Showing posts from June, 2011

My (New) Carb Sane-Asylum

Announcing my unveiling of the new look here at the Asylum! If I were a conspiracy theorist I would believe someone jacked my usual browser as just after I applied the new template --  that needed quite a bit of tweaking -- blogger went down on me.  So much for doing it in the wee hours!  Then I saw a comment come through my reader on another blogspot blog and tried IE.  Well, thankfully that worked. Not much will be changing here at my main blog, other than the look, but I've now revealed my secret identity and written a bit more about the conception of this blog and its direction moving forward.  Always being an all or nuthin' kinda gal, there's probably a lot more about me there than anyone needs to know.   The most important new thing is the Discussion Boards are open!  Jump on in!! I hope I have all the links going to the right places.  Please do let me know if you find any problems there.  And, as always, feedback is welcome! Now off to raise some dust somewhere

Is LC Healthy? Part I: What's with the Cramps?

At the risk of needing a hankie for my moist and dreamy eyes , I can't help but notice that so many seem so almost brainwashed to equate VLC with healthy, they don't listen to their bodies.  The two most recent blog posts by Dr. Eades, here and  here , are illustrative for examining the validity of the "healthy low carb lifestyle" mantra.   Let me say off the bat here that I do not consider the "induction flu" or a couple of days of feeling like crap whilst getting keto-adapted to be dangerous or unhealthy.  I've never experienced this myself.  But I have experienced one of the other side effects of low carbing -- that being severe cramps, usually in the middle of the night -- and I must say they were excruciating and worse by a mile than my worst menstrual cramps.  In his second post, Eades relates what I would consider rather scary episodes of cramping:

Another one jumps off the bandwagon

Goodbye CutTheCarb In the beginning of 2008 I read Gary Taubes’ book Good Calories Bad Calories. This book shifted my paradigm (and that of so many others). I probably misinterpreted it in those days, but it made me so carbophobic that I practically eliminated all carbohydrates from my diet. I mainly ate meat, fish, eggs, coconut oil and butter. And I surely lost weight, but in the long run I also got starvation symptoms like irritability and shakiness. After years of self-studying biology and physiology and reading a lot of blog posts, books and scientific publications I have come to the conclusion that when you’re not diabetic or metabolically derailed you can safely consume reasonable quantities of carbohydrates. Reasonable is somewhere between 15 and 30 percent of your calories; this as long as you match your calorie intake with your level of activity. Starch, which consists of mainly glucose, is the preferred carbohydrate. Fructose, fructan and lactose can best be firmly restrict

Irresponsible Advice from Dr. Eades ... Again!

In a blog post entitled  Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt II , Eades discusses cramps and hydration.   Now, he does give the good advice about bone broth or bullion, but all of that is obscured to this reader by the frequent mentions of alcohol - complete with the picture atop the article and its caption. A glass of Tinto de Verano pictured at left. A great way to hydrate. (See note bottom of post.)

Government Guidelines - Let's Get Real!!

** I'm updating and bumping this post because my omission of a link to the blog post has led to some confusion as to the reference to Dr. Jeff Volek in the second to last paragraph. Here's the blog post I was discussing: -------------- original post ------------- So ... If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. The USDA's misguided nutritional advice has wreaked havoc on our population and spawned the obesity epidemic. Really? Firstly, let me state flat out that I agree that the old pyramid was misguided. And I believe the newer guidelines are even more misguided. They aren't going to solve the problem. Basing a diet on whole grains and encouraging grain consumption when whole grains equates with flour and highly processed foods is absurd.   That said, let's be honest here. When a 275-ish p

The Death of Critical Thinking in the LLVLC World

A little history for those who haven't been following along here for very long.  I did my "planned cheats" and VLC plan from sometime in the summer of 2007 through spring 2009 doing essentially Atkins Induction with a few tweaks on VLC days from memory.  I did not tell anyone.  I did not seek any support.  I just went about my merry way.  I lost most of the weight in the first 10 months or so and lost very slowly to where I'd plateaued (and perhaps started to regain?) out in 2009.  It was then that I looked to the internet for answers.  I had never heard of other LC plans (e.g. Eades & Protein Power) or the Messiah himself Gary Taubes.   At that time, Jimmy Moore's LLVLC Discussion Board seemed to match my fancy more than others, although I have registrations and read at Active LC'ers and Low Carb Friends, as well as following the goings on at a number of LC blogs.  If you're not a member of the LLVLC "wing" of the LowCarbOSphere, perhaps yo

Google Giggles

Double hee hee, a twofer T'ursday " gary taubes is a quack 2011 " DOUBLE CHEERS!

Google Giggles

Hee hee.  A recent search term bringing folks here is:   cherry carbohydrates Guess this just   makes me smile ! CHEERS!

Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part VI.1: Exercise & the Atkins Food Pyramid

In my recent highlighting of the LC response to the USDA 2010 Guidelines , I had meant to include the Atkins food pyramid.  But having neglected to, in light of this series of posts, I thought it might be more appropriate to put it here.   Below is a copy of the Atkins Pyramid from  here :

When “One Size Fits All” Paleo Stops Working

Huh? I've seen many "ex-Paleo-types" acknowledge this, but I found this a very interesting admission over at Robb Wolf's  site: It’s safe to say that the “Paleo Movement” has taken off. What started as a relatively small bunch of ‘reformed Zoners’ and ‘ahead of their time meat lovers’ has evolved into a large group of people dedicated to performance, health and longevity. The overall ruling concepts of Paleo are pretty much the same across the board – and like any diet or training program getting started is the hardest part but once you’re in, results will follow – at least for awhile… But in time circumstances and needs change. Your body adjusts and what worked once or for awhile may not be the answer anymore. Now the rest of the post is about Robb's Paleo Charlie's Angels whose services one can contract to figure out how to get Paleo working for you again, but I think it's more interesting that this is being admitted.  I will differ with the notion

Just for fun ...

Guess my ethnicity! I'll tell you that the hair color comes from a bottle these days, but I was blonde until my 20's when it started to turn mousy "dirty blonde".  The brows have always been dark.  It's "my signature" as Mom says ;-)   That is a fairly recent pic of me up there sans makeup.  I'm sporting a bit of a tan as I'm a day or so into a Mexican vacation. I'm majority of two nationalities.  And there's no prize for guessing correctly, although who knows, if I ever have anything to give away maybe I'll shoot ya a freebie.  

Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part VI: At Least Exercise is Healthy, Right?

This post is mostly going to focus on the Big Guy, Jimmy Moore and the LC Supreme Guru Gary Taubes.  For a very long time, Taubes has been promoting the notion that exercise is worthless for weight loss, including this article published around the time of GCBC.  In this article we find gems like: This is not to say that there aren’t excellent reasons to be physically active, as these reports invariably point out. We might just enjoy exercise. We may increase our overall fitness; we may live longer, perhaps by reducing our risk of heart disease or diabetes; we’ll probably feel better about ourselves. (Of course, this may be purely a cultural phenomenon. It’s hard to imagine that the French, for instance, would improve their self-esteem by spending more time at the gym.) But there’s no reason to think that we will lose any significant amount of weight, and little reason to think we will prevent ourselves from gaining it. and

Where do triglycerides come from? Part II

Part I Low carb dogma would have us believe that the triglycerides pumped out by our livers are not from the fats in our diet but the carbohydrates.  And specifically that they are formed from fatty acids derived from de novo lipogensis - DNL - aka excess carbs converted to fat.    As was discussed in Part I , in a whole food carbohydrate diet, DNL is not a major contributor to VLDL-triglycerides.  So, now, we have additional work from the Hellerstein's research group at Berkley.  More specifically, a 2006 paper: Delayed secretory pathway contributions to VLDL-triglycerides from plasma NEFA, diet, and de novo lipogenesis in humans  I'm going to discuss the paper and the results thereof in Part III, but for this installment I wanted to show and discuss a nice graphical overview of VLDL-TG sources from this more recent paper:

Google Giggles

One of the stats I get in Blogger is Google search terms.  Every now and again there have been some hilarious ones that have landed people here at the Asylum.   Some are rather specific.  So the first installment that made me laugh: "wheat belly" davis wrong or stupid or ridiculous Too funny!

Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part V: Health and Insulin Resistance

So let's continue with this look at the "low carbing for health" irrespective of weight loss trend.  The topic of this thread will be insulin resistance.   I believe the misguided notion that carbohydrates cause insulin resistance, as put forth in GCBC by Gary Taubes, is one of the single-most potentially harmful theories circulating about the LC webosphere.  The research just doesn't support this etiology of pathological IR.  This is complicated further by confusing physiological IR with pathological.

A Note to My Readers

I've been struggling a bit of late with the content of this blog.  On the one hand, I'd love to keep it all science, all the time.  I clearly have a contingent of readers that are interested in just that.  But you know what?  I like to think that even in those science posts, my personality peeps through my writing and has some people reading (and hopefully learning) despite the otherwise rather bland content of said posts.

A Common Sense Case for Starch

We discuss a lot of science here and for a change of pace I was thinking the other day about why I think humans were meant to consume starch for at least a goodly portion of our energy.  I'm not going to talk about obscure cultures most of you never heard of and Americans and most cultures around the world have never eaten like.  I'm not going to talk the minutia of evolution, genetic adaptation, extinct fauna, etc. etc.   I'm going to talk look at that body of yours.  Clearly we've evolved or adapted or whatever over the centuries to eat both plant and animal foods.  Look at your mouth for starters.  And now look at the kitty's mouth below.

Low Carb & Hypothyroid ~ Healthy?

It is very difficult to find peer review studies on thyroid function and the effects of a low carbohydrate diet.  I've found a few short term studies, but nothing long term.  It would be nice to have longer term studies on VLC, but there's just not a lot of people going to be willing to follow such a diet for a matter of years in a study.  So if anyone is aware of any studies that might be relevant, please do provide links in comments.  What I'm particularly interested in is the second half of the first year - e.g. months 7-12 - and beyond.  Because anecdotally, this is the time frame when hypothyroids seem to react rather poorly to a VLC diet.  Far more material is available on health and nutrition related sites.  While I prefer not to rely on such sources, I think the information available from reasonably reliable sources demonstrate that carbohydrate restriction reduces T3, reduces T4-to-T3 conversion and increases reverse T3 (rT3).  The latter happens with all diets but

Irresponsible Advice from Dr. Eades

Again, leaving aside the creepiness of this man's words, I've got to address how irresponsible his advice in a recent blog post was.  I may come back at some point and address the "Listen to your body?" stuff, but MM reminded me in the comments on another post of some more disturbing content in the post. His advice boils down to "up the fat" to hasten the transition into ketosis so that your "induction flu" is as short as possible.  Now, I've never experienced any such symptoms so I can't really relate to this, but apparently newbies and restarters have done very well taking the advice in The New Atkins to increase salt intake by sipping a little bullion.  Anyway, Eades -- oddly enough author of a book subtitled "The High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrate ..." --  has now jumped full on into a tub of Mangalista lard.

Protein, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) and Glucose Homeostasis

I've blogged previously on the LoBAG diets for treatment of diabetes.   These diets are higher in protein that standard recommendations - 30% vs. 15% - with varying carb content (20,30 & 40% have been studied).  With both of the lower carb diets, this group has achieved good improvements in HbA1c levels in relatively short time (5-10 weeks).  In comparing their diets  they observed: Increasing the protein content of the diet from 15 to 30% resulted in an 35% increase in IGF-I regardless of whether the carbohydrate content was 40%, 20%, or 30% as in the present study. Thus the dietary protein-induced increase in IGF-I is independent of the amount of dietary carbohydrate and fat. I believe the near-OCD obsession with insulin in the LC community overshadows the vast body of research on other hormones and peptides that's out there and their role in metabolism.

Asylum A'surfin Musings ... Show me the belly!

So after getting weirded out reading Eades' last blog post, I noticed that the paperback version of The 6 Week Cure is now available.   I absolutely cannot recommend more highly AGAINST wasting money on this book.  There's absolutely no new meaningful science in this horribly written book.  It's 3 shakes and a low carb meal for 2 weeks - where you detox your body of every evil chemical (caffeine and alcohol) whilst bathing it in your artificial sweetener of choice.  Then once your toxins have exited your liver and are coarsing through your veins, you go donate 10% of them to your local blood bank lest they just get redeposited in your liver.  What that has to do with losing actual BELLY fat is beyond me.  

Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part III: Why so many "Heavy" Low Carbers

It's not like I've been the first one to ever notice or ask about the troubling observation of low carbers.  As I've written before, many low carb aficionados tend to: Lose a little or no weight at all - remaining obese or overweight Lose significant weight but plateau out at a weight that is still obese or overweight  Struggle to maintain weight loss and regain despite adherence to the low carb WOE While I see some positive messages from the HAES movement, I also see some dangers as well.  There's a giant chasm between striving for ultimate perfection and just accepting one's obese state.  I also believe there are health consequences to a certain degree of excess weight.  Obviously this is highly individual, and there's probably no single optimal weight for any of us.  Most of us can probably be "healthiest" at a rather broad range of weights.

The Myth of Starving Cells II ~ Lipolysis is not rate limiting

The low carb theory on weight loss revolves on insulin's action on adipocytes.  Specifically, high insulin favors deposition (esterification to form triglycerides) in the fat cells and suppresses lipolysis (breakdown to free fatty acids).   This of course is true.  But the problem with this discussion is that it is incomplete.  You see, lipolysis has little to do with fat burning per se.  That is beta-oxidation occurring in the mitochondria in a series of cyclical reactions commonly called the Fatty Acid Spiral, FAS.  Free fatty acids are constantly delivered to the cells and being taken up.  Those that are not oxidized for energy are re-esterified and stored as triglycerides inside the cells (e.g. IMCL or IMCT).

Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part II: There's Something About Laura

As I stated in Part I of this series, I'm seeing increasing mention of low carbing for health irrespective of weight loss.  The subject of this installment is going to be Laura Dolson of  Her recent interview with Jimmy Moore is what actually sparked me to blog on this topic. I wish to put a disclaimer here, and I'll probably C&P this paragraph into each subsequent Part I may add to this series in which I name names.  I have nothing personal against any of these people.  I don't know any of them personally, so I can only go by their interviews, writings and podcasts.  For the most part these folks seem like quality people, although I do find the snarky and often mocking anti-anyone-who-disagrees-with-their-pet-theories attitudes off-putting at times.   In naming names my purpose is not to embarrass anyone or attack them or make them feel badly about themselves.  Lord knows the last thing an obese or overweight person needs is someone else to remind them th

Countering Anti-Energy Balance, CI=CO Arguments ~ Part II: We Can't Calculate It

This one is the strawman argument that I think irks me the most.  Because, ultimately, this argument is meaningless when it comes to the fact that our bodies MUST obey the First Law of Thermo ... and don't go on with the BWBS .   Some claim the calorie levels reported for most foods are off by as much as 30%.  This could well be true - especially for things like hamburger.  It's also been shown that we absorb fewer calories from whole unprocessed foods than from highly processed/refined.  Add microflora to the mix and we extract more or less of the same food than our neighbor.  Also, different fats, carbs and proteins actually have differing energy density.  For example sucrose and starch yield slightly different calories/g (if memory serves sucrose is slightly less than 4, starch slightly more than 4).   But does that last paragraph prevent us from getting a pretty good idea of CI?  I'd say not.  For one, it's average intake over time that's important, not that I