Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

The Sippy diet

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The Sippy diet was invented by a Chicago physician of the same name, Dr. Bertram Welton Sippy. He published a paper in 1915 describing his treatment for peptic ulcers, excess acid, and GERD (gastroesophagal reflux disease).

The diet consisted of measured amounts of milk and cream, farina cereal (a bland powdered cereal made from mixed roots and/or grains including wheat), and egg, taken at hourly intervals for a period of time. Patients were simultaneously treated with alkaline powders every half an hour. The powders were known as “Sippy powders” and consisted of sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate.

The diet fell out of favour in the 1960s after the publication of a medical article exposing doubled rate of heart attacks in patients who had been on the Sippy diet for a significant length of time. Most of the patients studied had been on the diet for over ten years. The paper in question blames butter fat in the first paragraph, without any supporting evidence.

This paper is often cited as one of the first to “prove” a connection between milk, butter fat, and heart disease. Many different vested interests have seized on this purported link between milk and heart disease, including the vegan society, in an effort to discredit dairy products as a valid food source. Search the internet for “sippy diet” and the vast majority of the articles you find will all be blaming milk and butter fat for heart disease.

In fact the truth is rather different.

Sippy’s diet actually caused a condition known as Milk-Alkali syndrome. This syndrome is caused by the ingestion of large quantities of calcium and absorbable alkali.

“[O]ral intake of more than 2 g/d of elemental calcium with absorbable alkali results in hypercalcemia and alkalosis […] not completely understood.” Says “Milk-alkali syndrome almost never results in death. […] A significant number of patients may be left with permanent renal impairment.”

“Calcium absorption is completed within 4 hours of intake. Avid absorption of large doses may lead to suppression of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which then produces enhanced bicarbonate retention by the kidney. Continuing ingestion of calcium carbonate and bicarbonate retention leads to alkalosis, which causes increased calcium resorption in the distal collecting system of the kidney. Also, hypercalcemia produces a renal concentrating defect that can be considered a form of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. […] Chronic milk-alkali syndrome can result in metastatic calcification due to high serum calcium levels and relatively high phosphate levels (calcium times phosphate).”

In other words, large amounts of calcium in the form of antacids or supplements deposit in the arteries. Bicarbonate of soda increases the reabsorption of the calcium creating a cyclical effect that continues for as long as oral supplementation continues. This leads to the calcium deposition in the soft tissues including the arteries, which hardens them. Hardened arteries then lead to increased likelihood of heart attacks.

Calcium deposition in the soft tissues only occurs with inadequate amounts of vitamins A, D, and K, factors all heavily available in milk, cream, and yoghurt.

So it was not milk and butter fat at all that caused the observed heart disease, but Sippy powders! How come I am the first person on the internet to notice this stupendously obvious connection?

The moral of this story is to watch your supplementation of bicarb, calcium and other alkalines when you are treating food chemical reactions. Don’t make it a habit.


Written by alienrobotgirl

10 March, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Don't Do This

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