Saturday, January 19, 2013

Here we go again

Two days ago, at work, there was an interesting mix of people around the table in the staff lounge: An overweight man, recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a man who has had open-heart surgery within the last year, two females of Mexican decent, and me, a gastric sleeve patient 8 pounds from goal.

The newly diagnosed diabetic, who had lost weight on the Atkins diet in the past, went immediately to a low-carb diet. He's lost 13 pounds in two weeks and has his blood sugar well under control. 

The heart patient is dutifully following his cardiologist's recommendations, eating Lean Cuisines, low-fat meat and dairy, "good" carbs, and lots of fruit. He has gained quite a bit of belly fat since school started in August. 

The two ladies are also developing "rolls" around the middle. Their diets? Tortillas, rice, bread, fruit, pasta, sugar, etc. One rolls her eyes every time anyone talks weight loss. The other has been listening. She plans on reading Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat  this weekend, and wants to start following low-carb guidelines. I am amazed by this. In our fat-phobic and gullible culture, anyone who flouts the ingrained medical malpractice by significantly improving health with a low-carb lifestyle is a bit shocking. 

Most people aren't that open-minded and inquisitive. "My doctor said so." Well, if my mechanic only worked on Model Ts, would I let him touch my Bugatti? I think not. Most doctors still rely on the antiquated nutritional pap they were fed in medical school, and are too busy (or uninterested) to keep up with current research.

Most doctors don't know squat about nutrition. My doctor, God bless him, was fearful at first about low-carb. After seeing the results, he told me, "I don't care what you're doing. Keep doing it." One can't argue with success.

During lunch, I congratulated the diabetic man for his success. He's a Biology and Chemistry teacher, and understands the role of insulin as a fat-storage hormone. The diabetes diagnosis scared him very much, and he's vowed to reverse his Type 2 before he becomes insulin-dependent. I believe that he will.

The heart patient, if he doesn't change direction, will have another heart attack. Without a doubt. The process is as follows:

A high-carb low-fat diet spikes blood sugar levels. This causes inflammation of the blood vessels and arteries. The body makes its own cholesterol and uses it as bandages to patch the inflamed vessels.  The patches become plaques. Our platelets, used for clotting, become sticky, and get "snagged" by inflamed blood vessels and plaques, making the plaques even bigger and forming new ones. At the end of the process, one has atherosclerosis. 

Want to stop the process? Stop the inflammation by stopping the blood sugar spikes: Eat a low-carb diet.

Even as my colleague the heart patient is trying to heal from the open-heart surgery, he's continuing to do damage that will result in even more blockages. Why? Because his doctor said so.

The biggest hurdle for the woman who is going to read the book is to get over her fat phobia. Low-fat and low-carb still spike blood sugar, because both carb and protein do that. Fat doesn't. For example:

Bad breakfast: Scrambled egg whites with low-fat cheese, coffee with skim milk.

Good breakfast: Whole eggs scrambled in butter, bacon, and coffee with cream.

As counter-intuitive as it might sound, saturated fat, in the context of a low-carb lifestyle, is healthy. 

But one cannot eat his carb and sat fat, too. 

The typical Western diet destroys health because it combines fat and carb. The fats are usually vegetable oils and trans fats. The carb is usually white, sugar and flour.

We can't have both and avoid heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, and early death.

Kudos to my diabetic colleague, for fighting the good fight.

A warning for my colleague with heart disease. You're a smart man. Please do your research.

To my eye-rolling lady: Youth doesn't protect us from everything.

And for my book-reading colleague, let me say that I'm proud of you for being willing to listen. Fear not the fat. It makes us healthy.

The Bionic Broad out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your blog -- just found it. Wish more people would listen, but sadly, we cannot make them do so.

At least we are opening our eyes and getting healthier.

Hopefully, soon, the medical community will stop the low-fat, high carb nonsense and get with the (correct) program!

Keep up the great blog!

Debb :)