Saturday, July 28, 2012

What's in YOUR shopping cart??

Every time I go to the local "healthy" farm-like store, I run into some other healthy person I know.  Today I ran into my doctor.  At least I think it was him, as he was in a rush.  Since he was not wearing a white coat, I wasn't quite sure until I caught another glimpse of him at the checkout container.

Just as well that I didn't say hi.  He was in the fruit aisle, snapping up the stone fruits on the 5-a-day plan.  I, on the other hand, was armed with a package of bacon and a bag of salt-infested cashews.  Never mind the yard full of healthy organic vegetables, berries and paleo-approved tubers, I would have been busted fer sure.

I have this sort of love-hate relationship with my doctor.  I love that he is smart, but I hate that he knows all the wrong things really really well.  The next time I will probably visit him, it will be past my 2-year anniversary of going lower carb.  At the two-year point, of course, my "good" diet that helped me lose weight, keep from gaining, improved all lipid, blood sugar and inflammation values will become "bad" and send me down the certain path to heart disease.

That's right.

"If it is working to lose weight, that is fine, but after awhile, if you stay on that diet you will be at a higher risk for heart disease."

I am wondering, will I gradually slide down into metabolic disrepair and lipid-nonoptimality or will it be a like a step function?  Or, will I be humming along perfectly one day, and rushing to the hospital clutching my heart on day 731?  Well, whatever happens, I'll report it here, if I am still alive.  I am betting that I will be fine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

OK, here's the long-awaited low-down on our Fave Doubly-Labeled Water Study!

Lots of times I don't get around to finishing a series of posts that I had planned.  Well, this is the third and probably final post on the popular study where energy expenditure was measured while folks tried various weight maintenance diets.

Lots has been said about it all over, and I was really waiting for Hyperlipid to say more about it, but that will probably go on for weeks.  I hope people are reminded that I am not a research biochemist.  I can analyze data, but I don't really KNOW anything, and so rely on folks like Peter to do some of the heavy lifting on those parts.

I have read lots about how small the sample size used in this experiment, and I find those arguments to be sub-optimal, especially when significant differences were noted.  My take on this is that the researchers already sort of knew what they were looking for and had picked the sample size so they could detect minor but statistically significant differences between diets.  The sample size problem would really be more of a problem if they had declared there to be no differences between any of the diets.  This is a favorite trick.

People sure like to hone in on the sample size, and it is important to get that right, depending on the cost of the study and other factors.  Another favorite trick is to bowl them over with lots of n's, and with lots of meaningless charts and graphs, hoping that nobody will really read anything and discover under the thin-veneer of a high-sample overly-charted masterpiece, everything underneath is rotten.  Getting crappy data on 100,000 people, with a crappy food questionnaire, a notable lack of doubly-labeled water, doing a crappy epidemiological study and then doing a crappy job of "adjusting" for all sorts of variables that should have been controlled in the first place gives one, in the end, a bunch of crap.  I would rather have a smaller experiment well-done.  For this experiment, they kept pretty good track of the people in it, retention was high, parts of it were in-house and more carefully controlled.

There are a couple of issues I do have with this study.  First, there is lots of talk that this is a test of the Atkins diet.  I wish people would quit invoking Atkins when it isn't Atkins.  The Atkins plan recommends VLC for a few weeks, and then on to a higher-carb plan, and when the weight is lost and they go on maintenance, which usually involves even more carbs.  Additionally, the Atkins diet never attempts to be isocaloric.  The plan recommends you eat when you are hungry and when you are full, stop.  There is no prescription for it to be isocaloric.  In fact, calorie-counting is discouraged.

I don't know a single person in the whole wide world who lost a significant amount of weight on a conventional CW diet and then decided to go on a VLC ketogenic diet for maintenance.  Nope.  Nada.  Just doesn't happen.  So, all the media attempts to say that this experiment somehow is representative of anything that actual dieters will ever actually experience is, well, an attempt and that attempt will hopefully not be successful.

My second beef with this study is that it has been reported as a comparison of weight-loss diets.  Many people reported this experiment as a test of three different weight loss plans.  It was not.  It was a test of three different maintenance plans, after the participants lost weight successfully on the CW prescription.  If they were not successful in this first phase of the experiment, they did not progress to the second part and did not get to supp the doubly-labeled water.  So, unless you want to settle a university playground brawl, who cares?  We really all just want to figure out how to lose weight.  We don't really want to find a diet that will allow us to eat more, we want to find a diet that will allow us to not want to eat ourselves silly all day long, and not allow us to store all of the excesses we desperately crave and cave for.  As for myself, I was too old to be enrolled in this study, and I would have failed the first part for sure, and would not be allowed to supp the doubly-labeled water either.

My third beef with this study is the crossover aspect.  Very few reviews of this study seemed to notice that each diet was followed for a time by each person.  Now I understand why they wanted to do it this way, because it minimizes the between-subject error due to individual metabolic differences, but SHEESH!, each diet was supposed to be followed for a few weeks, and then the participants were to magically adjust to the next plan?

I tried to comment about this same phenom on a Ned Kock blogpost, and he just didn't get it.  These young guys and their fixation with the theory of balance  They are like Tim Ferris and all their little boy-friends who try this or that for a day or so and then everything settles down back to normal.  Meanwhile, I can try a few tweaks to my diet or exercise regimen and then try to get back into balance after WEEKS or MONTHS.  Things just don't work that balance way.  Anyway...... I was going to give Ned the benefit of the doubt for awhile, and he just never did rescue himself from his own confusion, despite my hints.  At least he removed the half-naked sunburned paleo-required mugshot from his blog.  Maybe there is hope for him yet.

...Anyway...oh, where was I?.....Oh, I would love to see this study done with the three plans tested after a weight-loss program modeled after the Atkinsarterycloggingsaturatedfat plan, and then start to supp the doubly-labeled water, and/or a longer time period on each plan and/or a longer wash-out period between plans (which of course, for people like me, would create a whole host of new problems).   I don't right now remember reading if there was any transition time, but I am sure that whatever it was, someone like me would need more time, or perhaps it would be infinity.

Gosh, wouldn't it be cool to do this with people who have totally stalled out on either CW or the Atkinsarterycloggingsaturatedfat plan, and then finally put to bed for good that meme that we all fail because we can't use a measuring cup and we lie on our food logs?  Now, that would be a cool study.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dirty Eating

Two topics caught my eye recently.  First, I saw a copy of Clean Eating at the bookstore, and wondered why so many seem to be obsessed with cleanliness.  This is the season of clean food, detoxing, cleanses, and eating lots of lemons.

In contrast, I listened to Joel Salatin on Patrick Timpone's One Radio network.  I got a kick out of the way Dr. Joel described cows.  Portable sauerkraut-making machines?  Priceless!

I am a sauerkraut-making machine, too, but I no longer make it in my intestines.  I make sauerkraut on my kitchen counter, right where it belongs.  When it gets good and tasty, I serve up a dab of it on practically everything, and this week it has been exceptionally good with thinly-sliced tri-tip.

There isn't any disinfecting wipe action going on in my kitchen, but yes, I do wash the dishes and wipe stuff down.  The kale leaves are stacked in old yogurt containers like a bouquet of flowers.  The pickles are fermenting nicely, and I can have a slice or two once I wash off the slime.  I try to keep the companion animals off the counters.

Recently while watering the garden, I saw some ripe fruits, and so I gathered them and ate them in-situ, before washing.  A strawberry, a yellow tomato, a red hot pepper, a few holy basil leaves, some mint, a leaf of black kale.  Lunch.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This Just In - For your Emmy Consideration

Interrupting my regularly scheduled episode where I put myself and a certain statistical study together in the ring and see what kind of entertainment we can deliver. 

Y'all know all about the knitting group, but what you might not know is that there is this table of free stuff right outside the classroom, and I take advantage of it freely.  It has all sorts of stuff, not just stacks of Diabetes Educator magazines and other offerings from the "Academy", but great fluffy stuff I can take with me into the cold tub and not worry if I dunk it a couple of times.

Yesterday was a score:  an actual timely copy of Oprah, Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple magazines, all admonishing me to take advantage of seasonal produce, lower my fat and declutter my life.  'Course, that isn't working when I just clutter up my life again with free magazines.  Interspersed with articles telling me to get rid of the junk are ads for closet organizing "systems", featuring women who are much younger and thinner than I, and seem to have a whole lot more clothes, including an entire row of beige jackets.  And I am thinking that despite the air-brushing and great make-up, do they work for some insurance company or airport car rental kiosk to have all that beige?  I am happy to report that my closet indicates that I have never worked for said companies.

One great find was a recent issue of Southern Living, all about barbeque.  This I could get into, even though the back of the issue was littered with 30 kinds of "icebox" cream pie.

Anyway, I am off track again, just can't resist another helping of irony, I guess.  The REAL reason for this post is that it looks like a member of the Academy took Martha's advice and started decluttering.  The REAL Academy, not the fake dietary Academy.  Well, not actually the Academy, but close enough.  People not from around here probably don't know this, but around awards time, members of the Academy or other trade associations get mountains of mail, chocked full of CD's of movies, TV shows and other promotional material.  I know all about this because the guy who lived in my house before me was a member of the REAL Academy and didn't get around to changing his address, and I got a whole lot of free movies that year, all with warnings not to share with others.  This year, some industry member just decided to unload his junk mail on to the free table.

I picked up the copy of "The Weight of the Nation" mostly because I am a packaging junkie and I love to see how these promo items are put together.  I wasn't disappointed.  Right under the picture of the United States cracking into a million pieces under all that weight was written in a tasteful font, of course, "FOR YOUR EMMY CONSIDERATION".  I already watched part of the series until I got bored.  Anyone else think it was kind of like those biblical prophecy videos, which pictures of the world cracking or being blown up into a million pieces along with ominous music and snippets of some spiritual light-related thing like a stained-glass window or stonehenge?  BTDT, sooooo derivative.  This series that an industry insider was supposed to consider was contained in three CD's in a nice sturdy holder I might use for my other CD's.  I might recycle the CD's also. (I certainly won't actually WATCH them again, who wants to sit through a half hour of material crammed into a 4-part series?)  I really need a larger spindle to spin some bulky yarn Navajo-style.  The extra weight of all 3 CD's will give me the extra weight I need for this project.  So for THAT, I would like to thank the Academy.