- Sondra on What Makes Motocross Such Good Exercise?
- Steve on Cholesterol – Stop Panicking and Start Here
- CarbSeine on Cholesterol – Stop Panicking and Start Here
- Steve on What’s the Deal with Intermittent Fasting (IF) vs Calorie Restriction?
- mark on What’s the Deal with Intermittent Fasting (IF) vs Calorie Restriction?
This is about a one-hour podcast interview that is well worth the time for anyone that wants to understand what you are doing with low carb, how it works, when you succeeded. and how to keep improving. The Show is part of a new and very good series called “Ask the Low Carb Experts.” Jimmy Moore interviews the best people he can find and picks their brains. All the shows are really good. I get mine free on iTunes.
Here’s the link and a quick summary-
Sisson’s explanation of “keto-adapted” vs ketosis is key to understanding what you need to know about low carb.
Briefly, he is saying that low carbers are missing the true meaning of positive ketosis readings (from keto sticks). All a positive reading means is that fat that was food is now converted to ketones on the way to being passed out in urine. People think a positive reading is a good and desirable thing. Not so. What you want is to become adapted to using those ketones for fuel, and you won’t get a positive reading if you are doing it right.
Think of your digestive system as three subsystems- one burns sugar/carbs, one burns protein, one fat. The whole point of doing low carb is to squeeze the carbs down to give the sugar/carb burning system as little to do as possible to get the hormonal benefit.
The system you want to use the most is the fat burning system, according to Sisson. You keep carbs low, protein moderate, and your main fuel is fat. Once you do this long enough, your body adapts to it. You are “keto adapted.”
Keto adapted people burn fat. They burn the fat in food, and they burn the fat stored on the body if energy runs low.
If this is the case, then one can see “low carb” as a means to an end, not the end in itself. A lot of people think you count carbs, keep them low, and that equals all you need to know. Sisson is saying not at all. You do low carb until your body becomes adapted to burning fat “keto adapted,” and that’s all the benefit you are going to get out of low carb. As long as you eat well enough to keep it that way, carbs are not driving things anymore.
Here’s another explanation on Livestrong.com that discusses the difference between sugar burning and fat burning.Share on Facebook
This is way above average for a site like HuffPo…
This is about the chemical BPA that is found in plastic packaging and other places disrupting your hormones and prompting higher release of insulin, even in tiny, tiny amounts.
What is interesting is that in order to explain the problem, she has to use insulin theory just like low carb authors like Gary Taubes do to explain what happens when you overdo carbs (and most people do). This is hardly ever found in nutrition writing unless someone is explaining what everyone else is missing!Share on Facebook
It Takes Just Two Engineers to Correct a Whole Field of Study’s Stupid Mistakes!
The next time you hear a dietitian or a TV show bigmouth say “calories in=calories out” (CICO) and 3,500 calories equals 1 lb of body fat, you can completely debunk these with a single statement. Don’t worry about digging into the finer details of insulin, leptin, exercise, or any of that. Just say:
“Since the calorie is a unit of energy and weight storage is a process, CICO is meaningless and 1lb=3,500 calories is incorrect because an input to a process does not equal the process itself, or its output.”
Done. Calories in=calories out and 1lb=3,500 calories are hereby declared dead due to incorrect mixing of process inputs, actions, and outputs. These people have literally been peddling nonsense.
What’s this about?
There is a boom of people who are trading notes online on all kinds of diet information that gets down to internal body processes, and all of them involve some actions inside the body that happen for numerous reasons. People who are doing low carb to lose weight or Paleo to lose weight and live better, or doing intermittent fasting, all that seeks to change the process going on inside. People are getting better at it all the time. Let’s say they are working on a process model.
The process model folks are always under attack, or disregarded by CICO folks that don’t get it, get in arguments, and in general just make nuisances out of themselves.
What’s wrong with CICO then, and 1 lb=3,500 calories? It only allows one input, calories, and it has one action-steady burn. It’s not much of a process model at all. It’s really just skipping actions and jumping to a guessed answer. No animal on this planet works that way. Why are so-called professionals getting away with even saying it?
What’s a process?:
A process is something that needs 3 three things-
One input to the process that determines your weight is food in. Calories is a legitimate and very important input. Dietitians tell us just take energy out (another input, not an output), and use this to find the net difference, then work in 1lb=3,500 calories. Every lb up or down has to be due to 3,500 calories in, or avoided, except for energy out. Done. But it’s dead wrong. In fact, this is impossible for this to be correct. It just skipped every action inside your body besides “steady burn,” whatever that is anyway, and jumped to an answer.
We haven’t even gotten to actions yet, but let’s look at the inputs left out of the above-
You can’t correctly analyze a process if you ignore the inputs that matter.
Moving on to actions:
The actions we are interested in are part of all the complicated processes in the body that determine how you turn food to into energy and set your weight point. We don’t even know them all but we know that they do exist.
Hormones move around in the body and carry inputs and outputs where they need to go, tissues, glands, the brain. Hormones are not necessarily inputs themselves, but if they are messed up, the process gets messed up and you might get an output (weight) you don’t want. It should be said that there is room to debate the details, but we do have some basic facts to work from like insulin’s role in storing fat, leptin’s role in signaling the brain about how much fat is there, and the thyroid’s role in managing too many important processes to mention. There are more. There are all kinds of things going on.
It’s a complex system with complex processes. It’s not like food as an input just goes “poof,” and you gain energy by heating up inside, and when you get cold, hit it again. That would simply be a steady burn process. No animal on Earth works that way, except humans, if you listen to a dietitian. True Story!
When people chose to eat low carb/Paleo for example, they are manipulating the food input to hopefully get the hormone action they want. It’s not just calories, it’s the balance of macros because they know that changing macro percentages can change actions once the process starts. In other words, the thinking is less carbs lowers insulin, and since this is an input to the real fat storage equation, it matters.
At least you have things in some kind of process model that reflects how lifeforms work on Earth. No one has a perfect process model and we are all experimenting.
What the Stupid People are Thinking:
Low fat dieters are manipulating inputs too, but they don’t know what they are doing and skipping to the answer, an amateur mistake. They are simply ignoring every input except calories to simplify the math. But, the problem comes next-
CICO declares that there is no such thing as a fat storage process that does anything other than add and subtract. Why is it then, that nature put in such a complex analog computer to sort it out? Why the built-in complex process? Just because we don’t know everything there is to know about it, it certainly can’t be said that it does not exist. If you don’t understand the model, you don’t just skip it and declare a direct relationship between input and output. This really is what they are doing. Where do they get numbers then?
Meet the bomb calorimeter. This is a gadget you put a bit of food in, hit a button, vaporize it in an instant, and watch the temperature change. Temp change=energy stored. Write that down. It’s not steady burn, it’s instant burn. =poof= This is where calorie numbers really come from.
On to the 1lb=3,500 calories thing, this isn’t even in correct units. A lb is a unit of weight (mass). A calorie is a unit of energy. This is saying that the output of a process (weight) is equivalent to the input of the process (calories). Algebra 001, use consistent units. It’s really just putting numbers to the incorrect CICO thing anyway, the one that skips process and goes right to the (guessed) answer.
Sure, this is geeky, but if you suffered through it, hopefully the diet wars make more sense.
On one hand, there are a variety of people experimenting with process models for their diet and health, and it’s working pretty good.
Then we have dietitians and all those agencies telling you, with impossible math, that there is only one model and it’s a tin can with wires on it, and it works exactly the way your body does. It’s not even good enough to call a process model, because they are just skipping around and leaving things out. But, it works better than anything else anyone is doing, including the mob that is comparing notes online that knows better.
Let’s let the first idiot that keeps saying CICO and 1lb=3,500 calories have their thyroid, adrenals, and about half the pancreas blocked, because after all, they don’t do a thing. It’s not in their math.
This was a lunch hour project, don’t expect references!
-Two Engineers in MemphisShare on Facebook
This is a clip from Jimmy Moore Low Carb show, which is cool to,listen to free on iTunes!
Ask The Low-Carb Experts (Episode 2): “All Things Leptin (Leptin 101)” | Dr. Ron Rosedale:
Link to Podcast
World’s leading leptin expert answers listener questions on the role this “master hormone” plays in virtually every area of your health. If you’re clueless on leptin, then you need to listen to this podcast.
Note: testing the WordPress iPad app. If the links are no good, I’m working on it!Share on Facebook
“One more time kid… Just because YOU made it work, it doesn’t mean it works in a van, down by the RI-VER!”
At last a medical professional with something to add to the intermittent fasting (IF) fuss has posted something helpful.
Dr Jack Kruse has this blog entry explaining why IF is a bad idea when you are leptin resistant. Leptin resistance needs to be addressed before taking the next step to IF.
For some reason, the low carb/Primal/Paleo folks have just lost their minds over this IF craze. It’s the “everyone is doing it and you should too” fad of the moment. If you don’t think so, you are not “with it.” If you see a problem or have questions, something must be wrong with you.
A lot of the blame for how this got out of control lies with a smart kid named Martin, who runs an IF site called leangains.com. Martin figured out how to make IF work for him to get his body fat down and his muscle % up. He got excited and did his site, answered questions, made claims, and he makes fun of people who don’t agree with him or have legitimate questions.
Leangains picked up a lot of followers, Martin’s Morons.
No Fine Print:
Medical products have to have a lot of fine print to disclose what something is, what it works for, what the risks are, who should use it, who should not, and what to watch for. Not so with web sites. This is the problem with leangains, and the IF craze in general. IF is a meme that spread quickly without the fine print. It’s a bad idea for people with a lot of weight to lose and hormone issues to fix first. Since Martin and many of his followers are not this type of person, they don’t see it and just spread what they consider “the good news.”
Months ago I was seeing people who have no business at all messing with IF first asking questions on the low carb/Primal/Paleo forums. I watched for a while and not a single person every mentioned the fine print, ever. There WAS no fine print. It was “hey, just do it, I did, so should you.” Morons. This is so wrong I don’t know where to start. It’s fine for the right people, but it’s not when people have real problems to solve first. I made some comments and asked people if they even know what reverse T3 thyroid was and how it goes up to slow metabolism when one stops eating, and with maybe one exception, no one ever even heard of it.
I did notice some people later on that knew the rT3 issue very well. It’s part of the explanation for leptin resistance (LR). Short version- if you have LR, you are most likely going to have high rT3 already, and you have some issues to fix before even thinking about IF. The IF folks simply failed to think about this, because it didn’t affect them, so they thought it didn’t affect anyone. Ignorance is bliss (except here).
For a good, but very technical explanation, read Dr Kruse’s blog about how IF actually works, and why Martin’s approach is good, BUT only when it’s time. Dr Kruse is helping Martin straighten out the mess he and his moronic followers spread around the internet. I hope they pay attention.Share on Facebook
This scientific paper blows the calorie in/calorie out (aka “calorie theory”) nonsense out of the water. It’s a lot to digest, but you want to read it.
The scientific study of obesity has been dominated throughout the twentieth century by the concept of energy balance. This conceptual approach, based on fundamental thermodynamic principles, states that energy cannot be destroyed, and can onlybe gained, lost or stored by an organism. Its application in obesity research has emphasised excessive appetite (gluttony), or insufficient physical activity (sloth), as the primary determinants of excess weight gain, reflected in current guidelines for obesityprevention and treatment. This model cannot explain why weight accumulates persistently rather than reaching a plateau, and underplays the effect of variability in dietary constituents on energy and intermediary metabolism. An alternative model emphasizes the capacity of fructose and fructose-derived sweeteners (sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup) to perturb cellular metabolism via modification of the adenosine monophosphate (AMP)/adenosine triphosphate (ATP) ratio, activation of AMPkinase and compensatory mechanisms, which favour adipose tissue accretion and increased appetite while depressing physical activity. This conceptual model implicates chronic hyperinsulinaemia in the presence of a paradoxical state of ‘cellular starvation’ as a key driver of the metabolic modifications inducing chronic weight gain. We combine evidence from in vitro and in vivo experiments to formulate a perspective on obesity aetiology that emphasises metabolic flexibility and dietary composition rather than energy balance. Using this model, we question the direction of causation of reported associations between obesity andsleep duration or childhood growth. Our perspective generates new hypotheses, which can be tested to improve our understanding of the current obesity epidemic, and to identify novel strategies for prevention or treatment.
What’s this article saying?
1. Sugar makes you fat because it raises insulin. (They are explaining how low carb works)
2. Calories in/calories out doesn’t explain why people get fat and it ignores different types of food and what your body does with them.
It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s a short version.Share on Facebook
The truth is, the conventional wisdom about why we get fat is simply wrong. It’s not about energy balance; it’s not about “overconsumption of calories” or “taking in more calories than we burn.” It’s about something else entirely: how the human body regulates fat metabolism and the accumulation of fat in our adipose tissue.
Even though our understanding of biology has improved and the causes of obesity are better understood, we still have some flat Earthers that can’t get past the overly simplistic and trivial “calorie theory,” aka “eat less, move more.”
Like anything else, reality depends on the frame of reference of the observer. If someone has a minor weight issue, or people around them do, a simple “eat less, move more” more approach does work. This gives one the erroneous conclusion that this is all that matters. It’s like someone that only sees the world as flat-
“The world must be flat, just look at it.”
This is how the world really is. For day to day living, this does not matter to a lot of people. All they need to know is east, west, north, and south. The same can be said for the folks hung up on “eat less, move more.” If this is all they see, and it seems to work, they think that this is all there is.
What the Flat Earthers Don’t See:
Calorie theory ignores hormones. The above quote by Taubes, author of “”Why We Get Fat,” is a quick summary of why hormones drive weight. Calorie theory is simply wrong, but it just appears to be correct if one has limited experience or a limited frame of reference.
People who do lose weight by moving more and eating less have not done enough damage so that hormones matter much. Good for them, but it doesn’t not apply to everyone. Their calorie theory is incorrect in the same way that the Earth is not flat.
Hormones matter a lot, when they matter. Hormones matter when one is insulin resistant, when leptin signaling is off, when thyroid hormones are out of whack, when their endocrine system is wrecked after taking steroid medications, and for a lot of similar reasons.
Some will say that obesity is the cause of the above, and stop making excuses. This is also wrong. It doesn’t matter anymore once the weight is there and the hormone problem is real. What matters is what to do about it. It’s not a reversible process where you just eat less and move more, and the problem goes away. If this were true, there would be no diet books and no diet websites. Life would be simple, but it just isn’t. The world is not flat.Share on Facebook
I noticed something very interesting in the “Why is Oprah still obese? Leptin part 3…” article, quoted and linked below.
I’m wondering if this could help us settle the IF debate a little bit. I have been critical of IF proponents because I think they think it’s the perfect fix for everyone, and none of them (pretty much) ever heard of reverse T3, which to me is a warning sign that they are a bunch of amateurs. Plus the ones that are the most passionate about it always seem to be running photos of their chests and not their faces, you know, “look at my muscles” types.
…Oprah can become equal to them if she has somebody explain this to her. Dr Oz certainly has not for over decade! Her goal is to focus on becoming leptin sensitive by being required by eating 50 grams of protein at breakfast everyday within 30 minutes of rising, eliminating all snacking especially past 730 PM, eating three meals a day, and limiting her carb intake below fifty grams per day for about 6-8 weeks. In my practice, over the last 5 years that is about the bell curve I have seen for most patients to require their regain their signaling back. I check leptin sensitivity by asking a few questions or by ordering a reverse T3 level… Source-
Above is Dr Kruse’s recommendation to Oprah to get past leptin resistance. Note that it has protein first thing in the morning, and 3 meals a day. [and at last, someone that knows something about reverse T3]
This is not IF obviously. IF proponents seem to think that IF fixes everything, all the time, for everyone, and if you disagree, something is wrong with you.
If I am reading Dr Kruse’s blog right, what I see is steps to overcome leptin resistance that one should do before one begins to IF.
Despite what a lot of people think, I’m really not an anti-IF campaigner. I’m just not happy with how sloppy the proponents are and would like to pinpoint WHEN it is advisable, as well as what interval and frequency.
I got a copy of Mastering Leptin, by Byron J. Richards and Mary Guignon Richards, and it pretty much agrees. The book talks a lot about how leptin is the way your fat cells communicate with your brain, and how when this goes wrong, it’s like your brain gets a “famine” signal by mistake. Sounds like the reverse T3 (rT3) issue from the previous blog post on IF, but not exactly.
Causing a Problem vs Not Solving a Problem-
Since hardly anyone talks about rT3 or tests for it, the fact the Dr Kruse uses the rT3 test to check for leptin resistance got my attention. The Mastering Leptin book talks about this too. Starving yourself repeatedly will cause rT3 to go up and shut down your metabolism, and similarly, leptin resistance, which is when your brain “thinks” you are in famine mode, does it too. The latter is an example of rT3 going up not because you starved yourself, your brain just thinks it did.
Note that the recommended dietary approach for this is NOT IF. Before I was concerned that overuse of IF might cause the rT3, but both Kruse and Richards and Richards are writing about rT3 already being high, and IF is not the fix. Instead, they say eat your breakfast, eat 3 meals, and don’t snack. This is aka “The Leptin Diet.” You do this to help get your leptin situation back in line.
“IF is a terrible idea if youre leptin resistant.”
In the above discussion on Moore’s forum, Dr Kruse writes-
IF is a terrible idea if youre leptin resistant. When youre sensitive it is perfectly fine. If you IF too early you can increase cell death via autophagy. Not good.
How do you know if this applies to you? Simple answer, if you have been trying to lose weight and its not working, you are sick of hearing people tell you “do this/do that” when you have learned from experience that it doesn’t work for you, if exercise just makes you tired and even gain, you probably are leptin resistant. The last thing you need at this point is more bad advice, like some nimrod telling you to skip meals because “it works for me, so….”
What is Leptin anyway?
This could get long. It’s a topic that deserves a lot more attention, which I will save for later.
Short version – Leptin is a hormone that was only discovered in 1994. Leptin is how your fat cells communicate with your brain, to tell your brain how well energy is stored. Your brain doesn’t get to literally look in a mirror or read a scale. This is what leptin is for.
Some of the popular blogs and forums just say that leptin signals your brain when you are ready to stop eating during a meal, but this is only part of the answer. Leptin is part of a continual feedback between your fat tissue and brain all the time, and it ties into the rest of your endocrine system too, all the time.
Leptin resistance is a term to describe when this signaling goes wrong, and your body wants to store more than it needs. Dr Kruse’s answer to when you have it is simple, he says “Just look in the mirror.”
Since the discovery is relatively new, it hasn’t worked it’s way into practice, books and the public eye. Some of what people say about it is incomplete, and off the subject (it’s more than just a signal to stop eating at mealtime).Share on Facebook
Low-carb web forums and sites talk a lot about the benefits of intermittent fasting (IF). Some of the proponents are very passionate about it, but at the same time, some are short on facts or awareness of IF vs calorie restriction. When it crosses the line to excessive calorie restriction, which can kick in your body’s natural mechanism to slow metabolism, it’s gone too far.
The best approach gets hard to pin down, because IF is not defined in terms of the optimum interval and frequency, and neither is calorie restriction.
This entry will survey some of the on-line reading on it, point to some sites that are very pro-IF, and discuss the natural mechanism that kicks in when one goes into starvation mode. I don’t know of any sites that are dedicated to not doing IF, because if people don’t care to do it, they won’t write that much about it. It would be like starting a website about not collecting stamps.
“Fast way to better health,” 2006
Dr Michael Eades, author of “Protein Power” and a respected name in low-carb circles, may have kicked off the trend, or at least introduced the concept of IF to a lot of the low-carb folks in 2006.
Dr Eades wrote an entry in his blog that noted that calorie restriction has been well-researched and has many benefits (as long as it doesn’t get excessive-which we will get to below). Eades in 2006-
…There is a way to reduce blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, increase HDL levels, get rid of diabetes, live a lot longer, and still be able to lose a little weight. All without giving up the foods you love. And without having to eat those foods in tiny amounts. Sounds like a late-night infomercial gimmick, but it isn’t.
Before I get to the real nitty gritty of how such a thing can be done, let’s look at a method that has been proven in countless research institutions to bring about all the above-mentioned good things. It’s called caloric restriction…
In other words, we eat too much and we can get by on less. No big controversy.
Eades then goes on to discuss IF as another way to do calorie restriction to get the same benefits. So, instead of eating less than everyone you know at each meal, do IF.
…Caloric restriction is a terrific way to lose weight and get healthy; problem is, it’s not much fun. When rats live out their little ratty lives calorically restricted in their cages they seem to show signs of depression and irritability. Primates do for sure. If primates don’t get enough cholesterol, they can actually become violent. But, if you’re willing to put up with a little irritability, hostility and depression, it might be worth cutting your calories by 30 percent for the rest of your long, healthy miserable life.
Doesn’t sound so cheery? You’re not ready to sign up yet?
Well, there is a better way.
A number of different research teams have studied a method by which rodents can get all the health and longevity benefits of caloric restriction without calorically restricting. And the method has been studied in humans and seems to achieve the same health benefits and, if an old Spanish study can be believed, maybe even an increase in lifespan.
What is this magic method?
Dr Eades goes on to discuss his own experimenting with IF, which had about a 24-hr interval. Here’s the link to the above and the rest of his entry…
But, it seems that in 2008, he backs off.
Eades in 2008-
This appeared on another blog in 2008, which ran the above entry and a follow up from Eades that reported what happened after the first entry came out-
…I then wrote a blog post about IF that became the most commented post on my blog. It seems that the idea of IF had struck a chord with a lot of people, many of whom took up the torch and started IFing…
…Like many of my readers, the research community had jumped on the IF bandwagon as well. And, in a similar fashion, the results were not all positive. Papers appeared showing that subjects IFing, or even regularly skipping a couple of meals per day, were developing insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, elevated blood pressure, and decreased thermogenesis. Even Mark Mattson published a couple of human studies, including a randomized crossover designed experiment that showing the above disorders in women who ate the same number of calories in one meal per day as opposed to three meals per day…
…It’s looking like the intermittent fast is another of those ideas in science that looks good in animal studies then not so good in human studies, proving once again that rats and mice aren’t simply furry little humans. And it appears – for humans, at least – that the intermittent fast is indeed beginning to look like the reality of a late-night gimmicky infomercial: long on promises, short on delivery. I suspect that it is also a cautionary tale about the applicability of caloric restriction studies to humans…
The last comment is a reference to how he got the idea in the beginning from studies on rodents.
But wait, there’s more..
Even though Dr Eades is clearly retracting what he wrote that started a trend in 2006, that’s not the end of it. People are still doing IF and claiming the benefits, and they even say the benefits go beyond calorie restriction for numerous reasons. They are claiming the benefits of calorie restriction are really due to the on-off eating, and not reducing calories in general-which contradicts what Dr Eades wrote about in the 2006 entry. So which is it?
Possibly the best IF site-Leangains.com-Let’s see what it says-
Just about everyone that I see promoting IF links to this site- www.leangains.com. This is done by a bodybuilder that claims IF is the thing to do, and if you don’t think so…well how can you not think so, look at his muscles. That must be due to IF!
I went there to look up the benefits of IF according to them, and guess what? They cite increased insulin sensitivity, less weight, and increased metabolism. This looks a lot like what Dr Eades says about calorie restriction. So, what is it about IF that makes it different?
I looked around leangains and didn’t really find a specific answer, and I didn’t want to read the whole site to find it. I did like reading the “Ten Fasting Myths Debunked” page, which gives you a really good summary of what it’s all about.
To finish the leangains side of the story, you want to read this primer. It links to the wiki page on IF and discusses the specifics of different IF approaches, plus it specifies 16/8 (16 hours without eating, 8 hrs where you can eat) as the leangains approach.
Moving on, the Three-Part Primer on Marksdailyapple.com Forum-
One of the sites where you will get shouted down if you are bold enough to question IF is the forum on marksdailyapple.com. There is some very good reading there, but I got a lot of people mad at me when I questioned all this IF in regards to excessive calorie restriction (more on this later).
The best reading is a three-part primer by pklopp.
From the opening post in Part 1, we again see IF folks claiming the same benefits as calorie restriction-
Why would you fast intermittently? The Scientific / Metabolic Answer.
One interesting aspect of fasting during Ramadan is that people tend to compress their eating schedule as the same quantitiy of food is ingested, but this is done in what amounts to one large meal in the evening. So, an interesting question to ask would be whether a greater interval between meals had any metabolic effect. It turns out that if you fast during Ramadan, you can expect:
A decrease in LDL cholesterol, and a concomittant increase in HDL (as found in this study, as well as this one).
A decrease in serum triglycerides ( same source as above. )
No change in your plasma cortisol concentration.
A pronounced lowering of insulin during the daily fast portion “favor[ing] a predominant lipolytic state.”
No change in thyroid hormone levels (T3, T4).
Lowered levels of homocysteine and C-reactive protein ( indicators of inflamation ).
You may experience some changes in body composition, but the studies are contradictory, although you are unlikely to gain weight…
So what’s going on? I asked this on the forum, and pklopp, who is working on Part 4, explains (I think)-
This is actually preempting part IV of the primer, but, …. there is a vast difference between calorie restriction and intermittent fasting. This is inherent in the fact that calorie restriction focuses on how much you are eating whereas intermittent fasting focuses on how often you eat. The principal difference here is that every meal will cause an insulin response which will take about 5 – 6 hours to return to baseline (pre-meal) levels. While insulin levels are above baseline, adipose tissue release of non-esterified fatty acids ( ie fatty acids that are not part of a triglyceride and can be used as an energy substrate by tissues ) is suppressed. So, if you eat three calorie restricted meals roughly 5 hours apart, you are very effectively suppressing NEFA release throughout the day. Eating the exact same amount of calories in one single meal will also suppress NEFA, but only for 6 hours. This is not magic, it is just metabolism. Very interesting things happen when you work with your metabolism rather than against it.
That’s an impressive answer, but it still doesn’t account for the fact, if we go back to the very beginning, of these things also attributed to calorie restriction-and this is well-researched. It could very well be that both IF and calorie restriction work and have these benefits, and they may not match exactly. But, to claim that IF is the only way to do it seems quite a stretch. The IF proponents have a lot of passion for IF, and it is understandable that they see IF as the reason for the benefits, and nothing else.
If I find some info that shows IF to work better than calorie restriction, I’ll write another entry or add it to this one… It’s time to move on to what happens if you overdo it-
The problems with overdoing it-
What concerns me about the near-religious fanaticism that people promoting IF have is that they either completely dismiss the possibilities of wrecking your metabolism by overdoing it, or they are just ignorant and get angry if you ask. The same applies to excessive calorie restriction, but no one talks about that-it’s not trendy enough.
A second concern is that anyone can say “IF,” but since there is no accepted specification, it can mean different things to different people. Someone may be into the leangains 16/8 interval, but I have seen people talking about 40-72 hours or even a week at a time. I haven’t seen one single forum where someone in the IF camp actually responded to these longer intervals and said “whoa, too much of a good thing, don’t go there.”
Similarly, we know there are problems with excessive calorie restriction, but just like with IF, we don’t know exactly what defines “excessive.”
How “going too far” actually works-
Our bodies have a natural mechanism for survival in times of famine. I wrote about this in March. That mechanism is reverse T3 (rT3). It’s a lot easier to find articles online about IF than it is to find details on rT3.
We don’t know for sure what a safe IF interval is to keep your starvation mode from kicking in (rT3 goes up), and we also don’t know for sure what “excessive” means on calorie restriction. We don’t know if what defines “safe” is much different for, say, a bodybuilder, or someone whose hormones are whack and they are huge and just trying to lose weight. I guess if you did these things and a blood test shows high rT3, then you know you overdid it!
I brought this up on the IF threads on a couple forums and never found any IF proponents that knew anything about it. They did get busy with google trying to prove that it didn’t matter, and there wasn’t much conclusive. After going back and forth with them on this and reading what was uncovered, I can only guess that a safe limit is something close to 24 hrs.
Leangains, which promotes 16/8 just laughs it off. They write-
Efficient adaptation to famine was important for survival during rough times in our evolution. Lowering metabolic rate during starvation allowed us to live longer, increasing the possibility that we might come across something to eat. Starvation literally means starvation. It doesn’t mean skipping a meal not eating for 24 hours. Or not eating for three days even. The belief that meal skipping or short-term fasting causes “starvation mode” is so completely ridiculous and absurd that it makes me want to jump out the window…
Oh really? Prove it. I can see that leangains is laughing this off because they stick to less than 24 hrs, but since IF can be anything, there are people going crazy with it. There has to be a limit. The IF folks just don’t know what it is. They don’t want to know, and that is what concerns me the most about them. It just makes me want to jump out the window…
It should also be noted that leangains is a bodybuilder’s site, written for bodybuilders and people that want to do what they do. They are not going to be that informed on the details of potential problems like a doctor would. Doctors see people that have problems, and it’s their job to understand problems.
I found a good discussion of rT3 that quotes the doctor that started the clinic I go to, Dr Kent Holtorf. It’s on Mary Shomon’s About.com thyroid page in a discussion about thyroid hormones and weigh loss-
Mary Shomon: Why do you feel reverse T3 plays a role in making it difficult for some thyroid patients to lose weight?
Kent Holtorf, MD: The reverse T3 is produced in times of stress or starvation to reduce metabolism, and with chronic stress or dieting, RT3 can remain elevated, suppressing tissue thyroid activity and metabolism. People on chronic diets — or those who lose significant amounts of weight — will have a lower metabolism than a person with the same weight and muscle mass who had not had not lost significant weight or drastically dieted in the past. This was demonstrated in a study by Leibel published in the journal Metabolism, titled “Diminished Energy Requirements in Reduced-Obese Patients.” This study compared the basal metabolic rate in individuals who had lost significant weight to those of the same weight who had not lost significant weight in the past. The authors found that those who had dieted and lost weight in the past had, on average, a 25% lower metabolism than the control patients who had not lost significant weight.
All those trainers and health gurus that never had a weight problem who tell you to do just as they do don’t realize what a disadvantage it is for people who have had a long-term weight problem. Of course, even these trainers would not even be able to maintain their weight with a metabolism that is 20 to 40% below normal…
It’s interesting to me that a doctor that deals with this every day knows about and talks about reverse T3, while IF proponents (some of them trainers or gurus) know zilch about it, and/or never mention it. It’s not on their radar at all. Note that Dr Holtorf says, “reverse T3 is produced in times of stress or starvation to reduce metabolism, and with chronic stress or dieting, RT3 can remain elevated, suppressing tissue thyroid activity and metabolism.”
So, a doctor that sees people that have been overdoing it on the diets sees elevated rT3 all the time. It’s not like it never happens like leangains says. They just don’t know what they don’t know.
It’s not like everyone has bought into IF, even though sometimes it seems like it. Jimmy Moore has a low-carb site where this came up too. Moore organizes a “Low Carb cruise” each year that features fun and expert speakers. He wrote this on his forum the other day-
…ALL of the low-carb experts on this year’s Low-Carb Cruise universally condemned intermittent fasting.
I don’t think it makes sense to tell people IF doesn’t work. I think it’s roughly equivalent to calorie restriction.
People promoting IF are mostly amateurs that are resisting discussion of what it means to go too far, so beware. If you do it, try not to go crazy and go past 24 hrs.
It’s very interesting that IF is strongly embraced by the low-carb crowd, while calorie restriction is not! They are roughly the same thing. Why is this?
I think it is because low-carbers are sick of the “low fat” and “calories in/calories out” conventional dogma, so much so that we just don’t want to hear this calorie restriction stuff. We are sick of it. We like to think that it doesn’t apply to us, because hey, we do low-carb, we don’t have to count like everyone else.
Then when it doesn’t work, instead of just saying “I think I will eat less,” we say “I’m cool, I don’t have to eat less, I eat less often!”Share on Facebook
We hear that starvation diets will slow your metabolism down and your body just adjusts for it and uses less calories. It’s true. But how much, and how does it work?
It can lower your metabolism by as much as 40%, and if you return to normal eating, it doesn’t just go back to normal. From a handout at Horltorfmed.com-
Starvation dieting can decrease resting metabolic rate by as much as 40% and food restriction at a level to maintain just a 10% reduction in body weight results in significantly decreased intracellular thyroid hormone levels and a diminished metabolic rate that does not return to normal even after a normal diet is resumed.
How does it work?
T3 (triiodothyronine) is the active thyroid hormone that affects metabolism, and a lot of other things. Your body can also produce an inactive mirror image of T3 known as reverse T3, or rT3. When you start to starve, your body knows to use rT3 instead of T3 to keep it going on less calories.
…(Reverse T3) is an evolutionary fall-back that was useful in times of famine or in hibernating animals to lower metabolism. Studies are showing that stress and dieting (especially yo-yo dieting) can set this hormone into action as well as chronic illness such as diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
The production of reverse T3 is found to be a major method by which the body ‘tries” to regain any lost weight with dieting. As soon as the body senses a reduction in calories, the production of reverse T3 is stimulated to lower metabolism. With chronic dieting or stress, the body often stays in this “starvation mode” with elevated levels of reverse T3 and decreased levels of T3, which is a major reason for the regaining of lost weight with dieting as well being the mechanism behind stress induced weight gain (it is not due to increased cortisol)…
This is why trying to diet by drastically reducing calories doesn’t work. Not only does it not work, when you give up, it makes dieting afterwards even harder to do.Share on Facebook
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