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Old 12-29-2009, 10:22 AM   #1
Thomas J. Cusack
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Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

Hey CrossFitters,

I know very few people have an hour to kill listening to a talk, however, I wanted the community (if it hasn't seen this already) to check out this talk. Its Dr. Christopher Gardner speaking at Stanford about his unique dietary study. Unlike many studies, wherein subjects were fed by the researchers themselves, his intervention was simply to give subjects the book for that diet. He compared The Zone, Atkins, Traditional Health Care Professional Recommendations, and Ornish. This reflects much of what the CrossFit community does in terms of its dietary thinking (many people, myself included, heard of Paleo and Zone, went out and bought the books, and then tried to integrate and include them in their lives and training). As such, the results of this study speak directly to the average CrossFitter. I was shocked by the data, myself, as a health care provider.
The community embraces the scientific method as a driving principle for its progress, however often the science that is used to back up our choice of diets and training is weak. Here is a study that is methodologically strong and HIGHLY relevant to the average CrossFitter. Spoiler: The Zone Diet does not "win"...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eREuZEdMAVo
This link is SFW (very safe for work, just you won't get any work done watching it) and not an endorsement of anything. In fact, even the logos for all the diets are blacked out.
My gratitude to those who take serious interest and sit through the whole thing.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:15 AM   #2
Adam Wander
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

That is a good a video and I recommend watching it. But, if you are like me and can't watch youtube at work, Dr. Eades wrote a little bit about the study/video back in October:

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/k...he-mainstream/ (WFS)
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:31 PM   #3
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

Someone posted about this in another thread a while ago, but it's good that it gets its own. It makes a pretty compelling case for Atkins/low-carbs, and from an interesting perspective considering rather than trying to set up a lab experiment and encounter the usual difficulties of diet controls, he just has people follow the books that detail their respective hypotheses. As long as they treated each one equally and without bias (and it appears they did consider they held a course on each book and taught each one like they were gospel), then the results are meaningful comparisons, even if they don't necessarily reveal the particular mechanisms driving the processes that a human "lab rat" study could. I'm sure the anti-Atkins scientists will come out and remind us all that Atkins is just calorie restriction is disguise, etc., and that no one can follow the diet forever.

I find it especially interesting as all these "outsider" researchers keep venturing into this polarizing debate and make the results seem so obvious because they don't have a stake in the game yet. Sometimes it takes a third person perspective to see clearly...
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Last edited by Mauricio Leal : 12-29-2009 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:00 AM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
I find it especially interesting as all these "outsider" researchers keep venturing into this polarizing debate and make the results seem so obvious because they don't have a stake in the game yet. Sometimes it takes a third person perspective to see clearly...
You mean, like, science? What a concept!

Katherine
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:34 AM   #5
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
You mean, like, science? What a concept!

Katherine
Haha, well I suppose our debate from the other thread still has some fire left...

To the extent that we agree that science is a process of self-righteous a-holes insisting on the correctness of their unproven claims, then accusing alternative theorists of quackery and stifling dissent only to find out decades later they were right all along and stubbornly refusing to admit so.

/am I trolling?
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:22 AM   #6
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

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Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
To the extent that we agree that science is a process of self-righteous a-holes insisting on the correctness of their unproven claims, then accusing alternative theorists of quackery and stifling dissent only to find out decades later they were right all along and stubbornly refusing to admit so.
No, science is people like Dr. Gardner, putting together a really solid study, admitting that the results surprised him, and still following the data where it leads.

Alas, fitness and nutrition are plagued with far too many quacks and far too few scientists.

Katherine
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:53 AM   #7
Darryl Shaw
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
Someone posted about this in another thread a while ago, but it's good that it gets its own. It makes a pretty compelling case for Atkins/low-carbs, and from an interesting perspective considering rather than trying to set up a lab experiment and encounter the usual difficulties of diet controls, he just has people follow the books that detail their respective hypotheses. As long as they treated each one equally and without bias (and it appears they did consider they held a course on each book and taught each one like they were gospel), then the results are meaningful comparisons, even if they don't necessarily reveal the particular mechanisms driving the processes that a human "lab rat" study could. I'm sure the anti-Atkins scientists will come out and remind us all that Atkins is just calorie restriction is disguise, etc., and that no one can follow the diet forever.
It is just calorie restriction in disguise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal
I find it especially interesting as all these "outsider" researchers keep venturing into this polarizing debate and make the results seem so obvious because they don't have a stake in the game yet. Sometimes it takes a third person perspective to see clearly...
Beware of confirmation bias.....
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:04 AM   #8
Matthew Stafford
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

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Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
Haha, well I suppose our debate from the other thread still has some fire left...

To the extent that we agree that science is a process of self-righteous a-holes insisting on the correctness of their unproven claims, then accusing alternative theorists of quackery and stifling dissent only to find out decades later they were right all along and stubbornly refusing to admit so.

/am I trolling?
Not trolling, but it is obvious you have no idea what science is or how research is conducted.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:26 AM   #9
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

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Originally Posted by Matthew Stafford View Post
Not trolling, but it is obvious you have no idea what science is or how research is conducted.
That is kindof crossing into personal territory fella, but hey no worries you are entitled to your poorly informed opinion of me. I'm not gonna get into it here again because I'm pretty sure we all stand where we stand quite firmly (although I am trying to catch up on a lot of the stuff from the last thread, thanks Darryl) and I don't want to detract from the OP, so carry on about the study.
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Last edited by Mauricio Leal : 12-30-2009 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:45 PM   #10
Thomas J. Cusack
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Re: Battle of the Diets Talk: Stanford

My original intent was not to stir up a debate over who understands what. I just wanted to present evidence that is of interest to the Crossfit community, particularly as Zone has been adopted as the marquee nutrition approach taken by the community. The comparison of Zone, Atkins, Ornish, and LEARN approaches to nutrition that was made in that study is of interest because our gateway to these approaches is often via the book. Adherence and ease of compliance are important things to consider in adopting a diet. I found it most of interest that a year out the people who had been on extremely low carb or low fat had adjusted their intake of these up slightly.
I generally will recommend the Abs diet to patients interested in losing weight, because it is explicit about the incorporation of exercise and what exercises they are and how long to do them for (about 15 min 3x a week), and it is relatively easy to follow and understand. It lays the groundwork for a healthy perspective on what to eat. Granted, the name is stupid, but the substance of the diet is solid.
I just intuitively rejected the Atkins approach as an atherosclerotic nightmare, but this study has convinced me to look closer. I still am not comfortable recommending it to anyone, or even following it myself. However, the original premise of avoiding carbohydrates, or at least processed carbohydrates is strong. Our (USA) obesity epidemic is, I am certain, a direct consequence of our country's reliance on disgustingly sugar enhanced foods and our cavalier ingestion of heavily processed fatty sugary fast foods. These are the kind of foods that are addictive and tasty, and they directly stimulate almost every neural and hormonal pathway associated with satiety and reinforcement. The Straw Man that is accusing the government guidelines for the obesity epidemic is asinine. No one knows what the government recommendations are! And those who are explicitly trained to know and implement the recommendations have seen how difficult to explain and implement they are. This is why Atkins, Zone, Abs, or Ornish wins...they are mostly easy to follow, and people kind of do follow them...I think any diet that gets the consumer sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store and avoiding the crap that is down those aisles is bound to make them healthier by a number of key metabolic measures.
Barry Sears strikes me as a used car salesman, scientifically. His research makes extensive use of reviews, but he does not put forth the double blind random assignment placebo controlled epidemiological/public health style study that I think every clinician would need to be convinced of the viability of his approach. He gets a lot of facetime on this website, and I do own his book. I think more studies like this stanford study are necessary, and if Dr. Sears is unhappy with the results, he should have a study done to answer it. He has the funding to do so with the money he makes off of the diet.
Our community is unique, however, in that we are looking for something that will enhance performance. Many people come in looking to lose weight, and thats great. Maybe Atkins is the best approach for them (shudder to say it). Zone might be the best approach for high performance in a conditioned athlete. Abs might be the best approach for those less apt to adhere to a complex diet.
Thoughts?
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