Garlic and cholesterol--Does everyone now need Lipitor?

Garlic May Not Lower Cholesterol
Study Shows No Improvement in Cholesterol Levels From Raw Garlic or Garlic Supplements

Lots of reports continue to hit the press about a small study that hoped to determine whether garlic as whole cloves (4 to 6), an aqueous extract of garlic called Kyolic, or an oil extract called Garlicin (high in allicin), or placebo. No differences in lipid numbers including LDL cholesterol were observed.

(Full text at WebMD at http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20070226/garlic-may-not-lower-cholesterol?ecd=wnl_chl_030507. You may be required to log in or register.)

I believe that the researchers were sincere in their effort to follow an honest, scientfically sound clinical trial design. I'm personally not that surprised. The effect in prior studies has been modest, sometimes none. Does that mean that we should ignore the other studies that suggest there may be modest blood-thinning, anti-inflammatory, blood pressure-reducing, and cancer-preventing properties? No, it does not. Dr. Matt Budoff at UCLA even published a very small study in about 20 people that suggested a slowing of plaque growth by using Kyolic in persons tracked by CT heart scans.

Nonetheless, garlic is, at best, probably no more than a source of small benefits. The biggest fallout from this kind of report, however, is not the neutral results from garlic, but from the open door the drug companies sense when this happens.

If you read the WebMD report, you'll notice all sorts of advertisements from drug companies for statin cholesterol drugs ("Cholesterol health center"; "Understanding Cholesterol Numbers"; "There are two sources of cholesterol: food and family"), Niaspan (which I used to support but have been discouraged by the Kos companies excessively profiteering methods and recent big Wall Street sellout).

It doesn't follow. The failure of one nutritional strategy to reduce LDL does nothave to trigger a run to the drugs. Don't fall for it. Drugs have their place. So do supplements and food choices, which can be very powerful. Drug manufacturers and their marketing people salivate when something like this comes along, an open invitation to say, "If garlic doesn't work, _____ sure does."

Comments (1) -

  • buy jeans

    11/3/2010 4:57:40 PM |

    If you read the WebMD report, you'll notice all sorts of advertisements from drug companies for statin cholesterol drugs ("Cholesterol health center"; "Understanding Cholesterol Numbers"; "There are two sources of cholesterol: food and family"), Niaspan (which I used to support but have been discouraged by the Kos companies excessively profiteering methods and recent big Wall Street sellout).

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Dreamfields pasta is wheat

Dreamfields pasta is wheat

An active question on the blogosphere and elsewhere is whether Dreamfields pasta is truly low-carb. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt of Diet Doctor detailed his high blood glucose experience with it. Jimmy Moore of Livin' La Vida Low Carb had a similar experience, observing virtually no difference when compared to conventional pasta.

The Dreamfields people make the claim that "Dreamfields' patent-pending recipe and manufacturing process protects all but 5 grams of the carbohydrates per serving from being digested and therefore lessens post-meal blood glucose rise as compared to traditional pasta." They call the modified carbohydrates "protected" carbs.



In other words, they are making the claim that they've somehow modified the amylopectin A and amylose molecules in durum wheat flour to inhibit conversion to glucose.

I'd like to add something to the conversation: Dreamfields pasta is wheat. It is a graphic demonstration that, no matter how you cut it, press it, sauce it up, "protect" it, it's all the same thing: wheat. (It reminds me of a bad girlfriend I had in my 20s: She'd put on makeup, a pretty dress, I'd take her out someplace nice . . . She was still an annoying person who whined about everything.)

Wheat is more than a carbohydrate. It is also a collection of over 1000 proteins, including gliadins, glutens, and glutenins. Gliadins, for instance, are degraded to polypeptide exorphins that underlie the addictive potential of wheat, as well as its withdrawal phenomenon on halting consumption. Gliadin-derived exorphins are also the triggers of auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions in schizophrenia, as well as behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism.

Wheat is a source of lectins that have the curious effect of "unlocking" the proteins of the intestinal lining, the oddly-named "zonulin" proteins, that protect you from ingested foreign molecules. Ingest wheat lectins and all manner of foreign molecules gain entry into your bloodstream. Cholera works by a similar mechanism. (How about a love story: Bread in the time of cholera?)

Glutens, of course, are responsible for triggering celiac disease, the devastating small intestinal disease that now afflicts 3 million Americans, although 2.7 million don't even know it. Glutens are also responsible for neurologic conditions like cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, and dementia ("gluten encephalopathy") and the skin condition, dermatitis herpetiformis.

Then there are the conditions for which the active wheat components have not been identified, including acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma (excepting "bakers' asthma), rheumatoid arthritis, edema and fluid retention, and a long list of skin conditions from alopecia to gangrene.

My point: Yeah, Dreamfields pastas, from these instructive experiences, acts a lot like conventional durum wheat pasta. But, even if Dreamfields or somebody else perfects the low-carb aspect of it, it's still wheat. Modern wheat is the genetically tarted-up version of Triticum aestivum, the product of genetic shenanigans from the 1960s and 1970s.

Comments (11) -

  • Andrés

    5/28/2011 4:21:50 PM |

    Thanks for your work!

    I am not enrolled yet on track-your-plaque but I have read thoroughly your blog.

    I know you felt a different reaction to einkorn (diploid) to triticum (hexaploid), hence I wonder: have you (or any one around here, by the way) done some check yourself on durum (tetraploid)?

    I confess I am trying to cut back carbohydrates and pumping up fat, focusing specially on reducing triticum to a minimum (I favor a 60%-rye-40%-durum bread, since I "need" something to support my Gorgonsola and hard cheeses)  and am curious about the hardness about other branches of wheat (at least I found a paper about gluten seeming less aggressive on durum).

    Regards.

  • ceara sullivan

    5/29/2011 9:25:24 PM |

    Getting off wheat is very difficult for some of us. When we started a low-carb diet, we also eliminated wheat, rye, barley, and oats. And, of course, sugars in their various forms.

    My husband had no problems just quitting. I had to "step down" slowly or I became quite ill. From food.  Or rather, "food".

    We stil eat (very limitedly) legumes, rice (in the form of poha), and corn (as grits or as tacos). We don't have any of these in combination, however. IOW, on a day we have rice, we don't have the other two.

    If we cut those out entirely we'd lose weight more quickly I'm sure. However, this is working so far. Slow going but doable.

    A striking experience: after 25 years' smoking, being overweight, and a huge family history of vascular blockage in all my parents' sibs, I had the scan done a few years ago. The cardiologist who read my scan gave me a clean bill of health. My chances of a cardiac "incident" in the next five years was two percent. That was at age 65. I'm still amazed.

    So-called 'pre'-diabetes has reared its ugly head. I insisted on an (hb)A1c test last year and it came back at 5.8, much to my doc's surprise (but not mine). The next test, six months later, was 5.6 . I'll be interested to see if my weight loss has made a difference when it's time for the third one.

    It's great to be rid of wheat, but what a crime they have perpetrated on all of us. My grandson died at age 28, "heart problems". He was obese and addicted to wheat.

  • Alec

    5/31/2011 2:37:40 PM |

    This reminds me of the "Molecularly Baked" products they used to sell on the Zone Diet website. Absolute crap- lots of wheat combined with wheat protein (gluten?) and processed soy crap. Blah!

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/31/2011 4:07:29 PM |

    Hi, Andres--

    For all practical purposes, pasta made with durum wheat is still wheat. Semolina, durum, spelt, whole grain, multigrain, etc., it still remains essentially wheat. Pasta from durum, for instance, triggers sustained high blood sugars after consumption with all of the undesirable consequences that brings.

  • Abhi

    5/31/2011 5:45:57 PM |

    Dear Dr Davis,
    I love your blog!
    How do you compare this with the "Einkorn" (Jovial) pasta that you had tried and even blogged about.
    Thanks!

  • Alan D

    5/31/2011 8:42:43 PM |

    My experience with Einkorn pasta was a very small rise in blood sugar tested an hour and two hours after eating. I cooked the spaghetti and also the penne with tomato and garlic and olive oil. With regular wheat pasta my bg is 130-180. With Einkorn Jovial brand  it was barely over 100. I suspect everyone is a bit different though and some may have different results.

  • Dr. William Davis

    5/31/2011 11:17:49 PM |

    Abhi and Alan raise an important point: Einkorn is wheat, but it, I believe, far less destructive than modern Triticum aestivum, especially the dwarf variant product of genetics research.

    Einkorn is not entirely benign. After all, celiac disease was described even in the 1st century A.D. However, given a choice between modern low-carb Triticum aestivum or durum equivalents and einkorn, I would choose the einkorn, hands down.

  • Andrés

    6/2/2011 10:58:01 AM |

    Thanks for your answer!

    Well, I will try to reduce my durum intake also, then. I am now experimenting with breakfast without bread: I do an omelet with two eggs (three was a little too much a company to my white coffee), Gorgonzola and butter (I am still not convinced about the AGE issue).

    Regards.

  • Ingrown Toenail Remedies

    6/2/2011 11:08:07 AM |

    I’m a new reader and have been very impressed with your recent posts and thought to drop a friendly note. It is really a great information indeed. Waiting for more posts, is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email?

  • JT

    6/12/2011 5:12:58 PM |

    just tried a plate full of Dreamfield pasta with chicken cachitori sauce and it raised my BG to only 104 after an hour.

    I wonder it Dreamfield affects people differnetly

  • Nancy

    12/21/2011 9:27:07 PM |

    How the pasta is prepared is important to its effect on BG.  It can't be sitting around very long in a sauce, especially tomato, before the "protective coating" disintegrates.  Boil in water, drain, then put on sauce and eat.  Do not cook the pasta with sauce.  Do not store leftover pasta mixed with sauce.  Or just don't eat it at all.

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