May 22, 2006

Liquid Splenda

Several of you have written me, asking what's happened to, and do I know of a source of liquid Splenda? I don't know what happened to the website, but surmise they've gone out of business.

But I've scouted up a couple of sources for you!

Sweetzfree sells the stuff, but has a limited supply; they therefore have only a couple of "windows" per month when they allow orders. The 4-ounce bottle - the largest size - costs $64, but given that this is pure sucralose, and one drop equals a teaspoon and a half of sugar, that bottle should last you a long, long time.

Another possibility is FiberFit, a product that combines liquid sucralose, water, and soluble fiber. (I suspect that the fiber is in it so that they can call it a "supplement" instead of a sweetener. For some reason the manufacturers of sucralose (the sweetener in Splenda) aren't happy about the idea of the pure liquid being sold.) FiberFit is not as sweet as Sweetzfree's liquid sucralose - one teaspoon of FiberFit is the equivalent of about 8 teaspoons of sugar. That's still plenty sweet! You can get FiberFit through Netrition

Hope this helps!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 10:29 PM

March 22, 2006

Has Low Carb Suddenly Been Proven Dangerous?

Did you see the headlines? Since I have a Google News Alert set up for the keyword "low carb" I couldn't get away from them:

Low-carb diets can be unhealthy, doctors warn

Low carbohydrate Atkins diet may pose health problem

Atkins diet may not be safe for every dieter

Low-carb diets can be unhealthy

You'd think some major study had proven that low carbing was deadly, and indeed I heard from a few of you about this. But if you looked in a dictionary of cliches under "tempest in a teapot," you'd find this "story."

When it showed up in my local paper, of course I read it with concern. And then I saw the truth: What the Reuters news service article called a "study" was one case, involving one women, that was written up for The Lancet, a medical journal. It claimed the patient had developed severe ketoacidosis from "the Atkins diet." Now, I don't have access to the full text of The Lancet, so I couldn't read the whole thing. But I did find a few things about the newspaper report fishy - I mean, other than calling one case with no controls "a study."

Like the fact that the patient involved may have had " a mild pancreatitis or stomach infection" that "may have added to the problem." And the fact that the patient involved had been vomiting several times a day for several days. And the fact that ketoacidosis simply doesn't happen to anyone whose pancreas is working.

At this point, I was convinced that the whole thing was bogus, and the media was seizing on it because they just love a good "Low carb is bad" story. After all, "Low carb is good" stories aren't gee-whizzy and controversial anymore.

So I turned to a more medically informed soul than I, Regina Wilshire, who writes the excellent low carb blog Weight of the Evidence. Regina is married to an endocrinologist, and has access to the full text of articles from The Lancet. I highly recommend you read Regina's analysis of the story.

Regina points out that the doctor's own records show that the woman in question did not have a particularly high level of ketosis, and had a normal blood pH and normal blood glucose - none of which is the case with ketoacidosis, a condition that threatens Type I diabetics.

There's much more to Regina's analysis of the story, but suffice it to say this was a clear case of a doctor looking at a sick low carber and simply assuming the diet must be at fault.

I long ago stated in this ezine that if I were to fall off a roof and break my leg, I confidently expected that some doctor, somewhere, would see fit to blame it on my low carb diet. That appears to be exactly the sort of thing that happened here. Go read Regina's article, and see if you don't agree.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:52 PM

March 21, 2006

Discussion Groups Moving or Closing

Hi All,

We are moving the website to a new server this month, and this is affecting the Discussion Groups that we have been hosting. In brief, there are two important points:

1) Only the Basic-A, Basic-C and Recipes groups will continue, as they are the only ones with ongoing activity. The others have seen a trickle of traffic recently, if any at all.

2) The posting addresses for the three remaining groups is changing.

We have already set up the discussion groups on the new host, and they seem to be flourishing even as I write this. (Thanks, all, for your patience.)

More information here. (This link is the pre-release site for the new

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:23 PM

February 20, 2006

Time To Cut Way Back on the Diet Soda

And the Crystal Light. Not to mention sugar-free iced tea mix and bottled iced tea, sugar-free gelatin and pudding mix, and indeed anything made with aspartame.

No doubt you know that aspartame (aka Nutrasweet or Equal) has been controversial since its introduction in the 1980s. Even among those of us who shun sugar, aspartame has had a less than sterling reputation. Dr. Atkins felt it interfered with fat burning on a cellular level. The Hellers, who wrote The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, feel that aspartame, along with all sugar-free sweeteners, causes an insulin release just like sugar. And it's been a part of the community wisdom for a long time that roughly half of low carbers have a hard time losing weight if they drink diet soda or Crystal Light.

There have been "netlore" stories going around for years, claiming that aspartame causes all manner of ills, from headaches to visual disturbances to MS - though often without any medical research to back them up. I personally stopped drinking diet soda shortly after aspartame took over the market (after years of a heavy-duty Tab habit) because I discovered that two aspartame-sweetened sodas in a day were enough to make me feel panicky at night.

Still, I insisted - and continue to feel - that artificial sweeteners are safer than sugar, especially for those of us who are profoundly carbohydrate intolerant, and find sugar addictive.

I have gotten many emails from readers taking me to task for using Splenda in recipes, because in lab animals it caused thymus shrinkage and kidney swelling. In response I point out that this is true, but that these effects happened at dosages the equivalent of a 150-pound human being eating over 10,000 teaspoons of Splenda per day.

Most tests on artificial sweeteners have involved similar whopping-huge doses. It's important to remember that the first rule of toxicology is "Dose is everything." I had a particularly Splenda-heavy day on Valentine's day - I made a sweet poppy-seed dressing for our salad, a glaze for our duck breast, and chocolate sauce and sweetened whipped cream to dip strawberries in. That's far more Splenda than I normally consume in a day, yet I doubt I got more than 1/3 cup, or 16 teaspoons. In short, I feel that my level of exposure is low enough that it's not an issue.

But now tests have been done on aspartame that actually involve doses reflecting possible real-world consumption. And the news is not good.

Dr. Morando Soffritti, an Italian reasearcher, spent the past year studying the effects of aspartame on cancer rates in rats. This man is a respected researcher, overseeing 180 scientists and researchers in 30 countries who collaborate on toxin research. And Dr. Soffritti has now stated that aspartame increases the risk of lymphoma and leukemia. Dr. Soffritti feels this is attributable to methanol (wood alcohol) in aspartame, which turns to formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, in the body.

Previous studies have found that aspartame doesn't cause cancer. It should be noted that these studies were performed by the GD Searle company, creators of aspartame.

Dr. Soffritti responds that those studies were flawed. The rats used were "sacrificed" - killed and examined for cancers - at the age of 2 years. This is the equivalent of 53 years old in a human being. Cancer takes a long time to develop, and people under 53 years of age are far less likely to have cancer than folks who are older, regardless of their habits.

So Dr. Soffritti let his rats die at the natural "old age" for rats - about 3 years of age. He also used considerably more rats than most of the previous studies. And using this method, he found increases in lymphomas, leukemia, and tumors at multiple organ sites.

Here's the part I find really alarming about Dr. Soffritti's study: The carcinogenic effects of aspartame cropped up at doses that were the equivalent of a 150-pound human being drinking about six to eight cans of diet soda per day. A devoted diet soda drinker might easily consume that much. I know that in my Tab-drinking days I went through a dozen or more cans a day.

To be fair, cancer is complicated, and we don't understand everything involved in causing it. Some people are more susceptible than others, and there may be various interactions involved we haven't identified. But for now, this is the best information we have to go on.

So I am recommending that all you devoted diet soda and Crystal Light drinkers give it up, or at the very least, cut way, way back. This advice extends to all beverages sweetened with aspartame - iced tea mix, bottled, artificially sweetened iced tea, diet Snapple, whatever. I'm sorry, I know it's going to be hard for you, but geez. Cancer.

Beverages are the big worry, because they're how the biggest doses of the stuff are consumed, just like regular soda is the major source of sugar in most Americans' diets. You could start drinking Diet Rite Splenda-sweetened sodas, I suppose. But while I'm completely comfortable with my modest Splenda intake, I find myself suspicious of drinking soda after soda, period.

If you regularly eat aspartame sweetened desserts, I'd recommend you cut back on those, too, or even cut them out. I will no longer be using aspartame-sweetened diet gelatin or pudding mix in recipe development. I'll start working on alternatives to my best desserts that use aspartame-sweetened products. Still, people who eat 6 servings a day of diet gelatin are rare. People who drink 6 cans a day of diet soda are relatively common.

I still believe that Dose Is Everything. I wouldn't panic about the occasional diet soda, it's the daily habit I worry about. I'll still occasionally make one of my dessert recipes that calls for sugar-free pudding or gelatin mix - I mean, have you tried the "Better Than S-X" recipe from 500 More Low-Carb Recipes?

But if you're a diet beverage addict, it's time to wean yourself. Iced tea, hot tea (regular or herbal,) unsweetened sparkling water, coffee, or good old water. If you must sweeten coffee or tea, a little Splenda, Sweet 'n' Low (saccharine was taken off the list of carcinogenic products years ago; apparently it was one of those products where they used unreasonable doses in the tests) or stevia should be okay.

But best of all is to get over the idea that drinking sweet stuff all day is a good idea.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:55 PM

February 14, 2006

Low Fat Takes (Another) Dive

Did you see it? Huh? Huh? Hard on the heels of my article last week explaining that yes, a low carbohydrate diet will, perforce, be a diet that gets a higher proportion of its calories from fat - in other words, a high fat diet - comes the big news. All over the mainstream media came the word that a low fat diet doesn't prevent heart disease or cancer.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, everybody, stand up from your computers and join me in the Smug Dance. (cue the music!)

Okay, that's enough. Everyone sit down and resume reading. Let's look at this study and the coverage of it, and see what it means, and doesn't mean, for us, and for nutrition in general.

The study that appears in this month's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is nothing short of immense. Over eight years, 48, 835 healthy postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79 years old were randomly assigned either to a low fat diet, or to continuing to eat as they had. During those eight years, the low fat group averaged 29% of their calories from fat, while the control group averaged 37% of their calories from fat. The low fat group also ate more fruits, vegetables, and grains than the control group.

The study was originally intended to look at the effect of a low fat diet on breast cancer risk. It wound up concluding that not only did a low fat diet have no statistically significant effect on preventing breast cancer, it also didn't prevent colon cancer, heart disease, or stroke. Since the all along the big-guns objection to our low carb way of eating has been "All that fat will give you heart disease! Or cancer!" this is useful ammunition.

It's also interesting that the greater intake of fruits, vegetables, and grains didn't have any detectable protective effect. We're told these are the best possible foods. Yet eating more of them didn't help, at least when combined with fat restriction. I wonder how twice as many vegetables and half as many grains would have done...

There are serious limitations to this study. First of all, it only included women. Secondly, including, as it did, only women in the 50-to-79 age group, it tells us little about the effects of a careful nutritional program of whatever kind begun earlier in life.

(I "got nutrition" like other people "get religion" - the blinding bolt from the blue that changes your life forever - when I was nineteen. While I have made some nutritional missteps since then - like a low fat/high carb diet - the most egregious junk has been out of my life for almost thirty years. If we could find several thousand like me and test us, it would make an interesting study.)

Too, the control group in the study simply continued to eat their "normal" diet - which is likely to have included bad fats like hydrogenated vegetable oils, plenty of refined carbs, processed foods, and all that wonderful stuff that's part of the Standard American Diet. The low fat group didn't put any restrictions on what sort of fat they ate, so we have no way of knowing how many of them ate, say, diet margarine - a source of trans fats - instead of good old full-fat butter. Both these factors must be assumed to have affected the results.

It would be very interesting to see a study that looked at a low fat diet and a higher fat diet, with both diets excluding refined carbs and hydrogenated oils. But that's a whole different study, and would probably take another $400 million and another eight years.

After eight years, the low fat folks weighed just a pound or two less, on average, than the "normal" diet folks. This is being trumpeted as "proof" that a low fat diet doesn't make you fat. What they're not saying is that it's pretty clear proof that a low fat diet is no better at making you thin than the Standard American Diet. It would be interesting to see an eight year trial of a low fat diet against a low carb diet, wouldn't it?

The usual suspects are weighing in on this.

Dr. Dean Ornish, whose empire is built on the notion that a low fat diet is the ultimate in disease prevention, is insisting that the diet just wasn't low fat enough. It seems to me that if cutting fat back that far was going to give fabulous results, cutting fat back substantially ought to yield at least some results. It didn't.

But Ornish insists that we need to cut back to only 10% of calories from fat, you see, and eat no animal foods at all. Then we'll see the miraculous results he's promised. That no nation, race, or tribe in history has ever eaten such a diet, much less thrived on it, apparently doesn't matter. Nor does the fact that many peoples eating more fat than Americans - like, say, the French and the Italians - are healthier than we are.

People who hate the idea of limiting their diet in any way are crowing that this proves that you might as well eat whatever you want. After all, "eating healthy" doesn't work. They are, of course, ignoring the possibility that a low fat diet wasn't the right way to eat healthy.

The "cut calories and exercise" enthusiasts are saying, "Low carbohydrate diets have already been discredited, and now low fat diets are too - so just eat a balanced diet, watch your calories, and get a lot of exercise." Which floors me, since I haven't seen a scrap of actual research to show that low carb diets don't work, and aren't healthy - just assertions.

And the mainstream journalists and medicos are saying that this shows that we don't need to cut out all fats, we just need to cut out "bad fats." They then go on to define "bad fats" as hydrogenated oils and saturated fats. This, of course, will be the new rallying cry of those who are sure that we're digging our graves with our sugar-free, steak-loving teeth - "But it's saturated fat!"

I have no argument against cutting out hydrogenated oils. They're evil, and I won't touch them. But the idea that saturated animal and tropical fats are bad for us is just as simplistic and wrong-headed as the idea that fats in general are bad for us. If animal fats caused heart disease and cancer the rate of these diseases would have dropped during the 20th century, when we were busily replacing those "bad" fats with "healthy" vegetables oils.

But that's not what happened. Instead, as we replaced traditional animal and tropical fats with vegetable oils and (God forbid) hydrogenated vegetable shortening, the rates of both heart disease and cancer skyrocketed. In light of this, it's hard to see how naturally saturated fats are dangerous. (I say "naturally saturated" because hydrogenation is simply a process of artificially saturating a fat that was originally unsaturated, and therefore liquid.)

I'll say more about good and bad fats in the future, but a good general rule is "If you can picture how they got the oil out of the food, it's probably okay." Can you picture how they get the oil out of corn or soy beans? Do you even know what a "safflower" is? No? Don't eat it.

It would be easy to assume from the big reaction in the press that this study was the first to show a low fat diet isn't effective for protecting health. It's not. There have been many.

A 1996 study in Lancet concluding that women who ate a high fat diet had a lower risk of breast cancer than those who ate a high carbohydrate diet.

Another 1996 study, this one pooling and reexamining data from seven studies of the effects of a low fat diet on breast cancer, finding no evidence that fat is a culprit.

Here's one that looked at specific types of fat and breast cancer risk, and concluded "No associations were observed for animal or vegetable fat intakes."

A Japanese study that shows a decreasing risk of breast cancer with an increased intake of fish oils and saturated fats.

And the Big Casino, the Harvard Nurses Study, looking at 88,795 women. In this article, written in 1999, 14 years after the study began, they conclude "We found no evidence that lower intake of total fat or specific major types of fat was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer."

The same study had already concluded in 1987 "...a moderate reduction in fat intake by adult women is unlikely to result in a substantial reduction in the incidence of breast cancer." Indeed, the women who ate the most fat were almost 20% less likely to get breast cancer than the women who ate the least fat.

Here's a trial of a low carb/high fat diet against a low fat/high carb diet for treatment of obesity and the health problems that go with it. The low carbers lost more weight, and had greater improvement in their heart disease risk indicators.

Here's a study that starts off with the statement, "It has been known for decades that low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets can increase plasma triglyceride levels..." Have they howdied with Dr. Ornish?

I could go on, but you get the point: All the hoopla about this study mostly indicates that the media hasn't been paying attention. The holes in low fat diet theory have been showing for a long, long time.

So where does this leave us? Well, at least in position to laugh at all those post-New Year ads crowing about how few fat grams this or that starch-and-sugar-laden junk food has. And in a good place to say to all of our critics, "Why are you recommending a diet that's been clinically disproven?"

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:19 PM

January 07, 2006

Unpaid Plug For Another Blog

If you haven’t been reading Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb blog, you need to start!

Jimmy is great. Read his stuff. Tell him Dana sent you.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 08:41 PM

April 22, 2005

Low-Fat Diets Causing Deficiencies in Children

A modest study done at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has turned up the dismaying fact that low-fat diets may be causing vitamin deficiencies in children. Researcher Judy Driskell, looking at 22 local preschoolers, found that fully two-thirds of them were falling short on vitamin E, and one third weren't getting enough vitamin C.

Driskell attributed the deficiencies to children eating the same fat-reduced foods their parents are eating, and this makes sense for vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin. Using fat-free dressings, avoiding oils in cooking, and feeding low fat crackers instead of, say, nuts or seeds, would indeed cut the amount of vitamin E available in the diet. So would dropping the traditional eggs for breakfast, since eggs are a good source of vitamin E. (The banning of peanut butter in many schools, due to allergies, has also removed a source of vitamin E from children's diets, though of course I hope you'll feed your kids natural peanut butter instead of Skippy or Jif or the like, which have added sugar and hydrogenated oils.)

I wondered about other fat-soluble vitamins, which weren't mentioned in the reports I could find. It seems not unlikely that children who are on low fat diets might well be short on vitamins A, D, and K, as well as E. Still, vitamin A can be made in the body from the carotenes in vegetables and fruits, while vitamin D can, of course, be made in the skin on exposure to sun. Perhaps this is protecting children from deficiencies - or perhaps Driskell didn't test for these. (I do know that the rate of rickets, the bone-softening disease caused by vitamin D deficiency, has been on the upswing in the United States recently, after being considered non-existent for a number of years. The problem appears to be the fact that everyone is so afraid of sun exposure that they slather SPF 4,692 all over their kids any time they set foot out the door.)

It is puzzling to me why the lack of vitamin C in the children's diets is being blamed on a low-fat diet, however, since overwhelmingly the sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables. It seems to me that these should be part of a low fat diet. I fear that many parents are just feeding low fat processed stuff, which would account for the lack of C. Too, we've learned in the past few years that a steady intake of fruit juice is a bad idea, causing obesity with all that sugar. Apparently parents haven't compensated by handing their children a piece of whole fruit instead; the study suggested that many of them are afraid of causing allergies. It's good to know that there are many sources of vitamin C other than citrus fruit - peppers of all kinds are a terrific source, and so are tomatoes, so a snack of sliced peppers and cherry tomatoes with dip is a terrific snack. Kiwifruit are particularly rich in C, and so are berries. (Cabbage, broccoli, and spinach are good sources, too, but may not be as easy to get into your child.)

By the way, it's important to note Driskell feels that it's likely that the parents of these children are also deficient in vitamin E.

Hmmmm. Where are those articles from registered dietitians, warning about the dangers of a low fat diet - after all, that diet doesn't contain enough antioxidants!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 02:12 PM

April 01, 2005

Special Notice: Dana on QVC, 8 April, 9AM EST

I'm going to be on Friday, April 8th, during the 9:00 am hour, EST -- which means, of course, the 8:00 hour in Central Time, the 7:00 hour in Mountain, and the 6:00 hour Pacific.

I'll be selling 500 More Low-Carb Recipes.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 04:05 PM

Low Carb and Appetite, or, Tell Us Something We Didn't Know

The March 15th issue of Annals of Internal Medicine carries the results of a study that simply confirms what low carbers have been saying all along - that a low carb diet curbs a runaway appetite. The article, titled "Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Blood Glucose Levels, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes," details a study comparing calorie intake on a low carbohydrate diet (Atkins induction, 20 grams per day of carbohydrate with unlimited protein and fat) versus that of the everyday diet of the subjects. The study, done at Temple University School of Medicine, is notable for being the first carried out entirely in a clinical setting, allowing complete monitoring of food intake. Every carb and calorie was carefully noted.

Researchers found that the 10 diabetic subjects spontaneously ate, on average, 1027 fewer calories per day on a low carb diet than they had on their regular diet. This, the researchers said, was sufficient to account for the fact that they all lost weight.

The subjects stated that they were not bored with the food they were allowed, and that they loved the diet. But they did not eat more proteins and fats to make up for the carbohydrate calories they dropped from their diet. The researchers concluded that carbohydrates had been stimulating the subjects appetites.

Researchers determined that the drop in weight - an average of 1.65 kg, or 3.6 pounds per person in 14 days - was not water loss, a common speculation about low carb diets.

Interestingly, the drop in caloric intake was from an average of 3111 calories per day to an average of 2164 calories per day. Have you ever heard of a "low calorie diet" that allowed over 2000 calories per day? The researchers stated that they found no metabolic advantage, as Atkins claimed for a low carb diet, but knowing how many people struggle to lose weight even at 1500 calories per day, and that type 2 diabetics have a harder-than-average time losing weight, I'm not sure I agree, especially in light of previous studies that have indeed demonstrated that low carbohydrate diets cause weight loss with a higher caloric intake than carb-containing diets.

That a low carbohydrate reduces appetite does not come as a surprise to me. All the way back in 1999 I wrote, regarding my switch to a low carb diet,

"Best of all, I wasn't hungry all the time anymore!

I had always been hungry before - I would have that nice, "healthy" breakfast of whole grain cereal and skim milk, and an hour and a half later, I could have eaten the carpet I was so hungry! I'm not talking "head hungry" - I mean real, empty, growling stomach, getting tired hungry. I had often wondered why I was hungry all the time. I had read - and maybe you have, too - that if I ate a "healthy diet" (low in fat, high in carbohydrates) and "listened to my body," it would know how much food I needed. Unfortunately, I seemed to need enough for an entire army!

But on low carb, all of a sudden, I had a "normal appetite. I could eat a cheese omelet for breakfast, and not be hungry again until 2:00 in the afternoon. It was astonishing!"

(How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds, Dana Carpender)

(As I write this article, it is 3:21 pm. I had eggs and bacon for breakfast around 10, and I'm still just as full as I can be. No hunger, no cravings.)

The subjects in the Temple University study enjoyed many other beneficial effects from their Atkins experience. Glucose levels normalized, demonstrating yet again the enormous benefits of a low carbohydrate approach for controlling sugar in diabetics. Insulin sensitivity improved by an astonishing 75%. Triglycerides dropped by an average of 35%, and cholesterol by an average of 10%.

(Indeed, it boggles the mind that the American Diabetic Association still recommends a low fat/high complex carbohydrate diet for diabetics. I can only attribute it to a fear of admitting they've been disastrously wrong for decades.)

So I guess there's no news here. A low carb diet still causes weight loss without hunger, improves blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol, while allowing folks to eat satisfying food.

Go figure.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 02:27 PM

The State of Low Carb (Wow! I Felt Like a Fan Girl!)

While I was out in California, I had the great privilege of participating in a panel discussion of where low carb is, and where it's going, with some very, very cool people - including Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, of Protein Power fame, Dr. Fred Pescatore, formerly of the Atkins Center, and author of The Hamptons Diet, Linda Langdon, who both owns low carb retail stores and has been in low carb specialty food manufacturing, Lora Ruffner, of Low Carb Luxury, far and away the web's most popular low carb website, and Andrew DiMino, of CarbSmart. It was very, very cool to be in that sort of company; I admire all these folks a great deal.

The big question, discussed from a number of angles, was "whither low carb?" A number of interesting points came up.

* Low carb product sales spiked in 2003, when thousands of new products flooded onto the market, and low carb stores opened seemingly on every corner. (Linda Langdon reported that at one point her area had 25 low carb stores in 25 square miles. That's just ridiculous. It's not surprising that most of them failed.) They crashed in 2004, and there was a big shake-out in the industry. However, our retailers who have hung on reported that in the past six months, sales are starting to increase again. This reflects a drastic reduction in competition, but also a continuing interest by the public.

* Indeed, according to our retailers, sales are currently above where they were in 2002, before the big spike of 2003 and the crash of 2004. It was suggested that if you remove the big 2003 "blip" from the graph, you'd see a steady growth in the interest in low carb and low carb products.

* Those of us who are largely in the information business are still busy - Fred's book is selling well, the Eades' are working on a television show for PBS, Low Carb Luxury gets 2 million hits a day, my books are still selling well. Too, a couple of publishers of low carb magazines were in the audience; they told us their subscription figures continue to grow. So apparently interest in low carb is still strong - it's largely the products that are doing poorly.

* There was a general agreement that many of the products did badly simply because they were, indeed bad; low carb pasta was mentioned in particular. There was also discussion of the discernment of the low carb buyer (that's you!) who rejected products that contained objectionable ingredients like white flour, corn syrup, sugar, and hydrogenated vegetable oil.

* There was also a feeling that low carb consumers had, for the most part, rejected low carb junk food - chips, cookies, and the like. It was suggested that perhaps the "Snackwellification" of low fat diets had served as an object lesson, and consumers were unwilling to let that happen this time around.

* We also mentioned the fact that I, the Eades, Dr. Pescatore, and others have been out here all along, saying, "No, no, no. Eat real food." We suspect we had at least a little something to do with the failure of some of the low carb products.

* The consensus was that certain products would continue to exist - low carb breads and tortillas, sugar free chocolate, sugar free ice cream, and sugar free condiments all made the list - while a lot of the chips, cookies, bake mixes, pastas, and the like would disappear.

All in all, it appears that low carb is not dead. Well, thank heavens. I was going to have to vanish.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 01:36 PM

February 13, 2005

So Much For "Low Carb Is Dead"

Surveys done in January turned up an interesting factoid: 15% of the US population was low carbing in January 2005, more than at any time previously. This was up from a low of 6% in December. You'd think the media folks would remember that remarkably few people diet in December...

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:59 PM

Heads Up, Canadians!

Hi Dana,

I am a big fan and reader, like many Canadian low-carbers. We need your help to get the word out that "Health Canada" are taking action that will effectively remove our (few) low carb products from the shelves by Dec.2005. I would so appreciate it if you could include this info and the petition site to fight back in one of your newsletters...after we have a certain number of signatures, we will be contacting low carb companies as well, and taking it to court. Many Canadian low carbers are not even aware of this danger. Anyway, part of the article follows: (from )

"Just recently, Health Canada announced that, as of December 2005, low-carb claims on food packaging will not be allowed. This decision will severely limit the already small number of low-carb foods that we can receive into Canada. US-based companies producing low-carb foods are not going to want to redesign their packages just to please the Canadian government and, as such, these products will not be allowed into the country to be sold in any store. "

A company's marketing a product as low-carb, or claiming the 'net carb' count on the package, is, in our opinion, no different than the current marketing that specifies foods as 'light' or 'low in fat' or any other such claims. In the coming months, we will disprove the CFIA's claims that there are no scientific evidence that a low-carb lifestyle is healthy.

Read through this article and then help fight this uneducated decision of the Federal Government by signing our petition (at and also at , "Support forums" then "Canada".)"

Dana, I would be in your debt if you could include this in a newsletter. I would hate to see the government put through this ridiculous, uninformed, and medieval action (they claim the basis is that low-carb diets don't work!!! But what does changing the packaging labels have to do with that?). Very weird.

If you need me to cut down the article, or provide further details, just let me know. I'm hoping, with crossed fingers, that you can help.

Warm regards,

Leigh Manndel

N. Vancouver

Thanks for letting your fellow Canadians know, Leigh. Glad to help. Canadians, tell your low-carbing friends! Sheesh, so it's not just the US government that's nutritionally clueless...

Posted by HoldTheToast at 12:47 PM

January 18, 2005

Is Low Carb Dead?

Surely you've seen the reports by now: Low carb is dead, or so says the media.

After all, low carb diets were just too extreme. They work short term, but they're just too hard to stick with long term. And even though the clinical research showed tremendous health benefits, low carb was surely unhealthy, because after all, we all know that fat is bad and whole grains are good. And anyway, the new, cool diets are based on good carbs.

Oh, phoo.

I have been eating low carb for nine years and five months, having started the day after Labor Day, 1995. I have had no, I repeat, no, trouble eating this way all these years, even though for much of that time there were no low carb menus in restaurants, nor low carb specialty foods in the stores. I have kept 40 pounds off, and I am healthy-healthy-healthy, not to mention super-energetic. I never have to go hungry, and can completely trust my appetite.

Contrast this with other dietary programs I have tried over the years - you know, the ones that say, "Eat anything you want, just less of it." Talk about torture! I vividly remember working in a health food store in downtown Chicago in my twenties. I'd eat a "healthy" lunch of a sandwich on whole wheat bread out of their cooler, a fruit juice spritzer, and some fruit or a whole grain, honey sweetened cookie. By two o'clock in the afternoon I would be RAVENOUS. I'd chew gum all afternoon, and try hard not to think about food - a difficult proposition when you're surrounded by the stuff. Long about four or five in the afternoon the slump would set in, and I'd feel exhausted for a couple of hours, barely able to keep my eyes open.

Now that's a dietary program it's hard to stick with! Low carb has been a breeze by comparison - again, no hunger, high energy. And as I documented just a couple of months back, it's done nothing but good for my health.

Are low carb diets too extreme? Well, sure, if by that you mean diets consisting only of meat, eggs, and cheese. That no low carb book recommends such a diet is apparently beside the point.

How about those diets that allow "good carbs?" I've read The South Beach Diet, and I just don't find it to be terribly different than Atkins or Protein Power, despite the hype. I have a feeling that the point is mainly to differentiate the diet in the eyes of the public.

Vegetables, surely the very best carbs possible, have always been fine on low carb diets. As I've pointed out time and again, most low carbers end up eating more vegetables than they ever have before. How about fruit? Are we all clear that berries, melon, grapefruit, and other fruits are fine on our low carb diets? Indeed, most fruit can be fit in, unless you're in an Induction phase - apricots, plums, peaches, cherries - all work.

How about whole grains and beans? While I don't think they're an essential part of the human diet, since they've only been eaten in any quantity for the past 10,000-odd years, the later phases of low carb diets have always allowed for some whole grains and legumes to be added back. To quote Dr. Atkin's New Diet Revolution, a book that seems to be very little read by its critics, regarding the maintenance diet of one of his patients:

"She also finds she can have lentils, split peas, and kasha without gaining weight. She often has the kasha with cinnamon and a few apple slices."

Sounds like the much touted "good carbs" to me.

I would like to point out that even the diets that gush "Oh, we allow good carbs" are, for the most part, limiting them strictly. South Beach allows 1/2 cup of oatmeal for breakfast on Day One of Phase Two. Two days later it calls for 1 cup of "high fiber cereal", and two days after that an open-faced sandwich on one slice of whole grain bread. We're not talking major quantities of whole grains, here - there's still a pretty strict upper limit on concentrated carbohydrate foods, no matter how "good" they are.

I was flipping through a "good carbs" cookbook at Barnes & Noble the other day, and was interested to notice that the recipes ran from about 2 grams of those "good carbs" per serving, up to about 10 grams per serving. That's indisputably a low carb cookbook. Again, it appears that they're putting "good carbs" on the label to catch the latest trend - which looks a whole like the previous trend if you look at 'em both close up.

I worry that the hype about "good carbs" will lead people to think that they can just switch to whole grain bread from white bread, and to brown rice from white, and lose weight. This is unlikely to work for the majority, although it's certainly an improvement. (God forbid they should think that the new "whole grain" Trix and the like are "good carbs." For the record: They're not.)

A few things seem indisputable: In roughly five short years, we've gone from low fat mania, with the popular impression that all fat was bad, and that fat was far and away the worst dietary evil, to the general understanding that "the whites" - white sugar, white flour, and other refined carbs - are among the worst possible foods, and the cause of much of the nation's obesity epidemic. Too, the general public is now aware that there is such a thing as "good fat," that including good fats in the diet is beneficial. It's also sinking in that trans fats - hydrogenated oils - are the worst possible fats. Even the parenting magazines have gotten in on the act, with repeated warnings that parents shouldn't give their children unlimited juice, because of the natural sugars. All of this represents a massive shift in the public's perception of nutrition in a very short time.

Too, the research is in, and it's positive. Indeed, it's almost funny - whenever I see a headline that says something like, "Low carbohydrate diets unhealthy long-term" I can confidently predict that the article will reference no studies, but instead quote a doctor or dietician merely reciting the old charges - a low carb diet is high in saturated fat, and therefore it must be unhealthy, yadda-yadda. Conversely, if I see a headline that reads, "Low carbohydrate diet shown effective," I can count on it reading something like, "In a six month clinical trial at Duke University..." - in other words, it will be talking about real, actual science.

Let me geek out on you for a moment - here's just a sampling of the research showing that a low carb diet is effective and healthy. I warn you, all but one of these links are to medical journal abstracts:

* One-Year Study of Atkins Diet Shows Surprising Results, Penn Researchers Report

* The effects of low-carbohydrate versus conventional weight loss diets in severely obese adults: one-year follow-up of a randomized trial.

* A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled trial.

* Comparison of high-fat and high-protein diets with a high-carbohydrate diet in insulin-resistant obese women.

* Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women.

* A low-carbohydrate diet in overweight patients undergoing stable statin therapy raises high-density lipoprotein and lowers triglycerides substantially.

* The national cholesterol education program diet vs a diet lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and monounsaturated fat: a randomized trial.

* A randomized study comparing the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet and a conventional diet on lipoprotein subfractions and C-reactive protein levels in patients with severe obesity.

* Effect of 6-month adherence to a very low carbohydrate diet program.

* Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents.

I trust the point has been illustrated.

I think we will see less of people identifying with a particular diet - "I'm on Atkins" or "I'm on South Beach" or whatever, and more of health-conscious people simply internalizing the fact that a diet based on starch and sugar is not a good idea. But is the low carb "fad" dead? It was never a fad to begin with.

Call it, instead, a return to sanity. All that has changed is that a low carb diet is no longer weird or shocking - is, in short, no longer news. So the media has, for the most part, moved on to the next big thing. But those of us who have learned that controlling our carbohydrate intake not only leads to weight loss, but to tremendously improved health aren't going anywhere.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:49 PM

The Low Carb Specialty Products Report

Some of the reports of the death of low carbohydrate diets are based on the fact that many of the low carb specialty products are not doing well. In particular, I've seen articles about Coca-Cola's disappointment that their "low carb" alternative, C2, was dying on the shelves. They're sure this is due to the end of the "low carb fad."

Huh? Since when is something with almost two tablespoons of sugar and 17 grams of carbohydrate per can "low carb?" Anyone who is even a tiny bit serious about low carbing (or nutrition in general) looks at a label that says "half the sugar" and just snorts and walks on by. Seventeen grams of high impact, nutritionally devoid carbohydrate?! I could eat four or five big salads for that carb count. Or six Finn Crisp rye crackers. Or an orange, or an apple. Or ten cups of broccoli. Or a half a cup of cashews, or one and a half cups of pecans. Or any number of real foods that would be more nutritious, more satisfying, and add far more variety and interest to my day than a can of fizzy sugar water.

And since there's diet soda in the world, what the heck is the point in the first place?

All of which leads me to the survey I did a few months ago regarding low carbohydrate specialty products. I have to say it, loud and proud: You guys rock. You're smart. You're informed. You've been paying attention. You're not looking for a quick fix. And you haven't been suckered into the idea of "changing without changing." I was absolutely blown away by the results of the survey.

Here they are:

692 of you responded to the survey, enough to get at least a modestly accurate picture of what the group is doing.

When asked how often you used low carb specialty products, the most common answer was 1-3 times per week. After that, the most common answer was daily, and the third most common was weekly. Overwhelmingly, you felt that taste was either a very important or essential factor in choosing those foods.

Asked about the importance of convenience in using specialty foods, "very" was the most common answer, with "fairly" the second most common. Price, however, was less important - about half of you said it was only "fairly" important to making choices, with "very" the next most common answer, and "essential" after that.

But here's where it gets really good: Asked how important nutritional value and ingredients were to your choices, almost all of you said "essential" or "very." Warms my heart like a blowtorch, that does. When asked how important the lowest carb count was in influencing your decisions, the most popular answer was "very", with "essential" and "fairly" running neck-and-neck.

You don't seem to care much about brand names - asked how important a familiar brand name was to your decisions, the most common answer was "not very," with "fairly" and "not at all" next in line. Packaging is no big deal, either - asked how important it was, most of you said "not very."

Variety, fighting cravings, and having an occasional treat are your biggest reasons for using low carb specialty products - about half of you rated all of these factors "very" important, with "fairly" next, and then "essential." I found the similarity of the breakdown for these questions stunning.

I was thrilled to find that few of you are using low carb products as a reason not to cook - asked how important avoiding cooking was, "not very" was the most common response, with "fairly" and then "not at all" coming in after that. Very, very few of you said avoiding cooking was an "essential" factor. Thank goodness.

Your favorite low carb specialty product? No surprises here. Over half of you eat sugar-free chocolate at least weekly, and over a hundred of you eat it daily. (Confession: I'm in the "daily" group myself.)

Other sugar free candy, however, does nowhere nearly so well - the vast majority of you either use it "only occasionally" or "never." I have to agree. I mean, why eat jelly beans when you can have a chocolate truffle? (I swear, somewhere back in the Old Country is our ancestral family estate, and carved over the mantle are the words, "If it ain't chocolate, it ain't worth it.") More importantly, since the bulk of chocolate is made up of - well, chocolate - it's less likely to cause gastric upset than candies that consist almost entirely of polyols/sugar alcohols.

How about other treats? Asked about low carb cookies, most commonly you said you never ate them at all, with several of you saying you eat them occasionally. Almost no one eats them daily. Sugar free ice cream is fairly popular, with "weekly" the most common usage, followed by "occasionally." Seventy eight of you eat sugar free ice cream daily! I'm afraid I can't do that - I just can't be moderate with the stuff, unless it's packaged in individual servings, like ice cream bars. Better for me not to keep it in the house.

You know all of those low carb bake mixes out there? The ones for muffins, pancakes, corn bread, and a whole bunch of other things? You're not buying them. The most common answer to how often you used bake mixes was "never" and the second most common was "occasionally." That accounted for 523 of you. One hundred and five of you use mixes monthly, and only four of you use them daily. Since bake mixes tend to be loaded with soy, and many have other questionable ingredients - "low glycemic corn starch" comes to mind - this made me very happy.

You're not using the bread machine mixes, either - overwhelmingly you said you "never"used these mixes, and not a single soul uses them daily.

Low carb tortillas, however, have found a place in many hearts - not to mention kitchens and meals. The most common answer was that you use them weekly - and so do I, if not more often. However, many of you use them only occasionally, and one hundred and thirty five of you never use them at all.

This makes low carb tortillas the most popular low carb bread-like food. Asked how often you used low carb bread, bagels, and other baked goods, the most common answer was "never." However, the next most common answer was "weekly," and one hundred and eight of you use low carb bread "daily," so it's obviously one of those yes-or-no products - either you don't use it at all, or it's a staple.

How about snacks and chips? Many of you don't use them at all, and those of you that do are, for the most part, only using them occasionally. This pleases me - apparently you're rejecting the concept of "low carb junk food." Again, the chips tend to be very soy-heavy, and they also tend to be higher carb than some other products, often running 8 grams or so per serving.

Low carb condiments, on the other hand, are quite popular. Doesn't surprise me a bit; heck, even I buy now my low carb ketchup instead of making it. Most commonly you're using condiments weekly, with one hundred and twenty seven of you using them daily. However, a substantial group of you use them only occasionally, and the folks using low carb condiments daily are almost exactly balanced by those of you who aren't using them at all.

How about low carb soups? Dead in the water. By far the most common answer was that you weren't using them at all. Less than half that number use low carb soups "occasionally," and only a few use them monthly or weekly. However, three of you use them daily!

One of the most striking graphs was for low carb pasta - it's just about a straight line sloping from a high of 315 of you who "never" touch the stuff, to just two of you who use low carb pasta daily, with descending bars for "occasionally," "monthly," and "weekly." The fact that most low carb pasta is as bad as it is overpriced no doubt contributes to these figures, as does, I suspect, the doubts many of you have expressed about the new Dreamfield's pasta.

Entrees and packaged meals are a dead loss - the vast majority of you never use them, with a few of you using them occasionally. There are about fifty of you, however, who use entrees and packaged meals weekly, and ten of you who use them daily. To this last group I'd like to simply say, "Cook something, will you?"

Now for the part of the survey that really made me happy - when asked whether you actually read the nutrition label, serving size, and ingredient list before buying a product, all but 23 of you said "Yes." Give yourselves a big pat on the back! You've learned one of the basics of nutrition - Pay attention to what you put into your body.

The vast majority of you say you have a cutoff point for how many grams of carbohydrate are acceptable in a product. For most of you, that cutoff point is 10 grams, but many of you draw the line at 5 grams, while almost 100 of you will accept up to 15 grams per serving. To me, the question here would be what sort of product? And what nutritional value does it offer? Just as I'm willing to eat 15 grams of usable carbohydrate in a salad, but not willing to drink 15 grams of carbohydrate worth of soda, I'd be likely to allow a few more grams for a product that was offering substantial nutritional and satiety value than I would for, say, a cookie.

Most of you say you stick to the listed serving size when eating low carb specialty products, though a substantial number of you do not. Please, just be aware that you can get fat on low carb stuff if you eat enough of it. The words "low carb" or "reduced carb" or "carb conscious" on the label do not make anything a free food!

Another statistic that thrills me is that fully 626 of you say that there are ingredients you shun, regardless of the total carb count. Roughly half of you won't buy anything with refined or "enriched" flour, and the majority won't buy anything with sugar or corn syrup, thank God. As for corn starch, you were absolutely evenly split - exactly half of you won't buy anything with corn starch in it, the other half will.

You've gotten the bad news about trans fats, too - 550 of you won't touch anything made with the stuff. (This is my absolute no-no. I'll buy a product with added sugar if the product has, say, 1 gram of carb or less per serving; ham is often like this, or Worcestershire sauce. But I won't knowingly touch a single molecule of hydrogenated vegetable oil. That stuff is poison.)

Most of you are okay with polyols/sugar alcohols, but 114 of you won't eat them, I'm guessing because of gastrointestinal upset. And all but 43 of you are okay with eating artificial sweeteners.

One ingredient I didn't include in the survey drew a lot of email: Soy. Many of you are shunning soy; I'm quite cautious about it myself. The manufacturers are really shooting themselves in the foot by making so many of the products so soy-heavy.

Here's an interesting tidbit: Overwhelmingly you feel that you understand the "net" or "impact" carbs concept - but almost as overwhelmingly, you don't trust the counts on the labels to be accurate. I can understand this - while many companies are putting out honest products, I've certainly seen products claiming to have a very low net carb count that, when I read the ingredients list, struck me as being impossibly low. This clearly is a hurdle low carb manufacturers will have to overcome to make this food category fly.

Most of you don't care much whether your low carb specialty products are made by a big "household name" food processor, or a small, dedicated low carb company. However, of those who do have a preference, it is clearly for the small companies. I can tell you from having been in and around this industry for a while, the folks I have met who run little low carb specialty companies are just about all low carb dieters themselves, and seem to care a great deal about putting out the best products they possibly can.

You're split just about 50/50 as to whether you pay attention to calories along with carbs. I pay modest attention to calories myself, and find I do better when I watch both pretty closely - no strict limits, mind you, but consciousness is a very powerful tool.

So here's the overall picture: You're using low carb specialty products cautiously and moderately, largely to add a little variety. You're mostly using products that it would be genuinely inconvenient to make yourself, or difficult to reproduce at home, like tortillas, bread, condiments, chocolate bars, and ice cream. You're not relying on specialty products to replace meals. You're eating little low carb junk food, like chips and cookies. You're reading the labels. You're paying attention to portion sizes. You're picky as all get out about ingredients. And you're skeptical to the point of cynicism about attempts to label every darned thing "low carb."

I've never been prouder of you guys. Makes every single word I've ever written for this free ezine worth it, worth it, worth it.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 09:30 PM

December 03, 2004

But What About Bill Clinton?

You may have noticed that Bill Clinton looked darned good last spring when he hit the campaign trail to help his party – he was considerably slimmer than when he left office four years ago. Much was made of the fact that he’d lost the weight on a low carb diet, giving up his Big-Mac-and-fries ways.

Now Clinton has undergone bypass surgery, and some reporters (and, reportedly, Hillary) are suggesting that it was Clinton’s low carb diet that clogged his arteries. While I have no way of knowing for sure, I do know that the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries is a slow and gradual process; I find it very difficult to believe that Bill’s arteries clogged in a year.

I find it sourly amusing that the popular press jumped on Clinton’s low carb diet as the culprit, rather than fifty-odd years of living on junk. Some experts think low carb is not to blame, as well: "It's highly unlikely Clinton's recent diet caused what he's going through now," said Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, chairperson of the American Heart Assn.'s (AHA) nutrition committee and a professor of nutrition at Tufts University. Since the American Heart Association has never had much nice to say about low carb diets, that’s fairly compelling.

It may be that Bill Clinton is in the subset of people who need to weight their low carb diet toward fish, poultry, and olive oil, rather than beef and butter. Or it may just be that his years of fast food caught up with him after he went low carb. I hope he – and you – will take the time to find the version of a low carbohydrate diet that’s right for the individual body concerned, rather than simply abandoning what is clearly a successful way of dealing with a weight problem.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 02:39 PM

Where to Read My Column

Several folks have written wanting to know where they can read my newspaper column, Low Carb For Life. Here’s a list of the papers carrying the column so far:

Potomac News, Woodbridge, VA
Ventura County Star, Ventura, CA
The Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa, AL
Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, WA
Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN
Arizona Republic, Phoenix, AZ
The Lima News, Lima, OH
Lancaster New Era, Lancaster, PA
Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo, IN
Kenosha News, Kenosha, WI
Daily Journal, Kankakee, IL
The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, PA
Johnson City Press, Johnson City, TN
Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT
Herald Mail, Hagerstown, MD
The Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, NC
Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, IN
Elkhart Truth, Elkhart, IN
Commercial News, Danville, IL
The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX
Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Corpus Christi, TX
Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, MO
The Mobile Register, Mobile, AL
The Post & Courier, Charleston, SC
Herald Times, Bloomington, IN (my hometown paper!)
News, Birmingham, AL
Herald, Spartanburg, SC
Beaumont Enterprise, Beaumont, TX
Herald Bulletin, Anderson, IN
Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, NM
Times Union, Albany, NY

A big Thank You to all of you who have contacted your local paper, requesting that they carry my column. In general, papers run the column in their weekly food section; contact the nearest paper to find out what day the food section appears. Keep in mind that some papers run the columns in full, while others edit them for length. And some of them put the column up in their online editions!

My contract with United Media allows me to rerun material after some time has passed; we’ll start putting back columns up at soon!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 02:33 PM

I Listen To You!

Of all the requests I’ve had from readers, far and away the most frequent has been for a slow cooker book. I was paying attention, and I’m pleased to announce that 200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes will hit the bookstores in January, just in time for those long, cold months when a steaming, aromatic slow cooker meal is exactly what you want to come home to. Amazon has it listed already, so go pre-order!

You’ll find:

* Easy Party Shrimp
* Hot Crab Dip
* Maple-Glazed Corned Beef with Vegetables
* Asian Slow Cooker Short Ribs
* Chuck with Avocado Aioli
* Braised Pork with Fennel
* Maple-Spice Country Style Ribs
* Kashmiri Lamb Shanks
* Seriously Simple Chicken Chili
* Thai Chicken Bowls
* Cream of UnPotato Soup
* Tavern Soup
* Cheddar-Barbecue Fauxtatoes

And lots more! Order your copy today!

Posted by HoldTheToast at 02:13 PM

April 16, 2004

Special Notice: QVC Appearance

Hey, Gang --

I know the ezines have been sort of sparse of late -- I'm facing a book deadline May 1; after that things should get a little easier. I beg your patience! In the meanwhile, I wanted to let you know that I'll be on QVC again Saturday evening, shortly after 5 PM Eastern Daylight time.

If you're hanging around the house, I hope you'll tune in!

I've been cooking all day, and thought I'd at least send you all a recipe, to make up for how dilatory I've been about the ezine while writing this book. Unlike the crispy oatmeal cookies in 500 Low-Carb Recipes, these oatmeal cookies are chewy! You'll need some granular polyol sweetener to make these. I've used erythritol, and that's what I recommend -- it has both the lowest absorption rate and the least gastric effect of all of the polyols. If you can't get it locally -- I got it here in Bloomington, IN at Sahara Mart -- you can get erythritol and other polyols online. I know Carb Smart carries them --

About that coconut oil: Any grocery store that carries Asian foods should have it; look with the Indian stuff. If you can't find it there, try a health food store -- mine carries coconut oil, though they shelve it with the cosmetics, of all things. Important note: Your coconut oil must be solid when you use it for these cookies! It is solid at room temperature, but if you leave it on the stove, or your kitchen is quite hot, it may liquify. If it does, you'll have to refrigerate it till it's solid before you make cookies!

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 egg
1/2 cup polyol
1 cup splenda
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 275.

Put the raisins in a bowl, and pour the boiling water over them. Let them sit while you...

Use your electric mixer to beat the coconut oil, egg, polyol sweetener, Splenda, and blackstrap together until smooth and well-blended.

Okay, the raisins have been sitting in the hot water for five minutes -- dump the raisins and water, both, into your blender or food processor, and run until you have a coarse puree. Add this to the batter, and mix in well.

In another bowl, combine the vanilla whey, almond meal, rolled oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together, until ingredients are evenly distributed. Now, beat this mixture into the wet ingredients, adding about 1/3 of the dry ingredients at a time. When all the dry ingredients are incorporated, mix in the chopped pecans.

I scooped this with a cookie scoop -- like an ice cream scoop, only smaller; it holds 2 tablespoons of dough. So if you want to get about the same number of cookies I did (and about the same size) scoop the dough 2 tablespoonsful at a time. Put on cookie sheets you've sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and keep in mind they'll spread -- I fit about 10 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until just getting golden around the edges. Don't overbake, or they won't be chewy! Cool on wire racks.

35 cookies, each with 100 Calories; 6g Fat ; 8g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 4 grams usable carb.

I promise I'll get back to the ezine after I turn in this manuscript!


Posted by HoldTheToast at 07:54 PM

January 10, 2004

A Letter For My Canadian Readers

Regarding the Food Network show Low Carb Revolution I announced in the Special Notice, Chris in Toronto writes:

Hi Dana,

You may wish to pass on to your Canadian followers that Low Carb Revolution will appear on Food Network Canada as per the following email I got from them:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for contacting Food Network Canada. We appreciate your interest in The Low Carb Revolution. This program will air on January 25 at 10pm ET as part of our No More Excuses Marathon. The No More Excuses Marathon airs on Sunday, January 25 from 8 p.m. to midnight ET/PT. Other exciting programming includes:

Cooking Light: Making A Difference (Canadian Premiere) at 8 p.m. ET
Spa Chef Diet Challenge at 9 p.m. ET (Canadian Premiere)
Oliver's Twist: Health Kick (Canadian Premiere) at 11 p.m. ET
Cooking Thin: Elementary Eating (Canadian Premiere) at 11:30 p.m. ET

Thank you for taking the time to write to Food Network Canada. We hope you continue to enjoy our programming.


Viewer Relations
Food Network Canada
Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting Inc.

Thanks for letting me know, Chris! Consider the message passed on. Having watched Low Carb Revolution tonight, I can tell you it's terrific, and George Stella is gonna be a star.

Posted by HoldTheToast at 07:59 PM