The documentary is going to be re-broadcast on CBC Newsworld, The Lens, on August 18, 2009. Check your local listings for the times.
I have other news – my wife is pregnant with our second child. She is due at the end of August. It has been a low-carb pregnancy and everything has been fine. Two things seem different from the first pregnancy (nine years ago!) – she didn’t have any morning sickness and she hasn’t gained excess body fat. I will post a note after the delivery.
I plan to take some parental leave and will have more time to devote to this blog. I also am planning to do some writing and, if I can find a publisher, perhaps get a book out on this diet.
I am also in the process of developing a couple more research projects. One in children and the other in adults, both looking at the benefits of low-carb for metabolic syndrome. I am intrigued by recent literature that suggests that it is the fructose component of carbs that may have the most damaging effect when it comes to metabolic syndrome. I am hoping to compare a low-carb approach, which we know works, with a fructose-free diet, to see what are the relative benefits. In the meantime, I have no hesitation telling people, especially with regard to children, to minimize their fructose intake. High fructose corn syrup is an obvious villain, but remember that plain old sugar, in any of its forms, is 50% fructose, too. I think we are heading to a time when there will be recognition that all caloric sweeteners are dangerous to your health. Stay tuned on that one.
A thousand congratulations to you and your wife. — What a wonderful gift.
Dr Jay’s Reply:
Thank you. We do feel blessed.
Hi, Dr. Wortman. Congrats on the rebroadcast and the new addition!
Speaking of fructose, this is a very good video by Dr. Robert Lustig explaining just how bad fructose is, and does a great job of explaining why.
Dr Jay’s Reply:
I watched the video and am impressed with his comprehensive explanation of the particular harm of fructose. I don’t agree with everything he says, though. For instance, he believes that glucose is the preferred fuel of all cells. This is not true since there are cell types that prefer other fuels, cardiac muscle cells, for instance, which prefer lactate. I think there is a case for fat as the preferred fuel for muscle cells and ketones for brain cells. He doesn’t discuss too much the toxic effects of excess glucose, either, since that would tend to undermine his thesis that it is the preferred fuel. Apart from that small quibble, I think his case for the harm of fructose hangs together quite well. I think the video is worth watching so I will add the link here and recommend it to people.
I wonder if it may be beneficial to test all participants for Celiac Disease (CD) or gluten sensitivities/allergies prior to starting another study. Since this diet appears to eliminate all grains, some of the participants (with CD or sensitivities) may experience beneficial effects due to the removal of grains (ie. gluten and related prolamines). Celiac Disease is associated with diabetes and heart disease (from increased homocysteine levels and immune-mediated mechanisms) so the presence of CD might affect the outcome of the study. Gluten sensitivities or allergies can cause a variety of symptoms as well.
Thank you for your time,
Shelly Stuart, RN
Dr Jay’s Reply:
Thank you for your observations. I think that there is a lot of sub-clinical and undiagnosed CD out there. I am sure that one of the benefits of the diet is that it would resolve those problems. In my own case, I never thought I had a problem with gluten but now that I have avoided it for years, I find that if I get exposed to even a little, it plays havoc with my gut. This leads me to think that I probably always had some intolerance to it although the signs and symptoms would have been mild enough that I didn’t seek a diagnosis.
I will keep your suggestion in mind as we design further studies.
I have had my blood tested twice for CD and had the biopsy too, and all came negative. I still had many of the symptoms. First I went gluten free, and noticed some improvement, but when I saw “My Big Fat Diet” I decided to try it. I am only about 10 to 15 pounds overweight and have a very active lifestyle, so losing weight was not my motivation. I just wanted a quiet, peaceful, digestive system. The diet helped that to happen.
The amazing and unexpected side effect of eating this way is that the fibromyalgia that I have had for the last 20 years disappeared within the first 3 weeks of starting the diet!
I have been on the diet for 4 months, and I am sleeping all night and waking up without the usual stiffness and pain that fibromyalgia usually brings. Has anyone else had this experience?
Dr Jay’s Reply:
Thanks for sharing your story. The recent studies by Jeff Volek and Cassandra Forsythe showed that this kind of diet has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect so I would expect that chronic illnesses which have an inflammatory underpinning (they all do) should improve. I will be interested to see if we hear from others who have had similar experiences.
As long as you are planning to study the benefits of low carb diets for persons with metabolic syndrome, may I suggest dong a study on persons who have gained weight due to prescription atypical antipsychotics (olanazapine being the worst)? This is a significant clinical problem. Most hospital dieticians still recommend low fat diets, which turns out to be pointless, unless the patients exercise for a hour a day. It is almost impossible to get people to do that.
Dr Jay’s Reply:
I am aware of the problem with some anti-psychotic meds but I haven’t taken the time to look into mechanism. Depending on what is the mechanism it may very well respond to low-carb/high fat. I recently started a conversation with a researcher who is making the case that mood disorders are associated with metabolic syndrome. There is an epidemiological case based on the overlap of incidence with both type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. There are also mechanisms in common that make sense. Since metabolic syndrome seems to respond will to carb-restriction it is possible that this may also be a useful therapy for mood disorders like bi-polar and major depression. There is some literature demonstrating an benefit from omega-3 for these conditions. It would be interesting to see if low-carb may also be beneficial.
Speed and amphetamines and crack and cocaine and methamphetamine and ecstasy and a host of other stimulants and substances and pharmaceuticals, most certainly will effect, as well as cause, mood disorders and bi-polar and depression. So does alcohol and caffeine and sugar and hybrid carbohydrates, which do the same thing and act the same way. — They are all powerful stimulant drugs. (alcohol is not listed as a stimulant) but it is. — It is the highest form of sugar and goes straight to our bloodstream.
These do not exist in true nature in forms that humans or any other creature can consume and ingest on a daily basis and in mass quantities like our whole earth does today with the processed and hybrid plants and vegetation.
Even milk is not in true nature for us to eat, except as nursing babies from our mothers.
We have all been fed these drugs from babies on and led to believe that they are natural and healthy, as have the generations before us.
We are all addicted and all of us have built up tolerances and think that these things are natural and normal.
I find it more than just interesting that the Inca and Maya and Aztecs along with the Egyptians and other global Empires and Dynasties and Kingdoms, the world over, — All had hybrid carbohydrates and other stimulants at there core and in massive amounts and were consumed daily.
We have been taught that these sophisticated societies were and are the superior and to be admired and looked highly upon, rather than looked down upon as the monstrous dictatorships of insanity that they really were.
Shiploads of newly found sources of sugar and stimulants were shipped back to Europe from the Americas in the early takeover and destruction days.
The same dictates rule today!
I’m suggesting that you might want to consider posting a video on that site of you talking and explaining your theory, like so many others are doing on a full range of topics there.
Nothing is more important that what you have to say and what you have discovered and rediscovered, regarding our diet and it’s effects on our physical/mental health.
I’m sure you have others but I would be glad to do the shoot and edit for you with your full rights to all video and audio and final cut approval in place, as well as any and all copyrights and distribution rights you might want to have.
I would come to you or meet you anywhere, anytime and there would be no fees or rights to me involved.
Like I say, I expect you no doubt have people you are already comfortable working with and that’s great too!
I just wanted you to see what I view as a great outlet for your work.
I think you will be interested in this.
You can still type Food, Inc. in there search window and find out lots about it!
This is well worth it’s time, it’s about an hour and forty-five minutes.
Wild Rice is threatened by this as in all Native Corn.
Top Ten Invasive Species.
Could we humans do the same thing? Should we?
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think that on focus on carbs or any one aspect of all the things that affect metabolic syndrome might be unhelpful. It is, I think, better to promote a more holistic approach in so far as for most people a fundamental and permanent lifestyle change is required. That said you guys are way ahead of us. Metabolic syndrome is a concept not widely known about or discussed in the UK like it is in the USA. Yet the UK is second to the USA in terms of obesity and the follow on health issues that obesity causes. Metabolic syndrome is something that can be diagnosed almost with the naked eye – waist size – yet we ignore it. We try to promote awareness of it in the UK as part of our website http://www.checkmybody.co.uk/MetabolicSyndrome.htm Hi to everyone accross the pond.
Dr Jay’s Reply:
Thanks for posting and greetings from the colonies. I do hear some discussion about Metabolic Syndrome emanating from Britain but it is among academics at conferences. I am not sure the concept is discussed or understood in the general public anywhere, actually. From my perspective, the whole thing hinges on insulin resistance. It is quite clear that IR is the pathology underlying MetS and its sequelae, mainly type 2 diabetes and CVD. I also think IR can explain a large part of the obesity epidemic. Also, from my observation, when one acquires IR, one has a de facto intolerance of carbohydrate foods. And, like all food intolerances, once the offending food is removed, the associated problems go away. For this reason, I do believe that any manifestation of IR needs to be treated with carbohydrate restriction and the level of carb restriction will be dictated by how severe is the IR. For type 2 diabetics, for instance, the amount of carb that is tolerable will be quite low. For others, there may be more tolerance but some things should be avoided by everyone ie anything containing fructose. The more I look at the evidence implicating fructose in all of this the more I am convinced we must significantly reduce our fructose consumption across the board. And, remember, every sugar molecule is 50% fructose.
Hi Dr. Jay,
I’m so glad to read about your wife’s successful low-carb pregnancy. I’m curious whether she was ever in ketosis and how you guys handled it?
I’m 30 weeks pregnant and have been on a low-carb, paleo-style diet, which I have been loving. However, I’ve been struggling with my doctors over high ketones. Thanks to my diet, my blood sugars have always been normal, but my body seems to love being in ketosis all the time. My endocrinologist urgently wants me to go on insulin. I’ve never heard of anyone being put on insulin for high ketones alone and I want to refuse, but I’m worried things might get ugly if I do — both my midwives and their backup docs seem very concerned about ketones.
Other than this, my pregnancy is going great: I feel great, have no swelling issues, and am measuring right on schedule.
Any advice for my situation? Are ketones really a problem? If not, any tips for handling my doctors?
Thanks much for any insight you can give!
Dr Jay’s Reply:
Of course you will be in ketosis. This is how the body provides fuel for the brain and other tissues that would otherwise be burning glucose. It is nothing to be worried about. Ketones are made by the liver from fat. It is one of the natural fuels our body uses. I can find no evidence that physiological ketones are harmful for anyone including a fetus. We never tested my wife but I assume she was in ketosis throughout her pregnancy. I suspect your care providers are confusing physiological ketosis with ketoacidosis which is harmful and occurs in type 1 diabetics who are not injecting insulin. In that situation, the blood sugars are sky-high along with the ketones and dehydration is also a problem. The thought that their reaction to your situation is to have you inject insulin when you are experiencing normal blood sugar levels alarms me. What are they thinking! Perhaps you should ask them what will happen to your normal blood sugars if you start injecting insulin. That may give them pause. I suspect their response will be that you will have to start eating carbs in order to tolerate the insulin. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!
For more info from some reproductive specialists go to Jimmy Moore’s site: http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com and listen to his podcast interviews with Dr. Gil Wilshire and Dr. Michael Fox, both of whom are advocates of low-carb dieting for infertility and who keep their pregnant women on low-carb during gestation. Hang in there!