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Food Pyramid Junk Science

Monday, June 06, 2011

Wow. My change in diet had some really unexpected twists.

I thought I finally figured out what was causing my weight loss issues. The whole thing about metabolic response that I've been blogging about for weeks. But it uncovered some health issues that I didn't even know were related.

I suddenly became sick last Thursday. I woke up and I had the feeling of cold/flu symptoms. I called in sick to work Thursday/Friday because I couldn't think straight.

Then I developed some thrush symptoms. A white coating on my tongue. Weird. (For the record, I am not immuno-compromised.)

I started doing some research and found something called "Atkins flu" or "low carb die-off". Apparently, a number of us are overrun with candida, and we don't even know it. High carb/high sugar diets feed candida. Overuse of antibiotics kills off natural flora that allows candida to overrun our immune systems. Many people will have unexplained illnesses like IBS. Recurrent yeast infections, obviously. Some have sugar cravings and can't lose weight. Some, like myself, don't really have any symptoms, except strange chronic symptoms like ear infections, that no one would possibly ever connect with a systemic fungal infection.

Sparker WHIPPEACHZ left a comment on one of my blogs about candida albicans. I had already found the info on the "die-off" at that point, but I dug around a bit more, and this confirmed my suspicion. Apparently what happens, when you stop feeding the fungus with sugar of any kind, they kind of go into death throes. When they die, they leave toxins (that won't kill you), but need to be eliminated by the body, making you feel miserable. They may also suddenly appear in places, attempting to find some place to survive, on the skin, or in my case, in my sinuses and my throat. This does not happen in everyone. Only people who have a large imbalance.

Apparently I am a "lucky" one.

I eliminated my grain/starch consumption drastically, which forced it out more quickly. If I had tapered back slowly, I might have had milder symptoms, and never been aware of what it was.

So now I don't think I had a cold/flu at all, but the death throes of these out of control fungus. They live on all of us. If our natural flora is working balanced, then they don't get out of hand. They are only a problem when they go out of control.

In my case, it was feeding the beast with my high carb/high sugar diet. I mentioned the use of antibiotics to handle frequent ear infections, which obviously leads to a vicious cycle. I'm hoping my dietary changes will eliminate both problems, permanently.

Obviously, this is a lifestyle change. If I go back to a high carb/high sugar diet, then I will encourage this imbalance. I had no intention of going back anyway, but this is certainly extra incentive.

Now I know what it is, I have done lots of research in how to treat it.

1. Continue to starve it of sugar - no starches/grains. I'm already doing this.
2. Gargle with apple cider vinegar. This raises the pH in my mouth - they do not like alkaline environments. Just gargling with it this morning almost immediately cleared up my sinuses. Unexpected, but welcome!
3. Cook with coconut oil. Coconut oil is a natural antifungal. This was not easy to find, but I found some at a high end organic grocery.
4. Lemon juice. Lemons are a natural antimicrobial for a lot of things.
5. Homemade yogurt. I am SO glad I learned how to make yogurt recently! I'm trying to find recipes for coconut yogurt, so I can clear up my issues (and not inflame existing) sooner.

I'm glad I already eliminated sugary drinks and candy bars a long time ago, or this infection (and cure) might be a lot worse. I think my high grain/starch diet was continuing to feed it. This may indeed be a contributor why I lost 30lbs, but my weight loss stalled.

My focus is on clearing this up. Time will tell whether I restore balance enough so that I can enjoy things like pasta occasionally. I think I am not so bad off since I have had years head start to clean up my diet. In my mind, this is clearly a medical issue, now. I cannot go back to eating a starch with every meal.

50 grams of potatoes converts in the body into the equivalent of 1/4 cup sugar. Would you serve a quarter cup sugar 3 times a day with your meals?

I'm trying not to be infuriated. I did this for years, because this was supposed to be the most healthy way to eat, and have good health.

Many Sparkers are skeptical bunches. Many are quick to jump on message board posts about weird fad diets, detoxes and cleanses as snake oil scams.

How many of these skeptics have the same skepticism for the government dietary advice? Why is 60-25-15 for carbs/fat/protein the accepted "right" way?

Do you know how pig farmers fatten hogs? They use a feed formula of 61% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and 14% protein.

This is almost identical to the USDA food pyramid.

How is this supposed to keep people slim and healthy, but adds fat to pigs for profit?

The new USDA "Food Plate" isn't much better.

I say replace that grain portion with more veggies.

Many skeptics will say this sounds like holistic, new-agey, mumbo jumbo. If I hadn't gone through this experience, I might have agreed. Heck, I did agree at one time.

What I am going through is real. I say the USDA feed lot pyramid is the junk science.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    SUSANB_MILLER: It is different for everyone. I have read online that some people see something in a few days. For me, it was a few weeks.
    3557 days ago
    Thanks for the info!

    I have cut back on my simple carbs and sugar for the past several months, but am not quite ready to take them completely out of my diet. But after reading this, am thinking about doing a short sugar and grain fast to see if I have any similar issues. How long does it generally take to find out if detoxing symptoms appear?

    3557 days ago
    That you for this information. I appreciate it.
    3557 days ago
    great blog Thanks
    3557 days ago
  • SHEILAG1963
    Another interesting point about the fattening of hogs. Sweet Tarts started out as a supplement for fattening hogs in the Midwest. YUCK.

    Think about it!

    The bad thing is, I love SweetTarts, but I don't eat them now!
    3557 days ago
    I eat low carb too.
    I try to eat some "probiotics" every day - basically fermented foods that have good bacteria to populate my gut.
    My favorite sources are Kefir (a yogurt like, or some say buttermilk like) drink, sauerkraut or Kim Chi w/live cultures, and Kombucha teas (bottled drink) The carb count in any of these looks a little high, so use portion control, but also remember that the starch gets fermented so not really the same amt of carbs as when it was first bottled.
    BTW - the difference btwn Kefir and yogurt is that the Kefir microbes stay alive longer in your gut.
    3557 days ago
  • THEMIS27
    I wonder how much pull the corn industry had in creating these new food guidelines. In my opinion, the USDA recommendations are nothing more than a new product of extensive lobbying by food industry giants.
    3558 days ago
    I very much enjoyed reading this blog and the comments. Thank you for posting it and making me think!
    3558 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5794580
    How absolutely on target. Wish I could shout this out to all the sparkers !! Loved ladyroses comment about the can of worms.Lol
    3558 days ago
    I had a VERY similar experience. I'm allergic to penicillin and related abx, so I always ended up with stronger stuff. And EVERY TIME I was on one I'd end up with thrush.

    Fast forward to me having radically changed my diet (lower than 'recommended' carbs, no HFCS, etc) and I don't get it at all. It's fantastic!

    Keep on with what works for you! It's a great feeling to find the keys to your success.
    3558 days ago
    Wow...nice little can-o-worms you opened up... funny how that happens when you challenge the conventional wisdom around these here parts... At least worms are mostly protein so you're good. ;)

    Oh, think you'll appreciate this one: http://www.foodrenegade.com/say-goo
    R>Really sucks about the whole yeast thing, though it made me giggle a little bit... I have images of the Alton Brown/Good Eats sock puppet yeasts burping and trashing around in their death throwes... I'm silly like that. :)

    Keep fighting the good fight! Remember, the more resistance you encounter, the more it reinforces that you're on the right path!
    3558 days ago
  • ANDREA409
    I agree with you on the food pyramid. Also - I loooove coconut oil and ACV for killing candida. I've had chronic experience with it lately due to illness. A lot of people don't believe in systemic yeast, but I'm not so sure.

    I ate what I thought was a "healthy" vegetarian diet for 16 years, only to destroy my adrenal glands. Absolutely destroyed them. I've had to start eating meat - fatty red meat - and eggs laden with cholesterol to start feeling any improvement. There's no way I would recover eating a plant-based diet. Intellectually, I still struggle with eating flesh, but I had to face the reality that this is precisely what we have evolved to eat.

    A lot of people do hate to concede to it. That's their choice. I only hope they don't wait until their bodies are absolutely destroyed before they make some changes.

    It took my adrenal glands crashing before I could admit that grains are evil. Check out "The Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Keith; it's incredibly informative and insightful. It changed my life.
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 1:04:36 PM
    Check out my plate o' shrimp blog. I had my lupus diagnosis removed after I went low carb and lost lots of inflammation.
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 12:53:41 PM
  • no profile photo CD5127867
    Thanks so much.This is fascinating
    3558 days ago
    I.M.MAGIC: We'll agree to disagree on the new "Food Plate". It is the exact same proportions of 60% carbs (maybe even 75% now). Now it is showing 25% of those carbs should be grain or starch, which I totally disagree with. Grain and starches should be occasional. Whether they are whole grain or not, all of us convert grains/starches to sugar. A rise in blood glucose turns on insulin production. The only people who it does not work that way for are Type I diabetics. They don't produce any insulin at all.

    Overweight and obesity is a state of excess insulin load. For people who don't have special needs like type I or kidney impairment, fixing the insulin load fixes the excess fat. Not the calories, but the proportions of the calories.

    I think the "food plate" is fine for people who want to maintain their weight. However, I think people who want to lose weight (which is the majority of us, since 3/4 Americans are overweight or obese), then restricting the grain/starches is the way to go. But saying we need to use the exact same proportions whether we want to lose, maintain, or even gain, is not correct. And harmful to the public health. We aren't getting any slimmer.

    Best wishes to you on your health journey. That does sound so restrictive, but you seem to have a great attitude!
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 12:45:15 PM
    You're right on target.

    I don't know if I agree with you on the new PLATE paradigm... I think it's a HUGE improvement over that %^&*(* pyramid and at least it's pointing folks in the right general direction--like, east instead of true north--but at least it's not pointing south any more! LOL

    BREWMASTERBILL does make a good point... there is no such thing as one size fits all, in clothes or in nutritional balances. What works for you could possibly put my whole metabolism into a tailspin. There are very GOOD reasons sometimes for a restrictive regimen. Just for instance, I have CKD, and have a very strict protocol--not to lose weight necessarily, though it is one of my goals LOL--but to maintain and try to improve my kidney function. I have restrictions on sodium, potassium, phosphorus, protein... Dairy anything is so far off my list it's unreal! Wait, I can have butter, cream cheese or sour cream. The fat is the only thing that doesn't have protein or lactose or phosphorus! LOL

    It's a real challenge just to find enough calories sometimes and still stay on track--and when I mess up, I lose more kidney function! Definitely not a desireable outcome! Add to that the fact that just like eating too much can add weight, not eating enough can keep you from losing those unwanted pounds you've gained... AAGH! LOL

    The truth of the matter is, that maybe it's "junk science" in terms of being too 'one-size-fits-all' and leaning toward too many grain products--which may have more to do with economics than nutrition-- but it's STILL a huge improvement over that confounded pyramid, AND it's a place to start for families who don't have anything else to go by. And I think most of us by now are aware that the true answers are only found for us as individuals, through education, experimentation, and experience...

    I think one of the reasons SP works so well for me is because I CAN customize everything on it, to deal with my own circumstances and needs... and you guys are all terrific too, you make me really THINK!

    So I say here's to any tool we can use to aid our endeavors to increase health and energy in our own lives!

    Kathy emoticon

    Hm. Didn't see any of THAT on the new diagram! LOL
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 11:08:30 AM
    To LittleLadyHope - they use the antibiotics in livestock feed because the animals aren't really supposed to be eating corn at all... pigs and cows and chickens naturally eat things that are found in a meadow, like grass, leaves, etc. Corn and corn alone is an extremely unbalanced diet for these animals, so they will get sick from it (also from the deplorable physical conditions most of them are kept in, but that's another conversation). So they use antibiotics to prevent the animals from getting too sick from the ridiculous diet they're being fed.

    And to VHalkyrie - I have several co-workers who have had your same experience. I like that you blog about this, because I think it proves that everyone needs to figure out their own, individual body chemistry and find what makes them feel healthiest, instead of relying on just any old plan (even if that plan comes from the government!)
    3558 days ago
    MRPLATSON: I did look at what they are eating. Then I started researching for more information.

    "Are you saying we all need to eat like them?"

    Do your own research.
    3558 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8332689
    I know that it's not really common knowlege, but farmers also fatten their animals with antibiotics. I'm not sure why, if it helps them retain fluid or whatever, but they do. So people like me, who are allergic to penicillin, have a hard time eating meat sometimes--and the hormones that are also fed to fatten up animals for meat caused me to be too much of an "early bloomer"--and I know I'm not the only one!!

    I hope you feel better soon, and thank you for this post!
    3558 days ago
    To put on muscle, you raise carb/fat. You gain muscle and fat. To lose fat, you raise protein and fat, lower carb.

    Physiologically, we are not so different than pigs. We are both omnivores. Doctors use pigs in order to practice surgery. Their insulin metabolism works very similarly.

    Summary. Raise carbs/fat to raise fat/weight mass. Lower carbs, raise fat/protein to lose fat.

    Any bodybuilder knows this. ;)

    The food pyramid is a fattening meal plan, not slimming.
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 10:49:38 AM
    What does a championship show pig have to do with with the pigs we eat? Nothing. I certainly am not a championship show pig.

    Why don't you go look up what bodybuilders eating? Are you saying we all need to eat like them?
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 10:42:54 AM
    I just want you to know how much your blogs and experience, along with a lot of talks with coworkers, has inspired me to change. I'm slowly working my way to getting only 1g of carbs per pound, mostly from produce and occasional dairy. It's already tough to plan, but the way you write about it (and how my coworker feels) is helping me stay focused. The feed lot pyramid is especially scary! I'm putting it on my fridge for motivation. We are not hogs!!
    3558 days ago
    BREWMASTERBILL: Diabetes is a chronic condition. High grain/starch diets definitely raises insulin load which leads to, or exacerbates diabetes.

    Also, in my case, the high carb diet without a doubt was root cause of my underlying health issues.
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 9:45:47 AM
    MRPLATSON: Read up on how championship show pigs are fattened up. They lower the protein content and raise the corn content.

    If they want the pig to gain muscle, they add more protein.
    3558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 9:49:14 AM
    Ya, we largely agree. I will not go so far as to say it ADDS chronic conditions and I was also highlighting the fact that a perfect diet is a holy grail. But ya, I'd say we're mostly in agreement that it's junk science.
    3558 days ago
    I just want you to know that the Pig Raising industry is not trying to "fatten" up pig because they're not making the money off the fat but the meat, in fact, pigs are now one of the leanest farm animals available.

    Yes, leaner than Chickens.

    This has actually caused quite a bit of a stir in the chef community as traditional Pork recipes can not be made because the meat dries out too fast due to the low fat content.
    3558 days ago
    "Many Sparkers are skeptical bunches. Many are quick to jump on message board posts about weird fad diets, detoxes and cleanses as snake oil scams.

    How many of these skeptics have the same skepticism for the government dietary advice? "

    To answer your question, I do. I constantly question every thing I'm told and I love to research things. I believe that we all need to approach our diets by what works for us, and not only will that differ from person to person, but it will change at different points in a person's life. For instance, I've slowly been embracing a lower carb lifestyle not because of all the fad diets, but because of the articles, books and documentaires I've been watching. I've been doing it slowly because I wanted to observe the changes it made in me to make sure that it was working.

    Evidence. I like evidence.

    I also like Mountain Dew. No diet is perfect. :P

    Like you said, there is no "good for all" diet.
    3558 days ago
    BREWMASTERBILL: Actually, you and I are arguing the same point. The Food Pyramid junk is supposed to be "good for all". It is not. In many of us, it makes us less healthy, and adds chronic conditions.
    3558 days ago
    It is an acid, but has an alkaline ash content, which raises body pH.

    At the end of the blog, I dismiss the USDA "Food Plate" as the same crap, with a different package.
    3558 days ago
    I think it's good to question everything, especially government advice. But I'm of the opinion that there is no single "right" or "superior" diet that works across the board. Not to mention, depending on your health and any chronic problems, your diet may be changed to ease those conditions. I would argue that for me, I'd replace the grain portion with more protein or maybe a mix of protein, whole grains and vegetables. I mean, why be stringent at all? As long as you're making reasonably healthy choices, your health and fitness are improving, the scale is moving in the direction you want it to ... who cares. I guarantee you that I couldn't hand you my meal plans and you would get the same results.
    3558 days ago
    I'm confused about something on here. You say:

    "2. Gargle with apple cider vinegar. This raises the pH in my mouth - they do not like alkaline environments."

    Vinegar is an acid. Acids lower PH, they do not raise it.

    Did you mean to say that that they do not like ACID environments?

    We should be skeptical of any advice, not just the stuff we get from the "government."

    BTW, the USDA replaced the pyramid a few years ago.
    3558 days ago
    This is what is really making me mad this morning. Americans keep getting fatter and fatter, and the "experts" say it's because we eat too much fast food. Guess what? I don't eat fast food! I was eating according to their recommended dietary standards, and I was STILL fat!!

    I'm so glad I got this figured out so I can undo this mess.
    3558 days ago
    Skeptical of "government dietary advice"...? Me...?

    Money talks! Knowledge walks!

    If it will turn over a dollar, wisdom will be quickly tossed out the window by those in positions of power.

    Thank you for continuing to share your research and knowledge!

    3558 days ago
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