Tag Archives: protein

The carb/insulin model of obesity was tested again, and it fared better this time.

Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial (Ebbeling et al., 2018)

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This is another NuSi study designed to evaluate certain aspects of the carb/insulin model of obesity. Understanding the design of this study is critical to being able to properly evaluate the results.

Very important:

 

1. All food was provided, all the diets were healthy, and most people complied.

2. This was a very expensive study. They used great methods.

Study design: during the “Run-in diet,” everyone followed the same diet (C/F/P: 45%/30%/25%) at 40% caloric restriction in order to lose about 10% of their initial body weight.

Importantly, insulin sensitivity was assessed and this may have influenced what happened next, in the weight maintenance phase. I used to put a lot of weight on this theory — eg, the top 25% most insulin sensitive people will do better on low fat whereas the bottom 25% insulin sensitive people (the most insulin resistant, ie) will do better on low carb — this theory has fared better or worse depending on which study you look at. In this study, it did pretty well.

 

 

In the end, we had 38 people in the entering into the high carb arm of the weight maintenance phase and 43 on low carb.

Remember, they all lost weight on the same diet. Now they’re being fed enough to maintain body weight (low carb, moderate carb, or high carb) and we’re measuring things.

Really exciting stuff!

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The current state of affairs in nutri-Twitter

Rant.

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1) It’s almost as if you’re either:

a red meat-eating 110% keto-advocate

or

you think red meat and a ketogenic diet is harmful.

 

If you don’t say the diet is magical, the zealots will try to trick you into, or outright accuse you of saying it’s harmful.

Further,

 

2. And the protein/kidney debate re-surfaced again recently. To be clear: no studies have shown direct harmful effects of protein on kidney function. The studies cited by KDOQI are observational and on end-stage renal disease. Not mild kidney disease or slightly impaired renal function. If I had ESRD, I’d rather play it safe and not enroll in one of Jose Antonio’s high protein diet studies (~4.4 g/kg lol).

I’m pro-LC and HP but not anti-LF. Humans have thrived on a wide variety of diets over time regardless of macronutrient composition. Food quality seems more important in this context.

3. If ketones are muscle-sparing, then…

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Study: protein & seafood. They work!

I liked this study for a couple reasons:

Effect of combined use of a low(ish)-carbohydrate, high-protein diet with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on glycemic control in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, parallel-controlled trial (Liu et al., 2018)

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There were FOUR groups: 1) high-carb, low protein (HCLP, aka CONtrol group); 2) LCHP; 3) HCLP+n3; and 4) LCHP+n3. So, instead of just taking a group of people, putting them on LCHP+n3 and comparing the results to baseline, they actually controlled for the variables independently.

 

 

All groups were assign 30% fat and the protein was either 17% or 28%. THIS WAS CONFIRMED with serum urea nitrogen and you know how much I like biomarkers! n3 status of the n3 groups were confirmed with plasma n3’s and you know how much I like biomarkers!

Some more details on the study design…

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Anabolic Heterogeneity Following Resistance Training: A Role for Circadian Rhythm?

YES!

Resistance exercise stimulates muscle growth, strength, and functionality (Camera, 2018), although the inter-individual variability in response is hyooge. People used to think there were “responders” and “non-responders,” although now we know everyone benefits but there’s a wide spectrum. WHY?

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Exercise timing? There are definitely circadian clock genes and rhythmic expression of many genes involved in muscle growth, strength, and functionality.

Physical inactivity and sedentary behavior in general is bad. Physical activity is good. Load-bearing resistance is exercise is better. Is proper circadian timed exercise even better? Can you get slightly better benefits at the same workload?

WHY is this important?!

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New study: very low carb diets don’t impair high intensity interval training (Cipryan et al., 2018)

Effects of a 4-week very low-carbohydrate diet on high-intensity interval training responses (Cipryan et al., 2018)

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Relevant study design details: 18 young, healthy, moderately-trained males. First, this was a study on exercise performance. Had it been on glucose management in patients with type 2 diabetes or obesity, this is not the population they would have selected. Second, they needed at least a moderately-trained population otherwise both groups would’ve made big n00b gainz which may have out-weighed any differences incurred by ketoadaptation in 4 weeks.

 

 

Third, 4 weeks is a good duration for this kind of study because maximal ketoadaptation occurs in about 3 weeks and doesn’t get stronger thereafter (gains seen beyond 3 weeks are more associated with training effects).

On to the dietary protocols, results, and 2 other relevant new studies… but for that, head on over to Patreon! Five bucks a month gets you full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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Watch the Clock, Not the Scale

I’ve been known to say intermittent fasting is #weaksauce because most of the human studies show little or no effect and people frequently report being hungry (yes, even if LCHF). Human studies, not “n=1’s.”

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Well, now we know why. Time-restricted feeding (TRF) only really works when the feeding window is early (eTRF), as demonstrated by the recent Sutton study which showed, miraculously, great benefits achieved sans weight loss. Calories were strictly controlled in that study to prevent weight loss. AND when the participants were on eTRF, they actually reported less hunger in the evening.

 

 

We know from the studies by Jacobs and Hirsh that under ad lib AND isocaloric conditions, people lose more weight eating all their food for breakfast than those eating all their food for dinner.

 

 

That’s cuz metabolism is gimped at night. Lower metabolic rate and greater propensity to store fat.

Melatonin sensitizes the system, preparing it to optimally partition nutrients in the morning.

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Glucose dynamics during prolonged fasts

This is a somewhat complicated level of metabolism. Which tissues are producing what & how much, what are they burning & how much, etc., etc…

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After a few weeks, things begin to level out — we’ll pick it up there. Much of this is from a class I TA’d for in grad school, this book, and all the Cahill studies.

 

 

“The rate of glucose use at this time is around 90-100 g per day [remember, this is starvation, so all of that glucose comes from gluconeogenesis]. Of that, about 40 g is recycled via the Cori and glucose-alanine cycles and the remainder is ‘new’ glucose, ~18 g from glycerol and ~45 g from amino acids.”

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Metabolism of starvation/fasting =/= low carb diet

The Biology of Starvation (intro)

The Biology of Starvation: Renal Gluconeogenesis

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One of the major [obvious] differences in metabolism between fasting and low carb dieting is nitrogen metabolism… because you’re eating protein on a low carb diet, not so much while fasting. During fasting/starvation your body tries to downregulate the urea cycle because you can’t really afford to be ‘wasting’ amino acids/protein. I bet you never thought about the muscle-sparing effect of fat-derived fuels like that!

 

 

“Glucose production in starvation” is important because you need to make all of it and reduce the use of it.

 

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Diet X DESTROYS Diet B in Protein-Matched Ad-Lib Feeding Study

DESTROYS!

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With language like that, you’d expect to see a pretty big difference between the two diets. I mean like, really big difference.

So I clicked the link. Aaaaand #nothingsauce.

 

?(????)?

This study was similar to: “Carbs: Low vs. Lower” where it was shown that many people do just as well losing weight on a low carb diet as they do on a ketogenic diet.

The study was actually quite good, but “destroys” is not the word I would’ve used, especially since the destroyer dieters lost only about 25% more fat mass (P=0.083) and FOUR TIMES MORE FAT-FREE MASS (P=0.054).

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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?

STORY TIME

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.

Tyrosine

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.

 

 

Arginine

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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