Saturday, February 23, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 112

Well, it seems I'm approaching the end of my weight loss sooner than expected. About four days ago, I noticed that I'm no longer in ketosis, for one thing, so my weight loss has begun to slow. This morning, my weight is at 182 lbs, so I've lost only one pound, as opposed to two, as I've been averaging each week. So, given that, it looks like my initial predictions of my weight stabilizing in the range of 175 to 180 lbs may turn out to be true, after all. It just depends on how much longer it goes on and from here on out, how much I lose will be entirely dependent upon how many calories I take in, versus how many calories I expend.

Where my BMI (Body Mass Index) is concerned, I'm still in the "normal weight" range and falling slower, now. Today, I'm at a BMI of 24.7.

On the blood pressure, I'm showing a marked improvement this morning on the systolic side, with 118/82. This is good, as it means my heart is no longer working as hard on each each beat and, where the systolic pressure is concerned, is completely normal. On the other hand, my diastolic pressure is up this morning, but only by a single point over a week ago. It'd been fluctuating up and down around a core of 80 for several weeks, now, so I suppose that's nothing to be alarmed about. Again, this is all with medication. I'm looking for a return to normal in blood pressure, probably by the time I've been at it a year, which will be November 2nd.

Where my blood sugar is concerned, I still haven't managed to cut out the late night weekend snacking (nuts, mostly), so, this morning my blood sugar's at 101, which is normal, but still a bit higher than I'd like to see. I was still eating at around midnight last night and didn't go to bed until almost 3:00am, awakening at 9:45am. So, I guess it's no shock or surprise to see 101 first thing in the morning. It may fall some after my afternoon walk today, though.

Overall, I'm looking and feeling much better, though there are still a few remaining small pockets of residual fat that are stubbornly hanging on, though they are going slowly. I figure that will be gone, surely, by November, if not sooner. But, now that I'm out of ketosis, as I said, I'll have to work for each pound I lose and not consume more calories than I burn off. In other words, if I want to continue or accelerate my weight loss, I'll have to increase my exercise, like everyone else.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 105

Well, as with last week, I have some mixed results this time, also. On the good side, my weight is down by 4 lbs from last week, to 183 lbs. So, my total weight loss, so far, is now 50 lbs. That, in turn, brings my BMI down to 24.8, which puts me into the "normal weight" range. Even so, I will be letting the paleo diet run its course until I am no longer losing weight and my metabolism has stabilized and I'm no longer in ketosis. That will happen naturally, as my bodyweight reaches its "set point," or equilibrium, the point at which my weight is natural for my body. Whether that turns out to be 175 lbs or 160 lbs, we'll see, but, based on the amount of fat deposits I have left to burn off to reveal my abs, etc., I'm thinking my "ideal" weight may even be closer to 155. After all, I was a skinny kid and a slender young adult and remained so until I "bulked up" with strength training in my forties. Even then, I was still rather slender and my weight was in the 190s.

On the blood sugar front, I still haven't completely sworn off the weekend midnight snacking, so, of course, the consequence is that when I awoke at a bit after 10:00am, my blood sugar was still at 110. That's within 3 points of the top end of normal, though, so it is an improvement over last week. Even so, I need to discipline myself not to eat after 9:00 or 10:00 pm, even if I'm not going to bed until 2:00 am.

Where my blood pressure is concerned, it's still in the same general vicinity, at 128/81, which is pre-hypertensive. But, the good news is that my systolic pressure is down a point from last week and the diastolic is only up by one point. So, it looks like a minor fluctuation and not a growing trend, as I had thought it might be. Still, both figures need to come down and, quite a bit if I'm ever to quit using my blood pressure medicine and call myself "cured." I figure that won't happen until the paleo diet has run its course, by sometime in early November.

Meanwhile, after my post last week about the hidden sugars in Natrol's Cinnamon Extract supplement, I've checked the labels on all the twenty or so supplements I've been taking for years and found that all of them contain hidden sugars, salts and harmful chemicals! So, as of a week ago, I have completely discontinued use of them and I am now living supplement-free. So far, I have noticed no effects, good or bad. It is my opinion that I probably won't unless I start feeling better and my weight, blood pressure and blood sugar begin coming down more easily. Then I'll know I've done the right thing. After doing some further reading (I recommend Mike Adams' book, Natural Health Solutions), I'm convinced that most of the supplements we all take daily are not only not doing us any good, they are actually harming our health.

You can look forward to an upcoming series of articles exposing more of the lies the supplement industry (which is completely unregulated) have been telling us for decades. It is quite naive to assume that the people who make these products are any more honest and concerned for your health than the people who make harmful prescription drugs. In fact, in some cases, it turns out some of them are the same people. Think about it. Why would the FDA, which is unquestionably in bed with Big Pharma, keep its hands off the regulation of supplements? The FDA is paid billions per year by Big Pharma and it's no stretch of the imagination to suppose that the supplement industry's lobbyists are also paying big bucks to the FDA to keep them out of their business.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

More Hidden Sugars!

Just when you think you've found a product to help maintain normal blood sugar (as the label on Natrol's Cinnamon Extract 500mg supplement claims it does), it turns out to be loaded with various forms of sugar!

I have been wondering why my blood sugar is not continuing downward since using Natrol's product, and now I know why. First of all, in my defense, had I had the opportunity to check the label in a
store, I would never have bought the stuff. But, since it's almost impossible to find cinnamon extract except for Natrol's product and impossible to find it in stores, I had to order it directly from them via their website, which does not list the several fillers also included with the 500mg of cinnamon extract in each pill.

Those fillers are: dibasic calcium phosphate, cellulose, stearic acid, Maltodextrin, silica, cellulose gum, magnesium stearate, methylcellulose, glycerin and carnauba wax. Let's look at each of these ingredients, shall we?

Dibasic Calcium Phosphate:

The very first link to "dibasic calcium phosphate" found on Google is
which I can't seem to corroborate with data from other sites found in the same search. Some of the claims made here may or may not be suspect and I can't vouch for the credibility of the information presented. However, the gist of the site is that dibasic calcium phosphate is
not a good thing to be ingesting. Note, however, that the author of the page, who publishes an online newsletter called Fraudulent Companys can't seem to pluralize the word company correctly. I then have to wonder about the credibility of the source. He also seems to be selling some sort of dietary supplements, himself, so, again, I question his credibility. Adding to this is the fact that I couldn't seem to find any other pages in my search that had anything alarming to say about dibasic calcium phosphate. In fact, according to, it's used in every calcium supplement on the market. It is the calcium. Then again, when I find a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for any substance, I have to wonder about its safety for use in the human body. I did find an MSDS for dibasic calcium phosphate at
and it says that there is nothing hazardous about dibasic calcium phosphate, other than being a "skin, eye and respiratory irritant." Of course, one has to consider that the MSDS publishes this information primarily for worker safety in plants that manufacture various products that use the material in question. If you're a worker in a plant that makes a calcium supplement, you probably wouldn't want to breathe in a cloud of dibasic calcium phosphate as it's being dumped into a huge vat to make pills from, but taking one or more of those same pills every day may not do you any harm at all. In fact, it may do you good. You need to consider the source that is saying "this is bad for you" because they may be ignorant of the fact that small doses of something that is harmful in large amounts is not necessarily toxic. But, on the other hand, if we're taking a daily supplement that contains this material and we're doing so over the course of many years - perhaps most of our lifetime - we might be somewhat concerned about its long-term effects, right? Even so, I still found no other data that would suggest there is anything harmful in ingesting dibasic calcium phosphate and, in fact, it seems to be used widely in the pharmaceuticals industry.


Cellulose is another of those substances being used routinely in the manufacture of pills of all types. However, of much concern to me is the fact that cellulose is a
polysaccharide; i.e., a sugar. When I saw this, a red flag went up immediately! In addition, cellulose is a natural polymer. The important thing, though, is that it is being used in the above named product without any alteration. It is, therefore, an added sugar. This alone is cause for me to abandon this product completely and to seek out an honestly made cinnamon extract.

Stearic Acid:

As I said above, when I see an MSDS for any substance used in a food supplement, I get very concerned. This should certainly be the case with stearic acid. The MSDS I found says, under "Toxicology,":
"Eye, skin and respiratory irritant; may be harmful - toxicology not fully investigated." Hmmmm.....when I see statements like "not fully investigated," I have to wonder why hasn't it been, especially when people are ingesting it and rubbing it on their skin and in the hair every day? Stearic acid is used in skin and hair care products, as well as in dietary supplements and processed foods. As I was saying earlier, one should consider that these statements are intended for factory workers who are handling these materials in large bulk containers, where they are routinely exposed to airborne clouds of the material as it is dumped into vats and hoppers and moved about the plant, etc. Hence, the need for safety glasses in handling stearic acid makes sense, as it is a known eye irritant. Even so, should this be something that is in our diet?


Now, if the above substances weren't enough to make me stop using Natrol's Cinnamon Extract, the inclusion in it of Maltodextrin (trade named Maltrin), a sweetener made from cornstarch, certainly is! It is made via the process of cornstarch hydrolysis, according to the Sugar Association. Here we have, not just a sugar, but a sugar made from grain. This stuff is sometimes known as "glucose polymer." GPC (Grain Processing Corporation), the makers of Maltrin, claim that "
Corn-based maltodextrins are safe for patients with celiac disease since they do not contain proteins from wheat, barley, oats or rye." Fine for people with celiac disease, but what about we diabetics? It's not protein we should be concerned about; protein is, by itself, essential to life and it is a major element of the paleolithic diet, as well. It's sugars that concern me, as a diabetic, and this stuff is nothing but sugar! Here is the real "smoking gun" on the GPC website, though: "Diabetics should follow the advice of their physicians. MALTRIN® maltodextrin’s glycemic index should be considered metabolically equivalent to glucose (dextrose)." Great! So, yes, it is a not so hidden sugar! Then WTF is it doing in Natrol's Cinnamon Extract - a product that claims to "help maintain blood sugar already within the normal range?!!" This product is being recommended to diabetics as a means of controlling their blood sugar! The inclusion of Maltodextrose in this product should immediately result in Natrol being investigated for deceptive and false advertising, at the very least! No diabetic should ever consume this product at all, under any circumstances!


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, silica can cause silicosis. Silica, according to the USDL,
"...remains a serious threat to nearly two million US workers.", here again, most of us are not exposed to the stuff in bulk quantities, where it can become an aerosolized cloud we breathe in - but, I still have to wonder if this is something we should be eating.

Cellulose Gum:

If cellulose itself is a sugar, then what is cellulose gum? Well, its a hydrocolloid, or thickening agent, used in the processed foods industry. They certainly do use a lot of dangerous crap in making processed foods, don't they? A "thickening agent" is a glue-like substance, so, basically, cellulose gum is a sugary binder, probably used in Natrol's Cinnamon Extract to hold all its constituent ingredients together. I tell you what, Natrol, how about just filling the bottle with harmless gelatin capsules filled with pure, unadulterated cinnamon extract, huh? What a concept! That way you wouldn't need to use anything else in your product to make it into little dark red pills, would you? I don't care what the product looks like. I just want cinnamon extract and I don't want anything else. Got it? So, anyway, here is yet another hidden sugar lurking in this product that is being sold to diabetics and people who are trying to keep from becoming diabetics. That's three hidden sugars, so far!

Magnesium Stearate:

Magnesium stearate is a salt. Great! Not only is this shit filled with sugar, it's also filled with salt! Just what I need for my blood pressure. As if that's not enough, the Wikipedia article says magnesium stearate is also "a major component of bathtub rings!" Yum! Makes me want to go and lick my bathtub right now! Seriously, though, there is also an MSDS for this material, though it says magnesium stearate is "generally regarded as safe." Yep, well, that depends upon who is deciding whether it's safe, doesn't it? After all, some sources would have us believe that fluoride is "safe," also, even though it's been found to be a deadly toxin.


Like cellulose gum, methylcellulose is derived from cellulose, which is, as you'll recall, a sugar derived, in turn, from cornstarch. So, need I say anything further? Well,.....according to the publishers of Healthwise, maybe I should. It seems methylcelluclose is used in laxatives as a stool softener. Yum!


Glycerin is yet another sugar, made from alcohol! So, this crap Natrol is passing off as a product to regulate blood sugar turns out to spiked with a serious amount of hidden sugars! How do they get away with this shit!? By the way, glycerin is also the main byproduct of the manufacture of biodeisel fuel. Mmmmm.....finger lickin' good!

Carnauba Wax:

Finally, we come to the last listed filler in Natrol's Cinnamon Extract product, carnauba wax. All of you car enthusiasts should know what this stuff is: the basic ingredient in most car waxes and polishes. Mmmm....yummy! I think I'll go out and lick my car right now! According to Wikipedia,
"Carnauba wax contains mainly esters of fatty acids (80-85%), fatty alcohols (10-15%), acids (3-6%) and hydrocarbons (1-3%). Specific for carnauba wax is the content of esterified fatty diols (about 20%), hydroxylated fatty acids (about 6%) and cinnamic acid (about 10%). Cinnamic acid, an antioxidant, may be hydroxylated or methoxylated." Notice the inclusion of cinnmic acid? Cinnamic acid is made from oil of cinnamon, so, aside from the 500mg of cinnamon extract claimed to reside in this product, this is, apparently, the only other ingredient that has anything to do with cinnamon. And it buffs to a lustrous shine, too!

The bottom line: if you are using Natrol's Cinnamon Extract to control or lower your blood sugar,
stop doing so! This crap is loaded with enough hidden sugars to maintain or even raise your blood sugar. If you're not taking this supplement, don't. You'd do better to swallow a spoonful of plain ground cinnamon (available on the spice rack at your grocery store), instead.

Paleo Diet - Day 98

Pretty good news, this time. First off, my weight has fallen by 3 more pounds, to 187 lbs. That's a total weight loss, now, of 46 lbs. since beginning the diet on November 2nd.

Where my BMI (Body Mass Index) is concerned, I'm now at 25.4, still in the "overweight" range, but I have only 4 lbs. left to lose before I'm in the "normal weight" range.

My blood pressure is down from last week, at least on the more critical diastolic side, to 129/80. So, I've risen 7 points on the systolic side and fallen 6 points on the diastolic. Ideally, both should be going the same direction, downward. However, I believe I may have an answer as to what's happening, currently. According to several sources, the consensus is that the diastolic pressure (resting pressure) is more important, because having a higher resting diastolic pressure is more dangerous to one's health. Secondly, the systolic pressure is the measure of the blood's "surge" on each heart beat. The stronger the surge, the higher the systolic pressure. A resting systolic pressure of 120 or less is safe and is considered "normal." However, according to this article (, by Norman M. Kaplan, MD and Burton D. Rose, MD, "Systolic pressure generally rises with increasing age, while diastolic pressure reaches its peak in the fifth decade and subsequently falls; these features are a reflection of the slow development of atherosclerotic rigidity of the large capacitance vessels." Kaplan and Rose go on to say that, "Among participants less than 65 years of age, increases in the systolic blood pressure were linearly related to increases in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality at all diastolic blood pressure levels. By comparison, the correlation between diastolic blood pressure and mortality in this age group was 'hockey stick-shaped'. This shape corresponds to a flat region of risk with diastolic values below 80 mmHg, with a marked increase in risk occurring with values above this level."

So, if I'm interpreting this correctly, it means my rise in systolic pressure over the last three weeks, even when accompanied by a decline in diastolic pressure (which, as of today's reading is now at the peak of the "normal" range) is something for me to be concerned about. So, I'll want to get my systolic pressure down, obviously. It seems to me the one variable most likely to account for this rise in systolic pressure is the addition of strength training (via the Total Gym) to my exercise regimen. As I mentioned last time, I'll need to moderate this by cutting back to, perhaps, 3 days per week, while, at the same time, increasing my walking (aerobic) exercise to temper my blood pressure. I lost sight of that goal this past week, but I will definitely institute it, now that I know what the rising systolic pressure actually indicates.

Meanwhile, where my blood sugar is concerned, it's varied a bit all week, from a low of 86 on Tuesday evening before dinner, to a high of 130 after dinner last night. Not helping matters was staying up late last night (almost 3:00am) and having a meal around midnight, which resulted, again, in a higher blood sugar reading upon waking this morning: 122. So, as I commented last week, I need to resist the temptation of eating after, say, 9:00pm, and, if I'm feeling hungry, I should just go to bed, instead of eating again. Self-discipline seems to be in order, here, both for my use of the Total Gym, and my weekend late night eating habits.

But, despite these two instances, overall, I seem to be improving, with a lower diastolic pressure, lower weight and lower BMI, and the overall trend in my blood sugar is it is now remaining in a relatively safe range and there is no evidence of being in the diabetic range, lately. I'm only a little over three months into the diet, so far, and if, as Cordain suggests, I'm among those who need a year on the diet to see total recovery, then I have about 9 months left to go, which means I should be back to completely normal in all respects by my 56th birthday in October. That would be the best birthday present I've ever had.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 91

Well, today I have some mixed results to report. First the good news. My weight has fallen by yet another 2 lbs, to 190 lbs. So, I have now lost a cumulative 43 lbs, total. I can also report that I'm building muscle tissue, via my Total Gym workouts, and I'm feeling great.

On the blood sugar front, I stayed up late last night (Friday) and, being somewhat hungry, decided to have a late night snack about three hours before bed. It wasn't much: just a small salad made with shredded cabbage, red onion, broccoli, diced onion and jalapeno slices, topped with two tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of onion powder, cayenne pepper, and black ground pepper. I also had one of Laura's Lean Beef burger patties, with diced onion, jalapeno slices and mustard, followed by a few thin slices of green apple, and a bottle of water. Okay, so it was more a meal than a snack, but, nothing highly glycemic. Well, when I awoke this morning (after 11:00am) and checked my blood sugar, I found it at 120. Not terribly high; just 7 points above normal. Still, during the week, I was getting readings of 99, 93, 87, 88 and 95 before dinner. That's with at least five or six hours with nothing to eat between lunch and dinner. So, I guess the lesson to be learned from this is not to eat within, say, six hours of bedtime. Even three hours before bedtime seems to elevate my morning blood sugar. And that was with a couple of Total Gym "mini-workouts" in between.

Moving on to my blood pressure, this morning, upon waking, it was at 122/86, which is higher than a week ago. At that time, it was 120/81. If this becomes a trend, I may have to either scale back on the Total Gym workouts or walk more to offset them (or both), as the strength training may be raising my blood pressure a little bit. I have been using the Total Gym daily and, sometimes, more than once a day. If I knock that down to, say, three times a week, that should give me adequate strength training without adding significantly to my blood pressure. This would also allow my daily walking to better temper the strength training with aerobic exercise.

I'm adding a new dimension to my reporting with this post: Body Mass Index. Alone, weight isn't an adequate measure of overall health, so, I'll be including my BMI as I go, also. For those not familiar with BMI, what it's supposed to indicate (roughly) is the ratio of body fat to all other tissue. The scale for BMI is a little questionable, though, when it comes to those who have a higher amount of muscle tissue, as muscle outweighs fat and skews your BMI toward "overweight," even for world class athletes in peak physical condition. So, I bear that in mind when assessing my BMI and try to account for my strength training's influence. In other words, being fairly muscular, I probably shouldn't consider 25.8 to be "overweight" or "at risk," as most BMI scales would have us believe. In fact, my health hasn't been this good in years.

The scale for BMI is as follows:

under 18.5 = underweight
18.5 to 24.9 = normal weight
25 to 29.9 = overweight
30 or greater = obesity

Just how one calculates their BMI seems to be a matter of contention, though. I have found no less than three or four formulas for arriving at it, each of them different! So, I resorted to using the simple little BMI calculator found at, instead. But, I have since discovered other online BMI calculators that differ in results, given the same data. This is not confidence-inspiring. The one at
for example, says my BMI is 26 today (at 190 lbs and 6 feet in height), while the previously mentioned calculator says my BMI is 25.8. Not a huge difference, numerically speaking, but in terms of interpretation, it's the difference between being "overweight" and a bit more "overweight," and, if you happen to be at the demarcation between "normal" and "overweight," such a difference could cause confusion as to whether one is "normal" or "overweight." Yet another calculator, found at|880697664
agrees with the first one: 25.8. But, the one at MSNBC agrees with's: 26. Meanwhile, the one at the BBC's website is useless, to me, as I don't happen to know what my weight is in stones! Then, there is the one I found at, which is supposedly more "advanced." It agrees with the 25.8 figure. But, the "advanced" calculator allows for the consideration of age and sex and also gives you your BMI in terms of what percentile it falls within. In addition, it gives you the option of using an "Ideal Weight" calculator (, which is actually five more calculators, each of them different. So, as you can see, getting an accurate BMI measure really isn't as "easy as clicking a button." It depends upon who's button you push.