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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 17, 2013

Must See "TV" for those suffering from CDS

BUMP!  Original posting:  1/24/11

CDS = Calorie Denial Syndrome

BBC Story about Low Carb Dieting - Part 1
BBC Story about Low Carb Dieting - Part 2
BBC Story about Low Carb Dieting - Part 3
BBC Story about Low Carb Dieting - Part 4
BBC Story about Low Carb Dieting - Part 5

(HatTip to Wolfstriked for linking to this in comments.)

Just a few thoughts on this aside from the content so that my opinions will not cloud your listening of the presentation:

I found it interesting that they showed both Westman and Foster exercising (running and playing basketball) in their intros in the piece.  Indeed they are interviewed in their gym clothes!  Then there's Dr. Mary Vernon horseback riding.  Did we need so many closeup chewing scenes?  And, lastly, was the full rear (albeit blurred) Sipowitz moment in the shower, actually that rather lengthy soaping/showering scene, really necessary as a backdrop to the discussion of ketosis?




51 comments:

Wolfstriked said...

Thanks for the mention! :D

Christian said...

Thanks for posting this.

So would you say that Taubes is suffering from CDS?

CarbSane said...

Christian, I would say he is suffering from BPCDS where BP = bipolar or SCDS where S stands for schizophrenic. It is one of the issues I have with GCBC and especially when one takes the entirety of his "works" (e.g. lectures and interviews included). He is all over the map on the calorie issue. One place he argues they don't matter (and he's recently ratcheted that up a notch saying such things as (paraphrasing) 'you can practice all the protein and fat gluttony you want and you won't gain weight w/o carbs' and 'I want every last one of us to forget calories and look at the insulin' when trying to explain why nuts and cheese tend to be notorious stalling agents for low carbers. On the one hand he acknowledges TFLOT (and I will get to responding to you on that I promise) just thinks the arrow of causality is wrong, but on the other hand he argues that low carb diets allow for weight loss w/o calorie deficit even though in his example it's plain as day the low carbers reduced intake substantially (if not intentionally).

Christian said...

Ok now I see your point.

But I am pretty sure that Taubes would never say a sentences like "low carb diets allow for weight loss w/o calorie deficit" - because it is obviously wrong. Weight loss implies calorie deficit / undereating / negativ caloric balance and vice versa. His message is that this is so obvious from TFLOT that it is meaningless. By definition when you loose weight you are in negative caloric balance. Always. Weight loss and calorie deficit are synonyms (fat/muscle loss to be more precise).

And to go one step further to say that calorie deficit CAUSES weight loss BECAUSE of TFLOT is a simple logical error. TFLOT is a state equation and unable to establish cause and effect. (This of course also holds the other way around, i.e. to deduce weight loss CAUSES calorie deficit from TFLOT is equally wrong.)

Christian said...

I just read my comment over and I have to add something because the last paragraph is tricky. One might argue that Taubes is doing exactly what I wrote in brackets. The point is that the logical error lies in the DEDUCTION from TFLOT and not in the statement itself.

So in effect you have two competing hypothesis and imho both are needed to explain all the observation.

M. said...

Christian->And to go one step further to say that calorie deficit CAUSES weight loss BECAUSE of TFLOT is a simple logical error. TFLOT is a state equation and unable to establish cause and effect.

??? If you throw a rock faster, there is more kinetic energy, and more heat on impact. You change the “states” by controlling the speed of the rock. The impact heat may tell you the “state” (speed) of the rock, but you can always change the velocity of the rock to get different heats if you want.

Eating less food will cut calories and will change the state of the body.

Haven’t you ever watched the TV show Survivor? They give them only (insulinogenic) rice to eat, and they lose weight. They are not eating less food because they are getting skinnier, they are getting skinnier because they are eating less food. QED.


Christian -> But I am pretty sure that Taubes would never say a sentences like "low carb diets allow for weight loss w/o calorie deficit"

Sometimes he will and sometime he won’t.

Gary Taubes spent most of his very latest blog post arguing that if low calorie diets work, then it is not because they are low calorie it is because they are really low carb.

This is one of his quotes:
“And if they’re trying to cut calories, they’ll be removing some number of total carbohydrates as well. And if these people lose fat on these diets, this is a very likely reason why.”

He says cutting calories is not the reason – cutting carbs is very likely the only reason.

Here is a quote from a very recent interview at the Fat Head blog:

Fat Head: In Why We Get Fat, you wrote that some people might have to give up dairy products and nuts to lose weight. Dr. Mike Eades has also mentioned that nuts and cheese seem to inhibit weight loss in some low-carb dieters. What is it about those foods that can stall weight loss? Is it just that they’re so calorically dense, or do they produce a higher insulin response than their low carbohydrate content would suggest?

Gary Taubes: I think the caloric density thing is nonsense…

And then he goes on to blame the carbs in nuts.

Taubes also says in this interview that if you stall on a low carb diet, then you are probably just reached your destined weight. Better just accept it. Apparently no point in trying to cut some calories or eating smaller portions like the Atkins program recommends or Dr. Eades recommends or just about anybody reasonable recommends.

Maybe he has never watched Survivor either.

All the science aside, I don’t see how he has any credibility left with these kind of statements.

Christian said...

@M.: You seem to imply that I think a calorie deficit cannot be a cause of weight loss. Thats wrong as my last statement reveals. Pls read my statement carefully.

You also seem to imply that I think you cannot loose weight on an "all rice diet". Also wrong. (And btw is it possible to have this conversation without any reference to insulin or any other hormone? As I said this issue is independent of the biochemistry issue)

Regarding your credibility about Taubes: I am not saying that he got everything right. But I think you fail to see the major point of this "conservation of energy" issue.

Again: Weight loss and negative caloric balance are snynonyms. Thats all we get from the TFLOT. No more, no less. When Taubes is saying that something else (I don't say the I-word or C-word because I don't think this hypothesis is correct) is the reason for this weight loss, he does not say that there is no calorie deficit. There always is and there must be one. It just must not be the cause.

Christian said...

BTW your argument with the Rock and the heat is perfect to refute your point ;). You know which law you used to determine causality? The SECOND law of thermodynamics. Because when you only look at TFLOT the following sequence of events should also be possible: Put a rock in a closed system, put heat into the system, watch the rock get faster and cooler. Well guess what, that won't happen.

Bottom line: Never argue with an engineer about physics laws :)

http://secondlaw.oxy.edu/

Christian said...

So here goes my argument why TFLOT tells us that rocks move faster when we heat them up:

??? If you make a rock hotter, there is more thermal energy, and more velocity to gain. You change the “states” by controlling the warmth of the rock. The velocity may tell you the “state” (heat) of the rock, but you can always change the heat of the rock to get different velocity if you want.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Sorry Christian, but that's nonsense. Thermal energy is completely random (see Brownian Motion).

If, by some fluke, all of the atoms in the rock were to move in the same direction at the same time, the rock would move spontaneously. This of course never happens in practice!

Christian said...

You do realize that it was a joke right?

CarbSane said...

Christian, the problem with that last argument, as well as arguments made by such prominent names in LC circles as Eades & Feinman that if TFLOT held you would gain weight by wearing sweaters and lose it taking cold showers. I discussed this here: http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2010/12/of-thermodynamics-complexity-closed.html
Cliff Notes summary: humans do not even attempt to harness thermal energy to do work, therefore TFLOT is perfectly applicable.

I think this issue gets clouded by the metabolic advantage arguments, most prominently trumpeted by Feinman and Eades of late. Many will say that Taubes makes no such argument, but in GCBC he repeats Atkins' claims that folks can lose weight eating thousands of calories so long as they avoid the carbs, in his blog post (that from what I can gather is a chapter in his new book) he argues that it is carb restriction and not calorie restriction leading to weight loss (as if we can separate these two DEpendent variables if we wanted to in such a study), and also in more recent lectures he has stated you can exercise as much gluttony on fat and protein as you like and not gain weight.

A lot of people will say Taubes never denied TFLOT just, as you say, he accuses everyone else of misinterpreting it. But, enough readers of GCBC came away from that book thinking they could eat as much fat as they wanted and it would not accumulate absent dietary carbs. I have always asked these people to explain where the fatty acids go, and there's never been a good answer for that.

CarbSane said...

Christian, I cannot get hung up on the whole TFLOT and direction of causality thing because I think this is just like the silliest argument ever (assign Valley girl accent to that). We are sentient beings with the ability to procure energy in. We have some control over energy out. The human race in mostly industrialized Western nations did not spontaneously undergo some massive genetic mutation rendering us powerless against the forces of normal insulin secretions. Taubes cannot explain how the accumulation occurs in the first place. Lately I've seen him state flat out that we fatten from over eating but it doesn't explain why men and women fatten differently. IOW he's APPLYING TFLOT. Can we at least agree that deliberate overfeeding and all manner of CRD's and/or TBL-style diet and exercise programs are undertaken are embarked upon to CAUSE weight gain or loss.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Christian said...
You do realize that it was a joke right?

You fail! Next time, use a smiley. What are we, mind-readers? ;-D

Christian said...

@CarbSane: It wasn't an argument, it was a joke. Ok you really shouldn't use irony to make a point clear - at least if you are not facing the person you are talking to ...

Metabolic advantage is yet another issue. Actually I just wanted to talk about TFLOT and its incapabality of determining cause and effect ...

@ Nigel: No but I hope attentive and thoughtful readers ;)

Melchior Meijer said...

Hi CarbSane,

Have you watched the BBC Horizon production ‘Why Are Thin People Not Fat’, an overfeeding experiment starring Swedish researcher Fredrik Nyström?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6-A0iHSdcA

Energy In = Energy Out, but you cannot deny that the type of food hasan efect on what our bodies do with the energy. You could stuff me from dawn till sunset, but no way I would gain a lot. I would probably self ignite or start flying, but I would not gain much weight. A nice case in this experiment is the Asian guy. Whereas most others gain some fat upon stuffing, he loses fat and starts building muscle. Without training! Different calories give different metabolic signals to different people,can we agree on that?

Christian said...

"Christian, I cannot get hung up on the whole TFLOT and direction of causality thing because I think this is just like the silliest argument ever (assign Valley girl accent to that)."

Why do you have to invoke sillyness to make a point?

"We are sentient beings with the ability to procure energy in."

To a reasonable extent, yes.

"We have some control over energy out."

To a reasonable extent, yes.

"The human race in mostly industrialized Western nations did not spontaneously undergo some massive genetic mutation"

Of course not.

"rendering us powerless against the forces of normal insulin secretions."

Insulin? Whos talking about Insulin? I sure am not.

"Taubes cannot explain how the accumulation occurs in the first place."

He doesn't have to in order to point out the capabilites of TFLOT. Actually that is your job as you have a strong background in biochemistry. Or maybe it is the job of neurobiologists or someone else.

"Lately I've seen him state flat out that we fatten from over eating but it doesn't explain why men and women fatten differently."

We fatten = we overeat. Weight gain = overeating.

"IOW he's APPLYING TFLOT. "

Of course he is. Why wouldn't he he deny such a fundamental but dull law?

"Can we at least agree that deliberate overfeeding and all manner of CRD's and/or TBL-style diet and exercise programs are undertaken are embarked upon to CAUSE weight gain or loss. "

Yes we can. :) That's why I wrote "So in effect you have two competing hypothesis and imho both are needed to explain all the observation."

Christian said...

I read the post you quoted. And it all boils down to this quote:

"But to determine the CO for thermal vs. other expenditures does not require entropy considerations. This is a fundamental error in McCleod's thinking here."

The fundamental error is not McCleaods thinking. Because OF COURSE to determine the CO no entropy considerations are required. That was NOT his point. His point was that entropy considerations are required to determine CAUSE AND EFFECT. To determine what is going on and WHY. That is what every physicist will tell you. Entropy is times arrow. Causality.

I think your fundamental error of thinking is that by invoking something else to be the cause of weight gain that one automatically denies TFLOT. While in fact the opposite is true. TFLOT is always acknowledged first (you really cannot make it clearer as saying "Applying the 1st Law to living organisms is Proof by Tautology.") and then its fundamental limitation is given: it is a state equation and unable to answer or prove any question that starts with "Why" or "How".

CarbSane said...

@Melchior: Different calories give different metabolic signals to different people,can we agree on that?

Most certainly! In a bit I'll be posting the next installment of the CICO debate series dealing with the macronutrient issue and another dealing with hormones/distribution.
I tend to believe that I'm pretty efficient at building muscle from high protein intake. I am, in my hubby's words, freakishly strong despite no formal exercise or resistance training (OK I did the pushup challenge last spring summer, but I was wicked strong before that). I tend towards a high protein diet.

I also have some thoughts to put to print on why I think LC diets are effective for the insulin resistant, but how, perhaps, dietary strategy should be altered if/when insulin sensitivity has been improved considerably.

CarbSane said...

@Christian, if I gas up my car, start my engine and press on the gas pedal, my car moves down the road. We can do a TFLOT analysis that is corrected for engine efficiency to determine how far it gets. By your logic, we can't use TFLOT to determine the cause here. IOW, we can't rule out that the car moving down the road didn't cause the fuel combustion??

Extending that to living beings and nobody denies compensatory mechanisms (reduced body temp, NEAT, increased appetite, etc.) that alter the terms on either side of the equation. That doesn't change the fact that eating too much and/or moving too little CAUSES net energy storage/weight gain in accordance with physical law. And eating less and moving more WILL cause utilization of energy stores/weight loss. To imply that the storage drives the equation is nonsensical, not supported by any of the science or anecdotal evidence.

Look at it in an even simpler way. Living, breathing and moving does not cause energy intake, energy intake is what causes us to be able to live, breath and move. Remove the energy, we die. It is merely the definition of life that distinguishes us from inanimate objects, that we seek and have the ability to take in energy. Plants and bacteria that have no such abilities die when energy sources are not available. Light and CO2 uptake (energy in) CAUSES energy storage (growth) in plants. Same for all living things. That plants put energy into growth vs. blooming, etc. doesn't change this.

A child going through a growth spurt is not overeating. Yes, hormones signal said child to eat more, but if the kidlet is starved it won't grow very much. Still, the hormones will direct more calories to build lean tissue and increase height at the expense of emaciation. This is how many kids "grow out of" their "baby fat"! However there is no endogenous spontaneous insulin thing going on here for the horizontal growth. It is in response to and largely proportional to intake. Likewise, aside from not requiring much energy to support and increasing the loads we must lug around, fat tissue does not cause changes in energy expenditure. Increased body mass does actually increase energy expenditure.

OK, I'll concede that the physical law itself does not indicate causality. But applying it to a human organism certainly does.

Please people, does anyone think that Jimmy's fat tissue when he was 410 lbs caused him to eat like this, or would it be obvious that eating that way caused him to gain weight until he weighed 410 lbs?

Apparently Taubes acknowledges JM in his new book. I wonder, then, if he realizes how JM is a walking poster boy for calorie theory because he has remained fairly low carb very consistently now going into his eighth year since making the lifestyle change, he has regained and relost upwards of 300 pounds. Every time he cuts intake he loses. Increases it, he gains. This is not rocket science and when Jimmy asked me about the harm I think GT might be doing, I should have used that opportunity to point out his own struggles, some of which are due part and parcel to his beliefs in GT's theories and unwillingness to accept the role of calories in body weight. This saddens me.

Christian said...

"By your logic, we can't use TFLOT to determine the cause here. "

You finally got it ;). That is basic stuff of every advanced thermodynamic lecture. We can never use TFLOT to determine cause. We can look at the equation and think about it and get ideas from it, but we can never ever PROVE any notion of cause with this law.

"IOW, we can't rule out that the car moving down the road didn't cause the fuel combustion??"

That is precisely the case. And we also cannot rule out the possibilty that the car that is now driving down the road will suddenly get slower, stop moving, and starts driving backwards up the hill again and thereby sucking in the the exhaust fumes and reforming the gas so that finally we land with a full gas tank again at the top of the hill (I neglect friction). No we can't. Every scenario is in perfect energy balance.

The notion or the fact that these two scenarious are obviously ridiculous and will not happen are not based on TFLOT but on the second!

"A child going through a growth spurt is not overeating."

By definition he is.

"However there is no endogenous spontaneous insulin thing going on here for the horizontal growth."

sigh. I am getting tired of repeating that I don't blame insulin.

"OK, I'll concede that the physical law itself does not indicate causality. But applying it to a human organism certainly does. "

It does not. We desperately NEED other laws, mechanisms, biochemistry, neurobiology, experiments to do so. And that's where the whole problem lies. You refuse to look for them because you somehow think that if you found such a reason that TFLOT is violated, which it isn't.

"Please people, does anyone think that Jimmy's fat tissue when he was 410 lbs caused him to eat like this, or would it be obvious that eating that way caused him to gain weight until he weighed 410 lbs? "

TFLOT does not tell.

Christian said...

And I want to add:

... and a good scientist does not rule out an entiry hypothesis (i.e. some illness, sickness or a disregulation of some sort in his body is responsible for ultimately causing an abnormal fat tissue growth that he compensated for by doing what everybody else does: eating till full, wait to get hungry and repeat) because of "obvious" reasons.

CarbSane said...

@Christian: The fundamental error is not McCleaods thinking. Because OF COURSE to determine the CO no entropy considerations are required. That was NOT his point. His point was that entropy considerations are required to determine CAUSE AND EFFECT. To determine what is going on and WHY. That is what every physicist will tell you.

I didn't see anything about cause and effect in his discussion. I've taken thermodynamics in several contexts and I don't recall ever looking at TSLOT to be what determines causation.

Near an approximation to that idea would be the entropy term in the free energy equation (dG = dH - TdS) in determining the spontaneous direction of a chemical equation. But (1) The chemical pathways of energy extraction from macros are all SHARED from the point of AcetylCoA and for the NADH and FADH2 produced in both glycolysis and beta oxidation. (2) almost no chemical reactions in our bodies are spontaneous or in thermodynamic equilibrium, they are "powered" by redox coupling to things like the ATP/ADP reaction so the dG calcs are of little use. So IF we are going to say that entropy holds the key to causation, it predicts we are dead.

Of course we know that thermal energy always flows "downhill" hot -> cold (less hot) but this tells us absolutely nothing about human metabolism except that we do need to generate heat and or dissipate it to maintain a relatively constant temperature in the face of differing environmental temperatures. Other than that it is totally irrelevant to the discussion.

Atwater determined the energy (enthalpy) made available through human metabolism of the macros.

Again, I hate to use the words silly and nonsensical, but Taubes' "if vertical why not horizontal" just doesn't make any sense. We simply don't get obese and then overeat. It's not how it works.

Melchior Meijer said...

“We simply don't get obese and then overeat. It's not how it works.”

No, we eat something on a consistent basis (say wheat, pufa’s and sugar) and see our bodycomposition change (for the worse). Or we eat something and destroy our normal apetite regulation. This was what happened to the Norwegian Mice. Why should it not happen to us?

CarbSane said...

@Christian:

"By your logic, we can't use TFLOT to determine the cause here. "

You finally got it ;). That is basic stuff of every advanced thermodynamic lecture. We can never use TFLOT to determine cause. We can look at the equation and think about it and get ideas from it, but we can never ever PROVE any notion of cause with this law.


You and I must have taken different thermo courses then, because in all of mine (and there were several from the basic to one that was mind-blowingly advanced) I don't recall this obsession over causation. We used TFLOT to do things like (a) determine the force of friction in the example from that blog post, (b) calculate heat liberated in an exothermic chemical reaction, and (c) predict the direction in which a chemical reaction will spontaneously occur. What thermo doesn't tell us is whether the reaction will occur (e.g. combustion is thermodynamically favored but it doesn't happen unless we input sufficient energy to overcome the activation energy threshold), and it can help predict but is insufficient to fully account for the rate at which a reaction will proceed (kinetics).

"IOW, we can't rule out that the car moving down the road didn't cause the fuel combustion??"

That is precisely the case. And we also cannot rule out the possibilty that the car that is now driving down the road will suddenly get slower, stop moving, and starts driving backwards up the hill again and thereby sucking in the the exhaust fumes and reforming the gas so that finally we land with a full gas tank again at the top of the hill (I neglect friction). No we can't. Every scenario is in perfect energy balance.


Are you for real?

CarbSane said...

@Christian cont.:

"OK, I'll concede that the physical law itself does not indicate causality. But applying it to a human organism certainly does. "

It does not. We desperately NEED other laws, mechanisms, biochemistry, neurobiology, experiments to do so. And that's where the whole problem lies. You refuse to look for them because you somehow think that if you found such a reason that TFLOT is violated, which it isn't.

.... and a good scientist does not rule out an entiry hypothesis (i.e. some illness, sickness or a disregulation of some sort in his body is responsible for ultimately causing an abnormal fat tissue growth that he compensated for by doing what everybody else does: eating till full, wait to get hungry and repeat) because of "obvious" reasons.


What TFLOT tells us is that if we take in more than we expend we will gain weight. Since our bodies cannot create nor destroy energy TFLOT most certainly demonstrates the *cause* of obesity. What you and Taubes seem to argue is that we don't know the cause of why we eat too much or move too little, and we cannot rule out that something in the "black box" - a dysregulated fat cell - is driving BOTH sides of the equation. The problem with this is that there are huge volumes of research demonstrating that fat get's "sick" and "dysregulated" when the cells are overfilled. IOW, the accumulation precedes the dysregulation, not the other way around. And this can explain the obesity arising later in life with malnourished children who never develop the appropriate body fat levels to allow for proper accumulation to begin with.

CarbSane said...

@Christian, cont.:


"OK, I'll concede that the physical law itself does not indicate causality. But applying it to a human organism certainly does. "

It does not. We desperately NEED other laws, mechanisms, biochemistry, neurobiology, experiments to do so. And that's where the whole problem lies. You refuse to look for them because you somehow think that if you found such a reason that TFLOT is violated, which it isn't.

.... and a good scientist does not rule out an entiry hypothesis (i.e. some illness, sickness or a disregulation of some sort in his body is responsible for ultimately causing an abnormal fat tissue growth that he compensated for by doing what everybody else does: eating till full, wait to get hungry and repeat) because of "obvious" reasons.


What TFLOT tells us is that if we take in more than we expend we will gain weight. Since our bodies cannot create nor destroy energy TFLOT most certainly demonstrates the *cause* of obesity. What you and Taubes seem to argue is that we don't know the cause of why we eat too much or move too little, and we cannot rule out that something in the "black box" - a dysregulated fat cell - is driving BOTH sides of the equation. The problem with this is that there are huge volumes of research demonstrating that fat get's "sick" and "dysregulated" when the cells are overfilled. IOW, the accumulation precedes the dysregulation, not the other way around. And this can explain the obesity arising later in life with malnourished children who never develop the appropriate body fat levels to allow for proper accumulation to begin with.

We have to go back further to Taubes' basic contention that any alternate hypothesis would necessarily have to explain the observed uptick in obesity rates. His "alternate hypothesis", that somehow all of a sudden, although carbs had been around for a long long time, only now does it send fat cells off onto some cancer-like mission, hoarding all calories we consume at the expense of all of our other tissues to accumulate fat (and you may not blame insulin but Taubes does) driving us to eat more and expend less energy.

I'm not looking to TFLOT for cause and effect, and actually Taubes is not really either because the proper energy balance equation is Ein = Eout + Estored and not Ein-Eout = Estored if we're talking "balancing" and not just doing calculations.

CarbSane said...

@Christian, last part:


I think Dr. Michael Dansinger who is involved with The Biggest Loser and treats diabetics with a lower carb diet is a far more credible voice here. He noted in a recent interview with Jimmy that the contestants log foods when they come to the ranch to gauge intake. They are typically consuming 3000-4000 cal/day. TBL's approach is to halve the intake and increase the activity. This is the "treatment". This energy deficit CAUSES the weight loss, as predicted by TFLOT. Further, the losses are usually most rapid in the beginning - when there is no way their fat cell metabolism has been altered in any significant way. Conversely, a body builder deliberately increases intake to CAUSE weight (hopefully lean) gain as is predicted by TFLOT.

What has caused the obesity epidemic in the US is that, according to NHANES we consume ~300 cal/day more now than we did in the 70's. We can cry WHY WHY WHY all we want, but the increase intake AND the average decreased energy expenditure (that is difficult to assess but a logical result of all of our modern day conveniences) has resulted in more of us being in energy surplus. Energy surplus causes weight gain, most of it fat absent deliberate attempts to gain mostly lean mass. The why's have everything to do with the types of foods we consume: refined, often liquid, micronutrient poor, energy dense, highly palatable foods in ready supply requiring little energy to procure. Period. QED. Our metabolic regulation gets out of whack after consistent dietary assault from excessive amounts of such foods that accumulate in our fat tissues. This is why we get fat. NOT this bizarre Vacation-from-Reality show "Fat Cells Gone Wild".

A scientist looks at ALL of the evidence and formulates a theory. Alternately they test theories to see if predictions will occur in properly designed and controlled studies. The evidence is overwhelming in favor of "conventional wisdom" and scant to support this opposite direction of causality "alternate" hypothesis. It's out there. It's been out there. Dysfunctional fat cells get that way from excessive fat accumulation. Not the other way around except for rare cases of lipodystrophy, or exogenous causes (e.g. we see it in HIV+ patients receiving antiviral therapy).

I don't know that there's much more I can say on this. I think I've made my position clear. So if you respond further and I don't reply it is simply that I have other things to attend to and not a personal rebuke.

Christian said...

"We used TFLOT to do things like [...] (c) predict the direction in which a chemical reaction will spontaneously occur."

Amazing.

http://www.tutorvista.com/content/chemistry/chemistry-iv/thermodynamics/thermodynamics-first-law.php

http://www.chem1.com/acad/webtext/thermeq/TE3.html#SEC1

So ok, if you don't need the second law of thermodynamics to determine the direction of chemical reactions, then you will also not need another reason for what causes obesity. It's the calories. Period. QED.

"Fat Cells Gone Wild" now goes off air ;).

Melchior Meijer said...

"We can cry WHY WHY WHY all we want, but the increase intake AND the average decreased energy expenditure (that is difficult to assess but a logical result of all of our modern day conveniences) has resulted in more of us being in energy surplus."

It seems so obvious and maybe you are just plain right, but I still ask 'why?'

Why do we eat 300 kcal per day more? Why do we spend less energy (I'm not sure if this one is true, but let's assume it is)? Is that really just a logical result of food availability and modern day conveniences? I think it's too simple. Does this also apply to obese two year old kids? I'm still very open to the suggestion that food type induced metabolic derangements can drive both over eating and physical inactivity (lethargy). It is legitimate to question the direction of cause and effect.

Of course we would get rid of obesity and many diseases if we would get rationed to let's say 1800 kcal/day, irrespective of where these calories come from. We would be hungry, but probably happy. The point is that people who throw out certain modern foods (fe go 'paleo') spontaneously eat less and move more (including two year old kids, according to Dr Lustig). That observation is in favour of the idea that we are daling with a strong biological force and not just with laziness and availability of foods.

CarbSane said...

OK, I would like to correct errors in my hurried response: It's actually not TFLOT but free energy balances that are used to predict the preferred direction in which a chemical reaction occurs. Yes, there's a TdS (temperature * change in entropy) term that is included in that balance. If you want to view the entropy term (that has units of energy it's just total free energy not just enthalpy) as being the only "causal" term that is also incorrect, because if a negative dH exceeds a positive TdS term, enthalpy drives the reaction.

Obesity is not a chemical reaction. If you accept that fat is stored energy, then the appropriate TFLOT equation is Ein = Eout + Estored, or Ein - Estored = Eout. It is a ONE WAY STREET because humans don't drink their urine and re-inhale CO2 and have any metabolic pathways by which they can drive that equation the other way if you insist on looking at it that way. Much like we can't uncombust propane so to talk about some "equilibrium" in such a process is just wrong.

Taubes argues, unsuccessfully that changes in energy stored can somehow drive the in and out terms. Living sentient beings can have voluntary and involuntary mechanisms by which we're told to take in more, conserve stores or burn off excesses, but in the end these are compensatory measures to changes in Ein.

CarbSane said...

@Melchior: I've seen a few studies that offspring of obese women drink more (formula or breastfed) than offspring of lean women. So I don't doubt that this caloric imbalance starts early. Perhaps the high nutritive state is sensed in the womb and the infant eats to mimic it?

On the other end of the spectrum, I think it was Matt Stone who mentioned childhood obesity in a post (can't place it right now) on how IR "begins in the fat" in a different way - basically the amounts of different types of depots is determined by intrauterine nutrition later in gestation. If this is so, the whole working and exercising up until practically the birth date is relatively new and could predispose kids towards adipocyte malfunction. I'm less sure of this latter case for the childhood manifestation of obesity, because this is far more a phenomenon in higher socioeconomic classes, and anecdotally none of the women I've known who did this had fat kids. The childhood obesity epidemic seems to afflict poorer populations more where obesity is rampant. Note: poor does NOT equal undernourished calorie-wise in this nation!!

Leo said...

"A child going through a growth spurt is not overeating."

By definition he is.


A growing child is not overeating by definition. Overeating means eating more than you need. But if a child needs 15% more calories (than someone of his same weight, height and activity levels but not growing would need) to supper his growth and he eats that many calories, he is not overeating but just eating what his body needs, no more and no less.

"The childhood obesity epidemic seems to afflict poorer populations more where obesity is rampant. Note: poor does NOT equal undernourished calorie-wise in this nation!!"

True. I remember when my aunt lost her job and she had to spend very little money on food for her and her two children. She would also accept food aids from the local church. The church aids were mostly pasta (10 bags each time) and also sugar, flour, bread, canned beans and sometimes milk. But also her shopping was mostly pasta on sale.

They were eating pasta like three times everyday and that was the cheapest diet they could have. And it's not like pasta has magical fattening properties but it's very caloric dense and palatable so they were all gaining weight as well because they were overeating on

Melchior Meijer said...

"The church aids were mostly pasta (10 bags each time) and also sugar, flour, bread, canned beans and sometimes milk."

Leo, do you agree that consistently consuming suchs foods creates a strong biological signal to overeat? If you do, you agree with Taubes' most important message, reflected in the titel of GCBC.

Imagine that the church would have provided your aunt and her children with all kinds of meat, fish and dairy. Calorie dense and palatable fair, n'est ce pas, maybe even more so than the flour products. Would they overeat and gain weight? According to your logic they would. The energy dense food would have been there, it was yummie, so they would have eaten it and they would have become as fat as they became on sugar, flour, pasta. etc.

I dare to predict that this would not be the case.

Melchior Meijer said...

CarbSane, the intrauterine circumstances are of paramount importance (Barker's Hypothesis), but I find Matt Stone's idea that running expecting women set up their child for an insulin resistant life far fetched.

There is a huge difference between a starving mother in Ethiopia and an exercising mother in Amsterdam (eve if the latter is following a 'diet').

CarbSane said...

I agree about the exercising which is why I expressed reservations. Still, there was a lady in my former neighborhood who had a baby stroller thing she attached to her bike who was biking through her 9th month, logging serious miles (I saw her once as I drove out that highway) in 90 degree weather. May not malnourish the fetus, but perhaps stress hormones come into play.

Also, I'm not talking just not ballooning up with pregnancy, but some who actually lose weight and/or add NONE while uterine tissue and the fetus are growing which is essentially losing "body" weight.

Leo said...

@Melchior Meijer

Leo, do you agree that consistently consuming suchs foods creates a strong biological signal to overeat? If you do, you agree with Taubes' most important message, reflected in the titel of GCBC.

Imagine that the church would have provided your aunt and her children with all kinds of meat, fish and dairy. Calorie dense and palatable fair, n'est ce pas, maybe even more so than the flour products. Would they overeat and gain weight? According to your logic they would. The energy dense food would have been there, it was yummie, so they would have eaten it and they would have become as fat as they became on sugar, flour, pasta. etc.

I dare to predict that this would not be the case.


But pasta has like 340 calories per 100g and you never eat it alone but have to add cheese or butter. A steak has between 150 and 200 calories, fish even less. Even sausages have at most 280 calorie per 100g but most of the fat is lost in the pan in the cooking process.

So starchy products like bread and pasta are definitely more caloric dense than meat, fish, eggs and fruits. I guess that's why some people tend to overeat when eating them. In fact the smaller the volume a food and the higher it's caloric content, the more a person is going to eat of that food.

The other food I know who is as caloric dense as starchy carbs is nuts. And indeed it's extremely easy to overeat on peanut butter
One could easily eat 1200 calories in just one snack and feel not full at all.

Harry said...

It seems that the "why we over-eat" question is still the crux of the matter here.

CarbSane's explanation that "...why's have everything to do with the types of foods we consume: refined, often liquid, micronutrient poor, energy dense, highly palatable foods in ready supply requiring little energy to procure. Period" is a concise articulation of the 'obesogenic environment' theory of obesity.

In short, human beings are, by and large, unable to defeat their environment when it comes to eating behaviours (and other sorts of behaviours too, such as moral behaviours).

And, given that our environment has lately become so favourable to promoting obesity (cheap, palatable, calorie-dense and fast food, coupled with the rise of the 'food as entertainment' culture), we get the inevitable outcome: human beings do not typically defeat their environment > the eating environment has become obesogenic > increasing numbers of human beings are becoming obese. QED.

Of course, once the over-eating begins (prompted by the obesogenic environment) and the fat cells and metabolism becomes disregulated, this provides additional physiological impediments to losing the weight and inducements to gaining even more (e.g. disregulated appetite, cravings for sugar etc.). At that late juncture in the pathological sequence, choices of macro-nutrients may play a causal role in determining whether or not a fat person becomes fatter or initiates successful weight loss.

BUT, the 'first' cause of the obesity was the initial over-eating, brought about by the obesogenic environment (which again, cannot be resisted by most people).

Cheers
Harry

malpaz said...

http://stephanie-on-health.blogspot.com/ this lady has in my opinion a VERYYYYY good explanation on why we get fat...prolly the best i have read, and understood. she has a lot of arcticle but you need to read them all to see how she connects everything, especially sulfur deficiency

Leo said...

@malpaz

She might be right about the effects of sulfur deficiency and that part is well references.

But the she starts speculating about fat cells being too disabled to release their fats, not something proven as far as I know.

In fact if her muscles don't burn glucose and her fat cells don't release the fats, where does such person get her/his energy from?

Insulin Resistance actually prevents the body from storing more fat so Insulin Resistance doesn't make people fat. But also fat storage and fat release are happening all the time. Fat is going to be stored anyway and it's not storing fat that makes one overweight but not needing the stored fat so it stays in the cells and eating more than one needs so even more fat is added to pre-existing fat.

But according to Stephanie: the cells are going to store the fat, the cells are not releasing the fat ever and the muscles are not burning the glucose. So there's almost no energy source.

But even the most chronically fatigued person, if tested in a laboratory, has an average BMR for her/he weight and weight. In other words she/he is burning as many calories as anyone else all the time. And if food is restricted those calories comes necessarily from fat stores, otherwise she/he wouldn't be overweight or obese or tired... but dead.

Melchior Meijer said...

Leo,

You definitely have a point there. These thoughts have crossed my mind quite often, but it's easy to get stuck in the 'explanation du jour,' I mean the argument that rules ones brain at a certain time. I'm a ping pong ball.

Can we agree that it would be easier to overeat when your staples are bread, pasta etc, than when your staples are meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and maybe dairy?

Harry,

You wrap it up quite convincingly, I must admit. I could of course make the argument that there are cultures who have an abundance of food but still stay slim, like the Kitavans (as documented by Staffan Lindeberg). You would probably counter that they still have to cach/gather and prepare that food, whereas we can buy it on every streetcorner, while millions of euro's are spend to seduce us to do so.

Pfff, maybe it's just that simple. How boring ;-).

CarbSane said...

Perfecto Harry!

Melchior, I think it is easy to overeat refined starches like rice, bread, pasta, etc., not so much because they make us hungry per se, but because (a) they make tasty vehicles for fat calories (not many eat dry toast, and plain pasta and rice), (b) they are devoid of filling fiber so it takes a while to get "stuffed", and, most importantly, (c) meals based on them tend to be deficient in protein. There's a study I may or may not have linked to here regarding primates basically overeating until they meet their protein needs.

Food assistance in this country comes with few strings attached and/or they get around them by various schemes. My hubby works in a very poor neighborhood and he has seen it all. It would be better to provide these people directly with a complete diet of eggs, milk, some meat (I just cooked a pot roast at $2.80/lb and the stew meat from the other day was even cheaper at $2.49/lb), and yes, still potatoes, rice, fruit & veggies. They might still sell off the proteins, but I doubt it. When I see folks using their EBT cards on twinkies and such and I cringe. Thing is, you put more restrictions and they just use these funds for other necessities and/or sell them off to buy them anyway. For whatever reason, these people don't seem interested in nutritious foods even though milk and eggs are often quite cheap in the same places they buy junk. Both of my parents grew up rather poor and both of their Mom's put a premium on buying those proteins. They would never have thought to waste money on empty calories. How did that mindset change? I don't believe these people don't KNOW what is good for them ... even with the demonization of eggs I'm sure they know they're better than twinkies!!

I don't get it. That said, poor people have long "stretched" their food dollar with carbs and there's nothing wrong with that. Potatoes, rice, and for most people even wheat provide much needed energy.

Leo said...

Forgive the OT but since you seem rather knowledge on this topic as well, I wonder, if you were broken and had a very tight budjet for your monthly food, what would you buy mostly to make the most out of your bucks while eating healthy?

CarbSane said...

Hi Leo, for my tastes: tuna, ground beef or chuck roasts, eggs and steam in bag or other frozen veggies. Fresh is generally better, but frozen works and you can get good sales. You can't go wrong with a whole chicken either. I've been making bone broths from the skin and carcass lately to make great soups. I would definitely add rice & potatoes these days too. Right now I have like 20 cans of tuna in the house ... it was on sale! LOL

Don't know where you live but there are great Asian markets where I do. Great prices on fresh fish and produce.

LynMarie Daye said...

Just a quick note on frozen vegetables: if the bag feels like one big frozen mass, that means it was probably thawed and re-frozen at some point. Apparently, that depletes some of the vitamin content. Buy bags that are flexible, the more flexible the better. This usually indicates the vegetables were flash frozen and never thawed & frozen again. Supposed to be almost as good as fresh in terms of micronutrient content.

CarbSane said...

Speaking of cheap: I would never have thought to buy these the other day but Mom always calls dibs on the wing on the Thanksgiving turkey. She's gone and hurt herself so we've been delivering some meals. I saw a giant package of turkey wings for like $1.50/lb. Here I thought the package contained a lot of wings, but turns out it was 4 giant ones! Chopped onion & celery, covered bottom of dutch oven, laid in the wings, poured ~ 1c water and brought to a boil. Sprinkled tops with poultry seasoning, salt, garlic powder and some thyme and into the oven at 275 to simmer. Added a pkg of baby carrots after about 1/2 hour closed back up till done. LOTS of good meat on those wings, to be eaten with the broth or use broth to make a soup later. I got a pkg of drummies for Dad too. Two big ones $3.50. Not too shabby!

CarbSane said...

@LMD: This is why I love the baby green beans from Trader Joe's. They are flash frozen and steam up so nice.

Razwell said...

Good God. When will carb Sane realize the first law of thermodynamics CANNOT AND DOES NOT explain the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors.

It can't. The problem is purely BIOLOGICAL.

email Stephen Hawking if you can.

Sanjeev said...

Leo said...
Forgive the OT but since you seem rather knowledge on this topic as well, I wonder, if you were broken
_____
I hope you mean, as I am, "broke" or "poor", not "broken".

The cheapest way to increase protein believe it or not is mail order protein powder.

When you buy a pound of this stuff you get a pound of protein. You in the US can get it $4 a pound for whey, $7 for casein. When you account for the water weight of meat, even the cheapest cuts of meat that I have ever found locally turn out more expensive per gram of protein.

Around 2 years ago for a while I subsisted[1] on whey, soy powder, hemp powder and rendered beef tallow (free from a local butcher).
This is ONLY to supplement the amount of protein if you think you're not getting enough. I try not to do it for more than 20 to 30% of my protein.

And a lot of these are completely fat free, if you ever try to minimize calories.

Look at places like Trueprotein.com

[1] or maybe it was sub-sub-sub-sisted. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Myron Schwarzennecker said...

This is an awful reminder of how long Taubes has been slinging it.

carbsane said...

And others before him ;-) I always find it hilarious when a TWICHOOB consumes lots of whey and beef.

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