Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Issues With The New Proposed Dietary Guidelines

The media is touting the positive changes made in the "new" dietary guidelines for Americans.  They have not really recognized what the real goals of these new dietary guidelines are.  

The new proposed guidelines have a few good changes.  They suggest that we can eat more cholesterol from eggs, and they suggest limitations on sugar and sugary drinks suggesting that water be offered more often in school cafeterias and vending machines. 

Here is one of those mainly positive reviews that I have read:

If you look into the new dietary guidelines further however; you will find that they have have also doubled down on their recommendations to increase polyunsaturated fats and reduce saturated fats and even reduce red meat consumption or to avoid it altogether. 

The new guidelines lean towards vegetarianism and the DGAC has suggested the reduction or elimination of red meat consumption for mostly environmental reasons.  This has been ignored by many of the writers reporting on the new recommendations. 

Here are a few articles that explain:

I find that the consideration of the environment (green house gases) in determining our consumption of meat to be suspect.   In the same recommendations there is no mention of the effect of GMO crops or ingredients or the use of pesticides, round-up (glyphosate) and other poisons on our fruits and vegetables.  There is also no recommendations to label GMO foods products.  

The recommendation that 50% of the American diet continue to be made up of whole grains will remain as the core of the diet.   They suggest increasing fruit and vegetable portions even higher than previous guidelines have suggested.  As for dairy, low fat and skim will continue to be recommended to the masses.  They continue to suggest very little use of fats, oils or butter on vegetables. 

Although the new guidelines will now list sugar as empty calories they have lumped sugar together with saturated fat from meats and tropical oils like coconut oil.  It's new recommendations now state that sugar and saturated fats are both "empty calories" providing NO nutritional value.

I beg to differ! Saturated fats from meat and coconut oil,etc. provide essential nutrients called fatty acids that are needed for the continuation of life and for brain function!   

The continued suggestion for low fat high carb whole grain diets while suggesting that meat and saturated fat needs to continue to be curtailed even seems almost to be criminal to me!

In my opinion the proposed dietary guidelines do not properly address the health crisis that we are facing in this country. They suggest the same song and dance as before.   Beyond that, they are suggesting food policies that will continue to make our children fatter and sicker.

Their report acknowledges major vitamin and mineral deficiencies in our population.

From the report:

"DGAC determined that vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C were shortfall nutrients and that there may be a high prevalence of inadequate dietary intake of these nutrients. Of the nutrients with an AI (vitamin K, choline, dietary fiber, and potassium), the DGAC determined that a low proportion of the population had fiber and potassium intakes above the AI and so potassium and fiber were therefore considered to be under-consumed."

The dietary suggestions to address these deficiencies is to eat more "healthy" fortified whole grain breads and cereals in place of non-whole grain breads and cereals.  They will be suggesting that the food companies put more effort into making more fortified whole grain products and put more money and effort into marketing them.
They propose that food companies, stores and other vendors change to lower sugar and higher healthy grain products and that our schools cafeteria's increase fruits & vegetables while decreasing meat and fat.  It's no wonder that our children's little brains can no longer function and we are facing an epidemic of ADHD and other brain problems that affect a child's ability to focus!  
I have read these new guidelines in depth.  I realize that most don't want to go through pages and pages of dogma so here is an overview of the proposed guidelines:

Comments are being taken on the guidelines and will be considered.  I find this comment from a physician to be a good one:

Comments will be taken through April 8th, 2015.  Comments from health providers with proven benefits of diets including meat and saturated fats may sway the committee although that seems doubtful.

Once these new guidelines are approved and implemented we will have 5 more years of the continuing failed experiment of high carb low fat diets on our children and grandchildren. We will also have five more years to continue our fight to restore dietary sanity to our world!  

You may submit or read comments in regard to the proposed guidelines here:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why Isn’t The LCHF Ketogenic Diet Working for Me? Common Mistakes- Part Two

First here is a summary of Part 1.

Some of the most common mistakes that are made while following a LCHF Ketogenic diet are: 
1- Not being aware of hidden sugars. 
2- Too many carbs or using “net” carbs. 
3- This must be good for me because it is healthy. 
4- Portion Sizes and timing issues. 

See part one here:

My Disclaimer- I am not a doctor or a science writer.  I blog about my experiences and the experiences of others.   This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such! 

Now let’s move on to the next and perhaps the most common two mistakes made.

Not eating enough fat! 

That is the most common mistake made and I find myself addressing it with newcomers to the diet on a regular basis. For most it is very hard to get this part down without using some kind of food tracking app. At least that is the case at first. After a while you get a feel for it. 

In order to lower blood sugar and lower insulin resistance fat needs to be as high or higher than 70% according to "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living”, a book written by Steve Phinney and Jeff S. Volek. They point to some studies including one of Dr. Phinney's. 

A small study of insulin resistant patients showed that insulin resistance (high blood sugar) was not improved until fat in the diet was at least 70% and carbs were less than 20 gr. per day. At lower fat percentages (35-60%), insulin resistance DID NOT improve! This is key for diabetics to really see good control!  They discuss this in their book.  

 Here are some tips to add more fat to your diet every day.

*Add butter, lard or bacon drippings to bone broth, chicken broth, etc. 
*Add extra melted lard or bacon dripping to ground beef before cooking or making your burger patties or meatloaf, etc. You can add ground flax to meat patties too. 
*Add heavy cream and butter to chicken broth to make a cream soup 
*Pour pan drippings over a side salad and over vegetables 
*Mix coconut oil into almond butter and make a dip for celery sticks 
*Mash avocado into your scrambled eggs or omelets 
*Use an extra yolk with your eggs, toss the extra white or use it elsewhere. 
*Top eggs and meats with sour cream or mayonnaise or avocado ranch sauce. 
*Top steaks and chops with a seasoned cream cheese spread, feta or bleu cheese 
*Add cream cheese and lots of butter to mashed cauliflower or make a cheesy creamed cauliflower dish 
*Cream your veggies-creamed green beans, creamed spinach, creamed brussel's sprouts, etc. 
*Drizzle extra fats or flavored oils over your meats and vegetables.  Garlic, tuscan, lemon, etc. 
*Roast vegetables in the oven with oils rather than cooking 
*Add avocado and olives or egg yolks to your salads
*Make a sour cream gravy by adding a few Tbsp. of sour cream to the meat drippings in a warm pan.

*Coconut oil in coffee, tea or in warm homemade lemonade 
*Fat bombs made with coconut oil,     butter, almond butter and some stevia 
*Flax cereal/pudding with butter and cream. Add a few berries if you like. (breakfast or a snack) *Make a creamy berry ice cream. I use a small custard cup and just make up one serving. Mash a few berries, mix in 1/3 cup cream, 1 tsp melted coconut oil and stevia.    Freeze and stir regularly until nearly frozen. Eat this while still semi soft and creamy.

I hope this is helpful! Now, let’s move on to my final point.   


The most common mistake in regard to protein is either eating too much protein per day/per meal or not considering the amount of protein that may be in high fat foods like bacon or avocados. This is often the final thing that has to be tweaked and sometimes it needs to be tweaked several times because it is so easy to eat more than your body needs to provide your essential amino acids and repair tissue. This part of the equation is so individual that your really can’t follow someone else’s ratios.  Do not listen to others tell you what works for them.  You must figure this out for yourself.  I like to use this calculator as a beginning point to determine protein levels.

Do not make the mistake of under-calculating your BMI. Here are some tools to help you.

I find it works best to take the minimum requirement and subtract 10%.  Make that your starting point.  Personal testimonies from others in my face book groups seem to indicate that blood sugar issues do not resolve completely by using the standard protein requirements suggested.

The requirements for non-insulin resistant people seem to be too high for diabetics. Many diabetics or insulin resistant people who are eating low carb seem to be more adept at converting protein to glucose.  Often the body is stubborn and wants to continue to use glucose for fuel rather than change over to fat burning.  You will continue to be a carb burner rather than a fat burner as long as you have excess protein available to be stored in your liver.

You should also consider your activity level.  Body builders, runners or those doing extreme exercise may need to allow for a bit larger protein portions in this case but according to Volek & Phinney that is not necessarily the case.  Volek himself seems to limit his daily protein requirements to below 60 grams.

Tips for avoiding too much protein:

Weigh your meat portions until you learn to eyeball portion sizes or limit to the size of your closed fist. 

If your carb and fat ratios are good and you have adjusted them well but your blood sugar is still higher than you like and you seem to be seeing your bloods still rising at 2.5 or 3 hours post meal this may be a sign of excess protein consumption. 

Make sure that you add up ALL of the protein on your plate!   Two eggs and 3 slices of bacon may be too much.  Bacon can have up to 50% protein  It is not pure fat!   Add the protein from avocados and even vegetables and cheese sauces or sour cream. 

Stick to easily calculated meals at first.  It is difficult to determine totals of LCHF casseroles or hot dishes.   It is easier to count meat, fats and salads or hot vegetables and the oils you use on them.

Use a calculator like Fit Day, My Fitness Pal or even Spark People to get the total of your meals.  Do this before you eat, not after.   You may find that you need to cut something out in the meal that you have planned.

You will not need to do this forever!  You will learn these things as you go and soon you will no longer need to be as vigilant once you will learn the LCHF ropes!

Back to Part 1 of “Why Isn’t The LCHF Ketogenic Diet Working for Me? Common Mistakes”

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Just One More Travesty Of The FDA and the USDA- Almonds In The USA

Metformin, the most used diabetes drug is now being promoted as a cancer preventive drug.  The drug companies are urging doctors to give it to patients at pre-diabetes levels to not only help with blood sugar control but also as a cancer preventative.   It is an inexpensive drug and therefore affordable to even those who do not have insurance.

There is no doubt that there are some studies that show the effectiveness of Metformin.   It works somewhat in the same fashion as a LCHF diet or caloric restriction does.   It activates AMPK which kills or inhibits cancer cell growth.

Of course because Metformin is a drug and the pharmaceutical companies can make money selling it, it will be used as a "cancer" preventative in order to make more sales. 

A vitamin called B-17, also known as Laetrile, is a naturally occurring vitamin that has been shown to be very effective on cancer.  It is banned in the U.S. because the drug companies can not profit from the sale of it.   

This is so wrong!  Vitamin B-17 used to be in our B Complex formulas before they banned it in the 1970's.   It harmed no one but because it was such a successful cancer treatment it was made illegal.

I just discovered yesterday that almonds, a top source of B-17,  have to be pasteurized in the U.S.  Pasteurization makes the B-17 and the other vitamins and minerals mostly unavailable to the body.  Did you know that even raw organic almonds are pasteurized?   In most cases a chemical process called PPO (toxic fumigation treatment with propylene oxide).

The FDA claimed that the pasteurization  was needed because some people were sensitive to the small amount of Aflatoxins and could cause Salmonella.  

Aflatoxins can occur in other foods, such as groundnuts, tree nuts, (hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.) maize, rice, figs and other dried foods, spices and crude vegetable oils, and cocoa beans, as a result of fungal contamination before and after harvest.  Any of these foods can potentially cause a Salmonella outbreak as well but they are not pasteurized to "protect" us. These other foods do not have high levels of Vitamin B-17.  

In September of 2007, the F.D.A. claimed that raw almonds had been linked to two salmonella outbreaks in five years, and that all almonds needed to be pasteurized, because they were suddenly a danger to the nation's health.  These salmonella outbreaks were not due to any organic almonds.

 Aflatoxins can occur in foods, such as groundnuts, tree nuts, (hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.) maize, rice, figs and other dried foods, spices and crude vegetable oils, and cocoa beans, as a result of fungal contamination before and after harvest.   It is also found in animal feeds if the grain was damp at harvest.

If the aflatoxin concern was truly the case, why aren't figs, other nuts, rice and these other foods pasteurized as well?   Main reason?   They don't have high levels of the illegal vitamin B-17 as almonds do.  In fact almonds are the second highest source of B-17.   Other seeds containing the highest sources are apricot and peach seeds and apple seeds.   Many cultures do eat these seeds.  They open them up and take out the soft center of the seeds.  We in the U.S. throw them out so there is no reason to make them illegal or pasteurize the fruit.   

Another popular Almond now illegal to sell in the U.S is the Bitter Almond and bitter almond trees are now illegal in the United States.  These bitter almonds have a higher concentrate of B-17 than regular almonds and were a very popular alternative cancer treatment being used in the United States until they were banned in 1995.

According to the modern FDA., bitter almonds are poisonous, but somehow bitter almonds became a serious health danger just after it was also discovered that they contain the cancer destroying vitamin.  Coincidence?   Bitter almonds had been eaten by humanity unimpaired during the previous 9,000 years of history.

In Europe the batches of almonds and other foods are simply tested for the level of Aflatoxins in all tree nuts ,including nuts that are imported from other countries.    They also test animal feed.  They do not pasturize almonds as the U.S does and therefore if you live in Europe you have the benefit of the B-17 vitamin that is cancer protective.

Now I need to reconsider the use of chemically processed almonds in my diet unless they are steam pasteurized.  Very few places sell the steam processed almonds as it is more expensive process. 

Thanks FDA for ruining one more food that I thought was actually good for me and may have prevented cancer in the masses!    But heh, I guess I can buy some Metformin instead!

Here is a website that gives some links to find truly unpasteurized almonds in the U.S.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why Isn’t The LCHF Ketogenic Diet Working for Me? Common Mistakes- Part One

Part One

I must get this question at least 10 times a week.  It is a common issue that diabetics wrestle with.  They really believe that they are doing everything right but in most cases I can spot the problem pretty quickly if I get to see a day or two of menus.

Here are the most common mistakes that I see being made.

1-  Not being aware of hidden sugars.   I will put a link to hidden sugars below.

If you are buying products off of the grocery store shelf be aware that just because it says sugar free or gives a low carb count that is not always correct.   There are certain “sugars” that do not have to be counted as a carb or a sugar on the label.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t sugar!  It just means that the FDA and the USDA has allowed some rule bending for the sake of the food companies profit line!   Look for ingredients that end in “ose” or “tose” or “dextrin”.  These are sugars that will raise a diabetic’s blood sugar higher than table sugar and the food manufacturers do not have to tell you!   You will also find these sugars in vitamins and other supplements.

Watch out for marketing gimmicks like Glucerna “diabetic friendly” shakes, Atkins bars and shakes or other things that make claims that they will keep your blood sugar balanced.  They will keep it balanced all right!   Balanced sky high!    Check ingredients in all store bought products!  Don’t fall for these marketing hypes.  They love to put this stuff right over there where you are purchasing your meters, test strips and other diabetic devices.  
Here is the Glycemic Index of common sweeteners.  The higher the number the more that it raises blood sugar.

2-  Too many carbs or using “net” carbs.

This is a common mistake.  It’s all over facebook low carb groups and the Atkins diet and other low carb diets suggest using a formula that allows you to subtract fiber from total carbs and get net carbs.   This makes it seem like you will be able to eat it without much of a blood sugar rise.  You may find yourself sadly disappointed!   

While some diabetics can use this formula successfully I wouldn't recommend it for the majority of insulin dependent people.   It is another marketing trick and companies like Dreamfields  Pasta company and the Julian Bakery have gotten fined by the USDA or sued for false advertising.    There are many breads and wraps on the market that claim to be low carb because you can subtract the fiber.   Don’t fall for it!  Fiber will slow down the digestion of carbs and you may find that your blood sugar will not only go up but it may stay up in an unhappy range for as long as 24-48 hours.  
In order to be successful on a LCHF diet you should initially count all carbs. Perhaps later on in your Ketogenic journey when blood sugars have stabilized you can test some of these other items.

3-  This is good for me because it is healthy
Is it really?  Remember that your primary goal is to reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance.   It doesn't matter how healthy a food is if it keeps you diabetic!   I hear this from someone every week! Even too many servings of salad greens could potentially add up to too much!    I hear things like:

“I’m trying to get some yogurt into my diet because it has good healthy probiotics”

“I need to eat a half of a banana because I need the potassium”. 

“I’m drinking green smoothies for the healthy vitamins and minerals.”

Others make the mistake of eating allowed fruits like berries but eat them with abandon or find that they can’t stop putting them in their mouth.   You need to know what pushes your carb craving buttons and get it out of your pantry or refrigerator.

You are not going to be healthy if your blood sugar and insulin levels are up and you will not have success on the Ketogenic diet by eating foods that will not allow your body to be running in a fat burning state of ketosis.   This is what we have to aim for. 

There are plenty of healthy “super foods”.  They don’t have to be high carb or high sugar.  Avocados are a power food packed with potassium and other good stuff!  Greens and green vegetables pack a punch and they also add fiber.    We were never meant to “eat” our vegetables juiced!  Our ancestors didn't have juicers in the woods now did they?

Consider carefully how many carbs you want to allow yourself for something that seems to be healthy but in your case may not be because it will keep you from your greater goal!  

Please use this handy guide to find nutrients in foods!

4- Portion Sizes and timing issues.

Are you simply eating too much food or eating food too often?   We have had it pounded into our heads forever that we “need to eat often” to stay satisfied and keep our metabolism going.  That is a bunch of nonsense!  

Our ancestors didn't graze!  They hunted all day, maybe even two days, then dragged the animal home and everyone sat down to eat it.   The remaining was often eaten for breakfast the next day and then off they went again to find more.   The women gathered seeds, nuts and berries in season.  They were not the big luscious sweet berries of the modern world. They were tiny wild berries and sharing them it probably didn't amount to a lot.
Small portions of meat, greens, nuts and berries or small portions of cheese a few times a day are fine.  Eating a half a block of cheese and telling yourself that it’s adding to your fat totals is not going to work out well nor is chomping down on a full cup of nuts!  

There is a side of broccoli or there is a plateful of broccoli.  The plateful is going be too much and can keep you from attaining the blood sugar control you want and may hinder weight loss that you are trying to achieve.   If to you a 12 ounce Sirloin is a portion you are not going to see the results you want.

I will discuss how protein can inhibit ketosis in part two.  I will address the mistakes made eating fat in my next post too!    For now, take a bit of time to consider if any of these four mistakes are hindering your LCHF journey to health! 

Go to part two here: