Archive for March, 2011

Low carb and colon cancer?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

In one of the sillier studies I’ve come across, this one was a published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was suggesting that a low carb diet could cause colon disease.

The problem with this study is that it was based on 17 subjects.  For 4 weeks?  And divided into 3 groups?  17 into 3 groups is 5.67 people per group.  5 people?

Please tell me that you’re not going to come up with ‘scientific’ data over 17 subjects and then generalize that it can cause colon cancer?  Wtf?  You can’t be serious?

But this is the problem with scientific studies and jumping to conclusions and then cyring ‘fire!’ without substantial evidence.  Simply because the headlines get attention.  And the majority of people probably don’t bother to read the details of the study.

This particular study would be even imply that they know without a shadow of a doubt what causes colon cancer.  That’d certainly be news to me.

The ironic part is even suggesting that an increase in hazardous metabolites in fecal material is somehow bad?  Perhaps the body is simply doing it’s job better, after all in this study they are analyzing what the body has effectively eliminated.

Personally, I think it’s totally irresponsible in the name of ‘clinical science’ to generalize and jump to conclusions about the harmful effects of eating a certain diet on such a small sample size and then distort the results.  It’s really fear mongering.

I think at best suggesting that increasing fiber might be a safer suggestion.  But that probably doesn’t sell as well though.

No link between saturated fat and heart attacks or stroke?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

In a recent study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 21 previous studies were examined and researchers could not find a link between saturated fat intake and an increase in heart attacks or strokes.

The old dogma of ‘saturated fat is bad for you’ seems to becoming less and less on an issue.  And actually entirely false.  The researchers in this study could not any evidence to suggest that a diet in lower saturated fat resulted in fewer heart attacks or strokes.

Perhaps the real issue is not saturated fat at all.  The studies showing a Western diet is ‘bad’ for us is clearly evident, even for us non-scientists.  But perhaps the focus on saturated fat being the problem is just plain wrong.  What if it were really refined carbohydrates, sugar, corn syrup and the copious quantities in which they are added to all the processed foods Americans eat?

Personally I believe there is no one diet that fits all.  Every body is different.  I also believe that many of these studies that spread fear and doom & gloom based on ‘may cause’ or ‘potential link’ are not helpful at all.  I suspect the guilt induced by spreading concepts like ‘eating saturated fat is bad for you’ is far worse than eating the saturated fat.

For me, I feel better eating protein, fats (animal and vegetable) and lots of vegetables.  With little to no refined carbohydrates, no preservatives and little to no dairy.   Seems to be working for me and only took me decades to figure out what’s working for my body.  Better late than never I guess.

So what’s for breakfast?  This morning it’s a 3 egg omelet with sausage and spinach.

Study shows different response in tissues with high carb vs lower carb diets

Friday, March 4th, 2011

As I understand it, a recent study by Nutrition and Metabolism has showed that a lower carb diet had a different effect in mice than did a higher carb diet.  And more specifically in the area of adipose tissue (fat) and skeletal tissue (muscle).  After eating lower carb, there was a higher activity in skeletal muscles than when compared to eating a higher carb diet which elicited a greater response in the adipose tissue.

However, not sure too much can be inferred from this particular study.  Protein intake was 3x higher percentage wise in the lower carb group and one would expect to see a higher muscle response as such.  And the lower carb diet fed to mice was remarkably similar to the Zone diet (40/30/30).  This study used a 35/35/30 ratio.  The higher carb diet used a ratio of 60% carbs, 12% protein and 28% fat.

One interesting thing is the higher carb group did also have a larger insulin response.  This is significant because one of the fundamental premises of low carb diets is to minimize the insulin response consistently over time.  The theory being that insulin helps the body convert and store extra carbohydrates into fat.  And it would seem that in mice, at least, that there might just be something to that theory.

I’ve been playing around with my ratio and am testing it.  I suspect everybody has a different ratio and figuring out that ratio for yourself seems like a good life long endeavor.