Bacon is a health-food

Bacon is mostly fat. Healthy fat.

47% of it is monounsaturated oleic acid. The same that is in olive oil.

3% is monounsaturated palmitoleic acid. This has valuable antimicrobial properties.

40% is saturated, the reason that bacon fat is so relatively stable and unlikely to go rancid under normal storage or cooking conditions.

The high saturated content is important, because it helps protect the rest, which is the remaining 10% in the form of unstable polyunsaturated fats.

Pork fat also contans a large amount of choline, an antioxidant that is superior to vitamin E. Likely the reason that lard and bacon fat are very stable and not prone to rancidity from free radicals.

If the bacon comes from pastured pigs (which all animals should be), it’s full of vitamin D, as long as the pigs were allowed to play outside in the sun.

Edit 5/15/12: Like humans, pigs can get sunburned and, like humans, they make vitamin D through the action of sunlight on their skin and store the nutrient in their fat. Pigs raised in confinement will die if not exposed to UV-B light, the wave length needed for vitamin-D production.

What about the CHOLESTEROL???

As we would expect, the good fat in bacon comes with cholesterol, a “no no” according to the Food Police, and yet another reason for bacon’s dangerous reputation.   The evidence against cholesterol causing or contributing to heart disease, of course, is inconsistent, contradictory, misinterpreted and sparse.  It’s oxidized cholesterol  — as found in the powdered milk and powdered egg ingredients used for processed, packaged and fast foods, including low-fat and non-fat milks  — and oxidized lipids (unstable polyunsaturated fats) that contribute to heart disease, NOT CHOLESTEROL.

Also, as biochemical textbooks make clear, cholesterol is the mother of all hormones, including our reproductive and mood hormones. Thus bacon’s cholesterol content may be part of the reason it enjoys such a reputation as a “feel good” food!!

What about the SALT???

Animals seek out salt licks, paleo people eat and drink salty blood and other animal parts, and biochemists point out we need sodium and chloride for blood, sweat, tears, mucus and semen.  Textbooks make all of this abundantly clear, yet U.S. government guidelines recommend drastic reductions in salt intake.   Sadly, low-salt diets increase the likelihood of heart disease, hypertension, cognitive decline, osteoporosis,insulin resistance and erectile dysfunction. no-salt-limp-dick-syndrome sounds like no fun for either party involved!!

What about the nitrites and nitrates???

We get more nitrates from our own saliva. This notion of ‘nitrite-free’ or ‘organically cured’ meats is a public deception. Traditionally bacon was cured by adding sodium nitrite salts directly to the meat.  Today’s manufacturers of  “nitrite free” brands add celery salt, which is about 50 percent nitrate, plus a starter culture of bacteria.   This transforms the nitrate found naturally in the celery salt into nitrite, which cures the meat.    Although manufacturers label this bacon “nitrite free,” this method actually generates more nitrite from the celery salt than would ever be added as a salt.   Indeed, “nitrite free” bacon can have twice the nitrite content of bacons cured directly with nitrite salts.

There still seems to be some debate over what happens when you cook with nitrates, but cooking food creates all kinds of things, like minute amounts of carcinogens and such. In the whole scheme of things I’d wager that whatever nitrosamines get created from heating nitrates is marginal and insignificant.

Researchers have consistently found carcinogenic nitrosamines in fried bacon, but the bacon studied almost certainly comes from factory farms. Fatty acid composition has a big effect on nitrosamine formation, and factory-farmed pigs routinely eat feeds that include inferior oils.

Nitric Oxide!!

Cured bacon with nitrite increases circulating NO levels in our blood. This is a good thing. It’s vital for a long healthy life. Traditionally cured meats are the best source. Beets too.

NO is a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system. When produced by our blood vessels from nitrite, it signals the surrounding arterial tissues to relax. This lowers blood pressure, expands narrow blood vessels, eliminates dangeous clots (you’ll have none if you are eating Paleo), and reduces plaque formations on arterial walls. NO also reduces triglyceride levels.

NO optimizes circulation and affects every bodily system. More blood flow. More oxygen transfer. Better energy. Better brain function and attention. And more blood flow means better sex life. (NO is also a key ingredient in many erectile dysfunction meds, and workout supplements). NO also helps the immune system fight off infections, and helps brain cells communicate more effectively. Want more? Just do a quick PubMed search! There are myriad benefits to NO!

So Nitrates and Nitrites aren’t dangerous???

Nitrates are natural products of the nitrogen cycle and found in water, plants and animals.   Nitrites are naturally present in saliva, in the gut and indeed in all mammalian tissue.  In short, nitrites are not a problem, provided our diets are rich enough in antioxidants to facilitate the conversion of nitrites to NO and to prevent nitrosation reactions that convert nitrites into carcinogenic nitrosamines.    It’s also obviously important to avoid eating readymade sources of nitrosamines, such as occur in soy protein isolates , non-fat dry milk and other products that have undergone acid washes, flame drying or high temperature spray-drying processes. 

Why does everyone think bacon aint “all that”?

Why do fats and cholesterol get the shit-end of the stick?   Bad studies and worse publicity, with the latest “study” out of Harvard a prime example (Just Google “red meat increases death”).  These “studies” show only a weak association with evidence that is inconclusive.

Science is catching up. The media is always going to be far behind, and is always going to mis-interpret the results. Of course our hunter-gatherer ancestors got it right from the beginning!

Stick to pastured animals, free ranging, not grain fed. Traditionally cured, not injected, machined, processed, or whatever.

What it takes: Survival of the fittest.

Written by Paleo blogger, Jamie Scott. Here is an excerpt.

From the Christshurch experience (and seen similarly in subsequent events such as the Japanese tsunami and UK riots,) many  people required the stamina to walk 3–4 hours, often over hills and dodging rock falls, to get home. If they were required to run, they were required to run fast, as was seen in 9/11 as people ran from the World Trade Centre. If you need to get out of a building under threat of collapse or need to escape an angry mob, you are not going to jog your way out of the situation. You require strength that is functional – not the ability to simply lift a nicely balanced bar that is set at just the right height – but often awkward objects with little grip.

You might require the ability to pull yourself up over a high fence and scale the side of a building to escape an impending wall of water, as was witnessed by a film crew escaping the Japanese tsunami. You may be required to belay large people down the side of a building as was seen in Christchurch. You might need to push a car, barge a door in or drag a body. You will require enough hip mobility to get into a low squat position, to move in that position, to crawl through small and narrow spaces that have been formed, either for you to get into or out of a building.

You may also require the ability to exert yourself for many hours without the opportunity to stop and refuel. My following of a high-fat, hunter-gatherer-type diet has given me that capacity. My energy levels do not rise and fall with a wildly fluctuating blood sugar level, nor do I have to stuff my pockets with energy bars to get me through. During the Christchurch earthquake, whilst everyone was stocking up on bread, cereal, and milk, my survival kit contained eggs, bananas, coconut cream, and dark chocolate. how long one might have to

With no idea how long one might have to stand in the face of disaster, you may also require a degree of mental stamina – a mentality that allows you to manage your thoughts, and asserts that you can rather than you can’t. Knowing you have the skills and capacity in your body allows you to have a similar capacity in your mind. At the point at which I decided to dig through large amounts of silt with a plank of wood to rescue my car and get out before the road collapsed, there was no requirement for me to question whether my body could dig for three hours. I didn’t need to convince my mind. I knew I had the physical capacity and the mind followed.

As you prepare for disaster, you wouldn’t prepare an emergency kit with supplies that were old, broken and not up to the task that you would expect them to be able to perform. So why would one expect a slow, tired and weak body to get them through when put to the test? Strength and conditioning will take you so far, but without skills you really only have capacity and health without useful ability.

In Interesting Times, the most important thing in your emergency response kit is you – your physical capacity and your ability to turn that capacity to the useful skills those times will inevitably require.

Read the whole article by downloading the magazine [here] Article is on pages 44 – 47

Smoking does make you fat and insulin resistant. Pesticides in America.

[Reblog from Animal Pharm]

Modern Big Tobacco-Agra/Monsatan Crops

Crops are generally coated with pesticides for the last 30-50 years. Are they toxic? Pesticides are upregulated into the food chain via consumption (corn, soy) by feedlot livestock and poultry. Let’s not forget tobacco (cigarettes, snuff, cigars, etc). ‘Tobacco is a pesticide-intensive crop. With nearly 27 million pounds of pesticides (including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and suckercides) applied to the U.S.-grown crop from 1994 to 1998, it ranks SIXTH in terms of the amount of pesticides applied per acre. The tobacco industry regards pesticides as essential to tobacco production, stating that “the crop could not be produced economically without them”.’

Additionally pesticides are employed in municipalities (public schools, parks, government land) and personal home use (termites, ant control, weeds control, lawns, etc). Although pesticides do not taste, smell or look toxic, they are not benign and without metabolic dysregulation consequences.

New studies in PubMed are cropping (pun intended) up in number pointing directly to insulin resistance, obesogenic, neurologic and inflammatory damage secondary to this broad group of pervasive chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). They are difficult to avoid as once in the soil, air or bodies of water, fish, birds and animals, they typically fail to degrade and significantly impact the environment.

The researcher Alavanja states ‘Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United State (US) each year and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide (1). In many developing countries programs to control exposures are limited or non-existent. As a consequence; it has been estimated that as many as 25 million agricultural workers worldwide experience unintentional pesticide poisonings each year (4). In a large prospective study of pesticide users in the United States, the Agricultural Health Study, it was estimated that 16% of the cohort had at least one pesticide poisoning or an unusually high pesticide exposure episode in their lifetime (5).

Although attempts to reduce pesticide use through organic agricultural practices and the use of other technologies to control pests continue, exposure to pesticides occupationally, through home and garden use, through termite control or indirectly through spray drifts and through residues in household dust, and in food and water are common (6). The US Department of Agriculture has estimated that 50 million people in the United States obtain their drinking water from groundwater that is potentially contaminated by pesticides and other agricultural chemicals (7, 8). Children from 3-6 years old received most of their dermal and non-dietary oral doses from playing with toys and while playing on carpets which contributed the largest portion of their exposure (9-12).’

U.S.A. Obesity Trends With Pesticide Use

Guess what?

Pesticide use on crops grown in the South (tobacco) and Mid-West (corn, wheat, soy) trends well with U.S.A. obesity patterns [hat tip: LePine MD]. Above is the trend of obesity that starts mid-1980s then grows exponentially each few years. Maps are from Lim et al and BFRSS data.

Smart people in Korea (Lim et al) report that ‘There is an apparent overlap between areas in the USA where the herbicide, atrazine (ATZ), is heavily used and obesity-prevalence maps of people with a BMI over 30. Given that herbicides act on photosystem II of the thylakoid membrane of chloroplasts, which have a functional structure similar to mitochondria, we investigated whether chronic exposure to low concentrations of ATZ might cause obesity or insulin resistance by damaging mitochondrial function.’

Pesticides Kill Pests, Including Our Bug-like Mitochondria

It’s therefore not surprising to read about the toxic effects of pesticides on pests whose networked pathways overlap almost precisely with our own cells. Atrazine is a mitochondrial toxin, and our mitochondria are the sole energy generators and powerhouses whether the substrate is glycogen, glucose or fatty acids.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction Causes Fatness and Insulin Resistance (IR)

‘A close association between mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance is well established [1]–[3]. In in vitro studies, we found that artificial induction of mitochondrial dysfunction induced insulin resistance [4], [5].’ This is discussed by Lim et al. He and his colleagues performed an experiment on rodents. They fed low levels of atrazine to rats then examined lab parameters for insulin resistance (IR). What happened? The higher the dose of atrazine, the higher the obesity and insulin resistance. Atrazine was associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, higher visceral (organ) fat deposition, higher blood glucoses and decreased energy metabolism.

Another group of researchers, Ruzzin et al, tested a similar hypothesis. They fed crude Atlantic salmon oil to rodents and examined IR parameters. They state ‘POPs accumulate in the lipid fraction of fish, and fish consumption represents a source of POP exposure to humans (Dougherty et al. 2000; Hites et al. 2004; Schafer and Kegley 2002). Therefore, certain European countries have dietary recommendations to limit the consumption of fatty fish per week (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition 2004).’ They discovered similar insulin resistant results when they exposed fat cells in vitro to a POP mixture that mimicked the relative abundance of contaminants found in crude salmon oil. Insulin signalling was broken and impaired.

References

BRFSS, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System www.cdc.gov/brfss

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCNW-NgYZ2s [Obesity trend map and cdc slides]

http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps/obesity_trends_2006.pdf [BRFSS raw data by state and year]

Pesticides Use and Exposure Extensive Worldwide. Michael C.R. AlavanjaRev Environ Health. 2009 Oct–Dec; 24(4): 303–309.

The Tobacco Industry and Pesticide Regulations: Case Studies from Tobacco Industry Archives. Patricia A. McDaniel, Gina Solomon, Ruth E. Malone. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 December; 113(12): 1659–1665.

Chronic Exposure to the Herbicide, Atrazine, Causes Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Insulin Resistance. Soo Lim, Sun Young Ahn, In Chan Song, Myung Hee Chung, Hak Chul Jang, Kyong Soo Park, Ki-Up Lee, Youngmi Kim Pak, Hong Kyu LeePLoS ONE. 2009; 4(4): e5186.

Persistent Organic Pollutant Exposure Leads to Insulin Resistance Syndrome. Jérôme Ruzzin, Rasmus Petersen, Emmanuelle Meugnier, Lise Madsen, Erik-Jan Lock, Haldis Lillefosse, Tao Ma, Sandra Pesenti, Si Brask Sonne, Troels Torben Marstrand, Marian Kjellevold Malde, Zhen-Yu Du, Carine Chavey, Lluis Fajas, Anne-Katrine Lundebye, Christian Lehn Brand, Hubert Vidal, Karsten Kristiansen, Livar FrøylandEnviron Health Perspect. 2010 April; 118(4): 465–471.

Effect of Endocrine Disruptor Pesticides: A ReviewWissem Mnif, Aziza Ibn Hadj Hassine, Aicha Bouaziz, Aghleb Bartegi, Olivier Thomas, Benoit RoigInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 June; 8(6): 2265–2303.

Why grass fed? Because it really does matter what your food eats!

Something I have been meaning to get to recently, but just haven’t had in the forefront of my mind until now. Since we are trying to attain optimal health and “look-good-naked” status, [wink] it makes sense to consider not only what you are eating, but where it came from and how it was grown or raised.

Not only is factory farming cruel and dirty, but it raises sick animals by feeding them cheap grains and feed, and it commoditizes our food making it lower quality, sacrificing our health for their bottom line ($$$).

Only healthy happy animals make happy healthy Paleo food for us!

Yes it does matter. Just as you would (or should) choose organic pesticide free fruits and vegetables, locally and sustainably grown, you should also ask “where did this animal come from? How was it raised?  What did my food eat before I ate it?

Residues that accumulate as a result of the factory farming system (pesticides, antibiotics) are fat-soluble, and stored in the animal’s fatty tissues. Consuming the fat from these animals causes us to accumulate these toxins as well. These toxins are also dose-dependent, meaning the more you consume, the more your health is at risk.

Bacon, for example, is one of the fattiest cuts. Bacon from the factory farming system contains some of the highest doses of these toxins. In addition, pigs are arguably the most abused, poorly fed, sick animals in the factory farming system. Therefore, to enjoy bacon and maintain your long-term health in the Paleo context, it should always come from local farms that allow their pigs free range pasture, with a diet free from grains or other commodity feeds.

The fatty acid ratio in factory farmed animals is also pretty bad. There is a total lack of omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed to balance out the omega-6 content. The omega-6 content also sky-rockets from grain-feeding, making the nutrient profile even uglier.

Grain fed animals also suffer many of the same health problems as people who follow the Standard American Diet. Being fed a steady diet of mostly grains results in systemic inflammation, intramuscular fat accumulation, poor nutrient profile, and sick animals who are shipped off to slaughter just before becoming ill or dead from it.

What should my food eat?

Your food should eat what would normally be available to it in the wild. For cows, that’s wild grasses. But, to say grass-fed cows eat grass isn’t telling the entire story. It’s more accurate to say they eat graminoids, which comprise hundreds of different species of sedges (found in wild marshes and grasslands; a famous sedge includes papyrus), rushes (a small but plucky family of herbaceous and rhizomatous plants), and true grasses (cereals, lawn grass, bamboo, grassland grass – the type of grass that produces the leaves Walt Whitman writes about). And that’s just the graminoid. Cows will also nibble on shrubs, clovers, and random leaves if they can get to them. Basically, they’ll eat whatever’s in reach, green, and leafy. Legally, grass-fed cows may also eat cereal grain crops in the “pre-grain stage,” hay, silage, and non-grain crop byproducts

You need to be careful, though, because sometimes beef may say “pastured” on the label, even though many pastures contain supplemented feed bins with grains. The same goes for chickens. Chickens and eggs will often be labeled as “free range” or “vegetarian fed” or some such nonsense. Chickens are not vegetarians, and should eat grubs and bugs to make the healthiest tastiest eggs and chicken wings for us Paleoists!

Grass fed beef is higher in necessary B-vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Studies show that grass feeding results in higher levels of CLA, a healthy naturally occurring trans fat. Grass fed dairy also has more of the beneficial trans fats. Grass fed beef has plenty of healthy fats, distributed more evenly throughout the animal’s subcutaneous tissue, where it belongs (Fat accumulation in muscle tissue is not a sign of a healthy animal).

Grass-fed truly shines in the micronutrient profile for one reason. Grass-fed cows get more nutritious food. Remember: they aren’t munching on monoculture lawn cuttings (let alone soy and corn). They’re eating a wide variety of (often wild) grasses, sedges, rushes, shrubs, and herbs, each with its own nutrient profile.

Plus, it just tastes better!

The clearly superior version of beef, chicken, eggs, or pork comes from grass-fed and finished, or pastured and free-range-fed. Animals that are raised by ranchers committed to providing excellent stewardship of both soil quality (for our food’s food quality), and animal quality. Plus it’s the more responsible thing to do. I know I feel better eating animals that were treated with care, and were happy and healthy up until slaughter, and the point where it became food to sustain me as a healthy animal.

YUM I am hungry.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Why do we overeat? Why do we ever stop eating?

I’m going to use some summary quotes from a series at Gnolls.org about hunger and satiety signals. I just wanted to get some general points across that I have been talking about for some time now, and these bullet points pretty much sum it up perfectly. They relate nicely to my points about nutrient density, and your body’s ability to regulate it’s own nutrient and hunger needs if you allow it. (Check out my archives for more.)

Introductory points

  • Hunger is not a singular motivation: it is the interaction of several different clinically measurable, provably distinct mental and physical processes.
  • In a properly functioning human animal, likes and wants coincide; satiation is an accurate predictor of satiety; and the combination of hunger signals (likes and wants) and satisfaction signals (satiation and satiety) results in energy and nutrient balance at a healthy weight and body composition.
  • Restrained eating requires the exercise of willpower to override likes, wants, and the lack of satiation or satiety; the exercise of willpower uses energy and causes stress; and stress makes you eat more. Therefore, a successful diet must minimize the role of willpower.
  • A lack of satiety will leave us hungry no matter what else we do to compensate. We fail to achieve satiety by not ingesting (or not absorbing) the energy and/or nutrients our body requires, and by an inability to retrieve the energy and/or nutrients our bodies have stored due to mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • Satiation is an estimate of future satiety based on sensory input. As with satiety, we fail to achieve it by not satisfying our nutritional needs. We can also bypass satiation by decreasing sensory exposure to our foods. Some common enablers are eating quickly, eating while distracted or on the run, and eating calorie-dense packaged and prepared foods.
  • The role of reward in hunger constitutes hedonic impact (“liking”, palatability) and incentive salience (“wanting”, the drive to consume more food). The process of learning modifies both. Furthermore, reward is not limited to food, is neither static nor an intrinsic property of the food itself, and is modified by many experiences besides its taste during the act of consumption.

Conclusion Points

  • Reward systems drive all our behaviors, not just our food preferences.
  • Liking and wanting don’t exist just to make us fat: they exist to keep us alive.They are the product of millions of years of natural selection, during which animals that didn’t have our tastes died out and were replaced by those that did.
  • Liking and wanting are values we assign to food, not invariant or intrinsic properties of the food itself.
  • The modulation of reward (liking and wanting) does not require taste at all.
  • Incentive salience (“wanting”) is a product of hedonic reward (“liking”), satiation, and satiety.
  • Eating food you like may either decrease or increase your want for more, depending on the food, the circumstances, and whose studies you believe.
  • Palatability can affect satiation, either via nutritional satiation or “sensory-specific satiety”, but it does not affect satiety.
  • Hyperpalatability is an unnatural amount of hedonic reward, combined with an inability to produce satiation or satiety. Therefore, the worse a snack food is for you, the more difficult it usually is to stop eating. 
  • Conclusion: in order to keep incentive salience (“wanting”) under control, make sure that hedonic impact (“liking”) is always accompanied by nutrition. Eat delicious but nutritionally dense foods, containing complete protein, healthy fats, and ample nutrients. Otherwise you’re eating food with no brakes.
  • And when you do take the risk, eat your cheat food after you’ve already satiated yourself with a complete meal.

…Just sayin’

Paleo is the Key to smarts. Big brains require an explanation. Part IV.

Reblogged from Gnolls.org

In Part III, we established the following:

  • Bipedalism among human ancestors is associated with a dietary shift away from soft, sugar-rich fruit, and toward hard, fibrous, ground-based foods like nuts, root vegetables, insects, and mushrooms. (And perhaps some meat, though the evidence is inferential.)
  • Both bipedalism and this dietary shift occurred while our ancestors were still forest-dwellers—before we moved into savanna and grassland habitats.
  • Both bipedalism and this dietary shift precededthe massive increase in our ancestors’ brain size.
  • Therefore, neither fruit, nor potatoes, nor walking upright made us human.

Once again, I am giving what I believe to be the current consensus interpretation of the evidence…and where no consensus exists, I offer what I believe to be the most parsimonious interpretation.

(This is a multi-part series. Go back to Part I, Part II, Part III.)

A Quick Recap

4.4 million years ago, Ardipithecus ramidus still had a brain the size of a modern chimpanzee, but was a facultative biped partially adapted to a ground-based diet. By 4.1 MYA, Australopithecus anamensis had been selected for more complete dietary adaptation:

Science 2 October 2009: Vol. 326 no. 5949 pp. 69, 94-99
Paleobiological Implications of the Ardipithecus ramidus Dentition
Gen Suwa, Reiko T. Kono, Scott W. Simpson, Berhane Asfaw, C. Owen Lovejoy, Tim D. White

Ar. ramidus lacks the postcanine megadontia of Australopithecus. Its molars have thinner enamel and are functionally less durable than those of Australopithecus but lack the derived Pan pattern of thin occlusal enamel associated with ripe-fruit frugivory. The Ar. ramidus dental morphology and wear pattern are consistent with a partially terrestrial, omnivorous/frugivorous niche.”

And the Laetoli footprints show that hominins were fully bipedal by 3.7 MYA, though we have no evidence for brain size until…

Australopithecus afarensis: Upright Gait, Smaller Body, Bigger Brain

Australopithecus afarensis lived from approximately 3.9 to 2.9 MYA. (Once again, these are human-drawn distinctions between a continuum of hominin fossils.) It was slightly shorter than Ardipithecus (3’6″) and weighed much less: 65# versus 110#. The famous “Lucy” fossil is about 40% of an A. afarensis skeleton from 3.2 MYA.

One interpretation of LucyLucy might have looked like this.

Additionally, its back had a similar double curve to modern humans; its arms were shorter than Ardipithecus; its knees support an upright gait, and its feet had arches like ours—meaning that it was fully bipedal, and that A. afarensis is very likely the hominin which made the Laetoli footprints.

This is a recent finding: only last year did its discoverers announce that they had found a foot bone from A. afarensis which appears to settle this long-simmering question.

Science 11 February 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6018 pp. 750-753
Complete Fourth Metatarsal and Arches in the Foot of Australopithecus afarensis
Carol V. Ward, William H. Kimbel, and Donald C. Johanson

“A complete fourth metatarsal of A. afarensis was recently discovered at Hadar, Ethiopia. It exhibits torsion of the head relative to the base, a direct correlate of a transverse arch in humans. The orientation of the proximal and distal ends of the bone reflects a longitudinal arch. Further, the deep, flat base and tarsal facets imply that its midfoot had no ape-like midtarsal break. These features show that the A. afarensis foot was functionally like that of modern humans and support the hypothesis that this species was a committed terrestrial biped.

Most importantly, A. afarensis’ brain was much larger than Ardipithecus: 380-430cc versus 300-350cc. This means that selection pressure was favoring bigger brains as early as 4 million years ago, while allowing our ancestors’ bodies to shrink dramatically.

Now we’re getting to the meat of the problem. What could have caused this selection pressure?

“Is It Just Me, Lucy, Or Is It Getting Colder?”

During the Pliocene (5.3-2.6 MYA), the Earth’s climate—though far warmer than today’s—become cooler, drier, and more seasonal (see the temperature graphs and detailed explanation in Part I), a multi-million-year trend which began with the Middle Miocene Disruption around 14.5 MYA. Consequently, African forests were shrinking, and savannas and grasslands were growing in their place.

With less forest available to live in, some number of our ancestors faced a stark choice: adapt to living outside the forest, or die out. Those that stayed in the trees became what we know today as chimpanzees and bonobos. Those that eventually left became our ancestors—the hominins.

PNAS August 17, 2004 vol. 101 no. 33 12125-12129
High-resolution vegetation and climate change associated with Pliocene Australopithecus afarensis
R. Bonnefille, R. Potts, F. Chalié, D. Jolly, and O. Peyron

Through high-resolution pollen data from Hadar, Ethiopia, we show that the hominin Australopithecus afarensis accommodated to substantial environmental variability between 3.4 and 2.9 million years ago. A large biome shift, up to 5°C cooling, and a 200- to 300-mm/yr rainfall increase occurred just before 3.3 million years ago, which is consistent with a global marine δ18O isotopic shift.

Our results show that a diversity of biomes was available to A. afarensis. Recovery of hominin fossils through the entire stratigraphic range suggests no marked preference by A. afarensis for any single biome, including forest. Significant cooling and biome change had no obvious effect on the presence of this species through the sequence, a pattern of persistence shared by other Pliocene mammal taxa at Hadar and elsewhere (6, 27, 32). We hypothesize that A. afarensis was able to accommodate to periods of directional cooling, climate stability, and high variability.

As we found in Part I, and as we’ve seen by the chimp-sized brains of Ardipithecus, shrinking habitat does not explain increased brain size by itself—but it does provide an incentive to find ways to live in marginal habitat, or entirely different biomes. And it’s clear that bipedalism would be an advantage in forest margins and open forests, where direct travel from tree to tree wasn’t possible. In addition, more light reaching the ground would mean more food available on the ground, versus up in the tree canopy—so bipedal ground-dwelling would have been a good survival strategy in forest habitat that was marginal for a tree-dweller.

My interpretation of the evidence is that bipedalism did not cause brain expansion, but it was a necessary precondition. It allowed our ancestors to expand beyond the forest margin—and it freed up our ancestors’ hands for other tasks, such as…

How Bipedalism Enables Tool Use, Re-Use, and Manufacture

Facultative bipeds, which cannot walk on two legs for very long, can’t carry tools around with them: they must make a tool out of whatever materials exist near the point of use, and discard it soon after. Therefore, the tools they make must remain relatively simple, since they can’t spend too much time making single-use items—and it greatly constrains the raw materials they can use. (Yes, I’m ignoring any hypothesis that gives Ardipithecus ramidus the ability to construct backpacks.)

In contrast, full bipeds can carry around their tools in anticipation of needing them, and can keep them for future use. Therefore, they can spend the time and effort to make complex, reusable tools—and they can use any raw materials they have access to, not just those near the point of use.

We know that modern chimpanzees make spears, termite sticks, and other wooden tools—but is there evidence for tool use previous to the Oldowan industry, 2.6 MYA?

Recall that the Oldowan industry marks the beginning of the Paleolithic age, and happens to coincide with the beginning of the Pleistocene epoch. (If these terms are confusing you, I explain them in Part II.)

 

Rocks, Meat, and Marrow in the Pliocene

 

Nature 466, 857–860 (12 August 2010) — doi:10.1038/nature09248
Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia
Shannon P. McPherron, Zeresenay Alemseged, Curtis W. Marean, Jonathan G. Wynn, Denné Reed, Denis Geraads, René Bobe, Hamdallah A. Béarat

“On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access. … Established 40Ar–39Ar dates on the tuffs that bracket this member constrain the finds to between 3.42 and 3.24 Myr ago, and stratigraphic scaling between these units and other geological evidence indicate that they are older than 3.39 Myr ago.”

It’s fair to say that no one knows what to do with this particular piece of evidence, so it tends to simply get ignored or dismissed. What we know is that the researchers found several ungulate and bovid bones, dated to 3.4 MYA, which were scraped and struck by rocks. The scrapes are not natural, nor are they from the teeth of predators, and they appear to date from the same time as the bones.

A bone at DikikaOne of the bones at Dikika. The reality of paleontology is far less exciting than the hypotheses it generates.

Unfortunately, no stone tools or fossil hominins were found there, so we can’t say for sure who made them. But the simplest interpretation is that a hominid used a rock to scrape meat off of the bones of large prey animals, and to break them open for marrow.

It is likely that the reason this evidence isn’t more well-accepted is because the researchers make one huge assumption: that the scrape marks were made by deliberately fashioned stone tools, 800,000 years before the first evidence we have of stone tool manufacture—even though no such tools were found.

I believe the most parsimonious interpretation is that the scrape marks were indeed made by Australopithecus afarensisusing one of the naturally-occurring volcanic rocks found in abundance in the area. Given the slow pace of technological change (millions of years passed between major changes in stone tool manufacture, and that’s for later hominins with much larger brains than A. afarensis), it would be extremely surprising if naturally-occurring sharp rocks hadn’t been used for millions of years before any hominin thought to deliberately make them sharper—

It’s Not Just The Discovery…It’s The Teaching And The Learning

—and, more importantly, before their children were able to learn the trick, understand why it was important, and pass it on to their own children.

Those of you who were able to watch the documentary “Ape Genius”, to which I linked in Part I, understand that intelligence isn’t enough to create culture. In order for culture to develop, the next generation must learn behavior from their parents and conspecifics, not by discovering it themselves—and they must pass it on to their own children. Chimpanzees can learn quite a few impressive skills…but they have little propensity to teach others, and young chimps apparently don’t understand the fundamental concept that “when I point my finger, I want you to pay attention to what I’m pointing at, not to me.”

So: the developmental plasticity to learn is at least as important as the intelligence to discover. Otherwise, each generation has to make all the same discoveries all over again. It is theorized that this plasticity is related to our less-aggressive nature compared to chimpanzees…but that’s a whole another topic for another time.

In conclusion, the Dikika evidence pushes meat-eating and stone tool-using (though not stone tool-making) back to at least 3.4 MYA, well into the Pliocene. And though we’re not sure whether that meat was obtained by hunting, scavenging, or both, we can add it to the other foods that we’re reasonably sure formed its diet to produce the following menu:

The Paleo Diet For Australopithecus afarensis

Eat all you can find of:

  • Nuts
  • Root vegetables
  • Insects
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat (particularly bone marrow)

Eat sparingly:

  • Fruit (your tooth enamel won’t withstand the acids)
  • Foliage (your teeth aren’t shaped correctly for leaf-chewing)

In other words, A. afarensis was most likely eating a diet within the existing range of modern ancestral diets—3.4 million years ago.

The only major addition to this diet previous to the appearance of anatomically modern humans is the gathering of shellfish, known from middens dated to 140 KYA at Blombos Cave.

Our Takeaway (so far)

  • Our ancestors’ dietary shift towards ground-based foods, and away from fruit, did not cause an increase in our ancestors’ brain size.
  • Bipedalism was necessary to allow an increase in our ancestors’ brain size, but did not cause the increase by itself.
  • Bipedalism allowed A. afarensis to spread beyond the forest, and freed its hands to carry tools. This coincided with a 20% increase in brain size from Ardipithecus, and a nearly 50% drop in body mass.
  • Therefore, the challenges of obtaining food in evolutionarily novel environments (outside the forest) most likely selected for intelligence, quickness, and tool use, and de-emphasized strength.
  • By 3.4 MYA, A. afarensis was most likely eating a paleo dietrecognizable, edible, and nutritious to modern humans.
  • The only new item was large animal meat (including bone marrow), which is more calorie- and nutrient-dense than any other food on the list—especially in the nutrients (e.g. animal fats, cholesterol) which make up the brain.
  • Therefore, the most parsimonious interpretation of the evidence is that the abilities to live outside the forest, and thereby to somehow procure meat from large animals, provided the selection pressure for larger brains during the middle and late Pliocene.

Live in freedom, live in beauty.

JS


How Essential are PUFAs? Don’t guzzle veggie oil!

From cholesterol-and-health.com

Current reviews and textbooks call the omega-6 linoleic acid and the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid “essential fatty acids” (EFA) and cite the EFA requirement as one to four percent of calories. Research suggests, however, that the omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA) and the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the only fatty acids that are truly essential. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) occurs in fish products but is probably not a normal constituent of the mammalian body and in excess it interferes with essential AA metabolism. The EFA requirement cited in the scientific literature is inflated by several factors: the use of diets composed mostly of sucrose, glucose, or corn syrup; the use of diets deficient in vitamin B6; the use of purified fatty acids instead of whole foods; the use of questionable biochemical markers rather than verifiable symptoms as an index for EFA deficiency; and the generalization from studies using young, growing animals to adults. The true requirement for EFA during growth and development is less than 0.5 percent of calories when supplied by most animal fats and less than 0.12 percent of calories when supplied by liver. On diets low in heated vegetable oils and sugar and rich in essential minerals, biotin, and vitamin B6, the requirement is likely to be much lower than this. Adults recovering from injury, suffering from degenerative diseases involving oxidative stress, or seeking to build muscle mass mass may have a similar requirement. For women who are seeking to conceive, pregnant, or lactating, the EFA requirement may be as high as one percent of calories. In other healthy adults, however, the requirement is infinitesimal if it exists at all. The best sources of EFAs are liver, butter, and egg yolks, especially from animals raised on pasture. During pregnancy, lactation, and childhood, small amounts of cod liver oil may be useful to provide extra DHA, but otherwise this supplement should be used only when needed to obtain fat-soluble vitamins. Vegetarians or others who eat a diet low in animal fat should consider symptoms such as scaly skin, hair loss or infertility to be signs of EFA deficiency and add B6 or animal fats to their diets. An excess of linoleate from vegetable oil will interfere with the production of DHA while an excess of EPA from fish oil will interfere with the production and utilization of AA. EFA are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that contribute to oxidative stress. Vitamin E and other antioxidant nutrients cannot fully protect against oxidative stress induced by dietary PUFA. Therefore, the consumption of EFA should be kept as close to the minimum requirement as is practical while still maintaining an appetizing and nutritious diet.

Bottom line: NOT VERY ESSENTIAL. Don’t flood your body with PUFA. You get plenty from butter, eggs, fish, and other animal products. Any more than that leads to inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Don’t use veggie oil, don’t supplement with omega 6 or omega 3.

How Bad is Saturated fat and Cholesterol? The Final Word.

The conventional idea that saturated fat is bad is now very outdated and incorrect.

Polyunsatruated fats are highly unstable and oxidize very easily, which is the actual cause of atherosclorosis and heart disease.

Cholesterol is a moot point. It actually has nothing to do with heart disease whatsoever. It is also a myth that eating cholesterol will increase blood levels of cholesterol. (Understand that HDL and LDL particles are not cholesterol, they only contain cholesterol. Cholesterol itself really does not play a functional role in forming atherosclorotic plaques, and is in fact a necessary nutrient in our bodies).

Saturated fat is actually protective, because it increases protective HDL particles, while increasing the size of the LDL particles, making it more difficult for them to infiltrate the arterial wall and contribute to forming atherosclorotic plaques. The saturated nature of Saturated fat also makes it very resistant to oxidation, since all available carbon bonds are tied up with a hydrogen atom (Saturated fat has no double bonds). Monounsaturated fats share this trait as well.

Plus, saturated fat is the method our bodies use to store excess energy, which is an evolved survival mechanism for our hunter-gatherer ancestors when times were tough. Obviously, saturated fat plays a very important role in Human survival.

Polyunsaturated fat contains two or more pairs of double bonds without hydrogen atoms occupying the open space, and it’s the carbon that lies between the double bonds that is wide open to oxidation.

Yes, this means fish oil supplemetation is not as protective as is commonly believed. It’s benefits have been vastly exagerated.

Therefore you should only eat the whole food. Consuming fish as a food will ensure the other nutrients (vitamins, antioxidants) are in place that may protect you from the oxidative damage of excess PUFAs. It’s important to note that all studies showing the benefits of fish oil supplementation have been less than 2 years, and the one that lasted 4 years showed an increase in heart disease and sudden death. So don’t supplement! Eat the whole food!

 

These double bonds allow systemic inflammation to develop, because the more Polyunsaturated fat you have circulating in your system, the longer it is allowed to “hang out” on the small dense LDL particles, leaving lots of time and opportunity for it to oxidize. Once the LDL particles are oxidized, they become smaller and penetrate the arterial wall, where they initiate the atherosclorotic process:

The membrane of LDL contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are highly vulnerable to oxidation. Cells continuously make antioxidant enzymes and other antioxidant compounds to protect their membrane PUFA. If PUFA start to oxidize, the cell ramps up its antioxidant production. When the liver packs cholesterol into a VLDL particle and secretes it into the blood (where it eventually becomes an LDL particle after delivering some of its nutrients to other tissues), it puts some antioxidants into the package. The PUFA have now left the comparative safety of the liver cell and have only a limited supply of antioxidants. When those antioxidants are used up, the PUFA begin to oxidize, and their oxidation products proceed to damage other components of the lipoprotein. When the oxidation becomes severe, the oxidized LDL winds up in a foam cell in an atherosclerotic plaque.

So? Saturated=Good, Polyunsatruated=Bad.

What foods should we eat? What should we avoid?

This easy to follow list of foods should form the foundation of your diet. It’s the easiest way to avoid inflammation and promote health, lean body mass, and mental clarity.

How do arthersclorotic plaques form?

Here is how most doctors and “health professionals” will have you believe is the process by which “cholesterol and arterycloggingsaturatedfat clogs your arteries”

WRONG

It shows cholesterol flowing through the blood and just glomming on to the inner lining of a blood vessel as if it were grease clogging up a pipe.  Is that how it happens?  Not at all.
 

Growing evidence supports the role of local and systemic

inflammation as a common pathophysiological

mechanism in different cardiovascular diseases, including

congestive heart failure or CAD (coronary artery

disease). Indeed, it is well established that atherosclerosis

is an inflammatory disease [33]. [reference]

 
First of all, the plaque grows behind the layer of the blood vessel in contact with the blood, not on top of it.  The plaque develops within the inner and outer walls of the blood vessel:
 

The proinflammatory cytokines aggravate plaque instability by inhibiting extracellularmatrix synthesis and promoting smooth muscle cell apoptosis. IL-8, a CXC chemokine produced by neutrophils, smooth muscle cells and ECs, induces the migration and proliferation of ECs and smooth muscle cells. [reference]

 
Second, the plaque doesn’t initially progress inward to obstruct the blood vessel.  It initially progresses outward, pushing backwards into the middle of the blood vessel:
It doesn’t begin occluding the blood vessel until it’s already occupying about 40 percent of the blood vessel wall.  What happens to make it start occluding the blood vessel?  It appears to be the successive rupturing and re-healing of highly inflamed plaques:
On the left we see a secondary plaque forming on the surface of an initial plaque that had ruptured.  On the right we see that the worst plaques may have as many as four sites of rupture and re-healing.
 
 In lay-terms, these plaques develop as the surplus of circulating LDL (you ate too many polyunsaturated fats) particles begin to oxidize and cause inflammation. The LDL are small and easily infiltrate the arterial wall. Macrophages within the arterial wall induce an immune response by “gobbling up” the oxidized LDL into “foam cells” that begin to expand and eventually lead to rupture and heart attack.
 
This discussion only covers inflammation as it relates to atherosclorosis. In this post, I get into how inflammation relates to other problems, like obesity and depression.
 

So, in conclusion 

 
  • Saturated fat is good, because it increases protective HDL and increases the size of the LDL. It’s also a good source of energy, and highly resistant to oxidation.
 
  • Cholesterol is also good, because it is a health-promoting substance. It is a critical component of cell membranes, the precursor to all steroid hormones, a precursor to vitamin D, and the limiting factor that brain cells need to make connections with one another called synapses, making it essential to learning and memory. 
  • Polyunsaturated fat is bad, because it makes the LDL particles smaller, and is easily oxidized, leading to inflammation and atherosclorotic plaques that form within the cellular walls of the blood vessel, leading to buildup and rupture.

You may also want to read:

Paleo/Primal diet is a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. And that’s a good thing…

What the heck is inflammation? How does it affect me?

Paleo for one year. Understanding the Paleo concept.

Meal timing for stubborn fat loss. Intermittent Fasting.

Paleo/Primal Diet is a High Fat, High Cholesterol Diet. And That’s a Good Thing.

Dietary fats are necessary for life. Cholesterol is necessary for life.

People often ask me how I look so good and emanate such heath, even though I eat tons of “arterycloggigsatruatedfat”. Probably the most vilified nutrient in the world of conventional wisdom, saturated fat always gets a bad rap. But is it really as unhealthy as the “officials” tell you? It’s been pounded into your brain from birth, so it’s obviously very difficult to fathom saturated fat as actually being HEALTHY. Lets try.

  • Everything you’ve learned about saturated fat is wrong.

Saturated fat (saturated fatty acids) are resistant to heat damage, shelf spoilage, and are essential to many bodily functions. The best parts of the animal, like organ meats and liver, contain SFA’s along with necessary fat soluble vitamins A D and K2.

Saturated fats are called “saturated” because all the available carbon bonds of the SFA are tied up with a hydrogen atom. This means there are no “openings” for rancidity or oxidation. That’s a good thing.

Hmmmmm. “So Dan, you’re trying to tell me that SFA’s are RESISTANT to oxidation? AND their high in essential nutrients?” BINGO! Compared to polyunsaturated fats which contain two or more double bonds without hydrogen, which are WIDE OPEN to oxidation, saturated fats are like, super awesome! Keep oxidation in mind, because this comes up later…

Saturated fat is your body’s primary energy source. By design, we store all excess calories as saturated fat for later use. We evolved this way to store energy for later, because as hunter-gatherers, food was not always available. When you exercise, or when you are fasting, you are literally consuming large amounts of saturated (and monounsaturated) fat, as your body begins to release it from adipose tissue for energy. Keep in mind, this would have been crucial for survival during lean times in the paleolithic era.

So, stored fat is your energy reserve, and dietary fat is used for immediate energy. So to say saturated fat is bad, is to say that evolution “got it wrong” and our bodies somehow over hundreds of thousands of years, developed this highly dangerous and unhealthy method of energy storage and consumption. YAH-fucking-right. How stupid do these “officials” think we are, anyway? Ever heard of Darwin and natural selection? All the traits that made us successful, healthy human beings have been carefully selected for across those 100,000 years of evolution. I think the “officials” have got it all wrong.

  • Everything you’ve learned about cholesterol is wrong

Cholesterol is created in your body, and is completely regulated by your body. This means that as dietary cholesterol goes up, your body down-regulates its own production. Also, as dietary cholesterol drops, your body up-regulates its production of cholesterol to keep everything within an optimal range. This means that dietary cholesterol has no effect on serum cholesterol. This also should tell you that cholesterol is A NECESSARY SUBSTANCE IN YOUR BODY! You need it to create vitamin D from sunlight. Your body also needs it in order to produce vital nutrients like Co Q-10 and testosterone.

It’s hard to believe that something so important as cholesterol has so easily been vilified in “conventional wisdom”, especially when most quality statistical analyses show that cholesterol ISN’T EVEN WEAKLY CORRELATED WITH HEART DISEASE!

cholesterol cardiovasc men

The observational data that attempts to link cholesterol with heart disease really never adds up from a proper statistical standpoint. What about the physiological process by which cholesterol causes disease? The “officials” can never come up with one (I’ll tell you a secret, that’s because there ISN’T one!).

What it comes down to, is that every study that finds any link (no matter how weak) between disease and fat/cholesterol/protein/whatever is purely an observational study. These aren’t controlled studies. These are often studies in which dietary information is acquired from questionnaires asking people about their dietary habits for the last five years. These are average, everyday populations. Busy people like you and me, and they’re expected to remember their exact dietary habits for the past five years? Fucking-puh-lease! Also, many developing countries’ data comes from medical directories wrought with classification error, because they have not developed the same standards of documentation and review that we have in the United States. Low medical standards allow some practitioners to file unexplained deaths in an arbitrary category. They might just as well label someone as dead from “heart failure”, when they really had no idea what caused the death, or it could have been some other cardiovascular problem not really related to heart failure, but it was “close enough”. This throws huge inaccuracies into the data when we look at certain countries used in an epidemiological study. “The China Study” is a really good example of this.

One more thing. CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. I can correlate murder rates with ice cream sales, but that does not mean ice cream causes murders! It means that something else is related, like the fact that more crimes happen in the summer! OMFG!

  • Everything you’ve learned about heart disease is wrong

Ever wonder how your arteries get swollen and clogged? What’s the actual process that causes heart attacks and stroke, and makes us fear saturated fat and cholesterol? Why is the statin industry making so much god-damned money? Why do we have to take so many pills just to stay healthy? Why can’t we just eat the food we love? Why do we have to avoid fats and cholesterol and count calories and and and……

IT’S ALL BEEN A BIG FAT LIE. [Check out this post for more info: How bad is saturated fat and cholesterol? The final word.]

Here’s how your arteries actually get clogged. I’ll give you a hint. OXIDATION! Finally, the biological process by which our arteries harden and get restricted, explained in scientific clarity. Here, I’ll leave it up to Mark Sisson to explain this one:

In my recent post on blood lipids, I briefly summarized Chris Masterjohn’s ideas about heart disease. Namely, that heart disease is a problem of macrophages (cells that like to gobble up lipids and other things) in the endothelium (arterial wall) receiving oxidized (damaged) LDL and forming atherosclerotic plaque, which is then vulnerable to rupture. Regular LDL is not the issue; only oxidized LDL gets taken up and turned into plaque. Okay, sounds good (or bad), but how does inflammation figure into all this?

The inflammatory response and subsequent oxidative stress load is ultimately responsible for the oxidation of the LDL, while inflammatory cytokines produced at the atherosclerotic site can weaken and loosen the plaque, thus setting the stage for (and even causing) a rupture. In fact, inflammation is intimately involved in nearly every aspect of heart disease.

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-might-inflammation-cause-heart-disease/#ixzz1jvqCNAMW 

Wow, that’s good stuff! So it looks like inflammation causes oxidation causes inflammation causes plaque causes rupture, causes more plaque, causes hardening and swelling of arteries, causes eventual constriction of arteries. Well DUH! After all, it wasn’t just a bunch of fat floating around in your “tubes” clogging things up like those doctors wanted you to believe! That’s a pretty laughable explanation, considering that fat doesn’t just float around in your arteries!

  • So, to summarize

 The conventional wisdom sucks, so we should all start eating like animals! yay.

  • Saturated fat is strongly resistant to oxidation and is a vital source of nutrients and energy.
  • Cholesterol does not cause heart disease, and is a vital and necessary precursor in many bodily functions and nutrients.
  • Epidemiological studies are really bad at predicting cause and effect. In fact they are downright USELESS.
  • Oxidation causes Inflammation causes heart disease.

Cool! Now I can stop worrying about all that cholesterol and saturated fat. But what do I worry about now???

BEWARE the evil POLYUNSATURATED FAT! Bwahahaha!

Read my next installment about PUFA’s and how they cause inflammation…

This post summarizes the method of PUFA oxidation as it relates to atherosclerosis…

This post describes inflammation and oxidation as it relates to health…

Get More Jacked! Eat This Stuff on Workout Days.

Check out these little tricks to boost HGH production after workout, or reduce body fat percentage, a.k.a. adipose tissue.

  • Mango

A little bit of freeze dried mango mixed into the diet helped to reduce body fat and glucose concentration in mice. The reasoning behind this is because mangos boost the production of adiponectin which raises the glucose uptake of muscle cells. Look at the HF + 1 bar in each graph, which had the best response overall. These mice were fed a 1% composition of freeze dried mango. All mice were fed a “high-fat” diet that was designed to fatten them up. I’m wondering what type of fat was in the diet…..

  • Fruit and Veggies

Lots of other fruits have been shown to reduce body fat and increase results at the gym. Cherries can increase muscle mass and let you put on less fat. Blueberries can also help you put on more muscle without gaining fat. And getting more vitamin K-2 from the right foods increases testosterone.

  • Caffeine and Carnitine

Caffeine and Carnitine Increase your endurance, so you can do more HARD WORK!

  • Milk

A type of choline contained in milk, Alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline (Alpha-GPC), helps boost HGH production post workout. The researchers in this study gave 600mg Alpha GPC to subjects about an hour and 30 minutes pre-workout, and had them do one-leg-presses. The below graph shows HGH production post-workout. The lower line shows baseline HGH (what occurred with placebo).

That’s a pretty significant HGH boost! Another great study found that consuming milk post-workout reduced muscle soreness, reduced decrements in isokinetic muscle performance, and limited increases in creatine kinase.

  • Creatine and Tarragon

This nice study looked at the insulinogenic and creatine-uptake effect of combining creatine and tarragon supplements. This abstract describes a study in which creatine disappears faster from the bloodstream and into muscle tissue after ingestion, when human subjects took 1000 mg Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon) extract along with the creatine. The dark black line is the one we are looking at. It shows the creatine leaving the blood and entering the muscle faster.

This study shows that the extract caused the muscle cells to produce more of pretty much all the proteins that make the insulin receptor work. Possibly because the extract boosts activity of Phosphatase enzymes, which separate phosphate groups from molecules, which in turn may stimulate the insulin receptor. This makes the muscles more insulin-sensitive, allowing more stuff like nutrients and creatine to enter and do their job. Bigger muscles dude! Check the protein response in the graph below.

The researchers also found that “Skeletal muscle from animals randomized to PMI 5011 was demonstrated to have decreased 20S proteasome activity and reduced gene expression of specific proteins as part of the ubiquitin–proteasome system in skeletal muscle”. In laymen terms, this means that proteolysis (the breakdown of muscle tissue into glucose) was slowed down. That’s pretty nice!

  • Water

Drinking water before meals has a slimming effect

There’s some good info, now go put it to use! Let me know how it works!

On a Diet to Lose Weight? Most of What You’re Losing isn’t Fat.

A new study (referenced below) attempts to reveal the relationship between protein and weight. A number of indibiduals were fed very specific diets in a controlled environment for 8 weeks. They were fed what was considered “40 per cent more calories than estimated to be required for weight maintenance. This equated to overfeeding of an average of about 950 calories a day”. Here’s what the calorie percentages for each diet looked like:

                       Protein       Carbohydrate       Fat

Low Protein:     6%                 42%              52%

Med Protein      14%               41%              44%

High Protein      26%              41%              33%

Notice how high the carbohydrate % is for each diet. Without knowing what type of foods the carbs came from, we should assume each diet used the same type of carb-food, (most likely cheap processed carbs). The measurements after the 8 week study can be seen below:

  weight change lean mass change fat mass change
low protein +3.61 -0.70 +3.66
medium protein +6.05 +2.87 +3.45
high protein +6.51 +3.18 +3.44

Notice that each of the groups put on “weight”. Also, each group put on approximately equal fat mass. Considering the amount of carbohydrates between groups is relatively similar (around 40% of calories), it’s my opinion that the high % carbohydrate contribution had the most influence on overall fat gain. 

Also important, is the high-protein diet put on the most lean mass. Had the carb count been lower, or from whole food sources and not cheap processed carbs, We might see a reduction in the fat mass change for this diet

What’s most interesting to me, is that the diet that most resembles the USDA recommended guidelines (low protein-low fat) resulted in the least lean mass gain, and the most fat mass gain. In fact, the low protein diet actually resulted in NEGATIVE lean mass change!

Now, the USDA and common wisdom villify saturated fats. The best protein rich foods contain saturated fats (animals!), so it stands to reason that people on a conventional-calorie-counting-low-fat-diet will be avoiding protein rich foods, in order to avoid the fat (dummies). This diet had a calorie EXCESS. Imagine how much you would lose on a calorie deficit! It’s all lean mass!

It should be obvious to you now that a combination of low-protein, low-fat and low-calorie dieting will lead to a loss in mostly LEAN MASS. Not only will you be weak, but you will become skinny-fat. There’s no beauty in frail weakness.

Reference:

Bray GA, et al. Effect of Dietary Protein Content on Weight Gain, Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition During Overeating – A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA 2012;307(1):47-55

 

Why You Should Eat Cholesterol and Saturated Fat.

Don’t eat less cholesterol. Don’t eat less fat. Eat more whole foods.

Whole real foods work in harmony with your body. Focusing on macronutrients just causes confusion, and takes your focus away from the big picture.

Fatty foods like Eggs and liver contain plenty of fat, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals. They also contain choline, a necessary B vitamin which also prevents fatty liver disease. This makes perfect sense, because the more fat you consume, the more choline your body needs. Nuts contain antioxidants, which also makes sense, because they contain pro-oxidants such as omega-6 fatty acids.

When a controlled scientific study analizes single isolated nutrients, in the absence of the whole food, it does not give us a complete understanding of the real-world outcome. Especially when they aim to mislead us. This account in Science Daily attempted to blame “saturated fat” intake on fatty liver disese in pregnant “mothers” and their “children”. What they didn’t tell you, is that the “mothers” were mice, and the “saturated fat” diet they were fed actually contained 44 percent of its fat as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and almost twenty percent of its total calories as PUFA. This is in great excess of the PUFA consumption seen even in the Standard American Diet (SAD), loaded in processed PUFA-rich vegetable oils.

It’s funny, really. Especially when you consider these studies that show saturated fat as being PROTECTIVE AGAINST FATTY LIVER DISEASE. [1] [2] [3] [4]

What’s most fucked up, is what is said by one of the researchers of the study himself!

Professor Christopher Byrne, with colleagues Dr Felino Cagampang and Dr Kim Bruce, of the University’s School of Medicine and researchers at King’s College London, conducted the study, funded by the BBSRC. Prof Byrne explained: “This research shows that too much saturated fat in a mother’s diet can affect the developing liver of a fetus, making it more susceptible to developing fatty liver disease later in life. An unhealthy saturated fat-enriched diet in the child and young adult compounds the problem further causing a severe form of the fatty liver disease later in adult life.

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t buy too much into studies, especially news article interpretations of those studies. There is conflicting evidence everywhere, and the peer review process isn’t that great. So use your best judgement and read into the details yourself. Make sure the researchers don’t have a hidden agenda, or a predetermined outcome. And make sure the “diets” they feed the subjects, rat or human, are what they say they are.

What’s the moral of the moral of the story? Fuck studies. Eat whole foods. Ignore the bullshit government advice to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol. It doesn’t make any sense. And stop eting ground up sawdust with vitamins added to it (grains). While you’re at it, stop guzzling floor polish (veggie oils).

Another Example of Your Body’s Natural Ability to Regulate Caloric Intake

When eating real food, and avoiding grains, legumes, sugar, and processed food, counting calories becomes obsolete.

Just a personal example of huger regulation in a well functioning body. I have been eating this way for a year. I have lost fat, become leaner and more muscular. I have increased my ability to resist illness. I have cured my heartburn, allergies, acne, eczema, dry skin, and stomach pains. I have become smarter, faster, and more focused. I have also increased my sex drive, and decreased my recovery time from injury and working out.

Can you say the same after following the USDA’s recommended low-fat, crap-food, high-sugar prescribed diet? I highly doubt it.

When you were a kid, you could come downstairs for breakfast, and EASILY polish off an entire box of cereal.

I bet you could still do the same today. And you would be ravenously hungry a few hours later. How many eggs could you eat? Not many I’m sure. The amount likely hasn’t changed much at your current age. I have a hard time eating more than 3 in one sitting. Today I was barely able to force down 4 of them before the eggs became un-appetizing. The same thing seems to happen with other whole foods, such as steak and veggies at dinner.

This difference in caloric intake can be attributed to your body’s natural ability to sense nutrients and nutrient density.

Your body doesn’t count calories per-se. It wants calories, but does not limit your intake when the “food” you are consuming is nutrient-void. However, when the food you consume is nutrient-rich, everything works in harmony, and your body says STOP once it’s had enough. The most satiating factor of food is fat and protein. The more of each is in a certain food, the more satiating it becomes. This means you will only be diven to eat as much as your body NEEDS. Once it’s replete with nutrients, you are no longer driven to eat. This occurs whether you are physically full or not. It’s possible to push past that barrier, as I did when I forced down that 4th egg today, but it’s difficult.

This is why counting calories is useless and tedious.

You’ve got these built-in mechanisms to tell you when you’ve had enough to eat. Leptin, insulin, ghrelin, etc all working in harmony to elicit hunger and satiety responses. They get thrown off balance by calorically dense food that lacks the nutrients our bodies need. Even if you consume whole foods along with grains and sugars, you are still tricking your body by giving it excess empty calories. There are no complete nutrients to balance out the extra caloric intake from a bagel or a bowl of cereal or a plate of spaghetti.

When everything works properly and nutrient rich food is consumed, calories are irrelevant. Try it for a couple weeks. Eat only meats, eggs, veggies, and fruit. Notice how much clearer your mind is, how much more vibrant your body feels. Notice how you will not be tired after meals. The inevitable afternoon “food coma” will be eliminated. Your body will naturally correct itself, bringing body wetight down to a normal level. You’ll become more active, since you will have more energy. Those “off” days will cease to exsist.

I’m full of energy, and not anywhere NEAR being hungry. My first meal of the day was at 11:00 AM. It was 4 eggs, a tbs of pastured butter, and some turkey. It’s 5:00 PM right now, and I haven’t thought about eating yet. No snacks, just some water. And I still put on muscle each week at the gym. Wow I rule! I’ll probably have a protein shake after the gym, and a fat steak with brussels sprouts for dinner. That’s how I win!

Ancel Keys, The Devil? Maybe Not So Much. But Still, Yah.

I had to share this,

because I LOVE YOU DENISE! She never fails to educate AND make me laugh:

Curiously, instead of rolling around on the floor possessed by fat-phobia demons, his WHO audience reacted with skepticism. One report says another researcher challenged Keys to describe his “best piece of evidence” for the diet-heart idea, and effectively squashed Keys’ argument with his Oxford-educated debate tactics. As a result, poor Keys never got to show all the WHOs down in WHOville the full reasoning behind his theory, and left the conference rather defeated. (At least he didn’t steal Christmas.)

Peep the rest by makey clicky right here.

Her glorious conclusions:

Emphasis in bold is mine

  • Yep, Keys picked some cherries—but a link between fat intake and heart disease mortality existed among all 22 countries, not just his six-country graph. And as Yerushalmy and Hilleboe’s paper revealed, the real force behind that correlation was animal fat intake, not just fat as a general category. Keys definitely should’ve facepalmed himself for not looking at the data more carefully, but even if he’d been scrupulous, he probably still would’ve launched the anti-saturated-fat crusade that defined his later career.
  • Although total fat, animal fat, and animal protein were associated with heart disease in this data, those variables were associated with less death from pretty much everything else. Overall, the countries with higher fat and animal food intake had longer life expectancies than the rest. This doesn’t prove that animal foods make you immortal or that plant foods will slit your throat in the middle of the night: it’s mostly a result of countries with more money and a higher standard of living tending to eat more animal products (along with having lower rates of infectious disease, better health care, diets higher in industrially processed foods, and so forth). There’s so much confounding involved with this subject that I don’t even wanna touch it with a ten-foot statistical pole.

  • A lot of countries suck at classifying heart disease deaths under the right label. Especially less-developed nations with sketchy medical care. This makes it look like some countries have abnormally low rates of heart disease, when in reality, they just have abnormally high rates of messing up.
  • The F.A.O. data that Keys (and others of his time) used is probably the most inaccurate way to measure food consumption ever invented (it includes what was available, not what was actually consumed). Because food-balance data doesn’t account for stuff people throw away, wealthier countries are always going to look like they have a higher intake of pretty much everything compared to poorer countries. It’s impossible to say how much this influenced the link between fat or animal foods and mortality rates, but the impact might’ve been pretty big.
  • Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t causation. Correlation isn’t a cucumber. (Just making sure you’re awake.)

Eat Animals For Optimal Health. Not Monkey Biscuits!

The rules of nature always hold true

How do you keep an animal healthy and happy? You feed it what it would naturally eat in the wild, and keep it’s habitat as natural as possible. This rule will always hold true. Animals thrive in their natural habitat, for the most part free of disease, obesity and age realted disorders. The few instances of cancers that do exist in the wild are only recent develpoments, and are likely related to modern factors including climate change industrialization, and re-introduction of previously captive species.

Are you eating monkey biscuits?

North American zoo gorillas were dying of heart disease, until the zoos got smart and stopped feeding them gorilla biscuits! The biscuits were formulated to be nutrient and vitamin rich, but were also starchy and full of calories. Gorillas are primarily herbivorous, eating the leaves and stems of herbs, shrubs, and vines. In some areas, they raid farms, eating and trampling crops. They also will eat rotten wood and small animals.

Captive gorillas can be compared with westernized humans; they are both displaced from their natural diet and lifestyle and are thus at risk for specific diseases.

Monkey Biscuits!!

MMMM. Tasty!

Now what about us, Homo Sapiens? We are genetically identical to our Paleolithic ancestors, who lived vastly free of obesity and modern disease for hundreds of thousands of years. Their lifespans were similar to ours. They also grew taller and stronger.

We have only been “getting by” on modern foods for a blink-of-an-eye in terms of our evolutionary timeframe.

It’s extremely difficult to identify the ideal diet for wild Human beings. One thing is for sure, it varied widely between plant based and animal based, and almost always included animal foods. It most certainly did not include mass amounts of grains and processed foods, and we thrived. That is why we are here today to write about it in blogs! Here is a number of interesting articles about diet from anthropological blogger, John Hawks.

From Humans are predators:

A predator is an animal that kills and eats other animals. Any hunter is by definition a predator.

That does not preclude other means of subsistence or other trophic relationships with different species. Humans were predators from at least 2.5 million years ago

As more information comes to light, we continue to see modern science and common sense overturning what we thought was unhealthy vs. healthy. Based on certain nutrient-needs alone, it becomes clear that eating animals and saturated fat is not unhealthy, and in fact promotes total health.

Case in point. Humans need vitamin B12, which comes almost exclusively from ANIMALS! Vegans have to supplement B12, and even then, bioavailability of supplements is incomplete. You also have to consider the risks involved with taking large amounts of man-made supplements. The only way to maximally absorb and utilize vitamin B12 is by consuming animals.

We are also far less capable of utilizing the forms of iron and zinc found in plants. Evidence shows that early Human diets may have also included plently of cholesterol.

So, here is where common sense comes in. We evolved to be a resilient, smart, big-brained, healthy species. Our nutrient needs are well defined: amino-acids, fatty-acids, vitamins, minerals (the only things that are actually required by our bodies). There are certain things that are abundant and available in animals, things that we need to survive. These are the things we would find in our natural habitat. These are the foods we evolved to eat and be healthy, and our needs have not changed.

Continue reading

How To FAIL At The Gym. (Health Is Common Sense)

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

I have a complaint.

Is it the media, a lack of information, or just plain LAZINESS that makes people run on a treadmill for an hour and a half, every day, and STILL they can’t manage to change their body composition?

I see them every day, at the YMCA. They run with terrible form, heel slamming, joint killing form. They jump up and down on the elliptical (terrible machines), only doing about 50% of the work they THINK they are actually doing. They pedal carelessly on a bike, while their guts spill over into their laps and they read “Food and Wine” or “People” or some other God-awful publication that’s bound to be contributing to their utter useless lifestyle.

I’ve managed to motivate myself to change permanently for the better, with no other forces at work other than pure determination, and the knowledge that I will not spend, I REFUSE to spend the last 10 to 15 years of my life in decrepitude. The problem with society is that we’ve been programmed, BRAINWASHED into thinking this is normal. Apparently, even though we are still genetically identical to our wild ancestors, we have to accept the fact that we are different, that we can not live without disease and degenerative disorers that render us utterly useless to ourselves, left in the care of our offspring as we lose the ability to MOVE and ACT and have FUN.

BULLSHIT I say. You can change your falsely pre-determined future. Its so friggin easy people, all you have to do is realize that you are poisoning your body slowly over the entire course of your life by feeding yourself food toxins [1] [2], by being lazy, by hiding from the sun, and by listening to the government tell you what is healthy. These problems largely do not exist in the wild! Paloelithic human beings didn’t have to deal with cavities, heart attack, obesity, cancer, etc. Know why? They hunted, sprinted, lifted heavy things, ate animals, vegetables, and fruit. They didn’t sit around playing Halo on Xbox 360. They didnt eat 7-11 servings of birdseed (grains) every day! They didnt have soy. They didnt have veggie oils. They fasted. They didn’t eat every 2-3 hours trying to “keep blood glucose elevated” (fuckingstupid). They were lean, fit and HEALTHY throughout their lives. Don’t believe me? Modern anthropology continues to find evidence of this. GO TO A MUSEUM you fool.

Health is common sense. Most, if not at least 80% of body composition and total health, is determined by what you EAT. Movement only constitutes about 10%. The rest is lifestyle. If you don’t change what you eat to REAL FOOD (animals, vegetables, fruits), you will never know true health.

However, if you realize that there is no science behind the FAT-PHOBIA, CHOLESTEROL, FOOD PYRAMID, HEARTHEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS, you will live largely sickness and disease free, and you will change your body composition. You will lean out and gain more muscle. You will become more attractive naked. You will emit a positive attitude. To everyone around you, you will appear to be unstoppable, full of energy, immune to whatever virus is floating around the office.

Your brain will fucntion at optimum efficiency, soaking up all the information and beauty around you. You will feel ultimate clarity. It’s like a permanent high. Engergy on-tap, whenever it is needed. Power to have explosive workouts at the gym. Speed to spint to your car after work. Drive to make-your-bed-rock (ooooh yeaaaah). Recovery to do it all again. Your immune system will function at top efficiency because you will not have chronic inflammation, you will not get sick, you will recover from your brutal lifting sessions faster. You won’t waste time consuming fillers made of grain or soy, so there will be more room for amino-acids and fatty-acids to build and construct new tissues, bigger muslces. You will train your body to burn fat for energy by promoting mitochondial adaptaion. You will be a FUCKING SUPER HUMAN!!!11 YUP!

Did I mention I feel really really good today?

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

Type of Fat Does Matter. USDA Lies.

Everyone should know this by now, that the type of fat you consume has a huge impact on health and fitness.

In the Paleo community, we actually know how to read and interpret the studies. We know how to avoid junk science. We know that Saturated, monounsaturated, and omega-3 fats are the ones to eat.

Here is something interesting I came across. First, take a look at the graph below. It represents obesity in the US since the USDA guidelines came into existence:

Now compare it to this graph, showing sources fat intake over time:

Really makes you wonder who we should, or should not be listening to when it comes to our health and well-being. Wasn’t it the government that told us to switch to veggie oils and man made processed crap? Wasn’t it them who told us saturated fat was going to make us fat and give us heart attacks? Ah! It was! Fuck you, USDA, for making us fat and ugly, and dead!

Dietary guidelines are dirven by politics and money, not science. Get your head straight and eat like an animal, because you are one! It really is that simple!

I eat an average of 80-110 grams of fat per day, most of it saturated. I am the healthiest person I know.

Side Note: This is really REALLY fucked up. Pizza is not, and never should be, considered a vegetable! Just more proof that the government health guidelines really are driven by politics.

Testosterone Production

Aside

Just a few studies to buck the system

High Fat Diets Lower Heart Disease

High Cholesterol = Longer Life

LDL Cholesterol Not Associated With Heart Disease

Saturated Fat Increases Good Cholesterol

Low Cholesterol = Deader Faster

Soy = pussification, lower T production

And the kicker: Cholesterol is converted into testosterone. Score!

Olive oil apparently aids this conversion. Here is a nice discussion.