A Moronic Post with 51,653 hits and counting!

Not my post; this one here:

The Dumbest Myth In Nutrition

It contains the following little gem (yes, in bold, so you can’t fail to see it), dripping with sarcasm:

“And yet, for some reason, certain people simply cannot fathom that they are consuming more calories than they need  and are gaining fat as a result of it”

Ironically THAT’s the statement that is at the base of what is truly the “dumbest myth in nutrition”!

Of course, everyone knows the literal truth of it. The real myth in nutrition is thinking that

  1. anything at all has been explained by that statement, and
  2. if a fat person can’t become a thin person, they are to blame.

Does it tell us why a person eats more than they need when they desperately wish otherwise? Isn’t it little more than a pathetic excuse to feel justified in blaming the victim for their stupidity and moral failure while the author of those words can feel so smug and self-righteous?

So rather than the truth, it’s just the opposite. People have been misled into thinking that all they have to do is consume less and/or move more and Poof! their fat will be gone. But, in fact, for the vast majority of people, it’s actually impossible to lose that weight and keep it off without addressing the hormonal derangement that created it in the first place. Statistics are that less than 5% of dieters successfully can take it off and keep it off for more than 5 years.

Usually I can see stuff like that without going ballistic, but just yesterday I read a heartbreaking blog post by someone in the UK, who I don’t know and who I’ll never meet, but who is struggling with his weight and has bought into the lie. So this piece just pushed me right over the edge.

It’s one of the most moronic pieces I’ve come across in a long time. Not only moronic, it comes along with such a patronizing and belittling tone. It’s such a slap in the face to every fat person who’s ever tried and failed to become thin. It’s such a slap in the face to obesity researchers that are struggling to uncover the reasons why children are becoming obese at the age of 8 months.

Does the author of that piece even realize that most really fat people absolutely hate it and would do anything to change it? Anything! Like even having their jaws wired shut. Like having their stomachs surgically reduced to little bigger than the size of a thimble.

If the author had even bothered to do the slightest bit of reading, he would have discovered that there is a hormonal issue at work here that has been thrown out of whack by our western lifestyle and which goes far, far beyond a simplistic calories in / calories out formula. Shame on him for fat shaming! Stupid pieces like this only serve to confuse the issue. It ain’t that simple, folks!

How does his simple calorie formula explain infant obesity? It can’t. This child is not a singularity; it’s happening all over the world:

Obese at 8 months: the baby that already tips the scales at over 3 stone

This is not a person who is just “just eating haphazardly and paying the price for it as the author of that piece would have you believe.

Instead, I believe this. Until you can tell me why that child is obese and explain those obesity maps that I recently put up, you don’t know enough to be writing shit like that.

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One in five now take 5 medicines or more

Study finds patients risk serious side effects and drug interactions because of the number of pills they are prescribed

One in five now take 5 medicines or more:
UK Study finds patients risk serious side effects and drug interactions because of the number of pills they are prescribed

The story was about the UK, but I doubt the situation is much different on this side of the Atlantic. Five medicines is a lot, folks! Isn’t it time to re-evaluate? Anyway, that’s the gist of today’s story.

It reminded me of the study earlier this year that was headlined with the words,

Statins save fewer lives than exercising and eating sensibly, say scientists

So, I thought I would delve into it further and connect the two stories. What I found kinda surprised me, but I suppose all that says is I’m really still naive enough to trust the people I think are the good guys.

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The Obesity ‘Myth’, Addendum


Could this have anything to do with obesity?

I used to joke that English was a second language for me … my native language was really 8086 computer machine code. And I once had a significant other half-jokingly tell me, “Thank god you’ll never have to make a living based on your communication skills.”

Well, apparently, both of these jokes were not too far off the mark. I’ve had email and PM requests for clarification re yesterday’s post. Sorry if it was too confusing. Here’s some addendum to that post; please refer back to it to refresh yourself on what we’re talking about.

In the text below, the italics are questions and comments; the non-italicized material is mine.

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The Obesity “Myth”

Obesity. The controversy about it rages on. And just like global warming and the Holocaust, it has its share of deniers. …  It doesn’t exist; it is only a false category created by definition. … It may exist, but diets don’t work so there’s nothing to be done about it. … It may exist, but it’s harmless. … It exists, but not only is it harmless, it’s actually healthier. … It exists, but dieting is far more harmful than the extra pounds.

For myself, images like those above drive it home that something unprecedented has happened in those 13 years that has dramatically changed the amount of extra pounds we Americans are hauling around. And it’s continuing. That dark southern underbelly of the US hanging down between those two legs continues to get darker. The 2010 CDC map has 11 states in the south at over 30%.

Even more concerning is the ever increasing diabetes prevalence trailing just a few years behind:

I find it flabbergasting that people can be convinced that all those extra pounds are benign, much less healthy, so I decided to look into it to see if maybe I was wrong and they were right. Here’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I found. (Spoiler: it doesn’t support the obesity deniers.)

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Sugar – Could it really be killing us?


Ordinary table sugar or sucrose: half glucose and half fructose

Sugar! My sweet, most-beloved! Are you really my enemy? How could that be when I love you so much?

That sugar was killing us was the accusation made by its most widely known and harshest critic, Robert Lustig, MD, back in 2009 with his now-viral, first YouTube video. He’s continued the theme with numerous other videos, journal publications, and, relatively recently, a book and very professionally produced  YouTube mini-series. To be more precise, he’s really complaining about the “bad” half of what we commonly call sugar: i.e., fructose. But, chances are good if you’re reached this page you already know all that. And, chances are also good, whether you know it or not, that some degree of the dysfunction that many are finally agreeing can be attributed to chronic, excessive fructose intake is already present in your body.

At the time of Lustig’s initial Bitter Truth video release, his views were very alternative to say the least. It was a turning point in time and the very beginning of general public awareness that fructose might be a problem. But always there is initial resistance to a paradigm shift, and  I think for most, one lone man crying wolf is almost certain to be ignored. Especially true considering the absence of warm reception in academic circles. For example, witness the 2010 dismissal from the very well-respected Alan Aragon where he summarized with:

I disagree (as does the bulk of the research) with his myopic, militant focus on fructose avoidance. He’s missing the forest while barking up a single tree.

And so, I followed suit. While I wasn’t exactly ignoring Lustig, I didn’t see his position as anything I wanted to publicly support, much less as a call to action. The mainstream-medicine position for years has been that obesity and diabetes are simply a matter of overnutrition – as Lustig says, “gluttony and sloth.” Although Lustig’s indictment did change my thinking enough to cause me to moderate my fructose intake, especially drinks, I admit to being swayed by the pejorative language and negative reactions from the entrenched medical establishment and my obesity-as-sin viewpoint prevailed.

Well, fast forward to two weeks ago when I encountered this book:

The Fat Switch cover

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3 Ways to Reduce Body Fat Without Really Trying

Within the current context of worldwide obesity and the associated problems with diabetes, I thought a hot topic would be the 3 instances where I tried a new diet experiment and accidentally (!!) lost body fat. I’m assuming the lost pounds were mostly fat, because throughout the period, I maintained or gained strength while my skin fold thicknesses (abs, thigh, chest) dropped to new lows (3, 4, 2.5 mm).

On the first two occasions, although not intending to maintain the weight loss, the pounds never came back; apparently I had established a new set point. On the third occasion (right now), I’m actively pursuing weight gain because I want to get stronger.

Experiment 1 – Take note, low-carbers — replace fat with slow-carbs!!

The first of these was started back in January of 2013 on the 15th. I already wrote about it here, but just to summarize, the experiment was to hold protein constant while replacing fat calories with slow-carb calories. I expected to be sacrificing satiety in favor of more carbs, less fat, hoping that it would lower my “bad” cholesterol. So, to be clear, before this experiment I was actually a Gary Taubes fan and believer. My expectation — Thank you, Gary Taubes (Grrr – not!) — was that the extra carbs would:

  • make me hungrier
  • jack up my insulin
  • jack up my glucose
  • make me gain weight

But they did not!! Here’s the proof:

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Rethinking Paleo – the good, the bad and the ugly

Just the other day, I ran into this mostly great blog post by one of my favorites, Stephan Guyenet, that discussed a 2012 study supposedly comparing a Paleolithic diet with a conventional coronary care diet. In this case, I have to disagree with both the study author’s and Stephan Guyenet’s interpretation of the study.

Paleolithic diets: Should we eat like our ancestors? PHOTO BY BETHANY NAUERT

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Yet Another Journal Study that Will Obfuscate Rather than Clarify

A friend sent me a journal link to evaluate and now I have to rant! The journal article was reporting the results of a study comparing the effect on diabetic blood sugar control of a low-carb ketogenic vs a low GI diet:

My response to the study is, in a word: Grrrrr!

Q: So why would anyone, especially trans men, be interested in this study?
A: Diabetes and pre-diabetes are reaching epidemic levels of prevalence with no end in sight. Trans men especially have been observed to have a very high incidence of PCOS (58% in the first study I looked at) and PCOS predisposes one to these diseases of glucose metabolism. For those of us with a tendency for our blood sugar to get too high — whether we know it or not (!) — it behooves us to get this diet thing right because the quality of our lives down the road depends on it. Diabetes is devastating.

So, here’s the study conclusion:

The diet lower in carbohydrate led to greater improvements in glycemic control, and more frequent medication reduction/elimination than the low glycemic index diet. Lifestyle modification using low carbohydrate interventions is effective for improving and reversing type 2 diabetes.

Now that’s really outrageous in my eyes. You would presume from that conclusion that the better diet for a diabetic would be the very low carb, ketogenic diet. Well, if you made that presumption, YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Although every word of that conclusion is TECHNICALLY true, the best diet for a diabetic is really the low GI diet. And that part about reversing type 2 diabetes? Technically true but blatantly false to anyone that truly understands diabetes!!

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What Is the Best Diet for Managing Diabetes? — updated

In my previous post, What Is the Best Diet for Managing Diabetes?, I featured the 1999 Diabetes Care study that was claimed in the EASD podcast to be the most important part of the entire recommendation for managing diabetes. The study’s conclusion was:

The imperative regarding carbs in your diet is that not only must they be high in soluble fiber, but also, whatever processing was done to the food, the cellular structure must not have been disrupted.

Naturally, I was excited to give this a try. I went to Whole Foods the very next day and found some rye bread that looked be just what they were talking about: hard, dense, no fluff here:

Hard Whole Rye Bread from Whole Foods

Hard Whole Rye Bread from Whole Foods

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What Is the Best Diet for Managing Diabetes?

This is really part 2 of a “catch-up” series on what I’ve been researching and thinking about recently that started with yesterday’s, “What Do I Know Now That I Didn’t Know Then?“.

For anyone trying to manage their pre- or full- diabetes through diet and exercise, there are two points I want to make. BTW, by manage I mean keeping your blood sugar below the level at which irreversible retinopathy, neuropathy and all the other opathy’s occur as well as avoiding an early demise. So the points are:

    • Low carb vs low fat is a false dichotomy. The diet answer lies elsewhere and has been known for years and might just be an “inconvenient truth” that the food industry does not want you to know.
    • The order in which you eat the food items on your plate could just make the difference between winning and losing the battle against the opathy’s.

Here’s how I came to these conclusions …


Having good reason to believe that I wasn’t insulin resistant, but was still unable to handle glucose, I started searching pubmed to see what I could find. Almost immediately, I discovered a new (to me) diabetic category: Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA), which accounts for about 5% – 10% of diabetics. LADA is like T1 diabetes, but it develops later in life, without necessarily developing obesity and insulin resistance first. This was a really interesting discovery, since I could never understand how I could be diabetic and not have any of the lifestyle risk factors.

But although it was interesting, it wasn’t what I needed to know, ie, what’s the best diet for people with insufficient insulin production? I recalled that Plant Positive (PP) had some videos that might apply, and I knew that I could count on him to make the strongest possible case for veganism and probably for high carb. Two points stood out from the last of a number of his videos that I watched.

A Plant Positive Video

First, diabetes cannot be blamed on too many carbs or obesity. The experiment that proves it? Two lean men ate nothing but meat for a year. At the end of the year, one of the men had sugar in his urine, and so, would be diagnosed as diabetic. So, he certainly didn’t overdo the carbs and although the journal article doesn’t say whether or not he became obese, it seems doubtful that a) he would become obese on a meat only diet and b) he would do so and it wouldn’t be reported. And the clincher was, after he returned to his normal diet, his glucose metabolism also returned to normal.

Here’s a screen shot from the journal article showing the 2 glucose tolerance tests (OGTT), one (upper, solid line) at the end of the year-long meat-fest and the other after he adjusted back to a more normal diet:

OGTT in meat only experiment

The disturbing part for me in seeing this was how similar that solid upper line is to my OGTTs (see part 1). The magnitude of the numbers is the same as mine. Does this means I probably have sugar in my urine too? But the good news is, maybe mine is just as reversible as the study subject’s was. The baffling part for me in this was I wasn’t eating an all meat diet; I was trying to increase the carb content of my diet from about 30% to 50%. It makes no sense.

The second point that grabbed me was that PP was in agreement with Evelyn aka CarbSane that free fatty acids (FFA) might contribute or even be responsible for insulin resistance. From PP’s video:

Back in 1963, low-carb diets were investigated for their effects on free fatty acids and blood glucose. These researchers studied normal people as well as diabetics.

In the normal people, insulin, free fatty acids, and glucose all soared after carbohydrate restriction. These researchers saw a parallel between carbohydrate restriction and diabetes.

Insulin and blood glucose returned to normal after their diets added back carbs.

So, the good news is that, at least in this 5-day instance, low-carb diet induced glucose metabolism dysfunction was reversible, as was the case for the year long meat diet. The bad news is the problem with a low carb diet is even worse than PP reported, at least in my eyes. I went to the original journal article and found that the researchers reported that after 5 days on a 50g / day low-carb diet, gluco-normal men’s fasting FFAs had more than doubled, so as to be well into the range of diabetic fasting FFA. With a good possibility that these elevated FFAs are indeed toxic to beta-cells, I’m really glad I never went for the very low version of low-carb.

A Portugeuse LADA Study

OK, so I get from this that for gluco-normal people and people with insulin resistance, carb restriction might be a really bad idea.  But what about people who aren’t normal or insulin resistant, ie type I or  type 1.5 diabetics (as LADA is sometimes called)? Is carbohydrate restriction beneficial or detrimental? According to this, using insulin to reduce demand on beta cell function has a preservative effect on the beta cells:

The use of insulin reduces the activity of beta-cells, antigen expression and decreases the autoimmune process, with consequent reduction of cell destruction 

By early insulinization of diabetic patients over 35 years and GADA> 20 U / ml, we observed that there was, during the follow-up of 48 months, significant changes in C-peptide levels, indicating preservation of beta-cell function

So why wouldn’t the reduced demand on beta cell function achieved by a lower carb diet work equally well?

Well, one answer might be that the carb calories have to be replaced with something. If they are replaced in part by protein, per gram, protein evokes an even greater insulin response from the beta cell than do carbs. So it is clear that if any benefit is to be realized, fat, not protein must be substituted for the fewer carb calories. But, we’ve learned that the fatty meal is going to elevate free fatty acids levels which will lead to beta cell loss just as much as elevated serum glucose will. It’s looking like that rock and hard place all over again.

Beans, beans, the magical fruit!

I was feeling very discouraged until I found this. It’s a podcast presentation from the 2013 EASD Annual Meeting in Barcelona. The EASD is the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. The talk, delivered by Prof. Jim I Mann who, BTW, actually did some of the landmark studies he discusses, totally clears up certain dietary confusions — confusions which may have been intentionally created by the food industry. Back in the day, the question for diabetes, it seems, was never about low carb vs high carb; it was about low carb vs high soluble fiber. That question was totally answered back in 1981 with a study by Simpson et al published in the Lancet. The results speak for themselves:

Simpson et al

HL = high leguminous fiber diet, LC = low carb

HL vs LC, 24 hour BG

Low carb (solid line above) vs high legume, 24 hour BG

But, if numbers and charts make your head spin, I will explain. The top slide shows the bean diet (HL) reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) by about 20% down to just about 100 mg/DL (in US numbers). The slide on the bottom shows the utter superiority of the bean diet for 24-hour glucose control.

These results have been replicated time and again, in studies all over the world, in all kinds of permutations and combinations, and with type I, type II, pre, whatever diabetics. The high soluble fiber diet wins hands down in every measure of diabetic and serum lipid control, as well as achieving a 44% reduction in CHD and overall mortality for type I diabetics in this 2012 study (see “Tertiles of Sol fibre” on the right):

T1DM mortality, HL vs SFA


“Whole Food” concept re-examined

The rest of the podcast presentation clears up a confusion regarding the fact that all high carb diets are not created equal when it comes to BG control. The imperative regarding carbs in your diet is that not only must they be high in soluble fiber, but also, whatever processing was done to the food, the cellular structure must not have been disrupted. So for instance, even if your bread claims to be organic, non-GMO, whole grain and stone ground, if it’s not hard and dense enough to serve as a ship’s anchor, you shouldn’t be eating it.

Here’s the study that he described as being the most important of all, comparing the effect on BG throughout the day of 2 diets with the same amounts of carb and fiber. The difference was the cellular structure of carbs in the diet corresponding to the triangles (lower line) had been left intact, whereas for that of the other diet – because the beans, whole grains, etc,  had been ground up – it was destroyed.

Triangles (lower) = minimally processed carbs

Triangles (lower) = minimally processed carbs

Lipid levels were similarly improved, although I haven’t reproduced the slide here.

As an aside from the EASD podcast, here is a widely cited 2012 paper that I had read quite a while ago that supports this concept of “whole foods”. But it is whole foods not in the sense that nothing has been removed, but that the food has been left whole, ie, intact. The paper  examines the effect of eating foods whose cellular structure is no longer intact: Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity and a very interesting chart from that paper. Even if you don’t want to read the whole paper, the chart will definitely give you something to think about.

Dietary Recommendation Summary

The concluding dietary recommendations for diabetics from the podcast is that we aim for low GI, but that this leaves too much wiggle room for people to, perhaps willfully, misinterpret. How is a net low GI meal achieved? To be more specific:

  • Carb intake can be 40% – 60% of calories, as tolerated by your glucose metabolism.
  • Simple sugars can be up to 50 grams/day as tolerated by your glucose metabolism.
  • Fiber intake should be at least 40 grams/day, aiming for mostly soluble fiber.
  • Fiber must not be ground up, extracted or synthesized in the lab.
  • Fiber should not be listed as an ingredient.
  • Cellular structure must remain intact, thus eliminating most whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Carbs from legumes, pulses and “genuine” whole grains are best.
  • Avoid starchy vegetables, cereals and grains, such as rice, potatoes, most breads.


Meal item order makes a huge difference – original research

I was very excited by all this information. I had done my diet experiment all wrong. I thought the higher carb part gave me license to eat all the stuff I had been avoiding while I was eating low carb, as long as I didn’t put in any added sugar. I wanted to give it another try, this time building around beans, raising my carb intake very gradually and as a final twist, I came up with the idea that, wherever possible, I would try eating my beans (or other carbs) after I ate the protein and fat portion of the meal.

It had taken me 11 days to find that podcast. The morning of April 12, for breakfast (breakfast is always the most problematic meal) I replaced my (fluffy) 100% organic sprouted whole grain bread with beans that were eaten last . The result? I was absolutely blown away by how low my 50 min BG was (114)! I didn’t really trust it, so I repeated the exact same meal for the next 3 days with BGs of 102, 104, 103.

Long story short, it finally occurred to me that the order in which I ate the food items in the meal might actually making the biggest contribution to those low numbers. I started switching the order every other day on the same breakfast. The meal is about 31-17-21 (%P – %F – %C). Here’s my result for a month:

50 min PPs

So, again, if charts make your eyes lose focus and glaze over, I will explain. All those bars represent days for which I had the (almost) exact same breakfast and got a valid glucometer reading within a few minutes of 50 from the start of my breakfast. The blue bars represent my readings on the days that I ate my beans first and then followed them with a salmon patty and avocado. The average BG reading for the blue days is 147. On the red bar days, I ate my salmon and avocado first. The average for those days is 112.

Why is this significant? Because right around 140-150 mg/dl is where irreversible opathy damage starts to occur. Yes, I know that Evelyn (aka CarbSane) thinks Jenny (Blood Sugar 101) pulled this number out of her you-know-where, but surely some of the many studies mentioned here have merit. And right around 110? That’s where a gluco-normal person’s blood sugar would be.

BTW, I haven’t seen this result mentioned anywhere and was wondering if it could be replicated. I was sorta hoping I could get one of my diabetic or pre-diabetic readers to try a similar experiment with meal item order and report back.

Meanwhile, next in this series, I’ll be sharing some very interesting journal article finds.

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