Friday, November 29, 2013

Fiber, What Fiber Becomes, and the Related Science

It is actually because your body can’t digest fiber that it plays such an important part in digestion. Soluble fiber, like that found in cucumbers, blueberries, beans, and nuts, dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer and is one reason why fiber may help with weight control.
Insoluble fiber, found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve at all and helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination. Many whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, naturally contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Dr. Mercola is a great force for health, but fiber is nothing but a distraction.  If folks want to eat it - great!  Get some of this to really take care of that insufficient fiber problem: SNL Colon Blow
Dr. M cites the science that "shows" how good for you fiber is, but this is the same science that shows that low fat diets are good, and has been wrong 100% of the time when used for public health.  Epidemiology can do amazing things, but is generally abused by an uninformed science press, writing to a mis-informed audience, and would better serve as fertilizer in many cases.
However, if you eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar/no wheat, you are still doing what Dr. M recommends so it is a moot point.  
If I could change anything, it would be that the discussion would not be fat or no fat, carbs or no carbs, fiber or no fiber - that is simplified and reductionist language.  There are good and bad fats (saturated fats are great!), good and bad carbs (veggies, yumm), and good and bad  fiber.  However, even the good fiber is just part of the good foods we eat when we mimic a hunger gatherer diet.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you will be able to enjoy the holiday with people that you love, with a minimum of travel hassle, and some fun activities.

My advice for how to enjoy Thanksgiving eating is - chow down, chow hard, go big or go home.  Notice all the ways this impacts you.  How will you feel tonight?  How will you sleep?  How will you feel tomorrow?  How will your clothes fit?  How does the gastric napalm of Thanksgiving affect your GI business for the next couple days, and your appetite?

Hopefully, the impact will be minimal.  If not, take note!  It will help you teach the UCM what you do and don't want.

If the idea of bathing your brain, nervous system and blood vessels in a hyper-sugar fest isn't appealing, after you feast take a long, enjoyable walk to help your system burn off that extra sugar it will be struggling to manage.  If you can train hard, that's fine too, but I never want to work all that hard I fill my gut with sweet, tasty crap ... which I will!

Anthony Colpo and others like to say the equivalent of "a calorie is a calorie, so fat gain/loss is just a matter of not eating too much, and/or moving more."  They also like to say "I'm smart and you are dumb because you can't see the very clear science I see that proves this is true."

Well, I think days like today reveal how they have no clothes.  Why?  Because you can test for yourself the impact on blood sugar of eating the high sugar treats that characterize the Thanksgiving feast, and it won't be pretty.  If you test, you are likely to see hours of elevated blood sugar.  I don't think there are too many folks who would say that's not an issue for health if it becomes a long term pattern.  If you chose to, you could also test the alternative:  eat an equivalent amount of calories as moderate protein and high quality fat to see the impact on blood sugar.  I'm betting it'll be far better than in the sugar case.

In other words, the "calorie is a calorie" argument is not important for most of the folks that need to change how they eat.  What they must do is stabilize blood sugars - regain the body's natural glycemic control.  You can most easily do that via carb restriction.

There are too many blessings in my life to dig into here, but one is the chance to explore learning, teaching and helping my readers - thanks!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Low Carb Myths from Authority Nutrition

"Low-carb diets are awesome.

"The research is clear that they can reverse many common, serious diseases.
"This includes obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a few others.
"Collectively, these are the biggest health problems in the world.
"That being said, I've noticed a problem that has been growing steadily over the past few years in the low-carb community.  A lot of dogma seems to be getting accepted and many myths that are NOT supported by science have gained foothold."

***First of all, there is plenty we can know without the "supporting science", and given the state of nutrition science, that's a good thing.  I'm all for science, but there's more bad science than good at this point, so there's only so far science of health and diet can take you.  If you doubt this, find one of the science pissing contests on the web - you know where one genius references a bunch of studies that show everyone else but him/her is a bone head, and one of the bone heads fights back with their own list of studies that proves that blue is yellow.  There could not be so much to fight about if the science were conclusive.  Immature science makes us rely on expert opinion, which has been shown to be a bad strategy over the years.  Closer to humility is better in this arena, in my humble as ever opinion.  Too bad humility sells so poorly!

That said, Authority Nutrition gives us the following "myths":

1. Low-Carb is The Best Diet For Everyone

2. Carbs Are Inherently Fattening
*** I like the nuance in this one:
"Sugar and refined carbs are bad, pretty much everyone agrees on that.
But vilifying all carbs based on that is kind of like vilifying all fats because of the harmful effects of trans fats and vegetable oils.  The truth is… not all carbs are fattening. It depends completely on the context and the type of food they are in.  For carbs to be "fattening," they need to be refined and put into a package that is highly palatable and encourages overconsumption.  A great example is potatoes. On their own, they are not very exciting. They have fiber, a low energy density and you will most likely feel full pretty quickly.  On the other hand, potato chips, deep fried in corn oil, with salt and pepper and maybe even a dipping sauce… now you've got a highly fattening food that is easy to over consume.  Many populations around the world have maintained good health on a high-carb diet with real, unprocessed foods, including the Kitavans and Asian rice eaters."

3. Carrots, Fruits and Potatoes Are Unhealthy Because of The Carbs
***They can be, but aren't for folks that are healthy, and he covers this nicely below.

4. A Low-Carb Diet Should Always be Ketogenic

5. All Carbohydrates Are Sugar
"Saying that all carbs are broken down into "sugar" is true, but misleading.  Technically, the word "sugar" includes various simple sugars like glucose, fructose and galactose.  Yes, starches like grains and potatoes do get broken down into glucose in the digestive tract, which raises blood sugar levels.  To a diabetic, it is true that starches turn into "sugar" and raise the "sugars" in the blood. But to other people, who are not chemists, the word "sugar" implies the white, unhealthy granular stuff… sucrose.  Telling people that "all carbs turn into sugar" is misleading. It makes people think that there is no difference between a potato and a candy bar."
"Whereas table sugar contains half glucose, half fructose, starch is only glucose. It is the fructose portion of sugar that is the most harmful, starch (glucose) does NOT have the same effect (7, 8).
Trying to mislead people into believing that starches are equivalent to sugar/HFCS is dishonest."

***This is an interesting perspective.  I don’t think folks spend any energy trying to mislead, they just had the blinding flash of reality – when you eat “complex” carbs, fruit, whole grain bread, and/or potatoes/sweet potatoes when you are trying to get healthy from metabolic syndrome, any of these sources of carbs can be a problem.  This bit of complexity can be difficult to communicate, and it isn’t always discerned by those eager to jump on a simple message (for example, I bet 95% of the folks who think they know what the Atkins diet is don’t know that he advocated the ingestion of lots of vegetable matter, because the simple message of “eat a lot of fat and protein” is what stuck).
For some folks, eating a 150 calorie candy bar is just as good a choice as a potato, and if it came down to it, you could as easily live without potatoes as without candy bars.   It is time and place that makes candy bars or potatoes a good/bad choice.  On a day I'm about to spend hiking around a mountain, I'm going to take a candy bar and leave the potatoes for the elk heart stew.

6. It is Impossible to Gain Weight on a Low-Carb Diet
***I'd like to think this one has been put to rest - it is very hard to get fat on just fat and protein, but that's because it's hard to eat 3000+kcal/day of just fat and protein.

7. Drinking Butter and Coconut Oil is a Good Idea
***This is one of the weaker points.  Folks that like bullet proof coffee do this, and they have good reasons for doing it.  Like much of the low carb world, it's not for everyone.

8. Calories Don't Matter
***Calories matter, and they don't matter.  What matters is if you induce metabolic derangement, and/or eat a lot of industrially produced plant based foods, you can easily eat boatloads of kcals - and still be hungry!  For many people, eating low carb foods eliminates hunger, so they eat what they need now, not as much as they can.  Additionally, the track record of folks who try to induce fat loss by counting calories is poor - very few folks have any long term success with that approach.  Finally, some folks who have researched the matter say there has never been a study that demonstrated a patient who ate the exact right amount of calories as calculated by the experts, and lost the predicted amount of fat.  IOW - those who study the "calorie is a calorie" model have proved, in a backwards way, that we don't really know what the caloric content of foods, we don't know what happens to calories in different GI tracts, and we don't understand all the ways the human body "leaks" energy.  Some of those leaks have been shown to be in response to what kinds of foods are eaten - IOW, high carb low calorie diets can make the body conserve energy by reducing basal metabolic rate, and inducing feelings of lethargy.  It is true that caloric deficit has occurred when folks lose body fat, but the ability of humans to engineer their own deficits via counting calories is rarely helpful to those who have a lot of fat to lose.  I like the way Gary Taubes puts it (not an exact quote):  "Folks don't get fat because they are lazy and gluttonous, they gain fat from too many carbs and thus feel less energetic and more hungry."

9. Fiber is Mostly Irrelevant to Human Health
***It’s a small point, but I wish he hadn’t included this one.  I could skip all sources of fiber, or eat them very sparingly, and he could never show the negative impact on my health.  I’m not opposed to the kind of fiber he’s saying is “healthful”, but I vehemently reject the mainstream idea that it’s important to eat whole grains or any other agricultural product because we need fiber in our diets.  I’ve looked and looked and can find absolutely no reason to believe this is anything but a myth. 

10. If Low-Carb Cures a Disease, That Must Mean That The Carbs Caused it in The First Place

***I think this summary is spot on, and was glad to see it written like Chris did:
“Many people who are metabolically healthy can easily maintain good health eating carbs, as long as they eat real food.  However, when someone becomes insulin resistant and obese, the metabolic rules seem to change somehow.  People who have metabolic dysfunction caused by the Western diet may need to avoid all high-carb foods.  But even though removing most carbs may be necessary to reverse a disease, it does not mean that the carbs themselves caused the disease.  Healthy people who want to stay healthy will do just fine, even on a higher carb diet, as long as they stick to real, unprocessed foods.  The prevention does not have to be the same as the cure.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Type III Diabetes - ?

To reach her conclusions, de la Monte examined the brains of 45 deceased elderly Alzheimer's patients and found that among those "in the most advanced stage of Alzheimer's, insulin receptors were nearly 80 percent lower than in a normal brain." In healthy brains, insulin stimulates the enzyme that produces the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the lack of which is seen as a key marker of Alzheimer's disease. In patients with Alzheimer's, de la Monte believes, the brain gradually becomes resistant to insulin.

Previous animal brain studies by de la Monte and others have supported the hypothesis that insulin resistance may be a root cause of Alzheimer's, although many researchers believe that it will emerge as just one of several possible causes, including genetics. Most Alzheimer's patients are not diabetics and while many appear to have insulin-signaling concerns, not all do.

Like Alzheimer's, diabetes has no cure. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are already nearly 26 million diabetics in the country, a number that is growing. Many diabetics do not develop Alzheimer's, but there is measurable overlap and the rates of both diseases are rising. If fatty foods provoke insulin resistance in our brains, then, as New Scientist magazine put it in a recent cover story about the link between diabetes and Alzheimer's, "we may be unwittingly poisoning our brains every time we chow down on burgers and fries."

In the New Scientist article, SUNY-Albany neuroscientist Ewan McNay said: "The epidemic of Type 2 diabetes, if it continues on its current trajectory, is likely to be followed by an epidemic of dementia. That's going to be a huge challenge to the medical and care systems."

This one is a great example of how one wrong conjecture shapes another.

The issue is whether diabetes results from too much ingestion of sugar, or too much ingestion of fat.  For those who have bought the "too much fat is bad" conjecture, the other issues become confusing.  For example, fat in the blood (triglycerides) is a better correlate for heart disease than is cholesterol, and if you reduce carb consumption (especially sugar/fructose) triglycerides decrease significantly for almost all folks.  But fat intake is the problem, right?  But if you eat more fat, lots of fat - up to 85% of total intake - trigs plummet.  Why?  Most likely because when carb intake goes below the toxic level, the liver can stop making trigs out of sugar (especially fructose), and the body learns how to run on fat (in the presence of high sugars, the body will run on sugar).  In short, when the body is fueled with high fat, moderate protein and the right amount of carbs, the body burns fat, does not make much fat in the liver, and regains insulin sensitivity.  These factors are all measurable - so it makes me scratch my head when I read of professionals in the field who still believe that "high fat ingestion" causes diabetes via obesity.

Burgers and fries may play a role in this, but not because they include fat.  It's the bun, the potatoes, ( especially the giant helpings and free refills of Dr. Pepper and other HFCS laden colas) that crush liver function and pile on with excess blood sugar that brings fat burning to a screeching halt and eventually leaves a person with a big belly, insulin resistant, and with chronically high blood sugars (aka, with metabolic syndrome) - almost begging to get alzheimer's or CVD or cancer (which those with metabolic syndrome and diabetes get at disproportionately high rates).

The fact that you can find cultures eating high carb diets (60% carbs), and who smoke heavily (95% in males), and don't have the diseases of civilization, while you can also find populations that eat sugar and don't smoke who do have the diseases of civilization, indicates that sugar (meaning table sugar or HFCS, both of which are 50% fructose) is likely more toxic than are cigarettes.

I think of the rumored last Japanese soldier on some pacific island who was supposedly still waiting as ordered in defense of the turf for the battle with the Americans - who will be the last medical or scientific professional to believe that fat makes you fat and sick, while sugar/carbs are the innocent bystander?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pseudo Science

Can a teacher get in trouble for talking out of school?  Let's hope not.  This professor's critique is, in my humble as ever opinion, spot on.  I'm glad someone will say it from the "inside".  I recommend the full article.

The apparent self-interest that is driving research in this field is not limited to raising students to merely follow the herd. The subjective data yielded by poorly formulated nutrition studies are also the perfect vehicle to perpetuate a never-ending cycle of ambiguous findings leading to ever-more federal funding. The National Institutes of Health spent an estimated $2.2 billion on nutrition and obesity research in the 2012 fiscal year, a significant proportion of which was spent on research that used the pseudoscientific methods described above. The fact that nutrition researchers have known for decades that these techniques are invalid implies that the field has been perpetrating fraud against the US taxpayers for more than 40 years—far greater than any fraud perpetrated in the private sector (e.g., the Enron and Madoff scandals).
When anti-science rhetoric occurs at a Kansas school-board fight over creationism, we can nod our educated heads in silent amusement, but if multiple generations of nutrition researchers have been trained to ignore contrary evidence, to continue writing and receiving grants, and to keep publishing specious results, the scientific community as a whole has a major credibility issue. Perhaps more importantly, to waste finite health research resources on pseudo-quantitative methods and then attempt to base public health policy on these anecdotal “data” is not only inane, it is willfully fraudulent.  
Edward Archer is a research fellow at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. He recently coauthored a PLOS ONE article on this topic.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mental WOD

It seems I cannot repeat this type of thing enough.  What an athlete does to regain fitness/health and stay fit doesn't matter as much as that the athlete does something, with adequate consistency.  Anyone older than 12 knows that will power is over-rated.  Goal setting is cool, but over-rated.  Determination is great, essential even, but inadequate.  Fear of death or senility or feebleness also can be good but only goes so far.  What works to keep folks on track with health and fitness in a world of folks who consistently eat toxic foods is very simple, and very difficult.  What works is to enlist the assistance of the unconscious mind, as that element of our being is more powerful in our behavior than most of us are aware.

Like a dog, the UCM does not know cause and effect, and it does not see the same reality you see.  You could imagine the UCM being like one of the folks in Plato's cave - they see the shadow of the world, but don't realize that's not the world.  You would think that a person who drinks and gets a hangover would have a powerful unconscious association with pain and alcohol, but as we mostly know, that's not true - the events take place too far apart for the pain of the hangover to associate with the booze.  What the UCM associates with the booze is the pleasure of the buzz.  Thus the drinking pattern is easier to repeat than to stop for many.  The same is true with cigarettes and sugary foods.  There's a mountain of suffering that results from eating crap, but the UCM associates to the pleasure at ingestion and fights you when you try to "eat right".

The UCM is a full contact player and like a dog (or a kid) wants two things - it wants to avoid pain and enjoy pleasure.  Anything you do or can't get yourself to do, or won't do, it's likely because the UCM pain/pleasure formula tilts one way or the other.  If you want to do more of something, you have to get the UCM to associate pleasure to that behavior - and vice versa.

How come people do miserably painful workouts day in and day out?  The pleasure of the victory, or movement, or some pleasurable emotion exceeds the physical pain.  Plain and simple.

So, to get the UCM to help you win in your quest to live with vibrant health and abundant physical capacity, you have to train the UCM.  If you have ever had success training a dog or child, you know how this goes.  All bad behaviors have to become a source of annoyance and displeasure, and all good behaviors must be rewarded in ways the UCM finds palpable.  Negatives with undesired behavior and positives with desired behavior must be delivered as quickly as possible to the occurrence of the behavior.  Clear rational thought does not get through to dogs or the UCM - passion on the other hand, emotional intensity, is everything when paired with consistency.

How does this apply to changing lifelong patterns of eating?  You have to make it annoying to eat crap, like my friend who wanted to quit smoking so everywhere he liked to smoke, he couldn't smoke there.  So, he had to stop and get into the back seat to have a cigarette instead of smoking while driving.  How could you apply that principle to your favorite nasty food or drink?  Get creative, find a way that prevents you from going head to head with the UCM (losing formula in my experience to say "I'm never going to eat XYZ again").  You can eat anything you want as long as you are standing naked in the freezing cold dodging cars in the interstate?  Well, that might be taking it a bit too far, but not a bad nugget of an idea.

A really simple start is - get all the crap out of the house.  If you have to get into the car to drive to a place to get the crap, that's going to win many times when your will power will fail.

Another recommendation: find a way to celebrate every time you go to the track or finish a day or a four hour period of time of only eating the good stuff.

It doesn't matter how fast you used to be able to run - going to the track, or whatever, is a win so give yourself a celebration - the more intensity you can muster the better!

Any day that you notice any change - throw a freaking party!  A day without cravings?  Win!  A smaller waist?  Win!  A run faster than last week?  Win!  A week or a month of getting to the gym every time you planned to?  Win!  A day of eating good, nourishing food?  Win!

Can't get yourself to feel proud of what you accomplished today?  Pretend that you are, and act like you would act if you did feel that way.  Why?  Action creates emotion - correct actions can bring desired emotions, desired emotions are a reward for the UCM.

Call your friends, post on Facebook, say a prayer of thanks, give some money to a charity, give some money to yourself, call your parents, call your kids, do something with emotion to mark the success.  You are not a world class athlete using negative motivators to torture a tenth of a second off of your time in order to beat the best competition in the world.  You have a life, it is much too short for negative motivators.  Make success a process oriented game, and give yourself some credit for any success - dammit.  Self flagellation is for monks and the Shiites, you are here to enjoy your life and getting healthy is the best way to start doing that.  You are on a great quest, have fun, when you fall or fail, put it behind you and get back in the saddle.  Learn the lesson, leave the mistake behind with no regrets, unless you fail to focus on where you want to be.

The unconscious mind responds to emotion. If you give yourself an emotion you like after each workout or eating win, of sufficient intensity, the UCM will begin to think it wants you to workout, and it will help you get there. Success comes when the UCM and the CM are aligned.  Train yours with consistency, care and passion and it will serve you better than any dog.

I understand it is the British Special Air Service who say "Who Dares Wins"

PS - for further reading, consult Tony Robbins' work, or contact my performance coach, James Murphy via

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Rich Benefits of Eating Chocolate

Tough to keep things like chocolate in perspective - high quality dark chocolate can be enjoyed with minimal blood sugar disruption, but if you are not capable of eating only a small amount daily, just stay away until you are healthy, with stable blood sugar and close to desired level of body fat.

  • Science now shows that chocolate may be good for you. Five chemical compounds contained in raw, unadulterated chocolate are highlighted to show exactly what they are and how they work.
  • First, antioxidant polyphenols that neutralize free radicals provide some of the most compelling aspects of eating chocolate because they can reduce processes associated with the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer.
  • Second, chocolate contains anandamide, named after the Sanscrit word for “bliss,” which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and anxiety.
  • The caffeine and theobromine in chocolate have been shown to produce higher levels of physical energy and mental alertness while, counter-intuitively, lowering blood pressure in women.
  • Chocolate’s heart-friendly properties may be due to the presence of epicatechins, antioxidants which are found in higher concentrations in darker and raw forms.
  • Studies showed that one-and-a-half ounces of dark chocolate a day for 2 weeks reduced stress hormone levels.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Grain Brain" Author's Core Message Is Perfect

Changing minds, however, is an uphill climb. “The idea that grains are good for you seems to get so much play,” he says. “But grains are categorically not good for you,” not even whole grains.
“We like to think a whole-grain bagel and orange juice makes for the perfect breakfast,” Perlmutter continues. “But that bagel has 400 calories, almost completely carbohydrates with gluten. And the hidden source of carbs in this picture is that 12-ounce glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. It has nine full teaspoons of pure sugar, the same as a can of Coke. It’s doing a service with Vitamin C, but you’ve already gotten 72 grams of carbs.
“It’s time to relearn,” he says. “You can have vegetables at breakfast – the world won’t come to an end. You can have smoked salmon, free-range eggs with olive oil and organic goat cheese and you’re ready for the day. And you’re not having a high-carb breakfast that can cause you to bang on a vending machine at 10 a.m. because your blood sugar is plummeting and your brain isn’t working.”

Some folks don't like the good doctor's "low carb extremism", but his bent towards a VLC diet has resulted from his success helping those with diminished brain function.  I doubt you can prove that 60g/day or less is necessary for the healthy among us, but it makes perfect sense to me that carb restriction to that level protects the brain from glucose injury, including accumulation of beta amyloid and AGEs.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Potato or Sweet Potato?

The BLUF: You can eat potatoes or sweet potatoes and be healthy, IF:
1. You are not carbohydrate intolerant (IOW, you have not already lost the too much belly and have not already restored glycemic control).
2.  You are not sensitive to potatoes, which can have some neolithic agents of irritation and unhealthy for some.
As with most things, there are few absolute rules and enough subtlety to make it difficult.  That said, the blood glucose meter reveals all.  If you eat a potato with your paleo-ish meal and glucose rockets above 160, you will want to eat a half potato with that meal the next time, and test the result.

They’re both called “potatoes”.
They’re both nutritious, energy-rich tubers and ancient, honored foods whose cultivation stretches back thousands of years.
They both originated in Central and South America and have since spread throughout the world.
They both taste great and make a fine side dish.
Yet, botanically, potatoes and sweet potatoes are completely unrelated.
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are in the Solanaceae family, related to tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant along with deadly nightshade. Plants in this family produce solanine, which is poisonous. So don’t eat the leaves or stems of any plant in this group, or potatoes that have gone green. Solanum phureja is a rarer, more wild-type species of potato cultivated in South America.
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are in the Convolvulaceae family with flowering morning glory vines. Unlike potatoes, you can also eat the leaves of sweet potatoes, which are very nutritious.
Also note: sweet potatoes aren’t yams. True yams are another type of tuber (genusDioscorea).
Great info bit:
As you can see above, sweet potatoes are indeed sweeter: They have 7 times the sugar content of regular potatoes. (However, if regular potatoes are stored in cold storage, over time their starch content slowly transforms into glucose and fructose.)

This is a great read from PN, dig in.

Friday, November 15, 2013

NPR: Aging Well: Keeping Blood Sugar Low May Protect Memory

My good friend Star put this perfectly:
"It was so good then it didn't stick the landing at end of article."
"There's a growing body of evidence linking elevated blood sugar to memory problems.
"For instance, earlier this year, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that higher glucose may be a risk factor for dementia, even among people without type 2 diabetes.
So the question is, at what point does the risk of cognitive decline set in?
"Or in other words, should we be aware of creeping blood sugar, even before it gets to levels that doctors call pre-diabetes?
"Well, researchers, writing this week in the journal Neurology, have some new data that suggest that even modest increases in blood sugar among people in their 50s, 60s and 70s can have a negative influence on memory.
"The study included 141 healthy older people, all of whom had blood sugar in the normal range. All of the participants were given recall tests where they were read a list of 15 words and then asked to repeat back as many as they could remember."

At the end, the article recommends eating foods that will likely drive your blood sugar to higher levels.  

That's a good example of the cognitive dissonance in the diet/health world at present.

Another example of cognitive dissonance is the way they break diabetes into its own category.  Certainly it's true that those diagnosed with diabetes are treated differently than those who only seem like they are moving in that direction.  The underlying cause of the spectrum from elevated glucose, to metabolic syndrome, to diabetes, is the same - too much "carnage" (thanks Jimmy Moore for the term).

This podcast delivers a fantastic example of an MD who is on to the idea of how much he can help his patients by helping them get their blood sugar regulated without medications - well worth the listen for the education the doctor provides.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Is "Doubly Labelled Water"?

Water is pretty cool stuff. It keeps you hydrated, helps you flush waste materials from your body, and when combined with healthy muscle glycogen levels from a high-carbohydrate diet, makes your muscles look nice and full and vascular and all-round swole.
But the physiological usefulness of water hardly ends there.
If you take some water, partially or completely remove the hydrogen and oxygen and replace them with the elements deuterium and oxygen-18, you end up with what is known as doubly labeled water.
At this point you’re no doubt thinking, “Why on Earth would you do that to water?”
Because the use of doubly labeled water has proved itself to be a rather nifty way of measuring energy expenditure in free-living humans (and animals). And it offers a greater degree of accuracy than the aforementioned energy expenditure formulas. 

In spite of AC's deeply held belief in the significance of immature science, I think this is a helpful description of what doubly labelled water is, and what it does.

It's a powerful tool to understand the interplay between caloric intake and expenditure, and how they interact with differing macronutrient intakes and differing individuals.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Practice CrossFit: Wisdom

If the box on the corner is all nipples and nightcaps, good for them. That’s not my box and they don’t speak for me. It’s their right to do as they wish. As for me and mine, we have a website explaining who we are in length and our actions everyday to back it up.

If someone is too stupid and close-minded to see the difference in thousands of warehouses with ropes and rigs, then I was never meant to help them; fitness doesn’t cure stupid. If some deranged local believes that one box speaks for 7,000, or that an entity speaks for a person, they’re an idiot begging for a reason to stay in spin class.

No matter the pictures they’ve posted or the quotes they’ve released, I’ve been nothing but proud to be part of a community that moves forward while helping so many along the way. I’m stoked that it encourages me to do the same.

Affiliates would do well to remember that this fitness movement is a privilege we asked for, not a right we’re entitled to. That we’re in it to lift large loads quickly, to change the game not conform to its rules. We’ve always published sexy photos of men and women and we always will. And we’re only going to get better at it, because if CrossFit is anything, it’s efficient.

For the record, I love people in spin classes, too, but like the author, I doubt most of those in spin class get the impact for their time they would get if they were doing CrossFit.  However, "To each their own."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

130928 - The Outlaw Way

Well stated, Outlaw.
I have been a CrossFit affiliate owner for roughly seven years. I’m so O.G. that Greg Glassman called me the day after I affiliated, and talked to me for hours about how to run my affiliate. Google him if you don’t know the name, and if you’re a coach or affiliate owner—slap the shit out of yourself if you have to. At the time I affiliated I believe we were one of the first fifty affiliates in the world. If you do the math (which I did), we’ve had clients perform roughly 218,400 workouts since the day we opened (100 people a day, 6 days a week, for 7 years). Yes, this is a very rough estimate, but you get the point. Out of those 200,000ish workouts, we’ve had exactly ZERO cases of rhabdo. Yes, I’m currently knocking on a very large piece of wood.

His advice on how to not get rhabdo or have someone in your gym get it: 
If you’re writing workouts with no regard for rep range, or taking into account what effect high reps will have on the localized muscle groups which are targeted—it may be time to turn the programming duties for your gym over to someone who has a better understanding of strength and conditioning, like your dog.
Why, IN THE FUCK, is it necessary to write a workout with hundreds of anything? Are 400 push-ups going to help your clients reach the general fitness, and overall well-being they crave? Massive amounts of pull-ups (especially with a pronounced slowing of the negative, which is usually a result of fatigue), and push-ups, target the extensors and contractors of the arms. These extensors and contractors are tiny in comparison to the primary movers of the lower body, and due to the ability to recruit the hips (I.E. Kipping), these relatively tiny muscle groups can be pushed well beyond their fatigue threshold.
Here’s another thing you may have never thought of… Extremely high rep workouts lead to massive amounts of DOMS. When people are really sore, they don’t want to work out. Also, DOMS generally leads to diminished performance. So, again, why are these workouts necessary?
At Outlaw HQ we very rarely go over 25 reps on any movement. If we do it is generally something like Double-Unders, or Burpees (which do utilize the arm extensors, but are a full body movement, with much longer rest intervals between each “push-up” rep). Also, we have a time cap on every workout, every day. It’s always twenty minutes, and every workout stops at that point. We do this to increase overall intensity, and to make sure that people who are not ready to do massive amounts of reps, simply don’t.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: assume everyone will get rhabdo, and assume that you are going to give it to them. Why? Because they are stupid and so are you. They are stupid because they will listen to coaches who tell them to do a ridiculous amount of push-ups. You are stupid because you think 500 push-ups will make someone “fitter”.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How Did Smoothies Gain the Mantle of "Healthy"?

"Think of eating one orange or two and getting filled," he said. "Now think of drinking a smoothie with six oranges and two hours later it does not affect how much you eat. The entire literature shows that we feel full from drinking beverages like smoothies but it does not affect our overall food intake, whereas eating an orange does. So pulped-up smoothies do nothing good for us but do give us the same amount of sugar as four to six oranges or a large coke. It is deceiving."
Nine years ago the two scientists had identified sugar-sweetened soft drinks, full of calories and consumed between meals, as a major cause of soaring obesity in developed countries. But they argue that as people change their drinking habits to avoid carbonated soft drinks, the potential damage from naturally occurring fructose in fruit juices and smoothies is being overlooked.
All sugars are equal in their bad effects, says Popkin – even those described on cereal snack bars sold in health food shops as containing "completely natural" sweeteners. "The most important issue about added sugar is that everybody thinks it's cane sugar or maybe beet sugar or HFC syrup or all the other syrups but globally the cheapest thing on the market almost is fruit juice concentrate coming out of China. It has created an overwhelming supply of apple juice concentrate. It is being used everywhere and it also gets around the sugar quotas that lots of countries have."

There's not much to this article except the obvious and the irony.  The obvious is that you can dress sugar up and call it a smoothy or a Gift from God or "Pure and Natural" but it still is harmful above a certain threshold (safe intake is likely ~20g/day?).  
The irony is the industry is using George Bray's longstanding argument that a "calorie is a calorie" against him:

"Coca-Cola argues ... "We believe that rather than single out any ingredient, it is more helpful for people to look at their total energy balance. This is because obesity and weight gain are caused by an imbalance in calories consumed and burnt off. Our products should be enjoyed as part of a sensible, balanced diet and healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity.
"For those that are watching their calorie intake, we offer a wide range of low or no calorie options, which represent more than one third of our sales.""

It is obviously possible to make a healthy smoothy, but sadly many associate the term with "healthy" when instead they are getting just another sugar bomb in sheep's clothing.