Category Archives: Fish

Study: protein & seafood. They work!

I liked this study for a couple reasons:

Effect of combined use of a low(ish)-carbohydrate, high-protein diet with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on glycemic control in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, parallel-controlled trial (Liu et al., 2018)

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There were FOUR groups: 1) high-carb, low protein (HCLP, aka CONtrol group); 2) LCHP; 3) HCLP+n3; and 4) LCHP+n3. So, instead of just taking a group of people, putting them on LCHP+n3 and comparing the results to baseline, they actually controlled for the variables independently.

 

 

All groups were assign 30% fat and the protein was either 17% or 28%. THIS WAS CONFIRMED with serum urea nitrogen and you know how much I like biomarkers! n3 status of the n3 groups were confirmed with plasma n3’s and you know how much I like biomarkers!

Some more details on the study design…

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calories proper

 

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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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How to manage painful muscle cramps

(I think)

disclaimer: to the best of my knowledge, the causes and cures of painful muscle cramps are unknown. Researchers have studied nearly every electrolyte & metabolite in people who don’t get cramps, people who get cramps, people who get cramps while they’re actively experiencing a painful muscle cramp, and when they’re not.

Conclusion:

¯\_(?)_/¯

 

This is about idiopathic painful muscle cramps. Pregnancy, dialysis, and cirrhosis-related cramps may be completely different.

 

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Ice age fairy tales

Trigger warning: potentially offensive.

Trying to pinpoint an Ice Age Diet is about as complicated as defining a Paleo or Mediterranean diet… it would’ve been completely different depending on when & where, season, family/tribe, etc., etc.  And while the interwebz are full of anecdotes & guesses (educated & otherwise), there seems to be little reliable information and a lot of contradictions.

And anyway, is this really relevant for us today?

#context

Hat tip to Prof Tim Noakes for pointing out the work by Curtis Marean, who showed that our species may have survived the ice age(s) in a warmer climate in Africa, where seafood played a large part in their diet: “Humans would have been able to survive because of rich vegetation that was available in the area.”

Here’s what I came up with, and why I feel like ranting.

I don’t doubt that humans went through periods of low & high plant consumption, but if someone argues that passing through times of low plant consumption is what “elevated” our species or fostered brain growth or whatever; LOGIC: it can be just as easily argued that passing through times of high plant consumption did the same.  Saying “don’t eat plants because #IceAge” is just as flawed an argument.

Alternatively, considering the importance of #context in our modern environment, couldn’t you also argue that low-plant diets are only evolutionarily appropriate during an ice age (where the Earth is theoretically a giant snow ball LOL)?  Also, if plants are somehow unhealthy, how did we survive periods when hunting was poor?  All of the arguments can go both ways.

 




 

I mean, if I lived 10 thousand years ago, I would eat anything I could get my hands on — which would probably look something like a plant-based diet with seafood and whatever else could be hunted, scavenged, etc.  Gotta eat, but why handicap yourself by intentionally avoiding plants – shouldn’t the goal be to spend as little time worrying about this as possible?

If you didn’t have to hunt 24/7, you’d have more time to do other things like acculturation, play, sex, music, story-telling, building traditions, etc., etc.

 

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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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Non sequiter dietary fats

Tl;dr: SFA and DHA

Essential fatty acids?  Well, there’s really only one, DHA, and we really only need a gram or two.  In other words, our entire requirement for dietary fat can be met by about 2% of total calories (plus a few extra grams to accommodate fat-soluble vitamins) (plus DHA is never the sole fat in a food, so you’d be getting a few more grams of other fats, too).  But still, a very low fat diet!  But impractical and probably not very palatable or healthy.

On average, dietary fat comprises about a third of calories, roughly equally divided between SFA, MUFA, and PUFA (slightly less PUFA).

Major sources of SFA are pizza and desserts – no wonder SFA gets a bad rap!

 

cheese-crust-pizza

 

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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.

 

cowbell

 

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.”

 

 

oreo-coolatta

 

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

 

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Dopamine and breakfast

T.S. Wiley wrote a lot about the protein-rich breakfast; here’s my understanding of her take on it.

N.B. I highly recommend her book, Lights out: sleep, sugar, and survival.

Quotes are mainly taken from the text. I’ve tracked down some of the cites; the rest are in the back of the book, albeit somewhat unorganized :/

Part 1. We naturally have a cortisol spike first thing in the morning, known as the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR).  This peak, which can be screwed up by artificial light at night or a big evening dinner, helps support morning light-induced dopamine.

 

CAR

 

Dopamine is great, but may induce impulsivity if it’s unfettered.

Enter: the protein-rich breakfast. It provides tryptophan and a bit of insulin to promote serotonin synthesis (eg, Manjarrez-Gutierrez et al., 1999).

Not enough serotonin to make you crazy, just enough to balance the dopamine = impulse control.

~ circadian balance achieved ~

 

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Saturated fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates

“You catch more flies with honey…”

^^^good policy in general, but especially for debating in the realm of nutritional sciences.

 

A short while back, Nina Teicholz discussed low carb ketogenic diets and plant-based diets with John Mackey.  Although I disagree with the dichotomy (keto vs. plant-based), it’s well-worth a watch:

 

 

Three topics that could not be avoided in such a discussion: saturated fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates.

 

 

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Carbs: Low vs. Lower

 

 

This was met with much backlash from the low carb cavalry, because, well, if low is good then lower must be better

I’m not anti-keto; but I’m not anti-science.  FACT.

 

“…some people are not genetically equipped to thrive in prolonged nutritional ketosis.” –Peter Attia

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