Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reasarch Round Up, Coconut Oil, Optimal Foods?

Research Round Up time for January. Here are just a few studies I found interesting.

Gastric Banding Surgery May Help Promote Remission of Type 2 Diabetes in Obese Patients
According to the study, "of the 60 patients enrolled, 55 (92%) completed the 2-year follow-up. Remission of type 2 diabetes was achieved by 22 (73%) in the surgical group and 4 (13%) in the conventional-therapy group."
Pretty amazing difference and appears to be related to weight loss. Most likely there are more feedback loops going on than we realize! It used to be thought that fat cells sat on their collective fat asses all day and did nothing, but now we know they are involved in all sorts of regulation.
Link here

Caffeine Increases Ambulatory Glucose and Postprandial Responses in Coffee Drinkers With Type 2 Diabetes

This debate has been going on for some time now. There is evidence on both sides and diabetics are different from healthy people and there are probably differences depending if they used coffee or just caffeine. See this link for a roundtable with Dr. John Beradi, Dr. Kalman and Dr. Lonnie Lowery from 2002. Link here

Concentration of Vitamin E Linked to Physical Decline in Older Persons
The study stated, "In a logistic regression analysis that was adjusted for potential confounders, only a low concentration of vitamin E (<1.1> significantly associated with subsequent decline in physical function"
What? It means that it a study of a group of free living people, Vit E concentration was associated (does not mean that it is causative) with less issues as people aged. Score another one for Vit E (although not all studies have been positive). It appears they only looked at one type of Vit E (alpha tocpherol).
Link here

Brief, Intensive Therapy for OCD Altered Brain Activity, Improved Symptoms
Yet another study showing how incredible neuroplasticity is in the brain, especailly in this case to a cognitive form of therapy. Neuroplasticity is a fancy term that means the brain can adapt to many changes and quite quickly. It was not long ago that researchers believe the brain would not change much, especially as you age. Newer researcher is showing that this is not true.
Link here

Muscle Vibration May Retrain Abnormal Sensorimotor Organization in Focal Hand Dystonia
Score another one for the amazing ability of the body to adapt!
Link here

Question and Answer Time

Q: Should there be more attention paid to an individual's unique fuel needs to better help them stay in a healthy weight range/ avoid Syndrome X, etc..?

Maybe we should should look at appropriate food mixes (fats/proteins/carbs) pertaining to the individual (assuming you get the right amount of exercise). Thoughts?

Your question about fuel needs is a good one. I think in a healthy body, you can use some protein (generally not a lot for energy needs since it is caloric intensive) and either carbs or fats. This can be measured in the lab by looking at the RER (respiratory exchange ratio). For info on RER click here

A RER ratio of 0.7 is 100% fat, 0.85 is 50/50 carbs/fat and 1 is 100% carbs (glycogen, etc).

You are probably familiar with the crossover over theory that as the intensity of the exercise increases, the body shifts more to carb usage. What many forget is that after high intensity work, the REPAYMENT of the disturbance from homeostasis (EPOC, afterburn, etc) is almost all fat metabolism. This is the main reasons that many recommend interval work for fat loss.

Of course everyone is different and your body can change quite well from one fuel to the next over time, shown by athletes on low carb diets even doing quite well still .

I personally like the idea of Metabolic Flexibility since it may be a way to customize fuel source or show that it doesn't make any difference. We know as someone gets closer to a diabetic condition, they have a much harder time using different fuel sources and get closer to "locking into" one--they lose their flexibility. Click here for more info than you ever cared about on it!

Q: What are your thoughts on coconut oil? Should I be using it? Some say it is great and others cry that there is too much saturated fat?

Coconut Oil is mostly saturated, of that it is about 44.6% lauric acid, 16.8% myristic acid a 8.2% palmitic acid and 8% Caprilic Acid. Different types of saturated fat may have different effects on blood cholesterol levels, as is there individual differences. Click here for a reference

Jeff Volek and friends has shown that in a low carbohydrate environment, the type of fat may have less or even no effect on blood cholesterol.

Coconut oil is a major source of medium chain trigylcerides (MCTs), but I am not sold that they are amazing. If you remember back in the mid 90s, they were touted as an ergogenic aid (increases performance) but tasted like crap and were not all that effective.

Coconut oil is also lacking in high amounts of (essential fatty acids) EFAs. They are essential since your body can NOT make them. Coconut oil is fine to use for cooking since it has a relatively high smoke point, but make sure you get your EFAs first and there is nothing all that magical about it in my opinion (which is open to change at any time-hehhe).

Take away on coconut oil
Get in your EFAs first in fish oil and omega 3s like flax oil.

For all you wanted to know on fats check out this article by Dr. John Berardi The F Word.

That is all for now! Any questions, post them in the comments
Rock on
Mike N