Odds And Ends (Mostly Odds)

      106 Comments on Odds And Ends (Mostly Odds)

Time to clean out the bookmarks in my browser again.  Here are some of the items I saved in recent months but never found worthy of a full post:

Diet Purists Are Mentally Unbalanced

All this time, I’ve been thinking I changed my diet to improve my body. Turns out I was just losing my mind.  “An obsession with healthy eating” has been labeled as a “serious psychological condition” and (this is the really important part) given a Latin-sounding name — orthorexia nervosa.  Once you give an otherwise benign behavior or condition a Latin-sounding name, that makes it an official disease … like when “married for 35 years” was renamed erectile dysfunction.  Here are the symptoms of orthorexia nervosa:

Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out. The obsession about which foods are “good” and which are “bad” means orthorexics can end up malnourished.

If untreated, the disease can apparently lead to all kinds of crazy behaviors:

“It’s everywhere, from the people who think it’s normal if their friends stop eating entire food groups, to the trainers in the gym who promote certain foods to enhance performance, to the proliferation of nutritionists, dieticians and naturopaths who believe in curing problems through entirely natural methods such as sunlight and massage.”

That means nutrition fanatic /  massage therapist /sun-worshipper /carb avoider  Dana Carpender is officially wacko.  I could’ve sworn she’s just spunky.

The article didn’t specify, but I’m guessing treatment involves a strict regimen of beer, pizza, Little Debbie Snack Cakes, corn dogs, fructose-sweetened soy milk, frappucinos, and Chunky Monkey ice cream. Oh, and statins too, since they cure pretty much everything.

Give me a break. If you eliminate foods you believe are bad for your health, you’re not nuts; you’re conscientious.  If you post dozens of 1000-word essays in the comments section of a blog because you believe it’s your mission to convert all non-believers to a “plant-based diet,” then you’re mentally unbalanced.

Exploding Heads

What’s the best way to calm people who have a stress-related condition? I vote for naming the condition Exploding Head Syndrome.

“Any idea what could be causing this, doctor?”

“Nothing to worry about.  Looks to me like a simple case of Exploding Head Syndrome. ”

“Whaaaaat?!!”

“Now, don’t get excited it’s just a  … would you mind moving away from that vase?  The shards could be dangerous.”

Marie Raymond sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, freaked out by the sound of her name being shouted loud and clear. Other times she’ll be awakened by the sound of a huge crash, as if someone has broken a window or knocked over a set of dishes. After dealing with it off and on for the last several months, Raymond believes she may have exploding head syndrome.

As strange as the name sounds, exploding head syndrome is actually a rare and relatively undocumented sleep phenomenon. While sleeping or dozing, a person with the condition hears a terrifically loud sound in their head, such as a bomb exploding, a clash of cymbals or a gun going off.

I know how Ms. Raymond feels. In college, I once jerked awake after hearing banging, breaking glass, and my name being shouted.  Turned out it was just my roommate coming home after night of experimenting with illegal substances.

But I do wake up now and then after hearing my name called out while I’m sleeping. (Seriously, I do.)  It’s never really freaked me out, though — except for the one time I decided to answer.

“Tom!”

“Uh … yeah?”

“Just seeing if you’re still alive. Guess we have to wait awhile longer.”

“Excuse me?!”

“Nothing.”

Plains Indians Were Tall And Healthy

The buffalo-hunting Indian tribes were the tallest people in the world at time, according to a recent study:

The average adult male Plains Indian stood 172.6 centimeters tall — about 5 feet 8 inches. The next tallest people in the world at that time were Australian men, who averaged 172 centimeters. European American men of the time averaged 171 centimeters tall, and men living in European countries were typically several centimeters shorter.

These results contradict the modern image of American Indians as being sickly victims succumbing to European disease, said Richard Steckel, co-author of the study and professor of economics and anthropology at Ohio State University.

This study shows that despite the many technological advantages that the European-American settlers had over the American Indians, the Plains tribes enjoyed better health, at least nutritionally.

While the reasons for the general good health of the Plains Indians compared to whites has not been extensively studied, Steckel said several plausible theories exist. For one, the Plains Indians ate a varied diet that included a variety of native plants, as well as buffalo and other game that typically roamed the Great Plains.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Indians’ diet didn’t include sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn, dairy foods, pesticides, herbicides or artificial additives … so while they were tall, they suffered from extremely high rates of orthorexia nervosa.

Bribery Lowers Health-Care Costs

I expect the current administration to jump all over this idea:

It has long been one of the most vexing causes of America’s skyrocketing health costs: people not taking their medicine. One-third to one-half of all patients do not take medication as prescribed, and up to one-quarter never fill prescriptions at all, experts say. Such lapses fuel more than $100 billion dollars in health costs annually because those patients often get sicker.

Now, a controversial and seemingly counterintuitive effort to tackle the problem is gaining ground: paying people money to take medicine or to comply with prescribed treatment. The idea, which is being embraced by doctors, pharmacy companies, insurers and researchers, is that paying modest financial incentives up front can save much larger costs of hospitalization.

I can’t believe it took the health experts so long to reach this conclusion.  All they have to do is read a few books on economic history and they’d learn that health-care costs were a heck of a lot lower 50 years ago because everyone was taking six or seven prescription drugs.  Now most adults only take two or three, and look where that’s gotten us.

Aetna has begun paying doctors bonuses for prescribing medication likely to prevent problems: beta blockers to prevent heart attacks, statins for diabetes sufferers. Currently, 93,000 doctors are in Aetna’s “pay for performance” program; bonuses average three percent to five percent of a practice’s base income. Even the new federal health care overhaul includes incentives, expanding a program paying pharmacists extra for helping some Medicare patients learn to take pills correctly.

So that’s how we bring down runaway health-care costs: give pharmacists federal dollars to do their jobs.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines also suggest using financial incentives to encourage people to follow the advice. Perfect. Let’s pay farmers to produce lots of whole grains, soy products and vegetable oils, then pay people to eat them. Then when those people become fatter and sicker, we can pay pharmacists to show them how to take their medications, then pay the patients to take the medications.

While we’re at it, we should also pay psychiatrists to prescribe anti-psychotics for people who refuse to eat whole grains, soy products and vegetable oils, then pay pharmacists to mix the drugs into some grass-fed hamburger patties.

Canadian Bacon

According to a recent survey, 43% of Canadians prefer bacon over sex.  I’m not sure what to make of this one.  I can only assume the bacon is very, very good or the sex is very, very British.  Since the bacon-over-sex preference dropped significantly in French Quebec, it’s probably the latter.

As far as I know, I’ve only had sex with one Canadian, which is too small of a sample to make statistically significant comparisons to bacon.  I’d apply for a grant to conduct more research into the matter, but I’m pretty sure my wife would rescind my bacon privileges for life.

Research Endowment

Another study I wouldn’t want to explain to my wife … conducted in France (of course), with an abstract (I’m not making this up) on PubMed:

To test the effect of a woman’s bust size on the rate of help offered, 1200 male and female French motorists were tested in a hitchhiking situation. A 20-yr.-old female confederate wore a bra which permitted variation in the size of cup to vary her breast size. She stood by the side of a road frequented by hitchhikers and held out her thumb to catch a ride. Increasing the bra-size of the female-hitchhiker was significantly associated with an increase in number of male drivers, but not female drivers, who stopped to offer a ride.

Now ya tell me.  If my car ever breaks down and I need to hitchhike, I’m going to regret going low-carb and losing my boobs.  I’m not a big fan of drawing conclusions from associations, but in the case of this study, I’m pretty sure we’re looking at cause and effect.

Cow Farts Exonerated In Global-Warming Caper

I don’t know if this is good news or bad news.  I was really hoping those “Meatless Mondays” at Harvard would save Manhattan from sinking into the ocean 20 years from now.  Our only hope now is to switch to fluorescent bulbs and give our homes the warm, relaxing ambience of gas-station mini-marts.  Here’s the story:

In the past environmentalists, from Lord Stern to Sir Paul McCartney, have urged people to stop eating meat because the methane produced by cattle causes global warming. However a new study found that cattle grazed on the grasslands of China actually reduce another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.

Authors of the paper, published in Nature, say the research does not mean that producing livestock to eat is good for the environment in all countries. However in certain circumstances, it can be better for global warming to let animals graze on grassland. The research will reignite the argument over whether to eat red meat after other studies suggested that grass fed cattle in the UK and US can also be good for the environment as long as the animals are free range.

Free-range animals are actually good for the environment?  Well, I am shocked.  Next they’ll discover that ruminant animals have been roaming the planet for millions of years without destroying it.

Lierre Keith already figured this stuff out, but somebody needs to inform Dean Ornish.

Door-To-Door Meat

Here in my home state of Tennessee, a man was arrested for swallowing a half-burned marijuana cigarette when police stopped him for questioning.  That’s not the weird part.  The weird part is that he was selling meat door-to-door. From what I can gather, he wasn’t a successful door-to-door meat salesman, but that’s clearly due to having a lousy territory.  He should’ve been selling in Canada.  That would’ve allowed him to work a sales pitch like this:

“Good morning, ma’am.  I’m here in the neighborhood offering housewives like yourself a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have sex with me.”

“What?!  Go away, you pervert, eh?”

“Or we could smoke a joint and eat some of this fine bacon.”

“Listen, ya hoser, I’ll call the … oh. Would you like to come in?”

Meat Is Murder, So Murder The Meat

I guess the door-to-door meat salesman was lucky he didn’t ring this guy’s bell:

A knife-wielding man was arrested earlier this week in what police called a meat massacre at a south-central Indiana supermarket. When officers arrived, they found meat scattered everywhere in what Edinburgh police called one of the most bizarre cases they had ever investigated.

Police said Anthony Coffman, 28, used a hunting knife to cut through meat packages, throwing open containers of raw beef on the floor. He then poured dog food over some of the meat in hopes of contaminating it so it couldn’t be sold, said Edinburgh police Deputy Chief David Lutz. A store employee tried to stop Coffman, but gave up when he threatened the employee with the knife, police said.

Whoa, there, buddy!  You don’t want to stab a human!  They’re almost the metaphysical equals of cows.

Coffman told police that he is a vegetarian and gets upset when others consume beef, telling the employee that God sent him to ruin the meat and that he was trying to save little girls from food he believes would make them “chubby.”

Police think an argument earlier in the day prompted the incident. “He’d got into it with his grandmother. She was preparing a pot roast … and he was upset over that,” Lutz said. “Him and her had a few words, and then a couple hours later, he’s down there at the Jay C Food Store doing this.”

Good thing the guy doesn’t eat meat, or he might’ve become mean and aggressive.  Coffman is clearly out of his gourd.  Meat doesn’t make girls chubby … it just causes global warming.

The article didn’t say if the knife-wielding vegetarian would serve time in prison.  If so, I suspect he’ll lobby for internet privileges and occupy himself leaving 1000-word comments on my blog.


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106 thoughts on “Odds And Ends (Mostly Odds)

  1. Lori

    I recently blogged about cutting out entire food groups. The very people who criticize the practice are themselves guilty of it. They’re cutting out the plankton group, the grass group (they could eat it if they took enough cellulase pills), the insect group and the organ meat group. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    Those plains Indians were, I am sure, eating quite a bit of two of those groups. Here on the western plains, there ain’t much besides grass, game, sand, hard clay soil and 13″ of moisture a year. Berries are tiny and native rose hips are so hard and yucky that the birds and squirrels won’t touch them.

    My girls discovered the insect group after watching Man vs. Wild. They now have well-informed opinions about which ants taste best. I understand the red ones are spicier.

    Reply
  2. Be

    Hallelujah! We just need to tweak the 12 step program:

    1. We admitted we were powerless over carbohydrates and our will power has become unmanageable.
    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves (the Dietary Guidelines) could restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Vegans and Tree Huggers.
    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our pantries, and have removed all animal products.
    5. Admitted to our Doctor, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our dietary wrongs.
    6. Were entirely ready to have the National Corn Growers Association remove all these defects of our character.
    7. Humbly asked Dr. Ornish to remove our shortcomings.
    8. Made a list of all mammals we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. Made direct amends to all Fast Foods purveyors wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    10. Continued to eat without harming any life and when we were wrong promptly admitted it and ate more grain and tree bark.
    11. Sought through voices in the night to prevent our heads from exploding.
    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to all other Orthorexics, and to consume statins as often as possible.

    Before the grammar Nazi attacks my writing I have chosen to follow the lead of AA – they were a bunch of drunks after all. Oops – sorry, drunks don’t have to go to those damn meetings.

    Love it. And at the end of each meeting, donuts.

    Reply
  3. Ailu

    Your post about orthorexia nervosa had me laughing. But now I’m wondering if it might apply to the florist down the road from me. She believes she has worms & parasites (admitted to me that she never was ever tested but “knows” she has them) thus she can’t eat “this” -“the worms will feast on it!” – and can’t eat “that” – “It makes the parasites multiply!” and good heavens, she can’t eat “this” with “that”, it would cause “gastrointestinal spasms that would kill her”. There’s just no helping the poor thing.

    Yikes. She sounds like a hypochondriac.

    Reply
  4. Ailu

    Your post about orthorexia nervosa had me laughing. But now I’m wondering if it might apply to the florist down the road from me. She believes she has worms & parasites (admitted to me that she never was ever tested but “knows” she has them) thus she can’t eat “this” -“the worms will feast on it!” – and can’t eat “that” – “It makes the parasites multiply!” and good heavens, she can’t eat “this” with “that”, it would cause “gastrointestinal spasms that would kill her”. There’s just no helping the poor thing.

    Yikes. She sounds like a hypochondriac.

    Reply
  5. Kate

    There’s already a miracle drug for treating Orthorexia. Insulin. Just a small dose should give anyone the shakes enough to convince them to eat some healthy, healthy sugar. In a few years, they will be cured of this dreaded disease, but unfortunately will have developed all sorts of mysterious problems that (of course) have nothing to do with the treatment.

    And what? Paying more money to encourage people to take drugs they might not need? Sounds like the same logic that dictates using a credit card to buy a TV when you spent all your money on necessities.

    I really, really hope there’s a radical change in the make up of Congress after November!

    That makes two of us.

    Reply
  6. darMA

    Hmmm, not so sure they ought to serve donuts at the Orthorexic meetings. Might that not lead to some of those raids by police with guns drawn (to confiscate the donuts)??

    Reply
  7. Kate

    There’s already a miracle drug for treating Orthorexia. Insulin. Just a small dose should give anyone the shakes enough to convince them to eat some healthy, healthy sugar. In a few years, they will be cured of this dreaded disease, but unfortunately will have developed all sorts of mysterious problems that (of course) have nothing to do with the treatment.

    And what? Paying more money to encourage people to take drugs they might not need? Sounds like the same logic that dictates using a credit card to buy a TV when you spent all your money on necessities.

    I really, really hope there’s a radical change in the make up of Congress after November!

    That makes two of us.

    Reply
  8. Pipi

    Paradoxically, trying to foist HFCS on consumers under the user-friendly name “corn sugar” could actually end up being an unwitting public service. It might help people wise up to how manufacturers are increasingly manipulating ingredients lists. They’ve learned to swaddle sugar in such nice, fluffy terms as “organic evaporated cane juice”, “grape juice concentrate” and “naturally-derived brown rice syrup”, so as not to scare away the granola-munching, crochet-your-own-yoghurt crowd.

    I bet you could probably pick up many self-proclaimed “health foods” with several such terms scattered liberally through the ingredients list. Concentrated fruit? I mean that’s probably like fruit, but better, right? And *brown* rice syrup? That’s probably pretty low on the glycemic index; sounds like one of those healthy-slow release carbohydrates I should eat more of.

    Of course, the irony is that the organic, natural agave nectar they are willing to pay such a premium for contains far more fructose than the HFCS they wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same….

    The Soy Silk garbage that vegetarians consider the healthy alternative to milk is full of “evaporated cane juice.” That’s just sugar with a teeny bit more vitamin and mineral content.

    Reply
  9. darMA

    Hmmm, not so sure they ought to serve donuts at the Orthorexic meetings. Might that not lead to some of those raids by police with guns drawn (to confiscate the donuts)??

    Reply
  10. D.

    I’m glad to know the name of my mysterious ailment. Now, when I turn down a particular food, I can with all confidence tell the person offering the food, (in a low voice, for drama,) “I can’t eat that, I have orthorexia nervosa.”

    I hadn’t thought about the possible advantages. I’ve used the “I have a wheat allergy” line to stop people from pushing donuts or cake on me, but “I have orthrexia” could cover anything.

    Reply
  11. Leta

    You know, you need not be a conservative or a libertarian to acknowledge there is something deeply wrong with the current system of “food safety”, and to want to participate (on the good side) in the growing battle over food rights.

    My political philosophy is very simple: individual over government, environmental protections over corporate desires. It is because I hold stewardship of our planet and individual rights dear that I care about our ridiculous industrial model of food production, and our right to choose foods produced outside that model.

    I have a degree in public health. There are, sadly, a lot of folks who call for more regulation, as well as completely outlawing things like tobacco. However, at least in my program, the professors, to a person, went out of their way to point out all the problems this mode of thinking causes. In my philosophy, there is no “balancing” personal freedoms with regulation. Personal freedoms are paramount.

    Call me a cynic, but I think that, as beholden to corporate interests as both parties are, and as beneficial as “safety regulations” are to agribusiness, no politicians are going to run toward food deregulation. I hope I’m wrong- hell, if I am, that would be about the only thing that could turn me toward voting Republican. 🙂

    I think that right now, the fight for food rights being a trans/extra partisan grassroots movement (such as the mass shift away from HFCS), well, I think that’s the way to go. WAPF, for example, seems to be doing well keeping things on a state level, which only makes sense since most people who care about food also care about local eating.

    I don’t expect either major party to move toward more food deregulation. That’s not being cynical; it’s recognizing reality.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or scream when pundits talk about how the political “pendulum” keeps America balanced. Yeah, riiiiight … we swing back and forth between the party that expands government as rapidly as it can and the party that expands government not quite so rapidly … unless it wants to capture the senior-citizen vote or tap more phones.

    When the pendulum swings to a party that actually shrinks the previous expansions, then we’ll be balanced.

    Reply
  12. Susan

    I love how the article about “orthorexics” doesn’t mention meat or fat in the list of things that the “sufferers” avoid. I know tons of people who obsess over every spec of fat and every shred of meat, as directed by their doctors and government. Avoiding meat and fat = you’re being heart healthy! Avoiding sugar, wheat, gluten, or corn = you’re mentally ill!

    I wondered if they were being careful not to offend the vegan Hezbollah.

    Reply
  13. Wanda

    @ Jan
    Mebbe it had more to do with the chemist part than the Canadian part… 😛 Yes, I’m Canadian, but nerds are nerds! 😀

    Reply
  14. Pipi

    Paradoxically, trying to foist HFCS on consumers under the user-friendly name “corn sugar” could actually end up being an unwitting public service. It might help people wise up to how manufacturers are increasingly manipulating ingredients lists. They’ve learned to swaddle sugar in such nice, fluffy terms as “organic evaporated cane juice”, “grape juice concentrate” and “naturally-derived brown rice syrup”, so as not to scare away the granola-munching, crochet-your-own-yoghurt crowd.

    I bet you could probably pick up many self-proclaimed “health foods” with several such terms scattered liberally through the ingredients list. Concentrated fruit? I mean that’s probably like fruit, but better, right? And *brown* rice syrup? That’s probably pretty low on the glycemic index; sounds like one of those healthy-slow release carbohydrates I should eat more of.

    Of course, the irony is that the organic, natural agave nectar they are willing to pay such a premium for contains far more fructose than the HFCS they wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same….

    The Soy Silk garbage that vegetarians consider the healthy alternative to milk is full of “evaporated cane juice.” That’s just sugar with a teeny bit more vitamin and mineral content.

    Reply
  15. RobR

    I can believe… but hate to realize they serve donuts and coffee at AA meetings….

    A video I watched (that I need to fact check) said 97% of alcoholics are hypoglycemic. What do they think giving them a huge dose of sugar is going to do to their desire to drink?

    I’m not sure about that figure, but as someone who once attended AA meetings, I can attest to the large number of sugar addicts in the ranks.

    Reply
  16. Char

    I heard through the grapevine that Insurance companies are changing things to come more in line with Obamacare. The Doctors were told that if they have, for example, a diabetic patient with out of control blood sugar because they aren’t taking their medication then the doctor will not be paid for treating the patient. Why is that the doctor’s fault?

    Thanks for lightening up heavy subjects, Tom. Your blog is always a fun read.

    There are all kinds of suprises awaiting us in the monster health-care bill, which the congresspersons never read. As Nancy Pelosi explained, “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”

    Reply
  17. D.

    I’m glad to know the name of my mysterious ailment. Now, when I turn down a particular food, I can with all confidence tell the person offering the food, (in a low voice, for drama,) “I can’t eat that, I have orthorexia nervosa.”

    I hadn’t thought about the possible advantages. I’ve used the “I have a wheat allergy” line to stop people from pushing donuts or cake on me, but “I have orthrexia” could cover anything.

    Reply
  18. Leta

    You know, you need not be a conservative or a libertarian to acknowledge there is something deeply wrong with the current system of “food safety”, and to want to participate (on the good side) in the growing battle over food rights.

    My political philosophy is very simple: individual over government, environmental protections over corporate desires. It is because I hold stewardship of our planet and individual rights dear that I care about our ridiculous industrial model of food production, and our right to choose foods produced outside that model.

    I have a degree in public health. There are, sadly, a lot of folks who call for more regulation, as well as completely outlawing things like tobacco. However, at least in my program, the professors, to a person, went out of their way to point out all the problems this mode of thinking causes. In my philosophy, there is no “balancing” personal freedoms with regulation. Personal freedoms are paramount.

    Call me a cynic, but I think that, as beholden to corporate interests as both parties are, and as beneficial as “safety regulations” are to agribusiness, no politicians are going to run toward food deregulation. I hope I’m wrong- hell, if I am, that would be about the only thing that could turn me toward voting Republican. 🙂

    I think that right now, the fight for food rights being a trans/extra partisan grassroots movement (such as the mass shift away from HFCS), well, I think that’s the way to go. WAPF, for example, seems to be doing well keeping things on a state level, which only makes sense since most people who care about food also care about local eating.

    I don’t expect either major party to move toward more food deregulation. That’s not being cynical; it’s recognizing reality.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or scream when pundits talk about how the political “pendulum” keeps America balanced. Yeah, riiiiight … we swing back and forth between the party that expands government as rapidly as it can and the party that expands government not quite so rapidly … unless it wants to capture the senior-citizen vote or tap more phones.

    When the pendulum swings to a party that actually shrinks the previous expansions, then we’ll be balanced.

    Reply
  19. Susan

    I love how the article about “orthorexics” doesn’t mention meat or fat in the list of things that the “sufferers” avoid. I know tons of people who obsess over every spec of fat and every shred of meat, as directed by their doctors and government. Avoiding meat and fat = you’re being heart healthy! Avoiding sugar, wheat, gluten, or corn = you’re mentally ill!

    I wondered if they were being careful not to offend the vegan Hezbollah.

    Reply
  20. Wanda

    @ Jan
    Mebbe it had more to do with the chemist part than the Canadian part… 😛 Yes, I’m Canadian, but nerds are nerds! 😀

    Reply
  21. Pipi

    Maybe the idea behind habitually giving sugar to alcoholics is to increase their body mass to the point where they can soak up the alcohol better? 🙂

    Although the real reason that all these self-help groups are stocked with doughnuts is probably that sweet treats are ingrained (heh) in our culture as the ultimate comfort food. What better than a comforting hug from our sweet friend insulin?

    ….followed by the proverbial swift kick to the marital sector half an hour later.

    If only people would start grilling steaks rather than baking cookies when they want to commiserate others.

    Alcoholics are sugar-burners. After giving up alcohol, they crave sugar. When I switched to a low-carb diet and retrained my body to burn fat as my primary fuel, my constant craving for alcohol went away too.

    Reply
  22. Pipi

    PS Want to know another natural “healthy” sweetener higher in fructose than HFCS? Darling of the herbal tea drinking brigades, honey!

    Indeed. Not everything that’s natural is good for us. Ricin is natural, and it’s used as a poison.

    Reply
  23. Dana Carpender

    Hey, Tom, thanks for the mention! But never dismiss the possibility that I’m both spunky *and* nuts.

    I guess they’re not mutually exclusive, now that you mention it.

    Reply
  24. k_the_c

    re: HFCS/corn sugar

    According to Johnson and Lustig, they’re essentially the same metabolically:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM#t=18m20s

    Though, Johnson points out the rats fed HFCS equivalent and sucrose both developed fatty liver, though the HFCS rats were more severe. Johnson also makes a distinction between high blood sugar and insulin resistance, the latter being the real problem.

    Dextrose (pure glucose) is also made from corn and can be purchased online.

    Reply
  25. Dana Carpender

    Felix, what if you don’t eat potatoes or bread because you know that 90 minutes later you’ll feel crappy, and the next morning your pants will be tight, so you look at them and think, “Oh, man, SO not worth it?”

    Reply
  26. RobR

    I can believe… but hate to realize they serve donuts and coffee at AA meetings….

    A video I watched (that I need to fact check) said 97% of alcoholics are hypoglycemic. What do they think giving them a huge dose of sugar is going to do to their desire to drink?

    I’m not sure about that figure, but as someone who once attended AA meetings, I can attest to the large number of sugar addicts in the ranks.

    Reply
  27. Char

    I heard through the grapevine that Insurance companies are changing things to come more in line with Obamacare. The Doctors were told that if they have, for example, a diabetic patient with out of control blood sugar because they aren’t taking their medication then the doctor will not be paid for treating the patient. Why is that the doctor’s fault?

    Thanks for lightening up heavy subjects, Tom. Your blog is always a fun read.

    There are all kinds of suprises awaiting us in the monster health-care bill, which the congresspersons never read. As Nancy Pelosi explained, “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”

    Reply
  28. Pipi

    Maybe the idea behind habitually giving sugar to alcoholics is to increase their body mass to the point where they can soak up the alcohol better? 🙂

    Although the real reason that all these self-help groups are stocked with doughnuts is probably that sweet treats are ingrained (heh) in our culture as the ultimate comfort food. What better than a comforting hug from our sweet friend insulin?

    ….followed by the proverbial swift kick to the marital sector half an hour later.

    If only people would start grilling steaks rather than baking cookies when they want to commiserate others.

    Alcoholics are sugar-burners. After giving up alcohol, they crave sugar. When I switched to a low-carb diet and retrained my body to burn fat as my primary fuel, my constant craving for alcohol went away too.

    Reply
  29. Pipi

    PS Want to know another natural “healthy” sweetener higher in fructose than HFCS? Darling of the herbal tea drinking brigades, honey!

    Indeed. Not everything that’s natural is good for us. Ricin is natural, and it’s used as a poison.

    Reply
  30. k_the_c

    re: HFCS/corn sugar

    According to Johnson and Lustig, they’re essentially the same metabolically:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUMtrs8vW2Y#t=5m18s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM#t=18m20s

    Though, Johnson points out the rats fed HFCS equivalent and sucrose both developed fatty liver, though the HFCS rats were more severe. Johnson also makes a distinction between high blood sugar and insulin resistance, the latter being the real problem.

    Dextrose (pure glucose) is also made from corn and can be purchased online.

    Reply
  31. RobR

    I did a little searching to follow up the 97% of alcoholics being hypoglycemia idea…

    As I suspected it appears to have quite a bit of validity with many studies done for it. Yet you go to wikipedia and you don’t see a single mention of the connection. But you’ll find a whole lot of psychological theory :-/

    I simple search result will bring up a lot of pages mentioning different studies: here is a snippit. http://knol.google.com/k/alcoholism-and-hypoglycemia#

    Study after study has demonstrated that the vast majority of alcoholics are hypoglycemic. In one conducted by J. Poulos, D. Stafford, and K. Carron, fifty outpatient alcoholics and fifty halfway-house alcoholics were compared with a control group of one hundred nurses and teenagers. Of the one hundred alcoholics, ninety-six proved to be hypoglycemic; only fourteen of the nonalcoholic controls were hypoglycemic. A three-year study by Robert Meiers, M.D., in Santa Cruz, California, found that more than 95 percent of alcoholics studied suffered from low blood sugar.

    Looks to me like a low carb diet could very well be the cure to the blood sugar swings that is alcoholism.

    I spoke about that topic during a podcast with Nora Gedgaudas. We were both careful to avoid saying that alcholics could go low-carb and then return to normal drinking — don’t want any hard-core drunks to use my experience as an excuse — but that’s what happened with me. With the carb addiction gone, I could drink normally again. I can now drink a glass of wine or two or a beer or two then stop, no desire to keep drinking. Even on the occasions when I drink more, it no longer leads to a week of binge drinking.

    Reply
  32. Dana Carpender

    Felix, what if you don’t eat potatoes or bread because you know that 90 minutes later you’ll feel crappy, and the next morning your pants will be tight, so you look at them and think, “Oh, man, SO not worth it?”

    Reply
  33. M

    re: “Yes, I’d be suspicious of any doctor who wanted to sell you supplements right out of his or her own store. ”

    Eades does.

    Pentabasol?

    My naturopathic doctor in L.A. also sold supplements, but as a matter of convenience. He made it clear you could buy the same stuff elsewhere.

    Reply
  34. Tobias

    Felix,
    “If you develop a fear of eating a potato or a piece of bread every now and again, I think you’re on the border of orthorexia.”

    I don’t have any “fear” of potatoes or bread, I just don’t personally consider them “food” anymore and so I don’t eat them.
    Besides, if you’re gluten intolerant or sensitive, eating a piece of bread “every now and again” will make your disease continue full blown.
    There are also many people who are nightshade sensitive, which means that they react badly towards nightshades like potatoes with various pains in the body.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with totally avoiding certain foods if they make you feel bad.

    Reply
  35. Lori

    Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (from 1972) says that almost all alcoholics are hypoglyemics.

    My family has metabolic problems, but most of us don’t care for alcohol. My father worked at a brewery and hardly ever drank beer. But caffeine and sugar and chocolate? A family reunion book had recipes from various immediate and extended family members. Every recipe but one was for no-bake chocolate cookies. (The chicken recipe was from me. I can’t stop myself when I start eating cookies–except for Dana Carpender’s low-carb chocolate chip cookies. A two-cookie serving is just right.)

    I read the Atkins book but didn’t remember that passage. It really struck me when Nora Gedgaudas described the sugar addiction/alcohol addiction connection in Primal Body, Primal Mind.

    Reply
  36. RobR

    I did a little searching to follow up the 97% of alcoholics being hypoglycemia idea…

    As I suspected it appears to have quite a bit of validity with many studies done for it. Yet you go to wikipedia and you don’t see a single mention of the connection. But you’ll find a whole lot of psychological theory :-/

    I simple search result will bring up a lot of pages mentioning different studies: here is a snippit. http://knol.google.com/k/alcoholism-and-hypoglycemia#

    Study after study has demonstrated that the vast majority of alcoholics are hypoglycemic. In one conducted by J. Poulos, D. Stafford, and K. Carron, fifty outpatient alcoholics and fifty halfway-house alcoholics were compared with a control group of one hundred nurses and teenagers. Of the one hundred alcoholics, ninety-six proved to be hypoglycemic; only fourteen of the nonalcoholic controls were hypoglycemic. A three-year study by Robert Meiers, M.D., in Santa Cruz, California, found that more than 95 percent of alcoholics studied suffered from low blood sugar.

    Looks to me like a low carb diet could very well be the cure to the blood sugar swings that is alcoholism.

    I spoke about that topic during a podcast with Nora Gedgaudas. We were both careful to avoid saying that alcholics could go low-carb and then return to normal drinking — don’t want any hard-core drunks to use my experience as an excuse — but that’s what happened with me. With the carb addiction gone, I could drink normally again. I can now drink a glass of wine or two or a beer or two then stop, no desire to keep drinking. Even on the occasions when I drink more, it no longer leads to a week of binge drinking.

    Reply
  37. M

    re: “Yes, I’d be suspicious of any doctor who wanted to sell you supplements right out of his or her own store. ”

    Eades does.

    Pentabasol?

    My naturopathic doctor in L.A. also sold supplements, but as a matter of convenience. He made it clear you could buy the same stuff elsewhere.

    Reply
  38. Felix

    I meant it when I said that believing that a potato or a piece of bread will cause severe damage is on the border of orthorexia. It’s no different from vegans who worry that eating a piece of meat will ruin their digestion, raw foodists who think they are poisoned by cooked vegetables or organic food junkies who can feel the pesticides in nonorganic apples, but have no worries with organic broccoli or potatoes with skin, which have a way higher natural pesticide level to begin with.
    It’s called the nocebo effect and it can be the beginning of an unhealthy obsession.
    Here’s something I found by googling a bit:

    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-some-food-can-make-us-sick.html

    I agree that if you believe one potato or piece of bread will kill you or ruin your health, something is wrong. I prefer the diet gurus who say it’s a matter of eating correctly most of the time, which is what I do.

    The Fat Head premiere party was held at an Italian restaurant because it was the only one in town where we could rent a separate room big enough to put up a screen and a sound system. Two famous low-carb doctors ate some of the pasta, pizza, and Italian desserts, since that’s what was being served.

    Reply
  39. Tobias

    Felix,
    “If you develop a fear of eating a potato or a piece of bread every now and again, I think you’re on the border of orthorexia.”

    I don’t have any “fear” of potatoes or bread, I just don’t personally consider them “food” anymore and so I don’t eat them.
    Besides, if you’re gluten intolerant or sensitive, eating a piece of bread “every now and again” will make your disease continue full blown.
    There are also many people who are nightshade sensitive, which means that they react badly towards nightshades like potatoes with various pains in the body.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with totally avoiding certain foods if they make you feel bad.

    Reply
  40. Lori

    Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (from 1972) says that almost all alcoholics are hypoglyemics.

    My family has metabolic problems, but most of us don’t care for alcohol. My father worked at a brewery and hardly ever drank beer. But caffeine and sugar and chocolate? A family reunion book had recipes from various immediate and extended family members. Every recipe but one was for no-bake chocolate cookies. (The chicken recipe was from me. I can’t stop myself when I start eating cookies–except for Dana Carpender’s low-carb chocolate chip cookies. A two-cookie serving is just right.)

    I read the Atkins book but didn’t remember that passage. It really struck me when Nora Gedgaudas described the sugar addiction/alcohol addiction connection in Primal Body, Primal Mind.

    Reply
  41. Felix

    I meant it when I said that believing that a potato or a piece of bread will cause severe damage is on the border of orthorexia. It’s no different from vegans who worry that eating a piece of meat will ruin their digestion, raw foodists who think they are poisoned by cooked vegetables or organic food junkies who can feel the pesticides in nonorganic apples, but have no worries with organic broccoli or potatoes with skin, which have a way higher natural pesticide level to begin with.
    It’s called the nocebo effect and it can be the beginning of an unhealthy obsession.
    Here’s something I found by googling a bit:

    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-some-food-can-make-us-sick.html

    I agree that if you believe one potato or piece of bread will kill you or ruin your health, something is wrong. I prefer the diet gurus who say it’s a matter of eating correctly most of the time, which is what I do.

    The Fat Head premiere party was held at an Italian restaurant because it was the only one in town where we could rent a separate room big enough to put up a screen and a sound system. Two famous low-carb doctors ate some of the pasta, pizza, and Italian desserts, since that’s what was being served.

    Reply
  42. Ryan

    “For one, the Plains Indians ate a varied diet that included a variety of native plants, as well as buffalo and other game that typically roamed the Great Plains.”

    Of course the article had to stress plants and make it sound like that was the majority of their diet. More PC that way.

    I’m curious what plants grew naturally on the plains that could have made up a significant part of their diet? My understanding is that their diet was 99+% meat.

    From what I understand, they also gathered berries, seeds and something like turnips, but meat was certainly the basis of the diet.

    Reply
  43. Ryan

    “For one, the Plains Indians ate a varied diet that included a variety of native plants, as well as buffalo and other game that typically roamed the Great Plains.”

    Of course the article had to stress plants and make it sound like that was the majority of their diet. More PC that way.

    I’m curious what plants grew naturally on the plains that could have made up a significant part of their diet? My understanding is that their diet was 99+% meat.

    From what I understand, they also gathered berries, seeds and something like turnips, but meat was certainly the basis of the diet.

    Reply
  44. Jakounezumi

    You do realize that if “orthorexia nervosa” were to really catch on, there’d be a good chance that the American economy (and with it the world economy) would collapse 😉 You guys are so big on patriotism.. must be a bit of a dilemma, eat crap, or be a bad american 😉

    I’m willing to risk it. If our economy survives trillion-dollar deficits, it’ll survive anything.

    Reply

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