Circadian rhythms and prostate cancer


Incidence of prostate cancer is higher among pilots, flight attendants, and rotating shift workers than the general population (RR as high as 3.0 in some cases!).

Circadian rhythms of androgens is absent & clock genes are disrupted in prostate cancer; the latter of which is reversible with melatonin which also suppresses prostate cancer progression.

Interestingly, radiation treatment is significantly more effective before 5pm than after.  I don’t know why this is; could be a spurious correlation.  Or not.


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Discordant insulin sensitivity on a high protein diet

So, we have another “high protein” weight loss study (Smith et al., 2016).  Or really, a “low (0.8 g/kg) vs. moderate (1.2 g/kg) protein weight loss study.”  In brief, it took ’em about 6 months to lose 10% of their starting body weight, then were given 4 weeks of weight stability before “after” measurements were taken.

Important: this was not a contest to see who would lose more weight; they kept going and adjusting food intake until both groups lost 10%.  Not really ad lib, but otherwise a good study design imo.  The intervention was relatively weak (eg, protein 0.8 vs. 1.2 g/kg), but on the plus side, that’s realistic and very “do-able.”  If you’re interested in super-high protein diets (3-4 g/kg), check out research by Jose Antonio.



Big yet not unexpected finding: the low protein group lost about twice as much muscle than the normal protein group.




The isocaloric normal protein group lost more fat and less muscle than the low protein group.

But then everyone freaked out because the low protein group experienced a significant improvement in muscle/liver insulin sensitivity whereas the normal protein group didn’t:




-The headlines were hilarious, like, “high protein makes weight loss not work anymore.”

-Then some critics jumped the shark and blamed it on “liquid calories,” because whey protein shakes are totes non-Paleo, and #JERF.

-TBH, I found more interesting the changes in adipose insulin sensitivity

The normal protein group had the most insulin sensitive adipose of all groups… yet they lost more fat mass despite eating just as much or even slightly more than the other groups.




Does this mean they’re doomed to regain the weight?  I don’t think so, as high dietary protein is one of the strongest predictors of weight loss success long-term.

HERESY!  the low protein group had: 1) lower basal insulin than the normal protein group; 2) lower adipose insulin sensitivity; 3) ate less (NS); yet lost less fat mass.



In other words, the normal protein group had higher basal insulin, more insulin sensitive adipose tissue, and slightly higher food intake (NS).  According to the insulin model, they should’ve lost less fat mass than the low protein group, but they didn’t.

Is this another chink in the armor of the insulin model?

The truth seems to be: people lose weight on both LC and LF diets by giving up junk food.  On LC, this is accomplished by giving up carbs; on LF, this is accomplished by switching to better carbs.  Some people adhere better to one diet or the other.  Maybe insulin sensitivity has something to do with it.

Insulin from high protein: not bad?
Insulin from good carbs: not bad?
Junk food: no bueno.
So maybe just maybe it’s not just ze insulin…



Back to the protein…

This was not sorcery; it’s been seen before in a variety of different paradigms: dietary protein has a profound impact on nutrient partitioning.

Yes, even when it’s liquid calorie insulinogenic whey protein isolate bro-shakes.

Yes, even when it’s not crazy-high levels of protein…  seriously, 1.2 g/kg is not “high”


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Past blog posts on [the non-sorcery of] dietary protein:

Holiday feasts, the freshman 15, and damage control

Dietary protein, ketosis, and appetite control.

Nutrient Partitioning: …a *very* high protein diet.

Protein “requirements,” carbs, and nutrient partitioning

Cyclical ketosis, glycogen depletion, and nutrient partitioning

Meal frequency, intermittent fasting, and dietary protein

Muscle growth sans carbs

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calories proper













Keto myths & facts

:::begin rant:::

Trigger warning?  Maybe.

Disclaimer: I’m pro-LC (P<0.05), but not anti-LF because LF works better than LC for some people.  And with the exception of things like keto for neurological issues, I think macros take a back seat to many other factors.

Myths: carbs cause insulin resistance (IR), diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.  Carbs are intrinsically pathogenic.  If a healthy person eats carbs, eventually they’ll get sick.

And the only prescription is more keto.




And of course all of this could’ve been prevented if they keto’d from the get-go.

Proponents of these myths are referring to regular food carbs, not limited to things like Oreo Coolattas (which would be more acceptable, imo).  Taubes, Lustig, Attia, and many others have backed away from their anti-carb positions, yet the new brigade proceeds and has even upped the ante to include starvation.  Because “LC = effortless fasting?”

Does this sound sane?

“No carbs ever,
no food often…
otherwise diabetes.”





no one in their right mind would say lentils & beans cause diabetes


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Circadian disruption impairs survival in the wild. Again.

We evolved on Earth, with regular 24-hour “circadian” cycles; abandoning them is incompatible with survival.  Natural Selection does not look upon this favorably.

Natural selection against a circadian clock gene mutation in mice (Spoelstra et al., 2016)


The first time this was discussed, HERE, they ablated the master circadian clock, the SCN, which made the animals arrhythmic with a bollixed circadian period:





resulting in significantly increased predation in the wild:





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Circadian rhythms and breast cancer

Over the course of human evolution, diets varied widely over time, seasons, geography, etc., ie, we can obviously thrive on many different dietary patterns… but the light/dark cycle was there the entire time.  Why is this not the most important talking/debating point?  Why do people think humans need one particular diet but can ignore circadian rhythms?

Because everyone’s still fussing about carbz and what we are “designed to eat”


see also: “Lights Out!” by T.S. Wiley


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Circadian arrhythmia in different types of obesity

This study was pretty interesting.

Three groups of women:

1) normal weight

2) gynoid obesity (stores more fat in hips & butt), defined by WC/HC < 0.85

3) android obesity (stores more fat in belly, which is rare in women), defined by WC/HC > 0.85


First, we get confirmation that insulin sensitivity (IS) is better in morning than evening.  But then we get these interesting glucose tolerance curves:




Fat stored in your hips & butt is thought to be healthier than that stored in your belly region.  This is confirmed here.  Gynoid obesity, while exhibiting an attenuated AM/PM difference, was able to restore euglycemia by the end of the experiment at both time points.  Ie, gynoid obesity selectively improved IS in the evening.



Android obesity, which is more nefarious than gynoid (also confirmed here), had a similar though not as robust effect in the evening but deteriorated IS in the morning.

One potential interpretation: it’s better to have a little extra fat stored in your hips and butt than to be lean or have belly fat.  However, I have a qualm with that interpretation.  Healthy people show a robust circadian difference in glucose tolerance.  Just as insulin resistance (IR) is an accepted physiological phenomenon observed in some ketogenic dieters, I view this circadian difference, also, as physiological.


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Alcohol on keto

This article isn’t about alcohol tolerance.  It’s about your liver.

Tl;dr: with a basic knowledge about alcohol metabolism and ketoadaptation, drinking on keto gives me pause.

It might be nothing, but it gives me pause.

Alcohol is metabolized primarily by alcohol dehydrogenase, producing acetaldehyde and reducing equivalents as NADH.  This pathway produces energy.


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Ketones, carbs, and physical performance.

Or more specifically, ketone monoesters and carbs.  Literally, this study was a high-dose ketone monoester supp sans caloric or carb restriction.  I know, weird right?


Ketone ester


Non sequiter nutrition notes, #context, etc.:

1) ketone esters =/= ketone salts.  Ketone salts are either sodium or potassium-dominant.  Ketone esters are essentially salt-free.  Possibly helpful background reading here.

2) nutritional ketosis =/= starvation ketosis =/= ketone supp ketosis.  Because #context.

Starvation ketosis, but not nutritional ketosis, is muscle-sparing.  Ketone supps sans carb restriction might be.

3) the theory of ketone supps for sport is: 1) ketones are an energetically favorable fuel; and 2) they’ll spare glycogen, theoretically allowing prolonged duration of moderate-to-high intensity performance.  Adding in carbs will likely further this.

4) I have no studies to support this, but the idea of ketone supps in the #context of high carb doesn’t sit will with me.  Seems like high levels of both substrates = mitochondrial overload and oxidative stress.  Maybe.

5) there’s a gradient of fuel use during exercise:

-explosive power: creatine, anaerobic

-high intensity: glycogen, anaerobic

-low intensity: fatty acid oxidation, aerobic

But it’s a gradient with a lot of overlap, and ketoadaptation further blurs the lines.


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Circadian timing with REV-ERB and PERIOD

The circadian proteins Bmal and casein kinase (CK) enhance and degrade Period (PER), respectively, by completely different mechanisms.  Both are necessary, but at different times of day… #context

Gross oversimplification: the Bmal party is kicked off in the morning by LIGHT, and acts to increase PER by night (among many, many other things).  As the day progresses, REV-ERB the Repressor slowly shuts down Bmal, so that peak PER occurs in the evening and doesn’t carry over until the next morning.  GSK3b activates REV-ERB the Repressor.  Lithium puts the system in fast forward, leading to phase advance* and ZZZ’s when timed right, at night… I think


Lithium GSK3b image


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Long-term fat adaptation

Recent comments about FASTER have upgraded this study to “the only long-term study on fat-adaptation.”  Needless to say, I disagree.  Again.

Side note: FASTER had no randomization or intervention (ie, confounded by selection bias, among others); they basically recruited long-term low carb & high carb ultra-endurance runners and measured the stuffings out of ’em.

Ultimately, they showed a very high maximal fat oxidation rate in low carb ultra-runners, 1.5 grams per minute.  This is important because MAXIMAL HUMAN FAT BURNING CAPACITY




In previous studies on SAD (Standard Athletic Diet haha), maximal fat oxidation at similar VO2max% has been reported to be much lower, <1 g/min (eg, Hetlid et al., 2015 and Volek et al., 2016).


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