Tag Archives: Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Is Insulin the Reason You’re Always Hungry?

So easy to over-eat!

So easy to over-eat! Is it the insulin release?

No, insulin probably isn’t the cause of constant hunger, according to Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Dr. G gives 11 points of evidence in support of his conclusion. Read them for yourself. Here are a few:

  • multiple brain-based mechanisms (including non-insulin hormones and neurotransmitters) probably have more influence on hunger than do the pure effect of insulin
  • weight loss reduces insulin levels, yet it gets harder to lose excess weight the more you lose
  • at least one clinical study (in 1996) in young healthy people found that foods with higher insulin responses were linked to greater satiety, not greater hunger
  • billions of people around the world eat high-carb diets yet remain thin

An oft-cited explanation for the success of low-carbohydrate diets involves insulin, specifically the lower insulin levels and reduced insulin resistance seen in low-carb dieters. They often report less trouble with hunger than other dieters.

Here’s the theory. When we eat carbohydrates, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high as we digest the carbohydrates. Insulin drives the bloodstream sugar (glucose) into cells to be used as energy or stored as fat or glycogen. High doses of refined sugars and starches over-stimulate the production of insulin, so blood sugar falls too much, over-shootinging the mark, leading to hypoglycemia, an undeniably strong appetite stimulant. So you go back for more carbohydrate to relieve the hunger induced by low blood sugar. That leads to overeating and weight gain.

Read Dr. Guyenet’s post for reasons why he thinks this explanation of constant or recurring bothersome hunger is wrong or too simplistic. I tend to agree with him on this.

The insulin-hypoglycemia-hunger theory may indeed be at play in a few folks. Twenty ears ago, it was popular to call this “reactive hypoglycemia.” For unclear reasons, I don’t see it that often now. It was always hard to document that hypoglycemia unless it appeared on a glucose tolerance test.

Regardless of the underlying explanation, low-carb diets undoubtedly are very effective in many folks. That’s why I offer one as an option in my Advanced Mediterranean Diet. And low-carbing is what I always recommend to my patients with carbohydrate intolerance: diabetics and prediabetics.

Steve Parker, M.D.

front cover

front cover

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

front cover

front cover

Recipe: Bacon Bit Brussels Sprouts

Bacon Bit Brussels Sprouts

Bacon Bit Brussels Sprouts

You can incorporate this meal into the Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, or Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet since I provide the nutritional analysis below.

A while back I posted a meal recipe for Bacon Brussels Sprouts to accompany Brian Burgers. To make it a little more convenient, I’ve substituted off-the-shelf real bacon bits instead of frying my own bacon. I traded olive oil for the bacon grease. The two versions taste very similar.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

It took 10 minutes of chopping to shred the sprouts

Ingredients:

1 lb (454 g) Brussels sprouts, raw, shredded (slice off and discard the bases first)

4 tbsp (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

5 tbsp (75 ml or 35 g real bacon bits or crumbles (e.g., by Hormel or Oscar Mayer)

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)

1/8 (0.6 ml) tsp salt

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) ground black pepper

3 tbsp (45 ml) water

Instructions:

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Steaming in progress

You’ll be steaming this in a pan with a lid. Put the garlic and olive oil in a pan and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes to release the flavor of the garlic. Add the water to the pan and let it warm up for a half a minute or so on medium-high heat. Then add the shredded sprouts and cover with the lid. After a minute on this medium-high heat, turn it down to medium. The sprouts will have to cook for only 4–6 minutes. Every minute, shake the pan to keep contents from sticking. You might need to remove the lid and stir with a spoon once, but that lets ourtyour steam and may prolong cooking time. The sprouts are soft when done. Then remove from heat, add the bacon bits, salt, and pepper, then mix thoroughly.

When time allows, I’d like to experiment with this by leaving out the bacon and using various spices instead. Do you know what goes well with Brussels sprouts?

Number of Servings: 3 (1 cup or 240 ml each)

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 2 veggie, 1.5 fat

71% fat

19% carbohydrate

10% protein

270 calories

14 g carbohydrate

6 g fiber

8 g digestible carbohydrate

328 mg sodium

646 mg potassium

Prominent feature: High in vitamin C (over 10o% of your RDA)

diabetic diet, low-carb diet, paleobetic diet

Brian burger and bacon Brussels sprouts

Recipe: Chicken Avocado Soup

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Avocados in soup? Yeah, I was skeptical, too. But it works amazingly well. Since I provide the nutritional analysis below, you can easily work this into the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, Paleobetic Diet, or Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

Ingredients

1.5 lb (680 g) boneless skinless chicken breast

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

1 cup (240 ml) chopped green onions

1/2 jalapeno pepper (or 1 or 2 peppers if you wish), seeded and minced (use the seeds, too, if you want it very spicy hot)

2 roma tomatoes (5 oz or 140 g), seeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

60 oz (1,700 g) low-sodium chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste (nutritional analysis below assumes no salt added)

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground cumin

1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped cilantro

3 tbsp (45 ml) fresh lime juice (2 limes should be enough)

3 medium California avocados, peeled, seeded, and cubed

Instructions

Heat up the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the green onions and jalapeño; sauté until tender (1–2 minutes) then add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so. Next into the pot goes the chicken broth, cumin, tomatoes, chicken breasts, and optional salt and pepper. If adding salt, I’d wait until just before serving: taste it and then decide if it needs salt. Bring to a boil with high heat, then reduce heat but keep it boiling, covering with a lid while the chicken cooks through-out. Cooking time depends on thickness of the breasts and may be 15 to 45 minutes. When done, it should be easy to shred with a fork. Turn the heat down to low or warm then remove the chicken breasts and allow them to cool for 5–10 minutes. When cool enough, shred the chicken with your fingers and return it to the pot. Add the cilantro. Ladle 1.5 cups (355 ml) into a bowl, add one fifth or sixth of the avocado cubes (half of an avocado) and the juice of 1/4 to 1/2 lime. Enjoy!

IMG_2233

Serving size: 1.5 cup of soup plus 1/2 of an avocado

Servings per Batch: 5

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 1 veggie, 1 fat, 1 protein

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

43 % fat

13 % carbohydrate

44 % protein

350 calories

12 g carbohydrate

8 g fiber

4 g digestible carb

638 mg sodium

1,180 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, selenium; plus a fair amount of fiber

PS: You can fancy this up just before serving by adding a couple large triangular corn tortilla chips (broken into a few bits) or half of a 6-inch (15 cm) corn tortilla (first, microwave for 20 seconds, then break into a bits). Both items each add 5 g of digestible carbohydrate; the tortilla chip option adds 60 calories and the corn tortilla adds 25 calories. Shredded cheese might be a nice topper, too.

 

Recipe: Cabbage Soup

This version of cabbage soup isn’t a powerhouse in any one particular nutrient but provides a fair amount of zinc, protein, and vitamins A, B12, and C. A serving of this only has 9 grams of digestible carbohydrate, so you can easily fit it into diabetic diets or ketogenic diets. If you’re a constipated, a bowl or two of cabbage soup may get things moving, thanks to raffinosepaleo diet, Steve Parker MD, cabbage soup

Plan well in advance because this takes a while to cook

Ingredients:

  • water, 4 quarts (3.8 L)
  • parsley, fresh, to taste (3 or 4 sprigs)
  • stew meat (beef), raw, 8 oz (230 g)
  • pepper, to taste (1/4 tsp or 1.2 ml)
  • salt, to taste (1.5 tsp or 8.4 mL) (don’t use this much if on a low-sodium diet)
  • tomato sauce, canned, 4 fl oz (120  ml)
  • carrot, raw, large (4.5 oz or 130 g), peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) thick discs
  • cabbage, green, raw, 1/2 of a small one (whole one weighs about 2 lb or 900 g), rinsed, cored, then sliced into quarters or smaller
  • fresh lemon (optional)

Instructions:

Add raw meat to the water in a large pot and boil gently for 30 minutes. Then add tomato sauce, carrot, salt, pepper, parsley, and cabbage. Bring to boil over medium heat and them simmer for 45 minutes.

If it’s too bland for you, add a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Or as a last resort, add some beef bouillon cube or powder.

Servings:

Makes four servings of 2 cups each (475 ml).

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 1 veggie, 1/2 fat, 1/2 protein

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

  • 46% fat
  • 23% carbohydrate
  • 31% protein
  • 200 calories
  • 12 g carbohydrate
  • 3 g fiber
  • 9 g digestible carb
  • 1,200 mg sodium
  • 495 mg potassium
  • Prominent features: see first paragraph

PS: Nutritional analysis done at FitDay.com.

Frozen Fruit Smoothie #2: Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Banana, Chia Seeds, and Kale

 

Similar to an Icee, but healthier for you

Similar to an Icee, but more healthful

Try this for dessert instead of calorie-laden items like pie, cake, cookies, and ice cream. Unlike this smoothie, those aren’t very nutrient-dense, either. This smoothie is equivalent in calories to four Oreo cookies which are predominantly sugar and flour.

Since I provide the nutritional analysis below, you can easily incorporate this into the Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

At the Parker Compound, we mix this in a Vitamix. Other devices may work, but I’m not familiar with them.

It's all here

It’s all here

Ingredients

1 cup (240 ml) frozen raspberries

1/2 cup (120 ml) frozen blueberries

1 cup (240 ml) frozen strawberries

1 frozen banana (7 inches or 18 cm), cut into 3–4 pieces

1 tbsp (13 g) chia seeds

1 handful (1/2 ounce?) raw kale

2.5 cups (590 ml) water

1 cup (240 ml) ice cubes

Instructions

First item into the Vitamix is the water, then banana, all berries, chia seeds, then top off with the ice. Start mixing on variable speed 1 then slowly increase spin rate to 10, for a total mix of 45–60 seconds. Soon after you get started you’ll probably have to use the “plunger” a few times to un-clump the top items.

Loaded and ready to spin

Loaded and ready to spin

Depending on your batch of fruits, this drink may not be as sweet as you like. You could easily sweeten it up with your favorite artificial non-caloric sweetener. I used 1.5 tsp (7.5 ml) of Truvia to good effect, just thrown in with every thing else before or after the primary mix. Or you could use table sugar, about 4 tsp (20 ml), instead of the Truvia. Most of us eat too much sugar. If you go the sugar route, you’ll increase the calories per serving by 15, and increase carbohydrate grams by 4 per serving.

My able assistant wields the plunger

My able assistant wields the plunger

Number of Servings: 3.5 servings of 12 fl oz (350 ml) each

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 2 and 1/2 fruits

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

7% fat

90% carbohydrate

3% protein

190 calories

46 g carbohydrate

7 g fiber

39 g digestible carbohydrate

5 mg sodium

290 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in vitamin C, fair amount of fiber, homeopathic amounts of sodium

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I credit my wife with this recipe.

IMG_2197

 

How Many Years Does Obesity Cut From Lifespan?

Are you tired of this stock photo yet?

Are you tired of this stock photo yet?

MedPageToday has the details. A quote:

In a computer modeling study, very obese men lost just over 8 years of life compared with normal-weight men, and very obese women lost as many as 6 years, Steven Grover, PhD, of McGill University, and colleagues reported online in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

They also found that very obese men and women (defined as a body mass index [BMI] of 35 and higher) lost about 19 years of healthy life, defined as living free of chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Note that “very obese” in this context has a specific definition: body mass index 35 or higher. Calculate yours.

The number of life years lost to obesity and disease were highest for those who were very obese in young adulthood and presumably stayed obese for years. In other words, becoming very obese at age 60 is not as dangerous as at 25.

I first got interested in weight loss in the 1990s when I had an office-based primary care medical practice. It was obvious that many of the medical problems I was treating were related to years of obesity. Believe me, you’re much better off preventing those problems via diet and exercise.

In the 1990’s, both Dr. Dean Ornish’s vegetarian diet and Dr. Robert Atkins low-carb diet were very popular, and you couldn’t find any two diets that were more polar opposites. And do you remember Susan Powter and her “Stop the Insanity” diet? My desire to lead my patients onto the right path resulted in the first edition of my Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

Click for The Lancet study abstract.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Brian Burgers With Brussels Sprouts, Tomato, and Pistachios

diabetic diet, low-carb diet, paleobetic diet

Brian burger and bacon Brussels sprouts

Here’s another meal recipe from my stepson. We put it together originally for a low-carb diet, such as the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet. But since I provide the nutritional analysis below, it also works with the Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

This makes three servings. You’ll want to make the Bacon Brussels Sprouts to serve with other meals, so I’ve provided an additional nutritional analysis for those alone. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

13 oz (370 g) ground beef, 85% lean

1/2 tbsp (7.5 ml) Tessemae’s All Natural Dressing-Marinade-Dip “Southwest Ranch,” or A1 Steak Sauce or balsamic vinaigrette or AMD vinaigrette (Brian recommends the Tessemae’s Dressing)

1.7 oz (50 g) onion, diced coarse or fine

1 garlic clove, diced

1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) paprika

1–2 pinches of salt (pinch = 1/16 tsp)

pepper to taste (a pinch or 2?)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) dried rosemary, crumbled or crushed

1/2 large egg, whisked to blend white and yolk

3 oz (85 g) lettuce

1 lb (450 g) Brussels sprouts (cut and discard bases if desired, probably doesn’t matter),   shredded

8 oz (225 g) bacon (6.5 regular (not thick) 8-inch strips), diced

3 tbsp (45 ml) water

1.5 large tomatoes, sliced

4.5 oz pistachio nuts

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Prepping the bacon; use a sharp knife

Instructions:

First cook the bacon in a pan over medium–high heat until done. Don’t discard the grease.

Next do your Brussels sprouts prep (shredding). It will take a few minutes to shred it with a knife. Set those aside.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Brian slaving away. Thanks, dude!

Start on the burgers now. Place the ground beef in a bowl then add your chosen sauce or vinaigrette, onion, egg, garlic, paprika, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand. Divide the mess into three patties of equal size. Fry or grill over medium heat until done, about 10 minutes.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Steaming in progress

As soon as the burgers are plopped on the heat, start steaming the shredded sprouts thusly. Take a pan with a lid, add 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the bacon grease and the 3 tbsp of water, then heat that up for a minute or two over medium to high heat. Then throw in the shredded sprouts, salt and pepper to taste (probably unnecessary), and cover with a lid. Immediately reduce heat to medium and cook for 4–6 minutes. The sprouts will soften up as they cook. Gently shake the pot every minute while steaming to prevent contents from sticking to the pan. If necessary, remove the lid and stir while cooking, but this may increase your cooking time since you release hot steam whenever you remove the lid. When the sprouts are done, remove from heat and add the remaining bacon and bacon grease, then blend.

Bacon has been added and blended after the sprouts are cooked

Bacon has been added and blended in after the sprouts are cooked

Serve the burger on a bed of lettuce (1 0z). Enjoy tomato and pistachios on the side. Serving sizes are below.

Number of Servings: 3 (one burger patty, 1 oz (30 g) lettuce, 1 cup (240 ml) of sprouts, 1/2 tomato or a third of all the slices, 1.5 oz (40 g) pistachio nuts)

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 2 veggies, 1 protein, 4 fats

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

58% fat

17% carbohydrate

25% protein

740 calories

32 g carbohydrate

12 g fiber

20 g digestible carbohydrate

827 mg sodium

1,802 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in fiber, protein, vitamin B6, B12, C, copper, iron, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and zinc.

Nutritional Analysis for Bacon Brussels Sprouts: (1 cup, no added salt):

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 1 veggie, 1 fat, 1/4 protein

47% fat

28% carbohydrate

26% protein

180 calories

14 g carbohydrate

6 g fiber

8 g digestible carbohydrate

530 mg sodium

709 mg potassium

Prominent features: mucho vitamin C.

diabetic diet, paleobetic diet, low-carb diet

Brian likes his burger wrapped in 2 oz of lettuce