Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A "quick" cholesterol story (#coconutoil rant)


So here's a quick history of 70 years of government involvement in our nutrition.

Nearing the end of WWII, the US Government wants to know what they're going to run into in war-torn Europe with regards to famine and bad food availability. Ancel Keys gets a grant to study starvation in young men (a particularly sadistic study that could not be done with today's research ethics). From this work he gets the idea that fat is the main driver of heart disease (which was the big killer at the time).

Later after the war he continues his research and looks at the available data of the kinds of food eaten in different countries and the heart disease mortality rates. The graph above is what he publishes stating that fat is the cause of heart disease. Looking at that graph, I might believe that too. However, he really had this much data available to him
Still a minor positive correlation, but nothing you could ever write a paper about (I know that I wouldn't even have been allowed to show that plot during a seminar within my own research group). Strike #1 - purposely leaving out data to prove a point.

Now Keys wants to find out why fat is the driver of heart disease. Quick detour: the good and bad about scientific research is that you can only talk about what you can measure. It turns out that with 1950's technology serum cholesterol (the cholesterol in your blood) is really easy to measure. Put some blood in a test tube, spin it really fast and the cholesterol falls out and you can measure it. He quickly notices in his study that the same countries that had a high fat diet had high serum cholesterol. So he jumps to the conclusion that fat drives cholesterol which drives heart disease. All of that from simply an observational study.

Keys briefly said that to control heart disease we need to cut both fat and cholesterol out of our diets. After a quick study Keys himself saw that dietary cholesterol (what you eat) had no correlation with serum cholesterol (what's in your blood), so he quickly retracted that statement in the early 60s. But it took the AHA until the 90s to admit that half. But until his death Keys restated (and viciously attacked any detractors) that dietary saturated fat drives cholesterol which drives heart disease.

Over time more and more studies were done and the correlations were tenuous at best and definitely no causation was found. Technology improved and we could measure different types of cholesterol, so in the 90s we all started talking about HDL and LDL cholesterol. HDL was supposed to be "good", LDL was "lousy" as my mnemonic my doctor once used. So with the better technology there were some better correlations that said that LDL was correlated with heart disease. And that's what the AHA is sticking to in their latest coconut oil nonsense.

What they don't tell you is that we're even better at measuring cholesterol types now, and it turns out that there are even more types of cholesterol than HDL and LDL, there's VLDL and then there are different types of VLDL. When you dig into VLDL there are big fluffy VLDL that are like cotton balls just floating around and then there are tiny sticky VLDL that are the ones that stick in your arteries. Here's the funny part (or the sad part), the kind of cholesterol your liver manufactures depends on your diet. If you have a high saturated fat diet, your liver has all the raw materials it needs to make cholesterol, and it makes "high quality" cholesterol that doesn't get stuck in your arteries - it just floats around in your blood and does its job. As soon as you cut the fat, and in particular saturated fat, your liver can't make as much cholesterol because the raw materials aren't there (that's why you can see a fat->cholesterol correlation), but it still needs to make cholesterol, as it's a vital chemical for your body to function. So without the necessary raw materials, it cobbles together low quality sticky VLDL. That's why your total cholesterol, even LDL cholesterol numbers may go down, but it has no bearing on heart disease - your liver is making the bad stuff because you're not giving enough good fat to use as a raw material.

That's the story the AHA is not including in their "oh noes, the coconut oil is going to kills you" scare tactics. They want to stick with the same old story.  I'll dig into more of this in more posts.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

deadlift 8-8-3x8

Accessory/Skill

5 heavy swings between strength sets

Group Workout

7 rounds
every 3:00
3 tall box jumps
2 heavy power cleans



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Monday, June 26, 2017

This week's strength program



A hint about tomorrow's coconut oil rant...







Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

squat 8-8-3x8

Accessory/Skill

2 pull-ups + 2 dips between strength sets

Group Workout

10:00
1 min on / 1 min off
Heavy KB Snatch



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Friday, June 23, 2017

Last day to pre-order your tanks


Well the solstice as arrived, that means you need your summer tank tops. I'm going to place the order when I get home tonight, last chance!


I know I promised you more coconut oil rants. They're coming.


Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

power clean 5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

5 push-ups between strength sets

Group Workout

8x3 Snatch / 2:00



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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Follow the money (#coconutoil rant)


I had a different rant planned for today, but I found some more materials today that really show what's going on with the coconut oil controversy. My original plan was to pull out my chemist card and tell you "how it really works" (ask Amy about my ability to stop a party with the "how it really works" comment - no one appreciates chemists and how we know how everything works!). Let's skip that and go straight to the juicy story.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! - Upton Sinclair (I thought this came from Taleb since that's where I first read it, but it's fitting that it came from Sinclair).

Let's follow the money.  March 2, 2017 in a Bayer Crop Science press releaseFor each bag of LibertyLink® soybean seed sold for the 2017 season, Bayer will contribute 5 cents to the AHA’s Healthy for Good movement for a total maximum donation of $500,000. In addition to monetary donations to support the cause, Bayer will help raise heart health awareness across America through educational activities targeted to growers in rural communities.

Yes, that's the same Bayer you're thinking of who sells you Aspirin to protect you from a heart attack. Don't you think it's suspect that the people who sell you drugs are also growing the food that's making you sick?


Bayer sells soybeans to farmers to make vegetable oil. The AHA says that natural unprocessed coconut oil that humans have eaten for thousands of years will kill you and that you should switch to highly processed vegetable oil. Then you get a heart attack and Bayer sells you Aspirin to keep you from having another one.

Hmm...



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

squat 8-8-3x8

Accessory/Skill

2 pull-ups + 2 dips between strength sets

Group Workout

7 attempts to work up to a heavy as possible complex with a single kettlebell:
1 clean 
2 front squats
3 goblet squats
4 back squats
switch hands
1 clean 
2 front squats
3 goblet squats

4 back squats
(that's 20 total reps for the complex)



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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More #coconutoil rants coming


Yeah, the coconut oil nonsense this weekend hit a nerve with me. I have a bunch of rants planned, Amy even has one. But tonight is Dry Farm Wine (no, they don't sponsor me, but I wish they did) night with the brain rotting Bachelorette.

Oh, go watch the Wisdom of the Crowds talk if you didn't yet. It's better for you than The Bachelorette.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

snatch pull 8-5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

2 windmills between strength sets

Group Workout

expect some rowing and/or running depending on the weather and who shows up



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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Coconut Oil is NOT bad for you!


If you were around any media this weekend you probably saw the scary news that coconut oil is dangerous and going to kill you.  It was here, here, here, here, and here - and a bunch of other places I didn't take the time to link to.

Before I get to the primary rant, I need a pre-rant. Do you realize that nothing you see in the media is there by accident? It's 100% planned and orchestrated by PR firms. That celebrity that they're panning to during the baseball game? They probably have a movie coming out next month and they want to bring them back to the top of your mind. Phrases that everyone repeats over and over again ("kick the can down the road", e.g.), those are crafted talking points given to everyone so that they can define the narrative. Everyone reporting on the same thing at the same time? PR firms write the articles or pre-record 1/2 of an interview and send the questions so that the anchor can read them and pretend they're having and interview on local news. And that's just the "real news" (speaking of which, did you notice how the metanews about fake news took off recently...hmm).  You cannot expect to learn anything by news that you don't search out yourself. You are being fed a narrative 100% of the time, and even if you do search it out, it's still hard to determine if it's real or not.

So all of a sudden coconut oil is going to kill me? Sure, that's because the ADA and AHA are scared about the wisdom of the crowds taking away their monopoly on the source of health information. Seriously, watch the linked video - it's only 45 minutes and you'll save me another rant.

What you saw this weekend is a PR blitz that attempts to repackage 1960's bad research as "news" to create a pseudocontroversy over the successful run that the paleo community has had helping people get healthier.

I'll dig into the details later this week about how wrong this is, but I wanted start by reiterating that you shouldn't believe anything that's pushed to you because it's a carefully crafted message by PR folks and those with the money to pay them.



Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

push press 8-5-3x5

Accessory/Skill

5 Bulgarian split squats between strength sets

Group Workout

AMRAP 10:
heavy walk to red door and back
10 KB clean (double if you can)



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Monday, June 19, 2017

This week's strength program.


This is the last week to get your tank top pre-order. When I get home Friday I'll place the order.







Warm-up

row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips

Strength

front squat 8-8-3x8

Accessory/Skill

2 TGUs between strength sets

Group Workout

15 minutes to work up to a heavy push press
then
12-9-6 at 65%



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