Gary Taubes


Friday, October 2, 2015

Nutrition's Industry Conflicts

With the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans under discussion, industry conflicts of interest are highlights of nutrition news.  Recently a Premier Sponsor of the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), CocaCola, broke ties with the
AND .  

Of note, CocaCola continues to maintain sponsorships with:

The American College of Cardiology 


The American Academy of Pediatrics

Links below connect you to critiques from Eat Drink Politics on conflicts of interest among national nutrition entities:

US, 2013: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (aka AND. Of note, sponsors have changed since this was published)

Australia, 2015: Dietitians Association of Australia (aka DAA)

What do you think?  Do you agree with Eat Drink Politics that money talks?  Or is advice provided by sponsored national organizations in the United States and Australia unbiased and objective, funding sources notwithstanding?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dr. Childers’ Paleo Pancake Recipe for One or Two

Gluten free, milk dairy free, low carbohydrate and delicious!

1/2 Cup Sprouted Almonds, Macadamia Nuts or Filberts 
( in Eugene, Oregon has them available on line ;)

1/2 tsp Aluminum Free Baking Powder

2 TBSPs Great Lakes Gelatin

4 large organic eggs

Celtic Sea Salt to taste (about 3-4 pinches; more if you like them saltier)

I use a Magic Bullet or NutriBullet for these.  A regular blender works as well: 

Put dry ingredients in blender and blend until almonds turn to flour.  

Add eggs and blend again.  

Fry as you would regular pancakes, flipping when slightly dry with lots of bubbles.  

Serve loaded with butter or ghee from pastured cows, and toppings of your choice (fresh or thawed blueberries, e.g.).

To make crepes, thin the batter with water to the consistency you like.

Leftover pancakes make great roll ups or "sandwiches".


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Time to Reveal: Life Balance Coffee!

OK, folks, I am no expert on coffee specialties.  And depending on your views or health conditions (anxiety, adrenal fatigue, lack of sleep, stomach upset, irritability, e.g.) coffee, caffeinated or not, may not be the best idea for you.   But for those fortunate coffee lovers who thrive on the bean, the aroma and flavor are irreplaceable.

This said, it is time for to share my Life Balance Coffee secret with you.

You will need:
Caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee beans, ground medium to medium-fine
1 TBSP powdered gelatin
1 TBSP (or to taste) unsalted ghee or clarified butter, from pastured cows
Unwhipped heavy organic whipping cream, preferably from pastured cows, to taste (optional) The ingredients listed on the carton should be limited to "cream", and nothing else.
Stevia if you need a little sweetener; some folks prefer luo han guo.  I use KAL Pure Stevia (in the individual brown packs--just a tiny bit; it's powerful stuff!), or a little Slim Sweet Lo Han.
Water just off the boil (about 210 degrees).

Before you begin, take time to find coffee you love.  If the aroma of the beans and the coffee's flavor lift you into a state of bliss, caffeine notwithstanding, you've got the right stuff.  Life is to short to drink coffee you just tolerate.

Put 1 TBSP of gelatin powder in the bottom of your coffee cup.  You read that right, gelatin.  I use Great Lakes Gelatin, Kosher Beef type.  Dampen with water and mix it quickly to a smooth consistency, before it clumps; unless, of course, you prefer the texture of lumpy coffee, as some people do.  Gelatin gives your coffee a smooth and creamy mouth feel, while super charging your nutrition.  It makes me feel great, drops the aches in my joints, and it seems to whiten my teeth--wierd, right?  But I digress...

Make your morning coffee as you usually do.  I like to stir the grinds into a glass container full of just off the boil water (about 210 degrees F), let it stand for 4 minutes, then pour the mix through a filter into my cup.  

Immediately after your filtered coffee reaches the cup, stir thoroughly by hand to mix in the gelatin until smooth, being sure to scrape gelatin from the bottom of the cup.  I use a 5 inch whisk for this purpose.

Mix in the ghee/clarified buttter, and if you wish, heavy unwhipped whipping cream to taste. Stir in sweetener if you like it that way.  The butter will probably float to the top; if so, it's OK.  You might even see butter droplets from the heavy whipping cream.  If so, lucky you :D

That's it!  Rich and delicious Life Balance Coffee!  Enjoy.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Depressed Much? Starches and Sweets Could Be To Blame

A diet bad for your waistline could be bad for your mental health, researchers find.  Refined sugars and starches were associated with depression in post menopausal women in a large study called the Women's Health Initiative.  Refined sugars and starches can be found in commercial breakfast cereals, bread, cookies, cakes, candies, muffins, protein and energy bars, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice, sports gels, grain and potato products, pizza, chips, and more.

Researchers said sugars and starches (refined carbohydrates) such as are found in white bread, white rice and sugary drinks trigger a hormonal response in the body that lead to a sugar "crash", a steep decline in blood sugar levels, causing or worsening mood changes, fatigue and other symptoms of depression.  

[I would like to add that other research shows whole wheat bread is even more likely to cause sugar crashes than white bread; typical brown rice and starchy/sugary gluten free products also lead to crashes.  Don't be fooled by the phrase "no sugar added".  If it is made of starch, or naturally sugary like fruit juice, to your body it's sugar (glucose).  Whether or not it is sweetened your body perceives starches as sugars.  Think of a loaf of bread as a bag of sugar; a carton of orange juice as a carton of sugary drink; a bowl of cereal as a bowl of sugar, a cup of fat free skim milk as a milk sugar drink, etc.]

The reports go on to note that high consumption of refined starches and sugars is a known risk factor for inflammation and cardiovascular disease, conditions also thought to cause or worsen depression.

"Although our study only included post-menopausal women, the theorized mechanisms by which a diet high in refined carbohydrates could lead to depression would apply to other populations as well," Gangwisch told CBS News in an email.  There is a high likelihood these populations include you and me ;)

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but since I've already gone there, here's my recommendation: If you are depressed, or if you don't want to be, take this news seriously and make dietary changes today.   Reject those yummy delicious processed and refined carbohydrates and sugars you crave so much. Substitute them with carbohydrates from whole foods, fresh vegetables, berries and more, found on the perimeter of most grocery stores.  Eat well sourced meats, fish, eggs, poultry, shell fish, real pastured butter or ghee, and other fresh foods, fats included. Your cravings will diminish, and your brain will thank you.

Read more here and here

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015: Update

Dear Readers,

I thought you'd like to see the latest on the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, if you have not already.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC, also listed as DGA) makes recommendations to the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services about what should be published in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scheduled for September of 2015.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the academy that oversees America's Registered Dietitians.  Two items of interest are listed below:

Academy Submits 2015 DGA Recommendations


Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics Commends Strong, Evidence-Based Dietary Guidelines Report (Press Release)

Quotes that follow are from the Press Release, above.  Underlines are my own emphasis, and not part of the original text.

Cholesterol and Saturated Fat:

"In comments recently submitted to USDA and HHS, the Academy supports the DGAC in its decision to drop dietary cholesterol from the nutrients of concern list and recommends it deemphasize saturated fat from nutrients of concern, given the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease" (by the way, the DGAC and AND agree on cholesterol)


"There is a distinct and growing lack of scientific consensus on making a single sodium consumption recommendation for all Americans, owing to a growing body of research suggesting that the low sodium intake levels recommended by the DGAC are actually associated with increased mortality for healthy individuals," Connor said.


"The Academy supports an increased focus on reduction of added sugars as a key public health concern." (not far enough, IMO--see my next post Depressed Much? Starches and Sweets Could Be To Blame, which describes the role of refined starches in raising blood sugar and causing blood sugar "crashes".)

So, here it is.  I hope these new recommendations will be emphasized in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 to be issued later this year, scheduled for as early as next month.  

If the recommendations from the AND are not fully adopted it will be interesting to see whether America's Registered Dietitians and its Academy practice in accordance with current Academy recommendations, or default to US Government recommendations.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Magnesium Recommendations for My Adult Patients

Many of my patients suffer from symptoms of magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium deficiency is difficult to diagnose, but worth the effort given that the "cure" is safe for most, economical, and has a high probability of improving both length and quality of life. An estimated 70% of Americans do not get enough magnesium from food.

Magnesium is a mineral that acts as a natural muscle relaxer.  Magnesium provides protection for the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system.  It helps protect us from physical and emotional stress.

Because it is essential to life, the body is skilled at moving magnesium to where it is needed.  The body circulates its magnesium cargo in blood to provide abundant magnesium to the heart and other organs, making it difficult to detect magnesium deficiency with a blood test.

People who do not have enough magnesium can suffer greatly, even become disabled in extreme cases.  When I suspect magnesium deficiency I consider whether my patient has any of the following symptoms:

Migraine Headaches (as many as half of migraine sufferers respond well to magnesium)
Grinding teeth; TMJ; jaw tightness or popping
Heart palpitations
Hearing loss
Absent morning hunger, quiet stomach (no growling)
Difficult to control asthma; tight chest
Difficulty managing blood sugars in metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, diabetes
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
High blood pressure
Muscle cramps and spasms
Facial tics, particularly around the eyes
Pre-menstrual syndrome and/or menstrual cramps
Irregular heart rhythm
Mitral valve prolapse
Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue symptoms

When I suspect magnesium deficiency in an adult patient, I usually make the following recommendations:

Make sure you have no heart or kidney disease before taking Magnesium supplements.  Check with your healthcare provider to ensure you are a candidate for magnesium therapy and let your him or her know what you plan to take.

Start with 400 mg to 600 mg of magnesium every evening or as recommended by your healthcare provider.  Take with food.

Magnesium may be taken in divided doses if not tolerated (if stools become too loose or you have stomach upset): for example, 200 mg twice a day, 250 mg twice a day or 300 mg twice a day.  Again, take with food.

If your stools become too loose even with divided doses, cut back on each dose (if it was too high at 300 mg twice a day, take 200 mg twice a day, e.g.).

If you get cramps or if cramps worsen, stop this supplement and tell your healthcare provider.

Taking a B-6 vitamin or a multiple vitamin with B-6 in it helps magnesium to be absorbed into the cells.  Some preparations have B-6 in them; check the bottle.  Take no more than 75 mg B-6 total per day.

  • Magnesium Hydroxide (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Oxide (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Carbonate (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Aspartate (neurotoxic) or
  • Magnesium Glutamate (neurotoxic)
Look for:
  • Magnesium citrate (especially if constipation is a problem) 
  • Magnesium malate 
  • Magnesium glycinate 
  • Magnesium taurinate or taurate 
  • Magnesium succinate 

The best formulations, in my opinion: A combination of Magnesium Citrate & Magnesium Malate.  Another good formula, in my opinion: Jigsaw Magnesium with SRT.

Source Naturals makes a couple of magnesium products.  One, Ultra-Mag, is an acceptable blend of magnesium salts.

Jarrow Formulas makes Magnesium Optimizer, which is Magnesium Citrate, Potassium Citrate and Taurine

My preferred magnesium formulation is Jigsaw Magnesium with SRT, 125 mg tablets.  Take one to two tablets twice a day or as directed by your physician.  You can order this at: or by telephone at: 866-601-5800 or on

You may be able to get adequate magnesium from food, depending on the health of top soils it is raised on and the methods in which the food is raised.  Potentially rich food sources of magnesium include sprouted pumpkin seeds. Other sources include squashes and green leafy vegetables, depending on how these are grown and prepared.  Water should be another source of magnesium, but here in Northwest Oregon we drink more soft water, which does not contain the calcium, magnesium and other minerals of hard water. 

To your health,
from Dr. Ann