This article originally came into my universe by way of google plus and generated some good - and some off the wall- discussion.
I have a few things I feel like posting on the topic- but first, give it 5 minutes and read this:
I will tell you right now that I think Taubes is generalizing and simplifying a bit too much. There are.... details. But, in the general atmosphere of generalizing-
If you look at the proponents of most dietary reginmens that are really
working, whether they are no-red meat, lean meat, lotsa meat, paleo,
atkins, primal, panu (archevore) - south beach, raw, mediterranean- the
list is long.
If the diet is working, almost regardless of the
debate on fat, almost regardless of the elimination of grains versus the
re-mapping of how and when grains are eaten- if the diet is working it
will almost invariably include-
Even a Mediterranean diet with pasta, done properly*, is going to be
massively lower in carbs and sugars. Sugars, on a good Med diet, will
drop from a 3 pound a week average (yeah, that's JUST sugar) to a
quarter pound. Carbs, believe it or not, will drop by 30-60% (rough
math, it's right within a large margin, I got 45% on the calculator)
properly doing a diet is crucial. With very few- and exclusively market
driven- exceptions, any of the diets I mentioned is going to be largely
compatible with Pollan's Food Rules. (small book, go buy it) The rules
essentially boil down to eating Real Food instead of packaged,
manufactured, preprepared, and etc. I cannot stress strongly enough that
this essential thread tying the diets together is of absolute
importance. - Eating Real Food is decent proportions will cut so much
sugar, refined carbs, and processed oils out of your diet that you can
almost choose the diet as a "desktop theme" type of choice.
One person in the original discussion thread contended that insulin had nothing at all to do with fat.
"There is no evidence that insulin regulates the fat in our cells. At
least not as the major contributor. It is another hormone.
Actually, there is
research that show that higher levels of insulin lowers the risk of
getting fat. I can produce a dozen references, like http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2056116, that shows this."
Okay, if you go to that study, it seems to me, that there is less fat formation among the subjects who are insulin resistnant. Insulin resistance is a lessening of the ability of insulin to handle gllocuse in the blood. Which means less processing into fat.
Pointing this out, I was informed that insulin isn't involved in processing the sugar in blood.
This is wrong- Insulin tells the cells to absorb glucose, fat and aminos. Fat cells are cells. Insulin is the main fat storage hormone.
High levels of insulin also block the activation of catecholamines (such as adrenaline, dopamine) which control the release of energy into the body.
Quite possibly, the single most important reason that carb controlled diets (which may or may not be called such) work is that when you reduce the insulin spikes, you increase the activation of PKA and bang, increased metabolic rate.
I mentioned the "theme" of diets. The reason a dietary plan is important is that you have to have boundaries and rules. Many of us traditionally were provided these culturally or through our families. (Now they are provided by marketing firms, and don't work)
This is absolutely crucial. Oh, you can change- from ketosis stage atkins to south beach, for example. But having and sticking to a set of food rules is really improtant.
The single most important presupposition for any diet plan is this- no fakery. No Atkins bars, No Atkins bread. No lo-carb energy shakes. Real food, on the plan. Real food.