Thursday, July 31, 2014

How USA Goalie Tim Howard Stays In Shape - Business Insider

"I've been paleo for about a year, and what I miss most is the Philosopher's Pie from [the chain] Mellow Mushroom in Memphis, where my wife and I have a home.
All else pales in comparison — it's a pizza topped with strips of filet steak, black olives, Feta cheese, and artichoke hearts. My cheat meal would be that and a microbrew. Good thing I live in England.
"My personal trainer suggested paleo to build muscle while staying lean, and it's one of the first plans that's worked for me. Sure, I like ice cream, but when you keep a healthy lifestyle, it's: Do you prefer sweets and crappy food, or do you prefer to have a nice body? It depends on what you want more. Breakfast is meat or eggs, and nuts. Lunch and dinner are more meat and a steamed green vegetable. Depending on how intense training was, I throw in extra carbs, like sweet potatoes."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cure Your Own Tooth Decay?

I highly recommend this author and his web site.

Ramiel Nagel
Author of Cure Tooth Decay & Healing Our Children

From his latest newsletter:
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P.P.S. If you have a dental question, you can use our new
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to post new questions.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

HFCS is not Equal to Table Sugar

A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.  

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight.

This is interesting research which is counter intuitive has interesting long term implications for business, government and consumers.  All it means to us is that when we say "no sugar, no wheat" it's because that's what works.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bittman's Great Summary

This one was so compelling, I'm reposting it.  It is foundational material in my book.

"The study controlled for poverty, urbanization, aging, obesity and physical activity. It controlled for other foods and total calories. In short, it controlled for everything controllable, and it satisfied the longstanding "Bradford Hill" criteria for what's called medical inference of causation by linking dose (the more sugar that's available, the more occurrences of diabetes); duration (if sugar is available longer, the prevalence of diabetes increases); directionality (not only does diabetes increase with more sugar, it decreases with less sugar); and precedence (diabetics don't start consuming more sugar; people who consume more sugar are more likely to become diabetics).
The key point in the article is this: "Each 150 kilocalories/person/day increase in total calorie availability related to a 0.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence (not significant), whereas a 150 kilocalories/person/day rise in sugar availability (one 12-ounce can of soft drink) was associated with a 1.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence." Thus: for every 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverage introduced per person per day into a country's food system, the rate of diabetes goes up 1 percent. (The study found no significant difference in results between those countries that rely more heavily on high-fructose corn syrup and those that rely primarily on cane sugar.)"

This article references a study (linking in the article) that is about as good as it gets in health science. Bittman's summary is spot on - until he gets to his politics, which I could do without.  Coercion hasn't worked well at all with regards to food and health.  I say let's try cooperation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Good, Bad and Ugly of the NYT Paleo Article

The ugly:
Pound for pound, beef production demands at least ten times as much water as wheat production, and, calorie for calorie, it demands almost twenty times as much energy. Livestock are major sources of greenhouse-gas emissions, not just because of the fuel it takes to raise them but also because they do things like belch out methane and produce lots of shit, which in turn produces lots of nitrous oxide. One analysis, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that, in terms of emissions, eating a pound of beef is the equivalent of driving forty-five miles. (Grass-fed beef—recommended by many primal enthusiasts—may produce lower emissions than corn-fed, but the evidence on this is shaky.)
Not untrue, just irrelevant.  If you grow beef from corn grown from oil produced ammonium nitrate, it's certainly not going to help reduce emissions, if you are into that sort of thing.  So let's stop doing that, shall we?

I love her summary of this event:
Agriculture was “invented” several times, in different parts of the world, by people making use of the plants they found growing wild around them. The first time was probably about ten thousand years ago, in southeastern Turkey, when early farmers began cultivating einkorn wheat. The crop was a big hit, and, at least by the standards of the day, it spread rapidly. (This is sometimes referred to as the Big Agricultural Bang.) Wheat was being sown in Greece around eight thousand years ago, in the Balkans and in Italy seven thousand years ago, and in India and Scandinavia five thousand years ago. Meanwhile, around nine thousand years ago, a group of proto-farmers in southwestern Mexico began cultivating maize. It, too, quickly caught on, and was being grown in Panama seven thousand years ago and in Colombia six thousand years ago. Also sometime around nine thousand years ago, rice was domesticated in the Yangtze Valley.

This is also good:
“The adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered” is Jared Diamond’s dour assessment, offered in an essay titled “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.”
Like Stone Age hunter-gatherers, early farmers left little behind—just some burnt grain, mud foundations, and their own bones. But that’s enough to reveal how punishing the transition to agriculture was. According to a study of human remains from China and Japan, the height of the average person declined by more than three inches during the millennia in which rice cultivation intensified. According to another study, of bones from Mesoamerica, women’s heights dropped by three inches and men’s by two inches as farming spread. A recent survey of more than twenty studies on this subject, published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, found that the adoption of agriculture “was observed to decrease stature in populations from across the entire globe,” including in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America.
Early farmers were not just shorter than hunter-gatherers; they were also more sickly. They had worse teeth—one analysis from the Near East suggests that the incidence of cavities jumped sixfold as people started relying on grain—and they suffered from increased rates of anemia and infectious disease. Many now familiar infections—measles, for instance—require high population densities to persist; thus, it wasn’t until people established towns and cities that such “crowd epidemic diseases” could flourish. And, by living in close proximity to their equally crowded farm animals, early agriculturalists helped to bring into being a whole set of diseases that jumped from livestock to people.
“The adoption of agriculture,” Diamond notes in his most recent book, “The World Until Yesterday,” provided “ideal conditions for the rapid transmission of microbes.” According to Daniel E. Lieberman, a professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard and the author of “The Story of the Human Body,” “farming ushered in an era of epidemics, including tuberculosis, leprosy, syphilis, plague, smallpox and influenza.”

It took thousands of years for human bodies to recover; Lieberman reports that “it wasn’t until the twentieth century that Europeans were the same height as cavemen.” And, almost as soon as the stature gap closed, new problems arose. People began to grow not just taller but also wider. During the past several decades, rates of obesity, hypertension, fatty-liver disease, and Type 2 diabetes have soared. 

For millions of years bison and other grazing animal ran around and helped grasses build top soil.  That's the way our ecology worked, as elegantly summarized in "the Vegetarian Myth".  I doubt we could recreate that, but if restoring natural processes that sequester carbon in soil is your goal, that's the way ahead.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Sugar-Addiction Taboo - Robert H. Lustig - The Atlantic

"No one argues that food isn't pleasurable, or even that food doesn't activate the "reward center" of the brain. But can food truly be addictive? In the same way that alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs are?"

In the article linked here,
Robert Lustig makes the case that sugar addiction is just as real as any other.  I agree.  There's a simple model I wrote about some time back (this is it), and while it's neither proved or under research, the concepts he relates in this article point to similar pathways for sugar addiction.

The BLUF - without sugar, food does not pervert our basic drive to consume the nutrition we need.  With sugar, we behave like addicts.  My two favorite paragraphs follow:

"Which brings us to sugar. Another fun substance, full of energy, made up of two molecules linked together: glucose (kind of sweet, and not that much fun), and fructose (very sweet, and a whole lot of fun). Glucose is a nutrient, although not essential—it's so important, that if you don't eat it, your liver will make it. But what about fructose? Is fructose a nutrient? As it turns out, there's no biochemical reaction that requires dietary fructose. A rare genetic disease called Hereditary Fructose Intolerance afflicts 1 in 100,000 babies, who drop their blood sugar to almost zero and have a seizure upon their first exposure to juice from a bottle at age six months. Doctors perform a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. From that moment on, they're fructose-free for the rest of their lives. And they're among the healthiest people on the planet. Alcohol and fructose both supply energy. They're fun—but they are not nutrients."

"But oh, do we want it. As an example, rats are not big fans of lard. But if you lace the lard with some sugar (called "cookie dough"), that's another story — indeed, in a controversial abstract at this year's Society for Neuroscience meeting, rats were found to prefer Oreos to cocaine. And we humans are not far behind. A recent study by Dr. Eric Stice of Oregon Health Sciences University looked at our obsession, by parsing out the fat from the sugar. Subjects laying in an MRI scanner consumed milkshakes where the fat and the sugar concentrations were dialed up or down.  Bottom line, fat stimulated the somatosensory cortex (in other words, "mouthfeel"), but only sugar stimulated the reward center. And adding fat to the sugar didn't increase the reward any further. This study shows we want sugar way more than we want fat."

Lustig's hot for government action, but of course, government action has been the sugar industry's best friend for a long time.  I'd prefer the government just stayed out of our food, so that government cannot be highjacked but the highest bidders.

But for you and for me the message is simple.  Alcohol, sugar, driving, shooting guns, swimming pools, motorcycles - high risk, handle with care.