Category Archives: Dietary fat

FOOD PROFILE

Hey Fam, announcement: I’m moving to Patreon soon — will still post about 4-5 articles per month with at least 1 open to the public. The rest will be for Patrons. I’m still trying to figure it out and I’m open to suggestions!

 

I loved this – when describing the two study diets, which differed markedly in carb content (10% vs. 53%), the authors said they were similar in energy, protein, and “FOOD PROFILE,” meaning low-processed, lower-glycemic foods.

Non-industrial foods.

Hunger-free Diet(s).

BOOM!

Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high-fat and low-fat isocaloric diets: a randomized controlled trial (Veum et al., 2016)

 

What happens when you give up industrial foods and start following a Hunger-free Diet (regardless of carbz)?

 

 

EVERYBODY LOSES WEIGHT

 

 

And le saturated fat? Industrial foods are the problem, not saturated fat. One group went from 48 to 31 grams per day (LFHC), the other group went from 42 to 81 (VLCHF): all metabolic parameters improved in both groups.

 




 

Even their livers shrank:

 

 

My only qualm: everyone lost a bit of muscle. NOT SURPRISING when you cut calories & protein and don’t exercise. Protein dropped by about ~25 grams in both groups. When you cut calories, you need to up protein or start lifting heavy shit otherwise you’ll lose muscle. The ketonez won’t help.

 

 

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That’s SOME olive oil!

Extra-virgin olive oil ameliorates cognition and neuropathology of the 3xTg mice: role of autophagy (Lauretti et al., 2017)

I think the whole point of this study was to show-off their swanky EVOO.

“The EVOO was from the olive growing area of Apulia region (Torremaggiore, Foggia, Italy). Olive fruits from the cultivar “Peranzana” were processed immediately after harvesting and EVOO obtained by crushing the olives under mechanical cold pressure to preserve all the nutritional components, and meet the stringent criteria of the premium quality level (free acid content < 0.3 g%, peroxide value < 7 mEq/Kg, K232 < 1.85).”

 

 

Which may or may not be from this company.

Peranzana: it’s a single varietal olive oil, meaning it’s made from only one type of olive – similar to buying varietal wines, eg, malbec – it specifies the grape, but not the location, producer, wine’s name, etc., etc. You can actually get a Peranzana EVOO or olives online.

 

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High protein magic

Remission of pre-diabetes to normal glucose tolerance in obese adults with high protein versus high carbohydrate diet: randomized control trial (Stentz et al., 2016)

n=12/group

Duration = 6 months

Diet: all food provided.  Mucho gusto!

 

Critique #1: if my calculations are correct, we’re comparing low protein (0.675 g/kg) to adequate (1.35 g/kg) (not “high”).

The diets were decent:

 

 

Results:

 

 

Author’s conclusion was that this was due to high protein alone, but I’d say it was at least partially due to weight loss.  BOTH groups lost weight and improved insulin sensitivity.  Statistically significant in both groups.

 




 

Glucose (A) and insulin (B) in response to a 75g OGTT (red is high protein, blue high carb):

 

 

I still say weight loss was the primary driver, but must concede, however, that protein did have a little magical effect: high carb group actually lost slightly more weight, but insulin sensitivity improved more in the high protein group.  The high protein magic: reduced insulin secretion yet still greater reduction in glycemia.

 




 

Well, maybe not magic…

 

 

Despite having more insulin, high carbers lost slightly more fat mass but way more muscle.  THAT’s high protein magic lol

 

However, the meal tolerance tests show a slightly different trend:

 

 

We expect glucose and insulin excursions to be greater in HC (blue), because they had a high carb meal whereas the HP group had a high protein meal.  From this perspective, if we graphed the results as “change from time zero,” I think the reduction in glycemia from baseline to 6 months would be similar in both groups suggesting weight loss as bigger factor.  We’d still give some props to high protein because it lowered glucose just as much despite having less insulin.  High protein magic.

 

Note to self: gotta stop saying this was “high protein.”  1.35 g/kg is not “high,” seriously.  But still, High protein magic haha

 

Oh and one other thing, high protein usually induces greater weight loss:

Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity (Skov et al., 1999)

High protein vs high carbohydrate hypoenergetic diet for the treatment of obese hyperinsulinemic subjects (Baba et al., 1999) (not ad lib)

Comparison of high-fat and high-proein diets with a high-carbohydrate diet in insulin-resistant obese women (McAuley et al., 2005)

The effect of a low-fat, high-protein or high-carbohydrate ad libitum diiet on weight loss maintenance and metabolic risk factors (Claessens et al., 2009)

 

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Conserved lean body mass? O_o

Alternative title: keto isn’t muscle-sparing if you compare it to any remotely sensible control group.

Exhibit A. Resistance training in overweight women on a ketogenic diet conserved lean body mass while reducing body fat (Jabekk et al., 2010)

The exercise intervention was resistance and progressive.  The diet was ketogenic, confirmed by urinary ketones… of note, presence of urinary ketones is a better indicator of ketosis than any information about diet (although they were advised to start at <20g carb/d).

 

 

As per usual, the LC diet was higher in protein… but that wasn’t enough to induce skeletal muscle growth, even when combined with resistance exercise… worded another way, resistance exercise and more protein prevented ketogenic diet-induced muscle loss:

 

 

Neither group was instructed to restrict energy intake, but from the above graph it’s relatively safe to assume the LC diet counteracted exercise-induced hunger.

Confirmed:

 

 

However, exercise-induced hunger isn’t conducive to fattening because the cause is exercise.  I think.

Ketones may spare muscle during starvation, but not in the context of regular people eating a ketogenic diet.  Otherwise, muscle mass would’ve increased in that study relative to the control group.  Confounded by negative energy balance?  Perhaps, but from where I’m standing, the LC diet did almost exactly what we expected: reduced food intake and induced a selective loss of fat mass.  And exercise also performed as expected: increased muscle mass.  In other words, if you want to gain muscle, you need calories, protein, and exercise.  Keto provides no advantages in this context.

 




 

Exhibit B. The effect of weight loss by ketogenic diet on the body composition, performance-related physical fitness factors, and cytokines of Taekwondo athletes (Rhyu and Cho, 2014)

Keto dieters got 33% more protein (40% vs. 30%), and still managed to lose almost twice as much lean mass as non-ketogenic dieters.

 

(figure from Suppversity)

 

The participants were physically active, and thus likely fairly insulin sensitive, so this may be why those assigned to a ketogenic diet lost less body fat…

 




 

Exhibit C. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women (Volek et al., 2004)

And in this study on sedentary insulin resistant folk, keto still wasted muscle (NS) despite more protein and calories:

 

 

If you’ve been paying attention, this wasn’t unexpected.

Sedentary and overweight: more fat loss on keto.

Keto and sedentary: muscle loss.

Sleep well, get your circadian rhythms entrained proper — otherwise these efforts will give you a mere fraction of the benefits.

 




 

Other~

Protein + exercise works: Interactive effects of an isocaloric high-protein diet and resistance exercise on body composition, ghrelin, and metabolic and hormonal parameters in untrained young men: A randomized clinical trial (Kim et al., 2014)

Simply replacing carbs with fat, or resisting food for as long as possible after waking up and staring at your smart phone all night: doesn’t work.

#context

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Cyclical ketogenic diet and carb refeeds

Potential conclusion (pending full texts): “if you’re gonna keto, no need to carb”

I think these three abstracts are all referring to the same studies.  I haven’t seen the full texts.  My takes are in italics, after each abstract.

Exhibit A. The Effects of an Eight Week Ketogenic Diet vs. a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet on Performance and Testosterone in a Resistance Training Program (Lane, Lowery, Volek, D’Agostino, Wilson, et al., 2015)

Introduction: Our lab recently examined the effects of the ketogenic diet (KD) compared to a western diet regarding strength related performance; additionally, free and total testosterone was evaluated. Individuals on the KD saw similar adaptations in strength and similar changes testosterone. Comparisons of the KD against a cyclic (CKD) in strength, endurance, and testosterone have not been previously demonstrated in literature.

Purpose: Therefore the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the KD versus a CKD on performance and testosterone in resistance-trained males.

Methods: Sixteen resistance trained males participated in the study (age: 23.5 ± 3.3; weight: 187.6 ± 32.6). Participants on the KD consumed 5% carbohydrate, 25% protein, and 70% fat for 8 weeks. The CKD group applied the same macronutrient ratio to their diet Monday through Friday, while altering the ratio on weekends (50% carbohydrate, 25% protein, 25% fat). A periodized resistance training program was strictly followed 3 days per week throughout the duration of the study with high intensity interval training implemented on intermittent days 2 times per week by all participants. Participants were placed on a 500 kcal deficit derived from basal metabolic rate determined by the Mifflin St. Jeor equation. One repetition maximum (1RM) strength was assessed on deadlift, bench press, and leg press at baseline with a repeat assessment performed Week 8. Strength endurance was assessed on the leg press at baseline and re-assessed at Week 8. Free and total testosterone was evaluated at baseline and at Week 8. An ANOVA with repeated-measures was used to scrutinize the effects of KD and CKD on dependent variables assuming group (KD and CKD) and time (pre and post) as fixed factors. The significance level was set at p ? 0.05.

Results: There were no differences between groups in the performance tests or testosterone levels detected at baseline (p > 0.05). A time effect was observed for bench press and deadlift 1RM (p < 0.01). There was a trend towards a group by time interaction (p = 0.07) which favored an increase in the leg press 1RM in the KD group. There were no significant differences for leg press strength endurance in both groups. For free testosterone, there were no group or group × time interactions (p > 0.05). For total testosterone, there was a group × time interaction following the diet treatment (p < 0.02). The pairwise comparisons revealed that only the cyclic group decreased in total testosterone (10.3%, p < 0.02).

Conclusions: In regards to performance, a strict KD seems to augment positive strength related adaptations when compared to a CKD. These responses may be explained by sustained total testosterone levels seen in the KD group compared to reductions in total testosterone as a result of the fluctuations in macronutrient intake.

Practical Applications: Individuals attempting to optimize adaptations in strength performance while maintaining testosterone levels should perform a KD compared to a CKD.

My take: no difference between KD & CKD, despite testosterone declining in CKD.  This isn’t surprising because small fluctuations within the physiological range are not expected to affect these outcomes.

When protein and calories are controlled, and the #context is a 500 kcal deficit, not really sure what they were expecting.  Because of the constant deficit, insulin will be low even on the carb-up days, and those carbs are more likely to be burned off than replenish glycogen.

 

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The DietFits Study

Preliminary results from Chris Gardner’s follow-up to this study suggest insulin resistance may not be as big an influence on the success of LC/LF diets as prior studies have shown.  Maybe I was wrong.

We aren’t given many details in the abstract or interviews, and there are still some good studies showing otherwise (eg, those by Cornier, Pittas, Ebbeling, and Gardner himself), although this one is bigger (n = 609) and longer (1 year).  However, the range of weight change was huge, something like +20 lbs to -80 lbs, so the devil might be in the details… time will tell.  Might be subtle yet important changes in body comp or other metabolic indicators.

If it turns out to be true, my best guess: they were all following Hunger-Free Diet(s)… which work regardless of whether low fat or low carb.

 

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The Spanakopita Experience

I’ve made variations of this recipe about a million times, substituting different cheeses &/or yogurts, different ratios of spinach:leek, different onions, etc… but here’s the recipe I make most often.

2 lbs chopped spinach

2 eggs

1 white onion

½ bunch of parsley

½ bunch of dill

1 bunch of scallions

A couple cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

Optional: about half a chopped up leek

12 ounces of dairy — mix & match; these are a few that have worked well for me: Feta, cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and Parmesan.  Current fave is equal parts Feta, Greek yogurt, and Parmesan.

 




 

Instructions:

edit: all ingredients should be chopped, diced, & sliced

Some people like to sauté the garlic and onion a bit; it softens their contribution.  I don’t.  There aren’t strict rules; I’ve even replaced some of the spinach with shredded Brussels sprouts.  MADMAN!

Mix everything in a big pot or mixer.  If you want a creamy spanako-spinach dip instead, pour it into something like this, and bake 250F x 1 hour or until it reaches your desired consistency.  Time & temp may vary depending on your oven.

 

 

For the full spanakopita experience, gonna need phyllo dough and melted butter or duck fat or bacon grease or something similar.  This can have a big impact on the final flavor — I usually use a mix of butter and something else.

 




 

Place a sheet of phyllo in the dish and brush on a layer of butter.  Repeat 5-10 times.  Add the spanako mix, then phyllo-butter-phyllo-butter again about 5-10 more times.  For a lower carb version, use less.  Some people go crazy and put layers of phyllo between layers of spanako mix.

note: water is toxic to all known species of phyllo.  Don’t get it wet.

Now is the time to cut it into squares – not after you bake it or else the crispy phyllo will crack all over the place.

Bake it at 350F for about 45 minutes or until the phyllo is golden.

 

 




 

Advanced course: spanakopita triangles.

Cut the phyllo into 2-3 inch strips.  Butter up 2 strips on top of each other, put a spoon-sized lump of spanako mix at the bottom, fold lower left corner over, then fold up, then fold lower right corner over, then fold up, and repeat until you’ve used all the phyllo.

Cook at same temp but about half as long.

 

 

Super-advanced: sprinkle a little Parmesan (or something similar) on the phyllo before you fold it so it gets in there, between the layers of phyllo.  You can do this for both the pan spanakopita and the triangles.

note: baking spanakopita is very aromatic.  You’ve been warned.

 

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UPDATED Affiliate Links: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HEREIf 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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Carb early but not often

*if you’re going to carb, that is

 

 

The Sofer study was uniquely insightful in that they compared 3 carb-rich meals per day with the same amount of carbs but restricted to 1 meal.  Both groups ate 3 times per day.  Tl;dr: one carb meal is modestly better than three even when total carbs are controlled.  Since the carb-meal happened to be dinner, #fakenews reported that “carbs at night” are superior… but we saw right through that – the real conclusion was carb frequency not carb timing.

 

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A timeline of ketoadaptation

This is how ketoadaptation works (when it works), chronologically, on physical performance (I think):

 

 

Dark grey line: the gradual increase in performance for someone training on a regular diet.

Red line: performance declines on keto initially, but is back to baseline (light blue line) by week 3.

Light grey line: as long as ketoadaptation doesn’t impair performance, similar gradual increase in performance for someone training on a regular diet.  Parallel to the dark grey line.  May even catch up to the dark grey line.  I don’t know, but probably not as per FASTER – long-term LC athletes were not superior to their LF counterparts.

 

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Fish oil supplements

A fattier cut of salmon (think: skin-on, high skin-to-flesh ratio, etc.) has about ~2 g EPA & DHA (fish oil, FO) per 100 g, or ~10 g per pound.  Average price (around here, this time of year) is ~$10 / lb.  So, about $1 / gram FO, in 50 g salmon.  See also, the Fish Blog.

 

As reasoned in The poor, misunderstood calorie, FO from seafood is roughly 4x more effective than FO from supps.  There was no head-to-head study comparing seafood to supps, but a study on seafood with half the dose of FO was twice as efficacious as a study on supps.  Half the dose + twice as efficacious  = 4x.  The greater bioavailability and assimilation of FO from seafood can only explain a small part of this… I suspect other nutrients in seafood explain another part, and displacement of other calories by the protein in seafood further explains another part.  But this post is about FO per se.

 

 




 

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