January 27, 2011

Brian Deer vs Dr. Wakefield Sparks Low-Carb Maintenance Lessons

I wrote an article a couple of days after Dr. Wakefield made a public statement addressing some accusations brought against him by Brian Deer and the British Medical Journal. Dr. Wakefield was the lead researcher in a study that was published in the Lancet back in 1998 that involved 12 children referred to the Royal Free Hospital for gastrointestinal problems by their personal physicians.

Several of the parents believed their children's issues had been caused by the MMR vaccine, but Wakefield's study found no such link. His paper clearly stated that. "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described." His findings? "We have identified a chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine."

No where in the entire study does Dr. Wakefield and colleagues say, or even suggest, that vaccines cause autism. In fact, my article wasn't even about that. It addressed Dr. Wakefield's response to Brian Deer's accusations; it addressed the fears, concerns, and frustrations of the parents involved in that study. It gave a link to the study itself, a link to a video where the letter the parents of the children involved sent to the British medical review board could be heard, a link to a film about the parents side of the issues could be viewed, and a link to a lengthy investigation done on Brian Deer.

The comments I got about my article, "Dr. Andrew Wakefield Speaks on Brian Deer, Autism, and Vaccines" at Suite101.com clearly showed that the individuals hadn't visited my links, had not even read Dr. Wakefield's study, or "heard" a single word I said. So far, most have responded with a statement of criticism that speaks to their own agenda and totally ignores what my article was about: the parents of the Lancet 12.

Rethinking over those comments this past week, the blindness and tunnel vision displayed, and in particular one individual's legitimate question and her follow-up that appealed to the writings of Brian Deer himself (an article he was paid to write for the pharmaceutical-controlled British Medical Journal) for the answers she sought, I couldn't help but see a comparison within the low-carb community - and probably all communities, for that matter.

WHY do we have such a hard time accepting the opinions of others as being legitimate perspective? Even to the point of declaring that there is no other side? Why do we have such a hard time understanding that everything is not about us? Everyone doesn't have blood sugar issues and hyperinsulinemia. Everyone should "not" be eating a low-carb diet. While it's a healthy way to eat, it fails many individuals.

I was amazed at the lengths the commenters on my article went to, to try and discredit me - all because I wasn't preaching their version of the truth. Many within the low-carb community do exactly the same thing. We can't get past a specific list of foods we consider low carb. We can't get past the idea that maybe...just maybe...some folks NEED to find a different way of doing things.

A lot of us have bought into the idea of low-carb magick. A lot of us really can't see the world through someone else's viewpoint other than our own. I really had this point driven home to me over the past couple of days. It's something I've been thinking about for awhile now, ever since I read Big Daddy D's question on his blog about why some of us are unable to stick to a low carb diet.

Why do we cheat?
And why can't we get back on the wagon?
Why is a low-carb diet so hard to live?

When I look at those who've gone all the way to goal, I find those who are happy eating strictly low-carb foods. I find some who jumped on the low-carb wagon and made it all the way to goal before their body stalled out. I find others who have gone at this a couple of times, but were not so far away from goal that they couldn't trick their body into giving up their fat stores before the body caught on to the game. I find individuals who metabolize dietary fats properly, so that approaching goal didn't mean eating next to nothing. In a real sense, those for whom a low-carb diet WORKS.

The reality that I've come to face this past week, really faced (and probably why I've had such a struggle writing about low-carb diets the past couple of years), is that quite frankly eating nothing but low-carb foods is not the way I want to spend the rest of my life.

However, with that said, there are many low-carb foods I enjoy eating, and I also came to that realization this week too. When I'm "on" a low-carb diet, I eat them. When I'm "off" of a low-carb diet, I don't. That's flat out crazy, because I LOVE chicken alfredo and spinach cream-cheese pie and strawberry cheesecake.

I'm beginning to understand that the lessons I've learned from following a low-carb diet, just like the lessons I've learned from following the old Weight-Watcher's exchange program, Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss Program (PSMF), Kimkins, and hHCG and all of the others, are lessons I must carry with me into my maintenance program. If I make a low-carb diet the foundation for a maintenance plan, I can seriously conquer and overcome the eating issues standing in my way.

That doesn't mean I can't put 1/2 of a small left-over baked potato in my scrambled eggs for breakfast. A half of a small potato did not get me fat. We're talking 10 carbs. It does mean that I have to change enough...enough to keep my weight from soaring back to what it was. If I want to keep what I have accomplished, I have to eat like a person who weighs what I currently do. I can't eat everything I want whenever I want to; but I can eat whatever I want. I just have to pick and choose what I'm going to eat...for today.

I've heard a lot of talk about how the Atkins Diet has evolved over the years, which is true...it has. Whether that evolvement came from science or a money-making scheme doesn't matter. However, I still find his original maintenance plan (published in 1972) to be worthy of consideration. His idea? Weigh yourself everyday, and give yourself a 5 pound maximum limit. When you reach that limit, go back onto Induction until that 5 pounds is gone.

I think the 5 pound limit is arbitrary. I've been using 3 pounds as my maximum weight-gain limit this diet break, and it's been working wonderfully for me. Not your typical low-carb maintenance plan, but it's been keeping my weight stable, and teaching me what I can and cannot eat for more than one or two days at a time. The trick is to make sure, doubly sure, you lower your carb intake at the point where your maximum weight gain is reached. For me, that has made all of the difference this time around.

January 13, 2011

Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup

Heavy Metals in High Fructose Corn Syrup May Have Metabolic Consequences
I was Shocked to Learn that
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Contains Mercury
Folks in the low-carb community have demonized high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for as far back as I can remember.

I used to think that was a bit nutty and off-the-wall, especially when someone freaked out about the minute amounts found in salad dressing sprays.

Arguments surrounding HFCS always center around blood-sugar issues and hyperinsulinemia. The problem with those arguments? Not everyone who is overweight experiences a dramatic rise in blood glucose levels when they eat sugar.

My husband is a good example of that.

However, the nutty stuff came to a sudden halt for me when I learned that some brands of HFCS contain heavy traces of mercury.