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7: The Long-Term Effects Of The High-Carb SAD Diet | Dr. Cate Shanahan

7: The Long-Term Effects Of The High-Carb SAD Diet | Dr. Cate Shanahan

AIR DATE: February 23, 2012 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Cate Shanahan
FEATURED TOPIC: “The Long-Term Effects Of The High-Carb SAD Diet”


Nutrition-minded physician Dr. Cate Shanahan, MD is the author of two truly fantastic books entitled Deep Nutrition and Food Rules and looks at treating patients with quite a different perspective than most traditionally-trained medical doctors. She is a board certified Family Physician who trained in biochemistry and genetics at Cornell University before attending Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She practiced in Hawaii for ten years where she studied ethnobotany and her healthiest patient’s culinary habits. She’s a big believer in hormone regulation and the impact diet plays on it and did a fantastic job answering YOUR questions related to the long-term effects of eating a SAD diet on your hormones.

Can’t make it to PaleoFX or AHS12? Check out the “Paleo Summit”:


NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE: http://cmp.ly/3
Here are some of the questions we addressed in this podcast:

I have low testosterone for years. I tried androgel with little increase in my testosterone. The next step would have been weekly injections which I would like to avoid. How does diet effect testosterone levels and all of the insidious problems that go along with low testosterone like low energy and abdominal fat?

What creates a greater health risk: sustained high blood sugars or sustained high (total) cholesterol?

I have found that if I eat before 5pm, I will become very tired for the next 2 hours and have low energy for the rest of the day. If I don’t eat until after 5, the food gives me energy and I feel fine for the balance of the day. I have a chronic fatigue problem – some form of hypersomnia – and the after-5 trick has helped me cope for the last half year. I switched to a Paleo diet like you recommend about 2 months ago, but with more grains – mostly fermented whole grains. That has helped, but I still have to stick to the after-5 rule. Why does it help?

I have eaten low carb for around 3 years and lost 80 pounds. For the past 8 months about every 6 weeks I take a weekend where I eat way off program including a lot of junk food. I don’t really plan it every six weeks but the way holidays and things have fallen it has seemed to work out in that time frame. I usually gain about 8-10 pounds and it takes about 4 weeks to get rid of it. Will this kind of routine keep low-carb from eventually working for me? Could it do any kind of damage to my metabolism and if so what? I really do plan on stopping this off and on again stuff someday. I hope I have not ruined my metabolism.

I was wondering if Dr. Cate’s way of eating is better for everyone no matter what their problems. I know it is better than the SAD diet but is vegetarian or vegan better for hemochromatosis?

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 15 and was taking insulin injections for 6 years (3 times a day) and eating a high-carbohydrate diet and really did nothing to try to control blood glucose levels with nutrition or exercise. I was able to eventually get off the insulin, drop a lot of weight and as of now, I am very lean and have no signs or symptoms of diabetes.

My question is this: Did the diet I ate, and more specifically the excess insulin I pumped into my system, which I now know is a system that is not artificial insulin-dependent, do permanent metabolic damage that I may never reverse? I am now 28 and have been in great shape for 3 years. What possible long-term effects could I still have from the previous 25 years of abuse?

Why do my hormone levels come back “normal” if I show symptoms of hormonal dysregulation? I have PCOS with abdominal fat, hirsuitism, and a touch of hair loss.

In your book Deep Nutrition you say, paraphrasing,

“Trans fat consumption interferes with hormone expression and daily infusions of sugar interferes with hormone receptivity.”

In considering this, could it be plausible that in the absence of trans fat our bodies would be better able to deal with a higher-carb diet? Could this perhaps help explain the French ‘paradox’?

I am most personally interested in hormonal issues during pregnancy and post-partum. What do you advise for a person who had pre-pregnancy hormonal issues, PMS, etc. that, (despite several years of a nutrient-dense, low-carb diet) did not lead to infertility, but rather to pregnancy/post-partum depression, adrenal/thyroid malfunctioning, etc.? Is it too late for many interventions at this point (especially during pregnancy)? When has a person reached the point at which you might advise hormonal supplementation or medications of any sort?

Do semi elite athletes have the same outcomes when on the SAD as those in the general population? And is there a data set to support that? Typically we don’t look at those outcome markers in the athletes because there is little to no effect from the control group. Is there any data published that these athletes have impaired hormonal function with the continued exercise and the SAD?

In pregnant women, how can an abnormal hormonal environment from consuming the SAD diet impact the fetus? This concerns me because the SAD diet not only wreaks hormone havoc, but leads doctors to prescribe hormone drugs in pregnancy and before.

Of all the hormones in the body, which do you think are the most important and why? Are there any governing hormones?

  • Mary Anne Wise

    thank you for posting pics, Jimmy. I couldn’t figure it out. LOL

    • Anonymous

      Happy to help! 🙂 Hope you can join us.

      • Mary Anne Wise

        I’m at work when this airs, so it is a bit tough for me.

        • Anonymous

          Hopefully you can listen to the podcast when it airs on Friday and ask you question via email ahead of time. 🙂

          • Mary Anne Wise

            I tried multiple times to get in, but I couldn’t. I guess I’ll download on Friday.

          • Anonymous

            Skype had some issues las night. Sorry about that. It dropped ME too. 🙁

  • Stephen Brand, CPT, SFN, SSF

    Jimmy, I got here by following a link you presented on FB asking for questions for Cate so I don’t know if this is the appropriate place:

    Cate, I’ve been reading a little bit about genes, gene expression and epigenetics. I ran across a blog where the gal said that after going on a Paleo diet the color of her eyes actually changed! Have you heard of this? Can you talk a little bit about how genes determine eye color, for example, and whether or not certain physical characteristics are set in stone as we’ve been taught or can we change our “gene expression” to change certain things. How far or how much can our genes change? What the heck is a gene anyway? How are they related to DNA, RNA and chromosomes? Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not, but I’ll add your question to my queue, Steve. 😀 There’s a form on the right-hand side of this page and I have an email address AskTheLowCarbExperts@gmail.com for submitting questions. Instructions were included in the podcast notes above. THANKS buddy!

  • Dr.Andro

    If there is one thing I still don’t like about these podcasts, is that I always have to wait so long to download it … I am starving for ATLCE 😉

    • Anonymous

      LOL! Sounds like somebody’s a bit impatient. Trust me, the wait is gonna be worth it! My wonderful producer Kevin is trying to maximize the sound quality for you guys (and we had some major technical issues during the recording when Skype dropped the call). Should be up by noon ET. 😀

  • I wanted to comment on cholesterol ratios. All the ratios are important. Dr Kate likes the Triglyceride to HDL ratio. When I lecture the goal is to convince a group of skeptical physicians, and using the older standards work the best. Total cholesterol/HDL < 4.5 or better, Non-HDL cholesterol LDL + VLDL of 160 or less is better. Chris Masterjohn and many others agree that these two ratios alone may provide the same information as the the advanced cardio-metabolic tests such as particle size, sub-fractionation like NMR and Berkley Heart Lab. I am now using Berkley Heart Lab in my office for those patients that have high LDL's for confirmation, but the advanced testing is not standardized from lab to lab yet. The last point is the value of the Triglyceride/HDL ratio a newer ratio. Dr Kate likes the value under 4 or better, other like it under 2. This ratio provides useful information about the oxidative potential, inflammatory potential of the lipo-protein molecule. Triglycerides and HDL levels are inversely related, meaning that as Triglycerides fall HDL tends to rise. The problem when trying to convince a skeptical audience of doctors, is that the trig/HDL ratio leaves out LDL. I MUST discuss LDL cholesterol or I have lost the audience. Fortunately all the ratios improve on carbohydrate restricted diets. One could argue that all the ratios provide us with the same information, it is just a matter of which ones you prefer to use. Other's even argue not to test cholesterol at all, because it is a test created by and for the pharmaceutical industry so that doctors will prescribe Statins. Although there is some truth behind this statement, lipo-protein testing does indeed measure cardio-metabolic risk. I use it as a tool to measure the benifits of carbohydrate restricted diets with my patients – Dr Jeff Gerber http://denversdietdoctor.com

  • Conrad

    I was listening this morning and Dr Shanahan made a comment about when you lose inches but not pounds, the fat is being replaced with muscle and bone. Do you know where I can find more about about this?

    • LLVLCBlog

      You can contact Dr. Cate directly through her web site. She’s very responsive. 🙂