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Hey, Gang -
Sorry this is so incredibly late. As you'll read later on, we've been out of town to a funeral, and it's taken a while for life to settle down again.
Hope you like my rants, because I've rarely ranted like I do in the lead article!! Hey, what's the use of complete editorial control if you can't say exactly what you think?
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Fast Food Wars, or Whose Responsibility?
Surely all my American readers have heard by now that the fast food industry is under siege by lawyers, suing them for making various people fat and ill. Caesar Barber, a 56 year old maintenance worker who now tips the scales at 272 pounds at 5'10", is blaming McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken for his obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. He is quoted as saying, "They said "100 percent beef." I thought that meant it was good for you. I thought the food was okay."
Pardon me for being blunt, folks, but this is either (to be polite) disingenuousness, or Mr. Barber is too dumb to pour water out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel. I suspect the former, but won't discount the latter.
This is dopey on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start. First of all, did he really think that the hamburger bun was 100% beef? The fries? The soda? The milkshake? And how on earth could he think that fried chicken was 100% beef?
Furthermore, is there anyone in America who hasn't heard, over and over and over that a steady diet of fast food is bad for you? This is right up there with smokers claiming that they didn't know that smoking was a bad idea. Unless you've lived in a cave for the past 30 years, you knew, and you're going to have a damned hard time convincing me otherwise.
Mr. Barber's attorney, Samuel Hirsch, says that fast food joints should list the ingredients on their menus. Interesting idea, but I'd like to know why fast food restaurants should do this if every sort of restaurant, from the mom-and-pop corner coffee shop to the mega-pricey French gourmet places, don't have to? Unlike all those other restaurants, fast food joints do publish nutritional information - indeed, I was in a McDonald's just yesterday, and there, big as life, was a poster with a full nutritional breakdown for every item on the menu. That's a helluva lot more information than any other type of restaurant offers. What is the justification for holding fast food restaurants to a higher standard than Joe's Greasy Spoon, especially since you can probably get a virtually identical meal at Joe's?
But the thing that bothers me most - and this was predictable - is that everyone - Mr. Barber, his attorney, the media - are blaming Mr. Barber's weight gain and ill health on the fat content of his fast food meals. So far not one article I've seen has mentioned the sky-high carbohydrate content of fast food meals - a carbohydrate content that comes, I might add, from the worst sorts of high glycemic impact carbs. How much fat versus how much carbohydrate?
I looked it up. In a meal consisting of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, a super-sized order of fries, and one of the new 42 ounce Cokes, you'll get 1644 calories - enough for a day, and that's a lot of the problem right there. But care to guess how many of those calories come from fat? Just 450. That's right - less than 30% of the calories in this meal come from fat, just the way we've been told a healthy meal should be. By contrast, there are 245 grams of carbohydrate here, or 980 carbohydrate calories. Yet we're supposed to believe that fat is the problem?
Of course, those aren't the only foods on the McDonald's menu. Mr. Barber could have had my usual picks when I eat at McDonald's - a grilled chicken caesar salad with a packet of full-fat caesar dressing, and a large iced tea, a lunch which contains just 250 calories - over half of them from fat, horrors! - and 8 grams of carbohydrate.
If he prefers beef, Mr. Barber could have had - as so many low carbers do - a hamburger without the bun, perhaps with a salad. Using the USDA nutrient database to work out the numbers for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese minus the bun, I get 327 calories, with plenty of fat, but less than a gram of carbohydrate. Add a Garden Salad and a packet of ranch dressing at 260 calories, once again washed down with iced tea - or diet pop if he preferred - and Mr. Barber still could have eaten a quick, convenient, inexpensive lunch that contained 587 calories, or just over a third of the calories, and a tiny fraction of the carbohydrates, in the Super Sized Carb Lunch From Hell.
How about at Wendy's? Mr. Barber could have chowed down on a Big Bacon Classic, a Great Biggie Fries, and a 16 ounce Frosty for 1540 calories. 560 of those calories would be from fat - but 776 of them would come from cheap, valueless carbohydrates. I can tell you which fraction of this meal I'd rather eat!
However, Mr. Barber could also have chosen a Chicken BLT Salad, with 310 calories, just about half of which would be from fat - and only 10 grams of carbohydrate. Add a packet of bleu cheese dressing, and you've added 290 more calories, and another 3 g. of carb - and we're still talking a meal with less than 40% of the calories in the carb-laden meal above. But, oh, gosh, it gets most of its calories from fat! Dear me!
Burger King can be a little less fun, since it's flukey, in my experience, which BK's carry salads and which do not. But assuming the salad option, Mr. Barber could choose between these two meals:
Double Whopper with Cheese
Dutch Apple Pie
Whopper with Cheese, no bun
Garden Salad with Ranch dressing
King Diet Coke
The difference? The first meal has 2390 calories, 113 grams of fat,116 grams of pure sugar, 262 grams of carbohydrate - again, notice the overwhelming preponderance of carbohydrate, not fat! Even though fat has more than twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrate, there are more carb calories in this meal than fat calories.
The second meal contains 780 calories, fully 580 of which come from fat. There are just 13 grams of carbohydrate (with 2 grams of fiber). There are 31 grams of protein here, making this is a lunch that will certainly keep anyone going all afternoon.
At KFC, Mr. Barber could have lunched on a Chunky Chicken Pot Pie, mashed potatoes, a biscuit, and a 16 ounce Coke - a lunch with 1210 calories, 478 of them from fat. He'd also have gotten 153 grams of empty, valueless carbohydrate, or 612 calories worth - once again, more calories from rubbish carbs than from fat.
Also at KFC, Mr. Barber could have chosen an Original Recipe chicken breast, with 400 calories, and 16 grams of carb - less, if he peeled off the breading, something I always do - or a couple of Original Recipe chicken thighs, at 500 calories for the two of them, and 12 grams of carb, most of which, again, could be peeled off and discarded. Either way, he would have gotten in the neighborhood of 30 grams of protein. Add a side of green beans at 45 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrate - 3 of them fiber - and he'd have a lunch with less than 600 calories. Heck, he could have two sides of beans and stay under 600 calories! Of course, I'm assuming he'd drink iced tea or diet soda, not sugared pop.
I trust that a couple of points have been made - one, that fast food joints offer reasonably healthy food choices for those of us who want them, and choose them. That he didn't do so is Mr. Barber's responsibility, and nobody else's.
Secondly, far from hiding nutritional information, fast food restaurants make more nutrition information, and more complete nutrition information, available more widely than any other sort of restaurant. I found the vast majority of the information in this article on the websites of the companies cited. Many restaurants post nutritional info on the wall. And I have never asked for nutritional information at a fast food restaurant only to be told it was not available. Try that at Tony's Italian Ristorante, or Chez Francais, or even the Veggie Organic Health Food Café - and good luck.
It should also be clear by now that fat is not where the unreasonable calorie load is coming from in fast food meals - it's coming from the super-sized fries and the bathtub-sized sodas. Blaming the calorie load on fat is worse than misleading, it borders on dishonest. Once again, America is demonizing fat to avoid confronting our real addiction: carbohydrates. To blame the problem on ground beef, cheese, bacon, and the like is to avoid the real issue.
I worry that the high fat, high protein fast foods with a minimum of carbohydrate will become unavailable, leaving nothing but starchy, sugary garbage for me to eat - or, more likely, that fast food will be taxed to high heaven in an attempt to save the Caesar Barber's of this nation from themselves.
Think I'm an alarmist? Attorney John Banzhaf, best known for suing the tobacco companies, has now joined the fray, and has made it clear that his aim is to change the eating habits of America through litigation, since regulation seems unlikely. Know the new, ever increasing sin taxes on cigarettes? Mr. Banzhaf would like to see the same thing on "high fat junk foods."
Heaven forfend that people should make their own choices, and take responsibility for the consequences. You and I have made the decision to eat consciously, with our health in mind. If we can do it, so can others, and it is not the job of the courts, or the Congress, or anyone else, to force that decision. And which decision? Given the proven cluelessness of the government and the medical establishment where nutrition is concerned, we may soon find that everything but fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and tofu is heavily taxed, in the name of "saving" us from the evils of fat - and we'll be paying taxes through the nose for our pork rinds and mixed nuts and cheese.
The hell with that. Let me choose what I want, and let Mr. Barber - and everyone else - take responsibility for his own choices, and his own waistline, whether at a fast food restaurant, or anywhere else.
Because I find it very, very hard to believe that Mr. Barber got fat solely on fast food. Is he claiming he never downed a bag of chips in front of the TV? Ate three or four Mrs. Field's cookies while driving home from the mall? Begged his wife to make his favorite lasagne, with garlic bread on the side? Grabbed a soda a few times a day from the machine at work? Let's face it, the fast food companies are the easy target, with the deep pocket. Is Mr. Barber going to sue his mother for getting him addicted to chocolate chip cookies, and baking him birthday cakes? Nope. It's the big, easy sitting duck he's after - the big, easy sitting duck with billions upon billions of dollars.
The bottom line is personal responsibility, and individual freedom, a concept we claim to revere. Whose job is it to decide what we may or may not put in our bodies? Whose job is it to decide whether we value health, or immediate gratification? Who is to decide what is a healthy diet for our own personal bodies?
Let Mr. Barber destroy his body with his meals with less than 30% fat, and an ocean of cheap carbohydrates. Leave me my healthy, low carb, low calorie, high fat food - and the freedom to make my own choices.
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Speaking of Attempts To Limit Food Freedom...
I belong to the Google groups low carb support group and this site came to my attention. As a subscriber to your Lowcarbezine! I thought you might want to see it:
This apparently is being put out in the guise of a health research study for people who have been 'harmed' due to the Atkins diet!!
According to someone on our board it is actually supported by a lobbyist group closely allied with ALF (Animal LiberationFront) and PETA and is very pro-vegan and anti anything meat. Not that there's anything wrong with being vegan, but they're certainly not going to support a way of eating that promotes the eating of animals. The fact is they are trying to intimidate doctors into not suggesting that any of their patients follow a lower carb diet (of any kind, not just Atkins) by suggesting that they could be sued for it ! Exactly what am I supposed to be suing my doctor for...better health?
Anyway, we at the support group site are encouraging everyone on low carb to flood their registration forms with all the positives of going low carb. Don't know if you want to encourage the same, but thought you'd at least like to see what some groups are up to in the name of 'health'.
Thank you, thank you, Jan! Go get 'em, gang!
...to a Bookstore near you!
500 Low-Carb Recipes, by Dana Carpender
$19.95 from Fair Winds Press
Watch for it!!!
Alcohol and Carbs: Related Addictions?
When I wrote last issue about my blood sugar tests on the egg/macaroni combination, I mentioned that I ended up with strong cravings for both food and alcohol, and that I'd written about the carb-alcohol addiction connection in the past. I got several requests for the article, so I thought I'd reprint it. Here it is - afraid I haven't yet done any more research on the subject:
Hmmmmm. This low carb stuff just keeps getting more interesting. And sometimes I find myself trying to figure out how bits and pieces of information fit together.
For instance, years ago, when I first became interested in nutrition, back before low fat/high carb mania hit, I read accounts of alcoholics being treated with high protein diets. At the time, I had no way of evaluating these claims, but knowing how much nutrition had improved my psychological state, I stashed the information away in the mental file folder labeled "Points to Ponder." I've recently run across some bits of information that have made me go back and look at some of these stories again.
I went back to some of my older nutrition books, written when a high protein diet, devoid of refined carbohydrates, was the basis of everyone's nutrition program -- you know, back before this was labeled a "dangerous fad diet". Here's a couple of interesting quotes:
"All alcoholics are hypoglycemic, for it is an inevitable result of substituting whiskey for food. Some alcoholics begin by becoming hypoglycemic, and at the point where the low blood sugar would ordinarily cause a craving for sweets, they pervert the craving into an appetite for alcohol. That group in the alcoholic population can be cured of alcoholism by adopting and staying on the hypoglycemia diet (Dana's note: That would be a low carb/high protein diet.).... This paragraph is not based on theory. Let me quote from one of hundreds of letters: "I didn't make any vows, pledges, promises. I didn't ask for the intervention of the Almighty, and I did no praying. I didn't call on fellow alcoholics or ex-drinkers for aid. I had already been through A.A., Antabuse, shock treatment, and psychotherapy without results. I just went on the hypoglycemia diet, and a few months later, suddenly realized two things: I hadn't had a drink in weeks, and I didn't want one." (New & Complete Nutrition Handbook: Your Key to Good Health, Carlton Fredericks PhD., 1976.)
The other story is very long, but striking. It starts by talking about the writer's childhood diet: "My parents were opposed to drinking. Liquor (even beer and wine) was unknown in our home. But our way of living and eating predisposed each of the children in that family to a life of alcoholism or some other form of addiction... We never -- or almost never -- ate breakfast. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays some of us had breakfast -- a breakfast that was always cereal, sugar, pancakes loaded with carbohydrates, or waffles with maple syrup. But on weekdays, we went off to school with no breakfast. Lunch... if we were at the school cafeteria, we invariably chose foods that were high carbohydrate: potatoes, pasta, desserts, sweet rolls. ... desserts were not only served at every meal, but also candy and cookies were always available at any time of day. We ate lots of this kind of food."
The writer goes on to describe his descent into alcoholism, to the point where "During one period of great stress, I found that I was drinking my lunch and drinking all afternoon and evening as well. Soon a drink was essential to get me started in the morning; my hands trembled uncontrollably without it. I still ate no breakfast, for the drink took the place of it." However, eventually, the writer went to work in a medical library, and started reading the publications that came across his desk. "I began to read about alcoholism; I began to read about diet. I had access to all the literature I needed on both subjects, and so I began to change my way of eating. I ate eggs for breakfast, and I was astonished at the stability and feeling of well being this single item of food brought me... The results were remarkable. I could get along without a drink at mid-morning. And I forced myself to eat a high-protein lunch -- lots of meat, cheese, milk. I found that I could get through the afternoon without a drink -- if I had a 4 o'clock snack
of cheese, peanuts, or some other high protein food."
The writer continued to improve his nutritional status, adding supplements, and increasing his protein intake still further. "Dinner consisted of almost nothing but high protein foods -- meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese -- and almost no carbohydrates. Snacks were always high protein. The vitamins and the high protein meals became a way of life. And I found that I no longer had the almost constant craving for alcohol."
He finally says, "I call myself a cured alcoholic. I know that experts in this field declare positively that there is no such thing -- that the true alcoholic can never take a drink again if he wants to remain sober. So, perhaps, I am not a true alcoholic. If the experts had known me 25 years ago, when I was living on booze with almost no food at all, I think they would have diagnosed me as an alcoholic. In any case, there may be many other just like me who can overcome their craving for alcohol...by maintaining the kind of dietary program I maintained."
(Megavitamin Therapy, Ruth Adams and Frank Murray, 1982)
So what made me look at these stories again? Well, I found some information which surely must correlate with them. I was poking through the Medline database -- okay, I admit it, I'm a geek; I sit around on beautiful spring weekends and do med journal database searches. Hey, somebody's got to do it! -- and found two articles from the journal Alcohol, just an issue apart. First was an article in the May-June issue last year, with the lively title "Association between preference for sweets and excessive alcohol intake: a review of animal and human studies." Among other statements were these: "There is consistent evidence linking the consumption of sweets to alcohol intake in both animals and humans, and there are indications that this relationship may be at least partially genetic in nature. Alcohol-preferring rats have a tendency to consume sucrose and saccharin solutions far beyond the limits of their normal fluid intake and this has been proposed to be a model of the clinical phenomenon known as loss of control...tendencies to prefer ultra-sweet solutions have been noted in studies of alcoholic subjects, with most alcoholics preferring sweeter sucrose solutions than do controls."
This article also stated, "...consumption of sweets and/or sweet solutions may significantly suppress alcohol intake in both animals and in alcoholics." This interested me, because the folks I know who have been in Alcoholics Anonymous have reported that cookies and cups of heavily sugared coffee are the standard refreshments at AA meetings. Also, I have a relative who quit drinking years ago and turned to sugar instead - only to be diagnosed with Type II diabetes this year. I have another relative who alternates between drinking heavily and eating truly frightening amounts of sugar. It does seem that sugar can become a substitute addiction for the sober alcoholic.
Yet in the very next issue of Alcohol were the results of a study regarding the differences in alcohol intake of hamsters when on a high fat diet, or on a high carbohydrate diet. The hamsters (who according to the article "avidly consume ethanol (alcohol) solutions") were given one of three diets -- a control diet, consisting of Purina chow, or a high carb/low fat diet, or a low carb/high fat diet. The hamsters on the Purina chow diet and the hamsters on the high carb/low fat diet drank similar amounts of alcohol, but the hamsters on the high fat/low carb diet drank substantially less -- so long as the concentration of the alcohol solution was 15%. If they were given a stronger alcohol solution - a 30% solution -- the difference in consumption was much less. Indeed, at the lower concentrations, the low carb hamsters drank just half as much alcohol as the low fat and control hamsters. (For comparison, the nice man at my neighborhood liquor store tells me that most wine runs about 12.5% alcohol by volume, or just a little milder than the weaker of the two alcohol solutions used. On the other hand, the 30% solution would be a bit weaker than most hard liquors, which start at around 35%-40% alcohol by volume.)
This struck me as significant. I wondered if the researchers who found that eating sugar helped alcoholics to not drink had looked at sugar restriction in the context of a diet low in all carbohydrate, and high in protein and healthy fats, or simply in the context of an otherwise "normal" American diet -- the human equivalent of the Purina chow used for a control diet with the hamsters. (Isn't it weird to think of hamsters as little lushes? They seem so cute and innocent.)
I had to look further! I found an article from the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stating outright that "Alcoholics are far more likely than non-alcoholics to prefer stronger sweet tastes", and suggesting that a test for alcoholism could be devised, where people were given solutions of varying sweetness -- the sweeter a solution they preferred, the more likely they would be alcoholics. I thought to myself, "Good thing they didn't test me when I was a kid!" I had an almost unlimited appetite for sugar as a kid -- stole to support my habit -- but have never had any sort of drinking problem. But then I realized that even though I ate a lot of sugar as a kid, it was usually in the form of chocolate -- sugar mixed with a bitter substance -- or sweet/tart combinations; things like lemon drops and SweeTarts. Plain sugar candies, like rock candy and cotton candy, never appealed to me. So perhaps I didn't fit into the group who prefer the sweetest solutions.
I read on. I found an article from the journal Nutrition published in the July/August issue, 1999, stating that "alcoholics are usually glucose intolerant", and another article from a Japanese journal called Nippon Rinsho (no idea what that means. Anyone speak Japanese?) stating that glucose intolerance and diabetes are both prevalent not only in alcoholic liver cirrhosis, but also in alcoholics without cirrhosis, which seems to tie to carbohydrate intolerance. And I found an article talking about blood pressure in alcoholics when drinking - it seems that when alcoholics give up drinking, there is a temporary rise in blood pressure. The article blamed this rise on our old enemy hyperinsulinemia -- high blood insulin levels.
I'm left feeling like I'm playing connect the dots. Alcoholics have hyperinsulinemia, at least when they quit drinking. Alcoholics apparently are also strongly addicted to sweets, to the point where they can, to some degree, assuage the craving for alcohol by eating sugar - yet so far as I can tell, nowhere near every sugar junkie is also an alcoholic. And eating a low carb/high fat diet cut the desire for alcohol in lab animals -- but only when the alcohol solution was about the same strength as wine; give 'em the hard stuff and they slosh it down just the same. These pieces of information have been established by medical studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Plus we have anecdotal information that individuals who have considered themselves to be alcoholics have found that with the same sort of diet we eat to lose weight, their urge to drink has vanished. What does all this mean? How can we use this information?
To be quite honest, I'm not sure. But it all certainly reinforces my conviction that diets high in refined, quickly absorbed carbohydrates contribute to health problems far beyond simple obesity, and that much of what have often been considered emotional problems have nutritional roots. Certainly it seems that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet is a good bet for anyone with a drinking problem; I'm not convinced it will work for everyone, but it's unlikely to hurt. How wonderful to have an addiction simply fade, rather than having to fight it tooth and nail!
However, I would never suggest that any sober alcoholic should decide that eating a low carb/high protein diet means that he or she can take up drinking again. That would go beyond foolish to suicidal.
I also see this information as being a wake up call to parents who want to protect their children from alcohol and, perhaps, drugs. We know that you have started eating right, but are you still buying Cap'n Crunch for your kids? Letting them drink soda and juice all day? Feeding them canned white flour pasta with sauce laced with corn syrup? It begins to look like you may not only be setting them up for obesity and ill health, but alcohol abuse as well. I know that they beg for the junk. I know that their friends eat it, and you can't keep them away from it entirely. But you can supply plenty of high protein food at home, refuse to spend your hard-earned money on not-food, and set a good example.
One other thought that comes to mind when I look at this information is the assertion made by some nutritionists that alcohol should be lumped together with the carbohydrates. Certainly alcohol is chemically distinct from carbohydrates, but it appears that it is working through, or affecting, many of the same bodily mechanisms. After all, alcohol does start with carbohydrates -- it's actually the excrement of yeasts who have eaten carbohydrates! (Sounds yummy, huh?) This concerns me because I do drink -- it's a rare evening that I don't have a couple of light beers or glasses of dry wine. I've known all along that alcohol is a luxury for reducers; I've suspected all along that I would drop another 10-15 pounds if I gave up wine and light beer. But now I'm wondering if alcohol is, perhaps, maintaining my carbohydrate addiction in ways that I don't perceive, or if, like the alcoholics who turn to sugar when they sober up, I use an evening dose of alcohol as a substitute for carbs. (I did have those evening drinks when I was eating carbs, however, and my drinking hasn't increased since I went low carb.) I truly don't know if this is a problem or not.
I would be very, very interested to hear from any of my readers who have had trouble with drinking, to know if you feel your low carb diet has helped in any way. Let me know if I may use your story in future issues, and rest assured that I will protect your anonymity.
I swear, the more I learn, the more there is to know.
Having reread and reprinted this article, it seems to me that it's time to look at the issue again. I'll do some more Medline searches, and let you know if anything interesting has shown up in the intervening time.
Interesting Stuff About Yogurt
From longtime reader, Rabbi Hirsch Meisels, comes this interesting post regarding whether or not the carbohydrate labeling on yogurt is accurate, or whether we can - as The GO-Diet suggests - count just 4 grams per cup of plain yogurt. You'll see the term "bolus" used; here's the definition: An extra boost of insulin given to cover expected rise in blood glucose (sugar) such as the rise that occurs after eating. Anyway, here's what Rabbi Meisels sent:
Hi, Dana -
I think I once emailed to you about this issue, and I would like to add more input on the topic:
Here are responses to a message I sent to a list of almost 4,000 diabetics on insulin pump (who know exactly how their body responds to carbs, because they are controlling it via their pump) in regards carbs in yogurt.
I find it to be just about right. I have yogurt for breakfast and lunch everyday, and use the carbs listed on the label and don't have any problems. This is with both regular (full sugar ~45g), low-fat (usually ~35g), and light (~20g).
I only eat light yogurt, and I bolus for the carbs on the containers and they are just right! Never heard about all that other stuff.
I would like to know if any type ones (juvenile onset diabetics) out there have found this to be true. What have been your personal experiences with blood sugars after eating yogurt? Is it really so low in carbs?
For years I've been eating yogurt almost daily, and I certainly don't bolus for 45 grams of carb. It's always way less. It's interesting to hear a possible explanation. For almost all low fat "snack" food, I bolus less than I would for "real" food with the same amount of carbs. Nature Valley granola bars, Kudos bars, etc.
I have noticed that if I am eating yogurt (low fat or non fat - any flavor) that I will run extremely low after eating it if I bolus for the full carb amount as stated on the label of the container. I do not know the reason for it but this is what happens to me. I would be interested in knowing if any other Type 1's have the same experience.
Hi Rabbi -
I just had to have a back molar withdrawn, and yogurt was recommended for food, as I could not chew anything for over 24 hours. I ate Breyer's yogurt (and two other kinds too, which brands I cannot remember) and tested like mad, in case my sugar was going one way or the other. I found if I did my standard math using the carbs listed on the labels, that I did just fine. This event happened less than one week ago, so I remember it clearly. I personally have never heard the story about the healthy bacteria eating the lactose. I only did the normal math to calculate the carbs, and it worked fine. Just my humble opinion, based on my own experience.
You got every possible response here.
BTW, I always bolus for yogurt as stated on the label and it works fine for me. (Yogurt usually leaves my sugars very smooth- not too high, even though I eat the full carb type. And I load it with chocolate, which is why I can't really give any real opinion about what yogurt really does to me.)
As you can see from this, varying people are reacting in different ways to yogurt - some find that they can go by the listed carb count on the label - keep in mind that it sounds as if most of these folks are eating sugar sweetened yogurt, not the sugar-free yogurt I've suggested - and feel that the carb count is accurate. Others feel that the carb count on yogurt is, indeed, high, and that they need to calculate their insulin dosage for fewer carbs than the labels claim.
I'm not sure where this gets us, you understand, except back to the old point that every body is different, and you have to pay attention to your own reactions to stuff. But I found it very interesting, and thought it important to pass the information along.
Thank you very much, Rabbi Meisels!!
Reader Review of How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet - and Lost Forty Pounds
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You'd Think They'd Know Better...
What was that I said earlier about the nutritional cluelessness of the medical establishment? This came from a reader:
Hi. I was reading your newsletter, and found the topics for discussions interesting. While hospitalized for uncontrolled diabetes, I was given food that raised my blood sugars too high.
For example: pancakes, and hot cereal for breakfast both in the same meal, with low fat milk, and no-sugar syrup. When I complained to the dietitian, I was told that this was a perfectly appropriate meal for a diabetic. I was averaging sugars of 200+ the entire hospital stay.
After 2 weeks at home, eliminating all white flour, sugar and starchy veggies from my diet, and following the low carb plan, my sugars dropped to a consistent 151-121 range. Also the edema in my legs and feet have shown a marked improvement. This plan really does make a difference!
Thanks for your newsletter. I look forward to future issues.
Some story, Ynid! It never ceases to amaze me that people who should know better - like hospital dieticians, not to mention the ADA, push a carb-heavy diet for people who have a fundamental inability to deal with carbohydrates.
Of course, the quality of hospital food in general tends to be appalling, and I highly recommend taking along something, anything nutritious and un-carby if you're ever stuck in one - canned Atkins or other sugar free, vitamin enriched protein shakes are probably the easiest both to take and to consume while sick in bed. Study after study finds hospital and nursing home food to be fundamentally deficient in protein, vitamins, and minerals - and that's when the patients actually get it down.
This was driven home to me back in May when my husband and I visited his grandmother in her nursing home. In every other way, the place was exemplary - the staff was warm, respectful, attentive, efficient; the place was spotlessly clean, with no "nursing home" smell; much had been done to make the rooms homey. But when they brought in Grandma's dinner tray, I wanted to cry: a half a sandwich on white bread, with, at most, an ounce of processed luncheon meat in it, a banana, a piece of white cake with bright blue icing, a cup of coffee - and a small glass of milk, which was far and away the most nutritious thing there, that Grandma didn't touch. At most, this meal may have contained 12 grams of protein. Certainly vitamins and minerals were in short supply - the only abundant element was - you guessed it - carbs.
We live a 7 hour drive from where Grandma was being taken care of, or I would have brought her food regularly. Sadly, this is no longer necessary; it was Grandma's passing away, and our travel to her funeral, that has made this issue so late. But I still find myself wondering how many people have health that continues to decline in the hospital or nursing home largely or solely because of malnutrition.
Take care of your loved ones, and yourselves.
Cooking Low Carb!
Having been out of town, cooking just hasn't been happening - so here's a great hot-weather dinner suggestion from Judie K. Edwards:
Shrimp Louie Salad
We are now at 115 degrees here in Arizona. The hottest time of the day is 5-7 PM. Dinner is a challenge. You don't really feel like a heavy meal. So, I have been fixing a shrimp salad about once a week. You take some nice lettuce varieties, like bibb, romaine, butter, etc. and add about 20-25 nice (precooked) shrimp per salad. Then add one sliced hard cooked egg, and ½ of a sliced tomato. Then you mix up a wonderful "Louie"dressing using:
1 cup Best Foods Mayo (Hellman's in your area)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Catsup (from Soup-To-Nuts recipe "Heinz-Like") with enough prepared horseradish to make it spicy as you like...(like a chili sauce)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
Mix all dressing ingredients well. Then chill for an hour (or more). Serves 4.
Pour dressing over the salad. Add a few black olives around the edges and you have a wonderful Shrimp Louie Salad. This tastes just like the "Shrimp Louie Salad" that is served on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (where I grew up). Those salads go for $15.00 -$20.00 a plate now! It is so tasty and light for a summer dinner and no cooking is involved.
Here's that recipe for sugar free catsup:
CATSUP (Heinz-Like and NO COOKING REQUIRED)
6 oz. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. water
2 oz. white vinegar
1 packet of Splenda
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar Twin
1 tsp. salt
Blend until combined. 1.5 gram carb per Tbsp. Makes 1 cup.
Speaking of which: See that reference to Soup-to-Nuts in Judie's recipe? It's time I told you about Soup-to-Nuts! Judie compiled a fabulous cookbook of low carb recipes she downloaded from the internet - organized them into chapters, and was running them off at the local print shop, putting them in ring binders, and selling them. She sent me a copy to review, and I immediately asked her if she'd sell it to me for Hold the Toast to print. And she did!
So along with my cookbook, 500 Low Carb Recipes, now expected to be out next month, in paperback, from Fair Winds Press, you can also look forward to the new Hold the Toast edition of Low Carb From Soup To Nuts: The Great Internet Download, which we're trying very hard to have out in time for Christmas. I'll let you know when it's in print!
That's it for this issue! See you next issue!
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