Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Low-carb diets could slow prostate tumours: study

"Eating fewer carbohydrates, like breads, chips and cakes, may slow tumour growth in patients suffering from prostate cancer, finds a new study on mice.

The thinking is that consuming fewers carbs lowers the levels of insulin in the bloodstream, which feeds growing cancer cells.

The findings are published in the Nov. 13 online edition of the journal Prostate.

"This study showed that cutting carbohydrates may slow tumor growth, at least in mice," said Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Duke University Medical Center and lead researcher on the study, in a release. "If this is ultimately confirmed in human clinical trials, it has huge implications for prostate cancer therapy through something that all of us can control, our diets."

Researchers theorized that because insulin-like growth factor (IGF) has been implicated in earlier research in growing prostate tumours, cutting off the food supply to the tumours would mean a reduction in their size and rate of growth.

They divided mice that had been injected with prostate cancer cells into three groups of 25 mice each. Though all ate the same amount of calories per day, one group ate a high-fat, low-carb diet, another a "Western" diet of about 40 per cent fat and 44 per cent carbs while yet another group consumed low-fat, high-carb food.

The animals that were fed the low-carb, high-fat diet had tumours that were 33 per cent smaller than those on the Western diet — though their tumours were the same size as those mice fed the low-fat, high-carb diet. Those on the Western diet had the shortest survival time and largest tumours.

"Though both the low-carb and low-fat mice had lower levels of insulin, only the low-carb mice had lower levels of the form of IGF capable of stimulating tumor growth," said Freedland.

The authors link the Western diet to the development of prostate cancer due its its high animal fat content, reliance on simple carbohydrates and high caloric content.

The researchers hope to next study the effect of low-carb diets in human trials next year."

Click here for the original news article.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recipe: Low-carb gingersnaps

Just remember that these aren't very sweet, so you have to compensate in the spiciness. I found the original spice amounts insufficient. I'll increase them a bit in the next batch. I'd also make a double batch because the yield from the recipe is quite low unless you're making cookies for Smurfs. (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

- 3 oz. almond flour (3/4 cup) (I weighed mine)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ginger (definitely not enough - I'll double this to 1/4 tsp next time)
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- Pinch nutmeg (I'll put 1/8 tsp next time)
- Pinch allspice (Ditto)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg white
- 4 teaspoons granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda (I used granular)
- 1/4 tsp blackstrap molasses (make sure it's blackstrap, not the regular molasses you may have hanging around your house - if you're watching carbs / sugar)
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, blend spices and salt with almond flour. Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended and a sticky dough forms.

Drop dough by teaspoons in 24 tiny piles on parchment-lined 12 X 17" baking sheet. (OK, I got only 9 small cookies out this. If a person was to make 24, they'd be miniscule. I could have cut them in half, I suppose, but they're supposed to be cookies, not M&Ms!)

Very lightly and gently pick up each piece of dough and roll into a ball; put back on baking sheet making sure to space them evenly 6 across and 4 down. Cover the balls with plastic wrap (you can use a small piece and move it around as needed) and take a baking powder can, that has about an 1/8" rim around the bottom, and press down firmly over each ball of dough. Be sure to press all the way down to the baking sheet. (I just used the bottom of a glass. My baking powder container wasn't this type.)

Peel off the plastic wrap and repeat until all the cookies have been shaped. Prick them with a fork. You may have to gently hold the cookies down with one hand while pricking so that the dough stays put.

Bake at 325F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack. (I took mine out at 15 minutes but they could have probably been in a couple of minutes more to "dry out" a bit more and make them crispy - if that's what you're looking for. My cookies were larger, though, so they could have probably been in a bit longer. They're perfectly good, however.)

Makes 24 cookies Can be frozen. (Again, I only got nine using a very small cookie scoop, however I could have cut those in half and had 18 much smaller cookies. How someone would get 24 out of this batch is beyond me.)

Per cookie (if making 24): 22 calories; 2g gat; 1g protein; 1g carbohydrate; trace dietary fibre; .5g net carbs. Because the carb count is so low, there's no significant difference using granular or liquid Splenda.

Recipe courtesy of Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Recipe: Faux Sweet Potato Casserole

I love sweet potato casserole and this is certainly a reasonable facsimile. It's kind of like eating hot pumpkin pie filling, but it really goes well with ham! I've made this a couple of times already. I wasn't fussy about the streusel topping, though, and just left it off the second time I made it. Click on the photo for a larger version.

Casserole:

- 1 small can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) (I used a 14-oz. can of organic pure pumpkin puree that I found at a health food store. Otherwise, just open up a big can and measure out about 14-15 oz. in a measuring cup.)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar Twin
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- pinch of salt (to taste)

Streusel topping:

- 1/4 cup pecan meal (I saw almond flour used in another version. I might like that one better. Not as gritty as the pecans? Pecan meal is just ground-up pecans... similar to "almond flour". I bought it at a bulk food store.)
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
- pinch of cinnamon (to taste)
- 1 tbsp Splenda
- 1 tbsp unflavored protein powder

Mix all of the casserole ingredients together and transfer them to a medium-sized, lightly greased casserole. In a small bowl, mix together the streusel ingredients and cut them together to form small crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the pumpkin mixture in the casserole. Bake at 350F until warmed through and the streusel sets a bit.

Week #21: Down another 4.5 lb for a total of -70.5 lb

Wow! These have been a great few weeks. I'm definitely on a role. Since I cut down on the amount of fruit I was taking in, it's really kickstarted the loss again.

Berries are allowed on low-carb, however I tended to over-do it a bit. Since I've cut down on berries (strawberries / raspberries) to only once or twice per week, the weightloss has really gone into high gear again. Obviously, I was eating too much of it.

I've also been really good about drinking all my water. The only time it's a bit more difficult is if I'm travelling for work - but those are normally only day trips and I can usually manage to get quite a bit in. (Not a good idea to be wincing in "I gotta pee" pain in the middle of a meeting! Ha!)

So things are going extremely well. I'm especially pleased to have sailed through the -60s quite quickly and changed "decades" this week. -70.5 lb feels good... real good!

No excuses!