The Potato Diet

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
In 2010, I wrote a series of blog posts on the health properties of potatoes (1, 2, 3).  The evidence showed that potatoes are non-toxic, filling per calorie, remarkably nutritious, and can be eaten as almost the sole source of nutrition for extended periods of time (though I'm not recommending this).  Traditional South American cultures such as the Quechua and Aymara have eaten potatoes as the major source of calories for generations without any apparent ill effects (3).  This is particularly interesting since potatoes are one of the highest glycemic and most insulin-stimulating foods known.

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Food Reward Friday

Friday, December 14, 2012
This week's "winner"...

The Pizza Hut hot dog stuffed crust pizza!

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Is it Time to Re-write the Textbooks on Insulin and Obesity? Part II

Thursday, December 13, 2012
A new paper published on December 6th in the journal Science once again tackles the question of whether elevated insulin drives the development of obesity (1).  Mice were generated that lack Jun kinases 1 and 2 specifically in immune cells, impairing their ability to produce inflammation while having very few off-target effects.  These mice do not become insulin resistant when placed on a fattening diet, and their insulin levels do not increase one iota.  Are they protected from obesity?  People who read the last post should know the answer already.
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More Predictions of Rate Shock Because of the New Health Law

Last week, I reported on my informal survey of health insurance companies and their estimate for how much rates will rise on account of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").

Today, there are press reports quoting the CEO of Aetna with their estimate. The Aetna estimate is worse than mine.

From Bloomberg:

Health insurance premiums may as
much as double for some small businesses and individual

Conservative States: Do a Partnership Exchange? Expand Medicaid?

Sunday, December 9, 2012
Should states build their own health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ("Obamacare")?

Should states expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA?

These are the tough questions many, particularly conservative, states are now wrestling with. While it is too late for a state to now decide to build an exchange before the fast approaching launch date, it is still possible to

Food Reward Friday

Friday, December 7, 2012
This week's "winner"... Kellogg's Krave cereal!

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Is it Time to Re-write the Textbooks on Insulin and Obesity?

Thursday, December 6, 2012
A recent study in Cell Metabolism by Dr. Arya Mehran and colleagues found a result that, according to a press release, "could overturn widely accepted notions about healthy eating habits" (1), and has set the Internet abuzz.

In this study, researchers generated mice that lack one copy of the pancreatic insulin gene, and compared them to mice carrying both copies (2).  Then, they exposed both groups to a fattening diet, and found that mice lacking one copy of the insulin gene secreted less insulin than the comparison group (i.e., they did not develop the same degree of hyperinsulinemia).  These mice were also completely resistant to fat gain, while the comparison group became obese.  The authors came to some rather grandiose conclusions based on these results, suggesting that the "accepted model" that hyperinsulinemia is the result of obesity is "incompatible with our results that put the insulin hypersecretion genetically upstream of obesity".  Ergo, diet causes hyperinsulinemia, which causes fat gain.  It's a familiar argument to those who frequent Internet diet-health circles, except in this case the hyperinsulinemia is caused by a high-fat diet.

The problem is that the "accepted model" they want to replace overnight didn't come out of thin air-- it emerged from a large body of research, which was almost completely ignored by the authors.  When carefully considered, this evidence suggests an alternative explanation for the results of Dr. Mehran and colleagues.

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The Affordable Care Act: Ten Months to Launch "Obamacare"––Get Ready for Some Startling Rate Increases

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
What will health insurance cost in 2014?

Will the new health insurance exchanges be ready on time or will the law have to be delayed?

There Will Be Sticker Shock!
First, get ready for some startling rate increases in the individual and small group health insurance marketplace due to the changes the law dictates.

In a November 2009 report, the CBO estimated that premiums in the individual