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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Have you gotten the "NEWS"--high fat diets cause Diabetes?

Apparently the media is in "hype" mode to get the results of a particular study out there.  Here's where you can find the abstract of the study:

We ought to be careful whenever the mainstream media tells us about research.  They have an agenda.  It is to sell newspapers or magazines or whatever they're pushing.  So when this study is actually dissected, it turns out that the high fat diet (IN MICE, not humans) was (fat at 58% of calories) 7%  soy bean oil (ugh) and 93% was hydrogenated coconut oil (what????)  Oh, and by the way, 25% of their calories was table sugar.  This is not a diet that can tell us anything about health or wellness.

For the full dissection, Denise Minger covers it all here:

Denise Minger is one of the scientists who dissected the data used in the China study, the book by that name claimed some junk that Denise showed was not in the data but the authors belief system.

Be careful believing what you read.  Including even this.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Here's one of my Soapboxes...

SALT!  Like several subjects I write about, salt has lots of bad science sticking to it!  I talk about salt in my e-books, along with my other soapboxes (cholesterol and saturated fat) with their bad science we've been force-fed...So today I'm reprinting an article by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. a doctor who mostly treats chronic fatigue syndrome and fibrymyalgia, but this article applies to all.  The article can also be found here:

Eat Less Salt — and Die?
I'm being sarcastic, right? The official health wisdom — the wisdom everybody knows is right (because all the top health officials repeat it over and over again) — is that if you "restrict" the salt in your diet, you'll live longer.

That's because (once again, according to those official pronouncements) your blood pressure will be lower, putting you at less risk for a heart attack or stroke, the #1 and #3 causes of death in the U.S.

There's only one problem with that widespread "health wisdom," as I've been telling my patients and readers for many years. It's not true! And a recent article in the May 4, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is the latest evidence to run counter to the medical (and mistaken) myth of "Low Salt Good, High Salt Bad."

Low-Salt Diet = 4X Death Rate From Heart Disease
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium. First, they measured the urinary sodium levels of 3,681 healthy people in their 40s. Then they tracked their health for the next eight years. The folks with the highest urinary sodium levels — a sign of a higher dietary intake of salt — had the lowest risk of developing heart disease. Looked at another way, the low-sodium folks had four times the rate of dying from heart disease, compared to the high-salt folks.

The conclusion of the researchers was straightforward: "Our current findings refute the estimates…of lives saved and health care costs reduced with lower salt intake. They do not support the current recommendations of a generalized and indiscriminate reduction of salt intake."

The recommendations they're talking about are those from the American Heart Association (AHA), which suggests you limit your intake of salt to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day — way down from the 4,000 or so mg most of us eat every day.

What did the study researchers have to say about the low-salt pronouncements of U.S. heart honchos? Yes, they agree, salt restriction may be a good idea if you already have high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. But for the rest of us? Previous scientific research has overestimated the effect of salt intake on healthy people, they say. And, they point out, hardly anyone actually achieves the level of salt restriction suggested by the AHA — a sign that the salt-needing body naturally triggers you to eat more salt when you try to cut back.
Of course, this isn't the first study to report that salt isn't bad for you. (And, in fact, it's good for you.) Many other studies say the same thing.

7 More Studies Throw Water on Salt Bashing

The Cochrane Library is a widely respected scientific organization that analyzes previous studies (a so-called meta-analysis) on a topic and reaches "evidence-based" conclusions about what's likely to work and not work in medical practice. In May of this year, they published a meta-analysis that looked at seven studies on salt and health involving more than 6,000 people. Their conclusion? "We didn't see big benefits" from salt restriction, said the lead author of the study, Professor Rod Taylor from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter. No lower risk of heart disease. No lower rate of early death.
Another recent study analyzed data from the government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) — one of the most respected (if not the most respected) nutritional databases in the country. It found the lower the intake of salt, the higher the risk of death!

So do take the advice to “restrict” the salt in your diet with a grain of salt — in fact, a lot of grains of salt! Now, I’m not saying that the insane amounts of salt added by food processing is a good thing — it’s not. But I am saying that of all the things we need to worry about for better health, salt isn’t that big of a deal — with the exception of people who already have high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.

Bottom line: let your taste buds be your guide to the right level of salt. If you want more salt, salt away!
Most importantly, for people with CFS and fibromyalgia, restricting salt is a setup for crashing and burning, and is very ill-advised — especially in summertime, when you sweat and have more salt loss.
Salt restriction is also a terrible idea if you have adrenal exhaustion. How do you know if you’ve got that problem? The symptoms include intense irritability when hungry, low blood pressure, and a tendency to collapse physically, mentally and emotionally when you’re under too much stress. Salt supports the adrenals.
And when I’m talking about salt, I’m not just talking about sodium chloride, or table salt. Saying sodium chloride is the be-all and end-all of salt is sort of like saying the human being is $5 worth of chemicals and nothing more. When you’re at home, consider using sea salt, which is a complex combination of minerals. I think it has many health benefits that are not yet understood by our current medical technology.
References (can be found at the web address given above) 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Elder's Birthright

Ok, this seems to be a theme this week, and more power to us!  Update on Diana Nyad, who swam 29 hours but called off her swim due to winds and currents.  see the article here.  But here the interesting part...
Before the swim, Nyad told journalists she hopes her swim will inspire others her age to live active lives.

And here's another news article this morning.  98 year old Keiko Fukuda has become the first woman to acheive the tenth degree black belt in judo.  see the article here

Next time you catch yourself thinking or feeling "I'm too old for this," remember you're not!  Take a look at the things in your diet and life that age you, make you tired, hurt and ill.  Growing old is what everyone does; growing old with vigor is what is possible! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Diana Nyad, age almost 62...

Is swimming from Havana to Florida.  103 miles.  At age almost 62.  Here's the article in today news.  Read it for some inspiration!  I especially like how she mentions that she's in the prime of life.  I don't even think the important thing is whether or not she makes it all the way.  To me, the important thing is that she thinks the 60's are a time of life to try great challenges.  I do too!

If you don't have that kind of energy and zest for life and challenges...
If you're bored or tired...
If you hurt or feel bad in some way or are ill...

Remember Diana Nyad.  She shows us our birthright.  As I've mentioned and linked here before, aging well, staying active and involved and sharp and creative is the heritage of being human!

I'll keep talking about ways to age well on this blog.  See the info and ebooks at, too.  It might just save your life!

Best wishes,
Ellie, who at 66 feels better than ever before and is beginning a new book this month:  Superfruits and Exotics :  Adventures in gardens and feasts! (or some permutation thereof)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Diseases of Civilization and such...

Diabetes is the quintessential example of a disease of civilization.  Therefore, we can learn from diabetics.  Many studies--of large numbers of diabetics--show that those who keep their blood glucose under tight control avoid the complications that diabetes causes. I just read a “groundbreaking” article this morning that now reports Type II Diabetes is reversible.  Actually, many knew that already, but I am glad to see mainstream medicine catching up!   I commend this website to you and for those with this disease.

Clearly, high blood glucose (blood sugar) and resulting insulin equals disease.  While I have written much about why that is (chronic inflammation) today’s information is about blood sugar.

Just as a side note, why are diabetes (and others like heart disease) called the diseases of civilization?  Because primitive (uncivilized) people, the hunter/gatherers of the world do NOT get these diseases, only people of civilized societies do.

Since this whole blood sugar/insulin system is also involved in insulin resistance (the precursor of diabetes)  and the cause of metabolic syndrome and much of the woe of the middle aged middle, fixing insulin resistance interests me enormously. 

While official diabetes consensus says that a high-carbohydrate diet is best for people with diabetes (boy don’t I wish I could unravel the money interests behind this deadly stance), many more experts, led by endocrinologists like Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, recommend a low-carbohydrate diet.  Carbohydrates raise blood glucose to dangerous levels and they stress the body's insulin system and are probably the chief culprits in insulin resistance, obesity and chronic inflammation.  So this deadly and official stance has some challengers!  Thank goodness!

Enter the glycemic index and the glycemic load—scientific ways of measuring the impact on blood sugar that a food produces.  And by the way, ONLY carbohydrate foods have an impact on blood sugar.  Fats and protein do not convert to glucose, do not raise blood sugar and do not trigger insulin production.  Here’s the “official” word:  “In fact, recent studies indicate that neither protein nor fat have more than a minuscule affect on blood glucose.  This seems to be true for people both with and without diabetes.  The protein studies are particularly interesting as there was no increase in blood glucose levels after the protein meal.  Fat delays the peak but not the total glucose response of the carbohydrates in the meal.  And protein plus carbohydrate nets nearly the same results as plain carbohydrate, so protein just has zero impact.   

The glycemic index measures how quickly an ingested carbohydrate converts to blood sugar.  Some foods convert quickly some much more slowly. 

The glycemic load measures how much sugar is in a serving.  For example, watermelon has a high glycemic index (it turns to blood sugar quickly) but there isn’t much sugar IN it, so the high index still doesn’t make a high load.

The index is a starting place and the GI number must be multiplied by amount to give a useful number.  All the above by way of explaining that glycemic load numbers really matter:  Low is 10 or less (little impact on blood sugar and what your biology is designed for.  Medium is 10-20 and high is over 20.  Glycemic load numbers of what you put in your mouth might be the single best predictor of how you feel, how you age and your risk of all disease.  Remember, we’re talking long term health and wellness, not short term.  The whole insulin system is in part an emergency backup system.  That hunter/gatherer ancestor may have found a beehive and gorged on honey once a year and the body needed a way of dealing with a spike of blood sugar.  But when the system is forced to be in emergency mode every day, every meal, every week, month and year, disease is the only possible outcome.

For many years the glycemic index and load were difficult to come by.  Fortunately there is an easy website today that will give you the numbers easily.  You can search for particular foods and choose serving size.  Even this easy search option will take a little time for a few days or weeks.  Invest the time.  You will eventually know the majority of your favorites and not have to look up so many.  Remember, healthy blood sugar results from a glycemic loads of 10 or less.  And it is additive.  If you have a piece of watermelon and a plum, the loads add together in your blood sugar.

The next time you hear advertising or even an “expert” tell you how healthy whole grains are, do a quick search on the nutrition data website and just look at the glycemic load.  All grains—whole or not whole—are very condensed packets of blood sugar.  Tell me how healthy that can possibly be!  They are basically no different from eating a serving of plain table sugar.  Want to end up with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease?  Just eat more sugar, more whole grains!  The foods of civilization cause the diseases of civilization!