Monday, April 30, 2007

Carb Controversy: Tackled From Both Sides.

Okay here we go...

Have you guys seen this 5 part series by Diabetes Health?

It is a joke...

Firstly, they start of with an article by Dr Barry Groves. He believes that it is carbs not fat that causes weight gain. Fat does not raise our blood sugars or insulin levels, but carbohydrates do. Insulin is a fat storing hormone shuttling excess carbohydrates and other calories straight to our fats cells. This is what makes us put on weight and what prevents us from losing it.

They then forward this theory on to two other doctors, one a low fat vegan and the other a low carb diabetic.

First reply is from the low fat vegan who also happens to be president of PCRM, Dr Neal D. Barnard.

His response, basically is that he believes that populations such as Asians who stick to a a typical rice based diet, enjoy low rates of diabetes and obesity. He then, goes on to say that when these people drop their rice based diets in favour of meatier western diets, that somehow their carbohydrate intakes fall (yes you heard that right) and their weight problems and diabetes increases.

But also he comes out with the usual rubbish that animal protein diets lead to renal damage...

On a side note, if you look in the comments section of that article you will see this:

As Dennis Kucinich said this week, since adopting this diet, he feels so much younger, energetic and is able to campaign for president like he never could have before.

This is nothing personal against vegans BUT the US have a low fat vegan campaigning for president?

OMG... I will say no more! ;)

Back to the topic, next we have the response from Dr Richard Bernstein. He comments that virtually the entire evolution of mankind occurred when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, well before the inventions of agriculture and animal husbandry. He states that they ate lean meat and fish, as well as small amounts of lowcarb vegetables, whilst others lived on just high fat and protein, from mammals and fish, for example, Eskimo's. Both of these enjoyed no coronary, kidney, or arterial disease as well as no diabetes or tooth decay.

The series then moves on to the final article, their proposed optimal eating plan for type 2 diabetes.

Instead of discussing the three views that were just expressed and their validity they instead ignore that saying Let’s be realistic and take a long-term perspective in this “which diet is best” debate, rather than wasting time quibbling over extremes—from low-carb to vegan and conclude:

A number of studies that compare low carb diets to conventional diets demonstrate early initial weight loss and improvement in other health parameters, such as blood glucose control (1,2). But studies of lowcarb diets that last longer than six months do not show significantly more weight loss. They do show that many study subjects drop out of the study and are unable to stick with the diet. (1,2)

Okay so lets just say there is no statistically significant difference in weight loss after 6 months... what about the other health parameters that are statistically significant by a mile compared to their low fat counterparts?

What, they don't mean anything? Not even to the many people suffering diabetes and the assorted complications that come with it?

How can that go by un-mentioned, something SO SIGNIFICANT something that it seems only LOW CARB is capable of doing so well...

Proof? here are just a few:

Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects and Reginas article about it.

Dietary Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus in the Pre-Insulin Era (1914-1922)

Low-carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes. Stable improvement of body weight and glycemic control during 22 months follow-up

The metabolic response to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet to Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Effects of a Low-Carb Regimen on Glycemic Control and Serum Lipids in Diabetes Mellitus

A low carbohydrate diet in type 1 diabetes: clinical experience--a brief report

Virtually continuous euglycemia for 5 yr in a labile juvenile-onset diabetic patient under non invasive closed-loop control.

They then go on to say...

Low-carbohydrate diets are not recommended by the American Diabetes Association for two key reasons. First, avoiding carbohydrate, as some lowcarb diets suggest, does not entirely return blood glucose levels to the normal range after meals.

What... low carb doesn't and low fat does?

If it isn't capable of that, then why have I heard so many stories over the years of some low carb diabetics even being able to cease taking their drugs? What low fat or vegan diet does that?

And even if it doesn't entirely, from my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) low carb diets usually provided marked improvement in blood glucose levels... is that not good enough?

Proof? Read the studies I linked above!

Second, an adequate amount of carbohydrate is an important component of a healthy eating plan, providing essential fuel, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.(3,4)

Essential fuel? Since when have carbohydrates been essential?

I have heard plenty about essential amino acids and essential fatty acids but essential carbohydrates? That's news to me!

Simply put, diets that force people to dramatically change their eating style are not maintained over the long haul. These diets require too dramatic change compared to the common, albeit not healthy, eating habits of the 21st century.

So what does that mean, that we should continue eating our albeit not healthy diet and take drugs instead?

Or we do a high carbohydrate, low fat diet and... take drugs instead...

And is the retention rate on a low fat diet any better then a low carb one? Personally, my guess would be no, and I'd imagine even worse as low carb diets and fat satisfy our hunger better then anything else. But that's just my guess... ;)

Does anyone ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe one big reason why people have trouble sticking to a low carbohydrate diet is because of all this low fat, low protein propaganda floating around being thrown at them every where they look?

By their doctor, their diabetes educator, the heart foundation, schools, dietitian's, government, television, absolutely EVERYWHERE...

It is crazy, absolutely crazy, lets all sell ourselves short so people can make money off of our bad health.

Just to finish this off, considering it wasn't addressed in the series (heck was anything addressed?), here is a couple of research articles regarding the low carb and kidneys arguement. I thought there was another study, which I can't think of right now (if anyone knows please share):

A low-carbohydrate diet may prevent end-stage renal failure in type 2 diabetes. A case report

Prolonged Meat Diets With a Study on Kidney Function And Ketosis

Anyway, just keep in mind that there is a very strong association between metabolic syndrome and kidney disease... Now, what diet is best for improving metabolic syndrome? That's right... Low Carb :)


Monday, April 23, 2007

Food Additives

I have decided to do some posts on some of the nasty food additives that we commonly eat. I think we tend to just focus on the carbs being evil too much and forget about what else we put into our mouths and our children's mouths. No-one really seems to talk about these much in low carb circles even though, there's plenty of endorsements for low carb products. Yet, when you look at their ingredients list *gasp* sometimes I wonder if they are any better then the item they are trying to replace...

If you feel you do fine with food additives well that's your decision but, that's no excuse for ignorance. The reason I say that is, because when it comes to our children this is a much bigger problem so it really is good to be aware. Children generally eat a ton of additive laden foods in fact, for many children, that's practically all they eat. When you consider how small they are you realise, that's alot of additives per pound of their body weight.

No wonder theres so many kids climbing the walls these days!

However, even if you feel that additives don't effect you, just keep in mind in cases of food intolerance's, effects often don't become apparent immediately, it can take up to a few days for the effect to become apparent. Not only that, intolerance's are often cumulative in that, they build up in your system over time until you reach your tolerance level. Also, your tolerance level can change through out your lifetime and be triggered by all sorts of things such as hormones, illness, medications and stress.

Today, I am going to focus on a preservative, calcium propionate or otherwise known as the number 282. This preservative is way too common in Australia and to my understanding, that it is also common in the US as well. The worst thing about this preservative is that it is in our daily bread, and yes we lowcarbers don't escape it either as it is in our low carb breads too. Not, just loaves of bread but any bread product like bread crumbs and wraps. For the low carb Aussies you will find it in your Empower and Subway wraps. Apparently, this can now be found in cheese, dried fruits and juices as well. Not only that, but because you find it in bread crumbs you also find it in sausages, stuffing, crumbed meats, meat patties etc...

Why is it used? Here is a quote from a fact sheet from fed up with food additives that explains it well.

Isn't it important to keep our bread fresh?

Contrary to what the food industry would like you to believe, this additive is not to keep your bread fresh. Calcium propionate (282) is added to inhibit the growth of mould. There is no mould on a freshly baked loaf of bread, so why use a mould inhibitor? Bakers who keep their work benches and slicer blades clean and mould-free, by wiping with vinegar every day, do not need this additive. However, bakers in large factories prefer the less time-consuming method of "fogging" their equipment with a chemical spray. Putting hot loaves in plastic bags makes the problem worse. Preservative 282 is for the convenience of the manufacturer not the consumer.

Like MSG, 282 can also be hidden on the label, I don't know about in the US and other countries but in Australia it can be hidden in whey powder because, like MSG, it can be produced naturally. To avoid listing it in their products, they culture it in whey and can still label their product 'preservative free'. Sometimes you can spot this when they list it as cultured whey butapparently they don't have to list it as cultured whey.

282 can effect both adults and children as well as be passed through breast milk. Some common symptoms include asthma, bed wetting, behavioural disorders and ADHD, concentration and memory problems, congestion, depression, fatigue, a host of gastric upsets, headaches and migraines,immunosuppression,irritability, learning difficulties, nightmares, sleeping problems, skin rashes and the list goes on.

And before you fob this one off, I have known of quite a few families that have found 282 effects their children. It seems very common place,at least here in Australia, so common that some major manufacturers have bowed down to public pressure and lobbying and stopped using it in their products.

Research on 282:
Controlled trial of cumulative behavioural effects of a common bread preservative.

Numerous anecdotal evidence as well as details on research on rats I urge you to go have a read through peoples experiences with 282 and their children.

Preservative 282 isn't the only proprionate that you need to look out for, there are 3 others as well:

Propionic Acid - 280
Sodium Propionate - 281
Potassium Propionate - 283

We have a thread going which I will try to keep updated with anything new I come across on 282, Bread Preservative (282) and if anyone else comes across anything new I would love to see it there!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Exclusive Breast-Feeding and HIV Transmission


Sorry about being a bit slack with my posting of late but life has been very hectic for me lately.

This isn't a low carb article but it is very interesting all the same and I wanted to share it:

Basically what it was about, is the rate of HIV infection in newborns from infected mothers in South Africa and whether exclusive breastfeeding from the infected mother helps or hinders the rate of infections.

You would assume that breastfeeding from infected mothers would make things worse yet according to this article these were the statistics:

Of the 1372 HIV-infected women, 1132 (83%) chose exclusive breast-feeding. The median duration of exclusive breast-feeding was 159 days (67% for ≥ 3 months; 40% for 6 months). Among exclusively breast-fed infants who were HIV-negative at or after 6 weeks, the cumulative risk for infection after 5 months (i.e., at about 6 months of age) was 4%. Infants who received solids along with breast milk were nearly 11 times more likely than exclusively breast-fed infants to become HIV-infected. Infants born to mothers with CD4 counts <200>3 were more likely to become HIV infected or to die than were those born to mothers with counts >500 cells/mm3. Overall mortality at 3 months was more than twice as high with replacement feeding as with exclusive breast-feeding (15% vs. 6%).


Here is the article with the link to the abstract:

Exclusive Breast-Feeding and HIV Transmission