Lowcarbezine! 1 May 2002

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Hey, Gang -

Happy May Day! Beltane! Worker's Day! My Mom's 72nd Birthday! The 1st of May seems to be a happy day around the world, so enjoy!

Lots and lots of interesting, important stuff in this issue, so I hope you enjoy it. You know, the past couple of issues, I've had a hard time with article ideas, but in the past week or two there's been so much news that's important to us that I've got stuff stacked up for the next few issues!

Read on!



All contents copyright 2002 Hold the Toast Press. All commercial reproduction is expressly prohibited. If you think your friends will enjoy Lowcarbezine!, please forward them the WHOLE ISSUE. Please, do not post articles or recipes elsewhere on the internet without permission. My attorney tells me that I'll have to come scold you and tell you to cut it out if you do.

A lot of people have inquired about advertising; we actually are going to launch new ad rates and a sign up page as soon as the webmaster is through with grad school for the semester. Watch this space!


For the Record

No, Dr. Bob Atkins did not have a heart attack. I have no doubt that many of you have been plagued by well-meaning people telling you that Doc Atkins' recent health problems are proof positive that a low carb diet is the Royal Road to Heart Disease. I'm pleased to say that they are just plain wrong.

What Dr. Atkins did suffer was a cardiac arrest - an episode where his heart stopped completely. This is distinct from a heart attack, aka a myocardial infarction, where an artery supplying blood to the heart muscle, narrowed from cholesterol deposits, suddenly is completely clogged, cutting off blood to part of the heart muscle. A heart attack may cause a cardiac arrest, but a cardiac arrest is not always caused by a heart attack.

In Dr. Atkins' case, the cardiac arrest was caused by an infection of the heart muscle. Dr. Atkins contracted this infection while traveling overseas, and, according to his personal physician and cardiologist, Dr. Patrick Fratellone, he has been under treatment for this infection for nearly two years. The combination of this heart infection and extreme April heat in New York City caused this cardiac event in Dr. Atkins, who is 71 years old.

According to Dr. Fratellone, during the course of Dr. Atkins diagnosis by angiogram, it was found that Dr. Atkins coronary arteries are normal, normal, normal - which is to say, not clogged with cholesterol. Said Dr. Fratellone, "Clearly, his own nutritional protocols have left him, at the age of 71, with an extraordinarily healthy cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, the infection-related cardiomyopathy is totally another matter."

Dr. Atkins has been advised to curtail his travel plans for a month, but hopes to return to his responsibilities, including local speaking engagements and his work at the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation, within the next week or two.

So that's the story - no heart attack, no "Omigod" evidence that Dr. Atkins' diet is killing him - but an infection that is, indeed, a cause for concern.

Robert Atkins is a personal hero of mine, and my prayers and wishes for his good health go out to him. I'm sure that you all wish him well, too.


Is Mom Low Carb Too?

Then get her a low carb Sweetheart Basket from Carb Smart for Mother's Day! Chock full of sugar free chocolates and other low carb treats, the baskets come in large and small, and are sure to please every low carb mom!

While you're at it, check out our huge line of low carb products, all at a discount - and Dana Carpender's How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds! for just $9.99! Don't miss our recipes and our newsletter, too!

If you're low carb and smart, you'll shop Carb Smart!



The Biggest News About Carbs So Far This Year

Tired of all those folks warning you "for your own good" that it just isn't healthy to cut the carbs from your diet? It's your turn to be terribly worried about them. Get a load of this:

Researchers at Stockholm University, in cooperation with the Swedish government food safety agency, have made a discovery so alarming they decided they had to announce it before they published the findings in a peer reviewed scientific journal. What discovery? Starches that are fried or baked develop high levels of a substance called acrylamide - widely considered to be a carcinogen. How much acrylamide?

An ordinary bag of potato chips may contain up to 500 times the acrylamide allowed in drinking water by the World Health Organization. French fries made at Swedish franchises of Burger King and McDonald's, and the British-owned chain Diageo, contained about 100 times the WHO acrylamide limit for water.

This is scary stuff.

Apparently it is not yet known why baking and frying cause acrylamide to form, but boiling does not. Perhaps it has something to do with the higher temperatures involved - after all, boiling water never gets hotter than 212 Fahrenheit/100 Centigrade, while baking and frying involve considerably higher temperatures. But for the moment, no one knows. All we know is that baked and fried starches are, apparently, a very real cancer risk. Acrylamide is also known to do damage to the human nervous system, and induces gene mutations in laboratory animals.

The initial discovery of the high levels of acrylamide in starches cooked in these ways was made when Margareta Tornqvist, an associate professor at Stockholm University's environmental chemistry department, looked at levels of acrylamide in the blood of rodents. She found that rats fed heated rat food had acrylamide levels about 10 times higher than rats fed food that had not been heated. This led to a study of which fractions of the food - the protein, the fat, or the carbohydrate - were likely to be the source of the acrylamide. Researchers found slightly increased levels of acrylamide in cooked hamburger, but nowhere near enough to account for the levels in the rats' blood.

The researchers then looked at carbohydrates, and made their startling discovery. In one test, it was found that heating potatoes formed a concentration of acrylamide between 12 and 40 times greater than that in the hamburgers. Said Tornqvist, "This was surprisingly high and implies a remarkably high cancer risk stemming from a single compound."

A follow up analysis was done, including food such as breakfast cereals from Kellogg and Quaker Oats, Old El Paso tortilla chips, and potato chips from a Finnish manufacturer.

It has not yet been recommended that the foods tested be withdrawn from the market; the Swedish Food Administration feels that the 100 random samples tested do not provide extensive enough information to make such a recommendation. However, it was stated that the raw materials tested did not show acrylamide - it is clear that it is the baking or frying of starchy foods that causes the formation of the carcinogen.

The various companies whose foods tested high in acrylamide have had varying reactions. Burger King professes to be interested in studying the information closely (boy, I would, wouldn't you?!), and says it will launch its own investigation. Swiss food manufacturer Nestle says that they don't think the findings are particularly grave, or the Swedish authorities would have recommended a change in diet - this, ignoring the fact that the results of the study have not even been published yet, and governments aren't likely to suggest huge, vast, sweeping dietary changes on the basis of incomplete data. (Okay, our government did when they started pushing a low fat/high carb diet. One likes to think the Swedes are more sensible.) McDonald's said they were taking the results seriously, but "it is important not to draw hasty conclusions."

All of this goes a long, long way to explaining the 1996 Italian study, published in the medical journal Lancet, that showed the highest rates of breast cancer in the women who ate the most complex carbohydrates, doesn't it? This may also have some bearing on longevity among Asian folks - less bread and potatoes, more noodles and rice. In other words, fewer baked and fried starches, more boiled ones.

Yet the press still seems to be blaming fat, not starches. The articles that I have seen about this Swedish study play up the french fry/potato chip angle, glossing over the fact that baked potatoes, whole wheat bread, and breakfast cereals are just as big a problem when it comes to acrylamide as the chips and the fries. I'm not surprised, of course, but I am mildly frustrated.

At any rate, eating low carb, and avoiding that wonderfully "healthy" 6 - 11 servings of starches a day that the USDA keeps trying to push on us just took a quantum leap in justification. Now, go warn all your low fat vegetarian friends that you're terribly concerned about that whole grain toast they're eating.


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

This Really Works!!!

Our daughter loves this diet and encouraged my husband and I to try it. We started on June 1,

2001, and by the middle of September we had lost a combined total of 100 pounds. Since then, we have shared this book and diet with many friends and all have had success. With the maintenance plan, we have kept the weight off and plan to stay on this eating plan forever. I also have to share this; before the diet, I was on Lipitor and blood pressure medication. Since being on

this plan, my cholesterol and blood pressure have dropped so I no longer need any medication. WOW!!

Cheryl R Wester from Maple Grove, MN , January 5, 2002

Thanks, Cheryl, and congratulations to all of you!

To read this and other reviews of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds!, visit


To read the first chapter for FREE, and see my before-and-after photos and my smiling face, visit http://www.holdthetoast.com

To order How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds! visit http://www.holdthetoast.com/order.html


A Product Review From a Reader

Hi Dana and staff,

I just thought I would tell you about a neat product I found: Lucky Leaf brand no-sugar pie filling in Cherry... with Splenda as the sweetener! It has only 8 grams of carb per 1/3 cup, enough to top a nice low-carb cheesecake. Same carbs as a cup of Splenda, I assume because they don't use the fluffing ingredient found in boxed Splenda. This company also makes an

apple pie filling version.

MY Favorite snack: when I need a sweet and am lazy (always!) is a tablespoon of this over a 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, top with cream if desired, and stir. Wonderful quick snack, lots of protein!

The company, Lucky Leaf, has a website, http://www.krouse.com , and I looked to see if there were any other great lo-carb foods. Only the apple and cherry fillings, it seems. This is the company that makes Musselman's apple products, maybe there is some hope for the future.

Good luck on your book, looking forward to the cookbook! I have even recommended your book to all my non-dieting friends, some of whom are diabetic, and have other health problems. Your explanations of how sugar ruins our health are excellent!

Love and blessings,


Thanks, Joyce, both for your help to your fellow readers, and your very kind words about my books!


Sue 'Em?!

Merciful heavens, now there's talk of liability suits against manufactures of "fatty foods". After all, it's their fault that so many folks are obese, and suffering from diabetes. Yep, my Tuesday morning paper carried an article about the possibility of lawsuits against the makers of "sugary doughnuts, super sized lunches, and other fatty foods."

This is wrong headed on a couple of levels, and makes me want to holler and throw things.

First of all, look at the foods mentioned. Does fat strike you as being the main offender, here? Or could it be the sugar and white flour in the doughnut - the overwhelming majority of the content of the thing - and the huge soda, white flour bun, and oversized order of fries in the super sized lunch? These things are major sources of the worse possible kind of carbohydrates, but what gets the blame? Fat.

Which worries me. Are they going to sue the producers of rib eye steaks, cheddar cheese, avocados, mixed nuts, and other fatty - and nutritious - foods? Will these foods become less available and more costly as a result? Boy, that'll help the health - and the girth - of the nation, huh?

Along with the fact that fatty foods are under fire, with nary a word about sugar, I'm also disturbed by the total denial of personal responsibility. I've taken charge of my own eating habits. Most of you have taken charge of your own eating habits. Why is not the responsibility of others to take charge of their eating habits? And if they do not wish to - if they choose to live on Coca-Cola, Lucky Charms, and Pringles - is that not both their right and their look-out?

People are addicted to junk food, true. But many, many people in this world have conquered addictions to all sorts of things, from cigarettes to alcohol to heroin - to sugar. That some people do not conquer those addictions is not grounds to decide that those people bear no responsibility for their actions.

And anyway, we all know what part of the junk food is addictive - and it ain't the fat.

I would, perhaps, support a ban on advertising junk food on children's shows, since children are not in a position to judge what is best for them nutritionally. But adults? Hey, if you want to eat garbage, that's your lookout, and none of the nanny state's business.


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That's it for this issue - I'm off to Chicago for my nephew's 4th birthday party, and to visit with family for a week! See you in two weeks!


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To request a full-text version of this newsletter by e-mail, just send a message to htt020501@holdthetoast.com (Message and subject can be blank.)