Saturday, February 18, 2012

Variation Is Evidence Of Weak Science

When I eliminated all my grains and starchy vegetables, I actually experienced some negative effects. My energy levels declined considerably, and my cholesterol, which is normally about 150, rose to over 200. 
*Fascinating!  Dr. Mercola thinks a cholesterol of 150 is good, and a cholesterol of 200 is bad, as expressed above - but what is that information based on?  He never clarifies, but he should.  One could just as easily say a 150 is worse than a 200 based on the correlations with mortality - but neither number is significant in my view.  They are but correlates.

It appears I was suffering a glucose deficiency and this can trigger lipoprotein abnormalities. It also seemed to worsen my kidney function. So, while carbohydrate restriction is a miracle move for most people, like most good things in life, you can overdo it.
*The questions is - how long did he try the low carb?  Some people of course take a longer time than others to adapt to running on low carb.  On the other hand, he was never obese, so it may have been the case that he simply doesn't need to go very low in carb intake.
This information really underscores how important glucose is as a nutrient, and some people can't manufacture glucose from protein as well as others, so they need SOME starches in their diet or else they will suffer from metabolic stress.
*There has to be some truth in this - ectomorphs, those who tend towards length and leanness, are clearly not "fat loving" in physiology.  It would be easy to believe that the "skinny" like Dr. M just don't run as well on fat as those of other somatotypes.
About half of your proteins have glucose attached to them, and if they don't have glucose, they simply don't work well, if at all. Your body needs glucose both as a substrate and as a fuel in order for these proteins to work well. If you drop below 200 calories of glucose per day, you might notice some negative consequences in the way you feel and even in some of your blood work, as I did.
*200kcal/day obviously is about 50g/day.  I would count that as very low carb.  50-100g/day works well for me.
My experience now shows me that I need to have some source of non-vegetable carbs. I still seek to avoid nearly all grains, except for rice and potatoes. I typically limit my total carbohydrate calories to about 25 percent of total daily intake, and my protein to about 15 percent, with the additional 60 percent coming from healthful fats like butter, egg yolks, avocados, coconut oil, nuts and animal fat.
*Impressive!  Most people will do well on this type of diet.  But you have to try it and see how you look feel and perform - after allowing time for fat adaptation - to see what level of carb consumption allows you to maintain glycemic control (as evidenced by body composition, especially abdominal circumference, and how you feel).

The more I learn about cholesterol, the more convinced I am that it is the proverbial key under the lightpost - folks are looking at it because it can be seen, but there's not much reason to think it matters.  It is at best a correlate with heart disease and stroke (aka vascular disease), but not a cause.

But, you might say, if high cholesterol is a correlate of vascular disease, and cholesterol makes up a significant component of atherosclerotic plaques, isn't is rational to think there's a causal relationship?  Yes, it is a rational thing to think, but after years and years of trying, no one has yet proved the causal relationship.  I was a low brow solution to think that cholesterol, like grease, was killing folks by sticking to arteries like grease in a pipe.  "Really?"  Yes, they really wanted to think of human arteries as if they were static like a grease filled pipe.   "Pull the other one."

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