Showing posts from June, 2012

The Great Calorie Debate -- A YOUNG biophysicist weighs in

Hat tip to Colby Vorland (@nutsci) via Twitter:   New fuel for the calorie debate This is the blog of one Carson Chow -- half of the dynamic duo who set one Mr. Gary Taubes straight for once and for all about glycerol-3-phosphate -- and routinely puts the man to shame.  Oh ... but let it never escape your mind that Chow is *young* ... I hear he's even more *young* than I am *female*!! In any case, Chow picked up on something that I missed in my obsession with the statistics.  The average TEE's measured by doubly labeled water were:  LF / LGI / LC =  2812 / 2937 / 3137 (by FQ) and = 2767 / 2926 / 3013 (by RQ).  The average caloric intake was 2626 calories per day.  This was less than each of the average TEE's for each diet by either measure.  By a minimum of 140 calories per day, to over 500 calories per day.   On average, everyone would have been in caloric deficit and lost something over 12 weeks, yet they didn't lose weight.  Heck, I suppose that's something fo

A Friday JAMA-lama Ding Dong!

Well ... I wasn't really going to weigh in further past using that recent JAMA article  (EDIT:  full text no longer free at JAMA, see link below) as an example of where statistics can lead us astray.  But ... as is probably expected, this study has kicked up some dust in the community.  I'm sure I'll miss a few, but here's the weighing in so far: Stephan Guyenet Anthony Colpo Marion Nestle Don Matesz Fat Head That's just the blog posts, not the tweets, FB postings or other social media buzz ... and I'm happy to edit in more, just drop the hint in comments.  And here's the full text of the study:   Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance

Fat Tissue Regulation ~ Part IX: ASP, LPL and the Triglyceride/Fatty Acid Cycle

In this installment, we reunite with our old friend C3KO mouse to learn a little bit more about the role of acylation stimulating protein, ASP, in the regulation of fat tissue (and muscle) from this study:   Differential regulation of fatty acid trapping in mouse adipose tissue and muscle by ASP .  The C3KO mouse was discussed in Part II of this series.  This mouse lacks the gene to produce a protein called C3 (short for Complement 3) which is a precursor for the formation of ASP.  Thus C3KO mice are ASP deficient.  The C3KO is to ASP as a type1 diabetic is to insulin.  These mice are also resistant to obesity.  BTW, hyperASPemia accompanies the hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia of obesity when it's measured. ASP-deficient mice have delayed postprandial triglyceride (TG) clearance and reduced WAT mass. The objective of this study was to examine the mechanism(s) by which ASP deficiency induces differences in postprandial TG clearance and body composition in male KO mice.

A Modest Proposal for Peer Review Research

With the advent of, and inexpensive nature of online sharing of information, I propose that all peer-review research should include (anonymous) raw data for each subject.  At the very least, there should be scatter plots presented for the individual data points for the main outcomes. I frequently teach statistics, and one of the first things we discuss in that class is sort of the "first purpose" of it all.  Because before we can analyze data, first we must summarize and present the data in such a way that the "consumer" can readily glean information.  In one classic stats text -- Triola -- this part is given the acronym CVDOT.  C = Center, V = Variation, D = Distribution, O = Outliers and T = Time.  So we go through the various ways we can convey the center of a data set, it's variability, distribution, etc.  In most of the studies we discuss here, data is presented as a mean value +/- either the standard deviation or standard error (C +/- V in the acronym).  

Review & Critique: The Skinny on Obesity ~ Part III Hormones

Previously I've shared my thoughts on Episode I and Episode II in this series.  This third installment in the series is essentially Lustig's version of Adiposity 101.   The video opens with an adamant Lustig declaring that weight management can't be done by eating less and moving more.  It's not doable.  Sigh.  I think at least the vast majority of NWCR members will disagree.  But in any case ...

Random Thoughts -- Drinking with Dinner?

One of the things that was an oddity about my upbringing, was that my parents always frowned on drinking with dinner.  Anything even water, any meals I just chose dinner.  We didn't drink with meals.  Sometimes tea or water or diluted juice afterwards, and later in life this seemed to have been relaxed.  But the notion as I understood it was that you weren't supposed to wash your food down. Whenever I went to a friend's house for dinner I was always asked what I wanted to drink.  Usually water or milk was offered, but occasionally soda too (that last one I think because I was a guest).  I would usually just decline as I didn't really like drinking milk.  To me most of their foods were more moist than I was used to anyway -- everything from salads with creamy dressing to white bread to breaded and fried fish vs. broiled.    In my binging days, I probably consumed the most milk of any time in my life.  Outside the little cartons in grammar school, I've probably only

The Men Who Made Us Fat ~ Episode 2: Portion Sizes

A bit behind the curve on this one, here's the first part (of 4) So in this episode, obesity is blamed on the man who invented the large sized popcorn at the movie theater.    I'm not inclined to blame that guy, per se, but I'm much more in agreement with those who blame portion sizes at least in part for why we're eating too dang much.  


Niles Crane (Frasier TV Series) on a Segway.   Full original picture link No that's not a typo ... though I've probably been guilty of spelling it that way.  The correct spelling for the word, is segue.   But no, I'm talking about the invention that was going to revolutionize transportation as we know it.  The Segway. Recent discussions reminded me of this. Did you go to a 10 year celebration of the Segway?  Complete with the 10th Anniversary Edition launch?   What?  No?  Was there even a PBS documentary on life before Segways?   I remember the hype, do you?  For months we were teased by this device that would revolutionize transportation and all that.   It was a hush hush secret.   Nobody would need a car or public transportation in the cities, etc.etc.   Perhaps because the originals cost $5K, or you had to stand, or there was no protection from the elements, or perhaps all three and then some ... but the Segway never did really even catch on as a trendy gadget or

Mendeley Desktop ~ Attention PubMed Etc. Geeks & Addicts

Are you like me?  Do you have a terabyte sized pile of PDF files on your hard drive?  A zillion studies on a bazillion topics?  Don't remember where you got it from?  Forgot to rename the file when you downloaded it, and now you've got a file named ABCXYZ123whatever.pdf and no clue what it's about?  Sure, you can preview the PDF in Windows.  Sure you can search on the title and find the link quickly enough.  Sure you can be more fastidious about renaming files and organizing them in subfolders.  Oh ... but what if you use more than one computer?  File not there?  Again, sure there are other syncing apps and online drives/services out there.    But a couple of days ago I found a paper on and they were touting  Mendeley desktop .  I downloaded it and I'm in heaven!!  I've only just begun to explore this, so I haven't put much into mine yet, but below are some screenshots of my current Glyceroneogenesis folder.  Yes, I really am just getting started  

Exercise & Fat Mobilization ... and starving cells & hunger

There's no denying it, TWICHOO is down to a broken toothpick where the science is concerned.  (See here for the toothpick reference if you're a newer reader.)   The remaining claim supporting TWICHOO rests on the action of insulin on the fat cell.  Insulin does indeed act to stimulate esterification and suppress lipolysis, favoring deposition and accumulation of triglycerides in fat cells.  They even teach this stuff in some medical schools I'm told!  So these days it's all about how carbs make you hungry and overeat (although overeating is so inane) because they stimulate insulin which traps all your fat calories in your fat starving the rest of your cells of energy.  Now, that part's not true, but let's for the sake of argument assume it is.  What, then, would cause you to lose weight and not be hungry?  Why anything that favors net mobilization of fat stores -- that is stimulates lipolysis and fatty acid release from fat cells.  This will raise the circulat

Marketing & Manipulation ... and Musings ...

WARNING:  Rant! There's been quite the discussion going on in comments of The Men Who Made Us Fat , and I decided my commentary might be better organized in a blog post.  I can certainly see the positions of both sides there, but in the end I come down on the side of "Eric" when he says this: " Until we accept that Obesity is a lifestyle choice ( either voluntarily or by apathy ) no real fix can every be made without crushing regressive taxation on food. To blame "big food" is a dangerous cop-out that reinforces the negative cycle. " The so-called "simple obesity" -- the epidemic of indisputable overeating to the tune of an average of 500 calories per day -- is very much a lifestyle choice.  In my case, the obesity of the late 90's and the 2000's was in large part due to apathy or laziness.  Too many take out meals instead of cooking something.  And take out means too many fried, processed, calorie dense foods.  Or just eating cracke

The Men Who Made Us Fat

Here's the YouTube playlist for the whole thing: The Men Who Made Us Fat    Jacques Peretti A few questions/comments: 1.  Does bread today have more sugar in it (corn syrup), than breads of yesterday?  Talking hamburger buns.  How or why would adding corn syrup to rolls make them last longer as Peretti claims? 2.  Are soft drinks the largest single source of calories in the American diet?  How do we define "source"... 3.  If HFCS (55% fructose/45% glucose vs. 50-50 for sucrose) is sweeter than sugar, is it true what Lustig claims?  If sweeter they should use less in substitute.  Lustig claims they use more.  True?

Insulin Injection Effect on Fat Tissue

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the picture of the unfortunate woman below from Gary Taubes repeated use of this picture in lectures.    The top is a screenshot from Google Books of Endocrinology:  An Integrative Approach , 2001, Nussey & Whitehead, page 31.  At the lower right, I've copied the discussion of Box 2.8 from the previous page.

Happy Fathers' Day!

To all my readers who are Dads, I wish you a very happy day and hope you get to spend it with your kids (and if they're old enough, that they do something nice for you for all you do!) On the front here, we have a limited celebration in store.  But if this haze lifts there's supposed to be a nice day for it.  We're grilling up porterhouses for the red meat eaters, steamin' up a lobster and cooking up salmon filet in the fry pan.  This will be complimented with coleslaw - homemeade by me of course, a cold green bean salad from my maternal grandmother's recipe (with a vinagrette of sorts) - made by Sis, roasted yukon golds (me), and some sort of orange squares for dessert (Sis).   The plan is to enjoy food, and more importantly, family!

Insulin Resistance III: Glucose Uptake and GLUT4's

So far with this series, I've discussed the many difficulties involved in discussing and characterizing insulin resistance, IR.  See Part I: A condition in dire need of diagnostic clarity  and Part II: The Complexity of Hormone Resistance Phenomena .    Insulin-mediated glucose transport, or "disposal" from circulation is the major action/phenomenon usually assessed or being discussed when a person (or lab animal) is described as "insulin resistant".   So in this part, I wanted to discuss glucose transport.   This link is a nice tutorial about the action of insulin that includes an animation of ONE of its functions:  glucose transport.  Glucose cannot traverse membranes unassisted.  In essence it must pass through protein "channels" from one side to the other.  There are always glucose transporters, called GLUT's, present in the cell membrane, but they are not always at the exterior surface of the cell to receive glucose.  Insulin binds to the

Who says nobody's VLC in my house?

Yes, the inhabitant that should be on a carnivorous diet, is.  I just had to share the "cat in the box" picture.  He's always been a box cat.  He's too big for shoe boxes but that doesn't stop him if one is available.  Box full of stuff?  He's on top.  Cardboard tray from Costco?  You'd think I paid premium for it at the pet store.  I had used this "tray" to carry some stuff between rooms last night.  And this morning there he was sitting in it, like I meant to put it there just for him :-) Some other pics, not to step on Beth @ WeightMaven's toes with Friday Cat Blogging.  On the lower left, he loves to read my blog :-)  And check out that coloring, I think he's got a tarantula on his forehead!!  This guy doesn't have normal fur, it's a thick "pelt" is the only way to describe it. I call him my Gotta-Getta-Gund.  

More Bloggo Science

Sigh.  I would normally comment on a person's blog if I read something like this:   Insulin, the Un-dead and coffin nails , but since Peter doesn't want to distract his readership with potentially productive discussions amongst them, I refrain from posting there.  In the article he makes two statements I find rather outrageous: Hyperglycaemia causes insulin resistance. This is not controversial, as far as I am aware. It's not controversial in those circles where it is repeated uncritically.  It's not really controversial that this statement is wrong.    Let's take this together with another statement: Let's summarise. This is very, very important:    Excess insulin causes insulin resistance End summary. This is just day to day internal medicine. You have to pay the mortgage somehow. Only this too is at the very least controversial, and almost certainly not true in most cases.

Bad bad American Science FrUKtion

The topic of this post is a piece by the BBC in advance of blaming two American men for the obesity epidemic in the world today.  So the title comes from that.   So Jacques Peretti weighs in with another piece on how Americans sabotaged the world with sugar  with:   What caused the obesity epidemic in the West?   Jacques is pictured at right behind a ginormous platter of food.  For a piece blaming sugar, one would think the picture would feature pastries and a Big Gulp, but no, it's bread surrounding what appears to be a bunch of dippy fatty stuffs.  Oh ... and we don't just eat too much food, right?  In this latest piece of pseudoscience journalism run amok, Peretti focuses heavily on quotes from Lustig.  I'll come back to some of the rest of that when I get to critiquing the "science" in Part III of the Skinny on Obesity series.  And let's just mention but move on from the most ridiculous statement in that article now shall we?

Blogger stats stink!

Every now and then I check the "all time" stats here at the Asylum.  It looks like I'll have to change the "popular all time" widget pretty soon, and manually enter some links to "classic posts" or somesuch.  Blogger is pretty good at tallying recent pagehits, but I've noticed that for part of 2011 and all of 2012, the cumulative hits on the Gary Taubes email post have been steadily DE clining.  Now I know it's not read a lot, but most days I bother to check, it gets a smattering of views, and any time there's a spike in traffic, that usually nets a flurry of views for the featured posts on the sidebar.   Point being totals should be going up, not down!  It's currently showing fewer views than at the beginning of 2011 fer cryin' out loud.   My "Dashboard" here on Blogger is threatening to permanently convert to the new format I have thus far opted out of.  It is awful.  This little glitch just tweaks me a bit more to make

At least it's not a Crap Shake!

Has Emeril gone low carb and moved into the Hacienda Hypocritica on the LLVLClue dud ranch?  Because it seems the in yo' face hypocrisy of Jimmy Moore has ... Bam! ... just been kicked up another notch!   Speaking of the Hartwigs of Whole9 fame while reviewing their new book, Jimmy Moore had this to say: ... while the co-authors Dallas and Melissa Hartwig are not necessarily enthusiastic advocates of the low-carb lifestyle that I love and cherish, they are big time believers in another concept I embrace and appreciate–that is, eating real, whole foods that nourish your body so that you can be both optimally healthy and as disease-free as humanly possible. Yeah baaybee!  Oh oh pale-o-oh!   (← sung to the Sergio Valente jeans jingle)  Continuing down the road of integricide, Jimmy's podcast with Lou Schuler  is again tainted by the sponsorship by Leaner Living products.   Yeah I know what you're thinking .....    But this continued hypocrisy needs as much exposure as it can

Contest! Why we get fat ...

... Nah, for a change it's not Gary Taubes or Robert Lustig or any of the other usual suspects hailing from the US making sheet up and mangling facts. No, this article comes from the UK ... if you thought the state of science journalism in the US was bad, wait till you get a load of this specimen of health journalism in the UK!  This one was brought to my attention courtesy of Chris Highcock of Conditioning Research blog. Why our food is making us fat We are, on average, 3st heavier than we were in the 60s. And not because we're eating more or exercising less – we just unwittingly became sugar addicts I count at least 15 glaring inaccuracies, contradictions and/or exaggerations bordering on deceit.  Can you find them?   Winners get free  Gin It Up & Tonic cocktails and Bologna Roll-ups   tonight at the Asylum Bar & Grill!  And, as always, I'm happy to substitute to meet your dietary needs :D image link image link

The Triglyceride/Fatty Acid CycleS and the role of Glyceroneogenesis

Thanks to a certain journalist, much of the discussion of fat tissue metabolism on the internet presents a very myopic view of things taken out of context.  One example of this, is that in Chapter 22 of GCBC, Taubes lists all of the hormones acting on adipocytes.  The caption on the graphic reads: In 1965, hormonal regulation of adipose tissue looked like this: at least eight hormones that worked to release fat from the adipose tissue and one, insulin, that worked to put it there. Let's leave aside for a moment that in the four subsequent decades preceding the writing and publication of his book, probably the most potent regulatory hormone of fat mass, leptin, was discovered.  Let's also leave aside all of the other adipokines (the term for the collection of hormones and peptides produced by adipocytes most of which appear to be secreted).   There's a lesson to be learned solely from Taubes' narrow, outdated view.  Under the title "Hormones that promote fat m

Glyceroneogenesis & The Triglyceride/Fatty Acid Cycle Revisited

Glyceroneogenesis and the Triglyceride/Fatty Acid Cycle     (TAG/FA) JBC Papers in Press, June 4, 2003, DOI 10.1074/jbc.R300017200 Lea Reshef, Yael Olswang, Hanoch Cassuto, Barak Blum, Colleen M. Croniger, Satish C. Kalhan, Shirley M. Tilghman , and Richard W. Hanson The above paper is referenced in Good Calories, Bad Calories , and is a paper I believe one cannot read thoroughly and still believe that dietary carbohydrate is required in order to "fix" fat and become obese.  It has been quite a while since I read it in its entirety.  Doing so in recent days I've noticed even more information in this paper that counters the whole notion that more dietary carb leads to more glycerol-3-phosphate leads to more esterification of fatty acids to the storage triglyceride form.   More specifically, these four paragraphs/excerpts were somewhat drowned out for me in my first reading:

Gary Taubes on Anorexia

Hey gang ... I'm working on the Big Fat Lies blogumentary ... just when I think I've found everything I'm remembering to include, I come across more.  But I'm near completion and after some time to do other things in my life (grin) will likely get to publishing it next week.  In the meantime, I came across a quote that really turned me off to Taubes when I heard it.  It really had little to do with his scientific manglings, but more to do with his attitude about fat tissue regulation showing an utter disregard for eating disorders.  I blogged on it once over on the Chronicles blog but couldn't find the quote at the time.  So when I heard it this time, you can imagine it jumped out at me!   As someone who struggled with ED's, and could just have easily succumbed to anorexia rather than what eventually led to lifelong struggle with overweight and obesity, I found this personally offensive.  It's moreso because I feel that Taubes misuses the works of Hilde Bru

The Insulin Paradox II ~ Lessons from Body Builders

In The Insulin Paradox , I laid out the following: THE INSULIN PARADOX When insulin levels are elevated, the uptake/esterification of fatty acids in fat tissue is enhanced while lipolysis/release of fatty acids stored as triglycerides is suppressed,  thus favoring fatty acid accumulation in adipose tissue. YET The low insulin state favors partitioning of fuel (mass) to fat tissue stores vs. lean tissue.


Short post here gang.  I was collecting the final clips needed for the upcoming vid and watched Gary Taubes' appearance at CrossFit just today.  OMG people.  Is it just me?  Or does the CEO of CrossFit make you a little ... umm ... uncomfortable? Paging Dr. Davis!  I mean, really.  I'm no physical specimen myself.  But I'm also not Founder & CEO of CrossFit either!  Promoting Gary Taubes and how CrossFitters have been behind him for a long time.  Ummmmm....  Especially fun was after the intro how Gary (looking pretty fit if you ask me, or at least lean) lamented being the least fit person in the room.  I JUST DON'T GET THIS FOLKS!!! I don't know much about CF & the Paleo roots and whatnot.  I've learned a little more of late, but please realize I'm pretty much totally out of the loop and don't even really know what CF is specifically.   So when I see stuff like this it does make me gasp and wanna shake some people!  Really man ......... :-(


Been flicking through YouTube and music sites lately.  Came across this video of one of my favorite bands most Americans have never heard of, covering one of my favorite songs.    I saw them live twice, once at Toad's in New Haven CT when their lead singer was new.  He was sitting at the back of the bar going unnoticed before the show.  Got to chat with him.  I was 2-3 rows in on the floor watching a band that has packed Wembley.  Pretty cool.  Here's Marillion singing Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here (I only wish they sang more, but this was just fun to watch)

Exercise & Adipose Tissue ~ Part I: Adipose Tissue & General Relationship

From the great research group of Keith Frayn, Aging Hippie linked to this article recently: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE IN THE REGULATION OF HUMAN ADIPOSE TISSUE PHYSIOLOGY In composing this post, it started to get rather long so I'll break it up into parts.  I'm going to do a bullet-pointed summary and excerpts for you.  Direct quotes will be in italics, regular font is my paraphrased summary, and non-indented/bulleted text is my general commentary.