Category Archives: TPMC

calories proper

The poor, misunderstood autophagy

Autophagy isn’t a big deal in the way some Internet Bro’s think it is.  Yes, Dr Ohsumi received a Nobel Prize for cracking deeply into this nut, but that in no way means “intermittent fasting is awesome because autophagy.”  Autophagy isn’t awesome like that.

Alternate title: The dark side of autophagy.

For example: Autophagy contributes to muscle wasting in cancer cachexia (Penna et al., 2013)

Cachexia (muscle wasting) is one of the leading contributors to poor quality of life in cancer patients.  Thanks, autophagy.

“Autophagy is the major process for degradation of cellular constituents, its rate being enhanced under stress conditions leading to organelle damage…”

 

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The Hunger-Free Diet(s)

It started out as “lose weight without hunger on LCHF” and went all the way to “effortless fasting on keto.”  Works for some and it might be true, but the same can be said for low fat diets!  The key, I think, in both contexts, is simple: fewer processed & refined foods… something the Paleo movement got right, imo (although I still think many low-calorie sweeteners are way less unhealthy than HFCS & sugar).

The logic:

1) add “good calories” like almonds to your diet and appetite spontaneously compensates by eating less other stuff: energy neutral

2) you don’t compensate for added “bad calories” like sugar-sweetened beverages: positive energy balance

3) remove bad calories from your diet and you don’t compensate by eating more other stuff: negative energy balance

 

Book: Good Calories, Bad Calories

 

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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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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.

 

fat-free-mass

 

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:

 

glucose-rate-of-disappearance

 

-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.

 

adipose-insulin-sensitivity

 

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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For full access to all articles and much more (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), become a Patron! It’s three bucks a month and there are many other options. Sign up soon because there are only a limited number of spots left at the $3 level. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks ????

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate discounts: 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 HERETrueDark is running a pretty big sale 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.

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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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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:

 

circadian-glucose-tolerance

 

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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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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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

 

TROGDOR the BURNiNATOR

 

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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Gypped by GIP

Dr. Johnson’s recent paper is nothing short of a monster.  They did a TON of experiments.  Here, I only want to focus on one aspect.

The insulin-obesity hypothesis in a nutshell (very oversimplified): more insulin = more fat mass and vice versa.

I know I know, it was mice fed standard rodent chow, but also included models relevant to human biology like reduced insulin and caloric restriction, which may reflect certain aspects of ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting… and some of the results actually do reflect what happens to humans.  Some.

 

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Keto-Crossfit

Study: a handful of average-bodied Crossfitters in their mid-30’s were recruited and told to either: 1) keep doing what they’re doing; or 2) go full keto.  Crossfit 4x/week.   Strength testing before and after 6 weeks (Gregory et al., 2017).

I’ll start with the best part: KETOADAPTATION IS A REAL TRUE THING THAT WORKS (P<0.05).  Otherwise, this group’s performance would’ve plummeted.  It is known.

The performance test was time to complete a 500-meter row, 40 body weight squats, 30 abdominal mat sit-ups, 20 hand release pushups, and 10 pull-ups.

Tl;dr: both groups knocked about a half a minute off their time!

The key here is duration: 6 weeks of ketogenic dieting is adequate to restore performance back to baseline.  <3 weeks is not.

 

performance

 

Here’s the downside (sort of):

 

body comp

Basically, the keto group dropped carbs and failed to compensate by upping other calories.  I know I know, spontaneous ad lib appetite reduction, but this is a study on PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE.

 




 

And in further support of “muscle growth sans carbs,” keto dieters upped protein by 15% and this still wasn’t enough to compensate for the reduction in carbs/insulin: they still lost a bit of lean mass (NS).  Imagine if they hadn’t increased the brotein? yikes

 

food

 

so basically, they lost body fat because CICO and retained lean mass because exercise and protein haha jk

 

Admittedly, it was cool to see the body comp changes, but we know fat loss eventually plateaus and people start eating maintenance calories again (maybe a bit more if Ebbeling can be believed).  And this is where they remain for the rest of their lives (hopefully).  So at 6 weeks, they were still losing weight, nowhere near where they’re going to be for the rest of their lives, but THAT’s where I’d like to see performance testing (ie, at a stable body weight).  Don’t get me wrong, I hate myself in advance for making this critique: the researchers should’ve pushed more calories in the keto dieters bc this is a confounder in a study on PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE…  but this doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things because Blackburn’s group did that and showed the results were the same haha

 

 

On another note, I don’t think people should expect an additional performance boost from being more ketoadapted (or more fat-adapted or whatever), primarily because whether the study is 3 weeks or 6, performance never really gets better than baseline in experienced athletes.  With more advanced training techniques, sure (and I think this is common), but not more keto- or fat-adaptation.

For full access to all articles and much more (or if you just like what I do and want to support it), become a Patron! It’s three bucks a month and there are many other options. Sign up soon because there are only a limited number of spots left at the $3 level. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks ????

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate discounts: 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 HERETrueDark is running a pretty big sale 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.

 

calories proper

Become a Patron!

 

 

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