Weekend Bonus: Salt & Stress, Slob Song, and an Interview

Salt and Stress

On the news this morning, I saw a quick report that salty foods may reduce stress.  No details given.  So I looked up an article about the study online.  Here’s the opening:

If you’re the kind of person who turns to comfort food when you’re under pressure, what type of food do you instinctively choose: sweet or salty? If the only thing that makes you feel better is chips, crisps, salted nuts or other savoury snacks, scientists think they know why.

Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, psychiatrists from the University of Cincinnati suggest high levels of salt in your bloodstream helps to lower the levels of stress hormones. Not just that, but it raises your levels of oxytocin too – a feel-good hormone that scientists believe we produce when we fall in love, for instance, or when a mother bonds with her baby.

All right!  Pass me the salt shaker!  I need to calm down!

Turned out, however, it was just a rat study:

The researchers carried out tests on lab rats to find out how they responded to stress. The animals that were fed salty foods prior to the tests were found to have less activity in the parts of their brains associated with processing stress compared to those who had eaten food with a normal salt level.

The animals with high levels of salt recovered faster after being stressed too. Brain scans also showed they had higher levels of oxytocin when they had more salt in their systems (a condition known as hypernatremia).

I don’t think we should make too much of a rat study … but still, it got me thinking:  Mayor Bloomberg in New York City has been waging war against salt, demanding that restaurants and food manufacturers reduce sodium levels.  Sure would be fun to watch if the end result is an even higher level of stress among New Yorkers.  Just what the Big Apple needs.

Interview in Muscle & Strength

I was interviewed this week for Muscle & Strength online.  I have to admit, that request surprised me.  I work out, but I’m not exactly a poster boy for bodybuilding.  Regardless, I enjoyed the interview, which you can read here.

Slob Song

A musician named Steve Far immortalized the Fat Lazy Slob theory of weight gain in a song:


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24 thoughts on “Weekend Bonus: Salt & Stress, Slob Song, and an Interview

  1. Steve Shaw

    Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed by Muscle & Strength. Muscle and strength building aside, there is a culture reliant on carbs that resides in fitness that can definitely be obsessive compulsive at times. For so many years the information flow has been controlled by a limited number of sources and perspectives. This interview, and your hard work, helps to bring “health” back to the health and fitness scene, small fatty bite by small fatty bite.

    Thanks again Tom!

    –Steve Shaw
    Content Manager
    Muscle & Strength

    Thank you, Steve.

    Reply
  2. Steve Shaw

    Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed by Muscle & Strength. Muscle and strength building aside, there is a culture reliant on carbs that resides in fitness that can definitely be obsessive compulsive at times. For so many years the information flow has been controlled by a limited number of sources and perspectives. This interview, and your hard work, helps to bring “health” back to the health and fitness scene, small fatty bite by small fatty bite.

    Thanks again Tom!

    –Steve Shaw
    Content Manager
    Muscle & Strength

    Thank you, Steve.

    Reply
  3. Laurie

    Okay, I confess, what you are about to read…..I admit it- I have officially gone around the bend. Just a warning. The Domestication of us humans BY wheat.
    I finally re-located the hunger relief organization I was looking for with the ‘wheat stalk’ logo. It is called ‘Feeding America’ and it’s got a big honkin’ wheat icon. Plants have taken over our language….’Whole Foods’ Markets sells soy fakin’ bacon and breakfast cereals and whole wheat bread. Soy products are not whole foods by any wild stretch of the imagination. ‘Whole wheat’ is totally, completely and incontrovertably inedible to humans without egregious processing. Which leads me to this:
    Yesterday I heard on our local news that nearby BIG U is banning cigarette smoking on its campus both indoors and outdoors and even if you are in your car driving through the campus, you can’t smoke!. Now I am not a Libertarian, and smoking is not a healthy practice, but after I was done laughing over how silly this is……it got me thinking (as I warned you above). Not only has wheat domesticated us for its purposes and co-opted our language and the TV machine we invented so it could advertise itself, it’s now competing with another plant for our undivided attention and fealty- tobacco. Nicotine in tobacco is addicting, but we do not ingest and digest its seeds, like we do with wheat, so it hasn’t had to be so all consuming of us to get us to turn hundreds of millions of acres of aerable land into desert for its propagation.
    ANyway, ‘The VEgetarian Myth’ turned me on to the possibility of wheat and other grain plants domesticating us instead of the other way around. Michael Pollan feels that corn has its own government department. THe USDA is really the ‘department of corn’. Now I’ve just started a book called “Parasite Rex’ by Carl Zimmer and I’m beginning to suspect that our friendly gut bacterial passengers have more to say about what we crave and what we eat and hunger for than meets the eye.

    Bizzaro hypotheses these. I know

    Bizarre, but nonetheless intriguing. I expect to find wheat staring at me through my bedroom window some night, scheming …

    Reply
  4. john

    I’ve seen many studies showing sodium decreasing adrenalin/noradrenalin.

    Human studies? I’d like to see those.

    Reply
  5. Laurie

    Okay, I confess, what you are about to read…..I admit it- I have officially gone around the bend. Just a warning. The Domestication of us humans BY wheat.
    I finally re-located the hunger relief organization I was looking for with the ‘wheat stalk’ logo. It is called ‘Feeding America’ and it’s got a big honkin’ wheat icon. Plants have taken over our language….’Whole Foods’ Markets sells soy fakin’ bacon and breakfast cereals and whole wheat bread. Soy products are not whole foods by any wild stretch of the imagination. ‘Whole wheat’ is totally, completely and incontrovertably inedible to humans without egregious processing. Which leads me to this:
    Yesterday I heard on our local news that nearby BIG U is banning cigarette smoking on its campus both indoors and outdoors and even if you are in your car driving through the campus, you can’t smoke!. Now I am not a Libertarian, and smoking is not a healthy practice, but after I was done laughing over how silly this is……it got me thinking (as I warned you above). Not only has wheat domesticated us for its purposes and co-opted our language and the TV machine we invented so it could advertise itself, it’s now competing with another plant for our undivided attention and fealty- tobacco. Nicotine in tobacco is addicting, but we do not ingest and digest its seeds, like we do with wheat, so it hasn’t had to be so all consuming of us to get us to turn hundreds of millions of acres of aerable land into desert for its propagation.
    ANyway, ‘The VEgetarian Myth’ turned me on to the possibility of wheat and other grain plants domesticating us instead of the other way around. Michael Pollan feels that corn has its own government department. THe USDA is really the ‘department of corn’. Now I’ve just started a book called “Parasite Rex’ by Carl Zimmer and I’m beginning to suspect that our friendly gut bacterial passengers have more to say about what we crave and what we eat and hunger for than meets the eye.

    Bizzaro hypotheses these. I know

    Bizarre, but nonetheless intriguing. I expect to find wheat staring at me through my bedroom window some night, scheming …

    Reply
  6. john

    I’ve seen many studies showing sodium decreasing adrenalin/noradrenalin.

    Human studies? I’d like to see those.

    Reply
  7. eddie watts

    i seem to recall taubes did some writing on salt and the fact that the current stance is not backed up by much, if anything, before he moved onto fat and metabolism.
    do you have any links for that? was talking about it to someone, but i think this is old info and a google search has only turned up blog posts, not taubes’ writing

    This is the one he wrote on salt:

    http://www.stat.berkeley.edu/users/rice/Stat2/salt.html

    Reply
  8. eddie watts

    i seem to recall taubes did some writing on salt and the fact that the current stance is not backed up by much, if anything, before he moved onto fat and metabolism.
    do you have any links for that? was talking about it to someone, but i think this is old info and a google search has only turned up blog posts, not taubes’ writing

    This is the one he wrote on salt:

    http://www.stat.berkeley.edu/users/rice/Stat2/salt.html

    Reply
  9. Auntie M

    Call me weird, but the most interesting thing to me when I’ve seen all of your recent interviews is that most of the interviewers say that Fat Head is a “new movie”. It’s amazing how something like Netflix and Hulu put you on the radar so quickly. Modern technology is amazing. Hopefully it’s hitting the public at the right time to create a ripple effect of change. Way to go!

    It is amazing. A year ago, I figured we’d reached a decent-sized audience and would continue picking up a handful more every month. Then Hulu and Netflix came along, and it’s as if the film was just released.

    Reply
  10. Dave

    Saw this article in my google news feed:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/news/la-heb-carbs-at-dinner-20110408

    It describes a study that put one group on a standard low-calorie diet (the control group, of course) and a second group on basically the same low-calorie diet, but they waited to eat the majority of their carbs at dinner. I found the actual journal article that the LA Times article referred to, but you have to pay for access:

    http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/oby201148a.html

    I don’t really feel like paying for access to read an article about research that doesn’t seem finished. I just keep wondering to myself, what if they tried a third group that did a low-carb diet all day? I just find it sad that research like this so often falls victim to standard assumptions (i.e. the lipid hypothesis), and thus, the researchers don’t even think to try something (like the low-carb diet) that violates said standard assumption.

    A third group would’ve been a good idea.

    Reply
  11. Auntie M

    Call me weird, but the most interesting thing to me when I’ve seen all of your recent interviews is that most of the interviewers say that Fat Head is a “new movie”. It’s amazing how something like Netflix and Hulu put you on the radar so quickly. Modern technology is amazing. Hopefully it’s hitting the public at the right time to create a ripple effect of change. Way to go!

    It is amazing. A year ago, I figured we’d reached a decent-sized audience and would continue picking up a handful more every month. Then Hulu and Netflix came along, and it’s as if the film was just released.

    Reply
  12. Dave

    Saw this article in my google news feed:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/news/la-heb-carbs-at-dinner-20110408

    It describes a study that put one group on a standard low-calorie diet (the control group, of course) and a second group on basically the same low-calorie diet, but they waited to eat the majority of their carbs at dinner. I found the actual journal article that the LA Times article referred to, but you have to pay for access:

    http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/oby201148a.html

    I don’t really feel like paying for access to read an article about research that doesn’t seem finished. I just keep wondering to myself, what if they tried a third group that did a low-carb diet all day? I just find it sad that research like this so often falls victim to standard assumptions (i.e. the lipid hypothesis), and thus, the researchers don’t even think to try something (like the low-carb diet) that violates said standard assumption.

    A third group would’ve been a good idea.

    Reply
  13. Amber

    Maybe kids should sing this song (a slightly edited version possibly) in school instead of old Macdonald with his carrots.

    I’d vote for that.

    Reply
  14. Amber

    Maybe kids should sing this song (a slightly edited version possibly) in school instead of old Macdonald with his carrots.

    I’d vote for that.

    Reply
  15. Milton

    Bloomberg’s war on salt may make sense now, considering the high rat population in New York City.

    Reply
  16. Susan

    Have you read the research from Dr. Batmanghelidj on the subject of using water and salt being a “cure” for a lot of diseases because the majority of them are caused by severe dehydration? I read one of his books in our public library and found more info from the website watercure2.org. I have to warn you that it’s a cheesy looking website but is very informational.

    A few years ago when I was at my healthiest, I was walking every day for 30 minutes, drinking 8 glasses a water, and adding 1/4 tsp. of sea salt (dissolving on my tongue, and then drinking the water). My BP went from 120/80 to 112/75 consistently. I recently haven’t been able to walk because of severe joint pain from possibly lyme disease. I just realized too that I haven’t been drinking my water and adding salt like I had before, but now plan to doing that again.

    I’m not familiar with his work, but I’m not afraid of salt at all.

    Reply
  17. Susan

    Have you read the research from Dr. Batmanghelidj on the subject of using water and salt being a “cure” for a lot of diseases because the majority of them are caused by severe dehydration? I read one of his books in our public library and found more info from the website watercure2.org. I have to warn you that it’s a cheesy looking website but is very informational.

    A few years ago when I was at my healthiest, I was walking every day for 30 minutes, drinking 8 glasses a water, and adding 1/4 tsp. of sea salt (dissolving on my tongue, and then drinking the water). My BP went from 120/80 to 112/75 consistently. I recently haven’t been able to walk because of severe joint pain from possibly lyme disease. I just realized too that I haven’t been drinking my water and adding salt like I had before, but now plan to doing that again.

    I’m not familiar with his work, but I’m not afraid of salt at all.

    Reply
  18. Ellex

    “I expect to find wheat staring at me through my bedroom window some night, scheming ”

    Have you ever been to Iowa in corn growing season? Because I will swear on a stack of Bibles that after a rainstorm I can *hear* the corn grow. Between that and the inherent creepiness of corn fields I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the USDA is run by sentient corn stalks…..

    Ok I probably would be surprised.

    Sounds like an idea for a Stephen King novel.

    Reply
  19. Ellex

    “I expect to find wheat staring at me through my bedroom window some night, scheming ”

    Have you ever been to Iowa in corn growing season? Because I will swear on a stack of Bibles that after a rainstorm I can *hear* the corn grow. Between that and the inherent creepiness of corn fields I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the USDA is run by sentient corn stalks…..

    Ok I probably would be surprised.

    Sounds like an idea for a Stephen King novel.

    Reply
  20. Mike

    Tom – Do a Google search for “salt research insulin resistance” and you’ll get a few hits – some pro-salt and some anti-salt. This study shows a low-salt diet causes higher noradrenaline secretion after insulin injection in human subjects. I can see a few possible flaws in the study, but it’s interesting.
    http://www.clinsci.org/cs/113/0141/1130141.pdf

    Interesting.

    Reply
  21. Mike

    Tom – Do a Google search for “salt research insulin resistance” and you’ll get a few hits – some pro-salt and some anti-salt. This study shows a low-salt diet causes higher noradrenaline secretion after insulin injection in human subjects. I can see a few possible flaws in the study, but it’s interesting.
    http://www.clinsci.org/cs/113/0141/1130141.pdf

    Interesting.

    Reply

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