Herzegovina plays host to Keto Health Revolution

By Marika Sboros

How easy is it to stay not just low-carb but keto (very low-carb) over the holidays, specially  winter? Easy enough – when you know how. Just ask Greek nutritional therapist and keto evangelist  Apollonas Kapsalis.

He and Croatian wife Roberta are the power-couple behind the popular Greek Goes Keto website.They have arranged a unique keto event in Mostar, Herzegovina on December 8, starting at 17h00 (CET). Their aim: to begin the Keto Health Revolution in Herzegovina’s winter high-carb heartland.

If you can’t be there in person, they are livestreaming via Greek Goes Keto Facebook page. I will join them via Skype for a brief chat.



Dr Bourdua-Roy on a mission: First, do no harm!

By Marika Sboros

Canadian physician Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy is an MD on a mission. She is that rare but growing breed of MD who believes that nutrition lies at the heart of health.

She also gets a kick out of practising something she didn’t learn at medical school: “deprescribing medication”. It has become her “favourite thing”.

Little makes her happier than seeing the smiles on faces of patients for whom she writes a medication deprescription. As a society, we’ve become overly reliant on drugs, Bourdua-Roy says. We’ve “kind of forgotten” nutrition’s real place in health. It’s vital for doctors to learn about nutrition. And we should all question what “experts” have taught us, she says.



Harvard study: ‘Case against carbs, for fats grows stronger’

By Marika Sboros

It’s not the definitive word for best weight loss diets but it’s close. And it doesn’t venture into the contentious plant- versus animal-food divide. A major new Harvard study shows that replacing carbohydrates with fats speeds up metabolism.

It overcomes one of the biggest hurdles in conventional weight-loss diets: the “plateau”. That is the metabolism slowdown that prevents weight loss on conventional diets.

It’s why so many lose some weight but stay hungry and find it increasingly harder to lose more.

The Harvard study in the BMJ is well-designed and randomised. It is also one of the largest feeding studies ever conducted, say the authors. Add recent US research by Virta Health on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets to reverse type 2 diabetes and experts say it’s a recipe for speedy, safe, sustainable weight loss.



Dr Jason Fung’s single best weight loss tip!

 By Marika Sboros

Psst! If your MD or dietitian still subscribes to the CICO (calories-in, calories-out) obesity model, find another one. Quick!

According to the model, obesity is from gluttony and sloth. A calorie is a calorie. And all you have to do to lose weight and keep it off is “eat less and move more”.

The model is not just unscientific, it’s out the dark ages of nutrition science.

Yet many (if not most) MDs and dietitians still believe that CICO rules. Canadian nephrologist Dr Jason Fung is not one. As a kidney specialist, Fung sees many patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. The two conditions are now so common that doctors refer to them as “diabesity”.

In the article below, Fung gives his top weight loss tip for those struggling with diabesity. Spoiler alert: it’s about as far from CICO as it’s possible to be.



Meat: ‘Giving it up won’t save the planet – or you’

By Marika Sboros

Animal rights activists (and vegans who front them) would have you believe that giving up meat will save the planet from climate change.

If only it were that simple.

They also say a meat-free diet is healthier for you. Some call for a tax on meat to reduce consumption.

Dr Frank Mitloehner is professor of Animal Science and a specialist in Air Quality Extension at the University of California, Davis. He looks at the key claim underlying the argument for eating less meat: that global meat production generates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector.

In the article below, Mitloehner explains why this claim is “demonstrably wrong”. It has become a “bell” that scientists are struggling to “unring”, he says. Its persistence has led to “false assumptions about the linkage between meat and climate change”. And your health.



‘Vegan diet best for type 2 diabetes’ – UK scientists

By Marika Sboros

A predominantly plant-based or vegan diet may be best for keeping type 2 diabetes in check, say UK scientists. That’s not least because of its potential positive effects on mood, they say.

Their systematic review of the available evidence is in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care– no less.

The authors also claim that a plant-based diet reduces the risks linked to cardiovascular disease. CVD is one of the main causes of early death in people with diabetes. They say their review is first to look at the effects of plant-based diets in mood of people with type 2 diabetes.

Other researchers are less positive about plant-based diets – and the study’s conclusions. They say that there is no valid evidence for this claim. They say that the evidence is strong for diabetics who eat animal-based diets.



Fasting: Fung dishes up quick science to reverse type 2 diabetes

By Marika Sboros

Fasting is as old as the hills of ancient Greece. Many doctors and dietitians still dismiss it as a fad. It is proving its worth in modern medicine’s arsenal to beat type 2 diabetes.

Planned intermittent fasting may help to reverse type 2 diabetes, a condition that is now epidemic across the globe. That’s according to Canadian doctors in the journal, BMJ Case Reports. Three male patients in their care were able to cut out the need for insulin treatment altogether after a period of planned intermittent fasting.

One of the co-authors is Canadian nephrologist (kidney specialist), Dr Jason Fung, of the Department of Medicine at Scarborough General Hospital in Ontario. Fung is an expert in fasting interventions to reverse type 2 diabetes.

He and his co-authors readily admit to the limitations of the case reports: small in number and men only. The implications, however, are “huge”, Fung says.



FETTKE: COVER-UP GROWS AFTER CASE AGAINST HIM COLLAPSES?

By Marika Sboros

Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke’s professional reputation and licence to practise medicine are no longer under threat. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) recently cleared Fettke of any misconduct over his opinions on nutrition.

That response was legally and ethically correct, under the circumstances. However, it raises more questions than answers.

One question is why AHPRA went to war on the side of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and its members who mobilised against Fettke. Another is why no heads have rolled in AHPRA’s prosecution of Fettke – in a case that legal analysts called a “kangaroo court“.

Yet another is why AHPRA has ignored extensive evidence of bullying, mobbing and intimidation of Fettke at his workplace, Launceston General Hospital (LGH) in Tasmania, for more than eight years. That is raising questions of a cover-up at the highest levels.



FETTKE FREE AT LAST: AHPRA DROPS ALL CHARGES!

By Marika Sboros

Australian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gary Fettke is a free and vindicated man. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has dropped all charges against him.

In a letter to Fettke, AHPRA clears him of any wrongdoing or misconduct in a case that has dragged on for more than four years. The Agency has also apologised for its actions against him.

Those actions include slapping a lifetime ban on him in 2016 from speaking to patients about nutrition. Not just any nutrition but his advocacy for low-carb, healthy-fat (LCHF) therapies.

The ban falls away – although Fettke had ignored it anyway.



Gøtzsche sacking: sign that Cochrane is a ‘sinking ship’?

By Marika Sboros

It was once revered as “the world’s most prestigious scientific organisation” devoted to independent, evidence-based medicine. Today, the Cochrane Collaboration is in “moral crisis”, say insiders. They are predicting the beginning of the organisation’s end.

Critics say that the Collaboration has “lost its way”. It has grown too close to the drug industry and too far from delivering “trusted evidence”.

That follows the expulsion of one of its most high-profile members, Dr Peter C Gøtzsche at its annual board meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland recently.

The Board has accused Gøtzsche of bringing the organisation into disrepute. That followed Gøtzsche’s harsh criticism of a Cochrane review of the evidence for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. He and his team called it “incomplete and biased”.

Gøtzsche is unrepentant and says that the Cochrane has “a moral governance crisis”. Four more board members have resigned in protest at Gøtzsche’s shock sacking.



Seriously! Stomach surgery first option for diabetics?

By Marika Sboros

I’m always unnerved when doctors encourage diabetics to have stomach surgery before more effective, much safer, less invasive methods. Like simple dietary changes.

The recommendation has been popping up again on social media.

There is robust evidence to show that bariatric surgery can be life-saving for morbidly obese people. However,  it is invasive and the success rate is nothing to write home about. Complications can also be lethal and include heart attack, stroke and death.

So it should be worrying when doctors advise stomach surgery as first resort, especially for diabetics who are only mildly obese.



DR DAVID KATZ: MORE WOES AS FORBES DROPS HIM

By Marika Sboros

Dr David L Katz, one of the most outspoken voices in nutrition science in the US, has been terminated as a columnist by Forbes.com following an editorial investigation.

Katz has been a regular online columnist for the publication since 2016. The relationship terminated in June when Forbes deleted his most recent and final column.

Forbes Vice President Corporate Communications Laura Brusca confirmed to me via email that Katz is no longer a contributor.



From hunger to wholeness: ‘road map’ to avoid overeating

By Marika Sboros

Hunger is one driver of overweight, obesity and associated health problems.  Another is the “weight” that many people with obesity carry.

That weight is as much emotional as physical, say the authors of a new book. From Hunger To Wholeness is a “road map” to guide readers back to a healthy weight.

The co-authors are UK-based psychoanalytic psychotherapists, Caroline Taylor-Thomas and Pam Kleinot. I came across it as both are former journalist colleagues of mine back home in South Africa.

The book’s subtitle gives their aim: Strategies To Free Yourself From Overeating. To deliver, they mix extensive investigative reporting skills and clinical experience of patients with eating disorders and other forms of substance abuse.



HARVARD PROF: COCONUT OIL ‘PURE POISON’! WHAT NEXT?

By Marika Sboros

First, they came for low-carb diets. Then they came for coconut oil. What will Harvard scientists come for next?

Harvard epidemiology professor Karen Michels has sent social media into overdrive with her claim that coconut oil is “pure poison”. She also called it “one of the worst foods you can eat”.

Cardiologists and other experts globally called those comments “unscientific” and ignorant. Others have rather rudely dismissed her comments as total ‘BS’. Michels is facing calls to apologise publicly and retract her claims.



Vitamin D: is it snake-oil for snake-oil disease?

By Marika Sboros

Nutrition science is looking decidedly dodgy these days. One reason is the love affair with vitamins, a century after scientists discovered them.

That affair has spawned the billion-dollar global supplement industry. It has also created “pseudo-diseases” in its wake, says British geneticist Prof Tim Spector. One of those pseudo-diseases is Vitamin D deficiency.

Spector is professor of genetic epidemiology and director of the TwinsUK Registry, at Kings College London. Spector has looked at another confounding variable in nutrition research these days: We have ignored a new “virtual” organ in our bodies for the digestive and endocrine system, he says. It is the microbiome that he calls our “second brain”.



Low-carb diets will shorten your life? Fat chance!

By Marika Sboros

Well, here’s a page turner for the diet books. A new study in The Lancet Public Health claims that low-carb diets could be killers.

The researchers claim that the diets increase your risk of mortality (premature death) by shortening your lifespan. In other words, the researchers argue that low-carb diets are life-threatening.

They also claim the same for high-carb diets. But don’t mistake that for any kind of anti-carb stance. On the contrary. The researchers claim that “moderate” carbohydrate consumption (50-55% of the diet) is the way to go.

They say that moderate carbs from plant foods up your chances further of avoiding a premature end. They speak of  “controversy” around low-carb diets. Therefore, they claim that low-carb diets containing animal foods are even more life-threatening than those with plant-based foods.



Diet-heart hypothesis: zombie or written in scientific stone?

By Marika Sboros

The diet-heart hypothesis is a curious creature. To some scientists and physicians, the hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease is a zombie. Despite all the stakes they drive deep into its heart, it just won’t die.

To others, it’s written in scientific stone. That’s even when supporters, such as Harvard nutrition and epidemiology professor Walter Willett, call it “incomplete” and “overly optimistic” in its classical form.

The hypothesis hovered in the wings at a groundbreaking conference in Zurich, Switzerland in June. That’s when it wasn’t taking centre stage. Willett and others vigorously dispute the notion of any terminal hole in the diet-heart hypothesis.



SWISS RE: TYPE 2 DIABETES REALLY CAN BE REVERSED

This is the first in a two-part series on a remarkable event that took place in Zürich, Switzerland, in June 2018. It is a review of a conference that will hopefully help to change conventional medical treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes dramatically in the near future.

The venue augured well: the elegant buildings of the Swiss Re Institute’s Centre for Global Dialogue in Rüschlikon on the west shore of Lake Zürich.

Speakers came from top research institutions around the globe. They argued that mainstream medical treatment for type 2 diabetes just doesn’t work well. In effect, it keeps people fat, sick and dependent on drugs.

That was fighting talk from physicians and scientists from around the globe. Their alternative was just as groundbreaking: It gives people with type 2 diabetes hope that they can reverse their condition safely and effectively without resorting to drugs or surgery.



DID WITS ETHICS CHIEF LOSE HER WAY JUST TO NAIL NOAKES?

Prof Amaboo ‘Ames’ Dhai

By Marika Sboros

Here’s an intriguing ethical and moral dilemma in the latest issue of the SAMJ (South African Medical Journal).

It’s in an article by University of the Witwatersrand bioethics head Prof Amaboo “Ames” Dhai. The title: The Life Esidimeni tragedy: Moral pathology and an ethical crisis.

In it, Dhai speaks of “core values of compassion, competence and autonomy”. Together with respect for fundamental human rights, these are “the foundation of ethical practice in healthcare”, she writes.

But why is that an ethical, moral dilemma and for whom? Well, for starters, for Dhai herself.



Saturated fat causes heart disease? Pure bollocks – Kendrick!

Quick! If your doctor or dietitian still says you should eat a low-fat diet for your heart’s sake, find another one. In the final of a two-part series, Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick explains why so many doctors and dietitians dish up junk about cholesterol.

And why everything the experts have been telling you about saturated fat, its impact on LDL, and its impact on CVD is – frankly – ‘complete bollocks’. – Marika Sboros