplistic an explanation..." They even mention insulin insensitivity (resistance) as predisposing a child to gain weight. Amazing!

And then what do they do? They go on to say that "Hormonal causes of obesity are also extraordinarily rare." and "...however, at present identifiable metabolic and hormonal causes are exceptionally rare." I'm hoping that they're excluding insulin from this, as last I checked, insulin is a hormone and is very much responsible for most people's weight problems.

Later in the article they elucidate one reason why people may not be motivated to change their lifestyle.
"Unfortunately research shows that parents too often find that health professionals (and particularly doctors and dieticians) are critical, judgemental, blame them for their child's obesity, make them feel guilty, or are dismissive."

Well no duh! Especially when most nutritionists and people in general act like it's your fault that you're fat or your kid is fat. When you're eating corn syrup and sugar from the first day of life, what do you expect to happen? This isn't their fault, it's what they're being told to eat. It's what they're being told to feed their children.
"Babies are born with a natural ‘fuel gauge’ which signals when enough has been eaten. Unfortunately this gauge is often overridden by the way children are fed, which contributes to the development of obesity."

I don't think it's the way they're being fed, I think it's what they're being fed. They still talk of limiting food intake, contradicting what they said at the beginning of the article about how "calories in/calories out" was too simplistic of an explanation. They do say to avoid juice and stick with food that are of a low glycemic index, which is good, but I think doesn't go far enough. This is cognitive dissonance, which runs rampant through the field of dietary and obesity research. I guess old habits die hard.

Baby Formula is Junk Food: A Not-So Good Start

Not having children, and I would breast feed if I did, I never realized what was in baby formula. Have you looked at it?

Now knowing that sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption cause insulin resistance, which in turn causes diabetes and a host of other metabolic problems, you would that that baby formula would be the last place you'd find said ingredients.

But no! I, as an adult, wouldn't consume what's in baby formula, and yet people are feeding it to their children, probably because they think don't have a choice.

Out of many of the formulas I looked at on the shopwell website, which will give you nutrition facts and ingredient lists, a common first ingredient in baby formula was 'corn syrup solids' or 'corn syrup'. This is simply a form of corn sugar, not unlike High Fructose Corn Syrup, except not as sweet. Common second and third ingredients are vegetable oils, corn maltodextrin (another sugar absorbed as rapidly as glucose), and sugar (sucrose, which is table sugar).

Now you tell me, do any of these things come out of a woman's breast? Do you think that this matches breast milk? Not no, but hell no. Breast milk has animal fat in it, we being animals and all. It is not soybean oil, or sunflower oil, or any other oil derived from a plant. Also, the sugar in breast milk is lactose, it is not sucrose. It is absorbed slower by the blood stream, lactose having a much lower glycemic index than sucrose (46 vs. 61). Also breast milk has more whole, saturated fat in it, which slows the absorption of lactose even more. This matters in terms of insulin resistance! These things are not the same, they are completely different.

Besides the main ingredients, infant formula also has mono- and diglycerides, a hydrogenated oil (trans fat) that is used as an emulsifier. It also has carrageenan to extend shelf life.

Mothers often have no choice but to work, and often either don't have the facilities or time at work to pump breast milk, or they don't know they ought to. They probably think formula is fine. Why is this allowed? Breast milk is best obviously, but in the case it can't be used why must we have junk food as formula?

It's ridiculous. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is part of the reason why so many children are obese and type II diabetic.

Some examples:
Enfamil Prosobee, first ingredient Corn Syrup Solids, second ingredient is vegetable oil

Gerber good start Soy Plus, first ingredient is Corn Maltodextrin, second is vegetable oil

Similac Sensitive, first ingredient is Corn Syrup Solids, followed by sugar, as in table sugar.

And these are just a few of the ones on there. Almost all of them are the same crap.

I know that some infants are lactose intolerant or that some women don't produce enough milk. If you cannot feed your baby breast milk, I suggest looking into meat based formula. I know that's what I was fed, because I was allergic to milk and soy protein. I couldn't have regular formula or soy formula. Of course this was a long time ago, so if you found such formula now it may have crap in it too. Also, I bet regular baby formula when I was a baby did not have this crap in it.

Ridiculous. That's all I can think.

The Ancient Paleolithic Diet

One argument used by people who are against low carb diets is that our paleolithic ancestors ate mostly fruit and vegetables. The argument is absurd of course. How did paleolithic people get fruit and vegetables in the middle of winter? They didn't have refrigeration or greenhouses or delivery trucks. This means that in most parts of the globe, Paleolithic people would have had to have hunted for meat, or they would have starved to death.

This means that they ate meat primarily most of the year, and in some places, as with the Inuit, they ate meat pretty much all year. And they were excellent hunters. Most of what we know about paleolithic people is derived in one of two ways. The first is by archaeology, where the remains that are dug up are studied. The second is by anthropology, where we study people who survived into the 20th century as hunter-gatherers.

A lot of what is found at dig sites from the Paleolithic is weapons, for example stone spear heads. They made lots of spears, both wooden and stone, although the wooden parts don't usually survive. Both homosapiens and neanderthalensis used spears to hunt medium and large sized mammals.

Atlatls were used as a means of extending a spear's throwing range and increasing the amount of force behind the throw. Atlatls have been used for probably 400,000 years, and would have allowed even a child to bring down large game.

Research at a site in Russia shows that ancient people could easily have hunted very big game like mammoths.
"Ethnographic sources and experimental work confirm that recent African elephants can be killed with spears or projectile points. According to Trilles (1932), Forest People from Gabon hunted elephants by sneaking under a standing elephant and thrusting a spear into its belly; the elephant could also be killed by arrows... According to Janmart (1952), the Ituri hunted elephants by creeping under an elephant and plunging a spear into its belly. The Ogiek people from Kenya hunted with dogs and used spears to kill elephants... Frison (1989) showed experimentally that Clovis projectile points used with atlatl and darts or thrusting spears can penetrate the thick hide of African elephants and inflect lethal wounds on elephants of all ages and both sexes. The hunting strategy should include several persons.

Comparison of the size of recent African elephants and mammoths shows that it is plausible that prehistoric hunters used the same techniques for hunting mammoths as recent hunter use to kill elephants."

So much for a lack of food. A large animal like a mammoth would feed a lot of people for a long while. Even smaller animals like deer or elk would feed a good number of people. In the winter, the meat would have lasted for a while, in areas where the temperature was cold enough to inhibit decay. And unlike fruit and vegetables, when the meat was gone, they could go and hunt some more.

Evolution has not had time to alter our genes to adapt to an agricultural life style. It has especially not had time to alter them to deal with the massive increase in sugar consumption that has happened since the early 1980s.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Statins: A real money maker

Since it's February and it's heart month, it's the time of year that the pharmaceutical companies start promoting you being on medication of dubious benefit with possible dangerous side effects for the rest of your life. (Statins are cholesterol lowering drugs, like Lipitor and Crestor). Do they have to pay for this advertising? Hell no. They get "journalists" to publish the advertisment-as-news-story.

The first news article I read today about the untreated "epidemic of high cholesterol" was based on a study by the World Health Organization that found that a lot of people in developing countries had high cholesterol and were therefore at risk of heart attacks. They then cited this statistic:
"Cardiovascular disease kills more than 17 million people every year and WHO says 80 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries."

To which my morbid and sarcastic mind thought, one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic. (attributed to Stalin) So, this means that not that many people die of cardiovascular disease in the world. 17 million divided by the population of planet earth, which is about 7 billion at the moment means that .002% of people in the entire world die of cardiovascular disease every year according to the statistic given anyway. And 80% are in developing countries? What else is killing people?

Probably cancer from trying to lower our cholesterol, and in the case of developing countries, infectious disease. But if the pharmaceutical companies don't scare people into thinking there's an epidemic, no one will want to take the medication they're hawking.

Another news article was complaining about the fact that so many Americans aren't getting treated for high cholesterol.
"In all, as many as two out of three Americans with high levels of bad cholesterol do not have their problem under control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

That means only about 23 million of the 71 million adults with worrisome bad cholesterol levels keep it in check, perhaps because many don't eat wisely, exercise or take prescribed medications, experts said."

Never mind that diet and exercise have nothing to do with cholesterol, that it's genetic, and on top of that, has very little, if anything to do with cardiovascular disease!

What these articles are really decrying, is the fact that not *everyone* is on a statin. They want to put children on them from what I've heard. Another article says anyone over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol checked.
"There has been a national health objective known as Healthy People 2010 that seeks to make at least 80 percent of people age 20 and older aware of their cholesterol level. Unfortunately, this goal is not being met by every state in the nation."

My father-in-law is a pharmacist, and when he started out way back in the day, very few people were on maintenance medication. Those with high blood pressure and diabetes were about the only ones, and there weren't very many of them. Now he said, everyone's on maintenance medication for the rest of their lives, in an attempt to fix what our broken diet has caused. They wind up with side effects from the first medication and wind up on more medication to treat the side effects from the first!

If you're worried about cardiovascular disease, first you need to read either Gary Taubes book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" or "Why We Get Fat And What to Do About It." Then you need to read Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's books on fat and cholesterol. His first book is out of print, but his second two can be bought from Amazon. If you want more reading, check out books on homocysteine by Dr. Kilmer McCully, MD. They also have a website with information on why cholesterol is not important and why statins are dangerous to your health.

If you have family members that are on statins, they should probably wean themselves off of them. If you want to know why, read books on statin side effects and how they cause normal biological functions to cease, by Dr. Duane Graveline, MD.

**Do not go off of medication cold turkey. Consult a doctor, or better yet a pharmacist first. Pharmacists know more about medications than doctors.

Exercising your way to health or death?

Forty years ago, your parents or grandparents would have told you that exercise was bad for you. It wears out your joints and puts unnecessary strain on your body. Currently the CDC suggests 300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week plus weight training for "greater health benefits." That's three hundred minutes of you wearing your body out every week. And if you do more than that, they say "you'll gain even more health benefits."

Now, do you think they have specific data on this? Of course not. But they'll tell you it's a good idea anyway, and in fact tout it as a way to prevent heart disease. Wait for it though, because I found this, written for heart month, from the newspaper the Asheville Citizen-Times and I found it amusing in it's glorious contradiction:
"A key contributor to heart disease is lack of exercise — again, a factor that seems to affect busy women as they juggle jobs, kids, homes and community work and fail to make time for their own good health, Palmer said. And obesity is a critical factor, because “the more you weigh, the harder your heart has to work to give your body nutrients,” she said." [emphasis mine]

So, their first premise is that if you work your heart harder (by exercise) that you'll be healthier, but if your heart has to work harder because you're overweight or obese, that's bad. Can we say cognitive dissonance? Of course, being obese is associated with heart disease, but the primary reason for CHD isn't because your heart has to work harder, it's probably inflammation. However, I doubt having your heart work harder, either via strenuous exercise or by being obese, is very good for it.

I'm not saying that some activity isn't good, especially walking, but these people are advocating that an already busy person, who is not sitting at home watching television all day, should try to fit exercising into their already busy schedule. And that just creates more stress because they think it's a character flaw that they've gained weight and blame it on not getting to the gym. I think that makes about as much sense as telling a diabetic they should eat more fruit. Oh, wait. They do that too.

I tried to find some studies to either backup what they're saying or refute it, but it doesn't seem like any have really been done, at least with exercise alone. I would imagine to find out if exercise were beneficial, that you would take two very large groups of healthy men and women and have one group exercise and the other not. Then you'd find out if one group lived longer than the other. Most of the studies I've seen however, are in patients who already have CHD, are part of Statin drug trials, or part of a diet trial. There is no controlling for variables, they test multiple things at once, and that is not science. It's quackery is what it is.

There are multiple possibilities for why exercise could be beneficial, or not. One might be if carbohydrates cause heart disease by creating inflammation, and if you consume carbohydrates and exercise, you may burn off the carbohydrates before they can have an effect on your tissues, if you're a person who can burn them off. Most people who are obese have a problem metabolizing carbohydrates, so this probably wouldn't work for them. Or maybe if you never eat carbohydrates, you would have no need to exercise very much, and you would still live just as long as someone who ate carbohydrates and exercised. These are things that could be tested.

We should know so much more by now about what it is that is killing us, but we don't, and we won't. The food industry benefits from people eating their processed, expensive junk food and the pharmaceutical companies reap the benefits of people winding up on maintenance medication from such diets. To a lesser extent the fitness industry benefits from this too, as people try in vain to exercise to lose the weight they gain (exercise makes you hungry) by eating the "recommended diet". And the newspapers? They benefit by advertising dollars from the previous three industries to push what they want to be said.

Unintended Consequences: Salt Intake, Obesity and Insulin Resistance

When William Banting wrote his Letter on Corpulence in 1863, the medical community attacked him like piranhas in a lake filled with hemophiliac swimmers. Gary Taubes describes this best in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories:
"The medical community of Banting's day didn't quite know what to make of him or his diet. Correspondents to the British Medical Journal seemed occasionally open-minded, albeit suitably skeptical; a formal paper was presented on the efficacy and safety of Banting's diet at the 1864 meeting of the British Medical Association. Others did what members of established societies often do when confronted with a radical new concept: they attacked both the message and the messenger. The editors of The Lancet, which is to the BMJ what Newsweek is to Time, were particularly ruthless. First, they insisted that Banting's diet was old news, which it was, although Banting never claimed otherwise. The medical literature, wrote The Lancet, "is tolerably complete, and supplies abundant evidence that all which Mr. Banting advises has been written over and over again." Banting responded that this might well have been so, but it was news to him and other corpulent individuals." [emphasis mine]

It was news to me as well. No one told me that I should eat that way. But what else was news to me is this, apparently restricting sodium intake can cause and/or aggravate insulin resistance. In a country with what some call a "diabetes epidemic" why are nutritionists still advocating restricting sodium intake? Especially when lower salt intake does little for lowering blood pressure, which is why it's pushed on the general public in the first place. One review found that a reduction in dietary sodium would amount to systolic blood pressure being lowered by a whopping mean of 1.1 mmHg, and diastolic by an even more underwhelming mean of 0.6 mmHg.

I suppose part of it may be because it seems a lot of the studies done were published in a journal called American Journal of Hypertension over the last 20(!) years, and I guess the "experts" and the "nutritionists" don't read it. I mean, don't read period. Because if they did, they'd have read Taubes and the plethora of other studies that would tell them that what they're telling people is flat out wrong and is killing them.

Not only can salt restriction apparently be bad for insulin resistance, but one study showed giving people more salt helps alleviate it and makes them more sensitive to the insulin.
"For the group as a whole, urinary sodium excretion increased on sodium chloride to 267 ± 118 mEq/day versus control (placebo) phase of 135 ± 53 mEq/day, P < .001. Total glycemic response in the oral GTT (area under the glucose curve) was 8.0% lower during sodium supplementation, P < .001. Secondary analysis revealed that the effect of sodium was noteworthy in 1) type 2 diabetic subjects (n = 8), 2) sodium -sensitive subjects (n = 10), and 3) nondiabetic subjects receiving antihypertensive drug treatment (n = 6). The total insulinemic response to oral GTT was also lowered by sodium loading among diabetic subjects. Thus, an abundant sodium intake may improve glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, especially in diabetic, salt-sensitive, and or medicated essential hypertensive subjects." [emphasis mine]

(The effect of sodium supplementation on glucose tolerance and insulin concentrations in patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus, from the American Journal of Hypertension, Volume 14, Issue 7, July 2001, Pages 653-659)

One of the most recent and largest studies from the journal Metabolism, took data from 152 healthy people who were prescribed a high or low salt diet. It too found that a low salt diet was associated with increased insulin resistance.

People are expensive to do studies on. You have to pay them to participate. Lab rats on the other hand are cheap and you don't have to pay them anything and you get to dissect them when the study is over so you can obtain even more information on what was going on physiologically. One rat study found:
"In the present study, higher body weight, blood glucose, plasma insulin, triacylglycerols (triglycerides) and cholesterol, hematocrit and heart rate were observed in animals on low salt intake compared to the normal-salt group. Blood pressure and glucose uptake were lower on low-than on normal-salt diet." [emphasis mine]

(Insulin resistance due to chronic salt restriction is corrected by α and β blockade and by l-arginine, from Physiology & Behavior, Volume 88, Issues 4-5, 30 July 2006, Pages 364-370)

If you've been paying attention, insulin resistance (and by extension diabetes) is associated with obesity. Apparently one study showed that restricting salt intake in female Wistar rats predisposed their female offspring to obesity.

Most of the studies say that more and larger studies are needed. As mentioned above, studies are expensive. There were some studies in humans that found the opposite or no correlation between salt intake and insulin resistance, but of these I saw, they used a very small number of people, in one only eight and were very short term. That's not enough subjects or time to get meaningful data. We need large studies with lots of people, that way individual variation is controlled for. All of the rat studies I found showed a correlation with low salt intake and insulin resistance, and since rats are cheap, there were more rats involved than people. It may be that some people are not as effected by low sodium intake as others.

So here we have unintended consequences, in that nutritionists are advocating you messing with your diet for what might amount to a slightly lower blood pressure, at the expense of something else completely unforeseen. How do you like being an unwitting participant in one of the biggest health studies ever made? Because that's what you are if you live in any country that follows the dietary guidelines set forth by the USDA. You may think you have no problem eating as you are, but the food manufacturers have made it a point to remove salt and fat from the food they sell you. So unless you are making a concerted effort to add it back in, you may well be deficient and not even know it.

Common sense is indeed not very common. If excess salt intake had anything to do with ill health, the human race in western Europe and elsewhere would not have survived into the modern era. Last I checked, prior to the 20th century, people did not have refrigeration and used, get this, salt and LOTS of it to cure meat. I doubt there's any way to find out exactly how much they consumed, but it was way more than we do now. And since we don't have reports that medieval people were dropping dead from stroke or heart disease (plague is another matter), I dare say the salt wasn't a primary cause of mortality. Of course, absense of evidence is not evidence of absence, and maybe they just didn't live long enough for the salt to kill them.