It's a dream come true to say that I will be attending TEDMED in Washington, DC this year. Some of the biggest names in medicine, science and technology from around the world will be there to speak, to listen, and to be inspired. I am going with a press pass as a writer for MedCrunch. It will be full days of learning, amazement and networking. Should be a good time.
VCU School of Medicine student research day. Can't believe there's only one more year of school. Hooray.
We are back from the American Society of Nutrition's Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition. It was a great conference with many accomplished and engaging speakers. Poster presentations were Friday night, and we had a lot of interested visitors. Overall, the concept of crowd sourced obesity research was held in high regard. People were very surprised that this model was feasible without any funding or financial incentives for study subjects to participate.
The current model of medical research is:
This model is highly inefficient, extremely expensive, and only enrolls subjects from the area. But are results on 100 people from Boston, MA really representative of people in Alabama or Australia?
Our philosophy is to turn this model on its head and attempt to study the entire developed world without any funding at all. Using the internet, basic programming skills and some creativity, we are very happy with the progress we've made thus far. Of course none of this would be possible it wasn't for the 3,100 selfless people from around the world who have sacrificed their time and anonymity (only if they request to be featured on the blog) in an effort to improve our understanding of obesity and health through carbohydrate restriction. We thank you all very much.
My Talk (link to video here) at the American Society of Bariatric Physician's Obesty & Associated Disease Symposium. It was given to a group of doctors, many of which treat their obese patients with a very low calorie diet. It is 15 minutes long, followed by 2 minutes of Q & A. For more on the conference, go here.
I am back form the American Society of Bariatric Physician's Obesty & Associated Disease Symposium. Initially I was unsure what to expect, but thanks to the amazing people I met the past two days, my experience was nothing short of spectacular. Even from the day before I arrived, I felt welcomed, as a member of the registry who has lost over 100 pounds on a low carb diet (story coming soon) sent me an incredibly gracious email assuring me that there are plenty of low carb friendly physicians who echo our beliefs at the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry (AWLR).
Thursday evening was the PhotoCalorie poster presentation, where I explained how we are trying to incorporate PhotoCalorie into Dietary Research, and replace the current gold standard of pen and paper. Right now the study subjects have to fill out their 3-day food record on self-selected days and fax or email it to the researchers, at which point the study dietitian, or more likely an unlucky graduate student, gets the opportunity to enter these paper food journals manually into the Nutritional Data System for Research (NDSR), which is an archaic nutrition software program with only 18,000 foods in it. This method is incredibly labor intensive, and only allows for self selected days to be assessed. Of course, the chance that people eat differently on the days they decide to fill out their food records is very high.
With PhotoCalorie, the study subjects would simply take pictures of their food and enter a description, separating each food by commas and multiplying each item by its respective portion size. This information then queries our nutrition database of 60,000 foods, and returns the nutrition information to the user and the researchers in real-time, totally eliminating the need for data entry all together. This also offers the researchers (or physicians using this in their private practice) a never-before-seen window into the actual eating behaviors of their subjects or patients, allowing them to visually confirm that the subject's description matches the portions depicted in the photo.
As I mentioned in a previous post, we are currently working with researchers out of Harvard Medical School to incorporate PhotoCalorie into their 5 year clinical trial, which to our knowledge is the first time in the history of dietary research that a photographic food journal is being used in a large study, and we are very excited about it!!
Friday was a full day of meeting doctors from around the world and learning about their new research. There are too many interesting people to name, but here are a few:
Dr. Jeffry Gerber, one of the experts on AWLR and a family doc in Denver who treats all his patients with low carbohydrate and paleo nutrition. He presented about food politics, the history of nutrition and agriculture, as well as the amazing success he has seen in his patients using low carb.
Dr. Keith Runyan, also an expert on the registry, and a nephrologist who uses low carbohydrate diets to treat his patients, as well as himself. He has an amazing story, being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in adulthood. Here is how he described his nutritional evolution towards paleo from his website:
"Ever since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus in 1998, the ADA has recommended a low fat diet in line with the dietary fat-heart disease hypothesis since heart and vascular disease is the most common cause of death of the diabetic patient. Specifically, a dietary intake of 50 - 60% of calories from carbohydrates (carbs) has been recommended, some of which may be simple sugars. In theory, I thought this seemed plausible, since the ADA recommended counting carbohydrate grams in the diet to be balanced with insulin, in my case, or other diabetes medications (for those with type 2 diabetes). However, after 2 years of weighing my food or otherwise calculating the grams of carbohydrates eaten with each meal, there was no significant improvement in blood sugar control and no improvement in the number or severity of hypoglycemic episodes (low blood sugars)...
I transitioned to this low carbohydrate ketogenic diet to address both of my issues, namely diabetes control and fueling endurance exercise with excellent results. My blood sugars are better controlled and hypoglycemia is quite unusual. I have had several blood sugar readings in the range of 46 to 60 mg/dl without any symptoms of hypoglycemia. Readings this low prior to the ketogenic diet would have caused symptoms of hypoglycemia. On the ketogenic diet, however, these symptoms are absent presumably due to the use of ketones by the body and brain. I am able to exercise with no apparent loss of energy or power while consuming relatively little sugar during exercise to prevent hypoglycemia. I measure my blood sugar while exercising usually every 60 - 90 mins or if I feel my blood sugar might be low. My blood tests have improved in the typical pattern seen on a ketogenic diet. Triglycerides decreased from an average of 76 to 65 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol increased from an average of 61 to 90 mg/dL, the triglyceride/HDL ratio decreased from 1.31 to 0.72, the calculated LDL cholesterol increased from an average of 103 to 162 mg/dL."
Dr. Eric Westman - The president elect of the ASBP, and the co-author of The New Atkins For a New You, was incredibly nice, invited me to dinner, and introduced me to tons of people.
Dr. Warren Willey - Bodybuilder turned osteopathic doctor, with a non-traditional skills and unmatched knowledge of how the foods you eat change your serum, urine, and saliva levels of hormones, metabolites and proteins.
Dr. George Bray - One of the biggest names in Obesity research in the world.
Ancestral Weight Loss Registry Talk
At 4:30, I spoke about AWLR and small portion of the data collected from the first 3,000 people who have registered from all 50. U.S. States and over 52 countries around the world.
There were hundreds and hundreds of amazing stories submitted, the majority of which followed a similar theme: What it was like eating a low fat, high carb diet, and how their lives changed once they switched over to a high fat, high protein, calorie unlimited diet.
In these thousands of stories, as soon as they switch over to a paleo diet, it's as if a hunger switch turns off in their brain. As one registry member describes it, "I tried it and the first day I walked around in a daze because I wasn't hungry or thinking about food."
This is likely a major contributor to why these people are losing such massive amounts of weight. They feel satisfied, happy, healthy, and as soon as they are hungry, they eat. Simple as that. It also likely explains why when people in clinical trials are told to eat a high fat high protein, calorie unlimited diet, they usually lose more weight.
The talk was recorded, and will be posted as soon as I receive it.
On Thursday morning, I am flying to Orlando, Florida to present PhotoCalorie and data from the registry to a big group of bariatric physicians at the American Society of Bariatric Physician's 62nd Obesity & Associated Conditions Symposium (PDF). I will be giving a poster presentation on Thursday evening on ways PhotoCalorie can be incorporated into dietary research, and a 15 minute talk on Friday about the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry.
From the looks of the final program, it seems like there will only be two presentations related to low carbohydrate diets: This one, and Dr. Jeffrey Gerber's talk. It will be interesting to see the responses I get as a medical student, especially from the doctors that have been treating their patients with low calorie diets for decades. Whether they applaud or throw tomatoes at me, it will be a memorable experience I'm sure.
The crowd-sourced research model that is the basis for this registry will surely be a change from the conventional, high cost, low efficiency studies that will be presented. While much of what I say will likely be controversial, I am just reporting what gets reported to me, in aggregated form. The sample size is approaching 3,000 people, representing all 50 U.S. states and over 52 countries around the world.
The talks will be recorded, and will be posted as soon as possible. In the mean time, you can follow the experience from our point of view on twitter: @AncestralWLR.