Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cancer Minus Glucose Equals Dead Cancer Cells

Yesterday's post discussed how maintaining weight may be easier on a very low carb diet.  I have heard over and over that obese people tend to get chronic diseases more often than non obese people.

Here is another interesting study regarding low carb.  This comes from  Molecular Systems Biology.  Here is a quote from an article about the study on Science Daily:
In research published June 26 in the journal Molecular Systems Biology, Graeber and his colleagues demonstrate that glucose starvation -- that is, depriving cancer cells of glucose -- activates a metabolic and signaling amplification loop that leads to cancer cell death as a result of the toxic accumulation of reactive oxygen species
This basically means starving cancer cells of glucose will result in the death of those cells.   These are just a few foods that will provide glucose to the body (including cancer cells); fruit, whole wheat bread, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, candy bars, and sweet potatoes.  It is not just sugar that raises blood sugar (also know as blood glucose).  

Everyday in our body, new cells are created and cells die.  It is known that cancer cells are formed when the creation of new, normal cells go wrong.   It is speculated that this happens in everyone.  In healthy people, the body recognizes these faulty cells and kills them. In unhealthy people with weak immune systems, the faulty cancer cells proliferate into tumors.  If there is a constant supply of glucose, these tumors will continue to grow.  

Bottom line is that it would be wise to assure you always have a strong immune system and keep your blood sugar at a healthy but low level.  The sad thing is that this is not at all new information.  Yet, I rarely here of glucose deprivation as a cancer treatment or prevention.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An Interesting Study Was Just Released

You can read much of a recent study published in JAMA in the following link:

Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance

In the study, scientists measured the effects of three maintenance diets, very low carb, low fat, and low glycemic index.

Here are some interesting quotes from the study:
The results of our study challenge the notion that a calorie is a calorie from a metabolic perspective. During isocaloric feeding following weight loss, REE (resting energy expenditure) was 67 kcal/d higher with the very low-carbohydrate diet compared with the low-fat diet. TEE (total energy expenditure) differed by approximately 300 kcal/d between these 2 diets, an effect corresponding with the amount of energy typically expended in 1 hour of moderate-intensity physical activity.
 Although the very low-carbohydrate diet produced the greatest improvements in most metabolic syndrome components examined herein, we identified 2 potentially deleterious effects of this diet. Twenty-four hour urinary cortisol excretion, a hormonal measure of stress, was highest with the very low-carbohydrate diet. 
C-reactive protein also tended to be higher with the very low-carbohydrate diet in our study, 
 In conclusion, our study demonstrates that commonly consumed diets can affect metabolism and components of the metabolic syndrome in markedly different ways during weight-loss maintenance, independent of energy content. The low-fat diet produced changes in energy expenditure and serum leptin that would predict weight regain. In addition, this conventionally recommended diet had unfavorable effects on most of the metabolic syndrome components studied herein. 

So people who ate a very low carbohydrate diet with all other factors being equal burned an average of 325 calories more per day than the low fat participants.  The equivalent of 1 hour of moderate exercise.  WOW, that is significant!  The C reactive protein was higher for the low carb group but during the test phase it dropped significantly from a 1.75 baseline to get well below the supposed safe threshold of 1 mg/L.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, definitely did go up for the low carb group.  This study was done on obese individuals who have probably dieted before.  In the test phase they were fed 2000 calories.  Not starvation but probably lower than they are used to on their average day.  My guess is the participants probably had tried to restrict fat in the past so this was probably nothing new to them.  I wonder how stressful it would have been to take away nutrients they likely lived on for years, carbohydrates, while replacing them with nutrients, fat, they feel would cause them to gain the fat back that they had just lost.  Could this type of diet cause an increase of stress in the short term for people not used to it....I'd say yes.

I am sure every agenda will cherry pick data from this study just as I have.  Bottom line is, this is just another reason to question conventional wisdom if you haven't already.  JAMA is probably the premier medical journal in the world.  You can be sure medical professionals will be surprised.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What If Lowering Risk Factors Doesn't Work???

What happens when doctors focus on treating risk factors that may not be actual risk factors?  You end up with a multi-billion dollar class of drugs that don't seem to be helping all that much.  In fact, these drugs are probably doing more harm than they are doing good.

Statins are used to lower "high" cholesterol.  "High" cholesterol is classically seen as a risk factor for heart disease.  Problem is, lowering cholesterol doesn't seem to be doing much good for the people taking these medications.  Here is the question, is the perceived risk factor valid?


Friday, June 22, 2012

It Pays to Cook in Bulk

Thrown Together in 10 Minutes

So yesterday was a busy day for my family.  My wife and I worked all day.  My son when to a "farm park" for a field trip.  It is a working farm that people pay money to get tours of.   You see, near major urban areas farms become tourist attractions.  It was a neat experience for him.  My daughter had a swim test in the morning and her last tee ball game  of the season at night.  The kids were fed by their grandma before the game.  By the time we got home at 7:30 my wife and I looked at each and wondered what the heck we were gonna eat.

Soon we discovered that it pays to plan ahead when you forget to plan what to eat at the end of a day.  We always cook in bulk so we will have left overs for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner.  The great thing about nutritious and delicious leftovers is that they are versatile.  

I ventured into the fridge to figure out what I could do quickly and easily.  We had a spicy rice + chicken dish (made from a leftover roasted chicken), a dozen of the best eggs I can buy, and some steamed greens and broccoli from our garden.  I scrambled 6 eggs with the rice and cooked it in left over bacon grease then topped with a sliced avocado.  The garden is bursting with greens and broccoli right now.  On separate occasions in the last few days, we steamed the mixed greens and the broccoli.  I sauteed the two together with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

After ten minutes while using one pan, we ended up with a great meal that I felt confident would nourish us in many different ways.  The moral of the post is to cook in bulk as often as you can because you never know when the hectic schedule of life will make it challenging to feed you and your family well.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Still Think Saturated Fat is Dangerous?

This is a graph recently posted on  It was published in The British Journal of Nutrition.  It is yet more glaring evidence showing that it is extremely likely saturated fat is not the killer nutrient it has been made out to be.  I have had my head  buried in the paleo sand for so long that I kinda forgot that most people try to avoid saturated fat for health purposes.  I did a detailed blog post regarding saturated fat almost 2 years ago.  With the myriad of evidence out there showing no correlation with sat fat and heart disease, I feel that the experts should look outside of the box and question whether the status quo is the healthiest option.  

I was recently asked to talk with a group regarding my nutrition philosophies.  The group mostly consisted of classically trained dietitians.  I was pleased that on many counts we were very much on the same page.  They are a progressive group in that they tend to get updated frequently on the latest information on nutrition.  On the other hand, there were some points I made that I don't think they had been presented with previously.  Saturated fat was definitely a point of contention during our conversation.  

Evidence like the graph above will definitely continue to open the eyes of the objective experts.  The sooner we can get over this perceived villian, the sooner we can move on to hopefully find truly dangerous foods and nutrients.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Paleo" Commercialized

Organic Cigarettes....Really?

The paleo diet is continually becoming more popular and even the most harsh critics cannot deny this.  Ebooks and conventional paper + ink books are being released at an impressive clip.  The mainstream media has definitely taken notice by doing more stories on the phenomenon.

Before jumping into this foray, please educate yourself on the foods of the diet.  For the purpose of this post I will boil it down to this, this diet revolves around fresh meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit.  In simplest terms, that is it.  Buy these items unprepared and create meals out of them yourself.  Don't rely on a restaurant, a bakery, or a factory to create "paleo friendly" foods for you.

That is exactly what I have noticed with paleo and gluten free.  Many businesses are jumping on the popularity of these trends by creating foods that they say fit within the parameters.  Great, I am all for innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.  But do not assume that just because a muffin or loaf of bread is gluten free and "paleo friendly" that it should be anything more than an occasional treat.  It is highly processed, nutrient poor crap....plain and simple.

Highly processed, nutrient poor food is the cause of many of our lifestyle diseases.  I have seen many obese people dedicated to gluten free.  I wonder how this is possible because I just assume they must be eating paleo or primal.  Then I see what they eat and it only differs in that they now substitute gluten free foods in where gluten containing foods were.  The opportunity to add in nutrient dense, whole foods while removing highly processed, nutrient poor foods is completely missed.  

So next time you think about buying a paleo muffin, think about the organic cigarettes pictured at the top of this post and just say "really?".  


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Andrew Weil is Making a Splash


He recently wrote an article with this quote in it:
No one's health is improved by swapping out natural saturated or monounsaturated fats for skim milk, sugars or processed grains.
 His writing has been leaning more paleo/primal lately.  It is going to take more big name "experts" getting messages like this out to the public.  Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain do a great job but few people have heard of them.  Many more have heard of Dr. Weil.  The more we are good examples of health, strength, and vitality, the more our ideas will be taken seriously by the media darlings.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why Don't People Bring Steak to the Office as a Treat?

*warning: this post is off the cuff, written quickly, and may be kinda hard to follow.  but heck, this works at some of the most wildly popular blogs out there.*

To answer the title, it's because animal fat is vilified as a killer in our country.  I think everyone knows a doughnut may make them fat if you don't eat them in moderation but they do not think it will kill them.  This crap is constantly brought into the office.  My office mates are always complaining about their weight and/or health.  There is definitely a disconnect.

I often wonder why the default snack generous people bring in to share is some sort wheat laden handful with sugar on top.  No one brings in fruit, nuts, or jerky to share.  There are many reasons I can think of for for that.  Wheat covered in sugar is cheap.  Wheat covered in sugar is convenient.  To bring in the healthier options would require more money and more effort.  That is what is wrong with our food system.  The good stuff is harder to acquire.

I can easily say no to this crap.  My addiction to it ended years ago.  Part of me wants to bring in some fruit as an experiment but some of the doughnut fairies in my office will see right through my scheme and most likely get offended.  Screw it, I am gonna do it anyway.  I wonder how long bananas and apples will last in the common area.  Maybe after that, I will bring in a small beef appetizer.  I will let you know how it goes.