Another great camping experiment

In the original Incredible camping experiment, a week-long camping trip was shown to cause people to fall sleep & wake earlier, feel better, and advanced their melatonin secretion.  In the new Camping Experiment, they showed that 70% of this is accomplished within the first 2 days!


Some of the #FakeNews headlines attributed the improved sleep quality to sleeping in a tent.  “Cute.”  More likely, this was driven by absence of artificial light.

Proposal: How about fasting from artificial light one day per week?  Or maybe just one night per week?


Continue reading


Metabolism at night

From circadian entrainment to blood glucose management to appetite control to sleep quality:



We’re really not made to skip breakfast and eat late at night.  Nearly every line of evidence points to this.  And now:

Is the timing of caloric intake associated with variation in diet-induced thermogenesis and in the metabolic pattern? A randomized cross-over study (Bo et al., 2015)


Continue reading


Protein, ketosis, and lean mass

Most people make a big deal about protein.  I do, too.  Low carb diets aren’t muscle-sparing.  Again.



Comparison of a Low-Fat Diet to a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Weight Loss, Body Composition, and Risk Factors for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Free-Living, Overweight Men and Women (Meckling et al., 2004)

Part 1.  Hunger Free Diet(s)

Focus on what they’re eliminating:

LC diet: “limit intake of breads, pastas, rice, and desserts, eliminating intake of deep-fried foods, dried fruit, candy, sweetened soft drinks, and sugar, and increased consumption of vegetables, lean meats, eggs, and nuts”

LF diet: “eliminate high-fat dairy products and substitute with no-fat or LF alternatives, to increase intake of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, and pastas and to eliminate fried foods, cream sauces, and high-fat/sugar cakes, pastries, chocolate, and candy. They were also asked to reduce use of oil products in cooking. As with LC subjects, LF subjects were encouraged to consume lean meats as alternatives to high-fat meat products.”


Continue reading


Ketones, NLRP3, and IL-1 beta

Interleukin-1 beta: produced by activated M1 macrophages, classical fever-inducing cytokine, mediates cellular inflammation, and induces COX-2 (target of NSAIDs).  Also involved in autoimmunity.  You don’t want none of it but you certainly don’t want a lot of it.


The ketone metabolite beta-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasone-mediated inflammatory disease (Youm et al., 2015)


This is a very specific effect: 1) many structurally similar compounds don’t block NLRP3; and 2) beta-hydroxybutyrate doesn’t block activation of other inflammasomes.



“In vivo, BHB or a ketogenic diet attenuates caspase-1 activation and IL-1b secretion in mouse models of NLRP3-mediated diseases such as Muckle-Wells syndrome, familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome and urate crystal-induced peritonitis. Our findings suggest that the anti-inflammatory effects of caloric restriction or ketogenic diets may be linked to BHB-mediated inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome.”



Continue reading


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.




Continue reading


Turmeric and DHA

Turmeric is about 5% curcumins by weight, or it takes about 20 grams of turmeric to get 1 gram of curcumins.



But you can’t go eating it by the spoonful because: 1) that’s nasty; 2) it’s messy and stains everything yellow; and 3) it’s not bioavailable, like, at all.


2g curcumin vs. 2g curcumin + 20mg piperine:



Fortunately, bioavailability is drastically increased by black pepper &/or dietary fat.  For this reason, most curcumin supps contain either piperine or some sort of lipids.  I’m not a big fan of piperine because it seems to non-selectively increase the absorption of tons of things – and there are some things we don’t absorb for a reason: they’re toxic… so I’d rather just use a little pepper and take it with some seafood.


Continue reading


Specific Absorption Rate


I was bored and had a stronger-than-usual espresso, saw the above Tweet, so obviously I decided to read the Health & Safety Guide that came with my cell phone.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set specific limits to Radio Frequency (RF) that any given electronic device can emit.  Theoretically, at or below this level is “safe.”  The actual number comes from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  The overall tone of this document is grave, ie, they take this RF limit very seriously.


The limit: 1.6 W/kg (Specific Absorption Rate [SAR]) or 0.0016 W/g.


I checked online at, and my phone is rated 0.3 Watts (W) at around 1.5 cm – distance is important: in this case, it’s the difference between squashing the phone between your face and your hand vs. holding it a finger tip’s distance away.


So, is my brain safe?  Hard to say; how many grams of brain are within 1.5 cm from my brain? If we’re talking whole head exposure, ~4 kg, that’d be ~6 W.  But I’m more concerned about the 4 grams of brain closest to my ear, within that 1.5 cm range, because brain cancer is pretty scary at any level of brain cancer (ie, whether it affects whole brain or just the 4 grams closest to my ear).

I can’t figure out these maths so I’m sticking with earbuds until I can.


Continue reading


LCHF negates performance benefit of training. O_o

It takes about 3 weeks to become fully ketoadapted and you don’t really get more ketoadapted thereafter, at least as per max fat oxidation rates (which seems a pretty good surrogate, imo).

Important point: “Athletes who drop carbs cold turkey suddenly suck.”  And performance usually recovers by around week 3.  This has been confirmed in nearly every proper study on the subject, in a variety of contexts.



Which brings me to the latest alleged slam on keto & physical performance:

Low carbohydrate, high fat diet impairs exercise economy and negates the performance benefit of intensified training in elite race walkers (Burke et al., 2016)


Continue reading



There are a lot of mysteries involving melatonin, eg, relative importance of gut vs. pineal-derived melatonin.  Does brain melatonin talk to peripheral MT receptors?  Does gut melatonin talk to brain MT receptors?


What we do know: oral melatonin works in people with circadian-related sleep disorders.  This may suggest that oral/gut melatonin talks to brain MT receptors OR that oral/gut melatonin corrects circadian sleep problems by acting in the periphery.  OR a major target of brain melatonin is peripheral MT receptors.  I don’t know.


And as a further testament that melatonin supps aren’t sleeping pills is that they’re non-addictive and can at least temporarily “fix” circadian sleep problems: after prolonged treatment, people report no withdrawal symptoms and still sleep better even up to two weeks after discontinuation (Lemoine et al., 2011)!


Continue reading


HANGRY! (part deux)

Effects of diet composition on postprandial energy availability during weight loss maintenance (Walsh et al., 2013)

Now, we’re getting somewhere!

3 diets (carbs 10%, 40% or 60%; protein was higher in the lowest carb group). Four weeks. CROSSOVER.

Then a test meal which approximated the diet assignment. Total “energy availability” in the blood was approximated by measuring the calories in blood glucose, free fatty acids, and ketones.


energy availability and metabolic rate

Continue reading