Author Archives: Alex Leaf

Curing type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a condition often caused when someone surpasses their personal fat threshold. This causes an accumulation of fat in the liver and pancreas, causing metabolic dysfunction. The cure is simple: lose fat.

Why protein restriction for longevity makes no sense

The data supporting protein restriction for longevity is not strong. Mice are not appropriate models for extrapolation to humans due to differences in lifespan and metabolism; data in monkeys does not support a benefit of energy restriction on lifespan; there are unknown influences of genetics.

The weak longevity data we have must be contrasted against the far stronger data showing detriments of protein restriction with aging, like sarcopenia and frailty, reduced quality of life, and premature death.

Meal window, not time, matters for health

There are benefits intrinsic to time-restricted feeding that occur independent of weight loss. Eating within a 6–10-hour feeding window seems to provide a variety of health benefits compared to eating the same stuff spread out in a longer eating window of 12+ hours.

Whether this feeding window comes earlier in the day (breakfast and lunch) or later in the day (lunch and dinner) doesn’t seem to matter. The body isn’t stupid and appears to adapt to our regular eating schedule.

Kundalini yoga

Kundalini yoga is a form of breathing meditation that can benefit mental health. While you can probably find any number of unsupported “woo” on the internet, don’t let that blind you to the benefits of mindfulness practice.

You’re probably eating more than you think

If you are struggling to lose weight and you don’t track what you eat, Occam’s razor suggests that you are likely eating more than you think. People underestimate their calorie intake by an average of 10–20%. This can be as high as 50% in people who think their metabolism is broken. Why you are overeating is another question entirely.

Niacin, heart disease, liver toxicity, and diabetes

Niacin therapy is effective at reduce heart disease risk due to lowering LDL particle numbers and triglyceride levels, not due to increasing HDL. The risk of diabetes can be minimized by eating within 2 hours of taking niacin and avoiding digestible carbohydrates 3–6 hours after, unless another dose of niacin is taken. Liver toxicity can be minimized by eating a diet rich in methyl donors like folate, vitamin B12, methionine, betaine (trimethylglycine), and choline.

Supplement riboflavin to fix the MTHFR polymorphism

Improving riboflavin status (via supplementation) may make MTHFR work like it should, since the 677C→T mutation simply reduces its ability to bind with its riboflavin-dependent cofactor (FAD).

It’s literally addressing the cause (making MTHFR work like normal) rather than the symptom (supplementing with 5-methyl THF because you make less of it).

Willpower to habit: what we can learn from anorexia

Evidence continues to support the theory that anorexia involves excessive habit development. The habit of food restriction doesn’t occur overnight, but does occur over time after the initial effortful attempts. Drawing parallels to you and everyone else, it’s rather suggestive that dedication to a diet, a goal-oriented focus, and classical learning will eventually turn willpower to habit. Change is difficult, but if you stick with it, things get easier.

Isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs) are not a fiber

In short, read the ingredient label of your favorite high-fiber protein bar. If it uses isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs), then it is best avoided. The FDA has ruled that IMOs have insufficient evidence to be claimed as a dietary fiber, and a handful of studies suggest that they are absorbed with similar efficiency as sugar.

Is normal weight an artifact of society?

We need to stop normalizing overweight and obesity. Yes, these are the most common weight statuses in the Western world, but that does not mean they should become the norm. The health detriments of being too fat are well established, and that needs to be made clear.

People are far more likely to pursue lifestyle changes to lose weight when they perceive themselves, or receive a doctor diagnosis, as overweight or obese. So, let’s get self-perceptions back on track.