Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
11 Jan

Weekend Link Love – Edition 32

Do me a personal favor by following this link and selecting “Six Until Me” as the Best Patient’s Blog of 2008. My friend Kerri runs this great site and I think she deserves to win (check out her site and judge for yourself or just take my word for it). And check out her husband’s fitness site, I Look Like Fit, while you’re at it.

You may remember the misguided buzz about low carb diets affecting short term memory, but what about high sugar diets affecting long term memory?

Did you eat too many Christmas cookies? Having a hard time overcoming that holiday weight gain? The good folks over at NPR explain how overeating effects the body.

Artificial sweeteners are back in the news (and on TV Commercials) again. Truvia is the newest lab brew to hit the streets, but this one may have some merit. FitSugar has the scoop on Coke’s new artificial sweetener.

How soon should your baby go Primal? As soon as possible! There are just as many crazy theories about baby diets as there are about adult ones. It’s about time for someone to debunk those baby food myths. (thanks for the link, Camille!)

If you’re a list freak (or an exercise freak), read Happy Lists’ classic post on 20 creative ways to get exercise.

From Yahoo! News, a new study claims exercise won’t cure obesity. This is right up my alley. As you may know, I am fond of saying 80% of your body composition is determined by your diet.

Joel Stein of the L.A. Times makes an apt connection between yuppies and peanut allergies.

And finally, bread is no good for your body, even if it comes in a weird shape.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Interesting reads here, thanks so much!

    Mara wrote on January 11th, 2009
  2. Rest assured I threw in a vote for the blog. The yuppies peanut article was great, some very cool links!

    Chris - Zen to Fitness wrote on January 11th, 2009
  3. About the NPR article. Here’s a quote:

    “If mice eat a high-fat diet, they actually wake up during what is nighttime for them and eat,” says Dr. Joe Bass, a Northwestern University endocrinologist and molecular biologist who has published numerous studies about the body clock and mice. “It would be as if you were waking up every night during holiday season and eating all the sweets in your refrigerator.”

    Bass found that among the mice who got fat, the weight gain resulted directly from food consumed during what would normally be their sleeping time. This suggests that people who eat less fat will sleep better, and they are not likely to engage in nighttime bingeing, he says.

    Question: How does this square with what we have been reading on this blog about the benefits of eating a low carb diet? My understanding is that fat is not the enemy.

    Earl Cannonbear wrote on January 11th, 2009
  4. Yet more mixed messages.

    From the Yahoo article we read:

    “Diet is a more likely explanation than physical activity expenditure for why Chicago women weigh more than Nigerian women, Luke said. She noted the Nigerian diet is high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat and animal protein. By contrast, the Chicago diet is 40 percent to 45 percent fat and high in processed foods. ”

    Granted, a nod is given to processed foods as being problematic but it is not emphasized while high fat and protein is pointed out as culprits leading to obesity.

    I have a suggestion Mark. Please stop linking to these mainstream sources for dietary advise because we should all know by now that they are the enemy of good health and the cause of our national obesity epidemic.

    Earl Cannonbear wrote on January 11th, 2009
  5. I agree with Earl. Its great to post links which might present views which are contrary to Primal ideas. But I think they should be supplemented with a reasoned critique.

    In both the NPR and Yahoo! News articles, a case was made against Primal ideas (against high fat and protein diets, pro carbs), based purely on simplistic confirmatory correlations. You can confirm any hypothesis in a million ways, and most of the conventional literature uses this to justify any number of hypotheses on health and wellness.

    Most people on the PB are living examples who contradict the message of most of these studies which rely on correlations to confirm existing dogma. And, for me, this renders these studies rather useless. So it is strange to see links to two such studies on this list. It kind of waters down the content in my opinion.


    Apurva Mehta wrote on January 11th, 2009
  6. Thanks for the great links. I off to do more reading on the memory/diet connection.

    sherre wrote on January 11th, 2009
  7. Thank you for your comments Apurva and Earl. The fact of the matter is that despite the mainstream media getting many things wrong there are points that can be gleaned from both the NPR and Yahoo! articles. Sometimes you have to read between the lines. My thoughts are below, but I’d like to add that I do appreciate your comments and will be sure to qualify future links in order to avoid confusion or will simply not include them in the first place.

    In the case of the Yahoo! article, the point to be taken is that “evidence is beginning to accumulate that dietary intake may be more important than energy expenditure.” That is, you can workout all you want, but if your diet isn’t right your going to have a difficult time managing your body composition (read staying thin). You take issue with the diets represented. I’d say that neither diet is ideal, and neither approximate the Primal diet. In their example they note that within their study sample a diet that was “high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat and animal protein” was better at keeping the weight off than a diet of processed foods. So what? All this suggest (assuming everything else is equal) is that a poor high carb diet may be better than a moderately high fat (40-45%) diet comprised of junk food. Yes, this study would have been more compelling if something closer to the Primal diet had been included in the study, but, as many that follow this stuff can attest to, that sort of thing is difficult to come by. We take what we can get.

    In the case of the NPR article, do you wake up in the middle of the night and binge? Maybe mice have this problem, but I’m unaware of this being a major widespread problem among humans.

    It says, “Bass found that among the mice who got fat, the weight gain resulted directly from food consumed during what would normally be their sleeping time. This suggests that people who eat less fat will sleep better, and they are not likely to engage in nighttime bingeing, he says.”

    To me this is a gross over-generalization.

    I found the following two paragraphs much more compelling:

    “Overeating “sets your body chemistry sort of into red alert,” says Dr. Sasha Stiles, a family physician who specializes in obesity at Tufts Medical Center. “The kinds of hormone and metabolic processes that normally will try to metabolize food will go into overdrive to make sure they get rid of this huge food load,” Stiles explains.

    This means that much of what you eat will be stored as fat rather than converted into healthy byproducts.

    Excess food can trigger an unfortunate cycle: The pancreas produces extra insulin to process the sugar load and remove it from the bloodstream. It doesn’t stop producing insulin until the brain senses that blood sugar levels are safe. But by the time the brain stops insulin production, often too much sugar is removed. Low blood sugar can make you feel tired, dizzy, nauseous, even depressed — a condition often remedied by eating more sugar and more carbohydrates.

    This feeling of low blood sugar sends many people after more carbohydrates, says Stiles, and they go for high-sugar foods to bring their blood sugar back up to normal and make them feel better.

    Sending Mixed Messages

    This cycle of overeating can lead to a yo-yo effect.

    If you consistently overeat, you’ll trigger changes in your stomach, the doctor says. The neurological tissue at the top of the stomach, which signals the brain that the stomach is full, starts to malfunction.

    “When you overeat time and time again, this electrical conduit pathway gets tired and it doesn’t tell your brain that you’re full anymore,” says Stiles. “It may send abnormal signals and you may not even realize you’re full.”

    If you drink lots of icy beverages with your food, the mixed messages to your body only worsen, she says. “When you drink cold liquids, your stomach will start contracting and it will massage the food that will again quickly leave [the] stomach to the rest of the gastrointestinal track.”

    This means your stomach will be empty sooner than normal, and you will be hungrier sooner.”

    I’d like to add that, as you alluded to Apurva, we are happy to publish articles and research contrary to our opinions. This isn’t about cherry picking articles to bolster our claims. It is about offering readers a wide variety of material and trying to sort out the quality information from misinformation (or even disinformation). In fact, if it weren’t for these links the problems presented in these articles may not have been discussed at all.

    This dialogue we are having is one of the beauties of having a blog. We can make claims and charges, criticize each others stances, offer up new research and investigate it, and in the end I think we’ll all be better off for it.

    Thanks again.

    Mark Sisson wrote on January 11th, 2009
  8. Thanks for taking the time to provide your perspective on these articles Mark! The articles in combination with your perspective on them are truly valuable. It offers us yet another opportunity to learn about the subtleties of the issues surrounding health and wellness.

    Thanks once more,

    Apurva Mehta wrote on January 12th, 2009

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