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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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?

Low Carb Oven Fried Chicken

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while…the only disappointment after having it for dinner last night was that I hadn’t done so sooner!

Oven Fried Chicken

Low Carb Oven Fried Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

Ingredients:

8-12 pieces of dark meat chicken (thighs and/or drumsticks)
2 eggs
3 cups ground pork rinds
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley
4 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Rinse and pat chicken pieces dry.
  2. Whisk eggs in a bowl that will allow you to easily dip chicken pieces.
  3. In a sealable plastic bag combine pork rinds, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and parsley; seal and shake well to mix seasonings well.
  4. Thoroughly dip one piece of chicken in egg wash, being sure to coat all surfaces.
  5. Place chicken piece in seasoning bag, seal, and shake until well and evenly coated; remove from bag and set aside.
  6. Repeat until all chicken is breaded.
  7. Put butter in a pan large enough to accommodate chicken comfortable; place pan in oven until butter melts.
  8. Arrange breaded chicken pieces in pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until temperature of largest piece reaches at least 165 degrees and crust is golden brown and crispy.

source: Vida con Carne

TIP: If it makes life easier, chicken can be breaded in advance and stored in refrigerator until ready to bake. I did this myself yesterday — got it ready to go mid-morning, then waited until mid-afternoon when Brian came home from work to bake it. I took it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature while I took about 10 minutes to heat the oven.

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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Anniversary Dinner Splurge

Brian and I were blessed to celebrate 23 years of marriage this past Saturday. We decided to have a nice meal at home, both in the name of frugality and the fact that he worked a 13+ hour shift that day. Our celebratory feast (enjoyed over a classic Bond film — From Russia with Love)…

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I cooked up a London Broil in the dutch oven, made a batch of homemade Horseradish Sauce, and served with a dish of tasty jus on the side. The aforementioned splurge came in the form of a loaded baked potato which, of course, is the rarest of rarities on our diet! I scrubbed and dried the potatoes, rubbed generously with olive oil and sea salt, and baked at 375 degrees for about an hour and 10 minutes — until soft but not mushy to the squeeze. They were topped with generous amounts of the good stuff: freshly ground black pepper, Kerrygold butter, sour cream, shredded cheese and chives.

2015 Anniversary Dessert

Somehow, we managed to save a little room for another small treat: dessert. We closed the feast with some roasted almonds and dark chocolate!

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