Earlier this week, I went to a doctor’s appointment that included diabetes boot camp and was instructed by Dr. T., a clinical pharmacist for the El Paso VAMC. At the time, I thought the only liars were the Food and Drug Administration and the food pyramid I have been living for 40+ years. After some additional research, I have to add Dr. T. to the list of liars using peer-reviewed sources. Well, at least he is in good company. The list of liars includes a neurologist who claimed all calories are the same and reducing caloric intake and caloric burn will help a person lose weight. The advice I have been following for the better part of six years to no avail.
Cave Man Foods
The “Cave Man Foods” pitched by Dr. T. were sourced from Keto-Diets, not “14-years of research at the VA.” The problem with the Keto-Diets is Ketosis, and if you have a liver problem, which I do, you can do serious damage to the liver by eating eggs. Eggs are a staple of the Keto-Diets; do you see the problem here?
I have a friend, and he and his spouse went Keto about 16 months ago. Earlier this year, his wife had liver failure, and the Keto-diet helped create a liver problem for someone who has never had liver problems in their life. The correlational relationship between consuming eggs and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLD) is pretty solid based on my research. However, as I am not a dietician, a medical doctor, or a food researcher, I can only rely upon medical advice and encourage you to seek medical opinions (plural) before starting any diet regimen!
Calories are not the same!
Let us establish a base of information. A calorie is a unit of energy defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a quantity of water by one degree. In Junior High School, we used peanuts, sugar cubes, and other home ingredients to explore calories in chemistry class. I still remember setting foods on fire and measuring water temperature correctly to get the caloric burns right. However, dieticians never discussed then and not discussed now that one calorie is not the same as another calorie. Just like rocks are not all the same size, have the same value, or can be used in the same manner.
For example, calories from sugar are not the same calories from kidney beans, even though both are units of energy, and 2000 calories of chocolate are not the same as 2000 calories of carrots. If we are clear on this, let’s discuss why this is important. 2015, a neurologist told me all my problems with my nerves lay in how much fat I was carrying around. He claimed that if I reduced the amount of calories I consumed and increased the number of calories burned, I would quickly lose weight. Losing weight never happened, nor could I keep any weight lost off for any length of time.
Three years after this meeting, I was told I had developed diabetes and a non-alcoholic fatty liver, as well as gallstones, and my GERD was out of control. This was when I was first introduced to the notion that not all calories are equal, even though all calories are units of energy. I did not understand this discussion totally then; after Dr. T.’s discussion, I still do not fully understand the entire argument.
I am sure that energy sources are not equal, even though calories are simple units of energy, per the laws and rules of physics. However, I am not a chemist, a physicist, nor exceptionally well versed in diet and health. I am not a dietician and am left to try and figure out the best advice and live that advice. As a foodie, I have yet to find any diet, as the first part of a diet is “die” dying of hunger! Before you ask, yes, Garfield is a hero of mine and has been my whole life.
Complications to Weight Loss
2017 thru 2019, I had been more active and had lost a little weight. July through December 2020 come along, and all the weight lost is back in spades; why, the injuries sustained at the hands of the VA Police in arresting me for not wearing a mask at the VA Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. According to research conducted on people with spinal cord injuries, the following are key variables in weight loss:
- Marital Status
- Employment Status
- Family history of overweight/obesity
- Level and duration of injury
- Cholesterol level at baseline.
Thus, it is only logical that since my fallacious arrests and injuries at the hands of the VA Police at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC in Phoenix, AZ., exercise and weight loss would be impeded, acting as complicating factors in improving my health. Why is this important; because, my new primary care provider does not think I have any problems and refuses to renew medication until other specialists claim the medicines are needed. I find it interesting that the doctors would vary so significantly between VISN 17 and VISN 22.
While the following is not a variable in weight loss, it is part and parcel of the lies and problems I have experienced since Feb 2020. The Las Cruces, NM., VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) had no problems accepting my doctor’s note regarding my inability to wear a mask. When I arrived at the El Paso VAMC, the VA Police had no problem with my doctor’s letter regarding my inability to wear a mask, handed me a face shield, and then provided protection for me with other bureaucrats who took umbrage that I was not wearing a mask.
Meaning that what I have been declaring about the mask policy, the mask mandates, and the hypocrisy of zealot VA Police Officers at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC is 100% true, and my treatment was not in accordance with the mask policy (emailed directive) from Washington DC. I hate being lied to, detest being arrested and injured when I am right and refuse to be silent about how poorly the VA is treating veterans! Does anyone know a lawyer who is willing and hungry enough to take on the VA?
Chen, Y., Henson, S., Jackson, A. et al. Obesity intervention in persons with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord 44, 82–91 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.sc.3101818
Gundry, S. R. (2017). The plant paradox: The hidden dangers in “Healthy” Foods that cause disease and weight gain. HarperCollins.
Joshi, S., Ostfeld, R. J., & McMacken, M. (2019). The ketogenic diet for obesity and diabetes—enthusiasm outpaces evidence. JAMA internal medicine, 179(9), 1163-1164.
Mokhtari, Z., Poustchi, H., Eslamparast, T., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2017). Egg consumption and risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. World journal of hepatology, 9(10), 503.
Taubes, G. (2008). Good calories, bad calories: Fats, carbs, and the controversial science of diet and health. Anchor.
Taubes, G. (2011). Why we get fat and what to do about it. Anchor.
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.