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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gorillas stay lean by following Atkins


Mountain gorilla (from wiki )

An article has just appeared in the Irish Times (under the above title - love the title! ).


Scientist David Raubenheimer studied gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, who seasonally gorge on protein to meet their needs for carbohydrates and fats.Prof Raubenheimer noticed the primates were doing the opposite of what many overweight humans do in over-eating carbohydrates and fats to attain enough protein.  His study, published in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters,  found gorillas ate a high protein diet, supplemented with fruits.

Interestingly, gorilla's diet ranges between 19% to 30% in PROTEIN! I wonder what would some well known diet promoting culprits recommending only 10%, say about that?!


Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Then there is this paper J. Nutr. 127: 2000–2005, 1997 showing how the gorilla diet is actually a high fat diet, with the fat provided as short chain fatty acids from colonic fermentation of fiber. The leaves themselves are relatively high in protein and low in fat and carbs, but when acted on by the gorilla's body, fat is produced. The paper is comical in its fat phobia and the authors fail to contemplate that perhaps humans would thrive on a high fat diet (since we don't have quite the fermentation apparatus that gorillas do), but the careful analysis is interesting.


Stan (Heretic) said...

I remember it. Apparently it applies to other herbiovors such as cows, goats etc. I saw somewhere an estimate that about 60% of all calories that a cow absorbs out of food, comes in form of short chain fatty acids form fermentation, such as butyric etc.

Different subject.
Did you see that interesting article on Stephan's blog:

So little do we know. How can the bypass have such a strong hormonal regulatory effect (i.e. eliminate insulin insensitivity from day 1 etc) that goes way beyond a simple food intake? What dou you think?


Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Hi Stan,

Yes, I think it does apply to other herbivores, but probably not so much to humans. I know when I get too much fiber, I tend to have problems that would not result in efficient bioconversion of fiber to fatty acids(leaving out the gory details)! I am curious if any of these short chain fatty acids affect metabolism in the same way as ketone bodies, since the structures are so similar. It seems likely to me. If you could get the right mix of resistant starches or whatever and gut bacteria, it might make a significant contribution in humans, though I doubt it. I once saw a paper showing that the gut transit time in Africans (eating high fiber diets) was about 24 hours, compared to Western diets (more like 48 hours). My guess is the fuel isn't retained in the gut long enough to produce significant fatty acids for systemic use (other than say for local colonic cells). Maybe someone has measured it though, so I can't say for sure.

I don't know that much about gastric bypass surgery. The interference with the vagus nerve is an interesting possibility, but it could be hormonally mediated too. If I ever have time to get into it more, I'll let you know.

I still disapprove of gastric bypass on principle...

Keep up the interesting posting.