Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2012 Low Carb Cruise

Most people associate cruises with mega-calorie trips that pack on the pounds.  This one is a little different:  It's a get-together of like-minded people who eat low carb food.  The organizers have lined up a lengthy list of speakers that will be a treat to listen to and learn from.  The first five names that jumped out at me are just a few:

  • Jimmy Moore - from the Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog
  • Gary Taubes - best selling author of "Good Calories, Bad Calories"
  • Robb Wolf - another best-selling author:  "The Paleo Solution"
  • Chris Masterjohn - from the popular blog The Daily Lipid
  • Tom Naughton, the writer and director of the 2009 comedy-documentary FAT HEAD
This week-long cruise, which leaves Galveston, Texas, on Sunday, May 6th, weighs anchor at Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico, before returning to port in Galveston the following Sunday.

This is one cruise I would love to go on, though it's doubtful that we'd be able to schedule the time... but maybe you'd like to go instead.  What I think is interesting is that not all the food offered will be low carb, so this would be ideal if you wanted to bring along a friend or relative who is thinking about converting.  As the site promises:
You should feel right at home!  We are a diverse group of health conscience [sic] people on the journey.  You will see young, old, tall, short, wide, and narrow people on this cruise.  There are NO judgments allowed.  You are welcome just like you are.  We all choose not to critique the plates or the diners, and always try to see things in perspective. 

If you read through all the FAQ's like I did, you'll probably also be amused at the first suggestion for once you get on the ship: 
You can either go get a bite to eat at the grill, explore the ship, chat with friends, or check out your cabin.

But don't take it from me - go check out the cruise details on the official website.  

*what would a low-carber do?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is corporate sponsorship standing in the way of nutrition research?

When I look at the list of corporate sponsors providing support to the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research and The Dieticians of Canada, it's crystal clear to me why no time is given to the growing body of peer-reviewed research that shows it is perfectly possible to dramatically improve one's health and lower the risk of heart disease by reducing the amount of grains and sugars in the diet, without the need for drug intervention.

You will not see testimonials like this anywhere near one of these websites:
I am now cured of diabetes type 2 after being diabetic for 28 years, and all without drugs of any kind. My HbA1c blood level taken last week is a fantastic 4.8. I was on a Staten drug and Dr. T stopped my taking it. My cholesterol is fantastic. I also lost 60 pounds and kept it off for the last 4 years.  
We can thank the double-edged sword of corporate sponsorship for that.  I thought you would be interested in seeing the names of major manufacturers of grain products and pharmaceutical giants are represented in the list of corporate sponsors (in alphabetical order):
Canadian Diabetes Association:

Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research:
Source: 2010 Annual Report.

Dieticians of Canada*:

Makers of Cheerios*. Additional key cereal brands include Honey Nut Cheerios*, Fibre 1*, Oatmeal Crisp* and Lucky Charms*. General Mills also makes Betty Crocker*, Green Giant*, Nature Valley*, Old El Paso* and Pillsbury* products.  *Trademarks of General Mills or its affiliates.

Heart & Stroke Foundation:
2011 Dieticians of Canada National Conference:
Beef Information Centre, Canadian Pork Council, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada, Campbell's Foodservice, Canola Council, General Mills, McCain Foods, Nestle Nutrition, PepsiCo Canada, Schneiders, Subway Restaurants, Unilever, and more.
*For more information on the Dieticians of Canada's corporate ties, please check out Sybil Hebert's blog.  She is a Canadian Registered Dietician, and is also troubled by this apparent conflict of interest standing in the way of true academic research.

I understand perfectly well that corporate partnerships are essential for these organizations to survive.

However, corporate sponsorship also puts the organizations and their researchers, employees and spokespeople in the difficult position where they cannot speak out about clinical research findings that cast their sponsors in a negative light without jeopardizing future funding.  They are largely able to avoid such difficult situations by simply avoiding doing research that might highlight such findings.

It's something to think about if you are confused about what you're reading on this blog and other low carb sites, and wondering why this is not reflected in the mainstream nutritional information.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Minimum daily carbohydrate requirement: the misconception about glucose

I was flipping through a back issue of Mother Earth News this morning when I came across this common misconception in a reader's letter on the subject of stevia:
The brain needs glucose to function. The result of eating something that tastes sweet but doesn’t offer the energy source? You end up eating more calories later to fill up on what you told your brain you were getting in the first place.
Even though I do believe there might be some truth to the idea that artificial sweeteners can lead to overeating, it is categorically not true that we need to eat glucose-containing foods in order to keep the brain functioning, as is strongly implied above.

The carbohydrates we consume don't go directly to the brain.  Even a teaspoon of glucose doesn't make it there in a direct pathway.

What happens instead is an indirect process.  Dietary glucose is converted to glycogen and stored in the liver.  From there it is converted back to glucose so it can be used by the brain and tissues when it is needed via a metabolic process named glycogenolysis.  But that's not the only way to do it. 

Gluconeogenesis is the process by which animals and even plants, fungi, bacteria and microorganisms generate glucose from non-carbohydrates such as lactate, glycerol, and amino acids.  In other words, fats and proteins can be used instead.

So while it is absolutely true that the brain requires glucose to survive, it is not at all true that we need to consume it in that form.

Whatever the original source of the glucose, it doesn't ever make it directly to the brain.

The body uses  a multi-step process that allows it to finely regulate the amount that flows to the brain and tissues, and to store excess energy for times when it may be needed.

This is why is is possible to live perfectly well on a diet of fats, proteins and non-starchy vegetables.  It might not be as interesting or affordable as you would like it to be, but there is nothing wrong with it.  And there are plenty of people who believe it is much healthier than a diet that does include carbohydrate.

The bottom line which seems to be so poorly understood:  there is no minimum daily carbohydrate requirement.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The odds are stacked against you

Let's say you want to lose some weight.   Maybe 10 to 20 pounds.  Let's say you want to lose that weight before the end of the year.

Chances are that you'll find advice from any number of popular websites that recommend figuring out how many calories those pounds convert into on a daily basis, and that's what you need to reduce your daily caloric intake by.  Chances are also that you'll be advised to add a certain amount of exercise into the picture.

The popular press likes to quote that one pound equals 3,500 calories.  Therefore, to lose a pound a week, you should eat 500 calories less every day.

Most dieting advice recommends staying away from fad diets, and this logical approach, combined with balanced meal plans and avoiding foods with fat and cholesterol, is hard to fault from a logical point of view.

I don't doubt that it works for some, though I have never seen a single statistic on the success rates.

I have mentioned many times before in this blog that the nutritional and medical organizations also recommend staying away from fad diets, strongly advising instead, a logical and measured approach to weight loss.

Has it worked for you?

What strikes me over and over is the depth of information and research emerging on a daily basis that totally refutes the accepted wisdom.  The problem is that most people don't have the time or the inclination to read 600 dense pages of Good Calories, Bad Calories.  Nor do they have the time or the inclination to follow even some of the really excellent online discussions and debates in the low carb community.

Whether you're a sucker for punishment, or interested in an excellent learning experience, depending on how you look at it, take a look at Stephan Guyenet's blog, Whole Health Source.   Don't forget to read the comments, because the level of discussion is truly enlightening.  There are many other great resources.  Try googling Dr. Robert Lustig and Dr. Michael Eades.  Ed Bruske is a journalist you might like to follow as well.

I'm continually struck by the number of doctors and researchers participating in these discussions, and it sometimes takes me a lot of time with my high school-level biology knowledge to make sense of the acronyms and functions.  If you have the time to persevere though, it's evident that what we are told in the media is not how it works in practice.

You can be sure Big Pharma isn't at all keen to devote their financial resources to research that shows how people can permanently overcome their dependence statins and other cholesterol lowering drugs.  Food manufacturing giants like McCains, Kelloggs, General Mills, the Coca Cola Company or even the potato farmers of Idaho definitely don't want you to hear the no-sugar, no-grain, low carb message.  The dieting and gym industries are also dependent on a certain failure rate in order to keep their customers coming back for more.

Even the majority of nutritionists and dieticians don't engage on this level of intellectualism.   It's certainly not what they are told in school.

In a world of corporate sponsorships and lobbying, this has a lot to do with why  conventional nutritional advice is what is most commonly heard.  Hear it enough times, and it seems like the truth. 

There are two completely different nutritional worlds, in my opinion.  And unless you have sufficient time to invest in learning for yourself why the traditional 'calories in, calories out' theory is completely ineffective for the vast majority of people wishing to lose weight, I firmly believe you're far more likely to follow the traditionalists who love to tell you that low carb eating is akin to fad dieting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Low Carb Recipes

I get asked quite frequently about good sources for low-carb recipes.  Personally, I don't usually seek out low-carb or paleo dieting recipe sites because I tend to cook the way I always have cooked, just without grains or sugar. Our meals resemble regular  meals, just without a big heap of starchy veg on the plate.

We also do eat non-starchy vegetables and salads. In fact, I have quite a large vegetable garden on the side of the house, and am looking forward to the copious quantities of lettuce and kale I will be harvesting before long.

However, if you're looking for family-friendly inspiration from the web, there are two websites you should check out. Both of them have extensive low-carb resources in addition to their recipe sections:
Everyday Paleo: written by a busy trainer and mother of three who can usually be found in the kitchen creating family friendly paleo meals.
Low Carber:  A self-described sugar free zone with the cute subtitle "I've got friends in low-carb places", this is a comprehensive resource site for all things Atkins.
This site is linked to an active recipe forum which is certainly worth checking out.  While you're there, take a look at this recipe for "You won't believe it's cauliflower pizza", which, in spite of my own skepticism, appears to be well worth trying.
If you have any must-see sites to recommend, please leave a comment below.  Or feel free to share your recipes!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Difference between Ketosis and Ketoacidosis

I was talking to the mother of a type 1 diabetic eight year old last week.  She closely monitors her daughter's insulin and usually injects her seven times a day.   I don't know the mom very well, and she has no idea I'm writing this blog.  I'm also not an expert on diabetes, so I didn't want to suggest that I might know something better than she does.  In general, my experience has been that parents of diabetic children are pretty knowledgeable, so the last thing I wanted to do was to come across as preachy in an area that's not my area of expertise.

So we talked in general about the practical difficulties of living with diabetes.  At one point the subject turned to carb counting, which she told me they do at every meal.  I asked whether life would be any easier for them if they eliminated or severely restricted the carbohydrates in their diet.

"Oh, no," the mom quickly assured me, "We couldn't do that.  It would lead to keto-what's it called?"

I left it at that.

But it reminded me that there is general confusion between the terms ketosis and ketoacidosis.

Let's start with ketoacidosis:  This is well-described in the medical literature, and there is an excellent description in the Merck Online Medical Library.

In layman's English, ketoacidosis is the potentially life-threatening situation that occurs when diabetics (usually type 1) cannot metabolize the sugars in their bloodstream because their pancreas isn't producing insulin.  This might typically happen when a patient is unaware that they are diabetic, or when they don't properly control their insulin for one reason or another.

A number of metabolic processes are set in motion, one of them being hyperglycemia (essentially the opposite of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia).  Remember that insulin's role in the body is to regulate blood sugar levels to ensure the right amount of glucose gets to the brain and tissues, while storing excess energy in the fat cells for when it might be needed.

So with ketoacidosis, the body reacts to the large amount of unregulated blood sugar by going into what is essentially metabolic overdrive.  It starts metabolizing large amounts of fatty acids and proteins, ostensibly to produce the glucose the body needs to stay alive.  This in turn results in the creation of acids as a byproduct, and they are excreted in the urine in the form of ketones.   However, the body is in a crisis situation in which its getting the wrong amounts of the nutrients it needs, and can result in the patient being really hungry, needing to pee a lot, feelings of nausea and headaches.  In the worst cases, loss of consciousness can result.

Let's switch to ketosis, which is not life-threatening, and which results in the excretion of significantly fewer ketones.  According to Gary Taubes, the difference is ten- to forty-fold.

When you eat very little or no carbohydrate, the body switches to burning fat and muscle to satisfy its internal energy needs.  This is a clever adaptation to ensure we don't starve easily in times of famine.

You could compare this to a widget-producing machine that switches from oil to coal when the price of oil goes up, allowing production levels to stay the same.

Ketosis is fundamentally very different from ketoacidosis, because while in both cases fat and muscle are burned and the by-product is ketones in the urine, with ketosis the metabolic process is a normal one, not one that is caused by an underlying internal crisis.

The way I see it, whether you are on a standard weight-loss diet or whether you restrict your carbohydrates, the only way to burn fat is by putting your body into ketosis.  The difference is only one of degree.

To use the machine analogy again, an alternative way to confront higher oil prices could be to economize by using less oil, though this would likely result in the production of fewer widgets, just as a standard weight loss diet often results in an across the board reduction of nutrient intake.

So to get back to the story of the mom of the diabetic eight year old, it seems to me that she was confusing the two terms. 

I don't understand why on earth restricting her daughter's carbohydrates would result in ketoacidosis.  If anything, it would be the opposite.  In fact, this is why diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar very closely if they decide to reduce their carb intake - not because they might go into ketoacidosis, but because their regular medication might be too strong for their lower blood sugar levels.

The only reason I can possibly think of why a parent might be hesitant to eliminate carbohydrates in a diabetic child would be if the child was already on the thin side.

In poorer nations than ours, where more children don't get enough food to eat, this probably wouldn't be an issue.  Here, where a large percentage of children are chubby, a parent might be concerned about the prospect of their child being skinnier than the rest.

Having said that, I don't believe that being lean, in and of itself, is a bad thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Give us our daily bread

In the article on paleo dieting that I linked to the other day, I came across this comment:
And totally cutting out grain? Utterly ridiculous. The loaf of bread has been a staple of the kitchen table for thousands of years. To think that it somehow needs to go in order to control blood sugar, etc. is ridiculous and only a properly conducted, double blind scientific study would prove to me otherwise (and not some pseudo-scientific article in a nutritional magazine). One's entire diet needs to be geared towards eating products that aren't packaged, refined or processed.
It's true that we have been eating bread as a staple for thousands of years. Yet it wasn't this:

Here in Canada, our wholewheat bread is made from whole grain from which the germ has been removed in order to delay rancidity.  It's essentially very similar to white bread with fibre.  Here is a list of ingredients in 100% whole wheat Wonder bread:
Whole wheat flour, water, wheat gluten, high fructose corn syrup, contains 2% of less of: soybean oil, salt, molasses, yeast, mono and diglycerides, exthoxylated mono and diglycerides, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium iodate, calcium dioxide), datem, calcium sulfate, vinegar, yeast nutrient (ammonium sulfate), extracts of malted barley and corn, dicalcium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, calcium propionate (to retain freshness).
Until very recently, bread was much more likely to be bread made with just 4 ingredients:  whole grain wheat, salt, yeast and water.  That's a far cry from the commercial bread that is commonly eaten by most people, and which is recommended by our nutritional authorities.

To be perfectly honest, I would find it difficult to engage in a debate with somebody about a low carb grain-free diet as outlined in this site vs. a very natural, fresh, locally grown diet that includes modest portions of pure (not commercial) whole grain bread. 

Bear in mind that my debating skills are poor because I tend to see the good points in both sides of almost every argument instead of tenaciously clinging to my own side come hell or high water.

Having said that, I do believe the low carb/no grain side has an important trump card that isn't sufficiently understood by the mainstream "balanced dieters":  according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who writes extensively about medical issues associated with the consumption of wheat, virtually all the wheat grown today is dwarf Triticum aestivum, which was developed in the 1960's and 1970's.  He claims this variety of wheat contains signficantly more gluten protein than older wheat varieties.  It is the gluten that causes many of the medical issues he is concerned about.  In addition to wheat causing an opiate-like addiction, he links it to increased diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), as well as increased small LDL, greater inflammatory responses (e.g. arthritis and gout), and so-called "wheat bellies" which are manifestations of excessive visceral fat.

Sound far fetched?  Maybe , if you've never considered this before.  However, it doesn't surprise me.  Even though I don't have celiac disease, I personally find I have noticeably less inflammatory pain than I used to, and I definitely feel better without wheat in my diet.  Of course I can't prove this wasn't a psychological or placebo reaction, but there are other people who also feel healthier when they stay away from wheat and grain products. 

I do realize bread is an important and convenient staple in most people's homes.  Not eating wheat products takes a little getting used to, and involves reorganizing the way we eat.  But those of us who have given it up tend to feel healthier, and after the initial withdrawal period (it was about 5 days for me), the attraction of bread noticeably diminishes.  I can honestly say that the smell of a loaf fresh from the oven doesn't do the same for me that it used to before I gave it up.

And lastly, if you're one of those people who can't even imagine life without bread, loaves don't grow in the ground.  As much as it is a staple, bread is also a processed food. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Hypoglycemia is a real medical condition, but most of us have experienced mild cases of hypoglycemia at one time or another - or, as in my case, very frequently.

I've never been one for skipping breakfast, but I would get hypoglycemic after being out all morning and into the early afternoon without taking a lunch break.  I also remember getting that empty shaky feeling after a long day of work:  by 6 pm I would be ravenous.  I  couldn't concentrate on anything before getting something to eat.  And "getting something to eat" was preferably something sweet and starchy. 

Hypoglycemia occurs when your bloodsugar is low.  It's something that is potentially very dangerous when you're diabetic, and normally simply uncomfortable if you're not. 

Most low fat diet plans recommend eating every two or three hours.  This is mainly to avoid becoming hypoglycemic.  Because that's when most people find they cannot resist the urge to eat the foods that are not allowed on their diet.

A couple of days ago, the blog The Kitchn featured a couple who follow a paleo lifestyle.  I thought the photography was beautiful and inspirational - there was nothing boring about the way they displayed their food - but I thought the article and the subsequent comments were very interesting.

For one thing, and this has nothing to do with hypoglycemia, it was immediately obvious that there are many different ways of low carb eating.  Some follow the Atkins Diet, others follow Mark Sisson's Daily Apple, and others recommended Cordain's The Primal Diet.  The array of fruits and the dessert recipes in the article were beautiful to look at, even though I eat very little fruit myself.  Many Paleo adherents don't consume dairy products, while I do.

The other thing that struck me was the following post in the comments:
This is the first I've heard of the Paleo Diet and I'm interested to try it out! My one concern is that I'm hypoglycemic and I rely heavily on grains to get enough sugar in my diet. Should I even bother trying?
The answer is yes!

You see, when you strictly limit your carbohydrate consumption, you no longer become hypoglycemic when you haven't eaten in a while.

What this poster didn't understand is that relying heavily on grains is the exact opposite of what you need to do when you have this tendency.

Low glycemic meals typically contain very little carbohydrate.  When you eat more proteins and fats, and none of the carbs, your system tends to run quite a lot longer before you feel the need to eat again.

Even when your stomach is empty, you don't get that unpleasant hypoglycemic feeling because you are no longer a slave to your insulin.

There are so many benefits to ditching grains and sugar, and this is an important one.  I'm coming across more an more people who feel healthier than ever and recognize openly that there is absolutely no reason to ever consider returning to their previous way of eating.  As this poster says very succinctly:
Mostly I'm low carb for the health benefits now. I have been able to get off blood pressure meds, statins, and am no longer pre-diabet­ic. I still have weight to lose, but the lab numbers are fantastic and I'm healthier than ever. I now want to go for a long walk, instead of thinking of it as a chore...

... it is a way of life that you can not return from. For me, this is the way I will eat for the rest of my life.
That's how I feel as well.  And what a bonus it is to be able to go out for a couple of hours without having to worry about getting hypoglycemic anymore.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Balloons of Despair

  • It's what people must feel when dieting doesn't work for them and they resort to surgery for weight loss.
  • It's what I feel when I consider that they believe it is their only option.
  • It's what I feel when I think about how our medical system allows and even encourages high-risk surgeries to solve a simple problem, but refuses to tell people the truth about the role carbohydrates play in their weight gain. 

Gastric bypass surgery and stomach stapling have been around for a while.  Special stomach balloons are available as an option for people who are not fat enough to undergo the more invasive surgeries. "You only need a BMI of 27 or above to undergo the gastric balloon procedure."  Isn't that creepy?

As much as I believe carbohydrate and sugar restriction is the way to go if you want a healthy metabolism, I do understand that it's not that simple for anybody with diabetes.  If you're taking insulin to control your blood sugar, it can be dangerous to simply stop eating the foods that increase blood sugar levels.  You need to proceed carefully and gradually, and preferably with a doctor's supervision.  And depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find a doctor or nutritionist willing to step outside the traditional "balanced eating" box.

But there are plenty of people who "only" have a BMI of 27 and who are nowhere near to developing diabetes.  For them to even consider surgical means of reducing their weight is complete folly, in my opinion.

For one thing, there is the risk of complications, including death.  According to the bariatric surgery page on Wikipedia:
Complications from weight loss surgery are frequent. A study of insurance claims of 2522 who had undergone bariatric surgery showed 21.9% complications during the initial hospital stay and a total of 40% risk of complications in the subsequent six months.
And some patients even die.  You would have to be in a serious state of despair to brave these odds to lose weight.

Especially when there are other options.

Surgical websites touting weight loss surgeries all tell you their programs include learning to eat healthfully:  "the aftercare and support you receive through behavioural change is crucial to your success."

How many of these eating plans include grains and sugars?  How many people considering this option have spent any amount of time studying the science surrounding low-carb eating and how many of them have actually tried it?

The best way to find out is to ask the patients themselves.  I found a great online discussion.  Some quotes:
  • I lost a lot of weight in the first 2 months (20 pounds) but nothing over the past month or so. I have also noticed my appetite is increasing too.
  • My appetite has returned, ... I only seemed to lose weight for the first 2 months and that was because I constantly felt like throwing up!
  • They told me to only eat low fat food drink loads of water and not eat after 6pm, which is basically just a diet, if I could stick to a diet I wouldn't have got the balloon!
  • So basically the advice is pretty much what you would expect from weight-watchers! We could have saved ourselves the money.
  • I contacted the clinic earlier this week as I was getting so despondent and they suggested I eat less. DOHHHHH!!!! errrr.....thats what I paid 2 grand for a balloon for. 
Can you see why I'm feeling so depressed?

Thankfully there is also a brighter side.  The more I search for information, the more physicians and researchers I'm finding who are sharing their knowledge about how  carbohydrates affect metabolism.  Dr. Eades, Dr. Davis, Dr. Willett and Dr. Lustig are just four names off the top of my head.  And while Gary Taubes may "only be a journalist" (having also studied applied physics and aerospace engineering), his books are meticulously researched and written. 

I'm astounded by the wealth of credible information and excellent websites by people who have been doing this for long periods of time.  It simply isn't true that low carb eating is a new unproven fad - check out Arthur De Vany's site or read about Jack Lalanne for examples of people living a paleo lifestyle for over a quarter of a century.

If you are feeling despondent about your inability to succeed with dieting, and you're  even considering a surgical solution, please do yourself a favour and start reading about carbohydrates first.

It will keep you busy because there is so much to read, but you will finally figure out how to lose weight and be healthier.  Naturally and without investing in a plan or surgery.  It will save you a fortune and it might even save your life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tackling diabetes the Ontario way

According to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health:
Fat is not the problem. If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
Eat Right Ontario is a government-sponsored nutritional site that doesn't want to agree with Dr. Willett.  I cringe when I think how much money was thrown at this initiative, supposedly designed to provide residents with information on healthy eating.

Contrary to its promise, the site left me with more questions than answers, and I could write a treatise on the inaccuracies I found in the copy.  The closest it gets to telling people about staying away from sugar is some deeply buried advice to avoid foods with lots of added sugars.

Other than that, it contains the standard line that it's ok to eat sugar and baked goods but to limit saturated fats.  It parrots the message on the Canadian Sugar Institute's website, that sugar doesn't cause diabetes.  Chemically speaking, this is quite possibly technically correct;  after all, it's not as if it's a germ that you can catch a disease from in the way you can contract cholera from bad water.

I was very disappointed to see that the Canadian Sugar Institute, which doesn't have one bad word to say about sugar, is listed in the resource links, but there is not one link to even some of the research that shows that it is sugar and refined carbohydrates and not saturated fats that are the cause of our nutritional problems, and the success of low carbohydrate plans for bringing people back to health.

EatRightOntario invites visitors to call their free hotline, which I did.  I asked the friendly registered dietician a number of questions about why they don't take a stronger stand against sugar and carbohydrates.  She clearly had a tight script;  she told me there is insufficient evidence that low-carb diets are safe.  She also told me the site was aimed at people with only a basic level of nutritional knowledge.

It's too bad that a decision was made somewhere along the line that Ontario's residents don't need to be told the real causes of their health problems and what to do about them.  Are we too stupid?  If most of us aren't interested in delving any deeper (and that may be the case), I would suggest very strongly that the real facts need to be spelled out more clearly to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

Believe me, many of my husband's patients are very confused and unhappy with their chronic metabolic problems, which they are unable to reverse, in spite of being in the care of registered dieticians and following their prescribed eating plans.

Our government needs to draw on information from nutritional experts who are not afraid to talk about the real causes of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic diseases, not lobbying organizations representing one-sided industrial interests.

Like Dr. Willett, whom I quoted above.  Wouldn't his message be more useful to see on Eat Right Ontario?