Dr Suzie Edge on 21st century nutrition and health

Tag: diabesity

Please help me write the book – a new Patreon page.

Please help me write the book – a new Patreon page.

Let’s do this! Please help me write the book. I’ve launched a Patreon page to help enable my research and writing. Against The Grain – a lifestyle manifesto for the future of the NHS. You can follow this link to become a patron here. Thank […]

Beanz means more than they care to tell you about…

Beanz means more than they care to tell you about…

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 […]

I don’t have time to wait for your precious trials.

I don’t have time to wait for your precious trials.

We go to conferences for a lot of reasons, education, CPD, a day out of the office, networking. Networking means meeting up with like minded people but it also means stepping out of your bubble and meeting face to face with those who may not share your song-sheet. This latter scenario is more than likely to happen at a conference for medics about nutrition and public health, especially if you have a slightly controversial way of eating.

If I had known, I wouldn’t have chosen to sit next to the excitable judging vegan at dinner but the opportunity to talk did lead to some interesting discussion.

I don’t attack anyone who chooses a lifestyle that is different to mine, there are of course good vegan diets and there are highly processed, sugary breakfast cereal and Dorito diets. In my opinion if any diet requires supplementation then there is something fundamentally wrong with that diet. As I said, I don’t make personal attacks but I do get them, in social media land, for eating meat. That aside, and back to dinner…

As my prawn in garlic butter starter arrived I was informed that I really needed to consider a plant based diet for my health.

My dinner companion was staunchly against a low carbohydrate diet, her main argument being that “there is no existing data about low carb diets that tells us they are safe in the long term”. It is a line that I have heard before, to the letter, so I concluded that this was not her own conclusion. That aside, she went on to acknowledge my recent weight loss, that I no longer need to take a PPI or an inhaler, or regular pain killers, or any antidepressants that I had taken in the past. She acknowledged that it was great I could now ski with my children and that I enjoy martial arts training with them also, but she remained concerned about my future because “there’s no data”.

Well, here’s my data.

Right now I’m sitting on a high speed train heading home. There are no double blind randomised controlled trials by some eminent Harvard epidemiologist to tell me that not sticking my head out of the door is better for my long term health. Without that paper, I just don’t know what decision to make! My point is this. It is not a good enough academic argument to tell me that there are no high-evidence-level papers. If a student said that to me I would say “well done for your literature search, now let me hear what YOU think, what’s your best educated guess? Let’s formulate some ideas and thoughts. What do you think my future might have looked like without a change.”

I will tell you what my future looked like, as I told her. It looked like more and more physical inability, not being able to play with my children, it looked like diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, perhaps chronic kidney disease and hypertension. It looked like more medication, more PPI, more painkillers, diabetes medication, antihypertensives. It looked like more issues with PCOS and more depressive episodes.  It looked like an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and some cancers. With this going on I can tell you that my risk of dying younger is increased. It looked sad. That’s what we can say my future looked like, before I ditched the sugar and the grains, the breakfast cereals and the low fat yoghurts. So you might not have a paper, but I’m not waiting for you to catch up. I’m hedging my bets right now.

The conversation then turned to our views on intermittent fasting or time restricted eating but that’s for the next blog post…

As my main course arrived, a steak with a few more prawns, she looked longingly at my plate. “I love prawns in garlic butter” she muttered.

Yes, so do I.

Suzie

 

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes. Really badly.

We treat the NHS the way we treat Type II Diabetes. Really badly.

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 […]

You need to make a choice.

You need to make a choice.

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 […]

Low carb diets set up your environment to cope

Low carb diets set up your environment to cope

When it comes to weight loss advice we are often told to stop and think about what we are about to do, when we reach for food and snacks. This is supposed to stop us from overindulging through mindfullness. Mindfullness is a big buzzword of the moment and it is another perfect thing to strive for and another thing to feel guilty about when we don’t get it right.

For years at home we had a page pulled from a magazine on our kitchen cupboard door. It was a picture of a young fit couple running on a beach in swimwear. It was supposed to make us stop and realise that we would not be fit and healthy (or young?!) if we ate what was in the cupboard. I would just open the cupboard door, swear at the picture and eat the food anyway.

Now, I find with a low carb diet that I have the space and ability to cope and have that conversation with myself because I am not hungry. Hunger is so overpowering, it gets in the way of that conversation and it drives the “OK, just this once and then I will start again tomorrow” self-deception. Low-fat, calorie counting and restrictive diets only ever made me hungry.

Without hunger I can now have rational conversations with myself about whether or not I actually want THAT food, and what hormonal effect it will have on my body. This is how I can have foods in the house (that my husband, kids or visitors might want) and how I can sit in the staffroom at work surrounded by chocolates and biscuits and how I can live on a street with a Chinese takeaway, without being remotely interested.

Low-carb healthy-fat diets kick hunger out of the park. Eat the bacon.

Suzie

…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 […]

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