February 14

Carbs and pancreatic cancer

9  comments

After posting yesterday on carb intake and the risk for pancreatic cancer my eye caught this little blurb in the travel section of The Spectator. The article is about travel to Barbados.

When you think of Barbados, you think of celebrities. Tony Blair’s annual holidays in Sir Cliff Richard’s villa: high-profile Hello! weddings on the beach or the golf course, like that of Tiger Woods or Jemma Kidd and the future Duke of Wellington: the absorbing site of an enormous Luciano Pavarottti being gently decanted into the sea at Sandy Lane – whenever he stays at that most luxurious of hotels, he has an oven specially installed in his room so that he can cook pasta for all the family…[my italics]

Mr. Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late last June and underwent surgery in July. Based on the papers I posted on yesterday, he has a number of risk factors: obesity, insulin resistance, and, at least according to The Spectator article and others I’ve read, an enormous appetite for carbs.
I am a huge opera fan and a huge fan or Mr. Pavarotti’s. I wish him the very best, but the odds are not with him. Despite his protestations to the contrary, I suspect we’ve seen the last of him as an entertainer. I hope I’m wrong.


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  1. I worry about my brother, who quite literally lived for at least 20 years on pasta. I am not exaggerating! A huge plate of pasta (3-4 cups?) with sauce and a meatball at least twice a day! Occasionally, usually just special occasions, he’d have steak.
    About 8 yrs ago he was diagnosed with diabetes, PVD, PAD. He’s fully disabled at the age of 55. He’s on insulin and has cut back on his pasta, but still has it at least once a day.
    Do you know, with diabetics, if there’s an increased risk with poor BS control?
    Hi Cindy–
    Sorry to hear about your brother.
    Yes, there is a huge increase in all kinds of risk in diabetics with poor blood sugar control.
    Best–
    MRE 

  2. So what do you think of Dreamfields? Is that okay for low carb maintenance? Or is all paste verboten?
    Because, I’ve, ummm, been using Dreamfields lately.
    M
    Hi Michelle–
    As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on Dreamfields.  Based on blood sugar reactions from some of my patients, I would have to say that the stuff contains way more carbs than advertised. Eat at your own risk.

    Cheers–
    MRE 

  3. Perhaps Mr Pavarotti believes his magic will disappear if he alters his rotund body in any way.
    We all make choices. And while it’s not a choice I would make, perhaps he’s chosen his career and the delight of his fans over his health.
    Hi Steve–
    I don’t think his voice would change with a change in his rotund body.  What will happen, though, is that thanks to his diet his fans will be denied more years of his vast talent.
    Best–
    MRE 

  4. Hi Mike–this may be a little off topic, but did you catch the Today Show story this A.M. on a boarding school for obese teens? They push a low fat diet. Be that as it may, film clips showed the kids eating pizza and spreading margerine on what looked like white toast. God help them.
    While I can’t argue with the impressive weight loss some of these kids achieve, I have to think it’s because of strict portion control. I wonder what will happend when they return to the real world–and what their blood sugar and their gums will look like after a few decades of eating all those carbs.
    Hi Paul–
    If you cut calories, you can lose weight, even with a high-carb diet.  Problem is, as we all know, the carbs cause other problems that remain after the weight is gone.  And, typically, the weight doesn’t stay gone all that long.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  5. I have been supplementing with 800MCG 2Xdaily of Folic Acid for the last year on the advice of a MD. I eat some meat and liver (mostly chicken and eggs) and I am tightening up my carb intake. I also take a regular Complex B vitamin supplement. Am I making myself stupid?
    Hi Joseph–
    No, I don’t think you’re making yourself stupid.  In fact, reading this blog has probably raised your IQ by several points:)
    I don’t know that you need the extra folic acid supplementation if you are eating all the liver you’re eating, but your physician may have checked your levels and found them low or have some other reason that I don’t know about requiring the supplementation.  The medical literature seems to show enhanced cognition with high folate levels as long as the vitamin B-12 is high as well, so just make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin B-12.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  6. I am so grateful that I’ve never cared for noodles at all even as a kid. In fact the only grainy food that I miss sometimes is barley soup. That, and homemade biscuits. I made really good ones.
    It’s really sad about Mr. Pavarotti. I’m not an opera fan myself, but respect and admire his talent and yes, his fans will be robbed of many years of it.
    How true, how true.
    MRE 

  7. Dear Dr. Eades, We have been eating Dreamields pasta. I have a diabetic cyber friend who told me that it did not have a negative affect on her glucose levels but I am willing to bet that her meds helped to control that. I would prefer not to use it and I meant to use my shiritaki noodles and forgot.
    Like Esther, I was not a pasta eater as a kid and was encouraged to eat it to put a little weight on me. I was a boney kid.My main love was meat and vegetables.I remember daydreaming, in class, about a juicy steak. I fell in love with breads and pasta after becoming a mom.
    Now I want nothing to do with them. I am a musician and I feel like I am losing a brother.
    Mary
    Hi Mary–
    Keep me posted on your experience with Dreamfield’s Pasta.  I’ve had mixed reviews.
    Best–
    MRE 

  8. Well, I must say that my weight has been inching down. As I said, I had some for dinner this week. I don’t know what affect the pasta had on me. My cyber buddy is sending my a glucose monitor and I intend to use it to understand what is going on inside of me.
    Next time we have it, I will check my glucose.
    Thanks,
    Mary T.
    Hi Mary–
    I’m curious to see what happens.
    MRE 

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