A close family member was recently diagnosed with type II diabetes, so I thought it would be appropriate to watch the Horizon episode “Sugar v Fat” last night.

I was surprised at the results of their experiment. I expected the twin on the high-sugar diet to have gained weight. Both twins actually lost weight. Although the twin on the high fat diet lost more. They were apparently too low in their calculation of daily caloric needs.

It’s one thing to see these results in a one month-long experiment, but in a real-life diet the effect of ghrelin (hormone that controls hunger) would be a huge factor. The twin on the high-sugar diet ate less protein and would be perpetually hungry. It wasn’t clear how much willpower it took for the twin on the high sugar diet to eat within to the experimental parameters.

Did the twin on the high sugar diet really go a month with virtually no protein? That doesn’t seem safe.

It wasn’t clear if the twins were actually eating the same amount of calories. The twin on the high fat diet lost more, so I assume he ate fewer calories.

No mention of individual differences in the larger study results that they cited, only averages. I suspect there were individual differences, due to genetic differences. For example, the CLTCL1 gene.

The twin on the high-fat diet lost more muscle because he lost more weight. Training with weights would have reduced muscle loss.

This aired in early 2014. We’ve come a long way since then.

@barefootstache You might want to check this out.


Also, at the end of the program, the insulin results and the doctor’s reaction to it made absolutely no sense to me. I went looking for other reviews to this episode and found this one. It provides another interpretation of the results.


I think it's interesting how the author, says

> This review of 23 relevant studies show quite clearly that, overall, low-carb diets produce better results regarding weight loss and disease markers (including those for type 2 diabetes)

Whereas I know of plenty of studies that say the exact opposite.

Since I wasn't able to watch the show yet, I don't what their diets looked like directly. From the studies I have read is that the best results are achieved when eating a whole food plant based diet (WFPB). This is usually considered as a high-carb diet, though a fairly low net-carb diet, because there is a lot of fibre, which is also a factor in satiety.

If a WFPB diet was followed, then there would be more than plenty protein. It is fairly hard to achieve a purely carbohydrate diet without any protein, since almost all fruits and veggies have protein. You would basically have to eat pure sugar.

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