Tuesday, May 24, 2011

William James Sidis Dead At Age 46

I just turned 46 this month and I'm very curious about how William James Sidis died at this age.  He was a child prodigy and traumatized by society for being such.  He graduated from Harvard at age 16.  He died at the shockingly young age of 46 from "a cerebral hemorrhage leading to pneumonia" per his biographer Amy Wallace.

I would not presume to know what lead to his stroke.  However, in the book "The Prodigy" there are some foods mentioned he was said to have eaten.  What his daily diet consisted of is pure speculation.  He is said to have been gaining weight in his final years.  Here are foods that were mentioned he had consumed:

Milk (a quart following a meal)
Black tea (occasionally)
Candy (it is said he had a sweet tooth)
Soft Drinks
Peanuts (there were particular memories associated with his peanut consumption)

The book also mentions his high blood pressure.  Also of interest were the things he is said to have abstained from:  smoking, alcohol, coffee, and sex.  He is said to have made a vow of celibacy in his teens and was never known to have broke it.   Asexuality is common with Aspergers syndrome.  I don't know if he had Aspergers, I'm just mentioning the association.

Of interest to this blog is the peanut consumption.  Could peanuts have killed William James Sidis?  Especially when combined with his sweet tooth?  It is a theory.

Remember how the scientists in Oregon made the monkeys obese?  They added a peanut butter treat and a high fructose corn syrup sweetened punch drink to their regular food.  Just a coincidence?  Possibly.

Perhaps it is also a coincidence that they treat emergency malnutrition in Africa with a product called Plumpy Nut.  It is made with peanut paste, vegetable oil, powdered milk, powdered sugar, vitamins and minerals.  They are also developing a soy based product for the same purpose.

PUFAs and fructose to fatten up starving children? Of course!  But what are those ingredients doing to the rest of the world that is not starving?  Is it conceivable that PUFAs and fructose are a dangerous long term combination?   Is it possible that if PUFAs and fructose can fatten up monkeys and starving children then they might be dangerous enough to be suspects in the death of William James Sidis?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Undoing the Damage

I am beginning to see the light on how obesity may be reversed.

1.  Raw foods.  The raw foods movement is not what I would consider healthy.  But there is something to raw foods that is useful for reversing obesity.  Raw food takes more energy to digest.  If you imagine eating 10 bananas, you can understand how much work goes into getting them into and out of your system.  10 bananas is about 1000 calories.  Now imagine drinking 1000 calories of soda pop.  The body would use much less energy to digest the soda pop than it would to digest the bananas.  That alone is a big selling point for raw foods.

2.  There is no magic macronutrient proportion.  If you have been eating low carb or low fat then you know what it is like to crave the foods you've been abstaining from.  Were you to "fall off the wagon" you would probably eat foods disproportionally high in the macronutrients you craved.  It is this weird insight the body has for obtaining the macronutrients it is low on that proves that there is no absolute correct proportion.  One's proportion of protein/fat/carbs is going to be highly individual and may even change daily in some cases.  Pay attention to what your are wanting to eat.

3.  Eating several meals a day is awesome.  I had my doubts about eating every 3 hours, but I'm a convert.  When I eat more often I have smaller portions and tend to not fill up.  I try to make some meals only fruit.  I also feel more in touch with what I'm wanting to eat.  It also teaches how to eat to anticipate and prepare for the next meal.  It's very different and I'm still learning from it.

4.  Let healthy eating evolve.  I started with foods I liked and I'm making changes to my diet over time to try out different foods.  I'm not in a panicked rush.  I'm pretty sure repairing one's metabolism after obesity is going to cause a temporary weight gain.  Might as well enjoy it for the first few weeks then make changes later. 

5.  Dietary fat is precious.  I see this diet becoming mostly meals of fruit with a few starchy meals using oils.  If one can only have oil a few times a day, better make it a good one; coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, or even animal fats in moderation.  I'll even accept other tropical oils.  But I avoid all of the other seed/nut oils.  Oils have got to be low PUFA.

I'll add to this list as I learn from my eating.  This is still an emerging process.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4 Week Progress Report

After 4 weeks of limiting my PUFAs, I'm of the impression that reversing obesity shows more success if I incorporate increased fruit instead of with PUFA reduction alone.  I will list my weekly weigh-in totals so you can better see what is going on.  If you take these weekly totals and divide by 7 you can get the daily average weights.

1st week--1838.5 lbs.
2nd week--1846.5 lbs.
3rd week--1863 lbs.
4th week--1862 lbs.

As you can see there was a plateau to my weight gains after the third week.  At the end of the third week I had started to incorporate more fruit into my diet and I began eating every 3 hours.  This correlates to the truncation of my weight gains.

The problem with eating a high saturated fat and fructose diet is that it is kind of uncomfortable.  It feels like the food is heavy in the stomach.  Eating fruit for a couple meals is actually a kind of relief.  I've never been a big fan a fruit but it sure works well this way.

I have no strict rules on raw fruit.  I prefer raw fruit because I know it takes more energy to digest than cooked fruit.  There may be other benefits to eating raw fruit but I'm not as certain about those.  I can see this diet evolving into eating more fruit.  But I don't see myself becoming a full-on fruitarian.

I am also seeing evidence of the benefit of reducing all dietary fat.  It seems that there might be a magic fruit : fat ratio.  It may be dependent on the individual and as to how radically lean one wishes to become.  I'm sure one's activity level also plays a part in the calculation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

TXNIP and PUFAs and Fructose

I just read this very interesting article about TXNIP.  It is a protein which regulates fat retention, heat production, and leptin resistance.  The most exciting part is that there seems to be a simple way to control it.  It goes on to give a link to a woman featured in a CNN story who lost over 200 lbs. following her doctor's simple advice.
1. Eat 8 ounces of food every 3 hours

2. No sugary drinks

3. Do not skip meals 

4. Do not tell anyone what you're doing

Being the rebel that I am, I'm going to simply follow steps 1. and 3.  If this works at all with the foods I am eating (and I have no idea if it will), then sugary drinks and telling other people should be irrelevant.  The blog also gives an opinion on types of foods that may be beneficial.  But I don't see those foods listed in the rules above.

Anyway, I will make an effort to follow the eating amounts and times above but I will continue with the foods I have been consuming.  This should add an interesting twist to my "diet."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Experimental Low PUFA Diet

My attempt at dietary modification of my tissue PUFA concentrations is an experiment.  After skimming through searches I could not find reliable and detailed information on a low PUFA diet.  Apparently the lack of information on reducing PUFA concentrations in vivo through dietary modification is a known issue.  I discovered the following quote from this article by Ray Peat:

"Metabolic intensity and longevity can be modified by changing the degree of saturation of fats in the diet and tissues, but--despite almost a century of sporadic investigations--no one has yet worked out in detail the most appropriate way to do this."

You can follow my amateur experimental diet on Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low Carb site.