Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wheat Belly -- The Toll of Hubris on Human Health

by Chris Masterjohn
 
Dr. William Davis, Milwaukee-based "preventive cardiologist" and Medical Director of the Track Your Plaque program, argues in his new book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, that "somewhere along the way during wheat's history, perhaps five thousand years ago but more likely fifty years ago, wheat changed."  And not for the better.

William Davis, MD, hosted at The Wheat Belly Blog

According to Dr. Davis, the introduction of mutant, high-yield dwarf wheat in the 1960s and the misguided national crusade against fat and cholesterol that caught steam in the 1980s have conspired together as a disastrous duo to produce an epidemic of obesity and heart disease, leaving not even the contours of our skin or the hairs on our heads untouched.  Indeed, Dr. Davis argues, this mutant monster we call wheat is day by day acidifying our bones, crinkling our skin, turning our blood vessels into sugar cubes, turning our faces into bagels, and turning our brains into mush.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Denmark Came For Your Sugar and Trans Fats, Now They Are Coming For Your Saturated Fat. When They Come for You, Will There Be Any Macronutrient Left to Object on Your Behalf?

by Chris Masterjohn
O Solid Fat, turn not thy face from thy Lord, for my budget is in trouble.
In "Fructose, Public Policy, and the Low-Fat Reeducation Camp," I made the following prediction:
If they come for our fructose, they will come for our fat next.
It seems that Denmark has provided some evidence for this postulate by enacting what is believed to be the world's first tax on saturated fat.  Here is the timeline, according to a CBC News article:
  • 2004 — Tax on trans fats.
  • 2010 — Tax on sugary junk food.
  • 2011 — Tax on all foods containing more than 2.3 percent saturated fat.
This type of legislation raises the question of just what the role of government should be in the determining the foods we eat.  Those of us in the ancestral health movement are faced with a strange dilemma: we live in a society wherein we have almost unlimited destructive food and lifestyle choices lying within our immediate grasp, while the preeminent solutions to all of life's problems invariably lie on a spectrum between libertarian individualism and collectivist bureaucracy.  Neither the problem nor the popular solutions have solid foundations in our ancestry.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Where Do Most AGEs Come From? O Glycation, How Thy Name Hast Deceived Me!

by Chris Masterjohn

I've written a few posts about advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) in the past, which can be found here.  These posts include a refutation of the common belief that the "receptor for AGEs" (RAGE) is actually a receptor for AGEs, and a refutation of the implausible and unreliable data suggesting that butter is a major source of dietary AGEs.  People have recently been asking me to write more about AGEs (see here and here), especially about the role of high blood sugar in promoting the formation of these compounds and thereby contributing to cellular dysfunction and disease.

There are a lot of misconceptions about AGEs, and one of them is that they are mostly formed from glucose directly glomming on to proteins.  The term "glycation," which is clearly derived from "glucose," certainly contributes to this misconception, but the situation is actually much more complex than this.  Glucose does indeed have the hots for proteins, but the high school glycation prom has a sexy chaperone named fructosamine 3-kinase who's kicking carbonyls and taking names, and if the two dance too close, F3-K steps in the way.  

It is instead the sneaky dicarbonyls (pronounced like "DIE-carb-o-NEELS") that escape the attention of our otherwise striking chaperone.  They are on average 20,000 times more reactive than glucose, and they emerge from the broken pieces of glucose, protein, and fat — and not just PUFAs.  Nevertheless, they do no harm unless they slip past our good friend glutathione, who polices the streets at night and renders the balance of these creepy would-be criminals as impotent as the mythical sorcerer lurking in the shadows of Maasai-land.  

In future posts, I will explain why I believe that AGEs formed within our bodies do indeed contribute to disease but are nevertheless likely to emerge as essential components of cellular communication, and why they add further colors to the portrait being painted in which disease is seen as communication gone wrong.  In this post, I will simply attempt to explain what we do and don't know about where the AGEs within our bodies come from.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Trouble With Measuring AGEs -- Butter and More

by Chris Masterjohn
 
This post is basically a technical footnote to my next post on advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and all subsequent posts on AGEs explaining why I will give preference to certain studies that use what I consider reliable methods for measuring these compounds.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Saturday Salad


by Chris Masterjohn

The difference between a Wednesday salad and a Saturday salad?  A little cheese. :)

Ingredients: romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, scallions, strawberries, orange bell peppers, raw sauerkraut, unpasteurized Greek olives from Mt. Athos with Sicilian herbs, barrel-aged feta from Mt. Vikos (not raw, unfortunately), macadamia nut oil, raw coconut vinegar.

But alas, the sun has set in his tomb, and the moon has arisen to mourn her betrothed and proclaim her hope of his arising in the hours yet to come.  Shall we honor the moon and call it Sunday, or dwell in the past and continue calling it Saturday?

And thus even my salad ponders the meaning of its identity. 

p.s. Don't worry I've also eaten meat and eggs today. ;-) 

Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.