Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Alan Aragon Research Review ~ Answering some questions about Thermodynamics

I'm once again honored to contribute to this month's edition of Alan Aragon's Research Review.  This time I was interviewed and answered the following questions:

This is premium subscription content, but AARR is always worth the price in my opinion!   Plus you'll get access to all archives (including past contributions from yours truly from the May-June issues of 2013 and 2014).

I missed getting to have my dedication in there, as I didn't think of it until after submission, but I wanted to dedicate the article to my grad school advisor Dr. Owen F. Devereux.   Dr. D died a couple years back or I would have been proud to send him my writings on thermodynamics.  He wrote a book called Topics in Metallurgical Thermodynamics that was his main area of research.  I called it the bane of my grad school existence, but really it wasn't.  Through applying the concepts of that book to my research I really learned and understood thermodynamics.  Folks often wonder what my seemingly irrelevant advanced degree has to do with any of this nutrition stuff.  Well, we applied the concepts to corrosion which is electrochemistry.   Biochemistry is living electrochemistry.  This means it involves enzymes and reaction coupling to get chemicals to do things they wouldn't otherwise do spontaneously.  But in the end the concepts are the same.  If you're a subscriber, I hope you'll enjoy!  If you're not, you might want to consider subscribing now ...

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's Question Time Again ... Saturated Fats

I have a few questions, but will stick to two.  Feel free to chime in with anything even remotely related!

Also, let me preface this by stating that I haven't had the time to deeply digest the various studies that have come down the pike lately exonerating saturated fats.  Any summaries or links to summaries would be greatly appreciated in this regard.  That said ...

1.  Has there ever been an RCT -- or even an uncontrolled trial -- where saturated fat intake was increased on an absolute level (preferably on a weight stable diet) and improvements were seen in cardiometabolic risk factors (or other health measures)?

2.  It is my understanding that mostly the effect (or lack thereof) of saturated fats have been assessed mostly in that 30-to-40% total fat range of the typical Western diet which usually puts sat fat in the 10-15% range.  Would you say this is correct?  If not, are there studies comparing a true low saturated fat diet to a high saturated fat diet?  I'll take any context here though weight maintaining would be preferred for obvious reasons.  Oh ... and coconut oil as major source of sat fat doesn't count since over half the fat is MCT.  So basically I'm asking about if there are any 5% vs. 15% studies to be found.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cholesterol or Inflammation?

I wanted to share this study with my blog readers that I had found and shared a bit of on Twitter a little while ago.  This has been prompted by ongoing discussions there and elsewhere on social media regarding blood lipids.  By "cholesterol" I am of course using the general term that in today's terms refers mostly to the low density lipoproteins or LDL.

C-Reactive Protein

A Simple Test to Help Predict Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

This is not so much a study as a communication.  It is also on the "Cardiology Patient Page" of the journal Circulation, and as such quite readable.  I'd suggest any and all interested do so as I don't really have the time to go in depth into the entire thing.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's Official: Paleo is NOT Ancestral

not paleo
The underlying premise of the paleo diet is that we are supposedly consuming foods that our physiologies did not evolve to consume.  In order to get our diets back into concordance with evolution, it is necessary for us to look back. Waaaaaay back.  Nevermind that most of the problems are extremely modern -- as in within the past century modern, often even a matter of a few decades modern.  No ... we must look back millenia and tens of those to the paleolithic times.  Because ... evolution.

But even since I first heard of the paleo diet, and began reading about all of these remote ancestral tribes and cultures, there has been this nagging voice asking me how these populations can be translated back into the paleolithic.  Some of these tribes are decidedly neolithic despite their "primitive" cultures.  Any domestication of animals or cultivation of vegetation would be counter to the HG existence we are told we evolved through.  So in addition to looking to remote tribes for answers -- as opposed to looking to where diets in our own cultures went off the rails -- we are essentially being asked to make the leap that these modern "paleos" in some way mirror the true paleos, but we must ignore any facets of their diet that pre-date agriculture.  Hmmmph.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Disqus & Weston A. Price

Just a heads up here.  For some reason Disqus comments are not loading on my end.  Therefore I can read them in my dashboard but have been unable to respond today.  Hopefully this clears up as I have responses to many!

Meanwhile since I'm making a post ... I recently -- finally! -- got around to getting a copy of Weston A. Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  What I've read thus far has been rather underwhelming to be honest.  In addition I find parts to be quite difficult to read due to the overt racism (is it just me?) in many of his descriptions.  In any case, here's a question for you all.  Is this it for Price's writings or are there more in depth writings available somewhere from which various parts of this book were culled?  Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Some comments on the Bazzano "LC" vs "LF" Study

So as the weighing in continues regarding:  Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets (full text) I thought I'd add a little bit to the mix.  

First, I do believe the low carb advocates hailing this as any sort of endorsement for their high saturated fat, high animal fat, eat a ton of food, ketogenic or paleo diets need to all watch this entire video of Lydia Bazzano discussing the diet:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Channeling Nina Teicholz: Latest LC/LF Study Should Be Ignored

I'm sure by now you've heard ... low carb "bested" low fat once again in a gold standard randomized controlled clinical trial.  As usual, some weighed in even before the full article was published, but I guess this is to be expected these days.

Before discussing this study, perhaps next week, I wanted to point out that by the standards of Big Fat Surprise author Nina Teicholz, this study should be summarily dismissed.  Why?  Well:

Not Representative of the General Population

It was conducted in 148 obese adults of which 88% were female and 51% were black. Thus the results are not applicable to the general population. Teicholz relegated a well designed and implemented 2 year RCT on the Mediterranean diet to a footnote in her book for this reason. I discussed this in detail here, which was prompted by this footnote in BFS:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Question about the latest diet study ...

As you may have heard there's a new LC vs. LF diet RCT out there.  I'll have more to say about that when some time frees up, but I have had a chance to look at the full text and it is quite the horribly conducted study -- at least by the description put forth in a fairly highly regarded peer review journal.  (disturbing ....)  

In any case, the LC group was instructed to keep carbs under 40g per day.  If you arm a person with some tables of carb content or links to online databases, etc., this is a pretty straight forward and "simple" task.  By that I mean, disregarding any issues with compliance, the task remains an easy and straightforward one.

The LF group was instructed to reduce total fat to a maximum of 30% of calories and sat fat to a maximum of 7%.  We are then told that no calorie goals were specified (for either group).

Pray tell,  how does the LF group accomplish their goal?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Human Digestion & Metabolism for Fat Heads

Tom Naughton has weighed in with some random musings regarding ketosis:  Reactions To Arguments About Ketosis.    The more Fat Head talks about nutrition the more evident it becomes that he really has no idea what he is talking about, and really ought not to be educating anyone no matter how entertaining he thinks he is.  

Ketogenic diets are stupid because everyone apart from diabetics should be able to consume at least 150 grams of carbohydrate per day.

I don’t think the everyone should eat starch argument makes any more sense than the no one should eat starch argument. All humans have the AMY1 gene, which makes it possible to digest starch. That’s one of the many reasons I believe our paleo ancestors ate starchy plants. But some clearly ate a lot more than others. Let’s review a quote from Denise Minger’s book Death By Food Pyramid:
It turns out the number of AMY1 copies contained in our genes is not the same for everyone. And the amount of salivary amylase we produce is tightly correlated to the number of AMY1 copies we inherited. AMY1 copy number can range from one to fifteen, and amylase levels in saliva can range from barely detectable to 50 percent of the saliva’s total production. That’s a lot of variation.
It sure is. And that means some people can handle a whole lot more starch than others. Research shows that people with fewer copies of the AMY1 gene are more likely to be obese. To quote a study I mentioned in a previous post:

The chance of being obese for people with less than four copies of the AMY1 gene was approximately eight times higher than in those with more than nine copies of this gene. The researchers estimated that with every additional copy of the salivary amylase gene there was approximately a 20 per cent decrease in the odds of becoming obese.

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