Thursday, April 24, 2014


I thought it would be interesting to review a few “wrong thinking’” that we encounter on an everyday basis in the modified carb world. I just cite them and then explain what is wrong. I hope you will enjoy.

“Saturated fats creates insulin resistance”:

If someone substitutes carbohydrates for fat in his diet, especially saturated fats, doctors believe this will increase the risk for developing insulin resistance and thus, diabetes type 2B.

When having a diet containing no glucose, your body will take care of producing the missing glucose by gluconeogenesis to answer the few body cells that require it for anaerobic energy production.

For example, the liver is an active “glucose factory” when needed and so, it will release it in the blood AND WILL DO EVERYTHING NOT TO PICK IT UP AGAIN. And how does the liver does this? By shutting its entrance channels to glucose, which are controlled by insulin, creating what is called “insulin resistance”, which is, as you may understand, a wrong name for what it is trying to do. This is a “glucose sparing system”, which is temporary as if someone on a high fat diet goes back to eat glucose, he will produce insulin and the channels will automatically reopen without any permanent damages. Sadly, most doctors do not differentiate this “temporary insulin resistance” from the “permanent insulin resistance” caused by long-term high carbohydrate diets in susceptible individuals.

Take note there is not only the liver that will get this temporary effect but all the cells sensible to insulin, the other major ones being the muscles and the fat cells.

“Polyunsaturated fats decrease blood cholesterol levels”:

This is another false believe and has made, sadly, a lot of good publicity to all these cheap vegetable oils such as soy, canola or corn oil.

We must first know the trillions of cells membranes in our body are made of 50% saturated fats, 30 % monounsaturated fats and 20 % polyunsaturated fats. This combination gives our cells the perfect mix to achieve maximum flexibility AND, at the same time, enough rigidity, the structural backbone that makes our body what it is.

But what happens if someone reduces his saturated fat intake and increases his polyunsaturated fat intake? These trillions of cells won’t have other choice then to incorporate this excess polyunsaturated fat in their membranes and so, our tissues will begin to be weaker, lacking the strength brought by the saturated fats. This is an undesirable situation.

So the body will immediately react to increase its “rigidity”, as saturated fats are not provided in the diet, and they will do so by having the cells pick up in the blood the available cholesterol which will be use as a substitute to increase the “solidity” fo the membranes.

The result being the blood cholesterol will GO DOWN, but only for a few weeks until the liver begins to synthetize saturated fats to compensate for its lack.

The end point is that increasing polyunsaturated fats will make your cells weaker and so, more prone to be attack by free radical, the basis a many serious pathologies such as hearth diseases and cancer. Sadly, when the studies first reported polyunsaturated fats were good, the duration of the said studies were only about one month, which is not enough to evaluate any change in a diet.

“Saturated fats do increase blood cholesterol”:

This is probably on of the biggest mistake of modern medicine. It has created a “fat-phobia society”, which I like to call “fat terrorism”, which is the basis of the profitability of many pharmaceutical companies.

In the recent decades, many detailed studies have given a new look into the “lipid theory” and because we can now have more detailed lipid profile, the accusations toward saturated fats are falling one after another.

What happens when you eat more saturated fats is that, yes, your total cholesterol may go up but this is done by a change in the 2 subclasses of lipoproteins, the HDL and LDL. What happens is that your HDL (the good lipoprotein) will go UP, a desirable situation. The LDL may react differently but if they go UP, we now know they will become larger and thus less atherogenic because their larger size will prevent them penetrations the blood vessels lining.

More recently, we also demonstrated there are subclasses of HDL, one being more atherosclerotic then the other, and under the circumstances of a high saturated fat intake, the “protective HDL” will increase and the “atherosclerotic HDL” will decrease. This is certainly a plus.

“High protein diet increases the risk of diabetes”:

This was reported recently and so, it is added as an argument for doctors to condemn high protein diets. They already bring up the risk of too much protein by stressing the bad effect on the kidneys, now the have a new argument to create a “protein-phobia” in their patients…

It is already proven that in an individual with normal kidney function, a generous protein intake has NO effect on the kidneys.

The problem with this recent study is that it was an “observational study” where patients had to answer questions about their diet composition. We know these questionnaires are not reliable because they are based on individual evaluation of portion sizes, which opens the door to important mistakes. The other big problem is that the relation of “high protein intake” and “higher risk of diabetes” was only founded in women. Conclusion: this study has zero value. Sadly, it made “the big titles” in last week newspapers…


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I recently crossed the site of and decided to browse what new stuff these folks have to say. It seems the approach is quite near the “original Dr. Atkins” but, still, with years, changes were made to the initial recommendations.

One problem often encountered on any modified carb diet (from LC to VLCD to ZC diet) is, it seems, at one point, many folks stop loosing weight and cannot reach their desired goal. And others, sadly, do even gain back weight even if they are doing seriously the approach. As we all know, there can be many reasons for this including “slowly making mistakes on the diet” which is often the cause. I think the Atkins’s company have understood this and so, they have made new recommendations to assure success to their clients.

What got my attention and is of interest for one on Zero Carb is the following:

“At each meal eat 4 to 6 ounces (115 – 175 grams) of protein foods, including poultry, beef, lamb, pork, fish and shellfish, eggs and cheese”.

Do you have any idea how much “4 to 6 ounces” represent? Not a lot…

They argue if one overdoes proteins, he will feel “sluggish”. I am not sure about their explanation but we clearly see a trend in the “modified carb diet world” in the recent years and it is to go from a “high protein recommendation” to a “moderate (or adequate) protein recommendation”. 

Easy to say; surely not easy to do.

But studies have showed that high protein foods do create a generous release of insulin and higher blood glucose even if they contain no carbohydrate. We must never forget the purpose of insulin is NOT only to push in our cells glucose BUT also proteins and fats. And this is an essential mechanism to get appropriate nutrition.

The original idea on the Atkins diet was to "eat to satisfy your appetite then stop". But I think a lot of obese folks have lost permanently their sense of “feeling full” and adding this to the “social habit” of always emptying plates, they have to face sad consequences on the scale.

Then when checking the new Atkins recommendation on “fat allowance”, I noticed even more serious changes. The “eat as much fat as you need to satisfy you” is OUT.

They now say: “Just add a splash of olive oil or a pat of butter. Don’t skimp on fats”. Again, a “splash and a pat” are extremely small quantities…

Also, on the food preparation, they say: “As for cooking, use just enough oil to ensure that they don’t burn. Or spritz the pan with a mist of olive oil.”

Atkins is in fashion since 1985. This means the Atkins’s company has now nearly 30 years of serious experiences with this diet. And we must not neglect experience: knowledge is something strong but “knowledge from experience” is even stronger.

So the end point seesm to be: “less protein and even less fat then originally recommended”.

This is sort of disturbing on a Zero Carb diet. Because the big difference with the Atkins’s approach is that there are no vegetables to feel you up to compensate the small volume of 4-6 ounces of meat.  We know the “fullness” sensation in the stomach is a very important factor to cause the release of “satiety hormones”.

I, myself, have tried to cut down on protein, allowing 5 ounces servings of protein with all the fat I wanted. The results were not great and I must admit I was still hungry after meals.

But one way I think most of us do on Zero Carb is to go with 2 meals per day. Which means the Atkins’s 4-6 ounces of protein servings 3 TIMES PER DAY are eaten in 2 meals of 6 to 9 ounces 2 TIMES PER DAY which is much more sensible to reach a good level of satiety.  Of course, and this is of significance, if you are trying to loose weight, the portions have to be of different sizes compare to a "maintenance" phase...

Anyway, the general conclusions we can get from all this is that we should be carefull about protein portions. As for fats, eating fatty cuts of meats is probably the way to go as it brings us near the “adding minimal amounts of extra fat” recommendation.

When you think about it, “added fats” are, in a way, processed food as they have to be “extracted”… butter from milk… olive oil from whole olives… coconut oil from coconut flesh… ect.,  as nature did not created them in this original form for us... and there is certainly a reason for not doing it!!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I am still under shock after reading the recent article that was all over Internet last week stating: “Vegetarians are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment.”
But what did upset me the most is the conclusion of the researchers: they still advocate a vegetarian diet or, at least, a “meat free day for all” during the week and, of course, staying away from dreadful “animal fat”… even if this well done observational study brings in numbers that says clearly the contrary…
We already know anyone eating 50 g fructose per day (equivalent of 2-1/2 apples per day…) for one month will develop a Metabolic Syndrome with all the consequences related to this disease….
But let’s look now at another interesting subject: how a “plant based” diet can screw up permanently our “hunger/satiety” system. Yes, and I will repeat it: PERMANENTLY!!!
We all well know Leptin is the lookout hormone - the gatekeeper of fat metabolism - monitoring how much energy an organism takes in. It surveys and maintains the energy balance in the body, and it regulates hunger.
Leptin is secreted by fat cells and is received by receptors in the hypothamus. If leptin is absent, feeding is uncontrolled and relentless. In normally healthy people, if leptin is present and receptors are sensitive, feeding is inhibited.
More body fat means less food is required, and so leptin is secreted to inhibit feeding and the accumulation of excess adipose tissue. Overweight people generally have higher circulating leptin, while leaner people have lower leptin levels. Leptin also responds to short-term energy balance. A severe caloric deficit will result reducing secretion of this hormone – this is your body’s way of getting you to eat when you need energy. It’s the hunger hormone. Overfeeding temporarily boosts leptin, reducing hunger.
Put simply: long-term, leptin signals that the body has adequate adipose tissue (energy) stores; short-term, this hormone signals that the body has had enough to eat. Both are supposed to result in the reduction in appetite.
But why are so many people so overweight? Why don’t overweight people respond to all that circulating Leptin and curb their food intake? And if they’re overfeeding, why isn’t the resultant Leptin increase having an effect? They shouldn’t be hungry, but they are. There’s a disruption of the Leptin pathway and this is what we will look at.
Something is causing the Leptin receptors in the hypothalamus to down regulate (Leptin resistance), or something is blocking the Leptin from reaching the receptors. Either way, this mechanism isn’t working as it should.
So what’s causing the breakdown of the Leptin pathway? Take a look at wild animals. They eat varying amounts of food, sometimes gorging, sometimes fasting, but never counting calories. And yet these animals seem good at maintaining an excellent body composition.
All signs, it seems, point to Leptin, especially its sensitivity, as being dependent on the dietary environment we provide. As long as they do not stay far from their evolutionary diets, wild animals do not have damaged metabolisms. On the other side, most modern humans having stayed FAR AWAY from their evolutionary diets, are metabolically deranged, with misguided or disrupted Leptin pathways.
When Leptin was discovered, it was hailed as the key to the obesity epidemic. Researchers figured if they could just administer it to the obese folks, appetite would be curbed and food intake would reduce. It actually worked for some people, but it was expensive (about $500 per day) and unsustainable, and for others, it had no effect. Now we know this is because these folks were Leptin resistant…
How do we maintain adequate levels of Leptin – enough to keep from going mad with hunger – without growing resistant to its effects? There are many causes but the two main ones are FRUCTOSE and LECTIN, substances related to plant food.
Let’s look first at fructose.
In rats, fructose feeding inhibits Leptin receptors, meaning Leptin has no effect. Interestingly, rats on a fructose diet gained more weight EVEN WHEN switched to a high-FAT diet.
Fructose appears to affect the Leptin pathway in two ways. First, fructose directly renders the hypothalamus resistant to Leptin. Normally responsive receptors in the brain have a muted, or even silent, response to leptin when fructose intake is high. Second, high blood triglycerides – brought on by a high fructose intake – block the passage of Leptin to the brain. High triglycerides actually physically prevent leptin from passing through the blood-brain barrier, and the leptin that does get through elicits a poor response from the receptors.
As we all know, a high-fat, low-carb, low-fructose diet generally decreases serum triglycerides and increases satiety; perhaps the lower triglycerides are allowing more Leptin to pass through and inhibit hunger.
As for LECTINS, especially those from cereal grains are direct causes of Leptin resistance. Wheat germ agglutinin (a lectin present in wheat, barley, and rye) actually binds directly with the Leptin receptor and prevents from working properly. The inability of the receptors to bind describes Leptin resistance.
Lectins are abundant in raw legumes and grains, and most commonly found in the part of the seed that becomes the leaves when the plant sprouts, aka the cotyledon, but also on the seed coat. They’re also found in dairy products and certain vegetables.

Lectins in plants are a defense against microorganisms, pests, and insects. They may also have evolved as a way for seeds to remain intact as they passed through animals’ digestive systems, for later dispersal.

Lectins are resistant to human digestion and they enter the blood unchanged. And because we don’t digest lectins, we often produce antibodies to them. Almost everyone has antibodies to some dietary lectins in their body. This means our responses vary. Certain foods can even become intolerable to someone after an immune system change or the gut is injured from another source.

Some experts hypothesize that it’s no coincidence the top allergens also contain some of the highest amounts of lectins (including: dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish).

Not all lectins react with human cells, but vegetables with lectins that do react include tomatoes, potatoes, string beans, zucchini, green peas, asparagus, radish, sweet peppers, cucumber seeds and mushrooms. Other human-reactive lectins are in the sprouts of soybeans, mung bean and lentils. One zucchini, for example, may contain more lectin than a zucchini from another location or one harvested at another time. These vegetables can be eaten raw, as their lectins are not orally toxic. However, if you are lectin-sensitive you will find these vegetables easier to digest when they are cooked.
Some fruits contain lectins that cause human blood cells to clump together, or agglutinate. This includes cherries, pomegranate, grape seeds, raspberry seeds, apples, watermelon, grapefruit, banana, lemon, orange, strawberries, currants and plums.

Grains that contain lectin include wheat germ, rice germ and barley germ. Some spices contain lectins including garlic, marjoram, allspice, nutmeg and peppermint. Cocoa beans, Arabica coffee beans, walnuts, hazelnuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds also contain human reactive lectins.

So it is not surprising why so many folks that got obese on “high-plant diet rich in fructose and lectin” have now to live the entire existence with a “broken metabolism”…

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