Shovel and Row your way to the gym. Fri, Nov 13th

5 am class is CANCELLED.
All other classes go as scheduled.
CrossFit WOD: In honor of having to row a boat to the gym and shovel your way out of fallen trees and leaves:
AMRAP 12 minutes
Row 250
Guys use a 45 lb bumper and 24″ box
Ladies use a 25 lb bumper and 20″ box
Over the box 1 time = 1 rep.
CrossFit TAKEOFF WOD:

3 rounds for Time
10 Overhead Squats (PVC or trainer bar)
5 KTE
20 Mountain Climbers

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Alright. Bryan sent me this article link to read the other day. Big picture:
An MSN article about a study between a “High Carb” vs. “Low Carb” diet and the
impact on the subjects’ mood after one year. Summary
is that at the end of a year, the “High Carb” group had a better mood
as measured by 4 psychological tests. I downloaded the study to read.
Since MSN cherry-picked this one to clearly help market the “Good Mood Diet”
book and promo they were running, i cherry picked my way through the study.
Here are just a few of my thoughts….i’ve got many more where these came from
but I’m afraid we’re gonna lose power before I send this out.
1. First, the terms “Low Carb” and “High Carb” in any diet study are relative and confusing. There is no defined baseline for either. In this case, on a very calorie restricted diet, the “Low Carb” group was at 20g/day with a growth to 40g/day later in the study. The “high carb” group was at 46% of their calories from carbs (769 calories…no target grams communicated in the test results). 46% of daily caloric intake from carbs is actually relatively moderate when compared to the standard western dominance of carbohydrates in the diet (>300g/day). So I would not bill this as Low Carb vs. High Carb/LF. It’s more like really Low Carb vs. Moderate Carb (as compared to a national average).
2. The diet placed subjects on 1433-1672 calorie/day diets.Restricted Calorie diets have a long history of study. For example: 1917 (Francis Benedict, Carnegie Institute of Washington’s Nutrition Lab ), 1944 (Ancel Keys U of Minnesota) and 1995 (Jules Hirsch, Rockefeller University) conducted restricted calorie diets. Benedict’s held subjects to 1400 cal/day; Keys held his subjects to an avg of 1570 cal/day for 6 months. All 3 were, at the times deemed “semi-starvation” diets. All would fall in the “high carb/low fat” bill as defined by the 2009 study we’re discussing. In fact, Keys’ diet was modeled after famine-stricken Europe during the war. What was noted in both diets that is not communicated in this study was the effect of hunger on psychology. In Keys’ test, the subjects were ravenous and binged incessantly at the conclusion of the test. The thing is, when compared to studies with diets in the same calorie-restricted range, subjects on high protein/high fat diets do not experience much, if any hunger (Taubes). In fact, they often are comfortable in the reduced caloric state and do not feel hunger until the percentage of carbs in their diet is increased (Taubes).
3. The diet was controlled through visits to a dietician, a list of foods and macronutrients to favor, food scales and $40 food vouchers…but participants were not observed in shopping, food prep or eating. The participants were still on their own to eat what and how they wanted out of the watchful eye of those administering the test. Does this mean they all cheated? Not necessarily, but like many nutritional studies, it raises doubt about the compliance and therefore the results.
4. Of the 65 test participants that completed the test, 25 were on anti=depressants throughout the test. So, now we’re at 38% of the test subjects on anti-depressants in a test that measures mood…hmm. The majority of these (19) were in the Low Carb diet group. Nothing is mentioned in the test results about questioning the subjects about their dosage or compliance with taking the antidepressant drugs throughout the test.
5. RESULTS: The results show no difference in cognition or speed of processing between the two diets. The difference was in mood as measured by 4 tests. At the end of one year, the LC group measured lower in mood than the HC group. Of note, and in the authors’ own words,

“Despite these results, it is important to note that mood
state scores on average for both groups at baseline and
throughout the study remained within the normal range
for healthy adults (emphasis mine).
Consequently, the present findings
are limited to healthy, obese, young to middle-aged
adults with normal mood state and cannot be generalized
to clinical populations

6. The authors attribute some reliance on an explanation of serotonin-stimulating effect of carbohydrates. They basically attribute their measured mood decrease by the Low Carb group to a potential decrease in serotonin. Problem is, they never measured serotonin levels in their participants. And remember, many were on anti-depressants to start (some of which can affect serotonin levels).
7. They identify percentages of macronutrients, but they don’t identify more specifics. A protein is not a protein is not a protein. Were the proteins animal based or plant based? There’s a big difference between bioavailability and the body’s use of soy vs. chicken. Also, were there transfats allowed in the the “fat” macronutrients? Again…food QUALITY is a huge driver.
8. They measured glucose levels at the end of a year. The low calorie count can be attributed to decreased fasting glucose levels in the High Carb group, because a high carb diet without regard to calories is THE recipe for diabetes. But, as we discussed above and as Taubes discusses ad nauseam in “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” caloric restriction beyond a certain point, and with a foundation of carbohydrates in the diet fails in the LONG TERM for weight loss in pretty much every published study. I would be interested in seeing the weight and body composition of these test participants 6 months after the end of the test.
9. Finally, this was not just a low carb vs. high carb diet. This was a caloric restriction diet. You notice we never discuss calories when we talk Paleo or decreasing carbs from grain sources. This is because the physiological effects we’re looking for are body composition change (fat loss) due to an increase in fat mobilization (use of fat for fuel) and an increase in gluconeogenisis (use of protein to make glucose) by decreasing insulin levels. We don’t want people to lose weight just by cutting calories. They discuss only weight lost in this study…not body composition change (although this study was focused on mood). Caloric restriction is a method to weight loss, however the Calories In vs. Calories Out argument is just too simplified when compared to the complex physiology of how the body uses different macronutrients. What we eat has a more immediate, and long term affect on our body composition than how much (assuming we are eating and not starving). The authors acknowledge this with the following statement (ad libitum means without restriction to calories…eat when you are hungry basically):
“In current practice, LC diets are typically followed
ad libitum, without specific prescription of energy
intake, promoting unlimited intake of protein and fat, with
the only food restriction being to limit the intake of carbohydrate.
43,44 Whether the detrimental effects of the LC
diet on mood that were observed in our study would exist
if delivered ad libitium without intensive dietary control
over the long term remains unknown; data reported by
McClernon et al suggest that this may not be the case”
Is there a point beyond which caloric intake will cause a weight gain…DEFINITELY. But that point is VERY hard to reach on a High Protein, High Fat, carbohydrate restricted diet.
If anything, I guess the High Carb group will be in a great mood when they find out they have heart disease.
LIVE STRONG!

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