Friday, May 30, 2014

Eades Quoting "Big Fat Surprise"

Meanwhile the Native Americans of the Southwest were observed between 1898 and 1905 by the physician-turned-anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička, who wrote up his observations in a 460-page report for the Smithsonian Institute. The Native Americans he visited were eating a diet predominantly of meat, mainly from buffalo, yet, as Hrdlička observed, they seemed to be spectacularly healthy and live to a ripe old age. The incidence of centenarians among these Native Americans was, according to the 1900 US Census, 224 per million men and 254 per million women, compared to only 3 and 6 per million among men and women in the white population. Although Hrdlička noted that these numbers were probably not wholly accurate, he wrote that “no error could account for the extreme disproportion of centenarians observed.” Among the elderly he met of age ninety and up, “not one of those was either much demented or helpless.”
Hrdlička was further struck by the complete absence of chronic disease among the entire Indian population he saw. “Malignant disease,” he wrote, “if they exist at all — that they do would be difficult to doubt — must be extremely rare.” He was told of ‘tumors’ and saw several cases of the fibroid variety, but never came across a clear case of any one kind of tumor, nor any cancer. Hrdlička wrote that he saw only three cases of heart disease among more than two thousand Native Americans examined, and “not one pronounced instance” of atherosclerosis. Varicose veins were rare. Nor did he observe cases of appendicitis, peritonitis, ulcer of the stomach, nor any “grave disease” of the liver. Although we cannot assume that eating meat was responsible for their good health and long life, it would be logical to conclude that a dependence on meat in no way impaired good health. [My italics]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gluten Sensitivity a Myth? Part 2

The headlines are everywhere: gluten sensitivity doesn’t actually exist, and anyone who thinks they have it is a liar, delusional, dumb, or all three. The message isn’t a new one, but the stories do point to a new study from a group of researchers who previously found that removing wheat from the diet improved symptoms in people with IBS. In the new paper, the researchers tested whether isolated gluten – rather than wheat – exacerbated IBS symptoms. It did not. The IBS patients in the latest study showed no reaction to isolated gluten, and the only dietary variable that increased their symptoms was wheat. This could suggest that at least for some people (with IBS), gluten sensitivity may actually be wheat sensitivity triggered by the fermentable FODMAP fibers found in the grain.
Folks are so eager to say “told ya so!” that they gloss over an important fact: going gluten-free still worked. Sure, I guess some IBS patients can start doing lines of isolated gluten powder or whatever, but if the FODMAP mechanism holds, they’re still not eating wheat. They’re still gluten-free, or wheat-free, or whatever you want to call it – and they’re still experiencing relief from debilitating symptoms.
For my part, the science is something that has to be done.  But if you do a 30 day wheat free period, and feel good, and then reintroduce wheat, and have symptoms - that's the best science that can be done to tell you that that it may not be a good idea to eat a food invented in the last 50 or so years (hybridized wheats with super-high density carbs and more gluten proteins than traditional wheats), and prepared unlike wheat has been prepared since it was first harvested and used by human populations.
Read on to find out Mark's summary of other serious issues related to gluten sensitivity, including diabetes, ataxia, and mental illness.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Industry Influence? Of Course

One panel on sweeteners in schools was sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association, whose members produce high fructose corn syrup.
Inside the exhibition hall, Hershey's was handing out chocolate and strawberry milk, and Butter Buds gave out fake butter crystals.
"These nutritionists and dietitians were here getting continuing education credits," says Butler. "So going to this conference and attending these sessions is something that they need to do to keep up their accreditation. These people work in all kinds of places. They work in school cafeterias, hospital cafeterias; they work in corporate settings — these are really the gatekeepers of our nutritional information."

Let the buyer - in this case of information - beware.  The soft influence is inevitable. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Gluten Sensitivity a Myth? Part 1

"So what we have here is s failure to communicate." BLUF: overly smug writer with limited understanding of the topic writes a cute story but misses the point.
"In one of the best examples of science working, a researcher who provided key evidence of (non-celiac disease) gluten sensitivity recently published follow-up papers that show the opposite."
"The first follow-up paper came out last year in the journal Gastroenterology. Here's the backstory that makes us cheer:
"The study was a follow up on a 2011 experiment in the lab of Peter Gibson at Monash University. The scientifically sound — but small — study found that gluten-containing diets can cause gastrointestinal distress in people without celiac disease, a well-known autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten.
"They called this non-celiac gluten sensitivity."
"For a follow-up paper, 37 self-identified gluten-sensitive patients were tested. According to Real Clear Science's Newton Blog, here's how the experiment went:
Subjects would be provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial. Any and all potential dietary triggers for gastrointestinal symptoms would be removed, including lactose (from milk products), certain preservatives like benzoates, propionate, sulfites, and nitrites, and fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, also known asFODMAPs. And last, but not least, nine days worth of urine and fecal matter would be collected. With this new study, Gibson wasn't messing around.
The subjects cycled through high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten (placebo) diets, without knowing which diet plan they were on at any given time. In the end, all of the treatment diets — even the placebo diet — caused pain, bloating, nausea, and gas to a similar degree. It didn't matter if the diet contained gluten. (Read more about the study.)
The somewhat snarky conclusion:
"You can go ahead and smell your bread and eat it too. Science. It works."

But did it, in this case?  A better analysis follows in 2 days, or you can cruise over to and read his response. 

In my view, the weakness of the study is much like a study that tested what diets worked best for aviator performance - high fat, high carb or high protein.  The answer - high fat.  However, the findings would have been even stronger in that case had the high fat group been allowed to adapt to high fat for three weeks.  Instead they were cycled weekly or so through the different diets.

This group (in the gluten study) were handled likewise - but many folks with gluten issues will tell you it's not just the meal that leaves them feeling bad, it's a long hangover in the gut that lasts after gluten exposure.  This could be due to permeable gut issues or other issues with wheat/gluten ingestion.  The point to me is that it takes most folks 30 days of elimination to notice the difference after removing offensive foods, and this study seems not to have allowed for that.  (Minor grammar edits 5/26/2014).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Protein Power Review of "Big Fat Surprise"

Nina Teicholz is a married mother of two living in New York City. She is an investigative journalist and food writer by trade. When she first moved to New York, she was following a low-fat, USDA Food Pyramid style diet. Her life changed when she began writing restaurant reviews. She ate whatever the chefs she was reviewing sent out, which was often “paté, beef of every cut prepared in every imaginable way, cream sauces, cream soups, foie gras – all the foods [she] had avoided [her] entire life.”
She ate an enormous amount of fatty food, and despite her worries to the contrary, her cholesterol numbers didn’t go through the roof. But best of all, she lost the ten pounds she had been struggling to shed.
Her editor at Gourmet asked her to write an article about trans fats. The article ended up getting her a book contract, and the research she did for it launched her on her Herculean task of researching and writing The Big Fat Surprise (BFS). She tells the story of how we Americans went from eating enormous amounts of saturated fat (all the while suffering virtually no heart disease) to now eating fats in restaurants that, when heated, throw off a shellac-like substance so toxic it requires workers in hazmat gear to clean up after them.

In another couple of years, no one will bat an eye at these books, as the Ship of Lowfatisbad will have completed the turn, and sugar will be the recipient of all of saturated fat's hate - except for a few true believers who love animals and thus can't get with saturated animal fats under any circumstance. It is taking a long time, but the light may be seen at the end of the tunnel.

Shout out to Gary Taubes, the first science writer/researcher to get this topic back on the scope of legitimate scientific inquiry!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kresser: Your Personal Paleo Code

This book is not new news, but it is the best book on eating for health I've yet to read.  It's not too sciency, but it's authoritative in its arguments.  It's not off the paleo deep end, but it's detailed enough to help ANYONE sort through their diet/health issues.  It is laid out very, very well, and easy to read.  Here's an excerpt I like early on:

"The inuit are a group of hunter-gatherers who live in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. They eat primarily fish, seals, whale, caribou, walrus, birds and eggs: a diet very high in fat and protein, with very few vegetables or fruits.  They live in a harsh environment that is marginal at best for human habitation yet early explorers, physicians and scientists unanimously reported that the inuit they encountered enjoyed excellent health and vitality.

"Dr. John Simpson studied the inuit in the mid-1850s. He noted that the inuit were "robust, muscular and active, inclining rather to spareness, rather than corpulence, presenting a markedly healthy appearance.  The expression of the countenance is one of habitual good humor.  The physical constitution of both sexes is strong."  This is especially remarkable considering the inhospitable environment the inuit lived in, and it's a testament to nutrient density of the animal foods that made up the majority of their diet."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to Make Doctors Irrelevant - The Daily Beast

Now she is conducting clinical trials in MS patients to prove this wasn't a fluke, and the studies are going very well. In addition, she uses a nutritional approach at the VA with her traumatic brain injury patients, as well as those in her therapeutic lifestyle clinic. She finds that all kinds of people get better—even those with difficult-to-treat conditions like Parkinson's, fibromyalgia, obesity and other autoimmune conditions. "The first thing that happens [to patients in my clinic] is they have decreased pain, better mental clarity, and more energy," Dr. Wahls said. "The women say the weight is falling off and the men say that their love lives are better." 

People who make predictions about the future are people who choose to feel certain in the face of evidence that 99+% of predictions are wrong.  I predict this is a very good picture of what medicine will become in the future.  You and I both will be better off if I'm right.

Friday, May 16, 2014

That's Kind of Cute

This is a write up that can best be described as kind of cute.  It's funny to see t-nation taking pot shots at CrossFit while still trying to acknowledge that CF's not the joke they've been saying it was for the last 7 or so years (as long as I've known about tnation).  I remember back then it seemed like someone might care about what is written in tnation.

Except for the author's cheap shots, it's not off the mark factually, but it is telling that the author's still think their readers want them to take cheap shots against CF even in an article that in some ways has articulated what is good about CF.

It's pretty simple to me.  If you don't like CrossFit, don't do CrossFit.  If you have goals that do not include increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains, don't do CrossFit.  If you are not interested in a broad, general non-specialized fitness, don't do CrossFit.  When you deviate from "paying your money and taking your chances" with your own life, and pretend to know what is best for others, you just made yourself into an idiot.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Newsflash - More Physical Capability Is Better

Low levels of physical capability (in particular weak grip strength, slow chair rise speed and poor standing balance performance) in midlife can indicate poorer chances of survival over the next 13 years, while greater time spent in light intensity physical activity each day is linked to a reduced risk of developing disability in adults with or at risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, suggest two papers published on today.

Previous systematic reviews of the literature and meta-analyses have shown that lower levels of physical capability are associated with lower survival rates in older community dwelling populations. Various explanations of these associations between physical capability and death have been postulated including the suggestion that low levels of physical capability may reflect undetected disease and ageing processes. However, there are a number of gaps in existing literature and a lack of studies which have examined these associations at younger ages.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Saturated Fat Is Your Friend

A very nicely written summary of why:
-Saturated fats were never proven to be unhealthy, and why other foods we've been substituting for sat fats may be "really" unhealthy
-Why polyunsaturated oils, recommended for years for their cholesterol lowering qualities, may be much worse for you than sat fats, especially when hydrogenated
-Why carbs are problematic as substitutes for fat in the diet, and have been a part of making us fat, sick and diabetic
-Why women in particular need to think about cholesterol levels differently than we've all been told

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

Saturday, May 3, 2014

PN on IF

This is a concise summary of various approaches to intermittent fasting, and how to do them well.  This is, in my experience, a very powerful strategy for health, glucose regulation and fat loss.