Category Archives: 4. Good Fats and Bad Fats

Bergamot – a Food Answer for Statins

Bergemot – a Food Answer for Statins

References:  International Jr of CardiologyScientific ResearchWikipedia,  BioMed ResearchReggio do Calabria,

Ever heard of Bergamot? Not me! You should. It’s an ancient hybrid of mandarin oranges, pumalo and lemons but is now grown as its own fruit mostly in the Reggio de Calabria region of Italy and a few other isolated Mediterranean locations. It’s not been used much outside of Italy, except perhaps as the flavor of Earl Gray Tea. There is an herb called bergamot but that is in the mint family and completely unrelated. This article is about the orange-like fruit with its unique compounds melitidin and brutieridin which have statin like qualities.

Yes, statin like qualities. We know red yeast rice has statin like effects, but bergamot has not been well known. In one study, bergamot was added to rosuvastatin to see if there was similar or additional effects. There were! The bergamot lowered the LDL fraction all by itself, but additionally lowered markers of oxidative stress. This is the real driver of blood vessel damage. You can measure markers like malondialdehyde, oxyLDL receptor LOX-1 and phosphoPKB, (in research labs, not in practice) which are all biomarkers of oxidative vascular damage, in peripheral polymorphonuclear cells.

Another study from Italy looked at both cholesterol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease markers against the use of bergamot. These are both independent markers of risk for subsequent heart attacks and strokes. Bergamot had pretty impressive effects. In the group receiving the bergamot extract of 650 mg twice a day, a statistically significant reduction of fasting plasma glucose ( 118 to 98) , serum LDL cholesterol (162 to 101) and triglycerides (232 – 160) alongside with an increase of HDL cholesterol (38 to 49) was found. Liver functions showing fatty liver dropped too. ALT went from 54 to 36 and AST from 54 to 41. Wow!
Now, all of those same changes can be made by eating less high glycemic foods. Cut out all grains and sugar and eat lots of greens, healthy oils and vegetables and you can get much of the same. Or get ketogenic with 20 grams of carbs a day and you will see all the same effects.

WWW. What Will work for me. My eternal struggle to find a sensible role for statins keeps coming up short. And when I find a natural food that nature has made for us, I get great satisfaction. Bergamot has just been released as a supplement you can purchase. I’m adding it to my protocol for heart disease reversal. I am looking for folks who want to try it for three months and see what happens to an otherwise stable situation. I suspect it will have overlap for any condition that benefits from lower blood sugar: Alzheimer’s and cancer to name two.

Pop Quiz

  1. Bergamot is an herb that helps heart disease. T or F
    False. Get the details right. It’s an orange family fruit. The herb smells nice but is unrelated.
  2. Bergamot appears to lower heart disease risk factors more than any other single food. T or F
    That is probably true
  3. We have great research showing that it reduces heart attacks. T or F
    False. And we never will. There is no money behind this. It costs millions to follow people for years. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t. It just hasn’t been clinically proven. These two papers simply show that it has the same chemical effect as statins and lowers the key risk factors. You have to make a leap of faith to assume it would help. Probably reasonable well founded leap, but still not proven.
  4. If you have fatty liver, you should take bergamot. T or FAbsolutely true. Fatty liver is a dangerous marker for both vascular disease, but also for sudden, unexpected liver failure. That’s worse! Getting rid of fatty liver is a big deal.
  5. I need a prescription to get Bergamot. T or FFalse. I have it in my office. MD Custom Pharmacy has it. Amazon has it. Don’t get the essential oil. You want the orange extract. The oil is a mint family extract.

 

Diet Right and Regenerate Your Pancreas

Diet Right and Regenerate Your Pancreas

References: BBC News, Cell,

This is a major story. Type two diabetes is what we all get when we live on a diet of too many carbohydrates and too many calories for too long. The effect to carbs is to make us secrete insulin. Insulin is our storage hormone, not our blood sugar controlling hormone. It instructs our body to make and store fat in an integrated fashion. It is the hormone we need in September and October as we store up calories for January. Our bodies were not designed to have continuous exposure to carbohydrates year around, year after year. As we get fatter, our fat cells get larger, not more numerous. As our fat cells get larger and are continuously bombarded with insulin, the number of insulin receptors on their surface declines. With that, our fat cells become insulin resistant. And in the pancreas gland, our insulin producing cells begin to decline in number and ability to make insulin.

Our bodies show it. In a progressive fashion. We can observe our insulin level rising in response to increasing weight (fat cell size), then our glucose rising, then gradually insulin failing and glucose shooting higher. It’s as though we only have the ability to make a certain amount of insulin in a life time. If we use it up at a rate faster than our pancreas can make, we run out. Our fate is to start on pills, then transition to insulin, all in the vain attempt to forestall organ failure. But organ failure comes inevitably with kidneys failing, arteries plugging, joints stiffening and brains fading. A method to reverse this would be attractive.

That’s what this weeks news is about. In a mouse model of diabetes, the authors demonstrate that the mice progressively lose beta-cells in their pancreas glands as their diabetes progresses and worsens. Just like in humans. But, their intervention was unique. The put the mice on a 4 day diet of just fat with only a tiny trace of protein and carbohydrate. Mostly fat. Fat is insulin neutral. No demand on the pancreas. But it is fuel to work with. Not much. It was the equivalent of 1100 calories in humans. Key, though, is providing some calories in the form of fat instead of carbohydrate. Then, the mice could eat whatever they wanted. Repeat the cycle every week.

What they found was extraordinary. The mice reversed their type two diabetes. They stopped losing beta cells. In fact, they grew them back. By every measure, the fasting turned off what has been thought to be a one way street – a down hill slide into diabetes. Inflammatory cytokines went down, (TNFα and IL-12) and anti-inflammatory cytokines went up (IL-2 and IL-10). Whatever was killing off the beta cells went away.

The authors were so surprised, they then took a known pancreas poison, streptozotocin which is know to kill insulin producing cells. They treated normal mice, not diabetic prone with the streptozotocin. Guess what happened. Yup. The treated mice got diabetic with sugars up to 350 but then recovered within a month with normal insulin production and no diabetes. This suggests they really were inducing brand new beta cells from scratch. Did you get that? Recovered!

The authors warn folks not to do this on their own without supervision from their doctors. They don’t know if the method applies to humans. But they do mention that it would be about the equivalent of 800-1,100 calories a day, mostly in the form of olive oil and a tiny bit of protein and carbohydrate.

WWW.What will work for me. I have a broken foot right now. I’m very anxious for it to heal/heel. I’ve been extremely careful with my diet in the last month and have had most days at 75% fat with a few of them being around 1400 calories. Close to this study. More importantly, my blood sugar has been in the mid 70s all month, my surgical wound is closed and fixed, and I’m on the road to better. I’ve probably rejuvenated some pancreas cells. I’ve had a few days of 1400 calories, not 1100. I’ve been tiptoeing close to reproducing this study in myself. Now, I’m determined to show folks in my practice that they can do it. We can reverse diabetes. This throws open a huge door of opportunity. We should take it. Carefully, of course!

 

Pop Quiz

1. Type Two Diabetes will happen to all of us if we put on too much weight. T or F

Almost true. There are something like 20-30% of folks that can get way overweight and never get diabetic, but it’s a pretty good premise.

‪2. Fat cells get insulin resistant as they get bigger. T or F

That would be true. It’s as though insulin receptors get further apart.

‪3. Starving mice with an insulin neutral high fat diet stimulates the regeneration of pancreas beta cells that make insulin. T or F

Bingo.

‪4. Repeated cycles of the 4 day fast even regenerate poisoned pancreases that have their beta cells killed off. T or F

True.

‪5. If this is that effective, trying it in humans may be risky? T or F True, mostly because if you stay on diabetes medication, your blood sugar may go too low once your own pancreas starts kicking in. You can imagine what the answer to that is. Check your sugar a lot. Like 4-6 times a day and be ready to stop taking as many pills.

Lipotropic Shots: Fact or Fiction?

Lipotropic Shots: Fact or Fiction

References:  Priority HealthEmpower PharmacyHepatologyAmer Jr Clin NutrBlood Review,

Ever heard of lipotropic injections? I hadn’t, until a few months ago. When a client came to me and asked if I would give them to her, because her doctor in Arizona was using them and she could lose weight with them, I paid attention. When I was asked a second time, I sat up and started reading.

The literature goes back to the 1930s when fatty liver started raising its head as a problem. Charles Best was researching how to help the liver recover from fatty liver. It was his initial research that sparked interest, and discovered many of the agents that worked. Today as many as 50% of Americans over age 60 have fatty liver without even knowing it. It slows down our energy flow, our ridding of toxins, our efficient burning of fat.

We see it as being overweight, and wanting to lose weight. Well, who doesn’t want to do that? What do the shots do? They combine the compounds that have been found to increase your liver’s efficiency of metabolism. The benefits are considered to be the preservation of muscle, the burning of fat, the enhancement of energy and the improvement in liver function. The ingredients include methionine, choline and inositol, along with all the B vitamins and l-carnitine. The ingredients work because together, they have a synergistic effect. And many aren’t well absorbed from the gut. Hence, a shot. Many folks include betaine as an oral supplement along with the shots to enhance it even better. That is well absorbed orally.

From what we now know of mitochondrial function, this is exactly the process of helping the mitochondria access and burn energy more efficiently. In fatty liver, our liver is all clogged up with little fat globules, inhibiting the liver factory from working efficiently. With the ingredients of the lipotropic injections, your liver’s mitochondria start clearing the liver of backed up fat and your peripheral mitochondria to be able to burn more of it.

Suddenly, my lights turned on. All the literature I read shows that lipotropic injections improve the methionine cycle, and help lower homocysteine. So, now I get it. I’ve been trying to help folks lower homocysteine to improve risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Many of us have homocysteines hovering in the 10-12 range, some even higher. For every point over 7 of homocysteine, your risk of AD goes up some 16%. The narrative we use with Alzheimer’s is that we want your brain to learn to run on ketones, or fat. To do that, we need to cut carbs and increase the efficiency of our methionine, homocysteine cycle.

Son of a gun, the Lipotropic Shots do that! Coming at it from a different way.
So, maybe they are fact. The fiction part of me suspects that this is a bit of marketing hooey. Can’t you get all this from food? What does it take a shot to get it into you ?

WWW. What will work for me. I’ve ordered all the ingredients for my office and I’m going to run an experiment for myself. I’m looking for some hard nosed skeptics, who want to lose weight and who are willing to give themselves a shot every week/day. If you are willing to do this, I will set up a regiment of shots for you for cost. I want to take the first 5 people who give the office a jingle and are willing to give feedback. I want your weight before and after 12 weeks of shots. You have to keep exercising, cutting carbs and eating sensibly. Let’s see if this old fashioned idea still has legs.

Pop Quiz
1. Lipotropic shots have ingredients that reduce your ability to burn fat and help you burn carbs? T or F False. Go back and read the column. It appears that lipotropic shots increase the ability of your cells to turn all energy, and preserve muscle.

2. Lipotropic shots got their name from research in the 1930s aimed at reducing fatty liver? T o F True

3. Today, we understand that lowering homocysteine has some overlapping effects, as both processes are aimed at enhancing the methionine, homocysteine cycle, that helps your body get rid of toxins and burn energy more effectively? T or F True

4. Can’t you get all this stuff from food? Apparently not.

5. Is this just a marketing gimmick? Let’s try and find out.

Black Tea and C-Reactive Protein‬

Black Tea and C-Reactive Protein

Reference: Toxicology, ResearchGate,

I drink black tea. Quite a lot, in fact. I like chai. I’m also on the quest to find how to lower C-reactive protein. When I see research that addresses both topics, I pay attention. This is interesting.

The study design was pretty simple. Three cups of black tea a day, with no additives, for 12 weeks. The control group drank hot water. The groups were large enough to show statistically significant drops in uric acid of 8-9% across the various ranges of uric acid. And better, C-reactive protein, the common pathway for inflammation, fell by 40-50% in folks with levels over 3 mg %. Now, 50% drop is a lot! The goal is to get folks to below 1.0 on their CRP. So a 50% drop from 3 gets you to 1.5. Almost there!

From the same study, published in a different journal, was evidence of what happened to other markers of cardiovascular risk. Again, the same 12 week period with three cups of tea a day. The tea had high levels of gallic acid derivatives (50 ± 0.4 mg/L), flavan-3-ols (42 ± 2 mg/L), flavonols (32 ± 1 mg/L) and theaflavins (90 ± 1 mg/L). (All good things). The metabolic changes were quite striking: a fasting serum glucose decrease of 18.4%; (p<0.001) and triglyceride level decrease of 35.8%; (p<0.01), a significant decrease in LDL/HDL plasma cholesterol ratio (16.6%; p<0.05) and a non significant increase in HDL plasma cholesterol levels 20.3%. For those who have read this column and gotten facile at glucose and its effect on blood lipids, you would understand it all as the same phenomenon.

To recap: a lower blood glucose means less insulin. Less insulin means less instructions to the liver to manufacture triglycerides and LDLs. With fewer LDLs and triglycerides to manufacture and ship out to fat cells, HDLs will rise. The real primary effect is on glucose with all the others following. Small, dense LDLs, stimulated by high glucose levels, drive heart disease, so there you have it. All these risk factors stem from elevated glucose.

Guess where this study came from? Mauritius! Not the common place for research. But they are looking at life style and food. Just what we need.

WWW. What will work for me. I feel too buzzed with coffee and don’t like all the caffeine. Tea is gentler. But I spend all day with my clients trying to find ways to lower CRP. Lots of folks have mildly elevated level. To know that we can drop it 30-40% with 3 cups of tea. In Afghanistan, 3 Cups of Tea means you are a friend. Same effect in America.

Pop Quiz:

‪1. Three cups of tea will lower your CRP by 40-50%? T or F

True. Black tea.

‪2. I can also lower my triglycerides with black tea. T or F

Yup

‪3. Uric acid, unfortunately, goes up with black tea. T or F

Gotcha. Read it again. Uric acid goes down. Another good thing

‪4. High blood glucose results in high blood lipids. T or F

Simple as that. True. Glucose is the real story for causing heart disease, not blood fats.

‪5. This research was done in a place that drinks a lot of tea and doesn’t have much pharmaceutical company influence. T or F

Mauritius.

How The Bacteria in Your Gut Make You Fat

How Your Gut Bacteria Make You Fat

References: Science News, Nature,  Published August 29, 2016

Ok, this isn’t in humans, it’s in rats, but we share a lot of their basic physiology, and they are easier to cut open and examine and sample. If this holds up in humans, we will have gained quite a lot. The signal is as follows. Acetate is a two carbon acid that is a break down product of both carbs and fats. It makes its way back to the brain. The brain turns on signals via the vagus nerve to the islets cells in the pancreas to make insulin. Insulin makes you store calories.

But that isn’t all the acetate does. It also turns on ghrelin, your hunger hormone. You eat more. You gain weight. Coordinated processes by which you just pack it on. Acetate. Now the researchers found this by noting that infusing acetate causes rat pancreases to put out insulin. That was in earlier research. Feeding rats a high fat diet also turns on acetate production.

Now, kill all the bacteria in the rat’s gut and in a germ free rat, see how much acetate they make. None! Restore their gut biome and watch the difference, acetate shows up, particularly on eating fat. Following the line of logic, the researchers then found that the acetate didn’t do it directly. It worked through the brain, which then turned on the pancreas.

Now, in humans, it is known that we turn on acetate production when we eat carbs too. Humans have switched their biology in the last 5 million years to being less vegan and more fat consumers. In that process, the weight and source of acetate may have changed. But this research opens a whole new understanding of how our gut and it’s population of bacteria play on our own metabolism. The production of acetate in our gut may be a big key to sort out this conundrum.

www.What will work for me. There is certainly contrary evidence between eating carbs versus eating fat for optimal weight loss. What is clear is that the production of fine flours containing ground up carbohydrates are easily digestible, stimulate insulin directly instead of through gut bacteria. Fine white flour was available to us as human only after the 1870s when John Stevens of Neenah Wisconsin, invented the high efficiency flour mill. Then we added sugar and got extra acetate directly bypassing much of the bacterial biome. No wonder we gained weight, we are overwhelming our internal signals with free acetate.

Ergo: stop eating flour and sugar, deep fried in fat: donuts.

 

Pop Quiz:

‪1.  Rats, fed high fat diets, make acetate in their guts which gets to their brains and turns on insulin and gherkin production. T or F

That’s about the sum of it.

‪2.  Acetate is a natural break down product of fat and carbs? T or F

True. (But in this study, it was fat in rats that set it off the most)

‪3. The brain reacts to acetate but signaling an increase in what hormones?

Insulin (drives calories into storage) and gherlin (increasing appetite)

‪4. Rat metabolism is identical to humans? T or F

Close but no cigar. Humans have adapted to fat, but not to sugar and abundant flour.

‪5.  In the rat model, acetate didn’t happen without the right gut bacteria? T or F

That’s one of the key messages of this study. Very intriguing.

Low Fat Milk Makes You Fat

Low Fat Milk Makes You Fat

Reference:  Arch of Disease of Child 2016,

Published April 25, 2016, Archives at:  www.NewsinNutrition.com

Did you hear the news this week about milk? It’s simple. A longitudinal study 0f over 10,000 American children was performed to evaluate the effect of drinking low fat (1% milk) versus 2% or full fat milk (3.25%). Now, recognize that 1% means 1% of the volume of the milk. Not the calories, volume. The amount of calories are actually105 in a cup of which 21 are from fat. So 1% milk is, in fact, 21% fat. The calories in full fat milk are 146 to a cup, of which 71 are from fat, roughly 48%. Both have about 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of sugars. The authors assumed that children drinking full fat milk would weigh more. That’s not what they found. They found the opposite. In fact, they found a linear inverse relationship to obesity that matched exactly the amount of low fat milk the kids drank.

This makes perfect sense to me and should to you too. Let me give you two lines of logic and reasoning for you to be able to wrap your brain around this news. Your take away should be that there is no role whatsoever for low fat milk.

Reasoning method number one is biological. Low fat food is by definition going to be higher carbohydrate and protein. Considering that both carbs and protein turn on insulin when given in sufficient quantities, consuming low fat milk is going to turn on insulin. Traditional medicine teaches you that insulin is your blood sugar controlling hormone. Erase that thought and reconsider insulin as your storage hormone. It is excreted whenever you have more carbohydrates than you can burn, and it become the message to turn those extra carbs into fat so that you can store them. Drinking low fat milk therefore turns on insulin and you store some of those calories. That is called weight gain. The only way to lose weight is to turn off insulin. The proper way to gain weight is the opposite. Turn on insulin. Low fat milk is high carb milk. That turns on insulin.  Low fat milk is high protein milk. That also turns on insulin.  Low fat milk will make you fat.

The second line of reasoning is teleological. What messages and signals would the human species have to evolve to make it through periods of calorie deficit and calorie abundance? When you are eating low carbohydrate food, you are signaling to your body that it is the time of year when carbohydrates are in abundance, and it is to your imperative biological need to gain weight and store calories.  Carbohydrate excess means it is September or October, the time of harvest/carb excess. And harvest (carbohydrate abundance) directly precedes winter and starvation. To survive in January, you must store calories in September. When you are eating high fat food, you are signaling to your body that it is January, and time to have access to the calories you stored back in September. Fat is insulin neutral. Without insulin, fat cells open up and share their calories. That is called weight loss. Drinking higher fat milk signals to your body that it is the time of year to open up fat cells and draw on the reserves you stored before. Don’t store these calories. Let these be burned. Children drinking higher fat milk will signal their bodies they are in the time of year when they need to burn fat. There is a huge literature showing that folks who eat fat earlier in the day, eat less food later in the day. Eating less food results in gaining less weight, or even losing it.

WWW.What will work for me. There is no role for low fat dairy products. None. Get rid of them. The low fat yogurt is the worst of all. It has more sugar than a Twinkie and almost as much as a sugared can of Coke. My problem is I get full fat sugared yogurt, and eat those. Eating full fat with sugar turns on insulin, and you then store everything in sight.

Pop Quiz

1. Low fat milk is better for you because you get less fat. T or F

A. Patently false. A burst of carbohydrate sugar will make you put out insulin and store those calories as fat

1. Eating fat will make you skinny. T or F

A. True

1. A big steak doesn’t release insulin. T or F

A. False. Lots of protein becomes insulogenic. If you have a steak, make sure you have the rim of fat on it.

1. Vitamin D milk is only 3.25% fat? T or F

Trick question. Yes, by volume. But basically 50% fat by calories.

1. You mean drinking 50% fat will make me skinny? T or F

Yes, I repeat that. Yes. But not if it is in full fat ice-cream where all the extra sugar is thrown in, which then also releases insulin.

What Carbs Should I Eat?

What Carbs Should I Eat?

Reference: Low Glycemic Food Table, Cox Diabetes Clin Research, J. Geriatrics Oct 2015, Paleo Diet Glycemic Index,

We humans are a unique bunch. We developed big, energy hungry brains in the last 2 million years. To keep that development moving along, we had to adapt to diets with more calories in it. Fat provides more calories.   Eating animals provides a great way to get more fat. Cooking allows plants to be easier to digest and get access to more calories.   Cooking started, by our best archeological guess, over a million years ago. But prior to that, we had a metabolism set by mammalian history over 65 million years since the dinosaurs crashed out of existence and the first mammal crawled out its den.

Those first mammals were vegetarians. And likely remained mostly so except for those branches that turned into top tier carnivores. Carnivores develop different teeth, different intestines, different metabolisms. Most hominids (monkeys and apes) remained vegetarian. To this day, they are still mostly vege munchers.   Orangutans eat some 20-25 pounds of green plants a day – leaves. With fruit season, they switch to pure fruit for two months and eat sweet sugar and gain weight. Chimps do the same. They eat some 150 different plants but prefer fruit when its around. Once in a while they chance upon a small mammal they kill and eat, but it’s rare. And you can’t count the few ants they lick off sticks as a major component of their caloric intake. Humans got big brains and smaller muscles.

That’s the world we came from, plant eaters. Hence, our basic, core metabolism started about being adapted to plants.   Plants make carbohydrates.   As a rule, there are two kinds of plant foods.   Leaves and stems (spinach and broccoli) are green, have carbohydrate bound up in the cell well, have a lot of fiber and often as much protein as carbohydrate.   Roots and fruits are the other class of plants that result from the plant storing carbohydrate, often with the seed for propagation. (Think potatoes, apples, corn, rice, pears, almonds, walnuts, cherries.)

In that world, we adapted our hormones that manage carbohydrates to absorb and use the fuel we got from them.   That fuel is glucose and a tiny bit of rare fats, usually in the form of omega fats but sometime saturated fat like coconuts.

What is the hormone most tasked with managing carbohydrates? Insulin!   (And about 30 others in a beautiful nuanced ballet of control.) But insulin is the big kahuna of carbohydrate control. Insulin pushes glucose into fat storage. We secrete insulin in proportion to the rate of rise of blood glucose.   Green plants release glucose so slowly, usually because the fiber is spinach, broccoli (etc) pushes the food down into the colon where our biome releases it for us to use, very, very slowly.   So slowly, in fact, that you almost don’t need any insulin at all.

But potatoes and mangos cause a jolt in blood glucose, and insulin surges with the result that we then store those calories as fat. Getting fat once a year before a long spell of reduced calories makes sense. But it doesn’t make sense year around.

Insulin lasts 6-8 hours.   Think about that. If insulin lasts that long, throughout most of our evolutionary history, the majority of our food must have been of they type that releases glucose over the time period that insulin lasts.   It would not make sense to have foods that make us secrete insulin dramatically and push calories into storage.   Hence, those are the foods we are best served eating the most of.

Did you get that?   Green plants that release glucose over 6-8 hours are our perfect match. They fit our basic hormone of glucose metabolism to a T.   We call them “low glycemic” or cucumbers, Brussel’s sprouts, asparagus, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, – or any green plant that grows above ground.   Green peppers, eggplant probably fit too.

WWW.   What will work for me? We were designed, one way or another, to eat lots of green plants. Lots and lots. And some fat and protein whenever we could. But the green plants came first.   If you did that today, you would be skinnier, healthier, have less cancer, less heart disease, less diabetes. We could call it the alkaline diet, the Pritikin diet, the Esselstyn diet, the anti cancer diet.   Or just the human diet. Enjoy Thanksgiving!

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. Insulin pushes sugar into storage to it should be called our blood glucose controlling hormone. T or F

False, false, false. Way too simplistic, thought that’s what modern health care calls it.   It is our storage hormone, waiting there for you to find caches of free carbs in that month just before winter, (aka, Thanksgiving)

  1. We are designed to eat potatoes year around. T or F

False, false, false. Potatoes dramatically push glucose into your blood, forcing your to make insulin, forcing you to manufacture fat, forcing your LDLs up, forcing your to get fat. You want potatoes only when you want to store fat so that you can make it through winter. (aka: Thanksgiving)

  1. Our brains need a lot of calories, easily supplied with a raw, vegan, green diet. T or F

False, false, false.   Our big, energy hungry brains want fat and B12 is critical for survival. No B12 in plants. Found only in animal.   (Think Turkey)

  1. Insulin lasts 6-8 hours. That suggests that most of our carbohydrate calories should come from foods that release their glucose over 6-8 hours. T or F

That’s the hypothesis of this treatise.

  1. Humans like to have a big feed when they can? T or F

True. It’s how we express love and affection for each other when we can find all those calories. (Think Thanksgiving)

  1. It’s ok to get fat once in while.

Another premise of this talk: we have put one weight and lost weitht throughut human history. So, enjoy putting it on once in a while. Make sure you do it with lots of love and company.   (Think Thanksgiving)

  1. So Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Does Meat Cause Cancer?

Meat Gives You Cancer?

Reference   CBCNews, Cancer.gov, IARC Report on Meat and Cancer

Nov 2, 2015

Does red meat give you cancer? It was all over the news this last week. The UN agency for health within WHO issued a report this week linking meat comsumption to the risk of cancer. In particular, its data suggests that processed meat shows the strongest link.

There has been evidence for quite a while to this effect. Longo published a series of reports on animal versus plant sources of protein. Animal protein supplies us with all the essential amino acids that we need and don’t make ourselves. But plant protein nourishes our gut biome, which will make all those amino acids for you, just slower.   There is something about the combination in animals that seems to turn on cancer making hormones.   It might be the speed with which the amino acids get into you making you turn on insulin. Insulin is a potent growth factor for cancer.   But this report also suggested that processed meats are a problem. How much of a problem? If you eat one hot dog a day, your risk of colon cancer will go from 5% to 6%.   That’s an 18% increased risk in relative terms. It’s a 1% risk in absolute terms. But that does make colon cancer ever so much worse. Did you get that risk?   It’s already 5% of us. That’s huge. What are processed meats? Any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives; examples include bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats.   That includes chicken nuggets, ham, bacon, bratwurst, spam, breakfast sausage…..bummer. Is nitrate free bacon safe? Hmm?   Maybe not!

It may not be the meat itself. There is clear evidence that it is the way we cook that causes a lot of the trouble. High heat cooking, like pan frying, makes for a lot of chemical reactions that create all sorts of toxic substances. Their names are things like “heterocyclic amines” and “polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons”. In many models these chemicals cause cancer. You can make them with high heat grilling of anything.   Roasted coffee and roasted peanuts have them too. It’s high heat. And the nitrates may not be added as pure chemical, they can just come from vegetable sources. That allows you to say “no nitrites added” but your body still reads it as nitrites. Are you at risk from nitrites when you eat vegetables?   No, because they have vitamin C which allows you to detoxify on your own.

Then there is Vitamin K2.   Western meat is all raised on feedlots, and feedlots don’t have green grass. Those animals don’t have K2.   K2 has clearly been associated with lower cancer risk.   The EPIC study showed a 35% reduction in prostate cancer risk with K2. And in active cancer, it has been shown to cause apoptosis.

Well, where does this all fit in the realm of scientific inquiry? It’s clear that using a low carb diet is a great way to lose weight. Can we have meat in that diet?   Sure. In the short term, all you want because losing 10% of your body weight and reducing / eliminating your risk of diabetes and high blood sugar is probably 10 fold more important than avoiding processed meats in the short term. Notice, healthy fats aren’t listed anywhere as a risk.  So, is it K2 that’s missing?   Do you go down 35% with K2 but up 18% with hotdogs?

WWW. What will work for me. I’m trying to eat nitrate free bacon, and less of it. I cook it at lower heat – sort of a simmer and eat it chewy.   Still eat it. But I take K2 every day. And I get my colonoscopy. And the ultimate way to prevent colon cancer is lots and lots of vegetables. More fiber.   Less flour, less sugar.   Not so much fruit. More veges.   Ok, so I had Brussels spouts chopped up in Trader Joes bacon for supper last night. Took my K2 this morning. Yummy.

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. Processed meats add risk to your diet? T or F

True

  1. The risk comes mostly from it being animal protein? T or F

Too early to tell. May be that our meat is flawed with no K2 in it, no omega fats in them, and cooked at too high a temperature.

  1. Vegetables can be roasted and make risk too?   T or F

Yup. Coffee or peanuts prove it.

  1. Your risk of dying goes up 18% when you eat a hot dog. T or F

Whoa Nellie.   That is an 18% relative risk. Only 1% abosolute risk. You go from 5% to 6% overall risk. And you can get a colonoscopy every 10 years and just about guarantee you don’t get colon cancer. Then take Vitamin D, K2 and eat 5 servings of veges every day, walk two miles and your risk drops way more than processed meat increases.

  1. You should still avoid processed meats and cheeses. T or F

Yup. Find a way to taper down.

 

 

High Cholesterol is Good for You

High Cholesterol is GOOD for Women – the HUNT Study

Published Oct 26th, 2015

Reference: Petursson, Jr Eval Clin Pract. AHA Cholesterol Guidelines

Have you been badgered lately by a health provider who has insisted that you be on a statin? They show you your “numbers” and your cholesterol is high.   You blanche. You’ve seen all the ads on TV for statins. All your friends are on statins. What to do? The last time you tried statins, you had terrible leg pain just walking across the room.

Well, what you do is pull the rug out from the argument and read the article above.   It shows that moderately higher cholesterol is protective. Worse, it shows that mortality is HIGHER if you lower your cholesterol.   What are the details? This is a big research study – following men and women prospectively for 10 years (52,087 Norwegians and a total of 510,297 observation years). It shows a U shaped curve for mortality from cardiovascular disease with the greatest mortality happening in the “mid-range”.

The authors suggest that it’s time to get some nuance into cholesterol guidelines.   The total cholesterol is just not the story line we want to follow.   The authors suggest that perhaps better “numbers” would be to take the Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio and aim to get that below a certain threshold. (Most folks say around 4.5) That would take into account the protective effect of HDLs.   As we talked about in this column, a more recent update on ratios shows that the Trigylceride/HDL ratio is the best predictor of all.   Perfect is when you get to less than one. You have virtually eliminated all risk of vascular disease if you can achieve that ratio.

And you can eliminate it, almost completely with lifestyle change. How?   It’s actually easy. You have to understand the role LDL’s play in your body. If you premise that they represent the fat manufactured in your liver, being transported in the blood to fat cells, where the fat will be stored, you will understand exactly how to change them. The human body was not designed to eat lots of processed carbs. We were designed to eat very coarse, dense carbs, like spinach, broccoli, dandelions, ….whole foods, raw and very low in free carbs.   Our colons’ bacteria digested those “high fiber” foods and released glucose very, very slowly.   When we eat refined bread, our liver is overcome, we cannot process the glucose and we force our blood sugar up, our insulin up, and that turns on the production of fat in our liver. Hence, if you want to get rid of your LDLs try your own experiment.   Stop eating carbs, at least the ones that come in processed foods like bread, cookies, sugar, ice cream, donuts.   Eat meat, animal fat (bacon and butter and eggs) and all the green vegetables you want.   Measure your LDLs before and after two-three weeks. You will be cured in a month of “high” LDLs and your HDLs will climb like a rocket. Even your nervous family doctor will be happy because you wont meet criteria to be treated for your allegedly high cholesterol.

So, just what is the take home of this study? Most women are well served with higher cholesterol, because many, many women naturally have very high HDLs. That is partially genetics, partially estrogen, partially discipline and exercise.

WWW. What will work for me. It’s just so ridiculously obvious and simple.   High LDLs mean you are eating too many processed, free modern carbs. You can prove it to yourself in weeks. I’ve done it so many hundreds of times with my customers, I’m just annoyed that our health care system can’t figure it out for themselves. Just get lab twice, a month apart, and try the experiment for yourself.   Presto.   My problem is that I sin, and when I test myself, my wonderful good results go away pretty fast.   Bummer.   This being consistent is not my strongest suit.

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. High cholesterol is good for women.   T or F

Yup. And if you aren’t sure, get a CT cardiac scan and prove your calcium score to be zero, and then sleep sweetly.

  1. So women with a cholesterol of 250 may not need a statin. T or F

That’s it. Taking them will cause harm. You are safer without them. At least if you are Norwegian – or believe yourself to be close enough.

  1. If your doctor insists on a statin, you can ask for a one month reprieve, go on a low carb diet (<20 grams a day) and get retested, and then avoid the statin. T or F

True

  1. LDLs represent the consumption of too many carbohydrates, resulting in the manufacture of fat by the liver, being transported to the fat cell. T or F

Presto!

  1. We humans are better served eating tons and tons of spinach rather than donuts. T or F

True.

Food and Inflammasomes

Fire, Fire, Cells on Fire: Inflammasomes II

Reference:   Scientific American June 2015, Wen Nature Immunology

June 1, 2015

We learned last week that inflammasomes are activated when “stranger” and “danger” signals are present.   Bacteria and viruses can do it, but so can foreign chemicals like asbestos and amyloid in our brains.   The inflammasome is essentially a little factory that propels the inflammatory process forward and turns on the signaling in the cell and its surroundings that trouble is brewing.   When you have a cut finger and get redness around it, it is because your local macrophages have made inflammasomes inside themselves that are putting out the chemicals that make that factory become assembled, and then produce its inflammatory signaling messages.

But that’s not all. Food can do it. Eating too much food sets off inflammation.   Fatty acids can do it too.   A healthy liver has many immune cells within it, and is the first recipient of calories after a meal. The liver can become inflamed and swollen when it is overwhelmed with too many calories.   We have an epidemic of fatty liver in obese children right now. It appears that fructose plays a central role in that process.

What happens when you eat too much fructose (sugar)?   We know that it essentially exhausts your liver because it forces the liver to use up its ATP, resulting in a burst of uric acid and a burst of triglyceride release – as dramatic as with drinking alcohol.   Your liver gets swollen and doesn’t work very well.   You can see large globules of fat in it.   It can’t make an orderly progression of LDLs to transport the extra calories to your fat cells, where the fat can be stored. Instead, you have a wild, uncontrolled release of free fatty acids into the blood.   We call those triglycerides.

We know that triglycerides reflect a higher risk for heart disease than total cholesterol, particularly in women. And that would make perfect sense because triglycerides reflect the presence of inflammation in the liver, spewing out inflammatory messages to the whole body.

The interesting thing about food is that its inflammatory effect seems to be about 24 hours and then it cools off. Immune cells stop responding to the inflammatory messages after a while. The next door to be opened is just what on earth keeps the inflammatory process going and going.   Adenosine may be that signal. And when you eat fructose and overwhelm your liver, you break down ATP and make adenosine. That points a particular finger at fructose again!

How can we turn all this off? Fasting! Or eating a “ketogenic” diet that makes you put out beta-hydroxybutyrate.   Imagine, turning off inflammation by eating fat.

WWW. What will work for me. I know this is true. Eating fat reduces inflammation. My 70% fat diet for the last 4 months has reduced my CRP from 3.8 to 0.3, in just 4 months.   I’m getting better at saying no to sugar if I can just keep away from brownies and chocolate.   I believe that the alleged triglyceride activation of inflammasomes is actually a misplaced association – the triglycerides reflecting the excessive intake of fructose/sugar we Americans are obsessed with. It’s the sugar.

Pop Quiz

  1. Inflammation can be started by eating too much food? T or F

True

  1. Sugar seems to be able to turn on inflammation as well? T or F

Perfect

  1. Fructose, from sugar, makes for fatty liver? T or F

T

  1. Inflammasomes in the liver are caused by eating too much food and too much sugar. T or F

I’m beating a dead horse here, but I want you to get the point.

  1. You can turn off inflammation by eating a keto-genic diet – aka, high fat? T or F

True

  1. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is the compound your body puts out when you are burning fat, either from your fat cells or from the food you eat – and it happens only when you eat less than 20 grams of carbs a day. T or F

Pretty close to accurate. Some quibbling on details.