How Food Enrichment Made Us Fat, Diabetic, and Chronically Diseased

OK, thats's indeed a bold title, but this is a TL;DR post. See, this one was drafted a good while ago. The Duck Dodgers decided to prefigure with a few things that have been posted—like this and this—but then there were more revelations, so what we have is this one, about 900 words and way incomplete, and a 4,000 pound whopper coming up next week. So here's the "Too Long; Didn't Read" version for the lazy asses.

It's becoming more commonly known that iron overload can be a prominent feature of obesity and metabolic issues. Obesity and insulin resistance has been linked to an iron-enriched diet. Obese people have iron in the hypothalamus of their brains, their urine, their adipose tissue, and they do not absorb iron well and iron blood levels can be low in some cases. The body may very likely be using adipose intentionally to keep excess iron out of the blood so that pathogens and cancer cannot thrive (i.e. anemia of chronic disease). As those studies point out, adipocytes use hepcidin to regulate the iron status of the blood.

Surprisingly, what virtually all researchers miss is that the countries that fortify their food with iron (or rely heavily on imports of fortified food with iron) are the countries that tend to have the most obesity and metabolic issues—particularly as those countries consume more iron-rich meat.

The island nation of Nauru is a good example of this (high meat intake and reliance on iron-fortified flour from US and UK). This is easy to see in statistical analyses if you're looking for it. South Africa too—while neighboring countries that do not fortify seem to be immune.

Widespread iron-fortification of flour began in WWII and the level of fortification was significantly raised in 1983. Both events are associated with generally increased obesity. The following chart is from a USDA report:

iron intake
 

The report also showed that as of the year 2000, half of this highly elevated iron intake per capita comes from (fortified) grains alone. Meat intakes have risen gradually, but the significant increase in iron intake is mainly due to increases and expansion of iron fortification (to rice, pasta, and grits). In 1943, the FDA mandated 8-12mg of iron per pound of white flour (whole wheat flour isn't fortified). In 1983, the level was raised to 20mg per pound of white flour. Obesity increased after both policy changes.

Iron fortification has also been shown to adversely disrupt gut flora (and here too).

Iron fortification appears to explain many dietary paradoxes. For instance, the French consume twice as much wheat as Americans do, but they have 1/3 the obesity. The French do not fortify with iron and their diet is rich in iron-inhibitors (dairy, eggs, coffee, tea, phytates). Hence, they do not get iron overload.

Why do US schoolchildren become obese with excessive fruit juice consumption... but German preschool children do not become obese with excessive fruit juice consumption? Well, consider that in the US, schoolchildren eat their lunches with iron-fortified flour—the Vitamin C, fructose, and HFCS all enhancing the absorption of iron, thereby promoting metabolic issues. In Germany they don't fortify their food with iron, so the fructose, HFCS, and Vitamin C have no such effect.

Moreover, iron-fortified food is not balanced with manganese and copper (whereas whole wheat is). We've been in touch with Jane Karlsson, PhD at Oxford, who has studied the interaction of iron and manganese for over 30 years. She says that there is good evidence that iron is only toxic when it is not opposed by Manganese and Copper, which are necessary for proper metabolic signaling in both plants and animals. (That's why plants have their Fe/Mn in balance).

Carnivores obtain their Mn in large quantities from stomach contents, bile, and fresh intestines...where excess Mn is excreted (i.e. nose-to-tail eating). Therefore, this might explain why high muscle-meat dining may promote iron overload, but nose-to-tail may not. Dairy can inhibit iron, and this likely explains why the Masai also drank a liter of dairy per day.

Tannins seem to bind preferentially to iron, but not copper or zinc. And fiber binds to iron. And curcumin, honey, chocolate, yacon root and green tea have anti-diabetic and iron chelating capabilities. Tannins inhibit free-radicals from iron. The Masai always pair their red meat with Acacia Nilotica, rich in manganese, tannins and saponins. The French pair their red meat with red wine, rich in tannins, saponins and phytates (from grape seeds), and they are fond of manganese-rich chocolate. Both cultures consumed honey.

In other words, the French and Masai practice iron-inhibition. Can this all be just coincidence? While so far overlooked by researchers, could iron fortification be the very key to unlocking all these dietary paradoxes? We think it's a worthy hypothesis that "requires more study."

...For instance, the Pima Indians were healthy eating lots of beans, squash and maize; but they became obese and diabetic within 10 years after WWII when forced to subside on iron-fortified flour.

...Northern Ireland is a dietary paradox—Belfast has a coronary artery disease death rate that is more than 4 times higher that of Toulouse, France, despite almost identical coronary 'risk factors'. Northern Ireland fortifies flour with iron and France does not, never has.

We have many more examples (such as McCarrison's wheat-eating Indians), but this is intended to wet appetites. The main point is that it is impossible to reproduce the French diet in the US, because the US fortifies its flour, rice, grits, and pasta with iron; and it does so in such massive quantity that if you search YouTube, you can see videos of people dragging their cereal through milk with a magnet.

I Dare You To Not Make This Your Staple: Mixed Bean & Polish Sausage Soup

This is an effort to pay back Angelo Coppola and Stephan Guyenet; both in terms of a recipe for leurs-mêmes, but also to pay it forward to you, because it really hits a lot of the bases they cover in a podcast that you're missing out if you don't take the time to listen to.

...Frankly, it took me three days to get through it, but what that means is that even though I got interrupted dozens of times, I always came back, rewound a few minutes to re-acquire the beat, and could do nothing else but take in every really sane and enlightening moment. Yea, I have 2 or three quibbles with Stephan, mais pas suffisamment merveilleuse to make any big deal about, so they remain forgotten.

Just do yourself a favor enormement-like, and take it in.

Then, make this, eat some every day until you run out, then make another pot and keep doing that ad infinitum.

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The Fall Of The Jimmy Moore “Webpire”

That last word in the title is tongue in cheek, of course. For years—before I got tired and banned her—I had this commenter—Eat Less Move Moore (get it?)—who literally made reference to Jimmy Moore in each and every of several hundred comments, and was the one who first used "webpire" to describe his online activities.

Of course, it put her into context. Nobody knows how well Jimmy does $$$-wise with his spare bedroom Low-Carb business, but it's certainly not proportional to any sort of Empire I'm aware of.

Rather, it was simply a case of "everybody loves Jimmy." Jimmy is a likable, affable guy—in person, and in his online presence. And, as a businessman, a loss-leader sort, where he gives of his time and efforts in trust that those who like what he does will support him via his various ways he has available to pay back—recognizing that any individual is perfectly able to get away scott free for life.

And, over the years, he also goes so far as to entertain alternative and even contrary ideas (to LC) on his blog and podcast, with no real guarantee that the information he's exposing his readers and listeners to for free isn't undercutting his own livelihood. This is admirable.

This is part of why I gave him a pass on inconsistencies for a long time. And of course, the those living in glass houses throwing stones thing.

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Moving Beyond “One Trick Pony” Paleo

In many ways the Paleo playbook in retrospect—back to when I got involved in 2008—models a tendency in humans to have easy, formulaic answers and solutions to complex problems—rather like church and state as just-so solutions to complex philosophical and social problems.

At various times and places, the predominant emphasis was on one of these things:

  1. It's the grains
  2. It's the high PUFA vegetable & seed-based oils
  3. It's the toxins and anti-nutrients
  4. It's the corn and corn-fed livestock
  5. It's the carbohydrates
  6. It's the processed food

I'm sure I've overlooked a devil or two (I just can't get excited about avoiding certain light spectrum!). But these evils gave rise to various fads all along the way, sometimes emphasizing one evil, sometimes integrating several. I've participated in and promoted a number of them myself, if not all of them.

  1. "Paleo" baked goodies from breads, to cookies, to various treats, desserts...even candy
  2. "Paleo" enterprises with a giveaway a day
  3. "Paleo" echo chambers called conferences and symposiums
  4. Thousands of "Paleo" How-To and Cookbooks
  5. "Paleo" orthorexia in the form of hysterical fear of "toxins" and "anti-nutrients"
  6. Fear of starch, followed by a limited embrace, dubbed "safe"
  7. "Paleo" Low-Carb
  8. "Paleo" Very-Low-Carb
  9. "Paleo" Ketosis, dubbed "nutritional"
  10. "Paleo" for Women, Girls, and Mothers
  11. Wheat Bellies and Grain Brains (the apparent fad du jour)

There are many others but for purposes of brevity I'm only touching on the mostly diet related stuff and setting aside all the various lifestyle, fitness, athletic stuff like workouts, play, fasting, footwear (and lack thereof), cold exposure, sleep, sex, social relationships, workaholism, etc. And frankly, I find the endeavors in all of those lifestyle things to be far more "Paleo" than virtually all of the dietary and food stuff, which, frankly, has kinda been a Royal Fucking Mess.

I really just wanted to toss this out there for thought and discussion, so rather than a long essay, let me show you some of what I've been reading and chewing on during my recent low-activity status after spine surgery.

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Rare Newsletter Update

Haven't done one in months, but as a lot is changing in life, thought I might toy with putting one out there every few weeks to a month and see how it goes.

Latest Issue. Topics covered:

  • Everything has changed
  • I love Paleo but I'm not really Paleo
  • I've embraced lots of starch in the diet
  • I had a public dispute with Dr. Mike Eades ...And Mike and I buried that hatchet
  • Are you eating enough toxins to optimize health?
  • FODMAPs, Prebiotics & Arms Dealers, Probiotics & Mercenaries, and Uganda
  • I'm moving to Mexico, tip of the Baja.

On the last point, less than 6 days from departure to Mexico for a minimum of 5 months. Again, link to the Newsletter. From there, you can access archives. My series on "The Milk Diet" might interest some.

FODMAP Prebiotic Arms Dealing, Probiotic Mercenaries, and Uganda

I think I have a real treat for you. I asked Karl Seddon, creator of Elixa Probiotic, to write a post offering his perspective on probiotics and prebiotics, or FODMAPs. Little did I know he was clever enough to write such an engaging travelogue about Uganda, making it such an engaging read. I previously blogged about my experience with Elixa here.

Based on the emails I receive, I'd say that the average person interested in probiotics and gut health are well-read on the topic. Due to the relatively recent emergence of majority access to the internet and mainstream awareness of the microbiome, there's a huge amount of crowd-sourced research and shared information regarding probiotics, the microbiome, and prebiotics—or what I prefer to call FODMAPs.

Self-experimentation, anecdotal meta-analysis (collating 2nd hand reports), and scientific experiments are all legitimate means to increase our understanding of how the gut bacteria affect us and how to manipulate this understanding to our advantage.

Although I am the developer and manufacturer of Elixa Probiotic, this article does not directly concern probiotic supplementation. There is plenty to discuss about the individual attributes of Elixa, however I would prefer to start chronologically by detailing some of the R&D that came before. Hopefully this will be a brief insight into some of the thoughts and work performed during the 3+ years of development that has occurred since I graduated.

With a science-based, academic background, most people will assume: Oh, so you learned this stuff at university, right?

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A Completely Different Sort of Podcast Interview For Me

I sympathize with those who don't really listen to many of my podcast interviews anymore, since in so many since way back, I get asked the same questions and respond largely the same way.

I wanted this one, with Adam Smith, Prymal Radio, to be different and I think we achieved that. One way to look at it is an accounting how wrong I think I've been about so much over the years. I also had my Fitbit on while I was pacing the house on Skype, via my phone, and I walked 5,000 steps during the interview (I'd told Adam 4,000, but it turned out it was 5 once I manually synched).

Here's the main points.

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Are You Eating Enough Anti-Nutrients, Toxins, Etc. To Be Truly Bulletproof?

This was to be Part 3 of The Duck Dodgers' "Hormesis Files" series, but it's way broader than that. It's beyond hormetic effects. Rather, think of it as anti-nutrients as nutrients. While you're at it, contemplate yourself...as a tender little Paleo flower, born of Trademark.

There's a long list of phytochemicals and "anti-nutrients" that people in the Paleo™ and "Bulletproof" world tend to worry about and try to avoid. Among others they include: lectins, saponins, phytate, polyphenols (tannins, isoflavones), protease inhibitors, cyanogenic glycosides, and favism glycosides. Even mycotoxin problems might be related to gut health since ruminants have little problem with them. These phytotoxins and anti-nutrients are also known as secondary metabolites. But what is never mentioned in Paleo™ circles is that there are a number of scientific papers showing benefits to consuming marginal levels of all of these toxins.[1][2][3][4]

From: Potential health benefits and problems associated with antinutrients in foods (1993)

Phytic acid, lectins, phenolic compounds, amylase inhibitors and saponins have also been shown to reduce the blood glucose and insulin responses to starchy foods and/or the plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition, phytic acid, phenolics, saponins, protease inhibitors, phytoestrogens and lignans have been related to reduced cancer risks. Because antinutrients can also be mitigating agents, they need re-evaluation and perhaps a change in name in the future...It is evident that both adverse and health benefits may be attributed to antinutrients in foods. It is also evident that, in many cases, the same interactions that make them antinutritive also are responsible for their beneficial effects.

In terms of mycotoxins (shit from fungi), there are even some compounds that have anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and even anti-fungal properties. [5][6][7][8][9][10]

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Post-Op Recovery Notes: Sugar Water as Medicine

  1.  I'm no good at this.

I was quite euphoric the day after the spine surgery. I even told you all about it. Ideally, that post would have been just an intro to some future videos of me deciding to take up some new physical activity like ballet, or something.

In more retrospective awareness, the wonder of this sort of modern medicine—where they literally cut a 3" incision into your spine, literally down to the bone, and you're literally home eating mom's home cookin' a few hours later—is a bit double-edged-scalpel. I now think that perhaps the value of all of that is more in being in familiar places, surroundings, and circumstances—because you can be—than it's any particular magic. Or: in the brutal dice roll that was surgery—a remarkable cost-benefit deal that would never get FDA approval if it were to be conceived of today—they just figured out a few things that have less to do with the actual incisions, scraping, general mechanical aspects...and more to do with microbes, like infections. Whereas, perhaps in the mind of patients, it was always 'gotta spend a lot of time in hospital, I have incision(s),' it was more always really: they can get infected and that's what'll kill me.

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I Got Stabbed In The Back Yesterday, And Intubated; And I Liked It

The very long story is that back in 2011, I ended up with a cervical disk herniation that caused excruciating chronic pain in my right shoulder and arm for three solid months. I was eventually steered toward Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, by John E. Sarno, and it worked.

Move forward to February, 2014, 15 months ago, and I developed lower back pain. Had back pain before, always went away. This time, it didn't—at least until it took permanent residence in my left butt, hip, hamstring, calf, ankle and big toe without much back pain. This time, Sarno was only effective insofar as getting rid of the constant chronic aspect, and intensity, making it somewhat manageable—with good days, bad days, and the awful dreary days.

In short, while I could function, I was pretty much in pain most of the time. Sitting was the worst, driving was excruciatingly painful most of the time and after a long drive the intensity could last for 2 days afterward.

I don't do pain pills much, very rarely. A couple Advil is about it for me. Alcohol is my pharmaceutical of choice.

In retrospect, today, the biggest toll on me I'd not taken account of is a general lack of interest in just about everything. I suppose that's a reasonable description of depression setting in. It's probably why I went so gung-ho on the move to Mexico. Only thing I could find that gave me a semblance of a sense of life.

The reason for the retrospective? Because since 2 p.m. yesterday I've been pain free for the first time in 15 months. I opted for the discectomy surgery and it appears to have been a 100% success. For the reasons why I made this choice and how it went down, read on. I really enjoyed doing this write up, the first I recall truly delighted in writing in a long time. Hope that comes through.

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Serendipitous Righteousness

Beatrice was away for a girls' weekend. In itself, rather hubristic, but I can man up for it and house sit the doggies. The new Fitbit made them happy and they got more walks than average. ...That Bea did a girls' weekend just two weeks ago with a different set of girls is no matter at all; says nothing about me.

What's important is the leftovers she brought back, including this.

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Uber Lyfts

I don't have a dog in the competitive race, but I initially used Lyft because of free rydes whyle I was getting Lyft, Tyre and Whyyl work done on the Beemer.

Airport dropoffs for my trips to Baja, car stuff...it's all been great and I don't have to annoy friends and family (...a friend in need is...a pest). Always engaging. You meet the most interesting people. Lately, I've been using Uber, but most drivers seem to be getting business from both.

I wish them both well. Apart from the experience—such as smart, engaging drivers—and it's never taken more than 7 minutes for a pickup and usually it's within 5—I just love the disruption of the whole thing. Suddenly, you have city politicians being pinched between selling off Taxi-Monopoly medallions for tens of thousands of dollars along with the businesses that invested million to start Taxi companies while making sure plenty of the revenue got into the hands of this worthless-fuck set of gatekeepers, and hundreds of thousands of "taxicabs" owned by regular folk making a buck on the side while offering multitudes of scale better service and overall experience.

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Bitten By The Fitbit Bug

Yep, got it yesterday early afternoon and pretty soon became quite intrigued and even motivated by the little gizmo.

I was only peripherally aware of Fitbit and a few wearable data loggers—probably by means of a walk by at Best Buy kiosk or something. First impression: how ridiculously obsessive.

Then a commenter in a post a while back spoke very highly of it.

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Giordano Bruno is not Running for President

When I finally began thinking for myself—fuck everyone else—at the age of 20, finally separating from the religious indoctrination my parents never escaped from—and still have not—I read a lot about Galileo and Copernicus as visionary revolutionary types.

It took a while before I learned of someone who went further.

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Home Battery and Solar Leapfrog Point of Order: TESLA is now a player

I understand it is very, very difficult for 99.99999999999% of you to even imagine living off grid. People are generally NOT interested in this revolutionary, earth changing disruption. They just want to pay their power-comany, municipal-monopoly by-grace-of-state-force bill and be done with it, just like their grandparents did.

But, 0.000000001% of people change the world and the rest always just go along as crash test dummies.

To reiterate, from that last post:

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Hashimoto’s Thyroid Update: Carbs, Probiotics and Gut Food; and Improved

I'm not going to be snarky about this because I don't in fact count it as a "cure," yet. But, improved for sure, and no thyroid meds. Here's the previous posts on the topic:

After I wrote the first post, having test results indicating a diagnosis of Hashimoto's (elevated TPO Antibody and TSH), I set about to institute a protocol involving a whole list of Don'ts, then re-test in three months. I ended up not following most of the Don'ts, but rather focussed on the gut, per my subsequent posts; i.e., Dos rather than Don'ts.

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What I Learned Living Off The Grid

It's a follow-on to these posts:

I'm purposely writing this while never having read a single thing about the ins-&-outs of living off grid; i.e., away from municipal electric, gas, water, and sewer services. Instead, I went and just did it for 5 days, and rubbed elbows with people in a remote—mostly American and Canadian expat—community in Los Zacatitos, at the tip of Baja—some of whom have been doing it routine for as long as 30 years.

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Done Deal. Moving to Los Zacatitos, Baja Sur, Mexico. Many Pictures

Just sealed the deal. While the lease begins May 1, through October, I'll likely not get back down there until mid-May or so (just got back here to CA yesterday). Beatrice and doggies will arrive mid-June. $650 per month. I'll just let these photos do the talking. Oh, one thing: the fruit on the fire pit? The melon is for the chipmunks (way cute tiny, adorable, very shy). The citrus is for the colorful birds.

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Laf Bruce Jenner

Look, I could give a shit whether he's found he wants to publicly suck donkey dicks whilst getting pounded by gay Catholic priests from behind...while nuns look on doing little circles.

...It was only recently that I even was aware of the deal at all, but Janet "JudgyBitch" Bloomfield's post crossed my email and made me laf uproariously and it would be untoward of me to not share it instanter: Let’s talk about Bruce Jenner.

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Wildlife-ing in Los Zacatitos (incl. a short story of a rattlesnake encounter)

Last evening I got back from the off-grid Zac's Bar & Grill here in Los Zacatitos, Baja, Mexico, and was sitting out on the covered patio just musing. Actually, I was watching a gehko on the wall making a mark on a bug. He missed, then jumped after another, later. That was behind a column, so not sure whether he was successful.

But I had a couple of battery-powered, 120v ceiling lights on—via the 6, 12v-truck-battery bank and inverter, charged 366 days per year via solar panels on the roof—on, and moths were swirling. Suddenly a bat swooped in and by "swoop," I mean that's where the word comes from because that's what it sounded like. Scooped up a couple and made his or her leave without even waiting for a thanks.

...I seem to have built up a quick immunity to the various bug bites and stings, as they don't itch for more than about 30 minutes. I've learned to keep the lights off in the sleeping area for hours before bed. Best not attract them.

This morning, decided to make the 10-minute-ish walk to the beach and was paying less than the attention I ought and suddenly, almost stepped on this local friend. Once my heart started beating—@ 200bpm—again, I considered my situation.

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