Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Grass fed nutrient timing edition

I posted an article on the LRB Facebook page that is obviously going to make the rounds.

It called "Paleo is the Scientology of diets".  I figured sparks were going to fly.  And they did.

I'm not sure why it is that people behave in a similar manner to insulting their diet as they would if you insulted their kids and tried to kick them in the balls.  But to me, the response seems similar.  Full of vitriol and hate, they always have a white knuckled response and presumably shake their fist at the monitor that someone dare tell them that their diet is "stupid".

People take this shit very serious, and very personally.

It's just a diet.  It's just food selection.  Does it ever dawn on you that you're arguing with a stranger somewhere else in the world about what foods you will selecting at the grocery store?  I guess it seems rather silly to me to give such a massive fuck about it.

Is said critic actually going to meet you in front of the grocery, and you have to fight them to the death in order to continue on with your diet, or do you just get to walk in and pick out what you want?  I am not sure what it's like in third world countries, but in first world countries I believe that there is something called freedom of food that allows one to buy the food they want (unless it's raw milk, and then of course, you still can) at the grocery without persecution or suffering.

Anyway, here is the article.......

More than the article, the responses on my page made me chuckle.

I mean people get really fucking offended if you take a shot at their diet, or point out the obvious flaws within the make up of it.

To be fair, Paleo asked for it.

If you call a diet the "caveman diet" then well, you better be eating like a fucking caveman.  That means bugs, and plants, and killing your meat and well, whatever it is you can find to survive on.

Then there were people who said that Paleo was all about eating copious amounts of meat.  Really?  Where the mother fuck were cavemen finding copious amounts of meat to live off of?  They weren't.  But this didn't keep some spin offs of Paleo from perpetuating that bullshit......

From Dr. Jeanne E. Arnold, an anthropologist at UCLA.

"Nope, not much merit at all. People ate probably more non-meat foods than meat foods in every era in human history.

Ok so let's clear that one point up right now.  People in the paleolithic era were NOT eating copious amounts of meat.  And depending on geographical location, all of their diets could and would have been radically different because they ate what was available to them.  And what is easily available to people?

Bugs, plants, maybe small fucking animals you can trap easily.

"Paul, it's about eating as little processed food as possible."  

Ok so call it the "I don't eat processed food diet."

But the thing that kept sticking out to me was the "I eat grass fed organic everything because that is healthy" bit.

O Rly?

It's starting to come into light lately that well, this might not be true either.

From this article, which cited a study on such things........

I think this pic pretty much sums up what it is everyone is arguing over, or "for", in regards to making the grassfed choice.

That's it?

You're making the choice to spend that much over, based on some very miniscule factors?

Oh and this one too.............

The "potent anti-carcinogen" CLA story may be one of the biggest hoaxes played on the consumer because the values used to differentiate grass-fed from grain-fed beef are from raw meat. Samples of raw grass-fed beef consistently have twice the CLA content as a proportion of total fat than samples from raw grain-fed beef. This means the typical grass-fed steak has the same CLA content as a Certified Angus Beef ®, heavily grain-fed steak because there would typically be twice as much total fat in the CAB steak. However, this is all irrelevant because studies show when the meat is cooked, there is no difference in CLA content because a large amount of the fat is lost in cooking. Even if people ate the meat raw, you would have to eat 176 pounds of grass-fed beef daily to get the level fed to the mice in the original CLA study (Ha et al, 1987). It should also be noted that in the original CLA study 16 of the 20 mice getting huge doses of CLA still got cancer. The dosage of CLA from this study would have to be increased 182,000 times for an equivalent dose to an average person. The whole CLA story has been based on these 4 mice, making this result irrelevant to human health.

Similarly, the Omega-6 to Omega 3 ratio is an important feature of fat intake in humans. The recommended daily intakes of Omega:3 from the World Health Organization of 1.1 to 1.6 grams/day show it would require a person to eat 41/2 pounds of cooked grass-fed beef daily to meet the minimum daily requirement. Therefore, any speculation that eating grass-fed beef will enhance human health due to Omega:3 fatty acid consumption is clearly incomplete at best, and usually false.

"But the hormones they give the grain fed cattle!"

Yeah, the grass fed cattle get that shit too.  Not only that, you do realize that things like growth hormone are peptide based hormones and yes, they get destroyed from cooking?  So why the fuss?

"But grass fed beef tastes better!"

Actually, it doesn't.  And no, this isn't about preference.  It's literally biological.

There are a couple of reasons why grain fed beef has become the standard in the industry. Feeding cattle grain during a final fattening stage called finishing produces a very consistent product with a higher level of marbling than beef that is not grain finished. Marbling is the single most important factor in determining palatability and tenderness. It’s not a matter of personal preference, our taste buds recognize the fats in marbled meat and our palates prefer that fat. In every blind taste test ever done anywhere by anyone anytime in the history of eating cow meat, abundantly marbled beef tastes better than beef with little or no marbling. Corn does a very good job of increasing marbling.

As I really searched around, for every study that "proved" one thing, there was a study that "proved" the opposite.

So in the end, the fact is........we don't know shit.

This states it perfectly for me....the bolded parts I mean.

It’s also long been known that breast cancer risk increases with higher lifetime exposure to estrogen. These facts have led many to question whether the continued use of synthetic estrogens in livestock is safe.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a different class of hormone that increases the amount of milk dairy cows produce. Some suggest that although rBGH itself appears safe, it increases the amount of other chemicals in the body that might cause cancer. So far, there’s no definitive proof one way or the other.

How much hormone is in a hamburger, and could it hurt you? The answer is, no one really knows. Studies show the added hormones do show up in beef and milk, pushing their estrogen and testosterone content to the high end of normal for cows. Whether that translates to increased risk for humans is the question.

“It really depends on how you look at the science,” Minowa tells WebMD. “Many industry-funded studies show no risk, but there are independent studies that suggest” a potential cancer risk from hormones in milk.

Hormone-treated meat has long been suspected of contributing to early puberty in children, although the link has not been proven. There’s no question that the age of puberty has been decreasing in the U.S. But some suggest that’s due to improved nutrition and health, not to second helpings of hormones in children’s diets.

Basically, as I researched looking at both sides the answer to all of this seems very much like a "we don't know anything for certain."

Grass fed beef has less fat (which means it doesn't taste as good), as a LITTLE bit more Omega 3's.  Not enough to warrant the fuss however.  But there's no real proof showing that grass fed to grain fed provides some huge health benefit.

So this all led me to look into organic as well.  And it's pretty much the same shit.

From the mayo clinic....

Organic food: Is it more nutritious?

Probably not, but the answer isn't yet clear. A recent study examined the past 50 years' worth of scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods. The researchers concluded that organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs are not significantly different in their nutrient content.

So again, it seems like if you really take some time to examine both sides, there are no definitive answers.  Which means that people are going to lean to the side they WANT to believe, and use a lot of confirmation bias.

So far, it doesn't look like grass-fed wheat germ organic natural no-hormone beef provide some super benefit to my health that is worth the pocket book cost.

Eggs on the other hand, do seem to have a pretty big difference.  I found this same copy and paste job everywhere on the net.

In 1974, the British Journal of Nutrition found that pastured eggs had 50 percent more folic acid and 70 percent more vitamin B12 than eggs from factory farm hens.

In 1988, Artemis Simopoulos, co-author of The Omega Diet, found pastured eggs in Greece contained 13 times more omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids than U.S. commercial eggs.
A 1998 study in Animal Feed Science and Technology found that pastured eggs had higher omega-3s and vitamin E than eggs from caged hens.

A 1999 study by Barb Gorski at Pennsylvania State University found that eggs from pastured birds had 10 percent less fat, 34 percent less cholesterol, 40 percent more vitamin A, and four times the omega-3s compared to the standard USDA data. Her study also tested pastured chicken meat, and found it to have 21 percent less fat, 30 percent less saturated fat and 50 percent more vitamin A than the USDA standard.

In 2003, Heather Karsten at Pennsylvania State University compared eggs from two groups of Hy-Line variety hens, with one kept in standard crowded factory farm conditions and the other on mixed grass and legume pasture. The eggs had similar levels of fat and cholesterol, but the pastured eggs had three times more omega-3s, 220 percent more vitamin E and 62 percent more vitamin A than eggs from caged hens.

The 2005 study Mother Earth News conducted of four heritage-breed pastured flocks in Kansas found that pastured eggs had roughly half the cholesterol, 50 percent more vitamin E, and three times more beta carotene.

If you want to tackle all of these studies, be my guest.  I'm going to be blind enough this morning to go along with it and say that it APPEARS that the nutrient value in eggs can have a wide variety based on living conditions of the chickens they get the eggs from.  

But then I found this......

The study, “Comparison of Fatty Acid, Cholesterol, and Vitamin A and E Composition in Eggs from Hens Housed in Conventional Cage and Range Production Facilities,” appeared in the July issue of Poultry Science, a journal published by PSA. Its author, Dr. Kenneth E. Anderson, a Professor in the Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University, collected data for the study in 2008 and 2009. The study was conducted concurrently with the North Carolina Layer Performance and Management Test (NCLP&MT), which evaluates the major commercial layer lines used in the United States.

“The key takeaway from this research is that an egg, no matter where it’s produced, is a very nutritious product. Eggs from a range production environment did have higher levels of total fat than eggs produced by caged hens, but they did not have higher levels of cholesterol. Perhaps the most striking finding was that both cage- and range-produced eggs actually have lower cholesterol levels than previously believed, which has led the USDA to lower the cholesterol guidelines for eggs in the USDA Nutrient Database for shell eggs to 185 mg per egg, down from 213 mg,” said Dr. Anderson.


So basically, no matter what YOU want to tell me, and what study YOU want to link, I can find one that shows the opposite.  I can.  I know, I did it all morning.  So before you read this and go "WELL LOOK AT THIS LINK!"  I probably did.  And I can probably show you a study that says that study is wrong.  And then find a study that says that study is wrong.  So forth, and so on.  

Although I do laugh at the people that think that free range chickens are living some wonderful life.  They get eaten by predators and get fucked up in all sorts of various natural ways.  But yes, I imagine if a chicken had a voice they would prefer to take their chances in the wild open rather than be confined to a cage.  No different than people would.  However most of us aren't worried about someone bursting out of the woods in an effort to make us lunch either.  So it's all conjecture.  

In the end, what it comes back to is your own personal choice.  Looking back and forth my honest conclusion is that, there probably isn't going to be some huge difference in your health based on grass fed or organic free range anything.  The only true to way KNOW, would be to get your blood work done while eating non-organic and all grass fed, then of course, fuck yourself up (supposedly) with non-organic, grain fed shit.  

That's the ONLY way you're going to know in regards to your OWN health.  So I MUST repeat that part.  The ONLY way YOU are going to KNOW for certain, is to eat grass fed and organic everything for say, a year.  Get blood work done the whole time.  Then switch to grain fed non-organic food for a year, and get blood work done.

"But Paul!  Grass fed wheat germ flax oiled beef is higher in vitamin E, CLA, and omega 3's!!!!"

Yeah man, we covered that.  Grab a really solid multi vitamin and some fish oil with the cost difference you will be saving between grass fed/organic and grain fed/non organic and you're good to go.  Not only that, but you shouldn't be eating beef to get omega 3's.  Seriously.  Just fucking stop.

You eat fish for that.  So have salmon twice a week, and you're good to go.  

My own personal guess?  If you eat the same foods, like chicken, eggs, lean beef etc. you're probably not going to see some massive health difference across the board.  That is just my own personal guess.  I could be wrong.  But I am allowed to guess.  And that's my guess.  You might see a few points difference in HDL and LDL here and there, but if I just had to guess, not enough to warrant the difference in cost.

In other words, from everything I can find it looks like the benefits of eating all grass fed/organic everything either aren't supported, or they appear to be miniscule.  We can weigh all the differences in vitamins and fats all day long, but the question is, are the health benefits SO HUGE that it's going to make a dramatic difference in your life?

My opinion?  Probably not.


Brad Schoenfeld and Alan Aragon on nutrient timing at the NSCA conference.  


Feel free to add your opinions or comments in regards to this. 

If you want to read the article referenced in the video it's here....

The only part I want to add to this, that I feel is important, is that it's been shown in studies that there is a massive difference in things like nutrient timing in well trained individuals, and non-trained individuals.

I believe I made a post a while back talking about how guys in the novice stages of training can still do a lot of shit wrong, and still make gains.  As you progress and become more advanced, you have to look under every rock in order to find that extra 3-5% advantage to make progress.  This more or less backs that statement up.

It's also why bodybuilders and very elite level lifters do in fact need to train and do things differently than guys that still have a lot potential left to fill.  So here is where things get stupid on the net.  The guys that aren't trying to get that last 3% argue about what is needed, and what is not, because they just aren't at that level yet.  So they don't see a difference in things like nutrient timing or using a ton of different rep ranges, etc.

"You can grow just as fine from sets of 3 as you can from sets of 12!"

No, you just really can't.  Not at an advanced level.  Because the body, at that point, is very resistant to growth, and is well equipped to deal with minor stresses.  So it takes a myriad of training "types" in order to further facilitate growth.  Not just some good ol "5x5".

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  1. Great job again Paul

  2. I have discovered that lifters are a lot like metal heads. Always defenisve and dramatic about their belief system. "Black metal is an elitist movement based on the principles of Satanism set in stone by Anton Szandor LaVey." Yeah sure.........says the guy who lives with his momma.

  3. I am okay with Paleo when the definition is basically to eat as much real food as possible. It makes sense for people who are not physically active. So basically what you are saying is "put down the cheetos fatass and have some almonds instead". When it becomes a fad to rival gluten free it deserves to get called out like you have in this article.

    For people who are physically active paleo can be a disaster. I like the talk Mike Israetel had with the CrossFit group in the Renaissance Diet video where he says you must eat simple carbs if you are going to be doing CrossFit 5+ times per week. I also agree that the quality of the protein you are consuming (free range vs. commercial) is going to play an incredibly small role - if any - in your overall performance and health.

    My guess is when people experience success with something they cling to it as the holy grail. This is clearly the case with many people who have had success with low carb diets.

  4. if we could forget about the word "paleo" and "caveman" and all the pseudo-scientific crap that comes with the paleo diet, and realise that its just telling people to eat a lot of vegetables and some meat, its actually a pretty good diet for the average mildly/moderately active person who wants to be healthy.

    but yeah we've all met those evangelistic paleo crossfit douchebags who make us want to hate them all.