Processed ... Refined ... Definitions? - The Carb-Sane Asylum

The Carb-Sane Asylum: Processed ... Refined ... Definitions?

A comment by Jane prompted this quick post here.  Often the terms processed food or refined food tend to be used interchangeably in the general nutritional discourse.  I get the general idea -- eating steak, broccoli and a baked potato is eating real, whole, unprocessed and unrefined foods.  Same meal but substitute brown rice for that potato and you have added what I would call a processed food.  The rice "kernel" had to be extracted from the plant.  
So loosely speaking "processing" would include shucking, grinding, cracking, rolling, soaking, fermenting, and ... cooking!  So then that original meal was actually processed food because we didn't just slice off a slab of meat, wash the dirt off of a tuber and some broccoli and eat them.
What of the term "refined"?  Well, I tend to associate that with separating one component of a whole food from the rest of it.  Thus whole wheat flour is processed (and I probably mixed up my own descriptives in the comment exchange with Jane), white flour with the bran and germ removed is refined.  But this truly opens up a whole can of worms.
Here is a one page summary PDF from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.  Lumped into refined foods are all whole grains, while I would argue that buckwheat groats and such are far less refined than "paleo approved" fats.  Also lumped under refined foods in the right hand column?  Pretty much all dairy.  "Raw dairy is a gray area".  And yet, from the more in depth Balanced Bites PDF:
Remind me where butter and ghee come from again?  Raw dairy is a "gray area" but taking just the fat out of it, and going the extra mile to remove any trace of proteins (ghee), that is *quality*!!  Still, I will concede that dairy fat separation is minimal processing.  But I am sorry, coconut oil does not fit this bill.  It just doesn't.  Nor, quite frankly, does any oil although a case could be made for when you grind peanuts the oil does tend to separate out quite well all on its own.  Which doesn't make them necessarily good or bad or whatever, but let's be consistent when we advocate for certain food types, shall we?  
Coming off of the Paleoista/Cordain appearance on Dr. Oz, here's a thought.  Olives and peaches are both fruits.  If someone were to extract and sell peachysweet sugar, that would be refining, no?      It would make the lists of sugar-in-disguise, no doubt.  The fructose would be bad without the attendant fiber and other good stuff in the whole fruit (or at least if that's what you are inclined to believe).   So why, then, is olive oil any different?  Both are refined foods -- isolated parts of the whole.  And yet human ingenuity has had us doing this sort of thing to at least some extent for thousands of years.  Don't get me started on chocolate!
Let's face it.  Whatever your dietary philosophy (unless you are a raw foodie who only eats whole foods) you're eating some processed and/or refined foods.  How about we not lump in those that don't fit in with a certain philosophy with the SA(junkfood)D just to demonize them?  Almond milk doesn't grow on trees. I think most of us do better to base our diets on real whole foods, but there's room and even a place for the processed and refined.  

Bring back butter... and cheese, red meat and whole milk! How our low-fat obsession may harm our health, says nutritionist | Mail Online

Bring back butter... and cheese, red meat and whole milk! How our low-fat obsession may harm our health, says nutritionist | Mail Online

I love butter. Smothered on vegetables or, best of all, melted over a juicy sirloin steak.
And I eat masses of red meat – lamb chops or my favourite, pork belly. 

Sometimes we’ll put a piece in the oven at lunchtime, and slow cook it to make the crackling really crunchy by evening. 

Spread the word: Butter is a nutritional goldmine says our expert
Spread the word: Butter is a nutritional goldmine says our expert

My only two rules are that the meat has to be good quality and that all the fat is left on. 

As a food expert, I spend my working life imploring the public to eat a nutritious diet – so I know these may sound like odd admissions. 

What I am suggesting flies in the face of everything you have heard about healthy eating.
But I firmly believe that we all need to eat more fat – including the much-demonised saturated fat. I’m not talking about junk foods but fresh meats and dairy. 

There should be a shift back to butter, full-fat milk and red meat – all often labelled high sat-fat foods – as they are nutritional gold mines.

Fat helps you absorb vitamins

All food containing fat contains all three types of it: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. You cannot separate them. So a food naturally high in saturated fat will also contain the other two. 

In simple terms, fats are chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. We eat fat, it is digested and enters the bloodstream where it transports the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K round the body. 

This is partly why I find the idea of removing fat from natural food ludicrous. Take full-fat milk – this contains all four fat-soluble vitamins. If you take out the fat, you remove the delivery system. 

I believe our misguided choice of man-made, low-fat versions of natural products – cheese, yoghurts, spreads rather than butter, and the like – is one of the reasons we are low in Vitamin A.
Delicious: The two key rules about meat is that it has to be good quality and that all the fat is left on
Delicious: The two key rules about meat is that it has to be good quality and that all the fat is left on

According to the most recent Family Food Survey from 2010, the average person’s daily intake of a type of Vitamin A, retinol – vital for the health of the skin, hair, eyes and the immune system, is little over half of what is recommended.

The same survey also shows that we are consuming just two-thirds of our Vitamin E requirement – essential for immune health. Many of these fatty foods also contain vital calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. 

Fat also supplies energy – eating a nice piece of bacon, fat and all, will keep you feeling fuller for longer than the supposedly slow-burning carbs in porridge. 

Fat also has a key role in creating the outer layer of all our cells. So put butter on your vegetables – spinach, carrots and kale may contain Vitamin A in the form of betacarotene, but without fat to help it digest, it won’t necessarily be properly absorbed.

The mystery of diet regulations

The Department of Health bases its daily dietary recommendations – for men and women that’s no more than 30g and 20g of saturated fat respectively and about 95g and 70g of total fat – on a report by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA).

This 1984 booklet’s sub-section on fat intake claimed that comparisons between countries had shown those with lower national fat intakes had lower rates of death from heart disease. 

This was based on the findings of the Seven Countries Study, published in 1970. It has been criticised for looking only at nations that proved the theory – including the USA, Finland, Japan and former Yugoslavia. 

France, Austria and Switzerland were left out, and many argued that was because their fat intakes were high but heart disease deaths were lower than America.
The COMA report admits: ‘There has been no controlled clinical trial of the effect of decreasing dietary intake of  saturated fatty acids on the incidence of coronary heart disease.’ 

Nor is there likely to ever be – it is extremely difficult to measure the effect on the body of fat eaten in isolation, without any other environmental factors or previous health history. It seems bizarre that we are following rules based on such shaky evidence.

Eating fat won't make you fat

In my opinion, there shouldn’t be any limit for fat consumption. But won’t we get fat? Not at all. There is little evidence that eating fat makes you put on weight. 

A 1956 study gave patients alternating diets of high fat and high carbohydrate. On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet based on  carbohydrates, they all gained weight and on a 2,600-calories-a-day diet based on fat, they all lost weight. 

The body absorbs the fat it needs and excretes the excess. I’m not saying don’t eat carbs – glucose is needed to supply the brain with energy. 

But we don’t need to eat bread, which causes blood sugar levels to rise and leads to weight gain unless a person is very active soon after. 

Junk: Good quality fat is a nutritional goldmine - but junk food lacks vital vitamins and minerals
Junk: Good quality fat is a nutritional goldmine - but junk food lacks vital vitamins and minerals

And low-fat food can contain a ridiculous amounts of added sugars. A 2006 Which report looked at 275 different types of cereals from a range of retailers and manufacturers. 

More than three-quarters of the cereals had high levels of sugar, which will make you put on weight. 

Back in the Seventies, we consumed more than 50g of saturated fat a day. Now we  eat about half that, consuming half the eggs, and one-fifth of the butter and whole milk. 

Yet as our fat consumption dropped, a strange thing happened and it defies our dietary assumptions. 

By 1999 obesity levels had risen from 2.7 per cent in both sexes to 22.6 per cent in men and 25.8 per cent in women. We are the biggest we have ever been, and yet we have never consumed less fat.

Choose real foods not junk

What nobody should do is rush out and stock up on ice cream and cake. Pure cream is about 35 per cent fat while Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream contains 15g of fat per 100g. 

But the sugar content of the former is almost zero, while the latter has a whopping 25g of sugar per 100g. 

Any fat left in the ice cream is probably the most nutritious part. It is the carbohydrates and sugar in junk foods that are to blame for massive weight gain.
Red meat has been linked to colon cancer. But these studies didn’t eliminate people with unhealthy lifestyles or high junk-food intake, so no real direct causal link between meat and cancer has been proven. 

As a nutrition expert, people come to me complaining of bloating, digestive problems, lack of energy and weight problems. 

I tell them to stop eating processed foods and stop basing their diet on starches – bread, potatoes and rice are poor sources of vitamins – and to eat only what I call real foods: meat, fish, dairy and vegetables.

More often than not, they lose weight and feel better.  My message is clear: it’s time to return to the old ways and stop treating fat like our worst enemy.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2143477/Bring-butter--cheese-red-meat-milk-How-low-fat-obsession-harm-health-says-nutritionist.html#ixzz2Rpflpz7X
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Atkins vs China Study Diet. Who Won? You Decide - YouTube

Published on 20 Apr 2013

T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., wrote "The China Study" in 2005. A professor emeritus at Cornell University, Campbell was the director of the China-Oxford-Cornell study on diet and disease in the 1980s. The book chronicles his findings about diet and health from his career in basic science. While not calling himself a vegetarian or vegan, Campbell supports a whole-food, plant-based, low protein/low fat diet.

Eric Westman, M.D., has conducted clinical trials regarding the Atkins diet, made famous by Robert Atkins in 1972. The Atkins diet, sometimes called the antithesis of the China Study, suggests that lower consumption of carbohydrate and higher consumption of fat leads to better cardiovascular health. Westman is a physician specializing in obesity medicine and associate professor of internal medicine at Duke University.

The two squared off at a public debate on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

vimeo version here: http://vimeo.com/64139406


McDonald's burger looks the same as the day it was cooked... 14 years ago | News.com.au

This McDonald's burger looks the same as the day it was cooked... 14 years ago | News.com.au

IF you need another reason to kick the junk food habit this should do it. David Whipple is the proud owner of a 14-year-old McDonald's hamburger. And it looks exactly the same as the day he bought it. 

Mr Whipple had been hoping to demonstrate the high levels of preservatives in fast food. But he could not have imagined his experiment to go quite so well.

He bought the hamburger from a McDonald's outlet way back in 1999, originally planning to keep it for a month to show friends the worrying power of preservatives.

But he forgot about it, finding it two years later in an old coat pocket. He then decided to continue the experiment, but admits even he was amazed that, 14 years on, the hamburger remains unchanged.
It has no signs of mould, fungus or even a strange odour. The only thing that has changed over the years is that the pickle has disintegrated.

McDonald's burger
The 14-year-old McDonald's burger. Picture: Screengrab, The Doctors
Mr Whipple, from Utah, explained that he never meant the experiment to last this long.
"It wasn't on purpose," he told TV show The Doctors.

"I was showing some people how enzymes work and I thought a hamburger would be a good idea. And I used it for a month and then I forgot about it. It ended up in a paper sack with the receipt in my coat pocket tossed in the back of my truck and it sat there for, I don't know, two or three months."
The coat was then hung up in a closet at his home.

"My wife didn't discover it until at least a year or two after that," he said. "And we pulled it out and said 'oh my gosh. I can't believe it looks the same way'."

Mr Whipple, who still has the original receipt for the burger, said he now shows it to his grandchildren to encourage them to eat healthily. "It's great for my grand-kids to see. To see what happens with fast food," he said.

McDonald's burger

The 14-year-old McDonald's burger. Picture: Screengrab, The Doctors
In 2009, nutritionist Joann Bruso decide to keep a McDonald's Happy Meal uncovered on a shelf for a year. Apart from a few cracks in the bun, it remained unchanged. "Food is supposed to decompose, go bad and smell foul eventually," she wrote on her blog.

"The fact that it has not decomposed shows you how unhealthy it is for children."

Read about the experiment here
More: The truth about McDonalds burgers
Read: Six reasons your burger doesn't look like the ad

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/mcdonalds-burger-that-looks-the-same-as-day-it-was-cooked-14-years-ago/story-fneuz8zj-1226628424189#ixzz2RLl3hBfX

ASP (versus insulin) in the regulation and storage of fat tissue - Carbsane Looks A Complete Twit

CarbSaner: Fred Hahn Chats To Keith Frayn. Result - Carbsane Looks A Complete Twit

Insulin or ASP
There’s been some debate about the role of ASP in the regulation and storage of fat tissue. Some argue that acylation stimulating protein is the main regulatory lipid hormone and not insulin. Based on a series of papers
and one from late 1998, some have taken these papers to mean that ASP plays not only a critical role in fat storage and retention, but the critical role.

If it is ASP, this means significant amounts of body fat can be gained and retained merely by eating fat; that carbohydrates are unnecessary to stimulate insulin secretion, because ASP will do the fat storing and imprisoning job all by its lonesome.

But is it? Is it ASP or insulin that is the “boss” of fat?

This is what the current edition of Lehninger Principles Of Biochemistry says about fat storage in adipocytes:

“High blood glucose elicits the release of insulin, which speeds the uptake of glucose by tissues and favors the storage of fuels as glycogen and triaglycerols, while inhibiting fatty acid mobilization in adipose tissue.”
Seems like an open and shut case for insulin being the boss of fat regulation. But perhaps there’s more to it than this.

To find out more, I figured I’d do the obvious and actually ask the man who wrote the series of papers I mentioned earlier. His name is Dr. Keith Frayn. Dr. Frayn is from Oxford University and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on fat metabolism. If anyone knows anything about what regulates fat in the human body, it’s him.

But before I tell you what Dr. Frayn said, here are a couple of snippets about ASP written by a blogger known as Carbsane. She is one of several bloggers who believe that the carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis of obesity is bogus, meaning, not the primary cause and that those who support it are misinforming the gen pop:
“ASP is mentioned in Frayn’s latest version of Metabolic Regulation, but unfortunately texts are woefully outdated. They are NEVER considered better references than peer review journal articles. Read my latest blog on a Frayn article: Factors stimulating tissue retention of fatty acids include insulin and acylation stimulating protein. ASP is a more potent stimulus to fatty acid uptake and esteriļ¬cation in adipocytes than is insulin.” 
“ASP is a potent agent in triglyceride clearance from circulation, insulin less so, although it can stimulate ASP. But this study did demonstrate that IF we are to point to fat accumulation, ASP is the big Kahuna. Insulin is not, as far as I know, directly involved in fatty acid uptake (as in transporting it).”
Really? Insulin is not directly involved in fatty acid uptake?

What’s interesting about this statement is that in Dr. Frayn’s 2010 textbook Metabolic Regulation (3rd edition) there’s still very little mention of ASP and the section on fat accumulation says nothing about it.

Carbsane has suggested in her blogs that Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat has committed intellectual dishonesty by stating that insulin is the main fat-regulating hormone and not ASP.
“I am increasingly convinced that Taubes deliberately maintains a state ignorance on such matters as ASP.  Because it pretty much demolishes his hypothesis.”
She says this because she thinks (stated in her blogs) that Taubes and others who support the insulin/obesity hypothesis purposefully ignore the work done by Dr. Frayn (and others) on ASP subsequent to the printing of his 1998 text book.

If Carbsane (and others) are right in thinking that Dr. Frayn believes ASP is the main fat regulating hormone and not insulin, it seems really odd that Dr. Frayn would choose to exclude this information in his 2010 textbook. Why would he omit such a discovery? You’d think that such a fact would have Dr. Frayn penning much about it.

Let’s see if she (and others) are right about insulin not being the main fat regulating hormone.

Let’s see if ASP is really the “big kahuna,” as Carbsane puts it, of fat regulation and find out the reason why Dr. Frayn made so little mention of ASP in the new edition of his textbook.

As I mentioned earlier, contacting Dr. Frayn seemed like the obvious thing to do. Here is the word for word email exchange that resulted. It’s true that our conversation is a half year old now, but I’ve been busy and the points are clear.

11 February 2011

Dear Dr. Frayn,

I was wondering if you could answer a question for me on insulin and acylation-stimulating protein (ASP).

Of the two, which is a more potent stimulator of fatty acid uptake? A biochemist said that it is not controversial; that ASP is a more potent stimulator of FA uptake/esterification than insulin. I gleaned from your textbook that insulin was by far the main regulating hormone of fat storage and release and at best ASP was secondary. Am I correct? Any clarification is greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your time.



February 12, 2011

Hi Fred,

The ASP story is very controversial. A number of people have not been able to reproduce the claimed effects of ASP. So I think we’re still in the dark.

But insulin definitely does work! I can’t say for certain but my bet is that insulin is the major regulator of this step, with maybe some local ‘fine-tuning’ by ASP.

Hope that helps. Have you seen edition 3 of my textbook? Out in 2010.

12 February 2011
Thank you Dr. Frayn.

A blogger I recently read (she is a research scientist   No, Fred, she's just a very part time teacher!) who quotes your textbook often, quoted your article on ASP (which confused me given what your response was to my question):

“Factors stimulating tissue retention of fatty acids include insulin and acylation stimulating protein (ASP) and ASP is a more potent stimulus to fatty acid uptake and esteriļ¬cation in adipocytes than is insulin.”

She goes on to say:
“ASP is mentioned in Frayn’s latest version of MR, but unfortunately texts are woefully outdated. They are NEVER considered better references than peer review journal articles.

Read my latest blog on a Frayn article:

Here she is referring to your 1998 version. I assume that ASP is not mentioned in the 2010 version of your textbook as the main fat regulator (I know this because a friend has it and he looked) over insulin because, as you said, no one has been able to replicate ASP as the predominant fat regulating hormone?

I don’t want to take up too much of your time Dr. Frayn, but I and several other people are very interested in this subject and wonder if elevated insulin (and to a lesser extent ASP) levels are what is responsible for excessive fat accumulation in adipocytes.

I think we can definitely state that insulin’s the regulator of fatty acid release through its action on HSL. That’s enough evidence, wouldn’t you say, for it to be the primary regulator of fat accumulation? I say this because if insulin keeps fat in the fat tissue, it’s not all that important whether insulin or something else puts it there though I think high insulin levels caused by high carbohydrate intake sure seem to facilitate greater fat accumulation especially in the presence of high fat which is how most people eat.

So, I guess the bottom line question is, given what we currently know about insulin, is insulin the primary regulator of fatty acid uptake as well as the primary regulator fatty acid release, not ASP?

Thank you,

February 14, 2011 2:45 AM
Hi Fred
My guess is that you are right: insulin is the primary regulator of both fatty acid uptake and fatty acid release. The ASP story was a nice one but I don’t think it’s been substantiated.

Best wishes


I hate to see this person – who I will not name (even though you did) – gain the credibility of being part of a serious discussion. I have read this person’s blog and, while I have absolutely zero problem with people who disagree and wish to argue the FACTS, no one with such a dysfunctional attitude, who calls names (very ugly accusations!) and makes snide remarks, should even be recognized as a serious participant in the discussion.

Carbsane: So many strawmen, so little time.

Hey Fred, once again carb(in)sane – a member of the evil axis that includes crackpot colpo and gayturd krieger – strikes again.

She can’t stand that Dr. Frayn’s response to you has left her literally naked. Her whole ELMM weight management theory has gone down the drain. But it was never valid anyway.

We have a saying where I’m from that “before you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.”

Dietary directives coming from carb(in)sane are completely laughable
By her on admission, before she came out of the closet (revealed her name), she said that she had been stalled at 200 lb. in a 5′3″ frame FOR THREE YEARS!

A look at her picture on her website shows either an obese woman or a woman with the head of an extra large frying pan! And she is an “expert” in dietary advice?

Not only is she addicted to carbs, she is addicted to malice, vitriol and a mean spirit towards humanity.

I think all this can be summed up by referencing the phenomenon known as ‘cognitive dissonance’!

CarbSane continually references Dr Frayn in support of her contention regarding ASP vs. insulin but appears to be ‘cherry-picking’ from his work.

As you have shown, Dr Frayn does not consider ASP a prime mover in fat storage:

“My guess is that you are right: insulin is the primary regulator of both fatty acid uptake and fatty acid release. The ASP story was a nice one but I don’t think it’s been substantiated.”
And even if you reference his work as far back as 2003 (Integrative Physiology of Human Adipose Tissue in the International Journal of Obesity) he and his colleagues say (in conclusion to their paragraph on ASP:
“The production of ASP in vitro is stimulated by the presence of chylomicrons and its production by adipose tissue in vivo increases in the postprandial period giving ASP a potential role in coordination of postprandial fat storage. However, physiological importance in humans remains unclear at present.”

Then they begin their next paragraph with:
“The pathway of fat mobilisation is exquisitely sensitive to suppression by insulin.”

Of course, CarbSane seems happier quoting earlier studies (1998) by Frayn, rather than later reviews where he is more cautious in his conclusions and what he said to you in correspondence

Fred you amaze me. I don’t understand how you were able to have a conversation with Carb Sense without completely blowing up. Her attacks and negativity take up the majority of what she writes. I can’t even understand the point she is trying to make half the time because she blabs on and on attacking people and setting the stage for what she wants to talk about without ever getting to the point and I have little patience for horrendous writing. It is also obvious to me that she is posting in her comments section as other people to back herself up.