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!)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flashback! Da Bomb that started it all

Anthony Colpo, bless his carb-loaded heart, linked recently to the first post of mine that went *semi* viral.

Glyceroneogenesis v. Taubes

I thought I'd bump that up for those who have just stumbled upon my little neck of the low carb webwoods.  Also, the original link to the lecture no longer is active.  But it is on Youtube and I'll post the links below:

Gary Taubes Dartmouth Lecture Part 1 of 7
Part 2 of 7
Part 3 of 7
Part 4 of 7
Part 5 of 7
Part 6 of 7
Part 7 of 7

Oh, listening to this lecture again .... sooooooooo much more material there....

Just two:

  • Pima ate beans and wheat and corn!  Oh my!
  • We need to lock people up in metabolic wards and see what happens when they eat this nutrient or that nutrient.  Oh, double my!  

Love you all my dear readers :D

42 comments:

Diana said...

Hello Carbsane,

Your blog is great. It may have saved MY sanity.

I have a Taubes anecdote. I was bowled over by GCBC because at the time I was a fervent believer in his insulin theory, but I did have a few reservations. After I read GCBC, I wrote Taubes a snail mail letter via his publisher, pointing out that the healthy traditional diet of the Pima (who now call themselves the Tohono O'odam, or TO's) was largely carbohydrate.

He wrote me back an email which was gracious, and which acknowledged my point, but which danced around the issue with a mountain of meaningless verbiage.

At the time I was still a dogmatic low-carber, so I really didn't make sense of his answer. Now I do. He doesn't have a leg to stand on, so his response when challenged with a direct question is to cover up with a lot of blah-blah.

Great blog. I think I'll have a slice of melon.

RRX said...

LOL re. Diana

MM said...

Why did he even bring up the Pima if he knew their traditional diet was high carb? I don't remember him bringing up the Kitavans, for example. He certainly wasn't required to mention the Pima. The book still would have been a tome without them. Do you think he didn't realize what their traditional diet actually consisted of? If not, well, he's not much of a journalist. Maybe he felt like he should discuss them since they're so famously obese and diabetic? Hard to guess what he was thinking.

Muata said...

"We need to lock people up in metabolic wards and see what happens when they eat this nutrient or that nutrient. Oh, double my"

OK CS, it's time for you to come clean. You and I both KNOW that they've yet to perform metabolic ward studies to see how various macros affect weight loss!

:p

No, really, how can anyone take this guy seriously when he makes comments like this?

OK, if we were in the 80s when a very small percentage of folks had access to medical libraries, I can see the layperson taking GT's words as golden. But, in this day and age ANYONE can simply google "metabolic ward studies obesity", and it won't take them long before their reading an abstract.

Blind devotion is a scary thing ...

Charles L. Peden said...

Heya Carb Sane,

Although I think GT's carb theory is wrong, I did not have the same take on Gary Taubes as low carbers usually do. To me, I think the most important point he made in GCBC was that obesity is not caused by gluttony/sloth but rather is due to something in the food. I absolutely agree with that and I have not seen compelling evidence to refute it.

But I find where Carb Sane ROCKS is on the chemistry. Chemistry is clearly not GT's strength. He did not make a compelling argument using the chemistry to demonize carbs. His solution had too many exceptions and the diet of entire non-obese nations were unexplained.

But the most damning refutation of GT's low-carb theory was the weight gain of Jimmy Moore. There was nothing in Taubes's argument to account for that. People then seemed to overlook the evidence since everyone else was "drinking the Kool-Aid" (so to speak). Luckily we have someone like Carb Sane who can float a turd in GT's sugar-free punchbowl.

I mean that in a good way!

Upon further reflection, complimenting someone on their ability to "float a turd" could be taken the wrong way. Okay, I'll shut up now.

CarbSane said...

@Diana, thank you and welcome to the Asylum! We accept melon eaters and even melon heads ;0

@Charles: Hmmmm.... No comment ;-) I'll take that in the spirit in which it was intended! I'll probably lose your endorsement for prez by saying this, but I'm very skeptical of specific foods or food types causing obesity aside from the degree to which said foods lead to overeating, which has me dipping into a phone booth and changing into my Tautology Girl suit & cape!

@MM: I think he is so focused on "debunking" the notion of the affluence -> obesity that he doesn't even hear himself say words like corn and wheat. Interestingly the Pima may be yet another example of where obesity and diabetes result after a period of famine. But they also plainly show that carbohydrate consumption was not the cause of their obesity. Surely this has been pointed out to Taubes but he hasn't changed the lecture. My copy of WWGF is not text searchable. Are the Pima mentioned again in there?

CarbSane said...

@Muata: I don't get it either. All these people seem to take it as a matter of fact that studies haven't been done. But it's worse than thinking they haven't, he KNOWS they have! He interviewed Kipnis of the G&K metabolic ward study! DOH!! He got so excited by the changes in fasting insulin, he didn't see that the study definitively demonstrates that it is calories, not carbohydrates, that determines weight loss. *SIGH*

MM said...

CarbSane,

Sorry I don't own a copy of WWGF. After I discovered your blog I canceled my pre-order of that book. I decided there wouldn't be anything useful in it for me. I was just wondering why he included the Pima in GCBC if they don't support his carbs -> insulin -> fat storage hypothesis.

Diana said...

Taubes does mention the Pima in WWGF. In fact he does so in such a misleading way that I need to take a look at the book at a Barnes & Noble with a cup of coffee and write something substantial about it. I will get back to you about this.

Regarding melons, as you say CS, these are "the fruits" of your low-carb research! Some of us might call it the berries!

CarbSane said...

Reading it now. Corn, wheat, beans. Oh MY!!

Sanjeev said...

re: the Pima - Taubes claims that since they had storehouses of food, their situation was like the current day US.

Surely Taubes can do better than that. Maybe he should ask Hall & Chow how much food the current US wastes (probably similar per capita to southern Canada), how well that correlates with obesity (correlation valid since the 70s). and ask them to compare with the Pimas'wastage.

Hint for Gary: storehouses were probably much more expensive to set up at that time. Food was prbably grown and caught at such an expense that it BETTER BE properly stored and not wasted. In many places, food preservation via end-user pickling, drying and tanning were fine arts known to most of the population. Hardly the kind of milieu for massive food wastage.

And not re: the Pima, the general low-rigor tenor of the arguments is amazing. Anything that disproves Taubes must meet the absolute highest standards, anything HE disagrees with can be shucked off for the dumbest reasons imaginable.

Diana said...

As promised I took a look at both books over the weekend and came up with the following. I apologize for the length of these comments - I am actually trying to be brief.

Taubes misrepresents the situation/plight of the Pima in a very galling fashion. I'm glad you called my attention to it because as I will indicate I think that the way the Pima got fat is a lesson to all of us in understanding obesity.

I was just wondering why he included the Pima in GCBC if they don't support his carbs -> insulin -> fat storage hypothesis.

"And not re: the Pima, the general low-rigor tenor of the arguments is amazing."

What Sanjeev said!

Diana said...

The part of both books in which he describes the Pima is where he is making the case that the "toxic food environment" isn't really a modern phenomenon – and he's right, it's not, if you count modernity as post WWII. People have gotten fat everywhere and everywhen....just look at first century statues of the Buddha. I have read that the aristocratic ancient Egyptians were fat. (Note: I think I read that in a book by Michael Eades, so we should take that with a grain of salt.)

The problem with Taubes isn't that everything he says is wrong. The problem is that what he gets right is irrelevant to the main issue. He offers up the example of the Pima to "prove" that obesity and poverty can often go hand in hand and that a toxic eating environment isn't necessarily a product of the postwar era.... Well...duh....What we are disputing is that the experience of the Pima disproves the calories in calories out theory.

Allow me to briefly recount the story and Taubes take on the issue. The Pima are a tribe of Native Americans who are now among the world's fattest and most diabetic people. Conventional wisdom is that they became so after adopting SAD after WWII.

Enter Taubes, who points out that the Pima were observed by two anthropologists to be fat in the early 1900s, although not as fat as they are now. Anthropologists are notoriously subject to bias (a topic I'll address at the end of this post) but let's take these two at their word: the Pima had a number of fat people by the early 1900s. But so what? Whether they got fat in the early 1900s or the mid-1950s is irrelevant to the issue: HOW did they get fat.

This is typical of the Taubes method of argumentation: bring up a straw man, slay it, snow credulous readers with your erudition, and slip in an unwarranted conclusion. Get good review, make money.

Let Taubes hang himself with his own words. Here in full is a gem of incoherence from WWGF, page 22:

"In the 1870s, the Pima were living through what they call 'the years of famine.'....When Russell and Hrdlicka [note: the two anthropologists referred to above] appeared in the first years of the 20th century, the tribe was still raising what crops it could but was now relying on government rations for day to day sustenance.

So why were they fat? Years of starvation are supposed to take weight off, not put it on or leave it on. [emphasis added] And if government rations were simply excessive, making famines a thing of the past, then why would the Pima get fat on the abundant rations, and not on the abundant food they had on the past? Perhaps the question lies in the type of food being consumed, a question of quality rather than quantity."

I am going to parse the above paragraph carefully. Look at the first sentence. Then the second. Taubes juxtaposes the years of starvation in the 1870s, and follows up with observations made by anthropologists in the early 1900s. Do you something strange here? There is a gap of 20 to 25 years! He juxtaposes a fact from the 1870s with an observation from the early 1900s! How misleading is that???

Is Taubes UNAWARE of the fact that quite possible for a people to starve in one generation and stuff in the next? Which I suspect is exactly what happened with the Pima! I do not have an accurate count of the calories the Pima ingested during the early years of the 20th century, when they began to fatten – perhaps Taubes can tell us? He's the highly paid investigative journalist, while I am a lowly commenter on a blog.

I find it fascinating that in neither book does Taubes reference the experience of the Dutch during the "Hunger winter" of 1944-1945. This famine is the gold standard of starvation studies because it is unique – it happened in modern times, in a literate modern western country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_famine_of_1944

http://www.news.leiden.edu/news/dutch-hunger-winter.html

Diana said...

Note especially that the children of the persons starved during the "hunger winter" have high rates of....obesity and diabetes. There is a theory that starvation can affect the genome "epigenetically" - that is, the expression of genes, not the genes themselves, which may lead to obesity and diabetes. One of the things I remember Taubes admonishing us about in GCBC is not to complicate things unduly. It was his way of getting rid of the brain in obesity studies. He wants us to focus obsessively on insulin, so leptin doesn't matter, and so on. Well, I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way. In order to find out what really happened, we have to look at ALL the facts. I think it quite likely that the "years of starvation" affected the Pima in the identical way it affected the Dutch: by changing the gene expression which resulted in higher rates of obesity and diabetes. This is at least a conjecture worthy of a true science writer. But it doesn't fit in with Taubes' agenda, so he doesn't consider it. (Or perhaps he doesn't know about gene expression, in which case I'd question his science writer skills.)

My provisional, highly conjectural answer to Taubes question: "So why were they fat?" is this. I have reproduced the paragraph quoted above with my snarky comments in brackets:

"In the 1870s, the Pima were living through what they call "the years of famine."....When Russell and Hrdlicka appeared in the first years of the 20th century [a full generation after the years of starvation], the tribe was still raising what crops it could but was now relying on government rations for day to day sustenance. So why were they fat? [Because they were eating too many empty calories and moving little. They remembered their years of freedom, and were now essentially wards of the state living dependent lives on marginal scrub land.] Years of starvation are supposed to take weight off, not put it on or leave it on. [Gary: it's a full generation later. These are not the same people; these are the children of the people who nearly starved. Read up on the Dutch Hunger winter and epigenetics.] And if government rations were simply excessive, making famines a thing of the past, then why would the Pima get fat on the abundant rations, and not on the abundant food they had on the past? [Because they weren't overeating the traditional bean, corn, and desert plants diet of the pre-American period.] Perhaps the question lies in the type of food being consumed, a question of quality rather than quantity." [Perhaps - and perhaps you should try to find out how many calories they were ingesting. I do not think this is impossible. Records may still exist. Moreover, I think you should take a look at the questions I raised and rewrite this entire passage with an eye towards scientific integrity and not cheap journalistic point-scoring.]

Later on, Taubes dismisses the importance of physical exertion. One of the anthropologists noted that the women tended to be the fat ones, even though they did most of the hard labor in the village. My answer to that is that they ate more than the men. Duh. No one ever said that if you exercise hard, but eat more, you won't get fat. You will. (As to why the women ate more than the men, I don't know. Perhaps the men drank more?)

Diana said...

- END OF COMMENT -

The same anthropologist also noted that another tribe, the “Pueblo”, were sedentary, and were thin. Anthropologists often get things wrong, and it's dangerous to make too many conclusions based on their observations. There is no such tribe as "the Pueblo." Pueblo refers to a village-based way of on the top of a mesa. The tribes names are Hopi and Tewa, and I can assure you that they were not sedentary. They aren't sedentary now - I've been there, and I've seen modern day Hopi loping up and down those mesas.

Seriously – does Taubes think that the Hopi women did less physical labor than the Pima? If an anthropologist made a claim like that, wouldn't it raise a red flag that there is some observation bias and that this issue deserves further analysis.

The fact is, if you starve, you get thin, and then you die.

http://images.wikia.com/cybernations/images/8/81/Hongerwinter1.jpg

This "experiment" has sadly been carried out on many human populations and astonishingly the result is the same. Populations that survive famines do show certain characteristics, which are being researched now, and which research Taubes ignores, because he wants to keep it "simple." Einstein said, "make things simple, but not too simple." Because when you make things too simple, you ignore facts, and you come up with dogma, not science.

Diana said...

Last word. Of course, the big picture is that the Pima were "sprightly and healthy" living on a diet largely carbohydrate, rounded out by game meats.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/05/lessons-from-pima-indians.html

I chose to focus on how Taubes misrepresents the anthropological record. You don't even have to know what the historical background is - you just have to be able to read, and notice that he leaves huge gaps in the record, and makes conclusions that are unwarranted even by the facts that he marshals.

What an amazingly arrogant guy!

CarbSane said...

Diana you've done a fine job of unveiling an additional layer of intellectual deceit in discussing the timelines of Taubes' examples. There are many examples of obesity in cultures manifesting itself 2-3 decades after famine resolved and relative abundance returned.

By all accounts, we eat more now than we ever did. Is it really a mystery why we're getting fatter? Do we really need to be told we're NOT overeating when we frankly are?

Why? I personally believe the search for some dietary agent cause for things going awry is misguided. I think if it existed we'd have found it by now. If only because Big Pharma would love to make $$ on sick people so they can keep shoveling their favorite Big Agro crack down their pie holes. With all the corporate shill researchers and their bought and paid for doctor store fronts and all.....

/sarcasm ;) I get cynical at times too :D

Diana said...

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. The Pima situation really deserves scrutiny for the lessons we can learn for all of us.

You know what? I have a name for Atkins style low-carbing. I call it "an eating disorder especially for men."

"Oh brave new world, that has such people in it!" - Miranda, The Tempest

Sanjeev said...

> additional layer of intellectual deceit

I think you mean

"dysregulation of honesty metabolism"

Sanjeev said...

Diana wrote:
> answer to Taubes question: "So why were they
> fat?" is this. I have reproduced the paragraph
> quoted above with my snarky comments in
> brackets:

Note also that GT is demanding a one size fits all explanation. In one of the Jimmy interviews he dismissed one suggested explanation for current US obesity by saying the explanation must also work for obesity in Africa at various times, in Trinidad in the 50s, in parts of the southern US in the early 1900s.

Sanjeev said...

> the explanation must also work for obesity in
> Africa at various time

There is one explanation that does, but GT has
1. rejected it as an explanation
2. demanded the specific mechanisms by which the explanation works (the specific energy terms and how they're affected by diet, genetics and epigenetics) be the same across time and cultures
3. seemingly demanded there be one technique[0] to implement the solution

[0] one diet to rule them all

CarbSane said...

I think you mean

"dysregulation of honesty metabolism"


LOL Sanjeev!

You are so shallow thinking though my friend. We need to know WHY this man has become so ...

Not gonna say it (best Dana Carvey Bush impersonation voice).

Sanjeev said...

> Not gonna say it (best Dana Carvey Bush impersonation voice).

Wouldn't want you to hit the key between # and %.

; )

Diana, thanks for your efforts. It amazes me that I fell for it the first time I read GT.

I partly do understand how I fell for it and IMHO part of why others do too; after a couple of dozen pages and definitely after a hundred, one's skepticism really can't be maintained. Just going on and on through that volume of material lulls the skeptical attitude to sleep, especially if you do it in a couple of sittings.

I'm concluding that skepticism and disbelief is one of those mental faculties, like concentration and self-regulation that gets exhausted easily.

Once skepticism is gone, cherry picked "research" will just drop right down into belief.

Razwell said...

CarbSane you and your followers NEED to understand this:


NO ONE exposes the LACK of evidence behind the Cloric Hypothesis better than Gary Taubes. FOR THIS he gets attacked.


Now I do not think the insulin hypothesis is an adequate replacement ( e.g. lipodystrophy and more.)


NEITHER the insulin hypothesis NOR THE CLAORIC HYPOTHESIS can explain obesity adequately.


The Caloric Hypothesis is DEAD. it CANNOT explain NORMAL WEIGHT OBESITY, among many other things. It has NO PREDICTIVE value.


The PROBLEM is we need to come up with a REPLACEMENT model. The NEW HYPOTHESIS for obesity will NEED to be EXTREMELU COMPLEX AND VERY BROAD.

GENUINE science says so.

I CANNOT understand how you caloric ban account hypothesis people are so SURE OF YOURSELVES ( genuine science does NOT act like that by the way )
when SCIENCE DOES NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND the chemical behavior of fat cell receptros or the full explanation of the fat cell lipid exchaneg mechanism. SCIENCE DOES NTO PERMIT SUCH EXTRAVAGANCES ,


Fat cells BEHAVE DIFFERENT in DIFFERENT areas of the body.

Gary Taubes is not omniscient, BUT HE DESEVRS A LOT FO CREDIT for having the courage to EXPOSE the LACK of evidence behind the Caloric Hypothesis.And Anthony Colo is NOT by any means an obesity expert. He is an UNDEREDUCATED OVER OPINIONATED man.

He thinks he has obesity solved/. He is NOT a genuine scientist. Science does NOT permit such extravagances.


The Caloric Hypothesis is DEAD and GENUINE SCIENCE demonstrates this.


Obesity is FAR FAR FAR FAR more complex than EITHER the insulin hypothesis or the Caloric Hypothesis could EVER EXPLAIN

Jenna said...

Razwell, I would agree with what you have to say on the basis of the fact that I became anorexic from being on Atkins (though possibly the process had already started nutritionally/chemically before having gone on a diet). I ate extremely high fat foods, I did not consciously restrict calories, at all. I ate all kinds of fatty foods (I stayed in induction throughout the first year), no restriction of calories/fat, and became anorexic (my periods completely stopped too, and this lasted for two years). The further I became anorexic the less I was able to control my hunger. I was starving, I think, for other sources of nutrition, which caused me to binge eat. I literally could not stop eating every kind of food. From this binge eating I gained a lot of weight. I was so horrified by how out of control I was with having to eat, that I made my self sick; I then developed serious bulimia. Then I would try atkins again, and all kinds of other diets, and I either gained weight, as in fat, (on atkins), or I lost weight (low calorie, high protein), and then started to binge eat again. I was driven to eat. It was not something I could control and maintain being in control. It is this experience that makes me so skeptical of the calories in versus calories out theory, and very interested in understanding Nutrition. You are right, Nutrition is highly complex, but, Carbsane does make really valid points, regarding those eating cafeteria diets; it's a no brainer that this kind of diet made up of as she has said, "frankenstein foods" will cause one to gain weight, and simply, get very sick. So for those people, the information and critiques she provides are valid. OK so the caloric hypothesis can't explain everything, neither can the insulin hypothesis, but thats exactly why this blog is meaningful for those who think that EVERYTHING can be explained by for example the insulin hypothesis. Reducing calories does not exclude the probability that ones improving the quality of ones diet at the same time, for those who are obese, or the like. Similarly moving more does not exclude the probability that there are many parameters of health that one is improving despite possibly weakening ones heart muscle or such thing.

CarbSane said...

Feel better now?

Taubes has debunked nothing. The caloric hypothesis is supported by thousands of studies. The insulin hypothesis? None yet.

It's just silly, really. When there are several billion living lean carbohydrate consuming humans on the planet anyone can even try to argue that its carbohydrates and insulin that make us fat. Nonsensical.

CarbSane said...

@Jenna: My bottom line is that ultimately body weight comes down to calorie balance. This is not to say that this holds the answer to why we overeat or how we overeat (say binging vs. just eating a bit too much). Reversing obesity is not just about causing fat loss. If it were, then one would expect a much higher success rate for long term maintenance amongst WLS folks. I'm not sure if there's data out there on this, but the two people I know who have undergone WLS, lost a crapload of weight but are now bigger than ever.

I would not have a weight problem if I had simply stopped eating the crap food rather than crash dieting.

Jenna said...

I don't think the caloric hypothesis is wrong, but I do think that if the body is deprived nutritionally, then we might crave certain foods to get what our body needs; this I would say, is not rational, as in, I make that decision, but my body needs food, needs nutrition. I think the insulin hypothesis is wrong just because whilst I did become anorexic, over time I gained that weight back, plus some, and disordered eating behaviors/food obsessions too. Also after the first time I did Atkins, I was repulsed by the thought of doing it again, though I would try again because I thought the theory at that time was correct. Each time I would try AGAIN, I would simply binge eat on carbs after I had tried it for a month or two. I know this doesn't explain in itself why the insulin hypothesis is wrong. But I say it is wrong because why else would I become so very ill from doing it, if this were good for me, and so the insulin hypothesis correct. Trying to eat what was "good for me", according to the low carb/high fat bandwagon, made me fat, even if it was through the behaviors as a result of being on this kind of diet. I hope this makes some kind of sense.

Jenna said...

'I would not have a weight problem if I had simply stopped eating the crap food rather than crash dieting.'

Yes, I agree, thats why I think your blog is very important, because it might prevent someone damaging their health, and overall well-being/happiness. I know that dieting has really screwed up a lot of things in my life. That is why I commented, because I think Razwell's reasoning does not make what you do invalid.

CarbSane said...

Thanks Jenna! And I agree in full with your prior comment.

This is especially important too: Trying to eat what was "good for me", according to the low carb/high fat bandwagon, made me fat, even if it was through the behaviors as a result of being on this kind of diet. I hope this makes some kind of sense.

It is common on low carb boards and blogs to read some version of "low fat made me fat" - followed by some scenario whereby eating a low fat diet didn't result in sufficiently rapid weight loss, made them hungry and caused them to regain the weight and add more. Well, the low fat diet didn't make those people fat, but *dieting* did b/c of the resulting behavior.

Whatever the reason then, low fat made me fat but low carb made me obese! As I've shared many times before, my weight/size always used to top out in the 200-210lb 14/16/18 range. Sometimes following weeks/months of regular binging, sometimes just creeping up after falling off a plan, whatever. After the first time I topped 200lbs, I did make it down to 145 once. (I was eating a "low fat cheating" diet and doing all that useless cardio and other exercise at the time). But regardless of the ups and downs - and there were many - I always kind of checked up at that high. Now part of that may have been vanity/conscious threshold of a weight I could tolerate, but not all of it b/c I had been leveling off at that weight for about a year before trying Atkins the first time. Following Atkins? I didn't binge, but somehow my body didn't stop piling on fat. It was only like 8 months after I started Atkins that I had gained back to pre-Atkins size - so one really can't blame age or marital status or anything like that.

Whatever the reason, I regained 40 lost and tacked on 60+ more.

If low carb is working for someone they can count me in as their biggest cheerleader. But if they're still struggling, it's not the diet that's the problem. Or maybe it is the *diet*?

Jenna said...

Thanks again very much for your time and thoughts.

Flavia said...

How about the theory of hyper-palatability? Kessler has made some very interesting remarks on this, including

1- how the mix of fat, salty, and sweet is so enticing
2- food is softer, so it goes down 'easier' without the need to chew
3- regardless of what one thinks about the Cheesecake Factory et al: their food is delicious. And we can't stop eating it.

Recently a study came out showing that rats fed the drink Ensure did not gain weight or eat past satiety when they had vanilla or strawberry, but did gain quite a bit when they were fed the chocolate one.

Why? Chocolate is delicious. More delicious than strawberry and vanilla. Therefore they want to eat more of it. We basically got too good at making food taste good.

CarbSane said...

I think it's a huge component combined with cheap!

I've had friends in recipe development for deli items of a large food chain. Or I find the "how they're made" or "history of ...." shows interesting on Food Network.

The goal is to make something for desired/maximum profit. Cheapest ingredients possible, most consistently palatable result so folks will buy it.

I've used the term "engineered palatability" here many times. Mass produced foods are simply easier to make palatable with lots of sugar, salt and fat. S&F sells! Either or both S!

With all due respect to Stephan at wholehealthsource who is going to be unveiling a palatability theory, I'd have to say welcome to the party. Why we eat so damned much as a culture these days has so much more to do with the "reality" I'm so often accused of ignoring and, not, IMO, with some mass insulin induced fat cell revolt!

Diana said...

“How about the theory of hyper-palatability?”

Absoluely. I have two funny stories about palatability. At least I think they are funny in a kind of sad (SAD?)way.

The first one is about me and a box of brownies I couldn't finish. I am a sugar-holic supposedly. There has never been a sugary food I didn't love, so I thought. We forget that white sugar has been a demonized ingredient for at least 30 years, maybe longer, since the first hippie days. About 10-15 years ago, in an effort to cash in on this, food companies began sweetening baked goods with “natural” white grape sugar. I bought a box. It stayed on my shelf for 6 months before I threw it out. The reason is that they tasted like congealed tar. They were inedible. Whenever I think of this, I wonder what it does to the Lustig theory of what fructose does to your brain, etc. Wasn't my brain on white grape sugar as deranged as my brain on coca-cola, CarbSane? The problem was, I couldn't get those mud pies past my mouth! Therefore they couldn't do any metabolic damage.

The second story is about a Japanese woman with whom I was friendly. You know, one of those virtuous, healthy eating, Japanese, not an American of Japanese origin, but the real deal, who was living in my city. We began talking about food, and I expressed admiration of the Japanese diet, how healthy it was, and how awful the SAD is....and the Japanese woman said to me, “I know it [American food] is very bad. But,” she said, smacking her forehead, “I ruv it!”

She ruvs it, I ruv it, we all ruv it....and we get fatter and fatter. All around the world!

“I think it's a huge component combined with cheap!”

That is another important aspect of this issue, which I think is completely underrated. Back a few months when the unrest in Egypt was dominating the headlines, I read that the average Egyptian spends 50% of their (small) income on food. I'm not exactly sure what percentage Americans spend on food, but I think it is something ridiculously tiny, like 5%. Half a dozen donuts at Dunkin' cost you $3. If one donut cost you $10, would you eat many of them? Not likely.

Muata said...

Wow! I really don't know where to start because this has been one of the most informative comment sections I've read ...

@Diana - Thanks so much for the Pima breakdown. I was going to comment more about GCBC until I read this:

>You know what? I have a name for Atkins style low->carbing. I call it "an eating disorder especially >for men."

This comment smacked me in the face because I could not agree with you more! Even at my highest weight, I never obsessed about food or the macro breakdown of my meals. I ate the foods that I liked and lots of it -- simple. Besides my denial about being an emotional eater/glutton, I never had a FEAR of any foods.

Enter Atkins and my dropping 60 lbs. in @ 6 months, and my simple way of eating was turned on its head, and my eating disorder was right around the corner. It has taken me a couple of years to right myself.

Your alias for Atkins is also spot on because it is a diet that men naturally gravitate to. Most men LOVE meat! We love potatoes too, but if given a choice between the two ... bring that porterhouse over here! So, it's a natural fit, and when/if a guy loses a lot of weight almost effortlessly eating bunless double-cheeseburgers, he's hooked! Even if he regains the lost weight, he'll keep going back and pouring libation to the LC gods for "easy" weight loss again ...

Muata said...

OK, now I remember ;)

In the early 90s, I literally "lucked" up and was selected as a research assistant for a professor doing research on "Adult On-set Diabetes" (remember when it was called that?) in the Jamaican population. So, I spent three months in "Jamdown" (mainly Kingston). But, it was far from a vacation at Sandals (which is on the north coast with all the other resorts), this was the "real" Jamaica.

We went to rural as well as urban hospitals to interview diabetic patients. We actually were using some sociological paradigm, and the professor had one of the first laptop computers I'd ever seen, which was loaded with some "sophisticated" software. The reason I don't know these things is because I was a literature major, who just happened to take her sociology class as an elective during the summer ... I told you I lucked up.

Anyway, reading Diana's comments made me think about some of the questions we asked the patients. One was what was the most recent "new" or "non-indigenous" food that has been introduced in their area within the last 10 years. As well as other questions about their diets.

Of course the answers varied depending on the areas, but one answer that was constant was "boxed drinks". Liquid calories were seen as "one" of major culprits for the increase in T2 and obesity. What's also interesting is that there were many women who complained about not being able to lose weight even though they are active all day. Oh, and the women in the rural areas were NOT lying!

They farmed, raised kids, usually had a side hustle to make a little money, and walked everywhere. I was in my early 20s at the time, and I know that the majority of those grandmas could kick my ass ;)

No matter where we are in the world as a species, if our waistlines are growing, we're eating too much ...

Razwell said...

Infant obesity is increasing world wide.

Infants are another contradiction to the Caloric Hypothesis Carbsane.


Little tiny 3 month old Infants are not eating pastries, CarbSane .


Obesity is a complex condition, genuine science knows the Caloric Hypothesis is dead. It is FAR FAR DEEPER than calories.

The Caloric Hypothesis is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH too simple to adequately explain obesity. Rats mice chickens get VERY, VERY fat WITHOUT, WITHOUT eating more when innoculated with adenovirus 36.

Razwell said...

PIGS TOO !

Sanjeev said...

Diana wrote: I have a name for Atkins style low-carbing. I call it "an eating disorder especially for men."
______
good one - It's the Tim Allen diet.

" Ornish was too dainty for me,

SO I REWIRED IT. GRUNT!! GRUNT!! GRUNT!!
"

Sanjeev said...

Although of course that's more true of "Paleo" than Atkins (notwithstanding Mark Sisson's logo - what IS that anyway Mark - a caveman doing "Riverdance"?)

CarbSane said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILcqZrb1iY

Does Michael Flatly eat paleo? LOL Sanjeev :-)

Have you seen commercials for the new WW for men? You get a virtual cooler to add your foods to!

Diana said...

This comment smacked me in the face because I could not agree with you more! Even at my highest weight, I never obsessed about food or the macro breakdown of my meals. I ate the

Muata,

Glad you liked it. I was once told the following joke by an American Indian; “vegetarian is Indian for 'bad hunter.'”

Which brings me back to the Pima, and what you said about how, although you were once fat, you never obsessed about food – before low-carbing.

It is my thoroughly unscientific observation that when a people is defeated, when it is down in the dumps, the men tend to drink and the women tend to eat indiscriminately. Of course there are exceptions but this is the general rule. For whatever reason men do not naturally adopt neurotic eating patterns. They do drown themselves in drink, or drugs, which both induce a thoroughly alternate reality. Defeat, low status on the totem pole, really stings men. With women, the disorder manifests with an inability to handle the traditional food prep chores.

If and when you have a society in which women take to drinking high levels, well, you are really f**ked. That is a society in steep decay. (Russia, anyone?) Irish women never drank the way Irish men famously did. A drunken woman was considered a shame.

Now, when men eat strangely, as they do with Atkins, you don't find indiscriminate eating. You find hyper-picky food habits. This is horribly childish, in addition to everything else.

An interesting gender difference, to my eyes. If anyone disagrees with my observations, I'd be interested. But I've traveled a fair amount and this is the way it looks to me.

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