More on red meat and colon cancer

I promise that this is the last post on the Western diet and colon cancer recurrence study (that I’ve posted on twice already), but I want to use this travesty to make just a couple of more points. And I’m using this joke of study to to tee up another post I’m writing that I should have up tomorrow if more total idiocy requiring my immediate attention doesn’t break out in the interim.

First, I want to show you the articles in full that appeared in both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times with commentary on each.

Here is the venerable Wall Street Journal reporting on this study a few day ago:

DIET TIED TO COLON CANCER’S RETURN

Colon-cancer survivors with diets heavy in red meat and fatty foods are more than three times as likely to suffer a recurrence of their disease or die from it than those who avoid such foods, a study found.

Previous studies had shown that a high-fat diet, especially one with lots of red meat, may increase a person’s risk of developing colon cancer, a leading cancer killer.

This study, published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was the first to show how diet affects whether colon cancer returns in people previously treated for it, the researchers said.

The study tracked 1,009 people treated with both surgery and chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer — cancer that had spread from the large bowel area to the lymph nodes but not other organs. They were followed on average for five years.

Combined with rectal cancer, colon cancer accounts for about 50,000 deaths annually in the U.S. alone.

After questioning them about what they ate, the researchers detected two distinct dietary patterns.

One was a “Western” pattern with lots of red and processed meats, sweets, desserts, French fries and refined grains. The other was a “prudent” pattern avoiding those foods and including lots of fruit and vegetables, poultry and fish.

Those who most closely followed the “Western” pattern experienced a risk about 3.3 times higher for colon cancer recurrence or death than those following the “prudent” one.

“We know that a variety of dietary factors affect people’s risk of developing colon cancer, including high red-meat intake and certain sugary foods,” Jeffrey Meyerhardt of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Harvard Medical School, who led the study, said in a phone interview.

“But what there really wasn’t any data on until now is how these factors may affect people who already have colon cancer. And it’s a question a lot of people with colon cancer ask all the time: ‘What dietary things should I do, in addition to standard treatment, to help my outcome?’ ” Dr. Meyerhardt said.

Mary Young, a vice president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Colorado, noted that the study didn’t implicate any one food as raising health risks. “However, as a dietitian, I would not recommend the (Western) dietary pattern identified in this study because it does not include the variety and moderation important to a healthy diet,” Ms. Young said in a statement. “Instead, I recommend people choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats, such as lean beef.”

Katherine Tucker, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at Tufts University in Boston who wasn’t part of the study, called the research well done.

“Colon cancer is one of the problems that’s been associated with greater red-meat consumption. I think that what some people haven’t been able to sort out is whether lean meat in moderation has an effect,” Ms. Tucker said in an interview arranged by the beef association.

There are a couple of things of interest about this article. First, it came directly from Reuters and was copied word for word. This isn’t all that unusual with smaller papers that don’t have the staff to cover everything and so must rely on services such as Reuters to provide their content. But this is the Wall Street Journal, for God’s sake. The paper with the largest circulation in America. And it’s reporting on a subject that’s pretty important, yet it simply copies word for word the Reuters press release.

Second, (and all further criticisms apply to Reuters since it is a Reuters piece after all) the first two sentences of the article blame red meat and fatty foods for the problem. It isn’t until the seventh paragraph that sugar is mentioned. It is mentioned there and a couple of times later in the article, but unquestionably the main thrust was that red meat causes a recurrence of colon cancer. Red meat was specifically mentioned five times; sugary and sweets were each mentioned once. It’s pretty clear what the authors of the study and the authors of the Reuters piece believe is the cause.

Third, buried within this article is the reason that red meat, i.e., beef, doesn’t get a more fair shake in these kinds of articles. Have you ever wondered why the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) doesn’t lobby against this kind of nonsense more aggressively? You wouldn’t be alone. All the cattlemen who raise beef cattle wonder the same thing. I’ve given numerous speeches presenting the virtues of a low-carb, higher-meat diet to different state cattlemen’s associations over the years, and after each talk the cattlemen and women rush to the podium to ask how this information could be more widely disseminated. And they all want to get me to speak at the national meeting. But there is a problem.

The Executive Director of Nutrition of the NCBA is Mary K. Young, who is a dietitian. Ms. Young apparently is in charge of virtually everything that involves the promotion of beef as a part of the American diet. And unfortunately she is heir to all the idiotic biases so common to dietitians. She has refused the request – so I’ve been told – of many state cattlemen who have requested that I speak at the national meeting. She seems to think beef is okay, but only in small doses. And only if it’s very lean beef. She has all the registered dietitian unwarranted fears about saturated fat and cholesterol.

She is trying to sell more beef by getting it accepted as a low-fat food. Here is a typical example of her work.

With more than two-thirds of Americans classified as overweight or obese, consumers are looking for new ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, while still eating the foods they love.The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database shows that 19 cuts of beef meet government guidelines for lean, or extra lean, including some many of America’s favorites like tenderloin, T-bone steak and 95 percent lean ground beef. And, 12 of these beef cuts have, on average, only one more gram or less of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast, per 3-ounce serving.

“This new data illustrates how beef is changing – it’s simply not your father’s steak anymore,” said Mary K. Young, M.S., R.D., executive director, nutrition, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “In fact, many people are surprised to learn that some of their favorite beef cuts are lean.”

Instead of getting out in front of the parade and using the scientific data readily available to refute the lipid hypothesis and the idea that saturated fat is bad, all of which could be funded nicely with the beef check off program, she opts instead to mealy mouth around about how beef in small amounts can be part of a low-fat diet. Just look at here wishy washy statement in the Reuters piece above. She could have done with this study what I’ve done, but she opted to tread the safe and nonconfrontation’s path. I fear that until she is gone, beef sales are going to suffer.

Now comes the New York Times article, which wasn’t merely a copy of the Reuters piece:

HIGH-FAT DIET RAISES RISK OF COLON CANCER RETURN

Colon cancer survivors with diets high in meat and refined grains triple their risk of recurrence or death compared with those who eat fruits, vegetables and fish, a new study reports.

Researchers studied 1,009 patients who had surgery for stage 3 colon cancer — their tumors had metastasized to regional lymph nodes. All the patients completed detailed food questionnaires.

In a follow-up of slightly more than five years, 324 patients had a recurrence of cancer, 223 died with a recurrence, and 28 died without documented recurrences.

The more closely patients followed the high-fat Western diet, the more likely they were to have a recurrence. Compared with the one-fifth whose dietary pattern s least resembled the high-fat diet, the one-fifth whose patterns most resembled it were 3.25 times as likely to have a recurrence of cancer or die. Western dietary patterns, the scientists write, are associated with higher blood levels of insulin, and insulin is associated with enhanced tumor growth.

Dr. Charles S. Fuchs, the senior author and an associate professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said he did not advise a radical diet for patients. ”I don’t tell them they can’t ever eat meat,” he said. ”Once or twice a month is not a bad thing. It’s the people who are at the extremes that are in trouble.”

The researchers, whose study appears in the Aug. 15 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, acknowledge that this was an observational study that did not prove causality.

Once again we have in the headline that a high-fat diet causes the problem. And the lede paragraph follows with the statement that diets high in meat (first) and refined grains increase the risk of recurrence. Then we’ve got a mention in the high-fat diet again in the fourth paragraph and meat in the fifth paragraph. No mention anywhere in the article of sugar.

At least the Times came through in the very last line with the statement that these kind of studies can’t prove causality, but it was in the very last line, which proves of how little importance the writer deemed this statement.

Journalists writing for the mass consumption of newspaper readers write in an upside down pyramid fashion. They put the most important item first in the lede. In fact, most journalists spend as much time on the lede as they do on the rest of the column. They summarize the entire article in the lede, then write the second most important thing in the second paragraph, the third most important in the third and so on. This is done for matters of expediency. When the article is submitted to the editor who has to position it on the page, it has to be in such a form that if it needs cutting, the entire article doesn’t have to be reworked. The editiorial staff merely start cutting from the bottom, removing the least important parts of the piece until it fits the space allocated for it.

As you can see in the above piece, if the last line were cut, you would never miss it. But it’s there, so they had plenty of room. You can see by its placement, however, how little the writer thought of its importance.

In a coming post I’m going to show you how a major study, much much more important than this one has been entirely ignored.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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32 thoughts on “More on red meat and colon cancer

  1. I hope that beef doesn’t go the way of pork, way too lean (at least pork loin).

    I hope it doesn’t either. But if this woman has her way, fatty beef will be a thing of the past.

  2. Is there any greater injustice than to be served a beautiful cut of beef that’s had every visible trace of fat cut off? I wish the low-fat cultists wouldn’t foist their religion on me.

    I agree 100%.

  3. Hi Doc,

    I look forward to your analysis of the contrary study. I always wondered why the beef council didn’t push beef as the perfect food for a low-carb diet but now I understand. Just a tip to the NCBA – get rid of Ms. Young.
    I eat steak for dinner at least five times a week and burgers for lunch when I’m not IFing. According to Dr. Fuchs I should be dead in few months, right? I always laugh when I read these stories because it’s either saturated fat or red meat that is making Americans obese or causing other health problems. I eat more saturated fat and red meat in one day than most dieters eat in a week and I’m still losing weight (down to 245 from 315). I would also put my blood tests up against anyone. When will these “scientists” do a long-term study on people like me who only eat red meat, eggs, cheese and poultry?

    Thanks again, Dr. Eades, for your insights.

    Dave

    Hey Dave–

    Thanks for your support. I’m glad to hear you’re doing so well on the diet.

    Keep it up.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  4. “Western dietary patterns, the scientists write, are associated with higher blood levels of insulin, and insulin is associated with enhanced tumor growth”

    At least they got this part right!! Of course they indicate that the high insulin levels are caused by fat!!

    If I could only eat beef once or twice a month, I’d hate it!! Beef is definitely my favorite source of protein!

    Hi Cindy–

    Yeah, I noticed that as well. They just don’t get it, do they? Do they really think red meat raises insulin levels? Yeesh.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  5. Buried way down in the paragraph about recurrent cancers and death is this little gem:

    Western dietary patterns, the scientists write, are associated with higher blood levels of insulin, and insulin is associated with enhanced tumor growth.

    And somehow (according to the next paragraph) eating beef more than once or twice a month is responsible for colon cancer?

    They print the truth and still can’t see it!

    I know, I know. I guess they figure that beef more than twice per month will raise insulin levels. Obviously they are just not thinking. Or they’re stupid.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  6. I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, which predisposes me to colon cancer (a 69% chance of development), so I’ve been reading your posts on this bogus study with glee.

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck

    Let’s hope that the opponents’ attachment to the low-fat, high-carb diet will bring that day even faster.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  7. I can’t imagine why the beef producers would let Mary Young stay — I would think they have enough of a say in the matter (like giving their money) to get her ousted. It’s not just letting them know to get rid of her because it seems like they already have a lead on that. I always thought the beef industry had more money and clout than it seems from this.

    No one knows why she stays. Most of the cattlemen I’ve talked to have complained mightily and can’t figure themselves why she is still there. But she is the reason the beef industry isn’t more proactive in leading the charge against the low-fat idiocy that is everywhere.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  8. Personally I would like to see beef sales remain down until factory farming is a thing of the past…but why don’t the cattlemen simply fire that idiot dietitian and hire someone, well, more like you?

  9. off topic….can you please post on this deal with too much protein increasing blood sugar? It seems to be a recurrent question on some of the LC boards and I’m not sure how to address it. I do know diabetics and pre-diabetics that do much better with glucose control when they increase their protein intake, but I’m not clear on the mechanism and when there is “too much” protein in the diet!

    Thanks!!
    Cindy

    Hi Cindy–

    Protein in the diet won’t be transformed into sugar as long as the blood sugar is normal and the person concerned isn’t a type I diabetic. If the blood sugar is low, then some will be transformed via gluconeogenesis to sugar, but not all, and not enough to make the blood sugar rise above normal levels. The only exception to this is in the case of type I diabetes. Type I diabetics have no insulin but they have plenty of glucagon, insulin’s opposing hormone. In the normal state glucagon goes up when the blood sugar goes down, the rise in glucagon stimulates gluconeogenesis, which converts protein into sugar. As the sugar level rises, glucagon goes down and insulin goes up, shutting off the process. Since type I diabetics make no insulin themselves, they can’t shut off the gluconeogenic process, so they continue to convert protein to sugar. And it doesn’t have to be dietary protein – it can be their own muscle tissue. If type I diabetics eat protein, they need to account for it in their insulin doses. Non-diabetic people, however, only convert as much protein as required to keep blood sugar levels normal, and no more.

    Hope this helps.

    MRE

  10. Hi Mike,

    Probably doesn’t belong here, but I guess this might deserve a blog on its own just to prove that its not just you, we have our own band of deluded dietitians here … just to chide tourists from your shores!

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/proteinpacked-lunch-raises-eyebrows/2007/09/05/1188783297799.html

    As for metabolic advantage, I really would love to be proved wrong (honestly) – that there is a significant (say 20% +) and surely easily measurable difference aside from the ad lib calorie restrictive nature of low carb as against low cal in the weight loss stage, and of course aside from the health benefits of low carb for which I tell people ad nauseum that I would eat this way alone.

    Exercise? Sure if it leads you to eat more, then don’t expect to lose weight (but that isn’t exercising more and eating less is it?). If you think a 30 minute walk/jog will make up for a six pack of donuts you are certainly in for a shock. But if, like me, you exchange sitting in front of a computer for building a house, which involves long hours of physical activity for weeks at a time, and you find yourself too tired or too busy to eat much more, and less stressed by the satisfying work (boredom and stress are 2 keys to my overeating) then yes, exercise certainly does have a significant impact on weight loss/maintenance – and whilst it is tiresome to hear it – lack of physical activity is a factor in the obesity epidemic – certainly not the only factor, and perhaps not the most important, but a factor nonetheless.

    Perhaps we need to look past Banting and see how many calories (and with pretty high carb content) the labourers of his day could consume without rampant obesity. We need to look back at the high carb diet I grew up on (there was ONE fat kid in my year at school) – yes, perhaps kids eat more sugar now (HFCS is not really a big issue here) but the amount of physical exercise has declined dramatically for many – this is undoubtedly significant, and is also in itself a driver of higher food intake (from boredom and the impact of TV advertising). Either way they would be much better off leading a much more physical life … as am I.

    Cheers,

    Malcolm

    Hi Malcolm–

    I think you’re getting causes and effects confused. Does being sedentary (a cause) lead to obesity (an effect) or does obesity (a cause) lead to a sedentary existence (an effect)? In other words, does being sedentary come from within or without?

    I’m of the opinion that the obese state drives people to eat more, move less, and drop their metabolic rates under certain circumstances. If they simply crank up the level of their activity, then they compensate by increasing food intake. If they eat less, they simply lower their metabolic rates to compensate. They can eat less for a while, and I mean less enough to overcome the drop in metabolic rate, but ultimately hunger prevails and they’re back to eating their previous diet. To fix the problem, obese people need to change their underlying metabolic milieu, which they typically can by going on a low-carb diet.

    There are two caloric effects: the caloric effect we typically think of, i.e., the energy content of the food and the endocrine effect of any given calories, i.e., what those calories do to the insulin/glucagon ratio and other metabolic hormones. Carb calories exert the typical caloric effect and a huge endocrine effect. Protein and fat exert caloric effects, but few endocrine effects. With the correct endocrine effects from consuming the right kind of calories, most people will spontaneously increase their levels of activity.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  11. Dr. Mike,

    I came to the comment about the insulin quote but was beaten by a few. I thought it may have been the ray of hope in the article until I read your responses to those comments. Do you really think that they believe that red meat causes high levels of insulin? That would be a new low for scientists (maybe not for journalist). Though it would certainly explain the ADA’s guidlines for diabetes treatment.

    Sadly, I think they do consider red meat, or at least the saturated fat contained therein to be a major contributing factor to the development of hyperinsulinemia. And knowing that they think this way does indeed explain a lot.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  12. Another fascinating tidbit from today’s NYT regarding artificial “butter” in popcorn and one man’s disastrous results:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/us/05popcorn.html?ref=health

    I’m sorry to comment off topic but I don’t know how to forward links to you except in the comment box.

    No problem. I think MD had posted on this issue a couple of times. When it first arose, it was people working in the factories; now it’s a customer.

    Interesting.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  13. Yep, Mary Young needs firing. Is she someone’s niece or something?

    There are many rumors I’ve heard. A niece is only one of them.

  14. I’m sorry if this is off topic, but I’ve been reading up on ovarian cancer because of a friend’s illness. I’m certain that you are aware of this research:

    http://www.medicineonline.com/news/12/1321/High-Intake-of-Milk-May-Raise-Ovarian-Cancer-Risk.html

    I don’t recall having heard much about this study at the time; I do wonder if this would have been the case had a substance in red meat been linked so strongly to ovarian cancer.

    Thank you once again for all you do,
    Isabella

    P.S. I just finished looking at your pictures from Italy, and (if I may say so) both you and the Mrs. are walking advertisements for the low-carbohydrate lifestyle.

    Thanks for the compliment; it’s a testament to the virtues of a long-term low-carb diet.. And I’m sure you would have heard about it over and over and over had it been red meat.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  15. Hi Dr. Mike:

    You’ve been productive as usual and may even have outdone yourself recently! Keep ’em coming. :-)

    BTW, you’ve probably heard this chestnut before (said to be from A. Einstein), but I’ll mention it anyhow because it is so appropos to the topic at hand:

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that there is a limit to genius.”

    Best,
    W

    Once again ol’ Uncle Al was right on the mark.

  16. I work with about 30 PhD’s and about 40 PhD students, specialties of which do not include nutrition. When I order lunches it has to be:
    vegan soup
    1/3 vegan sandwiches/wraps
    1/3 vegetarian ”
    1/3 carnivore ”
    vegan salads with maybe a potato salad thrown in

    These articles on the red meat in the papers will only make it worse because these so-called scholars are only interested in their field of study and don’t question nutrition other than accepting that vegan and vegetarian is healthy.

    I’m surprised no one in the office has warned me off my diet unless they think that if I continue eating red meat and fat I’ll die faster. I stopped buying halal meat cause it’s too lean (they’ve bought the low-fat lean meat thing hook, line and sinker) so now I go to a Chinese market where I can get ground pork to which they grind lots of fat.

    The study that you will be speaking of is one of many that never see the light of day in the media. It’s unfortunate because one of our best hockey players, young fellow, can’t play this season because of some sort of chronic gastro-intestinal problems. The news media states that experts don’t know what causes it and that they think it’s genetic. He’s Italian and Mama probably cooks tons of pasta. That’s what I call genetic. It’s unfortunately this poor fellow will have to suffer for the rest of this life because doctors and dietitians can’t see that it could be all the grains and sugars that he is eating that is causing his problems. At least they could rule it out or try it as an alternative. But they don’t have a clue do they? They’re probably cutting out all the good stuff like meat and fat and telling him to eat fiber. But I’m just guessing 😛

    Hi Hellistile–

    Have you ever noticed how often NFL players are injured these days as compared to 20 years ago? Twenty years ago they ate steak at training camp; now, because so many are overweight, they are fed by ‘nutritional consultants,’ and, consequently, are on low-fat diets. And, consequently, are injured much more often.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  17. I have a USDA home and garden bulletin, “Nutritive Value of Foods,” from 1971. At that time — and the time of Dr. Atkins’s first book — the standard trim on meat was 1/2″ fat. Now the USDA online database lists 1/2″ trim for only two beef steaks, both prime: top round, top loin. All other beef steaks are 0″, 1/8″, or 1/4″.

    Mary Young, huh? Now I know whose name to curse when I can’t find tri-tip with enough fat to be fit to eat, instead of dry, tough, and tasteless.

    She’s the very one.

  18. Dear Dr Eades,

    President Bush’s Meal, the Sequel:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/when-i-met-dubya-he-did-his-noodle/2007/09/05/1188783319558.html

    ‘GEORGE BUSH was in a good mood yesterday as he helped himself to his buffet lunch.

    ‘So when he caught sight of your correspondent, who had embedded herself ‘twixt bain-marie and pasta salad with pen poised attentively, he was inclined to be expansive.

    ‘ “Oh, you people are recording my every move here, aren’t you?” he drawled. “I tell you what, I’ll help you out. Here’s your first sentence. ‘The President takes a spoon …”‘

    ‘ “In your right hand or your left hand?” the Herald asked, slightly bewildered but happy to be in the frame for some high-level one-on-one, even if only on the topic of the cold buffet.

    ‘ “Yes. Important. He takes the spoon in his right hand, and he takes some salad. But how many pieces? One, two … ”

    ‘Whereupon the leader of the free world proceeded, as a friendly service to the readers of The Sydney Morning Herald, to count out pieces of spiral pasta as he dropped them one by one on to his plate. “Eight!” he concluded. “Eight noodles! There’s your story. Nice helping you out!”

    ‘Emboldened by this significant exchange, your carbohydrates correspondent can now further report that the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, augmented her plate of barbecued chicken and sausage with a helping of root vegetable couscous, but eschewed the pasta spirals completely, suggesting perhaps a worrying rift with her leader….’

    All the Best,

    Micxhael Richards

  19. Firstly: all I know is that my fasting insulin was 20+ when I never ate red meat at all. Now that I include it 3-4 times a week (would include it more but there is the cost issue) my fasting insulin is under 10.

    Secondly: I can’t begin to tell you how many people I know who are type II’s that have or have had cancer of some sort. Most of those, surprise surprise, are type II’s who inject insulin.

    IIRC from my days in research, isn’t insulin angiogenic? Doesn’t a cancer firstly need a blood supply established? Then it needs food. Like glucose. So people with hyperinsulinemia would naturally be at risk and people who God forbid had hyperinsulinemia AND hyperglycemia would essentially be doomed. (statistically…)

    Now, having agreed with you, is there any research purporting beta cell damage or protection from a diet high in sat fat (but low in carbs?). I”m thinking probably not just because nobody DOES research that’s high in fat but low in carbs. Any thoughts on this?

    Hi Beth–

    Glad to hear your fasting insulin has dropped on a low-carb diet. Your experience mirrors that of most of my patients.

    There is research reporting beta cell damage from a high-carbohydrate intake. It’s fairly complex, but I suppose I should post on it sometime. I’ll add it to the ever growing list of post-worthy subjects.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  20. Dr. Mike, Reading your blogs and comments has really opened my eyes about many many things. Thanks for your sense of responsibilty to present the truth about a healthy diet. I will be going for my first colonoscopy soon and I expect to find that all is clear despite my adequate red meat consumption. I think the standard dietition teaches too much from the classroom, saying good-bye to logic. I am always debating with my dietician niece about my low carb diet. Once she sat down and ate with me and was surprised at how healthy my diet is. I wrote to my health insurance newsletter in response to an article regarding the healthiness of the Atkins Diet. It was an incorect assesment on how the diet was done and what foods were on the diet. I wrote to the company newsletter praising the atkins lifestyle and clued them in on my high meat consumptions. I also listed choices of fruits and vegetables that I eat as well as fats. They praised my healthy food choices but assured me that my diet was actually the Mediteranean Diet. I wrote back saying that I took my food choices from the New Diet Revolution by DA. I had not heard from them since.

    I am not familiar with Mary Young but she is misguiding this country. We will never be able to stop health problems associated with incorect information about food with people like her.

    Sorry for such a long vent,
    Mary

    No problem. Vent away.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  21. Your comment to Malcome is soooo logical. Could logic be the key to a healthier America? I better get to walking.
    Thanks again,
    Mary

  22. Poor George! By the look of his plate I would think he was on a diet!! Do the Aussies really call that pathetic specimen a “large” steak? Dear oh dear! I was going to say “long live George” but I wouldn’t want anyone to take the wrong meaning. If he keeps eating like that he will probably be long lived except for the pretzl thing!
    Cheers

  23. Thanks Dr Mike….I’m posting your response to my question on my team’s forum!!

    I’ve seen a lot of posts where people are trying to restrict their protein intake, either for blood sugar issues (none T1 that I know of), or because they believe too much protein is “hard on the kidneys and liver” and make them “work harder”!! Personally I think the RDA is way too low and many people have only the RDA or a little bit more!!

    On my team (SparkPeople.com, a free support site) I have several women who have increased their protein intake and now regulate their sugars better.

    I’m glad I could help.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  24. “Sadly, I think they do consider red meat, or at least the saturated fat contained therein to be a major contributing factor to the development of hyperinsulinemia. And knowing that they think this way does indeed explain a lot.”

    I agree, but think it’s also the protein….like I mentioned before, people being told to not eat too much protein or their blood sugar will go up! Add to that the fat, which is just completely wrong!!

    You know the old saying: the masses are asses. And never more so than when it comes to nutritional information.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  25. Hello,

    in one popular-science journal i have read there was an article about this study: http://press.psprings.co.uk/gut/september/gt128587.pdf
    It looks perfect for fat-causes-cancer supporters. It is about vitamin C, which inhibits conversion of amines to nitrosamines in stomach. When lipids are added with vitamin C, conversion is not inhibited, but promoted further. Study was done in vitro. I have no scientific background to judge it. However, based on this one of the readers sugested that – instead of throwing fat out completly – we should eating veggies in one meal and meat in another.

    Hi Martin–

    I read the study and wasn’t all that impressed by it. We cut our teeth on diets of meat along with fruits, berries, etc., all of which contain a fair amount of vitamin C. It doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary perspective for our having developed a problem with fat and vitamin C.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  26. “I think you’re getting causes and effects confused. Does being sedentary (a cause) lead to obesity (an effect) or does obesity (a cause) lead to a sedentary existence (an effect)? In other words, does being sedentary come from within or without?”

    Far from getting them confused, I recognise both – yes being obese of course makes it harder, and riskier to exercise and of course many obese/overweight people are self conscious enough to rule out any form of exercise in public – come to think of it, the only time I go for a run is at night! Equally taking the step to a more active life helps a great deal with weight loss and maintenance of that loss.

    “I’m of the opinion that the obese state drives people to eat more, move less, and drop their metabolic rates under certain circumstances. If they simply crank up the level of their activity, then they compensate by increasing food intake. If they eat less, they simply lower their metabolic rates to compensate. They can eat less for a while, and I mean less enough to overcome the drop in metabolic rate, but ultimately hunger prevails and they’re back to eating their previous diet. To fix the problem, obese people need to change their underlying metabolic milieu, which they typically can by going on a low-carb diet.”

    Again you obviously won’t get any argument from me about the macro nutrient ratio of what should make up their diet, but what makes people over eat (beyond the blood sugar roller coaster) could easily make a up a book in itself – I guess that is the reason low carb authors usually refrain from muddying the waters with discussions of emotional/self destructive/self esteem/stress/boredom … (the long list goes on) … related eating. As you have pointed out before, those that do over eat after exercise are not just doing so due to some metabolic cause – their ignorance about the degree of calorie deficit they think they have created is in itself a common cause … but at least an easily rectified one! As I said at the outset of our exercise debate, if anything I tend to eat less if I push myself hard enough – but as I said, that maybe more down to the associated boredom and stress relief factors rather than the metabolic changes wrought by the physical exercise itself.

    “There are two caloric effects: the caloric effect we typically think of, i.e., the energy content of the food and the endocrine effect of any given calories, i.e., what those calories do to the insulin/glucagon ratio and other metabolic hormones. Carb calories exert the typical caloric effect and a huge endocrine effect. Protein and fat exert caloric effects, but few endocrine effects. With the correct endocrine effects from consuming the right kind of calories, most people will spontaneously increase their levels of activity”.

    Hmmm, yes to the endocrine/ insulin glucagon points (of course) – but I question the increase in activity – at least beyond the short term. We are all creatures of habit – and it is very easy to slip back to old behaviours. Since I now regard myself as an old hand at low carb (coming up on four years) I spend a bit of my time helping newcomers. I guess two of the most recurring pieces of advice relate to making changes beyond ‘simple’ macro nutrient control. First low carb won’t of itself change any of those emotional issues 90+ % obese/overweight people have with food (while I believe food is to be enjoyed, the whole concept of “comfort food” is a dangerous one for many people) What low carb does (and low fat doesn’t) is give people some breathing space without physical hunger – which is a golden chance to deal with those other problems. Second is taking up some form of regular organised exercise or more active life generally to make use of that initial burst of energy (physical and mental). My personal experience, and that I observe in many others is if you don’t do this early on then you will quickly forget how much things have changed, and while reverting to old habits may not lose you all the benefits of your new low carb life it will make maintaining any weight loss, and reaping the full health rewards much more difficult.

    Cheers,

    Malcolm

    Hi Malcolm–

    When patients first came to see us in our clinic, MD and I gave them no instructions for exercise because we knew that as they got going on their low-carb diets that they would spontaneously begin to exercise on their own. And the vast majority did. Changing their internal metabolic milieu changed their activity levels. If they had come to see us and we had told them to exercise more and eat less, they probably would never have done a thing but go home disappointed.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  27. Michael R. Eades wrote:

    “At least the Times came through in the very last line with the statement that these kind of studies can’t prove causality, but it was in the very last line, which proves of how little importance the writer deemed this statement.”

    Or rather, how MUCH importance he attributed to it. It’s common for a writer, knowing that readers often remember for a longer time the LAST thing they read, to leave the reader with that closing statement.

  28. David wrote:

    “I eat more saturated fat and red meat in one day than most dieters eat in a week and I’m still losing weight (down to 245 from 315). I would also put my blood tests up against anyone.”

    Congratulations on the weight loss; however, your weight is simply one of MANY measures of health status, albeit an important one. Don’t forget to factor in other important factors like your age, body fat percentage, and other health problems.

    What is putting your “blood tests up against anyone” designed to illustrate and/or prove?