Lowcarbezine! 3 May 2000

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Hey, Gang --

It's a mystery to me -- some weeks this ezine practically writes itself,
and other weeks, well -- it's nearly 11 pm and I'm just getting done.
(For some weird reason, I always write this first bit last.)   Don't
really know what the difference is, but I suspect it's the same with
every job.

Ah, well -- slow or fast, it still gets written!  And I hope it's
useful, or at least entertaining.  Better yet, a little of both!  Read



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Thought For The Week

I wasn't going to do a thought this week.  Just wasn't feeling
thoughtful.  ;-D  No, actually I figured that a rundown of my vitamin
and mineral supplement regimen would be more than enough writing for me,
and reading for you.  (And I may have been right.  You'll have to tell
me, after you read the FAQ article below.)

But then I got a post from a reader, including an article from a site
called eDiets.  The article was by a naturopath, who dogged low carb
diets six ways from Sunday.

They're dangerous, she said.  You have to have glucose for energy, she
said.  You know the drill.  We've all heard it from at least a dozen
friends, family members, acquaintances, co-workers, and other sundry
contacts -- a low carb diet is the nearest thing to a dietary
Anti-Christ, and we'll be lucky if we don't drop dead tomorrow.  Or even

My first instinct, after reading this article, was to write this woman a
scathing email.  After all, some people who are seriously carbohydrate
intolerant may be reading her article, and deciding not to go on a diet
that could dramatically improve their health!  Or even save their
lives!   Isn't it my job to put this woman in her place?

To make it even more tempting, she had some really hilarious
misstatements in her article -- the one about glucose being the body's
only source of energy was one, especially since she followed that up not
more than three paragraphs later with the news  that the body could,
indeed, burn fat for fuel.  She also recommends bananas, tomatoes, and
dates as great foods for "loading up on complete protein", which is such
arrant nonsense it barely deserves contempt.  For the record, a banana
has about 1.2 g of protein, a tomato has about 1 g, and 10 dry dates
have 1.6 g of protein -- and 61 g of carbohydrate, virtually *all* of it
in the form of sugar.

The naturopath's article also mentions many health problems which
supposedly come with a low carb diet which, in my experience, actually
clear up on a low carb diet -- excess gas and bloating, for instance,
and depression.

And, of course, she hauled out the old wheeze about how low carb diets
are dangerous because they don't include any fruits or vegetables,
thereby proving that she hadn't read a single one of the low carb books
currently on the market before writing her article.

I started to write her, and really let her have it.  I changed my mind.

Why?  What good would it do?  What good would it possibly do?  It would
gain me the momentary thrill of feeling superior, but that's a pretty
dangerous thrill.  After all, strange as it may seem, the odds say that
*I* am likely to be wrong one of these days.  The more superior I make
myself out to be, the further I have to fall.

I started to try to think of ways that this person might be right.  For
instance, she mentioned gall bladder problems among low carbers.
Actually, it is well established that *low fat* diets can cause gall
stones, because on a low fat diet, the gall bladder rarely needs to
contract and empty itself fully.  However, it strikes me as possible
that this practitioner has had a client or two who was on a low fat
diet, slowly developing gall stones, who then switched abruptly to a low
carb/high fat plan.  All of a sudden, that stagnating gall bladder was
called upon to contract, and *bam*!  A case of gall bladder disease
"caused" by a low carb diet.

She also wrote that she'd seen serious constipation result from a low
carb diet.  Well, if she's only seen low carb dieters who eat no
vegetables, I can imagine that she has.  Doesn't mean that low carb
diets are inherently dangerous, only that she'd seen people who were
eating badly constructed low carb diets.  But still, it would be a cause
for alarm.

The naturopath also wrote of weakness and fatigue being caused by a low
carb diet.  Now, this has been the very opposite of my experience, and
my mail tells me that that is true of the majority of low carb dieters.
But I also know that it takes people several days to a few weeks to
adjust to a low carb diet -- for their bodies to become efficient at
burning fat for fuel, and creating what little glucose is, indeed,
essential from protein.  During that adjustment period, one can indeed
feel weak or fatigued.  Further, I've communicated with just a couple of
people who never seemed to "make the jump" -- who several weeks into a
low carb diet were *still* tired or foggy.  My assumption -- and an
unsubstantiated assumption it is, too, I'd like to add -- has been that
these folks simply aren't very good at gluconeogenesis (making glucose
from protein), or have a lot of trouble going into ketosis.  In these
cases, I've recommended another approach to carb/insulin control -- a
mini-binge diet, or my Careful Carb Diet, or perhaps the Zone.  It seems
entirely possible to me that the author of this article has encountered
people during that first, hard week of low carbing, or a couple of the
sort who simply don't adjust well to a ketogenic diet, but didn't know
any other way to approach the problem.

And of course, I have to remember that 6 years ago,  I was as convinced
of the wonders of a low fat/high complex carb diet as anybody else.
After all, it was all we heard for twenty years, and the consensus on
the point was well-nigh total until recently.  As I mentioned in an
article a few issues back, for many belief in a low fat diet, and in the
evils of meat consumption, takes on the proportions of a religious
faith, and all new information is fit into that existing faith system.
Hey, I may even be doing that now -- there may be some facets of a low
carb diet as we currently know it that could, indeed be better, and I'm
missing it.  Time will tell.

Much more importantly, writing a critical letter wouldn't do a *thing*
to change this person's mind.  It's a very, very rare individual who
reacts to a blunt, "You're wrong!", followed by a list of citations, by
changing his or her mind.  Nope, when challenged in that blunt, forceful
way, human nature is to dig in and *fight*.  I truly believe that the
more I -- or you -- attack the folks who tell us how terrible our way of
eating is, the *longer* it will take them to change their minds.

On the other hand, if we say, "You know, you may be right.  Perhaps a
low fat/high carb diet *is* best for you.  I only know about me,
really.  I've been eating this way for five years, and so far, it does
seem to be really good for my body -- my energy level is better, I've
lost forty pounds and kept it off, and my bloodwork is really, really
good -- my doctor is very pleased" -- or whatever your personal low carb
story may be -- we've been gentle with people's feelings.  We haven't
directly challenged their beliefs -- and just eating the way we do is a
*huge* challenge to their beliefs already.  If they counter with, "But
you'll give yourself breast cancer!" we could try responding, "I know,
I've heard that a lot; I understand your worry.  But all the recent
research I've been reading about indicates that a low fat diet really
doesn't protect against breast cancer.  In fact, I've seen some reports
that indicate that the big culprit may be insulin."  Again, we've been
gentle with their feelings, and acknowledged that they have had some
good reason for feeling the way they do.  They're going to be more ready
to listen to us, and perhaps to eventually accept -- after we've been
doing this for years and years and still haven't fallen down stone dead,
or after they notice some of the news reports coming out regarding
nutrition --  that this *is* a healthy diet for many of us.

And if we're gentle with the feelings and beliefs of a practitioner like
the one who wrote this article, she'll be more likely to accept it when,
sooner or later in her career, she runs across clients who, miraculous
though it will seem to her, are thriving on a low carb way of eating.
Without her defensive instincts engaged, she'll be more ready to look at
the evidence with an open mind.  And sooner or later, she'll learn that
we're not crazy.

You see, the same goes for us -- we don't like being told we're crazy.
We don't like being challenged.  It gets *our* backs up; it makes *us*
want to dig in and fight.  It's human nature.  We want to *anihilate*
them with our knowledge -- especially me, who eats, sleeps, and breathes
the research on this stuff.  (I was part of a panel discussion at our
local hospital, along with an exercise physiologist and a cardiologist.
I knew more medical journal citations on low carb than the two
professionals put together -- after all, this is what I *do*.)  I have
considerable powers of speech, and I'm good with the withering retort.
My first instinct is to *argue*.

But I'm trying to overcome that instinct.  Not because it's wrong, but
because I'm beginning to see that it's ineffective.

If I have to choose between being *right*, right *now*, or the
opposition being comfortable enough with me to eventually give my point
of view a fair look, I'm trying to learn to choose the latter.  After
all, there are lives hanging in the balance.


Frequently Asked Question

What vitamin supplements should I take?  What vitamin supplements do
*you* take?

Two rather different questions; I take a *whole* lot more supplements
than most people do, and have done so since I was 19.  I have what I
feel are good reasons for taking the stuff I take, but understand that
many people do not care to swallow as many pills as I do, or don't want
to spend the money I spend, which is considerable.  So let's talk first
about what I really think is important for all of you to be taking.

That's pretty easy:  A high potency multiple vitamin with plenty of
minerals *and* extra calcium and magnesium
OR a high potency multiple vitamin with minerals that actually gives you
1000 mgs a day of calcium and 500 mgs a day of magnesium (hard to
find).  This would be a formula that requires you to take at *least*
three tablets or capsules a day.
OR a "pack vitamin" that includes a high potency and broad spectrum of
vitamins, and also includes a broad range of minerals, including 1000
mgs of calcium and 500 mgs of magnesium.

That's it.  However, let me talk a little about multiple vitamins.

I am of the undying conviction that there is no such thing as a good
one-tablet-a-day multiple vitamin/mineral formula.  Doesn't exist.
Indeed, it *can't* exist.  Why?  Because while it is a fairly simple
matter to fit sufficient vitamins into one tablet a day, it is
categorically impossible to fit enough *minerals* into one tablet a
day.  Minerals, and calcium in particular, are bulky.  If you take a
look at supplements which contain only calcium, you'll find that you
generally have to take at least 2-6 tablets each day to get your 1000
mgs. of calcium.  If you tried to put all that calcium into one tablet,
you'd choke on it.

Most multiple vitamin supplements are short on magnesium, as well.
Magnesium is important stuff.  First of all, many people report that it
fights sugar cravings, which right there is enough reason to take it.
It also is soothing to the nerves -- or rather, if you get too little,
you will find yourself twitchy and irritable.  Further, it minimizes the
tendency of calcium to precipitate into stones, which is no small
thing.  You want to be taking at least half as much magnesium as calcium
-- 1000 mgs a day of calcium, 500 mgs of magnesium.

You can find calcium and magnesium together in one tablet, in this ratio
-- I have a product like this on the shelf.  If your multiple is
otherwise adequate, you could simply take it along with a
calcium/magnesium product of this type.

But what do I consider "adequate"?

I feel that a multiple vitamin should contain at *least* --

Vitamin A -- 15,000 IUs, and 25,000 isn't excessive.  I personally
prefer fish oil A to beta carotene, but don't think it's a huge deal.
Vitamin C -- 250 mgs, 500 or more is better.  Extra points for a
supplement that includes "bioflavonoids"; substances that occur
naturally along with Vitamin C and enhance its absorption and use.
Vitamin E -- 200 IUs, 400 IUs is better.
Vitamin D -- 200 IUs, 400 IUs if you don't go out in the sun much!

ALL of the B vitamins.  Many supplements leave out the B vitamins for
which no RDA has yet been established.  I'm not really big on the RDAs
anyway -- I think many of them are way too low -- but it's arrant
nonsense to assume that because no baseline requirement has been set, we
don't need a given vitamin.  The complete list of B vitamins includes:

B 1, or Thiamin
B 2, or Riboflavin
B 3, or Niacin (or Niacinamide)
B 5, or Pantothenic acid
B 6, or Pyrodoxine
B 12, or Cyanocobalamine (or Cobalamin)
Folic acid
Para amino benzoic acid, or PABA

If a supplement includes every single one of these B vitamins, that's a
good sign that the manufacturer has tried to make it as complete as

Doses of B vitamins can be hard to recommend; there is reason to believe
that individual requirements vary *tremendously*.  (Dr. Abram Hoffer,
about fifty years ago, did some very interesting experiments with
schizophrenics and vitamin B 3, or niacin.  Knowing that one of the
symptoms of pellagra, or niacin deficiency, is mental disturbance nearly
indistinguishable from schizophrenia, he gave the schizophrenics
absolutely *HUGE* doses of niacin, doses it would be impossible to even
*approach* by eating niacin rich foods, doses that were truly
*unnatural* -- and found that many of them improved substantially, and
some of them simply showed no sign of being schizophrenic at all, so
long as they took those immense doses of the vitamin.  He theorized that
schizophrenia might be caused, at least in many cases, by a genetic need
for far more niacin than would be available even in the best possible
diet.)  However, since they are water soluble, so long as the B vitamins
are taken *together*, getting a little more than you need beats getting
a little less than you need.  The multiple I take has 25 mgs. each of
thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, inositol, and
PABA.  It has 400 mcg of folic acid, 25 mcg of cobalamin, 50 mcg of
biotin, and 50 mgs of choline -- this is in three tablets a day.  I
consider these to be good, strong doses, but not outrageously high.

What about minerals?  I've mentioned calcium and magnesium, and they're
the minerals you need the biggest doses of, but there are a *lot* of
minerals of which you need just a *little* -- but you'll be healthier if
you get them than if you don't.  By the way, you always want to look for
minerals in "chelated" form.  Chelation (say, "key-lay-shun") is a
process by which minerals are bound to a protein, which improves
absorption a lot.    Here's the minerals that are in the multi I take:

Calcium 250 mgs (I take extra calcium on top of this)
Iodine  150 mcg
Iron  15 mg
Magnesium  125 mg (I get more of this with my extra calcium.)
Zinc 15 mg
Selenium  25 mcg  (This is a lowish dose -- I get more in an antioxidant
supplement I also take, and I eat lots of tuna, and a fair amount of
onions, tomatoes, and broccoli,, which are  good sources.)
Copper  500 mcg (This is only 25% of the RDA, and I should be getting
more, since I don't eat seafood, the best low carb source.)
Manganese  4 mg
Chromium  100 mcg  (This is slightly low, but I eat lots of chicken, a
good source.)
Molybdenum  50 mcg (Again, a lowish dose, but dark green leafy
vegetables are a good source.)
Potassium  50 mg (This is *nothing*.  1% of the RDA; don't know why they
bother to put it in.  But I eat plenty of potassium rich foods, so I
don't sweat it.)
Boron  1 mg.

An important mineral missing here is vanadium, which is particularly
helpful if you already have developed insulin resistance.  Fish is a
good source, requirements are pretty small,  and again, I eat a *lot* of
tuna, so I'm not supplementing this right now.  If you have type II
diabetes, or if it runs in your family, you may want to look for a
supplement that contains vanadium.  If you do, keep a close eye on your
blood sugar and notify your doctor; your medication may need adjusting
after you start taking it.

But overall, this is a good product.  As I mentioned, it is a three
tablet a day product, but then, it contains a fair amount of other stuff
I haven't listed, because while I consider it nice, and helpful, and all
that, I don't consider it vital.  You could likely find a single tablet
a day formula that included similar doses of the important stuff, and
all you'd really have to add to it would be the extra chelated calcium
and magnesium.

The multiple I take is called Green Source, and I get it from a company
called Puritan's Pride.  I get a lot of stuff from Puritan's Pride; they
tend to have very good sales.  They have a *huge* line, and many of
their products aren't anything I would take, but I get good prices on
the stuff I want.  If you'd like to check them out, they're at
http://www.puritan.com -- and no, I don't get kickbacks from the

You can also get excellent supplements at the health food store.  In
particular, I took Twin Lab Mega 6 -- a six tablet a day multiple -- for
a long time.  Twin Labs Dual Tabs is a good product as well,  although
it's a horse pill!! (No, I mean its size, not that it's formulated for
horses.)  Other good health food store brands include Solgar, Nature's
Plus, Thompson, and Schiff.  Several of the network marketing companies
put out excellent products as well, though the prices tend to be high.
I'd stick with the ones from the companies that specialize in
supplements, if I were you; I haven't been really impressed with the
ones that come from, say, the cosmetic companies.

So, bottom line,  a good, high potency multiple vitamin/mineral --
either a one-tablet-per-day formula with extra calcium and magnesium on
the side, or a multiple vitamin and mineral formula that has enough
calcium and magnesium that you need to take 3-6 tablets or capsules a
day.  I've had people accuse me of thinking everyone should swallow tons
of pills, but I think that this is a good, basic, bottom line
supplementation regimen for most people.

That being said, I take a *lot* of other stuff myself.  Why?  Because
I'm convinced that it's done me a lot of good over the years, and I'm
not interested in "bottom line" nutrition for myself -- I'm willing to
pay the money for optimal nutrition.  I've seen several relatives reach
great ages -- my Aunt Bertha made it to 97 -- but they were in bad shape
when they got there.  I know from watching them how terribly hard it is
to have a lively mind in a deteriorating body.  If God grants that I
stay out of trouble and live that long, I'd like to enjoy myself when I
get there.  And many of the supplements I take make me feel better right
now, which is no small thing.

So what else do I take?

For instance, one  mineral that is missing from my multiple is sulfur.
Sulfur is the 4th most prevalent mineral in the body, yet no RDA has
ever been set, and it never appears in multiple vitamin and mineral
tablets.  However, I take MSM, or methyl sulfonyl methane, which is form
of highly bioavailable sulfur.  I started taking it because sulfur is
important for strong, flexible connective tissue -- a vital component of
the strength and flexibility of every tissue in the body -- and because
it is utilized -- and lost -- in the process by which the body
eliminates toxins -- pollutants and such.   I was pleased to discover
that whatever it was doing for my insides, it was doing great things for
my outsides -- my hair started growing faster, thicker, and shinier, my
skin became somewhat clearer, and my nails started growing much faster,
and *very* hard.  A low carb diet tends to be rich in sulfur -- eggs, in
particular, are a good source -- but taking extra has been a good thing
for me.  MSM has also shown a great deal of promise in  reducing pain
and inflammation, and in reducing allergy.  Certainly my sister has
found that MSM *dramatically* reduces her allergic asthma -- not so much
that she can forego medication altogether, but enough so that she hasn't
had to take prednisone since she started taking MSM.  That's a very,
very big deal.  I buy my MSM from Puritan's Pride, and take two 750 mg
capsules a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.

I also take 8 kelp tablets a day.  Kelp is seaweed, of course.  It's a
good source of iodine, important for thyroid, but that's not the big
reason I take it.  It's also an excellent source of trace minerals,
because sea water is rich in trace minerals -- stuff we only need tiny
amounts of.  Why 8 tablets a day?  Because kelp is a food, not a
concentrate.  It's just a food I prefer not to taste, that's all!  I
figure 8 tablets is about a small serving of kelp, if it were not dried
and compressed.  I also get this from Puritan's Pride.

I recently started taking 100 mgs of PABA, morning and evening, after
reading several accounts of its effects on slowing wrinkling and other
aging.  No idea if it's working, but again, it's inexpensive, so my
attitude is "might as well."

I take *lots* of extra antioxidants.  There are antioxidants in my
multiple, including vitamins A, E, and C, and selenium, but I take four
separate antioxidant products on top of that!  I started loading up on
antioxidants *years* ago, when the information about antioxidants
preventing aging started to come out.  Now there's some feeling that
they prevent heart disease as well, and possibly some forms of cancer.
What extra antioxidants do I take?

I take extra vitamin C -- generally another 4 grams (4000 mgs) a day,
divided between morning and evening.  Vitamin C also helps to stabilize
collagen, so it can slow sagging of the skin.  Seems to have worked for
me; I generally get guessed as being a decade younger than I am, which
means I've slowed visible aging by about 50%.  Also, I've experimented
over the past 20 years, and if I drop my vitamin C intake much lower
than this, I start to get frequent colds.  Placebo effect?  Maybe, but
hey, vitamin C is cheap.  I also take an extra 200 IUs of vitamin E in
the form of "mixed tocopherols" -- in other words, vitamin E with all
the other elements that naturally occur with it.  Recent studies have
shown that the mixed tocopherol E works better than the straight alpha
tocopherol, which is what is considered to be the true "vitamin E".
(Who decides these things, I don't know!)

I take a mixed antioxidant supplement, which includes extra A (in the
form of beta carotene; little risk of overdose, although the risk of A
toxicity has often been greatly exaggerated), C, E, zinc, selenium,
co-enzyme Q10, and a bunch of other stuff.  And I take grape seed
extract, which is one of the best sources of a very powerful botanical
antioxidant called PCO.  PCO is many, many times more powerful as an
antioxidant than vitamins C and E, and seems to enhance their usage as
well.  In particular, it seems to be very good for blood vessel walls,
preventing atherosclerosis, the kinds of blindness that can come from
capillary damage, such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration,
and varicose veins.   If I had to choose just one of my extra
antioxidants, this would be it.  I take 50 mg of grape seed extract
morning and evening.

Bored yet?  I also take salmon oil -- good for the heart -- one capsule
a day.  I could probably give this up, because of my tuna intake.  I
also take evening primrose oil.  Some studies have indicated that this
can help with weight loss, but you can't prove it by me.  It's also
supposed to lower LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, lessen
arthritis pain, etc.  I do have good cholesterol scores, and my BP is
low, but I don't know if it's due to evening primrose oil; I think the
low carb diet is more likely to be the reason.  By the way, if you're
going to take oil supplements, keep them refrigerated!  (When I've
purchased several bottles on sale, I keep the extras in the freezer.
Rancid oils are no joke; they're very, very bad for you.)

Ah, but I'm not done yet.  I also take DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a
"prohormone" which the body uses to make a whole raft of hormones,
including estrogen and testosterone.  DHEA levels start to fall by early
adulthood, and by the time you're forty, you're likely to have half or
less of what you had at 20.   I take 25 mgs every other day, a modest
dose.  On the *other* days, I take 50 mgs of pregnenelone, which the
body makes into DHEA (and then into the subsequent hormones) *and*
progesterone -- I was uncomfortable about the idea of increasing my
estrogen levels without increasing my progesterone levels.  If you'd
like more info on DHEA than you could ever hope to read, you can go to
http://gator.naples.net/~nfn03605/ , or you could read _DHEA: A
Practical Guide_, by Ray Sahelian, MD.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895297744/lowcarbohysoluti  You
could also read _The Super Hormone Promise_, by William Regelson, MD.,
for information on both DHEA and pregnenelone.  This is an excellent
book about hormone therapies in general.

Both DHEA and pregnenelone are very controversial.  Why do I take them?
First of all, and most importantly, the controversy is not, by and
large, about whether or not they are safe, at least in modest doses; the
controversy is about whether or not they're as wonderful and miraculous
as the people selling them say they are.  Are these substances the
Fountain of Youth?  Hey, is *anything* as good as the advertisers say it

However, there is no question that DHEA/pregnenelone has produced real
benefits for me.  I noticed a real increase of energy and improvement in
mood within three days of starting to take DHEA, and I lost another 7
pounds in the first 10 days.  (One of the things that DHEA does, indeed,
do, is encourage muscle growth over fat formation.)  I also felt --
well, *younger*.  I had often wondered, since getting healthy, what it
would have been like if I'd taken good care of myself when I was a kid.
All of a sudden, I seemed to have springs in my legs when I went out
walking, and I thought to myself, "So *this* is what it would have been
like if I'd eaten right and exercised when I was a teenager!"  (I got
interested in nutrition a few months before my twentieth birthday;
exercise took a little longer.)  When my friend Paul -- a healthy fella
in his early forties -- started taking DHEA, he reported, "I haven't
played basketball like that since I was 18!"

However, I have also known people to try DHEA and/or pregnenelone and
feel *nothing*.  No extra energy, no weight loss, no stamina, no
improved moods, nada.  Once again we run up against the basic truth that
not everything works for everybody. On the flip side, there are people
who are taking *fantastic* doses of DHEA without any medical supervision
at all -- most particularly body builders, who are using it as a
substitute for illegal steroids -- they often take as much as 1000 mgs a
day.  I consider this foolish and potentially dangerous.  By the way,
side effects that have been observed with high doses of DHEA have
included oily skin and acne, facial hair in women, irritability and mood
swings, aggressiveness, fatigue, and insomnia.

Look, I'm not a doctor, nor have I played one on TV.  The stuff has been
very good for me, and I use it cautiously.  If you want to try it, I
*highly* recommend that you do some research on the subject.  If you
have *any* health problems, or are using *any* prescription medication,
this goes double, and I'd also recommend monitoring by your physician.
And if you're already taking hormone replacement therapy, it would be
downright foolish to add DHEA or pregnenelone to the mix without a whole
lot of medical help.  Hormones are powerful stuff.

So, that's Dana's Big Pile O' Supplements.  Aren't you sorry you asked?
Hey, I swallow so many pills, I rattle when I walk.  But I'm *healthy*.
I have no wrinkles.  I have no arthritis.  I have a terrific energy
level.  I heal quickly.  My hair and nails are strong.  I still have my
near vision at age 41, and my eye doctor says that I won't be wearing
bifocals for some time yet.  (Glasses, that is.  Bifocal contacts may be
in the near future -- I can see close up with no correction at all, but
using my far correction for near vision no longer works.)

Does taking all of this mean that I think that you can't get lots of
vitamins and minerals from a low carb diet?  Emphatically, no.  I do not
think anything of the sort.  In fact, I don't know of any essential
nutrient that you can't get from a low carb diet, and I know of at least
a few that are in short supply on a low fat diet.  Here's a quick
rundown of the vitamins and minerals in some of our favorite low carb

Eggs are a good source of vitamins A, B2, B3 B6, B12, biotin, choline,
E, folic acid, K (Yes, vitamin K.  Essential for blood clotting), iron,
phosphorus, sulfur, zinc, and the fat DHA, essential for brain function.

Meat is a good source of vitamins B1, B3, B5, B12, iron, phosphorus,
sulfur, zinc, and believe it or not, often of potassium

Fish and shellfish are good sources of vitamins B2, B3,  D (the fatty
fishes, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines), copper,
iodine, often potassium, selenium, sulfur, vanadium, and zinc.  Salmon
and sardines are good sources of calcium!  And of course, fish are a
good source of EPAs; fats that are good for your heart.

Nuts, seeds, peanuts, and the like are good sources of many nutrients,
including vitamins B1, B3, B5,  B6, E, inositol, calicum, iron,
magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc (especially pumpkin
seeds).  Be aware that over all, seeds -- pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame
-- have a more impressive nutritional profile than the tree nuts, like
walnuts and pecans.  Of the tree nuts, the most nutritious is the

You want a real low carb nutritional powerhouse?  Look what you get in
*liver*, much maligned in recent years because of its cholesterol
content:  vitamin A, B2, B3,  B6, B12, biotin, B5, choline, folic acid,
inositol, PABA, chromium, iron, selenium, zinc.  If you like liver, eat
it regularly.  You might, however, want to buy organic liver at the
health food store, since the liver filters toxins from the animal's
body.  You can also buy tablets of dried liver.

Then there's the low carb vegetables.  Think there might be some
nutritional value there?  Hmmm.  Well, you can't find vegetable that's
much lower carb than *leaves* -- what we lump together as "dark green
leafy vegetables" -- romaine and the other leaf lettuces (iceberg is
pretty weak, nutritionally), spinach, kale, collards, broccoli (eat the
leaves!), all that stuff.  This group is a good source of vitamins A,
B1, B2, B5, C, choline, E, folic acid, inositol (especially cabbage), K,
calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium.

I haven't gone through everything -- I've missed poultry, for instance,
and the non-leafy low carb veggies, like asparagus, peppers,
cauliflower, and cukes.  But you get the point -- a low carb diet can
easily contain every vitamin and mineral you need.  (It's interesting
and important to note that several of the nutrients that are a bit short
in the animal foods, like meat and eggs, are available in the low carb
veggies and the nuts and seeds, and vice versa.  Don't be a
nothing-but-meat low carber.)

So again the question arises:  Why do I take all those pills?  Because I
don't want to have to look everything up every day in my nutrition count
books (which, trust me, litter my desk -- you don't think I just pulled
all that out of my memory, do you?), making sure I've gotten a good
source of every single thing, every day.  Further, I feel that we have a
whole lot more to contend with than we once did, from industrial
pollution to artificial lighting.  On top of *that*, add the fact that
we never know how much of a given nutrient is in *this* head of lettuce,
*this* bag of frozen broccoli.  Our foods take a long time to get to us,
and oxygen, heat, and light are enemies of vitamins.  (Minerals, for the
most part, hold up better.)  Yet another factor is that most of us
simply don't need to eat as much as our ancestors did -- we don't walk
as much, work in the fields, shiver through the winter without central
heating.  How do we know that the reduction in our need for calories has
been accompanied by a reduction in our need for micronutrients?

So I take my pills.  And I'm darned healthy.  It's certainly true that,
as many skeptics have pointed out to me, I could get hit by a truck
tomorrow.  They always point that out as an illustration of how my
supplement habit is probably money wasted.  Maybe.  But I feel great
*now*, and no one can take that away from me.

Anyway, what if I *don't* get hit by a truck?

(By the way, in case you wanted to know, my source for what foods
contain what nutrients was Earl Mindell's _Vitamin Bible_, the best
selling nutrition book in the English language, or probably any other,
for that matter.  Doc Mindell and I don't agree on everything -- he's a
*huge* fan of soy -- but he sure knows his vitamins and minerals.)


Reader Review of _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!_

Okay, so this is the same review I ran last week.  I like it.  Sue me.
;-D  Better yet, if you'd like to see a different review, go to
Amazon.com and write one!

Here's the review:

You won't believe how good it is!

I am a born skeptic. I also have been obsessed with food for my entire
adult life. When I am going to eat, what I am going to eat, where I am
going to eat, if there will be enough food left by the time I get to the
front of the line... Not a very nice way to live. This book HAS CHANGED
MY LIFE! So far, everything she has said has been true. Everything that
she said would happen, has happened. And it's not hard to do at all!
Sure, the initial adjustment to serving a meal with no potatoes or bread

is a little odd, but you get over it pretty fast. Somehow, this diet
just clicked with me. After reading her book, I have at  least 6 more
reasons to eat this way than just to lose weight. That's not even my
focus any more! She explained all the different approaches of all these
other authors and shows you how to pick and choose which aspects of
which approaches will work best for you. It's remarkably easy to read,

 ... I lost 10 pounds the first week and, I don't know if my initial
measurement was wrong or what, but I lost an INCH off my waist! ...I
hope you find something that works for you. But for my money, this was
the best that  was out there for me

 "Buggily", Minnesota

Wow.  Thanks!  You're makin' me happy, Buggily, because apparently my
book did for you *exactly* what I hoped it would!

You can check out the first chapter of the book FREE at
http://www.holdthetoast.com .  And you can see other reader reviews at

If you've already read _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty
Pounds_, and enjoyed it, please go to Amazon.com and review it yourself!
Who knows, you might see your review right here!

And if you'd rather, and you're in the United States, you can order _How
I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds_ through your local
bookstore.  Hey, that way you don't even pay shipping and handling! (I'm
sorry to say we do not yet have an international wholesaler;
international sales will have to be via the internet, or a mailed check
or money order.)


Reader Success Story!

I got this post, short but sweet, with the subject line "Success!" from
a reader:

I have been low carbing at 50g or less of carbs/day since the day after
Xmas 1999.
I started out at 238 lbs.  As of 4-29-2000 I am 208 lbs.  Being 42 years
old and 6 ft tall, I hope to get down to 180 lbs.  I feel so much more
energy on the low carb way of life. I don't feel hungry all the time.
What a gift.

Craig W.

Congratulations, Craig!!  Great job.  I know that after almost five
years of low carbing, I'm still bemused by how much less hungry I am,
and how much less I care about food than I used to -- and it's one of
the most common things I hear from new low carbers -- in total
amazement, of course!


Product Review

Hey, the folks at Synergy Diet have been sending me free food again!
This time they've sent me, of all things, sugar-free marshmallows!  I'm
not sure I would have imagined that such a thing was possible.  But the
candy folks at Darrell Lea have done it again.

After eating one myself, feeding one to my husband (ever-ready to do
product testing duty, what a guy!), and one to the nice lady who came to
take the census, the verdict is -- it's a marshmallow!

Yep, tastes just like a regular marshmallow.  Has the right gooey
texture, too.  I can't imagine that anyone who didn't know that this was
a sugar free marshmallow would ever be able to guess.

Like all the Darrell Lea candies, these are made with lactitol, which so
far as I have been able to learn, does not effect blood glucose or blood
insulin levels.  They also contain isomalt, which apparently also does
not raise blood glucose or insulin.  However, they also include
mannitol, for which I was not able to find  information regarding blood
sugar impact.  Too, much of the information available about these
sweeteners comes from the companies that make them.  I'm not saying we
shouldn't use them -- I'm saying that once again, it's up to *you* to
pay more attention to your own body than to a label that says "sugar
free".  Does a given sugar free product knock you out of ketosis, if
you're on a ketogenic diet?  Do you find yourself hungry an hour or so
after eating it?  Do you find yourself gaining a pound of water?  These,
of course, are signs that, sugar free or not, that food is not for you.

Still, I have no doubt that these are a huge improvement over your
standard marshmallow, in terms of what they'll do to your blood sugar
and insulin.  Just want you to be honest with yourself -- and to
remember that candy is still candy, it doesn't have much nutritional
value.  These are *not* a substitute for a lunch of protein and
vegetables, hear?

One other property of polyols, especially mannitol, should keep you in
line -- they act as laxatives.  Eat half a bag of these, and you won't
be very happy.

Now, I'm not a big marshmallow fan.  Even when I was eating low fat, I
never took advantage of the fact that marshmallows are a fat free food.
(Was there ever clearer evidence that "fat free" and "healthy" are *not*
synonyms?)  However, these sugar free marshmallows are made a bit more
interesting and appealing by the fact that they're coated with toasted
coconut.  Obviously, this will be a plus for readers who like coconut,
and a minus for those who can't stand the stuff.

And I know that for every kind of high carb junk food I never really
liked and don't miss, there are at least a few dozen readers who *adore*
that particular item, and can barely resist every time they see it at
the grocery store.  Indeed, I recently heard from a friend the story of
a young woman who had to give up on being a strict moral vegetarian
because she found out that marshmallows contain gelatin, which is, of
course, an animal product.  She became a vege-marshmallow-tarian, I

So I know that somewhere out there, some of you are now gazing in rapt
delight at your monitor, drooling, and thinking, "And I thought I could
never have a marshmallow again!!"  My friends, this review is for you.

As always, you'll find Synergy Diet at http://www.synergydiet.com  .
I've gotten a couple of reports of folks who have not received their
free shipping from Synergy Diet; Brian Smith, the president, says he'll
straighten it out.  In the meanwhile, they've given us a "coupon code"
instead; apparently this is automatic.  I admit, I haven't ordered from
Synergy Diet recently -- they just send me stuff (hey, it's not like I'm
getting rich putting out this newsletter; there's got to be a few perks,
right?) -- so I'm not certain how a "coupon code" works.  I'm thinking
that when you fill out the online order form, there's probably a box to
fill out with your coupon code, which automatically tells their computer
to deduct that amount from your order.  Our coupon code is simply
"toast", and it's good for a $5 discount!


Enough!  I'm going to eat supper and watch the end of Law and Order.
See you next week!

Dana W. Carpender

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