Archive for May, 2016


May 31, 2016

So dieting, as usual is a double whammy in this regards: leptin goes down as ghrelin is going up with the reduction in leptin being partly responsible for the increase in ghrelin.

Ghrelin appears to play a role in both short- and long-term hunger and long-term bodyweight regulation. As mentioned above, ghrelin goes up prior to a meal; it also comes back down after eating.

However, ghrelin levels also increase overall with a loss of weight/bodyfat, decreasing when weight is gained. Individuals with a high BMI have lower ghrelin (and the idea of ghrelin resistance has been thrown around) and anorexics have higher ghrelin (which decreases with refeeding).

Nutritionally, carbohydrates appear to play a primary role in regulating ghrelin levels with dietary fat having less of an impact, the effect of protein is currently unclear. In one study, a high carbohydrate/low-fat diet generated weight loss without the normal increase in ghrelin levels.


Skipping Breakfast

May 17, 2016


“Next time, skip the shake and the cardio. Sleep two hours longer, but skip breakfast and fast until lunch time. This way you can create the same caloric deficit with the added bonus of feeling more rested and having saved more time. You’ll be much better off.

* Intermittent fasting is an easy way to create a calorie deficit. Your “cardio” is to stay productive during the fast and work. If you don’t have a job, work on projects that are important to you. Learn. Read books. Write. Don’t sit around and brood about your diet or what you have in the fridge.”

-Martin Berkham

Peter Attia:

  1. “Currently I only eat three meals per day about once a week. I eat two meals per day probably 4 times per week, and one meal per day twice per week.”

“Update 6: What I eat (the only update you care about…)

In 2015 I did a 6 month experiment of exactly one meal per day (23 hours of fasting, then ~1 hour of eating at dinner). Very interesting. I’m sure I discuss it in at least one of the podcasts, below. These days I’m eating about as freely as I have in 7 years. I’m still carb-restricted by the standards of most Americans, but nowhere near the ketogenic lines of 2011, 2012, and 2013. I almost always skip breakfast, and lunch is usually a salad (“in a bowl larger than my head,” if possible). Dinner is usually a serving of meat with more salad and veggies. I’m more liberal on fruit and even occasionally rice or potatoes. Also, in moments of weakness I sometimes lean into my kid’s crappy food.”

7. Myth: Skipping breakfast is bad and will make you fat.

Breakfast skipping is associated with higher body weights in the population. The explanation is similar to that of lower meal frequencies and higher body weights. Breakfast skippers have dysregulated eating habits and show a higher disregard for health. People who skip breakfast are also more likely to be dieting, thus by default they are also likely to be heavier than non-dieters. Keep in mind that most people who resort to breakfast skipping are not the type that sit around and read about nutrition. They are like most people dieting in a haphazard manner. The type to go on a 800 calorie-crash diet and then rebound, gaining all the weight (and then some) back.

Sometimes, an argument is made for eating breakfast as we are more insulin sensitive in the morning. This is true; you are always more insulin sensitive after an overnight fast. Or rather, you are always the most insulin sensitive during the first meal of the day. Insulin sensitivity is increased after glycogen depletion. If you haven’t eaten in 8-10 hours, liver glycogen is modestly depleted. This is what increases insulin sensitivity – not some magical time period during the morning hours. Same thing with weight training. Insulin sensitivity is increased as long as muscle glycogen stores aren’t full. It doesn’t disappear if you omit carbs after your workout.


First of all, we have the large scale epidemiological studies showing an association with breakfast skipping and higher body weights in the population. One researcher from that study, commenting on the association with breakfast skipping or food choices for breakfast, said:

“These groups appear to represent people ‘on the run,’ eating only candy or soda, or grabbing a glass of milk or a piece of cheese. Their higher BMI would appear to
support the notion that ‘dysregulated’ eating patterns are associated with obesity, instead of or in addition to total energy intake per se.”

Kellogg’s and clueless RDs love to cite them over and over again, so people are lead to believe that breakfast has unique metabolic and health-related benefits. In reality, these studies just show breakfast eaters maintain better dietary habits overall.

Other studies frequently cited claiming that breakfast is beneficial for insulin sensitivity are all marred with methodological flaws and largely uncontrolled in design.

In one widely cited study, subjects were entrusted to eat most meals in free-living conditions. The breakfast skipping group ate more and gained weight, which affected health parameters negatively.

From the abstract: “Reported energy intake was significantly lower in the EB period (P=0.001), and resting energy expenditure did not differ significantly between the 2 periods.” EB = eating breakfast. In essence, people who ate breakfast could control their energy intake better for the rest of the day. They didn’t gain any weight but the breakfast skipping group did. Fat gain always affects insulin sensitivity and other health parameters negatively. Thus what people took this to mean is that breakfast is healthy and improves insulin sensitivity. Which isn’t at all what the study showed.


May 16, 2016

“In one recent study, researchers found that mice fed a high-fat diet between 9am and 5pm gained 28 percent less weight than mice fed the exact same food across a 24-hour period. The researchers suggested that irregular feedings affect the circadian cycle of the liver and the way it metabolizes food, thus influencing overall energy balance. Such differences would not emerge under the feeding schedules in the Beltsville experiments.”

“Today, however, most scientists believe we can’t blame DNA for making us overweight. “The prevalence of obesity started to rise quite sharply in the 1980s,” says Nestle. “Genetics did not change in that ten- or twenty-year period. So genetics can only account for part of it.””


May 14, 2016

Thank you, David Ludwig:


Two weeks of overfeeding with candy, but not peanuts, increases insulin levels and body weight.



To study the effects of snacking based on fast acting carbohydrates (candy) or fat and protein (peanuts) in a prospective randomized, parallel intervention study.


Basal metabolic rate (BMR) and cardiovascular risk factors were measured before and after hyper-alimentation by addition of 20 kcal/kg (84 kJ/kg) body weight of either candy or roasted peanuts, to the regular caloric intake, for two weeks in healthy subjects. Eleven men and 14 women completed the randomized study.


Energy-intake increased similarly in the groups (candy: +46.1+/-35%, peanuts: +46.8+/-28% p=0.96). Body-weight (candy: from 67.3+/-7.6 kg to 68.1+/-7.3 kg, p=0.01, nuts: from 68.7+/-6.1 kg to 69.0+/-5.7 kg p=0.3) and waist circumference increased significantly only in the candy group. At the end of the study LDL cholesterol (candy: 2.6+/-0.4 mmol/l peanuts: 2.1+/-0.4 mmol/l, p=0.005) and ApoB/ApoA-1-ratio (candy: 0.68+/-0.16 peanuts 0.53+/-0.11, p=0.01) were higher in the candy group than in the peanut group. On the other hand, BMR increased only in the peanut group (candy: from 6.657+/-1.1 MJ/24 h to 6.762+/-1.1 MJ/24 h, p=0.3 nuts: from 6.896+/-0.98 MJ/24 h to 7.256+/-1.1 MJ/24 h, p=0.02).


Two weeks of snacking based on peanuts does not cause the same negative metabolic effects as an isocaloric diet in which the snacking is based on short acting carbohydrates in the form of candy in non-obese healthy subjects.

More from Ludwig:

“Even with the prototypic models of hyperphagia such as hypothalamic damage and leptin deficiency, metabolic defects precede overeating, and restriction of food intake to normal does not prevent development of excess adiposity [FriedmanDubucBray].”

View at


May 14, 2016

My voice issues were probably more being caused by my cold than acid reflux.  I finally realized it was a cold when I started feeling a very sore throat with coughing in the middle of the night.

Thus far every time I’ve tried this coffee experiment I’ve developed colds.

Next experiments with coffee:

(1) Try no coffee per day, herbal tea only.  See effects on voice after two weeks.  (Begin tracking after cold goes away.)

(2) Try only black coffee, 1-2 cups max, as per Rich’s suggestions.

Maybe it’s the cream and the coffee combo that makes it worse?

Kevin Hall

May 14, 2016

“Many of my critics in the low-carb camp have ignored the caveats that this basic human physiology study does not imply that low-carb diets don’t work. They may even be preferable for many people. I have repeatedly acknowledged that prescribing low-carb diets appears to be more effective in outpatient randomized controlled trials, at least for several months when diet adherence is likely to be highest. The question is why? Our small contribution is that Mr. Taubes’ version of the carbohydrate-insulin theory likely isn’t the explanation.”

Here is the article link:

Study link: (not completed)

Some useful tools from Kevin:

My opinion is that regardless of the mechanism, if low-carb diets show better results, I’m going to stick with them, adding back only the carbs I need  for exercise without feeling hypoglycemic.

My results from BWP seem to fit directly with what Fitbit tells me to do.  Also Bestlife diet recommended the same (around 2500 cal/day).  I haven’t lost any weight yet.  Maybe I’m under-estimating my intake?


Peter Attia

May 12, 2016

If I’m going to get research and ideas from anyone, it’s going to be people like this.

Other tidbit in favor of working less hard now, and working into retirement:

“1:09:19: People who work longer versus retire sooner have better cognitive outcomes. The more active the brain is, the better the brain is.”

Episode 1: Peter Attia on how to live longer and better

Still No Weight Lost

May 12, 2016

Still haven’t lost any weight.  I’ve been following my Fitbit, but somewhere along the way I’m either underestimating calories consumed or it is overestimating calories burned.

I’ve been sidetracked by thinking about whether I should cut coffee completely out of my diet.  My voice is messed up again during the week.  I am so sick of having a voice that doesn’t work.  Thinking acid reflux plays into it.  But with that being said, my throat has been pretty sore lately also, as I’ve had one of those “perpetual colds” you get from being a teacher.  This is completely not conducive to my singing.

Next steps:

I should try staying to a fixed calorie limit ala “Livestrong” regardless of whether I burn more through walking throughout the day.

I should cut coffee to 1 cup per day while switching to herbal tea otherwise.

Reason For New Direction

May 2, 2016

“First, increases in physical activity of the amount common for most individuals, such as 3 days/week of 1 h of aerobic activity, will not lead to weight loss, nor will it help prevent weight gain, for the majority of the population.

Second, variation in physical activity within the range engaged in by the US population is not modulating obesity risk. Only reduction in calorie intake will result in weight loss, whether done in isolation or together with increases in exercise.

A rare contemporary instance of population-wide food shortage demonstrates both the immediate, universal impact of small reductions in intake, as well as the consequent drop in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.45”


This article has been true to my experience.

This article has also been true to my experience.  With that being said, he’s not exactly advocating high-carb.  His carb counts for someone trying to lose or maintain weight are much lower than the average American or what I was doing in the past.

Only strange thing is Stephen Phinney also says that he’s had endurance athletes do their endurance activities on low-carb.  I’m confused as to how this is possible, based on my experience with the extreme hunger pangs/hypoglycemia when trying to run on a very low carb diet.

Once I achieve my goal weight, the next step is to see if I can maintain energy balance without counting calories at the goal weight.  I believe low-carb is going to be the missing component.  The questions are:

  • How low do I have to go?
  • Will I ever be able to work out at that level?
  • Is there any level at which I can maintain energy balance without counting calories, or am I forever doomed to have to try to turn my body into a math equation?
How do animals maintain energy balance?

Nailed it! (Calorie counting with my Fitbit.) How do animals maintain energy balance without Fitbits?


Where to Next?

May 1, 2016

So ad libitum low-carb has failed in producing any significant weight loss, although it seems I haven’t gained any significant weight.

Calorie-restricted low-carb started working, and then I decided I didn’t feel like dealing with the hunger.  There was significantly less hunger on the low-carb, calorie restricted diet than if I had added carbs, but it was still there.  I may decide to revisit this approach on a more drastic level in the future so I can lose weight as quickly as possible and then get out of it as quickly as possible.  (Basically if I had skipped dinner or cut 1000 calories every day combined from each meal, I would have lost 2 lbs per week).

At this point, I think I am going back to adding in around 40-50g of carbs (the amount in a Starbucks breakfast sandwich) and adding aerobic exercise back in.  Before I started going ketogenic, I tried this approach.  Initially I lost a few pounds.  Then some of them came back.  I didn’t lose any weight beyond that point (big surprise) but I was able to complete my runs with no problem and no “hypoglycemic” feeling.  Here is the study supporting my decision, and given my time constraints, this is the most effective form in helping to lose weight, although significant weight usually isn’t lost through exercise alone.  (As I said, when I started my diet this way, I didn’t lose any weight). I’m going to do between 30-45 minutes of aerobic activity per day.

I doubt any significant weight loss will happen but I will remain at my current (not so great, not so bad) weight of around 210.  This is a heavy weight, but sometimes when I observe my body in relation to others I realize I don’t look so heavy.  (Has the population gotten even fatter?!)  I’m usually not the leanest one in the room, but I’m also far from the fattest.

Some other thoughts: perhaps the best way to lose weight is the fastest.  It seems like the psychological synergy created by seeing the scale go down rapidly is the best thing to prop one up for dealing with constant hunger.

What I just realized too about this blog is that I’m glad I’m not selling anyone some line.  This blog is the honest truth about my experience with weight loss.  There are so many diets that proclaim you can lose weight without hunger or calorie restriction.  Even modifying carbs doesn’t exclude you from those realities.  I think one should modify the carbs to help with hunger and also to prevent future weight gain after you’ve lost the weight, but if you want to really lose the weight, you have to cut calories.

Another reason, aside from the speed, not to cut less than 500 calories (and 1000 calories is better) is that the margin of error from day-to-day makes it pretty difficult to accurately estimate how much you are taking in and how much you are burning.  When you cut by 1000, it’s much easier to be on the negative side of the balance than when you’re closer to equilibrium.