As you can see I have been AWOL for awhile. It’s obviously time for an update.

The big news is that we have a daughter! Isabelle is almost a year old now and is thriving. She is a low-carb baby. Her mom ate a very low carb diet throughout the pregnancy and since. The only noticeable difference was a complete absence of morning sickness. During the last pregnancy when we were still eating a high carb diet, morning sickness was a big problem. Anne kept food at the bedside and would snack in the wee hours as this seemed to reduce the severity of the morning sickness somewhat. Our cat learned to hang around to snack on the crumbs. Of course, the snacks back then were high carb foods such as muffins and cakes. This time, none of that, just the usual very low carb diet of meats, fish, poultry, dairy and lots of non-starchy vegetables. The other thing we noticed was that there was no excess weight gain.

Isabelle was born at term via a scheduled section (we agonized over this but since a section was needed the first time, and it was truly needed, we opted for it again this time. As one of my OB friends says, “I never regretted doing a section, but there have been times when I have regretted not doing one).

Isabelle weighed 6 lb 15 oz and her Apgars were excellent. She thrived on breast milk alone until that wasn’t enough and then we supplemented with formula and then pureed food which we make ourselves.

It is remarkable to think that she has never been exposed to sugar, in utero or since. The kinds of foods we make for her now consist of pureed meats, non-starchy vegetables and dairy products. For instance, we steam and puree cauliflower with a cheese sauce, or a meat and tomato sauce, or spinach with cream cheese. Unlike her brother, she has an enormous appetite and loves every kind of food we give her. Even things you wouldn’t expect like olives and smoked salmon. She loves it all and eats with gusto. She eats with us in her high chair at the dinner table and will try some of our adult food, too. Yesterday, she ate some small pieces of steak. She loves to chew on pork ribs.

She also likes wine. We generally have a glass of wine with dinner and she will look at the wine glass and then at you and then at the glass, and then back at you until you finally offer her a drink. If you do she will forcefully grab the glass and have a sip. I often drink very dry reds and I wouldn’t expect a child to like the taste but you can tell she does. She never gets more than just a tiny taste but I can tell she would drink more if I were to let her. We also usually have sparkling water at the dinner table and Isabelle loves that, too.

The funny thing is that there was only one instance where she rejected food that was offered to her. I was speaking at a conference in Seattle and Anne and the kids came along as it was on a weekend. I was busy with the meeting so Anne took the kids to a diner for breakfast. The only food they had that she thought was suitable for Isabelle was oatmeal. Isabelle refused to eat it – that’s my girl!

She is at the stage now where she crawls like a little bullet and pulls herself up onto chairs, furniture, your leg, etc. etc. She also has a lot to say. She gives big speeches with lots of pointing and gesturing. We are convinced she is very bright and will be talking early (all parents think this, don’t they?). We, of course, attribute all her exceptional behaviour and development to the fact that she has never been exposed to sugar.

On other fronts, I am just now getting back to work after taking a parental leave (since I am about to turn 60, I figured it was my last opportunity to take advantage of that benefit). I thought I would have time to write and perhaps do a book while on leave but it is amazing how your day fills up with busy work when you have a little child in the house. Juggling the needs of our 10 year old son along with those of an infant daughter kept Anne and me running all day and sometimes through the night.  It was a good for me to be able to spend more time with our son and to help him adjust to having a sibling. Alex and I were able to get about 45 days skiing this winter and, by the end of the season (his seventh!), we were skiing the most challenging double black diamond runs together. Alex has become such a capable skier that he doesn’t hesitate to tackle the steepest runs. He can beat me flat out in the moguls now but I still have the advantage on the groomers; for the time being anyway. We’re pretty evenly matched when it comes to off-piste and this is where we have the most fun, too.

Alex started skiing when he was three but I think Isabelle will start earlier. I look forward to the days when we can all go off-piste together.

Back on the research front, there have been developments. Studies continue to accumulate and not a single one has demonstrated any significant problem with eating a very low carb diet. On the contrary, the studies tend to be consistent in their results in terms of weight loss and improved markers of cardiometabolic risk.  The amount of benefit seems to hinge on two factors: the metabolic status of the subjects and the degree to which they comply with the diet. It is becoming increasingly clear that people who are developing insulin resistance, even in its early stages, derive enormous benefits from carb restriction. Of course, compliance with any diet will deliver results and low-carb is no exception. The interesting thing, I find, though is how these things are analyzed and reported.

The conventional approach in terms of analyzing data from a randomized controlled trial is to use an “intention to treat” analysis. This means that every person who initially signs up for the study will be included in the final analysis whether or not they actually followed the diet to which they were assigned. While this approach is helpful in determining whether a particular intervention will be effective at a population level, it can be confusing if you are trying to determine if the intervention can do what it is supposed to do. This approach is the norm in large drug trials where the efficacy of the drug has already been established through other kinds of trials. However, in dietary trials, this approach can obscure the potential benefits of a diet if there was poor compliance during the study.

Let me illustrate with an example. Assume you are doing a study to determine if seatbelts will protect you in a car crash and the majority of the subjects did not actually wear their belts during the study. Using an intention to treat analysis, you might conclude that there was little value in seat belts when in fact they are very valuable. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening in the low-carb literature that gets published in scientific journals and that you often see reported in the mainstream media.

Let me use another analogy – smoking cessation. We know from our understanding of the pathophysiology associated with tobacco use that smoking cessation will deliver an enormous benefit in terms of reduction in cancer and cardiovascular disease. We also know that compliance rates are very low with virtually every type of smoking cessation intervention. Do we, therefore, suggest that there is no value in smoking cessation interventions? Of course not! We direct our attention to the problem of compliance. This is what should be happening with low-carb diet. Instead we continue to see studies like the recent one by Frank Sacks et al (Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets With Different Composition of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates, New England Journal of Medicine 2009), which found no difference between low-carb diets and low-fat or mediterranean diets. They had poor compliance and they used an intention to treat analysis and they concluded that all that mattered was calories. One of my colleagues communicated with them asking why they didn’t address the issue of poor compliance and their reply was essentially that they didn’t think people could comply with low-carb.

A more recent study, just published this week, was a much anticipated two year trial of low-carb  vs low-fat in which the weight loss was no different but the low-carb folks had greater improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors (Foster et al, Weight and Metabolic Outcomes After 2 Years on a Low-Carbohydrate Versus Low-Fat Diet, Annals of Internal Medicine 2010). Okay, that’s good, to a certain extent. The interesting, and somewhat troubling thing about this study is that they excluded at the outset anyone with hypertension, dyslipidemia or type 2 diabetes. Well, we know that people with those conditions represent a huge proportion of the people with insulin resistance who happen to be the very people for whom this diet has been shown to deliver the greatest benefit. Looking on the bright side, I guess we can conclude that even after you screen out the people who can benefit most, and even after you do an intention to treat analysis, low carb can still whup low fat.

We know from a small number of good studies now that low-carb diet is an excellent first line therapy for the range of conditions associated with insulin resistance just like smoking cessation is the ideal intervention for the prevention of the harms associated with tobacco. And just as we do with smoking cessation, when it comes to low-carb diet, we need to turn our attention the problem of compliance.

Speaking of compliance, the other recent bright spot is that there is a new Atkins book out. This one is authored by three of the scientists who have been doing some of the best research on low-carb over the years. Drs Steve Phinney, Eric Westman and Jeff Volek are people I consider to be good friends and excellent colleagues. The new book is different from earlier editions in that it contains the scientific references of studies supporting low carb diets. In addition, there is a discussion of important issues related to compliance like the role of fats and the need for salt replacement. I highly recommend this book as I think it offers new and valuable information that should make it easier to follow a low carb diet and to sustain it over the long haul. It is called, “The New Atkins for a New You” and is available at Amazon.com.

Now that I am back into working mode, I shall attempt to be more attentive to this blog. A recent commenter suggested that it be used as a forum for people to share their stories. I am okay with that. The way it is set up now I have to approve each new poster but once you have been approved your subsequent posts automatically go onto the site. I would still have some editorial control in terms of being able to delete inappropriate posts. I would expect people to be respectful and observe the ground rules and I have no doubt this would be the case as I haven’t had a problem of that nature since the inception of the site. It would be my preference not to get into an individual counseling relationship with posters as I am not entirely comfortable with what may be construed as practicing medicine over the internet. I am, after all, a doctor and am bound by the rules and regulations of my licensing body. If this were to become a forum where others shared experiences and advice on how to stick to this diet, I would be happy to continue it in that vein.

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

34 thoughts on “Update

  1. Welcome back! I’ve missed you..although I suspected you were a poster on another comment page that I have frequented recently!
    I love the new Atkins book..thanks for your contributions. I have sent a link to this site to my sister at her request for resources for her “diabetic nutritionist” who had never heard of using low-carb diets for diabetics! The woman insisted that diabetics need to have 35 to 40 grams of carbohydrate 6 times a day to stabilize blood sugar. Good lord, help us.
    Anyway, I loved hearing about your low-carb baby and can’t help wishing I could go back in time and do the same for my kids, both of whom have suffered from my misguided error of raising them on low-diets. Happily they are doing well in their 20s, and my son is working under cover at Whole Foods! Actually, he has learned to take what he likes and leaves the rest, and is a die-hard low-carber, rather unusual for a 22-year-old male..but the difference in his ability to focus and stabilize his mood swings is phenomenal..good-bye to “ADHD!”
    Well, I hadn’t meant to post so much, but, again, yours is such a compelling voice in what remains an abyss of misinformation about insulin-resistance and healthy diet. You are one of “my heroes!”

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thank you for your support. I am glad to hear it is going well for you and your kids. I agree that my instinctive response when I see ADHD or anything like it is to push low-carb. We need some research in this area. Kids with ADHD have a much greater risk of epilepsy and we know from decades of experience that a very low carb diet can reverse pediatric epilepsy so it is tempting to think it would correct ADHD, as well.

    Yes, I do post comments in other places when the subject of diet and chronic disease comes up. I am a bit of a thorn in the side for the nutritionist who writes in the Globe and Mail. There is presently an article on diabetes and another on fructose on their website with some comments you may find interesting. I think we may have crossed paths at the Huffington Post where use a nom de plume because I sometimes post on political and other non-diet related subjects.

  2. Good to see you back. I was afraid something had gone terribly wrong. Very good news it’s not! — Congratulations on everything but the wine. White mans poison.

  3. The vikings were horrible drunken monsters that we somehow came to glorify. They would go to valhalla heaven they said, if killed in battle. In this heaven they would fight glorious battles all day long and then wine women and song and celebrate throughout the night and all night long. Day after day and night after night and on into eternity, forever and ever. So they would kill all these fathers and brothers and sons and husbands and uncles and cousins and friends by the thousands, all day long, that were fighting them from the taking of their land and their women and children and enslavement, and then celebrate this killing with wine, woman and song. Night after night, after all this killing in glorious battle, forever and ever. The battle cry in defense of our loved ones is nothing like what they did. They slaughtered everything in there path and took everything for their greedy drunken selves and their kings. Out of shear greed and brutality and terror and lust, they amassed. — Of course the missionaries and traders who followed in their paths were soft spoken gentle meaningful, loving caring people who also drank wine and spirits to some extent and moderation and they of course were nothing like those monsters. The thing is, that these priests and ministers and nice people were now taking of those they had conquered, including their women and babies and children. And on and on and on. Europeans and America. — Native peoples fought seldom and killed even less and never were women and children subjected to this kind of brutality. It was incomprehensible what these monsters could do and did. They had guns and swords and horses and whisky by the tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands before millions upon millions. They were brutal and unstoppable. — They were stimulated out of their minds by alcohol and sugar and hybrid carbohydrates and caffeine and did not know what they were doing. They once too, had been a perfect people.

  4. Congratulations on the happy addition to your family. Life will be hectic. Isn’t that grande?

    I have a few comments and questions: Starting right in. I’ve posted here before, but I never remember p’words so had to start all over. I’m the one with the 12-14 TC, rocking it with the HDL, an if my triglycerides get any lower they’ll fall off the chart. I’m 68, have no cardiovascular disease, and have just about recovered from statins. I may never recover from the tantrums my physicians have been flinging my way because I refuse to take them again, and have dared to substantiate exactly why. (Want Kassirer’s latest? I can’t link must attach–so where’s your e-mail?).

    I would like to know, for someone who does not have D2, would you suggest the GI index plus calorie counting might be a suitable plan. I am loathe to cut out soluble and insoluble fibre completely. I am overweight (statins cramp your exercise style big time).

    And finally: Are you sure about the alcohol? I thought that was metabolized as a sugar. Because I have this, I’ve done some reading. People with northern native ancestry (who may or may not have come across from Siberia) are often alcohol intolerant aka:

    “(…) some people have a genetic quirk which causes their liver to be unable to effectively process alcohol from the bloodstream. Most often, this is caused by the liver having a mutant form of one of the ALDH enzymes, which is ineffectual at changing the acetaldehyde into acetic acid. If someone with this genetic condition consumes alcohol, the levels of acetaldehyde can quickly build up in the blood stream, which can cause hangover-like symptoms, such as flushing of the face, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.” (I’d add joint aches) ed: jackfish

    “This condition is most prevalent in those of Eastern Asian descent, (ed: jackfish–and some First Nations) with up to 41 % of Japanese people having it, and up to 30 % of Taiwanese. Again, this is not an allergy, as allergies are caused by the immune system’s response to something it deems as unwanted. This is not the case.”

    I can testify it’s impossible to build up a tolerance, and I can get very sick with just one mouthful. Right now!

    So, if your daughter might lack this liver enzyme, it would not be a good idea to allow her sips.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Good to hear you are on the right track. I am not a big fan of the statins. I think their benefit is from their anti-inflammatory effect rather than lowering LDL. It turns out that a very low-carb diet is very anti-inflammatory, too, so would obviate the need for statins. Even though LDL can remain elevated with low-carb, you can assume that the proportion of small dense LDL has dropped which means your cardiovascular risk has improved.

    You are correct about the liver enzymes and alcohol. Generally, populations who do not have an ancient history of alcohol exposure will have problems metabolizing it and will suffer the consequences. Aboriginal populations in general tend to have this problem. I do not and neither does my wife so I am fairly sure my daughter will not either. On the other hand the very small taste she gets occasionally at the dinner table would not be an issue in either case.

    Alcohol is metabolized in the liver differently from sugars. It does not have the impact on blood glucose that sugar has. Distilled spirits are therefore allowable on a low-carb diet as long as they are not mixed with sugary things like regular pop or juice. People need to be moderate in their consumption, however. Wine has about a gram of sugar per ounce so should be consumed very moderately, as well.

  5. Just watched your documentary last night for the first time. Very well done – it’s not easy explaining a low carb diet to anyone who is stuck in a low-fat-is-logical mindset. I had the feeling that many participants might not have truly realized that they would have to continue eating low carb for life, although some obviously knew. Was this the case, in your opinion?

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    This was actually a pilot study to see what would be needed to encourage people to benefit from this type of diet. One of the things I learned was that you do need to tell people at the outset that the benefits can be lost if they return to a high carb diet. I think most people know this but there is also a tendency to regard a weight loss diet as a temporary intervention. For people with insulin resistance, this is clearly not the case and they would need to remain very low carb for the foreseeable future. I know this can be done as I am approaching my eighth year on very low carb – and still lovin’ it!

  6. Just getting started on your information for low-carb diet. I tried Atkins briefly in mid 1997. Thought it was wrong somehow. Got small red spots on my legs. Something about Ketones? Checking them each day with Ketone strips? No one to actually talk to about it at the time. Can’t remember everything about it. But, currently having many of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome with weight gain steadily in my 50’s. Am now approximately 45 lbs over what I should be. Just saw the movie for the first time “My Big Fat Diet”. I am interested to give this another try. Will pick up the new Atkins book. Looking forward to weight loss, better energy, less pain level from beginning signs of osteoarthritis and osteopenia, and low energy. No signs of diabetes or heart disease the Dr. says from my reports. Don’t have high blood pressure. I have been trying the low fat diets forever. Have been naturally healthy, and no weight problems until my late 40’s began weight gain, with hormonal changes. About 5 lbs per year……. Yikes! LOVE CARBS! Carbs not good for me. 🙁 My husband loves pasta and sweets. He’s not overweight. Not easy for him to know how to be supportive of me with my issues. I am looking forward to learning more, and adapting a life style of low carb eating. Not too interested in bacon and ham. Mainly due to preservatives….. I like the taste though! Trying to stay clear of a lot of GM products and go with organic and local. Not 100% successful here. Balancing though. In the future my husband and I will be moving to the Vancouver Islands area, possible one year. Retirement for him from the airlines, and I have been partially retired for the past 5 years….. Moved here from Colorado, U.S. Perhaps I can be involved some way in the effort to be of help to others. I am not a medical professional. (Worked in the hospital in Co.) Have been more of the administrative person. With a VERY Strong interest in natural/alternative medicine, health and healing. If things had gone differently for me, I had aspirations of becoming a Naturopathic Physician. Have enjoyed Dr. Mercola’s site for many years now.
    Looking forward to reading more here. Thanks for all the good info! You’ve got my interest for where/when these type of nutritional, alternative diets are being used to help so many in Canada. 🙂 Hope to see a breakthrough with acceptance, in spite of the battle with other agricultural/pharmaceutical interests. Hopefully, the fear issue of not making enough big business money will be tossed out to give freedom to those of us who are alternative minded. (I realize we are free to do so privately). Enough for now….. Got to get to the store to pick up a book…. 🙂

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Make sure you get the most recent Atkins book. I think you will find it a useful guide. If you stick with it you should get a good result. Be careful about ramping up the carbs later on as this can get away on you. I tend to stay very low-carb over the long haul because my tolerance is quite low. Some people can eat more of the “good carbs” but, as I say, be careful. And good luck!

  7. Thanks for the extra info. I picked up the book at the library. Reading away. I think I probably will be one of the people who will have to keep a check on carbs on the maintainance side. Makes sense.
    Yes, the program was broadcast just last night on Passionate Eye here in Ontario. I do hope the Folks in Alert Bay are sticking with the program. What a new lease on life for them! 🙂

  8. Dr. Jay,

    This is Ryan from over at http://www.dsolve.com–great posting. I just read the book The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability. It is written by a former hardcore 20 year vegan and while she definitely has a few axes to grind I now feel entitled to tell people I am eating one of the “greenest” diets on the earth. She provides some sound rationale for the harm that annual grains cause to top soil. Again, she has a few points that go a bit far in my mind, but the elements backed in the science of sustainability easily promote a lower carb, paleo-style, diet as a means to to a more sustainable approach. So not only is it healthier for us to eat like our ancestors it is also healthier for the environment (assuming a few measures are taken around grass fed or grazed meats, etc.).

    Thought I would pass it along. Best Regards, Ryan

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thanks for passing that along. I have seen that book but have not read it yet. The question of ecological footprint is an interesting one. I think a green case can be made for grazed animals since they can use land that is marginal in terms of other possible agricultural uses. The big problem is that this approach probably wouldn’t feed the current global population. The current model of industrial mono-culture grain production, which is heavily dependent on finite fossil fuels, is needed to feed the world. Not only is it destructive of natural ecosystems, and, not only is the food thus produced implicated in our chronic disease epidemics, but the whole thing is destined to collapse when the water, oil, natural gas and phosphorus start running out. This may be sooner than most people think. If we are all going to become subsistence farmers in the end, the thing I worry about is how are we going to get enough dietary fat. I’m thinking chickens and pigs. Anyway, don’t get me started on this doomer stuff – I’m a real bore at cocktail parties!

  9. Yes, that does seem to be a time away for a total collapse of our natural resources currently used for our way of life as we know it. Our children and their children may have many more challenges facing them in this area. Because other negative impacts could precurse our livelyhoods and lifestyles via war, and other natural disasters, we don’t really know which will happen before the other. I’m thankful for David Suzuki and many others for helping us all to be more mindful of the way we live and how we use the Earth we live on. Crazy World! Our dietary habits coincide with our way of living without a doubt. We tend to get caught up in a fast paced life style without consideration of how the food we eat affects our internal biology as much as we don’t have a strong regard for how we abuse the earth and atmosphere. It’s a lot to ponder, and do something about within our realm of capabilities. It’s really too bad our forefathers, (and Mothers), didn’t question the harm that could and would come from so many modern technologies. Even today, I am finally feeling some satisfaction that my ideals from 30+ years ago that were dismissed as Silly, Ignorant, Crazy, and otherwise Unfounded, most certainly have been founded at this time. More good can come of it all. There are many Baby Boomers, and now, the Generation X’ers who are fighting the good cause. Yippee!!!

  10. Very good discussion on Cultural Perception! Being from the “Four Corners” area of the U.S. originally, I have some good insight into these differences, with great respect. There is more than one type of intelligence to consider. With me, hindsight is better than foresight….. Ah well…..figuring it out is what counts! 🙂
    Working as a “‘sitter” (p.t.) for Hospice and other emergency needs, in a hospital for a time, I encountered a variety of cultural differences in people groups. We were encouraged to learn about and do all we can to understand these differences. It makes a difference. Prejudice still happens, a human nature flaw…. Both ways…..
    It is a spiritual, super-natural, ability to see people as like us inside, I agree…… This is an ability worth working on, and aspiring to. Aboriginal, Native Peoples have a unique intelligence in this area. Maybe not all…..But it does seem to be built into their spiritual beliefs.
    Great Input Dr. Wortman!

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thanks for your comments. I sometime get asked to speak on issues not related to diet, as you can see.

  11. Superiority with the ingestion of stimulants is typical and common throughout the world and man. It’s the adrenaline like response in the “link to paradise” that the Aztec/Mayan/Inca “high priests” spoke about regarding the effects of chocolate on their beings and senses. The same chocolate we now feed our babies in ice cream and cakes and cookies and M&M’s. Hershey’s Chocolate. With this they built pyramids and walls of carved stone and empires with slaves and armies and sacrifices with tributes to god and themselves. They took over whole regions, whole continents. They also hybrid corn and potatoes and no doubt fruits and vegetables and grains. The birds chirped a little brighter and prettier and the grasses were greener and the skies bluer and the clouds were exhilarating and brighter and fuller. The sun shone magnificently.The night skies were at there apex. Water ran beautifully. Beauty and wellbeing were everywhere.This goes hand in hand with all of the different types of caffein’s and sugars and starches and fruits and lactose we consume massively and think nothing of. — We are “high” on stimulants. — Adrenaline focuses us on our selves in order to respond to a need or want that is occurring. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. You can jump twelve feet in order to save your baby. You can see the wolf in the dark. Adrenaline and endorphins. Our body chemistry and our minds. This is where the doctor specialist was coming from when he wanted to know the ethnicity and socio/economics of the patient involved. Was he good enough and was he important enough for the great one to respond too. — Prejudice, humble and loving and forth-giving prejudice or his or her “majesty” prejudice. All the same. Stimulated!

  12. As one of my sons would say…… “Dude, what’s with that?” Ha! Some things matter more than others. It may be that too much introspection can lead to indecision….unfounded guilt…. Chocolate tastes fantastic! Ask any female! Hee, Hee…… There are nutritional values to it.
    Common sense tells us, with a heart of compassion, to come to the aid of our fellow man. There are a variety of reasons someone may not. Wether or not a person is in a state of being able to jump 12 feet to save their baby is of no real consequence at a time when they are desparately in need of medical attention themselves.
    I know this is questioning this last writing. We all have our opinions and reasons for strongly believing what we do spiritually…..or intellectually…. There are a lot of facts out there.
    Back to the Blog of Low Carb…… I’m feeling very good for the 3rd day…..It’s been a long haul to get to the point of giving up all the comfort foods. It’s like changing a paradigm, rebooting the computer, sleeping it off….. 🙂 The epidemic of obesity is so wide spread. I’m in the overweight stage, BMI 29. I was not convinced that just cutting down on calories would do it for me. It actually wasn’t working. Previously with the Atkins diet program, I got too confused with the Ketone thing…. I think someone had said that it could be hard on my kidneys. This concerned me. I think if you drink enough fluids, the kidneys will be able to flush out toxins, whereas the intestines flush out any other unused fats, etc? Just wondering.
    Staying off of pharmaceutical medications is better than being treated for illnesses that are covered up by those same pharmaceuticals when diet should be addressed. For instance diebetes, high blood pressure. All of them have warnings, and some of them aren’t designed to actually heal the problem. I may be wrong about a few…. Antibiotics? Any used after surgery….for temporary protection until the body can take over the job of healing. I can’t even go there really… I’m very fortunate to have started early in my quest for alternative and nutritional ways to stay well. It seems it has worked so far. Now, I am faced with the conscequences of consuming too many overprocessed food products, sugar, and wrong carbs, verses healthy versions. And I’ve been know to be a bit of a Health Freak. I’m all for staying the course for educating people in this area, no matter what it does to some industries. They can become brilliant business people in another area and feel good about it. Ideally, anyway…. 😉 We have to try.
    I’m just getting started here, I know. Actually, though, I have a lot of information from many sources that point in this very same direction. Just think of the direction the medical profession can go in, cost savings to us all. Compliance is a big issue. Education with understanding. Make it easier to obtain the healthier food as opposed to the current staples provided, or advertised. Our Zairs Grocery Market here in Ontario is really starting to step up to the plate on this. Not perfect, but really making a go of it. Many more options of Organic, Local produce. As well as Organic grains. No meats yet that have not been fed GM grains, hormones, and non-graized. The same with the fish. We need to question fish that are farmed in perhaps unhealthy environments, some are actually not in compliance according to lawful limits, do to the time constraints and manpower to oversee the farms the way they are meant to be run. Polluted Ocean water….. some rivers… Globally….. Well, in this I still say fight the good fight. Zairs has “Free Run” eggs. Hmmmmm…….I’m not sure that statement is 100% accurate, as they are still fed hormone/antibiotic laiden grains. Sure, they may catch a bug or two…but mostly just running around in dirt. Ah, it’s a start. I had chickens of my own for some years. I think my eggs were actually free run…… I did feed them local grain.
    I am glad to have the information that lets us know we don’t need near as much protein in our diets as many of us actually consume. That’s a start. Learning to live a simpler life in this arena.
    How to be competitive in the World Market? Oh My! That’s one of the good reasons young people should be a part of what makes a good change in this area. Educational tools for those who dont have the information. A good business plan. I’m a dreamer. Nothing wrong with that! 🙂 We need a government who will open up doors for us to gain strength in these areas. Become leaders. Our adrenalin, wherever it comes from can lead us into greatness for the good of many. Adrenalin happens. Tennis happens…. It always pumped me up. I don’t play these days, but I remember all the fun with that. My husband and I kayak now. We love it! We do bring along a snack. I am going to be re-thinking what kind. Chocolate is definately not out. Thank God for chocolate.

  13. What I have found since being on low-carb is that the fats can mobilise toxins. Sounds bad, but in fact, that’s a good thing. It does mean though that the body will find different ways of getting them out of the body.

    That can manifest as, yup, bad breath, ‘sewage pit’ mouth, rashes, sweating, headaches, fatigue, colds, catarrgh and mucous, diarrhea and sometimes even constipation, and possibly a few other ‘routes’ too.

    it is not necessarily the ketones that are causing these things, or even the fact that one is following a low-carb regime, but simply the fact that the body is now able to breathe a sigh of relief that you have finally stopped throwing the garbage down the ‘chute’ and it can get on with the job of clearing it all out!

    We just are not aware of what the Western Diet is doing to our bodies. You cannot keep throwing garbage at it without it impacting sooner or later.

    It is not just fat that you get rid of but all the built up rubbish that has accumulated around the body – the sugars, chemicals and heavy metals from different things – including your teeth!

    What the liver cannot cope with, it will hive off into the fat cells and other areas ‘to be dealt with later’. Of course, later never comes, because the incessant barrage never stops! It sets us up for damage anywhere in the body.

    No wonder we get Diabetes, Arthritis, MS, ME, depression, schizophrenia, migraines, brain-fog, or any other of a host of different diseases and ailments.

    The Western Diet also makes us very deficient in many vital nutrients. The more nutrient -devoid carbs and sugar we consume, the less nutrition we get.

    The importance of enough nutrition was driven home to me by an experiment done by Weston Price in the 30s/40s. He apparently took a group of pigs and withheld vitamin A from their diet. All their babies were born with no eyes. He then fed the blind pigs a vitamin A-rich diet. All their babies were born with healthy eyes.

    Low-carb = high nutrition. If we want to heal and be well we have to give the body what it really needs. Plenty of good protein, good natural fats – preferably from butter, coconut oil, lard and dripping and from fish (not vegetable oils – they often turn to trans-fats when heated whilst sat fats remain stable) and, believe it or not, unrefined sea or rock salt with all it’s 84+ minerals and trace elements.

    I have been low-carbing for two and a half years and on a Healing Diet for 4 months and it is working for me.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    There are some things that can accumulate in our fat tissue. Certain toxins and heavy metals, for instance. I am not sure they are released when we burn off our fat, though. If they are, then I would expect this to be a transitory effect. The overall benefit of correcting insulin resistance through carbohydrate reduction, shedding the weight and normalizing metabolic markers would outweigh any negative effects of a transient increase in stored toxins entering the circulation, IMHO. Interesting thought. It will be fascinating to see if there is any evidence of this in future studies.

  14. All of our fruits and vegetables and grains and plant life have been hybrid to increase their sugar content a hundred fold. That and the abundant availability and the quantities we consume is where the stimulant factor kicks in. In real nature, indigenous plant sugar contents and availability are something like a thousand times less that what we consume. That’s why the worlds people have gone crazy and became warmongers and other things.

  15. Hi there
    interesting post about the pregnancy
    I wish I knew about low carb/lowering insulin before my pregnancies and i would have avoided having a son with ADHD and a daughter with down syndrome
    the whole reason low carb works is it lowers insulin which is the reason for all disease (rosedale diet)
    ADHD, aspergers, autism and epilepsy are all related because they are all caused by high insulin (somehow high insulin in mother also causes high insulin in child- not sure how)
    in fact high insulin is teratogenic!
    watch out for autism and congenital malformation rate to rise in the next generation
    not sure about the wine though as it causes insulin resistance and you are undoing some of the benefits of low carb
    have my kids on Rosedale diet and amazing results with behaviour and mood and energy by cutting their endogenous insulin

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Clearly, high insulin during gestation can have lasting consequences for the child. I also think high glucose and high fructose are implicated, as well. If hyperinsulinemia in the mother is not able to keep blood sugars in the normal range, as is often the case, then the foetus would be exposed to the high glucose and would be excreting excess insulin, as well.

    I also suspect the high-carb/high-fructose consumption we commonly see in kids contributes to ADHD. If I had a child with this problem, a very low-carb diet would be my first line of therapy. Of course, people begin to think you believe low-carb cures everything when you talk like that. On the other hand, what would you have to lose in trying it. Consider how a low-carb ketogenic diet is used for therapy for pediatric epilepsy. It turns out that kids with ADHD have a significantly increased risk of seizures. This suggests that the underlying problem in the neurons may be the same. There was a paper published (by Jarrett et al) that explained how switching the brain cells from glucose to ketones resulted in significantly lower levels of oxygen free radical production. This is the proposed mechanism whereby low-carb fixes the epilepsy. It is not a huge jump to think it may help with other neurological problems like ADHD.

  16. Dr. Jay

    This is my entry and response in todays Detroit Lakes, Minnesota newspaper DL-Online in response to high school senior journalism student Nathan Kitzman that I correspond with regularly and his top of page writing “Willy-Wonka”.

    Serious stuff!

    Totally about sugar and carbohydrates and their effects. — The phychological effects are even greater, I believe, than the directly related, psychical effects.


    Thank You, Tom

  17. physical effects. I meant to say. Sorry.

    Totally about sugar and carbohydrates and their effects. — The phychological effects are even greater, I believe, than the directly related, physical effects.

  18. Now add to that this simple little fact! — All of our fruits and grains and vegetables and plant life have been hybrid to increase their sugar content a hundred fold. That and the abundant availability and the quantities we consume is where the stimulant factor kicks in. In real nature, indigenous plant sugar contents and availability are something like a thousand times less than what we now consume. That’s why the worlds people have gone crazy and became warmongers and other things. Not to mention processed sugar and HFCS and processed grains and flour and lactose and caffeine. Now throw in that wonderful little Fifty Inch Panasonic Plasma Color TV with Dolby Surround Sound and Home Theater and all of it’s stimulated writers and creators and we can comfortably say,” Welcome to the real world”! — I am the first TV generation but I was the ripe old age of five years old in 1950 when Howdy Doody and Red Buttons reined and television came into being, along with cold cereal breakfast’s and sugar and milk and orange juice and toast. These were commonplace and thought to be healthy right along with Kool-Aid with one and a half or two cups of sugar to two quarts of water. — Pre-Disney! — This we offer the world instead of their primitive non-life existence! — We are wonderful saviors of the planet earth and it’s peoples! Oh, how great we are! — We stimulated beings! We are almost “Godlike”! Oh God Almighty, Thank You!

  19. Hi Dr Jay!

    I have been on a low carb, high fat diet for more than 4 months! I am not diabetic or obese but started for other health issues. I am a woman and 51 years.
    Boy was I tired for a good part of that time! But as of 2 weeks ago it’s just getting better and better. I feel great, my brain fog is gone, my sleeplessness is gone, my menopausal symtoms have gone, my urinal incontinence is gone, my IBS symptoms have gone, lost about 10 kilos, my libido has improved hugely. I expect a lot more in the coming months.
    Can’t say it was easy to begin with but it does seem to get easier and easier and commitment gets stronger seeing the results. I started with the expectation of being on it for only 6 months but with everything I have found out I realize now that I will be a lifer!
    I understand myself from talking to people about this diet how absolutely scared they are of it. Luckily my husband has been so supportive although my best friend tried to talk me out of doing it. Even now he ignores all the positive things that have happened to me.
    I can’t eat dairy so I eat lots of coconut oil. Have you seen Dr Mary Newports site about using large quantities of it for her husband who has alzheimers. http://www.coconutketones.com/ My husband was starting to get very forgetful (alzheimers in the family history) so I started him on 4 tablespoons every day and it has worked! He is so much better and his depression is gone.
    Good work Dr Jay and thanks and blessing for you new babe.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I suspect, from the results that you describe, that you are intolerant of carbohydrates and that a return to a higher carb diet would cause a relapse, so I would encourage you to continue.

    I recently spoke to a group of older people who had had significant success on a low-carb/low-fat calorie-restricted diet. One of the common comments from the menopausal women was that the problem of “hot flashes” had disappeared. I have not seen anything in the literature about this but the personal stories were quite compelling. It seems to me that taking carbs out of the diet is such a game-changer that much of what we know about hormonal, immunological and metabolic systems has to be revisited to understand how things work in the low-carb environment.

    I will have a look at that site on coconut oil. It appears in general that the tropical oils got a bad rap when we were busy demonizing fats and saturated fats. The manufacturers of polyunsaturate-rich vegetable oils and margarines benefited while it may turn out we have overlooked a valuable source of healthy fats.

  20. It is hard to change out away from what you hear in the mainstream regarding what is “healthy” to eat and what is not. I had never tried coconut oil before about 7 or 8 years ago. It sure is delicious! Great to cook eggs in. I’m just now learning to make some very delicious treats with it as well.
    Since it’s been muggy hot here in Ontario, I’m not sure if the night overheating is actually gone. I’ve been on the lower carb, no sugar, grains, eating for the past 2 1/2 weeks only. WHAT a Change! Watching the program of My Big Fat Diet really was the catalyst to get me moving with this. I did check about my blood work that was done in February. Only had one sign of metabolic syndrome actually. Gaining weight…But, all my tryglicerides, etc all were going up! So, I can see I was definately heading in that direction. The doctor didn’t seem to be as concerned as I am about these changes. I’m hoping to see more advise in the conventional medicine area for prevention. And warning signs. We just aren’t all able to know that this is the road to illness. Just one of the markers anyway. Thanks for helping me to really “See” the light. I’ve been a Dr. Mercola fan for years, (He’s actually quite fantastic), yet was not really seeing how this has played out in so many people’s lives such as the Indian Nation Folks showed. We are all in the same, and heading if not already there, in the same boat. Something’s gotta give.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    I’m glad to hear it’s working out for you. Be sure to get a copy of the new Atkins book to use as a guide. There are lots of meal plans, recipes, etc there which can be a big help.

    Also, most people don’t know that they are developing insulin resistance and we don’t have a simple way of testing for it. One thing to look at is your HDL and triglyceride numbers. Even if they are within the normal range, if the HDL is getting a bit low and the triglycerides are getting a bit high, that is a fairly reliable sign that you are developing insulin resistance. That, of course, means you need to start cutting the carbs.

  21. Hi Dr. Jay:
    I’d love to see you post a commentary on this blog about Dean Ornish’s blog on Huffington Post about the study he claims shows the Atkins diet to increase morbidity/mortality. I was truly amazed at how poor the science was in the first place, and the “gall” of Ornish to even use the term “Atkins Diet” in relation to the study which had nothing to do with the Atkins diet. I am also hoping that someone with credentials such as yours will post a major, visible rebuttal to Ornish’s claims. The comments section was replete with arguments against it, but the headline still blares “Atkins Diet Increases Mortality.” Some might see that and not read further. (Like my step-father who after years of low-fat dieting and walking regularly, just had a quadruple-bypass. He has completely “pooh-poohed” my siblings and I for our low-carb diet and openly eats his cereal while the rest of us have eggs when we visit our mother. Now my mother, who keeps having bad side effects from her statins, thinks they have to cut their meat consumption even more and bemoans that they already eat so much fruit..what more can they do? AARRGGGGHHHHH)
    What say you?

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    I have seen the Ornish piece. It is unbelievable the lengths to which these low-fat proponents will go in order to attack Atkins. Ornish condemns Atkins based on a study that had absolutely nothing to do with the Atkins diet and he is allowed to publish that in a fairly credible online news site. It’s interesting that you never see people with low-carb expertise resorting to those kinds of dishonest and unethical tactics. I think that tells you something about the credibility problems those in the low-fat camp are facing. They are getting desperate, so maybe that is a good thing. I’ll post a more lengthy discussion when I get some free time which will hopefully be not too far off in the future.

  22. Ornish, Just like Jimmy Moore,with his “whatever works best for you” spiel. Ornish is playing to the crowd. They can’t see a thing wrong with this because the crowd is big and overwhelming and tramples to their door. It pays them well and they get clapped and praised for. — Win win, for them. — The true message and health get sacrificed in order to line their greedy pocketbooks. This industry is plagued with this. People addicted to sugar and hybrid carbohydrates will listen to anything but the truth. Anything!

  23. Dear Dr. Jay,

    I am really enjoying the material on your blog! Thanks for posting!

    I was especially interested in reading that your wife was successfully able to control morning sickness using a very low carbohydrate diet. I am currently on a VLCD (meat/eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and cheese) in an effort to avoid hyperemesis gravidarum with any upcoming pregnancies. (This is by recommendation of a fertility doctor who found that when he used a VLCD for PCOS patients, their morning sickness also vanished.) May I ask if that was the same diet that your wife used? And did she also have hyperemesis with her previous pregnancies, or just normal morning sickness?

    I have found conflicting information out there – some people say that a VLCD is harmful for a developing baby, and some say that it’s normal (even beneficial) and that a baby will be fine. Hard to sort through!

    I’ll let you know if it works!

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    My wife didn’t have hyperemesis with her first pregnancy. I would say she had normal morning sickness. She found that if she ate something at around 3:30 am, she could avoid or minimize the problem. She kept snacks at the bedside and in those days we were eating a high-carb diet so this would usually be big muffins. In retrospect, it seems to me that the morning sickness may have been related to, or exacerbated by hypoglycemia, but I haven’t taken the time to puzzle out why that would happen only during pregnancy. In non-pregnant people, hypoglycemia is corrected by a VLCD.

    In the second pregnancy, she continued her VLCD and had virtually no morning sickness. I know there is great variability with this problem and that the same woman can have different experiences with different pregnancies so I have hesitated in making general recommendations. I do find it interesting that your fertility doctor observed that this worked with his PCOS patients, though. I am also impressed that he knows that VLCD will correct PCOS.

    The diet we eat is as you describe. In addition, I would advise that you avoid all the vegetable oils except olive and canola because of excess omega-6. And make sure you are getting enough salt to replace the salt your kidneys will be excreting on low-carb.

    As to whether it is harmful or beneficial to the fetus, I have only one case study to report on and, as far as I can tell, it certainly hasn’t been harmful. It’s hard to say whether it has been beneficial. We certainly have a smart, sturdy, thriving and adorable little girl so I tend to think there was a benefit. I suppose time will tell.

    Good luck with your baby-making efforts!

  24. Thanks, Dr. Jay! I appreciate your kind words and also hearing about your experience!

    I am going to post the link for you so that you can read up on this doctor’s work for yourself. He is not my doctor, unfortunately (he’s in FL and we are in AZ), but I read about him on a low-carb blog, and we have corresponded – and he was so kind as to send me the document for the VLCD he prescribes for his PCOS clients.


    Cheers!!! And thank you!

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thanks for that URL. I am going to post it here in the links section as I think this is an area that needs a lot more exposure.

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