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Fructose = Poison February 9, 2011

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Diet, Health, Thoughts , 6comments

Not too long ago I was made aware of a seminar on the deleterious effects of fructose.  Before I tell you about it, I’ll give you a little primer on fructose.  Fructose is contained in what we know as table sugar or sucrose.  Sucrose has two sugar units on it.  The first one is glucose.  Our body uses glucose to create energy.  We store the extra glucose as glycogen in our liver and muscles.  When we need the energy, it is released as glucose.  The other unit in sucrose is fructose.  Fructose is only metabolized in the liver and it doesn’t have the same profile as glucose when it comes to what our body does with it.  Fructose is also contained in high fructose corn syrup (roughly 55% fructose and 45% glucose). In fact, as you’ll see in the following video, fructose has many of the same effects on your body as consuming too much alcohol.

The seminar is titled Sugar, the Bitter Truth, and is by Robert H. Lustig, MD.  Dr. Lustig is at the University of California San Francisco.  The video run time is around 1.5 hours, but is worth every second you spend viewing.

I started watching this seminar about a month ago. Dr. Lustig mentions a book during the course of his presentation called Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin. After hearing about 30 minutes of Dr. Lustig’s presentation, I had to find the book which he had referenced and spoken so highly. After jumping through what seemed like 1,000 hoops, I was able to get my hands on the book for a short period of time. I’m currently reading it.  At the very least, this book is highly enlightening . . . at the worst, shocking.

I got back to watching this seminar Sunday night and finally finished it.  When he talks about being able to show that fructose is a poison . . . he nails it with ease.  The biochemistry from medical school came flooding back as he reviewed the pathways by which our body metabolizes glucose, then ethanol (alcohol), and finally fructose.  In essence, the consumption of high quantities of fructose, found frequently in the “Standard American Diet” (SAD), not contained in fruit can lead to metabolic syndrome, which includes nice things like obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension).

One of the most poignant comparisons within the presentation was that of the body’s metabolism of ethanol with that of fructose.  After that comparison, he compared the effects of chronic alcohol abuse with chronic ingestion of fructose.  It was mind blowing!  Here are effects of chronic exposure to ethanol and fructose.  (I’ve bolded the similarities ethanol has with fructose.)

Ethanol:  Hematologic disorders, electrolyte abnormalities, hypertension, cardiac dilatation, cardiomyopathy, dyslipidemia, pancreatitis, malnutrition, obesity, hepatic dysfunction, fetal alcohol syndrome, addiction.

Fructose: Hypertension, myocardial infarction, dyslipdemia, pancreatitis, obesity, hepatic dysfunction, fetal insulin resistance, and habituation if not addiction.

He ends the seminar with some recommendations.

  1. Drink only water & milk
  2. Eat your carbs with fiber (fruit is ok)
  3. Wait at least 20 minutes for your second portion (you might actually be full)
  4. Buy your screen time (TV & computer) minute for minute with physical activity

In the end, it really comes down to what kind of quality of life you want to have.  However, when the agencies in our government charged with the protection of our country are aware of something that can do this type of damage and do nothing about it . . . someone has certainly dropped the ball.  Once we have the information, at least we can make our own decisions even though our food supply is fraught with fructose.  So, here I am trying to let as many people know how to be healthy . . . if they choose.  As I always say . . . your health is in your hands!

Stem Footwear February 7, 2011

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Life, Shoes, Thoughts , 2comments

On January 20 of last month the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market came to Salt Lake City.  Shortly prior to the show, Stem Footwear posted a message on Barefoot Runners Society website in the Utah chapter looking for volunteers to help at the booth.  I checked my schedule, and since I didn’t have anything pressing that day, so I responded that I go attend.  I ended up helping on the 20th.  It was fun . . . actually it was a blast.  I’m going a bit off topic here, but my wife and I used to have a bridal store in Texas.  Twice a year we would pack up 3/4 of our store and head to the Dallas Bridal Show.  Helping out at the trade show really took me back.  Some of the fun memories came flooding back.  I was just glad I didn’t have to set up and take down a 40′ x 40′ booth with all the wedding gowns, racks, mirrors, etc. and transport them back and forth from our store.

Anyway, the first time I met the creator of Stem Footwear, he handed me one of the shoes.

First thought . . . Wow!  This is light!  (6.3 oz to be exact.)  They use an air injected rubber which allows for high durability, high flexibility, and low weight.  Next I started crunching the shoe in my hand.  The sole and upper both collapsed under little pressure from my hand.

Next thought . . . Wow!  This thing is really flexible!

After a while, I developed a method of introducing the shoe to the retailers passing by.  I’d say, “Does your store sell shoes?”  If the answer was yes, I’d toss them the shoe.  If the answer was no, I’d tell them that they might just start carrying shoes once they experienced this shoe . . . then I’d toss them the shoe.  Without fail from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, every person that held one of the Stem Footwear shoes exclaimed, “Wow!  This thing is light!”

From the looks of the shoe, you would think it weighed as much as any other shoe.  Once you hold it in your hands, the differences are easily apparent.

Even though all he had were size 9.5 samples and I wear an 11, I jammed my foot into one of them.  I loved it!  I wasn’t able to do any running in them, but the ground feel was great.  The toe box was ample and I could virtually, “Let my piggies free!”  There isn’t a rigid part to this shoe.  To take a quote from Jessica Lee when she tried it on, “It feels like clothing for your foot.”  My sentiments exactly, but somehow I didn’t come up with that colorful description.

I’m excited for these shoes to be released later this year.  The official release date from Stem is August 1, 2011, but I think he’s going to try and get them out sooner.  One can only hope!  My ultra beautiful and talented wife took the pictures and posted some higher resolution pics at her Salt Lake Photography blog.  Enjoy!

The Long Winter February 1, 2011

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Diet, Health, Running, Thoughts , 2comments

It has been a bit of a long Winter . . . and with a high temperature in the next 10 days of 37°F, and a low of -4°F it’s clearly not over.  I got all gussied up to fight the cold with a new beard and some nice base layers, but it hasn’t worked out like I’d envisioned.  It turns out I’m pretty much a wimp when it comes to cold weather, but that should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.  Whenever I am asked where our family will settle down . . . I invariably say, “somewhere warm.”  After living in the Caribbean for more than two years, I learned to value warm weather.  I don’t mind the cold . . . for a short time.  I really enjoy being able to wear shorts and a t-shirt every day.  Although, I have made good use of my base layers by keeping warm wherever I go.

To continue increasing my mileage, I’ve been running on the treadmill.  I have a goal to get to 175 miles per week.  Last week I ran 27 miles and am attempting to increase my mileage by 10% per week.  So, if I remain injury free and can keep it consistent, I should reach my goal the week of June 13.  So far, I haven’t had any injuries and have really enjoyed running.  Oh, by the way . . . all of these miles have been/will be barefoot.  After I recovered from my five week respiratory infection (which ended in early January) I began running again.  I took most of December off.  Since I began logging my miles this year, I’ve run 85 miles barefoot on the treadmill.  My longest run to date was eight miles which I’ve done twice.

My diet also changed a bit as I came into the holiday season.  I dumped the conventional wisdom and started eating a diet more heavily concentrated in vegatables, fruits, and meat.  Saturated fats are no longer taboo.  One of the key concepts of my diet is that I only eat when I’m hungry.  An interesting thing about fat is that it triggers the satiety response and keeps us full for longer periods of time.  I end up eating fewer calories and haven’t been really hungry since I began this style of eating.  I cut my consumption of refined grains significantly and have subsequently lost 26 lbs.  I feel fantastic.  I have more energy and the aches and pains I was experiencing prior to consistent running have pretty much vanished.

I’m looking forward to Spring, but feel like I have made this a productive Winter.