Tag Archives: fiber

Need vs. Optimization: Omnivores & Carnivores.

Humans are omnivores but does that mean we need to eat plants AND animals?

To address this, we first need to ask 2 questions:
1) need for what?
2) need vs. optimization?


Scientists were determining the amino acid requirements of cats by feeding them semi-synthetic diets with various levels of each amino acid, one at a time. Tedious. A lot of cats x a lot of amino acids x a lot of levels of each amino acid = a lot of work. What made it even more difficult (and equally more interesting) was that they didn’t know what they were looking for — this was long before we knew what we know now about biology.


Funny thing, when they got to tyrosine: below a certain level and their black cats started turning red! At an even lower level, certain neuroloogical abnormalities set in. So, how much tyrosine do cats need? Enough to maintain their beautiful black coats? I think we can all agree that the level which induced neurological abnormalities was too low. What about fur color?


What if female cats prefer males with beautiful black coats? So the males have a better chance at reproducing if their diet is at the higher level of tyrosine. I’d say fur color is pretty important in this #context! [how ya like ‘dem apples]

Need vs. Optimization

Note: this occurred over the course of weeks-to-months, not hours-to-days.

Note (2): unlike humans, cats are obligate carnivores. Real, actual, carnivores.




Below a certain level of arginine and the cats looked dizzy, wobbled around, and some of them died.

Not weeks-to-months. Hours-to-days. This is what it’s like to be a carnivore. They NEED to eat meat or die rapidly (this is one of the few examples of an acute nutritional deficiency causing severe toxicity in the entire animal kingdom).

Cats have an inability to downregulate protein degradation and need arginine to dispose of the nitrogens via urea cycle. Humans just reduce burning proteins when protein intake is low.



Part 2Lobsters are omnivores and arginine is weird.

Lobster tail is rich in arginine (this might be what gives it a bit of a sweet-like flavor). If lobsters are fed an arginine-deficient diet, they go cannibal and eat other lobsters’ tails!

What does this say about lobster arginine requirements?

Need vs. optimization: they’re perfectly healthy, but is preventing cannibalism a “need?”

. .  .   .     .        .             .                     .



So, I ask again: Humans are omnivores but does that mean we need to eat plants and animals?

One retrospective study showed stroke victims who had consumed blueberries the day before showed significantly less cognitive decline post-stroke than those who hadn’t. Blueberries. Not green tea, blackberries, or dark chocolate. Blueberries. Do humans need to eat blueberries?

What if this was confirmed in a double-blind RCT? Is preventing post-stroke cognitive decline a need or an optimization?

Which is more important to you?

I didn’t have it in me to put this behind a paywall because while I think the answer is getting simpler & simpler (eg, SunlightHunger-Free Diet[s] and DietFitshot Blue-Blockers, etc.), fad diets are getting weirder & weirder. Just eat like an adult.

That’s all for now!

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Activate #Nrf2, then optimize: Brussels sprouts

Hahaha What can’t you do, Nrf2?

Remember The Day Almonds Became Interesting? Namely, “the long series of  unlikely events that must occur in order for the bifidogenic effects of almonds to manifest.” Well, it happened again. Or the opposite.

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I’m not a huge fan of antioxidant supps for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to ATBC and CARET. There are certainly some exceptions to this, although your body can handle itself quite well under most circumstances.

I am, however, a pretty big fan of periodically doing things like activating #Nrf2, because anti-cancer. Advantage is that if there’s nothing going on, Nrf2 is degraded pretty quickly (can’t really say the same about antiox supps). If there is something going one, Nrf2 rallies the troops to swiftly restore balance: pathways pathways pathways -> DEAD CANCER CELLS.




One of the major ways Nrf2 gets it done is by inducing the synthesis of endogenous protective compounds like glutathione. Glutathione synthesis requires sulfury stuff, particularly (if it’s available), cysteine. Guess what?



Sulforaphane activates Nrf2 and breaks down to provide cysteine for glutathione synthesis. WEIRD COINCIDENCE, I KNOW RIGHT?




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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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Funded by Big ‘Shrooma

Reishi, the mushroom of longevity.

“The goal is to maintain or improve brain function and physical performance. And not get cancer.”

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‘Shrooms-every-day is part of my long-term anti-cancer plan. It’s not always a lot per serving, but I try to do the whole variety thing as much as possible, whatever’s available.

Maybe it’s one of those ice-age fairy tales fallacies, but cultures around the world have attributed a large number of health benefits to ‘shrooms for literally, thousands of years:

Ganoderma [reishi] has a very long history in East Asia as a medicinal mushroom dating back to the Chinese materia medica ‘Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing,’ written between 206 BC and 8 AD. It was considered a superior tonic for prolonging life, preventing aging, and boosting qi.”

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Project FermenTRP

People have been fermenting food for a long time, all over the world. Different cultures have different traditional fermenting techniques for various foods and beverages (eg, Bell et al., 2017). Many things, ranging from grapes, milk, and cabbages, even meat and fish. For all intents and purposes, it’s practically universally viewed as a beneficial and healthful practice …

for the ‘biome and beyond



Maybe it’s just because a robust ‘biome lowers the sugar content of your diet! LOL jk I’m sure it’s far more complex than that.


Also, the shelf-life of most ferments is forever, so when the zombie apocalypse happens, it’s a good skill to have.


Part 2. Project FermenTRP

I started down this rabbit hole because the TRP theory of muscle cramps is interesting. And, well, I got carried away LOL .


The idea of a “superfood” is kinda silly, but virtually all TRP agonists are found in so-called superfoods. Fermenting is cool, too, so I decided to combine the two because why not


[I know, I know, photography isn’t my specialty]





Torching habanero peppers does not lessen the burn. To be honest, I’d go with a WAY less hot pepper. And combine with other TRP activators. For synergy. Or something.



The TRP-theory, in brief:

An interesting theory on the treatment of muscle cramps

Herbs, spices, TRP receptors, and pain

TRP channels in the treatment of muscle pain & cramps


Here are some of the more common sources of TRP agonists in the literature:

Hot Peppers (capsaicin) (doesn’t have to be habanero) (DO NOT USE HABANERO)

Involvement of thermosensitive TRP channels in energy metabolism (Uchida et al., 2017)

Targeting nociceptive TRP channels to treat chronic pain: current state of the field (Moran and Szallasi, 2017)


Peppercorns (piperine)

Activation of TRPV1 and TRPA1 by black pepper components (Okumura et al., 2010)


Ginger (gingerols)

Effects of ginger and its pungent constituents on transient receptor potential channels (Kim et al., 2016)


Garlic (allicins & sulfides)

The pungency of garlic: activation of TRPA1 and TRPV1 in response to allicin (Macpherson et al., 2005)

Diallyl sulfides in garlic activate both TRPA1 and TRPV1 (Koizumi et al., 2009)

Intragastric administration of allyl isothiocyanaate increases carbohydrate oxidation via TRPV1 but not TRPA1 in mice (Mori et al., 2011)


Cinnamon (cinnamonaldehyde)

Effects of TRP channel agonist ingestion on metabolism and autonomic nervous system in a randomized clinical trial of healthy subjects (Michlig et al., 2016)


Mustard & Wasabi (isothiocyanates, I think)

The capsaicin receptor TRPV1 is a crucial mediator of the noxious effects of mustard oil (Everaerts et al., 2011)

Thermosensitive TRP channels and brain function (Tominaga, 2016)


Cloves (eugenol)

Oregano, thyme, and clove-derived flavors and skin sensitizers activate specific TRP channels (Xu et al., 2006)


There are many more, but those are just some of the ones that made it to part 3.


In brassica, speramus.


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Whole grains aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

WUUUT *rimshot*

A new study on whole grains demonstrates how nuanced & complicated nutritional science can be.

Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-wk randomized trial favorably affects energy-balance metrics in healthy men and postmenopausal women (Karl et al., 2017)

Sounds simple enough…

Study design: adequate to address the questions being asked.  Isocaloric, weight-maintenance diets.  Biggest differences between the two diets were whole grains (0 vs. 200 g/d) and insoluble fibre (15 vs. 30 g/d).

Disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of cereal fibre, but that’s irrelevant for the point of this post.



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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

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I’m not vegan but the “Anti-Vegan Because B12” argument is lame.  B12 insufficiency is largely due to malabsorption, not steak deficiency.

Also, oysters SMOKE meat for B12. Seriously, over a full day’s supply in one medium-sized oyster. Can meat do that?

Many people take supps, but somehow anti-vegans think B12 invalidates veganism.  It doesn’t.  Also, 1) tons of B12 in oysters; 2) nori B12 works in humans and rats; and 3) mushrooms still haven’t been ruled out as a legit source.  Whether you consider these foods vegan or not is a different story.  Many non-vegans are B12-deficient, too -> all the steak in the world won’t help if you can’t absorb it.

I’m not undermining the severity of B12 deficiency, just noting some basic facts.

My bias: things like T2DM, obesity, and even some cancers and mood disorders are due primarily to circadian arrhythmia, sleep, & LIGHT… and secondarily to diet.

When it comes to diet, mostly plants plus some animal is optimal for humans in our modern #context, regardless of which Ice-Age Paleo-Fairy Tale™ you subscribe to.  Things like sleep, LIGHT, and activity, among others, seem way more important than debating historical [theoretical] dietary minutiae.

Lastly, this particular debate isn’t “vegan vs. keto.”  THEY’RE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.  “Eco-Atkins” is a thing.  Animals provide a convenient source of LC protein, but it can be done without them.


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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.


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.”


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

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Hey CICO, I’m playing by your rules.

Brief background: the notorious Ebbeling study of 2012 showed an apparent metabolic advantage of a ketogenic diet.  After losing some weight, participants were assigned to low fat (LF), low GI, or ketogenic diets.  As expected, energy expenditure (EE) declined in all groups after weight loss.


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the insulin-obesity hypothesis is under attack

…but it isn’t dead, imo, because that would be really hard to do.  Like, seriously.



side note: please consider the modern views of Taubes, Lustig, Gardner, Attia, and others on Carbs™.  They’re less “Carbs-cause-obesity, keto-for-all, etc.,” and more thinking it might not be Carbs™ per se, but rather processed and refined foods.  And #context…  And I tend to agree at the moment (nuances and caveats are subject to change, as more evidence accumulates).


disclaimer: I haven’t seen the full text of Hall’s recent study, but that’s not really relevant to what I want to discuss.  In other words, I don’t think the full text will provide any additional details on this particular point.



Tl;dr: this study was not designed to prove or disprove metabolic advantage or the insulin-obesity hypothesis.

It’s in the study design:  four weeks of low fat followed by four weeks of low carb.  We KNOW that weight loss slows over time (especially if calories are controlled, as they were in this study).  It has to do with the order of treatments.

Weight loss-slowing over time in the Minnesota Experiment:





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