It's March and you know that means--MARCH MADNESS!!! No, not those silly little basketball games on television, ya'll, but a whole buncha great stories about diet, health, and nutrition that you WON'T want to miss. So, if you've been looking for the very latest and greatest health news and information, then look no further. It's here! ENJOY!
1. VUE WEEKLY SPEAKS TRUTH ABOUT HEART HEALTH
I LOVE it when some of the main themes of what we talk about here at my blog sneak into the mainstream press every once in a while. This column by health columnist Connie Howard from last month was simply too amazing NOT to share with you. She says reducing dietary cholesterol does very little to lower cholesterol levels in the body and statin drugs aren't the answer either! YEAH!!! Finally, we've got some sanity in this world from somebody writing about health. Here are my favorite highlights of the article:
"One overlooked but key bit of information is that dietary carb intake stimulates insulin production, high levels of which alter blood profiles like nothing else does...High insulin levels required to deal with high-carb eating increase LDL cholesterol production and decrease protective HDL. Chest pain and heart attacks are more likely after a high-carb meal than after a high-fat meal—because raised insulin levels cause arterial constriction and arterial plaque formation...High insulin levels also increase homocysteine levels (a heart disease risk), and there’s a pile of research showing that low-carb eaters score significantly better on all markers of heart disease than low-fat eaters. And though a meta-analysis of the literature back in 2000 concluded that dietary saturated fat has no significant effect on heart disease mortality, low-saturated-fat diets are still routinely recommended."
You can send Connie Howard a quick note of thanks for speaking the truth about heart health by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
2. DANCING AROUND THE CANCER/CARBOHYDRATE CONNECTION
Dr. Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Medicine is one of America's leading voices regarding health today. Although I have my issues with some of what he believes and promotes (although he was very open to low-carb living for people needing weight loss in a recent interview ), I do think he tries to follow the science wherever it leads him. His current focus is on cancer and the inevitable obesity link that is there. Admitting a low-fat diet and a high fruits and veggies diet have not been working, Dr. Willett stopped just short of recommending livin' la vida low-carb as a means for treating cancer. But we've seen some incredible studies on brain cancer , pancreatic cancer , esophageal cancer , kidney cancer , breast cancer , and prostate cancer , among others, all being improved by a reduced-carbohydrate therapy, so perhaps leaders like Dr. Willett will come around in due course. When we see studies like this from The American Journal of Gastroenterology pointing to carbohydrate as the culprit in esophageal cancer, it's VERY difficult to ignore any longer.
3. "LIGHTEN UP 4 LIFE" EVENT FEATURES LOW-CARB SUCCESS
Just up the road from me is a town called Asheville, North Carolina and a group of four people from the local newspaper there decided to join a weight loss challenge called "Lighten Up 4 Life." In the first month of the competition, the four team members lost a combined 68 pounds--six percent of their body weight--to take the early lead. They ditched the junk food and went on a low-carb diet with moderate exercise. SWEET!!! Way to go, Team Doublewides (that's what they called themselves!). While they talked about eating "all that meat," the good thing is they are getting a taste of what this lifestyle change can do for them. KEEP IT UP!!!
4. NINE HABITS OF HEALTHY HEART DOCTORS? YEAH RIGHT!
Hold your gag reflex before reading this one! A group of cardiologists were asked to name their secrets to keeping their heart so healthy and you're not gonna believe some of these suggestions--take aspirin, take statin drugs (EEK!), take blood pressure meds, and get drunk (okay, they didn't say that, but they did recommend drinking a little bit of alcohol each day). But not all of it was bad either, like don't worry, take fish oil supplements, eat well, and exercise regularly. It's an interesting read, although I wouldn't do all nine of these if you PAID me. And my heart is quite healthy, thank you very much!
5. DIETPOLICY.COM UTTERLY CLUELESS ABOUT LOW-CARB
One of my readers pointed me to this web site DietPolicy.com and their page about livin' la vida low-carb--WOW, what an eyeopener that is! The part that really got to my reader and I totally agreed this was absolutely preposterous was this:
"For low carb diet regimens, careful meal preparation is a must and the urge to snack has to be overcome at all costs. Undertaking such an eating plan requires a considerable amount of willpower, so before choosing a low carb diet it's important to consider all the potential benefits and drawbacks to be certain you know exactly what you're getting into."
Say who what? Are these people serious? I don't carefully measure my foods now that I'm low-carbing--that's what I did when I was a low-fat dieter! NEVERMORE! I'm not constantly having the "urge to snack" because the fat and protein in the foods I eat keep me very satisfied. And willpower? It doesn't take willpower to live this lifestyle, but rather a steadfast resolve to make better choices for the sake of your health. Willpower is what you'll need as you suffer through that low-fat diet. I did it in 1999 and willed my way to a 170-pound weight loss--but gained it ALL BACK within four months because I was sick and tired of living so miserably. Like I said, NEVERMORE!!!
Contact DietPolicy.com using this online form to let them know just how wrong they are about the low-carb way of life. Share YOUR positive experiences eating this way and request they remove that idiotic quote about willpower. Are people really THIS dopey nowadays?!
6. EATING EGGS ON LOW-CARB MODULATES THE INFLAMMATION
You gotta love it when a study like this one comes along and flies all in the face of conventional wisdom regarding health. Published in Nutrition & Metabolism , the researchers tested the theory that consuming eggs (which I HIGHLY recommend ) would cause more inflammation in the body of overweight men. But that's not what they found. On the contrary, eggs acted as an ANTI-INFLAMMATORY theorized to be due in part to the cholesterol in them increasing HDL good cholesterol while the antioxidant lutein modulates the inflammation response. One of the researchers on this study is Dr. Jeff Volek from the University of Connecticut who I will be meeting in Phoenix, Arizona next month for a symposium on saturated fat (where he'll no doubt be sharing about this published study from late last year). I hope to interview him to get more information about this and other fascinating studies he has been conducting.
7. GARY TAUBES INTERVIEWED IN RENO PUBLICATION
The continued shockwaves that have come from the September 2007 release of Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes are being felt as the message of fat is good, carbohydrate is bad seeps its way into the arena of ideas regarding health. The more this happens, the more people will begin to understand the bill of goods they've been sold over the years. At the end of the column, Taubes said we need a large detailed study of at least a decade long on the impact of refined carbohydrates and fat on our diet and health to begin ASAP! AMEN!!! Look for renewed interest in the Taubes book this Fall when it releases in paperback for the first time.
8. GAINING WEIGHT ON A LOW-FAT DIET
Shhhhh, you're not supposed to tell anybody this who goes on a low-fat diet, but there's something that will almost inevitably happen for those who do--WEIGHT GAIN! Yikes!!! Why? Because long-term weight loss requires that you do things that are natural and cutting back on fat and calories is NOT. The less food you eat, especially satisfying fatty foods, and the hungrier your appetite. This leads to eating more food to try to fill those cravings, but consuming the lower-fat ones just leave you hungrier and hungrier. My low-carb supporting friend from the UK Dr. John Briffa (who I hope to interview for my podcast show VERY soon!) details this conundrum brilliantly in this column that you absolutely MUST READ!
9. THE 25 "WORST" DIET PLANS...MAYBE, MAYBE NOT!
I'm always wary of lists that purport to give you the "best" or "worst" diets because who's to say which plan is good or bad for any one person. I mean, unless you're starving yourself or consuming toxic chemicals in your body, how bad can a diet be? According to THIS list, Atkins is at the top! Here's the explanation for why it is a "ridiculous and ineffective" plan for weight loss:
"Although wildly popular, and quite effective for some people, the Atkins diet is just not sustainable for most dieters. This diet cuts out healthy foods like fruit, and adopts a limited list of foods that are often high in fat and otherwise unhealthy. Above all, this diet's extreme restriction makes it incredibly difficult for most people to stick with it."
If it's "quite effective for some people" (like me and so many of you!), then why bemoan it as a bad diet to follow. I get so tired of the redonkulous excuses that you eat too much of this and not enough of that--come on, people! Leave someone alone who wants to start livin' la vida low-carb because it's a whole heckuva lot healthier for an overweight or obese person than staying in their current situation.
Although South Beach also made this list, I don't think they were very fair to Dr. Agatston's plan either. But I couldn't help but wholeheartedly AGREE with them about #19-- the Kimkins diet . This one is a genuine, full-fledged scam and I'm glad it made the list. Too bad they lumped in Atkins and South Beach with a bogus diet program like that. Oh well!
10. THE TOP 10 DIET MYTHS (OR ARE THEY?)
Lists aren't always so bad and this one was a perfect example. I didn't agree with a couple being "myths"--EATING SMALL and FREQUENT MEALS BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM, PASTA MAKES YOU FAT, there were some fabulous ones pointed out, like GOING ON A DIET IS THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT, TO LOSE WEIGHT, YOU NEED TO CUT CALORIES DRASTICALLY, and EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT. Give this list a gaze and see what you think!
11. ABOUT.COM DIABETES BLOGGER TALKING LOW-CARB LIVING
Ever since the American Diabetes Association officially approved low-carb as a viable means for weight loss for diabetics earlier this year (although we KNOW it is so much more than that for people with diabetes), the interest from diabetes advocates in livin' la vida low-carb has become much more pronounced . And I'm LOVING seeing this because it means people are talking about how carbohydrates impact blood sugar levels, insulin production, weight and health. AMAZING! Now the About.com Diabetes page guide Debra Manzella, R.N. is getting in on the action with her readers. I so much appreciated her wrap-up about the subject of carb intake when she wrote the following:
"It's generally wise to eat a lower carb diet and increase protein intake. How many carbs to eat a day? It's really an individual issue. Testing blood glucose often will give you a better handle on how many carbs you can have and still maintain good control of your blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider, diabetes educator or nutritionist. Over time you will learn what percentage of carbs is right for you."
THANK YOU Debra! You really do get it and I urge you to continue sharing this positive and effective message with your readers. It will do them a LOT of good for their diabetes over the long-term and I'm so happy to see these kinds of changes promoted. KEEP IT UP!!! E-mail her your appreciation at email@example.com . And don't forget to share your story with the ADA about how low-carb living has vastly improved your diabetes .
12. LOW-CARB ITALIAN FOOD MADE FROM CAULIFLOWER?
One of my favorite low-carb bloggers is Cleochatra --aka Jamie VanEaton--because she always comes at life from a slightly "tilted" perspective (kinda like me!) and this group of Italian recipes using cauliflower as the basis for pizza, bread sticks, and even lasagna shows just how creative she can be in the kitchen, too. Hey, don't knock it until you try it and Cleo gives you some pretty amazing instructions about how to do this up right! So grab you some cauliflower and get to cooking up some delicious low-carb Italian foods. And leave a comment at the bottom of the page to cheer her on as she has been chosen as a finalist in the YourHub.com Hit Parade contest. Click here to add to her "hit" totals! :D
13. I ABHOR STUPID HEADLINES LIKE THIS
"Eschew Atkins in Favor of Veggies" the headline screams followed by the equally obnoxious and nauseating subtitle "Does This Veganism Make Me Look Phat?" Oh brother, somebody gag me with a spoon before I choke! Sheeez, where do these people come from who write such garbage? Oh well, what do you do? The columnist goes on to try his best to convince people why a vegan diet is the way they should go, but I'm not so convinced. How about YOU? :)
15. CHECK OUT THE "MY ASPARTAME EXPERIMENT" PROJECT
Are you still drinking all those aspartame-sweetened diet sodas as part of your "healthy" low-carb lifestyle? You know what I think about NASTY-tame as I call it, but now Victoria Inness-Brown has dedicated an entire web site to share with you what she has learned about this worst of all the artificial sweeteners. I'm gonna warn you--if you aren't prepared to see the truth, then don't click on that link. But it's shocking what you will see there and will likely keep you away from Equal, Nutrasweet, aspartame ever again. Enter at your own risk!
16. HIGH-FIBER INTAKE MAY NOT BE SO HEART HEALTHY
You gotta love it when an article like this comes along about new research that makes all the dietary advice of the day look so foolish. This new study out of the Charleston, SC-based Medical University of South Carolina looked at the impact of psyllium fiber supplements on 162 overweight or obese study participants. They expected to see lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and all the other health improvements often touted by a high-fiber diet. NOPE! Inflammation markers remained constant for both the fiber and non-fiber groups. AMAZING! This study was published in the March/April 2008 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine .
17. LOW-CARB CREDITED WITH HARMING POTATO SALES
The potato industry has tried hard to shake the negative impact that livin' la vida low-carb has had on their business over the past few years. They created a character named Spuddy , but that didn't work very well for them. So now they're back to the drawing board again with their new "Potatoes: Goodness Unearthed" campaign. I don't know what kind of "goodness" they're referring to, but there is NOTHING good about a potato if you ask me. You might as well just eat a bowl full of sugar if you're gonna eat one of these health calamities. It's a good thing that low-carb diet fad has passed so we can get back to eating potatoes again. Oh, wait a minute...that hasn't happened! OOOOPS! :)
18. THE WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS FORMULA...EXPOSED!
Weight Watchers and their infamous points system...oh, I'm so glad I never did that! What a waste of time and money that would have been for me. But this page shows you how they came up with the "points" and suckered...er, I mean, convinced dieters to start counting them. I still think they miss the insulin/carbohydrate connection with this mumbo jumbo, although they finally came up with a slightly lower-carb plan when they realized how well it worked for some people. DUH! They still don't understand the low-carb lifestyle enough to help people, though.
That's more news than you can shake a stick at for now, but I'll have lots more for you real soon. As always, if you see something that you think I should know about regarding diet, health and the low-carb way of life, then please e-mail it to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org . THANKS so much!