It turns out the cholesterol narrative we’ve been telling ourselves is not quite as clear as we’d hoped. New research reveals that high levels of HDL cholesterol (what we’ve previously called “The Good Cholesterol”) imparts NO protection against heart disease. From the New York Times’ coverage of the news:
People who inherit genes that give them naturally higher HDL levels throughout life have no less heart disease than those who inherit genes that give them slightly lower levels. If HDL were protective, those with genes causing higher levels should have had less heart disease.
One quick look at my progress and you’ll see that my weight loss is not linear (first 1/3 of the chart notwithstanding). In fact, if you look closely enough, you’ll see that I tend to gain weight, or “spike”, right before I drop again. This drop, or what Lyle McDonald calls a “whoosh“, has a distinct feeling that I’ll get to below. But first, a pretty graph and a few notes about how things work when I’m not losing.
Gary Taubes writes a cover treatment in the latest Newsweek and lambastes the conventional wisdom regarding the causes of the US obesity epidemic and the addled recommendations that are proposed to rectify it. In his cross hairs are the usual suspects: too many carbohydrates (in the form of sugar), a scientific establishment that is all but derelict in their duty, and a dogmatic (though unsupported) belief in the weight-loss benefits of exercise in combating obesity.
In this the fourth episode of the series, Dr. Lustig looks at sugar’s effects on brain chemistry, specifically, how our reward system (mediated by dopamine in the nucleus accumbens) is changed in response to chronic overconsumption of sugar.
Specifically, Lustig asserts that sugar downregulates the same dopamine system in the nucleus accumbens (reward center of the brain) that drugs like cocaine do. In this sense, an addiction marked by domamine resistence in the pleasure center is an additional driver of obesity in addition to the leptin and insulin resistence he described in previous videos. All, of course, are the result of sugar consumption