Category Archives: empty calories

Calories schmalories, alcohol, and chocolate

Some calories count, others don’t.  Some calories work in some people, but not others.  Does this sound like an irrefutable Law of Nature?  No, but it is a perfectly acceptable tenet of the Laws of Energy Balance (a construct of my design).

Do alcohol calories count?  Sometimes, but not this time:

The energy cost of the metabolism of drugs, including ethanol (Pirola & Lieber 1972)

This was a study on bona fide alcoholics who participated because they were promised treatment.  Metabolic ward.  FYI, one gram of alcohol burned in a calorimeter produces ~7.1 kilocalories; alcohol = 7.1 kcal/g.

Calories required to maintain body weight (ie, = total energy expenditure) was assessed the old-fashioned way: feeding them enough calories to maintain a stable body weight – they counted calories but relied on the bathroom scale to establish a baseline.  #TPMC.  After a week of weight stability, they ISOCALORICALLY exchanged carbohydrates for alcohol, and broke CICO.

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Silent Leptin Resistance

Conventional leptin resistance has something do with obesity.  It is known.  Silent leptin resistance is … err … complicated. 

Divide and conquer

Fructose-induced leptin resistance exacerbates weight gain in response to subsequent high-fat feeding (Shapiro, Scarpace, et al., 2008 AJP)

A remarkable 60% fructose diet fed to rats for 6 months had absolutely no effect on energy balance.  Nil. QED.
Fig 1

Food intake and body weight were unaffected because the levels of and sensitivity to endogenous leptin were identical in both groups.

Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon

“Silent Leptin Resistance” – The fructose-fed rats are, however, profoundly resistant to the satiating effects of Metreleptin (a pharmaceutical grade injectable leptin analog):

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On calorie information posted in restaurants

“This is biology, not mathematics.”

It’s law in some places.  It’s a burden on restaurants.  And it will do nothing for the cause – like trying to put out a candle by pressing the off button on your remote control.  In other words, a waste.

Here’s some of the “science” behind it.

Exhibit A.
In a study by Dumanovsky, fast-food customers were surveyed prior to and after mandatory calorie labeling in New York.  25% of the people reported “seeing calorie information,” and 10% of them said it affected their buying decision (ie, 2.5% of all fast-food consumers surveyed thought they knew enough about “calories” to be scared of them).  After the law went into effect, 64% of people noticed the calorie information, and 20% of them were affected by it (=12.8% of all fast-food consumers thought they knew enough about “calories” to be scared of them).  Sooo, the proportion of people making misinformed decisions quintupled.  Calorie Labeling = Nutrition Disinformation.  It’s misleading, and usually wrong.

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Look AHEAD – Nutrition Disinformation 2.0

The day you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived.  Results from the Look AHEAD study have been published.  When I first wrote about this study (HERE), it had been prematurely halted because the intervention was providing no benefits.  Everybody was in a state of shock and awe because Low Fat didn’t save lives.  But that was before we even had the data.  

Reminder: the “intensive lifestyle intervention” consisted of a Low Fat Diet & exercise.  The results?  Yes, they lost more weight than control, but they also took more Orlistat (of which I’m not a fan, see HERE for why):

orlistat

Orlistat = pharmaceutically enhanced low fat diet. 

Their normal diets were not healthy, but neither was low fat –>

med use

Medication use increased drastically in both groups.  The pundits have gone wild because medication use was lower in the intensive Low Fat group at the end of the study, but this is Nutrition Disinformation 2.0.  Eerily reminiscent of the recent Mediterranean Diet study, the conclusions are the same: keep eating poorly and the need for medications will increase.  You can call it a lot of things, but not “healthy.”  The alternative –>  How to define a “healthy” diet.  Period.


Significant adverse events:SAE

The only thing to reach statistical significance was more fractures in the intensive Low Fat group, but you didn’t read any headlines that said “Low Fat breaks bones.”  Imagine if that happened on low carb [sigh]  The next closest thing to statistical significance was increased amputations in the intensive Low Fat group :/

gem:History of CVD

Translation: if you were healthy at baseline, then you could tolerate a low fat diet.  Otherwise, not so much.  This is exactly what happened in the Women’s Health Initiative.

Ha

needless to say, none of the “possible explanations” they considered were Low fat diet Fail.

calories proper

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Eating in the Absence of Hunger

Hat tip to Jane Plain and her ongoing series on “The physiology of body fat regulation” for citing this study as it provides a rather interesting insight into the psychoendoneuropathophysiology of the obese condition.  Eating in the Absence of Hunger.  

Caloric compensation and eating in the absence of hunger in 5- to 12-y-old weight-discordant siblings (Kral et al., 2012)

They were all full or half, weight-discordant, same-sex siblings and each sibling pair had the same mother; same mitochondrial DNA, shared a womb, etc.

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MOA of MCTs – black magic or something less?

MCTs provide a respectable boost in diet-induced thermogenesis (in some studies [eg, Kasai 2002  & Clegg 2012], but not others [Alexandrou 2007]), but I don’t think that’s what does it.

The alternative?  MCTs aren’t “linoleate.” (sorry for lack of suspense)

Alcohol + MCTs vs. corn oil (from Kirpich 2013):

Kirpich

Further, feed rats a diet rich in either coconut oil, olive oil, safflower oil, evening primrose oil, or menhaden oil… and eventually the fat stored in their bodies reflect those fats – eg, linoleate only accumulated in the tissues of those fed safflower & evening primrose oils (Yaqoob 1995) (expect similar results with soybean & corn oils).

Researchers constantly refer to MCTs & coconut oil as “saturated fats,” but I always thought the chain length should be recognized.  Perhaps.  But with regard to certain benefits (eg, hepatoprotection), perhaps not.

Cacao butter has a lot of stearate (a fully saturated 18-carbon fatty acid) but not much linoleate or MCTs.  This linoleate may very well be more of a detriment than stearate or MCTs are a benefit… (with regard to certain benefits [eg, hepatoprotection])Beef and chocolate

(Leslie Roberts, 1988) (she’s talking about stearate)

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Brown adipose tissue

Once thought to be the holy grail of energy expenditure manipulators and a potential cure for obesity – fail.  I don’t have great evidence for this; it’s really just a hunch.

A new mouse study has provided some additional fodder for speculation, however.

The theory & background info: increased BAT activity can effortlessly burn away excess fat mass by using fuel to create heat instead of energy.  This model was most aptly summarized by the title of Dr. Efraim Racker’s 1963 ediorial: “Calories Don’t Count-If You Don’t Use Them.”  At best, I don’t think BAT is a panacea.  At worst, we might’ve learned our lesson long ago from DNP (circa 1938; also McFee et al., 2004; Miranda et al., 2006; Tewari et al., 2009; and Grundlingh et al., 2011).

drug banned

In a slurry of publications in 2009, researchers re-ignited the quest by showing cold-induced BAT activation in healthy humans (Virtanen et al., 2009):Virtanen BAT

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Molested fats, Op. 139

or
Trans fats, part IV

Proceed with caution, this is an exploratory post.  Replacing CakesCookiesPiesPastriesBreadCerealsBiscuitsPizzaMuffins with [insert any whole food item here] is just a good idea.  And more reasons to eat dark chocolate.

In Inflammatory, trans, or linoleate? the idea was explored that it might not be the theorized textbook pro-inflammatory end products of omega-6 fats that give them a bad rap, but rather the foods that contain them – ie, “cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries” (Kris-Etherton et al., 2012 NHANES), or “bread, cereals, cakes, biscuits, pies, pizza, and muffins” (Meyer et al., 2003 from down under).

dark chocolate

Further, what starts out as an omega-6 fat can easily become peroxidized or isomerized into an oxidized or trans fat, respectively, via industrial molestation or just plain old cooking (eg, Romero et al., 1998, Marmesat et al., 2012, & Minami et al., 2012) – even just a few minutes in the microwave (Herzallah et al., 2005)!  I don’t know exactly what all of these end products are for sure, but they might look something like this:ox linoleate

Thus, the culprit may not be native Dc9,c1218:2n6 linoleate.

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Liver is evil but need not be punished. SFAs.

What to serve with a liquid lunch, and a recipe for chocolate.

It’s like a feed forward downward spiral.  If you don’t eat saturated fat & MCTs prior to imbibing, then liver intentionally makes more PUFAs for the alcohol-induced burning ROS to molest.  Liver is evil but need not be punished.  SFAs.

Brief background: (Kirpich et al., 2011 & 2013)

Researchers studying alcohol in rodents know where they’re going and like to get there fast.  70 drinks per day fast.  Granted, rats metabolize faster than humans so it’s likely a little less… but a little less than 70 is still a lot of sauce.

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Non-sequiter nutrition V. The neglected fats

update: I learned a new trick.  If you haven’t been receiving the regular updates to which you subscribed, it’s probably due to spam filters.  Cure: find the update in your spam folder and reply to it.  You don’t have to write anything, but the mere act of replying somehow tells your spam filter that the email wasn’t spam.  It works for gmail, fwiw.

I [still] predict public approval of dietary fat will come along at a snail’s pace, and it won’t be a pan-approval of dietary fat at all.  Instead, it will be selective approval of individual fatty acids.  First, it was the medium chain fatty acids found in MCTs and coconut oil.  Then, it was the fish oil fatty acids eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA, respectively).  Then, palmitoleic acid.  Corn and soybean oil, on the other hand, are being appropriately recognized as bad.  The utter hatred and fear of saturated fats is starting to wane, and we might even see a transition back to lard before I die (circa 2113).  But today’s post is on another topic: trans fats, oxidized fish oils, and dairy fat.

What happens when dietary fat is abused?

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