Thursday, 5 September 2013

Boiled potatoes & Area Under the Curve (AUC): some thoughts.

Here are three "curves"... a 4 x 1 rectangle, a 2 x 2 square and a 1 x 4 rectangle.
The AUC for all three "curves" = 4.
Imagine that the three curves are for blood glucose level increase above baseline vs time.

a) "X" grams of a high-Glycaemic Index (GI) carb e.g. glucose, maltodextrin or amylopectin result in a large glucose response that goes away rapidly, as the carbs leave the gut rapidly, pass into the blood rapidly and are cleared from the blood rapidly due to the large insulin response.

b) "X" grams of a 50:50 mixture of high & low-GI carbs result in a lower but longer sustained glucose & insulin response, as some carbs leave the gut rapidly but some carbs leave the gut slowly, pass into the blood slowly and are cleared from the blood slowly due to the small insulin response.

c) "X" grams of a low-GI carb e.g. amylose or resistant starch result in an even lower glucose & insulin response that is sustained for even longer, as the carbs leave the gut very slowly, pass into the blood very slowly and are cleared from the blood very slowly due to the very small insulin response.

Will a), b) & c) produce the same satiety? I think not. I think that a) results in lower satiation than b) and b) results in lower satiation than c). Whether returning hunger is caused by a sudden drop in blood insulin level or by a sudden drop in the amount of food in the gut, I don't know.

The reason for this post is A satiety index of common foods (scanned image of full study here) and the related study An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods.

In the first study, boiled potatoes produced the highest satiety, yet in the second study, boiled potatoes produced one of the highest glucose & insulin AUCs. How can this be? Consider the preparation method for the Russet potatoes:-
"Peeled, boiled for 20 min, and stored at 4 °C overnight; reheated in a microwave oven for 2 min immediately before serving."

Potato starch when refrigerated produces resistant starch RS3, which gives it a low GI (see item 605 in International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002). Therefore, refrigerated potatoes contain a mixture of high & low-GI starches. This, I believe, is why boiled, refrigerated & reheated potatoes produced the highest satiety. The combination of water, fibre & resistant starch kept hunger pangs away the longest. I suspect that boiled potatoes that are eaten without being refrigerated won't produce quite as much satiation, as they contain no resistant starch.

EDIT: From :-
"RS3 Resistant starch that is formed when starch-containing foods are cooked and cooled, such as pasta. Occurs due to retrogradation, which refers to the collective processes of dissolved starch becoming less soluble after being heated and dissolved in water and then cooled."
RS3 forms a gel in the stomach, which delays stomach emptying. This is most likely the reason for the increased satiation.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Lipoproteins & apolipoproteins: E, by 'eck.

In December 2008, I wrote about Cholesterol And Coronary Heart Disease , where I used a limousine metaphor to describe how cholesterol & fat are transported around the body. Here's a diagram of a chylomicron lipoprotein "limousine". Chylomicrons transport dietary fat (triglycerides) & cholesterol from the gut to the liver & other tissues. As there's much more dietary fat than dietary cholesterol, the contents are mostly fat.
A chylomicron. T=Triglyceride C=Cholesterol. From

The lipoprotein "limousines" vary a lot in size.
(a) VLDL (b) chylomicrons (c) LDL (d) HDL. 

Apolipoproteins are the "chauffeurs" which determine to where lipoproteins transport stuff.
Apo A is found mainly on HDL, which transports fat & cholesterol from tissues to the liver.
Apo B is found mainly on LDL, which transports cholesterol from the liver to tissues.
Apo C is found on HDL when fasted, but moves to chylomicrons & VLDL when fat is eaten.
Apo D is found mainly on HDL and is is associated with an enzyme involved in lipoprotein metabolism.
Apo E is found mainly on chylomicrons & IDL and transports lipoproteins, fat-soluble vitamins, and cholesterol into the lymph system and into the blood. In the CNS, Apo E transports cholesterol to neurons. Defects in Apo E result in hyperlipidaemia , cardiovascular & neurological diseases, and is the E referred to in the title.

There's also Apo H, which is a β-glycoprotein involved in the binding of cardiolipin. It has nothing to do with the above lipoproteins.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Things that make you go "Struth!"

I was wading through my Facebook News Feed when I spotted THIS. That article led me to New approach to coeliac testing identifies more Australians at risk, which in turn led me to A novel serogenetic approach determines the community prevalence of celiac disease and informs improved diagnostic pathways (provisional pdf), where I saw: "HLA-DQ2.5, DQ8, or DQ2.2 was present in 56% of all women and men in the community cohorts."
HLA-DQ2.5, DQ8 & DQ2.2 are the alleles for Coeliac/Celiac Disease (CD).
Image from
"Transglutaminase (TG)-2 IgA and composite TG2/deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) IgA/IgG were abnormal in 4.6% and 5.6%, respectively, of the community women and 6.9% and 6.9%, respectively, of the community men, but in the screen-positive group, only 71% and 75%, respectively, of women and 65% and 63%, respectively, of men possessed HLADQ2.5, DQ8, or DQ2.2."
There were abnormalities in ~5% of Australian women & ~7% of Australian men, even in those who didn't carry CD alleles.

"...but based on relative risk for HLA-DQ2.5, DQ8, or DQ2.2 in all TG2 IgA or TG2/DGP IgA/IgG screen-positive subjects, CD affected 1.3% or 1.9%, respectively, of females and 1.3% or 1.2%, respectively, of men."
~1.6% of Australian women & ~1.3% of Australian men have CD.

From the discussion: "The concept of a ‘celiac iceberg’ has been important in drawing attention to a large, unrecognized group of patients with CD who do report symptoms considered ‘typical’ of CD [29]. Investigators have proposed expansion of the ‘iceberg’ to encompass patients who are genetically susceptible to CD, but show only raised IEL counts or an isolated abnormal CDspecific serology and normal intestinal histology [30-32]. Consequently, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the true extent of gluten-mediated disease in the community.

Random thoughts: About 1 in 20 Australian women & about 1 in 15 Australian men have some kind of a gut problem (IBS?) due to gliadin, even in those who don't carry CD alleles. The following made me smile.
"Making a diagnosis based on a blood test alone or commencing a gluten-free diet without a confirmatory bowel biopsy is inappropriate and can impose an unnecessary and lifelong treatment."
'Cos life without wheat, rye, barley & oats is such an imposition (undue burden) and everyone just loves to be given a bowel biopsy. <- sarcasm alert.

From Ancestry of Australian population: "More than 92 percent of all Australians descend from Europeans. Anglo-Celtic Australians (English, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish or Irish ancestral origin) make up 74 percent of the Australian population."
Most Australians have genes that originate from Britain & Europe. Uh-oh!

Why do only a small percentage of people carrying the CD allele go on to develop CD? I believe that it's down to luck. During digestion, gliadins are snipped into fragments & amino acids by the peptidase enzymes pepsin, trypsin & chymotrypsin. Gliadin fragments that contain the wrong triplet of amino acids and that manage to slip through excessively-loose tight junctions may trigger CD. Once the "damage is done", it only takes a tiny amount of gliadin to provoke an immune response.

Monday, 26 August 2013

False dichotomies: serum cholesterol level vs all-cause mortality. Cause or effect?

Here are some plots from the MRFIT study.

Although the relative risk (RR) for coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortalities increase with serum total cholesterol (TC) level, all-cause mortality follows a U-curve.

According to Low Serum Cholesterol and Mortality: Which Is the Cause and Which Is the Effect?, certain illnesses that increase mortality lower TC levels. This is the Iribarren hypothesis.

According to Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study, TC that's low and is still low 20 years later results in a 64% increase in the RR for mortality relative to TC that's intermediate and is still intermediate 20 years later.

Table 4 Relative risk for mortality based on change in cholesterol between examinations three and four
Is low TC level the cause of, or the effect of fatal illnesses? I think that it's both. Cholesterol is an important substance, as a severe lack of it is bad news, as per Smith–Lemli–Opitz syndrome. If certain illnesses result in a depletion of cholesterol and cholesterol synthesis is too low, there's insufficient cholesterol to allow recovery.

Interestingly, TC that's low but is intermediate 20 years later results in a 30% increase in the RR for mortality, whereas TC that's low but is high 20 years later results in a 5% increase in the RR for mortality.

P.S. There's a false dichotomy for vitamin D level vs illness. Ditto for carbohydrates vs calories.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Molested milk: there's more to it than bovine xanthine oxidase.

The idea for the title came from Molested fats, Op. 139. Thank you, Bill!
Image from

Homogenising/homogenizing milk has certain advantages, as per Creaming and homogenization.
"No link has been found between atherosclerosis and milk consumption." Hurrah! Not so fast...

According to Mutant Milk!? New Research Fuels the Flames on Hushed Up Concerns About Ill Health Effects of Homogenized Milk, homogenised milk has a different effect in the body (and not in a good way, if you're over-fat) from non-homogenised milk.
"...mice who received the regular formula with small lipid droplets were fatter and had compromised lipid and blood glucose levels, as well as pathologically increased leptin levels." Yeah, mice.

I drink Tesco Finest Channel Island Milk (a.k.a. Gold Top Milk). It's "past your eyes" (by law, all shop-bought milk in the UK must be pasteurised) but unhomogenised milk from grass-fed (during the summer) cows. During the summer, the cream is much more yellow than during the winter. To distribute the fat throughout the milk, you have to shake the bottle. Does that smash the milk fat globules to buggery? I think not.

Raw (i.e. unpasteurised) milk is legal in the UK, but the nearest farm where I can buy it is Meadow Cottage Farm in Churt. I used to buy it from them at a Farmer's Market in Aldershot, but that closed.

EDIT: I just noticed something in Why Doesn’t Medical Care Get Better When Doctors Rest More? (hat-tip to Yoni Freedhoff).
"Take heart failure—the most common reason for admission to the hospital in the United States—and a problem that I, as a cardiologist, deal with often." In the US, heart failure is now more common than blocked coronary arteries. See Is Coenzyme Q10 a supplement or a drug? It all depends. Statins reduce Coenzyme Q10 synthesis. Just saying.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

R.I.P. HP Deskjet F380. Long Live HP Deskjet 3520.

Last year, I had a problem with my HP Deskjet F380, in HP Deskjet F380 Ink Cartridge Error. On Monday 19th August, it happened again. This time, I threw the baby out with the bathwater and bought a new HP Deskjet 3520 e-All-in-One printer/scanner/copier (the F380 was over 6 years old).

This product has mixed reviews - people either love it or they hate it.

My initial observations:- It makes a lot of whirring noises - I hope this doesn't mean that it's going to wear out quickly. I like the fact that it can do double-sided printing. I like the fact that the menu screen is easily readable, with the printer on the floor underneath a telephone table. I don't like the fact that I can no longer see a print preview when printing from Notepad. I will use WordPad from now on. I prefer to not use "fancy" word processors like Microsoft Works Word Processor or Microsoft Word for simple documents like lyric/chord sheets. I can control all functions from my lap-top. Although the product has wireless capability, I'm using a USB cable, as with the F380.

Having imported an existing lyric/chord sheet into WordPad, I've reduced all margins to 3mm, as the HP 3520 adds borders by default. I've also had to use bold face to make the text as easy to read in dim light (typical open mic night setting) as the old sheets.

Friday, 16 August 2013

False dichotomies: moderation.

Feel like you're walking a tightrope? I sang this at Open Mic night on Wednesday, including the orchestration!

There's another internet "punch-up" over moderation in what people eat. Apparently, there are only two options:-

Everything in moderation,
Image from
or Nothing in moderation.

As always, it's a case of "It all depends". If, when you're at home, you keep raiding the chocolates from the box or sweets/candies from the tin and you don't want to, don't have them in the house. However, if when you're not at home, someone offers you a chocolate or a small sweet/candy, unless you're so desperate that you'll steal some more or go to a shop and buy some more, eat the chocolate or small sweet/candy. Five grams of sugar won't harm you, even if you're diabetic.

If you have Coeliac Disease and mustn't eat any significant gluten, moderation isn't an option. Ditto, if you have impaired gut integrity and you feel better avoiding gluten. If consuming stuff doesn't cause you medical problems or make you desperate to consume even more, moderation is fine.

EDIT: Sometimes, I ramble in a way that makes it hard for people to understand what I'm talking about. I've emphasised the word "Apparently", as this post is about a perceived false dichotomy (perceived by the "Nothing in moderation" group).

Monday, 12 August 2013

Protein reduces endurance (in mice), food processing vs food refining & Schrödinger.

I saw the following study via Twitter. Dietary protein decreases exercise endurance through rapamycin-sensitive suppression of muscle mitochondria.
Mmm, protein!
Hmmm! In mice, a high protein diet significantly decreased the amount of muscle mitochondria, the mitochondrial activity and the running distance at 50 weeks, although it increased muscle mass and grip power.

A mouse's natural diet is fruit or grain from plants, though mice will eat virtually anything, including Kevlar insulation on wiring. Fruit & grains aren't particularly high in protein, so it's quite possible that eating a sub-optimal diet results in sub-optimal health.

If the results do translate to humans, we have a choice between endurance, and muscle mass & strength in our old-age. I know which I would choose. You'll have to prise the proteins from my cold, dead fingers!

More from TwitterA Major Communication Challenge of Our Times: What on Earth Do We Say About Processed Foods? The word "refine/refined" doesn't appear in the above article. I don't have a problem with food processing. What I do have a problem with is food refining. Just after the Mid-Victorian period, it became fashionable to eat foods that had been stripped of "impurities". Goodbye essential co-factors. Hello, degenerative diseases.

Finally, today is the 126th anniversary of Erwin Schrödinger's birthday. I have only one comment:-
Blatantly stolen from

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Thursday thoughts - acetyl groups.

Who'd a thunk that something as simple as an acetyl group could be so useful?
Acetyl group on Wikipedia

A common substance which is mostly an acetyl group is acetic acid, the acid in vinegar. Vinegar has quite a few medical uses, as well as making fish & chips/fries taste great.

I was reading stuff on the internet (as you do ;-) ) when it occurred to me that several substances had acetyl groups in them, e.g. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) , Paracetamol/Acetaminophen (N-acetyl-p-aminophenol), Heroin (diacetylmorphine), DCA (dichloroacetic acid), Acetylcholine, Acetyl-CoA, Acetylcysteine & Acetyl-L-carnitine.

Here's an amusing (unless you are/were an addict) snippet of information about Heroin (emphasis mine) from History:- "From 1898 through to 1910, diacetylmorphine was marketed under the trademark name Heroin as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant." Oh, whoops!

Acetylation makes substances more active in the body & increases their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, as well as having other functions in the body (e.g. changing the expression of proteins & genes).

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Completing the trine: vive la différence!

First, the obligatory picture of Hannah Spearritt :-)
Women have a harder time losing weight than men. Women retain water more than men for hormonal reasons, but a factor that's overlooked is that, on average, healthy women have higher body-fat percentages than healthy men. This is because women have babies and men don't. Who knew? On the plus side, women produce more DHA than men.

Why should having higher body-fat percentages make a difference to weight loss? See What is the required energy deficit per unit weight loss? The energy deficit required to lose 1lb of body-weight increases with increasing body-fat percentage. It's rarely 3,500kcals per lb.

If you really love mathematics, see The Dynamics of Human Body Weight Change by Carson C. Chow and Kevin D. Hall.

From the above paper:- ΔU = ΔQ - ΔW

where ΔU is the change in stored energy in the body, ΔQ is a change in energy input or intake, and ΔW is a change in energy output or expenditure. This is the Energy Balance Equation. As I said back in Back to black, CIAB, pharmaceutical drug deficiencies & nerds.

Where body weight is concerned, calories count (but don't bother trying to count them).
Where body composition is concerned, partitioning counts.
Where health is concerned, macronutrient ratios, EFAs, minerals, vitamins & lifestyles count.

N.B. Poor health can adversely affect body weight and/or body composition, by increasing appetite and/or by adversely affecting partitioning.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Chow on chow, Parkinson's Law, two ways of doing something, and love.

Another mixed bag of subjects. First, here is Mr Carson C. Chow.
From A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity
According to Mr. Chow, Americans are getting increasingly fat because they're eating increasingly large amounts of "chow", because there's increasingly large amounts of it being produced. That's classic Parkinson's law (consumption expands to absorb the available supply).

According to Armi Legge, over-fat people need to . . . . Eat Less (& Move More).

There are two ways to "Eat Less".

1) Measure everything that goes into your mouth, calculate the calories in it and stick to an average daily calorie limit. Weigh yourself daily and adjust your intake to achieve a certain rate of rolling-averaged weight loss i.e. you consciously create a caloric deficit.

2) Tweak your diet until you find one that you can live with, that results in your belt and/or clothes getting looser i.e. you unconsciously create a caloric deficit. If you can't unconsciously create a caloric deficit, there will have to be some conscious restriction.

1) suits athletes & body-builders, as they are highly-motivated people who have a specific target in mind, whether it be athletic performance or a specific body-fat percentage/muscle mass/appearance.

2) suits the general public, as they aren't generally highly-motivated and won't tolerate hunger pangs.

Unfortunately, "Move More" has to be done consciously. Unconscious "Move More" i.e. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) a.k.a. Spontaneous Physical Activity (SPA) is genetically-determined.

Finally, I read Stretching out. I've been spending too much time on a blog full of fallacies & hate and it's been making me tetchy. I've now disengaged from that blog permanently. Breathe in. Breathe out. That's better!

Continued on Completing the trine: vive la différence!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Taking levothyroxine & overheating in hot weather - the penny bounces back up.

Oh, whoops!
Two weeks after discontinuing levothyroxine, I was still feeling too hot (we're still having a heat wave). I thought that maybe my pituitary had started to function and my thyroid had started to produce thyroxine. I checked my body temperature. It was 35.3°C (95.5°F). The penny bounced back up.

How hot I feel ≠ How hot I am.

I'm back on 125μg/day of levothyroxine.

Back to black, CIAB, pharmaceutical drug deficiencies & nerds.

First, a song by someone who should be alive, but isn't...

The above video was inspired by a Facebook friend who had an accident with Schwartzkopf black hair dye and spent ages getting the stains off her skin. You know who you are!

I may have mentioned that nutrient deficiencies can adversely affect mental (and/or other) function. Nowadays, many people live on a diet of Crap-In-A-Bag (CIAB). There's just enough essential amino acids (EAAs), essential fatty acids (EFAs), minerals & vitamins to keep their bodies alive. However, Alive ≠ Working properly.

To compensate for one (or more) nutrient deficiencies, many people are prescribed one (or more) pharmaceutical drugs to tweak how their brains work e.g. fluoxetine, citalopram/escitalopram, venlafaxine, quetiapine, risperidone, valproate etc. There are no pharmaceutical drug deficiencies!

There are people who suffer from mental (and/or other) illnesses, despite having diets & lifestyles that provide sufficient amounts of all nutrients. This post isn't about them. There are people who suffer from depression due to traumatic & inescapable events/situations. This post isn't about them, either.

Finally, nerds! We nerds love to compile information. For an interesting interview with a top compiler of useful information, see Examine's Supplement Goals Reference Guide.

For an excellent article with a mere 148 references, see Why Calories Count. To sum up:-

Where body weight is concerned, calories count (but don't bother trying to count them).
Where body composition is concerned, partitioning counts.
Where health is concerned, macronutrient ratios, EFAs, minerals, vitamins & lifestyles count.

N.B. Poor health can adversely affect body weight and/or body composition, by increasing appetite and/or by adversely affecting partitioning.

Continued on Chow on chow, Parkinson's Law, two ways of doing something, and love.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

FAO the over-fat and/or those with metabolic syndrome: Big breakfast, medium lunch & small dinner is beneficial.

Breakfast like a King/Queen.
Go to work on an egg.
According to High caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women.
"High-calorie breakfast with reduced intake at dinner is beneficial and might be a useful alternative for the management of obesity and metabolic syndrome." See the other PubMed studies listed in the above study, which corroborate it.

What about all the "artery-clogging" cholesterol in egg yolks? See Eat Whole Eggs All Day and Throw Your Statins Away? 375x Increased Dietary Cholesterol Intake From Eggs Reduces Visceral Fat & Promotes Healthy Cholesterol Metabolism.

Monday, 15 July 2013

I don't believe it.

And neither should you.
Well, opinions are like assholes, honey. Everybody's got one and everybody thinks everybody else's stinks. The internet is full of opinions. Why should anyone believe anything they read on the internet?

If a writer has (a) qualification(s) in "A", it means that they know something about "A". It doesn't mean that they know anything about "B", "C"....."Z". However, humans being human, they have biases. Writers write in a biased way. Also, readers read in a biased way. Having (a) qualification(s) means diddly-squat. What does mean something, is backing-up what's written with quality evidence. As I have no formal qualifications in Diet & Nutrition, I try to do that as often as possible. When I don't, it's my opinion.

Many people are intolerant of other people's opinions. No wonder so many "fights" break out on forums, message-boards & blog comments. As a writer's qualifications mean diddly-squat, what's the point in arguing about a writer's qualifications? There isn't one! It's an ad hominem fallacy. Bloggers whose blog contents consist mainly of ad hominems & other fallacies are ass hats.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

This blog was morbidly obese!

Uh, do what?
That's my blog, that was!
According to for this site:-
"This site weight is 261 Kbs. The site weight should ideally be less than 125 Kbs in length."
This blog is over twice the recommended site weight, which makes it morbidly obese. The reason for this is because I like to have a large number of posts visible on the main page. Unfortunately, this makes the main page take an age to load.

I've now put this blog on a PSMF (Posts Strictly Mother F***er), by reducing the number of posts visible on the main page to four. As there's a search box in the top left-hand corner and a blog archive section & comprehensive list of labels to the right, it shouldn't be hard to find what you're looking for.

Bursting from the seams: "Obese adipocytes" literally "explode" and leave a nasty inflammatory mess.

I just read a Public post on Facebook from someone I follow and whose blog is in my list.
It contained a word that I've never seen before, but would like to see more often - Pyroptosis
See Obese adipocytes show ultrastructural features of stressed cells and die of pyroptosis.

Adipocytes dying, huh? You know what that means? Loss of body-fat. Unfortunately, there is an issue with the nasty inflammatory mess left, after adipocytes "explode". This limits the rate at which adipocytes can be "exploded".

See also SuppVersity Cellulite Special: The Etiology of Cellulite, Genetical and Behavioural Risk Factors? Physical and Supplemental Treatment Strategies & Their Efficacy. Warning! Not Safe For Work, due to pictures of naked botties.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Diet, Nutrition & Fitness: Whatever the question, the right answer is "It all depends".

The carbohydrate pendulum keeps on swinging! Bloggers keep on fighting!
Carbohydrates are good. No, they're bad. Wait, they're good again. Nope, bad again. Good again. Aargh!
See also
So, are carbohydrates good or bad? See the title. Gluten? See the title.

As Everyone is Different, whether "X" is good, bad or indifferent all depends on genes (including gender), the expression of those genes, environment (i.e. birth weight, exposure to pollutants in the womb & after birth), general diet (i.e. nutrients, anutrients & anti-nutrients), lifestyle (i.e. sunlight exposure, stress, sleep etc) and type, level & volume of activity.

How many working brain cells do researchers have? Part n+1

Once upon a time, I took the mickey out of some eejit researchers in How many working brain cells do researchers have? Guess what? I'm doing it again. A Facebook friend sent me a link to a worrying "new" study Omega-3 Supplements Linked To Prostate Cancer. Oh, dear. Things are looking bad for oily fish & fish oil supplements. Just a moment!

I did some digging on PubMed for the author and found this:- n-3 Fatty acids and prostate cancer risk. The main feature of wild oily fish & fish oil supplements is their high ratio of EPA & DHA (long-chain omega-3 fatty acids) to LA (a shorter-chain omega-6 fatty acid). It would therefore be logical to assess oily fish consumption and/or fish oil supplement intake by measuring the ratio of serum EPA:LA and/or DHA:LA and/or (EPA+DHA):LA.

What did Brasky TM, Crowe FL & Kristal AR actually do? According to the abstract, they measured only serum EPA, DHA & (EPA+DHA). They didn't measure serum LA. Therefore, if the subjects in the EPIC study ate a diet with a high omega-6 (n-6):omega-3 (n-3) ratio (i.e a Standard English Diet), subjects with a high serum n-3 level would have a very high serum n-6 level. As excessive levels of serum n-6 pufas are carcinogenic (see Completing the trine: Which are the safest fats?), it's not surprising that the study produced the results that it did.

There only one thing to do, in cases like this...
Because one palm just isn't enough!
EDIT: Here's a better analysis:- Fish Oil and your Prostate. It looks as though n-6 was measured, which makes my analysis wrong, but I'm keeping the double face-palm, as the full study is hidden behind a £30 pay-wall. Here's another good analysis:- Omega-3 Fats and Cancer.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Taking levothyroxine & overheating in hot weather - the penny drops.

Last night, I was sitting in a hot stuffy pub listening to some excellent music being played at a jam session. During the breaks (when it was quiet enough to hold a conversation), I was chatting with Jack the Rapper. As I was chatting, a thought popped into my head about why I was dripping with sweat, when everyone else in the audience wasn't. Here it is.
The Hypothalamus secretes TRH (Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone) which reaches the Pituitary via the hypophyseal duct.

The Hypothalamic Pituitary Thyroid Axis (HPTA) regulates body temperature. It varies thyroid hormone levels (T4 & T3) which varies Uncoupling Protein (UCP) expression, which varies heat production, which varies body temperature. See Minimal changes in environmental temperature result in a significant increase in energy expenditure and changes in the hormonal homeostasis in healthy adults.

"Thyroid hormones axis Compared with exposure to 24 °C, exposure to 19 °C resulted in small, non-significant increases in total triiodothyronine (T3) and TSH AUCs and a significant increase in serum free thyroxine (T4; P=0.03). When the analysis was performed according to the gender, a small but significant increase in serum T3 AUC was observed in males (P < 0.05) but not in females. Similarly, while the change in free T4 was highly significant in males (P < 0.002), no significant change was observed in females." Is this why women feel the cold more than men?

My Pituitary doesn't secrete Thyrotropin a.k.a. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), so I'm prescribed levothyroxine 125μg/day every day. When the ambient temperature rises, my HPTA doesn't lower my thyroid hormone level as I am running "open-loop". My UCP produces too much heat which makes me overheat. Ker-ching!

From now on, I will adjust my levothyroxine dose to a value where I feel comfortably warm at all times. According to, the half-life of levothyroxine is 6-7 days. Any change in levothyroxine dose will take about a week to get half-way to its final effect on internal heat generation. This could take quite some time!

Continued on Taking levothyroxine & overheating in hot weather - the penny bounces back up.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sunday Smörgåsbord: liberty, the internet, worry, health & Lyle McDonald.

Five items this time, not necessarily related.
By liberty, I mean personal liberty. I believe that individuals should be free to do whatever they want, provided that they don't harm another individual. However, collections of individuals should not be free to do whatever they want, as collections of individuals (i.e. businesses) usually try to profit from individuals, so the welfare of the individual isn't of importance. Businesses obviously don't want to instantly kill their customers, as that's obvious and will probably get them sued. However, "killing them softly" isn't obvious!

In the EC, just about everything has a CE kite-mark in order that it may be sold in the EC. Standards include EMC (Electro-Magnetic Compatibility) to ensure that:-
a) Devices don't emit excessive levels of RF "radiation", which may interfere with other devices.
b) Devices don't respond to excessive levels of RF "radiation", which may interfere with their operation.
I put "radiation" in quotes, as it's TEM (Transverse Electro-Magnetic) radiation i.e. Radio Waves.

In the US, who knows?

This is about "Smart Meters" - again! I've recently seen a surge in Facebook statuses about Smart Meters. I posted a technical article about these devices in Smart meters. Even after I posted a link on Facebook to my article, links to alarmist pages still appeared. The latest one is The Great “Smart Meters” Hoax. Electromagnetic Fields Are Real And Dangerous To Our Health, where Sam Milham, MD, MPH epidemiologist & researcher tells us how things really are.

Unfortunately, he's talking shite. The problem with people talking alarmist shite on the internet is that people who read alarmist internet shite and who are ignorant of the subject, believe it! This causes Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt (FUD), which in turn causes chronic worry. Chronic worry causes chronic hypercortisolaemia, which isn't good. A placebo (e.g. wrapping aluminium foil around your Smart Meter or paying for a "proper" solution to the non-existent problem) alleviates the chronic worry, which improves health.

I don't know about US Smart Meters. For all I know, some eejit has designed them to transmit 1,000W of RF (I'm just being silly), to get an outdoor range of >100miles. As these devices are designed for short-range communication, they probably transmit up to 100mW (about the same power level as WiFi) to get an outdoor range of ~150m. 1mW is one thousandth of a Watt. Transmitting more power than is necessary increases the probability of interference to other electronic devices.

100mW is a lot lower than the power transmitted by mobile phones (up to 2,000mW for the 850/900MHz Vodafone/O2 network), which need to be able to reliably communicate with the nearest mast, which may be miles away. As mobile phones constantly transmit occasional bursts of RF (to let the network know that they are on) and they are either in a pocket or are held against the ear/in front of the face to make/receive calls etc (while transmitting regular bursts of RF) and they are safe to use, how can a Smart Meter which is transmitting a much lower power level at a much greater separation be harmful? It can't.

With WiFi, Equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) in the EU is limited to 100mW. Dunno about the US. Bluetooth is very-low-power (~1mW for Class 3 devices).

So stop worrying! Chronic worry (also, reading alarmist internet shite) is bad for your health.

Finally, I noticed that Evelyn Kocur "liked" an article that I'd read and completely forgotten about. It's Evidence From the Metabolic Ward: 1.6-2.4g/kg Protein Turn Short Term Weight Loss Intervention into a Fat Loss Diet. Interestingly, the protein intake for optimum body recomposition is 1.6-2.4g/kg LBM. This is equivalent to ~1g/lb LBM, which is the protein recommendation given by Lyle McDonald in his Rapid Fat Loss Handbook. Yup, Lyle was right all along. That amount of protein isn't bad for the kidneys (even 50% more protein than that, isn't bad for the kidneys).

Thursday, 4 July 2013

We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.

If you don't recognise the words in the title, here's the classic song from which they came.

An increasing number of people are becoming like birds in gilded cages. See The perfect crime.
"What's fascinating is this: the marketing is so powerful that some of the people being hurt actually are eager for it to continue. This creates a cultural feedback loop, where some aspire to have these respected marketing jobs, to do more marketing of similar items. It creates a society where the owners and leaders of these companies are celebrated as risk-taking, brave businesspeople, not as the modern robber barons that they've become."

Did I ever mention?...

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Saturday silliness: Astrology & Abuse.

Now there's a curious mixture of subjects.
Piss-keys or Pie-sees?
John Cassis said:- "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."

I'm Piscean and Pisceans don't believe in astrology ;-) My logical brain tells me that it's a load of cobblers, but when I read an astrological assessment for my birth date, my mind was blown by how it had my personality down to a T. I asked a friend to read a print-out. When she'd finished reading, I asked her what she thought. She said that it was accurate in terms of personality and likes. How does that work?

A Piscean trait manifested itself last Wednesday. A blogger (who I'm not going to name) posted a status on his blog's Facebook page, calling a female science blogger a fat c*nt, along with a link to an edited sound file of an interview she did years ago in which she was nervous, lampooning her.

I commented, saying that he wasn't qualified to judge people on matters of science and that the woman's physical characteristics were irrelevant to science (the ad hominem fallacy). He commented, telling me to f*ck off. I commented, saying that he was funny when he was drunk. A while later, he blocked me from leaving further comments on his Facebook page. Hmph!

To cut a long story short, I de-liked his Facebook page, blocked him personally on Facebook, blocked all email addresses containing his website name or surname on my ISP's email server and blocked him from leaving comments here. I removed him from my life.

This time, it's forever. No hard feelings, it's how I roll.

Update: The offending post has been removed. If you ever read this, thank you for doing that.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

It's not Friday the 13th, but... Part 2

In It's not Friday the 13th, but..., I had a picture of my then new Solar PV installation.
1.35kWp Solar PV using Kyocera 135W panels + 2kWp Solar thermal using 100W Thermomax tubes.
As the Solar thermal tubes were no longer heating the hot water much (they were installed in 1991), I decided to upgrade my system. It now looks like this...
3.5kWp Solar PV, using Hyundai 250W panels.
Of the twenty 100W Thermomax evacuated heat-pipe solar collector tubes, only one still worked.
The limescale-coated bulb at the bottom is very hot!
Hot water is now heated by the immersion heater in the tank in the airing cupboard, using spare electricity that's been generated but not used. This is controlled by a gizmo called an immerSUN. See below. The immerSUN is at top left. The inverter is at bottom right.
The current-sensing transformer is the black thing around the red wire, sitting on the black fuse.
The water from the hot tap is now hot enough to make instant coffee!

As the company that installed the upgrade had previously only installed systems to properties previous without Solar PV, they thought that I would receive the current Feed-In Tariff rate, which is 16.56p/kWh, including 50% export Tariff. This is much lower than the Feed-In Tariff rate that I was receiving for my 1.35kWp installation, which was 47p/kWh, including 50% export Tariff. They suggested that I phone ScottishPower (my energy supplier) for clarification.

The good news is that I will receive 47p/kWh for 1.35kW and 16.56p/kWh for the additional 2.15kW, making a net Feed-In Tariff of 28.3p/kWh, including 50% export Tariff. That's 71% more than I thought I'd get.

Based on PVGIS data (postcode-dependent), the system should generate 3,210kWh/annum. That's £908/annum in Tariffs + ~£240/annum in saved electricity consumption + ~£50/annum in saved gas consumption = ~£1,198/annum. The system cost £7,700 including VAT, so ROI is 15.6%. Feed-In Tariffs increase by ~5%/annum and energy prices increase by ~14%/annum, so the system should pay for itself in ~5 years.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Resistance is useless!

...said the Vogon guard. If that means nothing to you, watch this...

You probably know all about Insulin Resistance (IR) if you've read my blog for some time, as I may have mentioned it once or twice ;-) There's also Leptin Resistance (LR) in the brain, which reduces the amount of appetite suppression that leptin is supposed to produce. Robb Wolf's just written about Adrenaline Resistance (AR?) and chronically-high serum cortisol seems to induce Cortisol Resistance (CR?) in the hippocampus, resulting in poor short-term memory.

When the level of "X" in the blood is low most of the time, "X" receptors in the body up-regulate, so when the level of "X" in the blood goes high, it has an effect. When the level of "X" in the blood is high all of the time, "X" receptors in the body down-regulate, so when the level of "X" in the blood goes higher, it has a reduced effect.

The above suggests that regularly "grazing" on food is not a good idea, as this results in a fairly constant slightly elevated serum insulin level. Eating a meal, not eating for a few hours then eating another meal results in high serum insulin while the meal is being absorbed and low serum insulin for the rest of the time.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Paleo diet: Dr. Loren Cordain's rebuttal to the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Loren Cordain is considered by many to be the founder of the Pal(a)eolithic diet.
He wrote this:- Rebuttal to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences June 2013 Papers

"In summary, recent comprehensive analyses (1-3) of δ13C values in the enamel of African hominins from 4.1 to 1.5 MYA support the conclusion that plants of C4 origin were ultimately responsible for this isotopic signature. Nevertheless, when the isotopic data is triangulated from archaeological, physiological and nutrition evidence, it is apparent that the C4 signature in ancestral African hominin enamel almost certainly is resultant from increased consumption of animals that consumed C4 plants."

EDIT: Hat-tip to Robb Wolf.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Why: blogging is great, my brain is like Kefir and you don't have to be slightly insane.

I'm Torn between two images from Google Image Search, so here's both of them.
Blogging is stimulating. Someone blogs about something. That gives me a new idea, so I blog about that. That gives other bloggers a new idea, so they blog about that. And so on, ad infinitum. It's great!

Kefir takes hard-to-digest milk proteins and ferments them into something more easily digestible. My brain takes hard-to-digest concepts and "ferments" them into something more easily understandable.

Another blogger said "You May Think I'm a Nutter. But I'm not the only one." You don't have to be slightly insane to be a blogger...but it helps! ;-)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Completing the trine: Which are the safest fats?

First, watch this video by Chris Masterjohn.

Diets very high in pufas (polyunsaturates) are not beneficial to heart health or longevity. Flora? No thanks!

Here's a chart. The beige & grey bars represent pufas (omega-6 & omega-3).
Comparison of dietary fats
The yellow bars represent monounsaturates and the orangey-red bars represent saturates. I consider these to be harmless, as long as you don't go mad and eat them in such large amounts that you gain weight.

Bearing in mind the information in the video, plus the information in Fats: Spawn of Satan or Dogs' Doodads? , I use only fats from the bottom 6 for cooking (olive oil and butter, actually).

Flaxseed oil can be used as an omega-3 supplement for vegetarian/vegan women, as omega-3 pufas are as rare as rocking-horse poo in most foods (apart from oily fish).

Non-vegetarian/vegan people can get their long-chain omega-3 pufas (EPA & DHA) from oily fish. As vegetarian/vegan men barely produce any DHA from the omega-3 in flaxseed oil, they should get it from algal DHA supplements. See Extremely Limited Synthesis of Long Chain Polyunsaturates in Adults: Implications for their Dietary Essentiality and use as Supplements.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Defending the indefensible: Gary Taubes and *that* statement about gluttony.

Here's another "video" (it has sound and static images only). As I haven't learned how to embed a YouTube video that starts at a specific time, here's a link to it and a picture of it:- Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" IMS Lecture On August 12, 2010 (Part 8 of 8), starting at 8 minutes and 13 seconds in.

To quote: "You can basically exercise as much gluttony as you want, as long as you're eating fat and protein."

Itsthewoo told me that Taubes was being ironic i.e. he was joking. I call bull-shit on that, for the following reasons.

1) You don't joke about something as important as diet, in a video that's likely to be heard by many people.

2) If you are foolish enough to joke about something as important as diet, you make 100% certain that listeners know that you're joking, by stating in the very next sentence that the preceding sentence was a joke. Taubes didn't do that.

3) I didn't hear chortling or any other audible clue that Taubes was joking. Did you?

I therefore conclude that itsthewoo is hearing (and seeing) the world through "cognitive bias" Weird Filters , resulting in her hearing what she wants to hear. Sorry!

The proteins are the problem: Safe proteins for people with compromised gut integrity.

First, Matt Lalonde Ph.D's video "The Science Behind the Paleolithic Diet."

The title of this post comes from Matt Lalonde. As mentioned in Keep 'em tight., about 10% of healthy blood donors have antibodies in their blood to something that shouldn't be in their blood - gliadin. How do gliadin fragments get into the blood? Compromised gut integrity (a.k.a. Leaky gut).

It's possible to repair compromised gut integrity, as mentioned in the above post. In the meantime, it's advisable to avoid "problem proteins" and eat only "safe proteins". Which proteins are the problem?

1) Prolamines: Prolamines are a group of plant storage proteins having a high proline content and found in the seeds of cereal grains: wheat (gliadin), barley (hordein), rye (secalin), corn (zein), sorghum (kafirin) and as a minor protein, avenin in oats.

2) Casein: Of the six major protein types in cow's milk, four are casein proteins and the other two are whey proteins. The caseins usually make up about 80% of the protein in cow's milk. Cheese is ~100% caseins. As Matt said, caseins are also high in proline. Whey is rapidly digested (which is why it's used by bodybuilders post-workout) so it's pretty safe.

3) Anything that makes you feel ill: As everyone is different, this could be anything (peanuts, eggs, shellfish, tomatoes etc). If "X" makes you feel ill, stop eating "X" until your gut is working 100% correctly. There's a possibility that your gut will never work 100% correctly. Which proteins are safe?

Rice, quinoa & amaranth contain generally safe proteins. Properly-cooked legumes (peas, beans & lentils) contain generally safe proteins. Seeds contain generally safe proteins, but most types are very high in omega-6 fats (except for chia & linseeds). Tubers, root veggies & buckwheat contain pretty safe proteins. Meats & fish contain pretty safe proteins.

Pigging-out on safe proteins, (resulting in significant amounts of incompletely-digested proteins reaching the lower intestine) is asking for trouble. Ditto for eating excessive amounts of fruit with or shortly after eating safe proteins, as this increases the speed of peristalsis, which increases the amount of incompletely-digested proteins reaching the lower intestine.

That's all for now. If anything else comes to mind (or if you come up with a bright idea), I'll add it.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Grains & soyabeans: more bad news.

Jamie Scott (THAT PALEO GUY) has been doing some digging and found more dirt on...
See Wheat amylase trypsin inhibitors drive intestinal inflammation via activation of toll-like receptor 4.
"We identify the α-amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) CM3 and 0.19, pest resistance molecules in wheat, as strong activators of innate immune responses in monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. ATIs engage the TLR4-MD2-CD14 complex and lead to up-regulation of maturation markers and elicit release of proinflammatory cytokines in cells from celiac and nonceliac patients and in celiac patients' biopsies. Mice deficient in TLR4 or TLR4 signaling are protected from intestinal and systemic immune responses upon oral challenge with ATIs. These findings define cereal ATIs as novel contributors to celiac disease. Moreover, ATIs may fuel inflammation and immune reactions in other intestinal and nonintestinal immune disorders."

See Impact of antinutritional factors in food proteins on the digestibility of protein and the bioavailability of amino acids and on protein quality.
"Examples of naturally occurring antinutritional factors include glucosinolates in mustard and canola protein products, trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinins in legumes, tannins in legumes and cereals, gossypol in cottonseed protein products, and uricogenic nucleobases in yeast protein products."

"Among common food and feed protein products, soyabeans are the most concentrated source of trypsin inhibitors. The presence of high levels of dietary trypsin inhibitors from soyabeans, kidney beans or other grain legumes have been reported to cause substantial reductions in protein and amino acid digestibility (up to 50 %) and protein quality (up to 100 %) in rats and/or pigs."

"Normally encountered levels of phytates in cereals and legumes can reduce protein and amino acid digestibility by up to 10 %. D-amino acids and LAL formed during alkaline/heat treatment of lactalbumin, casein, soya protein or wheat protein are poorly digestible (less than 40 %), and their presence can reduce protein digestibility by up to 28 % in rats and pigs, and can cause a drastic reduction (100 %) in protein quality, as measured by rat growth methods. The adverse effects of antinutritional factors on protein digestibility and protein quality have been reported to be more pronounced in elderly rats (20-months old) compared to young (5-weeks old) rats, suggesting the use of old rats as a model for assessing the protein digestibility of products intended for the elderly."

I eat grains, also peas, beans & lentils, but not as a dietary staple. I make sure that they're thoroughly cooked at 100°C.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Organic is best!

I'm not talking about vegetables, though.

The above display panel is 4mm thick. Wow! There are 0.3mm thick panels in development. Double-wow!

OLEDs can also be used for lighting.

For more information, see OLED-Info. When I first heard about organic LED's, I thought "They'll have too short a life to catch on." Oh, whoops!

EDIT: I've just spotted Organic Light Emitting Transistors (OLETs). Oh, Myyy!
Trilayer OLET device and chemical structure

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Rigid diets & taking loadsa supplements to compensate for them.

I do not believe you want to be doing that!

This post was inspired by a recently-published study by Alan Aragon & Brad Schoenfeld, as bodybuilders are a group of people who often eat a rigid diet (some eat skinless chicken breasts, broccoli & brown rice for several meals each day).

See Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?
"Collectively, these data indicate an increased potential for dietary flexibility while maintaining the pursuit of optimal timing."

This post is also aimed at people who eat severely restricted diets in the (often mistaken) belief that something's making them ill.

People with type 1 diabetes who struggle to keep their blood glucose within reasonable limits (3 to 8mmol/L, or 24 to 144mg/dL) benefit from restricting their intake of high-GL carbohydrates, so this post is not aimed at them. See The problem with Diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes who severely restrict their intake of carbohydrates must be in caloric deficit, otherwise the physiological insulin resistance caused by high serum NEFAs will mess up just about everything in their body if they are in caloric balance or caloric excess. I've read (so it could be false) that a certain non-skinny blogger who I'm in conflict with (who has type 2 diabetes and who eats a VLC diet) has heart problems and is taking medication(s) for high blood pressure. Hmmm.

People who suffer from gastrointestinal problems after eating gluten-containing foods, or mucus after eating casein-containing foods may have impaired gut integrity. See Gluten - more than just a pain in the guts?

Supplements that I consider of positive value are:-

Fish oils: If the diet is low in oily fish (tinned tuna is not an oily fish), there may be insufficient EPA & DHA (especially in men, children & post-menopausal women). Women of reproductive age can get away with taking flaxseed oil.

Magnesium: If the diet is low in veg/high in dairy, there may be too much Calcium relative to Magnesium.

Vitamin D3: If the lifestyle results in sun-avoidance, insufficiency in Vitamin D is highly likely.

Vitamin K2: If the diet is low in animal fats and/or fermented foods, insufficiency in Vitamin K2 is highly likely.

Supplements that I consider of negative value are:-

Vitamin A: If there's an insufficiency in Vitamin D, supplementing with Vitamin A/β-carotene may exacerbate it. As Vitamin D + Calcium may reduce cancer risk, supplementing with Vitamin A absent Vitamin D3 may increase cancer risk.

Vitamin E: If there's an insufficiency in γ-tocopherol, supplementing with α-tocopherol may exacerbate it. As γ-tocopherol may reduce CHD mortality risk, supplementing with α-tocopherol absent γ-tocopherol may increase CHD mortality risk. Most Vitamin E supplements contain α-tocopherol only. Some Vitamin E supplements contain mixed tocopherols and these are O.K.