Sleep: Get some rays to help you get some Zs

Sunlight, Vitamin D, Melatonin, Serotonin, Cortisol, Lights out

Treating Diabetic Hyperglycemia With, High Carbohydrate? FAIL!

Giving people who can't metabolize carbs more carbs is not such a fantastic idea.

Alzheimer's: Type 3 Diabetes?

How sugar contributes to diseases of the brain.

Fruitology

Is fruit REALLY all that healthy?

Spouse not paleo?

The trials and tribulations of making a lifestyle change with a loved one who's not quite on board.

8.27.2011

Alzheimer's: Type 3 Diabetes?

Recently, our family has had some experiences with dementia and Alzheimer's as my wife's family recently lost one of their beloved matriarchs.  She was a lively woman, who was outgoing and caring, with a personality that many described as "loving" and "feisty".  But towards the end of her life she had lost the capacity to take care of herself, to communicate, and perform the simplest of activities like eating.   This was a horrible experience for my wife's family as it would be for anyone.  After having been exposed to several accounts of such tragedies, it serves as a reminder of why I want to do what I do.  It strengthens my resolve to rid the world of these terrible and preventable diseases.  NOBODY should have to suffer through an experience like this, and there's no reason anyone should have to.  


As of some recent studies, many experts in health research are leaning towards a new paradygm in Alzheimer's research.  It's the idea that the disease is actually the result of insulin resistance in the brain, hence the new moniker "Type 3 Diabetes", aka "Diabetes of the Brain" [1].  It seems, in the case of Alzheimer's, many folks in conventional medicine have resorted to nutritional therapy.  This is a fantastic example of how powerful the effects of food and nutrition can be in the treatment of some pretty serious and life-threatening diseases.  

So a little elementary physiology and anthropology is in order here to better understand why this works.  We'll keep it simple so a), I don't confuse myself, and b), you don't get too bored.  Using the Grok meme, you have to imagine early man had instances where food wasn't plentiful.  From an evolutionary standpoint, it would make sense that people who's physiology was unfit to cope with such stresses would eventually be selected out.  How did man cope with these thin food times?


As discussed previously, the body was designed to run on a relatively low-carb diet as compared to modern diets.  True there were several examples of hunter-gather diets that were relatively high in carbohydrates such as the Kitavans, however, generally speaking most paleolithic people ate a higher fat, low-to-moderate carb, moderate protein diet.  That macronutrient composition is just how it usually worked out with the types of food available to be gathered or hunted in most climates during that time [2].  


On such a diet, one's body shifts from burning glucose to burning fat as its primary source of fuel, specifically Free Fatty Acids (FFA).  The end product of FFA metabolism are ketone bodies, which end up providing more ATP per molecule, but at the expense of more oxygen.  This means that, while at rest or during mild activity, your body is more efficient when running on ketones as it's primary energy source.  This was base-line for early man [3].  However, due to the high O2 demand, ketones become less efficient in times of extreme physical exertion (ie, crossfit, marathons, MMA, running from predators).  In the event that great physical exertion or stress is necessary, for example "Flight" during a fight or flight moment, epinephrine is released and the body turns to glucose which is supplied by the liver in the form of glycogen.  Large amounts of glucose is then dumped in to the blood stream so that energy is more quickly available for use by the exerting muscles.  While not baseline, such a glucose spike is useful when fending off a lion for example, or hunting a gazelle.  In other words, ketones could be seen as "gasoline", while glucose could be thought of as "nitrous oxide."  

Remember however, that chronic or prolonged sugar spikes throughout the body are toxic and associated with metabolic derangement.  So, while one would want glucose available in case of an emergency, he'd not want to depend on carbs as his primary source of fuel.  Doing so could lead to chronic conditions, and insulin resistance (as has happened to modern humans).  It's starting to be understood that such insulin resistance is happening in the brain as well.  It occurs when insulin receptor sites are down-regulated (meaning there are less receptors) which retards glucose transport into the cell.  This, coupled with inflammatory processes and resulting oxidative damage are thought to cause the disease.  Enter the Ketogenic Diet.  A ketogenic diet treats both pathways, increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation in the tissues of the brain.  

Going back to Grok, we'd think of him as a guy who would have occasion to go without food every now and again.  Fasting, unintentionally, was a logical consequence of early man's environment.  They had no Safeways, Starbucks (the horror), KFC, or Costcos in which to gather supplies.  And typically, there was no refrigeration (with the exception of winter) in which to store food for long periods of time.  Man was an opportunistic eater, and even scavenged meat when possible.  He probably ate meat when available via hunting or scavenging and probably ate his fill [4].  But what happened when the hunters returned without meat, or the gathering of edible vegetation returned fruitless?  Protective mechanisms were evolutionarily put in to place to deal with food variations in terms of the types of macronutrients ingested, and the overall calories taken in.  

"The classic ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet developed in the 1920's to mimic the biochemical changes associated with periods of limited food availability." (Kossoff, 2004) [5]

During times of fasting or starvation glucose is in dearth supply, either due to a lack of dietary carbohydrates or a lack of dietary proteins which can be converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis.  In this case the human body is built to operate at low-carb (LC), very low carb (VLC), or even zero carb (ZC) levels.  Your most important organ, the brain, runs on ketone bodies in the absence of glucose, and can do so with efficiency.  In this case, the fuel is typically supplied by fat stores but can be obtained from dietary fat as well.  While your brain still requires a small amount of glucose in order to function, it actually runs more efficiently on a higher ketone to glucose ratio, with research reporting improvement in memory, decision-making, problem-solving, and various other brain-related activities. [8]


Healthy brain (left) vs. Alzheimer's brain (right)

So why the big long explanation about ketones and how the body (and specifically the brain) uses them?  Because high-fat ketogenic diets not only improve brain function in healthy people, but are hugely effective in preventing and treating many neurological diseases, including Alzheimers.  For an explanation of how cholesterol DOESN'T cause Alzheimer's disease, I couldn't even begin to explain it better than Chris Masterjohn.  Go here for his article on why that's not an issue.  

For a while now ketogenic diets have been used to treat a slew of neurological diseases as described in this article here. [7] 


Ketogenic Diet Therapy uses OTHER than epilepsy:
Autism2003
Brain tumors2003
Depression2004
Narcolepsy2004
McArdie's Disease2005
Alzheimer's2005
Traumatic brain injury2005
Parkinson's2005
ALS2006
Migraine2006
Sleep disorders2007
Post hypoxic myoclonus2007
Post anoxic brain injury2008

In summary, diet is a major player in the treatment of many diseases.  It's important not to overlook the dietary component of any disease process, and while conventional medicine is starting to see the value of nutritional therapy in neurological instances, it severely lags behind in that regard concerning many other areas in medicine.  Preventative medicine IS after-all, bad for business.  Just ask your friendly neighborhood pharmaceutical sales rep. 

--The Japsican 



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[2] Kaplan HS, Hill KR, Lancaster JB, Hurtado AM. A Theory of Human Life History Evolution: Diet, Intelligence, and Longevity. Evolutionary Anthropology 9:156-185, 2000.http://www.unm.edu/~hkaplan/KaplanHillLancasterHurtado_2000_LHEvolution.pdf.


[4] Aiello LC, Wheeler P (1995) "The expensive tissue hypothesis: the brain and the digestive system in human and primate evolution." Current Anthropology, vol. 36, pp. 199-221.

[5] Kossoff EH, "More fat and fewer seizures: dietary therapies for epilepsy."  Lancet Neurol. 2004 Jul;3(7)415-20  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15207798

[6] Maciej Gasior, Michael A. Rogawski, Adam L. Hartman.  "Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet Behav Pharmacol. 2006 September; 17(5-6): 431–439.

[7] Kossof EH, "Ketogenic Diets: Not just for epilepsy any longer" http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/keto_news_aug08
  
[8] Joseph C. LaMannaNicolas SalemMichelle PuchowiczBernadette Erokwu and Smruta Koppaka, et al. "Ketones Suppress Brain Glucose Consumption"  Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 1, Volume 645Oxygen Transport to Tissue XXX, Pages 301-306, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874681/

8.15.2011

Fruitology




So, evidently I'm now taking requests as a friend of mine, Rich, asked me to do a post about fruit and how it affects diet.  I know what many of you are thinking: "Fruit unhealthy?  Crazy talk!  Why would he even question fruit?"  After all, we've all heard the colloquialism: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  Fruit being a healthy food has become common speak, or part of the dietary zeitgeist.  But is it?


Since this blog is also about nutrition and health in general, and not solely about paleo or evolutionary health and nutrition, I think that this is a great opportunity to help a friend, and dispel some of the myths about fruit relative to a healthy diet.


Let's start with the question: Is fruit healthy?   The answer to that it depends on the fruit, and the person eating it.  Fruits can be wonderfully nutritious as far as plant foods are concerned, but as you'll see not all fruit is created equal.  For example, berries tend to be the most antioxidant rich of fruits, and these include but are not limited to: Blueberries, black berries, raspberries, acai, elderberries and cranberries.  Apples, strawberries, peaches and plums have respectable amounts of antioxidants as well. (1)


Some fruits are best avoided or eaten in moderation and should be treated as more of a desert due to their high fructose content and high glycemic index.  For example, one banana has the same amount of sugar as a Hershey bar.  One serving of grapes (151g) has more sugar than 12 Pixy Stix straws, or a Kit Kat. (2, 3)  Think of high sugar fruit as having a cookie or a cupcake every once in a while.  Poor choices from a sugar/GI/carb perspective include bananas, apples, dates, grapes, mangoes, pineapple, and persimmon. (4)
(Lay off those persimmons Rich)


An explanation of why sugar/fructose can play a problematic role, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM




Your body doesn't discern the difference between sugars whether from an orange, an apple, a watermelon, a bon bon, or a kit kat.  They all affect insulin spikes, hunger, fat storage and insulin resistance the same.  But for some reason there's this idea that  fruit has some inherent "good" version of fructose/sugar and fruit reverence amongst some vegans and vegetarians can reach almost cult-like proportions if talking with the right fool.  Personally, I don't suffer fools very well.


So, what happened?  How could such a staple of our ancestral diet have gone so awry as to become bad for us?  Well, in a very similar way to how we screwed up much of the food we consume, we've altered fruit since the Neolithic advent of agriculture.

How you ask?



First, just by gathering fruit, humans (and all animals for that matter) typically select the largest, most colorful, and most palatable versions of said fruit.  Apples for example, have gotten much larger and sweeter over time.  Examples of this process are found throughout the world with all edible vegetation such as Corn, Rice, Oranges, Tomatoes, etc.  Corn, for example, started off as a kind of grass (Teosinte) and through generations of selection, became maize, or what we call "corn". (5)  Most fruit, as shown in the archaeological record, were much more fibrous, and as such, self-limiting in it's density to sugar ratio.


Secondly, agriculture, especially modern agri-business have increased this selection process by production volume in their never-ending quest for yield and profit.  He who has the largest and sweetest sugar-filled apples garners the most money.


Lastly, big agribusiness tampers with the DNA of many fruits to make them resistant to certain toxic pesticides, and to develop sweeter strains.

So is fruit always unhealthy?  No.  For those without any metabolic derangement such as obesity, diabetes, or thyroid disregulation, fruit can be fine.  But again, treat it as a treat.  If your trying to lose weight, I'd consume fruit in moderation, and keep my overall carb intake to around 100 grams.  For maintenance, I'd keep my carb intake to around 150-250g, without a steep performance bias. 



If someone was an endurance athlete or an athlete with a performance bias, I'd up the carbs to a level that facilitates performance without eliciting fat storage.  That's something that you're going to have to determine with some n=1 experimentation.  But based on your activity level, it could be anywhere from 200-400g.  Everyone's different in that regard.  


If someone were an obese or sedentary person for example, a lower carb approach might be more appropriate, and I'd avoid ingesting too much fruit in an effort to reduce carb intake so that we can get that person to a leaner, more fat-burning (burning fat preferentially as ketones) vs. carb-burning machine.


As you can see, the amount of fruit that's "Okay" is largely dependent on the patient.  If one is eating a nutrient-dense diet, most likely he's already eating plenty of meat and fat which are incredibly satiating, and uninclined to take in too many carbs anyway.  Once one's reached a good level of metabolic homeostasis and/or leaned out, adding more fruit to the diet might be appropriate (or perhaps some low GI tubers).  But, as I've said over and over again, it's better to get most of your carbs from vegetables if possible, as they are equal or greater in nutrient density, antioxidants, as fruits with less insulinogenic effects.


And Rich, to answer your question:  I'd not indulge in eating 2 lbs of grapes in one sitting or an entire watermelon very often, but as long as you keep such binges acute and rare, rather than chronic and often, you're probably gonna be okay. (if not ab-less.)

8.11.2011

Nutrition tip of the week


Here was a recent "Nutrition Tip of the Week" post that I typically make on FB.  Below it is the conversation that ensued:

Nutrition tip of the week: Cut down on your intake of seed oils like canola, corn, vegetable, soy, etc. Research has shown for a while now that it's polyunsaturated fats (and not saturated) that are unstable, oxidizing in the blood stream causing inflammation. It's the inflammation (and not the cholesterol) that cause heart disease (and stroke).
August 11 at 8:19am · Privacy: ·  · 

    • Nick Tiesi I would hope that you are not including olive oil in that. Because "research" has shown that the Mediterranean diet, which is high in olive oil, helps prevent heart disease and stroke
      August 11 at 10:02am · 

    • Ian Dominguez Yes I purposely didn't include it, but with a HUGE caveat. Yes it's true Olive Oil can be healthy, but do you know WHY? The info on that isn't often elucidated to people very well, and people just regurgitate how healthy olive oil is to other people, without having a real grasp on it. Olive oil is indeed healthy, but only in it's raw form and NOT as a cooking oil. Under temperature, it oxidizes and then (although less so) has the same inflammatory properties as other seed oils. If you're consuming PRE-oxidized PUFAs, it's particularly bad for you.
      August 11 at 10:10am · 

    • Ian Dominguez Also, the process by which the oil is extracted from the olive seed (wrap your head around how unnatural that is) uses heat, pressure, detergents and chemicals (highly processed) in an effort to squeeze out the oil. In this process, oxidation occurs, and the antioxidant polyphenols are washed away (The natural preservatives in the oil). This causes further rancidity and oxidation. Generally speaking, the lower quality manufacturers are more processed (to lower costs and raise profit). So, in those cases you've got bad, rancid (oxidized) olive oil already on the shelf. And even the "good" olive oils go bad relatively quickly. So you have to use it in a couple of months or less. To do the research to determine which oils are high quality or not must be done by looking at the italian source for quality as the US has poor regulation on quality. Because of all this, I recommend to just avoid it, or use it in moderation.
      August 11 at 10:25am · 

    • Jamesha Sandoval Chavez Wow Ian. Thank u for your health blog/tips! Been using cinnamon. Lol!
      August 11 at 10:44am · 

    • Jamesha Sandoval Chavez What about coconut oil? I've been hearing alot on this lately.
      August 11 at 10:45am · 

    • Nick Tiesi you should do the cinnamon challenge!
      August 11 at 10:56am · 

    • Ian Dominguez Jamesha! Thanks for the kind words! Coconut oil is awesome for you, and I will give you a long-winded reason when I get back. LOL.
      August 11 at 11:01am · 

    • Kimberly Williams Shelby IAN!!! You rock buddy! I am taking ALL your health information in as I go through my transformation. Keep the info flowing...THANKYOU!
      August 11 at 11:35am · 

    • Ian Dominguez Kimberly, can you enlighten us in what you're doing?! I love it when people get healthy!
      August 11 at 11:43am · 

    • Ian Dominguez Nick, hell no! That's nuts! Never even heard of the cinnamon challenge. Haha
      August 11 at 11:46am · 

    • Kimberly Williams Shelby I am working with Beachbody and their workouts and educating on good carbs vs bad carbs. I am 38 :) and do not expect to be like I was when I was 21 however, weight is not your friend and there is a healthy way to loose weight and a not so healthy way. And unfortunately, many of us have very bad information! I started a fews back and I 've lost 7lbs :)
      August 11 at 11:47am · 

    • Jamesha Sandoval Chavez R u doing crossfit? Thinking about enrolling my freshman son in it after football season.
      August 11 at 12:03pm · 

    • Kimberly Williams Shelby ‎@Nick I have heard that cinnamon is good for those with diabities, it helps control or lower your sugar. Is that what you are referring to?
      August 11 at 12:10pm · 

    • Kimberly Williams Shelby No, I have Slim in 6, Hip Hop Abs, 10min workouts, and shakeology dvd's. But anything that keeps you moving regularly is good.
      August 11 at 12:11pm · 

    • Jamesha Sandoval Chavez Awesome Kim! I just started up again after trying to heal from a car accident injury. Ugh. One day at a time! :) Go team health!
      August 11 at 1:12pm · 

    • Ian Dominguez Jamesha Chavez, as you probably know, LDLs are lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to the cells throughout the body as needed. (we die without cholesterol) The cholesterol molecule itself isn't water-soluble, and thus needs a protein carrier to distribute it where needed. What happens to lipids like those found on a PUFA-rich LDL, is that the PUFAs oxidize creating smaller, denser LDLs. That oxidation causes the inflammatory, plaque-building cascade. The reason coconut oil is a great and healthy option is that there is much less oxidation, and thus less damage and subsequent inflammation. The LDLs stay large and buoyant, and are able to distribute the lipids where needed taking shelter in a cell before they go bad.
      Saturated fat, like those found in coconut oil, especially those accompanied by rich amounts of antioxidants, don't oxidize in the bloodstream as quickly as their polyunsaturated counterparts (see above post about olive oil). In contrast, the seed oils (PUFAs) tend to not get to their intended destination, oxidizing, creating inflammation throughout the vasculature.

      This article on pubmed talks about how "Virgin" coconut oil is superior to regular old coconut oil, in it's heart healthy effects. I will say though that both VCO and CO are superior to any and all seed oils.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go​v/pubmed/15329324


      www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
      PubMed is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over ...See More

      August 11 at 3:05pm ·  · 

    • Ian Dominguez Here's another explaining the oxidative process with PUFAs: http://www.cholesterol-and​-health.com/Does-Cholester​ol-Cause-Heart-Disease-Myt​h.html#oxinjury

      www.cholesterol-and-health.com
      The cholesterol-fed rabbit produced atherosclerosis but the response-to-injury r...See More

      August 11 at 3:07pm ·  · 

    • Ian Dominguez Kimberly Williams Shelby, that's awesome! Best of luck to you! Give us some updates as you reach your goals!!! Funny thing, today I went in for a check up at the doctor, and I found out that I'm 22 lbs lighter than my last visit in Feb, and my Body Fat percentage was 11%. I haven't been that low since HS.
      August 11 at 3:15pm ·  ·  1 person

    • Roberta Griego olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are better. ;)
      August 11 at 4:11pm · 

    • Ian Dominguez Avocado oil is great as well, but again, similarly to Olive Oil, don't cook with it, as it oxidizes easily under heat. Drizzle it over salads, (along with olive) and it's very healthy. OR pour it over already cooked foods. I cook primarily with animal fats, ghee, butter, or coconut oil, as they are the most stable under heat.
      August 11 at 9:15pm · 

    • Jamesha Sandoval Chavez Oooo very interesting about the oils Ian! I just bought some virgin coconut oil. It smells yum. Ian r u doing crossfit?
      August 11 at 9:49pm · 

    • Ian Dominguez yep, on my own. I had to put my membership on hold until my shoulder is back up and running. (Rotator cuff injury)
      August 11 at 9:52pm · 

    • Nick Tiesi this is the cinnamon challengehttp://www.youtube.com/wat​ch?v=mNQEcTGkAgM

      www.youtube.com
      The BEST Cinnamon Challenge Video Featured Main Page on Ebaumsworld.com

      August 11 at 10:38pm ·  · 

Amazon

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More