Interesting Information: Sugar and Inflammation

Interesting Information:  November 22, 2013

Sugar and Inflammation

Ellen Davis promotes ketogenic diets, which is a diet where fats provide most of the calories.  She has an article in the July/August 2012 issue of Well Being Journal entitled “Ketogenic Diets:  A Key to Excellent Health” (20-23).  Davis supports the ketogenic diet because she used it to reverse her own metabolic syndrome and to regain her health.  In the process, she lost over 80 pounds.  Her web site is  (I’ve written about metabolic syndrome in the essays on this blog.)

I am drawn to more of a balanced diet approach–as long as there are not digestive issues.  If there are digestive issues, then one needs to eat in a healing way for some time.  This ketogenic diet is very like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol–which has a lot of good science and clinical practice results behind it.  (GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and there are essays on this blog about GAPS.)

I do think that most Americans are eating way, way too many carbs–that their eating so many carbs is out-of-balance and is causing chronic disease.  (This statement does not address, also, the toll that toxic poisons in and on American foods, takes.)

And I do think that eating a lot of carbs is causing inflammation in the body–which is one root cause of disease.  For instance, Davis points out that a bagel “breaks down into about sixteen teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream” (21).  So if you are going to eat one, be sure to put a lot of cream cheese or butter on it to help cut the sugar load–just as you would with a baked potato.  And remember that the cream cheese or the butter is not going to make you fat, but that the bagel will because it turns to sugar in your system.

Davis writes that “oxidative stress is what causes metal to rust, and cooking oils to go rancid when exposed to the air.”  This oxidative stress “can create molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.  These molecules, commonly called free radicals, are chemically reactive and can damage internal cellular structures” (21)

She writes that “if inflammation is present, excessive amounts of ROS are created and overwhelm the cell’s defenses, causing accelerated damage and eventually cell death.  This is why inflammation is linked with so many types of disease processes.”

So, food choices are very important, says Davis:  “…high-carbohydrate foods provide much more glucose than the human body can handle efficiently.  Blood glucose is basically liquid sugar, and if you have ever spilled fruit juice or syrup on your hands, you know how sticky it can be.  In the body, this stickiness’ is called glycation.”  The process of glycation starts a chain of events that increases inflammation and creates “substances called advanced glycation-end-products (AGEs)”–which “interfere with cellular function, and are linked to the progression of many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autism.”  The “higher the blood sugar, the more serious the damage” (21).  And I wonder if there is a connection between inflammation in the body and the start of cancer–which may get a toehold when the immune system is overloaded.

Davis quotes Ron Rosedale, MD, from his book Burn Fat, Not Sugar to Lose Weight:

“Health and lifespan are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime.  The more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier the person will be, and the more likely they will live a long time.  The more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a lifespan a person is likely to have.”

While I am always leery of MDs who are writing about nutrition–since most have had no nutritional training whatsoever–what Rosedale is saying about fat being healthy is a fit with Dr. Mary Enig’s stance on fat in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, written with Sally Fallon Morell, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Dr. Enig is an internationally recognized expert on dietary fats, and I have written about her work in many places on this blog.

And Rosedale’s statement is a fit with Gary Taube’s work on the hormonal conditions caused by eating too many carbs, in Why We Get Fat.

So, there you have it…

Some interesting information…

Turkey Tracks: Swimming Through The Heat Wave

Turkey Tracks:  September 4, 2010

Swimming Through the Heat Wave

This week has been sooooooo hot!

I know we’re spoiled in Maine with regard to heat.  When heat and humidity strike, we are wimps.  We wilt, and we wilt fast. 

Our personal strategy is to don swimming suits, drive down to the river (4-5 minutes), swim until we’re cool, go home and keep our swimming suits on until we have to go back to cool off again.  Some people bring chairs and just sit in the water, forming groups of people who visit and laugh and splash water.  Others bring blankets and books and picnic lunches and spend the day.  There always seems to be room for everyone.  You can swim as far as you want upriver, which is a good workout.  Or, you can just get deep, tread water, and visit with a friend you’ve called and said “I’m soooo hot; meet me for a swim.”  I put a picture of Shirttail Point in some posts back, if you want to see our swimming hole.   

The river is glorious.  It’s clean and clear; you can see all the way to the bottom all the time.  The top few inches are warm, but not far down, the water is deliciously cool or, even, cold.   The water feels silky on your skin and leaves it soft and supple.  It does not dry you out like a chlorinated pool.  It’s living water.  I’ve thought a lot about swimming in natural water this summer.  I’m reading more and more about the dangers of all the chemicals we use.  And, how our skin is not a barrier at all, but a tremendous absorber of all these chemicals–which are not mediated by the body, but go right into our bloodstreams.  Our bathing and drinking water, for instance, is loaded with chlorine and fluorides.  Both are deadly for humans.  And, I don’t think anyone really knows how much is too much with repeated exposures.  Or, what the impact is on children who are still developing. 

I’ve just finished Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GUT AND PSYCOLOGY SYNDROME–or, GAPS, which is primarily about the connections between gut health and neurological disorders.   But, it’s also about the connections between gut health and food allergies, which is, apparently, a big part of my food allergy issues.    McBride argues that swimming in chlorinated pools is dangerous on two levels:  immersion in poisoned water and the layer of gas just over the water that we breathe into our lungs when swimming.   I’ve had two bad, foolish exposures to cleaning in an enclosed environment with chlorine, and I know that I injured my lungs both times.  It took months for them to heal.  McBride also argues that we are not getting access to needed bacteria–such as is found in natural water, around pets, on farms, etc., that we need to develop strong immune systems and to populate our guts.   

I love to swim.  I love everything about being in water.  I am a Pisces, after all.  And I come from a family of swimmers.  But, I don’t think that I’m going to swim in any more chlorinated pools.  I don’t like the way they make me feel.  I can never get the chlorine off of me, so I smell it all day.  It dries out my skin and hair terribly.  And, I seem to have a constant running nose and cough when I use a chlorinated pool.  I’ve learned mucus production is a clear sign of a struggling body. 

In the little town in Georgia where my mother grew up, they swam in a pool fed by three artesian wells–so that the pool had new water every 24 hours.  And, we’ve found enzymes for our hot tub that work just fine.  Surely, with all our technological abilities, we can figure out ways to clean water without dumping poisonous chemicals into them.  Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy swimming in season and finding other ways to exercise off season.

Hurricane Earl backwashed through here this morning, so things have cooled off a little.  I hope we get more swimming time though, before it gets too cold.