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Kansas City Fox 4 News on the Paleo Diet

The physiology and biochemistry of the Paleolithic Diet AHS 13 with markingsDear Reader,

I just gave a talk at the Ancestral Health Symposium on the potential role of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 in obesity. Here’s the entire video for you to watch! Watch out for the sing a long at the end, though, you might be singing alone at your desk!




I enjoyed my time in Boston at Harvard University Law School at the Ancestral Health Symposium. Much obliged to the leadership of the conference for allowing me to speak there!

The talk was recorded, but unfortunately it won’t work well because there was no way to record my live writing on the Powerpoint slides! It will seem that I am merely talking about this very complicated slide without reference! That’s the problem!

So, in order to reproduce the talk, I gave a seminar lecture to my students that are taking my seminar on Appetite Regulation as part of an overview. I even got to pontificate a bit more on this version since I wasn’t limited to just 40 minutes in my class! So, I spoke for nearly 1 hour and 42 minutes! I hope you’ll enjoy the talk. I would certainly love the feedback!



To access the talk go to:

You will need JAVA to run the program!


A question was asked about whether fasting would cause glucagon to make so much glucose that insulin would begin to spike.  Hopefully with the following link, I’ve dispelled that notion!



I Don’t vs I Can’t

A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. by Drs. Vanessa Patrick and Henrik Hagtvedt  was really interesting to me.   Although it doesn’t seem to quite fit with appetite regulation, I decided that it did indeed.  So I report to you!

In the study, participants were given the task of using two different phrases, “I don’t” vs. “I can’t.”   Very interestingly, the use of the phrase “I don’t” helped with internal motivation!  Translated, if you want to maintain weight loss because you are personally motivated to loss weight AND not for the purpose of getting ready for a wedding or worrying about what other people think (these are external motivations!), then using the phrase “I don’t” becomes much more empowering to help you maintain yourself in the face of temptation vs. using the “I can’t” phrase.  

To be complete, if you ARE trying to lose weight before a wedding or a reunion and that’s your only goal, then “I can’t” apparently would work better.   “I can’t” phrase seems to help one with motivations that are external!  

BUT for you folks that need long-term control or your diet, use “I don’t” eat processed carbohydrates. ” I don’t” eat starches.  “I don’t” eat cake!   This will make you feel more in control!

I would have liked to see some MRI studies in cingulate gyrus getting if the “I don’t” phrase works better there than the “I can’t” phrase.  The cingulate gyrus is considered to be the anatomical seat for “willpower.”   I hypothesize that the “I don’t” phrase lights up this section of the brain more than the “I can’t” phrase.

I must say that for myself, a long-time sugar-addicted guy, the “I don’t” phrase works for me personally.  I had defaulted to saying “I can’t” eat carbohydrates for many years.   I felt deprived.   Since reading this study, I’ve converted to saying “I can’t” instead.   Amazing how well “I don’t” worked better than I can’t.  I simply feel more empowered! 

Especially when confronted with those Passover chocolate covered matzo and matzo ball soup and the chocolate bunnies of Easter.   Or the kitchen at work with the leftover chocolate chip cookies.   Those were there just last Thursday and I said “I don’t” to them.  

Reference:  Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
“I Don’t” versus “I Can’t”: When Empowered Refusal Motivates Goal-Directed Behavior
Author(s): Vanessa M. Patrick and Henrik Hagtvedt;contentBody

Excellent piece and very pleased to see 60 Minutes tackle such a difficult subject. Thank you for breaking through what many of us have been trying to tell our dietitians and physicians for years: The 60+ carbohydrate percent recommended by the so-called Food Pyramid/Plate and the USDA is patently incorrect.

If I may make a few corrections, your piece says that all cells REQUIRE glucose. This is incorrect! ONLY axons of certain neurons and rapidly acting fast twitch muscles require glucose. Indeed, this is why glucose needs are actually so minimal and why sugars are not essential compounds! Ketones (which are natural breakdown products of fats) are utilized more efficiently by all cells except those listed above. In particular cardiac cells prefer ketones for efficiency over glucose.

Second, while I agree with Dr. Lustig that fructose is a particularly bad player, excess glucose enters into the same pathway that fructose does and causes the same damage. Thus, the pastas and the breads, which are all converted to glucose, worsen the damage by the added sugar.

Third, glucose is addictive as indicated in your piece. Thus you have to deal with your addiction. The conclusion that you can have “some” sugar is therefore not a good recommendation. It IS a good start to the final recommendation to stop eating sugar! Isn’t this akin to saying to a cocaine addict that “some” cocaine is OK?

Stimuli such as advertisements can override your brains’ signal that you are satiated. This means that the advertisement of sugary cereals on Saturday mornings is, in addition to the aforementioned addictions, causes overeating of such sugary cereals and is a great contributor to childhood obesity. The pizza commercial precisely at 5:15 pm invokes the phone call to the local pizza chain. The link of television watching and obesity is now clear: Such advertisements directly increase eating behaviors.

Perhaps as a follow-up, 60 Minutes might ask the following question: Why does the USDA continue to support the now debunked Food Pyramid/Plate? Answering that question might get you into a 100 billion+/year industry that encompasses not only lobbyists for food and soda industries, but also the diet and fitness industry, bariatric and plastic surgeries industries, pharmaceutical industries, advertising agencies and anything that makes money on our human physiological vulnerability to sugars and its direct link to obesity.

Excess sugar, both fructose and glucose, activate high glucose sensing neurons in brain hypothalamus that cause you to activate hunger (orexigenic) pathways. This causes you to eat more! And if what you eat is sugar, then you have again activated those neurons! In science and medicine this is called a positive feedback mechanism almost always associated with pathophysiology and disease!

AND if the taste of starches (sugar polymers) and sugars causes dopamine to increase in rewards pathways then you can also add sugar addiction to the mix. This makes it difficult to maintain a low carbohydrate diet in the same manner as alcohol and drug addictions make it difficult to stay alcohol and drug free.

AND that visual, auditory and olfactory (sight, sound, and smell, respectively) cues can override satiety to cause you to eat more explains why advertisement of sugary foods adds a third component to obesity.

All three separate neuronal pathways result in overeating of sugars. The excess sugars cause the phenomen of glycation of proteins. That is, the sugars are chemically bound to the proteins. This changes the shape of the proteins. This changes the function of the proteins. So if that protein was a transporter that was supposed to help nutrients get into a cell, and glycation causes that protein to stop functioning properly, then you just stopped a nutrient from getting to a cell!

That would indeed be an example of toxicicity!

Biochemistry 101

I hosted a discussion of the fates of glucose, proteins and fats by using a biochemical model to explain.  Questions answered were about carbohydrate cycling, carbohydrate refeeding, and the importance of muscle and liver glycogen.

To see the recording of the video go to:





Have you ever wondered why your mood might affect your eating? Let’s explore one reason why this might be as we evaluate the role of one of the mood regulators, serotonin, to a peptide called enterostatin. Enterostatin is supposed to tell you stop eating (that means it’s anorectic!). But serotonin seems to stop enterostatin. And that means more overeating I’m sorry to say.

Of course serotonin is a fickle friend. It can go up or down. The receptors get changed that mediate serotonin’s effects. So mood can also cause you to stop eating as well!

I’ll bet that you already knew that as you probably ate too much or stopped eating after a painful breakup!

Drugs that affect serotonin levels, such as the class of drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) often increase eating due to this as well. People who live with depression are most likely to take this drug. So it’s very stressful for someone who is taking these drugs for their depression to then often overeat! This “side effect” of overeating is one of the reasons why the individual might stop taking their medications!

Neuroregulation of Appetite & Paleo Nutrition 08.06.2011Dear Friends,

I’m fresh from the very first Ancestral Health Symposium at the University of California Los Angeles. Needless to say, an interesting event! Not only did I get psyched on meeting so many interesting people talking about Ancestral Health, I got to make lots of new friends! And finally getting to meet “phone” friends, like Robb Wolf, Mat LaLonde, Elke Nelson, Ben Balzer and of course, the host Aaron Blaisdell was a real treat. For the record, Aaron, pretty terrific job for a first event! I’m only sorry we weren’t able to join our families for Sunday. Next time! Robb, I’ll see you in Lenexa soon.

I gave a poster at the conference about appetite regulation. It’s just the tip of the iceberg for appetite regulation yet pretty darn complicated. Many people stopped by to view it, though, and I am most appreciative of that. Even if it was a bit over their heads, they let me explain it. Some people were amazed at how complicated the whole thing is. Imagine when I said it was just a blip on the screen in terms of the actual communication between the brain and the body!

In the next month I’ll begin the process of explaining each part of the slide!

Neuroregulation of Appetite & Paleo Nutrition 08.06.2011


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