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The unspoken key to avoiding or managing society’s worst degenerative health problems
This January, Jay and I went to a conference that had nothing to do with Agriculture. It was the 1st Annual Conference on Nutritional Ketosis and Metabolic Therapeutics in Tampa, Fl. This conference was all about the science and application of low carb nutrition for the treatment and prevention of cancer, metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, neurological diseases, as well as optimizing wellness and athletic performance. This conference brought together leading scientists, students, healthcare professionals, and a host of people with life threatening diseases, such as cancer and epilepsy, to present and discuss the newest research on using diet and nutrition to manage these serious problems.
The list of presenters was like a “who’s who” of leaders in the world of metabolic nutrition. Here are several of the speakers who were extremely impactful to me, as well as a link to their more mainstream books. They all have also published in multiple scientific journals.
- Dr. Thomas Seyfried wrote the book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease.
- Dr. David Ludwig wrote Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently as well as several other books on obesity and healthy eating.
- Dr. Jong Rho who coauthored the book Epilepsy and the Ketogenic Diet as well as several other books on using nutritional ketosis to manage epilepsy and neurological disorders.
- Dr. Jeff Volek who coauthored the book The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance as well as several other books on low carb athletic performance.
- Dr. Eric Westman who wrote the book Adapt Program: A Low Carbohydrate Diet Manual as well as several other books on using nutritional ketosis to manage obesity and diabetes.
This is only a few of the excellent speakers and presentations. For a full list look here.
While we were there, several people asked why a couple of farmers were there. Here is why. If you look at the list of topics that were discussed, cancer, obesity, neurological problems, diabetes, and athletic performance, it affects all of us either directly or indirectly and I firmly believe that what we eat and how we live strongly impacts each of these. To sum up the bottom line of these presentations, lowering blood sugar by eating a diet that consists of green vegetables, plenty of healthy fats, and adequate protein and excluding carbohydrate laden foods such as sugar, potatoes, grains, and nearly all processed foods has very positive effects on each of these issues.
Dr Seyfried made an extremely convincing case that cancer is not a problem of genetics or genetic mutation as the scientific community as asserted over the past decades. Instead, it is a metabolic problem that begins with mitochondrial dysfunction. Basically the component of our cells responsible for energy production (mitochondria) becomes dysfunctional and goes into anaerobic respiration (a different type of energy production that requires glucose!). These dysfunctional cancer cells are put at a huge disadvantage when blood sugar is reduced to the point that the body is in ketosis. Our normal healthy cells operate just fine under ketogenic conditions, cancer cells do not! What an amazing therapeutic tool that treats normal healthy cells just fine and puts cancer at an extreme disadvantage.
Dr. David Ludwig is a well know doctor who has written multiple books about why we get fat and how the food industry plays into it. He also has been a very engaging guest on the Peoples Pharmacy several times. He proposes that fat is not and never has been a problem component in our diet and does not contribute to obesity, heart disease, clogged arteries, nor diabetes. Instead, the key component contributing to these problems is sugar, carbs, and processed foods. He discussed how we ended up on this low fat road that has so negatively influenced our weight, health and life. It is a very sad and corrupt story that infuriates me when I consider how many people suffer and actually DIE from these issues. You need to read his books.
Dr. Jong Rho discussed how lowering blood sugar to the point of nutritional ketosis is very calming and heathy to the brain. Scientists have known for years that excluding carbohydrates from the diet of children that have epilepsy drastically reduces seizures and in some cases eliminates them entirely. Sadly, many mainstream therapies for people with seizures do not include nutritional therapies; instead, the first step is down the road of pharmaceuticals. Make no mistake that a ketogenic diet that restricts carbohydrates can be challenging, but the short and long term effects that pharmaceuticals can have on quality of life are usually much worse! Not only can a very low carbohydrate diet be therapeutic for epilepsy, Dr. Rho also discussed very positive effects on other neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and even things like autism, depression, and ADHD. This was another talk that really made me think about how many people suffer day in and day out with problems like these and are often offered many pharmaceutical solutions and rarely counseled on nutritional solutions. SOMETHING IS WRONG!
Dr. Eric Westman is the director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. His talk was simple and impactful. Weight loss is best achieved by a low carb high fat diet. He gave a very convincing talk about how eating a low fat higher carbohydrate diet raises blood sugar, which in turn raises insulin. Insulin directs energy into fat storage, so that even when calories are restricted, if insulin levels are elevated, your body will tend to take available energy and store it as fat. He also discussed how elevated blood sugar and insulin levels tend to shift our “set point” to a heavier level. If you cut calories and fat from your diet (and by nature increase carbs) you may initially lose weight, however your body will fight hard to return to that heavy set point that is started at. Not only that, the set point may begin to slip higher and higher so that these low fat diets no longer work and we end up even fatter than before! The solution he implements at the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic is a very low carb diet that lowers blood sugar and insulin that actually “burns fat” and changes the “set point”. If you are struggling with obesity or diabetes you should consider reading his books, check out his videos or make an appointment!
Dr. Jeff Volek was my husband’s favorite speaker because he is an athlete and very interested in athletic performance. The traditional thinking about athletic nutrition is that athletes better carb load the night before a big athletic event and supplement with carbs during the event with bars, goos, gels, and drinks. Dr. Volek convincingly turned that thinking on its ear! His assertion was that our bodies can use sugar and carbs to power athletic performance or we can use fat as the fuel. The problem with sugar and carbs is that the body quickly can use them all up and require another goo or gel to refuel. Fat is a whole other story because most people have enough sitting right on their backside to fuel a couple of marathons! Living a very low carb lifestyle effectively teaches your body to efficiently use fat as fuel and be able to endure very vigorous athletics without the sugar crash, “bonking”.
So here is the simple farmer’s perspective. How we eat directly influences our health. Most Americans have been strongly influenced by the food industry, government recommendations, and even our own doctors to limit fat and as a result we have increased carbs, sugar and junk to the point that degenerative diseases are rampant! Almost all of us have people in our lives who truly suffer and often die from problems directly related to this. I’m talking about things like cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, ADHD, depression, ALS, Parkinson’s disease. Eating a diet that is very low in sugar, carbohydrates, and processed foods and HIGH in green vegetables, good fats, and protein is not only the first line of defense but even the first step to a cure! This is where your farmer comes in to the picture. Purge your kitchen of anything that does not bring health to you and your family. Fill it up with a fridge full of green veggies, clean meats, and good fat. Simple as that. Because this is so simple, when I consider the huge amount of human suffering that occurs just because of bad nutrition, my heart absolutely breaks. None of us are untouched. Take charge of your health because we sure can’t count on the food industry, government agencies, and often even our own doctors to do it for us. Need help? Contact my friend Dana Ramsey, the Organic Eater! She is the low crap lifestyle pro and can quickly get you on the road to better eating.
Eat your veggies and cut the carbs!