Carb Wars Episode III

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Now it’s time for another installment of Carb Wars! My responses in red…

Hi Matt,

This many not be what you’re looking for. I’m sure you are getting more interesting stories than this one. Or I could be on the completely wrong track about this. It’s just been recently that I’ve wondered if my problems stemmed from my brief venture into low-carb dieting. Please just ignore this email if it isn’t appropriate. Thanks for everything you do!

Oh it’s what I’m looking for – and no I don’t have other replies that I have cherry-picked. I’ve received exactly three responses to my low-carb battle story request and have now published each of those three.

I am a healthy 40 year old female, rarely sick, 125 pounds, 5’7”, good muscularity, low body fat, and have been on a mission to figure out why my husband Jim can’t lose his abdominal fat. About two years ago after reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, I studied Atkins and Dana Carpenter and decided the solution to his fat was a crazily low-carb, Atkins-type diet. Before putting him on the diet, I gave it a try. (This is actually my War Story – not Jim’s.)

Low-carb stallions have some excellent research, much of it that helps put the pieces of the great puzzle together. Taubes Good Calories, Bad Calories in particular is one of the most impeccable books on the diet/disease connection ever published – his war on carbohydrates was just taken, like with Atkins, a step too far. Oops.

All I ate for about a month was eggs, beef, chicken and cheese – very similar to the FUMP diet but not as healthy because this was before I got into raw milk & grass-fed beef. I had to eat every few hours, was grumpy if I didn’t and was always, always thirsty. My digestion was perfect – no gas or bloating. I bought the ketostix and checked constantly. I was also incredibly focused, had boundless energy and my ideas were fast and plentiful. I just felt smarter.

Many of these mental reactions come from the boost in adrenaline. I had the same. Many people get the same smart and focused feeling from stimulants like caffeine and cocaine as well as only sleeping a few hours a night (a decent night sleep turns down the juice and leaves them with tremendous ‘brain fog’ that they call “getting too much sleep”). Zero carb is a good short-term reliever for those with unmanageable diarrhea, gas, bloating, etc. – but so are most ‘mono’ diets, and the long-term consequences are seldom positive if continued for longer than a few weeks.

I was so certain that my alertness was due to my diet that for the next 6 or 7 months I still severely restricted carbs but started adding in some veggies which brought me occasionally out of ketosis.

Your alertness was due to your diet – specifically because your diet increased your adrenal output. This is something that feels good in the short-term, but Diana Schwarzbein is flawlessly accurate when she labels this a route to “breaking down,” or burning out. This is but one route to overtaxing the adrenals, each of which feels invigorating in the short-term (intense exercise, calorie restriction, stimulant use, being busy/stress).

I was putting on a workshop and planning an expansion at work. I have no doubt this extremely low-carb diet was directly responsible for my coming up with some amazing ideas and unique solutions. I was resourceful, inspired and imaginative – more on top of my game than ever.

Physically, I felt great, still worked out regularly, dropped a few pounds, and my skin hadn’t been clearer since before puberty. I also slept great. I never really got hungry. That comparison about eating while low-carbing being like cutting your toenails was right on, Matt. I could take it or leave it. As I learned more about nutrition, I gradually worked my way out of low-carb over the course of a year.

Most people think low-carb is wonderful because they lose their appetite. This is glorified in today’s day and age because we think that food abundance is the source of our miseries. The less you eat the better. This is a huge mistake on behalf of the masses.

What exactly did you “learn about nutrition” that made you decide to abandon low-carb?

I’m not 100% certain if this next part was a result of the low-carb diet, but it was very weird. For several months after I added more carbohydrate, I was obsessed with eating. I mean completely infatuated with it. I would try to get home before Jim to consume massive amounts of cheese, toast, peanut butter, milk, whatever. Thank goodness we didn’t have processed food around because I would have eaten that, too. Then I would eat dinner. Then I would have another big snack before bed. When he would go out of town, I would plan my bingeing.

Typical. This is how people get trapped into the low-carb black hole. Hunger is feared as the enemy. When carbs are reintroduced, hunger rages. Thus, carbs are reinforced as the root of all evil as low-carb gurus suggest. Much of this stems from glucose metabolism, which is worsened as the metabolism lowers during carbohydrate restriction (or restriction of any kind really).

What people fail to understand is that much damage can be done even when you are feeling good, losing weight, and having lots of adrenal-related energy. On the contrary, you can be healing when you feel tired, sluggish, and are gaining weight – which is how people feel post-dieting as the body forces you to eat more, sleep more, and exert less to fix the damage you did while dieting.

I’ve never been so preoccupied with eating. It was bizarre. If I was at work or had a project going on at home I was okay. But if I was bored, I would pig out. This went on for about six months. My metabolism must not have been too bad because I just put back on what I lost low-carbing. The worst part was how out of control I felt. Sometimes I was hungry, but usually not. The compulsion to eat was strongest when I was not hungry.

This is just like the starvation studies Taubes refers to – afterwards the men would eat as much food as they physically could, and they still desired more. It was the epitome of compulsive eating. I believe you had this reaction, in a nutshell, because really low-carb eating, especially when it is inducing a strong level of appetite reduction, is just another form of starvation in disguise.

Based on what I learned from this blog and the e-books, I started increasing my fat intake earlier this year. It wasn’t until I started cooking with and eating substantial amounts of ghee, coconut oil and tallow that my food fixation has subsided.

Yes, eating fat helps tremendously, particularly the types of fat you mention. Fat provides better satiation, slower digestion/stomach emptying, better blood sugar stability, and so on.

Could my low-carbing be responsible for this psychological strangeness? Maybe it’s a red herring, but I can’t figure out what else would cause it. Everything else in my life was the same.

Um, hell yes?!

It is almost unbearable that what I thought was helping my body was instead damaging it. While those months of high productivity were of great benefit, I would gladly exchange them for that awful time of secret eating and guilt.

Don’t sweat it lil’ tiger. You’ll be able to fix yourself right up, and I’m sure that cutting out refined carbs for the better part of a year had to have done some good. It’s a fantastic lesson in Body vs. Mind. I’ve got all my money riding on “Body.” Only a micro-minority of people can overcome the overwhelming pleas of the body (and the ones that do shoulda listened). I sure as shit ain’t one of ‘em.

Now go eat plenty of fat, overcome your fear of carbs, and continue to be the fit and healthy woman you sound like you were to begin with. There’s no need for anyone in good health to go to such extremes in diet. As for Jim, he sounds like he’s got some of that good new-fashioned insulin resistance. Check that body temp, and experiment with a very low-sugar diet to start with devoid of caffeine and alcohol.

If YOU have a low-carb story to share, with great or tragic results or both, send an e-mail to [email protected] and we’ll get it up on the blog!


  1. Matt, the info you provide is always great. I only would like to know if you people, following this way of eating aren´t concerned with getting suboptimal levels of vitamin C, based on your low fruit intake. Is there any reason to be concerned in the long-run with going on with zero fruit intake and eating only fat, meat and cooked vegetables?

  2. It's me, Lisa Coker. I'm the dimwit who decided to experiment with low-carb. I have no other justification except that I just wanted to see what would happen. Which has always gotten me into trouble so I should have known better. I’ll just blame Taubes.

    Matt's question: "What exactly did you “learn about nutrition” that made you decide to abandon low-carb?"

    Short answer: Right now at this very minute, based on everything I’ve read, eaten & experienced, it’s this:
    Stop treating the symptoms and figure out how to heal.

    Long answer: I read a lot. Everything and anything – from Bob Greene & Dr. Oz to Matt Stone & Diane Schwarzbein. I studied books, articles, blogs, and discussion boards. I’m incredible weak in the sciences, and it takes forever for me to “get” anything medically-related. But it just doesn’t make sense that insulin is the demon some make it out to be.

    This answer might also be a response to Anonymous@ 08/26 3:43am: Lots of thriving, healthy groups were missing individual macronutrients or vitamins & minerals. Perhaps having healthy hormone levels is the key. It’s not the food – it’s what your body does with it. When the hormones are off, you process things inappropriately – even the fructose from oranges. Between devitalized foods, sugars, vegetable oils, stress, undereating, overexercising, etc. we are just one f’d up group of people. We need heal.

    But I’m ready to be proven wrong. If anything, the learning experiences in the paragraphs below have taught me: There’s always another side to the story, another level to reach, and I’m not EVEN as smart as I think I am.

    This is a brief overview of my nutritional education:

    For the last few years I have been a WAPF devotee. While I’m no longer as blindly enamored of them, there’s still a soft spot. Even when I went off on crazy tangents, it remained my foundation. I studied Nourishing Traditions and made bone broths, sprouted seeds, fermented veggies, upped my raw food intake, cultured kefir and Kombucha, and ate only the most unprocessed of sugars – Rapadura or raw honey.

    (Along the way, I briefly heard the siren songs of: Super Size Me & Michael Pollan & fat-fear, green drinks, Suzanne Somers and LEF and all those magical supplements, Ori Hofmekler and anti-estrogen and intermittent fasting, paleo eating, extreme reduction of toxins. But these were brief, and I learned from them.)

    Beneficial tangents: yoga, weight training (, Frederick Hahn, Adam Zickerman), slow food, local food, growing my own food, Anthony Colpo, Konstantin Monastyrsky, Ray Peat. Reading Weston Price, Broda Barnes and Diane Schwarzbein really kicked up my learnin’ a notch.

    In addition to all the 180 book recommendations over the years, these nutrition/health books stuck with me: Full Moon Feast, Animal Vegetable Miracle, End of Overeating, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, The Myth of Vegetarianism and The Autoimmune Epidemic.

    If you can borrow a copy, read the “Food” chapter in Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture.

  3. Anon, there are sources of Vitamin C other than fruit.

    I wish there was a way to subscribe to this thread without posting filler comments …

  4. Cusick, have you read about Dr. Rath´s theory of suboptimal vit C levels as the cause of many health problems? Are you saying that a diet of meat, starches, fat and vegetables (all cooked) provides enough ascorbic acid even to a diseased individual?

  5. Anon,

    Check out the Vitamin C content of many vegetables. It's quite abundant.

    Oranges, 63 mg vs.

    Amaranth leaves, 54.3 mg
    Bok Choy, 44.2 mg
    Broccoli, 51 mg
    Brussels Sprouts, 96.8 mg
    Butternut squash, 31 mg

    And that's just A-B

    Source –

  6. Nice post, Lisa! I wish you continued success in your journey.

    Julie (another person trying to heal!)

  7. Anon about Vit C

    I have not read anything of Dr.Rath so I dont know if this applies to him/her, but Ive found that a lot of these random doctors that have found this or that to be really good or really bad or causes of this and that often look at correlation rather than causation (people with such and such disease usually have low such and such so that must be the cause!). Another issue many have (again, I havent read Dr. Rath so I dont know) is they are looking at substances that seem to help already unhealthy individuals (even ones that "appear" healthy) such as saying "more [insert vitamin] fixes [insert problem]" when in reality the problem is only there because their hormones/digestion/metabolism etc are messed up. So it covers up symptoms rather than fixing the root problem.

  8. Many people use supplements to shape their body which is not good, try to shape your body with exercise.

  9. Emphasis on "try."

    Thanks for the explanation and the books Lisa. You may be an even bigger diet dork than I.

    Funny how we "know it all" every step of the journey too huh? We've all got much to learn, which is why I try hard not to be dogmatic, but refer to my site and my mission as one of discovery and exploration.

    Cabbage, bell peppers, etc. have plenty of vitamin C. Vitamin C isn't exactly a difficult nutrient to get or one that's lacking in the typical diet.

    I remember hearing of Dr. Rath via Kevin Trudeau's books. Nuff said. The dude did get me interested in raw dairy and coconut oil though.

  10. Dude!!!

    is that really you Dr. Hulda ClarK????

    I just used one of your zapper things for the first time today!! My massage therapist had one… i was like no way… i gotta try it!!!

    I agree with you supplements are garbage… not all of them, but most of them!!!


  11. sorry to hijack the commentary but I've been experiencing cystic acne along the base of my chin and I have no idea what's causing it. Any and all possible causes or solutions would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

  12. Since this was my low-carb war story – my 15 minutes – I am going to subject you to some more rambling and unsolicited advice. Sorry.

    About calming chronic stress:
    Schwarzbein's stress-relieving component is important. Related to that, this 180 Quote CBS News Fraud really resonated with me:
    The news, in any form, is not something I typically follow for good reason. The greatest reason is that my quality of life is greatly diminished by watching the news. It takes my focus away from my tangible reality and shifts it to something peripheral and out of my control. It’s a huge distraction and pollutes my mind, steering it away from what is important to me.

    Almost immediately upon stopping routine tv watching, my sleeping increased through the night, and I was more calm during the day. (Read the tv part of Hungry Hungry Hippos.) To really learn to relax, practice some form of spiritual exercise from formally visiting a church to just being quiet a few minutes whenever you think about it all by yourself. Some author suggestions: Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat Zinn, Elizabeth Lesser. Get a Lisa Lynne CD (Daughters of the Celtic Moon is my favorite), turn off the tv, turn off the radio and Relax. But it really does take practice.

    About 180 Health:
    If you aren’t going to buy the 180 e-books, consider joining 180 (free) and reading the newsletters (also free.) They are all up on the members-only site now. Each one includes a good overview of an Old School Nutritional Great, a well-reasoned book review, a “foodie” column, words of wisdom and a “what’s on Matt’s mind now” article.

    Read this blog from the very beginning – way back to January of aught seven. It was quite the eye-opener to read Matt’s health expedition, and I usually get his jokes. The readers’ comments are also enlightening. The interface is unwieldy for me – I ended up copying, pasting & printing out everything. But what a store of knowledge!

    And back to the WAPF-approved Rapadura and Raw Honey – when I started upping my ghee and coconut oil I stopped wanting to use sweeteners altogether.

    Brock – I see now what you mean about getting the responses. . .

    Julie – Best of luck to you, too.

    Belinda – Have you cut out vegetable oils, yet?

  13. Matt,

    i wanted to ask which amount of potatoes per meal would be safe? I worked up now to 400g potatoes per meal with lots of butter, salt and some meat / eggs. I feel good on this, though i am still adapting. I tried to eat banana between meals but it gives me diarrhea sometimes, sometimes not, i am a bit puzzled about this…

    The point is: I could eat maybe 800g potatoes lol because i have lots of appetite. Maybe i should add some fiber, because the only fiber i get is from potatoes and the occasionally banana.

  14. Hello –

    um, not that I disagree with eating carbs, but I noticed that Lisa you didn't say how much fat you were eating when low-carbing. Personally I can low-carb happily, (as long as carbs are not too low) for a long time without getting the adrenaline high but only if fat intake is around 80% of my calories – and that has to be animal fat.

    Just thought I'd point that out because it seems that a lot of people don't eat enough fat by far when they embark on low-carb.

    I don't eat crock loads of carbs but I'm not convinced of ultra-low either. I've seen a lot of people do well with a more moderate amount, along with a lot of fat.

  15. Hey Lisa Coker, great to see a shout-out to Stumptuous. Krista's brief mention of Nourishing Traditions in her blog is what eventually led me here. I'm still trying to mistress a pull-up, though.:(

    I had a bit of cystic acne (and if you're over a certain age its likely to be the only kind you get) when I started eating more saturated fat. Folks here said it was due to my body dumping the PUFAs. I try to avoid the PUFAs but dang, every once in a while I have fried chicken and a zit or two will follow.

  16. I don't know. There seem to be a LOT of people thriving on Charles Washington's meat/water plan. The ZIOH website is full of them -the pictures are amazing, plus they are recovering from all sorts of illnesses, obesity, eating disorders, etc. They appear to gain muscule without exercise even. Now only some have gone years at this point, so it may burn out, I don't know, but none are interested in giving it up.

    Myself, when I tried it, I never got to the 'feeling energetic and amazing' part! I kept waiting and waiting. I had zero energy. Couldn't sleep. Can I just not adapt? And why the fuck not?!

    I'm paleo now, but I still want to experience the ZC high!

  17. Oooohh, good point, Anonymous @ 5:52am
    I wonder if protein was part of the problem? Or PUFAs? At that point, I was also still eating at restaurants at least once a week and consuming vegetable oil. Or, wait, it would be that I didn’t have enough saturated fats. Right?

    I made menu notes in my Atkins book!
    I ate less than 20 carbs a day for at least a month. (And it may have actually been closer to two months.) The meats were as non-lean as I could find and I added mayo to the ground beef. And had full-fat cheese and hard boiled eggs. Still, I ate a lot of egg whites, chicken breasts, salmon and pouch tuna. And, ewww, I was drinking Crystal Light and putting Splenda in my tea. I also used grapeseed and canola oils to cook with. And took 2-3T a day of Udo’s or flax oil.

    Please don't make me actually figure out the fat & protein per day for all this mess. But I think I get your point. I was eating much more protein than fat. Plus the PUFAs instead of animal fat.

    My current diet is much higher in saturated (with a little mac & olive oils) fat than protein now. It might be close to half of my intake. And I feel great. Well, certainly not as hyper, energetic & focused as when I was buzzing on adrenaline with super low carbs. But really good.

    And let this be a lesson to all you young whippersnappers (chlOe, Harper, Teran, Ben, etc.) to keep a health diary of all the crazy stuff you try, the dates, outcomes & impressions. You think you’ll remember, but you won’t. It is a mighty struggle for me to remember the last 9 years of my eating.

    Jenny – Loooove Krista. Bet lots of others have the strangest, circuitous ways of finding 180. Have your breakouts lessened? I figured out the PUFA connection through my potato chip addiction. I loved Lay’s BBQ and I broke out continuously. It took decades to figure that out. I ate a whole bag of the Lundberg rice chips earlier this year when I was on my food bender and wound up with pimples on my cheeks so I will continue to abstain. I never notice other people’s acne but mine is so debilitating. What’s up with that?

  18. well I've cut out all vegetable oils for a while now. For a while I was purging blackheads on my nose, cheeks, chin and lastly under the sides of my lower lip. The only acne I get now is one spot on my chin that developed a huge spot after my birthday in July when I had a fair bit of Dairy Queen ice cream cake (loaded with HFCS, nuts, veg oils and sugar). I can't bring myself to believe that the butter and heavy cream are causing the spot on my chin to linger. Does anyone think it could be a residual infection from the ice creak cake clearing out? I never had a spot last this long… it's actually bruised in one spot! I was scared that it might scar, but I don't scar from spots and a friend said the chin is a very resilient area for breakouts. I don't eat sugar and the blackheads stopped when I cut out EVOO…sooo…it's either cheese/butter/eggs/cream (all organic, no additives but pasteurized), residual HFCS infection or some mysterious third option…I can't eat meat because I get cystic acne from that…help please! I need to get to the bottom of this.

  19. Thanks for posting your journey, Lisa! I loved reading Animal Vegetable Miracle – it's what originally got me thinking about food. What diet are you following now – 180degree, the Schwarzbein principle or something different?

    I've been reading "The Gabriel Method" which advocates having a protein, omega-3, and raw/live food with every meal, listening to a meditation CD at night. Matt, what are your thoughts about this? I first got into raw foods from Carol Alt's book "Raw 50" which has raw meat and fish, raw eggs and dairy and cheese (and vegetables). Unfortunately for me it was heavy with the raw honey, agave nectar and fruit. The Gabriel Method seems to be a raw version of Schwarzbein's work. My question to Matt is have you experimented with a raw version of 180degreehealth? (I don't mean the Primal Diet). Just curious about your thoughts on the Gabriel Method.

  20. Belinda,
    It may be of interest to you that Mark Starr cured his patients of acne (and other bad skin conditions) by helping their thyroid. Food's don't necessarily cause break-outs directly..hormones have a lot to do with what the skin does. Estrogen is something that contributes to skin problems, as well as clogged pores (from the keratinization that estrogen promotes) and inflammation – both of which bacteria to live, basically. It'd make sense why breakouts are so common at puberty because of the rise in hormones, specifically estrogen in girls, as well at other times of the month when breakouts occur. During this specific time is exactly when estrogen raises, temperature drops, and acne is most common (and declared a symptom of PMS).

    I have heard that getting the correct balance of vitamin A (antagonizes estrogen) and thyroid hormone in the body is what will help. Balance is the key, though.

  21. zinc and fish liver vitamin A pretty much clears my acne up – anything else is fail.

  22. Belinda – Just keep paying attention and you’ll figure out what hormonal issue is going on. Start charting your temperature and see if that’s correlated. Hang in there! If you want some non-food advice, contact me off list: [email protected].

    chlOe – Interesting about estrogen. Do you get Mary Shomon’s Thyroid Disease newsletter? There’s quite a ruckus about the FDA requiring natural thyroid medicines to go through the New Drug App process which may take them off the market for a few years.

    IngridKnits – I’m going to check out The Gabriel Method. I’ve walked by it on the shelf a few times and haven’t even cracked it open. Our diet is closer to 180 Metabolism than anything. We’ve been follow most of don’ts for a few months. (sugars, vegetable oils, processed foods)

    Last Saturday I stopped screwing around got serious by eliminating the artificial sweeteners (Jim was still dropping Splenda) and dialing down the caffeine (I still drink green or white with a dollop of coconut oil, though. Mmmm. Jim just does herbal, hot or cold.) We started concentrating on getting our fat intake up and trying to get that ratio of carbs / protein right. And when I say “we” really I’m talking about Jim – I started all this to figure out why he can’t lose the weight. I don’t sweat it so much. Hopefully I’ll be able to share his success story one day.

    After we do this for a few weeks, I’ll up the carb count. As Teran commented, Matt wrote: The only major amendment I would make would be to begin increasing carbohydrates after no longer than a month with carbs in the 25-30grams per meal area. This will keep weight gain at a minimum as metabolism rises.

    The Schwarzbein video is great. I’m going to screen it at work one morning with about a dozen staff. It’s just different with the group dynamic – you’re not learning in a vacuum.

  23. IngridKnits,

    I'm not a fan of raw foods because the body needs help digesting and breaking down its foods. Almost anything you can do to pre-digest the food (as long as said process doesn't destroy the nutritional content) is healthful. The only "raw" way to do that is allow bacterial action to ferment the food, which in meat's case means letting it rot. No thanks.

    As long as you use traditional foods and traditional cooking methods I don't think the raw diet offers any benefits.

  24. Lisa,
    I have not heard of Marry Shomon – website?
    I am totally not surprised that the FDA would bitch about something they can't regulate.

  25. chlOe, I can forward the current newsletter to your blog email if you'd like.

    Here's where to sign up:

    The FDA is a hater.

  26. Yeah I'm interested to see that..I would like to see the newsletter.

    I'm looking over the website at all the small articles talking about taking thyroid off the market. Kind of weird how Forest labs changed their ingredients over if they were either forced or convinced to lessen the power of the supplements. And especially FDA's argument against any supplement or herb is ridiculous, since any person can go to a pharmacy and buy non-prescription drugs to make methamphetamine. Even drugs regulated by the FDA..Ritalin (speed), Oxycontin, etc. can cause considerable damage to anyone. But no, 'dessicated pork thyroid' is somehow dangerous. Yeah, right.

  27. Lisa, I have been following the thyroid/FDA situation – I was under the impression that desiccated thyroid did NOT have to submit a new drug application, because it's a "grandfather drug" that was in existence as regarded as safe even before the stupid invasive FDA came into existence. This is news to me that they're actually going through with this.

    If they're going to make desiccated thyroid undergo the new application process, then they sure as hell better make Abbott labs (maker of Synthroid) do it too. Synthroid's quality and effectiveness has gone unchecked for DECADES because it was able to get out the application process due to it being a thyroid hormone, albeit an inactive one.

  28. "FDA is a hater."

    That's funny. Unfortunately the gov, in every regard, in every dept., is all about liability protection. Ahhh, keep 'em away. Let us take chances! With the gov. everything must be standardized, exact, cloned. Boo!

    That's funny Hulda dropped by. Wonder is she knows how poorly she performed vs. Aajonus in the 180 poll from way back when.

    I tried to find pictures at ZIOH but I can't find any. Charles has a sweet store now though, with hilarious t-shirts. One says "food pyramid" and has a cow and a glass of water on it. It's kind of awesome. I'm jealous. I wanna create some clever 180 loot.

    Perhaps a zero carb diet could be healthy. Shucks, the Eskimos pulled it off. Why can't we? That was the point of my FUMP experiment. But just because you can survive that way, doesn't mean it's the only way or the optimal way. Plus, an Eskimo diet and the Atkins diet with Splenda are not the same thing. Poor Ground Chuck Washington. The guy looks like the offspring of Dave Chappelle's crackhead character and Skeletor from He-Man.

    As far as success on really low-carb, it's undeniable that many people have great success initially. I can't argue with that. I too, when embarking on low-carb generated muscle spontaneously, without exercise. I put on more muscle in less time than I did at 18 while lifting weights 12 hours per week. The question is, why, for so many people, does it not last? This is not a war on low-carb, just an attempt to understand these parallel phenomena.

    Raw food is fine. I'm not really for or against it. For years I tried to eat as much raw food as I could. I've also done the Schwarzbein thing while trying to eat raw and extremely rare meats. I'm just not really that into it. Raw meats are great on occasion, but every day it is monotonous and becomes kind of obsessive. Plus, I've never noticed any difference between raw and cooked meats other than cooked meats are more satiating and stabilizing. Knowing how much cooking food helps to make it more digestible, it's hard not to, in the end, prefer cooked foods. Brock's blurb on it was pretty accurate.

    Oh, and the acne. It's like anything else. When the body systems are humming, acne disappears. For years, eating fruit has tended to give me acne – unless I ate it as part of cleanse or "mono" diet, in which case it was incredibly skin-clearing. Now I suddenly seem to be impervious to fruit even with mixed meals. I can eat whole melons, 4 peaches at one sitting, and all kinds of stuff and my skin is healthier than when I was eating no sugar at all. When I first cut out sugar, my skin became flawless, then this didn't last over time. So my point is that, depending on what your body needs to have balance, anything can be either helpful or harmful. It's up to you to figure that out. You also sound like you're having a little bit of a detoxification problem. Doing some kind of "mono" diet for several days to a week would probably clear it right up – from all plants to no plants.

    I know that doesn't really help, but use the acne as a good outward indicator of what is going on inside. It's not the acne that you want to clear up, but the problem that causes the acne. Keep toying around with it and let us know your insights.

  29. It's possible that the eskimo consumed a small amount of carbs in their meats. If they ate mostly organs, and gave the muscle to dogs, as well as eating raw meats, that could have preserved enough glycogen to make their carb intake avergae 40 or more grams per day. I don't have any direct evidence, just a theory.

  30. PaleoRD:

    I believe you have it backwards. The Eskimo mostly ate the muscle meat and gave most of the organs to the dogs. I dont have a direct link for this but remember seeing that many times.

    Also, information on the Eskimo is conflicting in my head. Ive read that they are all in great health (at least no dental carries) and also read that they all age very quickly, that some women in their 20s look like grandmothers and its mainly due to too high protein intake over time (at least thats the guess). If that is true, the Eskimo may not be the best race to base an argument on. What has everyone else heard? But lets keep it brief. Eskimo arguments seem to take up a lot of time…

  31. Drew and anyone else,
    Regarding the Inuit, I've read conflicting information. Supposedly they looked old on the face, but had youthful bodies. This could be from the harsh weather where only their face is exposed. However, if it is true that they aged quickly all over, it could be from their high intake of unsaturated oils. Though, from what I've read from Lita Lee, their hyperthyroidism would have burned off the excess unsaturated oils safely. Thus, I figure it's true that their faces were the heavily aged aspect of them.

    They ate the muscle meats, but also ate a huge amount of fat and gelatin – things that seriously bring down the tryptophan and cysteine ratio to other amino acids (as most other cultures other than America do – eat the whole animal). I think that the 'zero-carb, water and muscle meat only' diet is one for a trip to thyroid death – and one that certainly no other culture has ever eaten or thrived on.

    I also am pretty sure the Inuit did eat organ meats– as I recall, the kidneys were "like candy" to young kids. And it could be plausible to think they got carbohydrates from the amount of food they ate..
    I think their health status was because of their slightly hyper-metabolic state.

    There's entirely more factors than just the fact that they supposedly didn't eat carbohydrates (well, from starches or sugars).

  32. Da'Drooooo,

    Well first off, the Eskimo eat fish, whale, and various birds – so the discussion of muscle vs. organ meat is a bit off. As for the natives of inland northern Canada – no, you have it backwards. They ate the liver and other organ meats with seal fat for calories. They were also very careful to divide up the glands so that everyone got Vitamin C. The muscle was given to the dogs. This was detailed in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

  33. Can anyone else tell me how much cream (pasteurized or raw) they eat per day?

    I eat 1 pint daily, mostly raw (Organic Pastures), but sometimes also pasteurized. Is that OK? My body is craving the fat and I put it all over my rice and my potatoes. I've done this every day for 2 months, and I haven't gained any significant weight. BUT – I Am FREAKING out if I just think about that the USDA and FDA may be right with all their studies: what if saturted fat IS A killer? You know, after questioning EVERYTHING along my path, and going from vegetarianmism to low carb to now this, I can't stop QUESTIONING what I'm doin right now and how I might be wrong. I don't want to be killing myself, ya know…

    Anyway does anyone know if pasteurized cream contains carrageenan WITHOUT it being on the label.. Is it legal for them to put it in the product? If it just says "Pasteurized Whipping Cream" n the label, does it mean vitamin D or A are added and is the product homogenized?

    Seriously… How much raw cream is NORMAL? I don't feel like I am eating normal quantities of food anymore and it SUCKS because that's what I want… But when I remember back to how bad I Felt when I DID eat normal quantities (and wheat/gluten, I don't want that either… Plus every body on all the blogs and forums say gluten causes mental disorders and all diseases from A-Z, its kind of hard to go back to that food!

  34. Reportedly the cream that Organic Pastures sells as raw does not come from their own grassfed cows but, do to limited supply, is purchased from other dairies, including feedlot styl;e dairies, so I would be cautious of it. AFAIK, their milk comes only from their own herd.

  35. Oh, and I don't believe that it is legal to add Carageenan or vitamins without mentioning it on the label in the US

  36. That's true Mike, it isn't.. but is it legal to sell a product labeled as certified organic and grassfed when it comes from conventional feed lot dairies?

    Also guess who owns the Organic Certification Company that has certified Organic Pastures as organic? You guessed it! It was created by Mark Mcaffee himself! Whoops.. So even their milk might not be as organic as you thought!


  38. Matt, Who can be trusted? do you buy everything directly from farmers?

  39. Lucy THANKS for being one of the few people on here that are HONEST.

    I like that you ADMITTED that you had high cholesterol, and that you admitted you uses of bread, pasta.

    That's what we need to see, some proof.

    I'm tired of everyone saying: I can eat 10 pounds of meat, 20 pounds of orange juice, 50 pounds of rice and 5 potatoes per day, with good digestion, good mood, no weight gain, etc.

  40. Anonymous at 9:21,

    "Lucy THANKS for being one of the few people on here that are HONEST."

    Where is the evidence that the others are dishonest, you troll?

    "I like that you ADMITTED that you had high cholesterol, and that you admitted you uses of bread, pasta."

    She also said she was using "other carbs" than bread and pasta, (sugar perhaps). Besides, just because she eats bread and pasta and has high cholesterol does not confirm that eating them causes high cholesterol unless you have a confirmation bias. The other possibility is you have science behind you that demonstrates causation; however, at this point, I would say that the science- in terms of weight of evidence- is simply not there for you unless you are of the
    dogmatic Dr. Eades ilk who ignores all contrary evidence.

    "That's what we need to see, some proof."

    Proof? Really? If you were in a scientific methods class, you would flunk right away for that type of statement.

    "I'm tired of everyone saying: I can eat 10 pounds of meat, 20 pounds of orange juice, 50 pounds of rice and 5 potatoes per day, with good digestion, good mood, no weight gain, etc."

    More hyperbole from an Anonymous troll.
    I will say, however, that deciding to stop avoiding carbs and being scared of them and instead eating the way Matt advocates is the best choice I ever made in terms of my health.
    No doubt you will just write me off as "one of the dishonest ones" though, huh?

  41. I've been trying to catch up on the last couple years of postings (along with all the inightful comments therein), but I've been unable to reconcile what you've written in your ebook–about insulin as it pertains to fat storage/cardiovascular disease/preferring fat for fuel–with some of the seemingly high carb/starch (even ice cream) reccomendations you are suggesting for recovering metabolisms. This is in no way meant as argument for argument's sake; rather, I'm very curious because I believe you to be a wise, truth seeking individual and earnest in your messages.

  42. Matt- btw, that last comment was intended for you…Also, I have experienced health problems for the past 3+ years now and I see much of myself in you. I appear to have read much of the same literature and research (Fiber Menace, WP's Nutrition and P.D., the Maker's Diet, Nourishing Traditions, Fourfold healing, Jan Kwasniewski and some things on intermittent fasting which I currently practice). My problems are very weird and came on very suddenly in the course of a week 3 years ago. Most of it seems to be digestion and energy related (whch I assume as an endocrine component as my thyroid is suboptimal, testosterone is low, etc.). I now also have constant mild shortness of breath and mood issues like anxiety. At the time of symptom onset, I was dieting down on a typical low fat, now also low carb high protein "cutting" phase as I had previously "bulked" with a high carb, low fat, high protein diet. I was also on a very rigorous weightlifting and cardio regimen. When I finally hit the wall (i.e., my first panic attack ,my digestion simultaneously calling it quits, and my energy plummeting), I freaked out and stopped working out for a while, stopped regulating my eating, and actually started to feel a little better for a few weeks. My acid reflux had calmed down and my shortness of breath had somewhat subsided. However, I was scared that I would gain back a bunch of fat and started with the measuring cups/food scale 6 times a day, and not very gradually getting back to lifting and swimming rather intensely. Well, needless to say, since then I've gotten worse and worse, as one can see by the amount of Drs' phone numbers I have in my cell phone. My digestion went kaput, I've had zero energy, and I've gained body fat despite all the supplements in the world and despite going through all sorts of new wave diets like ROb Faigin of Mauro di Pasquale's cyclical carbohydrate ketogenic diets, or anticandida diets (including absolutedly zero carb) or the Maker's Diet or Aajonus's diet.
    —on a side, note, these are all low carb diets—
    I've felt so enlightened reading from all these people but my health/fitness has just not improved much. The only thing I can say has abated are my panic attacks, now knowing that every time I get ESPECIALLy short of breath, I'm probably not dying. I still, like you, Matt, believe in the organic/grassfed/raw-as-much-as-possible/high saturated fat way of nutrition, but this is just not enough; there must be something else… I have a hunch my exercise program is still too intense (I lift very heavy weights, but not too frequently, and I dont do cardio, but I work as a personal trainer) and perhaps I'm not eating enough starch/glucose (still afraid to start becoming a "sugar burner" rather than a "fat burner") I know most of us here are not doctors, but at this point I just really value authentic experience with struggle over a medical degree. As such, I would appreciate any and all advice.

  43. oh geez, I just realized how long that was…I apologize

  44. Hey Joshua, I'm in the same position as you are and I just want to say that I appreciate your comment. Thanks

  45. Joshua,

    I had the same problem as you, I hit the wall from a long stint into low carbing, too much weight lifting, and HIIT cardio… and i got that same shortness of breath, and digestion problem. I finally researched it enough and realized i caused myself to get upper hiatal hernia… its where the stomach goes up into the esophigous. It will affect your whole diaphram, breathing, digestion… its easy to fix. Just go to a chiropractor who speacializes in kinieseology, and have him push the stomach down… it should cause an immediate relief… it did for me. I don't know if it was weight lifting or burning up my adrenals or waht caused it. Look into it.


  46. I am one of the guys who are very happy on a low carb diet with about 70-100g carbs per day as long as my fat intake is about 200g and protein not too low. So my question is how many carbs, fat and protein did the low carb strugglers eat? Maybe we could make us a better picture when we would know which amounts they ate. I don't want to say that low carb is the best option for health but low carb has healed my digestion and as my digestion healed my whole body started to heal too. And yes i overate protein and fat to an excess, which i think was a big part of my healing. I am not in zero carbing bullshit, i know that humans can eat almost everything and it is just your body which handles the food good or bad, primaly digestion in my opinion.

    Before low carbing i could not eat any fruits or vegetables because i got diarrhea from it. Now it is no problem anymore. In fact i have only positives from low carbing, despite the process of adaption.

  47. my acne is clearing up guys! I think i might have a nut allergy. I have been eating baked chicken, sausage, eggs, potatoes, fresh grapes of all colours, homemade ice cream, roasted vegetables, plain tea and coffee with cream and I feel sooo much better. I think cutting out processed/packaged foods and adding in fruit and meat really made a difference.

  48. joshua, a couple years ago i had a sudden down grade in health — digestion, sudden weight gain, depression and anxiety, shortness of breath. healthy eating and healthy fats and carbs, nothing helped and i just kept getting worse.

    turns out i had a gall stone blocking my bile duct. i got the stone removed endoscopically a few weeks ago. i have opted to NOT get my gall bladder removed, even though it has some stones and the doctors want me to get it out…..i plan to deal with this in other ways which is another story…..

    but anyway, i am literally a 180 degree new woman after getting that stone removed. i have ENERGY, i can breathe! i'm excited about life and i've lost 5 pounds, AND i have SOLID POO for the first time in 3 years!!!!

    i truly think i was gaining weight from malnourishment, even though i was eating 180-degree like during my time of ill health.

    you should check for a hernia like half navajo said, and other things like gallstones. good luck!

  49. based on my comments above, does anybody have any opinion on whether I should go super high carb for awhile at the expense of the other macronutrients? go by matt's ebook suggestions? go HED? check out Schwarzbein's stuff? btw, man my stomach and gut is killing me after trying to start eating grains/flour/potatoes again. the huge piece of cheesecake I had the other day probably didn't help matters much…

  50. also, I had a gallstone (and other organ) ultrasound a couple years ago that showed nothing wrong, and that was AFTER I started having problems, so I doubt that is the problem. However, I will present these issues to my doctor and see what he thinks. I really appreciate the advice!

  51. I've been reading Diana Schwarzbein's new book "The Program". It's quite remarkable how similar her approach is to Matt's. It's a bit more nuanced in many respects though, as you might expect as she has the medical background and 20 years of patient experience.

    Should we commend Matt for getting so close to Diana in only a couple years, or should we commend Diana for overcoming her medical school training in only 10? :-)

    Anyway, the reason for posting is her view on thyroid and andrenal fatigue (she's an endocrinologist). In her experience adrenal fatigue can often present the "classic symptoms" of low thyroid. I have a theory as to why this might be the case, and why adrenal fatigue might cause a mild bump in TSH, but the Good Doctor did not elaborate herself.

    This got me to thinking about how Broda Barnes' Institute often finds that after treating people with good food and desiccated thyroid for a while they experience an adrenal collapse and need adrenal support. Once the adrenal support is supplied though they often can/need to reduce desiccated thyroid. So perhaps many of the people being treated for low thyroid aren't low thyroid at all; they just have the symptoms because of fatigued adrenals.

    Adrenals can be fatigued by any number of things, but excessive low carb dieting and stimulant consumption (I know someone who did that!) are on the list.

  52. I think it's not as simple as adrenals just being fatigued. Any hormone will effect the other plus organs or systems, including thyroid and liver – the two main thyroid hormone producers and controllers.
    Someone with a hypothyroid will have to use their adrenals and stress hormones 30 to 40 times as much as a regular person.
    It's one of those cyclic things..and I don't think you have one or the other (at least in the extreme sense – like adrenals being completely fatigued but no thyroid problem at all). Stress hormones and thyroid hormones are strongly linked, as well as the diet which effects them.
    A low carbohydrate diet has the ability do more than just stress adrenals – depending on the lifestyle and other factors of the diet a person has.

    It's tricky with Barnes' patients or anyone who just used something like Armour – a supplement – to see the effect it had on people. The vast amount of different diets the people had could be why this or that supplement helped them. If they're eating this food, not eating this food, having this kind of stressor in their life – that can effect adrenals more. Even with support of thyroid, it's a system. One thing medicated doesn't always equal other things good to go.

    Hadn't it been mentioned before that someone said Schwarbein stopped recommending saturated fats or something?

    Anyway, I liked her book. Though, she was only focused on three hormones.

  53. In response again to the Inuit and muscle meat, from Steffansson:

    "We divided up the caribou Eskimo style, so the dogs got organs and entrails, hams, shoulders, and tenderloin, while the invalids, and we hunters got heads, briskets, ribs, pelvis and the marrow from the bones."

    Ive seen that elsewhere as well. And I didnt say that they DIDNT eat organ meat, I said they gave MOST of it to the dogs.

  54. I thought an "easy" way to tell if your adrenals were fatigued was to take your temp three times a day and chart it. If it bounces all over the place up and down, you have weak adrenals, if you have a steady, slow rise in temps your adrenals are OK.

    I first heard of Schwarzbein through Matt. I was a little skeptical because when you go to her website, the first thing your supposed to is take some quiz, which tells you that you need to quickly send them $500 to do some medical tests! That seems like a scam. Her advice might be good (get rest, avoid stress, avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol, eat plenty of saturated fat) but it seems like there is plenty of quackery in there too. The interviews I've seen with her she just talks about supplements the whole time.

    Chloe wrote:
    "I think that the 'zero-carb, water and muscle meat only' diet is one for a trip to thyroid death – and one that certainly no other culture has ever eaten or thrived on."

    Amen, sister. Combine that diet with strenuous exercise (weight lifting, HIIT cardio), as is often the case, which can trigger another disaster that will make it tough to fix your thyroid– adrenal burn out.

    I don't think anyone can say here exactly how much carb is the right amount. My own experience was that I had problems while still eating what could be considered a "normal" amount of carbs. I was eating oatmeal, brown rice and potatoes several times a day in small amounts. Yet, with as much as I was running, it was actually a low-carb diet. Add to that the fact that I was tapering my carbs (eating them mostly in the mornings so that my body would mostly be burning fat at night (or so the theory went, I'm not sure I buy that) I ended up doing a lot of my morning exercise with poor glycogen stores which put added stress on my body.

  55. chlOe wrote:
    "Someone with a hypothyroid will have to use their adrenals and stress hormones 30 to 40 times as much as a regular person."

    Wow – this really helps visualize the problem. Do you have any idea where you got that #, chlOe? It sounds familiar to me – maybe from Barnes or Bowthorpe?

  56. Jenny,
    I think that unstable adrenals bounce your temperature around; but I can't get past the fact that when there burned out, do you think they'd be constantly low? Or rather, maybe not burned out..just not producing enough or something. That's what confuses me. Because I'm pretty sure I've messed mine up good. But my temperature doesn't seem to bounce around in a day a lot.
    And yeah, if someone's working out a lot, I'm sure that depletes glycogen, which is why Schwarzbein would recommend more carbs for more activity. Most of her interviews, actually, seem very focused on the diet perspective rather than supplements alone.

    Actually, I got that estimate from Peat and Lee..haha

  57. Matt, loved the new Ezine, especially how you give a pretty good, balanced, assessment of the WAPF with them having good info but being extremely dogmatic and looking awful.

    Just my personal opinion: I didnt like some of the font you used. On page two "On Tap in the September Issue" and "Departments" as well as the "Step X" headings in the recipe section. I dont feel that the font is pleasing to the eye and also financial entities use that font often (I work in the mortgage business). Maybe I just see it all the time and thus dont like it, I dont know! (Personally I liked the format of the old ezines, prior to a couple months ago)

    I loved that you used the word "snarfing". Snarf is one of my favorite words (not to mention thundercats was a huge favorite of mine as a child).

    Oh, and move to a new web host or something. 8 minutes is simply not enough time to give the world all that is Matt! Woopah!

  58. Ooooh speaking of that,
    is the podcast up now from last week? or is that just my computer being retarded..

  59. The inuit are vast and varied groups of people. To describe one or two groups eating habits as if they are representative of all the groups or a norm is as disingenuous as saying that southern BBQ is pork while ignoring that Texans are southerners and their BBQ is mostly beef.

  60. The term "adrenal burnout" is ridiculous. If your adrenal glands "burned out", in the sense that a lightbulb burns out, then you would drop dead. Instead of reading Ray Peat's and Schwarzbein's nonsense, I suggest that you buy an endocrinology textbook and learn something. And by "textbook", I mean something that's used in university or med school, not a rag written by a quack.

  61. hya' hya' hya'



  62. Hey Anonymous who reads medical textbooks – quit being a dumbass. Adrenal burnout refers to a condition where the adrenals do not produce sufficient hormones for a normal metabolism. Symptoms include low energy, dependence on stimulants, sugar cravings, excessive sleep, strong emotional reactions to stress, etc. Its one of those things the medical establishment rights off as fatigue or some other unknown diagnosis. its real, a lot of people suffer from it.

  63. chlOe, yeah that quote about adrenals and stress hormones sounded familiar because I'd been reading the damn article THAT VERY MORNING.

    Here's a list of "Hormonal Balancing" articles from Lee/Peat: chlOe's quote came from "hypothyroidism." "Thyroid Resistance" has interesting stuff too.

  64. Anonymous @8:42pm,
    Looked at some university-level endocrinology syllabi for textbooks and found a couple:

    Vertebrate Endocrinology-4th Edition by D. Norris (tufts)
    M. E. Endocrinology, 5th Edition. Prentice Hall. 2000 (ndu)

    Did you read one of these? Or did you read a different one?

  65. Matt-
    Best newsletter yet. Excellent balance on the WAPF article. Quite a mental picture of the WAPF'rs as sugar junkies. But they started me on this path so thanks for not ragging on them too hard.

    Bullseye with the "Bustin' a 180."

  66. Anonymous,
    Actually, yeah, like Brock said, we're referring to adrenals failing to produce enough cortisol. People can get blood and saliva tests to show this. In an article Lisa sent me, Dommisse talks about how low cortisol is associated with Estorgen Dominance – which, something he brings up is that progesterone is turned into cortisol because there is not enough, which allows estrogen to be dominant. I thought that made a lot of sense. And oh the bad things estrogen can be related to help cause.. that includes sluggish thyroid. Repeating the cycle.

    And I believe Ray Peat refers to "adrenal burn out" as exhaustion or insufficiency. Which would be a little more correct, literally speaking. It's like a light bulb low on power, not exactly burned out completely. There's also more to consider..not just adrenal problems, like some guys writing about "burn out". At least, so I think.
    "Hans Selye showed that the thymus shrinks very early in the stress reaction. In his understanding of the process, when adaptation was followed by the "exhaustion phase," the adrenal glands had simply become exhausted from overuse. F. Z. Meerson's work showed that cortisol, and the free fatty acids mobilized by stress, have a toxic influence on the mitochondrial energy production system. Both cortisol and the free fatty acids block the efficient use of glucose for producing energy, creating a diabetes-like condition. The exhaustion problem caused by excessive stress is generalized, not just a matter of adrenal insufficiency. "

  67. "I suggest that you buy an endocrinology textbook and learn something."

    What. the. fuck. Endocrinologists are the ones who are seriously outdated education-wise and fuel the whole synthroid epidemic. I've only talked to a handful of people who've had positive experiences with endocrinologists, and they're the ones with easy to solve issues. I would NOT place all of my faith into a textbook that is under the influence of corrupt government branches and pharmeceutical companies and therefore contains false material. I'm sure there's a nice big ol thick section talking about the need for people with heart disease to reduce their intake of saturated fat and to start taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.

  68. Yo Anonymous,

    How about being more specific if you really have something to share?
    Like, why do doctors so often prescribe hydrocortisone if not for the adrenals being fatigued?
    Please enlighten us with your wisdom.

  69. Damn, Ami & Harper.

    I want to be more like you instead of a just a wimpy passive, aggressive byatch.

  70. chlOe:
    > Ooooh speaking of that, is the podcast up now from last week? or is that just my computer being retarded..

    I noticed the same thing, no new podcast for me :-(.

    Matt, great job on the eZine; though personally I definitely admit to some WAPF zealotism. I still really want to see a comparision of the 14 tribes Price studied, to see what all of them fermented and didn't, to see if some of them who didn't ferment wheat had certain health problems while others didn't, and plenty of other comparisions. I'm sure many things the tribes did were necessary, but some probably weren't. Either way, the question of the ultimate diet for ideal health is still there. Not sure what that is, but quantity of food beats quality so often, I'm amazed. Matt is even more non-mainstream than WAPF, but his nutritional message is suprisingly narrow (like, don't eat refined sugars, and if you are really into health, stay away from vegtable oils). Usually after reading thousands of books you stop eating; Matt started eating everything for the most part, and found that it worked. I bet the WAPF would likely be a lot healthier if they knew about the metabolsim connection and quantity of food.

    I recently had a really stressful weekend with a lot of cortisol release, inconstency with timing of meals and the amount of food, and a lack of sleep. I was fine for a couple days, but my metabolsim did plummet some. My energy levels dropped, I was hungrier, and it felt more like before I had come accross 180 Degree Health. I've since been eating more and more consistently, and have been regaining my metabolism more quickly than the other times it has dropped off. But fortunately, it seems like each time I take a step back, it's easier to make two steps forward.

    I've been doing HCL supplementation lately, thanks to Drew. I'm at 3 capsules of 625mg with no burning; I might have to try 4 :-(. Wonder why my stomach acid is so low. I've heard that the stomach waits a while in a non-acidic state for enzymes to work (or some other reason), wondering if this is true. If it is true, a problem with raw food advocation (or this aspect of it), seems to be that the (non-acidic) stomach is no different than leaving food out at 98F for 30 minutes. Perhaps adding extra enzymes to the mix and saliva helps, just that I really don't think that the raw foods for enzymes arguments hold much water (but maybe fermented, although I think the digestibility difference is more important). I'm sure that enzymes from food are used and stored by the body; just not in the stomach, but maybe in the small intestine.

    With the HCL supplmentation, I have occasionally noticed a acidic gaging every once in a while, where I burp up some stomach acid into my throat (or so it feels). Haven't had that lately though, I think my body needed a couple days with the HCL to adapt to it. I feel like I could more on to 4 capsules of 625mg.

    All of this adrenal burn out talk makes me wonder if I've compromised my adrenals, athough fortunately I don't think I have. I should chart my temperature; it might be good to check. I did go for quite a while on tons caffeine, and a shorter period of starving myself (at the same time). Glad I didn't have too much caffeine on my raw foodism excursion though.

    My metabolsim has been astounding at times lately, but my digestion is still finicky. I usually have about two okay bowel movements a day, but I still get bloated and retain water. I've been around 165lbs lately and am wondering why I am not going back to 161. It seemed to change in a few days; I doubt and really hope it wasn't weight gain. I'll try to get outside more and figure something out.

    Continuing comment below:

  71. Continuing comment above:

    To Lisa:

    I have been logging my food intake and what I notice; it has helped quite well. I wish I started sooner; I think I've been going insane the past couple years temporarily eliminating foods and keeping track of everything in my head.

    To chlOe:

    Yes, I was the one that wrote that I prefer carbonated water and feel drawn to it somewhat, although I've felt less of that effect lately. I'll try to get some in me every once in a while to see it it helps, thanks :-).

    Back to everyone:

    Is the basal temperature test more relevant than an in-ear test? I often get a mid-day in-ear test of 98.8 (not as high lately), but my arm pit temperatures can be much lower (more so in the mornings). Do armpit temperatures better show metabolsim through blood circulation and overall temperature? Really not sure on that one. Ear tests are a bit simpler and nicer, especially since I have a digital ear thermometer.

    The Ray Peat vs fish oil and PUFAs debate seems to rage on. I'm guessing that Ray Peat might be a little like Konstantin Monastyrsky in regards to PUFAs being bad when the body's metabolism is too low, but I really have no idea and don't think that "good" (which I'll admit, may not exist) PUFAs are fine for healthy people as long as they are not denatured too much beforehand. Not sure if this is true, but based on my (very limited, don't take my word for it) reading, Ray Peat does tend to clump canola and soy oil in with sesame, sunflower, and fish oil. My personal experience with cod liver oil was promising, and I think I felt better (mostly mentally) while taking it. Perhaps I was getting benefits from the vitamins, while the PUFAs wreaked havock on the rest of me; I don't know.

    Perhaps Matt's advice would be more effective with WAPF/Nourishing Traditions-level food than white rice, cream, and potatoes, but it's just a thought. Eating WAPF-compliant but not enough food is nothing special at all, even if it is 10x more healthy than some other diets. Eating enough food beats anything I have ever done nutritionally, and amazes me still. I made some Nourishing Traditions Idli (rice and lentils), fermented and soaked for even longer than they said. Constitently, they still gave me bloating when I had them. Even fermented whole grains can give someone trouble if their body isn't quite right. I do think I'm fine with sourdough wheat bread though, fortunately. I think my digestion has always been a bit off and metabolism low, but it does feel like my thyroid and adrenals are well capable when I feed my body enough. I still need to get on top of digestion. Maybe I should do a FUMP diet then a carb binge; not sure. Going into ketosis for once might be kind of fun ;-).

    Many thanks to everyone. One last questions though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Matt has mentioned even saturated fats can be bad for the body if it is too hypothyroid. What are the implications and recommendations for that? I had a whole stick of butter yesterday with one meal and was just fine; I don't think I have any troubles with fats :-).

    Matt, for your next recipe, can you give us some sort of oil absorbing thing? Bread works wonders for sapping up oil, just having a bunch of liquid coconut oil on my plate and drinking it is disgusting. I'd like to put some kind of starch on it to soak it up and turn it into something more bareable, like an oily dough. Yeah, this is mostly a joke, but it would be really nice :-). Carb bingeing is a lot more fun than sipping up coconut oil off my plate :-/.


  72. Teran,
    Low stomach acid is associated with hypothyroidism.

    Regarding armpit versus ear or mouth, Peat and Rind would say mouth, while Barnes would say armpit; as some examples, at least. I think ear isn't as recommended, but you could take all three. The average for an armpit temperature is 97.8-98, while the average for the mouth is 98.6-98.8. Such temperatures can be raised from excess cortisol as well, which can make it confusing. Symptoms are one of the most important things when trying to figure out if there is a thyroid (metabolic) problem.

    Regarding polyunsaturated fats – Ray Peat doesn't group canola and soy with fish and sunflower oils. He knows that there's more nutrients in something like fish – but they all oxidize and spoil easily. His argument is that the human body is not meant for a large intake of unsaturated fats because of our warm body. Even if the oil is the freshest you can get it – it still, by his terms, becomes rancid inside the body, and still is either stored or oxidized. In his most recent article he explains the effects these oils can have on diabetes and hypoglycemia. In hibernating animals, there's more unsaturated fat present (to slow metabolism). There's more unsaturated fats present in cold-water animals (with not-as-warm-bodies). Vegetable oils and other unsaturated fats are fed to farm animals to fatten them, because coconut oil made them hungry and lean. In an experiment, dogs fed cod liver oil had a cancer rate of 5% increase to 100%. I find it very well written, and very well debated by him. There's more on his site..which is open for you to read more about.
    In a different article, Lita Lee mentioned that the Inuit – those probably eating the most unsaturated fats – had hyperthyroids and were able to efficiently get rid of the excess. She also claims this is why they were always happy – because of their thyroid state. They probably also ate the thyroid gland, which is basically what Armour is – a protein that the body has to use to make T3 and T4- only, in dessicated form. Vitamin E is also something that prevents a lot of things, such as the storing of iron in tissues, and the oxidization of unsaturated fats.

    So all in all, metabolism is effected by thyroid. Digestion is effected by metabolism, by thyroid. Digestion effects thyroid from what is absorbed, what isn't absorbed. I think it'd be wise for you to start thinking of these as effecting each other.

    Cholesterol is the thing that can easily raise serum cholesterol in hypothyroidism or other state. However, because saturated fats and cholesterol are not the cause, it's not something to really consider. The fact that saturated fats (like coconut oil) help thyroid is what should be taken into consideration. And the fact that cholesterol in food is needed to create progesterone..another for-thyroid hormone.

  73. Teran,

    When Barnes did all his thyroid temperature testing on Army men, he found that if the men had infections – like sinus, colds – it didn't affect armpit readings like they did oral ones.

    I've lent my Hypothyroidism book to somebody so can't check on the details, but that's they general reason he recommended the pit.

  74. Sega01 said:
    Matt has mentioned even saturated fats can be bad for the body if it is too hypothyroid. What are the implications and recommendations for that?

    This is something I've been meaning to bring up actually, as Diana Schwarzbein offers some nuance on this and I wanted to get Matt's thoughts.

    Basically she makes a distinction between damaged metabolisms and "people who just need to de-stress, eat well and lose a little weight." People in the second camp can eat any naturally occurring saturated fat they choose. Damaged metabolism means something really wrong, like Crohn's Disease or Diabetes. For people in the damaged metabolism camp she suggests you avoid "long chain" saturated fats in animal meats, and instead focus on short and medium chain fats in butter and coconut oil (in addition to MUFAs).

    She did not however go into WHY this is the case, but I don't blame here for that. She was up front in the Introduction to her book that The Program is just a HOW book, and if you want the WHY you should read The Schwarzbein Principle II. I haven't read that yet but now I'm curious.

    Also, PSA: Don't feed Anonymous Trolls.

  75. Hey all,

    I think I need to write something about testing cortisol, it might be useful… I had a saliva cortisol test done which showed my cortisol was way too low throughout the day (non-adapted response for those who know what that means). A few weeks after I wanted to confirm this with a test for total blood cortisol, but this came back way too high (700, upper limit 500). Since I have some symptoms of low cortisol (low BP, fatigue, problems gaining weight etc.) and have recently started taking 1 gr of natural thyroid with some unpleasant effects (headache, pounding heart, feeling tense), I really wanted to clear this issue.

    So I decided to consult Ray Peat and he told me that saliva tests are completely useless in an absolute sense (only good for determining the rhythm) and that total blood cortisol is the best test for this. But since I still wasn't completely convinced, I went and applied hydrocortisone cream for a few days (normal replacement dose of 20 mg). I immediately started feeling really bad with hot flashes, tiredness, anxiety, feeling cold, lowered temperature… and now think Ray Peat is most likely right.

    If he's right, it's a bit weird that so many people seem to rely on saliva tests – including some otherwise very good doctors. Even at my local hospital (mainstream medicine) it's being investigated as a replacement for the 24-hour urine cortisol test.

    BTW my symptoms of pounding heart, feeling tense etc. on thyroid have gone now. I'm guessing it was just an adjustment period. A recent result for blood cortisol was also lower (still too high though) and my cholesterol has normalized as well!

  76. sega01:
    man, we could fill a book with the amount you write each time! hehe. Im just giving you a hard time, we're glad to hear all your thoughts!
    On the HCL pills, its been my experience that if you cough up some stomach acid then you took the pills later in the meal than you should have. Especially with taking 3-4 625mg pills you will probably want to take them about 1/4 of the way through the meal (I had said earlier about 1/2 way through, but 1/4 has done better for me recently), but actually thats what Ive been doing even though Im on 2 625mgs. I remember one time I took the capsules right before the end of my meal and actually coughed/burped up a now hardened chunk of the powder. It was awful. Only happened the once, though. Have you noticed any difference since you started (its only been a week or something, right?). Make sure before you move up to 4 that you try the 3 capsules at at least a couple different meals in the day so you are sure. It can sometimes take awhile before your body lets you move to a lower dosage, so hopefully you can afford 3-4 capsules 3 times a day (if not, use as many as you can afford as something is better than nothing!). Ive been on the 2 capsules Im on now for probably 1.5 months and Im just recently seeing my bowel movements firm up and no longer require wiping for the most part. Also, if I didnt mention it before, the heartburn (and when Ive had it it has sometimes been pretty noticeable and sometimes been just a little heat) may not come for a couple hours or so though could come much quicker.

    I was eating homemade sourdough bread as the only wheat product I would touch but have been eating Ezekiel breads/buns and Alvarado bagels for awhile now and I dont notice any problems. <—just a random thought because you mentioned only doing well on sourdough

    Wouldnt blood cortisol fluctuate like the cortisol in your saliva does? So unless you took blood 3-4 times a day (at the same times one would take the saliva tests) wouldnt you get a varied result depending on the time? Or is it different in the blood?


  77. FYI Matt, ZIOH has a whole forum topic dedicated to photos, so not sure why you can't find it. Maybe you have to be a member to see that topic.

    Also, while not ZC now, I can say conclusively that any time I have gone ZC I feel much warmer and my temp goes to normal with a day or two. As soon as I add carbs back, I drop a degree or more and go back to my usual cold hands, needing a sweater thing. That seems to conflict with the thought that ZC kills the metabolism/thyroid, but maybe it's a short term/long term thing. I have never stayed ZC for more than a couple weeks.

  78. Drew,

    Yes it's fluctuating just the same.. Peat said the fluctuation saliva shows is correct, and mine was lowering normally towards the evening. I had my blood cortisol measured several times in the morning (one hour after waking up) and once in the afternoon at 4pm. Morning result was always too high while in the afternoon it was high as well but still in range.

  79. Just in case I wasn't clear enough – my lab has two reference ranges, one for morning and one for afternoon. For example, my morning cortisol was 700 something (way out of range), while in the afternoon it was 200 something (top of their range).

    When looking back now I'm pretty sure I have high cortisol. For example I (like both my parents) always gained weight only in the midsection. Also I have a very full face. Peat even says high cortisol leads to low BP. Yep, confusion reigns in endocrinology :)

  80. To chlOe:

    Thanks. Yeah, I should see digestion and thyroid more as a whole. Just, my metabolism can feel perfect, but I still have digestive issues. Sorry for my ignorance, but is it possible to have a perfect (or close to perfect) metabolism and have hypothyroidism? I can't imagine having more energy than I've had at times. I think my recent HCL supplementation would help aleviate my body some, so I'm guessing it would make it easier for my body to recover; but I do wonder if I need thyroid supplementation. I guess Ray Peat advocates against nuts and seeds with a high PUFA content then?

    To Lisa:

    That's interesting, it seems like good logic. The ear is super convient though :-).

    To Brock:

    Okay, that makes sense. I was hoping the recommendation wasn't to drop fats and carb binge exclusively for some reason. I haven't noticed any personal effects from animal fats though.

    To Drew:

    I like writing, thank you :-). I've been taking the HCL capsules fairly early in the meal; I guess when I regurgitated some I probably started a bit too late. It seems it's best to have a little bit of food in your stomach for it to not be burned by the acid, but not too much that it isn't used and ends up having to be regurgitated (or so I'm guessing, I really have no idea). Four pills seems to be fine with me, I really wonder why my stomach acid is so low (chlOe's probably right, I bet I'm more hypothyroid than I thought). I didn't consider my bowel movement firmness, although if anything, it does seem to be getting better. Going lower fiber gave me something closer to diahrea for a while, and it seems to be picking back up. I think I killed my colon on fiber supplements and raw, fibrous plant matter :-(. I thought I felt heartburn when I initially started taking it at 1 or 2 caps, but at 3 or 4, I haven't felt it at all. Right as I started them, I had my high-cortisol, lacking in food weekend, so I think that made me notice the differences from the HCL less. I don't think it has worked wonders for me yet, but I really am wondering how many caps I need. Tad bit worried about the magnesium stearate, but it's probably well worth it to have a better functioning stomach (I'm using the same brand as you, by the way). I'll give it more time and see how things go. I seemed to have problems with alvarado's bagels last time I had them, but some locally baked sourdough was fine. Eventually I'll hopefully be able to give them another try. Thanks for the help :-).

    Continuing comment below:

  81. Continuing comment above:

    Back to everyone else:

    Sorry if I haven't answered every question or replied to everyone, but thanks for all of the feedback :-).

    Main reason I posted another comment was because of an idea I had. I was thinking about the Eskimos and Barnes. Broda Barnes treated lots of people just with dessicated thyroid. While I'm unsure about PUFAs in fish oil and how bad or okay it is, if it really is bad and hypo-metabolic, the Eskimo's use of thyroid glands to support their high fish oil diet is interesting. What if Barnes was merely putting people into a more hyper-metabolic state to counteract for vegtable oil use, just like the Eskimos? Just my thoughts, anyways. If that's all it takes to make someone better, I'm not sure how little could be wrong in the first place. It sounds more like a stimulant that should ultimately shorten your life eventually than anything else to me, but it does sound fine from what I've read. The thyroid is amazing.

    Didn't some primitive societies have and tolerate PUFAs just fine, in oil or nut form, without thyroid supplementation? Not sure there, but I'm guessing there is. Not that some primitive peoples have all of the perfect health answers, just that it's helpful to look at them at times.

    I continually seem to get bloated over just about anything :-/. Maybe I just need to eat and eat to stimulate my metabolsim, but I am debating going lower carb. I think I may have been doing better on vegtables and no heavier carbs digestion-wise, but I'm not sure. My heavier carbs have just been white rice and potatoes lately. We'll see for now. I definitely know that long term low carb is not ideal, but perhaps my digestion and insulin resistance needs to heal up first.

    Many thanks,

  82. Hey Leo,

    Can you please elaborate more on what Peat said to you about cortisol? I was under the impression that cortisol blood tests were very inaccurate due to the fact that they measure protein-bound (inactive) cortisol as well as free cortisol for the total. My saliva test and 24-hour free urine test both say that my cortisol is very low. However my 8 am blood cortisol looks great, the top of the normal range like it should be in the morning.

    Definitely some discrepancies going on there! Any insight?


  83. Potatoes and white rice, that's all you hear about in these parts, carb-wise. I know it would absolutely KILL some of you to dabble in vegan-recommended mumbo jumbo, but try quinoa. Learn to love it. Eat it nice and soft with all yer butter, meat, eggs n' cooked veggies.

    I am a true 180 believer on most everything out there. But maybe, just maybe, these leaf-gobbling assclowns are right in damning potatoes and white rice as non-ideal starch for damaged bodies. And don't give me that *but it's got too much fiber!* look, sucka.

  84. 1) Matt, read the dgestion ebook…have any recommendations with regards to my previous posts (digestion seems to be my biggest issue, whether it was started metabolically or it affected my metabolism)?

    2)anbody have an opinion on Brown Rice Syrup as a pancake topping? There is supposedly no fructose in it; all maltose, starch, and glucose I've read.

  85. Teran,
    Being that thyroid basically controls metabolism of carbs, fats, and proteins – they seem synonymous, not exactly apart.

    And yeah, I don't think Peat recommends nuts. But again, vitamin E can always be a factor, too.. as well as, you know, thyroid rate.
    I'm sure the Inuit would also have slightly hyperthyroid because of their general diet – I mean, they ate a looot of saturated fats, fats in general, proteins, and were exposed to the cold a lot (may have effected their "brown fat" – which supposedly effects metabolism).
    But yeah, I think it's more than just people eating unsaturated fats. Other factors in the diet can turn the outcome, I'm guessing. Like if something else speeds up their thyroid, or is preventing those fats from oxidizing. And yeah, not all tribes were the most healthiest. I heard something about monkeys that eat a mostly fruit diet living three times as long as other monkeys their size or something..the explanation behind it was because of the fact that cholesterol and saturated fat can be produced (and is preferred by the human body to produce) from ingested sugars. This would just limit the amount of unsaturated fats in the diet, anyway. Just found that quite interesting!

    What do you mean by "starch damaged"? And why would potatoes and white rice not be ideal?

  86. I don't think that fixing your thyroid / adrenals will fix your digestion. It is all about digestion, that is a fact and you seem to forget this important fact. Digestion comes ALWAYS at first, keep this in mind. No matter what you eat and in which quantities, when you can't absorb the nutrients / calories properly you will stuck.

    For me it seems that many here just try simple symptom fighting, try to eat as much carbs, fats and calories as they can, supplementing thyroid hormones and other stuff…

    AND Matt Stone is a really bad example for sick people because he is a healthy, young guy who has shown that he can eat almost everything, every diet and stays more or less healthy. Now the sick people here try to follow his diet and wonder why it does not work for them. Turn your brains on!

  87. Harper,

    Sure I'll just post all he wrote regarding cortisol.

    Q: Do you think saliva tests are "just" unreliable, or are they completely useless? Because my saliva cortisol levels were not just low but much too low throughout the day.

    RP: They are a convenient way to see whether the changes of cortisol during the day follow the normal pattern, but for judging its adequacy in an absolute sense I wouldn't pay any attention to them, since the saliva is subject to many influences that don't have much to do with the blood and other fluids.

    Q: Would urine hormone tests, for example 24-hour cortisol test, be any better? The blood test I have access to here measures total, not free cortisol – could it be that my free cortisol is low while total is high?

    RP: The hormones in the urine are mostly glucuronidated or sulfated, and so represent liver metabolism more than hormonal effects. Total cortisol is good. Some articles below discuss the problems with the "free hormone" hypothesis. [there's too much text to post them here but I can send this to you privately if you want]

    On Jefferies book Safe uses of cortisol:

    RP: I don't think his arguments are correct. The amounts he sometimes prescribed weren't always safe.

  88. Cranky Kong,

    Quinoa is decent stuff but it's really high in PUFA-6[1]. I think the pre-Colombian Peruvians tolerated it well because they ate massive quantities of fish to improve their PUFA-3/6 ratios, but that's still a lot of PUFA in the diet. As Stephan demonstrated[2], a high-PUFA diet (even with good ratios) is not as healthy as a diet higher in SFA and MUFAs.

    I think the vegans are fond of it because of its protein content, which is good for a plant food. But that doesn't mean it's the best stuff out there. And your ad hominem attacks on rice and potatoes aren't going to hold any weight in this house unless you provide something to back it up.

    Best regards,

    Link [1]

    Link [2]

  89. Are you guys saying that the September eZine is available? The latest I can see on the members page is the august one.



  90. Valtor:

    I havent checked the members page but he sent out an email that had the September ezine. The newest podcast, however, is still the one from Aug 25th so its still old. So we'll have to wait on that until he realizes it.


    ALERT: Talk of poo follows. If it grosses you out too much (freaken pansies) then dont read. I dont get too graphic but its there all the same.

    For your bowel movements, try actually decreasing your fat intake some. You said, I believe, that you ate an entire stick of butter at one meal and was "fine"? Thats entirely too much fat at any one time IMO. I go through about a stick a day, but in one meal sounds like too much. I havent tried it, but too much fat can easily give someone diarrhea.

    The HCL pills should slowly start firming your BMs up and compacting them. Both times Ive been on them (I was on them previously before I really upped my carbs but got down to less than 1 pill so stopped taking them, then had to start again at 2 pills per meal once I upped my carbs a bunch) my BMs went from a bit messy, requiring some wiping (though not diarrhea style or anything) to what I call "pooplets" (hehe) which are small, compact pieces, about marble sized. Then to larger but more porous pieces (still slight wiping required), to finally compact, solid, and looking like one piece rather than a bunch of small pieces compacted into one (no wiping). I am finally mostly back to the last stage. Throughout the process Ive seen energy and mental clarity improve (both times. When I added in more carbs but before taking the HCL pills again I was starting to be a little more tired in the morning and not have quite as clear a head. But now Im good to go. ROCK ON!).
    So keep us posted on how its going. Again, it may take awhile, especially if you are on 4 pills, for your BMs to start firming and for you to notice any improvement.

    P.S Does anyone else have an issue when commenting (only on this blog, no others) that you type in your google account name and password but when you hit Publish it loads you back to the top of the comments screen and you have to go and type your name and password again before it will work? Im 100% positive Im getting both name and password correct but it always requires me to do it twice.

  91. I use to pile the fat like butter, cheese, coconut oil, etc… on everything. Its ridiculous, i quit doing that along time ago and cook or put just enough on my food to add flavor and keep hunger away.


  92. Hi everybody. I want to tell all the regulars on here how much it has been a pleasure to read the comments. It's strange how isolated I feel in my own quest for dietary truths and yet I find an entire community on here that has read the same books, walked along the same path, and are at the point where they are drawing some of the same conclusions. To say the least, this blog has been quite an addictive read, and I guess Matt is the main one to thank for that. So, thank you Matt.

    The reason I decided to post is due to my bloating and poor digestion. For the last 8 years now I have suffered from this and my search for answers led me to the low carb lifestyle. I know this wrecked my health ad as much as I thought I knew about nutrition and as healthy as I thought I was becoming, I had dark circles under my eyes, and people just couldn't view me as someone they would want to emmulate. I don't blame them really, my ideas were always "radical" from raw meat to low carbs, and even I could never stay on this consistently.

    Anyway, I am straying from my point. I have been eating 180 style for the past week. At first I had stomach aches but like BruceK would say, I considered it reconditioning for my digestive system. It does seem to be getting much better. I have been eating ample butter, potatoes, rice, cream of vegetable soups and meat. I have cut out all sugar and oils except Macadamia.

    So I am happy my digestion is improving but my gut still looks like I am 3 months pregnant. This problem runs in my family, yet we are all considerably lean. I am at about 10-12% bodyfat right now and have been as low as 6% with good ab development yet my lower abdomen still protrudes.

    The only way I got my gut to flatten is either a very low carb, or fasting for a week. None of those seem appealing right now, as I know I need to fix my metabolism.

    Any ideas?

    I think I read Matt saying he had this problem and it went away. I plan on sticking with this diet regardless as I know I have been undernourished and underfed for 8 years. I just wanted to know if anyone had direct experience with this on this diet.

  93. Aaron,

    I know it might be repetitive for me to say this, but the protruding abdomen is a strong symptom of hypothyroidism. In Mark Starr's book, he includes pictures of one particular infant who was born with a protruding gut that made her look pregnant. Over the course of about 3 months on dessicated thyroid, the infant's stomach went back to normal. He also noted how infant cretins (severely hypothyroid infants to the point of mental retardation) always had this attribute, and how common the protruding stomach is today to the point where it's considered completely normal….the same as how cavities and crooked teeth are regarded as "normal" today.

  94. I've started taking nutri-meds dessicated thyroid this week and since then I'm peeing a lot more. Like I'm letting go of excess water. I also feel less bloated.


  95. Harper, if what you say about the protruding gut is a reliable indicator of hypothyroidism, I guess that's a good sign for me. I have a fair amount of weight to lose, but it's fairly well distributed. Small favors, right?

    How often is there a counter example though – hypothyroidism without the gut? Any data on that?

  96. Thanks Harper. I was hoping that may be the case. So you think it is mainly the hypothyroidism and has not much to do with the food. I forgot to mention that I drink milk with added cream with every meal and also have bread on occasion. Milk hasn't given me too much problems in the past but, bread has.

    I will be buying a thermometer today to start tracking my morning temperatures. As for the dessicated thyroid. If in the future I decide to use it does anyone know the difference between porcine and bovine?

    Also, has anyone used Dr. Ron's Ultra Pure dessicated Glands. I know Matt has mentioned his book, "Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine" So I was just wondering if he has quality products. He has an "Organic Organ Delight" product that combines many glands and organs…

    And also a dessicated bovine thyroid. Anyone use these products or have any knowledge of them?

    Thanks everyone.

  97. i have always wanted to try the Dr. Rons glands product… i would also like to know if anyone has tried it.

    I have been using some Standard Process dessicated liver products for a couple of weeks now… holy shnikies… my energy went through the roof!! I was thinking of adding some dessicated adrenal glands into the mix now.


  98. Aaron,
    Bovine is "cow" and porcine is "pig" – porcine is usually preferred because pigs' anatomies are more relative to ours than cows'.

  99. Hi Brock, I'll look through the book and see if I can find any more information on that. I know that Mark Starr mentions that severe weight gain on a "normal" diet and a protruding gut are symptoms of hypothyroidism, but I don't know what he says about hypothyroidism without the gut. But some form of puffiness does always seem to be present, like facial roundness or bodily swelling, weight gain, or the protruding stomach.

    I don't think you'd have to have a pregnant-looking stomach to be hypothyroid….he also mentions that some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be paradoxical and that's what makes it hard to diagnose sometimes. There are tons of counter examples: his example was of some very underweight patients he had that normalized once they started taking desiccated thyroid. That goes against the conventional belief that all hypothyroid people are overweight to some degree. He does say a few times that the final decision of if someone needs thyroid or not is determined by how they feel once taking it….blood tests don't tell you much and temperatures can be skewed (adrenal stress/high cortisol will also give someone a high temperature, as Chloe has said.)

    Hope that helps


  100. Hey guys, just thought I'd post an update. I eat mostly meat, vegetables, eggs, dark chocolate, dairy and small amounts of potatoes and a coffee everyday and I feel GREAT. I just don't do well with a high-carb or high-fat diet, I guess for me it's more a balance of all three macronutrients, keeping the weight down, not overeating, regular physical activity and eating what I want occasionally.

  101. I've heard that taking dessicated adrenal cortex is better than whole adrenal. Not sure where I saw this, but supposedly the cortex is longer-lasting, and the whole adrenal tends to give a "crash" feeling. Maybe someone else here has heard this too?

    In response to Danielle's post: I'm curious as to what Matt's and other commentors' opinions are of The Metabolic Typing Diet (a la Bill Wolcott). Has this ever been brought up here?

    And lastly, can anyone answer this question: What does it feel like/what are the symptoms when your body is just starting to release fatty acids from adipose tissue and use them for fuel? My one guess would be reduced hunger sensations. Anything else?


  102. IME, Metabolic Typing is more of a guide…I took the test twice and while it is helpful I think specific food and macronutrient ratio trials are far more benefical in determining specific requirements and intolerances that can vary between individuals.

    Also, I completely cut out processed foodfs from my diet and my skin has been purging clogged pores. The last area to clear has recently been the sides of my mouth beside my chin. Can anyone pinpoint the cause of clogged pores in this area? These comedones take the longest to get rid of, if they are caused by specific foods I would really like to know what to avoid!


    I want to know if GLUTEN is ok ONCE in a while without causing permanent damage to the body.

    ChloE, Matt, Half Navajo, Harper;

    do you guys eat gluten, ever?

  104. Anon,

    Some people are allergic to gluten. Some aren't. Get tested if you want to know if you're one of them.

    Harper – thanks.

  105. Gina, for me when my body starts using its stored energy properly, I know it right away because I'm a lot less hungry. I can pretty much only get this feeling if I'm taking desiccated thyroid.


  106. Valtor/Patrick,

    Thanks, that's what I figured. I started taking L-Glutamine (NOW brand) the other day and noticed the effects almost immediately. For those who don't know, this amino acid helps to keep the body in a nitrogen-positive, anabolic state which prevents your body from eating its muscle tissue. It also allows faster recovery from exercise, and speeds up the turn-over/healing of stomach and intestinal cells. Good stuff!

    BTW, if anyone is looking for a fantastic website to buy supplements, natural personal care products, and some health-food items from, try They have amazing prices and free shipping for orders over $40. AND if you're a first time customer you can use the coupon code GIN908 and get an extra $5 off your order. You can also set up your own rewards program/coupon code.

  107. Just want to post my experience:

    I struggled for long time with a healthy diet, had chronic fatigue, bad digestion, bloating, brainfog, etc. though i was eating only healthy fats (butter, beef, fish), healthy carbs (potatoes), eggs, meat and some vegetables. Then i decided to get me tested off all kind of things. Finally they found chronic salmonella infection… I did not take the prescribed antibiotics but took therefore lugol's 3 times a day on empty stomach. After 3 days i felt much better, no bloating anymore, more energy. After 7 days i felt like new born and stoppped taking the lugol's. This is now 4 weeks ago and i still feel excellent.

    Just my 2 cents

  108. Hey Matt,
    I just heard your podcast, and I am pretty baffled by your assumptions about Ray Peat. I feel like you're not giving the debating over sugar much chance or effort. You made it sound as if Ray Peat is going on recommending Haagen-Dazs to everyone (or that's all he's about), when he doesn't even mention it once in his articles. He mentions ice cream (in about 3 out of 62 articles) – but to cure headaches and migraines, and other symptoms of low blood glucose. He says fruit can accomplish the same thing, as he recommended here,
    "For example, a woman who was 6 months pregnant called me around 10 o'clock one morning, to say that she had gone blind, and was alone in her country house. She said she had just eaten breakfast around 9 AM, and wasn't hungry, but I knew that the 6 month fetus has a great need for glucose, so I urged her to eat some fruit. She called me 15 minutes later to report that she had eaten a banana, and her vision had returned."

    I realize that you think you can't tolerate any sugar (and are quick to blame it), but when you said you got joint pain – is that not a sign of high cortisol? Cortisol which also, as I've mentioned before, is greatly involved with blood sugar. Other factors eaten in that day or during that time frame can effect if cortisol will rise, stay up, or fall. If refined sugar in a great amount really did have that effect on you, then saying it's just because it's sugar doesn't seem to make much sense.

    Blood glucose is not solely insulin based, and neither are many other problems largely associated with insulin, and insulin alone (including diabetes). And I mean, if I get ragged on for sounding like Bruce, I'm sorry, but he had something right- factors and more facts unknown can be incredibly important when coming to an honest theory. That's why it's called debate. And it's just what I have come to discover with my stumping problems, that there's a lot to consider when picking on things to blame.

    I'm trying to get more information from you on this not-really-debate, but it seems as if you are completely stubborn to read anything in depth from Ray Peat – that's at least what it seems like. You see, it's kind of misguiding for you to say you care about learning more on health, when here I am, trying to expand upon this subject with a very different experience, yet, you will not reply nor discuss much of anything I'm trying to figure out. This isn't anything personal, at all, this is just my honest opinion. I'd really like it if I could get some discussion moving here..

  109. Brock/Harper

    I am currently reading the Schwarzbein Principle II and she says that high cortisol can give the large belly or beer belly effect. I quote:

    "High Cortisol also causes redistribution of your body fat. It signals your body to take fat from your arms and legs and store it around your midsection. This is where the term "beer belly" comes from [this section is talking about Alcohol and Cortisol] However, some people do not drink alcohol and still have this body type (big belly, skinny arms and legs) from chronic stress. Either way, this is a sure sign of chronically high cortisol levels that are associated with an increased risk of all the degenerative diseases of aging."
    -Schwarzbein Principle

    Cortisol and thyroid are very interlinked so I dont know if high cortisol is an additional reason someone could have the large belly or if it along with the thyroid is the cause each time.

    I am an example of a hypothyroid person that is thin instead of fat (no large belly). Im 6'0" and weigh about 155 or so and have a hard time gaining weight at all. The thing is, is that I am not sure if my hypothyroid symptoms are from issues with the thyroid and its hormones or if it has to do with my adrenals as I know my adrenals arent in tip top shape (fluctuating temperature and failed the pupil test). Since beginning dessicated thyroid (in the form of Armour) in mid July I have only had one symptom go away and that was a rash I had had for quite awhile on my neck. Otherwise nothing has changed though I do have better energy but I attribute that more to the HCL pills Ive been taking.

    I seem to get semi-hot flashes sometimes. Like about 30 seconds ago I started feeling rather hot though the temperature of the room has not changed. My feeling hot doesnt seem to correlate with my body temperature as sometimes when Im hot my temp is up and sometimes its not. Its been 3.5 hours since I ate so I wouldnt guess its that. Anyone else get short lived hot flashes that arent menopause or PMS related? See, its been maybe 5-7 minutes and I dont feel hot anymore. That seems to happen 1-2 times a day.

  110. Drew, that makes alot of sense. The adrenals have to work 30 to 40 times harder to deal with low thyroid function and that means that they'd release more cortisol to deal with that stress. Helping the thyroid will help the adrenals immensely. Thanks so much for posting that, I was unsure about what the exact mechanism for hypothyroid stomachs was.

    Every once in awhile I love re-reading Schwarzbein's books, because they put alot of things back into perspective for me.

  111. I have also notice the "hot flashes" on cytomel, though I would say I get them a lot more often. Nothing has gotten better for me, except a small increase in energy and less headaches. They have been so bad lately I have been sweating through a lot of my shirts while doing nothing, which has never happened to me before. I have also been flushing very red occasionaly when even slight pressure is put on my skin. my temperature is still where is was before taking the medicing, sometimes higher.

  112. If you don't have issues that prevent you from taking dessicated thyroid (Armour) then I strongly suggest that you take that instead of cytomel. You're a member of the Yahoo group for thyroid, right? Maybe they can help you figure out what's going on. Those symptoms sounds very unpleasant. Perhaps you're taking too much all in one dose?

  113. And21

    Have you ever had any injuries that might have damaged your back/neck? I just know that my girlfriend has some hypothyroid/adrenal fatigue symptoms, including headaches, but the headaches we have recently found out are due to her neck being out of alignment, basically she has whiplash but has no idea what from but the xrays dont lie. We've been getting adjusted by a great chiropractor here and her headaches have completely disappeared. The rest of her symptoms remain the same but obviously the headaches, though a symptom of hypothyroidism, were not caused by it at all in this case. Just thought Id point out the headaches could be from something else

  114. I agree with Harper. You shouldn't just take cytomel, over Armour, if you don't think you have that specific problem. It's used for helping with insomnia (or high cortisol) and clearing RT3.
    But anyway; I think it'd be beneficial to take it with meals so that it doesn't invoke a huge raise in temperature all at once. As well, many people find 5mcg at a time spread throughout the day (like, with food) really improves their symptoms and temperature stability.
    If your temperature is bouncing around it is most likely a cause of cortisol or stress hormone.

    Headaches, like I'd said, can also be from low blood glucose. Which would really make sense if you have unstable temperatures – because of the fact that stress hormones have such an impact on the glucose levels.

  115. according to Ray Peat, avocado is carcinogenic.

    So yes chloE he does say some foods DIRECTLY cause disease.

  116. Its really hard to tell if things are a structural problem, or a body imbalance… you can get headaches if you have a bad bite, spinal problem, or allergic reaction to food or chemicals. I have read coffee enemas can get rid of a migraine really quickly… haha!

    Chloe, i agree with you that fructose is not a problem… i eat lots of fruits again, but i just don't know about refined sugar, that ray suggests in ice cream, and in interviews i have heard him speak in.

    And to everyone who reads these comments, i really think you are missing out on hormone making and balancing by not strength training once or twice a week. For those who do…. i think you know what i am talking about. And i am not recommending the body building garbage. Also, walking, and hiking… matt seems to move alot, i know i move alot, talk about a stress reliever.

    Everyone seems to just complain, supplement, and talk about diet, when a good walk and a nice meal is a more viable option than setting around on the computer all day!!!

    i still like reading the commentary here, and you guys really are getting the science down to the thyroid and adrenal supplementing… its very interesting!! I don't mean to come off sounding like a jerk.


  117. Anonymous, a certain amount of intellect is required for the following-
    "avocados, for example, contain so much unsaturated fat that they can be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic."
    Avocados!- they contain unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats have mechanisms, which Peat fully explains in his many articles, about why they have potential to be carcinogenic. So no, he is not saying avocados go directly into you and cause you to have cancer. It's a matter of how much unsaturated fat is in your tissues and how much it will create, and how it oxidizes. That is his point. It's just more -to the point- to simply say it like that. It takes reading to understand why he says it. If you're ingesting them like a maniac(like some fruitarians do, and might have been part of his point, as he was talking about the good qualities of most fruit before he made that statement), it's probably much worse than eating it once in a while.

    And I spell my name chlOe for a reason, because the e is not pronounced. Please stop fucking it up (:

    My point was to say that if he had used ice cream to help himself (for low glucose reasons) and other people (recommending them sugar) who had migraines or headaches, I don't see why it would be bad because some people have difficulty with it, in different circumstances. I don't think anyone could survive off of white sugar, because the vitamins and minerals in fruit are part of the importance of them and the body's needs. It's my same queries with his thoughts against grains and things like bread–something that's up in the air for me, but so far I need to just do more learning and gain more experience for myself. Peat does have very good information, more so than simple ice cream suggestions, and that was my main thought.
    And about the moving around – just something to be aware of- it's hard to do that when you're fatigued and tired.

  118. Fructose not a problem ??? Are you people kidding me? Fructose is an hepatic toxin! When you consume it in fruits it is packaged with the antidote, but otherwise it truly is a toxin.

    You have to watch this presentation from Dr Lustig.


  119. Well, I do have a T3 problem… I am only doing 5 mcg with meals. I could be hot b/c my apartment is stuck at 84 degrees, too, though. Not sure which. As I was saying, my headaches are gone pretty much, now. And I do go to a good chiropractor. Just going to give it another week and see what happens. It really has helped with sleep and everything for me.

  120. I was just wondering if anyone knew an answer to this question…. If you we're fed soy infant formula as a babies main source of nutrition, is there anyway as an adult now to recover from this thyroid bomb!?

    How about if some people who were not breast fed, or made a homemade formula, from goats, sheeps, or cows milk, and fed soy infant formula are just screwed all together!! Is There any amount of natural thyroid, adrenal, or any other gland the soy formula demolished that can bring them back?

    Growing up ten miles from the Ute reservation, and 30 minutes from the Navajo Nation, i have seen the damage soy, alcohol, and other estrogen laden crap they get from the government has done!!! So many of them were ruined metabolically before they learned how to crawl!!

    I can't believe how lucky i was as a child to have two smart parents, luckily my mom breast fed me, and when the doc tried to discourage that and give her soy formula for me she through it in the garbage, and when i was done breastfeeding, she sourced me raw goat milk from a neighbor.

    just a thought to point out.


  121. Mistake,… they don't get alcohol from the government, but what that government has taken away from them, and left them with, led them to the overconsumption of alcohol even though you can't get it on the res.


  122. Troy,
    I think that environment shapes you as you continue to grow, even when you have grown, just like it shapes you when you start growing. Things get damaged, but I don't believe very much is permanent.

  123. Matt, I listened to your latest podcast. I thought it was quite good as usual, but I do agree with chlOe for the most part. Some of Ray Peat's theories are interesting and honestly distrubing if you take them out of context (to me, anyways), but I think the way you talked about him and your experience with icecream didn't do him justice. I do understand where you were coming for with that and did find it interesting. Really not sure how you work your thoughts into the 8 minutes so well; I think I would have a hard time with that.

    I personally need to read Ray Peat's articles directly myself, but I have been thinking about the little I know so far. I really can't disprove him or prove him either way; I don't know. I have some personal guesses that I'll spare you of for now, but maybe sometime I can read through his stuff properly. I'm sure he has some truth that I'm missing.

    I still don't know that much about the body's hormones (in reference to chlOe and cortisol), although I'm sure that some people would have been able to tolerate the icecream reasonably okay. However, I do lean towards Matt in the refined sugar is sinister stance, but I know that chlOe and Heather (my girlfriend) are just fine with natural sugars. I think unrefined sugars are not bad at all (and possibly beneficial in *some* cases, maybe) if the body is healthy. Refined, I'm not so sure on in any case.

    Going back to my memory, I think I had an above average diet growing up (relative to SAD, for sure). My mom usually had home made whole wheat bread (though not the best, for sure), had few junk foods around, and not too many sodas. If i remember correctly, I was always a bit chubby. I did usually have desert each night, but I'm still suprised that I was chubby even then. I think I got to a normal weight after puberty (about 10 or 11 :-/), but recessed a little while after that. Back before I was 13.5 or so, I also had mostly unlimited food and not too much in the way of sodas.

    The more I investigate, the more all of my health seems to point back at metabolism. I had been without coconut oil the past while and had much lower energy. When I'm on it, it's great (though my digestion and other things aren't that good). But without it, even with a whole stick of butter in a meal and plenty of calories, I don't do so well. I'm alright, but I'm either gaining weight or retaining water, or probably both :-/. I haven't carb binged a whole lot, but when I have had higher amounts of carbs, if anything, things seem to be worse for me.

    I'm not saying that Matt's advice is bad, just that I think more people need thyroid support than I thought. I'm quite sure I need thyroid supplementation; coconut oil is like the only thing that gets me going (not even all of the way), and that is possibly with reasonably high doses (although a couple tbsp a day might be adequate). Maybe I just need to eat, eat, eat, and not think about the food itself so much and eventually I could eat myself to weight loss, sodium/potassium/water balance, and digestive perfection, but I don't think my body is capable (I do agree that this works for many people though). I really do think that I have to get some dessicated thyroid in me to advance much more health wise.

    Also think that my adrenals might not be the best either, but I'm not sure. I don't think my temperature fluctuates a whole lot, but I'm not sure. It doesn't seem to have been as high as it should be lately. I did a pupil dialation test, but it seemed insubstantial. My pupils seemed to constrict strongly back and forth initially, but got more stable. Maybe I was shining the light wrong, but I don't think so. They did seem to pulsate some (though slightly) even after they were more stable though. Any ideas of what that could be?

    Continuing comment below,

  124. Continuing the above comment:

    To the synthetic vs. dessicated discusion; I definitely think that dessicated would be far better than synthetic. Nutri-meds seems to be quite reasonable and I might order some dessicated thyroid and adrenal glands from them. This is just my personal understanding, but it definitely seems to be the general consensus.

    About the 30 to 40 times increased adrenal stress under hypothyroidism; I wonder how many people's adrenals actually survive a long bout of hypothyroidism, especially with lots of caffeine and a lack of sleep. Would it be fair to say that most people needing dessicated thyroid probably need adrenals, too? Not sure there.


    My dad has had those semi-hotflashes, but I can't remember ever having them personally. No ideas, sorry :-(.

    Anonymous gluten:

    I'm fine with soured gluten for sure, but I think in general it gives me no troubles. I wouldn't be suprised if some people blamed it as giving them troubles when it was really because of fiber.

    Harper: I found your post about stomach distention and hypothyroidism to be quite interesting. Thanks :-).

    Valtor: Glad to see dessicated thyroid is working so well for you. How many pills are you taking a day?

    Anyone know what the T4/T3 ratio is for bovine thyroid? I was curious, but will go for porcine either way. I initially misread porcine as "porcupine" the first times I saw it :-/. Didn't know that porcine meant pig until I read a definition here and realized my misreading.

    Many thanks,

  125. I know that a grain of desiccated thyroid (Armour/bovine) has 9 micrograms of T3, and 38 micrograms of T4. So I suppose the ratio of T4 to T3 is 4.2:1. Hope that helps

  126. ChlOe, great response about the avocado. Its great that there are other people that know how to not take things out of context and actually apply intelligent thought before opening their mouths.

    Matt, I agree with ChlOe (ok Im done capitalizing that O, Ive fucked it up both times already and the L or E ended up in caps too) about your podcast. The way you talked about Ray Peat and him saying to eat ice cream was very uncharacteristic of what Ive seen of you thus far. You made it sound like all Ray Peat does is tell people to eat ice cream, your experiment is proof of that. You ate a ton of ice cream over three days and had problems. How much did you eat? You made it sound like a ton which of course it would be foolish to eat such a quantity of ice cream in such a short time, especially if you aren't used to eating sweets. In addition, because of this failed experiment (or success as Im guessing you were assuming something bad would happen since you are anti-sugar) you used a tone that made it sound like Ray Peat was a total quack no one should read. Ray Peat has a lot of very useful information aside from his views on sugars. So, anyway, I wanted to convey that I am disappointed in this most recent podcast even though Im not as hardcore of a Ray Peat supporter as chloe and harper.

    If you have money the Nutrimed thyroid might be a good idea but otherwise it is too expensive for most people. If you have health insurance, Armour only costs me like $3 (I think the full price of it is only like $10-15) and there's no shipping. In addition, no one really knows the strength of Nutri-meds (they arent allowed to compare it to Armour since Armour is a prescription) and from what Ive read they do something to it so it doesnt actually have any T3 or T4 in it (because if it does it has to be prescription). Though, to be honest I havent seen anything actually "official" stating that, but its been mentioned often in the sites Ive read.

    I still think eating a whole stick of butter in one meal is too much. Does everyone here disagree with me?

  127. One more thing:

    To those interested in Vibram Five Fingers shoes, I bought some and: THEY FUCKING RULE. Some people may take a little while to get used to things being between your toes but I think they are some of the most comfortable shoes Ive ever worn. I love them. I havent rock climbed or jogged in them (I hate jogging) but Ive lifted weights, run errands, and run around with my dogs and they do wonderfully. If you are jogging on pavement and step on a small rock you are going to know that you stepped on a rock though it is still significantly less painful than if you had stepped on it barefoot, but you definitely feel it. If you are thinking of purchasing them, go to their website and use their store locator to find a nearby location because you definitely need to try them on and find your exact size before purchasing any. They are very specific size wise and you really cant be certain until you try them on.
    So, in short I recommend them highly.

  128. A stick of butter is alot to handle for the body… whats the point…i love saturated fat, and i think for most people it should be the base of any good diet, but a whole stick of butter is pushing it for me anyways.

    I told you the vibramfivefingers RULE!!!! I am glad you enjoy them… the first time i put them on it made me want to sprint!!!


  129. What's the difference between fruit and candy? I think the only difference is that fruit has vitamins which candy has not. But many kinds of candy are zero fat (no pufa) and have Gelatin in them which is deficient in Tryptophan, this stimulates metabolism.

    For me personally, I have noticed that when a large portion in my diet are starches such as potatoes and rice, I gain weight. Not only that though. I feel very lazy and my asthma symptoms get worse. But the weight gain is the worst.
    Sugars don't have this effect on me.
    That's why a large portion of my diet now consists of fruit, milk, candy, low-fat fish, low fat meat and shellfish.
    You may call me crazy for eating large amounts of candy, but it gives me very much energy and it feels as though it stimulates my metabolism. I discovered that even if I eat very much sugary candy I don't gain weight the next day. Sometimes after Sugar bingeing I even lose weight. Also sugar digests rapidly and doesn't cause such a full feeling.
    But this only works with candy that has abolutely no vegetable oils.
    The combination of High starch and Vegetable oils is a real killer.

    Also, I think Starches are repulsive unless fat or protein is added. Raw starch is toxic. Raw sugar (as in fruits) is delicious all by itself. I think humans are programmed to seek out sugar in nature. We all like sweet things and we love things with colours such as red and purple and yellow which a lot of fruits are.

    Maybe candy is the ultimate health food for stimulating metabolism. (no-pufa, high sugar, low tryptophan)

  130. Natural thyroid doesn't really actually contain T3 and T4, like the synthetic measurements – It's actually a protein with a trace of the T4/T3. When the protein is digested, the digestive system then releases those hormones – when broken down there's about 3 parts T4 to one part T3, as the estimate–liver has to convert the T4, despite what supplement you take; the safety about the natural product is the fact that your body gets to choose what to activate – how much to activate. In an RT3 case, it's difficult, because you still have to convert T4, and that option means RT3 can still be created with the T4.
    The companies made the natural thyroid products list the ratios and amounts for procedure, so it's kind of misleading.

    Thanks Drew, and sorry my name spelling hassles you, but you did make me laugh just then, aaahaaaha.
    And slightly I'm with you on the stick of butter. I mean, if you've got the appetite, it's like, go for it – but damn.

    The vitamin and mineral part is kind of important. Potassium, for example, is a very big factor in blood sugar regulation. Among other things. If you took the time to look into the other benefits of fruit, which includes the nutrients they contain, you may change your mind somewhat on that topic.
    As well, candy in America isn't exactly just sugar and gelatin. refined syrup..additives..fake colors..
    But I don't know what candy you're referring to exactly.
    As well, metabolism being fast isn't too great unless you've got all the vitamins and minerals to nourish the body properly, as I believe was previously discussed in a different post.
    I think McCarrison was also someone who showed how important getting enough nutrition was (well, and Weston Price) – to be efficiently resistant to strong diseases and things.
    I think that just means make sure you have enough good stuff. Whether or not it's crazy to eat this or that once in a while is different – it's not exactly the make up of a diet.

    And I definitely agree about the human sweet-factor. The fact human milk is, you know, sweet, and we've got a whole taste bud for sweet dedication. Though, I also think it takes brains to figure out combinations like starch, fat, salt, and things – since it is best to eat them together. UMAMI

  131. common diet dogmas:
    1. "plants good, animals bad".
    2. "animals good, plants bad".
    3. "carbs good, fat bad".
    4. "fat good, carbs bad".
    5. "saturated good, unsaturated bad".
    6. "unsaturated good, saturated bad".
    7. "raw good, cooked bad".
    8. "starch good, sugar bad".
    9. "sugar good, starch bad".

    Vegans subscribe to dogma number 1.
    Zero-carbers subscribe to dogmas number 2 and 4.
    Raw-foodists subscribe to dogma number 7.
    Mainstream nutrition partially subscribes to dogmas number 1, 3, 6, and 8.

    Ray Peat subscribes to dogmas number 5 and 9. He's no better than a vegan or zero-carber or mainstream nutritionist. Dogmatic thinking about health is naive, oversimplistic, and leads to a dead end.

    If you repeat something often enough, people start to believe it, not matter how ridiculous it is. Unsaturated fats occur in many natural foods, and are healthy for animals adapted to eating these foods.

    If you live in a region where avocados grow, then it's fine to eat them in season, as part of a balanced diet. They taste good, are natural, and contrary to Peat's naive dogma, will NOT give you cancer.

    The animal studies Peat cites which show that "PUFA=poison" feed oil and other processed crap, not real food. And his molecular-level arguments might be true for a test-tube situation, but are plain false in the body of a live animal adapted to eating PUFAs.

    Humans are certainly adapted to eating PUFAs of animal origin. If it were not for the long-chain pufas in brains and marrow that our ancestors ate, we would be stupid monkeys today, with no computers or internet.

    If you want to read a balanced objective review of PUFAs from a "natural-health" point of view, I suggest Chris Masterjohn's report. Although you have to pay for it, it's quite well-written, and unlike Peat's articles, is referenced properly.

    Throw out the ice cream and orange juice, and go eat some salmon and avocado, and wash it down with a glass of Kefir, it'll do you good.

  132. Wow, it's kind of obvious you haven't read much of Ray Peat's articles. He's got a lot of good real world examples of why saturated fats are completely better than unsaturated ones for health and longevity – such as, as a couple examples, in hibernation (unsaturated fats increase in the animal's tissues to induce torpor and suppress the thyroid so that it does not starve), and the fact that the human body can actually create both cholesterol and saturated fats out of sugars, as well can form omega-9, which it's production is suppressed by omega-3 and 6 intake.
    What about this study?
    "..a few experimenters were finding that animals which were fed a diet lacking the “essential” fatty acids had some remarkable properties: They consumed oxygen and calories at a very high rate, their mitochondria were unusually tough and stable, their tissues could be transplanted into other animals without provoking immunological rejection, and they were very hard to kill by trauma and a wide variety of toxins that easily provoke lethal shock in animals on the usual diet. As the Germans had seen in 1927, they had a low susceptibility to cancer, and new studies were showing that they weren't susceptible to various fibrotic conditions, including alcoholic liver cirrhosis."
    Test tube? yeah, ok.

    If you want to actually argue his "dogma" than why don't you go more in detail, man? Because saying it is one thing, and acting in a debate is another :)

    My take on it is that the oxidation in the tissue part is an important step. How the body deals with the unsaturated fats should be considered. The steps are crucial – which is why I had said's not just "avocados causing cancer".

  133. "If you want to read a balanced objective review of PUFAs from a "natural-health" point of view, I suggest Chris Masterjohn's report. Although you have to pay for uit, it's quite well-written, and unlike Peat's articles, is referenced properly."

    Huh? I've noticed that 3/4 of Ray Peat's articles are made up of references. It looks VERY well documented. And at least Ray Peat doesn't make you pay to learn about his topics of discussion.

  134. Why is one stick of butter too much in one meal? Seriously, I'm curious.

    MATT – You said you often ate 2 sticks of butter plus one pint of cream in one single day!

    If the body is craving it, shouldn't one eat it?

    I often eat 2-4 sticks of butter per day (up to 500 grams).

  135. I still can't see the September eZine on the members page. :( Anyone has the actual link ?



  136. Thought I'd do a quick comment mostly about the stick of butter in a meal.

    I think Drew mentioned a stick of butter in one meal as being potentiall diahrea-inducing. Personally, if anything I've usually been too constipated, even with a stick of butter. It takes a lot to induce the opposite extreme in me. I've never found fats that filling, I think balanced meals are usually a lot more filling for me. If carbs aren't the best option for someone, a can of coconut milk after a meal might also be a good way to boost the metabolism through calories alone (700 calories; not too hard to drink). The coconut milk will make me feel full after enough of it though.

    I usually don't crave butter, just I try to get in enough calories as per Matt's advice (which I'm probably not implementing properly and understanding dead on, either). The thing that makes the most difference for me is coconut oil for sure. Reminds me that Nutiva has a really good deal on coconut oil if you are looking. My experience with a jar of Nutiva CO was promising the one time I had it; I just ordered a gallon though. I have no affiliation with them, but wanted to link to a really good deal. 28c or so per ounce is quite good for their 1 gallon jar with a coupon. See this page if you are interested.


    Thanks for clearing up about there being no T4 and T3 in natural thyroid. I found that really interesting. Kind of wondering if I could order the thyroid gland from a butcher and take it in small amounts, but it's probably best I don't. :-/


    Thanks for letting me know about the ratio. I'm used to percentages, personally. Humans are 93% T4 and 7% T4, IIRC, and porcine is 80% and 20%. If my math is right, a ratio of 4.2 T4 to 1 T3 is something like 76/24, which doesn't look that much worse to me.


    Might want to do that for the long run, but I think I'll go with Nutri-meds for now so I don't have to get a prescription (and so I can see if it helps). And yeah, the Vibram Five Fingers seem like they would be really good :-).


  137. Teran,

    Here is the coconut oil I buy. It is deodorized and organic (I dont like the taste of it anymore). Its only $20.79 plus shipping for a gallon. If you do a search for coconut oil they have many kinds from EV to completely refined, in several sizes and organic and non-organic,%20coconut&Token={ts_2009-09-11_09:30:54}-388609

    On dessicated thyroid, the only problem is some people dont see improvement in symptoms until they are on several grains per day. If thats the case, who knows how many nutrimeds thyroid pills one would have to take, especially because we dont know how they compare with "grains" of Armour (if they're weaker it could amount to taking a large number of pills each day). The other thing is you have to start slowly, so taking 1 grain a day for a couple weeks or so and moving up one grain or half a grain and continuing to do that process until you see improvement. Haha, I know I sound like Im against nutrimeds, but Im really just saying that its all really up in the air since we have no way to gauge its strength or know how much of it is required to start healing. It could be better than armour for all we know, but we really dont have a way of knowing. At what point would one decide the nutrimeds isnt working? At 5 pills a day? 10? OF course if you take too much you'll feel hyperthyroid symptoms so you'll at least know when you've had too much.

    The reason of the evolution of our brains is a highly debatable subject and the "essential fatty acids" being the reason is one of many theories and definitely has not been proven more than others, at least that I have seen. Some people believe it was because the "monkeys" ate psilocybin mushrooms, which is definitely a possibility you would understand if youve ever taken them. Dont spout theories as fact that are far from proven.

    And you are complaining that Peat doesnt "reference properly"? He references in the article and the subsequent bibliography is very easy to follow to find his sources. What, is it not exactly by one of the several national standards of how to reference? Who gives a shit? Its easy to follow.

    "Throw out the ice cream and orange juice, and go eat some salmon and avocado, and wash it down with a glass of Kefir, it'll do you good."

    Arent you then following a dogma just as you claim he is? If you werent you wouldnt have said "
    "Throw out the ice cream and orange juice"

  138. Hi All,
    A comment and a question or tow


    From reading quite a few books and comparing my symptoms I was convince I had some issues with my thyroid(and probably my adrenals and testostorone as well). So, I got my TSH, T3, T4 and thyroid antiboidies(or something like that) tested along with my cortisol, DHEA, and Free and total Testostorone. Amazingly to me my Thyroid tests all came back "normal" but my cortisol levels were "normal" until the end of the day(10-12pm), where they dropped right off the charts. It is my testosterone which showed the most signs of being off( 225 total). So, apparently alot of "low thyroid" symptoms can be a part of low testosterone. Basically, what I'm saying is dont self treat with powerful things that effect your hormones. Get checked first. After that and if desparate enough, well it might be a risk worth taking.

    I'm really wondering now if I have the mostly unrecognized condition of "Wilson's temperature syndrome" since there appears to be no problems with my thyroid *gland* per say(there may still be a problem with my thyroid *system* though). I have body temps of about 96.5 upon waking and 97.5-97.9 during the day. My symptoms are abdominal fat, fatigue, insomnia, mental fog, hypoglycemic symptoms, and some mood issues(depression, anxiety, irritation).

    If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open and appreciative.

  139. Aaron,

    According to your symptoms and temperatures, you are certainly hypothyroid. Thyroid blood tests are USELESS and can't tell you what is really going on because they can't measure how your thyroid hormone is being USED. It does not measure how your thyroid hormones are functioning. It only detects it's presence in the blood. Do NOT rely on thyroid blood tests for a diagnosis.

    Low thyroid definitely contributes to low sex hormones or imbalances. Low testosterone is the result of low thyroid, not the other way around. And those "normal" ranges mean nothing; Ideal hormone levels are different for EVERY PERSON, (some people may need a much higher level of progesterone than someone else does to feel well), so the idea of a "normal" range is ridiculous. I'm not criticizing you, but I could go on all day about how ridiculous doctor's fascinations with blood tests are.

    Also, your cortisol is supposed to drop off around 10pm. It's supposed to be the highest during the morning when you wake up, and lowest at nighttime. Your cortisol sounds fine.

  140. Re: the Vegetables, etc. Peat article:
    Peat is recognizing the role PUFAs play in depressing the thyroid. From earlier in the article:

    "Generally, fruits, roots, and tubers provide a high concentration of nutrients along with low concentrations of toxic antimetabolic substances."

    I think that line you quoted was a caveat for folks who need to cut out as many PUFAs as possible.
    Hence the unsafe unsaturated avocado – they would need to exercise caution in mass consumption. Not carcinogenic to everyone – but they "can" be to some.

    (chlOe explained this much mo bettah in an earlier post.)

    I've greatly reduced PUFAs as a direct result of Peat's advice. Whether improvements in skin, digestion, mood, energy, metabolism are a direct result remains to be seen.

  141. Hi Harper,

    Thanks for the response. Yes, I understand the cortisol point and the test results said the same thing. However, my "drop off" was significantly more than the bottom range of "normal"(.03 I think). My DHEA was high too. So, with those to facts the lab said there was a clinically significant adrenal fatigue(not super severe though).

    Ok, I have suspected the Thyroid tests can be flawed, which is why I'm seeing a Doctor at a clinic that specifically treats people with hormonal issues. Its pretty much a very similar approach that Scharwbein takes, only the Dr. is a bigger fan of Armor than she is from my understanding.

    Ok, so if all my tests are "normal" and I really am low-thyroid, how on earth would I ever get thyroid medicine(wether Armor or whatever)? From my understanding a Dr. must prescribe these and the only way thay will do that is if there is *some* indication of a thyroid problem from testing resultings. The person I'm seeing while being a "real" Dr.(MD or DO) is about as "alternative" as one can find, so what can be done!?

    It seems like most of the "alternative" type thyroid approaches that involve medicine(ie Armor) involve testing at least as a guide(ie "Stop the Thyroid Madness, Scharwbein, the Dr. and wife couple who wrote "Thyroid Power" and "Feeling Fat, Frazzled, and Fuzzy" and some of the people continuing the work of Broda Barnes). I think temperature is important, which is why I'm still wondering and not just saying "oh, I guess I'm not hypothyroid". This really sucks though, as I don't know where to go from here…..

    So, in effect who are the main sources your perspective is influenced by and what might be a way for me to proceed to get proper diagnosis and treatment?



  142. Aaron,

    Have you charted your thyroid amounts?

    The "normal" ranges on those blood reports are completely useless. Slightly more helpful is examining your numbers in relation to one another. Dr. Rind has a very narrow recommendation for optimal thyroid hormones.

    Even if your thyroid hormones are normal, your doc should treat by symptoms (temp, heart, cholesterol, trigs., fatigue, weight gain) not by thyroid panel numbers.

  143. "From my understanding a Dr. must prescribe these and the only way thay will do that is if there is *some* indication of a thyroid problem from testing resultings."

    Ahh…there's the main problem: doctors rely WAY too much on test results to do their diagnostic work for them. It's ridiculous and ineffective. Conventional doctors usually won't even give you a second look if your TSH is fine. Have you had Reverse T3 tested? It's the most important thyroid test, in my opinion, because it lets you know if your active thyroid hormone is being inhibited. My thyroid tests were "normal" (although that doesn't tell me anything,) but when I had my Reverse T3 tested, it was very high…that really explained everything I was going through.

    It's hard to find a GOOD thyroid doctor that knows how to treat by symptoms and temperature, and who knows that some people might need more than the "standard amount" of thyroid hormone. A good place to start is the "Top Doctors" page on Mary Shomon's website:

    But if you'd rather do this on your own, do it. Taking thyroid hormone is very cheap and very safe (compared to birth control pills, anti-depressants, and statin drugs that doctors are so eager to prescribe.) You can order it from other countries legally; it is an uncontrolled drug. If all else fails, you have that option.

    Best of luck

  144. Harper, great reply. Didn't you say somewhere that anyone with T4 over mid-range almost always has an Reverse T3 issue?

    Aaron – Think about lurking in the yahoo groups: Natural Thyroid Hormones, Natural Thyroid Adrenals and (if you need it) RT3_T3.

    Do test your Reverse T3 if you haven't. It will completely change the course of your treatment if you have a problem converting T4.

  145. Thanks Lisa, you're such a boost in my day! When I was in the Yahoo RT3 group, one of the moderators mentioned that every single time she saw someone post lab results with over mid-range Free T4, they had a Reverse T3 problem.

    I wouldn't consider her word to be absolute truth, but I trust it because she's seen alot of people get tested, plus it's consistent with what I know about thyroid: If a Free T4 blood test comes back high-ish, then my guess is that the T4 is not being converted into T3 fast enough, or at all, therefore it's pooling in the blood. Newly generated T4 hormone from the body would add onto that and make the T4 level high. The T3 level in this case would probably be low-normal or subnormal. Again, that's my guess…But hey, there's a good use for thyroid blood tests right there!

  146. Dear Ray-Peat-Followers,

    If you actually READ Ray Peat's articles, not just skim over them, you will find that they are NOT referenced properly. For example, I tried to read "The great fish oil experiment", and found that the following "references" were not listed at all in the bibliography:

    Sethi 2002
    Chaudhary 2004
    Hildebrandt 2003
    Gonzalez 1988
    Osmundsen 1998
    Allard 1997
    Lovell 2001

    I'm a grad student in biology, and I know what it means to reference something properly. If this article were submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, it would get rejected. If it were submitted as a course paper, it would receive a failing grade. Unless you have access to a university library, you're going to have to pay to get the full text of most peer-reviewed journals. You get what you pay for. It takes a lot of resources to run a journal.

    And if an incomplete bibliography isn't bad enough, Ray Peat makes plenty of incredible claims with no reference at all. The quote provided above by Chloe is a perfect example. It comes from his article 'fats and degeneration'. There is no reference to these 'experiments by German researchers', not even a last name, or anything at all in the 1920s or 1930s. Without spending lots of time digging through the literature, I have no way of checking the validity of this claim.

    Another example – from "the great fish oil experiment":

    "With just a normal amount of vitamin E in the diet, cod liver oil is certain to be highly oxidized in the tissues of a mammal that eats a lot of it, and an experiment with dogs showed that it could increase their cancer mortality from the normal 5% to 100%."

    There is no reference at all to this "experiment with dogs". No year, no last name, nothing at all. 100% cancer mortality is quite incredible. If this is actually the case, I suspect that the CLO was contaminated by some carcinogen. Most animal studies feed the lowest-quality food possible.

    In the words of the Bear,
    "Don't believe everything written […], there is no law against writing fiction."
    (I'm not a zero-carber, I just like that quote)

  147. But Stephen,

    The whole point of 180-thinking is not automatically to believe anything on face value and use our critical thinking skills to ferret out what works best for each of us.

    I find the "Ray-Peat-Followers" moniker demeaning. I do not agree with him 100%, but I don't agree with anyone 100%. However, he comes a heck of a lot closer than most folks.

    Since you are a grad student in biology, is there anything you could add to the discussion of diet, thyroid or PUFAs?

  148. Thanks Lisa,
    I hate, more than anything, to be called a follower. I completely agree with you that I'm not 100% with anyone! No one should be 100% with anyone about anything regarding health because of so many different experiences people hold. Ray Peat has so much information, that I have indeed read-read, not skimmed. I hold a certain amount of trust that may be stupid, but it may be worth it in the end if I actually give it a chance to work for myself; instead of assuming someone would pump falselyhood for their own benefits..for what? What does Ray Peat have to sell? What does he have that's on the line other than his offerings in private consulting? That's why I don't get why he would be dishonest in the category of such studies.. there's no obvious reasons. Sure they may be there, but, not that I have yet to discover.

    And Stephen,
    I've just sent Ray Peat an e-mail to question the validity of those studies. You could have started with that in the first place instead of automatically telling someone they're dogmatic and wrong. You could have also contacted Ray Peat yourself to see, if you were at all interested, but it seems as if your own "dogmas" stand in the way of those actions, ay?

  149. Stephen,

    I do see what you mean about the references. But I really doubt that he's trying to be malicious when he forgets to document his sources. He is an old fella, after all. He'd probably give you a decent answer if you emailed him about this.

  150. Stephen,
    I will forward you the e-mail that I've received containing some studies you requested – hopefully all of the ones, or most of the ones, you were questioning are there.

  151. Chloe, can you post the one that showed 100% cancer mortality here for everyone to see?

  152. Ah Ray Peat –

    I like his writings, but I have to admit, there are some big errors in there. For example, when he talks about magnesium content of foods. Um, well, meat doesn't contain much Mg at all – he states it does, and that a diet of milk and meat provides ample amounts of Ca and Mg. Not so – a diet rich in milk and meat would provide a lot of Ca and very little Mg. Look it up.

    Also his claims that coffee contains lots of Mg and vitamin B1. ARG. Coffee contains no such things – very very little Mg and no B1. And from what I've read in other books, coffee seriously depletes vitamin B1 and magnesium.

    Those are a few examples I can think of.

  153. He suggests fruit and milk, OR meat and milk – so I'm not sure if he means fruit, meat and milk; or fruit and milk; or just meat and milk as enough.
    "A diet of milk and fruit, or milk and meat, provides a nutritional balance with generous amounts of calcium and magnesium."

    When he's speaking of meat being rich in magnesium, he may be considering the entire animal as a whole,
    "Traditional meat-eating cultures efficiently use the whole animal, including blood, skin, bones, and the various organs, rather than just the muscles. That diet is favorable for calcium regulation, because it provides more vitamin A, D, E, and K, calcium, and gelatin, and less of the pro-inflammatory amino acids, tryptophan and cysteine. "

    As well, quantities of the food greatly effect how much of it you get. Eggs aren't a source of vitamin A quite like liver, but if you eat them consistently they are a very good source, along with butter.

    Quality can be another factor;
    Here, it says raw milk contains, per quart, a range of 85-130mg.

    Whole milk is on the list of foods here for magnesium content. The highest is Halibut, at 90mg per 3 ounces. Potatoes are also high, something that Peat recommends as well.

    That's also only one cup of milk that still makes the list.

    If it's 360mg per day that's recommended..drinking a quart of milk is at least 1/3 the amount; 2 quarts up to 1/2.

    With the foods that he personally believes are good to recommend to people, I would say it's safe for him to say, out of the foods he prefers, which sources are good for magnesium. And with his recommended amount of protein (80-130g)–meat and gelatin could be another good source of magnesium – along with the fruit, potatoes, and other things; it seems to me it'd be easy to get that amount.
    Still, RDA could be completely retarded, as well. It's not like cultures around the world have almonds and halibut. In their case, quality and quantity would come in to play largely.

    Also, you should consider his overall basic suggestions. Put them together.

    For coffee, I don't know much about it, but just because a study says something doesn't mean it's necessarily true. If it does truly deplete those things – how? Please go more into detail.

    He'd probably be able support his knowledge a lot better than I can, which is why he has a contact page. I am interested in what his responses would be to those things.

    Though, magnesium and coffee takes up only a small portion of his research..

  154. How OLD is Ray Peat (age in years)?

    Anyone can refer to recent pictures of him?

    Thank you.

  155. Just some information on desicated thyroid. It is NOT a protein with only traces of T3 and T4. When whole thyroid is processed, the only thing removed is fat and connective tissue. ALL of the hormones that are normally found in the thyroid are also found in dessicated thyroid.

  156. “Many of these mental reactions come from the boost in adrenaline. I had the same. Many people get the same smart and focused feeling from stimulants like caffeine and cocaine as well as only sleeping a few hours a night (a decent night sleep turns down the juice and leaves them with tremendous ‘brain fog’ that they call “getting too much sleep”). ”

    TOTAL revelation. I’ve been having that “brain fog” for years, especially during periods when I could sleep as much as I wanted, eat whenever I wanted, and time my activities how I wanted. I feel a lot clearer during stressful times – when I have to get up early every day, study and work a lot etc. I always thought I was abnormal/unhealthy, it never occured to me that maybe my brain doesn’t need to be highly alert all the time and that maybe a relaxed brain is a healthier brain. omg… thanks :)

    • From Diet Recovery 2…

      When you go from being in a highly-stressed, underfed state to a de-stressed, overfed state, the adrenal glands pretty much go on vacation. You know how you feel after a big Thanksgiving feast? Your eyelids feel like they weigh a thousand pounds. You feel warm and cozy and tingly all over. All you want to do is pass out into a coma-like slumber. There’s a good chance that you will spend a lot of time in this semi-comatose state for many weeks. Maybe even a whole month. If you are recovering from something really severe – like a major eating disorder, this phase can last much longer. Like a whole frickin’ year. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling utterly unproductive or freak out and think there’s something wrong because you’re not your former upbeat, energetic self. Spend some time in this state and welcome it openly. It’s a healing place to be.
      Endocrinologist and author Diana Schwarzbein had a big impact on me with this concept. She states that running on adrenaline and wearing yourself out actually feels really good – whereas rebuilding feels kinda lousy. Like your body and brain have all slowed down by half.
      Glucocorticoids, our hormones of stress, can actually create euphoria in large quantities, and shutting them down can cause feelings of near-withdrawal. I have likened eating disorders to a drug dependency, in that eating, once you go beyond a certain point of starvation, actually takes away your internal stimulant meds and makes you feel totally crappy and depressed, with a foggy unfocused brain. Get ready for such feelings, and don’t let them fool you into thinking that what you are doing is a disaster…

  157. Did the comments here fade into the sunset. I was enjoying reading them. Having some health challenges myself I wonder if changes to my fluctuating LC/ZC might need some fine tuning.


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