Seeking Community Support for My Personal Weight-Loss Goals
I hope I didn't come across as dismissing Paleo. It empirically works to reduce body fat. However, the premise that paleolithic man ate one diet is simply untrue. Here's a TED talk to get you started, if you're interested in researching this further-
I read Rob Wolff's book, and one of the first things I thought was "If man was unable after 10,000 years to adapt to a grain-based diet, when how were Northern Europeans able to adapt to consuming cow's milk in a fraction of that time?" Having some indigenous genetics myself, I have a rough time with dairy, unlike my Irish and German relatives. That's just one of the holes. Also, there is no long term evidence as to the effects of this diet on cancer rates, mortality, etc. Then there's the whole sustainability issue, which is probably minor to someone with a weight issue, but should still be addressed.
I think Wolff comes to some right conclusions from a wrong premise. That's actually not unusual, look at traditional Chinese medicine.
While I have not read the physicist you cite, I do not believe that eating a big breakfast "boosts metabolism". However, there is evidence that, with equal caloric intake, breakfast trumps dinner as to when you consume the most calories-
"The BF group showed greater weight loss and waist circumference reduction. Although fasting glucose, insulin, and ghrelin were reduced in both groups, fasting glucose, insulin, and HOMA-IR decreased significantly to a greater extent in the BF group. Mean triglyceride levels decreased by 33.6% in the BF group, but increased by 14.6% in the D group. Oral glucose tolerance test led to a greater decrease of glucose and insulin in the BF group. In response to meal challenges, the overall daily glucose, insulin, ghrelin, and mean hunger scores were significantly lower, whereas mean satiety scores were significantly higher in the BF group."
Different study, similar conclusions-
This study shows improvement in a number of indicators in hyperandrogenic women, which may have significance for diabetics/pre-diabetics-
I realize these are all newer studies.
A few more pro-breakfast studies. With a few more hours, I'll bet I could get more references than the anti-breakfast physicist…:)
Jokes aside, I totally agree, every individual is just that, and must rely to some degree on trial and error.
One thing is clear, overeating WILL make you fat, and one cannot always rely on how one feels to determine if they are consuming too many calories.
"renal impact HP (high protein) diets for limited periods is most likely different than that for more chronic consumption"
"HP consumption has been found, under various conditions, to lead to glomerular hyperfiltration and hyperemia; acceleration of chronic kidney disease (CKD); increased proteinuria; diuresis, natriuresis, and kaliuresis with associated blood pressure changes; increased risk for nephrolithiasis; and various metabolic alterations."
"HP diets have the potential for significant harm in individuals with CKD and should be avoided if possible. Because CKD is often a silent disease, all individuals should undergo a screening serum creatinine measurement and urinary dipstick test for proteinuria before the initiation of such a diet."
"New research supports the view that high-protein diets accelerate renal disease progression, suggests differential consequences based on protein source, and explores risk among defined sub-populations."
"The literature shows that in short-term clinical trials, animal protein causes dynamic effects on renal function, whereas egg white, dairy, and soy do not."
"Whether long-term consumption of a high-protein diet leads to kidney disease is uncertain."
As all these studies are post-2004, with one in 2013, I'd hesitate to call it renal function concerns "debunked". My sister-in-law developed kidney problems after about 2 years on the Atkin's diet, probably an underlying, previously undiagnosed condition. It resolved after a change in diet.
I was unaware that the Paleo diet had morphed. Probably a good thing, but people should eat as it suits them best regardless.
No, I don't find you dismissive, Tictac, and I appreciate you having a conversation with me.
I do, however, think you are still missinformed on Paleo if you think the premise of it is "paleolithic man ate one diet." Wolf talks at length about how the diets were varied, and points to modern day hunter gatherer societies as evidence of this – some getting most of their calories from tubers, others getting most of it from fat and protein, others getting it from a large quantity of dairy, etc. The point is to look at what the healthy groups have in common: no grains or legumes, no processed foods, no sky high amounts of omega-6 fats from things like vegetable oils. This is why he says Paleo is macronutrient agnostic – because people have demonstrated the ability to be healthy using a wide variety of different carb/fat/protein balances, as long as they either exclude grains or go to great lengths to prepare them in such a way as to minimize their toxicity.
I am familiar with the video you posted. Robb did a great response to it here that I recommend you look at: http://robbwolf.com/2013/04/04/debunking-paleo-diet-wolfs-eye-view/
At the end of that post, he also includes a Ted talk from Allan Savory, who addresses some of the issues of sustainability: [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI%5D
(Sorry if the embedded video is not working, having trouble with it…)
Basically, the pasture-grazing based system RESTORES top soil and nutrients, rather than depleting them like agriculture does in the production of grains and legumes. It also makes land more flood and drought resistant, prevents desertification, and can restore partially desertified land. Being familiar with Chris' Crash Course, we all know topsoil is another crucial resource that is being squandered by conventional practices.
Two problems come to mind with the first study you list. #1 – nobody was skipping breakfast. The low breakfast group was still eating 200 calories. According to Keifer, anything approaching 30 grams of carbs will totally ruin the beneficial affect. Sadly, we are not privy to the details of what the people in the study ate, but if they were feeding anything like a "standard" or "balanced" diet, it is likely they were approaching or exceeding this amount of carbs.
#2, the researchers report weight lost, not fat lost. Keifer points out in his book that eating breakfast will give you good weight loss, but not fat loss – breakfast (especially carbs at breakfast) maximizes the amount of muscle tissue lost. Whereas skipping breakfast and eating carbs later in the day does the opposite – minimizes muscle loss and maximizes fat loss. He also points out that this is a weakness in a very large number of diet studies, that they don't report specifically on body fat percentage, but instead report only weight. Studies that only report on weight are not worth a whole lot if one's goal is overall health and wellness and better body composition.
The second study you list also mentions "weight" instead of body composition, but its primary focus is on the hormone ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone.
A high carbohydrate and protein breakfast may prevent weight regain by reducing diet-induced compensatory changes in hunger, cravings and ghrelin suppression
The study basically says people who ate big breakfasts felt less hungry (not surprising). And the authors speculate that feeling less hungry will help you lose weight (might also be true, but they're still talking about weight instead of fat and ignoring the preservation of muscle).
If you read Keifer's info about skipping breakfast, you'll see there's evidence that ghrelin surges are beneficial because they produce a concomitant surge in growth hormone, which is a hugely beneficial hormone when it comes to retaining muscle mass and losing fat.
Ghrelin, the main hunger-control hormone32, is released in a pulsatile manner through the night with a peak occurring upon waking29-31, which incites hunger. Ghrelin not only causes hunger, but also potently stimulates growth hormone release33-44. As growth hormone levels raise the body releases more fat to be burned as fuel45-49 and decreases the destruction of protein for use as fuel50. Growth hormone levels peak roughly two hours after waking without breakfast51
As I mentioned, Paleo is not necessarily a high-protein lifestyle. Even Atkins does not have to be a high-protein experience.
There's also the question of what is considered "high." For purposes of studies on this subject, I suspect protein levels are far higher than that practiced by people on Paleo or Atkins, which advocate up to 1.5 grams per lb of lean body weight at maximum, for highly active people, if i recall correctly. Without access to the data for the studies you quoted, I can't address how much protein, or what types of protein were being used. Nor can I gauge the integrity of the studies (are they real, clinical studies, or just questionnaires? What do the researchers consider "high"? What assumptions are they making, and what are they leaving out? etc.)
I do know that one of the earliest studies that sparked this whole fear of protein consumption and kidney damage was incredibly flawed, feeding people extremely high levels of incomplete proteins from low-quality protein concentrates, exclusively, with no fat. It was a recipe for disaster, people died, and it made the headlines, but it was completely unlike anything any human could ever achieve eating a diet of real, unprocessed foods.
There is evidence that very high protein diets may accelerate pre-existing kidney damage. Atkins admitted that. That's not really the same issue though. If studies show intense exercise can damage the hearts of recent heart attack victims, would we all suddenly start saying that pumping blood is bad for the heart, or exercise is bad for the heart? Of course not. One of the functions the kidneys were made for is processing protein, like the heart processes blood and the lungs process oxygen. Anything is harmful in extreme enough excess, or during injury, including exercise or hyperventilation, but the amount of protein advocated by mainstream Paleo promoters is hardly at that level.
I'm sorry to hear of your sister-in-law's kidney issues while on a higher protein diet. I was born with only one kidney and as such, have been monitored closely by my doctors since my early teens, and I'm very sensitive to the topic. Doing Atkins 10 years ago, and low-carb Paleo now, improved my markers of kidney function rather than worsened them. It also eliminated my non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and brought my blood pressure to normal levels, while my triglycerides plunged. N=1.
Just quickly wanted to point out the article I posted about skipping breakfast cites over 80 sources.
Just a heads up. A lot of these so-called experts have developed expert level knowledge … but on a partial knowledge base. The need for a big breakfast or small breakfast or no breakfast depends, just as the need to not eat later at night or to eat later at night, upon metabolic type. Ditto for meals per day. Ditto for macronutrient ratios. For example, for many years, my son ate just one meal per day and did fine. He didn't want to eat more. He hit his growth spurt and then started consuming everything in sight. Benny Urquidez, world lightweight full contact karate champ, did the same one meal per day, with very heavy training. That's freaky but that's what worked for him. Myself, I would starve and be non-functional with that type of diet.
Many people who look into these nutrition and exercise studies are only familiar with the English literature. The Russians, for example, did extensive studies (where they didn't have the restrictions we do in this country on human subject experimentation) on the breakfast issue and found that consuming a large, high protein breakfast was the most optimal for the largest percentage of their populace (i.e. with particular interest in high level military function).
The point is to look at what the healthy groups have in common: no grains or legumes, no processed foods, no sky high amounts of omega-6 fats from things like vegetable oils. This is why he says Paleo is macronutrient agnostic – because people have demonstrated the ability to be healthy using a wide variety of different carb/fat/protein balances, as long as they either exclude grains or go to great lengths to prepare them in such a way as to minimize their toxicity.
Growth hormone levels peak roughly two hours after waking without breakfast51
No humans are born with the ability to consume and digest raw grains or legumes, nor do they ever have it later in life. It is only through processing that these items become consumable, and even then, they are far from ideal.
Some interesting points you've made here Kevin. Regarding the first point, I agree with the majority of what you are saying but perhaps with slight variations. For example, certain sects of ancient Chinese Taoists were some of the healthiest people (in body, mind, and spirit) that ever lived and they consumed grains such as rice. Also, the Japanese who consume natto (made from fermented soybeans) are very healthy. There are other reasons involved for their health but we have to be careful with blanket statements.
Regarding the second point, I have no research to back it up but my personal feeling is that eating breakfast first thing in the morning is not optimal. Traditionally, people have worked first thing in the morning and then, as their hunger rises, they will have breakfast. That may coincide with your two hour growth hormone peak after waking. For myself, I've found that, when my schedule allows and when I have the discipline, I do extremely well with progressively phased intensity morning training. Then, when my training is complete and my appetite has peaked, I have breakfast. Can I say if it applies to everyone else? No, but I suspect it may apply to many. The difficulty for most people is, they go to bed late, get up as late as they can, and hurry through their pre-work morning wolfing down a quick and substandard breakfast or skipping it altogether, none of which I think is healthy in the long term.
Regarding the third point, there is healthy "processing" such as certain types of cooking (such as steaming certain veggies noted below) and fermentation (of foods such as dairy for yogurt and kefir or soybeans for natto) and there is unhealthy processing (that produces the majorities of the foods in the SAD). Raw is good in many cases but not all. We do have to consider such things as phytates, oxalates, glycoalkaloids, etc. in plant foods that require cooking to be de-activated so as to improve the health and the digestibility of these foods. A very common mistake I see people making, for example, is eating raw broccoli and cauliflower. These foods are goitrogens if they are not cooked and will decrease thyroid activity. Also, we do better with dairy with a closer amino acid profile to mother's milk. Hence, goat's milk is healthier than cow's milk. And fermented forms such as yogurt, kefir, certain cheeses, etc., tend to be healthier than unfermented forms. That being said, my feeling is that most folks will be better off with decreasing or eliminating dairy and grains, DEPENDING UPON THEIR METABOLIC TYPE. Some will have sensitivity to dairy, for example, almost on par with someone who has an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting. For them, just a trace of dairy can provoke symptoms. Others do fine with small amounts but if amounts are increased, they will become symptomatic. You'll see the same range of sensitivities to foods in the nightshade family, again DEPENDING UPON INDIVIDUAL GENETIC AND METABOLIC TYPE.
In addition, to BALANCE, another one of my favorite words is AWARENESS. When one truly becomes self aware (physically, psychologically, spiritually, etc.), one becomes much more sensitive to whether a particular food is good for you or bad for you, REGARDLESS of what some of the so-called authorities say. These authorities have been wrong many times in the the past, many are wrong in the present, and more are sure to be wrong in the future.
Watching the proponents of various weight loss/healthier living plans present and defend their ideas has brought to mind a thought I want to share. I particularly want to encourage people who are for the first time seriously attempting to lose weight and/or to improve their health through better eating. There are as many body types and mental states as there are plans and theories about how all this works. The goal is to find something that works for you physically and mentally and then pursue it.
As an example: both my wife and I were overweight going into our fifties. I wanted to shed pounds from a more or less vanity position (I looked like Santa Claus in family pictures). My wife became pre-diabetic. This is a disease that has ravaged her family and the test results immediately got her attention. Our internist advised her to lower her weight. She continues to eat as she always had but in deliberately smaller portions. Over a period of several months she lost nearly thirty pounds and has kept them off for over two years now.
I have never been able to make a dent in my weight by attempting to eat smaller portions. I went on a low carb diet, where the amount you eat is less important than what you eat. I not only began to lose weight but after a week I noticed that swelling in my hands, feet and ankles went away and my arthritis pain lessened markedly. Seven or eight months into this program we went on a vacation where I totally went off the diet for fourteen days. However, I lost weight as we were in a city where we walked everywhere. As a result I added a walking component to my life and lost weight even faster than just with the diet. I eventually lost almost seventy pounds and maintained that loss for over seven years. Mentally it was much easier for me to stay away from certain foods and to exercise than it was to constantly watch portions.
We are friends with a couple who participate together in Weight Watchers as they approach their fifties. They have maintained healthy weights for six or seven years by staying with that program.
The point: There are many different body types, metabolisms and mental states. These three things combine in each of us in an almost unique way for every individual. Find what works for you and don’t be discouraged if you have to try several different regimes to find the one that works. Don’t get discouraged by the competing ideas and theories.
To Adam: I am forty-eight hours with only two ounces of carbs (Rice in a sushi role). Two nights with no double bourbon night cap. To Jan: I did skip breakfast today. I promise to try again tomorrow. Thanks for being there.
Indeed, they are all different.
Here is an old classic I think every medical professional and interested lay people should acquaint themselves with, Biochemical Individuality.
And your reference to different mental states is important. The mental perception of the health or lack thereof contained in a food can be very powerful, especially for the 80% of the population that is highly suggestible. There have been cases of individuals having, unknowingly, consumed foods that were taboo in their culture. They were fine afterwards. When they were informed long periods of time afterwards (days, months, or even years) that they, unbeknownst to them, had consumed these forbidden foods, they became sick and died. As Edgar Cayce said, mind is the builder (or the destroyer, as the case may be).
The Russians, for example, did extensive studies (where they didn't have the restrictions we do in this country on human subject experimentation)
Leave it to the Russians! Haha
The need for a big breakfast or small breakfast or no breakfast depends, just as the need to not eat later at night or to eat later at night, upon metabolic type. Ditto for meals per day. Ditto for macronutrient ratios.
I very much agree, ao. Well, we may or may not agree completely on the details of metabolic typing and whatnot, but I agree people are different and need to do what works for them. n=1. That's why when Adam mentioned that he was already accustomed to not eating until around noon, and that he figured he should work to change that, I wanted to point out that he does not necessarily have to work against himself there, and that there may actually be benefit to keeping that element the way it is.
There was a time when the idea of skipping breakfast would have seemed crazy to me to. Or at least, not doable. That was when I was metabolically more glucose optimized because I ate mostly carbs. It was also when I was more leptin and insulin resistant. When I went low carb for a while, and became fat-adapted, my hunger became a lot less frequent and much lower in severity. There started being days where it actually felt good to me to sort of ride the edge of mild hunger for a while and eat my first meal in the afternoon. Much later I read Keifer's perspective, and started learning more about intermittent fasting, and found it very interesting. There are quite a few people now advocating keeping one's eating confined to a window of around 8 hours, which is something I may experiment with in the future.
Adam, you got bombed with a lot of advice, most of it good. Major kudos on taking the bull by the horns on your fitness, BTW.
I noticed there's a bit of advice in this thread that is simply not backed by good science, i.e. not eating breakfast and "Paleo" dieting. I'm not saying that the Paleo diet isn't effective (it is), but the foundational arguments are unsound.
Without trying to step on anyone's toes, whenever you read material in books or in articles you may find on the net, be sure to check references. If there are none, or they are limited, it's actually quite easy to research what is out there academically on the subject. Simply go to google, enter your search phrase followed by "ncbi". This will take you to the vast library of the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Here you will be able to read the abstracts of studies done around the world on virtually every subject you can think of related to biotech. I have found it incredibly useful for my research into exercise, nutrition and farming.
After spending some time on NCBI and PubMed, I've found that many articles on nutrition and exercise that appear on the net are seriously flawed; sometimes they are dead wrong, sometimes they simply do not reflect the fact that there is no concensus on the issue they are writing about, and leave out data that does not support their conclusions.
Unless you are used to reading highly technical papers, you may find some of the language a bit daunting at first. I certainly did! But I quickly expanded my vocabulary to accommodate.
If I can throw my own personal advice in here, it would be find what works for YOU, both in the diet and exercise arena, and then make it habit. Especially where exercise is concerned, there is a wide variation in response from individual to individual, and humans are highly adaptable where diet is concerned. Even the best programs fail when the participant no longer complies.
Looking forward to seeing your progress!
Just a heads up. There's a lot of junk in the literature too. A lot of it. Plus, despite supposedly being international, I've found that they ignore a lot of what isn't in the English language. I've found articles from France, Portugal, the Philippines, Eastern Europe, the old Soviet bloc, etc. that weren't in these sources. Often, they were key articles. I also suspect that there could be some censoring going on. I found this in the case of serratiopeptidase. I can't absolutely without a doubt prove it (just as I can't absolutely without a doubt prove gold and silver market manipulation) but I'm pretty dang sure it's occurring.
Plus, reading an abstract is not the same as reading an article. For example, when you read an article and find that the data sets are too nice and neat and then find out a year later that the data in the article was fudged, it comes as no surprise. But to those who read only the abstract, it would comes as a surprise. Also, reading only the abstract of any article may give one impression but when you dig into the details and data, you'll discover flaws in methodology or errors in reasoning that could lead to the exact opposite conclusion of the abstract.
Good stuff, ao.
Another area of interest for me is in the research of Dr. Weston A. Price. I find the Paleo and Price views to be very similar with each other, except the Price group advocates eating grains, legumes and dairy only when they are prepared by soaking/sprouting/and/or fermenting, for people who tolerate them well. This would include the natto you mentioned.
There's an organic chemist named Mat Lalonde, who Robb Wolf jokingly refers to as "The Kraken" because it seems like every time he pops up, he lays waste to entire swathes of Paleo land. Mat did a pretty fascinating talk here: http://vimeo.com/27570335 where he hands out a Paleo smackdown, but also touches on the subject of anti-nutrients. If I recall correctly, I think it was in this talk, or possibly a different one of Mat's, where he explains that the grains and legumes, when prepared as mentioned above, probably don't have any more anti-nutrients than other common foods that are allowed on Paleo. I think the Paleo response to this point is that preparing the grains and legumes this way takes a lot of extra time and energy, and still results in food that has less nutritional density than meats, veggies, nuts, seeds, and tubers, so why bother? To which the Pricers respond: "Because they are delicious!"
I know that I react badly to gluten, so I don't want to consume whatever small amounts may or may not remain after proper preparation, so I choose not to eat it at all.
Regarding the third point, there is healthy "processing" such as certain types of cooking (such as steaming certain veggies noted below) and fermentation
Yes. When I said "processing" I did not mean it to come with the baggage of negative connotations it often has in health-food culture; I meant it to include the soaking/sprouting/fermenting, as well as the removal of the bran from rice that is done by machinery now a'days.
Raw is good in many cases but not all. We do have to consider such things as phytates, oxalates, glycoalkaloids, etc. in plant foods that require cooking to be de-activated so as to improve the health and the digestibility of these foods.
Yes, very much agree. I was using the comparison of raw mother's milk to raw grains to make a point about milk being easier for humans to adapt to than grains, in response to something Tictac asked. Another thing I've heard Mat Lalonde talk about is the natural anti-nutrients in a lot of common vegetables. He cooks the everloving heck out of the veggies he eats.