May 30

Lectins, lactase, vitamin D and why Swedes are light complected

4  comments

Take a look at the latest newsletter published by my colleague Loren Cordain. It contains a fascinating hypothesis derived from Loren’s extensive study of cereal grains and their lectins on why white people from the Northern latitudes are white. Aside from the interesting information the take home message is that cereal grains are not particularly good for us because not only are they carb rich, they’re full of a lot of other stuff we would be better off without.
How do you like your fruits and vegetables? Fresh? Steamed? Sauteed? Or how about with some shellac, ammonia, polyethylene, morpholine and polydimethlysiloxane?. The latter bunch of chemicals are likely what you’ll get if you grab a bunch of bright, shiny fruits and veggies from your local grocery store. In an effort to improve appearance and prolong shelf life many grocers have taken to waxing their produce. This same newsletter has an eye-opening section explaining the hows and whys of the fruit waxing business, and tells you whether its anything to worry about.
I encourage you to read all of Loren’s stuff that you can. With only a couple of exceptions–namely the utility of the glycemic index and the purported dangers of saturated fat–Loren and I are pretty much on the same page with most things nutritional. His work with the Paleolithic diet has set the bar in that field and his magnum opus on cereal grains should be required reading for anyone who advocates a diet high in whole grains, or any other kind of grains, for that matter. You can download this paper from his website. Read it and you’ll think twice before going face down in the pasta again. (Click here for a download of the .pdf version. The article is 55 pages long, so it’s a large download.)


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  1. Hi Dr Eades:
    I request you review this study.
    It does not seem to follow other test results I have read.
    Can you suggest any reasons why this study is so different from other studies.
    Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets
    Carol S Johnston, Sherrie L Tjonn, Pamela D Swan, Andrea White, Heather Hutchins, and Barry Sears
    Thank you
    Walt Milam
    Hi Walt–
    I have indeed looked at this study. There is a fair amount of information missing, as in, for example, what were the foods on the two diets. Not just the macronutrient compositions, but actual menus.
    Also, other studies have shown no advantage to a ketogenic weight loss diet compared to any other diet of the same caloric content. The debate on that issue is far from over. Most studies–not all, but most–do show a metabolic advantage with a lower carbohydrate diet as compared to a higher carb diet of the same number of calories. Probably the best one was done by Penny Greene at Harvard a couple of years ago. I plan to post her study on the classic papers part of our website when we finally get it completely up. Her study showed about a 300 kcal per day metabolic advantage with a low-carb diet (a real low-carb diet. The Zone diet with carbs at 40% of kcal is NOT a low-carb diet).
    MRE

  2. I was disappointed to read that Dr. Cordain believes other low-carb diets exclude healthy fruits and veggies. Where do these ideas come from, can you please set him straight?!
    Hi David–
    Rest easy, Dr. Cordain is ‘set straight.’ He knows full well that a good low-carb diet contains a lot of fruits and vegetables. He and I argue over these things all the time. He himself follows a low-carb diet filled with meat, fruits and vegetables, so he knows.
    MRE

  3. Interestingly you mention Cordain, since 2 months ago, I ordered 2 books : his Paleo Diet for Athletes and your Staying Power.
    Frankly, I was a tad disappointed with both. And yet, some hugely interesting info was in both.
    Disappointed because Cordain/Friel’s so-called low-carb diet calls for 50% carbs while your Staying Power didn’t provide me with the mind-shattering info I gleaned from PPLP. That book is completely tattered from reading over & over again. And with the exception of Lyle McDonald’s book none other low-carb diet book made such a lasting impression like yours (PPLP). Haven’t made many omelettes ever since.. BTW not a word on oxycholesterol in Staying Power. Why?
    Hi Yvana–
    Interestingly you mention Cordain; MD and I just got in from a picnic with him and his family on the shore of Lake Tahoe.
    Thanks for the kind words about the PPLP. Staying Power wasn’t meant to be a book of the same magnitude as PPLP. Our publisher wanted a book on maintenance after weight loss, so that’s what we came up with. No oxycholesterol because we had already addressed that in the earlier book.
    BTW, go ahead and eat an omelet every now and then–we do. It’s probably good to keep your oxycholesterol scavengers a little bit of practice from time to time.
    Best–
    MRE

  4. LOL. I do eat omelettes once in a while since I’m a hedonist at heart trying to be a Purist most of the time.
    Yesterday was the 750th day I tracked food intake and 4 yrs since I started low-carbing. Maintaining at a slightly higher weight/bf% than I wish for but overall very healthy.
    Average carb intake for the past 750 days has been: 27,1% carbs (2,2g/kg), 29,3% protein (2,4g/kg bw), 43,8% fat (1,6g/kg bw). It seems easier though to lose fat by lowering fat intake,given that I lift weights 3-4 times/week, yet OTOH I feel healthier with a higher fat intake.
    Cordain’s book addresses the triathlon crowd and not so much the bodybuilding crowd.
    BTW, the leaky gut problem is a major interest of mine since I fell ill 2 years ago and had to stop long-distance cycling: contracted spondylodiscitis. Possible cause: overtraining & undereating. That disease is a major reason why Paleo-diets that cater to the active sports person interest me so much, a leaky gut indeed!

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