las

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!)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Dose of Reality ...

... courtesy of Anthony Colpo.

Why Most People are Overweight, Out of Shape & Likely to Stay that Way

It comes to mind that it requires a fair amount of discipline to adhere strictly to a low carb or Paleo or whatever-free diet.  It also requires a fair amount of taking an interest in one's health/fitness to do even the most minimal of exercise programs.

So I wonder sometimes over the seeming animosity so prevalent in such circles towards those who manage their weight and health through other disciplined means.

68 comments:

Margaret said...

The more research I do, and the more I objectively observe my own experience, the more I am convinced that the whole thing comes down to willpower and taking responsibility. Unfortunately we are in a society where taking responsibility for your behavior is not a PC thing to suggest.

Kindke said...

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3507356/Genetic-condition-means-Im-three-times-the-size-of-my-twin.html

The fact that problems with genetics are able to override the so called "laws of thermodynamics" and the calorie is a calorie mantra removes credibility from Mr Colpo's conclusion. Does it not?

Making the statement that weight loss ( and weight gain ) is all about calories also implicitly makes the conclusion that mitochondria always keep thier ATP levels topped off, regardless of the hormonal environment of the body,

is that true?

eulerandothers said...

People who manage their weight through disciplined means...

This is WAY too controversial!

Dawn said...

The whole issue still begs the question of WHY people have to "take responsibility" and "exercise self control" when just a couple of generations ago there were far fewer overweight people in need of any such discipline. Is it simply that food is way more plentiful and lots cheaper as a proportion of income than it used to be? (Perhaps it isn't a coincidence that Americans have the cheapest food in the developed world?) I think this is part of the answer but it certainly can't be all of it.

Frank said...

Dawn

Just in the past 100 years things have changed a lot... We're spending most of our time seated, we don't have to walk long distance anymore for anything, everything is becoming automatized, and there's an easy access to highly caloric and non satieting food. That can easily explain the striking difference.

What other kind of answer are you looking for?

H said...

I don't disagree with Colpo's sentiments, but I feel like it's oversimplified to the point of uselessness (at least for me). Basically, he's saying get calories in < calories out, but there's no talk of the difficulty in sustaining that condition for a large number of people from either a psychological or physiological perspective.

I get frustrated when I just hear CICO without any elaboration. I really don't mean to ruffle your feathers because I know you've taken others to task when they've expressed the same frustration. It's just that I already take CICO as a given, and I want a way of reducing calorie input or increasing calorie output without going insane. That's the interesting part to me.

As a lay person trying to lose some pounds, I just want to know ways to eat less without getting ridiculously hungry. More protein? More fat? More carbs? Brainwashing? And I am one of the unfortunates that get extremely hungry from exercise. (Which I guess I don't mind too much since exercise has health benefits irrespective of whether it helps with weight loss.)

I also dislike Colpo's statement here:
"You’ll smile knowingly, fully aware that luck has nothing to do with it. Instead, deciding to break ranks with the lazy, flabby majority and living like you actually have some respect for your body and health has everything to do with it."
1) It's condescending. He's got a good body, he's not Gandhi. 2) It doesn't acknowledge the role of genetics in determining people's weight. Some people can maintain low bf with little effort, while others have to struggle for every ounce of fat reduction. EG, myself when I was running 30 miles a week, and eating 1500-2000 calories a day and still not losing weight. Why does my mix of insulin, leptin, ghrelin, ccks, or whatevers like keeping me pudgy, and is there anyway to break past it?

Stargazey said...

Yes, it takes willpower. Yes you must have calories in < calories out.

But in my own personal case, I couldn't do it until I discovered low-carb. If I decreased calories on a balanced diet, I got so cold and lethargic that I couldn't function. If I exercised I would feel better, but my weight was unaffected. My BMI was 32.4 and rising steadily.

It wasn't until I found Atkins 2002 and followed it to the letter that the weight came off. It came off at less than a pound a week, but I could tolerate the hunger. I wasn't cold and I wasn't lethargic. I know this site hates Gary Taubes, but in the main, the scientific principles he describes worked as advertised. I did finally have to start paying attention to calories, but with the satiety produced by fat and protein, the little bit of willpower I have was sufficient.

Today I eat about 30-40 grams of carb a day and am probably in ketosis most of the time. My BMI is 21. My blood pressure is 110/60. My fasting blood glucose is 80. The last time they were measured, my triglycerides were 43 and my HDL was 138.

My FFAs may be off the scale. I really don't care. I've been doing low-carb for almost 8 years and I've never felt better. For those who would like to lose weight and have failed miserably on other programs, I would like to recommend that you try 2002 Atkins for weight loss and for weight maintenance. For me, it was literally a gift from God.

bluetooth.Enabled said...

@H

Yeah, I too can sense the animosity and condescension present in that article.

Some people can maintain low bf with little effort, while others have to struggle for every ounce of fat reduction.

I fully agree. Genetics are huge. I'm one of those that has had to struggle, and I almost hate how some have it so easy without even knowing it. I've had to restrict calories to the point of insomnia to see results. Extremely controlled diet. Definitely a price to pay, but it's worked for me.

From gaining this discipline however, I guess it's sort of trained me to be disgusted and disdain the behaviors of those whom I consider, well, not disciplined, or successful at controlling their weight/themselves. For example, there's this woman at my job who is always blabbing to a coworker about her latest Weight Watchers program (which she repeatedly fails apparently) and I just can't stand to hear her spew that noise pollution. i.e. she talks about how she has to "watch her points" for the rest of the day because she ate chocolate or some other junk. It disgusts me on so many levels, and just annoys me to no end, that's all. Maybe that's where the animosity comes from.

bluetooth.Enabled said...

...and also for me at least, if you've put a fair amount of discipline and effort into achieving something, it's possible to develop a new set of standards for yourself. Maybe even "higher" standards. In my case, and maybe it's possible to start applying the same standards one might apply to oneself to other people as well.

RRX said...

Kindke,

"Blood tests showed Sophie was suffering from the rare melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) gene deficiency. This means everything Sophie eats is stored as fat, making it impossible for her to shed any weight no matter how much she exercises or restricts her diet."

"The condition does not just mean kids carry excess fat. They also have more muscle and denser bones, so they are sometimes described as looking "big-boned"."

How is genetics violating the laws of thermodynamics there?

Case studies of extreme metabolic dysfunction is NOT the situation 95-plus % of people find themselves in when they are gaining weight (and I guess want to lose it). The subject of this post and the article linked within it is about that 95-plus %. Let's keep on track and not fall into a red herring fallacy.

RRX said...

Dawn,

Unfortunately, yes we have to exercise discipline that folk of past did not have to worry about. They either didn't have the money to eat excessively, which the well-to-do did, or ate a lot but had to bust ass on the farm or in their manual labor factory job and worked through the food ingested. Food is readily accessible now and it's dirt cheap compared to in the past. The subsidies didn't cheapen food in the past.

That said, I think there are too many negative connotations with saying we need to "take responsibility". There's a lot involved in how we end up where we do and it isn't just that one factor of taking responsibility. Obesity and what to do about it should not be framed as a morality issue. At least, IMO. Self-control is definitely necessary, though, to control ourselves in such a food-saturated environment. That's something that can be exercised and developed over time with effort. Expecting people to just have it all of the sudden, though, is ridiculous. That gets back to the issue I take with framing it as a morality issue.

RRX said...

H,

I agree re. "the difficulty in sustaining that condition for a large number of people from either a psychological or physiological perspective."

I also agree that your Colpo quote is condescending. Every actual study of REE that I have looked at that has a scatterplot of the LBM and REE shows how there is variability between individuals. Within as much as a 400 kcal range (that I have seen), one person with 100 lbs of LBM can have an REE that's 1-400 kcals MORE than another person with the same amount of LBM. And that's just RESTING energy expenditure. Expended calories can also vary between individuals when it comes to EE from physical activity (though that seems to be more tightly varied according to total weight). This is why I think it's just ignorant to compare individuals in our daily lives. To make judgments about other people based on how they look and what they're doing at that ONE moment that you see them is freaking ridiculous. These study results are also why I think individuals have to find what works for them irrespective of what others may be doing or what some "expert" may say should be done. YOUR REE/TEE is not going to be what I or some "expert" thinks it should be/is. YOU need to find out for yourself and then work in a deficit in the way that works best for you (and not what some "expert" thinks should be best for you).

That, of course, takes more than a little discipline to find out...

Cheesy said...

Definitely controversial. One thing I've noticed is the horrible attitude people here in the USA have towards food. Everything has to taste perfect, people have "must have or I will die foods," hate feeling even a tinge of hunger, have to have a snack or dessert, etc. etc. Maintaining your health takes work, just like anything else worthwhile. Why are people taught to work hard in school or a job, but not when it comes to health? Personally, I think studying for a big exam is a lot harder than eating a "healthy" diet.

Of course there are genetic and environmental factors that must be addressed. People are clearly different when it comes to food and we need to cover all bases. But we can't just blame genes and the environment. People don't need to take the blame, but they need to take some responsibility.

eulerandothers said...

Cheesy, I'm tired of the hunger complaints myself. I was hungry when I was a kid because I was active, we had our meals planned out at least a week in advance at home, no snacking, and we didn't eat in restaurants or convenience stores. Needless to say, no fast food.

It's been a long time since I've been hungry. Really hungry. Even on the many diets I've tried - and I do believe I've tried them all. At the end of every whining, 'I'm so hungry, this is killing me...' there's been a meal or some small thing to eat. You can actually survive feeling hungry. And what's more, it's pathetic when you realize there is real hunger in the world, suffered by people who aren't trying to reduce clothing sizes! (No, we're not immoral to complain, we're just clueless.)

Harry said...

@ Dawn
"...just a couple of generations ago there were far fewer overweight people in need of any such discipline. Is it simply that food is way more plentiful and lots cheaper as a proportion of income than it used to be?"

Yes it really is that simple, coupled with the fact that we are hard-wired to eat heavily when food is abundant (i.e. cheap, plentiful, highly palatable etc.).

So, historically abnormal food abundance + millions of years of evolution = increasing levels of obesity. Sometimes the simple explanation really is the best one.

@ H
"As a lay person trying to lose some pounds, I just want to know ways to eat less without getting ridiculously hungry. More protein? More fat? More carbs? Brainwashing?"

In treating my clients, I've come to the following hierarchy of guidelines regarding hunger abatement in former-SAD consumers:

Increasing protein is the number one weapon for satiety. Avoiding/limiting sugary+fatty foods (e.g. desserts, confectionary) is number two. Emphasising whole, unprocessed foods is number three.

Apart from these there are many little tricks of the trade (e.g. volumetrics, smaller plates, water before meals etc.) that may help marginally. But you must accept that some hunger is a normal part of daily life, especially at lean body composition levels.

@RRX
You make some excellent, well balanced comments.

Cheers
Harry

Sanjeev said...

Dawn wrote...
> question of WHY people have to "take responsibility"
> and "exercise self control" when just a couple of generations ago


1. older people are generally fatter, generally have more diseases of all kinds (diabetes, fatty liver, cancer ...)
2. most populations across the earth have been getting older (average and median)
3. couple of generations ago the averate age was MUCH less

1a, 2a, 3a (corollary) have you noted all the related epidemics?

And are we sure that there really is an epidemic? Remember, good news doesn't sell so newpapers don't print it.

http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2007/11/cdc-admits-there-is-no-obesity-epidemic.html or clickable

another:

http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/08/jfs-special-report-obesity.html, click

Lots of other stuff on that site worth reading.

Stargazey wrote ...
> in the main, the scientific principles he describes worked as advertised

He described a diet that's easier for many to follow.

IMHO He got the science behind the diet hopelessly wrong

And he's leading lots of people down this garden path: get rid of the carbs & you may eat without limit, with impunity.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I remember "the good old days" of theomnivore.com, when Anthony Colpo was the darling of the low-carb community.

Then, one day, he told an inconvenient truth that calories mattered, even on low-carb diets.

The howls of sorrow/contempt etc can still be heard to this day. I will now get off the sofa and move my lazy ass/arse!

Kindke said...

RRX,

"Case studies of extreme metabolic dysfunction is NOT the situation 95-plus % of people find themselves in when they are gaining weight (and I guess want to lose it). "

What about the statistic that says something like 95% of diets ( including calorie reduced )fail whereby the participants either fail to lose the amount of weight they aim for or gain back the weight after a short period of time.

Obviously im not suggesting all fat people have this particular genetic problem that I linked to in my article, but clearly calories in- calories out is not the only determinant of body fat %, actually I would argue it is the least important.

As I said before, I would like to see evidence that mitochondria are able to keep thier ATP levels maxed out whatever the genetic/hormonal environment of the body.

CarbSane said...

@Kindke: I'm not sure what you're getting at with ATP levels. If we burn (oxidize) ingested molecules to produce ATP, we exhale CO2, in doing so the mass in goes out. What we take in that doesn't come out adds to weight. Body fat % is not the issue here. Genetics/hormones do play a role in whether we put extra weight on as fat or lean, etc. My personal experience is that low insulin levels (if indeed that's what I achieved on low carb) lead me to accumulate trunk fat vs. lower body fat.

Sophie is not belying the laws of thermodynamics. She likely has a very low BMR associated with her genetic makeup. Nobody denies a genetic component to obesity, but as humans we have not undergone en masse mutation that would explain the obesity epidemic.

@All: I go both ways on attitudes like Colpo's. Yes, there's that air of condescension that can be tough to swallow. The feeling of being judged when one is truly obese is very difficult - BTDT. OTOH, I've been all manner of weights in my life and - while I suspect I would still fall shy of Anthony's "standards" - I do know that I WAS lazy back in 2006 when I had regained all of my low carb losses of prior years and piled on a few more. Body weight is within most of our control - we need to make it a priority. Perhaps not perfect, ideal, etc. but "normal".

It is SO unfair that my husband can eat junk and so long as he's working (at something other than a desk job) he stays rather lean. Periods when he's been unemployed he's gained a lot of weight. He's also down around 100 lbs from his high weight and, with the exception of perhaps 3-4 Eades shake weeks in 2009 has done absolutely NOTHING to effort that loss. Makes me want to scream sometimes! (Although we DO cook really good food at home a LOT more these days).

I'm being mocked in the comments of other blogs these days for daring to suggest that most of the obese know of other reasons behind some "metabolism gone wild" for why they got fat and/or why they remain that way. The mockers seem to all be fairly lean men or men who have never been truly obese. Just sayin ....

There's a saying that rings true to me: In order to lose the fat on your body, you must lose the fat in your head.

@Stargazey: This site nor I "hate Taubes". I'm getting pretty sick of that characterization. I hate gimmicks and dishonesty in the name of science and he personifies that. GCBC didn't even lay out any principles for weight loss, now WWGF does. But he offers up a fatalistic solution: cut carbs and if you cut them out and are still fat there's just not much more you can do. VLC with planned cheats worked very well for me for a good long ride. But it got me to one point and no further. Folks are being convinced they have hopelessly broken metabolisms when this is simply not true. Taubes also contributes to carbophobic eating disorders AFAIC. Too many yo yo mercilessly and low carbing is no cure for that, because they take/took Atkins "one bite" admonishment that is now supposedly backed by Taubes' "science".

CarbSane said...

@Dawn: Welcome! I agree with Harry, the obesogenic environment really is a huge factor. Growing up we didn't have wireless devices, microwaves, 24/7 fast food available at several establishments, lattes & Red Bull etc.etc.etc. This all really does add up.

@H: Welcome as well! As Cheesy mentioned, there's hunger and there's sort of an obsession with never feeling any hunger. I think most "dieting hunger" stems from obsessing over foods and/or feeling deprived of foods you can't have that others - especially that thin sibling/friend/coworker - seems to be able to eat with abandon. For me, protein has been the key. I think it is for most women. 15% protein on a typical CRD for a woman is not enough IMO.

I think the notion that folks are never hungry on low carb/Paleo is nonsense. How can one "eat when hungry, stop when full" as counseled for LC when one doesn't let themselves experience hunger?

Just another note on the condescension re: appearances. I've got to say that when I got really obese, I absolutely DID let myself go and not show a whole lot of respect for myself and my body. Even before I lost a pound I decided that the rest of that would be fixed: better attention to grooming, nicer clothes, etc. When I was fat and ate crap I was disrespecting my body. Not eating crap is within all of our controls. Would you agree?

Mary said...

I listened to Todd Becker on Jimmy Moore's podcast, and when he said, "Don't eat when you're hungry" I thought, that's insane. But I tried it, and it's actually really powerful to put hunger in its place. His point was that hunger is conditioned and we can change up the conditioning by ignoring it at least for a while.

RRX said...

Kindke,

What about that stat? Failing to get what you want doesn't mean you tried or that you tried very much as far as what counts. You can THINK you tried a lot without ever actually doing the thing that matters, in this case creating an energy deficit thereby requiring the body to use fat stores to bridge the gap. Furthermore, gaining weight back after losing it also irrelevant to what I said.

Body fat % is actually first determined by mass/energy/calories in vs. out. Only after that can other aspects be involved. While a fuller (to borrow from Lyle McDonald) energy equation can be described as:

Energy In (corrected for digestion) = (BMR/RMR + TEF + TEA + SPA/NEAT + Metabolic Inefficiencies) + Change in Body Stores

It still requires a variation in mass/energy/kcals in to have an effect. That is a necessity and should not be forgotten, which it regularly is.

And, why is this necessary?
"evidence that mitochondria are able to keep thier ATP levels maxed out whatever the genetic/hormonal environment of the body."

Are you asking as far as a separate discussion goes? This is a non-issue when it comes to the research that has been done on weight loss finding that ONLY the deficit matters to create a predictable weight loss. Until that stops being the case, why would the average ATP levels matter for weight loss?

Stargazey said...

This site nor I "hate Taubes". I'm getting pretty sick of that characterization.

I'm sorry to hear that I've mischaracterized your position on Taubes. I drew my conclusion from what I've read here about Mr. Taubes in the last week or so. Perhaps my observational skills are lacking. It wouldn't be the first time.

CarbSane said...

Stargazey, I apologize if I appeared to snap at you. It's just that I do get tired of being portrayed that way. Initially I had no negative feelings towards him professionally or personally. After our exchanges and delving into his references and misrepresentation thereof, I am left believing the man is fundamentally dishonest in his professional capacities. There's no other way to interpret his misrepresentation of Newsholme & Start in GCBC. That is one unforgivable deliberate ... dare I say it ... lie.

I am very happy for you to have achieved what you have and CONGRATULATIONS!! But it's more the outlier than the norm that I've seen. If low carb works more power to you, and we all take our chances right? I happen to think we tend to wear our health on the outside and inside, so if you feel great, likely all is well. Keep on keeping on!!

But this notion that VLC is the only way, the lower the better, carbs are poison, etc.etc. is counterproductive. There are so many who say they are "doing everything right" and not seeing results. I say, you're not doing everything right for YOU if that's the case.

I judge nobody. Lots of folks having a go at me around the web for still weighing too much or because a size 10 (8 sometimes) is still too big, etc.

My concerns over NEFA are because of some truly frightening episodes I experiened with racing heart and such the last time I did VLC. My research was to prove to myself my WOE was healthy ... coming from that bias - hoping the answer was a resounding YES! - what I've found has been sobering. And we have scant epidemiological evidence to fall back on either.

I eat a legit low carb diet these days. Only b/c I don't buy into Taubes' fairy tales I'm the devil incarnate. I've been rock solid +/- 2-3 lbs around my "true weight" for over a year now. And wearing about this size or smaller for almost 3. Life is good and I did this and continue to do this eating far far fewer carbs than most. Too bad so many (not saying you, just in general) seem to wish ill on me.

Sorry to go on a rant. It's been a long day.
Peace! :D

Stargazey said...

Thanks, CarbSane.

I'm concerned that you keep talking about VLC and not low-carb. My brief association with Charles Washington and zero-carb taught me that there are dangers associated with elimination of all carbs from the diet, particularly the danger of high blood sugars in people over 50 who attempt to go that route. I even asked Dr. Bernstein about it last year and he responded that no people group has gone completely zero-carb, and he would be very reticent to try such a program for that reason.

VLC and zero-carb seem to be a reaction of low-carbers who don't realize that excess protein provokes an insulin response, though a smaller one, just as carbs do. They don't realize that as they near goal they have to figure out trigger foods, psychological factors, and other non-carb variables that affect weight loss. Taking carbs right down to zero isn't enough.

Low-carbers also need to remember that there really are some people who can choose to eat fewer calories or exercise more and lose weight. My husband is a pediatrician. He is astonished that he can simply tell overweight little kids to eat less, have them eat less and they lose weight. As easy as that. Some people have that experience all their lives. But some of us don't, and for us, carbs may turn out to be an important factor in the equation. For me, Taubes's book explained what I was experiencing in my life - nearly-uncontrollable hunger despite massive fat stores sitting unused, and a downregulation of my metabolism whenever I tried to diet. Do I take his writings as Scripture? No. But I think he does have some valuable points to add to the discussion, so I look at his writings as helpful, but not the final authority on everything.

Sue said...

Stargazey, I agree about Taubes.

Sue said...

Also I can see how Stargazey had the impression you hated Taubes from your writings.

bluetooth.Enabled said...

A lot of the high-fat pushers i.e. ZIOH (maybe even Taubes') seem to embrace this idea of rabbit starvation, which I know at least from personal experience, is hogwash. I know what it is to go on a diet of chicken breasts and nearly NO fat, and not get any "rabbit starvation".
You can get hungry and fatter on a VLC/ZC diet, I've found that's definitely true.
No VLC/ZC isn't always enough. You may have to learn to handle hunger.

Stargazey said...

Thanks, Sue.

Alan said...

not by way of confrontational arguing, but just to be evenhanded, there are apparently many many people (recently NOT including me) who do real ZC for long periods of time, and suffer no ill effects.

I think it is still true for me that going ZC (when i do that, which is not recently, but that's not due to any "decision"), does change the **character** of hunger. Which by itself, can be a big help.

Finally: CS, just because some of us males were never "morbidly obese" doesn't mean that we never were visibly overweight, and also (like you) really felt motivated to trim up.

In your life as a married matured woman, you may not have lots of interfacing with single guys. Well, for us, getting trimmer has more immediate benefits than it would to (say for example) your husband.

eulerandothers said...

I have asked people how they lost weight. The answer is the same: I ate less (or the variation, I went to WW, or TOPS, or Overeaters Anonymous - and ate less).

It's astounding how simple it is. Low-carbing is one technique, but not the only technique, and not even the only effective technique for something so highly particular in nature. Losing weight is not magic. However it happens, what bothers people is how long it takes.

I have a business idea: set up a weight loss plan that sends frustrated dieters to obesity researchers. Given a weight loss plan and some incentive to participate in a scientific study, people will lose weight on a variety of diets. The tough cases who swear they 'did everything right' but the results look screwy go straight on to studies on metabolic wards. It's win-win for all concerned.

Harry said...

@ Stargazey
"For me, Taubes's book explained what I was experiencing in my life - nearly-uncontrollable hunger despite massive fat stores sitting unused, and a downregulation of my metabolism whenever I tried to diet."

The problem is, you can find coherent explanations for things that are completely untrue (i.e. coherence = plausible, consistent story that's not necessarily true).

The history of science is littered with such coherent explanations that turned out to be wrong (Google "phlogiston theory" for the classic exemplar).

This is why we need to run controlled experiments on such explanations; in order to 'shine the light of reality on to the book of theory'.

Taubes' explanation of your hunger may well be an attractive-sounding explanation; but the science (expounded upon in great length here and in other places) simply does not support his carb consumption > insulin secretion > insulin resistance theory.

What we know is that insulin resistance (not insulin secretion) can lead to post-prandial hunger when large amounts of carbs are consumed. It's unsurprising that reducing carbs would ameliorate that effect.

It's another thing to claim that ONLY reducing carbs will solve the problem (i.e. where does that leave calorie restriction and exercise, both of which have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity irrespective of carb intake?); and it's another thing altogether to claim that eating carbs was what made you fat and resistant to insulin in the first place.

I am sympathetic to the impulse to advocate for a WOE that worked for you; but this must be tempered by an acknowledgement of the fact that, until the science is clear, you may not actually know what it was about your WOE that worked for you!

Cheers
Harry

Stargazey said...

To repeat myself: Low-carbers also need to remember that there really are some people who can choose to eat fewer calories or exercise more and lose weight.

As far as the science, my dissertation was on insulin receptor signaling. Ingestion of carbohydrate (and protein to a lesser extent) cause the release of insulin. An abundance of insulin causes downregulation of the insulin receptor itself and of the insulin signaling intermediates IRS-1 and IRS-2. Downregulation of the insulin receptor and its signaling intermediates means that a larger concentration of insulin is required to effect the same signal (insulin resistance). So carbs->insulin->insulin resistance is true in some systems.

Harry said...

I said, "until the science is clear, you may not actually know what it was about your WOE that worked for you!"

to which you replied
"An abundance of insulin causes downregulation of the insulin receptor itself and of the insulin signaling intermediates IRS-1 and IRS-2. Downregulation of the insulin receptor and its signaling intermediates means that a larger concentration of insulin is required to effect the same signal (insulin resistance). So carbs->insulin->insulin resistance is true in some systems"

Your response seems to manage to simultaneously make overly ambitious (insulin secretion of itself causes IR) and tentative (only in 'some systems'). So, for the purposes of clarity (and so you don't have to keep repeating yourself), please note the following claims:

1) That carbohydrates cause IR at any dose (!)
2) That carbs cause IR above a certain threshold of diet composition (e.g. above 40% of total calories
3) That carbs cause IR above a certain absolute value (e.g. more than 200gms/day)
4) That carbs cause IR in all people
5) That carbs cause IR in some people

Can you please elucidate the particular elements that science IS clear on regarding people's carbohydrate consumption and the initiation/progression of IR?

Cheers
Harry

Frank said...

Stargazey

Not to pick on you, but for the sake of the discussion, you say

Carbs and protein cause an insulin release. Than you say "an abundance of insulin..." as if you imply that eating carbs and protein equal an abundance of insulin such as seen in an pathological IR state.

A healthy body is largely able to handle to insulin load of a meal of carbohydrate an protein. Now some LC will say that carbs comsumption is what cause the body to be unhealthy. Well, the thing is that science is far from clear on this. The hypothesis with the more science to back it up is that large quantity of unused fuel of any kind coupled with a sendentary lifestyle is what utimatly fuck us up ( read, lipotoxicity AND glucotoxicity on hypercaloric diet).

I don't think the carbs > insulin = insulin resistance as simplyfied by Taubes is right at any level.

Stargazey said...

Science. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIP6EwqMEoE

Harry said...

@ Stargazey

If you take a Popperian view, Taubes' view is falsified (Okinawans, Kitavans, the potato-eating Irish, lean bodybuilders eating copious amounts of oatmeal and rice etc.).

If you take a Kuhnian view, Taubes is also wrong (i.e. he's arguing an occult view within the dominant paradigm; he's not articulating a different paradigm by any means).

Cheers
Harry

Sanjeev said...

> If you take a Popperian view ...
> ... If you take a Kuhnian view ...

If you take the absurdist view (mine) Taubes is pulling a Sokal

Harry said...

I dunno about pulling a Sokal...I don't think he's that much of a scoundrel.

I reckon he figured out (along with Atkins et al) that low carb means spontaneously (and unconsciously) lower calories for most people, which in turn creates weight loss and other attendant health benefits.

He then used that knowledge to leverage the claim that calories aren't the main game for weight loss. He gets away with it because the LC "success stories" mistakenly assume that their success is due solely to lower carbs (as opposed to the concomitant lower calories and higher protein, which are probably doing the causal work).

Having said that, he may just be a sloppy journalist trapped inside his own (and his supporters') echo chamber. It happens - cognitive dissonance is a problem for all of us, even those of us who don't have book deals on the line ;-)

Cheers
Harry

Sanjeev said...

scoundrel ... you could see Sokal that way. And I would say it with the best possible meaning.

To me, a Sokal type "lesson for the world" would cast the best possible slant on Taubes' actions (if they were deliberate, and not good faith mistakes)

> the LC "success stories" mistakenly assume
> that their success

Almost all diets "work" for most people temporarily
Almost all diets "work" for a chosen few permanently

for some value of the variable "work" ; )

Don't all diet book authors expect this, or get told this by their publisher / editor / distributor? Surely that knowledge, that expectation is par for the course in this day and age.

bluetooth.Enabled said...

About Kindke's example, Sophie:
"This means everything Sophie eats is stored as fat, making it impossible for her to shed any weight no matter how much she exercises or restricts her diet."

So the glucose in response to every meal is sent to fat tissue for storage, rather than her brain? What happens when she later needs endogenous glucose production, GNG? Does the release glucose go straight to fat tissue also? By the quoted statement, it would seem that any free fatty acids or glucose would be re-esterfied and stored, and never used as fuel. Doesn't make sense to me.

CarbSane said...

I also agree BE, the wording is a bit hyperbolic if you ask me. Given that there's the triglyceride/FA cycle operating in each of us, it's fair to say that it must be in Sophie too.

To put it in perspective, however, according to this article: "In summary, potentially pathogenic mutations in the MC4R gene were found at a frequency of approximately 3–4% in severe early-onset obesity and represent the most common monogenic defect causing human obesity thus far described". Translation: A very small percent of a small subset of the population as a whole.

I would say Sophie falls in the same class as the hypothalamic obese that Lustig frequently cites. Hyperinsulinemia due to a genetic mutation or damaged organ. These cases can be instructive but they offer us no information as to the cause of HI in "normal" people.

RRX said...

Stargazey,

So you say that in some systems that can happen. I ask, how many people have confirmed that that is what happened? Unless there is objective confirmation, I cannot give any credence to someone making that claim as happening to them (to which I am NOT saying that you said that happened to you or anyone here in particular).

I am going to throw this out to everyone...here and now...that makes claims about their own situation. I want evidence. You have an insulin disorder? What test was done to confirm that? Your metabolism is busted? How so? What test did you take? Hooded calorimetry for BMR? Whole-room calorimetry for TEE? Doubly-labeled water over 2 weeks for average TEE? Eat literally the same weighed foods every single day in gradually increasing amounts watching weight-stability to determine estimated average TEE? Did you vary the macronutrient composition while maintaining total caloric amount?

I don't ask for a higher standard of evidence. I demand it. I'm tired of the case studies, news articles, and random outliers as explanations for more than that individual's situation. If Sane doesn't request that I not, and/or block me from posting, then for the sake of the quality of discussion, I am going to ask these questions every time I see the statements/claims made.

eulerandothers said...

RRX, remember my business idea to send dieters to obesity research studies and then the outliers on to metabolic ward obesity studies? (All the money will be in the maintenance phase, by the way!)

You can do my public relations!

CarbSane said...

This would be a great idea! Of course one might consider it cruel in that the offspring of diet book authors may be deprived of college educations.

RRX said...

That would be great, IMHO.

Besides, I need to make house payments somehow. Given that research alone doesn't pay many bills, that would be a great corporate spin-off. And since that's not in my field of research, I wouldn't have any conflicts of interest!

Thomas said...

@Carbsane-Real pic? If so, I feel like I just saw KISS unmasked for the first time.

I wish these discussions could be done face to face-people would be much more polite IMO.

CarbSane said...

Yep. But my tongue can't reach my nose ;-)

CarbSane said...

@All: To me VLC is anywhere up to say 30g/day - maybe pushing up to about 40 depending on total intake. Even 50g = 200 cals which is 10% for a common maintenance diet of 2000 cal/day, less for those who get to eat a bit more, not a whole lot more and considerably under 20% for those who eat fewer calories. I don't see a huge difference between the ZC folks and those who eat only the occasional veggies or only green leafy veggies (even in abundance).

@Stargazey: If it is insulin or IR "trapping fat in cells", and carbs and nextmost protein provoke an insulin response, how do you explain the weight loss in this study: A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight. All diets were 50% carb. They established weight maintaining caloric levels on 15% protein/35% fat, switched them to 30% pro/20% fat isocaloric (weight stable), then provided them with an excess of food of the insulinogenic 80% carb/protein low fat diet. The insulin profiles are pictured in this post. Even though the participants weren't trying to lose weight - they were even told this wasn't a weight loss study and not to expect it - they ate ~440 fewer cals/day ad lib and lost 10.8 lbs in 12 weeks. Insulin doesn't NET trap fat in cells unless there's a caloric surplus!

Thomas said...

Chris Masterjohn (a well respected guy in the paleo world-although he isn't really paleo) said at a Wise traditions Conference:

"Saying that insulin causes insulin resistance is like saying that childhood mortality is caused by children."

I've heard Stephen Guynet (another well respected guy in the paleo world-although he really isn't paleo either) doubt the role of insulin in obesity as it is commonly presented.

These less insulin centric views (sorry I'm not expounding upon them here) as it related to IR and obesity seem to be the "new paradigm." I found it very fascinating in chris masterjohn's article "Is Insulin Resistance Really Making Us Fat" that in a rat model, IR without leptin resistance actually resulted in slightly leaner rats vs. the insulin sensitive rats. I think it is fair to say that the insulin-centric view of IR and obesity may be incorrect (I'm not sure on this, by the way).

RRX said...

"Chris Masterjohn (a well respected guy in the paleo world-although he isn't really paleo) said..." & "Stephen Guynet (another well respected guy in the paleo world-although he really isn't paleo either) doubt..."

Fallacious Appeal to Authority

Thomas said...

@RRX:
With respect, explain how pointing out what was said by other well respected and educated contributors to the paleo blogasphere is a fallacious appeal to authority?
Here is something you might respect-I lost about 50 lbs eating a high carb yet lower calorie diet. It sucked-I was hungry a lot, but it did work. Here is your evidence (this is all I can give you since you were not there to witness it). I went from 198lbs to 150 lbs in a year and a half. I ate anywhere from 1800 to 2400 Kcal per day and exercised for about ½ hour a day. I probably averaged a bowl of oatmeal (1 cup oats) with brown sugar twice a day. I didn’t watch carbs otherwise-I ate bread and rice. It worked-but it shouldn’t have if I was constantly spiking insulin, even in a calorie deficit (if insulin is what makes us fat).
By the way, I don’t think spiking insulin all of the time is particularly healthy, but it has to be taken in context.

Razwell said...

Science does not understand cellular metabolism that well- only bits and fragments.


No one, and certainly not Anthony Colpo , understands the full mechanisms behind the etiologies of obesity and cornary artery disease . To do so would require a complete understanding of human cellular metabolism.


Dr. Jeffrey Friedman ( as well as other genuine scitnists) , a top tier obesity scientist has been working overtime on cracking obesity and has not done it yet. When a scientist can demonstrate they can make the super obese lean, let alone keep them that way for many years. THAT'S a NOBEL PRIZE.

Anyone claiming they have the secret to fat loss, you can be SURE it is NONSENSE.

Genuine science does NOT proclaim "truth" or "100 certainty". Science does not permit such extravagancies. Genuine science tests hypotheses and strives for consensus. It does not speak like Anthony Colpo. He has a very, very poor understanding of the scientifc method (as well as obesity ).


Anthony Colpo does not acknowledge numerous things genuine science has turned up about obesity. ( common viruses, gut microbiota malnutrition, genetics, medications,) He has demonstrated profound ignorance.


What is known is far less than what is not about both coronary artery disease and obesity . Genuine science is a work in progress. ANY valid source of scientific information MUST admit uncertainty and VAST unknowns.

CarbSane said...

Aww Raz! I was worried about you it's been so long ;-)

May I ask? Do you have a weight problem, past or present?

Alan said...

>>> Fallacious Appeal to Authority


no, it's a report of the opinions of two gentlemen who both have scientific approaches to our subject.

Would you have preferred to dismiss out of hand Kepler's Laws because they were the opinion of an authoritative somebody?

RRX said...

Alan, I would have preferred the presentation of their data. Or at least a link to their data that brought them to their opinion. The notation of their status is exactly what that was, an appeal to their authority. Has the situation with Taubes not taught you anything? THE DATA IS WHAT YOU NEED. Not their opinions.

Also,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority#Appeal_to_authority_as_logical_fallacy

A (fallacious) appeal to authority argument has the basic form:

1. A makes claim B;
2. there is something positive about A that (fallaciously) is used to imply that A has above-average or expert knowledge in the field, or has an above-average authority to determine the truth or rightness of such a matter
3. therefore claim B is true, or has its credibility unduly enhanced as a result of the proximity and association.

RRX said...

As I said above, until Sane kicks me, "I don't ask for a higher standard of evidence. I demand it."

Thomas said...

@RRX-that is the beauty of the internet-you can easily look it up. Yup, it's there at your fingertips if you let them do the walking.

Not an appeal to authority at all. Alan is correct-you are not.

Seriously, go look it up! Chris Masterjohn's site is The Daily Lipid (a great site). Stephen Guynet's site is Whole Health Source (another great site). I shouldn't have to provide links-google will do that for you if you have 30 seconds. Your comments seem to be more of an exercise in an unwillingness to look things up-I don't think providing a complete reference list in a blog post is necessary.

CarbSane said...

@Alan, re: S, just because some of us males were never "morbidly obese" doesn't mean that we never were visibly overweight, and also (like you) really felt motivated to trim up.

In your life as a married matured woman, you may not have lots of interfacing with single guys. Well, for us, getting trimmer has more immediate benefits than it would to (say for example) your husband.


Hee hee. I'm not so married and matured that I don't recall what it's like to be single. What you might discover if/when you get to my stage in life is that there are always benefits ;-), at least potentially.

But I guess my point is that there really is a big difference between folks carrying around a few extra pounds and true obesity. Even most overfeeding experiments add like 10-15 lbs to a lean person and doesn't last long enough to impact them. If someone has never been 50-100-200 lbs overweight they really can't relate to what this means daily in the mind of a person who is. Even those "fat suit" experiments aren't completely instructive b/c inside the person knows they can take the suit off.

In general, gender does matter in this as well. Men tend to care less about a little padding than women (in general) - in college virtually all of the women, lean or chunky, paid attention to diet and weight to some degree - it would be fair to say that the thinner women obsessed more! The guys? They walked down the hall in the dorm to the shower, towel around waist, rubbing their emerging beer bellies almost with pride at times.

CarbSane said...

@Thomas: I would only request that if you're going to reference other bloggers perhaps you could link to their writings you're referring to rather than leaving it to us to go find it.

I think its fair to add Kurt Harris to the evolving paradigm re: insulin and insulin resistance. (Although his take on Taubes then surprises me all the more.)

The IR makes us fat has never made intuitive sense to me. Indeed (I'll have to look for it) one review I came across recently associated insulin sensitivity with risk of obesity. I've got some posts in the pike on this. Lots has been put on the back burner, and I get distracted on tangents sometimes.

Congrats on your weight loss!

RRX said...

Thomas,

I stand by what I said. If you want to discuss opinions rather than evidence, then I won't bother wasting our time reading or commenting on that matter.

I understood this blog to be one that discusses data and actual studies, rather than citing the opinions of (yes, easily accessible) other gurus. Clearly I was incorrect. I displayed not an unwillingness to look things up but an unwillingness to look up opinions. That is a total waste of my (and I think others') time. If you or anyone else has actual data to cite, I am very willing to look at the reference. Anything else is (again, I think others' also) a waste of my time.

Razwell said...

Hi CarbSane

I do not have a weight problem. In fact, I am a natural ectomorph and was always jealous of how my brother had these huge 18 inch biceps, and I never could get really large muscular arms. I weighed as little as 140 pounds at 6' 2" about 6 years back.

But hypothetically, even if I did, it would have nothing to do with the validity of what I have to say. I look to what genuine science has turned up. Genuine science admits vast unknowns and much uncertainty.


I am passionate about this subject because what I had believed for so many years was wrong. I am very interested in obesity. And I can tell you that Anthony Colpo is clueless and ignorant about it. he denies what science has turned up such as medications, massive genetic component, gut microbiota, malnutrition and common viruses ( adenovirus 36 being one)


The caloric hypothesis is dead. It has no predictive value.


Time to move on from it as we gain scientific knowledge - rather than the unfoudned dogma of the last 60 years.


Colpo has a very poor understanding of the scientific method. There are far less knowns about obesity than what is not. We still have not even figured out the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors, which is at the very heart of what we need to understand to cure Manuel uribe.

Razwell said...

Calories are relevant. They matter, but they are just ONE VARIABLE among literally dozens, upon dozens, upon dozens, upon dozens, upon dozens, upon dozens. One tiny piece of the massive puzzle.


The caloric hypothesis is dead. The diet industry is doomed for sure. It is just a question of when.


As we learn more about obesity there will be effective treatments to help those people who weigh 1,000 pounds.

CarbSane said...

@Razwell: I agree, your weight is not relevant, just trying to gain a perspective on where you're "coming from" is all.

Thomas said...

@RRX-my point was not to convince you of the truth of others opinions, but to relate that there may be a shift in thought (and yes, I see it in K. Harris too-hey carbsane, you need to reference this) regarding insulin, IR and obesity, even among well respected writers/researchers in the paleo blogasphere.

This site is obviously not just about discussing studies, as there has been a large effort to discuss the ideas/opinions of Gary Taubes and others who may not be reading the research correctly. So, it's part scientific conversation (review of studies-and opinion mind you) and part tabloid-which is fine by me! I like this site and find it very interesting.

CarbSane said...

Hi Thomas, might a smiley face have been good there? I don't reference Kurt because I get that impression from commentary he has contributed here.

The thing I think RRX is getting at is that statements - even from respected bloggers - are just that. I do try to back my arguments with references, wish some others would do the same. Although it's not required, I think it moves the discussion forward productively. For so long folks used to repeat Taubes' claim that you can't store fat w/o carbs - as an example. Rather than waste time arguing against such claims, it helps for that claim to be backed up by scientific studies. Make sense?

RRX said...

Thomas,

I understand all that. I will leave it to CS to direct the emphasis of the posts (it is her blog and all). As in, if it is a post about an actual study, I will read it and the comments with that in mind. And when the post is not about that, I will not. I will, shall I say, try to be relevant.

Thomas said...

@carbsane-yea, a smiley face would've been good there-I just haven't taken the time to learn how to do that (I'll figue it out). I was just having fun.

I think in many cases opinions are relevant. I see the two guys I referenced earlier as people who don't fall for the dogma hook line and sinker. So to me, it is interesting when they post well referenced articles (usually) that go against the typical paleo/LC thought (like Masterjohn's latest article on wheat and leaky gut-see the daily lipid) and seem to continue to get respect. It's also interesting that you, Carbsane, call GT out and all hell breaks loose.

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