Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Following the Weston Price Dietary Recommendation

At the Living Economies Expo, in Lyttelton over the weekend, I met a number of obese people who I tried to engage in conversation about weight loss. Largely I failed to be helpful or effective. If you imagine there's nothing to learn here reading this general introduction to nutrition will get you interested.

The Bus Drivers

First of all there were the bus drivers. At least four, perhaps more. All the bus drivers on the long trip to Lyttelton, except one, were obese, two grossly obese. One driver told me that type 2 diabetes was normal for bus drivers, and that all his associates had it. "Nothing can be done unless I lose weight, and I've tried. You don't get much exercise doing this job."

Second, eating less is not a sensible way to lose weight. You simply get hungry, and while for a few days, of a few weeks you might put up with that, eventually you'll give up. The popular idea that you need to make a balance between calories in and calories out, by either controlling what you eat, or by exercising more, is nonsense. The fact that many scientific researchers and doctors still believe that, doesn't make it valid. Your body is not a machine. Definitive proof of that, is in the Women's Health Initiative. (See below) Eight years of eating 350 calories a day less than required for maintenance, created in almost no weight loss at all.

To effectively loose weight forever, you need to eat in a way that ensures that you NEVER feel hungry. If you eat a Banting diet, that will happen, and the weight will fall away. (An alternative is intermittent but regular fasting.)

A Paleo Diet Convert

One woman and her husband were both obese. She was very open an approachable. I asked her if weight loss was one of her objectives. Yes she said, "But I'm on top of that, I've already lost over 30kg." That took me back a bit.

So, I'm interested, and I asked what's the secret? A Paleo diet, low carbohydrate and high fat. Yes, she's got it. Paleo is a question mark, it depends who your expert source is. LCHF is right, but once again some people have better knowledge than others.

Here's the problem. She knows the right words. She has had some success, a great deal of success, with the knowledge she has. Because she "KNOWS" it's difficult for me to help and for her to imagine that she might need help. I'll be interested to find out what the next year brings. She can easily lose another 20kg, and I hope she does.

A Weston Price Follower

I met several Maori and Pacific people who were obese, but were also very well aware that Weston Price was full of praise for Pacific Island and Maori people, for the quality of their diet.

Here is a short video where Weston Price tells you how to prevent tooth decay and poor health. (You have to download the video, and then play it.)

One woman in particular explained that she eats the diet her grandparents ate, exactly the diet that Weston Price recommended. "My diet is excellent," she says. I can tell by looking at her, that her diet is far from excellent. But if that's what she says, there's no room for me to offer her any help.

People quickly put up walls against dietary advice. Each person has his or her own life experience. Everyone knows what a healthy diet is. Except that if 75% of us have weight problems, so perhaps we don't really know at all. We all know what we've been told is a healthy diet for the last 50 years. That's the diet that failed in the very carefully designed and recorded Women's Health Initiative.

This study is very important. It proves that a low-fat diet is not heart protective, and benefits for stroke, breast cancer and colon cancer were not found. Worse, it makes some cancers more likely. The diets of 19,000 women were carefully monitored. They did as they were told, right to the end, when the study was suddenly terminated (because of these bad results). They were told to eat less fat, and increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They were told to reduce the cholesterol in their diets. They ate just a little less each day than they might have wanted. The diet was planned to be 350 calories a day short, so gradual weight loss of about 14 kg a year would occur. That didn't happen. The body simply down-regulated to make up for the short-fall, and the weight remained the same.

A Busy Young Professional

This woman was a volunteer at the Expo, someone who worked very hard. She was complaining about her lack of fitness. I asked if she would like to lose some weight? Immediately the defensive walls went up. I'm OK, I have a personal trainer. I've lost 6kg in the last year. I'm happy.

I've heard that story before. The personal trainer might be very good, at improving strength and aerobic performance, and flexibility. But none of that resolves the poor diet problem. Poor diet is CAUSED by poor knowledge, often the knowledge the person involved thinks is the key to "good health."

If you already know the how to eat in a healthy way, so that you can control your weight, anything I might happen to know is not of importance to you.

The Wrong Knowledge Problem

If you want to understand why everything you were told about diet for most of your life, has been completely ass about face, you can read about that here, in four pages, or buy Nina Teicholz's book "The Big Fat Surprise" in over 400 pages.

I've already written about two wrong ideas commonly held, even by professionals. That you need to exercise to reduce weight. And to lose weight you need to eat less so that calories consumed balance the calories you burn during the day. Both those ideas are wrong as explained in the section about bus drivers, and the WHI above.

There are real choices if you want a weight loss diet. Banting or Low-Carbohydrate High-Fat is the most efficient and painless way, but there are other alternatives. Perhaps the most useful of those is the simple act of fasting. An extended overnight fast, is a very effective tool, when combined with low carbohydrate principles.

The woman eating a Paleo diet needs to know that if carbohydrates are kept below 120gm a day weight loss is likely, even though one is not in ketosis. For more rapid weight loss, it's desirable to be in ketosis and for that the amount of carbohydrate in the diet needs to be less than 50gm a day. She would benefit from reading some of the research studies Dr Jeff Volek has done.

I suspect that the Weston Price advocate is confused about what Weston Price actually said. I doubt if she understands what carbohydrates are, and why that is important. It's common to meet people, who are quite well educated, but still confused about which foods are or are not sources of carbohydrates.

She might also benefit from knowing that when she eats breakfast, if she eats zero carbohydrates, fat burning will continue. Perhaps continue all day if she's careful about the foods she chooses for lunch.

Finally the young professional woman. She's already eating a gluten free diet, with some success. She will probably find that a grain free diet is even better. She was worried about high blood pressure. If she adopts a Banting diet her blood pressure will probably return to normal.

The other issue people raise when I speak of a high fat diet, is their fear of high cholesterol. The Framingham Study showed conclusively that total cholesterol was ineffective as an indicator of future heart disease.

Because the ability to test for HDL-C and LDL-C had been developed, and they had drugs (statins) that reduce LDL-C, the recommended protocol switched to using statins to lower LDL-C. It turns out that LDL-C carries a payload of particles, and the nature of those particles is important. If the particles are large and fluffy they are harmless. If they are small and dense, they might be harmful.

People eating a low fat diet, produce small dense particles, and low HDL-C. People eating a high fat diet, produce large fluffy particles, and high HDL-C. That's a double advantage because high HDL-C is known to be protective against CVD and Alzheimer's.

John Stephen Veitch                     Printable Version Printer of this Essay
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