Twitter RSS

Autism and Diet – Is There a Connection With Carbs and Processed Foods?

Published on August 7, 2013,

Dr William L. Wilson of the CARB Syndrome Project has a paper published in NAJMS – the North American Journal of Medicine and Science – which asks if autism can be caused by diet. Dr Wilson believes this is the first time the concept that a brain disease can be caused by diet has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. The implication is that carbs could be bad for your brain as well as your body. This is how he describes it from the CARB Syndrome Project…

Dr Bill Wilson with patient www.carbsyndrome.com

Dr Bill Wilson with patient www.carbsyndrome.com

The article describes how many people with autism also have a second disorder—Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. CARB syndrome is a form of food-induced brain dysfunction likely triggered by long-term exposure to processed foods.

The idea that your diet can cause a common brain disorder is nothing short of revolutionary. That’s because changing your diet has the potential to reverse CARB syndrome and put the rabbit back in the hat. People with CARB syndrome can develop up to 22 brain dysfunction symptoms that can interfere with your ability to function. Some of these symptoms overlap with other common brain disorders like autism, depression, PTSD and bipolar II. Because CARB syndrome is a new concept not yet well known in the medical community, when clinicians are faced with someone with autism they assume that all their symptoms are coming from this disorder. They don’t realize that many people with autism also have CARB syndrome.

Although autism can be very challenging to treat, the treatments for CARB syndrome are relatively straightforward and easy to implement. I outline the basics of treatment of CARB syndrome in this article. When you treat the CARB syndrome and a person is just left with their autism, they often feel and function much better.

Although CARB syndrome is a new and unproven concept, it does have a lot of support in the medical literature. I think it also reflects what many clinicians are seeing in their patients. It is exciting to envision that simple dietary changes might help many patients struggling with autism. Changing your diet carries virtually no risk and in my experience if you leave your CARB syndrome untreated, you are condemning yourself to a life that doesn’t match your potential.  Hopefully this article will stimulate the medical community to take a closer look at the connection between diet and brain function.

More at The CARB Syndrome Project:  Autism and Diet – Is There A connection

Read the NAJMs paper here: Autism and Diet: Is There a Connection?

Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work – And Why Low Carb Is Crucial

Published on August 3, 2012,

Returning to the theme of ‘are all calories equal?’, Dietriffic has a well reasoned and researched article that concludes that just counting the calories you eat is not the right approach to weight loss and what you eat – especially restricting carbs – is crucial.

No doubt you’ve heard the expression, “A calorie is a calorie,” meaning the calories we get from carbs, fat and protein are equal in terms of their effect on our weight.

Perhaps you think all that matters is the total number of calories you take in each day, regardless of whether the majority comes from one macronutrient more than the other.

In fact, many people emphasize that weight management is a simple game of math. Maintaining your weight, therefore, is merely about consuming the same number of calories your body burns each day.

But, while this is true in part, research suggests there’s a lot more to it than that.

Calories Are Not All Equal

Firstly, it might help to define the term ‘calorie.’

A calorie is a unit of food energy. Basically, the energy that fuels the body; much like petrol or gas fuels a car. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 calories per gram.

While it may seem simple to conclude that all you need to do is take in fewer calories than you expend, if you want to lose weight, research suggests the body may processes these macronutrients differently. So, perhaps a calories is not a calorie after all.

This gives us an indication as to why weight loss is not so simple, and suggests why so many struggle with losing weight long-term.

Calorie Counting Has Limited Use

If you are only concerned with counting calories, it won’t tell you much about the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in your diet. Let me give you an example:

A bar of chocolate has roughly 251 calories. 6-8 brazil nuts and 5-6 almonds have around 250 calories.

These two snacks contain similar amounts of calories, but they will certainly not have the same effect on your body. The chocolate bar is pretty much all carbs in the form of refined sugar. But, the nuts contain healthy fats and protein, as well as vitamins and fibre.  It’s obvious which is the better option.

As we shall see, calorie counting alone tells you absolutely nothing about how your body will react to a certain food.

The Research: Protein vs Carbs vs Fats

Research indicates the calories from proteins, carbohydrates and fats may not be treated the same by the body, therefore challenging the idea that a calorie is a calorie.

1. Dietary Effect On Muscle Mass

A recent 2012 study, found that when you overeat on a low protein (higher carb) diet, you store fat around your organs (e.g. liver, kidneys and pancreas). However, when a high protein diet is eaten, it adds muscle and increases resting metabolism.

The researchers concluded:

Among persons living in a controlled setting, calories alone account for the increase in fat; protein affected energy expenditure and storage of lean body mass, but not body fat storage.

Interestingly, the low protein group (5% protein) lost 1.5 pounds of muscle, and gained 7.5 pounds of fat. The high protein group (25% protein) gained 6.3 pounds of muscle mass.

This study suggests that some calories may make you store fat, while others help you build muscle.

Avoid ‘Free’ Fructose

Calories from drinks appear to be particularly problematic.

One study specifically singled out fructose, concluding that in overweight and obese adults, it increases intra-abdominal fat, promotes abnormal lipids, decreases insulin sensitivity, and increases DNL (de novo lipogenesis).

Another 2012 study in young people, found that the ‘free’ fructose in high fructose corn syrup, led to increased belly fat, inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar and pre-diabetes.

2. Dietary Effect On Satiety

We know that protein foods make us feel more satisfied. The result of this is a reduced appetite, which has the potential to make us eat less, if we listen to our body’s hunger signals.

One study found that when subjects increased their protein intake to 30 percent, they ate 441 calories less each day, and experienced greater feelings of satiety.

In fact, they lost almost 11 pounds on average, including more than 8 pounds of body fat.

3. Dietary Effect On Wellness

A very good comparison of the different effects certain diets have on the body, is Ancel Keys’ semi-starvation experiment versus John Yudkin’s low carb study.

The big difference between these two studies was the carbohydrate and fatintake; they were basically the reverse of each another. Yet, as Dr Eades puts it in his article on Tim Ferriss’ blog:

Both studies provided between 1500 and 1600 kcal per day, but with huge differences in outcome.

In the Key’s semi-starvation study (high-carb, low-fat) the subjects starved and obsessed on food constantly. In the Yudkin study (low-carb, high-fat), the subjects, who had no restriction on the amount of food they ate, volitionally consumed the same number of calories that the semi-starvation group did, yet reported that they had “an increases feeling of well-being.”

Instead of lethargy and depression reported by the Keys subjects on their low-fat, high-carb 1570 calories, those on the same number of low-carb, high-fat calories experienced “decreased lassitude.*”

* state of physical or mental weariness; lack of energy.

So, despite that fact that the diets were almost identical in calorie intake, the results were vastly different, with the higher fat, lower carb diet showing a much more favorable outcome on overall wellness.

More at: Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work

Best of the blogs: Low Carb and Paleo Stigma Still Alive and Well

Published on August 3, 2012,

Low Carb Learning blog has an interesting take on the continued reluctance in the mainstream media to acknowledge low carb diets and the role they can have in weight loss.

Saw this article pop up on Lifehacker.com, which is one of the handful of sites I check most days. Always a good tip or something of interest on there:

http://lifehacker.com/5930378/how-i-lost-100-pounds

While this guy does everything he can to avoid saying it, what his formerly-Vegan ass realized is that it’s all about the carbs, and that eating meat is pretty much necessary for optimal health. Why won’t he just admit it? Cus there’s a stigma about eating low carb. We can thank big agriculture, government, and the animal activists/vegans/vegetarians for that. Oh, and the countless personal trainers, dietitians, and doctors who continue to misguide so many people with the whole ‘Healthy Whole Grains!’ bullshit.

Even in spite of the research proving that cutting carbohydrates is the best ways to lose weight, there is still a stigma about admitting one’s success on it. This started, I believe, back in the initial Atkins era. While I myself have bashed the Atkins plan on numerous occasions, I also am quick to recognize that he seems to have been the first to ‘re-discover’ what our grandparents and descendants already knew – that bread, pasta, sugar, and starches were fattening, and that exercising just made you work up an appetite.

The problem I have with the Atkins approach is that it is strictly about the carbs. Eat all the Splenda and other processed stuff you want. Eat those slimy processed pepperoni slices they sell in the plastic container at the grocery store – as much as you want – even though that shit will last a century without spoiling. And guess what? He was right. Most people WILL lose weight without hunger that way. I know I did. I ate all that shit for a while and dropped 65 pounds painlessly and felt great doing it. But what I found was, when I really started to succeed, I *really* focused on what I was eating. And that’s when I limited all of the chemicals and processed food out of my diet. I don’t know if it made a difference, but logic says it would.

More at: Low Carb and Paleo Stigma Still Alive and Well

© Low Carb Diet News