Review: Conquer Diabetes & Prediabetes

Man, oh man.  If only more doctors would stand up and make this statement:

I’m sorry for what the medical establishment has done to people with diabetes.  We’ve done an atrocious job for type 2 diabetics and prediabetics.

We’ve recommended they eat precisely what their bodies can’t handle:  carbohydrates.  We’ve urged them to take poison:  carbohydrates.  We’ve cooperated with the drug companies to encourage diabetics to eat foods that increase drug company profits:  carbohydrates.

Much of the medical establishment’s damage to diabetics has been done innocently, unknowingly.  Rank and file physicians, dieticians and nutritionists put blind faith in their instructors, scientific journal editors, and time-honored and tenured thought-leaders.  Our unquestioning faith has hurt people with diabetes and prediabetes.

Those are the opening paragraphs from Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, by Dr. Steve Parker.  I’ve been recommending Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution to anyone who asks me about diet and diabetes, and I’ll continue to do so.  But now I’ll recommend this book as well.

I read quite a few books on nutrition and health, but only urge other people to read those that meet at least one of two criteria:

  • Is the information important and not readily available in other books?  (Good Calories, Bad Calories falls into this category.  It’s a tough read, but you won’t find a lot of the information Gary Taubes presents anywhere else.)
  • Is the information important and presented in a manner that passes my “Aunt Martha” test?  That is, could we hand this book to our overweight, pre-diabetic, frustrated-with-Weight-Watchers Aunt Martha and reasonably expect that she’d read it and understand it?

Conquer Diabetes & Prediabetes passes the Aunt Martha test with flying colors.  The entire book consists of 190 pages (a sizable chunk of which is taken up by meal plans), so the size of it won’t scare anyone off.  Better yet, Dr. Parker avoids medical mumbo-jumbo and explains diabetes, blood sugar levels, and how carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels in language that’s easy to understand.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I lost my automatic respect for anyone with an MD or PhD once I began doing research for Fat Head.  Too much bad advice and too many lousy studies have been produced by people with impressive credentials.  As Thomas Sowell (I think) once wrote, credentialed ignorance is still ignorance.  I now ignore the post-graduate degrees and judge what I’m reading based on logic and evidence.

But that’s me.  Like it or not, Aunt Martha and Uncle Joe are more likely to listen to a doctor.  I have friends and relatives who couldn’t quite believe that statins haven’t been shown to reduce heart disease among women, the elderly, or men who don’t have existing heart disease until I handed them books written by Malcolm Kendrick (MD) and Uffe Ravsnkov (MD, PhD).  When Aunt Martha’s doctor or dietician is telling her she needs to stick to a low-fat, high-carb diet to treat her type 2 diabetes, it can only help to have a book written by a doctor who points out exactly why that advice is just plain wrong.  That’s what Dr. Parker does in Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes.

Although I’m not a diabetic and don’t take any prescription drugs, I was pleased to see the book includes a chapter that lists the drugs prescribed to diabetics and explains exactly what they are, how they work, why they’re prescribed, and what side-effects they may produce.  If Aunt Martha is taking Metformin simply because her doctor said she needs it to keep her blood sugar under control, it would be nice if she actually understood what Metformin does:

Metformin decreases glucose output by the liver.  The liver produces glucose (sugar) either by breaking down glycogen stored there or by manufacturing glucose from smaller molecules and atoms.  The liver then kicks the glucose into the bloodstream for use by other tissues.  Insulin inhibits this function of the liver, thereby keeping blood sugar levels from getting too high.  Metformin improves the effectiveness of insulin in suppressing sugar production.  In other words, it works primarily by decreasing the liver’s production of glucose.

Of course, Dr. Parker’s goal is to control high blood sugar with diet, not drugs – or at least with a lower dose of drugs.  Back in the day, that’s exactly how doctors treated diabetes:  with a change in diet.

In 1797, Dr. John Rollo (a surgeon in the British Royal Artillery) published a book entitled An Account of Two Cases of the Diabetes Mellitus.  He discussed his experience treating a diabetic Army officer, Captain Meredith, with a high-fat, high-meat, low-carbohydrate diet.  Mind you, this was an era devoid of effective drugs therapies for diabetics.

Rollo’s diet led to loss of excess weight, elimination of symptoms such as frequent urination, and reversal of elevated blood and urine sugars.  This makes Dr. Rollo the original low-carb diet doctor.  Many of the leading proponents of low-carb eating over the last two centuries – whether for diet or weight loss – have been physicians.

My, how things have changed.  Now you have medical organizations accusing doctors who prescribe low-carb diets of being quacks and perhaps engaging in mass murder.  I guess that’s why, in a the middle of an excellent book explaining the causes of high blood sugar and how a change in diet can help, Dr. Parker had to include the standard disclaimer that the information he’s presenting shouldn’t be construed as medical advice or medical care.

I’d suggest placing a similar disclaimer on the wall next to most doctors’ medical-school diplomas:  Warning!  None of the dietary advice offered in this office as treatment for diabetes or other diseases should be construed as effective medical care.

The middle chapters detail the diet Dr. Parker recommends, which is actually two diets:  a ketogenic Mediterranean diet intended to be followed for several weeks, followed by a low-carb Mediterranean diet for life.

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything magical about a low-carb Mediterranean diet that makes it a better choice than any other low-carb diet that emphasizes whole foods.  On the other hand, The Mediterranean Diet has been promoted so heavily in the media as a life-saver, perhaps the label will help sell a low-carb diet to people who would otherwise dismiss it as “that crazy Atkins thing.”

As for the standard Mediterranean diet that’s usually recommended, Dr. Parker spells out his objections:

The Mediterranean diet poses a problem for people with diabetes and prediabetes.  It’s relatively high in carbohydrates, which tend to raise blood sugars too high.  The result could be diabetic complications or the need for more and more diabetic medications with unknown long-term side effects.

And a couple of pages later:

Diabetics and prediabetics -– plus many folks with metabolic syndrome -– must remember that their bodies do not, and cannot, handle dietary carbs in a normal, healthy fashion.  In a way, carbs are toxic to them.  Toxicity may lead to amputations, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, poor circulation, frequent infections, premature heart attacks and death.

That’s why Dr. Parker created ketogenic and low-carb versions of a Mediterranean diet.  The purpose of the ketogenic phase, he explains, is to lower blood sugar, reduce chronically elevated insulin (or reduce the need for insulin), and re-condition the metabolism to more easily burn fat for fuel.  Many of his patients enjoy the renewed sense of health, weight loss, and better blood-sugar control so much, they decide to remain in the ketogenic phase permanently.

For those who prefer to include more carbs in their diets once the blood-sugar issues are under control, Dr. Parker explains how to slowly re-introduce some extra fruits, nuts, legumes, dairy products and whole grains in the low-carb phase, which is intended to last for life.

After the chapters on how to follow the diets at home, there are chapters on how to eat out and how to deal with cheating –- which is okay once in awhile.  The doctor even admits to indulging in cinnamon buns a couple of times per year.  That’s pretty much how I handle my love of pizza; I give in on very rare occasions.  (Since this is St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll give in to my love of Guinness later tonight.)

There’s also a chapter on exercise that explains what it does and doesn’t accomplish:

Exercise is overrated as a pathway to major weight loss.  Sure, a physically inactive young man with only five or 10 pounds to lose might be able to do it simply by starting an exercise program.  That doesn’t work nearly as well for women.  The problem is that exercise stimulates appetite, so any calories burned by exercise tend to be counteracted by increased food consumption.

On the other hand, exercise is important for diabetics and prediabetics in two respects: 1) it helps in avoidance of overweight, especially after weight loss, and 2) it helps control blood sugar levels by improving insulin resistance, perhaps even bypassing it.

Exercise is good for your health.  That’s why I exercise, even though I don’t believe it’s much of a weight-loss treatment.  But it may serve, at least in part, as a diabetes treatment.

However, as Dr. Parker emphasizes, type 2 diabetes is first and foremost a blood-sugar problem, and diet affects blood sugar more than anything else.  That’s why this is a book that diabetics — and those who want to avoid joining their ranks — need to read.


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78 thoughts on “Review: Conquer Diabetes & Prediabetes

  1. Larry

    Massachusetts general hospital celebrates 200th anniversary by recreating a menu from the 1800s.

    http://www.massgeneral.org/about/newsarticle.aspx?id=2614

    Teeth gnashing quote, “we would never serve many of the dishes now because they are just loaded with lard, bacon and fat.” I’m too tired to think of a snarky comment, but that statement sure deserves one.

    Hmmm … I wonder if anyone looked up the type 2 diabetes rate back then.

  2. Clark

    That’s one more foot into embracing low-carb. Also, what a lot of people do not realize is that the Mediterranean diet is high in sodium which is really important when you limit your carbs. You just can’t do low carb without a sufficient amount of sodium. Anybody who says salt raises blood pressure has no clinical study to back that up; only an observational one. We all know how observational studies are easily manipulative and cannot be used to determine cause as it does not isolate variables.

    Bingo. The newest Atkins book even recommends drinking bullion to avoid sodium depletion, which in turn helps avoid the “induction flu.”

  3. Dominic DiCarlo

    What you say about Dr. John Rollo is interesting. How did you come across him? He’s not mentioned in Good Calories, Bad Calories. I have an interest in getting to the root of low-carb thinking. Whenever I bring up the issue in conversation people always make the remark – “low-carb, oh yeah, that’s Atkins , right?” and I say “No, it really is the Banting diet” and then I’ll say,”later it was called the Pennington diet.” My point is to let them know that low-carb is not a fad diet invented by Dr. Atkins.

    Currently I’m doing research on Arctic explorers like Valerian Albanov (1881-1919) and John Rae (1813-1893) to see if they make claims similar to Vilhjalmur Stefansson concerning the merits of an all-meat diet that they would have encountered.

    I’m not sure where Dr. Parker found the reference to Dr. Rollo. Dr. Parker comments on the blog now and then, so perhaps he’ll answer.

  4. Ellen

    I’m glad to see that Dr. Parker includes pre-diabetes in his book. I think a lot of doctors overlook the symptoms of prediabetes in their patients because they only look at blood sugar numbers. If they would listen to the patient’s health complaints, and pay attention, they would see the patterns that I wrote about on my prediabetes symptoms page here: http://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/pre-diabetes-symptoms.html

    Many on the list were the symptoms I was experiencing three years ago when my fasting blood sugar was a normal 96. If I had ignored my symptoms and not started a low carb diet, I may have ended up with a diagnosis of diabetes today. Instead, I’m enjoying excellent health, and a complete reversal of those symptoms.

    Thanks for sharing, Tom. Serendipity abounds around the low carb universe. I just started building my new ketogenic diet website here: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com because I realized that the only people who are talking about ketogenic diets are epilepsy doctors. And they make it way more complicated than it really is.

    Excellent point. When you’re prediabetic, glucose tests still show a normal reading without identifying the excessive insulin your body is pumping out to achieve the normal reading.

  5. Larry

    Massachusetts general hospital celebrates 200th anniversary by recreating a menu from the 1800s.

    http://www.massgeneral.org/about/newsarticle.aspx?id=2614

    Teeth gnashing quote, “we would never serve many of the dishes now because they are just loaded with lard, bacon and fat.” I’m too tired to think of a snarky comment, but that statement sure deserves one.

    Hmmm … I wonder if anyone looked up the type 2 diabetes rate back then.

  6. Clark

    That’s one more foot into embracing low-carb. Also, what a lot of people do not realize is that the Mediterranean diet is high in sodium which is really important when you limit your carbs. You just can’t do low carb without a sufficient amount of sodium. Anybody who says salt raises blood pressure has no clinical study to back that up; only an observational one. We all know how observational studies are easily manipulative and cannot be used to determine cause as it does not isolate variables.

    Bingo. The newest Atkins book even recommends drinking bullion to avoid sodium depletion, which in turn helps avoid the “induction flu.”

  7. Ginger

    A very dear friend of mine is a severe diabetic and he’s now in kidney failure. He’s autistic and has difficulty figuring things out for himself. He basically does what the doctors and diabetic “educators” tell him to do, which is of course, eat as little fat as possible and lots of carbs. He was told to eat a bowl of cereal, half a banana and a cup of orange juice as a “healthy low fat breakfast” so is it any wonder his sugars have always been out of control?

    It disgusts me how many people I know think its normal to load up on carbohydrates and run screaming from animal fats. The medical establishment killed my grandfather by putting him on a low fat diet complete with margarin (I’m talking the good old fashioned one-molecule-away-from-being-plastic kind) and so his second heart attack a few years after the first was much worse and did more damage. His quack doctor even told him to eat Chinese food from the corner take out because, (brace yourself) “Have you ever seen fat Chinese people?” Reasoning that only the “Americanized” Chinese get fat, this idiot decided that the MSG laden junk cooked in vats of “vegetable oil” was a good idea, but he told him to avoid eggs and beef!!!!!! Of course, Chinese-American take out is NOT what people in China would eat as their traditional diet, but this fool didn’t know that.

    As you said, Aunt Martha and Uncle Joe figure doctors must know what they’re talking about, since after all they did make it through 8 years of medical school, right? The blind faith is pathetic.

    If only most people knew how little doctors learn about nutrition in medical school. I’ve asked several, and the answer is usually along the lines of a single course, half an hour once a week for a semester. And it’s considered a fluff course.

  8. Dominic DiCarlo

    What you say about Dr. John Rollo is interesting. How did you come across him? He’s not mentioned in Good Calories, Bad Calories. I have an interest in getting to the root of low-carb thinking. Whenever I bring up the issue in conversation people always make the remark – “low-carb, oh yeah, that’s Atkins , right?” and I say “No, it really is the Banting diet” and then I’ll say,”later it was called the Pennington diet.” My point is to let them know that low-carb is not a fad diet invented by Dr. Atkins.

    Currently I’m doing research on Arctic explorers like Valerian Albanov (1881-1919) and John Rae (1813-1893) to see if they make claims similar to Vilhjalmur Stefansson concerning the merits of an all-meat diet that they would have encountered.

    I’m not sure where Dr. Parker found the reference to Dr. Rollo. Dr. Parker comments on the blog now and then, so perhaps he’ll answer.

  9. Ellen

    I’m glad to see that Dr. Parker includes pre-diabetes in his book. I think a lot of doctors overlook the symptoms of prediabetes in their patients because they only look at blood sugar numbers. If they would listen to the patient’s health complaints, and pay attention, they would see the patterns that I wrote about on my prediabetes symptoms page here: http://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/pre-diabetes-symptoms.html

    Many on the list were the symptoms I was experiencing three years ago when my fasting blood sugar was a normal 96. If I had ignored my symptoms and not started a low carb diet, I may have ended up with a diagnosis of diabetes today. Instead, I’m enjoying excellent health, and a complete reversal of those symptoms.

    Thanks for sharing, Tom. Serendipity abounds around the low carb universe. I just started building my new ketogenic diet website here: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com because I realized that the only people who are talking about ketogenic diets are epilepsy doctors. And they make it way more complicated than it really is.

    Excellent point. When you’re prediabetic, glucose tests still show a normal reading without identifying the excessive insulin your body is pumping out to achieve the normal reading.

  10. Galina L.

    It is really annoying – to hear references on Mediterranean diet all the time for weight loss and blood sugar control. It happens with me pretty often in my sport club – people keep asking me about how I lost weight and continue loosing, and after I say that it is the effect of the low-carb diet, they normally back-of with something like “o, everybody is loosing on the low-carb diet, but it is not for me because I have a Diabetes and my dietitian told me LC would be deadly dangerous for me and advised me to follow the MD. I am actually relived I can’t do the low-carb because life without bread is unimaginable for me. The only problem – I cant loose weight, the dietitian says it is genetic.” Those dietitians have a decent amount of back-up – Dr. Oz, Dr. Weill, the famous Dr. Shai’s study (it really unexplainable for me how Dr.S. manage to get his results. I know another thing – to dismiss it will result in accusation of cherry-picking).

    That’s why I think Dr. Parker was smart in choosing his diet’s title.

  11. Ginger

    A very dear friend of mine is a severe diabetic and he’s now in kidney failure. He’s autistic and has difficulty figuring things out for himself. He basically does what the doctors and diabetic “educators” tell him to do, which is of course, eat as little fat as possible and lots of carbs. He was told to eat a bowl of cereal, half a banana and a cup of orange juice as a “healthy low fat breakfast” so is it any wonder his sugars have always been out of control?

    It disgusts me how many people I know think its normal to load up on carbohydrates and run screaming from animal fats. The medical establishment killed my grandfather by putting him on a low fat diet complete with margarin (I’m talking the good old fashioned one-molecule-away-from-being-plastic kind) and so his second heart attack a few years after the first was much worse and did more damage. His quack doctor even told him to eat Chinese food from the corner take out because, (brace yourself) “Have you ever seen fat Chinese people?” Reasoning that only the “Americanized” Chinese get fat, this idiot decided that the MSG laden junk cooked in vats of “vegetable oil” was a good idea, but he told him to avoid eggs and beef!!!!!! Of course, Chinese-American take out is NOT what people in China would eat as their traditional diet, but this fool didn’t know that.

    As you said, Aunt Martha and Uncle Joe figure doctors must know what they’re talking about, since after all they did make it through 8 years of medical school, right? The blind faith is pathetic.

    If only most people knew how little doctors learn about nutrition in medical school. I’ve asked several, and the answer is usually along the lines of a single course, half an hour once a week for a semester. And it’s considered a fluff course.

  12. Laurie

    Hallelujah for you and Doc Parker.
    I snagged a full copy of the ‘Low salt diet initiates IR in healthy subjects in as little as a week” that was mentioned in the WAPF conference by Morton Satin of the Salt Institute. I was all over that after his speech. I’m preaching to the converted here, but for the USDA to recommend that healthy peopled change what they are currently eating and lower their animal fat intake and lower their salt intake— criminal. And Satin said that for 20% of the folks with high bp who reduce salt—it RAISES their bp, and also that 30% who lower salt intake, lower their bp by as little as 2-3 millimeters of mercury- Woop-de-doo. Sugar ingestion raises the bp for pete’s sake.
    Stephanie Seneff, PhD from MIT says the public health crisis is from low-sun exposure and low animal fat and cholesterol diet asmonishment, and she says the result is deficits in cholesterol-sulfate. Many folks are running around with cholesterol-sulfate deficiencies and have no clue. I think this is a trifecta. Post and Kellogg invented breakfast cereal which made inedible wheat SEEDS edible (and the phytates in the seeds bind iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium; the gluten proteins bind sulfate and have opioid addictive compounds that cross the once thought inviolable blood-brain-barrier and addict the consumer). 2) The vegetable Frankenstein oils were invented by the paint putty varnish and lubricant industries and now we’re told eat these compounds instead of LARD and lastly the increasing sucrose consumption (sucrose is glucose – fructose) and the invention of HFCS which is in everything, everywhere, well it is the CAUSE of the current health crises (sorry Karl Popper). That’s the trifecta and add to that the 80’s dietary advice eat low-fat, low-salt, high-carb, low-calorie (calories aren’t just fuel they supply raw BUILDING MATERIALS and cholesterol is never fuel), low animal source diets and then in the 90’s ADD LIPITOR- recipe for ill physical and mental health.
    Epsom salt baths. Some parents are seeing anecdotal alleviation of autism in their kids bathed in Mag sulfate which is readily absorbed through the skin. If Stephanie is correct and cholesterol-sulfate is deficient and also there does seem to be widespread magnesium lack in the US, then Epsom soaks are a non-toxic, DIRT cheap win-win. Sorry so long comment, Laurie (dyed in the wool biochemist, good-sciencse-o-phile)

  13. David

    I’ve been a type 2 diabetic for 26 years. Since January 2009, I have eaten a very low-carb diet and have gradually cut out virtually all substitutes for bread, dessert, etc. (on the rare occasion when I eat a low-carb dessert, we make it at home – no processed “low-carb” foods). Only for the last month have my blood sugars been the same as a healthy young man (I’m averaging around 90 with no levels higher than 110). Depending on the length of time your metabolism has been screwed, it may take a while for you to get things under control – two years is a pretty long time to wait for these results. I did get off insulin in 6 weeks and stopped Byetta the first day. I still take metformin but that may change at some point. Now that my blood sugars are normalized, I hope to experience some of the other benefits of low-carb eating (improvements in HDLs, testosterone levels, etc.). It may or may not happen, but a normal A1c is worth the price of admission.

    A long journey, but it sure is a worthwhile destination.

  14. Ericka

    The pre-diabetes normal blood sugar readings reminds me of what I have heard said about Celiac disease, vitamin deficiencies, and other autoimmune disorders… by the time abnormal blood results are present, the disease process has been in effect for some time (for vitamin deficiencies, it can take around 5 years, or so I’ve heard, for the blood serum levels to reflect cellular vitamin levels). Yet another reason why blood tests are pretty much worthless for early detection purposes.

    Yup, many tests only tell you when you’re sick, not when you’re on the way there.

  15. Galina L.

    It is really annoying – to hear references on Mediterranean diet all the time for weight loss and blood sugar control. It happens with me pretty often in my sport club – people keep asking me about how I lost weight and continue loosing, and after I say that it is the effect of the low-carb diet, they normally back-of with something like “o, everybody is loosing on the low-carb diet, but it is not for me because I have a Diabetes and my dietitian told me LC would be deadly dangerous for me and advised me to follow the MD. I am actually relived I can’t do the low-carb because life without bread is unimaginable for me. The only problem – I cant loose weight, the dietitian says it is genetic.” Those dietitians have a decent amount of back-up – Dr. Oz, Dr. Weill, the famous Dr. Shai’s study (it really unexplainable for me how Dr.S. manage to get his results. I know another thing – to dismiss it will result in accusation of cherry-picking).

    That’s why I think Dr. Parker was smart in choosing his diet’s title.

  16. Phocion Timon

    Oh man, Guinness. Probably the worst part of going paleo/primal is not drinking Guinness or Old Bushmills almost every evening.

    Sigh.

    I’ve managed to limit it to rare occasions.

  17. Mike

    With regards to the ‘recommended’ diet and what ‘average’ people think, I saw a commercial yesterday that was for some whole grain snack [death] bar. It indicated it was filled with some high percentage [60 or 70 something] of your daily recommended grains and it was being touted by a celebrity. I can just imagine people going out to buy the bar just from the commercial.

    When the Aunt Marthas/Uncle Joes of the world look for advice, it’s MD, Ph.D, or celerbrity..you can’t forget them. They might be the most influential of them all.

    Well, that’s it. I need to become famous.

  18. Howard

    I don’t know if Dr. Parker addresses this, but much of mainstream medicine recommends the Mediterranean diet primarily because they perceive olive oil as the miracle ingredient, but they always choose to ignore the elephant in the room: They eat lots of pork over there. I guess that’s another paradox.

    He does touch on the topic.

  19. Laurie

    Hallelujah for you and Doc Parker.
    I snagged a full copy of the ‘Low salt diet initiates IR in healthy subjects in as little as a week” that was mentioned in the WAPF conference by Morton Satin of the Salt Institute. I was all over that after his speech. I’m preaching to the converted here, but for the USDA to recommend that healthy peopled change what they are currently eating and lower their animal fat intake and lower their salt intake— criminal. And Satin said that for 20% of the folks with high bp who reduce salt—it RAISES their bp, and also that 30% who lower salt intake, lower their bp by as little as 2-3 millimeters of mercury- Woop-de-doo. Sugar ingestion raises the bp for pete’s sake.
    Stephanie Seneff, PhD from MIT says the public health crisis is from low-sun exposure and low animal fat and cholesterol diet asmonishment, and she says the result is deficits in cholesterol-sulfate. Many folks are running around with cholesterol-sulfate deficiencies and have no clue. I think this is a trifecta. Post and Kellogg invented breakfast cereal which made inedible wheat SEEDS edible (and the phytates in the seeds bind iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium; the gluten proteins bind sulfate and have opioid addictive compounds that cross the once thought inviolable blood-brain-barrier and addict the consumer). 2) The vegetable Frankenstein oils were invented by the paint putty varnish and lubricant industries and now we’re told eat these compounds instead of LARD and lastly the increasing sucrose consumption (sucrose is glucose – fructose) and the invention of HFCS which is in everything, everywhere, well it is the CAUSE of the current health crises (sorry Karl Popper). That’s the trifecta and add to that the 80’s dietary advice eat low-fat, low-salt, high-carb, low-calorie (calories aren’t just fuel they supply raw BUILDING MATERIALS and cholesterol is never fuel), low animal source diets and then in the 90’s ADD LIPITOR- recipe for ill physical and mental health.
    Epsom salt baths. Some parents are seeing anecdotal alleviation of autism in their kids bathed in Mag sulfate which is readily absorbed through the skin. If Stephanie is correct and cholesterol-sulfate is deficient and also there does seem to be widespread magnesium lack in the US, then Epsom soaks are a non-toxic, DIRT cheap win-win. Sorry so long comment, Laurie (dyed in the wool biochemist, good-sciencse-o-phile)

  20. David

    I’ve been a type 2 diabetic for 26 years. Since January 2009, I have eaten a very low-carb diet and have gradually cut out virtually all substitutes for bread, dessert, etc. (on the rare occasion when I eat a low-carb dessert, we make it at home – no processed “low-carb” foods). Only for the last month have my blood sugars been the same as a healthy young man (I’m averaging around 90 with no levels higher than 110). Depending on the length of time your metabolism has been screwed, it may take a while for you to get things under control – two years is a pretty long time to wait for these results. I did get off insulin in 6 weeks and stopped Byetta the first day. I still take metformin but that may change at some point. Now that my blood sugars are normalized, I hope to experience some of the other benefits of low-carb eating (improvements in HDLs, testosterone levels, etc.). It may or may not happen, but a normal A1c is worth the price of admission.

    A long journey, but it sure is a worthwhile destination.

  21. Labhrain

    If only most people knew how little doctors learn about nutrition in medical school. I’ve asked several, and the answer is usually along the lines of a single course, half an hour once a week for a semester. And it’s considered a fluff course.

    This is so true. My ex-husband is a physician, and he said they glossed over nutrition. Not only did they gloss over it, but what they did teach contained such travesties as the food pyramid and the lipid hypothesis.

    Fathead was my first real look at what’s gone wrong with dietary recommendations. I’ve now been eating lc for a few months, and already I’ve lost weight and my blood pressure is normal (without drugs.)

    That’s what the doctors I’ve interviewed told me as well. You may as well ask a plumber about nutrition; the plumber’s education on the topic will be nearly as comprehensive as the average doctor’s.

  22. Ericka

    The pre-diabetes normal blood sugar readings reminds me of what I have heard said about Celiac disease, vitamin deficiencies, and other autoimmune disorders… by the time abnormal blood results are present, the disease process has been in effect for some time (for vitamin deficiencies, it can take around 5 years, or so I’ve heard, for the blood serum levels to reflect cellular vitamin levels). Yet another reason why blood tests are pretty much worthless for early detection purposes.

    Yup, many tests only tell you when you’re sick, not when you’re on the way there.

  23. Nicole Cook

    Tom, thank you. I stumbled across your movie the other night on Netflix and I watched it. It was awesome. I then proceeded to show it to my children, because they were forced to watch Super Size Me in their health class and I felt they needed to see the truth.
    Today I showed it to my husband. We’ve watched it a total of four times now, I have recommended it to every single person who will listen to me. I will be writing a review of it on my blog as well.
    Your documentary was not only factual and easy to understand, it included a dose of humor that many forget. Thank you so much for being so brutally honest, calling Morgan out on his ridiculous film, and for answering/pointing out all the misinformation that I found in his film.
    Thank you so much for your documentary. We are a family of 7 and my kids are STILL talking about your film, you made an impact and gave them concise information in a truthful manner, and didn’t hide anything to do it. Thank you!

    If I’m getting through to kids, I’m a happy man. Thanks for letting me know.

  24. Sarah

    Thank you for the links, Tom. People I know taking antipsychotic medication might be interested to know in a healthy-brain diet.

    Does Dr. Parker embrace saturated fats in his book a much as we do, though? I always thought the Mediterranean diet focused more on things like polys and monos.

    I wouldn’t say “embrace.” He simply points out the lack of evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.

  25. Dave, RN

    Back when I was pre-diabetic (actually fasting sugar was in the diabetic range) I ordered a 90 day menu of diabetic recipes. I figured I was saved. It was authored by real diabetic educators/nutritionists. When I look at that now I can’t believe what I’m looking at. Recipes full of bagels, low fat milk, whole grain bread, fruit, canola oil and lots of between meal snacks. No wonder I got worse.

    I still measure from time to time to make sure everything is on track. Fastings used to be high 80’s to 95 or so, not too bad. Now they are down to the low 70’s. This improvement I attribute to adopting intermittent fasting a couple of months ago.

    It kills me how diabetics are so misinformed. Actually, it’s not killing me any more. But it sure is killing them.

    Sad but true.

  26. ken

    One of the most famous of the Mediterranean dieter is a 16th century Italian Luigi Cornaro who wrote “Discorsi della Vita Sobria ”

    Finding himself near death at the age of 35, Cornaro modified his eating habits on the advice of his doctors and began to adhere on a calorie restriction diet. Twelve ounces of solid food and fourteen ounces of grape juice was the daily allowance he allowed for himself initially. He later reduced his daily food intake to no more solid meat than an egg. He lived to be 98 years old.

  27. Phocion Timon

    Oh man, Guinness. Probably the worst part of going paleo/primal is not drinking Guinness or Old Bushmills almost every evening.

    Sigh.

    I’ve managed to limit it to rare occasions.

  28. Mike

    With regards to the ‘recommended’ diet and what ‘average’ people think, I saw a commercial yesterday that was for some whole grain snack [death] bar. It indicated it was filled with some high percentage [60 or 70 something] of your daily recommended grains and it was being touted by a celebrity. I can just imagine people going out to buy the bar just from the commercial.

    When the Aunt Marthas/Uncle Joes of the world look for advice, it’s MD, Ph.D, or celerbrity..you can’t forget them. They might be the most influential of them all.

    Well, that’s it. I need to become famous.

  29. Jan

    In regards to the disclaimer, Gary Taubes mentions in Why We Get Fat that many doctors don’t recommend a low carb diet to avoid trouble later on – when the conventional wisdom/low-fat/high card diets don’t work, it’s the patient’s fault (they didn’t follow the doctor’s orders). If the patient drops dead of a heart attack six months (or years) into a low carb diet, it was all that awful fatty meat.

    And you are impacting kids – my 16-year-old has seen Fat Head six or seven times and reads your blog, too.

    That’s good news indeed.

  30. Howard

    I don’t know if Dr. Parker addresses this, but much of mainstream medicine recommends the Mediterranean diet primarily because they perceive olive oil as the miracle ingredient, but they always choose to ignore the elephant in the room: They eat lots of pork over there. I guess that’s another paradox.

    He does touch on the topic.

  31. Labhrain

    If only most people knew how little doctors learn about nutrition in medical school. I’ve asked several, and the answer is usually along the lines of a single course, half an hour once a week for a semester. And it’s considered a fluff course.

    This is so true. My ex-husband is a physician, and he said they glossed over nutrition. Not only did they gloss over it, but what they did teach contained such travesties as the food pyramid and the lipid hypothesis.

    Fathead was my first real look at what’s gone wrong with dietary recommendations. I’ve now been eating lc for a few months, and already I’ve lost weight and my blood pressure is normal (without drugs.)

    That’s what the doctors I’ve interviewed told me as well. You may as well ask a plumber about nutrition; the plumber’s education on the topic will be nearly as comprehensive as the average doctor’s.

  32. Nicole Cook

    Tom, thank you. I stumbled across your movie the other night on Netflix and I watched it. It was awesome. I then proceeded to show it to my children, because they were forced to watch Super Size Me in their health class and I felt they needed to see the truth.
    Today I showed it to my husband. We’ve watched it a total of four times now, I have recommended it to every single person who will listen to me. I will be writing a review of it on my blog as well.
    Your documentary was not only factual and easy to understand, it included a dose of humor that many forget. Thank you so much for being so brutally honest, calling Morgan out on his ridiculous film, and for answering/pointing out all the misinformation that I found in his film.
    Thank you so much for your documentary. We are a family of 7 and my kids are STILL talking about your film, you made an impact and gave them concise information in a truthful manner, and didn’t hide anything to do it. Thank you!

    If I’m getting through to kids, I’m a happy man. Thanks for letting me know.

  33. Sarah

    Thank you for the links, Tom. People I know taking antipsychotic medication might be interested to know in a healthy-brain diet.

    Does Dr. Parker embrace saturated fats in his book a much as we do, though? I always thought the Mediterranean diet focused more on things like polys and monos.

    I wouldn’t say “embrace.” He simply points out the lack of evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.

  34. Sarah

    I just had to tell my girlfriend “What’s wrong with margarine.” I think you can imagine how well that went =P

    Yup, I can imagine. I hate to think of how much margarine I ate over the years myself.

  35. Dave, RN

    Back when I was pre-diabetic (actually fasting sugar was in the diabetic range) I ordered a 90 day menu of diabetic recipes. I figured I was saved. It was authored by real diabetic educators/nutritionists. When I look at that now I can’t believe what I’m looking at. Recipes full of bagels, low fat milk, whole grain bread, fruit, canola oil and lots of between meal snacks. No wonder I got worse.

    I still measure from time to time to make sure everything is on track. Fastings used to be high 80’s to 95 or so, not too bad. Now they are down to the low 70’s. This improvement I attribute to adopting intermittent fasting a couple of months ago.

    It kills me how diabetics are so misinformed. Actually, it’s not killing me any more. But it sure is killing them.

    Sad but true.

  36. ken

    One of the most famous of the Mediterranean dieter is a 16th century Italian Luigi Cornaro who wrote “Discorsi della Vita Sobria ”

    Finding himself near death at the age of 35, Cornaro modified his eating habits on the advice of his doctors and began to adhere on a calorie restriction diet. Twelve ounces of solid food and fourteen ounces of grape juice was the daily allowance he allowed for himself initially. He later reduced his daily food intake to no more solid meat than an egg. He lived to be 98 years old.

  37. Jan

    In regards to the disclaimer, Gary Taubes mentions in Why We Get Fat that many doctors don’t recommend a low carb diet to avoid trouble later on – when the conventional wisdom/low-fat/high card diets don’t work, it’s the patient’s fault (they didn’t follow the doctor’s orders). If the patient drops dead of a heart attack six months (or years) into a low carb diet, it was all that awful fatty meat.

    And you are impacting kids – my 16-year-old has seen Fat Head six or seven times and reads your blog, too.

    That’s good news indeed.

  38. Lori

    “As Thomas Sowell (I think) once wrote, credentialed ignorance is still ignorance. I now ignore the post-graduate degrees and judge what I’m reading based on logic and evidence.”

    Indeed. My half-brother is a doctor (chiropractor) with a specialty in nutrition. Like most people in the medical field, he’s at least 50 pounds overweight. I don’t know what he eats, but given his weight and his perpetually lousy mood, I doubt it’s low carb and high fat. I hate to sound like Dr. Phil, but I want to say to people like him, “How’s that working for you?”

    LOL. I once had a very fat doctor remind me to eat a low-fat diet. I bit my tongue.

  39. Sarah

    I just had to tell my girlfriend “What’s wrong with margarine.” I think you can imagine how well that went =P

    Yup, I can imagine. I hate to think of how much margarine I ate over the years myself.

  40. Walter

    I just watched Fat Head. I think its brilliant. I really liked “say moose and squirrel.” I once recommended Cat Tales to you, cause I thought you might get a kick out of the story where Catwoman does stand up comedy.

    There’s another scene where the Riddler describes a husband and wife (named Natasha) wanna be criminal team as “big twuble for moose and squirrel.” Seems like great comedy minds think alike.

    LOL. Apparently so. My “moose and squirrel” remark just hit me when Natasha told me she was from Russia.

  41. Lori

    “As Thomas Sowell (I think) once wrote, credentialed ignorance is still ignorance. I now ignore the post-graduate degrees and judge what I’m reading based on logic and evidence.”

    Indeed. My half-brother is a doctor (chiropractor) with a specialty in nutrition. Like most people in the medical field, he’s at least 50 pounds overweight. I don’t know what he eats, but given his weight and his perpetually lousy mood, I doubt it’s low carb and high fat. I hate to sound like Dr. Phil, but I want to say to people like him, “How’s that working for you?”

    LOL. I once had a very fat doctor remind me to eat a low-fat diet. I bit my tongue.

  42. Walter

    I just watched Fat Head. I think its brilliant. I really liked “say moose and squirrel.” I once recommended Cat Tales to you, cause I thought you might get a kick out of the story where Catwoman does stand up comedy.

    There’s another scene where the Riddler describes a husband and wife (named Natasha) wanna be criminal team as “big twuble for moose and squirrel.” Seems like great comedy minds think alike.

    LOL. Apparently so. My “moose and squirrel” remark just hit me when Natasha told me she was from Russia.

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