Hello from Dr. Deb


An alternative approach to Neurology

Hello Dr. Deb here. I just wanted to say thanks for liking my Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/BrainBodyFitness/. I also wanted to introduce myself to those who do not know me. I am currently 48 years old. I am a wife and a mom of wonderful 2 young girls. I have been practicing neurology for over 18 years. I specialize in headache medicine but still manage all types of neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s dementia, seizures, strokes, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. However pain and migraines are the conditions I see the most.

I started this website and my Facebook page because over the years my approach to the practice of medicine and specifically neurology has changed. I previously believed that my job was just to find the right pill for your symptoms. I since have come to the conclusion that sometimes the best medicine is not a pill that I can give, but a healthy life style that you choose for yourself. I have discovered this both thru my patients but also with my personal experience. I too suffer from migraines and depression but since making some changes with exercise and changes my diet to include ketosis I have had significant improvement in my symptoms.

Over the last couple of years I have been doing more and more research on the powers of exercise, nutrition and most recently the benefits of ketones. I will be making a series of videos over the next several of weeks so that I can share with some of what I have learned.  I hope that you will find some value in these videos.


Dr. Deb

fatty foods

Fats are no longer the enemy

Debunking the myth that saturated fats are the cause of heart disease

Fats have gotten a bad rap in the past. You know the storyline that we all have been told over the years: fats make you fat and they are the cause of high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.

It all started back in 1961 when the Framingham Heart Study came out showing a correlation between high serum cholesterol and an increased risk for coronary heart disease health and strokes. Since then we all, doctors included, have been convinced that fats, particularly saturated fats should be avoided. This led to a major push by medical, governmental and public health messages to encourage people to switch from eating diets of saturated fats (butter, meats, and eggs) to using vegetable oils and low fats foods.

However, research in the last decade has challenged that thought process. One such study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This review looked at prior studies that had been performed on diet of saturated fat and the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.   It actually showed that there was no evidence that dietary saturated fat was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.

Next, more evidence that saturated fats are not the problem was shown when the data from a couple of randomized studies; the Sydney Diet Heart Study and Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE), were reanalyzed. These studies were designed to test whether replacement of a diet of saturated fats with one using a vegetable oil (linoleic acid) would reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and death by lowering cholesterol. Both studies showed that despite the fact that switching from saturated fats to this vegetable oil resulted in a decreased the cholesterol levels, there was not a decrease the risk heart disease or deaths. Instead, the opposite was shown. There was actually an increased risk of death and heart attacks in the vegetable oil group.   Furthermore, in the MCE study, the participants who had the greatest reductions in serum cholesterol had the highest risk of death. Additionally, the MCE study showed that despite lowering the cholesterol levels, there was not any improvement in atherosclerosis at autopsy.

So if eating saturated fats leads to an increase in cholesterol but not an increased risk of heart diseases then what is the cause of atherosclerosis coronary heart disease? To better understand this, let’s take a look at what we mean when talk about cholesterol.

When you get your cholesterol check it will have it broken down into total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. HDL is typically been considered the good or Healthy type cholesterol, and LDL is the bad or Lousy type of cholesterol. However, it is not the LDL itself that is the problem, or cause of atherosclerosis.  It is when the LDL becomes oxidized that it causes atherosclerosis. Oxidation occurs which sugars attach to the LDL molecule making it nonfunctional. When it is dysfunctional it attaches to the lining of the arteries, which then results in an inflammatory response and eventually atherosclerosis plaques formation. So what is the cause of oxidation of the LDL molecules? The very things that we were told to eat to prevent heart disease; carbohydrates i.e. sugar and vegetable oils such as Linoleic acid or corn oil.

So I know it is a hard habit to break but one that is essential to your health. Stop eating those “low fat” foods, ditch the vegetable oils and margarine.   Go ahead use real butter and don’t feel guilty about eating those eggs and bacon.  Your brain and your heart will thank you for it.


Lawrence, G. D. (2013). Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Advances in Nutrition, 4, 294-302.
Ramsden, C. E. (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73). British Medical Journal, 353, 1-17.
Ramsden, C. E. (2013). Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. British Medical Journal, 346, 1-18.
Siri-Tarino, P. E. (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91, 535-546.

Where is Gluten found? | Food and non-food sources of gluten

Where is GLUTEN found?

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, it is the components of wheat that makes it doughy. It is often added to foods to help foods maintain their shape. It is found in many foods but also in some other unexpected places.

Gluten is found in grains such as:

Barley, bulgur, Brewer’s yeast, couscous, farina, graham flour, kamut, matzo, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat, wheat berries, and wheat germ

There are some grains that are free of gluten:

Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, millet, potato, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, and teff

Other Foods that contain gluten:

  • Breads:
    • White, wheat, rye, 7 grain, Italian, French, bagels and rolls
  • Pastas:
    • Spaghetti, lasagna, penne, raviolis, dumplings, couscous, and gnocchi
  • Noodles
    • Ramen, soba, chow mein, egg noodles
  • Pastries
    • Croissants, muffins, donuts
  • Crackers
    • Pretzels, goldfish, graham crackers
  • Baked Goods:
    • Cakes, cookies, pie crusts, brownies
  • Cereal & Granola:
  • Breakfast Foods:
    • Pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes, and biscuits.
  • Breading & croutons:
    • Panko breadcrumbs, stuffing, dressings
  • Sauces & Gravies
    • Traditional soy sauce
    • Cream sauces made with a roux
  • Flour tortillas
  • Beer and other Malt beverages
  • Brewer’s Yeast

Foods that MAY contain gluten:

  • Candy
  • Cheeses
    • Blue Cheese
    • Processed cheese (velveeta)
  • Condiments
    • Salad dressings
    • Marinades
    • Mayonnaise
    • Ketchup
  • Cream filling etc
    • Cheesecake filling
    • Fruit fillings
    • Puddings
  • Dairy products
    • Non dairy creamers
    • Ice cream
  • Drinks
    • Chocolate milk
    • Flavored coffees and teas
    • Instant hot drinks
    • Root beer
    • Vodka
  • Eggs
    • Eggs served at restaurants – some restaurants put pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omelets. Eggs are naturally gluten-free
    • Egg substitutes
  • Energy bars/granola bars – some bars may contain wheat as an ingredient, and most use oats that are not gluten-free
  • French fries and fried vegetables– be careful of batter containing wheat flour or cross-contamination from fryers
  • Meats
    • Imitation crabmeat
    • Meat substitutes such as vegetarian burgers
    • Meatballs and meat loafs
    • Pre-seasoned meats
    • Processed lunch meats and hot dogs
    • Sausage
    • Self-basting poultry
  • Potato chips
    • Some potato chip seasonings
    • Multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas
  • Soups, bouillons and broths
  • Starch or dextrin
  • Syrups

Gluten can also be found in nonfood items such as:

  • Cosmetics
  • Lip balm and lip sticks
  • Medications,
  • Non-self-adhesive stamps and envelopes,
  • Play-doh
  • Shampoos/conditioners
  • Toothpastes
  • Vitamins and supplements

Non-Caloric Sweeteners

Non-Caloric Sweeteners,

Friend or Foe?


More and more people have turned to non-caloric sweeteners, in attempts to lose weight or at least, help prevent further weight gains. Questions have been raised about whether or not we are, instead, doing our bodies a disservice?

1.  Can non-caloric sweeteners cause weight gain?

Counterintuitive to what we might think, there is evidence that the use of non-caloric sweeteners may actually be associated with weight gain.  This was first shown in the San Antonio Heart Study. This study-documented weight changes over a 7-8 year period in people who drank beverages sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners compared to those who did not.  They found that those who drank on average 21 beverages sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners per week had about double the risk of being obese.  This was true regardless of the weight of the person at the start of the study.

Another study published in the January 2013 issue of the journal Appetite, found similar findings in rats. In this12 week study rats were fed plain yogurt sweetened with aspartame, saccharin, or sugar in addition to their regular rat chow.  What they found was that the rats that were given either saccharin or aspartame in their yogurt had an increased weight gain compared to rats that were given only sucrose in their yogurt.

2.  Can non-caloric sweeteners increase you risk for type 2 diabetes?

There have been multiple studies that have shown that the consumption of beverages sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners increased the risk for type 2 diabetes compared to non-consumers of beverages sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners.  This was seen even in participants who were of normal weight at baseline.

3.  Can non-caloric sweeteners cause an increase your appetite?

It is unclear why non-caloric sweeteners would cause weight gain and/or increase your risk for diabetes.  One of the theories is that non-caloric sweeteners are felt to increase your appetite.  Experiments have found that the sweet taste, regardless of its caloric content, increases your appetite.  Real sugar tells your brain that it has received enough calories, thus activating satiety signaling and telling your body that you are full.  Non-caloric sweeteners stimulate your appetite by the sweet taste, but your body keeps waiting for the calories to come. When the calories do not come, the sensations of hunger remain.

4.  Are non-caloric sweeteners associated with any side effects?

a. Sucralose (Splenda): has been shown to trigger migraine headaches. It has also showed to increase the incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases possibly due to the decrease in the amount of beneficial gut bacteria as the result of Sucralose consumption.

b.  Saccharin (Sweet’N Low):  has been reported to cause cancers at very high doses.  Between the years 1981 and 2000 the FDA required labeling to warn about possible carcinogenic effects.  Those warnings have since been removed.

c.  Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal): has possible side effects including dizziness, headaches, GI issues and mood changes.

Aspartame is broken down into phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%) and methanol (10%) in the body. The excess of phenylalanine from the breakdown of aspartame blocks the transport of important amino acids in the brain contributing to reduced levels of dopamine and serotonin.  Aspartic acid is the precursor to an excitatory amino acid glutamate.  Increased amounts of this and other excitatory amino acids results in increased free radical formations, increased oxidative stress and increased inflammation in the brain. This results in cell death.  These alterations seen are similar to those occurring in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.  Increased inflammation also linked to diseases such as fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes.

It has also been reported that, if stored too long in high temperatures and in a pH above 6, aspartame produces a carcinogenic metabolite – diketopiperazine.  This breakdown product has been reported to cause tumors in the brain including gliomas, medulloblastomas, and meningiomas.

5.  Do ALL non-caloric sweeteners have potential side effects?

Stevia is a natural non-caloric sweetener that is isolated from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni.  So far no negative side effects have been reported with its use. Additionally, a study has found that participants who consumed products made with Stevia had lower total caloric intake compared to those consuming sucrose.  Consumption of stevia also lowered postprandial insulin and glucose levels compared to consumption of aspartame and sucrose.

The FDA and most industry-funded studies endorse the safety of these additives. I however have formed my opinion based on these and other studies that I have read.  Based on these studies I have come to the realization that non-caloric sweeteners may not be the best things to be putting into our bodies but if I were going to reach for one maybe a better alternative would be Stevia.


Anton, S. E. (2010). Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite , 55, 37-43.

Fowler, S. P. (2008). Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-tem Weight Gain. Obesity , 16 (8), 1894-1900.

Rycerz, K. e. (2013). Effects of aspartame metabolites on astrocytes and neurons. Folia Neuropathologica , 51 (1), 10-17.

Shankar, P. P. (2013). Non-nutritive sweeteners: Review and update. Nutrition , 29, 1293-1299.

Swithers, S. (2013). Artifical sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism , 24 (9), 431-441.