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Topics - ajmesa

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Miscellaneous / Traveling to Italy
« on: May 13, 2010, 04:18:46 PM »
At the end of June I am flying off to Roma. I'm going to be staying in Europe for 7 weeks, mostly in Italy but I am also traveling to France and Spain for some days.

There are obviously going to be more cheat meals, but I am trying to device a way to stay "mostly paleo" while abroad. I am not going to be doing much intense exercise so I would rather be lower carb than I am now, I tend to be higher carb when I exercise a lot but prefer to go low carb when most of the exercise I am doing is walking.

Fortunately, I am going to be living in an apartment while I am in Italy so I can cook when I am there. But I am going in a big group and I am also meeting with other people there, I am afraid eating out is going to be a daily thing.

Do any of you guys have any experience on this? Tips that might help me? Here is what I have so far:
  • Eades has a post on low carb Italy where I gathered some helpful ideas:
  • Olive oil is probably going to be a good friend of mine. I will probably end up drizzling olive oil on top of every plate of foods I eat in a restaurant.
  • Eating processed meats (salami, etc) might be a viable solution. Not perfect but...
  • I was thinking of allowing dairy back in and concentrate on plates higher in heavy cream and cheeses. Not sure if this is a good idea though.
  • What should I do about airport food? This is probably going to be a major pain.
  • I obviously won't be able to give up on wine while I am there... though I'll keep it to 1-2 cups most days.

Any helpful ideas will be appreciated.

Here's a nice study I found:

this is how I found it:

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

This has partially changed my views, but I hate that they didn't have a third group that was eating more carbohydrates from a glucose-only source, like a potato. We know that glucose and fructose are handled very differently by our body, with the study it isn't clear if the results are due to increase in carbohydrates or increase in fructose.

Research / Amazing video resource
« on: April 23, 2010, 02:14:13 PM »
Here are some videos I found in youtube. The host is Ray Mears who has an extensive knowledge on how our ancestors lived, hunted, and made use of all the resources around them. It's truly amazing.

Here is a link to 3 playlists, the first (30 videos) and the third (103 videos) playlists have the most episodes:

Please let me know if you guys have problems with the link, I could just provide a link to each video if there's a problem. It's an amazing resource to understand how our ancestors lived and ate.

After watching it I have even more emphasis than before to to eat tubers instead of fruits for carbs. He exploits tubers constantly since they are so easy to gather.

PS: obviously, he also goes to some groups that are agriculturalists and thus not paleo.

Research / Even when low fat, mostly saturated is good
« on: April 09, 2010, 10:37:11 AM »
This study is interesting:
Dietary fats, carbohydrate, and progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women
Dariush Mozaffarian, Eric B Rimm and David M Herrington

Background: The influence of diet on atherosclerotic progression is not well established, particularly in postmenopausal women, in whom risk factors for progression may differ from those for men.

Objective: The objective was to investigate associations between dietary macronutrients and progression of coronary atherosclerosis among postmenopausal women.

Design: Quantitative coronary angiography was performed at baseline and after a mean follow-up of 3.1 y in 2243 coronary segments in 235 postmenopausal women with established coronary heart disease. Usual dietary intake was assessed at baseline.

Results: The mean (±SD) total fat intake was 25 ± 6% of energy. In multivariate analyses, a higher saturated fat intake was associated with a smaller decline in mean minimal coronary diameter (P = 0.001) and less progression of coronary stenosis (P = 0.002) during follow-up. Compared with a 0.22-mm decline in the lowest quartile of intake, there was a 0.10-mm decline in the second quartile (P = 0.002), a 0.07-mm decline in the third quartile (P = 0.002), and no decline in the fourth quartile (P < 0.001); P for trend = 0.001. This inverse association was more pronounced among women with lower monounsaturated fat (P for interaction = 0.04) and higher carbohydrate (P for interaction = 0.004) intakes and possibly lower total fat intake (P for interaction = 0.09). Carbohydrate intake was positively associated with atherosclerotic progression (P = 0.001), particularly when the glycemic index was high. Polyunsaturated fat intake was positively associated with progression when replacing other fats (P = 0.04) but not when replacing carbohydrate or protein. Monounsaturated and total fat intakes were not associated with progression.

Conclusions: In postmenopausal women with relatively low total fat intake, a greater saturated fat intake is associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, whereas carbohydrate intake is associated with a greater progression.

This also follows the trend in Kitava, low fat but mostly saturated = no CHD/CVD. It also follows the research that Krauss has been doing, where it is the total amount of saturated fat that dictates the diameter of LDL cholesterol.

Research / Cholesterol Readings for HGs
« on: April 07, 2010, 09:44:06 PM »
I have noticed that the cholesterol readings of HGs are not high, even for those that consume a really high amount of saturated fat. Here are some examples:

  • Tokelau islanders consume a diet really high in saturated fats (40-50% of their calories), mostly from coconut. Other staples are fish, breadfruit, and some tubers (by the time the measurements were done these starchy plants were part of the diet). Their total cholesterol was 182 mg/dL, LDL 119 mg/dL, triglycerides 80 mg/dL. All data from "Migration and Health in a Small Society: the Case of Tokelau."
  • Masai people have "low" total cholesterol according to this study: I cannot get a number, but it definitely is less than 200 mg/dL. I remember reading a number around 140 mg/dL once.
  • Please tell me if you have data on other groups. Maybe I just found data on the exceptions instead of the norm.

Despite having good cholesterol ratios (low risks of CHD), why is it that a lot of paleo eaters have high total cholesterol? The groups I mentioned have a diet abundant in saturated fat (>30%) yet their numbers are lower than a lot of paleo eaters that claim their high total cholesterol is due to the amount of saturated fat in their diet. Why is there a difference between the HGs and paleo eaters?

** Just to clarify, I am not claiming paleo eaters have "bad" cholesterol readings, all of us have high HDL, low triglycerides, and mostly "fluffy" LDL. :)

Miscellaneous / More Media Attention
« on: April 05, 2010, 08:25:05 PM »
At least more people are now able to read the information:

Of course, they also talk about the Harvard study that suggest to trade SFA for PUFA. For a "debunk" on that one go to:

Workout Programs / Lifting and Fasting
« on: April 01, 2010, 01:19:55 PM »
Will fasting 1 day a week hinder muscle gain? I stopped fasting when I started lifting because I assumed it was going to hinder my gains, but I never did my research to learn if this was true. What do you think?

I couldn't find a reference to this study in the forum and I think it will ease the worries of a few future new members:
Meta-analysis of animal fat or animal protein intake and colorectal cancer
Dominik D Alexander, Colleen A Cushing, Kimberly A Lowe, Bonnie Sceurman and Mark A Roberts
Am J Clin Nutr (March 4, 2009). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26838


Background: In the recent World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research report of diet and cancer, it was concluded that there is limited but suggestive evidence that animal fat intake increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

Objective: To clarify this potential relation, we conducted meta-analyses across a variety of subgroups, incorporating data from additional studies.

Design: Analyses of high compared with low animal fat intakes and categorical dose-response evaluations were conducted. Subgroup analyses, consisting of evaluations by study design, sex, and tumor site were also performed.

Results: Six prospective cohort studies with comprehensive dietary assessments, contributing 1070 cases of colorectal cancer and 1.5 million person-years of follow-up, were identified. The summary relative risk estimate (SRRE) for these studies was 1.04 (95% CI: 0.83, 1.31; P for heterogeneity = 0.221) on the basis of high compared with low intakes. When data from case-control studies were combined with the cohort data, the resulting SRRE was 1.15 (95% CI: 0.93, 1.42) with increased variability (P for heterogeneity = 0.015). In our dose-response analysis of the cohort studies, no association between a 20-g/d increment in animal fat intake and colorectal cancer was observed (SRRE: 1.02; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.09). In a separate analysis of 3 prospective cohort studies that reported data for animal protein or meat protein, no significant association with colorectal cancer was observed (SRRE: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.70, 1.15).

Conclusion: On the basis of the results of this quantitative assessment, the available epidemiologic evidence does not appear to support an independent association between animal fat intake or animal protein intake and colorectal cancer.

Diet and nutrition / Animal Fat vs. Plant Fat
« on: March 23, 2010, 03:35:27 PM »
For the last couple of weeks I have had a rough schedule, which unfortunately is going to continue for a while. This has pushed me to snack more often. I prefer to snack on high-fat foods as I normally don't workout during this time. The problem is that I have found it amazingly easy to snack on nuts rather than meat. Is easier because I don't have to heat anything, or bring any kind of food utensils (or prepare jerky), I just need to pack a bag of nuts (most of the time I bring macadamia with shredded coconut). It is also easy to pack on some calories, 1 cup of macadamia has ~950 calories.

Does anyone see any problems with eating "large" portions of plant fats?

I do still get over a pound of fatty meat at night, mostly lamb or beef.

Thanks for the help.

I found these articles interesting. I know some claim that you cannot store fat in an all meat diet, but it never made sense to me. Our body constantly stores and releases fat, if you couldn't store fat in an all meat diet then you would lose all your fat (by releasing it and not storing it) and die, a dangerous thing indeed. Here are the articles: -> response to someone who didn't get it

I didn't need this for confirmation as the theory never made sense to me, but maybe others can learn from it.

Obviously, how KGH says, it is much easier to lose fat on LC.

Research / High saturated fat diet while not losing weight
« on: March 11, 2010, 07:09:23 PM »
Most of the articles I have read related to clinical trials with diets high in saturated fatty acids (SFA) are done with obese patients. As we know, the results are amazing.

I am interested in knowing how a diet high in SFA performs on subjects that have a stable weight (i.e., are not gaining or losing weight). I have only been able to find one research paper, please post any other you know:

Comparative Effects of Three Popular Diets on Lipids, Endothelial Function, and C-Reactive Protein during Weight Maintenance

Forget about the total cholesterol. People on the other diets (not atkins) had lower small particle (bad) LDL and lower c-reactive protein number (bad). I wouldn't worry about c-reactive protein as the number was not significant. Also, "rachial artery testing revealed an inverse correlation between flow-mediated vasodilatation and intake of saturated fat."

Out of the 18 subjects that completed the study (remember, they all went through the 3 diets and 3 wash-out periods), 6 needed caloric adjustment in order to not lose/gain weight (no specific diet mentioned). Some maybe be concerned that subjects were eating more than normal in order to keep the weight. I don't think this is the case, and it is irrelevant as I am interested on the results while NOT losing weight.

I had not read this before but it doesn't look good to me. What do you guys think?

Diet and nutrition / Moderate Carb Paleo - The Fructose Issue
« on: February 28, 2010, 12:17:40 PM »
I have been trying to figure this out for a couple of weeks now and would really appreciate your opinion. Please don't get me wrong, I do not recommend moderate carb for paleo eaters. My reason for doing moderate carbs is because of sports performance. I have experimented with different renditions of paleo and I work better with 30-35% of my daily calories from carbs. I am sure many will do just fine with low carb, I am trying to maximize my personal results.

The problem I have when implementing a moderate carb eating plan with a traditional paleo diet is that I always end up with more fructose than I would like to. Lets define fructose density (fd) as (grams of fructose) / (calories). I will be gathering all my data from in order to perform the calculations.

Lets say I will eat 33% of my calorie from carbs, mostly fruits. If I eat 2,500 cals a day, that means I need to consume 2500*.33 = 825 calories from carbs. This divides to 825/4 = 207 grams of carbs a day.

In order to incorporate 207 grams of carbs a day and reduce the amount of fructose I consume I am gonna go for a low fructose density fruit, like blueberries (.08756). Consuming 825 calories from blueberries leads to 72 grams from fructose. This means 12% of my daily calories are coming from fructose, definitely more than I would want to. This proportion gets even worse when I consume fruits instead of berries. Am I being too paranoid with the fructose or is this definitely too high?

I have tried to browse through studies were moderate carb paleo is used. Here is the first:
A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease
Journal   Diabetologia
Publisher   Springer Berlin / Heidelberg
ISSN   0012-186X (Print) 1432-0428 (Online)
Issue   Volume 50, Number 9 / September, 2007

The subjects in this study were all diabetic that have been diagnosed with a heart disease. Definitely not where I am starting from as I have never been above 18% bf; I am 20, started paleo when I was 19. Still, I think I can gain some information from the study. The paleo group was eating 40% of their calories from carbohydrates, although they consumed 2 tubers a day so the fructose content would be lower than if no tubers were allowed. The Mediterranean group was eating 50% of their calories from carbs. Here is a part of the results:

Over 12 weeks, there was a 26% decrease of AUC Glucose0120 (p = 0.0001) in the Palaeolithic group and a 7% decrease (p = 0.08) in the Consensus group. The larger (p = 0.001) improvement in the Palaeolithic group was independent (p = 0.0008) of change in waist circumference (−5.6 cm in the Palaeolithic group, −2.9 cm in the Consensus group; p = 0.03).

Even though there was only a 10% difference in carb consumption the results were much better in the paleo group than in the Mediterranean group (as far as insulin sensitivity). This hints that is not only the carb % but the type of carb (Mediterranean diet was high in lectins while paleo was not).

Here is the next study:
Metabolic and physiologic improvements from
consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet
LA Frassetto, M Schloetter, M Mietus-Synder, RC Morris Jr and A Sebastian
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009), 19
Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA

This is a small pilot study but the subjects do not have diabetes and can be considered closer to how I am. This rendition of paleo has no tubers, carbs come only from fruits. The calories were also closely monitored so that the subjects wouldn't lose weight. Before the paleo diet they were consuming 44% of energy from carbohydrates. During paleo they consumed 38% of energy from carbohydrates. Not a big change there. Despite the relatively small difference in carb consumption, in only 10 days their fasting insulin had dropped 68% (marginally significant, p = .07), and glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) had also improved: Insulin AUC dropped 39% (significant, p = .006), HOMA dropped 72% (marginally significant, p = .07). Other health markers also improved, but I am particularly worried about insulin. I am guessing they had a similar fructose consumption as I had as they had a moderate carb consumption, almost all from fruits.

My main question is: should I just get all my carbs from fruits and forget about the fructose issue, or should I employ a balance between fruits and tubers (not potato) in order to reduce my fructose consumption? What would be the disadvantage of adding some low sugar tubers (taro, malanga, cassava, etc) and plantains? Any help/discussion would help, I am just quite scare of consuming too much fructose.

Research / Female Hunter-Gatherers from Ecuadorian Amazon
« on: February 27, 2010, 02:12:58 PM »
I recently stumbled upon this paper. It compares 4 "hunter-gatherer" groups with one agricultural group. There's no electricity/water in any of the groups, including the agricultural group. The main difference lies in leptin levels, insulin, body fat, etc. Yuwientsa is the agricultural group.

In contrast, women from Yuwientsa had a higher amount of body fat, an increased percentage of body fat, and a higher body fat mass/LBM ratio than women from the other communities. Furthermore, concentrations of fasting triglycerides, leptin, and insulin were higher in women from Yuwientsa. As an indicator of peripheral insulin resistance, the HOMA values were higher in the Yuwientsa group. Across the entire study population, leptin correlated to insulin (r = 0.28; P = .035), HOMA (r = 0.27; P = .040), and percent body fat (r = 0.55, P < .001).

If you review the paper you can see that the leptin levels for the traditional groups was incredibly low, at least when compared to the leptin levels of western societies. I looked back to the numbers in the Kitava study (do a little searching yourself) and here is what I got:

(remember females have a high leptin level)
Female Kitavans: 4.9 ng/mL
Female Shuar (traditional group): 4.9 ng/mL

Yeah, exactly the same. I would bet that if males were examined in the Shuar population they had leptin levels of around 1.5 ng/mL (same as Kitavan males).

The paper is really lacking on the diet of the Shuar people. They do not mention specifically what they eat or macro-ratio. Here is their description:

Thereafter, this community [(non-traditional Yuwientsa)] has transformed into a more agricultural community, whereas the 4 other villages that are smaller have retained the traditional household-focused economy that embraces a mixed strategy of hunting, fishing, horticulture, and gathering.[14] Game in the vicinity of established human settlements in Amazon Basin is extremely scarce. [15] Hunters in Yuwientsa had to go 8 to 10 hours to hunt larger animals, such as deer and wild pork (peccary).

This doesn't really say what they are eating, something I would really like to know. The traditional groups do farm (horticulture) but it doesn't say what (I would guess tubers and plantains because of the location). It also doesn't specify what percentage of their diet comes from horticulture. The difference between the diet of the traditional and agriculture group is also not explained. I would guess the main difference is in animal products since wild game is not frequent in Yuwientsa. It would be interesting to know if the agricultural group farms something high in lectins which could explain the leptin levels, or if it because of the % of animal product. What do you guys think? Remember that the leptin levels are really similar that those in Kitava.

Traditional versus agricultural lifestyle among Shuar women of the Ecuadorian Amazon: Effects on leptin levels*1
Metabolism, Volume 53, Issue 10, Pages 1355-1358
F.Lindgärde, I.Widén, M.Gebb, B.Ahrén


Diet and nutrition / Tamarind
« on: February 19, 2010, 03:58:42 PM »
I found some tamarinds from Thailand in the market today. I used to eat these really often in Cuba when I was a kid, they grow easily there (called tamarindo in Cuba). I get home and start eating a couple and realize the box it came in had a nutrition label. When I looked at it I was amazed because it had 13 g of fat? As far as I know tamarinds (the pulp, the part you eat) are just pure sugar. Then I was even more amazed at reading this:

Trans Fat 2g

What the hell? How is that possible? They come in a box, unshelled (meaning they still have the shell on). The pulp (part you eat) is completely surrounded by the shell, how the hell does it have trans fat?

I am starting to believe the nutrition label is wrong. I have always thought tamarinds are just loaded with sugar and have no fat (like many fruits, very little fat). Should I give it away or just ignore the label?

Diet and nutrition / Wild Canned Salmon
« on: February 17, 2010, 05:55:22 PM »
I am eating about 1 pound of wild alaskan pink canned salmon every 2-3 days (around3-4 times a week). From what I can see in nutrition data it has over 2,000 IU of vit D, 1,200 mg of calcium, whole bunch of O3 and other nutrients. I am eating it as a replacement to farmed salmon as I cannot afford fresh wild salmon right now (college student). Do you guys see any major drawbacks?

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