On Nutrition and Metabolism

Last year I started getting really interested in nutritional and metabolic health (doing a pretty deep dive starting with lots of medical talks, and subsequently reviewing tons of the primary research (all about that PubMed and Sci-Hub life)). Honestly, I’ve been working on a variation of this post for almost a year, but as my collected research kept growing, I continued to put this off. This is long overdue, so I’ll just start off publishing some stuff and go from there (eventually, I will be shifting most of this to a platform that allows me to better update/revise things). A few of the things I’ve learned:

I’ll save the detailed look at my personal results for another post, but I’ll summarize a bit of my path. Early on, I ended up stumbling on an interview with Jason Fung, which seemed to make a lot of sense. Now, not being a complete nutritional nitwit (just a pretty average one), I had seen some of Robert Lustig’s talks and Gary Taube’s writing previously on how terrible sugar was for you, but despite cutting out sugary sodas, or doing bouts of paleo-ish meal plans, it never really stuck. However, as I dug more, I ended up finding that despite my original claim of not being a nutritional nitwit, that I actually was – most of the nutritional common wisdom I thought I knew was being contradicted. I’ve curated a list of some of the most interesting YouTube talks/presentations I’ve come across. These are all well sourced, and starts first w/ some more general overviews of the hormonal mechanisms of metabolism etc, and then moves into deeper topics from there:

If you’re like me, you’re probably (rightly) skeptical of using YT talks/presentations as primary sources, especially in a field like nutritional science, where snake oil and bad science is the norm. So I started spelunking through the sources, and after collecting a few dozen, realize that I need a better research manager and downloaded Zotero for the first time in about a decade (it’s better than it was back then, a little worse recently as many of the integrations/plugins are now broken). I also started writing my own custom exporter, but luckily, I found a nice one called zotsite that works great, and I’ve written a cronjob for it now.

I’ve embedded an export of the nutrition sources I’ve collected below, but you can also access it directly at https://randomfoo.net/nutrition/ – it’s about 3500 sources at the moment (abstracts/articles/studies/reviews etc). I’m still adding onto this (turns out, tracking down/reading nutrition/medical research has been a bit of a full time hobby this past year), but I hope to make a second pass where I do a better job organizing these soon, adding notes, and getting any missing full PDFs through sci-hub or academic institution access. For the less ambitious/more sane, I have also curated a few reviews/overviews that I feel are the most compelling/interesting things I’ve stumbled across: https://randomfoo.net/nutrition-bestof/

As an aside: early on I stumbled on SCI-FIT which has also been collecting references, but mine is sourced almost entirely independently – again, when I get a chance, I’d like to sit down and cross-reference (I feel like being able to properly annotate/narrativize all these resources is a real weakness w/ Zotero, though).

As I mentioned, my plan is to try to publish some writeups into a better platform at some point, but in the meantime, I’ll probably be a little less precious and post some stuff on the blog as well.