Friday, 6 July 2012


So today I discovered this:

And I became intensely incensed at the stupidity of the sheeple in our world.

Its not all complete bollocks but enough is wrong and stupid and grrrrr with this poster that I want to shake the people sharing it. First it fucking anthropomorphisises DIETARY COMPONENTS, villifies them and creates this emotional reaction to food which suspends logical thought in a world of incredibly lazy mouth-breathers who can't be bothered to go do the research.
Which sucks butt because it certainly doesn't make it this cute:

Then it throws together loose 'science', conveniently missing out whole swathes of metabolic processes and utterly brainwashing the population into hysterics.

I'm going to start with the insulin and carbohydrate metabolism section. First off the argument completely flops because its implying that you'll only secrete insulin when you even think of eating a carbohydrate-rich meal (because we're all moderately anal and think about food like that). Its assuming that you're going to eat a meal PURELY carbohydrate-rich. You're supposed to smile and nod vacuously. Then its telling you, whilst getting on its rainbow-excreting unicorn and jumping over scientific credibility, that insulin is ebil, EBIL I TELL YE because it directly 'tells your body' (for the love of fuck, scientific terminology right there) to store fatty acids in fat cells and 'keep you from burning it as energy'.


Yes, insulin does indeed play a (indirect) role in aiding in fat storage in adipocytes and yes it does indeed repress break-down of fat in adipocytes - relevant research:

To prevent me from screaming in rage, this is what insulin does:

TWO. WORDS. Metabolic Energy. The energy you create when you 'burn' carbs, lipids or proteins.

So what you understood from that is that carbohydrates that enter your body remain as carbohydrates and fats remain as fats, both unchanging in any way and passing out as energy when you need to use them.


For the love of biochemistry, NO.

There are interlinking shitloads of metabolic pathways dependent on infinitesimally complex homeostasis (balance) of different products and reactants. Different types of sugars get converted into other molecules, namely fats if you exceed your calorific intake AND your intake is greater than the amount burned through the krebs cycle. In the processes deamination and beta-oxidation, respective proteins and fats stored in your body are converted into substrates (reactants) for the krebs cycle.

Things don't just stay the same.

SO if you decrease your intake of carbs it sounds like you'll use the fat in your body and be super sexyawesome - great right?

Not quite. 

Your body is smart, its going to capitalise on the substrate requiring the least amount of energy to convert to a useful state for krebs. That would be fat, yes. 
This won't be terribly pretty.

Cue beta-oxidation and breakdown of fat in your body - and not in a good way. This will produce ketone bodies which form that delightful oily layer on the surface of your urine (provided you haven't got some kind of sexy infection). Ketone bodies are NOT GOOD - in particular we're talking about the abundantly synthesised acetone. Your body will desperately pump this out in your urine which means lots of urination (polyurea) and lots of water loss. With water loss goes sodium loss and you end up with low sodium (hyponatraemia) and consequentially fuck up your blood salt concentration. Vasopressin is released to try to get back some of that water and you become thirsty, drinking water in greater quantities as you 'diet' your way into dehydration. 

You'll potentially be weak, thin and very, very unwell from the muscle loss. To combat this epic failure, your liver will produce glucagon to convert carbs stored in your liver (glycogen) into useful sugar form (glucose) coupled with insulin as your blood sugar spikes. If you don't eat enough carbs you will degenerate very quickly, your liver carb stores are not the sodding room of requirement - magically self-replenishing. 

But no, no. Fuck science! You're a free-thinking consumer and you demand your rights! You're going to derp your way to the fridge and, casting aside all manner of carbohydrates, reach with all your informed resolution for the butter and bacon. You don't give half a fuck that fat is a general umbrella term for a class of dietary components subdivided into further groups depending on function in the body! 

For your information, 'fat' covers three main, very important and diverse classes of lipids - unsaturated, saturated and trans-fats - and ALL of these should be eaten in moderation with particular deference paid to the latter two bad  boys. Because they are bad boys. And if you do as this retardation of a poster is telling you to and just go right ahead and lube up your arteries with them then nice knowing you and good luck.

Have fun with increased risks of atheroma, osteoporosis, renal stones, cardiomyopathy, heart palpitations, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizzy spells and fainting, nausea/vomiting, hyponatraemia and the resultant fun-train of disorders that follow.  And all that fat you're shovelling down, unless you're informed you won't know whether you're increasing your cholesterol by taking in foods high in LDLs or reducing it with foods high in HDLs. Increased LDLs will segue pleasantly into atherosclerosis, increased risk of heart attack and earlier morbidity. 

I'm staring at my Kumar and Clarke's Clinical Medicine chapter on nutrition as I write this; it says that this low carb, high fat diet has been shown to be as equally effective in weight loss as low fat high carb - so the 'statistics' they've given you in that infograph are bullshit. Sorry, they are, unless you can show me the original study, data and sponsors
And I'm also looking at this:

QUOTE: 'Current evidence indicates that the best diet for prevention of weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is low in fat and sugar-rich beverages and high in carbohydrates, fiber, grains, and protein.'

And its not the only study to say so. By all means, utilise your frontal lobe, follow the link and type what you want answers to in that search box.

Jesus, the overwhelming general disapproval of the scientific community is available even on wikipedia for god's sake!

Read the pros and cons and criticisms and draw an informed conclusion:

Ok, I'm going to breathe and summarise before I burst my carotid at society's infinite stupidity:

I don't have that huge a problem with people going on this diet who have consulted a professional and gotten the A-Ok to go ahead. There have been many cases of people adapting happily to this diet whether or not they maintain it for more than the augured 7 years (its predicted that this sort of ketogenic diet is only maintainable for a finite and short period of time).

What I'm struggling with is ignorant display of this information to an equally potentially ignorant public who may take completely wrong ideas from this poster and run with it, doing untold damage to their bodies and potentially putting themselves in hospital for it.

Your body gives no fucks about the amount of calories you consume and it does not matter how much you eat providing your usage is greater than your intake. In other words, get off your lazy, nanny-state-dependent ass and EXERCISE. No one is asking you to obsessively calorie count, what is expected of you is rudimentary level understanding of portion control, food group types and the importance of exercise.

Yes, not ALL fats are dangerous given moderation but nowhere, NOWHERE, does this stupid infographic even mention types of fat or the rate of consumption versus rate of usage. Nor does it mention anything about body types! Some people are genetically predisposed to soak up every bit of fat like a its going out of fashion, there are hormonal disorders that cause this! Others eat for the galaxy and struggle to gain a pound. You need to tailor diets.

One thing it did get right is the simple versus complex carbs information. Complex carbs are better for you because they are slow-releasing and sit heavy in the stomach generally making you feel fuller for longer. These are present in whole grains and vegetables in glorious abundance. Its still carbs, but, like everything I've mentioned before, in moderation it will help you on your quest to dropping a dress size.

Back to this poster.

Not once did it mention proteins. Frankly anything that claims to be for your benefit and doesn't mention one of the essential dietary components even once should be treated with extreme prejudice. That, to me, is nothing short of a marketing ploy since it keeps your attention focused on only fat and carbs. Any credible nutritional source would mention all three and give detail about percentage composition in the diet and the best sources. This poster does nothing of the sort. Therefore I spit on it. You know. Digitally.

There are no studies cited. NONE. I don't care if they casually jerk off to the 'research at Harvard University shows...' this is NOT credible evidence unless you cite it, give me the journal article and show me the participants, their background, medical history and results of the trial. And even then I'm suspicious.

And, no, one study is NOT enough to support such a diabolically imbecilic statement that has been made into such a publicly-bleated idea.

I'll leave off by saying that low-XYZ diets are not one size fits all. It depends massively on the individual's age, sex, lifestyle, medical history, requirements ad infinitum, ad nauseum. So I urge you, anyone thinking of going on a serious diet, consult a professional so you can decide together what's best for you. These fad diets are unrealistic and difficult to maintain and, in some cases, downright dangerous for the ill-advised and misinformed.
Once you stop you pile on the pounds right back. So choose a healthy, safe, realistic option that isn't going to do potentially permanent damage to your body. And question anything presented to you with such sweeping generalisations and weak science. Biochemistry is not as simple as this poster pretends.

No comments:

Post a Comment