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2017-11-14 13:54 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 447 references
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Here we go again...

Americans with blood pressure of 130/80 or higher should be treated, down from the previous trigger of 140/90, according to new guidelines announced on Monday by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Note that this is an or.

This of course means that the doctor cabal gets to brand medical charts (yes, exactly like a car title) on a whim.

Let me explain.

There are myriad things that influence blood pressure.  It typically varies by anywhere from 10 to 20 points in most people over relatively short periods of time.  A cup of coffee will frequently raise it by 10pts -- for a couple hours.

This is not dangerous, but it is sufficient to put you over the "80" threshold and get your chart branded!

140/90 was sufficiently clear of this that transient causes were unlikely to result in you being tagged if you weren't really in trouble.  130/80 where it's an "or", not an and, is not and will result in millions of people being prescribed drugs that are dangerous -- without cause.

Potentially deadly high blood pressure can be brought under control with a wide array of medications, many sold as relatively inexpensive generics. The drug classes include angiotensin receptor blockers, such as Novartis AG’s Diovan, calcium channel blockers, like Pfizer Incs’s Norvasc, ACE inhibitors, including Pfizer’s Altace, and diuretics, such as Merck & Co Inc’s Hyzaar.

All drugs have side effects.  There are quite serious side effects associated with most of these.  That's not to say they don't have a use and proper purpose in the medicine cabinet -- they do.

But prescribing them to people who have quite-possibly transient elevations in blood pressure that are not dangerous in any meaningful way is an outrage.  As noted most of these are available cheaply, but even the "cheap" generics have a cost and the side effects are real.

What are some of those problems?  Fainting (gee, that would be a nice way to whack your head, right?) and kidney issues.  Kidney problems are especially nasty in that they can lead to renal failure which means you get to live on dialysis at ruinous cost -- and then almost-inevitably die miserably.

I also question this claim:

Adults with blood pressure of 130/80 “already have double the risk of heart attack compared to someone in the normal range,” said Dr. Paul Whelton, professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and School of Medicine in New Orleans and lead author of the new guidelines. 

Prove it.  I've looked for the alleged evidence and thus far haven't found it.

If you've got it, let's see it.

Let me be more-specific on what I expect you can prove.

High blood pressure tends to be associated with obesity, inactivity, smoking and excessive alcohol use (for starters.)  All four of those are known causes of heart attacks and strokes.  To make the argument that 10 points in systolic blood pressure (e.g. 130/80 .vs. 120/80) results in a doubling of heart attack risk you must show that the blood pressure difference, and only the blood pressure difference, results in the increase in risk.

In other words you need as your "control" group people who are exactly as fat (or not), exactly as inactive (or not), who do the same amount of smoking (or not) and who consume the same amount of alcohol (or not.)

Otherwise what you're seeing is the symptom of the cause rather than the cause itself, and thus if someone presents with a 130/80 blood pressure, is not obese, does not smoke, is not inactive and does not drink to excess you're going to both brand their chart and prescribe a dangerous drug to them that results in no meaningful change in their heart attack risk and thus increases their morbidity and mortality rather than decreasing it.

Let us not forget that doctors and their lobbies have done this before.  For more than 40 years they peddled the lie that saturated (animal) fat was the cause of heart attacks, strokes and obesity.  They did so despite the fact that the ramp in the first two began 20 years after the rate of smoking went up by more than a factor of ten on a per-capita basis along with intentionally ignoring evidence contrary to their claims (such as those eating a Mediterranean diet, the Inuit and other populations.)  In addition it was a known fact since animal husbandry has existed that one feeds animals high carbohydrate diets to intentionally fatten them; both cattle and pork are "finished" on same prior to being slaughtered.

The result of telling us to eat large amounts of carbohydrate and unsaturated machine-processed vegetable fats was more obesity and Type II diabetes, from which the medical system as a whole has profited mightily -- instead of their claim that we would experience less disease.  Not one person has been prosecuted or otherwise held to account for this intentional lie and the harm, both in human misery and death, directly caused by same.

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Stents are little mesh things that are inserted into an artery that has become plugged to "expand" it and hold it open. They've never made sense to me on a basic physiological level unless they were utterly necessary; you are inserting a foreign material into the body, which will provoke an immune response.  Further, like so much of medicine, they treat symptoms rather than causes -- that is, they "force open" a clogged artery that got that way due to inflammation but do exactly nothing about the cause of the clog in the first place, which occurred due to inflammatory response.

This doesn't mean there aren't arguments for their use under very specific circumstance.  If you just had a heart attack, for example, and there's no good graft available to replace the bad arterial section from your body, then there's a decent argument for forcing open the artery that's already there -- since the alternative, if you do nothing, is death by myocardial infarction.

But that's not what the cardiac "doctors" have restricted these things to.  No, they will use them on anyone who complains of angina (heart pain) and shows evidence of narrowing of the cardiac arteries.

The argument for this rests on two pillars:

  • Forcing open the artery will likely prevent a heart attack (very good, if true)
    and
  • Improving circulation will reduce or eliminate angina (heart pain.)

Of course no surgery is without complication risk.  The risks of inserting these stents include creating blood clots which, if they break free, will cause a heart attack or stroke.  Second, there's a risk of hemorrhage (bleeding) that can be extremely serious if it occurs, since the bleeding would be into the chest cavity.  In some people the procedure kills them outright.

And finally, of course, there's another problem: These damn things are expensive, with the typical cost of having one put in you running from $10,000 to more than $40,000 each.

As time has gone on, however, there have been a number of studies that have shown no material decrease in risk of heart attack or stroke for someone who hasn't already had one.  That is, their value in prophylaxis (prevention) of heart attack or stroke appears to be either zero or negative.  This is probably because they cause some number of these events due to the complications and that balances out the events they prevent.

This leaves you with the alleviation of angina as the major indication for their use in those who have not had a heart attack.

Well, that just went poof like a fart in a church.

When the researchers tested the patients six weeks later, both groups said they had less chest pain, and they did better than before on treadmill tests.

But there was no real difference between the patients, the researchers found. Those who got the sham procedure did just as well as those who got stents.

This study was very well-designed.  The patients both underwent a procedure, but in the case of the ones who didn't get a stent the procedure was a sham.  In other words you went in the OR, they threaded in the catheter to place the stent but then didn't do it and withdraw the catheter without placing anything.  Of course the doctor placing the stent or not knew which was which but neither the researchers or the patients did.

There was no statistical difference in objective treadmill performance nor reported pain levels between the two groups.

So what we have here is a "procedure" that is done on lots of people who complain of chest pain and have a coronary scan that shows some obstruction, costs tens of thousands of dollars for each person involved and yet objectively the procedure is worth exactly zero.  In fact, it's worse than zero because it kills some percentage of the people who undergo it.

Those who argued for and got approved these "treatments", and who profited from same, without first demonstrating objective improvements need to have all of the revenue gained by same clawed back, returned to the patients and/or anyone else (including the government if Medicare or Medicaid was involved) who paid for them and then everyone involved must go to prison.  That includes the doctors, the hospitals and the device manufacturers.

Of course you know that won't happen, any more than it will happen to those who have argued repeatedly to eat lots of "fast carbs" and no saturated fats, which was known decades ago to be demonstrably bad advice yet it was pushed at the urging of both the food and medical industries.  Said "advice" has killed tens of millions of people in the United States alone and currently runs the government (through Medicare and Medicaid) roughly $400 billion a year, never mind the deaths and illness.

As information continues to come out the picture becomes more and more-clear, as I've been talking about now for nearly a decade in these pages.

The vast majority of our medical spending is a scam; it either results from price-fixing and other monopolist behavior that is specifically illegal under federal law or, far worse, it consists of useless and even harmful "treatments" that cost billions and take, rather than saving lives.

Were we to put a stop to this crap the entire federal budget deficit would instantly disappear and be replaced by a moderate surplus, which would immediately and permanently cause the purchasing power of your money to rise rather than fall as it does now.  Not only would everyone (other than the scammers in the medical field, of course) be richer you'd be healthier and less-likely to die at the hand of one of these jackasses at the same time.

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2017-11-01 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 233 references
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Oh boy, lookie here, we have something new to screw with your brain!

People have been losing weight by counting calories for years. But some recent medical studies are trying to prove that if you want the ultimate benefit of better dietary habits — less diseases and a longer life — your body may need to think you're eating less often, too.

Longevity scientists are studying food fasting to find out if regular periods of going without any food, or making your body think you are going without food, could be a key to lengthening the human lifespan.

There's almost-certainly some validity to this.

For most predatory animals food is not a given.  Not only must said animal work for it but they fail a decent part of the time too.  Energy expended during a hunt tends to be high, and success rates vary, so there are plenty of instances where said animal hunts but doesn't eat.

Fail often enough, of course, and you starve to death.

But there's nothing particularly unique about humans in this regard.  We're clearly not foragers (like a cow or a horse); our digestive systems, from teeth onward, are not set up that way.  Nor do we have eyes on the sides of our head (that is, we cannot see threats coming from behind, which is crucial to a forager.)  Our eyes are on the front of our heads because in order to hunt accurately you need stereoscopic vision so you can judge depth.  To be able to judge depth we give up visual threat detection from the rear.

But in a world where not eating is a voluntary act, rather than one driven by hunting prowess (or more to the point, the lack thereof) we keep coming back to the same thing: Fast carbohydrates produce insulin spikes.  Insulin spikes, when they abate, make you ravenously hungry.

The reason those fast carbohydrates didn't make the Chinese crazily fat for a few thousand years is that they were literally peasants.  They didn't have the ability to eat as much as they wanted, when they wanted, because their available quantity of food was limited.  There was no bag of rice to be had at the store any time you desired another one.

Ditto for those who subsisted on potatoes in Europe.  Eat 'em all now and you have none for a year!

Never mind that now you have people trying to commercialize it.  At $300/week just for the five monthly fasting days we're talking about $15,000 in additional food costs!  Further, I ain't buying the unsaturated (vegetable oil) crap they're including as "good."

Want the same results?  It's not really all that difficult.  Get the carbs out of your diet and you'll find that not eating until noon is easy and provokes nothing in the way of a ravenous hunger response -- no "hangries", no "raid the refrigerator NOW" episodes, nothing of the sort.  If you eat dinner at 6:00 that means you're fasting for 18 hours a day without doing anything special or spending one thin extra dime.

Now if you wish to add to that one day a week of no meaningful caloric intake, well, have at it.  It'll be a hell of a lot easier than trying to do it if you're eating carbohydrates, that much I assure you.  But I suspect, if relative benefit was to be studied, that you're grasping at the last 10 or 20% of the benefit with that 24-hour weekly fast (which is really 42 hours when you add it all up), and the effort to maintain it might be rather significant.

The every day 18 hour deal, on the other hand, is very nearly effortless -- and while it not only doesn't it cost you anything it doesn't make a bunch of *******s rich ripping you off either.

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2016-06-18 05:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 1295 references
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The often-heard comments when someone says they're eating HFLC include "your kidneys will explode", "Atkins was really bad for him (Mr. Atkins)", "You'll have a heart attack", "You can't be athletic doing that; you need carbs" and more.

I would like to put some perspective on this.  Yes, this is anecdote; it's a sample size of one with no double-blind, of course -- that is, my personal experience.

Some background: Somewhat over five years ago I essentially went hard-core Atkins-induction coupled with "Couch-to-5k."  At the time I was unable to run one half mile without stopping, climbing a few sets of stairs was work, even summer lawn mowing was a strenuous exercise -- while the heat was certainly not helpful, neither was exercise tolerance.  I was "nominally healthy" in that I was not diabetic, but my body mass had risen from about 155 in High School to right around 210, plus or minus a couple.  I had several times undertaken fairly severe exercise regimes, including hour-long daily stints on a stationary recumbent bike I purchased, in an attempt to lose weight, along with a low-fat, "eat plants" diet -- without success.  I could drop 10lbs without much trouble, but no more, I was ravenously hungry all the time, and as soon as I cut back on the exercise the weight came right back on and stayed.

I'm absolutely certain that I was insulin resistant even though my blood glucose was normal -- I'd get the "hangries" if I attempted to not eat in the morning immediately on waking, and was often hungry for something by mid-afternoon after eating a carb-laden (and low-fat) lunch.  If there was a bag full of M&Ms in front of me and I had one, the entire bag would be gone within a couple of hours.  The same for a tin full of cookies.  A loaf of home-made bread (I have a bread-maker) would be lucky to make two days; the first big, thick slice would get consumed and I'd want two more an hour later.

In short despite my outward metabolic signs being ok, but being overweight (not obese) I know exactly where I was headed -- for both obesity and diabetes.  I'm sure of it.

So in early 2011 I decided I'd had enough -- that the conventional wisdom was either wrong or I was simply going to be consigned due to bad genetics to get older, fatter, and sicker.  The latter is what we have all been sold and I was determined to not simply give up.

Since that was the consensus, I saw no harm in trying something else -- after all, the odds were that I would not make it worse, at least not quickly, and when it comes to things like heart attacks and strokes they take years to develop, weeks or months.

So I went full-on, zero-carb Atkins induction, bought a pair of Nike running shoes and a Garmin 305 with a heart rate strap to track my exercise.

I'm not going to tell you that this was an easy path, at least at first.  I modified the Couch-to-5k thing (you can look it up online) in only one way -- the very last segment of each work-out I ran as hard and fast I could.  At the start this was maybe an eighth to a quarter of a mile, but it would grow to a half-mile later.  Other than that I pretty-much followed the program.

I could not run a half-mile when I started.  Not even close.

I felt like I'd been hit by a bus every.... single... day.

But I kept with it, both on the food and running.  After the first two weeks I added back green vegetables, but otherwise ate zero carbohydrate -- and that included alcohol.  Instead of three times a week I tried for five, and got up at 0500 every day to do it because living in Florida it's hot, even in May.

In the first week, five pounds disappeared.  I knew this would happen and probably be (mostly) water.  The next week and pretty-much every week thereafter, however, another one or two came off.

About two months later I ran a full 3.1 miles for the first time, without slowing to a walk or stopping.  It was not easy, but I did it, and by now it was the middle of June.

Eight months later, roughly that Thanksgiving, I was down to about 160.

I looked at the Garmin stats.  I had lost 50 lbs, which is about 175,000 calories. Running is about 120 calories a mile, according to a heart-rate adjusted GPS machine, and I had run roughly 500 miles at that point, or 60,000 calories worth.

Only one third of the body mass I lost was due to exercise.  That's a numerical fact; the rest was lost due to changing what I ate.

I slowly lost about another 5 lbs; my body weight now fluctuates around 155, +/- 5, assuming I'm reasonably good.

And there it has stayed for the last five years -- whether I'm training for a half-marathon, the Wicked Triple (three races in two days of close to a marathon distance in total), hiking part of the AT, sitting on my ass enjoying a vacation or whatever else I might be doing.  My exertion levels have literally been all over the map, yet my body mass has not.

What has remained constant, more or less, is my adherence to the consumption of food things (and not consuming others!) that I have laid out many times -- you can read that list right here.

Now here's what's changed long-term when it comes to my person and my health that I haven't talked about much:

  • Since I was a child I have had horrid problems with seasonal allergies to the point of being nearly useless twice a year for a month or so.  No amount of medication, OTC or prescription, has ever successfully controlled this completely.  Benedryl works but knocks me flat on my ass, and anything containing pseudoephedrine makes me feel extremely uncomfortable -- I'm one of the people who just can't use any decongestant containing that substance.  I was basically forced to remain indoors, in an air-conditioned space, for two months out of the year and maintain a high-quality pollen filter in my car's airhandler -- or else.  I also avoided travel to woodsy and other flowery areas during the times they were in bloom for obvious reasons.  Slowly, over the last couple of years, my seasonal allergies irrespective of where I am in the country have almost completely disappeared.  They're not completely gone; I still suffer from some congestion for short periods of time, but it's much better than it was.  Last spring I hiked a piece of the AT through the spring bloom, complete with thousands of bees pollinating the flowers, and had exactly zero trouble.  Five years ago that would have been unthinkable.  This appears to be correlated with....

  • My general inflammation level has, I believe, dropped quite a bit.  I had always had "on and off" acne problems, even as an adult.  As a teen it was bad, but it never went completely away -- until I got rid of the carbs.  The same is true of skin issues; I always had them on and off, especially in the winter when the air is dry.  Again, completely gone the first winter and they have stayed gone since.  Gee, I wonder what's going on in my coronary arteries?  Betcha it's not bad things but no, I'm not paying a couple of grand to get CT+contrast scanned to find out for sure.  (The one exception: perfumes in laundry detergents will still "get" me, so I have to watch out for that.)
     
  • I have no adverse blood glucose reaction to sugar intake.  I have, a couple of times in the last year, "challenged" my body with heavy sugar intake just to see what happens; typically with a large dose of milk chocolate or heavily sugar-laden confections like donuts.  I've not been able to drive my blood glucose over 110 with such a challenge despite intentionally trying.  I don't know if I could actually drive my blood sugar to anywhere near 140 today (the upper boundary of what they call the "normal" reaction to such a test) if I literally sat and ate a bag of sugar.  Note that while I was never diabetic I'm very sure my metabolism was compromised.  For those who wonder if your metabolic systems can heal over time if you stop insulting them, the answer appears to be "Yes."

  • I don't like sugar any more.  Things with a lot of sugar in them taste like crap.  Raw white sugar now has a smell to it that I associate with being "medicinal" and is not at all pleasant.  It sort of smells like poison, in fact -- hmmmm.... maybe it is?

  • I have no "hangries" -- ever -- or carb-cravings.  I often have no desire to eat anything before roughly lunchtime; I'll get up in the morning and am simply not hungry.  This means that if I eat something around lunch, and then around dinner, I'm effectively fasting 18 hours out of every day.  It's not because I'm trying, it's because I'm not hungry.

  • If I do work out a lot my appetite goes up.  If I don't it goes down.  I don't have to think about it, count calories, make efforts to restrict my consumption of food or anything like that.  It's simply this: If I'm hungry I eat.  If I'm not I don't.  Oh, and since I'm not gorging myself on hangries my capacity for food has shrunk.  Yes, it appears my stomach is smaller, in that I get full faster -- and it empties slower too.  An interesting observation that I cannot correlate with fact, but I sure can with how I feel if I try to stuff myself for some reason.

  • My exercise tolerance has gone up massively.  The other day I worked on wrecking out part of my gazebo floor (it needs replaced) which involved using a Wonder Bar, saw and moving sand (via shovel and yard cart) that had accumulated under them and then mowed most of the back yard -- in 90ish degree weather with 85%+ humidity.  It was hotter than Hell, but other than needing to stop and get a drink a couple of times it wasn't all that bad.  I would have heat-stroked out trying this a few years ago -- literally.  Likewise I might go run a 5k tonight, and while the sun will be down it won't be any cooler.  Yes, it will be hotter than hell, but I'm not concerned about not being able to do it.  This I attribute to the exercise, not the diet.  But, with an extra 50lbs I suspect I wouldn't be able to move my additional mass irrespective of my cardio condition anywhere near as well as I can today.

  • I am far faster running now than I ever was -- including in High School!  I was never able to break the 9 minute mile barrier on a 3 mile run, with my "typical" time being around 30 minutes.  My PR now is 7:00 flat on a timed 5k race and 7:49 on a half-marathon.  This isn't a singular result either; my kid, who ran one season with the HS cross-country team, has half-way adopted my way of eating over the last six months -- and not only has her appearance improved she has also taken more than two minutes a mile from her time, breaking the 10 minute/mile threshold for the first time in the last couple of weeks.  Don't tell me you can't perform athletically on a low-carb diet -- that's a damned lie.

I'm not going to tell you this was all easy, because it wasn't up front.  Yes, carb-cravings are real.  A week or so back while in a group having a conversation that turned to food I remarked that I do not, as a rule, eat carbs -- my carb intake is for the most part beer, and only a couple a day maximum.  A nurse who was there proceeded to say that "Atkins causes kidney disease" and further that she "has cravings for carbs and thus needs them."  Both are false; first, Atkins is high fat, not high protein.  It is true that high protein diets can cause kidney problems but that's not Atkins; that's doing it wrong!  Second, meth causes cravings too, but that doesn't mean you need meth -- it means you're addicted to it!  Carbs are the same deal; when challenged as to the specific nutrients that you need that are in carbs, of course, she had no answer.  That would be because there aren't any; the amount of carbohydrate you actually require in your diet is zero.  I gave up; oh, she was complaining about having big snoring problems too (gee, I wondered, if you lost some weight what might happen to that........) This, however, is illustrative of the attitude of many in the so-called "health business"; their 4 hours of class at some point was not only insufficient most of what was in there is flat out wrong and even when taking this path might help alleviate a person problem they're experiencing they won't try it!

Here's my view, more than five years into this: I've seen exactly zero bad effects from adopting this lifestyle, and multiple good ones.  My indicators of metabolic health have improved, my exercise tolerance is up massively, I am more able to perform athletically today than I was when I was 17 despite being three times as old, I have zero glucose tolerance trouble evident when challenged, I am never "hangry", I do not crave carbs and in fact find things with sugar in them "too" sweet yet I count no calories or make other conscious attempt to control my food intake and my body mass is approximately what it was 35 years ago and hasn't moved more than a few pounds in either direction for the last five years.  The only exception was when I was in a relationship, eating far too many carbs (and knew it) and five more pounds went on -- literally as soon as I cut that crap out they disappeared within a couple of weeks.

Why would I change what I'm doing now, when for the last five years it has worked -- effortlessly -- to not only halt what was an obvious and visible (albeit slow) decrease my personal vitality and health that many would simply attribute to old age, but almost-completely reversed it -- and in many cases my health and physical abilities now exceed those of my teen years!

Yes, I'm a data set of one.

Now tell me why would you not run your own experiment.

I'm all ears.

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How does this sort of tripe wind up in print?

Aamodt is a neuroscientist, book author and former editor of a leading brain research journal. She also has become a prominent evangelist of the message that traditional diets just don't work and often leave the dieter worse off than before. And she's an enthusiastic proponent of mindful eating.

"I define it as eating with attention and joy, without judgment," Aamodt said in an interview. "That includes attention to hunger and fullness, to the experience of eating and to its effects on our bodies."

Riiiight.

Look folks, there are people who have a mental disorder when it comes to food.  I accept this, because it is trivially shown to be true.  But the vast majority of people who are overweight are not sick in the head or suffering from some psychosis -- they've been actively misled as to what's going on and the media spurs this with its crap "reporting" such as this article.

Likewise, the "energy balance" folks (all of whom like to wag their finger and scold) are correct but intentionally misleading.  That is, it is absolutely true that since a pound of body mass is roughly 3000-3500 calories (there is some debate on exactly what the number is but this is close enough; within 20%) if you wish to lose weight you must consume fewer calories than your body burns.

There's no escaping that; it's math.  Isn't it funny, however, that these people never bother to continue their mathematical exercise?  We'll get to why not in a minute, so hold that thought.

There is, unfortunately, also no escaping the fact that running, one of the highest calorie-consuming exercises, only burns about 100-120 calories a mile -- more if you're very heavy (it takes more energy to move your fat ass) and less if you're not, but again, we're talking about a 20% tolerance here and for the most part the figure is about the same irrespective of other factors.

This, by the way, means that you must run approximately a marathon to lose a pound!

No Mildred, you cannot outrun your fork and anyone who tells you otherwise is completely full of crap.

Yes, we have an obesity epidemic; fully 40% of US women are obese along with 35% of men -- and even worse, one in five adolescents!  This is a ridiculous percentage and what's really awful is that those who are in this position are setting themselves up for utterly horrible, slow and painful ways to die -- first through amputations, then blindness and kidney disease, and finally heart attack and stroke, all after decades of avoidable suffering and restricted physical capability.

It seems that every couple of years someone else comes along with yet another crackpot theory on why it is that people get and stay fat -- and then both get sick and die as a result.  They all keep trying to make the case that it's not your fault in some form or fashion, using words like "easy" to describe their particular prescriptive answer, knowing full well that this sells books.

After all, if you told people it was their fault or would be hard how many of them would pay you for the book -- the speech -- or the "counseling"?

But all these theories are just that -- theories, and IMHO they're all full of crap when it comes to long-term success.

Here are some facts for you and they are trivially proved through nothing more than casual observation of the world around you and arithmetic you learned in the first and second grades:

  • Every organism in the animal kingdom has a regulatory mechanism in its body that is autonomous for controlling how much food said organism takes in.  Absent that since "food" generally tastes good to said organism all animals would continually fill their stomachs to their maximum capacity as often as possible, eschewing virtually anything else other than sex, until they all died of obesity-related disease.  Clearly this does not happen "in the wild" but it sure does when a creature's "natural" diet is disrupted.  Witness all the "fat cats" that eat packaged kibble, then compare the nutrients in said kibble with that in a mouse or bird. The prosecution rests, your (dis)Honor.

  • Since it requires 3,300 calories to gain or lose a pound as a human and there are 365 days in a year in order to regulate your body size within one pound per year over time you must manage to control your caloric intake and expenditure within 10 calories per day.  For some perspective that is less than 1/10th of an ounce of potato chips!  If you wish to count them accurately use Pringles (all chips the same size and mass) and you will find that to control your body mass that accurately through voluntary action would require that you keep your consumption accurate to within one potato chip daily.  Certainly you cannot do this irrespective of the form and type of food you consume through "mindful", that is, volitional conduct.  The accuracy required simply cannot be met.

  • Remember, however, that there are a lot of things that go on in your body that require maintenance at this sort of accuracy and none of them are voluntary.  Your blood pressure, glucose level, blood pH, uric acid, water content, potassium level, dissolved CO2 and oxygen saturation are just a few examples of literally hundreds.  Any of these parameters that go materially out of "normal" range will cause serious disease and in many cases instant death.  Yet your body knows how to regulate all of them, as does every other animal's body on the planet, and all of that regulation in every organism that is alive happens without a scintilla of conscious thought.

So what's actually going on?

Don't ask NBC news; they claim nobody knows:

"Numerous foundations, industries, professional societies, and governmental agencies have provided hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to support basic science research in obesity, clinical trials and observational studies, development of new drugs and devices, and hospital and community programs to help stem the tide of the obesity epidemic," the journal's editors, Dr. Jody Zylke and Dr. Howard Bauchner, wrote in a commentary.

"The obesity epidemic in the United States is now 3 decades old, and huge investments have been made in research, clinical care, and development of various programs to counteract obesity. However, few data suggest the epidemic is diminishing," they added.

Did you all flunk basic organic chem, then biochem and simply ignore the monstrous body of evidence that has been accumulated on this problem?

There is one basic fact that has to be dealt with by anyone propounding on our obesity epidemic: 

Your body knows how to regulate its caloric intake in light of highly-variable energy expenditure and do so within 10 calories a day.  If it did not the species Homo Sapiens would have gone extinct centuries ago just as would any other species that could not regulate its caloric intake.

Therefore the question must be this and only this:

Why is that regulatory system not working, can a fat person restore it to normal function, and if so how?

I believe we know the answer to that question but admitting it means admitting that the medical and "nutrition" folks have been lying to overweight people for decades and, in fact, they know damn well they've been lying which means they should all be in prison for the outrageous harms they have inflicted on millions of Americans.

Let's start with history.  Homo Sapiens (that is, our specific species) has been on this planet for about 200,000 years.  Our direct lineage in that regard is the matter of some dispute, but what is not in dispute is that until about 12,000 years ago we had no industrial mode of food production whatsoever.  That is, for better than 90% of the species' time on this planet we ate only that which we could obtain without processing, other than perhaps rudimentary cooking.

The epidemic of heart disease, obesity and diabetes is a 20th century+ phenomena.  It therefore must be traced to something (or a group of somethings) that happened in that time frame.  Ancel Keys claimed it was dietary saturated fat that led to heart attacks and strokes.  He cherry-picked his data, however, which made his advocacy not a mistake but a lie, and a fairly easy one to prove too.

So would anyone care to guess where it began?

I'll help you. It began right here with a dramatic increase in use of a very dangerous substance.

About 20-30 years following that ramp in cigarette consumption, guess what happened?  Lots of heart attacks and strokes.  Do you think this was a function of "fat in the diet" or do you think this had something to do with per-capita cigarette consumption going from ~200 in 1912 to twenty times that rate by 1959?  When you go from an average of less than one cigarette a day per-person to close to a full pack a day what do you think is going to happen to heart disease and stroke rates, with about a 20 year lag?

That's exactly what did happen.  Duh.

Then there's Crisco and other related trans-fats.  They came on the market in the early 1900s too and were in fact sold as healthier than animal fats.  But we now know that transfats greatly increase the risk of heart disease, while the association with saturated animal fats in fact runs the other way -- among European diets the highest in saturated fat (the Mediterranean nations) have the lowest cardiovascular disease rates. 

Between smoking and transfats is the causal chain clear yet or do I need a bigger clue-by-4?

Now let's look at obesity, which began to spike in the 1980s.

Again, what changed?

Simple: The US Government played hell with its "war on fat" predicated on the lie told by Keys (among others) and told people to cut it out of their diets.  But there are only three foods at a macro level -- fats, carbohydrates and proteins.  If you remove fat from the diet you must increase one or both of the others.

What got increased?  Carbohydrates -- specifically, cheap, fast and highly-processed carbohydrates.

And what do we know about carbohydrates, especially fast, processed carbohydrates such as grains (e.g. breads, pastas, etc), sugars and similar?  They all produce a large insulin response in the body.

Oh, and if that's not enough carbohydrate consumption also increases systemic inflammation and "bad" cholesterol, which prompts cholesterol in the body, a necessary component of our metabolic system, to perform the job it is present to do -- that is, to encapsulate and attempt to repair said inflammation.  Blaming cholesterol for heart attacks (and trying to reduce it through chemicals) is like blaming it for the inflamed finger you have after sticking yourself with a thorn -- rather than removing the thorn!

Finally, with few exceptions these "foods" have only existed in our diet for the last few hundred to few thousand years -- an inconsequential period of time on the evolutionary time scale.

In other words there is no evidence that our bodies know how to process these carbohydrates without harm because we did not evolve in their presence and thus our genetic coding was not selected through evolution to favor said energy sources.  The same is true for vegetable-based oils (PUFAs), none of which have been ingested in material quantity by humans for more than 100 years.

You would have to eat a full bushel of corn to get a tablespoon of corn oil and utterly nobody would (ever) eat a bowl of cotton seeds!

Now let's look at what we know to be fact in the context of body mass regulation.

Hunger (the desire to eat) is largely mediated by leptin and the hypothalamus, a small structure in the brain.  This structure is responsible for regulating not only hunger but also body temperature, sleep, and thirst.  In short some of the most-essential regulatory functions are directly controlled by this part of the brain and still more are via other structures that it interacts with, mostly via and through hormones.  This has been known since modern medicine has existed.

Now here's the nasty piece of the puzzle nobody wants to talk about, but which I believe is key to the entire obesity issue:

Insulin is a leptin antagonist.

That is, quite simply:

The higher your insulin level the less active leptin is in signaling satiety.

Therefore insulin resistance is in fact a severe problem, even when it occurs at a level that is sub-clinical and does not result in an increased blood glucose level as long the body is able to produce enough insulin, and your cells are still able to respond, to hold blood glucose within normal limits.

The harm is due to the fact that irrespective of your ability to maintain a normal blood sugar that elevated insulin level still results, in every case, in a desire to eat more food.

That is the condition of an elevated insulin level tips the balance of the body's signalling and thus makes unconscious control of caloric intake within the required tolerance, given access to food in excess of metabolic requirements, virtually impossible.

This then leaves you with only voluntary caloric restriction (e.g. "dieting") as an option which we know you cannot maintain over the long term as the precision required cannot be met through conscious control.

Worse, the divergence between needs and desires is all in one direction -- overeating and if your "diet" is a low-fat one where the substitution is made with carbohydrates you make your desire to overeat worse.

This is why when you cease dieting you almost-invariably gain all the weight back plus more -- your "dieting" has in fact done more damage to the metabolic systems that control your desire to eat!

Again, that insulin is a leptin antagonist is not a theory it is a biochemical fact.

The only means by which one can resolve the problem at a biochemical level is to remove the leptin antagonist.

Achieving that requires lowering insulin levels, and that can only be safely done (without skyrocketing your blood glucose) by restricting carbohydrate intake, especially rapid-acting carbs such as sugars, grains and starches.

It is not a coincidence that this is a corrective action in that it coincides with removing "foods" from your diet that your body was never designed to process and in fact at no time in our evolutionary history did such "foods" exist.  Those who make claims to the contrary that the intake of such "foods" in any quantity whatsoever are "safe" have the burden of proof to show how the body can handle such intake without any of the normal biochemical processes going out of the normal range.

The body of evidence found in the form of rampant obesity and insulin resistance, all of which exactly correlates with the "war on fat" by medical "authorities" and substitution of fast-acting carbohydrates in its place, strongly suggests that these foods are not safe and cannot be made safe; they can only be avoided or the consequences of consuming them accepted exactly as the correlation with smoking and transfasts correlated exactly with the rise in heart disease with the expected 20-30 year lag!

"Mindful eating" will not change your insulin levels nor improve your body's leptin signalling.

Getting the pasta, potatoes, rice, sugars and grains out of your diet, on the other hand, will. If you want the full list read this article.

As a "side effect" of following same, if you actually do it, I predict that your pants will fall off.

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