Showing posts from December, 2011

The 2011 InSanies

The first ever awards to be handed out here at the Asylum.  We'll honor here the most insane goings on in the low carb world in 2011.  These honors are bestowed with lighthearted humor, even if some were earned for actions of a more serious nature.  So, without further delay, in no particular order, I present The 2011 InSanies

Weight Loss Advocacy

Should I post the real version of this?  Let's imagine that Jane Smith has a bit of a weight problem growing up, gets married, has a couple of kids and some acknowledged issues with "emotional eating".   Jane has tried everything and nothing else seemed to work.   Around a decade ago, at 180 lbs, she discovers Weight-B-Gone, just enough different that she decides she might as well give it a try.  Over the next year following the WBG program, Jane loses 45 lbs.  Jane loves the WBG!  Woo hoo!   Jane keeps the weight off for six months but then some life issues arise.  She stops going to the gym regularly and does the diet plan half-assed on and off for several years.  Four years later she finds herself weighing in at 210 lbs. 

Starch is Paleo?

Tsimblist brought this presentation Dr. Nathaniel Dominy to my attention recently.  Something commonly raised in favor of a high (animal) fat diet in paleolithic humans is the notion that this was required and/or precipitated the increase in human brain size.  He seems to be saying this is not so much the case as is often cited.  (Around the 9 minute mark).  This is a huge point!!  Dominy does not come across as some vegan shill, that's for sure.  He pretty much comes out and says that meat eating is a no-brainer -- we're not herbivores -- but favors a higher percentage of plant foods likely comprising our ancestral diet.  Worth a watch/listen.

The Low Carb W.O.E.ating Disorders

Believe it or not, this post has been in my draft bin getting retooled and almost published several times over since last March!  But I've always never quite gotten it to publish ready, or whatever sparked the rant died down a bit so it got shelved for another day.  But recently the topic of eating disorders was inadvertently brought to the fore by Jimmy Moore in his Jessica Biel spiel.  So dust off this one I did ...  and still, it sort of languished until something happened the past couple of days over at PaleoHacks.  Someone asked about purging -- as in bulimia -- contemplating inducing vomiting to rid themselves of the holiday indulgences.  There were several, I thought, constructive responses and no nastiness ensued that I was aware of.  Perhaps the initial question was a joke or whatever, but in rather short order the question disappeared entirely!  Not closed, but vaporized.  Which left a bad taste in my mouth.  Not because of anything against the PH people, they are free to

Fat Tissue Regulation ~ Part VII: Changes in Fat Cells with Weight Loss

I came across this one a while back and found it fascinating. The Physiologic Effects of Caloric Restriction Are Reflected in the in Vivo Adipocyte-Enriched Proteome of Overweight/Obese Subjects In this study, 8 overweight/obese individuals (4M/4F, 30-60 y.o.a., BMI ≥ 27, otherwise healthy) were treated with a very low calorie diet (500 cal/day shakes + unlimited veggies) for 5 weeks followed by a weight stabilizing diet for 3 weeks.  Abdominal subcutaneous fat biopsies were taken before and after the 8 week intervention.   There's a lot more here than what I'll address in this post.  I hope to return to this at some future date, but in keeping with this series, I want to focus on the fat storage portions of the study.  I have quite a bit in the pike regarding fatty acid transport and storage in various cell types.  While fatty acids can be transported into (and out of) cells by passive means, it became apparent to me a while ago that the relatively rapid clearance of fatty

Merry Christmas!!

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you who celebrates the birth of Our Savior a very Merry Christmas!  May you stay safe, warm and healthy at this joyous time.    While many bloggers will probably be scarce until after the New Year, yours truly will likely be blogging up a storm as my day job is on hiatus for a month.  Hope to "see" you around, but if not, that's OK too ... I'll see you in 2011.  This afternoon I'm cooking up traditional Christmas Eve fare of my husband's ethnic tradition.  Perhaps I'll have some pics to post over in the Culinary Concoctions blog.   Thanks for reading and contributing here, it means a lot to me.

Insulin: A-to-Z and More

Well folks, as 2011 draws to a close, it seems the reason for the Asylum's very existence has all but evaporated into thin air.  What?  You didn't know?  Yes indeed!  Apparently my work here is done as nobody really believes that carbs cause insulin cause fat accumulation stuff anymore.  But I'm hopelessly mired in debunk mode so, of course, I just happen to glance at the insulin levels in studies when I read them, and so it was when I revisited the  Dansinger diet study recently.   And so, just in case there's even a single person out there who still believes that their low carb diet is working by lowering their insulin levels, I thought I'd start this first ever compilation post here. OK, I'll knock off the sarcasm now.  Yes, I know most of my readers will find this post repetitive of what I've already presented ample evidence for here.  But since part of the purpose of this blog in the first place was for me to organize information I gather, I thought h

Just for the fun of it ...

From the comments on PaleoOD , something Kurt Harris said prompted this t-shirt slogan idea by bentleyj74: "I'm wrong with all the right people" Which got me thinking ... would you rather be: Wrong with all the right people ... or Right with all the wrong people?? Of course, I'm always right so ... Just kidding ... If this generates some discussion I'll chime in on the comments with my own thoughts.


I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but is anyone else suffering Paleo Fatigue Syndrome?  Over dosing on just hearing the term "paleo" these days?    I am.   I've spent some stretches hanging out over on Paleo Hacks, and I keep my eye on various blogs and such low carb, which, these days, seems to be all the rage paleo.  My blog feed is even included at But, does anyone else find it strange when Mister Livin la Vida Low Carb himself now promotes "XX new blogs posts" with the word Paleo BEFORE low carb?  (Not to mention some paleo speakers on the 2012 cruise are decidedly not low carb dogmatists!)  I don't think Jimmy reviews his latest and greatest lists too well (hee hee, I made one I think sometime summer 2010 back when he only listed like 25 at a pop).  It wouldn't surprise me if along with some blogs that haven't been updated in months you might just find a carbivore paleo or three.  But I digress ...

Fasting Insulin & Diet ~ Time for some Cognitive Dissonance?

Reader Josh brings this study to our attention : High saturated fat and low starch and fibre are associated with hyperinsulinaemia in a non-diabetic population Huh?  They compared dietary intake (24 hour recall) for 1069 non-diabetics (assessed by administering a glucose tolerance test) with fasting insulin levels.   Subjects were seen for up to three visits from 1984 to 1992. A 24-h diet recall and fasting insulin concentrations were collected at all visits.... ... High total and saturated fat intake were associated with higher fasting insulin concentrations after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, waist circumference, total energy intake and physical activity. Dietary fibre and starch intake were inversely associated with fasting insulin concentrations.... ... Associations were similar in men and women and for active and inactive subjects, though associations of fibre and starch intake with insulin concentrations were strongest in lean subjects. 

Safe v. Non-Toxic

I've been listening and reading about the web, and the "buzz" over so-called "safe starches" continues.  One of the sentiments that goes with this is the idea that somehow Paul Jaminet is being irresponsible by promoting starch consumption.  The rationale is that because some minority of the population is intolerant to certain starchy foods, at best we should be labeling foods like potatoes and white rice "non-toxic" starches.  I disagree.  Firstly, in their book and on the blog, the Jaminets' reason for designating certain starches as safe couldn't be much more clear.   Secondly, I don't like the word toxic associated with a substance found in natural foods that has sustained billions of human lives throughout many millenia.   There are a certain number of people who are wildly allergic to peanuts.  Should every book or nutritionist that allows peanuts, or even encourages peanut butter as a good choice for snacks tag them semi-toxic?  In

Another 1500 Calorie Lesson in Reality

The apparent ineffectiveness of "conventional diets" for weight loss was somewhat lost in the excitement of the recent intermittent LC study .  Well, maybe not lost entirely ... there's always lots of "see, counting calories is useless" to go around.  But it struck me, yet again, that part of the problem with such traditional weight loss diets is that they are simply too high in calories to produce significant losses.   Harvie's group has done a number of studies (I hope to discuss some when I get time and if I can get the full text of some) in pre-to-post menopausal age women with a focus on breast cancer risk.  Her group's "standard diet" seems to be a 1500 cal/day diet.  In the study presented at the San Antonio conference, the control group followed a 1500 cal/day Mediterranean style diet, and lost a piddly 4 pounds over 4 months.  See?  They don't work!!  Perhaps the reason why they don't work, however, is because that is simply n

Lingering Flavors ... Emulsifiers & Stabilizers

You can file this one in the random thoughts file ;-) Think about foods you tend to overeat once you have some.  Nuts come to mind.  They are usually salted, and something about the yummy nut flavor mixed with the salt seems to stay on the tongue longer.  It lingers.  I know that if I'm having cashews (yes, I know, not technically a nut) I want more and more and more if there is a ready supply of more.  So I tend to grab nuts, when I do, in single serve packets or on the way out the door.  If I have them in the house, I take a handful or whatever from the kitchen and go eat in another room.  But when that handful is done, while that flavor persists in my mouth, I always want more, and it's not hunger or craving or any desire to binge.  It seems to be the lingering flavor.  (Brushing one's teeth helps with this big time!)

So wheat gives the dudes moobs ...

... but the ladies will go from deflated flatter chested pears, to round and perky Barbies if they just lose the wheat.  Yeah, that's how it's always worked for me!   WheatBelly is a JOKE.  Odd none of the LC ladies will call this guy on this crap ...

The Latest LC Beats Other Diets Study

I'm hesitant to discuss this one, because we don't even have an abstract of a published paper.  But since it's going to be bantied about the LC web anyway, I might as well comment on what information we have. Here's the press release from the conference at which it was presented: Intermittent, Low-Carbohydrate Diets More Successful Than Standard Dieting, Present Possible Intervention for Breast Cancer Prevention Here's an article that provides some additional info:   Cutting carbs just 2 days a week can spur weight loss Piecing together the information provided together it appears that they compared weight loss and changes in biomarkers for breast cancer risk in women over a four month period.  The diet details are sketchy, but it seems they compared the following diets:

Scientist Bashing II ~ The only sport approved by your favorite VLC guru?

As mentioned in my first rant on this issue, I had intended this post to be part of it.  But it's a somewhat different topic -- condescension of gurus sporting MD's against those lowly PhD's, or "just scientists" in general -- and lengthy enough (per my usual - grin) in its own right. A short while back, Dr. Mercola weighed in on the whole "safe starch" debate.   However collegial the meeting at the WAPF conference between Paul Jaminet and Mercola, it did not keep Mercola from taking pot shots.  The evolution of the title of the piece is interesting in and of itself.   Mousing over the tab on my browser, and the URL reveal the original title: "Expert s Discuss The Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet", but on the actual post?  Initially it was:  "Expert_ {singular} Explains Why You Don't Need Non Fiber Carbs". Huh?  That sounded strange for a post that prominently displayed the PHD Apple/Plate, but OK.  But shortly after th

This might be interesting - Totally Anonymous Medicine

I was thinking about the state of medical care lately and thought this would be an interesting experiment (but not likely doable). Imagine, if you will, a one month Metabolic Cruise.  To replicate real life as much as possible, no food or drink would be free.  It would be available as it is in every day life at normal market values in a variety of stores, restaurants and bars on the ship.  There is 24/7 video surveillance and each person has a GPS tracking advice.  Each person uses a card to purchase what they consume and places unconsumed foods in a receptacle to be analyzed.  In other words, a sort of free-living metabolic ward.  Of course rooms would need a kitchenette too.  But this cruise to nowhere would not allow for foods from outside sources.  Legally solid assurances were made from the outset that all video and such would be destroyed following analysis for compliance.    

Scientist Bashing I ~ The only sport approved by your favorite VLC guru?

This started as a comment over on Stephan's blog, but started getting a bit long.  So I hope Stephan won't mind too much if I move it over here.   Plus it contains thoughts about various and sundry names in the LC webosphere with whom I've had brief exchanges.  Those exchanged have had these thoughts brewing for quite some time, but in the end it seems to go back to the ultimate arrogant anti-scientist supreme:  One Mr. Gary Taubes.  When I first read Taubes, I got the impression that he had little understanding of how science really works.  That first impression has been confirmed many times over in the intervening years.  I have always wondered over why medical schools and such would bring in a science journalist to lecture medical students on such a topic.  If one doesn't have a PhD in the exact field these days it is difficult to teach at the college level at all for example.  Gary has a bachelors in physics, with no apparent experience as a "scientist".

The Best Diet & Fitness Regime for Health, Weight Loss

There's a nice conversation going on in the comments of my last post about the state of the nutrition and fitness communities.   One comment exchange just summed it all up and struck me as a "Nail ... Head" moment.  Before I highlight it, let's all think for a moment why we're in this in the first place.  For me?  I achieved significant but not complete weight loss and vastly improved health eating a pretty clean (no frankenfoods) VLC-based diet with planned cheats on those "normal" foods I enjoyed eating from time to time.  When the weight plateaued out, I wanted mostly to assure myself that the way I was eating was going to be healthy for me in the long haul.  And I've shared many of those concerns here before.  Regardless of how I felt, there was always this nagging concern over the shift of the distribution of where I carried the fat that remained, as well as racing heart issues I had experienced a prior stint eating this way.

Why is it never their diet for "Healthy" Low Carbers?

Before I get to the subject of this piece, allow me to remind older readers, and inform newer readers of "where I'm coming from".  I used a VLC diet (with planned cheats) to lose a ton of weight several years ago.  After plateauing out, I wanted to assure myself that the way I was eating was the healthiest for me in the long term.  That way was such second nature to me I truly wanted to find that it was optimal.  Now two and a half years into that inquiry, I still don't have all the answers, but I have become more and more skeptical that a VLC diet is advisable for the long term.  I remain a huge fan for the approach for weight loss.   I've been criticized for being critical of the weights/appearances of low carb advocates.  While possibly fair, I think these critics don't really get the point here.  If So-and-So is saying "my diet rocks, baybeee!", goes on and on about how they are never hungry, healthy as a horse, etc., etc., I would say looks and