The Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet has been the subject of great controversy, as its recommendations are the complete opposite of the USDA food pyramid recommendations and that of most other health agencies in the United States.

The diet was developed by Robert C. Atkins, M.D. in the late 1980s and contrary to its critic’s statements, it is NOT a high protein diet.  It is actually a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate way of eating. The basic premise of the diet is to lower your carbohydrate intake to a level that allows for weight loss and maintains eating that level of carb counting until you lose all the weight you want to lose. Then you add in more carbs to a level that stabilizes your weight loss. This maintenance level of carb intake per day allows you to stay at a lower weight for the rest of your life.

Carbohydrates are counted in “Net Carbs” which means that you count the carbohydrates in food but subtract the fiber count from the carb count. For instance:

  • 1 cup of broccoli = 6 carbs (but 4 of those carbs are fiber) so the net carb count would be 2 carbohydrates counted instead of 6.

There are 4 phases to the Atkins diet:

  • Phase 1: During this phase, called Induction, you drop your carbohydrate intake to below 20 grams of net carbs per day.   The goal of this level to cause a change in your body’s metabolism so that it begins to burn body fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates from food.   During this phase, you can eat all kinds of fresh meats, green leafy vegetables, and fats such as olive oil or butter.  The induction phase can sometimes be called Induction Flu, because, for the first 3-5 days of the plan, you may feel weak and shaky as if you had the flu.  This is a common reaction, as it takes time for your body to make the switch from burning carbohydrates for fuel to burning body fat.  It is recommended to drink lots of water, take a multivitamin, 400 mg magnesium, and 99mg potassium tablets 2-3 times a day to help with the transition.  Drinking a clear, salty broth will help as well.  After 3 days or so, these symptoms should lift, and you should begin to feel very good.  Don’t skip meals, eat until you are satisfied, and don’t limit your fat intake.  As you eat less carb, fat and protein intake will naturally increase.
  • Phase 2: During Phase 2, you start to gradually begin to increase your carb intake by 5 grams of net carb per week, by adding more vegetables and berries. As you add carbs back in, you monitor your weight loss. If you continue to lose weight, you can continue adding carbs back in at 5 grams of net carbs per week.  Once your weight loss stops for several days in a row, drop back 5 grams of carb and you should begin losing weight again.  This is known as your OWL or Ongoing Weight Loss carb limit.  You stay at this level until you are within 5-10 pounds of your goal weight.
  • Phase 3: This phase is called the Pre-Maintenance. You begin to add as much as 10 carbs more per week, and as long as you are losing very slowly, you can add back in more vegetables, fruits, starches, and whole grains. This phase allows you to ease back into a more varied, but permanently chosen way of eating. When you get to your goal weight and maintain for at least a month, you will know how many carbs you can eat without gaining weight. This is called the ACE (Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium). For some people, the ACE can be as high as 120 grams of carb per day. Others, who may be more sensitive to carbohydrates, may only be able to eat 40 grams of carbs per day without seeing weight gain.
  • Phase 4: Phase 4 is also called Lifetime Maintenance. During this phase, you just stay at your ACE level and maintain your weight. This level can be affected by exercise or hormone changes, so it may not be the same all the time.

If you are interested in learning more about the Atkins diet, I encourage you to read Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, New and Revised Edition or the newest book about the Atkins diet: New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.

And here’s the scientific proof of the efficacy of Atkins. Check out the results of Stanford University’s A to Z diet study. The study compared the Atkins diet to 3 other popular diets and followed the study participants for over a year. The final results totally favored the Atkins approach. The authors wrote “In this study, premenopausal overweight and obese women assigned to follow the Atkins diet, which had the lowest carbohydrate intake, lost more weight and experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects at 12 months than women assigned to follow the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets.”

A Diabetic Diet for Controlling Blood Sugar

Following the correct diabetic diet is particularly important since many of the complications of diabetes are caused by high blood sugar levels. The correct diet for a diabetic is one that:

  • helps diabetics stabilize and control blood sugar instead of making blood sugar control worse.

In many cases, a type 2 diabetic diagnosis can be successfully overcome with a change in diet. In Type 1 diabetes, in which insulin must be injected, many of the complications of the blood sugar highs and lows can be minimized, and lower doses of insulin can be used if the proper diabetic diet is followed and blood sugar control is maintained.

Any serious research and study will point to the fact that a ketogenic diet or a similar low carb diet is extremely successful in lowering and stabilizing blood sugar values, and as such, is the most effective diabetic diet to follow.

Here are just a few of many studies which showcase the effect of low carb, ketogenic diet on blood sugar control:

  • In a 2004 study published in the Diabetes Journal, participants were given either the American Diabetes Association recommended a moderately high carb diet or a low carb diet. The mean 24-hour blood sugar reading at the end of the ADA high carb diet was 198 mg/dl. This is deep into diabetic diagnosis territory.

    The mean 24-hour blood sugar of the participants at the end of the low carb diet was 126 mg/dl. The low carb diet resulted in a drop of 36% in mean blood sugar readings when compared to the moderate carb diet over the course of the study.

  • Another gold standard metabolic ward study examined the effects of a low carb ketogenic (high fat) diet in obese persons with type 2 diabetes. Ten subjects were monitored while eating their usual diet for 7 days and then while on a very low carb diet for 14 days. Carbohydrate intake was reduced to 21 grams per day, but patients could eat as much protein and fat as they wanted and as often as they wanted. During the low carbohydrate-diet period, the subjects’ mean fasting glucose (blood sugar) decreased from 135 to 113 mg/dl, a 16% drop.

    Those numbers mean that these diabetic patients went from having a blood sugar in the diabetic range to one which was NOT in the diabetic range, and this was just over a short two week period. This reduction in blood sugar required a decrease in diabetes medication in 5 of the 10 patients.

  • In another study, eighty-three subjects were randomly allocated to one of 3 weight-loss diets for 8 weeks and on the same diets in energy balance for 4 weeks. Each diet provided identical amounts of calories but differed in the amount of carbohydrate, fat, protein and saturated fat included. This was expressed in a ratio (Carb: Fat: Protein; %SF). The diets included a:
    • Very Low Fat (VLF) (70:10:20; 3%)
    • High Unsaturated Fat (HUF) = (50:30:20; 6%)
    • Very Low Carb (VLCARB) (4:61:35; 20%)

    The results were telling. Those subjects on the very low carb diabetic diet lowered their fasting insulin by 33%, compared to a 19% fall on the HUF diet and no change on VLF (a lower fasting insulin means blood sugar was also lowered). The VLCARB meals also provoked significantly lower glucose and insulin responses at meal end. The authors concluded that very low carb diets were more effective in improving triglyceride levels, increasing HDL-Cholesterol, and improving fasting and post-meal glucose and insulin concentrations.


Real-Life Success Stories

Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, a Type 1 diabetic himself, has successfully treated thousands of type 1 and 2 diabetics with a low carb diabetic diet he developed over years of study.

He used himself as a test subject, rigorously testing his blood sugar after every meal, and deduced by trial and error what foods helped him control his blood sugar, and what foods made his blood sugar control worse.

He writes about his experiences and his diabetic diet treatment plans in two highly recommended books: The Diabetes Diet: Dr. Bernstein’s Low-Carbohydrate Solution and Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars.

Diana Schwarzbein has also successfully treated many diabetics with her low carb diabetic diet recommendations. She writes about her experiences in unlearning her medical school “low-fat” diet training and finding what really worked for her diabetic patients in her book titled: The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger.


A Warning About the American Diabetes Association

An analysis of the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) shows that it makes diabetic blood sugar control almost impossible. Because of this blood sugar roller coaster effect, the ADA diabetic diet actually makes diabetics sicker.

The ADA recommends a carbohydrate level of 60 grams PER MEAL, which is very high, and it causes blood sugar to increase significantly. As a result, the diabetic patient has to take more insulin and frequently experience dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) reactions and other complications of uncontrolled sugar highs and lows.

Dr. Bernstein believes that a diabetic should have no more than 30 grams of carbohydrate PER DAY: 6 at breakfast, 12 at lunch, and 12 at dinner. This amount stabilizes blood sugar and helps reduce the amount of insulin needed. In some cases, type 2 diabetics have completely eliminated the need for insulin when using a low carb diet to control blood sugar.


Recommended Reading

The Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is a diet in which most of the calories come from fats. The fats consumed may include cream, butter, vegetable oils, and coconut oil.

A moderate amount of protein is also consumed to support body maintenance, but the diet is very low in starches and sugars (carbohydrates).

The term “ketogenic” refers to the fact that high fat, very low carb diet creates a condition in the body known as “ketosis”.

Being in ketosis simply means that the body cells are burning fatty acids for fuel instead of the glucose that comes from carbohydrates. The products of this process of burning fats produce fragments of the fatty acids called “ketone bodies”.

Here’s a related factoid: although ketosis is viewed by doctors as somehow unsafe, it is well known that most people go into ketosis each night when they sleep, because they go without food for 7-9 hours, and the body burns stored fatty acids while in a fasted state.

The confusion may come from a misidentification of ketosis with diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition in which the normal rate of ketosis is hugely magnified due to a lack of insulin to control the process. The high level of ketones causes the blood to become too acidic, which causes multiple problems.


Atkins and Optimal Nutrition

The induction phase of the Atkins diet is the most famous version of a ketogenic regimen.  Carbohydrate intake is kept below 20 grams per day and then causes the body to switch to burning its own stored fat for fuel instead.

A Polish physician named Jan Kwasniewski has used a ketogenic program which he calls Optimal Nutrition to successfully treat his patients who were suffering from diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other health issues.


Health Effects

Ketogenic diet plans have very beneficial effects on blood lipids, on the symptoms of insulin resistance, and they are an essential tool for helping people with diabetes control their blood sugars.

In addition, there is a multitude of studies on using a ketogenic treat to treat certain cancers, autism, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit my Ketogenic-Diet-Resource.com website which gives more details on the use and effects of a ketogenic diet.

Gluten Free Diet

A gluten-free diet is one in which all products containing certain proteins called glutens are avoided. Gluten proteins are found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina) and close relatives such as spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro. Other gluten grains such as rye, barley, and triticale are also restricted. Oats and millet may also be restricted, as they cause symptoms in many people.

The mainstream advice to eat 6-11 servings of grain-based foods each day has serious detrimental health effects for many people.

Gluten consumption is the main cause of Celiac disease, a digestive disorder characterized by villous atrophy, a change in the form and function of the intestinal wall, and other health issues including joint and bone pain, neurological problems and serious autoimmune reactions in the body.

It has been estimated that at least 10% of the American population is gluten intolerant. That’s 130 million Americans who are basically sick from eating grains.

Worse, they may not even know why they are sick. On average, it takes 10 years of suffering to finally uncover a diagnosis of gluten intolerance.

Patients suffer not only from gut problems such as gas, bloating and diarrhea, but also from a wide variety of other, seemingly disconnected health issues, such as migraines, nerve pain, osteoporosis, skin disorders or even simple chronic heartburn or GERD.

In addition, gluten intolerance or sensitivity exists in a range of degrees, but very little research has been done. Some people may not even have discernable symptoms, but the damage from grain may cause the development of a “leaky gut” and autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Most doctors only know about celiac disease in relation to gluten intolerance, and it is in relation to a celiac diagnosis that most people are advised to follow a diet free of gluten.


Grains and Cancer

After doing a lot of research in this area, I’ve come to believe that most people would benefit from following a gluten-free diet, and in general, if people avoided whole grains completely, we would spend a lot less time at home or the hospital sick, and a lot less money on health care and health research, especially cancer and autoimmune disease research.

You may be surprised to read that grain consumption is closely tied to the rates of cancer in a population. But consider this: in 1843, a physician name Stanislas Tanchou spoke at the Paris Medical Society conference. He claimed that he could predict the exact cancer rates in every major European city over the next 50 years. He based his predictions on the percentage of grain being consumed in each city.

His predictions were recorded, and in time, they were shown to be correct. In those cities where grain consumption was higher, cancer rates were higher. And in populations where grains were not consumed, cancer did not exist. This may be why some term cancer as a “disease of civilization”.


What to Eat and Not Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet

Foods to Avoid

The foods that those with gluten intolerance should avoid include all products which commonly contain any grain-based gluten. Grains which have high amounts of gluten include:

  • Wheat, all forms (durum, semolina)
  • Rye
  • Kamut
  • Spelt
  • Einkorn
  • Barley
  • Oats (for some)

A gluten-free diet means the avoidance of any starch-based products made with the flours from the above grains as well. This rules out:

  • all types of wheat and rye bread
  • the breading and batters used in fried foods
  • beers made with malt grain
  • cereals made from grain products
  • flour-based baking mixes
  • pastas
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • cakes and pies
  • thickening ingredients used in gravies and sauces
  • graham or matzo flour, which are made from wheat
  • blue cheese, which gets its mold from wheat bread sources
  • fiber products which use wheat germ

Processed foods are the worst products for those with gluten sensitivities. They contain unanticipated sources of gluten because they usually have thickeners, fillers, and stabilizing agents. Read ingredient labels and avoid products such as:

  • ingredient acronyms such as HPP, HVP, MSG, TPP or TVP (this would include most flavoring agents such as bouillon cubes
  • candy bars and energy bars
  • canned foods, especially soups and chilis
  • canned meats, processed meats, and deli-style lunch meats
  • ketchup and sauces
  • ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • instant coffee
  • mustards
  • sausages
  • sweetened yogurts
  • most “low fat” products

In addition, gluten is also commonly found in many vitamins and cosmetics, such as lipstick, and in the production of many medicinal capsules and tablets, where starch is a commonly used binding agent.


Safe Foods for the Gluten-Sensitive

The good news is that people on a gluten-free diet can eat mostly whole foods including:

  • fresh meats, fish, shellfish
  • fresh chicken, turkey, and other poultry products
  • fresh eggs
  • vegetables and fruit
  • whole dairy products, although some people are also sensitive to dairy products

There are also some grain and starch sources that are acceptable for those on a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used starch sources include:

  • corn and corn products such as corn starch, chips, and polenta
  • sorghum flour
  • potatoes
  • rice and rice flour products
  • tapioca flours (derived from cassava)
  • amaranth
  • arrowroot
  • Other lesser-known grains such as montina, lupin, quinoa, taro, teff, chia seed, and yam
  • Bean, soybean, and nut flours can also be used in place of gluten-containing products

Resources for Further Reading

Recommended Gluten-Free Cookbooks

Medical Knowledge: Is Your Doctor a Reliable Source?

Consider this:  The medical knowledge your doctor relies on to treat you is incomplete, and at times, inaccurate. The smart medical consumer will spend the time doing their own medical research, so they can accurately judge the quality of the care they receive from their physician.

So why don’t doctors have accurate information? To begin, as would be expected, doctors rely on the information they learned in medical school to treat patients. However, after years in practice, that information is often outdated. And what if the information they were taught in school was flawed?  The fact is that most physicians don’t rely on the latest, or most accurate information when treating patients on a daily basis.

Biased Research

Many doctors try to keep up their medical knowledge by reading the current research. But this source of information can be unreliable as well.  Dr. John Ioannidis, an expert on the medical bias, has written extensively about the flaws found in medical research.  He has estimated that as much as 90 percent of the medical research doctors rely on to treat patients is flawed. 

In an essay published in PLoS Medicine, he writes:

“There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false…Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

Spinning the Data

But surely doctors can read the studies done and make conclusions?  Not necessarily. Many doctors don’t have enough free time to read every study on every topic. Instead, they rely on “abstracts”.

An abstract is a summary paragraph included with each medical study published. It’s supposed to give the reader a quick overview of the study results. The problem is that these abstracts may or may not reflect the actual results of the study.  In many cases, especially when expensive drugs are involved, the study abstract may give a summary that is the opposite of the actual results.

In addition, a drug company may not even publish a study that provides negative information about their product.

Compromised Medical Journals

As a trusted alternative to reading every study themselves, many doctors rely on and completely trust the medical journals which publish peer-written articles discussing the studies.

Unfortunately, in 2009 the New York Times reported that the articles in many of the top medical journals are often written by “ghostwriters” who work for pharmaceutical companies or other businesses with vested interests in spinning the data.  According to the study cited by the Times, “responding authors reported a 10.9 percent rate of ghostwriting in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, the highest rate among the journals.”

Physician Arrogance

In addition to flawed information sources, physician arrogance and boredom can affect the care you receive. For example, when a patient’s complaint is a “routine” problem, such as heartburn, the doctor has no reason to look at the causes closely.  Since they deal with this ailment frequently, the doctor develops an attitude that the cause and cure of a “simple” complaint like heartburn is a known medical fact.  They already have a written handout to give to the patient, and so they fall back on that course of action. There’s no motivation to find out if new research has been done in this area, and so any new information which might help the patient is lost. People with chronic heartburn can attest to the fact that the routine treatment they are given does little to help.


What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

At the end of the day, all of these influences point to the fact that the advice, care and medical knowledge you get from your physician might not be reflective of the latest research or the best for your health.

Since your health and physical well-being are so critical to a happy life, obtaining the proper medical knowledge is a critical component of your personal health care plan.

Here’s how to get the medical knowledge you need to get the best health care possible:

  • Do your own research on whatever health issue you are experiencing.  Go to Pubmed and look for the most current research on that particular topic.  New information is constantly being generated by research scientists, and it might be years before a study is written up in a medical journal, and even longer before your doctor sees that article.
  • Find out who in the medical world is the “expert” on your issue, and contact them. One way to do this is to look at who is publishing articles on your particular issue.  Pubmed would have this information.
  • Get a copy of the Physicians’ Desk Reference manual, or go to their website to find out the facts about drugs your doctor wants to prescribe.  You can also visit the FDA’s Medwatch to view or register complaints about medical devices and drugs.
  • Investigate the relationships between health agencies, physicians and pharmaceutical companies by visiting the ProPublica website.
  • Read books on your particular health issue, and search for other people discussing your issue on the internet.  These people may have already done research from which you can benefit.  There may even be forums on your health issue on which you can ask questions and find more information.
  • If your doctor disparages your knowledge or ignores your questions and concerns, find another doctor who will work with you to provide the care you want.

The bottom line is that it’s up to you to make sure that you have the medical knowledge you need to judge the quality of the care you receive.  When you speak to your doctor, you should know as much as he or she knows about your ailment, so that you can judge the quality of the information and care being given.  Only then will you know that you are receiving the best care possible.

Insulin Resistance Symptoms

Insulin resistance symptoms are very similar to the symptoms associated with pre-diabetes, and I believe the two conditions are strongly related, in that insulin resistance is often the beginning stage of pre-diabetes and can worsen into type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance is closely associated with obesity, high cholesterol brought on by inflammation, high blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease. These health conditions often show up at the same time in many patients, and doctors call the combination the Metabolic Syndrome.


Avoiding and Treating Insulin Resistance

Although there are many drugs on the market touted to treat insulin resistance, (most have serious side effects) most people with insulin resistance symptoms can reverse them by:

  • Following a low carbohydrate diet and
  • Adding a long term program of high-intensity interval training exercise. This would include lifting weights and aerobic interval training.

The combination of a low carb diet and high-intensity exercise is the best treatment for avoiding and reversing insulin resistance symptoms and the eventual progression to the pre-diabetes symptoms associated with a breakdown in insulin sensitivity.

For example, look at the results of this study designed to test low carb diets on the factors associated with metabolic syndrome:

Eighty-three subjects were randomly allocated to one of 3 weight-loss diets for 8 weeks and on the same diets in energy balance for 4 weeks. Each diet provided identical amounts of calories but differed in the amount of carbohydrate, fat, protein and saturated fat included. This was expressed in a ratio (Carb:Fat: Protein; %SF). The diets included a:

  • Very Low Fat (VLF) (70:10:20; 3%)
  • High Unsaturated Fat (HUF) = (50:30:20; 6%)
  • Very Low Carb (VLCARB) (4:61:35; 20%)

The results were telling. Those subjects on the VLCARB diet lowered their fasting insulin by 33%, compared to a 19% fall on the HUF diet and no change on VLF.

The authors concluded that very low carb diets resulted in similar fat loss to the HUF diets, (which were low in saturated fat), but the very low carb diet was more effective in improving triglyceride levels, increasing HDL-Cholesterol, and improving fasting and post-meal glucose and insulin concentrations. They noted that VLCARB diets may be useful in the short-term management of subjects with insulin resistance and high blood triglycerides.

Many other studies have repeated these results, even in people who have developed diabetes from years of chronically elevated insulin levels.

A Polish physician named Jan Kwasniewski has used very low carb diets (aka high fat or ketogenic diets) to effectively treat Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes.


Intense Exercise is the Best

In addition to a low carb diet, intense exercise has been shown in many studies to reverse most insulin resistance symptoms in humans. Exercise in any form or intensity will help reduce insulin resistance, but high-intensity interval training has been shown to be especially beneficial. For more information, see this study and this study, and read Body by Science: A Research-Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little. If you aren’t big on reading, here’s a talk was given by Dr. McGuff which covers the major points of his book.


Resources for Further Reading

High Cholesterol is Good

There are several long term studies that have indicated having a high cholesterol level (defined by mainstream medicine as being over 200 mg/dl) lowers your risk of death from all causes (stroke, cancer, diabetes, CHD).

MRFIT

The 1986 MRFIT study was widely touted as proof that the rate of mortality increases as cholesterol levels increase.

However, the relationship between high cholesterol levels and heart disease mortality was shown in only one age group – men aged 37-54. Overall mortality rates weren’t reported.

When another team of researchers looked at the MRFIT data and compared overall mortality rates for each successive category of cholesterol levels, the results were very different.

Those participants in the lowest cholesterol level category had a greater “all-cause” death rate than participants in the other cholesterol level categories, with an exception for the group with very high cholesterol levels (>300 mg/dl).

 

The lowest “all-cause” mortality rates were seen in the group whose cholesterol levels were in the 160 – 219 mg/fl range.

Here are a paper and a blog with more information about the inadequacies of the MRFIT data.

Framingham

This result parallels the results from a 30-year analysis of the Framingham Study, a study often quoted as proof of the hypothesis that high cholesterol causes heart disease.

The results of the Framingham study were published in 1964. At that time, researchers claimed to have found a weak association between mean cholesterol levels and heart disease in people under the age of 50.

However, when you look at the cholesterol levels of those who developed CHD and those who didn’t, the actual data was inconclusive. Some of the participants with low cholesterol developed heart disease, and some with high cholesterol did not.

However, more importantly, the Framingham researchers found NO correlation for high cholesterol and heart disease in those participants who were over 50. Since 95% of all CHD deaths occur in people over the age of 55, this was certainly significant.

But here’s the most important result: In 1987, the Framingham researchers published a 30 year follow up report on the “all-cause mortality rates” of the Framingham residents.

They looked not only at coronary heart disease deaths, but deaths from stroke, cancer, and other illnesses.

The researchers reported a surprising outcome.

For those participants who were over age 50, lower cholesterol rates were associated with a higher risk of death from CHD and all causes. In fact, for every 1 mg/dl drop in cholesterol levels, there was a 14% increase in heart-related death and an 11% increase in overall mortality.

 

In other words, declining levels of cholesterol increased the risk of death from all causes, not just CHD.

This newer information from the Framingham study, and indeed most study results that don’t support the low-fat hypothesis, have been largely ignored by the National Institutes of Health, the AHA, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the mainstream media. You won’t find mention of this 30 year follow up paper on the Framingham website. And you certainly won’t find it on the American Heart Association’s website either.

Evidentially, after 30 years of scaring people into believing that high cholesterol levels are deadly, advising physicians to prescribe dangerous statin drugs which override the body’s natural mechanisms to maintain cholesterol as a protective mechanism, and building huge financial structures on this advice, these groups can’t confess to having been wrong.


The Protective Nature of Cholesterol

If we consider the supposition that cholesterol is a necessary and protective substance, it’s not a big leap to suppose that forcibly lowering it with drugs might cause injury to your body.

Unfortunately, that is just what is happening to people taking statin drugs to lower their high cholesterol levels.

Dr. Duane Graveline writes:

“There is no doubt that the present notoriety of cholesterol has all but obscured its physiological importance and necessity in our bodies. Cholesterol is not only the most common organic molecule in the brain, it is also distributed intimately throughout the entire body.

 

It is an essential constituent of the membrane surrounding every cell. The presence of cholesterol in this fatty double layer of the cell wall adjusts the fluid level and rigidity of this membrane to the proper value for both cell stability and function.

 

Additionally, cholesterol is metabolized into other essential body steroids known as the steroid hormones and is, therefore, the sole source for the formation of the very powerful chemicals in our body that determines our sexuality, control the reproductive process and make possible our very existence.

 

In its misguided war on cholesterol as the primary cause of atherosclerosis, the pharmaceutical industry would lead us to believe that a rapid bottoming out of our natural cholesterol levels through the use of statin drugs is a relatively innocuous process of definite benefit to society. But as we learn more each day of this ubiquitous and unique cholesterol substance, we must question the veracity of this advice. Cholesterol is perhaps the most important substance in our lives.”

Here’s some science to back that up… This recent study highlighted the “paradox” of why patients with high cholesterol levels survive hospital stays more often. (Paradox, in this case, is short for “hmm, this result doesn’t fit our belief that cholesterol is a killer.”)


Cholesterol-Lowering is Big Business

Given all the evidence which confirms that cholesterol is protective and necessary for good health, I find it bizarre that the US government and most physicians work very hard to get people to lower their cholesterol levels as much as possible. The message that high cholesterol is harmful is embedded deeply in the American psyche, and so the public doesn’t question this misguided and harmful agenda.

But make no mistake, the drive to lower cholesterol is a very big business. Billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and a multitude of agencies are involved in the overall goal of lowering American cholesterol levels. Huge amounts of money are spent to educate patients on the false benefits of low fat, low cholesterol diet. Big pharmaceutical companies spend millions on developing and marketing drugs that lower cholesterol, often with injurious or lethal consequences.

For example, statins, drugs design to interfere with cholesterol production in the body, cause serious and sometimes fatal nerve, muscle and kidney damage. They are being prescribed in mind-boggling numbers. Between 2000 and 2005, the total prescriptions for statin drugs nearly doubled, bringing the 2005 yearly total to 174 million.

And there are individual perks for physicians who participate in this cholesterol-lowering business too. Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors huge amounts of money to “educate” other doctors about the benefits of drugs. In a story from New York Magazine, one doctor speaks of the addictiveness of the $750 he was paid each time he briefly mentioned a particular cholesterol-lowering drug to colleagues during a lunch break.

That’s a great deal of money and effort being spent on a goal that in the end, is extremely harmful to the patient.

And here’s the real kicker: the original “healthy” cholesterol levels weren’t set by doctors using scientific trials and medical results. In classic American political style, it was chosen by three men trying to get funding from Congress to continue cholesterol trials at the NHLBI. (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute). They reasoned that a cutoff of 200 mg/dl would provide the largest population for use in future studies.

Mary Enig, Ph.D. was there and heard the whole conversation. She writes about it here.


The New Cholesterol Guidelines

The new cholesterol guidelines have turned tens of thousands of healthy people into patients, “eligible” for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

Most disturbing is that the development of these new health standards is shrouded in mystery. No one thinks to ask who is involved or how the guidelines are set.

When a correspondent asked the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) why there were no open meetings required for the development of the new standards, and why the New Guidelines were not published in the Federal Register, he received the following amazing reply:

“. . . the guidelines for cholesterol management released on May 15, 2001 were developed by a panel of experts–the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III [ATP III])–convened by the National Cholesterol Education Program, an educational program coordinated by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

 

The ATP III panel is not an advisory committee to the NHLBI but rather a group of recognized experts providing their scientific judgment about cholesterol management to clinicians.

 

The panel’s recommendations for clinicians are based on a thorough review of the scientific evidence by the panel. The guidelines developed by the ATP III are not regulations and health professionals are not required to follow them.”

The “recognized experts” include Drs. Grundy, Hunninghake, McBride, Pasternak, Stone, and Schwartz, all of whom have received consultant fees from the producers of statin drugs. (source: Weston Price Foundation).


Why is the Truth Hidden?

The truth about heart disease and healthy cholesterol levels is obscured by the American government, the mainstream media, national medical associations, and the drug companies for reasons of financial income and prestige.

These organizations have major financial and credibility issues at stake in making sure the public believes in the importance of lowering blood cholesterol levels.

They ignore the contradictory evidence and research about the true causes of heart disease to keep the “high cholesterol causes heart disease” myth alive because they depend on it for financial gain and credibility with the American public.

If these organizations were to suddenly reverse position on the dangers of high cholesterol, all of that money and prestige would disappear.

Have no doubt that these organizations are choosing to put your life and the life of every American citizen at risk, every day, so they can stick to their lucrative, but the mythical story about heart disease.

The fact is heart disease is NOT caused by high cholesterol levels and saturated fat intake. This fact is supported by a multitude of controlled scientific studies commissioned and funded by some of these mainstream organizations trying to tell you otherwise.

Elevated cholesterol levels have been wrongly accused as the cause of heart disease for the past 40 years to the detriment of our national health. Our nutritional “experts” have given us advice based not on science, but on financial gain and plain old pride.

Alternatively, recent studies point to a strong correlation between heart disease and high blood sugar and insulin levels. Chronically high blood sugar can be measured with a test called the hemoglobin A1c or HBA1c.

The EPIC study results state:

“In men and women, the relationship between hemoglobin A1c and cardiovascular disease (806 events) and between hemoglobin A1c and all-cause mortality (521 deaths) was continuous and significant throughout the whole distribution. The relationship was apparent in persons without known diabetes. Persons with hemoglobin A1c concentrations less than 5% had the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality…these relative risks were independent of age, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol concentration, cigarette smoking, and history of cardiovascular disease.”

Yet, organizations like the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and the National Institutes of Health are still recommending that people eat a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet, and take drugs to lower high cholesterol.

Low-fat diets have the end result of raising blood sugar levels for most people. Given the facts about cholesterol and the dangers of high blood sugar, this “eat low-fat foods–lower your cholesterol” recommendation is tantamount to fraud and unbelievably shameful in the light that so many physicians and consumers depend on these nutritional authorities for drug and health advice.

Low Carb Foods

Low carb foods are foods that are low in sugars and starches and high in protein and fats.

Foods which are low in carbs include:

  • Foods that are high in protein: beef, pork, lamb, veal, fish, shellfish, chicken and other poultry, eggs, and other animal-based foods. Cold cuts, bacon, and sausage are also allowed.
  • High Fat Dairy Products: creamy, soft cheeses such as cream cheese, aged cheeses such as Parmesan, Blue, Brie and Cheddar, and other high-fat dairy products such as butter, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and full-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables: These include all green leafy vegetables, salad greens, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, cabbage, and bok choy. Cauliflower and broccoli are also good, but tomatoes, avocados, and onions have some carbs and should be limited. Starchy, sweet vegetables should be avoided; this group includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, winter squash, corn, carrots, and peas.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Macadamia nuts are the lowest in carbs, while Cashews are high in carbs. In between are pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin.
  • Fats and Oils: Natural fats such as butter, lard, olive oil, and organic virgin coconut oils are the best. Avoid refined vegetable oils, margarine, and other hydrogenated fats.

A List of High Protein Foods

Here’s a list of high protein foods. I’ve broken them down by category and included the calories, grams of protein, and the grams of carbohydrate minus the fiber. Feel free to print this for reference.

Meat and Seafood

Calories

Carbs/g

Protein/g

Beef, Ground,  4% fat, 1 ounce

38

0

6

Beef, Ground,  4% fat, 3.5 ounce

137

0

21.5

Beef, Ground, 15% fat, 3.5 oz

215

0

19

Beef, Ribeye Steak, 1 ounce

44

0

6

Chicken breast, boneless with skin, 5 oz

249

0

30

Chicken breast, boneless, no skin, 4 oz

130

0

27

Chicken, dark meat, 1 ounce

40

0

7

Chicken, white meat, 1 ounce

33

0

7

Egg, 1 large

81

1.2

6

Fish, Atlantic Salmon, cooked 3 ounces

155

0

22

Fish, Cod, 1 ounce

30

0

6.5

Fish, Flounder, 1 ounce

27

0

5

Fish, Haddock, cooked, 3 ounces

95

0

21

Fish, Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces

119

0

23

Fish, Salmon, 1 ounce

60

0

7

Fish, Sole, 1 ounce

27

0

5

Ham, smoked, 1 ounce

30

1

6

Hot dog, beef, kosher, 1

150

1

5

Lamb, 1 ounce

77

0

5

Lamb, chop 1 oz

70

0

7

Lamb, ground, 1 oz

80

0

4.7

Pork, chop 1oz

60

0

7

Pork, Roast 1oz

60

0

7

Scallops, 1 ounce

23

2

6

Shrimp, 1 ounce

26

1

6

Tuna, 1 ounce

33

0

7

Tuna, 6 ounce can

191

0

43

Turkey Breast, 1 ounce

30

1

7

Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein also, so I’ve included them on this list of high protein foods.

Nuts, Seeds, and Beans

Calories

Carbs/g

Protein/g

Beans, most kinds, ½ cup cooked

110

14

7.5

Coconut meat dried 1 ounce

187

6.7

2

Nuts, Almonds, 1 ounce sliced

170

4

3

Nuts, Cashews, 1 ounce

163

9

4.3

Nuts, Macadamia, 1 ounce

197

3.7

2

Nuts, Peanut Butter, 2 Tbsp

188

4.3

8

Nuts, Pecans, 1 ounce, raw

192

6

3

Nuts, Walnuts, 1 ounce

175

4

2

Seeds, Pumpkin, ¼ cup

296

5.6

19

Split peas, ½ cup cooked

114

12

8

And of course, dairy products have always been a way for me to get protein, so I included them on this list of high protein foods as well.

Dairy

Calories

Carbs/g

Protein/g

Cheese, Brie, 1 ounce

110

.1

6

Cheese, Cheddar, 1 ounce

105

.5

7

Cheese, Cottage, 1/2 cup

116

4

14

Cheese, Cream, whpd, 1 T

67

.8

1

Cheese, Gjetost,  1 ounce

118

11

3

Cheese, Mont Jack, 1 ounce

110

1

7

Cheese, Mozzarella, 1 ounce

80

1

6

Cheese, Parmesan, 1 ounce

110

1

4

Cream, half-n-half, 2 Tbsp (1/8 cup)

40

1.2

2

Cream, heavy, 2 Tbsp

104

.8

2

Cream, Sour, 2 Tbsp

60

2

0

Cream, whipping, 2 Tbsp

90

.8

2

Creme Fraiche, 1 ounce

103

.9

.7

Egg, 1 large

81

1.2

6

String cheese snack, 1 ounce

80

1

7

Atrial Fibrillation: Alternative Treatment

Atrial fibrillation (heart arrhythmias) is a condition in which the heart’s electrical impulses are abnormal, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.


Some arrhythmias are life-threatening medical emergencies that can result in cardiac arrest and sudden death. Others cause aggravating symptoms such as an abnormal awareness of heartbeat (palpitations) and are merely annoying. Others may not be associated with any symptoms at all but could cause a potentially life-threatening stroke from slow blood circulation.

Heart arrhythmias (uh-RITH-me-uhs) are common and usually harmless. Most people have occasional, irregular heartbeats that may feel like a fluttering or racing heart.


Alternative Treatments

A higher fat, low carb diet has been shown to reduce cardiac rhythm abnormalities. This study shows that a high carb meal induces increased activity in the sympathetic nervous systems and increased levels of adrenalin, which can cause cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, a higher fat, low carb diet will also reduce the incidence of reactive hypoglycemia, which can cause heart palpitations.

Getting the necessary nutrition can also help. The daily intake of sufficient essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, the B vitamins, and a general multi-vitamin are all necessary for proper heart rhythm.

Magnesium, especially, is an important nutritional factor for proper heart function. In her book The Magnesium Factor, Dr. Mildred Seelig discusses at length the correlation between A-Fib and a magnesium deficiency.

In addition, Bruce West, D.C. says the body needs adequate stores of iodine for the heart to beat smoothly. In his practice, he has found that most of the stubborn cases of cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation that he was unable to correct with his cardiac protocols were resolved when adequate supplies of natural iodine were given. The iodine he uses is in the form of Prolamine, a natural iodine supplement.

Mainstream medicine shuns the use of natural iodine, but the most popular mainstream anti-fibrillation drug is Amiodarone, which is a toxic form of iodine in a sustained-release form.

Wikipedia has this to say about Amiodarone: “The FDA was reluctant to officially approve the use of amiodarone since initial reports had shown an increased incidence of serious pulmonary side-effects of the drug. In the mid-1980s, the European pharmaceutical companies began putting pressure on the FDA to approve amiodarone by threatening to cut the supply to American physicians if it were not approved. In December 1985, amiodarone was approved by the FDA for the treatment of arrhythmias. This makes amiodarone one of the few drugs approved by the FDA without rigorous randomized clinical trials.”

This is a prime example of how mainstream medicine chooses to ignore the utility and benefit of natural nutritive substances and alternative health strategies in order to prescribe toxic and dangerous drugs instead.

If you are experiencing atrial fibrillation, you should see a physician. But be aware that a change in diet may work wonders.