FUMP Day 14

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Well, so much for feeling run down. When I went to sleep my heart was pounding and my body was achy. When I woke up (with the roosters as usual), I felt next to amazing.

Sorry about all the blog turmoil lately. First I changed the domain name, throwing everybody for a loop, and then I totally transformed the look. Along those lines, I did have someone that was very displeased with the black background because it was “hard on the eyes to read.” If you are having trouble, save this under your “Favorites” in the Feed section. Then it’ll pop up nice and plain, simple, with nothing but text – black on a white background.

The thyroid has been the hot topic the last couple of days. It’s quite a controversy as to whether or not a zero carb diet or close to it can induce hypothyroidism in some people. My suspicions are that it can. Is it really due to low caloric intake, or is there another potential mechanism involved in reducing thyroid secretion? That’s appears to a be a pretty big question.

I don’t totally have an answer, but let’s get on the same page with the thyroid gland – hearing from the thyroid master himself on a variety of thyroid-related topics. The master…Endocrinologist Broda Barnes, the king of great quotes:

For Bruce K. –

“Everyone should have the privilege of playing Russian Roulette if it is desired, but it is only fair to have the warning that with the use of polyunsaturated fats the gun probably contains live ammunition.”

-Barnes is a major hater of polyunsaturated fats like those found in highest concentration in common vegetable oils

On Type A personalities (high adrenal hormone levels) –

“The cholesterols are higher in Type A and rise further during stress; a high cholesterol is common in hypothyroidism. The glucose tolerance test is somewhat reduced in Type A patients…[They] have a reduced tolerance for fats; this again may be related to thyroid function.”

It is known that adrenal hormones suppress thyroid function. Lowered thyroid function inhibits lipolysis (the burning of fats for energy). Cortisol, an adrenal hormone, when elevated can trigger insulin resistance (which is why one of cortisone’s side effects is ‘rapid weight gain’). Lowered thyroid hormone causes hypercholesterolemia as well. In fact, Barnes had an outstanding rate of heart disease prevention amongst his patients (94%) by administering minute amounts of thyroid hormone with little counseling on diet, exercise (which Barnes laughed at as a technique to bring longevity), smoking, etc.

My lack of need for sleep, endless energy, discoloration under the eyes, rapid pulse, etc. that I’ve noticed since going carnivore are all signs of elevated adrenal hormones. I feel great, because adrenal hormones make you feel great. They can also be your undoing…

Barnes on Hans Selye –

“It appears to Dr. Selye that degenerative diseases might be the result of chronic over-production of adrenal hormones, and he calls the alleged state ‘Over Adaptation.’…Over Adaptation of the adrenal has not produced stress, but it had produced hypothyroidism which in turn had produced mucopolysaccharides described in chapter one. These compounds are present in all of our degenerative disease resulting from stress.”

Barnes on cholesterol and heart disease’s relationship to thyroid –

“In hundreds of patients treated in the last 25 years, 95 percent of the cholesterol levels have returned to normal with only thyroid therapy…atherosclerosis results from the thyroid deficiency and not from the elevated serum fats that accompany it.”

Barnes on frequency of hypothyroidism –

“Personal experience indicates that about half of the population suffers from some degree of thyroid deficiency.”

Reproductive health –

“The most frequent cause of sterility is a lack of thyroid hormone…Miscarriages are more often due to a lack of thyroid than to any other cause.”

Fat Metabolism –

“…with administration of extra thyroid, the animals could tolerate much larger quantities of fat without elevating the level of fats in the blood. If the levels in the blood are elevated in hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone), it is no surprise that they should be found low in hyperthyroidism since the elevated metabolism would burn up more fat.”

Some snippets taken from the chapter, Symptoms of Thyroid Deficiency –

“muscles became weak…development of a pot-belly…bone development abnormal…body temperature subnormal…sluggish…sterile…anemic…repeated respiratory infections…dry scaly skin…eczema…colds frequent…tonsillitis…sore throats, middle ear infections, sinusitis, and pneumonia…styes…prevalent pimples…any abnormality of the menstrual cycle…fatigue…patients will fall asleep if they sit down for a few minutes, even to watch TV…An entire book could be written on the mental problems associated with thyroid deficiency…migraines”

That’s enough out of you Broda. Is this a danger of zero-carbing it or not? Is it just dangerous for those who are hypothyroid to go low carb? That could be a possibility, as impaired fatty acid utilization could really seal that coffin. In other words, people can’t utilize fat, and when eating mostly fat the thyroid comes to an absolute standstill. Byproducts of its improper utilization could also certainly yield toxic byproducts. Interesting, but I can’t say that I’ve had any zero-carb consequences thus far that indicate real danger…but it is very, very early still.

Today’s menu…

Breakfast: Pork stew with broth and 3T butter

Lunch: 2 ounces cheese with 8 ounces raw, grassfed, local, never-frozen new york strip with 2T mac nut oil

Dinner: 6 eggs scrambled with 3 ounces cheddar cheese and 2T butter


  1. ““muscles became weak…development of a pot-belly…bone development abnormal…body temperature subnormal…sluggish…sterile…anemic…repeated respiratory infections…dry scaly skin…eczema…colds frequent…tonsillitis…sore throats, middle ear infections, sinusitis, and pneumonia…styes…prevalent pimples…any abnormality of the menstrual cycle…fatigue…patients will fall asleep if they sit down for a few minutes, even to watch TV…”

    Very interesting. Those are all symptoms I experienced before going low carb, except the abnormality of the menstrual cycle (I’m a guy).

    Now after going low carb my temperature is higher than ever, I sweat more often, but maybe it is because of over production of those thyroid hormones and my body will eventually run out of production capacity? Only time will tell

  2. Matt,

    First off, great blog and thanks for the effort. I have some questions about some of the comments between you and Bruce a few days ago regarding fixing a problem by “going right at it”, e.g. curing a sensitivity to milk by using just raw milk for a week or two. Is there any evidence for the efficacy of such an approach, other than anecdotal? If there’s no evidence, than what is the logic? What are some of the possible mechanisms that would remove the sensitivity? Would this approach work to cure an allergy? An inability to digest a certain food? What criteria would you use to determine whether this approach would make you better or just make you much worse? Are you proposing a kind of a nutritional SAID principle? In exercise science one of the major ideas is called the SAID principle – specific adaptation to imposed demand. It basically means that your body will get better at what you train it to do. So, if you want to get better at pullups, do pullups, go right at it. Duh. But, of course there are limitations. If you are bad at pullups because of a torn rotator cuff, you shouldn’t “go right at” the problem with pullups. You need to rest and reheal first. Or maybe you should never being doing pullups again.

  3. Yes, going lower in carbs gave me all the symptoms of an increase in thyroid hormone that had lingered since my wind river starvation diet. No longer was I sensitive to cold, I needed less sleep, had more energy, had stronger sex drive, more muscle and less fat, and several other symptoms of thyroid increase. I’m just wary of VLCD, which some people who I know directly have had the opposite reaction.


    The Raw Milk diet had endless therapeutic benefit and was used extensively for all kinds of ailments in a clinical setting at the Mayo clinic. So there is healing potential there for sure. Secondly, and kind of sinlge-food diet has tremendous therapeutic benefit as well, so there’s another reason. Third, enzyme researcher Howell used foods that people were allergic to in their raw state to cure what he thought was an underlying enzymatic condition. He noted that other health problems would disappear as the food sensitivity disappeared as well. So there are plenty of reasons to at least consider that kind of head on approach.

    I can say for sure that eating nothing but meat has greatly increased my ability to digest meat, currently and in the past when I did tried all-meat stints of just a few days. Or simply consider what Stefansson pointed out about fat for example. He believed that consuming lots of fat “may” be unhealthy on a mixed diet (as some nutritionists at the time thought), but absolutely knew that to be untrue on an all-meat diet.

    All these things taken into consideration, that type of approach is often at least worth experimenting with.

  4. I ripped this straight out of a comment on Dr. Eades blog about Oprah. At least I am not the only one who has trouble sleeping on low carb. I wonder if straight glucose like some crackers would work as at least they don’t have fructose in them. Since the amount of sugar is small it may not matter that much.

    Sleepless in Chino:

    “Ok, since we’re talking about the plight of middle-aged women, here’s my story. Low carb works great for me, the weight falls off and joint pain subsides, then insomnia hits and hits hard! If I let the carb creep begin, the weight comes back (to the tune of 5-6 lbs only, not 20) and the joint pain comes back, but I sleep like a baby. I have been keeping food and sleep journals for 3 years. It never, never fails. I’ve tried exercise, 5-htp, magnesium, Vit D3, you name it. All of them have seemed to work for a few weeks, then the insomnia comes back, like something out of a horror movie. Everything I read about low carbing and ketosis says that sleep will improve but I ALWAYS have the opposite experience. Have you ever heard of this before? Can you account for it? I feel doomed to choose between being pudgy or being exhausted.”

    Dr. Eades:

    “Strange as this may sound, why don’t you try some decaf herbal tea with a little sugar or honey in it at bedtime. Being in ketosis makes it difficult for many people (including yours truly) to get to sleep and stay asleep. A little touch of sugar or honey will kill the ketosis enough that many can get to sleep. And yet this small amount won’t really interfere with weight loss. Give it a try and let me know how it works.”

  5. More on sleeplessness from the comments section on Dr. Eades blog on Oprah. Matt you should like the posters reference to Schwarzbein.


    “Strange as this may sound, why don’t you try some decaf herbal tea with a little sugar or honey in it at bedtime.”

    I too have the same problem as ’sleepless’ which I think is why I struggle with LC. My situation does seem to get better very gradually over time which hopefully sleepless’s will too. I’ve been low-carbing a little over 1 year. I am not sure if it is the time span or the fact that I seem to spend about 1 week out of every month eating all the carbs I want that is helping… not eating the carbs intentionally though and it’s still way less than I used to consume. I am still losing very gradually, about a lb a month. My blood pressure has come down, still maintains and all other stats are good.

    I am curious… if our carbs are practically nil throughout the day, will a teaspoon of sugar still throw us out of ketosis? Is it the total carb consumption per day that’s important or at one given time? Can we eat 20-30 grams of a different carb (not sure what’s in a t of sugar) at night, accomplish the same thing and still obtain benefits of the diet?

    I read in Schwarzbien’s book a while back that insulin resistance or any sort of damaged metabolism will take a year, sometimes longer to correct itself with proper diet (she is also proponent of low carb just not to same extent). If I remember correctly she indicated that too low a carb count for these people isn’t a good idea in this transition phase. Sorry to reference someone elses book but it may shed light and give hope to those feeling their body rebelling a bit and trying to make it through this adjustment phase.

    Dr. Eades:

    Yes, a teaspoon or two of sugar usually will throw one out of ketosis, at least long enough to get to sleep. Remember, all the blood sugar circulating in the body of one with a normal blood sugar adds up to a little less than a teaspoonful. If you consume a teaspoon or two of sugar, you will effectively double or triple the amount of sugar in the blood, which will turn off the production of ketones for a while.

  6. Yes, sleep is an issue. I think I’ll write about it in tonight’s post. You could also try a little cornstarch with water before bed, but it’s kind of gross.


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