Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I always thought I would never feel the need to write about cholesterol on this Zero Carb blog but a recent event made my change my mind.

I received a phone call this weekend from an old friend, now 72 years old, telling he was going under surgery this week for an open-hearth triple bypass. He reported his doctor never explained why he developed these blockages and he asked me if I had any idea why it happened since he NEVER had high levels of cholesterol…

Which made me think a lot.

I could blog hours on cholesterol, believe me. I could comment the history, the recent discoveries, the recommendations, the healthy HDL and LDL levels as well as the VLDL, chylomicrons and all the other apo-lipo-proteins and the sub-particles sizes. But I will not do this here. Why? The reason is simple: because cholesterol is the HEALTHIEST molecule flowing around in the human body and because all "the science" around it looks more like a scam then serious knowledge.

When I talk about cholesterol to anyone, I try to make things simple because one can easily get lost in explanations. So, to make it short, I always asked these questions:

-Why does cholesterol would be UNhealthy if 85% of its production is readily made in your own body to answer your needs?

-Why do 75% of folks that suffers a hearth attack have NORMAL levels of cholesterol?

-Why do 50% of folks with high levels of cholesterol do NOT have hearth problem?

-Why do your levels of cholesterol go UP when your body is under stress such as during an infection, accident or surgery, if it is not a protective mechanism?

-Why "LDL cholesterol" considered bad when it is also the delivery system of vitamin E + Coenzyme Q to your cells?

The answer to all these questions is BECAUSE cholesterol is needed for the normal functioning of all organs, from brain to hormones production, from bruised tissues repair to damaged arteries “patching”. Cholesterol is not the problem of artery blockage; it is the solution, the repair material. The real problem is the initial damage to the artery, which is done by other causes .

The worst thing humans can do is to fool around with their cholesterol level. Anyway, there are no normal levels; there is only YOUR level, the level your body needs to maintain itself healthy. Ingest less cholesterol and your body will do everything to produce more to compensate the deficit.

And what happens when humans try to lower their natural cholesterol level? Bad stuff. The best example, because it is always nice to have an example, is the consequences on a specific group of people trying to change what nature has created for them.

My example will bring us into Switzerland.

The Swiss folks are known to have, since ever, one of the HIGHEST levels of blood cholesterol in the world AND, at the same time, the LOWEST levels of heart problems. Sadly, the Swiss do suffer from a genetic defect, which is a deficiency in Apo-E, the lipoprotein that delivers cholesterol to the brain. Luckily, since their traditional diet was made up of a lot of dairy products including full-fat cheese, cream and mountians of butter, with meat and even more meat, it seems they could compensate for the genetic defect.

More sadly, because of the “lipid hypothesis” of Dr. Ancel Keys, they have adopted in the last 3 decades a lower fat diet, replacing cream and butter with with low-fat yogurt, cheese and margarine, slowing down on meat and choosing to eat more cereals products. And by getting, you must have guessed, a lot of STATINS prescribed for their "high cholesterol"…

The consequence being the Swiss are now getting the highest level of Alzheimer disease on the planet. As they have a deficiency in the delivery system of cholesterol to the brain, cutting on the supply makes things worst. This is THE origin of Alzheimer. You have probably already read the deposit of a “white material” in the brain is the visual proof, during autopsy, one suffered the disease. Well, the reason is the brain tries replacing the missing cholesterol sheet around its nerve cells by producing the said “white protein insulation” that, in no way, can replace the qualities of a reliable coating of cholesterol.

This example given, I do not argue the genetic defect called “Familial Hypercholesterolemia” do exist, except it is extremely rare and very severe, and most patients do not survive over 30-40 years old. They also present deposits of cholesterol visible from the “outside”, such as yellow patches around the eyelids, the iris and in the form of lumps in the tendons of the hands, knees and feet. Until you get these, you should not worry…

My ONLY concern about cholesterol would be eating OXIDIZED cholesterol, which would come from fats that were not properly kept and treated. Which means we should not overcook fatty meats, choose runny eggs over well-done and do not let fats such as butter exposed to air, warm temperatures and light for long period.

As says so well Dr. Barry Groves, a nutritional scientist and author of “EAT FAT, GET THIN”, which himself does a high-fat diet since the ’60, it would be RISKY having a cholesterol level LESS than 270 mg/dl, away from the recommended maximum limit of 200, and even more from the “preferable” 160 mg/dl limit.


Saturday, April 27, 2013


The Zero Carb WOE may have a lot of virtues, from weight management to important health benefits, but if there is one great reason to eat a diet void of carbohydrate, rich in protein and fat of good quality, it is the effect it has on the METABOLIC SYNDROME.

You may have read about this syndrome, you may even suffered some of its components, so I thought it would be interesting to do a little review about it.

We rarely see the METABOLIC SYNDROME as a diagnosis by itself, the reason being it is an association of several clinically recognizable features, signs and symptoms, that are statistically related but not necessarily present in one single patient all at the same time (even if the probability it can happen do exist).

Let’s look immediately at its components then we will see what links them together. Please take note the definition may vary from one Health Authority to the other.

The METABOLIC SYNDROME requires at least 3 of the following problems in the patient:

-Obesity (Body Mass Index > 30)
-Blood pressure > 130/85
-Raised triglycerides > 150 mg/dl
-Low HDL < 40 mg/dl
-Raised fasting blood glucose >100 mg/dl

There are other components, depending again who is defining it, so it may also includes:

-Atherosclerotic vascular disease (hearth and stroke)
-Elevated body inflammation (eg. increase C-Reactive protein)
-Micro-albuminuria (protein in urine)
-Elevated uric acid (increased risk of gout)
-Polycystic ovary syndrome
-Increased level of coagulation (pro-thrombotic state)
-Fatty liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-NAFLD)

The pathophysiology of the METABOLIC SYNDROME is complex and this is the reason all doctors do not recognize it. And, sadly, since humans have this infantile attitude to believe we all need to agree 100% on a subject to recognized its authenticity….

The main link between all these components is the INSULIN RESISTANCE, which is triggered by production of inflammatory compounds by visceral fat cells: carbohydrates elevate blood triglycerides, which induced visceral fat and ultimately result in insulin resistance. The chronic inflammation then contributes to an increased risk of hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes and as all the other pathologies.

A lot of folks with hypertension, but with NO diabetes, think they have the right to eat all the carbs they want. Wrong. Why? Because when they eat sweets and have an insulin rush, the production of N.O. (nitric oxide) will go down and this is THE compound that helps arteries to relax. Results: their blood pressure will go up.

Interestingly, we may find descriptions of the metabolic syndrome as early as the 1920s . From there, it got several names according to researchers, such as the “Reaven Syndrome” or “Syndrome X. But it is only in the late ’80 that the medical field becomes really interested in it’s existence.

As for the treatment, dietary restriction of carbohydrates is now proven to be a powerful tool to bring the METABOLIC SYNDROME under control, and many serious and well-done studies supports this approach. Of course, some physicians still think patients “need their carbohydrates” and so, they do not recommend it with all the consequences you may imagine.

Sadly, also, folks that do not want to stop “having their carbs” because of cultural, traditional or religious beliefs, or just because they are too addicted to starch and sweets, then become “victims of their metabolic syndrome”.

“Victims” means that each component of the METABOLIC SYNDROME will need to be treated separately, without consideration of the link between them. These patients may get medications for hypertension and diabetes, more medication for cholesterol, triglycerides and gout, even more for heart and stroke issues, then a probable surgery for a polycystic syndrome and, eventually, have to go into kidney dialysis and even to a liver transplant.

Did you know that in the state of Virginia only, 25 kids died in 2011 waiting for a liver transplant because of a fructose-induced non-alcoholic liver disease? ALL of these kids had an associated METABOLIC SYNDROME…

To finish, I would like to quote Dr. Mary Vernon, a well known physician in the Low Carb world, saying the worst patients to treat are the “normal weight METABOLIC SYNDROME sufferers”. Yes, someone may be THIN but have at least 3 of the other components and gets the diagnosis. And, yes again, trying to convince a normal weight person to go on a Low-Carb diet is a hell of a job…

Luckily, most of us on Zero Carb had a weight problem at one point and this was enough to convince us there was a problem and we had to do something about it. Let’s never forget this.


Monday, April 22, 2013


I recently crossed an article about a powerful antioxidant that I had no idea about, an antioxidant that can be founded easily in a human diet, but in a diet that NEEDS to respond to one important condition: it must contain MEAT.

This antioxidant is called CARNOSINE and is NOT found in food of plant origins. This is why CARNOSINE comes from MEAT sources and it’s name sounds so much like CARNIVOROUS…

Sadly, not so many studies were done on this substance; but, interestingly, these studies gave impressive results.

For example, in a group of old folks with cataracts, supplements of CARNOSINE taken for 6 months improved severe cataracts by 80 % AND, in the case of light to moderate cataracts, the improvement went up to 100%. If these are not excellent results, what are they?

The nice thing, if you are on a Zero Carb diet is you will get plenty of CARNOSINE. This antioxidant is made from the combination of 2 amino acids, alanine and histidine, which are especially concentrated in MUSCLE meat.

Now, aren’t you happy you have been doing your all-animal product diet since so long? Enjoy the moment; make it last; never forget about it. This is probably the best decision you have taken in your life.

CARNOSINE has been proven to “scavenge” reactive oxygen species (body’s oxidized and feared molecules) and so, it fights against oxidation of delicate UNSATURATED fats in cell membranes. It also helps opposing glycation (bounding of glucose or fructose to protein or fat), source of the AGEs molecules (Advanced Glycation Endproducts), these substances responsible for production of pro-inflammatory and disease-initiating compounds causing cardiovascular pathologies, diabetes, macular degeneration and much other age-related pathology such as skin wrinkles or arthritis.

Recently, it was also showed CARNOSINE fights against AGEs of ALL sources, even if they are produced inside the body OR coming from outside origins such as in food items.

Antioxidant CARNOSINE prevents cancer initiation in the body by fighting against acrylamide compounds in our diet, another wicked byproduct of glycation formed when sugar is added to bake goods to enhance browning or caramelization (processes highly used in pastries and soda). CARNOSINE also protects the liver against alcohol and fructose abuse, along with being very helpful in repairing brain stroke damages and havocs of numerous neurodegenerative conditions.

Finally, and not the least, it was reported CARNOSINE improves AUTISM, especially socialization and receptive vocabulary of affected children.

Don’t you think now more pieces of the puzzle of Zero Carb are beginning to fit together?

Certainly, it makes a NICE change to read about antioxidant CARNOSINE and its meat origins, compare to watching all these marketing adds from the agro-business about the unique (!!!???!!!) properties of “blueberries, beans or buttersquash”……!!!!!


Friday, April 19, 2013


It seems there is A BIG confusion in the definition of a “low carbohydrate diet” and it's related types of diets. 

I did some researches and was astonish of my discoveries especially when I read "some nutrition experts” define a LCD as “anything” containing "200 g or lower" of carbohydrate per day. I now understand why the results of some studies make no sense…

Sadly, it seems most of the articles I founded define a LCD as having between 50-150 g carbohydrates per day, which is, as we know, far away from the reality of the LC world.

Interestingly, the American Diabetic Association seems to be nearer to the real thing: LCD is considered less then 130 g per day, and VLCD less then 30 per day. But don’t look for the definition of a Zero Carb diet here, as the ADA would never admit it can ever exist or that someone can survive on it…

Another way to find a description is to look what “our” LC experts use. Dr. Atkins would set the limit of 20 g daily carbohydrate for a VLCD, while Protein Power uses 30 g. The Schwarzbein says it is 60 g while Zone says between 100-150 and Sugar Busters are around 140-200 g.

“All this is not of great help” would you say and I will agree with you. So what can we do about it?

One way would be to consider if one of these “levels of carbohydrate” could bring any folk into ketosis and use these limits to define these said levels. But the more we learn about ketosis, we realized it is not so easy to reach, and surely not to maintain, as the threshold of daily carbohydrate may vary between individuals. Then, you have to consider the “anti-ketosis” effect of proteins, any individual carb sensitivity and the total fat in the diet. Again, I think the answer is not lying here.

Maybe we should treat the problem with another angle, beginning by the lowest level of carbohydrate, like a Zero Carb diet? So how would you define it?

Doing a Zero carb diet means someone may eat, aside "meat" , some eggs, cheese and cream, all food items containing SOME carbs, not talking about the carb in the glycogen reserves of the muscle meat, a source which is never really taken into account…

Yes, I do agree, all this, again, is not of great help.

For myself, I always considered 20 g as “the limit”. The years I was on a LCD, I was between 20 g and 50 g max daily, and the years I was on a VLCD, I was not allowing more the 20 g.

My definition of a Zero Carb diet would be more “anything like an meat and egg diet”, with maybe some allowance of cheese and cream, but certainly not milk.

Or maybe a Zero Carb diet is “anything NEAR zero carb” or even “under 5 g daily”?

I hope you are not lost after this exercise. Anyway, what we should remember here, when reading any article, is how a LCD is defined because the conclusions can be easily misleading according to the definition.

Finally, what I think extremely interesting is the recent comment of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, an eminent and highly experienced LC doctor, on his Swedish website:

“Really carb-sensitive people and those who want the maximum effect of LCHF can benefit from keeping the carb intake below 20 grams a day (maybe even lower).”

Somewhere, somehow, the limit of “below 20 g a day” and “maybe even lower” looks more like a Zero Carb diet then anything else!!!


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