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, 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)


Lee said...

Hello Stan

I have read your posts on Peter and Stephen's blogs. Nice to see you with your own blog.

Very interesting thoughts on snacking. Do you think that your theory correlates well with society's changing eating habits and disease profile over the last few decades? Certainly many people snack non-stop in offices now. I will ask my mother about what she remembers about people's snacking habits in the 60's & 70's.


Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi Lee,

You are very welcome! Peter and Stefan's blogs are very interesting; I read them regularly.

Re: Do you think that your theory correlates well with society's changing eating habits and disease profile over the last few decades? Certainly many people snack non-stop in offices now.

This is what I remember. When I grew up in a poor country in the 1960-ties (Poland), snacking at work or in schools wasn't that common or easy as it is now. I am not sure if that is the main factor but based on casual observations, it does seem to correlate with metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Dr. B G said...

Hi Heretic,

High carb snacking (esp if fructose related) may really derail metabolism and even more importantly cardiac energetics. Are you into biophysics? The heart and other muscles only want to shut down KB and fatty acid energy utilization during anaerobic work. Constant streams of glucose into the heart -- esp if GLUT4 the transporter for glucose is upregulated -- ends up causing structural changes in heart cells (myocytes) over time. This is why diabetics have such a high rate of heart failure right now. Diabetic drugs like Avandia and Actos make heart failure worse this by upregulating GLUT4 in the presence of freq carb-snacking/meals that occurs in the ADA-structured 'diet of ischemic heart death'....

I'm glad to seeing your blogging(finally!) -- lookin forward to see what is in your brilliant humorous head!


Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi BG,

Thanks for your kind comments.

Re: heart and glucose.

Totally agree! Everything based on literature and personal observation indicates that excessive glucose based metabolism is harmful to the heart and to the vascular system. Probably also to skin. Dr. Kwasniewski has been saying it for years and personal experiences plus testimonials of people who cured their cardiomyopathy on a high animal fat low carb diet, is overwhelming. You may be also interested that he postulated (hinted) at the existence of yet different energy carrier (different from glucose, lipoproteins and ketone bodies). This is supposed to be some kind of a direct ATP transport from the liver to spinal cord, heart and brain. This is still undiscovered. Fascinating topic.


Dr. B G said...

Hi Stan,

That is neat!! I wonder what the energy source is??! But than the nuclear power of fatty acids?? Hhhmm... did you know that glutamine in CNS tissues can be converted to GLUCOSE if necessary?


Stan (Heretic) said...

That energy is probably ATP, packaged in some as of yet undiscovered carrier. Just my guess.

If you have a chance, I would recommend to read Kwasniewski's books, he is often hinting at some unusual processes going on in the spinal cord. There are two thigns that caught my attention: (1) unusual energy balance, and (2) longevity issue. There is also a third issue, that is Eastern Medicine pays unusually through attention to this organ.

I used to dismiss all this spinal cord talk (of his) as irrelevant ramblings but not anymore.

Stan (Heretic)

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