Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

So I'm reading some GCBC again ...

... and on p. 408 of my Sony ebook version (this will not coincide with the hard copy, but it is after the glycerol 3P section), Taubes writes:

By the mid-1960's, four facts had been established beyond reasonable doubt:  
(1) Carbohydrates are singularly responsible for prompting insulin secretion.
(2) Insulin is singularly responsible for inducing fat accumulation.
(3) Dietary carbohydrates are required for excess fat accumulation.
(4) Both Type 2 diabetics and the obese have abnormally elevated levels of circulating insulin and a "greatly exaggerated" insulin response to carbohydrates in the diet ...
Note the wording "facts".  Kinda hard to use the weasely "it's a hypothesis" defense for all the misinformation when one words things this way.  But let's consider these in order:

(1) We know this isn't true, protein elicits an insulin response.  Furthermore fats have been shown to at least amplify insulin responses by, for example, stimulating GLP-1.

(2) Insulin is key regulator in the Fatty Acid/Triglyceride cycle, but when you think about it, aside from moving glucose into the fat cells, it is not heavily involved in policing the entry door.  This appears to be ASP which itself can stimulate glucose uptake.  Insulin does have an indirect role in this as it has been shown to increase ASP activity approximately 2-fold, but this is a much lower response than to chylomicrons (dietary fat).  Fat accumulation (net flow in) occurs each and every time fat is ingested.  Whether or not it stays accumulated depends on energy requirements.   Eat too much, gain fat mass.  Simple.  Taubes acknowledges the continual nature of the FFA/trig cycle then goes on to make absolute statements of how the fat is "trapped" in the fat cells.  How can as much as 60% of mobilized fat get re-esterified to triglycerides in a continuous cycle be explained??  If you eat too much fat it will stay in the fat cells, and if it is mobilized, elevated NEFA/FFA are NOT a good thing!

(3)  Patently false.  Since Fred Hahn is advocating dietary experiments over at weightology at the moment, I've got one for him and Gary.  Drink 5000 cals of olive oil a day  and protein to meet needs for a few weeks.  Report back on your fat mass.

(4)  True, but they also have elevated NEFA's!


James Krieger said...

I just posted an article about how protein directly stimulates insulin secretion, independent of gluconeogenesis

David Isaak said...

On point (1), I'm afraid you don't quite understand the word "sigularly." It doesn't mean "sole" or "only." It means "exceptional" or "peculiar."

Saying someone has a "singularly annoying voice" does not mean that no one else has an annoying voice; it merely means that the person has an exceptionally annoying voice.

I think that most scientists would agree while any number of ingested substances can evoke an insulin response--heck, even thinking about eating sugar can evoke a mild insulin response--that carbohydrates have an exceptionally strong effect in this regard...and that is the literal meaning of what Taubes wrote.

Your other three points stand.

CarbSane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CarbSane said...

On a calorie for calorie basis, beef and especially dairy proteins elicit greater insulin responses than many carbs.

Most scientists would agree that carbohydrates elicit the strongest insulin response on average, but, it's not "exceptional" in magnitude when compared to proteins. So literally speaking Taubes is still wrong.

James Krieger said...


Singular actually has more than one definition. There is the definition you mention, but there is also the definition of only one person or thing. Thus, the statement can go both ways. The average Joe reading this statement is going to take it as the latter, not the former. And given that this statement is mentioned in a chapter where Taubes discusses almost primarily insulin and carbohydrate, I have a very hard time giving him the benefit of the doubt that he meant the former. And even if he did, that is not how most readers are going to read it.

CarbSane said...

Thanks James ... I was going to mention this as well, but Taubes is still wrong even using David's literal translation I chose that angle. :)

I believe he INTENDED "singularly responsible" to mean "solely" or to be interpreted as "solely". Here is where listening to the man is most telling. (Speaking of listening to him, how does anyone stay awake? ... but I digress ...) In any case, whenever Taubes gets to a point that he's been challenged (usually proven wrong) on his demeanor changes. He looks nervous in those videos that show his face, his volume goes down, sometimes devolving almost to mumbling, and the tempo quickens. He acknowledges certain things then moves on quickly. He hopes that by the time Q&A comes around the audience will have been so baffled by the bullshit of his lecture they forget about this point that he almost always portrays as insignificant. When he makes the point on carb and insulin, he now acknowledges that protein but (falsely) claims the effect is much smaller. Listening to him stumble through these awkward moments in his lectures it seems obvious to me that he is grudgingly "standing corrected", therefore he meant what he thought: that only carbs drive insulin.

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