Monday, January 30, 2012

The Doctor Strikes Again

I had the great opportunity to visit my newest doctor today. Not a routine visit but a pre-op appointment. Nothing serious - an endoscopic sinus surgery to alleviate years of sinus issues. I had to get a full exam done, and in the process learned they were going to take blood again. Excitedly, I asked if they were doing another lipid profile at which point they stated yes - and much more!

The results should be interesting as this time around I did not fast, and actually had an apple earlier in the day. It is like Christmas all over again! One interesting conversation did come up with the doctor. I normally tend to just use him as a means to an end, however I wanted to ensure I knew what his feelings were about cholesterol.

I inquired whether my HDL components would be broken down for this panel as it was not previously. This sparked some interested in him reviewing my last LDL reading...which was 117. Keep in mind my lipid profile stated my LDL was "abnormal". He explained:

Your LDL reading was a bit on the high side last time. If it gets any higher, say 130 treatment may be necessary to get it down.

Rather than floor him with clinical trials and research, I wanted to see what he knew about low-carbohydrate affects on LDL particle size. I asked "Don't you think my LDL increase may be of little worry due to the fact I am eating low-carb and my LDL particle type is mostly type A?"

"No, no!" he waved me off. "You need to start decreasing some of the fatty foods you eat, such as red meat, fatty milk, cheese, cream..."

Honestly, I was floored and almost speechless. This is the first doctor I've ever actually give this advice. But after reading all this literature, studying nutrition and more, I was still not prepared to hear it from someone I'm supposed to trust. Before leaving the doctor's office, I decided to reverse my decision and opt-in to the doctor's newsletter as I cannot find his e-mail address anywhere. I really want to e-mail him the JAMA article from 2007 covering the A-Z Study.

The Journal of the American Medical Association
Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women
The A TO Z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial

Christopher D. Gardner, PhD;
Alexandre Kiazand, MD;
Sofiya Alhassan, PhD;
Soowon Kim, PhD;
Randall S. Stafford, MD, PhD;
Raymond R. Balise, PhD;
Helena C. Kraemer, PhD;
Abby C. King, PhD

This study set to discover the benefits that low-carbohydrate diet may bring when compared with other standard low-fat diets. The one interesting part about LDL comes here:

Many concerns have been expressed that low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets, high in total and saturated fat, will adversely affect blood lipid levels and cardiovascular risk.34-36​ These concerns have not been substantiated in recent weight-loss diet trials. The recent trials, like the current study, have consistently reported that triglycerides, HDL-C, blood pressure, and measures of insulin resistance either were not significantly different or were more favorable for the very-low-carbohydrate groups.12-16​

The exception to this pattern has been LDL-C concentrations. Two of the most consistent findings in recent trials of low-carbohydrate vs low-fat diets have been higher LDL-C concentrations and lower triglyceride concentrations in the low-carbohydrate diets.17 Although a higher LDL-C concentration would appear to be an adverse effect, this may not be the case under these study conditions. The triglyceride-lowering effect of a low-carbohydrate diet leads to an increase in LDL particle size,
which is known to decrease LDL atherogenicity.37​-39 In the current study, at 2 months, mean LDL-C concentrations increased by 2% and mean triglyceride concentrations decreased by 30% in the Atkins group. These findings are consistent with a beneficial increase in LDL particle size, although LDL particle size was not assessed in our study. In addition, we examined non–HDL-C concentrations as an alternate indicator of atherogenic lipoproteins—a variable not substantially influenced by changes in triglyceride concentrations26​—and observed no significant differences among groups at any time point.

Therefore, we interpret these findings to suggest that
there were no adverse effects on the lipid variables for women following the Atkins diet compared with the other diets and, furthermore, no adverse effects were observed on any weight-related variable measured in this study at any time point for the Atkins group. Further examination of the dietary effects on lipid variables would benefit from analyses of lipoprotein particle subfractions and follow-up of longer than 12 months.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I'm Hungry, Should I Eat?

Before I began eating low-carbohydrate for life, I would commonly be hungry shortly after a meal. Usually not breakfast (though I rarely had meals that early), but lunch and dinner. I would always feel a little guilty, thinking that eating all of those extra calories was not good for me and making me get fatter. I was right to feel guilty, due the fact I was still eating crap.

My breakfast:

Okay, so maybe my breakfast wasn't approved by them yet. They'll come around.

Nitrate free bacon so don't be scared! Went heavy on the sausage today and the kids were happy about it though I think everyone prefers bacon. C'est la vie.

Back to the topic at hand - had a few sausages and some squash last night for dinner. Really good, though I was hungry soon after. I don't think it was enough. Had some cheese, peanuts and like three eggs before bed and you know what, I don't feel guilty. I know if I don't eat when I'm hungry, that is a bad thing for your body.

To note: While typing this posting up, I was trying to munch on some peanuts via a large container...and my coffee was too close. I submerged my entire hand in my coffee. Luckily, the coffee had finished brewing about an hour ago or I'd be typing one-handed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Breast Cancer Cure Already Known?

It has already been established that breast cancer probability increases in step with weight gain. If we know this to be true, the probability can decrease with weight loss. You didn't hear anyone at the recent San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium state Breast Cancer is a metabolic disorder, but is it?

The Genesis Prevention Center at University Hospital in South Manchester, England has recently completed study that showed even intermittent low-carbohydrate diet is superior to a standard and calorie-restricted diet for reducing weight and insulin levels. They state that losing weight and lowering insulin levels are good preventative measures for breast cancer.

A recent study by the American Association for Cancer Research (2011) studied the effects of Western diet (55% carbohydrate, 23% protein, 22% fat) and low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet (15% carbohydrate, 58% protein, 26% fat) on mice that had been predisposed to contract cancer. The cancer was implanted human and mouse tumor cells. It was found that the tumor cells grew consistently slower on the low-carbohydrate diet.

With relation to breast cancer:

"As well, mice genetically predisposed to breast cancer were put on these two diets and almost half of them on the Western diet developed breast cancer within their first year of life while none on the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet did. Interestingly, only one on the Western diet reached a normal life span (approximately 2 years), with 70 percent of them dying from cancer while only 30 percent of those on the low-carbohydrate diet developed cancer and more than half these mice reached or exceeded their normal life span."

So, of those mice predisposed to contract cancer that were on the low-carbohydrate diet:

Only 30% developed cancer and more than half reached or exceeded normal life span.

So what if these mice were not predisposed for cancer, what would be the contraction rate of cancer be? Probably near zero. Why is this so? The hypothesis given by Gerald Krystal, Ph.D. at the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre stated:
"...that tumor cells, unlike normal cells, need significantly more glucose to grow and thrive. Restricting carbohydrate intake can significantly limit blood glucose and insulin, a hormone that has been shown in many independent studies to promote tumor growth in both humans and mice."

So should we be using insulin as a predictor in contraction of breast cancer? Obviously if insulin resistance is present and an individual is obese, their insulin is out of whack - so is it correct to say obesity causes increased risk or is it insulin? Obesity and weight gain in general is an affect of out of control insulin and increased blood-glucose levels for an extended period of time. If women and men alike can begin taking better care of themselves and severely decreasing carbohydrate intake, I have a feeling breast cancer and cancer in general will begin to decrease rapidly.

Part of the problem, however is that even the lead researcher of the Genesis study, Michelle Harvie, states that individuals should go on an intermittent low-carbohydrate diet. Why? Why not go all out and change to a low-carbohydrate lifestyle. This is yet another major medical issue, i.e. diabetes where researchers, dieticians and the like have scientific data with a flashing exclamation mark, yet they are half-assing their suggestion on where to go with it.

Type-II diabetics are told to lower high GI carbs and take medication (manage it), rather than cut them out and be potentially 'cured'. And now breast cancer (and other cancer) sufferers and 'potentials' are told to moderately decrease their carbohydrate load a couple days a week. It is as if to say, go for the 25% decreased risk rather than the 100%.