Friday, 4 July 2014

How low-carbohydrate diets are (incorrectly) explained to work.

Having explained how low-carbohydrate diets work, here are a few ways in which they don't work.
Uh, nope!

1. Hormonal clogs: This is a term used by Jonathan Bailor. I don't think he's referring to wooden shoes! The "clog", I'm guessing, is supposedly caused by that dastardly hormone insulin. Uh, nope!

See the following plots of RER vs exercise intensity after being on high-fat diet or low-fat diet.
RER = 0.7 ≡ 100%E from fat. RER ≥ 1.0 ≡ 100%E from carb.

The low-fat diet results in higher RER, so the body is burning a higher %E from carb and a lower %E from fat.

However, this doesn't make any difference to weight loss, as it's merely a substrate utilisation issue. In addition, when the body is burning a higher %E from carb, this depletes muscle glycogen stores faster, which lowers RER during the course of the exercise. So, it's not a problem.

2. Insulin: This is Gary Taubes' hypothesis. Insulin makes your body store carbohydrates as body fat. Uh, nope!

The only time that there's significant hepatic DNL is when there's chronic carbohydrate over-feeding. If you eat sensibly, there's no significant hepatic DNL.

3. A Calorie isn't a Calorie, where weight change is concerned: This is Richard D Feinman's hypothesis. "A calorie is a calorie" violates the second law of thermodynamics, therefore there's a metabolic advantage with low-carbohydrate diets. Uh, nope!

Where to start? Evelyn Kocur knows her Physics, so I'll start there. See The first law of thermodynamics (Part 1) and The first law of thermodynamics (Part 2).

From Second Law of Thermodynamics:-
"Living organisms are often mistakenly believed to defy the Second Law because they are able to increase their level of organization. To correct this misinterpretation, one must refer simply to the definition of systems and boundaries. A living organism is an open system, able to exchange both matter and energy with its environment."

People on ketogenic diets excrete very few kcals as ketone bodies. See STUDIES IN KETONE BODY EXCRETION. There is no significant Metabolic Advantage with low-carbohydrate diets.

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