Thursday, August 23, 2007

Weight loss surgery study

The US and Sweden have both conducted a long term study to determine the effectiveness of weight loss surgery. The results are in and it appears that the surgeries save lives and produce lasting weight loss. Now that there is support for the proceedures, insurance companies may be more willing to pay for them and the guidelines may be lowered so that more people can be put under the knife. The article is available at

The Swedish study found that the surgery group lost 14 to 25% of their weight compared to 2% from the non-surgery group. The death rate was 5% for the surgery group and 6% for the non surgery group.

The US study took 7,000 plus surgery patients and compared them to the same number of obese people. They found the obese people by looking at height and weight on driver's licenses. After 7 years, 2.6% of the surgery patients were dead compared to 4% of the driver's license people. This study did not look at weight loss.

They also found that people who have the surgeries are more likely to die from accidents, suicide and other non-disease related deaths but they couldn't explain this phenomenom.

Before you sign up for gastric bypass, there are some problems with the studies and with the surgery. So stop and think before you go under.

First, people undergoing weight loss surgeries are given detailed diet instruction months before they go under. They have to prove that they are willing to do what it takes to lose weight before a surgeon will cut them open. These people see a Registered Dietitian on a regular basis months before and months after. You still have to follow a rigid diet after the surgery because the stomach will grow again if you eat too much.

So what the studies are comparing is a group of committed people who have constant support to a group of people who have no support and aren't all that committed. For the study to be really good, they should have given the same diet instruction and support to the non-surgery group.

The US study is a load of crap, pardon my French. They didn't even look at weight loss and they compared the committed and supported people to people who weren't even trying to lose weight and, therefore, most likely had terrrible health habits which would explain the extra deaths.

A very strict low fat diet has to be followed for gastric bypass. After the bypass, you go on a liquid diet and gradually increase diet consistency, but the surgery and lack of nutrition leaves you open to nutrient deficiencies. These deficiencies and lack of fat and cholesterol are probably why there are more suicides and accidents in the surgery group. Low fat diets also cause gall bladder disease so you are likely to have to go under the knife again to remove the gall bladder.

A much better and safer way to lose weight is to eat whole, unprocessed foods, limit carbs (72 grams is ideal, but keep it under 120 at least) and eat lots of saturated fat. Get some exercise and limit portion sizes. This way, you get to eat food that actually tastes good, supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and it satisfies so you don't feel hungry again in an hour.

Also, learn to recognize the truth about who you are. You are not what you weigh and your worth as a person has nothing to do with the size of your body. And you don't need to look like the people on magazine covers. They don't even look like that, so stop believing the lies.

You are a beautiful, talented and unique individual who was created by God for a purpose. Focus on your purpose, not your weight.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fat and Children: What the study doesn't say

Circulation published a study from Finland where 1,062 kids were studied from 7 months to 14 years of age. About half the kids received a lowfat diet and their parents were instructed on the diet. The other half had an unrestricted diet so we don't really know what they ate. (The article can be read here;_ylt=AgwGBN55QBHoOd2Uh5BeELPVJRIF)

The lowfat diet consisted of nuts, seeds, fish and oils from plants, was 30 - 35% fat and low in saturated fat and cholesterol (200 mg per day). The kids were tested at age 5 for brain development and at age 14 for growth.

The kids on the low fat diet had slightly lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels but HDL (good cholesterol0 was the same for both groups. They found no difference in brain development or growth. In fact, even body mass index (what we use to determine obesity and overweight) was the same in both groups.

Note that the unrestricted diet and the lowfat diet were the same for body mas index. This means that trying to decrease body mass index with a lowfat diet is futile.

The researchers conclude that the lower levels of cholesterol are beneficial and may help prevent heart disease later on.

Aside from the fact that there is no evidence linking cholesterol levels to heart disease, there are other things not tested that are important to consider.

First of all, a low saturated fat diet for children is a very bad idea. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, diabetes and more. Vitamin D is only found in animal fat. We also get some from the sun, but only if we are in the sun without sunscreen. Summer sun is more favorable for vitamin D synthesis than winter sun.

We have already taken the sun out of the picture because we slather the sunscreen on our kids before they go out. Now health authorities are trying to take animal fat out of the picture. Where are our kids going to get vitamin D? Currently, there are no recommendations from the health authorities to give kids supplemental D. I expect to see an increase in cancer and other health problems as these poor kids get older.

Animal foods are also the only dietary source of cholesterol and we cannot live without it. Cholesterol is so important that the liver makes most of the cholesterol we need. Cholesterol is necessary for proper brain development. The article doesn't say whether or not these kids had ADHD or other learning disabilities. Low cholesterol is a risk factor for suicide and depression.

Saturated fat and cholesterol are also the building blocks of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Could it be that the increase in infertility is due to a lowfat diet? (Soy plays a role in this as well)

Vegetable fats, like soybean and corn oil, have been shown to promote cancer and other diseases.

Parents, if you really want your kids to enjoy good health, give them plenty of animal fats and limit refined and processed foods. Eat meals together whenever possible and don't allow eating of foods anywhere except in the kitchen or dining room. If raw milk from a grass fed cow is available, buy it. It is well worth the cost. And give them cod liver oil. It's an excellent source of Vitamins A and D which are necessary for proper growth and good health.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Rise of ADHD

ADHD has been declared a real disease that appears to be linked to changes in the brain chemical, dopamine. (Read the full article here

Maybe we should look at our food supply to see if there is a correlation between new fangeled processed foods and dopamine production.

It just so happens that there is an ingredient in processed foods that lowers dopamine production. Most people believe this ingredient is a health food and we even feed it to children in the school cafeteria.

The ingredient is soy. Many infants are being raised on soy formula. Soy flour is put in most breads on the market. Soy lecithin is in just about every processed food. And soy is used to replace some meat in the school cafeteria to create lower fat meals. Soy milk consumption is growing as people seek alternatives to cow's milk.

Most engergy bars and protein shakes contain soy protein isolate and we seem to be consuming more of these foods. Smoothies are now popular and many people add a protein boost that is usually soy based. And most fast food contains soy.

The bottom line is that soy is impossible to avoid unless you eat only whole unprocessed foods. It is interesting that ADHD is increasing along with our intake of soy.

The brain uses the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine to produce dopamine. Soy affects the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase, an enzyme that converts tyrosine to dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) which is a precursor to dopamine.

Soy depletes dopamine levels which is now believed to be a cause of ADHD.

So, read ingredients and avoid anything with soy flour, soy protein isolate and soy lecithin if you can. (Avoiding soy lecithin is difficult because it is in everything). If you send your kids to school, pack them a lunch instead of sending them to the cafeteria. Do not give children soy milk or other soy based products. I recommend raw milk from a grass fed cow if it's available. But no milk is better than soy milk.

Eat real food and you won't have to worry about all these new fangeled diseases.