Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can ketosis cause false positives on DUI breathalizers?

I ran across a blog entry claiming that a low-carb diet can cause false positives on breathalizer tests. They include links to a couple of sites making similar claims.

http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com/search?q=DUI&x=51&y=3

This gist is that when the body produces ketosis as it burns stored body fat for energy, consumption of carbohydrates during ketosis can cause the body itself to produce a substance called isopropyl alcohol. Most DUI breath testing machines cannot distinguish isopropyl alcohol from ethanol (the alcohol that we drink and that causes impairment).

Has anyone heard this before? Is it for real or just an urban legend?


Follow-up March 23, 2007:

Here's addiitonal information from the International Journal on Obesity...

http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v31/n3/abs/0803444a.html


Follow-up May 24, 2007:

Here's addiitonal information from the blog of Dr. Michael Eades, co-author of Protein Power...

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/?p=713

Monday, October 23, 2006

Satisfying Biscuits and Gravy - 7 net carbs per serving

That's right, low-carb biscuits with sausage gravy!!! 7 net carbs is based on 6 servings of two biscuits each with gravy. The biscuits have only one net carb each. The gravy is where the remaining carbs are. I bought the low carb biscuit mix over the internet. It is called "Dixie Carb Counters Country Biscuits." These were awesome! I'm not posting the recipe as its written on the package. This mix and many more are available on Amazon.com but can probably be found elsewhere for cheaper. Just go to Amazon and search for "Dixie Carb Counters". For the gravy, at first I tried to make the gravy using Carbquik. I didn't like it so, I dumped it and started over. The gravy recipe below tastes great. It uses normal white flour. The carbs are acceptable since they are paired with biscuits that have so few carbs. However, it's still fewer carbs than normal white gravy because I used "Hood calorie countdown dairy beverage" instead of milk.

Serves 6

Gravy Ingredients:
1/2 tube breakfast sausage
3 T. flour
2 T. whipping cream
2 c. Hood calorie countdown dairy beverage (low-carb milk).
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
Cook sausage on medium in skillet. Remove browned sausage, reserving 3 or 4 tablespoons of the grease. On Medium, add flour to grease and cook until thick and bubbly. Whisk in cream and Hood dairy beverage. Add cooked sausage. Heat on low until thick. If too thick, add more Hood to thin.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Beef with Mushroom Gravy - 4 net carbs per serving

This is a variation of a dish that I grew up eating. We used to use the normal condensed Cambells cream of mushroom soup. Cambells now has an alternative with much lower carbs. The "soup at hand" (microwavable individual serving) has only 4 net carbs per can. This works almost as well. The recipe is quick and easy. The only problem is figuring out what kind of bread to sop up the gravy with.

Ingredients:
2 hamburger paddies or minute steak
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can Cambells "Soup at Hand" Cream of Mushroom

Instructions:
On medium heat, brown hamburger paddies or minute steak. Remove from pan. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of grease. Saute mushrooms in remaining oil. Once soft, add soup. Cook until gravy darkens. Add cooked paddies or steak. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until thickens and/or meat is heated thoroughly. Serve with low-carb bread or biscuits.

More Experiments with Carbquik - Pancakes and Biscuits

The other day, we tried to make pancakes using the Carbquik recipe on the side of the box. The batter made according to the instructions was too thick. The pancakes looked more like biscuits and didn't spread properly. So, I added enough water to thin it to a normal pancake batter consistency. That worked. The pancakes looked normal. The taste was not as good as normal pancakes but not bad.

Last night, we made carbquik biscuits, following the directions on the box. Once again, the box directions were not very clear. It told you to add the water to the dry ingredient and mix. This made very thin batter, too thin. I think they meant to say to add the water gradually until the batter begins to form dough and ball up. Regardless, I added more carbquik to thicken it up and it worked. While they aren't bad, they have an odd flavor that I'm not sure how to describe. It's got a hind of something unusual, almost metallic in flavor.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Experiment - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

The other day, my wife and I tried to make spaghetti. Instead of pasta, we opted to try spaghetti squash. This was a first for me. I'd never seen spaghetti squash before. We poked it, baked it, sliced it open, removed the seeds, and then separated the strands from the meaty portion of the squash walls. Each of us got one cup of "noodles". We topped this with spiced ground beef and spaghetti sauce. The dish looked fabulous. It was the most beautiful plate of spaghetti that you've ever seen. But, the noodles just weren't noodles. They tasted sort of like cabbage. The dish was okay. It was edible but not great tasting. I don't recommend using spaghetti squash as a substitute for spaghetti noodles.

First Experiment with Carbquik (made from Carbalose)

I recently bought some carbquik over the internet. This stuff is supposed to be like bisquik but with 90% fewer carbs. It's made out of something called carbalose which is made from wheat but doesn't contain the non-fiber carbs that flour does. While you've been able to buy carbquik for a while, the main ingredient carbalose was not available directly to the public. But now it is. So, I'm ordering a bag and will post my experiments once it arrives. The following link is to a website full of carbquik recipes, http://www.tovaindustries.com/carbalose/recipe.php. If you try any of these, please post comments or send me an e-mail with your results!

I opened my first box of carbquik today and tested it out. This product was quick and easy to use. My first experiment was a "quik" lunch pizza. I work from home but only had one hour for lunch between conference calls. So, the challenge was to mix the dough, shred the cheese, and bake a pizza while leaving enough time to eat. No problem. The back of the box had a recipe for a white pizza. I didn't have all of the right ingredients so I just took the instructions on preparing the dough then topped it with what I had in the fridge: left over spaghetti sauce, Colby-jack cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, chopped garlic, and Parmesan cheese. It took me about 15 minutes to prepare the pizza and another 15 minutes for it to cook. This left 30 minutes to enjoy my meal.

The result was an okay pizza. I'd say its better than the typical freezer pizza but not as good as most take-out. The important thing is that I had a pizza! This crust was similar to that of a bisquik pizza. You know how bisquik has a unique, indescribable flavor. Well, so did the carbquik, but slightly different. It wasn't bad. It was good but not great. But, it has potential. I plan to continue experimenting. I think that Saturday I may make pancakes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Positive Effects of a Ketogenic Diet

The media is full of half-truth stories about the negative side effects of ketogenic diets such as Atkins and the Protein Power Plan. I'm sure that you've heard many of the skeptical claims. So, I will not go into them here. But did you know that there are numerous potential positive side effects of this diet? Not only does this diet cause you to lose weight and potentially lower your cholesterol, but it also might be useful for the following:

  1. Muscle growth - high protein promotes muscle growth.
  2. Diabetes - ketogenic diets can be used to treat diabetes.
  3. Cancer treatment* - a ketogenic state could decrease glucose availability to certain tumors, thereby impairing tumor metabolism without adversely affecting the patient's overall nutritional status.
  4. Epilepsy and seizure control** - helps to control seizures in some people with epilepsy.
  5. Alzheimer's disease*** - Preliminary studies demonstrated the unexpected result that a brief treatment with a low carbohydrate/high saturated fat diet reduced total Aβ levels in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Sources:

* http://www.newtreatments.org/Cancer%20Treatment/ga/359 and http://rjr10036.typepad.com/askdrvernon/2006/09/low_carb_and_br.html

**http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/treatment_ketogenic_diet.html

***http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1282589

Monday, October 9, 2006

End of Week 8 Results

I sit here this morning, eating homemade cheese cake and reporting on my diet results. Since I began this diet 8 weeks ago, I have lost 39 pounds and 5 inches off of my waist. My shirt size has dropped from 3XL to 2XL (and some XL). Just about all of my paints are baggy. Soon, I will no longer be shopping in the big and fat stores. My current net carb. intake is ranging between 30 and 45 per day. I feel strong, healthy, and more energetic than in a very long time. Long walks that used to take my breath are no longer difficult. Mowing the yard is no longer as tiring.

Detailed stats (end of week 8):
Total Weight: ..... From 336 to 297.0
Pounds of Fat: .... From 134.4 to 95
Lean Body Wt. ... From 201.6 to 202
Est. Body Fat: .... From 40.2% to 32.2%
Waist: ................ From 56.5 to 51.5 inches
Hips: .................. From 54.5 to 52 inches

Today's Ketostix reading is 70. I'd like to keep it between 40 and 80.

The ideal weight range for my body type is between 232 lbs. to 252 lbs. My goal is to weigh less than 240.

My wife has now been on this diet for a week. I doubt that she'd want me to publish her statistics. But, she too is doing extremely well.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Suggestions for Eating Out - Fast food

Send comments to me with ideas on this subject! Fast food is the toughest part of the diet! If you are not in a hurry then avoid fast food restaurants. There is very little available at these places. Many low-carbers say to order a double cheese burger and not eat the bun. This doesn't sound like a pleasant meal and may be rather messy. McDonald's and some others now have salads with grilled chicken. Avoid low-fat dressings as they typically contain more carbs. Arby's used to have a salad or two that would do but they have removed their non-battered/grilled chicken items from the menu. Why don't they at least have a chef salad? Taco Bell and Taco Tico both have a decent taco salad. You can order it with extra meat and no beans. But, do you have the discipline to not eat the shell? I don't understand why these "tex-mex" places don't wake up and offer low-carb tortillas like at Subway. Speaking of which, Subway has an excellent selection of low-carb wraps. They have nutrition guides available that tell you exactly how many carbs and fiber each item contains. While the Subway wraps taste good, I find them to not be filling. I'll eat a wrap and 15 minutes later, I am hungry again. Look for gyros places (Greek fast food) often have decent salads with gyro meat and ziti sauce. I travel to Nashville quite a bit. Nashville is full of gyro shops that I love to eat at. But, at home in Lexington, there are none.

Any comments or tips you, the reader, can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

2nd Hand Dieting

My wife has been eating the same dinners as me but doing whatever for lunch and when I am gone. She's lost 10 pounds since I began the diet! Well, now, I think she's hooked. From yesterday onward, she is officially joining me in my diet.