Thursday, May 2, 2013

Speaking at AHS13

The 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium will be held in Atlanta, GA, August 14-17.  Last year was a great conference, and I look forward to more informative talks and networking.  Tickets go fast, so reserve yours now if you plan to attend!

This year, I'll be speaking on insulin and obesity.  My talk will be titled "Insulin and Obesity: Reconciling Conflicting Evidence".  In this talk, I'll present the evidence for and against the idea that elevated insulin contributes to the development of obesity.  One hypothesis states that elevated insulin contributes to obesity, while the other states that elevated insulin is caused by obesity and does not contribute to it.  Both sides of the debate present evidence that appears compelling, and it often seems like each side is talking past the other rather than trying to incorporate all of the evidence into a larger, more powerful model.

There's a lot evidence that can be brought to bear on this question, but much of it hasn't reached the public yet.  I'll explore a broad swath of evidence from clinical case studies, observational studies, controlled trials, animal research, physiology, and cell biology to test the two competing hypotheses and outline a model that can explain all of the seemingly conflicting data.  Much of this information hasn't appeared on this blog.  My goal is to put together a talk that will be informative to a researcher but also accessible to an informed layperson.

On a separate note, my AHS12 talk "Digestive Health, Inflammation and the Metabolic Syndrome" has not been posted online because the video recording of my talk has mysteriously disappeared.  I think many WHS readers would be interested in the talk, since it covers research on the important and interdependent influence of gut health, inflammation, and psychological stress on the metabolic syndrome (the quintessential modern metabolic disorder).  I'm going to try to find time to make a narrated slideshow so I can post it on YouTube.

18 comments:

David L said...

Maybe you can persuade participants and audience to go to Wikipedia and give a serious makeover to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston_Price . Right now, it says silly things like the reason traditional societies didn't have "diseases of civilization" and the like is because they were poor and starving!

Grinch said...

In the past you've suggested you haven't seen much evidence that insulin contributes to obesity, are you saying there is now evidence saying it may be true to an extent? Is this coming from newly completed studies that have yet to be published?

Dylan said...

The narrated slideshow would be much appreciated. I would also be eager to eventually see your 2013 AHS talk.

Brad Dieter said...

Greatly looking forward to your talk at AHS! In fact it will be worth the trip alone. Also, I would love to be able to have access to your talk from last year.

Cheers Stephan,

Brad

richie said...

What about a third possibility that elevated insulin and obesity are not causally related, but are both caused by confounding factor?

alexi de sadesky said...

Both talks sound very interesting. Please do make a slideshow of the previous one available. Thanks!

Dan said...

Looking forward to both the narrated slides of AHS 2012 and the AHS 2013 presentation!

jojo said...

Can't wait for this! The evidence is soooo confusing and contradictory!

Kindke said...

Stephan do you not think you are expending a Disportionately large amount of effort tussling with insulin hypothesis of obesity?

I mean if the hypothesis is wrong then it should be easy and obvious to disprove and should not require the large amount of debate it has attracted.

Also have you seen this study?. Proponents of the calorie theory of obesity would need to explain the very strange results seen here. Grinding food into a powder produces obesity compared to hard-pelleted food of equal caloric intake. Infact this study makes me wonder if the whole problem with "grains" and refined sugar is nothing more than the fact they have been ground into a powder. It really puts the whole idea of "paleo" into a narrow perspective.

aluchko said...

I agree with Grinch that I'm a bit confused by this. Previously I'd taken your writing to mean that the idea of elevated insulin contributing to obesity was largely pseudoscience and not supported by research. Here it sounds like you're acknowledging a legitimate scientific debate.

I don't know the conference, is this talk an actual scientific talk about a current debate or more of a public outreach "here's the evidence for/against insulin contributing to obesity, and now you understand why it doesn't"

Bill said...

Hi Stephen,
Since the video isn't available, how would you feel about posting your slides from AHS12?

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Kindke,

The study you linked to poses no difficulties for the "calorie theory" as you call it. Mice that ate more calories gained more weight. However, the texture of the food influenced how many calories they ate. Therefore, the sensory properties of food influenced calorie intake, which influenced body fatness.

Hi Aluchko and Grinch,

There is no significant debate within the scientific community about whether or not elevated insulin is "the" cause of obesity. That discussion is limited almost exclusively to the popular media and frankly I find it of little value scientifically.

However, there is a minority position among scientists that elevated insulin could play some role in increasing body fatness, in conjunction with other factors. Although I don't agree, and I can back my position with evidence, I wouldn't call the opposing view pseudoscience. I also will not take a position of absolute confidence that elevated insulin plays no role whatsoever in driving fat gain-- the evidence doesn't currently support it IMO, but we haven't gotten to a level of evidence yet that eliminates all doubt.

Stephan Guyenet said...

By the way Kindke, that paper is interesting so thanks for passing it along.

Sara said...

Looking forward to hearing about this. I hope your talk can be videoed for those of us that can't actually be there.

Brendan Coburn said...

That sounds like such a great topic, really wish I could be there Stephan! Looking forward to watching the video afterwards, assuming it doesn't mysteriously disappear again.

Robert said...

Speaking of gut microbiota and obesity/T2DM, this recent article points to a specific bacterial strain as protective. The strain supposedly increases gut endocannabinoids which reduce inflammation, among other things.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/08/1219451110.abstract?sid=d9b48e49-6292-43a3-9f2a-c9af922552a9

Discussed in Nature.

http://www.nature.com/news/gut-microbe-may-fight-obesity-and-diabetes-1.12975

Bastard said...

Insulin is only one of a bunch of blood sugar regulating hormones. And apart from one they all have half-lives that are counted in minutes. Is any of the published research on the subject really... I want to say relevant but is it complete enough to form any conclusions?

Neonomide said...

There is a brand new critique on your and Kresser's views on CHD from last year's AHS, of which I'll put a google translation here if you're interested:

http://tinyurl.com/n48ou52

I'd love to hear your views on the Ramsden et al., Lyon Diet Heart and Sydney trials the writer disagrees in his text. Thanks.