Archives for posts with tag: diabetes

Here’s an introduction to the world of lipids, proteins, and other pieces making up the internal language of goo that runs us.

It’s an almost-40min presentation by Dr. Cate Shanahan, medical doctor and previously trained biochemist (YAY for science ladies!).

I won’t do any of the jargon justice, not yet anyway. So, here’s the presentation with a good deal of useful explanations on PUFA’s, oxidative stress, lipid panel measurements and what the hell these words mean:

I woke up to a table of dreams today.

Marty Kendall from Optimising Nutrition posted an incredibly dense set of tabled data. Luckily he is an awesome person and took the time to sort out the data for everyone.

The end product: nutrient density analysis.

(Click on the table below or link above to go the full set of charts.)

The complete list of comparisons is found below the table, bottom right. He has given four main comparisons with all foods in each sheet, followed by the breakdown for each food group. Sweet. 🙂

The main comparisons are:

  • Nutrient Density vs % Insulinogenic
  • Nutrient Density vs Insulin Load
  • Nutrient Density vs Energy Density
  • Nutrient Density vs Net Carbohydrates

Marty uses “nutrient density” to describe the amount of nutrients per calorie of a foodstuff. Please see that link to his post on nutrient density to understand more about the different ways of measuring it.

Insulin load” is defined to include the combined effects of carbohydrates, fibre and protein, specifically:

insulin load = total carbohydrates – fibre + 0.56 x protein

He has defined the proportion of insulinogenic calories, “% insulinogenic“, as:


Now, if all of this is completely overwhelming, it’s okay! Not everyone reacts well to this amount of information in graphs.

The basic ideas are useful though: if you want to get more micronutrients in, but don’t want to overdo your energy intake, there are certain foods that are perfect for this goal.

Similarly, if you are insulin resistant and want to control Type 2 Diabetes,  you can tailor your diet specifically to control your insulin response.

Of course, every single person is different. And that’s not even talking about the multitude of invisible friends (and/or foes) that live inside you: your own gut microbiota.

This means that what you eat might not have the exact same effect on you as your sibling or friend, but the ideas  above of optimising your diet are a fantastic starting point in the road to improving your health!


The bottom line, as always: eat real food!


Healthy kids in control!

Watch “Diary of a Diabetic Kid” about young Gabriel Van Wesemael who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and then had to hop onto the glucose high-and-low bus.
He finally got helpful advice from his GP and switched to a low-carbohydrate diet. (Shout-out to Dr Neville Wellington.)

Since then he has been able to reduce his insulin injections and lives with much more stable blood glucose levels. Awesomeness!

He has recently launched a YouTube channel, Gabriel’s Diabetic Kitchen, with Type 1-friendly recipes as well as a Facebook page. Go have a look and spread the word!

The search for gainful employment in Norwegia seems pretty darn futile at the moment, but the gloom was lifted yesterday by this interesting job posting:

As Field Medical Advisor you will be part of a dedicated and dynamic medical affairs team. Together we are responsible for the medical and scientific information supporting appropriate use of [company name] innovative treatments of well-established and future products as well as local ongoing clinical trials. As Field Medical Advisor you will build strong long standing relationships with key stakeholders within the diabetes community, with the aim of ensuring optimal delivery of scientific information, ultimately leading to better treatment for patients with diabetes.

Oh, really! I’d love to be on board and talk about some innovative and better treatments for patients!

Your main responsibility will be to provide medical and scientific support to health care personnel, in strong collaboration with sales, market access and marketing in [company name] . You will initiate and drive medical activities within [location], facilitating development of symposia, meetings and education seminars for health care providers, as well as supporting advisory boards.

This is fascinating. And starkly revealing.

I would actually relish the opportunity to be involved in this work in order to get an insider’s perspective, and I’m almost desperate enough right now to apply, but my soul is not quite ready to be sold. Not yet, in any case.

I’m not against medical treatment when it is necessary, especially for anyone suffering from the effects of diabetes, but holy cow the job description above gives me the heebeejeebees.

In all fairness, the company could be rolling out some very effective medication that could really improve the quality of life of some people. Let me not be too cynical today.

The last week has delivered two absolute gems to my screen.

The first, Strong Medicine by Dr Blake F. Donaldson, is available to read and download on Babel!

I accidentally came upon it via Ash Simmonds and his HighSteaks blog. His meat-filled twitter feed is also recommended. (I have to admit that I’m getting absolute grills, Afrikaans for the heebeejeebees, mentioning some stranger’s twitter feed. StalkerPro here.)

The book itself is quite the entertaining read! A lot of pervasive life truths are punctuated by some boldly stated and highly cringeworthy thoughts straight out of a totally different cultural era. It is a bit of a rollercoaster, but Doc Donaldson pulls out some great one-liners that keep me reading, consider:

“It seems to me there are three horns to the dilemma of the fat man.”


“There are probably only two perfect foods-fresh fat meat and clean water.”

Always cutting straight to the point, as he also was in his recommendations to patients:

“Unless you are willing to stop eating flour now and forever, I don’t want to take care of you.”

But the zinger award must surely go to:

“You are out of your mind when you take insulin in order to eat a Danish pastry.”

And then there are musings on medical science that shows some perceptions really have not changed, not one little bit:

“…cholesterol has been made a whipping boy, which is unjustified.
Since the determination of its importance much of the research work on cholesterol has been abandoned, though some is still going on. Talk about cholesterol is old hat, forget it, and certainly it would never help you with weight reduction.”


Donaldson put his patients on a very strict but simple regimen, mostly fatty red meat and coffee three times a day. After the desired sustainable weight was reached, meals could be expanded to include four ingredients. I had a look at my breakfast of eggs, chorizo and tomato cooked in ghee and thought, ja, why overdo the ingredient list and make it more complicated for my body. It’s just a machine, after all.

The man had a sympathetic heart to make up for his stern and strong medicine. He recalls his experiences of working in a hall of soldiers in varying stages of recovery or death, or both, after mustard gas exposure. He crafts a striking image of a Hungarian violinist coming to the hospital ward to play beautiful songs by request from the suffering men, but the doctor, having built up strong armour to defend against the daily horrors of slow deaths, is suddenly overwhelmed by the atmosphere:

“As the strains of that old melody swept through the hall I had to leave. Some things in life you just can’t take.”

The other goodie was another one of the lectures from the Low Carb Down Under series: Marty Kendall on “Managing Insulin to Optimise Nutrition”.

If you know someone who is unlucky enough to have Type 1 Diabetes, have them watch this talk. There is no sensationalism and the explanation behind why Marty and his wife eat like they do is wonderfully clear and logically explained.

But also, this is science communication done right! Yay!

By this I mean that someone has not only made an effort to understand the underlying science, but has taken the extra (and necessary) step of translating it beautifully so that I can get an intuitive grasp of what the hell you are on about. I don’t want to spend two minutes figuring out your graph and axes in a short lecture. Stick some proper labels and pictures in the graph so that I can see what’s up! I think it can be even better, as is always the case, but this is already great to see. Clear, concise and pretty.

Marty Kendall’s blog is over at Optimising Nutrition. Go have a look.

The Sugar Coated documentary is finally available!

You can rent or stream/download it on vimeo:

I just finished watching it and it’s more than worth the money.

It still makes me so angry that what we now consider common sense was so heavily formed by the marketing ploys of an industry transforming the world a generation ago. The terms “balanced” and “moderation” in particular are in serious need of re-defining.

A quick manual re-blog (does blogger talk to wordpress some other way?):

The Hopeful Geranium (George Henderson’s The High-Fat Hep C Diet ) on the rise of diabetes in India.

Quite relevant to me today as I just cooked a whole heap of fatty chicken thighs in ghee. My conclusion is that ghee is awesome. 🙂

Henderson quotes the following from B.S. Raheja on his post:

It is suggested that the real remedy for DM, ACVD and all the risk factors lies not in drugs or surgery but in the kitchen.

Diabetes vs Dietitian Association of [insert your country here]


I am emerging (briefly) from grad school hibernation–my husband jokes that I’m taking all my classes “pass/flail”–for a special cause that hits close to home, even though Jennifer Elliot, a dietitian who has been going the rounds with her various professional organizations and institutions, lives in Australia.

She apparently had the gall to suggest to a patient with type 2 diabetes that a low-carbohydrate diet might be beneficial.  Heavens.  What is the world coming to?  Next thing you know, people will start telling us that if we are allergic to poison ivy and it makes us itch all over, we might not want to roll in it.

If you haven’t had a good eyeball roll or facepalm for the day, you should check out her blog, where she recounts one episode after another of Orwellian-level doublespeak with the Dietitian Association of Australia.  It’s a situation I’m quite familiar with, albeit on…

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I thought it was about time that I compile a list of videos on YouTube that could put food and health into perspective.

This is not a full compendium of every video out there, but rather a collection that, in my opinion, covers the map of what I consider relevant at the moment.

The list below is not in an order of good to best, but rather grouped together and ranging from introductory to more involved, although a lot of their content almost overlap entirely.

As always, by linking the videos and recommending them, I am by no means implying that every single idea in them is true. They are there to make you think a bit.

Okay here we go!

— General overview —

Grant Schofield: “How Can We Change the Way We Eat”

Professor of Public Health at the Auckland University of Technology, Schofield goes through some of his first-hand experience of being a public health advisor.
This one goes at the top because Schofield describes, to me, what this is all about. Do you think about the way you want to die and how you want to be able to live up to that point?

“If you don’t, you should.”


Grant Schofield

Grant Schofield

Gary Taubes: “Adiposity 101 and the Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity”

The latest of the many, many versions of this lecture on YouTube.

What drives fat accumulation?

Why do we think about being fat in the way we do?

Just… watch, and consider what is being said. Taubes gives no advice, so you can make up your mind.

Edit: here is a 9min concise summary of the whole thing.

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes

Stephen Phinney on The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living and Performance

If anyone has the authority to speak from experience, it’s Dr Phinney. He has been living the nutritional ketosis lifestyle and as you can see, is very much alive and well.

This talk covers starts with treading through the background of particular native populations who found themselves to be living on the cusp of dietary revolution. Luckily there are records of what these peoples most likely ate before their diet, culture and health changed dramatically.

Dr Phinney also discusses his own academic work regarding athletic performance on ketogenic diets.
Watch and learn!

Stephen Phinney

Stephen Phinney

Tim Noakes on The Great Diet Controversy

Noakes, professor of exercise and sports medicine at the University of Cape Town, talks about his own experience of being the king of carbo-loading (my words) to realising, oi vey, he was wrong.
Noakes was a lean, active marathon runner who ended up with type 2 diabetes.
A lot of people wonder what you should eat, and I think Noakes sums it up pretty well:

“What is food? Food is something which was alive until quite recently.”

This is a long presentation, but well worth your time! Especially if you are South African and totally confused about all this Banting business. Hopefully this places Noakes’ journey in context.

Tim Noakes

Tim Noakes

Robert Lustig on Sugar: The Bitter Truth

The Authors@Google version of Dr Lustig’s presentation on sugar and fructose metabolism.

Robert Lustig

Robert Lustig

— Dieticians and personal stories —

Caryn Zinn on Low-Carb, Healthy Fat: Weight loss and sport.

Dietician Caryn goes through her set of tips for starting out a low-carb lifestyle. I’m happy to say that I can say yes and yes to every single one of these! It was nice to watch this for the first time and go “oh cool, I must be doing this right then”. 🙂
And here’s another vote for big food prep days with loud music and wine! Sometimes I put a movie on. Either way, I make food for the entire week.

Full fridge, empty pantry.

Confirmed! My pantry is now contained in a single kitchen drawer and this includes tea and coffee. SPACE!
Both the fridge and freezer are full. So many eggs. Mmm.

Caryn Zinn

Caryn Zinn

Vicky Kuriel on Case Reports from an LCHF Dietician

Some more practical guidelines from a dietician actively involved in the effects of low-carb, high-fat on the lives of real people.

Vicky Kuriel

Vicky Kuriel

Eric Westman on how to practically implement a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Dr Westman goes through what and how you eat if you are interested in a ketogenic-type diet. He has some very useful tips and ideas, especially if you are not interested in precisely tracking your calories.
Remember, salt is your friend, especially in the beginning if you get inexplicably exhausted. Broth is excellent.

Eric Westman

Eric Westman

Peter Attia on how he changed from burning sugar to burning fat.

Dr Attia’s personal journey to an LCHF lifestyle. He has done self-experimentation and has built up a fascinating understanding of his body’s use of fuel.

Peter Attia

Peter Attia

— Health & Disease —


Craig B Thompson, current president of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, on basic cancer ideas and research trends.
(The first ~5min are introductory.)
What is cancer and why do we do so much research on it?  He gives a very good, understandable intro into the basic ideas of cancer growth which is invaluable to someone like me.

And what does food have to do with cancer?

He discusses overeating as the cause of obesity and links it to the profuse availability of food. However, he doesn’t differentiate between the different types of foods we are able to consume. Compare this is to the ideas in Gary Taubes’ Adiposity 101 lecture.
Thompson asks:

“Why do we turn that food sometimes into growth, and other times just into storage, and fat.”

In other words, we’re all asking the same question and the answer is not, in fact, entirely obvious.

Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson


Sarah Hallberg on Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Starts With Ignoring the Guidelines

What are we telling people with diabetes to eat?!

Sarah Hallberg

Sarah Hallberg

Jason Fung on the perfect treatment for diabetes and weight loss

Dr Fung also treats patients with diabetes and has seen that diabetes is in fact not an irreversible, chronic disease. Eat, and maybe fast, your way healthy again.

Jason Fung

Jason Fung

Fertility and PCOS
Michael Fox on How to Eat to Get Pregnant
Dr Fox treats patients with fertility problems and has gradually come to learn from his patients’ experiences. His treatment starts with nutrition if there is any evidence of insulin resistance.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a sign that you have insulin resistance (metabolic syndrome).

Michael Fox

Michael Fox

Alzheimers and dementia

A discussion with Grant Anderson, Robb Wolf, Peter Attia, Tara Dall, Malcolm Bacchus and Gary Taubes.

1. Malcolm Bacchus

A neurologist discusses Alzheimers and dementia and his experiences when diagnosing patients.

My grandfather had Alzheimers. It is absolutely not the way you want to go if you could avoid it.

Malcolm Bacchus

Malcolm Bacchus

2. Grant Anderson, Peter Attia, Robb Wolf, Gary Taubes, Malcolm Bacchus: ketones, coconut oil, carbohydrates… Alzheimers.

This touches on a fear of mine: ending up in hospital or an old-age home and being fed things I would not otherwise want near my body. I think of my grandmother who is 101 and will probably live forever, but who has no real say in what goes into her own body. This is a woman who was cooking for herself well into her late nineties and fasting every Friday. (I should’ve listened to her advice a long, long time ago!)

Malcolm Bacchus, Tara Dall, Gary Taubes discussion.

Malcolm Bacchus, Tara Dall, Gary Taubes discussion.

3. Tara Dall (lipidoligst)

The role of insulin resistance in various chronic disease states and how to address the risk factors before the onset of disease.

Tara Dall

Tara Dall

4. Gary Taubes, part one

A neurologist’s take on the Alzheimers chapter in Good Calories, Bad Calories:

I reviewed the chapter in the book you provided. This man is right on.
The theories about insulin and Alzheimers have been well-known for a while.
Coincidentally, in our Journal of Neurology, this is recently reported on. This is not theory anymore, it is fact.

Cheers, sugar and bread.

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes

5. Gary Taubes, part two

More on dementia and Alzheimers.

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes

— Some more interesting and technical stuff —

Ken Sikaris asking Does LCHF Improve Your Blood Tests?

A presentation on the effects of a low-carb, high-fat diet on the typical values in a lipid panel. This could be interesting for anyone trying to make sense of all the numbers and have no clue where to start.

Ken Sikaris

Ken Sikaris

Interview with Kenneth Brookler, ENT specialist

Ivor Cummins has posted two wonderful interviews on his blog, The Fat Emperor.
The first interview is with ear, nose and throat specialist Dr Kenneth Brookler. (The fancy name for this is an otorhinolaryngologist… Try saying that with your mouth full.)
This conversation is overflowing with insight from Dr Brookler’s experiences across medical specialties over the years. Do your curiosity a favour and have listen.

Kenneth Brookler being interviewed by Ivor Cummins (

Interview with Joseph Kraft, pathologist

The second interview is with Dr Joseph Kraft, a lifetime pathologist who administered over 14 000 insulin assays. He authored the book: Diabetes Epidemic & You.

Dr Kraft indirectly summed up scientific paradigms beautifully when he addressed the common notion of “fat clogging the arteries”:

Well see this business of clogging the arteries, this is not something that’s been demonstrated. It’s a concept which they think will explain where they are in regard to their interpretation and management of cardiac disease.

This is a truly wonderful interview with what seems to be a great and humble scientist at the end of his career (he’s in his nineties!).

Joseph Kraft

Joseph Kraft

Here is today’s post on Andreas Eenfeldt’s

“The First Drug to Reduce Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes Revealed! And it’s Low Carb in a Pill!”

My only response: lol.