415: Dr. Neal Barnard On Vegetarian And Vegan Diabetes Control

Dr. Neal Barnard, diabetes researcher and vegetarian/vegan advocate, is our guest today on The Livin’ La Vida Low-Cab Show with Jimmy Moore.

Dr. Barnard is the president of Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine and is a sincere and non-confrontational vegetarian/vegan advocate specializing in diabetes. He was kind enough to share his time for this fascinating interview with Jimmy where they discuss HDL/LDL ratios, ADA recommendations, different styles of vegan diets, potential cancer fears associated with red meat consumption and especially processed meats, and carcinogens found even in grilled poultry. He explains that when high temperature hits skeletal muscle, creatine combines with other compounds in the meat to form potentially harmful, carcinogenic amines such as PHIP. The creator of the glycemic index, David Jenkins, and his Eco-Atkins diet vegan/low-carb diet are also mentioned in addition to many other topics. Dr. Barnard is one of the leading vegan voices in America today and we’re grateful he spent a few moments of his time to share his nutritional philosophy with us.

Also, check out Jimmy’s mini-interview with our brand new sponsor Mark Sisson about his new protein shake product called Primal Fuel–listen in for all the details!

LINKS MENTIONED IN EPISODE 415
– Support our new sponsor: Mark Sisson’s Primal Fuel
Dr. Neal Barnard bio
Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program For Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System For Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs
Atkins Diet Alert

58 Responses to 415: Dr. Neal Barnard On Vegetarian And Vegan Diabetes Control
  1. bonita
    November 1, 2010 | 7:53 pm

    he does seem very friendly and sincere, but he is also evasive and disingenuous e.g. he never actually answered your question about whether they had tested grass-fed beef–just said it’s all the same. he says they examined chicken from various restaurants but nothing about plain chicken that isn’t loaded without sugar and other chemical additives–could they be the source of the carcinogens? he might have told us about chicken that is slow cooked–is there are difference? chimpanzees are not vegan. the inuit were perfectly healthy till they started eating a western diet. etc….

    but my biggest problem with his hypothesis is that he seems to have lost any sense of history. if he is correct in saying that the consumption of animal products is obviously to blame for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. then we can only assume that almost everyone in canada and the u.s. was vegan until the mid-20th century (well, except the inuit, of course).

    anyway, nice effort jimmy. i have learned so much from your many interviews, though clearly some provide more insight than others. i just started back on low-carb a couple weeks ago, mostly because i couldn’t deny all the symptoms that pointed to me being diabetic or awfully darn close. your guests have given me so much helpful information. now, i go to bed early and sleep in the dark. i am much calmer and happy. sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night and feel absolutely giddy–weird but cool. i kick started my low-carbing with the green tea fast another of your guests suggested. in two weeks i’ve lost 15 pounds and feel immensely better–most of my symptoms are gone. it’s taken a while for me to transition to burning fat, but my energy has really started to pick up in the past few days. i did atkins 7 years ago and lost 55 pounds easily and maintained it for more than a year, but i went back to school and couldn’t handle the stress i created for myself. i tried low-carb again a few times but it didn’t work–i didn’t really understand the role of cortisol. thanks for helping me be successful this time. at 47 i don’t have the luxury of failing at this any longer.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 2, 2010 | 11:40 am

      It did seem that every time I asked a hard question, his answers were short and that was it. Sure, I could have pressed him more, but that wasn’t my MO. CONGRATS on your success!!

  2. Rosemarie
    November 1, 2010 | 9:19 pm

    Jimmy, I was delighted when I saw the headline for this interview and downloaded it right away. I like the fact that you’re not afraid to interview people with totally opposite views, as in this case. Thank you for that.

    Having spent over a year as a vegan myself, I know the conviction and passion these people have for their way of eating. And Dr. Barnard was quite persistant in a nice way to make his points over and over. The fact is both sides have their successes – there’s no denying that.

    One thing I really wished you had discussed with him, is this growing fear by the low-carb community of eating grains and legumes – since the vegans/vegetarians don’t seem concerned by it at all and it makes up a huge part of their diet. After all Dr. Barnard’s focus is on diabetes! It would have been nice to hear his explanation. A missed opportunity – maybe next time…

    Still, it was a great interview and I thank you.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 2, 2010 | 11:41 am

      Hopefully I left a good enough impression on him that he’d like to come back again sometime, Rosemarie. That’s my goal anytime I interview someone. THANK YOU for listening!

  3. kem johnson
    November 1, 2010 | 9:19 pm

    Bonita is correct; history will tell you that a meat based diet is fine. Dr. Barnard is very wrong about societies that eat only meat, they tend to belong lived and healthy in old age. I’ll give him 2 stars for showing up.

    I wouldn’t have been as courteous as you were or keep the questions as balanced. Well done, Jimmy, another fine podcast, ta.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 2, 2010 | 11:42 am

      Even if I disagree, I hope I’m never disagreeable.

  4. Frank G
    November 2, 2010 | 5:21 am

    Very enlightening interview Jimmy… thanks!

    I think your question about GCBC and his evasive non-answer pretty much says it all for me. How anyone who has a professional interest in diet and nutritional health can not have read that book, to me shows an extreme level of close-mindedness. I try to educate myself in all sides of any controversial issue in which I have an interest… if for no other reason than to “know thine enemy”.

    Thanks again
    Frank

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 2, 2010 | 11:44 am

      Frank, I agree which is why I asked him about Taubes. There does seem to be this monolithic religion mentality with veganism where no outside forces can break that preconceived mold. I’m always looking for evidence that debunks how I think to make me more informed.

      • js290
        November 2, 2010 | 11:24 pm

        I’m convinced veganism is an eating disorder on the order of anorexia. Whether one chooses to not to eat one class of healthy foods or all classes of foods seem the same to me.

        Arguing from a vegan health perspective seems futile. Barnard could have made a stronger case had he simply discussed tasty ways to prepare veggies.

  5. Frank G
    November 2, 2010 | 5:32 am

    Just to add that I noticed a common pattern in the way he talked… I’ve seen it before: he mentions research studies but (when pressed) most of what he said was his own “guess” or “opinion”… if you don’t listen carefully the two can easily become blurred… and that, in my view, is his intention, and our mistake if we allow it.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 2, 2010 | 11:44 am

      Excellent catch, Frank! I noticed that too and it’s a skill that people like Barnard and Ornish are very good at.

  6. Alexander Hardman
    November 2, 2010 | 6:28 am

    I haven’t listened yet, but I intend to.

    I am not a vegan, I am not a vegetarian, and I don’t have aspirations of being either nor do I feel like they have a higher moral standing than I do as an omnivore.

    Having said that, I AM very happy that you are actively working to bring multiple perspectives on health together here and that you’ve brought someone to your show that, I assume, is interested in helping people improve their well-being and not beating people over the head with how terrible they are for eating meat.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 2, 2010 | 11:46 am

      THANK YOU Alexander! I am most interested in helping people and I have no doubt that is the goal of Dr. Barnard as well. I say let the information speak for itself and let the individual decide what is best for them based on the preponderance of the evidence.

  7. Dave
    November 2, 2010 | 1:15 pm

    What information? His opinions? What evidence?

  8. Jason
    November 2, 2010 | 3:43 pm

    Jimmy,

    Love your blog and interviews.

    I thought I needed to tell this story.

    I am a cardiologist and I was rounding in the hospital today listening to your podcast. I got called to the ER to see a man in cardiac arrest. We resuscitated him and he was found to have absolutely horrible heart disease. He was from India and since many Indians are vegetarians, I asked him what his diet was like (exactly as Dr. Barnard was talking in my ear buds). He says “I am a complete vegetarian and have never had an animal product in my life.” Unfortunately for him he probably has the worst coronary disease I have seen this year.

    By the way, when I heard his views on HDL, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. Its so inconsistent with the evidence

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:02 am

      WOW! That’s pretty compelling, Jason, and goes right to my question about any alternative hypothesis for being healthy. Obviously, vegetarian/vegan is not the health panacea Dr. Barnard believes it is.

  9. Sean
    November 2, 2010 | 4:17 pm

    Jimmy, I’ve got tons of respect for you. It’s great that you are willing to bring in all aspects of the diet paradigm.

    PCRM, and Neal Bernard, well not so much respect. PCRM, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, why does this remind me of other acronyms such as DPRK, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. When countries feel it necessary to name themselves democracies of the people, watch out. When doctors go find it necessary to form a ‘committee’ that is ‘responsible’ one should also watch out.

    Take the claim by PCRM that meat and dairy take up 74% of farm subsidies: http://cooklikeyourgrandmother.com/2010/10/you-can-have-your-own-opinion-you-dont-get-to-have-your-own-facts/ Willful propaganda or ignorance? Since the facts are readily available to anyone with an internet connection I’d say the former.

    I’m all for doing one’s own research and figuring stuff out for oneself and your podcasts are a great tool for this whatever the viewpoint.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:02 am

      THANKS for listening Sean!

  10. Brian
    November 2, 2010 | 5:19 pm

    Always interesting how the anti-animal proponents advocate minimizing sugar and oils but save most of their vitriol for meat. Nice comment on cholesterol too Jimmy: to low-carbers, LDL isn’t bad any more. To vegans, HDL isn’t good anymore.

    I enjoy your interviews.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:03 am

      I thought it was interesting how he warned about Dr. Eric Westman’s idea of ignoring LDL when he’s doing the same with HDL.

  11. Rob
    November 2, 2010 | 5:29 pm

    Good interview, Jimmy. I don’t think I learned anything useful other than not to have Dr. Barnard as my doctor. But definitely worth a listen.

    The one question I was sure you were going to ask was his opinion on The Vegetarian Myth. Since you mentioned GCBC and the China Study I was surprised you didn’t go three for three.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:04 am

      When he answered about reading GCBC with “I’ll let Gary speak for himself” then I knew he wasn’t interested in hearing me ask about Lierre’s book. Woulda been the same answer!

  12. R Dunn
    November 2, 2010 | 5:32 pm

    I listened to this yesterday and the hairs on the back of my neck are still standing on end. I was able to move my awestruck jaw, eventually.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:05 am

      LOL! I hear ya.

  13. LisaW
    November 2, 2010 | 5:42 pm

    A well conducted interview Jimmy! But, like some of the other posters have mentioned, Dr. Barnard was somewhat evasive. That hurts his ability to persuade.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:06 am

      Lisa, you’re right! Anytime I asked a hard question, he tried to be as short with his answer as possible and then move on. It’s the MO I’ve noticed with a lot of vegan advocates.

  14. PJ
    November 2, 2010 | 8:27 pm

    Great interview, Jimmy. I was struck by the fact that Dr. Barnard mentioned, while discussing the diabetic patient, that all that was needed for nutrition was his four food groups, and a supplement of B-12. So, did our ancestors take supplements? Also, he stated that we are not carnivores. No kidding,,,I believe we are omnivores. By the way, I have diabetes. Or should I say HAD diabetes. Thanks to finding Dr. Bernstein’s book in the library six years ago, I no longer have any symptoms, dropped 50 pounds (and kept it off) and my A1C is under 5. I’ll stick to my Dr. Bernstein diet.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:07 am

      CONGRATULATIONS! Keep up that “meat addiction!” LOL!

  15. Peter Silverman
    November 3, 2010 | 5:31 am

    It was a pleasure to see two people who disagree treating each other well.

    It’s worth mentioning the obvious that both your diet and his restrict sugar and white flour, meaning that most supermarket food is off limits, and you both mainly eat whole foods, which is one possible reason why both diets reduce diabetes risk.

    It’s hard for me to know what’s true about which blood markers matter, since the proponents of any diet that claims to be healthy naturally emphasize
    the blood markers that improve on their particular diet. I wonder if there’s research on that that doesn’t come from a proponent of a particular diet, and compares how well each of the markers predict heart disease. It’s easy to raise both LDL and HDL together, or lower both together, but not so easy to lower LDL while raising HDL, so I wonder who fares better, folks like vegans where both markers tend to be low or both high like low carbers where both marker.tend to be high.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:07 am

      I’d love to see a study on that, Peter.

  16. David Brown
    November 3, 2010 | 6:49 am

    In choosing a dietary approach, success speaks for itself. So, I’m an enthusiastic proponent of whatever works for the individual.

    The thing that concerns me about the vegan approach is the acknowledged requirement for B-12 supplementation. Apparently, giving up animal products is not a way to be naturally healthy. Here’s a quote:

    “This whole paradigm of medicating or supplementing your way out of diseases you behave yourself into needs to change. Its unequivocal that one pattern of eating (Standard American Diet) engenders the systemic inflammatory response that is a root cause of disease. Other patterns of eating have the opposite effect. To think that you can reverse the systemic inflammation/oxidation that results in atherosclerosis with sub-therapeutic doses of DHA is mind boggling to me. If we want to reduce our disease incidence to that we see in healthier populations,we have to eat like they do. Not eat like we do and take fish oil and a statin. Its insane.” Roby Mitchell, MD

  17. Adam
    November 3, 2010 | 7:02 am

    It’s important to point out that Dr. Barnard is an animal rights activist, and is closely tied to PETA. All of his work must be viewed through this filter – i.e. starting with his moral view that people shouldn’t kill animals. He is not going to go where the scientific evidence goes if that conflicts with his moral position.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 3, 2010 | 8:08 am

      I agree Adam! And that’s why people like Barnard, Ornish, and Campbell aren’t scientists in the truest sense of the word.

  18. honeybee
    November 3, 2010 | 9:48 am

    That was almost painful to listen to;
    Dr. Barnard was as slippery as an eel.
    I perceived him as intellectually dishonest and therefore, not credible.

  19. Sid
    November 3, 2010 | 12:12 pm

    Have not listened to the interview yet but have occasionlly seen him on The Shopping Network and selling his supplements etc…Seems like a nice guy but a real smooth doctor operator…

  20. Bev
    November 3, 2010 | 12:19 pm

    I’d say there is ONE common factor in the various eating plans that cause them to work for people as far as weight loss and general health – they almost ALL cut out SUGAR, WHITE FLOUR and PROCESSED FOODS. So for some, vegan works, other low carb works. As Jimmy says, it depends on what works for YOUR body. I try not to eat the above mentioned, but if I ate the way Dr. Barnard does, I would be starving ALL the time, would never feel full, and would generally feel rotten. I can ONLY get mileage on lots of fat and protein and very little carbs. Once again, thanks for an insightful interview – you handle them all with grace!

  21. kem johnson
    November 3, 2010 | 2:33 pm

    Dr. Barnard’s comments on the similarity of humans to apes was interesting. Whilst this is true, he overlooks the fact that chimpanzees are not vegetarians. He also overlooks the difference in our anatomy that has occurred in the six or seven million years since we diverged from a single common ancestor, like our shortend intestines and diminuitive jaw structure. Dr. Barnard would do well to read Richard Wrangham’s “Catching Fire”.

    Come to think of it, Richard Wrangham would make a good interview… a pre-paleo look at the human diet

  22. Hans Keer
    November 4, 2010 | 12:25 am

    I agree we don’t need dairy and vegetable oils, but advocating gut damaging whole grains and legumes and then blame meat for colon cancer sounds ridiculous to me. Looking at processed and burned fast-food meat instead of unprocessed well prepared meat is curious too? By the way, why would a vegan want to have vegan-bacon? And if humans were meant to eat a plant-base only diet, where would you need a B12 supplement for? Why is the doctor so sure about his opinion and does he speak slighting about Westman’s work?

    • Jennifer
      November 4, 2010 | 8:57 am

      I hear you on that one! “Veggie sausage and scrambled tofu” are sure not my idea of a good breakfast.

      I also didn’t like the way he talked about his cattle rancher relatives. He said twice that “they are good people” and then there was the unspoken “but”. I’ll bet his relatives aren’t too thrilled with him, either!

      • honeybee
        November 5, 2010 | 1:31 am

        I caught that, too, Jennifer. I thought it was very patronizing and condescending.

  23. Juba
    November 4, 2010 | 10:27 am

    Something that bothers me about the vegan argument, and something I wish you had asked him about, Jimmy, is this: There is a contradiction in the vegan argument about human beings naturally being equipped for a plant-based diet.

    Here’s the quote from Dr. Barnard: “People are, whether we like it or not, great apes. And so we are not by nature carnivores, and never have been carnivores…. It’s pretty clear that a plant-based diet has tremendous benefits, and I am unaware of anyone who wouldn’t thrive on that kind of diet.” Where did the paleolithic vegans (or at least pre-agricultural vegans), who should have thrived over the carnivorous ones, get their b12?

    Dr. Barnard points out also that some people on vegan diets may need more protein, so they get out the scrambled tofu. That brings up another good question: How did our ancestors manage to get that protein without (a) farming, and (b) the industrialization of food?

    It would seem that there is no answer there, so the entire argument falls flat on its face. Not to mention this logic process is broken: We are great apes, therefore we are vegan. Umm? Has any vegan ever taken a course in logic, I wonder?

    • Marcus
      November 8, 2010 | 3:38 am

      Some vegans argue that the vegan cavemen got adequate b12 because their hygiene was so poor. The dirt clinging to their food and the traces of human waste on their hands that found its way into their mouth provided all they needed. I’m not kidding.

      I’ll stick to steak and eggs.

  24. js290
    November 4, 2010 | 10:42 am

    People are great apes therefore people are vegans begs the question.

    Eating meat made us smarter:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128849908

  25. Norma
    November 4, 2010 | 11:07 am

    Jimmy: I really appreciated the tremendous restraint you showed in interviewing Dr. Barnard. I really think it’s worthwhile to hear others out. Sure, I don’t agree with him either and I was concerned that his research had no way of differentiating the low glycemic effect from the vegan effect on health. He doesn’t mention whether other markers were done on these participants i.e. CRP/IgG. I also would have like to have known who are the participants in these studies that he hints at: the reason being is that when I see studies that are done on college-age males, I am very suspicious. They are the healthiest group alive and have the most forgiving of bodies. What works for them won’t necessarily work for me. Several times I heard Dr. Barnard say that we know that vegetarians live longer and have less cancer and heart disease but I’m not at all sure that is true. Certainly, epidemiological studies dont’ seem to bear that out and are notoriously open to interpretation. However, we have no idea what future research will reveal and it makes sense to keep our minds open. We certainly have a common ground here: low glycemic diets are helpful. Thus begins the discussion.

  26. Peter Silverman
    November 4, 2010 | 11:28 am

    I read today that the US has twice the diabetes rate of England. Anyone out there who has lived in England? I would love to know why.

    • Juba
      November 4, 2010 | 12:30 pm

      My guess is that there are several factors, but here’s a pretty big one for me: High-fructose corn syrup.

      In a recent trip to Canada for work, I took a soda to go with dinner (something I rarely do). My expectation was that our neighbors to the north would use products with the same or similar recipes to ours. In Canada, they don’t sweeten the same sodas (e.g., Coke) with high fructose corn syrup. They use sugar. Sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Glucose is completely safe (it’s the energy your body needs), but fructose is the poison.

      In short, Americans are retarded in that we intentionally over-poison our bodies with fructose.

      Check out the Sugar: The Bitter Truth Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM and Jimmy’s interview with Dr. Lustig. It’s the #1 rated interview in the Livin’ la Vida Low Carb show, and rightfully so :)

      • bonita
        November 5, 2010 | 8:25 pm

        but table sugar (and too much glucose) isn’t completely safe is it? unless, of course, you’re missing the point of a low carb way of eating. in any case, most of the hfcs used in soft drinks is only 55% fructose… not much of a difference really. i’m not standing up for hfcs just suggesting that we in canada aren’t so smart and it’s important not vilify one substance while ignoring the damage another does. table sugar has been a problem for centuries

  27. Al
    November 4, 2010 | 3:37 pm

    Good interview, Jimmy.

    A question that you both might have had more common ground on is what might be his more prevailing interest, being the use of animals in research. Although animal models have been very useful for developing many life saving drugs and devices, do you think that the heavy use of genetically modified animal models to drive a pharmaco-centric approach to managing heart disease and obesity has detracted from outcome based clinical trials of different dietary approaches in humans? I believe that PCRM has long held that human clinical trials on dietary approaches to be superior, although Dr Barnard’s study designs might differ from yours.

  28. Rubiolio
    November 5, 2010 | 2:21 pm

    I wonder what all those paleolithic arrowheads and spear points were for?
    Excellent interview, a delight to see such civility.

  29. Noah
    November 6, 2010 | 10:17 pm

    After Dr Atkins death, many rumors and lies circulated the Internet about his health and cause of death. These rumors were meant to discredit Dr.Atkins and his work. Many of these rumors came directly from Dr Barnards PCRM. Just like T Colin Campbel, Dr. Barnard is not a true scientist, he is a priest in the religion of veganism.

  30. Sue
    November 7, 2010 | 6:13 am

    Sorry couldn’t listen to the interview. From the comments I think you need to start asking some tough questions even if those you are interviewing don’t like it.

    • Jimmy Moore
      November 7, 2010 | 4:05 pm

      Sue, if you’ll listen to my interview then you’ll hear that I did indeed ask him some hard questions regarding why he ignores particle size, why he thinks HDL is irrelevant, and other such questions. I caution you not to criticize until you’ve had a listen for yourself. ;)

  31. Sue
    November 9, 2010 | 9:14 pm

    Jimmy took your advice and listened to interview and withdraw my previous comment. It was hard to listen to as he is so wrong in many things. Thought this was interesting posted at let them eat meat:

    “Dr. Harris cc’d me on a discussion he was having with Dr. Joel Fuhrman and this led me to find out from Dr. Fuhrman that he has been seeing numerous elderly vegans with severe DHA deficiency, and he believes it may have exacerbated Parkinson’s disease and tremors in some of his patients. Upon more questioning, Dr. Furhman had the following to say:
    “I have seen thousands of vegan patients, raw foodists, natural hygienists, McDougall and Ornish participants, as well as my own ‘nutritarian clients’ over the last 20 years. I test B12 on everyone, of course we are not talking about B12 [deficiency in regards to the patients with Parkinson’s and tremors], these individuals were well-educated about B12. I have seen some paralysis and other major B12 problems in hygienists and vegan raw foodists. Some that even died from hyperhomocysteine resulting from severe B12 deficiency. I have also seen vegans with balance and ambulation issues with B12 deficiency, unable to walk. One raw foodist who came to see me with this problem, who could not walk, made almost a complete recovery after B12 supplements and then he announced on his radio show that he recovered from M.S. with a raw food diet. ”
    “Many of the visits were initiated by complaints. Many people who started or adopted vegan diets went back to eating meat after suffering from fatty acid deficiency symptoms from not eating sufficient seeds and nuts. I have performed fatty acid tests, B12, MMA, amino acid profiles and others on many people. I have seen significant DHA and EPA deficiencies even in middle aged women, but the most predictable pattern is the dramatically low levels in elderly vegan men. I do feel to err on the side of caution, either a blood test to confirm adequacy or a low dose of DHA is indicated, and, as was discussed, you do not need very much [200 – 300 mg DHA per day for one month] to fix the blood test findings.”
    http://letthemeatmeat.com/

  32. Sonya
    November 15, 2010 | 11:42 am

    Excellent interview, Jimmy. I appreciate that people with opposing views can reasonably and calmly discuss difficult topics.

    There is so much that Dr. Barnard is wrong and/or willfully ignorant about that it’s hard to take him seriously. His “opinions” carry no weight when compared to what we know based on science yet.

    Two quotes come to mind when listening to him:

    “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    He does not want to believe he is wrong and will defend to the death his inaccuracies.

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    He may truly want to help people, and he may actually help some, but by demeaning and criminalizing low carb, meat eaters he’s hurting many more who buy into his propaganda.

  33. grindstone
    November 20, 2010 | 10:25 pm

    Hey everyone, just wanted to add another post of gratitude from closer to “the other side.” Actually, I feel detached from both camps and am interested in taking what’s valid from whereever it comes. I know, sounds like a typical astro-turfing troll and surprises me, too, but it’s true. I’m type II and trying to take responsibility for my own health. There’s just so much vitriol out that that I really must have missed a lot of history. I’m coming to figure out that what is called “low carb” is sorta similar to this “high protein” (Eades?) thing I tried maybe 10 years ago as my one and only brief foray into paying _any_ attention to what I ate.

    I don’t really know much of anything about nutrition (am learning slowly) but saw Dr. Barnard on TV and went out and bought a bunch of his books because his approach was not just accepting the status quo like my doctor seemed to be offering. I knew that, even if I did what my doc said to the letter, the prognosis wasn’t good so I thought what the hey. Vegan and low-fat & low-glycemic all together seemed pretty radical and crazy and still does in a way. It was almost a puzzle to me to see if I could figure out how to survive on an alien plan(et?), so I sorta just “veered” in that direction to see how it went a meal here or there. I have to say that, after being on the sort of AMA-recommended plan counting carbs, it was appealing that I could get some things I was missing. Call it caving or lack of willpower but it got me started. What I learned is that it just took time to figure out a handful of things that I liked and it suddenly wasn’t foreign. Probably nobody is more surprised than I was, but it’s not all eating leaves and trees and nuts ;) There’s actually some decent chow and the burgers and whatever other sausages and all that have really become amazingly good. Man I ate 3 burgers a day, bunch of italian sausage, dogs, etc. Pretty easy to be full and sorta “fun” if any of this stuff can be called fun. I just had never tried any of that “veggie” stuff because, well, why would you (one)? It was really really hard to get the fat down under 20g a day for me, though. 40-50g came easy, but reductions after that took work and the fun decreased. I learned a lot and I’m grateful for the knowledge and for the experience. For example, no way I’d have dealt with glycemic indices w/o Dr. B’s simplifying ways to choose things w/o looking at tables. He made a lot of foreign stuff approachable or accessible in his books.

    I agree that there’s a preponderance of…unreasonableness in many of the vegan advocates and they don’t help their cause any, but I didn’t know any of that back then–I really had paid zero attention to any health or nutrtion-related thing. I still don’t understand it, but I’m not joining a movement, I’m just trying to wank with my body by means of nutrition. It’s also my impression that a lot of the pcrm stuff is just shady in terms of ties and funding and agendas. Like many, I get the impression that Dr. B. is deeply slippery, but I am willing to wade in with sharks if they can help me. Almost no one can be 100% bad, or so goes my outlook.

    Here’s the “other side” part. His books have more references and citations so they actually come-off better than his interview did (which came-off poor to me, too). He writes well and he has chef-types with piles of interesting recipes that taught me a lot of possibilities I’d never in a million have considered.

    It’s sad to me that he’s reserved or appears cagey about certain things because he’s asking some really good questions himself–questions that the “proper” medical community might benefit from considering. Sucks to try to make informed decisions as a layman in some crossfire of agendas and politics.

    I actually really enjoyed the interview (and the ones with Dr. Ornish as well). These guys acquit themselves better than a lot of people and they’re offering alternatives I don’t hear about from my local doc (who is good enough but not gonna help me push boundaries). I’m not comfortable accepting status quo if an option to do better exists.

    I’m still wary of low-carb (well at least the induction stuff) and I have to learn more (remember I’m type II). I remember really believing in the science back then, though, but I can’t recall any of it.

    I do finally really understand what people say about finding what works for them. I didn’t get that until I tried this vegan-ish thing and I was really surprised at how easy it was in the end. Well, I should admit I’ve eaten over a pound of steak this weekend (long story but a push from a low-carb email pal to get “real” protein in my life to recover after atrophy due to injury…also how I got here) so I’m not so vegan right now ;) Before I started this meat-stuff up again, though, I lost maybe 75 and my labs were solid (A1c 4.8). I can’t attribute it all to any single plan–I lived on 1700 cal and chicken tacos for the first 3 months of the 7 or so that I’ve changed my life, with the vegan-ey stuff maybe a couple months lately (flipped to 50% carbs and ixnay on the animal products).

    So probably I should add that my exp years ago on the high-protein thing was great for a while. Loved it, and weight fell off and I was pretty stoked. After a bit, I honestly had dreams about mashed potatoes. Recurring. Three nights of that and I folded like a house of cards.

    So I’m making my way, but it’s slow. I’m veering to more protein & fat and less carbs for a while. It’s hard to know who or what to trust. Got an intro-to-nutrition textbook to start learning about “body stuff” ;)

    Through this very ‘cast, though, I just learned about Eco-Atkins so that sounds like it might be something in my wheelhouse ;)

    Thanks for the resource and thanks for the effort. Your commitment and enthusiasm is inspirational.

  34. Sarah
    November 30, 2010 | 12:43 pm

    There is enough omega 3 fat in the broccoli and beans so you don’t need vegetable oils?
    Pasta is compacted?

    Aye Carumba. My Mom has this guy’s book, actually. I feel like two planets just collided.

  35. Claire
    December 18, 2010 | 1:31 am

    Dear Bonita,
    The western countries have not had access to so much animal products until recently. Factory farming has dramatically changed this. Just watch the movie ‘Food Inc.’ Canada and the US may not have been vegan, but they certainly would not have consumed the quantity of animal products they do today. I suggest you read the ‘China Study’ if you want to know more about this.

  36. Steve Wilson
    January 15, 2011 | 12:18 pm

    @Claire
    you are woefully misinformed, please read the following from Denise Minger to learn why The China Study is a tissue of lies http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

    As for Neal Barnard his plan is terrible for diabetics to follow as all it consists of is a thinly veiled attempt to push ppl on to a Vegan diet. It is far too carb heavy and not built on proper science. This is to be expected I suppose, as Neal Barnard is in fact a doctor of Psychology NOT medicine. I speak as someone who followed it and as an ex-vegan of 3 years.
    Now I follow Dr Richard K Bernsteins low-carb diabetes solution and my health has improved as a result. Current HbA1c 5.5%





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