You’re about to hear my take on beer, wine and alcohol (especially during the holidays), overeating issues, what to do when you see all the sweets at parties this time of year, how to accidentally write a book, censorship on social media, and even the future of virtual reality.

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Today’s guest post is generously offered up by Craig Emmerich, husband to—and co-author with—the queen of keto herself, Maria Emmerich. Enjoy!

When we consume macro nutrients, our bodies go through a priority for dealing with them. This priority can be very useful in understanding how our bodies work and how to leverage it for losing weight.

The body doesn’t like having an oversaturation of fuel in the blood at any time. It tightly manages the fuels to avoid dangerous situations like hyperglycemia or blood glucose that is too high. But it also manages and controls other fuels like ketones (beta hydroxybutyrate or BHB levels) and fats (free fatty acids or FFA and triglycerides) to keep them under control and not oversaturate the blood with fuel.

It is like the engine of a car. You don’t want to give the engine too much fuel and blow it up. So the body controls the amount of fuels in the blood to ensure you don’t “blow up.” To do this, the body will address the most important (or potentially most dangerous) fuels first. It does this in a very logical way—in reverse order of storage capacity.

Here is a chart showing the breakdown of oxidative priority for dietary fuels.

Modified Source: Keto. By Maria and Craig Emmerich
Original source: Oxidative Priority, Meal Frequency, and the Energy Economy of Food and Activity: Implications for Longevity, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Disease, Sinclair, Bremer, et al, February 2017.

The #1 oxidative priority is alcohol because there is zero storage capacity for it. It makes sense that the body would address this first, since it can’t store it anywhere and too high blood alcohol means death.

The second oxidative priority is exogenous ketones. These are ketone salts that raise blood BHB levels. There isn’t a storage site for ketones either, so the body must deal with this before addressing other fuels. That is why exogenous ketones aren’t the best option when trying to lose weight. They displace fat oxidation, keeping fat stored while it uses the exogenous ketones as fuel instead.

The third oxidative priority is protein. Protein is a bit different, as there is a limited storage space for protein, but protein is not a good fuel source. It takes 5 ATP to turn protein into a fuel (glucose through gluconeogenesis) and another 2 ATP to burn in the mitochondria. Why would your body expend 7 ATP for something it can do for 2 ATP by just burning glucose or fat from your body? Protein is only really used as a fuel when other fuels (glucose and fat) are not present and it is forced to use protein. Protein gets preferentially used to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. It builds and repairs lean mass.

The next oxidative priority is carbohydrates. It has a moderate amount of storage capacity at 1,200 to 2,000 calories.

The last oxidative priority is fat. This makes sense, as there is a theoretically unlimited storage capacity for fat. There are people with upwards of 400 pounds of stored body fat, which represents 1.6 million calories.

Oxidative priority can help you understand what happens when you put certain fuels into your body. If you are drinking alcohol while eating carbs and fat, the carbs and fat will primarily go into storage while the body deals with the elevated alcohol.

To understand the power of oxidative priority take the case of an alcoholic. Alcoholics will have very low A1c levels (in the 4s) no matter what they eat! If they eat tons of carbohydrates they will still have an A1c in the 4s because the chronically elevated alcohol levels force the body to store all glucose while dealing with alcohol, creating a low A1c. I am not recommending anyone become an alcoholic to lower A1c level—but quite the opposite actually.

So, what does this mean, and how can you leverage your body’s biology to lose weight?

If you avoid alcohol and exogenous ketones, get a just enough protein to support maintenance of lean mass (about 0.8 times your lean mass in pounds for grams of protein a day), limit the carbs and then reduce dietary fat a bit to force the body to use more stored body fat for fuel you will lose body fat. When you restrict carbs for long enough (4-6 weeks for most people) the body gets used to using fat as its primary fuel (keto adapted). This means it can burn body fat or dietary fat equally well. Eliminating other fuels and keeping dietary fat moderate allows the body to focus on body fat for fuel resulting in fat loss.

That is our bodies system for processing fuels coming in through the diet. Leverage it for improved results and body recomposition.

Craig Emmerich graduated in Electrical Engineering and has always had a systems approach to his work. He followed his wife Maria into the nutrition field and has since dedicated his time researching and looking at nutrition and biology from a systems perspective. Over the last 8 years he has worked with hundreds of clients alongside Maria to help them heal their bodies and lose weight leveraging their biology to make it easy.

Thanks to Craig for today’s keto insights, and thanks to everybody here for stopping in.

You can follow Maria and Craig’s work on their website, Maria Mind Body Health, as well as their subscription site, Keto-Adapted, and their new keto courses.

Questions about dietary fuels and oxidative priority—or other points keto? Share them down below, and have a great end to the week. Take care, folks!

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The post Oxidative Priority: Dietary Fuels To the Body appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Can good productivity habits contribute to other good habits, like eating well and getting outdoors? Today, we have a special Q&A bonus episode where I’ll be sharing one of my favorite tools that has helped me since I was an overachieving pre-teen, and continues to pay big dividends in productivity and in art to this day.

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Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Reminder: I’ll be at the Fireside conference Sept 6-9 in Canada, and doing a live podcast on stage with the venerable Yoni Freedhoff. Would love to see you there!

This week mushroom tea isn’t magic, a little alcohol probably won’t kill you, and diet impacts women’s wellbeing more than men’s.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m responding to four reader comments. First up, if a person can’t eat eggs, doesn’t like liver, but really wants choline, can they just supplement? Second, are a couple handfuls of almonds too much omega-6 for the average person? What if they eat fish? Third, a new study claims to show that keto dieting tanks hepatic insulin sensitivity. What should we make of it? Are we giving ourselves type 2 diabetes by going keto? And fourth, I highlight a great approach to drinking alcohol (and living in general) from one of our readers.

Let’s go:

If I can’t eat eggs, and don’t like liver, can I supplement with choline? What would be a good dose?

Yes, you can supplement with choline. Men need around 550 mg per day. Women, 425 mg. Those requirements go up if you’re pregnant or nursing, and they very likely go up if you’re drinking.

It’s very possible that those are good levels for the average person eating a low-moderate fat diet. If you’re eating a high-fat diet or engaging in cognitively-demanding work, you may benefit from higher doses.

What jumped out at me was high O6 from snacking on almonds…this was in the fish oil post too, and it’s got me looking twice at how much is too much. I have a handful or two almost every day, and not supplementing with O3 ( although just started an experiment with daily supplements or fish). Too much?
Thanks as always for the excellent post—I’ve been wondering about alcohol too!

Don’t get me wrong. Almonds are a nutrient-dense whole food. They’ve got tons of magnesium, prebiotic fiber, polyphenols. Their health effect profile is impressive:

But they are high in linoleic acid. Absent fish, two handfuls a day is probably excessive. Having some fish fat will balance it nicely.

Try this: Replace one of your handfuls of almonds with a can of sardines or smoked oysters.

Does keto cause liver insulin resistance? Just saw this study and don’t want type 2 diabetes…

https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP275173

First of all, it’s a mouse study.

Second of all, it was a three-day study designed to look at the short-term transitory effects of going keto. Anyone who’s gone keto knows that the early days are a bit rough. Your mitochondria aren’t good at burning fat or ketones yet. You haven’t built the metabolic machinery required to extract the energy you need from the new balance of macronutrients. This period of transition coincides with the “keto flu”—that period of fatigue, listlessness, and headaches.

If you stick with the diet and make it through to the point where you can crank out and utilize ketones, everything changes. You can suddenly start making ATP from all that body fat you’re burning off, giving you a virtually limitless supply of energy at all times. It’s great.

But in the meantime, for that early period it’s rough. You’re insulin resistant, yet unable to burn much fat. Your liver is perpetually overloaded with energy, making insulin resistance almost unavoidable (if transitory).

Third, the composition of this study’s “keto” diet was about as bad as you could get (PDF). The fat came from Crisco—the classic trans-fat laden version—rounded out with a bit of corn oil. Trans-fats and omega-6 linoleic acid. Does this look like the diet you’re eating? Does this look like the keto diet anyone is eating? If the researchers set out to get the worst possible results for the keto group, it wouldn’t have looked any different. almost looks like they were trying to get the worst possible results.

Alcohol in ketosis is just one aspect of alcohol use in a healthy lifestyle. For me personally I perceive alcohol to play not a vital but an extremely useful role.

I drink about 40 gm of ethanol just about every day in the form of a classic gin martini made with 3.5 oz of premium gin (healthy fats in that olive, brother). I consider gin to be a very special spirit because it is comprised of water, ethanol, and botanical substances like the l-terpenes from juniper berries which are known to have a tonic effect on the human organism – and none of the hundreds of dubious organic chemicals (referred to as “cogeners”) contained in whisky or tequila. I always consume this martini between 5:00 and 7:00pm, and I very rarely drink anything else at any time of day or night. I have this drink immediately before and with the evening meal which I personally prepare from scratch with fresh ingredients and consume with my wife of 51 years.

The martini seems to me to punctuate and enhance the transition from “doing” – being responsible, making things happen, solving problems, exerting myself – to “not doing” – resting, refreshing, nourishing, regenerating. Subjectively, I feel like this one drink, consumed with food, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The alcohol research, so-called, tends to produce the opposite result, but in my opinion, virtually all of the alcohol effects research is dreadful – just about the junkiest junk science you can find anywhere.

I will be 80 on my next birthday, my resting heart rate, measured with a Polar FT7 heart rate monitor as an average over 3-5 minutes is 51-52. I ride a mountain bike on intermediate level trails – often in a fasted state – and recently recorded a maximum heart rate of 167. This is considerably higher than the HRmax predicted by any of the recently validated formulas. My GGT level is 16, so I have to conclude that my liver thrives on classic gin martinis. I take no prescription medications and no over-the-counter medications. I am not trying to brag here, I am just trying to document that by just about any measure my health and physical condition is exceptional for a person my age.

My personal belief is that alcohol in the right form and used properly is a health food. This conclusion is based on my personal experience, but I dearly wish that some enterprising biochemists, neurologists, and social psychologists would get together and design a quality research program to examine alcohol’s health effects under various real-world conditions. People like to drink, but a lot of what they drink is full of cogeners and sugar and genuinely toxic crap. Almost nobody has a clue what is in what they are drinking and what its health effects – positive or negative – might be. Millennials are currently destroying their livers in droves and even killing themselves with booze at distressingly early ages. Beliefs about alcohol and drinking in our culture are pathetically primitive.

I think I’ve got it figured out for me, but I think it would wonderful for the rest of the world to know the score.

I’m highlighting Daniel’s words even though he wasn’t asking a question. This man gets it. This is how to approach, appreciate, and consume alcohol. He’s drinking with complete lucidity, total awareness, and mindfulness. Alcohol isn’t “just” something you use to get loaded. It’s a sacred chemical that marks the transition from “doing” to “being.”

Many people blur the lines, drinking for the hell of it. Make it more of a special occasion, consume it mindfully and purposefully. Having a couple glasses of wine at night because I’m bored will ruin my sleep and throw off my tomorrow. Having those same two glasses of wine and some conversation with my wife or dear friends over cheese and olives has an entirely different physiological—not just psychological—effect. My liver actually processes the wine consumed with mindfulness differently.

That’s it for this week, everyone. Thanks for reading and be sure to chime in down below with your own comments, answers, or concerns.

Take care!

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The post Dear Mark: Choline Supplementing, Too Many Almonds, Keto and Insulin Resistance, and How to Drink appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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