Oh Nevermind ..... (Taubes and G3P)
Poor Gary Taubes is embarrassed by his whole glycerol phosphate debacle, and since that was just too difficult a subject for dummy laypersons to understand anyway, he just left it out of his upcoming book. So let's just forget about that one folks and move on. He takes the opportunity to set the record straight in an interview, had time to post two long blog posts rehashing his latest spin on carbs and such, but hasn't addressed this issue in print despite at least one commenter asking about it. He "hopes" to be able to get to such heady topics at some future point. I'm not holding my breath!
But I think Mr. Taubes should have his feet held to the fire on this issue and not be allowed to get away with a simple "oh nevermind" on a key aspect of his theories.
One can listen to his latest (James Kreiger bashing **more on this at the end of this post) interview HERE. It's a bit of a tough listen with audio difficulties and such, but the issue I want to address comes around the 51:30 mark where he addresses his "bone headed" mistakes in GCBC.
Listen to that and now go back and listen to his mea culpa at around the 41:30 mark in his interview with Jimmy Moore HERE.
- In the Jimmy interview he says the G3P claims were "skewed" in the lectures but this wasn't in the book. In the latest interview he's asked specifically about the book but doesn't make the distinction again. Not that this is a huge quibble, but perhaps someone reminded him that #3 of the "four facts [that] had been established beyond reasonable doubt" by the mid 60's was: "Dietary carbohydrates are required for excess fat accumulation"
- In the Jimmy interview he says that the young biophysicists (now identified as Hall and Chow) told him he was wrong about G3P, but that insulin so fundamental to fat accumulation as to render this point moot. I've yet to find any evidence in their writings and metabolic models to suggest they believe this, indeed the word insulin doesn't even appear in the 10 pages of text in The Dynamics of Human Body Weight Change, which is perhaps why he left this qualifier out of his H&C correction in the latest interview. Still,
- In the Jimmy interview he goes on to correct that dietary carb is not required to store fat, but he doesn't refute the rate limiting part. He states that it's all still true that the more carbs, the more G3P the more fat you store. Well, now we get a different version of how Hall and Chow set him straight on G3P. Did you hear? Nine months ago (e.g. pre-Jimmy interview) they told him that there's always enough alpha glycerol phosphate available through other avenues that raising blood sugar through dietary carbs wouldn't directly alter this. Repeat: there's always enough around. It's NOT rate limiting folks.
But oh, this just happens, it's only important to folks on the internet who don't like me and are convinced I'm just in it for the money ( awww shucks!) yada yada, it's a crazy world out there, this isn't a religion it should be a science. I think the fact that Taubes still has doesn't fully want to accept this himself tells us a lot about who is being "religious" on this issue. It appears that we get the truth out of Taubes when he speaks extemporaneously on such topics. He doesn't seem to have the greatest recall of things that he's said and written. So not only is he lying that the texts circa GCBC would say what he did in the book, but he lied in his interview with Jimmy when he says the only error was that carbs were required to store fat but all the rest is still true. Now he tells us Hall and Chow set him straight on the whole of the G3P theory months ago.
Whatever has prompted Taubes to fess up fully on the G3P issue, considering the numerous times he repeated it in all of those lectures in support of his theory and for the purpose of changing minds, I think more than just dropping the subject is in order here. He's now blaming all the readers who believed him and perpetuate this notion to this day for his errors rather than owning up fully. I don't know about you all, but every time he discusses this we get the prelude "this is technical" in a condescending drone. What is so complicated about a molecule -- one that goes by many names but not one of which is even hard to pronounce -- combining with three fatty acids to form a triglyceride? I'm glad he will not be perpetuating this error in his upcoming book, but I think the excuse as to why he's leaving it out is lame.
For the record, I do not use the word lie lightly. It is with much considered thought that I have come to this conclusion. The evidence is damning. There was never any evidence in the first place for his G3P theory to be found in his references, Newsholme & Start in particular even lays out the case against that theory. That didn't stop him from making it up! He, not his followers, repeated the made up theory over and over in his lectures that I'm sure garnered a tidy fee. Only the truth caught up with Taubes and yet he still clung to some vestige in an attempt to save face. Now, finally after all this time we get the "oh nevermind" brush-off, and it's just those geeky science bloggers with an ax to grind that it matters to anyway. He's just too busy to be bothered with this side job. As if anybody buys that GCBC franchise" is just something he does in his spare time or something. Yah! Does anyone really believe this? We all have lives and families and jobs and whatnot outside of this, but certainly for Taubes this IS a huge part of his job/finances and it is disingenuous of him to insist otherwise.
** I would like to take the opportunity to address the James Krieger bashing in that interview. James was supposed to participate but had throat/voice issues so could not. They took the opportunity to mock the name of his website and the quality of the science presented on his blog. If Taubes' first two blog posts are any indication, he could take a page or two from James. The irony of the other guest bashing science blogs while Taubes is now disseminating "science" on one of his own is not lost on me. I'm fairly sure I was amongst the unnamed other bloggers Taubes expressed his disdain for. A silly nuisance not worthy of his precious time to address no matter the substance of the criticism. No, silly interviewer, I don't believe GT makes money for every pound his readers gain, but he sure as hell does make a good living in book sales and lecture fees and the like. Anyway, I do not know James personally. I had read a bit on his former blog (something Detector or something like that). He's been kind enough to provide me with some articles I didn't have access to, contributed to this blog in the comments and linked to it to spread the word on certain posts, etc. All of which I'm thankful for. But there's no history or conspiracy here. I do not appreciate, however, these jerks (that's a kind description of their behavior) mocking the name of his website as if he's some fly-by-night schlock selling gimmicky diet advice. Unlike Taubes, James has actual experience with treating obese people as well as having performed actual scientific research and published in peer review journals. In discussing James, GT mentioned emails, a request for phone conversations, private communications, etc. Sound familiar? It should! GT seems to have a boilerplate response to criticism ... and don't forget the "ad hominem" charge. The tactic is to take it to a private venue where others can't see the silly and juvenile arguments he makes all the while never addressing the substance of the criticisms and noted errors in his works. Folks, it takes just as long if not longer to correspond in private than to post in public for all to read. And if it took any extra effort, one would think GT would make it in the interest of spreading the truth, no? So in any case, my Insulin Wars series was not intended to defend James specifically, but I'm happy that I have some time at the moment to address some of the criticism of his work at a time when his time constraints don't permit a firsthand rebuttal. James may not be 100% correct on everything in his Insulin Series, but he's a helluvalot closer to the truth than Taubes' blinders would ever allow him to get.
You are also correct regarding the amount of time it takes to draft a response privately vs publically. Gary sent me 2 extremely long emails (at least 5 times longer than the one he sent you) a while back and there was just no way I had time to draft a detailed response.
This is technically true, but will matter only in term of fat gain if there's a caloric surplus in the first place! God damn he should really takes his head out of his ass.
Hopefully he will never be taken seriously by searchers and/or MD since there such a blatant flaw in his theory.
Hall and Chow should make some public intervention about this! People has to know what is going on regarding G3P.
"carbohydrate make excess calories store as fat"
He clearly says EXCESS.
So, what is more important, not to have excess calories in the first place, or not to have carbs?
This is really ridiculous.
I think you missed his magic trick ; He's using excess in a slightly different way.
he claims it's the carbs ( -> insulin) that make you lose control and force you to consume the excess.
So there's no real "excess" (as I would use the term "excess" - if you had choice and ate more than needed I would call that excess ... but you have no choice, the carbs are choosing for you )
Nobody - not even Taubes - is arguing that you can make something from nothing. That would be silly. All Taubes suggests is that we might have had cause and effect backwards. Even if he's wrong regarding carbs driving insulin driving fat accumulation, that does not mean we therefore can ignore odd observations. Lise Madsen is a sound Norwegian researcher. In an isocaloric experiment she found the following (see below). She said it was a surprise and that she didn't exactly understand where the calories went. The fat mice clearli did not become fat because they ate too much. Two students got a grant to find the answer. Are they all idiots?
Combining fat and sugar in diets leads to increased weight
New research shows that mice eating sugar together with fat become significantly fatter than mice that eat protein with fat. The results will be used to examine what happens when diets with marine omega-3 fatty acids are combined with sugar.
New research indicates that whether fat in diets is combined with sugar or protein play a role with respect to maintaining body weight. In an experiment carried out at the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) one group of mice were fed corn oil together with sugar while a second group were fed corn oil and protein for 12 weeks. The energy content was equal in both diets and the mice consumed the same amounts of food.
“The results showed that the mice that ate sugar together with fat became significantly fatter than those that ate protein combined with fat. The mice that ate protein and fat had a lower increase in weight than a third group of mice fed a diet with less calories,” says Lise Madsen, researcher in the Seafood and health Research Programme at NIFES
“One reason for the low increase in body weight in mice fed protein together with fat is related to the limited access to dietary sugar in these animals. This leads to the production of energy from fat tissue in order to generate sugar for the brain. Which is a very energy intensive process,” explains Madsen.
Obesity, omega-6 and omega-3
Globally, obesity is a large and growing problem. Corn and soy oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids make up an increasingly large proportion of the western diet while marine omega-3 fatty acids are on a decline, as documented by several scientific papers.
“In further experiments we will examine the effects of fish oils on the development of obesity and investigate how different combinations of main nutrients come into play,” says Madsen
“The development of fat tissue is not determined by the amount of main nutrients in the diet, but rather the interaction between the main nutrients and the levels of the hunger signal cAMP.”
The hunger signal is the key
The protein - carbohydrate ratio in food affects the balance between the two hormones insulin and glucagon in mice. When sugar is consumed, the insulin level rises and when protein is consumed, the glucagon level rises. The hormone balance affects the level of a signal substance called cAMP, which is the hunger signal that is produced in several tissue types in the body that regulates energy circulation.
“cAMP levels rise when protein is consumed and Zinc when carbohydrates are consumed,” explains Madsen.
”In studies using cell-cultures we saw that omega-6 fatty acids repress accumulation of fat when the level of cyclic AMP is high, and conversely that omega-6 fatty acids stimulate the build-up of fat when the level of cyclic AMP is low.
Partners: Institut for Biokemi og Molekyærbiologi, Syddansk Universitet, Denmark, Institutt for Biomedisin, the University of Bergen, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Germany, and Department of Biosciences, TNO, Nederland.
Lise Madsen, scientist, National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, NIFES.
Telephone: (+ 47) 414 76 177
This has always been one of Taubes' claims that made the least sense to me. You know, the whole a child doesn't grow taller because he/she overeats, he/she "overeats" because he/she is growing taller. So if this holds for vertical growth, why not horizontal?
I shake my head every time I read that one because it doesn't even reach the level of explanation he described in his 2002 Big Fat Lie article -- that it would need to explain the observed increases in obesity. Vertical growth is genetically programmed and we can't do much about it although malnourishment can stunt it. Somehow circa 1980 our genes all mutated?
Then there's the chicken/egg thing. Taubes says accumulating fat drives appetite. But how does the fat accumulate to begin with. He hits on it every time he uses the word EXCESS, yet implies that insulin has some magical power to trap fat away in fat cells.
Then he claims the obese don't eat more than the lean.
My head is spinning ;)
Indeed, a hypercaloric diet, high-sugar and high-fat, will lead to fat gain, slightly more I guess than a high-protein, because protein do have some kind of metabolic advatange (TEF). That high-protein diet is beneficial, no bodody will argue against this. That's a common error in the LC crowd, not making the difference between high protein or low-carbohydrate per se.
And those mice do were on a hypercaloric diet right? They did not get fat while in a caloric deficit?
So why not overeat in the first place? Now, if you overeat sugar and fat, maybe you'll get a little bit fatter (more energy store as fat, less TEF, and less muscule building (to a very insignifiant degree)) than if you overeat protein. But this is regarding to body composition, not body weight. You can't get heavier than what you eat.
But you're still overeating in the first place. And indeed, GT use the word EXCESS a few time.
It's difficult to overeat meats (even fatty ones), poultry, fish, veggies (even with a bit of butter or oil) because of the protein content. It will literally make you feel sick. And I'm not talking the kind of sick you may feel after a pants-button-opening holiday feast.
The reason fat+carb foods are so easy to overeat is because they tend to be very calorie dense and bereft of fiber and low in protein. The fat portion goes directly into storage as the body tries to deal with the carb load. That's oversimplified, but pretty much what it boils down to. Even if one were to eat a low fat (%) hypercaloric diet, it's the fat that gets stored for the most part.
When I put down GCBC, my understanding of why I WASN'T fat despite making zero attempts to control the quantity or content of my diet was simply that my body responded to the standard american diet by making me less hungry than the same diet did for someone else. Otherwise, how else would I explain that I didn't get fat eating whatever I wanted and how much I wanted when other people behaving the same way got fat? Think of it as a country-wide ad libitum study on the standard american diet. Why do some subjects spontaneously eat more and other spontaneously less?
Clearly, fat people ate more than me to get fat, but the interesting question is WHY, not how much more they ate. Why do some people apparently effortlessly control weight while others fail? I don't think Taubes' work is the definitive answer, but I at least it forces you to consider the possibility that what you eat affects how much you eat via the interplay of what you eat and your particular context. Otherwise we're stuck in the endless "calories in == calories out" tautology loop, which while true provides us with no meaningful way of explaining why some people appear to perfectly regulate calories unconsciously while others don't.
The point Taubes makes with vertical growth versus horizontal growth is supposed to illustrate that your body regulates itself via a complex system which is demonstrably capable of forcing unconscious changes in behavior (ie a teenager wolfing food to support a growth spurt). If this is true, and if your food can affect this system, then you have one way of explaining why some people overeat and others don't: their appetite/weight regulation system is disrupted or biased by their diet.
Taubes has done himself no favors over the years with his interviews or his lectures. Maybe I missed out on something but I thought everyone decided he was wrong about this back when he made the claim in a lecture (which was then debunked 'round the web via theory and personal testimony). I just wish the discussion wasn't about biochemical minutiae and was focused rather on the more interesting question of explaining why lazy thin slobs like me didn't get fat while their lazy fat slob friends did.
> nothing. That would be silly. All Taubes suggests is that we might
> have had cause and effect backwards.
Taubes DOES argue this though he's not completely up front about it
ONE: (this is what makes me doubt everything than he now says) - he claims obese people do not eat more than lean people. This is completely based on 80s and earlier stuies that relied on self-reporting.
Taubes apparently never heard of doubly labeled water.
He's never retracted the assertion that the obese don't eat more.
TWO: "calories don't matter"
If Taubes had ONLY written two & not one, one might conclude he believes the body cannot manufacture fat from vacuum.
But put TWO and ONE together, what can you possibly get?
Again, if Taubes had omitted ONE, one might conclude Taubes thinks "insulin makes people eat too much and the too much gets put away as fat"
> while their lazy fat slob friends did.
Part of what dropped out of the doubly labeled water studies was that some skinny people way over-report their intake, while the vast majority of the obese way under-report.
When I first read the height argument I kind of bought it but it sounded fishy.
1. Has anyone ever lost height by controlling calories?
2. When more and better food's available, societies get taller.
So why doesn't this happen:
2a in societies with bad food (insufficient in whatever the body needs for height) everyone stays hungry all the time, eating as much as they can get their hands on, until they reach their full height potential?
Surely 2a is what would happen if "genetic quest for height forces you to eat"
And to answer pfw's question, we actually do know a lot about why some people have an easier time staying slim in today's obesigenic environment. NEAT plays a big role, and Jim Levine has done some great work in this area. Interestingly, Taubes references Levine once in his book, and misquotes him by saying that "no one could explain the results of the research". Well, that's false. They were completely able to explain the results of the research.
2a doesn't make sense to me. Puberty doesn't last forever, it lasts for some period of time and then ends. If you are starving during that period of time, you'll grow less than someone who wasn't. I think your drawing a false dichotomy here: it's not EITHER calories/nutrition OR hormones. It's both. The "genetic quest for height" does force you to eat, but it doesn't magic food up for you and it doesn't last until you reach some set height. It just makes you hungry enough to eat enough to support your growth.
James: I've not read Levine's work directly, but the summaries I've seen on NEAT indicate that skinny people typically fidget more than obese people. That's fine, but it doesn't explain why skinny people seem to spontaneously eat less (Sanjeev's reporting observation). My whole life, I've been a "hardgainer", which basically seems to translate into having a hard time overeating. When I force myself to overeat, I gain weight well enough, but it's really hard to overeat. Friends of mine who coincidentally are fat don't appear to have this problem. Unless there's more to NEAT than I've seen, it wouldn't explain this effect, which again is the interesting question (at least for me).
And the Taubes crowd will never find out since many now seem intent on pointedly ignoring any science that refutes the disproven "no carbs no obesity" theory
and on many fora, shouting down dissention
Wasn't meant as an end-all, be-all refutation. Something about that argument resonates with me
AND at the same time somehow it always sounded fishy to me, even when I was a firm Atkins believer (which I was 1st time I read GCBC - my first few posts on Lyle's boards, until Lyle convinced me otherwise, were trying to defend Atkins / Pasquale).
 insulin must be giving me synesthesia
To me the more interesting question would be why do people eat more now than they did? The carb/insulin hypothesis does not answer this because we have myriad civilizations eating carbs up the wazoo in energy balance w/o obesity arising. And my generation ate all sorts of carbs as kidlets w/only the isolated one or two "fat kids" in a grade.
Did we remove fat and cause this? Actually the numbers argue against this as much as removing carbs.
Is dieting the cause? I certainly think so to a large degree. Not because we've "replaced fat with carb", but rather because we are either on or off diets in too many cases. I "cheat", it's part of my moniker over at Jimmy's forum where I participate most regularly. But I do NOT gorge or even overdo. This is a key difference. But how many times in the past while low carbing if I had a few chips or something did I just say "well, I've blown it so might as well get in all I can today because tomorrow there will be no more". I know others do this, and they do it with low fat or whatever the plan.
Why did we all of a sudden overeat? Insulin holds no answer there.
An interesting study would be to feed one group a nutritionally complete diet (high carb) and another group a deliberately deficient diet (also high carb) and see who ate more over time. If there's more to satiety than simply protein and mechanical fullness, that ought to show it. Might be some ethics problems though.
I look at those who go from total crap eating to a Paleo or Atkins induction style diet and they're eating vegetables and meats and eggs and not eating crap upon crap and it is any wonder they don't feel better after a while? (most anyway)
I can get on board with that too.
I also suspect that eventually we'll find the modern environment's affects on neurotransmitters to be as important for obesity as leptin & insulin, along with all the interactions implied thereof (dopamine in certain brain areas influencing insulin influencing leptin influencing serotonin ... )
And bromo was
approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes I believe.
Although the drugs cause other side effects
(they used the drugs not because Lyle necessarily recommends them but because Lyle came across some interesting information researching low carbohydrate diets and decided to publish a more or less technical treatment)
> they can reduce calorie requirements drastically
the board members can reduce calorie intake drastically.
Some have reported no reduction in thyroid that happens at the 2 day mark with drastic undereating.
Good point about the over eating. I don't know and I plan to ask Madsen. Without trying to shift goal posts, I must say I'm not interested in weight (but I realize it is crucial to this discussion). What counts most for me, is that Madsen showed that different foods can cause huge differences in body compositon (when fed in isocaloric amounts).
I found a very technical paper by Madsen et al called 'Nutritional Regulation of Adipocyte Differentiation'
It is in this document and starts on page 429.
A few lines from the conclusion:
Frequent meals rich in protein and fat, such as those that dominated the diet of primitive man, would beneficially regulate both the hormonal status and transcriptional activity of several factors involved in adipogenesis. In contrast, a constant ingestion of sugar results in a
chronically elevated level of blood sugar and insulin and thus renders the body in a constant lipogenic state. Under such conditions, fatty acid synthesis is high, whereas fatty acid oxidation and expression of PPARA and PPARD are low. Fatty acids are secreted from the liver into circulation and taken up by adipose tissue. Adding fat to such a diet would then increase fat storage in the adipose tissue. In contrast to high glycemic carbohydrates, dietary proteins does not elevate plasma insulin and glucose levels. Indeed, increasing amounts of protein or low glycemic carbohydrates in the diet reduces the expression of LXR-a and SREBP1
while increasing expression of PPARA and PPARD. Under these conditions, fatty acids are mobilized from adipose tissue and fatty acid oxidation in both liver and peripheral tissue is high. Dietary fatty acids, especially PUFAs, can then via activation of PPARA and PPARD target genes contribute to activate genes that would contribute to their own catabolism. Studies of macronutrient energy proportions in the diet of hunter-gatherer societies, analogous to those of our initial human ancestors, show a relatively high protein intake of 19% to 35%, a highly variable fat intake of 28% to 47% and low carbohydrate level of 22% to 40%. Current dietary guidelines advocate a daily intake of macronutrients with carbohydrates accounting for 55% of dietary energy, fats limited to
30% of dietary energy, and protein at 15% of energy. From a transcriptional activity point of view this is perhaps a shortsighted
CarbSane, pfw roughly summarized my own thoughts (but in better English ;-) ). Your head s spinning, but please have mercy. You (and Frank and Sanjeev) clearly have far more knowledge on the subject (and scientific training), so I assume I must be making some false turns in my thinking. A few days ago I vividly remembered a moment from when I was five years old. I was riding my bike with a friend who was two years older. We were fighting against a strong head wind. I was frustrated and couldn't understand why I had to push so hard. My friend explained it was because of the strong air flow. But I could not grasp the fact that air actually was something. The resistance I so clearly experienced, didn't make sense to me at all. I guess something similar is going on now. I wonder when I will see it ;-).
Anything I know about that is through self-study after graduating.
SKEPTICISM is far more important than any factual education ... DO NOT live in an echo chamber; read ALL the studies, not just the ones that make you feel good by confirming your pre-existing notions.
That's why I'm eagerly following this blog.
Everybody here agrees with that. But why am I telling you that? A really smart guy, like you obviously are, probably did read some, just to make sure you don't make an ass of yourself?
But please go to "general diet questions", it's here ... these people need your wisdom and guidance
Make your first post something like "Gary Taubes is god" or some such.
Welcome to my blog Noah, perhaps next time you can make a constructive contribution.
Sanjeev, Clearly you have a practiced caustic wit, to be able to so thoroughly embarrass me without coming across as a condescending prick is truly impressive.
Taubes is only a demigod, "Robb Wolff is the nutrition messiah" thread is what I'm looking for.
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