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Live webchat with Dr John Briffa Wednesday the 4 July 12-1pm

(215 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Jun-12 11:48:42

In response to popular demand we're delighted to invite Dr John Briffa for a live webchat next Wednesday 4 July at 12 midday.

Dr John Briffa is a doctor, award-winning health writer, and former columnist for The Daily Mail and The Observer. He is author of eight books on nutrition and self-help. His latest, Escape the Diet Trap has been widely discussed across the Mumsnet Talk boards.

In Escape The Diet Trap, Dr Briffa says you can 'achieve successful, sustainable weight loss without consciously cutting back on food and without the need for exhausting exercise'. One Mumsnetter describes the book as '...brilliant. Really easy to read without being patronising, and an eye opener with all the studies he cites. Really makes me feel that I am following a healthy diet for the first time in ages'. and another says, 'His advice is smart, sensible and rooted in Proper Science - but it's still controversial. Perfect for a webchat!'

Join us over lunch (extra helpings appear to be acceptable smile) at noon on Wednesday 4 July to chat to Dr John Briffa, or if you're unable to join us on the day, post a question in advance on this thread.

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Jun-12 13:02:09

grin

letticepetticoat Fri 29-Jun-12 14:06:36

Hello and welcome! I have been low carbing since February,have found it easy,have lost 2 stone and feel great! I have done a fair amount of reading around the subject and it all makes perfect sense to me,except everytime the media print sensational stories about 'low carb linked to heart attacks in women' etc etc, I can't help feeling a bit unsure! Can you point me in the right direction for reading about lonqer term effects of low carb/high fat woe? I am 70% convinced that this is my woe for life,but get a bit scared at times!
Thankyou!

BIWItheBold Sat 30-Jun-12 23:10:30

Oh fuck a duck! You didn't give me much notice of this one, did you?!

Is he coming to the Towers?

BIWItheBold Sat 30-Jun-12 23:13:22

Why isn't this thread stickied, by the way?

BIWItheBold Sat 30-Jun-12 23:23:47

You have other webchats happening much later on in July that are stickied - but this one, happening next Wednesday, isn't - not really much of an advance notification, is it? hmm

LynnCSchreiber Sun 01-Jul-12 08:06:17

Marking place (since this thread doesn't seem to be stickied)

BIWItheBold Sun 01-Jul-12 08:57:21

WHY DOESN'T THIS HAVE A STICKY?

BIWItheBold Sun 01-Jul-12 09:14:17

<applies manual sticky>

LynnCSchreiber Sun 01-Jul-12 09:18:30

This means I will have to read the book (it has been lurking on my Kindle for weeks)

<sellotapes thread to top of active convos>

BIWItheBold Sun 01-Jul-12 09:41:09

It's really easy to read, Mme - and definitely worth it before Wednesday

I've been low carbing for a few weeks now and love it!

Weight loss, improved hair and skin condition and energy levels through the roof. I have an underactive thyroid and was in despair at my tiredness, bloating and weight gain despite my level of thyroxine being stable for twelve months. All the doctor kept telling me was to increase my fibre, eat more vegetables and fruit, whole grain bread and pasta and the inevitable low fat mantra. I could weep for the time lost following that rubbish advice.

So, how can we get this message through to the medical world in particular? And how can I stop my friends recoiling in horror when they see me reach for the double cream and say "but you've lost so much weight you don't want to put it back on again by eating cream". <despair>. Or the classic "Are you trying for a heart attack?!" usually said jokingly but with an element of concern because of the rubbish press low carbing receives.

Looking forward to this chat.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 01-Jul-12 11:18:46

Hello

Sorry about the non-stickying - we've got something of a pile-up of stickies at the moment (we try not to have more than five). We'll get this one stickied as soon as we can.

So glad we are getting this web chat.

My husband and Mother in Law are both dealing, very successfully, with their Type 2 diabetes using a low carb diet. My MIL's Doctor is very anti this approach, despite her blood sugar being beautifully controlled and wants her to take Metformin and follow a low fat, high carb diet. He would also like her to take statins because as a diabetic she might be at risk of heart disease.

She has tried to talk to him about the research she has done but he is incredibly dismissive of this and she is starting to have a bit of a crisis of confidence as of course most of her friends think she should do what the Doctor says. At the moment she has a prescription for statins but hasn't had it filled.

Does Doctor Briffa have any advice that might make her feel better about what, to her, seems a very radical approach by not following her Doctor's advice?

no!! I will be stuck in work and unable to log on sad

I have just started reading his books (which are great and very easy to read btw) in search of a way forward for my current health issues.

As a long term veggie I was encouraged down the low fat high carb route from an early age. Two years ago gallstones were found and gallbladder removed as I was not responding to the prescribed no fat diet.

Two years on I'm still in pain. Looks like it was not my gallbladder but sphincter of oddi dysfunction and they got it wrong about the gallbladder angry

here's the problem - I cannot get any support from the health service other than eat a low fat high carb diet. I have explained in great detail the effects this woe has on my weight and mood with no success. Why they cannot accept that carbs are like crack to my body I don't know!

so I am no low carbing as I know it works. Added to this I have taken the decision to reintroduce meat. My long term aim is to go for low carb and lower fat and cut out the processed food so to me it makes sense to no longer be vegetarian. How I explain this to my gp next week without him thinking I am completely bonkers I don't know hmmconfused sad

QueenStromba Sun 01-Jul-12 14:14:44

I've been following a low carb diet since September and by the end of the year I had lost 2.5 stone, cut my antidepressant dose in half and gone from a borderline pre-diabetic fasting blood glucose level of 5.6 to a pretty perfect 4.0. I've also discovered that I have issues with wheat - a little makes me windy and more than that makes me painfully bloated and wreaks havoc with my digestive system. I'm very good at avoiding wheat at home but I'm not so good at checking for hidden wheat in restaurant food. I know if I had a diagnosis of coeliac disease then I'd be a lot better at checking for hidden wheat but I'm not keen to eat a "normal" diet for six weeks in order to get a diagnosis.

My question is:
If I am coeliac would I do more damage to myself eating a small amount of hidden wheat maybe once a fortnight for the rest of my life or by eating a normal diet for six weeks in order to get a diagnosis?

BIWItheBold Sun 01-Jul-12 14:37:38

I just don't know where to start with the questions, as there's so much I'd like to ask you!

But i suppose my main one is this. I have read a couple of your books now, and receive your newsletter every week, linking to your blog. I've also read Gary Taubes' The Diet Delusion and Why We Get Fat - and I'm persuaded that low carb is not only a good way to eat to help lose weight, but also that it is much better for our longer term health. And as someone whose father is an insulin-injecting, Type 2 diabetic and whose mother died from breast cancer, I can only see low carbing being a positive step for me.

But why is it that the medical profession still advocates low fat rather than low carb - despite all the evidence against it?

captainmummy Sun 01-Jul-12 16:26:42

I've been low-cal dieting since new year - and put on 2 kg.

I started a low-carb 'diet' 2.5 weeks ago and have lost 2kg.

I am a bit concerned re the saturated fat, the cream,cheese, meat aspect. Have i just been 'conditioned' into believing these are 'bad' for me? Or is Low-carbing useful for weight-loss, then I should go back to my fruit (really miss it) and low-fat yoghurts?

vnmum Sun 01-Jul-12 19:58:09

Hi and welcome to Mumsnet.
I have been low carbing since feb and finding it so easy and I feel so much healthier. I have also got my DH to low carb also which has cleared his IBS symptoms up completely.

My question is in relation to exercise and low carb.
I believe you do not advocate as such, doing lots of cardio to help weight loss on a low carb diet. My DH has to do 40 - 60 mins of cardio (runs, weighted runs) 3 to 4 times a week as part of his job. He also does weights 3 to 4 times a week for strength. Is it still possible for him to lose fat while doing this level of cardio and low carb at the same time? and how can he help his body cope with it all?

Thanks

SharonGless Sun 01-Jul-12 20:01:56

Dr Briffa (swoons)
Thank you for coming to talk to us. What is your professional opinion of the Swedish study which has been sensationalised in the British media?

Also (sneaking in an extra question hoping Oliviamumsnet won't notice) do you think we will get to the point where supermarkets are catering more for low carbers? Every prepared salad I pick up has pasta or rice in it. I am following a low carb diets which is fine when I am at home or work but out and about proves more of a challenge

Heartstart Sun 01-Jul-12 20:55:17

Hi

Have been following low carb having read your books and finding BiWi's thread on here. It has made me review my ds diet and he now has much less carbs. He clearly follows my family body type, hefty, and if eats carbs his belly distends. Whats your view about low carbing for children?

sorry just re-read my excited garbled mess and realised I didn't ask a proper question blush

essentially its what biwi said. Why do you think we are still led to believe that low fat is best by health professionals? Is it ignorance of the mounting evidence against this stance or is it simply going to take time for the message to filter through and the advice given adjusted?

Jins Sun 01-Jul-12 21:32:19

I've been low-carbing for the last 9 years and I'm convinced of the health benefits. I've seen many people swap and change between low carb and 'normal' eating over the years and it seems to me that women never go back to those glorious first weeks where the weight just falls off whereas men seem to get similar results each restart.

What do you think causes this difference between the sexes?

<scuttles off to get kindle version to read before Wednesday>

SpagboLagain Sun 01-Jul-12 21:46:47

Low carbers often recommend nuts as snacks. My husband has a very severe allergy to all nuts, so we don't have anything like that in the house. Do you have suggestions for good alternatives, other snacks and best ways of replacing any particular oils or nutrients that nuts provide?
(I haven't read your book yet, but have heard good things about it so will be doing)

NigellasGuest Sun 01-Jul-12 22:36:41

My husband has Parkinsons Disease and has had some muscle wastage. Your book Escape the Diet Trap seems to be geared towards weight loss. Husband does not want to lose weight - he wants to put it on - so how might your way of eating be adapted to his needs? (it's working brilliantly for me by the way - but my goal is indeed weight loss)!

icepole Sun 01-Jul-12 23:00:48

Marking my place. I would really like to try low carb but I don't eat meat. Is it possible? There are only so many eggs I can eat.

marking place, very excited :-)

MNP Mon 02-Jul-12 00:46:27

Welcome to Mumsnet.

As a follower of a low carb diet I am finding I am loosing very small amounts each week even tho there are tonnes to lose, I believe I am following the advice correctly tho eggs do not feature in my diet, is there any food I should ensure I eat to increase weight lose or just plod along as I am?

Thank you

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 02-Jul-12 08:36:04

What are your views on the health benefits/downfalls of a vegan diet?

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 02-Jul-12 10:28:22

SharonGless shock I see everything.grinwink

<marking place for later>

BIWItheBold Mon 02-Jul-12 10:30:12

Sharon - I'll distract Olivia while you get your extra questions in.

<wafts gin bottle around thread>

PostBellumBugsy Mon 02-Jul-12 10:41:56

Fantastic! Love your blog Dr Briffa.

What are your favourite low carb foods?

becstarsky Mon 02-Jul-12 12:33:05

Welcome to mumsnet Dr Briffa. Love your book, and lost weight with the diet initially but then started finding it really hard to stick to in terms of time commitment for making meals. I work full time and prepare meals for five people not including myself every day. They're fussy about eggs and veg, and they like pasta and potato based meals, so I was having to make separate meals for them and in the end I gave up and joined the majority.

Really annoying as your diet suits my health so much better than anything I've tried (I'm coeliac with PCOS related insulin resistance). Have you any ideas on recruiting/influencing carb-addicted family members? Thank you!

BIWItheBold Mon 02-Jul-12 13:19:17

Why have we lost our sticky already? hmm

BIWItheBold Mon 02-Jul-12 14:15:14

See - already slipped off active convos.

Please can we have the sticky back again?

BIWItheBold Mon 02-Jul-12 15:03:08

<passes Blu-tack to MNHQ>

Quejica Mon 02-Jul-12 16:48:12

I would like to ask about intermittent fasting. I have lurked on the wonderful BIWI's threads and lost 1 stone in 12 weeks by low-carbing, but I break her number 1 rule - thou shalt eat breakfast. I never eat breakfast and tend to eat each day within a 6 to 8 hour window, but it wasn't until I read your blog that I realised that this was IF and not necessarily wrong. Is IF something you recommend to women to increase weight loss? Thank you!

Is it possible to eat low carb on a budget? What are your best recommendations for high protein budget food?

Jux Mon 02-Jul-12 18:06:32

I'm afraid I haven't read your book as we have very little money to spare, and basically my DLA is how we pay for food.

I need to lose weight, but don't actually eat a great deal to start with. I have ms and therefore find exercise very difficult and painful. If I were to eat less I would spend most of the day fainting (I've tried it so I know!). I have fresh fruit and veg every day, past a couple of times a week, rice at least once a week. We cook from scratch every day so none of those ready meals or anything like that.

Would your regimen work for me, do you think?

GetOrfMoiiLand Mon 02-Jul-12 19:15:26

Ooh how wonderful.

I think the Escape the Diet Trap book is brilliant, so easy to read but not at all patronising and more importantly not full of pseudo-science.

I would also like to ask the question why nutritionists the world over are still so wedded to the low cal principle.

BUMP!

MNHQ, are you scared he will take away your biscuit and wine and we will need a <steak> emoticon? grin

BIWItheBold Mon 02-Jul-12 22:35:03

Oh good idea!

QueenStromba Tue 03-Jul-12 00:09:27

I know I've already asked a question and I'd really like that one asked for the sake of my own future health but I think I have another one which is probably more important:

I believe you mentioned in "Escape the Diet Trap" how eating an overall acidic diet leads to calcium being leached from the bones. I would have thought that carbonated water would be acidic (carbonic acid) and therefore contribute to acidity in the diet and thus to leaching of calcium from the bones but I've read claims of a pH of 7 on some fizzy water bottles. Is fizzy water normally acidic, neutral or basic? Also, is soda water any different? Should we all stop drinking carbonated water altogether to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis?

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 03-Jul-12 00:22:06

BIWItheBold

<passes Blu-tack to MNHQ>

grin

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 08:36:50

Olivia - I've been hearing reports about how svelte and lovely you are. I hope these are true? And can I claim the credit? grin

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 03-Jul-12 10:17:32

blush There are those who might say I was always lovely grin but yes, SgtMajorBiwi you can take the credit for the svelter bit. Have lost albs.
Would like to shift another 10ish lbs though.
Still trying to think of a really good question for Dr John.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 03-Jul-12 10:36:38

Olivia, I've replied to Rachel's email re the name. Of course you can have it back (though it would be lovely if you would un-ban ArtexMonkey, as a little quid pro quo <tries it on>)

TunipTheVegemal Tue 03-Jul-12 10:37:55

Oh, and my question for the real DrJohnBriffa:

A few years ago you told Patrick Moore off for drinking normal tea. Do you still think he should switch to green tea or can he carry on as he is? wink

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 10:41:18

You've lost albs? I hope you find him/it/them soon ... grin

Quejica Tue 03-Jul-12 11:22:50
vezzie Tue 03-Jul-12 12:05:55

Hello Dr Briffa, very pleased to see you here!

Please could you explain how caffeine affects insulin and what the knock-on effect is on weight loss (or gain)? (Or whatever it is, if it isn't insulin.)

Also (another sneaky second question) how do you feel about sugars in whole fruit - are they as problematic as refined sugars? Taken in quantity?

Thank you!

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 15:00:16

Hello Dr Briffa. I too am very pleased to see you here. Although we do have BIWI and she is a very close second to you as an expert grin

I would be interested to know, if it's not a daft question, approximately how many carbs can a person eat in one sitting, before a rise in insulin levels occur.

Thank you!

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 15:01:40

blush

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 15:55:05

grin BIWI I've been lurking on your threads for ages, you taught me everything I know and it's thanks to you that I feel and look as good as I do <preens>

Apologies for the hijack, but credit where credit is due and all that grin

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 16:04:20

Just send money ...
grin

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 16:08:20

grin

Echinacea Tue 03-Jul-12 16:51:33

Hi John. I'm an Australian naturopath (you and I are sometimes at the same seminars smile) and insulin sensitisation is a major part of my clinical practise. As you and I are singing from the same hymn book on many issues (insulin, vit D etc.) I thought I'd ask your opinion/clinical experience with paediatric nutrition. It distresses me to see so many of my patients and mum friends giving their babies pasta, baby rice and dessert at every meal. Is there a baby philosophy or guidebook you follow? What do you think of the Nourishing Traditions mob? I personally think they (and the WAPF, from whom they form their ideology) are a little way-out when it comes to childhood nutrition and weaning. Personally, if I tried to get my patients to give their newborn babies ground liver in a bottle I doubt I'd be in practice much longer! I've had a look at Nina Planck and many of the other books touted by the Weston Price followers, but it just doesn't sit right. I still find myself advising that babies should start on fruit and veg, continuing to proteins, with unrefined carbs making up a significant proportion of each meal. What do you think? Really interested to know what your research has been and what you advise in clinical practise.

Jux Tue 03-Jul-12 17:21:42

Echinacea, what you say is quite interesting. My family lived in Italy from my babyhood until I was 3 or 4. Mum says I was weaned on sweetbreads. We were all eating liver from about 1 yo, and love it to this day.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 03-Jul-12 18:49:58

Waves at Time! Didn't know you were a low carber too. It is fab isn't it - as is the wonderful BIWI. smile

Ruggles Tue 03-Jul-12 18:50:49

I'm so excited about this and swooning. Sadly also having night sweats, hot flushes and an early-ish menopause at 45.... sad I've just finished reading your book and can't wait to get started as it all sounds so sensible / logical and I would like to lose about 10 lbs. Is anything else I should do or take to help ease my way through the menopause?

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 19:00:05

Ruggles - I've found that low carbing helps with the hot flushes, to a degree. Sugar can be a trigger. As can alcohol but I have ignored that bit of information

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 19:25:05

Hi Post smile Yep, it was BIWI's thread that got me started on it a couple of years ago. After many years of low fat, calorie controlled diets, and feeling rough, I feel like a spring chicken! So many years wasted!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 03-Jul-12 19:31:36

But so many years gained too Time. Imagine, you could still be doing that horrible low fat stuff! I was just bragging on another thread about how much my blood pressure has dropped on this WOE. grin

Ruggles Tue 03-Jul-12 19:36:13

Thanks BIWItheBold - eeks - that's interesting, especially as my tolerance booze as well any more.. smile

TimeForMeAndDD Tue 03-Jul-12 19:47:03

That is true Post! Thanks to low carbing I have also gained glowing skin, high energy levels and no more low moods. I feel positively 'normal' grin Also, something I've noticed, is that even though I have lost weight, 'things' haven't dropped, iyswim? I'm not saggy like a deflated balloon, I'm perky and toned, without exercise. Tis fab!

Solo Tue 03-Jul-12 22:19:15

So is this doc encouraging a low carb diet then?

BIWItheBold Tue 03-Jul-12 22:23:58

No, it's wider than that. As a general principle, his work (along with others, like Gary Taubes) reviews much of the scientific literature and studies over the years that have attempted to 'prove' that fat is the cause of coronary heart disease (amongst other diseases), whereas in fact carbohydrates are the culprit.

Cutting down on carbohydrate will encourage weight loss, but it is also a much healthier way to eat, longer term.

That's a very short synopsis! (And I hope it's an accurate one ...)

Solo Tue 03-Jul-12 22:38:11

Thanks BIWI. I used the Atkins 10 or 11 years ago and found my energy levels increased (I have ME so was very noticeable to me), but only for two weeks and then it went back down, never to return. I also found it very expensive to do, so I don't think I'll be joining you all.

zipzap Tue 03-Jul-12 23:25:51

I've realised that over the years since I've been with dh I've changed my eating habits from being fairly naturally low carb to making meals that are much more potato or pasta based without really realising as dh doesn't really like the food I used to make for me but is more traditional 'meat and two veg and lots of potatoes'.

Along the way it's meant I've gone from being a size 8 to a size 20 sad (OK so a few extra things I like have slipped in too like chocolate and always drinking fruit juice or squash as I hate water/milk/tea/coffee etc)

I'm now really trying to do something about this but a few years ago dh had a heart attack when he was 40 and he is now very concerned about his diet, to the point that he always buys low fat versions of things, cuts fat off everything, refuses to touch butter or cream, etc. as he had had high cholesterol and is on the standard medications that you have after a heart attack.

So my question (eventually, sorry) is - how compatible is your way of eating with somebody who is a potato lover who has convinced himself that he has to eat everything low fat and lots of potatoes and pasta to keep himself healthy - how can I persuade him otherwise?

Thanks!
(oh and if you can recommend some low carb drinks that taste nice too please... sorry, I know that's a second question but that one's for me rather than dh!)

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 00:02:17

Hello DrJohn

grin Thanks for coming. I have lost 8lbs since end of April and love your book.

I am concerned RL may get in the way and I may not be able to join in so am posting my quick question for you:

My DH is a real slim jim and does not have the greedy gene that I do.
We try to eat together in the evenings (often late, he has a long day before he gets home so we usually eat after 8, often later).

Sometimes it's easy enough to e.g. for a roast meal I will just bypass the yorkshires and the spuds BUT sometimes I worry that he is missing out on the carb sides of things.
How can I best make sure that he is eating well on this WOE too?
TIA

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 08:39:41

Olivia - nobody is missing out if they don't have carbs with their meals!

duende Wed 04-Jul-12 08:43:16

Hello Dr Briffa and welcome to MN. I have read your "escape the diet trap" with interest and following a recommendation on MN.
I have been following LC way of eating for over a month now and have reached my goal in terms of weight loss. I shouldn't lose anymore weight but would like to maintain the current weight.
Do you have any suggestions of an easy to follow maintenance plan? what carbs can I add safely? can I introduce small amounts of rye bread? or maybe a "cheat day"? I wonder whether trying to follow the 80/20 principle, as the paleo guys do, would make me more likely to stick to LC "for life", rather than give into the carb temptation one day and just reverting to old, bad habits.

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 08:49:58

I was hoping to be able to come to MNHQ today to meet you, but sadly that's not possible, so I'm going to be very cheeky and ask another question.

I understand that calorie counting/trying to restrict calories is not a long-term approach to losing weight. However, I have read elsewhere that as you approach your goal weight that the amount of calories that you eat is something that you should be aware of.

Is this true? At what point do we need to be at least aware of, if not count, the calories? Can you still eat too much, even if the diet is focused on fat/protein and minimal carbs?

vezzie Wed 04-Jul-12 09:21:40

Echinacea - cheeky hijack - what, in a nutshell, is the position on vit D that you mention that you share with Dr Briffa? thanks!

PostBellumBugsy Wed 04-Jul-12 09:40:30

Vezzie, if you look at the front page of Dr Briffa's website you'll see one of his most recent blogs was on the anti-depressant effects of Vit D. He also believes high levels of Vit D are associated with lower levels of heart disease, MS and some forms of cancer. Basically Vit D is a good thing & we don't get enough of it!

JigForVictory Wed 04-Jul-12 10:14:45

I have not heard of this book or the author before so perhaps I will have a look for it.

My question: Dr John, could you explain why I am finding it so hard to lose weight while on sertraline, and what I can do about it? Is it anything that a low carb diet could help with?

Echinacea Wed 04-Jul-12 11:03:27

Vezzie, what PostBellum says, plus much more! I recommend everyone in the UK take vit D supplements, as sub-optimal levels predispose to autoimmune diseases, type two diabetes, depression, osteoporosis - I could go on. I put all my patients on a minimum of 3000IU per day.

NotMostPeople Wed 04-Jul-12 11:37:05

DrBriffa I have been following BIWI's low carb bootcamp from the beginning and have lost 17lbs and gained a whole lot of energy. However I have found it very difficult to maintain my usual energy levels when I go for a long cycle. This doesn't apply when I do cardio at the gym but this is a session of about 45minutes as opposed to 3 hours when cycling. What can you suggest I do to improve my energy when cycling without going off my low carb diet?

WEIGHTlossWIZZARD Wed 04-Jul-12 11:40:27

The NHS has been advocating high carb, low fat for years and the more we seem to take this advice as a society, the fatter and sicker we seem to be getting. The way to eat is LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BODY! There is no one diet for everyone but increasing protiens and fats usually has a health giving effect and helps our body balance hormonally. Question- is the high carb diet that is reccomended by the NHS actually being dictated to us from the Pharmaceutical industry to make us fatter and sicker and keep their profits soaring higher as the health of our nation gets gradually worse? Do you thing the pharmasutical/NHS want us healthy?? there is no profit in eating healthy and drinking fresh water. FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

annieapple7 Wed 04-Jul-12 11:44:10

Hi Dr John
My DH and I are following the principles in your book. I am definitely addicted to carby foods especially sugar. My DH had high cholesterol (7 point something?) and has been told my doc to reduce it through diet. When he asked what diet she said airily, "Weightwatchers or Slimmining World." Both low fat regimens. Will following low carb and higher fat reduce his cholesterol? He needs to lose 4 stone, I need to lose a stone.
Thanks!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 12:00:01

John is in the building and ready to start answering your questions. Welcome to Mumsnet John.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:01:08

Hello everyone - nice to meet you all (sort of!)
I'm going to try and get through as many of your questions as possible, but please be gentle with me ;-)

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:01:43

Afternoon!

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:02:46

letticepetticoat

Hello and welcome! I have been low carbing since February,have found it easy,have lost 2 stone and feel great! I have done a fair amount of reading around the subject and it all makes perfect sense to me,except everytime the media print sensational stories about 'low carb linked to heart attacks in women' etc etc, I can't help feeling a bit unsure! Can you point me in the right direction for reading about lonqer term effects of low carb/high fat woe? I am 70% convinced that this is my woe for life,but get a bit scared at times!
Thankyou!

The 'scare stories' are based on what are known as 'epidemiological' studies which look at associations between things like diet and health. The problem is, these studies can never be used to prove anything. This is because of what are known as 'confounding factors'. For example, someone who eats a lot of red meat might be found to be at increased risk of cancer. But this association might have nothing to do with red meat, but be due to the fact that many people who eat lots of red meat are also not particularly health conscious and are more likely to smoke and drink and be sedentary etc.

A better way of discerning the real relationship between diet and health is to conduct clinical studies. When this has been done, lower-carb diets have been shown to improve disease markers (for things like heart disease) ACROSS THE BOARD, and I detail some of the evidence in my book Escape the Diet Trap. This evidence is, from a scientific standpoint, much stronger than the weaker and generally flawed epidemiological evidence that gets most of the attention!

Quejica Wed 04-Jul-12 12:03:17

Runs in late...

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:03:25

annieapple7

Hi Dr John
My DH and I are following the principles in your book. I am definitely addicted to carby foods especially sugar. My DH had high cholesterol (7 point something?) and has been told my doc to reduce it through diet. When he asked what diet she said airily, "Weightwatchers or Slimmining World." Both low fat regimens. Will following low carb and higher fat reduce his cholesterol? He needs to lose 4 stone, I need to lose a stone.
Thanks!

The important thing, IMHO, is not the impact a diet (or anything) has on cholesterol, but the impact it has on HEALTH. But, just for the record, eating a diet more limited in carbohydrate tends to improve health markers including blood fat levels, weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels across the board. I discuss some of this evidence (as well as why cholesterol is not what we should be focused on) in my book.

annieapple7 Wed 04-Jul-12 12:05:16

Would your answer to letticepetticoat also apply to the link between eating red meat more than 3x a week and cancer?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:05:35

SingingTunelessly

I've been low carbing for a few weeks now and love it!

Weight loss, improved hair and skin condition and energy levels through the roof. I have an underactive thyroid and was in despair at my tiredness, bloating and weight gain despite my level of thyroxine being stable for twelve months. All the doctor kept telling me was to increase my fibre, eat more vegetables and fruit, whole grain bread and pasta and the inevitable low fat mantra. I could weep for the time lost following that rubbish advice.

So, how can we get this message through to the medical world in particular? And how can I stop my friends recoiling in horror when they see me reach for the double cream and say "but you've lost so much weight you don't want to put it back on again by eating cream". <despair>. Or the classic "Are you trying for a heart attack?!" usually said jokingly but with an element of concern because of the rubbish press low carbing receives.

Looking forward to this chat.

Good question, though I'm not particularly concerned that this message needs to be embraced by health professionals, and that's because what we eat isn't really controlled by doctors and dieticians and scientists. I'm a great believer in people educating themselves (if they want to) and 'voting with their feet' by eating (and living) in a way which makes sense to them and works for them. What we health professionals have to say about it is sort of irrelevant, then.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:05:41

WEIGHTlossWIZZARD

The NHS has been advocating high carb, low fat for years and the more we seem to take this advice as a society, the fatter and sicker we seem to be getting. The way to eat is LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BODY! There is no one diet for everyone but increasing protiens and fats usually has a health giving effect and helps our body balance hormonally. Question- is the high carb diet that is reccomended by the NHS actually being dictated to us from the Pharmaceutical industry to make us fatter and sicker and keep their profits soaring higher as the health of our nation gets gradually worse? Do you thing the pharmasutical/NHS want us healthy?? there is no profit in eating healthy and drinking fresh water. FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

I don't know whether there's some terrible conspiracy going on here or not. What I do know is that practically everything we're told by our Government, health agencies and health professionals and diet is just wrong and not supported by the science. On the plus side, it seems the truth is out there now, and more and more people are finding their way to it. Yay!

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:07:53

Who else - in the UK - apart from you and Zoe Harcombe, is advocating a low carb way of eating though? Because most of what I see in the media tends to still rubbish it.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:08:36

Whippoorwhill

So glad we are getting this web chat.

My husband and Mother in Law are both dealing, very successfully, with their Type 2 diabetes using a low carb diet. My MIL's Doctor is very anti this approach, despite her blood sugar being beautifully controlled and wants her to take Metformin and follow a low fat, high carb diet. He would also like her to take statins because as a diabetic she might be at risk of heart disease.

She has tried to talk to him about the research she has done but he is incredibly dismissive of this and she is starting to have a bit of a crisis of confidence as of course most of her friends think she should do what the Doctor says. At the moment she has a prescription for statins but hasn't had it filled.

Does Doctor Briffa have any advice that might make her feel better about what, to her, seems a very radical approach by not following her Doctor's advice?

My advice is for her to ask her doctor:

1. what the sense is in basing her diet on the very foods known to be most disruptive to blood sugar levels?

2. what good evidence there is that eating the way she does is harmful to health (actual evidence please, not conjecture)?

3. why she needs metformin if she has good blood sugar control?

4. what the evidence is for statins in women in terms of actual reduction in risk of cardiovascular events and overall risk of death?

If she does not get much joy here, is it possible she could find another doctor who embraces her approach for what it is (logical, effective and sustainable for controlled her blood sugar)?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:09:26

annieapple7

Would your answer to letticepetticoat also apply to the link between eating red meat more than 3x a week and cancer?

Yes. One major problem is once a food gets labelled as unhealthy people respond in broadly two ways

1. I'll do what I like thanks (and continue to smoke and sit for extended periods in front of the TV eating crisps)

2. Oh, better cut back because I value my health.

This phenomenon alone really compromises the relevance of the evidence, and even though scientists try to take 'confounding factors' into account during analyses, it's an imprecise science and what you end up with is only associations and no proof at all that one thing is causing another.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:09:50

BIWItheBold

Afternoon!

Just!

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:10:50

QueenStromba

I've been following a low carb diet since September and by the end of the year I had lost 2.5 stone, cut my antidepressant dose in half and gone from a borderline pre-diabetic fasting blood glucose level of 5.6 to a pretty perfect 4.0. I've also discovered that I have issues with wheat - a little makes me windy and more than that makes me painfully bloated and wreaks havoc with my digestive system. I'm very good at avoiding wheat at home but I'm not so good at checking for hidden wheat in restaurant food. I know if I had a diagnosis of coeliac disease then I'd be a lot better at checking for hidden wheat but I'm not keen to eat a "normal" diet for six weeks in order to get a diagnosis.

My question is:
If I am coeliac would I do more damage to myself eating a small amount of hidden wheat maybe once a fortnight for the rest of my life or by eating a normal diet for six weeks in order to get a diagnosis?

Even if you eat wheat for a few weeks to get a diagnosis you may not get a diagnosis because you might be wheat sensitive but not have coeliac disease as such. I can't advise you personally, but generally I'd advise people who feel they have a problem with wheat or gluten generally to avoid it as much as possible.

Hi Dr Briffa and welcome smile.

I am currently changing over to vegetarianism. Can I follow this way of eating and go low-carb?

Thanks

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:11:31

NotMostPeople

DrBriffa I have been following BIWI's low carb bootcamp from the beginning and have lost 17lbs and gained a whole lot of energy. However I have found it very difficult to maintain my usual energy levels when I go for a long cycle. This doesn't apply when I do cardio at the gym but this is a session of about 45minutes as opposed to 3 hours when cycling. What can you suggest I do to improve my energy when cycling without going off my low carb diet?

You might be running a bit low on carb, but the thing is, this shouldn't really be an issue if you've 'trained' your body to burn fat by keeping carbs low. Perhaps look at 'The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance' for more on this. Might give you some good ideas...

Quejica Wed 04-Jul-12 12:11:33

Who else - in the UK - apart from you and Zoe Harcombe, is advocating a low carb way of eating though?

BIWI, you are doing a pretty good job! I have you to thank for my svelte summer figure!

Dr Briffa, have you tried cauliflower base pizza (on BIWI's recipe thread), it is amazing, drools at thought of slice in fridge for after this chatgrin

CobOnTheCorn Wed 04-Jul-12 12:12:15

I've read your book, receibe your weekly emails and visit your blog and I've even met you in person!

Probably best to mention that I'm not a stalker, just interested in lots of thing you discuss.

So my question is, is there a resource where I can go for answers to questions like how do I know if I'm getting enough/eating too much salt? Can I really eat pork scratchings? How can I beat the sugar cravings that some days consume me?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:13:02

TodaysAGoodDay

Hi Dr Briffa and welcome smile.

I am currently changing over to vegetarianism. Can I follow this way of eating and go low-carb?

Thanks

You can do this, it's just harder than if you're eating a more omnivorous diet. The main thing is not to base meals on rubbishy starchy carbs that are disruptive to blood sugar, stimulate fat gain, and tend to precipitate hunger and food cravings.

NotMostPeople Wed 04-Jul-12 12:13:20

I'm going to be naughty and ask another question.

This is Mumsnet afterall, how do you feel about introducing a low carb diet to children?

Thanks smile

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:14:00

thanks Quejica
blush

Ruggles Wed 04-Jul-12 12:14:46

Hello!

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:14:53

CobOnTheCorn

I've read your book, receibe your weekly emails and visit your blog and I've even met you in person!

Probably best to mention that I'm not a stalker, just interested in lots of thing you discuss.

So my question is, is there a resource where I can go for answers to questions like how do I know if I'm getting enough/eating too much salt? Can I really eat pork scratchings? How can I beat the sugar cravings that some days consume me?

Thank you. I don't know of one complete fount of knowledge. Re sugar cravings, have a look at Julia Ross's 'The Diet Cure' (book). L-glutamine helps a lot, usually, but so do other things Julia discusses.

One final thing. You say no 'rubbishy starchy carbs'. How do I tell the difference, and what are good carbs?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:16:51

BIWItheBold

Who else - in the UK - apart from you and Zoe Harcombe, is advocating a low carb way of eating though? Because most of what I see in the media tends to still rubbish it.

There's a doc called Charles Clarke whose written some books but no-one else that springs to mind. You're right about the media, generally speaking.

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:18:09

Ah yes, I've read one of his books - he's responsible for getting me into low carbing in the very first place! He doesn't seem to write much that's especially high profile though

<goes off to Google>

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:18:14

Heartstart

Hi

Have been following low carb having read your books and finding BiWi's thread on here. It has made me review my ds diet and he now has much less carbs. He clearly follows my family body type, hefty, and if eats carbs his belly distends. Whats your view about low carbing for children?

I don't object to carbohydrates per se, it's the form they come in that can be a big problem. I see meat/fish with veggies and some potato as a great meal for kids, but pasta not so (pasta is mainly starch which is essentially sugar, and it's not very nutritious either). For kids, I generally advocate a return to 'meat and two veg'-type meals.

MNP Wed 04-Jul-12 12:19:00

Welcome Dr Briffa, following the low carb diet has changed my body shape for the better even tho weightless is slow with lots to lose but it has improved my sleep and bowel issues which have made my daily life a lot brighter, thank you.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:19:24

BIWItheBold

I just don't know where to start with the questions, as there's so much I'd like to ask you!

But i suppose my main one is this. I have read a couple of your books now, and receive your newsletter every week, linking to your blog. I've also read Gary Taubes' The Diet Delusion and Why We Get Fat - and I'm persuaded that low carb is not only a good way to eat to help lose weight, but also that it is much better for our longer term health. And as someone whose father is an insulin-injecting, Type 2 diabetic and whose mother died from breast cancer, I can only see low carbing being a positive step for me.

But why is it that the medical profession still advocates low fat rather than low carb - despite all the evidence against it?

For lots of reasons, I think, but mainly because we are slow to change. It can be hard for us to admit we were wrong about something. Some may even have vested interest in keeping an old paradigm alive. I generally advice people to bypass 'conventional wisdom' and opinion and just do what they feel is right for them. Less and less people, I think, are listening to their doctors, dieticians and our Government about what we should eat.

CobOnTheCorn Wed 04-Jul-12 12:19:31

Does it matter which form the potatoes take ie chips, mash, roast, boiled, steamed?

NotMostPeople Wed 04-Jul-12 12:20:25

Sucks up to Dr Briffa by linking his book

www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-Diet-Trap-John-Briffa/dp/0007442432

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:21:07

BIWItheBold

I was hoping to be able to come to MNHQ today to meet you, but sadly that's not possible, so I'm going to be very cheeky and ask another question.

I understand that calorie counting/trying to restrict calories is not a long-term approach to losing weight. However, I have read elsewhere that as you approach your goal weight that the amount of calories that you eat is something that you should be aware of.

Is this true? At what point do we need to be at least aware of, if not count, the calories? Can you still eat too much, even if the diet is focused on fat/protein and minimal carbs?

It all depends. Some people (many, actually) don't need to be at all calorie-conscious, even down to their goal weight, because their body is self-regulating very nicely. This is not true for all. I've noticed in some factions of the 'low carb' community there's this idea that people can eat as much as they like, as long as it's 'low carb'. I don't think this is a good approach, and don't think gratuitous eating is a good idea. Neither, though, is allowing hunger to run out of control. It can be a fine balance, but on the right diet, I've found most people find their without any conscious restriction or counting of calories.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:21:22

captainmummy

I've been low-cal dieting since new year - and put on 2 kg.

I started a low-carb 'diet' 2.5 weeks ago and have lost 2kg.

I am a bit concerned re the saturated fat, the cream,cheese, meat aspect. Have i just been 'conditioned' into believing these are 'bad' for me? Or is Low-carbing useful for weight-loss, then I should go back to my fruit (really miss it) and low-fat yoghurts?

There is no good evidence that saturated fat is harmful for health. I discuss the evidence in depth in my book. It can be hard to throw off the notion - I know, because I had to do this myself some years back.!

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:21:25

You going for commission, NMP? wink

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:21:51

NotMostPeople

Sucks up to Dr Briffa by linking his book

www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-Diet-Trap-John-Briffa/dp/0007442432

Next thing you'll come to MNHQ and leave an apple (or some nuts) on my desk! ;-)

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:22:51

CobOnTheCorn

Does it matter which form the potatoes take ie chips, mash, roast, boiled, steamed?

No particularly. Sweet potatoes are worth a thought too - bit less disruptive to blood sugar levels than regular spuds and more nutritious too.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:22:52

vnmum

Hi and welcome to Mumsnet.
I have been low carbing since feb and finding it so easy and I feel so much healthier. I have also got my DH to low carb also which has cleared his IBS symptoms up completely.

My question is in relation to exercise and low carb.
I believe you do not advocate as such, doing lots of cardio to help weight loss on a low carb diet. My DH has to do 40 - 60 mins of cardio (runs, weighted runs) 3 to 4 times a week as part of his job. He also does weights 3 to 4 times a week for strength. Is it still possible for him to lose fat while doing this level of cardio and low carb at the same time? and how can he help his body cope with it all?

Thanks

This is a complex issue because some individuals benefit from more carb if they are very active. However, cutting back on carbs can push the body to burn fat rather than sugar, and this is explored in depth in a book entitled 'The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance' which he might like to take a look at.

annieapple7 Wed 04-Jul-12 12:23:02

I do find breakfast a bit of a problem though. Is it eggs, eggs or eggs on this woe?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:24:08

MNP

Welcome Dr Briffa, following the low carb diet has changed my body shape for the better even tho weightless is slow with lots to lose but it has improved my sleep and bowel issues which have made my daily life a lot brighter, thank you.

Well done you and thank you. Do you feel what you're doing is sustainable, but that's possibly the most important thing of all if you're looking to get continuing benefit.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:25:32

annieapple7

I do find breakfast a bit of a problem though. Is it eggs, eggs or eggs on this woe?

A good quick breakfast (in the week, say) would be full fat Greek yoghurt, berries and some nuts (e.g. roast hazelnuts). Does the job for most people and travels well. Perhaps leave eggs for the weekend when there's more time (usually) as part of a cooked breakfast (e.g. eggs and smoked salmon)

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:25:34

Jins

I've been low-carbing for the last 9 years and I'm convinced of the health benefits. I've seen many people swap and change between low carb and 'normal' eating over the years and it seems to me that women never go back to those glorious first weeks where the weight just falls off whereas men seem to get similar results each restart.

What do you think causes this difference between the sexes?

<scuttles off to get kindle version to read before Wednesday>

I've not noticed this phenomenon per se, but I do recognise that women generally lose weight more slowly than men. This may be due to these sorts of factors:

1. men often accumulate weight around the middle which is 'surplus to requirements' and perhaps the body is happier to rid itself of this rather than fat below the waist which some believe has a point (for pregnancy and breastfeeding)

2. women are more likely to be slowed up by hormonal issues such as low thyroid

3. women have naturally lower levels, overall, of brain chemical such as serotonin, and this can make eating in a controlled way harder for some.

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 12:25:45

<rushes in a bit late>
<pricks ears at sugary pasta for DCS and sticking to potato and meat>

What about fruit for the rugratschildren?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:27:08

SpagboLagain

Low carbers often recommend nuts as snacks. My husband has a very severe allergy to all nuts, so we don't have anything like that in the house. Do you have suggestions for good alternatives, other snacks and best ways of replacing any particular oils or nutrients that nuts provide?
(I haven't read your book yet, but have heard good things about it so will be doing)

Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) are a good alternative. Not very sexy, I know, but they're just there to 'do a job' really.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:27:12

TodaysAGoodDay

One final thing. You say no 'rubbishy starchy carbs'. How do I tell the difference, and what are good carbs?

Veggies and some fruit are good. Bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and breakfast cereals not so good. The method behind this 'madness' is explained in excruciating detail in my book.

vezzie Wed 04-Jul-12 12:27:38

Hi Dr Briffa, great to see you I hope you answer my question about insuline because I have tried to explain it to my biologist-father and fell apart.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:27:52

NotMostPeople

I'm going to be naughty and ask another question.

This is Mumsnet afterall, how do you feel about introducing a low carb diet to children?

I've answered this elsewhere, but not sure exactly where!

OliviaSvelteMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 12:28:17

And,<twirls for name change>
sneaks in another question. Where are you on Vegetable juice?
Not smoothies but veg juice.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:28:26

NigellasGuest

My husband has Parkinsons Disease and has had some muscle wastage. Your book Escape the Diet Trap seems to be geared towards weight loss. Husband does not want to lose weight - he wants to put it on - so how might your way of eating be adapted to his needs? (it's working brilliantly for me by the way - but my goal is indeed weight loss)!

Actually, Escape the Diet Trap is geared (in my mind) to healthy eating. For me, it's basically the best way to eat to optimise health and wellbeing. I don't have any experience with Parkinson's disease in clinical practice, but most individuals who adopt the sort of diet I advocate simply feel much better globally.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:28:43

OliviaLMumsnet

<rushes in a bit late>
<pricks ears at sugary pasta for DCS and sticking to potato and meat>

What about fruit for the rugratschildren?

Fine, in general. But if they went a day or two without, it would not be a disaster either...

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:29:59

MNP

Welcome to Mumsnet.

As a follower of a low carb diet I am finding I am loosing very small amounts each week even tho there are tonnes to lose, I believe I am following the advice correctly tho eggs do not feature in my diet, is there any food I should ensure I eat to increase weight lose or just plod along as I am?

Thank you

There's no magic here, I think, other to avoid the foods that are most likely to cause fat deposition and hunger (that's sugar and starchy carbs, I'm afraid).

NotMostPeople Wed 04-Jul-12 12:30:19

ooh good question Olivia, my dh has been advised to eat a lot of spinach and broccoli after he had cancer and we found juicing a good way to do this with some added carrot or orange juice.

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:31:00

STEP AWAY FROM THE ORANGE JUICE!

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:31:03

OliviaLMumsnet

Hello DrJohn

grin Thanks for coming. I have lost 8lbs since end of April and love your book.

I am concerned RL may get in the way and I may not be able to join in so am posting my quick question for you:

My DH is a real slim jim and does not have the greedy gene that I do.
We try to eat together in the evenings (often late, he has a long day before he gets home so we usually eat after 8, often later).

Sometimes it's easy enough to e.g. for a roast meal I will just bypass the yorkshires and the spuds BUT sometimes I worry that he is missing out on the carb sides of things.
How can I best make sure that he is eating well on this WOE too?
TIA

Is you DH famished when he gets home? If he is, he'll 'need' a ton of carbs. Some nuts in the late afternoon or early evening may keep him out of trouble.

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:31:15

Sorry - not my thread ...

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:31:24

BIWItheBold

*STEP AWAY FROM THE ORANGE JUICE!*

Agreed.

I'm trying to do low carb but am also calorie counting. My weightloss is happening but slowly sad should I ditch counting the calories and eat more fat (only having olive oil as my fat at the moment, no nuts, yogurt, cheese etc)?

NotMostPeople Wed 04-Jul-12 12:31:48

Not me of course BIWI - I'm too scared of you.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:33:04

OliviaSvelteMumsnet

And,<twirls for name change>
sneaks in another question. Where are you on Vegetable juice?
Not smoothies but veg juice.

Quite like veg juice, but overall the diet needs to be SUSTAINING and veg juice isn't, generally. Much better than fruit juice because much less sugary and perhaps more nutritious too.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:33:23

ItsAllGoingToBeFine

What are your views on the health benefits/downfalls of a vegan diet?

I believe it's almost impossible to eat a truly nutritious diet on a vegan diet - it leaves individuals at risk of a range of deficiencies (B12 deficiency is most widely recognised). Over time, sometimes years, I've seen it lead to people becoming steadily weaker and lower in mood. I admire the ethics and morals many vegans have, but can't find it in myself to advocate this way of eating on health grounds.

OliviaSvelteMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 12:33:47

Thanks Dr John

grin at BIWI it was VEGETABLES not oranges.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:35:12

TunipTheVegemal

Oh, and my question for the real DrJohnBriffa:

A few years ago you told Patrick Moore off for drinking normal tea. Do you still think he should switch to green tea or can he carry on as he is? wink

Don't remember this at all. Don't even think tea was in his 'basket'. Coffee was, and I told him to relax about it...

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:35:21

vezzie

Hello Dr Briffa, very pleased to see you here!

Please could you explain how caffeine affects insulin and what the knock-on effect is on weight loss (or gain)? (Or whatever it is, if it isn't insulin.)

Also (another sneaky second question) how do you feel about sugars in whole fruit - are they as problematic as refined sugars? Taken in quantity?

Thank you!

The major problem with caffeine for some people I think is not any influence it has on insulin, but it's ability to disrupt energy and/or blood sugar levels and sometimes drive hunger. I short, some people are less hungry (and have more stable levels of energy) without it.

I'm much more relaxed about whole fruit then I am foods with added (refined) sugar, but I think fruit is generally over-rated as a food. Berries are best, probably (low sugar and also very nutritious).

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:35:35

Not you Olivia - as if I would dare criticise you - another poster.

By the way, have I told you how svelte you're looking?
grin

Alameda Wed 04-Jul-12 12:36:32

what sort of biscuit do you recommend?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:36:55

MelodyPondering

I'm trying to do low carb but am also calorie counting. My weightloss is happening but slowly sad should I ditch counting the calories and eat more fat (only having olive oil as my fat at the moment, no nuts, yogurt, cheese etc)?

The potential benefit of having more fat is feeling better sated and for longer so that, we hope, you'll eat less automatically and without hunger. The only way to know if to try, though carrying on as you are is also fine if you're happy with the results and think it's sustainable.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:37:07

PostBellumBugsy

Fantastic! Love your blog Dr Briffa.

What are your favourite low carb foods?

Meat!

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:37:27

Alameda

what sort of biscuit do you recommend?

Is this a trick question?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:38:34

Quejica

I would like to ask about intermittent fasting. I have lurked on the wonderful BIWI's threads and lost 1 stone in 12 weeks by low-carbing, but I break her number 1 rule - thou shalt eat breakfast. I never eat breakfast and tend to eat each day within a 6 to 8 hour window, but it wasn't until I read your blog that I realised that this was IF and not necessarily wrong. Is IF something you recommend to women to increase weight loss? Thank you!

I do think intermittent fasting can accelerate fat loss, but many women (or men) do not find it necessary or want to do it. I used to believe in the 'three meals a day mantra' and it's only been in the last couple of years that I've had to review that opinion and embrace the idea that there's nothing inherently wrong in extending the time between meals AS LONG AS THIS DOES NOT LEAD TO RAMPANT HUNGER AND UNCONTROLLED EATING!

Alameda Wed 04-Jul-12 12:38:38

yes

sorry

OliviaSvelteMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 12:39:23

Thank you for heads up on veg juice too
I have a proper juicer and when I do have veg juice I feel like I can literally feel myself getting healthier as I drink it. blush

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:40:48

Alameda

yes

sorry

Biscuits are a bit like crack cocaine for me (as they are a lot of people), so I like to keep them away from me as much as possible.

MNP Wed 04-Jul-12 12:41:12

MNP
Welcome Dr Briffa, following the low carb diet has changed my body shape for the better even tho weightless is slow with lots to lose but it has improved my sleep and bowel issues which have made my daily life a lot brighter, thank you.

DrJohnBriffa
Well done you and thank you. Do you feel what you're doing is sustainable, but that's possibly the most important thing of all if you're looking to get continuing benefit.

Yes I feel it is sustainable with the odd lapse and the improved way I feel and also the increased ability to 'see' the nasty effects when I lapse help steer me to a better path.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:43:14

becstarsky

Welcome to mumsnet Dr Briffa. Love your book, and lost weight with the diet initially but then started finding it really hard to stick to in terms of time commitment for making meals. I work full time and prepare meals for five people not including myself every day. They're fussy about eggs and veg, and they like pasta and potato based meals, so I was having to make separate meals for them and in the end I gave up and joined the majority.

Really annoying as your diet suits my health so much better than anything I've tried (I'm coeliac with PCOS related insulin resistance). Have you any ideas on recruiting/influencing carb-addicted family members? Thank you!

Any change of meals being mainly meat (e.g. roast, chops, casserole) or fish with vegetables and potato/rice/pasta and you just leaving the starch out for yourself?

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:43:27

It was a real revelation to me to realise recently that being hungry isn't just about having an empty stomach, (we, in the Western world, probably never really have empty stomachs!), but that it's controlled by our hormones. And that eating (too many) easily accessible carbs actually makes us hungry. Presumably, therefore, if we're keeping our carbs low, we could simply move towards eating whenever we're hungry, rather than sticking to the conventional 'three square meals a day'?

(Apologies as this is probably my millionth question)

Alameda Wed 04-Jul-12 12:43:29

thanks, crack cocaine better for waistline I should think

have serious question though - is the body building fat stripping 40-40-20 (protein carbs fat) spread across 6 tiny meals a day a form of low carbing and in line with your approach?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:43:53

Ruggles

I'm so excited about this and swooning. Sadly also having night sweats, hot flushes and an early-ish menopause at 45.... sad I've just finished reading your book and can't wait to get started as it all sounds so sensible / logical and I would like to lose about 10 lbs. Is anything else I should do or take to help ease my way through the menopause?

Can't answer this because of medico-legals issues, but you might look around in the area of herbal medicine for some inspiration.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:43:56

SeventhEverything

Is it possible to eat low carb on a budget? What are your best recommendations for high protein budget food?

Cheap cuts of meat made into stews and casseroles, and (if you like them) organ meats likes liver and kidney. Eggs are quite economical too. Do also bear in mind that when individuals eat 'right' the usually eat less (so some savings here).

becstarsky Wed 04-Jul-12 12:44:39

Hello Dr Briffa - posted question upthread, being cheeky and reposting "Have you any ideas on recruiting/influencing carb-addicted family members? Thank you!" Evening mealtime is a bit of a conflict in our house - your way of eating suits my health best definitely but I have an ongoing battle with my husband, son, niece and nephew who keep asking for 'a nice healthy pasta' 'something a bit lighter' etc.

Quejica Wed 04-Jul-12 12:44:53

Lol at RAMPANT HUNGER AND UNCONTROLLED EATING!

I haven't eaten for 17 hours now, I am looking forward to my small slice of cauliflower pizza in a minute then won't eat until my chilli with cauliflower rice this evening.

Nothing I do is uncontrolled!wink

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:45:38

Alameda

thanks, crack cocaine better for waistline I should think

have serious question though - is the body building fat stripping 40-40-20 (protein carbs fat) spread across 6 tiny meals a day a form of low carbing and in line with your approach?

40-40-20 (protein carbs fat) Then this is probably not low-carb, as such. Also, I'd avoid having 6 meals a day. If this is necessary, one wonders if the food is truly satisfying (suspect not).

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:45:59

QueenStromba

I know I've already asked a question and I'd really like that one asked for the sake of my own future health but I think I have another one which is probably more important:

I believe you mentioned in "Escape the Diet Trap" how eating an overall acidic diet leads to calcium being leached from the bones. I would have thought that carbonated water would be acidic (carbonic acid) and therefore contribute to acidity in the diet and thus to leaching of calcium from the bones but I've read claims of a pH of 7 on some fizzy water bottles. Is fizzy water normally acidic, neutral or basic? Also, is soda water any different? Should we all stop drinking carbonated water altogether to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis?

The effect of a food on bone cannot be determined by measuring its pH because it's possible, for instance, for acidic foods to actually have an alkalising effect in the body. I don't know what effect carbonated or soda water have on the bone, and I suspect it's minimal in comparison to other lifestyle factors such as activity and ensuring good levels of vitamin D.

cocolepew United States Wed 04-Jul-12 12:46:08

Oh this is interesting.

I have been told Im insulin resistant due to PCOS. Im due to get my ovaries out in a few weeks and will go on HRT for a few months at least.

Do you think following your diet straight after my hysterectomy would be a good Idea and why?

Thanks!

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:46:54

Quejica

Lol at RAMPANT HUNGER AND UNCONTROLLED EATING!

I haven't eaten for 17 hours now, I am looking forward to my small slice of cauliflower pizza in a minute then won't eat until my chilli with cauliflower rice this evening.

Nothing I do is uncontrolled!wink

Sounds nom!

becstarsky Wed 04-Jul-12 12:46:56

Oooh, you looked up the thread and answered me! How very kind and lovely you are, people hardly EVER do that on a web chat. Look everyone here's another link to the lovely Dr Briffa's book buy it immediately

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:47:27

cocolepew

Oh this is interesting.

I have been told Im insulin resistant due to PCOS. Im due to get my ovaries out in a few weeks and will go on HRT for a few months at least.

Do you think following your diet straight after my hysterectomy would be a good Idea and why?

Thanks!

Why not now?

NotMostPeople Wed 04-Jul-12 12:48:37

What about the connection between a fatty diet and gallstones?

Sorry I every mentioned orange juice grin.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:49:05

Jux

I'm afraid I haven't read your book as we have very little money to spare, and basically my DLA is how we pay for food.

I need to lose weight, but don't actually eat a great deal to start with. I have ms and therefore find exercise very difficult and painful. If I were to eat less I would spend most of the day fainting (I've tried it so I know!). I have fresh fruit and veg every day, past a couple of times a week, rice at least once a week. We cook from scratch every day so none of those ready meals or anything like that.

Would your regimen work for me, do you think?

Perhaps look at the role of certain fats (omega-3 fish oils in particular) and vitamin D in MS.

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:50:25

NotMostPeople

What about the connection between a fatty diet and gallstones?

Sorry I every mentioned orange juice grin.

What connection?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:52:17

Echinacea

Hi John. I'm an Australian naturopath (you and I are sometimes at the same seminars smile) and insulin sensitisation is a major part of my clinical practise. As you and I are singing from the same hymn book on many issues (insulin, vit D etc.) I thought I'd ask your opinion/clinical experience with paediatric nutrition. It distresses me to see so many of my patients and mum friends giving their babies pasta, baby rice and dessert at every meal. Is there a baby philosophy or guidebook you follow? What do you think of the Nourishing Traditions mob? I personally think they (and the WAPF, from whom they form their ideology) are a little way-out when it comes to childhood nutrition and weaning. Personally, if I tried to get my patients to give their newborn babies ground liver in a bottle I doubt I'd be in practice much longer! I've had a look at Nina Planck and many of the other books touted by the Weston Price followers, but it just doesn't sit right. I still find myself advising that babies should start on fruit and veg, continuing to proteins, with unrefined carbs making up a significant proportion of each meal. What do you think? Really interested to know what your research has been and what you advise in clinical practise.

I'm familiar with WP but not what they advocate for kids. Generally, I advise the same diet for kids as for adults.

vnmum Wed 04-Jul-12 12:55:16

I'm back with another sneaky question. I am really interestd in the idea of a lower carb diet for children due mainly to the bad effects grains etc have on people.

My DC are skinny minnies and I do worry about cutting their carbs too much incase they waste away (with not having much fat on them). How low carb can you safely go with children without affecting growth (they are 4 and 6)?

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:55:46

BIWItheBold

It was a real revelation to me to realise recently that being hungry isn't just about having an empty stomach, (we, in the Western world, probably never really have empty stomachs!), but that it's controlled by our hormones. And that eating (too many) easily accessible carbs actually makes us hungry. Presumably, therefore, if we're keeping our carbs low, we could simply move towards eating whenever we're hungry, rather than sticking to the conventional 'three square meals a day'?

(Apologies as this is probably my millionth question)

Yes, as I think I've written elsewhere, I've had to review my long-held belief that we need to eat three times a day. Some do, some don't, and it can vary from day-to-day too.

Quejica Wed 04-Jul-12 12:56:53

Do you feel a pressure to stay slim so that you are a shop window for what you advocate?

I know I've already had a question but Olivia has had lots <narrows eyes>

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 12:58:12

Quejica

Do you feel a pressure to stay slim so that you are a shop window for what you advocate?

I know I've already had a question but Olivia has had lots <narrows eyes>

Yes, I do. It's a blessing and a curse. A curse because I have to walk the talk, and a blessing because I have to walk the talk ;-)

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 12:59:06

<looks at the clock>

This has been brilliant. Thank you for answering so many of my questions and apologies to MNHQ for blatantly breaking the webchat guidelines blush

Quejica Wed 04-Jul-12 12:59:36

Thank you - what a great webchatsmile

MNP Wed 04-Jul-12 12:59:48

I don't do breakfast so do IF and have 2 meals a day, more if I want, but have noticed a huge huge drop in my intake now that I am following the low carb way smile

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 13:00:03

JigForVictory

I have not heard of this book or the author before so perhaps I will have a look for it.

My question: Dr John, could you explain why I am finding it so hard to lose weight while on sertraline, and what I can do about it? Is it anything that a low carb diet could help with?

This is not my area, to be honest. You might want to look at The Mood Cure (book) by Julia Ross.

becstarsky Wed 04-Jul-12 13:00:10

Thank you Dr Briffa - you've been fantastic!

MNP Wed 04-Jul-12 13:00:38

Many thanks DrJohnBriffa and MNHQ

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 13:00:46

becstarsky

Thank you Dr Briffa - you've been fantastic!

Why, thank you!

Thank you Dr Briffa smile

DrJohnBriffa Wed 04-Jul-12 13:01:30

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR QUESTIONS AND FOR YOUR PATIENCE!!!!
Wishing you all the best of health!
John

CobOnTheCorn Wed 04-Jul-12 13:01:43

Thank you so much

thanks

no biscuit for you!

That's a biscuit in case you were wondering...

OliviaSvelteMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 13:02:15

Thanks v much
Heads for avocado lunch.

vnmum Wed 04-Jul-12 13:02:52

Thankyou Dr Briffa.
<scuttles off to sign up for the blog>

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 13:03:55

Dr Briffa has to leave now - but not before his lunch - we've ordered sushi, no rice grin. Thanks to John so much for joining us today and getting through so many questions. Thanks to everyone for their contributions to the discussion today. We've asked Dr Briffa to stay in touch and join us again sometime in the future.

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 13:04:48

Ask him to have a look at my Bootcamp rules and tell me what he thinks, or if there is anything he would change. (Please!)

NigellasGuest Wed 04-Jul-12 13:10:39

Thank you - that was the best webchat! thanks

Surely that's sashimi then Rachel hmm Sushi is rice, sashimi is fish grin

or meat...

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Jul-12 13:22:41

TodaysAGoodDay

Surely that's sashimi then Rachel hmm Sushi is rice, sashimi is fish grin

blush you're right, a mixed sashimi box...

Quejica Wed 04-Jul-12 13:27:39

BIWI - Ask him to have a look at my Bootcamp rules and tell me what he thinks, or if there is anything he would change. (Please!)

Change rule number 1, Dr Briffa said it is ok not to have breakfast and I am convinced that not having breakfast has accelerated my weight loss, and it does seem to be the meal at which people struggle to know what to have to eat.

Thank you for my thanks earlier, sending you some too thanks

cocolepew United States Wed 04-Jul-12 13:41:10

His answer to my question was very helpful hmm.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 04-Jul-12 13:41:35

Thank you MN & Dr Briffa - that was a really good webchat. Sometimes the guests answer so few questions, it is annoying - but this one was fantastic. smile

veggie77 Wed 04-Jul-12 13:46:38

Hi John. I found your book very enlightening and it made me think about nutrition and the horrors of the food industry. Who knew Quorn was so evil? I must say though, that upon trying to follow the nutritional 'diet plan' of the book, I did actually gain 3 or 4 pounds in a fortnight. I was so hungry when cutting out bread, pasta, and other similar carbs that I filled up on nuts and then gained weight. I don't think it agreed with me. As someone with blood group A, if you follow the blood group diet then people of my blood group fare better on cereals and vegetables/ fruit, which isn't allowed in the Diet Trap book. So I would question whether the plan works for all blood types.

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 13:53:50

Well, veggie77, if you were

a) hungry
b) eating nuts

then

a) you weren't eating enough
b) you were also eating too many carbs, just in a different form

HumphreyCobbler Wed 04-Jul-12 14:06:23

That was a brilliant webchat. Thank you so much.

vezzie Wed 04-Jul-12 14:08:08

Hi MNHQ - I had to go out and didn't get a chance to say THANKYOU to Dr Briffa - please pass it on and tell him he is a great web-chatter! It was genuinely interactive, which most guests don't manage to do. ACE!

timetosmile Wed 04-Jul-12 15:05:01

interesting stuff bwiw link me to a good starter thread of yours if you would....as you seem the resident expert! smile

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 15:09:51
Jux Wed 04-Jul-12 15:20:37

I have to look at the role of fish oils and vit D in ms. I thought I'd done that when I was dx - 8ish years ago [basically, they are good]. Does anyone know anything about this? Does Dr John say anything in any of his books?

BIWItheBold Wed 04-Jul-12 15:59:39

Not sure, but I know he talks about Vitamin D in his blog here

ohforfoxsake Wed 04-Jul-12 22:23:30

Great web chat - thanks smile

SharonGless Wed 04-Jul-12 23:00:04

Just caught up on webchat - bit disappointed he didn't answer my question and note SOME people (OliviasvelteMumsnet) asked more than one question wink

Seriously it was really good and I lurve Dr Briffa just a wee bit more after that

DrJohnBriffa Thu 05-Jul-12 06:31:29

SharonGless

Dr Briffa (swoons)
Thank you for coming to talk to us. What is your professional opinion of the Swedish study which has been sensationalised in the British media?

Also (sneaking in an extra question hoping Oliviamumsnet won't notice) do you think we will get to the point where supermarkets are catering more for low carbers? Every prepared salad I pick up has pasta or rice in it. I am following a low carb diets which is fine when I am at home or work but out and about proves more of a challenge

Hi Sharon

Have a look at my answer to letticepetticoat for my view on the Swedish (and similar) study.

Think the thing about pasta and rice in salads is that it's cheap and filling and allows shops to sell stuff that feels like good value. Not sure this is going to change very quickly. Have noticed that shops like Pret and Eat do good soups and salads that might work if you're in the vicinity.

BIWItheBold Thu 05-Jul-12 06:33:25

Oh hello!

Did they not let you leave MN Towers then?!

SharonGless Thu 05-Jul-12 07:24:09

Good morning Dr Briffa and thank you sooo much for answering my question. I am very evangelical about this way of eating and it's almost like a cult feeling now to spread the word!

Ow, am not too late. I watched your You Tube video which had been recommended to me on the Minimins weight loss website. Really interesting to listen to and I would recommend it to anyone who has a quiet hour. I also have your latest book.

I have lost 2 stone 4 pounds since March 10th by low carbing and cutting out as much sugar as I can. I have another stone to go which I am addressing at the moment.

Dieting really is a state of mind though isnt it, we eat for any other reason apart from hunger which is why we get fat in the first place. So do you have any tips for keeping focus which is what I currently need as I am no longer losing as I keep straying from the golden path to loveliness.

Oh bum, yes I am too late. Doh! It is Thursday today!

BIWItheBold Thu 05-Jul-12 11:12:57

SecondhandRose - come and join the Bootcamp threads. Plenty of support and jollying along in there and me shouting at people occasionally to keep you focused!

OliviaSvelteMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 05-Jul-12 11:27:43

Can someone link to the youtube vid please?

Thankyou BIWI, I will come and find you.

PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 10-Sep-12 16:32:46

We are delighted to announce that Dr John Briffa will be running a 1-day Mumsnet Academy course on 21 October in Central London. To read more about this fabulous course and sign up for a place, click here.

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