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ABOUT DR. WILLIAM DAVIS


Plaque is the stuff of coronary heart disease. It is CONTROLLABLE, it is STOPPABLE, it is REVERSIBLE. But you must be equipped with the right information on diet, nutritional supplements, and hopefully the avoidance of medication. This is the blog that accompanies the Track Your Plaque program. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice, but only topics for further discussion with your doctor. I practice cardiology in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Omega-3 fatty acids likely NOT associated with prostate cancer

A weakly constructed study was reported recently that purportedly associated higher levels of omega-3 fatty acid blood levels and prostate cancer. See this CBS News report, for instance.

Lipid and omega-3 fat expert, Dr. William Harris, posted this concise critique of the study, exposing some fundamental problems:

First, the reported EPA+DHA level in the plasma phospholipids in this study was 3.62% in the no-cancer control group, 3.66% in the total cancer group, 3.67% in the low grade cancer group, and 3.74% in the high-grade group. These differences between cases and controls are very small and would have no meaning clinically as they are within the normal variation. Based on experiments in our lab, the lowest quartile would correspond to an HS-Omega-3 Index of <3.16% and the highest to an Index of >4.77%). These values are obviously low, and virtually none of the subjects was in “danger” of having an HS-Omega-3 Index of >8%. So to conclude that regular consumption of 2 oily fish meals a week or taking fish oil supplements (both of which would result in an Index above the observed range) would increase risk for prostate cancer is extrapolating beyond the data.

This study did not test the question of whether giving fish oil supplements (or eating more oily fish) increased PC risk; it looked only a blood levels of omega-3 which are determined by intake, other dietary factors, metabolism and genetics.

The authors also failed to present the fuller story taught by the literature. The same team reported in 2010 that the use of fish oil supplements was not associated with any increased risk for prostate cancer. A 2010 meta-analysis of fish consumption and prostate cancer reported a reduction in late stage or fatal cancer among cohort studies, but no overall relationship between prostate cancer and fish intake. Terry et al. in 2001 reported higher fish intake was associated with lower risk for prostate cancer incidence and death, and Leitzmann et al. in 2004 reported similar findings. Higher intakes of canned, preserved fish were reported to be associated with reduced risk for prostate cancer. Epstein et al found that a higher omega-3 fatty acid intake predicted better survival for men who already had prostate cancer, and increased fish intake was associated with a 63% reduction in risk for aggressive prostate cancer in a case-control study by Fradet et al). So there is considerable evidence actually FAVORING an increase in fish intake for prostate cancer risk reduction.

Another piece of the picture is to compare prostate cancer rates in Japan vs the US. Here is a quote from the World Foundation of Urology:

“[Prostate cancer] incidence is really high in North America and Northern Europe (e.g., 63 X 100,000 white men and 102 X 100,000 Afro-Americans in the United States), but very low in Asia (e.g., 10 X 100,000 men in Japan).”

Since the Japanese typically eat about 8x more omega-3 fatty acids than Americans do and their
blood levels are twice as high, you’d think their prostate cancer risk would be much higher…
but the opposite is the case.

Omega-3 fatty acids are physiologically necessary, normalizing multiple metabolic phenomena including augmentation of parasympathetic tone, reductions of postprandial (after-meal) lipoprotein excursions, and endothelial function. It would indeed make no sense that nutrients that are necessary for life and health exert an adverse effect such as prostate cancer at such low blood levels. (Recall that an omega-3 RBC index of 6.0% or greater is associated with reduced potential for sudden cardiac death.)

I personally take 3600 mg per day of EPA + DHA in highly-purified, non-oxidized triglyceride form (Ascenta Nutrasea liquid) that yields an RBC omega-3 index of just over 10%, the level that I believe the overwhelming bulk of data suggest is the ideal level for humans.



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Posted in Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-3 index | 6 Comments

Are statins and omega-3s incompatible?

French researcher, Dr. Michel de Lorgeril, has been in the forefront of thinking and research into nutritional issues, including the Mediterranean Diet, the French Paradox, and the role of fat intake in cardiovascular health. In a recent review entitled Recent findings on the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids and statins, and their interactions: do statins inhibit omega-3?, he explores the question of whether statin drugs are, in effect, incompatible with omega-3 fatty acids.

Dr. Lorgeril makes several arguments:

1) Earlier studies, such as GISSI-Prevenzione, demonstrated reduction in cardiovascular events with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, consistent with the biological and physiological benefits observed in animals, experimental preparations, and epidemiologic observations in free-living populations.

2) More recent studies (and meta-analyses) examining the effects of omega-3 fatty acids have failed to demonstrate cardiovascular benefit showing, at most, non-significant trends towards benefit.

He points out that the more recent studies were conducted post-GISSI and after agencies like the American Heart Association’s advised people to consume more fish, which prompted broad increases in omega-3 intake. The populations studied therefore had increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids at the start of the studies, verified by higher levels of omega-3 RBC levels in participants.

In addition, he raises the provocative idea that the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids appear to be confined to those not taking statin agents, as suggested, for instance, in the Alpha Omega Trial. He speculates that the potential for statins to ablate the benefits of omega-3s (and vice versa) might be based on several phenomena:

–Statins increase arachidonic acid content of cell membranes, a potentially inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid that competes with omega-3 fatty acids. (Insulin provocation and greater linoleic acid/omega-6 oils do likewise.)
–Statins induce impaired mitochondrial function, while omega-3s improve mitochondrial function. (Impaired mitochondrial function is evidenced, for instance, by reduced coenzyme Q10 levels, with partial relief from muscle weakness and discomfort by supplementing coenzyme Q10.)
–Statins commonly provoke muscle weakness and discomfort which can, in turn, lead to reduced levels of physical activity and increased resistance to insulin. (Thus the recently reported increases in diabetes with statin drug use.)

Are the physiologic effects of omega-3 fatty acids, present and necessary for health, at odds with the non-physiologic effects of statin drugs?

I fear we don’t have sufficient data to come to firm conclusions yet, but my perception is that the case against statins is building. Yes, they have benefits in specific subsets of people (none in others), but the notion that everybody needs a statin drug is, I believe, not only dead wrong, but may have effects that are distinctly negative. And I believe that the arguments in favor of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, EPA and DHA (and perhaps DPA), make better sense.



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Posted in Fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acids, Statin drugs | 4 Comments

DHA: the crucial omega-3

Of the two omega-3 fatty acids that are best explored, EPA and DHA, it is likely DHA that exerts the most blood pressure- and heart rate-reducing effects. Here are the data of Mori et al in which 4000 mg of olive oil, purified EPA only, or purified DHA only were administered over 6 weeks:

□ indicates baseline SBP; ▪, postintervention SBP; ○, baseline DBP; •, postintervention DBP; ⋄, baseline HR; and ♦, postintervention HR.

In this group of 56 overweight men with normal starting blood pressures, only DHA reduced systolic BP by 5.8 mmHg, diastolic by 3.3 mmHg.

While each omega-3 fatty acid has important effects, it may be DHA that has an outsized benefit. So how can you get more DHA? Well, this observation from Schuchardt et al is important:

DHA in the triglyceride and phospholipid forms are 3-fold better absorbed, as compared to the ethyl ester form (compared by area-under-the-curve). In other words, fish oil that has been reconstituted to the naturally-occurring triglyceride form (i.e., the form found in fresh fish) provides 3-fold greater blood levels of DHA than the more common ethyl ester form found in most capsules. (The phospholipid form of DHA found in krill is also well-absorbed, but occurs in such small quantities that it is not a practical means of obtaining omega-3 fatty acids, putting aside the astaxanthin issue.)

So if the superior health effects of DHA are desired in a form that is absorbed, the ideal way to do this is either to eat fish or to supplement fish oil in the triglyceride, not ethyl ester, form. The most common and popular forms of fish oil sold are ethyl esters, including Sam’s Club Triple-Strength, Costco, Nature Made, Nature’s Bounty, as well as prescription Lovaza. (That’s right: prescription fish oil, from this and several other perspectives, is an inferior product.)

What sources of triglyceride fish oil with greater DHA content/absorption are available to us? My favorites are, in this order:

Ascenta NutraSea
CEO and founder, Marc St. Onge, is a friend. Having visited his production facility in Nova Scotia, I was impressed with the meticulous methods of preparation. At every step of the way, every effort was made to limit any potential oxidation, including packaging in a vacuum environment. The Ascenta line of triglyceride fish oils are also richer in DHA content. Their NutraSea High DHA liquid, for instance, contains 500 mg EPA and 1000 mg DHA per teaspoon, a 1:2 EPA:DHA ratio, rather than the more typical 3:2 EPA:DHA ratio of ethyl ester forms.

Pharmax (now Seroyal) also has a fine product with a 1.4:1 EPA:DHA ratio.

Nordic Naturals has a fine liquid triglyceride product, though it is 2:1 EPA:DHA.



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Posted in Omega-3 fatty acids | 5 Comments

What tests are MORE important than cholesterol?

In the conventional practice of early heart disease prevention, cholesterol testing takes center stage. Rarely does it go any further, aside from questions about family history and obvious sources of modifiable risk such as smoking and sedentary lifestyle.

So standard practice is to usually look at your LDL cholesterol, the value that is calculated, not measured, then–almost without fail–prescribe a statin drug. While there are indeed useful values in the standard cholesterol panel–HDL cholesterol and triglycerides–they are typically ignored or prompt no specific action.

But a genuine effort at heart disease prevention should go farther than an assessment of calculated LDL cholesterol, as there are many ways that humans develop coronary atherosclerosis. Among the tests to consider in order to craft a truly effect heart disease prevention program are:

Lipoprotein testing–Rather than using the amount of cholesterol in the various fractions of blood as a crude surrogate for lipoproteins in the bloodstream, why not measure lipoproteins themselves? These techniques have been around for over 20 years, but are simply not part of standard practice.

Lipoprotein testing especially allows you to understand what proportion of LDL particles are the truly unhealthy small LDL particles (that are oxidation- and glycation-prone). It also identifies whether or not you have lipoprotein(a), the heritable factor that confers superior survival capacity in a wild environment (“The Perfect Carnivore“), but makes the holder of this genetic pattern the least tolerant to the modern diet dominated by grains and sugars, devoid of fat and organ meats.

25-hydroxy vitamin D–The data documenting the health power of vitamin D restoration continue to grow, with benefits on blood sugar and insulin, blood pressure, bone density, protection from winter “blues” (seasonal affective disorder), decrease in falls and fractures, decrease in cancer, decrease in cardiovascular events. I aim to keep 25-hydroxy vitamin D at a level of 60 to 70 ng/ml. This generally requires 4000-8000 units per day in gelcap form, at least for the first 3 or so years, after which there is a decrease in need. Daily supplementation is better than weekly, monthly, or other less-frequent regimens. The D3 (cholecalciferol) form is superior to the non-human D2 (ergocalciferol) form.

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)–HbA1c represents glycated hemoglobin, i.e., hemoglobin molecules within red blood cells that are irreversibly modified by glucose, or blood sugar. It therefore provides an index of endogenous glycation of all proteins of the body: proteins in the lenses of the eyes that lead to cataracts; proteins in the cartilage of the knees and hips that lead to brittle cartilage and arthritis; proteins in kidney tissue leading to kidney dysfunction.

HbA1c provides an incredibly clear snapshot of health: It reflects the amount of glycation you have been exposed to over the past 90 or so days. We therefore aim for an ideal level: 5.0% or less, the amount of “ambient” glycation that occurs just with living life. We reject the notion that a HbA1c level of 6.0% is acceptable just because you don’t “need” diabetes medication, the thinking that drives conventional medical practice.

RBC Omega-3 Index–The average American consumes very little omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, such that a typical omega-3 RBC Index, i.e., the proportion of fatty acids in the red blood cell occupied by omega-3 fatty acids, is around 2-3%, a level associated with increased potential for sudden cardiac death (death!). Levels of 6% or greater are associated with reduced potential for sudden cardiac death; 10% or greater are associated with reduced other cardiovascular events.

Evidence therefore suggests that an RBC Omega-3 Index of 10% or greater is desirable, a level generally achieved by obtaining 3000-3600 mg EPA + DHA per day (more or less, depending on the form consumed, an issue for future discussion).

Thyroid testing (TSH, free T3, free T4)–Even subtle degrees of thyroid dysfunction can double, triple, even quadruple cardiovascular risk. TSH values, for instance, within the previously presumed “normal” range, pose increased risk for cardiovascular death; a TSH level of 4.0 mIU, for instance, is associated with more than double the relative risk of a level of 1.0.

Sad fact: the endocrinology community, not keeping abreast of the concerning issues coming from the toxicological community regarding perchlorates, polyfluorooctanoic acid and other fluorinated hydrocarbons, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs), and other thyroid-toxic compounds, tend to ignore these issues, while the public is increasingly exposed to the increased cardiovascular risk of even modest degrees of thyroid dysfunction. Don’t commit the same crime of ignorance: Thyroid dysfunction in this age of endocrine disruption can be crucial to cardiovascular and overall health.

All in all, there are a number of common blood tests that are relevant–no, crucial–for achieving heart health. Last on the list: standard cholesterol testing.



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Posted in Lipoprotein testing, Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-3 index, Thyroid health, vitamin D | 8 Comments

Cranberry Sauce

Happy Thanksgiving 2012, everyone, from all the staff at Track Your Plaque!

Here’s a zesty version of traditional cranberry sauce, minus the sugar. The orange, cinnamon, and other spices, along with the crunch of walnuts, make this one of my favorite holiday side dishes.

There are 31.5 grams total “net” carbohydrates in this entire recipe, or 5.25 grams per serving (serves 6). To further reduce carbs, you can leave out the orange juice and, optionally, use more zest.

1 cup water
12 ounces fresh whole cranberries
Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar (I used 6 tablespoons Truvía)
1 tablespoon orange zest + juice of half an orange
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

In small to medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Turn heat down and add cranberries. Cover and cook at low-heat for 10 minutes or until all cranberries have popped. Stir in sweetener. Remove from heat.

Stir in orange zest and juice, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Transfer mixture to bowl, cool, and serve.



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Posted in Recipes | 3 Comments

Apple Cranberry Crumble

Apple, cranberry, and cinnamon: the perfect combination of tastes and scents for winter holidays!

I took a bit of carbohydrate liberties with this recipe. The entire recipe yields a delicious cheesecake-like crumble with 59 “net” grams carbohydrates (total carbs – fiber); divided among 10 slices, that’s 5.9 grams net carbs per serving, a quantity most tolerate just fine. (To reduce carbohydrates, the molasses in the crumble is optional, reducing total carbohydrate by 11 grams.)

Other good choices for sweeteners include liquid stevia, stevia glycerite, powdered stevia (pure or inulin-based, not maltodextrin-based), Truvía, Swerve, and erythritol. And always taste your batter to test sweetness, since sweeteners vary in sweetness from brand to brand and your individual sensitivity to sweetness depends on how long you’ve been wheat-free. (The longer you’ve been wheat-free, the less sweetness you desire.)

Crust and crumble topping
3 cups almond meal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup xylitol (or other sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar)
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon molasses
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash sea salt

Filling
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
½ cup xylitol (or other sweetener equivalent to ½ cup sugar)
1 Granny Smith apple (or other variety)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In large bowl, combine almond meal, butter, sweetener, cinnamon, molasses, vanilla, and salt and mix.

Grease a 9½-inch tart or pie pan. Using approximately 1 cup of the almond meal mixture, form a thin bottom crust with your hands or spoon.

In another bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, and sweetener and mix with spoon or mixer at low-speed. Pour into tart or pie pan.

Core apple and slice into very thin sections. Arrange in circles around the edge of the cream cheese mixture, working inwards. Distribute cranberries over top, then sprinkle cinnamon over entire mixture.

Gently layer remaining almond meal crumble evenly over top. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping lightly browned.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy: the ultimate comfort food . . . one you thought you’d never have again!

The familiar dish of breakfast and holiday meals is recreated here with a delicious gravy that you can pour over piping hot biscuits. Because it contains no wheat or other unhealthy thickeners like cornstarch made with “junk” carbohydrates, there should be no blood sugar or insulin problems with this dish, nor joint pain, edema, acid reflux, mind “fog,” or dandruff—life is good without wheat!

While the gravy is also dairy-free for those with dairy intolerances, the biscuits are not, as there are cheese and butter in the biscuits, both of which are optional, e.g., leave out the cheese and replace butter with coconut or other oil.

Makes 10 biscuits

Gravy:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound loose sausage meat
2½ cups beef broth
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup coconut milk (canned variety)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
Dash ground black pepper

Biscuits:
1 cup shredded cheddar (or other) cheese
2 cups almond meal/flour
¼ cup coconut flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
4 ounces butter, melted (or other oil, e.g., extra-light olive, coconut, walnut)

To make gravy:
In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté sausage, breaking up as it browns. Cook until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink.

Turn heat up to medium to high and pour in beef broth. Heat just short of boiling, then turn down to low heat. Stir in coconut flour, little by little, over 3-5 minutes; stop adding when gravy obtains desired thickness. Pour in coconut milk and stir in well. Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make biscuits:
Preheat oven to 325° F.

In food chopper or processor, pulse shredded cheese to finer, granular consistency.

Pour cheese into large bowl, then add almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs and butter or oil and mix thoroughly to yield thick dough.

Spoon out dough into 10 or so ¾-inch thick mounds onto a parchment paper-lined baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and toothpick withdraws dry.

Ladle gravy onto biscuits just before serving.

Posted in Recipes | 5 Comments

The Perfect Carnivore

People who carry the gene for lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), tend to be:

–Intelligent–The bell curve of IQ is shifted rightward by a substantial margin.
–Athletic–With unusual capacity for long-endurance effort, thus the many marathoners, triathletes, and long-distance bikers with Lp(a).
–Tolerant to dehydration
–Tolerant to starvation
–Resistant to tropical infections

In other words, people with Lp(a) have an evolutionary survival advantage. More than other people, they make clever, capable hunters who can run for hours to chase down prey, not requiring food or water, and less likely to succumb to the infections of the wild. In a primitive setting, people with Lp(a) are survivors. Evolution has likely served to select Lp(a) people for their superior survival characteristics.

But wait a minute: Isn’t Lp(a) a risk for heart attack and stroke? Don’t we call Lp(a) “the most aggressive known cause for heart disease and stroke that nobody gives a damn about”?

Yes. So what allows this evolutionary advantage for survival to become a survival disadvantage?

Carbohydrates, especially those from grains and sugars. Let me explain.

More so than other people, Lp(a) people express the small LDL pattern readily when they consume carbohydrates such as those from “healthy whole grains.” Recall that the gene for Lp(a) is really the gene for apoprotein(a), the protein that, once produced by the liver and released into the bloodstream, binds to an available LDL particle to create the combination Lp(a) molecule. If the LDL particle component of Lp(a) is small, it confers greater atherogenicity (greater plaque-causing potential). Thus, carbohydrate consumption makes Lp(a) a more aggressive cause for atherosclerotic plaque. The situation can be made worse by exposure to vegetable oils, such as those from sunflower or corn, which increases production of apo(a).

Also, more than other people, Lp(a) people tend to show diabetic tendencies with consumption of carbohydrates. Eat “healthy whole grains,” for instance, or if a marathoner carb-loads, he/she will show diabetic-range blood sugars. I have seen long-distance runners or triathletes, for instance, have a 6 ounce container of sugary yogurt and have blood sugars of 200 mg/dl or higher. The extreme exercise provides no protection from the diabetic potential.

Because carbohydrates are so destructive to the Lp(a) type, it means that people with this pattern do best by 1) absolutely minimizing exposure to carbohydrates and vegetable oils, ideally grain-free and sugar-free, and 2) rely on a diet rich in fats and proteins.

The perfect diet for the Lp(a) type? It would be a diet of feasting on the spoils of the hunt, devouring the wild boar captured and slaughtered and eating the snout, hindquarters, spleen, kidneys, heart, and bone marrow, then eating mushrooms, leaves, nuts, coconut, berries, small rodents, reptiles, fish, birds, and insects when the hunt is unproductive.

Capable hunter, survivor, consumer of muscle and organ meats: I call people with Lp(a) “The Perfect Carnivores.”

Posted in Lipoprotein(a) | 17 Comments

Track Your Plaque in the news

The NPR Health Blog contacted me, as they were interested in learning more about health strategies and tools that are being used by individuals without their doctors. The Track Your Plaque website and program came up in their quest, as it is the only program available for self-empowerment in heart disease.

Several Track Your Plaque Members spoke up to add their insights. The full text of the article can be viewed here.

How’s Your Cholesterol? The Crowd Wants To Know
Mainstream medicine isn’t in favor of self-analysis, or seeking advice from non-professionals, of course. And anyone who does so is running a risk.

But there are folks who want to change the course of their heart health with a combination of professional and peer support. Some are bent on tackling the plaque that forms in arteries that can lead to heart disease. They gather online at Track Your Plaque, or “TYP” to the initiates.

“We test, test, test … and basically experiment on ourselves and have through trial and error came up with the TYP program, which is tailored to the individual,” Patrick Theut, a veteran of the site who tells Shots he has watched his plaque slow, stop and regress.

The site was created in 2004 by Bill Davis, a preventive cardiologist in Milwaukee, Wisc. Davis is also the author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, which argues that wheat is addictive and bad for most people’s health. Davis recommends eliminating wheat from the diet to most new members of Track Your Plaque.

“The heart is one of the hardest things to self-manage but when you let people take the reins of control, you get far better results and far fewer catastrophes like heart attacks,” Davis tells Shots.

Doctors typically give patients diagnosed with heart disease two options: take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, or make lifestyle changes, like diet. It’s usually far easier for both parties — the doctor and the patient — to go with the drugs than manage the much more difficult lifestyle changes, Davis says.

“Doctors say take the Lipitor, cut the fat and call me if you have chest pain,” he explains. “But that’s an awful way to manage care.”

TYP has members submit their scores from heart CT scans, cholesterol values, lipoproteins and other heart health factors to a panel of doctors, nutritionists and exercise specialists. Then they receive advice in the form of an individualized plaque-control program. But the online forum, where users share their results with other members and exchange tips, is where most of the TYP action happens.

The community currently has about 2,400 members who pay $39.95 for a quarterly membership, or $89.75 for a yearly membership. Davis says all proceeds go towards maintaining the website.

Ilaine Upton is a 60-year-old bankruptcy lawyer from Fairfax, Va., and a TYP member. At a friend’s suggestion, Upton decided to get a heart CT scan in July. Her score was higher than it should have been (22 instead of 0), so she decided to get her blood lipids and cholesterol tested, too, and sent a sample off to MyMedLabs.com.

She learned that her LDL particle count was over 2,000 (“crazy high,” she says), and she posted her results on TYP. Davis advised her that a low-carb diet would reduce it, so she decided to try it.

Since July, she says she has had “excellent results” with the program, and her LDL counts are coming down.

“It would be nice to have a [personal] physician involved in this, but [my insurer] Blue Cross won’t pay if you are not symptomatic, and I am trying to prevent becoming symptomatic,” says Upton. “I feel very empowered by this knowledge and the ability to take better control of my health by getting feedback on the decisions I make.”

Posted in Track Your Plaque | 6 Comments

Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake


This is about as decadent as it gets around here!

Here’s a recreation of an old-fashioned coffee cake, a version with a delicious chewy-crunchy streusel topping.

I’ve specified xylitol as the sweetener in the topping, as it is the most compatible sweetener for the streusel “crumb” effect and browning.

Variations are easy. For example, for an apple pecan coffee cake, add a layer of finely-chopped or sliced apples to the cake batter and topping.

Additional potential carbohydrate exposure comes from the garbanzo bean flour and molasses. However, distributed into 10 slices, each slice provides 7.2 grams “net” carbs (total carbs minus fiber), a perfectly tolerable amount. Be careful not to exceed two slices!

Yield 10 slices

Cake:
2½ cups almond flour
½ cup garbanzo bean flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Sweetener equivalent to ¾ cup sugar
Dash sea salt

3 eggs separated
3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ounces butter, melted
Juice of ½ lemon

Topping:
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup xylitol
1 tablespoon molasses
6 ounces butter, cut into ½-inch widths, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease bread pan.

In bowl, combine almond flour, garbanzo flour, cinnamon, baking soda, sweetener, salt, and mix.

In small bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. At low speed, blend in egg yolks, vanilla, melted butter, and lemon juice.

Pour liquid mixture into almond mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour into microwave-safe bread pan and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

To make topping, combine almond flour, pecans, cinnamon, xylitol, and molasses in small bowl and mix. Mix in butter

Spread topping on cake. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick withdraws dry.

Posted in Recipes | 1 Comment





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