Monthly Archives: June 2010

Real Stories, Real People

Over the past several months my mind has been focused on helping people with diabetes, specifically type II diabetes, a.k.a sugar diabetes. Keep that word “sugar” in mind.

I’ve gone to the ADA and the ADtA web forums and tried to stir up some good discussions with people who are, unfortunately, being given ill advice by the ADA and the ADtA.

What was shocking to me was how resistant people with diabetes are to learning new information. They have been so indoctrinated by these organizations that they almost seem brainwashed by the organizations dogma: You must eat at least 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. Essentially, that’s saying that people who have a potentially life-threatening disorder dealing with blood sugar should eat at least 130 grams of sugar a day.

I tried to post a blog on the Huffington Post showing the benefits of low carbohydrate/sugar diets citing research and quoting experts but the medical reviewer rejected it. Here is part of the medical reviewers comment:

In any case, using only two studies/sources to reach such a broad and counter-intuitive conclusion makes this a post worrisome. Please reject.

The reviewer is talking about my support of low carb diets that include saturated fat.

First, I did not use only two sources. One source was a meta-analysis that included 21 studies indicating that saturated fat is not linked to heart disease.

Secondly, to state that my conclusion that a low carbohydrate (sugar) diet that includes saturated fat is not unhealthful is “counter-intuitive” is to suggest that it is intuitive that eating saturated fat is unhealthy for you. And that my friends ain’t science.

But what does happen to real people in the real world when they break away from the standard issue solutions for diabetes and obesity (eat less fat, more grain and fruit and exercise more) and adopt a low carb, higher fat and protein diet? I received the following letter from a man who read my and my co-authors books. It’s a little long but worth reading. I think many of you either know someone like him or are like him yourself.

Hey Fred,

I want to really thank you personally for being a part of a program that has saved my life. That may sound dramatic, but here is my story.

I am 42 years old and 6 foot tall. A little over ten years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and given medication to deal with it. I was also told to lose some weight. I weighed between 200 to 205 at the time. I was also told to lower my fat intake and I could eat as much fruits and vegetables as I wanted.

Over the years, the weight stayed relatively consistent. I am not athletic at all, but am fairly active. However, the quantity of food has consistently gone down in my efforts to lose weight. Additionally, my blood sugar has constantly gone up.

In these last two years, my weight started creeping up some. As a result, I stated running fairly regularly. It had no, or very little effect on my weight. I pretty much stopped eating a regular dinner at night after work. All I would eat is some yogurt or some fruit cups at night. Remember, I could eat all the fruit I wanted. I still kept gaining weight, but my fasting blood sugar that I measured in the morning did come down a little.

On March 14th of this year, I weighed 215. I was taking 4 different diabetes medications, one blood pressure drug, pretty much taking a Prilosec everyday for heartburn as well as Tums fairly regularly. My doctor did not seemed concerned with the heartburn. I assumed it was from stress at work. I would also vomit fairly regularly. I assumed from the various drugs, maybe stress. My cholesterol as indicated from my blood tests when I visited my doctor were higher than recommendations as well as my blood pressure. Neither super high, but higher than what is considered normal and healthy.

I visited all the normal diabetes type web sites and none of them said anything or recommended anything that seemed to offer anything of value. I was mostly doing what they said. Lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of whole grains, try to lower fats and some exercise. Yes to all of the above. Yet I continue to get worse. I was beginning to believe this was just a part of aging and having diabetes.

How long was it going to be until I started having real health issues? For the most part I very rarely get sick. When was I going to start going blind, lose a foot or leg, have a heart attack, kidney failure, stroke out??? I was getting to be resigned that it was just a matter of time. Inside my head I secretly hoped that I would have a fatal heart attack at a relatively young age so I would not have to deal with the real issues of diabetes.

On March 14th in a round about way, I found the Protein Power book. It was opposite everything I knew to be true, yet it seemed more true about nutrition than anything I read before. How could everybody else be so wrong? I instantly started following it, cutting my carb intake to next to nothing or at least less than 30 grams a day. Before stating this, knowing what I ate, I am fairly certain my carb intake was close to 60 to 70 percent of my total calorie intake. I bought your book a couple weeks later.

I am sure you will not be surprised at all by the results. As of this morning I now weigh a little over 190. It has been close to 20 years since I have weighed that little. I have stopped taking two of the diabetes drugs completely, one of the others I am taking 80% of what I was taking, the other I am down 30%. I have not taken a single Prilosec or a Tums since I have started this change and this is the most stressful part of the year for me as it relates to work. I have only vomited once and that was on March 16 or day 2. Six weeks in, I had a doctor visit and blood test. Blood sugar way lower, bad cholesterol way lower and in the normal range, good cholesterol way higher and also now in the normal range.

Five weeks after I changed my eating habits, I started my slow burn routines based on your book. With some of the exercises I really struggled at first, but now am fairly comfortable with most of them. I am still learning and refining a few things, but I can say my increases in strength are just as dramatic as my weight loss. In the case of the chest press, the very first time I did it following your slow burn book instructions I did 3 reps at 100 pounds and was wiped out. Yesterday, at 130 pounds I did 6 reps in a little over 2 minutes. Time to increase the weight again.

As I said before, I was running fairly regularly for a few years. Not that fast, and really, not that far, 3 to 4 miles in around 45 minutes. Generally 3 or 4 times a week to do “some exercise” as recommended by my doctor and everything I had read about diabetes. I have cut back on the running since I started your workouts, but when I do run, I run significantly farther and significantly faster than I have run in years. I hated, hated, hated the running, but did it to do my exercise. Now when I do run, it is almost fun. I am so amazed at the changes in me.

So that is how you have had a part in saving my life. I do not know how to say thank you any more than that. If you communicate with Dr. Michael Eades, you are welcome to share this with him as everything I have said here applies to him as much as you. In fact, if you feel that anything I have shared in this email with you would benefit someone else, you are welcome to share or forward to them as well.

In your blog last week, you shared the starfish story. I can definitely say I am one starfish that you have made a difference in their life, and I wanted you to know that.

Thank you Fred, thank you very much.
Paul A. James
Director of Finance and Accounting
Controller

This letter reminds me why I do what I do for a living. It shook me good.

It ‘s also a letter that many professional organizations like the ADA and the ADtA ignore. They favor their current guidelines and position stands over the experiences of real people. I say it’s high time they stop ignoring people like Paul and start listening.

People’s lives are at stake. Perhaps yours?

The Starfish Story

OK this blog is not about exercise. I just like the story and I hope you do too.

The Starfish Story (Original Story by: Loren Eisley)

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said “I made a difference for that one.”

A man and a boy were picking up starfish and throwing them back in the ocean……

NYC Dept. of Health Has Its Facts Screwed Up

On nutrition that is.

The NYC department of health’s bulletin on fats is a complete nightmare. Just about everything it says on the subject is wrong.

As an example, it states:

Eat as little saturated fat as possible.
• Saturated fat is found mostly in animal products such as cheese,
whole milk and beef.
• For a healthier heart,whenever you can, replace foods high
in saturated fat with those that contain unsaturated fat.
(See Small Changes Add Up.)

Well the fact is there has never been a shred of evidence that saturated fat is heart unhealthy. None at all. A recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that:

…there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.

In a court of law, you can’t be found innocent. But that is precisely what so many nutritionists and doctors argue when discussing the issue of saturated fats. They routinely ask to see the evidence that saturated fat is not causative in CVD and CHD. But this is like asking someone to prove they’re innocent of a crime. If you’re not guilty you are innocent.

In fact, several other papers have shown the opposite – that a lack of saturated fats in the diet is unhealthy.

And the misinformation continues.

What about cholesterol?
• While cholesterol in food can raise blood cholesterol, most high blood
cholesterol comes from eating food with saturated and trans fat.
• Food labeled “cholesterol-free” may still contain saturated and trans fat.

Wrong. There is no conclusive evidence that eating cholesterol will raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. In fact, there is no cholesterol in your blood AT ALL. Cholesterol rides inside a lipoprotein which is in your blood. There is no such thing as a blood cholesterol level. And the more cholesterol you eat, the less your body makes. Neither does saturated fat raise your level of cholesterol.

The NYC Dept. of Health has some serious reading to do.

Bear in mind that any diet research paper that shows deleterious health effects always has carbohydrate as one of the primary macronutrients. I challenge anyone to find a diet study where fat is high and carbohydrate is low (under 100 grams per day) with deleterious health effects. In fact what you will find is the exact opposite.

Yes – you can have your fat and eat it too!

For more information, visit the Nutrition and Metabolism Society.

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