Processed Meat is Bad for You, But Only if You Are Already a Type II Diabetic – Reduced Satiety Hormones, Vitamin C and Glucose Control After Veggie vs. Meat Burger

Is your love for meat going to kill you? Not if you’re not already a walking candy stick with sugar coated ateries and a beer belly.

I am pretty sure that the mainstream interpretation of the study at hand will be missing the important “but only if you ARE ALREADY a type II diabetic” in the headline of today’s SuppVersity article. Meat bashing and vegetarian protein worshiping is simply too “en vogue” these days for the average “science journalist” to stick to the actual data and tell you that the ingestion of isoenergetic processed meat vs. vegan high carbohydrate meals leaves only one conclusion:

For healthy individuals, processed fatty meals produce a much more favorable postprandial peptide response compared to the “allegedly super healthy” (and morally superior ;-) acetic vegetarian plant-based burger meal (a couscous burger: boiled couscous, baked with onion, garlic, plant oil, spices, oat-flakes in a wheat bun with sesame seedsmeal).

Learn more about meat at the SuppVersity

Meat-Love: You May Eat Pork, too!

You Eat What You Feed!

Meat & Prostate Cancer?

Meat – Is cooking the problem?

Meat Packaging = Problem?

Grass-Fed Pork? Is it Worth it?

Apropos burger! Now that you know the constituents of the the vegetarian test meal the 50 type II diabetics and 50 healthy controls were forced to eat contains, it’s about time to reveal that the processed meat meal was a standard fast food menu: cooked-pork seasoned meat in a wheat bun with sesame seeds, tomato, cheddar-type cheese, lettuce, spicy sauce, onion.

Table 1: Composition of the processed meat and vegetarian test meals (Belinova. 2014)

As you can see in Table 1 the veggie burger had a significantly lower caloric density, but delivered the same 455kcal per serving as its meaty counterpart.

In view of what you’ve read about the importance of energy density as a determinant of food intake and subsequent obesity risk in previous SuppVersity intakes, you’d be forced to believe that 56% lower nutrient density alone should be an unfair advantage for the vegetarian meal.

Figure 1: Differential reaction of markers of glucose management (plasma glucose and immonreactive insulin) and satiety (Ghrelin and GLP-1) in response to processed meat or veggie burger (Belinova. 2014)

As the data in Figure 1 clearly indicates, the low nutrient density alone couldn’t make up for the low nutrient quality and protein content. At least in the healthy subjects (dashed lines),

“[t]he plasma concentrations of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), peptide tyrosine-tyrosine (PYY) and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) were higher and the ghrelin concentration was lower after the [processed meat] M-meal.” (Belinova. 2014)

Similarly, the postprandial increase in triglycerides (rectangles, solid lines; Figure 2), we see in the diabetic subjects is not present in the healthy individuals, either.

Figure 2: Changes in markers of inflammation (Belinova. 2014).

And the TBARS and vitamin C levels (see Figure 2), as well as the levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase (all markers of the inflammatory response to the meal; not shown in figure 2) didn’t differ between the allegedly bad meat and the allegedly healthy vegetarian meal, anyway.

My previous article “CHO Shortage in Paleo Land” deals w/ another instance of over-generalized data from studies on obese / sick subjects and the confu- sing consequences | learn more.

Bottom line: Don’t fall for the tricks of vegetarian bloggers and mainstream science journalists who abuse hand-picked data from the study at hand to “prove” their personal (or the public) conviction that meat is bad and vegetarian meat “alternatives” are good for all of us – that’s bullshit.

If there is anything the study at hand “proves”, it is the already well-known, but commonly ignored  fact that overweight individuals with a BMI of 33kg/m² or more and significantly elevated HbA1c levels (indicative of full-blown type II diabetes) react totally different to foods than the ever-shrinking majority of people with normal insulin sensitivity | Comment on Facebook!

What? No, that’s not a reason to lose your focus on unprocessed meats and whole foods, it just adds to the existing evidence that simple-minded over-generalizations from studies in obese subjects to the whole population will do more harm than good… what? No I didn’t say anything about ketogenic diets and low carbing, did I?


  • Belinova, Lenka, et al. “Differential Acute Postprandial Effects of Processed Meat and Isocaloric Vegan Meals on the Gastrointestinal Hormone Response in Subjects Suffering from Type 2 Diabetes and Healthy Controls: A Randomized Crossover Study.” PloS one 9.9 (2014): e107561.

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Metabolic Damage in Biggest Losers: Will Diet & Intense Exercise Make You Fat, While Surgery Will Make You Lean? Plus: How to Avoid / Correct Diet-Induced REE Reductions

If you start to work out when you are already obese, it’ll still help you lose weight, but if you’d been active the years before chances are you’d not have such weighty problems and wouldn’t have to fear metabolic slow down.

Let me answer the question in the headline of today’s SuppVersity Article right away, ’cause the answer short and easy: “No!” If you compare the body composition of the Biggest Losers who were included in a recent study by scientists from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda and the Pennington State Biomedical Research Center, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the University of California-Los Angeles to that of their bariatric surgery patients, the “Biggest Losers” (BLC) had lower body fat and higher lean mass percentages than their peers who took the easy way out (Knuth. 2014). What is non-debatable, though, is the fact that the thirteen “Big Losers” also exhibited significantly more reduced resting metabolic rates – a phenomenon that caused quite a stir in two Facebook groups I am frequenting regularly.

You can learn more about the biggest losers and related topics at the SuppVersity

Weight Cycling & Reduced Metabolic Rates

Biggest Weight Loss Lowest RMR?

You Can’t Gain Sign. Amounts of Fat in 3 Days!

Whey Works “Wheytloss Wonders”

Sweeteners Mess W/ Sweet Tongue

Pastured vs. regular Dairy for Leaner Waists?

If you know the exercise drill and “diet” regimen on the TV show, you are probably not surprised to hear that the calorie restriction along with vigorous exercise in BLC participants resulted not just in a higher preservation of fat free mass (FFM), but also in a significantly more pronounced “metabolic adaption” compared to RYGB subjects.

Now, the fact that this happened despite comparable weight loss clearly suggests that we are dealing with “metabolic damage”, right? Well, this is exactly what neither I, nor Nicolas D. Knuth and his colleagues who published the results of their NIH funded research in the peer-reviewed journal “Obesity” would say.

Figure 1: Changes (%) in BMI, lean mass and body fat (%) after 7 (BLC) and 6 months, respectively (Knuth. 2014)

The thing we are dealing with is not “damage”, it’s adaptation and it’s an adaptation process that occurred during the weight loss intervention (30 weeks; see Johannsen. 2012), not after an appropriate reintegration to a normal life.

Things to keep in mind: The study at hand confirms what Pourhassan et al. report in another recent study. Reductions in muscle, plasma triiodothyronine and kidney masses explain only 34.9%, 5.3%, and 4.5% of the reduction in RMR (Pourhassan. 2014). And with respect to the false notion that it would be better not to work out, to avoid “metabolic damage”, I can only say that DeLany’s recent study into the effects of exercise on the reduction in energy expenditure during weight loss interventions is only the latest in a long line of studies that confirm that working out will not just keep the energy expenditure from dropping, it will also improve the dieters’ adherence to a given prescribed caloric restriction (DeLany. 2014).

Against that background and in view of the fact that recent studies show that the contribution of body fat and other organs to the resting metabolic rate may have been significantly underestimated it is questionably how significant this comparison is. A comparison, by the way, that’s not exactly fair:

  • Sugar + phosphate can limit the reduction in T3 during diets in women (read more)

    6 months in the RYGB patients vs. 7 months in the BL competitors, 

  • being sedentary vs. working out vigorously, 
  • not being able to cheat vs. being able to stick to a diet and exercise regimen, 
  • type II diabetic w/ HOMA-IR >8 vs. still pretty healthy w/ HOMA-IR = 2.0 

Where’s the level playing field, here? And how significant are the reductions in leptin (tells the hypothalamus that there is still enough body fat left) and T3 (is the active thyroid hormone and a main determinant of resting metabolic rate) that suggest that the Biggest Losers competition ruined their metabolism temporarily, when they came with significant reductions in blood pressure, andimproved HDL and C-peptide levels, which did not occur in the bariatric surgery group?

If you are sitting in the diet trap your situation is similar to the one of the boys and girls suffering from Athletes’s Triad and so is the solution!

What can a “Big Loser” do to get back to normal REEs fast? Based on the contemporarily available evidence, the best thing they could do was to inject leptin (Rosenbaum. 2005; Kissileff. 2012). Other strategies that may work are strategic overfeeding (for 2-3 days; on a high(er) carbohydrate diet) and intake / supplementation of foods and agents that have been shown to increase leptin in normal-weight or reduced obese individuals. The effects should be similar to those scientists observed with leptin injections – albeit much less rapidly: So be patient if you are going to try any or all of the following tweaks.

Possible means to restore leptin to normal would include: Lower omega-3 (Hariri. 2014), total fat (Havel. 1999) and fructose (Teff. 2004), but higher dairy (Wennersberg. 2009) and carbohydrate (Romon. 1999) meals and / or  zinc supplements (Chen. 2000) or sugar + phosphate (learn more) and nicotine (Eliasson. 1999) to increase leptin and leucine / EAA-rich proteins (Binder. 2014) or, again, nicotine (Li. 2003) to increase leptin sensitivity. Ah! And don’t forget to sleep enough (~8h}, or your leptin levels will drop by >20% (Spiegel. 2004).

Moreover, if you look at my plot of the data in Figure 1, you will see that the that it is a perfectly normal adaptations to exuberant caloric deficits (>50%).

Figure 2: The metabolic “damage” is rather a metabolic “adaptation” (y-axes; in kcal/day) in response to significant energy deficits (x-axes; calculated energy expenditure (includes exercise induced energy expenditure, therefore it can approach 100%) expressed relative to calculated RMR) – the problems begin with intakes >50% below maintenance.

Whether or not the exercise component made things worth, is something that cannot be said based on the data from this study. What it certainly did, though, was to protect the lean mass of the subjects – a vital requirement to achieve what most people are dieting for: Health and being happy with what they see in the mirror.

In conjunction with the previously cited health benefits (reduced blood pressure, increased HDL, …) it would thus be idiotic to use the study at hand as evidence against the repeatedly proven usefulness of exercise for weight loss and health improvements in obese and non-obese individuals.

Weight loss does not have to cost muscle and ruing your metabolism – learn more about the science-based “art” of losing weight

Bottom line: The study at hand ain’t the evidence the lazy ones have been waiting for. It’s not a free ticket to the surgeon and it does not provide convincing evidence that diet + exercise are not far superior ways of losing weight (compared to bariatric surgery).

What the study does show, though, is that the recommendations I made in my previous article “Losing Weight Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Metabolism: No Unexpected Reduction in Energy Expenditure With Sane Weight Loss. Plus: 9 Simple Rules Every Dieter Must Follow” (read more) are spot on: Never (!) stay at a caloric deficit that’s >40% of what you’d need on a daily basis for more than maybe a week and take breaks, instead of increasing the calorie deficit, when you feel you’re hitting a plateau (read all 9 tips, here) | Comment on Facebook!

Ah, and by the way, it’s also a myth that formerly obese individuals have necessarily lower resting and total energy expenditures. As Hume et al. found the RMR of ever-lean and formerly overweight women is identical and the ostensibly lower energy expenditure during physical activity is an artifact that’s caused by over-reporting of physical activity in the formerly overweight women (Hume. 2013).


  • Chen, Ming-Der, Yuh-Min Song, and Pi-Yao Lin. “Zinc may be a mediator of leptin production in humans.” Life sciences 66.22 (2000): 2143-2149.
  • DeLany, James P., et al. “Effect of physical activity on weight loss, energy expenditure, and energy intake during diet induced weight loss.” Obesity 22.2 (2014): 363-370. 
  • Eliasson, Björn, and Ulf Smith. “Leptin levels in smokers and long‐term users of nicotine gum.” European journal of clinical investigation 29.2 (1999): 145-152.
  • Hariri, Mitra, et al. “Does omega‐3 fatty acids supplementation affect circulating leptin levels? A systematic review and meta‐analysis on randomized controlled clinical trials.” Clinical endocrinology (2014).
  • Havel, Peter J., et al. “High-fat meals reduce 24-h circulating leptin concentrations in women.” Diabetes 48.2 (1999): 334-341.
  • Hume, David John, Jacolene Kroff, and Estelle Victoria Lambert. “Resting and activity-related energy expenditure: Do formerly overweight women differ from their ever-lean counterparts?.” International Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism 5.8 (2013): 134-139.
  • Johannsen, Darcy L., et al. “Metabolic slowing with massive weight loss despite preservation of fat-free mass.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 97.7 (2012): 2489-2496.
  • Kissileff, Harry R., et al. “Leptin reverses declines in satiation in weight-reduced obese humans.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 95.2 (2012): 309-317.
  • Knuth, N. D., Johannsen, D. L., Tamboli, R. A., Marks-Shulman, P. A., Huizenga, R., Chen, K. Y., Abumrad, N. N., Ravussin, E. and Hall, K. D. “Metabolic adaptation following massive weight loss is related to the degree of energy imbalance and changes in circulating leptin.” Obesity.  (2014) doi: 10.1002/oby.20900 
  • Li, Ming D., and Justin K. Kane. “Effect of nicotine on the expression of leptin and forebrain leptin receptors in the rat.” Brain research 991.1 (2003): 222-231.
  • Pourhassan, Maryam, et al. “Impact of body composition during weight change on resting energy expenditure and homeostasis model assessment index in overweight nonsmoking adults.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2014): ajcn-071829.
  • Romon, M., et al. “Leptin response to carbohydrate or fat meal and association with subsequent satiety and energy intake.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism 277.5 (1999): E855-E861.
  • Romon, Monique, et al. “Postprandial leptin response to carbohydrate and fat meals in obese women.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 22.3 (2003): 247-251.
  • Rosenbaum, Michael, et al. “Low-dose leptin reverses skeletal muscle, autonomic, and neuroendocrine adaptations to maintenance of reduced weight.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 115.12 (2005): 3579-3586. 
  • Teff, Karen L., et al. “Dietary fructose reduces circulating insulin and leptin, attenuates postprandial suppression of ghrelin, and increases triglycerides in women.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 89.6 (2004): 2963-2972.
  • Wennersberg, Marianne Hauge, et al. “Dairy products and metabolic effects in overweight men and women: results from a 6-mo intervention study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2009): ajcn-27664.

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8g/day Citrulline Increase Leg Workout Performance – More Reps on Leg Press, Hack Squat & Leg Ext. in Exp. Gymrats

The study tested only leg exercises, but you can safely expect increased reps on other exercises, as well.

Citrulline? Yes that’s the stuff the supplement industry claims to be a better version of arginine. A “super pump supplement”, but not necessarily an ergogenic – in spite of the fact that corresponding evidence from rodent and human studies (Briand. 1992; Pérez-Guisado. 2010; Giannesini. 2011) existed years before the study at hand was published (Wax. 2014).

Benjamin Wax and his colleagues from the Mississippi State University and the Auburn University  investigated the effects of citrulline malate supplementation on lower-body resistance exercise performance, blood lactate, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Based on citrulline malate’s chemical composition and a review of the current literature Wax et al. hypothesized that citrulline malate supplementation would mitigate fatigue occurring to the working muscle; therefore, augmenting resistance training performance.

You can learn more about citrulline at the SuppVersity

Citrulline prevents muscle catablism more than leucine

Arginine & citrulline for blood lipid control

EAA, BCAA, or citrulline for anti-catabolism?

Glutamine not citrulline to heal the gut?

Citrulline to ignite fatty acid oxidataion?

High & low dose arginine ineffec- tive NO boosters

To test their hypothesis the researchers recruited 12 advanced resistance trained male subjects (85kg body weight; <12% body fat; 22.1 ± 1.4 years) and conducted a randomized, counterbalanced, double blind study.

The subjects were randomly assigned to placebo or citrulline malate (8 g; 60 minutes before the workout) groups and then performed repeated bouts of multiple lower body resistance exercise:

“Subjects warmed up on an upright stationary bike (Life Fitness, Brunswick Corporation, Lake Fores, IL) for five minutes, at 60 – 70 revolution/minute with a mass of 3 – 5 kg. Following this warm up, subjects performed two warm up sets (10 repetitions at 90.9 kg and 8 repetitions at 136.4 kg) on the leg press machine. Subjects rested three minutes between sets during the warm up and trial sets.

Next, 60% of each subject’s predetermined 1RM was loaded on the leg press machine and the subject completed as many repetitions as possible until failure occurred. This process was completed for 4 additional sets for a total of 5 sets on the leg press. Next, the subjects performed one warm upset (10 repetitions) on the hack squat machine at a mass of 40.9 kg. This warm up set was followed by 5 sets of 60% of their predetermined 1RM to failure. Finally, following one warm up set (10 repetitions at 36.4 kg) on the leg extension, subjects completed 5 sets of 60% of their 1RM to failure.” (Wax. 2014)

The rest periods (recovery periods between sets of exercise), exercise order, and number of sets performed were the same for all subjects in this investigation, for sessions 2 and 3. Blood lactate, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure were determined pre and post exercise.

Practical applications – What the scientists say: “Although citrulline malate supplements are marketed to improve muscle performance via a reduction in lactic acid and ammonia production, the current study does not fully support this assertion. While our investigation did note improved muscle performance occurring during the strength protocol,blood lactate remained indifferent comparing the citrulline malate treatment to the placebo treatment. The known capacity of citrulline malate to increase plasma L-arginine (Hickner. 2006), act as a buffer to lactate and hyperammonemia (Briand. 1992; Giannesini. 2011; Verleye. 1995) remain valid; however, further research is necessary to determine which mechanism may be directly attributed ergogenic effects occurring during resistance training protocols. Finally, specific investigations utilizing training protocols designed to test muscular strength and power are warranted.” (Wax. 2014)

The exercise protocol resulted in sequential significant (p < 0.05) decrease in the number of repetitions in all three exercises. However, subjects in the citrulline malate group performed significantly (p < 0.05) higher number of repetitions during all three exercises compared to placebo group.

Figure 1: Wax et al. observed significant increases in maximal leg press, hack squat, and leg extension (not shown) repetitions in response to the ingestion of 8g of citrulline malate 60min before exercise (Wax. 2014)

Blood lactate and heart rate, on the other hand, were significantly increased (p < 0.05) post-exercise in both groups with no significant inter-group differences between citrulline malate and placebo (p > 0.05).

Bottom line: I am not sure, if the study at hand is going to change anyone’s perspective on citrulline. The “pump” is after all (for whatever reason) still what appears to be most attractive to trainees. The fact that the increased number of reps could translate into increased strength and size gains over time, on the other hand, doesn’t appear sexy enough to be marketed as the main benefit of citrulline.

Can citrulline prevent muscle loss, when you’re dieting | learn more

Apropos “main effect”, there I guess you will remember that citrulline will also affect protein synthesis, right? I’ve written about these effects in August last year in my article “Citrulline = The Dieter’s Amino Acid? Citrulline Maintains Muscle Protein Synthesis & Strength Endurance During Caloric Deficits Better Than Leucine!?” (read more).

So, if you don’t consider increased rep numbers sexy enough, you may feel that a reduced muscle breakdown on your next diet may be worth heading over to the bulk supplier of your choice and order a 1kg bag of citrulline malate for 100$ (will last 125 days) – no? Well, honestly, I am not sure if it’s worth that, either | What do you think?


  • Briand, Joël, et al. “Use of a microbial model for the determination of drug effects on cell metabolism and energetics: Study of citrulline‐malate.” Biopharmaceutics & drug disposition 13.1 (1992): 1-22.
  • Hickner, Robert C., et al. “L-citrulline reduces time to exhaustion and insulin response to a graded exercise test.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 38.4 (2006): 660-666.
  • Giannesini, Benoît, et al. “Citrulline malate supplementation increases muscle efficiency in rat skeletal muscle.” European journal of pharmacology 667.1 (2011): 100-104.
  • Pérez-Guisado, Joaquín, and Philip M. Jakeman. “Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24.5 (2010): 1215-1222.
  • Verleye, M., et al. “Effects of citrulline malate on bacterial lipopolysaccharide induced endotoxemia in rats.” Arzneimittelforschung 45.6 (1995): E712.
  • Wax, Benjamin, et al. “Effects of Supplemental Citrulline Malate Ingestion During Repeated Bouts of Lower-body Exercise in Advanced Weight Lifters.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2014).

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AMP: Marc Megna’s 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 3, Day 42

The final day of Phase Three is a day for you to rest. Allow your body to recover so you can start Phase Four with energy and a good attitude.

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AMP: Marc Megna’s 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 3, Day 41

Hit these intervals with all the energy you can muster. You're coming to the end of Phase Three. Do yourself a big favor by finishing stronger than you started.

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AMP: Marc Megna’s 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 3, Day 40

Can you bench more this week than you did last week? Let's find out! Even a two-pound increase is a win, so push with everything you've got and make progress!

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MUSCLE CAMP #16: 3 Highly Effective Chest Techniques for a Bigger Chest (Killer Chest Workout)

Exercise 1 

Incline Barbell Press

5 x 4 + 4 + 4 

30X1 Tempo 

2 min rest

Exercise 2

Flat Neutral Grip Chest Press

5 x 45sec constant tension timed sets 

1min rest

Exercise 3

Omni Push-Ups

3 x failure

1min rest

Here’s to a very successful semester, achieving a great body and graduating with Honors!

P.S. If you know of anyone who is heading back to school this September then be sure to share this chest workout so that they can learn how to get jacked in just one semester, too! Thank you. Here’s the link to share:

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