Tuesday, August 13, 2013

AHS Talk This Saturday

For those who are attending the Ancestral Health Symposium this year, my talk will be at 9:00 AM on Saturday.  The title is "Insulin and Obesity: Reconciling Conflicting Evidence", and it will focus on the following two questions:
  1. Does elevated insulin cause obesity; does obesity cause elevated insulin; or both?
  2. Is there a unifying hypothesis that's able to explain all of the seemingly conflicting evidence cited by each side of the debate?
I'll approach the matter in true scientific fashion: stating hypotheses, making rational predictions based on those hypotheses, and seeing how well the evidence matches the predictions.  I'll explore the evidence in a way that has never been done before (to my knowledge), even on this blog.

Why am I giving this talk?  Two reasons.  First, it's an important question that has implications for the prevention and treatment of obesity, and it has received a lot of interest in the ancestral health community and to some extent among obesity researchers.  Second, I study the mechanisms of obesity professionally, I'm wrapping up a postdoc in a lab that has focused on the role of insulin in body fatness (lab of Dr. Michael W. Schwartz), and I've thought about this question a lot over the years-- so I'm in a good position to speak about it.

The talk will be accessible and informative to almost all knowledge levels, including researchers, physicians, and anyone who knows a little bit about insulin.  I'll cover most of the basics as we go.  I guarantee you'll learn something, whatever your knowledge level.

12 comments:

Mark Rand said...

Can't wait Stephan, will you be posting here at some point?

Robert said...

Looking forward to the talk, Dr. Guyenet, and welcome to Atlanta.

As a native Atlantan who has worked downtown in the health department near where you'll be presenting, you will likely notice how prevalent obesity is in downtown Atlanta. If you swing by Grady Hospital, a hospital in downtown Atlanta serving many Medicaid/uninsured individuals, you'll notice there is a McDonald's conveniently attached to the hospital building. You may find it interesting to know that Emory University, a major university in downtown Atlanta with well-known medical and public health schools, has a $5 billion dollar endowment from Coca-cola.

Robert said...

I misspoke earlier, it would appear only $1.6 billion of Emory's $5 billion dollar endowment is from Coke (assuming 1996 share quantity of 39 million shares at current value of ~$40/share).

RLL said...

How soon will a transcript or online version be available. Both topics are immediately relevant to me and several family members.

Ginny said...

Looking forward to it Stephan, I will definitely be there. I know that Carl would be happy to have you on Super Human Radio again sometime, to illuminate this subject and talk about what you're working on now.

Grinch said...

I'm really curious what you have to say about this topic. Last time you brought up the upcoming AHS, you then seemed to imply that you don't still believe in the insulin hypothesis in the comments section. You have thoroughly debunked this hypothesis in your "Carb Hypothesis - a critical examination" post . Is there really anything new to add to this discussion?

George Henderson said...

I'm looking forward to reading this. A wrong hypothesis might make more sense with an adjustment of perspective and a few substitutions. I think science probably progresses more often when hypotheses can be modified than it does when they have to be rejected.

Jane said...

I think this should be very interesting. People are claiming you are changing your mind about insulin. 'Paradigm shift', they say. If so, you must be turning your back on most of the literature. Somehow I doubt it.

Christopher said...

Can we look forward to Epic Taubes Smackdown 2.0? :)

Grinch said...

Here's why I find this post from Stephan so confusing. Last time he posted about AHS he said the following in the comments,

"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."

And in older posts, Stephan brushes off the insulin hypothesis and once stated, and I'm paraphrasing, "I have not seen a shred of evidence that insulin causes obesity".

So if Stephan's beliefs on the topic have not changed, why is he even talking about all this new information he's going to be talking about today? What could possibly be new if yesterday he didn't believe insulin contributes to obesity, and today he still doesn't?

Brent Holm said...

Do you ever do presentations here in Seattle? This would be awesome to see.

TanyaL said...

Hope your presentation went well!