Re: Fast. Food.

1

At first glance, intermittent fasting doesn't strike me as totally zany.

What's the non-zany argument in favor of intermittent fasting? Whenever I hear things like "giving your internal organs a rest", it sounds completely ridiculous.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:39 AM
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Monks fast intermittently. They seem thinner than average.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:46 AM
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No way, they're fat and jolly, always holding a "tankard" of "ale".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:48 AM
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Those are friars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:50 AM
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Monks fast intermittently. They seem thinner than average.

Except Friar Tuck. There's this thing called 5:2, where you restrict yourself to 500 kcal on two days a week and pig out for the rest. Probably doesn't do any harm.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:51 AM
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1: This wasn't an argument in the program, but I can think of it as kind of an extreme version of portion control. Some days the portion size is zero, and over the course of, say, a week, the result is fewer calories overall.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:52 AM
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Oh, beg your pardon. 5:2 is in fact Mosley's thing. Wikipedia points out that this is not for people with eating disorders.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:55 AM
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Not eating at all on certain days is probably bad for you and counter-productive. I was thinking of very low calories days like Chris meantions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:56 AM
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9

Except he didn't spell stuff wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:57 AM
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10

It's not exactly intermittent fasting, but having fewer meals/day is a paleo thing because well I'm actually not sure why but it is and seems to work. Two big meals a day with no more than a snack of nuts in between or a very very light lunch. I basically live like that now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:02 AM
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4: ah, quite right.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:03 AM
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Before reading 10, I thought my grandfather was pretty paleo. Yes, all of the meat was either boiled or incredibly overcooked, but it was still meat. That said, he ate small portions and had sixish meals/day.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:07 AM
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13

I'm as vain as the next person, but let's be real: this is about vanity, not health.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:18 AM
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14

Slowing one's metabolism for a few days a month could increase cellular lifespans, decreasing the effects of aging over a period of years.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:23 AM
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this is about vanity, not health.

IIRC Mosley tried it because he was borderline diabetic and had high cholesterol.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:24 AM
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That said, he ate small portions and had sixish meals/day.

...Oh my friends, be warned by me
That breakfast, dinner, lunch and tea
Are all the human frame requires!
With that, the wretched child expires.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:27 AM
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There is a thing where fasting for 3-5 days kicks in some high immunity responses,which can dramatically improve recovery time after surgery, frex. I have a friend who's been a part ofa group studying such things. The mechanism is pretty well understood, but they're having a horrendous time with subject compliance - ie people can't fast for 3-5 days very well.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:31 AM
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18

15: and eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise wasn't working?


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:33 AM
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I had to google to see that a non-Nazi Mosley was involved in dietary research.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:39 AM
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18: Beats me, maybe he just hates change? "Michael Mosley sets an ambitious goal: to become healthier and lose weight while making as few changes as possible to his life."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:39 AM
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Because apparently I don't read the OP very well.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 10:41 AM
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I'm as vain as the next person, but let's be real: this is about vanity, not health.

Not really. Mosley was on the Diane Rehm show a few weeks ago explaining the 5:2 diet -- if I remember correctly, he went on it because he was borderline diabetic.

The non-zany argument for pseudo-fasting (and really the 5:2 thing isn't fasting at all) is to give your system time to clear toxins. People laugh at that notion, but it's always made a great deal of sense to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:07 AM
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Whoa, totally gswift-pwned.

I recall also that Mosley's 'fast' on the two lower-calorie days mostly consisted of much healthier eating, and protein, like an egg and ham for breakfast, not much besides water for lunch (there's the fasting part), and salmon and a lot of vegetables for dinner. No carbohydrates, I don't think, though he doesn't make that a specific direction.

That's going to clean you out for sure. I don't know why he didn't have much to say about exercise.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:13 AM
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18: I had the same initial reaction, but then I thought: maybe it's easier to get people to try fasting than it is to get them to try exercising. If that's true, and if the practice really does reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers without any adverse effects on one's health, intermittent fasting could be a tremendous boon to public health.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:16 AM
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It's not fasting, though! !! It's just not eating like a pig a couple days a week. (I think Mosley said that on his regular five days, he eats whatever, pizza or meatloaf with gravy or fried chicken. I don't see the point of such alternating myself, but I guess it could fit some people's lifestyle better than demanding that they eat salmon and kale all the time.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:20 AM
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26

The comma in that title is very important.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:29 AM
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27

The non-zany argument for pseudo-fasting (and really the 5:2 thing isn't fasting at all) is to give your system time to clear toxins.

Mention of "toxins" is almost always a sign that the conversation is on the express train to zanyville.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:29 AM
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Yeah, I'm on Team Zany when it comes to talk of toxins, absent some information about the specific toxin, the nature of how it's affected by the new miracle drug/diet/regimen, and some mechanism for how it works. Or at least, if not completely zany, the marketing is outstripping the science.

My guess is that the fasting diets work because if one fasts a couple of times a week, one will not consume 3500 calories that otherwise would have been consumed, and that for some people, it's easier to chop 1700 calories out of two days per week than to try to chop 300 calories out of every day, because it's easy to eat 300 calories mindlessly.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:37 AM
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After four beers, the decision to consumer the next 300 calories is easy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:38 AM
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One is supposed to eat an extra 200-300 calories while pregnant, and I found that personally, at least, I didn't have to choose consciously to increase what I was eating at all.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:44 AM
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I've never been pregnant, but if you're telling me it is basically the same as getting a buzz on, my wife was really playing up the problems way too much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:50 AM
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Hm. I've just googled around to see what people mean by toxins, and it's true, so far I find no rigorous explanation. Mostly allusions to environmental toxins, from air pollution to pesticides. The liver is constantly working to process such things, and the suggestion is that giving the liver a break is desirable.

It's still intuitively appealing to me to suppose that some periods of green tea drinking and whatnot would give the liver a rest.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 11:54 AM
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green tea drinking and whatnot would give the liver a rest

Huh?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 12:04 PM
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34

She means the other liver that doesn't metabolize caffeine and such.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 12:06 PM
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35

I'd like to think that consuming a diet of sushi and maple donuts would give my liver a rest.


Posted by: vw | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 12:16 PM
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36

Oh gosh, I hadn't thought about green tea having caffeine. I drink some decaf green tea that's just my standard, and I'd forgotten. My mistake.

I suspect I'm really thinking about free radicals and antioxidants, to be honest.

Back to the OP: Mosley's 5:2 thing really seemed to me to incorporate other sorts of diet/nutritional advice that he fails to acknowledge. Salmon and dark leafy greens are both antioxidants. Reducing simple carbs is good. If his reduced calorie days involved eating just a single piece of cake with icing, I'm not sure he'd have seen the results he did.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 12:21 PM
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37

10: Two big meals a day with no more than a snack of nuts in between or a very very light lunch.

What a difference an "n" makes.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 12:24 PM
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38

Parsimon's explanation is totally zany.

Lots of (solid, peer-reviewed) research (as far as I know) has shown that intermittent fasting gains you all of (more than) the beneficial effects of a calorie-restricted diet with none of the downside. See, for instance. The non-zany causal mechanism I've heard is that your metabolism eventually changes in beneficial ways if your body thinks it's dealing with conditions of scarcity, and intermittent fasting is enough to trigger that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 12:39 PM
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39

Hey that comment would have made much more sense if the url worked. Let's try that again.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:08 PM
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40

What a difference an "n" makes.

Sadly, I spent a good half-minute or more thinking, "what's so funny about 'uts'?"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:08 PM
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41

41: You're not alone.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:20 PM
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42

39: I wonder: isn't the flipside of dealing with scarcity hoarding calories in the form of fat when they are available?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:24 PM
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43

43: you'd think, but that's not how the studies have played out, from what I've read/heard.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:25 PM
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44

I could nearly claim this as "ancient wisdom of my people" because in the Irish language the names for Wednesday and Friday mean "(the) first fast (day)" and "(the) fast (day)".

The real explanation is that all the names of days /times /months etc. come from monastic routine. Early Christianity had such a huge impact in the language that they had to develop special terms for your actual brother and sister because the words for "brother" and "sister" had come to means your brother/sister in Christ.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:28 PM
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45

The comma in that title is very important.

I first wrote it out in the OP as Eat, Fast [sic] and Live Longer but decided that was snotty and distracting.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:29 PM
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46

"And let not your fastings be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and the fifth day of the week; but do ye keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation (the sixth) day."
--Didache 8:1


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 1:31 PM
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47

Oh, I've done it for a couple of months - found it pretty easy, certainly much easier for me to think I won't have anything today and I can eat normally tomorrow, than to restrict myself every day. I didn't notice any weight loss though, which I was quite surprised at. And I didn't feel suddenly fantastic, but I didn't feel bad, and had plenty of energy and wasn't noticeably grumpier on fast days. When I'm back home from holiday I should do it again. It just sort if showed me how much unnecessary food I eat.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 2:02 PM
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48

I sounded dismissive above, but I actually find the topic interesting. 27 is right, though.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 3:32 PM
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49

The video made me curious to try the two days/week fasting scheme, but I was unconvinced by the bit where he claimed to be fasting while on a long-distance walk---that is, I'm unconvinced that it's OK to fast during multiple days of strenuous 6-8 hours/day exercising. Judging by how he was dressed for that and how he was holding his trekking pole I really doubt they were covering distances/elevation changes that are anywhere as strenuous as those I would normally do. Also, they weren't carrying 40 lb packs. In addition, I find that being hungry while backpacking is generally far more miserable than being hungry in civilization.


Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 7:34 PM
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I vaguely remember a finding that one's gut flora were less likely to become the easy-to-be-fat kind if one ate three clearly defined meals a day. The mechanism suggested was that, for the microbes, this is a varied and stressful environment, unlike the gut of a snacker who's always handing them a bit.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 6-13 9:30 PM
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51

Let me third the bullshittiness of "toxins." It's usually a word that allows scammers to sound scientific to the rubes while not specifying a hypothesis testable by measurement.
-You have too many toxins and need to do my cleansing diet!
Biologist- What specific toxins are you talking about?
-The toxic ones!
-Do they have a chemical formula so we can measure their change in response to your "cleansing?"
-Yes, a very toxic formula!
-You're full of shit.
-You sound hostile and toxic, have you tried my cucumber enema?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 4:45 AM
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51: You don't even wait to hear about the incredible healing power of crystals? That just seems rude.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 6:11 AM
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I knew a guy who was super into going down to Mexico and getting chelation therapy as sort of a cure-all for whatever ailed him. At least responded to "what toxins?" with "you know, heavy metals, like lead or mercury or plutonium" has the ring of truth, although why one would be regularly building up an excess of plutonium in one's tissues has never been clear to me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 7:36 AM
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54

Taco Bell?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 7:43 AM
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The Bell is made of plutonium?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 7:45 AM
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Well an excess of caution might be in order, what with all the questions surrounding it.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 8:12 AM
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But not silver.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 8:26 AM
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The Jenny McCarthy crowd is big into chelation for autism. Kids have died from being over chelated.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 8:37 AM
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A good corollary to the slow food movement would be fast fasting. I'm developing a high intensity interval fasting programme wherein patrons would fast continuously for up to 75 minutes between snacks.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 8:46 AM
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To be fair, "heavy metals" is in fact the correct answer to "what is it that you hope chelation therapy will remove from your body?".

The word "toxin" is supposed to mean a poisonous substance created biologically, which in effect usually means a small protein. Shiga toxin, diphtheria toxin, pertussis toxin, etc. But I guess the ship has sailed and it is a synonym for "poison".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 9:07 AM
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The nonBS version of toxin-cleansing is called autophagy. Cells are forced to 'digest' old, degraded proteins and then when food is returned, the are rebuilt fresh. Also related to ampk activation - it isn't good for a cell to always be 'fed'

The main benefit is probably related to eating less, as the hunger passes when cortisol and catecholamines increase. And if you eat healthy foods, you can't 'make up' all the calories you missed out on.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 9:09 AM
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60: huh! That is fascinating. But thing that aren't technically toxins can still be toxic, yeah? Or was Britney Spears lying to me?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 9:25 AM
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Yes, the words "toxic" and "poisonous" have been synonyms for a long time. "Toxic" is the one used in a biological context, with the idea that just about any substance is toxic depending on the quantity.

The word toxin was coined much more recently, in 1888 by bacteriologist Ludwig Brieger. I guess since it sounds like a more scientific word for "poison", pseudoscientists use it to mean whatever the heck they want it to mean. But it should really mean something created by one biological organism (bacteria, fungus, plant, animal) which harms another organism.

Then there's the word venom, which specifically applies to things made by an animal and injected by puncturing the victim.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 9:36 AM
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64

I looked up fasting while breastfeeding, out of idle curiosity, and there's a decent amount of information, mostly because of Ramadan and such.

But there's also a bunch of message boards with fruity women who want to do the Master Cleanse, and other fruity women claiming "Are you nuts? When you purge all those toxins, they'll go straight out your boobs and into your baby!!!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 9:39 AM
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Then there's the word venom, which specifically applies to things made by an animal and injected by puncturing the victim.

And what about spitting cobras, hm?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 9:59 AM
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they'll go straight out your boobs and into your baby

Filter feeders.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 10:07 AM
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67

Better than being bottom feeders.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 10:20 AM
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64: That's twice the fruity! how do they think breastmilk is made normally, with a process that leaves the toxins behind that is subtly confused by cleansing?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 10:26 AM
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69

That's a breast of a different kidney.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 10:45 AM
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70

Son ordering brunch:

"I'd like chicken fingers please."

"What do you want for a side?"

"Sausage."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 11:00 AM
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71

That kid'll go places.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 11:15 AM
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72

Like the heart clinic.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 11:16 AM
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"When you purge all those toxins, they'll go straight out your boobs and into your baby!!!"

There was that NYT Magazine article several years ago that claimed breastfeeding would clean the mother out of all the horrible, fat-soluble badthings (toxins, obv!) that had been building up in her body over her entire life to that point. Cue handwringing over the behbehs, of course.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 11:20 AM
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73: I believe this is true. Female whales and seals have lower heavy metal loads than comparable males because they can off-load hem through breast milk to the baby. Specific to fat soluble 'toxins'. Don't know if it's true in humans but possible.

And as to things with antioxidants, coffee is pretty high in them (not to mention delicious and addictive). Somehow it seems to get left off of lists that feature things like kale, blueberries and green tea.

In conclusion, black coffee for my breakfast.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 11:51 AM
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It's perhaps plausible, but what the hell is one supposed to do about it? Not breastfeed? [Cue handwringing. I'm sure there's no toxins in formula, right?] Not lose any weight while breastfeeding in case dissolving fat means more toxins?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 12:01 PM
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Oh for sure it's a ridiculous thing to worry about and it shouldn't really even be a topic for humans. However, and I'm not sure how humans make milk, but it's also possible that mobilizing the fat occurs whether or not you lose weight; it might just be part of the process of making milk. Marine mammals definitely used stored resources to make milk because they don't each much/at all while nursing. People may be a mix of stored and external resources (ie fat and eating).


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 12:09 PM
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Oh for sure it's a ridiculous thing to worry about and it shouldn't really even be a topic for humans. However, and I'm not sure how humans make milk, but it's also possible that mobilizing the fat occurs whether or not you lose weight; it might just be part of the process of making milk. Marine mammals definitely used stored resources to make milk because they don't each much/at all while nursing. People may be a mix of stored and external resources (ie fat and eating).


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 12:09 PM
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Oh for sure it's a ridiculous thing to worry about and it shouldn't really even be a topic for humans. However, and I'm not sure how humans make milk, but it's also possible that mobilizing the fat occurs whether or not you lose weight; it might just be part of the process of making milk. Marine mammals definitely used stored resources to make milk because they don't each much/at all while nursing. People may be a mix of stored and external resources (ie fat and eating).


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 12:09 PM
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79

I haven't had enough exogenous resources today.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 12:10 PM
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and I'm not sure how humans make milk

Boobies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 12:17 PM
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The Jenny McCarthy crowd is big into chelation for autism. Kids have died from being over chelated.

She really deserves a special place in hell.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 1:24 PM
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Sandra Steingraber's book on the biology of pregnancy (Having Faith) has stuff about fat-soluble stuff ending up in breast milk, though she still comes out strongly in favor of breastfeeding and thinks that this point (that we humans think of ourselves as the top of the food chain but actually there are babies who feed on us and thus are up a level of contamination) should inspire people toward improved environmental policies, but I don't know that it works that way.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04- 7-13 4:47 PM
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That's sweet that she thinks consequences on the vulnerable will inspire people to take action on climate change.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 8-13 7:15 AM
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Then there's the word venom, which specifically applies to things made by an animal and injected by puncturing the victim.

Toxin, of course, comes from "toxos", a bow, because it originally meant the sort of poison you smeared on your arrows.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 8-13 7:24 AM
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85

Some things, ajay, are just too obvious to merit pointing out.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-13 7:40 AM
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86

I wasn't going to bother saying that, neb.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 8-13 7:44 AM
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87

applause for 86.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 8-13 7:53 AM
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