From what I gather, it’s been difficult to pinpoint the role of plants in the diet of our ancestors for a variety of reasons. For example, evidence of plants on cooking tools and dental remains is suggestive but doesn’t disprove the possibility that said evidence came from preparing the plants for some other purpose (eg, tools, weapons, or medicine), or that the stomach contents of an herbivore was ingested (which gets partial credit).
That said, after reviewing a few studies on the topic (see below), it’s safe to say that plants were eaten, probably frequently, and the types & quantities varied seasonally & geographically. Collectively, the data suggest we aren’t carnivores.
…you had to have something to hold you over until the next fish fell prey to your deadly hunting spear…
Posted in Advanced nutrition, chocolate, circadian, diet, Dietary fat, empty calories, Energy balance, fat, Fish, Leptin, microbiome, microbiota, Sugar, TPMC
Tagged calories, calories proper, carbs, chocolate, circadian rhythm, diet, empty calories, energy balance, fat, fiber, high fructose corn syrup, insulin, nutrition, obesity, Paleo, processed food, soda, sugar
The original lipid hypothesis stated, more or less, that lowering blood cholesterol would reduce premature mortality from heart disease. At the time, it was thought that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat increased the ‘bad’ type of blood cholesterol, so the advice was to restrict those foods. All of that was wrong.
Lipid Hypothesis 2.0: Eat Butter
Posted in Advanced nutrition, chocolate, diet, Dietary fat, empty calories, Exercise, fat, insulin, Protein, Sugar
Tagged Atkins, body composition, calories proper, carbs, chocolate, diabetes, diet, empty calories, energy balance, fat, insulin, ketogenic, ketosis, nutrition, obesity, Paleo, protein, sugar, trans fat
About a decade ago, Michael Brownlee posited that AGEs were one of The Four Horsemen responsible for the microvascular complications of diabetes.
Thereafter, the image below (or a closely related one) appeared in at least one talk at every major diabetes conference for about 5 years. Then it faded – maybe not because it is wrong, but rather just too simplistic to be useful (similar to CICO & ELMM).
Posted in Advanced nutrition, diet, fat, insulin, Protein, Sugar
Tagged carbs, diabetes, diet, fat, insulin, nutrition, obesity, protein, sugar
From Times LIVE: “Does junk food make you lazy?”
“A diet rich in processed foods and fat – and the extra weight that comes along with it – may actually cause fatigue, a lack of motivation and decreased performance, according to a recent study involving lab rats… excessive consumption of processed and fat-rich foods affects our motivation as well as our overall health.”
(this is categorically false as both diets used in the study being discussed were very low in fat.)
And from Psych Central: “Rat study shows junk food can make you lazy”
The theory itself isn’t too far-fetched: a crap diet can cause weight gain and reduced energy expenditure, or a tendency to minimize any kind of physical activity… instead of: “’laziness’ causes obesity.” And whether or not it’s true, unlike what some would have you believe, this wasn’t the study to prove it.
Posted in Advanced nutrition, diet, Dopamine, empty calories, Energy balance, Sugar
Tagged calories, calories proper, carbs, diet, empty calories, energy balance, fat, fiber, nutrition, sugar
Nutritional ketosis is a normal, physiological response to carbohydrate and energy restriction. A ketogenic diet is an effective weight loss strategy for many. Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a pathological condition caused by insulin deficiency. The common theme is low insulin; however, in ketoacidosis, blood glucose levels are very high. Ketone levels are elevated in both states, although are 10-20x higher in ketoacidosis (~0.5-2 vs. > 20 mM). Nutritional ketosis and ketoacidosis should not be confused with one another, and a ketogenic diet doesn’t cause ketoacidosis.
In ketoacidosis, gluconeogenesis occurs at a very high rate and the lack of insulin prevents glucose disposal in peripheral tissues. Skeletal muscle protein breakdown contributes gluconeogenic substrates, exacerbating the problem. This can cause blood glucose to reach pathological levels, exceeding 250 mg/dL.
Posted in Advanced nutrition, diet, Dietary fat, fat, insulin
Tagged carbohydrates, carbs, diet, energy balance, fat, insulin, ketoacidosis, ketogenic, ketones, ketosis, nutrition, obesity, protein, sugar
Seasonal eating proper
More on seasonal eating in what appears to be the primary model for its justification for use in humans – hibernating mammals.
How it goes, or so they say: in summer, hibernators massively overeat, including carb-rich foods, in order to generate muscle and liver insulin resistance, so as to promote body fat growth. The long light cycle reduces evening melatonin, which pushes back the usual nighttime peak in prolactin, which causes an abnormal resistance to leptin, which induces hypothalamic NPY and subsequent carbohydrate craving. Ergo, summer is fattening. In today’s day, increased artificial lights guarantee year-round pseudo-summer; and we no longer experience the benefits of the short light cycle: longer sleep times (akin to hibernation) and fasting – either complete fasting as in hibernation, or pseudo-fasting, ie, a ketogenic diet.
Posted in Advanced nutrition, Bromocriptine, circadian, diet, Dietary fat, Dopamine, empty calories, Energy balance, fat, Fructose, insulin, Leptin, TPMC
Tagged body composition, calories proper, carbohydrates, circadian rhythm, diet, energy balance, insulin, ketogenic, leptin, sugar, summer, winter
Conventional leptin resistance has something do with obesity. It is known. Silent leptin resistance is … err … complicated.
Divide and conquer
Fructose-induced leptin resistance exacerbates weight gain in response to subsequent high-fat feeding (Shapiro, Scarpace, et al., 2008 AJP)
A remarkable 60% fructose diet fed to rats for 6 months had absolutely no effect on energy balance. Nil. QED.
Food intake and body weight were unaffected because the levels of and sensitivity to endogenous leptin were identical in both groups.
Enter the Dragon
“Silent Leptin Resistance” – The fructose-fed rats are, however, profoundly resistant to the satiating effects of Metreleptin (a pharmaceutical grade injectable leptin analog):
Posted in Advanced nutrition, diet, Dietary fat, empty calories, Energy balance, Fructose, Leptin, Sugar, TPMC
Tagged body composition, carbohydrates, carbs, diet, empty calories, energy balance, leptin, sugar
Hat tip to Jane Plain and her ongoing series on “The physiology of body fat regulation” for citing this study as it provides a rather interesting insight into the psychoendoneuropathophysiology of the obese condition. Eating in the Absence of Hunger.
Caloric compensation and eating in the absence of hunger in 5- to 12-y-old weight-discordant siblings (Kral et al., 2012)
They were all full or half, weight-discordant, same-sex siblings and each sibling pair had the same mother; same mitochondrial DNA, shared a womb, etc.
Posted in Advanced nutrition, chocolate, Dietary fat, empty calories, Energy balance, insulin, Ketosis, TPMC
Tagged calories proper, carbs, diet, energy balance, insulin, nutrition, obesity, sugar
Lots of metabolism talk below, but first a brief intro. My “muse,” if you will.
Taubes’ recent article in the BMJ (Taubes, 2013; full text) generated some interesting feedback.
In the original article, Taubes basically re-states his philosophy on obesity. Nothing new. But one rebuttal by Cottrell got under my skin (Cottrell, 2013), and Taubes’ response was woefully inadequate.
Cottrell [sic]: “A third incorrect assertion is that obesity can be attributed to the conversion of carbohydrate to fat. This is an unsatisfactory explanation of obesity, because this route is a minor pathway to depot fat in humans, even under conditions of substantial overfeeding of sugars to obese subjects. An unproved assumption is that the hypothetical diversion of carbohydrate energy into fat storage leaves the subject hungry, thus stimulating overeating.”
Cottrell set up a straw man and handily took it down. The primary mechanism whereby excess carbs contribute to obesity is via insulin’s effects on adipose tissue. Even if you’re eating very little fat, insulin will cause it to get stored. Insulin is very good at this – it is actually far more potent at stimulating fat storage than it is at stimulating glucose uptake (eg, Insulin vs. fat metabolism FTW). Cottrell’s straw man is that excess carbs themselves are stored as fat. This does not occur to any appreciable extent in humans. Here is why I believe that to be true, from one of most insightful and informative studies on the topic IMHO.
Posted in Advanced nutrition, diet, Dietary fat, Energy balance, fat, insulin, TPMC
Tagged body composition, calories, calories proper, carbohydrates, carbs, DNL, energy balance, energy expenditure, fat, insulin, nutrition, obesity, sugar
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):
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])
(Leslie Roberts, 1988) (she’s talking about stearate)
Posted in Advanced nutrition, chocolate, coconut, diet, Dietary fat, empty calories, Energy balance, fat, liver, Trans fat
Tagged cacao butter, calories, carbs, chocolate, coconut oil, diet, energy expenditure, fat, MCTs, nutrition, processed food, SFAs, sugar, trans fat