5

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Is insulin really the bad guy?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 26, 2010 at 12:26 AM

It's commonplace among lowcarb(LC) aficionados to blame weight gain on insulin and nothing else but insulin. Taubes, the infallible LC messiah (you gotta admit, some people would take his farts to be the word of God), wrote some cool stuff regarding the fat/cholesterol hypothesis, but he went on to create his own carbohydrate hypothesis, which people seem to take as a given. Apparently some people get the impression that eating prodigious amounts of fat/protein will not lead to weight gain because they don't haz the insulinz.

So I just read this series about insulin: Insulin???an Undeserved Bad Reputation. There are 4 parts to it and links to the next section are at the end of each article

I read some of the studies he cited and he doesn't seem to be grossly misinterpreting the information. I didn't look at all of 'em though..

My overall impression from it: The body is complex. Insulin plays a big role as an anabolic hormone, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum, which is how many people think of it. One example that comes to mind is ASP (acylation stimulating protein), which is released in response to fat intake, and can drive fat storage independently of insulin.

Taubes has blatantly ignored research that contradicts his carb hypothesis. Ward studies show that carb heavy and fat heavy diets (equal calories) produce identical weight loss. People also ignore the fact that protein also heavily stimulates insulin release, but they get the green light.. He also dismisses the more simple hypothesis for obesity: excessive caloric consumption, which he claims is false based on studies in the 60s/70s that used self-reporting of caloric intake in obese people. His claims that exercise doesn't do anything for fat loss is also based on laughable evidence (gym memberships, please..)

There seems to be a biochemical reason to believe that there is more to it than just insulin. Looking at it from a paleo perspective, do you really think that our bodies are incapable of storing fat in the absence of insulin? Why should the body not be capable of storing energy from a particular macronutrient under hypercaloric conditions? That sounds incredibly maladaptive to me.

So, is it time to reconsider, or is this just garbage?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on October 11, 2010
at 01:16 PM

Some responses from Krieger - http://weightology.net/weightologyweekly/?page_id=690

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 03, 2010
at 03:57 AM

Personally, I found Adipo insights to be quite well written in general. If I remember correctly, Taubes said his ideas about what cells develop insulin resistance first were just his personal theory anyway. However, I felt the other two had a very different tone and motive than did Adipo Insights. Personally, I think everyone has a bias. It's human nature. It's just that some seem more interested in pointing out everyone else's bias and exagerating it and some seem more interested in the actual truth.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 28, 2010
at 01:38 PM

Well, according to him he had consulted with some of the world's experts on the topic. And he had been in agreement with the physiology and metabolism textbooks, which he and those experts later decided were wrong. Listen from 40:40 to 46:55 if you have a chance. As for the truth of his claims, I can't tell you -- in 2007 I was too busy drinking Coke and eating donuts.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 28, 2010
at 10:09 AM

"And, the supposition was, no significant amount of glycerol could be produced in the absence of dietary carbohydrate." But Taubes made a big thing of this point even though it was shown to be untrue before he even started his reasearch.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 28, 2010
at 04:10 AM

Matthew, if Krieger only stated some myths and then debunked them fairly, fine, but what he did was promulgate new myths in their place. Like that insulins spikes are good for you! This is harmful to the populace. Also, yes, I think it does matter to understand why something works. It's the only way to also understand why something does not work for some people, and it is a very important way to come up with potential improvements and troubleshoot problems.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 09:07 PM

If you want to hear it from the horse's mouth, and you don't have time for the whole interview, the discussion begins at 38:35, where Jimmy asks Gary if he regrets anything from GCBC. Gary talks for a couple minutes about "bone-headed" mistakes and then at 40:40 narrows in on the glycerol 3-phosphate discussion. The core of it lasts until 46:55, with some afterthoughts until 48:17. There follows a very good but rambling discussion until 55:34, prompted in fact by Jimmy's question about dietary fat and fat accumulation, yet seemingly conducted without reference to the immediately foregoing.

4ab3b10d52010fcb0d00b1a893b3d9df

(194)

on September 27, 2010
at 05:59 PM

Excellent response Eva!!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2010
at 05:15 PM

Sorry, I am somewhat guilty of creating a straw man. But! From what I've seen, this is the takeaway message that some people get. They get bogged down in all the hormonal stuff, which is not fully understood yet, while losing track of the bigger picture. It's nice to see that the people who have responded don't seem to have a lopsided understanding of insulin. Everytime you get weight loss advice around here, it's always along the lines of eat more fat and eat less carbs, without as much focus on not stuffing yourself.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 03:13 PM

Sounds good to me.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 27, 2010
at 02:59 PM

WCCPaul, good point. Protein seems to satiate whereas carbs seem to drive more consumption. Intake levels are huge when it comes to determining insulin rise. Anyway, I don't think Krieger is completely wrong in all things, only that I think his logic and citations are often flimsy and irrational and his overall argument is not cogent. And he never addresses the more powerful arguments for lowcarb/paleo. Instead, he seems to deliberately or by mistake, misinterpret them into similar but different arguments that are much easier to debunk. Even then, his debunking is weak.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 27, 2010
at 02:49 PM

Eva, many people do believe in the myths exactly as Krieger stated them and it does them no good beliving them. Your diet works for you and that is great, if it works for different reasons than those you originally thought does it really matter?

691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on September 27, 2010
at 02:23 PM

i wouldn't say taubes exactly dismisses the calorie in calorie out argument, unless you didnt read the same 800 page tome that i did.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 07:09 AM

But as I've said elsewhere on this thread, who would want to eat that much protein without fat? That agrees with my intuition -- it's a totally pointless meal and it makes me feel bad afterwards. ... I've said things similar to you also elsewhere on this thread. But thanks for your other points. The one about his claims about gluconeogenesis does indeed make him look bad, even if he thinks he's making that point to respond to potential objectors.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 06:56 AM

it's kind of surprising. Yes, the carbohydrate scores for insulin were generally higher than the protein scores, but in many cases not all that much higher, and in some cases a little lower even. And the other interesting thing is that the insulin scores are often way out of whack with the glucose scores. That's something, right? The study looks legit to me, but I'm not exactly an old hand at looking at these things.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 06:52 AM

Thanks, Eva, that was quite an effort. I was able to see the study that he has linked with the phrase "I know because I experienced the same disbelief years ago when I first discovered this paper" (search on the page with your browser to find it): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9356547 If you go to the upper right corner of the page there's a little icon that says: "Full Text Am J Clin Nutr FREE." This clicks you through to the full text. This is the study that compares insulin and glucose responses to all kinds of different foods and [CONT...]

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 11:04 PM

ABP, the calorie content of foods is not worked out by burning them.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:32 PM

Deb: I challenge you to chug down a litre of olive oil a day for the next month or so and get just enough protein for lean body mass maintenance. Maybe take some time off work while you're at it to keep cortisol at bay. No carbs, no fat gain. Substitute molten beef tallow if you don't want too much omega 6, I won't complain.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:25 PM

WCC Paul: You're right, that is a funky citation. But metabolic ward studies with high carb hypocaloric diets still produce weight loss, even with higher mean insulin levels.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:22 PM

Ok, I reread his posts and I seriously have no idea where you're coming from, Eva.. I'm getting no hint at all that he is saying that high carbs will satiate you better. I also see nothing wrong with his point that insulin can lead to satiety. The CNS system has receptors for insulin and creates a satiety response in their presence. Knocking out insulin receptors in mice makes them obese. And for the second time, he IS saying that protein leads to higher satiety, so? You are taking his article out of context. Also, what is the difference between an insulin swing and an insulin spike?

415ce5b8f88f4d762fa946f9f43d94b6

(564)

on September 26, 2010
at 06:51 PM

Stancel, nobody said that food doesn't give us energy. My point was that a calorie IS NOT a calorie as far as nutrition is concerned. It is a huge leap of faith to think that what we measure as a calorie (the amount of heat transferred to water when a substance is burned in a closed system) has a direct, linear relationship to the metabolic effects of different substances. Glucose, fructose, proteins, and fats are all metabolized differently, and in none of those metabolic processes are these substances set on fire to heat water (which, remember, is the definitive measurement of "calories").

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 05:55 PM

Yeah, I'd say that the way I think of it at this point is that we need to use other people to refine the theory of Taubes. (Rather than the other way around, or rather than just saying that Taubes is wrong.) My intuition and my bullsh*t detector are combining to tell me that this Krieger guy is trying to do way too much with what might be a handful of valuable points. Valuable for what? Valuable for refining Taubes's insight.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 05:49 PM

Alright, Eva, I look forward to your responses when you're done with work. I'm going through more slowly myself. I have to say, I lose confidence in an author when his only support for the rather contentious (not to mention confused) statement "also, if energy intake is lower than energy expenditure, a high carbohydrate diet will result in weight loss just as any other diet" is a study on the "Hawaii Diet", http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11320614 which featured 22 test subjects and a duration of 21 days. Really, the Hawaii Diet? Maybe he has some more references elsewhere in the article.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 26, 2010
at 05:43 PM

I think of Taubes as analogous to Isaac Newton--he's brilliant and his theories are a great first approximation. Sure, someone will eventually come up with the equivalents of "quantum mechanics" and "special relativity" for diet and metabolism, because the world is not that simple. However, I do agree with Eva that spencer and Krieger are employing straw man arguments to some extent.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:53 PM

It is a lot to think about :) Kieger's article isn't attacking low-carb diets (although many seem to take it that way). He is questioning some current theories as to why they work. Believing it is due to insulin when it isn't doesn't help anyone.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:48 PM

For the most part I'm with you, Eva, as I think you can see. But certainly Taubes makes it seem at times like insulin is the only player in the game. For example, he will say things like "why can't Occam's Razor apply here?" I.e., why doesn't he have license to use Occam's Razor just like anyone else when he suggests that it's all about insulin? And I think Krieger might be reminding us that it's not as easy as that ...

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:35 PM

Deb, you may be right. I just have not seen it happen and I don't think it happens often. I think most often, it's food intake over a lifetime causing damaged metabolism. I HAVE seen some get to the point where they can't barely lose weight no matter what anymore, but I suspect that problem could have been stopped if correct measures were taken earlier in the development of the problem.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:32 PM

No one said calories have no impact. What they said is that caloric intake is a symptom, not a cause. What you need to do is attack the thing that drives hunger so the person will no longer wish to overeat. Ordering a hungry person not to eat even though he/she is hungry will naturally tend to fail long term as the person must battle hunger for the rest of his/her life and will probably eventually fail.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:30 PM

Exactly. He is arguing against something that no one ever said in the first place. This is a classic sneaky debating technique. What you do is misrepresent that other side's argument, thus making them look stupid, and then you attack them on that same argument, that would be the one they never made in the first place.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:24 PM

No one said insulin should be kept as low as possible. We said insulin should be kept in healthy normal ranges. BIG DIFFERENCE. And no one said carbs make for insulin probs in healthy individuals. We said unnatural levels of refined carbs slowly damage the system over many years for many individuals such that they become no longer healthy. Krieger is missing all the main points of the Taube's argument. He is inaccurately representing Taube's points in the first place, thus making it very easy for him to argue against them.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:18 PM

Tons of studies show that protein has much less insulin response than carbs. He has found one study, that still uses a ton of carbs, to make a contrary point, but IMO, it is not a fair study because it still uses tons of carb. A real study would compare all protein with all carbs. But the study he cites was designed to study satiation from various types of meals so it was never designed to show what Krieger is trying to bend it into showing.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:15 PM

He is saying that refined carbs satiate better (the insinuation is that it is better than protein), but his citation only compares breads to other breads. It does not compare to protein. And ironically, his early citation for protein insulin release is a study that actually states that it shows that protein satiates better. My beef is he is making it out like high carb will satiate you better. It won't. He makes it out like insulin satiates, but leaves out Taubes' main point that it is insulin SWINGS that cause the problem. After work, I will sit down and really dig into this.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:01 PM

His citations don't support his arguments. To me, that is fraud.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 02:03 PM

I don't see how he was extrapolating to protein and carb intake when he was only talking about refined carbs in that paragraph of the article. I don't blaim you for thinking he is not citing properly; from the abstracts alone, some of the cited studies don't really say much at all but the full text (I get free access through uni) contains most of the relevant info.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 02:00 PM

Regarding energy density and satiety Krieger said: "In fact, when it comes to high-carbohydrate foods, energy density is a strong predictor of a food’s ability to create satiety (i.e., low-energy density foods create more satiety)." He explicitly talks about satiety in the context of high carb foods. If you read the whole study and not just the abstract, you'd see that the energy densities of the different breads chosen ranged from 1.5-2.6kcal/g and the portions were all isocaloric, i.e they were eating almost double the volume of the low ED bread for the same calories.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 01:45 PM

"But the first one I read said that researchers found that the higher protein meal [...] But that is opposite of what Krieger claims in his article." Are we reading the same article? Krieger says exactly that: "The subjects had a tendency towards less hunger and more fullness after the high protein meal."

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 11:26 AM

Krieger writes some great articles, everyone should read them.

6eb2812b40855ba64508cbf2dc48f1b6

(2119)

on September 26, 2010
at 11:24 AM

Calories In/Calories Out is also a vast oversimplification. The idea that you can control how many calories you burn is a myth that just won't go away. I suspect because it's too terrible for most people to imagine that they might adapt to exercise and have their bodies become more efficient. All you can control is what goes in. You can nudge your calorie use in the right direction, and exercise is certainly good for you anyway, but everyone's little chem lab inside works differently.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 11:21 AM

Please read the article again.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 10:55 AM

Read the series again. Kreiger said: "This tendency for a higher insulin response was associated with a tendency towards more appetite suppression. The subjects had a tendency towards less hunger and more fullness after the high protein meal" So more protein = more insulin = less hunger.

E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on September 26, 2010
at 09:52 AM

I agree with this post. I would only add that I think it is possible to gain fat without carbs if your cortisol is elevated all day from the stress that modern people are under, driving, working, lack of sleep etc.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:27 AM

Stancel, sounds like you haven't read the Taubes book in question. You're oversimplifying - which is what the questioner is concerned about.

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on September 26, 2010
at 03:42 AM

There would be no point of eating if the food we ate gave no energy to us. Fat gain is the body's way of storing excess calories. When we are in a calorie deficit, the body uses the fat reserves as energy.

415ce5b8f88f4d762fa946f9f43d94b6

(564)

on September 26, 2010
at 02:51 AM

Yes, calories exist. They are a measurement of heat transferred to water in a closed system when you burn food. Now, where in your body does food get burned (i.e., set on fire) to heat water?

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8 Answers

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62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 27, 2010
at 05:49 AM

OK, Now I will start to go over Krieger's material in more detail. Let's see how far/long this post gets before I get tired of making corrections! (get ready for super long) First, in the primer section, some issues. Unlike what Krieger says, insulin release actually first starts when you start to put the food in your mouth. Just looking at it makes for a small surge of insulin. Sweetness in the mouth can start the next small surge. Then the stomach senses how much is in there and regulates further surges. And the process continues as the body works to fine tune the insulin release. It is wrong to say that insulin secretion starts only after the glucose is already in the blood.

OK, now myth1:"A High Carbohydrate Diet Leads to Chronically High Insulin Levels" But this is not what we say. We say high carb and especially high intake of refined unnatural carbs leads slowly to damage of blood sugar management which THEN leads to high insulin levels. So he has the first tenet of the theory wrong already. Therefore, it is easy to knock it down. Yes, insulin secretion is healthy in healthy individuals. I will not argue that. No one ever argued that. The argument is about what leads to unhealthy individuals, but Krieger doesn't talk at all here about the rising tide of metabolic syndrome and high insulin sufferers.

Myth2"Carbohydrate Drives Insulin, Which Drives Fat Storage" Yeah, I agree basically. His 'fact' answer:"Your Body Can Synthesize and Store Fat Even When Insulin Is Low" Yes, I agree his fact is true, but it does not counter the supposed 'myth.' Our argument is high insulin tends to drive fat storage. We never said the body is physically incapable of storing any fat whatsoever without high insulin ever. Just becuase he comes up with an example that could happen does not change the fact that insulin tends towards fat storage. Similar to just because some astronauts once made it to the moon does not change the fact that the moon tends to be hard to get to. Just because something is possible does not change the fact that it tends not to happen much.

Then next he talks about how he can't consume 5000 calories of pure table sugar as an argument that carbs are hard to consume. But I bet many people can consume 5000 (or a lot) of pasta with sugary sauce on it. Or cake. I can eat a giant friggen hoard of pancake with syrup (at least I cold before paleo). But I can't do the same with steak. I can never eat steak fat or steak to the point of feeling sick. My mother commented on that the other day. On paleo, she always feels good after a meal. Whereas with carbs, you can easily overconsume hoards of calories and feel sick afterwards. I bet if you make a challenge for anyone to consume 5000 calories to steak fat and 5000 calories of pancake with syrup, the pancake will be much easier to accomplish. But by using table sugar, which is not tasty by itself, he makes it out like it can't be done. Believe me, 5000 calories of carbs can be eaten all at once much easier than 5000 calories of fat or protein.

Next myth "Insulin makes you hungry" Yes I agree, but it makes you hungry because it leads to insulin swings and hypoglycemia a few hours later. No one is arguing it doesn't make you feel full for a while. If it didn't work for a bit, then we would all probably eat nonstop, LOL! Again, Krieger is not understanding the argument correctly and is therefore arguing against something no one ever said. And of course, no matter how high the insulin, if your blood sugar crashes you will get hungry. Type 2 diabetics are still often hungry even though their blood sugars are constantly high. IF insulin is so good at satiating, then why do these diabetics still feel hungry?

Another myth: "carbs are singularly responsible for driving insulin." But no one said this! We said carbs are the most to blame for driving insulin and causing metabolic syndrome. Big difference. Again, he makes a false version of the low carb story such that it will be much easier to knock down. Then he cites a study that was actually designed to tests satiation and says that 75 grams of carb at one meal is 'low carb.' No it is not. If you want to test protein vs carb, then don't put tons of carb in the 'protein' group. But this study was never designed to test this so of course it doesn't work well. Of course, other studies have tested protein against carb and those studies how that carb spikes insulin a lot more than protein. Too bad I can't see the whole study or might have more to say, but I also noticed Krieger blasts past the fact that the higher carb meal had much higher blood sugar response, as if this was unimportant.

Then he wants to show that protein stimulates insulin response and he does this by giving data on shakes that contain 11 grams of carb in them. Now he is accusing us of saying that low carb does not cause any insulin release or something? I can't quite figure out what his point really is here. I can't get any info on the shakes because the citation requires a password to even look at the abstract and the other link leads to a long meandering chain of links at the end of which, leads to a broken link. No clue what was in the shakes, but no one is going to argue that a shake with protein and carb in it, designed for weightlifters, is not going to elicit an insulin response.

But wait, there's more! Then he says that 'some' might say it is due to gluconeogenesis. Really? WHo would need to argue that when their drink has CARBOHYDRATES in it already! You don't need to make new carbohydrates when you just ate some. And no one said low carb means NO insulin, we only said it means less insulin than high carb. Show me some good studies that show high carb makes for less insulin than truly low carb, and then well we'll talk. Because all the studies I have seen to test exactly that have shown that high carb and high-glycemic foods cause more insulin release. I mean come on, no one even bothers to argue that one anymore! I can't believe Krieger is here trying to say that protein causes more insulin release than sugar! And I don't really see how comparing various types of protein is relevant to a discussion about comparing carbs to protein. Cuz it's not.

Another study originally designed to compare thermogenesis between fat rich and protein rich meals (FYI, protein rich created more thermogenesis), but Krieger is using the study only for its info on insulin rise in obese vs nonobese patients. (Weird that he keeps getting his data out of studies that were designed to test something else than what he wants to know about. Why not use studies that actually studied what he is talking about?) The weirder thing is this study actually shows what we argue, ie that obese people have higher insulin response to the same meal compared to nonobese. This will be true of both protein AND carbs but he only talks about protein here. Thus supporting our argument that insulin drives weight gain. (That would be the argument that Krieger claims to have already debunked as myth.)

Then he cites another study that he says shows that beef stimulates just as much insulin as brown rice, as if to insinuate that protein is such a potent insulin stimulator that it is the same as carbs. But brown rice is fiber-rich and slow to digest and beef is easy. (Hard to say more cuz I can't see the whole study. In fact, every single study he cites seems to be unviewable by the general public.) Also, the study itself in the abstract says that carbs and sugar intake was positively related to mean insulin scores and PROTEIN AND FAT INTAKE WERE NEGATIVELY RELATED TO MEAN INSULIN SCORES. So the study itself says protein elicits less insulin than carbs and sugar, contrary to what Krieger is trying to insinuate with his beef/rice speech.

Then he cites a study that is supposed to show that lipolysis is not increased when glucagon is present. But what the study really shows, as best as I can tell (someone tell me if I am wrong), is that it does not increase lipolyis over other groups at fasting levels of glucagon. So if you have fasting levels of glucagon already, adding more glucagon will not increase lipolysis. This study does NOT show that glucagon does not increase lipolysis, it only shows that it does not increase it beyond fasting levels. Also, in one of the groups, they infused glucose and kept glucagon constant and lipolysis did not change from the other groups. So this study actually shows the exact opposite of Krieger's claims. He says glucagon in the face of insulin will not help with lipolysis but this study shows that glucogon in the presence of glucose will still keep lipolysis in action. The second study he cites does not have enough info in the abstract for me ot really say much. The abstract is a bit scattered, starting off talkinga bout in vivo but then about in vitro. I don't know if it was done on a fasted state or not. Anyway, one point is that just because something does not increate lipolysis in one situation does not mean you can say it has no effect in all situations. Lowcarbers argue that glucagon helps generate lipolysis in presence of protein induced insulin rise. To debunk this, you would need to use a study that deals with that condition. (and in fact the first one sorta does and sorta supports the lowcarbers argument)

OK so then we go to page 2 (yes I am getting tired now, are you?), where he argues that insulin spikes are good because they control blood glucose spikes. These are the same blood glucose spikes he skated over quickly on the first page when talking about high-carb meals being similar to high protein meals (glossing over the blood glucose spike issue) Of course, he is totally missing the obvious point that if you don't eat high carb, you don't have high glucose spikes so you don't need a ton of insulin to take care of them. But I guess he feels he has already 'proven' that protein is kinda sorta almost maybe insinuated as just as bad as carbs so if you believe that, then you need that insulin spike even if you eat low carb cuz protein will, supposedly, also give you a giant insulin spike. (Anyone here have the same insulin spikes on high protein as high carb? - I bet not) (and he claims 'no one would advocate high fat' thus totally dismissing that issue without needing to supply research because 'NO ONE' would ever say such a thing! DUH!

So according to him, you need insulin spikes becuase you WILL have blood glucose spikes and these are bad. Of course, forget that his earlier citation showed the high carb makes for bigger blood glucose spikes which would make for higher insulin need. Because he has already proven (supposedly) that blood glucose and insulin spikes are not related, at least not on page one. But on page two they are intimately related as one creates the need for the other.

And here is another piece of Krieger logic. Diabetics have weakened insulin spikes in response to meals. And there is a drug that can both restore ability to spike insulin and also helps control overall blood glucose levels. Therefore, insulin spikes are good for you. Wha? I don't get that train of logic at all. However, he also argues that since this drug both increases insulin spikes AND causes mild weight loss, therefore insulin cannot be responsible for weight gain. But what he does not mention is this drug directly affects brain receptors causing a feeling of increased satiety, which could also influence weight gain or loss. And the insulin response decreases rapidly after a few hours. Of course, you would not even need this weird drug that came from a protein in the saliva of gila monsters if you did not eat such a high carb meal in the first place! Plus it causes nausea in 57.1% of people who take it. I think I'd rather just eat low carb. Anyway, I am tired, way too tired to proofread, so I hope that made some sense.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 07:09 AM

But as I've said elsewhere on this thread, who would want to eat that much protein without fat? That agrees with my intuition -- it's a totally pointless meal and it makes me feel bad afterwards. ... I've said things similar to you also elsewhere on this thread. But thanks for your other points. The one about his claims about gluconeogenesis does indeed make him look bad, even if he thinks he's making that point to respond to potential objectors.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 06:56 AM

it's kind of surprising. Yes, the carbohydrate scores for insulin were generally higher than the protein scores, but in many cases not all that much higher, and in some cases a little lower even. And the other interesting thing is that the insulin scores are often way out of whack with the glucose scores. That's something, right? The study looks legit to me, but I'm not exactly an old hand at looking at these things.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 06:52 AM

Thanks, Eva, that was quite an effort. I was able to see the study that he has linked with the phrase "I know because I experienced the same disbelief years ago when I first discovered this paper" (search on the page with your browser to find it): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9356547 If you go to the upper right corner of the page there's a little icon that says: "Full Text Am J Clin Nutr FREE." This clicks you through to the full text. This is the study that compares insulin and glucose responses to all kinds of different foods and [CONT...]

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 27, 2010
at 02:49 PM

Eva, many people do believe in the myths exactly as Krieger stated them and it does them no good beliving them. Your diet works for you and that is great, if it works for different reasons than those you originally thought does it really matter?

4ab3b10d52010fcb0d00b1a893b3d9df

(194)

on September 27, 2010
at 05:59 PM

Excellent response Eva!!!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 03:13 PM

Sounds good to me.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 28, 2010
at 04:10 AM

Matthew, if Krieger only stated some myths and then debunked them fairly, fine, but what he did was promulgate new myths in their place. Like that insulins spikes are good for you! This is harmful to the populace. Also, yes, I think it does matter to understand why something works. It's the only way to also understand why something does not work for some people, and it is a very important way to come up with potential improvements and troubleshoot problems.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 27, 2010
at 02:59 PM

WCCPaul, good point. Protein seems to satiate whereas carbs seem to drive more consumption. Intake levels are huge when it comes to determining insulin rise. Anyway, I don't think Krieger is completely wrong in all things, only that I think his logic and citations are often flimsy and irrational and his overall argument is not cogent. And he never addresses the more powerful arguments for lowcarb/paleo. Instead, he seems to deliberately or by mistake, misinterpret them into similar but different arguments that are much easier to debunk. Even then, his debunking is weak.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on October 11, 2010
at 01:16 PM

Some responses from Krieger - http://weightology.net/weightologyweekly/?page_id=690

7
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 03:18 AM

As to Gary Taubes's claim that fat cannot be stored in the absence of carbohydrate: he has revised his view on this. It may or may not make it into print (his new book is supposed to be greatly simplified, and so there is probably no discussion of it at all), but he discusses it in his recent interview with Jimmy Moore. The earlier theory of his, which was checked at the time with the experts on this very subject, was that there was something called glycerol 3-phosphate which greatly limited the production of glycerol -- and the glycerol was necessary for storage of fats, since in every triglyceride there is glycerol attached to the three fatty acids, as the "backbone." And, the supposition was, no significant amount of glycerol could be produced in the absence of dietary carbohydrate. But it turns out that a significant amount can be produced in the absence of carbohydrate -- i.e., the body can accomplish "glycerolneogenesis" in this way -- and thus that there can be a significant amount of fat storage in the absence of carbohydrate. And Taubes points out that this makes perfect sense: your body will release at any given time fatty acids for fuel in excess of its muscles' and organs' needs; and there would have to be a way to return those fatty acids to storage.

So, he corrects his earlier error. But, the glycerol 3-phosphate argument was never necessary for his thesis. The "carbohydrate thesis" -- basically, carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat storage -- still stands. He wanted to have a little extra support for the thesis. Alas, he couldn't get that support. But this does not destroy the thesis. Insulin still has an overwhelming effect on body composition.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 28, 2010
at 10:09 AM

"And, the supposition was, no significant amount of glycerol could be produced in the absence of dietary carbohydrate." But Taubes made a big thing of this point even though it was shown to be untrue before he even started his reasearch.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 27, 2010
at 09:07 PM

If you want to hear it from the horse's mouth, and you don't have time for the whole interview, the discussion begins at 38:35, where Jimmy asks Gary if he regrets anything from GCBC. Gary talks for a couple minutes about "bone-headed" mistakes and then at 40:40 narrows in on the glycerol 3-phosphate discussion. The core of it lasts until 46:55, with some afterthoughts until 48:17. There follows a very good but rambling discussion until 55:34, prompted in fact by Jimmy's question about dietary fat and fat accumulation, yet seemingly conducted without reference to the immediately foregoing.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 28, 2010
at 01:38 PM

Well, according to him he had consulted with some of the world's experts on the topic. And he had been in agreement with the physiology and metabolism textbooks, which he and those experts later decided were wrong. Listen from 40:40 to 46:55 if you have a chance. As for the truth of his claims, I can't tell you -- in 2007 I was too busy drinking Coke and eating donuts.

6
Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on September 26, 2010
at 03:40 AM

I can only say this: as a type 1 diabetic, I am in a great position to actually monitor my insulin usage. Obviously, if I eat less carbs, I need less insulin. But, whether I lose weight or not, when I eliminate all grains, my insulin use goes down even when my carb intake stays the same or increases (via fruit or even candy). Also, when I lose weight, I need less insulin. When I eat lower (~100-150g/day) carb, my blood sugars stay rock-solid in non-diabetic range -- pretty damn impressive for someone with no beta cell function.

Less carbs = less insulin. Less insulin (for me) = less weight. Less weight = less insulin. And so forth.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:18 PM

Tons of studies show that protein has much less insulin response than carbs. He has found one study, that still uses a ton of carbs, to make a contrary point, but IMO, it is not a fair study because it still uses tons of carb. A real study would compare all protein with all carbs. But the study he cites was designed to study satiation from various types of meals so it was never designed to show what Krieger is trying to bend it into showing.

5
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 02:43 AM

I am sure Taubes got some things wrong as everyone does and we don't have enough knowledge yet to know for sure. However, before you critique Taubes, you should AT LEAST understand what he said. He did not say calories don't matter. Of course they matter! The question is, what drives people to eat more calories than they should? Such is not natural. His argument is higher than healthy spikes of insulin drive cravings and hunger by tipping the balance excessively towards storage. What causes higher than normal amounts of insulin? He claims it is the neolithic higher than natural glycemic loads of high carb foods. He claims the solution is to fix the cause of the unnatural hunger so that you do not wish to overeat.

Yes, protein also stimulates insulin, but it is approx 1/3 the level that high carbs stimulate it. YOu can decide if the term 'heavily' applies to that level of stimulation. Protein is also a natural required food for humans in order to survive. Fat is also required for life. Carby foods are not at all required.

As for exercising helping with weight, he did not say that it does nothing at all. What he said that there are several things that act to counterbalance weight loss via exercise. One is that it tends to increase appetite. You burn more but it's only a little bit more and it's easy to eat a bit more and make up for it. I tend to believe this myself as I notice it myself. His argument is that long term, it is not sustainable to only exercise and not address other issues. He did not say don't exercise.

And certainly, and actually, yes it is likely you cannot store fat in absence of insulin. because insulin is required for moving glucose into cells. With out insulin, you either slowly die or shoot yourself with insulin from a syringe. Insulin is always present in a healthy individual. Taubes' beef is when insulin levels that are too high. I think what you have gotten confused about is that Taubes DID say that he felt you could not store fat without carbohydrates. In fact, he could well be wrong on this one. This is another biologic pathway that could be used to store fat even when no glucose is eaten. However, it's damn hard to gain much fat in absence of carbs. I have't seen it done, but I would imagine it is possible. I think Taubes made an error on that one but it is the only one I know for sure he is likely wrong on.

Edited to add: Reading the linked article, much of this guy's argument has serious flaws. I could write 10 pages on describing them one by one and probably still miss a lot. However, the most obvious is follow this guy's citations and the first 3 or 4 of them exactly contradict his very own claims! He must be assuming people are too lazy to read the abstracts. He is probably right. But the first one I read said that researchers found that the higher protein meal provided a higher level of satiation and wellness after 4 hours than the high carb low protein meal. But that is opposite of what Krieger claims in his article. However, all other citations I followed also lead to abstracts that contradicted the claims. The nerve of this guy! His citation that supposedly shows that low density foods are more satiating lead me to a study on intake of different kinds of BREAD!! The study was not at all about food density and there was no 'high density' food present. Bread is not high density in my book, especially when the subject of discussion is protein and fat intake. Comparing types of bread intake cannot be extrapolated to the difference between protein and carb intake. Taubes may be biased (we all are) but this guy, James Krieger, is far worse. The nerve!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:35 PM

Deb, you may be right. I just have not seen it happen and I don't think it happens often. I think most often, it's food intake over a lifetime causing damaged metabolism. I HAVE seen some get to the point where they can't barely lose weight no matter what anymore, but I suspect that problem could have been stopped if correct measures were taken earlier in the development of the problem.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 02:03 PM

I don't see how he was extrapolating to protein and carb intake when he was only talking about refined carbs in that paragraph of the article. I don't blaim you for thinking he is not citing properly; from the abstracts alone, some of the cited studies don't really say much at all but the full text (I get free access through uni) contains most of the relevant info.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:32 PM

Deb: I challenge you to chug down a litre of olive oil a day for the next month or so and get just enough protein for lean body mass maintenance. Maybe take some time off work while you're at it to keep cortisol at bay. No carbs, no fat gain. Substitute molten beef tallow if you don't want too much omega 6, I won't complain.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:15 PM

He is saying that refined carbs satiate better (the insinuation is that it is better than protein), but his citation only compares breads to other breads. It does not compare to protein. And ironically, his early citation for protein insulin release is a study that actually states that it shows that protein satiates better. My beef is he is making it out like high carb will satiate you better. It won't. He makes it out like insulin satiates, but leaves out Taubes' main point that it is insulin SWINGS that cause the problem. After work, I will sit down and really dig into this.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 10:55 AM

Read the series again. Kreiger said: "This tendency for a higher insulin response was associated with a tendency towards more appetite suppression. The subjects had a tendency towards less hunger and more fullness after the high protein meal" So more protein = more insulin = less hunger.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:25 PM

WCC Paul: You're right, that is a funky citation. But metabolic ward studies with high carb hypocaloric diets still produce weight loss, even with higher mean insulin levels.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 02:00 PM

Regarding energy density and satiety Krieger said: "In fact, when it comes to high-carbohydrate foods, energy density is a strong predictor of a food’s ability to create satiety (i.e., low-energy density foods create more satiety)." He explicitly talks about satiety in the context of high carb foods. If you read the whole study and not just the abstract, you'd see that the energy densities of the different breads chosen ranged from 1.5-2.6kcal/g and the portions were all isocaloric, i.e they were eating almost double the volume of the low ED bread for the same calories.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 01:45 PM

"But the first one I read said that researchers found that the higher protein meal [...] But that is opposite of what Krieger claims in his article." Are we reading the same article? Krieger says exactly that: "The subjects had a tendency towards less hunger and more fullness after the high protein meal."

E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on September 26, 2010
at 09:52 AM

I agree with this post. I would only add that I think it is possible to gain fat without carbs if your cortisol is elevated all day from the stress that modern people are under, driving, working, lack of sleep etc.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:22 PM

Ok, I reread his posts and I seriously have no idea where you're coming from, Eva.. I'm getting no hint at all that he is saying that high carbs will satiate you better. I also see nothing wrong with his point that insulin can lead to satiety. The CNS system has receptors for insulin and creates a satiety response in their presence. Knocking out insulin receptors in mice makes them obese. And for the second time, he IS saying that protein leads to higher satiety, so? You are taking his article out of context. Also, what is the difference between an insulin swing and an insulin spike?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 11:21 AM

Please read the article again.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 05:49 PM

Alright, Eva, I look forward to your responses when you're done with work. I'm going through more slowly myself. I have to say, I lose confidence in an author when his only support for the rather contentious (not to mention confused) statement "also, if energy intake is lower than energy expenditure, a high carbohydrate diet will result in weight loss just as any other diet" is a study on the "Hawaii Diet", http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11320614 which featured 22 test subjects and a duration of 21 days. Really, the Hawaii Diet? Maybe he has some more references elsewhere in the article.

3
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 03:57 PM

At Matthew's recommendation, I had another look at the Krieger. It is in fact interesting, and I think he's onto something. I have a few thoughts of a preliminary nature, which I would put in a comment, if comments were allowed to be much longer and more formatted.

A very interesting exchange begins in the comments section to the post here, when a fellow named Todd represents some of our own intuitions in the debate, and gets some interesting responses from Kreieger (and it's all in the spirit of the acquisition of truth). In Todd's penultimate post he writes this:

You argue that, from an evolutionary standpoint, the view that insulin leads to increasing hunger does not make sense: ???Elevated insulin represents a fed state. The idea that a hormone that reflects a fed state will cause hunger under physiological conditions is not a logical conclusion.??? But I don???t see a problem here. First, I agree that a moderate insulin response, sufficient only to ???cover??? a modest meal, will typically not cause hunger. However, there are at least three situations in which an insulin response will cause hunger: (1) the case of insulin ???overshoot??? in which insulin is secreted in excess of what is required, bring the glucose levels back not merely to basline, but below baseline. This is not atypical, but is often experienced when eating a large meal meal of sugary or high glycemic foods, resulting in a reactive ???crash???; (2) the case of an insulin resistant individual who tend to overconsume because of an impaired ability to uptake glucose, again resulting in insulin overshoot, and a subsequent crash; and (3) the case of a hyperactive cephalic phase insulin response to aromas or appetite cues, which is in fact acknowledged in several of your references in at least some cases.

First note that there is something of a consensus they've reached: that in general it wouldn't make sense for insulin to cause hunger under normal conditions. And so we shouldn't demonize insulin in a knee-jerk kind of way (assuming Krieger is right about the insulin response to protein meals -- on this just a moment). But note next that even if this is the case you're still going to get in trouble with sugar, and you're still going to get in trouble with insulin resistance.

But as for the insulin response to high-protein meals: in the situations Krieger is referencing, people are eating weird stuff: very high protein and very low carbohydrate, and basically no fat. We would never eat things like that. And my intuitions are on board: a meal comprising nothing but, say, four skinless chicken breasts and some steamed veggies is one of my personal visions of hell -- high in calories maybe, but totally unsatisfying. When someone brings this up to Krieger, he cites the study in which beef produced the same insulin response as brown rice. But one has to wonder what cut of beef that was. Along these lines there's another great comment in the thread, right at the end:

Scott says: September 21, 2010 at 4:41 am

Excellent information, the LC crowd needs to see this one.

???The fact is that insulin is not this terrible, fat-producing hormone that must be kept as low as possible. It is an important hormone for appetite and blood sugar regulation. In fact, if you truly wanted to keep insulin as low as possible, then you wouldn???t eat a high protein diet???you would eat a low protein, low carbohydrate, high fat diet. However, I don???t see anybody recommending that.???

Actually, I???d say this is the most recommended type of diet I???ve seen in the paleo world:

http://homodiet.netfirms.com/ http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/8/27/how-to-lose-weight.html http://freetheanimal.com/2008/12/animal-fat-protein-paleo.html http://www.rawpaleoforum.com/journals/lex%27s-journal/ http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-much-is-too-much/ http://www.biblelife.org/stefansson3.htm

Finally, I saw briefly somewhere else on the site that Krieger does not say he is completely opposed to low-carb eating. He thinks it could be helpful for some people. But in general I sense that there might be some of the usual confusion about Taubes's very "analytic" point about weight loss and weight gain. Taubes wouldn't deny that a calorie surplus would lead to weight gain; he would just rephrase that statement: A calorie surplus, once everything is factored in, is tautologically equivalent to weight gain. So the question is just what is causing the calorie surplus, and whether calories-in and calories-out are independent variables -- again, the usual things about Taubes that take a little while to sink in. I'll have to read more on Krieger's site to come to any conclusions about this.

And indeed I'll have to read more on his site to figure everything else out, too. Apologies for the length and the tentative quality of my post; I thought it better to share what I had found so far than to wait the two years it will take for me to figure everything out.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:24 PM

No one said insulin should be kept as low as possible. We said insulin should be kept in healthy normal ranges. BIG DIFFERENCE. And no one said carbs make for insulin probs in healthy individuals. We said unnatural levels of refined carbs slowly damage the system over many years for many individuals such that they become no longer healthy. Krieger is missing all the main points of the Taube's argument. He is inaccurately representing Taube's points in the first place, thus making it very easy for him to argue against them.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on September 26, 2010
at 05:43 PM

I think of Taubes as analogous to Isaac Newton--he's brilliant and his theories are a great first approximation. Sure, someone will eventually come up with the equivalents of "quantum mechanics" and "special relativity" for diet and metabolism, because the world is not that simple. However, I do agree with Eva that spencer and Krieger are employing straw man arguments to some extent.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 05:55 PM

Yeah, I'd say that the way I think of it at this point is that we need to use other people to refine the theory of Taubes. (Rather than the other way around, or rather than just saying that Taubes is wrong.) My intuition and my bullsh*t detector are combining to tell me that this Krieger guy is trying to do way too much with what might be a handful of valuable points. Valuable for what? Valuable for refining Taubes's insight.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:53 PM

It is a lot to think about :) Kieger's article isn't attacking low-carb diets (although many seem to take it that way). He is questioning some current theories as to why they work. Believing it is due to insulin when it isn't doesn't help anyone.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:48 PM

For the most part I'm with you, Eva, as I think you can see. But certainly Taubes makes it seem at times like insulin is the only player in the game. For example, he will say things like "why can't Occam's Razor apply here?" I.e., why doesn't he have license to use Occam's Razor just like anyone else when he suggests that it's all about insulin? And I think Krieger might be reminding us that it's not as easy as that ...

2
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on September 26, 2010
at 01:27 AM

LOL! Yeah, it's always more complicated that any simplification - by definition! Insulin isn't a "bad guy". It's a hormone and has multiple roles to play in the body. One of them is to reduce excess blood glucose and pack away fat. I don't think you'll find anyone on any variation of the paleo/primal diet/lifestyle telling Big Pharma that they need to develop an insulin reducing pill.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:30 PM

Exactly. He is arguing against something that no one ever said in the first place. This is a classic sneaky debating technique. What you do is misrepresent that other side's argument, thus making them look stupid, and then you attack them on that same argument, that would be the one they never made in the first place.

1
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 27, 2010
at 04:04 PM

You ask a good question Spencer. Questioning peoples deeply held beliefs is always interesting.

James Krieger has a couple more articles on Taubes that make an interesting read:

Gary Taubes: Bad Calories, or Bad Research?

The Mythology of Obesity, or The Mythology of Gary Taubes?

Edit: James Krieger now has some responses to critisisms of his insulin series, they are worth reading - Insulin: An Undeserved Bad Reputation, Part 5: Addressing the Critics

This is also a quote from one of those articles:

Of course, I already sense a bunch of strawmen coming my way, including accusations that I am somehow against low-carbohydrate diets. I am not. In fact, I have attended the Nutrition & Metabolism Society conference (an organization that is heavily interested in low carbohydrate diets), been a reviewer for their journal, and have either met or know high-profile scientists in the low-carbohydrate arena, including Eric Westman, Marie Vernon, Richard Feinman, Jeff Volek, and others. I have also published research on low-carbohydrate diets myself. Low-carbohydrate diets are certainly an effective strategy for some people intending to lose weight???but they are not the only strategy, nor are they the best strategy for everyone. And they do not work for the reasons that some people think they work.

What I am against is an incomplete presentation of scientific data, which can be misleading and can result in erroneous conclusions. I consider the latter half of Taubes???s book to be an incomplete, highly selective presentation of the data, and I intend to provide a more complete picture here.

There are a couple of other blogs out there with similar topics that you may find interesting. Both are well worth reading:

Adipo Insights has some interesting posts:

How the "Black Age" of Endocrinology May Be Affecting Your Understanding of Insulin Resistance & Obesity

Fat Fails First?

Is the Fable of Unfettered Fat Burning Derailing Your Low Carb Diet?

My Carb Sane-Asylum also has a few:

GCBC Fact Check

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 03, 2010
at 03:57 AM

Personally, I found Adipo insights to be quite well written in general. If I remember correctly, Taubes said his ideas about what cells develop insulin resistance first were just his personal theory anyway. However, I felt the other two had a very different tone and motive than did Adipo Insights. Personally, I think everyone has a bias. It's human nature. It's just that some seem more interested in pointing out everyone else's bias and exagerating it and some seem more interested in the actual truth.

1
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on September 26, 2010
at 01:51 AM

The reason the low-carb crowd blames insulin is because they don't want to believe that calories are why people lose or gain weight. There has to be some superiority of the low-carb diet for them, and that is that carbs make you fat. And they ignore the many thin people on high-carb diets, people who lose lots of weight on high-carb diets.

It's not as bad if they claim that a low-carb diet is healthier. Calorie denial is just a pet peeve of mine. Calories exist, you can't eat with reckless abandon just because you're eating no carbs. That's just dumb. Weight loss "experts" who focus on restricting carbs are not teaching a sustainable lifestyle, they're teaching people to ignore the whole concept of energy and how the body uses it.

415ce5b8f88f4d762fa946f9f43d94b6

(564)

on September 26, 2010
at 06:51 PM

Stancel, nobody said that food doesn't give us energy. My point was that a calorie IS NOT a calorie as far as nutrition is concerned. It is a huge leap of faith to think that what we measure as a calorie (the amount of heat transferred to water when a substance is burned in a closed system) has a direct, linear relationship to the metabolic effects of different substances. Glucose, fructose, proteins, and fats are all metabolized differently, and in none of those metabolic processes are these substances set on fire to heat water (which, remember, is the definitive measurement of "calories").

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on September 26, 2010
at 11:04 PM

ABP, the calorie content of foods is not worked out by burning them.

6eb2812b40855ba64508cbf2dc48f1b6

(2119)

on September 26, 2010
at 11:24 AM

Calories In/Calories Out is also a vast oversimplification. The idea that you can control how many calories you burn is a myth that just won't go away. I suspect because it's too terrible for most people to imagine that they might adapt to exercise and have their bodies become more efficient. All you can control is what goes in. You can nudge your calorie use in the right direction, and exercise is certainly good for you anyway, but everyone's little chem lab inside works differently.

8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on September 26, 2010
at 03:42 AM

There would be no point of eating if the food we ate gave no energy to us. Fat gain is the body's way of storing excess calories. When we are in a calorie deficit, the body uses the fat reserves as energy.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 26, 2010
at 04:32 PM

No one said calories have no impact. What they said is that caloric intake is a symptom, not a cause. What you need to do is attack the thing that drives hunger so the person will no longer wish to overeat. Ordering a hungry person not to eat even though he/she is hungry will naturally tend to fail long term as the person must battle hunger for the rest of his/her life and will probably eventually fail.

415ce5b8f88f4d762fa946f9f43d94b6

(564)

on September 26, 2010
at 02:51 AM

Yes, calories exist. They are a measurement of heat transferred to water in a closed system when you burn food. Now, where in your body does food get burned (i.e., set on fire) to heat water?

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on September 26, 2010
at 08:27 AM

Stancel, sounds like you haven't read the Taubes book in question. You're oversimplifying - which is what the questioner is concerned about.

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