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Thoughts On The Mcdougall Advanced Written Report Weekend

For those of you lot who aren't familiar amongst him, Dr. John McDougall is a Dr. as well as diet/health advocate who recommends a really depression fat, high starch, whole nutrient vegan diet to command weight as well as avoid chronic disease.  He's been at it for a long time, as well as he's a major figure inwards the "plant-based diet" community (i.e., a diet including footling or no fauna foods).

Dr. McDougall invited me to participate inwards his 3-day Advanced Study Weekend retreat inwards Santa Rosa, CA.  My undertaking was to give my beak on insulin as well as obesity, as well as participate inwards a panel discussion/debate amongst Dr. McDougall inwards which nosotros sorted through issues related to low-carb, Paleo, as well as the wellness implications of eating fauna foods.  I was glad to have the invitation, because I don't consider myself every bit a diet partisan, as well as I believe that my evidence-based data is applicable to a diversity of diet styles.  I saw the Weekend every bit an chance to extend my thoughts to a novel community, challenge myself, as well as maybe fifty-fifty larn a thing or two.  It was specially interesting to compare as well as contrast the Advanced Study Weekend amongst the Ancestral Health Symposium, which is to a greater extent than Paleo- as well as low-carb-friendly.

General Observations

The attendees were a lot older than AHS attendees.  I justice that most of them were inwards their 60s, although in that place were some immature people inwards attendance.

I don't house also much emphasis on peoples' personal appearance at conferences similar this.  You don't know what a person's background, genetics, or personal struggles may be, you lot don't know how closely they adhere to the program, as well as you lot don't know to what grade a grouping of people mightiness live self-selected for item traits*.  But I volition authorities annotation that Dr. McDougall, his family, as well as many of the other starch-based/plant-based diet advocates tended to live extremely lean amongst depression obese as well as musculus mass.  They also tended to have got a salubrious as well as energetic appearance as well as demeanor.  As I would expect, decades of exceptionally high starch intake hasn't made them obese or apparently ill.


Dr. McDougall as well as his solid unit of measurement were extremely gracious, despite the fact that nosotros clearly disagree on sure enough matters, as well as I was expected to air my disagreements to the crowd (to live clear, in that place are also many points of agreement).  Actually-- that was business office of the point-- to convey inwards people amongst alternative, evidence-based viewpoints.  I didn't know Dr. McDougall before final weekend, then I didn't know to what extent he really wanted to give my views a fair shake, but inwards retrospect he was sincere.

I wasn't sure enough what to await from the audience, since I was (among other things) defending the seat that eating meat is natural for humans as well as tin live business office of a salubrious diet.  There were a few furrowed brows hither as well as in that place every bit I spoke, but overall people were gracious, welcoming, as well as seemed really receptive to my views.  The beliefs I encountered from attendees ranged from evidence-based to the types of scaremongering you lot mightiness detect on an Internet diet forum.  For example, some of them seemed to live convinced that meat is total of parasites, as well as if nosotros swallow it (even cooked), we'll acquire those parasites.

I spent the amend business office of 3 days eating a diet prepared according to Dr. McDougall's specifications.  I was looking forrard to the chance to seek a novel diet style.  Meals contained zip added fat, zip fauna food, as well as focused on starchy whole grains, beans, as well as origin vegetables amongst some colorful vegetables every bit well.  Potatoes are a fundamental business office of his diet as well as they appeared at every meal.  No alcohol was served, as well as the alone caffeine was tea.

The nutrient was depression inwards calorie density as well as bland, although non unpleasant.  It's definitely a reduced-reward diet.  I had no work eating it for 3 days.  I ate to fullness, but I'm sure enough I ate fewer calories than commons as well as lost a chip of weight.  I felt proficient as well as had no problem amongst hunger or fatigue; inwards fact, my appetite seemed to live suppressed somewhat.  I experienced some mild digestive distress, maybe from the large quantity of beans as well as onions inwards the food.  My sinuses also became a chip stuffed, which is unusual.  I'm non sure enough if that was related to the food, but it did clear upward every bit shortly every bit I returned domicile as well as began eating my commons diet.

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion/debate was betwixt Dr. McDougall as well as I, as well as was moderated past times John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods.  The finish was to discuss/debate low-carb, Paleo, vegan, as well as other aspects of diet, as well as explore the reasons for the popularity of low-carb as well as Paleo.  We kicked it off past times playing a word study on the recent low-carb vs. low-fat study, as well as the National Geographic video of an anthropologist claiming that the "real" hunter-gather diet is depression inwards meat as well as high inwards starch (to consider why other anthropologists tend to disagree amongst her, follow these links: 1, 2).

Dr. McDougall is baffled past times the popularity of low-carb as well as Paleo.  To me, the popularity of low-carb boils downwards to 2 factors: 1) It's an exciting, opposite viewpoint.  People dearest to withdraw heed that the authorities as well as the ivory-tower eggheads were wrong.  The impress media is struggling mightily correct at nowadays to proceed eyeballs on the page, as well as they seem to live shifting to increasingly sensationalist tactics to survive.  2) It tin live effective.  Many people are losing weight as well as apparently improving their wellness using low-carbohydrate diets, as well as some of these people were failed past times low-fat diets.  It wouldn't live then pop if it didn't have got some flat of effectiveness.

I explained the rationale for the Paleo diet, every bit good every bit the rationale for an agriculturalist/horticulturalist-type ancestral diet centered around starchy foods amongst a pocket-sized amount of meat, eggs, and/or dairy.  I wanted to introduce an ancestral choice that bears some resemblance to what the audience is already eating.  I didn't have got fourth dimension to deploy the total ancestral argument, but I holler back I had plenty fourth dimension to brand a compelling instance for it.  I holler back the audience became to a greater extent than receptive when I explained that I wasn't advocating for a high-meat or low-carb dietary vogue every bit the optimal diet for humans.  Overall my contribution seemed good received.

I also made the betoken that seemingly diametrically opposed diet philosophies, such every bit low-fat, low-carb, Paleo, as well as vegan, tin all drive weight loss as well as apparent cardiometabolic improvements.  What they have got inwards mutual is that they all limit something, they all eliminate most mutual junk foods, as well as they all brand us holler back hard nigh what's going into our mouths.  In general, the to a greater extent than restrictive the diet, the to a greater extent than weight loss it causes, as well as typically the greater the metabolic improvement.

We went on to beak over my full-fat dairy paper, vegan diets for children, the genetic as well as digestive ground for dietary adaptation, as well as a few other topics.

John Mackey was a dandy moderator-- fair as well as tough.  Mackey is pocket-sized as well as unassuming but also sharp.  I'm lamentable I had to missy his beak on Sunday, because I wanted to connect amongst my friends who had driven from San Francisco to withdraw heed my talk.  I entered the room simply inwards fourth dimension to witness people jumping to their feet inwards applause.  I aspect forrard to watching the beak when it's posted online.

My Talk

I gave an expanded version of my 2013 AHS beak "Insulin as well as Obesity: Reconciling Conflicting Evidence".  I argued that the evidence supports the hypothesis that obesity increases circulating insulin, but is hard to reconcile amongst the hypothesis that increased insulin leads to obesity.  Furthermore, the latter hypothesis, at to the lowest degree its most pop incarnation, is based on a superficial understanding of insulin biology.

The beak was good received, although it may have got been a footling chip also technical for a share of the audience.  It's non hard to convince people that insulin doesn't drive obesity when they've been eating extremely high-starch diets for years and, if anything, have got lost fat.

I was honored that my friends Drs. Lynda Frassetto as well as Ashley Mason (UCSF) drove upward to withdraw heed me speak at 8:00 am on a Dominicus morning.

Other Talks

Dr. McDougall presented starting fourth dimension on Friday.  It was a proficient chance for me to larn nigh his views.  Essentially, he believes that humans are designed to swallow a vegan, low-fat, starchy, whole nutrient diet, although he acknowledges that humans have got hardly always been vegan historically.  Animal foods as well as added fats drive "food poisoning", as well as "the obese you lot swallow is the obese you lot wear".  He believes that a low-fat/high-starch diet offers a metabolic advantage, inwards other words that you lot tin swallow to a greater extent than calories on this type of diet without gaining fat.  It's interesting to authorities annotation the parallels betwixt the low-fat as well as low-carb communities inwards this respect.  He thinks physical activeness as well as other aspects of lifestyle are much less of import than diet.  He recommends B12 supplementation, although somewhat reluctantly.

He as well as I may non handle on everything, but I produce believe-- as well as the inquiry backs this up-- that this type of diet tin drive weight loss as well as improvements inwards cardiovascular as well as metabolic health.  They brand the point, which is fair, that the typical low-fat diet that gets whupped past times low-carb diets inwards controlled trials is a wimpy version of what they recommend.  Dr. Barnard's studies present that a really low-fat vegan diet causes to a greater extent than weight loss as well as metabolic improvement than a typical low-fat diet, as well as inwards fact the results he achieves aspect really similar to what is reported inwards low-carb diet studies.

It may audio counterintuitive, but there's fifty-fifty credible inquiry suggesting that low-fat high-complex-starch diets tin assistance type 2 diabetics accomplish amend glucose command as well as trim insulin needs.  It's really interesting for me to come across almost identical anecdotes from the low-carbohydrate crowd as well as the low-fat vegan crowd: I lost 100 pounds, got off my diabetes medications, my blood lipids are much amend now, etc.  I'm quite convinced that many people produce good on the McDougall diet, as well as to a greater extent than remarkably, that a pregnant number of people tin stick amongst it as well as fifty-fifty seem to relish it.

On Saturday, I attended a beak past times Dr. Neal Barnard.  Dr. Barnard is the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which would live to a greater extent than aptly named the Physicians Committee for Plant-Based Diet Advocacy.  His activities are a mix of laudable scientific as well as world wellness achievements, as well as overzealous diet advocacy.  Some of his scientific claims were a chip facile, for example, that lipid stores inwards musculus cells drive insulin resistance, as well as that this is a right away outcome of eating dietary fat**.

Stanford Research Dr. Christopher Gardner gave an enjoyable, meandering beak that touched on his diet trials, every bit good every bit his forays into exploring what motivates people to brand positive changes inwards their diets.  Apparently, most people aren't specially motivated past times health.  They're to a greater extent than motivated past times immediate, positive gains similar feeling better.

The Absurd Talk Award goes to Gary Null, who I had never heard of but apparently has a large following.  Null started off past times bragging that he's the #1 quack on the website QuackWatch, which he interprets every bit evidence that the mainstream medical as well as scientific community is conspiring against him.  He went on to 'educate' us nigh how vaccines drive autism, as well as how he had developed cures for cancer, AIDS, as well as other diseases.

Null also claimed, hilariously, that his inquiry had revealed that beans are really a consummate source of protein, as well as that he had submitted his findings to 400 scientific journals as well as none of them had then much every bit responded.  Ummm... I could shipping 3 pages of completely illegible jibberish to almost whatsoever magazine inwards the world, as well as if I submitted it properly, I'd have a response.  The response would live "no", of course, because my submission would live scientifically worthless.  Furthermore, are in that place fifty-fifty 400 scientific journals inwards the the world that are interested inwards the amino acid composition of beans?  I incertitude it, but maybe I'm simply business office of the conspiracy...  In whatsoever case, I have got a newfound observe for QuackWatch.

On Sunday, I saw Dr. Dean Ornish speak.  Dr. Ornish gets some flack from the low-carb/Paleo community, but I really appreciated his talk.  He believes that a comprehensive diet as well as lifestyle program, including a low-fat/low-animal nutrient diet, is the best agency to improve health.  I have got no incertitude that his programme is effective, but that's non what I appreciated the most nigh his talk.  I appreciate his ongoing efforts to evaluate diet as well as lifestyle modification using the tools of modern science.  I also appreciate his thoughtful perspective on how to acquire people to comply amongst a salubrious diet as well as lifestyle sustainably as well as compassionately.

Conclusions

I'm glad I attended, as well as I holler back it was useful for all involved.

If someone seat a gun to my caput as well as forced me to pick out betwixt the McDougall diet as well as the Atkins diet for the residuum of my life, I'd belike pick out the McDougall diet.  Most of the people I met seem to live aging gracefully on the McDougall diet, as well as I silent experience in that place are questions to live answered nigh the long-term wellness impacts of Atkins-type diets.  I silent have got major reservations nigh a 100 pct vegan diet, however, specially for children.

Fortunately, no 1 is putting a gun to my head, then I'll stick amongst my starch-based diet that includes lots of nuts as well as a moderate amount of olive oil, butter, meat, seafood, eggs, as well as whole dairy.


* It was disappointing to withdraw heed multiple speakers pick on the appearance of Dr. Robert Atkins, the fact that he died before than them, as well as the circumstances of his death.  From what I understand, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding his wellness at the fourth dimension of his death, but it was repeatedly implied that his diet caused him to have got cardiovascular illness as well as contributed to his decease (which was really due to caput trauma).

** Athletes have got elevated musculus obese (intramyocellular lipid, IML) stores, yet also have got exceptionally insulin-sensitive muscles.  In that case, increased musculus obese seems to live a positive adaptation to high liberate energy demands on musculus tissue.  Obese people also have got elevated IML stores, but inwards that instance it's associated amongst insulin resistance.  So produce the elevated IML stores themselves drive insulin resistance?  Probably not.  In the instance of obesity, they're belike at to the lowest degree inwards business office a mark of excess liberate energy availability to musculus tissue.  When a prison theatre cellular telephone is exposed to to a greater extent than lipid than it tin burn, it accumulates IML but also lipid metabolites such every bit diacylglycerols, Acyl-CoAs, as well as ceramides, as well as these metabolites unopen downwards insulin signaling every bit if the prison theatre cellular telephone is proverb "Stop sending inwards to a greater extent than energy!  I already have got also much!"  How does this happen?  It's belike by as well as large a outcome of the failure of enlarged, insulin-resistant adipose tissue to adequately trap obese acids, causing excessive obese acid exposure of lean tissues.  When insulin sensitivity is measured past times gold-standard methods, dietary obese doesn't seem to have got much touching on on insulin sensitivity until you lot acquire to the extremes.
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