July 22, 2008

Egg Creams, The Latest Fad

Every so often a Low Carb recipe fad comes along that catches everyone's attention. It used to be Cleochatra's Oopsie Rolls, and now there's Egg Creams. There's tons and tons of recipes and variation ideas for them floating all over the web. You can even find out a lot of info about the original version if you just do a bit of research.

Apparently, Louis Auster was a Jewish candy store owner in Brooklyn, New York. Legend says he was approached by a national ice cream chain who offered to buy the right to the recipe. Only they tried to get the recipe for next to nothing. When Mr. Auster refused to sell them the recipe, they cussed him up a good one, calling him a racial slur. Which only made Mr. Auster vow to take his recipe with him to the grave. Which he did. And so did all of his then living relatives.

Rumor has it, that the original chocolate soda fountain recipe wasn't made with eggs or cream, so there's a lot of supposition about how the name came about. As well as what the original recipe actually consisted of. Everyone is just guessing though, cuz the one surviving relative isn't talking.

I still haven't tried the Oopsie Rolls yet, since I don't really use Atkins' Revolution Rolls all that much, only in my Strawberry Shortcake recipe you can find at the right-hand side of my blog posts, in my personal recipe section, but I did break down and try the egg cream the other day.

Last week, I read somewhere that if you cut down on dietary fats too much, you might not be able to control your blood sugars. Since I "am" eating lower fat than a typical Atkins plan, I thought I'd give the egg cream a whirl and see what happens. If the problems I've been having lately come from inadequate fat intake, then the shake shouldn't send my blood sugars plummenting... Or so I thought.

Not what happened though. I took the highest fat recipe I could find, plus limited my protein powder to a single scoop. Just like the recipe said. So I was drinking less protein and more fat than in my regular breakfast shake (that "doesn't" affect me, by the way). Just to give it a full, complete test. I wanted to be fair about it. And knew I could make up for the lower protein intake later on in the day.

Here's the recipe I used:

2 eggs
a scoop of protein powder
2 oz heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup orange Davinci syrup
4 ice cubes

Well...I whipped it all up in a blender for a couple of minutes, poured it into a large shake glass, and drank it down. It wasn't half bad, though for the life of me, I still can't figure out what the rage is all about. But the important part, the "most" important part, was that within 20 minutes of drinking that egg cream, my blood sugar fell like a rock.

At least, that's what it "FELT" like. I went from feeling pretty good, to a heart pounding, shaky, weepy, blood jittery mess.

Now I wasn't all that sure it was going to work, because my fat intake hasn't been all "that" low recently. Not since all of this blood sugar stuff started. Maybe 45 to 50% of my calories. With sometimes less...sometimes a little bit more. But I thought it was worth a shot, since I "had" been doing refeeds up until about a month ago, when I started doing something more moderate carb and calorie-wise.

Since my problems started a couple of weeks ago, I've been wondering if those prior refeeds and currently higher carbs and calories have been messing with me metabolically. But that doesn't make any sense because fat is supposed to be a neutral nutrient as far as blood sugar goes...but that's not what I experienced.

Irregardless of the fact that I wasn't "over" consuming carbs, my blood sugar went WACKY.

Now -- I don't have a blood sugar meter, so I don't "really" know what my blood sugar is doing, (it could be going UP for all I know, rather than down), but it FEELS like an outpouring of adrenaline. Like how I used to feel when I lived in Southern California and needed to take a hit off of my rescue inhaler. Only this reaction to food doesn't go away in 20 minutes, like the effects of an inhaler do. These effects generally continue for hours at a time.

I was soooooo hoping the egg cream would be the answer to my salvation. Up my fat intake. Give up dieting. And just live a general low carb lifestyle for the rest of my life. Only...I'm getting these reactions whenever I eat low carb!!! NOT when I eat moderate carbs or higher.

So--the whole thing is downright crazy!!!

I'm hoping there will be some GOOD answers when Jimmy Moore does his next interview with Dr. Berkowitz. If you didn't read the comments to my last blog post, Jimmy left me a note saying he plans to air that interview at his podcast August 8th. (And the link to Jimmy's podcast is in that comment).

In the meantime, I'll be trying out Dr. Berkowitz's idea about eating smaller meals, more often. Cuz spacing them out to 5 or 6 hours or more doesn't work for me. I'm pretty much in blood sugar frenzy within 4.

The only problem is, it's HARD to eat every 3 hours. It just feels so unnatural to me, since I've been eating only 2 meals a day for YEARS. I did manage to get that up to 3 when I started working at the boy's home last year. And I've been doing okay with that. But 5 or 6??? Oh...brother!!! Is that ever hard!

I suppose it will eventually get easier. But for now, it feels like I'm eating constantly! And I guess I am.

It worked pretty well yesterday. But I had trouble just before going to bed that a couple of hard-boiled eggs didn't help. That's cuz I waited toooo long to eat them. The time slipped by me. As always. And I had the SAME thing happen today. I was only supposed to work 1 to 1-1/2 hours today, but ended up working 3, so I'm a shaky mess right now again.

Sigh.

I guess eventually I'll get the hang of this.

July 17, 2008

Can a Ketogenic Diet Cause Hypogycemia and Insulin Resistance?

Dr. Keith Berkowitz Believes Long-Term Keto Diet Causes Insulin Resistance and Hypoglycemia
Are There Costs for Eating
Low Carb Long Term?
What are the consequences attached to being on a ketogenic diet long term?

Is the Atkins Diet, Keto Diet, Nutritional Ketosis (LCHF) and other diets that restrict carbohydrates safe, or are there unforeseen consequences that might pop up from keeping your carbohydrate level very low?

Can a long-term ketogenic diet actually cause insulin resistance and hypoglycemia?

I was reading over at Lowcarber forum a couple of days ago, and ran into something interesting in the Atkins' section. Someone over there was asking if a long-term ketogenic diet had the capacity to cause insulin resistance and hypoglycemia.

Her concern was due to an interview that Jimmy Moore had with Dr. Keith Berkowitz of the Center for Balanced Health.

Now, I'm not completely sure where this interview transcript came from because I only have dial-up and can't listen to Jimmy's podcasts. I'm just assuming that's what this is, a transcript from a podcast. The transcript is definitely an interview Jimmy had with Dr. Berkowitz a little while ago.

July 09, 2008

Letting Go of Holiday Guilt

With the long 4th of July weekend behind us now, a lot of low-carbers are suffering from the guilt attached to letting down their guard a bit over the holiday. For a lot of folks, food choices weren't what they should have been, and a gain on the scale resulted, which seems to have set a lot of guilt into motion.

The "key" to recovery is to get your mind wrapped around the idea that being more flexible over a holiday isn't BAD. So we "shouldn't" feel guilty. Even if our food choices weren't the best. Or we "could have" made different ones, but didn't. Because the idea behind all of this dieting business isn't perfection. It isn't about never having something ever again that you enjoy. It isn't about being the oddball at a family function. Or social situation.

It's about moving FORWARD.

So what's past is past, what's done is done, and we really need to own up to what we did, but live in the present. Stop all of this black and white thinking. And to do that, the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to stop thinking and talking about what we "did" over the weekend, but think and talk about what we need to do NOW, in order to go forward FROM HERE.

Guilt isn't necessary.

So shove it away and begin treating each and everyday as a learning experience, because that's exactly what it is. Besides, the weight gain isn't fat. It's glycogen storage and the water attached to it. Which means it'll come back off again quickly enough. So what...if what you did kicked you out of Ketosis. Ketosis isn't magic. It's just a by-product of fat metabolism. It's a way to feed the brain when glucose isn't available--and right now, if you put on a little bit of glycogen, your brain DOES have fuel.

We all come to the table with different perspectives regarding the holidays. Some of us want to completely stay on plan at all costs, and some of us feel we DESERVE to let down our defenses and splurge a little bit over the holidays. Neither viewpoint is right. But then, neither viewpoint is wrong. It's just where we are right now, what we believe today. It's OKAY to believe that "Just this one day won't hurt me," because you know what? For those folks, it won't. It's equally okay to believe that "Just this one day WILL hurt me," because for those folks, it will.

This is a lifestyle. And making it OUR lifestyle, with our own perks and idiocies is what makes our plan...OUR PLAN. So let's stop pointing fingers at others (especially since when we do that, 3 fingers are pointing back at ourselves), and just accept the fact that this kind of eating does happen. It's a solid fact of life. Somewhere, some time, you're going to eat something that is not on your plan. Life is that way sometimes. It throws us curve balls, and we have to duck those balls anyway that we can.

So make it easier on yourself. Accept it. Own it. And move on...

July 08, 2008

A Rodent Experiment -- Aspartame

I've been under the weather for the past few days, so I just noticed the comment that was made a few days ago, regarding my last post. Rather than putting my remarks in the comment section, I'm going to put them here. Cuz they'd be toooo long to do otherwise.

Initially my intent, before getting "into" the details of studies, and some of my own interpretations of the data and conclusions I've been reading lately, was to make a post about studies in general. But I'm not prepared to do that today, so I'm going to wing it a bit.

I first want to say thank you to the person who left the following link: My Aspartame Experiment. Because it was very interesting. It's an article about an experiment with rats that Victoria Inness-Brown did, due to her concern for her family and friends. She wanted to prove to them that drinking diet sodas wasn't healthy. That it might cause them serious physical issues sometime in the future.

While her "intent" was good -- at least...I HOPE it was good, she really didn't prove what she wanted to prove, (that drinking diet soda is bad), because she couldn't figure out how to de-carbonate a can of soda. She needed to be able to get it into the rat's drinking bottles without the pressure from the carbonation spilling it all over the place.

I was a bit surprised, because that really is VERY EASY to do. But I thought...okay. Whatever.

She decided to use Nutrasweet packets instead. The ones folks use to sweeten their coffee. Filled with maltodextrin, which obviously was going to skew the results since that is NOT the same type of Aspartame found in diet soda and other sugar-free products, and because the maltodextrin itself could cause issues. But hey. If you can't figure out how to make a can of soda go flat, then what else are you gonna do???

She took 108 assorted rats, broke them up into 4 groups, male/female Nutrasweet users and male/female controls, and then dumped Nutrasweet into the first groups' continuous water supply at a rate of 2 packets per 8oz of water. According to her chart posted on the first page of the article, that worked out to be 34mg/kg for males, and 45mg/kg for females.

Only when she got to the part in her narrative about daily dosages, she claimed she was giving the males (who weighed 1 lb each) 16.9 mg per day, and the females (who weighed .66 lb each) 13.5 mg per day. The equivalent of 2/3 of an 8oz serving of diet Coke.

SAY WHAT????

Okay...maybe she "does" have a Masters Degree in Mathematics, as she claims, but she didn't do the math right. She wasn't even close. No way was she giving those rats 2/3 of a cup of diet Coke equivalent in Aspartame per day. At 34mg per kg of body weight for males, (16.9 mg total per day) they were getting something like the equivalent of 15 cans of diet soda a day, and the females were getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 20!!!

Waaaay more than even a typical Diet Coke addict would drink.

Don't think so? I did my own math this way. Since her intent was to discover a relationship between what she was giving them, and what it would mean in human terms, I first did the math on myself. I weigh about 80 kg right now, (175 lbs), so multiplying that by 45 mg, the amount she gave her female rats, that comes out to be 3600 mg per day. The equivalent of the Aspartame in 20 cans of Diet Coke.

Then to double check myself, I did the math on her daily totals. The female rodents weighed .66 pounds. So that's .3 kg. Now...13.5 mg a day divided by .3 kg = 45 mg per kg of body weight. So yep, she was feeding them (the females) the sum of 20 cans of diet Coke per day.

Okay. No biggie. She's really, really EXAGGERATING here, but--even that much Coke per day still shouldn't produce the amount of, and degree of tumors that developed in her rodents over their lifespan, if Nutrasweet was safe. Right???

Well...here's the thing.

Researchers use rats and monkeys, because--what else (or who else I should say) are they gonna use to justify doing research on humans? They get something to look screwy in animals, then they can get the funding they need to try it out on us. Only the PROBLEM is that rats and monkeys don't exactly duplicate us. What happens to them in a given situation doesn't always equate into what would happen to us. So animal studies aren't conclusive. They don't prove anything. They just give us a sense of direction to go in.

And in this particular case, it doesn't mean squat because rats do "not" have a WELL DEVELOPED blood-brain barrier.

So when you feed them CONTINUOUS Aspartame-laced water, (and that's the ONLY liquid she gave them to drink throughout their entire lives, by the way), it immediately floods the brain with the stuff. Which is NOT what happens to us. We "do" have a well developed blood-brain barrier which works hard to keeps things like that out. So the effect from us drinking 20 cans of soda a day, and the effect of a rat drinking the equivalent of 20 cans of soda a day are not anywhere near the same.

Now I'm NOT saying that Aspartame isn't harmful, so don't get me wrong here. And I'm not saying that the experiment that this woman did was worthless. Because it DID show what happens when someone consumes Nutrasweet without a good, solid working brain-blood barrier.

What I'm saying is that what folks are running around trying to prove, and what they're attributing the danger to, doesn't make a whole lot of sense scientifically. Nutrasweet, and Aspartame in particular, breaks down the way it's supposed to. The way our bodies were designed to break it down. Into common everyday amino acids and other chemicals (found in the protein, fruits, and veggies we eat daily) that won't do us harm.

So what's REALLY going on???

Well...After reading this article, and seeing the results in RATS, I'm personally leaning towards the "idea" that folks who experience problems with Aspartame have probably somehow compromised their blood-brain barrier. Kindda like what happens with MS. Because "that" would be one way in which more Aspartame than normal could get into the brain, and cause all the havoc it's doing.

But that just a guess.