Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Flaws of Conventional Wisdom

As you know by now, I'm not a conventional wisdom kind of guy.  I think conventional wisdom is vastly flawed.  In many cases it's bought and paid for.  In some, gross negligence.  In others, arrogance and ignorance.

With that said, it comes as no surprise to me that the molecule that you see to the left makes about $13,000,000,000/year.  Yeah, that's right -- 13 BILLION!  And the statin market?  Try this on for size: $26 Billion +.  With negligible benefits, even by conventional wisdom standards, tons of side effects and a big price tag it has quite possibly added to cardiovascular morbidity.  We've been sold a bill of goods.  All of us: doctors, consumers, media, mom, dad, grandma...

This brings me to my point.  I'm not going to talk about all the flaws of conventional wisdom (that would take too long and I don't even know them all).  But this one pisses me off (especially because of reasons that hit 'close to home').  I think it stems from a number of things: ignorance, arrogance, greed, money-generated flawed 'wisdom'.  I don't fault all involved.  I think there are many, many well-meaning people who research, develop, and sell medications  On the other hand, I think there are ill intentioned people that spend hundreds of millions on the development of a molecule, see the flaws and dangers and move forward anyway.  I think this one is a mixed bag.
Most believe in conventional wisdom when it come to a diet rich in fat and cholesterol -- they believe that fat promotes cardiovascular disease and paves the road to an early death; I do not.  I believe a diet rich in processed, chemical-laden food and processed carbohydrates that obliterates your pancreas year and year with masses and continual amounts of insulin is what leads to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  Mix processed fats, high insulin levels and processed carbohydrates and you have a recipe for an unhealthy, disease-ridden and likely earlier-than-should-have-been death.  So what?

The flawed conventional wisdom that fat and cholesterol kill you is why the pictured above molecule has been a blockbuster seller for more than a decade.  Yet, now research is showing (and it doesn't coincide with CW -- uh oh --) that statins actually promote and worsen Alzheimer's.  My father died from Alzheimer's in 2006 after (what we now know) a 10 year battle.  He started showing sign of Alzheimer's at age 51!  He was gone at 61.  I believe aspartame played a part in the development of his disease; CW does not agree.  Google aspartame -- make your own judgment on its safety.  I think other factors played a role as well that I won't discuss that here.  But at about the mid-way point of his battle (2002), he started taking Lipitor for his 'high' cholesterol.  It seems now that not only did it not help him, but it likely worsened the progression and further development of Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's is a devastating disease whose incidence is clearly on the rise in America. Fortunately, a significant number of research dollars are currently being spent to try to understand what causes Alzheimer's. ApoE-4, a particular allele of the apolipoprotein apoE, is a known risk factor. Since apoE plays a critical role in the transport of cholesterol and fats to the brain, it can be hypothesized that insufficient fat and cholesterol in the brain play a critical role in the disease process. In a remarkable recent study, it was found that Alzheimer's patients have only 1/6 of the concentration of free fatty acids in the cerebrospinal fluid compared to individuals without Alzheimer's. In parallel, it is becoming very clear that cholesterol is pervasive in the brain, and that it plays a critical role both in nerve transport in the synapse and in maintaining the health of the myelin sheath coating nerve fibers. An extremely high-fat (ketogenic) diet has been found to improve cognitive ability in Alzheimer's patients. These and other observations described below lead me to conclude that both a low-fat diet and statin drug treatment increase susceptibility to Alzheimer's."

I'll not belabor my point any longer or delve into the specifics of fat and cholesterol transport and the importance of it to our body, specifically our brain; the study below explains it all in fantastic detail.  But I'll leave you with this.  Make up your own mind.  Don't let one person, a company, a doctor, or any one entity make your decision for you.  Use your mind and make your own decisions about your health.  Look around you.  You are surrounded by an epidemic of obesity and diabetes and it's not because of fat and cholesterol.  And by the way, medicines don't seem to be helping all that much.

Change your life.  Move more, eat less, educate yourself.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Endogenous Growth Hormone and Fat Loss

Nutrition, fitness, and fat loss expert Lyle McDonald recently wrote an article on growth hormone (GH).  Specifically, he covered the raise in GH after intense exercise and what that means.  Does it mean that we can take advantage of raised GH levels in our quest to burn fat?  Well, sort of.  Lyle, as always, is succinct in answering that question.

When I'm leaning out or providing advice for others when trying to lean down (for summer as an example), I advise to always follow workouts with a slow, low-intensity jog, walk, or ride (a heart rate of about 100).  The intense exercise releases free fatty acids from their fat stores and provides a prime opportunity to 'burn off' those fats.  Thus, the use of low-intensity exercise.  What's interesting is that GH plays just a small, secondary role in this process and Lyle's covers this in this article.  What hormones are mainly responsible for this 'burn off' opportunity?  Read this.

Taking all of this into's still about calories.  Eat less, move more, lose body fat.  Don't make it harder than it really is. 

Until next time...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Intermittent Fasting's Positive Effects on Metabolic Hormones, etc.

Just another reason to employ an intermittent fasting lifestyle; not to mention that it will absolutely, positively, keep your weight in check -- even during the holidays.

People: IF works!  It will help you live a happier, healthier, life.  Do your research and then employ it.  Let me know how you feel.

Dietary restriction has been shown to have several health benefits including increased insulin sensitivity, stress resistance, reduced morbidity, and increased life span. The mechanism remains unknown, but the need for a long-term reduction in caloric intake to achieve these benefits has been assumed. We report that when C57BL/6 mice are maintained on an intermittent fasting (alternate-day fasting) dietary-restriction regimen their overall food intake is not decreased and their body weight is maintained. Nevertheless, intermittent fasting resulted in beneficial effects that met or exceeded those of caloric restriction including reduced serum glucose and insulin levels and increased resistance of neurons in the brain to excitotoxic stress. Intermittent fasting therefore has beneficial effects on glucose regulation and neuronal resistance to injury in these mice that are independent of caloric intake.

Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Reasons for IF and Calorie Restriction

Here's a few good reads regarding intermittent fasting and calorie restriction.  There's is an accumulating mound of evidence to support IF as a lifestyle.

Move more, eat less, make your life easier.

Enjoy the links.

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Are sprinters made differently?

I stole this story from Dennis Faye over at Fitness Nerd, but garnered it worth the thievery (thanks Dennis).  It's a study that he referenced that confirms that sprinters really are born and not made.

It's not that you cannot improve your speed, get stronger, and faster; but 'born' sprinters have an innate advantage over me and you.  It seems as though their heels are shorter and their toes are longer, thus giving them a leverage and 'time of contact to the ground' advantage. 

So that's why I'm so slow?

Until next time...