Men occupy an interesting place in the health sphere. While there’s a disparity—albeit one that’s approaching parity—between men and women in the conventional medical literature, in the alternative health world, it’s flipped. Women are a “special interest” group, and their specific health issues and special considerations related to diet and exercise receive a lot of attention, often as a way to counteract the conventional imbalance—and because women tend to be higher consumers of health information. I have far more posts (including a post on Keto For Women) explicitly directed toward women and women’s issues (and the same can be said across many ancestral health sites).

Men are assumed to be “the default,” requiring no special consideration, but is that actually true?

Today, I’ll be talking about any special considerations men should make when following a Keto Reset plan.

Play At the Margins

Historically, anthropologically, and biologically speaking, men can tolerate great variations in environmental intensity. They’re usually (not always of course) the ones going to war, performing great feats of physical endurance and strength, willingly subjecting themselves to misery and pain, as well as being more violent and getting into the most trouble. (On the whole) carrying more muscle mass, secreting more testosterone, and being physically larger than the opposite sex will tend to make all that possible. We see this kind of sexual dimorphism play out across most mammals, and there’s no reason to think humans are any different.

Most of us don’t have these extreme situations foisted on us any more, but we still thrive doing them. Try a 2-day fast. Do one meal a day. Eat a 3-pound steak, then no meat at all the next day. Eat a dozen eggs for breakfast (whenever that happens). Try lots of seemingly extreme experiments to see what works. It may be that you thrive doing the occasional intense bout of keto bravado. Only one way to find out.

Whereas women tend to have a lower tolerance for perturbations in caloric intake for their potential impact on fertility status, men have far more leeway. Take advantage of that.

Be As Strict As Possible Early On

I’m not going to mince words. Get strict. Most of the men I encounter who are having problems with keto do better the stricter they are. For women, it’s often the opposite—they need to relax their keto adherence and just eat.

Don’t mess around with carb refeeds, pre-workout carbs, or “just one donut hole” until you have a good thing going. Get those fat-burning mitochondria built. Stay strong and stay strict.

Manage Your Stress Levels

This is good general advice for everyone on any diet, but it’s especially so for men eating keto.

A big part of traditional masculinity (for better and worse) is stoicism—the ability to soldier on through a difficult situation. This is, on balance, often a good yet misunderstood trait that gets a bad rap that it doesn’t always deserve. Stoicism isn’t unfeeling. At its healthiest, it’s the ability to address the feelings without being ruled by them. It’s feeling grief without letting your life fall to pieces. These are positive ways to respond to life’s slings and arrows. But this can lead to a denial of the physiological ramifications of stress and a failure to manage them with anti-stress behaviors.

Keto does not make you impervious to stress. Being a man does not make you impervious to stress. There are still limits to the amount of stress we can tolerate, physiological ones that no one should try to transcend. At those levels, “mind over matter” stops working. Stress will spike cortisol, blunt testosterone, and make all that decidedly non-keto junk food all the more attractive and alluring.

Monitor Your Testosterone Levels

For the most part, going keto tends to improve testosterone levels:

It reduces body fat. Researchers have known for decades that carrying extra body fat depresses testosterone levels, and that losing the extra fat restores them. In fact, a recent study found that a man’s body weight is such a fantastic predictor of low testosterone and poor sexual function that the authors recommend it should be used as a standard biomarker for evaluating testosterone levels. If keto is helping you lose body fat, it’s probably improving your T levels.

It increases saturated fat and cholesterol intake. Both nutrients (yes, nutrients) are important building blocks for the production of testosterone. Studies show that low-fat, high-fiber diets lower testosterone in men, while diets higher in saturated fat increase it.

Once the initial exodus of body fat is over, though, you have to be more vigilant. Calories can dip too low. Deficiencies of micronutrients you haven’t been thinking about may start to surface. And this can all impact your testosterone levels.

Make sure you’re not starving yourself. Men are built to handle and even prosper from acute boluses of extreme caloric restriction or expenditure (fasts, heavy training), but extended bouts can destroy our hormonal profile. Just look at what happens to a seasoned bodybuilder preparing for competition with caloric restriction and intense training—their testosterone tanks and their cortisol shoots up.

Make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of the pro-testosterone micronutrients. Zinc, vitamin D (either through sun exposure, vitamin D-rich foods like wild salmon, eggs, cod liver oil, or supplementation), saturated fat, cholesterol, magnesium. Using a tool like Cronometer can help you track them and get your diet in order.

Don’t Let Keto Take Over

Men tend to obsess over things that interest them. We scour the literature, try to optimize everything, spend every waking moment thinking about how to do something—in this case, keto—better. We can get a little iron-willed and myopic if we don’t watch ourselves.

Focus is all well and good, but not if it starts impeding your ability to handle other aspects of health that are no less important.

Don’t stay up ’til 2 A.M. arguing on keto forums and reading PubMed abstracts. Get your sleep.

Don’t become a recluse because none of your friends understand your “weird keto thing.” Maintain your social relationships, your community.

Don’t stop sprinting because you measured your blood glucose once after a hill session and it spiked. Exercise is equally important.

Make Sure You’re Lifting

Keto does not replace strength training.

I’m a firm proponent of weight lifting for everyone—man, woman, elderly, and sometimes child (depending on the child). The benefits are unassailable and vast. Carrying lean muscle mass is a wholly beneficial trait for everyone.

But you have to admit, it’s especially crucial for a man. There’s nothing more indicative of poor metabolic health than the male skinny fat look. I see far too many men on keto diets who carry around the skinny fat look, and it’s usually because they aren’t lifting anything heavy. Yeah, you’re burning a lot of fat. Yeah, you’ve got some nice-looking mitochondria. Yeah, keto is protein-sparing. But are you using those mitochondria? Are you taking advantage of that lost dead weight to do some extra pull-ups? Are you content with merely limiting the number of amino acids your ketogenic metabolic state extracts from your muscle tissue, or are you going to build brand new muscle tissue?

Get to it.

That’s what I’ve got. What about you? Can you folks recommend any special tips, tricks, or tactics for men doing a keto diet?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

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References:

Masterson JM, Soodana-prakash N, Patel AS, Kargi AY, Ramasamy R. Elevated Body Mass Index Is Associated with Secondary Hypogonadism Among Men Presenting to a Tertiary Academic Medical Center. World J Mens Health. 2019;37(1):93-98.

Wang C, Catlin DH, Starcevic B, et al. Low-fat high-fiber diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(6):3550-9.

Pardue A, Trexler ET, Sprod LK. Case Study: Unfavorable But Transient Physiological Changes During Contest Preparation in a Drug-Free Male Bodybuilder. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2017;27(6):550-559.

The post Keto for Men: 6 Tips to Optimize Your Results appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For this week’s Dear Mark, I’m answering a question from a reader about a topic I thought I’d covered (so did they) already. A quick look through the archives (hey, I can’t remember absolutely everything I ever wrote) showed that I had not, so here we go. It’s all about whether fermented foods—sauerkrauts, kimchis, pickles, yogurts, and any other food that has been acted upon by probiotic bacteria—make eating meat healthier and more enjoyable. From the start, I suspected that they do, but I had to confirm it in the scientific literature.

Let’s find out:

Hi Mark,
I’m trying to find an article on why you should eat ferments with meat, (how it breaks down the fats) our mutual friend Hilary, AKA #thelunchlady ? and I are working on getting some of the high end butcher’s around LA to understand this, so they can help educate their customers. I was hoping to find info on your site, but now hoping you might write one for us

As for the effect you mention—fermented food breaking down the fat in meat—I’m unaware of any evidence. I am aware of a beneficial effect of fermented food on carbohydrate metabolism though. See, lactofermentation produces acetic acid as a byproduct. Acetic acid provides the “sour” flavor, the acidity of a batch of sauerkraut or pickles. It’s also what makes vinegar so sour, and there’s a long line of evidence showing that vinegar improves glucose tolerance and reduces the blood glucose load of high carb meals.

  • A 2017 review of the evidence found that vinegar was significantly effective at reducing both postprandial blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • It works in type 2 diabetics who eat vinegar with their high-carb meals, lowering the blood glucose response.
  • Research shows that acetic acid, rather than some other component in the vinegar, is the active component responsible for the effect on blood sugar. Anything with acetic acid should work, like food ferments.

That’s carbohydrate, and it’s good info, but you didn’t ask about carbs. You asked about meat. So, is fermented food pointless when eating meat? Not at all.

There are many examples of traditional cultures and cuisines making it a point to serve fermented foods with meats:

Koreans, kimchi, BBQ.

Germans, sauerkraut, sausage.

Japanese, pickles/natto/miso, meat/fish.

Indians, yogurt/pickles/chutneys, meat curry/tandoori chicken.

Italians, cheese, salami (itself a fermented meat).

They may not have “known” about the biochemistry. They weren’t citing PubMed studies. But over the many hundreds of years, these pairings emerged as combinations that just worked and made people feel good and the food go down more easily.

What could be going on here?

One thing I’ve stressed over the years is the importance of consuming foods high in polyphenols, not only for their isolated health benefits but for their ameliorative effects on the potential carcinogenicity of meats—particularly high-heat cooked meats (barbecue, grilling, searing). If you eat foods high in polyphenols, like blueberries or leafy greens, with your meat, that meal becomes healthier. It reduces the formation of carcinogenic compounds and reduces the peroxidative damage done to the fat.

And if you take a food high in polyphenols and subject it to fermentation, those polyphenols change and actually become more effective.

Red wine is one such fermented food that is higher in polyphenols than its non-fermented counterpart. The fermentation process alters the polyphenols already present in the grapes, making them more bioavailable and more effective, and creating entirely new compounds in the process. One reason red wine pairs so well with steak on a subjective level is that it actually reduces the formation of toxic lipid oxidation byproducts in “simulated digestion” studies that attempt to recreate the stomach environment after a meal, inhibits the absorption of those toxic lipid byproducts, and, when added to meat marinades, reduces the formation of heat-related carcinogens when you cook the meat, even over open flame. The responsible compound for these effects in red wine isn’t the alcohol, it’s the polyphenols. Grape juice doesn’t have the same effect.

This applies to everything. Fermentation of almost any other food, from beans to cabbage to garlic, also changes and improves the antioxidative capacity of the polyphenols. And the more polyphenols a food has, and the more effective they are at reducing oxidation, the healthier they’ll make any meat we eat.

Fermented foods also contain probiotic bacteria, and there’s some limited evidence that certain bacterial strains can actually enhance metabolism of cooked meat carcinogens.

So, in a roundabout way, fermented foods actually are improving the way we digest the fats in meat. They aren’t quite “breaking them down,” but they are allowing us to metabolize them in a healthier way that produces fewer toxic byproducts and inhibits our absorption of the toxic byproducts that do slip by.

This actually gives me a good idea for a post: A series of elevator pitches that inspired readers can use to lobby restaurant owners, butchers, doctors, and anyone else about the otherwise complicated health and nutrition topics we’ve bandied about on this blog for a decade. Most folks’ brains will glaze over when you start talking “omega-3s” or “peroxidized lipids” or “oxidized LDL particles” or “high heat carcinogens,” but it’s still important information. I think I’ll start putting that together in the next few weeks, starting with today’s topic, and I could really use your help. What other topics have you wanted to broach but can’t figure out how to make relatable, simplistic, or elegant enough to drop in casual conversation with professionals (or friends) who could help make a difference?

Let’s get a list going and try to knock this out.

That’s it for today, folks. Take care and be well. Thanks for reading!

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References:

Shishehbor F, Mansoori A, Shirani F. Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017;127:1-9.

Liatis S, Grammatikou S, Poulia KA, et al. Vinegar reduces postprandial hyperglycaemia in patients with type II diabetes when added to a high, but not to a low, glycaemic index meal. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(7):727-32.

Mettler S, Schwarz I, Colombani PC. Additive postprandial blood glucose-attenuating and satiety-enhancing effect of cinnamon and acetic acid. Nutr Res. 2009;29(10):723-7.

Gorelik S, Ligumsky M, Kohen R, Kanner J. The stomach as a “bioreactor”: when red meat meets red wine. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(13):5002-7.

Gorelik S, Ligumsky M, Kohen R, Kanner J. A novel function of red wine polyphenols in humans: prevention of absorption of cytotoxic lipid peroxidation products. FASEB J. 2008;22(1):41-6.

Kanner J, Gorelik S, Roman S, Kohen R. Protection by polyphenols of postprandial human plasma and low-density lipoprotein modification: the stomach as a bioreactor. J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(36):8790-6.

Harbaum B, Hubbermann EM, Zhu Z, Schwarz K. Impact of fermentation on phenolic compounds in leaves of pak choi (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. communis) and Chinese leaf mustard (Brassica juncea coss). J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(1):148-57.

Kimura S, Tung YC, Pan MH, Su NW, Lai YJ, Cheng KC. Black garlic: A critical review of its production, bioactivity, and application. J Food Drug Anal. 2017;25(1):62-70.

Nowak A, Libudzisz Z. Ability of probiotic Lactobacillus casei DN 114001 to bind or/and metabolise heterocyclic aromatic amines in vitro. Eur J Nutr. 2009;48(7):419-27.

The post Dear Mark: How Do Fermented Food and Meat Interact? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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As you get keto-adapted, most people find the inclination to snack (at least snack frequently) decreases. But that can take a bit of time. It’s not necessarily something to expect your first week (although some folks do begin to experience the change within a few days, provided they’re eating enough overall). Still, even the most long-term keto dieters will want a snack now and then—or will replace a meal with a snack because they’ve settled into a solid keto nutritional strategy and don’t always need three regular “meals” most days.

My theory is that meals, and particularly snacks, should be simple and easy. Few of us have time to make elaborate meals every day, and when we’re living into a new eating strategy, convenience matters. In that spirit, here are 20 keto snack ideas that take 5 minutes or less to make. Enjoy! And let me know your favorite—from this list or from your own keto or Primal practice.

1. Egg Coffee

An original Primal favorite is a great keto pick-me-up for morning or afternoon. Find the recipe here.

2. Soft- or Hard-boiled Egg

It doesn’t get much easier than this. Cook up a batch on Sunday, and you’ll be set for the week.

3. Guacamole

Make it as simple as you like. Mashed avocado, sea salt and lime juice do it for me, but sometimes I’ll throw in some canned green chilis, half a tomato, and some chopped red onion, garlic or cilantro.

4. Primal Kitchen® Protein Bar

I wanted a packaged keto snack to travel with, and these have become my favorite. (This variety has nine grams of total carbs.)

5. Tuna in Avocado Half

The fat of the avocado and Primal Kitchen Mayo with the protein of tuna make this one of the more filling snacks I turn to.

6. Olives

It’s the simple things, right? Splurge on a container of your favorite olive mix.

7. Spoonful of Artisana Coconut Butter

Just when I said it didn’t get any simpler… As I’ve shared before, this is one of my favorite go-to snacks.

8. Raw Veggies and Healthy Dip/Dressing

Anyone can put this together in containers for the week. And, yup, Primal Kitchen Dressings make it easier and more flavorful.

9. Leftover Chicken Wings

Savvy keto strategy: make enough wings for the play-off games on Sunday. Enjoy the leftovers during the week. Deep fry them in avocado oil (trust me on this…) and slather on your favorite BBQ sauce.

10. 5-Minute Salad

As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Big-Ass Salads for lunch, but a lighter (and quicker) snack salad is always a possibility. An easy one to put together is spinach, pecans, red onions, feta and Primal Kitchen Balsamic Dressing.

11. Leftover Steak Strips with Bell Pepper Strips and Steak Sauce

It’s a leftover lovers dream. And I’m happy to recommend a favorite steak sauce….

12. Lox Wraps

Skip the bagel carb binge and enjoy this classic on some butter lettuce or romaine leaves with a schmear of whipped cream and your favorite toppings.

13. Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Save some asparagus from dinner and take ten seconds to wrap them with this deli counter favorite.

14. Macadamia Nuts

Keep a bag of them at work. They’re great with your morning coffee, too.

15. Unsweetened Nut Butter on Celery Sticks

Make enough for the kids because otherwise they’ll eat yours.

16. Cheese Crisps

Yup—five minutes or less. Buy pure cheese crisps at the store (sometimes they’ll contain nut flour), or make them at home.

17. Summer Sausage

Your childhood camping favorite is still a good option. (Look for a nitrate-free brand.)

18. California Sub Roll-Up

I like this easy roll-up idea. Works for Italian sub ingredients, too.

19. Shrimp Cocktail

Keto can be as indulgent as you want to make it. I like making my own cocktail sauce with Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup.

20. Square of 85% Dark Chocolate With Unsweetened Nut Butter

You didn’t think I’d leave out the dark chocolate, did you? Perfect with an afternoon coffee or as an after-dinner keto treat…

So, tell me what I missed! What are your favorite keto-friendly go-tos? Thanks for stopping in, everybody.

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The post 20 Keto Snacks (All Under 5 Minutes) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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As you and millions of other people embark on new dietary journeys, you’re going to hear a ton about calories.

“Calorie counting is everything.”

“If you aren’t counting calories, you won’t lose weight.”

“Just eat less calories than you expend.” For one, it’s “fewer.” Two, that’s not the whole picture.

These statements aren’t wrong exactly, but they offer an overly simplistic picture of the relationship between weight loss and calories. They ignore context. And context is everything, especially when you’re talking about calories and weight loss.

Most people (even many scientists) believe that the body composition challenge is a relatively simple equation: to lose weight you must reduce calories (either eat less or burn more), to gain weight you must add calories (eat more or burn less), and to maintain weight you keep calories constant (eat and burn identical amounts). Calories in over calories out.

Right away, it sounds preposterous. Are people really maintaining perfect caloric balance by dutifully tracking and comparing their intake to their burn? Are they walking six fewer steps lest they lose an extra ounce off their midsection?

Are All Calories the Same?

The truth is, it’s more like a complex equation where you have to factor in many other very important variables:

  • Am I getting calories from fat, protein, or carbs?
  • Am I getting my calories through whole foods or refined processed foods?
  • Are my glycogen stores full or empty?
  • When’s the last time I exercised?
  • Am I insulin-sensitive or insulin-resistant?
  • Am I trying to lose “weight” or lose fat?
  • How’s my stress level?
  • Am I sleeping enough?

The answers to all those questions (and more) affect the fate of the calories we consume. They change the context of calories.

Ideally, all that complexity is handled under the hood. That’s how it works in wild animals. They don’t calorie count. They don’t think about what to eat or how to exercise. They just eat, move, sleep, and somehow it all works. I mean, they die, often violently, but you don’t see obese, metabolically-deranged wildlife—unless the obesity and metabolic derangement is physiological, as in bears preparing to hibernate. Somehow they figure it out. They’ve delegated the complex stuff to their subconscious.

This is generally true in “wild humans,” too. Hunter-gatherer groups by and large did not and do not show any evidence of metabolic derangement, obesity, or the other degenerative trappings of modern humans living in civilization. They are fully human in terms of physiology, so it’s not that they have special genetic adaptations that resist obesity. They’re living lifestyles and eating diets more in line with our evolutionary heritage. They’re moving around all the time, not going through drive throughs. They’re eating whole unprocessed foods that they have to procure, catch or kill.

What they don’t have is the ridiculous concept of calories and macronutrients floating around in their heads, informing their dietary choices. They don’t even think about food in terms of calories, or movement in terms of calories expended. Metabolically speaking, they consume their calories in the proper context.

But you? You might have to think about context. You might have to answer those questions and create the proper context.

Most people do not think about context. They home in on the number of calories the food database claims the food they’re eating contains, plot it against the numbers of calories the exercise database claims the exercise they’re doing expends, and then wonder why nothing’s working. That’s why “dieting doesn’t work”—because, as practiced in accordance with the expert advice from up high, it doesn’t. Almost invariably, the people who see great results from strict calorie counting, weighing and balancing, those types who frequent online weight lifting forums and have the freedom to spend hours perfecting their program, have the other relevant variables under control without realizing it.

They’re younger, with fewer responsibilities—and less stress and fewer disruptions to their sleep.

They’re lifting weights and training religiously, creating huge glycogen sinks and maintaining optimal insulin sensitivity.

They’re eating a lot of protein, the macronutrient that curbs hunger and increases energy expenditure the most.

They’re eating mostly whole foods.

They’ve had less time on this earth to accumulate metabolic damage.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Fat burning, glucose burning, ketone burning, glycogen storage, fat storage, gluconeogenesis, and protein turnover—what we do with the calories we consume—do not occur at constant rates. They ebb and flow, wax and wane in response to your micronutrient intake, macronutrient intake, energy intake, exercise and activity habits, sleep schedule, stress levels, and a dozen other factors. All of these energy-related processes are going on simultaneously in each of us at all times. But the rate at which each of these processes happens is different in each of us and they can increase or decrease depending on the context of our present circumstances and our long term goals. All of these processes utilize the same gene-based principles of energy metabolism—the biochemical machinery that we all share—but because they all involve different starting points and different inputs as well as different goals or possible outcomes, they often require different action plans. We can alter the rate at which each of these metabolic processes happens simply by changing what and when we eat and addressing the non-dietary variables. We can change the context.

But don’t controlled trials demonstrate that a “calorie is a calorie”?

People hear things like “in controlled isocaloric trials, low-carb diets have never been shown to confer a metabolic advantage or result in more weight loss than low-fat diets.” While often true, they miss the point.

People aren’t living in metabolic wards with white lab coats providing and precisely measuring all their food. They’re living in the real world, fixing their own food. Free living is entirely uncontrolled with dozens of variables bleeding in from all angles. In the lab situation, you eat what they give you, and that’s that. The situations are not analogous—real world vs. controlled lab environment.

In real world situations…

Why a Calorie Isn’t Just a Calorie

The macronutrient composition of the calories we eat alters their metabolic effects.

The metabolism of protein famously increases energy expenditure over and above the metabolism of fat or carbohydrate. For a given caloric load, protein will make you burn more energy than other macronutrients.

Protein is also more satiating than other macronutrients. Eat more protein, curb hunger, inadvertently eat less without even trying (or needing a lab coat to limit your intake).

Protein and fat together (AKA “meat”) appear to be even more satiating than either alone, almost as if we’re meant to consume fat and protein in the same meal.

The isocaloric studies tend to focus on “weight loss” and discount “fat loss.” We don’t want to lose weight. We want to lose fat and gain or retain lean muscle mass. A standard low calorie diet might cause the same amount of weight loss as a low-carb, high-fat diet (if you force the subjects to maintain isocaloric parity), but the low-carb approach has been shown to increase fat loss and enhance muscle gain. Most people who lose weight with a standard approach end up losing a significant amount of muscle along with it. Most who lose weight with a low-carb, higher-protein-and-fat approach lose mostly fat and gain or retain most of their muscle.

Take the 2004 study that placed overweight men and women on one of two diets: a very low-carb ketogenic diet or a low-fat diet. The low-carb group ate more calories but lost more weight and more body fat, especially dangerous abdominal fat.

Or the study from 1989 that placed healthy adult men on high-carb or high-fat diets. Even though the high-carb group lost slightly more body weight, the high-fat group lost slightly more body fat and retained more lean mass.

Both describe “weight lost,” but which is healthier?

Whether the calories come in the form of processed or whole food determines their effect.

We even have a study that directly examines this. For two weeks, participants either supplemented their diets with isocaloric amounts of candy (mostly sugar) or roasted peanuts (mostly fat and protein). This was added to their regular diet. After two weeks, researchers found that body weight, waist circumference, LDL, and ApoB (a rough measure of LDL particle number) were highest in the candy group, indicating increased fat mass and worsening metabolic health. In the peanut group, basal metabolic rate shot up and neither body weight nor waist size saw any significant increases.

Your current metabolic state determines the effect of calories.

In one study, a person’s metabolic reaction to high-carb or low-carb diets was determined by their degree of insulin resistance. The more insulin resistant a subject, the better they did and the more weight they lost on low-carb. The more insulin sensitive a subject, the better they did and the more weight they lost on low-fat. Calories were the same across the board.

In another study, insulin-sensitive obese patients (a rarity in the general population) were able to lose weight on either low-carb or low-fat, but insulin-resistant obese patients (very common) only lost weight on low-carb.

Whether you exercise determines the effect of calories.

If you’ve just finished a heavy lifting workout followed by a sprint session, your response to a given number of calories will differ from the person who hasn’t trained in a year.

Training: Your muscle glycogen stores will be empty, so the carbs you eat will go toward glycogen storage or directly burned, rather than inhibit fat burning. Your insulin sensitivity will be elevated, so you can move protein and carbs around without spiking insulin and inhibiting fat release. You’ll be in hypertrophy mode, so some of the protein you eat will go toward building muscle, not burned for energy.

Not Training: Your muscle glycogen stores will be full, so any carbs you eat will inhibit fat burning and be more likely to promote fat storage. Your insulin sensitivity will be low, so you’ll have to release more insulin to handle the carbs, thereby inhibiting fat burning the process. You won’t have sent any hypertrophy signals to your muscles, so the protein you eat will be wasted or burned for energy.

How you slept last night determines the effects of calories.

A single night of bad sleep is enough to:

  • Give you the insulin resistance levels of a diabetic. Try eating carbs in an insulin-resistant state and tell me a “calorie is a calorie.”
  • Make the reward system of your brain light up in response to junk food and dampen in response to healthy whole food. The more rewarding you find junk food, the more your brain will compel you to eat more of it.
  • Reduce energy expenditure. Your “calories out” drops if you sleep poorly.

And those are just a few important variables that determine the context of calories. There are many more, but this post has gone on long enough…

The Take-Home Message

If calorie-counting works for you, great! You’re one of the lucky ones. Own that and keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve clearly got a good handle on the context of calories.

If calorie-counting and weighing and measuring failed you in the past, you’re not alone and there’s a way forward. Address the variables mentioned in this post that need addressing. Do you need better sleep? Do you need to manage stress better? Could you eat more protein or fat, eat more whole food and less processed food, or get more exercise, or lift more weights, or take more walks?

Handle those variables, fix those deficiencies, and I bet that your caloric context will start making more sense. The trick isn’t to increase the number of variables you plug into your calories in/calories out formula. It’s to make sure all your lifestyle and dietary ducks are in a row so that the caloric balance works itself out.

By understanding how these metabolic processes work, and knowing that we can control the rates at which each one happens through our diet (and exercise and other lifestyle factors) we needn’t agonize over the day-to-day calorie counting. As long as we are generally eating a PB-style plan and providing the right context, our bodies will ease into a healthy, fit, long-lived comfort zone rather effortlessly.

So, what’s your caloric context looking like? Thanks for reading today, everyone.

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References:

Pontzer H, Wood BM, Raichlen DA. Hunter-gatherers as models in public health. Obes Rev. 2018;19 Suppl 1:24-35.

Claesson AL, Holm G, Ernersson A, Lindström T, Nystrom FH. Two weeks of overfeeding with candy, but not peanuts, increases insulin levels and body weight. Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2009;69(5):598-605.

Volek J, Sharman M, Gómez A, et al. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004;1(1):13.

Mccargar LJ, Clandinin MT, Belcastro AN, Walker K. Dietary carbohydrate-to-fat ratio: influence on whole-body nitrogen retention, substrate utilization, and hormone response in healthy male subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989;49(6):1169-78.

Cornier MA, Donahoo WT, Pereira R, et al. Insulin sensitivity determines the effectiveness of dietary macronutrient composition on weight loss in obese women. Obes Res. 2005;13(4):703-9.

Ebbeling CB, Leidig MM, Feldman HA, Lovesky MM, Ludwig DS. Effects of a low-glycemic load vs low-fat diet in obese young adults: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2007;297(19):2092-102.

Benedict C, Hallschmid M, Lassen A, et al. Acute sleep deprivation reduces energy expenditure in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(6):1229-36.

***This article was substantially revised from the original version, which you can read here.

The post Are All Calories the Same? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Eggs are an easy and nutritious breakfast, but some mornings a plate of eggs just isn’t what your body craves. Viva variety!

These delicious keto breakfasts are either egg-free or include eggs as a minor ingredient. From keto pancakes, muffins and hot cereal to breakfast sausage and keto pizza, keto breakfasts have never tasted so good.

Bacon Pancakes

These savory bacon pancakes are served with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of chives and a hit of hot sauce. Fluffy and salty, they’re a perfect breakfast for weekends.

Nutritional Info: (2 servings—3 pancakes per serving) Total fat: 21.1 g | Net carbs: 3.4 g | Protein: 19.2 g

Blueberry Keto Muffins

These truly delicious Keto blueberry muffins are a treat worth getting out of bed for. Plenty of butter and cream give these gluten-free, low carb muffins a decadently rich texture.

Nutritional Info: (1 muffin) Total fat: 27.7 g | Net carbs: 5 g | Protein: 7.8 g

Golden Coconut Collagen Latte

A warm and soothing start to the morning, this protein-packed latte combines the nourishing benefits of both turmeric and Primal Kitchen® Collagen Fuel.

Nutritional Info: (1 Serving) Total fat: 5.1 g | Net carbs: 2.4 g | Protein: 11.4 g

Primal Keto Bread

Toasted Primal keto bread is a buttery slice of heaven. Go sweet with the cinnamon version of Primal keto bread, or savory with a garlic and herb version.

Nutritional Info: (1 slice) Total fat: 18.9 g | Net carbs: 2.4 g | Protein: 8.2 g

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Homemade sausage is sugar and additive free, and for convenience can be made ahead of time and frozen. These flavorful patties are filling on their own and don’t have to be served on a plate with eggs.

Nutritional Info: (1 sausage?) Total fat: 24.2 g | Net carbs: 0 g | Protein: 30.7 g

Summer Breakfast Meatloaf

Meatloaf is an easy breakfast to make ahead of time, and then slice each morning for a protein-rich satisfying start to the day.

Nutritional Info: (1 sausage?) Total fat: 40.9 g | Net carbs: 3.3 g | Protein: 32.7 g

Greek Meatza

Before cauliflower pizza crust, there was meatza. This recipe deserves to be brought back from the past because it’s so darn good, and because it makes pizza for breakfast a keto reality. Serve Greek meatza for dinner then enjoy cold slice of pizza (or, “meatza”) for breakfast the next day.

Nutritional Info: (1 slice) Total fat: 25.7 g | Net carbs: 4.3 g | Protein: 31 g

Pizza Dutch Baby

Another pizza-for-breakfast option, this keto pizza Dutch baby is light and fluffy and flavored with Parmesan, mozzarella and fresh basil.

Nutritional Info: (1 slice) Total fat: 25.7 g | Net carbs: 4.3 g | Protein: 31 g

Chia Flax Hot Pudding

This warm bowl of healthy goodness serves up enough protein, fat and fiber to satisfy until lunch. Optional topping like pecans and fresh berries give this healthy breakfast pudding a dessert-like flavor.

Nutritional Info: 1 serving Total fat: 35.7 g | Net carbs: 7.6 g | Protein: 22.3g

Keto Porridge

If you’re craving oatmeal or hot cereal, this keto porridge is what your body really wants. Made with richly flavorful ingredients like almond butter and coconut, this anti-inflammatory porridge also contains bee pollen, turmeric and hemp seeds.

Nutritional Info: 2 servings Total fat: 50.2 g | Net carbs: 6 g | Protein: 14.8 g

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

No time to make blueberry muffins? Then try a satiating blueberry muffin smoothie made with healthy Primal Kitchen® Collagen Fuel.

Nutritional Info: 1 Serving Total fat: 31.4 g | Net carbs: 12 g | Protein: 23 g

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The post 11 Keto Breakfasts (That Aren’t Eggs) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Last month, I gave a heads up about what I’m calling the Keto Kickoff—a quick and comprehensive 7-day dive into the ketogenic diet, a pure distillation of the lessons contained in The Keto Reset Diet book. That starts next Monday (sign-up closes Sunday night 1/6/19), and it assumes, but does not require, an audience without any formal experience in the ketogenic diet.

What about a similar-but-different-enough population—those who have tried keto, stopped for any number of reasons, and want back on the wagon? Should those looking to restart keto do or know anything different?

First and foremost, the basics still apply. Anyone looking to restart keto should pay attention to all the stuff I’ve covered in previous posts and books and will be covering in the Keto Kickoff email series (so sign up today!). Going keto is going keto.

What’s the most important step someone trying to restart a ketogenic diet needs to follow before doing anything else? Identify why you fell off the wagon in the first place. Then address it.

That’s really what sets you apart from the average keto beginner—your preexisting hangups. If anything, you’ll have a better physiological response to the ketogenic diet because your body retains knowledge. Some of that metabolic machinery is still there, still functioning, once you shake off the rust.

But you do need to figure out and overcome what tripped you up the first place.

People have dozens of potential reasons for quitting keto. I can’t possibly cover them all, but I can address and offer solutions for the most common ones.

It Was Challenging Figuring Out How To Eat With Friends, Family, and Colleagues

The people who give this reason usually fall into one of two camps. Either they’re too agreeable and give in to peer pressure (imagined or real) at the drop of a hat, making it impossible to get into any sort of keto rhythm; or they’re too rigid, turning every social excursion with food into an epic battle of will that eventually breaks them. The former group needs to toughen up. The latter group needs to lighten up.

Avoid rigidity and timidity. Stand firm and be resolute in your convictions about what diet makes you feel best; don’t be afraid to say “no” or order a salad with four meat patties when everyone else is getting pizza. In the vast majority of these cases the only one making you feel awkward is yourself. Most people don’t care. And if they do care, it’s probably because they’re intrigued and want to know more. Besides, going keto isn’t such a foreign concept these days. You may even have secret compatriots present who are also restarting keto.

Stick it out for three or four weeks and then lighten up. Once you’ve re-established your ketogenic metabolism and achieved metabolic flexibility, it won’t hurt (that much) to drift in and out on special occasions. You should be able to bounce back relatively quickly after a dalliance with carbs at happy hour, or Thanksgiving, or a birthday party. Just try to stick to healthy Primal sources of carbs to make the transition that much easier.

It Stopped Working

Sometimes keto stops working. An understandable reaction is to stop doing keto. It’s not the ideal move, but it makes sense.

If you’re thinking about restarting keto after a hiatus, and the reason you stopped in the first place was that keto stopped working, you probably have some bad habits or misconceptions to overcome.

  • You ate too much fat. A common trajectory among keto dieters who plateau is that they overdo the fat. Early on in keto, anything you eat seems to promote weight loss. The extra fat in those early days even upregulates the fat-burning of your mitochondria, speeding up the keto adaptation process. You’re eating more fat than you ever have before, and you only seem to be growing more powerful. It’s a profound sensation. But as you keep eating more and more fat, you plateau. As you attempt your keto restart, remember that getting into ketosis is more about the carbs you don’t eat than the fat you do. Calories don’t stop counting on keto.
  • You ate too little protein. Protein absolutely can inhibit ketosis, but it takes more than you think. Ketosis is protein-sparing, but you still need to eat it. And some people can get away with far more protein than others and still remain firmly in ketosis. The oft-given blanket advice to “limit protein” can really throw some people for a loop and lead to keto “not working.” Too low a protein intake on keto can reduce performance in the gym, limit or even reverse muscle hypertrophy, increase appetite, and make it hard to construct a palatable meal. If that sounds like you, try eating a bit more protein when you do your keto restart.

It Felt Too Restrictive

Not to toot my own horn too much, but this is one of the main reasons why I developed the Primal Kitchen line. Having an arsenal of reliable, convenient, and most importantly healthy mayos, dressings, sauces, and marinades promotes dietary variability. You end up eating a wider range of meats, vegetables, and other keto-friendly foods when you can modify their taste and presentation by flipping open the top of a bottle of dressing or mixing in some mayo. Meal monotony is a deal breaker for many people on any diet, including keto.

It Was “Too Hard”

That’s about as vague a complaint as you can get, but it’s very common.  Going keto forces a totally new way of looking at your food, at your conception of energy, even your experience of the world. Your breath changes. Your grocery shopping routine changes. Three-quarters of the food at your favorite restaurant is suddenly off-limits. Then there’s the salt, potassium, and other electrolytes to worry about.

If you found keto to be just too hard to get a handle on, you’re not alone. Sign up for the Keto Kickoff, refresh your knowledge of the basics (and see what you were overlooking, if anything), get daily support, and do your keto restart right.

You Just Drifted Away

Things snowball, don’t they? You have a quarter of a donut at work because it’s just a quarter of a donut and it’s your favorite kind and it’s free. You get home and taste test the mac-and-cheese you made for your kids a few times, then finish their plate because, hey, it was only a couple more bites and refrigerated mac-and-cheese gets weird. Before you realize it, you’ve eaten refined carbohydrates every single day, haven’t lost a pound, and you can’t rightfully call yourself keto.

Keto drift happens, and it demands a restart. To prevent it from happening again, remember why you wanted to go keto in the first place:

For the fat loss…

For the improved energy…

For the metabolic flexibility…

For the freedom from hunger…

For the potential for a long, healthy, active life…

When you’re ready to get serious, get moving.

It Never Worked…As I Tried It

This is rare, but not inconceivable. Occasionally, a diet doesn’t work.

If keto truly doesn’t work for you, no matter how faithfully or optimally you implement it, don’t do it. Ketosis is still a good state to visit, so just be sure to implement some other method of entering ketosis even if you’re not going to restart the keto diet, whether it’s intermittent fasting, intense exercise (with precautions), caloric restriction, or simply not snacking all the time.

Do make sure you gave it a good three-week try, however, before concluding that “it doesn’t work for me.” That’s the minimum amount of time you need to know if it’s a good fit. If you didn’t give it three full and earnest weeks, sign up for the Keto Kickoff (opportunity for sign up closes January 6th!), and see what additional guidance and support can do for your process.

For those interested in beginning the new year with the Keto Reset Diet library of books, for a limited time all the original bonus gifts—ebooks, audio, video and Primal Kitchen discount codes—for each book (The Keto Reset Diet, The Keto Reset Cookbook, and the The Keto Reset Instant Pot Cookbook) are available with purchase again.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. Are you restarting keto? Trying it for the first time? Committing to another deep dive after a successful keto experience before? I’d love to hear your stories, questions and tips for all who are taking up keto in the new year.

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The post How to Restart Keto appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering one eternal question: How do the Hadza tribespeople of Northern Tanzania eat so much honey and maintain their trim figures and pristine metabolic health? Are they eating keto whenever they’re not eating honey? Are they running hill sprints to burn through glycogen stores and improve their insulin sensitivity? Are they trading mongongo nuts for Metformin? Or is there something unique about honey that makes it different than sugar?

But before I get to the question, it’s a brand new year.

This New Year promises to be bigger and better than ever. Change is in the air, and not just in my own life. Everyone I talk to—all my friends, colleagues, family members, and random acquaintances—seems to be entering a period of great change. Their professional lives, their relationships, their health, their mindsets are all shifting. And for the better. The way I see it is that change happens regardless of what you do. It’s a far better idea to take the reins and make the change work in your favor than let yourself be swept away by powers and fate unseen.

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope 2019 is your best yet, and I’d love to hear your visions for it.

Okay, on to the question:

What are your thoughts on honey as the sweetener for the mulled wine? Given how the Hadza draw so many of their carbs from honey (especially given the particular sugars and micronutrients that it contains), I’m surprised it doesn’t appear more often in these recipes that call for sweetening.

In case readers are unaware of the reference, the Hadza are one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer groups on this planet. They inhabit northern Tanzania, and their lives haven’t changed much at all. They’ve resisted ethnic admixture from other groups. They still hunt and gather for the vast majority of their calories. Their hunting and foraging grounds have been condensed due to pressure from the state, and there are probably fewer game animals available, but they’re still in the same general area. According to their oral traditions, there’s even no indication that they came from somewhere else.

One of the more striking features of their diet is their utilization of honey.

Ask the average Hadza tribesperson what their favorite food is and “honey” will be the answer.

Catch the Hadza during the right month and they’ll get half their calories from honey. Averaged out across the year, they get 15% from honey.

They even use a bird called the honey guide to lead them to the choicest hives. After completing the harvest, they’ll burn or bury the remnants to keep their honey guide from getting too full for the next search.

The honey isn’t your store-bought, pristine golden syrup smelling faintly of HFCS. It’s straight up honeycomb, teeming with bees and larvae and pollen and the queenly secretions called royal jelly. In fact, studies tend to emphasize that the Hadza get 15-50% of their calories not from honey, but from “honey and bee larvae.”

Bee larvae, also known as bee brood, is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s high in folate, B12, thiamine, pantothenic acid—pretty much all the B vitamins—and biotin, to name a few.

Whole hive eating also means eating the royal jelly, a potent, superconcentrated secretion used to feed larvae and queens. Think of it as colostrum, the potent milk mammals provide for their infants in the first few days of life. Royal jelly has shown potential activity (in humans, no less) against allergic rhinitisreduced the toxicity of cancer drugs in patients, lowered cholesterol in adults with high cholesterol (and women), and improved glycemic control and oxidative stress in diabetics.

How about the honey itself? I’ve written about honey as a sweetener and explored how its metabolic effects differ from plain white sugar. Suffice it to say, the evidence is clear that honey isn’t just sugar. Honey contains sugar—a lot of sugar—but it’s much more than that.

set of studies in humans compared the effects of honey, sham-honey (a mix of fructose and glucose), dextrose (which is just glucose), and sucrose on several health markers. Honey resulted in smaller blood glucose spikes (+14%) than dextrose (+53%). Sham honey increased triglycerides, while real honey lowered them along with boosting HDL and lowering LDL. After fifteen days of honey feeding, CRP and LDL dropped. Overall, honey improved blood lipids, lowered inflammatory markers, and had minimal effect on blood glucose levels, despite being similarly high in fructose in particular and sugar in general.

So, in some respects, the honey the Hadza eat like crazy isn’t the honey that most of us can easily obtain in stores or even farmer’s markets. Yet even standard honey is different from—and better than—white sugar.

This is a roundabout way of saying that a little honey will be just fine in your mulled wine. Extra points if you can throw some bee larvae and royal jelly in there, with maybe even a dash of Hadza fecal bacteria.

Of course, don’t eat 15% honey diets. You are not Hadza. You are not living like the Hadza. You don’t have the precise genetic makeup of the Hadza. It won’t work as well for the average Westerner reading blogs.

Do you eat honey? How do the metabolic effects compare to sugar in your experience?

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading, and be sure to tell me your thoughts and New Year intentions down below.

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References:

Shaha A, Mizuguchi H, Kitamura Y, et al. Effect of Royal Jelly and Brazilian Green Propolis on the Signaling for Histamine H Receptor and Interleukin-9 Gene Expressions Responsible for the Pathogenesis of the Allergic Rhinitis. Biol Pharm Bull. 2018;41(9):1440-1447.

Osama H, Abdullah A, Gamal B, et al. Effect of Honey and Royal Jelly against Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity in Patients with Cancer. J Am Coll Nutr. 2017;36(5):342-346.

Chiu HF, Chen BK, Lu YY, et al. Hypocholesterolemic efficacy of royal jelly in healthy mild hypercholesterolemic adults. Pharm Biol. 2017;55(1):497-502.

Lambrinoudaki I, Augoulea A, Rizos D, et al. Greek-origin royal jelly improves the lipid profile of postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2016;32(10):835-839.

Pourmoradian S, Mahdavi R, Mobasseri M, Faramarzi E, Mobasseri M. Effects of royal jelly supplementation on glycemic control and oxidative stress factors in type 2 diabetic female: a randomized clinical trial. Chin J Integr Med. 2014;20(5):347-52.

Al-waili NS. Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose. J Med Food. 2004;7(1):100-7.

The post Dear Mark: How Do the Hadza Eat So Much Honey? and Happy New Year! appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Winter is here. It’s cold outside—often cold and snowy and/or rainy enough to dissuade most people from extensive outdoor activities—and extremely warm indoors. Families are getting together, companies are throwing holiday parties, we’re eating, drinking and merry-making. Alcohol is everywhere, and many of us will be drinking more than we usually do. In fact, this time of year presides over a sharp spike in alcohol consumption.

What’s it mean for your workout?

After looking at the research, at first glance, I’m going to be honest with you: It doesn’t sound good.

But it’s also not the end of the world.

The Bad News: Alcohol’s Impact On Exercise

Alcohol Dehydrates You

Alcohol is one of the worst diuretics, impairing the body’s ability to reabsorb water and increasing the amount we urinate.

Going into a workout with suboptimal hydration levels is a serious handicap.

It increases your cortisol:testosterone ratio after a session, reducing your gains and making the workout more stressful than it should be. A big part of the “workout afterglow” is the rush of testosterone; with that effect blunted and stress heightened, you’ll miss out on the sense of well-being a good workout provides.

It reduces performance during a cycling time trial, making the workout feel harder and increasing the amount of glycogen you burn.  The same thing happens when you lift; dehydration reduces performance, impairs heart rate recovery, decreases the number of reps, and makes the lifts feel harder than normal.

Dehydration also increases injury risk. Your tendons, ligaments, and other bits of connective tissue require optimal hydration to stay supple and strong. Demand too much from a dehydrated Achilles’ tendon and you may regret it.

These things are likely to happen if you fail to rehydrate after drinking and before you train. They are avoidable, provided you rehydrate with some water, salt and lime.

Alcohol Can Impair Your Body Control

Postural control degrades rapidly under the influence of alcohol. Even low-dose alcohol has an immediately negative effect on your ability to control your body through space and time. This has major ramifications for training, particularly full-body, compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, or complex skill-based training. Just as driving after drinking is dangerous, so is lifting (even the day after in many cases).

Alcohol Can Be Bad For Sleep

Alcohol might “knock you out” at the end of the night, but it does not give a restful, restorative sleep.

Alcohol starts by inhibiting melatonin secretion. Yes, when you fall asleep after alcohol, it’s not because of your usual melatonin release. It’s because alcohol is a good old fashioned muscle relaxant and sedative. With alcohol, you’re “forcing the issue,” rather than allowing your circadian clock to gently lull you off to peaceful slumber. This inhibits the growth hormone release that normally follows melatonin-induced sleep onset, so you miss out on the muscle-building, fat-burning effects of a good GH session.

Then, once your body clears the alcohol, you get the “rebound effect”—which throws your sleep cycle into immediate disarray, waking you up, leaving you scrambled and confused, and further disrupting the muscle recovery process.

To top things off, the next day you’ll often feel trashed, hungover, and exhausted. If you were planning on getting in another workout, you’ll have a more difficult time convincing yourself after a night of drinking (and, given the previous point, a more difficult time performing certain workouts as safely).

Alcohol Can Potentiate Fat Storage

If you’re exercising as part of a larger strategy to lose body fat and improve body composition, alcohol can “affect your workout” by impairing fat oxidation. When you drink alcohol, it gets precedent over the other macronutrients. Fat, carb, and protein metabolism all take a back seat to alcohol metabolism. Too many carbs and fatty acids floating around your blood might cause problems in the long term, but ethanol is truly toxic—its removal gets top priority.

This is good for your acute health, but it also means that fat and carb oxidation are suppressed, and any food you consume alongside the alcohol is more likely to be stored as body fat.

The Big Picture: Choosing Wisely

So, never drink? No.

But be smart about it.

Don’t Drink and Then Train

Almost no one is doing this, except rats in studies and guys doing pushup competitions in the alley outside the bar at 2:15 A.M. All the studies indicate that you’ll lose power, strength, endurance, and performance while increasing your risk of injury and getting subpar training effects.

Don’t Drink Every Day

Especially don’t drink to excess every day. Chronic intakes of alcohol mean you’re never quite off the sauce, and studies in alcoholics indicate that chronic drinking does impair hormonal health and reduce muscle protein synthesis.

Keep It Moderate

When you binge on alcohol (1.5 g alcohol per kg of bodyweight or more, about 9 drinks), muscle protein synthesis and the hormonal cascade related to it are blunted for several days. When you drink smaller amounts of alcohol (under 1.5 grams per kg), testosterone actually goes up.

If You’re Going To Drink, Make Sure You’ve Already Worked Out

A hard workout before you drink alcohol improves your ability to metabolize that alcohol, reduces its negative effects, and gives a psychological boost (“I earned this glass of wine”) that improves the subjective experience of drinking. However, your strength may take longer to recover if you decide to drink after a workout, especially if you’re a man. Post-workout alcohol consumption doesn’t seem to affect women’s muscle performance recovery.

If Alcohol Ruins Your Sleep, Know It Will Limit Your Training Adaptation

Either avoid drinking—that’s what I did when I found alcohol had terrible effects on my sleep—or take a few steps to improve your alcohol clearance. Start and finish drinking earlier to give your body more time to clear it out before bed. Try some or all of the hangover prevention methods I outlined here. At the very least, drink water alongside alcohol and (before bed) take some supplemental melatonin and drink salty sparkling mineral water with the juice from a couple limes.

Alcohol has the potential to destroy your gains, impair your sleep, increase your risk of injury, and dehydrate you—but only if you overdo it. Figure out what “overdo it” means for you, and avoid stepping over that line.

How do you handle exercise and alcohol? Does alcohol hurt your training? Have you changed your drinking habits for the sake of training?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

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References:

Judelson DA, Maresh CM, Yamamoto LM, et al. Effect of hydration state on resistance exercise-induced endocrine markers of anabolism, catabolism, and metabolism. J Appl Physiol. 2008;105(3):816-24.

Logan-sprenger HM, Heigenhauser GJ, Jones GL, Spriet LL. The effect of dehydration on muscle metabolism and time trial performance during prolonged cycling in males. Physiol Rep. 2015;3(8)

Logan-sprenger HM, Heigenhauser GJ, Jones GL, Spriet LL. Increase in skeletal-muscle glycogenolysis and perceived exertion with progressive dehydration during cycling in hydrated men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2013;23(3):220-9.

Kraft JA, Green JM, Bishop PA, Richardson MT, Neggers YH, Leeper JD. Impact of dehydration on a full body resistance exercise protocol. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010;109(2):259-67.

Modig F, Patel M, Magnusson M, Fransson PA. Study I: effects of 0.06% and 0.10% blood alcohol concentration on human postural control. Gait Posture. 2012;35(3):410-8.

Kakarla P, Kesireddy S, Christiaan L. Exercise training with ageing protects against ethanol induced myocardial glutathione homeostasis. Free Radic Res. 2008;42(5):428-34.

Barnes MJ, Mündel T, Stannard SR. Acute alcohol consumption aggravates the decline in muscle performance following strenuous eccentric exercise. J Sci Med Sport. 2010;13(1):189-93.

Preedy VR, Paice A, Mantle D, Dhillon AS, Palmer TN, Peters TJ. Alcoholic myopathy: biochemical mechanisms. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2001;63(3):199-205.

The post How Does Alcohol Affect a Workout? appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a bunch of questions from comment sections. First, did I get AMPK and mTOR mixed up in a recent post? Yes. Second, I give a warning for those who wish to add ginger to their broth. Third, is it a problem that we can’t accurately measure autophagy? Fourth, how does coffee with coconut oil affect a fast? Fifth, is there a way to make mayonnaise with extra B12 and metformin? Actually, kinda. Sixth, should you feel awkward about proposing hypotheses or presenting scientific evidence to your doctor? No.

Let’s go:

Great article, but a couple of amends are required with regards to mTOR. Firstly, you mention in the last paragraph that curcumin activates autophagy by activating mTOR. Reading the actual article abstract though, it states the opposite, ie the effect of curcumin “downregulating AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in human melanoma cells”.

Great catch. I’m not sure how I flipped that around. AMPK triggers autophagy, mTOR inhibits it.

What you say about curcumin goes for all the other broth ingredients I mentioned. Ginger, green tea, and curcumin all contain phytonutrients which trigger AMPK, which should induce autophagy, or at least get out of its way. What remains to be seen is whether the amino acids in broth are sufficient to inhibit fasting-and-phytonutrient-induced autophagy. I lean toward “yes,” but is it an on-off switch, or is autophagy a spectrum? Does inhibition imply complete nullification? I doubt it.

Regarding autophagy and health and longevity, it’s important to note the manner in which glycine, the primary amino acid found in broth and gelatin, opposes the effects of methionine, the primary amino acid found in muscle meat and a great stimulator of mTOR.

One notable study found that while restricting dietary methionine increased the lifespan of lab rodents, if you added dietary glycine, you could keep methionine in the diet and maintain the longevity benefits. That doesn’t necessarily speak to the effect of broth on autophagy during a fast, but it’s a good reminder that broth is a general good guy in the fight for healthy longevity.

Funny you mentioned ginger and turmeric as I add both, along with a whole lemon and/or lime, to my list of ingredients when cooking my broth. Here’s another great tip: I juice turmeric root, ginger & lemon together in my Omega juicer and freeze in ice cube trays. I add a cube to curries and other dishes.

That’s a great idea. One cautionary note about the raw ginger: it will destroy your gelatin.

Raw ginger has a powerful protease, an enzyme that breaks down protein. If you grate a bunch of ginger into a batch of finished broth, or juice a few inches and dump it in, there’s a good chance you’ll lose the gel. The amino acids will remain, but you’ll miss out on the texture, the mouthfeel, the culinary benefits of a good strong gelatinous bone broth.

Heating the ginger with the broth as it cooks, or even just reducing the amount of raw ginger you add, should reduce the protease activity.

“Bone broth with turmeric, green tea, and ginger might actually combine to form a decent autophagy-preserving drink during a fast. Only one way to find out!” You say this as if there is a way for us to try this and see. Since we cannot measure autophagy, this statement makes no sense.

Touché.

Although it will all shake out in the end, or towards it. If things seem to be “going good” for you as you get older, if your doctor is always pleasantly surprised at your test results, if you maintain your vim and vigor as your peers degenerate, maybe it worked. Maybe it’ll add a few months or years to your life, and you’ll never quite know because you don’t have an alternate life in which you didn’t add the turmeric, green tea, and ginger to your broth for comparison.

At any rate, the mix tastes really, really good. That’s reason enough to drink the stuff.

What about drinking a cup of black coffee with one tablespoon of coconut oil blended in? What effect does that have on fasting?

You’ll burn less body fat (because you’re eating 14 grams of it).

Autophagy will be maintained (because fat has little to no effect on autophagy).

You may have better adherence. The fast might “feel” easier, although you might not be “fasting as hard.”

I often have cream in my coffee during a “fast,” and I see no ill effects. Although as I alluded to in the previous answer, these things are hard to definitively measure. Much of it is a mix of speculation, hope, intuition, and faith that our health practices are helping us and improving our outcomes.

Read my post on coffee during a fast for more information.

Can you make a Mayo with metformin and increased B12? Thanks

You know what? Let’s try to make this happen.

Start with your favorite mayo recipe. Then, swap out the chicken egg yolks for two duck egg yolks. Each duck egg contains almost 4 micrograms of B12—more than the daily requirement. For comparison’s sake, the average chicken egg has about 0.5 micrograms.

At the end, add in a few drops of barberry extract—barberry is a good natural source of berberine, an alkaloid whose effects are similar to metformin’s. I don’t know if the extract will affect the emulsion of the mayo, but it shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance. Barberry is said to be bitter, so perhaps add a few pinches of a natural sweetener like stevia or monk fruit to counteract it.

I recently read a PubMed article that possibly ties Metformin use in diabetic patients with MTHFR mutation (in particular C677T) causing Vitamin B12 deficiency leading to Hyperhomocysteinemia which then may increase risk of vascular thrombosis. I have also read many articles/opinions that convey there is nothing to worry about with MTHFR mutations. My Mom is a Metformin treated (several years) diabetic who has the C677T mutation and has had one blood clot in her leg and, now while on blood thinners, has been experiencing severe swelling in lower extremities. I’m trying to figure out if we should be looking into this combination of Metformin and MTHFR mutation as the cause behind this or if the docs will think I’m just another wack-a-doo who diagnoses things via the internet, especially since I’ve already self-diagnosed Hereditary Hemochromatosis in myself earlier this year! Genes are fascinating! ?

Wack a doos make the world go round. Some of the greatest thinkers, creators, and doers throughout human history were considered by many to be insane.

And hey, this is your mother. There’s no shame in helping your kin.

A wack a doo would ask her doc about the potential for crystals to heal her tumor. A wack a doo would bring a printout of a random Reddit post to the appointment and use it as proof of her hypothesis. A wack a doo would ask the staff dietitian for a Breatharianism protocol. Bringing a legitimate medical article discussing a specific mutation that has been shown to induce B12 deficiencies in people taking the very same medication your mother is taking along with genetic results showing she has the mutation is far from crazy. Do it.

Besides, you’re totally right. A vitamin B12 deficiency (and the resultant elevated homocysteine levels) is a known risk factor for blood clots.

That’s it for today, folks. Take care and be sure to leave your comments and questions down below. Thanks for reading!

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References:

Joel BrindVirginia MalloyInes AugieNicholas CaliendoJoseph H VogelmanJay A. Zimmerman, and Norman Orentreich Dietary glycine supplementation mimics lifespan extension by dietary methionine restriction in Fisher 344 ratsThe FASEB Journal 2011 25:1_supplement528.2-528.2 

The post Dear Mark: Broth, Fasting, Coffee, and Metformin (and More) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Thanks to PaleoHacks for today’s holiday recipe round-up. Enjoy, everyone!

It’s the holiday season, and that means it’s time to preheat the oven and bake up a batch of cookies! We’re here to start the festivities with this listicle of 28 grain-free cookie recipes.

From bright and zingy lemon and coconut cookies to a Paleo-friendly take on classic chocolate chip cookies, there are so many deliciously gluten-free options to explore in your kitchen.

If you have dietary restrictions, check out the nut-free recipes, AIP-friendly choices, and the keto-friendly cookies. Each cookie is 100 percent Primal and free of gluten, grains and unhealthy processed sugar. No matter your dietary needs, we’ve got a satisfying cookie just for you!

#1 PaleoHacks | Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

All you need is 30 minutes from start to finish to whip up these super-easy chocolate chip cookies.

#2 Jay’s Baking Me Crazy | The Best Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

These almond flour beauties studded with chocolate chunks are just begging for a dip in creamy almond milk.

# 3 PaleoHacks | Coconut Flour Shortbread Cookies

Buttery shortbread cookies get drizzled artfully with melted chocolate, which cools to form a delicate shell.

#4 Tastes Lovely | Paleo Almond Butter Cookies

With just a handful of ingredients, these buttery, almond butter cookies are even easier to whip up than most peanut butter cookies.

#5 One Lovely Life | Paleo Ginger Cookies

Crisp-edged, soft-centered ginger cookies are a must this time of year. Skip the optional sugar roll at the end, or use a Paleo-friendly substitute like coconut sugar.

#6 Joy Food Sunshine | Paleo Zucchini Breakfast Cookies

Zucchini – in cookies?! It helps make the final product extra moist – we promise you won’t even know they’re in there if you blend them into the batter just right.

#7 The Big Man’s World | No-Bake, 3-Ingredient Coconut Cookies

It doesn’t get much easier than a no-bake, three-ingredient recipe. Simply mix shredded coconut, coconut oil, and your sweetener of choice in a bowl, form into cookies, refrigerate, and enjoy!

#8 Food Faith Fitness | Crockpot Paleo Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Did you know you can make cookies in a crockpot? These square cookie bars spend a few hours “baking” up low and slow, leaving you plenty of time to complete your to-do list, run errands, or nap.

#9 Nom Nom Paleo | The World’s Easiest Cookies

Everyone needs a foolproof, super simple cookie recipe in their back pocket. Made with just a handful of ingredients, these cookies taste like chocolate-covered shortbread.

#10 Evolving Table | Super Soft Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans

Pecans add seasonal warmth to these ultra-soft cookies. Tip: You can easily make these vegan by subbing in coconut oil for butter and flax eggs for the eggs!

#11 Golden Barrel | Paleo Nutter Butter Cookies

Crunchy almond butter cookies sandwich a sweet and creamy almond butter filling – what could be better?

#12 Almost Supermom | Ultimate Double Chocolate Chip Paleo Cookies

These cookies double up on the chocolate, featuring both cocoa powder (opt for raw cacao powder for even more nutrition) and chocolate chips.

#13 Perchance to Cook | Paleo “Sugar” Cookies

Fluffy, vanilla-flavored cookies get their sweetness from honey and maple syrup for a simple, chewy indulgence.

#14 Downshiftology | Mint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Would you like a peppermint mocha in cookie form? Reach for these mint double chocolate chip cookies, the perfect holiday-inspired flavor profile.

#15 What Great Grandma Ate | Nut-Free Cassava Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s tricky to find a nut-free Paleo cookie, but these tasty cassava flour-based chocolate chip cookies fit the bill!

#16 Lexi’s Clean Kitchen | Maple Meringue Cookies

We can’t get these lightly sweet, crunchy yet light-as-air meringue cookies out of our minds.

#17 Physical Kitchness | Paleo Maple Walnut Cookies

Loaded with warm flavors from walnuts, maple, cloves and cinnamon, these cookies are autumn personified.

#18 The Endless Meal | Chunky Monkey Paleo Banana Cookies

These nutty, chocolatey cookies are topped with banana slices – an ideal sweet breakfast on the go.

#19 Nesting with Grace | Paleo Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

You just might want to set these Christmas-inspired cranberry cookies out for Santa this year.

#20 Unbound Wellness | AIP Chocolate Chip Cookies

Carob chips replace chocolate in this AIP-friendly cookie recipe.

#21 A Saucy Kitchen | Paleo Pumpkin Cookies with Molasses

Pumpkin is the ideal cookie ingredient – it adds tons of flavor, acts as a binder, and adds moisture. This recipe proves it.

#22 Traditional Cooking School | Paleo Sugar Cookies with Pumpkin Glaze

These sweet and fluffy cookies are glazed with a pumpkin icing for a treat you’ll crave all year long.

#23 Paleo Cupboard | Paleo Coconut Vanilla Iced Cookies

Nutty almond flour cookies are finished with a smooth iced top for an irresistible treat.

#24 Real Food with Dana | Paleo N’Oatmeal Cookies

There are no actual oats to be found in these batch, but coconut, flaxseed, and raisins do a pretty good job of mimicking the texture and flavors of a real oatmeal cookie.

#25 Not Enough Cinnamon | Lemon and Coconut Soft Cookies

These zesty and fragrant lemon cookies will melt in your mouth – what more could you ask for?

#26 The Big Man’s World | Flourless Keto Chocolate Cookies

No added sweetener is necessary in these keto-friendly cookies made with chocolate chips and nut butter.

#27 Chocolate Covered Katie | Low Carb Chocolate Chip Keto Cookies

Finally, there’s a way to enjoy classic chocolate chip cookies on the keto diet. Opt for stevia and a Paleo-friendly milk to keep this recipe Paleo, too.

#28 Wholesome Yum | Low Carb Keto Shortbread Cookies

Buttery shortbread cookies are best paired with a warm cup of coffee, hot cocoa or tea.

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The post Holiday Round-Up: 28 Cookie Recipes appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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