Paleo Diet Improves Metabolic Syndrome

…according to an article at American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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“Metabolic syndrome” may be a new term for you. It’s a collection of clinical features that are associated with increased future risk of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerotic complications such as heart attack and stroke. One in six Americans has metabolic syndrome. Diagnosis requires at least three of the following five conditions:

  • high blood pressure (130/85 or higher, or using a high blood pressure medication)
  • low HDL cholesterol: under 40 mg/dl (1.03 mmol/l) in a man, under 50 mg/dl (1.28 mmol/l) in a women (or either sex taking a cholesterol-lowering drug)
  • triglycerides over 150 mg/dl (1.70 mmol/l) (or taking a cholesterol-lowering drug)
  • abdominal fat: waist circumference 40 inches (102 cm) or greater in a man, 35 inches (89 cm) or greater in a woman
    fasting blood glucose over 100 mg/dl (5.55 mmol/l)
  • fasting blood glucose over 100 mg/dl (5.55 mmol/l)

I don’t plan on reading the full text of the report because it’s a meta-analysis and I’ve likely reviewed the four component studies here already. Here are the results:

Four RCTs [randomized controlled trials] that involved 159 participants were included. The 4 control diets were based on distinct national nutrition guidelines but were broadly similar. Paleolithic nutrition resulted in greater short-term improvements than did the control diets (random-effects model) for waist circumference (mean difference: −2.38 cm; 95% CI: −4.73, −0.04 cm), triglycerides (−0.40 mmol/L; 95% CI: −0.76, −0.04 mmol/L), systolic blood pressure (−3.64 mm Hg; 95% CI: −7.36, 0.08 mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure (−2.48 mm Hg; 95% CI: −4.98, 0.02 mm Hg), HDL cholesterol (0.12 mmol/L; 95% CI: −0.03, 0.28 mmol/L), and fasting blood sugar (−0.16 mmol/L; 95% CI: −0.44, 0.11 mmol/L). The quality of the evidence for each of the 5 metabolic components was moderate. The home-delivery (n = 1) and dietary recommendation (n = 3) RCTs showed similar effects with the exception of greater improvements in triglycerides relative to the control with the home delivery. None of the RCTs evaluated an improvement in quality of life.

Ways to improve or cure metabolic syndrome include the paleo diet, Mediterranean diet, low-carb diets, ketogenic diets, and exercise. Losing excess fat weight with any reasonable diet would probably work. Enhance effectiveness by exercising.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:Eric W Manheimer,  Esther J van Zuuren, Zbys Fedorowicz, and Hanno Pijl. Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. AJCN. First published August 12, 2015, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.113613

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Strength Training Cuts the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease In Women

That's a dumbbell in her right hand. I work-out with those myself.

That’s a dumbbell in her right hand. I work-out with those myself.

I don’t have access to the full scientific report, but I’ve posted part of the abstract below.

The biggest problem with the study at hand is that physical activity apparently was surveyed only at the start of this 14-year study. Results would be much more robust if activity was surveyed every year or two. My overall activity level seems to change every two or three years. How about you?

Moving on.

“Compared to women who reported no strength training, women engaging in any strength training experienced a reduced rate of type 2 diabetes of 30% when controlling for time spent in other activities and other confounders. A risk reduction of 17% was observed for cardiovascular disease among women engaging in strength training. Participation in both strength training and aerobic activity was associated with additional risk reductions for both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease compared to participation in aerobic activity only.

CONCLUSIONS: These data support the inclusion of muscle-strengthening exercises in physical activity regimens for reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, independent of aerobic exercise. Further research is needed to determine the optimum dose and intensity of muscle-strengthening exercises.”

PMID 27580152

Source: Strength Training and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Cardiovascular disease includes heart attack, cardiac death, stroke, coronary angioplasty, and coronary artery bypass grafting.

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diaTribe Asks: How Do We Reduce Diabetes Stigma and Guilt? 

If you suffer stigmatization and guilt about your diabetes, know that you’re not alone.

diaTribe interviewed Dr. Susan Guzman, a psychologist:

One person with type 1 diabetes told Dr. Guzman that when seeking medical consultation, her endocrinologist called her A1c over 6.5% a “failure” and used critical language to discuss her weight; she felt so ashamed that she tried to conceal her diabetes from friends, employers, and strangers. Dr. Guzman urged physicians to cease using harmful messaging, such as “non-compliant,” “unmotivated,” and “failure.” These terms discourage and embarrass rather than motivate; they are often also misguided in origin. Words like “prevention,” “reversible,” and “cure” can also contribute to stigma by inadequately recognizing the long-term efforts and constant decision-making involved in diabetes.

Source: How Do We Reduce Diabetes Stigma and Guilt? | diaTribe

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What’s the Average Weight Gain Around the Upcoming Holidays?

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MNT has the details:

“Around the world, weight gained from holiday feasting takes months to lose, a study found.

Christmas Day in particular is a holiday that appears to pack on the pounds: in a study of some 3,000 individuals in three countries, Americans showed an average 0.4% weight gain from 10 days before Christmas to 10 days after; Germans gained 0.6% more weight; and the Japanese 0.5%.

U.S. participants packed on 0.7% more weight in total during the full Christmas-New Year holiday season, but the Germans had us beat with a 1.0% weight gain, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. and colleagues.”

Source: Holiday Feasts Take Months-Long Weight Toll | Medpage Today

Those percentages aren’t very helpful, are they? In real life, if you weigh 180 lb (81.8 kg) and gain an extra 0.7%, you’re all the way up to a whopping 181.26 lb (82.4 kg). But if you do that—1.26 lb—every year for 20 years and fail to lose the weight, you’re up to 205 lb (93.2 kg) and now you’ve got diabetes and high blood pressure.

Here are a few tips to avoid the weight gain:

  • On the day of the major feast, just eat two meals, and make one of them small
  • Don’t  snack or graze; just eat at mealtimes
  • Work in some extra exercise
  • Minimize the alcohol that weakens your discipline

Steve Parker, M.D.

Pro Tip: Read one of my books before you make your annual New Year’s weight-loss resolutions.

PPS: Click for the research report in NEJM.

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“Gluten-Free” is a Thing. How About “Cruelty-Free Meat”?

paleo diet, Steve Parker MD, diabetic diet

Our deceased rooster, Chuck: handsome but mean!

I’m increasingly troubled by our treatment of the farm animals that eventually make it to our tabletops. I say “our treatment” because, even though I’m not a farmer, I eat animals and therefore contribute to perpetuation of whatever system delivers them to me. Have you heard of CAFOs—Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations? Click for the CAFO Wikipedia article. You might call it factory farming or industrial farming. Are these animals treated cruelly? I realize that small farms aren’t necessarily more humane. Click for an example of alleged cruelty to chickens in a CAFO.

I don’t publish guest posts very often. Here’s one from Beth Kelly, a graduate of DePaul University and a freelance writer and blogger. She is a passionate environmental and animal rights activist, as well as an active triathlete. You can reach her on Twitter @bkelly_88. (I don’t know Beth personally; this is what she shared via email.)

♦  ♦  ♦

Documentaries That Challenge the Meat You Eat

By now it’s fairly common knowledge that there are some major flaws in the average American diet. Obesity claims nearly 35% of all American adults and nearly 18% of all children, and these numbers are only increasing. Those are some frightening figures about the general state of our collective health. Undoubtedly, the situation is a complicated one, involving the government as much as it does corporations and individual consumers. With a low-carb lifestyle, eating high-quality meat is of utmost importance. And with factory farming more or less institutionalized in America, finding safe, healthy meat products can sometimes be a challenge. Awareness is the first step however, and the more you know about where your meat comes from the better you will feel about making other healthier choices. Documentaries are a great source of inspiration, and are also useful for spreading information to interested family members and friends. Read on for five of my own personal favorites!

Food Inc.

Documentary film’s answer to Upton Sinclair’s famous expose The Jungle, Food Inc. challenged everything we thought we knew about what’s in our fridge. The film looked at many different aspects of American food production and educated millions of Americans to facts they never even thought about; like the fact that a majority of meat sold in supermarkets only comes from four giant companies. It not only discussed the monopolistic business structure but also the methods used to create such cheap products, often at the expense of farmers and the animals.

Cock Fight

Taking aim at one of those four companies, Perdue, was chicken farm owner Craig Watts. In this documentary from DirecTV’s Fusion Network, the whistleblower gets to discuss why he called Perdue out and what happens after. After he spoke out against the inhumane treatment of chickens and unfair business practices Perdue sent twenty six inspectors to his farm in the following two months as well as a few visits from government officials, no doubt looking for any excuse to shut him down. It’s an eye opening look at what has happened to the much celebrated American farmer.

Indigestible: The Film

The product of a successful IndieGogo campaign, this documentary from Geri Atos shines a light not only on animal treatment in factory farms but also what it’s doing to our environment. It shatters the illusion so many have of those “happy cows” and the family farm many assume their food comes from. It not only shows the cramped, dirty, and unsanitary conditions farm animals are kept in but it also shows us how these farms are having a massive impact on the environment (methane emissions from cows comprise 10% of total methane emissions, the same amount as coal).

From Farm to Fridge

Created by Mercy for Animals, this 12 minute video looks to shock you into understanding. There’s no hand holding here, they show you the horrific abuse and injustice animals at factory farms are subjected to on a regular basis. Beyond that, the filmmakers embarked on a nationwide tour, hosting screenings and open panels to discuss the state of the American agricultural system. Obviously the push here is to get viewers to give up on eating meat altogether, but aside from that bias, it poses some serious questions to the viewer about what price our food really comes at.

tuna, fishing, Steve Parker MD, paleo diet, tuna salad

Free-range bluefin tuna

There is a big push towards eating “local” recently, making information easier to find than in past years. It’s up to you to do your research, and identify meat products that are sourced from local, independent farms. In the end, it’s worth it to be a conscious carnivore!

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Heresy!? Dietary Cholesterol Is Unrelated to Heart Disease Risk

…according to this article at American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This is quite contrary to the  party line spread by public health authorities for the last 40 years.

Enjoy your eggs! (If you can afford them.)

Steve Parker, M.D.

Even if you eat lots of eggs, most of your cholesterol is made by your liver. That's where statin drugs work.

Even if you eat lots of eggs, most of your cholesterol is made by your liver. That’s where statin drugs work.

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Benefits of T2D Triple Therapy Hold Up Over Time

“Treating newly diagnosed diabetes patients upfront with metformin/pioglitazone/exenatide therapy appeared to lower blood glucose and reduce hypoglycemic events better than standard sequential therapy, researchers reported here.

After 36 months of treatment, patients who were treated with the combination had a HbA1c of 5.8% compared with an HbA1c of 6.71% if they were treated with metformin, had a sulfonylurea added on and, then had basal insulin added (P<0.0001), according to Muhammed Abdul-Ghani, MD, PhD, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and colleagues, in a poster presentation at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.”

Source: EASD: Benefits of T2D Triple Therapy Hold Up Over Time | Medpage Today

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