November 01 2019

Weekly Link Love—Episode 53

By Mark Sisson
38 Comments

Research of the Week

When postmenopausal, moderate energy restriction preserves far more muscle and bone than severe energy restriction.

Elevated levels of fat oxidation induced by a high-fat, low-carb diet do not impair 5k race performance.

Kids with ADHD and autism tend to have lower levels of vitamin B12 and higher levels of homocysteine.

There’s no direct archaeological evidence that Neanderthals did the classic Spanish cave art.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 385: The Primal Endurance Revolution: Host Brad Kearns and I chat about how Primal Endurance principles have changed the endurance game—and how they can revolutionize your health and performance.

Episode 386: Catharine Arnston: Host Elle Russ chats with Catharine Arnston, CEO and founder of ENERGYbits—a company making nutrient-dense algae tablets.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Media, Schmedia

Sex, drugs, and late nights.

Interesting Blog Posts

How antibiotic resistance may be spreading.

Could near infrared light help people with Alzheimer’s disease?

Social Notes

My new gym routine: less gym time, more playing.

Everything Else

At this point, what doesn’t the sun affect?

Turns out The Mouse and the Motorcycle was non-fiction.

Horse hero.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Meat deal I think you should take advantage of: Butcher Box is offering a free turkey to everyone who places their first order.

I’m not surprised: Humans aren’t great at forecasting longterm existential catastrophes.

Big if true: Small study finds that vitamin D supplementation improves cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Big topic: Untangling the complex relationship between ketogenic dieting and gut bacteria.

Finding I haven’t seen advertised: The connection between ALS and statins.

Question I’m Asking

Should carnivores eat honey?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Oct 26– Nov 1)

Comment of the Week

“Peter Attia has a great commentary on Game Changers:

https://peterattiamd.com/191027/

– For those who want to hear more about the movie. Thanks, jeremy.

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38 thoughts on “Weekly Link Love—Episode 53”

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  1. “When postmenopausal, moderate energy restriction preserves far more muscle and bone than severe energy restriction.”

    My first thought was “well, duh” and then I read it more closely. They’re seriously talking about a VLCD, which is nearly unheard of in today’s obesity treatment. It was more popular before the 1950s, where women in particular would be told to get bed rest and subsist on 200 calories a day. Later, calculations would be used such as 6 calories per kg of body weight, which was adjusted every two weeks (downward).

    I actually did that one, self imposed, using a protein shake and vitamins. (poor man’s VLCD) I lost 80 lbs. But it came back. Losing lots of weight permanently is much harder than keeping it off in the first place. I don’t recommend it. The key phrase in the article is “physical activity was encouraged but not supervised.”

    On a VLCD (very low calorie diet), you don’t even feel like you have the energy to blink your eyes. It’s a cinch that few if any of the “severe restriction” women did any exercise. With 1g/kg of protein, that’s actually a high amount. For me it would be around 180g protein a day right now. My BMI varies from 36-40 depending on how well I’m doing with activity and eating right.

    Severe restriction states it’s 65%-75% of daily calories. If I assume the basic calories per day to be 1800 calories, then 65% of it is 1170. That’s very close to the amount needed at 180 kg, 1080. But they may have used BMR which would make that more generous. Anyway that puts the protein calories at 720 per day. Leaving about 400 calories for energy or vitamins. Since the world leans toward carbs it’s probably vitamins and 90g carbs.

    One of the most harmful effects of this is fat starvation. You only take in vitamins as dietary fats. And all the fat soluble vitamins you need for your bones are hard to absorb without much fat in your gut.

    Another effect they should’ve reported on is whether or not the women kept their gall bladder in a 5 year followup. Nearly always when the gall bladder goes into stasis, and then comes out of it, there are problems. And the only tool doctors have is to remove it. If we had more options than surgery for this it would really improve lives, and options for obesity control. Hardly any studies on obesity talk about this risk, but ask any gastroenterologist. It’s old news to them.

    While I think the end result is a bit obvious, and the reason for the result is obvious to me, I don’t argue with the conclusion. I think it’s best that if a person wants to do a VLCD they should do it voluntarily, not be talked into it by a doctor. It takes a lot of mental will to do it. And if the end result is the weight comes back and you lost your GB, and your bones are weaker, then all sorts of finger pointing can result. I have nobody to blame for my GB loss but myself and that’s how it should be. I took a risk. I own that.

    I was thinking, “Can anything be worse than being this big?” And I did a lot of soul searching because I knew all the risks weren’t accounted for. I decided to own those risks before I started. I wish it had worked but it didn’t. I’m content with knowing that I did it, I really tried, with no excuses.

  2. “Turns out The Mouse and the Motorcycle was non-fiction.”

    Hmm… what about traffic jams? Rats with road rage!

    I love rats and for once I read a study that didn’t feature them being tortured or killed. Thank you for that.

    There’s a well known psychological principle involved here, that if you learn to do something to a certain standard of competence, you increase your self confidence. When I first encountered blacksmithing at a summer camp, I was hooked for life. Part of the reason was that it was dangerous. You could seriously hurt someone else in the class. So it instantly made you cautious, and successfully not burning your classmates gave you confidence. The teacher didn’t even harp on it. Kids just naturally default to not being jerks. Anyone who tended toward that behavior was tossed out for a day. But I only saw one person even make a joke like that.

    I think you can’t have self reliance without facing a risk or holding some power in your hands. But my perspective is obviously different from the average person. By the time I was 10 I had faced most of the major psych stressors. Really glad my mom was there for me. I’m not suggesting kids should learn without guidance. Just that overprotection is not helpful.

    Driving is something dangerous that we do, if we’re good at it and it doesn’t terrify us to drive (it scares some people) then it can be a force for emotional calm. I think it’s appropriate to question the wisdom of self driving cars.

  3. “When postmenopausal, moderate energy restriction preserves far more muscle and bone than severe energy restriction.”

    The article also stated that “decreases in whole-body lean mass and thigh muscle area were proportional to total weight loss, and there was no difference in muscle (handgrip) strength between groups.” It also stated that “Severe energy restriction had no greater adverse effect on relative whole-body lean mass or handgrip strength compared with moderate energy restriction and was associated with 2-fold greater weight and fat loss over 12 months.”

    The only reason that the severe group lost more lean body mass than the moderate group was that they lost more weight overall, including “whole-body fat mass…abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue…and visceral adipose tissue.”

    Bone density, however was not proportional to overall weight loss. Bone density loss was more pronounced in the severe group.

    The ADHD information is interesting. As an adult with ADD, which is really the Inattentive subtype of ADHD, and the parent of a Combined type ADHD adult daughter and Inattentive type ADHD teen daughter, that information may be useful. I don’t know if lowering homocysteine via increased B vitamins will help or not, but it’s certainly worth a try.

  4. The review of Game Changers pretty much sums up my impression of it. Every example of beef was always a hamburger or other sandwich. Of course vegetables are better than that. I haven’t been able to train in the martial art I used to do since I got serious about eating Paleo and keto but most of what I’ve experienced healthwise is the same as the benefits they claim for the plant based diet.

  5. Speaking of crackers, we have been enjoying soaked seed crackers, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, and flax. We process the sunnies and pumpkin seeds then mix with the others, add, salt pepper and garlic, then into the dehydrator for a couple of days. Do try this at home?

  6. Foods I’m experimenting with: Garlic. Two research articles I’ve found show that 1) testosterone is increased by mass garlic consumption, but even better, one shewed that 2) luteinizing hormone is increased tremendously in rats. My own experience shows that to be true through “performance”and body composition.

    Now I know why my Italian friends have a strong libido! LOL

  7. You talked about drinking a quart of kefir to reduce anxiety. Do you make or buy your kefir? Can you share a recipe or brand name?
    Also, how do I find/see your response?
    Thank you!

  8. Hey Mark just read your Sunday , Had to let you know that those onions and crackers also work very well with peanut butter or almond butter although you wouldn’t think so, try it before you You dismiss it 🙂

  9. Nappa cabbage stalks are also cupped shaped and a make good replacement for crackers. Plus the leafy end can be used for wraps or chopped up and soaked in (real) pickle brine to make a different kind of sauerkraut

  10. I think the talk about anxiety missed the mark today. Calling some anxiety “justified” while other people’s is “neurosis“ makes it sound like Mark is trying hard to proves he’s not “neurotic“ and meanwhile placing some solid judgement on those who do have “unjustified” anxiety. From a anthropological perspective anxiety serves many purposes. I think this is a fascinating topic and a quick google search showed me that there’s a lot of research out there about just this. Instead of slighting those with anxiety, I’d love to see Mark spend sometime looking into this!

    1. Here’s a clip from on of the articles I started reading this morning. Mark, I would love a piece on anxiety from a primal perspective! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181631/

      Modern times are not like the times in which our ancestors evolved. The environment, of evolutionary adaptation (EEA) usually refers to the habitat of our immediate ancestors who are thought, to have been hunter-gatherers living in bands of about 50 adults, but is really an abstraction which covers all environmental influences going back over three hundred million years to the common ancestor of humans and present-day reptiles. The “mismatch” between now and the EEA is thought to be one cause of psychopathology. “Bad news” is a source of anxiety. We now have daily, or even hourly, access to the bad news of six billion people, more than could be generated by a hunter-gatherer band. Moreover, in the EEA, bad news was probably discussed and so shared with other group members, whereas modern man tends to watch it, or listen to it on his own, or at least without comment.

  11. Been making my own crackers with grated mozzarella, flaxseed, and nutritional yeast, mix all together and put on parchment paper microwave 2 to 3 minutes. When cool I break them up into pieces.

  12. Isn’t there a relatively large amount of carbs in kefir, when consumed in quantity?

    1. I believe the fermentation process greatly reduces the carb content but I could be wrong.

      1. The unflavored/unsweetened kefirs are not bad. One quart is about 20g carbs, 30g fat and 30g protein for 600 kcal for plain goat milk kefir from Trader Joe’s.

  13. Here’s a clip from on of the articles I started reading this morning on anxiety. Mark, I would love a piece on anxiety from a primal perspective! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181631/

    Modern times are not like the times in which our ancestors evolved. The environment, of evolutionary adaptation (EEA) usually refers to the habitat of our immediate ancestors who are thought, to have been hunter-gatherers living in bands of about 50 adults, but is really an abstraction which covers all environmental influences going back over three hundred million years to the common ancestor of humans and present-day reptiles. The “mismatch” between now and the EEA is thought to be one cause of psychopathology. “Bad news” is a source of anxiety. We now have daily, or even hourly, access to the bad news of six billion people, more than could be generated by a hunter-gatherer band. Moreover, in the EEA, bad news was probably discussed and so shared with other group members, whereas modern man tends to watch it, or listen to it on his own, or at least without comment.

  14. I recently tasted the oysters crown prince brand from Trader Joe’s that you recommend. I’m not a fan of the texture (though my 3 year old loves them), any tips for consuming them? Hot sauce maybe? I would love to consume kefir often. I highly dislike cow’s milk kefir, but I actually enjoy goat milk kefir, except I can only get it for $6-7 a quart, which is not at all plausible for me to consume on a regular basis. What kind do you drink, Mark?

  15. Mark, don’t they at least partially”clean up” kefir? Does it really contain all that good stuff, or is pasteurized?

  16. Hi Mark! Loved your little daily tidbit on fermented foods and their relation to anxiety! I was wondering if kefir is your go-to fermented food? And if so, I would love to know which brand you use! Thank you!

  17. Tried the quart of kefir thing this morning, and it makes me feel weird….kinda jittery. I’m not a fan of kefir quarts.

  18. Hi there ! As a cracker substitute we use European cucumber, sliced to whatever thickness ! Great for cheese, home made pate, guac and just about anything savory !

  19. I recently switched jobs, and that led me to not have easy access to health promoting lunch. Rather than begin by packing my own food, I decided to go to one meal a day at dinner time, and it’s been really interesting. My energy is really even except on Mondays (I’m assuming because I ate lunch on the weekend, and my body is expecting it), but I’ve got just a bit leaner without losing much muscle mass or performance in the gym. I think there is good science backing up what I’m experiencing, but I really like the idea of consuming so little in terms of sustainability.

  20. In response to “Sunday with Sisson”.
    Crackers are one of those lunch staples for backpacking. This summer I decided to use salami as crackers (sliced, of course), because really, isn’t a cracker just a tasteless thing to put cheese upon? It worked perfectly. By the way, I’ve backpacked for 30 years and this trip (9 days) I made Keto (Ninja-Goat butter in the coffee, no breakfast, no crackers, Next-Mile Meals for dinners and I had so much energy it was almost weird.)

  21. I have been making my own Kombucha over 35cyears now. I recently switched to continuous brew and it has saved me so much time, space, and more time! Its benefits as a fermented food/drink are many. I also tried making my own Kefir but failed miserably! The taste was awful! But after reading your email about it helping stress I may try again! Where is a good place to buy it? I will try again!

    1. Hi Patricia,
      https://www.kombuchakamp.com/ is a fantastic resource for kombucha, both water and milk kefir and also JUN tea. They also sell all the supplies you need! I myself have started brewing kombucha a couple months ago and although I’m still mastering the flavoring, my husband and I are loving it!

  22. Love, love, love kefir. Just started drinking (not by the quart!) semi-regularly. I am a bit dairy-sensitive, but no issues at all with kefir. I put a scant tablespoon of pure Montmorency cherry juice in with each 8 oz glass and it is heavenly.

    I too have been defined by stress throughout my career and I too partially attribute it to my success. Ugh. After this Sunday news from Mark, I will be upping my kefir dose. I would like to start making my own if I can find a great say to do so.

  23. I’ve been dabbling in Keifer also. May try it again. And sauerkraut is wonderful and I like to make stuffed pepper with dill, rice and / or kinoa, with sauerkraut tomato sauce.

  24. I love the kefir strategy: a large, extremely simple serving of nourishing whole food.

    I’m experimenting with a Moroccan Braised Beef Heart recipe as we speak (The Odd Bits Cookbook). I’m excited because every recipe from Jennifer’s book has been on point.

  25. Curious what u think of dr. Pam Popper.in her research that only a plant based diet with low fat and no dairy is the only way to health. Others claim increase of oils are important but she says they clog cells. Very confused

  26. SwS

    Crackers – love that idea about the onion, once my FODMAP issues were solved (by being gluten free), that became my go-to savory cracker.

    Kefir – I just did a test of dairy and it definitely gives me a reaction. I’d love to read your take on water kefir though I’m not pleased that the recipes use sugar. What about coconut milk kefir?

    Anxiety – Celiac causes anxiety for me. I can tell if I’ve been eating something off or slightly contaminated because I”m more extroverted than usual, like I “need” to talk and share. I’m pretty extroverted already, I don’t need more nudges in that direction! 🙂 A lot of the time, if I’m feeling “bounce off the walls” then I can trace it to a food that irritated me. Most recently the dairy I mentioned.

    My latest efforts are toward learning to use a bread machine and sharing the results, good or bad. That’s harder than I expected. But if someone’s looking for a business opportunity, bread machines have oodles of problems, building a better bread machine could make someone rich. 😉

  27. On the replacement for crackers, i use white mushrooms raw, they are of course low carb, and the taste is quite mild, so it easily replaces bread when eating cheese and charcuterie. I super recommend it! 🙂

  28. RE: peri/post menopausal women Keto or no? Dr Stacy Simms book ROAR says absolutely no keto. She says women are not small men, quit training and eating like one. Others, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf say of course keto. So many conflicting info. Anyone have clarity for me?

  29. I agree about the kefir. I get kefir and/or yogurt drinks sometimes and they seem to make me feel better overall. I have some now that I’ll have to thaw because most of my food stash is outside. I’ve been “camping” – really just sleeping wherever it’s convenient until I find out where a good place is to set up a tent.
    I like carved out potatoes as food cups. You can make all sorts of good stuff in them.