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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!)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

There's no dietary need for saturated fat ...

Random Bump!


Original Publish Date:  6/15/12

There's no dietary need for saturated fat ...

... or monounsaturated fats, MUFA, for that matter.  Therefore low fat diets, where most of the fat is essential PUFA, are optimal.  The body can make all the SF and MUFA we need from carbohydrates.  Furthermore, relying on this metabolic pathway as a source of body fat is metabolically advantageous for weight management as making fat from carbohydrate is an energy intensive process.  

Sounds a little silly, right?  I think so.  But so, too, is the ridiculous mantra from low carbers citing the fact (true) that there's no dietary necessity for carbohydrate.  You know the drill, we can make all the glucose we need by gluconeogenesis (just saying that makes me feel smarter) therefore LC diets are optimal.  There is a metabolic advantage built into LC diets because gluconeogenesis requires energy to convert protein to glucose.


And then there's the teaspoon crowd.  You know them, the ones touting the whole "you only have a teaspoon of glucose in circulation at any time" meme, that makes you think eating a normal carb load will explode your brain.  That's based on this calculation:


I repeated that calculation for NEFA which is a little more complicated as fatty acids come in different masses/sizes so converted molar concentrations are more approximate.  Still,  using typical fasting levels of 400 µmol/L and 250 g/mol as the molecular weight of the fatty acid (palmitic acid for example if 256):
Do they make 1/10th teaspoons?  OK, those calculations are a repeat, but when you keep hearing the whole teaspoon thing, it bears repeating the calculation for fatty acids as well.  It is largely irrelevant, but just as postprandial glucose levels can be spiked by dietary glucose w/o appropriate metabolic response and clearance, so too postprandial NEFA levels can spike w/o the appropriate metabolic response to trap and prevent inappropriate release from adipose.

But let's go back to the "dietary need" argument shall we?  There is no dietary need for carbohydrate, but the body goes to great lengths to conserve glucose when availability is low, and to protect against too low a level.  Thus, in all humans, gluconeogenesis occurs at significant rates for varying periods during every day.  This is higher in low carbers with depleted glycogen stores to provide some of the glucose the liver must produce.  Indeed it appears that gluconeogenesis is an "always on" process that is largely regulated via suppression.  Apparently our need for dietary fatty acids is nowhere near as necessary.  De novo lipogenesis, DNL, is a minor path in humans and difficult to stimulate to anywhere near significance absent substantial and chronic overfeeding.  Furthermore, unlike glucose, the absence of fatty acids in the diet does not stimulate their synthesis.   We go to great lengths to expend energy to make sure glucose is available, we go through no such lengths to make sure fatty acids are ...

Now I'm not saying this really means anything.  Rather my point is that all of the glucophobic mantras intended to scare you into ketotic shock are rather meaningless as well.  

Commemorative Teaspoons now available in the Asylum Gift Shop!


57 comments:

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I'm glad I wasn't drinking when I saw those Commemorative Teaspoons, otherwise my keyboard would now be covered in drink, delivered nasally.

nikhilhogan.com said...

I used to be swept up in the wave of carbohydrate hatred but now I'm realizing it's more to do with food quality than mere macronutrient ratio!

Karen said...

Just read Jimmy Moore's blogpost about his latest n=1 and it dawned on me that if the body needs to do gluconeogenesis if the carbs are low that maybe just maybe we need carbs?! Just sayin
Karen

Dracil said...

I read something here or on PH or somewhere else that gluconeogenesis is not a perfectly controlled process and has a bunch of variation, so you might make too much/too little. Which has made me think that at the very least, it may be a good idea to take in at a minimum the amount needed to stop it from happening if you wanted to better control the carbs going through your body.

So maybe the people purposely going into ketosis not getting the results they want is because their body is overcompensating from their lack of dietary glucose and thus they're actually in essence getting more glucose than if they just went ahead and ate some potatoes/rice/preferred carb with every meal?

Princess Dieter said...

AWWW, dey look like widdle bunnies! hah

At first, as I was reading the subject line and first paragraph, I thought, "Um, did Evelyn sustain a head injury recently?" ; ) I should have known you were making a point.

Christopher said...

I'd love to hear your take on Jimmy's latest n=1, Evelyn. Could the fact that it actually appears to be working be based on the "moderate protein" component? And, ultimately, doesn't that just amount to caloric restriction?

v/vmary said...

off topic- evelyn, was your menopause (ie age of onset, severity of symptoms like hot flashes etc) , fat redistribution similar to your mother's? do you see anything in her health history that gives you clues to your own?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

No ... Quite different in terms of age, symptoms? not so sure, fat redistribution? Nope! Mom is differently shaped to begin with. Really hard to tell further back in the family. I asked her once and apparently both her mother and my paternal grandmother were larger on top, at least later in life.

Kindke said...

Instead of pretending as though we know everything about biochemistry and everything that happens at the molecular level, we could just talk about specific foods instead. Simple is simple.

Do you need potato's/rice/pastry/pasta/bread in your diet to be healthy? remember, no talking about molecules! Only foods.

v/vmary said...

thx.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

I may not "need" them in my diet to be healthy, but that's not the only reason to eat foods. If there's no good reason to avoid them entirely, then I have a lot more flexibility in my meals and in my life. That's simple for me!

Unknown said...

I don't care whether I need a food in my diet to be healthy, I care about whether I need it in my diet to be a stunning example of a male human in all his glory.

And for that I need carbs.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

That's pretty silly, really. You could put all foods on such a list and you don't need any of them. Do you need animal protein? No, humans can thrive on vegetable protein. Someone who eats steak and bananas doesn't need potatoes, but someone who doesn't eat steak or bananas does ... or some other food. Why lump real foods like potatoes and rice in with flour based refined stuff either?

MM said...

Just thinking that if we have 5g of glucose in our bodies at any one time and only 0.5 g NEFA... shall we assume our bodies prefer us to eat food in that same ratio? Just for fun. On a calorie basis it would be 5g*4cal/g = 20cal glucose, and 0.5g*9cal/g = 4.5cal fat. So... using that logic (which is, I'm sure, illogical) we should be eating about four times more carbohydrate than fat on a calorie basis. I'm not sure where protein would fit in there. Any idea what the blood level of amino acids are? We could come up with yet another "Magic Macro-Ratio" and Yet Another Diet Book! LOL

julianne said...

Menopause - just noticed you have a series of posts on it - thanks, I'm just going through it now, and am really annoyed at a 2 k weight gain. I know it doesn't sound much but I'm typically 51 kg and 2 kgs makes all my clothes uncomfortable and 3 cm bigger at my waist.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Hey Julianne, Do you have any issues with flashes or nightsweats? The night sweats really got me. Sometimes I would wake up and have to change pj's and put a towel under me (if I slept alone I would probably have changed the sheets!). Sometimes more than once a night. I found the max strength Estroven really did help. Soy isoflavanoids and other herbs.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

The Circulation Diet TM ;)

Sanjeev said...

> in our bodies at any one time and only 0.5 g NEFA... shall we assume our bodies prefer us to eat food in that same ratio?
_____
one diet does indeed provide the correct ratios of everything ...

There are risks of course ... Kuru is one.

Among the symptoms I believe[0] it makes one shave one's head and do things exactly at the same time one protests that they can't be done.


[0] facetiously

v/vmary said...

evelyn, how old were you when your period stopped? do you weight lift? if menopause involves losing a lot of muscle mass, wouldn't weight lifting be a big part of the solution? i would guess you put on muscle pretty easily since you were an athlete. anyone who could do a back handspring had to have major strength.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

v/v, I haven't lost muscle that I'm aware of. Indeed I'm a freak in that department given no formal resistance training. Muscle is not a problem for me ;) I've been doing mostly body weight stuff lately, but need to be more consistent about it.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Well that tarantula adorned fur ball did almost cause head injury the other day (he's prone to furballs and all that entails ... hardwood floor ... puddle ... bare feet ... eeeeeewwww!), but yeah, :D Yep they are bunny heads from the Insanies. Had to make a Lustig & Feinman, but no doubt the Lustig at least will be needed for the 2012 awards!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I think I'll address this whole nutritional ketosis thing more generally at some point. But, as for Jimmy's n=1, a few points. 1. I'm glad he tried something, for 30 days rather than willy nilly as he's done of late. 2. Also glad he did it without "throwing down a challenge" with arbitrary dates and goals. 3. Think it was a good idea to try this and share results rather than announcing it ahead of time where it just puts undue stress on him.

That said, at 300 lbs, 20 lbs in 30 days is nothing new for Jimmy. I think it has very little to do with ketosis, and everything to do with needing to eat pretty cleanly to maintain such levels. He also mentioned IF again ... which he did in Jan 2011 with his beef and CO diet. Point of reference, when I first did IF in 2009, my weight had crept up to 213 (being good on LC) and I lost 10 lbs in 2 weeks even having higher carbs every 4th day. He's not putting numbers to protein intake, but he said it's pretty low. Lean mass losses too?

Tell me your situation, and I'll give anyone half-dozen better things to spend $450 on than blood ketone testing strips. It saddens me he's encouraging others to follow suit, and shame on Volek & Phinney (and Attia) for promoting an 80-90% fat, essentially zero carb diet, where not therapeutically necessary. Sorry but that is incompatible with paleo too. No way we evolved on such a diet ... even the Inuit didn't eat that way. I'm sure someone will challenge this, but there are no long term studies of humans eating this way. None. The ones I know of on epileptics followed the diet for like an average of 10 years and were no longer on the diet for like 6 months when the testing was done. Meanwhile, there innumerable cultures who consumed the opposite -- single digit fat & protein and high carbs to support those who choose to eat in that fashion (sorry, not for me either, but perhaps there's an n=1 in my future).

My prediction? The novelty will wear off, Jimmy will rationalize (if he hasn't already) that cream cheese is very high fat, low protein & carb ... and start whipping up "cheesecakes" like the old days (tub of whip cream, flavor and artificial sweetener), though perhaps with stevia as homage to the paleo gods, plateau out in another 10 lbs or so, add a veggie to his diet, knock himself out of ketosis, blame the veggie. Well, if history is any indication that is. I hope for his sake this doesn't happen, but Jimmy hasn't changed so I don't see that the outcome will here either.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Next time post the video :D Glad you liked them!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I've never understood the twisted logic that desiring carbs and eating them equates to addiction, but desiring a fatty steak drenched in butter and eating that is just nourishing one's body!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Looking for the long run ... I'll take Andrew DiMino as an example. Typical poster boy for Wheat Belly who claims to be a low carber. I would not otherwise believe him were it not for the example of Jimmy Moore who, while not always truthful about everything, seems too darned dogmatic about his cherished low carb to be lying about that. Therefore I'm willing to believe, based on the 2+ lbs of meat he pictured for a lunch once, DiMino is a dedicated obese low carber. Thus he's insulin resistant, if not inherently so, through his chronic diet. His body relies on his liver to make most or all of his glucose. The IR is sure to make this process less than perfect. Many low carbers have prediabetic FBG's ... that is rationalized many ways.

I don't think one gets hyperglycemic, but when you think about it, when you eat fat and protein without carbs, your blood glucose should go DOWN, and perhaps rebound a bit over fasting, but it should not "spike" as many see, especially with protein. This is (probably) the same unchecked postprandial glucose production in the liver that occurs in LIRKO.

Kindke said...

I listed that group of foods because those foods make me gain weight like crazy. So yes, there's a "reason" to avoid them.

And yes, I lump "real" foods like potato's in with flour based refined stuff for the above reason.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Once upon a time, I believed that people should eat according to their fasted RER. Therefore, sedentary people should eat about half as many calories from carbs relative to fat. As activity level increases, fasted RER increases and the carb:fat ratio increases, up to about five times as many calories from carbs relative to fat for very active people.

Unfortunately, testing RER by respiratory gas analysis costs an arm & a leg.

bentleyj74 said...

I'd say I probably do need them, or I need to make regular trips to the vitamin hut.

Franziska said...

+1

LeonRover said...

Well, Nige, quite.

"costs an arm & a leg"

At that point, half-armed and half-legged, your activity level decreases.

It is a Catch 22.

May we now address you as Major Major Major Major Major Major Major Kinbrun?

Slainte

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hopping around on one leg burns more kcals than walking around on two. Amputation also results in rapid weight loss.

Absolutely not! My surname is Kinbrum :-D

Ian Braden said...

Maddam Carbsane, the Bullshit Smiter (can I swear?),

I've listened to many of Jimmy Moore's podcasts and as I've learned more and more biology/biochemistry (college student looking for a Bachelor's in Bio. and graduate school for neurobiology or immunology), I find my annoyance level creeping up ever steadily when I hear his 'experts' inform me that potatoes will make my cells resistant to all manner of things, including leptin, insulin, and happiness. Though i think Jimmy is probably a decent guy, his judgment is so very clouded by the low-carb world. Interestingly enough however, the other end of the spectrum--Matt Stone and his attempt at 'science'--tends to be more potent of an aneurysm stimulator for me personally; I guess I'm just generally pissed off, who knows.

With that said, I find this site beyond refreshing. Though the pixelation of the site's background drives me up the wall (OCD much), I very much enjoy your frequent writings. Keep it going, this is awesome.

Thanks,
-Ian

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Kindke: So the list is arbitrary. I bet if you ate nothing but potatoes for a month you'd probably lose weight. It's possible, though it may result in some deficiencies, but potatoes contain sufficient whole protein to sustain health.

Nobody needs to eat any food or food group. I refuse to be bullied by absolutists into believing I am only "allowed" to eat what I "need" ... especially when evaluated by someone else's arbitrary standard.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Why thanks Ian, and Welcome! I loved the potatoes will make your cells resistant to happiness line :D

As to the background, the butterfly was something I wanted there for reasons I outlined in the Welcome. The original is quite dark and somewhat "pixelated" to begin with because it is a needlepoint. I used a program that "screened" it in white so it didn't seem so morbid despite the bright colors. That does seem more pixelated. I've since found some other ways to manipulate graphics -- so when I'm in the mood to play, I'll try and do a brightened/fade so it is very light. Until then, this is why the text is dark gray on white for the most part. You can expand to fit the browser window or resize the window to block the background.

Morris said...

Hi Evelyn
The blood plasma NEFA concentrations vary with time following ingestion of a fatty meal between 0.1 & 5mm/L according to a chart in Keith Frayn’s textbook Metabolic Regulation, Chart 7.8 . So your value of 0.5g of fatty acid concentration is a maximum according to that chart and only at 6 hours after a meal (the concentration keeps rising with length of fast to several times the 6 hr max). BTW I am very grateful for your recommendation of Frayn’s book and papers and consider that the most useful contribution to my understanding of metabolism. For those interested, you can see the charts at wiley.com/go/frayn but not the textbook. I hope you return to your “normal” blogging mode and away from debunking. I appreciate the effort you put into explanations.
My personal experience seems to differ from that of many of your readers in that I was never significantly overweight. However I am able to clearly observe effects of eating patterns on aging biomarkers. In general my “explanations” accord with your view but in my I see more variables (which seem to be interdependent).

LeonRover said...

Sorry, guess yr glad it's not KinBum.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I have received mail at work addressed to Nigel Kinbum. Also, Nigel Gwinnet. That one was a massive WTF?!

Woodey said...

"I've never understood the twisted logic that desiring carbs and eating them equates to addiction,but desiring a fatty steak drenched in butter and eating that is just nourishing one's body!"

Good point you made. The first half where you mentioned carbs did nothing to me, then the part about the steak made me drool and yearn to eat. Me thinks you are on to something.

Woodey said...

It's always a pleasure to hear from a person who is a science student who is annoyed at the bogus claims the LC/paleo "experts" make. I used to listen to some of the things Matt Stone said, but after having people break down a couple of his posts (not too mention he's just as sensational as the LC/paleo wienies) I turned him off and stopped listening. I felt like I was just replacing one guru for another and that is just continuing a trend I am trying to break free from.

I don't care if they are "nice guys/girls" I'm not hanging out with them and don't really desire a relationship (although I think it would be fun to do karaoke with MC Triple Chin. Watching him rap You Be Illin on the LC cruise was entertaining, in a vomit inducing way), so as far as I'm concerned they can be mean old hermits that rape the fields and pillage the women. What I want is for them to be honest with the information they give out. Help people instead of being self serving fame whores.

Sanjeev said...

> potatoes will make my cells resistant to all manner of things, including leptin, insulin, and happiness
______
but .... but .... look at all the benefits. If you eat no carbs you can have

rainbows for flatulence
frankincense for underarm sweat
myrrh for foot sweat
Teuscher chocolate for cr*p (dissolved in the finest cream when you have diarrhea)

IOW- you fart rainbows, shit chocolate, smell nice & pee beer (root beer in the US til you're 21 - or go to Montreal or Tijuana for the real thing)

I'll leave "other" fluids to the imagination ; )

Woodey said...

@Sanjeev That was awesome....Rainbow farts, that was a good one. Like George Carlin once said, "There is always time for a fart joke!"

I do like a good frosty mug of A&W "pee beer", they make it tasty. I do have quite the imagination as do you.

Cheers

Swede said...

@Kindke

Have you ever eaten isocaloric portions of steak and potatoes on different days, then compared your weight, so you can confidently say that potatoes make you "gain weight like crazy?"

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Hey Morris! Yeah, my NEFA are typical fasting levels which is when NEFA is generally highest. NEFA should be suppressed between meals but is not with a VLC diet. I'm rethinking some implications of that observation. Hmmmm ... "normal blogging", eh? I see this blog remaining a mixture of sorts, but there's some interesting stuff on the science front I think!

bentleyj74 said...

If a vlc enthusiast eats a potato they'll gain weight like right away, pronto. It will undo the depleted and dehydrated state they have been residing in up until that point but it has nothing at all to do with fat mass. Everyone knows this by now, the argument is dishonest.

bentleyj74 said...

Also worth consideration imo, if I weigh 110 [har har says the preggo] and a vlc-er weighs 110 which of us carries more fat mass probably? A reasonable amount of my weight is fully glycogen fluffed muscle and water, if I were similarly depleted my weight would be lower.

Lerner said...

That's clever, Bentley. In retrospect it's obvious, yet I wouldn't have thought of it that way: LCers of equal weight are actually fatter.

Btw, did anybody ever figure out the mystery of Atkin's weight gain before he died? The last I heard, his weight actually was normal on his admittance record. Could all his massive weight gain have been from glucose in the IV and water? AFAIK, it's all clouded because the widow wouldn't release his records - which creates suspicion, of course. Like Taubes not taking the lipid panel on Oz and then showing up many weeks later with his own report.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

According to Snopes, Atkins' widow released his admittance forms to USA Today showing his weight at 195 at admittance. It seems plausible to me that his weight gain while in a coma was from edema as a result of organ failure (not just from glucose uptake as glycogen).

From my perspective (not a LCer), Atkins is really just another n=1.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Speaking of Veronica Atkins ... wasn't she originally slated to be on the LC Cruise as well?

Morris said...

Evelyn
Actually according to the referenced chart NEFA rises between meals and Frayn explains this in para 7.2.1 ( I assume you have the text). What is interesting is the partition of energy (per day) from glucose & NEFA which Frayn gives in Box7.1; NEFA/Glucose: 6100/3200 kJ. Presumably this calculation is based on 3 meals/day Frayn uses elsewhere. So if NEFA continues to rise during the fasted state, longer intervals between feeding would result in greater use of NEFA by cells other than adipose tissue. This may be relevant to intermittent fasting and fat loss. How do you interpret this?
The below paper relates as well. It made Editor’s Choice in Science and is behind a paywall, but the lead author is very accommodating.
Time-Restricted Feeding without Reducing Caloric Intake Prevents Metabolic Diseases in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet, Megumi Hatori, et al 1Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA 2Department of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Diego, etc

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I have the 1996 version, and it's Chapter 5 in that text ... but after finding it the discussion/figures don't seem to have changed much. Fig 5.9 in 1996 version shows NEFA plummet from basesline ~0.5 mmol to <0.1 mmol for the 1-to-2 hr post meal, after shich they rise in what appears to be a shallow exponential fashion. They reach fasted baseline at around 6 hours post-meal.

NEFA levels, lipolysis, does NOT dictate fatty acid oxidation rates. This is the whole hokum word game trick low carb "scientists" try to pull. Even Taubes acknowledges that NEFA are always released and present in excess, and if they are not used, they are taken back up and re-esterified. Even those taken up by muscle aren't necessarily burnt for fuel, they can be, and are, esterified and stored in lipid droplets in those cells until needed. What dictates the rate of fat oxidation is the energy state of the organism.

Which brings me to the Hatori paper. I have the full text and if you want to email me, I'll gladly share it. I also have another paper that was similar, but looked at low fat and high fat diets with a slightly different feeding window ... AND assessed energy expenditure and activity. Guess where I'm going with that ... that's right, the intermittent fat fasters moved more than the rats who ate fat all day and all night long. I hope to get to blogging on those studies in the next month. If I forget, feel free to drop hints in comments or email!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

PS I note Frayn uses the word "utilization" in describing the relationship between NEFA concentrations and utilization rate. I note he doesn't say oxidation, but rather the y-axis of the graph discussed there is "turnover" -- thus uptake. This is consistent with what I've been saying that cells do not seem to be able to turn away a fatty acid delivery. However if they're not oxidized, they will be deposited locally = ectopic fat = lipotoxicity.

Morris said...

Evelyn
Thanks for the reply. I am looking at the 2010 edition of the text and Fig 7.8. You can see this chart at wiley.com/go/frayn per my Jun 16 post. Clearly in that chart NEFA rise in exp fashion and not very shallow. Understand that I am a student (even though 73 yo) so I am not challenging anyone’s science. I quote from page180 of my edition: ”The overall rate of utilization of non-esterified fatty acids from plasma depends almost entirely on the plasma concentration: the higher the concentration on non-esterefied fatty acids, the higher their rate of utilization”. Further on Frayn amplifies the above statement so in my mind there is no question he means uptake of NEFA.
I do have the paper and am quite puzzled by it. I do not understand why metabolic cycles correlate with circadian rhythms. BUT my personal experience (nothing to do with overweight, my BMI is 22) supports benefits of extended time between meals.
Best

Morris said...

Hi Evelyn
I would like to continue this discussion with you but it seems that this topic is not of general interest. I have no particular theory to push beyond trying to interpret my nutrition experiments. I would appreciate your critique. If of interest to you please send me your e-mail.
Best

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eulerandothers said...

I think the records were released - or at least some information. What struck me about the information was that Atkins was in his 60s and he had the cardiac profile (or some words to that effect, describing the amount of plaque, etc.) typical of a man in that age range. In other words, and I don't think this is a minor thing, he didn't actually display any advantages as far as cardiac health.

Nathan Pritikin died with perfectly clean arteries, as reported here:

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

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