Category Archives: 20. Losing Weight

Are You a Food Addict? Take the Susceptibity Test

FReferences: Bright Line EatingSusan P Thompson’s Susceptibility ScaleValidation of Yale Food Addiction Score in ChildrenPhilos Trans R SocWheat FactsCornAm J Physiology56 names of sugar,

There is a growing science of measuring addiction susceptibility in humans. Criteria for being an addict include developing tolerance to a substance, withdrawal when use is stopped, needing larger and larger doses, persistent desire coupled with the inability to stop using, spending increased time to access the substance, continuing use of the substance even though you know it causes harm and giving up social or recreational activities to use the substance. Sounds dour and threatening, doesn’t it? Could this be chocolate? Or just plain sugar? 
The body of research supporting human food addiction is actually getting more robust as we look at our obesity epidemic and ponder what is driving it. Animal models of addictive eating show that rats given access to sugar or highly processed foods exhibit the classic behavioral and biological signs of addiction (e.g., withdrawal, tolerance, dopaminergic downgrading). Hmmm… For example, get rats addicted to cocaine, then expose them to a choice of cocaine or sugar, and they go for the sugar instead of the cocaine. Hmmm….. 
More to the point, functional MRI scanning of active circuits in the human brain show pretty remarkable overlap between sugar, white flour, and heroin. 
And processed food appears to be at the forefront of this addictive behavior. What’s in processed food? 80% of American food has sugar or high fructose corn syrup added to it. Often it is given a different name hoping you are willing to let dehydrated cane juice, agave, or honey trick you into thinking it’s not sugar. Some foods even boast that they have no, underline NO high fructose corn syrup, and then have pure beet sugar instead. The difference between the two is subtle, at best.

What is processing? It’s actually very simple. Take a whole grain with the surface area of the grain, and grind it into talcum powder. We call that flour – whether it be from wheat, or corn, or rye, it’s still talcum powder. 10-100 fold increase in surface area, with the encasing protective fiber also gone. When you eat it, your enzymes can get to that greater surface area faster. A whole grain will have a glycemic index below 30% of pure glucose. A grain that has been broken in half, like steel cut oats, will have a glycemic index of 50% of glucose. Just cracking the grain in half increases the ability of your enzymes to access the glucose packed in that grain. But crush the grain flat and call it “Quick Oats” and you increase the surface area enough to increase the glycemic index to 70-80, depending on how finely you crush it. You put out insulin in an increasingly rapid fashion in response to the rapid glucose rise. Insulin blocks leptin in your brain stem, making you want to eat more. And there you have it. Any grain will do the same. Corn is just about the foundationof everything we eat because of its use in animal feed.

But wheat occupies a special place in addiction. Not only is it made into talcum powder but that talcum powder is put into about every package or processed food, be it pasta, gravy, bread, crackers, cookies, or any other form that leads to the 6 oz of wheat flourwe each eat every day. And wheat has wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) in it and that is a special devil. It is an insulin agonist/antagonist, leading to more insulin binding to fat cells, less to muscle cells and more leptin blocking, all of which engineer weight gain and more addictive consumption.

With all that hitting you when you eat processed foods, is it any wonder that you act like an addict? It’s almost amazing we all aren’t.

Do you want to take Susan Thompson’s quiz? This is the link. I’m not sure it’s the final word in understanding why we overeat, but it sure gives you some insight into why we all have so much trouble losing weight. She claims that about a third of us are not affected by addictive tendencies, about a third are modestly affected, and a third are rabidly vulnerable. That would be me. All of us can act with addictive tendencies, given constant exposure and reinforcement.

WWW: What will work for me. I took her quiz and scored an eight. Ha! That explains just why it is so easy for me to start with 8 chocolate chips, then return for 45 more, then finish off the bag. And that done only when there are no human witnesses. The dog, fortunately, doesn’t tell. And I know I won’t sleep well when I do it. And I’m fully aware it’s awful for me. But, but, but……

Pop Quiz

  1. What percent of humans are vulnerable to food addiction? Answer: All of us, given enough exposure though only about a third show a particular penchant for it.
  2. What are some of the features of addictive behavior? Answer: developing tolerance to a substance, withdrawal when use is stopped, needing larger and larger doses, persistent desire coupled with the inability to stop using, spending increased time to access the substance, continuing use of the substance even though you know it causes harm and giving up social or recreational activities to use the substance.
  3. What is the link with flour products to addiction? Answer: the more a grain is ground up, that easier it is to digest, and the faster blood sugar goes up. That results in greater insulin release, resulting in more leptin blockade and fat storage
  4. Explain to me what WGA is? Answer. Wheat germ agglutinin is a small protein in wheat germ that messes with your insulin receptors, pushing calories into fat but starving muscles. This results in disordered glucose management, and makes for your gaining weight and developing diabetes.
  5. Dehydrated cane juice is safe to use as it is a dryer form of sugar. T or F Answer: Please, please, please tell me that you didn’t fall for that. There are over 56 names for sugar. If you answered yes, click this link and learn the other names.

ChronoNutrition – What you eat is as important as WHEN you eat it!

References: The Big Breakfast StudyCenter for Health ResearchWhat to Eat When by Roizen , FASEBInt Jr Obesity,

It’s the first of the year. You have resolved to do a little better this year and lose weight. Humpf! Good luck! Nice try! You’ve done this before. Well, here is another piece of science to put in your pipe and think about. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer for the Cleveland Clinic and Dr Oz show advisor and frequent guest has a book to help you while you are at it. Just published this week. 
Here’s the skinny you want to know. First, basic physiology of how you work. At 7 in the morning your cortisol surges by about 7-10 fold from a level of 2 at 4 in the morning to a level of 18-20 at 8. Cortisol helps you mobilize energy and makes your brain feel alert and awake. It’s your natural wake up, git up and git hormone. You can get stuff done when you have cortisol surging. If you don’t have it, you can’t. Under circumstances of high stress, you can stimulate yourself to put out more cortisol. Sweaty exercise stimulates you to put out more cortisol. Hot saunas alternating with freezing showers does the same. Cortisol last 5-6 hours and with a great sauna or a good run, you feel pumped up, alert and alive for the next 4-6 hours.

In the evening, your cortisol falls off, your melatonin starts to rise as it gets dark. Your body temperature falls off. Your immune response weakens and allows your fever to rise. You are slowing down and cooling off. You can’t burn energy as easily. The only thing that feels good is lots of extra carbohydrates as that raises your blood glucose, and also turns on fat production. (Just look at night shift workers. The easiest way to deal with night shift is to eat all night. Doing that gets you through the night, but at the cost of storing half the calories as fat.) 
What did nature design us to do? For most of human history, we didn’t have light bulbs and electricity, much less ipads, TVs, computers or even books and magazines. We ate when the sun was up and went to bed when it got dark to stay warm. 
Now, all of this biological clock stuff is managed by this tiny little 20,000 cell area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that mediates more than just your cortisol. It also impacts your sensitivity to insulin, which rises and falls with the day as well. You are naturally more sensitive to insulin in the morning and some fat cells show 50% difference in insulin sensitivity between noon and 8 pm. 
The exact same pattern has been shown with experimental mice. Given carbs during their normal inactive time, they get fat and eat more (just like humans on night shift). What you eat, when really matters. In fact, it might be argued that it’s the whole ball game. We are pretty certain you can lose weight when you compress your calories down to under 10 hours a day. That’s true. And we are pretty sure you need to get away from sugar. That’s true. And we are pretty sure that vegetables are, in fact, a back door ketosis food (just ask the gorillas) because your gut bacteria turns the cell walls of green veges into beta-hydroxybutyrate.

So now, think about timing your eating and what you eat when. Read Roizen’s book and think about training yourself for a hearty breakfast, during sunlight hours and a smaller dinner.

WWW: What will work for me. Well, I’m gradually prying myself off any eating after 6 pm. I know it’s dark at 5 now but I don’t get home till then anyway. I’m pretty good with the sugar and the vegetables. I’m having bigger spinach breakfasts of late. Hope I can stick with that. I want to see if other folks can make Roisin’s ideas work for them. I think there is truth to it.

Pop Quiz

  1. Your biology runs on a clock driven by….what? Answer: Light affecting your brain.
  2. What part of your brain registers that? Answer: Ok, this is an honors answer – the suprachiasmatic nucleus with it’s teeny little 20,000 cells.
  3. What hormone surges the most at 7 am? Answer: That would be cortisol.
  4. What hormone has its sensitivity altered throughout the day, with a peak at noon and a 50% drop by 8 pm? Answer: Insulin
  5. Is chononutrition easy to understand? Answer: Not yet. It’s a new idea that needs to settle in with more research. But what promise it has!

The Trouble With Flavor

The Trouble with Flavor

References: Yale Food Addiction ScaleThe Dorrito EffectEur Eat Dis Review,

If I were to ask you a delicate question…bear with me…..why do you have sex? Is it procreate and have children? Or do you have this deep urge to seek intimacy with someone you really like and just have fun with them? Of course, it’s fun and satisfying and connecting. Oh yeah, and you had one kid while you were at it. Now, extend that analogy to food. Why do you eat your food? Is it to get enough Vitamin A and B1, iron, and protein? Do you sit down at the table and ask, “What calories do I need today?” Come on…… you open the fridge and say, “What looks good to me?”. Do you look at the table in front of you and reach for what looks tasty?   Yup!  that’s it.  Sex and food are both deeply primal functions that we have to have to survive. And both derive their power from the satisfaction of those drives, and the pleasure they invoke. Pleasure. With food, that’s all about flavor.
Here’s the problem. As brilliantly explained by the author Mark Schatzker in his book, The Dorrito Effect, The Surprising New Truth about Food and Flavor, it’s all about flavor. We humans evolved to have specific flavors on our tongues and in our noses that represented rare and very valuable foods. It was greatly to our advantage to stuff ourselves silly when fruit season came around so that we put on weight and stored enough calories to make it through the next lean period, whether it be dry in Africa or cold in Asia. Hence, sweet is smack dab in the middle of your tongue. Along with about 5 or 6 others on your tongue. Then there is your nose, with 50,000 different flavors and trillions of combinations.
You are hard-wired to seek some flavors. In fact, good science shows it is the anticipation that drives your behavior more than the flavor. That is all about prior exposure, memory, and emotion. It’s that interplay of emotion, happiness, pleasure, memory, all hardwired to get you to eat abundantly when you find those flavors. Guess what the food industry has found out! Yup. Exactly what those flavors, memories, feelings and vulnerabilities are. Much of the drive to discover those flavors has been the inadvertant “blanding” of food. What used to be tasty chicken is now blah tasting white meat. What used to be delicious……name almost any food and its flavor has declined with industrial farming, yield improvements, genetic manipulation and long-distance shipping, storage, and mass marketing. Getting a chicken to grow to maturity in just 6 weeks, with just 4 pounds of food, with giant breasts,,,,has resulted in a very bland chicken.
No problem! We can fix bland food by adding more flavor to it of a very specific nature…and you will obediently eat it. Not one serving, but two or three.

This book is exceedingly insightful into the battle for your taste. This is a battle not of your conscious brain but of your very primal, survival-based brain stem. It tiptoes along the edge of creating out of control eating. Addiction? In fact, the Yale Food Addiction Scale was recently developed because so many of us are showing eating behaviors that look a lot like drug addiction. Take the test yourself. You may not be totally addicted, yet. You can’t chose not to eat, thus avoiding the addictive exposure to flavors. But if you can’t lose weight and feel utterly stuck, you might want to consider thinking how you can insert your conscious, rational, logical forebrain into the discussion and avoid the overwhelming power of flavor. Start with sweet. Avoiding sugar means you don’t purchase 80% of American food products that have sugar added to them. Consider peanut butter.
Next week gets even more interesting. Flavor is very, very important.
WWW. What will work for me. I can’t have ice cream in the house. It took me about a year to wean myself off it. The only way I can escape is to not purchase it. I haven’t succeeded with Indian All-You-Can-Eat Buffets yet. Fortunately, they are remote and not so easily brought home. And if I give in and have one heaping tablespoon of peanut butter….well, odds are, I have more.

Pop Quiz

  1. The flavor sweet was present through most of human history when?         Answer: With ripe plants that show up briefly at the end of the growing season, right before the starvation season.
  2. Where does sweet flavor fit?                                                                                Answer: Right in the middle of our tongues. Front and center.
  3. What is the most important driver of flavor choices?                                      Answer: The anticipation based on prior memory and feelings.
  4. What percent of food in America have some sugar in them?                        Answer: 80
  5. How much you eat may be based most on what feature of food?               Answer: It’s flavor.

 

Mitochondrial Primer 5: Beta-hydroxybutyrate, The King of Ketones

References: Front Mol MedWikipediaPerfect KetoAm J PrimatologyPeer JBiochemical Journal,

When you burn fat (the stuff that’s in your belly and cellulite and second chin) you produce two ketones primarily. Ketones are what we make from fat burning as we break down stored energy and ship it around the body. The primary one is called beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB. The other is called acetoacetate (ACAC). ACAC is what you measure in your urine to show ketones but can be changed to BHB, and thereby not show up in urine. Hence, measuring urine for ketones is iffy and can have false negatives. BHB takes a blood test and is more reliable.
Now, what I find interesting is the enzyme that switches ACAC to BHB and thence into the electron transport chain is actually in the wall of mitochondria. Ketones are such an important part of normal metabolism that mitochondria have all the normal enzymes to incorporate ketones into our energy flow. Did you get that? Our body has all the tools to burn ketones, all the time. It is built in. Through all of human history, ketones were our main fuel source to fall back on in lean times.

What happened in our rich, 21st-century environment? We never, ever run on ketones. There are no lean times. We always run on carbs. We store up what and corn in giant silos, formulate them into delicious foods and provide them to ourselves three times a day in exquisitely flavored recipes. And our body has a default switch that has us burning and running on carbs preferentially. It’s the universal signal to turn on fat making, storage.
This is the key to weight gain and weight loss. Our natural tank of carbs is only 1500 calories. That’s it. Anything over that and we signal our hormones that we have too many carbs. That means it must be September or October when carbs ripen – at the end of the growing season. Our blood sugar rises. We turn on insulin. Insulin switches everything into storage mode. We make triglycerides in our liver and ship those extra fats all over our body in little lipid bundles called LDLs. LDLs then deliver that newly manufactured fat to storage warehouses called your butt, your chin, your muffin top.

Think this through teleologically. We had to be designed like this to survive in a world where carbs show up suddenly, just before the starvation season. We would then evolve a hormone to store those calories when they showed up in abundance. (That’s where insulin comes in.) And we would be favored to have sweet flavor in the middle of our tongue so that we seek carbs avidly, whenever we find them.
But most of the year, we should be running on ketones. Normally. When you are surviving through winter, you are meant to be burning your fat stores. That’s ketones. When you eat green vegetables (present from April till August), your colon turns spinach into ketones. Gorillas, eating 15 pounds of green leaves a day turn those into 70% ketones.
Now there is a whole raft of websites touting the increased performance of athletes on ketogenic diets, how to induce ketogenesis etc. But most importantly, we are proving that inducing ketosis turns on stem cells. It’s so important to run on ketones, Bredesen is insisting we all do it every day for 12 hours and every month for 5 days. Gundry has jumped on board. The tide is changing.

Ketones, otherwise known as Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), are your main, proper food source. BHB rules. It’s the boss! And teaching your body, encouraging your body, forcing your body, manipulating, managing, teasing…..whatever you want to call it…..but do it. Get your body to run on ketones. That means, no grains, no sugar and lots and lots and lots of green vegetables.
WWW. What will work for me. I’m wrapping my head around this technology. I’ve done the Fast Mimicking Diet 8 times and found that it jump starts me into ketosis in three days. I’m going to try taking some Beta-hydroxybutyrate supplement the next time and see if it eases me into ketosis with a little less stress. What I do believe is that this is the pathway forward. Our bodies are aching for us to break our addictive habit of carbs. It just wasn’t meant to be so. The only time we were meant to gorge on carbs was at the end of the growing season when getting ready for winter. Brings a whole new meaning to Halloween candy. Doesn’t it? So, we ended up at the Pancake House for breakfast. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with spinach on the side. Didn’t eat the English muffin. Double spinach please, no potatoes.

Pop Quiz

  1. The human primary fuel is?                                             Answer:  Beta-hydroxybutyrate. The ketone you make from burning fat, your colon digesting green vegetables, the ketone you make from digesting coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil……
  2. Exposed to carbs, your body will switch to what fuel? Answer: Glucose. Instantly. The microsecond you put out insulin. Three french fries will do it.
  3. Running on insulin instantly is incredibly important. Why? Answer: Because through most of human history, carbs were rare, and present just before the lean, starvation system. Remember, pears and apples ripen in October; right now. So sugar is on our tongues as our preferred taste so we gorge, turn on insulin, store calories and then…survive through winter.
  4. How big is your carb fuel tank?                                                   Answer. 1500 calories, called glycogen. Fill up that tank with…….one plate of pasta, rice, flour.
  5. And what happens to green vegetables?                                 Answer. Your colon bacteria break them down into beta-hydroxybutyrate. The King (or Queen) of Ketones. BHB rules. You’ll have BHB anytime you fast 12 hours or more. You will have a blood level of 3 and more if you do the fast mimicking diet for 3+ days. The Fast Mimicking Diet: best way yet to get you in ketosis.

The Alkaline Diet IS the Keto Diet of Choice

The Alkaline Diet IS the Keto Diet of Choice

References: Pure WowDr AxeBook of DanielSaddleback ChurchU of BCJournal of Nutrition,

There has been a recent flurry of articles in the media about the alkaline diet with a few “expert dieticians” poo-pooing it and suggesting you should just follow the Mediterranean diet instead. What’s the confusion for? Let me straighten this out for your so that you get the gist of it.

First of all, the alkaline diet isn’t anything new. The Book of Daniel in the Bible talks about it with the first recorded RCT (Randomized, Placebo-Controlled) experiment in history. That was from 3,000 years ago. Daniel and his fellow observant Jews ate vegetables, (alkaline) and the members of Nebuchadnezzar’s court ate meat. Daniel’s crowd did better. Even got published in a reputable journal that is still read avidly (Bible). And as best I can tell, is still helping people lose weight.
What is the Daniel Diet? Or the Alkaline Diet? Vegetables. Vegetables are filled with potassium and magnesium salts which participate in making your urine pH positive, or greater than seven, which is neutral. Your blood doesn’t change its pH in any measurable fashion, but just that tiny amount enough to switch buffers. You have a complex system of buffers in your blood that helps balance your pH very precisely and exquisitely. You breathe every breath as part of that balance, so it is virtually impossible to measure the changes on a second by second basis in your blood. But you can see it in blood samples of folks eating an alkaline diet. Their red cells are coated with alkaline salts and flow separately from one another. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And your kidneys just pump out the acid or alkali as fast as they can. In meat/animal based America, everyone’s urinary pH is quite low, around 5.5 We have kidney stones, osteoporosis, vascular disease, cancer all as possible resulting outcomes. Very very few of us eat an alkaline diet. The guy who invented, Robert Young, got way ahead of the curve and ended up in prison for practicing medicine without a license. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t right, just not licensed.

Why is this so valuable? For most of mammalian/hominid history, we were vegans and our kidneys (which control your acid-base flow, and eliminate acid or base) were designed to rid you of alkaline salts, most notably potassium or magnesium. That’s because we ate massive amounts of alkaline foods. All hominids except humans eat mostly raw plants. Gorillas eat 15 pounds of leaves a day. Orangutans, 20 pounds of green leaves (except in fruit season). Their urine is alkaline. Your kidneys can still excrete massive amounts of potassium and sodium. But not acid. With acid, we struggle a little. Humans living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle today (Hazda in Africa) still eat mostly alkaline foods. They know some 250 edible plants in the forest, which they eat. But our brains require more calories to support their energy needs, and animals became more important. About 5 million years ago, we started adding animal to our diet. We like animal. We thrived with more of it.
But animal-based foods have more sulfur salts in them, which are acid. The more animal we eat, the more acid we become. That includes cheese, milk, eggs, fish, and yes, meat. Cheese is the most acid of all because it also has lots of salt added to it. And grains are also acidic, altho a little less so.
All that acid has to flow through you, in your blood. Your blood pH can’t change and doesn’t. But your buffers do. The balance of buffers is read with exquisite sensitivity by your bone cells and every membrane in your body. You start giving up calcium carbonate to balance the buffers, which is the slippery slope of beginning osteoporosis.
What about fat? Fat is neutral. Neither acid or base. Just pH neutral. It has some baggage though. Saturated fat, when from animals, comes with animal protein, which is acidic. Unsaturated fat, from seeds, is high in omega six fats which start inflammation.
And here is the kicker. Remember, gorillas digest green leaves into short chain fatty acids. So do we. A diet rich in green vegetables is a high-fat diet. Then add olive oil and you are even better off. A green salad diet smothered with olive oil is an alkaline, healthy, Daniel diet. Get that? A vegetable-based diet is a keto diet, provided you avoid the roots and the grains. Eating spinach is actually getting fat. Keto redux. You lose weight. You have less cancer. You have less heart disease. You have fewer autoimmune diseases. Your body can heal.
That leaves you with an alkaline diet rich in leafy, green vegetables with lots of safe fats as the diet of choice. The alkaline diet is the purest form of the keto diet. The only question is whether you can be so pure. Ah, there is the rub!

www.What Will Work for me. I’m shifting my animal proportions to more vegetable. Instead of two eggs for breakfast, one egg in spinach. For lunch on the plane, I took an avocado, cut in half at home. Made a great lunch. And I’m fascinated by the Fast Mimicking diet. It’s vegan with nut oils. It’s a keto diet too. In time, we will let Robert Young out of prison and say sorry. (There’s a lot of Robert Young’s work that is pure quackery, but the alkaline part is not.)

 

Pop Quiz

  1. A diet of mostly vegetables, olive oil and a tiny bit of fish is currently called? Answer: The Mediterranean Diet (whatever that is, as all the countries around the Mediterranean have different cuisines, except for their abundant use of olive oil and vegetables)
  2. To be on an alkaline diet, you have to do what? Answer: Eat enough vegetables and little enough meat and cheese to shift your urinary pH to something greater than 7. Very hard to do. Almost no meat.
  3. How does your body balance acid flowing through the system to be excreted by your kidneys? Answer: by a system of buffers, by giving up a tiny bit of Calcium Carbonate from your bones, and by breathing a little more deeply.
  4. The first advocate for the alkaline diet has been elevated to hero status in the annals of medicine. T or F Answer: Are you kidding, he is in prison for reaching way beyond the core truth of his alkaline diet idea.
  5. What is the most recent evidence-based diet, beyond the Mediterranean Diet, that is taking the literature by storm? Answer: The Fast Mimicking Diet that adds fasting to the mix

 

 

 

Artificial Sweeteners and the Risk of Dementia

References: StrokeObesityWashington Post,

Whoa, Nellie! Now artificial sweeteners are bad! Help, help, help. We’ve been telling everyone not to eat sugar, and now you turn around and point at sweeteners. What’s the deal? Better, what’s the evidence?
Ok, an observational study from the long-term, Framingham heart study prospectively followed 4,272 older adults for 10 years with follow-up for risk of stroke and dementia. They found 97 strokes and 81 cases of dementia over that time period and compared those outcomes to the frequency of sugar and artificial sweetener use. Compared to controls within those groups, after statistically accounting for the proper variables, they found a 2.97 times increased risk of stroke and 2.87 for increased risk of dementia by drinking one diet soda a day. One measly, little diet soda. Sugar didn’t show any negative effect.
Well, out come the critics in full force (from the soda industry, of course). They claim it was a lousy observational studies without any proof of causation. (True) They attacked because it wasn’t large enough. They griped because the sugar use wasn’t found to be dangerous when every other study shows it has. And the accompanying editorial in the journal pointed out that the risks go away when incident diabetes and vascular risk factors were taken into account.

Ok, ok, so the evidence isn’t perfect. But it is there. Is there a plausible mechanism we can construe that carries a tiny bit of credibility?
Well yes, there is. Here it is. First and foremost, drinking diet soda has been shown to lead to weight gain, not weight loss. The means by which that happens is thought to be by confusing your brain’s appetite sensor into thinking calories are coming because you taste sweet, and then you secrete some insulin, which lowers your sugar, and 4 hours later, you eat more. Presto, fatso.

It may be along this line that we will find an answer. The interplay of human hormones is so complex, it is extremely hard to parse out a single hormone in isolation. The breadth of knowledge is advancing in that direction. Here is one plausible bench research explanation: there is pretty good evidence that being fat makes you insulin resistant, and higher insulin with higher glucose leads to your tummy fat making more amyloid precursor protein (APP). And it’s APP that breaks off in your brain to make agglomerations of beta-amyloid plaque. Ok, so you drink diet soda, make a little extra insulin, get fatter and gain weight, make more beta-amyloid and there you have it. Diet soda makes for more dementia.
WWW.What will work for me. Well, well. Not the strongest of evidence but the gun is smoking never the less. I just drove for 4 hours yesterday and got a big gulp of 32 oz of diet Pepsi at a QuickTrip because I was sleepy. Bummer. I can feel the beta-amyloid crawling up my neurons. I’m weaning myself off sweeteners bit by bit. Sounds like it’s time to increase that effort. Is Stevia just as bad? Haven’t got a clue.

Pop Quiz

  1. If you believe this study, you triple your risk of dementia by drinking artificial sweeteners. T or F                                                           Answer: True unless you nit-pick over 2.87 fold vs 3.0
  2. Women who drink diet sodas stay thin. T or F                         Answer: False, they gain weight.
  3. Belly fat makes amyloid precursor protein, which is the protein that then calves beta-amyloid in your brain, the cardinal sign of Alzheimer’s. T or F                      Answer: Bingo
  4. Is sugar safe to put in your drinks?                                            Answer: No, not at all. In fact, to me, that was the weakest sign of this paper because, on every other front, more sugar is worse for you in ever so many ways. This study sort of absolved it.
  5. Now that you know belly fat makes APP, want to lose weight?                    Answer: oh my goodness, yes.

Blood Glucose and Cognitive Decline

Reference: Crane, NEJMLancet NeurologyELSA StudyDiabetes Care,

Your HgbA1c is your most important blood test. Get to know it well. It is a simple concept. When blood sugar gets higher, more of it sticks to different proteins. Glucose is a very reactive molecule, ready to stick to anything. You know that from spilling a Coke on your car seat and having sticky goo for weeks thereafter. When you eat 4 scoops of ice cream your blood sugar shoots up for 6-8 hours. In that time it sticks to everything in sight, including your hemoglobin molecules in your red cells. That makes it a nice surrogate marker for glucose also sticking to the proteins in your blood vessels, your kidneys, your brain, your joints and on and on. You can sample your blood and there it is, a nice marker. Now, red cells live about 100 days more or less, so your A1c becomes the average of your glucose over the last 100 days. As fat cells get bigger, they require a higher insulin level to make them react to rising glucose, so A1c becomes a marker of how overweight your body thinks you are. Not your spouse, or your friends, your own internal body signal.

We define adult-onset diabetes as a blood sugar of 126 after an overnight fast. That leads to an A1c of about 6.4. But is that accurate? Is blood sugar healthy at 126? The answer is absolutely not. The Whitehall Study from England shows decreasing cardiac mortality down to a blood sugar of 85 before leveling off. Hmmm. Heart disease is one thing, but which would you rather die from, heart disease or dementia? I’m going for neither. I want old age to just spirit me away.
That’s what this week’s studies relate to. What is the risk of dementia from elevated blood sugar? Turns out, a lot. In fact, much lower than 126 or A1c of 6.4.
Crane’s study in the New England Journal is the hallmark study. The Adult Changes in Thought Study took 2067 elderly adults (average age 76) who yielded 524 folks with dementia. The simplest conclusion of the study was that a blood sugar of 100 compared to 115 raised risk of dementia by 18%. Going the other way, dropping blood glucose from 100 to 95 lowered risk 14%. One could extrapolate and say that dropping from blood glucose of 115 to 95 lowers dementia risk 32%.

There are now more studies following this seminal study that say the same thing. Lancet Neurology confirmed the danger in the ELSA Study.
There are some of us who spike our blood sugars quite high when we sneak that ice cream and that is even riskier. The science of that isn’t completely known but it can be measured with a nifty new test called 1,5-AG ratio that adds a layer of understanding to the risk. This may or may not play out. Something to watch. I want to know mine.
We don’t mean to belabor this point. The message is clear. The size of your fat cells matter. If you are overweight, your blood sugar will likely be higher, and your risk of dementia will be higher. Losing weight and lowering your A1c matters. What’s the target? A1c of 5.5 should be your minimum. 5.1 is perfection.
WWW. What will work for me? Well, with a mother with dementia and a father that had diabetes, my genes are in the crosshairs. I was running an A1c of 5.2 for a couple of years there then suddenly I popped up to 5.9 last year. (Nothing like a wedding in the family to gain a little weight and a broken food to cut the exercise.) I’ve been doing the fast mimicking diet for 5 months now and I’m back down to 5.6. This perfection stuff is a pain in the proverbial…..So, I still have a ways to go. Join me. I’m doing the FMD diet last week of the month. Every month until I’m below 5.5. Each month it gets easier.

Pop Quiz

  1. Your A1c reflects what?                                                         Answer: Your average blood glucose over the last 100 days.
  2. How can you lower it?                                                            Answer: Stop eating foods that make it go up like grains and sugar, and lose weight with the Fast Mimicking Diet.
  3. What blood sugar is an A1c of 5.1? (Google Blood Glucose A1c Table)             Answer: 5.1
  4. The current definition of diabetes is based on sound science. T or F               Answer: It was a committee decision that was made 40 years ago. Now way out of date.
  5. What’s the first step most folks need to do to lower their blood sugar?           Answer: Stop drinking it. The calories you drink are the calories your store. Sugared soda is the worst. Orange juice and energy drinks, ditto.

Leptin Resistance and Inflammation

Leptin Resistance and Inflammation

References: Am Jr Coll CardVitamin HormonesCurr Immunol ReviewCell,

Leptin is the hormone that has several important functions. One is that it is secreted when your fat cells say they are full. It is a feedback loop that tells you that you have had enough to eat, so stop. Fine and dandy. But like everything else in your body, there are layers and layers of delicate complexity far exceeding the first layer of functionality. Another layer is that it essentially mediates the release of fat from fat cells, making it the guardian of your energy stores. When all is well and working properly, your leptin level falls when you don’t have food and your fat cells open up and share their calories. Women have more leptin than men. As a general rule, gaining weight results in a higher leptin level which should result in your feeling full and not eating. Something strange happens, however, when you get inflamed.
The fly in the ointment here is that there is an intersection between metabolism and inflammation. The leptin receptor in your hypothalamus appears to be a critical link. It turns the Proopiomelanocortin system and has you produce melanocortin. MSH. MSH is a potent down-regulator of appetite. With a nice high MSH, you don’t feel like eating. Low MSH, you don’t have a feedback loop. And just what happens with inflammation? Leptin plays a role in that it has a critical effect on innate and adaptive immune response. It promotes the secretion of cytokines like IL-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor, and there you have it. It sets up the link between metabolism and inflammation. What you see is a dramatic dysregulation of inflammation in folks who become overweight, and thereby establishing the first step in increasing risk for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease and just about everything else that ails us. The “Common Soil Hypothesis” is the concept that metabolism and inflammation came from the same source in evolution, way, way back. Here again, we see that nexus and it makes for problems.

What you see happen is as follows. Folks with inflammation, like low-grade mold exposure, have low MSH and high cytokines that damage the leptin receptor in the hypothalamus. Leptin drifts higher in response, trying to bring about control of calorie balance. The person gains weight. Leptin goes higher, but the receptor is damaged and the higher leptin then mediates more inflammation. Around and around you go. If you feel overweight and have chronic pain or chronic fatigue, you likely fit this model. Forget trying to lose weight until you lower your leptin.

How can you lower your leptin most effectively? I suspect the fast mimicking diet will do so, but that is not yet proven. The one good study that shows regeneration of the pancreas beta cell used mice with a genetic defect in their leptin receptor, so they couldn’t be used to proven leptin repair. Right now we can use pioglitizone (ACTOS) which is an old fashioned diabetes drug that has lots of side effects when used for too long, but is dandy at lowering leptin and MMP-9, two mold effects.

Can we reduce leptin with our own lifestyle? Well, quite a lot. If you focus on several key items, you can guide your leptin lower. Keep your daily sleep cycle to a regular pattern. That plays into your POMC system being played every day at the same time. Avoid sugar. Increase fat in your diet. Cut down on your evening meal and increase your daytime eating, making for at least 12 hours of fasting each night. Exercise. Sleep at least 8 hours, starting with at least 3 hours of no food before bed. Consider training yourself to enjoy a cold shower, particularly if you get a nice hot sauna just before. (The Finns had it right.)

WWW.What will work for me. I’m fascinated with leptin and mold illness. I keep seeing women in particular with not only high leptins but super high leptins levels. Just about every one of them has had low MSH levels, meaning some sort of mold or biotoxin exposure. Throw in stress, sugar, lack of exercise, lousy sleep and we make for a perfect storm to elevate leptin, and keep everyone overweight and inflamed.

 

Pop Quiz.

  1. Leptin helps you make MSH which suppresses your appetite. T or F                Answer: Almost right but backward. LACK of leptin results in hight MSH, and then weight loss and lack of appetite.
  2. Inflammation turns on leptin. T or F                                                                      Answer: I’m into backward today. It makes for leptin resistance, which then elevates leptin.
  3. Name a few means by which you can lower your leptin with lifestyle changes. Answer: Regular schedule, exercise, sleep, 12 hours of fasting, weight loss, less sugar….
  4. Leptin allows the release of MSH. What does MSH do?                                     Answer: It’s a potent appetite down-regulator.
  5. The cause of fibromyalgia is likely?                                                                    Answer…….. /biotoxin illness leading to damaged leptin receptors.

 

 

Fast Mimicking Diet 4: Reversing Diabetes

Fast Mimicking Diet 4, Reversing Diabetes

References: Whitehall StudyCirculationAgingDiabetes CareCell,

This is a big deal. If you read no email this year but this one, you will be well served. The reversal of diabetes is so important, it is a game changer for all of medicine. Why? Two reasons.

The first is that it is so destructive, effecitively being the cornerstone for all our diseases of modern society. We have defined diabetes by committee and decided that it really wasn’t a disease until you got to a blood level of 124 or so, measured twice, or a Hemoglobin A1c of 6.2 or 6.4 (Remember: the A1c is the percent of hemoglobin molecules with a glucose stuck on them. Red cells live 100 days, about, which makes the A1c a nice surrogate marker for your average glucose over the last 100 days.. But that is looking at a disease you might think about treating. What would happen if you decided to consider what blood sugar results in optimal function? I would refer you to the Whitehall Study from England, It showed that for every point of glucose above 86, you have a 5% increased risk of heart disease. And there is wide acknowledgement now that we need to lower blood sugar, which modern medicine does by treating with drugs. That means an optimal blood sugar should be 86. Bredesen shows abundant evidence that a HgbA1c of 5.5 is what you want if you are anxious about Alzheimer’s.

The second is that everyone has it. There are all sorts of papers saying how many millions of people have it, but that is the DISEASE. If you want optimal function, the picture is much gloomier. The simplest explanation of how your body progresses to diabetes is as follows: your fat cells become insulin resistant in relationship to their size. As you get fatter, your fat cells get bigger. You don’t make ore. And your insulin receptors get further apart, So you become insulin resistant. You raise your insulin to keep that blood sugar in control, which you can only so for so long. After a while, you run out of the ability to keep raising your insulin level. It’s as though you were only given so much insulin in a lifetime. As long as you were only burning a tiny amount a day, you can live a very long time. But it has become pretty apparant that once we get overweight, we are burning up our insulin supply faster than we can maintain for a lifetime of 100 years. And that is what we see today in modern medicine. As we age, being a bit plump gradually turns into our blood sugar slowing rising, and your being put on one pill after another until you get to age 55 or so, and then you flunk out and get put on insulin. Your islets in your pancreas look shaggy with fewer healthier insulin producing cells. And then your kidneys fail and you get on dialysis, and then you flunk and get Alzheimer’s. Till now, the key to reversing diabetes has all been about losing weight, making fat cells smaller and getting the residual ability you have to make insulin in line with your reserve of insulin producing capacity. Imagine having an insulin level of 35 when you weight 190, but a level of 2 when you weight 132. That’s what we see clinically happening.

Here is where the Fast Mimicking Diet (FMD) comes in. What would you think if I told you that the FMD turns on the genes that literally wipe out old, dead, decaying tissue and starts rejuvenation of new insulin producing cells? Yes, produces new insulin cells. We have never seen anything quite like this before. This is like the holy grail of medicine, and it’s right there in front of our faces. The FMD turns on genes that support resiliency, getting rid of old garbage that’s in the way and turning on the growth of new stem cells. This is dieting for your genes sake. And all we are asking of you is 5 days a month until you have got yourself fixed.

WWW.What will work for me. I’ve been getting older and I have a family history of diabetes. To my alarm, this year my A1c ticked up from it’s usual 5.2-5.4. I’ve already done one cycle. I’m starting cycle number two. I just came back from a trip to see old friends I grew up with in India. I’m going to send them copies of Longo’s book. My advice to you is to not trust me, or your own doctor on this topic. Trust your own lab results. Watch your own response. The data is there. This diet will eventually become the “human diet”. We will all be on a variation of it. The good news, if you don’t have any risk factors, is that you only need to do it twice to three times a year, provided you exercise properly.

Pop Quiz

 

  1. Diabetes starts at a Hemoglobin A1c of 6.2. T or F                                         Answer: true, if you call it as the disease and use current medicine’s standards. Optimal is a whole different story. If you have worries about heart disease, Alzheimer’s. autoimmune disease.. or just want to age gracefully into your 90s, you want an optimal A1c: below 5.5
  2. You can lower your A1c by losing weight. How does that work?                    Answer: your fat cells get smaller and the residual insulin you have left become in line with the amount you need to control those fat cells.
  3. If I’m getting a little older and a little heftier, what is happening to my insulin producing cells in the islets in my pancreas?                                                                                 Answer: They are getting fewer and making less insulin.
  4. How many days do I have to do this diet thing?                                                Answer: 5. Four, as best we know, isn’t sufficient.
  5. What is an optimal blood sugar?                                                                         Answer: Your family doctor will tell you under 100 or so but won’t call you diabetic until you are 126, or if they are just checking your urine, you will be normal when you have a sugar below 180 because your kidneys can reabsorb anything below 180. (I kid you not, I talked to a person this week whose doctor was still checking urine for diabetes.)

 

Fast Mimicking Diet 1: Starting With Yeast

Fast Mimicking Diet 1: Starting with Yeast

References: Fabrizio Science 2001Science Translational MedJBCPNASGenetics,

You’ve heard of fasting and how it encourages the body to live longer. Well, sort of. The problem is, you like to eat. And eating is critical to keeping you alive. Let’s turn it around a little and come at it from a different way. Can we make the argument that we can identify the process by which changing patterns of food, including low calorie periods of time, turn on “good genes” and what are those “good genes”?
Turns out no one had looked at aging from that point of view prior to Valter Longo. He set out on his career with the premise that the way to explore healthy aging should be to identify and encourage the genetic processes by which we can build resiliency and healthy aging. He started with yeast because they live just a few days and all 6000 of their genes are known. It’s easy to make mutations and delete a gene and see what happens. Here is what he found.
In yeast, if you take away all nutrients from them except water, they live twice as long. Hmmm. If you add back nutrients, one at a time, the only one that accelerates aging… the ONLY one, is sugar. It activates two genes called RAS and PKA and inactivates enzymes and factors tha protect against oxidation. Boom, there he was. He found a key pathway in the gene signaling pathway that caused aging. And when he came out with it, as the basis of his PhD thesis, it was so new and so far ahead, no one would believe how a lowly graduate student could come up with such a significant finding, and he was ignored and avoided. He teamed up with folks looking at more complicated organisms, worms, and found much the same but to jump from yeast to humans was too big a paradigm shift for folks to believe, and thereby publish his data. It took 6 years for him to get published in Science, and another eight years to get a study on humans showing how down regulating the human growth hormone gene helped humans live longer Sci Trans Med would be published.
He discovered that dwarf yeast and mice lived 2-6 times longer, so he sought out populations of dwarf humans in Ecuador, the Laron Syndrome folks, who are tiny dwarfs that smoke, drink, eat fried food and don’t get any diseases of aging like diabetes and heart disease. Studying that population found that their defect in their growth hormone gene forced their body to go into constant regeneration mode. Studies of their brains showed that their brains were much younger in function than the rest of their bodies. That was the key. Regeneration mode. What on earth was going on? He suddenly found his ideas being accepted. Even the Pope wanted in, and he took some of his Laron buddies off to Rome to review his finding.

Starting with that research, Longo noted that aging is the risk factor that is common to all disease. The older you get, the higher your chances of getting……..you name it, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s. Hence, start with that problem. Reduce the aging pathway and those diseases will take care of themselves. That’s why the Laron stayed “healthy”, despite all their bad habits. So, can we duplicate that by changing the way we eat? Yup.
What is the simplified version that we can understand? Easy. There are two pathways that appear to accelerate aging. The Sugar pathwy turns on RAS-PKA and extra protein turns on TOR-6SK Growth Hormone Pathway. If you can down regulate the RAS-PKA pathway, you get autophagy – you gobble up old dead stuff and get rid of it. TOR-6SK is a critical monitor of nutrient density and controller of cell growth. Dial TOR down and cells stop dividing and go into hunker down mode. Alter those two pathways and presto, change, you have gotten to the root cause of aging in humans. That discovery, that these two pathways are fundamental to all life on this planet, starting with yeast and moving all the way up to humans, is Longo’s key contribution to modern understanding of aging.

How can you alter those two? Next week.

www.What will work for me. I’m enthralled with the beauty of creation. From yeast up to humans, we can follow the same biological processes down at the cellular level, and then follow them up through all biology. The Laron People have a terrible mutation in that they end up being only 3-4 feet tall, and then live to 90 with no diseases. And all of this is connected to how we eat. Next week.

Pop Quiz

 

  1. If you feed yeast one food, they die much faster. What is it?                    Answer: sugar
  2. The one process that makes years live twice as long is?                            Answer: feed them nothing but water.
  3. Who are those people in Ecuador that live to be 90 with no diseases, despite eating fried food and smoking like chimneys?                                                                  Answer: The Laron who have a defect in growth home production – and end up 4 feet tall.
  4. What two pathways do we share with yeast, and mice, and worms, and snakes, and monkeys and everything in between?                                                            Answer: TOR and RAS
  5. What do TOR and RAS do (BONUS POINTS)?                                                 Answer: RAS measures nutrients and turns of housecleaning when there aren’t any. TOR measures nutrient density and turns on “hunker-down” mode when there is little.