Archive for November, 2010

High carb diet will add more pounds

Monday, November 29th, 2010

It seems almost silly at this point to mention that a high carb diet is probably not a good idea.  But yet another study, this one published in the New England Journal of Medicine from the University of Copenhagen concluded that people who ate a lower carb diet kept more weight off than a higher carb diet.

Surprise, surprise.  Refined carbs, in my opinion, can be quite addictive.  And an excess of carbs over time gets converted and stored as fat in the body.  What the body doesn’t use, it stores for a rainy day. Or more specifically, a day when food isn’t so readily available. 

But our modern society has provided us with an abundance of food and food choices.  Some of them even completely chemical and not found in nature.  And even Frankensteinish genetically modified foods (GMO).

This study showed that eating foods relatively high in protein and mixed with low GI (Gylcemic Index) foods resulted in people doing and feeling better.  High glycemic index foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and usually a consequent drop in levels to form the classic roller coaster symptoms.

So, this study also suggested that people cut back on 2 servings per day of refined carbs and replace them with nuts and beans.  Nuts are low carb, and beans are medium carb, but have fiber to help slow blood sugar absorption.

My suggestion would be to go one step further and replace refined carbs with vegetables.  Especially green leafy vegetables.  Lots of fiber, nutrient dense and ultra low carb.

Water, weight loss and low carb

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

There was a recent study at Va Tech back in February 2010 that looked at whether water could help out with weight loss.  It was a short 3 month study and found the average weight loss in those who drank 2 cups of water before every meal was greater than those who didn’t. The participants in this study were on a low fat diet and over 55.  The idea being that drinking water before meals would cause you to feel more full and eat less.

The average weight loss on a low cal diet (not low carb) was 15.5 lbs.  The other group lost an average of 11 pounds over 3 months.

That’s interesting right?  Well, what if I told you I lost nearly 50 lbs in 3 months on a low carb diet plan?  Yep, and very true.  Now, I will say, that I had a lot to lose, so probably weight wise the %’s are a bit skewed in my own case.  But the result is still a massive amount of weight in a short period of time.

So I guess my question is why only 11 – 15 lbs?  How about doing the same study on a low carb diet?  In 90 days, if you needed to, you could easily lose 2 – 4 lbs per week.  Let’s say you lost 2.5 lbs per week.  That’d still be 30 lbs.  So why only an average of 15.5 lbs?  Seems low to me.  Water and low fat and only 15.5 lbs?

Me personally, I like eating fat.  As they say, fat = flavor.  Along with stable energy and more stable blood sugar levels.

Also I did notice that if my weight loss on a low carb diet slowed down or even stalled, then if I drank an extra cup of water or two each day, then it would resume.  Not sure why, but it just seems to be something I have noticed.  Could totally be unrelated, but still I do know that with ketones and ketosis, you probably want to be amply hydrated.

Lower blood pressure with low carb?

Friday, November 19th, 2010

So, this study found in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Jan 2010) compared 2 groups of people who were considered obese.  One group was given the weight loss drug orlistatand the other group went on a low carb diet.  The authors were from Duke Medical Center and Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  There is a synopsis of the study here.

Both groups lost about 10% of their body weight with the low carb group losing a bit more.  Good cholesterol went up in both groups.  But in the low carb group, insulin levels and glucose markers improved as well as a ‘significant’ drop in blood pressure when compared to the weight loss drug group. 

I have personally lost 51 lbs over the last few months from a low carb diet.  My energy is much better, my circulation is dramatically improved and so these types of studies don’t really surprise me anymore.  For me low carb is the way to go.

It should be noted that there were a couple other studies in that archive studying other diets and the conclusion was that there are many different options when it comes to weight loss. 

And my thing is that people are all different, and they have to find something that works for them.  Low carb works for me.  And I think you’ll know it based on results and more importantly how you feel.  Does your current diet make you feel well?  Is it supporting you or robbing you blind of your energy and weight?  One of the best things I have done for myself in the last decade was to get off the sugar roller coaster ride.

Currently, I eat protein and vegetables with every meal.  And I am eating more vegetables than I ever have.  Especially dark green vegetables.  I drink water and green tea and walk 4 – 5x per week.  Doesn’t sound too unhealthy to me…

Low carb for diabetics

Friday, November 19th, 2010

I was reading this article I found on the National Institute of Health’s website.  And it was talking about low carb diets for diabetes control.  It was published by a General Practitioner in the British Journal of GP.

The main recommendation is quite obvious of reducing the amount of sugar and starch in the diet.  The author of the article has a son who is diabeteic and he adopted a low carb diet and was able to successfully regulate his bloog sugar levels.

She also suggested that the lower the carbohydrates consumed, the lower the need for insulin levels.  A recent study that just came out in 2010 showed that a low carb diet was safe and that it actually did cause weight loss and actually improved the good cholesterol almost twice as much as a low fat diet.

Anyway, the article make a good point for diabetes and low carb, suggesting that it can reduce HbAIC ~2 – 3% after about 3 months on the diet for folks with type 2 diabetes.  Considering the rampant cases of adult onset diabetes (Type 2), it would seem most encouraging that one could easily change their diet by just cutting out or reducing sugar and carb intake.

Now, this article is for educational purposes only and not meant to be written as medical advice and if you have diabetes, please consult with your doctor before changing your nutritional habits.  However, a little research into the low carb lifestyle is encouraged.  And considering it’s your body, it just seems like a a good idea.

Other benefits to low carb

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I saw this article in the NY Times about about how people with epilepsy are controlling their epillepsy through their diet by eating low carb.  Going low carb eventually will put the body into ketosis.  And it’s been shown that a ketogenic diet can help reduce the frequency of seizures in epileptics.  And according to this article, it seems to work especially when anti-seizure medicine isn’t effective.

One of the first things I noticed about 4 or 5 days into my new low carb diet was that the brain fogginess cleared.  And I started sleeping better and much deeper.  And I can’t help but wonder if that plays a healthy role in the whole brain chemistry and body function.

Eating sugar as much as we do in this country is just plain nuts.  And I am not talking about pecans here.  Sugar, to me, is one of the most problematic inventions that we have come up with.  And then to go one step beyond, to put sugar in everything we eat is clearly not a good idea.  I think occassional sugar consumption on a very infrequent basis and combined with low gylcemic foods is just fine.  But eating and drinking sugar 3 – 5 times per day is, in my opinion, is one of the main culprits behind obesity, among other things.  I would love to see more studies on low carb and depression, or low carb and chronic fatigue.

When I was in high school, I used to eat cereal that was loaded with sugar and I would add more sugar by the spoonful because I liked the sweet taste of the milk and sugar leftover after eating the cereal.  Then top that off with some orange juice, maybe a pop tart and wonder why I had problems in school.

By lunch time my blood was so low, I avoided the cafeteria lunch because I didn’t like the crowds.  We had 3300 students in our high school designed for about 1500 and it was a zoo.  Not recognizing that when the blood sugar level drops, it can trigger off a adrenal fight or flight response that has nothing to do with your surroundings. It was simply body chemistry.  And I was on this sugar roller coaster triggering off fear responses for no real reason.

I look back now and wonder if I had eaten eggs and bacon for breakfast, then how different would my experience have been. But se la vie, right?

The other thing I have noticed is that it takes a few days to stabilize my body chemistry on a low carb diet.  But I know now that I will feel better eating low carb – and if I ever go off the diet, when I go back on it’ll take 3 – 5 days, but I will start feeling better again.  For me, I noticed that diet has huge effect on emotions and being sociable and just playing feeling well.

So one of the unique things about the low carb lifestyle, besides losing weight, is the other hidden benefits.  Better sleep quality, it literally reset my nocturnal sleep patterns, and I feel better.  That’s counts for a lot in my book.

Oh yeah, and this other guy had this to say about the matter – “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” –Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)

Low carb diet increased good cholesterol more than low fat diet

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

In a recent study published August 2010 by Temple University’s School of Medicine, the two year study concluded that the Atkins diet™ model was just as effective as a low fat diet for weight loss.  Score yet another one for the low carb lifestyle.  But, it gets better.  Because by the end of the study, the so called ‘good’ cholesterol HDL was BETTER in the low carb group than in the low-fat group.  And the study concluded that any ill health effects on the low carb diet were unfounded.

But low carbers probably already knew this.  It’s no surprise to them.  It’s just nice to see some objective studies that provide some hard evidence.  By the way, this study was funded by the National Institute of Health.

Now the study also emphasized that being successful on low carb or low fat also required appropriate behavioral modifications (like changing and monitoring your eating habits).  Surprise, surprise.  That’s one of the things I like about the low carb approach.  There are no sugar triggers.  Hey, sorbet can be low fat, but it’s also high in sugar.  And for people who are sensitive to sugar this is a recipe for continuing the blood sugar roller coaster ride.

I do think it all comes down to which one your body chemistry is better suited for.  Some people do just fine with low fat diets.  But for me, there are way too many triggers, not to mention fat helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down absorption.  Plus fat = more flavor.  And in another recent study, people who ate a 2,000 low fat calorie diet vs people who ate a 2,000 carlorie low carb diet, the low carb diet group lost weight faster.  And that’s because of ketosis and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

I know that I don’t respond well to many different types of carbs.  So low fat just isn’t going to be as successful for me as low carb.  My body doesn’t respond well to sugar.  In fact, nothing I have tried has been as successful for me as low carb.  The side effects for me?  Weight loss, sleep better, more energy, less mood swings, no naps, etc.

Now here’s the kicker.  If cholesterol is as important as they say it is ( HDL is the good cholesterol) and the low carber were shown to have better HDL levels than low fat dieters, then that seems like an easy choice to me.  I get to eat fat, stabilize my blood sugar levels and improve my heart health?  Pass me some roast beef and broccoli please…

Meat, fat and the glycemic index

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The glycemic index measures how carbohydrates affect blood sugar in the body.  The lower the glycemic index, the less the body reacts to the carbohydrate.  Higher glycemic index foods can cause significant blood sugar spikes, because sugar is quickly broken down by the body for use as fuel.  And with diabetics this can be actually dangerous.

So interestingly enough, meat and fats aren’t really a part of the glycemic index (because they aren’t carbs).  And because they don’t cause a measurable rapid increase in blood sugar levels like carbs do.  Meat and fat, being dense nutrient foods seem to actually help slow the absorption of high glycemic foods.

Which could ultimately mean that if you are prone to blood sugar spikes and the slew of symptoms associated with that, like fatigue, irritability, shakiness, fogginess, etc., then you might want to consider looking at what you are eating.

High glycemic foods are white bread, sugar, potatoes, rice, cereals. All the things that aren’t low carb.  Typically the more processed the food, the higher the glycemic index.

Vegetables, like cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, broccoli are all extremely low on the glycemic index.

So when you eat low glycemic foods, like meat, fat and vegetables, you don’t cause your body to quickly raise blood sugar levels and then convert any excess / unused sugar into fat where it’s stored.

I carried most of my weight in my stomach / mid section.  When I started eating just meat and vegetables, that’s the first thing that started to go.  And go quickly.  I lost 7 inches in 12 weeks.  That’s what I really like about the low carb lifestyle, the speed of the weight loss.

Here’s also what happened in my own experience when I switched to low carb – hence very low glycemic foods.  Besides losing weight unbelievably fast (my friends are literally shocked – cause I’ve been heavy for years), I had a whole host of positive symptoms, like improved mental clarity, better sleep, it literally reset my nocturnal clock, no more grogginess, my circulation has improved radically and I feel more consistent stable energy throughout the day.  No more naps, no more mood swings, no more chronic fatigue, no more food caused blood sugar spikes – it’s really been an eye opening experience.

So for me, right now, I still have alot of weight to lose.  And what I am doing is working like nothing else I have tried.   And so I am gonna keep on doing it.  And when I get down to where I want to be, then I will start adding more of the low to medium glycemic foods with an occasional higher glycemic food, but only when mixed with some protein, fat and vegetables to slow down the absorption rate.

My approach is to get the excess weight off first, because I know that is wreaking havoc on my system and then once I am where I want to be, then I’ll build on that foundation by adding better food choices in the future.

I’m already down 48 lbs in about 12 weeks.  I have at least another 40 to go, but I am definitely headed in the right direction and fast.

Sugar and possible gout? A Low Carb Solution

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

There is alot of buzz on the web these days about a recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine claiming that drinking sugar laden drinks had resulted in a dramatic increase in developing gout.  Gout is an inflammation caused by excessive uric acid in and around the joints, typically below the hips.

In particular the study suggested that soft drinks and fruit drinks with fructose, like OJ, were responsible for the increase in gout in women.  Women were once thought to be more resistant to gout than men, but apparently not so.  It should also be noted that alcohol and beer and foods high in purines are most commonly linked to uric acid increases.

Yet another example of how sugar is wreaking havoc on humanity.  And what’s funny is that people who are drinking OJ think they are doing something good for themselves.  So here’s my suggestion.  If you don’t want to do low carb and still want to have your juice, perhaps try switching to FRESH SQUEEZED.  Meaning squeeze the juice yourself and immediately drink it. You could also drink less of it.  I can’t help to think that this study needs to be refined to see how many of those 70,000+ women they studied were drinking FRESH juice.  I can’t imagine that pasteurization doesn’t somehow affect the enzymes in juice and perhaps even causing it to be more acidic in general.  If you have ever had fresh juice, it tastes totally different than packaged juice.

Or better still, just eat the fruit whole if you want.  You’ll get more fiber, probably more phytochemicals and slow the uptake of the sugar.  The study indicated that eating fruit didn’t cause an increase in gout, but drinking the juice did.  Another idea comes from Dr. James Duke, famed botanist and herbal guru, who has suggested that people try celery seed to help prevent and/or alleviate discomfort from painful gout.

Now I will also say that the problem with studies like this one that are taking large groups of human beings and trying to isolate the active ingredient into what’s causing what.  The challenge being that human beings are unique.  So to me that’s why scientific studies are rarely 100% accurate.  Because there are usually exceptions.  And when generalizing something like this to the nth degree, there could also be other scenarios causing the problem.  And typically another study will come along and have a different finding.  I would imagine that the juice and soda companies are already preparing their own studies.

BUT..here’s the thing and how this obviously relates to low carb.  Low carbers don’t drink sugar laden soda or juice.  Problem solved.  Next…