Now that the low-carbohydrate dietary recommendations have really taken hold, we are beginning to see quite a bit more information about nutrition labeling that not only describes total carbohydrate content of a particular food, but also indicates “net carbs.” Depending on the type of food, there may, in fact, actually be a significant difference between these two numbers.
So let’s break it down as it is actually very straightforward.
Today, in honor of Brain Awareness Month, I went to the Alzheimer’s Association’s web site to explore their “10 Way to Love Your Brain”, which include:
Fuel up right. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Really? From what I’ve learned, we need more fat in the diet to protect the brain against dementia, not carbs at the expense of healthy fats. It even looks like the Mayo Clinic, publishing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, totally agrees. Continue reading
Go to the mall. See a movie. Look around next time you’re in an airport. What you’ll see is the confirmation of all the statistics that we’re hearing so much about these days related to the ever-increasing prevalence of obesity. It’s everywhere and it’s affecting most of us.
Books, online information, infomercials, daytime T.V., and even nightly news programs are constantly hammering us with the scary news that relates increasing abdominal girth to just about every bad medical condition you don’t want to get. At the same time, these same resources offer up some new trendy solution to the obesity epidemic daily, often in the form of some new and exotic dietary supplement.
Truth is, losing weight doesn’t happen when you give in and buy the latest pill. Weight loss happens when the body shifts from storing fat to burning fat. It is that simple, and far and away how we signal our metabolism to make this fundamental shift depends on what we choose to eat. Continue reading
By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine
A few years ago, the science became too significant to ignore, and I decided to drastically cut back on my dietary carbohydrates. I believed in my good baseline health, and didn’t foresee any complications with this decision. A day in, I faced mood swings, crashing energy levels and intense cravings, and I started questioning my choice. Several days later, my mind cleared and my energy levels stabilized. I then realized how important my choice had been, and why I would never go back.
Years later, I counsel my patients and friends to venture down the same path, as the health benefits of a low carbohydrate diet cannot be denied. So often, I hear the same sentiment: it’s too hard to stop eating carbs! Ladies and gentlemen, I hear you loud and clear. Without help, cutting back your carbs is no easy task, especially if they’re a large part of your diet. But it doesn’t have to be that challenging! With the following tips and tricks, you’ll put your mind and stomach at ease. You’ll coast past this roadblock and come out feeling better than ever.
- Fight fire with fire: Data shows that sugar cravings work like drugs cravings, acting on the same neurochemical pathways. This helps to explain the withdrawal effect seen on stopping carbohydrates. Understand that the discomfort you face is your body withdrawing from an addictive substance, and use this as fuel to push yourself forward. Don’t allow a food to control you like a drug, and realize how much better you’ll feel when you purge this addictive substance from your body. Continue reading
I’m glad to hear that Thomas has been able to stick to his New Year’s resolution to go grain-free. I’m sure there are many of you out there who are doing the same. – Dr. Perlmutter
I started on a grain-free program January 1 of this year – yet another New Year’s resolution destined to go south? This time, it appears to be different.
I have lost 35 pounds in less than 3 months. My waist size has gone from 42” to 39” and I have, for the most part, lost 90%+ visceral fat. My appetite at this stage is almost non-existent – I actually have to create high-calorie snacks (walnuts) just to make sure I am getting at least 1,500 calories. It is remarkable to say the least.
As someone who was addicted to carbs, I am beyond pleased. My goal is to reach 175 pounds by April 30 (my high school weight – I am 66). I don’t see a problem accomplishing this. I had a hip replacement in 2012, and I have been motivated to try and prevent repeating the same on the other side. I have lost the pain in that hip and now walk miles per day with comfort!
Last month, you may have seen a post on my Facebook page about an interview I had done with Medscape. A few weeks later, the interview was made available to the general public on WebMD. The main focus of the interview was to allow me to explain how and why gluten and carbohydrates represent such a powerful threat to the human brain.
Now that the article has had a chance to disseminate across the internet, I’ve seen a flood of comments from medical practitioners, industry experts, and interested individuals, asking questions, providing anecdotal evidence, offering support, and much, much more. So, I wanted to take an opportunity to acknowledge some of these comments, offer thanks, and provide some answers. (All comments sourced from the posting on Medscape).
I love to hear from fellow medical professionals like Christine, who have shifted their way of thinking based on their personal experience with a changed diet/lifestyle. – Dr. Perlmutter
I have battled my weight all my life. In my early 20’s, an allergist warned me that I was sensitive to many grains and that I should eat them sparingly. I ignored it. At 49 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
I continued eating my usual diet and my blood sugars continued to rise, as did my insulin doses. When I was told I needed four injections a day as well as oral medications, I had just about had it. I was overweight significantly, felt terrible and awoke every morning with nausea and aching bones and joints. On the advice of a friend, I decided to give up carbohydrates.
The success Cindy has seen with her migraines has been well-documented in others. There are some studies available on my site that highlight this. – Dr. Perlmutter
I have suffered from migraines for 26 years. They have been debilitating and over the years I have tried everything to prevent them. My neurologist has prescribed an arsenal of drugs, including beta-blockers, anti-depressants, calcium channel blockers, antihistamines and topamax. I tried eliminating triggers from my diet to no avail. I always got a migraine when the pressure dropped and there was a storm. Nothing stopped my weekly headaches. Sometimes I had them several times a week.
Four years ago I found a doctor that changed my way of thinking about my diet. My mother has Alzheimer’s and I want to do whatever I can to prevent it. My blood work started showing elevated blood sugar and I couldn’t figure out why.
She coached me to eliminate gluten and to increase the right kind of protein in my diet. I was eating too many carbs.
The migraines continued.
When talking about a Grain Brain lifestyle, and the very similar ketogenic diet, it’s frequently mentioned that we are aiming to keep our bodies in ketosis. However, if you’re new to my work, it may be that you’re not exactly sure what ketosis is, or why we should be worrying about getting our body into this state. Allow me to explain.
Ketones are a special type of fat that can stimulate the pathways that enhance the growth of new neural networks in the brain. A ketogenic diet is one that is high in fats, and this diet has been a tool of researchers for years, used notably in a 2005 study on Parkinson’s patients finding an improvement in symptoms after just 28 days. The improvements were on par with those made possible via medication and brain surgery. Other research has shown the ketogenic diet to be remarkably effective in treating some forms of epilepsy, and even brain tumors.