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August 26, 2009

Weight and Brains

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* A new study shows that the brains of obese people deteriorate.

* Michelle has lost more than 70 pounds by following a low-carbish / Primal-ish regime. Here's Michelle's own blog.

* Read our q&a with Primal fitness guru Mark Sisson: Part One, Part Two.



posted by Michael at August 26, 2009


I'm coming around a bit more to Sisson's way of thinking based on my experiences in this post period of my successful diet experiment of the last two months. Successful as in: from 190+ to 170, belt in 4 notches to the smallest, pants that fit at the beginning of the summer now ballooning around my waist, my jaw line visible.

But...I'm doing loooong cardio workouts on the indoor rower, and am eating carbs again partly because of the hunger/energy depletion I'm getting from those loooooong workouts. Result: weight fluctuating around 170, zits on face, carb cravings are back.

So...I'm thinking: back to intense, shorter varied exercise (I've lost some strength off my lifts, move back to getting those back up), back to more primal in the food side...and we'll see what happens.

I especially want to get rid of the zits. It's amazing how they've erupted with the return of carbs (sugar really) to my diet. The zits, and the insomnia. Insomnia is a killer for body composition control or weight loss, and I'm losing two or more hours of sleep more nights than not.


Maybe that Sisson guy's got something on the ball after all.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 26, 2009 9:46 AM

I'm wondering if there's a connection between anti-cholesterol drugs and this supposed brain degeneration.

Naughton's "Fat Head" presented a LOT of evidence that interfering with cholesterol in the body has a lot of deleterious effects; so much so that one of the experts said women should never take the stuff at all.

Posted by: Yahmdallah on August 26, 2009 11:14 AM

--the high prevalence of junk science, and
--the high prevalence of obesity,

is there any disease/behavior/lab result/purse color NOT correlating with obesity?

Posted by: jz on August 26, 2009 3:33 PM

Everyone's brain deteriorates with age. We lose brain cells no matter what. Most people who drink alcohol daily, even moderately, are killing more brain cells with each drink than obesity may cause, if it causes any deleterious effect at all.

I'm fat and my thinking and analytical skills are better now at 52 than they were at 22. So is my emotional maturity.

The number one reason for our anti-obesity hysteria is aesthetic. Also, an increasing waist line correlates with aging, and Americans are obsessed with youth and have a hysterical fear of death.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on August 26, 2009 4:18 PM

The link between obesity and brain rot may be indirect, with poor glycemic control being an underlying cause of both.

Posted by: chrisb on August 26, 2009 8:25 PM

I'm naturally rebellious and would be far happier if Taubes et al turned out to be exactly right. My own experiences don't really concord though. I went straight from ~7 cans of Coke per day to zero, and haven't lost any weight at all over six or eight weeks. (I'm a skinny with a belly type.)

Dropping all that soda should be a truly massive change in insulin load. I don't eat any really high-glycemic carbs at all now - just a good deal of white pasta and lentils, and a small amount of white rice. Anyway, I quit cola because of constant compulsive cravings for it, not really for weight loss. Hell, I craved it even when I was drinking it. The cravings went away fast.

Sweet fluids aren't really a good way to satisfy your sweet drive, if you think about it. You swallow it and the taste is gone. If fruit doesn't satisfy, then it seems far better to buy once a week some kind of candy that'll stick to your mouth, producing 10x more sensation per gram of sugar than cola yields.

Posted by: Eric Johnson on August 27, 2009 12:05 PM

Eric, my guess for what it's worth (not much) is that your consumption of "a great deal of" white pasta is sufficient to kick you into hyperinsulinemia and concomitant fat storage. You're still revving that engine and its still churning out smog.

The huge reduction in overall insulin load is insufficient, I'm guessing. You're over the critical line, so to speak, and the malignant process continues to operate unabated.

Notice that you've also massively reduced your caloric load too, if those 7 cans of coke (each about 155 cals IIRC) weren't replaced by mounds of other stuff. That's more than 1000 cals a day gone...and yet you haven't lost weight.

So your experience doesn't seem to support the calorie in/out bunch either (not saying you're claiming it does). Try cutting out the pasta and rice and see what happens.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 28, 2009 1:29 PM

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