Monthly Archives: December 2013

Leptin and Insulin – the Obesity Dance

Leptin and Insulin – the Obesity Dance

Make Your New Years Resolution “Avoid Sugar” and Fix your Leptin

Reference:  Fat Chance by Lustig

I love this book!  Lustig is a very accomplished and respected Pediatric Endocrinologist.  His Youtube lecture on sugar called Bitter Truth has gone viral and has over 4 million hits.   His book Fat Chance is now a hot best seller and, in my opinion, about the best written book out there about the problems of sugar, fructose and the resulting obesity it causes.  If you are overweight, focusing on sugar may be the most simple and effective tool you can use to lose weight.

Why?  As Lustig explains in wonderful, easily understandable prose, fructose causes special problems all by itself.  Fructose is half of table sugar and 55% of high fructose corn syrup.  Both are effectively the same and equally destructive.

Here is some of the key science unpacked in the last two years or so about leptin and insulin that Lustig elaborates.  Leptin is the hormone fat cells are meant to secrete when you have adequate energy stores.  “Stop eating!”, the tell your brain. There is a strange similarity between starving people and obese people.  Both feel fatigue, malaise and depression.   That’s because both have inadequate leptin signaling.  In starvation, that’s coming from inadequate quantity of leptin.  In obesity, it’s from leptin resistance.  And then leptin falls faster than your weight when you starve yourself.  Within twelve hours of stopping food, your leptin plummets.  Double whammy.  You are overweight, leptin resistant and have no leptin around.   What makes you leptin resistant?  Insulin.  Insulin signals fat to head for fat cells and blocks the effect of leptin on your brain, telling you to stop eating.

The implications of this physiology are huge.  We’ve had obesity backwards.  Leptin and insulin’s dance of obstructing energy flow changes everything.   We used to say, “A calorie is a calorie.  If you eat too much, you store it and become fat – if you don’t exercise like crazy and burn it.”  AKA: you are lazy and you are a glutton, you deserve to be overweight.  It’s your fault.  That sounds sensible.  Unfortunately, in the world of human physiology, it’s oddly backwards.  We know it’s backwards because everything we try based on the old rule doesn’t work and we keep getting fatter.  The real rule should be read as follows: “If you are going to store it, and you expect to burn it, then you better eat it.”  Sounds confusing.  But the lynch-pin is insulin.  You eat too much sugar – the fructose makes you insulin resistant.  Your insulin levels rise.  You become resistant to leptin.  You eat more.  Your brain gets altered.

Obesity is primarily caused by brain insensitivity to leptin, driven by too much insulin, driven by eating fructose.  You got it?  It’s never completely that simple, but that’s the high order logic.   Now get out there and look at fructose very skeptically.  It’s in everything.

WWW. What will work for me.   In the last 10 days, I have eaten every possible source of fructose.   Cookies, fruitcake, chocolate, icecream, crème brule…..  I just went to Office Max and bought a notebook.  Evidence shows that folks who lose weight successfully: weight themselves daily, keep a food dairy, eat low carb (fructose in particular).   I’m on it.  It’s New Years.   Good luck.  Join me.  Let me know how you are doing.   I just wrote down:  Dec 29  Breakfast 2 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, 1/2 cup mushrooms.  One tbsp butter.  No toast.  Next, exercise.


Pop Quiz

1.  Sugar is a better for of fructose than high fructose corn syrup.  T or F

Well, very marginally.  Not enough to matter. Table sugar is 50% and HFCS is 55%.  Both are destructive.

2.  A slice of bread with a 100 calories is better for you than a glass of orange juice with 100 calories.  T or F

If you don’t quible over the Vit C, the fructose in OJ is very destructive: as bad as a bottle of beer on your liver.  3.  Elevated insulin makes your brain resistant to leptin.  T or F


4.  Leptin comes from your fat cells and tells your brain to stop eating.

T or F

True.  That’s what it’s meant to do when you are in balance.

5.  So, being overweight makes your insulin level rise, your leptin rise and all the while, you feel starving, weak and tired.  T or F

That’s it in a nutshill.

6.  Overweight people are fat because they are lazy and eat like fat little pigs.  T or F

Only if you buy into the standard American medical model, that has failed us dramatically.  That is actually exactly, diametrically backwards.  You are fat because your brain got poisoned by an environment filled with secret fructose.  You certainly ate the stuff, but it changed your chemistry and set you off on a bad journey.

7.   The most effective way to lose weight is with a low carb diet, a scales and a diary of every calorie you eat.  T or F

Yup.  Join me.  I just bought mine.   Office Max:  $ 2.99

Not Everyone is Happy for the Holidays

“Happy” Holidays – The Evidence

Reference: Sonya Lyobomirsky and “The Myths of Happiness

Not everyone is exactly happy for the holidays.  In fact, they may be a bit of a minefield for many.  What should make you happy, but doesn’t, and what shouldn’t make you happy, but does.  That’s the subtitle of the book by Sonja Lyubormirsky, America’s premier happiness researcher.   It’s a great book.  Read it.  You’ll love it.

Here are few of her key ideas that you might ponder this holiday season.  First of all,  she believes we are all better served when we come to life crisis and are prepared with the right attitude and mental tools to give us flexibility and resilience.  We all will have life crisis.   And research shows that those who have had some adversity in life are often happier than those who never had any.  In fact, “making sense of life’s challenges helps bolster optimism about our futures and helps us define and anchor our identities.”  With some advance preparation, those event can turn into opportunities instead of deadends.

She is fascinated with the concept of “hedonic adaptation”.    You intuitively knew that yourself.   Win a lottery and pretty quickly you aren’t any happier than before you won.  Our “tendency to get used to almost everything positive that happens to us is a formidable obstacle to our happiness.”  It’s now what is under the Christmas tree that will make you happy.  It’s the people around the tree.  And we adapt to them and take them for granted.   We assume they are there, always, waiting on us hand and feet.   That’s not a good formula for happiness.

But you can do some things in your relationship that will make your adapted relationship happier.  Can you practice appreciating your spouse?  Write it down.  Can you close each day together by saying something you appreciated that day that the spouse did for you?  (Hint: this is NOT to bolster your spouse, it’s for your happiness.)  Another trick is to introduce variety into your relationship.  We all get used to the same old, same old….  Can you go out to a new restaurant each month on a date?  Can you surprise your spouse with an invitation to go….. bowling, or the Cactus Society Christmas party?  Surprise them.  Catch their suggestions to go to their desired event.  How about throwing pots for six weeks together.  The research shows that married couples are much happier when variety and surprise is introduced into their lives.   Surprise is a big one too!  Bringing in new events, with a positive surprise evokes strong emotional reactions, and that builds appreciation and admiration.   Can you turn Christmas shopping from a chore into a date?  Pledge to your spouse to shop together for just 30 minutes, then have dinner and make it a fun and novel experience.  Another 30 minutes and you get a movie?  Who knows where all that lovely variety will lead.  But those novel, surprising, varied activities will make you happy and that’s what the holidays should be about.

WWW.  What will work for me.  Need a Christmas present to put under the tree?  Buy Sonja’s book.  She is a genius and a beautiful writer.  I’ve enjoyed all of these ideas.  That was me inviting my spouse to the Cactus Society annual party.  She gamely went along.  We were both rescued by a horrible traffic accident that blocked the freeway and made us miss the party.  But the novelty and fun of our relationship saved the day.   So we had our own party, sitting in the car, stuck on the freeway, eating salad and being grateful not to have been in the 30 car pileup.

Pop Quiz

1.  Hedonic adaptation means you get used to the good stuff that happens to you pretty quickly?  T or F

True.  It’s a terrible thing but very real.

2.   There are many things in life that are crisis moments for which being prepared ahead of time allows you to weather the storms with more resilience.   T or F

Very strong evidence.

3.   Novelty is a good thing in a marriage.   T  or F

You bet.  So practice it.  New activities, new friends, new….?

4.   Surprise, nicely done, can also be a positive effect for a marriage?  T or F

True.   An unexpected gift, a thoughtful errand, a kind word

5.   Appreciation goes a long way.  T or F

True.  Research shows it works, for both parties.

Persistent Pesticides: Why You Can’t Lose Weight

Pesticides – Why You Can’t Lose Weight

Reference:  Metametrix Clinical Learning Center

Noticed that you can’t lose that weight?  Felt fat and bulgy, exercising like crazy, eating like a bird and can’t lose weight?  Are you going crazy?  Have the laws of thermodynamics been suspended?  What’s up?  Ever considered that your body is trying to save your life by being fat?  Ever entertained the notion that you got fat as a means of protecting you from dangers of POPs (persistent organic pollutants)?

That theory is gaining momentum.  More and more evidence is accumulating that there may be more truth to this idea than we first thought.  Even the CDC has expressed concern about the persistent effect of these chemicals and studied a sample of the US population and established the range of what we are all carrying around.  We have banned many of these chemicals but their persistence in the environment is why we banned them, and they are still with us.  Many are made in the USA, used overseas and then present around the world because of their incredible persistence.  The majority of our exposure comes from eating foods of animal origin but plenty also comes from building materials, perfumes, and pesticides.

The problems of these chemicals are just beginning to be fully appreciated.  Some look like thyroid hormone, so block its effects.  Others seem to trigger auto-immune diseases.   Mullerova has written a whole review on all the plausible mechanisms by which these chemicals can make your fat.  The picture that is emerging is that you may be putting on fat as a protective mechanism to store and sequester the toxins.  When you lose weight, the POPs come out of your fat tissue into your body, poison your critical organs like your brain and your liver and thereby sabotaging your ability to lose more weight.  In effect, you stop losing weight to protect yourself from further poisoning.    It wouldn’t sound so awful if it wasn’t so plausible.  We’ve known for quite a while that losing weight makes you release POPs.  The more weight you lose, the more toxins you release.

How do you get rid of these evil chemicals?  Eat less animal products.  Vegans have been proven to be less intoxicated.  Also, wash the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables well when you buy them.   Buy and eat organic food.  It makes an immediate difference.   And detox yourself.  Your most important detoxing organ is your colon.  If you are constipated, you are not detoxing.  Buy a Detox kit from a reputable company and take their program for a week.  You will measure a significant decline in your POPs in just a week.  A detox program usually involves a week of structured vegan, organic eating, with powerful supplements and vitamins.

  1. WWW. What will work for me.  I’m trying to eat fewer “dirty dozen” fruits and veges, at least without washing them very carefully.   I’m using the Detox kits for my customers much more frequently. If you can’t lose weight and feel stuck, that may be a good avenue for you to try before you give up.  And I’ve just measured my own toxin exposure.  Not pretty.  Thought I was so pure.  If I’m polluted…you might be too.  So, pinch your butt and be grateful for its size – it might be saving your life.


Pop Quiz

1.  Fat tissue is the destination of many toxic modern chemicals like PCBs, Dioxins, DDT?  T or F


2.  Pesticides, like DDT, aren’t found in America any more?  T or F

Decidedly false.  We don’t USE them in America, but we continue to manufacture them, and they are used in other parts of the world.  But worst of all, they spread around the world in apex food animals, like fish, which we then eat.

3.  Our body digests pesticides efficiently and easily.  T or F

Again, quite false.  We do it very slowly.

4.  When we lose weight, we force POPs out of fat tissue and into our circulation, where our brains and livers are exposed to them.   T or F

Yes, that’s the conundrum.

5.  One plausible theory of fat persistence is that our body makes fat tissue as a means of sequestering POPs away from vital organs.  T or F


6.  You can document the reduction in POPs in your body after doing a “detox”.  T or F

True.  It’s reassuring. We can get rid of these wicked little devils if we work at it.

7.  Eating organic food makes a difference in your body toxic burden.  T or F

True.   A whole treatise.  Very deep and extensive literature showing dramatic reductions in total body burden of POPs the day you switch to eating organic foods.

8.  Your “butt” may be a very valuable protective depot resource for you.

Oh well, yes.   Perverse.


GMO Paper on Roundup Has Been Withdrawn

GMO Paper on Roundup Has Been Withdrawn

Reference:  Nature Magazine,  November 2013

This is an important development.  The Author Giles-Eric Seralini published a blockbusting paper on the effects of GMO corn on lab rats.  His allegations were that GMO produced corn caused all sorts of cancers in rats.  This article has set of a firestorm of angst and anxiety around the world.

The way GMO (genetically modified foods) modification works is that genes are artificially inserted into the plant through genetic engineering to make the plants resistant to the pesticide Roundup.  You can use the same process for any other desired outcome as well. Considering that Monsanto produces Roundup, and Monsanto has many seeds that it has patented, and sold at great profit around the world, there is no love for Monsanto, Roundup or the whole GMO process.  But a not-for-profit group has genetically engineered rice to contain Vitamin A making so-called “golden rice”.  Lack of Vitamin A leads to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.  Golden rice would fix that.  In the case of Golden Rice, the seeds are being given away and not patentd.  Poor farmers in Southeast Asia will benefit.

You can imagine the firestorm that came out over deformed, cancer ridden rats.  A whole industry of resisting GMO foods was born.  But many scientists around the world complained that the paper didn’t make sense.  Why were the rats in Seralini’s lab getting cancer when exposed to GMO corn, when other labs couldn’t reproduce those findings?  The editors of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology wrote Seralini a letter, askng him to retract.  They cited methodological issues.  He refused. They withdrew the paper and expunged all the data from their database.  Now, he is threatening to sue.  But the rug has been pulled. This mainstay of GMO resistance has been debunked.

Given that we have had a recent fractious debate about GMO food labeling in Washington State and in California, with very narrow victories for those who want to hide GMO content, this issue will no doubt continue to cause controversy.  The question remains, are GMO foods dangerous?  Do they help us feed the world?  Does their use have unintended consequences?  Or is their main benefit the modification of foods that become the property of the seed company instead of the farmer?

My belief is that we must use the scientific process to develop our food supply. This precious planet is already busting at the seams with population pressure.  By itself, genetically modifying foods should not be an in inherent evil.  But it the use of Roundup changes our groundwater, and feminizes our men and causes more breast cancer in our women, then we have concerns and issues.  The scientific process needs to be played out not just on the simple food, but the consequences of the massive use of chemicals, the nutrients in food, the long term medical effects…..I fear the rush to judgment leaves us vulnerable.

WWW. What will work for me.  I think Seralini’s paper was somewhat shallow and naïve.  But I sure would like to know if my food is made with genetically modified soybeans or corn.  I would like the choice.  Wisconsin’s groundwater is already at 2 parts per billion Roundup .  That is likely the cause of much “xeno-estrogen” effect – lowering my testosterone.  What do we do when it gets to three? To Four? To 10?  You need to follow this issue.   My plea to you is that you become an informed reader, thinker and listener.  Let’s give good science a chance to create good outcomes, on all sides.

What Does Your Health Data Dashboard Include?

What Does Your Health Data Dashboard Include?

What’s Your Health Data Dashboard Include?

References:  See internally

People ask.  Do you know your height and weight?  Your glucose?  Your cholesterol?  After that they get lost.  Here is my summary list so that you can think about it and start to construct what I think should be your critical data.

1.     Love.  Did you have love in your life today?  Did you care for someone.

2.     Laughter.  Did you seek out the humorous, the foibles, the funny?  Laugh kindly.

3.     Optimism.  See the world as a glass half full.   Add 8 years to your life.


4.     Height and weight.  Then you can calculate your BMI.  < 25 is good as a general rule.  Muscular men are miscalculated.

5.     Waist Size.  (<30 for women,  < 35 for men)

6.     Blood pressure.  I want under 115/60.  Higher means more trouble.

7.     Percent body fat.   <10 % for men,  < 15% for women.  That’s ideal

8.     Fasting blood glucose.   Under 86.   Every point over 86 is a 5% increased risk for developing diabetes.

9.     Cholesterol.   Solely for the purpose of seeing if you are elevated and have many small particles.  If so, it simply means you are overwhelming your ability to digest and process glucose.  (Carbs)  Total Chol/HDL < 3.5

10. Balanced hormones.  For men and women.  Gender based.  Good for bones, brains, hearts, cancers, intimacy, sleep, mood……

11. Insulin.  It’s your storage hormone.  We don’t want you storing.  Normal is not 2-22, it’s < 5.  Aim to get your insulin down to < 5.

12. HgbA1c.    Ideal is < 5.1.  Perfect is 4.8.  Not < 5.7

13. CRP.  C-Reactive Protein.  It’s the summary of inflammation.  < 0.8 is good.

14. IL-6.  Inflammatory interleukin that stimulates CRP.  ( < 12 pg)

15.  Uric Acid.  I want you 4.5-5.5.  Not higher.  Uric acid rises with your fructose consumption, and soaks up your nitric oxide.  Blood pressure rises.

16. Vitamin D. Should be at least 32, and preferably over 45.  55-75 probably ideal.

17. B12.  Optimal should be at least 500.  I aim for 1000.   Normal is not > 250.

18. Fibrinogen:  A clotting protein that is a surrogate measure for how sticky your blood is, or how viscous it is.  We like the FiF method.  (200-400)

19. Lp(a).  It’s genetic with no real drugs to lower it but a real risk factor.  Fish oil, exercise, maybe Niacin and lumbrokinase may help lower it.   Or Vit C with L-Lysine and L-Proline.  We want you under 16.

20. Homocysteine.  Real risk for heart disease.  We like 8-9 or so.  Not 15!   Means your B12 detox system isn’t working.  Easy to take B12, folate and B6 and lower it a lot.

21. Ferritin.  Your blood iron storage.  Too much damages your pancreas.  Too little, thyroid may not work well.  We like 80-100.  If high, give blood.

22.  Cardiac Calcium Scoring.  We like a score of 0.  Under 100 is still moderate but above is high risk.  We want to reduce it, if it’s over 10.

23. Flexibility:  Can you touch your hands behind your back?  Or reach your toes when sitting against a wall?   Hmm.   Yoga, anyone?

24. Strength.  Can you squeeze your hands tightly?  Lift a bag of salt?  There are age and gender adjusted tables with norms.

25. Balance.  Can you stand on one foot and keep your balance? (With your eyes closed) Again – tables to predict your risk

26. Fitness.  How many Canadian sit-ups can you do in a minute?  How many times can you stand up on an 18 inch step in 3 minutes?  How fast is your heart after you stop, and how quickly does it return to normal?  (Tables for age and gender)  Your fitness is key to keeping your brain in shape.

27.  Sleep.  Are you sleeping at least 7 hours a night?

28. Vegetables.  Are you eating at least 7 servings a day?

29. Bowel movements.  Your colon is your detox organ.  If you are constipated, you are not detoxing.  Your liver can be all juiced up, but….

30. Fiber.  40 grams a day and many illnesses taper off dramatically.

  1. WWW. What will work for me.  I’m trying to assemble this list for myself and my customers.  I’m happy to hear comment, support or critique as we work on this list together.  Suggestions about what to add?  Limits to change?  Not happy with the waist size?  Hmmm.   It is the time of year to consider what you will do next year.  And remember,  love first, laugh second and see the possibilities.  One, two and three come first.


Pop Quiz

1.   People should dramatically reduce their cholesterol.  T or F

Nonsense.  When we finally come to our sane minds, we will realize that “high cholesterol’ is all about overwhelming the ability of our metabolism to process and transport carbs.  Want to lower your cholesterol naturally, go off carbs completely for two weeks and watch what happens.  I’ll help if you want.

2.  We should laugh often and see the  world with an optimistic eye?  T or F

Dramatically true.  The Elm Grove Nun’s Study shows that a lifetime of optimistic attitude leads to living 8 years longer. This is as powerful as most any other strategy.  I live in Elm Grove.  The nuns are now all in their 90s, if still alive.

3.   Our waist sizes should be 40 inches for men and 35 for women.  T or F

Only if you are willing to accept the metabolic syndrome as your fate.  Our natural waist sizes should be below 30 for women and 35 for men.

4.  Our normal insulin should be between 2-22.  T or F

Only T if your believe our lab results from our hospitals.  That’s what we observe as the range in our population.  The problem: our whole population is in trouble  You want less than 5.  One of your most important Vital Signs.

5.   Normal fiber intake should be 14 grams for each 100 pounds of weight.   T or F

Only if you believe the ADA.  Even that would raise our average total of 14 grams.  But pretty good studies suggest that getting to 40 grams a day will make heart disease plummet.

6.   Being physically fit is more important that being skinny.  T or F

TRUE.  Being fit is Magic Potion # 2.  (MP # 1 is Love)  The benefits of fitness are so huge, there is no threshold below which you can’t measure a benefit.  Taking one flight of stairs extra each day is enough to be better for you.

7.   I get along with 5 hours of sleep.  Is that enough?


8.  I want a blood sugar of 124 or less.

You must never have read this column before.  The Whitehall Study from England, so huge and so comprehensive, not likely to ever be duplicated, showed that for every point over 86, you increase your risk of diabetes by 5%.  And with diabetes you get Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, kidney failure – you choose.

9.   If you got this far, #1 is?

Love, laugh and see half full.