Paleo vs. The American Diet: The fight of the century

In a recent New Yorker article about the huge current popularity of “Paleo” type diets, the author conceded, almost painfully, that the Paleo diet may be the best diet for humans, but, she quickly added, it’s too late: Americans are too far down Carbohydrate Blvd to change.

I hope she’s wrong. This is the biggest health crisis in the human  history, causing more disease and death than any other illness, including Black Plague and Spanish Flu, and she’s saying Screw it, it’s too late.

Well, it’s going to be a big fight, she’s right about that. Because it is a drastic change.  Most people understand that sugar isn’t great for you. But trying to convince those same people that whole grain bread is just as bad? Tough. That organic fruit juice is making their kids fat? It’s a big change.

And the “American Diet” has some real strengths in this battle:

1. Sugar and Bread are literally addictive. Your body goes into craving and hunger mode after you eat bread or drink Coke, and then you crave it the rest of the day.

2. Our food industry has an investment in feeding us sugar and bread. Aisle after aisle of your grocery store are filled with cereal, juices, snacks, breads, sodas, etc. – and those businesses are not going let those sales die easily.

3. On a similar note, the food industry has no interest or investment in providing affordable meats and fats, since it’s set up for growing wheat and sugar and corn. Therefore it’s a real challenge to eat inexpensively while avoiding grains. Right now noodles are cheaper than burger.  But, burger’s not as addictive. You eat the noodles, and now you have to pay for the Twinkie, pie, ice cream, and chips you have afterwards because you’re so hungry.

But, happily, one of the biggest deterrents to Americans learning to eat right has been that U.S. government guidelines have been, up until this week, dead wrong. You could read all you want about Paleo and low-carb diets, but then you’d find some government website that said grains should be the foundation of your diet, and that you should avoid food cholesterol, and what else can you do except trust the government and go back to your bread-eating, noodle-gobbling, banana-chomping ways?

The science is clear now. So clear that the government has finally no choice but to admit: it’s your high insulin that is causing your obesity and health problems, and that high insulin is caused by eating carbs – sugar and grains. If you eat proteins and fat, you’ll get thinner, healthier, and live longer.

We may be on the verge of a revolution. Or at least a monster battle.  And who doesn’t like a good dog fight?

Next post I’m going to talk about how we, as a nation, can make these changes.


The top 5 secret tips I learned by drinking 10 Cokes a day

The goal of my 10 Cokes a day experiment was not to prove that drinking 10 Cokes a day is bad for your health. That’s obvious.

The goal was to help people realize that their current diets may include just as much sugar as you find in 10 Cokes. That’s not obvious to many people, but when you add up the sugar in the coffee,  the orange juice for breakfast, the soda with lunch, the fruit juice in the afternoon, a cookie snack, desert later – PLUS, the added sugar that is all the other foods you ate, PLUS, the naturally-occuring sugar in the fruits and vegetables you ate… and it probably totals even more than 10 Cokes worth of sugar.

YOU are drinking 10 Cokes a day. Okay, so, if you’re convinced – what do you do? That’s really the main question. What do you actually do? It’s not that easy to change.

Here’s 5 tips to help you make some immediate changes in how much soda and other sugar you eat, and how to do it EASY!

By easy, I mean painless. It still takes effort to choose different foods, to make change, but if you follow these tips you won’t have to fight, you won’t be hungry.

Tip 1. Begin by limiting the sugars that you eat in the morning. Later you can work on the second half of the day. Why? Here’s what happens: As soon as you have the first sugar intake, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a glass of orange juice or a morning Coke, your blood sugar and insulin spike – and then a little while later your sugar drops back and you feel HUNGRY. And I don’t know about you, but my will power is not real good when I’m hungry. As soon as I eat the first carbs or sugar of the day, I’m hungry for carbs the rest of the day. If you had orange juice and pancakes for breakfast you’re going to be hungry the rest of the day. Why fight it? Start with breakfast and you’ll gain the power to work on lunch.

Tip 2. Assume that bread and grains and fruit are sugar. They raise your blood sugar just the same way that a Coke does, and you’ll be hungry for more carbs very soon. If you have fruit for breakfast you’ll have a blood sugar spike just the same as if you drank a Coke. It’s true. And you’ll be hungry for more sugar all the rest of day. So, if you want to try and drink less soda later in the day, you have to start by not having bread and fruit for breakfast.

Tip 3. Bring eggs back to breakfast! The committee that creates U.S. dietary guidelines just made some drastic changes in their recommendations: Eggs are now okay! And cut back on sugar. It’s true, the government is now recognizing that dietary cholesterol, like in egg yolks, is not related to blood cholesterol, like in LDL. It’s sugar. And bread. So, in answer to your question from Tip 2: “What do I eat for breakfast?” Eggs. And bacon. And sausage. Smoked salmon. A meat platter. Bring the joy of meat back to your table.

Tip 4. Learn to eat fat. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Fat doesn’t make you fat. It gives you energy without raising your insulin levels, which is what you’re trying to avoid by not eating sugar and bread. So, since the goal is “painless,” and not being hungry or tired, learn to add fat. That egg and smoked salmon breakfast? Smother it with butter and mayonnaise. The fat gives you energy to go straight to lunch. No hunger. High energy.

Tip 5. Hunt for an alternative beverage. A very powerful tool to stopping soda or juice drinking (juice is just as bad as soda) is having something to replace it that you enjoy but doesn’t have sugars. There are flavored sodas that don’t have sweetener, if you’re worried about side effects from diet sodas. (If you are, then follow my next experiment, as I drink 10 Diet Sodas a Day.) Sparkling flavored waters work great. Just plain old water, too, is great. Drink up. But find something – not juice, not milk, not beer – to replace those sodas, and you’ll have all the bases covered

On my next post I’ll discuss some secrets to doing lunch and dinner, too. But I think you’re probably getting the idea.

Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system

June 5, 2014
University of Southern California
In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage — a major side effect of chemotherapy — but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

Here’s the link:

Coffee May Cut Melanoma Risk


Drinking coffee is associated with a slightly reduced risk for skin cancer, a new study has found.

Researchers used health and dietary data on 447,357 non-Hispanic whites ages 50 to 71 who were cancer free at the start of the study and followed them for an average of 10 years. Over the course of the study, the researchers identified 2,904 cases of melanoma, the most serious kind of skin cancer.

The more coffee consumed, the lower the risk. Drinking four or more cups of coffee was associated with a 20 percent risk reduction compared with those who drank none. The association did not hold for decaffeinated coffee or for melanoma in situ, melanoma in its earliest stages that affects only the top layer of skin.

While the results may be encouraging for coffee drinkers, “they do not indicate that anyone should change their coffee drinking preferences,” said the lead author, Erikka Loftfield, a graduate student at the Yale School of Public Health. “The most important thing a person can do to reduce risk is to reduce sun and ultraviolet light exposure.”

The study, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, controlled for age, sex, education, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and other health, behavioral and genetic factors, but the authors acknowledge that other unknown variables might help explain the association.

Salt May Not Affect Heart Risks

Check out this article in the New York Times, upending one of the biggest dietary ideas of our time: that you need to limit salt to treat your high blood pressure. Turns out, not so much.

Ironically, you actually treat high blood pressure by reducing sugars, and grains. Oops.


A new study suggests that dietary salt may have little or no effect on the risk for heart disease in older adults.

The study, in JAMA Internal Medicine, included 2,642 people, average age 74. Half the participants were women, 62 percent were white and 38 percent were African-American. All were free of heart disease at the start of the study, and researchers followed them for 10 years. They used dietary questionnaires to estimate sodium intake.

The researchers adjusted for sex, race, body mass index and more than two dozen other health and behavioral characteristics. Over a range of sodium intake from less than 1,500 milligrams a day to more than 2,300 (about a teaspoon), there was no significant difference in risk for cardiovascular disease, heart failure or death.

The lead author, Dr. Andreas P. Kalogeropoulos, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University, acknowledged that estimates of salt intake were based on self-reports, which are not always reliable.

Current guidelines call for sodium intake of less than 1,500 milligrams a day for people older than 51. Dr. Kalogeropoulos said he saw no reason to raise the number.

“We need more prospective evidence in a clinical trial before moving in that direction for older adults,” he said. “By no means are our findings a license to consume more salt.”

Another keto tune-up.

Started another keto tune-up today: Had buttered coffee for breakfast, ham and liver pate for lunch, and am planning on just having a burger for dinner. Also made sure to eat plenty of butter and coconut oil in my coffee all day, to get my body as quickly into ketosis as possible. I’ll measure my ketosis level with my ketostix tonight and in the morning and see how long it takes for ketosis to start after eliminating carbs.
It is possible to maintain ketosis while eating carbs, especially the green leafy variety, but it’s easier for me to start ketosis by going zero carb for about two days.
Why am I doing it? A health tune-up, that’s all. The human body is meant to work in ketosis part of the time, and that’s what I do. Keeps insulin resistance down, weight under control, blood pressure low, and fights disease.

How to eat keto at a food truck

So, here’s an example of how to do a low-carb lunch, eating out. In this case, this afternoon, the restaurant was a food truck.

Order a foot-long Polish sausage, apply a bit of mayonnaise and a slice or three of jalapeno, and then don’t eat the bun.

It tasted real good. I was full and satisfied. Homemade mayonnaise usually doesn’t have sugar in it, but store-bought has some. Still, as condiments go, it’s mainly fat and protein.

Mustard works, too. Keep it enjoyable and you’ll keep it going.

I think the food truck guy saw it as a waste of a perfectly-toasted bun.

Diet Soda on Keto diet

Can I drink diet soft drinks while I’m doing a low-carb or keto diet? It’s a big question.

In general, I say, Yes, absolutely! There are, of course, some early studies which describe an effect on the microbes in your digestive system whendrinking artificially sweetened soda. And those studies may prove important; we are just beginning to understand how bacteria in our gut affects our diet.

But, that said, don’t worry about those studies. No researcher denies that sugared soda raises your blood sugar and insulin levels in a crazy way that diet sodas do not. At all. Forget it.

For people who are switching from sugared sodas, or people, like me, who get tired of water all day, diet soft drinks are a nice treat, with few drawbacks.

If you want to stay as natural as you can with sweeteners, you can try a Stevia-sweetened drinks, like the soda in this picture: Zevia.

Stevia is a “natural” sweetener which doesn’t raise your insulin levels or cause a glucose response, and Zevia has a whole rainbow of flavors.

I just drank a case of these, which – full disclosure – Zevia sent me because I’m obviously a soda expert, but I really liked a few of the flavors. I saw them for sale at my local Sprouts supermarket, and I plan to mix them in with my coffee and water at the office.

The Keto Drinking Man’s Diet

Here’s an interesting and enjoyable version of a Keto Diet, which features, basically, regular or occasional drinking while being in ketosis. Lose weight and feel, um, tipsy.

But how can drink and stay in ketosis? By drinking only clear hard alcohol like vodka or tequila. I speak for dark liquors personally, I’ve only tried this with vodka. When you drink beer, wine, or a sweetened mixed drink, the carb calories are probably enough to throw you right out of ketosis, so if you want to be in ketosis you can’t drink beer. But you probably guessed that.

But the vodka only “pauses” your ketosis. The methanol in the vodka is converted to usable energy in your liver immediately,  and when it’s used up, the liver goes right back to making ketones out of body fat reserves.

It was kind of amazing the first few times I  tried it, but here’s how it goes: Last night, tested myself after work in heavy ketosis with my ketostix, then had a couple vodka and diet sodas over the evening. Tested myself before bed – out of ketosis. But this morning, I woke up and tested, and I was back in the dark purple heavy ketosis ketostix reading. Pretty cool.

Now there’s NO reason not to go into ketosis regularly.

I’ve lost almost all the weight

More solid weight loss. Weighed in at 172 this morning, so I’ve got four pounds to lose in five days to lose all the weight in 30 days.

Seems possible. Just. I’m living on bulletproof coffee all day – just coffee with butter and coconut oil, and then having a normal dinner. Seems to work fine, and the oils keep me from feeling hungry all day.

I love this method of dieting because I can eat basically whatever I want to in the evening. Last night I had a burger and a beer. And in the daytime my energy is good and my mood is good and i’m not hungry. What’s happening is that I’m going all night and most of the next day without carbs, so I am giving myself prolonged episodes of low insulin, and all during those low insulin times my body isn’t storing fat, just using fat. And even when I eat carbs at dinner, I’m doing it without insulin resistance, so the peaks of insulin I get are lower and less damaging.

It’s going to be nip and tuck. 5 more days. Try a bulletproof coffee breakfast yourself.