Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mess Call

"Glycemic load has no long term impact on weight loss, study"

So goes the headline. No, I'm not inclined to call it an outright lie. Mere inaccuracy or imprecision is not a lie. Lies are deliberate. Bush lied and people died. That sort of thing -- you know, evil. Here, it's just sloppiness. The study did not look at the long-term impact of glycemic load on weight loss. It studied the effect of calorie restriction on weight loss, comparing higher and lower glycemic load diets. There was a minor advantage at six months, for low GL diets. At 12 months, there was no difference -- both yielded about an 8% weight loss.

It was a good study. Well designed. Here's another report on it, with an equally sloppy headline. Too bad then that the study is not reported carefully. Headlines matter. I found them in a google search, and the first thing was these disturbing headlines, and if I had not applied the incisive edge of my diamond-faceted intellect to the question, no one would ever know about the misreporting.

Calorie restriction, you see, is a confounding factor. It requires that you get fewer calories than you need. The theory is that you will release stored body fat to make up the deficit. Under restrictive stress, however, could it not be that insulin levels are raised at the influx of even a smaller number of calories, thus washing out the low-glycemic benefit? You cannot metabolize stored body fat in the presence of excess insulin. It stands guard and keeps fat locked up. This study shows, then, that calorie restriction -- supposedly 30% less, but actually, with measured cheating, about 16% or 17% less -- allows for only an 8% weight loss in one full year. That's weight, not fat. Muscle and bone? Could be a problem, on a calorie restricted -- read nutrient restricted -- diet. For overweight people, 8% may be 20 pounds or more. But overweight people are more than 8% overweight. See? Calorie restriction is the wrong modality.

Eat enough. Change your insulin. Low glycemic load seems to do that. I'd like you to test it, since you are overweight. Of course you are. 2 out of 3 are, and you, being a fan of mine, that is, a reader, will be in that demographic. I mean, you're not out running around being skinny. Just don't lie to me, alright? So now that we have that settled, I want you to weigh yourself now, and write it down, and from now on write down approximately everything you eat. By approximately, I mean write down what you eat, and approximate the serving size. Drinks too. Don't count calories. But write down the glycemic load of the carbs.

Send me the data. I'm building a data base. I'd like you to keep the total load below 100 every day, the lower the better. I've given you links to sites that give the values. This is Saturday. So next Saturday get back to me. Email it -- not in comments.

Some before and after pictures would be good too. It will be very embarrassing for you, but shirtless. Don't worry, it will get better. With my help, you'll be an Adonis -- or at least a Narcissus.



Johnay said...


need to read about glycemic load apparently because I am out of control.

pics and weigh and bodyfat on my site

Here we go...

Jack H said...

Ok. So I looked at your blog. Why, we're practically the same person, almost, in an alternative universe. Cuz *I* was a single father, and *I* do bjj, and *I* write a blog! Isn't that freaky? You must have googled bjj, and found me. I used to write about it. Long story.

Luck in your campaign. Diet and exercise -- they've become my big themes, since I no longer dare look at politics.