Study: “A Single Day of Excessive Dietary Fat Intake Reduces Whole-Body Insulin Sensitivity”

Each small assault to the tiny blood vessels in our eyes and kidneys and brain that occur when we indulge reduces the function of those organs. In young healthy people, damage is repaired quickly. Not so in older people. We would have patients in our practice show up after Christmas with blurry vision and worse kidney function. And when we asked them what they ate… *

When your body becomes less sensitive to insulin, your blood glucose goes up. Regular binging leads to regular bouts of high blood glucose. High blood glucose damages small blood vessels in the eye and kidney over time (diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy are the largest contributors to blindness and end-stage renal disease in this country). High blood glucose also causes high blood pressure by reducing nitric oxide.

A Single Day of Excessive Dietary Fat Intake Reduces Whole-Body Insulin Sensitivity: The Metabolic Consequence of Binge Eating, Nutrients, 17 August 2017

We know eating big, fatty meals regularly is deleterious:

Consuming excessive amounts of energy as dietary fat for several days or weeks can impair glycemic control and reduce insulin sensitivity in healthy adults.

But what if you only indulge for one day?

One day of high-fat overfeeding increased postprandial glucose area under the curve (AUC) by 17.1% (p < 0.0001) and insulin AUC by 16.4% (p = 0.007). Whole-body insulin sensitivity decreased by 28% (p = 0.001).

In conclusion, a single day of high-fat, overfeeding impaired whole-body insulin sensitivity in young, healthy adults. This highlights the rapidity with which excessive consumption of calories through high-fat food can impair glucose metabolism, and suggests that acute binge eating may have immediate metabolic health consequences for the individual.

Also deleterious.

This study tested high calorie, high fat. What if instead it was high calorie, high carbohydrate?

Whether feeding excess energy in the form of carbohydrates (particularly added sugars, which are also highly palatable) for a single day has the same effect remains unclear. However, overfeeding a carbohydrate-rich diet (40% increase in energy intake; 60% of energy from carbohydrate) for five days was found to elicit changes in skeletal muscle cellular signaling that are typically associated with increased insulin sensitivity. … These data suggest that excessive consumption of dietary fat reduces whole-body insulin sensitivity, rather than a positive energy balance alone.

Eating high calorie, high carbohydrate had a positive effect, it increased insulin sensitivity!

The cohort studied were young, healthy, non-obese males and females who were recreationally active. Older people with chronic diseases would probably have worse outcomes.

It is plausible that the dietary intervention used in the current study may produce a more dramatic effect in populations at risk of developing T2DM (e.g., sedentary, overweight individuals).

Repeated periods of binge eating leads to a progressive worsening of glycemic control. Based on our data, it is plausible to suggest that the metabolic effects of binge eating may have more marked effects in individuals at risk of insulin resistance or the metabolic syndrome.

* The photo up top is a screen cap from the video below. It’s regular fare at the Greenwich Market in London. The sandwich is called “Seriously Cheesy Toastie loaded with Smoked Pulled Pork.”

Another Fanatic Cook

If I was ever going to post a selfie, it would look like this:

I saved this from a National Geographic article on Okinawa several years ago. Everything in this photo, I feel, is me. Except for the coat. Too much fabric while cooking. And the watch. Maybe he dressed up for the photograph.

I love how he attends the pot. That’s my life. Attending pots.

Bee Drinking

Did you know that it takes a worker bee her entire life to make just one teaspoon of honey for her queen? When we take away bees’ honey, we reduce their ability to survive. We take away their reason for being. And we use them as some kind of manufacturing plant.

We humans have a lot of evolving to do to become compassionate creatures. I sure do.

Here’s a bee that let me take its photo while it was drinking. The difference between these two photos is the tongue. My God, days aren’t long enough for me to discover all this.

Bobby Darin

I just finished watching this Bobby Darin expose on PBS:

It’s odd where I find my inspiration in life. I found some reading about him. He died at the age of 37 from what is thought to be heart complications of rheumatic fever he had when he was 8. He believed his life would be short so he did as much as he could with it. He didn’t just sing pop songs, he made albums, wrote songs, and played several instruments – all well. (You should see him play the drums!) He even acted, which was something else he did well: “In 1963, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a shell-shocked soldier in Captain Newman, MD.”

He was talented, smart, likable, and quite resilient, especially after finding out that the woman he thought was his sister was actually his mother, that the woman he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother.

What drew me into all this was looking up this song, which I have always liked. Beyond The Sea:

I like this one too. Heartbreaking for me to watch it. He died just nine months later on 20 December 1973. He knew he was, as he said, “very sick” at the time. (He had heart valve replacement surgery in 1971.)

Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

This is a video from Dr. Greger from about 5 years ago. His argument is biologically plausible and it’s something I learned in school, “molecular mimicry.” Mimicry is thought also to contribute to type 1 diabetes or what used to be called juvenile diabetes (a cow-milk protein). Seeing it again made me wonder if, since the coronavirus fits so well into a receptor on our cells (the ACE2 receptor), is it possible that it has a protein that our body would have a hard time distinguishing from self? Causing an autoimmune response against some specific organ or tissue? This may be far-fetched. But.

I’m not at all saying that eating a vegan diet has any impact on getting, suffering from, or dying of COVID-19. I’m just talking about mimicry.

Anyway, here’s Greger on rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that vegan diets do apparently have an impact on:


Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease affecting millions, characterized by persistent pain and stiffness, and progressive joint destruction—particularly in the hands and feet, leading to crippling deformities. What can we do to prevent it and treat it?

In a famous 13-month long randomized controlled trial of plant-based diets for rheumatoid arthritis, patients were put on a vegan diet for three and a half months, and then switched to an egg-free lactovegetarian diet for the remainder of the study. Compared to the control group, who didn’t change their diet at all, the plant-based group had a significant improvement in morning stiffness within the first month, cutting the number of hours they suffered from joint stiffness in half. Pain dropped from five out of ten down to less than three out of ten. A drop in disability; they reported subjectively feeling better, significant improvement in their grip strength, fewer tender joints, less tenderness per joint, and less swelling, with the added benefit of losing about 13 pounds and keeping most of that weight off throughout the year. They also had a drop in inflammatory markers in their blood, sed rate, C-reactive protein, and white count. The question is why. What does diet have to do with inflammatory joint disease?

Well, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks the lining of your own joints. Why would it do that? Well, there’s a different autoimmune disease called rheumatic fever, in which your body attacks your own heart. Again, why would your body do that? It appears to be a matter of friendly fire.

Rheumatic fever is caused by strep throat, which is caused by a bacteria that has a protein that looks an awful lot like a protein in our heart. So when our immune system attacks the strep bacteria, it also attacks our heart valves, triggering an autoimmune attack by “molecular mimicry.” The protein on the strep bacteria is mimicking a protein in our heart, so our body gets confused and attacks both. That’s why it’s critical to treat strep throat early to prevent our heart from getting caught in the crossfire.

So researchers thought maybe rheumatoid arthritis might be triggered by an infection as well. A clue to where to start looking was the fact that women seem to get rheumatoid arthritis three times more frequently than men. What type of infection do women get more than men? Urinary tract infections, so researchers started testing the urine of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, and lo and behold found this bacteria called Proteus mirabilis. Not enough to cause symptoms of a UTI, but enough to trigger an immune response. And indeed, there’s a molecule in the bacteria that looks an awful lot like one of our own molecules in our joints, so anti-Proteus antibodies against the bacteria may inadvertently damage our own joint tissues, leading eventually to the joint destruction. Therefore, therapeutic interventions aimed at the removal of this bacteria from the bodies of patients, with consequent reduction of antibodies against the organism, should lead to a decrease in inflammation.

Well, as we saw before, urinary tract infections originate from the fecal flora; the bugs crawl up from the rectum into the bladder. And so, how might one change the bugs in one’s colon? By changing our diet. Some of the first studies over 20 years ago on trying to fundamentally shift people’s gut flora were done using raw vegan diets, figuring that’s about as fundamental a shift from the standard Western diet as there is. And indeed, within days one could significantly change someone’s gut flora. And you put rheumatoid arthritis sufferers on that kind of diet, and they experienced relief, and the greater improvements were linked to greater changes in their gut flora. But the diet was considered so intolerable that half the patients couldn’t take it and dropped out–perhaps because they were trying to feed people things like buckwheat-beetroot cutlets buttered with a spread made out of almonds and fermented cucumber juice.

Thankfully, regular vegetarian and vegan diets work too, changing the intestinal flora and improving rheumatoid arthritis, but we didn’t specifically have confirmation that plant-based diets brought down anti-Proteus antibodies, until now. Those who responded to the plant-based diet showed a significant drop in anti-Proteus mirabilis antibodies compared to the control group. Maybe it just dropped immune responses across the board? No, antibody levels against other bugs remained the same, so the assumption is that the veg diet reduced urinary or gut levels of the bug.

A shift from an omnivorous to a vegetarian diet has a profound influence on the composition of the urine–for example, higher levels of lignans in the urine of those eating vegetarian. Up until now, it was just thought that lignans protected people eating more plant-based from getting cancer, but now we know lignans can also have antimicrobial properties as well, so may be helping to clear Proteus from the system. Either way, this suggests a new type of therapy for the management of rheumatoid arthritis. This new treatment includes anti-Proteus measures such as dietary manipulations in the forms of vegetarian diet.