The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. ... In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Friday, December 5, 2008

Important article: "Red Alert: Gold Backwardation!!?"

Red Alert: Gold Backwardation!!! By Antal Fekete

(Wiki: "backwardation")

Is this the beginning of the end for the us dollar? Could this all take place as soon as this December? Tighten your seat belt, batten the hatches, whatever...

Some numbers (from a different source):

... Now, the World Gold Council has confirmed the trend with hard numbers for the third quarter of this year. In a page-and-a-half press release summarizing 3Q2008 activity, the WGC had to use the word “record” ten times. Some highlights:

* Dollar demand for gold in Q3 was a record US$32 billion, 45% higher than the previous record, set in 2Q2008.

* Identifiable investment demand, which incorporates demand for gold through exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bars and coins, rose to $10.7 billion (12.3 million ounces), double year-earlier levels.

* Retail investment demand rose 121% to 7.5 million ounces, with strong bar and coin buying in the Swiss, German, and U.S. markets. Europe as a whole saw an all-time record 1.64 million ounces of bar and coin buying. France became a net investor in gold for the first time since the early 1980s.

* Gold ETFs posted a record quarterly inflow of 4.8 million ounces in Q3. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late September, ETF inflows shot higher by an unprecedented 3.6 million ounces in only five days.

* Demand for gold jewelry hit a record $18 billion. Leading the way was India, which witnessed a rise of 65% in dollar value (1.3 million ounces) compared with 3Q2007. The Middle East, Indonesia, and China all experienced increases of more than 40% in value or 10% in weight, year over year.

At the same time that demand is setting records, supply has been unable to keep pace, falling 9.7% from year-earlier levels, the WGC reported. The drop was largely due to inaction on the part of central banks, which have increasingly shut their vault doors.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Celtic Tiger - danger zone!

(image from Wikipedia)

I am very concerned on behalf of my friends and my wife's family living there. I think that a deep financial crash with almost all cash running away off-shore and assets prices such as property and commercial paper plunging down in a localized deflationary implosion to near zero (by nine-tenth or so) - is quite probable!

Several factors are critical:

- Euro currency: that was the main positive factor that attracted so much foreign capital in the first place, the excess of which has caused the assets bubble. However the Euro would now make it impossible to prevent the capital (foreign and domestic) from fleeing the economy, making a deflationary collapse more severe than under a national currency system. Once that happens, leaving the Euro zone may be the only option short of reverting to barter.

- Irish economy is one of the most leveraged to the property market in the world (12% GDP, for comparison UK 11%, US 6%) and house ownership is one of the highest in the world. Current property boom last the longest in history, since 1986. The only other strong economic sector is agriculture but that can only sustain a minority of the population.

- Irish banks have potential liabilities equal or exceeding five times the GDP. Such massive amount of deposits since 1980-ties originated from abroad by foreign and multinational corporations seeking tax haven and a convenient corporate base in Europe.

- Irish government guaranteed all banking liabilities for the local banks to the maximum of 400Beu (594B$). More recently it reaffirmed it's intentions to inject some funds. I think that this is a very unwise decision since the government cannot possibly deliver on the promise, yet it creates a politically binding international commitment similar to the one that brought down Iceland. It is one thing to have all national banks declaring bankruptcy and another to renege on the national debt. The country can easily survive without private banks; new banks would spring up and simply take over the market from the failed ones. Surviving a national debt crisis is another story. For those interested please ask Argentinians, Poles or more recently - Icelanders. My personal opinion - let those banks die but don't let some politician sell your country to a pawn shop, or you may loose everything!

I don't know what the time frame might be but I suspect it could be several months. I will try to get a better estimate but I would watch the moment when foreigners start leaving, that is bound to trigger the rental market collapse.

--- Updated 14-Jan-2009 ---

Chuck Butler wrote

There's a rumor going round, that's someone's underground, no wait, there's a rumor going around that Ireland had requested aid from the IMF... Whoa there, partner! I know that things in Ireland have turned around on a dime from boom to bust, but I wasn't aware of a problem that would run that deep... The rumors were denied, of course, but you know me... Where there's smoke, there's fire... I'm reminded of an email I received 2 weeks ago from a reader in Ireland, that talked of a major slowdown in the economy. The writer was very adamant about how bad things had gotten that he compared Ireland to a banana republic! I responded to him and said, no... That can't be, because we've got a corner on being a banana republic right here in the U.S.A.!

You should have seen the sell-off in euros when this rumor hit the streets! It was scary how fast a currency could lose a handle! But after the rumors were denied, the single unit rallied back nearly as fast as it fell and is now trading, as I write, at 1.3225. The dollar is swinging a mighty hammer once again...

--- Updated 31-Jan-2009 ---

"A leading Irish economist has called on Dublin to withdraw from the euro unless..."


Irish debt (gov bonds) CDS'es reached 262 basic points (2.6%). Second highest in Europe, after Iceland (995). Former official at the Irish central bank, UBS director and broadcaster claims that withdrawal from Euro is the only option. My opinion is that nothing can really prevent a banking default regardless of the currency, because all Irish banks are already technically insolvent and their liabilities are external and cannot be re-denominated.

The only relevant choice of action is in:

1) preserving as much of the economic activity and jobs as possible and maintain exports (4/5 of the GDP),


2) preventing banking default from spreading to Irish government and creating a political crisis.

The choice in #1 is either (a) abandoning euro and then gradually devaluing the local currency, or (b) devaluing the wages. I think (a) is easier to implement internally but more difficult externally; while (b) is the opposite. Currently, Irish gov is implementing option (b) but 10% devaluation of wages is not going to make much of a difference, in my opinion. At the end, this gigantic mistake of Irish politicians in the last 15 years, to allow property bubble hijack the local economy cannot be undone by any of the standard financial tricks and will have to run it's full (painful) course! I suspect that both sides - the European Central Bank and Ireland would be or will be better off with the country opting out of euro!

There is practically no choice regarding #2 - retraction of the banking guarantees is probably the only sane option and that includes refraining from nationalization of the remaining Irish banks to avoid the entire country catching the bankers' disease! Basically, I think that bankrupting of all these failed financial institutions is the least harmful option for everybody and probably the least harmful for the rest of the economy. You can run economy using flexible barter, silver, gold and private bonds or whatever surrogate currency available, but not when every business would have to pay average blue or white collar worker a 40k eu/yr salary to support 300k+ mortgages. High wages resulted from bubble-inflated property prices that resulted in killing-off most of every form of business other than builders and bankers.

Otherwise it would require finding an external guarantor big enough to matter. 0.4Teu would do the trick, however I do not envisage any European or any other player rushing to do that.

Currently, Irish gov has already guaranteed all banking liabilities up to 0.4Teu. They will probably have to retract it. The moment that decision is announced, the other "shoe" will drop, i.e. it will trigger a banking collapse of all Irish banks, probably within hours! Anyone who has some euros there, I would recommend to consider alternatives, as soon as possible. It could be months but it could also be a matter of days. Its hard to predict the timing.

If the retraction won't happen then the default of the Irish state is inevitable with very dire consequences such as flight of the capital out of the country, impounding of some Irish holdings abroad, hoarding of the remaining cash, necessity of imposing capital transfer restriction to preserve whatever is left, and eventually - the abandonment of euro to unfreeze the economy (see #1).


--- Update 11-Feb-2009 ---

Irish Times


"The €6 billion to €7 billion in deposits from Irish Life & Permanent at September 30th comprised 8 per cent to 10 per cent of Anglo Irish's year-end deposits from customers and other banks."

That means, most likely that their real cash reserves were only ~1% fraction of the deposits. To make them reach the statutory (Basel) rule of 11% they needed to add 10% more, that is 7Beu "bed and breakfast" cash deposit. That means that the banks' true cash is 1% or less by now! Now if 7B eu is 10% of all deposits then the total liabilities are 70B eu! That's how much the Irish state is on hook for, right now!

We shall keep in mind that Anglo-Irish was the smallest of all 5 Irish banks! This makes me question whether the original 400B eu figure published in September for the total liabilities of all Irish banks may not have been underestimated!

I understand that not all deposits may disappear under normal circumstances but these are not normal circumstances. If there is a doubt about the solvency of Ireland as the state then ALL foreign depositors will rush to the exit!

Last but not least - how much confidence have we that similar window dressing isn't being practiced in other, larger banks like AIB or BOI? What is the true level of total cash reserves across all Irish banks? 400B eu of liabilities would require holding of at least 44B eu total in cash! Have they really got enough cash or is it just the same old tired 7B eu being passed around? Other interesting issue is how politically likely is now, that the European Union would support the Irish banking system?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coconut fat - proof of no harm and amazing benefits!

No I have not sold out (yet) to coconut marketing, I just think this is important! 8-:)

1. "Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies."

Prior IA, Davidson F, Salmond CE, Czochanska Z.

Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Aug;34( 8 ) :1552-61


...Vascular disease is uncommon is both populations and there is no evidence of the high saturated fat intake having a harmful effect in these populations.... ...

... The migration of Tokelau Islanders from their atolls to the very different environment of New Zealand is associated with changes in lipids that indicate increased risk of atherogenesis. This is associated with an actual fall in saturated fat intake to around 41% of energy, an increase in dietary cholesterol intake to 340 mg, and an increase in carbohydrate and sugar. Lipid changes include increased total cholesterol, higher LDLC and triglycerides, and lower HDLC levels (16) ...

2. "Doctor says an oil lessened Alzheimer's effects on her husband". The clock face drawings below are before, after 2weeks and after 37 days.

Take a look at the following quotes:

"Ketones are a high-energy fuel that nourish the brain," VanItallie said, explaining that when you are starving, the body produces ketones naturally. When digested, the liver converts MCT oil into ketones. In the first few weeks of life, ketones provide about 25 percent of the energy newborn babies need to survive.

Dr. Veech has been working with ketones for more than 40 years and has become a valuable resource to the Newport family. Currently, he is working for the military, looking into ketones as a way to improve the performance of troops in severe conditions.

and from the readers' comments below the article, by Dr. Mary Newport:

by Mary Nov 2, 2008 6:52 PM From Dr. Mary: Any non-hydrogenated coconut oil would have the ketone effect, contains no cholesterol. Steve's total cholesterol has remained [less than] 200, HDL and LDL are better than ever. It's reputation as "oil clogging fat" is a myth from the 1950's.


I found those article links on Stephan's blog (highly recommended!). I thought the subject deserves a separate thread. Other good source on the benefits of coconut (and other fats) is Weston A. Price Foundation .

Follow up after 9 years (better late than never!)


by Paul Fassa


Dr. Mary Newport, desperate after orthodox medical attempts failed her husband’s dwindling dysfunction from Alzheimer’s, discovered coconut oil and rescued him from having to be put away in a special home.
His remarkable recovery went viral on the internet and Dr. Newport wrote a 2011-12 bestseller, Alzheimer’s Disease: What if There Was a Cure?Both the Internet’s coverage and her book started an international grassroots movement of folks with very early dementia, even just brain fog and senior moments, trying themselves or helping relatives diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Thus creating a wave of success reports and testimonial videos.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Can US Treasury Bonds default?


A topic raging lately between us has been the failures to deliver USTreasurys. This extraordinary phenomenon highlights the extreme mountain of toxic bond (in)securities spewed worldwide by the corrupted US financial sector, but it also highlights the questionable legitimacy of USTreasury Bonds. The traded volume of USTBonds had been recorded a few years ago to be over $2 trillion above official issuance in USTBonds. So maybe we are seeing a redux of counterfeit issuance of USTBonds in order to satisfy unprecedented demand. By the way, USTreasury management is done, and accounting is done, handled by only one giant bank.

Could the failures to deliver USTreasurys, as shown in the alarming graphic below, be a precursor to actual default? We will see. Kirby maintains a period of tremendous hyper-inflation is coming. My forecast is for a possible USTreasury default, as conditions grow out of control, and economic disintegration catches the nation by surprise. The collapse of General Motors could trigger a profound change in perception concerning the effective implementation of USGovt and Wall Street bailouts and rescues. Either way, disruptions like never seen before are on the horizon. The settlement failures bring into question the integrity of the USTreasurys as a legitimate market. Their counterfeit from more supply than issuance is well documented, and rings like a loud echo to the naked stock shorting chapter of US financial markets.

P.S. (post-edited 6-Nov-2008)

I thought I had to add this: the reason I believe it's important is because it reminds me of the same pattern of discovery of the massive (though illegal) naked shorting of the small cap and recently the large cap companies, on the US stock market! (see the refs below.) The first sign of the "smoke" was the "failure to deliver" of the stock to Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) within 3 days following a transaction. Apparently, just before the current financial collapse begun earlier this year, the failure to deliver reached a few % of the total volume. If the same now seems to be affecting the bond market, it means massive shortfall of the T-Bonds, that is some institutions were trading "I owe yous" without having the said assets available to cover.

In other words, a fractional reserve banking principle applied to bonds rather than just to the monetary base!

This is a much bigger potential issue in the financial system than the naked shorting of some stocks. About ten times bigger!


The Register article

Patrick Byrne (Deep Capture blog)

(Added 4-Dec-2008)

The Value of Money by J.E.Carrasco


Having been an institutional bond trader, it is absolutely unbelievable to me that the 30-year US bond is trading at a yield of 3.19%. In light of the current liabilities facing the US government (discussed below) and the fact of the coming Baby Boomer cohort's retirement, I can't help but conclude that the final credit bubble to burst is the US long bond. Yields will greatly increase sooner than later as all these liabilities are assumed by the US tax payers."

(Updated 5-Dec-2008)

Jim Grant: Go Ahead, Fools, Keep Buying Treasuries

(Updated 31-Dec-2008)

Bond Dealers, Hedge Funds Will Face Penalty for Failed Trades


With interest rates so low, bond market participants have less incentive to solve settlement problems because they’re forgoing less return than usual on a failed trade.


Fails climbed in the weeks following the Sept. 15 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. as demand for the relative safety of Treasuries increased.
Failures to deliver or receive securities rose to a record $5.311 trillion in the week ended Oct. 22. While the amount fell to $891 billion by Dec. 17, that’s still above the average of $165 billion before credit markets seized up in August of last year, according to Fed data dating to 1990.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Power and privilege; death of the common stock. (rant)

It is interesting that various hedge funds had identical leverage of about 30:1, as people found out last year. It was obvious that there must have been a specific reason for that - and there is in fact! That article ( ) shows that the rules were recently changed allowing maximum leverage of 33.5-to-1 (up from the previous 26.4-to-1). That make me suspect that if the rules allowed an even higher leverage like 100:1 or 1000:1, banks would have used it too, because they could arbitrarily reduce the paper risk factor in their models to be always much less than that!

I have another comment: in a free market system, responsibility is tied to the principle of long-term ownership. If the whole financial system is run by a bunch of hired “paysant” managers scrambling to maximize their next quarterly bonus though their "own" bank may collapse next year, then this is NOT a capitalism! Also the idea of share ownership turns out to be very different from a true ownership of a company, if anybody can short that stock do death anytime or dilute it at will. Is it not curious that all the new deals from now on involve only and exclusively the so-called "preferred" shares that were supposed to be discouraged and obsoleted in the US market (*), or just deal with bonds. No large investor wants the common stock! Even the US government is getting the "preferreds" with warrants and a decent dividend, never the common stock! This creates an ominous precedent, that may in fact spell a death warrant for the entire stock market as we know it!

My take on it is that this is a classical attempt at creating a privilege loophole for the elite. They know that the shares trading at P/E>=20 and 2% dividend are a joke and cannot last! The Boomers financiers probably realized that such stock valuation might not even survive through the next quarter (they are good at short term planning!), thus they have created a new "stock" system that pays them a realistic dividend of 10% and has also much higher P/E in line with the historical 5-10, if one subtracts the common stock from the equation!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oil price - is the stock price the only true business figure?

Apparently, not anymore!

"The OPEC cut did not have any positive affect on oil prices and everybody is so depressed," said Abdullah al-Rashoud, chief executive at Riyadh-based KSB Capital Group.

I think that is the proof that oil price is now determined by factors other than the supply and demand between producers and the industrial buyers. One such factor is selling off of the future contracts on the open market to raise the cash by the speculators (hedge funds). I predict that even if they cut oil production to zero, the official crude oil price would still be falling because those who sell that paper really want to sell while those who buy that paper want less and less of it, not more. If suddenly paper oil fell to 10$/barrel and if you tried to order on the spot some physical oil at that price, you would probably be told to wait 52 weeks or go to hell. It is exactly the same with gold and silver, I think, except people have sniffed that already out but not about oil yet. The difference is that there are plenty of investors wanting to get physical delivery of silver at 9$/oz but can't, whereas no private investor has probably tried yet to buy 100,000tons of crude oil and get it physically delivered!

Falling oil future prices means simply fall of the future price of the paper contract not oil itself. It's the same with gold. It cannot of course last and sooner or later the bluff will have to be called. Already, coin dealers are charging 60% surcharge on silver coins or using ebay prices ignoring Comex spot price altogether. I wonder also, if the Comex exchange gives silver spot delivery time of 14 weeks, as some reported - does that mean that they believe that in 14 weeks time silver will be really costing 9$ and they will be able to cover, or do they believe that in 14 weeks something might happens that will make all their outstanding obligations irrelevant?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Financial World War: last ditch attempt at throwing SEC lawyers against CDS nukes fired by hedge funds?

Today's Bloomberg announcement of SEC subpoena and investigation into short and CDS position of hedge funds may indicate the next stage of the battle where the mainstream American financial institutions and their friends in government decided to fire back at their attackers from the hedge fund "enemy" camp. In my "big picture" model, international hedge funds have been heavily shorting the world financial system, both stock and bonds! Put options can be used to implement leveraged short stock positions; Credit Default Swaps (CDS) can be used for the same purpose to implement leveraged short positions in bonds. Previous partial disclosures of some hedge funds indicated that CDS'es can be an order of magnitude (factor of ~10) larger than the underlying bonds. The amount of leverage that is possible with CDS is probably comparable to that of stock options but - at much lower cost! Shorting the financial companies or other distressed corporate bonds is probably much more lucrative than shorting their stocks. That was probably going on since last year: - the stock shorting action was probably a side attack to trigger their downgrades, to "push" the banks over the cliff so to speak, whereas the line of attack and profit taking took place on their bond shorts.

The last Sunday's unsuccessfull derivative trading session that purportedly "ended up in chaos" showed us that there are many players who seemed more interested in seeing CDS'es triggered rather than unwound. That seems to confirm the "big picture". So is the bail-out of AIG that was deemed necessary just after Lehman's collapse. The AIG suddenly running out of cash and getting a 85 billion dollar life saving injection, just a couple of days from having declared 20B$ cash in possession as adequate (they "borrowed" that from their subsidiaries) clearly indicates that something bad happened to them on that Monday: perhaps that sudden 65B$ shortfall was casued by Lehman collapse triggering their bonds' CDS'es, of which AIG was the liable issuer! Suppose they allowed a subsequent colllapse of Merrill, WaMu and Morgan - could each one of them result in further CDS triggers of the same magnitude, of the order of 300B$ - a nuclear pop just a couple of days apart? Potentially more destruction in just one week than during the first 6 months of the property subprime crisis! This is the real financial nuclear weapon of mass destruction, that Buffett was talking about, seen in action!


Hedge fund "pirates" are fighting on the side of the Free Market. The Mother Nature of Economy is on their side, therefore they will most likely win the war (though might lose this particular battle). Free Market has always won all the wars in the past rendering her institutional opponets, the rulers, the presidents, the main street banks, the governments and the upper classes holding bags of worthless paper. Every single time. This time it will end just the same! The market will win again and effortlessly, the bankers will loose big way, eventually.

Stan (of StanInvest)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Guten TTAGGG telomerase!

Interesting article appeared here:


Telomerase repairs and lengthens telomeres, which are DNA-protein complexes at the end of chromosomes that directly affect how quickly cells age. As telomeres become shorter and their structural integrity weakens, cells age and die more quickly, according to background information in a University of California, Irvine, new release. Shortening of telomeres is emerging as a marker of disease risk and premature death in many types of cancer, including prostate, lung, breast and colorectal cancers.

In this study, Dr. Dean Ornish, a professor of medicine at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, asked 30 men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer to make significant lifestyle changes.

The changes included eating a diet with only 10 percent of calories from fat, low in refined sugars, and rich in whole foods, fruit and vegetables. They supplemented their diet with vitamins and fish oil and did moderate aerobic exercise, stress management, relaxation techniques, and breathing exercises.

The men's telomerase levels were measured at the start of the study and again at three months. At that time, the researchers found a 29 percent increase in telomerase levels and a decrease in "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.

(more general stuff on telomerase in this and that article)

I have mixed feelings reading that Lancet paper write-up. On one hand telomerase can be indeed called the enzyme of immortality, unfortunately the only cells that produce sufficiently active telomerase are germ line cells (sperm cells and ova) and cancerous cells! Without reading the full text I have no way of telling what exactly did Dr. Ornish et al find. Did they find 29% more telomerase in serum, from prostate cancer or did it come from macrophages and lymphocyte cells where it is also supposed to be present but probably inactive? Was the telomerase active or inactive?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Centenarians, large size LDL, high HDL


...the centenarians examined have not led the sorts of lives that doctors generally recommend. “Among our centenarians we have no athletes, no vegetarians,” Barzilai said. Thirty percent of his subjects were overweight or obese in the 1950s, and close to 30% were smokers. “We have a woman who smoked two packs a day until the age of 91. She is now 105,” he said. “What I’m saying is that they didn’t do what we tell our patients to do.”


The most publicized and the most important gene located so far, however, is CETP. This gene helps to regulate cholesterol — both LDL, the so-called “bad cholesterol,” and HDL, the so-called “good cholesterol.” Researchers have found that many of the centenarians have extremely high levels of HDL and large overall particle sizes of both HDL and LDL. CETP is involved in regulating these cholesterol particles. At the same time, scientists have found that the life-prolonging variant of CETP preserves exceptional cognitive function and protects against dementia.

I have to comment also on the issue of cognitive functions.

Good cognitive performance seem to be associated with high cholesterol, while the opposite: various neurological disorders, mood disorders and depression, correlate with low cholesterol. There seems to be a deeper connection: brain seems to work better on ketone bodies (or when high level of ketone bodies are present) - that is associated with a diet high in animal fat and animal produce in general, and either low in carb or when carbs are eaten only intermittently.

Another connection between high animal produce consumption and a good health of the neural system, is through EPA and DHA. Those are essential fatty acids present only in fish and land animals.

I suspect (guessing) that the diet of the Ashkenasi centenarians from that study is not much different from the SAD however their unique genetic makup probably causes metabolic modifications similar to what a high animal fat low carb diet causes among normal not genetically endowed people.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Diabetes, liver, fructose and omega-3

[under construction]

Peter's post:

made me think about the whole issue.

Omega-3 fats destroy or block the nascent VLDL particles inside the liver causing fat retention. The liver is probably protecting itself against fat accumulation by reducing fat synthesis out of glucose, which is probably causing a surplus glucose to remain in circulation. Without omega-3 liver would probaly convert excessive glucose into VLDL/triglycerides which then would be used up by the body as a fuel.

The whole point of Peter's article, as I understood, was I think to point out that omega-3 given in excess to diabetics may improve their numbers but not necessary their health.

If one eats excessive sugar and omega-3 fats together then the liver has a choice of either processing excess glucose into fatty acids and accumulating it, since it cannot release it into the bloodstream, or it has a choice NOT to convert glucose but instead let it remain in the bloodstream. I think the liver does the latter, to protect itself against fatty liver and cirrhosis. It's no wonder that omega-3 lowers triglycerides but increases blood glucose (when one consumes too much sugar).

How about fructose? Can liver choose not to convert fructose to triglycerides? I don't think so unless body was designed to kill off it's own neural system (thrugh fructose induced retinopathy, neuropathy) to protect it's liver. More likely, the liver would continue to manufacture fat out of fructose to get rid of fructose as quickly as it can, and suffer! What is the most lethal combination in this picture? Fructose plus omega-3 polyunsaturated oil! How about fructose with omega-6 PUFA? Peter?

Makes one wonder why no cooking in the world ever incorporated fruit or honey and fish in a single dish? Why did we not think about that before?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Very-Low-Fat Diets: What Are the Benefits?

JC from the WebMD Diet Debate forum posted the following slide - see beside and the reference below (thanks!). The author's conclusions do not surprize me. MI ("heart attack") events depend on the quality (type) of plaque more than on the quantity of plaque. Excess polyunsaturated fats (e.g. popular vegetable oils) lead probably to abnormalities in the composition of cellular structures that use fats, such as cellular membranes. This probably affects mostly the newly grown tissue such as scar tissue and the plaque tissue (plaque is a scar tissue!). The bulk of the plaque on the other hand, according to Dr. Jan Kwasniewski ("Homo Optimus"), results from excessive pentose cycle that synthesizes fats (and NADP, RNA etc) in-situ inside the arterial walls. Pentose cycle is on the other hand driven by excessive carbohydrates (plus a few other conditions such as reduced availability of oxygen, lack of magnesium etc).

If that hypothesis is true then one could perhaps draw the following general guidelines:

- To reduce the overall plaque buildup - consume less carbohydrates!

- To reduce the risk of MI events (once the plaque exists) - reduce consumption of vegetable oils and artificial baking fats (polyunsaturated fats, transfats)

Please notice that low fat vegan diets also reduce vegetable fats by discouraging all fats. They also may reduce the total glycemic load. Interestingly, when you stop eating fat, liver will manufacture some of the necessary fats internally - mostly saturated fat! Did anyone notice that this theory is the only one that explain why both types of diets: low fat vegan (sometimes) and high animal fat low carb (always) may reduce the risk of MI?!



Very-Low-Fat Diets: What Are the Benefits?

Effects of Lifestyle and Dietary Modification on HDL-C Levels (Margo A. Denke, MD)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Snacking and glucose/ketogenic cycling

This is a theory, very speculative. I came to think about it, inspired after reading the latest articles by Peter (Hyperlipid blog, see also his Kitava articles). I am thinking about the effect of frequent snacking in between the meals on a high carb diet, may be more damaging than we thought. Under a healthy metabolism, even on a high carb diet, one's body goes back to ketogenic state some time after every meal, when most body tissues revert back to using lipids and ketone bodies as fuel. This should happen in between the meals providing that the body is given enough time to burn glucose off and to switch. On the other hand, any time one eats something sugary or starchy in between the meals, insulin inrush causes the body to switch back to glucose processing state, turning off production of ketone bodies and turns off the release of adipose fat into bloodstream. It takes about 1-2 hours to work out all that insulin peak. Probably longer for older people.

For some reason, our bodies probably require this alternating between glucose-burning/ketogenic cycles to be done throughout the day to work properly. This is based upon the assumption that ketogenic mode is essential for the body and must take place at least some of the time throughout the day, every day. I suspect that frequent snacking on a high carbohydrate diet derails that cycling and may be one of main triggering factors behind the development of the metabolic syndrome.

From my personal observation, one can notice that people who are used to snack frequently are often obese and often have metabolic syndrome. Perhaps there is a causual connection? Perhaps it is not just what and how much one eats but how often and when?

Diets based on natural whole food like our vegetarian friends recommend, usually discourage sugary or starchy snacks, or discourage consumption of the processed food that forms the typical fast food snacks. It makes snacking more difficult, especially that preparation of meals out of natural unprocessed whole food is time consuming and labor intensive. Perhaps that may be one of the reason why such whole food natural diets are often helpful?

Of course, the high fat low carb diets make that issue irrelevent since a high fat snack would not cause the glucose+insulin spike thus would not break the ketogenic mode. This could be another reason why the high fat low carb diets work so well!

Just some thought,
Stan (Heretic)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Carbohydrates and Diabetes

Response for TG (on McDougall forum)

I know you have studied this issue and you did notice that your glucose response is dependent on the carbohydrate load (primarily) while other factors such as the presence of fat may only modulate the insulin sensitivity somewhat but it is not the main factor. The main factor is the total glycemic load ( GL = GI * mass of carbs ).

Typically, our insulin response is equal to about 10 insulin units per every 100g of carbohydrate (GL). It is as simple as that and no amount of wiggling or waving by vegan followers with their refined versus natural theories; potatoes versus rice versus sweet potateoes etc., is going to change this.

Your blood glucose post-prandial peaks at 140mg/dl are on the higher limit of the normal (on a high carbohydrate diet) and probably indicate that your insulin secretion may be insufficient (as I wrote before check against dm t1) or that your tissue became insulin resistant (metabolic syndrome).

Insulin resistance depends on the amount of fat you consume with the carbohydrates but important is also that you allow a time of metabolic rest in between the meals. This is the period when the body wants to switch from burning glucose to burning lipids (from body fat) and ketone bodies.

Preventing the appearance of such a cycle of rest in-between the meals, through frequent snacking may be one of the culprit behind the metabolic syndrome.

There are two ways of preventing metabolic syndrome:

1) Eat low fat high carbohydrate natural low glycemic food (vegetarianism is not necessary and probably not even relevant) and make long breaks between the meals to allow for the ketogenic cycle in between the meals

2) Eat a low carbohydrate high ANIMAL fat meals. Avoid polyunsaturated oils and transfats! In this case snacking in between the meals is not harmful as long as it is with fat only, not with carbohydrates (the reason is that fatty snacks do not break the ketogenic "resting" cycle).

Both styles of eating 1 or 2 will result in low average insulin level in between the meals, and will protect you against the chronic diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome such as CHD, cancer and autoimmune. Such disease are associated with the elevated insulin level rather than with the glucose itself. Kidney failure however, is related to glucose peaks since every time it exceeds 160mg/dl, it forces kidneys to excrete glucose. Other risk factors have different causes. For example diabetic neuropathy (and retinal damage) is probably more associated with fructose leakage to the bloodstream than with glucose.

If you decide to follow (2) then do not try to avoid fat. The more fat (animal, saturated and monounsaturated) the better it works. There is absolutely no need to worry about the heart disease since it is the insulin, not fat, in particular not animal fat, that seems to be the main growth promoter for arterial plaque and arteriosclerosis. For example, see R.W. Stout and

Besides if what I am saying were wrong and McDougall's crowd were right, I wouldn't be typing it. I would be dead. Over in the last 9 years I have been consuming about 150g (to 200g) of butter, cream or pork lard every day. If you read this message it means it's true! :)

Stan (Heretic)