Training and nutrition linkfest, vol. 3

To start with, Charles Poliquin finds some neat research on Vitamin D supplementation for muscle hypertrophy:

His takeaway:

If you’re not seeing the strength and muscle gains you’d expect from your training, low vitamin D levels could be one reason, and it is an easy variable to remove. If I’m wrong, the worst case scenario is that by achieving optimal vitamin D levels you will have reduced your risk of a muscle injury or of developing various diseases like osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, depression and more. No downside to taking more vitamin D—all upside.

Now, Vitamin D is fat-soluble, and therefore it’s possible to overdose on it.  But it is fucking hard to get toxic levels of Vit D — most people recommend supplementing with 4000-5000 IU per day, and chronic toxicity develops around 77000 IU/day (acute at 600000 IU/day).  The recommended daily dosage — 600-800 IU — is criminally low.  Supplement with Vit D, you fools!


Jim Wendler has a good article up about your favourite lift:

Next time I need advice, I’m going to ask a powerlifter:

When in doubt, just get really, really strong. It tends to cure most problems in training – and life.

(The article includes rather more specific advice as well.)


Seems that Tara Parker-Pope’s article on “The Fat Trap” is turning into a Rorschach blot of sorts, with everyone whose nutritional views skew even mildly iconoclastic jumping on the “OMGWTFBBQ” bandwagon.  Here’s Seth Roberts of satiety-hacking fame:

Seth asks some outstandingly relevant questions:

Parker-Pope tells us she is “at least 60 pounds” overweight, a bit of brave honesty for which I give her credit. I give her less credit for unskeptically quoting expert after expert — her article is essentially a review of expert opinion. If these experts are as wonderful and accurate as she says (by repeating their ideas), why is she 60 pounds overweight?


The speed of the obesity epidemic — 30 years ago, Americans were much thinner — implies that the obesity epidemic has an environmental cause. Genes don’t change that fast. Something about the environment — something that controls weight — has changed. Not exercise. Thirty years ago, Americans probably exercised less than now. It is likely that something they ate kept them thin, without trying. Parker-Pope fails to understand this. Or at least failed to ask the experts she spoke to about it. What about the environment has changed? she should have asked. If I were her, I’d be angry. The obesity epidemic is 30 years old! Thirty fucking years! Why is it taking so long to figure out the cause?

(Emphasis in the original, “fucking” deBowdlerized by your humble blogger.)

Seth wonders why Ms. Parker-Pope didn’t ask harder questions, wasn’t more critical of the expert consensus.  I’m not terribly surprised, because contra Seth it’s not in her best interests to do so.  Parker-Pope is a health writer for the New York Times.  Going by her position, and her ability to get her message to the world, she is an expert.  Maintaining the chastity-belt model of contemptuous paternalism keeps her in a position of significant authority, even if it does mean a bit of journalistic self-flagellation every now and then.

Anyway, the inkblot aspect comes when Seth discovers that the gap in Parker-Pope’s reporting quite coincidentally looks exactly like his own pet theory of obesity:

My theory of weight control says the crucial environmental change that caused the obesity epidemic was increased consumption of foods that produce very strong (= very fattening) smell-calorie associations.

Blah blah blah evil food-science labs blah.  Easy there, guys, there are enough holes in “The Fat Trap” for everyone’s favourite bugaboo to fit.

Seth also has a neat post on Vit D supplementation and sleep cycles:

One reason this story is interesting is that it supports the idea that Vitamin D3 acts like sunlight — which is different than acting like a stimulant (e.g., caffeine). A stimulant will push you toward being awake a few hours after you ingest it. Sunlight, on the other hand, will push you toward being awake a few hours after you are exposed to it and push you toward sleep a dozen hours after that.

Seems awfully plausible; I’ll have to give it a shot.


Speaking of “The Fat Trap” and my favourite bugaboo (“weight” loss vs. “fat” loss), here’s a rather interesting press release from nearly three years ago:

tl;dr:  Make sure your calorie-restriction diet is high in protein to avoid losing muscle and maintain better compliance.  Here are some interesting clippings:

Layman’s new study followed the weight-loss efforts of 130 persons at two sites, the U of I and Penn State University, during 4 months of active weight loss and 8 months of maintenance.


Although both plans were equal in calories, half the group followed a moderate-protein diet (40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat) while the other followed a diet based on USDA’s food-guide pyramid (55% carbohydrates, 15% protein, 15% fat).

(We’re not sure what the remaining 15% of the food-guide pyramid included; presumably not alcohol, but it’s the only remaining macro calorie source….)

Although the amount of weight lost in both groups was similar, at 4 months participants in the protein group had lost 22 percent more body fat than members of the food-pyramid group. At 12 months, the moderate-protein dieters had lost 38 percent more body fat.

I love that paragraph so much.

The protein diet was easier to follow and maintain long-term, with 64 percent of the moderate-protein dieters completing the study compared to 45 percent of dieters using the high-carbohydrate diet, Layman said.

“Subjects on the moderate-protein diet reported that they weren’t as interested in snacks or desserts, and they didn’t have food cravings. When you eat protein, you feel full longer,” he said.

Average weight loss for the protein group was 23 percent higher than the food-pyramid group, with 31 percent of “completers” in the protein group losing more of than 10 percent of their initial body weight versus 21 percent of the food-pyramid group.

Peter from Hyperlipid reminds us that all calorie-restriction diets are more or less high-fat diets: The missing dietary calories come from endogenous fat.


Finally, Swole.me is a great little webapp toolkit for dicking around with your planned (or actual) diet, looking at macronutrient ratios and so forth.

3 Responses to “Training and nutrition linkfest, vol. 3”

  1. February 9, 2012 at 09:53

    I use Vit D for sleep. I have to take it just before sleep, however, instead of just after. Seth has helpfully found a replication of my gels v. tablets experience, namely that the pills need to be taken with oil.

    Thanks for the exact overdose number. I like how high the uncertainty on the number has to be before you can hit that without specifically trying to.
    However, it baffles me how one would go about not realizing one is overdosing on vitamins.

    • February 9, 2012 at 10:03

      Vit D just before sleep? Whatever works for you, I guess. This is why the nutrition game is hard: Just when you think you’ve found a solid mechanistic model of how something works, along comes a counterexample.

      Out of curiosity, do you have any experience with melatonin or ZMA?

      However, it baffles me how one would go about not realizing one is overdosing on vitamins.

      In the comments to one of Seth’s posts on D3 supplementation, I think, someone came around claiming to take 50000 IU/day caps “because those were the biggest ones I could find”. The rest of the commentariat discouraged this practice.

      • March 3, 2012 at 13:47

        No experience with melatonin or ZMA.

        I’m pretty sure I’d feel fairly terrible after taking fifty Vit Ds. Eating shouldn’t be rocket science, animals manage to do it…

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anarchocapitalist agitprop

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