Ask The Low-Carb Experts (general)
Jimmy Moore Presents his latest podcast, Ask The Low-Carb Experts. Listeners like YOU can call in LIVE every thursday evening at 7PM US Eastern time. Just call (712) 432-0900 and use the access code 848908 or you can Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900.


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AIR DATE: October 31, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Jill Ciciarelli
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Fermented (Fermentation 101)"

 With the increased interest and popularity of the Paleo lifestyle in recent years, so many people with chronic health and weight issues are discovering the power of an ancestral nutrition and fitness program. But many of these Paleo newbies are neglecting a key aspect of Paleo that is critical in light of all the emerging science we are seeing on having a robust and healthy gut microbiota. This is something holistic health coach Jill Ciciarelli from "First Comes Health" has noticed as well and is seeking to educate others about the vital importance of fermenting food for health. Our modern-day culture makes the idea of fermented foods seem strange (ever tried to ferment a Dorito or Twinkie?), but this is something that has been done by traditional cultures around the world for centuries to add more flavor and abundant nutrition to the foods being consumed. Jill's August 2013 book release Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods shares all the basics of fermenting, finding foods locally in your area to ferment, and to begin perhaps for the first time in your life to add in this aspect of the Paleo lifestyle that has been missing. That's what we will take on this week in Episode 52 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" with the timely and very relevant topic of "All Things Fermented (Fermentation 101)."




Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

BOB ASKS: Is there any way to improve the Vitamin K2 content of fermented vegetables? I know natto has the highest amount of Vitamin K2, but I would like to maximize it in the veggies that I personally ferment, such as cabbage, peppers and more. Do I need to use a specific starter culture to make this happen or is there some other way to do it naturally?

JANE ASKS: Is there a sure-fire way of getting my cucumber pickles, when fermented, to remain crisp? I'm a moderately experienced fermenter and have tried making pickles three times. Unfortunately, they come out so soft I just had to throw them away. Adding grape leaves to the batch hasn’t helped a bit. What am I doing wrong?

FREDA ASKS: Can you address the controversy over bacteria from open fermentation using ball jars vs. PickleIt Jars that are completely anaerobic. The PickleIt Jar supporters suggest that the bacteria created in open fermentation creates bacteria that is not good for the gut and can actually be detrimental. What say you?

LENI ASKS: How is the probiotic content of sauerkraut (and other fermented foods) affected by heating? What is the temperature range that supports the survival of probiotics?

DEB ASKS: It it possible to make a "milk kombucha" as opposed to milk kefir? Is there enough sugar in milk to feed a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Beast)? If so, then does the milk need to be pasteurized to avoid bugs battling bugs? I’ve heard you're not supposed to use raw honey for the same reason.

ANNE FROM AUSTRALIA ASKS: I was wondering if you can tell me about the Vitamin K2 content of fermented foods, especially kefir?

JOANNA ASKS: I’m wondering about the amount of Vitamin K2 in non-dairy fermented foods. Grass-fed cheese has been my go-to source for K2, but I’ve realized that I really have to limit dairy in order to lose weight and I suspect that dairy is an inflammatory food for me. Do non-dairy fermented foods provide a rich enough source of K2 so that I won’t have to supplement? And what quantity of fermented foods per day do you think would be necessary?

TAMMY ASKS: Is it possible to safely ferment using only a mason jar? And what about using a layer of olive oil to seal it? I tried to do a quick ferment of pickles over a week recently and apart from being too salty, the olive oil layer turned green and really weird-looking after refrigeration. It makes me nervous to try using that method again.

LOUISE FROM NEW ZEALAND: The Inuit eat fermented fish. How do you ferment fish and is there a way to do it safely? What does fermented fish taste like?

HARRY ASKS: I know salami is fermented and I enjoy this aspect of it. But is commercially-made salami beneficial or are you best to make your own?

MECHELLE ASKS: A group of us get together regularly to make some fermented foods. Most recently, we juiced pears and made hard pear cider using the apple cider recipe from Jill's beautiful book. We invited our entire neighborhood over to drink it, and it was such a yummy hit! Thanks Jill! I’m curious, do you know of any research looking at the blood sugar impact of fermented foods? And are fermented beverages more likely to raise blood sugar than fermented foods?

JULIA ASKS: Do you have any favorite brands of fermented foods, especially kombucha, that you recommend? Or is pretty much anything in the refrigerated section of a health food store probably a good bet? Are any of the non-refrigerated fermented foods on store shelves any good?

SAM ASKS: I love the taste of kombucha, and my neighbor has SCOBY for me to start making my own. To be honest, I still feel confused about kombucha because of noted integrated health and wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil's stance. Here’s what he has to say about it:

“I am...concerned about the possibility of contamination in home-brewed kombucha. Some batches contain aspergillus, a toxin-producing fungus. This would be a significant risk for individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with AIDS or in chemotherapy for cancer.”

He also notes that he knows of “no health benefits to be gained by drinking kombucha tea.” This is the same man who makes his own sauerkraut and regularly talks about the health benefits and delicious taste of fermented foods! What are your comments about Dr. Weil's concerns?

Direct download: ATLCX-52-ciciarelli.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 24, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. David Perlmutter
FEATURED TOPIC: "Grain Brain & Ketones"

LISTEN LIVE TONIGHT AT 7PM ET by calling (712) 432-0900 and use the access code 848908.

The biggest breakthrough health book of 2013 contains a simple, yet profound message--the carbohydrates we are eating in our diet are directly leading us down the inevitable pathway to dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative brain health ailments. It's the #1 New York Times bestselling book Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers (read Jimmy's book review) by a Naples, FL-based neurologist named Dr. David Perlmutter (listen to Jimmy's interview with him in Episode 725 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show"). Dr. Perlmutter identifies in his book the key role that ketone bodies play in various aspects of our health, especially brain health. And that some of the most common foods consumed in our diet--namely whole grains, sugar, starch and other culprit carbohydrates--are the very things that are robbing our bodies of adequate ketone production to thrive as our bodies were intended. That's what we'll be addressing in Episode 51 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" this week when we take on the topic "Grain Brain & Ketones."

Watch Dr. Perlmutter's October 21, 2013 appearance on The Dr. Oz Show:

"Do Carbs Cause Alzheimer's?"



Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

LENI ASKS: What is the impact of a ketogenic diet on bone health? There’s a lot of information on the web that seems to indicate that a ketogenic diet creates an acid environment that leeches calcium and other minerals from the bones. Is this true?

ADAM ASKS: What has been your response to the emerging idea that saturated fat is the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease? And I’m curious about what would bring on Alzheimer’s faster: a high-carb, high fat diet or a high-carb, low-fat diet?

MARY ASKS: After reading Dr. Perlmutter's eye-opening book where he mentions fasting blood sugar levels are closely associated with cognitive function. Would that be the best thing for me to track or would it be more useful to track post-prandial blood sugar and/or blood ketone levels?

REBECCA ASKS: If a person already has moderate to severe Alzheimer's or signs of dementia, is it too late to reverse the damage by eating low-carb, high fat? Can there be any reversal in symptoms?

LINDA ASKS: In 1997, I underwent surgery for a benign, but fairly large brain tumor. The dietitian put me on the Food Pyramid diet and I ate that way until I read Dr. William Davis’ Wheat Belly in 2011. We don’t touch wheat and gluten anymore and happily eat low-carb. I wonder what effect grains have on the development of brain tumors. As a 63-year old, is it too late for me to achieve optimal brain health after a lifetime of eating grains?

SANDRA ASKS: Should my husband be worried that his cholesterol has risen from 208 to 267? He eats what I eat—a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. His doctor will undoubtedly want to put him on a statin and my hubby is kinda freaking out about all of this. Any words of comfort you can give us?

LISA ASKS: I loved Grain Brain and have already implemented many of your suggestions. I've heard it argued by people in the low-carb and Paleo community that it's the processed foods doing most of the metabolic damage to our health in modern society. However, the unifying factor in many of the world’s traditional cultures is that they're all eating real, whole foods. But Dr. Perlmutter seems to be saying that even real, whole food carbohydrate-based foods like fruits and tubers are poison. Does this apply to everyone, or just those who are metabolically challenged in some way? I think many will find it hard to swallow the "all carbs are poison for everyone" theory when there seem to be so many people eating real-food carbs while maintaining excellent health.

HILARY ASKS: If carbs are so bad for our health, then how do people like Michael Phelps and Dr. Oz perform so well for so long eating pasta, pitas and pancakes? And why don't football players drink olive oil and eat sticks of butter on the sidelines rather than a solution of sugar and electrolytes?

MARGARET ASKS: When I hit my early 40’s I started having occasional memory issues—it’s both annoying and embarrassing. I've been eating low-carb, high-fat with no grains or sugars and copious amounts of coconut oil for the past two years. I am an avid exerciser and at a normal weight, but I’m still insulin resistant. While my memory hasn’t gotten any worse, it hasn’t gotten any better either. Can I ever hope to see improvement if I continue with what I’m doing or are there other things I can do to help with this?

KIM ASKS: I am a 53-year old female who has been on a ketogenic diet for about a year. I am reading your book and now know that many of my problems are a direct result of inflammation. I have lost 90 pounds so far, but I still have a lot of belly fat and inflammation. My low-carb friendly doctor recommends that I stay on a 1,000-calorie-a-day fat fast for a while to see what impact that will have. What effect will all this have on my brain? And what can I do about my belly fat and inflammation since I now know it shrinks the brain?

WENDY ASKS: Can you explain why switching from a grain-brain to a ketone-brain is so important in light of menopause? All the books about this subject say to eat soy and flax, load up on the carbs, exercise them off doing cardio exercise, and somehow avoid stress—yeah right! Obviously these people have never had hot flashes! When I started eating ketogenic after reading a book by your fellow neurologist Dr. Larry McCleary called The Brain Trust Program, I noticed my hot flashes disappeared for a while, but then they came back. Why aren't medical professionals from various fields willing to offer any meaningful enlightenment on this issue? Is this something that neurologists like yourself will need to lead the charge on?

DELILAH ASKS: For an 80+ year old woman already showing signs of dementia, how helpful will a ketogenic protocol be at this point? Is there any expectation of improvements and/or reversals in neurodegeneration at this point?

TRISH ASKS: I inherited the ApoE 4 genotype from a relative who developed dementia at an early age. In light of this, is a low-carb, high-fat diet the best one for me to be consuming to support my brain health? Or should I consider cutting back on my intake of dietary fat as has been recommended for ApoE 4’s?

MEREDITH ASKS: I'm confused about your statement in your book and on “The Dr. Oz Show” that it's okay to eat certain grains such as rice. What is it about the non-gluten grains on your "eat in moderation list" that makes them acceptable? Thanks for clarifying. Loved your book!

ERIC ASKS: Are you aware of any animal or human studies on the effect of ketogenic diets on Alzheimer’s disease?

AMBERLY ASKS: When I have been pregnant, my doctors have told me that being in a ketogenic state is not healthy for a developing fetus, specifically for their brain development. What research is there to support or refute this position? If ketones are good for an adult's brain, why wouldn't they be good for a growing baby's brain?

DAVID ASKS: I've been reading your book and talking to my sister about it. She made the point that it wasn’t until grains were introduced into the human diet that there were great intellectual and artistic advances in our civilization. She can't think of one non-grain based population that has produced any great philosophers, artists, etc. She argues that a grain-based diet is what fueled all the great intellectual achievements in human history and thus will do the same for her. How do I respond to this assertion?

DAMON ASKS: I have struggled for a long time trying to increase my blood ketone levels to an adequate level and it has never happened while eating ~200g fat, ~60g protein, and less than 30g carbs daily for that past six weeks. Is it possible to do so much damage from consuming carbohydrates in the past that becoming ketogenic is now impossible?

KURT ASKS: I've eaten mostly the SAD diet for the 54 years I’ve been alive. I probably already have a huge backlog of AGE's to now overcome. At my age, can a ketogenic diet reverse and even repair the damage that’s been done from a lifetime of high-carb eating?

ANN ASKS: If I remove gluten and grains from my diet at 50 years old, am I able to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease? Or has the proverbial damage already been done?

Direct download: ATLCX-51-perlmutter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 17, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Calories (Calories 201)"

 The concept of calories is one of the most controversial and highly misunderstood concepts in the discussion of nutrition and healthy living. Most conventional health experts put forth the notion that weight and health management simply comes down to basic math--eat less calories in your diet and burn off more calories. In their world, it's all about food quantity. But for many of us in the low-carb and Paleo community, choosing food quality is so much more important as a means for controlling the hormonal and metabolic impact of those calories over how much of that food we are consuming. This is a concept that this week's guest expert knows a thing or two about. He is nutritional biochemist Dr. Bill Lagakos from the "Calories Proper" blog (listen to Jimmy's interview with him in Episode 708 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast) and the author of a book entitled The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie. He'll took on the topic "All Things Calories (Calories 201)" in this fabulous podcast. You might recall we had Mat "The Kraken" Lalonde on the show back in Episode 9 for a Calories 101 discussion. Listen in as we dig a little deeper into this topic to clear up any lingering misconceptions you may have about the subject of calories.




Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

KAREN ASKS: What role do hormones play when it comes to the amount of calories consumed as it relates to weight loss?

GERARD ASKS: What does Dr. Lagakos think of Lyle McDonald's energy balance formula? Does it line up with his findings about calories?

DEBRA ASKS: I just don't trust calories anymore. All I need from them is to do their job. How did the whole calories in/calories out concept gain such a stranglehold on our culture? Aren't our bodies so much more complex than energy consumed and energy expended?

AMY ASKS: Does Dr. Lagakos think the average person would be better off if we'd never heard the word "calorie" as it applies to food? I'm saddened when I think of all the human potential and creativity that are lost as a direct result of the obsessive behavior of calorie counting, watching the calorie meters on cardio equipment at gyms, and the complex math equation people think they need to perform in order to "balance their calories." That’s just way too much wasted brain power and emotional energy spent on a numbers games rather than focusing on nourishing our bodies the same way our healthy, lean, robust ancestors did for generations before anyone had ever heard of a calorie.

JAMES ASKS: There have been isocaloric studies conducted where the major difference was the macronutrient composition, but the outcomes tend to differ regarding fat loss and lean body mass retention. Then why do the "experts" still insist that 400 calories of a rib-eye steak is no different from 400 calories of Pop-Tarts? Does Dr. Lagakos think we will ever reach a scientific consensus that embraces the notion that calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrates have different biochemical effects and can't possibly be lumped together based on their calories?

KARL ASKS: I understand what the strict definition of a calorie is and that is refers to turning potential energy into kinetic energy. But I also know that our bodies don't utilize calories, but rather ATP. So given a basic understanding of how ATP is generated in the mitochondria, I don't see how to equate calories with the generation of ATP. Could you explain how the body utilizes energy?

HELEN ASKS: Is there any scientific evidence supporting the timing of when the calories are consumed. For example, if someone eats 2500 calories per day, does it matter if those calories are spread out over 4-5 meals or if they are all consumed in 1-2 large meals as part of an intermittent fasting protocol?

GARY ASKS: There is a common belief in our culture that states when you don't eat enough calories your body will go into "starvation mode" and accumulate stored body fat. Is there any science behind this, and if so, what exactly is going on inside the body to make this happen?

Speaking of common beliefs on calories, doesn’t the idea that all calories are the same actually violate Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics?

KURT ASKS: For years on the SAD diet I weighed 210 and regularly exercised by jogging, biking and lifting weights. Since going 90% Paleo/primal and wheat-free (but not ketogenic) 8 months ago I’ve lost 21 pounds and feel great. I exercise the same as always but I’ve plateaued at this weight for 4 months now. As near as I can tell, at 10% less weight, I seem to need 30% fewer calories than I did on the SAD diet. Have I become more efficient at using calories or are the calories I’m now eating somehow more efficient? This has been driving me nuts lately because I’d like to lose another 15 pounds without losing muscle. I look forward to your insights.

CHRISTA ASKS: I have a question about calorie consumption during pregnancy. The current advice is to eat about 300 more calories per day while pregnant. I want to support my baby's growth and am eating the most nutrient dense foods I can find. But I also don't want to gain an unhealthy amount of weight in the process. Do you have any thoughts on how a woman can determine the proper amount of calories that should be consumed when pregnant?

Direct download: ATLCX-50-lagakos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 10, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Donald "Dr. Rock" Schnell
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Aging (Aging 101)"

Father Time has a sneaky way of catching up to us all at some point, doesn't he? But what if you could hold off the effects of aging for many more years than you think simply by making some basic shifts in your diet, fitness, supplements and lifestyle choices. That's the heartbeat of the work of this week's guest expert named Dr. Donald "Rock" Schnell from "Young For Life" (check him out on Twitter and Facebook). He is an anti-aging specialist and co-author with Marilyn Diamond of the book Young for Life: The No-Diet, No-Sweat Plan to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger. Dr. Rock was once a staunch vegan advocate and noticed how it greatly accelerated his aging which is what motivates him to help people over 40 discover the easy and intuitive methods for increasing vitality, sexuality, and youthfulness through whole food nutrition, convenience exercise and correcting micronutrient deficiencies. That's what we'll address in Episode 49 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" taking on the topic "All Things Aging (Aging 101)."



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Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

HILARY ASKS: I'm 48 years old and menopausal. I've had lupus-like symptoms ever since I was a kid and my health has been improved beyond my wildest dreams by avoiding wheat, plus adding in healthy fats and a pile of supplements that I cycle into my routine when I feel I need them. I'm curious about DHEA and I'm trying the NOW brand of 7-Keto DHEA. Every once in a while when I feel like I need an anabolic boost, I sprinkle around 5-10 mg into my Bulletproof coffee. It really is helping my tendons, muscle tone, mood and energy. Do you think this protocol I am doing is helping me fight aging? Is this the best form of DHEA for reducing the masculinizing effect?

JAMIE ASKS: We often hear insulin referred to as the “fat-storage hormone” but is it accurate to also call it the aging hormone? Do some medications accelerate aging? And are there any anti-aging supplements?

JENNY ASKS: I am 41 years old and not in peri-menopause yet. I’d like to retain my present feelings of vibrant youth and know that fertility is a marker of being young and full of health. What do you think of using bio-identical hormones to continue to menstruate through and after menopause? How exactly does doing something like this work?

ERIK ASKS: Would Dr. Schnell consider using exogenous testosterone as we get older to stave off the effects from aging? If so, then does he have a preference regarding the modes of administering it?

MARK ASKS: Is mimicking the internal chemical environment of a young body the best way to defy aging? If so, then how do "turn off" late-acting deleterious or lethal genes?

ANN ASKS: How do refined carbohydrates affect the skin as we age? Is this a direct reflection of what is happening in our organs long before it reaches the surface?

KATHIE ASKS: Which vitamins are most beneficial in warding off the effects of aging in conjunction with my low-carb, high-fat lifestyle?

LIZ ASKS: I work outdoors in a place where we have sun all year round. What are the best ways to keep my skin from prematurely aging? I use sunscreen (which I know has terrible ingredients in it) and cover up as much as possible. Many people I’ve seen who have worked outdoors doing what I do look 30 years older than they really are. I don't want to end up like that!

KURT ASKS: I’m 54 years old and enjoy running, biking and weight lifting. There is conflicting advice between doing steady cardio vs. intense interval training. What do you feel works best for men as they begin aging after 50?

NICK ASKS: Is eating low-carb to limit insulin and moderating protein down to limit MToR the best way to slow aging and increase longevity?

Direct download: ATLCX-49-schnell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 3, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Intermittent Fasting (IF 101)"

Just mention the word "fasting" to the man on the street and the reaction you'll get from most of them would probably fall somewhere between completely scoffing at the idea to the sheer terror at the realization of going without food for more than a few hours. This concept of fasting even on an intermittent basis, as has become popularized in the Paleo community in recent years, is certainly a highly controversial and misunderstood strategy that could very well be the last piece of the puzzle in optimizing your weight and health issues. Is intermittent fasting (aka IF) the right way to go for everyone, especially for women who seem to have more difficulty with this? Is there anyone who absolutely shouldn't IF or even those who must do it for therapeutic purposes? And how long and how often should these fasting periods be done to get the most benefit out of them? These are just some of the questions we're going to explore further with a nutritional habits expert named James Clear (listen to Jimmy's "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast with him in Episode 705) in Episode 48 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" where we'll take YOUR questions on "All Things Intermittent Fasting (IF 101)."

Here's your chance to speak directly with the expert to ask YOUR questions. Start getting me your questions on this topic NOW by e-mailing them to no later than 3PM ET this Thursday. You can also ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. Listen LIVE and leave us a review at iTunes if you like what you hear. This is golden opportunity to interact with the best nutritional health experts in the world, so don't be bashful. We look forward to sharing this brand new episode of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" with you later this week.




Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

RENEE ASKS: I have long heard that women in general don't have great results from intermittent fasting. I'm wondering whether you agree with this, why it happens, and if this applies to post-menopausal women? I am a post-menopausal female and naturally IF more days than not. What effect does IF have on women's and men's hormones?

KARL ASKS: I have been doing Intermittent Fasting for the past few weeks eating meals between 12-8pm. Do you have any suggestions about how I can make sure I get enough food in my body during that 8-hour window? I feel like I’m eating way too few calories.

I do have a cup of coffee with about two teaspoons of heavy cream in the mornings. Does that coffee and/or cream make any difference in the effects of an intermittent fast? Should I add a tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil to make it better? Or should I be going that entire 16 hours without any calories consumed to technically do an IF?

JENNY ASKS: I've been eating low-carb, high-fat for 3 months now and incorporated a 24-hour fast, two days a week for the last month. I also try to mini-fast for 17 hours between my meals everyday. When does the timer begin for fasting: as soon as I put my fork down or about 3 hours later when I've digested my last meal?

One issue I am having is that I want to take my vitamins everyday, especially on fasting days, but I can't keep them down on an empty stomach. Is there any type of food that I can eat to stay in a fasted state but is substantial enough to let me take my vitamins? I tried almond butter and was able to keep the pills down but it was not the best option for me. Would a pure fast be even more beneficial than a multivitamin?

DAMON ASKS: Assuming proper caloric load and macronutrient breakdown compliance, what could be the reasons for not getting results as far as fat loss goes when engaging in regular periods of intermittent fasting?

Are there any disadvantages to doing resistance training in a fasted state in the morning if you don’t eat until later in the day?

DEB ASKS: I’m a 48-year old woman and changed my exercise to mainly weight-training and short bouts of high intensity interval training with lots of walking, but was eating low-calorie/low-carb/Paleo for part of the time and doing IF for most of that time frame. I check my muscle progress by doing hydrostatic weighing and I was told I’m losing muscle because I train in a fasted state. Does the kind of exercise matter when doing it fasted? What should I be doing and what should I avoid if I exercise in a fasted state?

JASON ASKS: How important is it to eat as soon as possible after a fasted workout? I enjoy my post-workout fat/protein shake but I could just as easily go without it as I am rarely hungry after a workout. Am I harming recovery and/or muscle growth if I just wait until lunch to eat after my morning workout?

Is there a known physiological benefit to forcing a 24 hour fast? What are the health reasons to do periodic fasts during the week?

JANIE ASKS: I skip breakfast just about every single day as I'm just not hungry in the mornings. Sometimes I'll have decaffeinated coffee with a tablespoon of heavy cream but I wonder if that officially breaks my fast. I see people in the Paleo community having multiple tablespoons of fat in their coffee yet they say that they are still fasting! I am pretty sure a 900-calorie cup of coffee is NOT fasting, right? Is there a calorie level that I can consume in my coffee that keeps my intermittent fasting going?

GEZ ASKS: I’m a 44-year old man and have lost 70 pounds following a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. Intermittent fasting 16-18 hours daily and high intensity eccentric exercise for 30 minutes once a week helped me shed the final 14 pounds. My question is I’m finding it difficult to lose the remaining fat around my waist and lower back. Should I change the length of my intermittent fast to longer periods of time between meals? I’ve also considered adding in a high-carb day once a week in the vein of Keifer’s Carb Nite Solution ketogenic cycling system. Any thoughts?

MICKEY ASKS: I have been fasting quite regularly and eat one meal in the evening around 1500-2000 calories a day. I don't really get hungry at all during the day. My concern is whether or not I am prone to losing too much muscle mass doing this? Is it possible to overdo it when you are fasting?

Direct download: ATLCX-48-clear.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: September 26, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. William Curtis
FEATURED TOPIC: "Nutrition-Based Diabetic Therapy"

According to the latest statistics from the American Diabetes Association, 26 million Americans currently have diabetes (mostly Type 2) with a whopping 79 million more who are what's known as prediabetic where they are insulin impaired to the degree that if nothing changes they will become a full-blown diabetic in the coming years. The sad reality of these statistics is they are getting worse, not better, with an additional 2 million+ new cases of diabetes being added annually. What's going on here to explain the explosion in the rates of Type 2 diabetes and even the more rare Type 1?

That's precisely what we cover in this podcast featuring a former ER physician and family doctor from Corpus Christi, Texas named Dr. William Curtis from the multi-specialty clinic "Future Focus Family Medicine" who has become passionate about how healthcare must shift the way they treat patients away from disease management and more towards wellness and prevention care. His clinical experience has shown him firsthand that health does not come from the medicine bottle for the vast majority of patients but from the very foods they are putting in their mouths as well as fitness and lifestyle changes.

When it comes to the subject of diabetes, that statement is magnified many times over with the need for the right kind of nutrition and lifestyle treatment modalities as the FIRST line of defense in an overall wellness plan. Dr. Curtis doesn't believe we should be convincing everyone they are sick and in need of a prescription medication to get better again. He contends that a whole foods-based, low-carb lifestyle that he teaches through his NRG Tribe Diet & Lifestyle Compass will provide diabetic patients with REAL encouragement and invaluable information to help them defeat this chronic health issue. That's the topic we'll take on directly in Episode 47 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" taking YOUR questions on "Nutrition-Based Diabetic Therapy."




Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

ANDREW ASKS: It may just be a semantic argument, but I am wondering why the typical medical establishment position is that Type 2 diabetes is incurable. Conventional wisdom says that once you have a consistently elevated fasting blood glucose level, the “diabetic” label seems to stick for life. My doctor bestowed me with that distinction although he never even once checked my A1c, which I later discovered was low. But now my medical records show me as having Type 2 diabetes although I’ve never taken a single drug to treat it. This is such a scarlet letter on my health history that I’m wondering if I am plagued with this label for the rest of my life. What is the difference between "reversed" and "cured" in the context of diabetes? And is the term "managed" the best label one can hope for in the context of our current medical nomenclature?

DEB ASKS: I am a 48-year old female who has eaten low-ish carb for the last year and a half (~75-130g per day) and my fasting blood glucose was always nice and low (<85). In the last few months I've tightened up the carbs and usually consume 50 or so per day. Now my fasting blood glucose levels are regularly in the 90's and 100's and I've even seen it go as high 124 which totally freaked me out. My post-prandial numbers are fine (90-120) except occasionally if I eat some starch or sugar like a frozen yogurt, when it went to 149—it made me freak out again!

So my questions are: Can you explain why this “physiologic insulin resistance” occurs? Is it dangerous for my blood sugar levels to be lurking so high for so long? I often fast in the mornings, so that means that my fasting blood glucose tends to be high for a long time, albeit not over 140. Please tell me I'm not somehow giving myself diabetes by eating low-carb!

JANE ASKS: My aunt was eating a very low-carb diet for many years and was suddenly put on metformin. I never really thought about it until I realized that she PROBABLY was diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic because she had a high fasting blood glucose level and possibly a high oral glucose tolerance test since a low-carber would show that unless they took 3 days of 150g carbohydrates daily prior to the test. I'm sure she didn't. Even if her A1C is normal (which she reports it is now), I have a feeling that her doctor would have looked at these two “smoking guns” and labeled her diabetic when in reality she was just a good law-abiding low-carber!

Of course she LOVES being on metformin because for the first time in her life, she can eat bread and chocolate cake for dessert when we gather and it's all solved by this newfound magic pill. I don't want to be the stick-in-the-mud to tell her that she should be retested and suddenly give up all that sugary goodness for the rest of her life. My question for you is how dangerous is it for her to be on metformin in this circumstance and should I be that evil niece to break it to her that this sweet-fest should come to an end? She is nearly 70 years old and has had all sorts of medical issues including breast cancer, lymphoma, rapid heart rate and high cholesterol. I love her but I don't want to ruin her twilight years! This scares the daylights out of me that innocent low-carbers might get caught in this trap if they are not informed about these abnormal test results that are actually completely normal.

PEGGY ASKS: I am looking for an answer as to why my sister has very high fasting blood sugar levels even after 14 years of low-carbing. We have a strong family history of insulin-resistance related health problems including Type II Diabetes. My siblings and I all went low-carb in 2000. My brother and I have been very successful, but our older sister who was already diagnosed with Type II diabetes has not been able to get control of her blood sugar. She sees a traditional medical doctor and has been on metformin, Januvia, and other medications. She even took insulin for a brief period because the high fasting blood sugars just didn’t come down. I've suggested she try a very low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic like I do and I think she has trouble with it because she doesn't like fatty meats. I’m not sure how high her fat intake is and if she's getting too much protein in her diet. But it just doesn’t make any sense that she can have a fasting blood glucose level in the morning as high as 300 on a low-carb diet. Food doesn't seem to have an effect on her blood sugar levels that tend to go down throughout the day. But with those high fasting numbers, her A1c has been as high as 12! That is so frightening to me and thankfully she hasn’t experienced any complications in her health yet. She does take a beta blocker and swears that without it she gets migraines. She works very hard in her job and has a lot of stress that may be contributing to this. And, unfortunately, she is still overweight and carries it in her midsection. Got any words of advice about what my sister can do?

JAN ASKS: So what’s the deal with insulin? We obviously need to secrete SOME insulin for our body to perform as it was intended. Would a low-carb or ketogenic diet interfere in any way with the benefits that could come from insulin secretion beyond simple glucose metabolism?

I keep hearing from various sources that low-carb or ketogenic diets doesn’t “cure” the underlying metabolic issue in the diabetes pathway (i.e. insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or Type II diabetes), they merely control the symptoms. Some people even assert that the low-carb or ketogenic diet itself causes insulin resistance, claiming that we are not “cured” unless our bodies can become insulin sensitive to handle carbohydrates like those who have a “normal” metabolism. In fact, there are those like Perfect Health Diet author Paul Jaminet and even starch-based vegan diet advocate Dr. John McDougall who claim that carbohydrates are absolutely necessary to help us become insulin sensitive. What is your opinion about this?

JEANNE ASKS: I’m 55 years old and have a family history of Type II diabetes and have been interested in eating healthy and anti-aging for over 22 years. So, I have been off sugar for a long time. Lately I’ve been hearing more and more about the ketogenic diet and I read the books by Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney. I have been eating low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat since June 1st. It was really easy for me to get into a ketogenic state since I was already grain free and sugar free. My question is this: My blood ketone readings range from .6 - 3.7 millimolar, but my fasting blood sugar levels has gone UP in the recent weeks. Initially, I was seeing blood sugar readings in the upper 80’s/low 90’s when I woke up in the morning but now it’s upper 90’s/low 100’s. I don't see a correlation now between the ketone level and blood sugar level. Do you have any idea what might be going on? I'm almost to the point of just ignoring the blood sugar reading for a while just to see if it normalizes. I feel good and I am not eating any carbs that would raise my blood sugar like that. I do enjoy a glass or two of wine a few times a week but I include those carbs in my total. I’m 5'8" and weigh 136 pounds. I eat an average of 1100 calories/day with 50-60g protein, 40g carbohydrate and the rest dietary fats mostly from avocado, fatty meats, macadamia nuts and coconut oil.

HEIDI ASKS: My husband may as well be considered "genetically diabetic" since his entire paternal line is diabetic, and includes both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. I've been trying to help him with his blood sugar problem for over a decade. A couple of years ago, his doctor got worried enough to issue him a blood glucose meter and recommended he take his fasting readings weekly. When his fasting readings crept up to 100, and then toward 110, I hit the panic button and started shoveling supplements at him, including fiber. When that was no longer enough, the carbs came way down to the point of Atkins Induction and then a ketogenic diet. Not much improvement came after that until I heard a podcast about intermittent fasting and tried spacing out my husband’s meals. Clearly his body has trouble clearing out the blood sugar spikes from his previous meals. The IF strategy did bring the fasting and post-prandial numbers down a little bit, but what REALLY seems to be working is the reintroduction of carbs on a weekly basis a la Kiefer’s Carb Nite Solution plan. For example, last Friday night he gorged on melon at a co-worker's farewell party and his fasting blood sugar level the next morning was 102 and then in the 90's all day on Sunday. A few days later he was back in the upper 80’s eating low-carb and implementing intermittent fasting. My question for you is this: WHY IS THIS WORKING? It goes completely against every bit of logic and reasoning I’ve ever heard about managing diabetes.

FRED ASKS: I started eating low-carb to control my Type 2 diabetes I was diagnosed with 15 years ago. I only eat a small amount of oatmeal and berries for breakfast and animal protein and fats with lots of vegetables for lunch and dinner. My nutritionist has suggested that I start eating 150g carbohydrates per day but my blood sugar numbers eating low-carb are in the 90’s consistently. My doctor recently increased my metformin dosage to two 500 mg tablets in the morning and at night. My last A1c level was 7.4. Here are my questions for you: How many carbs should a diabetic be eating in a day? Is it dangerous to consume less than 85g carbohydrates daily (this is what I’m currently doing)?

JEANNIE IN NORWAY ASKS: My father-in-law has been on metformin for years. His A1c has been close to 10 at times. He replaced his bread and potatoes with salad vegetables. He still eats fruit, though. He is incredibly skeptical about consuming dietary fat and refuses to add it in out of fears for his health. He swears that he tested himself after eating salad with and without oil and that his blood sugar was higher with the increased fat. His last A1c was pretty good at 5.6. When should he consider weaning himself off of metformin? I have finally convinced him to try 2-4 Tbs coconut oil daily to help prevent memory loss. Have you noticed any increase in blood sugar levels with your patients when they have added fat to their diet?

ERIK ASKS: Please ask Dr. Curtis about the use of regular insulin vs. long lasting insulin for Type 2 diabetes while following a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. I am a 5’9”, 210-pound Type 2 diabetic who has been eating a fat/protein/carb ratio of 70/20/10 for the past four months. I would like to use insulin to lower my blood sugar levels but I’m concerned it will slow down or stop my weight loss efforts. Do I need to lower my calories when taking the insulin or is there a better way to control my diabetes and achieve my weight loss goals?

PETER ASKS: I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic in October 2012 and it came as a surprise to me since I considered myself to be far above average in health. I am an endurance athlete and coach and had just completed my third ironman distance event the month before. My training was off a bit and I experience high levels of inflammation, frequent colds, eye infections, and my body wasn't responding to training as it had in the past. I still did surprisingly well all things considered. As a larger than normal athlete at 6'5”, 220 pounds and 10-12% body fat, I would consume about 5000 calories/day. I already was a fan of coconut oil and never feared fat, but I also ate more than my fair share of carbohydrates. I saved money by making my own bread, thinking that would make it healthier. I was under the assumption that I needed carbs for my exercise performance, but post dinner I'd be glued to the couch. I just wasn't quite myself. Since becoming a Type 1 diabetic and being very sensitive to insulin (1U to 40grams initially), common sense taught me the easiest way to balance the carbs and insulin would be to use as little of each as possible. I started using an insulin pump which has allowed me to fine tune even further. For the past 7-8 months I've been on the ketogenic approach carefully researching all along the way and I’ve been very successful with this. I'm now planning to compete in the Ironman Arizona in just a few weeks. So here are my questions: Should I have a variable level of insulin so that my body doesn’t get used to a steady rate? I already reduce my rate while exercising, which is usually a couple of hours per day. What is the natural fluctuation the people see in a healthy body? And is there a good blood sugar range I should be shooting for being in a ketogenic state while exercising?

NICK ASKS: I work in Family Practice and find many patients cannot even consider giving up bread, rice and pasta. Do you have any tips to increase compliance with the diet when you first approach a patient about going on a low-carb plan? What has your “real life” experience been with long-term diabetes on large doses of insulin (>100 units per day) who adopt a low-carb lifestyle? Do you see problems in this type of patient particularly in achieving the blood sugar lowering you’d hope for and do you attribute that to glucagon dysfunction and hepatic insulin resistance? What other factors should be considered when low-carb just isn’t enough on its own?

Direct download: ATLCX-47-curtis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: September 19, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "Functional Fitness Medicine"

One of the major flaws in the way traditional medicine is practiced these days is this over-obsession on treating symptoms and lab panels rather than getting to the heart of what is causing chronic disease in the first place. Rather than seeking out preventative modalities that include nutrition, fitness and lifestyle changes, many doctors are opting for pharmaceutical and surgical answers first without ever giving a second thought to alternative treatment options. Thankfully, there are an ever-growing number of medical professionals who are bucking that system by zeroing in on what just plain works for their patients.

That's exactly what this week's guest expert has done and the lives of his patients are being changed on a daily basis as a result. He is a Utah-based Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist named Dr. Jacob Egbert, DO from "PrimalRx" and the "Primal Mountain Strength and Conditioning" gym. Dr. Egbert has seen firsthand how debilitating physical weakness is for most people and is committed to improving their functional fitness level to coincide with a rock-solid Paleo nutritional plan. That's what we'll address in Episode 46 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" taking YOUR questions on the topic "Functional Fitness Medicine."




Here are a few of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

ANN ASKS: I have been following a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet for the past 5 months. It has been life-changing for me to say the least and I have lost 40 pounds with no exercise. But now I would like to become stronger and more flexible but unfortunately can't afford to join a gym. Do you have some suggestions to help me accomplish this goal in my home?

JAMIE FROM AUSTRALIA ASKS: A medical term we don't hear enough about is “sarcopenia,” that is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. This is typically attributed to aging, but a lack of physical activity, dieting and illness are the primary forces behind why it happens. Of course our skeletal muscles are the body's sink for glucose and are important for metabolic health. So here’s my question: What is the best way for a doctor to monitor muscle mass and strength changes? Why don't they pay any attention to muscle status? Is there a role for a certified personal trainer in the health care system to monitor strength as a simple predictor of muscle health? Is there a process or prescription/referral pad for a doctor to prescribe exercise or refer a patient to a certified trainer?

Direct download: ATLCX-46-egbert.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: September 12, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: John Kiefer & Dr. Rocky Patel
FEATURED TOPIC: "Cyclical Ketogenic Diets For Health And Performance"

At the recent 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia last month, Jimmy Moore was the moderator of a fantastic panel of experts addressing the topic "Ketogenic Diets & Exercise Performance" featuring a star-studded line-up of Paleo fitness studs that included Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Ben Greenfield and Jamie Scott. The general consensus by most of these top names regarding the future use of the ketogenic approach for exercise and general health is the idea of regularly cycling in and out of ketosis to experience the maximum benefits. This is something that our expert guests this week know just a thing or two about. They are an exercise scientist, nutrition expert, and the author of The Carb-Nite Solution as well as Carb Back-Loading 1.0 named John Kiefer and a board-certified family physician from Gilbert, Arizona named Dr. Rocky Patel. These two knowledgeable men were here in Episode 45 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" addressing the issue "Cyclical Ketogenic Diets For Health And Performance."




Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

PEGGY ASKS: I see no reason why I should "cycle" in and out of ketosis. That seems a bit ridiculous to me, actually, when my performance is so fabulous remaining in ketosis virtually all the time. It's been truly miraculous for me. What added benefits will I get from going out of ketosis on occasion rather than simply staying in a constant state of ketosis for my exercise performance?

ALAN ASKS: Dr. Peter Attia on his “Eating Academy” web site ( says that research shows "someone in nutritional ketosis – even if eating zero carbohydrates – still has about 50-70% of a normal glycogen level, as demonstrated by muscle biopsies in such subjects." I have been on a ketogenic diet myself since May 2013. And as a recreational athlete, I like to do long endurance runs of 13+ miles at a time. Sometimes my runs are great, but other times the performance is poor and I bonk near the end. It feels like I have depleted my muscle glycogen stores at this point. What strategies would you recommend that I do to boost the muscle glycogen prior to going on a long run while on a ketogenic diet?

ADAM ASKS: Is there such a thing as bulking up on a ketogenic diet? If you can’t bulk up in the traditional sense, then can you at least build muscle or see body recomp changes using a ketogenic approach?

JERIS ASKS: I do a lot of Bikram Yoga and I've been on a low-carb, high fat ketogenic diet for several months. I noticed at first I was getting that ammonia smell and bonking near the end of the 90 minutes. I tried loading up on different carbs and experimented with this on several occasions. A bunch a fruit right before, sweet potatoes the night before--nothing worked.

Finally, I heard Ben Greenfield talking about MCT oil and I was already putting that in my coffee in the morning. So I tried putting it in my water for the yoga and amazingly I could do the whole class with no carbs and without bonking or getting the ammonia smell. Maybe I just wasn't getting enough calories of any kind or I was eating too much protein.

My question is this: Is it okay to use MCT oil daily in order to stay in ketosis? I guess cycling in and out would mean back-loading with a sweet potato or some other "safe starch" once or twice a week. I'm not doing that right now, I'm just eating a bunch of veggies and a little bit of berries for carbs, so I THINK I'm staying in ketosis. If you stay in ketosis, then won't you become fat adapted more quickly?

DENNIS ASKS: If someone is engaging in a 24-hour intermittent fast a couple of times a week, then should they break the fast with starches?

LINDA ASKS: I am a 50-year old female runner who has been running for nearly three decades. I’ve always eaten carbs and low-fat protein 5-6 meals a day up until a year and a half ago when I started to lower the carbs and up the fat. I am at a healthy weight, but found that adding the fat made me feel so much better. I’ve been eating mostly Paleo with a little bit of dairy. I’ve really enjoyed listening to the ketogenic success stories of athletes like Ben Greenfield, Vinnie Tortorich, and of course Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney. My question is how is this working for the ladies? Even all the male podcasters have female co-hosts that seem to whisper in the background that they need more carbs, especially when they race or train at high intensity. I will admit, when I posted to Ben about how many carbs to eat when training for a half marathon, he said at least 100g on high volume days and scale back on rest days. I know eating for leanness and eating for performance are two different goals, but I would like to hear more about low-carb performance for women, especially at you get older.

DAMON ASKS: If someone ate a cyclical ketogenic diet but never got blood ketone levels to a significant level, then it seems to me that they would be in no man’s land where they have no ketones for energy but are also carbohydrate depleted. How can someone with this issue of low ketones and depleted carbohydrate stores figure out how to increase ketones to improve their health and performance?

LAWRENCE ASKS: Keifer says that staying on a ketogenic diet for too long can lower your testosterone levels. But low-carb researchers like Dr. Steve Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek never mention this as a long-term problem for people in a constant state of nutritional ketosis. On what basis does Keifer make this claim?

JASON ASKS: Is a cyclical carb strategy REALLY necessary for everyone or is it more dependent on the specific kind of activity you are engaging in? I stay in a constant state of ketosis and run 20 hour/week as well as hit the gym twice weekly. I never feel low on energy and actually feel great pretty much all the time. In fact I do NOT like the feeling I get when I am kicked out of ketosis. In light of this, is there some unknown performance reason why I should be cycling in carbohydrates into my diet? And if I do decide to add in some carbohydrates, how do you determine the correct quantity so you don’t prevent keto-adaptation from taking place?

MINDY ASKS: I’m a 47-year old female who weighs ~175 pounds and I want to lose body fat. I’ve been on a Paleo/low-carb plan for about 3 years and I swing kettle bells a few times a week for exercise. I am currently attempting to do my own version of Kiefer’s CarbNite plan with a very low-carb, higher fat program for six days followed by a smaller carby snack, carby dinner, and ice cream on day 7. I’ve had blowout CarbNites before and then end up spending the next 6 days just losing what I gained from that event which is why I'm scaling back on them. Also, I initially did your high protein protocol and started gaining weight. I have found that much lower protein and higher fat just works and feels better for me. What, if anything, would you advise I change about the way I’m implementing a cyclical ketogenic diet?

DAMON ASKS: What is the maximum amount of time that you suggest being low-carb before beginning to cycle in and out of ketosis? Other than diabetes, are there any other conditions that may prevent someone from getting into ketogenesis if they are eating low-carb, high-fat?

MARK ASKS: What is the relationship between ketogenic cycling frequency, the amount of workload during exercise, and lowering body fat percentage if your goal is continual fat loss?

GREG ASKS: Does Kiefer or Dr. Patel promote using tools like blood glucometers or blood ketone meters along with the carb back loading protocol? I am particularly interested in the context of someone like myself who is around 15% body fat while doing heavy lifts like back squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and military presses a few times per week. Is there a particularly good way someone could use these meters to optimize and individualize things like carbohydrate intake post workout?

PAUL ASKS: On The CarbNite Solution, is it possible to kick start things by lowering your protein intake down to the bare minimum needs perhaps around 30-40g a day? If so, is this something you’d do for 6 of the seven days or just a few of them?

DEBBY ASKS: I'm currently using the CarbNite Solution protocol and an avid baker using coconut oil and coconut milk predominantly in my baking. I live a primal/Paleo lifestyle and limit my carbs to rice, sweet potatoes, and other real food starchy carb sources. I have heard that combining MCT oil with carbs, like sweet potatoes, raises insulin levels. If this is true, then would using coconut oil with other clean carbs such as the ones I listed above do the same? And if so, is there a limit to how much coconut oil to consume with our carbohydrate on a CarbNite plan?

JULIE ASKS: I am a 34-year old female currently following the CarbNite Solution program. I had gestational diabetes with both of my kids 2 and 3 years ago. At my heaviest weight I was 260 pounds and my fasting blood sugar level was about 104. I gradually reduced carbs and finally discover CarbNite Solution that helped me get down to 185 pounds with an 84 fasting blood sugar in the morning and 5.4 A1c level. However, my blood sugar sometimes goes up to 97-104 on other mornings. Is this something to be concerned with? Should I consume less carbs on my CarbNite until my readings return to normal the next morning? Or am I just overthinking this?

JOS ASKS: I'm a 34-year old female and just started weight training about almost a year ago. I am 5’5” and weigh 110-112 pounds with about 19% body fat. My goal is to increase muscles while minimizing fat gain. My current workout program mainly focuses on basic lifts such as a glute bridge, squats, deadlift, push and pull. I've been on CarbNite Solution for almost a year and have lost a good amount fat and gained a bit more muscle. I used to be that skinny fat Asian girl.

Recently I've just started to increase my training intensity by going a bit heavier in weights. I heard that once you increase the workout intensity that we need to increase our carb re-feeds during the week, as opposed only having it once a week. What do you consider “working out with intensity” and why can't we just increase the amount of carbs in our once a week carb re-feed CarbNite instead of eating more carbs during the week? Or do you think I should start switching to your other protocol, Carb Back Loading?

Direct download: ATLCX-45-kiefer-patel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: September 5, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "Low-Carb Diets & Spinal Pain"

Have you ever suffered from back pain in your life? If you're like most people, the answer is an emphatic YES! Spinal pain is the #1 cause of disability worldwide and lower back pain is the #2 cause of missed days at work (behind sunny days!). What's at the root cause of all of this chronic pain that people are dealing with? And what can a low-carb and/or Paleo nutrition and lifestyle plan do to help alleviate the aches associated with our backs? That's what a Milwaukee, WI-based chiropractor named Dr. Paul Ralston will be exploring with us in this week's show. Dr. Ralston presented a lecture entitled "The Effect of Diet on Chronic Spinal Pain Disorders" at the recent 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia last month and he is a big fan of CrossFit, Paleo and low-carb diets. In other words, he knows just a thing or two on this subject we've got for you in Episode 43 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" addressing the issue "Low-Carb Diets & Spinal Pain."


Use "THANKYOU" coupon code to get 10% off!


Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

I’m a 75-year old woman and have had Bells Palsy since February 2012. I am working hard to stay in a state of nutritional ketosis. Recently I twisted my back while re-learning to ride a bike again. My chiropractor is doing wonders so I have great hope of feeling better than I did before the accident. I think I'm doing okay with my diet except I seem to be stuck about 44 pounds heavier than I’d like. I have about 30g of coconut oil daily and 10-15 mL of cod liver fish oil. Since I'm not losing weight, I've been tweaking things until I find what works again, including setting for myself a goal of getting in 10,000 steps/day several times a week. Is there anything else I can do to optimize my health based on what you’ve heard from my story?

I suffer from a lot of back pain mostly due to spinal fusion, scoliosis, degenerative discs, and fibromyalgia. The pain has gotten a lot better since I started eating low-carb. Why does low-carb help with back pain? I know I would have less back pain if I could lose some belly fat, but low-carb alone is not getting rid of it. I currently take oxycodone for the pain and wondered if taking pain medications interferes with weight loss. Do you have any natural remedies that can help me with my persistent back pain?

I used to get severe pain in my lower back whenever I ran. Over the years, it began showing up when I walked, too. Among my many pre-low-carb attempts to fix my health, I tried a calisthenics routine for a few months that involved back extensions and that improved things considerably extending the distance I could walk. When I started eating low-carb, it had progressed to the point that I couldn't walk more than half-a-mile without pain. In fact, two weeks after starting low-carb, it was gone, entirely, and has never come back again! I spent the day at the State Fair, last weekend, walking for more than ten hours, carrying a backpack, and I had soreness in my joints, and in my shoulders and back, and was generally worn out--but I never experienced that back pain. And here's the thing: it disappeared over the space of two weeks, during which I did no exercise and lost about five pounds. So what changed?

I have to think that the problem involved fuel partitioning. My hypothesis is that because I was severely insulin resistant, and thus hyperinsulinemic, when I walked the muscles in my back were mostly burning carbs, and that the pain I felt was just ordinary lactic acid build-up. After I went low-carb and got my insulin levels under control, I regained the ability to burn fat. Of course, I may be entirely off-base, but whatever happened, it couldn't have been a response to weight loss or exercise, because it happened before any significant amount of either had occurred. Does Dr. Ralston have any thoughts about my situation?

Direct download: ATLCX-44-ralston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

AIR DATE: August 29, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERTS: Jimmy Moore & Dr. Eric Westman
FEATURED TOPIC: "Cholesterol Clarity Q&A"


With the much-anticipated release of the book Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers? by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman, both of the coauthors joined us on "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" this week for a Q&A session answering listener questions about this critically important new book about the subject of cholesterol. This book was written to fill a major void in the marketplace of an easy-to-understand manual on cholesterol, why it's not the evil substance we've been led to believe, what really matters the most on your cholesterol panel, and which levels are optimal if you are going to pay attention to cholesterol. Here's your exclusive chance to hear directly from both Jimmy and Dr. Westman answering listener questions about the book. That's what we've got for you in Episode 43 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" in this Cholesterol Clarity Q&A.

Get Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers?
(or download the Kindle e-book) from



Here are some of the questions we address in this episode:

I have read and enjoyed books by both of you and am very much looking forward to reading Cholesterol Clarity! I am a 53-year old diabetic female who had heart bypass surgery 6 months ago. There is a history of cardiovascular issues on both sides of my family. I've read that statins can have some rather serious side effects. What, if anything, can you say to me and my doctor to convince us that it would be safe for me to stop taking the 10mg Lipitor I am now taking?

So what's the deal with plant sterols? I see it for sale as a supplement to "lower your cholesterol" and I see people taking it. Is there any benefit to it? What about the harm in taking it? I follow a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle, so I get plenty of dietary cholesterol from animals.

I have a one word question: Eggs. I eat at least three eggs a day everyday for breakfast along with some cheese and bacon. I feel this kind of large low-carb breakfast really gets me through the day. However, I can't find any consensus about eggs. Are they good, good in moderation, bad long-term, or will eating 21 eggs a week kill me?

I've read that higher serum cholesterol could be a clue that something else is going on in the body—for example, tissue damage that needs repair, or a decreased ability for cholesterol to be delivered into cells. Could you please talk about the role of LDL in particular, and what an increased level might indicate about other health factors?

The homeostatic model for serum cholesterol appears to be well worked out for a standard high-carb diet. Do you think that the correct model is substantially different for a ketogenic low-carb, high-fat diet, and that this might be the reason for the large number of "hypercholesterolemic" responses on this diet? Might the small intestine, instead of liver, be the dominant source of endogenous cholesterol on this diet?

My question is about the effect of fructose, sugar alcohols, and alcoholic beverages on your triglycerides. Would the fact my triglycerides are crazy high at 260 while everything else is fine mean that I should limit these things in my diet?

I have been diagnosed with a number of health issues including diverticulitis and Type 2 diabetes. Since then, I have been doing Paleo and cut out all gluten, sugar and high carb foods in my diet. I discovered that going ketogenic was right for me. Before I went keto, I had blood work run with the following results:

Total cholesterol — 265
HDL — 64
LDL — 176
Triglycerides — 158
A1c — 5.8

The next time I had blood work done was 6 months later. I asked for a VAP test and, although my doc doesn't understand how to read this test, she ordered it for me on my insistence. I moved towards a higher-fat diet and lost 40 pounds over that time since my last cholesterol panel. Here are the numbers:

Total cholesterol — 313 (my doctor was pushing statins)
HDL — 108
LDL — 187
Triglycerides — 77

To tell you the truth, my doctor had no idea how to interpret the more advanced numbers on my VAP test and I don't understand it either. I didn't accept the idea that I needed to go on a statin drug but I am greatly concerned with this very high 300+ total cholesterol level. So how do I interpret these cholesterol tests and what should I be doing differently in my diet to work on any weakness in these results? What exactly should I be looking for to track my progress?

The only guidelines I repeatedly see for the ApoE genotype 3/4 and 4/4 people are this: exercise, avoid smoking, abstain from alcohol and cut your saturated fat intake. Do you agree with these recommendations, especially the mandate to cut down on saturated fat? If so, how do you advise you patients who are eating low-carb, high-fat to reconcile this mandate to basically limit or avoid saturated fat with all that we know about the life-saving benefits of eating this way? What do people with this ApoE genotype gain by avoiding saturated fat?

I’m 59 years old and went low-carb about a year ago and my HDL rose from 50 to 77 and my triglycerides dropped from 92 down to 38. My cardiologist was stunned and asked me how I got such an outstanding triglycerides/HDL ratio with an outstanding CRP level of .4 and an carotid artery scan that show I have the arteries of an 18-year old. But he was not impressed with my LDL being above 130, my ApoB rising to 102, and my LDL-P coming in at 1500. How do you prioritize the favorable readings against the somewhat unfavorable ones? Do Heart Calcium Scores from a CT scan really tell the tale of where you stand with actual disease taking place in your coronary arteries?

I'm wondering how I can raise my LDL cholesterol levels since they seem to be too low. I haven't tested recently, but my previous test showed my total cholesterol is 142, HDL is 78, LDL is 71, and triglycerides are 50. I've been working on correcting a leaky gut and eating a Paleo/GAPS diet for the past year. My energy is very low, I’m always tired and my hormone levels are all on the low end of normal. I'm wondering if my too-low cholesterol could be part of the problem and if so, what can I do to raise it? I am not taking any cholesterol-lowering medications.

I went to my doctor and he says I am in the "dangerously high LDL range" and I should stop eating my low-carb high-fat diet and reduce my egg consumption to no more than 3 per week. My last lab results were the following:

Total cholesterol – 254
LDL – 186
HDL – 52
Triglycerides – 82
Blood glucose – 79

Over the last three years, my triglycerides have decreased, HDL increased, LDL increased, blood sugar decreased and weight decreased. I used to take a statin drug, but I will never take it again. I realize I probably shouldn’t worry about it, but my doctor went crazy about my numbers. Is the increase in my LDL cholesterol something I can choose to ignore or should I modify my diet to reverse the upward trend?

Is it possible that the rise in either total cholesterol or LDL-P that some people report while on a ketogenic diet is due to the fat leaving the adipose tissue as they lose weight? Are there any studies that show if it persists or goes away once weight stabilizes? And if your HDL is higher than your triglycerides while your fasting blood glucose level is under 100, do you care what total cholesterol or LDL-P is assuming there is no familial hypercholesterolemia?

Direct download: ATLCX-43_westman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: July 11, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Nannette Yount
FEATURED TOPIC: "Ketones & Brain Health"

NOTE: Audio for this episode will be posted on Friday afternoon

Since you listen to this podcast, you probably are already well aware of the tremendous benefits of low-carb, high-fat living on your overall health and longevity. But did you know that eating this way can actually make you smarter? Old-school thinking regarding the brain tells us that glucose is the sole source of fuel it can use. However, we are now learning through the very latest in nutritional health research that the brain can not only be fueled well by the ketone bodies produced by eating a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet, but these ketones may actually be a better fuel for the brain than glucose. That's the primary focus of the work our guest expert this week has been exploring.

Nutritional scientist Dr. Nannette Yount from the University of California at Harbor-UCLA has become intricately involved in investigating the role of ketogenic diets on brain health ever since she stumbled across the cognition-enhancing properties of ketones when she personally started consuming a ketogenic diet. What she has discovered in her research is how ketones may prevent the neurocognitive deficits such as memory loss and dementia typically chalked up to the aging process, the therapeutic effects of ketones on patients with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and how elevated blood sugars levels are quite possibly contributing to a significant cognitive decline leading to neurodegeneration. Dr. Yount theorizes that human beings are meant to run most effectively on a ketogenic diet and that our hunter-gather ancestors millions of years ago not only survived but thrived in this keto-adapted state. That's what we'll be exploring further in Episode 41 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" addressing the topic "Ketones & Brain Health."





Here are just a few of the questions addressed in this podcast:

Does the brain need glucose?

I have worked as a caregiver in an assisted living facility taking care of Alzheimer's patients for several years. So I have seen the devastating toll Alzheimer’s disease has taken on so many precious senior citizens. The diet they feed these people is absolutely horrendous—low-fat, low salt, high-carb and low-protein. It’s so tragic. I understand that brain cells may die if they are glucose dependent and also insulin resistant and that ketone bodies can fuel the brain in the absence of glucose by preventing more brain cells from dying. Would ketone bodies rejuvenate brain cells that were close to death and create new ones that would then improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's? In other words, given enough time, can someone completely or nearly completely recover from advanced stage Alzheimer's disease with the therapeutic use of ketones?

What level of ketosis is required to achieve improvements in memory and prevent cognitive decline as we age? Does a person gain further benefit from being in a deeper state of ketosis due to significant carbohydrate restriction (ie

Why is there so much variability regarding the need for protein restriction to enter into and remain in ketosis? I've heard of people needing to reduce their protein intake significantly in order to achieve ketonemia or ketonuria, while others eat very large amounts of protein yet manage to stay in ketosis.

My 78-year old father has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and his family has witnessed a very rapid mental decline over the past 3-4 years. He has no symptoms of shaking at all, but seems to suffer from muscle wastage and dementia. I personally think that his symptoms match those precisely of dementia with Lewy bodies. From the research you have come across, do you think a ketogenic diet could help him at all or is he too far gone?

What does Dr. Yount know about Huntington’s disease and the ketogenic diet? Everyone always refers to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as the key neurodegenerative diseases. But Huntington’s is a genetic condition with a huge variation in the age of onset and disease severity indicating epigenetic and environmental factors at play. I am a 46-year old female and I have Huntington’s (CAG mutation of 42). I have been using a ketogenic diet for 10 years off and on. The research I have found relates to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and brain cancer--but nothing for Huntington’s. Are you aware of any? I am sure I am on the right track but it would be good to read scientific studies that are specific to my problem.

In addition to the effects on brain health you report for a ketogenic diet, do you detect a key component involved due to the addition of coconut oil, particularly with regard to Alzheimer's Disease?

I sometimes feel a little foggy or lightheaded while eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. My carbohydrate intake is generally 20g or less daily. I’ve been doing this for a couple of months now and even restricting my protein intake to around 60g daily. I am 54 years old and currently weigh 170 pounds. In the two months I’ve been doing this, I have not lost any weight yet but I'm seeing that my fasting blood sugar levels have come down to around 100 or less while my blood ketones today readings are 2.5 millimolar. Is it normal to have brain fog with numbers like these?

It’s my understanding that MCT oil is good for the brain, especially for patients with Alzheimer's disease. But what about MCT oil for people who don’t have Alzheimer's? I’ve done some research and discovered that there are two types of MCT oil--C8 and C10. Unfortunately, there’s nothing about this on the bottle. Is there any benefit to choose specific type or brand of MCT oil over another?

Is the amount of ketones in your blood proportional to the benefits received by the brain? In other words, is having 3 millimolar of blood ketones better than having 1 millimolar? I have tried hard to stay in a 2+ millimolar level of blood ketones. But even when restricting carbs well under 50g, keeping protein low and eating quality fats I have a very hard time maintaining anything over 1 millimolar. Is my brain receiving the full benefits of being in ketosis? And how long do the ketones stay in your blood? I am considering trying to cycle carbs so I would do something like 5-7 days of a ketogenic diet, 3 days of higher carbs, 3 days moderate carbs then repeat. Assuming I only consumed nutrient dense carbs (not pizza and ice cream), would I keep enough ketones in my system to experience the brain health benefits?

With the brain consisting of large quantities of fat, how does the process of breaking down fats into ketone bodies affect the brain or does it have an impact at all? So if the body breaks down fats from other areas to create ketones for fuel, then would it convert any unused ketones back into fat that could then be used to bolster the brain, build it up and recover from damage?

My mother was recently diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy. She is falling frequently and I am concerned that she will soon need to be confined to a wheelchair. It is unlikely that I can get her to make significant changes to her diet (she’s just too old and too stubborn) but I was wondering if coconut oil, MCT oil or any supplements can help her at this stage. Any suggestions you can make regarding food or would be appreciated.

I suffer with depression and attention problems and in desperation started taking 40 ml of flaxseed oil daily after reading a post about it on the Internet. After two days I experienced a strange little emotion I’d completely forgotten about: joy. The following morning while getting dressed I was in the middle of putting on my jeans when I stopped, one leg on the ground and one leg in the air–I was balanced and didn’t need to touch the airborne leg down to avoid falling over. This felt odd to me. A while ago I noticed I couldn’t put my socks on without having one foot up on the bed or by leaning up against the wall. So I tried putting on my socks “stork style” and did so with ease, even putting on my shoes in the same manner. It felt great to have my balance back. I have cut back on the flaxseed oil because of concerns over blood clotting with a daily aspirin regimen. I’ve tried adding fish oil and coconut oil but can’t seem to get as much benefit as I was getting from 40ml of flaxseed oil. Can you please explain what might be going on with the flaxseed oil to improve my balance?

Can you cause harm to the brain if you don't consume enough calories on a ketogenic diet? One of the problems I have eating this way is that I'm not really hungry very often so I forget to eat. When I go too long without food I start to get a dull ache sort of like pressure in my skull. I try to consume lots of calories from quality fats when I do remember to eat along with moderate protein and minimal carbohydrates. I like being ketogenic but I can’t help but wonder what impact this is having on my brain health.

I am brand new to low-carb and already feel much more energetic and thinking clearly--I must say I am loving how this feels! I’d like to hear what Dr. Yount says is an optimal day of eating for maximizing ketones to keep my cognitive function and physical health in the best shape possible. I’m an older mother who will be working into my late 60’s and need to be looking to the coming years of raising my child now at the age of 53.

I am a 50-year old male and have been on low-carb, high-fat diet for the past seven months. Early on I was getting ketone levels around 1-2.2 in the evening. But lately they have dropped back down to barely 0.5, although I still have steady energy levels and fast intermittently for 16-20 hours at a time. In other words, I believe I am still keto-adapted. One significant aspect of my personal lifestyle is circadian dysrhythmia from long-haul flying and missing out on sleep. I also take the occasional sleeping pill (Triazolam) to help with the time zone changes at hotels. Does the brain function better with more ketones or is it fully satisfied at some particular level? Is the brain’s choice of energy source influenced by circadian dysrhythmia? And finally, do you have an opinion on raspberry ketone products for raising blood ketone levels?

According to the book The Brain Trust Program by neurosurgeon Dr. Larry McCleary, ketones are the secret to remedying hot flashes, Alzheimer's, and a whole host of other brain illnesses. But I don’t think there's near enough information out there as to how to TRULY fight the effects of menopause--conventional wisdom says to eat your soy, take hormone replacements, and hope for the best. I've been taking the advice out of Dr. McCleary’s book, and along with coconut oil and the recommended supplements, have kept hot flashes at bay for months now. Hot flashes themselves are the brain's cry for more glucose, but the glucose can't get there any more, because the lack of estrogen to coat the glucose means it can no longer pass through the blood-brain barrier. So in order to feed the brain what it needs without using glucose it instead relies on ketones--and boy DO THEY WORK! Does Dr. Yount have any corroborating experience with using ketones for menopausal issues?

Direct download: ATLCX-42-yount.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: June 27, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "Anxiety, Bipolar & The CARB Syndrome"

NOTE: The audio will be published by midday on Friday

Think about the tremendous load of stress we are putting on ourselves in modern society and the impact that is having on our mental health and well-being. Here are some sobering statistics: The Centers For Disease Control estimates 1 in 10 Americans are clinically depressed, The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America notes that 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder and The National Institute Of Mental Health says that another 5.7 million Americans are impacted with bipolar disorder annually. This is something our guest expert this week has seen up close and personal in his Northern Minnesota family practice. A few years back, Dr. Bill Wilson couldn't help but notice that his patients were getting fatter and sicker than ever before and the indelible effect this was having on brain health was alarming to him. That's when he sought to find answers and developed what he refers to as "The CARB Syndrome" which identifies the metabolic component involved in the health of your brain that can manifest itself in a myriad of ways. In Episode 41 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts," we had Dr. Wilson zoom in specifically at answering YOUR questions about "Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar & The CARB Syndrome" solution.




Here are a few of the questions we addressed in this episode:

CODY ASKS: My 13-year old daughter wakes up every night and cannot get back to sleep for over an hour. This has been an issue as long as we can remember. She has always been very temperamental as well and is prone to quite a bit of anxiety. She is a super picky eater and attempting to change her diet in any way, shape, form or fashion causes EXCESSIVE trauma. She also doesn't like meat. She does love cheese (Kraft Extra Sharp Cheddar and Cheeseheads String Cheese are the specific brands she’ll eat) and a lot of fruits (she’s very aware of textures and doesn't like apples that are too crunchy, even the hint of a grape seed, etc.). But other than those two things, her go to foods are junk, such as Cheetos, crackers, Pringles, candy, pizza and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. She has asthma and eczema as well. She's seen 5 different psychiatrists and has received 5 different diagnoses. She's been on a handful of medications, all of which were either ineffective or made her worse. She is now off of all the meds and I supplement with a daily multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, B vitamins, magnesium and selenium. Do you have any suggestions on how we can help her?

DR. VAN DERVEER ASKS: Hi Dr. Wilson, I'm a psychiatrist in Boulder, Colorado. I'm seeing big improvements in my patients with anxiety and mood disorders by recommending the elimination of grains from their diets. Can you please share your insights on where we are currently with the science of a brain-gut inflammation connection?

NANCY ASKS: I just had lunch with an elementary school teacher today. She was telling me how the numbers for autism have skyrocketed and of course mainstreaming autistic kids into the schools. We talked about the effect this was having on the classroom environment and the fact that the parents of these children seem to be in denial about what their child is going through. Would our sugar and carbohydrate-laden diets have anything to do with this increase that has been happening?

MICHAEL FROM AUSTRALIA ASKS: At the age of 42 I had my first panic attack and I remember the exact time and day it happened. It has been relentless every single day for the last 22 years. I went down the conventional health path with various general practitioners, shrinks and psychologists—all to no avail! My shrink put me on Xanax and I think I have tried every SSRI known to man with no success. When I attempted to wean myself off of Xanax, my generalized anxiety disorder returned with a vengeance. It’s a miserable place to be in. I discovered the low-carb, high-fat way of eating over decade ago thanks to people like Dr. Mike Eades and Gary Taubes. Their advice had marvelous affects on all my physical health markers, including my lipids, BMI and blood sugars. However, it has not helped me with my anxiety at all. At this stage I am not optimistic of a cure, but do you have anything that can give me some hope for the future?

PHIL FROM THE UK ASKS: I currently eat a low-carb diet that consists of less than 30g of net carbs per day. I had a Vitamin D test and it came back as "insufficient." So I began supplementing with 4000 IU daily for a month and fixed that. I also take an EPA supplement that is extracted from fish oil. Is there any science around which if any omega-3 fish oil supplement is most effective for depression and anxiety issues? Does DHA in some way negate EPA if they are taken together?

RICK ASKS: How common is magnesium deficiency in those people dealing with anxiety problems? Also, considering your medical practice is in northern Minnesota, how often does you see people that are deficient in Vitamin D and do you use it in treating patients dealing with depression and anxiety issues? If so, what is the ideal blood level you are shooting for in your patients? Finally, have you used probiotics in treating depression?

Direct download: ATLCX-41-wilson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: June 20, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. William Graham
FEATURED TOPIC: "What Are 'Normal' Lab Values?"

Have you ever gotten back test results from your doctor and were relieved to see that you were in the "normal" range with your lab values? Did you ever stop to ask yourself how they came up with these numbers? What if you are in the normal range on a particular test, but you still have symptoms in your health that make it obvious you are still not well? These are just a few of the questions we addressed in this week's episode of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" with a low-carb/Paleo-friendly family physician named Dr. William Graham from King, North Carolina. He has a special interest in measuring fasting insulin and ketone levels as well as testing his patients for vitamin deficiencies. As you will quickly see, Dr. Graham is quite opinionated and more than willing to stretch the boundaries of "traditional white coat medicine." That made him the perfect choice to answer YOUR questions about the topic What Are 'Normal' Lab Values? on this week's show.




Here are just a few of the questions addressed in this podcast:

KELLY ASKS: I’ve read that the "normal" ranges on most lab tests are actually averages of all the tests results that the lab has conducted. Why this is so frightening to me is because most of the people who are having tests run have something WRONG with their health. This means the supposedly "normal" values are really clouded with a lot of sick people’s numbers and the more tests run on sicker people the more "normal" sick actually becomes. Is this actually how it works or do I have it all wrong?

LESLIE ASKS: As with modern infant growth charts, I often wonder what's considered normal these days. My family doctor has joked with me that according to her charts I should be dead with blood pressure of 110/60 and a resting heart rate of 54 as a woman in my late 50s.

SIMON ASKS: I’m a lean, fairly healthy 26-year old man and I've been following a low-carb ketogenic diet since the beginning of April 2013 because I didn’t like feeling constantly hungry on a high-carb diet. I had a blood test done at the end of May and my uric acid levels were out of the normal range measuring 7.2 mg/dl. The normal range specified is 3.6-7.0 mg/dl. Should this be cause for concern? Are my kidneys perhaps still adapting to the presence of ketones? By the way, my total cholesterol is 223 mg/dl and my triglycerides are 139 mg/dl.

EDWARD ASKS: I was wondering if the lab standards for blood pressure are somehow biased. I'm an American born citizen of Asian descent and lived on a diet of rice for many years. It never bothered me that my blood pressure was considered Stage One Hypertension as I personally felt fine. However, with the medications I'm taking, I now feel tired and sluggish simply with the goal of lowering my blood pressure because it’s not in the right range. Can you help me understand this?

LISA ASKS: I had a regular CBC done recently and my BUN level came back as 23. The lab test states that normal is between 7-18. The doctor hasn't recommended anything for me to do about this. I follow a lower-carb diet compared to the SAD diet and I don't eat a lot of sugar. Should I be concerned about my BUN levels being so high?

TONY ASKS: Other than the typical blood test markers physicians run to gauge the general health of their patients, what are the top 5 blood markers people should be paying most attention to after the age 40? Are they different for males vs. females?

ARI ASKS: What do you think about the seemingly high prevalence of low-carbers, including Jimmy, who have very high LDL-P numbers but no other signs of imminent heart disease risks? I realize there is very little research on this right now, but would love to hear Dr. Graham’s personal experience on this subject working with patients eating a low-carb diet.

KEN ASKS: Between the standard lipid panel, NMR Lipoprofile test, CMP panel, and CBC panel, which 3-4 numbers should folks be most concerned about to determine their cardiovascular and overall health risks?

RICHELLE FROM AUSTRALIA ASKS: What is the significance of lactate in the blood particularly in the context of mitochondrial function? What other blood markers are good to keep an eye on to monitor mitochondrial function? Also, what are the best tests to monitor nutrient requirements in the body?

Direct download: ATLCX-40-graham.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: June 13, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Michael Ruscio
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Thyroid (Thyroid 201)"

The thyroid gland serves one of the most under-appreciated and yet totally misunderstood functions within the human body. If someone is dealing with excessive weight on their body, you might hear them say something along the lines of it being due to having a bad thyroid. But there's got to be more to it than that, right? What is at the root cause of why your thyroid might not be functioning at optimal levels? And what steps can be taken to fix these thyroid issues without resorting to taking potentially harmful prescription medications? That's what we'll be exploring with a Walnut Creek, CA-based functional medicine physician named Dr. Michael Ruscio (listen to my interview with him in Episode 407 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show").

Dr. Ruscio specializes in the subject of thyroid health (and has quite the personal story to tell) which is why he will being joining us to talk about "All Things Thyroid (Thyroid 201)." You might recall we had the great Chris Kresser on to talk about this subject back in Episode 10 to give a Thyroid 101 introduction to the topic. But Dr. Ruscio will help us dig even deeper into answering YOUR most pressing questions about thyroid health and how it relates to your healthy low-carb, Paleo lifestyle. If you want to get a taste for what his teaching style is like, then be sure to check out his YouTube channel for lots of informative videos on this subject and more. Dr. Ruscio joined us in Episode 39 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" to keep the conversation going on the vital importance of attaining and maintaining good thyroid health.

Here are just a few of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

DANIELLA ASKS: I'm a 36-year old mother who recently started eating a low-carb Paleo lifestyle. I consume 1500-1600 calories most days and take in about 50-60g of carbohydrates daily. My energy is great and I look and feel the best I have ever felt in my life. Sleep and athletic performance are incredible as well and my muscle definition at 5’3” tall and 110 pounds has never been better. My only concern is that I take 60mg Armour thyroid daily and I am concerned that my low-carb diet may interfere with thyroid function. I feel like I eat adequate calories most of the time, but should I be concerned? My last labs showed everything to be good: TSH 0.6, Free T3 at 2.2, free T4 at .8.

KATHERINE ASKS: I'm 39 years old and I've been on a low-carb diet (40-70g carb per day) for 22 months in response to pre-diabetic blood sugar levels. Since changing my diet, my T3 has dropped and is now borderline low. Initial thyroid tests 22 months ago were all normal. I've done some casual reading in recent months that a low-carb diet can suppress thyroid function. In other places I've read it can help it. Can you please help clear up this confusing issue?


NANCY ASKS: I have actually been struggling with the low-carb concept out of fear of ruining my thyroid. There is so much conflicting information out there with regards to low-carb being bad or good for thyroid. I’ve heard that women should not be on a low-carb diet for too long or at all because of the risks to their thyroid function. I am already obese at 5'1" and 184 pounds and I feel lost and not sure which nutritional path to take.

KEN ASKS: I've been eating Paleo over the last year and recently had an NMR test. My LDL particle count was very high at 1403 with my small LDL coming in at 492. HDL is 62 and triglycerides are 50. I was wondering if you could further explain the role the thyroid plays in the particle count levels and whether those of us eating a low-carb Paleo diet should be worried. It seems many of us eating this way, including Jimmy, have high LDL-P and I’m curious if our way of eating is making this happen.

JUNE ASKS: Do you have a preference between Armour vs. Nature Thyroid?

RICK ASKS: What are your thoughts on treating thyroid disease with high levels of iodine supplementation?

WENDY ASKS: I have been taking 30 mg of Armour Thyroid and have been Paleo/Primal since Jan 2011. I eat fish 2x per week. I avoid raw cruciferous veggies and take a drop or two of a concentrated iodine supplement weekly as I don't want to overdo it. I recently started adding kelp sprinkles daily to my food and would like to stop having to take thyroid medications if at all possible. Is this doable?

JACKIE ASKS: I had thyroid cancer in 2008 and had a total thyroidectomy. I'm currently taking 200 mcg of Synthroid daily. Since the thyroid controls metabolism, how do I increase my metabolism to lose weight? I’m 57 years old, 5'2" tall and weigh 260 pounds.

DEANNA ASKS: I did the HCG diet over 2 years ago and lost nearly 40 pounds. Since then I have slowly gained almost all of it back. I am having hypothyroid symptoms (hair loss, brittle nails, cold hands and feet) the main one being a total inability to lose weight no matter how hard I try. I eat mostly Paleo. What are your thoughts about the HCG diet and its effect on thyroid function? I have read that it could affect reverse T3 but there are a lot of functional medicine doctors advocating it.

PAUL ASKS: What are Dr. Ruscio’s thoughts on the Endocrine Society's updated clinical practice guidelines for the management of thyroid health in pregnancy? They seem to be quite controversial.

LINDA ASKS: I read that eating one Brazil nut a day is enough to bring up a low thyroid to normal levels. Is that true? What other foods can help with this?

JASON ASKS: Is the excessive fluoride typically added to the drinking water in local municipalities something to be worried about because of iodine absorption issues and by extension be a contributor to hypothyroidism?

INGE FROM MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA ASKS: I lost weight after my sister died in 1993 and at the age of 40 I developed a taste for alcohol that killed my thyroid. For 10 years the specialist put me on Thyroxin until my blood pressure became very high due to a lack of T3 stimulation. She then put me on 7 grains of thyroid extract and I started losing weight again. I’m now seeing an integrative doctor who is not happy about this high dosage of thyroid extract. He told me to back off of it and now I’m gaining weight again putting on 8 kg, I sleep 10 hours a night, I retain fluid, I can no longer exercise because I’m so exhausted all the time and I have severe brain fog. Do you have any suggestions for me?

MELANIE ASKS: I just got diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue that according to my doctor is causing Functional Hypothyroidism. So my Free T3 and T4 were in the normal range, but at the lower end. I need to fix the adrenal fatigue issue but I also need to be supporting my thyroid so that it doesn’t get any worse. I'm pretty familiar with ways to support the thyroid, but wanted to ask the opinion on taking animal glandulars. I wonder if Dr. Ruscio is familiar with the Xymogen T-150 thyroid support product (a freeze-dried, BSE-free, bovine, multi-glandular, mineral and herbal formula to support healthy thyroid function). Do you have an opinion on it? My doctor wants me taking it.

ROGER ASKS: Before I went low-carb Paleo, I knew my thyroid wasn’t functioning well. My Free T3 and T4 levels were horrible and I was feeling sluggish. Is a short-term supplementation of pregnenolone a good way to boost thyroid health and balance other hormones?

CATHY ASKS: I started Synthroid for hypothyroidism in January and quickly developed a bad case of acne. Is this just a coincidence or did the medication cause this?

AMBERLY ASKS: The thyroid tests done by my doctor were all normal, but then I started going to another doctor who specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement. He said that one of them was low, maybe the Free T3. He put me on Armour thyroid to treat it. When I asked him if this could have any negative effects, he said that it could shut my thyroid down, but that since my thyroid wasn't functioning as well as it needed to on its own. Thus, he convinced me it would make sense to go ahead and start the Armour since it wasn't going to get any better on its own anyway. My Free T3 is now slightly too high. Do you agree with this doctor’s aggressive approach?

Direct download: ATLCX-39-ruscio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56am EDT

AIR DATE: June 6, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Diane Sanfilippo
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Digestion (Gut Health 101)"

The more we learn about diet and health, it seems that as our gut health goes so goes our overall health. And perhaps you have shifted your diet over from the Standard American Diet to more of a low-carb or Paleo lifestyle and you're still experiencing issues with your digestion that have you flummoxed. It can be frustrating when you start eating a real foods-based lifestyle and still dealing with things like bloating, IBS, constipation, low stomach acid and more. But Diane Sanfilippo from the "Balanced Bites" blog and podcast and the author of the New York Times bestselling Victory Belt book Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle has some real solutions to these most common problems associated with digestive health issues. Diane is joining us in Episode 38 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" to answer all of YOUR questions on digestion and gut health.




Here are a few of the questions we addressed in this episode:

PAM ASKS: I have been on a Paleo diet for several months now and I eat generous servings of vegetables three meals a day. Despite that I have less frequent bowel movements than I would like--less than once daily. I have accepted the fact that I probably have to take a fiber supplement. I currently use a formula that contains psyllium seed husks, non-GMO soy fiber, oat bran, acacia gum, and apple pectin extract. I chose this brand because of its reasonable price and high fiber content per serving, however I am concerned about the soy and the oat bran. Do you have any product recommendations that would not contain these concerning ingredients? Most of what I find in the stores seems to have too few grams of fiber per serving to bother with, or have other even more questionable ingredients in them.

ALLY ASKS: So for the last year and a half, my digestion has been utterly icky. I’ve had severe bloating, gas, diarrhea and more. I eat a very strict low-carb Paleo plan and was diagnosed with Candida requiring me to eat this way. However, it only made me worse. For the last month and a half, I've been following a whole-food based approach similar to Matt Stone's Diet Recovery, eating more carbs (rice, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, sugar), and my digestion is now AMAZING. It improved almost immediately and I've been doing great. The only problem now is I can't seem to lose weight. What's up with that? Why was my digestion so poor when I ate low-carb Paleo (which I LOVE), but it improves when I eat foods that I honestly would prefer not to? How do I navigate around this tricky situation?

KRISTIN ASKS: I'll keep it simple: Should my poop float?

JAMES ASKS: My 27-year old brother is suffering from some problems with digestion. For most his life he was eating the Standard American Diet, basically carbage. I have been low-carb and following a generic ancestral eating template for a year and a half now and he has adopted some of the LC/Paleo principles. However he still snacks on chips and candy occasionally. His GI tract seems to want to hold on to the food as long as possible. This results in feeling full and bloated with constipation. Without being too graphic, he has examined his stool and sees undigested food. This occurs more often with tougher cuts of meat such as brisket. He has tried more chewing and more vegetables to increase his fiber intake but it doesn’t seem to help. He does not appear to be malnourished but it does make life difficult and interrupt his day-to-day activities. What should he be doing next? Get a gastroenterology exam? Stool exam? My amateur guess is that his gut bacteria may be off, but I have no idea where to begin. Any pointers would be great.

JENN ASKS: What are the signs and symptoms of intolerance to FODMAPs? To be blunt, fruit causes me to be rather gassy and I'm trying to figure out if it is a FODMAP issue or a gut bacterial growth issue. Do you have any suggestions on how I can figure this one out?

DANIELLE ASKS: Low carb + FODMAPs = better digestion because...?

RACHAEL ASKS: Sometimes if I have too much fat I have an immediate and urgent digestive issue to contend with and at other times I'm totally fine! Are there certain fats that can cause more issues or are there any food combinations that I should avoid? I’m a huge, huge fan of Diane!

GEZ FROM THE UK ASKS: I follow a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. Does it matter if some meals are mainly protein and fat while others are primarily vegetables and fat in regards to digestion? Or should I strive to make sure the macronutrients are balanced in each meal?

LESLIE ASKS: About 6 months ago, I had a tooth pulled that entailed taking antibiotics for 10 days - amoxicillin and using nitrous oxide during the procedure. Right after that, 15 pounds crept up on me within about 2-3 weeks. I have NOT been able to make the scale budge no matter what I have tried--Whole 30, low-carb with 25g carbs max daily for 6 weeks, intermittent fasting, fat fast, fish and salad--nothing is working. I have always taken a probiotic and added even more right after the procedure. This didn't help, as far as I can tell. I eat plenty of cultured foods. What else could be going on?

JOEL ASKS: Is it possible to eat too much sauerkraut in a day to help with good gut flora? I'm a tall guy (6'4") with a big appetite, but I've leaned out to a normal weight now (207 lbs) after eating a low-carb diet for 8 months. In a meal I will eat around 350g of sauerkraut. Is there any harm in regularly eating this much sauerkraut 2-3 times a week? Are there any benefits to eating this much?

Direct download: ATLCX-38-sanfilippo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: January 31, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “Ketogenic Diets And Exercise Performance”

Carbohydrate loading has become so deeply-ingrained (all pun intended!) in our culture for endurance athletics these days that hardly anyone questions whether it is the most effective means for fueling exercise performance or not. But ketogenic diet researchers like Dr. Stephen Phinney and self-experimenters like Dr. Peter Attia have discovered a new paradigm that could quite possibly be the future of fueling exercise activity–using ketones as an alternative and much more preferred energy source for fueling exercise. And we’re pleased to have a bona fide expert on this topic with a triathlete and sports scientist named Ben Greenfield (listen to my interviews with Ben in Episode 609 and Episode 457 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast) who is joining us in Episode 37 of “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” to share what he has learned about the role ketogenic diets can have in maximizing exercise performance.



Here are just a few of the questions addressed in this podcast:

Do you think a ketogenic nutrition plan is compatible with training at lactate threshold? And for races shorter than 5000 meters, is a ketogenic diet optimal or detrimental to maximum performance?

I’m interested in whether you’ve come across research or anecdotal evidence of the effects of a ketogenic diet on exercise performance in women? A lot of the research that has been conducted seems to be in men. I am an endurance runner and I am much better doing longer distances. When I had an RER test done in a fasted state (albeit on a cycle and not a treadmill), it showed I was a complete sugar burner. However, I have no problems training (and performing) for extended periods of time in a fasted state, or with the intake of minimal to no fuel.

As far as body composition goes, I’m very lean. Would this have any effect on the RER test results? My diet composition was at the time around evenly split between the three macronutrients. But since becoming interested in and converting to the low-carb, whole food diet approach thanks to Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf and other people in this field, my CHO sources now come from fruit, a small amount of kumara/potato, nuts and non starchy greens. I used to consume a lot of grains and sugary foods. I’ve dropped all artificial sweeteners and processed foods from my diet, upped my intake of fat and feel great.

Could the small amount of sugars along with the intake of artificial sweeteners in my diet have influenced my sugar burner result from the RER test? Does it even matter that the RER test suggested I wasn’t a fat burner if I am good at running over longer periods of time with little intake of fuel as aforementioned?

If muscles draw energy from the sarcoplasm that stores glycogen for energy, then what positive effect could a low-carb diet possibly have on the sarcoplasm? I’m especially interested in bodybuilding where most studies show that sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the key to developing larger muscles and differentiates the bodybuilder’s physiology from the power lifter.

I’m in my mid-50’s and started low-carb 2 years ago after suspecting my body wasn’t utilizing fat for energy. Twice, I did an ironman triathlon and twice, I got rhabdomyolysis. I would like to consider an endurance event again, but wonder if there’s a way to confirm my body is using stored body fat instead of protein? How can I be sure that it does? In the Fall 2012, I did a ketogenic diet for three months but wasn’t able to get my ketones higher than low 2′s.

Can you please address a ketogenic diet in relation to endurance for people who are ectomorphs? What is different, if anything, about the details of a ketogenic regimen for people like myself? I’m 6’1″ and weigh 153 pounds and I run 3-4 times a week, do yoga and lift weights on the other days.

I recently read a series of articles in which Robb Wolf makes it sound like ketosis isn’t something someone can do if they are involved in an MMA/Crossfit or other extreme intensity type work because they are too glycolytically demanding. I would love to hear your thoughts on.

I do fasted long runs of 24 miles almost every week and eat what I think is a ketogenic diet. I DO include a lot of vegetables in my diet like kale, spinach, broccoli, string beans and the like. However, I’m not seeing any ketones in my urine Ketostix. Are these reliable? Could you talk about high-end athletic performance and the ketogenic diet. I run anywhere from 5Ks to 100Ks. Am I likely to see slower times in the shorter races and better times in the longer ones? And are you aware of any pro runners out there using ketogenic diets?

Would you recommend going into ketosis while training 20 hours a week for an ironman race?

Is it possible to exercise intensively with high performance on a ketogenic diet and at the same time maximize muscle gain and fat loss? Does it matter if the ketosis is from being low-carb or from intermittent fasting?

I am a 45-year old mom who has been low-carbing since June 2012. I am working hard on getting into full-on nutritional ketosis with readings of 1.5 in the afternoon. My goal is to get above 2.0 millimolar in the morning! I am hoping a formal weight lifting program will help me get there. After reading Ben’s Get-Fit Guy’s Guide To Achieving Your Ideal Body Weight, I realized that I am a pure Mesomorph. Here is my question for Ben: In your book, you recommend lighter weights, with more repetitions for me; however, I am intrigued by Fred Hahn’s Slow Burn and his suggestion to use weights heavy enough for complete muscle fatigue with just a few reps. Is your suggestion for the lighter weights for cosmetic reasons? As a Mesomorph, can I actually get as strong and build as much bone density when lifting lighter weights, with more reps, as I can with lifting heavier weights in the manner Hahn suggests?

Direct download: ATLCX-37-greenfield.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: January 24, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Hunger (Satiety 101)"

If you ask a typical registered dietitian about the role of hunger in your diet, then you'll likely hear something like what I recently read in a SHAPE Magazine column by Cynthia Sass, RD entitled Why A Little Hunger Can Be Healthy. Sass wrote that "one of the most common missteps I see that keeps people from getting results is being afraid to get hungry...mild to moderate hunger is normal, and it's something you should be experiencing about four times a day." She went on to say that "if you’re never hungry you’re probably eating more than your body needs to reach and maintain your ideal weight." Interestingly, she went on to admit that if you eat a "balanced breakfast" of cooked oats with fresh fruit and nuts with a glass of fat-free or soy milk that should "feel a little stomach rumbling" in a few hours. What an admission by someone who is supposed to be an authority on what good nutrition is all about!

But the idea of getting hungry as a positive sign in your diet goes against what our expert guest this week believes is the sign of a healthy nutritional plan. Paul Jaminet (listen to my previous interviews with him in Episode 453 and Episode 526 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast) is the author of the newly-revised version of his book called the Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat where he explains that hunger is actually a tell-tale sign of malnutrition that needs to be addressed and not something to be glorified or honored as something good for you as the RD above suggests. The nutritional content of your food and making sure you are getting all the key essential micronutrients in what you are eating is very closely associated with the level of satiety you will experience on your chosen diet plan. But far too many people still feel this strange connection to being hungry on a diet which is why Paul Jaminet is joining us in Episode 36 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" to look at the role of hunger and satiety on a weight loss diet.



Here are just a few of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I eat a ketogenic diet and have observed during the week of my period and the week after that I have very little need to eat. However, during the week of my PMS, I experience an increased hunger unlike anything I see at other times. I am feeding my hunger sensibly with fat and proteins and it still takes much less food in order to make me feel satisfied. Unfortunately, though, I just can’t lose weight during this time. Does Paul have any theories about the potential impact of the menstrual cycle on hunger and satiety in a ketogenic state for women?

Is there any research out there on the satiety per calorie of various foods? If not, then I am seriously considering doing some and writing a book about it. My main question has to do with the satiety of nuts vs. nut meals? I am curious about what happens to the satiating properties of consuming whole nuts when they are ground into a flour or meal that ostensibly makes them more easily digestible.

I work very hard to eat appropriately, monitoring the types of fats I eat, adequate amounts of proteins and restricting carbs to no sugar/starch/flour. I make my own breakfasts and lunches, but dinner is with my wife and kids who are not following this diet yet. Typically we consume a leaner protein and a vegetable or salad. Sometimes, though, after we’re finished eating and I’m cleaning the dishes, I have an almost insatiable desire to just KEEP EATING! This is just crazy to me. As you might imagine, when this hits is when I get into all of the wrong foods. Is this an emotional or physiological response?

My wife and I have been eating a Paleo diet with dairy for a few years now. Thanks to Paul & Shou-Ching's work we have reintroduced "safe starches" into our diet and doing well overall. I eat within a 6-8 hour window, Tracey's window is more like 8-10 hours and we have been intermittent fasting for 2+ years. I very seldom get hungry and if I do it quickly passes. Tracey on the other hand is often hungry to the point that she can't stop thinking about food during her fasting time and very seldom does she feel satisfied even after eating quite a bit of food. I have seen a lot of blog posts lately related to the differences between males and females, but I find this concept interesting since it has been very easy for me. Does Paul have any thoughts or ideas about why Tracey may be having this hunger?

Direct download: ATLCX-_36-paul-jaminet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: January 17, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Steven Gundry
FEATURED TOPIC: “High-Fat Diets: Good vs. Bad”

Depending on who you ask these days, a diet described as "high-fat" can either be a very good thing or a really bad thing for your health. For those of us who embrace a healthy low-carb lifestyle change, we understand the significant role that dietary fat plays in providing satiety, as an alternative fuel for our body in the absence of significant amounts of carbohydrates and other important health functions. But are all fats created equal? Absolutely not!

That's why we're so pleased to welcome a bona fide expert in this area who knows just a thing or two on differentiating between the outstanding good fats and the truly bad fats. His name is Dr. Steven Gundry and he is one of the top heart surgeons and researchers in the world. But his real passion is in helping people stay off of his operating room table through the healthy nutritional principles he shares in his book Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You and Your Waistline (listen to my two-part "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" interview with Dr. Gundry about his book in Episode 179 and Episode 180). He's joining us in Episode 35 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" to learn more about what fats you should embrace and which ones you should run away from on your low-carb, high-fat diet.




Here are a few of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

My husband's family has a very strong family of heart disease. He is doing better with controlling his carbs. However, he is not low-carb and will not do low-carb. My question for Dr. Gundry is this: if my husband is eating a moderately high level of carbohydrates, is it dangerous to combine that with more saturated fat? I always buy good quality fats like Kerrygold butter, coconut oil and red palm oil. We only use extra virgin olive oil at room temperature poured liberally over steamed vegetables after they are cooked. I'm wondering if the combination of higher than optimal carbs with higher saturated fat is heart healthy or not. I believe that saturated fats are heart healthy if you eat moderately low-carb or even higher-carb. Or, should we lean more toward the monounsaturated fats like olive oil for him?

I am a patient of Dr. Gundry and he's changed my life as well as several of my family members. I’d like to ask him to discuss the ApoE 3/4 or 4/4 genotype and why those who have it should be eating animal fats sparingly? It seems like many in the Paleo community seem to neglect this and Dr. G. has a different take on it.

Is it possible to eat too many macadamia nuts?

Although Dr. Gundry is probably more interested in heart health than thyroid health, perhaps he can tell me more about what impact omega-6 fats have on thyroid function.

I have been aiming for consuming the best quality nutrient-dense foods, including fat sources like Kerrygold butter, organic cream cheese, olive oil, lard from foraging pigs and coconut oil. I have been eating high-fat cheeses, pastured beef, wild caught fish and salmon, dark meat with the skin from pastured chickens, bone broth, eggs, seaweed, olives, avocados and spinach. My first question for Dr. Gundry is: In light of my food choices, what information can I offer to my very sweet and concerned mother-in-law (who follows a low-fat, “healthy whole grains” diet) when she tells me she is afraid I will have a heart attack because of all the fat I am eating? And what can you tell women of childbearing age about nutrient-dense high-fat diets during pregnancy?

Is eating more fat from grass-fed and pastured animals than fat from expeller pressed organic oils good or bad for you while eating a low-carb diet? Are there any health concerns I should be aware of?

I would like to ask what Dr. Gundry thinks is an optimal ratio of the various fat types while on a ketogenic diet. What are the proper amounts of monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fat (including both omega 6s and 3s) that should make up our daily intake?

In the optimal diet, where should I be getting most of my dietary fat from and how much fat is too much?

Is eating one whole avocado daily providing too many omega-6 fats? We take fish oil supplements but my understanding is that it does not necessarily cancel out the other foods we are consuming.

I've heard a lot about the dangers of polyunsaturated fats but I don't really understand where to draw the line. My general understanding is that trans fats are evil, mono and saturated fats are awesome, and polyunsaturated fats are somewhere in between. How much polyunsaturated fat is too much? Eating grass-fed beef means I have a half-hour drive to Whole Foods, making my own mayo means I have high fat tuna fish or egg salad less often, avoiding processed foods at restaurants makes it nearly impossible to enjoy a guilt-free night out with friends. I feel as though all of these "rules" make it nearly impossible for anyone to succeed on what is supposed to be a relatively straightforward approach to eating. How do you personally decide when to compromise food and/or fat quality for your sanity's sake? Is it possible to drop that last bit of weight without complete and militant adherence to every rule under the sun?

Why are the fats found in eggs not bad for us? Can I eat half a dozen eggs a day without any health consequences? And does eating too much saturated fat in your diet lead to an increase your uric acid levels and give you gout?

Do you agree that a low-carb diet should also be moderate in protein and high in fat from a longevity and health perspective? And what are you thoughts on intermittent fasting which seems to happen naturally in people who eat enough quality dietary fats while limiting their carbohydrate intake?

Can you please explain what if any connection there is between a high-fat diet and blood glucose levels? I know there is something that fat does in the metabolic process that reduces or eliminates sugar spikes, but I would like to hear an explanation about this.

I would like to ask Dr. Gundry his thoughts on Organic Macadamia Nut Oil and grass-fed ghee, both of which I get online. I saw Dr. Gundry speak at a women's health expo in November and am hoping he could clarify his thoughts on American chickens and the estrogen levels: Did he mean ALL chickens, including organic? And why is the estrogen in them so bad for us?

What do you think about using bacon fat in cooking?

I have a friend who is on insulin who is doing low-fat, high protein diet. I’m worried about the low-fat part of her diet for long-term success and the high-protein for her kidneys. What does Dr. Gundry think about what my friend is doing?

Are plant sources of fat good to consume although they may be higher in carbohydrates? What role does the fiber in these high-fat plant foods play?

Direct download: atlcx-35-gundry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: January 10, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Jayson & Mira Calton
FEATURED TOPIC: “The Importance Of Food Quality On A Low-Carb Diet”

One of the biggest criticisms of the low-carb diet over the years is that it sacrifices choosing the best quality foods in favor of the simple process of cutting carbohydrates. But in 2013, that's not the reality of what most of us low-carbers are actually doing. The challenge that we face as carb-conscious consumers is in balancing our desire to control the amount of carbohydrates we consume with the need to obtain the most nutrition out of the foods we eat. That's where our guest experts Dr. Jayson and Mira Calton come into play.

In 2012, they shared about the critical importance of getting the proper amount of micronutrients in our diet with the release of their book Naked Calories. But in 2013, they're back with a brand new book releasing on February 26th entitled Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS) that serves as a virtual guide for how to go shopping without getting confused by slick marketing by food companies. Recognizing the importance of food quality on a low-carb diet is what we will be discussing in Episode 34 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts."

Start getting me your questions NOW regarding the importance of food quality on a low-carb diet for me to ask Dr. Jayson and Mira Calton by e-mailing them to no later than 3PM ET on the day the podcast airs. You can also ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. Listen LIVE and leave us a review at iTunes if you like what you hear. This is your chance to interact with the best nutritional health experts in the world, so don't be bashful. We're glad to be back and look forward to sharing a brand new episode of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" with you this week.

Direct download: atlcx-34-caltons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: November 1, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “Finding The Diet That's Right For You”

If you've been listening to my podcasts or read my blog for any length of time, then you've obviously heard me talk about one of the basic philosophies that I think is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Here it is: "Find a diet plan that is right for you, follow that plan exactly as prescribed by the author and then keep doing that plan for the rest of your life making appropriate tweaks along the way to keep it working." But how do you go about figuring out what the "right" diet and lifestyle plan is for you? That's what we'll be exploring further in Episode 33 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" with a highly-qualified guest expert named Dr. Peter Attia from the "Eating Academy" blog (listen to my March 2012 interview with Peter in Episode 560 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast).



Enter "LLVLC" at checkout for 15% off

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I have been refining what I think is my perfect diet for about 3 years now. During that time my diet has drastically changed for the better. I eat a very strict Paleo autoimmune diet with no dairy, nuts or nightshades. This has worked very well for me and now I am experimenting with a few little things here and there to tweak my diet that help me go from feeling good to feeling great. I am wondering about the cross-reactivity of coffee with gluten. I have heard that this can be a problem for some people, but I dismissed it because I didn’t want to believe that it can be a problem for me. But now I’m thinking that it IS a problem for me because after quitting coffee I started losing weight with no other changes in my diet. And it's not just calories because I replaced the coffee with a coconut oil cocoa that would have equal calories since I made my coffee into a coconut oil latte anyway. I know that gut issues are the minority of manifestation of gluten intolerance, so this effortless weight loss might be showing some type of healing. I also heard that a study came out early this year confirming that a coffee/gluten cross reactivity is a significant problem. What are your thoughts on this issue?

I'd like to hear Peter address hypercaloric feeding on a ketogenic diet in combination with weight training. Is it possible for someone who is already basically lean and healthy to overeat and train his way up in size? What is the likely practical limit to size gain and performance in weightlifting with insulin levels being kept very low?

I have found success stabilizing my weight on a diet of 20-30g of carbs per day. However, I can't seem to lose those last stubborn pounds. I am a 5'8" male and currently weight 160 pounds with 19% body fat. My goal is to get down to 15% body fat. I started monitoring my ketones and after a month was able to lose another 4 pounds and 1% body fat, but it was very hard for me to maintain the high percentage of fat in my diet required to get my ketones high enough. Recently I started slow lifting and I really like that program. But when I increased my protein to aid muscle development I knocked myself out of ketosis and am right back to the 19% fat, 160-pound mark. I suspect a hormonal problem is contributing to the difficulties in losing but I’ve tested my testosterone twice and both times it’s near the high end of the "normal range." Recently my TSH also tested fine at 1.9, my Free T4 Direct was in the middle of the lab range at 1.32, and my TPOab was also in the middle at 12. My Free T3 was on the low end of the lab range at 2.2 (with the lowest reference range being 2.0). Given all of the above, are there variations I could try in my diet that could get me unstuck and help me reach my goal?

I’m a 76-year old woman with the H63D gene for hemochromatosis and have high ferritin. My latest test was 436 and it goes up and down with an all-time high of 625. My doctors says that a phlebotomy is unnecessary unless it goes over 1000. I also have paroxysmal atrial fibrillation which I understand eating the Paleo way is the best for this. My A fib discussion board members say my ferritin is way too high now. What diet would you say would be the best for me?

I am 42 years old and have been overweight since having children in my early 20s. I am 5'4" and weigh 199 pounds. My A1c was 5.8 when I check it a few months ago and my doctor advised me that I’m at risk for Type 2 diabetes and that I need to start exercising 30 minutes per day. I have been playing around with low-carb/Paleo and primal diets for the past few months but I can't decide which way to go. I have read tons of information and listen to many health podcasts like the ones from Jimmy Moore, Balanced Bites and Fat Burning Man. Where do I start? I crave sweets at least once a day and that continues to be my biggest downfall. How do I pick the diet that’s right for me?

I would like Dr. Attia to talk about intermittent fasting and…well, diarrhea. Sorry. About 10 minutes after I eat again following an intermittent fast, which works very well for me in conjunction with my ketogenic diet, I tend to have one or two bouts of diarrhea. I was reading that it could be our body expelling the toxins in it, but I’m not so sure about that. I’ve heard other people who do IF having this same issue. Do you have any insights about this?

I'm a peri-menopausal woman, and I eat a low-carb, high-fat version of primal. My doctor is pushing statins on me strictly on the basis of my LDL-C which registered in at 142 using the Freidewald Equation. My HDL is 79 and my triglycerides are 71. Because of my insurer and financial situation, getting an NMR Lipoprofile test to measure my LDL-P is out of my reach to better assess my risk factors. I can't even get them to do a C-Reactive Protein test to assess whether there's inflammation. Is there any dietary tweak I can make to bring LDL-C lower without negatively impacting my excellent HDL and triglyceride readings?

It seems very timely that Dr. Attia will be on your podcast, Jimmy, as your latest Apo B results showing 238 and an LDL-P score of 3451 would appear to be quite alarming based on his recent “The Straight Dope On Cholesterol” series. Since Dr. Attia is a huge fan of ketogenic diets AND has a lot of knowledge about the importance of lipid markers, I would imagine he would be in a fantastic position to help clarify what is going on here. He seems to believe that the Apo B number is one of the most important markers of cardiovascular health. By the way, what is Dr. Attia’s Apo B number?

Since cycling is a topic that is rarely addressed in Paleo/low-carb circles, does Peter have any tips for maximizing endurance athletic performance while on a ketogenic diet? Whenever I try to do cycling while in ketosis, I often feel fatigued and lose some of my power. Alternately, if I eat a lot of carbs and sugar-laden cycling food, I get stomachaches and feel bloated and grouchy most of the ride. Peter's blog has been the only thing I've ever seen talking about this topic and I’d appreciate hearing more from him about this.

Does a ketogenic diet repair or re-regulate an underactive thyroid? I’ve been on this diet for a year and a half now, but my hypothyroid symptoms still exist although I feel much better. My latest blood tests suggest I have low T3. I’m athletically built, never been overweight and exercise moderately. I’m wondering if Dr. Attia is a proponent of doing any thyroid supplementation in conjunction with a ketogenic diet as a beneficial approach to treating these hypothyroid symptoms?

I heard you mention on your previous podcast with Jimmy that you use vegetables as a vehicle for consuming more fat. How important are vegetables in the diet if you’re eating a high-fat, low-carb diet? I always get confused because you hear how important it is to eat a lot of vegetables but I’m not particularly fond of a lot of them when trying to increase my ketones.

We often hear the phrase used in the low-carb community that “there’s no dietary requirement for carbohydrate.” I’ve always assumed this comment was directed at the usual suspects like breads, cereals, pastas, legumes, etc. However, I have to ask, are vegetables really necessary to consume? In my case, I’m referring to non-starchy vegetables, such as kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and so forth. While vegetables contain vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals, I’ve read that cruciferous vegetables are also potentially goitrogenic. Cooking these vegetables for long periods of time supposedly helps to mitigate any deleterious effects, but the suggested cooking time is a minimum of 30 minutes. So what’s the scoop on veggies?

Over the past year and a half, I've been following a low-carb diet stopping short of nutritional ketosis. I'd put my daily carbohydrate input close to 100g out of a 2700- calorie diet. It has allowed me to accomplish and exceed the goals that I set out to do:

- Lowered my Triglycerides from ~330 to <70
- Decreased my A1c from 5.8 to 4.7
- Reduced my fasting blood glucose numbers
- Shed over 35 pounds off my body

During that time, I've been reading as much information as I can about a low-carb lifestyle. Looking at the best low-carb diet studies that I have seen, most are centered on ketogenic diets and clearly show the benefits of that lifestyle. And yet it seems there are still many questions about nutrition that are either unanswered or do not have answers backed by solid science. Should I be concerned about any long-term health risks from my diet falling short of ketogenic levels? Will your NuSI project be focusing primarily on a strict ketogenic lifestyle or a variety of diet plans across the spectrum? And are there any specific tests that I need to run on myself before, during and after if I wanted to do an n=1 experiment of getting into nutritional ketosis?

Direct download: atlcx-33-dr-peter-attia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 25, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “Nutritional Ketosis 6-Month Update”

You've heard the old adage "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade." Well, that's exactly what we had to do with this episode of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" when our scheduled expert unexpectedly had to cancel at the last minute. We originally had heart surgeon, researcher and author Dr. Steven Gundry ready to take on your questions about the topic "High-Fat Diets: Good vs. Bad" for Episode 32. But when he couldn't show up, we decided to shift gears and talk about our host Jimmy Moore's current nutritional ketosis experiment since we're coming up on his 6-month update in a couple of weeks. If you've been following his n=1 journey every 30 days at his blog since he first began in May 2012, then you know it has been quite successful for him helping him shed 50+ pounds so far (check out his latest before and after photo update) when his normal low-carb lifestyle wasn't producing the results he wanted.


Low-Carb meal plans from Diet-to-Go. No carb counting, no cooking.
Enter "LLVLC" at checkout for 25% off!

Check out all of Jimmy's latest updates here:
Day 1-30
Day 31-60
Day 61-90
Day 91-120
Day 121-150

And don't miss his CarbSmart columns on this topic:
My 5 Low-Carb Mistakes And How Nutritional Ketosis Rescued Me From Them
Ain’t That Nutritional Ketosis Thing Just Another Way Of Saying Atkins?
12 Healthy High-Fat Foods Perfect For Nutritional Ketosis

Listen in to hear Jimmy give this impromptu update on how this experiment is going for him, take a few questions from the LIVE listeners on the line and share about what's to come in the remaining six months of his n=1. CHECK IT OUT!

NOTE: Dr. Gundry will be rescheduled for early 2013.


Direct download: atlcx-32-n1-jimmy-moore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 18, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “Ketogenic Diets & Cancer”

Philadelphia physician Dr. Colin Champ from the "Caveman Doctor" blog and the "Relentless Roger & The Caveman Doctor" podcast is currently involved in studying a topic that is very near and dear to his heart that happens to be what we'll be discussing in this week's ATLCX podcast. The hot topic we'll be taking on in Episode 31 is "Ketogenic Diets & Cancer" which is gaining a lot of traction amongst researchers looking for nutritional solutions to this horrible disease. Dr. Champ is currently completing his specialty training in radiation oncology and has a keen interest in the dietary effects of carbohydrate restriction on the prevention and treatment of cancer. The connection between our modern American diet, obesity and cancer has been quite remarkable, and Dr. Champ hopes that the work he is doing can help people fight all three. You may have already read his recent review article published in the scientific journal International Journal Of Breast Cancer entitled "Weight Gain, Metabolic Syndrome, and Breast Cancer Recurrence: Are Dietary Recommendations Supported by the Data?" We're seeing incredible health benefits from carbohydrate-restricted diets and Dr. Champ took on your questions about how ketogenic diets play a role in the treatment of cancers.




Dr. Eugene Fine's Ketogenic Diet Cancer Pilot Trial (listen to Jimmy's interview with Dr. Fine in Episode 628 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" on Monday, October 22, 2012 about his published results)
Dr. Fine's study published in the October 2012 issue of Nutrition
Ketogenic diet cancer researcher Dr. Thomas Seyfried from Boston College
Jimmy's LLVLC Show podcast interview with Dr. Seyfried
Dr. Seyfried's new Cancer As A Metabolic Disease book

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

GEZ ASKS: Do we know which cancers are the most likely to go into remission with a ketogenic diet? And why are other cancers relatively unaffected?

JOHANNAH ASKS: I have been very interested in following a ketogenic diet to combat my cancer. Is a very high-fat diet feasible for those of us cancer patients who have had our gall bladder removed? Does this diet also need to be calorie restricted in order to be effective?

SANDI ASKS: I have a pituitary adenoma as well as Cushing’s disease and other aliments (lupus/Hashimoto's/Celiac's/PCOS/etc.) and despite every effort I cannot get into ketosis nor can I get my blood sugar below 150. Is it the cortisol that is keeping my blood sugar up and prohibiting me from getting into nutritional ketosis? If not then what other things can prevent ketosis in someone eating a high fat, zero carb, moderate protein diet?

FORTUNE ASKS: One of my best FB buddies is a 2-year breast cancer survivor. They did the gene analysis of the tumor and discovered it was a very aggressive one; later she discovered she also had the BRCA genes! She had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She continues with the usual treatment for cases like hers, a rather expensive medication. She is a very strong person, but we of course are all terrified of a recurrence. Should we recommend low-carb to her? Is there any evidence that low-carb could slow or halt the expression of the BRCA? BRCA can also lead to ovarian cancer, so it's possible she could get that as well. Could low-carb help her delay or even avoid ovarian cancer?

JAN ASKS: I was very excited getting to meet ketogenic diet cancer researcher Dr. Thomas Seyfried at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Boston this year and was privileged to spend a lunch hour visiting with him about his work with brain cancer. I was so impressed by what he shared that I wrote down a summary of my thoughts and passed along to my fellow RN friend who is the Clinical Nurse Specialist for Oncology at a leading cancer center in California who regularly speaks on this subject. But I was completely flabbergasted at her response when she said "You're not going to tell me that SUGAR causes cancer" and then she just rattled off a bunch of comments about quacks who are misleading cancer victims and it was just really frustrating to me. This is such an important topic and I know from what I've heard about your work and my visit with Dr. Seyfried that there is a place for this discussion. But I couldn't even get started with this "expert." She wasn’t even the tiniest bit interested in even looking at the research...and this is not the first time. Unfortunately, I've heard this kind of response from a lot of folks who work in cancer treatment. What can low-carb and Paleo practitioners do as a community to get beyond the "quack" label and get people to at least consider this as a viable part of their treatment options for cancer patients?

GREG FROM ALBERTA ASKS: As a layman it seems fairly obvious that any tumor that can be imaged using the fluorodeoxyglucose radiotracer is a tumor which can be affected by limiting glucose consumption. As a new ketogenic diet fan, it seems like all cancers might respond well, but this could just be selection bias on my part. Since mitochondria in tumors can also use glutamine and even lipids as a fuel source. To the best of your knowledge are there breast cancers that would be better served on a protein-limited or even a fat-limited diet? Are there any other common cancers where a restricted ketogenic diet as advocated by Dr. Seyfried might not be effective in helping combat cancer? Are there diagnostic tools that can be used to separate out cancers based on what they require for growth (e.g. Carb/protein/fat)?

MIKE ASKS: My mother has stage 4 ovarian cancer and is now in her third round of chemotherapy treatment. On this round the doctors have put her on a low dose chemo program which she has now been on for several months. She has some small spots in her liver and hip area, however since the third round of chemo began it doesn't appear that the spots have grown. She is gaining weight (mostly fat) and recently she had a fasting glucose test with a result of 120. I have been encouraging her to eat a ketogenic diet but she says she just doesn't think she can give up bread and sugar, though she has tried to cut back. Do you feel a ketogenic diet would benefit her at this point, especially if her cancer appears stable for the moment? How hard should I push this?

C.L. ASKS: I was one of the 50-80% of women who do not fit the risk profile for breast cancer but received a diagnosis of Stage 1, ER+ in 2009. This may be apples and oranges, but is the ketogenic diet easier for the liver to detoxify than the standard low fat/high carb that is recommended by oncologists? I ask because I have the double C mutation for the MTHFR mutation which regulates the enzyme for folate uptake. I take the proper B now, so my folate should be adequate but I am always looking for ways to make life easier for my detoxification pathways. On the face of it, I would think more fat would be more burdensome for the liver but apparently everything I've heard for the last 30 years about fat has been wrong. I am new to this low-carb lifestyle and am reading as fast as I can. When I was diagnosed I was an ethical vegetarian but realized that would have to change when I began reading about the effects of insulin and cancer. If a ketogenic diet proves a valid treatment, do you think esters might have an application for cancer patients who are under treatment and/or want to avoid recurrence?

ANDY ASKS: My questions are about Dr. Seyfried's ketogenic cancer therapy. It is predicated on starving malignant tumors of their fermentable nutritional substrates; blood glucose & glutamine. A diligent ketogenic diet manages the blood glucose & prescription sodium phenylbutyrate (Buphenyl) manages the blood glutamine.

I have 4 questions regarding this therapy:

1. Is there any evidence regarding its effectiveness (either anecdotal or clinic testing)?
2. Are there any side effects (especially for the sodium phenylbutyrate for glutamine)?
3. How effective is it when combined with traditional chemo & radiation therapies (radiation supposedly elevates blood glucose)?
4. Should regular self-testing of blood glucose & ketones be incorporated into the therapy?

Direct download: atlcx-31-dr-colin-champ.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 11, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Richard Feinman
FEATURED TOPIC: “Getting Low-Carb To Join The Scientific Mainstream”

In recent years, we've seen a lot of momentum happening within the scientific realm towards carbohydrate restriction that could quite possibly be the beginning of the next low-carb revolution. This is the hypothesis of this week's special expert guest on "Ask The Low-Carb Experts." He is Brooklyn, NY-based SUNY Downstate biochemistry professor and the founder of the Nutrition & Metabolism Society named Dr. Richard Feinman joining us to talk about the hot topic "Getting Low-Carb To Join The Scientific Mainstream." There's a plethora of quality research being conducted out there on carbohydrate-restricted diets on a variety of fronts from metabolic syndrome to epilepsy to cancer. But unfortunately these research projects for the most part are not being funded by major funding sources like the National Institutes for Health or other key sources. So how do we get low-carb to join the scientific mainstream so that more investigation can be done into the veracity of this way of eating? That's what we explored in this conversation with Dr. Feinman.


Low-Carb meal plans from Diet-to-Go. No carb counting, no cooking.
Enter "LLVLC" at checkout for 25% off!


***Dr. Feinman talked about a project he is helping high school senior Matthew Engel with encouraging people on a low-carb diet to take pictures of what you eat and e-mail it to them. Here's the address:***

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I'm interested in what Dr. Feinman thinks about the Harvard study recently cited by Dr. Barry Sears from The Zone Diet entitled "Harvard explains why people regain weight with the Atkins diet."

I'm a little too young to properly remember the battle over cigarettes. But are there any lessons we can learn from that experience to use in the promotion of the science behind low-carb diets?

In Canada, the government is now recommending that meat and eggs are a better choice for solid food for babies than rice cereal. It seems after decades of nutritional decay, government health leaders there are finally seeing the light on the science. Do you think a similar announcement for adults will be forthcoming in Canada? How close are we in the United States seeing something similar to this happen here?

It seems to me that the main reason low-carb diets are not an accepted part of the mainstream is that organizations such as the USDA and the NIH produce documents such as the Food Pyramid and MyPlate that push for carbohydrates to be a major part of a healthy diet. In light of the evidence that supports the health benefits of a high-fat, low-carb diet, why has there not been a lawsuit challenging this erroneous advice? Wouldn't someone who has meticulously followed this advice and then developed worse symptoms with their diabetes, for example, have a legitimate case and be able to set the precedent that high-fat, low-carb is a valid alternative? Are you aware of anything like this in the works?

People like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz seem to have a lot of influence with average people when it comes to healthy living because of their prominence on national television. I personally do not watch them because I like to do my own research and come up with my own informed decisions on how to live a healthy life. But everyday I hear people around me asking, 'Oh did you see what Dr. X said about BLANK?' Is there anyone out there who you see breaking into mainstream television like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz have to promote the scientific principles of low-carb lifestyle? What would it take to make something like this happen in terms of sponsorship, profitability and keeping the messages communicated focused on what the science is showing?

I would like to suggest that efforts be directed at the universities and scientific publications – especially textbooks. This year I purchased the “Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology 12th edition” and I was mortified by the ignorant comments in the textbook about cholesterol, nutrition, heart disease and basic metabolic processes like lipid metabolism and ketosis which was actually confused with ketoacidosis. This is a current textbook teaching emerging medical professionals and it's spouting information that has long since been dismissed and corrected. Food and pharmaceutical companies pay for research to be conducted in the universities that have the experts that write these textbooks and so it is obvious why it is difficult to change their minds, perhaps unless the government insists. We need to convince our government health departments of the fact that unhealthy populations cost the government and the community a boatload of money. Does Dr. Feinman have any ideas about where and how to start making inroads on this front?

Given the remarkable results of treating both metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes with a low-carb diet, is Dr. Feinman aware of any research on the combination of treating either of the two conditions with both a low-carb diet and metformin? Previous research suggests the combination of metformin and exercise may be more complicated than expected. If Type 2 diabetes is the health crisis of the future, it seems that careful research into the combination of treatments typically used is indicated and ought to be ripe for funding by any responsible health organization.

What research has been done or is planned for the effectiveness of low-carb in controlling diabetes and especially reducing cardiovascular risk for diabetics? Studies like ACCORD or ADVANCE claim to show no or worse cardiovascular benefit to lowering blood sugar with drugs. What about those who maintain excellent blood sugar control with low-carb? Doctors are quick to prescribe statins to diabetics, though I don't see any benefit in the study data for diabetics who haven't already had a heart attack. It would be good have data that shows diabetics who control blood sugar with low-carb have no higher cardiovascular risk than non-diabetics.

Direct download: atlcx-30-dr-richard-feinman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: October 4, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Thomas Dayspring
FEATURED TOPIC: “Cholesterol Testing: What Matters Most?”

This week we're very excited to bring to you one of the world's leading lipidologists and experts on just about everything you could ever want to know about cholesterol numbers named Dr. Thomas Dayspring from He's the Director of Cardiovascular Education at the Foundation for Health Improvement and Technology in Richmond, Virginia and is one of the most requested speakers in the United States with expertise on atherothrombosis, lipoprotein and vascular biology, advanced lipoprotein testing and more. Dr. Dayspring has given over 4000 lectures in all 50 states educating medical professionals and the lay public alike.

Many of you first heard him in Episode 585 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast and afterwards had lots of questions for Dr. Dayspring about cholesterol. That's why we decided to bring him back on ATLCX to take on the topic "Cholesterol Testing: What Matters Most?" so you can speak directly with him about your burning questions on your cholesterol concerns. This was a golden opportunity to get clarification on any issues regarding cholesterol testing that concern you.




Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

In an ideal world, should everyone know what their LDL-P number is? What is the ideal number or target range for LDL-P? How important is LDL-P as a biomarker for risk of heart disease? Other than diet, what would be common causes of high LDL-P?

If someone has high cholesterol (mine is 307 total, 48 HDL, 239 LDL, and 95 triglycerides with mostly Pattern A LDL cholesterol), is that a reason to stop eating a low-carb diet? And who would you say needs to be taking a statin drug as an appropriate treatment option for lowering cholesterol numbers?

We know that statins raise insulin resistance and can interfere with blood glucose control in Type 2 diabetics. I have a patient who has already had two heart attacks and seen great improvements in his health since adopting a low-carb diet. Would you consider taking him off simvastatin if his Apo-B remains low after stopping the medication? And for those of us who live outside the United States, how good is an Apo-B test as compared with the NMR Lipoprofile? What is the desirable value for Apo-B?

Do other favorable test readings, such as large fluffy LDL particles, high HDL, low triglycerides or low CRP levels, singularly or in combination, reduce the risk of heart attack posed by a very large LDL-P number?

You mentioned in your previous interview with Jimmy that sterols, not just cholesterol, have the potential to incorporate into arterial plaque. I did some research and found a study where arterial plaque was scraped and analyzed and a direct relationship was established between the amount of plants in the diet and the amount of plant based sterols that end up in the arterial wall. What is the mechanism behind plant sterols becoming plaque? Does the addition of plant sterols in the diet make our lab results, especially the calculated LDL tests, look good for no real benefit? And if this is true, why does cholesterol get a bad rap and these sterols enjoy the halo of healthiness?

Recently, Paleo diet practitioner Chris Kresser wrote in a blog post that "the number of LDL particles in the a risk factor for heart disease." After getting an NMR Lipoprofile test run, what number should be cause for concern?

How do cholesterol numbers get calculated? We see LDL, HDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol. And why isn't the NMR Lipoprofile test the standardized cholesterol measurement in the medical profession yet?

Is it possible for someone to have too low cholesterol? My total cholesterol has never been more than 95 testing over the past 15 years. Some people in the Paleo community have said I should be very concerned but my general practitioner thinks my very low cholesterol is great. What do you say?

What should APOE 3/4 or even 4/4 people look for in their lipid tests given that they will probably not be "normal?" And what should APOE 3/4 or 4/4 do to reduce their risk?

My question is in regards to the test that is performed by Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc called the Apolipoprotein E Genotype. What are the implications on the lipids of a high-fat, low-carb dieter with the 2/4 genotype combination? I believe that this occurs in 1-2% of the population. Would these people need to eat less saturated fat?

You have said in more than one interview I have heard that you believe it really boils down to the LDL particle number and that particle size is not as important. With that in mind I would think the Lp(a) test would be all you would need to run to obtain that information. So, what is the BEST, most cost effective lab test to have done if you could do only one test to give you the most information about heart disease risk?

Does what I eat in the few days prior to my lab draw make a difference in my Apo B and small LDL-P...especially if I overindulge in carbs the day before the draw? If a lab report gives both Apo B and LDL-P and one is high and one is normal which one do you go with?

Why do you see HDL decrease with autoimmune diseases such as lupus? Is it associated or causal? Does the HDL decrease in response to the disease? Why do you suspect hyper absorption when you see high HDL-C?

I have been eating low-carb Paleo since January and have lost 45 pounds. I just went to the doctor for the first time since 2007 and he ran blood work. My total cholesterol went up to 334, mostly LDL, and the doctor is alarmed. In order to prevent my doctor from ordering me to take statins, I told him that I had read that losing more than 30 pounds within a few months can temporarily elevate total cholesterol, and that I would have another blood test done in 3-6 months. Is it true that my weight loss may be the reason for the jump in total cholesterol and LDL?

I had the NMR test and it reveals an elevated (high risk) LDL-P count of 1573 but also a calculated, intermediate risk of Apo-B of 62. I recently noticed that these results were from a non-fasting test. Is it possible that the LDL-P and APO-B (both particle counts) are affected by the fact the the test was done in a non-fasted state? Would you recommend this test only be done in only a fasted state?

It has been stated by Chris Masterjohn that within the same individual, cholesterol readings can vary from day to day. In fact, it was reported that total cholesterol has a standard deviation of +/- 17.5 points meaning that a reading of 200 for example, could easily vary between 165 and 235 over a two-day period. So if this is accurate, how meaningful are the various cholesterol readings particularly since most MDs only get one test and make their decisions based on that singular piece of data?

Direct download: atlcx-29-dr-thomas-dayspring.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: September 27, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Jonathan Bailor
FEATURED TOPIC: “The Truth About Low-Carb Research”

On this week's episode of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" we delve deeply into the science supporting carbohydrate-restricted diets as we welcome an outstanding health and fitness researcher named Jonathan Bailor. You may recall hearing him in Episode 570 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" or on his own outstanding Top 20 iTunes health podcast "The Smarter Science Of Slim" discussing his comprehensive book examining all the historical research on nutrition, fitness and health entitled The Smarter Science Of Slim: What the Actual Experts Have Proven About Weight Loss, Dieting, & Exercise, Plus, The Harvard Medical School Endorsed Program To Burn Fat Permanently. And he'll be joining us as one of the special guest speakers on the 2013 Low-Carb Cruise. Jonathan spent over a decade pouring over literally thousands of pages of research data in an effort to learn so much more about what's true and not true about diets and can articulate practically anything you want to know about low-carb diets as found in the research literature. He has become very well-versed at the overwhelming evidence supporting this healthy way of eating and we were so pleased to have him joining us in Episode 28 to take on YOUR questions about this topic.


Low-Carb meal plans from Diet-to-Go. No carb counting, no cooking.
Enter "LLVLC" at checkout for 25% off!


Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I've read Good Calories Bad Calories as well as Why We Get Fat both by Gary Taubes. Are there areas of Taubes' research where you uncovered different or conflicting findings from the data? Also, has anything in your research uncovered whether different diets tend to benefit different people? It seems to me that the diet community is very polarized and everyone is seeking a "one-size-fits-all" solution. Based on your research do you think some people would do better on a low-carb diet than others? Do you think we are close to determining at the outset which lifestyle modifications will work best for certain people? For example, are we headed towards a day where someone can answer a questionnaire or take a blood test and get feedback on the types of diets likely to work best for them? Thanks for your responses to my questions.

I have a question about fat. Why is it in The Smarter Science Of Slim that only low/no-fat products are recommended? For example, you only cite the use of low-fat dairy. And not very much of it at that. This is disturbing to me particularly since I find fat much more satiating than green veggies or protein. I know that Jonathan also recommends including healthy fats in your diet, but it's not much either. I still have a major issue with the whole low-fat ideas he is promoting. I have listened to Jonathan being interviewed on podcasts many times, and also regularly listen to his "Smarter Science Of Slim" podcast. But this question has never really, to my mind, been appropriately addressed and answered. I know he can talk a lot about the research, but I would really appreciate a simple answer that doesn't include the re-telling of all that research.

You emphasize LEAN protein and LOW-FAT dairy. While you do say that some fat can be healthy and yet there still seems to be a remnant of lipophobia - or perhaps, lipo-skepticism - in your diet plan? Despite all the emerging evidence, you still seem to believe, to a degree, that fat makes you fat. You call your program SANE, but isn't this a quite in-SANE position on nutrition you are taking?

I am currently making changes to my diet eating low-carb and using the principles of The Smarter Science Of Slim. I have lost some weight and have felt better overall, but sometimes I have a craving for sweets like chocolate brownies. Recently I heard Julia Ross on "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" and she talked about taking amino acids when you crave carbs or sweets. I am wondering if you have seen any research on the use of amino acids in curbing carbohydrate cravings. If so, would you recommend using them as supplements and in what dosage?

Want to address your input on the Paleo diet for people with Type 1 diabetes. It has done wonders for me as well as my clients. In your research, have you determined what amount of carbohydrate intake is ideal for a Type 1? Or do you think it is best for Type 1 patients to cycle their carbohydrates or use intermittent fasting as a means for lowering blood sugar and insulin requirements?

Many of us have to convince our doctors that we aren’t killing ourselves on a low-carb diet. If you could make a one-page handout that we could bring with us to the doctor with references to major studies highlighting the effects of a low-carb diet on health (for example, weight control, cholesterol, kidneys and blood sugar) and any other convincing data, what would you include?

In listening to both Jonathan's and Jimmy's podcasts and it seems that the major difference in what you each are advocating is the amount of protein that can or should be consumed. I understand the reasoning behind each of your positions, but what conclusion do you come to collectively? Or do you just agree to disagree?

My question is about yogurt! I am so confused about what yogurt to eat and how to count it. Jonathan recommends low-fat greek yogurt and I have heard that the carb count on yogurt is not actually what it says due to the bacteria in it. I have been getting a low-carb yogurt from a particular grocery store across the border in Canada and I just don't know if this is the best option. I am not a huge fan of greek yogurt, but would be willing to choke it down if it is indeed the best choice.

Direct download: atlcx-28-jonathan-bailor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week we shift gears a bit from our typical topics on “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” when we welcome a very popular blood sugar control advocate and outspoken health blogger Jenny Ruhl to the show. She appeared inEpisode 582 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast earlier this year and raised some eyebrows amongst my listeners there with her frank messages about certain issues that can happen to people when they go on a carbohydrate-restricted diet as she outlined so beautifully in her latest book Diet 101: The Truth About Low Carb Diets. The response to that podcast interview with Jenny was so overwhelming that I decided to invite her on ATCLX to field questions directly from my listeners about the topic “Overcoming The Problems With A Low-Carb Diet” which was sure to be one of the more controversial and most talked about episodes in the short history of this podcast! Get ready for an in-depth examination into what real-life low-carb living is all about.





Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I have been eating a Paleo low-carb diet for over 18 months and as you can imagine I have had great success with it. Besides the weight loss I just started feeling better overall, sleeping better, working out better, you name it. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I find that in the past couple of months my sugar cravings are so intense that I have a hard time not giving in. I must have no willpower at all and will stuff my face with all kinds of sugary treats. I see the chocolate or ice cream and I just eat it. How is it possible that I still have such intense sugar cravings after all this time on the Paleo low-carb diet?

I am a 55-year old, 273-pound woman with Type 2 diabetes and an A1c of 5.6. I control my diabetes with a good grain-free, low-carb diet and no medications. My carb intake is around 20-30g daily and I don’t eat any added sugars or sugar substitutes. My calories generally fall between 1300-1600 daily and I track everything I consume to keep myself honest. I have had all kinds of tests run on myself and everything shows I’m good. However, I’ve been doing this since the beginning of the year and I just can’t lose weight. I’ve tested my ketones and they show I am not producing any. What am I doing wrong and what else can I do? I am very discouraged right now. My doctor recommended that I increase my calories to 2100 a day because I am so big, but in the first week of doing that I gained two more pounds. Needless to say I went back down to what I was doing previously. I tried asking about this on the Atkins diet forum and they told me that I MUST be doing something wrong which upset me because I have been doing everything exactly right. Believe me, I am not cheating or doing it wrong. Do you have any suggestions or help so that I don’t feel like the lone duck on an island.

I’ve been following a low-carb eating plan for 3 1/2 months and can’t seem to lose more than 7-9 pounds all of which happened within the first seven weeks. I keep close track of what I eat, which ranges between 20-40g carbs per day, moderate protein (usually about 80-100g) and higher fat. My ratios are usually around 75% fat, 18% protein, 7% carb. I can’t figure out why I’m not losing weight. My carbs are coming mainly from vegetables and some processed meats. I tried increasing my fat and decreasing protein and I gained weight. I only tried this for about a week because the last thing I want to do is GAIN weight! I’m 5’6” and weigh 194 pounds, so it’s not like I don’t have extra weight to shed. I am 47 years old, and have been on medications for hypothyroid for 15 years. I’ve recently been diagnosed with iron-deficient anemia, but I don’t know if that has any bearing on this or not. I do use artificial sweeteners, but they do not seem to affect my blood glucose levels. I exercise by walking by dog about 45 minutes, 5 days a week. I kept track of my blood glucose levels for about 3 weeks trying to find out what the problem could be, but didn’t really know what I should be looking for. My fasting levels are about 91 each morning, and never went higher than 105 at any time that I tested, usually hovering between 83 and 93. When I fast for any length of time, I get extremely sleepy, so I don’t seem to be able to do well with that. I’m totally flummoxed and don’t know what to do. It’s very depressing to think I’ve avoided sugar and flour for almost four months and have lost hardly any weight at all. I know this is the best way to eat and plan on continuing to do so regardless. But I really want to lose weight in the process of eating healthier. Do you have any suggestions for me?

I am a 44-year old pre-menopausal woman following a low carb diet as prescribed by Dr. Steve Phinney. That amounts to around 100g of protein daily, about 135g of good animal fats like butter, ghee, whole eggs and all cuts and types of meats, coconuts, olive oil and avocados. My carbs are kept around 20g total per day and are all from fibrous vegetables. I don’t eat any starchy vegetables and no fruit or sugar. My diet basically follows a Paleo template, so I know that I am not getting any hidden carbs in my meals as I simply do not eat anything processed. This works out to be close to 1800 calories per day as I precisely weigh and measure all of my food. I am not taking any medications and I feel well overall. My energy levels are really good and I have no signs of thyroid issues. I am doing CrossFit for exercise 2-3 times per week. In the first two weeks of low-carbing as described above, I lost 7 pounds. The next week I lost nothing. The next week I actually gained a pound. I realize that the scale is not the be all, end all. But I am hearing about all of these other people having wonderful results with a well-formulated low-carb diet–but it is not happening for me. Are there some people that low-carb diets simply do not work for? Perhaps the reason why I’m not losing weight is that I’m still eating too much at 1800 calories? My CrossFit workouts take a ton of energy so I can’t see myself feeling or performing well on much less food than this. Help!

I have 20 more pounds I want to lose and am having a difficult time figuring out how to do it. There are experts that state that exercise is required, others say only lift weights and don’t do cardio; still others state that exercise isn’t required to lose weight. Some even say you have to decrease your calories or intermittent fast in order to lose weight. And there’s even those who say that even if you’re eating “low-carb” you can’t have certain foods (such as dairy) in order to lose weight. I’M SO CONFUSED! I currently eat until I’m satisfied enjoying my meats, eggs, cheese, heavy cream, and of course my veggies. I avoid grains, eat very low sugar (less than 15g daily), low-carb (less than 40g) every day and I have maintained my weight for 6 months without hunger, so I’m really happy about that. I am healthy as all my current metabolic health numbers look fabulous. How can I get most of that 20 pounds I have left to shed off my body?

I’m a 53-year old woman and I have lost 50 pounds on a low-carb diet over the past year and a half. I still need to lose 50 more pounds, but have been stalled out for nine months. I have great blood sugar, cholesterol and other key health markers thanks to my healthy low-carb way of life. I do still have high blood pressure, though, and have come to grips with the fact I may never lose all the weight that I want to. I just want to be healthy and OFF these blood pressure medications for good. But I feel like my blood pressure will not budge until I lose more weight. I have tried lowering my protein, increasing dietary fat and more–but nothing is working. Should I start counting calories now? How would I determine what level of calories a woman like me should be consuming?

I have been eating low-carb for over a month but my morning fasting blood glucose level is still pretty high ranging from 97-111. This is the same that it was prior to starting my low-carb lifestyle. The rest of the day my blood sugar is pretty normal with numbers in the 80s. Do I need to be concerned about this?

I’m a 34-year old, 5’4″ tall, 185-pound woman who just started a low-carb diet last week and I’ve already lost quite a bit of weight. However, at night when I lay down my joints in my shoulders and hips hurt. I felt this same way at the end of both of my pregnancies. Also, my lower back has been hurting which combined with the joint pain has made it difficult for me to get good sleep. Are toxins being released in my body making this happen and when will it stop?

Whenever I go on a low-carb diet I pass through several phases. The first phase is the initial withdrawal from sugar and carbs. This can last up to two weeks for me, involving intense cravings, headaches and nausea. The second phase is when these withdrawal symptoms disappear and I enter into a state of mild euphoria in which I feel amazing. I am free from cravings, I have newfound energy and my mood elevates. I love the food choices I am eating and feel motivated. It’s the third phase that always slips me up and causes me difficulty. Usually after about one month or so into my low-carb way of eating, my cravings come back full force, which is odd because I am not doing anything drastically different. It feels as if I am constantly experiencing a blood sugar low (even though when I check my numbers they are right on target). This is also accompanied by growing boredom with my food choices. There are times when I wake up in the morning and I don’t eat for half the day because I am so bored with my food choices. I don’t want to break the diet, but I can’t stand eating bacon & eggs or any other low-carb food choice. I just hit a motivational brick wall. I feel spent and can’t seem to go any further. I am completely burnt out. After a month or so of these feelings, I usually give up and binge on high-carb, sugary foods. Is there any way to avoid this combination of boredom, monotony and a return of sugar cravings? Have you heard of many other people who have gone through a similar pattern of experience with low-carb diets?

I have read your Diet 101 book and it seems that you are saying that not all low-carbers have to stick to around 50g net carbs or less daily. To clarify, are you saying that up to 100g or even 120g of carbs per day can still be ketogenic for some people? Or that not all low-carbers have to be ketogenic to gain the weight loss and heart health benefits of the low-carb lifestyle?

I have noticed the following pattern happen a few times and I wanted to get your comments about it. After a couple days when my carbs are kept below 50g daily, I’ll lose a little bit of weight, but I will also feel a bit shaky kind of like I used to feel when I was hungry before going low-carb with obvious weakness and a faster heart rate that is gone by noon. Have you heard of this and is there some sort of correlation between having lost weight and the shaky feelings?

I have been on the low-carb diet off and on for years. While I believe in it I can’t seem to lose much weight on it. I do feel good while consuming less than 20g carbs a day. I believe my problem might be too much protein. I tend to eat about 16-20 ounces of meat a day. I currently weigh 350 pounds which is down from my all-time high of 440 pounds. I have lost 50 pounds over the past year, but my weight has stalled out for three months in a row. I drink a lot of diet soda, so maybe that’s preventing me from getting over the hump. Do you have any ideas for me?

I am reading your Diet 101 book and I have to say that while it’s not exactly an uplifting and encouraging work of prose, I definitely appreciate the honesty. Here is my issue: When I want to see if something I ate is going to work for me, how do I tell if it’s something I should keep eating? I read that I’m not supposed to use a scale and that testing my urine ketones with Ketostix is unreliable. So how do I tell if I should keep eating dairy or if stevia is okay for me, for example. If I weigh and I’m up from the day before, can I extrapolate that to mean something I did the day before didn’t work for me?

What is the true impact of low-carb and ketogenic diets on female reproductive hormones? I am someone who battles with estrogen dominance and these diets as well as intermittent fasting have all wreaked havoc with my hormones. My menstrual cycle becomes irregular and PMS symptoms were off the scale eating that way. I also found that my candida problems got worse on a ketogenic diet and my weight predictably increased. I also dealt with a nasty spell of constipation while on a very low-carb, ketogenic diet. Paul Jaminet talks about adding in small amounts of safe starch to help and this certainly worked for me. I follow a fairly strict Paleo diet protocol, so I don’t tend to eat a high-carb diet anyway–just a small amount of starchy veggies amounting to under 150g a day. And I consume plenty of good fats. I think there needs to be more education for women so they can work out how low-carb they can safely go without experiencing these adverse side effects. Have you seen this?

I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes a couple of years ago and since have adopted a Paleo lifestyle for the past six months to stop any progression towards diabetes which runs in my family. I test daily and my fasting blood sugar numbers and they’re looking really good at around 74 in the mornings. Getting a blood glucose monitor has really helped me in figuring out which foods spike my sugars.

My question is about something that Diane Kress from The Diabetes Miracle has talked about regarding the liver self-feeding every 5 hours so you need to space your meals in less than five hours intervals to prevent it from releasing glycogen on its own. I’ve read her book to try to learn more about this but haven’t seen this really addressed anywhere else and am wondering if it’s really a concern. I’d like to hear Jenny’s thoughts on this and if it is a concern, how often to eat and how much. I have done a couple of experiments testing my fasting blood glucose numbers first thing in the morning and then don’t eat anything until later in the day. When I check my numbers hourly throughout the morning while still fasting, I noticed that my glucose numbers gradually rise over the course of the morning. Is this because of what Diane Kress says about the liver’s self-feeding mechanism?

Direct download: atlcx-27-jenny-ruhl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: September 13, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “All Things Vitamins (Supplements 101)”

We all know it's important for us to be getting our vitamins and minerals from the food we eat as much as we possibly can. But what about those critical nutrients that our bodies need that we can't quite get enough of even on our low-carb diet? That's where getting the right kind of supplementation may come into play for so many of us who have a vested interest in being optimally healthy. That's why I’m excited to have an expert on supplements joining us in Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of many books, including The Most Effective Natural Cures On Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Why (listen to my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast interview with him about this book in Episode 113 and Episode 114). Dr. Bowden is indeed one of the most knowledgeable experts in the world about vitamins and minerals and we were happy to have him here answering YOUR questions about this topic.


Low-Carb meal plans from Diet-to-Go. No carb counting, no cooking.
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Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I'm on a tight budget. What vitamins and minerals will give me the most optimal results for my health?

I have been reading a lot about adding baking soda to your water can improve alkalinity. Is this true and can you overdo it?

Are you aware of any supplements that are effective for blood glucose control?

Do you know of any supplements that are effective for reversing peripheral artery (vascular) disease?

I am a post-menopausal 51 year old woman and I've been taking 50 mg of DHEA for a few months to help me sleep better. I also added tryptophan at night and that helps me to really sleep deep. Is it fine to keep using these supplements over the long term? I've used melatonin in the past, but I have better results using DHEA and tryptophan.

I would like to know how to find out what forms of vitamins are best to take. I have seen two types of B12, three types of Magnesium and many types of iron. How do we know if what we are buying will be absorbed and how will it respond with other supplements we may be taking?

I'd like to know what supplements are best for people with eczema. I have two types - one being dishydrotic. I eat a clean Paleo diet and drink water and kombucha but still have a few stubborn patches.

I'm a 40 year old male in mostly good health: 5'11", 185 pounds, good muscle development and a solid exercise regimen. But I've had hypertension for years. I went Paleo in March 2012 and have had positive results across the board with my health, but my BP is still pretty high, often close to the 140/90 range before I lie down. I haven't seen diastolic less than 70 for 15-20 years. My allopathic doc just wants to prescribe medication without nailing down the cause. But there's a reason, and I want to know what it is so I can do something about it! I'm trying to hack my own way to a solution to this problem. I only drink maybe 2-3 cups of green tea per day; no other caffeine. I rarely consume 100g carbs/day, often less than 50g. My sodium intake shouldn't be an issue with this way of eating, especially with some folks talking about the need to supplement with salt! I get 7-8 hours sleep almost every night, and my life isn't full of stress, so I assume I'm not a ticking cortisol bomb. I supplement with magnesium, eat lots of green, leafy vegetables, and drink a cup of bone broth most days, so I'm probably good with most trace nutrients. Other than that, the only other supplement I take are a multivitamin and a drop of liquid Vitamin D3 daily. Am I relegated to prescription medication for the rest of my life to control my BP? I feel like I'm already addressing most of the known causes.

I have blood pressure that stays around 130/90 unless I am relaxed in bed. What vitamins can help normalize this and in what dose. I am 5'2" and 140 pounds, I've lost 30 pounds over the past year and a half via Paleo, but that has only brought my BP down a little.

What is the best supplement for dropping LDL and improving the particle size?

I've been low-carbing for 6 months and feel great. I get my information based on what I read in books as well as listening to podcasts! I take a daily multivitamin, as well as iron, D3, Potassium, Magnesium and CoQ-10. I take these all in the morning. Is it possible to take too many supplements if I eat a low-carb/moderate protein/high-fat diet for a 44 year old woman in good health? And are there other vitamins that are best taken at night like magnesium or at a different time during the day for optimum effect?

Is it possible to get a sufficient amount of vitamins from mostly green, leafy vegetables on a very low-carb diet or is it better to take a multivitamin to help supplement this way of eating?

Where do you see the future of supplements going? I've been reading more and more of the FDA trying to limit them (Codex Alimentarius). And what is your advice for finding more reliable suppliers?

Direct download: atlcx-26-dr-jonny-bowden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

These days, exercise has been relegated to forcing yourself to hop on a treadmill for 30-60 minutes a day or engage in rigorous weight lifting as a means for losing weight and getting stronger. But what if you could get the benefits of cardiovascular exercise AND resistance training in just 15-20 minutes a WEEK? That's precisely what New York slow lifting fitness expert Fred Hahn prescribes for his clients and what he has outlined in his outstanding book entitled Slow Burn Fitness Revolution co-written with Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades. He's also written a follow-up book for teaching children the benefits of proper strength training called Strong Kids, Healthy Kids. This week's topic is "All Things Slow Lifting (Slow Burn 101)." Have you ever wanted to know why lifting at a slower pace less frequently is preferred over traditional weight lifting at a faster speed and more often? Fred Hahn is the man to answer YOUR questions about it!



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I have been doing Slow Burn-style lifting since June 2012. I feel that I have been going to failure and then adding 10 seconds. I always feel spent after a workout of 5-8 different exercises. I started out doing 2 workouts per week and have now decreased to 1 workout weekly. My problem is I am not seeing the gains I would like to see in either my strength or appearance. I don't think anyone can tell I've been working out out based on my appearance. I still have a fair amount of body fat but even in the areas where there is little body fat I don't see great improvements. I am currently following a low-carb diet and have lost over 100 pounds. I still need to lose another 75 pounds to be at goal weight. What's going on here?

I noticed something and I wanted to ask Fred about it. I know that Ken Hutchins said that the range of time for lifting can be between 6-15 seconds and that 10 seconds is just a good round number. But I have noticed that when I decrease my time to around 6-7 seconds both positive and negative I enjoy lifting so much more. This is purely subjective but there is something about making myself go to 10 seconds that takes the "fun" out of lifting and makes it more like work. Have you heard of this before and is there a good explanation for why I do better at the shorter times than the longer ones?

What is Fred's personal exercise regimen per week? Surely he does more than one 15-20 minute resistance training session a week. And why does he not like the power plate for muscle building exercises?

I've been lifting slow for just about a year and I really enjoy it--certainly much more than I thought I would. Being really out of shape at the beginning, I could barely leg press 95 pounds. Now I've been doing 300 pounds for the past month. But I feel like I'm stuck at 300 and want to know what I need to do to break through 300. I've set a personal mini-goal of 320 pounds for myself and would like to get there soon. What's the best way to do it? My trainer says to just be patient, but is it going to take a while to build up the strength?

I am in the Navy and I am looking for suggestions for a Slow Burn approach to getting ready for an upcoming Navy fitness test. For the past four months I have been doing the Big 5 workout from the Body By Science program and I have been seeing terrific results in my strength. My upcoming test is about 8 weeks away and will require me to do as many sit-ups as I can in two minutes followed by as many pushups as I can in two minutes followed by 12 minutes of maximum effort on a stationary bike. I am having a hard time balancing my current strength program with preparing specifically for this test and still getting enough rest days to maximize recovery. I am considering putting the Body By Science program I've been doing on hold until after the test and instead working on pushups and sit-ups in a super slow manner and the bike test full out about once per week. Does this sound like a good approach or do you have any other suggestions?

My wife has also been doing a High Intensity, Super Slow workout program for the last few months. Recently we found out she is pregnant. We have read that this is a good routine for someone who is with child, but do you have any specific recommendations both for how to approach her workout now and as the weeks go on? And are there any things we should be concerned about or things we should watch out for to make sure she and the baby are safe?

I'm a 41-year-old pretty skinny dude who is 6 feet tall. How do I put more meat on my bones? I've never done any kind of weight training before and I don't have access to a gym.

Would the slow lifting technique work for someone who is brand new to exercise? And what kind of results have you seen with women?

I do Slow Burn at the gym two days a week during my lunch hour. Many of my colleagues do not eat before they workout but I always have part of my lunch before engaging in exercise. I think part of it is my fear of being weak and hungry reminding me of my pre-low-carb days but I think the other part is that I feel stronger. However, after a workout I am a bit shaky for about 30 minutes and not hungry until about an hour later when I'm able to finish the rest of my lunch. Do you think I should eat my entire lunch before my workout? What is your favorite pre- and post-workout snack or meal?

Fred, I know you're an opponent of kettlebell training. I'd love to hear what your arguments are for this. Is it strictly because there are better ways to get similar results or due to a high-level of perceived injury risk? I think the former is very subjective and anecdotal, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. As for the injury risk, what if you're someone with vast experience in kettlebell training or someone working with an RKC certified instructor? I tend to think kettlebell training is something, when done right and with the appropriate weight and periodization, is something people really enjoy and can get legitimate results from. What are your thoughts?

I have four kids under the age of 7 and my time is really tight. I can either drive my son to school or take 30 minutes to walk with him. If I HAD to choose, which would be a better use of my time for me and my family: walking my child to school or doing the resistance training? I know I should do both, but what if I can ONLY do one?

How do you figure out the level of your starting weight on a Slow Burn lifting routine? I read a recommendation of 80% of maximum in Body by Science, but I have no clue what my maximum is so that doesn't really help me.

I'd like to know the best way to get going again with lifting weights. I personally have muscular/skeletal issues from sitting at a desk all day and I get easily tired and sore.

Can you ask Fred to touch on why a person should do the concentric and eccentric portion of the exercise as opposed to doing each one only. There seems to be proponents of doing only the eccentric portion, so what gives? Also, how would you go about learning how to become certified in your Slow Burn technique to help train others?

After listening to previous interviews with you about Slow Burn, I've decided to change to weight training using one very slow set of 10-12 reps for each lift. It takes me about 20 minutes to complete my upper body. Do you dedicate the next day for lower body then following day to repeat the upper body? I still walk in the pool to get full step motion and to do back, chest, and neck stretches but I have cut my time in the pool down from 1 hour to 30 minutes which has helped me get more done in my day.

I have been doing slow lifting one set to failure a la Doug McGuff's Body By Science for about 3-4 weeks now. It's experimental for me to see if I can make muscle gains with this way of lifting. Currently I'm doing one day of slow lifting, one day of sprints, one day of body weight exercises including pushups, pull-ups, air squats and planks, and one day I run a mile with the goal of getting my mile time down to around 7:30, then add distance until I can comfortably run a 5k. I am a 25 year old, 5'10" and about 150 pound man with around 12-15% body fat looking to get to single digits. I eat strict Paleo and have recently cut out fruits opting instead for eating meats and veggies to keep my total sugar intake down. My primary goal is to lean out and then gain 15-20 pounds of muscle in the next year or so. I'm wondering whether these are realistic goals with that type of training protocol? How do you compare slow lifting one set to failure to something like Wendler's 5/3/1 program? And which would you say is better for long-term strength gains?

Direct download: atlcx-25-fred-hahn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Do you struggle with how much protein is right for you? More? Less? Well here's your chance to ask THE protein aficionado himself. We are thrilled to have Dr. Donald Layman with us to discuss what role protein can and should play within the context of a low-carbohydrate diet. He is a professor of nutrition in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences in Urbana, Illinois. He is one of the foremost experts in the world on the subject of protein and has been studying the effects of proteins and amino acids to determine their effect on exercise performance as well as the role they play in overall health for decades.


Low-Carb meal plans from Diet-to-Go. No carb counting, no cooking.
Enter "LLVLC" at checkout for 25% off!

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I'm a 69-year-old female who has been in a power wheelchair for the past 12 years due to MS. I remain fairly active in my upper body doing light housekeeping, cooking, and shopping, taking care of grandchildren twice a week, driving as needed with hand controls, and exercising at the gym twice a week for about an hour. My weight has come down to 140 from 155 by eating low-carb for the past five years. But I would feel much more comfortable, as I'm sitting all day, with less body fat around my middle. I eat under 20 grams of carbs with the recommended .8 grams protein per kilo of ideal body weight, but I seem to be an expert at gluconeogenesis and can't get into ketosis. Does being unable to walk allow for a smaller protein requirement for people like me? I'm also "pre-diabetic" with fasting blood glucose readings around 110 dropping into the 90's when I eat the smaller protein amount.

I need to accurately calculate my protein requirement -- what do I need to measure to do that for myself? Should my protein intake be for my current weight or my ideal body weight? I want to make sure I'm getting just the right amount of protein in preparation for a triathlon that will not send me into fat-storing mode. There are just so many conflicting opinions about this.

Are there any guidelines to the protein serving size that minimizes insulin response?

Are you aware of any studies comparing the satiety of various proteins such as eggs, beef, lamb, game, chicken, soy, whey, milk, cheese and yogurt?

How much protein should a person who has the gene H63D for hemochromatosis and an iron level of 601 eat and what kinds? I also have episodes of atrial fibrillation. It's kind of a mystery knowing what to do for someone with afib and high iron levels because it seems like they have opposite solutions.

What happens if someone eats too much protein in a day? What level of protein intake would that be and what would happen if someone consumed that much protein?

Why does beef or game seem to give better control over hunger than the same amount of chicken? That's been my personal experience over the past six years. Whenever I eat a larger amount of chicken, for example, that makes me hungry for even more meat sooner than a smaller amount of beef or game with similar protein. And when I say hungry for meat, that means an intense craving that makes me want steak or liver and lots of it fried lots of butter--right now! Is this satiety difference related to the fat quality of these meats?

Why is it that after not eating all day I can eat a big hunk of protein and within minutes of finishing I am suddenly sleepy?

I switched over to a low-carb/ketogenic diet last June and one thing I noticed within a few days is that my hands and feet didn't get cold anymore. After reading on the low-carb blogs about how consuming too much protein can get converted into glucose, I started lowering my protein intake down from 150+ grams daily to just over 100 grams. Then I started having cold hands and feet again and for the past few days I've been upping my protein again to see what would happen. My cold extremities have improved again. Is it safe to assume that this means I've found the right level of protein I need? Or what else is going on here?

When determining the optimal protein intake for preservation of muscle mass during weight loss, should it be figured on a per kg BW basis or total energy in the diet basis and why? What figure would you use and is it different for men vs. women and why?

My son is allergic to dairy and I'm looking for an acceptable alternative to protein shakes made with whey protein. Is rice protein an acceptable alternative or are there better ones?

Can you address the differing opinions from various low-carb doctors on the subject of protein. Dr. Ron Rosedale seems to think that excess protein is unhealthy and can shorten your lifespan while Dr. Jack Kruse and Dr. Michael Eades don't think protein consumption is an issue. Is there any research on longevity or other health benefits with keeping your protein minimized?

I intermittent fast for 16 hours and then squeeze in three meals in the span of 8 hours. My question for you is when I'm eating this way with about 35-40g of protein per meal, how does this influence protein digestion and use during the rest of the day when I'm not eating? Is this an adequate amount of protein to consume? What happens if I'm so satisfied with what I've eaten in only one or two of those meals consisting of 35-40g protein each that I skip a meal or two?

I am an active 45-year-old who lost 75 pounds on the Atkins diet. I have been working on building muscle and have increased my intake of protein to facilitate that. Obviously, I get most of my protein intake from real whole foods, but I have been targeting 1g of protein per pound of lean body weight each day and I am finding that even with a low-carb lifestyle, I am needing to supplement with whey protein to reach that goal. But I'm concerned because I have heard from one of my favorite fitness bloggers that whey protein increases insulin more than even white bread! Needless to say, I was shocked and disappointed as I have had good results drinking whey protein shakes. I am desperately trying to avoid consuming soy protein and have not liked the products I have tried with casein and hemp proteins, am I okay sticking with whey protein as long as I time the supplementation to coincide with my workouts to avoid the insuligenic effect? Would beef protein supplementation be even better as an alternative?

Are there certain foods rich in protein that should be avoided? I love the rich selection of cheeses that we can get here in England, but wondered if consuming all that dairy was bad for me.

Would Dr. Layman please address the branch chain amino acids, particularly leucine, isoleucine and valine and their ability to raise insulin levels, but relatively suppress glucagon levels. Alternatively, the amino acids phenylalanine, glycine, serine and asparagine seem to raise glucagon relative to insulin according to studies done in dogs. Are there better protein sources for people that might cause a lower insulin response and a greater glucagon response that would possibly enhance weight loss?

Direct download: atlcx-24-layman-protein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

We’ve all run into those times during our healthy low-carb lifestyle when the weight loss just doesn’t want to cooperate with us despite doing everything the same as we always have when weight loss has happened before. You might be asking yourself what the heck is going on and what am I doing wrong? Has anybody ever felt that way before? Are you even living this in your own life RIGHT NOW? This week’s expert guest is here to help you circumnavigate through what might be happening to help you get on the right track again. He is low-carbohydrate diet researcher Dr. Stephen Phinney, the co-author of the 2010 New York Times bestselling book The New Atkins For A New You as well his two follow-up books with Dr. Jeff Volek called The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living in 2011 and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance in 2012.


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Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

Hi Dr. Phinney, I live in Sweden and I follow the LCHF diet (low-carb high-fat). I’m a 5’10″ tall female and weigh 195 pounds. I am hypothyroid and am taking 25 mg Levaxin. For exercise, I perform high intensity training (boxing), workout at the gym, and running about 10-12 hours/week. I’d like to lose another 25 pounds so I can perform better at my sports activities, but I’ve always had a really hard time losing weight even on 1000 calories/day. My current macronutrient ratios have been about 80% fat, 16-20% protein and 1-4% carbs–in other words very ketogenic. In the beginning I felt very good because all my cravings went away and I felt good mentally.

After being faithfully ketogenic for the past five months I have:

a. Gained 18 pounds while consuming 2000-2500 calories a day
b. My TSH level increased 50%
c. I lack energy, am fatigued and experience an elevated heart rate during workouts
d. I’m having difficulty falling asleep

If this really the optimal diet for everyone? Whenever I consume some carbohydrates one hour before my workouts my performance seems to get better. Maybe I should be eating more carbs and slightly less fat but I know I’ll be starving doing that. I just want to be at a healthy weight and feel good during my workouts. Any advice?

I’ve been off and on low-carb diets for many years and keep trying to lose my gut. But whenever I return to low-carb again I tend to lose weight quickly in about month which is great. But after about another month or so I tend to return to my old eating patterns and put on even more weight–and so the cycle continues. When I first started low-carbing I was about 40 years old and now I’m 62 and 224 pounds on my 5’10″ body. Do you think I should start from scratch with two weeks of a well-formulated low-carb ketogenic diet? But then what?

Have you seen any successful methods for women wanting to lose weight in their abdomen after multiple pregnancies? Is a temporary or permanent change in their diet and exercise routine necessary to return to a normal weight again?

I’m a 5′ tall, 60-year old woman and in the past two years I have lost 50 pounds–25 on Weight Watchers and when that stopped working, Atkins for the last 25 pounds. I still have about 15-20 pounds to reach my goal and I’ve been hovering at around 134 pounds for the past six months. I can’t seem to get past this point. I’ve tried the Atkins Fat Fast, counting total carbohydrates, avoiding sugar alcohols, gave up wine and even limited calories to 1200 daily–all to no avail. To say I’m frustrated is an understatement. Would going even lower than 25g carbs a day be worth trying?

I have been eating Paleo/low-carb for about 2 years after I found CrossFit. About eight months into my new way of eating, my CrossFit coaches encouraged me to reintroduce 16 ounces of milk and sweet potatoes post-workout. That was the end of my weight loss. My average daily intake consists of about 60-80g fat, less than 100g carb and 150g protein a day. I am very consistent with my meals. Breakfast is either eggs and a fruit or a protein drink with almond milk, lunch most of the time is a chicken breast and spinach, dinner is a meat and veggie. I do not use any form of sugar or substitutes and I get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night. Any thoughts?

My question pertains to tweaking the low-carb diet to work for a complete and total screwed up enigma…me! I’m a 44-year old woman in good overall health and taking no medications. I have struggled with my weight all my life and have seen success following the Richard Simmons Deal-A-Meal and Weight Watchers plans in the past. At the age of 35, I decided to become an amateur bodybuilder over a four-year period that had me on a calorie-restricted, high-protein, low-carb, zero fat diet. My coach put me on fat burners, diuretics and low-dose anabolic drugs for short periods of time. This was the biggest mistake of my life! I actually started gaining weight despite keeping calories very low and exercising excessively. I finally wised up and quit this insanity but now I’m 195 pounds on my 5’6″ body. I’m fairly muscular because of my weight training, but no amount of dieting helps me lose weight. I’ve tried raising calories, lowering calories, carb cycling, ketogenic…you name it. I am currently on a low-carb Paleo plan and I’ve also played around with various types and intensities of exercise. I feel generally well with good energy levels. But I’m afraid I’ve messed up my body forever. I refuse to give up, but I desperately need your help!

I understand that the body can and will make its own glucose if necessary. Is it correct to assume that the body will only make as much glucose as it needs or will it make an excessive amount of glucose if too much protein is consumed? Or will it only make as much glucose as is needed and convert the rest of the excess protein into fat? I have been told by my personal trainer that our bodies have a difficult time converting protein to fat. Is that true?

I am a 33 year-old female with Type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto’s with normal thyroid panels. For the past two years I have followed a very low-carb diet as per Dr. Richard Bernstein’s recommendations in his book Diabetes Solution. My days my carb intakes stays at 30g or less and I believe my diet is ketogenic because I’m not eating more than moderate levels of protein. But in two years of low-carb eating, my weight has not changed at all and my body composition has not seemed to change either. I follow this way of eating due to the excellent diabetes control that it provides me. But I am surprised and a little bit frustrated that I have not lost any weight. I am not excessively overweight by any means but could afford to probably lose 10 pounds or so to be at a healthier weight. I recognize that body composition is a better way of measuring a healthy weight, but something’s gotta give. I walk quite a bit every single day as I live in a city but I have found it hard to find a routine that doesn’t adversely affect the stability of my blood sugar levels. I eat to satiety with a variety of low-carb vegetables, fattier cuts of meat, eggs, etc. What might the culprit in my weight loss struggles be? Is it due to excessive calories because of my high dietary fat intake? I have never lost a single pound following a low-carb diet.

What other approaches would you suggest for obese people who do not seem to lose any weight despite keeping calories low along with their high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet with regular exercise? What other biological factors besides insulin resistance can prevent weight loss from happening?

Is it better to split up your protein intake on a low-carb over several meals throughout the day to prevent gluconeogenesis from creating too much glucose in the body that could stall weight loss?

I eat a handful each of almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, flax seeds and Brazil nuts everyday. I’m trying to lose about 10 pounds and I eat a super-clean Paleo diet with zero processed food or anything with a label. Just protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. But although I eat clean, my weight loss is completely stalled. Do you think I should totally give up the nuts and fruit as I’m sure I’m eating way too many calories and carbs a day from them. Is there anything in nuts and fruit that I really need that I can’t get elsewhere in my diet?

My husband and I have been on low-carb for the past six weeks, but we’re not seeing any good results so far. I have lost 160 pounds with Weight Watchers in the past, but I gained 70 pounds back putting me at 220 pounds for a 5’5″ tall, 55-year old woman. My husband is currently 200 pounds at 5’8″ tall and 59 years old. We both are consuming 20g carbohydrates or less daily, so I’m thinking calories must be too high although I certainly don’t feel like I’m overeating. Is there a range of calories we should be striving for?

I’m a 50-year old woman (5’8” and 215 pounds) who has been on the low-carb lifestyle for over a decade. I started gaining weight in 2007 and put on 65 pounds by 2011 even on a very low-carb diet. I was recently diagnosed with T2 diabetes and started Metformin twice a day. I read a study last year that stated eating a 600 calorie low-carb diet could reverse diabetes, so I came up with a modified version of it for me that amounted to consuming 800 calories/day before returning to my 1400-1800 calorie low-carb plan again. I lost 31 pounds over a 10-week period and my blood sugars returned to normal for about 3 weeks after doing this. But then my weight started creeping up again and I’ve since gained back half of the weight I had lost. When I was on the 800-calorie diet, I noticed I had to keep my protein under 60 grams a day, so I’m wondering if it’s not just the carbs, but also the protein that is causing the problems for me. I’d like to think I can live on more than 800 calories a day for the rest of my life, so any solution you might have for me would be appreciated.

I have a question that pertains to the ladies. I seem to stall out two weeks a month due to hormones and then lose weight for only two weeks. This is quite frustrating! What can I do to kick my ketone levels up higher so I can lose weight more steadily even through my menstrual cycle? Or is it natural for women to get kicked out of ketosis during this time that will obviously stall their weight loss progress?

If you’re eating a well-formulated low-carb diet where carbohydrates are less than 20g, protein is 85g or less and fat consists of at least 65% of calories, how is it possible to experience voracious hunger? I’ve been stalled out eating this way for nearly a year and perhaps I’m eating way too many calories. I’ve tried increasing or decreasing each of the three macronutrients at different times for at least two weeks at a time to see what works. For me, increasing protein seems to work best but it is temporary in keeping my hunger under control. Nothing seems to help for more than a week or two before the hunger bug comes on with a vengeance. This hunger is overwhelming unless I eat a LOT of food–upwards of 2500-3000 calories per day with at least 130g coming from protein. But this level of eating prevents me from losing weight. Calorie restriction means unbearable hunger for me and that’s absolutely unsustainable. The ketogenic recipe for blunting hunger and natural calorie control doesn’t seem to work for me. I know I’m not alone in this. What do you suggest for people like me?

Do higher levels of ketosis mean you will experience more rapid weight loss? I’ve been measuring my blood ketones and wondered if readings over 2.0 millimolar meant that I was in the ideal range for optimal fat loss.

I am a postmenopausal woman who lost 55 pounds in one year on the Atkins diet. I still have another 50 pounds to lose as I am still classified as obese. Unfortunately, I’ve been in a holding pattern for nearly two years despite attempting several strategies including the leptin reset, intermittent fasting, the Atkins fat fast, calorie cycling and most recently decreasing protein and upping my dietary fat intake. I walk everyday for exercise and I’ve actually regained about six pounds in the past 6 months. It’s obvious I’m still producing too much insulin in my body. What can I do to get better control of this besides a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carb nutritional approach. I think I may have morphed into a Zucker rat.

I have heard from people in the Paleo community that a very low-carb diet can possibly interfere with thyroid function and/or stress the adrenals which may be a culprit in preventing weight loss from happening. Are you aware of any scientific evidence that supports or refutes this claim?

I’m a competitive bike racer and putting on a few extra pounds led me start on a low-carb Paleo diet. I made the mistake of eating a lot of the “safe starches” with my high-fat intake and quickly gained 15-20 pounds. Needless to say, I stopped racing and started examining nutrition more closely. Through the work of Dr. Peter Attia, I found your books and immediately started following a ketogenic diet. But I’ve been having trouble getting into ketosis over the past 3-4 months and I find it hard to understand why I’m gaining weight or not losing on such a well-formulated low-carb diet. Maybe my body needs more time to adapt to this way of eating, but it looks like it will preferentially store fat from the diet rather than burn it. Despite this, I do believe becoming keto-adapted is the natural way for humans to live. Should I just hang in there eating this way to give my body more time to adjust and let the weight come down eventually? And what about using intermittent fasting to help kickstart the weight loss? It seems to be quite easy and natural to do when you eat a ketogenic diet.

Have you seen any correlation between high blood ketone levels, normal blood sugar levels and weight loss? Also, what amount of protein is considered too little? What signs or symptoms should you look for? Finally, is it possible to eat too much dietary fat while on a ketogenic low-carb diet? Thanks for answering my questions!

I am a relatively new convert to low-carb after having spent the last 25 years of my life as a low-fat, high-carb eating running machine. I converted to a low-carb diet 8 months ago because I’m a 52-year old woman who has seen my weight “creep up” slowly but surely mostly in my thighs and buttocks with the same amount of exercise in recent years. I am convinced I am one of those people who has a love/hate relationship with carbs and I cannot believe how much better I feel following a low-carb lifestyle. My question is this: how much do you think peri-menopause and the hormonal changes that go with that play a part in fat gain? Everything I’ve heard says the LAST thing a woman at this stage in her life should do is diet since the fat cells are genetically programmed to hang on to their fat in order to manufacture more estrogen to replace that which is not coming from the ovaries anymore. Am I on the right track in following the low-carb lifestyle in order to lose the 10 extra pounds I have put on?

Hey Dr. Phinney, I’ve read both of your “Art And Science” books and many others and I would love some clarification on how easy it is to lose keto-adaption and switch from fat burning to sugar burning. If you have a cheat day or a higher carb meal such as a pizza and a couple of beers for example weekly, will that take you out of keto-adaption and cause you to start over for 2-4 weeks every time you do it? How perfect do you need to be with carb intake to stay keto-adapted?

Does the body tend to want to be a certain weight? I am 24-year old female and slightly overweight. Even though I have lost a significant amount of weight before, I always seem to return to the initial weight that I started out with. I have been eating Paleo and low-carb between 50-100g daily but have not been ketogenic. Is it possible to reprogram the body to be comfortable at a new weight and make it stop trying to gain back the pounds?

I’m a 5’8″ tall, 54-year old, 172-pound menopausal woman and a long-term failure at low-carb dieting. I have been doing some form of low-carb diet plan for more than seven years and I’m completely stalled at a good 20-30 pounds above my goal. The only way I’ve been able to lose weight was doing the hCG protocol, but I couldn’t maintain the loss even on strict low-carb. I have no functioning thyroid and take 1.5 grains of Armour thyroid. My hypothyroid is under control and my labs look good. My current eating plan has been to maintain nutritional ketosis for five days and then two days of semi-fasting low-carbing a week down to 500 calories. I’d been doing a rotation of calorie up days with those semi-fasting days as well, but even that hasn’t led to weight loss beyond a couple of pounds. This seems to be a frequent issue for older woman on the low-carb forum I visit, so any advice will be shared with others in my situation. Calories on my eating days fall around 1800-2000. Protein ranges from 70-100g. Net carbs after subtracting fiber are usually around 20-30g.

I’m a 5’7″ tall, 49-year old woman who currently weighs 194 pounds. I’ve had low iron levels for 12 years and was recently diagnosed with iron deficient anemia. I’ve been on a low-carb diet for 1 1/2 years and haven’t lost more than a few pounds during that time. I’m pretty strict as far as my low-carb diet goes. We raise our own grass-finished cows, chickens and I eat tons of butter and other sources of fat. Do you think my iron problems have anything to do with my problem losing weight?

I’m a 350-pound, 63-year old female with Type 2 diabetes taking insulin once a day. Low-carb dieting alone doesn’t work for me anymore. As long as I stay very low-carb, I can maintain my weight but I don’t lose. Lately I’ve been examining the idea of a high-fat, low-carb plan. But I’ve also been hearing about Dr. Jack Kruse’s Leptin Reset plan in which you start out each day with a breakfast of 50 to 75 grams of protein within a half-hour of waking. I have thought about perhaps starting with his plan and then after six weeks transition to high-fat, low-carb. What added benefits would I get from just going on your high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb approach compared to this other plan?

Is it possible that after being on a low-carb lifestyle for several years that your body can become resistant to weight loss? I’m consistently in ketosis according to the urine test sticks but I only experience very, very moderate weight loss. When I followed this lifestyle several years ago, I lost 30 pounds. But it has slowly come back on my body. I read your book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance and increased my fat intake to 80% of calories, protein 11%/carbohydrates 8%. But so far I’ve only seen very modest weight loss. I’m concerned that I’m eating too much fat for my body to burn its own fat stores. I am very discouraged and wish I could just find a doctor who could help me. But I don’t know of any local physicians that would encourage a low-carb lifestyle. Does your body become resistant after awhile making it necessary to reduce dietary fat intake in order to see fat loss happen?

Do you have any suggestions for women in the midst of hot flash season during menopause with rebooting weight loss? I have plateaued many times with the last one being five weeks long. I have been trying to lose 80 pounds since February 2012 and have only lost a little over 25 pounds so far.

I’m a 53-year-old menopausal women who has recently found that eating low-carb is not working as well for me as it previously has. It started earlier this summer when I noticed that although my weight has been remaining fairly stable, I am actually adding body fat around my belly and back. I’ve been lucky my whole life to have been thin and active but noticed as I got in my upper 40s that I was putting on weight. Several years ago, I tried the South Beach diet after a friend had success on Atkins (I was too afraid of eating that much fat to try it). I lost 16 pounds on South Beach and was able to keep it off for a while. Then I read books by Gary Taubes and changed my eating to more of what he suggested. I am now eating the cleanest diet I’ve ever consumed in my life but my body is not responding the way it used to. Is this just the way it is when you get older?

Direct download: atlcx-23-phinney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: August 16, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "The Truth About Soy"

People are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers associated with consuming soy and soy-based food products. Unfortunately, this also means a lot of the low-carb packaged foods like protein bars that many in the low-carb community may be consuming. While this so-called "health" food is promoted heavily to consumers as an optimally healthy meal replacement and an adequate protein alternative to meats, the reality is there are a lot more risks associated with eating this stuff than most people realize. Our guest this week is "The Naughty Nutritionist" Dr. Kaayla Daniel who knows just a thing or two on this subject. Her book The Whole Soy Story gives all the down and dirty details about what makes soy a less-than-stellar choice for your dining pleasure. Listen to my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast interview with Dr. Daniel from 2010 in Episode 386.



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

Recently I was talking to a friend and mentioned that, traditionally, soy was only ever eaten fermented. He promptly pointed out that edamame isn't fermented. I didn't have an answer to that, hence my question for you. Is there a secret to edamame that makes it okay to eat or is it the exception that proves the rule?

I was wondering if Dr. Daniel knows whether the soy in animal feed can effect our metabolisms when we eat the animals for food? I'm asking because I noticed that my thyroid will swell and my metabolism will slow down for 2-3 days when I eat chicken. My thyroid health is fine otherwise. In my first year of eating low-carb high-fat, I noticed the only time my weight fluctuated up was the day after we ate chicken. I was able to experiment and isolate it as a factor, by eating it without spices, sauces, or flavorings, or any side dishes. I'd read that farmers have to be careful of the proportion of soy in livestock diets, because it can screw up their animals metabolisms, too. I am left wondering whether my n=1 observation is pointing to a known effect --- that is, can the amount of soy in an animals diet have an impact on us when we eat it?

I use tofu-based Shirataki noodles several times a month and want to know if they are okay to use. They contain water, soybeans (tofu), calcium sulfate, glucono delta lactone, yam flour and calcium hydroxide.

I get ill every time I eat soy. I've had soy flour sitting in my freezer for months. It's getting tossed! What's in this stuff that's making me so sick?

Some of my favorite teas list soy lecithin as an ingredient. If this is the only soy I get in my diet would that still cause problems? I drink one cup a day. I avoid all other forms of soy and soybean oil whenever possible. I also have PCOS so I know that it's even more critical that I keep my estrogen levels in check, but I'd hate to give up my favorite tea.

I'd love to hear Dr. Daniel's thoughts on soy lecithin and soy-based emulsifiers in things like vitamins and fish oil capsules. There's something about using an omega-6 rich substance to emulsify omega-3 capsules that seems ironic.

What about the soy that's in skin care products? Most women over 35 experience an increase in their facial hair and soy-based creams and extracts are often recommended for this and included in cosmetics. Knowing what we do about soy, what should ladies be using instead? I tried a soy cream and thought it actually made my peach fuzz grow darker, so I stopped. What's a better alternative or is this something we need to be concerned with at all?

Is it better to avoid eating soy rather than risk eating GMO soy? Which types of soy are best to eat, if we're forced to consume GMO-based ones?

Can the phytoestrogen in soy foods cause erectile dysfunction in men?

Direct download: atlcx-22-kaayla-daniel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: July 26, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "Are Starches Really Safe?"

One of the most controversial issues in the Paleo/low-carb communities over the past year is the concept known as "safe starches" popularized by people like Paul Jaminet in his book Perfect Health Diet. When I first blogged about this topic in October 2011, I was simply curious about the seemingly bizarre idea that consuming starch could somehow be a part of a healthy nutritional plan in light of the predictable negative blood sugar impact of consuming these foods. The conversation that ensued between Paul Jaminet and low-carb physician Dr. Ron Rosedale in the months that followed literally defined some clear lines of distinction between those in the Paleo community who see starchy foods such as white rice, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains as harmless to health and those in the low-carb community who view starch as something to be avoided if you want to optimize your health. Who's right? Who's wrong? That's what we'll seek to answer in Episode 21 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" with the author of Primal Body, Primal Mind Nora Gedgaudas. With a panel of experts slated to tackle this important Paleo/low-carb health issue coming up next month at the upcoming Ancestral Health Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts in two weeks, this podcast gave YOU a chance to ask the questions you think need to be out there regarding this topic.



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

Is it okay to eat fruit when it's out of season? For example a banana in Chicago in the dead of winter?

I have athletic boys who I feel NEED to consume safe starches after sports? Is this true or am I just falling for conventional wisdom? Will they miss out on any nutrients or energy in their lives if they choose to avoid starches? Honestly, they are not big fans of sweet potatoes (although I keep making them and presenting them and will continue to!). How about white potatoes? What's the nutrient difference?

Are safe starches okay as a staple of the "Paleo diet" or should they only be used in proportion to your activity level? Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson and other Paleo/primal leaders advocate for higher-carb levels for endurance athletes for instance, but some people like "Free The Animal" blogger Richard Nikoley seem to do okay with white potatoes as a part of their diet on a regular basis even without endurance exercise. What are your thoughts?

In my view the entire controversy over "safe starches" is completely overblown because the applied dose is never discussed. I am a near zero carb dieter who remains in nutritional ketosis all the time. I don't ever each starches as part of my diet. As a keto-adapted runner these supposedly "safe starches" work against me. However, I did read Paul Jaminet's The Perfect Health Diet and found the suggested dose of starchy carbohydrates -- 20% of calories -- to be quite reasonable when compared to clinical studies on low-carb which also have about 20% of calories from carbohydrates. The goal of the safe starches is not to suggest sugar is safe, but to stave off "excess gluconeogenesis" so the liver does not need to work to produce glucose and instead the minimal amount that is needed will be supplied by the diet. Unfortunately, I think the safe starch message has been twisted by the bodybuilding crowd who have descended upon Paleo and given them a way to cling to their old alternating high-carb/low-carb days, substituting sweet potatoes for post-workout sugar/protein bombs they used to ingest. As a low-carb advocate the applied dose is the real bone of contention as it is being incorrectly applied by Paleo at large. What do you think?

Is it possible to stoke food cravings leading someone to possibly overeat from consuming safe starches? Or is this desire completely avoidable for someone with a fat-burning, balanced metabolism?

Pretty much all longevity research has shown that the key is keeping the amount of insulin your body needs to use over its lifetime as low as possible. Thus, however "safe" glycating starches might be in the short term, by definition, how can they be considered metabolically benign to most of us whose capacity to process glucose declines as we age?

Is the safety of starches in a Paleo diet largely dependent on the individual's current health, goals, and food tolerances relative to the chosen starch sources? Consider two examples: A clinically obese, sedentary individual eating a Paleo diet and a lean, active individual eating a Paleo diet. It seems reasonable to limit starch for the sedentary individual, in favor of high quality proteins, fats, and non-starchy carbohydrates to help facilitate hormonal repair and weight loss. In the case of the active individual, adding starches seems like an easy way to replenish depleted glycogen stores and help facilitate improved recovery from exercise. Assuming an individual has a good relationship with food and a healthy hormonal system, how does starch cause harm?

Is time of day important in terms of the effects of carb consumption, and, if so, would it be better to eat carbs in the morning or evening? And does eating fat along with carbs mitigate the effect of those carbs on blood sugar? If so, is there a rule of thumb or ratio you can use?

I would like to ask you about manioc and manioc flour, mainly because it is one of the most common sources of carbohydrates in my country of Brazil. I have chosen it as my main source of carbs because it is gluten free and the only main anti-nutrient I could find in it is acceptable levels of cyanide. The toasting and preparation of the flour supposedly eliminates most of the cyanide. I have also read that the detrimental effects of manioc's cyanide is greatly reduced with the proper amount of meat protein, which I eat a lot of, so I hope there is some truth in there. Do you have any thoughts on this as an acceptable starch source?

Direct download: atlcx-21-nora-gedgaudas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: July 19, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "Transitioning To The Paleo Diet"

The Paleo diet has come on strong in recent years as people have become increasingly frustrated by the constant (and nauseating) promotion of high-carb, low-fat nutritional plans as the only way to get healthy. Unfortunately, these dietary approaches simply leave most dieters hungry, irritable and miserable. If only we could convince people to hearken back to the dietary dictates of our ancestors when obesity, diabetes and heart disease didn't exist, then perhaps we could salvage the weight and health of modern man. That's exactly the passion of bestselling author of The Paleo Solution (read Jimmy's review here) and Paleo lifestyle expert Robb Wolf. Robb joins us in Episode 20 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" to address all of your questions about changing your diet over from the SAD, vegetarian/vegan or even a low-carb diet to a Paleo lifestyle. If you've been considering making the switch over to a Paleo diet and have any questions about how to go about doing that, then Robb is the man to provide the answers.



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

How is butter different from cream when it comes to Paleo? I have a friend who shuns cream and cheese and other dairy but still uses butter. I am trying to transition to Paleo but am trying to figure out the differences. Is cheese better than cream as far as Primal versus Paleo?

Can you explain your statement about eating fat on a Paleo diet? It seems I've heard you say that if you want to lose fat then you need to eat less overall which includes less fat. Do you really believe that is true?

What are your thoughts on the proliferation of Paleo desserts, e.g. Paleo brownies, chocolate truffles, waffles, etc. Where does that fall in the fundamental Paleo concept of Just Eat Real Food? I know you like to use the caveat of do whatever improves how you "look, feel and perform" but I’m curious what your personal opinion is on these recreations and how eating them everyday impacts one’s health.

Is BPA consumption a concern for someone who eats canned fatty fish every other day on his Paleo diet? I eat this way because it's cheap, especially mackerel and sardines packed in brine which I enjoy.

I am a 47 year old female who has made the transition from triathlete to competitive bodybuilder. I was a vegetarian for nearly 20 years but added meat back into my diet about one year ago when I made the switch. Recently I tweaked my "clean" diet further to remove all grains and adhere to a more Paleo style of eating. As difficult as it was to give up my oatmeal, I am happy to say I am now bloat-free! I understand that a pre-contest bodybuilding diet is not necessarily going to be the same as a healthy diet. I have a competition coming up in 10 weeks and was wondering if you could comment on how to structure a pre-contest diet that would allow me to reach the single digit body-fat percentages on a Paleo diet. I know fat is good for the healthy diet but my mind still tells me to limit it pre-contest. I know there's Professor Cordain's "Paleo for Athletes" book out there but I'm not really looking at my situation from a performance standpoint - purely aesthetics. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Incidentally, I listen to Robb's podcast and really wish I could come up with some smart-allec comment for him.

What advice would you have for someone with a depressed Thyroid and Autoimmune conditions (likely linked to a leaky gut) incorporating more polyunsaturated fats into the diet? These are normally recommended and allowed on a Paleo Diet (in a good balance of Omega 3 and 6 of course), but it seems that there is some research often cited by Dr. Ray Peat about all PUFA's (not just the unfavorable Omega 6's) leading to anti-thyroid and gut permeability. Is this a possible reason for someone to not see great results from transitioning to Paleo, specifically that the consumption of PUFA's counteract the benefits of removing other problematic foods like grains and dairy? Would you still recommend attempting a Paleo template a la Chris Kresser even if it meant not consuming Omega 3's? Any thoughts you have on Ray Peat's claims would be awesome to hear!

How long does it take before weight lifting and sprinting activity will make a measurable impact on my body composition? I have been doing these type workouts twice a week for 8 weeks now but so far there is no change in body fat percentage or weight, and only a 1cm change to my upper body measurements. I am so disappointed with this result! I am 40 years old and I eat a Paleo template but do eat some cheese and heavy cream. I get 30-100g of carbohydrate a day, all from veggies, berries and salads. Could it be that I'm expecting too much? If not, then when can I expect the muscle to increase and the body fat to reduce?

I am a 57-year-old chiropractor. About six years ago I had a mild heart attack for no particular reason. I've always taken pretty good care of myself. However, looking back over the years, I was big into 'healthy whole grains', lots of fruits, not too many vegetables and plenty of of protein and LOW FAT. An Angiogram showed my arteries were half clogged but I decided not to have the bypass surgery or the stents put in. My current theory is that decades of rises in blood sugar and the predictable insulin responses have contributed significantly towards my coronary artery disease. I have been 90% Paleo for nearly a year and I look, feel and perform much better. My questions are: do you think sugar and grains can cause heart disease? And how do I explain to my would-be naysayers that eating Paleo is good for my damaged heart?

I have been eating this way for a while now and it is hard to remember that time in my life when I chose to eat crap. I would love to hear what challenges Robb has faced introducing the Reno Police/Fire Fighters to the Paleo lifestyle.

We all know that factory-farmed meats and associated grain-fed animal foods are not so good for you and that grass-fed meats and organs are a far superior choice for your health on a Paleo diet. But what if you just can't get grass-fed meats? Do you still eat the factory stuff or avoid it altogether and get your nutrition from other sources?

Today I was banging my head against a wall with a vegan. The topic was phytic acid. I've seen great results for my psoriasis after ditching grains and legumes switching to a Paleo diet. Her point though is that the binding properties of phytic acid are the greatest benefit in this radiated environment while the legumes themselves provide plenty of minerals, even if phytic acid binds to some. Does she have an actual claim here?

This question is about dairy not being Paleo. I understand that man did not evolve consuming dairy. However, I would like to submit that in India they have been consuming dairy for possibly 6000 years. Until the introduction of Westernized foods, I'm thinking they did not have a problem with poor health due to food consumption. It is my belief that dairy in the US is only an "allergen" because it has been pasteurized. Have you ever considered the possibility that dairy would be a perfectly acceptable food for humans if it was consumed in its "raw" form? Given the perfect world scenario that milk if not contaminated and not requiring pasteurization, it is actually a perfect food. If you think about it, milk's sole purpose is to be a food and to nourish another individual unlike anything else we eat. Any thoughts?

I work at a senior center and will be discussing the Paleo Diet with them in-depth tomorrow. I normally talk about the benefits of such a style of eating or similar and many are coming around to the idea that beef and eggs are not bad for them. But the grains and dairy thing can be a difficult one to wrap one’s head around about giving them up (or at least restricting them). Can you share any case stories from your own experience of implementing and transitioning the senior citizen population to a Paleo diet?

I am allergic to eggs, so do you have any creative ideas for breakfast? (I know I can have lunch or dinner foods, but that gets old after a while.)

Direct download: atlcx-20-robb-wolf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: June 28, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: "How To Beat Carbohydrate Addiction"

Say the word "addiction" and most people immediately think of cocaine or heroine addicts, people who abuse alcohol and tobacco, or some other bad habit that is causing serious bodily damage to the addicted. Webster's Dictionary defines addiction as a "compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal." Sound familiar anyone? While most people who consume carbohydrate-based foods don't want to admit it, they are very likely addicted to these sugary, starchy, whole grain-based foods which in turn is making them more obese and chronically ill as the days go by. Nutritional psychotherapist and addiction specialist Julia Ross is here with us in Episode 19 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts" to get to the heart of the issue about why we crave something so deeply that we are becoming more and more aware is actually harming us. Julia is the author of a newly-revised book The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Gain, and Mood Swings--Naturally that addresses many of the issues we'll be discussing in this podcast.

If you have any questions about carbohydrate addiction that you would like for Julia Ross to address, then feel free to send it to me by 3PM ET this Thursday afternoon at Or you can ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. Listen LIVE and leave us a review at iTunes if you like what you hear. This is your chance to interact with the best nutritional health experts in the world, so don't be bashful.

For those of you using the Windows version of Skype to call into the show on Thursday night, you can locate the dial pad by selecting the Call tab at the top of the page, then click Show Dial Pad. Please see the image below for reference:

And if you use the Mac version of Skype, here's how to call in:

Direct download: atlcx-19-julia-ross.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

One of the more controversial areas of debate about the healthy low-carb lifestyle is what to do about sweeteners. Some say the taste of sweet itself is an addiction that needs to be overcome by complete abstinence from consuming anything sweet on the tongue. Still others believe that finding adequate sugar substitutions in your diet is a lot healthier way to eat than a sugar-filled one. And then there are those who say it is better to eat sugar, honey or other natural sugars than to risk consuming chemical-based sweeteners that are doing God-knows-what to your body. So who do you believe about what you should do? That's where this week's expert comes in. He is a naturopath and board-certified clinical nutritionist named Dr. David Getoff and he's going to help us sort through it all in Episode 18 of "Ask The Low-Carb Experts." Dr. Getoff is quite knowledgeable about all of the ins and outs of both the natural and artificial sweeteners available for consumers to purchase and will give us the cold, hard facts about what is right and what is wrong answering your questions.



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

What are your general thoughts about natural non-glycemic/low-glycemic sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, xylitol, and lo han. I have used these alone and in blends like ZSweet. Right now, I'm really enjoying Nature's Hollow's "maple syrup flavored" xylitol syrup which I use when a recipe calls for honey or agave.

Does Splenda really kill the beneficial intestinal bacteria? Jorge Cruise says in his book The Belly Fat Cure that you should avoid sucralose in your diet because of this.

Are the deep yearnings and calling for sugar due to candida overgrowth, a vitamin deficiency, excess insulin, a bad habit, or cellular mitochondria seeking fuel? Or maybe all of this?

I use both stevia and xylitol. Do either of these inhibit weight loss? And is there any truth to the claim that xylitol is toxic for pets like dogs and cats?

Is stevia ok? Is it low-carb or Paleo?

I would like to know if stevia causes an insulin response.

I consume multiple Diet Dr. Pepper's every day and have for many years. I have noticed that when I substitute Iced Tea or H2O for all but say one or two for several days running I have a downtick in weight. I have seen the UT San Antonio study that says Aspartame in Diet Drinks can cause Insulin to go up which I suppose could affect fat burning, but I have also seen a lot of research that says it has NO effect. If it isn't the Aspartame, why does my weight trend down when I stop drinking the soda? Is it the sodium?

I'm a Diet Coke person and I've been off of it since last Thursday as well as all other sweeteners.  How can we really tell if sweeteners are impacting our weight loss?  How long should we get off of them before trying to add something back in? Should we rely on our weight measurement from day to day?

If I choose to use artificial sweeteners, which ones are the least detrimental and have the most minimal effect on insulin and poor health?

I know that coconut sugar is not calorie-free, but could you enlighten us about whether it's a good sweetener to use or not?

I like using erythritol, stevia, and occasionally Splenda for sweetening my food. I would like a good "comeback" for those people who call anything other than "table sugar" -- artificial. White sugar itself is massively processed and artificial, so I'm not understanding their reasoning.

Why is maltitol permitted to be put in food as a sweetener when it is well-known to cause a painful and drastic reaction in the gut even in small amounts?

I was excited to look into Stevia-bases sweeteners, but I found out that all three major brands add sugar alcohols which are terrible for people with digestive problems. Can you tell me why they add sugar alcohols and can you get stevia without these?

I am a Type 1 diabetic and I live in Spain and the only sweetener I've found there that has no fillers like maltodextrin is a liquid mixture of saccharin and cyclamate. The taste is vastly better than the pure saccharin available in the United States, but I wondered if you would comment on the safety of this mix.

Also, would you comment on any possible connections between artificial sweeteners and infertility/miscarriages?

I have been using a pure stevia powder with only stevia and no fillers for several years and I use it daily in many things, like my Bulletproof coffee, water and fresh lemon, apple cider vinegar dressing, and homemade hot cocoa with unsweetened coconut milk. Is it likely that this stevia contains mycotoxins? What are the possible outcomes of consuming a good bit of stevia daily? This is the only form of sweetener I use.

What about Acesulfame Potassium (aka Ace-K) and what impact does it have on blood sugar? It seems to be in just about everything diet these days, especially diet soda.

I consider myself highly addicted to sugar and eating a dessert made with things like erythritol, stevia, or Splenda causes me to want to eat even more sugar-free treats. Is there any way I can get this under control or is it better to just avoid these altogether? I do find the longer I abstain from them the less I crave them. But then some event comes up where I make something sugar-free and the cycle continues. Any advice is very much appreciated!

Earlier this year I discovered the "low carb" world and now eat 50-100g of carbs per day, mostly from fruit, vegetables, nuts and some dairy. I am 45 years old, slightly overweight, have eaten primarily high carb, low fat my entire adult life, and prior to changing my eating had fasting glucose in the 90s, normal cholesterol and triglycerides. Over four months I have lost 12 pounds without effort since adopting a higher fat, low carb diet. However, once or twice a week from rice or even bread. I also have 2 teaspoons of sugar per day in coffee. Is this acceptable? How important is it to eliminate sugar altogether? Is this more important than trying to fit exercise into my schedule?

Direct download: atlcx-18-dr-david-getoff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: June 14, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERTS: Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib
FEATURED TOPIC: "All Things Exercise (Exercise 101)"


Exercise is an often misunderstood aspect of a healthy lifestyle change because it can be interpreted in a variety of ways. From cardio to resistance training, high-intensity interval training and everything in between, the average person just doesn't know for sure what the heck they should be doing to maximize their results along with a healthy nutritional plan. This week we have two experts who know a thing or two about bringing the proper balance into play when it comes to exercise in Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib from Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness. You probably already know about the incredible Paleo success story that Sarah has from her uber-popular Everyday Paleo blog, podcast, cookbook and children's book and she has a brand new book coming in September 2012 entitled Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook: Real Food for Real Life. In case you missed it, I featured Sarah Fragoso in Episode 482 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast in June 2011. Her EPLifeFit business partner and frequent guest contributor to her "Everyday Paleo" blog Jason Seib is a bona fide nutrition and fitness expert extraordinaire who was featured in Episode 508 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast in 2011. Both Sarah and Jason believe that eating a real foods-based diet along with an intelligent exercise program can help you reach your personal fitness and health goals and they stand ready to answer your questions about how to make that happen!



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

What kind of equipment is needed for your Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness program? I am a homeschooling mother of 4 and had a C-section three months ago. I'm still nursing and it's not easy for me to leave the house on a regular basis yet. I would love to be able to exercise at home with minimal equipment and minimal time. Any suggestions?

How would you go about altering your Paleo eating habits to increase weight loss while maintaining my workout schedule of doing CrossFit three times a week? I am kind of at a standstill lately and need some help tweaking what I'm doing. I'm not unhappy with my results but would definitely like to shed more body fat.

I am interested to know what your 'expert' thinks in terms of the differences between exercising in a keto-adapted state as opposed to 'carbing up' or simply being in a glucose burning state and how that may apply to hunger or appetite and endurance.

I'm a 40-year old female and have been eating low-carb for 9 months. I dropped 25 lbs in the first six months but I am now at a plateau for the past 3 months with a BMI of 28 and body fat percentage of 37. My question for you guys is what is the most effective exercise I can do to reduce my "set point"' weight and get through this stubborn plateau?

I workout like a maniac 3 times per week and then usually a lighter workout at least one more time. My tough workouts are 75 minute CrossFit/MMA-type workouts with full body tempo weightlifting. I am also VERY VERY strict Paleo and have been for 3 months. I have lost 13 pounds but have been stuck at this point for 3 weeks. Should I cut down my workouts? Adjust my protein/fat? Any advice would be appreciated. I am 5-9" male now weigh 210. I look better since the weight loss and I feel outstanding.

Is it better to train in fasted or fed state and what do you recommend for pre and post workout nutrition?

Too much exercise can add to chronic inflammation, stress, and eventually lead to burn out. How do you know when you are exercising too much?

How does low carb, even Paleo, fit into the bodybuilding equation? The sarcoplasm is where the glucose/glycogen is stored, is it not? The experience of competitive bodybuilders who go low carb and low fat during contest prep, is it that their muscles "deflate" during this period? And do they also experience more fatigue and lowered stamina which they try to time "carbing up" for the contest, so as not to be smaller. Any thoughts?

I have had 4 healthy pregnancies but after eating gluten/dairy/legume free Paleo! I STILL cannot lose my lower belly or develop tone in my abs. It's frustrating because I still look pregnant even though the rest of my body has awesome tone - I'm 5'4" and I weigh on average 107 lbs. It's almost as if my abs are not connected to my stomach because when I bend over the skin hangs - not aesthetically pleasing at all. I currently strength train 3 times a week and run or do sprints 3 times a week. If you have any exercise or diet advice I would appreciate it and gladly make the changes. I have also been treating my leaky gut with elimination diet protocol and take Armour 1.5 for my thyroid. I also have not had a period return after this last pregnancy. I sound like a mess but I truly do feel great except for the occasional digestive discomfort. Sleep and energy are great. I know there are other women out there struggling with their gut so thanks for your help in advance!

What exercise will increase blood flow to help reduce belly and stubborn oblique fat?

I'd love to know what Sarah's strength numbers look like. A lot of women are afraid to lift heavy out of fear that they will get bulky. Well, Sarah looks great and I suspect she is not afraid to lift heavy. If a woman knew she could safely lift X amount of weight without getting bulky (like Sarah), then she'd be more inclined to look into lifting weights in a healthy way.

I lost quite a bit of weight (30 kilos thereabouts) by following a low carb diet a few years back. I got to a point though, where it stalled. And stalled. And stalled. But my weight (although high) remained stable. Fast forward a few years and it's crept up by about 6 kilos. I start exercising. I cycle for an hour a day. I do the Couch to 10k running program on alternate days. I feel great, but still stalled. Then I can't exercise for a couple of months due to surgery. Back to it now, and my weight has crept up another few kilos. I am back on my bicycle for an hour a day, but not back at the gym nor running again. Yet. I eat very low carb. I'm very strict. I'm in ketosis. But I'm actually gaining weight - not even staying stable. I really didn't think this was possible on low carb. Any suggestions? The whole "measure yourself" thing isn't going to cut it - I'm still about 27 kilos from my high target, 37 kilos from my 'I really wish I weighed that!' goal. But I'm being realistic (hah!). My numbers are good. My doctor said a few months ago my cholesterol was high, so I made some adjustments and now he's very pleased I managed to lower it by fiddling my diet. I've had all the tests for thyroid etc and all appears normal according to the doctor. He's stumped as well - and just shrugs and says 'well done on the exercise'. But it's all pretty disheartening.

1) I have heard on-and-off from various training forums that on a progressive strength training plan it takes about two years to reach one's "genetic limit" of strength. Is this true or just another example of "broscience?"

2) Can a person effectively build strength while performing very slow, H.I.T. bodyweight exercises while on a ketogenic diet? I have been doing a sort of "Body by Science"-style workout once a week for about two months with just my body weight (pull-ups, decline pushups, bulgarian squats, chair dips, planking) but I have no real way to measure how much I've progressed.

I have been pretty sedentary most of my life except for walking occasionally, gardening, no real period of extended hard exercise. How does someone start resistance training and weight lifting if they are 65 and female? I don't know where to begin and I feel lost looking at all those machines at the gym. Help! I have been eating low carb for almost one year and lost 50 lbs.

What is a good motivator to get one's rear off the couch and actually exercise and is exercise important for weight loss and weight management?

This question is about exercising causing a weight loss stall. I repeated this six times and it happened every time. In 2007/8, I was recovering from years of being a hormone wreck, with thyroid, adrenal, insulin resistance, and fatigue issues. I was 315 and made it to 190 in less than a year, thanks to a good doctor. When I got about 50 lb off, I decide to speed things up by riding a bicycle a couple times a day. This was just a one-speed fun bike and I only rode it 10 minutes or so at a time. Each time, by the next day, weight went up at least 5 lb and I felt bloated in my stomach. I would stop riding and it would go back to what it was in a few days. That was hard to believe so I tired again, same thing. Over a few months, this happened six times. How can this be? I read Mark Sisson's blog post about chronic cardio and it is the only thing that makes sense. I wasn't an athlete over-training like Sisson was but could the hormone issues act like someone that over trains and gets "burnout?"

Direct download: atlcx-17-fragoso-seib.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week we turn the topic of attention to all the great low-carb moms and future moms of the world who might be wondering how exactly they should be eating while pregnant and what to feed their child once those little bundles of joy say hello to the world. It’s such an important topic that I’ve asked not just one but two bona fide experts on this subject to help answer your questions about it. Nutritional wellness expert Maria Emmerich has long been providing amazing low-carb nutritional recipes and advice on her “Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal” and she was featured in Episode 376 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show." In November 2011, she adopted two beautiful baby boys from Ethiopia and has seen firsthand what it’s like feeding children well. Don't forget to pick up a copy of her brand new June 2012 book on how to feed kids well called The Art of Eating Healthy - Kids: Grain Free Low Carb Reinvented (Volume 2).

Another excellent guest expert joining us is Valerie Berkowitz from the “For The Health Of It” blog who was featured in Episode 251 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show." Not only does this registered dietitian who worked with the late, great Dr. Robert Atkins in his complementary medicine clinic recommend healthy low-carb living for her clients, she herself has given birth to several babies following strict adherence to the Atkins Lifetime Maintenance plan. With Maria and Valerie on hand for this week’s show, we’ll have a lot of wisdom to share.

Disclaimer: We cannot recommend for or against the use of colloidal silver taken internally or topically. Please consult your physician and do your own research about this substance.



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

Getting pregnant:

My wife and I are going to try start a family next month. We have read and heard about the warnings from taking Paleo or low carb too far and how it may inhibit fertility. Even the Paleo doctors recognize this as a possible problem and recommend making sure you get enough safer starches. Some go as far as going to recommend some regular potatoes or white rice.

I have heard that it is not a good idea to go very low carb during pregnancy because it sends a signal to the fetus that "food is scarce" and therefore changes the child's epigenetics in a negative way (e.g. predisposed to storing fat). Is there any basis to this? If so, how does a mother juggle her own need to be low-carb with their child's needs?

I would like to know if there are any nutrients or supplements that I should amp up in my diet if I am trying to conceive.

I am 32-year old T1 diabetic and have been following a slightly modified Bernstein Diabetes Solution plan for the past two years, meaning that I eat between 20 and 45 g of carbohydrate per day. This keeps my sugars in excellent control most of the time. I low-carb to control my diabetes, not to lose weight. I have one son who is three years old and I was not on a low-carb diet during that pregnancy. My son is very healthy and I had no complications with the pregnancy despite the frequent blood sugar swings and lows that come with the hormonal changes and eating a higher carb diet.

My doctor at the time stressed the potential for brain damage in the fetus when the mother eats a low-carb diet. Note that when I was pregnant with my son, my sugars were well-controlled according to my A1c levels but I did have daily swings and tons of lows, which really tuckered me out. Since starting the low-carb diet, I feel so much better, more energy, stable sugars,and don't plan to ever go back. That said, this past year I have had two miscarriages. I am wondering if the low-carb diet could have played a role in those miscarriages. Would you please comment on your recommendations for diabetics - most of what I have read online seems to recommend the maintenance or a non-ketogenic phase for low-carb dieting during pregnancy. However, anything above the 45g of carb for me tends to screw with my blood sugar control.

My gut feeling is that it would be more important for me to tightly control my blood sugars than to avoid ketosis, but I'm not 100% sure about that. What is your opinion?

Feeding a baby:

I just had a baby 6 weeks ago after a (mostly) low carb pregnancy. Right now my baby is on a combination of mom's milk and formula. My question relates to when the baby is 4-6 months and starting on solid foods. My understanding is that human milk has a certain carb content that might be higher than what a low-carber might eat. Is there a requirement for babies of a certain age to have some carbs in their diet? I wasn't planning to feed him cereals, bread, potatoes, pasta or any of that junk. Is that wise?

My son and daughter-in-law are vegans (for philosophical reasons) and have a healthy 7-month old boy. What would you recommend, as vegans, for particular foods/supplements they’d need to include in his diet after they wean him? They are open-minded and in fact raise chickens so they can eat free-range eggs every day. I think that’s the main departure I’ve heard of for them from the strict vegan diet.

I have a 2.5 year old. What is a good rule of thumb in terms of caloric intake and/or macronutrient ratios? Obviously he isn't going to be eating as much as I do, but I want to make sure he is getting enough meat and fat based on the amount he does eat.

Feeding older kids/teenagers:

I have a question about pre-teen female children approaching puberty. What foods are important for her changing hormones to keep her balanced, avoid acne, etc.?

I am transitioning to a low-carb diet and am TRYING to include my two sons who are 12 and 13 years old. My main problem is trying to break them of the habit of cereal in the morning. I do work outside of my home, and so making a quick breakfast is imperative, as I oftentimes don't time have to cook before we leave the house at 7:30AM. Also, I am trying to eat about 50 grams of carbohydrate, I would think that is way too low for growing children, but what is the amount of carbs that is correct for children this age?

I have two teenagers (15 and 19) with acne. Eliminating milk has helped enormously, though we still eat some cheese, not every day. Reducing gluten has helped somewhat as well. We juice daily with mainly green veggies. I have added vitamin D, probiotics and omega-3 oil. The redness is pretty much gone and it looks far less angry, but how do you make it go away? Is there more to the story here? They have both seen that when they eat like a typical American teenager, by the next morning the acne is back in full-swing. But even being really good does not make it go away completely. Help!

Direct download: atlcx-16-emmerich-berkowitz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Duke researcher and health practitioner Dr. Eric Westman is a lifestyle medicine physician specializing in disease prevention primarily through the use of low-carbohydrate nutritional approaches that often improve conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease and more. He's the co-author with Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek on the New York Times bestselling book The New Atkins For A New You (listen to my interview with him about this book in Episode 338 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show") and has performed some of the most influential scientific research on low-carb diets in the world over the past decade. He regularly teaches his patients about low-carb diets and has heard virtually every objection about it over the years. That's why he'll be here with us dispelling the myths people still believe about low-carb living.

If you have any questions about the low-carb myths that are out there that you would like for Dr. Eric Westman to address (anything and everything is fair game--he's hear it all!), then feel free to send it to me by 3PM ET this Thursday afternoon at Or you can ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. Listen LIVE and leave us a review at iTunes if you like what you hear. This is your chance to interact with the best nutritional health experts in the world, so don't be bashful.

Direct download: atlcx-15-dr-eric-westman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: April 19, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Larry McCleary --
FEATURED TOPIC: Episode 14: “Diet And The Three A's: ADHD, Autism and Alzheimer's”

Neurosurgeon Dr. Larry McCleary is the retired Acting Chief of Neurosurgery at Denver Children’s Hospital. His latest book Feed Your Brain Lose Your Belly examines the close interconnection between the role of gut health, nutrition and the health of your brain (listen to my interview with Dr. McCleary about this book in Episode 463 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show"). His special areas of expertise involve the neurological system and metabolic medicine which makes him very highly-qualified to address the role that diet plays on mental health ailments such as ADHD, Autism and Alzheimer's. Can these be prevent or even reversed through the use of nutrition? That's what we be explored in greater detail in this podcast with Dr. McCleary.



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

DANNY'S COMMENT: Haven't needed my ADHD meds since I reduced carbs.

MARTA'S COMMENT: My son is in the autism spectrum and last year when I started Atkins and was restricting certain foods in the house - he adapted to a "modified" Atkins way of eating. I noticed about 6 months ago how he has changed - for the better. Originally he was also diagnosed with ADHD - his re-diagnosis as of last month is that he does not have ADHD anymore!! He has become such a happier, more outgoing child and yes he does not like a lot of foods - his favorites are broccoli, cucumbers and salad, and he has always been a big meat eater. He has peanut and tree nut allergies so candy and sweets were never a big part of his diet. He does like an occasional hershey bar or cup of ice cream - and I let him. Its not every day. AND he also has Tourette's which has subsided too with NO MEDS!!!!!!!

The modern diet is dreadfully low in omega 3 and high in omega 6 FA’s – are these implicated in the 3 A’s?

What are the physiologic effects on the brain of ketosis? Do those effects protect the brain from the 3 A’s? Does the mother's diet during pregnancy lead to the child developing autism and ADHD?

Are you familiar with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's GAPS diet protocol (listen to Episode 557 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" for Jimmy's interview on this) for these conditions and if so what are your thoughts about the program? Do you believe these conditions are primarily diseases of digestion and gut flora dysbiosis and "leaky gut"?

Are there any specific nutrition recommendations for people with ADHD? I have 2 adult children and a hubby who could use some more direction. We have a variety of eating styles going on in the home. I'm Paleo, my son (25) is Primal, my daughter (20) is Gluten-Free and hubby (48) can't quite decide if he is just Gluten-free or if he wants to go back to a SAD diet.

Please ask him about how magnesium plays into the Three A's? What are his thoughts on how important magnesium is and why the modern human is so high in calcium and low on magnesium?

Given that all three conditions share the same mineral deficiency -- Magnesium -- what is Dr. McCleary's recommendation on the best way to measure its status within our body? What levels of magnesium has he learned from his research into this that correlate most with these three conditions? What is the ideal ratio of Calcium to Magnesium to keep these three conditions in check?

If you have an autistic child who is fruit and vegetable phobic, how do you get around that? It's quite common with my son Luke who is now 16 and eats relatively low carb. We tried fish oil supplementation and it made no difference. And he's been diagnosed with Asperger's, ADHD and Dyspraxia and his father also has Asperger's. Last year he lost 28 pound and 7 inches off his waist eat low-carb and he is now at a normal BMI. Luke takes slow release ritilin too. We tried doing the natural version first, but we were desperate and my son was miserable. He only takes medication when at his special needs private school to help with his concentration.

WIth autism, there are structural differences in the brain. How far can diet go in correcting autistic symptoms with these brain changes being present?

We've read recently of the value of coconut oil in helping to prevent Alzheimer's. Many of us cook with it and put it in our coffee every morning. Can you give us your suggestions on how much would be needed to be taken to make a difference?

Which commonly consumed foods (i.e. sugar, wheat, etc.) should be eliminated when someone has autism and what improvements could someone expect to see?

Kids with autism and Asperger's tend to have trouble with eating in general. Textures, smells, tastes, mixing foods and how the food looks on the plate can cause problems. Some kids like this don't like change either. For my ADHD-diagnosed daughter, I am afraid to try changing her diet to low-carb because it will be very restrictive in the beginning at least to find out what foods she is most sensitive too. I am afraid that putting her on a restrictive diet will cause problems either physical or psychological. She is 13 and slowly accepting more food but still only likes one kind of fruit (apples) and just few vegetables. She would rather go hungry than eat things that stress her out. I have been trying for years to get her to be less picky but it's a very long process. Any suggestions?

Some studies have shown that chemicals used in the growing process of some of the top selling fruits such as Grapes, Strawberries, Peaches, etc. play a major role in ADHD, autism and Alzheimer's. What role do these toxins play and if you go organic instead what are the top foods to be consumed?

My son is 18 and has Asperger's. He is graduating high school and heading to college in the summer. At the age of 18, do you think it would be worth attempting to put him on a low-carb diet? He struggles, as most Asperger's kids do, with the social aspects of relationships. I am a low-carber myself who has consistently kept 20 pound off for the past year. At his age, I would have to try to convince him to do it. Any suggestions about doing that and if you think low-carb will help him?

My son has Asperger's syndrome. He is addicted to milk and won't give it up. He's extra picky about food and doesn't like certain textures such as meat--only chicken nuggets. I guess my question is what should I do about nutrition with a picky Asperger's/autistic child?

My mind is absolutely more calm and I don't feel as much irritation against other people now when I eat low-carb as I did before. My temper was definitely my enemy. I have not been diagnosed with ADHD but my education as a school teacher has given me a working knowledge about it. I have no doubts about the relationship between ADHD and a high-carb diet. Is it too late for me to avoid Alzheimer's at the age of 54 and can I heal from the many years of damage my poor nutritional choices inflicted on me?

Is there a point in Alzheimer's Disease where you have no hope of trying to reverse the effects of the disease with diet? My aunt has lost all memory of who anyone is, and I've been trying to convince her sons to request a dietary change for her to see if there could be improvement, i.e. adding coconut oil. However, I'm afraid that at this point it is far too late.

I heard mention of a new study that suggested that low-carb diets, particularly if they're supplemented with coconut oil and induce ketosis, can slow or arrest cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. I am looking for the reference because I wanted to see if it's a good study. Are you aware of this research?

What is the role of ketosis in treating Alzheimer's and why it might not be as beneficial for those with the APO-E4 genotype (according to the work of Samuel T. Henderson). Is there anything we can do for those folks with the APO-E4 genotype who presently have the disease?

I have my own hypothesis that the low-fat diet craze over the past 40 years is a strong contributing factor to ADHD, autism, and other behavioral issues in childhood (because the young brain is deprived the needed fats that are crucial for normal brain development). Does Dr. McCleary feel the same?

Direct download: atlcx-14-dr-larry-mccleary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49am EDT

Fitness and nutrition expert Dr. Cassandra Forsythe is highly-qualified to discuss the topic of low-carbing women and weight lifting. With a PhD in Exercise Science and Nutrition from the University of Connecticut (under the tutelage of former ATLCX podcast guest Dr. Jeff Volek) and a Registered Dietitian (RD), Cassandra has the educational background to address this critically important subject that is far too often misunderstood. Additionally, she’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) which means there’s experience there to back up her book knowledge. She owns and operates the gym Fitness Revolution Vernon in Vernon, CT which in March 2012 won a Readers’ Choice contest for “Best Place to Work Out” in that area. Cassandra is well-known for her expertise in low-carbohydrate diets, nutrition for fat loss, and all aspects of female health which is why she addressed your questions on this topic. I had her as a guest in Episode 154 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” a few years back and we were happy to have her here with us to talk about low-carbing women and weight loss.



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

Where does a woman begin when embarking on a weight lifting program if they have never done it before? How many days per week should they lift? What about the machines for resistance training at the gym?

I keep reading that if I don’t want to lose muscle mass, I must lift weights. But I want to know if you can do more than simply “not lose” muscle. I want to put on muscle! I have lifted weights pretty regularly over the years, and I feel pretty strong. But at age 60, what is a reasonable amount of muscle that I can put on?

I’d be curious to know your guests’ opinion on working out either with weights or HIIT-style when adrenal issues are in play. I’m 45 years old, have Hashimoto’s, constantly struggling with anemia, low hemoglobin & other CBC markers, etc. Cortisol saliva tests shows low levels in the AM and high in the PM. Under doctor’s care for all of these issues. My diet is low-carb Paleo with daily dose of sweet potato or starch at the evening meal. Body composition is approximately 20-30 pounds overweight.

Would it be better in the short-term to put aside the higher intensity and maybe focus on walking or yoga? If it’s OK to continue with the HIIT (I do 3x per week kettlebells/TRX), is it important to do at a particular time of the day to optimize energy?

For those of us who could write the book “I Hate To Exercise,” here are some questions:

- How beneficial would 5-7 high intensity (1 Minute) intervals be?

- Is it effective to strength train just doing 2 or 3 reps in the evenings most days? I am one of those with wobbly upper arms that drives me crazy & have not seen much benefit even with a trainer.

- There is slow burn and fast sets in lifting weights. Is it just a matter of what someone is willing to do and enjoys?

How often do you come across female low carb and/or Paleo weight lifters who lose their menstrual cycle? What advice would you give them to get their cycle back? Especially for someone one who is trying to get pregnant. Would you suggest they up their carbs? Try to up their calorie intake? Would you suggest they exercise less, even though they might not seem to be over exercising to begin with? Or would you tell them to stop exercising all together? How long does it normally take a woman to get her cycle back once back on track?

I am a 53 year old woman, basically healthy, active, but overweight. I want to lose fat, and keep my bones healthy. What do you think about taking Creatine? How do you feel about P90X and Insanity type DVD courses or can you recommend a different one? And of course, we all want to know – can one build muscle, lose fat, and get fit on a very very low carb diet?

I’ve experimented heavily with ketogenic and cyclic ketogenic diets over the last two years and have been trying to make low-carb work together with my love off CrossFit. My problem is that when I do a straight low-carb diet (~50g/day from green vegetables) after about two weeks I feel very sluggish while trying to do high energy workouts, yet when I try to do a carbohydrate “refeed” I end up turning on the compulsive switch and losing control of my intake. Is there a point at which becoming keto-adapted will allow me to do high energy CrossFit style workouts without feeling like I have no gas in the tank?

I am 39 years old and overweight with PCOS and a lot of stubborn belly fat. I have been “slow-burning” for several years. I go to a gym that focuses on this type of weightlifting. My trainer claims that I can lift a lot of weight for a female. My muscle mass is pretty big for a woman. I have defined hamstrings and calves and I have big muscles underneath my fat on my upper body. I’m trying to lose weight eating low carb; it’s just stubborn or I am not doing something right.

Now that you have my background, my question is about muscle fatigue. If I try to ride my bike or go for long walks, my muscles tire right away and I get winded easily. When I was younger and thinner and played sports, I dealt with the same story. Big strong muscles, terrible endurance. I sort of thought by weightlifting I could help my other conditioning a bit. Should weightlifting help at all with conditioning, or is something else going on with me?

Given my size, I am not comfortable doing floor work, so I wonder if you could give me some suggestions for abdominal exercises that I can do standing up?

I absolutely LOVE to lift weights! Would lifting help with fat loss (I have about 60 pounds to lose)? I am more concerned with inches than the number on the scale…more concerned with sizes in my clothing!

I read a lot about L-Carnitine for lifting. I prefer to get my nutrition from real low-carb foods. And yet I wonder if extra L-Carnitine would help? I see it comes in pill form and in liquid mixed with glycerine. I worry about glycerine because it has carbs and a lot of calories. If L-Carnitine would help, what form should I take it in, when should I take it, and how often? Just before lifting or every day? How much? If L-Carnitine doesn’t help, are there other things I should be taking to support my lifting goals?

ORE (pronounced “Aray”) ASKS:
I am 29 years old, and I’ve recently taken up heavy lifting, after years of chronic cardio with little to no success in weight loss. I’ve got about 40 lbs to lose, and am hoping that a combination of HIIT and heavy lifting will help with weight loss. I’m wondering if there are any supplements that Cassandra could recommend in connection with weight loss efforts and/or lifting weights. Does she have any top recommendations, or even particular brands of supplements that she like?

I have a question about body composition. I think I am at a good weight – 5 ft tall, 102 pounds. But I look in the mirror and I see two bodies. The one above the waist shows muscle tone and looks good. Then I look below the waist. I have great muscle in my butt/thighs but it is buried behind that subcutaneous fat. I have never had belly fat, always a pear shape. I gave up grains about 4-5 months ago and drastically reduced sugar which has helped – my lower body is in much better proportion and the look of cellulite is greatly reduced, which was a nice surprise. But how do you ever get rid of that hip/butt/thigh flab? I already lift weights, walk, bike, roller blade – whatever comes my way. Is there any hope for us women in this area? Does this just take time? Can you offer any strategies to help burn that fat? BTW – I was never athletic as a kid which I believe has something to do with it. I never had lean good looking legs so there is nothing to go back to. Exercise for me did not come until adulthood – and consistent weight lifting came in my 40s. I am in the best shape I have ever been in.

What are some specific differences in challenges that you see with the female population and low-carb-resistance training compared to men, if any? What are some specific advantages women have over men in terms of low-carbohydrate diets and weight lifting, if any?

Direct download: atlcx-13-cassandra-forsythe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: April 5, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “The Fallacy Of Vegan/Vegetarian Diets”

Who within the Paleo/low-carb health blogosphere doesn't love the work that Denise Minger has done over the past few years? Little did she know when she created her "Raw Food SOS" blog that it would gain such a strong following thanks to a series of posts critically examining the claims made in the infamous T. Colin Campbell book The China Study touted by vegans and vegetarians as irrefutable evidence that a plant-based diet is optimal for human health. As a former vegan herself, Denise has a lot of compassion for the struggles they go through attempting to reconcile their personal convictions about not eating meat and the reality of what that is doing to their health. She's shared her story with me previously on "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast in Episode 405 and Episode 430.

Now her debut book release entitled Death by Food Pyramid is set for late 2012 and if you haven't already read her China Study blog posts then they are an absolute MUST-READ! Denise knows all the arguments that vegans and vegetarians make for eating the way they do. But she also is abundantly aware of the flaws in logic that people who adhere to plant-based diets tend to succumb to. That's why she's here to help address the fallacy of the vegan/vegetarian way of eating and what might be a better option for them to improve their health. She will also be sharing more about this topic in her lecture on the upcoming 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise in May 2012.

If you have any questions about vegan/vegetarian diets that you would like for Denise Minger to address, then feel free to send it to me by 3PM ET this Thursday afternoon at Or you can ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. Listen LIVE and leave us a review at iTunes if you like what you hear. This is your chance to interact with the best nutritional health experts in the world, so don't be bashful.

For those of you using the Windows version of Skype to call into the show on Thursday night, you can locate the dial pad by selecting the Call tab at the top of the page, then click Show Dial Pad. Please see the image below for reference:

And if you use the Mac version of Skype, here's how to call in:

Direct download: atlcx-12-denise-minger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

AIR DATE: March 29, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC:“Saturated Fat Is Good For You?”

Researcher and associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut Dr. Jeff Volek is one of the world's renowned experts in exercise, nutrition, weight loss and low-carb diets today. He is the author of a number of popular books addressing these subjects, including Men's Health TNT Diet, co-author of The New Atkins For A New You with Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Eric Westman and most recently The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living in 2011 with Dr. Phinney. I interviewed Dr. Volek in Episode 236 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast and I've personally heard him lecture at various obesity conferences over the years. He will be joining us on The 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise in May 2012, but we are pleased to have him joining us to discuss a subject he has studied thoroughly over the past few years. Saturated fat is arguably the most misunderstood and maligned real food in the history of mankind and Dr. Volek can answer any and all questions you may have about how it impacts you metabolically. He is a real expert that we are privileged to have addressing this very important topic!

If you have any questions about saturated fat that you would like Dr. Jeff Volek to address, then feel free to send it to me by 3PM ET this Thursday afternoon at Or you can ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. Listen LIVE and leave us a review at iTunes if you like what you hear. This is your chance to interact with the best nutritional health experts in the world, so don't be bashful.

For those of you using the Windows version of Skype to call into the show on Thursday night, you can locate the dial pad by selecting the Call tab at the top of the page, then click Show Dial Pad. Please see the image below for reference:

And if you use the Mac version of Skype, here's how to call in:

Direct download: atlcx-11-dr-jeff-volek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: March 22, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “All Things Thyroid (Thyroid 101)”

Licensed acupuncturist and integrative medicine practitioner Chris Kresser is one of the most highly-sought after voices of reason in the realm of health on the Internet today. He has personally been through the wringer with the traditional medical system as he shared with me in Episode 464 of "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show." But that set him on a quest to discover more about his own health by gathering and analyzing the medical research staying up-to-date on everything he could get his hands on. There are a lot of health myths that unfortunately pervade in the realm of health and Chris regularly addresses these on his highly popular web site and wildly-popular Revolution Health Radio podcast. One area of specific interest to him is the subject of thyroid. Around 20 million Americans deal with some form of thyroid disease and yet it is left undiagnosed due to a variety of reasons. Yet there is a lot of confusion about thyroid conditions that we will hopefully have Chris help bring clarity to in this episode!



Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

Are there any dietary changes that will "treat" hypothyroid?

There is a meme that has spread quickly to Paleo sites that low carb causes low T3, and is a cause of hypothyroidism. How can this be? My doc who treats hypothyroidism and insulin resistance had me do low carb, and it worked. How can low carb be both the cause and part of the solution? Someone has this wrong. What is going on?

I am a 53 year old female who had a Total Thyroidectomy four years ago due to thyroid cancer. My doctor keeps me just a smidgen "hyper" with Synthroid replacement medication to help the cancer not grow back. I have lost 50 pounds. In one year on a low carb diet, I feel great. But I have been stalled for two months now. I can't seem to lose any more weight. I need to lose 50 more. I know I need thyroid replacement meds but could this be the reason I can't seem to lose anymore?

Which is better--natural or synthetic thyroid hormone (like Synthroid) or a combination?

When I went zero carb Paleo, my T3 dropped out of the range and I needed to take antibiotics for a mouth abscess. I resumed carbs and gained back the weight I lost. I am now trying to drive down the carbs again. What can I do to ensure that my T3 remains ok. I am hypothyroid (take 100T4 + 20T3) and I was assessed a few years back by a former family doctor as having low adrenal function. Are adrenal and thyroid metabolism related and can a low adrenal state lead to a low T3?

What is your opinion of Jack Kruse's Leptin Reset Rx and Cold Thermogenesis on the thyroid?

I underwent a total thyroidectomy in January of 2006 following a thyroid cancer diagnosis and will be on replacement T4 (Synthroid) for the rest of my life. Are there any modifications that those of us without a thyroid need to keep in mind when following a Paleo diet?

My wife had about 90% of her thyroid removed several years ago after undergoing a thyroid storm and goiter. She's on levothyroxin and we've switched over to a Paleo diet about two years ago, and she's pretty good with adherence, especially when it comes to avoiding wheat and grains. One of my real concerns is with her long term bone health due to the thyroid removal. She currently takes anywhere from 2000mg to 3500 mg of calcium each day to combat calcium loss from her bones. She takes 5000 IU of D3 daily, as well as K2 to help with proper absorption. Her blood calcium levels are usually high, but if she doesn't take the oral supplements she gets pain in her hands, wrists, and other joints. What supplements would you recommend for proper calcium absorption? What are some good blood markers you'd like to to indicate proper function?

Can you discuss the role of antibodies (AB), both blocking and stimulating, on thyroid health? When the typical thyroid labs appear "normal", could there be an AB issue occurring, causing the autoimmune response?

Since giving up soy milk and grains (including daily wheat germ) when I started on a low-carb regimen about a year ago, my arthritis symptoms have virtually disappeared, and my thyroid started working better (I was able to lower my dosage of levothyroxine slightly). During the same period, my osteopenia has progressed to osteoporosis. The latter may just be age, but what I want to know is, could the same root cause underlie co-existing hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis?

My TSH increased from 3.86 a year ago to 5.23 last month. I have no hypothyroid symptoms but my doctor want to put me on levothyroxine. Does this make sense?

Other relevant blood values
T4 free 1.09
T4 total 5.9
T3 uptake 38
TPO antibody: 19
Total cholesterol increased from 197 to 215 over last year.
T total 417
T free 45
Free T% - 1.1%
SHBG 79.6

I am a 42-year-old female who has been eating Primal/Paleo (low to moderate carb) for over one year now (after being a vegetarian and vegan for almost my ENTIRE life). I had my one and only child almost three years ago and lost all my baby weight (and then some) by changing my eating habits. I looked so much better after changing my lifestyle, but still had low thyroid symptoms (FREEZING cold, tired, digestion issues, etc) AND it was discovered I had near zero sex hormone production (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone). Also, I had BEYOND low Free T3 and Free T4 (TSH was all over the place, but is now quite low). I was diagnosed with hypothyroid due to a pituitary disorder. I have been put on Estradiol, Prometrium, and a small amount of topical Androgel (testosterone). I have also been taking Armour. I have gained 30 pounds thus far. I am miserable.

My questions are:

Do you believe in supplementing with sex hormones or should the thyroid medication be sufficient?

Would daily intermittent fasting be contraindicated for someone with issues like mine (or does this stress the adrenals too much)?

I want to be HEALTHY. But I cannot lie, I am so OVER being overweight. I would love to find a healthy balance.

This question is about real thyroid health vs "health on paper" (good test results). I've been treated for hypothyroid, chronic fatigue, and insulin resistance since 2007, with good results. I see a top doctor that deals with all three and they use the so-called bio-identical T3, hormones like testosterone or progesterone cream, and a lot of supplements. I lost 120 pounds quickly and look much different. My blood work went from train wreck to awesome. Weight is normal enough and I feel fine, even though I have low calorie requirements now (about 1,400 a day, and I'm male 51, 5"8, 192 pounds)

My question is how do I know if I get to a point where I'm spending a lot of money on meds and supplements and maybe need to back off and let the body take over? My doc wants to keep doing what has worked. Am I broke forever, or should I think about cutting back on supplements and hormones and let the body handle more?

I am wondering if thyroid problems is the cause of hair thinning in a woman? Are there any other causes that should be investigated as well? And what can you do as a first intervention?

What thyroid tests do you recommend when weight loss has stalled? (In my case TSH is elevated but the HMO will not test T3 or rT3--is it worth paying privately for those tests to have a more complete picture of what might be going on?)

Do you have any insight on what might cause thyroid nodules? (I have several, and biopsies show them to be non-cancerous at this time. One doctor recommends surgery; another says they are nothing to worry about)

Direct download: atlcx-10-chris-kresser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Harvard research biochemist Mat Lalonde has a rather interesting take on the Paleo diet from the role of an organic chemist. Lauded for bringing skepticism about the claims of ancestral living to light, Mat is a really smart guy who pushes the boundaries of thinking outside of our own little online communities to see the bigger picture. He was a guest in Episode 419 of my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast and we’re pleased to have him address a subject matter that he knows quite a bit about: CALORIES! Mat is a big believer in food quality over food quantity and that eating until you are full is possible on a weight loss plan. This is sure to be one of the most popular episodes we’ve aired to date!


Here’s the column on calories Jimmy referenced at the beginning of the show:
“What’s Really Making Us Fat?” by Kristin Wartman in the March 8, 2012 issue of The Atlantic

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

Is there a point where your body gets too comfortable with a low-carb diet and too used to burning fat for fuel, that you need to watch your calories as well as your carbs in order to lose weight? I had a great success on Atkins in the first months, losing 13 kgs, then nothing else since then, unless I lower my calories.

On a recent ATLCX show I heard Mark Sisson say that he believed if you are taking in enough nutrients and fat in your diet to maintain your current weight that you probably wouldn’t gain weight but that if your goal was to lose fat that you needed to create a calorie deficit. Mat, what is your take on this? There seems to be a lot of disagreement on this subject.

Is it true that there’s no scientific evidence that 3500 calories = 1 lb? Where did this stat originate from? Why is it not relevant for weight loss if this stat isn’t true? I would love to have an answer for those who still regard this as the holy grail of weight loss.

What are your thoughts on the food reward theory and the idea that weight and health management is really “all about the calories.” I think it’s rubbish but I’d like to hear Mat’s take. It seems that many Paleo folks are abandoning low-carb as a legitimate nutritional approach.

If you eat too low of calories, will that send you into “starvation mode” and stall your weight loss?

One of the biggest chains of women’s workout centers is Curves and they claim you will “Burn up to 500 calories in 30 minutes.” Just how accurate would you say calorie estimates are for exercise machines and programs?

You have made the remark that the human body is not a calorimeter. In what ways, if any, are food kilo-calories relevant to optimal health?

Is there an ideal percentage of your calories that should come from carbs, fats and proteins?

Mat once mentioned how intermittent fasting causes an increase in the “fight of flight” response. Is this still true for a person that is well adapted to intermittent fasting and can go 16+ hours without any desire or hunger for food? And if it’s still true, would something like a piece of fruit be enough to negate the stress issue?

Before I ran across Paleo, I was looking into calorie restriction, which naturally I didn’t even attempt to comply with. In your estimation, do you think the science shows there is an advantage to modest calorie restriction when already eating cleanly? Do you believe all the benefit of calorie restriction can be retained by clean eating and intermittent fasting? Where does protein sparing fasting fit in?

Direct download: atlcx-9-mat-lalonde.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

AIR DATE: March 1, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “What Questions Should I Ask My (Non-Low-Carb Friendly) Doc?”

Famed low-carb clinician Dr. Mary Vernon, MD is the co-author of Atkins Diabetes Revolution with Jackie Eberstein, RN (who was our very first guest in Episode 1 of ATLCX). She is a Past President of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. Dr. Vernon is well-known amongst her medical professional peers as an expert on the therapeutic use of low-carb ketogenic diets on patients to treat a variety of health issues, including diabetes and metabolic syndrome. She is the CEO of Innovative Metabolic Solutions which seeks to educate her fellow physicians and medical professionals on how to use science-based modalities with patients. Dr. Vernon has a heart for arming doctors with practical ways to implement low-carb diets where they are necessary for improving key health markers. What better expert could we have to address what questions you should be asking your (non-low-carb friendly) doctor than her!

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

My frustration with doctors is they spout the conventional “wisdom” of the food pyramid or MyPlate or whatever it is now, but yet when it doesn’t work for me they say I’m just not trying hard enough – which is without a doubt not true. So I guess my question would be – If something isn’t working, wouldn’t it be smart to try something else? And really – where are the medical studies that back up that a low fat diet is better for my health? Where are the studies that correlate fat = heart disease? If I lose weight (even if it’s a small amount) and feel better and have lower blood sugar on a low-carb diet, then shouldn’t I stick to something that’s working? And is it so wrong that I want to be personally involved in my health enough that I HAVE done research and have looked up the studies and that I might actually have a working knowledge of what is best for my body?

I am currently in the process of looking for a new Doctor (already checked What questions can I ask before visiting to find out if they might support a low carb lifestyle, other than the obvious “Do you support low-carb, high-fat diets?” I have read that I should make sure they perform and understand a VAP instead of standard cholesterol test. Are there any other tests or procedures I should be aware of and ask for?

I just got my lab work back from my doctor and my total cholesterol was 249 with LDL at 171 and my sugar at 103. That’s basically all he said and then of course, “I’d like to start you on a low dose statin, keep eating a low carb, low cholesterol diet”. The cholesterol is up a little and so is the LDL from 6 months ago. I am not a diabetic and have never had problem with that. I wanted him to run an NMR. My doctor called me and had absolutely no idea what the NMR Lipoprofile test was even after I gave him the CPT code. Then he went on to say “size doesn’t really matter and thats for HDL, not LDL. And if I went to any hospital they wouldn’t know what an NMR test was.” So, he is having me do a VAP profile test. He said, “elevated LDL is bad no matter what the size.” Mine isn’t horrible for a women without a risk factor, but it keeps going up. Any suggestions?

How do you have a conversation with your doctor about putting you on a statin drug with and HDL of 75 and triglycerides of 80 when your LDL is 225? I got these numbers in a blood test at my doctor’s office after consuming a low-carb diet.

How should patients deal with doctors who want to follow the guidelines put out by a group like the American Heart Association or American Diabetes Association if that association’s guidelines aren’t in keeping with our own opinions of current best evidence or even n=1 experiments we’ve done on ourselves? Sometimes doctors seem to think they have to follow those association-based guidelines to protect themselves against malpractice, do they have a point? How do we get around that if we believe those organizations aren’t up to date with their evidence or if we think the guidelines are politically motivated or otherwise flawed?

I’m a Type 1 diabetic and I believe I suffer from insulin resistance. I use 18.3 units for basal and my TDD on 10% carbs and 25% protein runs in the high 30’s. Whenever I fast, even for a single meal, I get a major liver dump at the next meal followed by some major cravings which seem to counter any benefits I might have seen from fasting. I’m stuck in my weight loss, and I think Metformin or a GLP-1 would help. Symlin is not an option where I live in Canada. My endocrinologist says my TDD insulin is already much lower than “normal” and refuses to consider giving me a prescription. He’s the local head of internal medicine and is known for not listening to colleagues. Any suggestions on how to proceed would be helpful.

I would love to go to a doctor and find out what all my lipid numbers and thyroid numbers are. But I dread talking about my diet — I can’t defend it in terms of weight loss, because I weigh only about five pounds less than when I first started low-carbing 10 years ago. (Although a lot of women gain weight during their 40s, so maybe I’m better off than I think!)

There are no low-carb friendly doctors where I am (at least none listed on Jimmy’s List of Low-Carb Doctors blog).

I’m afraid of getting caught in the gears of the medical machinery. For example, what if my cholesterol is “high” and they want me to take statins?

Can you just go to your family practice doctor and say, “I want these tests, please have them done for me”? What exact tests should I ask for? I don’t want just a couple of numbers that don’t REALLY tell anyone anything, which seems to be what most people wind up with.

I suspect thyroid issues (20 extra pounds of fat won’t go away, cold hands and feet, dry skin). Also, one hand or the other occasionally gets a pins-and-needles feeling — I have no idea what that could mean.

I just turned 50 and am in excellent health overall. I have regular periods, no change in that regard. I haven’t had a checkup for nearly 8 years, since my last postpartum checkup. I’ve never had cholesterol tested or a glucose tolerance test. Blood pressure has always been around 90/70.

I’ve eaten mostly real, whole foods since I was a teenager (including 17 years of vegetarianism), and mostly low-carb/Paleo/Weston A. Price for the past several years. I keep the carbs to around 25-75g and rarely eat wheat or other grains.

While my mother’s doctor always congratulates her on her steady weight loss (and better blood sugar level control) he never fails to tell her that cutting back on her carbs is going to cause more problems in the long run. He points out that her cholesterol levels are elevated above normal, caused by eating too much saturated fat of course, and her refusing to take statins, which caused her muscle pain in the past, is leading her to a massive heart attack. She never knows how to respond to him so I thought perhaps giving him a book to read might be one solution. I was wondering if Dr. Vernon might suggest a book that she could give to her doctor that he might read? I know there are many books out there written for the average person who does not have a medical background. Is there a book that perhaps would carry more weight with an MD and not just be seen as a fad diet book? Because the doctor is probably not going to read that type of book.

My low-carb doctor may lean even too far away from statins and other medications. When should I really think is the right time to take a pharmaceutical drug — in other words is there a risk of having too much of a low-carb friendly doc?

So, my friend went to see her doctor yesterday. Her HDL is 57, her LDL is 135. She got a heart scan a while back and got a value of 19. Her doctor prescribed a statin for her. My friend asked her Doctor to do a VAP test and the doctor said that she already knows that she is starting to have some heart disease starting, so she doesn’t need the VAP test. My friend has been starting to read Robb Wolf’s book and other Paleo people’s information, so, she’s getting wild ideas like saying no to statins. Her doctor is slightly insulted that my friend is ignoring her advice. “When you get heart disease will you go to your friends and the internet for help?” I told her to find another doctor, but she apparently wants to stay with this doctor. How would you approach this doctor? But, how would you educate a doctor who already seems to be on the defensive about learning new things about cholesterol and statins?

I did attempt to speak with my doctor recently. I had recently gotten some blood work back and he said, for someone with such a high BMI (30) I didn’t deserve such good numbers.

Total Cholesterol 222, HDL=90, LDL=118, non-HDL=132, Triglycerides=68, Glu=84, HbA1C=5.1

I told him that I had started eating Paleo.

He did note that I still needed to lose some weight. I’ve lost about 30 lbs since starting Paleo. I asked him how he would suggest that I accomplish that.

He said he recently decided that he needed to get his BMI down. He did what he tells his patients to do. He restricted his calories and exercised more. It’s painful, but it works.

I asked him what he ate. He said a bagel in the morning. A yogurt for lunch and a regular dinner but no dessert. I asked him if he’d read “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. He said no, I don’t care about that. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from, you can eat 1200 calories of whale blubber and you’ll lose weight. I told him that I cut out the grains and sugar and it was *not* painful. He said, “Come back when you’re at your goal weight and we’ll redo all those numbers and we’ll talk.”

He is about ready to retire. Should I even bother trying to talk to him about other ways of eating and getting healthy? Or should I find a new doctor? I looked on both the Paleo physicians network and the low-carb doc site and there are a couple of oriental medicine practitioners and a chiropractor. They don’t seem to be on my insurance plan.

So…what’s a woman to do?

I’m a type 2 diabetic who has been on low carb (Dr. Bernstein’s Plan) for about 6 years. Last year I found a low carb doc from Jimmy’s list. He favors South Beach phase 1. The only problem is that he believes in the lipid hypothesis. At my last visit, he told me that, as a diabetic, my LDL needs to be 70, even though my cholesterol would be “normal” for a non-diabetic. He said that controlling my blood sugar will not prolong my life. Only getting my LDL down to 70 will prolong my life. The strong implication is that I will die an early death unless I get my LDL down to 70. He is very pushy about statins, though I have resisted the pressure. I tried to tell him that the studies show no conclusive benefit to statins, but he won’t buy it. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle it in addition to being stubborn in refusing to take statins?

I am a Type 2 diabetic. At the time of my diagnosis two years ago, my triglyceride/HDL ratio was 6 to 1. Now, after carefully watching my postprandial glucose levels (rarely, if ever over 110) my triglyceride/ HDL level is down to 1.6 to 1. My cardiologist couldn’t care less about my triglycerides and only focuses on my LDL (which were 120) and wants me on statins, I refuse them. Here’s my question, what can I use to convince her that controlling my diabetes and my trigs/HDL ratio are greater heart risk factors than LDLs.

Direct download: atlcx-5-dr-mary-vernon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: February 23, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Cate Shanahan
FEATURED TOPIC: "The Long-Term Effects Of The High-Carb SAD Diet"

Nutrition-minded physician Dr. Cate Shanahan, MD is the author of two truly fantastic books entitled Deep Nutrition and Food Rules and looks at treating patients with quite a different perspective than most traditionally-trained medical doctors. She is a board certified Family Physician who trained in biochemistry and genetics at Cornell University before attending Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She practiced in Hawaii for ten years where she studied ethnobotany and her healthiest patient’s culinary habits. She's a big believer in hormone regulation and the impact diet plays on it and did a fantastic job answering YOUR questions related to the long-term effects of eating a SAD diet on your hormones.

Can't make it to PaleoFX or AHS12? Check out the "Paleo Summit":


Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I have low testosterone for years. I tried androgel with little increase in my testosterone. The next step would have been weekly injections which I would like to avoid. How does diet effect testosterone levels and all of the insidious problems that go along with low testosterone like low energy and abdominal fat?

What creates a greater health risk: sustained high blood sugars or sustained high (total) cholesterol?

I have found that if I eat before 5pm, I will become very tired for the next 2 hours and have low energy for the rest of the day. If I don't eat until after 5, the food gives me energy and I feel fine for the balance of the day. I have a chronic fatigue problem - some form of hypersomnia - and the after-5 trick has helped me cope for the last half year. I switched to a Paleo diet like you recommend about 2 months ago, but with more grains - mostly fermented whole grains. That has helped, but I still have to stick to the after-5 rule. Why does it help?

I have eaten low carb for around 3 years and lost 80 pounds. For the past 8 months about every 6 weeks I take a weekend where I eat way off program including a lot of junk food. I don't really plan it every six weeks but the way holidays and things have fallen it has seemed to work out in that time frame. I usually gain about 8-10 pounds and it takes about 4 weeks to get rid of it. Will this kind of routine keep low-carb from eventually working for me? Could it do any kind of damage to my metabolism and if so what? I really do plan on stopping this off and on again stuff someday. I hope I have not ruined my metabolism.

I was wondering if Dr. Cate's way of eating is better for everyone no matter what their problems. I know it is better than the SAD diet but is vegetarian or vegan better for hemochromatosis?

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 15 and was taking insulin injections for 6 years (3 times a day) and eating a high-carbohydrate diet and really did nothing to try to control blood glucose levels with nutrition or exercise. I was able to eventually get off the insulin, drop a lot of weight and as of now, I am very lean and have no signs or symptoms of diabetes.

My question is this: Did the diet I ate, and more specifically the excess insulin I pumped into my system, which I now know is a system that is not artificial insulin-dependent, do permanent metabolic damage that I may never reverse? I am now 28 and have been in great shape for 3 years. What possible long-term effects could I still have from the previous 25 years of abuse?

Why do my hormone levels come back “normal” if I show symptoms of hormonal dysregulation? I have PCOS with abdominal fat, hirsuitism, and a touch of hair loss.

In your book Deep Nutrition you say, paraphrasing,

"Trans fat consumption interferes with hormone expression and daily infusions of sugar interferes with hormone receptivity."

In considering this, could it be plausible that in the absence of trans fat our bodies would be better able to deal with a higher-carb diet? Could this perhaps help explain the French ‘paradox’?

I am most personally interested in hormonal issues during pregnancy and post-partum. What do you advise for a person who had pre-pregnancy hormonal issues, PMS, etc. that, (despite several years of a nutrient-dense, low-carb diet) did not lead to infertility, but rather to pregnancy/post-partum depression, adrenal/thyroid malfunctioning, etc.? Is it too late for many interventions at this point (especially during pregnancy)? When has a person reached the point at which you might advise hormonal supplementation or medications of any sort?

Do semi elite athletes have the same outcomes when on the SAD as those in the general population? And is there a data set to support that? Typically we don’t look at those outcome markers in the athletes because there is little to no effect from the control group. Is there any data published that these athletes have impaired hormonal function with the continued exercise and the SAD?

In pregnant women, how can an abnormal hormonal environment from consuming the SAD diet impact the fetus? This concerns me because the SAD diet not only wreaks hormone havoc, but leads doctors to prescribe hormone drugs in pregnancy and before.

Of all the hormones in the body, which do you think are the most important and why? Are there any governing hormones?

Direct download: atlcx-7-dr-cate-shanahan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: February 16, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Chris Masterjohn
FEATURED TOPIC: “All Things Lipids (Cholesterol 101)”

Episode 6 of “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” features the topic “All Things Lipids (Cholesterol 101)” with blogger and doctoral candidate in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut Chris Masterjohn where he will be graduating this Spring. He is the creator and maintainer of Cholesterol-and-Health.Com and is the author of two blogs, The Daily Lipid at Cholesterol-and-Health.Com and Mother Nature Obeyed at He is also a frequent contributor to Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Chris is the author of five publications in peer-reviewed journals, including a letter to the editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology criticizing the conclusions of a widely publicized study about the effect of saturated fat on blood vessel function, and letter to the editor of the American Heart Journal arguing that the effect of cholesterol ester transfer protein inhibitors on vitamin E metabolism should be studied before these drugs are deemed safe for preventing heart disease, a hypothesis published in Medical Hypotheses about the molecular mechanism of vitamin D toxicity and the involvement of vitamins A and K in this mechanism, a pilot study in humans suggesting that vitamin E protects against some of the negative effects of sugar consumption published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, and a review published in Nutrition Reviews about the potential for green tea to prevent or treat nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases. Chris Masterjohn has thoroughly studied the impact of cholesterol on your health and the answers he has discovered might just surprise you. If you have questions about cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides and more then this is the podcast for you.

Here are some of the questions Chris addressed in this podcast:

My cholesterol has been high for quite a while. I was previously on Lipitor which made me feel pretty bad (old and feeble even though I’m neither) so I quit. This week my doctor got back my blood work and noticed my number was high (295) and insisted I go back on Lipitor. He said I was a ‘heart attack brewing’. I don’t want to and need some ammunition. Point me in the right direction.

I have a senior lady that her doctor has recommended her to take statins for a while. She doesn’t want to go on them, and her doctor just ran an Lp(a) test and hers was at 80. I seem to recall that statins don’t really affect Lp(a) and it’s mostly genetic. I’m not sure of her triglyceride/HDL ratio at this time, but should she be worried? Seems that Lp(a) is only an issue if you have heart disease or a lot of inflammation.


Question: Is MGmin LDL the silver bullet of atherosclerosis?

I’ve read suggestions that small, dense LDL is the killer, but I see studies suggesting that large, fluffy LDL can also be atherogenic.

In some countries (like Australia) you cannot get your cholesterol measured down to “small dense” and “large fluffy”. They only measure the basics, Triglycerides, HDL, LDL and Total cholesterol. From these numbers, is there a good ratio to indicate good health versus poor health?

My husband has high cholesterol which is made worse by another necessary medication he takes. Triglycerides were over 700; he is taking very high doses of statins, bring it to 600; We started Paleo (no sugars; no grains; full-fat dairy and meats) and blood results after two weeks showed them at 199. Is this possible to have such a dramatic change so quickly from this diet? If followup blood work shows continued improvement, what is the number that would get his doctor to take him off of the statins?

I’m a 42-year-old male with little to no family history of heart disease. My latest VAP results include:

Tot LDL-Chol Direct 167 H mg/dL
Tot. HDL-Cholesterol Dir. 52 mg/dL
Tot. VLDL-Cholesterol Dir. 23 mg/dL
Sum Total Cholesterol 241 H mg/dL
Triglycerides-Direct 75 mg/dL
Tot. NonHDL Chol(LDL+VLDL) 189 H mg/dL
Total apoB100 – calc. 118 H mg/dL
LP(a) Cholesterol 4.0 mg/dL
IDL Cholesterol 23 H mg/dL
Real LDL-Cholesterol 140 H mg/dL
Sum Total LDL-C 167 H mg/dL
REAL-LDL Size Pattern A A
Remnant Lipoprot(IDL+VLDL3) 37 H mg/dL

My doctor insists I take a statin such as Lipitor. I say I may not need it. Which one of us is right? Also, is it possible that statins inhibit the formation of arterial plaque over time?

What are your thoughts on all the alarmism surrounding glycation and fructation?

I’m about to have blood work done to be underwritten for term life insurance. I’m concerned that my cholesterol levels may have elevated because I’ve only been LC’ing for about 9 months. If it comes back bad, do you have any advice for how to explain what’s going on to help mitigate the consequences?

It’s been almost 2 years since going low carb. Before that time I was taking fenofibrate for almost 8 years because of very high trig (700 -380) and low HDL (37) because of eating SAD. Now my trig is 100 – 75, HDL is 57 and still improving without taking meds. I read that eating saturated fat and red wine will help increase HDL. At my last doctor visit he suggested in begin statins because my total cholesterol was 250 and my LDL was 148 and to see a cardiologist. I asked that he do the test for determining large and small LDL particles to which he replayed he was not qualified to request that test! I also mentioned to him that the LDL level is really a fictitious number gathered by the Friedewald equation. Would you suggest I see a cardiologist and check further? Would it be a good idea to request a CAC score, Lp(a) and test for density particles of LDL?

How are you? My question is what is Lp(a)’s role in heart disease and should we really even track it. As I recall Dr. Kurt Harris from the panu blog has what is considered a high level yet has a very low calcium score. While some on Dr. Davis heart scan blog have levels lower than his and suffer from high calcium scores or other cardiovascular issues. If we should be concerned with this lipid what is the best way to lower it? Niacin? Saturated Fats? Low Carb? I wonder if Lp(a) is just the new kid on the block for Big Pharma trying to keep the lipid hypothesis alive.

Chris, In your most recent interview with Chris Kresser you indicate that a TC:HDL ratio of 4 might be cause for concern and should be evaluated. My husband and I just got our results back, our ratios are 4.3 and 4.6. We can rule out recovering from obesity and fatty liver disease. What do you advise we do if anything? Get retested to establish our averages? Without going into too much detail, we have been following a WAPF/Paleo diet for 4 years, we are healthy and fit, I am 47, my husband is 40. Next, I have in my notes a TC range of 180-250 as found in traditional cultures. Can you also provide a range for HDL and LDL? And last, what foods, herbs, supplements, and food preparation techniques would you advise to support a healthy LDL receptor uptake process?

There seems to be a growing interest in the blogosphere with the work of Dr. Ray Peat. A major tenet of Peat’s philosophy revolves around the toxicity of virtually any dose of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA)–both n3 and n6. Given your past work on EFAs and PUFAs in general, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Dr. Peat’s stance.

What is the relation of lipid volume in the blood and speed of blood flow in the arteries and the body in general? (e.g, the documentary “Supersize Me” made a big deal about animal fat causing slower measured blood flow)

I believe higher cholesterol levels are healthier and protective against many illnesses. If my normal total cholesterol is around 205, and I make a diet change that has the effect of dropping my total cholesterol to 165, am I compromising the protective aspect of cholesterol? LDL is also lower at 92 and HDL has stayed about the same (55). Trigs are at 92. CRP is .75 and HbA1c is 5.5.

Patient just came back with very high cholesterol, but sub markers were phenomenal.

HDL 99
Triglycerides 66

Positive for celiac, although eats very little wheat. Total cholesterol 450. What could cause this?

Regarding lab measurements…lipid panels: Cholesterol measurement – what is actually being measured in standard lipid profiles, and what is being estimated? Is LDL calculated based on your TG measurement?

My stepdad has high cholesterol (mostly high Triglycerides) and has for many years—I have attached his lab report from last May—his numbers were better.

Total cholesterol 252
Triglycerides 534
HDL 33
Testosterone 235
Free testosterone 8.9

He takes: 160mg Fenofibrate, Benicar, Lovaza, DHEA, Niacin, and just started taking Red Yeast Rice. My mother thought he was on a statin—but Fenofibrate and Lovaza aren’t statins are they? Are they just as bad? Haven’t heard much discussion on these meds.

Direct download: atlcx-6-chris-masterjohn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: February 2, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Fred Pescatore
FEATURED TOPIC: “How To Improve Cardio-Metabolic Health”

Episode 4 of “Jimmy Moore Presents: Ask The Low-Carb Experts” features Dr. Fred Pescatore, M.D. who is the author of several nutritional health books, including the New York Times bestselling book The Hampton’s Diet among many others. He is a traditionally trained physician who practices nutritional medicine and is internationally recognized as a health, nutrition and weight loss expert. You may have seen him as an expert nutrition contributor on The Rachael Ray Show and he is currently on the editorial board of US weekly magazine as well as a regular contributor to In Touch, First for Women and Women’s World magazines.

Dr. Pescatore also has a masters degree in public health and is deeply involved in the philanthropic community devoting his time working in hospitals in Tanzania, while also helping to support organizations in the United States. Prior to opening his own medical practice, he was the Associate Medical Director of The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine working closely with the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins for five years. His extensive knowledge of the role nutrition play in improving both metabolic and cardiovascular health make him an excellent expert to call upon to address this week’s issue.


Here are some of the questions Dr. Pescatore addressed in Episode 4:

We know that chia and flax seeds are okay for low-carbers because they do not raise blood sugar. But are there any other metabolic disadvantages to consuming them? I eat 2 Tbs chia seed gel a day with stevia, cocoa powder and blueberries and I wonder if I am harming myself metabolically.

Why do you think congestive heart failure is such a common admitting diagnosis these days? Is it the increased use of statins and perhaps CoQ10 deficiency? Or is it related in some way to the increases in chronic respiratory disease like COPD? Are there different reasons in different countries?

I am 34 years old and I have been eating processed foods and junk foods my whole life. I am sure I have a fair amount of insulin resistance going on, as well as some significant muscle atrophy. I am wondering, one, if my heart could have atrophied as well? Also, now that I am 100% Paleo, how can I work on reversing the atrophies and two, what steps should I take to start rebuilding my body now that I am keeping my carb intake minimal? I am concerned about how slow I should start with exercise until I can be certain my heart is strong enough and my insulin sensitivity is adequate to start building muscle.

I would appreciate it if you could have Dr. Pescatore talk about atrial fibrillation. It is something I have occasionally but I never hear it discussed. Can low-carb or Paleo eating help it?

Dr. Pescatore, your books span weight loss for adults as well as asthma and weight loss for kids. Regarding the relationship between what we eat, our metabolism and inflammation, is there an eating style that is less inflammatory for most people, less likely to create heart problems for adults and possible reduce asthma suffering for children?

What does Dr. Pescatore think that about someone with hypertension watching their dietary salt intake and how can people tweak their diet to help get their blood pressure numbers down?

I’ve had premature ventricular contractions for many years. They seem to be more frequent now that I am 40 years old. Is this a cause for concern and can PVCs be treated through diet and lifestyle changes?

It seems that discussions of heart issues are actually only about cardiovascular factors and rhythm disturbance is ignored. The same advice to take statins and eat low-fat is given in both cases. A few weeks ago while we were attending a church service my husband collapsed then went into fibrillation, no pulse and was turning blue. Fortunately by this time an ER nurses in the congregation was with us and successfully performed CPR and restarted his heart immediately. I have to think that if he had followed the constant advice of his cardiologists to take statins and eat low fat his survival would have been questionable. He has no blockages just rhythm dysfunction which we have known about for years and which has claimed most of the males in his family. We are feeling very fortunate that we were where we were when this struck and with his pacemaker/defibrillator hope to spend many more years together. Why do they give the same wrong advice for such different etiologies?

How do you lower CRP levels with the use of food, supplements and exercise?

I was just on Dr. William Davis’ blog and noticed he is recommending the use of therapeutic niacin (1-2,000). It made me re-think stopping the niacin. Does Dr. Pescatore agree with this for people on low-carb?

Will you please comment on the factors you look at to assess whether someone is at risk for coronary artery disease. It seems the physicians on the front lines of health, with their prescription pads close at hand, are still focused solely on “the numbers” – total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and Trig. A few clicks of my mouse and a dose of Jimmy Moore has told me there might be a bit more to the story.

My doctor would like me to come in for a “discussion” on my alarming numbers.

I am a short/small person – 102 pounds. I exercise daily and have been low carb now for several months. I was not trying to lose weight (but did shave a few pounds anyway) but rather I wish to prevent the diabetes, obesity and heart disease that is a reality for many on both sides of my family.

fasting glucose is 85
Total Cholesterol is 269
LDL 182 – calculated
HDL 76
Trig. 53

The doctor is not in the habit of testing for LDL particle size and only agreed after my insistence and after seeing my shocking LDL number. The doctor did not seem to appreciate the value of performing that test. I have read otherwise — that the particle size is enormously critical.

What do you look at when determining heart health/risk and what can you suggest a person say to their doctor?

Direct download: atlcx-4-dr-fred-pescatore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Episode 3 of “Jimmy Moore Presents: Ask The Low-Carb Experts” features Dr. William Davis, M.D. who is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. Dr. Davis is a preventive cardiologist whose unique approach to nutrition (that is unlike what most of his fellow heart doctors are using) allows him to advocate for reversal, not just prevention, of heart disease. He is the founder of the Track Your Plaque program and lives in the state of Wisconsin.

Dr. Davis has been on the cusp of identifying the key causes of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease for well over a decade with his examination into the negative impact of consuming “healthy whole grains” that became the central focus of his long-awaited book released in August 2011. Dr. Davis was a special guest speaker on The 3rd Annual Low-Carb Cruise discussing his work promoting heart health through prevention with the use of an inexpensive CT Heart Scan test and he will be one of the featured guest speakers on the May 2012 Low-Carb Cruise sharing more about this in a lecture entitled “The Great Whole Grain Caper.” But he’s gonna be with us here on ATLCX and your questions are invited and welcomed!

Here are some of the questions we addressed in this episode:

I would love to know from Dr William Davis what his thoughts are on grains other than wheat e.g. 100% rye or spelt bread. Does he think that these are as harmful as wheat? I would also like to know if he knows anything about wheat production/modification in parts of the world other than the USA. I am from Sydney Australia and don’t know if our wheat is just as modified and dangerous.

I’d like to ask Dr. William Davis if he knows of other doctors who agree with him about wheat and its harmful effects on health, or is he a “lone crusader”?

I intellectually accept and agree with everything in your book and have stopped eating wheat (all grains) a couple of years ago. But it’s hard to stay motivated when eating wheat does not give me any symptom that I can feel or see. If a person has no symptoms — please explain the adverse effects that may be happening anyway. Or do they take many years to show up?

I’ve heard from people like Elizabeth Hasselbeck that only 5% of the population has a wheat sensitivity and yet there are others like Dr. Daniel Chong who say that it is near 85%. I would love to hear Dr. Davis’ thoughts on this.

Thank Dr. Davis for the great work you did on Wheat Belly. It was a fascinating read, and it has helped me better understand why avoiding wheat (especially modern wheat) is optimal. My question is about rice. I eat a primal diet that includes a small amount of white rice from time to time (no more than 1 cup cooked per week). I have a few friends that eat more of a WAPF diet and enjoy soaked brown rice as part of their diet. They tell me that soaking the brown rice removes a lot of the anti-nutrients, making soaked brown rice a healthier alternative to white rice because it contains fiber and other nutrients. I’m just wondering, if properly/traditionally prepared, whether or not brown rice would be a better option than white rice in those rare occasions I indulge in eating this grain.

I’ve always struggled with my weight and food addiction. The only eating plan that has ever been successful for me has been one that eliminates whole grains, sugar, and the other “bad stuff”. Although my blood pressure was never “high”, I always noticed a drop in my BP once I recommitted to a low-carb eating plan.

Fast forward to last July. My BP had been running high (140s/90s) for most of the year. I weighed the most I’d ever weighed (279lb at 5’3.75″ tall), so I finally kicked myself in the backside and recommitted to a low-carb, grain-free eating plan. My blood pressure didn’t drop.

By September, I was noticing an irregular heartbeat along with my high blood pressure, and in October, I made an appointment to see my doctor. He put me on 10mg of lisinopril and told me to come back in 3 months. (He knew about my eating plan and was fine with it because I was slowly losing weight.)

Five days before my 3-month checkup, I fainted in my bathroom. Since I’d never fainted before, I called my doc. He suggested that I stop taking the lisinopril until I saw him on the 16th, so that’s what I did. Within just a couple days, my blood pressure started creeping back up again, and I started feeling the irregular heartbeats again.

When I saw my doc for the follow-up, he told me to stay off the lisinopril unless my BP got up over 130/80 (consistently), he told me to keep trying to lose weight, and he told me to avoid salt. He also said that if my BP did go up over 130/80, I should start taking 5mg of lisinopril since it was likely working too well for me.

So here’s my question. When removing grains doesn’t control your BP, is there something else that I’m missing? I eat pretty strict Paleo right now (no grain, legumes, dairy, etc.), and my weight loss is slow but steady. (I weigh 248lb right now.) Oh yes, and I did end up having to start the 5mg dose of BP meds 3 days ago. My BP is back in a reasonable range again.

My 17-year-old daughter asked me this: “what’s worse for you, whole grain bread or white bread?” I would have answered “white bread is worse” 2 years ago, but after giving up a daily serving of wheat germ (along with grains in general), my arthritis symptoms have virtually disappeared!

Is flaxseed safe?

Mainstream dietary “experts” argue that eating whole grains are good for you because of the “evidence”. Of course they have only looked at the evidence comparing eating whole grains versus eating refined grains AND they make the false logic extension that eating wholes grains are good for us. They fail to look at any research comparing eating grains (whole or refined) against eating no grains. This point is missed. What say you?

What do you say to people who say “Without grains, how will I get enough fiber?”


I have purchased his fabulous book and listened to the podcasts he has been on lately. I think his ideas about wheat are brilliant. My seven year old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in September 2011 with a blood sugar of 211 at the doctor’s office. She was immediately sent to the hospital so that her blood sugar could be under control and that they could teach us the proper way to inject the insulin and everything else that goes along with it.

The diabetic diet they wanted her to eat in the hospital was a joke – high carb, moderate protein and of course low fat. I couldn’t believe some of the food choices and how things were loaded with wheat and even sugar. The only sugar free item on the menu was sugar free jello! I argued with the dietician and told her that no way should my daughter be eating all these carbs, sugar and grains! By giving in and following this woman’s advice for just one meal – my daughter’s blood sugar rose to the 300′s. I immediately went back to the lower carb plan that I knew was right for her and had been controlling her blood sugar pretty well up until that point. I couldn’t wait to go home and put her on a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet to control her blood sugar.

As soon as we came home and she ate this lower carb way – her need for insulin kept decreasing every day. She started off at 14 total units daily at the hospital and within days of being home she was down to about 5 units. A few weeks later down to 1 unit of insulin per day. By the beginning of October she was off all insulin. If she did take insulin it would cause her blood sugar to go too low. The doctor even agreed and told me not to give her insulin anymore until she needs it again.

Now of course, the doctor keeps saying she’s in that honeymoon period. Honeymoon period is when a type 1 starts getting insulin and the pancreas wakes up and starts making it’s own insulin again. I just keep thinking that maybe she was misdiagnosed and really a type 2 diabetic or that she has reactive hypoglycemia. I’ve asked that she have a c-peptide test and insulin tolerance test, but the doctor keeps refusing. She keeps saying she’s still in honeymoon period and this will probably be over soon.

Well, I want these tests so it will help us know if she’s really a type 1 or not. I will insist on these tests at the next upcoming appointment and if the doctor refuses I will get a 2nd opinion. I’ve been told I should do this by many people already. They just cannot believe the doctor is refusing the tests. So sorry that my story is so long, but my main point is that I notice that as long as my daughter does not eat wheat, sugar or too many carbs at one meal – she has wonderful blood sugar numbers!

The doctor said the record for the longest honeymoon period in her office was a boy who didn’t need insulin for 6 months. My daughter is already at 4 months with no insulin and her numbers are still great! Do you think it’s possible that her good blood sugars can continue forever with avoiding wheat, sugar and too many carbs at one meal without insulin?

Direct download: ATLCX-3-dr-william-davis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

AIR DATE: January 19, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED TOPIC: “All Things Leptin (Leptin 101)”

Episode 2 of “Jimmy Moore Presents: Ask The Low-Carb Experts” features Dr. Ron Rosedale, M.D. who is the author of The Rosedale Diet and is an internationally-known expert in nutritional and metabolic medicine whose work with diabetics is truly groundbreaking. Through his work, he has helped literally thousands of patients suffering from so-called incurable diseases to regain their health. One of Dr. Rosedale’s life goals is to wipe out Type II diabetes in this country as a model for the world. Dr. Rosedale helped set up health retreats in India so that his knowledge could be shared with others less fortunate. His specific research interests include diabetes and the aging process, the correlation between diet and the aging process, and leptin, insulin, and the quality of metabolism.

Dr. Rosedale is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject of leptin known as the “master hormone” that controls metabolic function. If you have a question about leptin that you would like for Dr. Rosedale to address, then feel free to send it to me by filling out the form to the right or by e-mailing your name, question, and put in the subject line “Dr. Ron Rosedale” to You can also ask your question LIVE on my show by calling (712) 432-0900 or Skype the show for FREE by calling the username freeconferencing.7124320900. Whether you call or Skype, be sure to use the access code 848908. THANK YOU for your support of this new podcast and we have great things in store for you with it in the coming months!

If you are unable to listen to this podcast LIVE on January 19, 2012 at 7PM ET, then it will be available for download here as well as on the iTunes page for this podcast on Friday, January 20, 2012!

Direct download: ATLCX-2-dr-ron-rosedale.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EDT