On May the 5th 2018 we attended the Low Carb Down Under event at Sydney University. We were really excited to attend our first Low Carb Down Under event. There was some high profile low carb presenters attending and we were keen to learn and experience.
This event had an excellent list of presenters. We were excited to see presentations from Dr Fettke and and Dr Brukner. We had not heard of Dr Mason before but were totally impressed by his wealth of knowledge. In the Q&A portion of the event he was able to answer almost every question with knowledge of a study he had read. Very impressive.
The presenter bios found on the Low Carb Down Under website are below.
Dr Paul Mason is a sports medicine and exercise physician who developed an interest in low carbohydrate diets in 2011. He then spent thousands of hours reading and analysing the scientific literature. For the last three years, he has been applying this knowledge in treating metabolic and arthritis patients who have achieved dramatic and sustained weight loss and reductions in joint pain, improved metabolic well being, diabetic control and reductions in arthritis.
Dr Doron Sher is a specialist knee and shoulder surgeon. He holds a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering and surgical fellowships in Australia, Canada and America. His passion for helping patients avoid unnecessary surgery has led to his involvement in two successful metabolic, arthritis, weight loss and sports performance clinics.
Dr Peter Brukner is a specialist sports and exercise physician and a world renowned sports medicine clinician and researcher. He has recently held positions as Head of Sports Medicine and Sports Science at Liverpool Football Club and Team Doctor for the Australian cricket team.
Dr Gary Fettke is an Orthopaedic Surgeon from Tasmania who treats patients suffering the effects of obesity and diabetes every day. He described a nutritional model of inflammation which combined fructose, refined carbohydrates and polyunsaturated oils in 2013. He speaks nationally and internationally on the benefits of restricting carbohydrates in treating modern diseases.
Dr Rod Tayler is a Melbourne anaesthetist with an interest in low carb nutrition. He is the founder of the lowcarbdownunder.com.au website which hosts a range of resources.
Dr Maryanne Demasi is an investigative journalist and former presenter and producer on ABC television’s Catalyst program.
Taryn Polovin is an exercise physiologist with a postgraduate certificate in nutrition. She is an international instructor trainer and lecturer at the Australian Filex fitness conference and was a host and presenter on Aerobics Oz Style on channel 10. She has been low carb for 12 years and regularly treats clients with low carb nutrition strategies.
Jessica Turton is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Nutritionist. Her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics was a systematic review investigating the effect of low-carbohydrate diets in the management of type 1 diabetes mellitus. This year she is undertaking her Research Doctorate (Ph.D.) which involves a primary intervention study investigating a very low-carbohydrate diet for the management of type 1 Diabetes.
Vanessa Muratore – While studying Arts History at the University of Sydney, Vanessa investigated the background to the introduction of nutritional guidelines in Australia. Her thesis outlines the failure of scientific process, beginning with Ancel Keys’ infamous seven countries study.
Lindsay Woods has had a long career in medical science, diagnostics and research. He takes a personal look at the ketogenic diet through a scientific lens.
Introduction – Dr Rod Tayler
Dr Tayler is the founder of Low Carb Down Under and was an entertaining way to start the day. He was pretty happy with the new CSIRO low carb diet book, as they are advocating a diet that is 60% calories from fat. However found it disappointing that they are still shying away from advocating saturated fat consumption. His general feeling is that things are changing and Low Carb is becoming a much more accepted way of life.
Dr Tayler’s recommendations around a low carb high fat diet were to be consuming under 50g of carbohydrates per day, down to 25g for more insulin resistant people. Protein consumption should be 1-2g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. He doesn’t recommend extended fasting, rather to consume nutrient dense meals and minimise snacking.
A brief overview of LCHF – Dr Paul Mason
This presentation was really good to get a basic understanding of the fat cells and how they work and how carbs impact them. Dr Mason used really good slides and graphs to make the concepts easy to understand. He explained the flaw in the calories in calories out hypotheses is that doesn’t consider the impact of hormones on the body at all.
I thought it was interesting that by the time you are two years old you already have all the fat cells in your body. So from this age on you don’t create any new ones, they simply expand. He went on to explain how insulin puts fat into your fat cells and then keeps it in there. Insulins role is to break down triglycerides, so they can cross over into the fat cells. Then hormone sensitive lipase puts the triglycerides back together so they can leave the fat cell. The issue is that insulin deactivates hormone sensitive lipase. So if your insulin is constantly high, the fat is just continuously going into your fat cells, and not leaving.
Dr Mason showed a really interesting graph which depicted the increase of insulin and blood sugar over time of someone who is heading towards type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is present long before the blood glucose shows as elevated. As our standard blood tests in Australia are for fasting blood glucose, patients can have more advanced insulin resistance before it is detected.
I was very happy when he said that it has been shown that mortality rates improve on a higher fat diet!
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The history of diet, & obesity in Australia – Vanessa Muratore
This was a really interesting presentation into how we got to where we are in the western world in regards to the current obesity crisis. It is still so surprising how the Ansell Key’s theories became mainstream and how we just refuse to change what we know isn’t working. Vanessa posed a great question about how did we go from scarcity to obesity in 100 years in Australia.
Vanessa showed a powerful graph that demonstrated since the 1980’s, when the low fat diet was heavily promoted, how the western world have steadily become more obese. This makes it so clear that the current dietary advice isn’t working, but there is still resistance to change. It is astonishing to me that Ansell Key’s theories are still part of the university curriculum for medical students and dieticians in Australia today.
Type 2 Diabetes ‘Simplified’ – Dr Gary Fettke
- 1 in 11 adults are diagnosed as type 2 diabetic
- The cost of diabetes is 12% of global health dollars
- There is a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes every 5 minutes in Australia
Dr Fettke is an excellent speaker. He is engaging, funny and very entertaining. Oh and also very knowledgable. He basically said we are currently eating, living & dying by the traditional food pyramid.
All I could think of while watching his talk was how angry I would be if I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The current treatment for type 2 diabetics is just making them more sick. I love the analogy that he used that giving carbs to a diabetic and treating them with insulin is like giving nuts to someone with a nut allergy and then giving them adrenalin. Diabetics are intolerant to carbohydrates and their diet should reflect this.
The main takeaway from this presentation is limiting your carbs as a diabetic is highly likely to lower your sugars and help you manage the diabetes better. Diabetes does not have to be chronic progressive illness.
Type 1 Diabetes – Jessica Turton
It was really interesting to hear Jessica discussing low carbohydrate diets for type 1 diabetics as that is not something I had heard much about before. Currently type 1 diabetics are prescribed to eat 45-65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates, as per the standard dietary guidelines. However these guidelines are based on an average person with normal metabolic health, not someone with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetics now need to calculate how many carbohydrates they eat in each meal and work out the insulin dose they then require themselves. This leaves a lot of room for error and can impact their health if miscalculated. To be honest, prior to this talk I had not idea about the constant rollercoaster and associated issues with trying to control your blood glucose with insulin if you are following a standard diet. It sounds very scary and prone to error.
Jessica is dedicating her PHD to a study on how a low carbohydrate diet can improve the quality of life and longevity for type 1 diabetics. Interestingly, prior to the discover of insulin, type 1 diabetics were prescribed low carbohydrate diets as part of their treatment.
Weight loss for arthritis and results in our clinic – Dr Doron Sher
After 2 presentations that focused on diabetes, this presentation was a nice change of pace. As an Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Sher sees patients that require knee replacements or are suffering with arthritis. A lot of his patients are also obese and diabetic. Continued high blood glucose levels deteriorates your joint cartilage and causes the collagen to stiffen.
I was shocked when he explained how much extra strain is put on our knees when we are overweight/obese. 1kg of weight lost reduces 4kgs worth of strain on the knees for every step we take. This just blows my mind. I’ve lost 40kgs, which means I have reduced 160kg worth of strain in every step I now take.
Another thing that shocked me in this presentation is some orthopaedic surgeons are now recommending bariatric surgery prior to a knee replacement. However, bariatric surgery is by no means the easy option for losing weight. There is a risk of kidney stones, increased risk of suicide and self harm (unrelated to the amount of weight lost) and a risk of micronutrient deficiency. Patients are required to take supplements and have this monitored for the rest of their life. It has also been shown that many patients regain the weight over time, if they do not change their eating habits.
We hope you enjoyed reading our recap and learnt a thing or two.
Check out some of our other low carb event reviews here
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