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Old 10-23-2009, 05:55 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
It's a tough read, but worthwhile. I really do think he's on to something and also I believe that the "powers that be" behind nutritional policy have not evolved with the science.

The one nagging thought is that the new recommendations for a low carb, higher fat and protein diet are also untested in terms of long-term benefits and risks. The short term safety looks solid to me for healthy people. The long term effects on kidney function and other diseases remains to be seen.

I worry a little about increasing certain fats so I try to favor, nuts, avocado, and poultry and fish. Then again, a nice juicy steak or a rack of ribs have been known to cross my lips. I now usually pass on the roll and fries.

Switching to modest amounts of unrefined carbs (fruits, veggies, whole grains and other low glycemic carbs) instead of sugar and refined carbs seems like a no-brainer. We don't know the long term safety of unusually high protein intake.

Chimps eat lots of complex carbs, plus the occasional protein treat. I'd guess it will turn out that some carbs (complex, low glycemic index) will be OK as the prominent daily energy source, with smaller amts of protein as well. Fat shouldn't be a problem in smaller amounts assuming BMI is decent (<25 or so).
One of the issues is the problem people have in losing weight. If BMI is higher than 25 but the higher fat diet keeps the person less hunger and thus helps dump the extra weight, might that be a good thing?

I know that there are a lot of unanswered questions.
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:57 PM   #22
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Does this book address a vegetarian diet?
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:01 PM   #23
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Thanks Al! Curious, did the book also impugn non-processed carbs, like whole grains (i.e. steel cut oats or brown rice)? Maybe I need to get me a copy.
Brown rice isn't that much better than white. Whole wheat bread is no better than white. Whole oats are pretty good.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:10 PM   #24
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One of the issues is the problem people have in losing weight. If BMI is higher than 25 but the higher fat diet keeps the person less hunger and thus helps dump the extra weight, might that be a good thing?

I know that there are a lot of unanswered questions.
Yes, the "satiety" lasts longer after protein and fat feedings. In additioin, there is a suggestion that when excess calories are consumed in the form of protein, it does not all get "stored" in fat cells or muscle. Some of it is disbursed as heat, in a process called thermogenesis.

So it used to be thought that a calorie is a calorie, and you can't change the laws of thermodynamics. But it may be that calories consumed as protein may actually cause less weight gain than those stored as carbs. And your core body temperature goes up for an hour or so.

Much of this is conjecture with little firm evidence but it is all plausible.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:33 PM   #25
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Great Post, Al. Now I can stop mentioning this book every chance I get -- I can simply site this thread.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:50 PM   #26
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I am slogging through the book too. Excellent book report Al. Isgoy, do you ever eat sweets?
I have issues with sweets (candy,pastries,ice cream) of a chocolate nature... When I am off the wagon I eat them way too much. But when I am on my game, exercising and eating purposefully to fuel my exercise, then I am off sweets completely. And once off both them and artificial sweeteners I do not crave them or miss them at all. Actually don't think about food too much at all when I am eating right. Also quitting grains is easy for me because I don't think bread, pasta, rice, taste good anyway, they are just a vehicle to get the delicious sauces into my mouth, haha.

These are the recommendations of the exercise group I belong to, and are aimed toward better athletic results, of course not everyone is eating for that goal:

For the greatest results in this direction, going off grains is a must, and it is suggested that you eat only free range beef and poultry, and wild caught fish. Feed lot, corn fed beef will not be as clean a protein as grass fed. But of course that is more expensive and inconvenient to acquire. And you will still get good results doing most of the recommendations, it's not all or nothing.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:48 PM   #27
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Brown rice isn't that much better than white. Whole wheat bread is no better than white. Whole oats are pretty good.
White rice (GI 70) is worst, brown rice (GI 50) is better, wild rice (GI 35) is pretty good. From what I've read wild rice is more of a grass seed, but IMHO it tastes better than the others. These numbers are according to the Montignac list, which I prefer.

One thing I've read recently in various papers is that most of the complex carbs are pretty low GI if eaten raw, but significantly higher when cooked. Also, pastas done al dente aren't bad, but if (over)cooked American style they become significantly higher on the GI. I've been doing a lot of reading about the glycemic index recently. Both DW and I have changed our eating habits in the past few months to a lower carb lower GI diet, without going nuts over it. We both feel pretty good about it, and hope to stay with it for the long haul. It's made a significat difference in my blood glucose level, too.

Thanks very much for the review Al. I'll read it myself, eventually.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:51 PM   #28
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White rice (GI 70) is worst, brown rice (GI 50) is better, wild rice (GI 35) is pretty good. From what I've read wild rice is more of a grass seed, but IMHO it tastes better than the others. These numbers are according to the Montignac list, which I prefer.

One thing I've read recently in various papers is that most of the complex carbs are pretty low GI if eaten raw, but significantly higher when cooked. Also, pastas done al dente aren't bad, but if (over)cooked American style they become significantly higher on the GI. I've been doing a lot of reading about the glycemic index recently. Both DW and I have changed our eating habits in the past few months to a lower carb lower GI diet, without going nuts over it. We both feel pretty good about it, and hope to stay with it for the long haul. It's made a significat difference in my blood glucose level, too.

Thanks very much for the review Al. I'll read it myself, eventually.
Good to hear on the wild rice. I have a bunch in the cupboard.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:13 AM   #29
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T-AL, thanks for the summary. The problem I have with all the "cut the carb" books is, I never see them address the Okinowans. IIRC, they eat a fairly high level of complex carbs, and fish is the main meat. Shouldn't they be obese? They rate very high in health and longevity.

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Old 10-24-2009, 12:11 PM   #30
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A few months ago I watched a video on youtube of a Taubes speech which laid out his view and was quite convincing. I read a number of his articles on this issue and read excerpts of the GCBC book.

I tend to be a skeptic, however, and am resistant to one size fits all arguments. With regard to things I read concerning food and weight loss, my experience is that people tend to selectively cite science to support their viewpoint.

I am an attorney by profession. If I write a brief and cite only the facts and cases that support my viewpoint it can appear highly persuasive. Yet, I could often just as easily then write the brief for the other point of view and cite facts and cases to support that view and it will be highly persuasive.

Taubes writing is not objective. He has an agenda and he writes to support his agenda. I don't doubt that he deeply believes it. I do think he raises points that are important. However, I am concerned that he selectively cites the evidence that supports him and ignore that which doesn't.

Links to a few arguments from the other side (and I have come to no conclusion on any of this -- I suspect that the truth is somewhere in the middle and there is no easy answer):

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/bo...tml?ref=review
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/bo...=1&oref=slogin
http://www.cspinet.org/nah/11_02/bigfatlies.pdf
Big Fat Fake - Reason Magazine
Gary Taubes tries to overwhelm the reader with sheer verbiage - Reason Magazine

And while I agree that low fat diets haven't been terribly successful for weight loss I'm not persuaded that the evidence is there that low carb diets have seen significantly more successful. It would be nice if there was an easy answer (eat A, B, and C and D will happen every time) but there doesn't seem to be one.
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:00 PM   #31
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A few months ago I watched a video on youtube of a Taubes speech which laid out his view and was quite convincing. I read a number of his articles on this issue and read excerpts of the GCBC book.

I tend to be a skeptic, however, and am resistant to one size fits all arguments. With regard to things I read concerning food and weight loss, my experience is that people tend to selectively cite science to support their viewpoint.

I am an attorney by profession. If I write a brief and cite only the facts and cases that support my viewpoint it can appear highly persuasive. Yet, I could often just as easily then write the brief for the other point of view and cite facts and cases to support that view and it will be highly persuasive.

Taubes writing is not objective. He has an agenda and he writes to support his agenda. I don't doubt that he deeply believes it. I do think he raises points that are important. However, I am concerned that he selectively cites the evidence that supports him and ignore that which doesn't.

Links to a few arguments from the other side (and I have come to no conclusion on any of this -- I suspect that the truth is somewhere in the middle and there is no easy answer):

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/bo...tml?ref=review
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/bo...=1&oref=slogin
http://www.cspinet.org/nah/11_02/bigfatlies.pdf
Big Fat Fake - Reason Magazine
Gary Taubes tries to overwhelm the reader with sheer verbiage - Reason Magazine

And while I agree that low fat diets haven't been terribly successful for weight loss I'm not persuaded that the evidence is there that low carb diets have seen significantly more successful. It would be nice if there was an easy answer (eat A, B, and C and D will happen every time) but there doesn't seem to be one.
That is the problem when science is deal with like law or is politicized. It becomes like looking at the global warming issue. I think, judging from Rich's and some other's comments, that Taubes has raised interesting issues and has presented some persuasive evidence but that the research out there is inadequate to draw firm conclusions on (1) how best to lose weight, (2) how best to maintain that weight loss and (3) how much individual differences are there in answering these questions. This is aside from the issue of what is the best diet for a healthy, normal weight individual, if there is one.


The best thing right now is to see what are area of consensus. Refined sugar is bad. Overly processed foods are bad. Too many calories are bad. Most vegetables are good. Very good. Fiber (good carbs) is good. And Aitkins aside, most seem to agree that fruits not processed into juice are good.

So, we are left with no clear answers but areas in need of further research. What do you do in that situation if you are tying to lose weight? You experiment. I know that I truely love breads and sweets. It makes some sense for me to cut those. Plus, there is evidence that the refined sugar in sweets aren't good for you and the bread and potatoes are questionable. So I am trying a reduced carb diet. Not Aitkins. I eat meat, including beef, after not eating beef for years. But I still cut the chunks of blubber off. I eat dark meat chicken, but I take off the skin. I find that I love the beef and am not thrilled with the chicken. I eat fish. I eat eggs and might even have a small 60 calorie chicken sausage with my egg. I have always been a bean eater and that can continue. I eat my veggies, including carrots which Aitkins would have ditched but Thompson does not. I eat my fruit. I eat nuts. I haven't made up my mind on butter. Evil? Not evil? I count the calories.

Because this is an experiment of one, I am getting my lipids checked after three months.

My thought is to try and see if this works to lose weight. The next issue, if this works, is what to eat for the long term. That may be the most difficult issue.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:28 AM   #32
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T-Al - thanks for the book report - what I find interesting is that humans and human physiology are adaptive self-healing mechanisms. So, perhaps an Atkins-like diet would work for awhile, but then we'd adapt somehow - I find that moderation is probably best and an acknowledgment that as we age, our systems slow down and use less energy as before. One of the more simple pieces of advice I saw was to reduce your weekly caloric intake by 500 calories for each decade past 30 if you are sedentary to average in your activity. This takes into account the change in metabolism that occurs with aging.

The information regarding insulin resistance is good, however. Physiologically, insulin resistance can progress to Type II diabetes. I remember hearing about how old-age many times also included that disease along with arthritis, heart problems, etc. Again, it's the body adapting over time. Also, active adults usually were thinner in older age - usually they had been PE teachers or dance teachers or physical laborers.

In any case, thanks again for slogging through the book and reporting on it. Guess that's what you do all day (except for long bike rides and band gigs!) while retired :-)
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Old 10-25-2009, 12:40 PM   #33
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Overall, I think that the issue will stay unclear to most for a very long time- maybe our entire lifetimes. The effects of one or the other diet may be very strong on certain vulnerable individuals, but perhaps ambiguous over large populations, especially large genetically diverse populations. And the researchers are far from dis-interested. The leading lights in this CHD/diabetes/nutrition world are successful politico-medicos with large departments or labs to fund, heavy food industry and drug industry support, and long time committments and alliances. Don't expect any of these guys to flip.

For a real laugh read the summaries of studies that pee all over the dietary fat/ heart hypothesis. "It seems that this study was not clearly supportive of the association of dietary saturated fat with CHD...more study is needed."

Overall I think that what we consumers really should have learned from all this is not to trust so called clinical trials or diet studies, unless we go back and read the full text of the study itself. And even then, it may not be wise to make large changes to our routines, unless they are in a direction that goes along with with our tastes and preferences. After all, could it possibly be better to die at 82 having eaten food and exercised in a satisfying and esthetically attractive fashion, or at 82&3/4 having denied oneself every day of that long ardouous existence? For example, I like buttered pork rinds as an evening snack. It would take a lot to get me to give this up, not because I am convinced that it is health food (I'm not), but because I enjoy it and I really don't care. Unless it is really clear from long human experience that something is very likely to mess me up (heavy drinking, smoking, letting myself get very fat, sitting on the couch all day long, having sex with people likely to harbor nasty viruses), then I will go with what I like.

Here is a little discussion that will perhaps make those of us who love butter feel better about our choice. I don't think it proves much, other than if you are going to eat either butter or margarine, butter has shown its superiority- at least butter over whatever formulation of margarine was used in this study which we will likely never know. IMO it does prove that giving up our beloved butter for margarine has certainly not been proven to help anything, even with the specific isolated endpoint that was always claimed for margarine's superiority, "age-adjusted CHD incidence/1000 persons".

Whole Health Source: Butter vs. Margarine Showdown
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Old 10-25-2009, 12:54 PM   #34
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I’ll probably die with a smile on my face, ah, thinking, “most of all when I look back, I remember butter.” I think I eat a little less of it than I would margarine because I’m aware of what it is.
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:35 PM   #35
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It is the taste and the texture of butter that decides for me. The use of Margarine, also, makes a lousy loaf of bread.

On the other hand, I remember my mother, in the 1950's when margarine was "invented," buying that strange white stuff in a plastic bag with a little yellow tablet showing. The breaking of that tablet and spending (to a ten year old) a very long time squeezing the ingredients until the color was the same as butter probably did more to form my current aversion than anything.

What is "Crisco" anyway?
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:58 PM   #36
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What is "Crisco" anyway?
Crisco is an interesting story. It was originally formulated as a cheap and very saturated (firm) substitute for butter or lard in baking, especially pie crusts, etc.

It was largely hydrogenated cottonseed oil. It has recently been reformulated to avoid the known health problems of hydrogenated industrial oils.

Crisco - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 10-25-2009, 02:40 PM   #37
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Salt and ketchup on my cheesy french fries.

yummy!

heh heh heh - and then walk off some calories in the park - but only on days when there are some good looking chicks for scenery. Right? - what else is ER for. .

Postscript. I felt so guilty posting this I went by the healthy section of the Super after the park - Chicken Alfredo(Med diet), pack of raw veggies, and fresh cut apple/cheese dish and Arizona Diet Ice tea.

Saint's won(4th quarter) so maybe get bad with some shrimp/chicken gumbo tomorrow!
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:19 PM   #38
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Perhaps related to cutting back on carbs (because nutrition is all related somehow), here's an interesting article that popped up on my home page:

Fat liver, not belly, may be best indicator of health problems - USATODAY.com

Quote:
Using several different medical tests, the researchers found that people with fatty livers:

•Make more triglycerides, which are released from the liver into their bloodstream and can increase the risk of heart disease.

•Are more likely to be resistant to the action of their own insulin, meaning their bodies don't regulate blood sugar properly, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, Klein says. Over time, high sugar levels damage large and small blood vessels, leading to heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, amputations, blindness and kidney disease
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:27 PM   #39
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From all the research I have read, it's not so much the amount, but the type of fat that matters. I'm sticking mostly with the monounsaturated fats like omega-3 high canola oil, and heart-protective olive oil - especially the delicious latter!

It seems like it's been pretty well established that substituting starches (high carb-load starches) for fat in the attempt at achieving a low-fat diet is not a good idea as it appears to worsen metabolic syndrome in people already tending toward insulin resistance - especially in people who get little physical exercise. Plus there is this little insidious illogic that creeps in that it's OK to each as much as you want as long as it's "low-fat".

I'm not comfortable eating much saturated or dairy fat, but I will use it in very small amounts.

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Old 10-26-2009, 12:28 AM   #40
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I never could get used to the taste of margarine or its texture. I am glad I've stuck with butter all these years.
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