Thursday, October 25, 2012

Obesity As A Malnutrition Syndrome: Untwisting Obesity and Nutrition

The hole in my "discrete eating" theory is the missing importance of nutrition. There was a time when taking mega-doses of vitamins was all the rage. This was followed by a period where experts began to view vitamins as a waste of money and seldom necessary. I think we are now going to enter a period of time where vitamins will again play a role as a nutritional scoring mechanism for food. Now if you are not keeping score, you really can be considered irresponsible.

You cannot erase a nutrient deficiency by simply eating at discrete times. Therefore nutrition MUST play a role. What is interesting is that one's nutritional requirement changes depending on what is being eaten. People who eat only meat have a very low need for vitamin B1. But eating a lot of carbohydrates causes the need for vitamin B1 to go up. That is just one example that I am aware of.

Well what happens if the diet has a deficiency in a vitamin for a long time? There are known diseases that are caused by vitamin deficiencies. But if one goes for extended periods of time with a deficit in one vitamin it may create less obvious problems that are difficult to pinpoint. Let me give a similar example using a car:

If you drive a car low on oil for a period of time it may cause hidden wear in the engine. If you drive with the tire pressure too low for a long time, it can affect gas mileage and wear & tear on the tires (tyres--if you are in the U.K.). Both of these problems manifest very differently than having "no oil" at all or having "no air in your tires", but they are still problems.

However, we are not talking about a car. We are talking about the human body which is even more complex. An extended vitamin or mineral shortage might cause problems which are currently unknown. What is even more perplexing is that certain problems which seem to be opposites may be caused by the same deficiency (as happens with thyroid hormone deficiency; a low level of thyroid may lead to excess weight gain or a person being under weight). Another difficulty is that of acute need. Just as one temporarily needs to breathe more after holding one's breath, there may be an acute need for a vitamin caused by certain conditions or ailments. To EVEN FURTHER complicate the matter, that acute need may be localized (like when one cuts off the circulation to the legs from sitting too long).

Certain diseases, infections, and illnesses may cause an acute need for some vitamins and minerals. It is common knowledge that type 1 diabetes can happen after a viral infection. Is it possible that there was an acute, possibly even localized, need for a vitamin or mineral? Many experimental models may be insufficient to help us. Certain deficiencies, over a long period of time, may cause damage that would never appear in a mouse or a rat because they don't live long enough. There is also the possibility of intermittent deficiencies that may be difficult to pinpoint because one is currently eating just fine.

Now some bad news. If you drive your car and scrape it along a brick wall, driving the car more carefully doesn't repair the scrape. The human body may actually be able to "unscrape" itself from some of our reckless nutrition, but chances are that much of that damage may be permanent. So if you have difficulty losing weight, even after getting your nutrition right, it may be time for additional medical intervention.

So what about the ideal carbs, fats, and protein levels? The funny thing about that is it depends on what one is eating and what deficits need to be filled. Changing the carbs, fats, and protein would also change one's micro-nutrient needs. Preferred foods and digestive issues must also be taken into consideration.

This is an optimization problem. As such, it would best be solved by a computer.

Some further speculations:

My guess would be that if one wanted to feed their children a SAD (Standard American Diet) then it would be extremely important to ensure the child is meeting all of the nutritional requirements for their age (not the same as an adult). That is not something I did and my entire family is paying for it.

Supplements are only necessary if the diet is deficient or the person has a pathological need. It is best to try and get the nutrition from food if possible or acceptable.

Metabolizing carbohydrates requires more nutrition than eating meat and therefore one should try to consume more nutritious carbohydrates.

If carbohydrates are going to be eaten, then animal products (flesh, dairy, eggs) can be minimized to simply meet the B12 needs if ethically acceptable. Otherwise animal products can be eliminated if taking a B12 supplement.

Consuming fructose may require different nutrition than starches because fructose is metabolized differently than starch.

Improving the diet can do some dramatic repairs to the body, but it cannot fix everything. It won't make the blind see and the deaf hear. It may not even cause you to lose weight. There are too many expectations made about diets. Nutritious food must be considered before any scheme to supplement nutrients, and nutrition must be considered before any scheme to reduce calories.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Post Epiblogue (Is That Allowed?): The Preoccupation Principle

Obesity can result from an adaptation to one's preferred foods. It is not the foods themselves which "cause" or "cure" obesity. It is possible for a person to become overweight eating low carb or all fruit (and they have). Persons can also remain lean eating so-called "junk" or "processed" foods (there are numerous examples of that, as well). So how does one lose weight?

Weight loss can only happen between meals. The longer one goes between meals, the more weight they will lose. But an obstacle arises when one becomes preoccupied with eating. The solution is to become preoccupied with losing weight or finding something else to occupy your time more effectively away from food or eating.

Too much preoccupation with losing weight can result in anorexia. Preoccupation due to depression or other extreme emotions can also lead to losing weight. What confuses people is that extreme emotional periods can also lead to obesity when one is trying to constantly take a break from a burdensome emotional state. Finding a preoccupation that enables weight loss is not as hard as it sounds. It's just a matter of keeping yourself busy in a way that effectively avoids focusing on hunger or eating.

Harnessing preoccupation is the cure for obesity.

Friday, September 21, 2012


There comes a point where one must decide if their analysis is producing results or if they are simply experiencing apophenia.  When it comes to obesity, it is obvious that food is involved.  But the trade-off of using strategies which reduce caloric quantity seem to produce an increase in hunger, food obsession, and other interferences in creativity.  "Curing" obesity by reducing the quality of life is no cure.

My strategies and experiments have produced no long term efficacy that I can tell.  What seems to be "logical" turns out to be a trick of the mind.  I first experienced this phenomenon while trying to imagine a perpetual motion machine.  I also experienced it while looking for fossils, trying to come up with systems for gambling and forex, and back-testing stock market data.  The difference between myself and someone who cannot stop seeing the connections is that I seem to eventually realize it is happening.

Optimizing human nutrition with quality living is beyond the scope of my capabilities.  There are complexities in human nutrition so entangled that even science is unable to resolve them without controversy.  There are components of psychology, physiology, and economic limitations which all play a factor.  Within those factors there are sub-factors which further obscure the goal.  There is also the possibility of pathologies involved which have yet to be discovered.

I want to eat foods that I enjoy.
I want to eat foods that promote health. 
I want to eat enough food to feel satisfied.   
And I do not want to crave any foods or become preoccupied with foods.
If that causes obesity, then there is something wrong.

There is something wrong.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Skipping Meals Puzzle

The idea that all one has to do to lose weight is to eat regular meals and then skip meals occasionally seemed completely rational.  But there was a problem when I tried it:  I wasn't losing more weight.  This was perplexing.  How could that possibly be?

One thing I noticed from a fasting experiment is that it took me 7.5 days to lose 20 pounds.  But I regained all that weight in 6 days eating two meals per day.  It is tempting to think that I was eating enough calories to gain 20 pounds in six days, but that was not the case.  I would have needed to eat 70,000 calories in addition to my base metabolic requirement to gain 20 pounds in 6 days.  That would be about (roughly) 14,000 calories per day!  Since I was only eating twice a day that would mean I was eating 7000 calories per meal.  That is the equivalent of about two POUNDS of butter per meal.


My guess is that I was eating around 2000 calories per meal or 4000 calories per day.  So how could I have gained 20 pounds in 6 days?  That's a great question!  I have no idea.

But one thing is certain:  I didn't gain 20 pounds of fat in 6 days.  It had to be mostly water.  Imagine how difficult it is to go through 7.5 days without eating anything.  The whole time thinking about how much fat was being burned.  Then in only 6 days ALL of that work is gone.  Something tricky is going on here.

We know that eating regular meals keeps the metabolism high enough to keep body fat stable.  It looks like a body (well, my body anyway) has an aversion to losing weight quickly and will go to extreme measures to prevent that by retaining water.  So the trick is to keep the metabolism high enough to burn off fat and prevent that full body edema.  Here is my solution:

1.  Eat regular discrete meals daily (preferably at least three meals per day).

2.  At MOST only skip one meal every other day.  This should (fingers crossed) keep the metabolism high enough to burn a little extra fat without shocking the body.

Does it work?  I'm about to find out.  Follow along with my latest experiment on Jimmy Moore's Livin La Vida Low Carb Forum.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fructose In A High Fat Diet.

After reading this interesting blog about some studies with fructose, it seems very likely to me that fructose DOES contribute to obesity if one consumes enough of it along with a high fat diet.  However, if one consumes calories from fructose while eating a low fat diet then it does not seem to promote obesity.  So the rules seem to be:

If you are eating a high fat diet--avoid fructose.

If you are eating a low fat diet--allow fructose.

It makes it very easy to follow the rules if you get absolute about the consumption of fructose.  Fructose seems to be beneficial in some contexts.  I would not jump to the conclusion that it is generally bad or toxic.  So this is where the whole fructose debate comes to a head.  How much fructose is too much for the amount of fat in our diet?

Here is what I propose.  If one is wanting to lose weight, then the first thing to do is to practice TRE (time restricted eating).  It is not necessary to determine the amount of fat in your diet.  Simply restrict your eating to two or three one hour windows per day.  At the beginning avoid fruit, fruit juice, sweetened sodas, and dessert type foods.  The object is to reduce the MAJOR sources of fructose.  Continue eating foods that may have incidental amounts of fructose such as canned vegetables, condiments, or breads.  Monitor your weight.

If you feel confident that you are losing weight, then add a piece of fruit or a small cup of juice or soda to your meal and continue monitoring your weight.  If you feel you are still losing weight, you can increase the amount of fructose foods gradually.  If you stop losing weight, then you should stop adding fructose foods as it does not seem to be compatible with your diet.

My guess is that ice cream and chocolate candy and other foods high in fat and sugar are probably least obesogenic if eaten seldom unless one is eating a low fat diet.  If eating a low fat diet then some ice cream or chocolate candy will probably not cause any appreciable weight gain.

Here are some questions which seem more difficult to answer:

Is it still obesogenic to eat a low fat high fructose meal on the same days you eat high fat low fructose meals?

Is it still obesogenic to eat a low fat high fructose food/dessert after finishing a high fat low fructose meal?

Is it still obesogenic to eat low fat high fructose meals on alternating days with high fat low fructose meals?

You can follow my TRE experiment (reduced fructose) at Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low Carb forum.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time Restricted Eating

Scientists and doctors all over the world were exonerated today when it was discovered that Japan's low obesity rate was due to the entire nation of Japan secretly jogging to Weight Watchers meetings once a week.  Doctors have been trying to tell us for years that obesity is being caused by eating too much and not exercising enough.  But since the Japanese were discovered to all be staying thin due to frequent exercise and carefully controlled near-starvation dieting, doctors now feel like a great weight of doubt has been lifted and people will trust medical experts once again.

In related news, the entire nation of France was discovered to be substituting low calorie ingredients for butter, eggs, and cheese.  The white flour in French bread was found to be made of a non-caloric substance which has yet to be identified.  The French have admitted to only serving delicious French food to tourists and other people they wanted to confuse.  The low obesity rate in France was once thought to be an enigma, but the finding that the world has been punk'd by the French has left many scientists unamused.

"Hey, wait a minute!  The Japanese are genetically thin.  Besides, all it takes is exercise to lose weight." said the brain-damaged janitor as he cleaned up the sweat off the floor after the sumo wrestlers finished their strenuous training.

Okay, I'll get serious.  Time Restricted Feeding (tRF) is a term the Salk Institute used to describe how they fed the mice in their obesity experiment.  I think time restricted eating is the best way to describe what I am doing.  It's not a diet per se, but rather a way of approaching eating that is little understood at this time.

My current experience has been that I have lost some weight and I do not seem to be gaining it back (I started this 2 months ago).  I am eating whatever I want (which horrifies some readers).  It is not my intention at this time to try and figure out what foods are the "healthiest".  Right now I want to know if what I'm eating causes obesity.  So far it does not appear to be the foods themselves, but rather the frequency with which they are consumed.

When I say "frequency", I am referring to one's insulin levels as a function of time.  Eating once a day could be considered too frequent if insulin levels are still elevated.  Eating five times a day may not be frequent enough if insulin levels are not raised and calorie consumption is too low.  Insulin in vivo is not a simple thing to measure right now.  So I'm stuck with guessing.

What I am really curious about is will time restricted eating ALONE lead to weight loss?  Is there more to it than that? I found that fasting does not produce the weight loss one would expect, but it does seem to produce some loss.  Much more needs to be discovered about time restricted eating.  This is practically virginal territory for discovery.  I'd love to just pick up a book and have it all explained to me.

The good news is that there is more left to discover.  The bad news is the first three paragraphs I made up at the beginning of this article :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Apologies To 180 Degree Health

After several attempts to leave comments that disappeared, I will no longer be commenting on that blog.  It is a great blog and even though I feel Matt is wrong about obesity, his ideas on metabolism and health in general are still live and worthwhile topics.  I wish I could be more active in their comments, but it is simply too frustrating.

If anyone wants to comment on my blog (good, bad, or otherwise), they are welcome.  I don't edit or delete comments unless I delete a whole article or the whole blog.  Your credibility is yours to establish or destroy.  I don't block or police commentors so if you are having issues leaving a comment I assure you it is not due to being "blocked".