A ‘Well Designed’ Ketogenic Diet?

Four years on, and three hundred pounds lighter, as you might imagine I’ve had a conversation or two (hundred) on the subject of weight loss and dieting with folks.

Invariably I mention a ketogenic diet (LCHF) as what I believe the human body was designed to eat* and just as invariably I receive this response…

“Oh, I did that and it didn’t work for me.”

I literally had this exact conversation with a young weight lifter at work who is convinced that giant sugary shakes, so long as they are filled with fruit, are the ne plus ultra of healthy.  When I mentioned a ketogenic diet he insisted he had done, and doggone it, it just didn’t work for him and to boot he felt awful for weeks.

It has become my custom at this point in the conversation to ask some pointed questions about what they ate and their basic understanding of the keto diet.  As a rule they either ate too many carbs or didn’t eat enough fat.

In his case he did not eat enough fat.  His statement, and I quote was in all it’s glorious indignance, “but I ate steak!”

Ahem

You may note that none of the cuts of beef, steak included rise to eighty percent of calories from fat.  Mind you he had no idea what I was talking about, none.

My simple formulation of a properly formulated ketogenic diet is less than 20 grams of carbs (with ideally zero from highly processed sources) and more than 80% of calories from saturated fats.  Animal fats being preferable.

On the flip side many I speak with try the amazing tactic of essentially trying to smuggle highly processed carbs into their, ahem, ‘well designed’ ketogenic diet as though you could debate the correct number of carbs with your metabolism.

Heh, um no.

The truth is that the human body thrives on a ketogenic diet. That loud noise you hear is the sound of folk protecting their addiction. Don’t worry, it rapidly goes away as they get into ketosis!

 

*Though I do think when you have achieved your weight loss goals it may be possible to transition to something more like standard Paleo or some such.  I do think straight Keto is a medical diet which helps you lose weight and restore your metabolism to proper functioning and you may or may not need to be on it forever.  However I do not think the human body was designed to eat any grains whatsoever.

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Monday Linkage & Stray Thoughts

Just saw this while enjoying my morning constitutional…

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Hmmmm. Taubes said it would take twenty years from the publication of his book. How far in are we now?

Saw this on my Facebook timeline over the weekend: what do we call a thousand anecdotes? Key graph: “Despite objection from Andrew’s initial doctors, he chose to discontinue standard therapies pursuing instead an unconventional approach via nutrition.”

On this weekend’s comment kerfluffle: my blog my rules. Here’s what baffles me, I thought the meme in question was at very worst ‘cute.’ I assure you I am not trying to be offensive to sane people, so if you find yourself offended take the hint. Lots of fine blogs out there.

ever wondered why the ‘Dietary Guidelines For Americans’ is such a godawful mess? Wonder no more. I grew up in Chicago so believe when I tell you that I understand the problem right down to the ground.

French Onion Dip (low carb)

I’ve really been making an effort to avoid prepared products of any kind. One of the things we had been buying was flavored dip for Pork Rinds so I decided to whip up a batch of low carb French Onion Dip. It only requires four ingredients…

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Plop those four ingredients in a good sized bowl…(Sour cream, fresh garlic, beef base, pepper, to taste)

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Stir like crazy for a minute or two and shazam…

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Dip & enjoy!

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“Medical Reversals?”

An interesting NYT blog piece on medical reversals

The consequences of medical reversal are complicated. For starters, reversal challenges the notion that medicine is scientific — the premise that a century ago helped doctors to exorcise images of snake oil and hucksterism. But despite impressive progress, faith in medical leadership is currently at its lowest point in 50 years, a decline likely accelerated by a widespread sense that medical dogma often flip-flops.

On a practical level, reversals also mean accomplishing the near impossible: convincing people to abandon strongly-held convictions. Antibiotics have been used for ear infections for so long, and so pervasively, that years after studies showed they do more harm than good, parents and doctors continue to believe.

Anybody who is currently following a low carb high fat diet and has made the mistake of mentioning this salient fact to their physician is all too familiar with this phenomenon. How resistant to new facts M.D.’s can be.

The reasons treatments like antibiotics for ear infections persist are complicated. Patient expectation, patient-doctor communication, cultural norms, time pressures and financial factors all contribute, making solutions fraught. Meanwhile, scientifically-debunked practices remain common, and troubling.

Shall we add ‘lipiphobia‘ to that list? (related)

So how does this happen?

The pattern repeats: A promising new therapy or technology is introduced based on weak data and later, more rigorous studies discredit the practice. When I spoke with Dr. Prasad, he suggested a more staid, scientific approach. “The adoption of practices based on little or no good evidence is our biggest problem,” he said. “If we decide to use new technologies while waiting for definitive studies, they should be labeled ‘experimental,’ and patients should be counseled appropriately.”

Kinda like this?

The great, flaming irony here is that lipophobia is arguably the biggest and most damaging experiment ever conducted on a human population in the history of the world. And though the data is in, unbelievably it is still ongoing

We spend more time sick now than a decade ago
Despite longer life spans, fewer years are disease-free

Original paper: Mortality and Morbidity Trends: Is There Compression of Morbidity? Eileen M. Crimmins and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci (2010)

A 20-year-old today can expect to live one less healthy year over his or her lifespan than a 20-year-old a decade ago, even though life expectancy has grown. (snip)

The average number of healthy years has decreased since 1998. We spend fewer years of our lives without disease, even though we live longer. (snip)

Functional mobility was defined as the ability to walk up ten steps, walk a quarter mile, stand or sit for 2 hours, and stand, bend or kneel without using special equipment. (snip)

A male 20-year-old today can expect to spend 5.8 years over the rest of his life without basic mobility, compared to 3.8 years a decade ago — an additional two years unable to walk up ten steps or sit for two hours. A female 20-year-old can expect 9.8 years without mobility, compared to 7.3 years a decade ago.

And among serious medical folk the subject of nutrition, other than scolding patients to do low fat/high carb harder, is simply not on their radar in any appreciable way. In fact to bring it up will get you a condescending sneer and a lecture about the dangers of animal fat. We know, when we were improving our health massively by doing the exact opposite of what modern medical science recommends Michelle was seeing multiple Doctors, everyone of whom was running full panel tests on her.

To a one they would enter the examination room marveling at Michelle’s improvement and wonder what she was doing. When we informed them that it was simply LCHF (blank look) Atkins, they would recoil in horror and insist we stop immediately as Atkins was dangerous, everybody knows that!

With the exception of the nephrologist, he was interested until he learned it was a dietary intervention and said “Boy, I wish we could make a Pharma for that.”

To which we replied, “there is a Pharma Doc, food.” As this flew in the face of his received religion he just tuned us out. Here’s what we think, if the average American reversed their diet, eating large amounts of saturated fat preferably from animals and eliminating processed carbs most hospitals could eliminate eighty percent of their current volume.

And perhaps that is why the medical profession always reacts with hostility to this simple idea?

Doing Low Carb Wrong?

Offered without comment

Witnesses told police this week that they pleaded with Boone county resident, Audrey Ranch, 62, to stop hurting her son’s pit bull, but she refused.

“Eventually she bit Pedro’s acorns clean off right there in the front yard,” a witness said. “Pedro hightailed it screeching like a wild Indian and when I tried to subdue Audrey, she knocked me out with an old tricycle.”

Realizing the police had been called and knowing she had time to hide (it is a 45 minute drive to her house), Mrs. Ranch cut off a length of garden hose, dug a hole and had her son help bury her. She used the garden hose as a breathing apparatus.

Officers from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office arrived, unburied Ranch and arrested her without incident.

Ranch explained her actions to police: “My son ate all the meat and I had warned him if he ate all the meat, I’d eat his dog.”

The dog underwent emergency surgery and is expected to make a full recovery. Ranch is facing charges of aggravated animal cruelty.

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Is Metabolic Syndrome Responsible For Increased Death Rate?

This story has been floating around for a couple of weeks in various forms

Why has the mortality rate for middle age white Americans gone up dramatically since 1999 – even as it has gone down for other groups of Americans and whites in other countries? (snip)

The study released this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the surprising rise in middle-age, white mortality in America from 1999 to 2013 was driven by a rise in suicide, drug abuse, and alcoholism. The trends were strongest among those with the least education and in the predominantly red South and West, with the authors suggesting a vicious cycle of physical pain and addiction to painkillers, compounded by fiscal uncertainty.

“[M]any of the baby-boom generation are the first to find, in midlife, that they will not be better off than were their parents,” the authors write.

Meanwhile, data show that the primary red axis of the country, running from Appalachia to the Southern coastal plains, is the epicenter of some of the nation’s greatest stresses. It’s here that the lack of well-paying jobs and large-scale abandonment of the job market are most pronounced, where obesity and health problems are most dire, where Walmart is winning a race to the bottom of what the American consumer can afford amid stagnating wages, and where the rising dependence on disability and Medicare is most pronounced.

Chaser…

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Chart courtesy of gnolls.org

“We spend more time sick now than a decade agoDespite longer life spans, fewer years are disease-free”

A 20-year-old today can expect to live one less healthy year over his or her lifespan than a 20-year-old a decade ago, even though life expectancy has grown. (snip)

The average number of healthy years has decreased since 1998. We spend fewer years of our lives without disease, even though we live longer. (snip)

Functional mobility was defined as the ability to walk up ten steps, walk a quarter mile, stand or sit for 2 hours, and stand, bend or kneel without using special equipment.

A male 20-year-old today can expect to spend 5.8 years over the rest of his life without basic mobility, compared to 3.8 years a decade ago — an additional two years unable to walk up ten steps or sit for two hours. A female 20-year-old can expect 9.8 years without mobility, compared to 7.3 years a decade ago. (snip)

“There is substantial evidence that we have done little to date to eliminate or delay disease while we have prevented death from diseases,” Crimmins explained. “At the same time, there have been substantial increases in the incidences of certain chronic diseases, specifically, diabetes.”

From 1998 to 2006, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease increased among older men, the researchers found. Both older men and women showed an increased prevalence of cancer. Diabetes increased significantly among all adult age groups over age 30.

The proportion of the population with multiple diseases also increased. (snip)

“The growing problem of lifelong obesity and increases in hypertension and high cholesterol are a sign that health may not be improving with each generation,” Crimmins said. “We do not appear to be moving to a world where we die without experiencing significant periods of disease, functioning loss, and disability.”

So, the key thing I want to note here is that all the “diseases” that are returning with such a vengeance are what are known as “diseases of civilization.” These are the very “diseases” that the modern ‘heart-healthy-whole-sugars’ experiment was meant to address.

Why are people finding themselves in pain in middle age, as I did?

Why are people living fewer healthy, pain free years?

Perhaps because we were listening to the gubmint which insisted that we keep on keeping on with the high carb lifestyle and they would find some sort of magic cure. Yeah, right.

Instead we took the ‘radical’ step of eliminating sugars from our diet and, hold onto your hats, our diseases of civilization vanished. No expensive drugs required, no Doctors required whatsoever, and as a matter of fact Doctors fought our leaving the ‘heart-healthy-whole-sugars’ & ‘sell-U-stuff-health-care’ model.

Really, they did.

I can tell you that after seven years of being massively, morbidly obese, being unable to work and in constant, chronic pain I seriously considered killing myself. It wasn’t a life in any way shape or form. I literally praise God that he showed me a way to return to life but I have a sneaking suspicion that my experience mirrors that of the folks who find themselves over medicated and addicted to pain killers.

So, I’m here to tell you that if you find yourself in the place I was, sick fat and nearly dead, to borrow a phrase, there is hope. It can be done.

You have been cynically fed a diet by interests that want you buying cheap to produce food that will hurt your health and leave you addicted, with promises that modern medicine will swoop in to save the day.

But oops!

That hasn’t actually happened, people just keep getting fatter and sicker with no end in sight.

If you find yourself here today read this.

And know that it’s not impossible. Michelle and I both have profoundly changed our health by eliminating sugars and carbs from our diet and increasing saturated fat to at least 80% of calories.

Not only is it not impossible, it’s not even particularly difficult. A big change to be sure but not impossible.

Update: I meant to mention this