No one can stick to a Low Carb diet for more than three weeks.

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I enjoy unraveling the discordant notes between the headline and the story. This one is fascinating. The Article in the Times Live out of South Africa is such an example. It is entitled: Low-carb kick does not last, Katharine Child, 25 April, 2016. 

Naturally it’s featured picture is that of Professor Tim Noakes. A previous blog post indicated how he is being prosecuted – in part – for his advocacy of Low Carb eating.

The Article reviewed a study that was published in the British journal Diabetic Medicine. This was not original research but an examination of over “153 studies of diabetic patients eating either low-carb or high-carb diets to see which one was better in helping control blood sugar.

Only 12 studies met their criteria of being randomised control studies in which two groups of diabetic people on different diets were followed and compared for four weeks or longer. Dieters also had to report what they ate at the end of their study.

But researchers found no difference in blood sugar control between low-carb and high-carb dieters – possibly because low-carb dieters did not exist.

Say again – “possibly because low-carb dieters did not exist.”

What? They found that the underlying studies were not consistent in defining low carb dieters. But rather than concluding that the studies were not valid and no conclusion could be drawn, they concluded that:

[The] research showed strict low-carb diets might not be attainable because even dieters taking part in a study who visited a dietician 18 times over six months did not stick to their diet all of the time.

So their conclusion went off on a tangent:

The study concluded that calorie intake – energy, food and drinks consumed – was the best predictor of body weight.

Their underlying bias prevented them from coming to any other conclusion. After all – they established their thesis in the opening paragraph quoting a guy who had lost weight on a Low Carb diet and gained it back.

Capetonian Peter Venn lost 22kg on a low-carbohydrate diet in 2014. Then he started eating carbohydrates again and regained the weight.

He said friends and colleagues usually quit their low-carbohydrate diets within three weeks.

A new study supports Venn’s observation: few people adhere to low-carb diets for up to six months.

Let’s just ignore the fact that- an overwhelming percentage of dieters – no matter what the diet regain their lost weight – as I have done many times. Note this quick cite from LiveStong.

Nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years, according to Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Still – there are many of us who have lost the weight by eating Very Low Carb – Normal Protein – High Fat and kept it off over the long run by continuing to eat that way.





Ketosis – Is it Safe?

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My last blog post on April 18, 2016, focused on the value of pairing a Ketogenic Diet with traditional cancer treatments. The simple concept – Cancer cells thrive on glucose and starve when faced with Ketones. This was all over the media for several weeks.

It did not take long for those who disagree with the value of Ketosis to come forward. No – they would not challenge the value in the fight against Cancer – but raise the question – Is Ketosis safe.  The article is entitled: Ketogenic diet could help ‘starve’ tumours — but is it safe for the general population?

The article was published April 18, 2016, in the Yahoo Style section of their Web Site, by Gail Johnson. She is but a style journalist an blogger. The Article starts off on a positive note.

Doctors are monitoring the case of Adam Sorensen, a Calgary teen who was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Following surgery and radiation, he started the ketogenic diet two and a half years ago. His most recent brain scan in March was clean, despite the fact that his type of cancer usually recurs within 18 months.

Sorensen’s diet consists of 80 per cent fat, 15 per cent protein, and five per cent carbs.

We can all pray that Adam wins his fight against Cancer.

But then she makes the following statement: “Not to be mistaken for Atkins, the ketogenic diet is controversial when it comes to being used for weight loss.”

We then get dueling Dietitians.  

Kristen Mancinelli, a registered dietitian and public health nutritionist based in L.A. who is plugging her book “The Ketogenic Diet: The Scientifically Approved Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss” but pulls a CYA with the following:

Mancinelli cautions that people with diabetes, hypoglycemia, kidney disease, or other conditions that disturb metabolism should not attempt to follow a ketogenic diet. Diabetics who attempt a ketogenic diet could trigger ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition for them.

Since this is not in quotes – I can only wonder how accurate this is – particularly the BS about ketoacidosis.

The next dietitian goes further.

Toronto registered dietitian Andrea Falcone, however, says that solid research into the safety and efficacy of a ketogenic diet for weight loss is lacking.

“Everything in the research is short term, small sample size, so you really cannot address huge benefits with…research that has been done to date,” she says, noting that people who have tried the diet for weight loss haven’t been followed over the long term.

By severely restricting carbohydrates, she says, “you are not providing the body with the proper balance of nutrients,” and used over a long period, the diet could be “ very hazardous to our overall health.

There is so much solid research being done by real scientists. Why do we get a dietitian mouthing off half truths and spreading myths?

Yes – that type of reporting raises my blood pressure and makes me want to go out and eat an entire deep dish pizza.

Ketosis – On the Front Line in the Cancer Fight!

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A recent report in MedicalXpress entitled “Lower-carb diet slows growth of aggressive brain tumor in mouse models” has been getting a lot of play on line.

University of Florida Health researchers have slowed a notoriously aggressive type of brain tumor in mouse models by using a low-carbohydrate diet.

A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that included a coconut oil derivative helped reduce the growth of glioblastoma tumor cells and extended lifespan in mouse models by 50 percent, researchers found. The results were published recently in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Once again we find that a Ketogenic Diet will effectively starve the cancer cells that thrive on glucose.

What is interesting is that they used a modified Low Carb diet which provided 10% of the diet from Carbs. Extrapolating – then a person who needs 2,400 calories to stay in place, would ingest 240 calories from Carbs or about 60 grams – a bit more than the 20-30 that would guarantee Ketosis. 

To this diet they added Coconut oil derivative – basically MCT oil which produces Ketones in the presence of Carbs. This provided the extra-energy while allowing a restricted level of Carbs.

While both the ketogenic and modified high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets showed similar effectiveness against tumors in the mouse models, Reynolds said the latter is more nutritionally complete and potentially more appealing to cancer patients because it offers more food choices.

Ah – the old myth shows up – a Ketogenic Diet is inherently not nutritionally complete because it doesn’t allow Carbs. >sigh<

Reynolds said the modified high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet also has another distinct advantage: Cancer patients could potentially find it more palatable because they can eat more carbohydrates and protein than they could on a classic ketogenic diet.

“When you’re sick, you need as many comforts in your life as you can get and food is a huge comfort. That’s the idea: Could we develop a beneficial diet but make it much easier for patients?” Reynolds said.

Bluntly – if I was fighting cancer – I am not sure I would worry about comfort food.

No one is suggesting that eating a VLCHF diet will cure cancer – but if it can be a tool in the treatment tool box – then by all means – go for it.

Sleep Low Variation of Low Carbing

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There is a new variation on the theme called Sleep-low. Flying in the face of the classic advice by trainers that athletes should indulge heavily with carbs in preparation for endurance races.


We’ve reported on various Low Carb Gurus advocating Ketosis so that your body relies upon its huge stores of fat rather than its limited supplies of glycogen. One of the best books on this is “What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat,” Schofield, Grant; Zinn, Caryn; Rodger, Craig (2015-12-02). The Real Food Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.

Now comes another view point – or variation on the theme.

So researchers at the French National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance in Paris and other institutions began to wonder about the possibilities of modified forms of low-carb diets, and specifically about what scientists call “sleeping low.”

With a “sleep-low” sports diet, an athlete skips carbohydrates at dinner. In the morning, his or her body should have low reserves of the macronutrient, and any ensuing workouts would force the body to turn to fat, its most abundant fuel.

The following is the link to the abstract of the study, in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. I love the title to the study 

Enhanced Endurance Performance by Periodization of Carbohydrate Intake: “Sleep Low” Strategy

21 competitive triathletes where broken into two groups. Both ate the same total amount of Carbs each day, except one group spread their eating out over the entire day while the other consumed their Carbs for breakfast and lunch but not for dinner.

At the same time, all of the athletes also began a new training program. In the afternoon, both groups completed a draining, intense interval-training session, designed to increase fitness and deplete the body’s carbohydrate stores. The members of the control group then replenished their carbohydrates at dinner; the sleep-low group did not.

The next morning, before breakfast, the volunteers pedaled for an hour at a moderate pace on stationary bicycles. By this time, the sleep-low group was running on carbohydrate fumes and body fat.

This cycle continued for three weeks. The result – the sleep-low group improved by 3% while the other group did not. Also, the sleep-low group lost body fat while – again – the others did not.

This is just one type of Carb cycling. Based on the research by Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney in the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. As well as “What The Fat? Sports Performance” we would expect this result and possibly a better one of the athletes were truly Keto Adapted.

Tim Noakes – Witch Hunt

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There is a Witch Hunt going on in South Africa. Tim Noakes has been accused of Sorcery and is undergoing a Trial by Fire. Wait – you don’t know who he is. He’s South Africa’s Atkins. They are  going after his medical license.  

South Africa’s regulatory body for health professionals lodged a formal complaint and has been holding a series of hearings against him generally reserved for doctors who commit fraud or harm patients. His medical license is at stake. Noakes’s detractors see a respected, powerful person who gave dangerous advice. He and his supporters and lawyers see a personal vendetta against a contrarian prompted by food companies that need people to eat carbs.  

They may be going after him because of his position of eating low carb. Check out his book The Real Meal Revolution. But the hook – his response on Twitter to a question by a mother who was nursing her baby.

The saga started in 2014 where so many conflicts arise these days: Twitter. Noakes fired off a tweet to a woman who asked whether a low carb, high fat diet was OK for breastfeeding mothers. He responded it was, and the key was to “ween baby onto LCHF.” 

I may be a fan of health care professionals who support the concept of LCHF as opposed to what mainstream diets have been for the past 40 years – BUT – I am not a fan of Twitter. Professionals should not dispense advice in that format. 140 characters is not enough room to say what must be said. 

He shot himself in the foot. Still – standing alone – is what he said in that Twitter discourse a reason to revoke his license – or merely sanction him?

Similar complaints have been filed against Oprah’s favorite – Dr. Oz.

I am not his judge. I do not know the rules of the game in South Africa nor a clear understanding of the complaint against him.

Unfortunately – this has turned into a trial of the validity of LCHF as a safe dietary approach.

Note: This was published on 4-6-2016 but when I checked this morning – it was back to being a draft – I’ve no understanding of what happened.

Snoops for Health Research and Reporting

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Snops.com is a great resource. I’ve learned that if an internet post just doesn’t smell right, to check the story out with this great resource. I’ve learned my lesson well, after sharing some of the stupidest posts.

Men’s Health recently posted a story, Meet the Guy Who Calls Out B.S. Health News For a Living about Gary Schwitzer, who does the same thing for all those health related reports that show up in the news media every day.

The site is called Health News Review. Not bad.

I particularly like it’s rating system and it’s Tool Kit for evaluating the various reports and studies.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

Exercise as Self Medication


Stress comes from many sources. Work, family, emotional turmoil, illness, and loss. How each of us deals with stress is as varied as who we are.

Some meditate. Some turn to therapy. Some turn to their Doc for a happy pill. Others turn to God. There are a few who self medicate with alcohol or drugs.

The last four years have been extraordinarily stressful for this guy. Almost 4 years ago my wife had a serious stroke and was in residential re-hab for 3 months. She could no longer be my business partner. 3 1/2 years ago my son’s cardiac condition stopped him from working in our family business. 3 years ago he had open heart surgery and was on life support for close to 3 weeks. Last winter, I fell and fractured my new right hip just 2 1/2 weeks after surgery. Another surgery ensued, a month in the hospital and 3 months of rehab. This past week my son once again had open heart surgery and is now in the ICU – doing well – thank you. 

It has been a helluva a 4 years. – Oh wait – I forgot – my mother was in a Nursing home during this period and passed away 3 years ago.

During all of this, it would have been easy for me to pop a pill, dive into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Fuhgedaboud exercise.

What I found was that continuing my routine of going to the gym each morning and doubling down on my eating plan, kept me sane and gave me the strength to face each day.

Yes, for me, the structure of the 52DC and daily routine of exercising, was and is my self-medication. The gym became my sanctum sanctorum. 

And now you know why this Blog has been silent for while. Been a little busy. 

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