Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hahn on AC's Analysis

In response to AC's blog about the "calorie is not a calorie" study most recently posted (my response is here), Fred Hahn at Slow Burn adds the following cogent analysis:

The researchers state in their discussion (the bolding is my doing):
Although the very low-carbohydrate diet produced the greatest improvements in most metabolic syndrome components examined herein, we identified 2 potentially deleterious effects of this diet. Twenty-four hour urinary cortisol excretion, a hormonal measure of stress, was highest with the very low-carbohydrate diet.
Highest yes, but high? Heck no.
What they don’t say, for whatever reason, is that none of the levels measured for CRP or cortisol reached abnormally high levels. Not even close. The levels in ALL groups were well within the norms. Heightened catabolism AC? Poppycock. In fact, all groups saw a significant improvement in their CRP levels, with all groups falling into the normal range, which neatly tucks them into the low risk category for CRP / cortisol measures.
It’s literally insane for the researchers to say “We identified 2 potentially deleterious effects of this diet…” especially considering the statement that I bolded above. As I see it, the researchers, as well as AC, want to make something big out of absolutely nothing. You can almost smell their disdain for the low-carb hypothesis.


Monday, July 30, 2012

"Chi" Walking?

Got a phone call from a friend last week asking me about minimalist running. This is what she said: 
“I want to run. I feel great when I run. But every time I try to start back up with running, after a few weeks, my calves are killing me. I take a break that ends up lasting a month or longer, then I try again with the same results. What am I doing wrong?”
The RX: ditch the crappy shoes.  Then walk.  How should you walk?
So when I decided to transition to a barefoot/minimalist lifestyle, I knew I had to take it slow… very slow. I spent the first six weeks just learning how to walk. What I’m showing you below is the program I followed.
Since my foot was in direct contact with the pavement, when I walked with a poor gait pattern, I felt it immediately at my foot. This allowed me to make immediate adjustments in my gait so that I walked without pain. Once you place a cushion beneath your foot, you are disconnected from this very important line of communication with your body.  It allows you to continue to walk with dysfunction instead of feeling pain immediately at your foot.  The pain allows you to make immediate adjustments. No immediate pain, no immediate adjustments.  Rather, you feel that pain weeks, months or even years later in your knee, hip, back, shoulder or neck.  By this point you are completely disconnected from the original source of the problem.  As you learn to walk again remember, every step is an opportunity to make immediate adjustments in your gait.  
The author continues with a lot of advice, which will likely work for many folks.
I like his description of walking:
                A quiet foot fall. Your foot should touch the ground like a feather. No slapping.
                Slight forward body lean.
                Your forefoot or mid foot should strike the ground first, heel comes down after that. Do make sure your heel touches the ground, otherwise your calves will get very angry at you.
                Short stride with your feet landing directly beneath your hips, not in front of your body.
                Comfortable arm swing with shoulders relaxed downward. Don’t hold your arms or shoulders rigid. Your right arm should move in tandem with your left leg and vice versa.
                Follow the corrective exercises in the following articles to develop mobility and stability of the feet, hips and shoulders.


I know there are folks who would like to make the transition to pain free walking, and perhaps then running - if you try this approach, let me know how it works!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hero WOD: "Ship"


Nine rounds for time of:
185 pound Squat clean, 7 reps
8 Burpee box jumps, 36" box

Canadian Forces Sergeant Prescott Shipway, 36, of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, Canada, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba, Canada, was killed on September 7, 2008 by a roadside bomb in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

Fair winds and following seas on your journey, warrior!

NOTE:  if you click the link above, the comments posted there explain how folks have scaled this WOD to make it "performable" for non-elite CrossFitters.

Eades: Leptin Basics

The venerable Dr. Mike Eades does a nice job explaining about leptin and hunger, and how carb restriction affects these things - more powerfully than drugs.

The drug rimonabant (Acomplia) that failed to pass muster with the FDA panel last week works by blocking some of the hunger receptors in the brain. In other words, those who take the drug – assuming it works as touted – will be less hungry. Less hunger means less food consumption. Less food consumption typically results in weight loss. So, if you take rimonabant, assuming you don’t become suicidal and do yourself in (the big worry of the FDA panel since the major side effects are varying degrees of psychoses), you should lose some weight. But there is a better, cheaper way.
The low-carbohydrate diet working through the hormone leptin reduces hunger much more than rimonabant on its best day. And without the risk of serious side effects. And without the $250 per month for the drug.

The summary:
1.  Fat makes leptin, so as fat decreases leptin decreases, signaling the brain to make the human hungry.  This way, the human cannot run out of fuel - unless the hunger is not sufficiently motivating (it usually is - funny what millions of years of evolution will do for you) to get the human out to hunt/gather; or, there's inadequate amounts of stuff to be hunted/gathered.
2.  Obese folks have mucho leptin - much more than normal, but their body does not translate the leptin into decreased hunger.  
3. The reason the obese are not leptin sensitive starts with triglycerides - when trigs are high, leptin does not cross the blood brain barrier (BBB), so for practical purposes, the leptin does not exist.  
4.  Carbohydrate restriction helps restore this process by reducing triglyceride levels, which allows leptin to cross the BBB, and restore leptin sensitivity.

Fructose also seems to have a negative effect on leptin sensitivity.

Once again, it's the neolithic levels of carb intake, exacerbated by high neolithic-fructose intake, which drives the system off its energy management program, resulting in humans feeling hungry when they are not in need of more food.
Minor edits 27 July 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Double Under Demo, Intro

Mike McGoldrick, super human and super human being (this is a Mike you would actually like to be like), shows how to DU:
Short and sweet instruction!

Double unders are a fabulous test of coordination, and done well they demand and develop body integration (if your hips and back flex every bounce, you will lose), precise body positioning, the ability to rebound off the ground with great efficiency (the jumping part), and metabolic capacity.  DU also develop hand speed and coordination.  Put this little nasty in a workout, and you will also be able to practice and refine the ability to deliver skillful movement when near the limit of your metabolic working limits.  Yes - skillful movement when gassed and gasping for breath - that will come in handy some day.

One thing I'd add - imagine yourself as the double under-er, in the middle of a circle.  The circle touches the ground under your feet.  If the circle rolled forward, your feet would no longer be contained by the circle.  This is what many people do without realizing it - they move their hands forward, essentially moving the circle in front of themselves.  Then the rope starts hitting their feet.  Unaware of why, they try jumping higher.  It may work for a bit, then the extra wasted work catches up to them.

What to do?  Make sure the hands stay to your side, so that if you drew a line from hand to hand it would go through your body.  IOW - keep the circle around you, not in front of you.

Few things in life are as cool as the sound made by strings of DUs, you want this!

The Physics of Running

This is a detailed column, describing how to think about how gravity powers running.  As Dr. Romanov points out, running is falling.  If that's a puzzle you've been trying to solve, and if you are thinking in terms of streams/waterfalls, and sailboats, you're on the right track.

As written, this methodology has a lot of crossover with the POSE Method - which makes sense.  The human body is made to run in a world of gravity, many have been able to see this obvious thing over the years.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

?Fat Adapted?

As I’ve mentioned before, fat-adaptation is the normal, preferred metabolic state of the human animal. It’s nothing special; it’s just how we’re meant to be. That’s actually why we have all this fat on our bodies – turns out it’s a pretty reliable source of energy! To understand what it means to be normal, it’s useful examine what it means to be abnormal. And by that I mean, to understand what being a sugar-dependent person feels like.

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-fat-adapted/#ixzz1zl8SR8M2

Mark does a nice job in this post explaining the place we all want to be - fat adapted.  It's the normal human metabolic state and it leads to things like normal blood sugar, lack of hunger, a lean body, and lots of flexibility about when we eat.  
How does one go about getting themselves fat adapted?  First, restrict your carb intake.  The brain needs about 150g of carbohydrate daily, so when you eat fewer carbs than that, you demand that your body use fat as fuel.  You can also help this process along by avoiding high carb intake after your high quality paleo supper - if you like sweets, eat them early in the evening.  As you fast while sleeping, you invite the body to use fat.  If you delay breakfast, or eat a very low carb breakfast, you demand that your body continue to use fat.  
As a side effect, you feel much better.  All the more so if you have glucose regulation issues.
I recommend Mark's post above for all the details about why you should work to achieve the glorified status of "FAT BURNING MACHINE".
Minor edits July 27, 2012

Testimonial: Moi

I received my final free health check up this month (not really free, you the taxpayer paid for it) in prep for my retirement from a 23 year military career.  In this post, I lamented the fact that so many folks my age are taking drugs for some malady or another - usually hyper tension, lipids or gout.

My BP this year was 120/80, better than when I was a college student 26 years ago.  My fasting lipid profile:
Triglycerides were 37, LDL 108, HDL 77.   Total cholesterol, 192.
Fasting glucose was 88.

Interestingly, when triglycerides are below 75, the formula they use to estimate LDL overestimates LDL - thus it is likely less than 100.  Not that I care.

What's the point?  Am I just crowing about myself, chest thumping?  No, no, no.

A bit.

Yes.  Still ....

How many times have you heard that you should eat less cholesterol to "lower your cholesterol"?  How many times have you heard you should eat less saturated fat to lower your cholesterol?  How many times have you been advised to eat "heart healthy whole grains" to lower your cholesterol?

How many times after those commercials, by the way, have you seen a commercial for either glucose monitors or viagra/cialis?  Man, those marketing folks know how to get you coming and going.  Pardon the pun.

What if I told you I eat over 60% of calories as fat, and that's what gives numbers like the ones above, (drugs not required).  What if I told you there's no reason to limit cholesterol intake?  What if I said I eat more fat than ever but my numbers are "better" than they've been in five years (and they've always been "good")?

The point is the entire field of medicine has run off on a lark with cholesterol, fat and health.  They kicked science to the curb, bit off on bizarre government recommendations and started to peddle meds like candy.  They may not even tell you, since they seem not to know, that if you don't want to use meds you can cure what ails you, for 80 plus percent of the population, via carbohydrate restriction.  If you ask to see the intervention study that shows low fat diets are good for longevity - or even cholesterol management - you'll get a blank stare.  The best studies I have seen show that what you have been told is opposite of the truth - when you eat saturated fat, your cholesterol numbers improve.  When you eat "heart healthy" whole grains, your glucose numbers will be crap.  And if you think trading nasty fasting glucose numbers for a ten point reduction in total cholesterol is a good deal - you should be reading this blog more often.

Of course, I don't expect that you take the numbers from my case and then become a believer - I obviously have good genes as far as fasting lipids go because my numbers didn't look too bad even when I ate nothing but low fat, "heart healthy" junk.  My numbers didn't look bad even when I reached weights over 215 pounds for the first time in my life.  My numbers, except for blood pressure, have never looked bad, no matter how much crap I slammed down my pie hole.  But they look better now that I eat fat first and foremost, with adequate protein, and veggies as convenient.

Whole fat dairy? Yes.  Real butter?  Yes, every day.  Red meat?  Not often enough.  Coconut oil, a nearly 100% saturated fat?  Yup, usually with macadamia nuts or sunflower seeds (or dark chocolate!). Do I eat 5000 servings every 15 minutes of spinach and broccoli?  Only once.  A long time ago.  Not recommended.

The point is - forget the diet wars. Forget the USDA.  Forget the pamphlets that advocate whole grains, fruits until you are broke and veggies until your back yard is completely overrun with tomato plants.  Try carbohydrate restriction.  Shoot for 100g/day or less.  See if it works for you.  Get some help to do it right.  Read a few genius books like the Protein Power Life Plan or The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.  If desperate and broke, just read this blog, each of the thousand posts for the last three years - desperate and broke after all deserves boredom (which I provide for free).  Find some friends - preferably at a CrossFit gym - who also pursue Paleo or Primal or just plain old "not eating too many friggin carbs."

In the process, I bet you will lose weight, lose the drugs, and feel a heck ova lot better.  The side effect of eating too few carbs?  You might get low carb flu for a few days or a couple weeks even - after that, the side effects are low appetite, smaller waist, more muscle, better sleep and better mood.  I think you can buck up for that.  If you can't, there are always statins, beta blockers, Uloric, and the last resort for those that wreck themselves - viagra and cialis.  And don't kid yourself folks, if you don't get a handle on your metabolic problems, that's the road you will walk.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Adidas Reebok Revival Depends on CrossFit"

This is a fascinating story to me.  A giant, international corporation, has hitched it's wagon to CrossFit.  It has been an interesting story to see from inside of CrossFit, with many fearing that CrossFit has "sold out."  But if you watch the Reebok videos, they have "bought in."  They love CrossFit and see it like CFers do - elite fitness.  I will be fun to see where it all goes next.  

I trained at Reebok CrossFit 1 in Camden when I attended the POSE Seminar with Dr. Romanov; they have dedicated 12,000 square feet so those folks can CrossFit.  Amazing.

I admit to not understanding how Reebok expects to profit from the partnership, except it says it wants to be the "fitness" brand.  I'm impressed they realize the connection to CrossFit and fitness.

Excerpt and link follow:

The brand that helped make step aerobics a staple in gyms around the world two decades ago has posted sales declines for three of the five full years since Adidas purchased it for $3.7 billion. Adidas, which won’t say how much it’s paying for the arrangement, has splashed the Reebok name across CrossFit equipment, gyms and trainers’ clothing.
After a brief bounce in sales due to the popularity of its ``toning’’ shoes-- which the company claimed help strengthen leg and butt muscles-- Reebok has forecast another decline in revenue this year.

Lost NFL Contract

Adidas is wrestling with a fraud investigation at its Reebok unit in India and in the U.S. in April it lost a contract to outfit the National Football League, which may cost the world’s second-biggest maker of sporting goods more than 200 million euros in lost revenue a year. Reebok is facing a slowdown in the market for toning shoes and last September agreed to pay $25 million in a settlement that will be used for consumer refunds after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission accused the company of deceptive health claims about its EasyTone and RunTone footwear.


Monday, July 23, 2012

"Dense Carbs Grow Too Many Nasties In Gut"

The abstract of an interesting paper follows.  The authors are trying to explain something I think needs no explanation - why do low carb diets "spontaneously" reduce weight in ways other macronutrient combinations do not? 
Answer:  we shouldn't be eating so many carbohydrates, because they raise glucose levels to toxic thresholds and therefore demand an insulin bolus as metabolic self defense.  IOW - high carb intake creates repeated metabolic emergency of excess glucose.  The chronically excess glucose makes a metabolic mess ("metabolic derrangement"). 
They would answer by saying that some populations eat high percentages of carbohydrates and do not get fat.  That is true, but there also practices that those populations maintained which reduced the intensity of the carbohydrate bolus - fermentation being one.  Further, the referenced populations also tended to live in isolated locations for many generations, and did not have access to fructose or other sugars in large quantities. 
The author's answer:
The present hypothesis suggests that in parallel with the bacterial effects of sugars on dental and periodontal health, acellular flours, sugars, and processed foods produce an inflammatory microbiota via the upper gastrointestinal tract, with fat able to effect a "double hit" by increasing systemic absorption of lipopolysaccharide. This model is consistent with a broad spectrum of reported dietary phenomena.
Which is to say, they think the excessively dense carbs create bacteria which dis-regulate the leptin based homeostasis system, causing over-consumption.  
The point of science is to identify possible cause effect relationships, and then attempt to disprove them.  The most interesting question is - how could one design an experiment to isolate causality between this hypothesis and the insulin hypothesis?   

Abstract: A novel hypothesis of obesity is suggested by consideration of diet-related inflammation and evolutionary medicine. The obese homeostatically guard their elevated weight. In rodent models of high-fat diet-induced obesity, leptin resistance is seen initially at vagal afferents, blunting the actions of satiety mediators, then centrally, with gastrointestinal bacterial-triggered SOCS3 signaling implicated. In humans, dietary fat and fructose elevate systemic lipopolysaccharide, while dietary glucose also strongly activates SOCS3 signaling. Crucially however, in humans, low-carbohydrate diets spontaneously decrease weight in a way that low-fat diets do not. Furthermore, nutrition transition patterns and the health of those still eating diverse ancestral diets with abundant food suggest that neither glycemic index, altered fat, nor carbohydrate intake can be intrinsic causes of obesity, and that human energy homeostasis functions well without Westernized foods containing flours, sugar, and refined fats. Due to being made up of cells, virtually all "ancestral foods" have markedly lower carbohydrate densities than flour- and sugar-containing foods, a property quite independent of glycemic index. Thus the "forgotten organ" of the gastrointestinal microbiota is a prime candidate to be influenced by evolutionarily unprecedented postprandial luminal carbohydrate concentrations. The present hypothesis suggests that in parallel with the bacterial effects of sugars on dental and periodontal health, acellular flours, sugars, and processed foods produce an inflammatory microbiota via the upper gastrointestinal tract, with fat able to effect a "double hit" by increasing systemic absorption of lipopolysaccharide. This model is consistent with a broad spectrum of reported dietary phenomena. A diet of grain-free whole foods with carbohydrate from cellular tubers, leaves, and fruits may produce a gastrointestinal microbiota consistent with our evolutionary condition, potentially explaining the exceptional macronutrient-independent metabolic health of non-Westernized populations, and the apparent efficacy of the modern "Paleolithic" diet on satiety and metabolism.http://www.dovepress.com/comparison-with-ancestral-diets-suggests-dense-acellular-carbohydrates-peer-reviewed-article-DMSO

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CrossFit Geeking: Fran

In this post I explored "Linda" and how one can play around with Force*Distance/Time to make calculations of power output (good demos of Linda here by Speal in 11.33(!), here by Gillian in 14.51 (!), and here by one of the original CrossFit beasts, Nicole Carroll.

The next day I completed "Isabel" (30 repetitions of the power snatch, prescribed at 135#, and seen here with two CrossFit monsters, the action starts at about 3.30), and yesterday Fran (45 thrusters at 95#, and 45 pullups, done as a 21-15-9 rep scheme).  These are classic CrossFit benchmark workouts.  Their significance is as measures of increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.  Isabel and Fran are both "short", relatively speaking; my last Isabel was 3.52 @ 115#, and Fran is consistently around 4.30 at 95#.  Linda is much longer at 30+ minutes.

Isabel uses a heavier weight across a huge range of motion - ground to overhead is about 70 inches - for 30 reps.  Fran uses two shorter movements - thrusters move the bar about 48", pullups move body weight about 28" - and lighter weights, for 90 reps.

For me, that means Fran expresses far more power than most any WOD - 186 foot pounds/second.  Isabel comes in at nearly double Linda at 133 fp/s, but well below Fran.  The difference in metabolic impact is profound - Fran is misery.  I know athletes who feel like puking before they do Fran, never mind after.  How can a less than four minute workout that uses pullups and a 95# barbell be such a horrible experience?  The power output answers the question - Fran is a combination of weight and range of motion and type of modality that allows an athlete to generate immense power output. To drive that power output the athlete is obviously using fuel rapidly, creating intense deficits of oxygen and ATP.  The body will warn you when you "act like that" - it will send you pain signals, to, in effect, ask "do you really want to do this?"  As I type this, I can almost hear the line "So do you, punk?" Until I started yesterday, I did not, but then, I did it anyway.

For Isabel, my time has decreased from my first effort at almost 12 minutes, to under 8 with 135#.  Fran has dropped from my 2007 baptism of 10.26 to my last five efforts the last three years all being under 4.40s.  Linda is hard to use for comparisons since I've used so many weights over the years, but my first two efforts were both over 50 minutes.  In other words, I have increased my work capacity (more work, less time) over broad time (short and long efforts) and modal (thrusters, pullups, snatches, cleans, deadlifts, and bench presses in these three workouts) domains.

By far the most rapid gains are in metabolic tolerance of anaerobic efforts, and that capacity by the way, is the most useful in sport, combat and life.  The next source of gain comes from improvement in the use of the hip to make force (skill and new muscle/nervous system adaptations with the application of skill to a variety of stimuli).  Last comes more general adaptations like strength, and specific skills, such as butterfly kipping pullups, olympic lifts, and/or slow lifts like the deadlift.

In this post, I advocated that training be focused on obtaining desired physical outcomes - shoot for more than larger muscles, more than just calories burned; shoot for improved performance in the arenas you value most.  Hopefully, this short discussion illustrates how CrossFit provides improved outcomes in many if not all arenas.

2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, Men's Chipper Final Heat

Having done workouts like this, it seems impossible how "easily" the best in the world move through this event.  Nevermind the fact that this is day three of a four day competition - their bodies must be smoked already.

For those that did not see the Games, the winner of this event, Rich Fronning, was the Games winner, as he was last year.  He missed winning in 2010 by a weakness in one event, the rope climb.  He's the first dominant Games athlete, and you can see why in this event:  efficient movement, never stops, very strong, very powerful, almost seems to be relaxed.  Rich is probably better in terms of genetics than most of the others, but he seems to have the best competition psychology also.

Chipper Mac

Chipper Windows

Saturday, July 21, 2012



DCC Windows

"Spirit of the Games" winner is featured in this short video - on the one hand, just one of a million inspiring moments watching incredible athletes giving their best in The Reebok CrossFit Games.  On the other hand - this athlete was eliminated from last year's Games due to her inability to swim.  So she learned how to swim, and then ran into the brick wall of her own fear in the event.  But she faught through it, and completed the open water swim, sandy/obstacle bike ride, and ridiculous mountain trail run.  And then did so well in the remaining events that she made the FINALS!  Top 18 IN THE WORLD!


If that's not enough inspiration for you, take a look at the Master's competitors, especially the over 60 group!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fake Sweeteners? Candy Cigarettes?

Want one reason for your beer belly? How about 100 quintillion? That's about how many bacteria live in your gut. And scientists now believe these bacteria can have a significant impact on your weight.
Consuming high amounts of fructose (a type of sugar), artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) cause your gut bacteria to adapt in a way that interferes with your satiety signals and metabolism, according to a new paper in Obesity Reviews. (If you've noticed you've been feeling tired all the time and gaining weight, your metabolism may be slowing.) "An evolution of the gut flora to this new sweetener-rich environment has a potential to negatively impact our health," says Amanda Payne, Ph.D., lead author of the review.
How does that happen? As bacteria in the gut process food, they give off byproducts called short-chain fatty acids. These can be beneficial and serve as energy in the body. But as the sweetener-adapted bacteria thrive and become more efficient at processing large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols, they also produce more and more short-chain fatty acids. (Not to imply that sugar is any better than artificial sweeteners.
In those high amounts, Payne says, short-chain fatty acids decrease satiety signals. "This signaling may cause disruptions in our feeling full and hence prevent us from stopping to eat when we should," Payne says.  http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/05/12548199-the-strange-reason-diet-soda-makes-you-fat
From other reading I've done, I think this analysis is legit.  Anything would be bad for you or good for you based on the dose and your circumstances at the time.  The right dose of gasoline when you are in a minimal survival situation and have gut loaded with parasites might save your life.  Most other times it would be bad.  Similarly, you can't live long without water.  But three gallons of water in a day is likely to kill you.  
Bottom line: if your body composition and/or health is not where you want it to be, there's a good reason not to eat/drink artificial sweeteners (or real ones).  On the other hand, if artificial sweeteners in low amounts helps you eat stay off of sugar, it may be a good compromise.  In the long run, I don't see a lot of folks having success with the paleo diet by using fake sugars, fake flours and other psedu-neolithic foods.  What seems to work better is continuing to work for genuinely paleo foods and meals that folks are excited about eating.
HT:  Kurt Harris for the candy cigs analogy 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

WOD: Linda (Three Bars of Death)

Did battle with Linda tonight - my 9th effort.  Met Linda in 2007.  Tonight was the heaviest attempt that I have completed in reasonable time - under 35 minutes.

Linda is prescribed as 1.5 bodyweight deadlifts, bodyweight bench press, and .75 body weight cleans (which can be done as squat cleans or power cleans - the latter is considerably easier).  The rep scheme is to do 10 of each movement, then 9, etc, until 55 reps are complete for each movement.  The goal is to complete all 165 reps as fast as possible.  The workout has been nicknamed "3 bars of death".  Pulling those heavy deads after the first round is a bear.

I did not "RX" the WOD tonight - 295 deadlift, 195 bench, and 145 squat cleans (-9.5#, 8# and 8#  from the RXed weight respectively).  I used to think I could never complete this WOD as RXed in a reasonable amount of time, but I'm close now, five years older and five years more experienced in CrossFit.  An RX'ed Linda in 30 minutes would be very satisfying.  Just to keep this in perspective - I bet that CrossFit's best could use these weights and half my time.

NOTE:  Reasonable amount of time means - I'd have time to do this on a typical day when I'm time sharing with family, work and working out.

One of the curious things about CrossFit is that you can measure your workouts by time, by load, or by power (mathematically, power is force times distance divided by time:  f * d/t).  The question then is - which matters most?

CrossFit states its methodology is to apply constantly varied functional movement at high intensity.  Intensity is defined as power.  The desired outcome is to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains - in other words, you should be competent for short or long efforts, with weights or body weight, and whether the demand is to run, jump, climb, lift, carry or throw.  Even better if you can do all of the above with a skill component - accuracy, agility, skill, and/or coordination.  And especially better if the skill elements allow you to increase the power output - for example, the kipping pull-up (same load, same distance, faster).

So how'd I do on power output?  Tonight, the Linda Load (LL) was 635#, and power output was ~57 foot pounds/second.  You could convert that to a horsepower number if desired (I'm betting - less than 1HP).  My highest power output for Linda was 64 FP/s, but that was with a LL of only 551#, completed in 27 minutes.  Deadlifts at 254 aren't easy but I can move that much faster with less rest, thus the higher power.  

Back to the "which is better" question - the answer is, "it depends."  These are not really the same workout due to the significantly lighter load.  The fast, light Linda was more a test of metabolic conditioning, with little emphasis on strength.  The Linda from tonight required pulling a near 300 pound bar off the ground 55 times - that is a strength test for me, but a particular kind.  Specifically, could the athlete lift with requisite technique while gasping for breath, under significant metabolic duress?  Belly tight, back in position, weigh in the heels, bar close to body, and maintaining all the above while putting the bar back down.  In other words, not just strength, but strength applied under duress and with a significant skill component - like you might be demanded to do in sport, combat or life.

I can't think of no better example of Coach Glassman's premise, which is more or less, "If you segment your training into running, then lifting, then doing body weight work, you develop segmented capacity."  You can deadlift 700#?  And your friend can snatch 400#?  Great.  Try applying all that strength/power when you just had to sprint 400m in gear to catch the bad guy and subdue him/her.  Will the bad guy let you catch your breath before the engagement?  In that case, better hope he's doing segmented training too, or none.

Fair warning - if you never train at high metabolic outputs for significant time duration (starting at ~30s very high output, say 200m run speed), be ready to feel nauseated when you first try.  This, by the way, is not a desirable outcome when one is in extremis.

That said, tonight was a good compromise - significant weight, but reasonable time, and better power output than my last three attempts with slightly heavier weights.

Interesting fitness geek experiment: get together with Linda once a month for a year, using the "Light Linda" and "Beefy Linda" weights in alternating months, and see how much time you could take off of either, and/or if you could upgrade the power outputs on heavy Linda to better match the Light Linda time.  It also would be interesting to measure the relationship of power to weight as one lighted the LL even further - at what weight would the power peak and then tail off?  Likewise, at what weight would the power drop a "quantum" below tonight's 57 ft pounds/second?

Last point is - this is one of the grand things about CrossFit for me.  I can completely punish my metabolic system, train for skills while under metabolic duress, and finish with no knee pain - back when my only "cardio" tool was running I was much, much less fit simply because of the limits on mileage, never mind the lack of relative intensity.  And, you don't need barbells and plates to replicate this workout - dead lifting a heavy sand bag or odd object, push-ups (add weight too your back if it's too easy), and box jumps would do nicely.

Leaders Must Acknowledge Their Limits

While I have no professional training as an ethicist, I still think I have a good idea about what is and is not ethical.  As I’ve learned more and more about this topic, it appears to me that the state of our current nutritional environment, with food policies based on just about everything but rigorous, experimental science, couldn’t make much ethical sense.

As was highlighted in this post, there are folks with the figurative blood on their hands of a lot of obese, diabetic people.  They made recommendations, said they were based in science, and they clearly were not.  Peter Attia, in the article linked above, tells the story of how it came to pass that a generation believed that saturated fat was proven harmful - and does so in about 400 pages less than Gary Taubes' "Good Calories Bad Calories."

Exercise and Weight Loss, Part 3

To summarize the last two posts, some folks say exercise is great for weight loss, and others say the science is ambiguous on the topic.  I've said I think there are too many variables, and the powers that be have not agreed which are the important variables, therefore the experiments that have been done have not been conclusive.   What's left to discuss, you might wonder - and the answer is that there is a way to think about food and diet to see how they might be complimentary for changing one's body composition towards more muscle, less fat.

First, training should be focused on desired physical outcomes - do you want to compete in endurance events?  Do you want to prepare for a fight or a sport or the needs of a profession (firefighting for example)?  Well then, you have a different priority than those many who simply want to look good naked.  Either way, burning calories doing mindless exercise that does not increase your work capacity is a dead end game.  Train for strength, speed, stamina, endurance, agility, balance, coordination, accuracy, power and skill - or any subset of the above.  Of those listed above, strength is often the most amenable to large, long term gains, but the best performance increases in the short term come from short, high power output workouts that demand and develop anaerobic fitness.  Go hard, rest, do it again, as many different ways as you can think of to go hard.  This is the CrossFit model, but you don't have to be an expert in CrossFit to either see/experience the virtue of this approach or to implement it.

Will this help you lose body fat and gain muscle?  Yes to the latter, but I can only offer a "maybe" to the former.

That's because, as has been said many times, you cannot out train a bad diet.  If you are pounding down 300g/day of "complex, whole grain carbohydrates", you better be training 2-4 hours per day or you are likely to be fat and sick.  A 30 minute drill on the elliptical trainer is not going to beat back the impact of that much sugar.

The goal of eating, if you are already fat and sick or if you feel yourself sliding down that pathway, must be to eat for glycemic control and nutrient quality.  Thus the prescription - eat meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar/wheat.

Eating in this protein adequate, high fat, and relatively low carb template gives your body a chance to regulate blood sugar, and redevelop the capacity to run itself on the best human fuel - fat.  Most people on this type of a diet find that their body's 1.5 million year old system of feedback loops gives them a chance to eat only what they need, to trust hunger signals as legitimate signals of need, and therefore to eat what they need for health, and not more.  When eating this way, exercise may help to speed recomposition, especially if you train for intensity in short workouts.  

Avoid the big nasties of neolithic nutrition - wheat, sugar (HFCS, table sugar) and polyunsaturated oils.

Establish a baseline of carb intake - if 100g/day of carbs lets you lose weight over time, you have yourself a solution.  For many, especially if they've been punishing their metabolic systems for years, 100g/day will be too much.

Lastly, once you stabilize on your carb intake and food quality, experiment with fasting.

Whatever you do, don't think of it as a diet.  Think of ways you can sustain the new eating patterns for a lifetime.  There's no going back - if you lose weight and then start eating like you used to, you are no different than the alcoholic who relapses or the smoker who takes up the habit again.  Save yourself the hassle!

My recommendation - don't exercise for weight loss, that's a fool's game and wasteful.  Eat the right way (carb restriction, high quality food), and exercise to optimize improvements in desired physical capacity.  As you do this you are also heading off most of the diseases of civilization - osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome - and the "A List" of diseases that follow metabolic syndrome:  cancer, vascular disease (heart attack and stroke), and neurological disease (Alzheimer's and the rest).
(edited 21 July)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Exercise For Weight Loss" Part 2

English lays out what seems to be a fairly convincing case as to why we shouldn't count weight loss among the benefits of exercise.

However, I strongly disagree. I believe his arguments do not properly reflect the majority of research that has been conducted on exercise in the past 50 years.

It's True that Exercise Is Not a Silver Bullet.
 As a certified personal trainer, I absolutely adore exercise, but I'll be the first to admit that, by itself, it is not an incredibly effective solution for serious weight loss. Outside of The Biggest Loser, it's very difficult for an obese individual to shed pounds through exercise alone. It's far easier to eliminate excess calories from your diet (my favorite target is soda) than it is to burn them off by running on a treadmill, plain and simple.


The author does a nice job defending the status quo - more calories burned through exercise, combined with  eating fewer calories, by the laws of physics, that must cause weight/fat loss.  He even cites several studies which support his contention that exercise and diet together are effective to cause fat loss.  I don't completely disagree, but I don't think the science tells us the answer yet, as it is too immature.  

One explanation for why there are so many conflicting results from experimentation is that there are too many variables, and since there is no universal agreement about which ones are most important, researchers do not control for the same variables across the spectrum of their work.  If you think a calorie is a calorie, you may not control for carbohydrate content in your test subjects.  If you don't think insulin resistance is an important variable, you don't control for it.  What are the other variables that may or may not be considered important?  Type of exercise (short and intense, or long and slow?  Weights?  Swimming or non-water based?  In a hot climate or cold?).  Gender.  Age.  Inflammation.  History of obesity or lack thereof.  Somatotype - skinny and lean is not like round and puffy when it comes to weight loss issues.  Tendency to get muscle mass easily or less easily.  Vitamin D levels.  Quantity and quality of sleep.  Other micronutrient deficiencies.  Test subjects' use of drugs, prescription or otherwise.  Alcohol intake.  Type of work - sedentary of otherwise.  And that's probably not all.  

Given that each of these variables could have an impact on weight loss for any group of subjects being tested, it should not be surprising to find that the research is providing a mixed result.  And as any of you know who have seen two folks steeped in the research who decide to have a "I know science more than you do" - the case can be made citing any number of studies for either side of the exercise argument.

Tomorrow, I'll address what I believe is the most rational approach to this topic.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Exercise For Weight Loss"

At least four clinical trials have demonstrated that exercise tends to suppress resting metabolic rate. In all four studies overweight participants who engaged in 300-600 calories worth of daily exercise experienced a significant drop in resting metabolism. According to Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, “Although genetically lean people as a group may respond differently, when overweight humans do more than one hour of endurance exercise daily, resting metabolism on average declines between 5% and 15%.” 
Commenting on the pair's findings, Dr. John Briffa points out that this down-regulating of the metabolism is probably the effect Taubes is describing. Much like what happens when caloric intake is severely restricted, "The idea that the body would down-regulate the metabolism in response to exercise makes ... intuitive sense," says Briffa. "It’s not too difficult to imagine that the body would have a similar response to increased calorie expenditure ...."
Critics of this argument would likely cite any number of studies which have reached the opposite conclusion. But as the American College of Sports Medicine explains, the best that can be said about the relationship between weight loss and exercise is that "it is reasonable to assume that persons with relatively high daily energy expenditures would be less likely to gain weight over time, compared with those who have low energy expenditures. So far, data to support this hypothesis are not particularly compelling.”


But, say the Biggest Loser fans, doesn't exercise burn calories?  Yes, but if you are eating in such a way as to create a hormonal demand to sequester the food you eat as fat, exercise won't interrupt that cycle, and is likely to make you feel hungry.
Diet also plays a role. According to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, people who consume a lot of easily digestible carbohydrates (most Americans) are going to be less willing to exercise because of the metabolic effects of such a diet. Energy that ends up trapped in fat cells (just one of the awesome side effects of a high-sugar diet) isn't available to fuel the rest of the body, and one of the results is lethargy. 
So, the science isn't compelling one way or the other, but experience indicates - you have to eat better, and exercise right, to have the maximum impact on body composition.

The counterpoint to this perspective will be presented tomorrow, and I'll explain why anyone who wants to shoot strait with a client should be clear that exercise alone won't fix what ails them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Art and Science

In 2007, Gardner et al published a randomized, controlled trial called the A-to-Z Study involving 4 diets lasting a year given to groups of obese women[43]. At one end of this diet spectrum was the ‘Ornish diet’ which is very high in complex carbs and very low in fat. At the other end was the ‘Atkins diet’ (i.e., low carbohydrate). After 6 months, the women on Atkins had lost significantly more weight, but after 12 months they were still lower but not significantly so. Interestingly, blood pressure and HDL cholesterol were significantly better on low carbohydrate than any of the other diets, and this beneficial effect remained significant out to 12 months.
After publishing this initial paper in JAMA, Dr. Gardner went back and examined his data based upon the subjects' insulin levels before they stared dieting.  When the women on each diet were divided into three subgroups (turtles) based on baseline insulin resistance, the results were striking.  In the low carbohydrate diet group, weight loss was similar in the most insulin sensitive (11.7#), and insulin resistant (11.9 #) women.  HOwever weight loss with the high carbohydrate (Ornish) diet was much greater in the insulin sensitive (9.0 #) than the insulin resistant (3.3 #) women.  

Thus the most insulin sensitive sub-groups of women experienced a similar weight loss when assigned diets either high (9.0 lbs) or low (11.7 lbs) in carbohydrate In contrast, the sub-groups that were insulin resistant fared very poorly when assigned a diet high in carbohydrate (3.3 lbs lost) compared to a low carbohydrate diet (11.9 lbs). Specifically, those women with insulin resistance lost almost 4-times as much weight when dietary carbohydrates were restricted[44]. Simply put, insulin resistance strongly influences how we respond to different diets. This validates the concept that insulin resistance in essentially an expression of carbohydrate intolerance.  Dr. Gardner's data clearly demonstrates that rather than forcing an insulin resistant body to deal with a macronutrient it can't handle well this condition is best treated with a diet that limits carbohydrate.
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Liv...

This book is a great read, as the authors are into the same puzzle I am of sorting out metabolic derangement - but they are full time researchers and much further down the road than I am.  They have a lot to teach!  I suspect I will read this book multiple times as I did Gary Taubes' "Good Calories Bad Calories".

I count the analysis above as another shot at the "calorie is a calorie" concept of weight loss - clearly, the hormonal state of the eater has an effect on what the body does with carbohydrate calories consumed.

Here's Dr. Gardner - his study was referenced above - in a video taped summary of his study; you know it's a good study when a vegetarian tests the atkins diet and finishes by wondering "if grains may be a problem."

Here's the abstract of his study:

Friday, July 13, 2012

60 Minutes Reports About the Dangers of Excessive Sugar

The link between fructose and uric acid is so strong that you can actually use your uric acid levels as a marker for fructose toxicity. According to the latest research in this area, the safest range of uric acid appears to be between 3 and 5.5 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), and there appears to be a steady relationship between uric acid levels and blood pressure and cardiovascular risk, even down to the range of 3 to 4 mg/dl.
Dr. Richard Johnson suggests that the ideal uric acid level is probably around 4 mg/dl for men and 3.5 mg/dl for women. I would strongly encourage everyone to have their uric acid level checked to find out how sensitive you are to fructose.
As you know, two-thirds of the US population is overweight, and most of these people likely have uric acid levels well above 5.5. Some may even be closer to 10 or above. Measuring your uric acid levels is a very practical way to determine just how strict you need to be when it comes to your fructose consumption. As an example, if you're passionate about fruit and typically eat large amounts of it, but find out you have a uric acid level above 5 (or better yet, 4 if you're a man, and 3.5 if you're a woman), then you may want to consider lowering your fruit consumption until you've optimized your uric acid levels, to avoid harming your body.


The fructose uric acid correlation is not a new discovery, but this is the first I've seen of using uric acid levels as a measure of fructose toxicity.  Paragraph 3 details why that might be a problem, and how you could use this tool - assuming you can find a doc who will do the bloodwork for you - to establish a safe level of fructose intake for yourself.

If you click the link to Dr. Mercola's website above, you can watch 20 minutes worth of the 60 Minutes report.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not Necessary


The link above will take you to an article about nutrient timing.  It's good enough for what it is, but it's also not necessary to do anything this article recommends.  Eat good food, train smart, hard and consistently.  Train with intensity, use the major lifts, vary your workouts.

If you have time for more than that, perhaps you need what Dr. Mercola recommends.  More likely, you would do better not to worry about anything to do with nutrient timing; unnecessary complication.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good Advice from PN

10 lessons for an easier and more successful body transformation:

1. Realize that exercise alone doesn't work.
2. Find a big motivator.
3. Find something to lose.
4. Choose proof over theory.
5. Do one small thing every day.
6. Make your commitments a little too easy.
7. Find someone to answer to.
8. Focus on behaviors, not outcomes.
9. Let your coach track the results.
10. Get a support network.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Running Shoes? Nevermind

Next time you think about getting a new running shoe, have a read of the following.  Even the Runner's Worlds of the world are finally admitting - there's no reason to believe it's better to run in a running shoe.

In character, this post is to running magazines what this post - Limits of the JAMA "Metabolic Advantage" Study  - was to "weight loss science."


I would love to hear one day that Chris found Dr. Romanov and teamed up with him to help make people aware that there's a technique to running, bare foot or otherwise, that can help folks run with less pain, more pleasure, more speed, less injury.

Monday, July 9, 2012

AC Shoots Back, Hits Own Foot

Hyperlipid recalls a Mike Eades post:

Dr Micheal Eades in 2007:

"...what we’re talking about as a metabolic advantage is at the max about 300 kcal per day."

Ludwig's group using stable isotope doubly labeled water for Total Energy Expenditure assessment in 2012:

"During isocaloric feeding following weight loss, REE was 67 kcal/d higher with the very lowcarbohydrate diet compared with the low-fat diet. TEE differed by approximately 300 kcal/d between these 2 diets..."


This was the topic that put AC on my radar, as AC did his very best to battle Mike Eades over the topic of low carb in general and metabolic advantage specifically.  He even cites his posts about Eades in the post linked below, and of course claims victory in the debate.  One thing AC is unquestionably good at is beating his own drum.  I remember reading the AC/Eades debate thinking AC was out done, but I have a dog in the fight so who knows.

So what's AC all about?  First, he's published some books, including his online "Fat Loss Bible."  He seems to think a low glycemic index diet is the holy grail, and states he prescribes a dose of carbohydrate, from 75 up to 200 grams per day or so, based on client activity levels - which would make sense for lean healthy folks who may be doing endurance training.  AC thinks a calorie is a calorie, more work less food is the magic bullet.  His comments about overweight folks could be summed up as "they should get off their lazy behinds and work more, while eating less."
If you read his blog, you'll be exposed to some very good information on, for example, issues with grain consumption, the cholesterol myths, his dissection of "The China Study", and the foolishness of dogmatic vegans. Sadly though, you'll have to take that info mixed with a steady dose of "gee, aren't I smart and aren't they all stupid".  And you'll have to suffer through predictably sycophantic letters that all boil down to this meme:  "AC, you sure are great, I adore you and your work."
Lastly, you'll see if you follow AC that he's picked fights with a ton of folks in the nutrition and fitness world, which he seems to quite enjoy and which seemingly have done quite a lot to draw readers to his site.  It was perhaps a great marketing strategy, but he seems to like the head to head with others.  All the while, he's continuously gnawing on the "low carbers are not sufficiently rigorous with the science" (polite interpretation) bone.  He's quite ready to tell the world he's the only that can get the science right.

Here's AC's post about the JAMA study.
"Low-carb Metabolic Advantage Dogma (MAD) claims that at a given daily caloric intake, low-carb diets cause more weight loss than higher carb diets because of some magical mysterious freakazoid metabolic process that even the MAD believers themselves have never been able to coherently explain let alone provide actual evidence for."
I have only read one LC advocate who claimed a possible "metabolic advantage", most just say they lose weight and control hunger better, either on themselves or with their clients who need to lose body fat and regain health, using carbohydrate restriction.  Some have claimed that LC offered near magical benefits, and frankly - losing weight without hunger while restoring health is magic, especially for those who have tried calorie restriction, fat restriction and/or exercise and just ended up tired, grumpy, and having only lost some of the weight, which they rapidly put back on after giving up on their diet.  I don't care too much about the heretofore only speculated significance of LC metabolic advantage, and never invested much time in that idea - I know that folks switching to low carb spontaneously reduce caloric intake without needing to count calories or make a particular effort to eat less.  Despite Dr. Atkins claims that you could eat mountains of butter and lobster and steak - most LCers don't do that, partly because that's a lot of work and expensive to boot.

"Low-carb authors enthusiastically assured all and sundry that by cutting their carbs they would lose more weight at a given caloric intake, despite decades of research showing this claim to be utter hogwash. If the low-carbers truly believe the 'metabolic disorders' tale, where's the caveat in their writings that 'normal' folks can expect no such advantage? It's just a convenient excuse to try and slide out of a tight spot and salvage some credibility for their pet belief."
Let's just say he's right on this point - that calorie intake v. expenditure is all that matters - so what?  There are still many good reasons to use carb restriction, backed by good science, and particularly so for folks who have a significant excess of body fat.  For those that respond well to carb restriction, intake goes down, activity increases, and health is restored; "it's all good."

"Well, that's a most interesting avenue of denial, considering that "metabolic defects" only became important to the low-carbers after it was pointed out to them that their diet repeatedly failed to show any weight loss advantage in tightly controlled ward studies."
There are not many tightly controlled ward studies, and many of the ones that exist focus on very low calorie intake.  Below a certain daily intake of calories, a low intake percentage of carbs no longer helps by reducing glycemic overload - folks aren't eating enough to induce glycemic overload.  This is not debated.  However, these studies show that on a semi starvation diet (~1200kcal/day), those eating adequate protein and fat (i.e., low carbs) suffer from much lower reported hunger levels.  This is why met ward studies don't always show what matters - if you control what folks eat and maintain low calorie intake, the LC advantage does not manifest itself for a long time, EXCEPT that folks feel better and have less hunger.  Put those folks in the "wild" and it's easy to guess that the LCers experiencing less hunger would eat less than the high carb crowd, and that is exactly what is observed.

This is what AC misses in his analysis of the study, but he wasn't the only one:
"Cornier and his team compared diets of lower- and higher-carb content and found those with insulin resistance lost more weight on the lower carb diet. The Cornier et al study was not a ward study, and so the short term results again could be (and in all likelihood were) explained by differences in caloric intake. The way to eliminate this possibility would be to ensure the two groups really did consume isocaloric diets by placing them in a metabolic ward."  AC continues:  Which is most interesting when one considers absolutely no such advantage was observed during the study. In the researchers' own words:
(AC is quoting from the study here)"Body weight did not differ significantly among the 3 diets (mean [95% CI], 91.5 [87.4-95.6] kg for low fat; 91.1 [87.0-95.2] kg for low glycemic index; and 91.2 [87.1-95.3] kg for very low carbohydrate".
AC continues: "Bodyweight was virtually identical during all three isocaloric diet phases which to me, as a rational indvidual whose head has never been embedded in his culo, quickly refutes the famous low-carb claim that greater weight loss will occur on a low-carb diet at a given caloric intake. At the caloric level calculated by the researchers to maintain weight, the low-carb diet did exactly what the other diets did - it maintained weight. It did not magically produce further weight loss while the other diets simply maintained the status quo."

The authors of the study responded (posted at Free the Animal):
“The point is that 4 weeks isn’t long enough to translate a 300 kcal/day difference into statistically significant weight change, especially when one considers that body weight normally fluctuates by a kilogram or two though the course of a week, based on differences in hydration status, the time of the last bowel movement, etc. We’d need 6 months to reliably see this effect. Nevertheless, there was a slight, and not statistically significant
difference in the hypothesized direction, with body weight highest on the low fat diet (data included in the results section).”

IOW, if the result is sustained for one month, the "maintenance LC" dieter would maintain a 300kcal/day advantage in metabolic rate which would equate to "burning" 9000kcal, or 2.5 pounds per month.  That my fiends is nothing to sneeze at for a person who desires to maintain a hard fought weight loss.
AC also delves into the individual variation portion, since not everyone did as well on the LC.  He makes the blinding flash of the obvious, which is that not all human bodies respond alike.  To which, I would respond in this very scientific way - so what?   Of course there's individual variation. That also shoots holes in the calorie is a calorie argument.
AC points to another not serious issue:  "Meaning that if you adopt a low-carb diet expecting an increase in metabolism, based on the results of this study, there's a very strong possibility you'll be sorely disappointed. Heck, you may just suffer the same fate as other well known purveyors of this belief and be forced to don a belly-restraining girdle to hide the contradictory evidence hanging from your waist."
In that case, I would recommend that you stop trying low carb, and/or restore your discipline to doing low carb.  That doesn't by any means indicate that trying LC might buy you the 300, or more, kcal/day this study indicates can happen on a maintenance diet if you eat enough fat and protein to keep your metabolism happy and humming.

Of course AC beats the low thyroid drum - but like any discrete marker, it's only a problem if it's a problem.  IOW - would you eat more carbs and get fat and feel bad so you could improve your thyroid levels?  And if you try LC for long enough, and if you experience the thyroid decrease that can be associated with long term carb restriction, and you don't feel good any longer, well, I would suggest trying something else.  Or trying intermittent fasting with low carb and bigger individual meals.  Or occasionally carb binge to see if that convinces the body there's no starvation going on (thought to the be the reason for the thyroid decrease).  Frankly, low thyroid is already an issue for obese people, so losing weight by LC and still having low thyroid wouldn't be a show stopper.
AC also beats the inflammation issue, citing the test subject's increased levels of CRP and cortisol.  These are not ideal, but most folks' health will be much better if they sustain weight loss.  Further, longer term studies show good results with inflammatory markers.  This is a concern, but not a show stopper by any means.
"So much for a metabolic advantage. If heightened catabolism and inflammation constitute an 'advantage', then I'll give it a miss, thank you. I'll stick to my highly disadvantageous regimen of intelligent nutrition and regular exercise that sees me maintain with minimal fuss the kind of single-digit bodyfat levels most low-carb devotees will only ever be able to dream about."
Like most of us in this game, AC should remember that just because it works for him, does not mean it works for everyone.  If I saw him, I'd drink to AC's success in looking good, and I hope he helps a million folks reach their fitness goals.
There's no reason, though, for AC to keep grinding the ax against LC when there're so many folks who are very ill, very heavy, and can get help from a low carb diet.  This is not refutable.  Many people have worked wonders to improve their lives with LC.  Sometimes, AC should let go of the bone and let the good be good.  Something does not have to meet every test of scientific truth to be useful information, a fact for which I'm quite thankful because the science of humans and diet is anything but settled.
AC closes with 5 points, of which the last four are points I have made in my own blog.  We see many things the same, with the exception of his terrier on a bone attitude about carbohydrate restriction, and his propensity to engage in squabbling.