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Low-Carb News And Health Headlines For April 2009

It’s hard to believe the first quarter of 2009 is already coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the low-carb news and health headlines are slowing down one iota. Here are some tasty and filling stories about livin’ la vida low-carb for you to munch on as April “springs” upon us:

READER’S DIGEST DISCOURAGES LOW-CARB LIVING

People write to me all the time sharing anti-low-carb drivel like this Reader’s Digest column berating and disparaging our beloved dietary choice. I’ve never understood why something that is described as a “fad” diet that is hated so much that nobody could possibly even think about doing it gets so much ink and attention paid to it by those who oppose it. But, maybe, just maybe, deep down inside they know it isn’t what they say that it is and they realize it threatens everything they’ve ever believed to be true about health. So when you read something as ridiculous as this, keep that in mind and realize they probably already know what you and I have seen for ourselves in our own lives–livin’ la vida low-carb is a delicious, nutritious, and healthy way to lose weight and ward off the preventable diseases most people suffer from today. And they just can’t handle facing the truth!

MOM SAYS STRICT VEGAN MADE HER KIDS GET SICK

With all the anti-meat, low-fat propaganda that’s floating around out there from groups like PETA who hide behind the mirage that they care about animals while secretly killing 95% of adoptable pets in their care last year, it’s refreshing to see a story like this one from The Daily Mail about a mom who placed her two little baby girls on a vegan diet since it has been so heavily promoted as “healthy” and “superior” to all other diets. Feeding them just raw vegetables, nuts, grains, soy, and seeds along with no meat, fish, dairy, or anything with much fat or protein in it, health issues started coming up: unexpected cavities, stunted growth, weak muscles, malnutrition, vitamin D deficiency, and rickets, just to name a few. This was a telling quote from the story: “When we went to the supermarket, Lizzie would grab a pack of butter and start gnawing on it. I couldn’t understand why this well-fed child was behaving like this. I was so brainwashed that the fact our bodies were craving dairy products had passed me by.” She added dairy and higher fat back into their diet and they almost immediately showed improvement. This is yet another lesson in why it is important for people to know the truth about what a healthy diet is and not just rely on the government or even their doctor to share advice that is necessarily accurate. Do your own research and then take appropriate action.

SOUTH BEACH DIET AUTHOR SHARES CANDIDLY ABOUT LOW-CARB

Although the first sentence in the original of his bestselling line of South Beach Diet books states “this is not a low-carb diet,” Dr. Arthur Agatston realizes the importance of carbohydrate-restriction to improving weight and health. In this interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, he talks about the detrimental role “processed carbs” play in your diet, what he eats on his own diet, his response to Dr. Atkins and his diet, the importance of omega-3 supplementation, and the #1 thing you can do to improve your heart health. I’ve been working for a couple of years to have Dr. Agatston on my show and I’m not gonna give up trying. He has a lot to offer those who are seeking to eat healthier than the Standard American Diet (SAD) and many of my readers have or are currently on South Beach themselves. It’s a little too high in carbs and low in fat for me, but certainly a better option than SAD!

ARE CARBS GOOD OR BAD MISSES THE POINT OF LOW-CARB LIVING

Misinformation about the role of macronutrients is everywhere these days and one of my fellow writers at Examiner.com wrote this column recently attempting to defend carbs as part of a healthy diet. What’s funny is she uses some rather old, tired arguments to make her point–namely that the body “needs” carbs to function, have energy, stay hydrated, prevent hypoglycemia, ward off nausea, exercise muscles, and prevent future health problems. Funny thing, though…I haven’t had any problems with these things since I started livin’ la vida low-carb over five years ago. So, I’m not sure what you’re talking about Asako Lahoe. Your recommendation that I eat upwards of 400g carbs as an “optimal” level in my diet would quite literally kill me–and most anyone who would eat that way for their weight and health. NO THANKS!

WORKING 3RD SHIFT MESSES WITH METABOLISM, STUDY SHOWS

Although most of the population is employed during the daylight hours in a typical 9-5 type of job, a good many Americans work late into the night and overnight as part of their job. Now there is new research published this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that shows this kind of job can be harmful to insulin, cortisol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, among other health markers that were tested. Interestingly, the story focuses on the job these workers were engaged in working late at night without regard to their lifestyle. So, whether they are overweight or skinny, these harmful changes in their insulin and cortisol levels show a connection between these hormones and health. Just another notch in the belt of what we’ve been promoting for a long time.

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL STUDENTS EXPOSE PROF’S DRUG BIAS

Oh, you gotta love this! These first-year medical school students must not have gotten the memo that they aren’t supposed to question the authority of their all-knowing professors when it comes to the promotion and use of prescription medications. But that’s exactly what a group of Harvard Medical School students did when they outed their professor by identifying him as a paid consultant to 10 different pharmaceutical companies, including most of the so-called “cholesterol lowering” medications. This obvious bias that comes from a teacher who is educating the future medical professionals of tomorrow is quite disturbing to say the least and has certain legal and ethical ramifications that Harvard or any other medical school doesn’t want hanging over it. If you’re teaching students about medicine, then I don’t think you should be allowed to consult a drug company. You’ll have a vested interest in teaching about the benefits of that prescription while purposely downplaying any potential side effects from the drugs. This is outrageous and I applaud those brave students for standing up for what is right.

T.J. FREEMAN: I’M NOT ON A DIET, STOP ASKING!

Although there are a lot of voices of dissent about low-carb living on Examiner.com, there are quite a few that join me in spreading the good news about livin’ la vida low-carb on there (click here to check out my Low-Carb Lifestyle Examiner page for a list of my fellow Low-Carb Examiners). One of the newest ones is T.J. Freeman from Atlanta who wrote this fabulous column on describing his way of eating as a “diet” versus “lifestyle change” that you’ve heard me harp on from day one here at my blog. He says it can be somewhat overwhelming for people unaccustomed to eating a healthier diet like low-carb to know what to do and that it’s good just to listen to your body and adjust your plan for YOU. And that’s something that has worked for T.J. to get him where he is today. Check it out!

HONEST QUESTIONS FINALLY BEING ASKED ABOUT THE FDA

This column by the Associated Press asks something a lot of us in the diet and health industry have been wondering about for years: “Is the FDA a broken agency?” With all the various health outbreaks and scandals over the past few years, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is under serious pressure to get its act together. Unfortunately, this government agency has meddled where it doesn’t belong and turned a blind eye where it does for so long that it doesn’t know up from down anymore. President Obama vows to change this negative perception of the FDA that has been growing for a very long time. How has this corruption at the FDA manifested itself into the lives of everyday Americans? Prescription drugs being approved before all the side effects have been examined, tainted food products like salmonella poisoning in peanuts and tomatoes, and more. Hopefully some of that “change” we heard about so much during the 2008 election will make its way to the FDA.

IS A CSPI REP ABOUT TO HEAD A USDA FOOD POST?

For those of you who have watched Tom Naughton’s FAT HEAD documentary, then you already know about the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “The guy from CSPI” Michael Jacobson has been popping up from the shadows every few years warning of the dangers of this, that, and everything in between. What would happen if one of these people from CSPI were to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) division? Well, that’s apparently about to happen if Caroline Smith DeWaal is named over Barbara Masters and it will directly impact the foods that you and your family can purchase to eat if the “food police” deem it as too “unhealthy” for you. Get ready for such labels to be slapped on low-carb staples like meat, eggs, and cheese if DeWaal is given this lofty position in the Obama administration. Scary stuff!

BIZARRE NEW STUDY ON EXERCISE FOR WEIGHT LOSS

People came out the woodwork to chide Gary Taubes a couple of years ago when he dared put forth the notion that exercise is futile for people seeking weight loss because it only makes you more hungry in his groundbreaking book Good Calories, Bad Calories. Now there is compelling published research out of the University of Illinois in the February 2009 issue of the scientific journal Obesity that says something pretty amazing about the psychology of weight loss. The researchers showed demonstrably that those who read posters that state they should join a gym or walk around the block actually ate more food than those who saw posters encouraging them to join a group or make friends. INCREDIBLE! These subliminal messages about activity actually ENCOURAGED people to go out and eat. Could this be an unconscious reflex inside our brains anticipating exercise that causes our stomachs to growl for food? So the next time you see a television commercial pushing a gym membership or fitness machine, turn the channel quickly so you don’t go running for the fridge!

LOW-CARB DIET BECOMING KNOWN AS ACNE CURE

Last Friday, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the giants in the world of diet and health–Dr. Loren Cordain of The Paleo Diet fame. I’ll be sharing that podcast with you on April 23, 2009, but he has written quite extensively about the connection of low-carb eating and acne. Now there is research backing up the claim that blemishes and outbreaks among low-carb dieters are significantly reduced. The story notes that dermatologists are skeptical of any connection between diet and acne, but it’s difficult to ignore. Obviously, cutting the carbs controls hormones like insulin, which Dr. Cordain believes is one of the driving forces behind the production of pimples and breakouts. With 87 percent of the study participants reporting massive improvements in their skin within three months of starting a low-carb program, it’s compelling evidence for virtually anyone dealing with this sensitive issue, teenagers included.

COLUMNIST GEORGE WILL SAYS AMERICANS HAVE AN “EATING DISORDER”

Conservative columnist George Will doesn’t usually veer too far from the political side of things, but this column is must-reading for people devoted to health. It includes some discussion of government and history, but points the finger of blame on our nation’s declining health on the diet we are feeding ourselves. Relying heavily on the influence of Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food), this Will column looks at how corn has taken over our entire food supply and implores newly-appointed Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to do something about it. He’ll have a strong lobby and contingent of food companies to stand up against if he does! It would be a great site to see.

WASHINGTON POST WANTS YOUR DIET SUCCESS STORY

I love it when a major newspaper like The Washington Post asks people to share their thoughts about a particular way of eating that worked for them. This story outlines a frustrated author who says most bariatric surgery patients go on at least 24 diets before going under the knife. And all of those attempts apparently fail to work to provide the heralded weight loss they’ve been looking for. So, she asks for testimonies “from readers who have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off” for good. Share your story of losing the low-carb way!

IS THE HYSTERIA OVER VITAMIN D UNWARRANTED?

I recently wrote a blog post about Vitamin D sharing about my wife Christine’s paltry level of 9 that could be the reason behind a lot of her chronic pain and fatigue issues. Well, this Bacteriality post provides 14 reasons why there may be some misunderstanding about “low” Vitamin D levels. I don’t know if I necessarily buy all of these, but they were worth passing along to you for informational purposes.

ANOTHER EXAMINER COLUMNIST WARNS AGAINST HIGH-PROTEIN, LOW-CARB

The Denver Dining Examiner Stan Dyer adds his voice of criticism to those who are opposed to “high-protein, low-carb diets.” Well, guess what, Stan? So am I! Down with those dastardly people who try to make my healthy high-FAT, low-carb diet one that is high in protein. How dare they! Seriously, this guy is so full of cliche in his criticism of livin’ la vida low-carb that you can see right through everything he says: low-carb or high-protein is unhealthy for everyone, may produce long-term health consequences, leads to kidney stones, kidney failure and heart disease, leeches calcium, cancer, and even death! Sheez, who wants to go on a diet like this, eh? I can’t wait to publish my new book because I answer all of these idiotic claims by showing the science that proves them all wrong. It’s coming soon and will be a real eyeopener for people like Stan.

STUDY: EATING LOW-GI MAKES YOU FEEL FULLER

New research out of King’s College London found that people who eat foods with a lower glycemic index (aka low-carb) makeup increase their production of a gut hormone tied to appetite suppression that makes them feel full. The hunger-controlling effects of the hormone GLP-1 is stimulated when a low-GI meal is consumed. Of course, you can’t underestimate the impact of the protein on satiety as well as dietary fat on the feeling of fullness, too. Fascinating research!

SHARE ABOUT YOUR DIET & HEALTH IN THIS SURVEY

Our friends at Cake-And-Biscuit-Diet.com (don’t let the name of the site fool you, they’re pro-low-carb), are doing this survey of diets to see what works and what doesn’t to help improve people’s weight and health. They want to see how a particular diet has impacted your weight, cholesterol, adherence to a plan, fat loss, hunger, energy, concentration, memory, cravings, and a whole host of other quality of life issues. This is one survey EVERYBODY reading this needs to take!

THE VERY BEST WAY FOR YOU TO LOWER YOUR TRIGLYCERIDES

I always enjoy reading new columns from registered nurse and low-carb friend Jacqueline Eberstein. She worked with the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins for three decades and is the world’s foremost expert on the Atkins Nutritional Approach today. Her latest column deals with the little-talked-about aspect of lipid health known as triglycerides. If you ask the average person what LDL and even HDL cholesterol is, they will give you some kind of answer. But when you mention triglycerides, you get a blank stare. Jackie demystifies this important health risk factor by providing statistics and information about it and why traditional methods for lowering triglycerides (i.e. cut the fat, eat less calories, eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, take statin drugs) just plain don’t work. What DOES work is a low-carb diet and exercise program. Well duh!

RECESSION-PROOF DIET AND HEALTH TIPS

My blogging friend Doug from the “Health Habits” blog recently solicited my input about how to live a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a recession. With more and more people becoming conscious of their spending during these uncertain economic times, he wanted to share with his readers some tips on being frugal while remaining committed to their fitness goals. This post features a broad spectrum of advice from all kinds of people in the world of blogging and I was privileged to be a part of it, too. ENJOY!

ARE ORGANIC FOODS ENDANGERED BECAUSE OF H.R. 875

Legislation on Capital Hill can have a direct impact on your life a lot more than you realize. While much of what happens in Washington, DC by our elected officials isn’t felt by most of us until we get our federal income tax bill, this H.R. 875 (link opens PDF file of the entire proposed law) seems to be a little more intrusive on those of us with a preference for organic foods. I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether you believe the bill will help or harm your food choices, but it’s information worth looking into and contacting your Congressman about if you have any questions or concerns.

TRIATHLON EXAMINER SAYS “DON’T BE A CARBOPHOBE”

We’ve got yet another Examiner blasting away at low-carb diets–this time it’s the Boise Triathlon Examiner Andrew Beck. His angle is on how the “low-carb fad” is not appropriate for “serious athletes” since the health claims made about it “aren’t based on scientific fact.” Well, Andrew, you’re dead wrong about that and I encourage you to look up the fantastic research conducted by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek on low-carb diets and exercise. Also, I’ll be interviewing a world-class athlete from Sweden named Jonas Colting for my podcast soon to talk about how he trains using a low-carb diet fitness program that will blow your mind. Much of what Andrew writes about in his column is based on the same old conventional talk of a very high-carb (60-70 percent of total calories), low-fat diet. I’m glad that works for you Andrew, but it’s not a universal truth.

A ONE-A-DAY MIRACLE MEGA-HEART HEALTH PILL?

Finally, I about fell out of my chair today when I read this Associated Press news story on a new “combo pill” for heart health that includes three blood pressure medications, the generic version of the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor, and a 100mg baby aspirin. This “polypill” is supposed to be the new wonder drug for heart disease everyone has been looking for. But it’s missing one critical element–it won’t be effective without a strategic change in diet by those who are taking it. The trials show LDL falls 23 percent and triglycerides by 10 percent, but HDL remains constant. Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet will DRAMATICALLY drop triglycerides by over half in just a matter of weeks and HDL will go WAY UP in very short order. Why do we get so excited about a pill that brings about modest results at best while all but ignoring the DRAMATIC changes that occur when people start livin’ la vida low-carb? Oh yeah, that’s right! There’s no money in that!

Seen a news story about low-carb diets or health that you think I need to know about? Send me the link or information via e-mail to livinlowcarbman@charter.net. THANKS!

  • Sonagi

    I’m no fan of PETA, but a fake consumer front group for the restaurant and food industry is not a credible source.

    THANKS Sonagi. But does that make the information any less newsworthy?

    –Jimmy

  • KD

    I happen to work a night shift and I’d be very curious to see the results of the study if all the subjects were eating low carb. I’m sure I’m affected somewhat by operating contrary to a schedule we evolved on, but hopefully not nearly as much.

    KD, I think you’re right–eating a low-carb diet would likely mitigate the negative response from insulin and/or cortisol. They didn’t really talk about how a lot of people who have those jobs drink a lot of caffeinated, sugary sodas and junk food to stay awake. I did when I had a job that late at night. THANKS for your input!

    –Jimmy

  • Anonymous

    Re: Vit D, Dr Mercola put a reply to this recently:

    http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/03/14/clearing-up-confusion-on-vitamin-d–why-i-dont-recommend-the-marshall-protocol.aspx

    Basically this website is dedicated to the Marshall protocol which is not recommended for most people.

  • Shannon

    Well, I do not have to do any research. I can tell you for sure that there is a link between clearing acne and eating low carb. My teenage daughter went on low carb with me in order to lose weight and get healthy. In the process ALL of her acne cleared up within a month. It was getting pretty bad, and it is all gone, not even one blemish. I am not sure if she is more happy about the 25 lbs she has lost or the acne gone! Now when she smells french fries, she says “OH, that stinks! Carbage is horrible smelling.” LOL

    Have you seen this, I thought it was also a funny story.
    http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20090401/ODD.Bodacious.Ballpark.Burger/

    What a GREAT story, Shannon! THANKS so much for sharing and congrats to your daughter!

    –Jimmy

  • Mr Aprifolius

    New LCHF product:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/squeez-bacon.html

    :-)

    OH…MY…nice April Fool’s joke, but wouldn’t that product be cool? :)

    –Jimmy

  • Randy

    That Reader’s Digest story is nothing short of irresponsible. Sadly, many people in desperate need of a lifestyle change to low-carb will read that and never see the light. Also, no author took responsibility for that article? And “the low-carb ‘craze’ is on the downswing?” Only for those who can’t turn a pre-packaged profit.

    Randy, it’s sad, isn’t it? That’s why I remain vigilant in doing what I do so people can find the truth. THANKS for commenting!

    –Jimmy

  • http://www.TheBunnellFarm.com Tom Bunnell

    That Readers Digest article should be a “must read” for everyone of us. — Now measure the impact and reflection of Readers Digest on our society and the who are it’s followers and readers and disciples and then the mentality of these masses the world over and we begin to see the futility of this endeavor. — Yet there is no other way!

  • Abner Normal

    I used to respect Reader’s Digest….what a pathetic load of crap!

    “The Downsides of These Diets
    The Atkins diet and the many other low-carb diets that followed in its footsteps have turned out to be less effective, and less healthy, than originally claimed. Often, the weight returned, and as it did, problems such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure came back, too. Also, in the end, many people decided they didn’t want to go through life without ever eating pasta again. Let’s look at what would happen if you followed one of the more extreme low-carb diets.”

    Gee…if you go back to eating the way you used to…OF COURSE the weight is going to come back along with all the other ailments that went away!
    IT’S A LIFESTYLE..WAY OF EATING….NOT A DIET!!!!!!

    This so called “experts” are driving me nuts.

  • http://www.FatThenFitNow.com Joe Leonardi

    Hi Jimmy,
    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed speaking with you yesterday. In reference to the Reader’s Digest Article, WTF????????????
    I was wondering if we can have the author contact me and I will tell them about lean muscle on a low carb regime.

    Joe

    GREAT talking to you too, Joe! The problem is we don’t know who the author of the RD column is.

    –Jimmy

  • http://www.FatThenFitNow.com Joe Leonardi

    Well I will have to find a contact there and fire them off an email.

  • Mary Titus

    Jimmy, I see that the Stan Dyer’s ( Denver Dining Examiner ) article got nothing but negative feed back, happy to say.

  • Stacey

    I’ve found some really good tasting recipes. They have breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. And they’re always adding new ones. They list carb amount, calories, fat, fiber content, Glycemic Index (GI), Glyco Load (GL). I haven’t seen any other sites that offer the GI and GL together in their recipes. Good site if you’re looking for new ideas and good info.