SORF, What Is It and Why you Want to Avoid It

by Lance D. Reedy

Starting in 1981 I became very interested in diet and nutrition. The first major book I read about this subject was The Pritikin Permanent Weight-loss Manual by Nathan Pritikin. 

Pritikin advocated an extremely low-fat diet with fat being about 10% on one’s caloric intake. He was also a strong proponent of consuming complex carbohydrates. Refined sugar and white flour were also verboten in his diet scheme.

Pritikin’s contention, and he is spot on here, is that refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour concentrate the calories in one’s diet. Refining wheat into white flour removes the bran and wheat germ, leaving just the starch, or white flour.

Drinking fruit juice does the exact same thing. An 8-ounce glass of apple juice contains about the same number of calories as two, medium sized apples. One can down the eight ounces of apple juice in a few seconds, but it takes a while to chew up and swallow two apples. The concentrating of carbohydrates elevates your blood sugar much faster causing your body to go into overdrive to bring it down.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra in his book, The Great Cholesterol Myth, posed this question in chapter 5, The Truth about Fat, It’s Not What You Think, “If we need an adequate amount of healthy fats in our diet, why then, did the Pritikin ultra-low-fat diet still work to reduce people’s heart disease?” Sinatra’s answer was that the Pritikin diet cut out refined sugar.

In every worthwhile book I have read about diet and nutrition there is one over-riding theme. Excess sugar consumption is really bad for your health. Added to this mix is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is nothing more than sugar derived from corn. These concentrated sugars can be from fruit juice and even dried fruit. A handful of raisins contains much more sugar than a handful of grapes. In 2019, I reviewed the first nine chapters of Dr. Robert Lustig’s The Hacking of the American Mind. Chapter 9 is titled What You Eat in Private you Wear in Public. Let’s look at some excerpts from my review of that chapter.

SORF is my acronym for the trifecta of…

Sugar

Oils, meaning those manufactured from seeds

Refined

Flour

“Okay, sugar is a problem; I get that, but I thought some of these oils, like canola oil, are heart healthy,” you may think. Dr. Sinatra enumerated in his book four chief causes of heart disease. Here they are:

Sugar—Inflammation—Oxidation–Stress

Because of the way these seed oils (incorrectly called vegetable oils) are manufactured, they are already oxidized when they are filled into their plastic bottles. These oxidized oils contribute to transforming the harmless and light, fluffy low-density lipo-proteins into bad cholesterol.

This bad cholesterol, in turn, causes inflammation of the endothelial cells that line our coronary arteries. The low-density lipo-proteins are just fine, and nature made them that way for a purpose. However, if they get transformed due to a faulty diet, they are still not the culprit. The culprit lies in what contaminated them—oils derived from seeds. These are soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, etc.

To further explore the problems with these edible oils, please refer to this article titled The Great Con-ola from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website. Another excellent article is titled Good Fats, Bad Fats: Separating Fact from Fiction.

There is also a potential link with the ever-increasing consumption of these seed oils and skin cancer and even perhaps cancer in general. Please review this article titled Fats and Oils and Their Impact on Health, again from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website.

One of the key points Dr. Lustig makes in book, The Hacking of the American Mind, is that seed oils (soybean, canola, cottonseed, etc.), which are high in omega-6 fatty acids, inhibits your natural serotonin production. Inadequate amounts of serotonin lead to anxiety and depression.

In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, eggs, olive oil, and other healthy fats, contribute to the normal production of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for creating a sense wellbeing, mental equilibrium, and contentedness.

I seek to avoid consuming food items made with these damaging seed oils. For example, I was given a package of nuts that were roasted in either soybean, canola, or cottonseed oil. While I appreciated the gesture, I had to toss them. Likewise, I avoid salad dressings, margarine, and other food products made with these unhealthy oils.

There are further problems with the seed oils being genetically modified and doused with herbicides such as Roundup. A detailed discussion of this issue is beyond to scope of this article.

Lastly, what about refined flours? Once you strip away the germ and bran from grains, you are left with the starch or pure carbohydrate from the grain seed. It’s a straight repeat of the problems with sugar. If a pastry is made from sugar, refined flour, and seed oils, you now have a triple whammy.

Conclusion: Some people will object and say that they will have nothing left to eat if they remove SORF from their diet. Nothing could be further from the truth. In future articles we’ll explore incredibly tasty foods that are SORF free. End

Remember, You Can Change Your Medicare Supplement Plan Any Month of the Year

by Lance D. Reedy

Unfortunately, many people still mistakenly believe that they can’t change their Medicare supplement plan after the December 7th AEP deadline. As such, we have updated this article for 2020.

The good news is that you can change your Medsupp plan any month of the year, providing that you medically qualify. If your Medsupp rate increases have been above normal, you may be able to qualify for a lower premium plan.

Yes, you can change your Medicare supplement plan any month of the year as long as you medically quality with the new company.

We work with most of the Medicare supplement companies and can assist you in shopping for lower rates. Please call us first!

Remember, medical qualification applies. More about this shortly.

Another smart move, if possible, is to change your plan letter. For example, if you have an increasingly spendy Plan F with Company X, a good solution is to switch to Plan G. Another good reason to move out of Plan F is that people turning 65 after January 1, 2020 are not able to sign up for Plan F. Note: This does not need to be done right away, but it’s something to think about for the future. As these existing Plan F’s age, they will continue to go up.

How do I qualify for a new Medicare Supplement plan?

To qualify for a new Medsupp plan, in general you will need “No” answers to the following health questions. The language on each companies’ application may vary somewhat, but they are similar.

1) In the last two years have you had or been treated for circulatory or heart disease including a heart attack, heart bypass surgery, stent placement, atrial-fib, or pacemaker implantation?

2) Have you been treated for internal cancer, melanoma, or lymphoma in the last two years? (Does not include most skin cancers.)

3) Have you had a stroke or TIAs in the past two years?

4) Have you been diagnosed or treated for COPD, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis in the past two years?

5) Have you been hospitalized more than two times in the last two years?

6) Have you been diagnosed with any type of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease? Note: One of our companies will take people with these conditions if there are no other major issues.

7) Do you have any auto-immune disease such as AIDs, HIV, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis etc? (Other diseases may be included depending on the company.)

8) Do you have any planned procedures like physical therapy or surgeries such as a joint replacement or a cataract surgery recommended to be completed in the next twelve months?

These are the major categories. A company may request additional information.

Routine prescriptions such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes meds are usually okay. Most companies have a drug decline list. Examples are opioids and many cancer related drugs. The companies generally require that you list all prescriptions on your application. Certain combinations of drugs such as ones used to treat diabetes (particularly insulin) and hypertension may cause a decline with one or two companies.

Why do we pre-qualify you before applying?

If you have a medical condition that is iffy, we can shop for the company that is most likely to accept your application. One company may be more picky about one particular health issue compared to another. Through the years, we have learned that a certain health issue that may not fly with one company can go through with another. Many companies will decline hydrocodone use, but one or two companies will consider your application.

Why are some people reluctant to change if they can quality for substantially lower rates?

The biggest reason that we have seen is fear. They are afraid that the new company won’t pay its claims. However, this fear is completely unfounded. The plans are standardized, and all companies pay their claims. We have encountered folks who could save $80 per month or more by changing out of an old, expensive plan. Unfortunately, a few of them wouldn’t budge because they were deathly afraid that their new company won’t pay its claims.

Do we ALWAYS shop for the lowest rate available?

Not necessarily. In fact, there are a couple of companies that we avoid. One of them was owned by one hedge fund that pawned it off to another hedge fund. The game they play is to come out with absurdly low rates. People will chase those rates only to discover that within two years or so the rates are going through the roof.

This game is called “buying the business.” A company is willing to break even or even lose money to get a bunch of people signed up. They also entice agents to peddle their product with high commissions and lucrative production bonuses. Within two years or so they go to the state insurance department, show their losses, and file for big rate increases. Meanwhile, If a person has developed an uninsurable condition, he/she is stuck with that company. Sorry, that’s not a game we’re going to play. We prefer to work with reputable companies.

What if I have a health issue that no new company will accept?

The solution for the people in this situation may be switching to a Medicare advantage (MA) plan during the fall October 15 through December 7th Annual Election Period (AEP), also known as Medicare open enrollment.

There are pros and cons involved in switching to an MA plan. Please contact us for details. On the other hand, many people are happy enough with their current plan. Nothing says that you have to change.

Why is it much easier to switch to a Medicare advantage (MA) plan?

The only health question on an MA application is kidney failure. You could have had a recent stroke, been treated for cancer in the past two years, or have multiple sclerosis, and you still can qualify for an MA plan. Those conditions will likely cause a decline on most any Medsupp company’s application.

However, switching to an MA plan is not feasible for some people if they live in a county that has no available MA plan.

How do I find out if I’m eligible for lower rates? Please call us at (208) 746-6283 or (888) 746-6285, or email us at lance@nwsimail.com. If you have a health situation that you believe may be an issue, contact us anyway, and we’ll see what we can do. End

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills

by Dr. Bruce Fife

Chapter 1: A Big Fat Mistake

Dr. Fife by profession is a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician, and he authored over 20 books dealing with health and healing. He also is a very strong advocate of using coconut oil in place of vegetable or seed-derived oils.

If I could sum up this chapter with a one-word acronym it would be this:

LCHF, meaning a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat diet. In essence, that’s the gist of Dr. Fife’s book.

Dr. Fife starts the chapter by discussing a patient named Reyn. At 370 pounds, Reyn was a disaster waiting to happen. His cardiologist had him on the usual trifecta of prescription drugs including blood pressure meds, statin drugs, metformin for blood sugar, and Victoza to lose weight.

Reyn followed his doctor’s usual nutritional advice of eating a low-fat diet along with lean protein. This included, of course, avoiding saturated fats. His meals were centered around grains, fruit, and low-fat dairy. Because he took his meds, Reyn felt free to occasionally indulge in sweets, especially if they were sweetened with artificial sweeteners.

Despite taking his meds and following his doctor’s dietary advice, Reyn’s health continued to decline. He was hospitalized due to heart problems and blamed it on bad genetics.

Reyn attended a health conference where he heard about Low Carbohydrate, High Fat (LCHF) diets for the first time. Afterwards, he listened to several speakers extolling the virtues of the LCHF diet. One of them was Jason Fund, MD, a featured speaker at the conference.

The concept of the LCHF diet was new to Reyn, and it was contrary to his pre-conceived beliefs about diets. The following are some attributes of the LCHF diet:

  • High carb foods such as grains, starchy vegetables, and most fruits are limited.
  • Fat consumption is significantly increased. Non-fat milk is replaced with full-fat milk. Low fat cheese is replaced with full-fat cheese.
  • Most of the fats are saturated
  • The use of poly-unsaturated vegetable (seed oils) from soybeans, canola, corn safflower, etc. is limited.
  • Fatty cuts of meat are fine and preferred over lean meats

Dr. Fife points out the we [as a society] have been eating low fat for over 40 years, and what has it gotten us? Obesity is at an all-time high, and degenerative diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. are at epidemic proportions.

He points out that a growing body of research is showing that LCHF diets….

  • Can balance blood sugar
  • Improve blood cholesterol levels
  • Lower elevated blood pressure
  • Melt off excess body fat
  • Boost energy levels
  • Balance hormones
  • Strengthen the heart and much more

Dr. Fife makes this key point:

While medications may help relieve symptoms associated with the above conditions, the LCHF diet can accomplish the same thing and allow their patients to get off their drugs and lead healthier lives.

My Comment: Who wouldn’t that for his/her life?

Continuing: Here’s what Reyn did. He embraced the LCHF diet to the point where 75% of his calories were from fat, 15-20% from protein, and 5% were from carbs.

Here’s what happened. He was able to wean himself off his insulin and cholesterol meds until he stopped them entirely. When Reyn told his cardiologist that he didn’t want to renew his meds, his doctor scoffed at him.

After a year, he lost 117 pounds and ate full meals until he was satisfied. He had more energy than ever, and he discovered weight loss was never so easy. His A1C levels normalized, and his peripheral neuropathy caused by his diabetes vanished completely. A year ago, Reyn left the hospital with one foot in the grave, and now he’s a new man.

Low-Fat Diets Are Killing Us Fife next delves into the problem with the government food recommendations. He specifically takes to task the recommendations to eat more grain of “6-11 servings per day” which could include white bread rolls, muffins, and packaged dry cereals. Fried potatoes, catsup, and pizza sauce could fulfill the vegetable requirements. Sugary fruit juices, cherry pie filling and sugar soaked canned fruits all can satisfy the fruit requirements. Non-fat milk and cheese are to be preferred over the full-fat versions. Lean meats and egg white are preferred, and fats and sugars are to be used sparingly.

Key point: This reduction in fat has led to an increase in carbohydrate consumption because removing fat from meals generally leads to eating more carbohydrate-rich foods to make up for the loss of calories from fat.

My comments: You can bet your last dollar that to make matters even worse, these carb calories are primarily from refined carbohydrates. This list includes pizza crust, white rice, bagels, rolls, and bread. Even most so-called whole wheat breads are mostly made from “enriched” white flour.

All of this contributes to the spiking of your blood sugar level which then can lead to insulin resistance. It is this insulin resistance that opens to door to metabolic syndrome, which consists of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a long list of other maladies.

Continuing: Fife makes another key point:

Although the guidelines suggest limiting sugar intake, this advice is not stressed and has generally been ignored, with more emphasis placed on reducing total fat intake and cutting out saturated fat and cholesterol as much as possible.

Even worse, since saturated fats have been demonized, they have been largely replaced with polyunsaturated vegetable* oils. Included in this group of unhealthy fats are hydrogenated vegetable oils. shortening, and margarine. *Calling these oils vegetable oils is a bad misnomer. With mainly the exception of olives, you don’t get oil from vegetables. Rather, you get the oil by squeezing soybeans, canola (rapeseed) seeds, corn, etc. at very high pressure.

In 1961, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended a low-fat and low cholesterol diet. In spite of this, as Fife points out, 60 years later heart disease is still the number killer in the USA.

He continues by saying that one of the rationales for the low-fat diet was to help people lose weight. The statistics, unfortunately, say that just the opposite has happened. In 1975 45% of adults were overweight. Now it’s 75%.

Likewise, there has been an accompanying rise is type 2 diabetes rates. He points out that Alzheimer’s disease is now referred to as type 3 diabetes or diabetes of the brain. He comments that the rates of other degenerative diseases are also on the rise and suggests that since those rates continue to climb, the cause is not genetic. He points out that we are now seeing Alzheimer’s occurring at younger and younger ages.

Fife explains that the cause for these increased disease rates is primarily due to the faulty dietary advice.

Key takeaway point:

If you want to lose excess weight as well as reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, and many other degenerative diseases, you should eat more fat and less sugar and refined carbohydrates…

Dr. Fife points out that fat has been savored by people eating ancestral diets. Fat on game meat was relished. People enjoyed excellent health on high fat diets.

My comment: The Eskimos relish the fat from their game meat and throw the lean meat to the dogs. Maybe there is more to it than just needing the fat to help keep themselves warm in cold climates.

What an LCHF Diet Can Do for You

Fife lists 40 degenerative diseases where the conditions can be stopped or reversed with an LCHF diet. Here are twelve of them.

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease and kidney stones
  • Macular degeneration
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Ulcerative colitis

In addition to improvements in the above conditions, he continues by enumerating the changes that an LCHF diet may bring to your life:

  • Get off most, if not all of your medications
  • Have more energy
  • Be more resistant to infections
  • Feel better, sleep better, and have a clearer mind and a better memory
  • Experience an overall enhanced feeling of well-being

Dr. fife makes this concluding comment about the LSCH diet:

Not all fats are of equal value, and some can be harmful, or harmful if eaten to excess…This book will be a guide.

While it may look that an LCHF diet can correct just about anything, it is not a cure-all, nor do I claim it to be such. The diet itself doesn’t cure anything. It simply provides the body with the nutrients it needs to correct imbalances caused by poor dietary and lifestyle choice. If you have been eating the standard low-fat diet, this new way of eating has the potential to significantly improve your health. It may just be the solution you are looking for. Give it a try—you have nothing to lose except your poor health.

End