Tag Archives: Atkins

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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Alcohol on keto

This article isn’t about alcohol tolerance.  It’s about your liver.

Tl;dr: with a basic knowledge about alcohol metabolism and ketoadaptation, drinking on keto gives me pause.

It might be nothing, but it gives me pause.

Alcohol is metabolized primarily by alcohol dehydrogenase, producing acetaldehyde and reducing equivalents as NADH.  This pathway produces energy.

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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.

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Insulin resistance is a spectrum

The history of low fat diets is riddled with crappy low fat food-like products.

Food quality matters.

Free full article on Patreon! <- link

Take a group of obese people and assess insulin sensitivity however you like: some researchers demand nothing less than a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (Gold Standard), others are OK with insulin levels during an oral glucose tolerance test.

Next, divide the people up based on this — there are a few ways you can do it.  You can: take the top half vs. the bottom half (a method which includes everyone); take the top third vs. bottom third (excluding the middle third); take the top quarter vs. bottom quarter (excluding the middle 50%), etc.

THIS MATTERS because in referencing this topic, many people claim most obese are insulin resistant.  They may be more insulin resistant than lean people, but even within obese people, there’s a spectrum, and the spectrum matters in this #context.

 

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Rodent keto studies

Next time someone says VLC/keto is harmful or at least not helpful for fat loss because of a new rodent study, they’ll probably be wrong.

BOOKMARK THIS ONE GUYS.

Rodent studies on ketogenic diets or exogenous ketones are valuable and interesting in a variety of #contexts, although I’d argue that regulation of fat mass isn’t really one of ’em.

For starters, rodents aren’t particularly ketogenic – it’s rare to see ketones >1 after an overnight fast even in long-term ketoadapted mice.  Also, many rodents gain weight until they die, whereas humans plateau and stay relatively weight-stable for their entire lives (at least historically, and I’m not talking about yo-yo dieting).

Skeletal muscle, on the other hand, seems more similarly regulated: keto isn’t muscle-sparing in either specie… most people, perhaps unwittingly, increase protein intake on keto, and THIS spares muscle (N.B. this is simply to spare muscle, whereas in non-keto dieters, it’s not uncommon to see increased muscle in the #context of high protein).  That’s because carbs are more anabolic than fat.  QED.

There’s just a fundamental difference in the way fat mass and appetite is regulated between the species.  There are many similarities, which is why these studies are still valuable, but fat mass isn’t one of ‘em.

 

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Ketone supps

1st Generation: ketone salts.  Only problem is the huge dose of salt limits how much you can take without adverse effects… but these are the ones on the market.

 

2nd Generation: ketone esters.

Advantage: no salt, and probably “slow-release.”

Disadvantage: gonna be WAY more expensive than the salts (which are still pretty expensive).

 

 

~40 grams of (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate (a ketone ester) (from Clarke et al., 2013):

 

ketone ester

 

They did this thrice daily, so some people were getting up to 170 grams.

ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY GRAMS

 

[keep that number in mind]

 

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Tissue-specific fatty acid oxidation

Does it matter where fatty acids are oxidized, liver or skeletal muscle?  Of course, they’re oxidized in both tissues (quantitatively much more in the latter), but relative increases in one or the other show interesting effects on appetite and the regulation of fat mass [in rodents].

Warning: a lot of speculation in this post.

A LOT.

It’s known that LC diets induce a spontaneous decline in appetite in obese insulin resistant patients.  Precisely HOW this happens isn’t exactly known:  the Taubes model?  improved leptin signaling?  probably a little bit of both, other mechanisms, and possibly this one:

 

Exhibit A. Oxfenicine

 

oxfenicine

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“Insulin Dynamics”

This one has a bit for everyone.

 

Relationship of Insulin Dynamics to Body Composition and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss (Hron et al., 2015)

 

I think study was actually done a few years ago, originally published here (blogged about here), and re-analyzed through the eyes of Chris Gardner.  I think. (But it doesn’t really matter as the study design appears to be identical.)

 

Experiment: give someone an oral glucose tolerance test (75 grams glucose) and measure insulin 30 minutes later.  Some people secrete more insulin than others (a marker of insulin resistance); these people also have a lower metabolic rate after weight loss = increased propensity for weight regain.  However, if these people follow a low carbohydrate diet, then the reduction in metabolic rate is attenuated.  Some people who don’t secrete a lot of insulin after a glucose load may do better in the long-run with a lower fat diet.

 

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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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Meal frequency, intermittent fasting, and dietary protein

Dietary protein “requirements” are some of the most context-dependent nutrient levels to decipher, and depend largely on energy balance and even meal frequency.

An objective look at intermittent fasting (Alan Aragon, 2007)

Meal frequency and energy balance (Lyle McDonald, 2008)

New study: “Increased meal frequency attenuates fat-free mass losses and some markers of health status with a portion-controlled weight loss diet” (Alencar et al., 2015)

This wasn’t well-received in social media because bro-science & many low carb advocates say grazing is no longer in vogue — “it’s much better/healthier/whatever to eat once or twice daily, because intermittent fasting and all that jazz” …however, this may be problematic when it comes to meeting overall protein needs, which is particularly important when you’re losing weight.

 

 

The study: 2 vs. 6 meals per day, crossover.

Conclusion: “On average, fat-free mass (FFM) decreased by -3.3% following the 2 meals/d condition and, on average, and increased by 1.2% following the 6 meals/d condition (P<.05).

 

fat-free mass

 

In other words, 6 meals per day was better for body composition than 2 meals per day.  But context is everything, and this hypothesis has been tested from a variety of different angles, so what does it mean?

The relevant context here: 1) big energy deficit (1200 kcal/d for obese women is a pretty low calorie intake); and 2) “adequateTM” protein intake (75 g/d).

The standard dogma says that in the context of an adequate protein hypocaloric diet, meal frequency matters a LOT, whereas with high protein, it doesn’t matter as much.  Theory being that with an “adequate” (read: too low?) overall protein intake, the fasting periods are simply too long with only two meals per day; you need either: 1) higher protein intake; 2) increased meal frequency; or 3) more calories (ie, smaller energy deficit).

In this study, BOTH diets suppressed insulin and induced weight loss, but the increased protein feeding frequency skewed the weight loss to body fat while preserving fat-free mass.   I actually agree with a lot of the bro-science in this case, and also think that 75 grams of protein is not enough in the context of a big energy deficit (if body composition is a goal).




 

Historical precedence?

 

Meal frequency and weight reduction of young women (Finkelstein et al., 1971)

Relevant context:  6 vs. 3 meals per day (3 meals per day may not seem like that many more than 2, but it significantly cuts down on the duration of time spent with no food or protein).

Smaller energy deficit: 1700 kcal/d in overweight patients is less of a deficit than 1200 kcal/d in obese patients.

Higher protein intake: 106 – 115g/d.

Result: nitrogen balance (a surrogate for the maintenance of muscle mass) and fat loss were similar in both groups.  This study fixed two problems in the abovementioned study: 1) 3 meals is better than 2 in the context of an energy deficit; and 2) protein intake was higher.

 

And again here, with 3 vs. 6 meals per day (Cameron et al., 2010), just to make the point that 3 meals per day is better than 2 for preserving lean mass in the context of an energy deficit.

 

The effect of meal frequency and protein concentration on the composition of the weight lost by obese subjects (Garrow et al., 1981)

This study tested the opposite extremes: super-low calorie intake (800 kcal/d), much lower protein intakes (20g – 30g/d), and 1 vs. 5 meals per day.

Result: “a diet with a high-protein concentration, fed as frequent small meals, is associated with better preservation of lean tissue than an isoenergetic diet with lower-protein concentration fed as fewer meals.”

It basically confirmed all of the above.

 

Protein feeding pattern does not affect protein retention in young women (Arnal et al., 2000)

1 vs. 4 meals per day; and 70 grams of protein but no energy deficit (~2000 kcal/d isn’t very hypocaloric for lean young women).  In this study, no effect of meal frequency was seen, likely because 70 grams of protein isn’t inadequate when energy intake isn’t restricted.

 

 

 

1. PROTEIN “NEEDS” ARE HIGHLY CONTEXT-DEPENDENT

2. NEED =/= OPTIMIZATION

3. MEAL FREQUENCY & meal timing and peripheral circadian clocks > “MACRONUTRIENTS”

 

If you’re losing weight (ie, in an energy deficit), then intermittent fasting is cool if protein intake is high (above “adequateTM“)… the bigger the energy deficit, the more protein is necessary to optimize changes in body composition.

 

How much is ‘enough?’  Sorry, can’t give you a gram or even gram per pound of body weight answer… but if you’re losing weight and seeing no discernible effect on body composition (muscle vs. fat mass), then it may be prudent to consider eating more protein-rich foods… and paying more attention to sleep quality (which also greatly impacts nutrient partitioning).

No amount of protein will help you if circadian rhythms aren’t intact!!!

 

 

further reading:

Yes, it’s a high protein diet (Tom Naughton, 2015)

Protein requirements, carbs, and nutrient partitioning

Dietary protein, ketosis, and appetite control 

 

 

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! Five bucks a month and there are many other options. 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.

UPDATED Affiliate Links: 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 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. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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