Kindke has a brilliant post up on the futility of caloric restriction as a weight loss strategy. What I really love about his blog is that he always hammers out the pathophysiological mechanisms of his claims in great detail unlike, say, fat bored housewives who believe in this thing called Common Sense so instead of getting bogged down on the complexity of the human endocrine system, they choose to simplify matters and go around spamming comment sections of various blogs with their palaver about how CICO must surely work as obesity therapy since they managed to rid themselves of their ultra troublesome 20 vanity lbs by undereating and moving their bored fat ass a bit more.
The Woo did a very interesting discussion on the role of immunity in chronic illness, including mental illness. Personally, I am a cautious proponent of Ewald’s hypothesis which basically says that infections cause chronic disease (interesting article here if anyone’s interested) but I probably won’t be blogging about this much if at all in order to avoid sounding like Jane.
Finally, the last paleo blogger still left standing seemingly uncontaminated by extremely foolish ideas sweeping across paleo lands, J. Stanton, presented at the AHS 2012 last summer. His talk has finally been posted online. Reader melancholyaeon alerted us to its existence days ago and we’ve had some scattered discussion of it here and here but I do appreciate that not everyone has the time or the patience to wade through 100-comment threads.
It’s an excellent albeit short presentation which puts the food reward hypothesis into proper perspective. The talk was made all the better by Dr. Guyenet’s nervous flailing and attempted (but deliciously failed) smackdown during the Q&A session.
The way I see it, there are two sides to this debate on the so-called “safe starches”. Just like Kressers and Jaminets of this world find it surreal that we’re having a debate about whether glucose is a toxin, I find it surreal that we’re having a debate about whether obese people should be consuming potatoes. To summarise the two sides of this wretched debate:
1) The Paleotard side says that there are some Pacific Islanders who have been eating carbs with impunity for centuries with no resulting obesity or disease which disproves the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis of disease. The Paleotards have also gleefully noticed that many fat people spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about feeding or engaging in feeding, hence they speculate that fatness must be caused by food addiction, specifically tasty food addiction. To alleviate obesity, Paleotards counsel fat people to eat a macronutrient agnostic diet of Food That Came Out of the Earth Unprocessed but for all practical intents and purposes a punishing and self-flagellating anhedonic diet of plain boiled potatoes with a maximum of one allowed herb/spice/seasoning per meal. This, they think, should downwardly readjust fat people’s (non-existent) hypothalamic weight setpoint which was broken by excessive consumption of tasty food in the first place.
2) The LC Hezbollah side says that obesity, once established, necessitates carbohydrate restriction because obesity is an endocrine disease characterised by a defective glucose metabolism and faulty insulin signalling. Most people on the LC Hezbollah side accept that the hedonic value of food plays a role in our food choices, they just reckon that tasty food wasn’t invented in 1980 AD which is when the obesity epidemic started.
To me anyway the key problem with Guyenet’s ideas is this: the hedonic impact of food isn’t some inherent property of the food itself, it’s a function of your endocrine status at the time of thinking about this food. Think about this for one second and you will realise that it’s true. This is ESPECIALLY true if you are metabolically diseased because unlike normal people who experience this thing called fullness and resulting aversion to food, fat people are seemingly never quite full and even when they are, many of them get hungry again 1.5-2 hours later when the dreaded reactive hypoglycaemia strikes. You will also note that obese people generally think about food all the time while lean people generally don’t. Neurobiologists think that this is due to, let’s just call it what it is, folks, mental illness (food addiction), whereas those of us who subscribe to the view that obesity is an endocrine disorder think that it’s more likely that food obsession develops as a result of awful things like BEING CONSTANTLY HUNGRY due to, say, hyperinsulinemia which results in shunting of too many of your eaten calories into storage. In such circumstances, you’re no doubt going to find all sorts of food really rewarding all the time and eat lots of it. I also find it really interesting that modifying the metabolic milieu of a morally defective mentally ill obese person by, for example, placing them on a ketogenic diet can in many cases eliminate these life-long dysfunctional personalty traits and behaviours within hours or days, i.e., turn a morally defective person into a righteous person.
An excellent review paper recently appeared in Nature Reviews Neuroscience critiquing the food addiction model of obesity. Believe it or not, there are Real Scientists in the Research Community who disagree with Guyenet’s ideas, not just “the likes of” J. Stanton. I spoke about this paper on Hyperlipid’s epic 350-comment thread, the thread which somehow failed to appear on Paleo Drama (an honest and unfortunate omission, I am sure) even though it gave Dr. Guyenet the mistaken impression that his life was somehow in danger. Anyhow, I was delighted to see all the people contacting me for the full text of this paper because unfortunately due to the moral bankruptcy of science, most peer-reviewed publications are behind a paywall so laypeople are generally forced to get their information from morally bankrupt people like Guyenet who present a very skewed view of the state of the art in a particular field. It’s very easy to Baffle With Bullshit when you’re the one with privileged access to the literature while most of your readers have no way of judging whether your pronouncements are accurate or representative of the big picture.
I am sure that this landmark publication will not be overlooked by the great impartial bloggers-scientists, enlighteners of the great unwashed, Dr. Stephan Guyenet and Ms. Evelyn Kocur.