40/30/30: Beautiful Theories/Ugly Facts

40/30/30: Beautiful Theories/Ugly Facts

Post by RunnSw » Fri, 09 Feb 1996 04:00:00



message on the "Stanford Swim Diet" aka "Zone Diet" aka "40/30/30
Diet."  

I think that this issue is of importance to everyone, in view of
the self-serving efforts of a few entrepreneurs to undo the
progress which has been made in helping people to understand the
health benefits associated with low fat diets.

I will excerpt Mr. Genreau's points and respond to each, in turn.

Quote:
>>There has been a lot of heated criticism of the Sears diet on

r.s.s.  I would be interested if some of the 40-30-30 detractors
would be willing  to refute the case presented for it below,
using logic and layman's terms.<<

I will try to do this.

Quote:
>>Much of the criticism of the 40-30-30 diet that I've read in

r.s.s. seems  to center on it's high fat content.  However, Ellen
Coleman (a sports  nutritionist and exercise physiologist)
recommends 60% carbo - 25% fat -  15% protein for athletes (1).
And Nancy Clark, MS, RD, also recommends  that 25% of an athletes
caloric intake come from fat (2).  The percentage of fat
recommended in the Sears diet is only 5% higher.  The big
difference is  in the amount of protein.<<

Those were the personal recommendations of popular dieticians,
writing for the "masses" of recreational athletes.  Other authors
have, based on considerable research data (not "theory") proposed
that the optimum carbohydrate for serious athletes in training
should be 70% or more (Devlin,J. Consensus statement on foods,
nutrition, and sports performance. J Sports Sci 9(suppl):iii,
1991).  There is a difference between a practical goal for the
average person and the optimum goal for a motivated person.

Quote:
>>Dr. Barry Sears is a former research scientist at MIT and

Boston University  School of Medicine.  Sears also holds (at
least) 12 US patents.  Is  president of Surfectant Technologies,
Marblehead, MA.  Has developed  drug delivery systems for cancer
treatment, and done research on the role  of fats in
atherosclerosis.  He is author of the book "The Zone", which
presents his ideas about dietary endicrinology for athletes.
Sears himself and almost all the experts cited in these articles
are calling for such  research.<<

Sears is an entrepreneur, who sells his book (currently 4th on
the NY Times best seller list), his own brand of 40/30/30 "energy
bars," and other things.  A Medline search going back 15 years
revealed only a single paper relating to nutrition and physiology
(a letter to the editor of an obscure New England DENTAL journal
Sears B: Build a diet for life with fat. J Mass Dent Soc 1993,
42:204-5) and a few papers from 10-25 years ago dealing mainly
with methods for studying cell membranes.  I could find no
publications dealing with "the role of fats in atherosclerosis,"
eicosanoids in athletic performance, or any other relevant areas.

Quote:
>>Regarding the lack of peer reviewed literature supporting

Sears' diet.... I would think that most new theories start with a
lack of peer reviewed  literature to support them.  After all,
such literature can only be  generated after the idea has been
considered important enough to  be studied carefully and
funding/time have been provided to conduct  some studies.  If
peer reviewed literature is one's criteria for acceptance,  then
wait for it.<<

It is not just that there is a total lack of data, it is that
Sears' "new theories" run contrary to mountains of consistent,
published data from virtually innumerable investigators.  As
discussed below, the "new theories" are not just tenuous, they
are also fanciful, illogical, and internally inconsistent.  Yet a
great many people are literally changing their lives (and, I
would say, putting their health in danger) on account of these
"new theories."  I personally view this as being imprudent.

Quote:
>>Who's using it? Stanford's swim teams, Mike Pigg, Mark Allen

are examples offered<<

The following message was provided last week in the newsgroup
rec.sport.triathlon, by Andrew Coggan, PhD, an exercise
physiologist who has published extensively in this area:

"...For example, I know an  Olympic medalist swimmer who used to
be a member of the Stanford swim team, which is  often held up as
empirical proof that the balanced diet approach results in
improved  athletic performance. He reports that they were free to
eat whatever they wanted,  with only a mild suggestion from the
coaching staff that they give the balanced diet  approach a
try...hardly a controlled experiment, to say the least. Likewise,
Mark  Allen and Mike Pigg were clearly successful long before the
balanced diet approach  came to the fore, so it seems likely that
their success both before and since is  more related to other
factors (e.g., natural talent, hard work) than to these
relatively new theories..."

Quote:
>>What is the theory behind it?
>>Sear's dietary ideas consider the hormonal impact of the food

we eat.   The traditional high carbohydrate diet is based on the
idea that an  athlete's primary energy source is glycogen (in
muscles), which is a  stored form of glucose, and carbohydrates
supply glucose.  According  to Sears, the following chain of
events occurs when you eat too much  carbohydrates:  

Quote:
>>- carbohydrates are digested releasing sugar (glucose) to the

***stream >>- insulin is released in response, which removes
glucose from the ***stream, storing it away

Quote:
>>- excess glycogen is stored in the liver, but when this reserve

is full,   the remainder is stored in adipose tissue (i.e. fat)

Quote:
>>- insulin does such a good job at removing sugar from the

***stream that some people find they feel very hungry 90
minutes or so after a high carbohydrate meal, causing them to
over eat.

Quote:
>>- insulin inhibits the metabolization of fat.  People on a high

carbohydrate diet are releasing a lot of insulin, and may not
burn fat efficiently

Quote:
>>The Sears diet aims to create a better balance between the

hormones insulin  and glucagon.  Glucagon is released in response
to protein in our diets. The effects of glucagon are largely
opposite of insulin, encouraging the  body to burn stored fat and
causing the body to maintain steady *** sugar  levels within a
narrow range by releasing glycogen from the liver. <<

Basically, carbos are bad because they make us secrete more
insulin and less glucagon, and this makes us fat.

There is a beautiful saying in my field (cancer research): MANY A
BEAUTIFUL THEORY HAS BEEN RUINED BY AN UGLY FACT.

Consider the following facts:

THEORY 1. Does a high carb diet result in greater insulin
release?

FACT 1. People with diabetes cannot make enough insulin to
satisfy even baseline needs.  Their *** sugars are, therefore,
very high to begin with.  If they were to be placed on a very
high carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet, their insulin
requirements and *** sugar levels should go way up, according
to Sears, and they should be in big trouble.

Guess what: In a large study, a total of 652 diabetic patients
was placed on an 80/10/10 diet with moderate exercise, and their
responses were analyzed after three weeks. RESULTS--Fasting
glucose level was dramatically REDUCED, and 71% of 197 subjects
taking ****** sugar lowering agents and 39% of 212 taking
insulin were able to discontinue their medication. In other
words, they used LESS insulin and not more, as predicted by Sears
theory number 1.  Of the 243 not taking medication, 76% REDUCED
their fasting glucose levels to normal levels, meaning that their
limited amount of insulin wasn't enough on a "balanced" diet, but
it was more than adequate on a high carb/low fat diet.  ***
pressure was significantly reduced, and of the 319 initially
taking antihypertension ***, 34% had their medication
discontinued. Serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
were reduced by 22% and triglycerides by 33%.  The subjects also
lost an average of 11 pounds in just three weeks (J
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilb 12:194-201, 1992).

So much for a high carb diet sending your insulin production into
overdrive and changing carbos into unsightly body fat.

THEORY NUMBER 2: Glucagon is good/insulin is bad, and we need
lots of protein to help us make glucagon.

FACT NUMBER 2: The effect of protein intake on glucagon and
insulin is quite complicated.  Proteins are broken down to amino
acids, which are then absorbed.  Amino acids provoke secretion of
BOTH insulin and glucagon.  The effect of the insulin is to lower
*** sugar.  This is what provokes the release of the glucagon
(which then raises *** sugar back to normal).  Pancreozymin is
secreted by the stomach in response to a protein meal.  This
hormone also stimulates glucagon release, to protect the body
from the glucose lowering effect resulting when amino acid
absorption stimulates insulin release.  If protein is taken along
with carbohydrate (which prevents the fall in *** sugar), then
glucagon is not secreted.  Thus, glucagon secretion is a
ying-yang, yo-yo mechanism to correct for what would be a metabolic
imbalance (hypoglycemia) from a high protein meal.  Not all that
dissimilar from rebound hypoglycemia resulting from ingesting a
large bolus of simple sugars (not recommended), which provokes
release of too much insulin, low *** sugar, and a rise in
glucagon levels to correct the imbalance.  

THEORY NUMBER 3: It is good that glucagon causes the body to
maintain steady *** sugar levels within a narrow range by
releasing glycogen from the liver.

FACT NUMBER 3: The main reason the glucagon is secreted is to
correct low *** sugar.  "Steady" *** sugars are maintained
perfectly well on high carbo/low fat/low protein diets without
depleting one's glycogen stores (critically needed for serious
athletic training) to correct low *** sugar.

THEORY NUMBER 4: Carbos make you gain weight; fat helps you lose
weight.

FACT NUMBER 4: In a study of more than 200 subjects correlating
body fat, fat intake and carbo intake, as body fat increased,
percent of calorie intake derived from fat increased (p ...

read more »

 
 
 

40/30/30: Beautiful Theories/Ugly Facts

Post by RunnSw » Fri, 09 Feb 1996 04:00:00

A couple of loose ends regarding discussion of the Sears theory:

Quote:
>>Fat in the Sears diet is intended to provide the body with essential

fatty
acids and any necessary calories not supplied by carbohydrate and protein.

Sears recommends low-fat proteins and unsaturated fats.<<  

Quote:
>>An example of a meal in the Sears diet (1) is:

A 4 oz. chicken ***, a cup of broccoli, a small salad with oil and
vinegar dressing, an apple and a glass of water<<

This is a great example of selective quotation:  In Sears' book, he also
advocates Egg McMuffins.  Also, it is not necessary to go out of the way
to "provide the body with essential fatty acids and necessary
calories...."  Provided that one does not suffer from a pathologic eating
disorder, one will eat (automatically) "necessary" calories.  As noted
earlier, these are best obtained from a preponderance of complex
carbohydrates. Despite the fact that tens of thousands of people have been
on diets containing only 10% fats, there has never been a recorded case
(to my knowledge) of anyone suffering from a deficiency of any kind of
fats, "essential" or not.

Quote:
>>Also, Sears defines a glycemic index - which is used to categorize the

speed
at which consumed carbohydrates are converted to sugar in your ***
stream.
Sears recommends carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (i.e. get
converted
to sugar in you *** most slowly).<<

Quote:
>>The following list was provided in (2):
>>LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX:

apples, beans (kidney), broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cherries,
grapefruit, grapes, peaches, peanuts, plums, string beans

Quote:
>>MODERATE GLYCEMIC INDEX:

apricots, beans (garbanzo, lima, navy), bread (pumpernickel, rye),
candy bars, ice cream, mild, oatmeal, oranges, orange juice, pasta,
peas, tomato soup, yogurt

Quote:
>>HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX:

All-bran cereals, bananas, bread (wheat, white), carrots, corn, corn
chips, low-fat ice cream, instant mashed potatoes, potato chips,
puffed rice cakes, raisins, rice<<

These categories are utterly irrelevant. Obviously, too many simple sugars
(e.g. candy bars) are bad.  Obviously, regular potato chips (with lots of
fat) are bad, also.

But the study I quoted before proves that it is not necessary to
sub-categorize complex carbohydrates.  Diets consisting of very high
percentages of complex carbohydrates from mixed sources do not drive up
insulin requirements, body fat, serum lipids, or anything else deleterious
to one's health.  These diets do ensure optimum glycogen storage in muscle
cells, which is essential to optimum swimming performance.

Lastly, here is the reference I couldn't remember in my previous reply:

AU  - Miller WC
TI  - Diet composition, energy intake, and nutritional status in
      relation to obesity in men and women.
RF  - REVIEW ARTICLE: 25 REFS.
AD  - Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.
AB  - There are dietary factors besides the total energy value of food
      that can affect adiposity by disrupting the balance between
      energy intake and expenditure. The purpose of this paper was to
      examine how perturbation of these dietary factors that control
      energy balance affects adiposity. ***There is a substantial amount
      of evidence suggesting that obesity is not associated with
      overeating, but with a high dietary fat-to-carbohydrate intake
      ratio.*** Physiological adaptations to energy-reduced dieting
      facilitate both weight regain and make it more difficult to lose
      weight during subsequent dieting attempts. Since obesity may be
      better characterized by diet composition than by energy intake,
      successful weight-loss programs should include diet compositional
      changes in their regimes.
SO  - Med Sci Sports Exerc 1991 Mar;23(3):280-4

- - - - - -

-Larry Weisenthal

 
 
 

40/30/30: Beautiful Theories/Ugly Facts

Post by RunnSw » Fri, 09 Feb 1996 04:00:00

The following message was written by Andrew R. Coggan, PhD, a
well-published University of Texas researcher in the field of exercise
physiology and nutrition.  He asked me to post it on this newsgroup, as
his news server doesn't access R.S.S.

Quote:
>>Subj:   Re: 40/30/30:Beautiful Theories/Ugly Facts

Date:   96-02-08 15:50:43 EST


Larry,
     An excellent response. Might I add a few more "ugly facts" to your
comments? (I
gather r.s.s. is rec.sports.swimming, which we don't have on our news
server. Maybe
you could post this for me there? Thanks!)

1) According to Dr. Sears himself, part of the theory behind the 40/30/30
diet is
that by altering insulin/glucgaon ratios, you alter eicosanoid production
and
therefore "oxygen transfer to muscle cells". To my knowledge, however,
there is no
evidence that eicosanoids play any role in regulating *** flow and
therefore
oxygen delivery to muscle. On the other hand, quite a bit of data has been
published
in the past few years showing that insulin (yes, that *** little hormone
that you
can't live without!) INCREASES muscle *** flow. In fact, it has been
estimated
that at least half of insulin's effect of stimulating glucose storage is
due to the
increase in muscle *** flow and therefore glucose delivery to muscle.
Maybe having
a little insulin around during exercise isn't such a bad idea after
all....

2) The 40/30/30 diet is also based in part on the idea that by keeping
insulin low
and glucagon high, the rate of fat breakdown will be higher. HOWEVER, THE
RATE OF
FAT BREAKDOWN IS ALREADY TOO HIGH, ESPECIALLY AT REST AND EVEN DURING
EXERCISE!!! At
rest, the rate of fat breakdown (lipolysis) is about 10 times higher than
the rate
of fat oxidation, with most of the 90% excess simply converted back into
fat
(circulating triglycerides) in the liver. During exercise, fat oxidation
increases
more than fat breakdown, so that the balance tends to be closer, but the
rate of fat
breakdown is still not the limiting factor. There is therefore little
reason to
believe that increasing the rate of fat breakdown *alone* would be
beneficial to
athletic performance.
     Of course, this presupposes that the insulin/glucagon ratio is
important in
regulating fat breakdown. While it is true that insulin is an important
inhibitor of
fat breakdown, GLUCAGON HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT ON LIPOLYSIS IN HUMANS AT

PHYSIOLOGICAL CONCENTRATIONS! While it is possible to stimulate lipolysis
in
isolated fat tissue using pharmocological amounts of this hormone, it does
not serve
this role in vivo.

3) Finally, consider this: We all know that regularly-performed endurance
training
improves performance. But, did you know that insulin levels are HIGHER,
and glucagon
levels are LOWER, during exercise in the trained state?? Not quite the
response
you'd expect based on the "eicosanoid theory of exercise metabolism and
performance"...

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40/30/30: Beautiful Theories/Ugly Facts

Post by John Heen » Mon, 12 Feb 1996 04:00:00

From sydney.DIALix.oz.au!not-for-mail Sun Feb 11 15:02:35 1996
Path: sydney.DIALix.oz.au!not-for-mail

Newsgroups: rec.sport.swimming
Subject: Re: Stanford
Date: 11 Feb 1996 14:49:30 +1100
Organization: DIALix Services, Sydney, Australia.
Lines: 47

Distribution: world



+-------------------------------------------------------------+
| HEALTH WARNING!        Do not read any further if you are a |
| humourless bigot and so incapable of appreciating or facing |
| up to anything outside your narrow and perfect little world |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+

Larry's rigorous approach with insistence on facts being given
an oppurtunity to test hyped and beautified theories used in the market
place is science at its best in the public interest.  

It is imperative supporters of 40/30/30 diets answer his points
or else face up to facts that it totally lacks credibility.  There is no
room for for religious type faith proclamations in this newsgroup nor the
horrific abuse of scientific process of using dangerous untested or
untestable theory for marketing purposes.  It appers from Larry's
work that the 40/30/30 diet may not even be a harmless fashionable fad
but may give rise to serious health problems.  Theories are an essential
part of the scientific process, however where the public interest is at
stake they must prove their worth by being subject to ruthless testing
with factual data before being used.  

We are seeing very high standards on this newsgroup.  

Excellent work Larry

John
--
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+--------------------------------------------------------------+

 
 
 

40/30/30: Beautiful Theories/Ugly Facts

Post by Jerry Connell » Tue, 13 Feb 1996 04:00:00

Quote:

> From sydney.DIALix.oz.au!not-for-mail Sun Feb 11 15:02:35 1996
> Path: sydney.DIALix.oz.au!not-for-mail

> Newsgroups: rec.sport.swimming
> Subject: Re: Stanford
> Date: 11 Feb 1996 14:49:30 +1100
> Organization: DIALix Services, Sydney, Australia.
> Lines: 47

> Distribution: world



> +-------------------------------------------------------------+
> | HEALTH WARNING!        Do not read any further if you are a |
> | humourless bigot and so incapable of appreciating or facing |
> | up to anything outside your narrow and perfect little world |
> +-------------------------------------------------------------+

> Larry's rigorous approach with insistence on facts being given
> an oppurtunity to test hyped and beautified theories used in the market
> place is science at its best in the public interest.

> It is imperative supporters of 40/30/30 diets answer his points
> or else face up to facts that it totally lacks credibility.  There is no
> room for for religious type faith proclamations in this newsgroup nor the
> horrific abuse of scientific process of using dangerous untested or
> untestable theory for marketing purposes.  It appers from Larry's
> work that the 40/30/30 diet may not even be a harmless fashionable fad
> but may give rise to serious health problems.  Theories are an essential
> part of the scientific process, however where the public interest is at
> stake they must prove their worth by being subject to ruthless testing
> with factual data before being used.

> We are seeing very high standards on this newsgroup.

> Excellent work Larry

> John
> --Talk about religious fait.  You guys can't even open your eyes or minds to

anything that may bring down your almighty high carb diets.  Look at the
research, Keep Up.

Jerry