Friday Morning Notes, Links & Quick Hits

So much going on that I only have time for a few quit his and random updates.

~ Entirely experimental for now but I tossed together a personal blog for those who might be interested. I’ve been toying with the idea of making FTA less about me and more about the community, the process, the science, food, evolutionary logic, the successes and so on. It’s totally experimental for now. One difficulty is in drawing the line; i.e., when something personal is also likely to be of particular interest. Well, in any case I’ll probably publish a list here each week of my personal blog entries for those who want.

~ By now you’ve probably heard about Drew Carey’s 80-pound weight loss on a low-carb diet. Here’s the photographic evidence.

~ I have not had time to watch this 30-minute video yet by Dr. Chris Zaino on Cholesterol Myths, but it comes to me highly recommended.

~ And here’s an all-in-one article on cholesterol and the many myths associated with it, from Mercola.

You are probably aware that there are many myths that portray fat and cholesterol as one of the worst foods you can consume. Please understand that these myths are actually harming your health.

Not only is cholesterol most likely not going to destroy your health (as you have been led to believe), but it is also not the cause of heart disease.

And for those of you taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, the information that follows could not have been given to you fast enough.

~ On the we evolved as meat eaters front — you veg*n dimwits — several interesting things. First up is an NPR story stating exactly what I’ve told the veggies and vegans innumerable times:

It wasn’t a very high-calorie diet, so to get the energy you needed, you had to eat a lot and have a big gut to digest it all. But having a big gut has its drawbacks.

"You can’t have a large brain and big guts at the same time," explains Leslie Aiello, an anthropologist and director of the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York City, which funds research on evolution. Digestion, she says, was the energy-hog of our primate ancestor’s body. The brain was the poor stepsister who got the leftovers.

Until, that is, we discovered meat.

And now comes evidence of meat eating that’s 3.4 million years old, 800,000 years before what was previously established. The only real rub seems to be that archeologists haven’t found "stone tools" in these areas. Well c’mon fer fucksakes, it doesn’t take a genius to logically deduce that the first stone tools were simply idly strewn rocks our ancestors discovered to be useful and it’s that recognition of utility that eventually gives rise to what we recognize as stone tools.

Dr. Alemseged braced for such reactions with confidence.

“Few if any will doubt the authenticity of the cut marks, once they examine the evidence,” he said in an interview. “No one will question the age of the fossils. But who made the cut marks? Maybe there was another, more evolved species around at that time, but that we don’t know. And where are the tools they used? If they were just stones picked up, unmodified, they may be archaeologically invisible, hard to identify.”

Duh! More here at this interesting blog post: Ten scratches on two bone fragments distinguish vegetarians from carnivores.

Cut-marked bone at 3.4 million years ago takes the title of First Meat-Eater away from the genus Homo (Homo habilis, Homo erectus,…. , Homo sapiens) and gives it to the only hominin species known at the time from that region of Ethiopia: Australopithecus afarensis, known for being Lucy’s species.

If you’re not quaking in your seat right now, well, then you have got some serious nerding-up to do. This is kind of HUGE: Lucy’s relatives, and maybe Lucy herself, not only used stone tools but used them on big mammal carcasses!?

So does that mean we’re really Australopithecus sapiens, or does it mean that Lucy was Homo afarensis?

~ I didn’t jump on this bit about fructose and cancer cell metabolism precisely for the reasons outlined in this excellent post by Frank Hagan.

I am as eager as the next low carber to pounce on a media story that equates fructose with cancer, but let’s be honest: this study doesn’t say that. We have a duty to try and report things accurately, although for us laypeople, it can be difficult. Remember, we are critical of the old idea that eating cholesterol added cholesterol to the bloodstream. It makes sense on one level, and that would be great, except it simply isn’t true. We know that now. Why are we so quick to say eating sugar feeds cancer? We need our theory validated with research.

As Frank indicates later, sugar itself probably does contribute to feeding cancer and very low carb diets might help slow progression. I’ve blogged about that before and think it’s plausible, just as fasting seems to be therapeutic. But as we’ve talked about many times before as to how fructose goes right to the liver, like alcohol, it doesn’t make sense that it could feed cancer cells anywhere except, perhaps the liver. If you want to make a connection with fructose then it would be how it contributes to fatty liver, and how liver cancer can be the end result of that nasty progression.

~ A couple of meals. First, a BIG post workout meal at a local Hofbrau. Lots of roast beef, mashed potatoes and cottage cheese.

Big Meal
Big Meal

But not always… Here’s my Blue Cheese meatballs. Three of them, with bacon bits. That was the entire meal. They were large meatballs, though.

Small Meal
Small Meal

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  1. LeonRover on August 21, 2010 at 01:00

    The fructose story is a little more complicated than that.

    It circulates in the blood at micro-molar rates.

    See this post from Primal Wisdom.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2010 at 11:07


      Thanks. I checked out both those entries, as well as your comments. I think I’m still pretty much with you, here:

      I really don’t see the point in singling out fructose and that’s my main point. It’s sugar, especially refined, whether the white granular stuff or HFCS that’s the general problem and issue.

      While interesting I don’t want to get off the main point which is to eat real food, including some fruit and potatoes if you like, and you’re not going to have to worry about it any more than does your average HG.

      • LeonRover on August 22, 2010 at 07:13

        Thanks for the ink!

  2. AJP on August 20, 2010 at 18:18


    Thanks for the Quick Hits.

    I like the personal blog idea.
    Tom over at FatHead does the same and I enjoy both.


  3. Walter Norris on August 20, 2010 at 23:36

    I had the same thought about fructose – how would it get out of the liver to add to cancer growth? However, I do think the study is useful in showing that not all sugars are the same. As you point out, maybe fructose could increase the likelihood of liver cancer.

  4. Walter Norris on August 21, 2010 at 01:36

    Just found the post at primal wisdom and was going to post it here when I saw that someone beat me to it. Looks like it might be an issue after all. It will be interesting to see where the data leads to on this issue.

  5. Chris Kresser on August 21, 2010 at 05:54


    It’s a myth that all fructose is metabolized in the liver. Don over at Primal Wisdom just wrote a post summarizing studies that measures fructose in the blood of both diabetics and non-diabetics. Studies also show that even small amounts of fructose can be problematic, because it’s much more reactive than glucose.

  6. Marc on August 21, 2010 at 07:19

    Richard, I think trying to take “Richard” out of this blog, or to try to separate the two is a mistake. Part of what brought me to the lifestyle was that I could relate to you as a person. It was not just a blog with some set of dietary rules, and information.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. John on August 21, 2010 at 08:17

    I also disagree on the fructose getting completely removed in the first pass effect. There are several studies that demonstrate this.
    I think a big part of the paper that was missed by the mainstream media is that the rates of cancer cell growth was equal with glucose and fructose. The big finding was that fructose on it’s own could feed cancer and that the pathways that were stimulated by fructose feeding were different from those that glucose stimulated. I’m still trying to figure out what this means, although the authors threw in some unsupported speculation that likely fed the media interest. Again what is well proven is the increased need for sugar and use of sugar by cells that are either pre-cancerous or cancerous.

  8. Erik on August 21, 2010 at 14:36

    I’ve encountered the stone-tool article a few other places, but my biggest question is still this: why is the use of stone tools (made or natural) assumed to be required for hominid consumption of meat?

    Chimps are documented to hunt and take meat with their bare hands and teeth. Teamwork and strategy seem more important to me for the taking of meat. Yes, stone tools probably allowed early hominids to be more efficient with the use of meat, but I strongly suspect that they were eating meat, even if only occasionally, before they developed stone tools.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 21, 2010 at 14:48

      Erik, I don’t think it’s a question of an absolute requirement, especially when scavenging. I agree that it’s likely they got their taste for meat without tools at all. But once acquired, not a big leap to imagine that they quickly found that they could get even more with the tools, particularly the super high energy in the cranium and large bones.

      I can’t think of a way using the fossil record we could prove this, so we’re stuck with the evidence of cut marks.

  9. Consumer Freedom on August 26, 2010 at 13:41

    The headlines surrounding the study are beyond misleading to readers. Thank you for endeavoring to set the record straight. Many people ridiculously acted as if this fructose study uniquely applied to high fructose corn syrup, something that is roughly half fructose and half glucose. Interestingly, Americans get more fructose from refined sugar (which is also a 50-50 mix of fructose and glucose) than high fructose corn syrup, according to USDA data. Focusing on fructose is unhelpful to Americans trying to lead healthier lives.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 26, 2010 at 13:47

      I most emphatically agree CF. Focus on sugar and processed foods that contain a lot of it. Want sweet? Have a bit of fruit.

      The HFCS thing has always struck me as a distraction, though I’ve probably succumbed to the hysteria.

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