It was the same story for Tim Noakes in South Africa, Annika Dahlqvist in Sweden and now Gary Fettke in Australia. They all had their medical careers threatened by dietitians who couldn’t stomach these doctors giving dietary advice that was contrary to their own. These […]
It may come as a surprise but the medical wards at our local hospital are not bursting at the seams with rows and rows of scurvy sufferers, despite the rising numbers of people turning to zero-carb all meat diets. Carnivores don’t get scurvy the way you might think they should and we have known this for a while.
British Army doctor Andrew Halliday, the nineteenth century Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals in the West Indies knew it. He faced a court martial in 1834 for falsifying records, stating that there were multiple cases of scurvy amongst his soldiers. He did it so that he could justify an order for more supplies of fresh meat. Fresh meat, not fresh lemons.
I came across Sir Andrew Halliday whilst researching for my Masters in Modern History studying medical hierarchies, organisation and decision making in the nineteenth century Army Medical Department. Halliday was also accused of getting away with it, because he had friends in high places, but that’s a story for another day.
When it comes to the story of scurvy, it is James Lind that you have more likely come across. This eighteenth century naval surgeon carried out what is thought of as the first controlled trial where he provided different foods to sailors on a long voyage and noted who contracted scurvy and who didn’t. His conclusion was that fruits helped in curing sailors who had fallen ill with the dreaded disease. It was not necessarily that lack of fruits had made them sick though. It would have been a combination of a grain based diet with meat that was preserved for travel that had therefore lost it’s micro-nutrient content. That’s not terribly practical knowledge though for sailors. Instead they became known for carrying citrus fruits on their journeys, and hence why you hear of the British being referred to as Limeys. You can read about James Lind and see his MD thesis here.
One suggested reason for carnivores not falling apart in front of us, is that Vitamin C and glucose compete for space getting into cells. With a similar structure they can both bind the GLUT1 cell receptor and fight it out. This would mean the more carbohydrates you eat (including the beloved whole grains that break down to glucose, sorry) then the more vitamin C you would need for it to compete. Hence adding citrus fruits into the diet would be useful in preventing scurvy. So would removing the carbohydrates though. It’s handy that bottles of orange juice have so much Vitamin C seeing as how they are so packed with sugar. It’s a little more complicated than that though and Amber O’Hearn at Breaknutrition.com has written more about this here, with links and references.
When I was at University a fellow student, a fit rugby playing lad, became unwell and was later diagnosed with scurvy. It turned out that he would make a big batch of porridge at the beginning of the week and eat only that for the rest of it. Students can have odd behaviour can’t they? Would we have called his behaviour odd twenty years ago if he only ate meat? Maybe, but we wouldn’t have had to call him an ambulance.
The last time I checked, well known carnivores Shawn Baker and Mikhaila Peterson are still alive and both in better shape than ever. We live in a strange old world where people would rather see them fail and get scurvy (based on stuff they learned age 9 and orange juice advertising) than acknowledge the changes they have made to their health. They have both made remarkable changes on their carnivore diets and they aren’t the only ones.
So next time you see someone tucking in to a steak whilst you’re eating your low fat cereals, don’t bother reminding them they might get scurvy, it’s more likely that that’s your fate rather than theirs.
I adore baked beans, I always have done. Whenever I went home from University my Mum would make a special effort to stock up on lots of tins just for me. It wasn’t just Heinz that I liked, any variety would do. I love them […]
We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes and our priorities are all wrong. With T2DM, a condition brought on by years of sugar and carbohydrate loading, we continue to shovel in more refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars. We hope it will […]
Newspaper headlines can be confusing with what’s good for you one minute being bad for you the next. It’s understandable that you feel confused, that is after all what the headlines are designed to do, to unsettle you. The difference between relative risk and absolute risk is often lost when it comes to drama hunting headline writers, they will pick the most dramatic.
The answer to all this though, is not apathy or blaming confusion for your lack of action. If you’re worried about weight gain and ill health then you need to make a choice.
Making a choice to follow an idea might just be the action you need. It is action, one way or another, that gets results. I have nothing against people who choose to eat a vegan diet, though I don’t think it is the answer for good health, but people who have chosen this diet have made a choice and that is to be commended. There are others who eat are carnivore diet, again it isn’t my choice, though I am probably not far off it. Again, they are to be commended for making a choice because ultimately they will find that it works for them or if it doesn’t.
Give something a chance but if it doesn’t work, change it.
This is the problematic rut that many of us have found ourselves in. Yo-yo dieting happened because we kept trying what ultimately didn’t work. Weight came back on, so we’d better just try that miserable low-fat calorie counting again. That’s the definition of madness is it not? Trying to do what you’ve always tried to do, and expecting something different in return?
If you’ve tried this approach before but you still find yourself unable to lose weight or if you can’t find the health you’d like, it is time to try something else. I would suggest a low-carbohydrate and high fat diet, eating real food and ditching the processed starch, sugar and fake seed oils.
I can say for sure that doing nothing and not making a choice will lead to exactly where you are now.
Eat the bacon.