Thursday, 31 December 2009

The dirty, robbing bastards!

...said the characters Janice and Ray, on the Catherine Tate Show. Having whinged about Channel Five in the past, I will now whinge about the BBC.

I watched episode 1 of "The Day of the Triffids" on BBC iPlayer and very good it was, too. So far, so good. I then tried to watch episode 2. It was available in High Definition format only. I bought my lap-top in May 2003 and it isn't up to displaying High Definition programmes on Flash Player 10. I could listen to the programme for a while, but Firefox has a memory leak, which accelerates when trying to play High Definition programmes on Flash Player.

Once all of the memory has been used up, Firefox displays a dialog box, locks-up or just terminates. I disabled Virtual Memory on my lap-top as Hard Disk is ~500,000 times slower than RAM. I have 1GB of memory and that's it. My lap-top won't take more than 1GB of RAM.

So, Aunty Beeb. Why can't I watch programmes in either Low Definition or High Definition formats?

P.S. The BBC message-boards recently changed to the BBC iD system. I tried to migrate Nigeepoo (I've been using that username there since March 2003) to the BBC iD system to be informed "Your username appears to contain a profanity". You couldn't make this stuff up! They will be sorting it out at some point...

I'm temporarily posting there with the username Nigeep00.

P.P.S. I was so busy whingeing, that I completely forgot to wish all my readers a Happy New Year. So......


Look after your tyres.

Many years ago, I used to drive a Signal Yellow Ford Fiesta 1.1S (all 3 of my cars have been bright yellow - it's a very safe colour). In 1982, around Christmas time, I had a minor prang which dented the front offside just beside the headlamp. When I got home, I tried to get my hand up the front wheel arch to inspect the damage but the wheel was in the way so I applied full left lock. What I then saw sent a chill down my spine.

Both front tyres had perfect tread on the outside edges but were worn right down to the steel belts on the inside edges. This was due to tracking error (excessive toe-out) forcing the treads outward as the car moved forward. When I had the tyres replaced and the tracking corrected, the steering felt much lighter (I didn't have power steering).

Fast-forward to 30th December 2009....

I had a slow puncture in my rear nearside tyre (due to a nail) so I went to the garage to get it repaired. The garage informed me that both rear tyres were unserviceable due to a complete lack of tread between the inside & outside edges of the tyres. My car has wide tyres and apparently, this happens even when tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.

Last week, I was driving around on snow & ice on two semi-bald tyres that provide traction, as Mazda MX-5s have Rear Wheel Drive. I got lucky...twice!

Moral of the story:- Check your treads across the full width of the tyres.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

I'm a secret lemonade drinker...

R. White's, R. White's! I'm a trying to give it up-a but it's one of those nights, R. White's, R. White's! R. White's lemona-a-ade. I'm a secret lemonade drinker...*fade to outtro*

Who remembers the above advert about a man in striped pyjamas creeping downstairs to raid the fridge for R. White's Lemonade and getting caught in the act? It reminds me of another advert currently running for Crunchy Nut Cornflakes where a man is caught eating someone else's Crunchy Nut Cornflakes in the middle of the night having been overheard on a baby monitor. Having had his bowl confiscated, the sound of sobbing is heard on the monitor, which is thrown into a drawer to muffle it. "The trouble is they taste too good!"

Do the above examples sound a bit like drug addicts trying/failing to get their fixes? As Dr John Briffa commented on Losing the taste for sweetness trumps using ‘healthy’ sweeteners, in my book, "Most animals, it turns out, chose saccharin over cocaine. Blimey."

Blimey, indeed! See Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward. Why is this? A possible explanation lies in Hypoglycemia & Neurosis.

"Who is drawn to such "peculiar" diets? The answer, it seems, is those who crave relief from repressed pain and stress in their lives. Sugar somehow elicits the secretion of the body's "feel-good" endorphins, so much so that the pain threshold of baby rats almost doubles. The blood of newborn human babies is routinely sampled by heel prick, a painful procedure that usually causes crying. However, after sugar is given, the tears are brief. Beta-endorphin levels increase in binge-eaters (Blass 1987-1995, Fullerton 1985), which may be why they over-eat.

However, endorphins eventually fall in chronically sugar-fed rats, and their pain thresholds fall with them (Roane 1990). In other words, you need more and more sugar to get the same relief, until you're in Betty Crocker country and your diet has become "peculiar." This kind of "habituation" is found in all opiate-mediated addictions, including chronic alcoholism (Genazzani 1982), in which opiate-like isoquinolones are formed from a breakdown product of alcohol and the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Endorphins, our self-made opiates, have receptors in brain structures mediating emotional feelings as well as those dealing with physical sensations of pain and stress. The sense of urgency we experience with a full bladder is caused by low endorphins. Babies who are breast-fed often appear ecstatic, and this state coincides with high levels of endorphins. In adults, there are high levels of endorphins during and after orgasm. Thus, endorphins motivate as well as providing comfort and gating pain. And they are among the most addictive substances on the face of the planet. So perhaps it's not so surprising that "20 percent [of hypoglycemics] give a history of intense, insatiable and irresistible craving for sweets and carbohydrates" (Buehler 1955), while the rest are strongly attached to their "peculiar" diets. Hypoglycemics are unwittingly trying to self-medicate their profound subconscious malaise with food.

A Canadian who was diagnosed hypoglycemic years ago told me that he was left to cry for the first eight months of his life, until his mother found that sweetened condensed milk comforted him. From then on, he had vast quantities of sugar. In therapy, he realized sugar comforted the buried desolation imprinted in him by his early deprivation, and that eating too little food was a symbolic recreation of this trauma."

As for me, when I was little, I remember eating Rusks, which were very sweet. I also recall getting a regular supply of French fancies and Corona lemonade, which were also very sweet. As we were quite poor, mum used to spend hours on a typewriter doing secretarial stuff to raise extra money. I found comfort in sweet foods. I now have a "sweet tooth" and get great pleasure from eating. Coincidence?

Modern baby formulas are crammed with sugar.

Another Quality Street, anyone? Or how about a wafer-thin mint?

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Look after your brain, Part 3.

Funnily enough, on the Mean Forum that I mentioned in my previous post and in the very same discussion, someone suggested two supplements of which I was unaware that can improve mental function.

1) SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine). See S-adenosyl methionine: a natural therapeutic agent effective against multiple hallmarks and risk factors associated with Alzheimer's Disease and Polyunsaturated fatty acid and S-adenosylmethionine supplementation in predementia syndromes and Alzheimer's Disease: a review.

2) Methylcobalamin, sublingual. See From mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's Disease - influence of homocysteine, vitamin B12 and folate on cognition over time: results from one-year follow-up and Cumulative incidence of vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with Alzheimer's Disease.

Vitamin B12 should be taken sub-lingually (or nasally), as old people's stomachs secrete less Intrinsic Factor (required for B12 absorption in the gut) than young people's. Old people who take a Proton Pump Inhibitor (***prazole) for acid reflux secrete even less Intrinsic Factor still.

I will give these a try.

Continued on Look after your brain, Part 4.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

How many working brain cells do drug company lackeys have?

In Elvis lives!, I referred to the study Intensive lipid lowering with atorvastatin in patients with coronary heart disease and chronic kidney disease: the TNT (Treating to New Targets) study*, which came to the conclusion:

"Aggressive lipid lowering with atorvastatin 80 mg was both safe and effective in reducing the excess of cardiovascular events in a high-risk population with CKD and CHD."

I then pointed out the following teensy-weensy flaw in the conclusion:

"What the abstract failed to mention was the fact that there were 26 more deaths in the 80mg Atorvastatin group than in the 10mg group. What's worse? Having a major cardiovascular event or being dead?"

On a Mean Forum far away, I pointed out this teensy-weensy flaw in the conclusion and was told "are you really that retarded?" Funnily enough, I never got an answer from that person as to how the conclusion in red was justified by the data in green. I helpfully suggested that it might have something to do with the fact that Atorvastatin 80mg is a 700% increase in sales compared to Atorvastatin 10mg.

I then received an e-mail from Pfizer ® Customer Service with a spoofed sending address (it was fairly obvious that it was spoofed as it was my e-mail address!). There was the usual helpful Outlook Express "Some pictures have been blocked to help prevent the sender from identifying your computer. Click here to download pictures" message. I didn't click. Well, would you? I deleted the e-mail. I've now enabled comment moderation just in case this 'tard feels like spamming my Blog.

Pfizer manufactures Atorvastatin. Ho-hum!

*Funding for the study was provided by Pfizer Inc., New York, New York. Dr. Shepherd has received consulting fees from AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Oxford Biosensors, Pfizer Inc., and Schering-Plough, and lecture fees from AstraZeneca, Merck, and Schering-Plough. Dr. Kastelein has received consulting fees and lecture fees from Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca, Merck, and Schering-Plough, and grant support from Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca. Dr. Bittner has received consulting fees from CV Therapeutics, Novartis, Pfizer Inc., Abbott, and Reliant, and grant support from Pfizer Inc., Atherogenics, Merck, Kos Pharmaceuticals, Abbott, CV Therapeutics, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Deedwania has received consulting fees and lecture fees from Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca. Dr. Breazna, Dr. Wilson, and Dr. Zuckerman are all employees of Pfizer Inc. Mr. Dobson is an employee of Envision Pharma Ltd., which was a paid consultant to Pfizer Inc. in connection with the development of the manuscript. Dr. Wenger has received consulting fees from CV Therapeutics, Sanofi-Aventis, Schering-Plough, AstraZeneca, Abbott, Merck, and Pfizer Inc., and grant support from Pfizer Inc., Merck, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

How many working brain cells do researchers have?

Apparently (according to a Japanese study referred to in Am I Missing Something??? ), eating/drinking lots of sugary & starchy carbohydrate causes postprandial hyperglycemia (high blood glucose after meals) in people with type 2 Diabetes. No sh*t, Sherlock! Postprandial hyperglycemia "causes damage to blood vessels, inflammation and oxidation and these cause clogged vessels and heart attacks." I think we're all in agreement that postprandial hyperglycemia is BAD. So, how to tackle this thorny problem? By pharmacological approaches i.e. drug therapies. Like, Duh!
And what is Diabetes-UK's (& the ADA's) dietary advice to people with type 2 Diabetes?
The actual amount of carbohydrate that the body needs varies depending on your age, weight and activity levels, but it should make up about half of what you eat and drink." & under Ten steps to eating well:
"At each meal include starchy carbohydrate foods
Examples include bread, pasta, chapatis, potatoes, yam, noodles, rice and cereals. The amount of carbohydrate you eat is important to control your blood glucose levels." Like, Duh!

I've been doing a bit of research on methylglyoxal (MG) as a result of reading Methylglyoxal on Atkins... Uh oh! Apparently it's very toxic, therefore ketogenic diets are BAD, mmm-kay? MG causes Insulin Resistance and Advanced Glycation End-products which are both deemed to be undesirable.

Consider this:
MG is a glycolysis (conversion of glucose to pyruvate) inhibitor. As MG inhibits glycolysis in cells, uptake of Blood Glucose by cells decreases. Oh, look. Cells have become Insulin Resistant! As uptake of Blood Glucose by cells decreases, Blood Glucose rises. Oh, look. Increased Advanced Glycation End-products! It's bleedin' obvious (to anyone with a sufficient number of working brain cells) that, on a high-carb diet, MG is toxic. It's a no-brainer that MG's toxicity disappears on a low-carb/keto diet, when you actually want cells to burn fatty acids/ketones rather than glucose. Like, Duh!

In fact, strangulating the glucose pathway in cells may have benefits. See Cancer.

Here's another one. According to Progressive bone mineral content loss in children with intractable epilepsy treated with the ketogenic diet (KD), "The KD resulted in progressive loss of BMC." And yet, just above, "Growth and bone health status were suboptimal as were serum 25-OHD concentrations and dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D." Like, Duh!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.

Following on from The future: I just saw it, I thought you might find this 2005 study by John P. A. Ioannidis of interest.


There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research."

For more on this, see Who pays the piper and Who pays the piper part 2.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Look after your brain, Part 2.

Mum used to use a transdermal Natural Progesterone Cream (to reverse hair loss) but she stopped using it some time before she became mentally impaired. I found a half-full pot of the stuff in mum's house and have instructed the nursing staff to rub a blob of cream on mum's skin each day to see if it makes any improvement to her Lewy Body Dementia. See Regeneration in a degenerating brain: potential of allopregnanolone as a neuroregenerative agent , Regenerative potential of allopregnanolone and Progesterone receptors: form and function in brain.

Getting mum to eat more smoked salmon has definitely perked her up. I've also managed to re-introduce turmeric into her diet (she was spitting out the turmeric pills as they were large & unchewable) by getting the nursing staff to stir a teaspoonful of turmeric powder into her orange juice (I & she can't taste it) once every few days. Luckily, she never had any problems taking the Vitamin D3 & K2 capsules/gelcaps.

Finally, I'm trying to get mum on low dose Aspirin, as Aspirin inhibits the aggregation of proteins (synuclein, beta amyloid) on charged polymers in amyloid diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, etc., according to Dr Art Ayers. As mum has a hiatus hernia, which causes acid reflux, her GP may not allow her to do this even though mum is taking a Proton Pump Inhibitor and Gaviscon. See The role of anti-inflammatory drugs in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other anti-inflammatory agents in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease.

Continued on Look after your brain, Part 3.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Guess who didn't look after his brain?

Due to the sudden deterioration in my mum's physical & mental health and also due to struggling to come to terms with her having to spend the rest of her life in a nursing home (not the happiest of places), my diet went completely to pot.

I "went off" salmon, sardines & powdered linseeds and started to eat carbohydrate/fat-based comfort foods. A black cloud slowly descended over me. I lost the motivation to do anything, including updating this blog. I also slept a lot. This continued for several months.

Then, for no apparent reason, a few weeks ago I got an urge to eat smoked salmon. I added 200g of smoked salmon twice a week back into my diet and after a few weeks, the black cloud started to lift.

Before I started supplementing with Vitamin D3, I used to eat lots of oily fish but did not function correctly mentally. This time, my Vitamin D3 status was good (I never stopped taking supplements even when I had the black cloud over me) but my EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) intakes were near zero.

In conclusion, it would appear that my brain needs adequate Vitamin D3 and EPA and DHA (and magnesium) to function correctly.

I won't be blogging as much as I have been previously, as I've now dumped the vast majority of the nutritional knowledge within my brain into this blog. If I come across anything new, I'll post it here.

Finally, I've found the cheapest source yet of 5,000iu Vitamin D3 gelcaps.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Look after your brain.

"One in three people over 65 will die with dementia..." said Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society. I read this in a recent BBC News article Vitamin D 'is mental health aid' which referred to the study Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentration and Cognitive Impairment.
The article contained the usual phrase "...more work was needed..."

The above article also led to Parkinson's linked to vitamin D which referred to the study Prevalence of vitamin d insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease. "However, the Emory University researchers do not yet know if the vitamin deficiency is a cause or the result of having Parkinson's". "Further research is required...." yet again.

It's like someone standing by their broken-down car wondering whether it's the empty fuel tank that's made the car stop or whether it's the car stopping that's made the fuel tank empty. Does it matter? Just put some fuel in the tank and see what happens! See also Higher serum vitamin D3 levels are associated with better cognitive test performance in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Severe Mental Impairment blights the lives of many old people and their loved ones. My mum developed Parkinson's Disease a few years ago. I didn't know anything about the condition at the time, but it's caused by the formation of Lewy Bodies (blobs of abnormally-folded alpha-synuclein protein) in the substantia nigra part of the brain, which controls movement. This part of the brain has high levels of the Vitamin D receptor. I don't know why the brain contains Vitamin D receptors, but I think that they'd like to receive some Vitamin D!

As Lewy Bodies form in other parts of the brain, mental faculties decline. The hippocampus is involved with short-term memory. The neocortex is involved with concious thought.

Mum started showing obvious signs of mental impairment in August 2007. She was assessed by a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) in January 2008 when she scored 14/30 in a MMSE. She was unable to remember 3 words or follow 2 simple instructions in a row (e.g. fold this piece of paper in half and put it on the floor). I started her on 5,000iu/day of Vitamin D3, as it was having a positive effect on my mental function. She was prescribed Aricept, starting at 5mg/day for a month then increasing to 10mg/day. In May 2008 she was re-assessed and scored 26/30 in a MMSE. EDIT: In 2010, Mum's consultant told me that Aricept increases MMSE score by 3 points on average.

Unfortunately, Aricept has side-effects including severe diarrhoea and worsening of the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, which she complained about, so her Aricept dose was reduced back down to 5mg/day.

Unsurprisingly, this resulted in a slight decline in mum's mental faculties. In November 2008, I increased her intake of smoked salmon to about 400g/week, as the consumption of long-chain omega-3 pufas have benefits. See
Low Plasma N-3 Fatty Acids and Dementia in Older Persons: The InCHIANTI Study.

After about four weeks, this had a noticeable (by myself and mum's friend) positive effect on her mental faculties so, inspired by Dr Art Ayers, I started her on Turmeric (curcumin) extract and Goldenseal (berberine) extract. See
Curcumin inhibits aggregation of alpha-synuclein
Neuroprotective effects of curcumin
Alpha-synuclein assembly as a therapeutic target of Parkinson's disease and related disorders
Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, and partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model
Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers
Research on the mechanism of neuronal apoptosis in Alzheimer's disease and the effects of tetrohydroberberine on the apoptosis... and
Berberine chloride can ameliorate the spatial memory impairment and increase the expression of interleukin-1beta and inducible nitric oxide synthase in the rat model of Alzheimer's disease.

On January 12th 2009, mum was re-assessed and still scored 26/30 in a MMSE. I thought that this was impressive considering that 1) she was taking half the dose of Aricept, compared to when she previously got that score, 2) she had no adverse effects from any of the supplements and 3) she was eight months older and degenerative brain diseases always worsen with increasing age.

I mentioned to the CPN who did the MMSE that I was starting mum on 15mg/week Vitamin K2 as there were benefits. See
Menaquinone-4 concentration is correlated with sphingolipid concentrations in rat brain ,
Vitamin K status influences brain sulfatide metabolism in young mice and rats ,
Substantial sulfatide deficiency and ceramide elevation in very early Alzheimer's disease: potential role in disease pathogenesis and
The possible role of vitamin K deficiency in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and in augmenting brain damage associated with cardiovascular disease
New Vitamin K, an emerging nutrient in brain function
New The Science of Brain Health and Cognitive Decline | Eric Kandel
New Vitamin K2, Intelligence and the Aging Brain

I don't anything about sphingolipids, but sulfatides are good and ceramides are bad.

Around the time that mum collapsed, I received a copy of a letter from the CPN to mum's GP which stated "I have informed him (i.e. me) that I am unaware of any robust evidence that these substances are of any benefit." However, there is no evidence that these substances are of any harm.

And finally......
What started the cascade of confusion and collapse leading to hospitalisation and discharge to a nursing home was a simple Urinary Tract Infection UTI) of e. coli. I don't know why UTIs cause so much confusion in elderly people, but elderly females are at a high risk of developing UTIs because a) elderly people don't drink enough so they don't pass enough urine, b) females have insufficient spacing between anus & urethra and c) elderly females who have any urinary/faecal leakage wear a Tena disposable "nappy/diaper", which increases the likelihood of faeces entering the urethra.

To reduce the risk of further UTIs, I have supplied the nursing home with a pot of D-mannose Plus, which contains D-mannose and cranberry extract, with instructions to add a heaped teaspoonful to a glass of juice once a week. See Intervening with urinary tract infections using anti-adhesives based on the crystal structure of the FimH-oligomannose-3 complex,
Natural approaches to prevention and treatment of infections of the lower urinary tract and
Vitamin D Induction of the Human Antimicrobial Peptide Cathelicidin in the Urinary Bladder.

EDIT: Thanks to Galina L for bringing the following study to my attention.
Magnesium supplementation in the treatment of dementia patients.
It's probably of no help to Lewy Body Dementia sufferers, as they already have high Mg levels in their CSF. See CSF Mg and Ca as diagnostic markers for dementia with Lewy bodies.

Continued on Look after your brain, Part 2.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The future: I just saw it.

Today is Thursday 19th February 2009. I've just read an article in The New York Review of Books 'Drug Companies & Doctors': An Exchange dated 26th February 2009. I don't even possess a Flux Capacitor!

The above article was linked from Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption which I found on The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS).

"Because drug companies insist as a condition of providing funding that they be intimately involved in all aspects of the research they sponsor, they can easily introduce bias in order to make their drugs look better and safer than they are. Before the 1980s, they generally gave faculty investigators total responsibility for the conduct of the work, but now company employees or their agents often design the studies, perform the analysis, write the papers, and decide whether and in what form to publish the results. Sometimes the medical faculty who serve as investigators are little more than hired hands, supplying patients and collecting data according to instructions from the company.

In view of this control and the conflicts of interest that permeate the enterprise, it is not surprising that industry-sponsored trials published in medical journals consistently favor sponsors' drugs—largely because negative results are not published, positive results are repeatedly published in slightly different forms, and a positive spin is put on even negative results. A review of seventy-four clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that thirty-seven of thirty-eight positive studies were published. But of the thirty-six negative studies, thirty-three were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome. It is not unusual for a published paper to shift the focus from the drug's intended effect to a secondary effect that seems more favorable."

Oh dear!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A slight hitch.

On Friday 13th February, my mum collapsed and had to go to hospital. She's stable but completely incoherent at the moment, due to a combination of a) having a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and b) discontinuing her anti-dementia medication last week in the (mistaken) belief that it was giving her hallucinations.

It's hard to believe just how rapidly mental function in an old person can decline due to a UTI, but mum had a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 26 out of 30 on Monday 12th January. It would have been 0 last Friday.

Normal Blogging will be resumed when mum's infection has been treated and she is back on her medication. I will be getting mum to use D-mannose in her juice in future, as this is effective against E. coli and Klebsiella.

Continued on A slight hitch, Part 2.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


By request, I'm writing about cancer. I didn't know this, but cancer is now the No.1 killer of men in the UK. I previously thought that coronary heart disease was the No.1 killer.

Cancer is such a huge subject that, rather than oversimplify it, I'll put a link to Wikipedia. Warning: Pictures of tumours.

Vitamins get a mention, particularly Vitamin D, but EFAs aren't mentioned. This is odd, as typing "Omega-3 Cancer" into PubMed yields 612 human studies going back to 1984. Here are some of them:-

Some effects of the essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid and of their metabolites gamma-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and of prostaglandins A1 and E1 on the proliferation of human osteogenic sarcoma cells in culture.

Selective killing of human cancer cells by polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Chronic arachidonic acid eicosanoid imbalance: a common feature in coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, cancer and other important diseases. Significance of desaturase enzyme inhibition and of the arachidonic acid desaturase-independent pathway.

n-3 fatty acids and cancer.

Fish consumption and breast cancer risk: an ecological study.

Effect of docosahexaenoic acid on rate of differentiation of HL-60 human leukemia.

N-3 and N-6 fatty acids in breast adipose tissue and relative risk of breast cancer in a case-control study in Tours, France.

Opposing effects of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids on mammary carcinogenesis: The Singapore Chinese Health Study.

Induction of apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells by docosahexaenoic acid.

Dietary intakes of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the risk of breast cancer.

Nutritional knowledge of primary health care physicians in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

13.12.09: Some newer studies:-

A systemic review of the roles of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease.

Anticancer actions of omega-3 fatty acids--current state and future perspectives.

The effect of omega-3 FAs on tumour angiogenesis and their therapeutic potential.

Therapeutic potential of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in disease.

Fish oil enhances the antiproliferative effect of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on liver cancer cells.

EDIT: I've been reading about a substance called methylglyoxal, a glycolysis inhibitor. As many types of malignant cancer cells rely on the glycolysis pathway for energy, methylglyoxal looks like a promising anti-cancer agent.

In vivo assessment of toxicity and pharmacokinetics of methylglyoxal. Augmentation of the curative effect of methylglyoxal on cancer-bearing mice by ascorbic acid and creatine,

A brief critical overview of the biological effects of methylglyoxal and further evaluation of a methylglyoxal-based anticancer formulation in treating cancer patients,

Selective inhibition of mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis in human leukaemic leucocytes by methylglyoxal and

Critical evaluation of toxic versus beneficial effects of methylglyoxal.

It looks like the Indians are ahead of everyone else on this stuff.
Well, well, well.

"Methylglyoxal is a regular chemical, not cleared for human use. It is made without conforming to sound manufacturing practices and widely respected codes of good laboratory practices followed throughout the world." O, RLY? See below.

"The IACS' main supplier of Methylglyoxal is an American warehouse corporation, Sigma Medical Company, which sells it for research purposes at $1 to 2 per gramme and specifically states that none of its chemicals is meant for medical use." If everyone stuck to the "rules", humankind would never make any progress.

The principal scientist involved is Professor Manju Ray, a biochemist, not a pharmacologist or cancer specialist."
Biochemists know how cells work, so I would say that's a plus point, not a minus point. It's also argumentum ad-hominem.

"The "secret" of the "miracle" lies in the anti-tumour effect of Methylglyoxal - a property shared by hundreds of toxic chemicals. Methylglyoxal, it is claimed, inhibits electron flows in cancerous cells and blocks a crucial step necessary for the production of ATP, the cellular energy "currency". Methylglyoxal isn't anywhere near as toxic as standard chemotherapy drugs. Someone needs to learn some basic biochemistry!

"A critical ingredient, a control group with which the treated patients are compared, is absent from the study." It's unethical to have one group denied a treatment that might save their lives. The Lyon Diet-Heart trial was discontinued because the control group had a much higher mortality than the treated group.

"The researchers treated 24 patients, mostly in highly advanced stages of cancer, with oral administration of Methylglyoxal, with Vitamin C, over eight to 10 weeks. They claim that after treatment, 11 were in "excellent physical condition" and five were in a condition that "can be considered stable". "The rest either opted out of treatment or died during the course of study." This is disturbing enough." You left out the creatine and 0 out of 24 would almost certainly have survived without treatment

"The study does not show how, through what process, the "cure" occurs." That's not the purpose of the study.

"What is equally astonishing is that the drug should be used in clinical trials on human beings in the first place. Such trials are permissible only after the pharmaco-kinetics (the way and the speed with which the body will handle the drug) is properly understood, and trials on experimental animals have been carried out. In this case, the first criterion was not fulfilled. And there is no mention of animal trials." An animal trial had been done. See the 1st study above.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Supplements: Who needs 'em?

According to Health Professionals, nobody. Apparently, we get all of the vitamins, minerals & other nutrients that we need from a "Healthy Balanced Diet" (whatever that is!).

According to me, just about everybody. Due to modern farming methods, food ain't what it used to be. Dammit, even nostalgia ain't what it used to be! Due to changes in lifestyle:-

a) People are more sedentary than they used to be. This means that they require less food than they used to in order to not get fat. Less food, coupled with less nutrients in the food = dietary deficiencies.

b) People don't get as much sun on their skin as they used to, as they now work, play & live mostly indoors and when they do go outside, they are encouraged to Slip Slop Slap (slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat). This results in hypovitaminosis D, as only an Eskimo's diet contains enough dietary Vitamin D. The RDA of 200/400/600iu/day (depending on age) is woefully inadequate and totally out of touch with modern research.

c) Many people don't eat much oily fish. Also, animal & vegetable produce now contains more omega-6 & less omega-3 than it used to. This can result in a large imbalance. I eat two 120g cans of mackerel in spicy sauce a day. This also provides protein.

d) Diets low in dark green vegetables & fruits lack Magnesium & Potassium.

e) Diets low in fermented foods lack Vitamin K2.

I currently supplement with:-
400mg/day of Magnesium, as 4g/day Epsom Salts dissolved in water & the solution added to drinks.
5,000iu/day of Vitamin D3.
15mg/day of Vitamin K2.

See also The usual suspects.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Research shows.....

....that people who eat a low-fat breakfast like Special K are more likely to be slimmer than those who don't.

So states the Special K advert. I wonder whether the researchers used a control group who ate a high-fat breakfast? Somehow, I doubt it. I eat a high-fat breakfast, if you look at the Blog post immediately below this one and I am slimmer than when I didn't eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast causes low blood glucose, which encourages over-eating later-on. Therefore, people who eat breakfast are more likely to be slimmer than those who don't.

That's the problem with "Research". It usually shows what people want it to show. By omitting control groups, such research is utterly worthless. While I'm on a mini-rant, "Clinically proven" is another phrase often bandied about in advertisements. I have news for you. Clinical studies can only disprove something. The best that a clinical study can do is provide evidence that something is beneficial to some or most of the people in the study only. It cannot be extrapolated to the rest of the population.

Food Porn.

It's the only porn you're going to get on this Blog! :-p

I was looking at Richard Nikoley's Blog at and I couldn't help but notice all of the pictures of yummy food on it. When I mention to people that I am on an "Atkins-style" diet, they usually say "Oh, so all you eat is bacon & eggs and those expensive low-carb bars, right?" I have yet to buy a low-carb bar.

This post should give you an idea of what I eat. Some of my meals contain Burgen soya & linseed bread and even sweetcorn. These foods are relatively high in starchy carbohydrate, but my body can tolerate them thanks to Vitamin D.

The first picture is what I often (but not always, as variety is important) have in the morning. It's basically coffee with extra oomph provided by a 60cc scoop of powdered linseeds (in the storage jar) and a 60cc scoop of unflavoured whey protein (a milk protein). Vanilla flavouring, brown sugar & Splenda improve the flavour of this concoction, which has the consistency of wallpaper paste!

I do eat bacon & eggs but not for breakfast. I usually have it for lunch, accompanied by chopped onions & mushrooms microwaved with Lo Salt, Lee & Perrins & Extra-Virgin Olive oil. A big squirt of tomato ketchup gives me my third portion of vegetables! The whole lot sits on top of a slice of Burgen toast.

For afternoon tea, I may have something salmony. Here's a simple smoked salmon sarnie made with ~100g of smoked salmon and a couple of slices of raw onion.

I have a friend who hates the skin & bones in tinned salmon. As this is where a lot of the omega-3 fat & minerals are, I tried an experiment to see if I could disguise them. I blended a 213g tin of wild red salmon with a couple of dollops of Hellman's Real Mayonnaise & a little "juice" from a tin of sweetcorn. I then mixed sweetcorn with the salmon mayonnaise. I dumped a load of the salmon & sweetcorn mayonnaise mix onto a slice of Burgen buttered with Anchor. A little sliced tomato & cucumber completed the ensemble.

Sometimes. I just dump everything on a plate!

For supper, I usually microwave something meaty with something vegetabley. Here are some Somerfield "Best Ever" Pork & Chorizo sausages microwaved with chopped onions & mushrooms in a Lea & Perrins-based gravy.

Here's an Aldi quarter-pounder beefburger with microwaved chopped onions, mushrooms & English mustard.

Here's an Aldi chicken jambonette in a sun-dried tomato, balsamic & sweet basil sauce microwaved with peas & mixed veg. The sauce went everywhere!

Here's an Aldi lamb shank in a mint & red wine-flavoured sauce. The shank was in a bag, so the sauce didn't go everywhere when I microwaved it on the plate alongside the peas & mixed veg. The vegetables look a little strange as I microwaved them as they were with a little Lo Salt (and no added water), but they tasted just fine. Not adding any water means that there is no loss of minerals.

And finally, here's an Aldi pork shank in sweet & sour sauce cooked as per the lamb shank. Aldi have a lot of different varieties of chicken jambonettes, lamb & pork shanks and I will be trying them out as they are very reasonably priced.

So, can I spend the rest of my life on this sort of diet? Oh, yes yes yes yes yes!

If you're worried that microwaving foods destroys nutrients, see Do Microwaves Destroy Flavonoids?

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Firefox a.k.a. Red Panda.

My browser is named after this little fella (or girl, I can't tell!).

I left Red Pandas out of my previous Blog post as they are not Bears (Ursidae), but are in a family of their own (Ailuridae).

Like Giant Pandas, Red Pandas have a false thumb which helps them to grip bamboo shoots & leaves. They also spend most of their lives eating, pooing (as they also can't digest cellulose) and sleeping!

That's how I used to spend a lot of my life when I ate a high-carb diet. Since I've been eating more salmon, I've been more active than usual. It's not yet 8am and I'm on-line, typing this.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Bear Essentials.

I'm writing about bears. Why? I was having a discussion, oh alright then, argument with a vegan lady. There was a thread on a message board about the slaughter of pigs and she argued that humans are not designed/evolved/w.h.y. to eat meat based on the following list:

Meat-eaters: have claws
Herbivores: no claws
Humans: no claws

Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue
Herbivores: perspire through skin pores
Humans: perspire through skin pores

Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding
Herbivores: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Humans: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding

Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly
Herbivores: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.
Humans: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.

Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat
Herbivores: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Humans: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater

Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.
Herbivores: well-developed salivary glands which are necessary to pre-digest grains and fruits
Humans: well-developed salivary glands, which are necessary to pre-digest, grains and fruits

Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Herbivores: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Humans: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains

Based on a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, (Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970)

The fact that humans can't digest cellulose (the stuff that plant cell walls are made of) seemed to have been conveniently left off the above list, so I pointed out that if she wanted to play the list game, perhaps she should read Someone then posted a link to Humans are Omnivores. Humans are omnivores. End of.

Then I had a thought. Bears have a digestive system similar to ours. Here's a list of some bears and their characteristics:

Polar Bears: Body composition: Variable (they have a layer of blubber for thermal insulation and they gain body fat when food is plentiful to sustain them through times when food is unavailable). Activity: Very active (pregnant females hibernate). Fertility: On average 2 cubs every year. Diet: 99% meat (there may be some vegetable matter in the guts of the animals that they eat).

American Black Bears: Body composition: Leaner than Polar Bears as ambient temperatures are higher. Activity: Very active (even active when hibernating). Fertility: 2-3 cubs every 2 years. Diet: 10-15% meat, insects & plants.

Brown Bears: Body composition: Leaner than Polar Bears as ambient temperatures are higher. Activity: Very active (even active when hibernating). Fertility: On average 2 cubs every year. Diet: 90% plants, insects, fish and small mammals.

Giant Pandas: Body composition: Fat. Activity: Sedentary. Fertility: 1 cub every 2 years (if the mother has two cubs, she lets one of them die, as she can only raise one cub at a time). Diet: 99% bamboo shoots, but will eat meat, fish and eggs when made available by humans.

Do you see a pattern, here?

Ignorance, apathy & bone-idleness...

...are not attractive traits in people. But do you know what? I don't know, I don't care and quite frankly, I can't be bothered!

Each day, I surf a lot of message boards and I read a lot of messages. People who post messages on message boards obviously have access to the Internet. So when I saw:
"Didn't Atkins die from a heart attack with high cholesterol?", I just had to reply:
"Yeah! Course he did. Everybody knows that. See Everybody knows.........Part 1" to which I got the reply:
"There's no need for your sarcasm, Nigeepoo - pack it in. I was only asking a question" to which I replied:
"Sorry. Did I come across as sarcastic? This is sarcasm Let me Google that"

When I saw "Asparagus. How good is it for you and why?", I just had to reply:
"Let me Google that"

And when I saw "What is PSMF?", well I'm sure you can guess what I replied. I am such a bad boy!

So, next time you want to find out something, try Google, Wikipedia or (if it's a study) PubMed.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

So, when & where did it all go wrong?

No, I'm not talking about Demand Five! I'm talking about us, modern man & woman. We have improved hygiene, clean water & food, modern medicine, antibiotics, antivirals etc. We should be enjoying good health and vitality into our nineties. We're not, though. Degenerative diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, Cancer, Dementia, IBS etc are afflicting increasing numbers of people (including youngsters) and are even starting to reduce our longevity statistics. Why?

On one side of the fence are the anti-animal fat brigade who claim that animal fats are the cause of all our health problems and that we should all be eating more vegetable fats and reducing our cholesterol.

On the other side of the fence are the anti-carb brigade who claim that carbohydrates are the cause of all our health problems and that we should all be eating less carbohydrates and increasing our fat consumption.

I'm sure you can guess where I am. I have the splinters to prove it!

In 1911, hydrogenated vegetable oil (Crisco) entered the marketplace. So, in 1911, fat turned bad! See The rise and fall of Crisco.

Interestingly, rates of Coronary Heart Disease started to rise from 1920, 9 years later. Co-incidence?

Our genes may have not changed much in the last few hundred thousand years, but our lifestyles certainly have. We now live mostly sedentary lives (which makes our muscles less sensitive to insulin). We now live and work mostly indoors (which makes us deficient in Vitamin D).

We now don't eat much oily fish. Our vegetables contain much less omega-3 fat than they used to (to make them stay fresh for longer). Our meat now contains much more omega-6 and much less omega-3 fat than it used to (due to feeding animals on grains). These changes make us deficient in omega-3 fat (which makes our muscles less sensitive to insulin).

We now eat loads of refined carbohydrate (which causes unstable blood glucose & insulin levels) and loads of processed foods (which makes us deficient in Magnesium and fibre/fiber).

As a result of all of the above changes, we have many modern diseases.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I do NOT believe they wanted to be doing that!

As Harry Enfield's "It's only meee!" character used to say. I'm talking about Demand Five, Channel 5 TV's on-line "watch television on demand" service.

Up until last Friday, I was watching Neighbours using Firefox 3. Yes, I know that's really sad! On Monday, I went to watch Neighbours and was greeted by a new Media Player window displaying:
"Your flash plug-in is out of date
Please download the latest version here"
No problemo, thought I. I updated my flash plug-in and went back to watch Neighbours, to be greeted by the new Media Player window displaying:
"Your flash plug-in is out of date
Please download the latest version here"
Uh-oh! I contacted the Demand Five Support Team informing them of my problem. I got the following reply:

Thank you for contacting the Demand Five Support Team.
Please try to access with Internet Explorer..."

I stopped reading at that point as I don't use Internet Explorer. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact. I got the following reply:

We apologize for the inconvenience, since our contents are related with DRM therefore our service is only compatible with Internet Explorer. All other browsers (e.g., Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc...) are not compatible at this time..."

They left out Google Chrome! So basically, Demand Five just alienated a large number of their users by making their site incompatible with every browser except Internet Explorer. Thanks a bunch! (That's an ironic thank you, for the benefit of foreign readers).
As I really wanted to watch Neighbours, I ran Internet Explorer, updated my flash plug-in and off I went. Monday's episode played O.K. but Tuesday's episode stopped after the 15 second Weight-Watcher's intro'. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact. I got the following reply:

Please upgrade your DRM security at the following site:

The Demand Five Support Team

I clicked the link and pressed the Upgrade button. It didn't work. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact. I got the following reply:

Thank you for contacting the Demand Five Support Team.
Please follow the instructions given below:

Please open Windows Media Player (WMP)
In the menu area at the top of the WMP window, click "Tools"
If "Tools" is not visible, Right-click on the upper bar area on WMP and a Menu-list will appear
In the list that appears, choose "Options"
In the window that opens, the "Player" tab will be the first tab displayed
Please ensure that both "Download codecs automatically" and "Connect to the Internet" are selected
Please select the "File Types" tab
Click "Select All", located below and to the right of the list
Click "Apply", located at the bottom of the "Options" window
Please select the "Network" tab
In the "Protocols for MMS URLs" section, un-check "RTSP/UDP" and "RTSP/TCP"
Now, re-check "RTSP/UDP" and "RTSP/TCP"
All three protocols should now be selected
Click "OK" at the bottom of the "Options" Window
Please close Windows Media Player."

It worked. I e-mailed the Support Team informing them of that fact and also asked them why Demand Five couldn't be as easy to use as BBC iPlayer. I didn't get a reply. I have posted the above information so that you too can watch Neighbours....everybody needs good Neighbours....

UPDATE: The Demand Five media player now works with Firefox 3 and Safari. This may mean that it now also works with Opera & Chrome.
According to the support page, it's still not compatible with Firefox 3, so don't tell Demand Five in case they mess it up again!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Protein-Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF)

What's a PSMF?

A standard PSMF is ~1g of protein for every kg bodyweight per day plus lots of green leafy vegetables plus six to ten fish oil capsules per day plus vitamin and mineral supplements plus unlimited water AND NOTHING ELSE. It's a low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet. You may find this quite literally hard to swallow! PSMF may also stand for Protein Strictly , Mother-F***er!

A 100kg person may get to eat ~400kcals per day from protein + ~100kcals per day from incidental carbohydrates and fats = ~500kcals per day.

A well-known PSMF is Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss Handbook. For more information, see and Is Rapid Fat Loss Right For You?

To make a PSMF easier to manage (but have a slower rate of weight loss), here are some modifications:-

1) Instead of six to ten fish oil capsules a day, stir ~25g of powdered linseeds into a large glass of drink and swallow the lot. Do this at breakfast-time. ~25g of linseeds contains ~10g of fat (of which ~6g is Alpha-Linolenic Acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) which does the following:-

a) It stimulates the gall-bladder to empty, thus reducing the risk of gallstones.
b) a) usually results in a bowel movement some time later. The ~10g of soluble fibre/fiber in the linseeds + accompanying fluid guarantees regularity.
c) It provides women (but not men) with all of the omega-3 fat they need each day.

Men need to eat either half a 213g tin of wild red salmon per day, or take six to ten fish oil capsules a day, as their bodies don't produce enough DHA from Alpha-Linolenic Acid. See Eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids are the principal products of α-linolenic acid metabolism in young men and Extremely Limited Synthesis of Long Chain Polyunsaturates in Adults: Implications for their Dietary Essentiality and use as Supplements

2) Eat about 100g of protein per day. As meat, poultry and fish contains 20-25% protein, this means that you can eat ~1lb of meat, poultry and fish a day. 100g of protein per day is well within the capabilities of your liver and kidneys.

3) Eat about 22g of fat per day. This allows you to choose less lean cuts of meat and poultry, and you can even eat the skin on chicken as long as you factor it into your total fat allowance. It also allows you to use vinaigrette salad dressings or a small knob of butter or a small dollop of real mayonnaise to make your vegetables taste nicer.

4) Eat about 50g of carbohydrate per day. This allows you to eat shed-loads of leafy green vegetables and also an onion. It also allows you to eat a portion of fruit e.g. an apple or a bowl of berries/cherries with Splenda and a small dollop of whipped cream each day.

5) If you do any intense exercise (e.g. HIIT or resistance training with weights), eat an extra 50g of slow-release carbohydrates a couple of hours beforehand, to fuel it.

6) Supplement with 50iu for every kg bodyweight per day of Vitamin D3. Nowadays, many of us spend our lives mostly indoors, and this causes sub-optimal Vitamin D levels. See Vitamin D.

7) Don't get too far away from a toilet. Rapid depletion of muscle and liver glycogen results in rapid shedding of associated water. In addition, the oxidation of fatty acids results in the production of water. A PSMF makes you pee more.

n*CH2 + 3/2*n*O2 = n*CO2 + n*H2O + heat

(Saturated fatty acids are CH3-n*CH2-COOH. For Stearic acid, n=16. ∴ Stearic acid is mostly n*CH2. )

In conclusion:

100g of protein provides 400kcals, 22g of fat provides 200kcals and 50g of carbohydrate provides 200kcals, making a grand total of 800kcals per day. If you weigh over 80lbs but aren't losing weight on 800kcals per day, see your GP as you may have a thyroid problem.

The above diet should avoid the problems of gallstones, constipation, dry skin, dry hair, depression and dietary deficiencies. You get to eat real food and quite a lot of it too, for a fairly rapid fat loss diet.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCDs)

A well-known VLCD is The Cambridge Diet. Lighter Life is another VLCD.

The VLCD is, as its name suggests, very low in Calories and is aimed at morbidly obese people i.e. people who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40. Such people are at a very high risk of dropping dead of a heart attack and they are also at a high risk of complications caused by high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high blood triglycerides, high blood cholesterol, high blood LDL-c, low blood HDL-c and high blood uric acid. In addition, morbidly obese people have breathing problems e.g. sleep apnoea and they are also at a high risk of dying while under anaesthetic if they need to be operated on. Such people need to lose weight rapidly. However, people who are overweight (BMI 25-29.9) or obese (BMI 30-39.9) or who are just unhappy with their bodies should not embark on a VLCD as the risks outweigh the benefits.

1) VLCDs result in rapid weight loss. You may think that this is a good thing, but rapid weight loss brings with it problems.

a) Excessive loss of muscle. This is more of a problem for women who, because they have naturally-low testosterone levels, have great difficulty regaining any lost muscle.

b) High risk of developing Gallstones. Rapid weight loss results in an increase in the concentration of cholesterol in bile. This increases the risk factor for gallstones, something that women have a higher risk factor for than men. There's an acronym FFFF for people who are at a high risk of developing gallstones. It stands for Female, Forty, Fat, Fair. What makes the situation even worse is that VLCDs are very low in fat. The gallbladder is a muscular bag which stores bile. When dietary fat is eaten, this stimulates the secretion of cholecystokinin, which then stimulates contraction of the gallbladder muscle, which expels bile from inside the gallbladder into the duodenum. The lower the fat content of a meal, the less the gallbladder contracts and gallbladder stasis can result with only 2g of fat per meal. See The role of gallbladder emptying in gallstone formation during diet-induced rapid weight loss. The problem with this study is that the two groups of subjects were not eating the same number of calories. See Gallbladder motility and gallstone formation in obese patients following very low calorie diets. Use it (fat) to lose it (well) and Similarity in gallstone formation from 900 kcal/day diets containing 16 g vs 30 g of daily fat: evidence that fat restriction is not the main culprit of cholelithiasis during rapid weight reduction.
In these studies, both groups were on the same calorie intake. In the second study, 17% of the low-fat group developed gallstones whereas only 11.2% of the higher-fat group developed gallstones.

The other problem with a very low fat intake is EFA deficiency. Essential Fatty Acids are called that for a reason....they are essential for us to live. Dry skin & hair are common on VLCDs. The small amount of fat that there is in a VLCD almost certainly contains mostly omega-6 polyunsaturates. A lack of omega-3 EFAs can adversely affect mental function. Depression is common on VLCDs. See Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional. Another problem with very low fat intakes is a lack of fat-soluble vitamins, particularly Vitamins D3 and K. See Vitamin D and Vitamin K.

2) VLCDs contain excessive amounts of sugars. This has two problems.

a) Unstable blood glucose & insulin levels. See Blood Glucose, Insulin & Diabetes. You don't notice peaks in blood glucose & insulin. However, a huge peak in blood insulin followed by a drop to normal causes severe hunger pangs. See How low-carbohydrate diets result in more weight loss than high-carbohydrate diets for people with Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Some people suffer from neurosis. See Hypoglycemia & Neurosis.

b) Sedentary people's bodies don't burn much carbohydrate. See Everyone is Different. At rest, on average a fasted person derives ~65% of energy from fats and ~35% from carbohydrate, although there are extremes of 93% fat-burning to 20% fat-burning. Even if someone who has full glycogen stores derives 100% of their energy at rest from carbohydrate, as they are only burning ~1kcal/minute at rest, their body is only burning 0.25g of carbohydrate/minute. So why feed someone carbohydrate when their body doesn't need it?

c) People with excess belly fat almost certainly have The Metabolic Syndrome. This causes various problems including high serum triglycerides (TGs). Eating carbohydrate that isn't burned and can't be stored raises TGs. I know about this as I have blood test results which showed TGs increasing with increasing carbohydrate intake. High TGs are bad news for your arteries. See Cholesterol And Coronary Heart Disease.

3) VLCDs don't contain enough protein. Protein supplies Amino Acids (AAs) to the body. These are used to preserve muscle mass. AAs can also be used to generate blood glucose in the liver by a process called Gluconeogenesis (GNG), which makes the consumption of carbohydrates redundant for most sedentary people.

4) VLCDs don't contain enough fibre/fiber. Constipation is common on VLCDs.

In my next Blog post, I will discuss a Rapid Fat Loss alternative to the VLCD that overcomes all of the above problems and is therefore much safer and more pleasant to be on. See The Protein-Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF)

For a discussion of VLCDs, see What do you think of Very Low Energy Diets?