21: George Stella Interview Pt. 1 | Historical Low-Carbs for Diabetes | New Cancer Research

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On today’s episode of Dana’s Low-Carb For Life! Dana tears back into interviewing with part one (of two) of a fantastic chat with her old friend: chef, cookbook author and former Food Network star George Stella! Before that, she shares some historical perspective on low-carb as the accepted treatment for Diabetes and talks about some exciting recent research showing the effect of carbohydrate restriction on the growth of cancerous tumors.

Here’s a partial transcript of episode 21:

Hey, Gang, welcome to episode 21 of Dana’s Low Carb for Life, brought to you by CarbSmart.com, your smart choice for a low carb lifestyle.

Today on Dana’s Low Carb for Life, I’ll share with you a new study suggesting a low carb diet may prevent cancer, which is certainly very good news. We’re going to have another Low Carb History Lesson — it’s amazing the degree to which this stuff was known and written about long before the big low fat craze started in the 1980s. I’m going to answer a question I got recently about substituting for nut meal in baking recipes. And FINALLY, I have an interview again! I’ll be talking with my friend George Stella, low carb chef extraordinaire, Food Network star, and a guy with one of the most amazing low carb stories I know. Clearly, I hadn’t spoken to George in way too long, ‘cause what was supposed to be a 15 minute interview ran almost an hour, so we’ll divide it up between 2 or three shows.

Before we get into all that, though, I want to urge you all to consider signing up for the Low Carb Cruise that’s happening in May of 2012. It’s going to be an amazing time! We’re going for a full week, and we’ve got a bunch of really exciting new speakers. Two that I’m over the moon about are award-winning science writer Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It and Good Calories, Bad Calories, and also Denise Minger, an amazing blogger best known for her devastating deconstruction of T. Colin Campbell’s China Study. We’ll put a link up on the show page at danaslowcarbforlife.com, to take you to the Low Carb Cruise site. $25 holds your space at our group rate, but that deal will only be around for about another month, and Carnival tells us cabins are going fast, so sign up! We sail May 6th. You so seriously want to be there.

Moving right along! In a few minutes, I’ll share some eye-opening low carb history, and talk about substituting for nut meal in my baking recipes. And of course, you’ll want to hear my conversation with George Stella! But first, let’s get the good news about the recent research regarding cancer and carbs.

The title of the study is A Low Carbohydrate, High Protein Diet Slows Tumor Growth and Prevents Cancer Initiation. The author of the study, conducted by a group of scientists working in Vancouver, a Gerald Krystal. Dr. Krystal and the rest of the team started from the knowledge that cancer cells are more dependent on glucose than healthy cells – as every good low carber knows, most of your cells are just fine running on free fatty acids and ketones, but cancer cells have damaged mitochondria, which keeps them from using those fuels. He thought, therefore, he’d compare the effects of a low carbohydrate diet with that of a standard “Western diet” on the rate of growth in tumors in mice.

The two diets were designed to be what they call isocaloric – ie, to have the same number of calories – thus keeping that factor out of the picture.

The upshot of the whole thing is that tumors grew more slowly in the low carb/high protein mice than in the mice eating the Western diet. Unsurprisingly, the low carb mice also had lower blood glucose and insulin.

Maybe most exciting, in mice genetically engineered to get cancer, nearly half the mice on the Western diet had cancer by age 1 year, while none of the low carb/high protein mice did. The abstract – unfortunately all I could find – stated “This difference was associated with weight gains in mice on the Western diet not observed in mice on the low CHO diet.”

Too, only 1 mouse on the Western diet reached a full mousey lifespan, since they were busily croaking of cancer. By contrast, more than half of the low carb/high protein mice reached or exceeded a normal lifespan. They concluded that a low carbohydrate diet an ability not only to restrict weight gain, but also cancer development and progression.
Pretty cool, huh? Once again, we have to remember that mice aren’t people, and people aren’t mice. I also see it as unfortunate, that Dr. Krystal assumed that a high fat diet was tumor promoting – the quote is: because of the reported tumor_promoting effects of high fat and the immune_stimulating effects of high protein – his low carbohydrate diet was, instead, specifically designed to be high protein. Personally I am unconvinced of those “reported” tumor-promoting effects of a high fat diet; I attribute them to excessive polyunsaturated vegetable oils, rather than naturally saturated fats. I would love to see this study done again, this time with three diets – standard Western, low carb/high protein, and low carb/high saturated fat. Sadly, scientists rarely call me for my opinion on these matters.

Still, it’s good news for us.
Again, in little while, I’m going to be answering a question about nut meal in my baking recipes, and we’ll have that interview with George Stella. First, however, we’re going to do an installment of Low Carb History.

It’s funny how ideas for this show – or for that matter, for my writing – come to me. This one happened because I decided that after quite literally a couple of years of living with an office that was over-the-top messy/cluttered/strewn with papers and books/unbearably dusty, etc, I took it into my head this weekend to actually do something about it. I’m not finished by a long shot – my office didn’t get this bad in a couple of days, and it’s not going to achieve order that quickly, either. I am please to report, however, that more of the floor is now uncovered than covered. This is a novelty I enjoy. I also look forward to actually sitting in my armchair and reading, an experience I haven’t had in quite a while, since it’s been stacked with books and papers.

After emptying the armchair, I looked behind it, and found a little paperback I’ve had for years and years, ever since I was a baby health food freak. It’s called “Is Low Blood Sugar Making You a Nutritional Cripple?,” by Ruth Adams and Frank Murray, and it has an introduction by a fellow you may have heard of – a doctor by the name of Robert C. Atkins. It was first published in – are you ready for this? – 1970, though this is the 1975 edition. We’re talking the info in this book is over 40 years old. Yet it sounds amazingly current; much of this stuff nearly sounds startlingly new, especially to those of you born in the ‘80s or beyond, who can’t remember before low fat/high carb mania.

First, I thought I’d read you the first four paragraphs of Dr. Atkins’ introduction:


Now for a description of some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia, and the dietary treatment for it:


Let me read that last sentence again ******************

Notice the assumption, the simple assumption, that diabetics must follow a low carbohydrate/high protein/moderate fat diet. What the hell happened?
That stuff is from the first chapter, explaining the general concepts. But I’d also like to read to you from chapter 2, Sugar and the Health of Your Heart. It’s astonishing.


Do you believe that? Almost forty years later, we are just now returning to the concept that it is sugar, not fat nor cholesterol, that causes heart disease, and that a low carbohydrate diet can treat the problem, along with many others.

There’s much, much more in this book, but this is a half-hour show! I just wanted you to understand that carbohydrate restriction, far from being a fad, is a return to earlier wisdom after an unfortunate and disastrous three-decade mania for the exact opposite.

We’re almost to that interview with George Stella, the low carb chef, but first I wanted to share with you an email I got recently, and my response:

A reader named Kathy writes:

I have 2 children with peanut and tree nut allergies. Is there a substitution for the recipes that call for ground almonds or hazelnuts?


Yes! I have had good success using pumpkin seed meal. You’ll need shelled pumpkin seeds __ health food stores carry these, as do Mexican grocery stores. Just put them through your food processor till they reach the texture of corn meal. Use the same way as the almond or hazelnut meal.

I haven’t tried this in anything like all of my recipes, but I can tell you I haven’t had it go wrong in any of the recipes I have tried it in. One note, though: You’ll very likely get greenish baked goods. Don’t have a cure for that.

Hope this helps! And thanks for buying my book.
I’d like to add something to this response I sent Kathy: the nutritional stats for the nuts versus pumpkin seeds.

1 ounce of almonds has 6 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 6 grams of protein, with 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of that monounsaturated, 3 grams the undesirable polyunsaturates.

1 ounce of hazelnuts has just 2 grams of carbohydrate, with 1 gram of fiber, for a teeny usable carb count of 1 gram. On the other hand, they have less protein, at just 2 grams. 8 grams of fat, 7 grams monounsaturated.

1 ounce of pumpkin seeds is considerably higher in carbohydrate, at 15 grams, with 4 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 11 grams. 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat, and unfortunately 3 grams of that is polyunsaturated. They’re a great source of zinc, though, and a reasonable source of potassium. More importantly, they’ve got half the usable carbs of an equal weight of all-purpose flour, and I’m guessing less than that measured cup for cup, since the pumpkin seeds are less finely milled, and therefore pack down much less.

For those of you who are not nut allergic, hazelnuts are the lowest carb choice. They are, unfortunately, very expensive; I pay $8.99 a pound. Since I can get shelled almonds for $5.99 a pound, I use them far more often. But if you’re going to have a nasty allergic reaction to nuts, pumpkin seeds are a good option. Too, if you’re on a tight budget, pumpkin seeds are always cheaper than nuts.
I hope some of you find this useful!

Okay! Let’s talk to George Stella!


I hope you find George and I catching up entertaining; I sure did. We’ll play more of this interview next week, so be sure to give a listen!

Since last week’s episode was terribly late, we haven’t had time for anyone to respond to our Low Carb Voices Question, so I’m going to repeat it: What’s your favorite low carb treat? And what’s your favorite treat that doesn’t involve food at all? How do you reward yourself without blowing your nutritional program? Call (412) 385_DANA, that’s (412) 385_3262, and let us know!

If you have any friends you think might like the show, please steer ‘em to the show page at Dana’s Low Carb For Life, and if you like it, how about leaving a review at Itunes? We’d love it.

Don’t forget to check out the blog at Hold the toast.com, and join my facebook fan page at Dana Carpender’s Hold the Toast Press (and remember Carpender is spelled with a d where the t ought to be.) And of course, 300 15 Minute Low Carb Recipes is now available at Amazon.com, or order through CarbSmart.com along with your other stuff. If you’ve already got it and you like it, go review it!

That’s it! Remember, till next week, stay low carb for life!

Links for Episode 21:
The Low Carb Cruise
George Stella’s Stella Style
Our Sponsor, CarbSmart!

6 Replies to “21: George Stella Interview Pt. 1 | Historical Low-Carbs for Diabetes | New Cancer Research”

  1. Dana,

    I love that you also have a transcipt of your program.
    I do not have time to sit and listen like I would like to. Also I’m in front of a computer at work all day and need to get away from the darn thing once I get home. So I print out your program and read b4 I go to bed.
    Keep up the good work


  2. George Stella! Woo hoo! I have all his books, along with all your books! I can’t wait to listen. I’ve heard he’s going to have a new website/forum. I certainly hope so! C’mon, tell us George! His Stella Style way of eating fits in perfectly with the way I’m eating (Glycemic Load Diet). Thanks Dana!

  3. I love these podcasts! I, too, appreciate the transcripts, but wish there would be a link to a complete one. Between ADHD and my learning style (visual), and having a housefull of kids, I know I’m missing a lot.

  4. Hello….I enjoyed listening and reading this show. I have type 2 diabetes and I have high protein in my urine. My question is: Is meat protein safe for me?

    I weigh 240 lbs am 65 years young, and absolutely believe in Atkins. HELP PLEASE!

  5. PS: I bought several of George Stella’s cook books, and have yet to use them. Am wondering if I can lose weight on higher carbs instead of induction on atkins and 20 carbs??? I now have you Dana written down to listen to and read…thank you!

    I enjoyed your show very much!

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