Archive | 11:14 pm

Lab Rat

23 Jun

So its been an interesting last couple of days. I really hit a low yesterday, but today I woke up with a new sense of vigor. Everyones comments were really helpful. No really they were very very helpful!!! I really am quite chuffed with the people who read this blog, and if there are any more lurkers wanting to join in make yourself known. As soon as I let loose to the world yesterday I immediately and noticeably felt better so your comments are always welcome. Unless its someone laughing at my failure like what just happened at Darwins Table about an hour ago. I don’t know why they think Im gonna post their comments??? Some angry vegetarians.

So back to the point. My main problem lately is I have become incredibly frustrated with the loads of different opinions out there in the paleosphere, and beyond, and just how conflicting it can be. Also it can often lead to cat fights, which drives me nuts. Sometimes you feel you are doing the right thing, but yet you here from someone else your rubbish. All I know is this.

Everybody thinks they are right + everybody disagrees = ice cream.

Now thats an equation any dieter can understand. As a scientist I am absolutely useless at not knowing. I have to have concrete answers, and in nutrition this is horribly difficult. Now obviously Im exaggerating somewhat and their are plenty of good bloggers out there who know loads of information. But no one is perfect and no one is absolutely right. Someone can only do what is best, or seems best, for them. Which leads me to my conclusion that I came too after my intense mind battle of what I should do. I just need to read the research and make my own decisions based off that.

Then I read a paper which I will post about shortly. But basically it shows that the researchers were able to get rats addicted to food by putting them on either a high sugar diet or a high fat diet. But rats fed chow were unable to become addicted (low density food, neither fatty nor sugary). They argued that it was calorie rich foods that caused the reward centers to fire, and become addicted to that food. Now normally I would have poo poo’d the high fat part, but this is what was found right? So I wondered two things. Firstly, as long as the rats didn’t go too far in one direction (ie lots of carbs or lots of fats) then they tended to remain non-addicted rats. Secondly, high calorie, or highly dense foods were obviously bad for them.

So again this got me thinking. I have lost weight in the past. When I started the paleo diet I lost almost 20 kg or 45 pounds. If I have done that before surly I can do it again. But what did I do then as opposed to later when I fell off the wagon. Looking back I find I ate only lean meats, and had more starchy carbs. For some reason when I started having less carbs and more fatty meat my weight loss declined significantly.  Perhaps the unprocessed carbs I was eating were helping my diet to be less energy dense, and stopped me from swinging too much in one direction. In this case my diet became too high fat, which in the rats was shown to cause addiction. The same would have happened if I had eliminated fat, and went all out on carbs such as in a low fat diet.

Thus, as humans it would pay for us to eat low density or unprocessed foods.¬†Perhaps as long as you are getting good protein, and unprocessed carbs or fat then you are fine. We already agree that processed fats are bad. Do you eat vegetable oils? Perhaps what we need to be avoiding is processed carbs like refined flour, rice, pasta etc. Perhaps there is such a thing as good carbs, bad carbs. It wasn’t that long ago that we thought all fat was bad, now we know thats not true. Butter is fine, vegetable oil is not. Isn’t it logical this may be true for carbs too? A potato is going to be less energy dense and processed than ice cream or bread. Perhaps it is these refined foods (fat or carbs) that cause addiction rather than carbs per se.

If I am addicted, and I believe I am, I need to start taking lessons from these studies and apply them to myself. I need to be one of those lab rats. So I will be. For the next week I will be eating unprocessed carbs more often and lowering down the fat intake. My overall goal is to make my food less energy dense, have it unprocessed, and stop it swinging in either a carby or fatty direction. I would like to state that I am NOT anti fat. But I am wanting to base my eating patterns off the addiction literature, and this is what I am doing. I may fail, in fact if history is anything to go by I will fail, but imagine if I DONT!!!!

On a side note this is not completely unpaleolithic. There is certainly evidence that hunter gatherers ate starchy tubers (read post here), and there are many HG tribes that have a diet very high in carbohydrates. Also, their is evidence that many hunter gatherer societies ate very lean meat with fatty meat becoming copious seasonally. So what if most HG’s only had limited time to acquire fatty meat or it was a limited resource. Then it would make sense for their brains to reward them BIG TIME when they did capture and consume that fatty food. Something that may lead to addiction in todays society. Fat may itself not be bad for you, but if it drives your brain to crave more and more of it, and continue eating non-stop, then it may end up that way for some addicted types. Same would go for high sugar foods that were probably seasonally abundant or limited. Im not trying to start a paleo war here of who is wrong or right. I am trying to say that there is some evidence for this opinion.

So thats my idea……oh hang on I think I can hear people unsubscribing:)