Yes, Paleo Dieters, Ancient Humans Ate Carbs Too

Yes, yes, you can tell me all about why I definitely shouldn’t be eating those mashed potatoes in a moment. But right now, I’ve got some news for you (and some potatoes to eat).

A new study in September’s Quarterly Review of Biology attempts to do some forensic reconstruction of ancient human diets using an interesting method: looking at physiological changes and the nutrition that would have been necessary to support them. Of particular interest to the researchers were a pair of salivary amylase genes that began to rise a million years or so ago, along with the rise of cooking.

Source: Yes, Paleo Dieters, Ancient Humans Ate Carbs Too

What always bugged me about ‘paleo’… ancient humans ate whatever was handy. If grains and tubers were nearby, that’s what people ate. The diet of someone in the tundra is vastly different from someone in Polynesia, whose diet was different from someone in the rain forest.

Study: Eating Habits Impact Gut Bacteria for Carb Metabolism

Obesity is associated with the intestinal microbiota in man but the underlying mechanisms are yet to be fully understood. Our previous phylogenetic study showed that the faecal microbiota profiles of non-obese versus obese and morbidly obese individuals differed. Here, we have extended this analysis with a characterisation of the faecal metaproteome, in order to detect differences at a functional level.

Source: Colonic metaproteomic signatures of active bacteria and the host in obesity

The researchers describe this as “the chicken-or-the-egg question”: Is the microbiota causing a difference in metabolism that leads to an energetic misbalance, or are differences in metabolism and/or eating habits causing a change in microbiota?

It is like a very fast form of evolution going on in there. As you eat a certain type of food, the bacteria that is best suited to thrive off of that food will reproduce like crazy. So the more you eat of something, the better you get at processing it.  This means two things: eat like crap, and your body gets better at absorbing all of that shit (that’s bad). But if you eat healthy, even though your body may fight it initially, eventually it will refine itself to process the healthy food (that’s good).

This research unfortunately doesn’t lead immediately to any kind of clinical recommendation. What it does suggest is that what the bacteria in one’s gut are doing, and what genes they express, is more diagnostically relevant than who they are–so hopefully by focusing on this distinction, future research could more quickly come up with an answer to how to manage weight.

Wraps Are Bullshit, Eat a Sandwich Instead

Fuck wraps. They taste bad, and Big Carb continues to lie to good, honest people by associating wraps with “light eating.” You think eating a wrap for lunch is healthy? You are wrong, chump, and I’d love you to fight me about it.

Source: Wraps Are Bullshit, Eat a Sandwich Instead

Meh.  But I don’t eat wraps often.  But it is nice to change things up now and then.

Need to Recover from a Workout? Fast Food Is Just as Effective as Supplements

After a strenuous workout, top athletes and everyday exercisers regularly reach for energy bars, protein powders, or recovery drinks, thinking that these dietary supplements provide boosts that normal foods do not.

A new study, however, finds that — when it comes to exercise recovery — supplements are no better than fast food.

The multi-billion-dollar sports supplement industry is a true behemoth. With catchy taglines and sparkling testimonials from top athletes, they’ve convinced millions of people to use their products. University of Montana graduate student Michael Cramer decided to find out if their claims of superiority stood the test of science, so he pit some of the most oft-used supplements, including Gatorade, PowerBar, and Cytomax “energy” powder, against a few of McDonald’s most vaunted contenders: hotcakes, hash browns, hamburgers, and fries.

…Though the research was solidly controlled, the findings are limited by the small number of subjects. Moreover, the results may not apply to less-trained individuals.

Source: Need to Recover from a Workout? Fast Food Is Just as Effective as Supplements

This isn’t all that surprising, as it’s a short-term study (1 pre and post-recovery workout for each diet) focusing on exercise recovery and glycogen recovery. Any high-glycemic carbohydrates will restore glycogen levels quickly following exercise so what form you take them in isn’t that important – when you just look at glycogen levels and short-term recovery.  Long-term may be a different story though – the fast food diet may not enable you to maximize adaptations to exercise. Having said that you will still get the some (likely a lot) of the benefits of exercise.  People who exercise do not suffer as much of the bad effects of a 1 week high-fat meal (source 1, source 2).

In terms of “as macronutrient content is the same then there shouldn’t be a difference”?  Not necessarily, not all protein is equal (whey protein having the maximal increase on protein synthesis both at rest and following exercise). So 25 grams of whey protein should cause a bigger increase in protein synthesis than 25 grams of protein from a burger. It’s likely there’ll be differences in fat type (i.e. saturated vs unsaturated) as well.

This is what I think is most disheartening about the diet craze. Any effort placed on exercise and eating better has tremendous gains. Pop culture has instilled this idea that there’s a rigorous plan required to lose weight and stay in shape. Eating better doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan. It could be as simple as eating whatever you want but in smaller portions. Incorporating more fruits/veggies. Something, anything. Any exercise is better than no exercise. Even if it means going to the gym twice a week, that can be significant.

Create a Custom Weight Loss Meal Plan in Four Steps

Fat loss, dieting, getting shredded, leaning out, weight loss — whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same end-result. More muscle, less fat, better definition is what we all want.

One question I get all the time is “can you give me a meal plan for weight loss?” And to that, I always respond with a ‘no’ for two reasons:

  • It’s technically illegal for me to give someone a fully-detailed weight loss meal plan because I’m not a registered dietician.
  • It doesn’t actually teach you anything. (Like, why go through the trouble and frustration that can be this physique-building journey and not actually learn anything?)

Today we’re talking all about weight loss. Meal plans, just like any other time you need a plan, are pertinent to your success when it comes to losing fat, getting lean, and staying that way.

Source: How To Build Your Weight Loss Meal Plans And Make Losing Fat Easier On Yourself

The article is quite comprehensive – it’s not a quick read.

The whole conversation around weight loss and diet is nuanced, complicated, and not easily parsed. All you’ll get are personal testimonials and I’ve discovered that the only thing that’s worked for me is to figure out what worked for me.  But I keep compiling the various articles to glean what I can from them to improve.

Fueling and Training for Endurance Events

Knowing you’re able to ride as long as your route, riding mates or imagination requires is a very powerful feeling. Conversely, feeling dread about passing the one-hour, two-hour or three-hour point will limit your training and fitness gains, and ultimately your enjoyment.

Here’s how to break through these self-imposed endurance ceilings that are keeping you from making the most…

Source: How to increase cycling endurance

My favorite quote would be:

…consuming 15g honey or glucose taken every 10 miles during a 64km ride improves performance compared to water alone.

Imperial or metric? I can’t decide! 🙂

10 miles is 16 KM – they’re advocating every quarter of the distance.  What constitutes honey isn’t addressed in the article – honey is determined by having pollen in it, which can trigger allergic reactions for some and you’d have to investigate your store bought “honey” because they’re filtering a lot of pollen out these days.

I don’t think I could consume honey, which gets into the next point not raised by the article – try what they suggest but everyone is different so it’s up to you to figure out what actually works best.  But I do agree with the recommendation to have water with electrolytes in it – currently I’m using Nuun’s tabs, but have used a combination of Nuuns and Heed.

It was triathlon training that brought it to my attention that eating a good breakfast is a good idea, but requires you to eat early so you’re not bogged down, trying to swim/run/cycle/etc with all that in your tummy.  Lots I know get up around 3 or 4 in the morning on race day to eat, and then go back to bed for a couple of hours until the event.

It’s only the last three paragraphs that address endurance training.  It doesn’t come overnight, and it takes time.  I’ve yet to get into heart rate as a training tool – whatever minus your age is too generalized to be of value.  If your rate is high, but you can still talk?  Then you’re OK at that level.

7 Post-Workout Electrolyte Sources

In February 2014, Dr. Mike Roussell published an article for Shape.com, where he suggested replenishing electrolytes with a post-workout meal and a simple glass of water. That’s a great idea, especially if you’re doing weekly meal prep in advance. But if your typical workout schedule ends at an inconvenient time for a meal, you can control your carb., electrolyte, and nutrient intake in the very same ways the good doctor recommends with a smoothie. Listed below are seven very typical smoothie ingredients, that, as it just so happens, are also loaded with electrolytes. Some of these are probably already included in your favorite smoothie recipes

Source: 7 Post-Workout Electrolyte Sources

Oddly, milk (and chocolate milk) are not on that list.  Sweet potato (mashed or baked) would be another good idea…