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Author Topic:   Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 365 of 451 (629452)
08-17-2011 8:53 PM
Reply to: Message 364 by Percy
08-17-2011 5:17 PM


Re: Back to this...
I'm following this topic with great interest: I'm a big fat fuck, I'm interested in biochemistry and particularly the biochemistry of obesity, Molbiogirl's contributions are always "must read" for me, and I'm pretty sure that Molbiogirl is right that Taubes has pretty flimsy scientific support for his conjecture about the role of insulin but that Percy is right that the shift in caloric composition of the American diet from being fat-heavy to carb-heavy is strongly correlated with an immediate increase in the rate of obesity.

I think that Taubes can be attacked without disputing the massive evidence that the medically-driven shift in dietary emphasis from fats to carbs has been perhaps the most dramatic failure of the public health establishment in the last 40 years. For my own part, based on no evidence at all, I think an important part of the story has to do with how nutrients are absorbed in the intestine; sugars may diffuse, but fats are primarily transported actively, which means that the body may have the ability to reject excess fat in the diet. Total bullshit speculation on my part, though.

Also I would point out that Taubes' insulin hypothesis directly contradicts the stated rationale for fructose being the cause of all this obesity, since the idea there is that fructose doesn't raise insulin levels, which would cause satiety and reduce overeating.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 364 by Percy, posted 08-17-2011 5:17 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 366 by nwr, posted 08-17-2011 11:18 PM crashfrog has replied
 Message 370 by molbiogirl, posted 08-18-2011 7:37 AM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 367 of 451 (629461)
08-17-2011 11:37 PM
Reply to: Message 366 by nwr
08-17-2011 11:18 PM


Re: Back to this...
Yes, I'm following her posts in this thread.

Quite! Percy's recent attempt to portray her as someone whose emotions get the better of her evidence didn't ring true for me. Sure, she spits hot fire in the finest tradition of EvC, but she's got the evidence to back it up, in my experience. She's definitely on my very short "in any disagreement, I'm almost certainly the one who's wrong" list.

Personally, I have increased the proportion of carbs (but not sugar) in my diet, and lost a little weight. Well, okay, that's mostly a matter of reducing fat.

Fiber carbs, or "refined"?

For me the winning strategy seems to be foods that increase satiety.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 366 by nwr, posted 08-17-2011 11:18 PM nwr has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 368 by nwr, posted 08-18-2011 1:06 AM crashfrog has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 379 of 451 (629533)
08-18-2011 11:11 AM
Reply to: Message 377 by molbiogirl
08-18-2011 10:07 AM


Re: Taubes: All carbs are bad
First. The obese have a reduced level of insulin signaling, not more. In obesity, fat tissue is insulin resistant. The same is true of diabetics.

But isn't it thought that acquired insulin insensitivity is a result of chronic elevated insulin levels? And therefore wouldn't foods that elevate insulin levels result in insulin insensitivity over time?

I'm not trying to defend Taubes, who I would say you have demolished handily. I guess I'm just trying to square this circle. I think there's an understanding that elevating insulin levels over time can result in acquired insensitivity. Taken simplistically that could support a really general, handwaving assertion that " the greater the insulin response the more dangerous the food with respect to obesity and diabetes", eliding the "middle part" which is that the danger of insulin isn't that it makes you fat, but that you can desensitize your adipose cells to it which could contribute to increased fat retention.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 377 by molbiogirl, posted 08-18-2011 10:07 AM molbiogirl has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 386 by molbiogirl, posted 08-19-2011 9:25 AM crashfrog has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 380 of 451 (629534)
08-18-2011 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 370 by molbiogirl
08-18-2011 7:37 AM


Re: Thanks Crash & nwr!
But that's where personal anecdotes get you. Nowhere near an explanation.

Quite. Of course, anybody's personal weight loss/fitness strategy is basically going to be anecdotal. And I wonder the degree to which individual human variation makes talking about metabolism in the aggregate hopeless. I mean, obviously we're all generating ATP by oxidative phosphorylation. But we're beginning to discover ways to categorize people into broad categories that differ in the population and possibly even the function of their digestion.

I'm itching to discuss the role of insulin, but neither Percy nor PD are interested. It's the lynch pin of Taubes' hypothesis.

I would love nothing more than for you to hold forth on the topic. I'm still basically an amateur at it; I've had some grad-level metabolic courses so I can follow along, for the most part.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 370 by molbiogirl, posted 08-18-2011 7:37 AM molbiogirl has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 387 by molbiogirl, posted 08-19-2011 9:36 AM crashfrog has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 430 of 451 (632689)
09-09-2011 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 428 by Bolder-dash
09-09-2011 12:32 PM


Re: It's the psychology
I would add to this, that it is my opinion that it is the refined sugars and the high fructose corn syrups, not the carbohydrates that is really the cause behind the obesity epidemic in America and elsewhere.

Hi, Dash. We actually had a thread about this sometime last year:

High Fructose Corn Syrup - the Controversy

I'd be interested in your further thoughts. Here's what I understand to be the problems with the evidence you allude to:

1) Charting obesity and prevalence of HFCS over only 20 years elides the fact that the trend in increasing obesity goes back much further than 20 years, to well before any increase in the prevalence of HFCS as an industrial sweetener (the sugar tariff system that prompted the switch to HFCS as a sweetener was only instituted in 1977 and it took several years for manufacturers to switch to HFCS; the sudden increase in the rate of obesity and all obesity-related pathologies begins in 1975.)

2) HFCS is sweeter than sugar by about a factor of three, and foods and beverages are usually sweetened to taste. The result of this is that most foods sweetened with HFCS have somewhat less calories than foods sweetened with sugar. The caloric composition of the average American diet has added only 50 additional calories from simple sugars since 1950 despite the dramatic increase in consumption of sweetened foods and beverages.

3) There's no metabolic logic to the proposition that HFCS is somehow digested differently from sucrose because HFCS and sucrose are both comprised of glucose and fructose. The "high" in HFCS refers to the fact that it has more fructose than regular corn syrup (which has almost none), not that it is high relative to table sugar. It's not: HFCS is 55/45 fructose to glucose; sucrose is 50/50. In order to ingest enough soda, for instance, that the relative difference in fructose would be sufficient to have an effect on metabolic signaling, according to rat studies you would have to consume approximately 12 cans of soda in the space of an hour. People just aren't consuming enough HFCS to trigger some kind of alternate metabolism, even the people who are drinking soda all the time.

In regards to China, the increase in obesity is at least as likely to be related to the increasing wealth of the average Chinese, and therefore their increased consumption of high-calorie, high-value foods or the increase in automobile ownership and driving among Chinese. It's not coincidental that China's consumption of fossil fuels is increasing right along with the increase in their waistlines.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 428 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-09-2011 12:32 PM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 432 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-09-2011 11:43 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 435 of 451 (632813)
09-10-2011 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 432 by Bolder-dash
09-09-2011 11:43 PM


Re: It's the psychology
I would disagree somewhat that the trend in obesity in America goes back further than 1977. I think it is probably fairer to say that the may have been a slight weight issue in America before that, but not the clinically obese rates of today.

You're confusing the prevalence with the rate of increase of prevalence; the function with its first derivative, in other words. The prevalence of obesity in the United States has not ever been not increasing, because the United States was founded approximately at the beginning of the Industrial Age and at the end, roughly, of the existence of wide-spread agricultural failure in the Western world - in other words, Americans have always been getting fatter because the United States has always been a place where agriculture has been successful.

The question is the rate of increase. Starting in about 1975, roughly associated with the time that public health dietitians recommended a shift in calorie composition to carbs and away from fats, that rate of increase increased dramatically in both children and adults as shown by the slope in prevalence:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6002a2.htm

http://nchspressroom.wordpress.com/category/nhanes/

This graph somewhat conceals the actual timing of the trend because it's based on Census information and they only collect it every few years.

I think they slow and disrupt the metabolism of the entire body such that all of the calories that are consumed are converted quicker into fat than into quicker energy storage.

Well, ok. What's the biochemical basis for this conclusion?

The makers don't believe it would be sweet enough for Americans if they just added a little honey?

It's funny you should mention honey; the primary constituents of honey are free fructose and glucose in water solution - almost exactly the same as HFCS, in fact.

Go to any seven eleven and try to find an unsweetened soft drink.

I've never been to a convenience store that didn't have an enormous variety of diet soft drinks, so I don't know what you mean. If you want to avoid sugars in your soft drinks, everything these days has a diet version sweetened with sucralose (which is noncaloric.)

Its what these things are doing to the human metabolism that is causing the great damage.

And what, in your view, are they doing to the human metabolism? Please be specific.

First, the obesity that we are seeing is in the youth populations, not the adult population.

No, that's not correct. Obesity and obesity-related morbidity are on the rise for all age segments of the Chinese population, but most especially adults in high-income areas of the country:

quote:
The age-standardized prevalence of overweight and obesity is shown in Table 2. Men ages 45 to 54 years had the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity, whereas prevalence of overweight and obesity varied among age groups in women. The age-specific prevalence of overweight was higher among women compared with men after age 45 years. For every age group, the age-specific prevalence of obesity was higher among women compared with men. Prevalence of overweight and obesity was also higher in northern compared with southern China and urban compared with rural areas...

Our study indicates that the mean BMI and prevalence of overweight and obesity in the general Chinese adult population are higher than previously reported from national studies conducted in China (13, 14, 15). In 1991, the prevalences of overweight and obesity were 9.9% and 0.8%, respectively, among men and 12.9% and 1.9%, respectively, among women ages 18 years and older in mainland China (14). Furthermore, these results document regional differences in mean BMI and waist circumference; prevalence of overweight, obesity, and central obesity; and risk factors. Our study suggests that 119 million Chinese adults ages 35 to 74 years were overweight and 18 million Chinese in the same age range were obese, using BMI criteria. Using waist circumference, 126 million Chinese adults ages 35 to 74 years had central obesity. The current study documents an unexpectedly large burden of overweight and obesity in the general Chinese population...

This national survey indicates that overweight and obesity are very common in the general Chinese adult population and that the prevalence of overweight and obesity and mean BMI are higher than previously reported from national studies.


http://www.nature.com/...ournal/v15/n1/full/oby2007527a.html

This phenomenon is not limited to wealthy children in China, it is just as bad or worse in poorer rural areas, where the children buy the cheapest of snacks. A soda costs about 20 cents and a ice cream bar costs even less.

I've never been to China, so I can't speak to that except to point out that:

1) the average rural daily income is about six dollars in China, so a 20-cent drink isn't actually all that cheap, and
2) rural areas of China have the lowest prevalence of obesity, as we've just seen.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 432 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-09-2011 11:43 PM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 436 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-10-2011 12:28 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 440 of 451 (632827)
09-10-2011 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 436 by Bolder-dash
09-10-2011 12:28 PM


Re: It's the psychology
You seem to have an almost compulsive need to just somehow feel you are winning an argument, even when you are arguing alone.

I'm sorry, Dash, if you got the impression that EvC Forum was a mutual admiration society where every contribution, no matter how insignificant or poorly sourced, was welcomed and celebrated.

It's not. It's a place where we hone ideas in a crucible of people disagreeing with them and trying to present the best evidence they can marshal. (You've produced no evidence, in case you were keeping track.)

Artificial sweeteners have the same effect or worse on insulin production.

As a matter of fact, that's exactly wrong. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose have no effect on insulin secretion because they're undigestible and therefore don't trigger any of the body's chemical sensors for saccarides. Or, as nearly every scientific study has put it:

quote:
We conclude that sucralose, delivered by intragastric infusion, does not stimulate insulin, GLP-1, or GIP release or slow gastric emptying in healthy humans.

http://ajpgi.physiology.org/content/296/4/G735.short

In case you don't recognize the web address, that's the American Physiological Society's Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.

I say it worse because they are tricking your body into believing it is taking in large amounts of sugar, and thus producing an insulin surge, even though there is no actual sugar.

And what do you think that does, exactly? Walk me through the relevant pathways. You keep writing biochemical checks that you don't have the knowledge to cash.

Third, I told you that obesity is on the rise in China, not that it didn't exist at all.

Well, what you said was this:

quote:
First, the obesity that we are seeing is in the youth populations, not the adult population.

That's right from your Message 432. So in point of fact you did make a claim that obesity was not on the rise in China among adults; there you are, right there, saying it. So what I posted was further evidence that you're wrong - obesity is on the rise among Chinese adults, it's particularly associated with high-value diets (like I said) and a decline in physical activity, both associated with rising affluence (like I said.)

See, the difference between you and me is that I usually go and do some research before I arrive at a conclusion.

Honey is the ideal liver fuel because it contains a nearly 1:1 ratio of fructose to glucose.

High-fructose corn syrup also has a "nearly 1:1 ratio" of fructose to glucose, as I just told you. Being a natural product, the precise composition of honey varies from hive to hive, collection to collection, etc. Obviously honey and HFCS are not the same thing. But you can't lay responsibility at the feet of HFCS's sugar composition unless you lay it at the feet of those sweeteners that share that sugar composition.

Oh, and this:

Right. Rats, rats, rats. Here's the problem - humans aren't rats, and the specifics of liver function, fat synthesis, and sugar metabolism between humans and rats are very different. Rat studies no more prove that human obesity is caused by HFCS than dog studies prove that chocolate is poisonous.

Finally, you are talking about three things that I know much more about than you do, nutrition, health, and China.

Well, no. You're talking about biochemisty and I, in fact, know a great deal more about that than you do. The fact that you've memorized the label on a bottle of Slim-Fast, and swallowed whole the unscientific claims of the multi-billion-dollar "neutraceutical" industry, is immaterial to that. You're just not the kind of person who is able to think critically about anything.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 436 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-10-2011 12:28 PM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 443 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-10-2011 7:40 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 441 of 451 (632828)
09-10-2011 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 437 by Bolder-dash
09-10-2011 12:37 PM


Re: Its not about calories
Correlation is not causality. Don't you think that fat people probably switch to diet soda?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 437 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-10-2011 12:37 PM Bolder-dash has not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 442 of 451 (632830)
09-10-2011 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 431 by RAZD
09-09-2011 2:31 PM


Re: Some thoughts on Glucagon, and Insllin
Has anyone studied the effect of glucagon to control blood sugar instead of insulin?

My dad has been a Type 1 diabetic my whole life, so I've had a front-row seat to blood-sugar control in the life of the average T1 diabetic. I feel pretty confident that glucagon is almost useless from a blood-sugar control standpoint because it's seldom the case that a diabetic has a need to raise his blood sugar (which is what glucagon would do). His blood-sugar is almost always too high, since he eats regular meals, snacks, etc. you know, regular stuff. At such times as his blood sugar really does get too low, it's much faster and safer to administer simple sugars orally than to administer glucagon and wait for the liver to increase blood sugar in response.

That's Type 1, though.

Would it be possible to develop a drug that chemically reacts with blood sugar to remove it from the system?

Is there a need to? The kidneys filter it out, hence diabetes mellitus, from the Latin "passing sweetly", as in, passing copious sweet urine. I don't think a drug could get it out of the blood any faster; you'd still have to express the sugar-drug complex through the urine, too. Conservation of matter. You can't just have the sugar disappear.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 431 by RAZD, posted 09-09-2011 2:31 PM RAZD has seen this message but not replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 444 of 451 (632868)
09-10-2011 7:58 PM
Reply to: Message 443 by Bolder-dash
09-10-2011 7:40 PM


Re: It's the psychology
Don't you ever get tired of being stupidly wrong?

cause isn't correlation

No, exactly wrong. Causality is correlation. It's just that correlation isn't causality - that's the fallacy of "ad hoc, ergo propter hoc." Here's the kiddy-school example for you: eating ice cream quickly is correlated with getting an ice cream headache because eating ice cream quickly causes an ice cream headache. But eating ice cream is also correlated with car theft. But it doesn't cause car theft, it's just that both of those activities - eating ice cream and car theft - increase at roughly the same time each year: the summer.

there are some adults in China that are obese therefore there is no increasing obesity problem for children in China

I never said that there was not an increasing obesity problem for children in China. I simply showed you that, exactly contrary to what you stated, there's also an increasing obesity problem for adults in China. Remember when you claimed that there was not? Here it is, again:

quote:
First, the obesity that we are seeing is in the youth populations, not the adult population.

Did you, or didn't you write those words?

while ignoring all those that don't

Which studies did I ignore? Wouldn't you have to have presented a study for me to ignore it?

Did you even read the studies that found artificial sweeteners CAN raise insulin

Which studies are those, Dash? Would you like to produce one?

Hey, can I steal your lines "cause isn't correlation"

Where did I use that line? Please be specific.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 443 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-10-2011 7:40 PM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 446 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-10-2011 11:31 PM crashfrog has replied

crashfrog
Member (Idle past 784 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 447 of 451 (632932)
09-11-2011 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 446 by Bolder-dash
09-10-2011 11:31 PM


Re: It's the psychology
You want so so badly to be right, that it seems there are no lengths you wouldn't go to to try hard to prove how correct you are.

If I am right, Dash, then precisely at what point should I stop arguing that I am? Please be specific.

You even, inexplicably, tried to look up online what the average daily income is for rural people in China

What's "inexplicable" about it? I wanted to know the average daily income for a rural Chinese. Why wouldn't I go online to find it? I mean, it's obvious you don't ever know what the fuck you're talking about, so why would I ask you?

The other day you said something in a language thread that was halfway sensible and could have been written by a seventh-grader. It was such an enormous improvement on your usual work that I almost nominated it for POTM. No lie.

Never mind that you don't have the ******* -->******* faintest clue about what the average Chinese person does, and nevermind that I work, I play, I shop, I breathe with the average Chinese person, and I understand what they feel, what they do, what the economy is like, and what their habits are..

Blah blah blah. China has over 1.3 billion citizens. Your personal experiences with, perhaps, a few thousand of them simply aren't data. They're anecdotes. They may be illustrative but they're not comprehensive, and if a reasonable person wants to characterize some aspect of the broader Chinese experience your little stories just aren't going to cut it. I'm not claiming to be an expert - I'm simply presenting the conclusions of experts, of people who know a hell of a lot more about China and more importantly about data than you ever could.

What is the average currency amount that would be appropriate in a lai si pack to a male cousins new born child in Anhui province?

Who the fuck cares?

quote:
"These numbers are higher than in European countries, while the gross domestic product in China is much lower," said Ding Zongyi, who led the study.
"Only the United States have higher rates," he added.

The Chinese experts looked at 80,000 children from 11 major cities, and found an increase of 156 percent in the numbers of obese children between 1996 and 2006.

Meanwhile, the number of overweight children grew 52 percent.


Since you mentioned Wikipedia, maybe you'll understand this: [Citation needed]

Is that what is happening to Chinese adults?

I cited my sources, Dash, something you always forget to do. Why don't you go back to them and find out for yourself? Or would that place you in too great a danger of learning something?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 446 by Bolder-dash, posted 09-10-2011 11:31 PM Bolder-dash has not replied

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