Low Carb Down Under and carbs…

Second post in a week! What’s going on here? More exciting things to share, that’s what.

I had an opportunity to put my rusty public speaking skills to good use last weekend at the Low Carb Down Under Seminar series “What should we eat?”. I have written about it before and here is Jimmy Moore’s blog on his Aussie adventures. Today I just want to share my impressions on the event.

First off, I am sending my thanks to Dr Rod Tayler and Jamie Hayes for organising the event and inviting some excellent speakers and myself. I could not believe my eyes when I saw a packed conference room with a 200-strong eager crowd. Thank you all for  supporting the event. Here is a snippet of mine and Jamie’s talk courtesy Jimmy Moore. I understand that the full videos of all talks will be available at a later date.

The topic of my talk was somewhat tricky as I attempted to navigate murky waters between low carb and Paleo nutrition strategies. I may or may not have come up with my own definition of Paleo (everyone is hijacking that word, I might as well join the club!) and compromised on discussing the basics of evolutionary approach to health and disease.

BrisbaneTo be completely honest, I do not completely identify myself as “low carb” . On my very “Start here” page (more than 1.5 years ago) I wrote about my “meh” attitude to a rigid macronutrient ratio. I feel even stronger about this now. However, if you plug my diet into fitday.com I will definitely be in the low carb zone of 50-150g of carbohydrate a day. So it’s kinda low carb by default rather than by design.

In spite of the fact that the seminar itself was called LC and had the undisputed king of LC, Jimmy Moore, fronting the line-up, I did not get the impression of the narrow approach that we sometimes see pure low-carbers exhibit. The topics throughout Australia varied from environmental sustainability to oral health, from GAPS diet to the value of sleep. Jimmy himself is starting to turn more towards Paleo diet nowadays and I was delighted to hear of his health gains/weight loss recently (pardon the pun). I am not quite ready to dive into the nutritional ketosis debate just yet but I am wondering how much of his recent success is enhanced by better sleep (8-9 hrs up from 5hrs a night) and lean body mass gains due to his diet and strength training. Either way, Jimmy is a very passionate and genuine guy and I wish him all the best in health!

In fact, it was quite refreshing not to see arguments and petty disputes between various nutritional approaches. At least for now, we seem united in educating Australians in the value of REAL FOOD.

The word on the street is that the seminar may come back next year and I would definitely like to be a part of that. I would like to see a name change (sorry, Rod!) but maybe I am just being picky.

If you have not been able to make it to the Seminars (especially if you had recklessly decided to live in places like, say, Darwin) look out for the videos. On my part, I hope that our Whole9 South Pacific workshops will continue the trend for nutrition education in our region and build on this momentum.

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7 thoughts on “Low Carb Down Under and carbs…

  1. Pingback: Low Carb Down Under and carbs… | Paleo Digest

  2. I’ve been trying to figure out how to “eat healthy” for 35 years. Now that I understand some of the particulars about the omega-6 hazard, I’m reasonably confident that I’ve finally arrived. To be sure, there are still uncertainties regarding nutrient balance, nutrient adequacy, and food choice appropriateness. For example, there seems to be something in eggs that induces a persistent cough during the cold months when fresh, home-grown garden produce is not available. So, I’m setting up an indoor garden with an LED grow light array to supply my family with spinach, lettuce, and beet greens during the winter months. Meanwhile, I am not consuming eggs and my cough surfaces briefly only when my sugar intake rises a bit above normal. It’s the holiday season, you know.

    As far as I can tell, the omega-6 debate is getting essentially zero press coverage while the anti-saturated fat campaign continues to garner frequent headlines. It’s an amazing phenomenon when one considers the strength of the science(1) behind government dietary recommendations to replace saturated fats with omega-6 industrial seed oils(2). In the Paleo community I see an awareness of the omega-6 hazard but not all that much familiarity with the particulars(3,4). Still, the return to traditional fat consumption should eventually have a noticeable impact on morbidity and mortality for Paleo enthusiasts. Hopefully, the Nutrition Science Initiative will eventually sort things out and provide some definitive answers(5). Unfortunately, Gary Taubes and Peter Attia are focused mainly on carbohydrate restriction. They would do well to pay more attention to the omega-6 factor(6).

    A recent development that could have a significant positive impact on the public health involves the move, by edible oils interests, to make seed oils more closely resemble olive oil. Varieties of sunflower seed, soybean seed, and rape (canola) seed have been selectively bred to have high oleic acid content(7). Of course, it will be several years before the new high oleic oils fully replace traditional versions of omega-6 industrial seed oils. And it’s anyone’s guess as to the extent of the replacement in the world seed oil market(8).

    References
    1. http://www.docsopinion.com/2012/06/04/the-case-against-saturated-fat/
    2. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2010-releases/saturated-fat-polyunsaturated-fat-cut-heart-disease-risk.html
    3. http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/asbmbtoday_article.aspx?id=18365
    4. http://evilcyber.com/nutrition/disrobing-dogma-polyunsaturated-fat-and-health/
    5. http://garytaubes.com/2012/09/the-launch-of-the-nutrition-science-initiative/
    6. http://sciencenordic.com/vegetable-oils-promote-obesity
    7. http://eating-made-easy.com/2011/11/18/what-exactly-is-high-oleic-oil/
    8. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-09-28/news/0309270148_1_overweight-or-obese-women-were-overweight-south-africa?pagewanted=all

  3. I enjoyed that snippet of your presentation Anastasia and it’s left me wanting to hear the rest of it.
    I, too, think a name change for the series is a good idea. Ever since the backlash against low carb and the plethora of low carb products that hit the market 10 years ago, many have tried to put some distance between themselves and low carb. Jimmy seems to found what suits him for weightloss at this time and I’m pleased for him. Maybe he’ll have a cruise down around this area someday.
    All the best for your new venture and I look forward to attending one in Auckland one day.

  4. It sounds like the seminar in Brisbane went really well and I’m glad you and Jamie were able to be a part of it! I attended the Sydney one and am really, really glad that I went — I felt like I learnt a lot (even having been following LC/Paleo for almost 2 years and reading a lot of blogs regularly in that time) and also I felt inspired to see all these people so enthused to share their passion for this lifestyle. It was nice to sit in a crowd of likeminded people for a change, as well.
    Like you, I felt like it wasn’t just a focus on low-carb, nor was it people squabbling over minor differences in viewpoints — everyone, even with their different takes on things, was united in the desire to get people to eat Real Food.

    I still feel bad when I see dissent between the low carb and Paleo camps, though. I understand the backlash against “low carb” (and I understand that it has gotten a lot of bad press over the years) but I think LC and Paleo have much more in common than they do different, and certainly compared to any SAD! Atkins himself was primarily touting real foods as well (dropping wheat and sugar in favour of lots of nice veggies, and eating real meat and real butter). I think the diet/company has become corrupted over the years (hello, Atkins Bars) but the root concept remains, regardless of how the media interprets it. I know a LOT of LC people who are essentially eating Paleo or Primal, and many who’ve openly embraced it and follow “LC Paleo” or similar.

    Plus, I wouldn’t have found Paleo if it weren’t for low-carb (LC is where I started, mainly for weight loss like many other people, but then I found Paleo while researching WHY I had so many health benefits from it) so I’m certainly grateful for it! ;)

    I still don’t like being focused on any single macronutrient – I believe diet and lifestyle should be a holistic approach – but at the same time, through trial and error I’ve found that eating too many carbs, even veggie carbs (sweet potato, pumpkin etc) tends to makes me feel ill and gain weight quickly. So I still have to keep an eye on it. But I think that’s some of the beauty of this way of eating, too; recognizing that each of us is different and that we need to do what works for us, no matter what label it has. :)

    I’m excited for you guys to continue this sort of trend, and keep nutritional seminars going in Australia – plus if it’s Whole9, you can call it whatever you want. :D It was so exciting to sit in a room of nearly 300 people who were comfortable with and open to these ideas about nutrition and health, and I would love to do that again. And again. It’s not just for the learning, even though I really enjoyed that – it reminds me of what you guys have said about socialisation. And while I’m an introvert, and also lucky in that I live with my best friend who’s also Paleo, I don’t often get to socialise with other like-minded people. And I think it’s important!

  5. Enjoyed the snippet of your talk and looking forward to the rest. It’s great to see a balanced scientific/medical approach to this whole topic. I’m interested in the whole “paleo” approach to eating but sometimes find the evangelical tone of the debate in some areas off putting. Increasing the focus on quality of “real food” rather than ideology is constructive. All the best for the Whole9 South Pacific.

  6. Hi Anastasia
    I am just wondering if you can recommend any medical practitioners in Brisbane who are Paleo-friendly or at least not Paleo hostile?

    • Another question re Brisbane! Looks like Queenslanders are ahead of their doctors. No idea if there is anybody there for you, Katy. Check at Paleo.com.au, Suz compiles a list of practitioners, maybe some doctors there too. Sorry cannot help!

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