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Posts tagged ‘Carbs’

The Big Fat Missing Chapter

Condtradictions of the lipid hypothesis in The 4-Hour Body

Great read for more info on this topic

Great read for more info on this topic



In the book that states “Everything Popular is Wrong” you would think there would some strong points against the conventional thoughts on fat (specifically saturated fat) and the lipid hypothesis.  What the heck is the lipid hypothesis?  Here is a good summary from wikipedia:

The lipid hypothesis was one of two hypotheses (the other being the chronic endothelial injury hypothesis) developed in the 1850s to explain the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. It proposes a connection between plasma cholesterol level and the development of coronary heart disease.

Note: The connection between dietary cholesterol and serum (blood) cholesterol is also strongly related to this hypothesis, but is a separate and distinct hypothesis.

The science that was used to ‘prove’ the lipid hypothesis has been proven to be faulty[1][2][3].  Rabbits were fed cholesterol from animal products, which, is not part of a normal diet for rabbits.  The results were not the same using dogs and rats.  There also is many studys that show low cholesterol is actually associated to a higher overall morbidity rate [4].  And that most people admitted to hospital for heart attacks don’t have high cholesterol [5].  The immediate assumption from doctors is then, ‘…  the current guidelines may not be low enough …’ which to me is illogical and short sighted. Not only is cholesterol show to be not a good marker but calculating the so called bad (LDL) cholesterol is a estimated calculation not a measured test [6].  It is also important to understand what cholesterol is, what it is used for, and why it is a ‘good’ thing to have in the right context.

It is an essential structural component of mammalian cell membranes and is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity. In addition, cholesterol is an important component for the manufacture of bile acidssteroid hormones, and vitamin D.

Why is the lipid hypothesis still thought to be true in North America?  Well 1) Politicians with no scientific background wrote dietary guidelines based off Ancel Keys bad science in 1977[7] 2)Pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money selling cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) that work in the sense they lower your cholesterol, but don’t work because lowering cholesterol does not solve the actual cause of poor health.

The hypothesis that has more logic and science being the chronic endothelial injury hypothesis.  The idea is that inflammation is the primary cause of CHD and cholesterol (LDL) oxidation occurs after there is inflammation, as a defence mechanism.  The research points to this as a more correct answer to the cause and effect of CHD.  A good talk on this topic was given by Chris Masterjohn at the Ancestral Health Symposium

Tim addresses the lipid hypothesis in his book, but this is hidden at the end of the chapter “Sex machine I: Adventures in Tripling Testosterone”

But isn’t cholesterol bad for you?

This belief is based on the Lipid Hypothesis of cardiac health (cholesterol = bad), which I disagree with based on the sum of total available evidence.  Between 2006 and 2009, I had obsessed over lower my total cholesterol.  The outcome?  Lower testosterone and fatigue.

I’ll take my egg yolks, thank you very much.[8]

It is great that Tim addresses cholesterol and the Lipid Hypothesis, but I think he could have done a better job.  I think this should have been addressed in the Subtracting Fat chapter with a complete page.  Cholesterol is big deal these day with all the marketing companies put into the “Heart Healthy” scam and the money they pay to the American Heart Association.  And also the whole ‘low fat’ myth that is highly associated to the Lipid Hypothesis.  Tim provides a page of science for other issues but this one is simplified to “… I disagree with… ”  That and the fact he seems to contradict himself a big.  Early in the book the chapter  “Rules That Change The Rules” he states:

I had gained 34 pounds of muscle, lost 4 pound of fat, and decreased my total cholesterol from 222 to 147, all in 28 days, without the use of any anabolics or statins like Lipitor.[9]

Then later in “Slow Carb Diet Part I” chapter.

Egg whites with 1-2 whole eggs for flavour (or, if organic 4-5 whole eggs, including yolks)[11]

And then again in that chapter

Scrambled Eggology® pourable egg whites with one whole egg[10]

Also in this chapter Tim measures his cholesterol with the “fructose experiment” at the end of the chapter.  In it he states that after 7 days of 14 oz of pulp free orange juice upon waking and before bed his total cholesterol went from 203 to 243 and his LDL went from 127 to 165[11] (which we now know is just a calculation using total cholesterol).

These have me confused and seem like contradictions to me.  My first guess is that they were written at different time periods and the stats about lower cholesterol were during 2006 to 2009 when he was “obsessed with lowering his cholesterol”.  It would have been nice if he mentioned that some where though.

In regards to differentiating between organic egg yolks and commercially farmed eggs.  I must agree that the yolk of commercial egg vs an organic (or omega 3) egg is completely different in look and nutrition.  The organic version most likely being much more nutritionally dense.  I was unable to find any numbers or nutritional comparison of the two.  In my opinion there is nothing that bad in the yolk of a commercially produced egg and no reason to avoid it.  As Tim also says, “pay the six pack tax” and get better quality eggs.

The lipid hypothesis also seems to be closely related to many of the vegetarian arguments and reasons for people to think animal fat is bad.  Stay tuned for next weeks post, which will most likely be on veganism and vegetarianism, and check out this talk from the Ancestral Health Symposium by Denis Minger “How to Win an Argument With a Vegetarian

References

  1. Anitschkow NN, Chatalov S (1913). “Über experimentelle Cholesterinsteatose und ihre Bedeutung für die Entstehung einiger pathologischer Prozesse”. Zentralbl Allg Pathol 24: 1–9.
  2. Anitschkow NN (1913). “Über die Veränderungen der Kaninchenaorta bei experimenteller Cholesterinsteatose”. Beitr Pathol Anat 56: 379–404.
  3. Duff GL, McMillian GC (1951). “Pathology of atherosclerosis”. Am J Med 11 (1): 92–108.doi:10.1016/0002-9343(51)90011-3PMID 14837929.
  4. Jacobs, D (1992). Report of the Conference on Low Blood Cholesterol: Mortality Associations American Heart Association
  5. Champeau, Rachel (2009). “Most heart attack patients’ cholesterol levels did not indicate cardiac risk” UCLA Newsroom
  6. Guyenet, Stephan (2009). “When Friedewald Attacks”
  7. Enright, Louisa (2010).  “Mainely Tipping Points 13: The Failure of the Low-Fat, High-Carbohydrate American Diet”
  8. Ferriss, Tim (2010).  “The 4-Hour Body” pg 264
  9. Ferriss, Tim (2010).  “The 4-Hour Body” pg 35
  10. Ferriss, Tim (2010).  “The 4-Hour Body” pg 90
  11. Ferriss, Tim (2010).  “The 4-Hour Body” pg 89

Review: The Truth About Six Pack Abs

Update: There is a trial offer for $5 which makes this very affordable ebook.  You will be billed the remainder in 21 days but you do get a lot of good info.

Previously I have done reviews for a couple other books related to The 4-Hour Body, Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, and The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.  Robb and Gary also had had guest posts on Tim’s 4HWW Blog.  From the 4HWW blog I have recently learned about a new diet and fitness book, but this book is not a “real” book it is an ebook called “The Truth About Six Pack Abs”

The author Mike Geary is just personal trainer, but he does have many years of real experience helping people.  I was hoping for a really simple easy to follow program that laid everything out for you, but after reading the whole book it is much more than that.

The book reads like a really long blog post, it is pretty informal.  I am not sure if I like or dislike that but it is pretty easy to read.  It would be tough to read the whole thing at once it is 152 pages long.  It is broken down into sections, so that is how I will review it, but there is no table of contents which is kinda odd to me.

Preface

In the preface he tries to answer some common questions and get them taken care of right away.  He states his methods are unconventional (similar to Tim and the 4HB), but to trust him that they work which he proves by using the thousands of people that he has helped.  He also emphasizes the book is meant to be read start to finish, unlike the “Choose your own adventure” that The 4HB is.  For any women reading it he acknowledges there is little difference between the program for men vs women.  The program is made for people with or without a gym.  There are some ads for adjustable dumbbells and stability balls for people that want to workout at home and do more than just bodyweight exercises.

1.0 The Intro

Not much covered here, just some basic stats and some other generic info.

2.0 RELATIVE LEANNESS OR BODY FAT % 

He discuss that ab exercises won’t get you a six pack unless you have a low body fat percentage.  No news here for us that read The 4HB.

3.0 THE STARTING POINT 

Here he gets into some motivation.  This is probably the most overlooked part of any diet and fitness book.  You could make the assumption that because people already bought the book they are some what motivated.  But staying motivated, that is that hard part.  I think he has done a good job here, but it is hard to rival the motivation that Tim provides in the 4HB and The 4HWW.

4.0 DIET 

Here he continues to discuss how much more important diet is than exercise.  We already know that to be the case.  One thing that is missing is how important sleep is, he hides that at the end under “Additional Tips”

4.1 Carbs, and GI of Foods 

This section is an obvious overlap with the Slow Carb diet from the 4HB.  He does a really good job of explaining the good and bad of insulin, carbs et al.  I really like how he emphasizes how bad grains are, and he even mentions “Paleo”.

4.2 Fad Diets 

I really like this section and how he emphasizes food quality and not macronutrient break down.  That being said, some people may have faster results if they keep their carbs down initially, but we know long term that food quality is much more important.

4.3 Fats 

Another good section full of things that took me a many months of books, websites and podcasts to learn.  The importance of dietary fat, and what is good and bad fat.  He includes some links to US Wellness Meats, which I have not yet purchase from but will soon.  There are some discussion of omega-3 and omega-6 ratio.  He seems to prefer krill oil, but I still like the more natural fermented cod liver oil.

4.4 Balanced Healthy Eating 

Just more discussion on eating REAL food.

4.5 Infrequent Overfeeding 

This is an interesting way of describing a cheat day or a refeed.  He discuss leptin and starvation mode.  Not sure on his science here but a re-feed is an important concept.  I always suggest keeping cheat days gluten free.

4.6 Meal Frequency

This part, unfortunately, he is just flat wrong.  This has been proven multiple times in clinical trials, as well as by many people that follow Martin Berkhan’s protocol on http://leangains.com.

4.7 Two Hidden Evils in our Food Supply 

Some interesting discussion on high fructose corn syrup and trans fat.  Nothing new really but still very important information.

4.8 Calcium 

This is an investing topic that is new to me.  I have not read much on the relationship between calcium and body fat.  I am not sure if this is just a correlation thing or if there is any biochemistry that supports this.  I do like that he emphasizes raw milk and its benefits, unfortunately I live in Canada where it is outlawed.  I do wish that he emphasized other sources of calcium more instead of just a small note at the end.  He also misses some important things like absorption and vitamin D, as well as acid base balance and how it affects calcium.

4.9 Tea

No secret here for us 4HB folk and those of use that have had great success with PAGG.

4.10 Another Metabolism Boosting Food 

This one was new to me, and I am going to purposely leave this out of my review, don’t want to give all his secrets away.

4.11 Estrogenic Compound

Our good friend soy.  And to think that I used to believe the BS that soy was good for you.  Another great chapter that reveals some seriously wrong myths in today’s health food industry.

4.12 Summary

This is a good summary of what to do if you want to skip all the why, but I recommend agains that.

4.13 Healthy Balanced Meal Plan Ideas/Examples 

Here is a pretty big list of meal ideas with full macronutrient breakdowns.  Really useful and makes it really easy.

5.0 ABDOMINAL DEVELOPMENT 

I am not going to discuss each section of this topic, as I agree with Mike that exercises, especially ab exercises, are pretty useless.  He starts with some anatomy which is good.  Then describes the optimal position to be in, some over lap here with The 4HB six minute ab chapter.  Then he recommends some exercises and has some pictures of him doing them, with detail explanations of how to perform them.  Next he lays out a full program at different difficulty levels.

6.0 – 11 Exercise

Again I am grouping a bunch of sections together, because we know that exercise is not as important.  Mike begins by discussing Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which is better know to us as Basal Metabolic Rate.   More lean mass the higher your RMR.  He discusses the differences between isolation exercises and multi-joint movements.  One thing that he does mention, but does not discuss is testosterone and the endocrinology involved in full body exercises.  He has a good discussion on rest and training frequency.  Although he suggests 45-60 minute workouts which use 4HB people know is not necessary.  There is a long discussion on cardio and HIIT, and I am a big fan of HIIT.

12.0 ADDITIONAL TIPS 

These tips are all very good, so good that I would have give them more emphasis.  I have discussed previously  how big of an impact cortisol can have on fat loss, and I think for some people this is the single biggest factor.

13.0 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Here he lists the same content from the entire book into a question and answer form.

My Thoughts

From what I have learned getting to single digit body fat, I have no doubts that if you follow Mike’s guide you will be able to have a size pack.  I was surprised at the amount of good science that he has in his ebook that contradicts conventional health and fitness (although there are a couple minor things missing and wrong).  Although it is not the same type of book as The 4-Hour Body, I think that its format makes it much easier to follow, and is easy to adapt to each fitness level.  I do recommend it but I do think the price is pretty steep, unless you choose the $5 trial offer.

If I were to write a book like this I would:

  • Include references for the “sciencey” stuff
  • Include more strategies for motivation
  • Recommend methods for tracking progress
  • Have a plan for transitioning to lower carbs
  • Not recommend counting calories
  • Emphasize sleep and cortisol control
  • Have a workout program that is only HIIT circuits that are 15-30 minutes
  • Include some mobility workouts to help with more general fitness

If you have read “The Truth About Six Pack Abs” what did you think?  Did you have success following it?

Mike also has a lot of good free info on his blog take a look at some of these articles.

The TRUTH About Egg Yokes

1 Trick to flatten your stomach while driving   (Similar to Cat Vommit Exercise)

Are you buying “toxic fish” at the grocery store?

 

7 “fatty” foods for a flat stomach

 

 

 

Does Obesity Have a Single Cause?

Could multiple hypothesis all be right?

I recently starting listening to another podcast hosted by Sean Croxton which you can find here http://undergroundwellness.com/.  His podcast is usually guest interviews and on this episode he was interviewing Russell Farris, author of The Pot Belly Syndrome.  Russell has an interesting hypothesis on obesity that stress (and the hormonal response from it) is the cause of obesity.  That got me to thinking, Gary Taubes and the Low Carb community blame carbs and insulin, Stephan Guyenet and few others blame reward and leptin.  Who is wrong and who is right?  What if none of them are wrong and all three of the are right?

I will admit that my knowledge of endocrinology is very limited, but it does not take much to realize that our hormones feedback loops have many entry points which could be a cause.  Determine what is cause and what is affect in our endocrine system seems to be very difficult.

Studies have been done which show the effect sleep has on leptin “Leptin Levels Are Dependent on Sleep Duration: Relationships with Sympathovagal Balance, Carbohydrate Regulation, Cortisol, and Thyrotropin” A couple interesting points from this study:

  • Mean levels, maximal levels, and rhythm amplitude of leptin were decreased (−19%, −26%, and −20%, respectively) during sleep restriction compared with sleep extension.
  • In conclusion, sleep modulates a major component of the neuroendocrine control of appetite.

Another study titled “Evidence for a novel peripheral action of leptin as a metabolic signal to the adrenal gland: leptin inhibits cortisol release directly.”  This test was done on mice which were injected with leptin.  Their conclusion was:

These data clearly demonstrate that leptin inhibits cortisol production in adrenocortical cells and therefore appears to be a metabolic signal that directly acts on the adrenal gland.

So cortisol affects leptin, but leptin also affects cortisol?

My hypothesis, they are all right.  This is why I think some people can go on a low carb/insulin controlling diet and not have success, while others can.  You can just isolate controlling and fixing one hormone when they are all so closely related.  You need to address all of them.

Although these people disagree on some thing there are a few things they all seem to agree on.  First that altering body composition by controlling energy input and output (calorie counting) is not required or as effective as controlling the endocrine system.  Also that eating industrial processed foods is not a good thing.

From reading and listening to Stephan Guyenet I have learned a lot about leptin.  From reading and listening to Gary Tabues I have learned a lot about insulin.  From reading and listening the TS Wiley and Russell Farris I have learned a lot about cortisol.  Putting all these together I have the following recommendations.

  1. Cortisol:
    Get good quality and quantity of sleep.
    Especially in the winter months.
    Try to get to bed at least 2 hours after dark.
    Keep lights dim and below eye level after dark if possible.
    Avoid flashing lights like TVs and computers after dark.
    Sleep in a pitch black room.
  2. Insulin:
    If you have a lot of fat to lose keep carbs and exercise low.  If you are exercising keep carbs in line with your performance needs.
    Use high quality carbs like veggies and fruit.
    Eat lots of fat and get your body adjusted to using fat for fuel, and will keep you satiated.
  3. Leptin:
    Keep food bland.
    Avoid all industrially processed/engineered food that is highly rewarding
    Avoid processed sweeteners, both natural and artificial.
    Avoid liquid calories.
    Try to eat food as a single ingredient and cook food gently

References

A great post from The Whole9 http://whole9life.com/2011/10/theres-more-to-the-story-a-leptin-primer/

Stephan Guyenet’s Blog http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/06/food-reward-dominant-factor-in-obesity_28.html

Stephan Guyenet Interview: http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-10

Gary Tuabes’ Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Gary Taubes’ Books: http://amzn.com/1400033462?tag=myfohobodi-20 http://amzn.com/0307272702?tag=myfohobodi-20

Gary Taubes’ Interviews: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2010/03/18/good-calories-bad-calories-with-gary-taubes http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/2403/the-return-of-gary-taubes-episode-401/ http://robbwolf.com/2011/05/03/the-paleo-solution-episode-78/

TS Wiley’s Book: http://amzn.com/0671038680?tag=myfohobodi-20

TS Wiley’s Interview: http://undergroundwellness.com/tag/ts-wiley/

Russell Farris’ Site: http://www.potbellysyndrome.com/

Russell Farris’ Book: http://amzn.com/159120058X?tag=myfohobodi-20

Russell Farris’ Interview: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2011/07/29/the-potbelly-syndrome-with-russell-farris

The Real Diet Hack From The 4-Hour Body That You Haven’t Read

Boost Your Fat Loss By Reading The Bonus Chapter

Shortly after the book came out Tim released some material that did not make the final cut here.  One of the bonus chapters was a guest chapter written by Seth Roberts, author of The Shangri-La Diet: No Hunger, Eat Anything, Weight-Loss Plan.  The chapter is title An Alternative to Dieting: The Bodyfat Set Point and Tricking the Hypothalamus.

After the first time I read it I did not try it right away.  Then I started reading Stephan Guyenet’s blog and his hypothesis on obesity is based solely on leptin … what !?!  So I figured I would give it a try.  I had kinda stalled out around 12% body fat and was happy with that but still wanted to cut down, so I did a teaspoon of olive oil in the morning and whenever else I remembered to, which was usually 1-2 times a day.  I didn’t not follow the exact method of having it between ever meal.

Then the whole Gary Tabues VS Stephan Guyenet fight at the Ancestra Health Symposium happened.  I had already listened to the audio book for Taubes book Why We Get Fat so I started reading all the stuff on leptin that I could to see what Guyenet has to say and I re-read the bonus chapter to see how Roberts’ stuff relates to Guyenet’s.

So from my n=1 experiment what was the conclusion?  It works, actually it works so well it is kinda scary.  I am never hungry, I never get hunger pangs … never.  I have to remind myself to eat when lunch time rolls around.  I rarely snack on almonds but more out of boredom than anything.  Actually boredom (or working on something that I didn’t want to be working on) was when I would get most of my cravings, that has totally changed now.

And what about my body fat?  Well you can see from my last photos how much more I have leaned out, and I have stayed the same weight or gained about a pound.

What does this mean?  I think there is some merit to the flavor energy (calorie) connection and how that controls appetite.  How that controls body fat I still don’t quite get.  Do I think it is the cause for our energy imbalance (excess fat), not completely, insulin still plays a large role in that.  Is it the cause of us over eating, binge eating, having cravings?  Yes I am pretty sure that it is for most people.  I also think this explains a few things about “diets” in general and diets that are more bland may be more successful at fat loss.  It also explains a lot about artificial sweeteners and the high flavour with zero calories will really confuse our Endocrine glands.

If anyone has tried this please let me know in the comments.  If anyone is trying to get through a plateau I highly recommend giving this a try.

Why I Don’t Do Cheat Days

I knew many people would not like this post, but I do want to stress that cheat days can be good and even necessary for some people. I choose not to do them because a) I want to be single digit body fat and b) I feel much better without them. I am NOT saying that you should not do them, what I am saying is that they are not required, and it could be beneficial not do to them.

I “Cheat” Everyday and Feel Better With Even Less Body Fat

Cheat days seem to be the most beloved topic of people starting out on the Slow-Carb diet as prescribed by Tim Ferriss in the 4 Hour Body.  People seem to live for their cheat day talking about it all week and rejoicing when it comes.  A I talked about before this was never really an issue for me.  My initial thoughts were that if I keep thinking about cheat day then I will never break the physiological hold that sugar has on me.  None the less I continued to do cheat days on Saturdays, sometimes starting early on Friday night.

I often speak to one even that seemed to be my “harajuku moment” of cheat day.  I  had 2 birthday parties to go to in one day, one at lunch one a diner.  I gorged myself on deep fried food at the first party, then ate a ton of desert at the second party.  The next day was not a pleasant one, I will spare you all the details.  Since then I have not had a full cheat day, I have also cut back and had very little gluten products.  This was huge for me as I leaned out very quickly after that.

So I did not stop cheating completely in regards to what is “allowed” on the slow carb diet.  I have fruit regularly, when I first started I cut back on it drastically and only had a little, then after I stopped cheat days I stated being more free with it, once I got on the Paleo band wagon and listened to Robb Wolf’s podcast and started lifting heavy I used it for pre/post workout energy and restoring glycogen.

I also eat way too much dark chocolate.  It is a regular nightly occurrence for me and my wife to have dark chocolate fondue with fruit, usually bananas and strawberries.  I also snack on it sometimes at work.  Recently I have dialled it back and eat it much less in an effort to get to single digit body fat.

How I Deal With Social Situations

This is probably the hardest part of eating healthy.  The peer pressure to eat cake, friends that don’t care about their diet and are fat and out of shape make fun of me for eating healthy.  And free food, who can say no to free food?  I remember it very clearly the first time I said no to free donuts at work, it was fulfilling, I felt like I accomplished something.  After that point saying no to food got easier and easier.  I rarely give in to social pressure these days.  I will have very small piece of cake every once in a while, or maybe a small scoop of ice cream.  If people pressure me too much I just tell them I am allergic to gluten and it is as easy as that.  Is it a lie? not really because gluten does make me sick.

Maintenece Mode

People on 4hbtalk.com often talk about foods to add after they reach their goal, increasing sweets or adding an extra cheat day.  I am have been a bit over critical towards these people but here is my point.  That is not the point of the diet, that does not make it sustainable and you will probably put the weight back on and you will probably be unhealthy too.  Refined grains and refined sugar have been compared to tobacco or alcohol, they are addictive physically and mentally.  I think people need to start thinking of them this way in order to realize how detrimental they can be.  An alcoholic can’t have a drink for a reason, it has a domino affect.  Just like Tim talks about domino foods like almonds, refined sugar and flour are 10 times worse than almonds.

My Suggestions

Hopefully you don’t see me as being one of the over zealous, dogmatic Paleo types.  I do think that everyone is different and there is no one perfect diet.  I am pretty adamant about refined sugar and refined flour, I really don’t think there is anything positive about them.  I suggest trying breaking the physiological control of sugar, slowly.  If you need cheat days to do then thats is fine.  I just don’t see the point of lowering your sugar intake until you reach a certain weight and then start increasing it.  If you have cravings for sugar that is normal, small amount of fruit should not be an issue as long as you work on lowering the quantity.  If you are trying to get really lean and in the last mile stage then you will need to avoid fruit.  If you need a cheat day, I highly suggest keeping it gluten free as well.

See a good article on cheat day/meals by Vince Delmonte here.

What is your take on cheat days? Do you need it? Like it? Hate it? Leave a comment and let me know