Insulin Wars VII: Tom "Fat Head Movie" Naughton
Jimmy Moore asked an array of people in LC circles for their thoughts HERE
This installment is in regards to Tom Naughton of Fat Head film documentary fame.
I feel a bit bad "picking" on this guy. He seems nice enough and all that. But I guess first of all I question Jimmy's judgement in asking a comedian's opinion on James' rather thoroughly steeped in science series on insulin. I would have given Naughton a pass had he simply taken his own pass here with an "I'm not qualified to discuss such". But since he didn't, I won't ;-)
Krieger may have a point, depending on the type of carbohydrates. You’ve interviewed Dr. Robert Lustig, who insists the real problem with our diets is fructose, not glucose, and I think we have to remain open-minded on that topic. Lustig and Dr. Richard Johnson have written some excellent papers explaining how fructose may induce insulin resistance. We know there are cultures where people eat a lot of sweet potatoes and rice but don’t become insulin resistant, so perhaps fructose is the problem. In that case, a high-carbohydrate diet with a high proportion of fructose would indeed lead to chronically high insulin levels, whereas a diet of rice and potatoes may not.Wowzers! One of the best responses comes from the person least qualified to give one!! But this points out the biggest flaw in the whole carb/insulin theory. Fructose induces NO insulin response yet it is the only carb implicated to induce insulin resistance.
The pertinent question for me, however, is this: once your metabolism has been damaged by fructose, can you consume rice and potatoes without causing elevated blood sugar? In my case, the answer is no. One small potato will send my blood sugar sky-high and keep it there for hours. The same thing happens for a small serving of pasta. If I’d never discovered Captain Crunch and Coca-Cola as a kid then that might not be the case, but that’s where I’m at, so I have to limit my starch intake now.
I've not watched Fat Head (since it's now free on Hulu maybe I'll check it out) so I don't know if Naughton is a diabetic or not. He looks of normal weight now so perhaps just keeping BG in check is working ... but I do very much worry over the free fatty acid stuff. Long term low carbing does induce a degree of insulin resistance and/or insufficient insulin response. IOW, easing some starches back into the diet may well have beneficial results.
When I was at my fattest, I was living on rice, potatoes and pasta. I didn’t drink fruit juice or sodas, so it wasn’t fructose making me fat. Perhaps we can store a little fat with low insulin levels, but not enough to meet our metabolic needs.But starch made him fat so it must have been the insulin after all? *sigh*
Before insulin shots were available, Type I diabetics would waste away and die no matter how much they ate. Teenage Type I diabetics will sometimes stop taking their insulin shots — despite the dangers — because they lose weight automatically. Clearly, insulin is required to store any significant amount of fat.This highlights a common misconception or error in extrapolation if you will. T1's have NO insulin. No matter how low your insulin on LC, you still have some! When the teen T1 stops taking insulin, they have NONE. But look at this another way. What happens to the T1 left untreated? They die. So why would it be preferable to attain a very low insulin level given that insulin has other roles in the body other than keeping fat where it is supposed to be stored.
Insulin sweeps fat and sugar out of the blood. How that would suppress appetite is a mystery to me. If insulin suppresses appetite, somebody will have to explain to me why people can eat an entire box of cookies or an entire bag of potato chips, taking in more and more food even as insulin is skyrocketing.Insulin doesn't have a huge role in sweeping fat out of the blood which is perhaps why dietary fat doesn't trigger its release. It does play a role in alerting the body to when too many FFA's are in circulation though, because these do stimulate a response. Again, look at this with common sense. Obesity is not a desired state for the human body, therefore what purpose would there be for insulin to stimulate appetite? As far as I know, it has only been shown that it should suppress it. Whether this action occurs at physiological levels or is a major contributing factor is another issue. My gut tends towards thinking the insulin appetite connection is minor. I'm always amused that the same folks who will look at the abnormal fat deposition at insulin injection sites as proof of Taubes' theories will discount the results of insulin injections on appetite.
It’s been demonstrated several times that people on a lowcarb diet spontaneously eat less, so something about limiting carbohydrates suppresses appetite, whether it’s by reducing insulin or some other biochemical process we don’t yet understand.Perhaps Naughton should read a bit more on James' website. Or here I suppose. Studies that control for protein demonstrate that it is responsible for satiety for the most part, certainly the carb reduction per se doesn't suppress appetite as many voracious LC'ers would illustrate. Also, ketosis has some effect especially early on, more prominent in some than others. Since we tend to adapt to it, perhaps this explains the regains in those who aren't careful and buy into the "slather on the fat it won't make you fat w/o carbs" thing. At least Naughton isn't trying to convince people that on LC he lost weight eating hundreds of calories more. Bravo!!
If protein didn’t stimulate insulin, we’d be in trouble. Insulin is necessary to transport amino acids into your muscles. But protein also stimulates the release of hormones that counteract the fat-storing action of insulin to some degree, and protein induces a rise in your metabolism. But let’s leave the other hormones out of the equation and suppose for the sake of argument that carbohydrates and protein both stimulate insulin to same degree and are equally fattening per gram. The average American adult consumes nearly 400 carbohydrates per day. Do you know anyone who consumes 400 grams of protein per day?Four hundred grams? That's 1600 cals of carb a day on AVERAGE? Methinks that's a bit exaggerated. But let's assume he's correct. If that's 65% of calories that puts total at 2461 cal. Not ideal, but in line with what many claim to be maintenance levels.
Does our government recommend consuming at least 300 grams of protein per day, as they do with carbohydrates? Of course not. When we switch to a low-carb diet, we are mostly substituting fat for carbohdrates, and fat doesn’t raise insulin levels. So we’re switching from a macronutrient that raises insulin to one that doesn’t.No, we're not substituting anything, that's the problem. Americans are eating more. On an absolute basis fat consumption is even up slightly too.