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What can take away from BBC Horizon's Sugar v Fat documentary?

Commented on February 11, 2014
Created January 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

What can we take away from BBC Horizon's Sugar v Fat documentary?http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03t8r4h

Edit: I was a bit surprised they talked about the high-fat dieter burning muscle to fuel his bike ride but didn't discuss ketosis. Ketones were mentioned in passing at the beginning but that was it. Any thoughts on this?

Edit 2: Also at the end one of them says all fad diets are wrong. Do you think he including Paleo when he said this?

Edit 3: Here's the link on YouTube for those outside UK (thanks raydawg):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D-XL-zkNIY

231ce52273639e12b524dab5bb4718b7

on February 11, 2014
at 01:10 AM

https://mediahint.com/ -- Install browser plugin to watch outside the UK.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on January 30, 2014
at 07:22 PM

I agree, I'd sooner raise carbs than raise protein beyond moderation, since ultimately it's going to convert to glucose anyways, while simultaneously tasking your kidneys and increasing IGF-1 and insulin (to a lesser degree) which both act on the PI3K, Akt, and mTOR pathways to accelerate aging and promote cancer.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c

(777)

on January 30, 2014
at 04:29 PM

When I start lifting again i'll raise my protein on those days, but not generally, I've seen first hand how high protein is not good at all, i'd sooner eat carbs

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c

(777)

on January 30, 2014
at 04:23 PM

They flat out said ketosis was inferior to burning glucose, while this may be true for long hard exercise, the brother who didn't do well at the stock trading test said it just wasn't his thing, yet they made out ketosis to be intellectually inferior because of this, and they didn't mention any benefits of ketosis. I don't think paleo is mainstream enough for them to be referring to it as a fad diet.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 30, 2014
at 04:19 PM

Well, work out more with weights, and raise your protein. :)

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on January 30, 2014
at 02:29 PM

I completely agree, there is a huge misconception that low-carb must mean high-protein; it is inconceivable to these people that low-carb could actually mean eating fat, as though eating fat was a taboo or something, like being a member of a satanic cult. Either way what they don't realize is that excess protein becomes glucose so it's not much different from eating carbs (except there's now a good amount of ammonia in the bloodstream due to deamination). Fat is a whole different fuel source, unlike protein and carbs, and they just can't seem grasp this concept of what low-carb really is.

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96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 30, 2014
at 04:07 PM

Couldn't watch it due to the BBC restricting access to the UK only. I did find it on youtube, I'm guessing it's the same program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D-XL-zkNIY

The big questions are going to be, what kind of sugar? dextrose? sucrose? fructose?

What kinds of fat? oxidized PUFAs? fresh PUFAs? MUFAs? SFAs?

The idiotic stance about the UK vs the US is useless. Both USA and UK eat very similar a SAD.

The carb side included fruit, vegetables, as well as pasta and breads, so there is the issue of gluten as well. i.e. the premise has not removed the other toxic ingredients that come with the ride.

On the fat side, there are some good things, heavy cream, burgers, cheese, (obviously detrimental to those with dairy issues - lactose or casein), chicken with the skin on but also mayonaise - is that the stuff made from soy bean oil, or home made with a paleo friendly oil? Somehow I doubt it would be the good stuff. Presumably the meats are CAFO, and processed deli meats are allowed. There's the idiotic commentary that a high fat diet will cause constipation due to lack of fiber, but of course we all know what downing too much coconut oil can do.

So obviously both high carb/high fat diets are with a SAD optic, and filled with low quality stuff.

There's the usual BS commentary about how eating high fat will raise cholesterol and "clog our arteries" - luckily they also measure for muscle gain/loss.

Yes! Buy high, sell low ftw! But there's also the idiocy of thinking a high fat diet lowers your cognitive ability. Of course, had this been tasted, say 30 days later, the results would have been different. I disagree that glucose is the best fuel for the brain - this is patently false - it's one of two, and ketones are more efficient despite their claim. Since the "high fat" diet includes lots of protein, this should not be an issue once Xand is keto adapted.

The profit made is meaningless - you can't attribute what the market does within a few hours as a measure of whether fat or carbs are going to work - the market is very volatile and changes quickly in minutes. There's a well known effect such that most funds will make far less profit than simply buying an index fund such as the S&P500, or the DJIA. i.e. fund managers can't outwit the market most of the time.

The do hit upon the well known carbs keep you hungrier than fats, but they fail by saying "high protein diets make you feel fuller." Had the high fat meal been, say, a stick of butter, Xand would have eaten far less. So fail there.

I laughed when he said "I'm eatingly mostly good fats, mono and poly-unsaturated fats." As we all known a diet high in n6 PUFA is very very bad news, *but*, he did say, eggs, olive oil, and fish, so perhaps the PUFAs were mostly n3, in which case, woot!

Fail on the HDL as "good" and LDL as "bad" cholesterol since there's no mention that high dense LDL particles are bad, while big fluffy LDL are no worse than HDL.

Fail on the calories-in-calories-out theory i.e. a gram of fat has 2x as many calories as a gram of carbs - while technically true, eating a pound of fat won't make you gain a pound of fat.

Ouch on the cart full of porridge, but their blood sugar levels after the biking show better control for the high fat diet. Of course Xand bonks out while Chris has plenty of glucose to drive through. Actually there is a lie there, we can convert fat into sugar through the glycerol backbone of fats.

Chris lost 1K half from muscle, half from fat - makes sense since it was a high carb, very low protein diet.

Xand lost 3.5K 2Kg from muscle, 1Kg from fat - not sure where the .5K went.

We didn't however see these guys do any weight training, so the muscle loss in Xand isn't surprising - most of the exercise was cardio. We don't know what else they did in the background the rest of the time, while it's possible they did work out with weights, but their body type doesn't reflect this (see: "Bro, do you even lift?" meme), and muscle loss reflects a lack of working out with weights.

So insulin sensitivity went up on a high carb diet. But note that Chris lost some weight, so he's not sedentary, and he was seen burning a lot of it in cardio.

Idiotically, insulin sensitivity went down on a high fat diet and this was treated as if it was a disease. This is really the body protecting the very low levels of glucose for the red blood cells and low nerve tissue that can't use ketones due to lack of mitochondria. Doctors should know this, that one is an idiot.

Yes, if you mix fat with sugar, you get something that's more attractive than either alone, and apparently 50%:50% fat:sugar gets you something very attractive.

Funny how "exercise is important, we have to keep the muscle" and yet, the exercise they did was cardio and it cause a muscle loss.

In the end, this is an entertaining n=1 experiment, with no control, so not very meaningful, though a few commonly known things were shown, along with plenty of misinformation. (It's not an n=2 since one twin went on a high fat diet while the other twin went on a high carb diet. For it to be n=2, they would have had to switch. While twins may be very similar, they are still individuals.)

Answer to edits:

Edit: I was a bit surprised they talked about the high-fat dieter burning muscle to fuel his bike ride but didn't discuss ketosis. Ketones were mentioned in passing at the beginning but that was it. Any thoughts on this?

This is correct, he converted some muscle (or protein from eating meat) to glycogen and used that to fuel red blood cells. Some was probably burned as well. But the blood levels were the same (or nearly) before. For round two, he ate some butter, so no protein was provided to convert to glucose.

Yeah, sort of discussed ketosis at the start or rather alluded to it "bad breath" is ketone breath for those who aren't yet adapted to burning ketones, but that was about all.

Edit 2: Also at the end one of them says all fad diets are wrong. Do you think he including Paleo when he said this?

I would say the SAD is a fad diet, a 20 (or 50) year diet depending on your point of view as to when things went wrong (introduction of industrial seed oils, vs replacing sugar with HFCS). I don't give a rat's tail on what "they" think when they have so many glaring errors. As British sciency shows go, I'd rather watch Man Lab... far more entertaining. :)

In this case they never tried a paleo diet, nor a fruitarian, nor a vegan/vegetarian diet, just high fat version of the SAD vs high carb version of the SAD. Worse, normally people who go high fat or high carb still consume some of other macro, even a small amount. I don't know whether Chris was allowed Doughnuts and whether fat came along with it, but I suspect that wasn't on the menu.

0
20ac82f380131cafc52db2cb2fbb144a

on February 10, 2014
at 10:35 PM

The documentary is not explaining all the facts

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 31, 2014
at 02:13 PM

@matuyama

I agree with you that there's nothing inherently bad in whole high carb foods (note, not carbs specifically), nor whole high fat foods, nor meats/fish, but I would add exceptions to those in the forms of grains, legumes, industrial seed oils. (Whole grains, while a "whole" food, are even more damaging than hulled grains.)

I'm glad you've found some meaning in it, however, I saw zero references to paleo in that show, so not sure how you got there. It contained many factual Conventional Wisdom errors (i.e. fat drives cholesterol, cholesterol causes CVD, doing cardio for extended periods and refueling with sugar gell-packs.)

At best, it's a damnation of manufactured SAD snacks, and crap-in-a-bag (i.e. the 50%:50% fat and sugar combination being very addictive and hyperpalatable).

Like most vacuous conventional wisdom, they keep mentioning "a balanced diet" - but they never actually say what that is supposed to mean. Is it a particular mix of fat:carb:protein? Or a mix veggies and meat? But the phrase "a balanced diet" is commonly used as the (to borrow a unix term) sudo to excuse eating junk food.

I was on a cruise ship a few years back and heard a lady as she waited for the elevator say "I don't know, all this health food is horrible, I can't stand it." - What I saw on the cruise were egg mixtures from a bottle, deli slices, bean salads, pizza, fake maple syrup, fake juice drinks made with HFCS (I saw the label on one of the refills), breads, pastas, pastries, some waxed fruit... your basic NY deli fare with some hot dishes; nothing there could be called paleo, I would hardly call most of it "healthy."

By making broad statements like "fat is bad" or "balanced diet", they are truly spreading lies and dismissing what is actually healthy.

I would agree with "all faddish diets are rubbish" and "exercise is important", but the "documentary" wasn't anything new, or valuable.

We may wish to see random tiny snippets of wisdom there, but it's nothing we, who have read more than one of the classic paleo books*, already know, while the rest is filled with lies, half-truths, factual errors, all packaged as an misguided n=1 "study".

* Paleo Solution, Paleo Answer, Practical Paleo, Perfect Health Diet (2nd ed), Primal Body-Primal Mind, New Evolution Diet, Paleo Template, Primal Blueprint.

0
783275f7d7d5fd8de47977d42fc5f97d

on January 31, 2014
at 12:31 PM

To me the documentary is a ringing endorsement of a common sense approach to Paleo (broadly in line with the Perfect Health Diet): focus on eating whole foods and don't worry about macronutrient ratios, there's nothing inherently bad with carbs as long as they don't come from processed food.

0
6682d82dda8561f67e4f77d9a1ed0953

on January 30, 2014
at 12:14 PM

The crucial information was that it is neither sugar nor fat which is the enemy. Both guys lost weight, one significant weight, on a diet which by all current nutrition guidance should have made them fatter. It is the combination of the two in equal quantities which is deadly and fattening. If you eliminate foods which combine the two, and eat a balanced diet, you won't gain weight. I thought this was a superb program, and will be changing our diets in accordance. Far too much 'information' about dieting is un-scientific and based on old wives tales and mythology. It's time to start listening to the real scientists like Professor Susan Jebb.

0
De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c

on January 30, 2014
at 11:21 AM

The muscle loss on the high fat/high protein diet was concerning for myself, being a slim ectomorph who is eating high fat/low carb/lowish protein and with no desire to lose muscle, but i think that high protein isn't the best way of testing a high fat diet and may have contributed to that muscle loss - body gets used to burning protein for fuel (rather than fat) so goes to muscle when dietary protein runs low. Basically going high on protein is not a fair test of a high fat diet & is the most common mistake of people going high fat/low carb. I thought it was hilarious, and very much expected that overall they made the high fat diet look worse than the high carb diet.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 30, 2014
at 04:19 PM

Well, work out more with weights, and raise your protein. :)

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on January 30, 2014
at 02:29 PM

I completely agree, there is a huge misconception that low-carb must mean high-protein; it is inconceivable to these people that low-carb could actually mean eating fat, as though eating fat was a taboo or something, like being a member of a satanic cult. Either way what they don't realize is that excess protein becomes glucose so it's not much different from eating carbs (except there's now a good amount of ammonia in the bloodstream due to deamination). Fat is a whole different fuel source, unlike protein and carbs, and they just can't seem grasp this concept of what low-carb really is.

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