The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. ... In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mainstream media hinting that Atkins was right!

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A reversal on carbs

I am going to put a big quote from this article, since it puts this better than any abstract of mine would have done:

Fat was once the devil. Now more nutritionists are pointing accusingly at sugar and refined grains....


Carb consumption has risen over the years. So have U.S. obesity levels. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times) ...




Most people can count calories. Many have a clue about where fat lurks in their diets. However, fewer give carbohydrates much thought, or know why they should.


But a growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America's ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.


"Fat is not the problem," says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases."


It's a confusing message. For years we've been fed the line that eating fat would make us fat and lead to chronic illnesses. "Dietary fat used to be public enemy No. 1," says Dr. Edward Saltzman, associate professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts University. "Now a growing and convincing body of science is pointing the finger at carbs, especially those containing refined flour and sugar."


Americans, on average, eat 250 to 300 grams of carbs a day, accounting for about 55% of their caloric intake. The most conservative recommendations say they should eat half that amount. Consumption of carbohydrates has increased over the years with the help of a 30-year-old, government-mandated message to cut fat....


The first sign of insulin resistance is a condition called metabolic syndrome — a red flag that diabetes, and possibly heart disease, is just around the corner. People are said to have the syndrome when they have three or more of the following: high blood triglycerides (more than 150 mg); high blood pressure (over 135/85); central obesity (a waist circumference in men of more than 40 inches and in women, more than 35 inches); low HDL cholesterol (under 40 in men, under 50 in women); or elevated fasting glucose.


About one-fourth of adults has three or more of these symptoms.


"Put these people on a low-carb diet and they'll not only lose weight, which always helps these conditions, but their blood levels will improve," Phinney says. In a 12-week study published in 2008, Phinney and his colleagues put 40 overweight or obese men and women with metabolic syndrome on a 1,500-calorie diet. Half went on a low-fat, high-carb diet. The others went on a low-carb, high-fat diet. The low-fat group consumed 12 grams of saturated fat a day out of a total of 40 grams of fat, while the low-carb group ate 36 grams of saturated fat a day — three times more — out of a total of 100 grams of fat.


Despite all the extra saturated fat the low-carb group was getting, at the end of the 12 weeks, levels of triglycerides (which are risk factors for heart disease) had dropped by 50% in this group. Levels of good HDL cholesterol increased by 15%.


In the low-fat, high-carb group, triglycerides dropped only 20% and there was no change in HDL.


The take-home message from this study and others like it is that — contrary to what many expect — dietary fat intake is not directly related to blood fat. Rather, the amount of carbohydrates in the diet appears to be a potent contributor.


"The good news," adds Willett, "is that based on what we know, almost everyone can avoid Type 2 diabetes. Avoiding unhealthy carbohydrates is an important part of that solution." For those who are newly diagnosed, he adds, a low-carb diet can take the load off the pancreas before it gets too damaged and improve the condition — reducing or averting the need for insulin or other diabetes meds.


Americans can also blame high-carb diets for why the population has gotten fatter over the last 30 years, says Phinney, who is co-author of "The New Atkins for a New You" (Simon & Schuster, 2010).


"Carbohydrates are a metabolic bully," Phinney says. "They cut in front of fat as a fuel source and insist on being burned first. What isn't burned gets stored as fat, and doesn't come out of storage as long as carbs are available. And in the average American diet, they always are."


Here's how Phinney explains it: When you cut carbs, your body first uses available glycogen as fuel. When that's gone, the body turns to fat and the pancreas gets a break. Blood sugar stabilizes, insulin levels drop, fat burns. That's why the diet works for diabetics and for weight loss.


When the body switches to burning fat instead of glycogen, it goes into a process called nutritional ketosis. If a person eats 50 or fewer grams of carbs, his body will go there, Phinney says. (Nutritional ketosis isn't to be confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that can occur in diabetics.)


Beyond the fat-burning effects of ketosis, people lose weight on low-carb diets because fat and protein increase satisfaction and reduce appetite. On the flip side, simple carbs cause an insulin surge, which triggers a blood sugar drop, which makes you hungry again.


"At my obesity clinic, my default diet for treating obesity, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome is a low-carb diet," says Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University Medical Center, and co-author of the new Atkins book. "If you take carbohydrates away, all these things get better."

See also this:

Was Atkins Right? Scientists Say Carbs -- Not Fat -- Are the Biggest Problem with America's Diet

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10 comments :

Jenna said...

Hi, really enjoying your posts, I especially like your profile description (made me chuckle).

Regarding this latest news, I just wonder what the implications will be with such advocations. I mean I'm not too sure, given population size, massive inequalities in wealth, in respect to environmental concerns (peak oil), fish populations, poorly bred animals, etc, that such dietary ideals would be deemed sustainable or be given much berth through the media, or government/state given their 'best' interests..So even if such knowledge becomes communicated widely, and the benefit of a high fat/sufficient protein diet becomes recognized; for whom and for what length of time would this remain/be an option for those of the 'mainstream'? I mean who controls/dictates how, where, and what is produced; the elites; corporations, academics (to some extent), government officials, etc. If I am to speak generically, I think it is quite frightening how removed we are from where our food comes from, which environment it is taken from, the processes that take place while that food is being processed; the wider social and environmental connectivities of implications; ultimately how divorced we are from our foods, from our 'natural' environments (we are animals, right?). I think possibly, that such things as advocated by scientists and communicated through 'mainstream media' will be irrelevant when things crash. What happened post world war, people resorted to allotments, raising animals for eggs, milk etc; growing potatoes, root vege; simple things to survive; what then of an ideal diet; or 'mainstream media hinting that Atkins was right!' Also regarding 'peak oil' there's Cuba, who had to resort to their ingenuity going 'back to basics', with on mass 'government supported' allotment schemes. Of course, ultimately humans are stupid, also cats and dogs; did we corrupt them, or are they corrupting themselves? Hmmm. I guess my question is really about, whom or what 'we' are really fighting against (in the larger scheme of things, perhaps).

Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi Jenna,

Thanks and Happy Holidays!

Re: for whom it would remain an option?

For the poorest of the populations! Animal based nutrition based on cattle farming or herding is some of the most energy, labor and water efficient use of semi arid to subarctic non-agricultural land on Earth.

Not only it is healthier as it turns out, but it also more self-sustainable and cheaper overall.

Grow wheat or corn and you become dependent on some less than friendly corporations to sell you machinery, fertilizer, irrigation tools and energy. Add banks banks to "help" you with the loans to buy all that.

You keep goats, cows, chicken, (fish or hunt in the arctic) etc and you depend on nobody!

Send a batch of corn to famine inflicted warfare stricken places in Africa and you have to send them the same aid next year. Send them some breeding stock of animals to replenish their herds (and perhaps also some guns and ammo...) and the people will take care of themselves.

Regards,
Stan

Stan (Heretic) said...

P.S.

It gave me an idea of a nice title for the new essay:

"Grains Goats and Guns"

Jenna said...

Send them some breeding stock of animals to replenish their herds (and perhaps also some guns and ammo...)

HAHA. Quite! My friend is an anthropologist working in Ethiopia with pastoralist 'indigenous' peoples. Government and big multinational corporations have taken, or poisoned water/animal grazing areas and resources key to their means of survival. Pastoralism is simply no longer an option. There is conflict amongst the different groups suffering similar plight fighting for resources. Then in a wider context, the peoples are being treated as the equivalent to Gypsies, or 'traveler' people; because they represent a threat to the state by sheer numbers; thats when superstitions arise; taboos; mass atrocities; witch hunts through ideological warfare. She is for this reason having to do advocacy work with them to simply enable them to survive; this involves the introduction to permaculture principles where 'the problem is turned into a solution'; because inadvertently this ties in with government interests of 'sustainability' and helping the economy on the basis of its relations with wider 'global interests'. To be honest as much as I would love to applaud my friend, as you outline, I'm not sure permaculture is turning a problem into a solution. Such a shoddy, terrible state of affairs.

Stan (Heretic) said...

You are right and your friend is correct too, I think. Governments and corporations don't tolerate nomadic people, probably because they are too self-reliant, do not consume what other people are trying to sell to them, cannot be easily taxed and do not form a strong voting base. They also don't play the property game, and many other games that this society thinks are important. I have seen this in Poland (Gypsies) and Ireland (Travelers).
Stan

Jenna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenna said...

Perhaps one should infiltrate 'certain' peoples minds with the cantation of Frank Zapper's 'I am the slime'....or some such, through the air waves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfUB4Wv5ooI

AJ said...

Hello Stan,
I've just discovered your blog and find it very interesting indeed. Not that the material is necessarily new to me--I have been reading many paleo-related blogs for about a year and a half and am a true proponent of the healthy benefits of a very low carb, high saturated-fat diet. I and my family and friends have learned a lot, and continue to successfully follow the advice of Barry Groves, Kurt Harris and the Weston Price Foundation, among others.
Now I can add you to my list of must-reads.

Thanks,
Ajdrakie

Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi AJ,

You are very welcome! I would recommend to add also Dr. Jan Kwasniewski to your list of LC "gurus" (see some links on the left hand side column). He has a very unusual point of view and probably the longest practical experience in it.
Stan

Jerome said...

Hi Stan,

Just read Sex At Dawn, a lot of the comparisons between chimps, humans and bonobos, had me thinking about your older posts re. centralised government and patriarchal hierarchy.

You might find it interesting?

Happy holidays!
-J