I was recently listening to the Underground Wellness podcast and the host was interviewing Dr. John Neustadt. Dr. Neustadt is an expert in osteoporosis and the interview was mostly focused on the dangers of fractures, specifically hip fractures, in aging populations.
I do a lot of driving, its an hour to work both ways because I work in the middle of nowhere, so I try to be as productive as I can by listening to smart people on podcasts. When I looked at the title of this particular podcast, I figured it was going to be mostly background noise as I drove out to Camp Rogers and back.
The two things that hooked me were when Dr. Neustadt said that if calcium were really that critical to bone density, than a pill would be able to do the job and that bone density is not as important as likelihood of fracture.
When I talk to people, specifically women, about getting enough calcium without dairy. The question is real enough and makes enough sense. This is especially true when every yogurt, milk, and cheese commercial on television talks about strong bones and makes it seem like women turn into a pile of chalk held together by Aveno moisturized skin when they hit 40.
I, and I do not think anyone, really has an issue with calcium or calcium supplementation. I’d rather someone take a cheap calcium pill and have peace of mind while they give up dairy than either drive them towards a serious mental conflict or stymied results.
On a common sense level, if it were as simple as having adequate levels of calcium, than all doctors would just have patients mainline it like the FBI was knocking on the door and there would not be any issues.
The problems with this are both molecular and physiological. The molecular issue stems from a lack of magnesium. Magnesium is the transport molecule for calcium, so even if there is enough calcium in the body there may not be enough magnesium to get it where it needs to go.
The second problem is physiological. Bone, like muscle, is a living tissue. Its easy to think of living human bones in the same way you think of a fossil. Living bones are quite different in that they grow, adapt, and are elastic.
As Dr. Neustadt said in the podcast, “without collagen is basically a pillar of chalk”. Collagen is a group of proteins that are found in the connective tissue in the bones and other parts of the body.
Like building muscle mass or loosing fat, building bone density and durability comes from stress adaptation. Why do weightlifters have denser bones than couch potatoes? Because people who routinely support an external load become adapted to supporting that additional weight.
The other nutrient that Dr. Neustadt talked about was a derivative of Vitamin K2 known as Nutrient MK4. This K2 nutrient has been proved to promote. collegeon growth and 4g/day reduced osteoperosis by 84% in Japan (all according to the podcast, I took notes which is difficult to do while driving).
What are the best two sources of Vitamin K? Meat and eggs. So once again, the simple solution to all of life’s major problems boils down to: eat something that used to have a heart, a face, and a soul at every meal and routinely lift heavy stuff.
Its funny to me that osteoporosis is typically thought of as a female problem or disease, sort of in the same way that prostate cancer is a male condition. This is one of the major reasons why women are so concerned with how much calcium that they get, and why tv marketing ads for any product that contains a smidgen of calcium is typically sold to women.
From looking at food logs and just normal interaction with people, it is very obvious (based on completely non-scientific observation) that women eat more dairy than men do (usually). Think about the quantities consumed of: cheese (real, not nacho), yogurt, ice cream, chocolate, etc between the two sexes.
So why than do women get osteoporosis at a higher rate than men? Loading.
Loading is the amount of weight that your bone structures have to bear. Women, at least in their “historical” gender roles, do not bear as much weight as men do. Move a couch: sons and husband. Carry in the heavy groceries: sons and husband. Take out the trash: sons and husband.
This is actually just Americana bull shit. There are no, or very little, issues of osteoporosis that I could find in areas of the world where women did manual labor or any loaded physical activity. This also makes sense if you consider the hunter gatherer lifestyle. Who would carry the kids? Carry back foraged berries, water, and killed animals? Just like in a WOD, I’m sure it was scalable, but throughout history and human nature women had to bear an external load. Bearing this load did and does strengthen the bones and structures.
So if you are worried about cutting out dairy because of bone health, stop, put down the activia, drive to the box, and pick up something heavy. Oh, and today is heavy deadlift day.
Thanks. There is a long article on yahoo right now about the 10 best gluten
free products on the shelves right now which caught my eye. I have never
tried any of them. Are we avoiding grains because of gluten or because it’s
not “natural” for us to eat them?!?!? How many fillers are in these
products???? And would it be best to have a once in a while cheat treat with
the real deal or incorporate gluten free products into our diets?
Loaded question, but the first part is pretty easy.
Gluten is one member of a family of lectins. Lectins are the chemical defenses that all plants use to prevent critters like rabbits, giraffes, and humans from consuming them. If you think about it, all life forms have the primary function of self-preservation and the proliferation of the species.
While animals have either the ability to run away, fight off a predator, or hide in a shell, plants find their predicament a little harder. Some of them, like fruits and vegetables, produce something sweet in order to give an animal an expendable substance to eat. This substance also contains the plants seeds. Thus accomplishing the twin tasks of keeping the plant alive and allowing it to procreate.
Other plants take a different strategy. They coat themselves and their seed with chemicals that will prevent animals from eating them. These chemicals vary depending on what they do, how they are concentrated in the plant, and what they do. Most creatures have evolved a sense to know what they should and should not eat based on what is and is not poisonous to them.
All grains contain lectins and all grains are poisonous to humans. Humans are unique to other animals in that we look at something that is bad for us as a challenge. Rats will eventually give up on the electrified cheese, humans will instead develop technology to defeat the electricity.
There is a variety of different lectins found in grains. Some contain several, some contain only one. Some contain high concentrations other low. All of them are very, very bad. Of all of the bad lectins gluten is the worse. Basically we do not eat grains because of the lectins.
Gluten free products usually are just an excuse to make something that is more expensive and just as bad for you. For example, noodles that are made out of oats or barley instead of wheat will be gluten free, but they will still have plenty of bad stuff.
If I were to cheat it depends on the situation. Once in a lifetime oppertunity to eat the best pizza ever. Real deal. Wanna get drunk, I’d take an alternative route like wine. But in most cases going for the least bad option that still tastes good. I cannot imagine anything worse looking forward to a transgression like it were a bachelor party and than having it taste like crap.
I love Facebook. I spend as much time on the thing I as can. Its a pleasure, not even a guilty one for me. Ke$ha is a guilty pleasure, but Facebook, no guilt at all.
So while I was on vacation, I noticed one of my friends who is new to the cult of Paleo posting about not feeling so good on the diet. I knew that she was on it past the point where the Paleo or low carb flu sucks. After about three to four weeks, if they are still feeling bad and tired than there are some tweaks that can be done.
Some background. She is a different make up than most of the people that I’ve talked about on this site. While most people I talk about are either athletes or Soldiers chasing elite performance or over thirty moms with kids looking to trim up, she is somewhere in between.
My friend is 5’3″ and weighs around 135lbs. She is in her mid-twenties and works a ridiculously high stress, shift work job in addition to Crossfitting. Her main complaints are lack of energy and feelings of hunger. She is skinny, fit, and completely devoid of metabolic derangement or autoimmune disease.
Here is the last email that she sent me:
Here is my week food log. What do you think I need to tweek? I am definitely feeling better than last week. But still feel like I don’t have my usual amount of energy in wods and runs. I am also still crashing and craving naps in the afternoon.
Hope you are having fun in Fl!
Breakfast: Mixed nuts, diet pepsi
Lunch: Salad (spinach, cucumber, carrot, poppy seed dressing), water
Dinner: Squash and zucchini sautéed in garlic and olive oil, water
Snack: bowl of strawberries and blueberries
Breakfast: Instant breakfast shake
Lunch: Tuna (flavored pack), 1 avocado, handful of cherry tomatoes, water
Dinner: grilled Strip steak, large bowl of fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries), water.
Breakfast: Trailmix, diet pepsi
Lunch: Squash and zucchini sautéed in garlic/olive oil, water
Snack: two bananas with almond butter on them, water
Dinner: Tuna (flavored pack), 1 avocado., water
Breakfast: trailmix, diet pepsi
Lunch: Salad (spinach, cucumber, avocado, cherry tomatoes, poppyseed dressing) bowl of strawberries/blueberries/banna.
Dinner: Strip steak with a side of broccoli
Breakfast: Laura Bar, diet pepsi
Lunch: Shrimp sautéed with tomato, feta cheese, and basil over spaghetti squash, water
Dinner: Roast beef sandwich from Jason’s Deli (roast beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, provolone)
Snack: 2 cheese sticks
Breakfast: Protein shake
Lunch: Left over shrimp from yesterday, diet pepsi
Snack: two handfuls of Hershey’s kisses (WHY did they have to have a jar of kisses sitting on my desk at work? SO mean)
Dinner: Squash sautéed in garlic and olive oil. water
This is actually a pretty simple fix. And while I Hate HAte HATE soda and diet soda, that is not the problem here. The problem is simply calories.
Everyone has what is known as a Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the baseline amount of calories that a person your size, age, and gender needs to function without any activity or stressor per day. Most people use this to support the fallacy of calories in, calories out. They think that if they consume less than their Basal Metabolic Rate than they will lose weight.
The problem with this that the consumption of calories below your BMR will tell your body that it is in a state of starvation and that it NEEDS to store calories in order to simply survive. Your body does not understand the Tracy Anderson Method, it only understands the I am going to die unless I can fuel my brain method.
I plugged estimated quantities of the food she ate from nutritiondata.com into my calculator and not surprisingly she was coming up way short.
Its pretty simple to calculate a Basal Metabolic Rate. When I plugged her data in, her BMR came out to be 1400 calories. Her calories consumed was about 1200 on average per day. Her macronutrient ratio was about 60-70% carbohydrate, 10-20%fat, and 10-20% protein depending on the day.
My biggest recommendation to her is to eat more protein. At least .75 grams per pound of lean body mass. Which for her would be approximately 100 grams of protein per day. Since fat is inherent to almost all protein sources, increasing one will lead to an increase in the other.
Since she is healthier than most and low on calories, I would not recommend her removing any of the carbohydrates (minus the diet pepsi) from her diet. She simply needs to eat more.
If she were to replace her instant breakfast shakes (chock full of chemicals, soy products, and a horde of other nasties) with a self-made protein shake she would not only be able to save money, but be able to get a large portion of her protein in one fell swoop.
I am usually against recommending this to people, but she needs to be able to eat in her car and since she is young, fit, and without other problems making a shake with the Stronger, Faster, Healthier protein or a similar quality brand and throwing some healthy oil into it is a great option.
If she wanted to, she could even add some frozen fruit to it in a blender and make a smoothie.
A change as simple as adding a protein shake with an omega 3 oil (fish or cod liver oil) and/or some coconut oil (if making a smoothie in a blender) could be a complete game changer.
Another recommendation is to hard boil a bunch of eggs at the beginning of the week. Those are very portable and doing a dozen at a time takes minutes and will create several meals.
So they put out their list of best diets and instead of doing actual research, any sort of investigative journalism, or anything other than asking a few dietary “experts”.
Really, I just don’t have the motivation to talk about this, so I’m just going to put up a bunch of links to people like Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain who did really good rebuttals.
I will say this though. If you’re going to write a piece and its just a poll than be upfront about it. If you don’t know anything on the topic, than you can’t say a list is definitive. You can say that you have a phone poll from experts, but that does not make it definitive. Its just lazy journalism that supports already popular beliefs.
So please read these links if you have any questions. I’d like to tirade, but I don’t know that I can get through this without being profane
US News “Best” Diets
US News “Best” Diets: Rebuttal 2