Today I was checking out some information on dietary guidelines set by the government and I ended up at the BBC health page. The BBC is absolutely brilliant at explaining things in an easy to understand way and so I found myself checking out their view on “Healthy Eating” as defined by the government.
The BBC has divided their easy to follow guide in 11 sections to help the “surfer” find the information. A novel idea and one based on the guidelines from the FSA. The most interesting item on the list was the section called Sugar and Fats.
Now if I hadn’t spent the last 5 years reading about nutrition and bio chemistry (with a lawyers head on) I might have thought that these two food groups were in some way connected. Clearly they are not and just for the record:-
- Sugar is energy rich but nutrient poor and causes a high insulin response.
- Fats, even saturated fats, are nutrient rich and cause a low insulin response.
Since insulin is critical to the process that turns calories into tummy fat it seems hard to understand how anyone with even basic knowledge of human digestion would link the two.
What is true is that if you eat lots of sugar or starch you are very likely to create a lot of fat around your tummy but that is quite a different link.
There was a really interesting E version of an abstract to be published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in PubMed last week. I had meant to write about it as soon as I read it but things have been busy. The research was looking at the general health benefits ( without interest in weight or inch loss) when a person switched from a modern western diet to the hunter gatherer diet. The numbers are small but the results are clear.
When you switch a person from the modern diet to our natural evolved diet several things immediately happen without additional exercise or any other event:-
arterial blood pressure reduces
glucose intolerance improves
insulin secretion reduces
improved lipid profiles
improved insulin sensitivity
Historically these symptoms have been linked to low calorie / fat diets but only after significant weight loss and the problem there has been the time it takes to lose those extra inches or weight. The great thing about returning to our natural diet is that we immediately gain benefits of general health and of course, as has been shown in numerous clinical trials, the body loses more fat faster with low carb high protein than the usual recommended diet.
I look forward to reading more about this research when the paper version is released.
What fun it was to read that eggs are finally safe to eat. First we are told by the experts that they are killing us and that we must have no more than 3 a week and then following some more research it is decided that perhaps they are no so bad after all. Whilst it is great to see that the British Nutritional Foundation has reversed its opinion I would really like to understand how they ever thought that eggs weren’t safe. Eggs are very rich in nutrients and essential fatty acids as well as protein. There is really very little in the world of food that is as good as an egg. In fact the research they relied upon was dodgy at best.
This recent study concludes that health chiefs and GPs should demolish the myths about eggs and heart disease and communicate a message that there is no need to limit the number eaten as long as they are part of a healthy low saturated fat diet.
The ingrained misconception linking egg consumption to high blood cholesterol and heart disease is all to do with the logical but none the less incorrect assumption that eating foods rich in cholesterol will cause our cholesterol to rise. About 5 years ago several peer reviewed papers were published in the UK showing that foods high in cholesterol do not have any affect on human levels of cholesterol and therefore I am still at a loss to understand why it has taken this long to get the message through to the BNF when the doctors have known about this for some time. Could someone at the BNF please read peer reviewed papers in the medical journals as they might find them quite helpful.
But while eggs get the all clear, poor old saturated fat continues to get a good kicking from just about everyone. This again is interesting when one looks at what has been published in medical journals on saturated fats and the fact that a number of studies have shown that when you combine saturated fats with a low carb diet the dieter’s cholesterol and health profile is better than the person following the low fat diet. Perhaps in five years time we will see a similar about turn by the BNF over fats
So while we wait for someone at the BNF to read the medical peer reviewed journals the mass population are actively avoiding saturated fat while the real killer is starch and sugar.
I was delighted to read today in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology that some of the recognised experts in nutrition in the US agree that reducing calories from starch and sugar seems to cause a radical improvement in human lipid profile. Whilst this not news to fans of low carb diets , it is news to find that some of the experts that were sceptical of low carb diets are now beginning to recognise the easy wins with low carb.
Whilst there is still a continued resistence in many quarters to recognise the obvious connection between insulin resistence and eating a diet rich in carbohydrates which stimulate insulin, this does feel like a very small step in the right direction. The very fact that the study actually makes this link is a massive step forward.
” Less dietary carbohydrate requires less insulin secretion for glucose homeostasis thereby benefiting persons with insulin resistant syndrome”.
A small step for man is a huge step for the diabetic community who may finally be getting closer to a better standard of health care advice from health professionals .
Does this mean a high fat diet ? Of course not. Does it mean we will all die if we dont eat loads of pasta, rice and potatoes? I don’t think so. We lived without refined carbohydrates for 10,000 years.
Good news for diabetics…Bad news for food companies and anyone who continues to fails to see the link between insulin and obesity and insulin and carbohydrates…..
Just recently I was pointed in the direction of the Mayo Clinic in the US which actively posts advice on its website about diet and nutrition. Recently it published a summary of a piece of research that apperently suggested that low carb diets were bad for diabetics. This is a common held view but actually the published research does not reflect this assumption and indeed most significant studies which are low carb ( and now low gi) and high protien actually show a massive improvement in the health and well being of diabetics.
So why is it that in the world of nutrition it is possible to give out advice which people will rely on without proper due regard for the obligations to present a proper and full picture? Why is it that every day we read articles in the daily papers advising us on what to stop cancer or get thin which are not based on clincial randomized science or even a proper understanding of basic bio chemisty? Why is it that the same standards that apply to doctors, lawyers and accoutants don’t apply to diet experts?
The basic rule should apply to all so called professionals who influence people and the basic rule is very simple. If you know that someone is likely to rely on your advice ( e.g. you have some professional or authoritive capacity ) then you must be responsible for the subsequent results of that reliance.
Now if that rule were applied to every diet expert that wrote a book or published an article we may find that the messages handed out on a daily basis would be slightly different. In particular it would be possible for diabetics to sue for the loss of a limb or the loss of their eyesight if they could show that they had been encouraged by an expert to eat a high carbohydate diet and thereby increase thier need for insulin without having been advised at the same time that they could also choose a low carb diet and reduce their need for insulin . Such a legal action would be particualarly interesting when it was brought to the courts attention that for years there have been randomised clincial trials published in peer reviewed journals consistently showing that a low carb diet will:-
- reduce your waistline faster than any other low calorie or low fat diet
- improve your cholesterol profile better than any other low calorie or low fat diet
- reduce your need for insulin
- improve your general health profile
Not only that it would be interesting for the court to note that the funding for much of the diabetic charities in the UK actually comes from the drug and starch companies who really dont want low carb diets to take off.
He Ho…I just think of the tobacco wars and remind myself that actually it was the lawyers who helped us change the law on tobacco and actually got the message out there much to the upset of the tobacco companies.