06 August 2011

AHS Day 1

So Yesterday I attended the first day of the Ancestral Health Symposium (the AHS program guide can be found here). I must say that having never driven in Los Angeles before, combined with having never been on UCLA's campus, made yesterday morning quite hectic. However, upon finding the building I was instantly put to ease by the amount of people wearing FiveFingers.

The symposium has two lecture series going on at once, so you have to pick and choose which one you wish to sit through. In most cases I had a clear interest in one over the other, but I still read each presenter's abstract and in a few cases changed my mind. Below is a list of who I listened to and what notes I jotted down. I've tried to clean the notes up, however if they still come across as haphazard I know I still understand what they mean... and that is all that matters, right?

Boyd Eaton, MD
  • Rousseau is considered the philosopher of the Paleo movement.
  • Stressed the importance of antioxidants. He pointed out wild fruit, such as blueberries, can contain up to 50% more antioxidants than their industrial cousins. These are found typically in the skin of the fruit.
  • Our ancestors ate significantly higher antioxidants than we do now.
  • I knew this before, but if you add more muscle, you can improve insulin resistance.
  • Suggested we read The Clash of Civilizations and E.O. Wilson's books.

Loren Cordain, PhD
  • Our ancestors ate 25-35% of their calories from plants, 55-65% from animals.
  • Honey consumption is okay, but it was only available seasonally.
  • Natural transfats found in grass-fed rumens seems to be healthy.
  • Raw meat is aseptic... it is the butchering process that adds the risk.
  • No brainer: Avoid chronic low level inflamation.
  • Forgot this bit of trivia: milk is filtered cows blood.

Staffan Lindeberg, MD, PhD
  • Wrote 'Food and Western Disease'
  • Not a proponent of low carb eating.
  • Humans have a high capacity to digest starch. It doesn't mean we should, it just means we can.
  • Quote I found amusing “One 70 year old man died when he fell from the coconut tree.” Further illustrating the health discrepancy in the West. I do not believe I know anyone over 50 that can climb a tree.

Robb Wolf
  • Paradoxes in biology are purely a breakdown in our understanding. (There are no paradoxes in biology).
  • Should check out the Paleo Physicians Network.

Richard “Jake” Jacobson
  • 30 minutes of midday sun provides approximately 20,000 units of Vit D3
  • We should aim for a range of 60-80 in our Vit D tests. 80 was based on Australian lifeguards who were in the sun everyday.
  • Vit D is consumed when sick, experience trauma, etc.
  • Vit D2 is synthetic and downright bad for you.
  • We should check calcium levels in addition to Vit D.

Stephan Guyenet, PhD
  • When artificial flavor is listed in the ingredients of something, it can contain hundreds of chemicals engineered for taste.
  • He presented a example of a typical strawberry artificial flavor and alone it contained more chemicals than the rest of the milkshake he displayed the ingredients for.
  • He presented a theory about how the reward system in food (sugar, salt, MSG, etc) can cause overeating. Gary Taubes challenged his assertion, and while I won't go in to details, it was a good question that was presented in a very rude manner. Maybe that is Gary's style... but he came across as an asshat.

Gary Taubes, MA
  • Nothing of interest if you already know sugar is bad.

Michael Eades, MD
  • Frédéric Bastiat – 'That which is seen and that which is not seen' essay.
  • Walter Voetlin, author of 'The Stone Age Diet' came to the paleo concept by comparing the digestive tracks of dogs and humans... noticing how similar they are and how dogs do well on meat and fat and low/no carb. He tried this on patients with great success.
  • Protein converted by the liver to glucose is delievered at a rate that doesn't spike like sugar does. So protein is superior to carbohydrates in terms of providing glucose to the muscles and brain.

Richard Feinman, MD
  • Energy Density of Carbs and Protein = 4 kcal/g, Fat = 9 kcal/g, and Ethanol = 7 kcal/g. This explains all the times I ran fueled by alcohol and still did well.
  • Basically Richard went over how to read studies and how things are presented by both the researchers themselves to the media that runs with their findings. It explained how so much misinformation gets out to the people.

Pedro Bastos, MS, MA
  • Milk contains over 100,000 chemicals. This varies by species.
  • Milk has a low glucose response, but very high insulin response (on par with white bread).
  • Pregnant cows milk has far more hormones. Traditional pastoral societies do not milk their cows after the first 3 months of the pregnancy. Industrial cows are milked through most of their pregnancy.
  • The hormones in later stage pregnancy is insane.

  • I was hoping to catch Chris Masterjon's talk, but my interest in dairy took over so I went to Pedro Bastos speech.
  • I found all of the presentations interesting.
  • The one on Vit D was dry and mainly involved the reading of studies.
  • Whereas I already drink the Robb Wolf koolaid, I didn't really gain any new insight from him. I love his presentation style.
  • Michael Eades reminded me of a likeable George W. Bush.
  • Richard Feinman reminded me of the better teachers I had in college that helped hone my ability to think critically.
  • Looking forward to today's presentations.