Saturday, 11 February 2012

Bias.

All lies and jest. Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. Here's a lovely song by Simon & Garfunkel.



I watched the Paranoia video from my last post a few times and I couldn't help but notice how balanced it was. The Labour party (Roy Jenkins) was praised, the Conservative party (Margaret Thatcher) was praised and capitalists (Rupert Murdoch) were praised. Nixon's politics were never mentioned. He was simply power-mad. The more power/influence/money that someone has, the more they have to lose and therefore the more distrustful & paranoid they become.

Since the Hutton Inquiry, the BBC has bent over backwards to appear balanced and impartial. There's probably still bias in it, but I can't see it. That's because I'm biased!

I see a lot of Confirmation bias. There are various theories out there which try to explain the recent huge rise in rates of obesity and morbid obesity, as these conditions are occurring in ever-younger people. Morbid obesity in childhood is a disaster, as it leads to fat mass hyperplasia, (rather than fat mass hypertrophy), which leads to hypoleptinaemia when significant fat mass is lost and a lifetime of low metabolic rate & excessive hunger.

There's Taubes' (Wrong) Insulin & Carbohydrate Theory Of Obesity, which makes the acronym TWICHOO.

There's Guyenet's Food Reward Theory Of Obesity, which doesn't make an acronym.

There are opposing camps of people who believe that one theory is right and the other is wrong, and they cherry-pick evidence to "prove" it. However, the two theories are not mutually exclusive. I believe that refined carbohydrates (and thus insulin) have a large influence on fat mass in people with poor blood glucose control, due to roller-coaster blood glucose & insulin levels causing lethargy and subsequent overeating. I believe that food reward has a large influence on fat mass, due to it causing overeating.

That's why I'm in favour of REAL food diets, as they reduce both blood glucose & insulin fluctuations and food reward. Please note that reward is not the same thing as deliciousness. Fries/chips aren't delicious but they are moreish. Real foods can be delicious without being moreish.

21 comments:

Chris said...

Amen

Real food is the basis for it all. Wheat gives me bad guts however, and nowadays I don't consider it food. I avoid gluten grain, sugar, vegetable oils. All else is up for consumption.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I'm lucky (or should that be unlucky?) in that gluten has no bad effects on my guts. I only eat a couple of slices a day of Burgen Soya & Linseed bread, as that has minimal effect on my blood glucose & insulin levels.

I've stopped putting butter on my bread and sprinkling EVOO on my veg before microwaving. That's reduced my weight some more.

praguestepchild said...

I'm not sure I made it clear, but my biggest beef was with the narrative of the paranoia video.

It was sort like a James Burke Connections show, except I'm pretty skeptical of the connections he made. Heck, I'm even skeptical of a lot of the connections Burke made or his historical oversimplifications but that was what made the show so fun to watch. I seem to recall the cam leading to paper (from excess linen and water power) leading to books leading the the Renaissance, ha ha, interesting but perhaps stretching it a bit.

As far as the BBC being balanced, I don't even want to touch that one ;) Obviously I'm biased as hell myself.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I agree that Adam Curtis has a James Burke style about him. I enjoyed Connections far more than I ever enjoyed history lessons in school. I guess that's why I enjoy Curtis' videos so much. I'm currently watching "It felt like a kiss". It's a bit of a mind-fuck.

Social history is so damned complicated that it has to be simplified to make it understandable. It's like what I do with metabolic processes.

Don't slag-off Auntie Beeb!

praguestepchild said...

I actually had a history prof who was all about connections, he was really brilliant. This pudgy little guy would just get up and ramble about all these events, connecting them together. No notes, no writing on the blackboard, just a very comprehensive knowledge of the subject. Except he was extremely vague on dates, he couldn't remember dates at all, just the ideas. That was the first time I realized history could be fascinating, about concepts and ideas, not about memorizing dates.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Sean, you lucky bastard! If history had been taught Connections-style at my school, I would have paid attention and learned something.

What do you think of my "lessons in life" post? My brain has come out of a long slumber and it's now bursting with thoughts. Some of them make more sense than others.

praguestepchild said...

OK, my thoughts on the subject are not politically correct but I will ramble on it, if you insist.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Ramble away!

Galina L. said...

Eating the Real Food Diet and exercising didn't prevent me from being chubby all my life and gaining additional 26 pounds between 45 and 46, however, it kept in a good shape my husband and son and helped me to keep my muscle tone and cardie-vascular health. Modern diet makes people who are naturally thin to gain weight, but eating self-cooked food is not enough for everyone to be lean and not regain at the middle age. Stephen Guyenet exaggerates the addictiveness of the cafeteria diet long-term. I guess, the main problem with modern food is super availability. After eating for whole year in the cafeteria in his university, my son could not stand it any longer and decided to start cooking for himself, because he found out that the not over-flavorful food was more palatable on a log run. It matches mine experience. We started to eat enthusiastically new and unusual food after we arrived in Canada 16 years ago - pizza pockets, frozen meals, fast food, but gradually we got tired of it and returned to the food we grew-up with. Probably, for somebody who was raised on a fast food, the changing to traditional diet could be challenging. Patterns set in a childhood matter. I was fed boiled and steamed food most of my childhood because if was the dejour diet for a person with an eczema. Even now I prefer mashed potato over fried one.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hi Galina,

If you were chubby eating Real Food & exercising, it indicates that you may have had muscular insulin resistance for reasons unknown.

This would have given you roller-coaster blood glucose & insulin levels resulting in overeating.

Did you feel drowsy after meals (then hungry later-on) before you went low-carb?

I believe that the majority of the population overeat the CAF diet long-term. YMMV!

Galina L. said...

No, I didn't normally feel drowsy before LC diet after meals. My father who was thin but died of a heart attack at 51 almost always fell asleep if he could after meals. It is how he died, put his head on folded arms after lunch at work in order to nap as usual and never woke-up. The peculiar thing about me is an abnormal preoccupation with a food and inability to tolerate a hunger, my mom is the same.It got away on LC. I never measured my BS before except FBS during regular blood work which was always normal, but right on a high range. I had a chance to measure my mom's BS before putting her on a LC. Normal amount of carbs in her breakfast used to put her into 163 - 167 mg/dL (approximately between 8.5 and 9 mmol/L ) range , she didn't feel drowsy after breakfast, but after dinner she had no desire to move for hours, experienced very strong hunger after 3 hours after her meal. Removing most carbohydrates from her diet just switched it off, normalized her blood pressure completely without medication, 10 kg was lost it 3 weeks, then the weight-loss stopped. It is difficult for me not to be bias toward carbs limitation.
I spent my first 35 years of life in the society without fast or prepared food. According to my observations, it keeps young people and children thin, whole population much less fat in general, close to zero of morbid obesity, weight problem starts for men after 35 - 40, for women - after childbirth for most. Most of old folks were fat-skinny with high blood pressure and cardie-vascular problems. So it is the better food regiment than the standard American diet, but still suboptimal. My guess people could do better if they seriously limited grains and sugars. Eating it in a moderation was not enough. Of course, it was not realistic due to economic realities and no one in Russia could think of rye bread and grain gruel as an unhealthy food.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I was like your dad. I always needed a nap after eating - even when I was ten. Your mum also sounds insulin-resistant, as breakfast sent her BG really high. Dunno why she wasn't drowsy in the morning after breakfast, unless it was something to do with cortisol (high in the mornings).

I don't know what's going on in your case, but if carb restriction helps, keep doing it!

I think that people should reduce their carbohydrate consumption as they get older.

Galina L. said...

Most old folks in Russia do just the opposite to carbs limitation - they live on gruels, bread with some sweet tea, boiled potatoes with fermented veggies, some fish, limit seriously meat and fats except sunflower oil. For somebody in America it may sound like a healthy diet. The whole-grains-are-healthy propaganda reached Russia and most old people are afraid to eat very affordable eggs and looking for low-fat cottage cheese and fermented milk products. I asked my mom to eat eggs every day and not be afraid of real butter.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Good for you!

Who is spreading whole-grains-are-healthy propaganda? The state or companies via adverts?

Galina L. said...

Somehow it is mostly just some standard government advice without any corporations acting to influence public consumption of grains. The doctor(a government job in Russia) who I knew socially told me she just returned from a regular seminar for doctors about prevention and healthy life-style. It was all about low-fat-whole-grain-fruits+veggies. My guess they just mimic America and Europe which is often coincides with the propaganda of Russian nationalism. Politics and politicians everywhere in the world just suck. Sometimes it is less stressful to live in a foreign country, this way it is more easy to ignore BS.
I am not in the mood to praise socialism, even though capitalism is not perfect, it is the better system so far. However, capitalism contributes to the obesity in Russia too. They make products they want to sell and they know how to do it. The bad thing - people eat more of what they think is a beneficial food. There are now some fat children in Russia, I didn't see it even 10 years ago. I blame it on corporations pushing "healthy" juice and yogurt-based drinks in TV commercials. Russians mothers still cook. The breakfast cereals and "healthy" snacks started to be popular as well, but it is too expensive for average person, especially a retiree. When I was a child, we were discourage to eat snacks in order to preserve an appetite. As I checked it on my own son, it definitely makes a child less picky.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Corporations can influence governments & doctors.

I think that the only thing you can do is lead by example. If/when fat/ill people see how slim/healthy you are, they may ask how you do it.

Galina L. said...

It is what I do, so far I manage to influence only 3 people - my mom, my son(he is not doing LC, more likely Paleo diet), and a lady friend who is an eight years cancer survivor, became a vegetarian after suffering a kidney cancer, and I convinced her to stray away from vegetarianism because her hair started to fall down and other health issues arised. BTW, she started the conversation, asking what I was doing to my skin in order to look so good.She is a licensed doctor, we are doing Ti-chi together.

People usually look at the diet as the remedy of a last resort.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hopefully, (some of) the people that you influence can then influence others, and so on.

Unfortunately, you can't approach people as they just "switch off". They have to approach you and want to change.

Galina L. said...

I decided to post my comment on your comment on the Wooo's blog here because I promised myself to stop mentioning Wooo on Evelin's blog and over-vise in order not to fuel more web-animosity. As time goes by, I developed some feeling that Evelyn is my web-friend,( I can say the same about you)and I don't enjoy when she gets bashed or called names by others even though I do not always agree with her.
The main reason why Carbsane-Wooo interactions are so full of animosity is the bias. Looks like they both are different metabolically, so different things work differently for them . Evelin now thrives eating oatmeal for her breakfast, it would be a disaster for Wooo or me. So, more people who are doing well eating carbohydrate-based low-calories diets gravitate to her blog. Just recently I felt like I got seek and tired of comments about idiotic LCarbers there and decided not to read comments for a while while reading main posts. Each has tendency to support more what is in agreement with personal experience. SG also doesn't look like somebody with IR. Probably, some people require different macro-nutrient combinations , however everyone should at least seriously limit sugars and refined carbs. I would add to the list all grains and fruits, but it may be too much for many.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Galina, I think you've got it!

We all need to work out what works best for ourselves by experiment. Start with VLC, then reintroduce carbs one at a time to see if they cause any problems. I can eat gluten grains, sweet potatoes and fruit without any problems.

And thank you. I consider you to be a friend as well. I try to get on with people, but sometimes I fail (e.g. when I hate someone's political views).

I don't agree 100% with anybody!

Galina L. said...

I think it is a sign of the normal ability to think independently when a person can't agree with everybody 100%. Some people use what they read on internet or in books as a source for thoughts while others are in a search for gurus to follow. Sometimes I see with a regret that the ability to trust blindly (to believe) and to follow without much questions is regarded as a mark of moral purity and highly respected in human society. Such person is being marked as the one capable of loyalty. I think there is a place for loyalty in human interactions, but mental loyalty should be discouraged and avoided.