Dr Suzie Edge on 21st century nutrition and health

Recent Posts

…but you “just can’t cut out a whole food group”.

…but you “just can’t cut out a whole food group”.

Every day I hear the scoffing phrase “you just can’t cut out a whole food group” or “you just can’t demonise a food group”. It is an inbuilt, long-ago-learned phrase that you will often hear said against those improving their health by reducing their carbohydrate […]

Is the UK leading the way in a grass roots LCHF public health solution?

Is the UK leading the way in a grass roots LCHF public health solution?

This week has been a very positive one. Could the UK be leading the way in a grass roots low-carb public health solution? Listening to the KetoWoman Podcast at the end of last week was a treat. Daisy and Louise had been at the Public […]

We need to talk about breakfast.

We need to talk about breakfast.

We need to talk about breakfast.

The most common question I am asked when it comes to diet is what to eat for breakfast, especially by those seeking a low-carb option. When you’ve got a whole family to sort out before school and work, breakfast needs to be fast and free of too much thought. It is no wonder breakfast cereals have risen in popularity (convenience being one thing but the vast amounts of addictive sugar being another). In the past, it has been no different in my house, especially once my girls were able to make breakfast for themselves. Health seekers, keen to not fill up on so much sugar will go for yoghurts, low-fat of course, fruit juice, raisins, and oats. Either way, the sugar and carbohydrate content are still high and the hormonal response by the body will be the opposite of what you might think. I wrote about this in another post here.

As a doctor based in hospital, I was recently discussing the overnight wayward blood sugars of one of our patients when the breakfast trolley was wheeled past. Our conversation stopped in its tracks, I just couldn’t take my eyes off the breakfast. I was asked if I wanted some.

Er, no thanks.

The trolley was laden with toasted white bread, with pots of fake butter and jams, there were boxes of sugary breakfast cereals with skimmed milk, there were cartons of orange and apple juice and low-fat fruit yoghurts. I was shocked at the amount of sugar and carbohydrate we were feeding our patients but that’s breakfast isn’t it? It really shouldn’t be.

I was told that you can’t expect hospital patients to get bacon and eggs, after all who is going to cook it? Of course, there is nobody to cook it, because we are too cheap to pay someone to cook for our patients. We choose cheap convenience over our health and the health of our hospital patients. They need protein and fat, but we can’t provide it with the resources or the attitudes that we have.

At home it is easy to make the effort to change what we choose for breakfast. We can choose how to start our day with a breakfast that will not shoot up our insulin, nor prevent fat cells from giving up their precious reserves and will not make us hungry only hours later. In hospital it is a different matter. The foods we feed our patients, the very people who need the best nutrition that we have, are based on the government guidelines that attempt to prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease. They don’t prevent obesity, diabetes or heart disease, they make it worse.

Breakfast needs to break free from the low-fat, high-carb sugary nonsense. We need eggs, meat, fish, real yoghurt, real butter, real cream, nuts and seeds. It can’t be fat-free and protein-free, these essentials are being restricted by this diet. The only thing you are restricting with a low carbohydrate diet are chronic western diseases.

What we need to do is to start taking what we feed our patients seriously, as seriously as we take all the drugs we dish out. We might be able to do that at home but unfortunately, things won’t change in our institutions without a change in the government guidelines and that’s not coming any day soon.

Suzie

Why you won’t lose weight trying to balance with will power.

Why you won’t lose weight trying to balance with will power.

Go find yourself a beam, a branch or one of those slack-lines and try balancing for a bit. How long can you last? Probably not as long as you’d like because chance are, like me, you are not an Olympic gymnast. Sure, you can engage […]

Crap Nutrition School 101

Crap Nutrition School 101

I was just flicking through a book that I used as a junior doctor when I first started working. Oxford Handbooks are the pocket sized bibles for anyone starting in medicine. Page 87 got me thinking – the page of nutritional requirements. At the top […]

Secretary of State for Poor Health

Secretary of State for Poor Health

I’ve been catching up with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his fat fight. He likes a good fight and I’m so glad he has chosen this one. Whilst I’m a little down that the calories-in-calories-out mantra is still prevailing, there was something that was even more worrisome about it. I was so frustrated that Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, refused to talk to Hugh about the massive problem facing the NHS – that of obesity.

OK, sure, I have been heard to have a go at Jeremy Hunt previously. The way he dealt with his fight with junior doctors was dreadful but it was just that, a fight between the two of them. With this, I am astounded and frankly furious that he wouldn’t talk with Hugh about the diabesity crisis. You can’t shrug and walk away from this one Mr Hunt. The dietary guidelines affect everyone. We are getting it so wrong and if you genuinely think that we are making decent changes then come out and talk to us, shout about it from the rooftops if you think we have a good policy on this looming disaster.

George Osborne, former Chancellor, started a sugar tax which recently came in to force and I applaud that. It has critics, of course. There are those who think it will do no good and it is just another way to make the Government more money. I think it is a good start and am looking forward to the seeing the outcomes.

Then again, take a look at Hugh’s visit to the Conservative Party conference, where he found it to be sponsored by the giant that is Tate and Lyle. You couldn’t make it up. We have an enormous, uphill, sugar-fuelled struggle ahead.

Suzie

Dealing with cramps – Part I

Dealing with cramps – Part I

Leg cramps are a common complaint for those starting out on a low carb or ketogenic diet. I was a bit worried, if I’m honest, because I have a grizzly history with cramps. I was afflicted from an early age (long before keto) and my […]

Navigating Keto and lchf with sugar-filled kids

Navigating Keto and lchf with sugar-filled kids

Navigating the food pyramid with the next generation is really hard, especially when you are trying to turn it upside down. The next generation, and by that, I mean my kids, are going to need a lot of help. My children are already being taught […]

Is how you talk about dieting sabotaging your weight loss?

Is how you talk about dieting sabotaging your weight loss?

I can’t get through a day without being asked – are you allowed to eat this or that. My response is always the same:  there is nothing I am not allowed to eat, there are many things I choose not to eat, because I am a grown up.

It’s the language of dieting that is driving me potty and I have no doubt that the way we talk about how we are eating – the negative words and phrases we use, must be negatively affecting the outcome. In short – is how you talk about dieting sabotaging your weight loss?

The problem with the words “healthy eating” and “healthy foods” is that we can have varying degrees of what we mean by healthy. To a friend of mine, her very low-fat, low sugar white bread thins are perfect “healthy foods”. To me, that shit just turns to glucose and bang, we’re wearing bigger jeans again. She attends a slimming group. Our ideas of what is “healthy” – differ somewhat.

To me, the dieting groups such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World use bizarre language.  At Weight Watchers there is point counting. The points system does nothing but encourage the wrong food choices by saying it’s OK, you just have a certain number of points a day, so you go ahead and eat those Mars Bars as long as you don’t eat anything else or, wait for it, do some exercise. More on that fallacy later.

Then there’s the Slimming World syn, cyn or sin. However you might spell it and whatever it might mean or represent, you still say the word sin.  So, when you eat certain foods you are committing a sin. You are being bad. You are letting yourself down. This is such self-destructive and unhelpful language.

What you are allowed, what points you have accrued, what sins you have committed, all of these are so negative. The language of dieting does nothing but feed the negativity and after we stop with the diet, and inevitably put on weight, we go back for more. Well that’s how they make their money I suppose…making you feel bad and then bringing you back for more.

We’ve got to get past this language barrier.

Suzie

The wrong path

The wrong path

A few years ago I was a junior doctor at the end of the a long line of medics on a ward round. We came to an eighty year old lady who told the boss that she had been having trouble sleeping, that she felt […]

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