Category Archives: Advanced nutrition

Research studies, hypotheses, data, etc.

Glucose dynamics during prolonged fasts

This is a somewhat complicated level of metabolism. Which tissues are producing what & how much, what are they burning & how much, etc., etc…

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After a few weeks, things begin to level out — we’ll pick it up there. Much of this is from a class I TA’d for in grad school, this book, and all the Cahill studies.

 

 

“The rate of glucose use at this time is around 90-100 g per day [remember, this is starvation, so all of that glucose comes from gluconeogenesis]. Of that, about 40 g is recycled via the Cori and glucose-alanine cycles and the remainder is ‘new’ glucose, ~18 g from glycerol and ~45 g from amino acids.”

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Starvation ketosis and “priority” of brain fuels

“Priority” is a funny concept the fields of nutrition, metabolism, etc. For the brain, it is said to be glucose. It’ll use ketones when glucose is low and ketones are really high, like during starvation, but otherwise it’s just glucose. Why is this? One of my mentors had some great insights…

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“It seems that the loss of some energy as ketones in the urine is the price we pay to provide the brain with a suitable fuel. But there are a number of unanswered questions about brain fuel use. Why does the brain not use free fatty acids? The usual answer given is that they are not transported across the blood-brain barrier fast enough to be used as a major fuel and this is probably true. However, why did the brain not develop a suitable transport system, or localized store of glycogen for that matter.”

WHY NOT FATTY ACIDS?

Textbook: Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition

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Metabolism of starvation/fasting =/= low carb diet

The Biology of Starvation (intro)

The Biology of Starvation: Renal Gluconeogenesis

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One of the major [obvious] differences in metabolism between fasting and low carb dieting is nitrogen metabolism… because you’re eating protein on a low carb diet, not so much while fasting. During fasting/starvation your body tries to downregulate the urea cycle because you can’t really afford to be ‘wasting’ amino acids/protein. I bet you never thought about the muscle-sparing effect of fat-derived fuels like that!

 

 

“Glucose production in starvation” is important because you need to make all of it and reduce the use of it.

 

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7 Worst Heart Health Sins (Page 20)

I read this on a magazine cover and my level of impending disappointment rapidly increased as I approached page 20. Aaaaand….

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It wasn’t horrible! Could use some tweaking, but hit a lot of important points and didn’t say “NO RED MEAT EVER.”

1/ You sneak a smoke.

DUH. Smoking cigarettes is the worst way to get your nicotine hit imaginable. Use a patch, chew nicotine gum, suck on a lozenge. Just. Don’t. Smoke. It also ages your skin faster.

 

 

2/ You skip your walk.

BOOM! We all know the power of a good walk, amirite? Get sunlight and fresh air, get off your butt as often as possible!

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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Low carb diet. NAFLD.

An integrated understanding of the rapid metabolic benefits of a carbohydrate-restricted diet on hepatic steatosis in humans (Mardinoglu et al., 2018)

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Critique and analysis.

They did two very small (n=10 & n=7) 2-week long studies of low carb, high protein. Carb/fat/protein was 4/72/24 compared to 20/42/18 at baseline. There was no control group, so the results were compared to baseline.

 

 

Lots of pro’s and con’s on this one… but for that, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and FireHERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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Diet X DESTROYS Diet B in Protein-Matched Ad-Lib Feeding Study

DESTROYS!

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With language like that, you’d expect to see a pretty big difference between the two diets. I mean like, really big difference.

So I clicked the link. Aaaaand #nothingsauce.

 

?(????)?

This study was similar to: “Carbs: Low vs. Lower” where it was shown that many people do just as well losing weight on a low carb diet as they do on a ketogenic diet.

The study was actually quite good, but “destroys” is not the word I would’ve used, especially since the destroyer dieters lost only about 25% more fat mass (P=0.083) and FOUR TIMES MORE FAT-FREE MASS (P=0.054).

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If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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3 strikes – funny

Weight reduction does not induce an undesirable decrease in muscle mass, muscle strength, or physical performance in men with obesity: a pilot study (Kim et al., 2018)

Cut & paste abstract. Literally.

“To date, there have been no reports on whether weight reduction causes decreases in muscle mass, muscle strength, or physical performance that could lead to health problems. Thus, in this pilot study, we investigated the appropriateness of the changes in muscle mass, muscle strength and physical performance after weight reduction.

Obese men who completed a weight reduction program to decrease and maintain a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 kg/m2 for one year were recruited for the study. One year after the completion of a weight reduction program, the participants’ muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance were compared with those in a reference group composed of individuals whose BMI was less than 25 kg/m2. Whole-body scanning was performed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to analyze muscle mass. Handgrip strength and knee extensor strength were measured to evaluate arm and leg muscle strength, respectively. For physical performance, a jump test was employed.

The results showed that the biceps, triceps, subscapular, and suprailiac areas of professional fashion models were significantly thinner than those of women in general (p<.001), and that their waist size was also significantly smaller (p<.001). However, hip circumference showed no significant difference. Body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and body fat (%) in professional fashion models were significantly lower than those in women in general (p<.001), while the body density in professional fashion models was significantly greater (p<0.001).

Weight reduction participants showed an average reduction in body weight of -16.47%. Normalized arm muscle mass and handgrip strength were significantly greater in the weight reduction group than in the reference group; however, no significant differences were detected between the two groups with respect to the other variables. After one year, there were no significant differences between the two groups.”

Wait, wut

O_o

I’m blaming that one on the journal. They made a mistake — strike 1. I read it twice before laughing out loud.

 

Table 1.

Given the title of the paper… statistically significant reductions in all of the muscles they measured. Strike 2.

I reiterate: given the title of the of the paper, statistically significant reductions in nearly every measure of performance. Strike 3. Strikes 2 and 3 are on the authors.

You’re OUT hahaha

 

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE.

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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Need vs. Optimization: Omnivores & Carnivores.

Humans are omnivores but does that mean we need to eat plants AND animals?

To address this, we first need to ask 2 questions:
1) need for what?
2) need vs. optimization?

STORY TIME

Scientists were determining the amino acid requirements of cats by feeding them semi-synthetic diets with various levels of each amino acid, one at a time. Tedious. A lot of cats x a lot of amino acids x a lot of levels of each amino acid = a lot of work. What made it even more difficult (and equally more interesting) was that they didn’t know what they were looking for — this was long before we knew what we know now about biology.

Tyrosine

Funny thing, when they got to tyrosine: below a certain level and their black cats started turning red! At an even lower level, certain neuroloogical abnormalities set in. So, how much tyrosine do cats need? Enough to maintain their beautiful black coats? I think we can all agree that the level which induced neurological abnormalities was too low. What about fur color?

 

What if female cats prefer males with beautiful black coats? So the males have a better chance at reproducing if their diet is at the higher level of tyrosine. I’d say fur color is pretty important in this #context! [how ya like ‘dem apples]

Need vs. Optimization

Note: this occurred over the course of weeks-to-months, not hours-to-days.

Note (2): unlike humans, cats are obligate carnivores. Real, actual, carnivores.

 

 

Arginine

Below a certain level of arginine and the cats looked dizzy, wobbled around, and some of them died.

Not weeks-to-months. Hours-to-days. This is what it’s like to be a carnivore. They NEED to eat meat or die rapidly (this is one of the few examples of an acute nutritional deficiency causing severe toxicity in the entire animal kingdom).

Cats have an inability to downregulate protein degradation and need arginine to dispose of the nitrogens via urea cycle. Humans just reduce burning proteins when protein intake is low.

 

 

Part 2Lobsters are omnivores and arginine is weird.

Lobster tail is rich in arginine (this might be what gives it a bit of a sweet-like flavor). If lobsters are fed an arginine-deficient diet, they go cannibal and eat other lobsters’ tails!

What does this say about lobster arginine requirements?

Need vs. optimization: they’re perfectly healthy, but is preventing cannibalism a “need?”

. .  .   .     .        .             .                     .

 

 

So, I ask again: Humans are omnivores but does that mean we need to eat plants and animals?

One retrospective study showed stroke victims who had consumed blueberries the day before showed significantly less cognitive decline post-stroke than those who hadn’t. Blueberries. Not green tea, blackberries, or dark chocolate. Blueberries. Do humans need to eat blueberries?

What if this was confirmed in a double-blind RCT? Is preventing post-stroke cognitive decline a need or an optimization?

Which is more important to you?

I didn’t have it in me to put this behind a paywall because while I think the answer is getting simpler & simpler (eg, SunlightHunger-Free Diet[s] and DietFitshot Blue-Blockers, etc.), fad diets are getting weirder & weirder. Just eat like an adult.

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

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Is gluconeogenesis demand-driven? answer: it depends (#context strikes again!)

Context #1. The easiest way to explain gluconeogenesis (GNG) is how it relates to starvation. If you’re not eating food, your brain still needs a steady supply of fuel. Mostly glucose at first (ketones come later), but since you’re not eating anything, glucose comes from hepatic GNG (huge potential supply*) or glycogenolysis (limited supply). *One of the precursors for GNG, glycerol, comes from stored fat (which you’ll die of something else before you run out of stored fat bc GNG).

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In this case, it is mostly true that GNG is demand-driven.

 

If you’re interested in this, more HERE.

 

Context #2. Protein (which also contains GNG precursors) doesn’t acutely increase glucose. But you might think protein does convert to glucose via GNG but protein also induces a splash of insulin which is why blood glucose doesn’t rise. Read this blog post at least up to the awesome Fromentin study: “8% of the blood glucose produced under optimal gluconeogenic conditions came from dietary protein.” But also check out the Conn & Newburgh studies. And Gannon.

 

 

This is usually the reason recreational keto dieters say they can be high protein, which either ends up looking like PSMF or it’s probably not very ketogenic (which doesn’t really matter in this #context; protein is restricted in therapeutic ketogenic diets).

#BenignDietaryKetosis #BDK

 

 

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20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Context #3. the mouse doctor is in 🙂

Context #3b. Chronic high protein.

Context #4. Random thoughts on animal foods.

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Poor sleep, “dietary disinhibition,” and weight gain

“Dietary disinhibition”

In school, the concept was taught like this: recruit a bunch of people and tell them it’s for a cookie taste-testing project. Give them a form with a bunch of questions about cookie quality (taste, texture, sweetness, etc.) and a plate of cookies.

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SWITCHAROO!

They aren’t there for a cookie taste-test. It turns out that some people experience “dietary disinhibition” wherein if they eat one cookie, they think something like “well, I’ve blown my diet for the day, so might as well just eat the whole plate of cookies” (actually, I’m pretty sure it’s way more complicated than that, but I learned it in a nutrition class, not a psychology class).

It’s not a lot of people — most would just take a bite and fill out the questionnaire — but it’s been replicated in enough settings that it’s probably a real phenomenon.

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