Warning: This food contains starch. Consult your doctor before consuming!

In the comments section of Jimmy's "safe starch" post, Jimmy had this to say:
I'm still concerned with the use of the phrase "safe starches" because people will think that is universally true--and it may not be. Perhaps calling them "potentially safe starches" with the caveat that you should be checked by a physician to determine if they are safe for you or not would be better.
Has low carb dogma really come to this?  Where a couple of scientists with some health issues work them out with what appears to me to be exhaustive research, share their results with others in the form of a book, and are basically being accused of possibly harming people by suggesting that some starches are safe?

Kurt Harris' response was apropos:
... I must say I object to the default presumption that starch is dangerous. Why not qualify the safety of fat? Should our dietary fats be physician approved? Even our beloved animal fat is dangerous if it leads to caloric excess, and yes, I see plenty of this clinically. ...
Even with so many eating the SAD, only 11% of the population has diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.  Considering that the undiagnosed diabetes is nothing but an educated guess, the numbers are likely far lower.   Now consider that there is absolutely no evidence that starch consumption causes diabetes (T2, the underlying pathology of which is insulin resistance) and abundant evidence that fat consumption can contribute to the etiology of the disease, and one has to wonder who needs a disclaimer on their diet advice books.  As many studies and clinical reports demonstrate, for the four out of five T2's who become diabetic through the path of obesity, weight loss can absolutely cure their hyperglycemia.  How many Biggest Loser contestants go off their diabetes meds after a couple of months?  

Considering starch in particular or all carbs in general as by default dangerous and only deemed "safe" for a select few with good genes or something is absurd.  I wonder if these people hear themselves some times!  Over on Paul's blog, Jimmy is angling to test Paul's idea of "safe starches".  I don't know if Paul is just being his usual gracious self, but exactly how would this be done?  What makes them safe is that they don't come with anti-nutrients.  

This obsession over blood glucose and insulin spikes makes me think I'm living in Jonestown sometimes.  Anyone who thinks they are somehow metabolically deranged for "spiking" blood sugar should read this post from Ned Kock:  Blood glucose variations in normal individuals: A chaotic mess.   At right is the graphic from that post.

I think what bothers me most about Jimmy is that he is amazingly metabolically healthy despite the dietary hoops of fire he's put his body through most of his life ... including his low carb crash diets like that egg-fest.  Trust me, there are hundreds of Jimmy's fans who would give their left eye (presuming they hadn't ruined it with a sugar spike) to have his metabolism.  Because when Jimmy eats a normal amount of food he loses weight like gangbusters.  And when he eats a lot he gains.  Yet he claims it's some mysterious metabolic problem causing his weight to climb.  He was not hyperinsulinemic when he thought he had reactive hypoglycemia and had his insulin response checked.  Oh ... and speaking of starches and blood sugar spikes, apparently a pizza splurge (was this the 16 slices episode?) in July 2008 did nothing to his BG levels.
You’ll recall last month I did an experiment where I splurged out on some pizza to test what would happen to my blood sugar since eating a “normal” low-carb meal produced a significant DROP in my blood sugar. I couldn’t believe it was possible for your blood sugar to go DOWN after a meal, so I forced the issue by consuming more carbs in one sitting than I had done since I started livin’ la vida low-carb in January 2004.
The result? My fasting blood sugar of 91 actually DROPPED to 90 when I checked it one hour after eating (WOW!) all those slices of pizza, it finally rose to 100 by the second hour, and was back down to 98 by the third hour after this extremely high-carb meal. It was quite an illuminating self-experiment that had me scratching my head about what the heck was going on. I have been spending a lot of time over the past month trying to figure this out and I’m still perplexed about it.
Hmmmm ... it's interesting what one comes across when "thumbing through" posts trying to find the whole OGTT thing Jimmy had done which wasn't an OGTT after all (I can't find it and can't be bothered looking any longer).  For instance, ... it would be great to share some of my thoughts about the whole ridiculous “fat acceptance” movement that has crept into our society. So YEAH BABY! .  This links to a post entitled:  Fat Acceptance is a Ruse to Avoid Weight Loss.  My how times have changed since Sept. 2006!

Well ... enough tangents there for one day :-)


OnePointFive said…
As Jimmy isn't diabetic he probably hasn't heard of the well known 'pizza effect', the fat delays absorption of the carb for as much as 8 hours.
Very difficult to dose insulin for, but with his seemingly normal glucose regulation I expect his metabolism coped just fine with the delay.

As you show non diabetics have glucose spikes. One recent study of people with 'no history of diabetes, a fasting plasma glucose level ≤5.4 mmol/l (97 mg/dl) and HbA1c <6.5% found that almost all of them( 93% ) went above 7.8 mmol/l and spent a median of 26 min/day above this level

Even in people with diabetes It's not clear whether it is glucose variability or sustained high levels that contribute to diabetic complications and CVD.
It's a subject of debate as one held at an ADA conference .Louis Monnier argued that glucose spikes lead to oxidative stress and hence to problems but in response Eric Kilpatrick described his analysis of the data in the longterm Diabetes Complications and Control Trial and concluded “it is the mean glucose that determines diabetic complications, no matter how that mean is arrived at.”
http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2965.full.pdf (half way down p2967)
CarbSane said…
Interesting ... so pizza should NOT be fattening according to TWICHOO!!
re "Has low carb dogma come to this?"

I thought an especially nice touch in that post was the creepy, blood-red frankenstein'ish font dramatically splashed across the lead artwork of the rice: "Is this a safe starch???" Oh wait, it's October which means it must be Halloween-related content. Duh, my bad. Now I understand: Jason in Friday the 13th must be a homicidal maniac because...*cue Jaws music*...it's, wait for it, the CARBS!!!!! He obviously ate rice or potatoes, or worse, both, and naughty boy, forgot to check with his physician first. This type of stupid content is defo scary enough for Halloween; forget potatoes, it's LLVLC that should come with a warning label.
Tonus said…
I haven't read the posts or comments in question, but is it safe to assume that we can add Kurt Harris to the list of doctors and researchers who are dismissed as "not knowing what they're talking about" by the 'expert' LC laypersons who are Livin' La Vida Low-Clue?
Debbie Cusick said…
LOL, I just wonder what a physician would say if a patient came in and said, "I just want you to check me to see if it's safe for me to eat this potato." :-)
Diana said…
How do you say "safe starch" in Mandarin and Japanese?
CarbSane said…
LOL scallOway & Diana! You guys are cracking me up this morning. Livin La Vida Low Clue. ROFL Tonus!!

In the comments Jimmy is defending posting all of those emails. Nothing in what he sent out indicated that he was obligated to publish the response.
CarbSane said…
Yeah FTD, I had the same reaction to the scary halloween font on the rice.

Jimmy is certainly trying to rebrand things a bit and take it away from his weight loss success story and about bringing "you" information on low carb. But he's polling mostly low carbers. Why not ask Dansinger for his opinion? I wonder if he wrote Stephan for his opinion as well. I've been practically scrubbed from his website b/c he published quite a few nasty comments to my podcast -- instead of moderating those he just scrubbed them clean earlier this year. He has censored enough comments of mine that I stopped bothering.
Andrew C said…
"Livin La Vida Low Clue" is right!
I've also seen "Livin La Slow Death Low Carb".

It's funny how Jimmy acts like he had to publish those emails as though transparency is a virtue of his.

Yet when I pressed him for a responsive answer to a simple question on his blog post about what he meant by "metabolic derangement" and why he thought he had it, he banned me from his comments page.

I really think poor Jimmy Moore won't admit he overeats and instead tries to clutter his mind with all these theories to feel like he's accomplishing something that will move him forward. But knowledge is not a substitute for discipline.
Sanjeev said…
> knowledge is not a substitute for discipline

IMHO It could be ...

Brian Wansink's book is a good source for many low-discipline tricks (small plates, no calorically dense food in the house, no Costco tanker trailers full of food, skinny tall glasses).
Galina L. said…
I carefully read the discussion too and even asked Dr.Harris couple of questions because after introducing IF into my diet I got fasting BS around 100. At the same time, after I started IF , I don't have migraines if I am hungry, also IF helped to drop my weight to the desired level. So, what is to give? I wanted to understand how important are BS numbers. It looks like I shouldn't worry too much about numbers if everything else is o.k. After eating pasta my fasting BS also dropped next day but leg edema returned for short period of time.

I can understand why people are reluctant to eat more starch after they lost weight(at least some) by LC. I think thous who got helped by that particular diet after experiencing symptoms of metabolic syndrome such as high blood pressure, low energy level, frequent hunger, edema, feel safer without extra starch. Because blood pressure drops and the edema is gone way before the weight loss result became obvious. As I understand, the more starch you add, the less fat you should consume. How much less? It is in some way like going back to counting calories again and be afraid to eat to satiety, which is not something what most people do successfully. It is worth doing if it is improving health markers. One of mine (fasting BS) went off while wight dropped. At the moment , I am choosing the weight loss over BS numbers.I think the therm "safe starches" is understood differently by different people. If some decided to continue doing what is working for them so far, is it fair to say that they choose the "safer" approach? It is good that Jimmy is trying one thing after another. I am afraid I would loose the weight loss battle if I were him.
Chris said…

In this post though the context clearly identified what a "safe" starch was - it was Paul's definition in the Perfect Health Diet: page 102:

the safe starches lack fructose, omega-6 fats, and natural toxins, and provide potassium and other nutrients as well as fiber, they are among the most healthful plant foods, and the best source of glucose calories.

Safe in that they lack the toxins.

The low carb 'experts' didn't understand that and Jimmy did not define the term for them. His introduction also made it plain what he thought - it was all about insulin...not the toxins
Sue said…
Exactly Chris - it should have been made clear from the start of the JM post what safe starches meant.
Sue said…
Chris, I posted your comment over at PHD. Jimmy should have known this as he has the book.
Galina L. said…
Thank you, Chris for the citation. I will read the book, but I have not yet. Probably, it was some meaning ( by design or by chance) in the absence of the clear definition. Actually the discussion was about how safe it would be to eat starches again for somebody who lost weight on a LC diet, even the non-toxic starches . It is possible it was not very fair , but eventually a lot of people are concern about the issue. It is so difficult to loose weight, that fear of regaining may became a valid consern.
Sven Anders said…
Most people who diet will regain lost weight, regardless of the diet, so the fear is certainly valid. Taking a demonic view of starches is silly. Stuff like this leads to eating disorders and poor health.
I eat stuff like oats and potatoes every day, even wheat, cause it's hard to make all rye buns (unless you're not planning on eating them but want to use them to attack someone).
CarbSane said…
@Galina: The post was about Paul Jaminet's concept of "safe starches". Not anyone and everyone's individual interpretation of what a safe food is, etc. Of course a lot of people are concerned about regaining. It is scary. It's no reason to scare monger though.

The comment section is proving to be even more enlightening -- and not in a good way for those I'm talking about. Su's comments are disturbing.
CarbSane said…
Thanks for posting that cite Chris. It shows just how off base Jimmy Moore was with his approach.
Mirrorball said…
I bet the Jaminets are loving the controversy. It's free advertisement for their book.