It references one of the great (unfounded?) fears of people in the nutrition/medicine realm: changing dietary habits or weight loss will preferentially affect muscle vs fat. (Because we worship muscle cells and demonize fat cells?)
The era of the social scientist
I read the paper (I always go beyond the abstract), and fortunately, so have the scientists, Dr. Jacob Wilson (@TheMusclePhD, Less twitter, more instagram:TheMusclePhD) and Ryan Lowery, PhD(c), MS (@ryanlowery14, also less twitter, more instagram:ryanplowery), in this very helpful discussion of their own work:
Critiquing a study based on the abstract is like reading the back of a book and trying to tell someone the details of what happens. Thereâ€™s much more than what meets the eye. However, this tends to happen far too often. Just because you read an abstract or a second hand critique of a study doesnâ€™t mean you should go around making bold claims and opinions of a study.cite>Ketogenic Dieting and Body Composition- Beyond the Abstract – Ketogenic.com
I have mentioned previously here that it’s incredibly hard to interpret peer-reviewed research today because of the myriad of potential conflicts, and because they don’t tell “the story” in the way peer-reviewed articles are written to strip out almost all subjectivity (or interestingness 🙂 ). Ironic. It’s why I’ve questioned the relevance of peer-review for awhile….
With that in mind, it’s great to see a new generation of scientists who are social, telling the story behind the research, in a dialogue.
Because of the above, the methods, results, and how to interpret them are easy to follow
- The ketogenic (low carbohydrate, high fat) diet performed as well as the western (low fat, high carbohydrate) diet in terms of muscle mass increase, probably better in terms of loss of fat mass (discussion in the post referenced above)
- There were no significant lipid changes in either group (trend toward higher HDL for the ketogenic diet, trend toward lower HDL in the western diet) over the first part of the study
- Significant increase in triglycerides when carbohydrates were re-introduced to the ketogenic diet group – leaving them, on average, in the insulin-sensitive category, but nevertheless not a favorable change (as a result of carbohydrate refeeding, not the ketogenic diet part).
Other research has shown this trend toward worsening lipid values in high carbohydrate diet situations, even research that was designed to show the superiority of high carbohydrate diets in fat mass loss. Additional research has shown that these changes (increased triglycerides, reduced HDL) are more significant for cardiovascular disease than was previously thought based on LDL alone.