Jimmy Moore Found a Paleo-Friendly Periodontist, Dr. Alvin Danenberg

Click to listen to the recent podcast interview. Dr. Danenberg favors a Mark Sisson-style “primal” paleo diet. Dr. Danenberg attributes most common periodontal and dental problems to our modern diets with their prominent acellular carbohydrates and associated gut microbiome changes.

To find other dentists and dental hygienists who support a paleo diet approach to dental issues, click on “Teeth” in the subject categories in the far right-hand column.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Jimmy Moore’s Interview of Paleo Diet Pioneer Ray Audette

Click to listen.

Ray Audette is the author of the classic Neanderthin book from 1995. He credited his Paleolithic-style diet with curing his type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chris Highcock published an interview with Ray in 2010. The Dallas Observer News published an article about him in 1995.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Yet Another Benefit of Exercise: Memory Preservation

The NYT’s Well blog has the details. The brain’s hippocampus is a critical center for memory. Alzheimers disease is associated with a gene called apo-E4. Carriers of that gene who exercise regularly have less shrinkage of the hippocampus than non-exercisers.

To PROVE that regular exercise prevents dementia-related shrinkage of the hippocampus, you’d have to force some folks to exercise and stop others who wanted to exercise. A couple years later, scan their brains and compare the two groups. That study may never be done.

Another way to preserve your memory could be to keep your fasting blood sugars closer to the lower end of the normal range, rather than the higher end. That strategy may prevent degeneration of your hippocampus and amygdala.

The Mediterranean diet also seems to prevent or forestall dementia.

Steve Parker, M.D.

A New Drug Treatment Option For Diabetes: Afrezza

paleobetic diet, low-carb diet, diabetic diet

How about this one?

Well, it’s not really new. It’s our old friend insulin, soon to be available via inhalation with the brand name Afrezza. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it in July, 2014. Click for the package insert.

Who Can Use It?

Adults with either type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Who Should Avoid It Or Not Use It?

  • those with chronic lung disease such as asthma or chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)
  • smokers
  • pregnant or lactating women
  • those in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • users who see a significant deterioration in lung function over time

Common Side Effects:

Hypoglycemia, cough, throat pain.

What’s the Dose?

It comes in 4 and 8 unit cartridges. See the package insert for dosing details. Afrezza is a rapid-acting insulin taken at the start of meals, so you’re looking at two or three doses a day. Type 1 diabetics still need to take a basal (long-acting) insulin once or twice daily. As far as I can tell, the type 2 diabetics in the pre-approval clinical studies were all taking one or more oral diabetic drugs in addition to the Afrezza; the inhaled insulin was an add-on drug. The average time to maximum effect of the drug is 50 minutes with the 8 unit dose; blood levels of insulin are back to baseline after three hours.

Anything Else Interesting About It?

The manufacturer recommends a test of lung function before starting the drug, to identify folks with lung disease who shouldn’t inhale insulin. The test is called spirometry or FEV-1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second). Moreover, spirometry should be repeated six months after start of the drug, then yearly thereafter.

Another form of inhaled insulin—Exubera—was on the U.S. market in 2006 and discontinued by the manufacturer the next year. The problem may have been poor sales or a concern about lung cancer.

You can’t get it at your pharmacy yet. Maybe later this year or the next.

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

What’s the Healthiest Diet?

Steve Parker MD

Not Amby Burfoot

Running guru Amby Burfoot has an article asking, “what is the healthiest diet?”  for the general public. His answer comes from the Journal of Nutrition. Looks like there are four winners. A quote from Mr. Burfoot:

They [the four leading contenders for best diet] differ slightly in the degree to which they favor, or disfavor, certain foods and food types, such as the following:

  • The Healthy Eating Index 2010: Considers low-fat dairy products a plus.
  • The Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010: Considers nuts/legumes a plus, as well as moderate alcohol consumption. Trans fats, sugary beverages, salt, and red meat get a minus.
  • The Alternate Mediterranean Diet: Considers fish, nuts/legumes, and moderate alcohol a plus; red meat, a minus.
  • The DASH Diet: Considers low-fat dairy and nuts/legumes a plus; sugary beverages, salt, and red meat get a minus.

The four tend to favor whole grains and disparage red meat. I doubt the Journal of Nutrition article even considered the paleo diet because we lack similar extent of clinical data to compete with the others.

Comments are open temporarily.

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

Ever Heard of Paleolithic Diet Pioneer Arnold De Vries?

paleo diet, Paleolithic diet, hunter-gatherer diet

Not Arnold Paul De Vries or Don Wiss, but a Huaorani hunter in Ecuador

Don Wiss turned me on to another “modern” paleo diet pioneer, Arnold Paul De Vries, who wrote a 1952 book called Primitive Man and His Food. I even found the book on the Internet a few months ago, perhaps in violation of copyright. I can’t find it now. You can request a digital copy of the book here.

I read his thoughts on the diets of North American Indians before my other duties interrupted me.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Americans Eat Too Much

The U.S. adult population in the 1970s ate an average of 2400 calories a day. By the 2000s, our calories were up to 2900.

Putting a face on the statistics

Putting a face on the statistics

What did average adult weight do as we increased daily calories by 500? It increased by 8.6 kg, from 72.2 to 80.6 kg. In U.S. units, that’s a 19 lb gain, from 159 to 178 lb.

Children increased their average intake by 350 cals/day over the same time frame.

If I recall correctly, I’ve seen other research suggesting the daily calorie consumption increase has been more like 150 to 350 per day (lower end for women, higher for men). I suspect these latter figures are more accurate.

Details are in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study authors don’t say for sure why we’re eating more, but offhand mention an “obesogenic food environment.”  They don’t think decreased physical activity is the cause of our weight gain; we’re fatter because we eat too much.

Steve Parker, M.D.

h/t Ivor Goodbody

Fish Oil Supplements Are a Waste for Many

Salmon is one the the cold-water fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids

Salmon is one the the cold-water fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids

Many of us are eating fish or taking fish oil supplements, hoping that they will prevent heart attacks and the associated premature death. As it turns out, they may do neither.

I’ve been sitting on this research report a few years, waiting until I had time to dig into it. That time never came. The full report is free online (thanks, British Medical Journal!). I scanned the full paper to learn that nearly all the studies in this meta-analysis used fish oil supplements, not the cold-water fatty fish the I recommend my patients eat twice a week.

Here’s the abstract:

Objective: To review systematically the evidence for an effect of long chain and shorter chain omega 3 fatty acids on total mortality, cardiovascular events, and cancer.

Data sources: Electronic databases searched to February 2002; authors contacted and bibliographies of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) checked to locate studies.

Review methods Review of RCTs of omega 3 intake for 3 6 months in adults (with or without risk factors for cardiovascular disease) with data on a relevant outcome. Cohort studies that estimated omega 3 intake and related this to clinical outcome during at least 6 months were also included. Application of inclusion criteria, data extraction, and quality assessments were performed independently in duplicate.

Results: Of 15 159 titles and abstracts assessed, 48 RCTs (36 913 participants) and 41 cohort studies were analysed. The trial results were inconsistent. The pooled estimate showed no strong evidence of reduced risk of total mortality (relative risk 0.87, 95% confidence interval 0.73 to 1.03) or combined cardiovascular events (0.95, 0.82 to 1.12) in participants taking additional omega 3 fats. The few studies at low risk of bias were more consistent, but they showed no effect of omega 3 on total mortality (0.98, 0.70 to 1.36) or cardiovascular events (1.09, 0.87 to 1.37). When data from the subgroup of studies of long chain omega 3 fats were analysed separately, total mortality (0.86, 0.70 to 1.04; 138 events) and cardiovascular events (0.93, 0.79 to 1.11) were not clearly reduced. Neither RCTs nor cohort studies suggested increased risk of cancer with a higher intake of omega 3 (trials: 1.07, 0.88 to 1.30; cohort studies: 1.02, 0.87 to 1.19), but clinically important harm could not be excluded.

Conclusion: Long chain and shorter chain omega 3 fats do not have a clear effect on total mortality, combined cardiovascular events, or cancer.

If you’re taking fish oil supplements on your doctor’s advice, don’t stop without consulting her. The study at hand doesn’t address whether eating cold-water fatty fish twice a week prevents heart attacks and premature death. 

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Hooper, Lee et al. Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review. BMJ  2006;332:752-760 (1 April), doi:10.1136/bmj.38755.366331.2F (published 24 March 2006).

Very-Low-Carb Diet Beats Medium-Carb ADA Diet in Type 2 Diabetes

Compared to a traditional American Diabetes Association diet, a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet was more effective at controlling type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, according to University of California San Francisco researchers.

The debate about the best diet for people with diabetes will continue to rage, however. You’ll even find some studies supporting vegetarian diets. I’m still waiting for published results of the Frassetto group’s paleo diet trial.

Some non-starchy low-carb vegetables

Some non-starchy low-carb vegetables

Details

Thirty-four overweight and obese type 2 diabetics (30) and prediabetics (4) were randomly assigned to one of the two diets:

  1. MCCR: American Diabetes Association-compliant medium-carbohydrate, low-fat, calorie-resticted carb-counting diet. The goals were about 165 grams of net carbs daily, counting
    carbohydrates, an effort to lose weight by eating 500 calories/day less than needed for maintenance, and 45–50% of total calories from carbohydrate. Protein gram intake was to remain same as baseline. (Note that most Americans eat 250–300 grams of carb daily.)
  2. LCK: A very-low-carbohydrate, high-fat, non-calorie-restricted diet aiming for nutritional ketosis. It was Atkins-style, under 50 grams of net carbs daily (suggested range of 20–50 g). Carbs were mostly from non-starchy low-glycemic-index vegetables. Protein gram intake was to remain same as baseline.

Baseline participant characteristics:

  • average weight 100 kg (220 lb)
  • 25 of 34 were women
  • average age 60
  • none were on insulin; a quarter were on no diabetes drugs at all
  • most were obese and had high blood pressure
  • average hemoglobin A1c was about 6.8%
  • seven out of 10 were white

Participants followed their diets for three months and attended 13 two-hour weekly classes. Very few dropped out of the study.

Results

Average hemoglobin dropped 0.6% in the LCK group compared to no change in the MCCR cohort.

A hemoglobin A1c drop of 0.5% or greater is considered clinically significant. Nine in the LCK group achieved this, compared to four in the MCCR.

The LCK group lost an average of 5.5 kg (12 lb) compared to 2.6 kg (6 lb) in the MCCR. The difference was not statistically significant, but close (p = 0.09)

44% in the LCK group were able to stop one or more diabetes drugs, compared to only 11 % in the other group

31% in the LCK cohort were able to drop their sulfonylurea, compared to only 5% in the MCCR group.

By food recall surveys, both groups reported lower total daily caloric intake compared to baseline. The low-carbers ended up with 58% of total calories being from fat, a number achieved by reducing carbohydrates and total calories and keeping protein the same. They didn’t seem to increase their total fat gram intake;

The low-carbers apparently reduced daily carbs to an average of 58 grams (the goal was 20-50 grams).

There were no differences between both groups in terms of C-reactive protein (CRP), lipids, insulin levels, or insulin resistance (HOMA2-IR). Both groups reduced their CRP, a measure of inflammation.

LCK dieters apparently didn’t suffer at all from the “induction flu” seen with many ketogenic diets. They reported less heartburn, less aches and pains, but more constipation.

Hypoglycemia was not a problem.

If I recall correctly, the MCCR group’s baseline carb grams were around 225 g.

Bottom Line

Very-low-carb diets help control type 2 diabetes, help with weight loss, and reduce the need for diabetes drugs. An absolute drop of 0.6% in hemoglobin A1c doesn’t sound like much, translating to blood sugars lower by only 15–20 mg/dl (0.8–1 mmol/l). But remember the comparator diet in this study was already mildy to moderately carbohydrate-restricted. At least half of the type 2 diabetics I meet still tell my they don’t watch their carb intake, which usually means they’re eating around 250–300 grams a day. If they cut down to 58 grams, they most likely will see more than a 0.6% drop in hemoglobin A1c after switching to a very-low-carb diet.

If you’re developing a new diabetes drug that drops hemoglobin A1c by 0.6%, you’ll get FDA approval for effectiveness.

This is a small study, so it may not be reproducible in larger clinical trials and other patient populations. Results are consistent with several other similar studies I’ve seen, however.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Saslow, Laura, et al (including Stephen Phinney). A Randomized Pilot Trial of a Moderate Carbohydrate Diet Compared to a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet in Overweight or Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or PrediabetesPLoS One. 2014; 9(4): e91027. Published online Apr 9, 2014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091027     PMCID: PMC3981696

PS: When I use “average” above, “mean” is often a more accurate word, but I don’t want to have to explain the differences at this time.

PPS: Carbsane Evelyn analyzed this study in greater detail that I did and came to different conclusions. Worth a read if you have an extra 15 minutes.

Guest Post: The Three Bears of Blood Sugar

Paul Cathcart has diabetes; type 1 I’m guessing. He contacted me by email and wanted to share a chapter out of his book, Persona Non Grata With Diabetes: A Self-Portrait of the Diabetic Condition. The only modification I’ve made is to translate mmol/l to mg/dl for my U.S. readers. Here ’tis.

♦♦♦

The Three Bears of Blood Sugar

How do I make myself better?

Fat bear: too much insulin. Skinny bear: sugar too high. Just right bear: healthy, happy diabetic.

Let’s for a moment, forget the experts and let us concentrate on me the diabetic instead.Like the cave man my body does not expect to eat every day. My body by default, collects and stores energy till it seeps through my diabetic veins, peaking my sugar levels, disrupting my salt levels, polluting my blood into acidic syrup; and after fifteen years, making me cry out for help: all anyone could tell me was to have more insulin.

Insulin makes me fat; it’s a foreign synthesised chemical hormone injected into my body to process sugar, storing the excess energy as fat. The more insulin I take the more my body resists. The more my body resists the more it blocks and backs up, creating insulin pockets. These pockets then randomly infuse with my system as a massively unexpected dose, leaving me in one hell of a hypo, and my body burning off fat and muscle producing sugar to fight it. And there I go, straight back up into the high blood sugar numbers tail spin again.

Carbohydrates make me fat; my body cannot digest them in a timely fashion with the insulin. They cause spikes in my blood sugar, which peak and trough out of phase from my five hours analogue insulin timeline. They don’t really catch up and round off, Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating (D.A.F.N.E) style, but slowly degrade the quality of my blood, and clog my organs forcing my body to react in the early morning trying desperately to process them with dawn sugars; and there it is back up to “18.0” again when I went to bed with sugar of “7.2.” [18 mmol/l = 324 mg/dl; 7.2 mmol/l = 130 mg/dl]

High sugar makes me skinny, unable to properly digest food, hold water or heal; my body melting into a puddle of acidic sugar as it did prior to first being diagnosed with diabetes. Easy to slip back in and out of when combining too much insulin, in meeting with the requirements of feeding off the wrong kinds of food for energy, topped up by too much sugar in chasing the tail of excessive insulin.

These very same ups and downs are what aggravate my temper, tire my soul and over time negate my character. Far simpler to digest protein and green leaf vegetables; easy, slow burning energy matching a, small quantity, five hours insulin timeline: synchronising my body while negating fluctuations. I’m far less likely to build up pockets of insulin under the skin, avoiding numerous side effects at later stages. It’s metabolic meditation. We are all just flowers really; I can feel myself begin to wilt after only a few days of uneven blood sugar, then after only two of even levels I feel uplifted as though the sun has come up. It’s really ninety percent diet, ten percent insulin, to be in control.

—Paul Cathcart

Taken from, ‘Persona Non Grata with Diabetes.’
http://www.pngwd.com/the_three_bears.html

Website for Paul’s book