Dr Suzie Edge on 21st century nutrition and health

Tag: diet industry

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 […]

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 your core and last a bit longer but you’re going to fall off. Do you think your falling off is due to your lack of will power or could there be other factors at play?

The concept of trying to balance anything will set you up for failure. No more so than the concept of a balanced diet, where you want to lose weight. Take a look at the “eat well” plate. I am reluctantly calling it by it’s name here but I don’t think it represents eating well at all.

If you follow this “eat well” plan, with its huge proportion of carbohydrates, by trying the balance macros, no matter how much you restrict calories, you will struggle to lose weight in the long term. Sure, calorie restriction and moderation of all these foods can lead to short term weight loss and you can quote the names of many CICO friends to me if you like but have we not grown out of the miserable self-loathing calorie restriction by now?

Look at the beige block of carbohydrates on that plate (the breads, cereals, pastas and biscuits). That’s a big chunk of stuff that there is actually no essential requirement for in our bodies. There is no disease of carbohydrate deficiency. The tiny amount of glucose that the body does need (in the blood represented by the blood sugar measurement) is used only by mitochondria-free red blood cells and can be manufactured by the body from other nutrients when it is needed. You don’t need to add extra, you don’t need this stuff, yet you keep coming back for more. Why is that?

Every food item that you choose to eat will set off a hormonal response within your body. So when you start your day with Special K, or dare I say it, “healthy” low-fat yogurt with bananas and raisins you will stimulate a big insulin response. Increases in insulin will, amongst other functions, signal to the fat cells around your body to keep hold of their fat. There’s no need to give up ANY precious fat stores when there’s carbohydrates about and winter is just around the corner when fruit might be scarce! When the job is done and the insulin levels drop and you run out of high levels of glucose (and all those carbs become glucose, even the whole grains) the response from your body is to find yourself some more of that feel-good stuff. Your body will make you need more of the feel-good stuff. If you ignore or fight those signals, you’ll feel hungry and miserable. Does this sound familiar?

What I am trying to say, is that this is not about any lack of will power. It is not a lack of will power that leads to your mid morning cheeky snack, it is your hormonal response to what you ate for breakfast and what you always eat, if you are following the recommended “healthy eat well plate”. That snack, even if it is a bunch of fruit (especially if it is a bunch of fruit) will set off the whole process again.

Finding a balance is hard and miserable and if you want to lose weight, it is nonsensical. Doing so by trying to moderate a carbohydrate-heavy insulin-inducing “eat-well” plate is nuts. You should eat more nuts.

If you are shaking your head and telling me that you couldn’t possibly give up bread or pasta (or those sugar filled bananas and raisins) then maybe you just don’t want to lose weight? Then again, maybe that’s not will power, maybe that’s a reliance on a food stuff that has no essential requirement by our bodies but we really like how it makes us feel. If this conversation was about cocaine, you’d be shocked.

Suzie

Some resources:

Low Carb diets lower insulin from Diet Doctor.com

Jason Fung on physiology, satiety and hormones.

Some more on insulin in this video by Dr Eric Berg:

 

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 […]

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 […]

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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