Thursday, 12 June 2014

TIME Gentlemen Please! Butter is back!

Remeber this? Time magazine March 1984. The start of the low-fat revolution.The start of what went wrong with public health advice and the reason why crappy cereals now have pride of place at our breakfast tables.

Well TIME may not be recommending humble pie just yet but this month's cover goes a long way in that direction.

Eat butter. It's natural, it's tasty and it makes a whole lot of other things taste much, much better.
And it doesn't make you fall over and die of a heart attack.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I do love a good battle!

Further to my recent post on the statin fight ( it looks like the proposals to widen the use of statins are now turning into a good old battle!

On one side we have the doctors - reposonsible for our daily care and for prescribing drugs - saying that they are concerned that there is not enough evidence to support wider use of statins and that they are worried about the side-effects; and on the other side we have the National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE) who are proposing the change. Most of the board of NICE are directly involved with or partially funded by the drugs companies making Statins. That's NICE!

The opening skermishes look to be over, nearly everyone has had a chance to decide whose side they are on and now the big guns are being rolled out as described today in The Telegraph

The president of the Royal College of Physicians Sir Richard Thompson is on 'our' side, and bunch of not so NICE professors (who refuse to share their research data with the public) are clearly on the side of big-pharma.

Now Jeremy Hunt has to decide which side he is going to join. It could be a career-changer for him and a life-changer for the rest of us!

Good luck Jeremy.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

GPs report success when recommending a low carb diet to diabetics

A surgery in Southport has documented a limited trial of recommending a low carb diet to patients with impaired glucose tolerance. Patients were offered dietary advice and either short consultations or longer monthly meetings to provide education and gain feedback.

The recommended diet was not ultra-low carbs, but the central emphasis was to cut out sugar, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes altogether, eat lots of good vegetables and to increase the consumption of good fats.  A key part of the trial was to provide the education that patients needed in order to embrace the diet.

The trial was a success with all patients achieving substantial weight loss. Waist circumference decreased significantly, blood glucose control improved and total serum cholesterol decreased (an increase would traditionally have been expected here) Almost half the patients were able to come off medication of one type or another in just a few months).

Here is the full report of the trial written by Dr David Unwin and Dr Jen Unwin.

Futher to this Dr Unwin today reports that the number of patients on the scheme has more than doubled since this report was written and the figures are just as good.

Could this be the start of something big?

The NHS has been allowing GPs to refer patients to Weight Watchers and Slimming World for some time, but with the average weight loss from these companies being just 3% you have to wonder why. This is not good enough.  The diets recommended by these groups are still highly carbohydrate-loaded, and this is why they should be rejected as being nutritionally imbalanced and unhealthy.

The low carbohydrate diet recommended in this trial offers the opportunity to lose significant weight and come of medication. That has to be better than a life of Watching your Weight or a World where Slimming does not work.

Monday, 2 June 2014

What I’ve been reading

Anyone who enjoyed Richard Askwith’s Feet in the Clouds will be equally impressed by his new book Running Free.  Richard makes his way through the whole gamut of modern running; alternating between describing philosophising around early morning runs through his local fields and thoughts on Tough Mudder, Gym membership, high-tec clothing, supplements and why anyone might wish to buy a treadmill for their dog. As the title suggests he prefers to be free of all this as he just loves running for its own sake and doesn’t carry a GPS watch or wear the latest Asics shoes. But his style is never patronising, admitting that he has enjoyed being a gym monster and a rep counter in the past. He admits to now being at the “4th stage of running”; past his best but still able to turn in a good performance from time to time – just no longer caring about results. An eloquent, amusing and engaging read.

I’ve  also just received a copy of The Real Meal Revolution (Tim Noakes et al). Hot off the press in South Africa this book looks like a bible for LCHF living. Along with loads of fantastic looking recipes there are explanatory chapters covering the diet and how it relates to people with diabetes, pregnancy, etc. Anyone interested in food and health should read this book. Reading the explanatory chapters is like listening to a respected uncle speaking at your wedding, affirming the path you have just taken in life.  Just getting to work on some of the fantastic recipes.

My book group have been reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  A wonderful picture of pre-colonial tribal life in Nigeria, describing the traditions, politics, deaths marriages and soap-operas of village life. Witches, superstitions, cookery, wars and learning. Great knowledge and respect passed between generations. The approach of the white man and the sudden loss of everything of any importance. Like staring at a masterpiece in a gallery – a slow education, a sudden realisation and then the painful truth.