Why Healthy Diets Fail

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Health food sucksBy Matt Stone

There is a lot of hype surrounding various “healthy diets.” I too had a religious faith that a nutritious and wholesome diet would deliver unspeakable vitality. The science seemed to be there, testimonials left and right, and it “just made so much sense.” But, when I tried various versions of what seemed like the optimal diet at the time, it didn’t always work out the way I assumed it would. After many years of communication with people about health and diet, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the exception, but that the long-term success of puritanical eating endeavors fail more often than they succeed. Although I could easily construct a 50-item list of reasons as to why that is, I’ll keep it to the top 10…

  1. Insufficient Calorie Intake – This is far and away the most common reason people fail to thrive on their “healthy” diet. Although what is considered a healthy diet is extremely diverse, one thing that all of them have in common is the strict forbidden-ness of eating meals that are highly palatable. Most recommend eating lots of high-fiber, high-water content foods that are big and bulky but not very calorie-dense (or tasty). Others recommend eating no sugar. Some recommend eating no fat. Those that allow you to eat rich, fatty, calorie-dense meats and oils often forbid combining them with starches and sugars. And all healthy diets steer people away from eating refined, processed food that is soft, easy to chew, highly digestible, Just eat real foodcalorie dense, combines fat and carbohydrate together, and that fosters a higher calorie intake. All of these things are appetite deterrents, spontaneously lowering calorie intake, and when calorie intake falls too low, metabolic rate drops and any number of different maladies can ensue – from cold hands and feet and infertility to constipation and insomnia and everything in between. Total system shutdown. To better demonstrate this, here is a “healthy” meal I prepared at home recently. This giant pile of beans, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes with a little cheese, avocado, and sour cream added to it was very difficult to finish. Yet, this is only 500 calories of food! My girlfriend, who typically eats over 1,000 calories at meals, only made it to about the 300-calorie mark as you can see…Whole foods fail
  2. Suboptimal Carbohydrate Intake – With the increasing prevalence of carbohydrate-restricted diets and widespread carbophobia in general, many people are eating well below the optimal intake levels for carbohydrates. If someone is doing any vigorous exercise at all, which most health-conscious people are, the minimum daily carbohydrate intake to properly restore glycogen levels is 5 grams per kg of lean bodyweight per day. For harder-training individuals this number is much higher. For more on optimal carbohydrate intake, read How Many Carbohydrates Should You Eat.
  3. Low Fat Content – A diet low in fat, in and of itself, isn’t usually problematic. Even with a nonfat diet the body can still manufacture its own fats, such as palmitic acid, mead acid, and the short-chain saturated fats – butyric, propionic, and acetic acids. Most of what is known about these fats suggests that these are the healthiest of all fats, and healthier than the fats you ingest from food directly. So, in theory, a low fat diet shouldn’t be a problem. But it often is a problem – a BIG problem, because without fat the palatability of the diet suffers tremendously. Not only does the food taste boring, but you have to eat twice as much of it or more just to get the same amount of calories you would get on a normal diet. The best way to grasp this is to think about our friend, the potato. 1 pound of potatoes with a stick of butter added to it tastes absolutely heavenly and can be consumed at one sitting easy. Without the fat, however, you would have to eat 4 pounds of fat-free potatoes to achieve the same calorie levels. Good luck with that. Once again, this is a problem because nothing causes more widespread and severe dysfunction as a failure to obtain adequate energy from your diet due to the impact that energy shortage has on metabolic rate. The formula I use for estimating ballpark minimum calorie intake with moderate physical activity per day is: 20 X Lean body weight in pounds. Reduce that figure by 1% for every year in age you are over 30.
  4. Too Much Water – Fruits, vegetables, juices, smoothies, salads, raw foods, and other health foodist staples have a very high water content. In addition to that, teas, coffee, health tonics, protein shakes, fermented beverages, and copious amounts of water are often consumed for health reasons on top of all those watery foods. The net result is chronic overhydration (dilution of interstitial fluid), which lowers metabolic rate and elicits a strong stress reaction from the nervous system, often leading to symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, shakiness, irritability, blurred vision, erratic heartbeat or palpitation, polyuria, nocturia, headache, migraine, seizure, and other forms of low-grade dysfunction.
  5. Low Salt Intake – Sodium is the dominant ion in the body’s roughly 15 liters of interstitial fluid, including the blood. Typical concentration is 9 grams of salt per liter of fluid. Salt is often avoided by those attempting to eat a healthy diet, and when combined with excessive consumption of water and watery foods, this is particularly detrimental, leading to the problems highlighted in #4.
  6. Decreased Digestibility – Not everyone has the same degree of digestive prowess. While some may be able to plow through a lot of unrefined, fibrous, coarse whole grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, and other iconic health foods – others are negatively impacted by trying to eat these foods, especially in large quantity, suffering from gas, bloating, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal permeability, SIBO, and other disorders. Ironically, only really healthy people seem to thrive eating really healthy food!
  7. Too Many Thyroid Inhibitors – The plant kingdom is full of chemicals meant to deter creatures like us from eating those plants. Various enzyme inhibitors and plant ‘poisons’ can be found in various seeds, beans, nuts, and vegetables. The worst offenders are cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, and other crucifers. Other foods to avoid eating in excess include beans, lentils, soy, nuts, and seeds. No need to be overly fearful of eating such foods, but the “health nut” often goes way overboard on these foods, juicing kale and cabbage and replacing all meat and dairy with beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy. This “backfires.” Get it! You know, the magical fruit? Nevermind.
  8. Too Much Protein – Protein has always soaked up the spotlight as being a healthy substance. The more the better. It is glorified as being healthy because it helps build lean muscle mass, burns up more calories to digest, and decreases appetite. Protein “boosts your metabolism” or so they say. It is, of course, the opposite, and eating an appetite deterrent that burns up a bunch of calories to digest in the context of a healthy diet full of other appetite deterrents that are difficult to digest turns to inadequate calorie consumption and metabolic obliteration very quickly. But in addition to that, protein, particularly protein from animal products, which typically contains higher amounts of tryptophan, methionine, and cysteine, is suppressive to metabolic rate in other ways (raises serotonin for example, which suppresses metabolic rate) and raises inflammation in excess. Eating tons of canned tuna and chicken breasts and egg whites and turkey burgers and whey protein – common staples amongst those pursuing a healthy diet,  is not something I condone.
  9. Social Isolation – While harder to “scientifically prove,” eating a special diet that forbids common foods eaten at restaurants and amongst your friends and family members, can be socially crippling. While it’s hard to measure how detrimental it is to each healthy eater on an individual basis, this is a legitimate concern – and drives some people to avoid social interactions to evade temptation and toxic food, or causes them great anxiety, guilt, and other powerful forms of psychological distress when they are eating foods perceived as unhealthy.
  10. Consuming “Healthy” Fats – Many big mistakes are made here, as the mainstream belief about fat is that saturated fat is harmful, and unsaturated fat is healthy. This is completely backwards. Replacing saturated fats like tropical oils, red meat, chocolate, cheese, and butter with the “healthy fats” from nuts, seeds, vegetable oil, poultry, and margarine is a catastrophic error. These fats lead to greater lipid peroxidation, free radical damage, inflammation, carcinogenesis, impaired glucose metabolism, increased size and number of fat cells, and more, all while suppressing metabolic rate – just to name a few of the more well-established effects of “healthy fats.” But even those healthy eaters who have heard about the harmful effects of vegetable oil and butter substitutes are still often making mistakes and taking in huge amounts of fat overall (burning fat for fuel instead of glucose and suffering ill consequences from it), still engulfing obscene amounts of “healthy fats” from nuts, seeds, and fish oils, and taking in massive doses of the most inflammatory fat of all, Arachidonic acid, by eating stupid quantities of egg yolks, chicken fat, duck fat, lard, bacon, and organ meats as if these foods are medicinal in a dose-dependent fashion. These foods can be nutritious, but most of the evidence we have about degenerative and inflammatory diseases points, not to lack of vitamins and minerals in the diet, but to an excess of Arachidonic Acid in cells and tissues as being the primary causal dietary factor of modern illness.

Anyway, if you are trying your darnedest to eat a really healthy diet and experiencing anything but wonderful health, you might consider not eating so healthy. Eat more yummy things to get those calories in, always save room for dessert, go back to eating “artery-clogging saturated fats,” pile on the salt, stop drinking so much damn water, quit eating so many vegetables – you are not a rabbit, and, for the love of god, STOP PLAYING WITH YOURSELF!

Well, you don’t have to do that last thing. Just thought it was a good phrase to end it with. I guess I should’ve stuck with the timeless…

San Dimas High School Football Rules!

267 Comments

  1. First!

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    • Real Genius

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  2. OMG…..I’ve done each of these and am still struggling with a few of the, I so wish to be free from the fear that food, eating and of body size has over me. Fingers and toes crossed I’ll be able to make the shift.

    Thanks for your sharing your thoughts and experiences

    Peace x

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  3. “darnedest”……you’re finally learning how to talk/spell after living down south for so long.

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    • I learned from the best, sensei.

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  4. you da man Mattie Cakes, that water one alone can change lives for shizzle ;-) xoxoxox haggie

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  5. Good post! Highlights a huge reason why many people fail in their fat loss diets as well – they think they have to be totally restrictive, but it’s a flexible diet that promotes success. The more restrictive the diet, the worse the binge/rebound when you break it.

    I’ve got clients losing fat (and more importantly staying lean) eating whatever the hell they want, within reason of course. It’s all about strategy and having a few overriding principles to guide you. Once you have these things in place, it’s very liberating because you no longer have to sweat the small stuff like if a certain food will wreck your results, or how you’re going to go to that birthday party without sabotaging your progress.

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  6. Matt,

    I have a fifteen year old boy that I worry about a lot. He is very small for his age and barely eats. He has headaches fairly frequently and cold hands and feet. I suspected the headaches were often from low blood sugar from not eating anything til lunch or past. He recently made this conclusion himself when he made himself eat for a while and didn’t get them. It is very hard to get him to eat any quantity though. We eat fairly normal except that historically I have been pretty strict about not eating junk, meaning highly processed sugary stuff like candy, soda, stuff with vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, HFCs, white sugar.

    I’m guessing you would say to figure out what he will eat a lot of and let him eat all he wants and let him eat what he wants when he wants, right? The other day I bought Hagen Daz ice cream and we all pigged out on it. The things he will really eat with gusto are stuff like this. He wants to eat chips a lot and other snacky things that have high omega six oils in them. Should I let him go to town on them cause that’s something he’ll eat or should I sub something else? And what can I sub it seems everything has bad oils in them which ultimately sabotage metabolism? Also he complained of a headache last time he ate ice cream. When he has a headache he often gets nauseous and doesn’t eat for 24 hours which seems like it undoes any good of eating a bunch of cal dense food. Maybe if we could suffer through I’ll effects while he eats a lot of whatever he’ll eat, eventually his tolerance will improve? I’ve tried going down the cows milk and gluten avoidance route to see if it would help but he won’t comply. And I’m not sure it is productive because it just exacerbates the pickiness and not eating much. In spite of this he is an active and intelligent kid. My father in law who is a chemical engineer gave him a word problem to solve that takes most people with math and science related degrees around ten minutes to solve and my son did it in three minutes in his head. He is homeschooled and spends part of his day shadowing his dad and uncle as they are grooming him to take over their managed IT services company one day. He has a bright future ahead of him but I am concerned about his health. He has had to miss work and school frequently lately because of the headaches. We have bad him checked out by our doctor and he tells us nothing is wrong with him.

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    • Could you just make homemade versions of the things you don’t want to buy. Like cookies or whatnot. You can use butter and coconut oil and organic sugar if you like. This would give him the calories and make you feel better. You can also make your own pizza and I’ve found Utz chips made with lard. These are all “junk” foods that can be ultimately non-sabotaging but still very satisfying.

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      • Re chips — seems like a good craving in that it’s salt + starch, and the most accessible thing in our “environment” like that is a bag o’ chips, so naturally that’s the first thing a kid’s gonna think of.

        I know it’s not the same as Doritos (universal teen favorite in my day, maybe still?), but oven-fried potatoes/sweet potatoes in ghee or coconut oil are pretty fantastic with lots of salt and maybe some seasonings.

        For a little more work, maybe homemade nachos or chilaquiles?

        And ice cream, you just can’t beat it. It’s a miracle food. Eating ice cream daily and switching from water to sweet lemonade was the last stretch in getting good temperatures for me.

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    • Lisa- Is your son happy? Does he get out and see friends? You said he’s home schooled – is he getting social interaction?
      I know how hard it is to see your child suffer…

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    • Sounds like you need to think in terms of prioritization Lisa. The kid’s probably going to have to eat his way out of these problems, and to do that the one and only priority should be providing lots of exactly what he in the mood for, lots of variety, easily-digestible and very calorie-dense stuff, salt, sugar, starch, and so on. Worrying about vegetable oil in a little kid with problems that is not eating is like a guy on a private jet insisting that his water bottle makes it to the recycling bin.

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      • you are the funniest person alive, i swear. your analogies are priceless.

        and in one day since our convo, my temperature is 98.6 this morning. woke up at 4:15a, ate some capn crunch crap my kid has, fell back to sleep, JUST like you said, woke up at 8:15. didn’t make it to 9, but maybe tomorrow. i feel 50% better today already.

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    • i also have a young teen friend of about the same age who gets headaches. my ears perked when the latest wise traditions mag has a book review of “get it up” which poses the most interesting idea and i think it may play in to matt’s idea of “too much fluids”. ie… that some headaches can be about too much fluid pressure in the head. they posit raising up the head of the bed i think (haven’t read the book yet), but perhaps matt would just say: maybe he needs dryer foods and less to drink. just an idea for you.

      i sort of think my mentrual headaches may be about taking on water and getting rid of it before and after the period.

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    • Is he zinc deficient? I have a sibling that suffers from migraines (which make him unable to eat.) and dosing him with zinc seems to help with the severity/length of the headaches. It really sounds like he is having a migraine.

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    • If you really can’t help worrying about the PUFA in the potato chips (and I don’t blame you if you can’t), do you by chance live near a Trader Joe’s? They carry chips made with olive oil. Ingredients: potatoes, olive oil, salt. That’s it. We keep a few bags in our pantry and munch them with impunity. :-)

      It also helps that they are the best-tasting chips I have ever bought in a bag.

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      • I like the olive oil sea salt potato chips at ALDI better than Trader Joe’s, esp the ones with black pepper, but they only seem to have them seasonally. I like TJ’s organic olive oil popcorn, but they need more salt added, IMO. I do worry about ingesting large amounts of PUFAs, as it causes negative effects in my exp. There are plenty of healthy substitutes, like Bugles with coconut oil or various things with olive oil, high oleic oils, etc. I eat Sun Chips occasionally, as they seem to use high oleic oils (and actually show the SFA, MUFA, PUFA breakdown).

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    • Hi Lisa

      I have a similar problem to your son’s. My daughter is still very young, only 2 and half, but is displaying this very behavior. My little brother was like this, so I know it has some sort of biological tendency, but I wont go into a tangent.

      I have found out that the more I get her to eat, however it may be, with chips, ice cream, soda, cookies etc, the more likely she is to partake in the ‘healthy’ food. It really seems to be all or nothing sort of game.

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  7. I almost gave up white rice and potatoes again. It’s a constant battle. Is it okay to not eat beans ever? I hate them but I am forcing myself to eat them for health reasons. I like lentils and chickpea hummus is good. I hate all other beans though. I’m tired of avoiding what I like and force feeding myself food I hate. Yet I want to feel healthy. Packaged foods hurt my tummy.

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    • I think Matt has advocated more of an intuitive approach. If you don’t feel good doing it then don’t do it.

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      • Yeah, I’d say follow your taste and response to it. If you don’t jive with it, there’s nothing that says you need to eat them.

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    • A almost never eat beans. This was the first time in a year that I’ve eaten them. During my vegetarian days I ate several lifetime’s worth.

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      • I so enjoy beans! Black beans are my favorite. I have to make
        myself space it out.

        Now that I am feeling better I see myself gravitating back to the
        foods I love. Fruits, beans, and, coffee. I worry If I am not diligent
        I will undo all the hard work. I wish it were simple.

        Thankfully, I do like cheese. :)

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        • I wouldn’t worry- for what it’s worth, I eat beans 4+ days a week. White beans, kidney beans, garbanzos mostly. Sometimes black beans. They agree with me, and are tasty.

          I reckon they probably have a less inflammatory amino acid profile than muscle meat too.

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          • Thanks Rob, nice to know. :)

          • “I reckon they probably have a less inflammatory amino acid profile than muscle meat too”.

            This is a good point.

            Ray Peat does not recommend legumes because of the high phosphorous content and lectins. And they are supposedly estrogenic. And they have a lot of soluble fiber, which Peat says feeds endotoxins. But I miss beans. On paper, at least, they are very nutritious. I tolerate beans better than starches from grains. And beans/peas are very high in potassium, unlike grains. So they are actually nutritionally similar to fruit and potatoes in that regard.

            Right now I am enjoying the summer by eating more fruit, but when the weather gets colder, I am going to start eating legumes 3 or four times a week. There are too many populations around the world that eat legumes with no apparent problems. I ingest a lot of milk and cheese, so the phosphorous in beans should not be a problem.

            Are you concerned about lectins? Do you cook your own beans or do you eat canned ones?

          • Soaking and preparing beans properly handles a lot of the lectin and phytate problems. If you feel good eating beans do it. A lot of people south of the border live off of a high quantity of the musical fruit and seem to be doing fine. I don’t put too much stock in some of the negatives that people like Ray Peat postulate. I feel there are too many other factors in health going on to make the kinds of generalizations that some of these people make. It’s kind of like his whole lactic acid thing. He observed negative consequences to excess lactic acid being produced in the muscles and at a cellular level, yet people instantly translate that into eating yogurt is bad for you. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work like that. Ray may be a genius but like everyone else he only has a piece of the overall human health puzzle.

          • Thanks, Jdubs.

            I’ll soak my legumes and enjoy them. I love bean soup in the winter.

            I also started eating yogurt and kefir again a few weeks ago, after giving them up because of Ray Peat’s bad news about lactic acid.
            The funny thing is, even though Peat claims that lactic acid can feed bad bacteria, I feel my digestion has improved since I added yogurt and kefir back to my diet.

          • I think it’s a good rule of thumb to ignore anyone who says a real, healthy food is bad for you if it’s something you enjoy and makes you feel good.

          • You do realize that all of these things Matt is talking about, ray has been talking about for decades right? Don’t be so quick to bash Peat.

          • Not trying to bash Peat. Just saying I don’t put too much stock in everything he says.

    • Are there no foods that you both enjoy and don’t hurt your tummy? Plus if you are just recovering from long term restrictive eating it may take a while to get used to packaged and sugary foods again. Trust me though it will get better.

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    • I don’t eat beans. Ever. Don’t have the time to prep them and don’t enjoy them, so I don’t miss ‘em.

      Occasional green lentils (pea and ham soup) and hummus is ok, as long as someone else preps them.

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      • I used to cook them in my slow cooker at night, before going to bed. When I woke up the next morning, they were all done.

        Legumes cook really fast in a pressure cooker.

        But if you don’t like them, there is no need to eat them.

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    • I can’t imagine for the life of me why you would force yourself to eat beans if you don’t like them. I don’t see a necessity for those at all.

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  8. My first month on Keto I felt like a punched kitten. I had this nagging feeling that, despite all the very wonderful sounding science I had read, MY body didn’t work very well on so few carbs.
    Now I’m pregnant and I’ve very happily gone back to a diet with plenty of carbs – mostly wholegrainy but sometimes not. I haven’t got rid of the high fat bits of the diet (butter, cheese, coconut oil, etc) and that worries me sometimes. I’ve put on quite a bit of weight but I’m far happier – and regular! I have no idea what the ideal diet for pregnancy is but I know I’ll no longer be so diet essentialist.

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  9. I had chocolate chip cookies for breakfast today! Can you believe it? Cookies. They were there, I felt like having them, they tasted great and I felt pretty darn good. Tomorrow cookies might sound disgusting for breakfast and I’ll have bacon and eggs instead. The fact that I can do this and not feel sick, get acid reflux, have a horrible sugar crash etc. is proof that something is working. My digestion has always been poor but it’s been getting so much better. I believe the two main keys are eating less hard to digest “healthy” foods and drinking less water. I am now only waking up once a night to pee as opposed to the five or six times a night I was waking up. The extra rest is starting to make a difference. I also am starting to realize that all of the water I drank with meals was not only reducing the available stomach acid needed for proper digestion but also causing the acid to rise in my esophagus as well as putting pressure on my hiatal hernia causing acid to rise up hours after a meal. Things in my life are far from perfect yet but I can’t imagine where I would be if I hadn’t been brave enough to ignore my nutritionists advice to drink even more water than I was and to cut out even more foods from my already highly restricted diet.

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    • “I had chocolate chip cookies for breakfast today!”

      Nice!
      I had a large Symphony chocolate bar and a Pepsi throwback for dinner tonight!
      Last night I had rice and chicken cooked in coconut milk.

      It is good to be free from the false notion that we need ton loads of healthy foods in order to be healthy. “Healthy” foods really tax the digestive system and eating them all the time causes lots of problems.

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      • Rice and chicken in coconut milk sounds divine, add in a couple of almonds and dried apricots, and you have yourself a party!

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  10. Matt,”The worst offenders are cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, boy choy, cauliflower, broccoli, and other crucifers.” BOY CHOY!!??? Ummm….what were you thinking of? Wait a minute, I don’t want to know. LOL!

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    • Haha. I had to change it. Funny though. I think this is the 2nd time I’ve made that same mistake. Boy choy sounds better than bok choy anyway.

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      • I don’t care, bok choy is the nastiest stuff on earth. I ain’t eating it. Boy choy I might try.

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  11. Maybe our kids know something we don’t! It’s the rare parent whose children willingly eat all those often bitter vegetables! Since I’ve been “eating for heat” I have backed WAY off on the veggie intake for our whole family. We seem to all be feeling OK and the kids are happy that I’ve relaxed the types of foods I keep in the house. We’re currently going through a stick of butter every other day and that’s only counting the butter we use as a condiment – if I count what i cook with it’s a lot more than that.

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    • My kids are adults now but still stop by multiple times a week to raid my fridge. Let me tell you, they are ecstatic that my restrictive eating days are over. ;)

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  12. Great list! Very concise way to explain the 180D philosophy. Avoiding PUFA and not being scared of fats are some of the only dietary minutaie I hold on to, after a few years in the LC/paleo rabbit hole.

    Reading this it all makes so much sense but in the outside world most people are terrified of calories and think the only pure foods are vegetables. Even when I was eating keto, i have to say that avoiding vegetables (unless they were covered in butter or olive oil) was good advice overall.

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  13. What utter cock. I’m a 6ft2 diabetic, and you’re saying that I need to eat 500g of carbohydrate a day. 2000kcal a day of carbohydrate. Even as a dedicated runner I don’t use that much glycogen. I’d be constantly hyperglycemic.

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      • Hey Matt –

        So, I’ve read Peat’s articles (over and over…) and the above link for Andrew, and I am curious about your thoughts on fat levels in the diet if you have diabetes tendencies.

        Would it be your understanding that even moderate to high amounts of butter, coconut oil, etc would be problematic (via the Randle effect) and that a diet high in fruit/starch and relatively low in fat would be more appropriate. That certainly seems to be what Kim is implying…

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        • and that should have been “diabetic tendencies”

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  14. I have a question about protein, something that has always kind of bugged me. I easily clear 3,000 calories a day, and am hardly able to consume 20 grams of protein. I just don’t really care for the stuff, and honestly feel significantly better on less. Is there any need to essentially force more down?

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    • What are you eating to get those 3000 calories? Short of all cola or candy, I can’t imagine you’d get less than 20g of protein on that many calories.

      Even 3000 calories of OJ has more than twice that many grams of protein.

      I suspect you’re underestimating.

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    • I don’t think there’s much need to force down unwanted protein as long as you are not wasting away. I don’t know how you keep protein levels that low though. If you were drinking orange juice for all your carbohydrates you’d still surpass 20grams in a day.

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      • Damn Rob. Great minds truly think alike. That’s spooky.

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      • For years I’ve been forcing myself to eat larger amounts of protein than carbs and never feel good. In high school, I was very athletic, lean and energetic. Obviously being in my teens helped. At that point I lifted weights often and ate whatever and whenever. Then I got into “bodybuilding”. LOL!!! More like body- destroying. I lived on whey protein, skinless chicken, broccoli and not much else. I bought into it so much that I didn’t acknowledge the truth that I was losing muscle, getting weaker, getting bed-ridden sick 5 or 6 times a year. But hey I had the coveted “6-pack”, I had to be healthy…300g of protein everyday, pissing battery acid every 5 minutes, impotence at 23, 14 biceps from 18(but hey…6-pack baby), sore all the time, and on and on goes the list of “health benefits” I gained. I’ve never been 100% right since and I’m now 34. Over the years it’s been Atkins, zone, paleo, primal, perfect health, body for life, south beach, etc…and all downhill. Overtraining, getting fatter by the minute on 1800k/cal per day, loss of masculinity (soft, weak, losing body hair, and so on). I would keep forcing myself to keep plugging away but would get so depressed that I would eat a whole pizza and half gallon of ice cream, pass out and not go to the gym for days. Those were the days that I would feel strong, energetic and motivated. But despite this, I would guilt myself into going back to “the routine” and it started all over again getting worse each time. Then I had heard that testosterone was linked to calories and higher carbs. Through Internet searching I found 180D health about 6 months ago. This has connected all the dots for me and I believe that I am on my way. The only primal thing I’ve kept is the No PUFA’s, and eating plenty of Saturated Fats. The is a joke. I do struggle to focus on Carbs and Calories in general. And unfortunately I find myself eating fairly high amounts of meat, eggs and protein in general mainly out of guilt, not desire. I am trying, but I still probably don’t eat enough. I now train with very heavy weights, compound exercises 2-3 days a week and feel like a man again. I am super strong again, quick, and energetic but at 220lbs. I wouldn’t mind slimming down some because at 5’10” I can’t find t-shirts that fit. I’m not lean, but muscles are always full/hard and I’m not fat, but I feel Fat if that makes sense. Hopefully I’m doing the right thing here.

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        • Sorry last part of this was sort of rushed…basically the point I am trying to make is that I have become much stronger, with better overall muscularity than ever before, and I don’t have huge gut, however I’m far from being what I’d consider lean(considering my history). I am self conscious as I want to look normal and healthy, but I guess I’m just naturally bigger. I could fit two of my bodies from 10 years ago inside my current body(slight exaggeration), I really enjoy lifting and being strong and I find it rewarding. I feel like the more freely I eat, the better I feel and the stronger I get, but I feel very bloated and puffy. If I revert to my older habits ever so slightly, I feel less bloated and lighter, but my temps drop and other symptoms return. Will this pass or am I gonna be 250 and more uncomfortable? Will this balance out? I feel like I will either be bigger and relaxed by eating more, but more physically uncomfortable or the opposite by reducing my calories. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated

          Reply
          • I think you’ll continue to improve over time if you follow the improved metabolic signs where they lead you. The change in body composition may be very slow, almost unnoticeable, but give it some time man! And stop forcing down all that obligatory meat! You don’t need it! Just eat some when you feel like it, and keeping carbing up and training sustainably.

    • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

      Reply
  15. Leighton,

    3,000 calories and only 20g of protein is almost an impossibility, unless all your calories came from sugar or fat. Trace carbs from that much food will easily be over 3,000 cals.

    And yes, there are plenty of reasons to eat more protein than that.

    Reply
    • Sorry, meant trace carbs from that much food will easily be over 20g.

      Reply
    • Sorry, so dumb on my part–I never thought to count the calories in produce, being that they are so low, generally speaking.

      Yes, many/most of the calories I consume are from sugar carbonated beverages, juice, candy, muffins, bagels etc.

      Thanks for the replies!

      Reply
  16. The article states that a low fat diet is not necessarily problematic, however foods are more palatable with loads of fat. If we’re going with the whole “eat intuitively” approach, I would guess that our body thinks all that fat tastes better for some reason and that a low fat diet would be problematic in the long run.

    Reply
    • Low fat diets were the start of my issues… sadly that was the “diet du jour” when I started dieting at a perfectly normal weight, when I thought I was huge :(

      Reply
  17. Yes! Years and years of different forms of ‘healthy eating’ have ruined my health. I am on the slow climb out of the abyss with lots of re-feeding and eating the food! Another 12 months and I’m there I reckon!

    Reply
  18. Nice review.

    Wish I had seen something like this 10 years ago!

    Reply
  19. This whole protein thing makes me sad. Damn! I love beans but they don’t love me back. Can’t eat red meat (and refuse to eat pork) cause it makes me gain weight (even if nobody believes that). So, that leaves chicken, an egg, fish and turkey (dairy can give me a sinus headach). Is skinless, white-meat poultry really that bad? Anybody else eat this? Protein pickins are gettin’ mighty slim.

    Reply
    • “Is skinless, white-meat poultry really that bad?”

      I hope not, because I am starting to prefer skinless chicken over ruminant animals because it is cheaper.

      I eat my poultry skinless because they are not free range and so their fat will have lots of PUFA. And I have never liked poultry skin, even as a kid. Ray Peat says that chicken should not be the primary source of animal protein, but chicken with the fat and skin removed has less PUFA than lamb and beef.

      Reply
      • I think Ray mentioned it not only bc of PUFAS but bc chicken is supposed to be high in tryptophan.

        Reply
  20. Two years ago I began suffering severe panic attacks for no reason, found out I had adrenal fatigue (no doubt from all the calorie restriction on a vegan diet and over training!) And was put on the GAPS and candida diet by a well known health guru. As I continued to get worse I then consulted with another guru and was put on a ketogenic paleo diet. Three months ago I was completely bedridden and allergic to everything. Finally I said screw this if I’m going to die I’m going to die happy. I then began to eat potato chips and saw that I felt so much better. Then I reintroduced ice cream and sugar and got even better. Now I’m adding more and more previously intolerable foods back into my diet without problems. I’m even getting ready to go back to work.soon. I have so many friends who are suffering on these “healthy” diets who have supposed experts telling them to consume large amounts of water, 8 cups of vegetables a day, and to shove coffee up their ass two or three times a day. Some of them have been doing this for YEARS and have been convinced that toxic metals are the reason they have not gotten better, and that they feel so much worse because they are “moving mercury” or “dumping copper”. Nobody can believe (including me at first!) that potato chips and ice cream are healing me. So grateful for your work Matt. You rock!

    Reply
    • Shove coffee up their asses….Now that’s funny!! It gives me a whole new vision of Starbucks!

      Reply
      • It’s sad and embarrassing, but I used to shove coffee up my ass too. God, what was I thinking? I would use this really wonderful, high-priced gormet stuff. I remember my sweet, understanding hubby asking, “Wouldn’t it be better if you just drank the stuff. It seems like such a waste because you can’t taste it and enjoy it the way you’re ‘ingesting’ it.”

        Reply
  21. I’ve been a “healthy eater” for many, many years and still can’t quite seem to eat enough calories or carbs despite knowing I should. My most annoying concern right now is that I ALWAYS have goosebumps! My legs are constantly cheese graters! Honestly I might finally be able to be ok with the weight gain and such that might follow if my legs stop bristling up like a porcupine every time I feel the slightest draft. Is this a benefit I could look forward to if I just ate the food?

    Reply
    • Erin, I have the same problem. I wonder what the cause is!

      Reply
    • Oh my gosh this has happened to me too! I don’t get it too much anymore eating high carb, but I have no idea what causes it.

      Reply
    • Goosebumps are (usually) a reaction to feeling cold, and having a low metabolism from not eating enough causes you to get cold easily because your body is not keeping up with natural heat loss.

      So intuitively, if you get chilled easily now, you should feel warmer and have fewer goosebumps when you up your calories (just do it!), assuming you are getting them now for the typical reason and not because of some kind of uncommon medical condition…

      I (being a 220+ lb youngish male who gleefully eats the food) have the opposite problem of sweating constantly and always feeling warm unless I have an A/C blowing straight at me or it’s 55F outside and I’m sitting still. Forget trying to stay dry while exercising. Not gonna happen, lol. Plus I live in Tucson. Already 92F and supposed to hit 101F with thunderstorm humidity later. Joy…

      Where was I going with that? Oh yeah, I was gonna say why I put up with this and still keep E’ingTF. It’s because I was ALREADY gaining weight back against my will BEFORE I stopped dieting. Dieting therapy failed; my body rejected my imposed dietary/bodily “edits” as soon as I gave it half a chance to do so. When I finally put down the charts and allowances and scrutiny and started eating whatever the hell i wanted, my weight shot up by about 50 lbs, well past where it was before I started dieting, but then it stopped. And then it started coming off. Slowly. Oh, it’s slow. But I just keep eating, and riding my bike to do errands, and sporadically doing some pushups or yoga or frisbee or whatever sounds fun, and I keep feeling better and looking better in the mirror and having more and more amazing sex with my wife, and when I weigh myself every once in a while I’m inevitably a couple pounds lighter than last time. Maybe it’ll take years more before my body, and my body image, and my sense of self-worth, and my physical capabilities, and so on are all more or less in harmony with each other. But that’s OK, because tuning in to my body’s needs and giving it what it asks me for is an enjoyable and satisfying pursuit right now, even if I don’t do it very well yet. In that way I’ve found it to be very similar to playing my ukulele. :-)

      Reply
      • Great post Mr Un-Ceph! Very encouraging. I like your use of the word “edits.” It rang true.

        Reply
  22. Hey Shannon,
    I had some rough experiences too on the GAPS diet and a low carb diet. It was hell. The GAPS guru took me off of all grains, fruits, dairy, honey, etc. That’s when I started having SEVERE night twitching and thrashing that my gut instinct told me was hypoglycemia, but the guru told me it was toxins on my nerves and that I needed to keep up with the diet. Then I thought I had some horrible nervous system disorder! Finally gave that up when I found myself at a wonderful restaurant while traveling and there was nothing there for me to eat! I was starving, so I ate a big bowl of rice. Then I cried because I had failed the fucking diet (GAPS) but I also realized I couldn’t go back to it; an early demise was lookin a whole lot better. It wasn’t until I met Matt that my life turned around and I realized what was happening to me. All this super BS about metals, etc…. in my opinion… a cop out. OK. Maybe that’s not fair, and in some cases those things really are a problem, but OMG!!! How horrible because it becomes a situation where you are helpless against tiny little things that you have no idea about, like where did you get all these toxic metals, and how can you get rid of them and which one is it, and all that crap. Life and food are not supposed to be that hard!

    Reply
    • Toxins on your nerves. Truly, i haven’t come across more stupid idea yet.

      Reply
    • Yes toxin hair testing is the new in vogue thing for nutritionists these days. I went through the same thing. It’s funny how all of my ” toxic poisoning” went away after eating proper foods in generous quantities. The beauty is they put you on a diet that keeps you feeling sick so they can continue to sell you big bottles of their herbal supplements. And if you don’t get better its your fault for not following the protocols correctly. I was just getting ready to plunge further down that rabbit hole when I found this site and found the courage to radically change my thinking. It’s funny how alternative health people rail against ” conventional wisdom” yet they have a ” conventional wisdom of their own that can be just as, if not more destructive than the conventional wisdom of modern medicine.

      Reply
    • Totally! ! I too was convinced that I had some horrible pituitary disease that was causing my endocrine and neuroligocal systems to melt down. On the gaps diet I broke out in horrific full body rashes (later on to find out I’m histamine intolerant) from all the fermented cabbage and coconut kefir. I was told it was “die off” and to keep going. Meanwhile I was up at 3am sitting in a cold baking soda bath crying my eyes out for the pain to stop every night for two weeks. I stayed on that horrific diet for 5 months before I gave it up and went paleo, which was pretty much the same thing minus all the ferments.
      I had that hair test thing done too, was told I was “copper toxic” even though the levels of copper were normal on the test. The guru then told me the copper was “hidden” . So I was off on a wild goose chase to detox an invisible metal that was supposedly plaguing my body. Oh yeah and I had “hidden mercury” too, even though I never had amalgam fillings nor was I a big fish eater. I bought into that for about 3 months,over $1, 000 later on supplements, consultations, and hair tests. And still feeling like total crap. Then they tell me it takes a minimum of 4 years on the program to get maximum results. Can you imagine how much money that comes to???? And I know a few poor souls that have been in it for 4+ years and still sick. What a shame. Oh yeah and the best part, you can pay $500 to get certified as a practitioner in this program and the course is only a month long!

      Reply
      • Thanks for sharing your story, Shannon.

        In fact, thanks to everyone for sharing their stories.

        I’ve been doing some kind of GAPs-like diet off-and-on for over a decade.

        When I was an undergrad in college I worked for a naturopath/acupuncturist who was big on the “candida” diet thing which was the rage at the time (early-mid 90s). It was about at this time that I began my indoctrination into the “sugar is evil” and carbs, in general, were to be looked at with some suspicion. This was later reinforced by The Zone and the advent of protein/fat low carb diets.

        Then came exposure to the whole “alkaline diet” crap and immersion in the Gabriel Cousens universe, followed by the ketogenic fad, etc, etc.

        What all of these diets had in common was demonizing starch and sugar and blaming them for all of our collective ills.

        So, when I look back at my life honestly, I would say that for quite some time I have been stuck in a low-ish calorie, low-ish carb kind of place, even when not strictly on those diets (pass the kale, please!), and I am almost 6′ 2” and very lean (155lbs), as well as historically being very very active.

        My last stent with GAPS, via the same doctor I worked for in the early 90s, happened last May, and it was a TOTAL NIGHTMARE – energy dropped to zero; peristalsis shut down, depression. Eating lots of “healthy” vegetables and protein!

        Sooo, it’s been quite refreshing to hear stories of folks who have gone back to starch/sugar and eventually seen good results..

        Reply
  23. I’m so confused by everything. I am enormous. I gained 60 lbs in a year or so due in part to medication, in part from adding large amounts of maple syrup and honey into my diet. I have had weight fluctuations in my life, some of them quite large, but this is unprecedented. I am morbidly obese. I weigh 220 at 5’5″. I am miserable. I can’t bend down to pick things up, tie my shoes. My boobs are so huge they get in the way when I am typing! I am generally constantly uncomfortable in my skin. My doctor told me to go gluten free four months ago, and swelling in my body went down–I really do swell up when I have even small amounts of gluten. Without being fully conscious of it, to replace gluten products I added corn chips (because they were easy) and I gained 20 more lbs. Whenever I have even small amounts of refined sugar I gain weight. My boobs actually ache from growing pains. I must lose this weight. This is not merely simple vanity talking, this is my life and my body I am trying to reclaim. But I have absolutely no idea what to eat. I have no cravings for anything, no intuition to guide me. Food often seems repulsive. Smoothies are a great solution because they are so simple, but now you are saying they have too much water. I must lose this weight. It is like having an 80 lb backpack on me at all times. I get winded walking up half a flight of stairs.

    Yet I am constantly ravenously hungry. I must eat before bed or I can’t sleep. I lay there with angry obsessive thoughts flying through my head. If I don’t eat enough, I wake up in the night with angry obsessive thoughts. The next day is miserable.

    I know we aren’t supposed to focus on weight loss, but I must, must, must lose this weight.

    Reply
    • If you are still on a medication that causes weight gain, it will basically be impossible for you to lose the weight, and anyone that says otherwise is not being honest with you. Maybe fix the underlying problem that caused you to go on the medication to begin with so that you can go off, and then hopefully the weight will gradually come off.

      If you’ve already come off the meds and the weight is not coming off, that is a different story. In that case, I would think your best bet is weight-bearing exercise while eating to appetite.

      Reply
    • I weight 215 and am 5’4″. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time.

      At first, I had the hardest time with tying shoelaces and being out of breath and getting tired. Even though a year or so before my refeeding, I had been training for another half marathon!

      It has helped me to move…walking, housework, walking the kids to school, etc. Hiking easy trails is really helpful too! Sex is a good exercise to do too! I’m going to start yoga and stretching soon, as well. All of this movement helps me (immensely) to feel better in my skin.

      I’m still really bloated too, but suspect that when I get better sleep, it will help the bloating. My husband hasn’t been sleeping well (or eating well sometimes) and I noticed that he’s starting to look a tiny bit bloated now. I think it’s my bloat that makes me feel sore and “tight”.

      Sleep as much as possible. Eating a mixture of sugar and salt (I think it’s 5 parts sugar and 1 part salt…I eat a few pinches of it…not a lot) before bed and it really, really helps me to get to sleep. If I wake in the early morning, I take a bit more.

      I have to avoid liquids in the mornings, but I eat more calories during the earlier part of the day (if I don’t eat enough, I worry and obsess a lot more). For my second breakfast this morning, I had two pieces of toast with butter and a large apple – apples are like “magical” foods for me.

      I know how you feel about wanting to lose weight. I don’t care so much about my appearance right now, but sometimes I feel hindered in my activities. I also think my extra fat might be causing some estrogenic symptoms that I still have. I’m wondering if I should make an effort to lose a bit more weight. I’d most likely eat about 2500 calories a day (I eat 3000-4000 calories a day right now) and keep walking/hiking/etc.

      Reply
    • Are you short on potassium? I feel your pain, btw, I’m 5’2″ and 220llbs. I’m working on losing the weight too. I’m eating a balanced diet, not drinking too much water, I use coconut milk instead of water, I do higher intensity exercise 3-4 x/week, and yoga or tai chi 2x/week. I’m also using meditation to help myself.

      The ‘angry obsessive thoughts’ if you don’t eat is a normal response to low blood sugar. Some starch seems to help with that.

      I don’t know what meds you are on, but if they are ‘antidepressants’ you should consider getting off of them and using yoga, acupuncture, and eating enough calories, and talk therapy with either a good therapist or spiritual counselor. Antidepressants are not really good for weight.

      Reply
  24. Maybe the most ridiculously unscientific advice I’ve ever read regaurding nutrition. I’d love a list of references you used for this article (if you have any). Giving nutrition advice using a reductionist paradigm is not only dangerous and misleading, but immoral. Everyone who is reading this article: it’s not always about having the right answers, it’s about asking the right questions. This guy has some points but the points are irrelevant and misleading. Be aware of opinion based nutrition advice. Ask for references…Real references taken from a BODY of research. This article is garbage.

    Reply
    • We aren’t really about science here Doug. For those that bow down and worship at the alter of science I could prove your god false a thousand times over. Many people on this site are here because they bought into some spiel that was backed up by all kinds “science”. These articles are for entertainment value and to get people to start thinking for themselves about health. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure Matt is basing this post off of generalizations that he has made after years of studying scientific articles and anecdotal evidence from others as well as his own personal journey. In the end however we are all responsible for our own decisions about our health. I have yet to see anyone who has taken the maze of scientific studies and formed them into any kind of reliable and definitive guide on how the majority of us should eat. And most people that have tried are usually refuted by more science shortly thereafter. Sometimes I will refute or argue with people’s generalized statements on this site while at the same time throwing out my own flawed generalizations. I do this in the name of good spirited fun and advancement of the the conversation or debate. But the one thing I will not do is ask people for a link to a scientific study to back up every story they tell. If I’m really that interested I will do the research myself.

      Reply
      • Great response Jdubs! Very well said.

        Reply
  25. “Anyway, if you are trying your darnedest to eat a really healthy diet and experiencing anything but wonderful health, you might consider not eating so healthy. Eat more yummy things to get those calories in, always save room for dessert, go back to eating “artery-clogging saturated fats,” pile on the salt, stop drinking so much damn water, quit eating so many vegetables – you are not a rabbit”

    I seriously hope this is a sarcastic joke. This paragraph literally is the epitome of bad advice.

    Reply
    • Doug,

      You haven’t experienced the diet nightmares that the majority
      of those reading Matt have experienced.

      While healthy dietary advice looks good in a “body” of research, what it
      actually does inside a human body is quite different. At least for those of
      us here. Trust me, if all that research was going to make one healthy, I
      would be the healthiest woman on the planet. I took it literally and, lived it
      for 20 years. I developed autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, IBS, hair
      loss, impossible lethargy, depression, intense head pressure, dizziness,
      insomnia, polyuria, my body was freezing cold all the time. Try living like
      that for years upon years. I developed multiple allergies to foods and,
      chemicals. I was reduced to spending my days from couch to bed, from
      bed to couch. But, to look at me no one would have thought I was sick.
      I looked “healthy” in this worlds eyes.

      My life was over. I didn’t participate in life. I couldn’t. I couldn’t digest foods
      properly any longer. I couldn’t assimilate vitamins properly.

      Then I found Matt. That was about 2 years ago. I decided you know what, I
      am dying anyway. Why not try this advice, the “healthy” advice certainly wasn’t
      going to do anything to help me.

      Now, I have my life back. I am not perfectly healthy. But, I can eat anything I
      want now!!! The smell of hairspray, cologne, lotions, gasoline no longer give
      me immediate migraines. I sleep wonderfully!!!! I can do what I want, when I
      want now. I can exercise again! I can give of myself to others again!

      It is hard for someone who hasn’t traveled this road to understand what Matt
      is saying here. I do hope if nothing else, it has opened your mind. Life can’t
      be reduced to a few studies and, research papers. I wish it could because, that
      would make it easier.

      I can see my health improving month after month. I am now looking forward
      to the future! I am 51, and believe that in a couple of years I will be in the best
      health of my life. After all the “healhy” damage has been repaired by following
      Matt’s advice. :)

      Reply
      • What did you do to recover your health?

        Reply
        • Leonessa,

          I wrote you a reply that vanished when I hit submit. Sorry.

          What I did was follow Matt’s advice on his blog and, in his books
          “Diet Recovery 2″ and, “Eat for Heat.” The post today is a great
          place to start. His blog contains all the information you need if you
          can’t buy the books.

          I don’t think my case and, yours are in need of the same advice.
          Not that you should’nt follow Matt’s advice, I mean that reading
          your comment above you are in a different place than I.
          I didn’t have an appetite, I was thin, force feeding was very
          important to my healing. You will need to read Matt’s work and,
          see what he suggest for your needs. I couldn’t tell you, as I only
          focused on what I was experiencing.

          Best of health to you!

          Reply
      • Betty, I so relate to your story. My life shrunk to almost nothing. I lost my work, my friends, my desires, my passions. I was living in a limbo that caused me to feel like I probably had no future and that death wasn’t the worst of all possible outcomes. What are we all afraid of. That if we eat pizza and cookies we will only live to 80 instead of 85 ? I would rather live a productive and loving life to the age of 60 than endure one more day of the hell my life became after following so much wonderfull “health” advice. We are all going to get sick. We are all going to die. We can’t all have 6 pack abs and be Hollywood stars. We do have a choice however. We can chase the elusive dream of perfect health and beauty or we can start living real life in an authentic and loving way, warts and all.

        Reply
        • Jdubs,

          I lost my work too. I am an RN. Not that I am proud of that
          any longer. I am strong enough to go back but, my heart isn’t
          in it any longer. I would want to tell the majority of my patients
          to run as fast as you can away from “health” pactictioners. I
          wouldn’t be employed long.

          Work is the missing link in my health journey. I need to find
          something I love and, want to do. I mull this over day and, night
          now. I just don’t have a good answer for myself. I hope something
          comes to mind soon. I am getting bored.

          Jdubs, while it is nice to feel understood, I want to say I am sorry
          that your life too was ruined by “healthy” science.

          My Grandmother was 98 still living on her farm. She drove herself to
          town when needed. She slopped her hogs and, gardened. She went
          in for a check up at 98. The doc told her to cut out salt as her blood
          pressure was a little high. She being the good compliant patient cut
          out all salt. Her blood pressure dropped so low she passed out.
          She hit her head so hard she suffered bleeding/clots in her brain.
          She died a few months later. Thanks doc.

          You are right searching for perfect health is a waste of good energy.
          Let’s live this life!

          Reply
          • Betty, don’t ever be not proud to be a nurse. Nurses are the front line and human face of the health care buisness. When I went in for an endoscopy not too long ago, I was laughing and joking with the nurses and they made me feel so good and comfortable before what is not the most pleasant procedure for me. It’s not your job to be responsible for whatever the common health practice of the day is. Your healing power comes from making people feel comfortable and at ease while they go through their personal life crisis. And remember the last post about health evangelicalism , it’s not your job to tell patients what you feel is wrong with modern medicine. I hope you find a path that works for you in life. I’m in the same boat. I am so played out on the construction trade. I have poured my heart and soul Into for 25 years. I’m tired of being underpaid, slow pay, under appreciated, etc.

          • Jdubs,

            Thanks for putting my thoughts in a new perspective. You are right in
            that it isn’t my job as a nurse to give advice other than what I am trained
            to do. Yet, many of the responsibilities of a nurse involve diet and, medications.
            Both of those are hard for me to do. I took an oath that “I will do no harm….”
            I have a hard time believing that I am not harming patients when I give them
            a handful of pills, a low fat, low carb, bland diet. Too, upon discharge nurses
            are expected to do discharge instruction/teaching. Meaning drilling into their
            heads the importance of compliance to said medications and, diet. :(

            I truly care about the health and, happiness of the patients. It isn’t just a pay
            check. I need to feel I contributed in a positive way.

            I do appreciate what you are saying too. It is true that some procedures are
            helpful. We need medical care, and people that care. Too, someone has to be
            in charge and, make the decisions of what that standard of care is going to be.
            That isn’t the nurses responsibility.

            The problem is I took my own advice, the standard medical model of nutrition.
            Now, I’ll never with a pure concious be able to teach this model.

            Sorry to hear your work has left you wanting. I hope the both of us can figure
            out a new path that brings great joy to our lives.

          • Jdubs, sorry about the the one word lines? Not
            sure why that happens sometimes.

          • I agree with this completely, and have been so grateful for good nurses and doctors, am sure you were a wonderful nurse. Still, I believe that one should find the work that fits, makes sense, clicks. Being great at something doesn’t mean you should do it, especially if your heart isn’t in it.

          • Hey Betty,

            I just wanted to thank you for the time that you put in as an RN. Of course that is something that should make you tremendously proud! I am so thankful for the help I have received from nurses. That, and also, behind every amazing doctor/surgeon are a team of nurses that run that ship. Thanks Betty, and I hope you find what you are looking for.

      • Wow Betty I want to cry reading this! I am just coming out of the same hole with multiple chemical sensitivities and food allergies, hypothyroid etc. I have all the same stuff you did and im skinny too from months of starvation! This really inspires me to keep going with the refeeding. Thank you so much for sharing that :)

        Reply
        • Shannon, you are welcome!

          I wish you a swift recovery. :) I gained a little over ten pounds in the
          refeeding. I was a size 4-6, now 8-10. I currently weight 124.5 pounds.
          I am 5’3″. I have been 124.5 for over 18 months now. I no longer have
          to force feed. That was only in the first couple of months.

          Funny, I weighted 124 pounds when I was 18. I think my body knew
          what was best. Then my brain got involved thinking it knew better. =/

          Reply
    • Doug, you may want to spend some time learning the basis for 180 Degree Health instead of trolling and posting after reading one article. You clearly do not understand what Matt is getting at here and what the majority of people who visit and post on this site have dealt in their past with in regards to eating supposedly “healthy” diets.

      Reply
      • Argh, typos…

        Reply
  26. Leonessa this is practically a duplicate of me except for the meds and maybe the gluten. I felt the same despair, but I think you’ll find that what you have to do is get well first. After about 20 months the bloat, breathlessness, swelling and most of the pain abated and blood sugar normalized. I’m addressing estrogen, sleep, upping sugar gradually, and aiming for daily moderate activity to help me feel better. I’m getting results and I’m much happier. Weight stable for a long time and now slowly dipping, muscle increasing with some gym. If it were me I’d add sugar salt and gelatin to the smoothies, make changes gradually and know that you’re not alone. Best of luck.

    Reply
    • Thank you! It does feel nice not to be alone. I just wish I didn’t ache from weight gain! I wish you the best on your journey.

      Reply
  27. Matt

    do you have any basic formula to identify an optimal protein intake? 1g/lb or lean body mass is the standard in bodybuilding….but that is a lot of protein. Does exercise alter this at all?

    Chris

    Reply
    • If you look at all the information we have on protein, the “optimal” amount is somewhere between 1.6g/kg and 2.0g/kg from ALL protein sources – even lesser quality, incomplete trace proteins like from rice, oats, etc. In a deficit, this should be bumped up slightly.

      Reply
  28. Betty,
    Eating the innate diet – the diet that humans are genetically supposed to be eating – the diet humans have been eating for tens of thousands of years, cannot make you sicker. This is biologiclly not possible. I am sorry you were having trouble with your health in the past, and without knowing what your diet consisted of and other aspects of your life then, it’d be hard to diagnose the problems you were having. However, if you truly were eating the diet humans are genetically supposed to eat – that wasn’t the problem. My guess is that you weren’t.

    Matt’s theory is backwards. What makes a plant healthy? This is easy right? – water, sunlight, and good nutrient rich soil (and of course being free from any toxicities). Matt is basically saying that plants would be healthier if they did NOT receive any of those things that make them healthy…

    “Anyway, if you are trying your darnedest to eat a really healthy diet and experiencing anything but wonderful health, you might consider not eating so healthy.”

    This is so dangerously wrong. Period

    He’s reduced his nutritional advice into two factors – caloric intake and metabolism. Nutrition (like everything in biology) is a wholistic topic which can not be viewed from a reductionist paradigm. In order to understand health (like I said earlier) you have to ask the right questions. I’m assuming Matt’s “research” on this topic consists of reductionist research with flawed methodology and paradigm. (If he has any research to back up what he’s saying). And of course like any good scientist knows, you follow a BODY of research… Not just one research article. Research isn’t everything, I agree with you – but it’s a huge part of it.

    Following a gold standard of health is another huge part of it. Our Paleolithic ancestors who lived 40,000 years ago are genetically IDENTICAL to us living today. What ever we were doing then (in regards to eating, moving, thinking) is what we are supposed to be doing today. Unfortunately our cultures and technology have evolved faster than our genes, and we don’t live in anything that even closely resembles the genetic lifestyle we are supposed to be living.

    One last thing and I’ll move on to something worth my time. While he doesn’t come out and directly say this, his rhetoric leads people to conclude that we should be eating less unsaturated fats and MORE saturated fats. He makes it seem that unsaturated fats are the bad guys. This couldn’t be further from the truth. He was right when he said lots of health conscious people think saturated fats are bad for us – they are not bad for us, we NEED them. However, the source most people get them from are bad for us (processed junk “food”). The real issue with fats is the ratio of sat vs unsat fats people consume. Our genetically identical Paleolithic ancestors ate close to a 1:1 ratio of sat:unsat fats. The modern human today eats a 27:1 ratio. Almost everyone on this planet is deficient in omega3 fatty acids. Almost everyone on this planet is eating a ratio of 27:1 especially in industrialized nations. Our brains, nervous systems, and cell walls rely heavily on PUFAs. What do you think are brains are made of? (No, it’s not protein, and its not saturated fats). So yes, the majority of people should be eating less saturated and more unsaturated to get that ratio closer to 1:1. This is real science. Wholistic science.

    This is a nutrion topic, but you cannot reduce your health into nutrition only. You must be healthy in the way you eat, the way you exercise, and the way you think. Remember health is a wholistic topic which cannot be defined with a reductionist paradigm.

    Reply
      • Michael that article is irrelevant at best. The author does not support his argument with science or even logic.

        Reply
        • Matt is promoting sudo-science and opinion based nutrition advice. Getting healthier by eating less healthier? Becoming sicker by eating healthy??? What is going in here??? This against all laws of nature. That’s like saying if our car isn’t running properly we should ditch the oil and try filling it with gravy instead.
          The fact that he is telling you to stop eating vegetables and drinking water and to start eating easily digestible processed foods is absolutely absurd. That statement alone discredits him as any sort of health/nutrition expert. What horrible advice.

          Reply
          • Hard science and dietary advice don’t always add up! How do you explain a 15 year unbearable scalp-dander condition that that has been miraculously cured by adding pancakes and potatoes to an already so called healthy diet while being mindful of my fluid intake. I’ve done cleanses, no sugar, no fructose, low carb, no citrus, gluten-free, intermittent fasting, teas, tonics, supplements, different medicated shampoos, lotions, and natural scalp remedies! Nope..none of that worked for 15 years.You know what worked? Making a few small dietary changes suggested in a $9.99 eBook! Yes their is a some science with how the increase of body heat eradicated this, but that’s besides the point. Sometimes our body just does things for us in a miraculous way when we try the least. At least that has been my experience. I don’t need hard science to tell me what my body needs and wants. In think the human body is very intuitive to what it needs and if you don’t pay attention to these small signals, it will give you stronger signals in the form of lost sex drive, thinning hair, dry skin, ect..the list goes on. My new motto for health is “Stop Fucking With Your Body!” great title for a health book, isn’t it? lol:) I would definitely buy that shit!!;)

        • Are you actually being serious, or are you delusional or something? You think you know more than Alan Aragon on the topic? LMAO

          Reply
          • Humans will never improve on what nature has already given us. We’ve been evolving together in perfect harmony for millions of years.

          • If you think humans haven’t improved what nature has given us, you’ve obviously never eaten a Hawaiian apple banana. Or ice cream. Or flown on a plane. Or seen a guy on steroids hit a home run.

          • Flying in a plane is not improving on nature. Creating the airplane did not improve the laws of physics, it simply uses them to its advantage. So…yeah

            Steroid are NOT making that baseball player healthier (which is our topic).

            Ice cream, while it tastes good, is actually breaking down natures already perfect formula. It’s called processed food for a reason. And Ice cream is not an improvement on anything health related. Ice cream is not good for you

            So once again… I’m only hearing nonsense

          • Quoted from Doug: “Eating the innate diet – the diet that humans are genetically supposed to be eating – the diet humans have been eating for tens of thousands of years, cannot make you sicker.”

            I’m eating ice cream right now. For lunch. And it is very tasty….yummmm. It’s about as innate and close to nature as I can get to nature’s “Perfect Food”…breast milk.

            I bet that’s why my health is improving. Ice cream.

          • You didn’t mention the Hawaiian apple banana.

            They’re f’ing awesome.

          • Where can one buy a Hawaiian apple banana? Fresh Market? Whole Foods? A local farmers market? Not looking for an online vendor.

          • I ONLY eat apple bananas. Williams? Bah.

            :)

            *waves to Matt*

          • Sadly, I’ve only seen them in Hawaii, but if you live in the US (esp south west coast), you might be able to find them. I’m in the Canadian prairies, so definitely no dice. They’re worth the search – good luck!

          • Yes. Actually I do

    • Doug,

      You are preaching to the choir. We have all read the studies, the books, and
      the super food headlines. You aren’t sharing “new” information.

      What I am saying, is that you can’t understand something that you haven’t
      experienced. Perhaps, fate will allow you to know this path. Maybe that
      is why you are here. To prepare you for your future.

      I wish you health.

      Reply
      • Of course I can understand something I haven’t experienced. I’ve never played baseball but I understand the game completely. I also understand when I read something that is garbage. This article is garbage. I’m sorry Matt, I’m sure you’re an intelligent guy, and I’m sure you mean well, but you are leading people down the wrong path

        To everyone following this article. Good luck. You’ll need it

        Reply
        • Doug,

          You simply understand the rules of the game. You do not know what
          it is to be a professional player. To live and, breath the passion of
          the game. To practice until exhaustion, to have the mind consumed
          with hitting the perfect home run with bases loaded. You can’t know
          what that experience is like unless you live it. You can know what it
          is to put all your faith, money, time, and energy into the game and, still
          lose. You have to experience this, to understand it.

          Reply
    • Sounds like ol’ Doug needs to read 12 Paleo Myths. He’s bustin’ out lots of the things I expose as myths as the gospel.

      Reply
      • Matt – I’d love to read the body of evidence you have to support your claims. Seriously. Send it my way

        Reply
        • Wait a minute… You come here, parroting some ridiculous paleo crap you read somewhere and expect Matt to be the one to provide evidence for his claims. The burden of proof is on your shoulders, not his.

          Reply
          • Of course it’s on his shoulders.

          • This is his article. Where’s his evidence? Actually I’d like to see just ONE article showing drinking less water and less vegetables and more processed “food” moves you towards health…

          • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020809071640.htm. Here is one scientific article on why you don’t need 8 glasses of water a day.

            “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day!” Not necessarily, says a DMS physician Heinz Valtin, MD. The universal advice that has made guzzling water a national pastime is more urban myth than medical dogma and appears to lack scientific proof, he found.

            Valtin thinks the notion may have started when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommended approximately “1 milliliter of water for each calorie of food,” which would amount to roughly two to two-and-a-half quarts per day (64 to 80 ounces). Although in its next sentence, the Board stated “most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods,” that last sentence may have been missed, so that the recommendation was erroneously interpreted as how much water one should drink each day.
            He found no scientific studies in support of 8 x 8. Rather, surveys of fluid intake on healthy adults of both genders, published as peer-reviewed documents, strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed. His conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks, such as most coffee, tea and soft drinks, may indeed be counted toward the daily total. He also points to the quantity of published experiments that attest to the capability of the human body for maintaining proper water balance.

          • I can do this all day. After all I do have the Internet.

          • This is exactly why we need people like Matt and Ray Peat.

            This article was published 11 years ago, yet doctors and everyone involved with health are still telling people to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, apart from food.

            I don’t expect things to change because water is a billion dollars industry.

      • I’ve never said one thing about the Paleo diet…

        Reply
        • Doug,

          You can’t become fatty acid deficient. Omega 3’s actually kill people. There is a huge amount of research showing this. Google “mead acid”.

          Reply
    • Doug, in the midst of my Paleo experience, I came across Matt’s blog (as I was searching for the Holy Grail of Health). I looked it over and said, “Nah!” Some time later, another famous blogger made a reference to Matt’s blog and then I dove in. My Paleo experience was killing me and I had no other options left.

      I agree with you and think we need to move around a lot more than we typically do, but eating processed food can be very healing. Some Paleolithic people processed their foods too, by cooking it. Some moms chewed up their babies’ foods for them to feed them. Paleolithic people used rocks to grind things into flour (people in my area used mesquite pods as flour).

      Just because we have some different foods than Paleolithic people used to have, doesn’t make the foods bad. I’m sure Paleolithic people would have jumped at the chance to have access to foods like we have nowadays. I’ve gone through months when I couldn’t buy food and whenever someone gave me some food, I didn’t turn it down.

      And isn’t it awesome that we get PUFAs just by eating many foods? We need some saturated fats, a little of PUFAs, some carbs, some protein. Vegetable sucks though, I think.

      And which junk foods have saturated fats in them? There may be a few that are made up up saturated fats, but most of the junk food I’ve seen has a crazy high amount of PUFAs in them. Some have trans fats (still PUFAs, just more shelf-stable). Fast food places drench their foods in PUFAs also. Maybe you think saturated fats are the same as trans fats?

      Also, many Paleo people I know still have adverse health issues.

      Reply
      • Vegetable oil sucks…that’s what I meant to write. Although there are some vegetables I loathe eating also. ;)

        Reply
    • Nope, I’m not. You may be a genetic throw back, but I am not. Every time I go to the dentist they are stunned by my dentition. I’m the new thing. I’m just a little bit different. I’m not the only one either, but I am definitely part of the new crop. We don’t have any wisdom teeth, we don’t match the old model. And to assume that everything else on the planet continued to evolve but somehow we didn’t is ridiculous.

      Reply
    • Brawndo, its got what plants crave, its got electrolytes!

      Reply
  29. I never once said anything about the Paleo diet…

    Reply
  30. I said the genetically innate diet

    Reply
    • Whatever you want to call it, it’s more paleo bullshit. Just because people had to eat a certain way does in no way mean it was optimal. Talk about false premise.

      To use a metaphor because you seem very fond of those, it’s like saying the optimal diet for rats is trash because that’s what they eat most of the time.

      Reply
      • That’s a horrible analogy. Rat’s genetically congruent environment is not in city alleys and sewer systems where trash is readily available. Whatever wild rats are eating in the wild, away from modern human existence. Whatever rats have been eating for thousands of years is what rats are supposed to be eating. They eat trash because its readily available caloric intake. It’s animal nature to eat what you can when you can because you never know when your next meal will be. You want those calories. Trash doesn’t exist outside modern human environment. So rats would never have the opportunity to eat it anyways. Also, genius, take a rat living in the city eating trash and compare it to one living a genetically congruent lifestyle out in the wild and see which is healthier…… Hint hint – its not the one living in the city

        Reply
        • You offered up ridiculous analogies, so I gave an equally ridiculous analogy ;-).

          You have yet to present anything of substance to support your argument, even after I added a complete debunking of your paleo “gold standard” rubbish.

          Reply
          • Nice save…(not really)
            when have you debunked anything? Quote the sentence you used to debunk anything I’ve said…

            Now you are letting emotions get in the way of reason. Which is my cue to end the conversation

          • Doug,

            Nowhere in my posts have I shown any emotions getting in the way of reason. I posted an entire presentation from a top, highly renowned nutritionist that completely debunks your entire paleo argument – with sound logic and science. You ignored it. Not my problem. You’ve in turn posted nothing but drivel and straw man arguments.

            Look, you’re obviously a reasonably intelligent guy but most of us have already been down the same road you’re on believing it was the be all, end all diet. It’s not. For many of us, it’s damaged our health and our relationships with food.

            Matt has presented plenty of science as well as real world application for his beliefs and recommendations many times over the years on this blog. You can’t expect to come here and demand him to provide evidence because your beliefs differ from his. It works the other way… you want to debunk his work, the burden is on you to provide the evidence to do that.

          • My health is great and will continue to be great

          • OK, so you’re obviously just trolling now.

          • Not trolling at all. Just trying to get people to see through some of the crap posted on the Internet by so-called health experts.

        • How the fuck do you know which rat is healthier. I have yet to see one scientific study that compares country rats to city rats, so you must be guessing. Sheesh you can’t even follow your own principals.

          Reply
          • You guys are funny

          • Rats Can Survive Anything: Warfarin was developed as a rat poison a couple of decades ago, but within a year rats were seen eating it for food! After several atomic bomb tests on Engebi, in the Eniwetok Atoll in the 1950s scientists returned to the island to measure the bomb’s effects. As well as highly radioactive soil and devastated plant-life they discovered a huge colony of perfectly healthy rats.

          • So much for your rat theory. Again I can do this all day.

    • Genetically inate diet? Where is your scientific evidence that we as humans have a genetically inate diet. You are the one who is ridiculous and unscientific. There is no way to eat like we did 40,000 years ago in this modern world. That is just pure nostalgia. Most paleo people eat too much of certain things and not enough of others. Then when the inevitable pressures and cravings catch up with them they pig out on paleo approved foods like almond butter or dark chocolate. The whole thing is ridiculous and unnatural. Everybody does better on different foods. I can eat pancakes and syrup just fine but too much fruit makes me feel shit. Others on here can eat a ton of fruit but not potatoes etc. Matt never said don’t eat vegetables or drink water. What he is saying though is that conventional health wisdom of drinking 8 glasses of water a day is most likely ridiculous and leads to problems. So what do I do I cut back my water intake and suddenly I sleep through the night, my digestion is better etc. . I like veggies with my meals but to pile on tons of veggies thinking that they are a dose dependent fountain of youth and health is ludicrous for someone like me that can’t digest them well. And the tons of meat that paleo people eat? Whatever I’m done.

      Reply
      • All animals on this planet have a genetically innate diet. Having a nutrition conversation with someone who doesn’t even understand this is futile. Good luck with eating cookies and Ice cream for breakfast. Wish u the best

        Reply
        • I don’t eat cookies for breakfast on a daily basis. But guess what, I’m not afraid to. I think you are missing the whole point here. The point is to get over a fear of food. If you think their is a genetically inate one size fits all diet that will guarantee good health to all then you have been misinformed. I agree that constant lifelong junk food eating is bad for you but any idiot that forgoes his own craving for a cupcake at a child’s birthday party because grok wouldn’t eat it is a complete idiot.

          Reply
      • So you’re saying they’re eating the Paleo diet, but then go off the Paleo diet and start giving into their cravings and eating poorly again? So it’s not the Paleo diet causing the adverse effects. See the logic in it all???

        Reply
        • Doug, I understand how you feel. I thought some of the same things when I first read this site. I thought how cruel and insensitive Matt was when he cavalierly talked about eating pancakes smothered in syrup for breakfast. I thought, don’t you know that some people just can’t Handle sugar and carbs like that without getting sick! If I ate that I’d be a bloated, itchy, miserable mess. This guy is an idiot. Now pancakes are a go to breakfast for me. They fill me up, digest easily and don’t make me itch or bloat anymore. I can’t explain it, it just is. When I get exited about eating cookies for breakfast it’s not because I want to make that my lifelong mission or that I think that alone will bring me good health. I just get exited because I can eat cookies for breakfast and not get sick anymore. As I get further into health recovery I want to try to cut back on the junky foods. I am pretty much past my binge phase now. However what constitutes healthy choices for me now is a lot more expansive. And if I’m tired, run down, or just don’t give a crap I can have a quick carb and sugar pick me up and not feel guilty. Remember, Sugar…it’s not just for breakfast anymore.;)

          Reply
          • Jdubs,

            “Remember, Sugar…..it’s not just for breakfast anymore.” LOL!

            You are right, we have all felt Matt was off base, striking out,
            we were all crying foul ball! Sorry…since Doug understands baseball
            I just can’t help myself. ;)

          • This heated exchange is highly amusing, it must be said.

          • And to add to the ‘Genetically programmed diet’- in what way can you possibly say that ther has been a ubiquitous ‘pale diet’ across human history- most of what people ate 1000s of years ago depended on what was available, and varied greatly geographically and historically. this has led to some genetic specificities- like the capacity for lactase enzyme production and such, some ‘genetic programming’ for diet, but most examples of this are focussed on adaptations to agricultural dietary additions, not ‘natural’ foods at all. The effects of epigenetic adaptations to a nutritional environment are much more extreme and far more rapid- within one generation, suggesting that humans really have the ability to deal with a vast range of diets. We are blimmin’ omnivores after all…

            Aside from the fact that humans are living longer, more healthfully and procreating more rapidly than any of the paleo societies that really lie behind the bullshit notion of the ‘Noble Savage’.

      • ” Everybody does better on different foods. ” Exactly, conversely, I can’t eat a pancake without putting on several pounds, and I can’t eat much fruit, but I can eat bread just fine. Go figure.

        Reply
    • Oh, come on. That’s as disingenuous as it gets.

      Reply
  31. So Matt,

    I assume that you disagree with Ray Peats reccomendation to eat at least 100grams of protein a day? In one of his interviews he said that the most important step that one can take to improve metabolism and thyroid functions is to consume at least 100grams of protein a day.

    Reply
    • Yes. It’s a weird recommendation anyway, as protein intake is dependent on many factors, such as calorie levels, gender, size, etc. I consume 80-100 grams most days, but I could see a smaller woman eating just 40-50 and being fine. 10% of calories as protein I’m sure is sufficient for anyone if they are carbed up and well-fed overall. Some may do better with more, some with less.

      Reply
      • Yes so many factors like activity level and digestive and liver health etc. weigh in. People with compromised livers need to be careful about too much protein. Although 100 grams isn’t a bad baseline to move up or down from. I don’t know a whole lot about Ray Peat so correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like peat himself doesn’t really advocate a specific diet. He talks about a lot of stuff in an anecdotally scientific way( such as this protein seems to cause this reaction and that substance seems to have that effect etc.) and other people have gleaned this information and turned it into the Ray Peat diet. I know he made changes in his diet and reported positive effects and people seem to think he looks great for his age but as with everything else it’s not for everyone. I think that its easy to look at a very narrow chemical reaction in the body and extrapolate it out into a theroy of proper diet but if we’re that easy we would all be eating A one size fits all complete nutrition bar.

        Reply
        • Peat does recommended 100 grams of protein from sources such as gelatinous cuts of meat, milk, eggs. He prefers milk because of the calcium.The only vegetable protein that he thinks is quality is from white potatoes and he recommends potato juice to avoid excess starch from whole potato.

          In the past, Peat recommended fifty grams of protein. So he has doubled his recommendation. In interviews, Peat has recommended only low fat milk, orange juice and a daily raw carrot as a weight loss plan.

          The problem is a person on a strict Peat diet (only milk and juice) can easily become bloated trying to get at least 100 grams of protein from milk. Two quarts of milk contains only 64 grams of protein. That’s a lot of fluid and the protein quota has still not been met. I think that is one problem with some of the people on the Ray Peat forum not being able to lose weight. They are trying to get their 100 grams or more from milk which bloats them and makes them heavy on the scale.

          Reply
      • I am that small woman and when you enjoy dairy as much as I do, you cannot help eating a lot of protein.

        I only eat red meat about 5 times a week and in very small amounts and not just for protein. An example of a meal might be a small amount of mince with onions and mushrooms and pasta with tomato sauce with heaps of melted cheese on it.

        The mushrooms, pasta, cheese and mince all have protein in them that adds up.

        Reply
        • Wow. You just made me hungry.

          Reply
      • I think that Peat himself eats about 150 grams a day although being thin and very sedentary.

        Reply
        • Peat looks great.

          But many of his followers don’t want to adapt his recommendations to suit their own needs. Just because Peat’s body can handle a gallon of milk and orange juice per day does not mean everyone’s body can. It takes a lot of milk and gelatin to get 150 grams of protein. Muscle meats are high in protein but Peat say those should be very limited.

          Reply
  32. If our genetically identical, gold standard of health-ancestors ate that much protein a day, then yes I’d agree with it. Attempting to raise vitamin/mineral/protein/etc levels in isolation cannot work. It is the holistic diet that must be changed as all the nutrients of the diet work synergistically and holistically to provide sufficiency. You cannot view nutrition (or health) in a reductionist way. It’s dangerous.

    Reply
    • “Gold standard of health ancestors”….. You crack me up man ;)

      Reply
      • Because our obese, diabetic, processed foods-eating modern humans are the gold standard for health today. No sir, YOU crack ME up

        Reply
        • Doug, you come across like a little kid who just learned the alphabet and now thinks he can read and understand Shakespeare. Stick to paleo, and in a few years, when you feel terrible, remember what you read here.

          Reply
    • Doug, do you mind posting the “Gold Standard” diet? Or linking to it? I’d be interested. I’m dubious that there is “one” diet for all humans, due to the fact humans have been successful in almost every climate on Earth, but I’m definitely open to considering the possibility.

      Reply
  33. Hey Matt! I’m liberated and scared to death of your advice. I’ve bought and read Diet Recovery I and II plus your cookbook. Very interesting!!! I’ve been trying your eat everything approach for about 2 weeks now. I’m kind of at a freak out point since I’m starting to gain weight. I had a baby a year ago and had finally lost most of the baby weight. My husband kinda thinks I’m crazy for doing this approach. I’m pretty confused myself. I have had a lot of inflammatory issues (interstitial cystitis-chronic inflammation of kidneys (doc told me there is no cure just treatment), acid reflux, anxiety, depression, etc.) This “diet” seems to make sense to clear up some of my issues. I’m just really hesitant and wondering if I’m going to gain a ton of weight. I’m 5′ and weigh 112. I’m pretty short so extra weight does not look great on me! :) (Vain I KNOW and yes, I love parenthesis as much as you!)

    Reply
    • Be brave. You will bloat at first but Matt’s approach has done wonders for my depression, anxiety, and acid reflux.

      Reply
    • Have you tried billberry for the IC? I had IC in my urinary tract for 7 years and the billberry treated it where the western medical dr. just told me to suffer. I was a teenager. They were jerks, what can I say

      Reply
  34. I think the real best advice is just, aim for a balanced diet but also eat what you crave. Sometimes it might a more veggie-based plate like you photographed above. Sometimes it will be a fatty steak. I love veggies so much, always have. I have zero intention of minimizing them in my diet. I also don’t intend to live off them anymore.

    Once you start tuning into your appetite, you get the macros right, and your body makes up the calories even if you under-eat at one meal. I bet your girlfriend was hungry an hour or so after the 300-calorie meal. If she ate that way all the time, she’d probably get used to it and eat larger portions of it to make up. Or she’d start craving meat or pasta or something.

    I think it’s best to eat a pretty “healthy” and balanced diet as your base, but be flexible for cravings, and eat whatever you want when you go out with friends, etc. And just enjoy yourself, for goodness sakes. Don’t be worried that you’re eating too much kale or something. Just eat what you like and make sure it’s a decent nutritious diet overall. My grandparents lived to old age on this sort of thing.

    Reply
    • Exactly!

      Reply
  35. Matt i was wondering your thoughts on coffee? since its create for increasing metabolism this should be a great tool to use?
    Just use say instant powder coffee so that you dont need alot of fluid mixed with it.

    Reply
    • Don’t be afraid of real coffee. Just don’t get the 40 oz. mega cup on the way to work. Everything in moderation…unless it gives you heartburn like me ;)

      Reply
  36. Gelatin during pregnancy Yes or No?

    Reply
    • Yes. Why not?

      Reply
      • If you google the words gelatin and pregnancy, a huge box pops up and states Category C.Any thoughts?

        Reply
  37. I am confused. I thought one of the main points of 180 degree health was that diets aren’t good and you should eat what you feel like. Are you saying its better to eat a low fat diet? Personally I have gained 15 pounds over the last 8 months and a lot of cellulite to go with it. I’ve never really had a huge problem with cellulite before and I used to be only 110 without any struggle. I feel like 180 has kind of messed up my mentality in a way and I am also confused as to what is the best way to eat? Any ideas on how to get rid of the cellulite

    Reply
    • i’m in the same boat with you Sara!

      Reply
    • Just curious, why did you do 180 if you were 110 with no struggle?

      I think it’s a really bad idea to overfeed or force a new diet if there is no problem to begin with. It’s a good way to create new problems.

      Cellulite is a toughie to get rid of. Exercise can help some people (like yoga or other full-body exercises that get lymph moving), so can dry brushing and coconut oil rubs, and some people say it goes away when they switch fats (like to coconut oil and butter), but it’s not easy.

      Reply
      • And to add to that, I’ve said this before and I think Matt gets annoyed when I do, but I stand by my statement. If someone has health/metabolic issues, but is doing well eating and weight-wise (i.e., not starving and recovering from diets or whatnot), they are much better off just addressing the important areas of sleep, stress reduction, dealing with emotional issues and creating a happy life, and adding in some exercise (maybe even yoga or something) first. These are huge for the metabolism and overall health. Overfeeding unnecessarily will just create weight gain with no benefits.

        Reply
        • Thanks Amy! That helps my mindset A LOT! I’m now only 60% confused as to how I should be living to maintain a healthy lifestyle! :)

          Reply
        • I think your right. Over feeding is one tool in the toolbag but is only appropriate for certain situations.

          Reply
      • There is a theory that weak collagen allows fat deposits to form bumps under the skin. Adding gelatin or soup bones to the diet could prevent new cellulite deposits.

        Reply
  38. Hi Matt,

    I started ‘eating the food’ about a month ago – so far I’ve gained about 5 pounds…I knew I was gaining weight without getting on the scale – feel bloated and fatter than ever – I actually wanted to lose weight not gain it – bought your Diet Recovery book but still not clear on what I should be eating…

    Body temp still hovering around 96.5 to 97.(although it was initially in the low 95’s)

    Dropped most sugar about a year ago – using butter and coconut oil – haven’t used margerine for years – eat meat but not lots – like fish, shrimp, nuts – love potatoes, rice..not a big bean fan – not a big veggie or fruit fan either…don’t drink much water mostly coffee and tea…drink milk but generally only in tea…eating chips and drinking pop constantly isn’t appealing.

    I’m eating oatmeal with a bit of honey for sweetener, whole grain bread in sandwiches with either cheese or ham, lettuce, tomato…and chinese, stir-fry, indian curry etc. for supper with seafood, beef, chicken…and some veggies, potatoes…the odd apple, plum, a few blackberries… a few eggs a week, And I eat ice cream, cookies, chocolate, cheezies, but not to excess…

    Beginning to suspect that all the focus on food may be a big part of the problem…and must confess I absolutely hate eating breakfast although I have been forcing myself to do so…in my experience eating breakfast makes me want to eat all day long whereas if I don’t eat until I’ve been up 2 or 3 hours that isn’t the case.

    I walk a couple of times a week – but not at a fast pace…

    Why would I be gaining weight when I clearly need to lose about 35 or 40 pounds. I’m getting so frustrated – I don’t like being overweight – only ever gain weight on my chest and stomach which everyone tells me is really bad…I’m 57 years old and 5′ 5″ tall and used to feel best great at around 135 – 140 pounds.

    My last weight jump was from about 155 to my current weight of 175 which I credit to quitting smoking about 4 years ago…but I’m not really sure that was the whole cause…

    Like the poster above I really need to lose weigh not gain it – I am already uncomfortable – not looking to make it worse…

    So am I going about this all wrong? What do you suggest?

    Reply
    • Not Matt, but …
      Also, I hope more people weigh in — oops, pun! :)

      So, one thing stuck out right away … if eating breakfast early in the morning stimulates your appetite, that’s a probably a GOOD thing, not a bad thing, and you should keep doing it. That’s stimulating the metabolism and training the circadian rhythms.

      I used to be a breakfast skipper and/or delayer and/or “skimper” (little breakfasts). Eating big carby breakfasts has changed my life for the better, with greatly increased metabolism and much better moods and energy. Nobody ever improved their health shortchanging breakfast. OK, that’s an absolutist statement I can’t prove, but I think most outside the “fasting” cult would agree.

      Also, congratulations on quitting smoking! That’s huge. I never smoked, but my partner quit 10 years ago, after having smoked since he was 14. It was not easy, but it was worth it.

      Based on my own experience: If you’re gonna recover your temperatures, you will probably be a little preoccupied with food for a while, because your previously suppressed appetite will be coming back and making itself known. But that tapers off.

      Reply
  39. I didn’t over feed. I found Matt’s blog at a time when I was really stressing about diets. I started looking into paleo, etc and was boarder line eating disorder. So I took his advise not to stress about food and it helped me a lot to enjoy eating. So I did that for a long time and was fine but all the sudden I started gaining weight and now I don’t know how to lose it or deal with the cellulite because I don’t want to ruin my metabolism and diet. So I keep eating and not stressing thinking eventually the weight will just come off but that is not happening… Maybe I am eating wrong? I don’t over eat but I also don’t stress about what I eat. What to do…

    Reply
    • Yeah, you may need little tweaks. If you were fine for a long time, I would say think about what happened before you started gaining. More stress? Something else? Maybe that’s what needs fixing.

      Reply
  40. Ok thanks so much. I guess I’ll just have to figure it out. It’s so hard not to be tempted to start dieting or something

    Reply
    • Michael has some good advice there about slowly increasing activity levels. I would like to add to try not to eat after seven in the evening but eat to appetite the rest of the day. I knew an older couple who lost ten pounds each doing that and they never felt like they were denying themselves tasty foods. Also don’t drink a lot of liquid with meals and try to cut out a few( but not all) of the extras, like honey in the tea or excess syrup or salad dressing etc. I think it’s about making small changes over the long run and never restricting things to the point of getting binge cravings. Pay attention to which foods make you feel best and try to eat more of them. Anything that makes you feel to cold or sleepy try to cut back on. The rest is just time and perseverance. Slow and steady wins the race.

      Reply
  41. Sarah,

    You need to understand that you gained weight because your overall calorie balance is out of whack. You can’t gain weight without a surplus (excluding holding extra water weight). If this is from lower activity than usual and more calories from your more relaxed eating habits (and I believe that it is), or a metabolic slowdown causing the same amount of calories to now put you into a surplus (I don’t believe this is the cause from your comments) is for you to decide.

    Doesn’t sound like you’ve gained much weight and nothing drastic is required. The mentality of most people is oh no, I gained a little weight now I’d better crash diet it off! Don’t do this.

    If anything, you can probably lose it just increasing activity levels. Contrary to what that moron Gary Taubes says, exercise has been shown in various studies to assist with weight loss and does not promote appetite over and above maintenance levels. So exercise a little more, epecially against resistance (bodyweight, machines or free weights) for best effect.

    Also, don’t only concern yourself with the scale either. Your body may be changing for the better but the scale doesn’t always reflect this. I’ve coached people with very little difference in their weight over the course of say 6 months, yet in that time have completely transformed how they look – much more muscle mass and significantly less body fat. Yet if they had only relied on the scale this would be considered a failure. See what I’m getting at?

    Reply
    • Michael,

      What are the best bodyweight exercise program you know of? I’m only into walking and hiking right now, but I would love to start building muscle again sometime soon, maybe in the next few months or so. Thank you!

      Reply
      • Beth, one important thing to consider is that resistance exercise isn’t just for building muscle (which is also beneficial for pretty much everyone for a variety of reasons, even people who shun it and think they don’t need to), but also to RETAIN our lean mass (muscle tissue and bone strength/density) as we age. It’s also easily the best exercise choice for improving nutrient partitioning, glucose tolerance and a plethora of other benefits.

        For a beginner lifter, frequency is the most important consideration with a 3x/week fullbody program being optimal as muscle protein synthesis is only elevated for 36-48 hours depending on genetics and the form of exercise. I would suggest a total beginner to start out with a 3x/week regimen of the basics – bodyweight squats, lunges, push-ups and/or dips, and a pull-up variation. Just do enough to challenge yourself in the beginning and focus on steadily progressing whether that means doing more reps, increasing the difficulty of the movements or completing the entire routine in less time (another, often overlooked progression scheme). Taper off your training for 7-14 days when you’re feeling a little run down, but preferably don’t just sit on the couch the whole time.. tapering is a high effective way to further increase your fat loss and muscle gain results.

        Hope that helps, and have fun!

        Reply
        • I did not know about the 36-48 hours thing, thus 3x week.

          Does that mean that if your routine leaves you too sore to go at it only 2x or even 1x per week, that you should make the routine a little easier to get in another round?

          Reply
          • mighty m, not necessarily. Everyone’s going to be hella sore when they fitrst start any resistance training routine – especially with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which usually rears it’s ugly head 2-3 days after your workout and can last the better part of a week at times. Soreness doesn’t really matter and is not an indicator of if you’re recovered or not. It appears to be more a connective tissue damage issue than muscular, despite the DOMS name.

            Plus, people quickly adapt to the soreness and it becomes less and less prevalent, which is exactly the point of resistance training to begin with – adaptation. Unlike many confused fitness trainers who wrongly promote “muscle confusion” which is an absolute myth, we actually want muscle adaptation, that is how we grow and progress. The body adapts to chronic stressors, not confusion.

            Hope that helps!

          • Thank you! Sounds like you’re saying DOMS can usually be disregarded?

            The only thing that scared me was the phrase “connective tissue damage” — are you referring to tendons and ligaments? I had a terrible tendinitis once and I now treasure my connective tissue! So I would never want to abuse it.

            I think I’m in tune with things now, at least. It was a slow buildup to get out of the tendinitis, with incredible attention to every little twinge, so I don’t think I’m at the same risk of obliviously overdoing that I once was. Still, that phrase took me back to those horrible months!

            Luckily I’m such a noob I wasn’t even aware of the ‘muscle confusion’ theory. I guess ignorance is sometimes bliss!

          • The damage is very little and beneficial, as without that damage no strengthening of the connective tissue or muscle growth would occur.

          • Good to hear, thanks for replying!

        • Thank you so much Michael! That’s super helpful!

          Reply
  42. Good to see an “old school” post on here…like the stuff I would read on here a few years ago. Well done!

    Reply
    • Yeah.. It was a long learning curve.

      Reply
  43. Michael thank you. The start of my weight gain was also the start of a really hard time. I think it was effects from antibiotics but I had panic attacks, heart palpitations, no energy at all, chronic bladder and vaginal pain, and horrible anxiety were the main things. I’ve done lots of things to heal including acupuncture and energy healing and really am just recently feeling “normal” again (but better because I’ve dealt with lots of emotional things). I think I need to give myself a break and not stress about it. I’ve just started exercising regularly again so hopefully that will take off the excess weight. It sounds like that will help a lot from what you’re saying

    Reply
  44. Do you think any kind of detox is healthy? Liver, bowel, fat cells, etc? It seems like detoxing is all the rage now but it’s also hard to trust anything mainstream medicine advocates…

    Reply
    • Or the gurus and health nuts

      Reply
    • Your body is constantly detoxing itself. There are some ways to speed up the process but I have started to come under the impression that most herbal detox programs are marketing bullshit. The best way to detox is to exercise, get fresh air, eat somewhat healthy and have a positive attitude. The body will do the rest. A little milk thistle every now and again will help a little with liver metabolism but I would stay away from all of the liver cleanse concoctions people have out there. I have read people on the net that seem to be addicted to the detox process with coffee enemas and all and Hulda Clark liver cleanse( which is so fake it’s not funny). These people seem to just get sicker and then blame it on releasing toxins when really they are just screwing with the balance of their regulatory systems. The body is a wonderful thing. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

      Reply
      • “…but I have started to come under the impression that most herbal detox programs are marketing bullshit.”

        There’s some treasure hidden between the garbage. There are some herbal liver products that produce positive results which show up on enzyme lab tests, so much so that even some M.D.’s are recommending them to their patients.

        Reply
    • I’ve yet to see anything convincing that suggests “detoxing” to be anything more than hippie crap. A digestive break on the other hand certainly has value, as does letting your body naturally detox as jdubs mentioned with exercise and a good sweat.

      Reply
      • A good sweat is great, and that reminds me of the epsom salt baths I was advised to take by my dentist after switching out metal fillings. 2lbs of epsom salt with water as hot as I could handle it for an hour a night for two months.

        It was a crazy protocol, and I dunno if it did much detoxing exactly, but man, did it allow for some stellar sleep. I remember on more than one occasion getting out of the bath, with the towel around my waist, barely making it to my bed, and falling asleep on top of the covers with the towel still there.

        I hear that saunas and steam rooms may have similar effects in facilitating ‘toxin’ excretion.

        Reply
        • Yeah epsom baths are awesome. I’m a fan of the sweat as well. I also love kombucha which is supposed to help the body gently detox. It does help with a hangover, so I think there’s something to it.

          Reply
  45. Let’s just assume Doug really is a healthy individual, which I’m assuming he is by his stance. Maybe scratching the surface is as far as he’ll ever need to go.

    Reply
    • By the way he communicates, I’m picturing Doug as about 21 years old at most. I held my opinions with that kind of certainty and almost militant cockiness back then.

      Reply
      • Agreed!

        Reply
      • I found Doug to be exhausting. So much so that I am going to go eat some ice cream to soothe my nerves!! :)

        Reply
        • Agreed! Too much effort was spent furthering the discussion with him.

          Reply
  46. All diets fail eventually!

    Reply
    • All diets do fail. I am living proof, been dieting one way or another for 45 years, ever since my parents told me I was getting chubby at 14, 5’3″ and 114 pounds. Gained with the backlash of every diet since then to 220.

      With that history, I read Matt’s book and figured it made sense what the hell. I’m already fat anyway, and I’m 60, so not planning a fashion model career. It ‘s a good time, I retired last month, so I could eat and sleep all I want.

      I started last Saturday. My starting temp was 96.0 with 97.1 by the end of the day. I calculated I had been eating about 1500 calories a day, so I had to double my intake. So I did. Cut way back on drnking, got my pee yellow, ate pancakes, ice cream, potatoes, butter, salt, sugar. I sleep anywhere from 9 to 13 hours a night. What with trying to eat 3000 calories and the resulting food comas, it’s a good thing I’m retired!

      But it worked in six days! Tonight I hit 98.8! Boy, with my dieting history, and my age, I thought it would take much longer.

      Now, do I keep going as I have for awhile or stop overstuffing?

      Matt, you is da bomb!

      Reply
      • I would work on maintaining now Anneliza. Don’t stuff too hard, but don’t back off so much you aren’t continuing to feel that metabolism firing. Keep focus on sleep and de-stressing activities and don’t rely too much on crude caloric excess. I wouldn’t count calories at all at this point, but continue to make sure your appetite is fully satisfied with good food.

        Reply
        • Thanks, Matt. Loving the no guilt food!

          Reply
  47. Hi Matt
    ‘…quit eating so many vegetables’
    For me that would be cutting out half my food options- I couldn’t eat just meat, fish, diary with no vegetables. I don’t eat ‘beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy’ so I love my
    vegetables and I’ve heard people such as yourself and danny roddy with this viewpoint and it leaves me puzzled-are you referring to just the thyroid inhibitor ones or all vegetables?
    Love me a baked dish of root vegetables in winter.How can this be not good for us?

    Reply
    • They have this neat thing called fruit. You should try it sometime. It’s like a vegetable but tastes good and gives you energy.

      Root vegetables are different. They actually contain a substance scientists refer to calories.

      Reply
      • I was asking a question I wanted your opinion or clarification on that’s all- I’m not sure where the sarcasm comes into it; I’m not an idiot I know that about fruit and yes calories are a bonus about root veggies. Advocating not eating vegetables is what I’ve been hearing a lot of recently and it being such a very different approach to what I’m used to I thought I’d ask you seeing as you too mention it here in your article. That’s all.

        Reply
        • Some vegetables are fine. Just no need to try to break vegetable-eating records every day. I literally used to do that every day. I was just teasing you for acting like you were perplexed as to what humans could eat if no vegetables were around.

          Reply
          • Ok thanks- Well see that’s my point, Im not coming from a position of eating copious amounts of vegetables to break some record to be ‘ healthy’- not sure about yourself but I certainly can’t sit down and eat a plate of just fish/meat, or make a meal out of fruit- so when I hear people advocating this approach Im curious as to why and what the hell would they suggest then? Vegetables add flavour, variety and are a tasty complement. Anyway you don’t have to reply to this, I get your point now. Admitting you used to do this everyday and learning you dont have to seemingly has affected your views on the matter and those that hint at the mere suggestion they may eat a lot of vegetables brings out this sarcasm- i get it. I think my question pushed a button. We just want to learn from your expetinces too. Thanks for replying back, I appreciate it.

    • Yeah I wasn’t too happy about that advice either. I have a backyard organic vegetable garden and it’s been producing well since mid-spring and I couldn’t see myself letting all of that go to waste. Besides, I actually think of steamed veggies as a comfort food. I like the taste of veggies. I came across this same “go easy on the vegetables” thing elsewhere a while ago. It was suggested that veggies can be hard on the digestion system and didn’t give that much bang for your buck anyway. Since digestion was my main problem I decided to cut back on the veggies. Now I don’t eat them raw but I do cook small amounts to eat daily, mixed with rice, meat and butter. I had previously started to take a good digestive supplement and that had already started helping, but going easy on the veggies has helped even more. Plus, as Matt has mentioned before, an increase in metabolism also helps digestion, and I have found this to be true.

      Reply
    • I love vegetables, too. I eat a good amount. As long as it’s in moderation, I really can’t see a problem. It’s just when most of your intake is veggies that problems come in, in my opinion. In moderation, they add minerals, vitamins and flavor. I don’t think having a side of veggies with your meat and potatoes will mess anything up. Most of our ancestors had veggies as side dishes and turned out just fine.

      Reply
      • One thing I love about Matt’s style is that he can be hyperbolic. That’s totally how I talk all the time (ha, get it?). Like Amy says, I don’t imagine Matt means, “don’t eat vegetables”!

        Many people in this audience might have formerly fit the profile of a health nut doing a green smoothie for breakfast, a giant arugula salad for lunch, chomping carrot sticks, kale chips and radishes for snacks, and yet more vegetables for dinner … now that’s a lot! Maybe OK for a super-robust person, not ideal for raising metabolism.

        Myself, I cut down from 6+ vegetables plus a green drink (sigh) per day, to about 2 servings of vegetables, plus 3-4 servings of fruit (much in dried or slightly sweetened form). That seems more moderate and “normal” to me.

        Reply
        • I’ve cut back to really small portions of vegetables and I don’t always eat them daily. I found that all of the fiber was hard for me to deal with. Especially if the vegetables are raw, like in a salad. I don’t eat salads at all now. These days I find it works better for me to eat foods that are more calorie dense and easy to digest. It’s counter intuitive for me, I mean veggies are supposed to be so good for you, right? But changing my eating habits to include more easily digestible foods and fewer vegetables has been good for me. I like the taste of vegetables so will continue to eat them, but most of my nutrients will come from foods that are easier to digest and easy for me to extract the needed calories and nutrients.

          Reply
  48. I have a 20 yr history of dieting & bingeing including two stints on a 500 calorie meal replacing diet for six months at a time (just liquids). I’m currently BMI 37 & trying to get pregnant. I don’t care for the BMI scale but the drs won’t investigate my infertility until I hit BMI 30. I’m nearly 36 so terrified I’ve left it too late. Anyway, woke up & in tears on Tuesday morning about how I’m going to get the weight off & the incredible guilt about getting so big & maybe losing my chance of a family. So, after some Googling on Tuesday evening discovered this place, bought Diet Recovery 2 and have abandoned my daily 3l water & started eating. So far my temps have increased from 35.4 to 36.1. Since Tuesday. And, more interestingly, I have developed a sex drive. For pretty much the first time ever! I do feel bloated, constipated & uncomfortable, but hoping that’ll ease soon. My only question is that I’m constantly being told my oestrogen levels will be high as fat cells contain oestrogen & that will inhibit chances of getting pregnant. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • First of all, I wouldn’t worry too much about the Doctors. Doctors don’t know jack shit about fertility. Morons probably haven’t once mentioned anything about your body temp.

      Get that temp up and you’ll be fine. Weight is not the primary factor involved, especially in your case. I predict successful pregnancy at BMI 40!

      Reply
      • Thanks so much for the quick reply :) I mentioned temp to the consultant & he said they discounted temp as a relevant indicator of anything years ago & it was, in his opinion, useless info. Thanks again, it’s so liberating to find this site, after literally waking up every morning & basing my self worth on what I ate the day before.

        Reply
    • Wow! That’s some powerful stuff. And every day out there the damage continues :(

      Reply
    • That is amazing. Hopefully it will help spread the word.

      Reply
    • …and THAT is what is wrong with most diets, and why they fail. Almost noone has a freakin clue how to do it properly,

      To any pregnant women and new moms out there. Don’t diet, breastfeed! The very act of breastfeeding has shown to drop an average of 12kg (26lb+) with no changes in diet. Plus it’s best for your baby.

      Reply
  49. Matt, I found your observations about water logging the body interesting. Do you think this also applies to colonics? Would they too elicit an electrolyte imbalance and swelling of the interstitial fluid? How much of the water would you estimate be absorbed by the body and not leave. Every time I get a colonic I feel dizzy, racing heart beat, and weak for about a day afterwards. Crazy that I continue, right? What can I say I’m addicted. I wonder if anyone has had a heart attack while getting a colonic?

    Reply
    • Yes, colonics can cause hyponatremia. I write about this in Eat for Heat.

      Reply
    • it’s easy enough to add salt for an isotonic saline solution.

      Reply
    • I do know of someone (a friend of a friend) who ended up in a coma after a colonic, due to the salt levels in her body falling to a dangerous low. Doesn’t seem worth the risk, to me.

      Reply
  50. I find it amazing that after reading Matt Stone’s writing, I have come to realize why my childhood diet of poptarts, grilled cheese, elio’s pizza, and gatorade kept me so healthy. I never had any health issues as a child, but once i started to become interested in bodybuilding when i got to college things went south….i drank a pre-workout, intra-workout, post-workout and ate things i thought my muscles wanted rather than what i wanted….i was constantly urinating and felt cold and tired all the time….i developed “chronic fatigue”….after a year of research and plenty of juicing (what a waste) and 80/10/10 diet, i found matt stone’s writing and started incorporating his ideas….i’m back on the gatorade and all i can say is wow….i urinate 3-4 times a day, good color, feel warm and have more energy….im not fully back to my high school days of feeling good, but i’m getting there…i’m truly amazed how junk food has gotten me back on track to the path to health….if you told me that bugles and gatorade would have helped restore my miserable state of health a year ago i would have laughed…..now that i have a better perspective it all makes sense….its amazing how durianrider has such a following becuase there is no way in hell that all his 30bananasaday subscribers turned their health around in one week like the gatorade diet has done for me!

    Reply
    • The return of childhood foods has been kind of a neat thing for me too. In my case, chocolate milk, lemonade, ice cream, grilled cheese. Even Jell-o (gelatin) has turned out to have more redeeming value that I thought.

      Reply
  51. So I read this article thinking “this is great!” and by the end of it I was left thinking “well what am I supposed to eat then? If meat is bad, nuts are bad, eggs are bad, oils are bad, vegetables are bad, watery foods are bad? What is left? It’s basically replacing one type of restrictiveness with another.
    I get it that polunsaturated fats cause inflammation, as does too much meat (supposedly), lentils are bad…but f*** it, I really don’t care anymore, I will eat whatever the f*** I want.

    Reply
    • Kev, sounds like you understand things around here. :)

      Reply
      • Yes I was going to say he was missing the point but his last sentence is the point. ;)

        Reply
    • Exactly! Eat whatever you want that makes you feel good. So simple.

      Reply
    • IF you eat whatever you want, you’re unlikely to eat an excess of any single thing, but will likely gravitate towards a healthy balance of things.

      Reply
      • Exactly. After months of at times going a little overboard on the things I couldn’t eat for four years, I found myself craving a salad. My body just said ok no more sweet stuff today I want a salad. When I go into the grocery store now, all of the” forbidden” foods no longer jump out at me. It makes it so much easier to eat healthy when you know if you really want you can have whatever you want at any time you want.

        Reply
  52. Totally awesome article. Matt Stone is awesome. … I hate beans.

    Reply
  53. i couldn’t figure out which of doug’s many troll posts to reply to, so i’ll just do it here. the paleo or “innate diet” goes too far back in time and tends to eventually revert people to a beast mentality. it would be better to look at early advanced civilizations that are still thriving today, such as italian, greek, chinese and indian.

    doesn’t their survival into modern times indicate that they’ve been doing something right for a very long time? and their diets tend to focus on many of the same things that matt and 180degreehealth promotes, including high calorie intake of easily digestible foods with plenty of sugar, salt, starch and saturated fat.

    Reply
  54. No one will ever love me and i doubt i’ll ever be able to wear anything other than long pants and long sleeve tops. im a chick and i have excessive hair on my body and stretch marks on my legs, boobs, stomach and butt and back and acne.

    Reply
    • I’ve done some lovin’ on women who have had each of those things. If you are able to make someone else feel really loved, and do lots of perverted things to them, you’re capable of being loved.

      Reply
  55. Hello Matt,

    I got sick a week ago with milkd sinusy.chesty issues, Hunger and appetite after Monday was touch and go, and I decided to fast. Here I am now, and have to say the mental and emotional/sspiritual acuity garnered has made it worth it. Most important is coming out if slowly and healthdully when I break it in a couple of days.

    I post here to ask a question (two questions actually.
    1) I can’t find the login link on the forums otherwise I’d post this there… Could you help?
    2) When I’ve been fasting I have been fascinated to note that my urine has been yellow throughout. I would’ve thought it could be clear/my electrolytes would diminish etc given I’m ingesting water and a few herbal teas. What do you make of this? I would appreciate it if you (or anyone in the community here) responded…

    Cheers,

    Michael.

    Reply
  56. Hi Matt,

    Been following your work for some time now with great interest. Thanks for a lot of important insights.

    There is just this one thing I don’t understand about palatability. I hope you can sort this out for me.

    As I interpret Guyenet, _spontaneous_ lowering of calorie intake—for example, by eating less palatable foods—can lead to fat loss WITHOUT lowering the metabolism, since the bodyfat set point drops. That is, what controls metabolism is calorie intake relative to appetite, and so eating bland foods is a safe, if boring, way to lower one’s setpoint, as you don’t feel hungry.

    On the other hand, you seem to suggest that metabolism slows down in response to lowered calorie intake REGARDLESS of whether one is hungry or not. That is, what controls metabolism is calorie intake, period—as if there were an absolute caloric threshold under which metabolism slows down no matter what you feed yourself and no matter how full you feel.

    Have I got this right? Then intuitive eating doesn’t really work that well on a whole, ”clean” foods diet I guess since most people will spontaneously drop energy intake on it. So, did Grok wreck his metabolism too, since he couldn’t eat refined foods …?

    Reply

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