WHAT'S IN THIS ISSUE
The science behind low carb/Paleo eating
After years of working in the Transition world, I am under no illusion that science will necessarily convince a particular person of a particular point of view. Worldviews are highly entrenched in the human psyche and when threatened we fight them (literally) to the death.
However, when I looked for the healthiest human diet, I was determined to go where the science led me. I started by looking at Dr. Joel Fuhrman's diet, which emphasizes nutrient dense vegetables, low fat, very little meat and no refined carbohydrates. I tried it for a while but found I was hungry all the time and spending a lot of time preparing enough vegetables to fill me up (which never worked, as I mentioned, I was hungry all the time).
The I tried the Slow-Carb Diet by Tim Ferris. At least I wasn't hungry all the time because legumes were the preferred source of sustained energy but I wasn't losing weight.
Last, I used calorie restriction to lose some weight ‐ which definitely worked. However, now I was back to being hungry all the time. At each step I learned more about the nutrition needs of the human body, including that the area of nutrition has a lot of misconceptions.
Finally I read two books by Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It. (You need to read only one; read the first if you really want to dig into the history and science of the demonization of fat, get the second if you want just the essential points.)
I definitely want the science to support my choices, and many (most?) doctors do as well, so it's still important to get the science correct. I'm going to point you to some of the places to get the science. Next week I'll pull out some of the important data points.
First, medical study Larry Istrail founded the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry and he's pulled together many of the best studies in favor of eating in an "ancestral" or "paleolithic" way. You'll find the list of them here. He summarizes what the data show, for instance for "Safety and Efficacy of Carb Restriction," he points out:
- A carbohydrate-restricted, calorie unlimited diet often results in more weight-loss than a calorie restricted, low-fat diet
- Carbohydrate-restricted diets decrease triglyceride levels
- Carbohydrate-restricted diets tend to increase HDL
- Diets high in protein tend to be more filling
The other sections have a similar summary. Science geeks will be in heaven.
By the way, Larry also started the site PhotoCalorie, an innovative way to track what you eat. Given that people lose weight faster when they track what they eat, use PhotoCalorie to take a picture of what you are about to eat with your smartphone and log it for yourself or for your doctor to see. Larry also has an excellent blog that dives into the science.
Second, a site with a good list of studies is that of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt. His knowledge page is very compact and he has a blog entry called Weight Loss and Low Carb: Time to stop denying the science.
Third, Wikipedia has a page on the science behind low-carb diets.
Finally, if you are very interested in learning more directly from the experts on the forefront of Ancentral Health, consider attending this year's Ancestral Health Society. It's taking place in Boston in conjunction with the Harvard Food Law Society, August 9-12. You will learn a lot by watching the videos from last year's symposium.
Enjoy digging into the science!
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Steve Keen: Why 2012 is Shaping Up to be a Particularly Ugly Year | Chris Martenson, June 9, 2012
The Economic Collapse Is Not A Single Event | The Economic Collapse, June 11, 2012
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Colorado Wildfire: Our Scorching Future? | Climate Desk, June 12, 2012
Top 7 Most Common Reactions to Your High-Fat Diet (and How to Respond) | Mark's Daily Apple, June 6, 2012
Why Working Outside is Healthy and Productive | Mark's Daily Apple, June 7, 2012
Paleo Book Review: The Whole9's "It Starts With Food" | Robb Wolf, June 8, 2012
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