A Hypothesis: The Negative Health Effects of Fructose are Mediated Largely by the Production of Endotoxin

In my previous post I looked at studies showing sucrose to have similar health effects as glucose and starch (not entirely the same effects granted, but close). Yet hundreds of studies exist demonstrating the negative effects of fructose compared to glucose. If sucrose contains fructose, one might think sucrose should look worse compared to glucose.

So why then is sucrose not as unhealthy as the sum of its parts? I’ll be presenting a hypothesis on why I think this occurs. Continue reading

Sucrose Versus Starch/Glucose; Do The Fructose Haters Go to Far?

Fructose is not a friend of many nutrition minded people these days. With videos by Robert Lustig and dozens of studies on rats, fructose is being cast in a much worse light than its monosaccharide cousin glucose. There are even human studies supporting the idea that eating fructose instead of glucose will give you belly fat, diabetes, high triglycerides, and other health maladies:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673878/

However, someone recently pointed something out to me: almost every fructose bashing study used fructose alone, or free fructose. Yet hardly anyone consumes very much free fructose unless they’re using agave syrup. Most fructose we consume comes with glucose, often in the form of sucrose. Well, what if the negative effects of fructose were largely removed when looking at sucrose, or fructose + glucose? Continue reading

Does Meat Cause Diabetes?

Continuing my series in which I evaluate the validity of various anti-meat arguments, we look next to diabetes. It has been suggested that meat, especially red meat, might contribute to diabetes by worsening insulin resistance, which prevents the body from clearing glucose from the blood stream. Since there isn’t a widely agreed upon mechanism for how meat might do this, let’s look at it from different possible angles. Continue reading

Does Meat Increase Homocysteine?

Meat, especially red meat, is often the target of criticism in some nutrition circles. Not always for the same reasons–most seem to appreciate its protein but lambast its fat as “artery clogging”. However, there also exists a number of noted nutritionists, particularly those recommending a “plant based diet”, who claim meat protein itself is unhealthy for a various reasons. One of their claims is that animal protein is acidic and causes bone loss as a result. I already this claim in a previous posts, concluding that it was completely untrue. But what about some of the other claims leveed against meat protein, do they have merit?

One claim I sometimes hear relates to homocysteine. Homocysteine is a compound found in the blood that appears to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (1,2). Homocysteine is derived primarily from the amino acid methionine, which meat protein is particularly rich in. This generally serves as the bases for the argument that meat should increase homocysteine levels. This makes some sense in theory, but do studies actually support it? Let’s find out. Continue reading

Monounsaturated Fat Versus Saturated Fat: Nutrition Cage Match

To my knowledge there exist no controlled dietary trials lasting long enough for us to know how swapping monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil) and saturated fats (e.g. butter) affects death from and incidence of various diseases. So once again let’s scope some suggestive short term findings: Continue reading

Monounsaturated Fat Versus Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fat: Nutrition Cage Match

To my knowledge there exist no controlled dietary trials lasting long enough for us to know how replacing monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil, canola oil) with omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (e.g. corn oil, sunflower oil) affects death from and incidence of various diseases. C’mon researchers, get on that!

In the meantime, if we want to try and figure out which types of fat is healthier, we need to look at controlled trials which measured various health markers suggestive of disease risk. I went on a mad search for controlled trials on humans comparing the effects of monounsaturated fat and omega-6 (or n6) polyunsaturated fat on such markers. Here’s what I found:

Continue reading