Around the Web; Post-AHS Edition

It’s been a good few weeks for the Paleo movement, but it’s nice to get back to normal. Around the Web is back!

[1] Upcoming Chris Kresser podcast: Chris Kresser and Danny Roddy will be recording a podcast with me on Friday morning. Chris is soliciting questions and requests for topics of discussion at The Healthy Skeptic.

[2] Interesting posts: You can find round-ups of AHS reminiscences at Richard Nikoley and Diana Hsieh’s Paleo Rodeo.

Stephan has an outstanding “critical examination” of “the carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity”. Briefly, Gary Taubes is correct that obesity is characterized by defects in body fat regulation (Part I), but leptin rather than insulin pathways are most important, and insofar as insulin matters it is insulin resistance that is the culprit because insulin promotes weight loss (Part II), and the most effective diets for causing obesity are not those with the highest carb consumption (>65%), but those with intermediate carb consumption (~50%) (Part III).

Chris Highcock of Conditioning Research found some fascinating papers this week:

  • In dogs, obesity leads to a lowering of body temperature. This is neither new nor surprising but paired with Stephan’s point that insulin increases thermogenesis and resting energy expenditure, it highlights that factors other than insulin are critical to obesity.
  • Dieting makes you fat: The more times obese people lost 5 kg or more, the more they later weighed. I think this is more evidence that malnourishment promotes obesity. Calorie restriction is fine, but only if nutrients are not restricted.
  • Bacterial infections are less likely to lead to memory loss in rats that exercise. Perhaps exercise protects the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, keeping bacteria out of the brain.

Seth Roberts reports that cleaning products such as Febreze can cause migraines and cranky mood. Vinegar and baking soda is a safer way to clean.

Travis Culp at PaleoHacks looks at connections between fructose and leptin.

The New York Times reports that microdoses of chocolate – about one-sixth of an ounce / 5 gm daily – can increase exercise performance and fitness, and that antibiotic-resistant infections are becoming much more common in children. Antibiotic-resistant skin infections generally begin as a red pimple that is often wrongly assumed to be a spider bite.

Every once in a while someone writes to ask me if they should fear a high-fat diet because of CarbSane’s writings on lipotoxicity. I reply that lipotoxicity only appears after metabolic syndrome has developed and, while it may drive the transition from obesity to diabetes, it is not a cause of obesity, and not a danger to people who don’t have metabolic syndrome. Also, the implications for diet are not obvious, since carb intake suppresses NEFA clearance from the blood and enhances glucotoxicity. The literature commonly speaks of “glucolipotoxicity” to describe this compounded toxicity problem. CarbSane hasn’t always been clear on these points, so it’s good to see an excellent post from her covering the basics.

Via Marginal Revolution, MIT researchers have found a possible universal treatment for viral infections: an engineered drug that enters cells and, when it encounters the double-stranded RNA of reproducing viruses, causes the cell to commit suicide. Dead cells can then be replaced by uninfected new cells via the body’s normal wound repair process. My first thought is this sounds great for curing viral diseases, but I wonder if it would shorten lifespan.

Melissa McEwen links omega-6 fats to acid reflux.

Michael Smith of Critical MAS offers a variation on the Leangains approach to fitness.

Barry Sears argues that a weight loss diet should be rich in salmon.

[3] In the hunt: John Durant’s talk on zoos at AHS – and the difficulty of creating natural environments for the animals – made me think of this photo we took on our visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Here is a cheetah chasing its favorite plush toy:

[4] Cute animal photo:

Via Yves Smith.

[5] Disturbing thought:

George Orwell suggested that the fancier the restaurant, the more people have dripped sweat into your food.

Via Huffington Post.

[6] Shou-Ching’s photo art:

[7] A strong man:

Via Conditioning Research.

[8] When good cholesterol goes bad: Via Jan Petersen, an excellent talk on lipoproteins:

[9] Video of the week: Grizzly vs bichon:

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  1. Around the Web; Post-AHS Edition | Low Carb Daily - pingback on August 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm
  2. “and the most effective diets for causing obesity are not those with the highest carb consumption (>65%), but those with intermediate carb consumption (~50%) (Part III).”

    Uh oh, 50% is my carb ratio on my weight loss diet. 🙂

  3. The link to Sears blog post is interesting, particularly with reference to the increase in arachidonic acid on a low / reduced calorie diet. Many people talk about “low carb flu” when they switch to a low carb or a low carb paleo diet. When I was teaching Zone diet principles about 25% of people started feeling pretty horrible after 3 days.

    When I asked Sears about this he said it was linked to a build up of arachidonic acid and consequently an increase in AA derived pro-inflammatory eicosanoid hormones.

    I’d never heard of ‘low carb flu’ until I started reading paleo and low carb blogs a couple of years ago. Everyone says it is an adjustment to low carb and glycogen stores being depleted. However I recognised the symptoms as being identical to those my clients experienced.

    Despite seeing low carb flu as a possible answer – it doesn’t seem to fit. Firstly if you google something like “feeling horrible when I started a diet” it happens on all types of diets. It happens too on the zone diet which – yes reduces carbs, but is moderate rather than low carb and is not ketogenic.

    Secondly, when I see clients at the first session I have them fill out a health questionnaire. Many of people’s current health issues are related to inflammation. One of my goals is to decrease these health issues. And a measure of the success of the eating plan is to revisit the health questionnaire a few weeks later and see what has resolved.

    Anyway – when people get “low carb flu” or as I prefer to call it “transition symptoms” – what is interesting is that for the first 2 – 3 days on the eating plan most people feel much better – and then they very quickly feel bad – headaches, constipation aches and pains, and notably – anything they are prone to gets worse – for example anxiety or depression in some, arthritis in others, eczema in someone else. So whatever a person has listed on their health questionnaire that is related to inflammation – that is what increases during this time.

    Thirdly – what works as Sears, says is omega 3. As soon as people start taking (and in some instances they require) quite high doses of omega 3 the symptoms reduce markedly.

    An interesting observation from the recent 30 day paleo challenge we held at our gym is that no-one complained of transition symptoms. This challenge was the first time people filled out a daily checklist that rewarded them points. Points were obtained for taking fish oil daily – 2 grams (or the equivalent with salmon or other oily fish) There were 35 people doing this challenge and I would have expected to see at least 6 people get symptoms – but none did.

    Another interesting observation is with a couple of clients I’ve had who both had eczema, and of course it got worse during this time. And then improved. One woman at a follow up session several months later complained her eczema had got a whole lot worse – what changed? She had run out of fish oil and started taking the equivalent in Evening primrose oil. She had increased GLA which increases AA if you overload on it and had decreased EPA/DHA omega 3 at the same time, thus increasing the AA derived eicosanoid hormones. At least that is my theory as to what happened!

    So despite what others say about ‘low carb flu’ I still find the best remedy is lots of omega 3 EPA/DHA. Increasing calories from carbs works too, but is this because it slows down fat loss and therefore AA release or is it the increase in carbs alone?

  4. Hi Jay,

    50% is great for weight loss too!

    Hi Julianne,

    Very interesting. I agree that glycogen depletion doesn’t make sense as an explanation for “transition symptoms.” Arachidonic acid is such a small part of fats in adipose tissue that I’m not sure I’m willing to blame it, but if omega-3 fats clear the symptoms, then it must be one of the top candidates.

    Great story about the fish oil – evening primrose oil – eczema.

    More dietary carbs may slow down lipolysis from cell membranes and thus reduce another omega-6 source.

  5. Paul,

    Somewhat off topic to the links you have posted here but I have a question regarding chest pains. About a year ago I had such severe chest pains that I thought I was having a heart attack (I’m only 42 years old to boot). I went to the hospital and my doctor ran a battery of tests. He also did an angioplast. He found no blockage in the right ventricle and less than 10% blockage in the left. I had high triglicerides but my doctor said that I didn’t have a heart attack and that it was probably stress related.

    Since then, I have had chest pains basically every night I go to bed. Sometimes I have to sleep with my head elevated with 3 or 4 pillows to stop the chest pressure. I discovered your diet blog and book around March and started eating the PHD around April. For the last 4 months or so I have eliminated wheat and cereal grains, process sugar and HFCS, industrial seed oils and processed soy. I started lifting weights and have supplemented with vitamin D, K2, Fish oil, Magnesium and Vitamin C. There has been a marked improvement in every area of my health and I have lost 20 pounds and am much leaner than I was.

    However, I still have mild chest pain at night. There is a constant pressure on the left side of my chest when I lay down. Sometimes its barely noticeable but its always there. And yet, I can run 3 or 4 miles with no problem, lift heavy weight HIT style, run wind sprints, etc. I’m in good shape. But the pressure in the left side of the chest persists and sometimes there is a sensitivity to the skin as if I was being pricked by small needles.

    Have you heard of a condition like this? I see my doctor next month and I am curious what I should ask him to look into. Its not a debilitating pain but an incredibly annoying one. And it really disturbs my sleep as I can’t comfortably lay down.

    I tried LC and DeVany/Cordain style Paleo and could not make them work. But your starch-friendly Paleo diet has worked wonders for my overall health and fitness so I have come to value your opinion very highly (and your blog is one of the best of its kind that I have found). What direction do you think I should go in? Does my experience fall into a common pattern?



  6. Hi Doug,

    I’m not a doctor, but it sounds very much like acid reflux. That can produce great chest pain from the area of the heart, and is aggravated by lying flat and relieved by elevating the head.

    There are various possible causes of acid reflux, but it often is caused by a nutrient deficiency, often leading to a stomach acid deficiency, and/or a small intestinal infection. For the latter I would try antifungals and probiotics / fermented vegetables; here are some further suggestions I’ve given in the past for a suspected fungal acid reflux: For the former I would try the nutritional supplement program developed by the Brazilian doctor Ricardo de Souza Pereira, see and

    Chris Kresser did a good series on GERD / acid reflux. I’ll do a series on it sometime this year.

    Best, Paul

  7. Doug,

    I had/have the same thing, right down to being checked out for heart attack.

    The only thing that abates the chest pain is Magnesium supplements. I take mg malate from Source Naturals, one pill each meals (3 times daily for me) for about 400 mg daily. I think its on Paul’s supp page.

    I think potatoes can also trigger it for me and maybe the centrum multi vitamin that I no longer take.

    Good luck.

  8. Hi Paul! Thanks for the link love. I had started a reply here but it got hopelessly long and involved, so I just posted additional thoughts on my blog: Glucose and NEFA: From Dysfunctional Metabolism to Toxicity

  9. Hi CarbSane,

    Thanks, I left a comment on your blog.

  10. Paul,

    Just finished reading Stephen Guyenet’s counterargument article to Taubes. Wow, what a great job he did. It seems if one stops believing in the lipid hypothesis and saturated fat is not the evil it’s made out to be, then carbohydrates become the reductionist’s villain because of insulin. With the examples Stephen provided, the macronutrient ratio of carbs and fat might be less important then perhaps food toxins and micronutrition? I mean I’m not stepping on your low-carb toes because it could very well be optimal. Yet, the cultural examples seem to show to me one could let’s say thrive and be healthy on a PHD high carb version too.

    I’m frustrated right now because I’ve loaned out my PHD book and can’t look it up so I’ll have to ask since I have amnesia on the topic. Have you written an article or a full explanation of your view on insulin’s role or would Stephen’s article just about summarize it? Also, would you say the focus should be on the brain and leptin instead as Stephen points out?

    In spite of reading a lot, you know us amateurs out here have to be told and retold like children. That’s why simple catch phrases summarizing a diet has been so successful marketing them and fighting misinformation phrases are so hard in the general public, which insulin is one, IMO. This insulin issue has been pounded into my head for years by low carbers. Without your distinction of food toxins and safe starches, I could not have embraced a diet like PHD that was not a stricter paleo. Even though I couldn’t stay for too long on the paleo, I would have just blamed my will power since I would have thought the insulin concept was sound. Maybe I’m still misunderstanding…straighten me out. 🙂

    Lastly, again from an amateur’s perspective, I must say that these so called confrontational articles between authors/celebrities may not be cordial at times, but they are very enlightening. I’ve spent a great deal of time reading health books/articles just trying to figure out what author A’s concept means in relation to author B’s. It would be my dream if every diet author had a required list of topics they could not ignore and had to provide their stance on and not avoid (I make the list of course :)). Head-to-head information comparing everyone would go a tremendously long way to educate the public and dispel many myths caused by the confusion, IMO.

    Sorry so much here, it’s just that Guyenet and Taubes are so thought provoking for me with food reward, insulin, and leptin spinning in my head. 🙂

  11. Just reading Jack Kruse re low carb flu. Interesting. Low carb diets lead to seretonin deficiency due to lack of absorption of tryptophan (the amino acid required for seretonin). Carbs are needed for tryptophan absorption in gut. If someone is already seretonin deficient, then this is more pronounced when going on a VLC diet. 5HTP will help as will increasing carbs.

  12. I am Dr. Ricardo de Souza Pereira, inventor of the Protexid formula. We are selling Protexid in USA and the representative is Mr. Tim Rose (from Rose Enterprises):

    Rose Enterprises
    1006 Cottonwood Dr
    Roseville, CA 95661
    United States
    E-mail of Tim and Kathy Rose:
    Page of Protexid:
    TIM ROSE 916-772-5214

    Please, visit our website at:
    It is written in 4 languages: English, Portuguese, French and Spanish.
    Happy New Year and God bless you and us.
    Prof. Dr. Ricardo de Souza Pereira

  13. Protexid is a natural supplement for regressing GERD, gastritis and ulcers.

  14. I would not take Protexid because it contains a large dose of folic acid, higher than doses that have been found to cause a significant increase in cancer in randomized trials.

  15. Re: ‘low carb flu’. It could be a very alkaline diet. (Yeah, I wasn’t having a lot of meat and cheese. Dumb me.)

  16. Daniel,
    The concentration of folic acid is lower in the NEW FORMULA of Protexid.
    I have results that demonstrate that Protexid formula can regress malignant melanoma.
    All the best,
    Dr. Ricardo de Souza Pereira

  17. Dear Daniel,
    The results that I have with new formula of Protexid (originally called SB-73) can regress cancer as you can see in the photos of my Editorial in RECENT PATENTS ON ANTI-CANCER DRUG DISCOVERY:
    Remember that Protexid formula is all natural and it has no side effects, at all.
    All the best,
    Prof. Dr. Ricardo de Souza Pereira

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