November 24, 2015

Why Am I Not Losing Weight on LCHF? (Pt.1 - Calories & Carbs)

…Aaaaand, we’re back!

Based on the number of page views my post called “The Truth About Weight Loss” has gotten, people are far more interested in reading about losing weight than they are in cancer or the disastrous consequences associated with chronically elevated insulin. And, based on the comments that post garnered, right here on the blog as well as on various LCHF sites, this post and the next few in this mini-series are among the most hotly anticipated posts I’ve ever written. (Except for the next cancer post. I know, I know…I keep promising to get back to those, but then I get sidetracked by other equally fascinating things.) 

With that in mind, I’m feelin’ the pressure, everybody. I’ll try not to disappoint, but, the truth is, I don’t have any magical formulas for you. I don’t have the secret to THE ONE THING you’ve never, ever heard of for kick-starting fat loss or breaking a stall. I haven’t discovered the only unsullied superfruit with mystical fat-melting properties, found deep in the Amazon Rain Forest, and known only to me and one indigenous tribe untouched by Western civilization. (But if I ever do stumble upon that, it’ll be available through my website for just $39.99, and you’ll have to order it by clicking on the obnoxious pop-up window that flashes in your face immediately upon the site loading. [Don’t’cha just love those?] It’ll also be available for purchase through an affiliate link in the sidebar of every single other LCHF, Paleo, Primal, and real food site you frequent. [This is the part where you express silent thanks for how terrible I am at marketing. :D])

Okay, let’s get down to business:

November 23, 2015

Podcast Interview: Real World Paleo

My third podcast interview is in the hopper and ready for you to go have a listen! First, it was Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ la Vida Low Carb Show, then it was Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution Podcast, and now, I’m talking about real food, low-carb, and Alzheimer’s on the Real World Paleo Podcast. I’ve also recorded a fourth show, which I’m told will air sometime in December. (Details to follow.) Hey, it’s almost like I kinda-sorta know what I’m talking about! (Either that, or I’m doing a great job of fooling people into thinking I do!)

If you’ve never heard of the Real World Paleo Podcast, that’s probably because it’s pretty new. The first episode went live just this past September. The hosts are Christine Lehmann, MS, NTP, and Stephanie Ewals, NTP. Christine lives in Alexandria, VA, not far from me, and she and I met when we took the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner training together back in 2013. Christine is the “Reverse Diabetes Coach™,” and Stephanie practices nutritional therapy at Out of the Woods Nutrition, in Minnesota.

Both of these ladies know what they’re doing, and it was a privilege to be able to share my Alzheimer’s research with them and their audience. If you’ve read some of my past posts about Alzheimer’s disease, then most of what we discussed won’t be new to you, but hey, a little refresher never hurt anyone! (Unfortunately, there was a little bit of feedback on my mic again, but not as bad as when I recorded with the great Mr. Wolf.)

You can download the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or listen directly through Christine’s website:

The show notes in the link above include helpful links to some scientific papers that might be of interest to you if you’d like to delve into the metabolic and mitochondrial underpinnings of Alzheimer’s.

By the way: the Real World Paleo Podcast is a great show for any friends and family members who are new to LCHF, Paleo, Primal, and just plain real food. Stephanie and Christine do a great job of introducing complex concepts and explaining them in simple but informative ways, kind of like I aim to do on my blog. It might be old news if you’ve been eating this way for a while now, but for people who are just starting to dip their toes in these waters, this show is a down-to-earth, non-intimidating way to learn about healthy fats, the importance of good quality proteins, finding the right amount and types of carbohydrates for different goals, etc.

Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., 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.

November 20, 2015

Food for Thought Friday: Pay the Farmer Now, or Pay the Doctor ... When, Exactly?

When well-meaning acquaintances mock us for spending more money than they do for food, those of us who take pride in buying, cooking, and eating whole, unprocessed, real foods are fond of saying, “Pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later.” Meaning, if people don’t pony up a little extra cash for better quality food now, they’ll end up paying even more in the future, in the form of medical bills. But is this actually true? If people spend decades putting garbage down their pieholes and end up with some of the “diseases of civilization,” do they really end up all that much worse off, financially?

For the sake of keeping this post to a somewhat reasonable length, let’s stick solely to the financial burden of diet- and lifestyle-induced illness, and we’ll table the “cost” of missed work time, fatigue, illness, chronic pain, and overall reduced quality of life for another time. (But let’s go ahead and acknowledge that these other issues are arguably more important than one’s bank account balance.)

November 16, 2015

The Truth About Weight Loss

Much to the detriment of my sanity—and several of my brain cells—I’ve been lurking on weight loss forums, keto forums, LCHF sites, various Facebook groups, and other places where many participants are aiming for weight loss. I’ve been reading the comments, and…well, it’s a jungle out there, folks. A jungle of wishful thinking, unrealistic expectations, and a somewhat alarming degree of ignorance about how the human body works.

This is not entirely surprising, though, and I can’t be too hard on people for their pie-in-the-sky notions about how weight loss happens. After all, when you read a “Friday Success Story” on Mark’s Daily Apple, featuring a 25-year old guy who woke up one day, realized the steady diet of pizza, beer, and Chinese takeout he’d been following since freshman year of college had landed him 40 pounds heavier, with heartburn, acne, and no libido, and he stumbles upon The Primal Blueprint and summarily loses those 40 pounds in about three months—even while still enjoying wine and a weekly “treat meal,” it’s very easy to be hypnotized into thinking it’s this quick & easy for everyone. And if it’s not this quick & easy for you, then you’re “doing it wrong.” If every pound—every ounce—is a struggle, even when you’re really, truly “doing everything right,” then it’s perfectly natural to feel like a failure. To feel demoralized. And if your nutritionist cares about you and wants to see you reach your goals, it’s perfectly natural for me him or her to be demoralized, too.

I have been through this with several clients—to the point that I almost decided to quit altogether. However, after giving it a lot of thought, and racking my brain to think of what I could be doing differently to help these people, and why good diet recommendations and supplements proven to be effective weren’t working, here’s what I’ve realized:

November 9, 2015

ITIS -- It's the Insulin, Stupid (pt 8/8)

Well, here we are, folks! The 8th and final installment of the crazy journey that began way back when we looked at Dr. Joseph Kraft’s 5-hour glucose tolerance tests with insulin assay. You remember those, right? The ones that suggested far more people are in the early stages of diabetes and insulin resistance than anyone ever would have guessed, based on their “normal” fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c results.

In case anyone’s stumbling upon this series for the first time, here are links to the seven posts that preceded this one:

  • Part 1: Introduction to insulin resistance and the work of Dr. Kraft: What is diabetes in-situ?
  • Part 2: Health consequences of hyperinsulinemia & hyperglycemia unrelated to body weight.
  • Part 3: Deep-dive into the pancreas and the balancing act between insulin and GLUCAGON.
  • Part 4: The role of insulin in the gain & loss of body fat.
  • Part 5: More on insulin & the regulation of body fat—how do different eating patterns (such as intermittent fasting and carbohydrate reduction) affect insulin, and what does that mean for body fat and energy levels?
  • Part 6: The concept of “normal weight obesity” or TOFI—thin outside, fat inside, and what this means for overall health. (Summary: “thin” doesn’t automatically mean healthy.) Also: how come some people don’t become overweight when they’re insulin resistant?
  • Part 7: “Calories in, calories out” and “eat less, move more.” Are these sound bytes the least bit helpful? In a word, no. If you have even the smallest appreciation for the complexity of the biochemical regulation of human metabolism, in general, and body fat, in particular, then you will agree that these phrases are laughably simplistic and one step shy of being completely meaningless.

Okay! Let’s get down to business.

Having covered some of the gnarly health conditions and debilitating downstream effects of insulin resistance (IR), hyperinsulinemia, and hyperglycemia—which can affect your eyes, your ears, your brain, your kidneys, your heart & blood vessels, your nerves, and your man parts or lady bits, not to mention make you the three Fs: fat, fatigued, and foggy-headed—it’s time to address perhaps the most important questions of all...

November 3, 2015

ITIS -- It's the Insulin, Stupid (pt 7/8)

Seven down, one to go!
As of this writing, the first post in this series has 5316 views, and part 6 has just 739. Quite a decline in readership there, so my sincerest thanks and appreciation to anyone out there who’s still with me. (If I am extremely verbose in written media, you’d be amazed how quiet I am in person.)

Last time, in part 6, I introduced my interpretation of the chain of causality regarding metabolic/endocrine dysregulation and the accumulation of body fat. Conventional medicine and nutrition hold that people get fat accumulate excess adipose tissue because they are lazy, greedy, gluttonous, and too sedentary. They eat too much and move too little. These shortcomings in willpower, discipline, and good morals lead to overweight & obesity, and overweight & obesity subsequently lead to diabetes, hypertension, infertility, heart disease, and more.

But you’ll recall that I believe differently. I believe it works like this:

Blood glucose & insulin dysregulation (hormonal/endocrine issues) ---> preferential use of glucose for energy + storage of excess energy (from carbohydrates and fat) in adipose tissue + inhibition of 
lipolysis ---> accumulation of adipose tissue.

In my theory, metabolic and hormonal abnormalities come first, and the accumulation of body fat is the result. I like that much, much better than the chain of causality that looks like this:

Laziness, greed, gluttony, sloth, character flaws ---> accumulation of body fat ---> "diabeetus"