Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Endurance Cyclists Set World Record Powered by Raw Milk"

Pretty cool

Grass-fed raw milk is the one thing I regularly crave after exercise.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Barefoot Running and The Smoking Gun

Amby Burfoot discussed this paper today: "Foot Strike Pattern Does Not Predict Loading Rates During Shod or Barefoot Running" (Becker, et al).  As always, he uses the results to denigrate the barefoot-style running movement, "Let's Stop Making Generalizations About Foot Strikes, Shoe Choices, And Injury Risks"

I took a quick look at the paper.  In order to understand it, you need to also look at this paper: "The Relationship Between Lower-Extremity Stress Fractures and the Ground Reaction" (Zadpoor, et al), which contains the definition of "instantaneous vertical loading rate (VILR)".

In a nutshell, VILR is the slope of the impact when the foot initially contacts the ground.  Prof. Lieberman found that the VILR is less steep in barefoot runners, since the heel does not make the initial contact with the ground.  His finding is illustrated in these two images from his website:

As you can see, that's quite a dramatic difference.  Lieberman et al found that nearly all runners change their stride when you take their shoes off: they stop heel striking, and the impact transient goes away.  He's not the only one.  Hamill, et al in "Impact Characteristics in Shod and Barefoot Running"  (Covered by Mr. Burfoot here) had a similar result.  Pete the Runblogger summarized the study thus:

"As Steve said, this was a simple study with a simple hypothesis. Basically they showed that if you take a sample of runners accustomed to heel striking and have them run down a runway either in 4mm drop shoes of varying thickness or barefoot, barefoot differs than the 4mm drop shoes. I think most here would agree with this result. You take a heel striking runner accustomed to marshmallow shoes and put them in the Minimus and have them run down the road ten times, I'm guessing that they will still be heel strikers. You have them run barefoot and things change, which is why we all view barefoot as the best way to get a feel for our default stride. So what this shows is that changing to a 4mm drop shoe is not necessarily enough to change your gait in any fundamental way, but going barefoot is. I actually think these results are pretty cool and support what everyone here is saying all of the time. Barefoot is different than a 4mm drop shoe, and unless you work to alter your ingrained motor patterns, going to a low drop shoe in and of itself may not change very much from an impact standpoint, at least over the short term...."
So Lieberman and Hamill both found that barefoot runners run differently than shod do.  The effect is so reliable that Pete uses it as a parlor trick in his classes.  Becker's paper found the same thing: the "center of pressure" for barefoot runners was dramatically different from shod:

Dramatic change, no?
So, like the others, he finds that the barefoot runners land with the pressure on the forefoot, not the heel.

So how does Becker, et al make the claim that the VILR does not differ between shod and barefoot?  Zadpoor defines VILR in this easy-to-understand graph:

Clear, right?  T is the period of the VILR.

I don't know.  Unfortunately Becker does not explain what they are using for VILR.  They also mention that they're using the "Strike Index" from Cavanagh, et al.  That paper doesn't include the word "index", so I again don't know what they're talking about...

What I suspect was happening is that their barefoot runners may have been running with a bit of a heel strike, which beginning barefoot-style runners can do, especially if they're running on a softer surface, and are used to heel-striking.  They quickly get out of the habit, as it hurts.  Again, Pete the Runblogger experienced this first-hand.

"Subjects ran continuous laps around a 25 meter track in the laboratory under both shod and barefoot conditions."

That's the only explanation I can find for why all the running studies but this one find that going barefoot reduces the impact transient in near-100% of runners. Either that, or they weren't measuring the VILR correctly (which I suspect, as they show it as being higher, not lower, for the barefoot runners).  I've seen some evidence that barefoot-style running increases the Ground Reactive Force (GRF), while eliminating the VILR.  Becker may well be reporting GRF as VILR, but it's tough to tell from that summary.

Why is this whole issue important?  Neither Amby nor Becker goes into this issue, but if you read Zadpoor ,which this new study is attempting to refute, you'll see why it's important:

"The results of the fixed-effect meta-analysis of all included studies (Table 4) show that there is no significant difference between the vertical GRF peaks of the stress fracture group and those of the control group (PN0.05, Table 4). However, the AVLR and [VILR] are significantly higher for the stress fracture group (Pb0.05, Table 4). The same conclusion holds when the meta-analysis is performed only within the tibial or metatarsal stress fracture groups, except in the case of the [VILR] of the metatarsal fracture group for which only one study is included (Table 4)."

So there's a non-random relationship between the impact transient, and stress fractures.  Eliminating the impact transient should reduce stress-fracture injuries, and the best way to do this reliably is to eliminate the shoes or wear barefoot-style (no heel-cushion) shoes.

In other words, sneakers cause stress fractures.

From Zadpoor:

"Lower-limb stress fractures are among the most common injuries to athletes and military recruits (Fredericson et al., 2006; James et al., 1978; Kowal, 1980; McBryde, 1985; Milner et al., 2006a). According to one report, up to 20% of all sports medicine clinical injuries are lowerlimb stress fractures (Fredericson et al., 2006). Stress fractures are also a major problem for military recruits. According to Ross and Allsopp (Ross and Allsopp, 2002), stress fracture is the most common reason for the loss of training days for Royal Marine Recruits. These injuries cause so many lost training days due to the fact that stress fractures are among the more severe injuries of the lower-extremity musculoskeletal system, and need extended periods (4 to 8 weeks (Brukner et al., 1998)) of refraining from physically-demanding activities for
recovery (Friedl et al., 1992; Jones et al., 1993; Macera et al., 1989; Rauh et al., 2006)."

The smoking gun, in other words. 

No wonder Amby likes Becker's study, if it's correct there is no smoking gun, and he's not been peddling snake-oil for the last few decades. 

But I think it's pretty clear that it's not correct.

P.S. Related post: Barefoot Running and Shin Splints:

"However, gait retraining using real time feedback has been shown to reduce [tibial shock] during running up to 25%."

SoftStar Moc3 Review

This sounds like Gordon Pirie's dream shoe...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Doctors and Checklists

Be your doctor's copilot:

"A new Northwestern Medicine study shows the attending physician in the intensive care unit could use a copilot, too. The mortality rate plummeted 50 percent when the attending physician in the intensive care unit had a checklist -- a fairly new concept in medicine -- and a trusted person prompting him to address issues on the checklist if they were being overlooked. Simply using a checklist alone did not produce an improvement in mortality."

It sounds like he needs one. 

Simply using the checklist alone didn't work because they weren't using it.  That's the funny thing about checklists...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Barefoot in the Air Force

At ease, Airmen
For demonstration purposes, any way.  Dr. Cucuzzella continues his good work:

"After the classroom presentation, the running experts escorted the attendees outside to practice these techniques. All attendees removed their shoes to try running barefoot for a short distance, and they learned some new drills to increase their strength and stability.

"'I'm glad I came,' said Staff Sgt. Jose Marin, from 752nd Medical Squadron. 'Next time I run, I'll use this.'"

"Low-Calorie Diet Offers Hope of Cure for Type 2 Diabetes"

Two of my colleagues told me about this story today, (one of them heard it on NPR this morning, although I can't find the link):

"Eleven people with diabetes took part in the study, which was funded by Diabetes UK. They had to slash their food intake to just 600 calories a day for two months. But three months later seven of the 11 were free of diabetes.

"'To have people free of diabetes after years with the condition is remarkable – and all because of an eight-week diet,' said Roy Taylor, professor at Newcastle University, who led the study. 'This is a radical change in understanding type 2 diabetes. It will change how we can explain it to people newly diagnosed with the condition. While it has long been believed that someone with type 2 diabetes will always have the disease, and that it will steadily get worse, we have shown that we can reverse the condition.'...

"...The research, presented today at the American Diabetes Association conference, shows that an extremely low-calorie diet, consisting of diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables, prompts the body to remove the fat clogging the pancreas and preventing it from making insulin...."

First, I would like to ask why it is journalists only report the most idiotic stories?  And why is it that scientists like this are apparently so unaware of the scientific literature as to not understand immediately why this diet works?

For heavens' sake, Dr. Bernstein has only been doing this for forty years, and could explain to these knuckleheads why this works in about 8 seconds...

So let's review what's going on here: If you fast, your body produces fuel from energy stores in the following ratio: 70% fat, 20% carbs, and 10% protein.  Since these people are basically starving, their body is preoducing energy from their energy stores. 

So what's healing these people in the study above, is a high-fat diet.  If you make the diet low-carb enough, it becomes "ketogenic", and then magically aquires the ability to cure a range of diseases, including diabetic kidney failure.  This has also been demonstrated in humans, and, as Peter of Hyperlipid notes in the last link, "ignored" by the scientific establishment and the media.

A high-fat diet is metabolically equivalent to starvation, and maintains all the benefits of starvation, with out having to actually starve. Duh. Which option would you take?

What's missing in a high-fat diet?  Carbohydrates.  What is diabetes?  It's carbohydrate intolerance.  No carbs, no intolerance.  Problem solved.  (Yes, it's a little more complicated than that, but if you want the roadmap, buy Dr. Bernstein's book, The Diabetes SOLUTION.)

The study (full text available at the link) starts off:

"Type 2 diabetes is regarded as inevitably progressive, with irreversible beta cell failure. The hypothesis was tested that both beta cell failure and insulin resistance can be reversed by dietary restriction of energy intake."

It's been shown several times recently that a paleo-style diet will also cure diabetes.  Why?  Low-carb, high-fat.  No starvation required, unless you're a scientist who doesn't read the literature or a journalist who's not familiar with Google.  [P.S. The success rate in the paleo diabetes cure was 100%, the success rate in the starvation cure was 75%. The difference? Starving yourself is hard, people dropped out.]

What did they feed these poor victims?

"After the baseline measurements, individuals with type 2 diabetes started the diet, which consisted of a liquid diet formula (46.4% carbohydrate, 32.5% protein and 20.1% fat; vitamins, minerals and trace elements; 2.1 MJ/day [510 kcal/day]; Optifast; Nestlé Nutrition, Croydon, UK)."
The first ingredient in Optifast is sugar.  I think this falls under Stephan's research on food reward.  Who would want to eat this stuff?

One of my colleagues (mentioned above) is himself diabetic, and is well on his way towards reversing his and his daughter's condition with the paleo diet.  He found this study particularly absurd, as well he should, given his own success.

So you can starve yourself, or you can do what this lady did, and make your medical professionals look like fools while eating like a king.  Your call.

And I have to say that at least this study represents a tiny bit of progress.  Figuring out that you can cure diabetes simply by using the body's own mechanisms is a pretty big leap forward, for the American Diabetes Association.

What is fascinating is that the pancreas of these people started functioning again.  They blame the lack of insulin production on fatty pancreas, which apparently goes along with fatty liver.  However, then they go on to say,

"There was no correlation between indices of insulin secretion and pancreatic fat..."

I don't know how you reconcile those two notions.

(For some amusing FUD on Atkins and low-carb diets, see here:

"Very-low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets are often rich in animal fats and cholesterol. Many health experts are concerned that if such a diet is consumed for a long period of time, the fat and cholesterol it contains may place people at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases including stroke and heart attack.

"An Atkins-like diet contains around 20 grams of carbohydrate a day. This is roughly the same amount of carbohydrate found in a single banana. The diet is so low in carbohydrate it is virtually a no-carbohydrate diet. Consuming adequate carbohydrate is important because many tissues in the human body must use glucose, a simple carbohydrate for energy. When people eat less than 100 grams of carbohydrate a day, their bodies compensate by significantly altering their metabolism. These metabolic changes generate waste products that must be removed from the blood by the kidneys.

"Kidney function naturally declines as people age. Kidney function is also impaired by diabetes. Thus, many health experts fear that long-term use of very-low-carbohydrate diets, particularly by aging baby boomers (many of whom have Type II diabetes), may contribute to kidney damage.[3]

"In addition to concerns about kidney function, researchers have documented an increased risk for a host of medical problems such as cancer, diverticulitis, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis in individuals who restrict intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products long term.[4]"

Wow, if any of that stuff was true, I'd be afraid of my low-carb diet also!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Potatoes Make You Fat? Or Omega-6 Makes You Fat?"

I agree with Melissa, it's clearly the omega-6 oils. 

When I decided one day to stop eating them, the weight started falling off, and my carb cravings stopped immediately.  I'd tried low-carb before, and had not been able to overcome the cravings, so this was a big change.

Here's another version of the story from Bloomberg:

"Potato Chips Seen as Culprit in U.S. Weight Gain":

"Putting aside a 1-ounce bag of potato chips each day in favor of yogurt can save almost a pound of weight gain every four years, according to a Harvard University analysis of the dietary habits of 120,000 Americans.

"People in the U.S. add almost 1 pound a year on average, with those who consume lots of potato chips packing on the most weight and yogurt eaters cutting heft, according to the report published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. A daily serving of potato chips over a 20-year period led to an extra 1.69 pounds (0.8 kilograms) every four years, while yogurt helped people lose about 0.82 pounds, the study found..."

My view, however, is that most of these studies are bogus.  Potato chips are deep-fried in omega-6 vegetable oils, and that's what makes people gain weight.  Eat what healthy people have traditionally eaten (which includes potatoes, but does not include industrially-produced omega-6 seed oils), and ignore what the scientists tell you.  Your grandmother is a more reliable source of information, and she has your best interests at heart.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Birth of VivoBarefoot

Very cool.  The shoes look hideous, however. ;)

Phil Maffetone on Aerobic Training and Nutrition

"Next I visited Phil Maffetone’s lecture room. Mike Pigg gave the introduction. He talked about how he had stopped realizing gains and was experiencing frequent injuries. He was searching for a remedy and contacted Phil Maffetone. Phil told Mike to train for five months at no more than 155 max heart rate. He also changed Mike’s diet to include more fats ("good" fats called essential fatty acids) and protein, and less carbohydrates. As he continued to train "aerobically" Mike noticed that his times were improving even though his heart rate was still no more than 155. He began to make gains and is now racing professionally again. Maffetone then began to talk about his theories of nutrition and training. He began by cautioning that there is no 40-30-30 magic and no perfect schedule for the fastest race. It’s a matter of trial and error on every athlete’s part. Maffetone’s recommendation in nutrition, in training, and in life is to remember that you’re in it for the long haul. You can’t consistently produce well by doing all-out efforts followed by crashing.

"Maffetone is concerned about stress in the athlete. This stress can be mental, emotional, or physical. When an athlete trains anaerobically he produces stress and burns glucose. When he drinks coffee he produces a chemical stress. When he eats carbohydrates, he stimulates insulin, burns the sugar quickly and then is left depleted. Maffetone believes triathletes need to get 99.9% of their energy from the aerobic system that is primarily fat-burning. A trained aerobic system results in better circulation, better immunity to disease and better joint support. He says that when the athlete burns more fat (through aerobic training), he has less body fat and burns less glucose.

"Maffetone says that if you’re eating primarily carbohydrates you’re burning 90% sugar and 10% fat. You’re tired, not sleeping well, possibly becoming insulin-resistant, hungry for sweets, craving caffeine, and depressed after meals. He said when insulin goes up in the bloodstream, blood pressure goes up. In the later stages of prolonged high blood insulin, heart disease, stroke, and chronic high blood-pressure may develop. He recommends drastically reducing your carbohydrates for 2 weeks (eating primarily protein, good fats – from linseed, soybean, or fish oils, and vegetables) and noticing how you feel. If it’s noticeably better you may be insulin resistant and should consider restricting your intake of carbohydrates.

"If you feel that your athletic performance is 'stuck' and that you’re experiencing frequent injuries, Maffetone recommends training almost exclusively aerobically until you begin to realize gains again. He is fairly radical in his approach initially restricting the athlete even from weight lifting and situps or pushups. "

Obviously I really like hearing this, since it agrees 100% with the conclusions I've been coming to. :) The fact that it's a top triathlon coach making the recommendations is pretty cool.

I disagree with his definition of "good fats", but that's a small difference, IMHO. (Linseed and fish oil are polyunsaturated, and should be minimized; soybean oil is just toxic, and should be avoided.)

P.S. Found this after I wrote the paragraph above:

"This is done by balancing fats and avoiding all vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, peanut, etc."

His thinking has evolved (PDF), apparently.  I agree with the statement above 100%.  If you click through to the doc, which is interesting, he's a little too gung-ho on olive oil for my taste, but I don't think you could go wrong following that doc.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Running and Love"; Geoff Roes and Western States

Goeff Roes is running Western States again this weekend.  Again, he's one of the favorites to win.

If you want to understand where he's coming from, read this, one of the great running essays of all time:

"...At the end of the day I very much still ackowledge that it takes a serious amount of 'training' to run Wasatch in 18.5 hours or Crow Pass in under 3 hours, but it's been a shocking, and very comforting revelation to realize that, with being more willing to accept the help of others that this "training" can be so much more fun than I ever imagined. And that by having fun doing it, and coming to love the process of it more than ever, and coming to love myself and the people around me more than ever, that I am now faster than ever. I also think it's worth noting that my shockingly fast times in Crow Pass and Wasatch both included other runners (Eric Strabel and Karl Meltzer respectively) pushing me with record shattering performances of their own. In the same way that I have learned to open up my 'training' to being influenced by other people in my life, I think it's only fitting that it was with the 'aid' of other racers that I was able to run as fast as I did in these races."

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chris Kresser Untangles "Paleo"

I think he's exactly right:

"...I suggest we stop trying to define the “Paleo diet” and start thinking about it instead as a “Paleo template”.

"What’s the difference? A Paleo diet implies a particular approach with clearly defined parameters that all people should follow. There’s little room for individual variation or experimentation.

"A Paleo template implies a more flexible and individualized approach. A template contains a basic format or set of general guidelines that can then be customized based on the unique needs and experience of each person...."

As I've said before, I prefer The Perfect Health Diet or the Primal Blueprint, but I think any version of the "paleo" diet is superior to the Modern American Diet.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Frontiers in Industrial Food


"It’s being called the “poop burger”. Japanese scientists have found a way to create artificial meat from sewage containing human feces."

Everything you eat is made of poop, ultimately, but I find it much more appealing when it's recycled through plants and animals, not just bacteria.

Ultimately this is all agriculture, properly done. does.

But I don't eat processed "food" any more, so I'll be skipping the poop burger, thanks.

The Modern American Diet and Cancer

"Low-Carbohydrate, High-Protein Diets May Reduce Both Tumor Growth Rates and Cancer Risk":

"...As well, mice genetically predisposed to breast cancer were put on these two diets and almost half of them on the Western diet developed breast cancer within their first year of life while none on the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet did. Interestingly, only one on the Western diet reached a normal life span (approximately 2 years), with 70 percent of them dying from cancer while only 30 percent of those on the low-carbohydrate diet developed cancer and more than half these mice reached or exceeded their normal life span..."

That's pretty impressive.  From what I've learned, excess protein consumed is converted to glucose.  So a high-fat, low carb, moderate protein diet would probably be even better for the mice.

Puts this advice in perspective.  Perhaps I should change that title to "The Government Wants YOU to Get Cancer."

MAD vs. SAD explained here.

Merrell Barefoot Sonic Glove

That's my foot.  More later.

The End of Antibiotics?

"How Superbugs Will Affect Our Health Care Costs":

"Oh, it gets even more depressing. You haven't even mentioned tuberculosis; the susceptible bacteria is hard enough to treat (6 months of three or four antibiotics). Now imagine multidrug resistant (MDR) or extensively drug resistant (XDR) bacteria. There are now even strains that are resistant against every anti-tuberculous antibiotic out there."

Weston Price noted that the folks who lived on a traditional Swiss mountain-valley diet did not seem to get tuberculosis, and also did not get tooth decay.  He noted that the two conditions seemed to be associated, and the logical conclusion to draw from his research is that the nutrient-dense diet he developed to protect against tooth decay would also aid the body's immune system in fighting off infection.

I'll note that the Swiss diet that appeared to convey immunity to tuberculosis was as un-paleo as it's possible to get: raw dairy and rye bread.

But it was sufficient to nourish the Swiss mountain villages, and protect them.  Note also the importance of "heliotherapy" in treating tuberculosis.  That means letting people sit out in the sun and make vitamin D.

"When I asked a government official what the principal diseases of the community were, he said that the most serious and most universal was dental caries, and the next most important, tuberculosis; and that both were largely modern diseases in that country.

"When I visited the famous advocate of heliotherapy, Dr. Rollier, in his clinic in Leysin, Switzerland, I wondered at the remarkable results he was obtaining with heliotherapy in nonpulmonary tuberculosis. I asked him how many patients he had under his general supervision and he said about thirty-five hundred. I then asked him how many of them come from the isolated Alpine valleys and he said that there was not one; but that they were practically all from the Swiss plains, with some from other countries.

"I inquired of several clinicians in Switzerland what their observations were with regard to the association of dental caries and tuberculosis among the people of Switzerland. I noted that the reports indicated that the two diseases were generally associated. We will find a corollary to this in many studies in other parts of the world.

"These studies in Switzerland, as briefly presented here, seem to demonstrate that the isolated groups dependent on locally produced natural foods have nearly complete natural immunity to dental caries, and that the substitution of modern dietaries for these primitive natural foods destroys this immunity whether in ideally located elevated districts like St. Moritz or in the beautiful and fertile plains of lower Switzerland. The question seems to answer itself in a general way, without much laboratory data, from the results of a critical examination of the foods. The laboratory analyses, however, identify the particular factors in the foods which are primarily responsible by their presence for establishing immunity, and by their absence in inducing susceptibility to dental caries. These chemical data are discussed in Chapter 15.

"High immunity to dental caries, freedom from deformity of the dental arches and face, and sturdy physiques with high immunity to disease were all found associated with physical isolation, and with forced limitation in selection of foods. This resulted in a very liberal use of dairy products and whole-rye bread, in connection with plant foods, and with meat served about once a week.

"The individuals in the modernized districts were found to have widespread tooth decay. Many had facial and dental arch deformities and much susceptibility to diseases. These conditions were associated with the use of refined cereal flours, a high intake of sweets, canned goods, sweetened fruits, chocolate; and a greatly reduced use of dairy products."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Merrell Barefoot Sales Soaring at"

Good to hear they're selling well.

"Born to Run" Movie News

It's moving along...

"'We’re going to try to make, you know, a kind of wild dirt magazine sort of version of 'Born to Run' that honors the true free spirit of what a lot of these people are like,' Sarsgaard says. 'I was drawn to it because I wanted to play Caballo Blanco and then I got drawn into directing it and now I don’t feel comfortable [doing both].'

"Aiming for a winter shoot, the indie 'Run' is looking at alternative offers for financing. Sarsgaard says, 'There’s a lot of different ways of financing this movie because it’s such a popular book and all those kind of companies like Terra Planet and shoe companies. There’s a lot of different people that even like running/training groups that has nothing to do with the book. So, we have a number of options which is nice. If the movie were just an original screenplay, not based on anything, it would be a lot tougher to make. It’s got sort of a built-in core audience which is a big advantage.'

"An avid runner himself, Sarsgaard is seeing the action in the story within the races which he views almost as traditional 'chase' scenes...."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Cure Metabolic Syndrome in Spanish

"A Pilot Study of the Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: An Effective Therapy for the Metabolic Syndrome":

"After the diet all the subjects were free of metabolic syndrome according to the International Diabetes Federation definition, and 100% of them had normal triacylglycerols and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, in spite of the fact that 77.27% of them still had a body mass index of >30 kg/m2. We conclude that the SKMD could be an effective and safe way to cure patients suffering from metabolic syndrome. Future research should include a larger sample size, a longer-term use, and a comparison with other ketogenic diets."

What is a Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, exactly?

"Ketogenic diets are an effective healthy way of losing weight since they promote a non-atherogenic lipid profile, lower blood pressure and decrease resistance to insulin with an improvement in blood levels of glucose and insulin. On the other hand, Mediterranean diet is well known to be one of the healthiest diets, being the basic ingredients of such diet the olive oil, red wine and vegetables. In Spain the fish is an important component of such diet. The objective of this study was to determine the dietary effects of a protein ketogenic diet rich in olive oil, salad, fish and red wine."

(Spanish accent in the original. :)

That works for me.  Paleo with a Spanish flavor, basically.  Thumbs up for the inclusion of red wine.  Olive oil's not "paleo" after all, so why not?

The important thing about this diet are, IMHO, low carb (by definition, it's ketogenic); so no sugar or wheat, and uses olive oil as the fat, so no industrial seed oils like canola or soy.  Any diet that avoids those ingredients should do the trick, so long as it's properly nutritious.

Via Dr. Eades on Twitter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"So I Started Eating Meat Again..."

This seems to be happening a lot. Vegan/vegetarian tries the paleo way of eating and promptly sees dramatic improvements in health:

"...My decision to eat meat again was driven by health concerns. I was a vegetarian for over ten years and I did so primarily for ethical reasons. It was in the last several years of being a vegetarian, however, that I grew increasingly concerned about my health. An increasing number of studies started to point at the importance of meat protein and animal fat—not to mention the perils of soy (which was a staple for me). Moreover, my performance at the gym was stalling. My energy levels were consistently low and I was making very little gains. This was an indication to me that something wasn't right.

"So, after a decade of avoiding meat, I was curious to see if a reintroduction to animal protein could change the situation. I switched to the Paleo diet and within three months my BMI went down from 17% to 12% and I gained nearly ten pounds of muscle mass. I was astounded. And add to that an improved sense of well-being, mental clarity and energy— I was sold. My experiment with eating meat exceeded even my own expectations.

"Now just because I'm eating meat again doesn't mean I have to be an asshole about it....

  That's nice, but you're still being a bit of a dick about your eating choices:

"...Well, unlike many other carnivores, I'm at least cognizant of the fact that I'm exploiting animals for my own well-being. While I have made the move to a diet that contains meat, I am not completely at peace with it. I am fully aware and respectful of the fact that the meat on my plate comes at at price, that being the life of another animal...."

Unless they're complete idiots, all carnivores get the fact that they're "exploiting" other animals.  By definition, that's what carnivores do.  And the fact that you are "not completely at peace with it" just means you're still being foolish, not that you're morally superior.  Smug self-satisfaction is dangerously close to being an a**hole, btw.  Just an observation.

"While I agree that many meat eaters can be obnoxious, inconsiderate and self-righteous in celebration of their carnivorousness, there is an equally pernicious sentiment among vegetarians that needs to be called out: the false notion that a vegetarian or vegan diet is actually good for you. Like the meat eater who needs to acknowledge the harm they're meting out as a consequence of their dietary choices, the vegetarian needs to acknowledge the fact that their diet is far from ideal...."

I have never met a single non-vegetarian/vegan who was "obnoxious, inconsiderate and self-righteous" about their eating choices.  Non-Indian vegetarians seem to have this market cornered.  Most omnivores never give the fact a thought.

"...A vegetarian's choice to avoid meat for ethical or environmental reasons is truly noble. They are willing to sacrifice their own health in order to mete out as little harm as possible. I bow down to these people in deep and profound respect...."

It's not really noble.  While I respect folks like the Jains who have a clear philosophy that leads them to vegetarianism (not veganism), I don't share it.  Vegans, on the other hand, are just foolish.  Like people who play Russian roulette are foolish.  Malnourishing yourself and your children does not make you morally superior, period.  I've never met a non-Jain vegan or vegetarian in American who could offer a rational explanation of why their diet was "noble".  That's not a good sign.  Most go on about how humans didn't evolve to eat meat, which is just flat wrong.

"...But that said, vegetarians should not claim that their diet is optimal—because many of them do. The avoidance of meat protein and animal fats, plus the heavy reliance on soy and carbohydrates, is far from ideal. As a person concerned about his health, and as someone who feels that there are reasonable ethical options available for meat consumption, I have consciously (and perhaps selfishly) chosen to avoid a sub-optimal diet. I have come to recognize the fact that the human body evolved to eat meat, and that in order for me to live and be at my best, I need to be an omnivore...."

Good for you.

"...Lastly, as a bioethicist who has strived to walk-the-walk, I am increasingly coming to grips with the fact that I cannot live an ethically or morally perfect life and that I should stop trying.

"As for my animal rights advocacy work, that still remains a top priority. I'll continue to push for better conditions at factory farms (if not the elimination of factory farming altogether), the development of cultured meat, and of course, extended rights for nonhuman animal persons...."

You're still hung up on this idea that eating meat means you aren't moral.  That doesn't make sense.  Carnivores exist on the planet just as surely as non-carnivores do.  One's not "good" while the other's "bad", they're both just living as they were intended to.  Humans evolved to eat meat or were created to eat meat, depending on your point of view.  It's going to be a difficult circle to square, advocating "extended rights for nonhuman animal persons" while eating them, but good luck on that.  (Nonhuman animal is redundant, btw.)

"...For my vegetarian and vegan friends and colleagues, I hope you understand and continue to support me and my work...."

Definitely good luck with that.  As Lierre Keith discovered, no cult is less forgiving of apostates than confused Western vegans and vegetarians.

But if you can drop the attitude, we'd be happy to welcome you back to the human race.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Follow-up to "Beer Run with Chrisopher McDougall"

Thanks to McDougall on Twitter, here's a great video of the run.  That's me at 1:38, and in the last scene (always change your t-shirt after a run.  It makes you feel so much fresher. ;).

Barefoot Beer Run from Kris wood on Vimeo.

Original post.

"Western Diseases, Their Emergence and Prevention"

This has been on my to-do list to review for ever.  A fascinating, if problematic, book.  Here's a short review (PDF, link):
"As is succinctly stated in their preface, 'this book attempts to discuss the commoner diseases of civilization.' In essence, these diseases are ones felt by the editors to be characteristic of modern Western industrialized societies: metabolic and cardiovascular diseases (e.g., coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disorders); intestinal diseases (e.g., appendicitis, diverticular disease, cancer, hemorrhoids, polyps, constipation); and a variety of others, including nephrolithiasis, gout, pernicious anemia, thyrotoxicosis, and breast and lung cancer.

"The major chapters in the book study several specific populations from all corners of the earth. They are collected in sections under the concepts of hunter-gatherers, peasant-agriculturists, migrants and mixed ethnic groups, and the Far East. The people described include Inuit Eskimos, Australian aborigines, Pacific Island groups, South African populations, Hawaiian ethnic groups, and the population of Taiwan and China."

Here's another short and informative review (PDF, link):

"The book is intended for epidemiologists, nutritionists and gastroenterologists, but many of the chapters will be of interest to clinicians who are interested in total patient care, particularly the preventive aspects of diseases. Disciples of the bran cult will find that the book makes for stimulating reading. It would be a worthy addition to any medical library, and all physicians concerned about the dubious benefits of our Western lifestyle will find that the work provides much food for thought."

He's spot on about the "bran cult".  Burkitt founded it after all, if I'm not mistaken. 

The book is here on Amazon, and here on Google Books (including excerpts).

Merrell Barefoot Sonic Glove Tease (Updated to Include First Impressions)

Thanks, Pete.  Is this the rumored Merrell water shoe?

I heard this weekend that Merrell is releasing 48 models of barefoot-style shoe next year.  Wow, if correct.

P.S.  Here are Pete's first impressions.

"The Truth About Calories"


They miss the whole hormonal aspect of human weight regulation, but the information about the costs and benefits of eating various foods is good.  It's also a good reminder of why expecting to lose weight from exercise alone, with out making dietary changes, is unlikely to succeed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Big Government Makes Life Better

Not that I was making a large amount of money out of this, but this stinks. Perhaps we should just let the Gov't do everything. That's worked well in the past, hasn't it?

"Notice of Contract Terminatio​n Due to New Connecticu​t Law


"For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of Connecticut residents. Unfortunately, the budget signed by Governor Malloy contains a sales tax provision that compels us to terminate this program for Connecticut-based participants effective immediately. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by Connecticut-based affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

"We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside Connecticut, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.

"As a result of the new law, contracts with all Connecticut residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program will be terminated today, June 10, 2011. Those Connecticut residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to,, MYHABIT.COM or Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before today, June 10, 2011, will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

"You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Connecticut. If you are not currently a resident of Connecticut, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state after June 10, 2011, please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

"To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to Connecticut residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from

"We have enjoyed working with you and other Connecticut-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to Connecticut residents.


"The Amazon Associates Team

"This e-mail was sent to XXX.

"Please note that you must use this e-mail address to access your account in Associates Central or when contacting Associates Customer Service.

"To manage your e-mail preferences, update your account settings.

"Message Category: Notice of Contract Termination Due to New Connecticut Law

"© 2011 All rights reserved. is a registered trademark of, Inc., 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210, USA."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Loren Cordain Reviews the Science Behind the Paleo Diet

Very interesting.  Read the whole thing, as they say.

See here, as well.

P.S. Updated: "US News 'Best' Diets: Rebuttal 2".

Beer Run with Christopher McDougall

I drove in to NYC yesterday afternoon to join Chris McDougall to run from Columbus Circle to 4th Avenue in Brooklyn. (Route below, I hope).

View Larger Map

A couple of observations: we had a pretty decent turnout for what was basically a last-minute event.  McDougall has a book-signing scheduled today, which is part of his Naked Tour, and this was an add-on to that.  It was organized in conjunction with John Durant, whose sister Maggie wound up taking the lead, as John is trying to finish his book.

Folks were wearing a variety of shoes for the run, including Vibrams, VivoBarefoot Evos, Merrell Trail Gloves, and regular sneakers.  A number of very accomplished barefooters turned up.  I wore my Ultras, which I took off for about 2.5 miles of the run down the West Side.  My feet are not as well-adapted as they would be if I'd been getting more running in...  The Ultras did terrific.  Sweating was not a problem, they're a touch over-cushioned for my taste, but well within the bounds of barefoot-style, and switching back and forth from barefoot to Ultra-shod was effortless.  Literally.  With the elastic lacing, you just pull them off and pull them on.  These may be the perfect minimalist triathalon shoe...  I wore them sockless until the end, and did not use the liner or the tongue.  They kept my feet well exposed to the breezes.

Lots of folks brought packs, as did I, as the forecast was hot and humid.  It turned out to be quite pleasant, however, with a nice breeze off the river.  But I was glad for the extra water in the pack.

We wound up running 8.8 very flat miles.  Despite my complete lack of training, this was probably the easiest run I've ever done.  Part of it, to be sure, was being able to chat with a very nice bunch of folks, and part of it was a neat route through Manhattan.

As we arrived at the bar, one of the guys mentioned to me that he was starting to get hypoglycemic.  I laughed.  I had eaten a 3-egg omelet with peppers and onions cooked in butter with bacon on the side for breakfast that morning.  I bought lunch, a salad, and then forgot to eat it.  I had coffee with some grass-fed cream in the afternoon before leaving work, but basically ran the run in a fasted, no-carb state.  It hadn't occurred to me that I hadn't eating since the morning until this fellow mentioned food.  And I still wasn't hungry, had a hard cider and a tequila, and some milk when I got home, and never did eat anything for dinner.  Felt great the whole time.  Still do feel great writing this the morning after, and still haven't eaten anything.  Although I'm due for some coffee. ;)

I'm beginning to think fasted training and running is definitely the way to go.

Unfortunately McDougall's Naked Tour ends today, but he's a terrific, generous, funny individual, so if you have the chance to run with him or attend one of his events, do it.  It will be well worth your time.  And it's pretty remarkable that he makes the effort to remember everyone's name.  Is he running for office?

(No pictures, hopefully I'll get the group shot from the Durants and post it here later.)

P.S.  Forgot to mention that Tyler, a podiatry student, was along running barefoot.  Looks like we may have a changing of the guard in that business, as he mentioned that a number of the students are into the barefoot movement, while the professors tend to be skeptical.  Kudos to Tyler.

P.P.S.  Here's a video of the event.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lee Saxby's Barefoot Running Guide Available

Link is here. I think your feet are the best coach, actually, but Lee's quite good. :)

Amby Burfoot, Head Still in Sand

I've posted about Amby's views on barefoot running before, but today saw this exchange on Twitter:

exerscience (Amby Burfoot): "Nothing like a NYTimes article on Barefootin' to set off a landslide of Comments. Still all anecdote on key issues."

BornToRunChris (Chris McDougall): "@exerscience Gotcha. It's ok that zero science supports cushioned shoes, yet 2 million years of bare feet are sniffed at as 'anecdotal.'"

Keep your head in the sand, Amby.  The folks that count get it.

VivoBarefoot Achilles First Impressions

Interesting, but not a rave.  I do like Star Trek and am not mad about the looks. 

Reebok Founder Invests in Newton Shoes


"Reebok International founder Paul Fireman is jumping back into the running-shoe business, with an investment of close to $20 million in a Colorado sneaker maker that aims to capitalize on the industry’s biggest innovation in decades: shoes that mimic barefoot running.

"If Fireman has been looking for his next act, perhaps he has found it in Newton Running Co., a Boulder start-up that specializes in $175 sneakers built to emulate a shoeless stride — yet with enough cushioning to protect skin and joints from the realities of pavement pounding. He and his Fireman Capital Partners will take a roughly 30 percent stake in Newton.

"'I never thought I’d be involved in anything to do with an athletic or shoe company again,' said Fireman, 67, who five years ago sold Reebok to Adidas-Salomon for $3.8 billion and personally reaped $800 million. 'But this one intrigued me.'...

"...'In my view, this is probably the largest single revolution in running footwear since the Nike air bag,' said John Fisher, the former chief executive of shoemaker Saucony Inc. who now teaches marketing at Babson College. 'The idea of minimalism will continue to grow in geometric leaps and bounds.'

"Fisher said it has been decades since anything truly new has emerged in the running shoe business, and that Fireman could well be seizing on a large opportunity, 'where you put one and one together and you don’t get two — you get nine.'"

Good insight. Obviously some folks from the sneaker business understand what's going on.

P.S. John Fisher makes a cool statement above, but he's mistaken.  This is the largest revolution in running footwear since the sneaker.

Follow-up to "The Government Wants YOU to Become Fat"


Grains are included in "Plants", but still...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fat as a Superior Fuel Source

"In March and April, researchers at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in California test biofuel made of chicken and beef tallow (waste fat) in the engine of a DC-8 airplane."
"Waste fat".  Morons.  Only chicken fat is waste fat.

"What they found was that the biofuel-powered engine produced much lower sulfate, organic aerosol, and hazardous emissions. It also produced 90 percent less black carbon emissions at idle and 60 percent less at a takeoff level of thrust."

Gee, but the medical establishment thinks sugar's a better fuel.  If beef tallow can fuel a jet, just imagine what it can do for your body.

Read the whole thing, as usual.  Tom Naughton's becoming my favorite diet-blogger, and while I just made two posts out of his one, he's got still more in the rest of his one post.

Statin News

"A population-based study in Sweden shows that the massive deployment of statins has provided no benefit."


"'The changes to the label are based on the Study of the Effectiveness of Additional Reductions in Cholesterol and Homocysteine (SEARCH), a study reported by heartwire. In that trial, 52 patients taking the 80-mg dose developed myopathy compared with one patient treated with the 20-mg dose. In addition, 22 patients treated with the high dose of simvastatin developed rhabdomyolysis compared with none treated with the 20-mg dose.'

"Rhabdomyolysis is medical-speak for 'Holy @#$%! My muscles are breaking down and wasting away.'"
Tom sums it up:

"Nothing like taking a drug that damages muscles to prevent heart disease. If memory serves, the heart is a muscle. I suspect that if high doses of statins can produce muscle damage extensive enough to be diagnosed, low doses may produce damage many patients don’t notice. And since the Swedish study shows that large-scale prescribing of statins hasn’t lowered rates of heart disease, here’s the logical conclusion: STOP TAKING THESE HORRIBLE DRUGS!"

P.S. Forgot to link to the source.  Duh.  Fixed.

The Scientific Mind

"'The idea that any science is "finished" violates all the norms of the science process, which should, by definition, be permanently open to new data and new ideas. The history of science is full of examples of so-called ‘normal science’ that is shown to be wrong on the basis of a single critical piece of data or a new idea. That’s all we were trying to do at the [Geological Association of Canada] meeting — keep our minds open.'"

Barefoot Running According to Ken Bob Saxton

This is too good to die in the comments of a NY Times story:
"Barefoot running is not simply running, except without the shoes!

"I recommend starting out on gravel, or a rough surface to help resist the temptation of; 1) pushing any part of the foot into the ground hard (heel or fore-foot), 2) skidding, twisting, or grinding your feet into the ground, 3) going too far, too soon (before you have learned to run gently, efficiently, and gracefully)

"Do NOT try to learn barefoot running in minimalist footwear!

"Invariably the reports I have seen and heard of people getting stressinjuries from "barefoot" running, were NOT even BAREfooted, but rather the were running minimalist ("barefoot") footwear, or occasionally barefooters avoiding challenging terrain, like gravel or rough asphalt.

"DO NOT confuse barefoot running with running in "barefoot" shoes - they are as different as night and day, blindfolded and clear-sighted, senseless and sensible.

"We were blessed with sensitive soles for the same reason we don't like to hold our hand in the fire for long. It hurts to do stupid things. Bad running technique hurts in bare feet, especially on gravel or rough surfaces. Pain is a warning that if we continue holding our hand in the fire, it will cause serious damage!

"On rough surfaces, we learn to run gently in much shorter time, because it hurts to run badly in barefoot, especially on rough terrain. That's why I encourage people not to avoid rough surfaces, but embrace them, to see them as educating. Running barefoot on gravel trails was my graduate school.

"One reason people want minimalist footwear is because it hurts to run barefoot badly, and because adults don't like to change the way we run. After all, that will take time, patience, learning, and change...

"Adults all-too-often will accept injury in the future, in order to continue running badly - in a way that would hurt if we were barefoot (or without pain-killers), rather than taking the time to figure out how to run more gently, with less pain.

"Which is why I also encourage people to become more like children. Do NOT commit yourself to X number of miles, or X number of minutes. Instead, try having fun, playing, experimenting, and listening to your bare soles. They really do want us to LEARN to run and walk more gently, and with less injury.

"Children take a few steps, and fall down, and are excited that they took a few steps. Children aren't wondering when they'll be able to run their next marathon!

"So be more child-like, curious, interested in learning, without worrying so much about how far you'll be able to run today, or tomorrow, and before you know it, you may be able to run further, faster, and more often than you ever could with shoes!

"That has been my experience, and the experience of hundreds, perhaps thousands of others barefoot runners I've been in contact with since creating the original Running Barefoot website in 1997.

"What Lieberman, Davis, and others are discovering in research, barefoot runners have known for as long as we can remember.

"Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton
co-author: Barefoot Running Step by Step
founder: The Barefoot Running website (since 1997)"

Paleo Diet Ranked Last at U.S. News and World Report

Too funny:

"One small study comparing a Paleo and a traditional diabetes diet in 13 type 2 diabetics showed the Paleo diet resulted in lower levels of hemoglobin A1C, a measure of blood sugar over time. The approach needs to be studied more before strong conclusions can be drawn, but most diabetes experts recommend a diet that includes whole grains and dairy products."

As Stephan summarized that study, in part, the paleo diet "[r]educed HbA1c more than the diabetes diet..." If you want to follow the advice of the people who've been succesful in getting us to a 10% diabetes rate in the United States, you go right ahead.  I tried their approach, and gave it up, and my pre-diabetes went away on the paleo diet.

I don't have time to make a lot of comments on this, but wanted to note it.  They're using Cordain's The Paleo Diet, which I'm not a big fan of. I'd suggest The Perfect Health Diet, or The Primal Blueprint instead.

I'll also note that journalists typically don't make any effort to verify claims made by experts, they just report the pro and con, and let you struggle through the dreck that results. 

When journalists do verify claims made by experts, you wind up with books like Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, which both offer the science in support of an approach like the paleo diet.

Happily this result appeals to the contrarian side of me, which believes that what I'm doing can't be correct if everyone else is doing it. ;)

Thanks to Robb Wolf.

P.S.  Wolf posts Prof. Cordain's response:

"...It is obvious that whoever wrote this piece did not do their homework and has not read the peer review scientific papers which have examined contemporary diets based upon the Paleolithic food groups which shaped the genomes of our ancestors. Accordingly the writer’s conclusions are erroneous and misleading. I feel strongly that it is necessary to point out these errors and make this information known to a much wider audience than those reached by the readers of the U.S. News and World Report. You have my permission to syndicate my response and or your write up for the CSU Collegian to any of the major news services including AP and UPI. Additionally, I will copy a number of colleagues and scientists worldwide with this message to ensure that it will be widely circulated on the web, blogs and chat groups.

"The writer of this article suggests that the Paleo Diet has only been scientifically tested in 'one tiny study'. This quote is incorrect as five studies (1-7); four since 2007, have experimentally tested contemporary versions of ancestral human diets and have found them to be superior to Mediterranean diets, diabetic diets and typical western diets in regards to weight loss, cardiovascular disease risk factors and risk factors for type 2 diabetes...."

Read the whole thing.  Thanks to Sean for pointing this out.

P.P.S. Updated: "US News 'Best' Diets: Rebuttal 2".

"Barefoot Running Phenomenon Hits White Plains"

This is right up the road from my office.  Excellent. 

I've not seen any other barefoot runners on the roads around where I live and work, although Vibram-clad runners are becoming more common.

It includes an obligatory dingbat podiatrist paraphrase: 

"Some podiatrists warn that the proactive could be harmful as the world is no longer filled with grassy fields, but with pavement that can be littered with glass and other items harmful to your feel."

Of course, as we know, the podiatrist profession is coming around.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vivobarefoot Ultra Review

Sean Butler likes 'em.

Barefoot Running and Math Test Scores

Teacher turns kids into runners:

"The results are noticeable — not just physically, but academically and socially.

"They love to run, don't need much equipment, and most of our students now are running barefoot or in socks or rubber slippers," said Bellosi, 35, a teacher at Keaau Elementary School....

"...He's gotten faster, he says, and has noticed his "calves are getting more muscles" and his feet are stronger....

"...Makana Cruz, 10, said running 70-plus miles this school year has helped him loose weight and gain endurance. Now, when playing basketball or football, he said, "I'm able to run faster than most of the others."

"Cruz said his math grades have gone up since last year, when they were average.

"He's not alone.

"Keaau's fifth-graders have the highest test scores in math and reading within the school. In a single year their reading test scores jumped to 71 percent proficiency from 55 percent, and math scores climbed to 68 percent proficiency from 58 percent...."

Kudos to that teacher.  Via Chris McDougall.

"Barefoot Running Takes Off"

"Losing the shoes may be good for you."

I'm always a sucker for a positive news story about barefoot running. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Calories In Does Not Equal Calories Out

Dr. Feinman explains why the First Law of Thermodynamics does not apply to diet.  Which certainly explains why calories in does not have to equal calories out, although it's often approximate.

"The second law is what thermodynamics is really about — it was actually formulated before the first law — but since the first law is usually invoked in nutrition, let’s consider this first. The first law is the conservation of energy law. Here’s how it works: thermodynamics considers systems and surroundings. The thing that you are interested in — living system, a single cell, a machine, whatever, is called the system — everything outside is the surroundings or environment. The first law says that any energy lost by the system must be gained by the environment and any energy taken up by the system must have come from the environment. Its application to chemical systems, which is what applies to nutrition, is that we can attribute to chemical systems, a so-called internal energy, usually written with symbol U (so as not to confuse it with the electrical potential, E). In thermodynamics, you usually look at changes, and The first law says that you can calculate ΔU, the change in U of a system, by adding up the changes in heat added to the system and work done by the system (you can see the roots of thermo in heat machines: we add heat and get work). In chemical systems, the energy can also change due to chemical reactions. Still, if you add up all the changes in the system plus the environment, all the heat, work and chemical changes, the energy is neither created nor destroyed. It is conserved.

"Now, why doesn’t the first law apply to nutrition the way Ornish thinks it does? To understand this, you have to know what is done in chemical thermodynamics and bioenergetics, (thermo applied to living systems). If you want to. In nutrition, you can make up your own stuff. But, if you want to do what is done in chemical thermodynamics, you focus on the system itself, not the system plus the environment. So, from the standpoint of chemical thermodynamics, the calories in food represent the heat generated by complete oxidation of food in a calorimeter...."

He doesn't seem to have a very high opinion of the science of Nutrition, as it's practiced...
As I covered in this post: "Fat Mice and the Laws of Thermodynamics" simply cutting calories is not an effective way to lose weight.
This seems to be the first part of a post, at least I hope so, as he seems to end it on a tangent.

Low-Carb and Belly Fat

"Cut Down on “Carbs” to Reduce Body Fat, Study Authors Say."

"At the beginning and end of each study phase, the researchers measured the subjects’ fat deep inside the abdomen and their total body fat using computed tomography (CT) and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans.

"After the weight maintenance phase, subjects who consumed the moderately carb-restricted diet had 11 percent less deep abdominal fat than those who ate the standard diet...."

Thanks to Dr. Eades on Twitter.

Teva Zilch Sandals Reviewed

At Birthday Shoes.

I've got no interest in Teva products.  At one point I bought Tevas for the whole family, and we all got the sort of abrasions the reviewer discovers.  Pity Teva hasn't figured that out in 10 years.

Which is a shame, because these sound like they could be pretty nice.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Smallpox and The Anti-Vaccine Crowd

This is what the anti-vaccine advocates would like your kid to look like:

Great post at Science-Based Medicine.

Vaccines were one of the great inventions of modern medicine.  Most people used to die of diseases that we can now prevent at rates of nearly 100%.  Don't be a fool: vaccinate your kids.

Valley Trail Run Winner Wears Vibram FiveFingers

Always good to see:

"The fastest man in the 20th annual Whistler Valley Trail Run didn't even wear running shoes, completing the hilly 10 km course wearing Vibram FiveFingers shoes.

"Robin Poirier finished the course in 39:01 after leading for most of the race. With a cyclist pacing him and Seamus Frew on his tail for most of the run, he said it was easy to keep his head down and run.

"'It's a fun run, but this is a really hard course,' said Poirier, who is new to Whistler.

"'For a while it was just me and Seamus, and the cyclist, so I didn't have to think about anything other than running.'

"Poirier switched to the 'Barefoot' running shoes a few years ago as a result of various knee and foot problems, and hasn't looked back. Although he had some issues with his achilles tendon, he says it taught him to run differently."

The Birth Of the New Balance Minimus

Anton Krupicka interviewed about minimalist running shoes and New Balance:

"...These slippers trace their inspiration to a blend of cultural factors, but also to an evening in 2008 at a downtown Colorado Springs, Colo., sandwich shop.

"That night, Anton Krupicka, an ultra-runner working at Colorado Running Co., was having a post-run beer with the product manager of New Balance, a running shoe manufacturer from Massachusetts.

"The product manager, Bryan Gothie, was in town showing off a new trail shoe and asked Krupicka what he thought.

"'It's all wrong, Krupicka said....'

"..."It's overbuilt. It's too much of a shoe," Krupicka remembers saying.

"When Gothie asked what he meant, Krupicka held up his shoes.

"They looked like they had been attacked by Freddy Krueger.

"Four years before, as a cross-country runner at Colorado College, Krupicka had had a revelation. For much of his life he had been running in clunky, motion-stabilizing shoes with orthotic inserts, and for most of that time he had struggled with stress fractures in his legs.

"He wanted a shoe that would mimic the design of the human foot, which spreads out shock through the foot's arch and the runner's bent knees.

"'But there were none,' Krupicka said. 'I was so frustrated.'

"Every shoe he looked at, with the exception of racing flats, had a big fat heel getting in the way. And racing flats could not hold up on the trails.

"So one day he pulled out a kitchen knife and started hacking the heel of a pair of old New Balances. Over the next few months, between runs, he cut off more and more pieces he felt he did not need. He did the same to every new pair of shoes he bought.

"...'Since I started running in those shoes I haven't had a stress fracture,' Krupicka said. 'It encourages you to run in a much more natural way.'

"New Balance asked Krupicka to work with them on a new line of shoes. The company would come up with designs. He would test them on the trail, then, Gothie said, 'take the switchblade to them...'

"...Krupicka said that while he ignores most trends, he is pleased with this one.

"'It is a trend built on some actual fact and truth,' he said, because it encourages people to run in a more 'natural way.'..."

Read the whole thing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living"

Just ordered it.  I'm very interested to read Dr. Phinney's take on this, as he's been doing research on the topic for a very long time.

Dr. Volek is no slouch, either.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Unbreakable: The Western States 100"

A documentary about last year's race.  Looks extremely cool, to judge by the trailer.

P.S. Anton Krupicka posts the trailer and some comments as well:

"Sadly, I am probably the only podium-threat who won't be back at the race this year, my running continuing to be drastically hampered by tibial tendonitis ever since the Rocky Raccoon 100 way back in February. But I'll definitely be scouring the internet all day on June 25th hanging on every update just as every other fan who can't make it out to California should be."

That's a bummer.

“Eating Fat, Staying Lean”

Oh goodness:

"NY Times report on a new study showing faster weight loss on a low carb diet, and no sign of any harmful effects. The most interesting thing is that they still sound surprised, even though that’s what just about every modern study shows."

Dr. Eenfeldt is from Sweden, and so is may not be familiar with the ability of the NY Times to continue spouting nonsense for decades after it's been shown to be such.

This is a new blog I'm following, btw.  Dr. Eenfeldt is one of the leaders of the Low-Carb, High-Fat diet movement that is sweeping Sweden.  The description is:

"Welcome to the blog of Andreas Eenfeldt, MD. It's dedicated to rooting out the low fat insanity behind the obesity epidemic and helping you improve your health."

The Government Wants YOU to Become Fat

Don't choose this plate
That's my takeaway from this idiocy.  Low-fat, lots of healthy whole grains, blah blah blah.  And don't forget the veggie oils! Your tax dollars at work.  Run far away.

But don't take my word for it:

Denise Minger: "The New USDA Dietary Guidelines: Total Hogwash, and Here’s Why"

Stephan Guyenet: "Assorted Thoughts About the 2010 [USDA] Dietary Guidelines"

Richard Feinman: "Fad Diets"

And I'll note that quadrant titled "grains" ought to read "starches".  But the USDA doesn't subsidize the growing of starchy plants like potatos, and is trying to get rid of them.  Yes, it's Orwellian.