Monday, February 11, 2008

Pop Medical Media: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Over the weekend, I read some interesting stuff in the newspaper and online. One thing gave me hope that the medical community might actually be getting a clue about obesity and illness in general. The other stories....YIKES! Check below to see for yourself.

Parade magazine, available online as well as in many Sunday papers, printed an excellent article by Dr. Mark Liponis. It lists 5 important medical tests most doctors would not think to run, but may help keep you well. By knowing your C-reactive protein levels, vitamin d levels, checking for h.pylori (the bacteria that causes ulcers among other things), doing an aspirin check and testing your insulin levels, you can prevent a number of debilitating diseases.

The part of his article of most interest to people following a low carb life style comes under the insulin test category. Insulin levels, type 2 diabetes and obesity are all tied together, with insulin driving obesity and insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes. The article clearly stated the importance of knowing your insulin levels and what you can do with that information.

"If the results indicate that you’re at a higher risk for diabetes, the good news is that you also have time to take action. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a lifestyle that includes daily exercise, weight control and a low-glycemic diet that reduces the intake of sugar, refined grains and starches."

Full article
More about Dr. Loponis

If I had only stopped at that article, I would have been left with a warm, fuzzy feeling towards major news organizations and medical pros. Instead, stupid me had to turn the pages in my copy of Parade and read this...

Dr. Karen Halligan wrote an article called "When your pet is overweight". Her recommendations include decreased calories and enforced controlled feeding. These are typical recommendations also given to obese humans to control their weight. The success rate for people who count every calorie and closely monitor portions is somewhere around 3%. Based on the continuous stream of fat pets I see going in to the vet's lobby next door to my office, I would guess the success rate of calorie restriction for pets is pretty similar.

Pet obesity is caused by the same thing that causes human obesity - easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars in the pets' food. By eliminating corn, wheat, rice, oats, barely and other carbs from your pets' diet, they will quickly and easily lose weight. No need to closely measure each food morsel, no need to make your pet a food obsessed neurotic mess. All you need to do is feed them the diet that they evolved to with plenty of protein and fat and without corn gluten, wheat gluten or other cereals.

By restricting calories without paying attention to nutrient content, you may make your pet a little skinner, but, unlike Dr. Halligan claims, it wont "
extend your pet’s lifespan and improve its quality of life." What it will do is damage their muscles as the body robs them needed protein, increase behavior problems as your pet tries to deal with constant hunger and make you both miserable. Too bad she isn't familiar with her fellow Parade contributor Dr. Liponis. I think they should have coffee and talk.
Full article

This was brought to my attention by Jeff from the Magic Bus forum. WebMD, the popular medical website, apparently doesn't know the difference between ketosis (a benign state where your body burns fat) and ketoacidosis (a dangerous condition that can lead to coma and death).

From the site ...."Unhealthy metabolic state (ketosis). Low carb diets can cause your body to go into a dangerous metabolic state called ketosis since your body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can cause organs to fail and result in gout, kidney stones, or kidney failure. Ketones can also dull a person's appetite, cause nausea and bad breath. Ketosis can be prevented by eating at least 100 grams of carbohydrates a day." Full Article

Considering the amount of people who stop by this website and rely on it for medical information, it scares me that this kind of drivel is being published as fact. There is plenty of medical evidence that low carb eating is very healthy, can reduce the risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer cell growth, as well as cure obesity. I get angry thinking about all those people still struggling with diseases that could easily be prevented by adopting a low carb diet. I get even angrier when the professionals who are supposed to know better get it so wrong.


Chainey said...

Hi Zil

Nice place you have here. Thought I'd just drop in while I was waiting at the "bus" stop.

What's that noi--

Run! RUN! It's a giant lizard woman!







Anonymous said...

Orthodoxy = status quo. It doesn't give a rip about what is new and improved understanding . They have built this giant edifice where one quotes another ad infinitum until they are literally saturated with their version of the truth, and the swords are drawn when anyone dares question TRUTH with a capitol T. If the edifice should crumble, which eventually it must, there will be much egg on faces. Meanwhile, the media seizes onto the new truths and promotes them as the new Orthodoxy.

Wifezilla said...

Sad but true. It is amazing what some people will do just so they don't have to say "Opps! My bad!"