Friday, June 13, 2008

Scores Of Low-Carb Stuff To Talk About (And Nary A Moment To Do It!)

Here I am sitting behind my computer yet again with more low-carb and health headlines than I can shake a stick at (what does that phrase mean anyways?) and I'm just covered up in busy-ness. I hate that because I really enjoy being able to crank out the blogs and go into greater detail about the subjects that make you think about why you are livin' la vida low-carb.

Nevertheless, life beckons and it's been a very busy week. My wife Christine and I have been working the audio/visual at our church's Vacation Bible School (VBS) this week for the "Outrigger Island" program. It's been a lot of fun, but has taken up about four hours a night of time I usually spend working on my blog. With that said, tonight is the final night of VBS and I'll be back on schedule again. But since I've fallen behind a bit on my blogging, here are scores of low-carb stuff to talk about (and nary a moment to do it!). ENJOY!


There's quite a debate going on right now within low-carb inner circles about how you can possibly get fatter while on a low-carb diet and it seems to center around the subject of calories. This is of specific interest to me since I'm low-carbing perfectly and having some trouble creating weight loss right now.

This topic of low-carb and calories picked up quite a bit of steam recently when Dr. Mike Eades blogged about it and there was a resulting explosion of commentary at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Discussion" forum about this making it the #1 most-read thread there. Do calories REALLY matter now on a low-carb, some are asking? I've never counted calories before, so why should I start doing so now?

Even the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins said you don't really need to worry about calories on low-carb because they are not as important as controlling carbohydrates (a notion strongly repeated and reiterated by Dr. James E. Carlson in my recent interview with him). That's why I find this a rather peculiar issue to be bantered about by low-carbers right now.

But I can appreciate the varying opinions about low-carb and calories, including the I saw from the Eugenization blog where he details how an enzyme called Acylation Stimulating Protein (ASP) may be responsible for weight gain even when you are livin' la vida low-carb. Guess what it all comes down to according to him? Calories, plain and simple. This adds even more fuel to a fire that's already burning white hot.


From the "who really gives a rip" files comes a new study from the American Heart Association that put 18 people on the Atkins diet, South Beach diet and Ornish diet for a month to see what happens to their various health markers. The LDL of the Atkins dieters went up by 7 percent. OH MY GOD!!! These people are gonna die!!! OH MY GOD!!! Somebody call the wahhhhhmbulance already! What about their triglycerides? How about their HDL good cholesterol? I'd be willing to bet after just one month of livin' la vida low-carb they were GREATLY improved. But where was that in this story?

These people at the AHA would FREAK if they saw that my LDL cholesterol is 246 and I have no reason to go on a statin drug to artificially lower it. The fact is most of that LDL is protecting me from cardiovascular issues because it is comprised of mostly the large, fluffy particle size that you want to have plenty of.

For a supposedly respectable health group like the AHA to participate in such silly scaremongering about LDL resulting from being on the Atkins diet (described by their lead researcher as "the worst"), I can't imagine anyone taking them seriously anymore. When they resort to publishing a so-called "study" like this while spreading even more negative and hyperbolic innuendo about saturated fat with their preposterous Bad Fats Brothers propaganda, the irrelevance of the AHA is becoming more and more apparent each and every day.


I came across this YouTube video that succinctly explains the process behind how and why livin' la vida low-carb works in only about a minute. This is an excellent resource for you to point people to who are confused about low-carb. It reiterates this study I highlighted last year about a hormone called FGF21, the hormone responsible for the fat-burning that happens on a low-carb diet. Save the link to this video and forward it to anyone who is confused by all the negative things they have read about the low-carb lifestyle.


You wanna know why I like to blog so much? Stories like this one absolutely drive me bonkers because they are leading people down a path of destruction for their health. This little list of foods designed to make you "more alert, think more clearly, have more energy, even be more creative" is some of the most unbelievably irresponsible nutritional advice I've seen in a very long time.

This registered dietitian named Elizabeth Somer wants people to eat (this is NOT a joke!) a "spoonful of sugar," a whole wheat (oooo, that sure makes it healthy!) bagel, soy (OH YUMMY--WRONG!), and so much more to wake yourself up right in the morning. On what planet is this even remotely considered healthy eating?! Come on, lady! Get with the program. I'll be sticking with my eggs and sausage in the morning and I do just fine!


Well, imagine that! I never would have guessed livin' la vida low-carb would be the ideal diet for an overweight diabetic. But that exactly what this Reuters story says citing a study conducted by Dr. Jorgen Vesti Nielsen in Sweden. I told you about him in my recent podcast interview with Per Wikholm about the low-carb momentum happening in Sweden this year (I'll be posting another update about more recent events on the low-carb front in that country real soon!).

Limiting their carbohydrates to just 20 percent of their total caloric intake, these 16 obese diabetics have been following this diet for 44-months (read the study published in the Nutrition & Metabolism journal) and the comparison between their results and the high-carb, low-fat control group are absolutely remarkable. Blood glucose levels dropped almost immediately after starting the low-carb approach and have remained down ever since. Of course, we knew that would happen! :)


This old man doesn't know when to shut his trap! Bryant Stamford from "The Body Shop" column recently penned a column entitled "Two things to avoid: saturated fat, simple sugar" where he gets it half right. He called us low-carb bloggers out by stating his column will produce "another outcry from the few Atkins, high-fat faithful still clinging to the belief that eating bacon cheeseburgers, sausage balls and prime rib is good for you." Well, actually, they are!

Don't forget, this isn't the first time I've had an issue with this goofy character. Stamford has been quite scornful of the Atkins diet despite saying that it works for people, but then he turns right around and exclaims that the Atkins diet has made America fatter. Say WHAT?! What a dopey statement to make from someone who claims to be writing about healthy living.

While I can appreciate his disdain for simple carbohydrates like sugar, Stamford's ignorance of the latest research on saturated fat is quite glaring. Perhaps you'd like to educate the good professor by e-mailing him at about your experiences eating saturated fat as part of your healthy low-carb lifestyle. I know he'd just LOVE to hear from you "silly anti-carb hyperbole" spreaders!


Have you heard about the "miracle fruit" berries that can make beer taste like chocolate and lemons like candy? It sounds sci-fi freakish, but apparently it is true. The West African "miracle fruit" effect can last about an hour and works by utilizing a protein called miraculin where it binds with the taste buds and acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes in contact with acids. FASCINATING!

There are even "flavor tripping parties" where this "miracle fruit" is served or you can order some for yourself by inquiring at This certainly sounds appealing to me since I don't consume sugar at all. It'd be a neat experiment to see what low-carb foods taste like under the intoxicating power of super-revved up sweetness! Could there be a new artificial sweetener in this? Who knows, but if the hype is true I'm sure somebody's working on it!


You gotta admire a low-carb legend like Dr. Richard Bernstein. The man has been around since Moses walked the Earth promoting a low-carb diet as a means for controlling diabetes. But it is only just now getting the recognition that it has long deserved as this Diabetes Health column points out.

A Spanish study published last year in The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness entitled "Arguments in Favor of Ketogenic Diets" by Dr. Joaquín Pérez-Guisado, gives scientific evidence in favor of livin' la vida low-carb. Namely, this diet is most effective for weight loss, preserves muscles mass, controls appetite, promotes a healthy lipid profile, effectively reverses the effects of Type 2 diabetes, and has been widely deemed as safe.

This is old news to you and me, but a great introduction to those diabetics who have been fooled into thinking that low-fat, high-carb diet they were on was somehow helping their disease. The change in thinking is gaining momentum all the time and we must never grow tired of repeating why livin' la vida low-carb works so well. There will ALWAYS be people who are just beginning to understand and we must stand ready to share the details with them when they are ready.


A reader sent me this column on the "Low-Carb Myths And Truths" that was published sometime in the Reader's Digest. Although I usually like what I see in that publication, this was just over the top for me because the conclusions you get left with about livin' la vida low-carb after reading it are that it's not for long-term weight maintenance, it will damage your heart, you'll eat too many calories, and eating low-carb requires a whole bunch of "junk" food. Ooooooookay, where do you start?

Long-term weight loss? Um, what about all those low-fat diets? How well do THEY work at long-term weight loss, hmmmm? The latest studies show NOT VERY WELL at all! So why is low-carb held to a higher standard than the holy grail of a so-called "healthy" diet? Just wondering.

Damaging to your heart? WRONG! This Harvard study put that notion to rest when they found there was no increase in heart health risks associated with low-carb diets over a 20-year period. It's just more ignorance by those who have an agenda against livin' la vida low-carb and I'm gonna call their bluff every single time I see it!

You'll eat too many calories? So what? Much of the discussion of calories within health circles these days centers on the QUALITY of those calories--in other words, how can you get a bigger nutritional bang for your buck. Well, it STARTS with eliminating all the culprit carbohydrates to control the insulin release. Once you do that, any increase in calories that happens as a result of eating more fat (which has 9 calories per gram compared with 4 calories per gram of protein or carbs) is passive as it relates to weight loss. That's the metabolic advantage we talk about so much with low-carb. So calories, schmaleries!

Finally, "junk" food? Yes, there are some garbage low-carb products out there that are low-carb impostors. But they're not all bad for you. Plus, keep in mind that livin' la vida low-carb can be done without the use of ANY products whatsoever if you choose to do it that way. Of course, these numskulls will probably say the saturated fat in the meats, cheeses, and nuts you consume are "junk," but that's another story. The bottom line is low-carb is healthy whole foods eating for the most part. :)

Countering this ignorance in major media publications like Reader's Digest is essential to reeducating people about why low-carb is right for them. I always stand ready to tell the truth in the midst of such outlandish and ridiculous journalism.


The June 23, 2008 issue of Time magazine has a series of articles on the subject of childhood obesity, including this one which blames excessive calories for the weight gain, this one that examines all the other reasons besides genetics for kids getting fat, this one blaming school lunches and snack machines for the problem, this one lamenting the future health problems that await hefty children, this one tracking the eating habits of a typical teenager in America, this one looking at the family environment and its impact on weight, this one glorifying the ability to be "fit at any size," and this one with tips about how to get your kids to begin exercising.

Although childhood obesity has been ignored by government and health leaders before, they're paying attention to it now. But their answer to this problem is creating a kids Food Pyramid that once again advocates low-fat/low-calorie eating and exercise. Come on already! Can't we see that hasn't worked very well?! What we need is to advocate the use of low-carb as a healthy alternative for kids to use for weight and health management.

I don't think it's junk food ads that cause them to get fat, but we do need to provide better education so the parents and their children can make better choices. And exercise needs a solid nutritional approach in order to make the positive impact it needs to on the fitness of a child.

We've already seen how schools that go sugar-free reduce obesity and that should be a sign for these lawmakers on Capitol Hill to move in a low-carb, sugar-free direction with childhood obesity policy. We keep scratching our heads wondering why we can't lick this problem when the answer to it keeps staring us right in the face while the powers that be continue to ignore it. Sigh. Will we EVER learn?


In stark contrast to that Reader's Digest column I highlighted above is this one in Muscle & Body Magazine penned by low-carb researcher Dr. Jeff Volek from The University of Connecticut. In a mock trial where low-carb diets is put to the truth test, Dr. Volek does quite a Perry Mason job of not just defending, but vindicating livin' la vida low-carb. YOU GOTTA SEE THIS!!!


If you are not already a regular reader of Mark Sisson's "Daily Apple" blog, then you don't know what you're missing. His columns are top-quality caliber and spot-on for anyone who takes a vested interest in healthy low-carb living. Take a look-see at "Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint" and "What Happens To Your Body When You Carb Binge?" for two prime examples of why you need to bookmark this blog and access it often. ENJOY!


One of the amazing things that has happened since the September 2007 release of the blockbuster health and nutrition book entitled Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes is the open conversation of topics that were once considered taboo. Consider this column that discusses whether red meat is healthy or not. With all the anti-meat propaganda that tends to dominate most media accounts of diet and health, it's refreshing to see an open and civil discussion of the BENEFITS of consuming meat. With the paperback version of Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health coming out September 23 2008 with some updated material, I expect to see even more of these kinds of columns--let's keep the conversation going!


Stop the presses everyone because this story will likely turn everything you ever thought about weight gain on its head! A new study published in the June 4, 2008 edition of the scientific journal Cell Metabolism says the nervous system may have more to do with it than once thought. Of course, studies like this on roundworms aren't a perfect comparison to humans, but it does open the door for further research into this. The problem is they make the claim that a DRUG needs to be created to help with weight loss--ARGH!


An El Paso, TX-based trainer Ian Appling goes off on an anti-low-carb rant with this column and it's so insane considering the ridiculous headline they gave it--"Low-carb diets lead to chemical imbalances." Is this proclamation based on some new scientific research? Nope. It's just an opinion of someone who obviously doesn't like low-carb diets. What is laughable is that some of what he says is PRECISELY what livin' la vida low-carb is. These people are incredible in their lack of accurate data about this way of eating. That's irresponsible in this information age we live in.


Reading this Los Angeles Times column about a new weight loss surgery called a vagotomy, it makes me very glad to be livin' la vida low-carb. THANK GOD! :)


My friend and fellow low-carb blogger Christin Sherburne penned a fabulous post this week called "Turkish Delight" that tells a stark story of the reality of falling for a fast weight loss diet scam like the Kimkins diet. The brutal honesty of this dear woman who is still trying to find her way is such a change of pace from what you usually see. I've grown to know Christin quite a bit over the past year and there is no one more sincere and selfless than her. We cheer you on as you work through this difficult period in your life right now, Christine. Don't give up hope and rest assured you'll figure out what to do.


Amy Tenderich over at the uber-popular diabetes blog Diabetes Mine has an intriguing post entitled "Top 8 Low-Carb Fake-Outs." When I read this one, I just had to scratch my head a bit at these foods Amy describes as "low-carb." Ummmmm, I didn't know rice cakes, light Ranch dressing, and peanut butter, for example, are low-carb staple products. All of those are more for low-FAT diets. But she does make some great points that low-carbers should be reminded of.


Leave it to the trustworthy and reliable Laura Dolson at the Low-Carb Diets blog to come up with a fabulous post featuring 10 perfect convenience store snacks for those of you who are traveling on vacation this summer. Whenever I stop at a convenience store, these are precisely the food items I look for. THANKS Laura!


Daniel Davies at the "Crooked Timber" blog offers up his theory that fad diets are allowed to continue primarily because of the personal experiences shared with others who feel a connection with the individual who lost weight. Not surprisingly, Daniel puts the Atkins diet in that category of "fad" diets saying it only works for controlling calories because it is "inconvenient and unpleasant" as a way to eat. Daniel, Daniel, Daniel--what are we gonna do with you? What do you think about this notion that enthusiasm for a diet that works for someone else perpetuates suspicious dietary approaches? It's good food for thought.


Vegetarian blogger Mark Warren Reinhardt from the "On or Off the Mark" blog gets in his digs at those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb with this blog post mocking being a low-carb supporter. I'd say Mark is "off the mark" this time around because he hasn't got a clue why those of us who love low-carb living are so enthusiastic about this way of eating. It's great that he enjoys being a vegetarian, but disrespect for people who low-carb is so not cool.


Can you imagine the next President of the United States--Barack Obama or John McCain--in January 2009 making a State of the Union address stating that beginning immediately there will be a requirement for all Americans to have their waistlines measured and if it is larger than a predetermined size you will be asked to lose weight within a few months or your employer will face financial penalties? Preposterous, you say? Well that's exactly what is going on in Japan right now. They have decided to take such an aggressive approach to treating obesity to try to get a handle on the rising health care costs. Would that fly in America where two-thirds of the population is currently overweight or obese by government definition? Whaddyasay?


Finally, it has been proposed that part of my recent weight gain this year may have to do with excessive stress which releases the fat-storing hormone known as cortisol. Yikes! It's possible that is part of it since my low-carb diet is about as good as it can be. So how do I reduce this stress that I don't necessarily feel? The tips on this web site were helpful, but I welcome any additional feedback for reducing stress. This could help a lot of people!

Is that enough low-carb news and updates for you? WHEW! There's so much going on and I'm happy to get you current on all that is happening. Send me any low-carb news and information anytime at THANKS so much for reading the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog!

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Blogger Dave said...

Hi Jimmy. I just blogged a bit on acylation stimulation protein, or ASP. The short version: I believe it would be very difficult to store significant excess fat via the ASP channel, because it appears to "play nice" with other mechanisms regulating energy intake and storage. Contrast that with high-carb, where these mechanisms are usurped by the effects of insulin spikes.

That said, I would guess that ASP can indeed contribute to the low-carb stall, and might provide some more ammo for the idea of a "fat fast".

More research needed, but I would welcome some feedback.

6/13/2008 8:08 PM  
Blogger Brenna said...

I've always been suspicious of the low-carb diets, maybe because I just don't like beef or pork (that's just my taste.) They just seemed so extreme to me - every time you leave out an entire food group you lose weight - for a while. I have been following Dr. Howard Shapiro's weight loss books for a few years and my LDL is 73, and I haven't been counting calories, just reading labels and using common sense. (I've also lost over 100 pounds.)

Just my 2 cents.

6/14/2008 12:55 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Brenna, on your success! Nobody is trying to convince you that your way of eating isn't effective for your health. I'd LOVE to know what you triglycerides and HDL cholesterol numbers are.

As for people who eat a low-carb diet deciding to "leave out an entire food group," what food group would that be? The term is LOW-carb, not NO-carb. I eat plenty of carbohydrates in the form of green, leafy and non-starchy veggies, nuts, cheeses, and other delicious and healthy foods.

So, I ask again, what food group are those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb leaving out? And, if we lose weight on low-carb, how are we supposed to eat AFTER the weight loss is finished?

I'm sincerely curious about your answers to these questions as someone who is "suspicious of the low-carb diets." Please respond.

6/14/2008 11:16 AM  
Blogger Wifezilla said...

When did processed foods and "refined sugars" become a "food group"? LOLOLOLOLOL

6/14/2008 11:27 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Dave, do you think calorie restriction with your low-carb diet is an essential part of controlling the ASP enzyme from bringing about the weight gain? If not, then what can? The "fat fast"?

6/14/2008 11:29 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Hi Jimmy. I would be surprised if you could gain much fat via ASP alone. My suspicion is that it would be an uphill battle against a lot of mechanisms that regulate appetite, digestion, and metabolism. I believe something else would need to be broken. A similar situation would occur when trying to lose fat via calorie restriction. When things are working right, I'm guessing it's just as difficult to eat too much as it is to eat too little.

If you're gaining weight on a low-carb diet, I would think something else is going, probably either some effect besides carbs (like stress) keeping your insulin high. Don't underestimate the potential of stress to crank up insulin. Artificially sweetened foods may cause insulin release, a there are foods containing substances like tyramine (cheese) and certain lectins (maybe nuts?) which bind to insulin receptors.

The low-carb stall represents an equilibrium - the body is more or less "happy" with conditions, and balances food intake, metabolic rate, fat storage etc. to maintain this equilibrium. Obesity, by contrast, is decidedly far from non-equilibrium, and the body is held there only through excess insulin. Remove the artificially high insulin levels, the body pushes back toward it's desired equilibrium, and the fat comes off, which is why (I think) low-carb is so effective.

People of course want to knock off that last 20 pounds, and one way or another that means you need to shift the balance point. The "fat fast" seems a logical way to do this over a short period of time. Restricting both fat and carbs almost certainly implies calorie restriction. Remember that consuming only lean protein over a long period of time is unhealthy (see "rabbit starvation").

If ASP does indeed play nicely with other mechanisms regulating energy storage, then the good news would be that once you break through the low-carb stall and achieve your desired body-fat, you can return to an "ad lib" diet, provided you keep the carbs (or more importantly, insulin) low.

6/14/2008 12:42 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Food groups are a human invention. There are no essential foods, only essential nutrients, and it doesn't matter what foods you get them in (presuming there's not some other toxic effect, as with refined sugar).

Digestible carbohydrates are hard to find in nature. has a cool feature that allows you to rank foods by nutrient. I did this for total carbohydrates in a 100g serving (I hope that link works for everybody). The first instance you get to of a "fresh" whole food on this list is honey, at #287 (McDonald's honey comes in higher, a little freaky). A few dried fruits appear higher in the list as well, but just about everything else is highly processed manufactured food. The only reason "carbohydrates" would be considered a food group is because humans made it so.

I made and analyzed a "Meaty" recipe on NutritionData as well, consisting of various organ meats, a very rough guess as to the paleolithic diet. I think this makes the "only essential nutrients" point quite well. Nearly every nutrient is quite well represented. A few appear low, namely Vitamins E and K, and calcium, but I suspect this is because the data comes from grain-fed beef. Corn is notably low in these nutrients, whereas leafy green stuff normally eaten by cows is not (grass-fed beef, for example, has about 3-4x the Vitamin E of grain-fed). Of course, people can get these nutrients from plants as well, hence our omnivorous leanings.

6/14/2008 1:22 PM  
Blogger SusanJ said...

Jimmy, here's something to add to your to-do list. Check out the June 23 issue of Time Magazine. This is a "Special Health Issue" on the obesity epidemic in kids.

You'll never guess what they recommend (sigh).

6/14/2008 2:05 PM  
Blogger Kevin M. said...

Reader's Digest, Time and other such watered-down magazines always get it wrong, because they only print what people want to hear (usually older, comfortable people). They only quote doctors who agree with them, and they never do any independent research. Maybe a better name for RD would be Reader's Pre-Digested.

I'm concerned that the FGF21 "hormone" is a hastily invented smoke-screen so that medics can continue to ignore the simple, straightforward "insulin controls fat, sugar controls insulin" dynamic. If it legitimizes or encourages real research into LC effectiveness, then good.

6/15/2008 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cutting the vagus nerve? Are these doctors nuts? Every part of our body exists for a reason, even so-called vestigal organs like the appendix, now thought to replenish the colon with beneficial bacteria after illness, and the tonsils, which may protect against Hodgkin's Disease. The vagus nerve runs through almost the entire torso and not only stimulates appetite but also parasympathetic nerves in the heart and other organs. The Time article noted that once cut, the vagus nerve cannot be restored. I feel awfully sorry for the first guinea pigs who will discover the effects of disabling the body's longest cranial nerve.

6/16/2008 9:40 PM  
Blogger quotidianlight said...

Okay, I want to have a flavor trippin party!!!!!!!

6/16/2008 10:23 PM  

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