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How "Heart-Healthy Whole Grains" Make Us Fat
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May 16, 2011
1:52 am
Sven-Are
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Foods that spike insulin the most in humans lead to the greatest satiety and lowest food intake at subsequent meal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20456814

May 16, 2011
10:03 am
Low Carb Compatible
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@Sven-Are:

Foods that spike insulin the most in humans lead to the greatest satiety and lowest food intake at subsequent meal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20456814

That study was done on "twenty-two lean, healthy men". And "participants consumed four liquid test meals".

Has anyone dissected that study to see why the results contradict the one mentioned in the OP?

May 16, 2011
1:01 pm
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Sven-Are, LCC:

That study compares the effects of different types of pure protein, fed as chocolate-flavored liquid shakes:

"Different dietary proteins vary in their ability to influence satiety and reduce food intake. The present study compared the effects of four protein meals, whey, tuna, turkey and egg albumin, on postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations as well as on appetite measures and energy intake in twenty-two lean, healthy men."

I don't see what that says about the relative satiation caused by actual food -- or even that of carbohydrate vs. fat and protein, as there was nothing but protein in this study.

I've shown previously that fat is the major driver of glycemic index (and a major potentiator of satiety)...and as the study in this article shows, carb-driven satiety is inversely related to glycemic index.  What's going to get you through to lunch: a shake of whey protein isolate in water, or a three-egg omelet?

It's an interesting study, though, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

JS

(Also keep in mind that satiety was measured just four hours later...is dinner four hours after lunch?  No.)

May 23, 2011
7:13 pm
Mindless eating, and
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[...] sugar and hormonal consequences from a study that compares a carbohydrate meal to a balanced meal. How heart healthy whole grains make us fat. And stop [...]

May 29, 2011
5:04 pm
Thames CrossFit, Lon
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[...] I’m reading this week: Some more info on grains, and it appears grains can make us fat! http://www.gnolls.org/2052/how-heart-healthy-whole-grains-make-us-fat/ Workout of the [...]

June 6, 2011
7:59 pm
The Most Important B
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[...] I posted this study on my facebook page.  The study had three groups of kids being fed breakfasts of instant oatmeal, [...]

June 10, 2011
6:33 am
Why No Whole Grains?
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[...] How “Heart-Healthy Whole Grains” Make Us Fat by J. Stanton of Gnolls.org [...]

June 15, 2011
1:31 pm
The Breakfast Myth,
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[...] also see similar results in the exhaustively instrumented study I reference in my previous articleHow “Heart-Healthy Whole Grains” Make Us Fat. Yes, it’s theoretically possible that the results in Bray et. al. won’t apply to humans…but [...]

July 6, 2011
8:25 pm
lynn
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Thanks for reinforcing this ...I am new. After years and years of low fat, low cholesterol, I am still throwing it all out and repacking my brain. Lost 12 pounds in the last month and the crazy hungry feeling is almost gone. It feels like I lived with stress and am relaxed now. Any studies on that?

July 6, 2011
11:52 pm
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lynn:

One of the main functions of cortisol is to raise your blood sugar by causing your liver to break down glycogen and release glucose into the bloodstream.  High cortisol also makes you feel stressed out.

It could be that regaining metabolic flexibility by eating high-fat and lowish-carb, and getting periodic intense exercise, allows you to get by with less cortisol.  I'll have to look into that.

JS

August 14, 2011
4:37 pm
Another Halocene Hum
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I love this study.

Of the six graphs reproduced above, I find the ones on the left to be the most scary.

Check out that epinephrine spike!

August 14, 2011
6:43 pm
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AHH:

It's nice to see the instrumentation, isn't it?  Especially with so many people wanting to blame everything on "food reward". Food reward is real, and it's one part of hunger...but it only makes sense as part of a larger picture, and ignoring or deprecating the basic physiology of nutrient ingestion, storage, and retrieval will get us in trouble.

JS

October 4, 2011
7:32 am
Eating ‘Paleo&
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[...] Brain Health with the Paleo Diet The Fear of Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Why Grains Are Unhealthy How “Heart-Healthy Whole Grains” Make Us Fat Evolutionary Genetics and the Paleo Diet What Are The Benefits of the Paleo Diet The Weston A. [...]

November 16, 2011
6:07 am
Aaron
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I eat grains every day and maintain 7% body fat all year round.

Grains don't make you fat, you make yourself fat.

Just eat them in the right amount, like 1 whole pitta a day MAX
and you will unfat yourself without any exercise

November 18, 2011
8:21 pm
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Aaron:

My grandfather smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 60 years, and he lived to a ripe old age -- well above the American average.  That doesn't mean smoking is healthy.

It seems we're in agreement that most people eat too many grain products.  As the metabolic disruption caused by gluten grains is well-established, and the nutritional value of all grain products is extremely low compared to animal and vegetable foods, I feel the optimal amount of them to eat is zero. 

Some people can tolerate grain better than others, myself included -- but I'm not interested in what we can tolerate.  I'm interested in what's best.

JS

May 10, 2012
6:12 am
Domenic
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You mention the epiniphrine spike, but epinephrine triggers lipolysis. Could there be a benefit to spiking epinephrine but then NOT responding to it by eating? So the hardest time not to eat is the most productive for fat loss?

May 11, 2012
2:38 am
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Domenic:

It's a truism that you don't lose weight by eating: you lose weight by not eating.  And yes, the reason for the epinephrine spike is to get some energy into the bloodstream RIGHT NOW.

To that end, epinephrine causes both fat and glucose (via glucagon) to be released into the bloodstream.  However, this won't do you any good if you're not burning the energy that has just been released -- which is why exercise is generally a better way to raise epinephrine than hypoglycemia.  Otherwise some quantity of the fat and glucose just gets reabsorbed.

The problem with starving yourself is that you tend to shut down your HPTA, which makes you tired and cranky and weight loss even more difficult.  I feel weight loss is best achieved as a side effect of a healthy diet: a healthy body, replete with nutrients, will have a healthy metabolism, which will naturally tend to converge to a healthy weight.

JS

May 11, 2012
2:34 pm
Domenic
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J,
Thanks for the response, im just playing devils advocate, I guess what im wondering is whether there is any benefit to a hypoglycemic spike. I agree with the exercise.

Love the site!

May 15, 2012
3:10 pm
Terry
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First, let me admit that you guys are way smarter than I am on grains, GI of foods, etc! The following will all be in layman's terms.

Having read all this great research, I'm very interested about the role of exercise in GI and insulin spikes. I regularly run 10-12 miles about 3-4 times a week. I start the day with toast and butter, head out for my run an hour later, and am oddly not hungry, fine not eating until lunch, which is usually volumetric-ish (1 cup cooked regular oatmeal or two cups cereal, 1 cup fruit, two eggs or a cup of yogurt).

I'll pay more attention to spikes now because I have two pieces of fruit between then and dinner; how much of that is driven by a high-ish GI lunch? For dinner, I confess to eating any ol' thing: pizza, stir-fry, etc, but always with salad, broccoli or that kind of thing.

The interesting for me is that on days when I don't run (after my usual toast and butter) I crave a muffin or something like that mid-morning. So exercise seems to me to be in the equation somewhere.

Again, you all impress me with scientific understanding of the research. Apologies for my layman's curiosity.

May 16, 2012
1:18 pm
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Domenic:

I can't think of one offhand...but it was an interesting question worth asking.

Terry:

As I mentioned to Domenic, exercise causes both fat and glucose to be released into your bloodstream!  The fat comes from adipocytes (fat cells), and the glucose comes from your liver.  So it's not your imagination that exercising satisfies your hunger for a while: you're burning off the fat and glucose released from your own energy stores, which as far as energy availability is concerned, is equivalent to fat and glucose you've just eaten.

A high-GI lunch will almost definitely cause you to become more hungry before dinner.  Part of it is simply the blood sugar swing: eating a high-GI food tends to cause a spike and then an overshoot on the low end (see the "Plasma Glucose" graph above) -- and low blood sugar will most definitely make you hungry.  (Ask any diabetic who has ever injected too much insulin.)  Though there is much more to the picture...

The important fact to remember here is that GI is primarily a function of fat content (which I discuss here), and secondarily of other issue like cooking method, acid content, etc. (ably discussed by Paul Jaminet here.)

I admit I'm not a fan of the Volumetrics Diet: as I explain in my ongoing epic series "Why Are We Hungry?", stomach distension produces satiation but not satiety -- and it's not even the most important satiation signal.  (See Part V for an informative discussion of satiation.)  I believe the evidence shows that satiety is best produced by nutrient density...and while Volumetrics does reasonably well on that score, I find its fat-phobia and embrace of whole grains counterproductive to health and weight loss.  It doesn't matter how "full" a food makes me if I'm not satisfied by eating it...air-popped popcorn is indeed "filling", but it doesn't satisfy hunger.  And as I explain in Part IV, an impaired ability to retrieve stored energy is likely to be your gating item.

Hope this helps!

JS

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