January 15, 2019

The Personal Fat Threshold Concept

Hey Kids!

It’s been ages since I’ve posted what I would call a “real” blog post. Something meaty and educational. Something you can really sink your teeth into. The last one was way back in August, when I wrote about whether protein is bad for the kidneys. (Hint: it’s not.) I’ve posted a few things since then, but nothing all that substantial. I’m glad to say today’s post makes up for lost time, because it is LONG. So grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or...*gag*...broth, if you must), put your phone on silent, and dig in.

I’m excited to share this with you. So excited, in fact, that I’ve been procrastinating on writing this for no less than 6 months. In looking at the folder of blog post drafts on my computer, I started jotting down notes for this in July 2018. The reason I kept putting it off is that I knew this was going to be a LONG post—massively long, even for me. But then I gave a talk on this topic at a keto event in Canada in December, so I finally had to organize my thoughts and put them together coherently. Once that was done, I figured it would be easier to get this written, since I could just flesh out the details of what was on the slides. Don’t kid yourselves, though. This still took four days to write and edit. (It’s much faster to talk and show images on slides than it is to type everything out in detail in a blog post!) Nevertheless, I’ve wanted to write this for a long time, so here we finally are. And the benefits a blog post has over a talk is that you can read this at your leisure, click on whatever links you’d like to explore further, and go as deeply down any of those rabbit holes as your heart desires. And to any of you who are happy at such a long post and who prefer reading to watching videos, I’m with you. I started my YouTube channel to bring my message of Keto Without the Crazy™ to a wider audience, but I, myself, prefer reading.    

One of the things I love most about writing my blog is sharing with you, my beloved readers, the fascinating and important things I learn as I deepen my understanding of human metabolism and physiology. The reason they call it “commencement” when you graduate with a degree in something is that it’s the start of your education, rather than the end of it. This has certainly proven true for me since getting my M.S. in nutrition.

One of the most intriguing things I’ve come across recently is the concept of the personal fat threshold. I don’t know who first coined this term, but it appears to have been Roy Taylor and Rury Holman, in their 2015 paper, Normal weight individuals who develop type 2 diabetes: the personal fat threshold. Other researchers wrote about the concept long before this paper, but I think Taylor & Holman were the first to use the phrase personal fat threshold. (Their paper is the first place I ever saw it in print, anyway. A researcher named Keith Frayn wrote some outstanding papers on the same topic years before without using the term. I cite his work liberally throughout this post. If you’d like to read the full text of any of the key papers I cite here, feel free to email me and I’ll send you a copy.)

December 30, 2018

Tuit Nutrition Newsletter!

Hey Everyone,

I am close to helpless when it comes to technology, but after procrastinating out of fear and confusion for over a year, I finally mustered the patience and courage to figure out how to create a mailing list. If you’d like to keep up to date on my upcoming speaking engagements and public appearances (come meet me in person!), and catch up on recent blog posts or videos you might have missed, please sign up here for my newsletter or look at the right sidebar on the homepage of tuitnutrition.com and you’ll see a place to join the list. (What? Videos?! You didn't know I started a YouTube channel? Yep, check it out here.)

What else can you expect in the newsletter? I plan to give thumbs up or thumbs down on nutrition & health books I’m reading, and share about scientific papers Im delving into. (Let me know if you’d like me to keep posting detailed book reviews on the blog, in addition to the quick yays or nays that’ll be in the newsletter.) Maybe I’ll include links to blog posts or other articles I think would be worth your time to read, or recommend someone to follow on Twitter. I might also do product reviews here and there if I’ve come across products or food items I think my audience might like. I don’t have many affiliate links, but if any of these are affiliates—meaning that I would receive a commission from the sale—I will be upfront about that and make that disclosure. If you’ve read my blog or watched my videos, you know I’m a straight-shooter and you can expect honesty from me. What you see is what you get.

The good thing is, I’m not tech-savvy enough to spam you. Wouldnt know how if I wanted to, and I most definitely don’t want to. It took me forever to figure out how to even set up this mailing list! And I have no idea when the first newsletter will go out, or how frequently after that. Right now, the priority is getting back to writing meaty, educational blog posts. But I plan to keep the newsletters relatively short & simple, so I should be able to put something out every few weeks. (“Should” being the key word there, hehheh. I should be able to publish good blog posts more often than I have been the past few months, but alas…)

Thanks for being part of my little corner of the low-carb/keto world, where we aim to keep things simple and sane, and help others learn how to navigate this way of eating without losing their minds or their life savings. Cheers!

Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

December 5, 2018

A Couple More Videos and an Update

Whaddup, y’all?

I am going to get back to writing “real” blog posts soon, I promise!
Just been a bit swamped with travel to speak at a couple of nutrition and health events, plus a move!

First, I spoke at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s annual Wise Traditions Conference. My Alzheimer’s talk was such a hit last year that the president of the foundation asked me to give the same talk again this year. Nice!

I also gave two talks at a keto event in Kingston, Ontario. If you’re in Canada and you’d like to find out when more such events will be taking place in your beautiful country, check out https://keto-retreat.ca/  (They also have a Facebook page where you can get updates.) Videos of both talks will be available soon, and I’ll let you know when they are. One of them was on the concept of the personal fat threshold, and the other was a talk unlike any I’d ever given before. In fact, I think it was unlike any talk anyone has ever given in the keto community. I opened a conversation that is long overdue and brought up some issues I’d love to see us all talking more about. I’ll leave it at that until the video is available to the public and will explain more when the link is live and I can share it. I’m excited to see what you’ll think of it. Like I said, a talk unlike any I’m aware of in 15 years of following a low carb diet.

About the move…
I moved three and a half hours south, from Fredericksburg, VA, to Durham, NC. I’ve been crashing at a friend’s place while I buy furniture and get things settled, because in all the previous places I’d lived in the DC metro area since 2009, I always rented furnished places, so until recently, I owned zero furniture. (Unless a Squatty Potty counts!) Owing to this furniture deficiency and the travel, I’ve been living out of a duffel bag for almost a month. Eek! Even though I was living in Virginia for the past 9 years, now that I’m in North Carolina, I’m definitely in The South™. I’m already a natural at saying “Bless their hearts,” and I look forward to making homemade pimento cheese, because man, that stuff is gooood. (It’s basically keto as is, except if you read labels, many of the prepared ones you can buy at the supermarket have added sugar. It would be delicious without any sweetening at all, but for those who like a hint of sweetness to it, a pinch of Splenda, Swerve, or your low-carb sweetener of choice would mix in just fine. What? Artificial sweeteners? Yes. Yes, I use them. I’ve been using them for 18 years and I’m not dead yet. But maybe tomorrow.)

To pass the time until I post something more substantial, I wanted to share two more videos with you. One was an interview with me about Alzheimer’s recorded at Low Carb Houston. Many of you reading out there have probably already watched some of my other Alz videos (and maybe you’ve even checked out my book). If you’re new to the concept of Alzheimer’s as “type 3 diabetes” or “brain insulin resistance,” this new one is highly recommended. And it’s recommended even if you have already seen some of the other videos. This one is only 25 minutes long, and thanks to the good questions the interviewer asked, we covered a lot of educational information in that time. Here’s the link.

Toward the very end, I buck the keto police and explain that not everyone needs to be on a medically therapeutic ketogenic diet. We can’t deny the millions (billions?) of healthy people around the world who age gracefully and with their cognitive faculties intact who do not follow ketogenic diets. They eat fruit, they eat beans, they even … *gasp!* … eat grains. So no, a strict keto diet is not the only way to be healthy and maintain a body weight you’re happy with. (I have to find a new way to talk about weight, because I’d rather not use the phrases “healthy body weight” or “normal body weight.” I know people who are heavy and healthy, and people who are thin and quite sick. [In fact, this is exactly what the personal fat threshold is all about.] And who the heck gets to decide what a “normal” weight is, anyway? Certainly not me!) Yes, you can stick to 20g of carbs a day for the rest of your life if you enjoy that and it works for you. But many people have a higher carb tolerance than that. And not only can they “tolerate” more carbs, but they might actually feel better, physically and mentally/emotionally, with a bit more carbs in their diet. (Read this old favorite post for more on this. And here’s a video from my new YouTube channel on the topic of keto police in general.)

I’ve gotta say, I think I look pretty good here! I should wear bold makeup more often! (I would like to; the fact is, I’m usually just too lazy to take the time to apply it before grabbing my purse and heading out the door. Plus, I never really learned how to apply makeup correctly. I go into Sephora and I honestly have no idea what half the products are even for, let alone how to put them on my face without making myself look like a clown, or look 30 years older than I am. Anyone know any good YouTube makeup tutorial channels for normal people? I’m open to recommendations.) I should also probably smile more. That’s really the best makeup anyone can wear anyway.

The second video I’d like to share is even shorter (less than 22 minutes), and it’s also about Alzheimer’s. I make a few short cameo appearances, and there are appearances by some of my favorite Alzheimer’s researchers, Stephen Cunnane, PhD, Dale Bredesen, MD, and Mary Newport, MD. I cite and celebrate their work in my book and in every Alz talk I’ve given. The video is extremely well done and provides a fabulous overview of the metabolic aspects of Alzheimer’s, the latest research, and the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets and exogenous ketones. (Link to the video here.)

About the next “real” post: I plan my next blog post to be on the topic of the personal fat threshold. There’s a sneak peek in this video I did a few months ago, but the blog post will dive a little deeper and will contain links to relevant research for those of you who’d like to learn more. (Or to verify that I’m not making this stuff up out of thin air. I try not to do that unless someone is paying me obscene amounts of money to do so.) I suspect this post will take a while to write, and if time gets away from me and I’d rather not go too long without anything new on the blog, I might post a book review or two. I’ve read several good nutrition books since the last book review post, and those are usually pretty quick to write. (See here for all the book review posts.)

If you’re into videos, don’t forget about my YouTube channel. Half ranting and half information that I hope is educational and helpful. (Kind of like my blog!)  

Back soon to what I love best: writing.

Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

November 7, 2018

Alzheimer's Talk: Amyloid, ApoE4, Insulin, and More

Hey everyone,

Since it’s going to be another couple of weeks before I’ll have time to write a new in-depth post, I wanted to share another video with you. I know some of you aren’t into videos and much prefer to read, so if that’s you, just hang tight; I’ll start writing “for real” again as soon as I can. For the rest of you, though, here’s the talk I gave about Alzheimer’s disease at Low Carb Houston just two weeks ago. I had 30 minutes to give a talk that I normally give in 45-60 minutes, so I had to cut a few things out. (Also had to speak quickly!) If you want the full version, I covered a little bit more during a talk at KetoCon back in June.  

If you’re interested in Alzheimer’s disease as “type 3 diabetes” or “diabetes of the brain,” I think you’ll find these talks very educational. Even though the Low Carb Houston talk was a little shorter than the one at KetoCon, it was a bit more in-depth on the science specifically surrounding beta-amyloid. I added in some aspects that I don’t normally include, because continuing medical education credits (CMEs) were being offered for the event, so I felt like I should step things up a bit and include some of the technical details I usually leave out for an audience that’s mostly laypeople. (Turns out Houston had a big mix of everyone, so it was fine either way.) If you’re especially interested in amyloid and why I don’t think it’s a cause of Alzheimer’s and, in fact, is more likely a protective thing, you’ll want to watch the Houston talk.

The KetoCon talk includes some details on cholesterol that I skipped over in Houston due to time constraints, and also because Dr. David Diamond, Dr. Nadir Ali, Dr. Maryanne Demasi, and Dave Feldman had all spoken before I did, and they covered cholesterol and statin drugs better than I ever could have. (Good thing, because it helped that I was able to skip the cholesterol details…freed up time for looking more closely at amyloid.)

You can find more of my presentations and articles on Alzheimer’s here. I haven’t had a chance to update it in a while, but I’ll do that soon. (Need to include the Houston talk for sure!)

And don’t forget about my shiny new YouTube channel. I know many of you (me included!) prefer reading to watching videos, but for those who might enjoy watching me remind people to keep low carb and keto simple and sane, please consider checking out the channel. Topics already addressed include an intro to why I started the channel, my personal history & background with low carb, how keto works, and measuring ketones. Upcoming topics include the Keto Police™, food quality, protein (and gluconeogenesis), weight loss stalls, and thyroid function. (I see probably 2 clients a month who have unrecognized/undiagnosed hypothyroidism, and it is a major roadblock to fat loss.) If you have a specific topic you’d like me to address, feel free to suggest it in the comments.

Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

October 24, 2018

Presentation on Insulin -- Much More Than a Blood Sugar Hormone

Hey all!

Busy, busy, busy for the next few weeks. I’m speaking at Low Carb Houston this weekend, at the Wise Traditions conference (from the Weston A. Price Foundation) in mid-November, and at the keto event in Ontario on December 1. Yowza!

So it might be a few weeks before I can write more blog posts of substance, but I’ll try to pop in and at least post something before I get back to (what I hope are) more meaningful and educational posts.

In the meantime, I want to share a link to a presentation I gave on insulin and chronic hyperinsulinemia. If you enjoyed my 8-part series on insulin a while back (two more parts coming, by the way!), then I think you’ll like this video. The primary message is that insulin is much more than merely a “blood sugar hormone.” Insulin has effects far and wide throughout the whole body. There’s almost no organ, gland, or tissue system that insulin doesn’t affect in some way, including the brain. (Hence the book I wrote on Alzheimer’s disease, and the talks I give on “brain insulin resistance.”)

In this presentation, I talk about chronically high insulin as a driver of several conditions/disorders not typically thought of as metabolic in origin. Aside from type 2 diabetes and obesity (which are so intertwined in some cases that they’ve coined the phrase “diabesity”), there’s gout, hypertension, PCOS, erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, skin tags, migraines, and more. (Possibly even Parkinson’s disease!)

I go into detail on hypertension and gout as two examples of conditions where the underlying cause (high insulin) is ignored in favor of things that often have little to nothing to do with how the disease actually develops (sodium in the case of hypertension, and red meat in the case of gout). But my favorite part is when I talk about insulin’s role in directly inhibiting lipolysis—the breakdown of fat. It explains so elegantly why so many of us had such a very hard time losing body fat when we were eating all the whole grains we were advised to consume, along with our skim milk, fat-free yogurt, and other low- and no-fat carbohydrates, and why things became much easier when we ate in such a way as to keep our insulin levels low for most of the day.

Please forgive the poor sound quality in the video. This was recorded at an event that was organized by one person, and it was her very first time organizing something like this. We’re lucky someone did us the favor of recording it at all! It’s a little bit hard to hear at first, but it gets somewhat better as the video goes on. Please don’t let that stop you from watching. I think it’s educational and might give you some new knowledge about the role of insulin not just in body weight, but in overall health and wellness.

Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.

October 16, 2018

I Started a YouTube Channel!

I started a YouTube channel!

Yes, dear readers, if you enjoy my writing, you can now go a step further and see and hear me. You can get “the real thing,” instead of trying to picture my voice or demeanor in your head. Some of you will be happy about this development; others might be thinking, “Why would I ever watch videos of her?” If you prefer reading blog posts, stay here on the blog. If you like videos too, please subscribe to the channel and keep reading the blog. Definitely don’t abandon the blog! (More on this later.)

Why did I start a channel?

People are hungry for a voice of reason, sanity, and simplicity.

I see people making keto so complicated. I see people convincing folks who are new to this that they need powdered MCT oil for their coffee, or that they have to use exogenous ketones to transition to keto. I see people pricking their fingers and peeing on test strips without the slightest clue of how to interpret what they see. (Okay, I don’t actually witness people peeing on strips, like, in person, but you know what I mean.) I see people plugging in their anthropometric data and getting “macros” spit out to them by calculators that have no idea how much body fat they carry (as opposed to total weight), or whether they have a thyroid problem. I see people following arbitrary macro percentages and loading up their food with extra butter and oil because some app told them to, not because they’re hungry for more fat.  

I see people who are confused and overwhelmed, and they’re not getting the results they want. They’re either so confused that they never even start a low carb way of eating, or they do what they think is the kind of low carb or keto diet they need, but they’ve been given so much inaccurate and potentially harmful information that whatever they were looking to accomplish, they’re actually going backward.

I see people misguidedly emphasizing “keto” instead of low carb. I see people bashing the Atkins diet, as if that isn’t a perfectly effective option for most of us. (And as if “keto” isn’t really just the 46-year-old Atkins induction phase wrapped up in a shiny new bow.)

For a long time, I’ve been trying to figure out who I am in the low carb scene. What do I have to contribute? Do I offer anything unique? Anything valuable? Am I saying anything a zillion other people aren’t already saying, and saying it better than I am?

Well, I think I’ve finally found my niche. After having been at this for a few years now (I published my first blog post way back in 2012), it’s happened organically – my “voice” has emerged over time, as the writing has grown. I want to help people see how simple this iswhen we let it be. I’m the one who says, no, you don’t have to eat exclusively grassfed meats and organic vegetables. No, you probably don’t need to measure your ketones (but some people do benefit from it). No, you’re not going to die immediately if you use regular store-bought salad dressing, made with soybean oil. And no, you don’t have to have a PhD in calculus to figure out what and how much to eat.

In a world—including the keto community—that is increasingly polarized with warring factions shouting at each other from their entrenched camps, I’m okay with NOT being a zealot. I understand that there’s more than one way to get healthy, more than one way to lose weight, more than one way to lower blood sugar, and more than one way to be a decent human being who enjoys his or her food. I think I’ve gotten a reputation for being low-carb and keto-oriented, but also open minded and accepting of other ways of doing things that work for people. Maybe it’s only my perception, but I think I’m getting this reputation, and I like it. I think it’s needed. I look forward to new people finding me and my message of sanity and simplicity. I sincerely hope it helps them navigate low carb/keto as calmly and effortlessly as it should be navigated.

Now, about the videos:

As you know quite well if you’ve been around the blog awhile, brevity is not my strong suit. My posts tend to be really long. I plan to keep the videos short: aiming for about 10 minutes, give or take a few minutes. Some might be a little shorter; others will likely be longer (the first two already are, but they are intros to me and the channel, and are not typical of what I plan to be talking about in future videos), but I plan to make them all short enough that anyone who clicks on the links won’t be put off by the length.

I have friends and colleagues who have their own channels and put out lots of video content regarding LCHF/keto. And while I respect them and agree with most of what they say, I’ve found myself taking issue with a few things here and there. And I realized that if I’m not satisfied with how other people are explaining keto, then I need to get in the driver’s seat and do it myself.

So I have.

Please join me and subscribe to the channel, if you are so inclined.

As I’ll explain in my second video (in which I share my own history and how I got into low carb and eventually transitioned to being a nutrition professional), I am nearly helpless with technology. I’m an embarrassment to my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. It’s one of the top computer engineering schools in the world, but I’m lucky if I can even figure out how to plug in my laptop. It’s a bit of a miracle that I have a blog, a Twitter account, and now, a YouTube channel. See, I majored in creative writing, not computer engineering, or anything else having to do with 1s and 0s. So that’s why the writing here is kinda-sorta okay, but the site itself is a disaster. (Working on getting help with this soon! Planning a major overhaul of the site over the next several months. Yay!)

So bear with me as I learn how to improve the quality of my videos. I’d like to learn how to embed links and add images and text to the background. I know there are programs and apps that make it easy to do this. On the other hand, I’ve gotten feedback from people that simple is best. No need for anything fancy & flashy. If I’m saying something valuable, something people need to hear, then that’s enough. (Still, when I refer to blog posts I’ve written or to relevant scientific papers, I’d like for people to be able to click right on the link. That seems like the least I can do.)

And in case you’re wondering, yes, yes, YES, I will most definitely still be writing blog posts. Writing is, always has been, and likely always will be my first love. I’m adding YouTube to the mix only because it seems like you kind of “have to” be there to make a dent in things these days. Many people who are put off by the length of my posts would be happy to watch a 15-minute video (never mind that it would take them less than that to read even some of my longest posts). And some old-school folks (like me!) prefer reading and would sooner read a long post than watch a short video. So now I can reach more people, both the readers and the viewers, and everyone’s going to get pretty much the same message: keto doesn’t have to be complicated, confusing, or expensive. You can enjoy absolutely delicious food while improving your health and/or losing weight, and your way of eating doesn’t have to become an adventure in theoretical physics. You don’t need an advanced degree to lose weight, lower your blood sugar, get rid of your acid reflux, improve your PCOS, and say goodbye to joint pain, migraines, and gout. You just need to ditch the carbs.

See you on the screen!

P.S. Do you have any preference as to the frequency of new videos? I’m thinking twice a week, maybe every 4 days or so. I haven’t dived into YouTube analytics yet to see if there’s a “best” day to post, when more people are likely to watch. I’ll probably do what I do on the blog, which is follow my heart: write what I want to write, in the way I want to write it, and post it when I want to post it. It’s worked so far. I’m happy with the loyal readership I have here, and I’ve built it honestly and genuinely: no gimmicks, no false promises, no emphasis on whatever’s trendy just for more likes & shares. I plan to do the same with YT. Here’s hoping the people who need it find it.

P.P.S. Sorry for the decrease in blog posting frequency over the past several months. I have 2 or 3 long posts in the works, all in various stages of completion. I’ve had a bunch of speaking engagements the past few months and have 3 more coming up before the end of November. Once those are done, I’ll be able to focus on finishing these posts and hopefully resume putting out sarcastic and snarky educational content here. (And I'll publish shorter posts before then if I can.)

Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.