Fiber Raises Metabolism

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I’ve highlighted all along that a diet revolving around unrefined carbohydrates – rich in nutrients and fiber in comparison with their refined counterparts, is fundamentally different from the typical low-fiber fare of the modern low-fat diet.  But I never expected my exploration would take me to a place where I believed that fiber could indirectly stimulate metabolism by raising leptin and lowering insulin resistance and inflammation by reducing levels of the hormone resistin as well. 

Well, fiber can actually be kind of awesome – it’s fermentation triggering a big rise in the short-chain saturated fatty acids propionic and butyric acids in the digestive tract and more.  These fatty acids directly impact mitochondrial activity and therefore metabolism, appetite regulation, bacterial composition of the digestive tract, and more that is associated with great resistance to infectious and degenerative disease (for more discussion on butyric acid and metabolism, read this FREE eBOOK).  No wonder unrefined carbohydrates, unlike refined carbohydrates – lower blood sugar, lower insulin levels, decrease appetite, and raise metabolism.  Watch the following video as I explain. 

Interesting links:


  1. I think there is an important distinction between pectin and cellulose fibers.

    Pectin fiber is present in fruit and starchy roots. Cellulose is the 'insoluble' fiber in wheat and oat and rice brans.

    From my personal experience the fiber in whole wheat and other whole grains totally tore up my digestive tract.

    This would probably be ameliorated by soaking and fermentation. But I have read elswhere that bran fibers cause gut problems.

    Pectin however is very soothing and forms a 'gel' in the gut. It is anti-inflammatory.

  2. That was a great video, thanks for making it. Your conclusions seem quite accurate, but of course, for some people in the short term introducing lots of fiber has many side effects. Most people will probably adjust fine, though, provided their metabolism is high enough.

    Recently on occasion I've found myself craving oatmeal which is high in soluble fiber. I agree with Gabriel that there probably is a major difference in the types of fiber, but I'm not sure what it would be. I doubt that fiber supplements are ever a good thing, though.

    The fermented fish/propionic acid aspect was really interesting. It makes me feel like I should find a good source, especially when having white rice regularly. Is mother's milk high in it propionic acid, perhaps?


  3. Gabriel-

    Definitely some major differences; however xylose, a precuror to hemicellulose, is really what stimulates the biggest rise in propionic acid. Soluble fiber has advantages too though.


    Good to hear from you homey. Mother's milk is high in butyric acid moreso than propionic acid from what I understand. However, fermenting milk would probably increase propionate.

    Note that low-fiber cultures either ate lots of fermented fish or subsisted off of high-butyrate dairy products.

  4. And this is where Mark Sisson, Kurt Harris, and their herd of paleo-primals beat you with their grok sticks because you are realizing that there may be some speckle of truth to all the CW after all! Low-fat, whole-grains, low-meat, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Wasn't this what Bernarr MacFadden suggested back in his day?

  5. I would agree that modern wheat ain't what it used to be, but guys like Sisson are way the hell off base with their opinions of carbohydrates in general – grains or otherwise.

    Sisson probably still holds the title of most ridiculous assertion I've ever seen advanced in a health and nutrition book.

    In Primal Blueprint, he states that a carbohydrate intake of over 150 grams per day leads to "insidious weight gain."

    JFC Mark, 99% of the lean people on the face of the earth eat more than 150 grams of carbohydrates per day.

    Yeah Mark, you better ban my IP address from your forum and forbid me to leave comments.

  6. This blog is like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I dig it, but sometimes I don't know where the fuck I am. :)

    I have a serious question for you Matt. If someone is facing a catastrophic issue like liver cancer, what the hell should they eat?

    From all I've read, sugar/carbs 'feed' cancer! Is this true? I know you are working on composition lately, but do you have a Defcon 1 diet for people who have gotten the splotch on the x-ray and are in critical situations? Thanks, S.

  7. So interesting! My hubby and I are setting up a grass-fed farm, and just yesterday I was reading up on how a cow's rumen works. The microbes in the rumen break down carbs and produce fatty acids: acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid. Acetic acid comes from fermentation of very high fiber and low energy feeds, such as hay. The bacteria that digest cellulose and hemicellulose produce acetic acid, important in production of milk fat.

    The bacteria that digest starchy feeds (cereal grains or potatoes) produce mainly proprionic acid.

    So I'm wondering, do human guts produce much acetic acid? Maybe not unless we eat a lot of all-bran? Is it important for breastfeeding mothers to eat high fiber? I'm guessing that, like a cow, we have a great variety of bacteria in our guts. Maybe eating a variety of fiber-rich carbs is the best way to keep the diverse community of bacteria going?

    Here's my source:

  8. I think there's a certain thrill in defying all the advice fed to us by the FDA and USDA, but there's never a lie that isn't surrounded by at least a little truth. It's fun to be a nutritional renegade, but not at the expense of genuine nutritional research and discovery. Gotta be objective, right?

    Also, inulin/oligofructose is used as food by probiotics, so it can contribute to balancing gut flora as well.

    Do you think the benefits of fermented cod liver oil may be linked to propionic acid in addition to the vitamin A and D?

  9. I have no doubt that excess glucose in the bloodstream increases cancer cell proliferation. But to think that cutting carbs can fix that is not only oversimplified, but just plain wrong.

    If I was diagnosed with liver cancer what would I do? Hmm, good question. In general I would lean more towards a Max Gerson type protocol – all fresh foods (he used juices, but I would use whole foods) with very little fat, no refined foods whatsoever, etc. Raw fruits and vegetables, cooked starches, and maybe some more hardcore alternative-therapy style liver cleanses and fasts?

    Hard to say. But, like Henry Bieler, I generally tend to think that various forms of fasting and low-protein diets are the best for acute healing.

  10. Kelly-

    Great thoughts, and yes, the human gut can produce a hefty amount of acetic, propionic, and butyric acid from eating a mix of whole plant fibers and starches.


    Yeah, totally. I'm glad you can relate to my decision to have a little more balanced perspective about what predominates conventional wisdom on diet, nutrition, and health. It's not like when the government said to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that Americans did anything approximating that. Instead we all ate more white sugar, white flour, and vegetable oil on a diet that was still high in fat and low in fiber.

    Regardless of what the USDA tells us to do, Americans still eat 40% of kcal as fat and get 10-15 grams of fiber per day with little or no micronutrients. Low-carbers and Paleos use this as evidence that a low-fat diet doesn't work and is actually making us fatter… Weak.

    As for fermented cod liver oil, perhaps – and I can see the short-chain fats helping to protect the HUFA in cod liver oil to some extent as well. Fermenting it does increase these fatty acids though – these fatty acids are thought to be primarily responsible for the taste of fish sauce for example.

  11. So where does the GAPS diet play into this? We don't follow it, but many of the bloggers I read are going that way and it is completely the opposite direction from where you're headed now. Just curious.

  12. Hawaii Girl-

    GAPS is for those with severely damaged intestinal villi. The irony is that the best defense to protect against that damage is eating a fiber-rich diet – which keeps digestive bacteria ecology excellent and provides nutrition that is directly used by the gut wall – short-chain fatty acids.

    But many do damage their digestion with fiber-rich diets as well – in my case from eating a lot of beans that were not soaked/sprouted/well-cooked. Good digestion depends on not having overt deficiency and crushing your metabolism as well – which is the fate of many vegans and chronic dieters that run into digestive problems over time.

  13. Matt, thanks, I have one more question on the Defcon 1 diet. Would not raw meats and fatty organs also be part of a raw healing protocol? I do think fasting is in some way key, as it just seems like any animal in distress, the first thing it does is stop eating. But of course, then, lots of them die! And cancer patients often die from wasting.

    My neighbor with breast cancer is juicing her ass off. When I juiced, I got cysts in my eyelids which turned out to be directly from my body trying to contain the antinutrients from the juicing! As soon as I stopped it stopped. After 7 eyelid surgeries! It's so hard. Thanks for trying to wade through it all with an open mind.

  14. Perhaps, and the traditional Gerson diet contained lots of raw liver juice.

  15. Does JFC stand for
    Jesus Freakin Caveman?
    just checking.
    did a shout out to you on my blogs.
    check it out on both debbiedoesraw and grass fed momma.
    cuz i am lazy.

  16. No, JFC is a small fried chicken establishment on the eastern seaboard – Jersey Fried Chicken, better known as JFC. Good guess though.

  17. Dang- seem to have lost my last comment there. Take two.

    Hey Matt- I know I gave you some flack recently for pimping conventional wisdom, but I support you full on. In my experience, just reacting and rejecting an idea, problem, whatever doesn't resolve it. There's always nuance there, and you've gotta find the core. It reminds me of my time as a pretend philosopher, I read Hegel, and he talks about the cycle of thesis (which doesn't work) begetting the
    antithesis (which is ultimately inadequate as well) and the emergence of the synthesis, combining what's useful of each. (That in turn becomes the new thesis, and this process continues indefinitely, but that's another thing).

    Re: acetic acid- I wanna give another plug here for fermentation. We can produce acetic acid outside our bellies too- it's known as vinegar, and any sugary liquid will turn into it so long as it's not too sugary. Most fermenters stop the process at alcohol by keeping the environment anaerobic, but just add some air and your cider, wine, whatever goes 'off' and becomes vinegar. Vinegar is where liquid fermentation ends up, where it apparently wants to go, and where it stays comparatively stable. Dunno, though, how this differs from what our microflora produce inside of us.

    And Matt, good point about the givernment recommendations. Vegan John Robbins makes this point too, that Americans aren't actually eating a low-fat, high complex carb diet as recommended, and so when low carbers or others argue against the recommendations because it 'hasn't worked' for the American population, they're either disingenous or misinformed.

  18. Where the heck is JD?

    Here Matt is talking about eating fruit and stuff and JD is nowhere to be found.

    Actually, this kind of contributes to my long-standing theory that JD is just Matt's alter ego. I formed the theory when I saw Matt's continued calm and patient rebuttals to JD's (sometimes) annoying comments.

    Has anybody ever seen JD and Matt in the same place at the same time? See, it's spooky…

  19. JD?
    perhaps, you are referring to JT?

  20. Yep, JT. He hasn't said anything in so long I forgot his name.

  21. I have a hunch he (JT) is about to say something soon!

  22. Americans aren't eating low fat, but they are eating low saturated, animal, and non hydrogenated fats.

    Before the industrial revolution people were eating heaps of butter and lard. And, save for the ones in the dirty cities with poor sanitation, they were unhealthy.

    Generations of people have lived to very old ages on butter and lard and are very healthy in the process.

    I'll stick with what works. Most vegans i see are peaked and borderline emaciated. Most Mormon farmers from Idaho that I have met are robust and fit.

  23. Can I just say that I hate these videos? What happened to Matt Stone the writer? I can read 1000x (approx.) faster than you can talk, and I can skim stuff I already know and read and re-read the stuff that's new to me so that it can really soak in. These fluffy video posts just don't cut the mustard.

    Also, when I want to find them again using Google search I have a 793% better chance of finding a post with keywords I can remember actually written in it.

  24. Damn Cusick… are you wasted?


  25. Out of all the fibers, I'd guess bran we should still avoid, since it's actually intended to dissuade animals from eating it. But other than that– Screw you Monastyrsky!! I mean, he has some good points, but this guy has a fit over them putting inulin in yogurt. You should see what he thinks a healthy bowel movement looks like. (Then again, T.L. Cleave made some unusual observations…)

    Anonymous said…
    From all I've read, sugar/carbs 'feed' cancer! Is this true?

    Matt Stone said…
    I have no doubt that excess glucose in the bloodstream increases cancer cell proliferation. But to think that cutting carbs can fix that is not only oversimplified, but just plain wrong.

    Yes, I agree. In fact, I just posted in a forum about this. I argued that actually, it seems a very low carb diet actually raises fasting blood sugar levels, and a high carb diet lowers them. So which is worse for cancer cells– spikes of glucose, or chronically elevated glucose? In tune with this site, I'd think chronically elevated glucose is worse.

  26. On the topic of intestinal flora, and having skimmed over the cooling inflammation blog, what about antibiotics? Shouldn't their use (and overuse) correlate very well to obesity and chronic disease in modernised, western nations? I don't recall this blog exploring something down that avenue before.

  27. Ok, before I actually listen to this, I just gotta say when I read "The Truth About Fiber", it makes me think of "The Truth About Diet", and "The Truth about Food", and "The Truth About Training". Yes, I've been listening to Scott Abel.

    Hey Matt… I got a request. You can change your blog settings so there's a widget on the actual page to create posts and not a separate pop-up window? The whole pop-up thing is kind of clunky.

  28. So, Matt, are you sure we didn't used to eat 150-300 grams of fiber daily as Lustig suggests? I bet I could get that much if I guzzled a whole tub of inulin and ate fourteen pounds of vegetables… :p

  29. Hi, new RRARFer here, just wanted to introduce myself and get some feedback. (I agree with others who have said a 180D forum would be nice!)

    My plan is to do the RRARF thing for the month of July. The health issues I want to address are mainly low energy and persistent urinary tract infections, and of course to raise my body temperature. (Dysmennhorea too, but I don't know how related that might be to metabolism–anyone?) I've tracked my basal temp on and off for the last three years, and it tends to run in the mid-high 97s in the first part of the cyle, and low-mid 98s after ovulation. Honestly I don't know how I could see a meaningful increase in one or two months, since it fluctuates (adrenal problems?), so I'm not sure how I will judge the success of RRARFing.

    Well, my background — 25 y.o. female (obviously), 5'5" about 150 pounds. I'd love to lose some weight and reshape eventually, but I'd rather stay the same weight and improve aforementioned health problems if I can't have both. Not really wild about gaining weight though.

    Diet — growing up I ate pretty much the SAD, although my mom did try to limit junk food and she always made homecooked dinners with meat, starch and vegetable, and we always ate whole wheat bread.. I have always eaten to appetite. The summer after my senior year of high school I lost 10 pounds inadvertently; I was waitressing–active and not eating regular meals (get home at 11, say goodnight to my family, eat a Hot Pocket.) Then I went to college and gained the proverbial freshman 15. At the time I attributed it to college life and cafeteria food, but now I'm thinking it was probably the rebound from losing 10 pounds with calorie restriction in less than 2 months. About three years ago my husband, then fiancee, bought Nourishing Traditions and since then we have been eating WAPF-style as much as possible; pasture raised meat and eggs, raw milk, soaked or fermented whole grains/legumes, not shy on the butter, sour cream, and coconut oil; try to limit sugar and mostly in the form of maple syrup or honey. I haven't seen much improvement in health, though. Since reading this blog I've been adding in more potatoes and sweet potatoes.

    Exercise — I've never been an exerciser; never enjoyed it and never had the energy for it. Never really had the energy for much social physical activity, either. My dad runs 3 miles every morning and I tried joining him (for about half that distance) for a couple months during my junior year of high school. I started falling asleep in my first class, so I quit the running. Again, adrenal problems? I also tried running and hitting a punching bag a couple days a week during my freshman year of college, but didn't stick with that long-term. Now I live with my in-laws; my husband and I moved here to have the opportunity to learn organic gardening, but it turns out I don't have nearly enough energy for all the work to do around here. Also I got a dog in April, and getting up earlier to walk him really wore me out.

    My experience with RRARF so far is that it's very hard to eat more than I am used to. I have always been able to pack it away on Thanksgiving or eating out, and get to that painfully-stuffed-but-it-was-so-good feeling, but now before I even necessarily feel full in my stomach, my appetite is just gone and I can force a few more bites, but start to feel like it will make me sick to my stomach. Last night half of a 1 lb steak and half of a smallish sweet potato was all I could manage. I have noticed even in the last few months that my appetite was not very strong. What could this mean? I don't think my metabolism is in the place where I should start eating less? As for digestion, not to be too graphic, I have definitely been moving it through, more and more often, in the last week than before RRARF. I guess this is an improvement?

  30. @Rachelle: Just wanted to say welcome to 180! And I definitely think dysmennhorea can be linked to metabolism, since that's a sign of a hormonal imbalance. Healing the metabolism and hormones go hand in hand.

    I am in a similar place as you–I'm tired a lot more than someone should be at my age (I'm 24). I would definitely say there's an adrenal connection there. I've been improving greatly, though, and eating plenty of real food RRARF style has helped with that. These days I have enough energy to exercise 3-4 times a week while still keeping up with regular life tasks. I had minor surgery earlier this year and that was a huge setback. The stress of it really zapped my motivation, and it took a few months but now my energy levels are much stronger.

    As for eating more, that's definitely an individual thing. No one wants you to eat until you puke. :) I will say that a steak that big is enough to severely blunt anyone's appetite. You might try easing up on the steak and going heavier on the sweet potatoes, and see if that works better for you.

  31. Matt, we have followed many of the same paths…

    Low carber jumped right on to Fiber Menace and Groves blamed it for his colon ca. I'm not so sure.

    I gave it a whirl and gave up anything fiber including a month of ZC.

    After a year or two of low fiber, I decided it was all BS and started adding…actually, I added some carbs (real ones) because I was one of those peop who became sensitive to everything!!(Thank you)
    I realized that I felt better and so am consuming more.

    Fiber was once popular (25g/day) in the low carb world and one of the plans I followed was GO diet.
    Those guys spent lots of time doing studies focusing mainly on diabetics.
    They love bran a psyllium which my gut does not.
    Still there was success and plenty.

    Many low carb diabetics don't have great success and I think it is due to extremism. I'm sure you've noticed that high meat seems to cause incr BG, especially FBG.
    BUT you still find diabetics who've done great w fiber although may not want to admit it on lc forums.

    Yes, I know you are fully against lc but it worked great for me until I started extreme limiting.

    Now this goes back to bleeder; LC CURED my menstrual symptoms and they did not return although mood issues did w VLC and ZC.

    I spent 20 vegetarian years in misery and I had about a week of each month pms free.

    Here's my point; If something does not work (including extreme Matt Stone diets), don't continue. Find what does work and go from there.

    This is not an insult, Matt, but the wide swing maybe too much…especially for we w estrogen.

    just sayin'…w love, of course.

  32. @Jared Bond-

    I had actually started coming to the same conclusion a few months ago when I stopped doing LC myself.

    Take a look around on the paleo/LC blogs and you will start to realize there are a number of people with BFG pushing up into high 90s to low 100s. This completely negates the argument of using LC to normalize blood sugars and halt disease.

    Then you come here and see people achieving radically low FBG with diets high in unrefined carbs and you realize you weren't dealt the whole story on the LC front.

  33. Elizabeth,
    Thanks for your comments.It's encouraging to hear from someone in a similar place. Have you gained weight as well as energy on RRARF?
    After I posted I realized last night's steak was not a great example–it's still a pretty big dinner, and I *rarely* eat that much meat at one meal (can't afford to!). Still, I feel like it's about the same, or less than, I would have eaten in the past if I went out to eat and just enjoyed myself.
    It gets so old to be tired all the time, eh? Especially because people seem to think a little nap, or a good night's sleep, will make it better. I never get the feeling that it's ok to say I need a few *months* of dedicated rest, not recovering from surgery in my case, but other things.

  34. Hey Matt,
    Good stuff. So doesn't this just come down to eat real food (meat, veggies, dairy, and fruit)? While I don't avoid it like the plague, I still don't see how eating any wheat (outside of properly prepared stuff, a rare find these days) is going to help the body. While I don't subscribe to everything Robb Wolf puts out, I have seen too much research on the gut lining stuff to think otherwise. What are your thoughts? Thanks

  35. I almost never had a fasting BG of less than 100 on zero-carb. On a very rare and special occasion, it might go as low as 98. It absolutely never dropped below 85 during the day and it would often rise to 130 after meals and would often start to rise if I went too long *without* a meal.

    I still have a high FBG, but it's slowly lowering, now that my diet is consistently low in fat and high in carbs.

  36. I guess the reason why I feel like I need to eat a little past fullness is that otherwise I am not really doing anything different from usual (besides trying to rest more, which I realize isn't negligible) since I have always eaten to appetite, and have been eating whole foods for the last couple years. I thought the point of RRARF was to eat beyond appetite, or did I get that wrong?

    I just read the post on your blog tagged adrenal fatigue, and it sounds familiar to me–the thought that my life hasn't really been extreme, so why would I have adrenal fatigue? Even my husband, who's very supportive, has asked me that, and I can't explain it (or even if I do, having to try to explain it makes me feel like I'm just a hypochondriac). Meanwhile living with two in-laws who are lifelong coffee drinkers and never stop working, and seem to have much better health than I do. ARGH.

  37. Great article. Personally, the more fiber I eat, the better I feel, the better my digestion is, and the warmer I feel. Just make sure to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration, bloating, etc. Potatoes are a great source of starch, I won't argue that. But for anyone struggling with blood sugar/insulin/energy problems, I highly recommend sprouted grains. More specifically, the Ezekiel tortillas and cereal. I know glycemic index isn't a HUGE deal, but it does play a role and ezekiel products have a GI of like 36. And they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and digest with ease. I've found combining potatoes and sprouted grains yield the perfect meal. For example, I've found a post workout meal consisting of 2 Ezekiel tortillas, 1 pound of potatoes, a chicken breast, and coconut oil with 2 capsules of fish oil to be a complete and ideal meal, at least for me. I recommend anyone to try combining a sprouted grain tortilla with their potatoes/protein/fat to make a burrito. Just wanted to share my experience with anyone who wants to incorporate more fiber into their diet. Sprouted grains, with the wonderful potato, is a great place to start. Stupid paleo followers. Starch is wonderful.

  38. @Rachelle: I have gained weight during my recovery but that was mainly before RRARF. I've been dieting on and off since I was 13, and before turning to real food I was a dedicated low-calorie/low-fat dieter who exercised way more than any normal person should. I got down to a pretty skinny weight that way, but I had lost a lot of lean body mass, too. So when I started eating normal foods to appetite I did gain weight. Then a year later I did a few weeks of low-carb to try and lose weight. Didn't work for the weight, but it sure made me moody and I craved coffee a lot. I gained more weight adjusting to normal food again and then starting RRARF. I've had a severe aversion to dieting of any kind since then, and if I'm honest I think that contributed somewhat to my weight. I really just wanted to eat whatever I wanted without worrying about it. I was so tired of counting things and restricting myself. So as much as I dislike the weight gain, I think I needed the break psychologically, and probably physically too. Now I'm ready to approach fat loss and am feeling my way around for a metabolically sound way to do so.

    As to why we have weaker adrenals: I think there is a generational component. There are reasons our parents and grandparents could get away with more than we can. Things like gut flora and adrenal health are passed on to the fetus, therefore each generation will be weaker and more susceptible to health problems than the former if people continue down the SAD path. I also think if the mother is nutrionally deficient and has children close together, the second and third (and so on) children seem to have more health problems than the first because there was simply less availabe to them during development. I have certainly noticed this in my own observations. Anecdotal, yes, but interesting to think about. And sometimes people are just weaker. We're not all made the same and each of us has to deal with our own set of life circumstances and health issues.

  39. Elizabeth,
    Yeah, I definitely agree there's a generational component (this is my biggest reason for wanting to improve my health actually–hoping to start a family in a year or two). My dad runs, has plenty of energy, and almost never gets sick, but my mom is always tired, like me. She faithfully exercises, even though it makes her feel tired rather than energizing her. (I wish she would stop!) I probably inherited some adrenal weakness from her.
    It's interesting to observe the differences among my siblings. The oldest has a stockier build, fairly athletic, good skin and teeth (neither he nor I needed braces–amazing in this day and age). I'm the second, five years later, and my health is, well, whatever. But it's better than my little brother's, who, despite being thin , handsome, smart and athletic (played college soccer, just ran a marathon) has had a lot of health problems in his 21 years–acne, horrible teeth, acid reflux, migraines, depression. Unfortunately, he's studying to be a medical doctor like my dad, and no one in my family is very interested in hearing alternative ideas about health :(

  40. Rachelle, I really identified with your childhood food history, weight loss/gain, and persistent low energy. Been eating real food for a year and did RRARF 3 months ago. I've had very low energy levels throughout, BUT it's been getting MUCH better ever since I ditched the birth control pills. Other health stuff improved too, stuff I'd never attribute to bcps. Just some food for thought.

  41. Hey Kelly! Thanks for your comment. Fortunately, I was suspicious of the pill on several counts and avoided it or any other hormonal contraceptive. I'm so glad I made that decision. Glad to hear you've experienced some improvements without it, too.

  42. @Rachelle: Same with me about birth control. Never felt safe taking hormones so always used other methods. I too am so glad I made that decision. I think it probably prevented things from getting really bad.

    How awesome that you've found out about real nutrition before having kids. I wish I could say the same. Both my children were born on SAD (though a trans-fat free SAD at least), and my son in particular got the short end of the stick because I was obsessed with my weight while I was pregnant and nursing him. It's very disturbing to me now to think about how I ate at that time, and how my kids were raised during their first couple of years. So glad I broke away from that. There's free access to both butter and potatoes in my home now! :)

  43. Matt-
    Man, between Berkhan's and yours, these are the two best health blogs there are; I'm finally in a place in my health/fitness philosophy where I dont feel I have to cherry pick from a stance of dogma. (I would fight someone over the supremacy of low fat/whole grain–>then low carb high fiber–>then low carb high fat low fiber–>then cyclical carb–>then WAPF–>etc.) Rather, I have learned that truth has no regard for my staunch support, and I better be a little open-minded if I want the benefits of it. This has much to do with you and Martin.

  44. @Ryan: Interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

    I've been wanting to get back into eating grains (apart from rice, which I already eat) for quite some time, but didn't really have an idea how to best incorporate them. Ezekiel sounds nice, but I don't think they sell that stuff around here. So does anyone know any good/easy recipes for grain based meals? I think sourdough bread would be nice and I already asked about that two posts ago, but I'm pretty much open for anything.

  45. You girls are smart to have avoided the pill. I wish I had done the same. Unfortunately, I was on and off it for about 7 years before giving up on it entirely (apparently, I had to reach a nearly ax-murderer-ey level of psychotic before I could come to my senses and go off them).

    I've been off them for 5 years now, but my sex drive has never been the same, unfortunately. I don't know if it was the pill that destroyed it, or perhaps my years on zero-carb, but there are some things about me, hormonally, that I feel were quite damaged by my effing around with my diet and hormones.

    In my early to mid-twenties, I was a full-blown sex fiend and thought of little else, but that just ended overnight and now I rarely feel like bothering, which I do not feel is natural or healthy. Sex should be very VERY appealing!

    I'll know I'm really 'better' when I get my sexytime back.

  46. Hey Matt, what do you think about all those comparisons between the digestive systems of apes and humans and other animals, pertaining to ability to digest fiber versus meat? I think it's either in Sisson's book or an Eades book where there are charts that show how we are closer to carnivores (like dogs) than herbivores, etc.

    This got me thinking about that when I ran across it today (on the same blog in which The China Study is given a very thorough take-down):

  47. from the Nutrition Horizon page you linked :

    Propionic acid also reduces the production of resistin. Resistin improves the effectiveness of insulin.

    This sounds like proprionic acid will increase insulin resistance – not a good thing. I resistin is good for insulin sensitivity and propionic acid reduces it, it will make people more insulin resistant.

  48. I posted this on the last blog post, but I'm reposting it here because this one getting more traffic.

    I bought a blood glucose meter yesterday, and I took my one hour postprandial reading after a meal of chicken, brown rice, and a teaspoon of coconut oil and it was 133mg/dl… (at 90 minutes it was 117mg/dl). This morning my fasting glucose was 104mg/dl. I have PCOS, and low carb diets are the standard "fix" for the high blood sugar, but do you guys think that a high carb diet will really help reverse this? And hopefully reverse my PCOS?

  49. @Matt,

    This post is perfect as I have been having trouble with digesting ANY high fiber foods. Not only grains but vegetables just going through whole.

    Any recommendations for helping those digestive bacteria out?

  50. As of now I am definitely not on the wheat bandwagon as there are just to many downsides to wheat. I rely on the heart scan blog for that. He has tested patients with wheat, himself, and presented rather convincing arguments against wheat. I am finally seeing the light on carbs though. So from this post I gather veggie/fruit carbs should be eaten with butyric acid like ghee or butter? I still don’t see to many health ‘benefits from fruits or veggies but starchy tubers/roots I do see the argument for. Anyway, coming from a VLC(usually ZC) very high fat and protein diet I am trying to find balance. As I lower my fat I am at a loss on what exactly to eat. I know starch, but wheat for me is out and like 99999.999999% of grain available now are denatured except almond or coconut flour which are high fat and defeat the purpose! My fasting BG is around 95-105 first thing in the morning, so I am guessing that is bad? After I eat it drops down to the 70’s or 80’s….im confused(possibly a result of ZC?) one more question, since adding carbs and balancing the fat/protein out I get dizzy quite often and cannot think straight…?? I agree with the poster about this and martin’s blog being money blogs of unbiased views.

  51. Why does it have to be either high fat/low carb or high carb/low fat? Yeah, there are plenty of cultures, like the Japanese, who are very healthy and eat a very high carb/low fat diet, but what about those that eat a high fat/high carb (both refined and unrefined) diet and are also healthy? It just seems like there is this huge battle going on between fat and carbs and neither one of them seems to ever win or lose. Can't they both just get along???

  52. There's nothing wrong with wheat, as long as it's freshly ground and/or fermented (as in sourdough). Some people can't handle things like whole wheat pasta and regaular whole wheat bread. I have no problem with either, though.

    Agree with Vida, the French and Italians are high-carb and take in a pretty good amount of fat and are thin and pretty healthy (until they eat junk food and start snacking, etc.). I think moderation is king.

  53. I don't have a problem with fiber, in fact I love all the high fiber foods, fruits, veggies, beans.
    I don't have a problem with eating foods that the FDA recommends either. The problem I do have is that people when they hear these types of recommendations, instead of eating more fresh natural foods, they go right to their pharmacy and get the biggest bottle of whatever it is they can find. Fiber in food-yes, bright orange, chalky, pressed fiber disks-no.

    Lets not forget that the FDA and AMA will never really be right though. Even if they are partly right on some things, it is not for the same reasons that we might think. Plus, they still recommend rancid veggie oils over all natural butter. They still recommend eating tiny meals and exercising til you drop.

  54. Yeah, the Italian diet is awesome…high fruits and veggies, but also high white bread, pasta, and rice daily. Very few people eat whole grains. Lots of sweets too, especially in summer, especially gelato. High mono and saturated fat foods, tons of cheese, hams, fatty fish. I mean there are deli meats with big old globs of fat throughout…you cannot even find stuff like that here, there is only the leanest turkey or beef stuff.

    I would also look at pharmaceutical drug use in these countries. I just honestly don't think it is food that is making people sick and fat, not entirely anyways. It seems like our bodies are just reacting differently to food, so something has to be making our bodies this way.
    Someone here said to look at antibiotics, this is a good start.

  55. Ok, Matt, I am ready to commit to ONE way of eating.. for now :).
    I have been eating about 50-50 cooked/raw foods. I think I do better on 80% raw fruits, veg and nuts and 20% of eggs, raw dairy, bison, fish, yogurt. and zero percent grains.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    Like White on Rice.
    Which, ironically, I will not eat.

  56. oops and the 20% should include cooked starches ie: yams and sweet potatoes. My bad.

  57. Great new video too Matt! That's super interesting and helpful. I'm going to make some more of my home made whole buckwheat bread after getting this info. lol. (I can't tolerate brown rice yeat unfortunately)

    Interesting that the Eskimos ate fermented fish/shrimp. I had never heard that and it might help explain why my Eskimo diet was such a major failure.

    Also think of the Swiss people that Weston A Price wrote about who ate rye bread 6 days a week.

    Does anyone have any recipes on ferment fish? I know in Sweden there is a traditional dish of actual rotten fish. Yes, you heard it, it's called "surströmming" and it stinks like nothing else but is quite tasty. But it takes weeks/months to make….

    Regarding GAPS, I tried it and it did nothing for my digestion. I had a chronic diarrhea for 20 years (diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease) that was cleared up in A FEW DAY'S of RRARF!!! I had absolutely tried everything with no results, including GAPS. So, I feel pretty negatively about GAPS, and POSITIVE about RRARF. I've had no problems eating whole potatoes, and buckwheat. (Brown rice though is still a bit tough).

    Btw, I've read that it's actually more safe from a birth control perspective to use body temperature (especially if it's used together with the full Fertility Awareness program) than it is to use the contraceptive pill. I was really surprised to hear this but it's supposed to be true.

  58. Lisa E, do you have a recipe for your "home made whole buckwheat bread"? Or those buckwheat pancakes you mention on your blog?


  59. @Rachelle-

    Welcome! Your story sounds familiar to me. I'm 25 as well, and moved to Virginia to live with my partner and her folks on their family land, and she's running a vegetable CSA this year. Lower than desired energy levels, like you and Elizabeth, resonate for me too. I did see some noticeable improvement a few years ago after havign my mercury fillings removed, and chelating with a hot epsom salt bath for 3 months. Maybe it was the salts, maybe just the heat, but it really helped.

    Still, my energy levels aren't as high as I think they could be, and I'm keeping taht in sight. The desire for a few months of dedicated rest sounds familiar too.

    Anyway- good luck. Seems like there's a cadre of mid twenty somethings around here. You, Elizabeth, MadMUHH? Riles is maybe a couple years older? But yeah, I like that this blog has a real mixed audience, with pockets of folks in similar places in their lives. Keep on keeping on.

  60. Lisa E,
    The sympto-thermal method (using both basal temp and mucus observations) is supposed to be as low as a 1% failure rate, perfect use. It's that 'perfect use' part that's a problem, as there are various sets of rules you can decide to follow, and obviously the least risky ones have you able to have sex very few days of the cycle, especially if your signs are somewhat irregular as I suspect is the case with a lot of women these days. If you decide to just use a barrier method during fertile times, then obviously you're up to the failure rate of whatever method you choose, and actually it would probably be even higher than typical since that failure rate would include times of use where the woman wasn't even fertile. Still, in a situation where pregnancy is not preferred but also not disastrous, I think those are better options that hormonal contraceptives.

  61. Rob A,
    Thanks for the welcome! It's really good to hear from people with similar circumstances. Are you expected to help out with the CSA?
    I'm toying with the idea of seeing someone who can help me find out if I have any metal toxicities and address them if so. I'm going to see what I can do with diet and lifestyle first, though.

  62. i agree with Cusiak 100% – the videos are really SLOW and boring, i can read/scan much much faster, who has time to sit there and watch a long boring monotone video. so, i just jump to the comments, can't be bothered.

  63. @ Rob A: Who ya calling twenty something?
    I represent the elders, the fifty somethings we call ourselves.

  64. I have to second the raves for the italian and French diets.

    I have been eating high carb, high fat.

    At home I plan on eating more tubers. But for now bread is convenient (I am travelling).

    I feel great on white bread! So strong. been riding my bike and walking all day every day.

    Generations upon generations of Europeans can't be wrong. Properly prepared, wheat is a power food.

  65. Methinks Denise Minger will be well-known in the blogosphere real quick, and her China Study critique will stir up a hornets nest.

  66. @Rob A.:
    I feel upset and flattered at the same time. Mid-twenty? Pah! I will be 19 in August. But then again, people usually think I'm much younger, judging from my looks, so I guess I should be happy that someone is for once thinking that I am older than I actually am.

  67. Oh and Matt, one question. I don't know whether it was in this comment section, but somewhere you said that cancer does not necessarily feed on glucose but rather on excess glucose in the blood stream. Do you think the same thing applies to many infections diseases, as many different pathogens are also supposed to thrive on sugar?

  68. Damn you Cusick! In the words of Arnold, "You Son of a Bitch!"

    Some people like the videos, and it allows me to tap into illiterate youtube junkies as well. I'll try to talk faster. As to what happened to Matt the "writer," he has done 72 blog posts, a half dozen guest posts, and has written 3 eBooks totaling more than 350 single-spaced pages since November in addition to a dozen long-winded e-mail replies almost daily.

    I understand though, I was grumpy after watching the new Karate Kid movie too. I mean come on – a backflip kick in the face by a 12-year old hobbling on 1-leg. A simple crane kick would have done the job. If do right, no can defense as you like to say.

    Rachelle Eaton-

    Well if that ain't the finest damn name I've ever heard for an overfeeder. Rachelle "Eatin'" Eaton.

    Yes, I'm not talking about eating till you puke (even with the acronym "RRARF"), but full appetite satisfaction. I think you'll find excess starch – and not excess muscle meat, to be a far better supplier of metabolic energy.

    Dysmennorhea, and anything pertaining to sex hormones, has everything to do with metabolism in general. Your temps. are pretty solid to begin with, which is good – and yes, most do notice an increase in plumbing flow.


    Roger that. I am a wee bit fed up with a high-fat diet though. It just hasn't delivered the level of vitality I was expecting, and cutting back fat and replacing it with more carbohydrate clears that up immediately. Increase in sleep quality alone makes it worth it for me.


    Americans eat plenty of saturated fat. Almost every American meal contains saturated-fat rich meat, and we are some of the biggest cheese-eaters on earth. Sure, we eat way too many PUFA's and trans fats, but to think the American diet is low in saturated fat in innaccurate. By current global standards, it's a high-saturated fat diet.


    Yeah, I'd ignore my video titles. I noticed the top fiber-related videos on youtube both had "the truth about fiber" somehow worked into the title, so I poached that.


    300 grams of fiber is pushing it a bit – although I'm sure Harley and Michael Arnstein hit those levels from time to time.

    Many places that Burkitt, Trowell, and Cleave investigated had fiber intakes over 100 grams daily though. To really eat a carbohydrate-based diet without any refined foods would put a lot of people in that range. Other omnivores like bears get plenty of fiber eating acorns and berries seasonally.


    Very interesting. Everyone should note that virtually the entire platform of low-carb is that high glucose and high insulin levels are the nemesis of mankind. True, but with one glitch – a low-carb diet does not yield the lowest glucose or insulin levels.


    Wheat definitely isn't an optimal human food, and has some downsides for sure. Sensitivity to it is not a myth either. In general, I feel more confident recommending starchy tubers and grains like rice and corn over wheat any day. But most do not need to develop hardcore phobias about wheat, and will not notice any positives from removing it from their diet. For some though, it is life-changing, and I don't deny that.

  69. Madmuhhh-

    Yes, excess glucose in the bloodstream can wreak all kinds of havoc, not just with cancer but with various pathogens, candida, etc.


    Would you mind eating consistently for a couple of weeks and track your fasting and postprandial glucose levels? A better insight is to see if they are going up or going down with how you are eating. Get a "trend line" going. I'd feel much more confident, and you would be much more empowered to be able to eat a big mound of brown rice with a glucose spike peaking at 100 than saying "oops, spiked it to 130, can't eat that anymore," which is usually how people look at things and dig themselves into inescapable dietary prisons.


    There are countless arguments about human biology and the diet we are most suited for. We are omnivores, so you would expect to see a mix of pros and cons. I thinnk in general we are a little better equiped for meat than other primates, yet we do have really high concentrations of salivary amylase suggesting that we are awesome starch digesters. In general though, we are not as good as digesting meat as carnivores, and not as good at digesting plants as herbivores. To be expected.

    Italian and French diets-

    Refined starch plus fat is a much better combo. than refined sugar and fat if you ask me. Note, French eat small portions as well, but this is not due to their amazing willpower.

    I'm still a believer in combining carbs and fat – not being exclusively one or the other. After all, this is exactly how I got my fasting BG to 67 mg/dl.

    I'm just curious as to whether or not there may be advantages to eating more carbohydrate and less fat. After all, it's not just the Asians that eat low-fat diets, it's basically all of the traditional peoples of warm climates all over Africa, Asia, and South and Central America – with a few exceptions like the Masai and Somali. And without dairy, they would be unable to eat a high-fat diet as well.


    Hard to choose one set of eating and be consistent with it, especially as our own biofeedback changes from day to day. Tuning into that could be just as powerful, if not more powerful, than trying to be regimented in our eating patterns. I certainly enjoy mixing it up and getting lots of variety/diversity throughout the course of a year.


    Thanks brother. I hope to delve more into modern sports/bodybuilding/physique enhancement science like Berhkan as well over the coming years to help balance out my "education." Focusing on traditional diets and what not leaves many clues as to what the origins of modern disease are, but becomes somewhat useless after a certain point of debate. The fitness crowd; however, holds many secrets into human physiology and metabolism – and how that can be impacted through diet and lifestyle very specifically and intelligently (although it's usually pursued very unintelligently).

    Anonymous coming off of ZC-

    Those high fasting BG's that drop after eating probably stem from very high morning adrenal hormones. This is not totally unusual.

    You will feel very spacey, tired, perhaps emotional, and drowsy pounding carbohydrates after a long-term low-carb history. Carbohydrates generally lower adrenal hormones, which is compounded by the fact that having a low metabolism and being more insulin resistant from zero carb makes glucose tolerance that much worse. So be prepared for that.


    Most of our health problems are hereditary. In fact, it's really underestimated even in a world with a genome fetish. These inherent weaknesses are usually compounded by poor diet, stress, and other factors.

    On oral contraceptives-


  70. Yeah, all my husband's family have hearty appetites, so there are plenty of jokes. My brother-in-law's name is Dan, so if people asked him if he was done eating, he'd say, "No, I'm Dan Eaton."

    It's not that I'm trying to eat til I puke (although my husband loves to say "Come on, you gotta RRARF!"). It's just that before my stomach even feels full, I lose my taste for what I am eating. It was happening a lot over the last few months at lunch time especially, often could not finish lunch, and I would definitely feel it in the afternoon–lightheaded, very sleepy. It was like my appetite wasn't allowing me to eat as much as I needed for energy.

    I should add–those temps are oral, do you still consider them solid? I feel like they're lower than I would like.

    This is probably a stupid question, but how are you all testing your blood sugar? Would that be a good thing for me to do?

    Anyway, Matt, thanks for running this blog and responding to everyone's comments so thoroughly. It's really swell.

  71. Yeah, all my husband's family have hearty appetites, so there are plenty of jokes. My brother-in-law's name is Dan, so if people asked him if he was done eating, he'd say, "No, I'm Dan Eaton."

    It's not that I'm trying to eat til I puke (although my husband loves to say "Come on, you gotta RRARF!"). It's just that before my stomach even feels full, I lose my taste for what I am eating. It was happening a lot over the last few months at lunch time especially, often could not finish lunch, and I would definitely feel it in the afternoon–lightheaded, very sleepy. It was like my appetite wasn't allowing me to eat as much as I needed for energy.

    I should add–those temps are oral, do you still consider them solid? I feel like they're lower than I would like.

    This is probably a stupid question, but how are you all testing your blood sugar? Would that be a good thing for me to do?

    Anyway, Matt, thanks for running this blog and responding to everyone's comments so thoroughly. It's really swell.

  72. Oh, and I will gladly add more potatoes and rice–along with bread, which I'm trying not to overdo because of all the hubbub about it–those are like the foods I could never get tired of. As long as they have some butter on 'em :/

  73. I've just purchased a Blood Glucose Monitor (Accu-Check Compact) and am reading the instructions. There is a brightly coloured sticker stating that the results represent Plasma Glucose Levels (as opposed to Blood Glucose Levels) and will therefore be approx 11% higher than some other monitors.

    Is this normal? When Matt says he got his fasting level as low as 67 is this Blood or Plasma? When I look at graphs etc on the internet is is Blood or Plasma?

    11% is the difference between 67 & 75 – maybe this is negligible?

    (Would just like to know before I do my first test!)

  74. 11& can be the difference between normal and prediabetic so it is important to know.,,

  75. @Gabriel,
    What have you been eating along with your bread while traveling?
    How much meat and cheese do the Italians eat?

  76. Just my opinion, but it seems strange to not remove from grains the antinutrients found in the husks, but to remove the dense nutrients found in the yolk from the egg and in the fat from milk.

  77. I have to disagree that oral temp is less acurate. Really under the tongue, IN THE POCKET, is closer to the core. If you mouth breathe, give it 10 min. If you want to compare, do the mouth then the armpit…the higher should be the one.
    Of oourse, up the butt is the most accurate….just don't stick that thermometer in your mouth after!!

    My choice of starch is ezekial type bread, as well.
    I didn't eat wheat for years (or grain, in general), but now I believe overconsumption is at the core of our sensitivity.

    When we were told grain was preferable to meat, milk, fat, etc., we ate it at every meal in large quantities; cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta (a whole plate) for dinner. And snacks of crackers, rice cakes….and for many of us it was whole grain not junk.

    My daughter is a manager in a large food co op. In the past couple years all those grain eaters have shown symptoms of intolerance.
    All those years of grain, grain, and more grain have finally caught up.
    But peop ate bread for ever (not properly prepared) w/o these sx. Or at least not to this extent.
    Mixed meals were what's to eat before the '70's….w a glass of milk.

    Anyway….Matt, you are right. I had this feeling of a crash after I added sandwich meals and was concerned. But I kept at it and that sx has disappeared.
    I know you're not a fan of legumes, but I tolerate them so have some on occasion w/o any problem.

    Oh, and about those nasty vegetable oils; vegetable oils have been used for hundreds (maybe) of years.
    Hydrogenation was discovered in the early 1900's then Crisco in 1911.
    In the south (where I grew up…1950's), Crisco was the most used fat…not lard. Even peop who had pigs used it.

    I'm just sayin'; the use of vegie oils is nothing recent.

  78. Hey Matt,
    Thanks for the reply. I agree and to be fair, Robb Wolf has recently adjusted his approach on Paleo to be "carb-agnostic". After researching all of the same cultures that others have, Robb now pretty much just wants people to avoid wheat, limit fruit (fructose), limit legumes, limit non-wheat grains (rice, corn, etc.), avoid PUFAs (he's wary of most nuts too because of this), and be cognizant of how you handle dairy (he recommends taking it out for 30 days and then reintroducing to see how you do). This leaves meat, veggies, yams/sweet potatoes, white potatoes without the skin (saponins), animal fats, coconut products, and some fruit.

    After dipping into Lyle's PSMF for a couple of days and spending a couple of days rebounding from it, I've gone in and started Zoning. It's the easiest way for me to keep calories in a range where I can lean out. I've also starting doing more traditional workouts along with pure strength training here and there. I'll let you know how it goes. This is MUCH more sustainable and easy as opposed to any other approach I know. I'm trying to follow Robb's guidelines for the most part but I have reintroduced a little bread and artificial sweeteners. I know it's not the best but I'm OK with that.

  79. I am giving the HC/LF a shot but my blood glucose is not saying "thank you". My BG-levels are off the chart while stuffing myself with carbs. Hopefully that changes soon. After having eaten LC (20-70g/day) for about 2 1/2 years I upped my carb intake to about 100-150g/day about 1 1/2 years ago. The last 10 days (or so) I am eating 400-600g carbs a day. I do have some fatty meals in between but try to keep the fat content low. During the last 1 1/2 year a mixed meal with 50-100g carbs and quite a bit of fat would spike my BG to 120-130 (starting at 85-100). My FBG used to be in the 90-100 range. After eating about 200g carbs (almost fat free) my 1-hour postprandial BG spiked above 150. Today I had about 100g carbs from white rice and ate afterwards a couple of bananas (over the course of 2-3 hours). Then I took my BG: 142. What worries me a little bit is my FBG. I had some normal readings in the 90-100 range but two times I got 114. I have never been that high in the morning.
    Maybe it´s more sensible to spread out the carbs over the day. Where should all the glucose go when your glycogen stores are full. A perfect insulin sensitivity won´t help you in that situation.

  80. "Just my opinion, but it seems strange to not remove from grains the antinutrients found in the husks, but to remove the dense nutrients found in the yolk from the egg and in the fat from milk. "

    I agree. That's also the reason why I don't consume egg whites as a bigger protein source. I still have two eggs for most of my breakfasts, but with the yolks. It really seems stupid and wasteful to me to basically throw away the best part of the egg.

  81. Matt (RE saturated fats):

    Relatively speaking, modern Americans eat less saturated fats than they did prior to the industrial revolution. Even earlier in the industrial age, packaged foods like chips were made with coconut oil. butter comsumption has dropped overall.

    I was speaking comparitively. Sure we eat a lot of saturated fats now. But a human can only eat so much fats. The more unsaturated fats and hydrogenated fats a population eats, the less traditional, saturated fats they will have in their diet, most likely.

    I highly doubt, for instance, that if only saturated and animal fats were counted, modern Americans would be much above Kitavan consumption levels. (Of course if all fats are taken into account, this is not so.)

  82. Betsy-

    I have been eating butter with my bagels, cheese on baguette sandwiches, some deli meats, etc.

    I reckon the Europeans dont eat a ton of cheese, but enough to add not only flavor but important nutrients.

    White bread is metabolic but not nutritious. Without meats and cheeses and veggies I can see how one could get malnourished on white bread alone.

  83. Of course people with pigs used crisco…it's cheap and convenient. 1911 isn't that long ago, only a hundred years. If you look at when people started getting obese, and getting heart disease it pretty much lines up with the invention of Crisco. It also lines up with the invention of dieting as a national obsession (which started in the flapper era, just after WWI).

    What is new is the combination of high amounts of fructose with high amounts of veggie oils. The consumption of both of these things has gone up in the last forty years while our health has plummeted. Matt has said before that this is a perfect storm of anti-nutrition.

    Great post on the demon fiber Matt.

    Annabelle maybe docs should start prescribing low carb for sex offenders (along with anti-depressents).

  84. Ah Liz, I know, I know. I wish I had not been so ignant about nutrition and shit when I was pregnant and nursing. It could be worse. My mom smoked, drank had depleted any reserves she might have had with diet pills prior to conception. Just keep feeding them chillins real food and it'll all be fine.

  85. Thanks, Gabriel,

    That's what I was hoping, not a whole lot of cheese or meat. I'm finding that carbs and fats don't bother me so much as large amounts of protein. I'm eating rice and white wheat pasta for now because yeast bothers me, but bread is just so convenient. If you find a good diet before you get really sick, things are a lot easier.

  86. @Mark: Sounds like you've found your "zone" (ha ha, just had to say it). But I just wanted to add that I tried Lyle's plan, too, and while it was tolerable for a couple days, I started to get headaches and neck pains and felt pretty much like crap, basically my typical low-carb feelings. I've been doing some experimenting and what's working for me right now is actually Brad Pilon's "Eat Stop Eat" program where you fast for 24 hours (from dinner till dinner) twice a week. Strangely, for me eating 900, 1200, or 1500 feels the same as eating 0 calories. I pretty much feel ravenous if I'm eating at any deficit so weirdly enough I've found that eating nothing at all for 24 hours seems to be the most tolerable. Of course, I just started this (am doing my second 24 hour fast right now–only 4 1/2 hours to go!), so I can't speak for long term results. But just knowing I can eat normally tonight and tomorrow makes it pretty easy to stick to it. We'll see if it works for me long-term. Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there in case you or anyone else was interested.

  87. Liz-

    I hope to do a post in the not-too-distant future on meal frequency. It'll give you some good food for thought on Pilon's stuff. As for Lyle's PSMF, UD2, or whatever – brutal stuff. I think PSMF should be reserved for the obese only, but I'd still rather see an obese person drop weight on Fuhrman's nutrient-dense diet (non-vegan) than go the 400 calorie per day route.

    On legumes-

    Mysteriously, I am now able to eat beans for the first time in nearly a decade without extreme stomach pain, bloating, and gas. Seriously, I ate an entire can of garbanzo beans last night with no ill effects. I'm pretty psyched about this. I never thought I'd be able to eat beans again in my life after trashing my digestion with too many beans on a vegetarian diet in my 20's.

    The fact that this happened as a result of semi fruit-fasting (mostly on bananas) should be a good lesson for those looking for digestive tract rehab and bacterial colonization (like the commentor above).


    Crossfit is intense but may be able to actually improve metabolism. It is similar in some ways to Scott Abel's Metabolic Enhancement Training.

    On plasma glucose vs. blood glucose – I was unaware of a difference, but that might explain why Melvin Page stated that 100 mg/dl was a good glucose level while modern-day proponents of his work say 85 mg/dl based on current measuring techniques.

  88. Elizabeth there is no magic to 24 hours, if you start to get crazy hungry at say 16-18-20 hours, no need to fight it. IMO

    I will often do a 16-18 hour fast 1 or 2 times a week and seems good for me. Though I feel as though I am fairly solid with my metabolism.

    Also on those days when I brake, I eat, I freakin eat. Lots! With no regard to macro ratios at all.

    Crossfit "style" workouts are cool and can have their benefits besides satisfying any of your masochist tendencies, though I have issues with the frequencies of their programs. IMO shouldn't do it more that 2x week with light movement in between.

  89. I should clarify, if you are going to do them more that 2x a week, then you better be eating accordingly.

    When I think of "over-training" I never think in terms of muscular recovery, I think in terms of hormonal stability.

    Also if you are not coached correctly with some of the Crossfit stuff; (as my a friend said so eloquently) "you can blow your shit out."

  90. Oh and Matt I like the vids. Who gives a shit what Cusick says!!!

    In jest Cusick, in jest.

  91. @Nathan: Whaaat??? You mean there's no sudden fat-burning phenomena that begins to occur after the 20-hour point?? I was under the direct impression that some kind of magic or voodoo or something was involved with this plan. Now it doesn't seem half so interesting to me.

    Seriously, though, I like the 24 mark because it gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. I'm one of those who used to have to eat every 90 minutes or my blood sugar will sink like crazy and turn me into a madwoman. So it's kind of a mental high for me to be able to go to the 24 hour mark. But I will admit that somewhere after the 20-hour point it takes a lot more willpower (I've got 90 minutes left right now and dinner sounds sooooo good to me). I may tweak it down to 20 hours soon, but for now I'm enjoying defying my former food laws. ;)

  92. Haven't posted in a while since I have been on vacation. I consumed a ton of white flour, sugar, and beer the whole time and felt great!

    Actually I agree in general with Matt's new stance on diet. I eat a low fat moderate protein high carb diet. Most of the time I think it is best for people to eat whole unprocessed foods, but I really don't think the fiber thing is that big of a deal, and it depends on the person. In general it is probably better to eat higher fiber foods, but some people can't tolerate it. Billions of people live healthy on white rice. I have been eating a lot of Haiga rice lately instead of the regular white or brown, and I really think it is great compromise between the two.

  93. Elizabeth,
    I would be very careful about getting into the intermittent fasting thing. I did it for many years and never got anything positive from it. You will feel good on it in the beginning because it stresses the adrenal glands and causes your body to produce a lot of adrenaline and cortisol, but it can set you up for a crash. If you have any adrenal problems at all you are asking for trouble and your past issues with blood sugar problems suggest a possible adrenal issue. I also think it is NOT a good diet if your goal is optimal body composition.

  94. JT,

    Is there any reason for eating your low-fat diet or is there just not enough room calorie-wise?

  95. Matt-

    I was planning on keeping track. But I'll be sure to report back to you. This may sound like an incredibly dumb question, but what are the benefits of having lower blood glucose levels?

    Just curious… do you guys eat your sweet potato skins?

  96. @JT: Thanks for the warning. I definitely have a history w/ adrenal issues, though that's mostly resolved now. My adrenals are still on the sensitive side though, but I can usually tell when they're getting buggy. I've dabbled in intermittent fasting before. I seem to do worse on it when I'm trying to do it day in and day out (like the warrior diet or fast 5). I also get that same icky feeling when I'm in a calorie deficit day in and day out. That's why I'm considering this as a compromise, since there's recovery time of eating normally between short fasts. Like I said, though, this is the first week I'm going at it so I can't say how it affects me long term. I will keep an eye out for adrenal issues though.

  97. Katerina said:

    "Just curious… do you guys eat your sweet potato skins?"

    Ew. Well, I forced myself to once after reading about how they're supposed to be good for you. Felt extremely ill for the rest of the day, so I haven't tried that since.

  98. I figured you were on vacation JT. Glad to have you back. Don't know what ya miss till it's gone.

    Yeah, it's a Cindarella song. Me and Cusick used to be able to talk about that kinda thing before we became arch enemies!!!!

    Yeah Nathan, you tell Cusick how it is!

    Good insights on IF.

    On Crossfit-

    Masochistic indeed, however, I am open to Scott Abel's belief that you can definitely train too much, but never too hard if seeking to improve your metabolism. Crossfit twice weekly would fit that description.


    JT is pretty right on about IF, and I'll go into detail about it within the next couple of weeks.

  99. Katerina-

    I eat the skins, although I wouldn't force someone else to.

    On the BG issue, I'll try to comment on that tomorrow. Netflix is calling me at the moment though.

  100. I'm just wondering about the blood glucose stuff because I mentioned to my Naturopath the fact that my postprandial was 133mg/dl and my fbg was 104mg/dl. She replied (direct quote from e-mail) "Those numbers are perfectly fine. I look at fasting numbers with a 'grain of salt' – not that accurate (especially if you are worked up about what your number MIGHT be :) Post prandial looks GREAT!"

    She also said that she feels most of us have some insulin resistance, and that's normal.

    Bahhh. Adult on-set diabetes is "normal". Being overweight is "normal". Does this mean it's good? No!

    I'm just surprised that she doesn't see a correlation between all this metabolism and blood glucose stuff and the fact that I, a 17 year old girl, have PCOS.

    I hate to think that my temperature and blood glucose levels are completely irrelevant to the reason why I don't have normal cycles, but my doc's apparent nonchalance about my health markers are making me question it. Is it just that she's uninformed about how crucial all this is? I'm spinning my wheels here.

  101. Warning TMI alert:
    dude, I started adding back my fibrous lovely carbs and PRESTO.. intestinal gas my friend.. and let's just say, YIKES, it's not nice.
    I guess this too, shall.. pass.

  102. Greensmu,
    I eat low fat because I feel and look better this way. I ate high fat and low carb for many years and it was horrible. I don't have to watch my calories when I eat low fat, I can eat as much as I want, and actually I have to force feed myself to eat enough because I am trying to gain right now. If I mix a lot of fat with my high carb intake I can gain fat pretty quickly, and this is known by many to be the worst combo for bodycomp.

    What is the reason for doing IF? What goal are you trying to accomplish and why do you think IF is the best way to get there? I think it is a bad idea especially since you have had bad experiences with it in the past and you suspect adrenal issues. Don't forget that most obese people do IF!

    Even your alter-ego has to go on vacation every once in a while!

  103. Jt, could you actually post some pics of yourself so we can actually see how lean and strong you really are? I mean, I'm not claiming you're a liar or anything but you seem to criticize intermittent fasting yet Martin Berkhan has actual pictures of his success and the success of his clients so I was just wondering if you could possibly show us your transformation from your way of eating?

  104. Katerina-

    Those numbers aren't worth rushing to the emergency room to get emergency insulin injections or anything like that, but if we know one thing about healthy peoples like the Kitavans it is that their blood glucose levels are very low, they pass glucose tolerance tests with flying colors, and their glucose levels do not rise with age.

    A healthy fasting glucose level is considered anywhere from 55 to 110 mg/dl. Amongst Kitavans however, it's more like 55 to 75 mg/dl amongst people of all ages.

    Other health pioneers of the 20th century such as Cheraskin and Melvin Page noted that 75-85 was an excellent fasting range, and paralleled a lack of health problems of all kinds – homeostasis if you will.

    Low-carbers like Bernstein also advocate keeping fasting glucose levels between 65 and 85 if possible, which I would second.

    The benefits of low vs. high glucose includes less oxidative and inflammatory damage from advanced glycation end products, less damage to kidneys and other organs, and less insulin – which accelerates the aging process and makes your body more prone to fat gain, PCOS, and a vast assortment of all kinds of health problems related to glucose and insulin.

    I think you'll find, as you track your blood glucose, that your health improves in proportion to how low your fasting and pp blood glucose goes. So keep an eye on it. Like I said, it's the trends that matter most. If what keeps your FG at 104 and your PPG at 133 now is putting you at 109 and 146 in 2 months, you are obviously headed in the wrong direction and vice versa.


    True, but comparing JT and Martin is pretty futile. What matters more to me is whether JT feels better and is leaner on a high-fat/low-carb diet with IF incorporated or eating small meals throughout the day revolving around carbohydrates and leaner proteins.

    IF may blunt appetite in the short-term, but that doesn't make it sustainable or appropriate for someone like JT with an extensive history of adrenal issues.

  105. Rosenfeltc,
    What Martin is doing is NOT intermittent fasting, it is just eating a late breakfast with a 10 hour eating window. If you think the pictures on his website are great proof, then why don't you look at Scott Abel's website. He has people that are much more lean and muscular, and they all eat frequent meals every day like I advocate.

    I never claimed I am huge and ripped. I look ok, good enough for people to notice, especially if they have seen the progress. I have made huge progress over the past year. I feel a little uncomfortable putting up pictures due to my job, but I may some time. Pictures wouldn't prove anything anyways, my best friend ONLY eats junk food and barely works out and he is huge and ripped. Does this prove that dorritos are the key to a great diet since he eats a bag everyday? Matt is right, comparing pics is futile, what matters is that I personally feel and look better on this method than on IF. I have also been able to overcome some major adrenal issues. But, I think everyone is individual, and there are some people that might do best on IF.

  106. Along the same lines, eating like Lamar Odom is not likely to make you ripped like Lamar Odom….

    But Berkhan, just like Abel's extensive squadron of championship fitness competitors, has shown that he can consistenly take a person and make him/her leaner, stronger, and more muscular.

    P.S. – It's an 8-hour feeding window, not a 10-hour feeding window.

  107. Matt,
    It is actually not uncommon for high level athletes to eat lots of sugar and junk.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with Berkhan's program, but his success has nothing to do with limiting the eating window to 8-10 hours (this is not IF). What is the difference between this and just skipping breakfast? All of the fat people I know eat this way.

    Do you really think the expertise of Abel and Berkhan are equivalent? Do you really think they have had the same amount of success with clients?

  108. @Matt: To quote Lamar: "You only live once, you might as well eat as much candy as you can."

    You know what has a goog ring to it? "The Candy Diet." You know, kinda like the cookie diet, or the ice cream diet. And Lamar could be the spokesman. Of course, the fact that you could probably get tons of people to do it is the disturbing part.

    @JT: I'm working on finding an effective fat loss strategy that I can maintain without adverse side effects. I'm perfectly willing to accept that this may or may not be the answer for me, but so far it is working better than anything else I've tried in the last six months (at least on a tolerance level, too soon to judge fat loss).

    What I've noticed about myself is most diets that are a day in, day out program do not work for me. As I said above, eating only 1,500 calories in a day is no more enjoyable for me than fasting completely for 24 hours. I feel like crap on a deficit (same goes for low-carb, never feel quite right and in the long-term definitely damaging). What's appealing to me here is the opportunity to eat normal amounts of (obviously healthy) foods during a good part of the week. So far, at the end of a fasting day I'm craving a balanced meal of real food. At the end of a low-calorie day I crave oodles of junk food. Why the difference? I have no idea, but that's what I've noticed so far.

  109. Berkhan is certainly not equal to Abel, but Berkhan's specialty is different. His emphasis is getting good results with minimal effort.

    Abel's emphasis is getting the best results period, by any means necessary – and few have the discipline, time, drive, etc. to put in a large quantity of high intensity work and 6 days a week of dieting (once you achieve a level of leanness in which both glycogen and intramuscular fat has been depleted).

    Not to say that Berkhan's program is easy either, but it inorporates many of the same principles.

    I agree, and Berkhan would agree as well, that most fat people skip breakfast just as he does – but he has addressed this.

  110. Elizabeth,

    I think people should find out what works best for themselves.

    What is your typical diet like on a low calorie day?

  111. Matt,

    I pretty much agree with that.

    I am not attacking Berkhan and I actually think his program would be pretty good for a lot of people. It seems like a relaxed approach and it could be especially good for people that have a hard time being consistent and disciplined with their eating.

    The only thing that I am saying is that an 8-10 hour feeding window doesn't seem like fasting to me, and the results people get are not due to the feeding window. He has people eating 3 meals a day, and this is probably good for most people since it is easier to plan for 3 healthy meals instead of dividing them up over 6. Results will be similar as long as macros and calories are the same. The macros and calories applied over the 24 hour period 7 days a week are the things that really matter.

  112. @JT: Well on a 1500 calorie day, as a rough example, my macronutrients would probably land somewhere around 35% fat, 50% carb, and 15% protein (on a higher calorie day the ratios would favor carbs somewhat more). This would usually include some meat, cheese, milk, eggs and a little butter or coconut oil for protein and fat. Carbs would be coming from things like oatmeal, potatoes, rice and fruit.

  113. JT,

    Martin has written the following:

    "After you eat, insulin and fatty acids are elevated. You are in the fed state and there's zero fat burning going on. Your body is relying completely on glucose oxidation during the hours following the meal.

    One way of measuring this is via the respiratory quotient (RQ). An RQ of 1.0 denotes pure carbohydrate metabolism ("storage mode"), while 0.7 denotes pure fat metabolism. To put this into perspective, consider that RQ is 0.95-1.0 for about 1.5-2 hours after a meal, 0.82-0.85 after overnight fasting and 0.72-0.8 after 16 hours of fasting.

    This seems to be the rationale for the 8hour feeding window- every day you find yourself in that sweet spot of proportionally more fat burning and minimal muscle catabolism, all while maintaining adequate calorie levels overall, or at leas over the course of the week. What's your take? Is that not accurate?

  114. That is accurate Rob, but this preferential fat burning is due to elevated catecholamines, which some just don't have the adrenal health to pull off.

    However, there are other factors to consider. For one, with constant feeding and constant glucose metabolism via nibbling as opposed to decreasing meal frequency, the body is discouraged from fat storage – whereas repeated bouts of burning fat as energy encourages fat storage after eating.

    It's like the cardio for fat loss argument. There's no doubt that fat is lost at the most efficient rate at moderate intensity levels (63% VO2 max if referring to MNP hypothesis). However, moderate intensity efforts encourage fat storage, whereas high-intensity exercise burns no fat at all and discourages fat storage.

    6 of one, half dozen of the other.

    But fat lost due to high-intensity efforts occurs due to positive metabolic changes, not to mechanically burning fat through exercise-induced calorie deficit.

    Fat lost with moderate-intensity cardio yields huge rebound fat gain when you stop, because this type of exercise has a negative impact on metabolism, even if it does make you leaner while you're doing it.

    I think, ultimately, long-term, IF will yield similar metabolic adaptations as overdoing cardio – because it is simply burning fat off mechanically by withholding food and raising catecholamines.

    But we'll see.

  115. Elizabeth,
    It is hard to say without seeing what you meals look like throughout the day, but it looks like the fat and carbs are both high, which is the worst combination. If I was you I would try dropping the fat and increasing the protein. If I was going to do some type of IF I would follow Berkhan's approach which is more reasonable and less likely to do damage.

    Rob A,
    Pretty much all bodybuilders and fitness competitors get extremely lean by eating frequently throughout the day, especially when dieting. They are constantly in a fed state, but they still lose tons of body fat. Whether or not you lose will depend on overall calories, not whether or not you are in a fed or fasted state.

  116. But JT, you can lose lean body mass or fat or both while in calorie deficit. Decreased meal frequency is an attempt to preferentially lose fat instead of lean mass.

    That's the point of using a "trick" to reducing calories, and if body fat is lost but no lean tissue there is far less rebound hunger and metabolic damage.

    Fitness professionals usually get lean the "wrong" way, and have massive fat rebound. Only the few, like Abel and Berkhan and their followers have devised specific strategies to circumvent the typical get lean then gain 40 pounds of fat post-competition cycle that most fitness competitors are stuck in.

  117. @Matt: So do you favor more frequent feedings now, or are you still in favor of spaced meals? Or do you think it depends on the person/situation?

  118. I'm hoping to do a blog post on this next week. It's still tough to choose, but I do think that a person's adrenal health does determine what is and is not doable.

    There's no doubt that eating less often burns more fat. Burning fat with rising catecholamines typically blunts appetite as well. There's also no doubt that burning more fat encourages more fat storage upon eating.

    Overall, my general conclusion is that eating 3 basic meals per day is the best happy medium, is realistic, socially acceptable, and provides a good balance between burning fat and keeping appetite well-regulated.

    But I would think a person with weak adrenals would fare much better with higher meal frequency.

    I also think there is a potential danger of making your adrenals weak by doing too much fasting and meal-skipping, even if it works wonders in the short-term.

    Notice in Pilon's work most of the evidence he uses for IF is what happens in the first 72 hours after fasting. He does a very poor job of thinking about the human organism and long-term adaptations as a whole. I'm not saying he's wrong or that IF is definitely dangerous – just that these things should be considered on an individual basis.

  119. I'm trying to wade through this site and find it, but it would be way faster just to ask. What are optimal fasting and post meal blood glucose levels, and how long should it take for them to drop back after a meal.

    My fasting is 80ish, up to 100ish about 1 hour post meal and then back to 80ish 4-5 hours after meal. This is eating 2x/day high fat, moderate carb, moderate protein.

  120. That's more or less within the ideal range for both fasting and postprandial.

  121. Ahh, what to eat. I have a very large appetite, and I am nursing an infant which makes me even more hungry. I have a hard time eating to appetite, though. I guess I don't make enough food at one time. I am still hungry after I eat, but with two small kids I am too distracted by them usually, to go back and fix more food. For supper, I always leave any leftovers for my husband. I would like to do three meals a day, but I usually end up eating something about every two hours because I am so hungry, shaky and weak. It's usually a free or all in the kitchen after the kids go to bed. What do you eat when you have that "I have to eat RIGHT NOW" feeling? I used to rely on cereal, but I know that is pretty much junk.

    Is white rice really that bad? I love rice with some tomatoes or salsa. Yum! Any suggestions on making white rice more palatable?

    I have been making homemade wheat sourdough bread from a homemade starter. I used yeast in my starter, and from what I have read, yeast may not be very good, but I can't figure out exactly why. Also, I ran out of wheat flour, so I used bread flour. Is that acceptable?

  122. For those of you who eat rice, do you soak it? What is your method of doing that?

  123. @Matt: Aaaagh, nice timing. I was going to do a post on meal spacing next week myself. But maybe I'll put that off since I'm a little concerned I'm starting to sound like your parrot over here, lol.

    I do have another question for you about meal spacing (which you can answer now or in your future post if you'd rather): for someone who needs to repair their adrenals, do you think the benefits of more frequent meals (more than 3/day) outweigh the possible risks for reducing insulin and leptin sensitivity?

    @JT: I recall you saying you were able to eat at a deficit and exercise plenty during your adrenal recovery. Was this because you were on cortisol replacement or is there another reason you feel your adrenals were able to heal during that time?

    @Matt and JT: Thanks for giving me some interesting thoughts to chew on about this IF thing. I'm not into trashing my adrenals again, so I'll definitely be careful.

    @April: If you're nursing a baby and starving all the time I would definitely take that as a sign you need more food. My personal advice would be to eat, whenever you can and however you can. Just find some staples that work for you and are easy to fix so you can always have them on hand. I know if I were in that situation good quality milk would be my standby, but that's just me. Some people don't do as well on milk.

    I think the general take on white rice here is that it's not a dietary dealbreaker, but it's good to make sure the rest of the diet is at least somewhat nutrient dense (since you're getting basically nothing but starch from the rice). Soaking brown rice is really easy: just cover the rice in filtered water and add about a tablespoon of acidic medium (whey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar). Soak for 12-24 hours, drain the rice and use fresh water for cooking. Stephan Guyenet from Whole Health Source also posted about a slightly more complicated but also more effective way of soaking brown rice here:

    I think some of the concerns about yeast is that it's a processed foods and might possibly be contaminated (though with what I forget, maybe heavy metals???), and others say yeast may cause candida problems. I really don't know if this is enough to really be worried about unless you're consuming a lot of bread. I personally just don't eat much bread so that becomes a non-issue for me. And when I do eat it, I enjoy it and don't worry about the details. ;)

  124. Elizabeth,
    Yes, that is correct I recovered while working out and eating in a deficit. I had already been on hydrocortisone for for about 10 months, and stayed on it for the first few months that I started back training again. I think this was possible because I used frequent feedings with high enough protein and carbs. Also, I did the right type of training (Metabolic Enhancement Training).

    Have you had testing yet to find out if you have an adrenal insufficiency?

  125. @April

    From here:

    "Commercial "baking" yeast is a single kind of organism that belches a lot of gas really fast and transforms grain into something that's even less good for you. Sourdough is two organisms, wild yeast and bacteria, in symbiosis. Together they transform the grain to make it more healthful, more digestible, and also resistant to getting moldy or stale. Many people with wheat allergies or "yeast" allergies have no problem eating real sourdough. And it's free! "

    Basically, commercial yeast was cultivated to rise as quickly as possible, without adequate time for the bacterial transformation of the grain into something mroe healthful and digestible. So maybe it's not that yeast is terrible all on its own, but bread made from it is likely to not be as nutriitous as a naturally levained bread. The no-knead method that's recently become popular is a good compromise- a small qantity of yeast, and a long rising time gives the bacteria on teh grain a chance to improve digestibility and nutrient assimilation. Not sure how it compares to well kept sourdough cultures, but it seems probably less troublesome than quick leavened bread.

  126. @JT: No testing as of yet. But I can give you some background about my issues: I was first made aware of the possibility that I had adrenal burnout when I started reading Schwarzbein about 4 years ago. I was extremely exhausted, would feel lightheaded and almost blackout often. I was barely sleeping and keeping up a tough exercise routine while dieting (basically low-calorie slightly healthier SAD). Oh, yeah, and I was nursing my infant son at the time. I started resting more and made a halfway recovery until I started over exercising (mainly cardio) and undereating heavily again in 2007. By mid 2008 I was a total mess again. Mood problems, sleep issues, intense cravings for junk food. That's when I made an actual commitment to start doing the Schwarzbein plan. It helped a lot. Allowing myself to eat saturated fat a few months later helped even more, but that's when I started gaining weight (I'm thinking because I was still having problems controlling my refined sugar intake).

    Judging by the way I feel, I would say I'm about 90% recovered these days. Sleep is great now, moods are more stable, though not perfect. Cravings are way less than they used to be. Still I have less than desirable energy, though I'm able to do far more than I was two years ago. My biggest problem is probably having been through some intense periods of emotional stress during the last three years.

    I've considered having cortisol tests done, but the price kinda turns me off to be honest. Plus the fact that I've recovered to the extent that I have makes me wonder if it's needed.

  127. @Rosenfeltc,

    Could you email me

    undertow3 (at) gmail


  128. Matt, I get my best readings w small frequent meals. That is not to say that I eat that way regularly but carrying a lunch pack of odds and ends is really easy most of the time and I can grab something between patient visits.

    Are you planning to do some testing?

    Also for those wondering about timing; FBG should be pre anything liquid or solid first thing in the morning.

    One hour postprandial may not be an accurate measure of post meal spike because BG may continue to rise for another hour. Longer if you have slow digestion/gastroparesis.

    FBG should be up to 99. After two hours it should be headed back to normal from around 140.

    One day of testing ain't gonna tell the tale.

    Be well.

  129. Matt would love to see a post on regular feedings vs IF or long breaks between meals.

    One thing I know for sure is that any kind of prolonged fasting will cause damage to those with weak adrenals. When I started Paleo I could easily morning fast with workouts and coffee. Towards the end as my adrenals got whacked fasting would make me shaky, anxious and give me palpitations…… In fact it still does but not as bad as before, they are healing slowly but steadily…..

    Also all the ripped and lean people I know are hungry when they wake up and have a substantial breakfast, it always seems to be the overweight or skinny fat people who skip breakfast.

    Looking forward to it. One question though what is your stance on pasteurised dairy in the forms of yoghurt and cottage cheese etc?

  130. Matt

    "I think, ultimately, long-term, IF will yield similar metabolic adaptations as overdoing cardio – because it is simply burning fat off mechanically by withholding food and raising catecholamines"

    Is there any other way to burn fat? I thought basically every lipolytic mechanism in the body ultimately relies on catecholamines and other stress hormones to release fat from storage. When you're saying that some people don't have the adrenal health to handle exercise, or IF, isn't it pretty much the same as to say that they don't have the adrenal health to safely lose weight (ie, without famine response or muscle breakdown)?

    Anyway, I didn't realize it's been so long since I last gave an update on my progress with IF, but I've steadily been losing weight. On May 31st I weighed 196, three weeks later I was at 191, and now today I weighed in at 186 pounds. Hunger has mostly been a complete non-issue during the fasts, and it's been encouraging to find that my appetite is still strongly suppressed. I've been to quite a few dessert buffets this summer, and whereas before I used to astonish people with the amount of sweets I could devour, now all it takes is a few bites of a chocolate muffin before everything starts to taste "too sweet". To me this is the strongest possible indicator one could have that the body does not feel threatened by famine.

    Overall I feel great, I had a bad period like a month ago with headaches and bloating, but I can't say whether that was still just the initial effects of my iodine supplementation. I'm currently taking 2 drops (12.5mg) of Lugols daily, I have no idea whether it's doing some good, but at least the side effects, detox or whatever, have passed.

  131. Thanks for the update Collden, and timely. I'll get into this in next week's post. I was going to do it later in the week, but I'm going to try to bust it out tomorrow if possible.

    I think you are right to suspect that I'm suggesting it is simply not safe to lose weight if your adrenals are not in good condition.


    Good input. My epxerience was similar. However, IF on low-carb/Paleo vs. IF on a mixed diet with big periodic re-feeds probably can't be compared. With high-carb meals and re-feeds the body has a chance to lower catecholamines, which keeps them in good health while also preventing downregulation.

    On brown rice-
    I don't soak it. Seems like a little overkill, but not a bad idea.

    On yeast-

    Doubt there's any danger

    On pasteurized yoghurt and cheese-

    Don't harbor any ill will towards them.

  132. And JT-

    I hope to do a post on MET soon. I understand where Abel is coming from with it now.

  133. It is hard for me to form an opinion on IF since many do not actually fast but suck down coffee, SF soda, etc.
    I think the Eades might be responsible for this.

    The problem is that nothing but caffiene cannot have anything but a negative effect on adrenals.
    After all, that is why we drink caffinated beverages, right?

    Fasting is allowing the body/organs to rest and heal. Is that not true?

    Oh and about that vegetable oil blurb earlier which recieved a snarky comment; the point is that vegie oils have been around for thousands of years so blaming them for ALL of todays ills seems overkill…that's all. And, yes, there are health writers that focus solely on vegie oils.

  134. HEY JT
    HEY JT
    HEY JT

    I think those of us with adrenal fatigue would be interested in hearing the details of your recovery, especially since what you did is the opposite of what most practitioners promote.

    How low were your cortisol levels?

    From what I can gather… It seems like you took HC, ate a low-calorie diet, and exercised. Is that it? How much HC were you taking? How many calories per day?

    Do you think the HC was an integral part of our program? Also, what doctor did you work with? I'm curious as to where you even got the idea that such a protocol would work for AF.

    Thanks for any info!

  135. Jem-

    IF can definitely jeopardize adrenal health.


    JT might have been in a slight calorie deficit, but he was not on a low-calorie diet. I know that he has relied primarily on Scott Abel's advice during his recovery, and Scott warns against ever eating below maintenance calories and creating only small calorie deficits through physical exertion.

    As for the exercise, it's not just exercise, but a specific type of exercise geared up towards enhancing the metabolism. Metabolic enhancement refers primarily to increasing anabolic, muscle-building hormones while increasing lipolytic, fat-burning hormones, and thus creating not only a body with a greater muscle to fat ratio but many side benefits including better overall physical performance.

    It is totally different from doing a lot of catabolic exercise/cardio that decreases anabolic hormones, metabolism, etc.

  136. matt stone

    do you drink coffee ( sorry for being random )?
    thank you

  137. I consume caffeine only 3-4 times per year I'd guess. It's actually a pretty good recreational drug when you never ingest it, and then go nuts with a massive Americano with like 3 espresso shots in there.

    I should do that before I make my videos so Cusick won't get bored.

  138. @Matt: Ha ha, so funny you say that. I don't drink caffeine much, either. But when I do, boy am I entertaining! I turn in to a total chatterbox on coffee.

    In fact, I think it would be a hilarious experiment to see you on video after a goot shot of coffee!

  139. If I take a long break from caffeine and then try to have ANY, let alone a huge amount, it makes me very nauseated. Sometimes the nausea lasts into the next day, even.

  140. Ah, well, Annabelle, I get the nausea too (that's after my mouth stops running a mile a minute). I think it's a low blood sugar thing, because I often feel like I need to eat something to feel stable again. But like you, the weird sick feeling can easily last for hours whether I eat or not. That's why I very rarely drink coffee anymore. It just ain't worth it.

  141. Jung,
    I have a doctor, but he didn't prescribe the diet and training I was doing. I don't know if the HC was crucial to my recovery, but it would have been very difficult to start back working out again without the adrenal support.

    I was pretty low calorie, about 1500 at 6ft 200lbs is pretty low considering all of the training I was doing. But, the frequent feedings along with high protein and sufficient carbs kept my blood sugar stable which was the most important thing for my adrenals. I didn't eat any sugar during this time either. I would not recommend the average person try this by themselves, I was working with someone who is probably the top person in the world dealing with body comp and metabolic issues. I had a very extensive athletic and training background training others as well as myself, i was pretty knowledgeable in the areas of nutrition as well, and I still needed to work with a coach. The average person will probably not be successful doing on their own, and will probably just get hurt or quit due to lack of progress.

    My advice is to get a doctor and get tests done to find out exactly what is wrong with you. It is very difficult to find one that knows how to treat this so you will really have to check around, the ones that seem to know the most in this area are the anti-aging docs. If you want to start exercising I advise getting one of Scott Abel's DVDs or hire him or one of his coaches to set up a program and diet for you. The basic Schwarzbein diet is great for most people, but if you are training hard you may need to cut the fat and raise the carbs a little.

  142. Lamar Odon seems to like the gummy candies in particular. Some manufactures still use gelatin and sugar, while others might worse ingredients, like pectate and corn syrup. Maybe his seemingly erratic performance results from the quality of candy consumed recently. In any case, there's only one nutritional plan in which plenty of gelatin and sugar are good for you! and i'm sure you all know who that is.

  143. gosh i have so much to say. my wheels have been turning this week.

    but i am on board with taking a good amount of fat out and getting in more carbs and fiber. i've tried it and do find more improvement in my digestion. (i was avoiding due to IBS.) at the same time i am also addressing low adrenals with isocort, which is making a big difference.

    i have never actually tried a hi carb, low to mod protein, lowfat diet in my quest for health. the way you hear it described by the scientists always sounded so foreign and wrong to me.

    i started eating high protein and high fat for the past 3 years, with carbs. i had discovered nourishing traditions and wapf, then dropped PUFA's 2 years ago, then added fiber menace at some point, then HED….and the truth is i got steadily fatter throughout it…

    while also at the same time with each step i experienced marked improvement of various symptoms. (the highest fastest improvement came with HED there at the end.)

    moving into a high energy, high carb and lower protein/fat right now makes perfect sense. over the past few years i have developed such knowledge about whole foods, how important carbs are, how tasty saturated fats are. i'm not freaking out about sugar as much.

    so i'm noticing it's completely appetizing to me now to picture a low-fat, high-carb diet. the past few days i can appreciate these filling fresh meals with lower protein and fat and i feel nourished and even.

    that tip one of the ladies gives about making mashed potatoes with milk is awesome. there is no fricking need to have everything i eat be swimming in saturated fat. i had fresh young baby corn the past few days that didn't need butter at all. i'm just using a little nob of butter or tallow here and there and i don't miss more than that.

    i do think i'll find that excess fat intake (due to an overzealousness for good healthy fats), probably kept my hormonal issues and weight issues on the back burner a little too long.

    i'm enjoying that there is actually a whole 'nother, 'nother level of carb appreciation i am experiencing now. thanks for doing what you do matt. i feel like many of us are this really interesting trip together and you have sure done a shit ton of legwork for us. :)

    to April:
    my health has suffered when i try to rely on extreme homemade organic everything. i wish i could go back and tell my past few years self to relax and go eat some good sandwiches and give the kids easy stuff like crackers and cheese.

    my advice is to give yourself a break and quit baking bread. i ran myself ragged trying to do stuff like that when i was nursing and dealing with toddlers. i look back on it as a very unnecessarily stressed out time period partly because of how obsessed i was with what food we were eating.

    the kids and i don't eat enough when i have to make every single little snack and meal from extreme scratch.

    FYI i've even switched to many just all-natural varieties instead of organic + expensive the store are just fine! i now buy bread, tortillas, pasta, white rice, crackers, occasional cookies and corn chips etc. this blog's ideas support that there are plenty of good carbs out there that energize our bodies and don't have to be PREMIER food.

  144. Hey Matt, I've been browsing some of the interwebs and came across the following thread where lots o' "naturally thin" folks were dishing on how much (or rather, how little) they eat in a day. So many of them seem to skip breakfast and/or other meals, or forget to eat, or whathaveyou, as well as reporting eating what appears to be very little, both in terms of calories and actual substance, in an average day.

    Any insights? With all the emphasis that's been made on getting *enough* calories, and how most people don't eat enough, what's your take on the sitch?
    (And what does that really mean, anyway – eating "enough"? People like my mom, obese, and my boyfriend, naturally thin his entire life, can be satisfied on the same paltry portions that to me don't appear to be enough to go on. Why do their bodies respond so differently to food, compared both to each other and to me?)

  145. I have read this blog and all the comments for 2 years. It's great but right now I just want to say that I hate the videos too, for the same reason Cusick does. I feel like I'm wasting time when I watch them.

  146. Hey Matt,
    You may already be planning on doing a post on the subject, but I'm very interested in hearing about metabolic enhancement exercise.

  147. @Elizabeth – I am working on just trying to eat, instead of ignoring my hunger. I have a tendency to obsessive about things, which I think hinders me, so I am working on just eating, and not worrying so much about what it is. I did have soaked brown rice for lunch yesterday. It seemed to have a better texture (less crunchy), and didn't take as long to cook. Thanks for the tip!

    @Rob – Thanks for the info on the yeast. I tossed my old starter, since it was dying anyway. I am trying a new one to see if I can capture the yeast. I will see what happens with that.

    @Crazy Mother – Like I mentioned before, I can tend to be a bit obsessive about food. I have a history of an eating disorder, and it can be difficult to not go back to that way of thinking. But I am working on that and trying to relax more. The main reason I bake bread is because I love to bake and it seems to be a better option than sweets. I know that I do spend entirely too much time in the kitchen, trying to make everything from scratch. I think you are right about the not eating enough when you try to do everything from scratch. y son is always asking for food. So I willwork on eating and enjoying my kids.

    @Matt -I love your slogan, "eat the food." When ever my two year old asks for food, that's what he says – "eat the food." There is wisdom in youth.

  148. Crazy Mother-

    Damn, it won't be long before you'll have to change your name to Sane Mother and this site will be called 360 degree health. Appreciate all you had to offer.


    Sure thing.


    How much people eat is pretty well-correlated to body weight, because the heavier you are, the more calories you need to ingest to maintain body weight.

    But there is too much implied when it comes to self-control, discipline, willpower, etc. Lean people aren't lean because of any of these traits, but because their appetite regulation systems work correctly. They can still become very ill from eating too little (anorexia).

    My focus has been on eating enough to get your body out of hibernation mode. At the end of that, you should have a well-regulated appetite, not have massive food cravings, be inclined to overeat, etc. It gets you to that physical state, and if you can maintain it while losing weight, then you will succeed. I don't feel that many succeed by battling cravings and hunger, which is the route most people take to lose weight and they pay a dear price for it.


    Gotcha, but there is absolutely zero percent chance that the videos will stop coming. I've been doing videos and/or podcasts for 19 months now, and they are popular with a certain segment of people. Lots of people are finding me on youtube as well, as youtube videos are higher ranking in google searches than blog posts (an understatement). What I will try to do is not make a blog post too dependent on watching the video to keep from missing vital information. Cool with dat?


    The "eat the food" line comes from the movie Napolean Dynamite. In 2008 I lived with my family for a few months, including my 2 nieces. My youngest niece, like most young kids, would often wine and refuse to "clean her plate." I would always yell "eat the food" at her over and over again in Napolean voice until it became a comical thing. She was the perfect age to find Napolean Dynamite hysterical, and I am the perfect mental age to find it hysterical.

    And then of course, she made me a plate with "eat the food" handwritten on the bottom. Classic.

    As for being obsessive about food, Sane Mother had some very clutch advice.

    Health geekism is great and all, and I think many people here are finally allowing health info. to benefit instead of run their lives. At the end of the day, we must relax and chill out. My obsessiveness has always been humbled.

  149. Matt,

    have you heard of glucomannan? Also known as konjac or konnyaku (in Japan), it is a kind of fiber available as a powder or as shirataki noodles. In Asia, they also make other foods from it, some traditional and some modern like jello desserts.
    Anyway, it's supposed to be ideal breeding ground for the kind of bacteria that produce butyric acid. Some people seem to have great success with it. I read about it on the GFCF yahoo group.
    Might be something to supplement the white rice with (in addition to yeast extract for the b-vitamins?)

  150. Thanks Kirk-

    I saw that video for the first time a couple of years ago. Anytime I'm feelin' down all I have to do is watch it, or eat cooked food, or both.

    That burger was definitely a near-death experience.

  151. OMG, Kirk, that was hilarious. My first thoughts were of course you feel like sh*t when you just ate a bunch of food fried in vegetable oil. That's a really poor choice for a first cooked meal.

    But then the guy huddled down in the fetal position blubbering like a baby and I burst out laughing. That is sad. Very, very sad.

  152. "I don't drink caffeine much, either. But when I do, boy am I entertaining! I turn in to a total chatterbox on coffee. "

    Similar to THIS perhaps?
    Sorry for that, but I really was just looking for an opportunity to post that without being completely off-topic.

  153. If I drank five pots a day? Yeah, that would probably be me. :p

  154. Matt,

    i was wondering if you have ever heard anything about sprouted grains creating more short chain fatty acids through fermentation in the gut than regular grains

  155. I hadn't heard that. Thanks Ryan.

  156. Thanks, Matt. Out of all the food/diet blogs out there I have seen yours definitely seems to be the most balanced in terms of looking at what works and what doesn't. I'll keep reading. :)

  157. Hey just joining, glad to be in! I appear forward to partcipating and have study a whole lot so far, so hello!

    Sooo anyways, plenty about me, see you around and hello yet again haha.

    BTW, what can I do to make myself have a cool title like some people here have?

  158. Hey just joining, glad to be in! I appear forward to partcipating and have read a good deal so far, so hello!

    I've been concerned in some other forums and have identified this site to have very much much better articles, so it can make sense to eventually post!

    PS, how do I change the little picture thingy like some people have, I like it but can't figure it out haha

  159. Really enjoyed your video. Apparently if you take a TON of fiber within a hour or so you will eat all the food in your house. haha. It definitely increases metabolism in the long run.


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