Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tax on sugary sodas?

According to the Wall Street Journal, lawmakers are considering a tax on "soda and other sugary drinks". The purpose of the tax is to help pay for the overhaul of the nation's health-care system.

Do you think this is a good thing? Why or why not?

Apparently the bill would put an excise tax (tax the manufacturer, who will then pass the cost on to consumers) on "soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas", but would not tax diet sodas (and presumably "fruit drinks" that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners!).

And why not diet sodas too? Recent research seems to indicate that diet sodas are just as "bad" and contribute to weight gains as much as the sugar containing ones do!

As a low carber, I never drink sugar-containing sodas and only rarely drink non-sugar sodas. I also never drink fruits drinks, whether they have had sugar added or not. I prefer to eat my calories! This tax, then, would have little or no effect on me!

As a consumer, I hate to see a measure like this pass because I'm afraid it will open the door to taxing other foods and drinks that are considered "unhealthy" or "bad" for us! What's next? Foods that contain trans-fats? Would that be ones that contain more than "0 grams per serving" or foods that have ANY trans-fat? What about snacks? High salt snacks? High fat snacks? Snacks that are essentially little more than sugar? How about fat content? Should I pay more for my 70/30 hamburg because the higher fat content is "bad" for me? Would they tax butter but not margarine? Coconut oil but not soy or corn oil?

So....what is your opinion? Do you support a tax on sugar containing sodas and other drinks?

(AP Photo/Lisa Poole)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Low Carb Ice Cream

I've always been a huge fan of ice cream and always missed it on any
diet I tried in the past. Ice milk is not the same, sherbet is fine but too high in
sugar. But ice cream? Thick and rich with chunks of fruit? Yummy!!! But store bought ice cream is loaded with sugar and the "sugar free" brands all have sugar alcohols.

So....here's a way to get that ice cream fix without all the sugar! And a very tasty way to add fat to your low carb diet!

For sweetener, I use SweetPerfection, which is essentially sweet fiber. It's kind of expensive, but to me it's worth it. The recipe is for 1 serving, although it can be made in larger batches. And, of course, for those limiting calories, cut the cream in half!

OK....so here's what I do.

40-50 grams frozen berries, chopped
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 tsp sweetener (or more to taste)

1. While still frozen use a food chopper to chop the fruit to smaller pieces.

2. Add sweetener. I sprinkle over the fruit

3. Add cream

4. Stir well, making sure sweetener is well mixed

5. Place bowl in freezer, stirring and scraping sides every 10-15 minutes.

6. When frozen to desired consistency, Enjoy!

I've also made this with chocolate, and use 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder and increase the sweetener to 1 T.

Nutritional information:
For Strawberry, with 40 g frozen strawberries and SweetPerfection-
Calories: 431
Fat: 44 g (saturated: 27 g)
Carbs: 10 g (fiber: 3 g) - Net: 7 g
Protein: 3 g

Nutritional information:
For Chocolate, with 1 T unsweetened cocoa and 1T SweetPerfection-
Calories: 449
Fat: 45 g (saturated: 27 g)
Carbs: 14 g (fiber: 9 g) - Net: 5g
Protein: 3 g

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Email to Dr Nancy Snyderman of MSNBC

MSNBC has recently started a new show, seen weekdays at 12 noon ET. The 1 hour show features Dr Nancy Snyderman talking about items in the news, health myths and other health-related topics.

In the "Health Myths" part of the show, "Dr Nancy" tackles various subjects that are felt to be "common knowledge", despite the fact that they may or may not be true.

Like many of the doctors featured on TV, Dr Nancy seems to follow the mainstream medical opinions, sometimes sounding like she's simply repeating press releasese and not actually looking into issues.

This past week Dr Nancy tackled the common myth that eggs increase our cholesterol levels and should therefore be avoided. In her response, Dr Nancy said to limit eggs to 1-2 per week! This is exactly what the AHA (American Heart Association) recommends, but there seems to be little or no real evidence that eggs and/or dietary cholesterol actually does cause or contribute to developing or worsening heart disease!

As eggs are often a big part of most low carb diets, I decided to write and email to Dr Nancy asking for her to take an indepth look at low carb plans and report on them. Here is the email I sent:

Dr Nancy.
Your comments today on eggs is prompting this request!

I wish you would to a GOOD report on low carb diets and how they relate to heart disease, controlling blood sugars, etc.
Despite the research that is out there, done by some notables (like Dr Eric Westman and Dr William Yancy at Duke) the diets are repeatedly bashed as being bad for us and bad for our hearts and useless with diabetes. This despite study after study showing dramatic improvements in blood lipids, blood insulin and glucose levels, lower BP and a host of other "side effects"! True, LDL sometimes "goes up", but this is: 1 a calculated value that is incorrect with low triglycerides and 2 deceiving as most of the time people with low triglycerides have large, fluffy LDL, not tight dense LDL[Lipoprotein (a)]. Check out the research!

I've been watching your show and would love to see a real evaluation of the studies and the diets! Not a crazy diet that restricts carbs to 20-30 grams per day indefinitely (this is NOT Atkins!), but a healthful diet consisting of lean meats, full fat dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables! Not depending on low carb products, but avoiding processed foods and getting back to cooking our own meals!

I know the "common wisdom" is that saturated fats will kill us (read the original press articles from the Framingham Heart Study!), but there is no real evidence that this is true! (Check out Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Uffe Ravnskov, Dr Mary Enig) Almost all of the studies (the well designed ones) that "test" the sat fat theory contain either high levels of trans-fats or high levels of carbohydrates! Many even contain both!

I have been personally researching this for several years and have yet to find good evidence that sat fats are bad for us and/or that low carb diets are required for good health! (Feel free to email me, I'll give you lots of links to get you started!

Please don't just attack low carb diets out of hand! We've already seen too many commentaries on this!


Now, I have no idea if Dr Nancy actually even reads her email (I'm sure she get hundreds a day!), but I am curious if I get a response and/or if she will do a fair and well researched response.

Stay tuned! If I hear anything else, I'll be sure to post!