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Insulin: Body Weight and Energy Production by Dr. Scott Connelly - CrossFit Journal

In ExPhysiology, Nutrition, Reference, Videos

April 04, 2010

Video Article

On March 12, 2010, Coach Greg Glassman and a small crew visited Dr. Scott Connelly in the Los Angeles offices of Progenex. The intent was to tap into Dr. Connelly’s vast knowledge of metabolism, particularly as it relates to long-term fitness and health.

The result was over 90 minutes of education about the relationships among glucose, insulin, ATP, protein, body weight and health. This is a dense, fast-moving presentation worthy of multiple viewings. Topics include:

* Why a calorie is not just a calorie.
* How insulin resistance was evolutionarily beneficial.
* How “dieting” can make you fatter.
* What happens when you hit the calcium wall.

Part 1 - 34min 56sec
Part 2 - 30min 14sec
Part 3 - 36min 7sec

About Dr. Connelly (from Progenex):
A summa cum laude graduate in neuro-physiology from Boston University, Dr. Scott Connelly went on to obtain his medical degree and subsequent post-graduate training in the allied disciplines of internal medicine, anesthesiology and intensive-care/cardiovascular medicine from teaching hospitals at both the Harvard and Stanford university schools of medicine. While working with critically ill intensive-care patients at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Connelly began researching products that would help prevent their loss of muscle mass. It was while working as a senior fellow at Stanford University that he created a protein powder that he dubbed “Metamyosyn,” the base ingredient of MET-Rx.

MET-Rx pioneered a new category of bodybuilding supplements that became known as “meal-replacement powders,” or MRPs. Dr. Connelly eventually sold MET-Rx in 1999 to focus on his research into specific whey protein fractions that would create the ultimate nutritionally based formula that speeds healing, hastens recovery and improves strength. His new company, Progenex, and its subsequent sports formulations, are the culmination of that research.

Dr. Connelly is the namesake of UCLA’s Connelly Laboratory for Applied Nutritional Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine, Division of Clinical Nutrition, and is the author of Body RX: Dr. Scott Connelly’s 6-Pack Prescription.

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Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:


105 Comments on “Insulin: Body Weight and Energy Production”


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Been waiting to see these!


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Awesome video... can't wait for the 2nd!


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More Dr. Scott please !!


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I love sinking my teeth into these types of lectures.


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The end of part 2 was good stuff... watching part 3 now.


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Great videos! Even though about 60% of the information was over my head, the remaining 40% was well worth me sitting down and watching all three videos consecutively. If you care about understanding your nutrition than this series is a must! I look forward to hearing more from Dr. Connelly. I listened closely to see if Dr. Connelly contradicted any of the information from the Zone and Paleo diets and it appears that it falls in line. Incredible information and what a great benefit to the CrossFit community. Nice find Coach!


Brian White wrote …

Absolutely amazing. Much of it was over my head but he explained alot.


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Is this science or co-marketing?


wrote …

Great lecture. If you enjoyed it, I highly recommend reading Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.

@ Matthias
This is science.


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I found this lecture triplet interesting. I've learned most of this in medical school, and despite having nightmares of boring medical physiology textbooks in the first few minutes, I continued watching.

There was no signs of marketing in the clips, except that Dr. Connelly is wearing a Progenex hat. He's hardly forcing the product in your face.

I liked some of his early examples - although, I gather that a few them, such as the person on corticosteroids, lost people(as some of the acronyms would have as well) unless you already knew physiology. (Probably a waste of time for him to explain it - if you were lost, and keen, all the acronyms he used are commonly available on numerous websites through a google search.)

The websites that have been posted in the comments would most likely be thrown out as garbage by both Dr Connelly and Glassman. While I generally agree with what is being proposed (in the video), the CFJ does have a demonstration (or confirmation?) bias. The CFJ chooses the sources of information to put on display. Of course, the CFJ chooses the points of view that agree with the message that the CFJ is trying to get across. Picking and choosing in science is considered cheating and poor form.

However, I get the feeling that CFHQ and the CFJ consider the nutrition "debate" similar to the Flat Earth Debate. For example, group A says the earth is flat, while Group B states that the world is round. This is known to be true. Joe Schmoe journalist then reports "DEBATE RAGES ON OVER WHETHER THE EARTH IS FLAT", and silly John Q Public gets confused and thinks there is a debate. As such, I can't see the CFJ ever putting out a video series like this with someone who believes the "other side" - that Connelly, Atkins, Taubes, Reaven and Kaplan are all wrong, and that fat makes you fat and calories in determines your weight.

Youtube search the Gary Taubes on Larry King Live - he "debates" the doctor from Oprah's show, some trainer, and some other academic. He steadfastly holds his position because he believes there is no alternative.

Without detracting from his whole message, because I believe what Dr. Connelly said to be true, there were times that I didn't believe him. Most notably, his rant about 90% of people being vitamin D deficient. Most sources say you need anywhere from 5-30 minutes outside with moderate skin exposure (say hands, arms and face). He lives in California?! No way are 90% of people low. Maybe in northern countries like Finland and Norway, and parts of Canada where it's dark and cold in winter, but not Cali. So I call BS on that claim. But overall, he is correct. Do not let one minor point taint the entire thing.....


wrote …

Very interesting. From a trainer perspective I would be curious to drill down into the application of that wealth of knowledge (apart from eat few carbs). Also, I appreciate Matt's well written comment but I would also add that it isn't CFJ's duty to deliver both sides of the story. It's our job as critically thinking consumers of information to seek out multiple points of view.


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These are great videos. Basically a condensed version of the carbohydrate hypothesis that Taubes discusses at length in GCBC. The only critic I have is the notion that it is the Carbohydrates in general. I think evidence points more in the direction of too much: Fructose, Wheat & Linoleic acid (compared to omega 3) rather than just a percentage of calories coming from carbohydrates. In the Kitavans we see them absent of chronic disease with a diet ranging from 60-67% carbohydrate. But once they adopt gluten grains (percent of cal from carbs stay the same) we seem them start to develop western diseases. It just doesn't seem to be glucose alone causing this. I think Dr.Connelly might agree seeing that he went relatively in-depth discussing the lipogenic effects of fructose (in a fed state) and showing the animal model where the only difference was the omega 3:6 ratio.


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I loved this video for its depth and variety on endocrinology. The rest of my comment is a fanatically specific complaint relevant only to his brief description of hypoglycemia.

Perhaps I missed an intended caveat on his description of hypoglycemia. Dr. Connelly said that if it's a true hypoglycemic shock, the subject won't recall it afterward. That's true occasionally, but only occasionally. The brain is affected in many, very inconsistent patterns, by people who chronically experience hypoglycemic shocks (all these people are type 1 diabetics who are injecting insulin to 'manually' manage their metabolism, as I do. It is extremely unlikely that a non-type-1 diabetic could experience sustained, repeated, or sufficiently severe hypoglycemic shock, mostly due to balancing factors including glycogen, adrenaline, cortisol, and others.) He also described the process proceeding from loss of consciousness to grand mal seizure. This process also is inconsistent, and he oversimplified it dramatically.

Many type 1 diabetics have experienced grand mal seizures without loss of consciousness (I've experienced this 7 times, meaning episodes including grand mal seizures, albeit with some loss of consciousness and memory mixed in). I have experienced several hundred episodes of severe hypoglycemia (symptoms are highly varied, from the mere adrenaline-induced, to bizarrely specific and variable aspects of brain failure), and in my experience most paramedics with a lot of field experience seem to have a good grasp on the varieties of hypoglycemic shock, while most endocrinologists have laughably shallow knowledge of hypoglycemic shock (and I've read the absurd texts from which they gained these grotesquely unrealistic accounts.)

I don't understand why he makes the claim he does about memory necessarily being lost in the process of a severe hypoglycemic shock. It certainly isn't true of hypoglycemic shock, nor does it make any sense according to what we know of brain function and trauma, even from the unusual mechanism of hypoglycemia. Memory loss is very specific, while the brain failure of hypoglycemia is wildly erratic in its effects and general in its mechanism or approach.


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@ Matt Soloman, good review, and while I agree it's important to examine both sides of the argument (and many others as usually there are more than just 2 sides) I believe Taubes did a great job of it in GCBC.

Also... Northern California is in line with Southern Ontario. I don't remember at which level of latitude it is, but above that people are deficient in vitamin D for approximately half the year. It's an odd argument to make, and I'd liken it to gluten and it's sensitivity. If you're a practicing doc trying to help your autoimmune/chronically inflamed patient, generally you'd take them off gluten (among other things).


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Very technical video, I did a search recently about Progenex and found that Dr. Connelly bought the rights to sell the protein from a company in Australia named Ascend. After looking at Ascend's web site the ingredients between the two company's products appears to be the same. Ascend's research team did not mention Dr. Connelly but another man as the creator of the formula.


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I find it kind of odd that Dr. Connelly supports a line of products (Projenix) that contain aspartame as an ingredient.


replied to comment from Matt Solomon

Matt - great post. However, realize you have not measured a lot of folks for vitamin D. Go out and talk to people who do measure for this and then get back to us. I think you'll be surprised. The theory of it is we spend so much time covered, in clothing or SPF3000 super block, that we don't exercise our vit D making machine. As with anything else, use it or lose it. IOW - most are deficient not only in the D, but in the capacity to make the D.


replied to comment from Cameron Mochrie


I read the BS guy's (James Krieger) critique of Taubes book. I agree that some of Taubes assertions are yet to be fully examined, like the Carbohydrate and cancer connection. But as far as crushing the lipid hypothesis and presenting the data from decades of studies that demonstrated that caloric restriction fails where carbohydrate restriction succeeds for weight loss he was completely thorough.

@ Matt
That 90% Vit. D deficiency assertion probably comes from his belief that far more Vit. is needed than current guidelines.

Here is a more thorough look at the calories in calories out nonsense
and a critique of Taubes book. And again, if you really have an interest in the subject read the book.

Even Docs like Dean Ornish who have based their careers largely on the lipid hypothesis are starting to hedge their bets.


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"demonstrated that caloric restriction fails where carbohydrate restriction succeeds for weight loss he was completely thorough."

First hit for "underreporting of food intake":

Any study with self-reported food intake (hint: that's going to be pretty much any that concluded that "carbs are teh evil") is so flawed as to be useless.


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replied to comment from Cameron Mochrie


Strawman.(hint: many of the studies cited in Taubes book were not self reported. They were conducted with confined individuals, some were in mental institutions and others were incarcerated conscientious objectors to the war.)

The results showed that macronutrient ratio played a defining role in whether or not the subjects lost weight. This might spoil the surprise for you but the studies showed that diets of restricted carbohydrates effectively achieved weight loss goals while general caloric restriction did not. Furthermore, even when the low carbohydrate group went calorie unrestricted they maintained their bodyweight.


replied to comment from Cameron Mochrie

I read Alan Aragon's critique of Dr. Lustigs fructose presentation.

Aragon concludes with the usual "The big picture solution is in managing total caloric balance with a predominance of minimally refined foods and sufficient physical activity."

What many including Aragon fail to recognize or address is that the willful ability to maintain caloric balance is driven by insulin levels and insulin levels are driven by carbohydrate intake.

The increase in total caloric intake from 1970 to 2007 is not because Americans suddenly became gluttons. Its because carbohydrate intake increased, fat storage increased accordingly and less energy was available for daily use. And that resulted in greater hunger.


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Even more significant in the carb wars is that one can restrict calories with low carb and not encounter increased hunger levels - virtually never the case for groups of people with high carb, low cal diets. The reason is ("in theory" because I do not believe this is 'proved' although I proved it to myself for myself) that with protein and fats as primary macronutrients, the body gets no signals to store glucose as fat - ie, no insulin secretion - and thus has body fat stores available for fuel. Further, protein tends to stimulate glucagon secretion, which liberates stored body fat (but glucagon is switched off by high levels of insulin). Taubes doesn't speculate much on cause and effect of these low cal studies as I recall - just points out that the effect is well documented. Low cal, high carb equals hunger and symptoms of starvation; low cal, low carb, not. Again, nice thing about this is you can self test. Self test does not a science make, and it won't work for every single human (nothing will), but there's nothing to match experiential learning.


replied to comment from Cameron Mochrie

Cameron - thanks for the link, look forward to a full digestion of it. First blush, looks to me like you missed Taubes' point.


replied to comment from Cameron Mochrie

Another one for a full digestion later - but just the first blush, he sets up straw man arguments. Will be a fun exercise to work this one over on my blog.


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There is a lot more to Vitamin D absorption than simply going outside. For example, vitamin D synthesis from the sun is not possible during most winter months for people living in places located at a latitude of more than 40 degrees N or 40 degrees S because the sun doesnt rise high enough. The 40N latitude runs through northern california, so just because you live in california doesnt necessarily mean youre synthesizing an adequate amount. Canadians, of course, live north of the 49th parallel, which means they cannot rely on sun exposure for vitamin D synthesis from October to April.

Another factor influencing Vit D synthesis is the time of day. More Vit D can be synthesized when the sun's rays are the strongest, generally between 10 am and 3 pm. This poses a problem for people who work inside all day. Also, on overcast days, or when there are high levels of pollution (ex. L.A.), we may synthesize little or no Vit D at all.

Perhaps of simply "calling BS" because you "dont believe him", you should do some research, or ask some questions. Youll learn far more by asking then by telling.



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Fantastic.. More of Dr. Connelly. Bump!


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I love how everyone is an expert and wants to call the man to task.

For whatever he is on a personal level (and I don't know him, so I have no idea), Dr. C is a genius when it comes to physiology and he made some GREAT points in that video. I don't agree with everything he has to say, but I do 99% of it.



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Chris - I'm w you on enjoying this vid, but criticism is necessary to learning, so I try not to get myself worked up over it. However, no one should expect a free ride; criticize but expect to have to back it up.

Much of what he covers is also there for the taking in GCBC, but I love how Dr. C frames this - again, wish Gary T could tell the story as well. Paul


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As a "healthy" survivor of a heart attack at age 45 - while jogging - this is the first explanation that makes ANY sense. The *only* thing in my blood work that was above normal was my triglyceride level. My cardiologist has never had any answer for why I had a heart attack. And, yes, it was a bad one - LAD artery, 100% occluded.

The primary change I've made from a dietary perspective is to cut WAY down on carbs.


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Michael, get the TNT Diet book from Men's Health. Dr. Jeff Volek is a HUGE proponent of insulin control and discusses its role in whole body metabolism quite a bit. I think you would find it a good read.

Paul, my point is that nutrition and physiology are EXTREMELY complex topics and Dr. Connelly has a level of expertise and knowledge which is broad enough in the categories to lend great credence to what he has to say. Most experts have a relatively narrow perspective in a given endeavor. The people commenting negatively here may know quite a bit about some specifics, but they don't have the bigger picture view that Dr. Connelly does and therefore should not be questioning what he has to say simply because it does not jive with their limited perspective.


replied to comment from Chris Mason

Well put.


wrote …

I have to agree with Chris as I know first-hand about Dr. Connelly. He is a genius. Does everyone know that he created MET-Rx? I personally worked for him back in the day and he is still as sharp as a tack. What a great lecture! Thanks!


wrote …

By far the most enlightening nutrition video in this entire journal. I am going to watch this one several times. I dont feel so bad about eating fruit now.


Skin pigmentation also affects Vit D synthesis doesn't it?

I think the statement that 90% of people are deficient makes sense compared to what you could expect native populations to synthesize during our evolutionary history, if not compared to WHO recommended minimums.


replied to comment from Cameron Mochrie

Dr. Connelly's statement, more or less:
- fructose consumption has increased from ~5% to 20% of caloric intake
- this is bad because
---it gets converted to triglycerides
---it 'sterifies' fat (help me with that exact word please
---it is a potent glycating sugar (makes AGEs)

The link you referenced seemed a serious beat down of the other doc's presentation - one I don't like either - but hardly a refutation of the above three claims. 20% of a 2000kcal diet would be 400kcal, about 100g of fructose, unless he's saying we're eating 20% kcal of HFCS, which is only ~50% fructose.

Either way, fructose is processed in the liver, essentially taking up processing power so the liver cannot assist in the insulin-glucose-conversion process as it optimally would. As a result, the system is taxed even harder to process the sugars you get w fructose, leading to accelerated insulin resistance and thus speeding us on our way to metabolic derangement.

Enough theory, here's one study that makes a strong case for fructose's special perils:

Another link that summarizes some of the pieces Dr. C presented:

And while I'm at it, another on Vit D:
which includes this gem (if true): "90% of adults over 40 years old have lost the majority of their ability to activate vitamin D in the skin. A typical response might be an increase in blood level from 25 to 35 ng/ml--a 10 ng increase with a dark brown tan."


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Yes, skin pigmentation also affect Vit D synthesis. People with darker skin pigmentations, such as Asians, Blacks, and Aboriginal people, have lower levels of Vit D in their blood, regardless of the latitude or season. As a result they require more sun exposure to synthesize Vit D compared to lighter-skinned people.



I live in New Zealand and my Doctor - a holistic one, routinely measures all his patients vitamin D levels. He said every single patient measured low. He likes to see D levels at the top of the range.

We've just at the end of summer, and mine were low end of the range despite taking vitamin D 2000iu per day and getting some sun on my skin, and I have pale skin and make a point of getting sun without block a couple of times a week.


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Judas, 18 months reading and re=reading Taubes to get this stuff in my head ... and I could have just waited for this!!!


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Let me tell you guys... I studied Kinesiology in College and 80% of his stuff we covered in a class, called physiology of exercise, that study the cell (mitochondria or power house to be precise). Remember that the study of exercise as a field is fairly new compared to other branches of medicine, but his "making sense" of what happens in the power house is quite impressive... i want to send this link to my former teacher and see what she thinks... it's good, GOOD, Stuff!


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Jon, Julianne, and Paul...and everyone else paying attention to the vitamin D comments:

I understand how vitamin D is formed and it's function. It's complex blahblah thanks for the tips of go read or go do the test. No, I have not gone out and done any primary research and tested people myself. Myself and (presumably) every other medical student read textbooks and online sources for far too many hours every week. No credible sources (NIH, CDC, pubmed, Harrison's Internal Medicine) list statistics anywhere close to what Connelly said. He says 90% and then rambled about how he doesn't give supplements to everyone because he is an exact man or something. Those two facts (baseless claims and precision) don't go together.

Most importantly, use your head. Any doctor - and person with a little common sense - knows that if 90% of the population was deficient in any vitamin, it would be recommended that everyone take supplements. That would be simple, effective and CHEAP - like adding chemicals to tap water. He runs a company - he could make Progenex Vit D Tabs. He doesn't, because it's just not true.

Paul, I looked at the Vit D post on the heart scan blog. Dr Davis is a cardiologist, but he doesn't back up any of his claims (on that post...I may look at his site more later). Believing his opinion on face value is difficult when all other sources disagree - I need some more substance.

Julianne, your "doctor" runs a business. He makes money by convincing people they have a problem and he has the cure. I have no problem with people going above and beyond their regular doctor, but naturopaths/"holistic" doctors regularly disregard the rules of science. There is rarely evidence for what they do. Routine vitamin D testing is a waste of (presumably) YOUR money. (Note: Routine implies that it is done without reason, just because as opposed to after being presented with a symptom.) Furthermore, what evidence does he have that being at the top of the range is any better than being at the bottom end of the range? This rant is for another discussion. Read "Bad Science" by Ben Goldcare). The label complimentary or alternative medicine is redundant one. Once, any complimentary medicine option gets any scientific evidence for its validity and safety, real doctors add it to their toolbox.


wrote …

I think those who critique this stuff have little knowledge of cellular metabolism and processes. I too hear the myth about protein and that we can only synthesis so much and urinate out the rest. I hate to tell you but you will never find protein in the urine, if you do its a problem. In hearing what he said about diets and such especialy about evolution and references to the paleolithic area i would say that "paleo" is the way to go. I have been on it for roughly a month and seen incredible results. I think that his lecture was very detailed, thourough, and ground breaking. I will for sure be sharing it with everyone i know who deals with nutrition.


wrote …


I agree with you in that 90% seems like quite a high estimate and a bold statement. Most estimates ive come across range around 30-50%. The reason I replied to your comment is because I found it to be misleading for people who are not familiar with the factors that influence Vit D synthesis.

"Most sources say you need anywhere from 5-30 minutes outside with moderate skin exposure (say hands, arms and face). He lives in California?! No way are 90% of people low. Maybe in northern countries like Finland and Norway, and parts of Canada where it's dark and cold in winter, but not Cali. So I call BS on that claim."

5-30 minutes outside is useless for people living in Canada, or who wear SPF 15, for example, which reduces synthesis by 98%. Also, as I mentioned, just because you live in California doesn't mean you're synthesizing an optimal amount. Furthermore, as a Canadian, I feel it is important to point out that all Canadians are unable to synthesize Vit D between October and April, regardless of whether you live in dark and cold environments or not.



My Doctor is a real doctor, he is my regular doctor. By holistic I mean he looks further than just the standard tests. He tests for nutritional including vitamin D deficiency and corrects diet and deficiencies before prescribing medicine.
Many doctors don't even bother with diet - they go straight to prescriptions.

He makes no money from testing my vitamin D levels, nor does he then sell me his product - this is New Zealand not USA - our system bears no resemblance to the US.
All blood testing is free - paid out of our taxes, doctors visits are subsidized as are many prescription medicines. Hospital treatment is free to the individual - paid out of taxes.

I recently started post grad nutrition and the university I studied at is doing research on vitamin D, my professor noted that Vit D deficiency is indeed rife according to their own recent research, still in progress.

Also given I have auto-immune issues, and vit D deficiency is implicated in auto - immune probs I think it makes sense to get my D levels up.


replied to comment from Julianne Taylor

I agree with you that too many doctors don't consider diet thoroughly enough (or at all in some cases) but there are best practice guidelines. Doctors should follow them, test them, retest them, and update them if necessary. I apologize for assuming you meant a naturopath, holistic isn't a common description of an allopathic doctor but I shouldn't assume. Generally trips to accessory services, like a naturopath, aren't covered by public health care funding (or at least not fully), hence the payment comment.

(Side note: Doesn't NZ have a similar public-private scheme to Aus? Or a co-payment system?)

Doctors should perform tests that are necessary. "Routine" vitamin D, at this point, is not necessary - based off the available evidence.

If you have auto-immune issues, then the test isn't routine as I described it previously. It is indicated. Not doing indicated tests is bad practice. Big difference.


replied to comment from Jon Bell

I shouldn't have commented on his claim with a poorly informed one of my own. Glad you pointed it out.

Unfortunately, I just don't believe too much of it. This is a personal belief. The drop in Vitamin D cannot have 'that' much of an effect. Think of it with a Paleo mindset. People have lived in these parts of the world for thousands of years. The ozone is at it's weakest. The advice for vitamin D-sun time is outside of the 10am-3pm powerful sun window. And there simply aren't that many previously healthy people turning up with osteomalacia, rickets and other manifestations of low vitamin D every spring. I'm not saying it isn't a problem. But if 'all canadians don't get produce enough from sunlight' and according to Dr Davis on the Heart Scan Blog, "90% of adults over 40 years old have lost the majority of their ability to activate vitamin D in the skin". These all seem like over representations. Some people who might have low vitamin D should consume more vitamin D in their food - red meat, eggs, milk, whole fish, or supplements - to compensate.

The sky isn't falling.

Two things:

First, I found this in an abstract of a pubmed article: Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are premature birth, skin pigmentation, low sunshine exposure, obesity, malabsorption and advanced age. Risk groups are immigrants and the elderly. Vitamin D status is dependent upon sunshine exposure but within Europe, serum 25(OH)D levels are higher in Northern than in Southern European countries.

---for some strange reason vit D is lower in the South! Evolutionary adaptation to living in Northern Europe? Different diet? Secret government plan to put vit D in tap water?! Did I just come up with a grad students next study?

Second, this is a physiology based tip and I have no idea if this is recommended with vitamin D supplements or not (or whether it makes a difference for the pill form). But Vitamins A, D, E, K are fat soluble, so take the pills when you're eating some fat. Which shouldn't be a problem, since crossfitters love fat. And not carbs. And the video topic has gone full circle.


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"Believing his opinion on face value is difficult when all other sources disagree - I need some more substance." Matt, fair enough. I tried it this winter and had significant result, though I still have not measured. The exciting idea to me is that there's easy health 'money on the table'. Vit D is cheap, if the results of adequate levels work out to be as positive as Dr. Davis and others claim, that's all good, no bad. Interestingly, once I read the post, ran into a half dozen sources talking about Vit D within a couple weeks, including the folks organizing the new CF Nutrition Cert.


wrote …

They sky may not be falling but few letters on the subject in the usually ultra conservative British Medical Journal shows that even the most cautious corners of the medical profession are starting to get a little edgy:

and you just have to look at the regularity and type of information coming out on the subject to think that, yes, they may have a reason.... note that these were from the last few weeks on just one aspect of the d3's health picture[Jour]+AND+2010[pdat]+AND+geisler[author]&cmd=detailssearch

It's interesting to say the least.


wrote …

Is there any link to his world record (aortic reconstruction) that he mentions?
I'm very curiouse about that!


wrote …

So... not to nitpick but I think with a somewhat controversial topic like this details are important. In the first video when he's talking about Rocky the hibernating hampster he implies that insulin sensitivity causes Rocky to gain weight for the coming winter and insulin resistance is responsible for the weight loss. This is not an accurate statement, as insulin sensitivity will lead to lower insulin levels because the body is getting more bang for its buck from the insulin it's secreting. Glucose is more efficiently getting into the cells and being converted to energy. This would not lead to weight gain. Insulin resistance leads to weight gain because the body has to release more and more insulin to get the same effect. This increased insulin state is what leads to weight gain. So how is it going to help this hampster lose weight? I understand what Dr. Connelly is trying to say but it doesn't help his case when he contradict himself on some of the bigger points he's make. Unless someone sees it differently...


I think both authors (here and your linked one) are basically in agreement. Both are essentially pointing out that you can't apply this over-simplified energy balance equation accurately (change in body weight = calories in - calories out) without taking the myriad of other things going on into account.



Quick comment. I recently read of an MD (oncologist) out of Riverside County in CA that was testing his patients for D3. He significantly found that the cancer patients (I believe breast cancer but going off memory here) were D3 deficient. Keep in mind it gets really hot and sunny there.

If you look through the literature, you'll find that some researchers are making a compelling case for recommending higher levels of D3 (1000) than what the current U.S. RDA is (400).

Garland, CF; Garland, FC; Gorham, ED; Lipkin, M; Newmark, H; Mohr, SB; Holick, MF (2006). "The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention". American journal of public health 96 (2): 252–61.

Link to the full article:

Also, in order to synthesize proper levels of D3, wouldn't you need large areas of your skin uncovered, such as the back and chest? Paleolithically, humans probably cruised around mostly naked... Feral children have shown that we humans can tolerate cold temperatures with little clothing (found naked in the snow, showing no discomfort, and doing just fine). However, skin cancer is always a concern too so maybe supplementation is a safer bet?

Anyway, I would think that being clothed, women wearing make-up (and some men? lol), SPF, etc., would mitigate our ability to produce good levels D3 even at lower latitudes (California) than the cold north.



replied to comment from Joe Lengel

Joe -

Ground squirrel vice hampster.

Insulin sensitivity - means any glucose in the animal's blood will be forced into the tissues, and prevents fat from being liberated from stores. Thus - Rockey gets fatter. He cannot burn fat, and anything he eats that results in a rise in blood sugar will be forced into his body tissues by the slightest bit of insulin secretion. He's a fat storing machine from nose to toes. BTW, this is how you and I should be most of the time - and for the same reason, in theory. In summer, our caveman ancestors got carbs in summer, ate a lot, and fattened up to both get fertile and to have some excess stored energy for the winter.

As hibernation kicks in, Rocky becomes insulin resistant. Any glucose his body manufactures from stored fat or other tissue remains in the blood, available for use by the brain and nervous system which cannot run on free fatty acids. His fat stores and other tissues dissolve to fuel his CNS until spring. To be clear, I'm not certain why he would need to be IR at this point as there should not be enough glucose to stimulate an insulin response. But obviously he'll shift from his summertime hyper insulin sensitivity at least back to normal.

So I don't think Dr. C contradicted himself. But he is talking about IR and IS in different terms that we usually see with humans, in which, after pummeling ourselves w too much carbs and thus insulin, we become insulin resistant, meaning we must secrete extra insulin to control our glucose levels. With chronically high insulin levels, the body is unable to liberate any stored fat; insulin is a 'master hormone' and over-rides the handful of other hormones that, absent high insulin levels, allow the body to liberate stored fat. Low blood sugar becomes a demand for more sugar via food - aka hunger. It also signals the body to conserve fuel - core temp drops, activity level drops, all of the means the body has to survive starvation kick in, since at the cellular level, that is what is taking place. IOW - we have made ourselves into a 'fat trapper.'


replied to comment from Paul Eich

I disagree …

I think there is more to the picture than insulin sensitivity alone. Insulin sensitivity just means the cells are more efficient at recognizing insulin. This should keep the insulin level low which would not drive glucose into the cell for storage unless the squirrel is taking in more calories. But Dr. Conelly says that even when food intake is kept steady there is weight gain. That doesn’t make sense in an insulin sensitive environment. If there is no increase in intake then an insulin sensitive animal will not release more insulin because if it did its blood sugar would bottom out.

The way I understand it is, under normal conditions, glucose enters a cell to be converted to ATP (energy), it is not converted to glycogen unless there is an overabundance of glucose. So in the presence of normal blood sugar levels glucose is converted into energy to be utilized by that cell. Glycogenesis (the conversion of glucose to glycogen for storage) takes place in the liver and muscle cells when there is excess glucose floating around, which shouldn't be the case with insulin sensitivity.

So, if Rocky is sensitive to insulin he will maintain a lower blood sugar which should stimulate glucogon release leading to the breakdown of glycogen stores producing glucose for use in the cells. Insulin sensitivity will help Rocky lose weight. An insulin resistant state will lead to higher circulating glucose levels which will lead the liver to produce glycogen for storage, causing Rocky to gain weight.

This is seen in Type 1 Diabetics who are sensitive to insulin but do not have as great a propensity to gain weight as a Type 2 Diabetic who is resistant to insulin.


wrote …

Joe - what's your speculation/conjecture/theory for how Rocky gets fat no matter his intake?


replied to comment from Joe Lengel

I think the scenario is as previously described, but he compensates for the reduced intake with reduction in activity, or core temps, or some other glucose conserving maneuver. Speculation, granted.


wrote …

Paul and Joe,

You might find some answers here:

There's a button for the full paper on the upper right.


wrote …

"This should keep the insulin level low which would not drive glucose into the cell for storage unless the squirrel is taking in more calories."
--I think is where you and the Doc part company. It's not the calories that drives the fat accumulation - the insulin makes fat, depriving the body of their use, leading to continued fat trapping activity/behavior/adaptation. If Rocky's in a cage, he's not expending the energy stores in his tissues at a high rate - rather, he does not have to do so (he could be active or docile).

So Rocky's tissues easily saturate with stored glucose (in cage, low activity level, consumption could be slowed to only what is the minimum needed for CNS maintenance and minimal activity) converted to whatever the tissues need (glycogen, ATP, whatever) - so now, nearly anything he eats becomes 'excess glucose'. Thus the 'exquisitely insulin sensitive' Rocky continues to accumulate fat. The way I can see this model not working is if Rocky is eating such a small amount he's not required to secrete any insulin - which is what he's doing when hibernating. IOW - even T1 diabetics have to have some insulin, even when they are not eating carbs, not to control blood sugar, but to get necessary nutrients into tissues (running out of depth of knowledge here). The point is, short of starvation, he's going to have to pump some insulin to get some of the food he's eating into his tissues (assuming that ground squirrel food is mostly sugar not protein or fat).

Admittedly, I don't know what's happening, just speculating along the line of thought Dr. C described.


wrote …

Joe Lengel,

You have to understand the concept of sensitivity. If you are sensitive to insulin then less will do the job, that is true, but what is also true is that if you are sensitive to it then the cells will have a greater response to insulin. One of those responses is lipogenesis, or the creation of new fat. So, if someone is insulin sensitive and then consume a lot of carbs which stimulates insulin release, then they will be extra efficient at turning that glucose into fat. Does that make sense?



wrote …

First, this 60+ comments are part of why I enjoy the CFJ so much. Thanks for contributing.

Second, here is my take on insulin sensitivity and resistance.

The squirrel becomes more insulin sensitive in the summer/fall before hibernation begins. It also eats everything in sight. Higher insulin sensitivity does give you 'better bang for your buck', meaning more blood glucose enters the tissues. The excess glucose in tissues becomes fat (if it isn't used during the squirrel's daily WOD). The key feature is that the squirrel is continually overeating. Thus, bringing the blood sugar level back up causing more insulin secretion. In winter, Connelly explained, that insulin resistance goes up. The bodies stores of energy are limited. The muscles aren't moving (except perhaps thermogenic shivering to help keep warm? or they are in a warm hole? i don't really know). Insulin resistance gives the benefit of limiting what tissues use the available glucose. This allows much of it to go to the brain - which requires a specific amount of glucose, whereas other tissues can get away with less glucose and more ketones, etc.

During hibernation the squirrel has plenty of energy storage (at the beginning). But it's mostly in the form of fat, not glycogen. Fat can be used for energy, as ketones but cannot be turned into glucose. Glycogen can be turned into glucose (or into triglycerides to help make fat...which is what happens in the fall, pre hibernation). The insulin resistance is needed because glycogen supply is limited to mostly the liver and muscle.

People with insulin resistance are a different story due to the way/timeline that food is consumed. It might be helpful if they hibernated, but we don't. Chronically high blood glucose levels (usually from a really crappy Western diet) leads to insulin resistance. Continual high secretion of insulin desensitizes the receptors. Diabetics end up with two main problems: One is as Paul mentioned, about never being able to burn fat, because they are convinced they are in insulin mode -thus trying to store more fat. The other big one is the effects of high blood sugar leading to "Advanced Glycation End" (AGE) Products - which is what Dr Connelly was talking about. These lead to the more well known effects of diabetes: peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy, atherosclerosis (and infarcts), etc.

I think someone also mentioned why, when insulin sensitive the squirrel ate less and still gained weight. I don't know for sure, but I would think that he meant a little less/brief period of time. For example, not stuffing his face and still gaining weight because his body is effectively using everything it consumes. Further, I don't think it would last forever. I think his body would assume that hibernation started if it didn't eat food at all, and start that process. I vaguely remember some magazine articles about hibernating animals, like bears, are getting confused by the weather/climate changes. They go into hibernation too early because of a massive snowstorm that occurred a month or two early. This last paragraph is clearly going beyond my depth though...


wrote …

I skimmed through the vitamin D-cancer prevention article. I think you're comments are accurate - but I'd be hesitant to declare that it works yet, or at least how well, in preventing cancer. There is most likely a lot of self selection. People taking vitamin D are health conscious, thus they probably eat better diets, exercise more, etc. Hard to tell which factor makes the biggest difference or if they work have the same affect without the presence of the others...

There are two links posted a bit above your post, one of them includes an RCT of school children getting vit D over winter and influenza rates. This would be stronger evidence for the use of vit D. It would need to be reproduced in some larger studies, like 3000 students or more, instead of 300.

And these articles, opinions in the BMJ, etc are more reason to believe that the textbook is on it's way out! They are helpful with much of the basic sciences that don't regularly change, but it's impossible to keep up with medicine's updates. Or maybe I spend too much time writing in here and not enough keeping updated on the latest vitamin D-ebates.



Yeah, science is all about proving causation through correlation. I was more trying to illuminate possible D3 deficiency in Southern California (where it's plenty sunny) AND compelling arguments that current RDAs might be low-balled. I like your textbook comment too. I've gotten really good at reading abstracts hehe.



replied to comment from Matt Solomon

Thanks for the article Kevin! Paul and Matt, please see the top of the left column on page 78.

"Both hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance are transitory, however; they develop as the animals fatten in preparation for hibernation but are reversed after hibernation begins. Similar findings regarding serum insulin levels, hyperinsulinaemia in the autumn (September and October) compared to winter, spring and summer, have been reported for ground squirrels.42"

This validates my first post where I said Dr. Connelly contradicts himself. The overall point that weight gain is not dependant on caloric/carbohydrate intake alone makes sense. However, he lost me when he said insulin sensitivity leads to pre-hibernation weight gain and insulin resistance helps pull the squirrel out of hibernation.

Chris... I understand the concept of insulin sensitivity. What you state in your post makes sense but the way information is presented in this video is that increased insulin sensitivity without an increase in caloric/carbohydrate intake will somehow magically lead to weight gain.

As I first stated, it is nitpicking and I understand what the Dr. is saying he just said it backwards, which in a debatable topic like this can cause confusion.


wrote …

"The key feature is that the squirrel is continually overeating. Thus, bringing the blood sugar level back up causing more insulin secretion."
--Matt, Rocky stars in Taubes' GCBC also. The part that is weird is he gains weight in the pre-hibernation season, even when calories are restricted via cage life. That's why his case is paradoxical from the "a calorie is a calorie and don't you know the laws of thermodynamics" crowd. IOW - when Rocky's hormones are set to "prepare for hibernation", he gets fatter whether he's doing squirrel WODs and stuffing his face, or if his caloric intake is significantly limited. Thus, his stardom for folks who are trying to make the case that calories are not the basis of obesity, hormones are. In the same way, pregnant women don't gain weight because they eat more, they eat more because they are putting on weight. Adolescents don't get bigger because they eat more, they eat more because they are getting bigger. Babies don't grow because they eat more, they eat more because they are growing (which is not to say that all of these phenomena are completely unrelated - at some point, kids don't grow if they don't get fed, and adolescence likely is delayed if adequate nutrition is not present).

Forgive me if this is all old news for you, not sure if you know Taubes' work or not.


From my research and reading vitamin D deficiency is far more prevalent that one would assume
Here is one an NZ study:

From the study:
"87% of women had 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L. 61.2% of women had a vitamin D level below 25 nmol/L consistent with severe vitamin D deficiency. 10 women had an elevated parathyroid hormone consistent with secondary hyperparathyroidism. Only 22% of our patients were veiled, and included a diverse ethnic population, including African, Maori, European, Middle Eastern, and Polynesian women."

Given these kinds of studies - it seems many more people are at risk than assumed. The message also in NZ is cover up, and use sun block, as we have such strong burning rays here. So even fair people who would otherwise get sun are now lily white and D deficient. It seems smart (to me) to check pretty much everyone that doesn't get sun exposed regularly.

Re health provision in NZ - yes there is a private system - which is an optional extra. Useful if you want to get a non urgent operation without going on a waiting list or seeing a specialist more quickly. I have it, but never needed to use it yet, the public system has so far worked quick enough for me.
All accidents are covered by a government insurance no blame scheme which is I understand one of the most efficient and cheapest in the world.
paid by employers and vehicle levies.


wrote …

Yea, I know and like the analogies. I haven't read GCBC, but have read his articles and watched one of the longer lectures he did. This is confusing. I think I meant squirrels/hibernating animals in general. That's how their system is wired to work. There is then carry over when it has reduced calories. I don't think I had a full appreciation of Rocky's story. What happens to Rocky if the cycle of under eating is continued for years or generations? Does his hormonal response change?

Joe, I think I'm lost. hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance will decrease in hibernation because there is little glucose in the blood, therefore low insulin secretion and more insulin sensitization (to the nil/limited amount). As I type this, I see what you're getting at. This newly increased insulin sensitivity in spring (in combination with eating lots and secreting lots of insulin) will both lead to weight gain ...and create insulin resistance as the receptors get used more. What I just said goes along with that article I think and not the statement in the video you are talking about as backwards. I don't know about that. I'd have to rewatch to see what he said....

Insulin receptor sensitivity, insulin secretion and food consumption all contribute to weight gain/loss and are all changing...

This is like a mental 'Linda', my head hurts...


wrote …

That study is of pregnant women, not average population. But yes, there seems to be many pieces online about an increasing number of low vitamin D rates across many population types.

The no fault insurance thing is supposed to be good. Makes me wonder whether everyone should use it or if it only works in a small, low populated country? Do you still get treated nicely, if you got out of the car in a Reds jersey and screamed that McCaw is a cheater?! hahah! (Joking...he's amazing!)

I'm going to lie in the sun.


wrote …

"Both hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance are transitory, however; they develop as the animals fatten in preparation for hibernation but are reversed after hibernation begins. Similar findings regarding serum insulin levels, hyperinsulinaemia in the autumn (September and October) compared to winter, spring and summer, have been reported for ground squirrels.42"
--Best I can tell, this is saying they start insulin sensitive and become resistant as they fatten, which is what happens to humans, too. It also seems they eat less as they fatten. In which case, my description above is inadequate. Maybe what we're seeing is illustrated by Dr. C's later point that adipose tissue does not become I-resistant so still accumulates fat after the animal manifests all the characteristics of I-resistance.

I don't think this is the smoking gun that the Doc mis-spoke, not that I care if he did or didn't, I just want to make sense of the info. Consistently he points out in the three vids that I-sensitive folk put on weight - and I-resistant folks don't. So you take the "trinidad baby" who's adapted to starvation and I-sensitive and they become remarkably obese in adulthood. The I-resistant human who eats too many carbs can still become diabetic but without becoming obese, iow the skinny diabetic. If I have this much right, the only folk that add fat tissue when insulin resistant are those who are already obese and then become insulin resistant - ?

So, Joe, are we still seeing this differently?

Kevin, thanks for the link.


wrote …

Here is a good calculator for determining how much sun exposure you need to make a healthy level of Vitamin D at various latitudes, seasons, and weather conditions. It's like the Whole Nine fish oil calculator, in that I was shocked at how much more I needed to be getting.


wrote …

Matt and Paul, I'd say we're on the same page with regard to the squirrel. For me, it would be nice to know where Dr. Connelly pulls some of his numbers/proportions from... but that's another discussion. Thanks for good converstation.


wrote …

Joe, I found it very useful also.

As I think about it now, it high lights the brilliant of Dr. Atkins' method - start w ketogenic metabolism to get a rapid result, then add in carbs over time to find the carb load that stabilizes body weight - for most it was under 100g. This is a conceptually simple approach but would cover those either more or less naturally insulin resistant.


Adam Kayce wrote …

I found these videos really fascinating, especially the part in the third video when he spoke about people whose SNS' & thyroid hormones were wrecked from years of yo-yo dieting. As someone who was "raised on a diet" (thanks to an overweight mom w/ a Weight Watchers fixation), bodyfat levels have been a challenge of mine since I was 6 years old.

My guess is that many trainers & affiliate owners have boxes littered with people who are dealing with this right now (or will)... I, for one, would be interested to hear from people who have found results from the ephedrine/caffeine & armour thyroid supplementation that Connelly mentions, or have any additional information about it.


Great video--I took many pages of notes to keep in mind what he was saying. I learned a lot. Nice to see most was meshing with what I already learned about carbohydrates, glucose, and insulin from my forays into researching nutrition. I would love to know more about Dr. Connelly's stance on fat since he really just touched on protein and carbohydrate.

Unfortunately, the videos left me a bit confused at the end. How would we characterize ourselves in the first place: insulin sensitive or insulin resistant? By Dr. Connelly's association of diets high in glucose resulting in insulin sensitivity, I would think most of us are coming from insulin sensitivity since at least in the US since 1970 we have had near unlimited access to carbohydrates and they have been emphasized in dietary advice at the expense of protein and fat. Dr. Connelly's suggestion was drugs to fix insulin sensitivity resulting from yo-yo dieting by calorie restriction. I can't accept that as the only or best answer. I believe there has to be a nutritional answer too. What can we fix in the diet?

So if our starting point is insulin sensitivity, how do we become insulin resistant? I thought it was by excessive glucose flooding our system until the system breaks and our response is dulled, like the "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Thus, it takes more and more insulin to get glucose out of the blood. By the association of insulin resistance with metabolic disorders, it seems like we don't want to become insulin resistant. Do we just want insulin sensitivity without weight gain? Would that be possible by restricting carbohydrates? Unfortunately, this gets confusing because Dr. Connelly said Eskimos who had little to no carbohydrate were insulin resistant. But wouldn't someone on a carbohydrate-restricted diet then become insulin resistant by the same mechanism?

If one did become insulin resistant, could it be healthy if a low-carb diet is maintained? What about high-carb meals every once and awhile, as suggested by many low-carb approaches--would that be dangerous?

How would intermittent fasting fit in with this continuum? Would you be insulin resistant during the fast (as Dr. Connelly mentioned), but insulin sensitive after? Where would you rest on non-fasting days?

Sorry if this is confusing, but I am having trouble wrapping my head around these interactions and I would love to know more. Any help you can provide would be...helpful! Thank you in advance!



replied to comment from Scott & Kristy Amory

How would we characterize ourselves in the first place: insulin sensitive or insulin resistant?
--We are on a continuum - if young, likely we are fairly close to the midline of the range. IE, either IR or IS but not to pathological levels.

drugs to fix insulin sensitivity
--Drugs for those who are pathologically IS and obese; could be these folks would lose weight on Atkins, but they would also still be very insulin sensitive and have to be very disciplined after their weight loss.

Do we just want insulin sensitivity without weight gain? Would that be possible by restricting carbohydrates
---yes and yes; somewhere between 50-100g/day likely best for you depending upon your individual variances.

Eskimos who had little to no carbohydrate were insulin resistant. But wouldn't someone on a carbohydrate-restricted diet then become insulin resistant by the same mechanism?
---think of the continuum. Eskimos are insulin resistant to avoid shunting glucose to storage, thus leaving it available for the brain; but they are not 'pathologically IR.' Think on standard deviation away from 'average insulin sensitivity.' Pathological IR is the long term chronic high carber, who's dumping massive loads of insulin to avoid toxic sugar levels.

If one did become insulin resistant, could it be healthy if a low-carb diet is maintained?
---Yes, this way one avoids the 'glycemia' that he points out is the real risk of the western diet.

How would intermittent fasting fit in with this continuum? Would you be insulin resistant during the fast (as Dr. Connelly mentioned), but insulin sensitive after
---To change the insulin sensitivity, the fast would have to be longer than 'intermittent fasting.' In general, fasting for short periods - guessing less than a day at a time and not more than weekly - would make one more insulin sensitive. Ramadan, for example, was shown to improve all measures on a fasting lipid profile, indicating better insulin sensitivity after the ~30 days of fasting during daylight hours.

Keep in mind - you get what you pay for .... but I hope this helps.

IOW -eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar ...


replied to comment from Paul Eich


Call it normo-sensitivity for the sake of discussion. The swings between sensitive and resistant are just adaptive physiology so long as the the sensitivity normalizes when the abnormal stressors (starvation, HCD) are removed/corrected. We might consider it pathological when there is an inability to normalize sensitivity even when exposed to an appropriate diet.

The squirrel's sensitive and resistant states are appropriate expressions of his genes. They are responses to his natural environment and beautifully synchronized with his requirements for survival. Without these swings in sensitivity, hibernation would be close to impossible (realize that there are a ton of other mechanisms at work re: hibernation) or he'd be too fat to survive the summer. Either way, the ground squirrel dies off as species or ends up thriving in warmer climes as a different version of a squirrel. (Or maybe becomes a predator and hunts in packs for deer in the winter? That would be something to see).

We are wired similarly in the ability to subconsciously modulate IS based on what quantity and type of food is being consumed. Its what we expose our system to that causes the effect. The system is merely responding. The squirrel has no choice in its environment, we do, and we can really wreak havoc on the system by driving a normal adaptative mechanism into a pathological state. If you dose yourself into the extremes of S/R frequently enough for long enough, you end up staying there with the well-known consequences.

As far as the Eskimos go: could the difference be that they are low in carb ingestion but not starving for food in general as is the case with the concentration camp example? That's my take anyway.

Love this topic.


replied to comment from Kevin B Sandberg

Kevin - I like that term (normo sensitive), thanks.

I think your eskimo conjecture is correct.

Experiments have shown a similar effect with diets high in protein/fat - even on very low calorie levels (~1200/day), subjects do not report the hunger, emotional aggitation, reported 'coldness' (IE difficulty maintaining homeostatis in body temp), and lethargy compared to those eating the same number of kcals but not enough protein/fat. One explanation is that these relatively high pro/fat diets do not stimulate insulin, therefore do not lock stored body fat in the fat cells; in effect, the subjects are not 'starving' until they run out of stored fat. In both the eskimo case and the low carb low cal diets, insulin sensitivity would not be significantly impacted (if it was normo sensitive to start with). But this is all conjecture obviously! Or it could be called mental testing of the model. Paul


wrote …

Regarding operationalizing his protien recomendation, I weigh about 180 pounds, so 180 * 5 = 900 g protien / day. He also said not to take more than 30 g / meal. So should I take 30 meals of 30 g (every half hour for 15 hours), or am I mangling what he said?


replied to comment from Thomas Carlson

I don't think he was recommending 5 grams of protein per pound of bodweight (or did Glassman say per kilogram when he injected that comment in the video?). I think that, in light of everything he had illustrated in the hour or so preceeding this anecdote, he was trying to illustrate the baseless foundation of many prevailing nutritional recommendations, in this case that there were (very conservative) levels of protein consumption that one should not exceed. His personal experience, consuming orders of magnitude more protein than considered "acceptable" by government standards, supported his scientific understanding. His basic point was that the government recommendation for protein intake was very low (USDA RDA for protein is 0.8 gm per kg bodyweight (0.36 gm per pound of bodyweight).

One additional nuance of determining how much protein to consume is this whole issue of "bioavailability" or protein efficiency. As he points out, your cells don't know protein, fats, and carbs, only amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose. So the metabolic result of "30 grams of protein" will vary depending on source.


wrote …

Hit a busy patch with some projects for work and finally got some time to sit down and really watch these clips. I enjoyed them immensely and got the extra bonus of this long and interesting comments thread.

Paul et al. -- Dr. Connolly says rather early in the first clip that, as body's only significant mechanism for controlling BG, adipose tissue remains "exquisitely sensitive" to insulin under all circumstances. Not sure whether that's the bit you're referring to, but during the convolutions my brain went through trying to reconcile IR/IS, fat loss/fat gain, pathological/non-pathological, it helped me to keep this thought in mind.

Matt -- You'd know better than I on this, but doesn't D play a much greater role in the body than just bone health maintenance? From what I understand, the theory is that bone density problems from low D indicate extreme deficiency relative to the body's needs, so the fact that there's no mass rickets outbreak isn't evidence that a large number of us aren't vitamin D deficient to the extent that it would adversely affect our health. I understand that D's role in immunity and immunomodulation are underappreciated?

FWIW, my own anecdotal experience is pretty interesting. Last fall, I started supplementing with D3. After over a month of near-daily intake of 2000 IU of D3 as supplement, I had my 25(OH)D tested, and it showed a surprisingly low 25 ng/mL. (I wish I'd had the presence of mind to get a baseline test before starting supplmentation). I've doubled my supplementation since. I plan to get it re-tested before the height of the summer hits to adjust dosage if necessary. Since starting this supplementation regime, I've had only 1 mild winter cold to speak of, avoided the flu entirely (I usually have at least 3 bad episodes of cold and a brush with the flu every couple of years or so, sometimes more if I train particularly hard, and I often get colds even in the summer). In addition, my spring allergy symptoms--usually debilitating from March through May without medication--have been extremely mild and I've only reached for the OTC allergy meds twice so far since the warm weather started. I've also seen a big decrease in year-round intermittent allergy symptoms from things like dust, pet dander, etc.

I haven't had a formal DEXA or anything, but recent MRIs and x-rays for knee problems haven't turned up anything worrying re: bone density. I'm fortunate to be lactose tolerant despite being East Asian, and since I love dairy, I've been a lifelong, rampant consumer of it (several servings daily). So it's unlikely that I was deficient in D, if you're gauging by bone health.

All this is anecdotal, as I said, so, *shrug*. I personally think Dr. Connolly is exaggerating for rhetorical effect, but I don't think the premise is ludicrous that the majority of people in industrialized countries are D deficient to an extent that adversely affects health.

Adam K -- No experience with the thyroid supp, but I am very familiar with what used to be called the ephedrine/caffeine "stack", though it's been many years since I've used any kind of fat loss regimen other than exercise (I still think E/C is an effective and safe option--more so than Rx weight loss drugs--for most people who want such a thing, and I still think ephedrine is a cheap, useful, and safe OTC drug that was unfairly targeted by uneducated mass hysteria and therefore made unnecessarily hard to obtain). Did you have any specific questions about it?


Steven Caddy wrote …

Thanks so much for this series. Really enjoyable to watch the tangents :)

Regarding IR/IS: recall that Dr. Connelly prefaces all this by pointing out that different tissues can be in vastly different states of resistance or sensitivity. As Simma Park noted, adipose tissue remains sensitive at all cost. Most of the discussion here seems to assume that the body is insulin sensitive or resistant in a systematic or global sense, which is incorrect.

I'm speculating, but it seems to me as though references such as "you're going to become very insulin resistant" are to skeletal muscle. It'd be great if someone could clarify that.

It also seems that whether or not insulin sensitivity is a good thing depends very much on what you're doing and eating. I guess what we want is to retain tissue our sensitivities but run really lean on the glucose (by restricting carbohydrate). And now that I type that I recall that he pretty much says those exact words...

Carry on! :)


Julianne Taylor wrote …

I just came across this article from Loren Cordain
41. Eaton SB, Cordain L, Sparling PB. Evolution, body composition, insulin receptor competition, and insulin resistance. Prev Med. 2009;49:283-85.

Which can be found here

This article talks about how the current body composition of low muscle mass and higher fat mass, causes a change in the ratio of insulin receptors in fat cells vs muscle cells and the importance of exercise to increase the number of insulin receptors in muscle tissue.


Thanks, Simma - I'm wondering about general dosages, actually... recommendations for time (post-workout? pre?) of the E/C, source (espresso? some kind of thermogenic supplement?), etc.

I'm not ultra-particular as far as needing anyone to quote studies or anything; I'd be fine with ideas and experience, in lieu of all the clinical stuff.


wrote …

Highly stimulating videos and discussion. Thank you for posting. Feed the brain! - with more than just glucose ;)

To me it reinforced the need to balance my intake (Zone), as well as continue to screw back those yummy carbs (Paleo). Breakfast is my big hurdle, but Dr Connelly made that very obvious.

Sure, a bunch of this went over my head. It is good to know smart people are on the case so I can focus on my slice, ie keeping the world safe.


wrote …

Simma, thanks. I think I'm with you on that point.

Starting in the AM (20 Apr), I have a five post series working through a nutritionist's critique of Good Calories Bad Calories (pls don't read this dear friend if YOU are a nutritionist!). If you've already read Taubes, this will be nothing new, but if you haven't, it's a cheap way to get some of the goods. It's a response to the link posted in #12 above.


wrote …

body weight ≠ calories in - calories out

simple enough but i think i got it...


wrote …

Nothing gets the comments rolling like nutrition. I really enjoyed these videos. The subject is fascinating. Great stuff.


wrote …

Since Cortisol from the adrenal glands controls the affinity of insulin for the insulin receptors on most cells; how does cortisol play a role in insulin resistance and glycolysis? Theoretically, super intense workouts should increase cortisol production thus "turn off" insulin receptors and increase glucolysis and ultimately stimulate lipogenesis therefore cause major problems with metabolism thru the Hormone sensitive lipase and lecthin pathways. Just a thought.


replied to comment from Matt Solomon

Matt, you make some interesting points. However, This so called "Science" that you are holding on to so tightly to invalidate other professions and support the "real" doctors obviously isnt working. Look at the facts, 4% of the world population (the U.S. Pop) exends 50% of all monies spent on health care in the world. What do we have to show for it? We currently rank as the 37th healthiest country and rank 16th out of the top 20 countries for unpreventable deaths (WHO). So whos out to make money? Obviously the current Science isnt working.You said yourself that you dont even read the research. The CDC actually has quite a bit of research on Vitamin D deficiency. Look up the facts before belittling others.


wrote …

Fantastic lecture series.

Most of everything Dr. Connely is stating is correct. The final proof of this is the fact that type 1 diabetes have to constantly change the site of injection of insulin because at that site a lipoma develops. A lipoma is benign tumor of fat. This indicates that insulin is a very powerful growth factor for the production of fat.

Matthias Corbascio MD PhD
Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm


wrote …

After watching this video series I went looking for a book by Dr. Connelly. All I could find was a book called "Body Rx" published in 2001. The nutrition advice is pretty similar to Zone but I though I would type up what I found on page 196.

Day 1(Chest and Biceps)
Machine Chest Press
Incline Press
Machine Flys
Dumbell Curls
Preacher Curls

Day 2(Back and Triceps)
Lat Pulldown
Seated Row
Seated Wide-Grip Row
Tricep Push-Down
Tricep Extension

Day 3(Legs, Hamstring and Calves)
Leg Press
Leg Extension
Leg Curl
Standing Calf Raise
Donkey Calf Raise

Day 4(Shoulders and Abs)
Shoulder Press
Seated Lateral Raise
Rear Deltoid
Forward Crunch
Reverse Crunch


wrote …

Any chance of getting this translated into simple English?!. It sure sounds impressive enough.


wrote …

Take back earlier comment. First 3 minutes I didn't have a clue, from then on - dam interesting!!.


wrote …

Just watched these all again. They were even better the 2nd time around.


wrote …

FINALLY had the time to sit down and watch all these...pausing to take notes the entire time. Very worthwhile! Thanks for posting these.


Richard Meurk wrote …

Not to bash his recovery drink but milk is quite a good source for calcium after the work out. As a bonus you get protein, fat, vitamin D, milk lactose witch all increases calcium absorption...


wrote …

Man ,with my limited undersatding of english ,this has been a revelation,that is why Iam leaving yoga back and becomeing a CrossFit certificate,Thanks Coach Glassman and Dr. Connelly.



Dustin Kreidler wrote …

Totally worth the cost of subscribing for a year. Unreal how dense the info in here is. Awesomeness abounds.


wrote …

I show everyone I know this series! I know it has helped me personally and from a coaching standpoint.


wrote …

I belong to the same industry but some points were really new to me. I would like to post this in my Facebook


wrote …

Such amazing incite. I could literally watch lectures like these all day. Thank you Coach Glassman.


wrote …

Such amazing insight. I could literally watch lectures like these all day. Thank you Coach Glassman.


replied to comment from Charles Rogers

insight.... crap... I'm a moron.

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