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Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

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

Saturday, November 12, 2011

GCBC Reference Check ~ Part VII of ? ~ Julius Bauer's Lipophilia Hypothesis

The following is a quote from Good Calories Bad Calories:
Bergmann and Julius Bauer, the “noted Vienna authority on internal diseases,” as the New York Times called him, were the two most prominent proponents of the lipophilia hypothesis, but only Bauer wrote about the hypothesis in English, attempting to influence how obesity would be perceived by physicians in the United States. Bauer’s expertise was in the application of genetics and endocrinology to clinical medicine, a field he arguably pioneered in a 1917 monograph entitled Constitution and Disease. Bauer had taken case histories from 275 obese patients and reported that nearly 75 percent had one or both parents who were also obese. He considered this compelling evidence that the condition had a genetic component, which in turn implied the existence of genetically determined hormonal and metabolic factors that would bestow a constitutional disposition to put on excessive fat.  “The genes responsible for obesity,” Bauer wrote, “act upon the local tendency of the adipose tissue to accumulate fat (lipophilia) as well as upon the endocrine glands and those nervous centers which regulate lipophilia and dominate metabolic functions and the general feelings ruling the intake of food and the expenditure of energy. Only a broader conception such as this can satisfactorily explain the facts.”
And now let's see what Gary writes in his latest blog post, shall we?  In giving us his 20¢ on the "Body Rules" concept:
... a body-rules paradigm and I’ve been arguing that it’s the only one that can do a reasonable job of explaining all the meaningful observations. Changes in the hormonal and enzymatic regulation of fat metabolism—in the regulation of fat storage and oxidation—drive changes in adiposity; and changes in adiposity drive compensatory changes in intake and expenditure.
Here, the body is running things.  Indeed the organ in control may be the fat tissue itself in concert with the liver.  The University of Vienna endocrinologist/geneticist Julius Bauer described this fat-rules concept back in 1929 by saying that  the fat tissue of someone who’s obese (what he called “abnormal lipophilic tissue) “maintains its stock, and may increase it independent of the requirements of the organism.  A sort of anarchy exists; the adipose tissue lives for itself and does not fit into the precisely regulated management of the whole organism.”
In this scenario, the brain plays no more role in regulating the growth of the fat tissue than it would regulating the growth of any tissue ...
Yet another cherry-pickin' moment here, this time from his own cherry-pickin' of and from his references.  Did you catch it?   
Julius Bauer:   “The genes responsible for obesity,” Bauer wrote, “act upon the local tendency of the adipose tissue to accumulate fat (lipophilia) as well as upon the endocrine glands and those nervous centers which regulate lipophilia and dominate metabolic functions ...
Gary Taubes:   In this scenario, the brain plays no more role in regulating the growth of the fat tissue than it would regulating the growth of any tissue ...
This is a special one from Gary Taubes.  His Bauer citation in GCBC actually counters the whole notion of "rogue fat cells" and supports the "Brain Rules" paradigm.   Had Taubes only read the anarchy quote, one might excuse this oversight.  But he not only read, but quoted, the part about the genes acting on the brain (and endocrine glands) to regulate lipophilia.   At the very least, Bauer appears to contradict himself in these isolated quotations, something a good science journalist should have reconciled.  I'm left to wonder, if fat cells live for themselves, why would they do this through insulin?  How can a cell (or the tissue it comprises) regulate itself anyway if it's relying on a signal from the pancreas?  Fat cells do synthesize their own lipophilic hormone.  It's known as ASP.  But don't worry about that, in a footnote in WWGF we're assured that this plays an insignificant role in all this.  Don't you think if we're going to talk about rogue fat cells greedily accumulating fatty acids we should at least look into the role of the myriad peptides produced by the fat cells themselves?  I guess that's too Occam's Razor for Mr. I-Know-More-Than-All-Those-Idiotic-Researchers.

someone should take Taubes' shovel away


2 comments:

Galina L. said...

May be it is not so contradictory, just a reflection of a very complex reality. Body fat is among those endocrine glands. It is possible to assume that for different bodies different components of that complex system have different degree of influence. Many think that FR and insulin theory are not mutually exclusive.

When I saw the year when the monograph was published , it came into my mind that Bauer, probably, was writing about people similar to Miguel Uribe in endocrinologycal sense, while most of processed-food victims would be looking differently if they were living during Bauer's time . Just a thought.I am not trying to argue about something.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

But Bauer wasn't talking about fat as endocrine organ. You're right, and it's a point that needs to be made -- all of this old German research was on, essentially, the genetically obese. For better or worse, most obesity research of late, however, is focused on the current epidemic and links between obesity and health risks. This is unfortunate for the genetically obese because they are rare enough in the population, but also rare even amongst obese people today. Therefore research $$ are going to where they may impact the most people. Antiobesity treatments that may work well in a couple of participants out of a hundred aren't going to be developed -- even if we nationalized the pharmaceutical industry (yikes!) -- because they won't impact enough lives. That's unfortunate, but pragmatic.

FR and TWICHOO are not mutually exclusive. They are also not competing hypotheses. But Taubes has been shown to be wrong -- he only has trashing the hypotheses of others left in his arsenal.

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