Do you have processed food addiction?

One of my friends used to work for the processed food industry and told me she spent her time devising foods that people could not stop eating. The people who worked there tried to find the bliss point, where people felt they were in some sort of momentary heaven. There used to be an advertising slogan for one of these concoctions- “one nibble and you’re nobbled”

I used to eat like this
:
Cereal or toast for breakfast, a wholemeal sandwich for lunch and maybe a chocolate bar as a treat and a home cooked tea/dinner, preceded by 2 pieces of toast while I cooked it, and then my meal itself with pasta, potatoes or rice. Sometimes I would have a few biscuits in the morning, and often some crisps or nuts with drinks if someone came round for dinner (which was not often). My meals were always home cooked, and I would have condiments with them, without thinking about it. I especially loved mint sauce with lamb, and horseradish sauce with beef. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had processed food addiction. I thought I had a healthy diet because I home cooked my main meals, and ate whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat cereal and whole-wheat pasta (if the children didn’t complain too much!). I tried to balance my eating with an active lifestyle. I played golf and often had a cereal bar on the way round, with a can of diet cola. I climbed mountains and took sandwiches and cake for a meal in the middle of the climb.

The truth was that I ate a lot of processed food and that contained a lot of sugar, or starch that changes into sugar. It was no wonder I gained 2 stone in weight. I am going to reprint the above paragraph and highlight all the foods that are processed. Look at this:

I used to eat like this: cereal or toast for breakfast, a wholemeal sandwich for lunch and maybe a chocolate bar as a treat and a home cooked tea/dinner, preceded by 2 pieces of toast while I cooked it, and then my meal itself with pasta, potatoes or rice. Sometimes I would have a few biscuits in the morning, and often some crisps or nuts with drinks if someone came round for dinner. My meals were always home cooked, and I would have condiments with them, without thinking about it. I especially loved mint sauce with lamb, and horseradish sauce with beef. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had processed food addiction. I thought I had a healthy diet because I home cooked my main meals, and ate whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat cereal and whole-wheat pasta (if the children didn’t complain too much!). I tried to balance my eating with an active lifestyle. I played golf and often had a cereal bar on the way round, with a can of diet cola. I climbed mountains and took sandwiches and cake as a meal in the middle of the climb. I didn’t mention alcohol, which is a processed product and should be considered as something that is very ‘more-ish’ and stimulates your appetite to eat more processed food, and drink more of itself! It also reduces your inhibitions in relation to eating more…; you’ve guessed it and I don’t need to say it.

My life was punctuated by processed food, but I never would have thought I had a processed food addiction. I even made my own processed food with white flour and sugar!
I never thought I could have given it up, but I did, as explained on the front page of this website. I enjoy my food a lot now, eat it with relish and it gives me great pleasure, and I no longer feel drawn to the processed stuff. Think about how you are going to do it, and believe me when I say 4 years on, that it is worth it, and the cravings left long ago.

The Ketogenic Diet: Why Eating Fat Can Make You Thin

This is a guest post by Louise Hendon, co-host of The Keto Summit and author of The Essential Keto Cookbook

It probably seems very counterintuitive that eating more fat can actually help you lose weight.

Traditional advice has always been to eat low fat and exercise more.

But as we’ve realized over the years, traditional advice is simply not working. According to a recent finding, from 1993 to 2013 in England, “the proportions that were overweight including obese increased from 57.6 per cent to 67.1 per cent in men and from 48.6 per cent to 57.2 per cent in women.”

As many people have discovered, the culprit may well be the traditional advice we’ve been given. What we are often told is “healthy” are often foods that are causing us to stay fat and suffer chronic health problems.

That’s why websites like Fat is My Friend are so amazing. They offer a better way of enjoying food without compromising your health.

Luckily, if you’ve been following Dr. Jo’s recommendations for a while, then you might already be eating a ketogenic diet without realizing it.

But in this post, I’ll explain more about what a ketogenic diet is, what you eat, what you don’t eat, how it’s potentially different from LCHF or Aktins, and explain why fat isn’t something you should be afraid of.

What is the ketogenic diet?
The traditional ketogenic diet originated around 100 years ago as an effective method of treating kids with epilepsy. They found that the diet increased levels of ketone bodies in the children and that this increase corresponded to decreased epileptic seizures.

Back then the diet wasn’t all that appetizing. You often fasted and drank high fat foods like cream. But over the years, the diet has been dramatically modified so that you can still gain the benefits of keto while eating delicious foods.

As you probably have guessed, a ketogenic diet is considered a high fat diet. But you don’t just eat fat.

You also eat a fair amount of protein (especially if you’re trying to lose weight) and a small amount of carbohydrates (preferably in the form of whole foods like green leafy vegetables).

That means you avoid foods high in carbohydrates like chips, pasta, bread, and cakes.

What exactly do you eat on a ketogenic diet?
Here are some general food groups to eat on a ketogenic diet:
1. Fish and seafood – these are generally high in nutrients, high in good fats, and have pretty much no carbohydrates. Oysters are especially good if you can get them. But in the UK, smoked salmon and canned sardines are excellent options that you can get in most stores.
2. Meats – get high quality meats if you can and go for fattier cuts. Dr. Jo has a great roast lamb recipe here you should try.
3. Eggs – these are also high in good fats and very nutritious. They’re perfect for fast and easy breakfasts.
4. Leafy green vegetables – while many starchy vegetables are off limits on a ketogenic diet because they contain too many carbohydrates, leafy green vegetables are encouraged. They’re a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and can help make your meals more interesting.
5. Organ meats like liver – beef liver is highly nutrient dense. That means you’ll get more vitamins and minerals per calorie you take in than most foods. If you dislike the taste of liver, then try hiding some in burger meat or stews.
6. Berries – don’t go overboard with fruits as they are pretty high in sugars. But adding a handful of berries each day to your diet can add a ton of flavor to various dishes.
7. Healthy fats – coconut oil, ghee, tallow, lard, olive oil, avocado oil are all excellent options.

For more keto food ideas, check out our free 7-day keto meal plan here.


How is this different to Atkins or LCHF?

The main difference is simply one of focus. In practice, there’s often very little difference.

While Atkins focuses on eating lower carbs and LCHF focuses on eating more fat and less carbs, the idea behind Keto is to eat a diet that increases your blood ketone levels.

A diet high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs (as Dr. Jo suggests) is perfect for increasing your blood ketone levels.

Many people on Atkins or LCHF are probably experiencing blood ketone levels that put them into “nutritional ketosis” already.

According to Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, “‘light nutritional ketosis’ is between 0.5mmol/L and 1.0mmol/L and ‘optimal ketosis’ is between 1.0mmol/L and 3.0mmol/L.”

Many Keto proponents, like myself, also heavily emphasize eating real foods and focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods (like leafy green vegetables, seafood, and organ meats).

Why Does Eating Keto Help You Lose Weight?
The exact mechanism for why a ketogenic diet works is still very much debated.

Is it just the high ketone levels, the high fat diet, the low carb aspect, hunger suppression, a combination of these, or some other mechanism we’re not aware of yet?

Whatever the exact reason, it seems that Keto diets work well for weight loss.

One 24-week study found that a ketogenic diet “significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients.”

And people like Jimmy Moore have found significant weight loss with the diet.

What About Cholesterol?

The traditional view, which many people still believe, is that if you eat foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats (like eating eggs and bacon) will cause you to have higher cholesterol and thereby cause heart disease.


However, recent studies are slowly debunking this traditional view.

A 2009 review concluded that, “It is reasonable to conclude that there is little evidence supporting a major association between dietary cholesterol and CHD [coronary heart disease] risk in the general population.” Hyperresponders and type 2 diabetics may react differently.

A 2010 study concluded that, “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] or CVD[cardiovascular disease].”

Another study found that the ketogenic diet was beneficial even in the long-term for overweight people with high cholesterol. That study was conducted for 56 weeks.

Start Eating More Healthy Fats

While you definitely don’t need to go overboard and stuff your food with fats unnecessarily, you also don’t need to fear fats.

Choose fattier cuts of meat, cook your vegetables in delicious fats like lard, and add higher quality extra virgin olive oil to your salads. Look into the ketogenic diet if you’re interested in learning more. And listen to Dr. Jo!

Week 3- How to Change your Eating in 8 weeks

Remind us of YOUR hopes and goals. Mine were, and are, to reduce my risk of dementia. My dad and grandmother had dementia, and it is associated with diabetes. In reducing my risk of diabetes, I hope to reduce my risk of dementia.
This week a few people in my group shared that they were now able to get down on the floor and play with their grandchildren, and get up again. How lovely!
How have you been getting on? What are your challenges and successes?
Email them to me if you like, or ask me a question, on joannemccormack@nhs.net
Low carb snacks and fermented foods– examples are provided on the night.
Recipe for sauerkraut
Exercise chat- what have you been doing? You cannot exercise enough to compensate for eating the wrong sort of food. Remember that Sumo wrestlers eat lots of rice and drink lots of beer and despite doing lots of exercise they maintain a high weight.
Non food treats
Not to forget:
Set your quit day– processed food addiction affects many of us, don’t give up on giving up!
Get your measurements and/or photos done. The tests to be done now and in 3 months are HBA1C, liver, kidney, lipids, thyroid, weight, height, and waist measurements.
Be mindful
Habit releaser of the week- have a night- or a week- off TV, and see what else you can enjoy.
See me or your GP for advice about your diabetes medication before your quit day.

Yoga

To get more active as part of a change of lifestyle, I suggest chair or floor based exercise like yoga first, and often second, because it is great for your total health.

With that in mind, I was delighted to welcome Dr Hemma Mistry to our first low carb meeting at Stockton Heath, and to hear that she is trained as a health coach and yoga instructor.

At the same time, I was sent this extremely helpful guest blog by health blogger Cassie on how to choose a yoga class and instructor, in your city, or town.

Many thanks for this great article, Cassie!

How to Find the Best Yoga Teacher in Your City

Time and again, research shows that true health includes physical health, mental health and spiritual health. All three aspects affect each other and are worth addressing. If you’ve spent any time thinking about the best way to do this, you’ve probably considered taking up yoga. If so, you’re on the right track.

The most well-known physical benefits of yoga are increased strength, tone and flexibility. However, good yoga instruction also focuses on teaching the discipline of concentration, which leads to stress reduction. Less stress means a healthier emotional life, better relationships and a clearer mind. Taking up yoga can literally change your life.

Before you run out and sign up for the first yoga class you find, take some time to learn a little more about the different kinds of yoga available, the difference between a class offered at your local gym and a membership at a yoga studio and how to find the most experienced and trained yoga instructor available in your area.

Most cities will offer more than one way to engage in the world of yoga. Below, we’ve detailed some steps you can take to find the best class, instructor and medium available to you wherever you’re located.

Search the Web

An obvious first step is to hop online and do a search of yoga classes in your area. You can search for classes by country, state or city using Yoga Finder, an easy-to-use yoga-specific online search tool. You can also do a basic Google search for classes or to locate yoga workshops or retreats.

Take Advantage of Apps

Apps are an excellent way to track down nearby classes. In fact, some apps even allow you to book classes right from the app. The following apps will make finding a quality yoga teacher quick and convenient.

ClassPass is a membership-based app that gets you into the best classes and gyms near you.
Lymber allows you to search and book a class from a large inventory in your area.
Yoga Trail keeps track of classes and events held by your chosen studios and instructors so you don’t have to.

Try Different Yoga Studios

A lot of yoga studios offer free classes to new students who want to try out a class. Sometimes you can even get up to a week of free classes so you really get a chance to see what a particular studio offers. This is especially helpful when you’re still learning about the different kinds of yoga.

Some studios may offer only one kind of yoga while others will offer a wider variety. If you’re new to the world of yoga, you may want to start out with a studio that offers a variety of yoga styles so you can figure out what you like and what you don’t. After you’ve spent some time with the various methods, you’ll be better equipped to commit to a particular style.

Go to the Gym

Most gyms offer a variety of group classes, including yoga. If you already have a membership with a local gym, give them a call and find out how their yoga instructors are trained and if they have certain certifications.

If you aren’t yet a member, see if they offer a trial period that will allow you to take a class or two. This will give you a chance to explore the different instructors, their style and the kind of yoga they teach.

Turn on YouTube
If you can’t find a decent class in your area or you just aren’t ready to make the financial investment, consider YouTube. As you know, YouTube is a treasure trove of videos that can teach anyone pretty much anything.

Yoga may feel trendy here in the West, but the truth is that in the Eastern world, it has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The distance separating East and West means some of the world’s best yoga instructors can only be accessed online. Thanks to online spaces like YouTube, most of these channels are only a click away.

However, depending on where you’re located (and where the yoga instructor is located), you may occasionally run up against the frustrating practice of geo-blocking. This is exactly what it sounds like; your access is blocked because of location. Luckily, you can still access these world-class instructors no matter where you are with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will mask your location and connect you to a remote server that isn’t geo-blocked.

Aside from world-class instructors, the great thing about hopping on the web for yoga instruction is that you’ll find videos for pretty much every level and style.

Don’t wait. Practicing yoga is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. You’ll be stronger, with a clear mind and an open heart. What better way to combat negativity than with focus and strength?

There’s no question you’ll be healthier for it. You never know; if you find the right class and the right instructor, you just might find that you’re happier too.

About the Author: Cassie is a health and technology blogger whose many years as a nurse have given her a special passion for helping people to get healthy and stay healthy. Cassie loves everything about yoga, from the poses to the community, to how great she feels after every session. She loves sharing her experiences and is known for converting yoga skeptics into full-fledged yoga fanatics.

Would you run your petrol car on diesel?

Today I was at a diabetes meeting and pointed out that the British National Institute of clinical Excellence(NICE) advises low GI sources of carbohydrate for type 2 diabetes( “new” December 2015) and carbohydrate counting for Type 1 diabetics(also “new” December 2015). One of our docs pointed out that this what was advised 13 years ago when she did her diabetes diploma. It was also what was advised 100 years ago before the invention of medications to lower blood glucose.

Low GI means avoiding refined carbs such as cakes and biscuits, and also foods like rice, potatoes, porridge, pasta, wholewheat and white bread. It leaves us with quinoa, and above ground vegetables, as well as meat, fish, high fat dairy, oils, some nuts and seeds.

phc-food-circle

Why can’t I get pregnant?

“I can’t get pregnant- what do you think could be causing it?”

This week a young woman came to see me who had been trying for a baby for a year. Neither she nor her partner had had a child. She was a non-smoker, a social drinker and -like an average woman of her age in the UK- she was overweight, even though she was very active. Her periods were every two to three months, rather than regularly each month.

Doctors have a set series of questions to ask, examinations to do, and blood tests to perform, and sometimes people have a laparoscopy to check everything is as it should be.

However, before the results of these tests are through I can tell her that something needs to be done, and that she can take action right away. That is because she has a hormonal problem which will reduce her chances of getting pregnant. This hormonal problem is causing her periods to be irregular, it is linked into something called insulin resistance and it is causing her to put on weight. This extra weight changes the balance of her hormones further and interferes with the regularity of her cycle. It also causes her to put on further weight, and may even eventually lead to diabetes if it is not kept in check.

I recommended the following to her:

Cutting out alcohol completely( it is advised to do this once pregnant so it is best to do it in advance to get into the habit).
Getting regular sleep, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
Getting gentle exercise of a relaxing nature, and building it up as fitness levels improve, and weight decreases.
Taking a folic acid supplement every day and a vitamin D one.
Mindfulness in relation to food, and relaxation to reduce stress levels and develop a healthy relationship with nourishing food.
A real food lifestyle with a low carb bent so that the weight normalizes at the rate of 2kg or 4lbs a month or more. Try my 8 week programme.
In addition, www.dietdoctor.com and www.ditchthecarbs.com have good recipes and video clips.
30g of carbs a day may be necessary to lose weight but everyone is different..so she could increase it if she was getting the results she wanted.

How to measure success?- regular periods will show her she is on the right track, and a pregnancy will show it has worked.

Bingeing on sweets and how to stop?

A letter from a patient 3.1.17

I read your site with great interest, but I am quite confused. I am 70 yrs old, had a triple heart bypass in 2010, I am on aspirin,atorvastatin and ramipril.
I am a binge eater, and unfortunately binge out on sweets.
I have had a lot of help from the NHS but

they don’t really approve of low carb diets

They feel that if I don’t have enough carbs then I am liable to binge eat. I am determined to try and cut out the sweets and reduce the carbs, but I was surprised to see steaks, burgers suggested eating.
I thought these foods were not to be recommended. I have sweeteners in my tea, is that as bad as sugar? Any advice gratefully received.
Tom

Dear Tom

All doctors would agree that if you managed to stop eating sugar that would be a good thing

If you managed to do that you would be on a lower carb diet. That would also be a good thing- no doctor would disagree with this simple version of a low carb diet as sugar contains no nutrients.
It is not easy to give up. Sugar is an addictive substance. You can cut it down gradually, you can set a quit day and cut it out. You can keep on stopping and giving up till it becomes a permanent thing. Most people find it very difficult and you have indicated you have a problem with binge eating.
You might like to read Jeff Cyr’s story https://zerocarbzen.com/2015/09/16/how-a-high-fat-ketogenic-diet-saved-my-life-by-jeff-cyr/
Jeff found he could control his eating if he mostly ate meat and fish and a few veg( which are carbs, but not the addictive sort) It is a life choice that many people chose. The zerocarb zen people eat meat and drink water. They find it easier to do than eating any carbs. Doctors may disapprove of this but the zerocarb zen people do not care. They take their chance with their lower weight, less medication, less food addiction and better quality of life. They take responsibility for their own health. I am not saying you should do that, but I am saying you have a choice about what you do.
In answer to your questions, burgers made with pure meat and steaks are ok in moderation eg 3-4 oz per meal. Sweeteners prolong your addiction to “sweet”. The more you make savoury substitutes for sweet foods and drinks the quicker you will be on the path to a lower sugar life. You could also reduce the sweetness gradually over time, by having less and less sweetener. That way you reset what I call your sweet-o-meter.
If you are nervous about a classic low carb diet, consider that we have a cardiologist on our board www.phcuk.org , and that docs all round the world do it without fear. If you do not want to do the full thing, finding a way to give up sugar would be the best way forward. Hypnosis, cold turkey, savoury substitutions? Whatever you feel would work best for you just give it a go. Don’t give up on giving up! Once you have given up for 7-8 weeks you will feel free.
I used to work for www.iquitsugar.com. They have an 8 week programme on line to get you off sugar- give them a look perhaps… there is a lot of online support
All the best.
Dr Jo

A typical morning

This morning I saw about 15 people with a variety of conditions. I have started asking everyone about what they eat, and listening attentively to the answers, because eating good food is a fundamental part of improving your health, along with having enough water, movement, sunlight, attention, and relaxation. This morning I saw people for medication reviews, with persistent coughs and colds, with anxiety, and people with backache. It is often said that doctors are not necessary for such minor matters, but that applies only if you think of a condition in isolation. Take a cold. It is a “so what?’ Surely people can just wait till they get better? I find often the person with a persistent cold is under or overweight, is on a variety of medication, and has felt under par for a long time. He may be overworked, he may suffer from stress and poor sleep. He may well be neglecting his diet and have stopped exercising. He may be on medication that needs to be reviewed. So I listen and ask questions and ask how he would like to improve his health. What is he willing to change? I often write down a list of suggestions and give links to my website for further reading and contemplation. I do not expect people to make changes right away. A period of reflection is needed and a discussion with loved ones about a joint way forward.
The medication reviews were helpful, and I managed to stop a couple of people over 70 on statins. The manufacturer advises caution and they both had conditions that could have been made worse by being on a statin, so were happy to stop it.
Food is more than fuel, it helps repair and renew your body, so think of the food you eat any time you become unwell.

Do you eat normally & can’t get your weight down?

cartoon-before-and-after

You have seen your doctor and had all the tests.

They are all normal

There is no reason for carrying all that weight around your middle.

You know you eat healthily. You even exercise and that makes no difference. You feel your doctor does not believe you.

You know he or she is wrong. What is going on?

You have probably got something called insulin resistance.

It stops you using your food for energy in the normal way and converts the sugars in the food you eat to fat on your body.

It also stops you losing weight.

What can you do?

Eat food that does not cause your insulin to go up as much.

What food is that?

Meat, fish, chicken , eggs, high fat dairy, and vegetables

See www.fatismyfriend.co.uk or www.dietdoctor.com for recipes.

I recommend gradually cutting down your carb intake to about 30g a day until you are better, and increasing it slowly again if you get too thin. It can take you a few months but once you understand you can keep going for ever. Look how this man did it.

How do you work out your carbs?

You can buy a carb counting book or an app for your smartphone to work out the carbs.You could also do a programme like Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter where he teaches you a very low carb way of eating.

Broadly which foods do I need to avoid?

Cakes, biscuits, sweets, sugar, bread, cereals, pizza, pies, even fruit.

What if that does not work?

Try intermittent fasting. In its simplest form it means having only one or two meals a day.