Welcome to Living Well with MS, where we are pleased to welcome Mike Newton as our guest! 

Mike is an industrial chemist and follows the Overcoming MS Program. He lives in Australia and has been following the recommendations of Dr Roy Swank and Professor George Jelinek for 25 years. He talks to Geoff about the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, heating oils and his Overcoming MS journey.

Watch this episode on our YouTube here. Keep reading for the key episode takeaways.

Read the episode transcript

Topics and Timestamps:

01:13 Defining oils, fats, triglycerides and lipids from a cooking and chemistry perspective.

07:35 Fats to avoid and include in your diet.

12:54 What’s the difference between plant, animal and fish triglycerides or fats?

16:44 Why do we want to increase our Omega-3s and decrease Omega-9s?

19:24 The difference between monoglycerides and diglycerides is in the melting point, lower melting points are better for brain health.

22:50 Overcoming MS and Dr Roy Swank

Selected Key Takeaways:

Defining Oils and Fats 
01:40 “Triglycerides are the encompassing description of all oils and fats, whether they are from plants or animals, and whether they are liquid or solid. The terms oil and fat are more for the layman and the cooking man. Oil is a liquid at room temperature, and fat is a solid at room temperature.”

Hydrogenated fat in commercially produced foods
16:09 “The reason that they use hydrogenated fats is to give the [food] structure so that they can make a pie that you can eat with ease without it all collapsing around you while you're eating it. So, it's purely done for your mouthfeel and structure, so you can eat it (more easily).”

Roy Swank’s theory on fat and MS 
24:27 “Swank took the theory that the brain is made of a very high percentage of fat and cholesterol. If [your brain] is rock hard like this candle, then when it's rattling around in your head, the lesions in your brain will be scraping against your skull or another very hard piece of brain, causing more symptoms than that you would get if your brain was fluid and malleable.”

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Mike’s Bio:

Mike is 69 years old and happily married to his very supportive wife Fiona. They have two daughters and two grandchildren. He also has a very supportive identical twin brother and younger sister. Mike has spent most of his life in Melbourne apart from three long expatriations to Asia, Europe and the USA.

Mike graduated as an Industrial Chemist and spent the next 30 years in the chemical processing of animal fats and vegetable oils into fatty acids, glycerol and their chemical derivatives with the same multinational company under three separate ownerships, advancing his way to Director level.

Mike’s MS Diagnosis

Mike first developed pins and needles in his arms and legs in 1990 and was diagnosed with MS in 1991. His first five years consisted of no treatment. The first medication regime was in 1997 of weekly intramuscular injections of Interferon B for 15 years, followed by infusions of Ocrevus every six months with a two-year break during the Covid pandemic in Melbourne. The past 32 years have resulted in a very, very slow paralysis of his right leg and foot drop. Other symptoms such as poor balance, pins and needles in his arms and legs have been consistent all the time.

Lifestyle and adopting the Overcoming MS Program

In the mid-1990s, Mike studied Dr Rory Swank's experiments and together with his chemical knowledge of natural fats and oils he immediately started following Swank's recommended diet. Shortly after Mike attended a compelling presentation in Melbourne by Professor George Jelinek about the Overcoming MS recommendations and added exercise and vitamin D3 to his lifestyle habits. Mike has strictly followed the Overcoming MS Diet for approximately 25 years and plans to stay with it.