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Alternate Day Fasting Succussful for Weight Loss and Heart Health

Posted on November 18th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Research Review:

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows some support for the ability of modified alternate day fasting (ADF) to facilitate weight loss and modify markers of heart health.

Subjects ate 25% of energy needs on fast days and ate ad libitum (at will) on alternate days. On fast days, subjects were instructed to consume all calories between noon and 2 p.m.  This pattern continued throughout the study. Subjects were also able to meet with a Registered Dietician (RD) (explains the horrible food choices they were provided on fasting days during the first 4-week period – chicken alfredo? really?) once per week.

The cool thing about the study’s design is that for 4 weeks, the subjects were provided a meal for each fast day, and for another 4 weeks were left to complete the program without prepared food. Adherence rates remained high for subjects who completed the study, which means ADF may be a valuable tool for weight loss and health in the real-world. One drawback was that 2 people withdrew from the study due to their inability to comply with the protocol – that’s 10% of the original subject pool. I guess ADF isn’t for everyone, although that’s not surprising.

Average weight loss over 10 wks (8 wks on weight loss diet – 2 on control diet) was about 5.8% or 5.6kg (12.3 lbs). Also decreasing were BMI, body fat percentage, total and LDL cholesterol, and triaglycerol levels. Systolic, but not diastolic, blood pressure was also lowered.

This study gives us a little more evidence that ADF or intermittent fasting (IF) might be a great tool for weight loss and health interventions. However, there are some drawbacks to this study. 20 subjects is a rather small sample size, so more studies with larger samples are a must.  The fact that subjects had weekly meetings with a coach (RD) most likely affected the adherence in a positive way. It would be interesting to see a study that compared an ADF plan with coaching to one without.

On a side note, the lead researcher Dr. Krista Varady commented on the subjects eating less than expected on ad libitum days and said “”I think it’s probably because their stomachs kind of shrunk.” Let’s get this straight. Stomachs don’t shrink. Feelings of satiety (fullness) change, but the physical size of the stomach does not shrink. Ugh… I can’t believe she said that.

Varady KA, Bhutani S, Church EC, Klempel MC. Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotectio in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:1138-43.

Harding A. On-off fasting helps obese adults shed pounds. Reuters

Weight Loss Plan vs Weight Loss Education

Posted on November 17th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Don’t ask for a weight loss plan. Ask for weight loss education.

Get a weight loss education now with “S.P.E.E.D. – The Only Weight Loss Book Worth Reading!

HCG and B12 Injections for Weight Loss – You Must Be Kidding Me!

Posted on November 12th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Can HCG please go away? And could it take B12 with it?

What’s the deal with hot dogs?

Posted on November 10th, 2009 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

When eating a low-carb diet it is useful to find quality protein sources that are quick and convenient, not to mention good for you. Surprisingly, there are certain types of hot dogs that qualify. You must be thinking “You must be kidding, hot dogs!?” Please read-on.

There is no doubt that the hot dogs are a ubiquitous food in the U.S. and so is the thought that eating hot dogs is unhealthy. However, it is not that simple and there are a number of misconceptions about hot dogs. Just in case you are wondering, we are not being paid by the national Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes this is a real organization, see to write this. There are typically three arguments used to support the idea that hot dogs are disgusting and unhealthy. These three arguments relates to; the quality of the meats used to make them, the amount of fat in them, and the preservatives, sodium nitrites or sodium nitrates, used in them.

Let’s first look at what hot dogs are made of. The following is a good overview of what hot dogs are made of, which is from

On to the million-dollar question: what are hot dogs made of? According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:

“All hot dogs are cured and cooked sausages that consist of mainly pork, beef, chicken and turkey or a combination of meat and poultry. Meats used in hot dogs come from the muscle of the animal and    looks much like what you buy in the grocer’s case. Other ingredients include water, curing agents and spices, such as garlic, salt, sugar, ground mustard, nutmeg, coriander and white pepper.”

However, there are a couple of caveats. “Variety meats,” which include things like liver, kidneys and hearts, may be used in processed meats like hot dogs, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that they be disclosed on the ingredient label as “with variety meats” or “with meat by-products.”

Further, watch out for statements like “made with mechanically separated meats (MSM).” Mechanically separated meat is “a paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue,” according to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Although the FSIS maintains that MSM are safe to eat, mechanically separated beef is no longer allowed in hot dogs or other processed meats (as of 2004) because of fears of mad cow disease. Hot dogs can contain no more than 20 percent mechanically separated pork, and any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.

So if you’re looking for the purest franks, pick those that are labeled “all beef,” “all pork,” or “all chicken, turkey, etc.” Franks labeled in this way must be made with meat from a single species and do not include byproducts (but check the label anyway, just to be sure. Turkey and chicken franks, for instance, can include turkey or chicken meat and turkey or chicken skin and fat in proportion to a turkey or chicken carcass).

As you will see from the few brands highlighted below there is no problem with the quality of meats used. In fact, the organic grass-fed beef hot dogs are a very high quality meat which is better than any “regular” cut of meat you will get in almost any grocery store. Therefore, if you stick to the brands that use “all beef”, or “all chicken”, and particularly the organic or natural meats, there should be no concern with what the hot dogs are made from.

The second issue is the fat content of hot dogs. This really stems from the common, but misplaced fear about fats, particularly animal fats. There are many aspects of this issue but are beyond the scope of this article. For now, realize that a low-carb diet will be a higher fat diet, from both plants (avocados, walnuts, coconuts, etc.) and animals (beef, eggs, salmon, etc). Therefore, eating foods with fat in them is fine. The amount of fat in a particular hot dog will vary so you will need to read the nutrition facts label to know how much is in a specific one and how many you can eat to stay within your goal intake. Additionally, the grass-fed hot dogs will contain a good amount of omega-3 fats and CLA, which both have health and weight loss properties.

The third concern is the preservatives sodium nitrite or nitrates. These can lead to the formation of nitrosamines which are carcinogens (can produce cancer). These have been linked to cancers in the digestive tract. However, recent evidence for this connection has shown that typical intakes of these preservatives are not likely to lead to an increase in cancers (Powlson et al). Additional recent research is finding that food sources of nitrates and nitrites, particularly from vegetables, may be health promoting (Hord et al). There is more about this topic and, in fact, there have been a number of recent papers published on this topic so I will discuss this in greater detail at another time. For now, however, this topic is really not applicable if you eat hot dogs that are not preserved with sodium nitrite/nitrates. All of the following hot dog manufacturers listed below do not use this preservative. Therefore, these hot dogs do not contain nitrites or nitrates and the concern about ingesting cancer causing agents, which is not definitive anyway, is not a valid reason avoid eating this product.

Here are a few examples of healthy hot dogs; hopefully you no longer think that statement is an oxymoron.

Applegate Farms – The great orgahot dog applegatenic uncured hot dog

No nitrates or nitrites.

Made from 100% organic grass-fed and finished beef, these lean hot dogs are bursting with old-fashioned classic hot dog flavor—juicy, flavorful and delicious! These dogs have only 8 grams of fat compared to the average 15 grams in most brands, and because they’re made from grass-fed beef, they’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids (the good fat). Great on the grill or steamed on your stovetop any time you’re craving a taste of summer.

Ingredients:Organic Grass-Fed Beef, Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Sea Salt, Organic Spices, Organic Garlic Powder, Organic Paprika, Celery Powder, Organic Onion, Lactic Acid Starter Culture (Not From Milk).

Let’s be Frank – Uncured Beef Frank

frank hot dogsNo nitrates or nitrites.

Made from 100% Grass-fed Beef

These snappy dogs are loaded with flavor, not junk! Using premium cuts from cattle raised on pasture in California (naturally high in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids!) and organic spices, we’ve crafted a delicious dog that’s lower in fat, calories and sodium than conventional franks. No nitrites, nitrates, hormones, or antibiotics, ever

Ingredients:Grass-fed beef, water, sea salt, organic evaporated cane juice, organic spice, organic garlic powder, natural flavor (celery powder, spice extract, paprika extract), spices, lactic acid starter culture, in a lamb casing.

Trader Joe’s – All Natural Uncured All Beef Hot Dogs

trader joes hot dogs

No nitrates or nitrites.

Ingredients: Beef, water, contains less than 2% of the following; allspice, celery juice powder, evaporated cane juice, garlic powder, ginger, honey, lactic acid starter culture, mustard, nutmeg, onion powder, paprika, pepper, sea salt.

In conclusion, the belief that all hot dogs are bad to eat is not supported by the evidence. If you eat a quality hot dog there seems to be no good reason that they cannot be part of a healthy diet, whether high-carb or low-carb. The benefit with a low-carb diet is that you can eat more of them! One way that Matt and I like them is lightly warmed-up with a bit of organic mustard and with a side of baby carrots or a small apple; how easy is that!


Hord, N. et al (2009). Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiological context for potential health benefits. Am J Clin Nutr; 90: 1-10.

Powlson, D. et al (2008). When does nitrate become a risk for humans?J Environ Qual; 37: 291-295.

Ketogenic Diets and Brain Tumor Growth

Posted on November 4th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Leave your comments or questions below!

Whats with all of those little numbers?

Posted on November 3rd, 2009 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

So far we have had many positive comments about our book. However, a few people have mentioned that the little numbers (in-text citations like this 1) are a bit distracting. They also don’t feel that they need to be there.

First, we want thank you all for buying the book and giving us some feedback. With respect to these little numbers there are a few important reasons why they are there.

As we mentioned in S.P.E.E.D. (Appendix A: What is quality evidence?) there are different types of evidence, each playing a role in the process of understanding a topic. However, there are certain types of evidence that can allow us to make solid predictions of cause and affect. For a more in-depth understanding of this aspect we suggest that you read Appendix A in the book.

The main reason the numbers are included is so there is a clear connection between what we say and the evidence supporting it. This allows anyone to check that we have represented the research properly. They are also there to give credit to the researchers and authors of the published papers. Lastly, although most people will not check our sources, we feel that authors of science-based books have an obligation to have proper citations. If a book that is based on “science” does not have in-text citations or a reference section that has the pages associated with the references or, at least, a reference section with the specific references used per chapter then we would suggest that you do NOT read it. This does not necessarily mean that the author’s statements are incorrect, but how can we check? This also does not mean that if the proper referencing is used the person is correct in their interpretations or recommendations. But, due to the prevalence of poor information that pervades the health and fitness field it is even more important to have proper citations so that the wave of half-truths, misinterpretations, and down right lies can be curtailed. Again, most people wouldn’t check the references but we feel this is not a valid reason for not supporting information in the proper manner.

This general lack of caring about where the information comes from and the validity of information speaks to a larger problem; scientific illiteracy. This will be further discussed in another post.

A 15 minute low-carb meal from Dana Carpender's low-carb cookbook.

Posted on November 2nd, 2009 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

Here is great meal suggestion from Dana Carpenders 15 Minute Low-Carb Recipes book, which I picked-up this weekend. It’s a great resource for tasty and quick low-carb meals.

Apple Sausage Burgers

  • ½ medium onion, peeled and cut in a few chunks
  • ½ Granny Smith or other crisp, tart apple, cut into a few chunks (no need to peel it)
  • 1 ½ pounds of pork or turkey sausage, hot or mild
  • t teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat your electric grill (i.e., George Foreman grill) or outdoor grill.

Put the onion and apple in a food processor with the s-blade in place, and pulse until they’re chopped to a medium consistency. Add sausage, thyme, sage, and pepper, and pulse until it’s all well-blended.

Form into 4 burgers, and put them on the grill. Cook for 7 minutes or until the juices run clear,

Yield: 4 servings, each with 7 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber, for a total of 6 grams of usable carbs and 20 grams of protein.