True or False? Caffeine is The Main Main Stroke Protectant in Tea & Coffee. High MCT Diets Are the Key to Longterm Fat Loss. Soybean Oil Makes You Fat not Heavy.

Adelfo Cerame Jr. after winning his weight class, the overall and the pro-card (leave him a message).
The first "True or False?" today, does not really pertain to diet and nutrition science, but it is still highly relevant for the SuppVersity:

Adelfo Cerame Jr. did eventually win his well deserved pro-card at the Wheelchair Nationals in Florida, yesterday. - True!

Ok, I have to admit that this may have been too easy with the picture of Adelfo holding the trophies for his weight class and the overall in his hands on the right, but it was the best way to include this important news "seamlessly" *rofl* into today's SuppVersity article.

You want some more difficult stuff? Well, let's see what you know about tea, coffee, MCTs and heated soy bean oil, then.

Caffeine (probably) is the main stroke protectant in coffee and tea

True. As a recent study from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil clearly indicates, the "bad" caffeine is at least one, if not the main anti-oxidants that's responsible for the neuroprotective effects of coffee, tea and co (Souza. 2013).

Caffeine is also part of the classic CCC fat loss stack (learn more)
According to the results of the paper MA Souza et al. are about to publish in one of the future issues of  Neurochemistry International, a 2-weeks front-load with 6mg/kg caffeine per day increases the glutathione (=master antioxidant of the mammalian body) levels in the brain and protects rats from the oxidative damage and subsequent seizures in response to the administration of pentylenetetrazol-induced seizures (pentylenetetrazol is a circulatory and respiratory stimulant that overtaxes the brain, when it is administered in high doses).

What you should keep in mind, though, is the fact that Souza et al. used a dosage that was way lower than the amount of caffeine the average stim-junkie is consuming. It is thus not unlikely (in fact it is quite the opposite ;-) that we are dealing with a hormetic effect that occurs at human equivalent doses of 0.97mg/kg (~1 small cup of coffee) and turn against you when you escalate the doses to four or five MonterBullDrinks(TM) per day... I mean, the mere willingness of spending money on products like this goes to show you that drinking them compromises people's brain function, doesn't it? No, well I guess you have to reread the "Fat Content Per Energy Drink 0g. Fat Gain Per Energy Drink Drink 18g Study", then (reread it).

Most recent epidemiological human data supports these findings

And in case you don't believe this was relevant, check out the latest study in Stroke, in which Kokubo et al. which does not only confirm the stroke protective effects of green tea and coffee (Kokubo. 2013), but also yields some insights into what may be the "optimal" intake. After all, it takes 2x more green tea to achieve the effect you get from >2x cups of coffee per day, which is another hint at caffeine as the major driving force behind the anti-stroke effects of tea and coffee. Why? Well a large cup of Starbucks' green tea has 80mg of caffeine, the same amount of their regular coffee has roughly 290mg of caffeine in it.
Figure 1: Age and multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of cardiovascular disease and its subtypes according to coffee (left) and green tea consumption in 82 369 Japanese (aged 45-74 years; without cardiovascular disease [CVD] or cancer in 1995 and 1998 for Cohort I and II, respectively) who received 13 years of mean follow-up through the end of 2007 (Kokubo. 2013)
Yet despite the validity of the "more caffeine = more brain protection" eqation the catecholamine surge of high amounts of green tea, but even more so coffee is not what you would call "heart healthy" (see figure 1; I would love to tell you the caffeine equivalents, but the scientist don't disclose the serving size). Just another reason to take it easy on stims in pill and drink form and keep your daily caffeine intake in the < 400 mg range (suggested read especially for the smokers: "Putting an "N" as in "nicotine" into "EC" amplifies the negative effects of ephedrine and caffeine on your heart";  read more)

Eating tons of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) will make you lean

Are we, or rather you, my American friend eating too much fat or simply the wrong type of fats? According to a study that was in the SuppVersity news in Nov. 2012, it's the latter the "SAD Diet Has the Optimal Ratio to Induce Diabesity" (learn more)
It depends. While it may be that you can derive certain benefits by kicking out junkfood from your diet and replacing it with MCTs the "fat-burning" effects of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) wear off after one to two weeks (White. 1999). Unfortunately, this is way longer than the usually cited studies on the direct metabolic effects lasted, so that a cursory look at the research easily fools you to believe that you could effectively burn fat by simply using MCT oils instead of whatever "bad" fat you had been using before.

Moreover, in the aforementioned study that was published in the American Jorunal of Nutrition roughly 14 years ago the postprandial total energy expenditure was already only 3% higher after the MCT meal in the first week. And it's not only that this advantage disappeared within the next 7 days, the respiratory ratio, a measure of the ratio of carbohydrate to fat oxidation, total fatty acid oxidation and carbohydrate oxidation were also identical in the  32% MCT and 32% LCT diets (both diets contained additional 8% of fat from other sources).

But what about all the other research?

While the transient benefits of the MCT feeding on energy expenditure alone are unlikely to have practical relevance there are a good handful of trials, which show some real world benefits in various dieting scenarios. Unfortunately, they are usually too short (Alexandrou. 2007), compare MCTs to beef tallow & co only diets, observe increases in fatty oxidation, which don't translate into changes in body composition (St-Onge. 2003), or have the subjects in the control group use relatively fragile control oils, such as olive oil for frying and cooking (St-Onge. 2008).

Accordingly, you should not be too surprised that the latest review of the effects of dietary intake of medium chain triglycerides on body composition, energy expenditure and satiety concludes: "
Curried Carrot Soup w/ coconut oil certainly qualifies as a good food choice, also bc. it's made with coconut oil, not plain MCTs (more).
"In the present review it was possible to verify that data related to increased satiety after consumption of MCT are quite controversial. Most studies showed no significant difference as to increased satiety and/or satiation related to lipid consumption. [...] A relevant fact in the lack of consensus among the studies concerns the large variation in the amount of MCT provided in different studies due to lack of reference values for a minimum, ideal and maximum consumption in literature. Moreover, there isn’t enough to long-term studies to identify either beneficial effects or potential harmful effects." (Souza. 2013)
If you go through the list of studies included in the review there are a couple other interesting patterns emerging: (a) the effects - if there were any - originated from the gut (mostly greater satiety effects), (b) if there were effects on body composition those often reached statistical significance in the obese individuals, only, (c) the benefits were more pronounced the less the subjects ate (esp. on those 800kcal hunger diets), (d) when the control was not nasty corn oil, or saturated long chain triglycerides (Atkins diet style), the effects were non-existent.

So, if your are lean, your current diet is balanced and your main fat source is neither corn oil nor beef tallow, the chances that you will be better off with expensive MCT oils than with a couple of spoons of coconut oil in your diet probably border zero. You see, it's just as so often not so much about "adding something in", as it is about leaving something else out / replacing it with a better food choice.

Soy bean oil offers a shortcut to metabolic disease even in the absence of obesity

True. I guess that this "true or false" item was actually way too easy to answer, but the recently published study by Potu et al. is simply too intriguing not to add it to the huge heap of existing evidence that the overabundance of "healthy" polyunsaturated fats from purportedly healthy plant oils is a major contributer to the fat mess we are dealing with.
Figure 2: Effects of 16 weeks on non-heated and heated soybean oil diets rodent food intake, weight gain and body fat (EWAT & IWAT) levels (Penumetcha. 2013)
Now, pro-obesity and pro-diabetic effects of corn oil, soy oil & co are actually no news. Penumetcha et al. do yet emphasize that they are the first to observe that soybean oil which has been heated on a hot plate at 190°C for 3 hours (think of the huge pots, frying pans & co that are used to produce convenient and fast foods) before it was added to the rodent chow has the unique ability to increase its consumers body fat levels without increasing their total body weight. Excellent, right?

Thats it for today! Ok, I guess that was too easy, as well. Still, it's true and I hope you enjoyed the last week and are already looking forward to the next week of exercise and nutrition science news here at the SuppVersity.

In the mean time you can kill some time by surfing over to the Suppversity Facebook Wall, where you will find news such as
  • Even if you align them like that, it is at least debatable whether capped fish oil is much more natural than the structurally modified 16 -carbon saturated fatty acid tetradecylthioacetic acid (TTA). And the usefulness of the longterm use of both remains questionable (learn more). 
    Beware of omega-3s unless you have the right genes -- New Inuit study confirms: If n-3 fatty acids are good or bad for you is in your genes (read more)
  • Muscular imbalances commonly overlooked factor in lower extremity sports injuries -- Scientists observe significant relationship of the coordination between muscle strength (ankle plantar flexor/ dorsi flexor), (hip addactor/abdactor), (knee flexor/ extensor) with muscle injuries (read more)
  • Arteriosclerosis is not a "neolithic" disease that occurred with the advent of agriculture -- Lancet paper debunks the myth of the "agricultural origin" of atherosclerosis (read more)
and when you are at it, don't forget to congratulate the one and only Adelfo Cerame Jr for finally bringing home those two small muscular statues you see in the image on the top of the page.

  • Alexandrou E, Herzberg GR, White MD. High-level medium-chain triglyceride feeding and energy expenditure in normal-weight women. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 May;85(5):507-13.
  • Kokubo Y, Iso H, Saito I, Yamagishi K, Yatsuya H, Ishihara J, Inoue M, Tsugane S. The Impact of Green Tea and Coffee Consumption on the Reduced Risk of Stroke Incidence in Japanese Population: The Japan Public Health Center-Based Study Cohort. Stroke. 2013 Mar 14.
  • Rego Costa AC, Rosado EL, Soares-Mota M. Influence of the dietary intake of medium chain triglycerides on body composition, energy expenditure and satiety: a systematic review. Nutr Hosp. 2012 Jan-Feb;27(1):103-8. 
  • Souza MA, Mota BC, Gerbatin RR, Rodrigues FS, Castro M, Fighera MR, Royes LF. Antioxidant activity elicited by low dose of caffeine attenuates pentylenetetrazol-induced seizures and oxidative damage in rats. Neurochem Int. 2013 Feb 26.
  • St-Onge MP, Bourque C, Jones PJ, Ross R, Parsons WE. Medium- versus long-chain triglycerides for 27 days increases fat oxidation and energy expenditure without resulting in changes in body composition in overweight women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Jan;27(1):95-102.
  • St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6.
  • White MD, Papamandjaris AA, Jones PJ. Enhanced postprandial energy expenditure with medium-chain fatty acid feeding is attenuated after 14 d in premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):883-9.
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