October 13, 2009

Day 4

Weight - 224.0 Attitude - better now that I'm figuring out exactly the balance in my body of carbs and ketosis.

Observation - Between day 2 and 3, I was pretty well into ketosis (dropped down to 222.8). An interesting observation was that I felt warmer. I mean considerably so. I noticed it especially while sitting still studying for awhile. Usually, when I sit still for decent periods my metabolism must shut down because I get cold really easily. Didn't happen. In fact, I had to knock the air temp down a bit. I don't know if basal metabolism increases on this diet or perhaps ties into uncoupling protein. I'll have to look those up.

Biochemical lesson - Uncoupling protein. Wow, applied knowledge. In turns out that a quick search of the literature revealed that high protein diets do indeed increase expression of uncoupling proteins....in rodents. It turns out rodents have a high amount of brown adipose tissue (or BAT). BAT, unlike the white adipose tissue (WAT), is common in rodents but no so much in humans, well adults. In newborns, it's critical. Newborns are not able to shiver but they've obviously a way to generate heat. It's through these uncoupling proteins. Your body generates energy by a process called the Electron Transfer Cycle. Think of it like a dam generating electricity hydrologically. Instead of the water flowing away, though, we have a process by which we would put the water back up behind the dam to go through the turbines again and again. Sounds like a self perpetuating machine, right? It's not. We obey the laws of thermodynamics. We get the energy from our food to drive the process to convert the energy it forms that are useable to our body.

Well, with these UCPs, it's like a hole in our dam. The water comes back through the dam, bypassing the turbine so no electricity is generated. Even worse, our body then spends energy putting that water back up behind the dam. The energy is then lost as heat. Hence, weight loss. People thought this a great way to lose weight. Back in the 30s, a compound called dinitrophenol was used. Not a good idea as it was a bit toxic. You can still buy it on the internet, though I would NOT recommend it. It can actually induce fatality by.....too high of a fever.

The other issue is that much of this heat generation/weight loss occurs in BAT. In rodents, BAT is pretty common so they can lose weight quite easily this way. In adults, BAT is quite minimal so it's not really applicable to humans. That's not to say the UCPs don't function in other tissues whereby weight loss could occur. I'm definitely feeling warmer, though. I'll have to do some more digging to see if these diets can induce uncoupling in humans.


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

Electron Transfer Cycle, huh? Used to be called the Krebs Cycle. Had to memorize it in Biochem or med school.

Hope you're not having brain fog.


Isaac said...

Wow, serious brain fog. I meant to say "Electron Transport Chain" but somehow I managed to gel together the Krebs (TCA) with the ETC. That doesn't bode well for my grade!

lala00 said...

Brain fog...nothing a lunch at mel's can't fix.

This is really interesting because I remember debating the atkin's diet with my biochem professor back in 99 when it became really popular.

Isaac said...

I'm not really even close to Atkins, probably much closer to the South Beach Diet.