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Ketogenic diet as a way to lighten pack?
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Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re Atkins on 11/25/2011 20:55:13 MST Print View

Just a few comments.

-not everyone has the same number of red and white fibers.

-red fibres have very little propensity for maximum contraction and therefore strength.

-strength and power are not the same thing and must be for differently.

-white fibres are used for shorter bursts of energy but that is a maximum effort. Having very strong white fibres increases endurance in a way that can be analogous to a large motor v.s. a small motor in the same sized car. A larger motor does not have to work nearly as hard as the smaller motor at low to moderate intensities. Just because you have increased the ability to maximally contract the white fibres by increasing strength, it does not mean that you will be contracting them at maximal intensity all the time. Think reserves.

-only the strong survive (just kidding)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re Atkins on 11/25/2011 21:14:24 MST Print View

"-only the strong survive"

Sure, but only the good die young.

I'm gonna live to be very, very old......

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re Atkins on 11/25/2011 21:18:37 MST Print View

Tom, how do these experts who state that the primary energy source for the brain is glucose or that a certain amount of carbohydrate is required to facilitate the metabolism of fat account for the fact that Eskimos have lived centuries on a totally carb-free diet? I'm sure they use plenty of brain power to survive in such a hostile environment.

Can you imagine our hunter-gatherer ancestors starting out a day when they intend to hunt by saying "I have to carb up to do the hunt today" -- yea, with what? How could they have ever carb'd up or carb'd out? Their diet lacked anything that was carb dense. This was the case for tens of thousands of years. We'd have gone extinct if such was true about carbohydrates as many cited experts claim.

I can imagine the retort would be that including carbohydrates in the diet enable the society to be more advanced. Maybe, maybe not. It's pretty rare to see carb-free societies, and in the Artic, that's pretty much where such could be the case. For myself, I believe in having about 30% of my calories come from low glycemic carbs (fruits and vegetables though).

My understanding but I'm not anywhere a professional in these fields, is that body fat consumed can be utilized as carbohydrate energy (same for fat in food too). That would explain how our ancestors and the Eskimos are (were) able to think.

The one thing you learn fast in researching nutrition is how little consensus there is across the various dietary research endeavors except for most of them do prefer natural food over artificial food but even then their are those who defend GMO food (and some of these work for the FDA).

In the end, one has to go with what works for one's self, backed up with some degree of research you're not going totally off the deep end (just about anything works for a short while for one's self).

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re Atkins on 11/25/2011 21:47:32 MST Print View

I'm rushing out the door, so can't take a lot of time to write, but I wanted to say, to everyone, I am in no way an expert on any of this. I'm still at the beginning of learning the basics! So Tom, David... I'm completely open to learning more about all this and how it works. I've read quite a lot in the last three years, particularly this year, but only now is much of it making any sense or one part beginning to click with another. I still don't really understand how the energy from fat works with the brain, compared with the energy from carbs, but in my personal experience with high and low diabetic blood sugars, there is a visceral difference in both my feelings of alertness and wellness, and of perceived mental and emotional acuity when eating different kinds of foods... I'd say it is much like the difference in drinking strong coffee (with its caffeine) and drinking, say, orange juice. I can physically feel the difference between high blood sugar and low blood sugar, and my energy levels are different. This is different from how many calories I've consumed. I can eat a big plate of 4 slices of bacon, 3 buttered, scrambled eggs, and round of avocado... a meal which has a lot of calories, but my blood sugar will remain low (and my insulin injection will be very low so as to keep myself from dropping into hypoglycemia), while a meal of a simple tuna sandwich with white bread... with much lower calories than the former meal... will shoot my blood sugar way up, require a big dose of insulin and will only give me energy for about two hours, while the high-fat diet will often keep me going all day long. I don't gain weight on the high fat meal, but I do gain weight with the smaller, high carb diet, in spite of there being less calories. I still don't understand how this works chemically and biologically. But it does. The same way Piper has found out. I tend to eat far less with a high-fat diet. I never get hungry. And my blood sugar spikes have disappeared.

That being said, after some trauma in August when I was hospitalized, I started eating carbs again, mostly bread, but not in any high amounts. I've gained back all my weight, my blood sugars are sky high again, the fungus is slowly returning on my fingers, and I'm tired all the time again. I'm almost certain now that carbs are the culprit for most people.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re Atkins on 11/25/2011 22:35:44 MST Print View

Luke,

Unfortunately you aren't going to run into much "proven fact", and to make things worse, much of what sounds like common sense is probably incorrect. Our current knowledge of how the body works is continually being added to, and so what appears initially correct may be turned on its head as additional details come to light. This can seem a bit futile, but the overall trend is positive. (Consider things like the germ theory of disease, antibiotics, and monoclonal antibodies.) Unfortunately it also gives us things like margarine and low-fat diets.

Since I grabbed dinner before finishing this reply, I saw you had some other questions:

1. Correct, grains date back much farther than 5k years; closer to 10K is more likely for domestication in the mideast. (Wiki claims some use of wild barley 23K years ago.) Evolutionarily speaking, this is still quite recent.

1a. Yes, modern grain is quite different from that a century ago, or a millenia ago. Most wheat is now a dwarf wheat, which helps increase yield. The gluten content is also higher than in the past.

1b. Whole wheat includes the bran and germ; so you have more protein, fiber, and some additional nutrients. It also seems to confer health benefits compared to refined flour. (Or from an alternate viewpoint, may be less harmful.) However, there are different types of wheat with different gluten amounts, and you can even find "archaic" wheat like einkorn if you look around.

2. Looking at cultures (e.g. Japanese) means that many factors are in play: genetics, diet, behavior, climate, etc. It's a big can of worms. The best I can say is that there seem to be certain "diseases of civilization" that are minimally present in aboriginal societies, even when accounting for decreased average lifespan. If pressed to identify dietary factors with the strongest correlation, I would point to wheat and refined sugar.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
I don't know... on 11/25/2011 23:40:01 MST Print View

It is all very complicated when you try to analyze all this stuff. So don't.

So my suggestion is that you start by exercising every single day. And just walking 2 hours a day AT A FAIRLY FAST PACE will be sufficient. At a good pace, that would be around 6 miles per day, 42 miles per week. That is EVERY DAY -- don't skip a day unless you have the flu or a broken leg. Don't have two hours? Then do an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon/evening. You can exercise more if you want, just do the minimum 42 miles per week walking at a minimum. Don't have the 14 hours per week available? Analyze your TV and computer time. You can sacrifice some of that. No gym membership needed. Still can't find the 14 hours? Look harder, you life depends on it. Everyday walking will help wire your brain to stomach communication system and together they will determine the correct portions to eat without you trying to think it out.

Now just stay away from a lot of heavily processed foods, especially flour and sugar products. Don't even keep this stuff at home. You can get your needed carbs from fruits and vegetables. Go ahead and eat stuff you like. Your body will start to crave the foods it needs if you are not eating enough (e.g., fats, protein, carbs). If you get a craving for ice cream or a candy bar, walk to the store and get just one. It is okay. Need a Big Mac or a Taco? Its okay, go get one. Just don't eat them every day. Minimize alcohol. One glass of red wine a day is okay too. Try Gallo Hearty Burgundy, usually on sale for $6.99 @1.5 liter -- don't be a wine snob, you will learn to like it. And you will save enough money on this inexpensive wine that you will be able to celebrate special events with a bottle of Dom Perignon (don't drink the whole thing, share it with your significant other).

Of course good genes help, and this may not be ideal with those with some diseases.

My father is 88 years old and has been doing this as long as I can remember, other than the Champagne. He is slender, fit, and a pain to debate as this has kept his mind very sharp. I do the same, although some here would debate the sharpness of my brain :)



P.S. Now when you go backpacking eat anything you want, to include junk food.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
thoughts on wheat/carb on 11/25/2011 23:47:55 MST Print View

I didn't want to muddle my previous post, so here are some additional comments:

There are some outdated dietary sayings that float around, and I call them myths because even though they are be correct at some level, they don't translate well to the complex system that is homo sapiens. (Worse, it does a disservice to people with weight problems.)

Some easy ones:
"a calorie is a calorie", or references to the 2nd law of thermodynamics:
Only true in a bunsen burner, also comes from a misunderstanding of thermodynamics.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC506782/

"fat burns in a carbohydrate flame":
Should be rephrased as "both muscle fat and carbohydrate burn in an amino acid flame"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18500949
(An intermediate reference; the Robergs and Roberts text is the original cited)

That said, humans are pretty adaptable; carb consumption, if harmful, might only be harmful in excessive amounts, or in people who have some level of metabolic derangement. Could this be triggered by certain neolithic foods? There certainly seems to be a decent correlation, which while not causation, as the xkcd comic says, "it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'".

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
re: brain fuel on 11/26/2011 00:15:14 MST Print View

Roleigh,

That's correct (edit: dietary protein can be used to obtain necessary glucose; fats can provide all other energy); your brain is often said to need at least 100-120g of glucose per day. If you go no-carb (think Inuit), that need will drop to about 30-40g, as the energy deficit is made up by ketone bodies. Eating adequate protein will allow your liver to produce the necessary glucose without cannabilizing muscle tissue. (Your liver uses fat to power this process, which also creates ketone bodies.)

Edited by requiem on 11/26/2011 00:18:25 MST.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Re: re: brain fuel on 11/26/2011 15:21:35 MST Print View

Glad to see someone (Jeremy) finally chime in with a reference to gluconeogenesis. The brain functions quite well on ketones except for a very small portion of tissues that do seem to require glucose. Gluconeogenesis can also supply sufficient glucose to deal with krebs cycle issues.

That said, in individuals that are not fully ketoadapted (as in: most of us), the liver's not terribly efficient at the process, and that's probably why you had such issues with low energy for those months, Piper.

Dietary carbs shouldn't be entirely demonized, however. A healthy body can handle them just fine, and is evolutionarily adapted to do so: starchy tubers are used as a secondary calorie source by hunter-gatherers still present in the environment where the genus Homo emerged, and the genetic adaptation to produce Amylase (an enzyme that breaks down many starches found in such sources) is a testament to that. Most northern "eskimo" cultures did include some starch and fruit-based carbs seasonally, and the few that didn't (mostly alaskan if I recall) should be regarded as an extreme example of what can be done, but not necessarily what "should" be done.

If your metabolism hasn't been altered by a life of bombardment with inappropriate foods, good carb sources are nothing to frown upon, provided that intake isn't excessive. I can eat the majority of my calories as carbs (from the right sources) and not experience health problems, but there's definitely a difference in how I feel and function between a more glucose-based metabolism and more ketone-based metabolism. Not exactly better or worse, but different. So it becomes a matter of preference, and I usually prefer to get most of my calories from fat and avoid spiking my insulin for that reason.

I have noted that I'm a lot better at dealing with the cold when carbs are minimized, probably for precisely the reasons you speculate related to insulin levels. I've noted (and this is completely anecdotal so take it for what it's worth) that a lot of people I know who are "skinny" but have a little belly of subcutaneous fat stores, which seems to indicate that they can handle the carb intake without getting obese but are probably inefficient at mobilizing fat for energy, are the same individuals who are ALWAYS cold. I speculate that their consistent cycles of carb intake insulin elevation keep them from utilizing the fat they have stored to generate body heat. As far as I'm aware, the "brown fat" cells that generate that heat require fat rather than glucose to do so (can't confirm that though). I suppose it's something I should research further.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re Atkins on 11/26/2011 19:26:00 MST Print View

"Tom, how do these experts who state that the primary energy source for the brain is glucose or that a certain amount of carbohydrate is required to facilitate the metabolism of fat account for the fact that Eskimos have lived centuries on a totally carb-free diet? I'm sure they use plenty of brain power to survive in such a hostile environment."

Roleigh,

I didn't expect to change your mind. I was merely trying to add a different perspective to the conversation. The experts as you call them constitute a majority opinion across the medical and scientific communities, and what they say makes sense to me. As one of the above poster above noted, gluconeogenisis will provide glucose for the brain, up to a point. In its absence, ketone bodies will fill the bill, as is the case also with the heart. The problem arises when dietary protein is inadequate and body fat is exhausted. Then the body starts cannabalizing itself to obtain the necessary protein. All that said, ketone bodies are not the body's optimal choice, coming into play under normal circumstances only when adequate carbs are unavailable. As a physician friend of mine remarked today when I ran this by him, the body is enormously flexible and always has backup systems available for abnormal situations. I think this is one of them. Also, while ketone bodies seem to function fine for endurance, they are not as efficient as carbs for high intensity exercise. Or so the "experts" say. Also, as you mentioned, civilization didn't really start to take off until ready sources of carbohydrates, mostly grains but also potatoes, became available. I wonder if there is a message for us there? Both the Inuit and others, such as the Masai, have remained either hunter/gatherer or pastoral to this day.

Along the lines of Nick's post, I am fairly active, not overweight, and I do fine on a fairly high carb diet, as do many, many others I know or have known in the past. I do, however, end up at around 30% carbs on backpacking trips where the pace is relatively slow and the caloric efficiency of my energy sources is paramount.

Miguel, I think you represent a special case, and a ketogenic diet is increasingly recognized as effective approach to treating diabetes. At least that is the gist of what reading I have done.

Darned interesting thread. Thanks to all who posted.

Edited by ouzel on 11/26/2011 21:01:02 MST.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Atkins on 11/26/2011 20:07:23 MST Print View

I was on the Atkins diet for two years and was amazed at how much weight I lost while consuming 3,500 to 4,000 kcals per day. I carefully monitored my ketones and remained in a state of ketosis for months at a time. I noticed a drop in my ability to train with much aerobic intensity but endurance seemed to be uneffected and perhaps even enhanced with very even blood sugar levels.

In addition, headaches I had experienced for decades were gone within a day or two. I slept great and had a much better feeling of overall wellness and have been on a relatively high protein diet since.

As your body switches from running on glucose to ketones was pretty rough for me, and was enough to keep me from cheating. I wasn't much good to anyone for a couple of days but it was fine after that.

I took several backpacking trips during that time that clearly showed me ketones and backpacking could work, but I had to slow the pace a bit and make up with more time on the trail.

It is a low volume diet which took some getting used to but not too bad after you got used to it. The point of the Atkins diet is to find your carb sensitivity and manage the level. Like most "diets" it is a lifestyle that requires permanent change. I spent some time with fhe Tinglet Indians in Alaska and they have generally moved away from their traditional diet and as a result type 2 diabetes has become a big problem.

I wouldn't recommend a backpacking trip as the time to try a radical departure from your normal diet, but if you have been running on ketones for a couple of weeks prior without issues you should be fine. As a side benefit for any tentmates, flatulance is pretty much nonexistant while your body is in a state of ketosis.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re Atkins on 11/26/2011 21:28:47 MST Print View

The problem arises when dietary protein is inadequate and body fat is exhausted. Then the body starts cannabalizing itself to obtain the necessary protein.

This is a curious statement, Tom. The body has trouble whenever any nutrient is insufficiently provided for, no? The same could be said for carbs when in high intensity workouts... What happens when dietary carbs is inadequate? Hypoglycemia. I'm not sure what you are trying to get at by stating this.

Also, while ketone bodies seem to function fine for endurance, they are not as efficient as carbs for high intensity exercise. Or so the "experts" say. Also, as you mentioned, civilization didn't really start to take off until ready sources of carbohydrates, mostly grains but also potatoes, became available. I wonder if there is a message for us there? Both the Inuit and others, such as the Masai, have remained either hunter/gatherer or pastoral to this day.

Why is there this assumption that the preferred state of being for a healthy organism is high intensity exercise? Why not the opposite way of thinking, where low-intensity exercise (but exercise none-the-less) is the norm and the measure from which you should start thinking about health? If you glance out your window at animals quite the opposite is always apparent... animals invariably go for the less intensive route, only performing high intensity activity when it is necessary, and usually only as long as absolutely needed, no more. Also, you assume that the "higher" and "healthier" state of being for human societies is civilization, as if hunter/gatherers somehow live in a lesser state of being. I'm not sure why you necessarily equate civilization with health. In almost all cases hunter/ gatherers that live their traditional lives tend to be far stronger and healthier than "civilized" equivalents. You have just to take a look at their bodies to see the effects of their lifestyles.

Miguel, I think you represent a special case, and a ketogenic diet is increasingly recognized as effective approach to treating diabetes.

That's the thing. There has been a lot of inquiry into why diabetes happens in the first place and why it has become a skyrocketing epidemic in modern societies. Why, for instance, does the optimal lifestyle for a diabetic completely follow the optimal guidelines of the lifestyle for a non-diabetic person? Almost everything I have read points to diabetes being highest among people who ate the least amount of carbs before their lifestyles changed to modern diets. These are also societies that often sustained periods of famine. The theory now is that people prone to diabetes actually carry genes that, in a lifestyle of few carbs and intermittent fasting, helped them survive, because diabetics are prone to getting fat. Only in an environment of constant plenty, constant high calories, and unending access to carbs does diabetes arise. The coping/ survival mechanism that diabetes prone people carry within themselves was never meant to deal with the onslaught of over-nutrition that modern society allows. And the fact that there are so many people getting diabetes says something about the way we eat. Of course, the lack of exercise has a big part in this, too. But as Mark Sisson suggests in "Primal Blueprint", our health depends about 80% on nutrition and only about 20% on exercise. This is consistent with my above observation that perhaps a gentler form of keeping active and staying healthy is more natural. This constant drive to perform high intensity exercise is quite unnatural for most of our day-to-day lives. Perhaps we should learn something about long-term health and the problem with over-eating and over-training.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
On moderation. on 11/27/2011 10:45:47 MST Print View

Yes, this is a tangent from the OP, but so is half of the rest of this.

Something to consider: Moderation

Taking the middle path is probably the hardest path to take. The dominant culture we live in is not one of moderation, especially not our fast-food and TGI Fridays way of doing things. Self-indulgence and giant portions are typical selling points.

Because our culture's diets are so extreme in one direction, I think we often swing to the extreme in the other as well: diets not based on moderation and variety, but diets equally extreme in their denial of entire food groups, processes, etc. From Raw Veganism to Strict Paleo to intermittent fasting to no-carb, high-carb, etc. I think the sheer variety of "diets for optimal performance" in America/the West goes to show how absolutely conflicted and uncertain we are about what we should be doing when it comes to food. Other cultures don't seem to have this problem; they eat what they've always eaten (though Western fast-food culture is eroding this behavior worldwide).

It makes perfect sense (to me) that in order to resist one extreme, ones takes up its opposite; I've been there, but in the long term, it's always been unsustainable. While it's certainly possible to maintain for some, I've always found any highly restrictive diet to be relatively short-lived; that seems to be the case for most people.

Granted, we can site the Masai, the Inuit, ancient Japanese, and other groups all over the planet for their unique diets and jump to the conclusion that's how we should be eating...But if you average the full-spectrum and sheer variety of human diets and general health, it seems to point to one general idea: we're HIGHLY adaptable and we can generally thrive and achieve "peak" fitness following just about any diet providing a few key elements are there: minimal processing (whole foods), exercise, and moderation.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: On moderation. on 11/27/2011 11:20:26 MST Print View

Amen on the moderation post. Reminds me of the best humorous retort, "moderation in all things including moderation!"

I stumbled across a new health blog today, very, very impressive and I loved her take. Her name is Denise Minger - on her about page she has this quote:

"This site isn’t specifically low-carb or high-carb, vegan or carnivore, raw food or cooked food, or anything else that could be neatly labeled. My own experience as a (recovered) raw vegan taught me that diet-dogma is killer, so the emphasis here is on unraveling research rather than building an ideology. My goal is to make nutritional science accessible and non-boring to those who really care about their health."

Her diet is interesting too (she is not totally raw which is why I think she added the "SOS" to her url.)
http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/01/20/my-current-diet/

Anyway, the reason I included mention of her is that it's not good to be dogmatic as important as it is to keep studying and challenging long held beliefs even one's owns.

Moderation is super important in backpacking as when you do a long hike you have to compromise your diet so it's important to appreciate how to stay healthy eating a varied diet.

By the way I had to add this, can one hike and do intermittent fasting? Read this about a faster who did the hike from Whitney Portal to Mt. Whitney and back to the Portal without any food. The answer is yes.

http://www.gnolls.org/2443/occasional-insanity-outperforms-daily-misery-day-hiking-mt-whitney-fasted/

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
cr@p on 11/27/2011 13:12:04 MST Print View

you can eat cr@ppy stuff and still lose weight ... whether you are "healthier" in the long run or will live to be 100+ years old is another question of course ...

the trick is to keep your output greater than yr input ... like anything else

i lost 15 lbs this season on little caesers pizza, A&W burgers and fries, and gummy bears ... simply because i climbed 5 days a week during climbing season ...

like i said ... the truth about paleo diets is simply that those cavemen exercised alot more than most people did today ... you need to when yr next meal or running away from crazed cave bears depend on it ...

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: moderation on 11/27/2011 13:28:27 MST Print View

+1 to the entire post

and specifically, the conclusion "we can generally thrive and achieve "peak" fitness following just about any diet providing a few key elements are there: minimal processing (whole foods), exercise, and moderation."

Edited by Ike on 11/27/2011 16:13:33 MST.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Re: re: moderation on 11/27/2011 15:33:23 MST Print View

Moderation is one of those things that is often sensible, but it's necessary to define what you're being moderate about. Moderate consumption of real foods is obviously the way to go; the tricky question is "what is a "real food" for Homo sapiens?" Humans are pretty adaptable, yes, but no animal is adapted to do well with EVERY food, even in moderation.

Essentially, why eat anything, even in moderation, that causes one's health to suffer? For example, for me to continue eating wheat despite repeatable personal experience of health alterations and mounds of science on the toxicity of gluten and detrimental effects of gliadin and wheat starches, in the name of "moderation"... sounds to me like ignoring the facts in the name of a phrase that sounds "wisdomy." Wheat is bad for me and I should not consume it, in moderation or otherwise.

Thing is, I'm not an outlier. Assuming you're a human, wheat is bad for you to, along with a lot of other components of modern diets. Sure, tolerance varies, and the effects may be so low-level as to be accepted by our culture as natural "aging." You can live on it. But if you could live better without, then why not? Moderation is, indeed, something that needs to be "moderated." Not everything we eat today is good for you, in moderation or otherwise, except perhaps as compared to starvation.

If you'd prefer to moderately consume things that harm you, great. I drink alcohol, among other things perhaps I "shouldn't." But using the whole "moderation" thing to look wise and reasoned and cast those who care about such things as barking up the wrong tree only has the appearance of being rational, while in fact it requires one to do very little empirical learning and analysis. Sure, science has limits, but so does the "commonsense." It's important that each "moderate" the other. I doubt the dismissive use of a surprisingly empty phrase about "moderation" is going to result in much progress combating the complex, intertwined issues of public health, environmental degradation, and polluted living environment that we find ourselves mired in, where the "moderation" that proved successful for a given culture in the "recent" past may no longer apply. It's more important to understand what, as humans, we physiologically *are,* and to do so it's important that we look further back.

Moderation is only useful if you've defined its parameters, and those parameters are what's being discussed.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
re: moderation on 11/27/2011 16:08:50 MST Print View

My idea of a great discourse on diet and moderation is what Denise Minger posted in her blog recently

http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/08/13/ancestral-health-symposium/

See the middle section on this page, entitled "Paleo and vegetarianism: let’s be friends!"

Denise is one of the most enjoyable, entertaining, and incredible nutrition researchers I've come across in a long time. I stumbled across her blog looking for a good critique on the movie, Forks and Knifes. I wish I could write half as good as she does.

I think the original posting on moderation was the gist that there are a lot of sense in many healthy diets out there. Of course, junk food or food that one suffers inflammation or sensitivity to should be zero-ed out. I recently came across two food sensitivity testing companies, Alcat and SageMedLabs, and I intend in my annual physical next month to find out what foods I'm sensitive too. I suspect Wheat and Corn are two of them but I don't know and won't know until I get the test results back. I'm going with the SageMedLabs test as they work very well with your insurance company to have it covered.

I've been Paleo off the trail for about 16 months and on the trail the only non-paleo items I have are one-minute instant rice and pre-cooked, dehdrated beans. By the way, Denise Minger's article above makes the strong point that the latest Symposium on Paleo Diet shows that it is no longer a single diet but encompasses a wide range of diets and that makes the most sense. Loren Cordain asserts there are about 20 different Paleo diets he has studied in his medical anthropological studies.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: moderation on 11/27/2011 16:11:59 MST Print View

Erik, what a remarkably lucid and clearly explained post.

Sometimes it's frustrating to talk with people who haven't bothered to really do their research into these things. I've been forced to figure out why certain ways of eating and exercising don't work for me, because diabetes has serious and often immediate consequences if I don't get it right and understand how and why something does or doesn't work. For some reason the simplistic calories:energy output way of thinking just doesn't work for Type 1 diabetics... at least not most of those I know. More and more these days people are finding that restriction (but not elimination) of carbs and regular exercise are what help control blood sugar levels and mitigate the effects of diabetes. These parameters work for healthy people, too, not just diabetics.

Nutrition is a damningly complex subject. It makes learning about UL and backpacking look like a walk in the park. Perhaps that is why so few people attempt to really learn about it. Also, when you are young your body tends to be resilient, so you might get away with eating bad food and not feel any consequences, but do it over a long enough period then eventually it will catch up with you. I think it is far better to treat your body right from the start and keep this up, as much as possible, throughout your life. Later your body will thank you for it. I know I wish I had known much more about nutrition when I was younger.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re Atkins on 11/27/2011 16:46:09 MST Print View

"This is a curious statement, Tom. The body has trouble whenever any nutrient is insufficiently provided for, no? The same could be said for carbs when in high intensity workouts... What happens when dietary carbs is inadequate? Hypoglycemia. I'm not sure what you are trying to get at by stating this."

Not really, Miguel. When carbs are exhausted in high intensity workouts, you either slow down or grind to a halt because you can't oxidize either fat or protein fast enough to provide the energy necessary to support the high intensity of your workout. This is something I have had a lot of experience with, and it happens long before you go hypoglycemic, a condition I have never experienced over many, many years of high intensity workouts. When glycogen stores are exhausted, the liver will provide glucose via gluconeogenisis to support fat metabolism. If it is not from dietary sources, it will come from muscle, and that is problematic. When both glycogen and fat are exhausted, energy will be supplied by metabolizing more muscle, and that is even more problematic. Protein is a special case, although losing the fat protecting the organs is also a serious matter.

"Why is there this assumption that the preferred state of being for a healthy organism is high intensity exercise? "

I made no such assumption. If you understood that from my post, I apologize for not being clear. I will say that high intensity exercise, properly used will enable you to perform well at lower intensity under demanding conditions such as high altitude. That is where it fits into my backpacking training. When I was racing seriously, high intensity training was mandatory if I was to remain competitive, but that is a special case that does not apply to the general population.

"Also, you assume that the "higher" and "healthier" state of being for human societies is civilization, as if hunter/gatherers somehow live in a lesser state of being. I'm not sure why you necessarily equate civilization with health. In almost all cases hunter/ gatherers that live their traditional lives tend to be far stronger and healthier than "civilized" equivalents. You have just to take a look at their bodies to see the effects of their lifestyles."

Again, I apologize if you understood that from my post. My feelings on the subject are decidedly mixed. I make no assumptions or value judgments about hunter gatherers' state of being other than that they, like the rest of us, take joy in their existence. I definitely DO NOT equate civilization with health or a healthy life style, although that is partially because we do not take advantage of the opportunities civilization offers us and partially because of the misuse of our knowledge. Optimally used, civilization could offer us the benefits of both worlds. All that said, hunter gatherers face a set of health challenges we do not, and are powerless in the face of the onslaught of "modernity". Their way of life is no bed of roses, and never was. I do not look upon them as "noble savages" or otherwise romanticize them, but view them as one more manifastation of humanity in all its diversity, and a reminder of the price we have paid for what we have achieved and misused so casually. As I said, for me it is a mixed bag.

"That's the thing. There has been a lot of inquiry into why diabetes happens in the first place and why it has become a skyrocketing epidemic in modern societies. Why, for instance, does the optimal lifestyle for a diabetic completely follow the optimal guidelines of the lifestyle for a non-diabetic person? Almost everything I have read points to diabetes being highest among people who ate the least amount of carbs before their lifestyles changed to modern diets. These are also societies that often sustained periods of famine. The theory now is that people prone to diabetes actually carry genes that, in a lifestyle of few carbs and intermittent fasting, helped them survive, because diabetics are prone to getting fat. Only in an environment of constant plenty, constant high calories, and unending access to carbs does diabetes arise. The coping/ survival mechanism that diabetes prone people carry within themselves was never meant to deal with the onslaught of over-nutrition that modern society allows. And the fact that there are so many people getting diabetes says something about the way we eat. Of course, the lack of exercise has a big part in this, too. But as Mark Sisson suggests in "Primal Blueprint", our health depends about 80% on nutrition and only about 20% on exercise."

I have no quarrel with what you say, but I do have this sense that exercise plays a larger part in the problem than Sisson claims. As for the unhealthiness of the modern diet, that is an individual choice. Nobody has to sussist on Big gulps and Doritos, etc, nor do they have to sit on their butts in front of an X-Box all day. I have seen too many people, of both sexes and all races and body types, who don't do that live extremely healthy lives. Those who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes are another matter, one that I am not competent to comment on, but everything I have read and heard from health care professionals leads me to believe that a large percentage of those who contract type 2 diabetes did so as a result of poor diet and lack of exercise.

"This is consistent with my above observation that perhaps a gentler form of keeping active and staying healthy is more natural. This constant drive to perform high intensity exercise is quite unnatural for most of our day-to-day lives. Perhaps we should learn something about long-term health and the problem with over-eating and over-training."

No quarrel with this statement, especially the overeating part, although on behalf of those of us who at one time or another in their lives have chosen the high intensity path as PART of their life style, I will say that it does have it attractions and rewards. Whether it is natural/healthy or not I will leave to individual judgment, but after years of weaving it into my life, I am still going strong at 71 with my knees, hips and ankles in good working order, as are many of my former compatriots. One thing you need to understand is that high intensity training is not, indeed cannot be, constant. It very quickly leads to breakdown. Like everything else in this life, moderation is the key to success.

Edited by ouzel on 11/27/2011 18:53:45 MST.