Wednesday, 29 February 2012

How care homes are blinding their residents.

Now that I have your full attention (!), care & nursing homes are not blinding them in the conventional sense. What's in the picture below?

I haven't the foggiest idea! I found the image using Google Image search and it's called blurry-1.jpg.

This is what the world looks like to residents who have either not been given their glasses, or who have been given their glasses but the lenses are filthy.

Mum's lenses were filthy this morning. I've written it in the book and informed the manager. Another lady has been at the home for ages and still doesn't have glasses, despite asking for them repeatedly. Her relatives didn't supply the home with any. This sort of thing makes me so mad!

Mum pays ~£1,000 a week to stay at this care home. It's well-run, but on mum's floor (severely disabled) during the day, there are 4 carers + 1 nurse for 18 residents. It takes 2 carers to bath or toilet a resident (my sister damaged her back and had to take early retirement, as there were no health & safety guidelines for lifting in her day) and there is a lot of paperwork.

EDIT: The care home is arranging for the lady whose relatives didn't supply the home with any glasses to get some, so it's not all bad news.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Discrimination is bad, mmmkay?

What do the following three images have in common? Images found with Google Image search.










They are all unable to fend for themselves or express how they feel. They all need a lot of care and attention and can be very demanding. The last two also have to be fed & toileted.

So why is it that the first two images make people go "Squeeeeeeee!" but the third one doesn't?

Is it because the first two images give you something to look forward to but the third one doesn't?

We're all going to end up old one day if we're "lucky". Just hope and/or pray that when you get there, you either have caring partners and/or relatives to look after you, or independent care for the elderly has improved a lot. I've seen things.

It's all in a day's work (as measured in Joules) Part 2.

Are you as aerobically-fit as this bloke?

Emmanuel Mutai made it a Kenyan double after winning the Virgin London Marathon in a new course record. Mutai's time of 2:04.38, beats the previous best of 2:05.10 set by Samuel Wanjiru in 2009 and also the fifth-fastest time ever.

I'll take it that's a "no", then.

Elite marathon runners have optimised their metabolisms to use the minimum possible amount of muscle glycogen as fuel. Muscle glycogen storage is limited to ~1,680kcals-worth (~420g of carb)*.
Supercompensation (depletion followed by 3 days of carb-loading) can increase this figure to ~720g*.
Fat storage can amount to ~35,000kcals-worth (~10lb of fat), even in a skinny Kenyan like Mutai.

A blogger called Thor Falk took the data from It's all in a day's work (as measured in Joules) and plotted it as a graph in Fat vs carb burning – a N=1 chart. Here's the graph:-

Even a super-fit Kenyan like Mutai burns some carbs when running at ~12.5 miles per hour. The less fit that somebody is, the more the first corner in the blue plot moves down and to the left. This results in more carbs being burned at energy consumption levels more than the first corner. This depletes muscle glycogen stores faster, resulting in "hitting the wall" (running out of muscle glycogen) sooner.

Muscles that are depleted of glycogen are more insulin-sensitive than muscles that have more glycogen, therefore the less aerobically-fit somebody is, the sooner their muscles become insulin-sensitive when they exercise.

*Assuming 20kg of muscle (Lore of Running P104)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Zero medications.

As mentioned in Both Sides Now: Medications, some medications are essential, as they are hormones that the body can no longer produce for itself due to glandular dysfunction. Other medications act as dietary supplements. It's the medications that change how the body works which can cause problems.

Due to prostatitis, I had been prescribed the alpha-adrenoreceptor blocker Tamsulosin Hydrochloride at a dose of 400ug/day. This reduces constriction of sphincter muscles in the urethra, which alleviates urinary retention. However, it also affects arterioles, the iris in the eye, veins, the stomach, the intestines, male sex organs, the skin, the liver, pancreatic Acini & Islet (beta) cells, fat cells and salivary cells.

I stopped taking Tamsulosin and have had no problems weeing, so the prostatitis has gone. I'm now taking zero medications that change how my body works.

So eating less and moving more does have benefits.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Cheapest Vitamin D3 yet.

A big thank you to Ted Hutchinson (the chap who got me interested in Vitamin D in 2007) for bringing Vitacost to my attention. Their own-brand 5,000iu Vitamin D3 mini gelcaps product is somewhat cheaper than the Healthy Origins product that I've been using ($12.99 vs $14.99). Click http://www.vitacost.com/Referee?wlsrc=rsReferral&ReferralCode=3320491 when creating a Vitacost account, to get $10 discount on orders over $30.

As imports are liable to VAT + handling charges (usually £8) if the value exceeds £15, the lower price means that I can order two pots of 365 Mini Gels for less than £15.

P&P is slightly more expensive at $7.99 vs $4. Delivery takes about two weeks.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

How care homes are starving their residents to death.

Now that I have your full attention (!), care & nursing homes give their residents plenty to eat & drink, so they are not starving them to death in the conventional sense.

So, what am I talking about? Clue:- UVB cannot penetrate window glass.

I'm talking about Vitamin D starvation.

At this time of year, care home residents are dying like flies. My sister (who worked in a care home years ago) told me that this is normal. Three died at mum's care home in the same week recently. All of the residents have one thing in common. They're all pale.

Old people feel the cold, so if they do go outside between March and September, they're covered from head to toe in clothes. They synthesise minimal Vitamin D in their skins for their bodies to store. Then, between September and March, their bodies use up those stores. Vitamin D levels decay exponentially , with a half-life of about 60 days. As Vitamin D levels fall, the risk of getting viral infections greatly increases, mood worsens, aches and pains worsen, blood glucose control worsens, the risk of getting cancer greatly increases. Need I go on?

As Dr. Richard M. Cooper (Private GP, Harley Street) pointed out, ALL of his patients were low in Vitamin D and they were active people who could go outdoors. Many care home residents can't go outdoors. They can get a paltry 400iu Vitamin D from an Adcal-D3 chewable tablet, but they're huge things that taste like sweetened chalk and cause constipation (mum hated them).

Death by Vitamin D starvation is a long, drawn-out process that reduces the quality & length of life for care home residents. Something needs to be done about it. All care home residents should have their serum Vitamin D levels tested and be given Vitamin D3 accordingly. I have broached this subject with the manager of mum's care home.

Mum's on 5,000iu/day of Vitamin D3. Although she is now fairly non compos mentis, she still smiles a lot and laughs at my dreadful jokes. She is also infection-free.

Here's the transcript of a YouTube video that's since been removed.
"At this care home, they're proud of their varied menu. Even so, the Government recommends supplements for the over 65's as well as children under 3 and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. But health charities are demanding clearer guidelines and better advice. Because research into Vitamin D deficiency has revealed associations with all sorts of conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and even some cancers."

Dr Carrie Ruxton (Award-winning dietitian and health writer. Media commentator on diet, food and nutrition issues. Advisor to the food industry and government) said:-
"What I think the Government should do is promote its own policies. It had a policy for years to recommend Vitamin D supplementation for vulnerable groups, like elderly, housebound and pregnant & lactating women and children but at the moment, that's not being done. In my own example, I was pregnant twice and nobody told me to take Vitamin D supplements."

This is unacceptable. As the manager at mum's care home is not responsible for the residents' supplementation, I will be taking this up with the MP for the area.

Update: I spoke to the nurse on Friday 2nd March about mum's medical history. Before Vitamin D3, mum had a Urinary Tract Infection in the previous 9 months. Since Vitamin D3, mum has had no medical problems and she has been happy & contented. Her serum Vitamin D level is in the normal range.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

You can’t please all of the people...

...all of the time. I see that I've lost a few followers recently. I guess some of my recent posts have been too controversial. The triple-whammy of bad things that happened last year (and which sent me into several months of depression) have all been resolved and my mood is now very positive.

I don't write posts to gain followers. I'm not trying to start a new religion. I write in order to dump my thoughts to hard copy so that I can go over them and also so that you can critique them.

I've just added Food Politics to my blog list. Marion Nestle writes about it, so I don't have to.

Oh no, not again!

Today's title is a quote from Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".



There seems to be a lot of hysteria & worry around the Internet.

Oh, noes! They took away her lunch-box (they didn't)! Her lunch-box! That's crap!

Oh, noes! They made her eat chicken nuggets (they didn't)! Chicken nuggets! That's crap!

Oh, noes! They made her eat a portion of grain! A portion of grain! That's crap!

Oh, noes! They wanted to give her a carton of skimmed milk! Skimmed milk! That's crap!

Oh, noes! They wanted to give her a carton of chocolate milk! Chocolate milk! That's crap!

Is there too much fat in this Guacamole?

Is there too much omega-6 in this pork?

Is there too much BPA in this bottled water?

And so on...

Firstly, chicken nuggets, grains, skimmed milk and chocolate milk are not crap. They're not perfect, but they're far better than chocolate/candy bars and fizzy drinks.

Schools act in loco parentis, so they are not going to feed the children crap. USDA guidelines are nowhere near perfect, but children who aren't humongously fat are metabolically-flexible. Therefore, whether they eat carbohydrates or fats, their bodies will burn them. If a child has been diagnosed with Coeliac disease, they won't be given gluten grains (unless the school wants to get sued).

Eat some carbs, dammit. See Why I Ditched Low Carb.

To quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy again, DON'T PANIC! The dose makes the poison. Dietary fructose is used by the liver to make blood glucose to run red blood cells & the brain. A non-keto-adapted brain uses ~140g/day of glucose. Therefore, in the absence of any other dietary carbohydrates, a child could eat 100g/day of fructose, or 200g/day of sucrose without harm. Obviously, other carbohydrates are being eaten, so the amount of fructose that can be eaten without harm is probably ~50g/day, or ~100g/day of sucrose, or ~90g/day of HFCS55.

Warning, irony alert. So, light up a large spliff and chill a bit! Here's a song to help.



EDIT: Worrying about "X" may be worse for you than "X" itself, due to the adverse effect of chronically-elevated cortisol.

Friday, 17 February 2012

O.K. people. Move along. There's nothing to see here.



Certain bloggers have been getting themselves and their readers aerated over the story of the USDA taking away a four year old girl's packed lunch and making her eat chicken nuggets instead.

What actually happened...

NC school: Teacher's mistake at school lunch led to upset calls of government meddling and A North Carolina Non-Troversy?

Somebody cocked-up. That's all. O.K. people. Move along. There's nothing to see here. See also Bias, Part 2.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Bias, Part 2.

I know what I like! Here's Genesis from their "Seconds Out" concert.



If you like/trust somebody/some organisation, they can do no wrong. Everything that they say/do is interpreted in the best possible light.

If you dislike/distrust somebody/some organisation, they can do no right. Everything that they say/do is interpreted in the worst possible light.

I like/trust people. I give people the benefit of the doubt. Three strikes and they're out, though! Ditto for tradespeople and small businesses. To minimise the chance of getting ripped-off, I use personal recommendations and sites like http://www.checkatrade.com/

I don't dislike large organisations, but I don't trust them. I consider big businesses to be soulless money-making machines, and governments to be incompetent and/or corrupt (to varying degrees) people-ruling machines.

This post is also about arguments on the internet. My plea is this:-
Please support your likes/trusts and dislikes/distrusts with evidence if at all possible. If you want to get rid of something that you dislike/distrust, please suggest a workable alternative.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Does it really matter?

I mean, does it really matter exactly how & why low-carb diets work? My thoughts...



There's a lot of in-fighting on the internet about low-carb & paleo diets etc. Which is "best", exactly how they work and so on. I don't believe that there is a best diet. Everyone is different (in genetics, environment, activity etc). To boil it down to the basics:-

1) Eat real food that hasn't been buggered-about with too much. Grains that have had the outer husk removed (e.g. white rice) are O.K. Grains that have been rolled flat or inflated to a large size by heating to >100°C are O.K. Grains that have been ground into dust are not O.K.

2) If eating "X" causes you problems, stop eating "X". If certain proteins cause you problems, you either have a genetic condition (e.g. coeliac disease) or excessive gut permeability. The first isn't fixable but the second may be. If certain carbohydrates cause you problems, you either have a genetic problem or insulin resistance. The first isn't fixable but the second may be.

The real enemy here is the food manufacturers. They don't want people to stop eating their highly-profitable Crap-in-a-Bag/Box/Bottle (CIAB), as it's bad for business. They also influence Governments. So let's stop fighting amongst ourselves and attack the real enemy any way that we can. Lead by example.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Vitamin D video.

By Dr. Richard M. Cooper (Private GP, Harley Street). Thanks to Dexter Yard for posting this on my Facebook wall.

Part 1


Part 2


N.B. In the UK, the normal level for serum Vitamin D is 75 to 200nmol/L, not International Units (IU). Divide by 2.5 to convert to ng/mL.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

How did we get to where we are today?

Uh-oh. Here comes another political post. But first...


Someone (now dead) wrote "You tend to get what you accept". In a democracy, it's more a case of "You tend to get what the majority accept". Why did the majority accept things that took away their freedom? Adam Curtis has a few ideas (surprise, surprise!)

1) The state promised prosperity through rationality, science and technology.


2) The state manipulated history and our memories.


3) The state promised happiness through consumerism and by giving us what we wanted.


4) The state got us to give away our freedom by scaring the shit out of us.


5) The state exploited our natural distrust and selfishness.


Enjoy the dream.


So yeah, I know what the state (aided and abetted by big business) got/gets up to to keep the "peace".

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Lessons in life.

I'm writing this, as I'm having a bitter argument with somebody. First, a music video.



At low population densities, humans are social, as mutual co-operation favours survival. Humans naturally form groups of about 150. At low population densities, anarchy works - for a while. However, inevitably, somebody starts cheating on somebody else. Cheating is beneficial to the cheater (until they get caught) and detrimental to the cheated. Cheaters may be physically punished, or evicted.

Nowadays, we have purpose-built places to which we evict cheaters. I know that modern-day prisons also contain people who have broken pointless laws.

As population density increases, unrest increases. There are power struggles & disputes.
In male-dominated societies, disputes are resolved by violence and murder.

In female-dominated societies, disputes are resolved by sex. N.B. Scenes of violence, murder and sex.

I know which society I'd prefer.

As population density increases, an increasing percentage of the population are antisocial.
EDIT: As population heterogeneity increases, an increasing percentage of the population are antisocial, due to group snobbery.

In the US, there is a high population density, also high heterogeneity. What do you think will happen if US citizens (who are free to carry guns) are left to run themselves? See 2012 - 2013 Violent Welfare Riots/ Looting spread across America - Gun confiscation in major cities. I predict rioting, looting and carnage.

In the UK, there is a very high population density, also high heterogeneity. What do you think will happen if UK citizens are left to run themselves? See UK - London Riots, BBC News: "Andy, we'll leave it there". I predict rioting & looting.

Rioting & looting are bad for business and are therefore not allowed.

I believe it's a sad fact of human nature that large, dense, human populations need to be controlled.

Bias.

All lies and jest. Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. Here's a lovely song by Simon & Garfunkel.



I watched the Paranoia video from my last post a few times and I couldn't help but notice how balanced it was. The Labour party (Roy Jenkins) was praised, the Conservative party (Margaret Thatcher) was praised and capitalists (Rupert Murdoch) were praised. Nixon's politics were never mentioned. He was simply power-mad. The more power/influence/money that someone has, the more they have to lose and therefore the more distrustful & paranoid they become.

Since the Hutton Inquiry, the BBC has bent over backwards to appear balanced and impartial. There's probably still bias in it, but I can't see it. That's because I'm biased!

I see a lot of Confirmation bias. There are various theories out there which try to explain the recent huge rise in rates of obesity and morbid obesity, as these conditions are occurring in ever-younger people. Morbid obesity in childhood is a disaster, as it leads to fat mass hyperplasia, (rather than fat mass hypertrophy), which leads to hypoleptinaemia when significant fat mass is lost and a lifetime of low metabolic rate & excessive hunger.

There's Taubes' (Wrong) Insulin & Carbohydrate Theory Of Obesity, which makes the acronym TWICHOO.

There's Guyenet's Food Reward Theory Of Obesity, which doesn't make an acronym.

There are opposing camps of people who believe that one theory is right and the other is wrong, and they cherry-pick evidence to "prove" it. However, the two theories are not mutually exclusive. I believe that refined carbohydrates (and thus insulin) have a large influence on fat mass in people with poor blood glucose control, due to roller-coaster blood glucose & insulin levels causing lethargy and subsequent overeating. I believe that food reward has a large influence on fat mass, due to it causing overeating.

That's why I'm in favour of REAL food diets, as they reduce both blood glucose & insulin fluctuations and food reward. Please note that reward is not the same thing as deliciousness. Fries/chips aren't delicious but they are moreish. Real foods can be delicious without being moreish.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Rants and rambles.

It's Friday and time to "get it off my chest".

I'm not over-keen on snobbish, conceited people and blustering bullies. However, I'll still link to their blogs and they'll always be free to leave comments on mine.

I know that I can seem like a pseudointellectual at times. I rely on Google & Wikipedia to fill-in the gaps in my knowledge (which are many). I forget a lot of stuff, as my memory ain't what it used to be. I also have trouble comprehending complicated concepts, as my mental faculties ain't what they used to be. Even nostalgia ain't what it used to be! If I write something and you think that I haven't thought it through properly, please let me know. I run this blog so that I can put my thoughts down in writing. If you learn something from them, good.

I moderate comments to eliminate the clutter of "This comment has been removed by a blog administrator", but mainly to slow down the rate of comments to a value that I can cope with. I couldn't cope with a flood of comments should I write something controversial.

I censor as a last resort (e.g. Razwell's long, rambling comments containing insults and excessive SHOUTING).

I hope that you all have a nice weekend.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Why have we all become paranoid weirdos?

Except for you & me, and I'm not too sure about you!

Please note: "Why have we become increasingly distrustful and afraid?" is far more accurate, but nowhere near as attention-grabbing.

Adam Curtis has a few ideas.



For more Adam Curtis videos, see http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=videos&search_query=%22Adam+Curtis%22

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Politics - Bleurgh!

Just recently, I've been lying in my bed, thoughts running through my head. This always happens when I come out of a long period of depression. Here's a nice song from Robbie Williams.



When I started this blog, I made a decision to not discuss politics & religion, as they are about beliefs rather than evidence (I don't believe in angels, by the way). However...

Governments influence what we eat & drink with "Healthy Eating" guidelines.
Governments influence what we eat & drink with subsidies & taxes.
I therefore need to discuss politics.

In an ideal world:-
Governments discourage people & organisations from doing harm.
Governments discourage people & organisations from being A-holes (IMO), as A-holes make the world a worse place to live in for everyone.

In the real world:-
Governments are influenceable.
More money = more influence.
Crap-in-a-Bag/Box/Bottle (CIAB) makers make humongous profits turning cheap (and often heavily-subsidised) crops into CIAB. They have loads of money.
Fat people eat more CIAB than thin people. More fat people = increased profits.
See where this is going?

Governments do bad things. I'm not under any illusions. Governments also do good things.
I believe that greed & corruption in government is the problem, not government itself. How to solve the problem of greed & corruption in government? Answers on a postcard, please.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

What I believe and what I don't.

First, some soothing music...


I've been getting into arguments on the Internet again! People assume that I believe certain things and "put words in my mouth". As we all know, assume makes an ass out of u and me. I am therefore "laying my cards on the table", so that you have no excuse for being ignorant.

I believe that human beings are extremely complicated creatures both physiologically and psychologically. Our weights are influenced by a humongous number of factors, some of which I have listed below.


Physiology

Calories count (but don't bother counting them)! If we eat more than we burn, we store the excess in fat mass, muscle glycogen & liver glycogen. If we eat less than we burn, we draw the deficit from fat mass & liver glycogen (and sometimes muscle mass). Insulin is involved in the storage of stuff, as is acylation stimulating protein (ASP).

Moving too little makes our skeletal muscle insulin resistant, as inactive muscles have virtually zero requirement for glucose and fatty acids, so they down-regulate the uptake of them. See also The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women.

Eating too much & moving too little has nothing to do with gluttony & sloth.

Our weights are regulated by our brains, which are influenced by a large number of hormones & chemicals, including insulin. There is no "set point" weight.

In the winter, when it's cold and dark, we eat more, sleep more and move less so we gain body fat. Subcutaneous fat acts as heat insulation, so having more of it in the winter makes sense.

Our weights can be affected by water balance, which is controlled by our kidneys.

How much of a particular food we eat is influenced by reward. Some foods are rather moreish, as we say in the UK, due to excessive reward. Deliciousness and moreishness are not the same thing. Reward theory and set-point theory are not the same thing.

Rapidly-falling blood glucose level in the normal range can stimulate appetite. I have had personal experience of this on three occasions where my blood glucose level was being monitored. As eating a load of high-glycaemic carbohydrates can result in rapidly-falling blood glucose later-on, this is a good reason to not overeat refined carbohydrates.


Psychology

The exercise paradox. Exercise decreases appetite*. So, why do some people eat more when they exercise more? See Normal Weight Men and Women Overestimate Energy Expenditure – Research Review and Discrepancy between self-reported and actual caloric intake and exercise in obese subjects.

*If exercise increases your appetite, there may be a reason for this. See Move More: Solutions to problems.

The diet paradox. People think that eating a healthy food with an unhealthy food reduces the calories, discussed in detail in The Dieter’s Paradox – Research Review.

Manipulating the masses is easier than you think.

The Coolidge Effect applies to food as well as sex. Eating the same food at every meal gradually reduces reward to zero, no matter how moreish it may be, initially. This is how the Potato diet works.


I often leave concise comments on blogs. Just because I may not mention "X", "Y" or "Z" doesn't mean that I consider "X", "Y" or "Z" to be irrelevant. I may also go on a bit. I'm a nerd!

If I disagree with your point of view, I'll try to tease more information out of you (or I may tease you just for fun). The more I disagree with your point of view, the more I'll tease. If I utterly abhor something you stand for, I'll tease you mercilessly!