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More Low-Carb News And Health Headlines For May 2009

Posted May 27 2009 11:48pm

They’re starting to pile up on my desk again, so I guess it’s time for yet another update of the latest low-carb news and health headlines happening right now in May 2009.


Somewhere today Gary Taubes has got to be smiling. When his 2007 blockbuster book Good Calories, Bad Calories asserted that exercise is virtually useless for people who are trying to burn body fat, he was routinely mocked and scorned by the fitness establishment who said he didn’t know what he was talking about (despite the fact he showed in his book all the evidence from the research that was already out there). Now there is new scientific data published in the April 2009 issue of the journal Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews that shows that diet is a much more effective means for producing weight loss than exercise and that the illusion of continued fat-burning for up to 24 hours after a workout is just another one of those myths that has been bantered about and never proven. What I find hilarious is the researchers being “flabbergasted” by this result (to borrow an old political phrase from the 1990s, “it’s all about the diet, stupid”). The whole premise of exercising like a madman has been perpetrated by shows like The Biggest Loser for years now, so people have it deeply ingrained in them that they have to do cardio exercise to lose weight. But now we know that’s not entirely accurate. The other interesting finding from this study is the notion that there is a great calorie-burning benefit to building muscle, but the researchers conclude heavy lifting requires more calories consumed so it’s a virtual wash. In the end, it all comes back to the quality of the diet you choose to eat when you want to lose weight. Although the researchers talk about the importance of such things as calories in, calories out, making a calorie deficit, and exercising more to produce weight loss, you and I both know that livin’ la vida low-carb negates those myths by creating results that defy conventional wisdom.


Time magazine asks in a headline about President Obama’s choice this week to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter on the nation’s high court if her Type 1 diabetes will be a “handicap” to her ability to perform the important duties of her job. Well, regardless of what you think about Judge Sonia Sotomayor politically, I don’t think this issue should have any bearing on her nomination. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 8, she has been able to keep her disease under control for many decades now thanks to insulin injections and a proper health routine. We wouldn’t disqualify an obese person because of the fear of declining health and an inability to perform the duties of a Supreme Court Justice would we? Well, the same goes for a diabetic. Whether she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the first female Latina Justice on the SCOTUS or not, her Type 1 diabetes should not even be a part of the conversation reflecting negatively on Judge Sotomayor.


I love it when we hear historical evidence of livin’ la vida low-carb being used to treat various diseases in the past. One of my readers told me about the great work of Dr. Benjamin P. Sandler, a physician who stumbled across carbohydrate restriction as a means for preventing polio, tuberculosis and even heart disease (where he shares how you can “prevent” a heart attack). Now, if a respected medical professional some six to seven decades ago figured out the connection between carbohydrate and these horrible diseases, why can’t modern doctors come to similar conclusions about such pressing health issues of our day like obesity, diabetes, and cancer? I have long held it’s only a matter of time before the gig is up on things like low-fat, high-carb diets, statin drugs, and other medical farces that will never be able to match the effectiveness of low-carb living.


One of the leading voices of health in America today is science journalist Michael Pollan. He’s written two AMAZING books you should add to your personal collection– The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food –because there are insights applicable to your healthy low-carb lifestyle contained within. That’s one of the reasons why I thought President Obama should choose him to lead the USDA. That didn’t happen, but Pollan is still out there making waves speaking the truth about why people struggle to find the answer to their weight and health problems. According to this 6-minute April 2009 NPR podcast interview with him, it seems the constant sensationalism by the media about all the health claims of every new study is adding to the confusion by the consumer about what is right for them. Pollan aptly points out that research is very complex and that some studies are better designed and executed than others–and yet they all get treated equally by those who interpret the results for public consumption. My favorite quote in the entire interview is when Pollan addresses that it is completely normal for new research to negate previous research, but this is viewed as a bad thing when it happens: “Small bits of knowledge are advanced and then they’re overturned. And that’s not an unusual thing, but the media tends to kind of lock everybody into a position.” It’s a short clip with Pollan that also includes a full transcript for you to read as well, so check it out. By the way, I asked Michael Pollan’s publicist for an interview on my podcast show and she turned me down because he is staying busy on the speaking and publicity circuit. He’d be nice to have on my show someday, so we’ll keep trying.


Well, well, well, look what we have here. Speaking of conflicting research, here’s a perfect example of it. Remember back in December 2008 when I blogged about that ridiculous Tufts study claiming low-carb diets are bad for your memory and brain health? New research published in the April 27, 2009 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that oleic acid from dietary fat is used by the brain to enhance and BOOST memory function. Additionally, consuming high levels of the lipid-inducing substance known as oleoylethanolamide (OEA) leads to greater satiety, incredible weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, and significantly-reduced triglycerides. WOW, all of this as well as great for your brain health would make you think the researchers would encourage you to go out and eat up on the fat, right? Nope! They say this quality of consuming healthy fat qualifies it to be made into a diet pill. Yep, they always have to find a way to monetize these dietary cures for weight and health ailments, don’t they? Why else would the head of an Alzheimer’s group say patients need to eat “a healthy balanced diet” when we have evidence that a high-fat diet is effective for controlling the disease? This push for drug therapy over dietary changes is certainly not unprecedented. WAKE UP PEOPLE!


I was interviewing an upcoming podcast guest yesterday about how healthy it is to consume grass-fed meats because of the healthy omega-3s you get in your diet from eating them. But then he cited this crazy March 2009 study against consuming red meat as a warning against consuming saturated fat-laden meats because we all know how much they have been linked to cancer and death. It gets to be a wee bit frustrating trying to correct this mistaken notion about healthy red meat by medical professionals who should know better if they’re paying attention to the medical literature that’s coming out. And this New York Times column by Jane Brody entitled “Paying a Price for Loving Red Meat” is further evidence of the ignorance by people who should know better. But you gotta remember there’s an ulterior agenda going on here by the radical vegan and vegetarians who receive nothing but kid’s glove treatment by their willing accomplices in the press. It’s an uphill battle against a clever marketing machine designed to eschew meat, but simple awareness of this fact will help you better understand the coverage. I’m even including an entire chapter of my upcoming book Still Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb to our wild and wacky veggie-only loving friends. Aren’t they just so special?


This was too juicy to NOT share with you today–find out what your “fat age” is. My WHAT? Yep, Lloyd’s Pharmacy in Great Britain has developed a “Fat Age Calculator” to help you determine how old your body is based on the amount of fat you consume. There’s even a UK Telegraph news story about it! They claim that “eating too much fat can contribute to weight gain and can lead to other problems such as heart disease.” So this calculator is supposed to tell you if you are eating too much fat and saturated fat. For fun, go try this! Enter the demographic information about yourself and see what your “fat age” and “saturated fat” age is. I’m a 37-year old male and based on my answers to the questions I have a “fat age” of 58 and a “saturated fat” age of (GET THIS!) 81 years old! You can just call me Grandpa “livin’ la vida low-carb man” Jim from now on! LOL!


In the country where the low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF) is gaining massive traction in the public eye thanks to people like Dr. Annika Dahlqvist, reports on a new study published in the May 1, 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation confirming a direct connection between fructose which is found in abundance in fruit with insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity is sending shock waves through the traditional nutritional establishment. GOOD! We’ve always been told to just eat lots and lots of fruit, but what has that gotten us? It could be argued that nobody gets fat from eating apples, oranges and bananas, but maybe you can. The study participants took in isocaloric amounts of either glucose or fructose and the fructose consumers were fatter and their insulin sensitivity was greater. This is no coincidence as we’ve heard previously from researchers like Dr. Richard Johnson, author of The Sugar Fix, who have pointed directly at fructose as the culprit in weight gain and declining health. It’s interesting that fruit is given a free pass because it has this “health halo” around it that people are lured into falsely believing it is beneficial to them. Sure, there are some good antioxidants and other phytonutrients in certain fruits, but your body wouldn’t perform very well for long on a fruititarian diet! Food for thought the next time you see a big fruit basket delivered to your office.


“There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever linking sugar with obesity…the sugar (in breakfast cereal) is not generally harmful.” So says the Kellogg’s representative in this incredibly infuriating video from the hour-long BBC2 program Professor Regan’s Nursery . And even the so-called health “expert” interviewed for this story says that it’s better for kids to eat SOMETHING for breakfast even if it’s a sugar-laden cereal. Oh, come on! Anyone with eyes to see will tell you that consuming sugar and foods that turn to sugar in the body like the carbohydrates they put in these breakfast cereals will raise blood sugar and insulin levels which lead to the perpetuation of diabetes, obesity, and worse. It’s very disingenuous to pretend this connection doesn’t exist all the while touting the supposed health benefits of consuming sugary cereals. Sounds to me like special interest marketing is at work here much more than public health awareness!


You gotta love it when scientific research begins stating the obvious. But sometimes what may be “obvious” to you and me may not be to those who are attempting to figure out why obesity and diseases like diabetes exist. That’s precisely what happened in thisApril 9, 2009 study from researchers at Purdue University who found that genetics aren’t the only factor at work in causing obesity–the way the cells process insulin which impacts fat storage also plays a role. Fast-acting insulin-producing cells lead to greater fat storage which could be tied to the “fat genes” many overweight and obese people believe they have. And yet the variations in the way fat is stored are not directly connected to genetics, according to the study. This is a great step in explaining why people should try limiting their carbohydrate intake to control insulin in the body. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded this ongoing study and they hope to look for specific reasons why insulin is created leading to fat storage. Ummm, can you say Coca-Cola and Twinkies?


You wouldn’t think with all the fat-phobia that still exists in the world today that a book called Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes would be winning any kind of awards from within the publishing world. But you would be wrong! Special kudos to author Jennifer McLagan who took home not one, but two titles at the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards: “Single-Subject Cookbook of the Year” and the overall “Cookbook of the Year.” CONGRATULATIONS Jennifer on a job well done explaining the healthy benefits of consuming fat. Way to go!

That’s all the low-carb news and health headlines for now. We’ll have more to share with you very soon, but feel free to send me newsworthy stories to check out and feature in a future blog post anytime by e-mailing

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