Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If you knew this, would you still believe it to be true?

What if a health theory had over 50 years to be proven, and it still wasn't able to be shown to be correct, with science?  Would you still believe it to be true after 50 plus years?  What if the studies conducted actually showed that the theory was not true and that it was a flawed hypothesis to begin with?  Would people still believe it to be true?  What if the data that was put together was manipulated to show what it wanted to show to be true?  Would you still believe it to be true?  That is what this blog post will explore.  A faulty theory we were fed and then didn't pan out in the end. (Watch the short clips linked in the article if that's all you do - it will show you the message very concisely in just a few minutes.  Look for the blue type, for the clip links.  The clip posted at the bottom of the post shows how this incorrect theory effects the health our children.)

The former Associate Director, Dr. George Mann, of one of the largest human health studies, "The Framingham Heart Study" said this... "The Diet-Heart hypothesis has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies.  The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century".  This was the associate director of the study saying this.

The question I want to address in this blog post - "Is a clogged arterial wall in the human body caused by fats?"  I found this article on a website called Winchester Patch and felt it was such a great article, that it was better to just share the article itself, which was posted by Bob Kaplan. 

This article shows how the Lipid "Hypothesis", created by Ancel Keys, came about, and how it came to be understood as fact, when it is most definitely not fact. 

This "Hypothesis" is just that, a hypothesis, and has never been able to be proven by science.  The lipid hypothesis was presented in the 1950's.  That is over 50 years of time trying to get a study to prove the hypothesis correct -- without results.  You will plainly see why that is.

This article explains why study after study has not been able to prove that fat (or cholesterol) causes heart disease. 

So here it is, a very easy to understand article, with diagrams that make it simple.  You can click on the colored type above to view the original web page, or any other colored type, to link to and view further reading.  You can click on the diagrams themselves to view a larger format. 

Posted on November 27, 2011 at 9:03pm

Is a clogged arterial wall in the human body caused by fats?

Beware of Artery Clogging Saturated Fat!!!

"If you eat too much [saturated fat], then over time fatty deposits can build up in your arteries, and this increases your risk of heart disease," says an advertisement by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the United Kingdom.

Sound familiar? If it does, then you have heard yet another nutrition fallacy!

This one is particularly pervasive, and the FSA goes so far as to use the visual link between the fat we eat and the blocking of arteries:

Watch the 40-second advertisement.

Wow. This advertisement literally interprets our digestive system as little more than a pipe, when in fact there is much more at work inside our bodies. This oversimplification endangers our understanding of how we actually process fat that we eat with an elementary visual effect, yet this juvenile interpretation is generally accepted as fact. 

The Six (or seven, or 22!) Countries Study
Where did we go so wrong? In the 1950s, a researcher named Ancel Keys published a study comparing heart disease and fat consumption in six countries, showing a positive association between fat and death from heart disease. The data was clear: the more fat the country ate, the more death from heart disease.

(Notice the "Six Countries Study" image for a visual representation.)

Well, that settles it. Looks like fat gives us heart disease. But hold on a second. The problem was that Keys admittedly left out existing data of countries that ate a lot of fat and had little heart disease, like Norway and Holland. Countries that didn't eat much fat, but had high levels of heart disease, such as Chile, were also ignored by Keys.

("Nine Countries Study?" image above for a visual representation. Note: Tom Naughton did an entertaining and informative job of covering the issue of saturated fat in the two-minute clip provided here.)

Oops. In all, Keys had reliable data from 22 countries with results all over the map in terms of implicating fat and heart disease. Keys discarded the data that didn’t fit his preconceptions and published the results as conclusive.

Out of the Keys’ study spawned the lipid hypothesis, which states:

1.   Saturated fat raises cholesterol.
2.   Cholesterol causes heart disease.

Both of these notions are almost assuredly wrong and there are copious studies that show saturated fat consumption has nothing to do with heart disease. But this contradictory data is often thrown onto the trash heap of inconvenient truths in nutrition.

There is also a logical leap of faith between the two steps, which is like observing that there is an increase of ice cream sales in the summer, and also during the summer, deaths by drowning increase, therefore ice cream causes death by drowning. Or as I like to call it: Drowning-Inducing-Ice-Cream. (Harvard alum Mat Lalonde, PhD, pointed this out at his nutrition seminar in Cambridge.)

Fats All Live in a Yellow Submarine

Fat does not cause damage to the walls of an artery. Fat, cholesterol, platelets, and other repair components are deposited on the wall of a damaged artery. If you think about it, we always have an excess of fat and cholesterol circulating in our bloodstream. Our arteries don’t “take up” these constituents under normal circumstances, and it’s not one too many pats of butter that tips the scale in favor of a full-blown traffic jam.

The reality is that fats are safely carried around the body inside lipoproteins, which act like submarines, transporting the fat and making them soluble in water.

A quick, and definitely not exhaustive, summary: when you eat fat, the fat is mixed with saliva and digestive enzymes, and the fat gets disassembled. The fat then reaches the stomach and sets off a cascade of hormonal, enzymatic, peptidic, and biomolecular responses. Most of the digestion occurs in the intestines. Bile is released from the gall bladder as well as digestive enzymes from the pancreas. The fatty acids are combined with cholesterol (remember the lipoprotein submarine?) and the muscle and fat cells pull the fatty acids inside via enzymes.

(Notice the visual representation what would happen if Keys picked Japan, Ceylon, Chile, Mexico, and France, as his subjects for his study.)

Fatty acids are an incredible source of fuel for the body, not a toxic substance. Saturated fats may be able to clog a drainpipe at room temperature, but this says absolutely nothing about what happens inside the human body and is an utterly embarrassing and naïve way to think about it.

This didn't stop the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to perhaps coin the phrase in 1986, referring to palm, coconut, and palm kernel oil as "artery clogging saturated fat." This is the same group that promoted, and defended, man-made trans fats as a healthy alternative.

Saturated with Harm or Health (or Hydrogens)?

Saturated fats are "shelf-stable, resistant to heat damage, and essential to many bodily functions," wrote author and blogger Mark Sisson. "Roughly half of our cell membrane structure is composed of saturated fat, and saturated animal fats, like butter or fatty organ meats, contain huge amounts of essential fat-soluble vitamins (K2, A, D, among others)."   Note by Vicki:  You can not get true Vitamin A from plant foods (Beta-carotene in plant foods is difficult to convert into Vitamin A in the body, for most people - babies and young children cannot convert it at all).  True Vitamin A must come from the fats in animal products.  This nutrient is vital for our health and especially the health of our growing and learning children and their developing brains!

Another way to think about this debate is to consider that 'good' fats are really any fats that are found in nature that have been consumed in copious quantities for thousands of generations.

"The idea that unsaturated fats are good and saturated fats are bad is actually quite funny if you know the composition of food," noted Zoe Harcombe, author and obesity researcher. "Do we really think that the saturated fat is trying to kill us while the monounsaturated fat is trying to save us? It is utterly ludicrous."

(Visual representation of a very different interpretation if Keys had chosen Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, and Norway as his 'Six Countries.')

I Heart Bacon?

Let's take a look at bacon as an example of an oft-cited artery-clogging food. A few slices of bacon contain saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Approximately 51% of the fat in bacon is monounsaturated, with virtually all of it comprised of oleic acid, the same fat found in olive oil, which is trumpeted for potentially having the dual role of increasing the 'good' cholesterol (HDL) and decreasing the supposed 'bad' cholesterol (LDL).

Saturated fat makes up 45% of the total fat in bacon, with a third of it coming from stearic acid, the same stearic acid that is found in chocolate that's touted as heart-healthy for raising HDL. The remaining fat is polyunsaturated, which has been shown to lower LDL.

"All of this suggests that eating [bacon] in lieu of bread or potatoes would actually reduce heart-disease risk," wrote Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, "although virtually no nutritional authority will say so publicly."

(Visual representation of what would have happened if researcher Ancel Keys picked Finland, Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany as his "Six Countries.")


Observation Nation

Throughout history and up to present day it is easy to find populations that primarily eat saturated fat and live long, healthy lives. The Tokelau Islanders, the Masai, the Plains Indians, and the Inuit are just a few examples of cultures that subsisted almost entirely on animal-derived energy, much of it in the form of saturated fat, and yet had some of the lowest incidences of heart disease on the planet.
(View the "Death Rates and Average Cholesterol Levels in the MONICA study" image at the top of this post, where Malcolm Kendrick, MD, plotted death rates from heart disease and average cholesterol data from the World Health Organization Multinational Monitoring of Trends in and determinants in Cardiovascular Disease (MONICA). Notice that the Aborginals have the lowest levels of cholesterol and the highest rate of death from heart disease. Conversely, Switzerland has the highest level of cholesterol and lowest level of death from heart disease. Please check out the one-minute video.)

What Fuels You?

Our bodies run on saturated fat. If we are operating efficiently, most of our energy is derived from our body's fat stores. We don't need to get up in the middle of the night to snack because we can live off of our own fat.

Of the typical energy reserves in a healthy individual, 78% is comprised of fat, 21% protein, and 1-2% glycogen (or carbohydrates).

The fact that the natural (saturated or unsaturated) fat you eat, is the healthy fat you are, should call into question the validity of such statements that fats are "artery clogging."

'You are what you eat?' Perhaps 'Eat what you are' may not be such a bad suggestion. This points to eating like our ancestors and living off of the land as part of a healthful lifestyle, rather than the cause of our cardiac demise.

Bob Kaplan holds advance degrees in exercise physiology and business, an undergraduate degree in nutrition, is a nationally certified personal trainer, and owns four Get In Shape For Women locations in Bedford, Wellesley, Westford, and Winchester.

For more information about Kaplan's services at Get in Shape For Women in Winchester, please call 781-729-8100 or visit at 564 Main Street, Winchester, MA  01890, or online at www.getinshapeforwomen.com for a free week trial.

 How this all works against our growing and learning children (and adults):
(View this short video clip)
 (Part 2 of this clip is below titled Weston A. Price - Nutrition Education)

Photos (7)

Credit: Bob Kaplan
Credit: Tom Naughton
Credit: Tom Naughton
Credit: Petro Dobromylskyj
Credit: Petro Dobromylskyj
Credit: Petro Dobromylskyj
Credit: Malcolm Kendrick 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Snackwell Effect, Part 2

Hi everyone!  Here is a personal update and another great article that pretty much sums up how I eat!  I actually do not eat every 2 to 3 hours as she suggests below, because I am satiated from the healthy Nutrient-Dense foods I do eat.  I only eat when I am hungry.  I have a weight-loss guide available listing the foods that I eat and it's posted at the top of the Blog as Tabs.  You can click on them to see an outline.  The Food Guides posted in the tabs are What to Eat?, Weight Loss Guide and An Overview which I put together to show what I eat to promote health in the body and/or fat loss (if the body needs it).

The simple message is... when the hormone Insulin is present in the body it causes the body to convert and store the foods we eat as fat, locks it away so we can't use it as energy or fuel for our body (are you tired?), and carbohydrates are the only foods that cause insulin levels to rise.  So I keep my Insulin levels low by limiting my starches and sugars, and I keep my 80 pound weight/fat loss off my body!  Yes, 80 pounds to date! 

I am so excited and feel so good!  My energy levels are through the roof.  I cut back my workouts (not eliminate, but exercise at an optimal level for a reasonable amount of time) and still can maintain my weight loss.  I work out two times a week at the gym - 1/2 hour of Weight Training, and 1/2 hour of the Treadmill, Rower, or Elliptical Trainer (sometimes 45 minutes) instead of my previous and ridiculous high-carb diet with 2 hours at the gym (3 days a week plus two workout classes and a bike ride with my daughter) without any weight loss (very frustrating).  I also do a Yoga class (for strength, balance and flexibility) and a Core Fusion class that tones and strengthens the core.  (You should check out the classes that Sun Yu provides.  She is fabulous and offers fun and effective classes to get fit.  She is a Nia Black Belt and Yoga Instructor.  Her web link is http://www.niasun.com/ and you can reach her at (310)872-7763 for private or group classes.

That's it.  No more killing myself working out 6 days a week, several hours a day, without weight loss results.

This is one video clip I watched that was critical in me understanding how to lose weight and create health.  It is a clip from the FatHead Movie on DVD that was instrumental in me figuring out how to lose weight and sent me on a journey to finding out what Nutrient-Dense Foods really are, and probably more importantly, what Nutrient-Dense Foods are not:

Dr. Al Sears, MD and Dr's. Eades, MD

Okay, so this is part two of the previous blog.  This article was intended to educate medical professionals to teach patients (us) how to create health, but we can skip the middleman and hear it directly from Dr. Merritt.  She keeps it basic and easy to comprehend.  It has a lot of great information to understand.  So, just disregard the parts when she is talking about "your patients".  And, if you don't have time to read the whole article, just watch the short video clip at the beginning and if you want to see more, you can view all four of her video clips at the bottom of the blog. I bolded the part (the second half) that speaks directly about "what to do", in case you want to skip directly to that part and not read about all the health reasons of "why" we need to understand this information and get our health back on track, and the diseases we could be preventing by changing the foods we eat. 

With that said, I am attempting to also include an audio link into this post recorded by Dr. Merritt.  Now she is in Texas and  most of us won't be able to visit her office, but the nutrition recommendations and health information she mentions is good to know.

Belly Fat - why do we get it? (click to hear a recorded message.)

The Snackwell Effect, Part 2

By Marlene Merritt, DOM, LAc, ACN

The Snackwell Effect, Part 1 talked about how we lost our ability to regulate blood sugar by overwhelming our bodies with cereal, bread and Ho-Ho's.

I finished the article by recommending that you (or your patients) measure a few days of carbohydrate intake (not calories or fat, just grams of carbs) and see how far away from the number 72 you were. This article is going to be about how to reverse this whole process.

Dr. Merritt - How to lose Weight?

First, let me explain what will happen if we don't. Eighty-one percent of all adults over the age of 55 are diabetic or pre-diabetic. If we really wanted to deal with the health care crisis, we'd be dealing with this first. Pretty much everyone dreads receiving a diagnosis of cancer. You don't want to get cancer? One of the very first things you should do is cut down on carbs. Tumors have four times the number of insulin receptors as regular cells because cancer cells need all that glucose for their extra-fast metabolism. Ask any oncologist and they will tell you the same thing. There are studies that show the link between sugar and cancer.1,2 Yet, most people do not deal with their diet until after a diagnosis, when it's basically too late.

How about heart attacks? The number one cause of death in diabetics is a heart attack, and they are SEVEN times more likely to have one. Why? Because the high levels of insulin and glucose basically create a "sludge" in the bloodstream. When that thicker blood gets to the capillaries, it can't make it through, causing the tissue a lack of oxygen. As more and more capillaries get clogged up, the tissue starts to die -- whether it's in the heart, causing a heart attack, or in the kidneys, causing kidney failure, or in the eyes, causing blindness, or causing neuropathy and ultimately gangrene and amputation. Every 24 hours, 230 diabetics have a limb amputated. And many more have a heart attack.

Worried about Alzheimer's? If you have blood sugar issues, you should be. A Swedish study showed that borderline diabetics had a 70% chance of dementia and Alzheimer's, and this connection is especially strong with people who DIDN'T have the genetic tendencies. The risk was especially high for people who also had hypertension.3

How many patients have hypertension and want to know if acupuncture can help? Of course it can, AND you will have much better results if you also deal with their insulin resistance and diabetes; the excess insulin and sugar causes slow but serious damage to the capillaries, raising the blood pressure.

I could go on and on. There are direct links of blood sugar imbalances for everything from anxiety to PCOS, from depression to arthritis. It is so prevalent that stabilizing someones blood sugar is often the first thing we do in our practice, leaving only a few symptoms left for us to "clean up", so to speak. So how do we do this?

The first step is to be very clear for yourself what's going on, so that you can explain it to patients in a way that they understand. I filmed a series of YouTube videos for this very reason, available at www.youtube.com/merrittwellness. Feel free to see how I explain it, and you can send the link to patients as well.

The second step is to get clear on how many carbs are actually being consumed per day. It's easy to use one of the diet web sites. They allow you to look up commercial products such as Starbucks mochas, as well as generic foods. Two things to watch out for: make sure the serving size is being taken into account since most people don't pay attention to that, and that everything is being measured, since it's easy to write off milk and beans as proteins even though they still have quite a few carbs.

Research has shown that a body system that is not "broken" can manage about 70-100 g of carbs per day. 4 Notice that I'm not advocating a "no-carb" diet. That's not reasonable or fun. We typically recommend people limit their intake to around 60 g to rein in their sugar cravings. So what does 60 g look like? Well, a banana is 29 g. A piece of bread is 20-24 g. An 8-ounce flavored yogurt is 25 g. That grande mocha, made "healthy" with non-fat milk and no whipped cream is 42 g.

When someone starts to restrict carbs, which were often nearly the only thing raising their blood sugar and helping them have energy (since so many of these people eat low fat, while fat would actually help to stabilize their blood sugar), the rules they had about eating have to change. One of the first rules that needs to be broken is the low-fat rule. Eating low fat is what got us into this mess, and to get out, healthier fats are going to need to be added. Butter would be a good start -- it helps you absorb the minerals from vegetables. More protein would be helpful - eggs, nuts/nut butters, full-fat dairy products like cheese, some meat - all of these will give the body energy while not triggering insulin. When insulin is not triggered, the overworked receptor sites can start to recover (which starts the process of reversing the insulin resistance and diabetes), and with insulin out of the bloodstream, the body can start to access fat.

More vegetables need to be eaten, but don't fall into the trap of thinking fruits are just as good. Fructose is a sugar and turns into fat much more efficiently than glucose. High amounts of it (as in high-fructose corn syrup and agave nectar) causes fatty liver disease and lipid problems in the blood. Don't count green vegetables and the like in the carb counting. Count potatoes and other starchy ones, but all the rest of them are fine. However, don't eat those green vegetables by themselves; eat them with some butter, a dip or olive oil, or spread some peanut butter on celery. Something has to be added that will give you a little more energy.

The other piece to this, and this is possibly the most important part, is that you have to eat every two to three hours, before you are hungry. No exceptions. Eating frequently like this allows the adrenals to begin to recover from the ups and downs of carbohydrate intake, and since the blood sugar stays more stable, people have fewer cravings. They notice their energy is better, they start to sleep deeper, are more rested when they wake up because their body is not having to work so hard to stabilize itself.

The results can be very quick. We sell a package in our office designed just for this, and we see results in less than a week. It doesn't mean that they're "fixed" yet, but just this one piece can turn around conditions you as a practitioner may have been struggling to improve for your patient: insomnia from liver blood deficiency, spleen qi deficiency or kidney deficiency. Not to mention that you have now also given your patients the tools to start taking care of themselves.

There are other elements that can be added in as well. Herbs can often help reduce carb and sugar cravings. We often give people coconut oil (the refined is just as healthy and doesn't taste like coconut) because, as a medium-chain fatty acid, it's used by the body as quickly as a carb, but doesn't trigger insulin. Our patients love using it and find that it stabilizes blood sugar remarkably well and far longer than most other foods. We also keep a jar of nut butter in our office fridge, and have found a nut butter manufacturer (Justin's Nut Butters) that has "to-go" packs, which are easy to carry and help people keep away from the all-too-accessible carbs.

The YouTube video I mentioned earlier says much of this; it was filmed primarily so that people could learn from it and pass it on. The father of a patient saw the video, and took on the recommendations. His diabetes had not been under control for years, and seeing this explanation just made it "click" for him. A few weeks later, he was in his doctor's office, and she was stunned at the improvement in his numbers and asked him what he was doing. She said, in amazement, "You're doing this only with food and lifestyle changes?"

That's what we have to do; start educating people on how to do it themselves. It's completely possible to reverse this awful trend and the first step is to understand it clearly and then be able to explain it to your patients. You may be the only one who does.


Hoehn SK, et al. Complex versus simple carbohydrates and mammary tumors in mice. Nutr Cancer 1979;1(3):27.
Santisteban GA, et al. Glycemic modulation of tumor tolerance in a mouse model of breast cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1985 Nov 15;132(3):1174-9.
10th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. Madrid, Spain. July 15-20, 2006.
Lutz W. Life Without Bread. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

Click here for more information about Marlene Merritt, DOM, LAc, ACN.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Snackwell Effect - Part 1

The Snackwell Effect

By Marlene Merritt, DOM, LAc, ACN

Have you noticed how people gain weight nowadays? You've seen it but perhaps not recognized it: the "muffin top," the belly fat, the apple-shape with the skinny legs. Have you tried on pants recently? A lot of them are now cut to be roomier in the waist.

Take a look around you; people are gaining weight the same way. Each year, practitioners deal with more and more overweight patients. You may have heard that belly fat is a risk factor for everything from heart disease to cancer. What you haven't heard is why it's happening and what to do about, both for yourself and for your patients.

Back in the early 1980's, a dietary shift occurred in the U.S., and the theory of low-fat-is-good and high-fat-causes-heart-disease started taking hold. An entire food industry was born, based on reducing the fat in foods and changing the USDA Food Pyramid from the Four Food Groups to the current model. The Snackwell Effect is named for Nabisco Snackwell Cookies, which were marketed as low fat. Because "low-fat" was considered healthier than its alternative, we ate more of them and felt less guilty.
Fast-forward 25 years. This link for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows how obesity spread and increased across the U.S., year by year.1 When we present this in a lecture, people always ask us to repeat the slides because it is so shocking to see the transformation.

The low-fat theory? Not working. People will argue that they lost weight doing a low-fat diet, because of course you will lose weight if you restrict calories enough. However, it is not sustainable, and you risk being deficient in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Perhaps where we should be looking is at the bottom of the food pyramid. Those six to 11 servings of breads, cereals, grains and pasta that were recommended as the base of the food pyramid have wreaked havoc on people and not just in being overweight or obese. This problem is impacting nearly all your patients and you are probably not recognizing it.
The Snackwell Effect - Dr. Merritt
(To view further, go right below this post for clips 1, 3, and 4)

All those spleen qi deficiency syndrome symptoms? The bloating, the gas, the craving of sweets, the fatigue, hard-to-wake-up in the morning? All related to carbohydrate intake. How about the kidney deficiency syndrome symptoms of fatigue in the afternoons? Same thing. Or the liver blood/gallbladder symptom of waking up at night? Still related. I would estimate that more than 90 percent of our patients are dealing with blood sugar imbalances. When we help them manage those, many of their OM diagnoses clear up. So let me explain what's going on.

In trying to follow the recommendations of the USDA, people would start the day with bowl of cereal (whole grain, if they were really trying to be healthy), some skim milk, maybe half a banana cut into it, and a glass of orange juice. For lunch, they might have a sandwich with low-fat turkey with some baked potato chips. People weren't supposed to snack between meals, so when they got home and were hungry for dinner, they might have a small handful of multi-grain crackers beforehand, and then pasta with sauce, a side salad, and maybe a roll.

Every time a carbohydrate gets digested in your small intestine, it breaks down into glucose and is transported to the cells with insulin, the hormone released from your pancreas. In a perfectly healthy person, the amount of insulin released is just the right amount for the amount of glucose in the blood stream and when most of the glucose is transported into the cells, the insulin level drops, and you burn fat until the next time you eat. The problem is, that's not happening anymore.

What's happening is that after years of eating high-carb diet, your body begins to predict your carbohydrate intake and releases too much insulin when you eat, for example, that piece of whole-grain toast. Now what happens is, after the glucose is delivered to the cells, there is still insulin left in the blood stream. That excess insulin drives your blood sugar below normal levels, called "hypoglycemia," but it could also be named "hyperinsulinemia." Hypoglycemia causes fatigue, difficulty thinking, irritability, sugar cravings, memory loss, poor concentration and many symptoms related to brain function. Thirty to 40 percent of that glucose is needed for your brain. The other problem caused by insulin in the blood stream is an inability to access your fat stores. So you can't burn fat for energy. So what do you do? You eat a carb because it will raise your blood sugar faster than anything else, and then you often feel better.

But as time marches on, the constant presence of insulin in the blood stream causes problems. At a certain point, the cells and tissues get tired of being bathed in insulin and start to become resistant, refusing to allow insulin to deliver glucose. This doesn't happen all at once, but as the glucose starts to back up in the bloodstream, the body turns it first into a triglyceride (which is why whenever I see high triglycerides on a blood test, I know it's almost always from a high-carbohydrate diet) and then into a fat. Then the weight gain begins.

Another problem is that insulin resistance causes metabolic syndrome and severe hormonal imbalances like low testosterone and high estrogen in men (Those manboobs? That's estrogen.) and high estrogen and high testosterone in women (That thinning hair in women? Probably male-pattern baldness from high testosterone).2 Polycystic ovarian syndrome, caused by insulin resistance, is the number one cause of infertility in women. High blood pressure? That fatty bump at C7 in women? Caused by insulin resistance. As the blood sugar levels start to climb, the body churns out more and more insulin, in an effort to force the glucose into the cells, and, over time, as the pancreas overworks, it begins to fail, and then Type 2 diabetes results.

When I explain this to patients, I hold my hands apart and explain: "We were given this many points for carbohydrates in our lifetime, and you've used all yours up before the age of 35." They sometimes argue that grains have been around for thousands of years. However, our DNA has been around a lot longer and it is not designed to deal with this overload of carbohydrates. We got away with it for a long time because we were much more active than we are today, but between the carbohydrate overload and the computer age, this progression will not reverse itself easily.

It is not an underestimation for me to say that more than 90 percent of our patients are in one of these stages and often it's a combination. We see hypoglycemia and mild insulin-resistance together when the patient is struggling with fatigue and sugar/carb cravings, and also gaining weight around the middle. To support patients in changing their diets, we developed a package for learning how to eat low-carb, and incorporated the herb gymnema, which has been shown to reverse insulin resistance, and which patients love because it reduces their sugar/carb cravings.

When we're talking to patients about this, I explain to them that in this model, where I'm trying to prevent the surging of insulin, anything that triggers insulin is a problem. So there's no "good-carb/bad-carb" option like brown rice versus white rice; anything that triggers insulin is a problem. Ditto for artificial or alternative sweeteners (with the exception of stevia). From aspartame to sucrolose, to agave syrup, they will all trigger an insulin surge. That's why multiple studies have shown that diet sodas increase insulin resistance. Vegetarians are often struggling with blood sugar disorders because it's easy to eat too many carbohydrates, even "healthy" ones disguised as whole grains. And "fruits and vegetables" is not one word. Fruits are not a substitute for vegetables. For people who love sugar and carbs, it's easy to rationalize fruit as a healthier option, and not eat enough vegetables.

What I'm not saying here is that the oatmeal itself is unhealthy. Or that piece of fruit or the brown rice. But when you add that to the overload of carbohydrates we have all day, all they do is contribute to the progression that, over time, ultimately ends in diabetes. It's not a mistake that the International Diabetes Federation states that 81 percent of adults over the age of 55 are diabetic or pre-diabetic. That's four out of five older Americans.

So how do you help your patients? I'll address details in the second half. But the first step would be to start measuring the grams of carbohydrates eaten during a typical day, and start noticing how far that is from the number 72.3 That's the number of grams of carbs recommended a typical person ingest during a day. See how often you can get vegetables in your diet, from the spinach in scrambled eggs to an extra serving at dinner and skip the rice. And in the next article I will explain specifically, and in detail, how to address this epidemic.

Lutz W. Life Without Bread. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.
Click here for more information about Marlene Merritt, DOM, LAc, ACN.

The Science of Nutrition- 1 of 2:

The Science of Nutrition - 2 of 2:

School Lunches most effected 1 of 2:

School Lunches most effected 2 of 2:

What we need to do for Health and Weight Loss

An Overview

·      Increase Good Fats to 60%-70% of calorie intake, with
1.     Butter – regular (good), organic (better), pasture-raised (best)
2.     Tropical Oils – (Coconut Oil and Palm Oil), Olive Oil, Cod Liver Oil
3.     Animal Fats – in Beef (bone-in), Poultry (with skin), Fish, (preferably organic or wild caught)
4.     Full-Fat Cheese – no hormone or antibiotics (good), organic (better), raw (best)
5.     “Pasteurized” Whole Milk (good), “Organic” Whole Milk (better) or “Raw” Whole Milk (best) - But not ultra-pasteurized or homogenized.
6.     Regular Eggs (good), Omega-3 Eggs (better), Pasture-Raised Eggs (best)

·        Reduce Carbohydrates to less than 100 grams (see where your limit is to lose weight everybody is different) around 10%-15% of calorie intake.  Make them good quality carbohydrates from
1.     Non-Starchy Vegetables – Green Leafy and any other except potatoes (eat with butter, olive oil based salad dressing, full-fat sour cream dip, or melted cheese)
2.     Low Sugar Fruits – Berries, Grapefruit, Kiwi, and small Apples are good choices
3.     Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters (no sugar added) – preferably organic

·        Eat a Moderate Protein Intake - 15-25% of Calories
1.     Regular Eggs (good), Omega-3 Eggs (better), Pasture-Raised Eggs (best)
2.     Bone-in fatty cuts of Beef and Pork
3.     Poultry (w/skin) cooked on the bone 
4.     Wild-caught Fish and Shell Fish
5.     Whole Milk Cottage Cheese – preferably organic

Once you reach your goal weight, you can start to add back in healthy fermented, soaked, or sprouted grains and legumes, and the occasional treat.  They need to be added back in slowly based on maintaining your goal-weight.
Eliminating grain and legume Carbohydrates is just TEMPORARY.  Doing this will curb the physical ADDICTION to carbs (bread/pasta/rice) and it will reduce or eliminate your CRAVINGS, energy crashes and lows.  Then, once your goal-weight is reached, you can slowly add them back in to your diet, based on keeping your end-weight steady. 
You will need to find what amount of carbohydrates your particular body can tolerate in order to maintain your weight-loss.  Everyone’s amount is different.

Watch these short clips that explains "Why You Can't Lose Weight".

Dr. Merritt - Merritt Wellnes Center

Adele Hite - Healthy Nation Coalition

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where to Purchase Traditional - Nutrient Dense Foods

Where to Purchase
Items Available
Farmer’s Market,
Torrance and Palos Verdes
Booths; Organic Pastures Raw Dairy Products; - Cream, Milk, Qephor, Cheese, Almonds, and Pasture Raised Eggs; Lindner Bison, Bison; Dey Dey’s Grass-Fed Meats; Many Organic Produce or Local Farm fruits and vegetable stands
Sprouts Farmers Market,
San Pedro
(formerly Henry’s Market)
Organic Pastures Raw Milk and Colostrum, Grass-Fed Meats, Raw Cheese, Twin Labs Cod Liver Oil, Sprouted Grains Breads, Flax-Seed, Nut Butters, Stevia, Coconut Oil, Applegate Farms Nitrate Free Bacon and Hot Dogs, Jones Dairy Farm All Natural (fully cooked) Nitrate-Free Sausage
Sprouts Farmers Market, Torrance
Organic Pastures Raw Milk, Raw Cream, Fermented Dairy, Ezekiel Sprouted Grains Breads, Stevia, Coconut Oil, Applegate Farms Nitrate Free Bacon and Hot Dogs
Trader Joe’s,
Torrance, Redondo Beach,
San Pedro
Frozen Berries, Organic Produce, Nuts and Seeds, Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Fage Whole-Milk Greek Yogurt, Sprouted and Sour Dough Breads,  Stevia, Coconut Oil, Kerrygold Butter, Nitrate-Free Hot Dogs and Bacon
Whole Foods,
Torrance, Redondo Beach
Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Eggs, Whole Foods Brand Omega-3 Eggs,  Lifeway organic plain whole milk Kefir and Traderspoint Grass-fed  plain organic Yogurt (for smoothies), Grass-Fed Meats, Organic Valley Pastured Butter, Raw Cheese, Organic Produce, Nut-Butters, Stevia, Spectrum Coconut Oil, Flaxseed, Applegate Farms; Nitrate-Free Bacon, Pork Sausage, Organic Salami and Sandwich Meats, Cheeses, and Nitrate-Free Beef Hotdogs
Dr. Al Sears Primal Force (on-line) www.PrimalForce.Net click “Pace Muscle Up” for Protein Powder or click “Cod Liver Oil”
Primal Force Vanilla Protein Powder that is not isolated protein, is from grass-fed cows on organic pastures, slightly sweetened with Stevia, (for Smoothies), Primal Force Cod Liver Oil
Where to Purchase
Items Available
Rockwell Nutrition (on-line) www.RockwellNutrition.com click “Protein Powder: No Gluton” for Designs for Health PaleoMeal “Organic” Protein Powders or Whey Cool “Organic” Protein Powders
Pharmax Cod Liver Oil, PaleoMeal Protein Powder that is non-isolated, is from grass-fed cows on organic pastures, sweetened with Stevia; Chocolate, Strawberry-Banana and Unsweetened Vanilla (for Smoothies), Whey Cool Protein Powder in Chocolate and Vanilla (all are very good tasting)
Ralph’s Markets
Organic Produce, Laura’s Organic Beef, Mary’s Free Range Organic Chicken, Whole Milk Greek Yogurt (Fage), Frozen Berries, Nitrate-Free (Hormel Naturals) Sandwich Meats, Jones Dairy Farm All Natural Nitrate-Free Sausage, Truvia Stevia, Land-o-Lake Organic Eggs or Eggland’s Best Omega 3 Eggs, Organic Butter and Irish Kerrygold Butter, Lifeway Kefir (for smoothies)
Green Pasture (on-line) www.GreenPasture.Org
Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Weston A. Price Foundation www.WestonAPrice.org
For more information on Nutrient-Dense Foods

If you would like to schedule a grocery shopping tour, a kitchen evaluation, or help to clean out unhealthy items, please contact Vicki Keller at VickiKeller.com@gmail.com 

Note:  Look for 100 % Pastured, Pasture-Raised Eggs (not all cage-free is pasture-raised), 100% Grass-Fed or Organic Meats and Chicken or at the very minimum make sure it’s free from hormones and antibiotics.  Remember, just because it says Organic, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  For more information on Nutrient-Dense Traditional Foods, visit the Weston A. Price Foundation website at www.westonaprice.org.

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Vicki Keller