Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hite: Misled, Misfed


"Why are these grain- and cereal-based products a problem?  First of all, thanks to USDA subsidies and marketing, they are cheap, abundant, and widely-believed to be an important part of a healthy diet despite the fact that there is no biological need for them.  In addition, thanks to our industrialized food system, these products are conveniently available everywhere in hundreds of fun-filled varieties designed to appeal to our senses and our appetites. It is no coincidence that, thanks to human physiology, sugary and starchy foods have a number of addictive and fattening properties that protein, fat, and fiber foods do not. Not only do they create a "feed forward" mechanism in the central nervous system, they set up a hormonal environment in our bodies that encourages fat storage and prevents fat burning.  When we are unable to access our fat stores for energy, we have no choice but to get that energy by eating more.  The cheap, convenient, and highly-appealing carbohydrate foods that surround us set up a viscous cycle of hunger, fatigue, desire, and consumption, as our bodies store the calories we consume and send us back out for more.
"Misguided scientific theory, an agricultural policy created to promote quantity over quality, and a food industry happy to take advantage of human physiology have created a perfect storm of dysfunctional eating patterns within a food environment designed to perpetuate obesity and chronic disease.  Scientists eager to protect their government funding have established their careers attempting to prove that a diet low in fat and high in grains and cereals is the healthiest diet possible.  But human physiology trumps scientific agendas.  Thirty years of trying has failed to produce substantial evidence that a low-fat diet leads to healthy outcomes.  In fact, the science accumulated in the USDA's own Nutrition Evidence Library shows that in head-to-head comparisons, diets that limit sugars and starches produce increased weight loss and improved cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors compared to low-fat diets, even when those diets have the same calorie level.
"These results are especially significant for women, particularly minority women.  A diet high in processed carbohydrates can lead to poorly regulated glucose and insulin, factors in the mechanisms behind obesity, heart disease and diabetes.  Women tend to have higher baseline insulin levels and more glucose intolerance than men, conditions that can be exacerbated with pregnancy.   As a result, diets high in sugars and starches can be especially detrimental to a woman's health."  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nice CF Write Up

"There's "weightlifting" and "weight lifting." The latter is just picking up heavy stuff, but the former is an internationally recognized sport that dominated the workout world in the early 20th century."
So why the shift away from a total-body technique that's pretty much guaranteed to make you run faster, jump higher and get stronger? "What works usually sells," Haff says. "But it's a lot of work."
To stage a comeback, weightlifting needed an army of advocates who not only didn't mind the challenge, but relished it. And it seems to have found that through CrossFit, a 15-year-old methodology for producing well-rounded athletes that's found huge success among law enforcement, the military and, these days, the general population."

Mercola/Rosedale Home Run


This article is a gold mine of health information, a model which aligns very closely with what Taubes presents in "Good Calories Bad Calories."  First excerpt:
"This patient saw me one afternoon and said that he had literally just signed himself out of the hospital "AMA," or against medical advice. Like in the movies, he had ripped out his IVs.
The next day he was scheduled to have his second by-pass surgery. He had been told that if he did not follow through with this surgery, within two weeks he would be dead. He couldn‘t even walk from the car to the office without severe chest pain.
"He was on 102 units of insulin and his blood sugars were 300 plus. He was on eight different medications for various things. But his first by-pass surgery was such a miserable experience that he said he would rather die than go through the second one. He came to me because he had heard that I might be able to prevent this.
"To make a long story short, this gentleman right now is on no insulin. I first saw him three and a half years ago. He plays golf four or five times a week. He is on no medications whatsoever, he has no chest pain, and he has not had any surgery. He started an organization called "Heart Support of America" to educate people about the alternatives to by-pass surgery that have nothing to do with surgery or medication. That organization, as he last told me, had a mailing list of over a million people."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eat Your Fat NOT Your Veggies!

Great piece, well done mylady!

How Can You Be Hungry?

BLUF:  If you fuel your body like a caveman, you almost can't be hungry.  If you eat like a neolithic grain muncher, you will nearly always feel hungry unless you eat frequently. 

Why?  Your body, whether lean or obese, has enough energy stored as fat to fuel you through multiple marathons without eating.  That's not to say you could run multiple marathons without eating!  Obviously, you have other problems such as waste disposal, muscle tissue damage, and numerous other systemic imbalances that rusult from continuous exertion which are not related to 'getting enough fuel.'  But if you would accept that you have enough stored energy to fuel you through a marathon or five, you might wonder, "How can I be hungry?"

It's an important question.  The short answer is either one or two things.  One - you've been fasting for over 16 hours and your body is starting to utilize protein for fuel through gluconeogenisis.  That's not a disaster but it's not optimal and it might be expected to generate a hunger signal.  Two - you've been feeding nearly a continuous stream of carbohydrate to yourself for so long your body has lost it's capacity to burn meaningful quantities of body fat; you just don't have the necessary stores of fat burning enzymes in the cells that would allow you to run on what is your natural, normal, even premium fuel source - fat.

This is the primary obstacle to be overcome when a person wants to switch to a healthy diet - they cannot immediately reduce their carb consumption without feeling very low energy, and very hungry, because even with forty plus pounds of fat stuffed under their skin, they cannot utilize fat as fuel at the cellular level.  In effect, they are oral glucose dependent.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just The Basics: Saturated Fat

"Two of the authors of The New Atkins for a New You explored what happens to saturated fat levels in subjects who were placed on the Atkins Diet(4). The Atkins subjects consumed three times the levels of saturated fat as did other subjects consuming a low-fat diet. Both diets contained the same number of calories, meaning that all the subjects were losing weight. After 12 weeks, the Atkins group subjects showed consistently greater reductions in the percentage of saturated fat in their blood. Yes, those who ate more saturated fat had less in their blood stream than those who ate less sat fat.

"The two researchers then did a second study, using weight-stable men who habitually consumed a typical American diet as subjects. The men followed a low-carb diet akin to the Atkins Lifetime Maintenance Phase, which contained more saturated fat than did their regular diet. All foods were prepared and provided to the subjects during each feeding period. Enough food was provided to maintain their weight. After six weeks on the diet, despite consuming more saturated fat, the men showed a significant reduction in their blood levels of saturated fat. They also improved their triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels, LDL particle size, and insulin level. This study further supports the conclusion that a low carbohydrate intake stimulates the metabolism of saturated fat in the diet(5). "


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Fat Is the Good Stuff

Nice to find a positive spin on fat in what is otherwise just a mainstream pub.  It's happening more often of late.
"Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. But while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country's biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does-a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.
"In March the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis-which combines data from several studies-that compared the reported daily food intake of nearly 350,000 people against their risk of developing cardiovascular disease over a period of five to 23 years. The analysis, overseen by Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, found no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease.
"The finding joins other conclusions of the past few years that run counter to the conventional wisdom that saturated fat is bad for the heart because it increases total cholesterol levels. That idea is "based in large measure on extrapolations, which are not supported by the data," Krauss says.
"One problem with the old logic is that "total cholesterol is not a great predictor of risk," says Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Although saturated fat boosts blood levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, it also increases "good" HDL cholesterol. In 2008 Stampfer co-authored a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that followed 322 moderately obese individuals for two years as they adopted one of three diets: a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet based on American Heart Association guidelines; a Mediterranean, restricted-calorie diet rich in vegetables and low in red meat; and a low-carbohydrate, nonrestricted-calorie diet. Although the subjects on the low-carb diet ate the most saturated fat, they ended up with the healthiest ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol and lost twice as much weight as their low-fat-eating counterparts.
"Stampfer's findings do not merely suggest that saturated fats are not so bad; they indicate that carbohydrates could be worse. A 1997 study he co-authored in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated 65,000 women and found that the quintile of women who ate the most easily digestible and readily absorbed carbohydrates-that is, those with the highest glycemic index-were 47 percent more likely to acquire type 2 diabetes than those in the quintile with the lowest average glycemic-index score. (The amount of fat the women ate did not affect diabetes risk.) And a 2007 Dutch study of 15,000 women published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that women who were overweight and in the quartile that consumed meals with the highest average glycemic load, a metric that incorporates portion size, were 79 percent more likely to develop coronary vascular disease than overweight women in the lowest quartile. These trends may be explained in part by the yo-yo effects that high glycemic-index carbohydrates have on blood glucose, which can stimulate fat production and inflammation, increase overall caloric intake and lower insulin sensitivity, says David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital Boston.
"Will the more recent thinking on fats and carbs be reflected in the 2010 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, updated once every five years? It depends on the strength of the evidence, explains Robert C. Post, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Findings that "have less support are put on the list of things to do with regard to more research." Right now, Post explains, the agency's main message to Americans is to limit overall calorie intake, irrespective of the source. "We're finding that messages to consumers need to be short and simple and to the point," he says. Another issue facing regulatory agencies, notes Harvard's Stampfer, is that "the sugared beverage industry is lobbying very hard and trying to cast doubt on all these studies." Nobody is advocating that people start gorging themselves on saturated fats, tempting as that may sound. Some monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in fish and olive oil, can protect against heart disease. What is more, some high-fiber carbohydrates are unquestionably good for the body. But saturated fats may ultimately be neutral compared with processed carbs and sugars such as those found in cereals, breads, pasta and cookies.
"If you reduce saturated fat and replace it with high glycemic-index carbohydrates, you may not only not get benefits-you might actually produce harm," Ludwig argues. The next time you eat a piece of buttered toast, he says, consider that "butter is actually the more healthful component."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Heartscan on the Statin Killers

"With effects like this, anacetrapib, should it hold up under the scrutiny of FDA-required trials and not show the same mortality-increasing effects of torcetrapib, will be a huge blockbuster for Merck if release goes as scheduled in 2015. It will likely match or exceed sales of any statin drug. Statin drugs have achieved $27 billion annual sales, some of it deserved. Anacetrapib will likely handily match or exceed Lipitor's $12 billion annual revenue.
"More than increasing HDL, CETP inhibition is really a strategy to reduce small LDL particles.
"As with many drugs, there are natural means to achieve similar effects with none of the side-effects. In this case, similar effects to CETP inhibition, though with no risk of heightened mortality, is . . . elimination of wheat, in addition to an overall limitation of carbohydrate consumption. Not just low-carb, mind you, but wheat elimination on the background of low-carb. For instance, eliminate wheat products and limit daily carbohydrate intake to 50-100 grams per day, depending on your individual carbohydrate sensitivity, and small LDL drops 50-75%. HDL, too, will increase over time, not as vigorously as with a CETP inhibitor, but a healthy 20-30% increase, more with restoration of vitamin D.
"Eliminating wheat and adjusting diet to ratchet down carbs is, of course, cheap, non-prescription, and can be self-administerd, criteria that leave the medical world indifferent. But it's a form of "CETP inhibition" that you can employ today with none of the worries of a new drug
, especially one that might share effects with an agent with a dangerous track record."


True Science Is Low Yield

"We could solve much of the wrongness problem, Ioannidis says, if the world simply stopped expecting scientists to be right. That’s because being wrong in science is fine, and even necessary—as long as scientists recognize that they blew it, report their mistake openly instead of disguising it as a success, and then move on to the next thing, until they come up with the very occasional genuine breakthrough. But as long as careers remain contingent on producing a stream of research that’s dressed up to seem more right than it is, scientists will keep delivering exactly that.
“Science is a noble endeavor, but it’s also a low-yield endeavor,” he says. “I’m not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life. We should be very comfortable with that fact.”"
This article available online at:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dr. Davis Hammering On "Bagel Bones"

I hope he'll forgive this total rip off of his column.  It's another home run.
"1) Wheat causes glycation--Glycation is glucose-modification of proteins in the body that occurs when blood glucose exceeds 100 mg/dl. Cartilage cells are especially susceptible to glycation. The cartilage cells you had at age 18 are the very same cartilage cells you have at age 60, since they lack the ability to reproduce and repair themselves. Proteins in cartilage are highly susceptible to glycation, which makes them stiff and brittle. Stiff, brittle cartilage loses its soft, elastic, lubricating function. Damaged cartilage cells don't regenerate nor produce more protective proteins. This allows destruction of cartilage tissue, inflammation, and, eventually, bone-on-bone arthritis. 

Because wheat, even whole wheat, sends blood sugar higher than almost all other foods, from table sugar to Snickers bars, glycation occurs after each and every slice of toast, every whole wheat bagel, every pita wrap. 

2) Wheat is acidifying--Humans are meant to consume a diet that is net alkaline. While hunter-gatherers who consume meat along with plentiful vegetables and fruits live a net alkaline diet (urine pH 7 to 9), modern humans who consume insufficient vegetables and too much grain (of which more than 90% is usually wheat) shift the body towards net acid (urine pH 5 to 7). Wheat is The Great Disrupter, upsetting the normal pH balance that causes loss of calcium from bones, resulting in decalcification, weakness, arthritis and osteoporotic fractures.

3) Wheat causes visceral fat--The extravagant glucose-insulin surges triggered by wheat leads to accumulation of visceral fat: wheat belly. 

Visceral fat not only releases inflammatory mediators like tumor necrosis factor and various interleukins, but is also itself inflamed. The inflammatory hotbed of the wheat belly leads to inflammation of joint tissues. This is why overweight and obese wheat-consuming people have more arthritis than would be explained by the burden of excess weight: inflammation makes it worse. Conversely, weight loss leads to greater relief from arthritis pain and inflammation than would be explained by just lightening the physical load. 

We need a name for this wheat effect. How about "bagel bones"?"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just the Basics: Insulin

Insulin 101 from the Atkins 'science' site.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fat Head on Twinkie Diet

Tom Naughton is a genius.  Read his column, buy his movie, watch it frequently.

A Star Speaks

My friend and co-worker and CrossFit client Star lost 12 pounds this summer.  She lost the weight not after ramping up her fitness training - she did that several months prior - but by changing a few pieces of her diet.
For example, she asked for help correcting the mid-morning crash, because after all it is bad form for the boss to fall asleep in a morning meeting.  Well, that was an easy fix - replace the banana, juice and yogurt breakfast (in other words, a 40 gram carb bomb) with a palatable amount of protein (in Star's case, eggs), some quality fat and only a bit of carbohydrate ... if you really enjoy it and want it.
Why does this work?  When you sleep, your body is able to perform some system maintenance.  Assuming you don't end the day on a high carb metabolism wrecker, you convert to a combination of ketogenic metabolism and fat burning through the night.  This is good, since you wake up with adequate glucose/ketones for your CNS to run well, and plenty of fat available for oxidation for the rest of your tissues.  In other words, you are fasted but adequately fueled.  While your body is purring along smartly on ketones and fat, it has been able to scavenge AGEed proteins in and beta amyloid proteins as well.  This formula is all good!
If you break your fast with protein and fat, many of the good processes continue and hunger will be manageable.  If you give yourself a sugar bomb, on the other hand, you'll interrupt all of your fasting maintenance functions, and set yourself up to be hungry before your mid day meal.
This all makes sense in light of the paleolithic model.  Your cromag ancestors would not have been able to grab a muffin first thing every morning, and were more healthy because of that.
Congrats Star!  You make a good example of how to make small, important changes which generate weight loss, hunger management, and health improvements all in one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Common Sense on the Deadlift

"The need for real movements stems from the concept that activation created in a vacuum (e.g., lying prone) is only useable in a vacuum. Segmented practice leads to segmented capacity. Research has already shown that free weights elicit a greater increase in strength (115 percent versus 57 percent for fixed range-of-motion exercise) and balance (245 percent versus 49 percent for fixed range- of-motion exercise), and that they result in lower overall pain levels (1). If it can be shown in the literature that these complex movements are proficient in creating the desired activation patterns, surely these same movements can be accepted as safe, effective and efficient tools."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Too Much, Too Little, Or Just Right

"New MRI data out of the Heart and Stroke Foundation suggests the contrary: that “less fit” runners running a marathon are damaging their hearts for up to three months. The musculature of the human heart is made up of 17 segments. If one segment fails due to stress (say, from a marathon), adjacent segments pick up the slack. Unfit marathoners exhibited abnormally high amounts of overly stressed heart segments. Their hearts were working harder, and the work was concentrated across fewer segments. These abnormalities persisted for as long as three months after the marathon.

Okay, exercise induces muscle damage as a rule. That’s how we get stronger – by undergoing stress and muscle damage, and adapting to it by rebuilding our muscles stronger than ever. But muscle damage isn’t supposed to last for three months. Sure, even the study’s authors admit that the damage is reversible, but is that really an effective way to train?"
A martial arts instructor gave a telling quote years ago: "Too much work makes you sick, too little work makes you weak."

Suncommon Sense From Mark's Daily Apple

"My philosophical disagreement with the medical community and Conventional Wisdom is often over an alarmist approach to health concerns. This mentality is often fueled by the media, where scare tactics and lowest common denominator sound bites deliver bigger ratings. Those standing to make a profit also fuel the hysteria, as we have seen with the dermatological and “skinceutical” communities promoting a blanket policy of avoiding (or lathering up against) the sun – to the great detriment of society."

Peer Review ... Good For What?

"Nature, the grande dame of science journals, stated in a 2006 editorial, “Scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.”"
Reminds me of the quote about democracy - "It's the worst possible form of government except for all the other kinds."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Future Pundit - How to Get Your K On


He covers a study which shows a benefit for men on a vitamin K supplement, and brings home the bacon with how to get your K:
"If you want to max out your dietary vitamin K then eat a cup a day of kale, collards, or spinach. Each will give you over 1000 mcg vitamin K or more than double the amount used in this study. See a longer list of good vitamin K food sources at that link."

Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit little starch and no sugar or wheat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bad Foods, Good Foods by Future Pundit

"The findings showed that drinking one to two sugary drinks per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 26% and the risk of metabolic syndrome by 20% compared with those who consumed less than one sugary drink per month. Drinking one 12-ounce serving per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 15%.

"The association that we observed between soda consumption and risk of diabetes is likely a cause-and-effect relationship because other studies have documented that sugary beverages cause weight gain, and weight gain is closely linked to the development of type 2 diabetes," said Hu.
"So let me state the obvious: Bad foods really are bad for you.
"Then we come to good foods. Vitamin K, found in high concentrations in kale and spinach, slows the development of insulin resistance. So good foods really are good for you too."

Don't take the stats too seriously - just enjoy the fact that the stat nerds are after sugar now just as they have been for fat!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Notes to Shi No Ubi, WOW!

I spoke to my friend, Shi No Ubi, the other day.  His voice sounds totally different.  He's lost 44 pounds now, and will soon pass 200 pounds of body weight.  Do you think that might feel good?  Most importantly, he did it not by starving himself but by eating good food.  He has not been hungry and he has not deprived himself.  On the contrary, he's putting good, nourishing food into his body.  Blood pressure meds and statins are going or gone with all the un-needed body weight.
Being lean and eating well is not about deprivation so you can die having missed out on life - it's about fueling your body for a good life, well lived, and one in which you make a positive impact on those around you through your abundance health, vigorous energy and pleasure in living.  It's not about missing out on what's good, it's about enjoying what really matters so much the sugary distractions are not needed.  Sure, it's easier said than done but it can be done.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Model for Sugar/Carb Addiction, Part 3

So, you have read parts 1 and 2 and wonder - "How do you solve this addition behavior issue!?!?"
Tony Robbins advises the following when making any big life change:
-Get leverage
-Interrupt the pattern
-Have a New Pattern "Ready"

'Get leverage?'  This means that one should really get a focus, get a grip, get clarity about how much the change is needed.  What are the stakes?  Why should the change be now?  Are you desperate to change?  Are you certain through and through that change is the only way to get what you want?
'Interrupt the pattern?'  This means that one has to break the pleasurable association the unconscious has with the behavior.  Suppose you love tea, but you burn your hand picking up the tea pot.  Suppose due to some twist of fate you then burn you hand ten times in a row - every time you reach for the tea pot - can you see how this is going to change your 'tea behavior?'  Depending upon what your unconscious mind associates to the burns, and how severe the burns are, you might buy a different tea pot or just quit making tea.  Think also - how many times would you have to burn your mouth eating pizza in order to make you stop 'wanting' pizza?  If you ate chocolate ice cream and immediate got sick and threw up, how long until you would want that ice cream again?  What if, next time you got the chocolate ice cream, you threw up again?!?!  Do you think that would interrupt the pleasure association pattern you have for chocolate ice cream?
Here's a real world example.  We had a friend who wanted to quit smoking.  He decided that he would stop letting himself smoke in any of the situations which he knew he really, deeply, enjoyed smoking - for example, when driving.  So, if he wanted to smoke when driving, he stopped the car, got into the back seat, and smoked.  Imagine how that changed his association to smoking - do you think he enjoyed it even half as much?  Heck no - smoking became a pain in the gluteus maximus.  Another real world example - when I quit using smokeless tobacco in 1983, I imagined how I would explain my mouth cancer to my then only conceptual (but not conceived) child; this drill certainly replaced my positive association with snuff to a negative.
'Have a new pattern'?  This one's tough.  Can you substitute jerky or coconut oil or macadamia nuts for the sugar, bread and such that you've eaten with pleasure (and relief of physiological distress) over the years?  Can you associate a new, deep satisfaction when you eat real food - "this is prime fuel that is going to help me meet the challenges of this day!"  Can you get excited about discovering and cooking new paleo foods?  Can you generate some focused excitement about losing weight, feeling better, and being healthier?  About eating to fuel performance, mental clarity and a sense of well being?
For long term success you have to minimize the pleasure you feel when you eat sugar/bread/wheat - first by reversing your metabolic dependence on sugar intake, and second by starting to associate sugar with what you will feel when you eat sugar after you are no longer dependent on sugar to sustain normal blood sugars - which is, not as much pleasure as you used to feel.  You also have to associate eating good food TO pleasure.  Lastly, you have to use emotional energy to 'set' these associations.  That is to say, in making a new association to the unconscious mind, one cannot simply resolve logically to change - one has to apply the energy of emotion to the association.  Only emotional energy - not rational thought - get the attention of the unconscious mind.
Long story short - get rid of the guilt, the frustration, the helplessness by finding a way to associate pain to the behavior you don't want, and finding a way to associate pleasure to the behavior you do want.  Learn the techniques that allow your conscious mind to effectively communicate with your unconscious mind in the necessary round about ways.  In the end, you'll find a deeper pleasure in eating good food, real food - and your resulting vibrant health and mental/physical performance - than in the desperate recycling pattern of stuffing carbs to stave off sugar crashes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Common Sense on Inflammation

So, imagine me for a moment as a 32 year old.  I eat a highly inflammatory diet, and train hard in martial arts, 'cardio', and some bastardized body building/strength training routine.  I have a significant knee injury - missing pieces of meniscus, osteoarthritis, and a rebuilt ACL.  I hurt - almost every day.  I take anti-inflammatories - almost every day, often several times a day.  Are these things connected?  

Data point two - I'm many years older (I'm 46).  I lift large weights, run sprint intervals, jump up and down off of boxes, drop from a pullup bar, and walk around a multi story building all day.   I almost never take anti-inflammatories.  What changed?

What I eat is what changed.  By balancing one's diet, one reduces chronic inflammation to a natural, normal level.  It's a level that supports healing, but does not create a constant state of over-inflammation that makes one sick and in pain.  The article below is a nice depiction of how much inflammation you need.


"Zhou and colleagues found that the presence of inflammatory cells (macrophages) in acute muscle injury produce a high level of a growth factor called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which significantly increases the rate of muscle regeneration. The research report shows that muscle inflammatory cells produce the highest levels of IGF-1, which improves muscle injury repair. To reach this conclusion, the researchers studied two groups of mice. The first group of mice was genetically altered so they could not mount inflammatory responses to acute injury. The second group of mice was normal. Each group experienced muscle injury induced by barium chloride. The muscle injury in the first group of mice did not heal, but in the second group, their bodies repaired the injury. Further analysis showed that macrophages within injured muscles in the second group of mice produced a high level of IGF-1, leading to significantly improved muscle repair."

"For wounds to heal we need controlled inflammation, not too much, and not too little," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "It's been known for a long time that excess anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone, slows wound healing. This study goes a long way to telling us why: insulin-like growth factor and other materials released by inflammatory cells helps wound to heal."

Thursday, November 11, 2010


When people start to learn about the Paleolithic model, and the discrepancies between what they've been told and what they experience when they eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds - they often say "How could this be?"
How could we not have been told this?  How could we have been told so many things which we find to be untrue when we test them for ourselves?
First answer: that's just the way it is.  This article explores one of the reasons why.
Courtesy www.crossfit.com
"In poring over medical journals, he was struck by how many findings of all types were refuted by later findings. Of course, medical-science “never minds” are hardly secret. And they sometimes make headlines, as when in recent years large studies or growing consensuses of researchers concluded that mammograms, colonoscopies, and PSA tests are far less useful cancer-detection tools than we had been told; or when widely prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil were revealed to be no more effective than a placebo for most cases of depression; or when we learned that staying out of the sun entirely can actually increase cancer risks; or when we were told that the advice to drink lots of water during intense exercise was potentially fatal; or when, last April, we were informed that taking fish oil, exercising, and doing puzzles doesn’t really help fend off Alzheimer’s disease, as long claimed. Peer-reviewed studies have come to opposite conclusions on whether using cell phones can cause brain cancer, whether sleeping more than eight hours a night is healthful or dangerous, whether taking aspirin every day is more likely to save your life or cut it short, and whether routine angioplasty works better than pills to unclog heart arteries."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pancreatic Cancer

"Pancreatic cancer has long been viewed as a rapidly developing cancer because life expectancy from day of diagnosis is usually less than 3 years with 95% of those diagnosed dead within 5 years. But use of DNA sequencing technology has enabled researchers Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, Bert Vogelstein, and evolutionary biologist Martin Nowak to determine that most pancreatic cancers almost 20 years to develop enough to kill their victims.
"Pancreatic tumors are one of the most lethal cancers, with fewer than five percent of patients surviving five years after diagnosis. But a new study that peers deeply into the genetics of pancreatic cancer presents a bit of good news: an opportunity for early diagnosis. In contrast to earlier predictions, many pancreatic tumors are, in fact, slow growing, taking nearly 20 years to become lethal after the first genetic perturbations appear."

Pancreatic Cancer Develops For 20 Years Before Killing

"Cancerous intestinal polyps are pretty easy to discover with colonoscopy. Unfortunately the pancreas isn't as easy to inspect as the colon. But we need the ability to remove the pancreatic equivalents of colon polyps.
"The Hopkins work, published in the October 28 issue of the journal Nature, suggests that it takes at least a decade for the first cancer-causing mutation that occurs in a cell in a pancreatic lesion to turn into a full-fledged cancer cell. At this point, the lesion is called "high-grade" and should be removed, much like polyps are removed from the colon.
"After the first cancer cell appears, it takes an average of nearly seven years for that cell to turn into the billions that make up a cancerous tumor the size of a plum, after which at least one of the cells within the tumor has the potential and ability to spread to other organs. Patients die an average of two and a half years after this metastasis."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

High Quality Human Fuel

Coconut Oil! Mercola, Enig and Fallon Agree

This stuff is a potent addition to your paleo approach.  There's something unique about the medium chain saturated fat, as Sally Fallon has pointed out in her interview with Jimmy Moore at Living La Vida Low Carb.  Get some. Eat it.  Be satisfied and run lean and strong.

"50 percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. If you're a frequent reader of my newsletter you already know that I consider lauric acid a "miracle" ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties.

Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.[9]
Monolaurin is a monoglyceride which can actually destroy lipid coated viruses such as:
  • HIV, herpes
  • Measles
  • Influenza virus
  • Various pathogenic bacteria
  • Protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth!
Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, has also been added to the list of coconut's antimicrobial components.
This is one of the key reasons you should consider consuming coconut oil, because there aren't many sources of monolaurin in our diet. But the health benefits of coconut oil don't stop there."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Energy

With all those energy drinks out there, loaded with carbs, one could think that fat and protein are not useful for creating energy.  Anyone ever tell you to eat bacon for energy?  At the same time, for years folks told us that fat has too many calories per gram, so we should eat less fat to keep our caloric intake lower.  Also, we're told that calories are all that matters as regards accumulation of body fat - or liberation of body fat - and that we could therefore theoretically eat all our calories as fat or protein but we'd still have enough 'energy'.
So why would folks need to drink a high carb drink for energy while avoiding fat?  Why would someone need an 'energy' drink - our paleolithic ancestors didn't have Red Bull, is it normal for us to need one?
I think all these questions and practices serve to illustrate how easy it is to confuse an uneducated public.  Let's briefly dig into 'energy' systems in our body, and how they can go wrong.
First off, most of your body can run fine on fat, which can be oxidized to produce energy for virtually everything you do all day.  Walking, computing, talking, driving, watching TV, eating, cooking, or reading, your primary energy source is aerobic metabolism of fat through oxidation.  However, if you are constantly shoving carbs in your mouth, you will interrupt this process!  In other words, your natural, most functional state is one of fat oxidation (which saves your small stores of glucose for the CNS and hemoglobin cells, which use either glucose or ketones.  Ketones are a glucose substitute converted from body fat).  If you chronically eat enough carbs that your body is struggling to dispose of the excess, you will preferentially burn glucose throughout your body - and over time, you will lose the ability to burn fat (and due to the chronically elevated insulin levels needed to deal with the sugar overdosing, you won't be able to liberate fat from storage, even if you could burn it).  That is, your cells will not sustain the necessary levels of fat burning enzymes, and thus, if needed, you won't have the capacity to sustain your 'energy' levels via the constant, slow oxidation of the massive quantity of stored fuel your body sustains as fat.
If you do become or are a 'sugar burner', you will be on the razor's edge of running out of fuel all the time, because your body's capacity to store glucose is relatively small.  'Sugar burners' have two choices - eat frequently or be hungry and hypo-glycemic.
To have more energy, you need to change what you eat.  If you eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch and no sugar or wheat, you will become a 'fat burner.'
Following this approach, you get all the nutrition you need, your body's finely evolved feedback systems make sure you don't eat too little and don't encourage you to eat too much.  Your blood sugars stabilize at lower, healthier levels, and are used primarily as they should be used - to recharge depleted muscle/liver stores of glycogen after exercise, and to feed the CNS.  The vast majority of your tissues develop the necessary enzymes to run off the nearly endless quantity of fat our bodies sustain.  You may experience minor blood sugar drops after a long fast - say from your last meal of the day until noon the following day - but a little protein in the AM will stave that off.
You won't need energy drinks, because your body will naturally have the energy you need (fat), and it will be available, and your cells will be adapted to use it.
Shifting from being a 'sugar burner' to a 'fat burner' also creates every positive metric you'd like to consider for your health.  Lipids?  Better.  Blood sugars and A1c?  Better.  Blood pressure?  Better.  Sleep quality?  Better.  Body composition?  Less fat, more muscle.
It's always your call how you will live, but the 'meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds' route offers deliverance from carbohydrate suck land, superior mental and physical performance, and gives every known benefit to health.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review of the Basics of Glucose Metabolism

"The liver's capacity to store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen is very limited and can be easily depleted within ten to twelve hours. So the liver's glycogen reserves must be maintained on a continual basis. That's why we eat carbohydrates."The question no one has bothered to ask until now is this: what happens when you eat too much carbohydrate? Here's the answer: whether it's being stored in the liver or the muscles, the total storage capacity of the body for carbohydrate is really quite limited.
"If you're an average person, you can store about three hundred to four hundred grams of carbohydrate in your muscles, but you can't get at that carbohydrate. In the liver, where carbohydrates are accessible for glucose conversion, you can store only about sixty to ninety grams.
"This is equivalent to about two cups of cooked pasta or three typical candy bars, and it represents your total reserve capacity to keep the brain working properly.
"Once the glycogen levels are filled in both the liver and the muscles, excess carbohydrates have just one fate: to be converted into fat and stored in the adipose, that is, fatty, tissue.
"In a nutshell, even though carbohydrates themselves are fat-free, excess carbohydrates ends up as excess fat. That's not the worst of it. Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates will generate a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rapid rise, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin then lowers the levels of blood glucose.
"The problem is that insulin is essentially a storage hormone, evolved to put aside excess carbohydrate calories in the form of fat in case of future famine. So the insulin that's stimulated by excess carbohydrates aggressively promotes the accumulation of body fat.
"In other words, when we eat too much carbohydrate, we're essentially sending a hormonal message, via insulin, to the body (actually, to the adipose cells). The message: "Store fat."
"Hold on; it gets even worse. Not only do increased insulin levels tell the body to store carbohydrates as fat, they also tell it not to release any stored fat. This makes it impossible for you to use your own stored body fat for energy.
"So the excess carbohydrates in your diet not only make you fat, they make sure you stay fat. It's a double whammy, and it can be lethal.
"Insulin is released by the pancreas after you eat carbohydrates. This causes a rise in blood sugar. Insulin assures your cells receive some blood sugar necessary for life, and increases glycogen storage.
"However, it also drives your body to use more carbohydrate, and less fat, as fuel. And, insulin converts almost half of your dietary carbohydrate to fat for storage. If you want to use more fats for energy, the insulin response must be moderated.
"Diets high in refined sugars release more insulin thereby allowing less stored fat to be burned. High insulin levels also suppress two important hormones: glucagon and growth hormone. Glucagon promotes the burning of fat and sugar. Growth hormone is used for muscle development and building new muscle mass.
"Insulin also causes hunger. As blood sugar increases following a carbohydrate meal, insulin rises with the eventual result of lower blood sugar. This results in hunger, often only a couple of hours (or less) after the meal.
"Cravings, usually for sweets, are frequently part of this cycle, leading you to resort to snacking, often on more carbohydrates. Not eating makes you feel ravenous shaky, moody and ready to "crash." If the problem is chronic, you never get rid of that extra stored fat, and your energy is adversely affected."
So, what's a sugar fiend to do?  Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar or wheat.  Train your body to run on fat, leaving the glucose to the parts of you that truly need it, the CNS and hemoglobin cells.  
"As a matter of fact, we evolved for hundreds of thousands of years from the so-called cave man's diet," which consisted solely of meat and vegetables. With the onset of modern civilization about 5,000 years ago, our physiology suddenly was asked to digest and metabolize larger amounts of sugar and starch especially refined sugars. But if we are unable to utilize the amount of carbohydrates we eat, certain symptoms will develop." 
Symptoms like metabolic syndrome, which leads to all the other diseases of the West.