May 31, 2012

The Problem with FaceBook

As an experiment, I set up a Blood Sugar 101 FaceBook page last year to see if I could spread more awareness of blood-sugar related issues.

The page attracted a lot of interest and currently has over 1,100 "likes." But FaceBook had to do something to justify the billions it winkled out of investors, and what it has done is pernicious.  After urging content providers to generate likes--even suggesting that we advertise with FaceBook to raise the number of people who like our page (I didn't), FaceBook has now stopped showing page updates to most people who have liked our pages.

I had noticed this when I reviewed the feeble stats that FaceBook provides for pages. Then I read online that only 20% of people who had liked a page were seeing the updates. A poll I posted as an update on the Blood Sugar 101 FaceBook page a few weeks ago confirmed this. Only 20% of the people who had liked the post responded to a question about whether they could see the feed.

Now when I post on the Blood Sugar 101 FaceBook page, FaceBook is hitting me with something new--a chance to PAY for the ability to have my status updates seen by the people who have already liked the page. (Details here.) For a mere $5-10 bucks per update I can ensure that people who subscribed to my page under the impression that it meant they would see the updates can see those updates.

If this had been explained explicitly when I created the page, that would be one thing. But this was not at all the way that FaceBook worked a year ago when I started the page. For example,  FaceBook has also disabled the ability of page owners to contact those who have liked their pages--a feature that was  intact when I created my page and was part of what attracted me to doing it.

I don't spam people, but now and then it would be nice to be able to send out messages about particularly important events. Not so coincidentally, FaceBook took away my ability to contact page likers just at the time they started charging for the ability to have those same subscribers see feeds.

This is making me seriously reconsider whether I should post on FaceBook at all. FaceBook is using the fact that people like my page to gather information they sell to marketers who then target those people. Since my page discusses diabetes and diet, people who like the page will get shown ads for the kind of crap exploiters love to push on people with diabetes.

Since Blogger has never played these kinds of games with me I'm liking the blog more and more and am thinking I'll move my posting activity back to the blog. But because many of the people who do still see my feeds have asked me to keep the FaceBook page going, for now I am going to keep the Blood Sugar 101 FaceBook page alive.

However, if you are on FaceBook and interested in seeing the feeds there, don't assume FaceBook will show them to you. To see the updates, you'll have to bookmark the page and remember to visit it from time to time to see the updates.

If you are active on FaceBook, it would be a good idea to also warn your friends that FaceBook is probably not showing them the feeds from pages they want to follow and that they are charging page creators for the "privilege" of having their feeds seen. Though you may find that many of those who have liked your page are no longer seeing your feeds either.

May 14, 2012

Links to Studies Posted on the FaceBook Blood Sugar 101 Page

Because posts on FB scroll off I'm reposting the posts I've made on the Blood Sugar 101 FaceBook Page so that they will still be available here when they are gone from FB.


Scientists may not understand what causes painful neuropathy, but I hear all the time from people who have cured it by dropping bgs below 140 mg/dl at all times.

Scientists uncover potential treatment for painful side effect of diabetes


FDA about to approve Lorcaserin which achieves 5% weight loss in less than 50% of obese people over a year. Magic it ain't.


If you want to stop smoking and not gain weight, cut your carbs then quit.

Increased bodyweight after stopping smoking may be due to changes in insulin secretion

Researchers "take advantage of a new mouse model of diabetes type 2, which, like humans, develops the disease in adults as result of a high-fat diet." Which means it doesn't have the same diabetes humans get which is genetically almost always from insufficient insulin production combined with factors that make for insulin resistance like mitochondria that burn glucose poorly.

Caffeine can prevent memory loss in diabetes

Experimental basal #insulin that lasts 40 hours gives almost the same results as Lantus with slightly less nighttime hypos. But blood sugars still remain high because of the way it's dosed.

Insulin degludec, an ultra-longacting basal insulin, versus insulin glargine in basal-bolus treatment

Phthalates have also been linked with #diabetes in older people. Hard to eliminate our exposure. They're in everything.
Washington Post: If the food’s in plastic, what’s in the food?


The news about #metformin just keeps getting better. It seems to protect against Parkinson's too!

Metformin can substantially reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease in diabetes, study suggests


Serum levels of phthalate metabolites are linked with the development of type 2 diabetes in the elderly, Swedish researchers found.

Medical News:%20Common Chemical Tied to Diabetes in Seniors - in Endocrinology, Diabetes from MedPage


This is about Type 1 #diabetes and mice, but it's still interesting and may have an application for Type 2, also.

Magnetic Nanoparticles Predict Diabetes Onset: Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a magnetic nanoparticle-based MRI technique for predicting whether—and when—subjects with a genetic predisposition for diabetes will develop the disease.


Blocking glucagon is way far from being a real treatment for #diabetes but it's an interesting concept.

Targeting glucagon pathway may offer a new approach to treating diabetes

Slightly higher than normal blood sugars cause bad pregnancy outcomes, just as they cause #diabetes complications. Will doctors ever challenge the ADA's damagingly high diagnostic criteria?

New pregnancy risk for babies and moms: Overweight moms with moderately high blood sugar raise health risk

Humans have evolved unique genes for fat metabolism, which supports our big brain. One reason why rodent research is so misleading.

Genetic adaptation of fat metabolism key to development of human brain


Yet another study attributes to weight loss the effect of the mandatory carb-cutting enforced by WLS. The surgeons won't stop until everyone has this surgery. Note, that the incidence of diabetes in the most heaviest subjects in this group was under 10% and dropped by less than 6%. Most obese people will never develop diabetes, despite the hype. You need the genes to get it, and you need to cut carbs to lower your blood sugar. WLS isn't a "cure" it's a way of forcing people to cut carbs involuntarily.

Losing Weight When Obese Can Prevent or Cure Diabetes, Whatever the Initial BMI, Study Suggests


Yet another antioxidant vitamin pill turns out to be harmful--Beta Carotene. Eat your veggies, folks and leave the pills on the shelf!

Potential 'dark side' to diets high in beta-carotene


Confirmation of what we all know, bananas, oatmeal, and oral drugs won't do it. If only they taught these teens to cut carbs!

TODAY — A Stark Glimpse of Tomorrow — NEJM

also An Editorial on the Same Study.

Read this list of unnecessary tests that you should NOT let a cardiologist perform on you. I've had some and refused another despite heavy pressure from an ER doctor. (I'd gone to the ER for something unrelated.) The last one can kill you.

From the same site's nephrology page: "Avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) in individuals with hypertension or heart failure or CKD of all causes, including diabetes.The use of NSAIDS, including cyclo-oxygenase type 2 (COX-2) inhibitors, for the pharmacological treatment of musculoskeletal pain can elevate blood pressure, make antihypertensive drugs less effective, cause fluid retention and worsen kidney function in these individuals. Other agents such as acetaminophen, tramadol or short-term use of narcotic analgesics may be safer than and as effective as NSAIDs."


Note that the recommendation is to get this nutrient from food, not pills. Chicken thighs will work. Bake them until crispy, paint with buffalo chicken hot sauce. Yum.Nutrient found in dark meat of poultry, some seafood, may have cardiovascular benefits

A nutrient found in the dark meat of poultry may provide protection against coronary heart disease in women with high cholesterol, according to a new study.


Experimental drug stimulates a free fatty acid receptor in the pancreas which causes insulin secretion. And weight gain. What else it does it unknown as the testing on humans was brief and in few subjects.

Medical News:New Diabetes Drug Cuts Glycemic Risk - in Endocrinology, Diabetes from MedPage Today


We recently learned Bisphenol A doubles insulin resistance, so a connection with heart disease is not that mysterious. I wish they'd correlated it with A1c. The EPIC-Norfolk study is the one that first found the tight correlation between A1c and heart disease even in the normal range.

Bisphenol A exposure linked to increased risk of future onset of heart disease


Maternal PFOA blood levels => Fat daughters 20 years later. The obesity crisis's NOT just about lifestyle choices poeple.

The levels of the environmental pollutant perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that mothers had in their blood during pregnancy increased the risk of obesity in their daughters at 20 years of age.


Another reason to avoid those vegan "health food" diets. Arsenic is linked to rising rates of Type 2 diabetes. Next time you pick up an organic cereal bar or buy infant formula, you might want to read the label closely.

Arsenic found in organic baby food, cereal bars


Yet another study in which supplementing with Vitamin D does NOT improve a condition associated with low Vitamin D levels but raises blood calcium--which is dangerous to your heart. Go easy on the Vitamin D folks!

Vitamin D is associated with decreased cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality, possibly by modifying cardiac structure and function, yet firm evidence for either remains lacking.


Huge study "Surprisingly, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, however, were not associated with stroke risk in this population" (Older women) Triglycerides were.
Lose the carbs, baby! Carbs are what raise triglycerides.

Triglyceride levels predict stroke risk in postmenopausal women


Research, mostly rodent, showing raising insulin doesn't cause obesity unless you create hypoglycemia. Don't believe doctors who refuse insulin because "it will make you fat." Dose it right, and it won't. (I lost weight when I started insulin.)

Whole Health Source: Insulin and Obesity: Another Nail in the Coffin


MRI scan 'better' for heart patients
A magnetic resonance imaging scan for coronary heart disease is better than the most commonly-used alternative, a major UK trial of heart disease patients has shown.

MRI is better at detecting heart disease, and safer than angiogram since it doesn't involve x-rays.


An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that between 1996 and 2008, the amount of leg and foot amputations among U.S. individuals, aged 40+ with diagnosed diabetes dropped. This is good news, but there are still too many people getting amputations, mostly the very old and people in under-served poverty-striken communities who can't afford medical treatment that could lower their blood sugars.

Lower Limb Amputation Rates Associated With Diabetes Drop,


Thousands of untested new supplements have flooded the market with only the manufacturer's say-so attesting to their safety. Read this article in full if you buy pills you are told are "natural." They may contain dangerous ingredients.

May 11, 2012

I've Tweaked the Diet Calculator to Better Calculate Fat at Moderate Carb Intake Levels

To better handle the recommendations for people eating over ketogenic levels, I've changed the logic the calculator uses. It now computes what percentage of total maintenance calories are represented by your selected carbohydrate intake.

If your carbs are more than 30% of all calories, the calculator now recommends that you eat 30% of calories as protein and computes the fat calories and grams so that

Fat Percent = 100 - (Carb percentage + 30%)

This works a lot better for people of all different sizes than the previous version.

You'll find it here:

Thanks for your very helpful feedback.

And yes, I know I need to find an URL for the low carb site, but the ones I want are all taken.


May 9, 2012

Yes, my third novel has been published

Several people have recently asked me about when my next novel was coming out, and I realized I hadn't announced the publication of my third novel here. The third of my Avon romances, Perilous Pleasures was released last month and is still on sale in some bookstores and of course online. You can read more about it at

This was the last of the novels I signed a contract to write, which is why I was finally able this fall to get back to working on the sequel to the Blood Sugar 101 book that I should have written two years ago.

I'll be writing more fiction, but not under contract, because it takes all the fun out of writing novels when you have to meet deadlines and comply with marketing expectations. The earnings from mass market fiction turn out to be surprisingly modest, so there's no reason to write such novels unless writing them is fun.

One thing I learned from this whole adventure is that I find it more fun to spend my days pawing through journals looking for interesting tidbits and figuring out how things work than I do making up stories from scratch. So it looks like it's time for me to embrace my inner-wonk. After my venture into fiction I certainly have come to appreciate how many of you read and respond to the factual writing I do. I'm very lucky to have a readership like you and don't think I don't know it!

May 7, 2012

Check out my new diet calculator--completely revised and updated

I spent some time last week rewriting the nutrition calculator that used to tell people how much protein they should be eating on a ketogenic low carb diet. Now it isn't restricted to ketogenic diets and provides several other new features. You'll find the calculator at:

I've revised it to do the following:

  • Calculate caloric needs based on either total body weight or lean body mass by providing the ability to enter body fat percentage. This gives a much more accurate result for heavy people whose extra weight is largely contributed by fat which doesn't require much protein to sustain it.
  • Provide the ability to specify how much fat-related weight you'd like to lose each week. The calculator will also flag unrealistic weight loss goals including those that would require cutting protein down to unhealthy levels.
  • Allow any carbohydrate intake level to be entered. If the carbohydrates entered exceed 120 grams a day, the calculator changes its recommendation of fat and protein levels to match the nutrient intakes that appear to be the healthiest, based on the research I reviewed for my new book.

The calculator continues to account for the additional protein required by people on very low carb, ketogenic diets. But it also makes it clear that as carbs rise and the diet continues past the first few weeks when the body adjusts to the ketogenic state many people will need far less protein than they might think. Cutting out that excess protein is often the easiest way to break a low carb weight loss stall--and to eliminate diet-associated dragon breath.

I found that when I calculated my own caloric needs by entering my body fat percentage as measured by my Tanita scale first thing in the morning, the calorie and protein levels that the calculator came up with matched exactly the caloric intake and protein levels my food logging had shown to lead to continuing weight loss and, when I reached goal, successful maintenance.

This had not been the case when I calculated my nutritional needs using other online calculators that asked only for my total body weight. Most interestingly, entering my body fat percentage along with my total body weight into the new calculator provided a new daily calorie level that was a couple hundred calories higher than that provided by other calculators.

This eliminated the caloric difference that in the past I had attributed to the "metabolic advantage" of a ketogenic diet. It turns out that the only reason I could lose weight on a ketogenic diet at a higher caloric intake than suggested by the formulas beloved by nutritionists is that I have more lean body mass for my size than their whole-body based formulas assumed so I burn more calories.

This is in line with much of what I learned doing my research. I'd love to hear from you as to how the calculator's estimates match your own experience maintaining your current weight or achieving weight loss. Post in the comments section of this post and we'll keep the discussion going there.