Category Archives: Trans fat

Ketosis in an evolutionary context

Humans are unique in their remarkable ability to enter ketosis.  They’re also situated near the top of the food chain.  Coincidence?

During starvation, humans rapidly enter ketosis; they do this better than king penguins, and bears don’t do it at all.

Starvation ketosis

 

Starvation ketosis

Humans maintain a high level of functionality during starvation.  We can still hunt & plan; some would even argue it’s a more finely tuned state, cognitively.  And that’s important, because if we became progressively weaker and slower, chances of acquiring food would rapidly decline.

Perhaps this is why fasting bears just sleep most of the time: no ketones = no bueno..?

Observation: chronic ketosis is relatively rare in nature. This doen’t mean animals evolved a protective  mechanism against ketosis.

 

 

Animals with a low brain/carcass weight ratio (ie, small brain) don’t need it. Babies and children have a higher brain/carcass weight ratio, so they develop ketosis more rapidly than adults. Is this a harmful process? No, more likely an evolutionary adaptation which supports the brain.

ketones age

The brain of newborn babies consumes a huge amount of total daily energy, and nearly half comes from ketones.  A week or so later, even after the carbohydrate content of breast milk increases, they still don’t get “kicked out of ketosis” (Bourneres et al., 1986).  If this were a harmful state, why would Nature have done this?  …and all those anecdotes, like babies learn at incredibly rapid rates… coincidence?  Maybe they’re myths.  Maybe not.




 

Ketosis in the animal kingdom

Imagine a hibernating bear: huge adipose tissue but small brain fuel requirement relative to body size and total energy expenditure.  No ketosis, because brain accounts for less than 5% of total metabolism.  In adult humans, this is around 19-23%, and babies are much higher (eg, Cahill and Veech, 2003Hayes et al., 2012).

 

For the rest of this article and more, head over to Patreon!

 

 

calories proper

 

Become a Patron!

 

Save

Save

Save

Share

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

 

Continue reading

Share

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

 

Continue reading

Share

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)

Continue reading

Share

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.

Continue reading

Share

Inflammatory, trans, or linoleate?

As much as I’d like to say this is the nail-in-the-coffin, omega-6 causes irreversible fatality, I have a confession.

I believe it’s the empty calories, not the inflammatory omega-6 devil linoleate.  Biscuits, cookies, processed foods of all shapes and sizes are simply the delivery vehicles for industrially modified and probably “trans” fats that started out innocent enough as soybean oil or omega-6 vegetable oils.

linoleate is the quintessential omega-6 fatty acid and is found at high levels in vegetable oils.  just like the omega-3 linolenate found in soybean oil, processing of the oils usually damages them – turns them into trans fats and/or oxidizes them (by “oxidizes” I don’t mean fat burning, see pictorial below)

So despite the impeccable statistical anvil thrown at these data, which seem to clearly implicate linoleate, I don’t think it’s the linoleate.  H E double hockey sticks, we probably don’t get enough normal unmodified linoleate.  Unless you’re cracking shells, even “raw” almonds are Pasteurized.  

unshelled nuts

don’t sanitize your food.  your meat needn’t be burned, nor your nuts Pasteurized.

Continue reading

Share

Corn. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Utterly.  Shocked.  is how I feel gazing upon the ingredients listed on one particular popular snack food.  And it isn’t one of those fancy gourmet all-natural whole food snacks, it is a classic that is probably in the kitchen of every child-wielding household.

Corn, corn oil, and salt.  And salt doesn’t even count, so it might just as well have said corn and corn oil, which could be summarized as “corn.”  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the reigning champion of snack food sorcery, the red-headed stepchild (no offense) of international superpower PepsiCo… Fritos.  Using only corn, the wizards of Frito-Lay are turning this:into this:

and that’s without the use of trans fat, gluten, artificial additives, dairy, msg, onions, or soy.  They’re Kosher too.

Continue reading

Share

skinny is the new fat, Op. 95

I’ve been known to rave about the phenomenon of metabolically obese normal weight (MONW), or fat skinny people.  In brief, this population exhibits insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, hypertension… all things usually associated with obesity… but they’re lean.   In fat skinny people, I wrote about two epidemiological studies on markedly different populations (Americans and Koreans); these two peoples have virtually nothing in common (culture, foods, genetics, etc.).  Despite these differences, there was a strong similarity in the macronutrients associated with metabolic dysregulation in otherwise lean individuals (aka fat skinny people): in the first study, high carb and low protein diets were the major culprits, with a smaller contribution of low fat.  In the second study, high carb and low fat were at fault (protein intake wasn’t analyzed).

A new study that is about to hit the presses didn’t intend to say anything about fat skinny people, but they weren’t counting on ME.

Body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and short-term mortality: a population-based observational study, 2000-2006 (Jerant and Franks, 2012)

This study included over 50,000 people aged 18-90.  Between the years 2000 and 2005 about 3% died, which was statistically just enough to ask “why?”  In brief, they compared body weight, blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes with mortality risk.  

In each BMI category, the square is higher than the circle.  DM = diabetes (the squares).  Diabetes increases mortality risk independent of BMI.  Now just focusing on the squares; as you move from left to right, body weight is increasing but mortality risk in diabetics is decreasing.  A 150 pound diabetic has a higher mortality risk than a 200 pound diabetic, who has a higher mortality risk than a 250 pound diabetic.  Huh?

Perhaps the lean diabetics are fat skinny people, the elusive MONW?  If so, according to the research discussed HERE, their diet might have made them that way.  The lean diabetics (aka fat skinny people aka MONW aka NOD [non-obese diabetics]) eat less protein, more carbs, and less fat.  This might be a reach, but collectively (1 + 2 + 3) these data imply a poor diet might be worse than obesity for diabetics.

disclaimer: this is not true in most circumstances, i.e., skinny people can usually whatever they want.  There are skinny diabetics, but they are significantly rarer than obese diabetics.  In other words, most type II diabetics are obese, the lean ones just eat a crappier diet. You might be wondering: “how are they skinny if they eat so poorly?”  My guess is that they just haven’t eaten enough of it [yet]; it’s rare to stay lean on a “crappier diet.”

So is skinny the new fat?  Being lean with type II diabetes is an indicator of EMPTY CALORIES; it could be riskier for all-cause mortality than obesity in diabetics.

“Attention endocrinologists, diabetologists, and general practitioners: don’t assume diet is not a problem in your skinny diabetics because they are skinny.  Indeed, diet might be THE problem.”

And no, if you’re a skinny diabetic, this DOESN’T mean gaining weight will make you live longer.  it just doesn’t.

 

it just doesn’t.

calories proper

Share

the opposite of food, Op. 76

Processed non-junk food

or

as close to “non-junk” as processed food can be

Notice the inverse relationship between fat content and the number of ingredients in these three commercially available sour cream products.  This is processed food.

Regular:
Cultured pasteurized grade A cream and milk, enzymes.

Low-Fat:
Cultured Milk, Cream, Nonfat Dry Milk, Whey, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Calcium Sulfate, Locust Bean Gum, Gelatin, Vitamin A Palmitate.

Fat Free:
Cultured Low-fat Milk, Modified Corn Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Propylene Glycol Monoester, Artificial Color, Gelatin, Sodium Phosphate, Agar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Locust Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate.

 

 

Fat-Free Half & Half

not cream

In general, “Half & Half” refers to a 50:50 blend of whole milk and cream.  People think it’s better than cream because it has less fat.  Whole milk is about 3% fat by weight, while cream is about 30%.  Mix ‘em together and you end up with Half & Half, which is somewhere in between (12-14%).  Fat has a profound effect on flavor and texture… so how exactly does “Fat-Free Half & Half” taste and feel just like regular Half & Half?!?  Muah ha ha ha haaaa!

divide and conquer

From what I can gather, the fat is replaced with corn syrup and pharmaceutical grade thickeners, emulsifiers, etc., scientifically engineered to mimic the precise flavor and texture of Half & Half.  There are even artificial colors added to make it look like cream.  There are artificial colors added to make it look like cream?  AYFKM?  For some reason, I find this oddly offensive.  It is to these artificial colors which I object.  I want this concoction (that is advertised as better than cream) to look like whatever “corn syrup, carrageenan, sodium citrate, dipotassium phosphate, mono and diglycerides, and vitamin A palmitate” looks like.  And it should release a pale green mist upon contact with coffee.

The sugar in Fat-Free Half & Half comes from corn syrup, while that in real dairy is lactose.  Glucose is sweeter than lactose, and there’s 2-3x more sugar in Fat-Free Half & Half.  Does this mean people use less of it?  I doubt it, because the additional sweetness is probably necessary to compensate for the lack of fat.

And what about all the other additives in Fat-Free Half & Half?  This is reminiscent of the introduction of trans fats into our diet by way of replacing butter and lard with margarine and shortening…

Carrageenan is partially responsible for improving the mouthfeel and texture of Fat-Free Half & Half.

carrageenan. Looks scary, right?

At high doses, it’s an inflammatory gut irritant.  Given coffee’s not-so-gut-friendly reputation, do you really want to push it with carrageenan?

On another note, carrageenan is used to design some of the most beautifully artistic desserts.

In this context, I’m reminded of the phrase: “the dose makes the poison.”  In other words, those dishes are a dietary rarity, reserved for the most special of occasions.  At that level of exposure, it could be a blend of carrageenan, trans fat, sucrose, and Red #40, you could eat 5 of them at a time, and you’d never experience any malevolent effects.  But what about a few tablespoons in your coffee every morning for 30 years???  (alternatively, perhaps I’m underestimating carrageenan exposure a bit) (other, more sordid uses of carrageenan)

Avoid processed foods, especially when they’re no more convenient or healthy their conventional counterparts.

 

calories proper

 

P.S.  Perhaps I was a little too hard on Fat-Free Half & Half.  It’s not as bad as microwave popcorn, or this classic:

One 43 gram Twinkie contains 5 grams of fat, 25 grams of sugars, 1 gram of protein, no fibre, 150 kcal, and over 35 ingredients:

  • Enriched Wheat Flour – enriched with ferrous sulphate, B vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate, ribofavin and folic acid).
  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Water
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Vegetable shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed or canola oil, and beef fat.  [trans fat]
  • Dextrose
  • Whole eggs
  • Modified corn starch
  • Cellulose gum
  • Whey
  • Leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate)
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn flour
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Soy lecithin
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Dextrin
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Sodium stearol lactylate
  • Wheat gluten
  • Calcium sulphate
  • Natural and artificial flavours
  • Caramel colour
  • Sorbic acid (to retain freshness)
  • Colour added (yellow 5, red 40)

 

 

Share

Non-sequiter nutrition

(or another over-caffeinated soapbox rant)

Taxing junk food?  If I thought the government had a clue what constituted “junk,” maybe I’d view this more favorably.  But my gut says no.

 

 

“Bad food? Tax it, and Subsidize Vegetables”  Mr. Bittman, we subsidize the hell out of corn; what good has that done?   I don’t think controlling diet via junk food taxes is the right way to healthify America, but if I had to choose I’d say shift subsidies away from corn and soybean, and toward things like organic spinach and grass fed beef.   This would impact a lot of foods containing ingredients that are [IMO] barely suitable for human consumption like high fructose corn syrup and trans fats (and corn & soybean oils).

 

 

Denmark and Romania taxing saturated fat?  Really?  we already went through this when we traded saturated fat-rich butter for diabesogenic trans fat-rich margarine-  (“saturated fat”).  A tax on saturated fat is non-specific; it hits many healthy foods and not enough junk food.  And it is, by definition, a tax NOT on the deceptively unsaturated trans fats.  Alternatively, subsidizing corn and soybeans is just making soda and junk food cheaper.

 

 

do NOT eat at KFC in Hungary, Peru, or Poland.  or anywhere.  that’s microwave popcorn levels of trans fat.

Better nutrition education and evidence-based recommendations are far better solutions, IMHO, but we aren’t a country of philosopher’s.  I’ve touched a bench on which the sign “wet paint” was taped, and I probably also touched a red hot stove despite my mother’s warning against it.  oh well.

 

 

calories proper

 

Share