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 […]
Tag: nutrition science
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 […]
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.
I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Daisy Brackenhall last month on her Keto Woman Podcast. We talked about low-carb diets, how I have managed mine and how doctors in the UK are using them to manage diabetes and obesity, as well as other […]
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 […]
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 Health Collaboration meeting in London and recorded a special episode at the conference. It is well worth a listen as they talk to doctors, nurses, personal trainers and dietitians, all coming together to try and solve the current public health problems. It certainly feels like there is a bit of momentum in health and public health promotion. In other parts of the world it is still proving tricky for clinicians to recommend a low-carb diet without a backlash. Gary Fettke, the ortho surgeon from Tasmania, is still fighting.
Tim Noakes today received his second acquittal after an appeal brought by the group of dietitians keen to shut down his low-carb advice in South Africa. What a fantastic result for this amazing man and what a relief. Now is the time to move forward.
At prime time on the BBC a programme called The Truth about Carbs was aired. For some it didn’t quite go far enough but it really did lead to the conversation some of us need to have. I had friends who contacted me after this show aired suggesting that I might not be quite so mad after all. One thing it did highlight was David and Jen Unwin‘s work (and that of their surgery) in treating patients with diabetes and reducing their medication spend with a low-carbohydrate solution.
For me it has been really positive. I posted a blog post and a link to a BBC news report on Facebook and have loved the discussion and responses, especially the reports from friends who have lost weight and lowered their HbA1c with a low carbohydrate way of eating. If you’re interested then do some reading. My blog is light on research results just now though I intend to start posting interesting research. For now, check out dietdoctor.com
It’s not all great news. Another message from a friend was telling me of the terrible experience she had at an NHS funded eat-well event where she felt patronised, demoralised and wondering where to turn. I feel for her and those who are struggling. But amazingly, as I was writing this I received another message from a friend who was embracing low-carb and who is also a GP now suggesting it to patients. Happy days.
Whilst there are barriers and whilst there is still influence from sources we would rather not have influence (I’m still flabbergasted that the last Conservative Party Conference was sponsored by Tate and Lyle) it will not be easy to turn around this public health disaster of obesity, Type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, PCOS and perhaps depression and Alzheimer’s. If needs be, change will have to come from the grass roots, rejecting the authority that has fed this crisis – because you can be pretty sure it isn’t coming from above. In the UK, it feels like this may be happening.
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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 […]
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 […]
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 of the page are carbohydrates, “found in almost all food” it says. It quotes a daily requirement of 300g and the deficiency of carbohydrates is called malnutrition.
Oh come on. This is crap Nutrition School 101.
Lots of people in the nutrition world like to point out that doctors have very little in the way of nutrtional training at medical school. They are right. I recall only one undergraduate lecture, memorable because I had an interest in nutrition and it seemed odd not to do more at med school. They talked about The Framingham Heart Study and they said that “it is hard working in clinical obesity management because fat people never take the advice given”.
Ignoring nutrition science in medical training is completely rediculous. Bad nutrition and blind faith in bad guidelines got us into the big fat mess that we are in.
Why is this ignored in favour of learning only about drug treatments, I wonder?