Broda Barnes

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Recently I took a trip down to Dagobah to meet master Broda. Many think Broda to be deceased, but in actuality, in his mighty Jedi skills, he flew away to a distant, swampy planet. I’ve been there. We hung out. He showed me how to boost my thyroid while standing on my head. And yes I brought my droids with me, T2D2 and T3PO.

Okay that’ll do with the Star Wars metaphors, but come on, the guy’s name was Broda for crying out loud. How was I to resist?

Broda Barnes was a pioneer in the field of endocrinology, but unlike pioneers who paved the way to Oregon, few followed in the footsteps of Broda Barnes. Why? I have no idea. He was the man. He was able to reduce heart disease incidence in his almost 2,000 patients by 90% for starters, a mark few physicians, if any, have ever matched. He did this without counseling on diet, smoking, or any of that. In fact, the only tools he often needed as a practicing physician were a thermometer (for diagnosis), and some dried pork.

Dried pork?

Broda Barnes used desiccated porcine thyroid gland in rather small doses to treat his numerous hypothyroid patients who he was able to diagnose, not through standard blood tests which he found to be useless, but by monitoring the armpit body temperature first thing in the morning. Sound too good to be true? That’s what I thought at first, but after closer inspection, I really think Barnes life’s work is chock full of much-needed wisdom on the link between the thyroid gland, the rest of the body systems, and the disease trends that are being witnessed in the world today.

His loyalists hold him in the highest light, and those who have followed his protocols have apparently had great success. The first time I heard about Barnes was in the book, Solved: The Riddle of Illness by Stephen Langer and James Scheer. I thought it was interesting, but it seemed to me that these two clowns were just spouting off about the beauty of Armour brand desiccated thyroid. Seemed like product propaganda for sure.

I heard Barnes’s name mentioned elsewhere in my studies, and as I began learning more and more about the thyroid’s link to disease (particularly in the work of Robert McCarrison), I began to open up a little bit more to this curious Broda character.

So I reeled in a couple of his books form Amazon – one on heart disease entitled, Solved: The Riddle of Heart Attacks, and another, Hope for Hypoglycemia. Both of these books were about the relationship between thyroid deficiency and common ailments. You guys, these books are awesome. They are smart, witty, and they present entirely new theories on the most prevalent degenerative diseases. Barnes is like, “exercise a bunch and don’t eat saturated fat? Whaddya stoopid?” Of course, exercise and saturated fat have about as much to do with heart disease as lack of pirates does with global warming (despite the theories out there connecting the two).

Oh sorry, I lost my train of thought there for a second, Liz the local librarian just called informing me that Broda’s other book on the thyroid just showed up at the library for me to come down and pick up. How cute.

Anyway, Broda aside, the book I just finished reading today, Hypothyroidism Type II by Mark Starr, M.D., is truly an outstanding piece of work. I think every single physician and endocrinologist on the face of the earth should read this book immediately and take it to heart. For lack of a better way to describe it, the book is basically “the hypothyroid theory of disease.” Barnes estimated that 40% of his patients were hypothyroid during his time. Stephan Langer “found the numbers running slightly higher.” Mark Starr is seeing the numbers explode off the charts in his chronic pain treatment clinic.

Although Starr is a little stuck in the belief that these disorders are hereditary and a result of antibiotics and vaccines disturbing natural selection – a belief that is easily refutable, much of his theory could really be spot on. He also brings up one of the most significant understandings in the modern world – the actual mechanisms for Weston A. Price’s “intercepted heredity.” This is mutation of the mitochondrial DNA, a type of hereditary substance that is not part of the 23 pairs of x and y chromosomes we learned about as kids. He links this to many of the changes seen by Price (although he likely has no knowledge of Price) – narrowing of the dental arch, cavities, respiratory problems, digestive problems, propensity to develop infectious illness, allergies, asthma, behavioral disorders, and so on.

He attributes all of this to lowered active thyroid hormones (something than cannot be tested in the blood – the hormones are there, but the cells are ‘resistant’ to them, just like they are with type II diabetics). When the thyroid is lowered, the metabolism is lowered, and when the metabolism is lowered the mitochondria – the cellular energy currency of the body, slow, reduce, and get damaged. And generation to generation, this mitochondrial DNA continues to become increasingly degraded as we continually bombard ourselves with toxic foods and environmental poisons.

The only question now is does a lowered thyroid cause this, or is there some other hormonal component that lowers it, such as high cortisol levels from stress or infection? Since infection and stress both appear to be tremendously improved by desiccated thyroid supplementation, and having adequate levels of thyroid seem to make one virtually invincible to both infectious and degenerative disease, it is reasonable to assume that the thyroid gland really is the most appropriate site to focus upon in fixing the mess that environmental toxins, poor nutrition, and refined sugar and other poisonous modern substances have caused.

I could go on for days on this, but consider for now, if you think carbs or any other natural food component somehow causes disease, that supposedly a total of ZERO Broda Barnes patients developed type II diabetes under his care – a disease that now inflicts nearly one out of ten Americans.

114 Comments

  1. Wait, so Broda didn’t have a specific diet plan, he just attempted to fix the thyroid? I think?

    My dad had a hyperthyroid in the beginning of his life, then later, or now, a hypothyroid (which is why he’s got some tubbage now). He’s got to take this medicine that “controls” it which he claims so he doesn’t “die”; the medicine also fucked up his teeth which are like yellow and some fell out. I mean, he hasn’t read about diet, which is why he probably didn’t notice that since his whole life he’s been drinking soda, eating take out every day, eating the average american diet basically, that this may have something to do with it slowing down. I wouldn’t know what to suggest to him – but does Broda talk about people who are supposedly “predisposed” for thyroid diseases? I was just told by my dad that his is genetic (you know kind of like type 1 diabetes – are there thyroid problems like that?). I think it would be interesting for me to learn about something that maybe could be of some help to him. I mean, if he tried that is, haha.

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  2. The good old thyroid-android.
    Dr. Schwarzbein doesn´t seem to be too inclined to prescribe thyroid hormones – in contrast to Broda.
    So, whats the way to go for someone with a suspect thyroid function? As a first step probably a change in diet. Didn´t Broda recommend a carb reduction? If that doesn´t yield anything supplementation of thyroid hormones (what shouldn´t be prime choice if you are “hormone-resistant” in the first place) could follow.
    I am still struggling with my own thyroid issues (low morning temperature and tendency for cold hands/feet). I upped my calorie intake by about 30%. I am just not sure if that´s enough and how long it should take to boost my thyroid/metabolism.

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  3. Broda did have a theory on diet as well. He noticed that many of his patients were hypoglycemic, and that a diet that reduced carbohydrates was a sure fix for that. However, he plainly knew protein to be a potent metabolism-lowering substance, especially when combined with low carb which forces GNG – the conversion of protein to glucose.

    Therefore, Broda recommended the emphasis be on fat – a substance that could provide extra calories without leading to excess fat storage. He found through his own personal experimentation that he could maintain the same weight by adding 1,000 fat calories to a typical 2,000 calorie high protein, low carb diet.

    I agree completely. He was particularly fond of saturated fat. Mmmmm, yes master.

    Barnes felt that low thyroid function was totally hereditary, as does Mark Starr and others in the Barnes camp. This is true to an extent, but I don’t think any of these guys realize that it is equally environmental. Like Price and McCarrison and many others discovered, perfect nutrition made people virtually impenetrable to disease, infectious and degenerative, and Broda’s whole argument is that the hypothyroid individuals in society have always succumbed to diseases like tuberculosis. Antibiotics and vaccines allowed them to live long enough for those who would have died to get heart disease. Like autopsies showed, even 3 year-olds had signs of atherosclerosis.

    For some, thyroid supplementation may be mandatory. I can’t rule out that it’s not knowing how effective it supposedly is. I have a hunch that diet is even MORE effective, but of course requires more effort.

    But the key is the type of thyroid hormone supplemention. Schwarzbein uses bioidentical hormones, but all of these guys swear by desiccated thyroid. It’s doubtful that Schwarzbein has experimented with desiccated thyroid enough to rule it out.

    Starr says you can’t obtain these kind of results with anything but desiccated – and even with desiccated there are some pitfalls – sometimes adrenal hormone supplementation must accompany it, etc.

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  4. So, a thyroid booster would be a high caloric HIGH fat, moderate protein and low carb diet?

    In my mixed-diet-days with lots of Coke et al I used to radiate quite some heat. My wife even sometimes “complained about that. Nevertheless sometimes I woke at night because I was cold (obviously no heat radiation at that time).
    I have no idea what my caloric intake used to bee. But maybe “excess” calories were just “burned”.

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  5. Protein is bodybuilding material. Carbs and fat are fuel. The lower you protein intake, the more fuel you’re ingesting.

    However, those with hyperinsulinemia will most likely fare better with fat being the predominant source rather than carbohydrates.

    But I wouldn’t try to boost the metabolism by increasing protein and cutting carbs to nothing. That would probably have the opposite effect, and is why many high-protein dieters plateau as their metabolism slows down.

    Barnes always recommended “at least 50grams of carbs to prevent ketosis.” And then you’re left with a diet that very closely mimics what I laid out in the ebook on my other site (www.180degreehealth.com), Barry Groves Natural Health and Weight Loss, Kwasniewski, Schwarzbein, Greogory Ellis, etc.

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  6. hm, do you think he recommended 50g of carbs because if you were taking in too few calories this had an effect? Perhaps you don’t need that many carbs if you’re eating enough (a lot) of calories mostly from fat? Doesn’t ketosis happen as a starvation mechanism? I think about your FUMP ing and how you had said you were in ketosis – yet you were eating a lot. Perhaps it was just lipolysis? They are different, no?

    That was a great book you wrote, by the way. I enjoyed it. Can’t wait for the one involving food preparations!

    I also got Price’s book the other day, so I’m geearing up to read that

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  7. “…protein to be a potent metabolism-lowering substance, especially when combined with low carb which forces GNG – the conversion of protein to glucose.”
    Can you confirm that this is true? I believe the opposite. The process of gluconeogenesis is inherently inefficient – low conversion rate with wasted heat or thermogenesis. One would woulf feel more warmth with high protein consumption. Whether it’s good or bad is depending on one’s point of view but I would call that metabolism-raising rather than not.
    Regards.

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  8. JohnN:

    It does make sense what you are saying.
    But if someone (like me) is concerned about low thyroid function (because of cold hands) the primary objective is to restore a proper thyroid. The disappearance of cold hands would only be a side effect. A higher protein content might warm the hands but does it raise thyroid function? Or is it just an side effect of inefficient metabolic action that masks the underlying problem (or even makes it worse)?

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  9. Yes, Barnes confirmed that a high-protein diet lowered the metabolic rate, worsened hypothyroid symptoms, and was no solution to a weight problem – something he criticized weight watcher’s-style diets for.

    You said it all in your comment – GNG is inefficient. Efficient forms of energy raise the metabolism. If the body requires excess energy to break down protein, which is irrefutably the least efficient source of energy for the body to use, then it’s not likely there will be a surplus.

    Of course, you need protein or you will also slow down the metabolism to prevent muscle wasting. The appropriate amount of protein (1g for every kg of lean body mass), is ideal for metabolic stimulation. Eating a larger percentage of your diet as protein insures that more energy is wasted in GNG or conversion to fat, and the diet is lower in overall available calories. This is why protein is recommended for weight loss. It fills you up on less calories and makes a calorie deficit easier to achieve.

    However, calorie deficits make the underlying problems, hypothyroidism for starters, worse not better. It is misleading.

    Because fat doesn’t stimulate insulin and storage, I, along with Barnes and many others who took this into account, regard fat as being the ultimate metabolically stimulating substance. The more you eat, the higher your metabolism goes and the more progress you can make towards speeding up your metabolism, which parallels that surplus energy.

    This is why upping fat intake, and not protein, is the best solution to the underlying disorder(s) that lead to excessive fat accumulation and other disorders. There is no advantage to overconsuming protein that I’m aware of.

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  10. so the ketosis thing — why would that happen if you had enough calories from fat (no matter protein/carbs, as long as fat and calories are high)?

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  11. Ketosis is something that starvation triggers. You got that part right.

    But going really low in carbs can trigger the same thing.

    Basically, your brain uses glucose all the time. If you don’t eat glucose, your body must manufacture it. The brain can also run on ketones, which are formed from incomplete oxidation (burning) of fatty acids. This is the metabolic state Atkins was trying to tap into with his famous diet.

    So yes, if you go low enough in carbs, you can go into ketosis. Some think this is a superior metabolic state, but that is extremely debatable (aka unlikely).

    That’s why low carb is really split into two divisions – get enough to stay out of ketosis, or get so few that you stay in ketosis. They are two totally different metabolic states.

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  12. Hey Matt, just checking. I posted to you last night. Did you get my questions?

    If not, I will repost to you this morning!

    Very nice post dude!

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  13. Negative pootilicious. Hit me again!

    Reply
  14. Dayum I’ve slept since last night so can’t remember all of what I wrote. Musta clicked the preview button instead of the submit is all I can think.

    Ok so following that excess protein slows metabolism and it’s better to eat fat for fuel what do you make of this protein calculator that Jenny over at Bloodsugar 101 made based on a new equation? I posted about it on my journal today with my numbers so won’t stymie your comments by posting my results but it seems to me that protein/fat (especially with zc) should not be 50%/50%. That seems really high to me.

    Here’s the calculator link:

    http://www.phlaunt.com/lowcarb/DietMakeupCalc.php

    So how do you know how much fat to have as opposed to how much protein? Is it still based on the calorie in versus calorie out model?

    Also what happens in t2s or hyperinsulinemics that can’t handle 50g of carbs a day in order to stave off ketosis?

    Also, what do you make of CWs supposition that people who are ketoadapted are no longer really “in ketosis”. They no longer spill ketones in their urine…

    Thanks!! :)

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  15. Couple thoughts here, Matt, if I may.

    1) I think a picture is starting to emerge that the more steps involved in the manufacture of energy substrates, the worse things will be. Examples? Sure . . .

    Virtually all of the cells in the body use glucose as fuel, most notably the brain. Fructose must be converted to glucose in the liver, and hence is less efficient than glucose.

    Of course, dietary fructose has negative effects on the liver and, for many, on digestive functions.

    Eating too much protein and insufficient glucose forces the body into glucosegenesis from protein, which, again, is less efficient than straight up eating glucose.

    We know that this also causes metabolic slow down and other problems.

    Eating insufficient carbs relative to fat will lead the body to convert fat to ketone bodies, but this, too, is less efficient than straight up glucose. Accordingly, we can presume that it, too, has health consequences.

    2) Often we talk about 50 grams as the limit to avoid ketosis, but I wonder if this is too few carbohydrates for optimum performance. The brain is the major glucose consumer in the body, and I seem to recall that a day’s worth of cognitive function requires something like 200 grams per day. If you exercise intensely, the requirements go up.

    If one eats less than 200 grams, between 199 and 50, I wonder if the body won’t compensate by slowing things down to some degree. But when you get below 50, the body probably cannot get by with slowing things down alone and must actually switch to ketosis.

    All of this is to say that 200 grams of carbohydrate may be a more realistic minimum in order to maintain optimum function.

    3) I believe Ray Peat was the one who suggested that excessive consumption of cysteine–an amino acid concentrated in meat–retards thyroid function. This may provide an additional mechanism by which high-protein diets impair thyroid function.

    -Ben S.

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  16. perhaps if cysteine is consumed in abundance..But wouldn’t high fat% over-rule this (with high fat comes lower protein of course)?
    And also, isn’t fat fuel the goal here? Like..instead of storing glucose when there’s too much, fat is used for everything else, yeah? Like for lean muscles or organs – making it a superior energy source. I’m speaking from what I’ve read, though; I can’t draw any conclusions without experience. Working on that..haha
    But I guess only if you were using glucose as main energy would over 50 be important. Not too sure about glucose being more efficient though.

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  17. Ben S. what about in metabolically broken individuals? I have T2 diabetes. I was on a very low calorie/low fat diet 30%cals from fat, 130-150g of carbs per day. Do you have any idea what my blood sugars were? They ranged from 130-170s. I routinely had fasting bgs in the 130s! When I went back to low carb 30-50g/day, my blood sugars dropped back into the 100s-110s range fasting. Now that I’m doing zc, my blood sugars are ranging from 86-110. Is this coincidence? I don’t believe so. I really believe the only difference between me and someone with so called “normal sugar” is the pancreas’ beta cells’ ability to push out the insulin at greater volume/rate and/or that a person’s cells aren’t as insulin resistant yet as mine happen to be. But I would bet if you could measure insulin response with those kinds of concommitant reductions in carbs “normal sugar people” would see the same type of pattern of insulin production reducing and blood sugar dropping that you have seen with my blood sugars. I still believe that 75% of “normal sugar people” have an exagerated response to higher carbohydrates than people with impaired glucose metabolism, but they may not be at the point of outwardly showing the effect.

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  18. Matt: “The appropriate amount of protein (1g for every kg of lean body mass), is ideal for metabolic stimulation.”

    I don’t see any reason to limit protein this much and many reasons not to (like the emaciated appearance of many people on JK’s diet). Hunter-gatherers ate 20% protein or more. So did Stefansson when eating according to his own preferences in Bellevue. The whole idea of counting things is illogical, IMO. We should eat as much as we want and simply emphasize fat more rather than counting it like a dieter. I think 20-25% protein wouldn’t cause any problems and in fact would be healthier than 1g/kg, esp for an active person engaged in exercise.

    Ben: “Of course, dietary fructose has negative effects on the liver and, for many, on digestive functions.”

    Please cite some studies using real food that prove this assertion. I would agree that fructose is bad if added to a diet high in PUFA oils and starches, but what happens if you remove the PUFAs and the starches? The variables change. Here are some studies showing the toxic effect of mixing fructose and starch. Animals will eat less if fed fructose without starch, but they don’t reduce their food intakes when fed starch + fructose. Combine with the fact most studies feed animals high PUFA oils (like corn oil) as the source of fat, and you have a great recipe for metabolic disorder and disease. My guess is that fructose is bad when it’s mixed with starches and/or PUFAs. If you don’t eat those things, fructose is harmless. You have to look at the diet as a whole and not make blanket accusations like “fructose is evil.” Show me the studies that prove fructose is evil that isolate it from starches and PUFA oils. I have never seen those studes, because almost all studies feed PUFA oils and many mix starches and fructose, rather than feed the fructose by itself. and of course we could easily debate whether refined and processed fructose behaves the same way as unrefined natural sugars.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2178391
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1799283

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  19. “Didn’t Broda recommend a carb reduction?”

    Refined carbs are the problem and rancid grains. So, reduce those by all means. I don’t think anyone has ever demonstrated that unrefined and natural carbs are the cause of modern diseases. Matt mentioned in the past that Barnes was against PUFA oils, too. Ray Peat seems to believe the best diet for thyroid is moderate in fat (like 25%) and very low in PUFAs (1% of calories or less). He also suggests more protein than Matt, like 20-25%. Also, he says that protein should be balanced, so you have 50% collagen, like boiling meat with skin and bones and drinking broths, rather than eating muscle meat like say Charles Washington. Using coconut oil is also recommended strongly. Here are some of Ray’s essays on these topics. Rather than arbitrarily restricting protein, he suggests limiting specific amino acids, which is a more logical idea.

    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/diabetes.shtml
    http://raypeat.com/articles/aging/tryptophan-serotonin-aging.shtml
    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/coconut-oil.shtml

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  20. Bruce K:

    “(like the emaciated appearance of many people on JK’s diet)”

    How many do you know?

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  21. Sven: "How many do you know?"

    Enough to make an informed judgement. JK himself looks unhealthy, IMO, and you've admitted he's bald too. Just look at the people in the video Matt posted (which I found months ago, BTW). They all seem to be lacking in muscle. Peter (HyperLipid) is another example. He looks unhealthy & miserable. Can you point out some people eating the diet strictly who look robust and healthy, not emaciated or fat?

    Food, fremented cream and 85% chocolate

    Also, where is the proof that protein is best limited to 1g/kg (10-12% calories)? Surely there are studies to support this and not just arbitrary dogma from a diet guru saying that this is optimal. I have higher standards of proof. I suspect the studies (if they exist) are badly flawed like using casein and other processed or refined protein, not real foods. Reality shows that protein from meat is entirely different from isolated amino acids. So, it’s crazy to say that protein should be fixed at 1g/kg. That requires a severely limited diet, esp when combined with low carbs. Where are the studies showing any benefit to a low-protein diet using real foods, not junk like casein?

    http://tinyurl.com/9ek6tq

    Stefansson chose a diet with 75-80% fat, 20-25% protein, during his Bellevue diet study. The men ate like 2 pounds of meat a day. Charles also seems to eat around that. So, why should we restrict protein to 1g/kg, as JK suggests? What harm will befall us if we eat 1g per pound instead of 1g per kilogram?

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  22. Well I didn’t mean to get too into the calculations of protein and what not, but the standard recommendation is 1g of protein for every 1kg of bodyweight. I do not think about my own personal quotas and proportions that much, I just eat food. If I’m still hungry, I pound cream.

    Pooti,
    50-50 is pretty outrageous. Like Bruce pointed out, ketogenic diets of the past tended to gravitate towards 80:20 fat to protein. All else was unsatisfying. Fat is energy, protein isn’t really. The diet in general needs to be mostly energy, with some bodybuilding and repairing material. I don’t think it needs to be much or that there is really any advantage to getting excess protein.

    Barnes warned of ketosis, however, that was based mostly on the fact that a general phobia surrounds it. Is it the plague? Probably not. Is it ideal? Debatable for sure, and unlikely considering that every race of human beings with access to carbohydrates made carbohydrate foods a staple that I know of, but hey, perhaps they just had animal-deficiency and had to turn to these lesser foods. That’s still one possibility.

    Also, Pooti, carbohydrates do not cause insulin resistance and the path to type II diabetes. Something else causes insulin resistance, and hypothyroidism is a likely culprit, as is hypercortisolemia (cushing’s disease being an advanced manifestation of that). So a diet that lowers thyroid, even if it reduces blood sugars, may not be the best option.

    Your ketogenic diet may be ideal. That’s one question many have right now. I’m not trying to freak you out about it, just trying to keep you and others from being blindsided by it. Like Bruce has pointed out many times, there are people out there overcoming type II on vegan diets, eating a cup of honey per day, drinking raw milk, etc. Zero carb is not the only way, and because of the suspicions that surround high protein diets and ketosis in regards to the thyroid, one must keep a watchful eye. To do that, check your morning basal body temperature with a thermometer to make sure body temp isn’t progressively lowering. At the very least take note of increases in coldness, decreases in energy, etc.

    The ideal diet to overturn hypothyroidism is obviously one that provides the most metabolic stimulation. If it can create metabolic stimulation while simultaneously lowering appetite, then it would be ideal for overweight people, hands down. Like I’ve said, it’s the divergence between appetite and metabolic rate that leads to slow accumulation of excess fat. But it can be reversed, and the low carb diet is famous for being able to do that, yet, not everyone succeeds on it. It is not foolproof, and may slow down the metabolism like Atkins said it does.

    I tend to think that has much to do with 2 things: appetite suppression of ketosis, which causes people to eat too little and wind down their metabolic rate; and an overreliance on protein, which is not an energy food, but a tissue-building food. When it has to be a major source of energy, one would think it would have to slow down the metabolism.

    As for muscle-wasting on a high-fat diet, I can’t back that up with personal experience. Just the other day someone told me of a person who whispered about me after 3 months of high-fat schwarzbein… “I think Matt’s been really working out.” I hadn’t been working out, but my body transformed, replacing all the muscle loss of vegism and building the most muscular physique that I’m capable of building without lifting weights.

    Another person told me, “you left as a boy and came back as a man” in reference to my transformed body – again, without weightlifting. Not talking monstrous here, but noticeable to everyone who knew me prior. I attribute this to metabolic stimulation as a result of eating lots of fat and dropping insulin levels by cutting out refined sugar and lowering overall carbs to about 100-150 grams per day.

    Who knows what the most metabolically stimulating diet is. Ray Peat may be right. Kwasniewski and I may be right, recommending a low carb and low protein diet while trying to get as much fat in the diet as possible.

    It would be nice if it was known for sure, so that the majority who really might be hypothyroid, wouldn’t have to try to convince their doctors to give them desiccated thyroid, as the vast majority of the medical field believes that hypothyroidism is rare and that desiccated thyroid is junk.

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  23. Matt: “I tend to think that has much to do with 2 things: appetite suppression of ketosis, which causes people to eat too little and wind down their metabolic rate; and an overreliance on protein, which is not an energy food, but a tissue-building food.”

    But Atkins starts very-low-carbs (20g or less), then adds carbs back slowly with ongoing weight loss. So it would be less likely you would stay in ketosis a long time. Very few low-carb diets recommend going below 50g of carbs long-term. Guys like Charles are in the minority and no mainstream book says to eat zero-carb or ketogenic low-carb. Body-builders do use ketogenic diets for short-term fat loss, but few (if any) eat a strict ketogenic diet with no carb reloads.

    “When it has to be a major source of energy, one would think it would have to slow down the metabolism.”

    Also, there may be a difference between raw meat and cooked meat. Maybe for raw, or largely raw meat, it wouldn’t matter if you ate 50% protein, or 70% protein. Maybe cooking causes rabbit starvation. One of Stefansson’s studies mentioned a tribe of Eskimos eating on average 280g protein, 135g fat, and 54g carbs. That’s 44% protein – assuming that the data is correct. Stefansson got sick in days by eating 44% protein from cooked meat, but isn’t it possible that raw meat wouldn’t cause the same problems? Maybe the waste products from raw meat protein could be eliminated faster than cooked.

    http://www.jbc.org/cgi/reprint/83/3/747.pdf
    http://www.jbc.org/cgi/reprint/87/3/651.pdf

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  24. Oh yeah, that’s a good point. Raw meat I think is important for health — especially since I’ve heard the enzymes in that (unlike plants) really can help themselves “digest” when not destroyed by heating (maybe it’s something else though, like nutrients and water content are higher). You wouldn’t have to just eat raw meat all the time though, I think, to get the benefits. Like searing on the outside would be fine, and eating a steak bleu. Things like pork though, you probably wouldn’t want to eat raw.
    When I watch random travel shows – there’s always people though who slowly cook most of their meals, like, buried in the ground with coals or something. I wonder if this was another method that may have been used by some mostly carnivorous people – or if raw was always the choice/is the choice. Cooking at a low temperature for a long time is pretty different then a well done steak, no?

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  25. “Things like pork though, you probably wouldn’t want to eat raw.”

    I ate raw pork on the Primal Diet, and I never got food poisoning. Eating lots of raw liver would cause diarrhea sometimes due to vitamin overload probably. Eating right minimizes the risk of poisoning, I think. You are more at risk by eating in fast food restaurants, esp the bread and fries and soft drinks. Eating processed meats and raw vegetables is another food poisoning risk IMO. I once got violently ill from a sub sandwich and threw up 3-4 times in the backyard. I never got worse than a loose stool from eating raw pork, raw eggs, raw shellfish, and raw livers.

    When you don’t drink water with meals or eat starches or eat junk food, your body can deal with bacteria more easily. Most foodborne illnesses are caused by eating the usual modern diet, which weakens our body’s innate defenses.

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  26. What’s the safe upper and lower limit of protein? The Kitavans supposedly eat 69% carbs, 21% fat, and 10% protein. Tubers, coconuts, seafood, roots, and fruits are their main foods. I’ve seen many reports that over 35-40% protein will cause high levels of toxicity. But the real problem may be lack of fat and/or carbs, not too much protein. If you eat enough carbs or fats to provide your daily energy needs, the body can just excrete excess protein in the urine, feces, etc. It doens’t get broken down into amino acids.

    Also, what do you make of the fact that human milk has about 55% fat, 39% carbs, and 6% protein? Could we go that low in protein and be healthy, provided you’re eating high-fat and high-carb like that? The worst possible diet seems to be the high-everything diet (SAD) – high sugar, high starch, high meat, high PUFA, high saturated fat, high protein.

    http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/95/2

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  27. Hm; I just figured since pigs would cary more parasites then the average cow – unless the body can also deal with this on a greater level when not consuming things in a fast food restaurant as well. Now that I think about it, it is usually the golden corals and fast food chains that most people get food born illnesses from. Or maybe the fact they eat this more often, they can’t handle raw meat and bacteria that may or may not be on it. Same for raw milk, even. I’ve seen much controversy about that.

    Do you find it difficult to chew raw meat? Haha, I have yet to try anything close to raw other then things cooked rare (I didn’t know whether or not I should cook my pork very long or not, still). I do very much hate dried out well cooked things though, unless it’s from a crock pot and falling apart. The past week or so I’ve really wanted to try only seared meats, but haven’t yet. I also wonder if it matters what cuts – which ones are less chewy. (like..I love sirloin, but damn, there’s so much connective tissue hidden in the muscle it’s annoying)

    Reply
  28. “Do you find it difficult to chew raw meat?”

    The solution I uncovered was not to chew raw meat very much. I’ve heard that AV’s now recommending this too. Certain meats are harder to chew, so I would just chew enough to make sure there were no bones, and then swallow them. I don’t recall AV saying to bolt raw meat in either of his books, but it seemed natural. Stefansson said the Eskimos didn’t chew their foods much and dogs don’t chew at all. I think AV stole my idea, which I stole from the Eskimos and how dogs eat. I brought this idea up on several lists and nobody else seemed to be doing it. Now I’ve heard AV is saying it’s better to “bolt” raw meat like that (easier to digest).

    http://tinyurl.com/5rpb9g

    Reply
  29. AV? I’ve also heard that meat will digest the same no matter how much it’s chewed..especially when raw. I find that intriguing. Does it matter how fast that meat gets dissolved in the stomach – and do you think (I’m asking anyone in general, here) that other foods have an effect on how fast the meat will be completely turned into chyme? I believe that’s the word…chyme…it’s been like a year since I took anatomy. haha

    Meat always seems to get the blame..I used to watch this show that said red meat – RED meat (only red meat ..for some reason) – will rot in your intestines. How the eff does that happen if it’s a liquid?? They also promoted fiber a lot. Which will ferment in the gut. Jeez, after you read some actual science all the mainstream stuff that seems smart starts to sound really dumb.

    Reply
  30. chlOe: “AV?”

    AV = Aajonus Vonderplanitz, the raw meat diet guru. Matt has mentioned AV several times in his articles. His diet is meat, eggs, dairy, green vegetable juices, and unheated honey (like really raw honey) – no starches, grains, beans, potatoes, or refined sugar. Very little fruit. Here’s the website for AV’s Diet.

    Primal Diet! The Raw Food Diet For Living Healthy

    “I’ve also heard that meat will digest the same no matter how much it’s chewed..especially when raw.”

    As long as you’re not eating starches or fiber, I don’t think it would matter how much you chew. It might help digest cold foods by bringing them up closer to your body’s temperature. I don’t know whether raw makes much difference. I never tried eating cooked meat that way, and I don’t eat all raw food any more..

    Reply
  31. Oh ok, I know who you’re talking about now. Thought that sounded familiar..
    Yeah, does he eat honey with the pollen and everything? The pure stuff isn’t even clear at all, I don’t think. At least I saw something on Ethiopia, and they had some pure honey, which had pollen in it – it was like yellow and the dude who tried it said it tasted bitter as hell.
    I just read somewhere raw meat digests faster then when cooked. Maybe that’s just for well-done kind of cooked, or charred. Anyway, I like to cook meat – atleast a little; I don’t know if I would typically enjoy eating raw liver, either, haha.

    Bruce or Matt or anyone – do you guys slow cook ever? Just wondering your opinions or experience on that. I don’t think it’s that harmful considering it’s being cooked at a low temperature.

    Reply
  32. Thanks for the commentary on raw pork Bruce. In fact, raw pork is probably one of the safest meats to eat raw, as the only major worry is over Trichinosis. There has been an average of 10-12 reports of trich. over the past 2 decades in the U.S., far lower than the reports of alien abduction I assume.

    Chloe,

    Meat and other foods rotting in the intestines may have something to do with gut transit time, something that has been shown to be far lower in your typical modern human than it was in primitives studied by guys like Denis Burkitt. However, I think much of this has to do with prevalent hypothyroidism, and when considering T.L. Cleave’s work that I’m currently reading, in which he mentions refined sugar being known to cause thyrotoxicosis, it starts to make sense.

    Also, I do slow cook often, but really don’t prefer it from a health standpoint. Although it’s a great way to simmer bones and extract additional minerals, collagen, marrow, etc., the meat itself does seem to require quite a bit more digestive work. It’s fine every now and then, but eating mostly braised and stewed meat is probably not the best idea in the world.

    Bruce,
    I haven’t been able to develop the meat-wolfing skill yet, although I’ve always been eager to because the chewing was the one thing that always deterred me from raw meats, which I’ve never had much fear of. Even eating raw chickens, pork, fermented dairy, and all kinds of fish – I’ve never had even 1 case of diarrhea or anything that comes close.

    Reply
  33. oh ok; i figured the same – once in a while. It’s because with the bulk pack I got they gave me a chuck roast and some really tough meats – short ribs, “stir fry” meat which is realy just thinly sliced round. I hear also that if you sear the outside real quick of the tough things, they can actually be quite tender if raw on the inside. I don’t know though, I’ve never done that. All I know is that I’m never going to try to bake lamb riblets in the oven again. hahaha..way too overdone.

    Good to hear about pork. I dont’ like cooking it to well done.

    Reply
  34. I think boiling / simmering is the least damaging way to cook, provided you don't over-cook the meat. If you boil it for a few hours, that can generate more toxins and be harder to digest. If you cook the meat lightly, it's fine. I only cook the bones and tough stuff for a long time. I take the meat out much sooner. I think a crockpot would also be a good method for cooking, but not long roasting at a high temperature. Just low heat.

    I've never had diarrhea from raw meat. A loose stool maybe, but not persistent or uncontrolled elimination. Here is a clip from 2004 where AV talks about how it is best to eat meat without chewing it very much. He says that mixing it with saliva causes the body to become too alkaline & causes repulsion to meat. He can eat up to 3 pounds of raw meat a day by bolting it, but if he chews each bite carefully, he's lucky to get down half a pound.

    Aajonus on Bolting Meat

    The Bear also said not to chew meat. I’d forgotten about this, probably because I thought of doing it before he or Aajonus mentioned it, so it didn’t register. But Bear said “One doesn’t chew meat, cooked or raw…” Just cut it into small pieces and mash a few times and swallow. That’s how dogs and cats eat, if you offer them raw meaty bones. Chewing just takes more time and makes it hard to take in enough food, esp eating raw meat.

    Bear’s Words of Wisdom

    Reply
  35. Hi Matt!

    Love your blog you’re doing great work! :)

    Few words about diet, ketogenesis and hypothyroidism. I agree those things You wrote about boosting up metabolism and thyroid function with fat but there is this one thing that bothers me: what happens when carbs are kept 50 g/day and what happens if it is like Atkins 20g/day?

    When you’re eating low carb, brain starts to use less glucose. Wikipedia (?!) says that 120 g/d goes down to 40 g/d. When you eat fat or loose weight you get some of that glucose from glyserol (do you know how much?!) and rest of it is made from glucogenic amino acids.

    Thyroid hormones seem to regulate gluconeogenesis from glycerol so I think that thyroid function and ketogenesis from fat might go hand in hand.

    For example type 2 diabetic will have high insulinand low thyroid and low ketogenesis and high gluconeogenesis from aminoacids.

    Diabetic state can be reversed with low carb, high fat diet which results in higher ketogenesis, higher gluconeogenesis from glyserol and higher thyroid activity.

    High amount of protein will shift the balance to the GNG from mainly aminoacids which fills liver glycogen and inhibits ketogenesis. Thyroid activity goes down and weight loosing stops.

    Reply
  36. isn’t most meat (muscle) pretty much half fat, though?

    Reply
  37. Westie,

    Great comment. That is exactly the discussion that I brought up in the recent ebook that I wrote over at my other site… http://www.180degreehealth.com

    I have always argued that, as a strategy for fat loss and metabolic stimulation, that getting adequate protein but not exceeding that amount is ideal – instead relying on a high fat version of the low carb diet such as those recommended by Kwasniewski and Barry Groves, both guys who I had not studied at the time I wrote that ebook.

    The question is carb content of the diet at that point, and that riddle still hasn’t been solved. My 30-day all-meat diet was a personal exploration of what not eating carbohydrates was like.

    Ketosis, or not ketosis? That is the question.

    But it’s clear that switching from glucose as the primary fuel source for the muscles to fatty acids is the most efficient path to improving a fat overstorage and underburning problem. This is what spawned my whole “Fueled by Fat” mantra.

    Chloe,

    Most meats do have quite a bit of fat, but only super fatty meats like cornfed ribeye have that 80-20fat to protein ratio so coveted by historically very low-carb eaters.

    Reply
  38. Matt, you posted over at my menu blog that you felt I was going in the wrong direction. But previously you posted that I needed to beware eating too much protein. I’m confused.

    Here is my thought process and what I’m doing. Can you comment on what needs to change here?

    1. I did my protein requirements using JKs due body weight formula and found it to be around 65.5g protein daily +/- 6g so basically in a range from 59g – 72g of protein daily in round figures.

    2. JK calls for a ratio of 1:2.5-3.5:.8 protein:fat:carbs but I want to continue doing my zerocarb experiment so I went ahead and figured since I’m not eating the 30-50g of carbs JK talks about and since I am T2 already, I would add protein to make it about 80g of protein daily in order to supply that extra glucose through gluconeogenesis.

    I’m planning to keep my fats at 80:20 ratio fat to protein.

    I also know from BMI calculations that my to maintain my body weight on a ketogenic diet using the old faulty cal in-cal out logic, that I need to eat 2700 calories. To lose 1lb/week I need to be eating 2200cals and to lose 2lbs per week I need to be eating 1700 cals.

    So what I arbitrarily decided was to keep my calories around 1800-1900kcals per day. Keep my protein between 70-80g/day. Keep my fat/protein ratio to 80:20/day and that makes the cals naturally fall between 1700-1900 kcals/day, roughly.

    Why would this be counter productive and result in a lowering of metabolic function? I can tell you over the last couple days so far doing this, I’m much hotter and I am experiencing a small increase in anxiety (hypercortisol release maybe?).

    Can you comment or advise? I really don’t want to go back to eating veggies yet. Until I know for certain that zc isn’t the way to go.

    Thanks,

    Pooti

    Reply
  39. I’ve also been getting tons of calories lately and I seem to continue gaining fat, yet, barely eating any carbs. Should carbs be increased in order to effectively burn fat? Because I’m unsure at this point which way to go, lower or higher. It could also be the dairy…but then again if I eat too much meat, I’ll just get my digestion all in a funk again. Ah! Someone had told me they had digestion problems at first when they went low carb after being vegetarian for 10 years…perhaps it is just temporary? I’m so confused as to why I’m gaining weight.

    Reply
  40. “But it’s clear that switching from glucose as the primary fuel source for the muscles to fatty acids is the most efficient path to improving a fat overstorage and underburning problem.”

    Eliminating refined sugars, flour, PUFA oils, and other processed foods is the most efficient way to stop the cycle of uncontrolled weight gain. Any diet that does bans those foods will give results that are phenomenal by comparison with diets that promote calorie counting and under-eating. Joel Fuhrman’s diet (90% vegan) seems to give faster weight loss than unrestricted low-carb diets, which often result in excessive protein, fat, PUFA, and calorie intake, esp when they allow eating nuts, seeds, and low-carb processed foods (artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, stevia, protein powder, mayonnaise, salad dressing, restaurant food cooked with toxic oils).

    Nost low-carb diets don’t go far enough in eliminating processed food IMO. They instead promote carbohydrate phobia and the delusional belief that carbohydrate causes fattening in and of itself. They ignore the fact that all people who eat high-carb and are fat are eat high-PUFA and high-trans fat. PUFA vegetable oils are proven to cause weight gain. Try to gain weight on a raw vegan diet or high carb diet based on fresh juices. As you showed, it’s just as hard to gain on a zero-fat diet (most fruits and veggies) as it is on a “zero-carb” diet.

    Any diet that cuts out enough food will produce weight loss. But it’s very hard to gain weight eating carbs by themself. It’s the mix of high-carb (esp refined) and toxic fats that cause hyper-obesity. You would have hard time gaining weight by eating pure sugar by itself, as many dietary “self-selection” studies prove. But mix sugar with white flour and PUFA oils oils (ex: doughnuts), and you will easily produce hyper-obesity in lots of susceptible people. Very few will admit that it’s more complex than “carbs make you fat and cause disease.” You are the only blogger I know who sees the bigger picture. Most just want to demonize the carbs, and blame them for the “diseases of civilization.” That’s total nonsense and they know it’s a fallacy. People do not eat fresh, natural, unrefined carbs and develop chronic disease. Refined or rancid foods cause disease.

    Reply
  41. Chloe: “I’ve also been getting tons of calories lately and I seem to continue gaining fat, yet, barely eating any carbs. Should carbs be increased in order to effectively burn fat?”

    Some people have found that they lose a lot better on diets like Pennington and Anchell suggested than they do on ZC or ketogenic diets. Pennington and Anchell had people eliminate eggs, milk, cheese, and cream, as well as artificial sugars. Their diet allowed unlimited butter and meat, with a single carb meal after the meat. That could be a potato, a bowl of rice, some grapes, half a grapefruit, a pear, a cup of blueberries/raspberries, or watermelon. Something like 15-25g of carbs. Unlike some people claim, Alfred Pennington did not eliminate carbs from his diet. He did eliminate eggs, cheese, cream, and milk, and he limited carbs to about 20g per meal (give or take). That was enough to cause fast weight loss in many obese people, while they continued to eat 3,000 Calories a day from butter, meat, and small amounts of carbs.

    Active Low-Carber, The Anchell Diet

    “Because I’m unsure at this point which way to go, lower or higher. It could also be the dairy…but then again if I eat too much meat, I’ll just get my digestion all in a funk again… I’m so confused as to why I’m gaining weight.”

    Most low-carb gurus are overweight IMO. They admit you may be overweight unless you restrict calories / carbs / protein severely. I think they’re on the wrong track, because there’s no evidence that fresh, natural, unrefined carbohydrates cause obesity or other modern diseases. Many lean cultures eat high-carb diets, like the Kitavans (eating 70% carbs and 20% fat). Their main foods are starchy tubers, coconuts, fruits, root veggies, and fish. No grains, sugar, PUFA oils, alcohol, or dairy products. In short, a paleo diet. Dairy might be the problem. Try eliminating everything except some butter or ghee (for adding to lean meat and/or for cooking with).

    You might not look like a model on any diet, except a deficient one. Primitive women were not like models. They looked thick and sturdy, with more muscle and fat by far than most models today. You might be judging yourself by the wrong standard – women in movies, billboards, magazines, etc. Most of those women are eating starvation diets and controlling their appetite with alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs. Being size 0 or whatever shouldn’t be the goal. Most people have been malnourished for their whole lives. Their bodies never grew right, and they compare themselves to media images that are decidedly unhealthy and can only be maintained with a starvation diet or an eating disorder. Primitive women didn’t look like this. Neither did Americans a hundred years ago. Thin actresses, like Audrey Hepburn, had eating disorders. I think you may need to gain some weight. Go by how you feel, not how you look in comparison to media images. Women never looked like that for millions of years. Many health problems are caused by this fanatical pursuit of thinness.

    Reply
  42. Chloe: “isn’t most meat (muscle) pretty much half fat, though?”

    Whole chicken is about 15% fat by weight and 63/37 by calories. As long as you’re getting meat with at least 15% fat, your protein won’t be excessive. But it would be better to get more like 20-30% fat by weight, e.g. 73/27 ground beef. The more fatty cuts of chicken are neck and back, but I wouldn’t eat a lot of chicken fat, because it has ~10 times more PUFAs than beef fat. Beef fat is better.

    Chicken, broilers or fryers, meat and skin, raw

    Beef, ground 70% lean meat / 30% fat, raw

    Eggs have a similar fat/protein ratio to whole chicken with skin, around 63% fat, 35% protein, and 2% carbs.

    Egg, whole, raw, fresh

    Some people just eat the egg yolk to get their fat/protein ratio higher. Egg yolk is 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.

    Egg, yolk, raw, fresh

    Reply
  43. Here is the data for chicken necks. With skin, they have 80% fat and 20% protein. They are almost fatty as 70/30 beef, but most stores only have 73/27 ground beef, or 75/25, which is less fatty.

    Chicken, broilers or fryers, neck, meat and skin, raw

    Chicken backs are slightly more fatty at around 81% fat and 19% protein. They are the fattiest you can get with chicken. I wouldn’t eat them, however. I have whole chicken a few times a month, but it must be “air-chilled” like Whole Foods or MBA Smart Chicken. Most chicken in Europe is air-chilled, but the USA typically soaks it in chlorinated water instead.

    Chicken, broilers or fryers, back, meat and skin, raw

    Reply
  44. I’m not quite on zero carb; I still eat onions, green onions, shallots, zucchini, mushrooms etc. – I didn’t do this for weight fear or anything, I did it because I felt like it might be easier to digest mono-meals of fat and meat more so then fat meat and a heavy starch – just in the beginning so that I can adjust better. You know like, focusing on this one thing at first (protein..meats) so my system learns how to digest it better and easier. I still am at the beginning pretty much of trying this diet though, so I don’t want to jump to conclusions and eliminate anything like eggs or dairy too quickly without seeing atleast a month or two more of what I’m attempting now (plus I also just bought bunch of raw dairy and eggs…haha…but I am cutting back a little on dairy; mostly just raw cream and butter). I’m not obese, no, but I get what you’re saying about the calories. I doubt it’s them – I also have suspicion that the fruit thing set me up for some serious metabolism problems, making it easier for me to store fat, hence, the small gain I’m experiencing.
    It’s not that I want to look like a supermodel, I just prefer the athletic physique, you know, muscles. What would be OK is if I had fat go other places (hint: ques que ce..sexay parts) other then my stomach, but it always winds up there – and I do not believe this is the best place for it to be, health wise even. It’s done that since I was little (wooo fast food childhood). In America, I bet almost everyone’s diet is deficient – super skinny or not. Too little calories, or too many (from bad sources in either case). I totally agree that it depends on the type of nutrient. But I also think woman can be physically fit without the annoying flab layers in stupid places. Hey, you ARE a dude haha – if you were a woman I bet you wouldn’t want some annoying fat on yo ass! Unless you think, more cushion for the pushin.

    No but really; where I’m at right now I can accept if what I’m doing right now is natural — but if it’s more like a constant slow gain that’s going on, that’s just what I’m unsure about, you know?

    Reply
  45. Pooti,

    You simply cannot do the calculation thing. Cutting calories doesn’t work and will never work. The whole concept behind the physics of how weight loss works is one of the biggest misconceptions ever to be perpetrated on the public. I can gain weight on 3,000 calories per day with lots of exercise. I can also lose weight on 4,000 calories per day with no exercise.

    I’ve proven to myself that it is a dance between metabolic rate and appetite, period. You can lose weight by increasing metabolism just as effectively as you can by lowering food intake – the only difference is that when you lower calories metabolism gets worse, hunger goes up, and gets progressively harder. Then you gain back fat at a faster rate than ever before. Cutting calories is not sustainable.

    First of all, in line with this post, take your body temperature under your armpit every morning, first thing when you wake up, for several days. The likelihood that it is below 97.8 F every day is huge.

    If it is, you can know that hunger is virtually your worst enemy. The more you feel hunger, the slower your metabolism gets. Cutting calories in the short term can give you a huge thermogenic burst as your adrenal glands work overtime, but that is catastrophic for someone trying to get to the core of the problem.

    I emphasized fat, because fat is metabolically-stimulating food. Protein is not, although you need a little.

    Perhaps your body is not shifting into ketosis, adrenal hormones are breaking down muscle to keep the glucose up while not producing ketones. Excessive protein reinforces this glucose-driven state.

    I say give it a try with very little protein, not supplying any extra protein for GNG to see if you can spark some extra ketone production. It’s worth a try.

    But think long term on this whole thing. Nourish yourself as well as you can. If you don’t lose weight at first, that’s no big deal. Like I said, speeding up the metabolism and lowering cortisol levels which are responsible for most disease and hyperinsulinemia as well BTW, can be overcome by many methods, including even force-feeding.

    People are overcoming diabetes on fruitarian diets for crying out loud, and I haven’t seen much indication that zero-carb raises thyroid hormone and lowers cortisol. In fact, it is a consensus that really low carb diets do the exact opposite of that.

    Keep it up though. It’s good to experiment. It’s good to “know” what FUMP is like to help solve your own dietary puzzle.

    Bruce…

    Excellent commentary, as always.

    Reply
  46. Matt,

    I have been reading through the books by Barnes and Starr on hypothryroidism at your suggestion. They present some strong evidence that hypothyroid is not only associated with numerous chronic diseases, but seems a cause. If Barnes was able to cure these diseases and keep them in check with thyroid supplementation, his evidence goes beyond epidemiological association and into the realm of intervention level evidence. He presents a strong case that low thyroid function is a major link in the causal chain of the diseases of civilization. The big question then becomes –what causes low thyroid function?

    As you know, Barnes and Starr did not focus very much on the role of nutrition in answering this question, and instead focus on genetics – the theory being that a drop in childhood mortality from infectious disease stopped weeding out the hypothyroids among us and they started breeding more, etc. I am sure there is some good evidence from Price and McCarrison to oppose this theory and suggest a much more crucial role by poor nutrition. Most of your theories on why modern foods cause poor health focus on the role of sugar. I have done a little research trying to find how excessive sugar, high insulin levels would cause low thyroid function and can’t find anything. In fact, I noticed that Taubes book doesn’t mention hypothyroidism at all. Seems a glaring omission in light of Barnes’ evidence. Do you have a theory as to how excessive sugar or refined carb intake would cause hypothyroidism? Are PUFas necessary to cause the thyroid problems or can sugar alone cause problems? (I know PUFAs inhibit thyroid.)

    Reply
  47. Todd,

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking into as well. I don’t know how, but I did notice in the Saccharine Disease by Peter Cleave that he mentions that sugar causes thyrotoxicosis.

    Personally, Cleave’s theory of a unified sugar disease, which is also closely aligned with the work of John Yudkin, could really be the many manifestations of hypothyroidism – a state in which, because all metabolic processes are slowed, the manifestations are nearly endless.

    I think the combo. of understanding the ability of poor nutrition to incite illness, and how those who never had access to junk food didn’t just naturally have hyothyroidism and die off is incredibly important. Barnes assumed that it’s just genetic, and some people are just born hypothyroid.

    Price, McCarrison, Burkitt, and several others noted that disease didn’t seem to pop up (and therefore hereditary hypothyroidism) until refined foods entered the picture. This was even true to an extent for infectious disease if one could attain the aboslute height of nutritional excellence with lots of fat soluble vitamins, minerals, activator X and all that good stuff.

    Starr differs in that he doesn’t feel, like Barnes, that this is just handed down from our parents. He acknowledges that this is getting worse, accumulating, and that our choices affect mitochondrial DNA, not chromosomal material, which is basically Price’s “intercepted heredity.”

    In an ideal world, nutrition could overturn this without medication, but when reading Melvin Page, I realize that nutrition, alone, is not a cure-all, and that some people have such screwed up glandular function, or so much accumulated disorder, that glandulars are needed. Perhaps if Page knew of the power of desiccated thyroid he would have removed the need to troubleshoot health problems with pancreas, testosterone, etc., whereas thyroid is sort of the master key to fixing all of these imbalances.

    The hypothyroid link is certainly huge though. I do think it will come into play as one of the most major factors in reversing disease that we ever discover. The problem is, it’s being forgotten, not used.

    But fixing nutrition, while making up for accumulated shortcomings as a result of generations of mitochondrial DNA degradation via desiccated thyroid could be quite a tag team. I know it stands more promise than anything being preached by the government, Richard Simmons, or Isadore Rosenfeld. That’s fo damn sho!

    Reply
  48. I don't think sugar causes hypo-thyroid. Feed people sugars WITHOUT FAT, and they will lose weight rapidly. Add starch and PUFA oils (like doughnuts, cookies), and they rapidly put on weight. Sugars don't cause hyper-insulinism, but starches do.

    I saw this study which fed animals high starch, high sucrose, high glucose, high protein, high SFA or high UFA diets. The high sucrose diet reduced insulin levels 46% vs. starch, but maintained virtually the same blood glucose level (102-103). A high glucose diet reduced insulin over 50% more than high starch, but the blood glucose was slightly higher (122). Which is the greater problem, having 100% more insulin or <20% more blood sugar?

    http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/107/6/1068.pdf

    I don't regard high blood sugar as proof of diabetes, nor does Ray Peat. It is no proof of any disease at all. Most of the complications blamed on diabetes are the result of medical treatment. People live longer after cancer diagnosis if they do not accept medical treatment. That is a proven fact. Medical treatment shortens life. The only good that modern medicine does is emergency care, IMO.

    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/diabetes.shtml

    There are also poisons, like alloxan, in bleached white flour, which are known to destroy pancreatic cells in rats. We are told these poisons don't do the same in humans. Yeah, right. Alloxan is a poison that depletes Vitamin E and causes free radical damage. Some people develop more disease, because their diet is lower in anti-oxidants, vitamins, and so on. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a toxic chemical added to foods merely for cosmetic reasons. I think bleached white flour is a lot worse than refined sugar, because of the toxic chemicals and toxic fats that it contains. Flour is used for its addictive properities. Nobody could eat pure sugar or honey or fruit in the same quantities they eat white bread or cookies or doughnuts. Everyone who eats bleached white flour is poisoning their pancreas cells with alloxan. If they're also eating PUFA oils, the damage would occur at a faster rate.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/008191.html

    Here's another study showing that there is more to the equation than carbs. "In the absence of fat, sucrose produced a decrease in [feed efficiency] in both strains. Animals fed a low-fat, high-sucrose (LH) diet were actually leaner than animals fed a high-complex-carbohydrate diet. Fat was also found to be the critical stimulus for hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia in B/6J mice. In the absence of fat, sucrose had no effect on plasma glucose or insulin." I blame the effect here on high-PUFA oils, not fat per se. Coconut oil probably wouldn't have this effect, but lard and chicken fat would.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7752914

    Reply
  49. Likewise, I’ve never known anyone to remove sugar from their normal diet and not lose weight if they were overweight. It seems like the higher the starch content of the sugar-free diet, the more dramatic the weight loss – just like William Dufty experienced, along with the clearing of numerous health problems, spawning him to write Sugar Blues.

    I know of far more studies in which fructose was found to be the key factor in the development of hyperinsulinemia. Doing internet searches on terms like, “Fructose-induced hyperinsulinemia, or hypertension, etc.” are very telling. This link was sent to me the other day by someone in contact with Richard Johnson…

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/34669.php

    Plus, fructose consumption is at an all-time high, starch consumption is not. Agreed it’s worse when paired with starch and PUFA’s, which a study I saw many months ago was able to establish, but it still was able to condemn fructose as the key variable by isolating each. The conclusion was that fructose, not glucose was the key factor in developing hyperinsulinemia. Glucose couldn’t do it alone. Glucose and fructose together was the worst.

    Reply
  50. All of the studies saying “fructose does something bad” used refined fructose and PUFA oils – every last one of them. Lard and chicken fat are much higher in PUFAs than beef, coconut oil, and butter, so a study using them is invalid. Lard causes alcoholic cirrhosis and fatty liver, but beef fat reverses liver damage even when alcohol is consumed. The key difference? Beef does not satisfy the need for PUFAs for alcohol to cause liver damage. Lard, chicken fat, and corn oil do.

    http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fats-degeneration.shtml
    http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/325-330.htm
    http://www.surgery.usc.edu/divisions/hep/livernewsletter-riskfactorsforalcoholicliverdisease.html

    I doubt the studies you mention isolated their variables, but please provide some links and I will check them out. There’s no evidence that unrefined fructose from whole food causes disease and there’s no evidence that refined fructose causes a problem unless combined with stuff like casein, corn oil, and cornstarch. People who cut out refined sugar also cut down on PUFAs, trans fat, bleached flour, and other toxic food. That doesn’t prove the sugar causes weight gain. Many have lost weight by cutting out starches and PUFAs and eating lots of sugars. People on Wai Genriiu’s diet often have to eat refined sugar to maintain their weight. So, it’s more complex than refined sugars causing obesity. No animal study can produce the hyper-obesity without feeding cafeteria diets high in starch, PUFAs, sugars, and animal protein.

    Mixing lots of food together has effects that don’t occur when the same foods are eaten separately. So that’s another huge confounding variable. Any study that did not let animals choose their own diet is invalid. Feeding processed chow does not have the same effect as feeding the same food but letting the animals choose what they want to eat separately.

    Here are some relevant studies and papers.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1615061
    http://www.sethroberts.net/about/whatmakesfoodfattening.pdf

    Reply
  51. Bruce and Matt,

    Good debate between PUFA and sugar. I think an interesting question might be – do we know of any examples of traditional peoples who experienced degeneration after being exposed to sugars but not PUFAs? I think usually the move to modern foods involved both, but maybe there are examples where we find one but not the other. Stephan’s recent post at wholehealth states that the Tokelauns experienced degeneration after using more refined grains and sugars, even while their PUFA consumption stayed almost the same.

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  52. Eating starch instead of sugars causes health problems for me, and I’m not the only one. I’ve quoted a person who said eating white rice caused them problems with fructose. When they eliminate rice and cut down on potatoes, such problems vanished. White rice is a toxic food in my opinion. I don’t care if McCarrison found Indians eating 90% white rice who had no cavities. They had all kinds of other health problems from that garbage and it’s not healthy. You can eat it if you want, and I bet you will get cancer in a few decades.

    Sugars reduce insulin. Pure glucose can reduce insulin by over 50% when compared to starches. Sucrose will reduce insulin slightly less. Starches have a different effect than glucose, even though they’re (ostensibly) broken down into glucose. I bet you someone drinking a lot of orange juice (with no PUFA oils) will have much lower insulin levels than someone eating the same amount of carbs from white rice or potatoes. People eating starch suffer more fructose intolerance than those who don’t eat starch.

    We don’t need starch. Nobody will die or waste away if they don’t eat starches. A person eating starch might have slightly more muscle mass, because starches cause more insulin secretion. But so what? You said that building isn’t healthy. So why claim it is healthy to eat starches, esp junk like white rice? It would be better to eat potatoes than grains, IMO. But we don’t need either of them. I would stick with fruits, root vegetables, honey, and milk, not potatoes or grains.

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  53. Is there anything specifically known about monounsaturated fats? It seems to be the middle man.
    How where the fructose experiments conducted again? Was it natural food or what? For example, I realize in the China Study, McDougall had done that thing where he separated L. casein from everything else and made it look like the bad guy – but who knows how much it was altered. It would have been different if he actually gave the mice milk – but straight from the teets – and saw results of higher rates of cancer in them. So in a way, experiments can beee…daunting?

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  54. Most white flour is bleached, and it has known poisons like alloxan (a derivative of uric acid) that destroy your pancreas esp if you eat too much PUFAs, including fish, lard, chicken, turkey, grains and beans, nuts, seeds, etc. The safest fats are coconut oil, beef suet, butter, foie gras, mac nut oil, and the like. If you consume bleached flour, you will be more likely to develop diabetes and a lot of other diseases. Bleached white flour is toxic, due to the chemicals added to it.

    Most people eat sugar in the context of grains, so sugar gets blamed and people act like grains are healthy. Alloxan is provably toxic to the pancreas and that is what you’re ingesting every time you eat bleached flour, along with a lot of other toxic chemicals. There are also a lot of impurities in non-organic sugar, which could be causing a problem. Hulda Clark noted that most non-organic sugar contains asbestos. It’s conceivable the problems blamed on sugar are really due to asbestos and other poisons which are found in non-organic sugar. So, this is another variable that is not controlled in the studies Matt mentions. Where are the studies feeding organic sugar which confirm Matt’s claims? Most studies use PUFA oils like corn as the only fat. It is guaranteed that coconut oil does not have the same toxic effect, and organic food is less likely to contain asbestos and alloxan (chemical poisons).

    Reply
  55. OH YEAH – note about fat
    Wouldn’t comparing fructose and glucose in different fruits kind of be the same thing as comparing polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats in animals…
    Like – Bruce, you said the fructose studies were probably some sort of bad fructose source (liiike..modified if you will)
    So it’s kind of like..polyunsaturated fats in pigs..and comparing the levels of those with the saturated fats. If it is naturally found in the pig..does it make a difference? Same if fructose is naturally found in the fruit..will it also make a difference? Do you knowingly consume fruits with less fructose, or are fruits that are originally in the wild (like berries, let’s say) already found low in things like fructose (which may be a bad guy)?
    I’m unsure what to think about sugar versus starches, though. I think problems remained hidden when I was eating a ton of dates and stuff (other then acne). But dates are pretty heavy on glucose, aren’t they? I think it makes sense that it would be more natural to eat things like roots, fruits and others over grains perhaps..buuut doesn’t this also depend on what percentage of carbohydrates you are eating..or what exactly do you eat right now, I guess?

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  56. Chloe: “Is there anything specifically known about monounsaturated fats? It seems to be the middle man.”

    MUFAs and SFAs are great, IMO. I try to get about equal amounts of those and as little PUFAs as possible (pref 1-4% fat and/or calories as PUFAs). A high ratio of SFA/PUFA and MUFA/PUFA seems like an optimal diet for longevity.

    “How where the fructose experiments conducted again? Was it natural food or what? For example, I realize in the China Study, McDougall had done that thing where he separated L. casein from everything else and made it look like the bad guy – but who knows how much it was altered.”

    Dr. Dean Ornish, T. Colin Campbell, Joel Fuhrman, John McDougall, and others have perpetrated junk science, IMO. Campbell fed rats diets high in sucrose and corn starch, corn oil as the only fat, -and- casein. He blamed the problems on animal protein, but this doens’t follow. All he showed is that -processed- casein had a toxic effect in the context of all those other foods he used. The results may be different if he used coconut oil instead of corn oil, unheated honey rather than refined sugar, and so forth.

    Maybe the mix of foods was bad. I think starches and sugars are a very bad mix, no matter what food is considered. They need very different digestive/metabolic processes. Anecdotal evidence continues to accrue, like people saying they have problems with fructose that vanish when they stop eating white rice, and reduce potatoes (one every 2-3 days instead of every day).

    “It would have been different if he actually gave the mice milk – but straight from the teets – and saw results of higher rates of cancer in them. So in a way, experiments can beee…daunting?”

    We need to be very careful about what we extrapolate from studies. Saying that it is bad to eat fructose based on studies using refined fructose and/or sucrose is not logical, any more than saying animal protein is bad based on studies that use casein (purified protein). We need to be more conservative and use Occam’s Razor. The studies by Campbell only prove that purified casein is bad in the context of refined sugar, cornstarch, and corn oil. But when you change those variables, you totally change the results.

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  57. Todd: “do we know of any examples of traditional peoples who experienced degeneration after being exposed to sugars but not PUFAs?”

    Stephan mentioned the Kuna Indians from Panama. They eat some sugar (chocolate), but no PUFA oils and very little grains. The main foods are fish, coconut, cocoa, beans, corn, plantains, and yucca. Kuna have vastly less cardiovascular disease and cancer than modern groups in Panama eating high-PUFA oil, grains, fast food, alcohol, and similar foods. They do not gain excess weight, are immune to hyper tension, and live long lives.

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/03/say-hello-to-kuna.html

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  58. Bruce,

    Thanks for the Kuna example, but how much sugar? I couldn’t tell from the link. Without more info, its posible that their sugar intake would be low enough to please even a sugar-phobe like Matt.

    I am going to try to find a few examples of groups who developed disease without eating PUFAs or who maintained health while eating them (Kung-San?). Stay tuned.

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  59. Yeah I agree Bruce

    Hey Matt I took my temperature in both my mouth and under my armpit, and both were just under 97.8 – like mouth was 97.6 and I did both armpits and it was 97.5 in one and 97.6 in another; so it seems I’m not quite at the 97.8 – that is if my thermometer is correct. I suppose I should keep checking the next few days to see if it drops or gets higher? But I was just wondering your thoughts or advice.

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  60. Bruce,

    It appears that the kung san are an example of a traditional group with resistance to the diseases of civilization who ate a great amount of PUFAs, as well as starches. The Kung derive between 14 and 28% of their calories, depending on the season, from mongongo nuts, whose fat is 44% PUFA. http://www.beyondveg.com/tu-j-l/raw-cooked/raw-cooked-3f.shtml. Root vegetables are another staple. They are traditionally free from chronic disease. Of course, they traditionally used no refined grains or sugars.

    I think its significant that one can eat substantial PUFAs and be healthy, at least under certain circumstances. I’m not sure the same could be said for sugar.

    Here are some additional questions that I think would shed some light on these issues. First, is there any group who ate substantial refined sugar and still enjoyed good health? Second, is there any healthy group who degenerated based solely on their exposure to sugar, without adding in other confounding factors such as PUFAs, stress, toxins, etc. If the answers are no and yes, then I think we can look to sugar consumption as uniquely significant in the process of degeneration. Matt, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

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  61. Matt,

    The big question in my mind is “what causes hypothyroidism?” There’s no way it’s strictly genetic if it affects such a large percentage of the population.

    I posted evidence on my blog that linoleic acid suppresses thyroid signaling. It doesn’t affect the level of thyroid hormone (if anything, it increases it) but it substantially reduces the liver’s response to T3 and T4.

    Wheat is also a common cause of autoimmune thyroiditis, which can cause both hypo and hyperthyroid states (mostly hypo).

    That implicates two of my three favorite punching bags. Any other ideas?

    Reply
  62. Stephan,

    That is the big question for me as well. If we can infer from Broda’s work that hypothyroid is a proximate cause for the diseases of civilization, and we also believe that poor nutrition causes these diseases, then we need to be able to show that poor nutrition causes hypothyroid. The PUFA connection is clear, but as I have argued above, this fails to account for the role of sugar, which most of us believe is a major player in degeneration. So I think a huge question is – how does sugar cause hypothyoridism? I think this point is particularly important in light of the fact that there have been cultures such as the Sikhs and the Kung who have been healthy despite consuming wheat and PUFAs.

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  63. Todd, just because primitive tribes in a pristine area ate high-PUFA oils without apparent problems doesn’t prove that one living in say Los Angeles or Mexico City (with heavy smog/pollution) could do the same. PUFAs increase damage from toxins. Saturated fats (ex: beef fat and coconut oil) protect strongly against toxins. If you drink alcohol and lots of fatty fish or lard or chicken fat, you will be more likely to get liver cirrhosis and/or fat liver. Saturated fatty acids can reverse liver damage, while alcohol is consumed. This shows that PUFAS are “essential” to the toxic damage. I believe the same can be said for fructose and other alleged toxins. Fructose may be bad if you were eating a diet high in lard, fish oil, or chicken fat. But it would not be bad if your diet was based on coconut oil, beef suet, foie gras, macadamia oil, butter, pollock, cod, shellfish, etc. Only PUFAs make alcohol and fructose toxic. They’re not inherently toxic, IMO.

    I don’t think it matters if a primitive group ate high-PUFAs and was healthy. I would rather know if anyone living in Southern California or Mexico City eats high PUFAs and is healthy. I would say the odds are against them. There are a lot of confounding variables with sugar and wheat, like alloxan and other toxic poisons in bleached white flour and the potential contaminants in sugar. So you would have to control for that.

    Plus, you would have to control for the nutrients in the diet. Obviously if you eat refined sugar as the main source of calories, you will be deficient. But if you eat lots of liver, eggs, shellfish, butter, cheese, organ meats, and broths maybe you would be healthy. I’m dubious that it’s impossible to compensate for the lack of nutrients in sugar or that small amounts of sugar are bad (say, 40 pounds a year / 50g a day). Diseases of civilization did not occur until sugar reached a certain threshold and this is in the context of other dietary poisons like bleached flour and PUFA oils, IMO.

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  64. Stephan: “linoleic acid suppresses thyroid signaling. It doesn’t affect the level of thyroid hormone (if anything, it increases it) but it substantially reduces the liver’s response to T3 and T4.”

    PUFAs in general are poison to the liver and most other organs. Not just linoleic acid, but all PUFAs in food. You will be more likely to get alcoholic fatty liver and/or cirrhosis if you eat fats such as lard, chicken skin, oiyl fish, corn oil, safflower oil, nuts, seeds, or flax oil. Beef and coconut oil are known for their ability to protect the body from alcohol and even reverse damage while alcohol is being consumed. PUFAs are “essential” to toxic damage from a variety of chemicals and poisons. The damage would be heavily attenuated by relying most on fats which are extremely low in PUFAs.

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  65. Todd: "a huge question is – how does sugar cause hypothyoridism? I think this point is particularly important in light of the fact that there have been cultures such as the Sikhs and the Kung who have been healthy despite consuming wheat and PUFAs."

    Matt and I have discussed the Sikhs, and we both agreed that the difference there is that they don't eat rancid grains. It is ground fresh and immediately eaten. I think there is a huge difference between fresh grains and rancid grains. Any type of flour is likely to be rancid, whether refined or not. So that's the first step in degeneration – eating rancid flour or other poisons. Weston Price also fed his patients wheat to cure tooth decay, so I am not convinced by Stephan's propaganda against wheat by any means. Weston Price ground the flour fresh every day, he was not feeding them bread or flour from his local grocery. Wheat can be healthy when it's consumed fresh, but that is largely impossible for today's people.

    If you lived in a pristine environment & ate fresh unprocessed food, I don't feel there are any immediately dangers from a high-PUFA diet, but I do think you would age a lot faster than someone who ate as little PUFAs as possible (pref less than 4% of fat and/or calories). If you lived in the same world as the Sikhs and ate a diet of fresh animal and plant foods, it is entirely feasible that you would have superb health despite eating wheat, high PUFA foods, and so forth. But since most people don't live in that world and were not raised in that world, we need to ask other questions. Like what's the optimal diet for today's situation?

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  66. Since I’m reading T.L. Cleave today, I can’t help but revert to his “Law of Adaptation,” which basically states that any natural food which humans have consumed over the millenia in its natural state is, by definition, a food that we are well adapted for.

    T.L. Cleave’s biggest “punching bags,” appropriately, are, in the following order… Refined sugar, refined grain, vegetable oils – because they are the farthest from natural of any foods consumed in large quantity by the masses.

    I suspect that, just as Cleave so flawlessly elaborates upon, there is a massive difference between refined carbohdydrates and natural carbohydrates. He too was hypothesizing as to why that is the case, just like Burkitt (lack of fiber), Price and McCarrison (lack of vitamins and minerals), and several others. Refined sugar and unrefined sugar – and the same goes for grains – cannot be compared. Not at all. Crystalline fructose and HFCS are not apples.

    Perhaps the same can be said for the PUFA’s in coldwater fish or pork and the PUFA’s in vegetable oil – which is of course solvent extracted, heated up to high temperatures, highly-refined in addition to that, sometimes hydrogenated or interesterfied, and then put on the shelf for many months before being heated once again — and served up with white sugar and white flour.

    Sugar, and refined carbohydrates still remain the leading suspect in my investigation as to the prime cause of the development of disease. And we’re talking cause here. I don’t deny for a second that there are dozens of “Aggravating factors,” to once again quote Cleave. Vegetable oils definitely top that list.

    But starches being harmful? You’ve got to let that one go. Your digestion may be in a state in which it has problems digesting complex di and polysaccharides, and no you are certainly “not alone,” but unprocessed grains and tubers have a long history and powerful association with excellent health – certainly just as much as honey and fruit juice does. There is really no debate there. ALL natural carbohydrates are acceptable foods for a healthy person. Unhealthy people who have done harm to themselves on “cafeteria, T. Colin Campbell, lab chow” thus get themselves into trouble and need more restrictions. Sugars are mine. If I eat natural simple sugars I must do so on an empty stomach and completely by themselves.

    I’ve cut out most starches now too and have just been eating small portions of vegetables with meals. It suits me just fine. I used to fear going so low in carbs but I’m over that now. “It’s not chemotherapy.” (Monastyrsky)

    The quantity of refined sugar consumed is everything, and remember that there is quite an incubation period before diseases like heart disease and diabetes emerge – several decades at least.

    Although I have no clear idea about how refined sugar could cause hypothyroidism, the fact that so many diseases and symptoms associated with Starr’s type II hypothyroidism are linked to the observations made by everyone who had eyes that witnessed the introduction of modern foods, is enough to establish a link. I do belive refined sugar, in conjunction with any mixed diet, especially at huge quantity that spans generations, is plenty to do it all by itself. Veggie oils could probably do it too. White flour could pull it off as well. The three combined, especially when eaten with lots of protein, which I think greatly exacerbates illness and speeds one towards earlier death (agree with Campbell on that), is the “the perfect nutritional storm,” to quote Barry Sears.

    Chloe,
    No need to panic, just keep an eye on that body temp and let’s see if, through nutrition alone, you can bring it back up to “normal.” Mouth reading really should be at 98.6, and armpit at no lower than 97.8.

    Took mine today. Was 98.0. 97.9 yesterday.

    Reply
  67. I think it’s worth pointing out that during the mongongo season, the Kung San eat it almost to the exclusion of everything else. Their diet is extremely low-carb during that time, which is perhaps part of the reason it doesn’t seem to harm them.

    Bruce,

    I have a hard time believing that rancid grains are behind the disease of civilization. White flour barely has any fat in it, which is precisely why it keeps so well. Yet it successfully causes some of the diseases of civilization, particularly in conjunction with sugar.

    Price cured cavities with whole wheat along with a very high dose of fat-soluble vitamins. But that doesn’t prove that replacing white bread with fresh ground whole wheat alone would have done them any good at all. He also fed them rich broths and meats. I would argue their teeth improved despite the whole wheat, rather than because of it. We also don’t know if they developed autoimmune disease 2 years down the road!

    Matt,

    With the prevalence of gluten sensitivity over 30% by fecal IgA test, I would say any gluten containing grain is suspect. Gluten and casein are the top two allergens. Dairy has been part of healthy traditional diets in a number of cultures, but the only potentially healthy culture I’m aware of that ate wheat regularly was the Hunzas. Even in that case, I don’t have enough info to come to the conclusion that they ate wheat as a year-round staple.

    If you look in the archaeological record, the shift to grain consumption came along with a number of deleterious changes (short stature, dental problems, anemia, high infant mortality etc). This wasn’t limited to wheat-eating groups, but keep in mind these people were not eating factory processed grains. They were eating them fresh and as natural as they come.

    Of course, Price found cultures that were doing well on grains but none ate wheat and they mostly fermented them. The only culture Price described that ate gluten was the Swiss villagers who ate sourdough rye bread. They also had the highest number of cavities among the healthy groups if I recall correctly.

    Reply
  68. White rice is a toxic food. You admitted that you had a reduction of inflammation when you stopped eating rice on the FUMP diet. Since starches were the only carbs you ate before and apparently white rice was the main starch, I conclude starches are inflammatory. They have inflammatory effects in my experience. Natural sugars don’t like orange juice, unheated honey, milk, maple syrup, carrots, beets, etc. Potatoes are better than grains, period. I don’t care what healthy group ate lots of grains, they are less nutritious than potatoes, Whole grains are vastly higher in fiber and PUFAs than potatoes. Those are not neutral to our health.

    I eat small amounts of starch, like 1-2 pieces of Berlin sourdough spelt bread a day OR one potato, or occasionally some organic white sushi rice. The amount is very small and always with saturated fat like butter or coconut oil.

    “Perhaps the same can be said for the PUFA’s in coldwater fish or pork and the PUFA’s in vegetable oil – which is of course solvent extracted, heated up to high temperatures, highly-refined in addition to that, sometimes hydrogenated or interesterfied, and then put on the shelf for many months before being heated once again — and served up with white sugar and white flour.”

    Raw flax oil gave me a sore throat that lasted about a month while on the Primal Diet. Eliminating the flax oil got rid of my sore throat instantly and several people I’ve talked to have had the same experience. Coconut oil may be just as processed, but it doesn’t have the same toxic effects as corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, etc. Lard won’t have the same effects as beef tallow if you feed animals alcohol or expose them to toxic pollution, radiation, etc. It’s not the refining of oils that’s the problem, or the cooking. They can be unrefined, raw oils, and you will still break the body faster down by eating flax, peanut, soy, corn, hemp, canola, and sunflower oils. PUFAs are a catalyst for disease – like Stephan has said on his blog. You might not develop obvious diseases just from eating a high-PUFA diet, but you’ll age and break down faster. You’ll be vastly more vulnerable to damage from “toxins” like alcohol, fructose, pollution, etc.

    “unprocessed grains and tubers have a long history and powerful association with excellent health”

    Prove that those people would have been less healthy if they hadn’t eaten those starches, since you yourself seem to be doing better without them. I’m not sure what your argument is. One minute starch is good for building muscle and that is why you gained muscles without exercise. The next minute you say building is not good for longevity. Just because native people eating starches did not have any obvious diseases doesn’t mean they were optimally healthy, nor does it mean the same diet is healthy now. Regardless of whether a person is healthy or not, you would get better nutrition from low-PUFA and low-fiber than the reverse.

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  69. “Of course, Price found cultures that were doing well on grains but none ate wheat and they mostly fermented them.”

    When did Price say that grains had to be fermented and that wheat was harmful? It is a dogma started by Sally Fallon. The Sikhs ate fresh wheat, ground into flour and immediately cooked and eaten. Price used fresh ground flour wheat to reverse tooth decay in his patients, along with other food. He said that rancid fats in grains are toxic and the fats are highly perishable and spontaneously turn rancid when the grains are ground.

    “The only culture Price described that ate gluten was the Swiss villagers who ate sourdough rye bread. They also had the highest number of cavities among the healthy groups if I recall correctly.”

    I talked to Chris Masterjohn about this and he said the Swiss with cavities were going outside of the village and eating modern foods. Those eating their normal diets never got cavities. The same thing was true of the Masai studied by George Mann. The ones who ate modern foods had athero-sclerosis, while the ones eating their traditional foods did not. You’re reaching, to suggest that wheat is toxic if it’s fresh and not rancid and filled with toxic additives (like alloxan). You have spent too much time on Peter’s blog where wheat is evil because he messed up his digestion with a bad diet. I’ve seen no proof that wheat gluten in fresh food will cause the diseases you attribute to wheat. I agree that rancid flour and/or bleached flour filled with additives can cause all manner of pathologies, esp in the context of sugar, PUFAs, and fiber.

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  70. Just a little correction: I didn’t say all PUFA are toxic on my blog, what I said was excess linoleic acid is toxic. Adding n-3 to a diet can improve health under some circumstances, whereas I can’t think of any normal situation where adding linoleic acid would be helpful. Too much n-3 is probably not good in the context of the modern diet, but the Inuit did just fine with high long-chain n-3 on a traditional carnivorous diet.

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  71. “White flour barely has any fat in it, which is precisely why it keeps so well. Yet it successfully causes some of the diseases of civilization, particularly in conjunction with sugar.”

    White flour has like half as much fat as whole wheat flour, so it’s not that much better. Plus, rancid fats are toxic even in small amounts. Potatoes are far lower in PUFAs than grains, except white rice. So any grain food, esp flour, is likely to contain rancid fat. Bleached flour is also known to contain toxic poisons like alloxan that are used in experiments to induce diabetes, combined with PUFA oils of course. Saturated fats protect from alloxan, but most people eat breads made with PUFA oils, in addition to the toxic rancid fat in the grains. Small amounts of PUFA oils (like 2-3% of alories) are enough to cause cancer spontaneously. A diet of beef fat or coconut oil will not cause cancer, but if you add PUFA oils, suddenly cancer blossoms.

    http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/reprint/45/5/1997

    “Price cured cavities with whole wheat along with a very high dose of fat-soluble vitamins. But that doesn’t prove that replacing white bread with fresh ground whole wheat alone would have done them any good at all.”

    This is a straw man argument. The point was that Price used fresh ground wheat, he did not say wheat was bad and he did not say you have to ferment grains. He did stress the importance of fresh food and not eating rancid grains, which is the reason he ground the wheat fresh on a daily basis, rather than feeding them some garbage from the store.

    “He also fed them rich broths and meats. I would argue their teeth improved despite the whole wheat, rather than because of it. We also don’t know if they developed autoimmune disease 2 years down the road!”

    So prove that someone eating those foods would have developed auto-immune disease down the road. I’m afraid your belief in the evil of wheat, combined with alot of flawed studies, does not prove anything. Do the study and prove that fresh ground organic wheat causes auto-immune disease or other “diseases of civilization.” The facts are obvoius that rancid fats are a powerful catalyst for disease. There are more PUFAs in most grains (even refined) than there are in potatoes or tapioca or fruit. Grains are also deficient in most vitamins and their protein quality sucks compared to potatoes. So, I’m not saying that grains are the best of foods, But I disagree with blaming modern problems on wheat rather than rancid fat, additives, and other garbage. You would have a hard time getting diseases of civilization if you ate fresh, natural food.

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  72. Stephan: “I didn’t say all PUFA are toxic on my blog, what I said was excess linoleic acid is toxic. Adding n-3 to a diet can improve health under some circumstances, whereas I can’t think of any normal situation where adding linoleic acid would be helpful.”

    Brian Peskin disagrees. He thinks that a high omega-6 ratio is ideal, provided it comes from unprocessed foods. He gives a lot of evidence that omega-3 fats are in fact pathological. Eskimos had problems from high omega-3 diet, like nose bleeds lasting days, 22 year old grandmothers, and brain hemorrhages.

    The Scientific Calculation of the Optimum PEO Ratio

    A saner solution than adding omega-3 is eliminating all concentrated sources of omega-6, esp processed foods, and oils. The facts show that PUFAs are toxic for all organs of the body, causing. Eating fish oil is not the fountain of youth. It’s the fountain of aging, as are the other varnish oils. We need very little PUFAs, as children or adults.

    Special Report — How Essential Are the Essential Fatty Acids?.

    “Too much n-3 is probably not good in the context of the modern diet, but the Inuit did just fine with high long-chain n-3 on a traditional carnivorous diet.”

    It’s not good in the context of a modern world full of pollution, chemicals, and other toxins, unless you want to shorten your life that much more. But I believe all PUFAs shorten life and it is best to limit them as much as possible.

    Articles by Ray Peat – Index

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  73. Interesting Brian Peskin article, Bruce. Did you note that he comes out in favor of the fatty acid ratio in grass fed beef over that in grain fed? (though he does say that you should thouroughly cook protein and take supplements anyway becuase of his belief in the dangers of rare/raw meat)

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  74. Stephan: “in the archaeological record, the shift to grain consumption came along with a number of deleterious changes (short stature, dental problems, anemia, high infant mortality etc). This wasn’t limited to wheat-eating groups, but keep in mind these people were not eating factory processed grains. They were eating them fresh and as natural as they come.”

    This is simply a correlation and as you know doesn’t prove cause and effect. If there were some healthy groups that ate grains, then either grains were neutral or not particularly harmful in the dose they consumed them. Maybe the folks who had problems went from eating zero-carb to eating 90% grains. The best case you can make against grains is that they’re higher in PUFAs and fiber than potatoes, have less vitamins, and are more likely to cause allergies and so on. You can’t say that it’s impossible to be healthy while eating wheat. And Weston Price is no help for you, because the Swiss were immune to cavities on their native diet, which included gluten. The people which he found with tooth decay were kids who left their village and ate modern foods. When they returned the cavities stopped progressing and often reversed. I asked Chris Masterjohn about this, because of the issues you raised. You can find his replies on the BeyondPrice yahoo group.

    Sen: “Interesting Brian Peskin article, Bruce. Did you note that he comes out in favor of the fatty acid ratio in grass fed beef over that in grain fed? (though he does say that you should thouroughly cook protein and take supplements anyway becuase of his belief in the dangers of rare/raw meat)”

    Maybe if you ate raw meat regularly, you wouldn’t need the fat supplements he is promoting, which are probably junk in my opinion. He believes in a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is ideal, but only if it is from cold pressed, unrefined oils. He is definitely against heated, refined PUFA vegetable oils. He doesn’t say that grass-fed meat is preferable. He says it is better to have a high ratio of n-6 to n-3, like 10:1 or more. But because most people won’t eat raw meat, they need to use supplements in his view. I would say it’s better to eat raw meat than eating high-PUFA vegetable oils. Even the ones that claim to be cold pressed are often heated to like 150-160°F.

    On why oil supplements are needed:
    “First, heat significantly destroys both omega-3 (extremely heat sensitive) and omega-6 (very heat sensitive) PEOs. The less cooked the proteins are, the better sources they are of parent omega-6 and 3. However, few people enjoy or can stomach meat, fish or eggs that are raw or only lightly cooked (and there are health safety concerns that may arise with under-cooked meats, fish and eggs, such as parasitic and bacterial infection of the foods). So large quantities of PEOs are lost through cooking.” (Brian Peskin)

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  75. Ah, yes, I see how I misread it now. Interesting also that he never mentions mead acid and thinks that AA is the best thing to have saturating your cells.

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  76. Bruce,

    The correlation between the switch to grain agriculture and markers of poor nutrition is so tight around the globe that archaeologists sometimes use dental/skeletal problems as markers of grain consumption at archaeological sites. There is no real debate within the archaeological community that grain-based agriculture led to numerous nutrition-related health problems in early neolithic populations. The data are simply overwhelming.

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  77. Sen: “Interesting also that he never mentions mead acid and thinks that AA is the best thing to have saturating your cells.”

    The body will make more Mead Acid if you minimize total PUFAs and omega-3. If you eat too much omega-3 it blocks Mead Acid through competitive inhibition.

    Stephan: “The correlation between the switch to grain agriculture and markers of poor nutrition is so tight around the globe that archaeologists sometimes use dental/skeletal problems as markers of grain consumption at archaeological sites.”

    All this proves is that grains maybe bad at a certain threshold, not that they’re harmful at any level. Like I said, maybe they went from a zero-carb diet to a 90% grain diet. This would only say that the displacement of other foods with grains causes health problems, not that adding grains to a nutritionally adequate diet causes health problems.

    “There is no real debate within the archaeological community that grain-based agriculture led to numerous nutrition-related health problems in early neolithic populations. The data are simply overwhelming.”

    I think you mean “grain-based diet”, not grain-based agriculture. Many groups ate grains and were healthy, but they always ate animal foods (like fish or milk with the grains). Maybe the people who had so many problems were eating mostly grains, with little or no animal foods.

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  78. “You have spent too much time on Peter’s blog where wheat is evil because he messed up his digestion with a bad diet.”

    B,
    with respect, every dietary commentator on the net has a pet food/nutrient ogre. Peter’s may be gluten. Yours are PUFA and fibre, and of late, starch.
    Personally, I think we all know a whole lot less about nutrition, than we like to portray.
    J

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  79. My main starch pre-fump was potatoes not white rice. I eat very little white rice, but point out that, from a digestive standpoint, it is a viable form of carbohydrate for those that cannot tolerate things like fiber, gluten, fructose, etc.

    Monastyrsky recommends it as a staple for a reason. Sure, it’s been known to cause disease since it entered the human dietary, something that was referred to be almost common sense by those studying deficiency diseases like McCarrison and Albert Schweitzer.

    Stephen, just today, I was reading Melvin Page’s Health vs. Disease and noted again a reference to the massive physical size, strength, resistance to disease, etc. of the Sikhs compared to their feeble countrymen, something Page attributed to them eating fresh-ground wheat, milk, and meat instead of white rice and vegetables like the puny vegetarian Hindus.

    I do think most people should avoid gluten of any kind. I do think many people should avoid starch of any kind. That’s not to say that these foods are inherently unhealthy, but that people are. Like I mentioned on your blog Stephan, it’s a malfunction in an enzyme related to adenosine metabolism that cannot split the casein or gluten molecule properly. Removal of foods containing those are life-changing for those who suffer from these problems.

    Autoimmune disease in increasing in Japan (rice eaters), just as fast as it is here. It is more complex than just “too much gluten.” Autoimmune disease represents the late stages of the extinction of mankind, and that is caused by refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils, and environmental toxins – not fresh-ground whole wheat bread.

    And while on the Broda Barnes post, it might be worthwhile to mention that Melvin Page, when treating his patients with glandulars (such as thyroid), enabled many of his patients to return to eating foods they haven’t been able to tolerate in years, such as “bread.”

    Finally, there are definitely some loopholes in the anthropological findings of grain eaters, one being that, like Bruce suggests, that there was a shortage of other complementary foods. McCarrison also noticed that grains without these “accessory foods” had pathological consequences, yet, through simple observation, KNEW, without question, that such foods were “not to be condemned from the modern dietary.”

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  80. I wonder in America (there’s other places, but notably here) if even it is hard to tell which potatoes or vegetables are even still natural and not genetically altered or bred over time to either produce more sugar or better qualities for taste alone (examples could be hybridized vegetables) – much of the modern day fruit as well. I don’t know if this makes a huge difference, but after my recent discovery in buying straight from farmers – the food tastes totally different from anything you could buy at a grocery store. I have yet to buy straight produce from farmers, just because I haven’t been using it that much (haha) – but wouldn’t everything fresh (not shipped) be much better and make a difference in health? Organic seems also important – but usually if it’s local, many farmers will grow much of their plants on good soil and no pesticides, since they eat it themselves, just fail to have “certified organic” because it costs money, of course…
    But artichokes from Peru?
    Tomatoes from Brazil?
    It’s hard to trust what you’re buying; and especially if you’re raised on certain foods, you won’t know the difference in flavor of a fresh product until you experience it.

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  81. Matt,

    I think what you’re saying is reasonable. One of the ideas I’ve been tossing around is that wheat increases the need for fat-soluble vitamins. I’ll be posting about that on my blog soon. Perhaps if you have a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins like pastured dairy, you can overcome some of the problems associated with wheat. That would explain the Sikh and Hunza anecdotes as well as Weston Price’s trials healing dental cavities.

    I’m not partial to the argument that whole, natural foods are healthy by default. I don’t think we can assume that just because we’ve been eating a food for a long time, it’s going to be good for health. It’s important to see the long-term effects of those foods on different cultures. I still have to look into the Sikh/Hunza story to see if there are any hard data in there that would indicate freedom from the diseases of civ, but outside of that possibility, all I’ve seen is that white wheat flour is uniquely damaging, even when it replaces another refined carbohydrate like rice.

    Autoimmune disease, cardio disease and overweight are all on the rise in Japan, but they are also adopting Western foods: wheat, sugar, vegetable oil. On a white rice diet, they don’t get those problems (as long as they also have a ready source of meats, eggs and vegetables).

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  82. Potatoes without the skin are almost as low in fiber as white rice. They’re both low residue foods. Do you think rice is better than potatoes? It’s certainly not as nutritious, since it’s refined. Even whole grains are usually inferior foods, esp if they are rancid. Monastyrsky most likely recommends rice as a low-residue food, but potatoes are also low-residue.

    http://www.nmh.org/nmh/pdf/pated/lowfiber-diet07.pdf

    Stephan is right that just because some group ate gluten grains doesn’t mean it was healthy. Maybe they were healthy in spite of it. Maybe they would have been even bigger, stronger, and more disease resistant if they just ate meats and/or milk. Of course they would be healthier than the vegetarian hindus eating white rice and vegetables (poverty food).

    Avoiding grains is a good idea, as they are nutritionally inferior to potatoes, tubers, and root vegetables. Even under best-case conditions, there’s little or no Vitamin C in grains, unlike potatoes and other vegetables. I have no trouble with fresh-ground sourdough spelt bread fermented over 24 hours and kept in the freezer until sale/use. I don’t believe that gluten is necessarily the problem. Not preparing it properly is. Any foods can be healthy if prepared in the right way or complemented right, IMO.

    http://tinyurl.com/38lpwe

    Stephan makes a good point that Kung eat high-PUFA nuts as their main food in the season where they are gathered. They did not eat high-PUFA and high-carb diets at the same time. PUFAs seem to reduce life span and accelerate aging, esp omega-3s, processed vegetable oils, etc. The less PUFAs and the less processed, the better for health and longevity.

    “Autoimmune disease represents the late stages of the extinction of mankind, and that is caused by refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils, and environmental toxins – not fresh-ground whole wheat bread.”

    Not just environmental toxins but toxins added to the food for cosmetic reasons, preservatives, flavorings, etc. They are all provably toxin. Bleached white flour has had alloxan for a long time. Alloxan is used in animal studies to cause death of pancreatic beta cells, esp when mixed with high-PUFA oils. It seems a probable factor in diabetes, esp Type I diabetes, which is often blamed on wheat. Bleached white flour is toxic. Bromated flour is probably bad, as well. Potassium bromate is a potential carcinogen. The problem’s not wheat, but the toxic poison, rancid fats, and other garbage that goes along with it. I do think long-fermented wheat (6-32 hours) is a better food than fresh wheat, but fresh is better than rancid, all things being equal.

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  83. Stephan: “One of the ideas I’ve been tossing around is that wheat increases the need for fat-soluble vitamins. I’ll be posting about that on my blog soon.”

    That seems reasonable, but wheat is not unique in this regard. All grains are a deficient food and increase the need for vitamins, minerals, etc. They were eaten as a source of energy mainly.

    “Perhaps if you have a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins like pastured dairy, you can overcome some of the problems associated with wheat.”

    You need certain amounts of fat-soluble vitamins, but I don’t think Matt agrees that you need massive amounts, based on some of his other posts. Weston A Price gave the children mega-doses because at home they were eating doughnuts, white flour, pancakes, syrup, vegetable fats, refined sugar, and so forth. Their diet depleted vitamins rapidly.

    http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/price/price16.html

    “all I’ve seen is that white wheat flour is uniquely damaging, even when it replaces another refined carbohydrate like rice.”

    Because white flour is bleached and rice isn’t. The chemicals used to bleach the flour are used in animal studies to kill the pancreatic beta cells. They’re free radicals that deplete the body’s Vitamin E and many other nutrients. Add in PUFA oils, sugar, and lots of animal protein, and the damage occurs faster. Definitely organic white sushi rice is better than rancid, non-organic, bleached, enriched, and bromated white flour. I don’t think deficiencies are enough to explain this degeneration. You have to look at toxic additives and/or contaminants. There is asbestos in non-organic sugar, according to Hulda Clark and others. Surely those chemicals are not neutral or benign. If you eat asbestos, your odds of diseases like cancer increase vastly.

    “Autoimmune disease, cardio disease and overweight are all on the rise in Japan, but they are also adopting Western foods: wheat, sugar, vegetable oil. On a white rice diet, they don’t get those problems (as long as they also have a ready source of meats, eggs and vegetables).”

    Because they’re not ingesting poisons in bleached white flour and sugar, and they are eating animal foods with their rice. They complement grains with animal foods and don’t eat a vegetarian diet, so they were traditionally healthy. Carbohydrate foods in general increase your needs for nutrients, esp refined carbs.

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  84. "with respect, every dietary commentator on the net has a pet food/nutrient ogre. Peter's may be gluten. Yours are PUFA and fibre, and of late, starch."

    My point is that we don't need fiber and Matt agrees that fiber is non-essential. Excluding refined foods, I think you get better nourishment from a low-fiber diet than a high-fiber one. (Potatoes instead of whole grains or beans, strained juice instead of whole fruits and vegetables.)

    I feel the same about PUFAS. They're not essential, at least not at any level you need to worry about (<1% of calories for most of the population). Everybody hypes fish oil and omega-3 fats, ignoring the proven toxicity that they cause, as Ray Peat and Brian Peskin have noted. I feel it's better to cut omega-6 fats down to the bone, rather than wasting time with the more unstable omega-3 fats. I limit nuts, seeds, pork fat, poultry fat, and oily fish. I avoid the hell out of PUFA oils, to quote Anthony Colpo. My diet's very low in PUFAs (1-2% probably) and I have no signs of a deficiency.

    BTW, your message was posted 3 times. I don't think you can delete the repeated posts, but Matt probably can.

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  85. Bruce,

    Are there data to back up your statements about the toxicity of bleached and enriched flour? The question is not whether bleached/bromated flour contains toxins, everything contains toxins. The question is: at the level at which they would be consumed in the diet, are the toxins in white flour resulting from bleaching/bromation harmful?

    If you have any studies in which they found a difference between bleached/bromated white flour and unbleached/bromated white flour under controlled conditions in animals or humans, I’d be interested to see them.

    Or if you have any studies in which the toxins in processed flour you described cause health problems at the level they would be eaten in a Western diet, I’d be interested in that too.

    If the only data are from rodents overfed concentrated doses of things that are formed in processed white flour, I can’t say I find that convincing.

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  86. Stephan: “Are there data to back up your statements about the toxicity of bleached and enriched flour?”

    The question should be is there data to back up the safety of the practice, not whether we can prove the harmfulness of it. It should be assumed that poisonous substancs are harmful and the damage is probably cumulative. The burden must be on those who process and adulterate our food to show that what they’re doing is actually safe or beneficial. And if you say white flour is inherently bad, then you should be able to isolate the other variables, like alloxan and bromate and toxic vitamins and minerals, as well as the fact it might be rancid.

    “The question is not whether bleached/bromated flour contains toxins, everything contains toxins.”

    Man-made poisons added to foods need to be considered an independent risk factor for disease. If a certain food is known to be contaminated with pesticides, and more people develop allergies from that food, then pesticides should be the very first thing considered, before claiming the food itself is problematic. If food contains rancid fat, then those should be considered causative. All this could be tested scientifically, rancid fat is detectable with Rancimat.

    Everything does have toxins, but toxins will be more damaging if you eat a high PUFA diet. There’s malice in the people who adulterate food with a known poison and then fill it with PUFAs that create more volatile toxins. They’re malicious or downright ignorant, because numerous studies have proven that PUFA oils make poisons more toxic and volatile.

    “The question is: at the level at which they would be consumed in the diet, are the toxins in white flour resulting from bleaching/bromation harmful?”

    I have cited this study before that fed rats alloxan at very tiny doses (40-160 mg/kg) and when combined with high-PUFA oils diabetes mortality increased. Oils lacking PUFAs (like coconut oil and pure saturated fats) provided almost complete protection from the poison, even at the higher dose. 40mg/kg would be about 0.1 ounces for a 157# person. Saturated fats gave very strong protection at that dose (0-12% diabetes and 0-10% mortality). At the 160mg dose, corn oil caused diabetes in 100% of the animals and killed 90% of them. A high coconut oil diet caused 29% to develop diabetes and 12% died. If you assume that the amount in bleached white flour is smaller than that, it still can not be assumed safe, because the damage is probably cumulative.

    http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/51/3/441.pdf

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  87. Bruce,

    40 mg per kg is a lot, that’s 3 grams per day for an average male human!

    What are the concentrations in flour?

    I don’t agree that just because a toxin is harmful at high dose, it will also be harmful at a low dose. Dose-response for toxins is not usually a linear relationship at very small doses. In fact, some stressors actually increase stress resistance at low doses. X-rays are one example.

    I agree that you can’t assume it’s safe, but neither can you assume it’s dangerous if the doses are not in the same ballpark. There are so many man-made chemicals in our food supply. Ideally we should eliminate them all, but realistically we have to pick our battles.

    I think the story sounds compelling enough that it should be studied. But there are other possible explanations of wheat’s toxicity.

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  88. By the way, it’s very interesting that saturated fat protected against alloxan toxicity. I enjoyed the linoleic acid cancer paper you linked to as well.

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  89. “40 mg per kg is a lot, that’s 3 grams per day for an average male human!”

    People eating 10 slices of bread may get that much, given a 1% concentration. I’m not sure how much alloxan is in bleached flour, but I have eaten sourdough breads made of unbleached flour and whole spelt without any problems. I think x-rays are harmful, even at low doses. Like Matt, I don’t think wheat is inherently toxic. A person eating a low-fat diet filled with wheat might have problems. Peter over on HyperLipid seems to fit that description so there’s another explanation for wheat toxicity – eating a deficient diet, like Matt has suggested before. Wheat may not cause any problems if it’s fresh, whole, and unadulterated, and provided you have plenty of fat-soluble vitamins (eating a low-fat vegan diet is totally out of the question). Fermented wheat is probably a lot more digestible, too.

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  90. I’ve been reading more about the alloxan in bleached white flour and it seems the toxin is created by the bleaching agents reacting with wheat germ and protein. It converts xanthine (Vitamin E co-factor) into alloxan. Chlorinated water does the same thing to proteins and converts some of them to alloxan, making your pancreas that much more likely to be damaged, esp in the context of a high-PUFA diet.

    http://www.diabeticsbooks.com/diabetes-introduction.htm

    I tried searching pubmed for alloxan and bleach, but got no hits. I still haven’t been able to find out how much alloxan’s in bleached flour. If you knew how much xanthine was in flour, you could figure out the maximum amount of alloxan there could be, theoretically, if all of it is converted intoto alloxan. There is also xanthine in coffee. So making coffee out of chlorinated water is another good way to poison yourself with alloxan. (Using bleached coffee filters may be another.)

    http://www.halalvitamins.com/prevention.htm

    If anyone finds a study about alloxan in bleached flour, please post it.

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  91. My bent is simply that natural foods were not capable of producing disease very effectively. Clearly some foods are superior to others.

    As for the chemicals added to flour, I have no doubt that they are harmful, but from an etiological perspective, simply refining flour and pounding it into a fine powder is probably the most significant alteration in terms of producing disease. That too could be a key reason it is more strongly associated with disease than white rice, which is intact and also maintains better freshness in that state.

    But allergies in general is a sign of disease, arising from hyperallergenicity for various reasons. If I am allergic to cat hair, which is benign, that doesn’t mean that cat hair is a vile substance, and I think the same goes for other common allergens, such as milk, which is also associated with type I diabetes (could be the gluten/casein connection there). I think allergies typically develop, including most food allergies, because a flaw in function – not necessarily a response to bodily harm.

    And yes, a whole foods diet that minimizes fibrous foods is probably superior to a whole foods diet that maximizes fibrous foods – especially when one considers the feeble, dysbiotic, inflamed intestines that is a pandemic of modern man.

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  92. Many doctors have argued that bleaching and enriching of white flour are highly damaging to health. Each step makes the white flour more toxic. White rice does not get processed as much, as you point out, although I would avoid enriched or fortified rice always. An organic white sushi rice is the safest kind.

    _Processing it and bleaching it renders it bug free and stable for long periods of time (bugs won’t touch it.), thus robbing the consumer of vital nutrients and minerals. This is bad enough, but when the isolate and/or synthetic vitamins are added, you have a very toxic substance. (Dr. Alice Fay Morgan showed that “fortified white flour was much more toxic to animals than just plain bleached flour.) This is because the manufacturer is not adding real vitamins._

    http://www.diabeticsbooks.com/diabetes-introduction.htm

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  93. Bruce K.: “The question should be is there data to back up the safety of the practice, not whether we can prove the harmfulness of it.”

    Then why do you insist that I provide a study showing that unrefined fructose is dangerous? Shouldn’t you provide a study showing that it is safe?

    More to point, where is your study showing that white rice, in isolation, is as dangerous as you assert?

    Also, if starch is so problematic, why do you eat any at all? You, Bruce, either don’t believe your own wildly inflated propaganda, or lack self-control. Which is it?

    -Ben S.

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  94. You crack me up Ben. Lord knows white rice has been a much more pleasant dietary habit for you than being in ketosis.

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  95. “Then why do you insist that I provide a study showing that unrefined fructose is dangerous? Shouldn’t you provide a study showing that it is safe?”

    You need to present a study showing that fructose is dangerous in the absence of corn oil, casein, and corn starch. Prove that an apple is unhealthy, too. We are waiting. Prove that pears are unhealthy.

    “More to point, where is your study showing that white rice, in isolation, is as dangerous as you assert?”

    All the people who developed pellagra, beri beri, and other diseases are proof enough that white rice in isolation is a deficient and unhealthy diet. Plus I’ve got my own experience. I tried eating Lundberg organic white sushi white rice all by itself and experienced symptoms of asthma (shortness of breath).

    “Also, if starch is so problematic, why do you eat any at all? You, Bruce, either don’t believe your own wildly inflated propaganda, or lack self-control. Which is it?”

    The problem is eating a high-starch diet in the modern world. Many studies prove that red meat and starch (with no sugars added) is inflammatory. The tribes Price studied did not eat “meat and potatoes”, AFAIK. They combined starches with dairy or fish, which are quite different than red meat or poultry. Why does Matt stop eating starch if it’s so healthy? That’s a better question. Why does he say white rice is better than potatoes, when they are both low-residue foods, and potatoes are more nutritious foods? You just want to justify eating starches, because they are addictive, and you are addicted. I’m not addicted to any food, I can “take or leave” anything, and that’s the only way to know you are healthy IMO.

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  96. “You crack me up Ben. Lord knows white rice has been a much more pleasant dietary habit for you than being in ketosis.”

    Being in ketosis and eating starches are not the only dietary choices. You could easily avoid ketosis eating milk, liver, heart, tongue, kidney, or even eggs for that matter. Wouldn’t potato be just as effective as rice for avoiding ketosis?

    Something else I don’t understand is why you accept Ben’s demonization of sugars, as if an apple or pear is the same thing as refined white sugar of HFCS. And Ben, didn’t you say you used Really Raw brand honey? So, why do you accuse me of being a hypocrite by eating starch? I eat like one serving of starch a day at the most, and often zero servings. You tell us all that “fructose is fructose”, and it does not matter where it comes from. Why then would you eat unheated honey?

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  97. Also, I have presented studies that show unrefined fructose is healthy. Here is a study, which you have ignored. The study probably used heated honey, but it still showed that honey is much healthier than refined sugar. I’m sure “unheated honey” would be healthier, because heated honey loses enzymes and nutrients.

    http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/132/11/3379

    Substituting Honey for Refined Carbohydrates Protects Rats from Hypertriglyceridemic and Prooxidative Effects of Fructose

    “Recent findings indicate that a high fructose diet has a prooxidant effect in rats compared with a starch diet. Because honey is rich in fructose, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of substituting honey for refined carbohydrates on lipid metabolism and oxidative stress. Rats were fed for 2 wk purified diets containing 65 g/100 g carbohydrates as wheat starch or a combination of fructose and glucose or a honey-based diet prepared by substituting honey for refined carbohydrates (n = 9/group). The same amount of fructose was provided by the honey and fructose diets. The hypertriglyceridemic effect of fructose was not observed when fructose was provided by honey. Compared with those fed starch, fructose-fed rats had a lower plasma {alpha}-tocopherol level, higher plasma nitrite and nitrate (NOx) levels and were less protected from lipid peroxidation as indicated by heart homogenate TBARS concentration. Compared with those fed fructose, honey-fed rats had a higher plasma {alpha}-tocopherol level, a higher {alpha}-tocopherol/triacylglycerol ratio, lower plasma NOx concentrations and a lower susceptibility of heart to lipid peroxidation. Further studies are required to identify the mechanism underlying the antioxidant effect of honey but the data suggest a potential nutritional benefit of substituting honey for fructose in the diet.”

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  98. Aren’t a lot of modern fruit hybridized or bred to taste better or hold specific tastes? I haven’t done any research on it, but, I’ve heard of it before, and it’s not a farfetched idea…nutrients may look different in a true wild fruit or berry? (breeding to taste could mean higher sugar content specifically such as modern bananas)
    I mean, even some animals of today are bred for characteristics and taste; I just wonder if any of it effects the health of it. But animals and fruit are two very different things.
    Plus I don’t think anyone is arguing that fruit is necessarily bad for anyone, it just may not be a good idea to consume a lot of it if you’re also eating things that may effect the absorption of fructose (i.e. food that probably aren’t likely to be seen paired with each other if you were surviving in the wild) or if you have a fructose problem to begin with. I mean most people probably didn’t pair an apple or pear with their meal of meat. But maybe they ate fruit at a certain time of the year specifically or for a short time in the week, but not with anything(?). I don’t know, just suggestions

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  99. A bigger problem with fruit is that it’s not picked ripe, IMO. Ray Peat says it’s best to cook fruits unless you know they are picked at the peak of ripeness. Also he says to add sea salt to fruit juices, like 1/4 tsp of sea salt per cup.

    My contention is with people who tell us “fructose is unhealthy”based on ignorant studies feeding animals refined fructose with corn oil, casein, sucrose, and corn starch. Those studies prove nothing IMO, except that the overall diet was bad. To blame fructose is like saying alcohol is bad while feeding animals PUFA oils. The alcohol would be harmless if the diet is devoid of PUFAs oils, and fats like lard and chicken skin that are high in PUFAs.

    So, my first thought when I see studies saying “fructose is bad” is to ask “what was the source of fructose, an unrefined food, or a bag of refined sugar, or high fructose corn syrup? Next, I ask what is the source of fat and protein they used? You can’t use casein and corn oil, then extrapolate to somebody eating meat and butter. Colin Campbell’s studies are the perfect example. He fed rats pure sugar, corn oil, corn starch, and casein, then blamed “animal protein” for causing the cancer. I disagree with his conclusion. My conclusion is that a diet containing PUFA oils, refined sugar, and cornstarch causes “refined animal protein” to cause cancer, not that fresh foods would have the same effects whatsoever.

    It is ridiculous to say that eating pure fructose is the same as “unheated” honey (like Really Raw Honey). It’s absurd to compare refined sucrose with fresh sugar cane, beets, carrots, or maple syrup. As Matt said, you can’t compare refined and unrefined sugars (or grains). Nor can we compare fresh foods and rancid foods. It is obvious that refined and rancid foods cause disease, and nobody has ever shown that fresh natural foods do.

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  100. “You would have hard time gaining weight by eating pure sugar by itself, as many dietary “self-selection” studies prove.”

    Here is another good study, proving that chow diets are more fattening than self- selected diets with individual foods. It would be very hard to get fat eating dry granulated sugar, by itself. This study, and others, refutes the idea that “sugar is uniquely fattening.” It’s fattening in the context of a chow diet or Western Diet or cafeteria diet, but it’s vastly less fattening when animals are allowed to select their diets ad-lib.

    Dietary obesity: Differential effects with self-selection and composite diet feeding techniques

    Abstract:
    Female rats were given access to casein, cornstarch, and fat in separate cups or a composite diet identical in composition to that chosen by self-selecting rats. After 2 weeks, all rats received granular sucrose ad lib in addition to these other foods. Sucrose availability resulted in increased caloric intake and increased body weight gain in composite-fed rats, but not in self-selectors. Self-selectors maintained caloric homeostasis by decreased consumption of all foods initially, but protein intake recovered to control levels by the third week of treatment.

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  101. Bruce,

    My attack on fructose is to show, mainly, that there are fundamental differences between white sugar and the new sugars, HFCS and crystalline fructose. These two refined sugars are worse, and fructose, in this form, mixed in with an otherwise cafeteria diet (love that term by the way), is very destructive.

    Of course honey and fruit are different, and apples and pears too.

    But it’s good to reiterate that lack of these foods in the diet won’t cause sudden death, something the general public believes without question. Telling the general public to eat lots of fruit and fruit juice with their otherwise high-fructose diet, knowing that maybe as much as half of them are fructose malabsorbers is pretty questionable advice. That’s more where I’m coming from, and Ben as well, who got wrapped up in low carb dogma, followed AV’s advice, and got himself into serious trouble eating a whole foods diet consisting primarily of raw milk, raw honey and raw meats.

    On that note, I think I’ll go eat some honey right now for you Bruce, despite how nasty that shiz is. Facing it head on.

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  102. Matt: “I don’t know how, but I did notice in the Saccharine Disease by Peter Cleave that he mentions that sugar causes thyrotoxicosis.”

    Just because someone wrote it in a book doesn’t necessarily make it true. People try to blame sugar for all of the evils in the world, but there are all sorts of confounding variables. We must identify the mechanism and isolate other factors, like bleached white flour and vegetable oils and toxic chemicals added to foods, before sugar can be blamed. Eating sugar in the absence of those things might be no worse than having 4-6 drinks per day, like a certain obese undertaker.

    “My attack on fructose is to show, mainly, that there are fundamental differences between white sugar and the new sugars, HFCS and crystalline fructose. These two refined sugars are worse, and fructose, in this form, mixed in with an otherwise cafeteria diet (love that term by the way), is very destructive.”

    HFCS is at least 22% worse than refined sucrose and pure fructose is 100% worse, esp mixed with the cafeteria diet: high in starches, sugars, PUFAs, and protein, maybe with some alcohol thrown in. That diet is the “perfect nutritional storm”, as Barry Sears called it. The Cafeteria Diet or Chow Diet is a good term for it. Or the high-everything diet.

    What I am trying to get across is that a lot of factors cause obesity, as the rat studies show. If you let rats pick their own macro-nutrient ratios, then let them have access to granulated sugar, they do not gain weight. So even refined food is not fattening inherently, only when it’s mixed with other refined foods. The rats that eat chow are less healthy even with the same food and macro-nutrient ratios, because the body’s homeostasis is messed up by the chow-type diet.

    “On that note, I think I’ll go eat some honey right now for you Bruce, despite how nasty that shiz is. Facing it head on.”

    I use more solid honey that has a milder taste, because it’s higher in glucose. I don’t like the stronger tasting ones any more. They can burn my throat. The ratio of fructose to glucose in honey can vary widely from like 0.76 to 1.86. Average = 1.23. I think it’s best to balance them, because they are synergetic.

    http://www.solorb.com/mead/honeydef.txt

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  103. Matt: “Telling the general public to eat lots of fruit and fruit juice with their otherwise high-fructose diet, knowing that maybe as much as half of them are fructose malabsorbers is pretty questionable advice. That’s more where I’m coming from, and Ben as well, who got wrapped up in low carb dogma, followed AV’s advice, and got himself into serious trouble eating a whole foods diet consisting primarily of raw milk, raw honey and raw meats.”

    Aajonus doesn’t tell people to eat lots of fruits or fruit juices, and his diet isn’t just raw milk, raw honey, and raw meats. He mixes butter with honey, eats raw eggs, drinks severeal cups of green vegetable juice, etc. Maybe adding meat to milk and honey is a bad idea, but it would be fine to eat the milk and honey by themselves. Why do you think Ben got into trouble? Surely you don’t blame it all on the honey. Maybe it’s better not to eat meat with other foods, like eggs or honey or dairy. (Butter maybe OK.) I don’t think any one food is to blmae on AV’s diet, the way he mixes them may be problematic or the amounts.

    Diet is infinitely complex.

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  104. When refined foods were added to the human dietary, transit times slowed down, allergies developed, tooth decay became rampant, skeletal malformations, particularly of the jaw became the norm, infectious disease rose, and within several decades there were large spikes in diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other modern day illnesses.

    The question is why, and no one really knows because we haven’t been able to isolate the variables. It is not even certain that hypothyroidism is the mechanism. It could have something to do with the pituitary. It could be primarily hypercortisolemia. It could be, as Taubes states, because of hyperinsulinemia (not caused by carbs stoopid).

    I don’t think the thyroid is damaged in hypothyroidism either. Metabolism just slows. The body is under threat or not receiving what it needs (burning through supplies faster than they are being supplied), and the metabolism is thus reduced. It could all come back to liver enzymes. No one knows yet with certainty. The theories are endless.

    Refined sugar does appear to be the leading causal factor of tooth decay. Ask any dentist what causes tooth decay and they will report that sugar does. That doesn’t make it right. It could be a huge blind spot on everyone’s radar, but there is a good chance that sugar does somehow do this. Melvin Page thought he knew why – because of fluctuation in blood glucose levels and phosphorous to calcium ratios in the blood, and the greater the fructose level, the greater the fluctuations.

    As for obesity, I know that no one factor alone can cause it. It must be a “high everything diet.” But just yesterday I was snooping through someone’s house who is dramatically overweight and just got bariatric surgery. Cases of Pepsi in the basement. But the person who lives and eats with that person is thin as a rail. Heredity plays a huge factor, just as it does for Zucker rats who eat exactly like normal strains of rats but become obese. The normal strains do not.

    I blame lack of carbohydrates and a high protein diet being fed to someone who is hypothyroid for Ben’s demise. His transit time slowed to a crawl and he just kept with it, stubbornly believing carbs to be an enemy, as he became increasingly bloated and constipated.

    I believe ketosis and GNG to be prime enemies of someone who is hypothyroid – the worst possible diet Ben could have pursued, regardless of the fact that all his food was from a local WAP-worthy farm and raw. He would have fared better on Gatorade and pizza.

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  105. And yes, the honey burned my throat, but I seemed to tolerate it fairly well otherwise.

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  106. "Refined sugar does appear to be the leading causal factor of tooth decay."

    But there are other variables. I think a person eating granulated sugar from the bag would have better teeth than someone sipping three Cokes a day. Acids in the soft drinks strip the minerals from your bones and teeth a lot faster than sugar. Dr. Gerald F. Judd said that "sugar has little or nothing to do with cavities." His prescription for preventing cavities was to rinse acidic foods off the teeth, avoid fluoride, and get enough calcium & Vitamin D. Sally Fallon makes ridiculous claims, like saying that orange juice is more damaging to teeth than soft drinks. That is utter nonsense. I drank a quart of orange juice and a quart of milk each day growing up and never had cavities. I think orange juice by itself might cause cavities, but not if balanced by milk or cheese. Cavities are very complex, like obesity. There are many factors. To say that "sugar causes cavities" independent of other factors is crazy.

    "Ask any dentist what causes tooth decay and they will report that sugar does. That doesn't make it right. It could be a huge blind spot on everyone's radar, but there is a good chance that sugar does somehow do this."

    But people aren't eating sugar by itself so there are confounding variables. Even drinking water or coffee with sugar will give confounding results, because of the fluoride, chlorine, aluminum, and other toxic chemicals added. Sugar might also be contaminaed with asbestos, used as a filtering aid, or pesticides. You would have to control for those.

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie50437a022

    "Melvin Page thought he knew why – because of fluctuation in blood glucose levels and phosphorous to calcium ratios in the blood, and the greater the fructose level, the greater the fluctuations."

    When animals eat sugar in the absence of fat, it has no effect on blood sugar and insulin. So, the problem might be due to things like doughnuts, cookies, pie, and other high-PUFA high-sugar foods. People eating banana chips would do better than people snacking on HFCS, soybean oil, or partially hydrogenated oil.

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  107. Matt: “And yes, the honey burned my throat, but I seemed to tolerate it fairly well otherwise.”

    Try different kinds of honey. The harder they are, the more glucose they contain, and the less sweet they taste. I used to eat one that was sweeter. Now if I eat a little of that it burns a little. It did not burn in the past when I ate it, so I guess my body has adapted to honeys with more glucose (like wildflower).

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  108. “Dr. Gerald F. Judd…”

    That should be Dr. GERARD F. Judd.

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  109. Bruce,

    As Matt pointed out, my dietary distress appears to have been brought on by doing more or less what you advocate: eating red meat (some raw, some cooked), milk, raw honey, etc., and avoiding starches almost entirely, except for a slice of sourdough on rare occasion.

    I did this for quite awhile until it became painfully aware that this was not working for me as Matt identified.

    You alluded to the fact that I have, at times, consumed honey, and that is true. But the key difference between my honey consumption and your starch consumption, is that I, unlike you, am not advocating hard-and-fast, one-size-fits-all dietary advice.

    Anyone who’s read just one of your posts knows that for your, the only diet is one that minimizes fiber (an ironic fact considering you advocate eating foods in their natural state, yet advocate juicing fruits), minimizes PUFAs, and avoid starch (except when you don’t). Anything else is the devil to everyone, as demonstrated by your own anecdotal experiences.

    The truth is that both you and I, like Matt and the rest of the gang, really have no idea what works or what doesn’t. Your dietary advice flies in the face of practices adopted by billions across the globe, many if not most of whom are doing just fine. But again, the difference between you and I is that at least I know that I don’t know, you know?

    This, of course, is not to point out that your gospel is frought with contradiction. For example, you resist the suggestion that dietary fructose from natural sources is no problem, yet advise eating light-colored, solid honeys rather than darker, more viscous ones, specifically because the latter contain more fructose.

    In an even more ironic twist, you argue against my reservations about fructose, by trumpeting the virtues of apples and pears, the two fruits that you specifically advise your disciples on “A.V. Skeptics” to avoid. (Speaking of which, with your lectures to your disciples on that Yahoo! group, stubborn refusal to ever admit you’re wrong, and unflinching dietary advice rooted in your own personal anecdotal experience, you are indistinguishable from A.V., a fact which is no small irony considering the name of your Yahoo! group. How does that old saying go? “There’s something about him that I hate about myself.”)

    For what it’s worth, I agree that PUFA’s are problematic, and that fiber is often less than ideal. And, it may surprise you to know that I, too, would choose fruit over Skittles and juice over soda.

    But the ultimate question is not which food is the lesser evil, but what among all foods are the optimal foods, period. And on that point, I am not totally convinced unrefined fructose is the devil, nor am I sure it is totally fine.

    All I have done is express my view that it may pose a number of problems, in particular digestive distress, liver issues, and triggering binge eating. (Unlike you, I have no problem eating small portions of starch, but am helpless to control the amount of fruit I eat. I have, on various occasions, ravenously consumed cherries by the pound, entire containers of berries, entire pineapples, not to mention several cups of fresh juice.)

    One thing I think you fail to consider is humans’ access to fruit and other natural sugars. One of the reasons why wheat and other similar grains are ubiquitous across the world is that it grows in a variety of climes, including cold ones.

    Fruits, however, have a very limited tolerance to changes in temperature. I suspect that this prevented fruits from constituting a significant quantity of human diets for any length of time. Therefore, it may be extremely unnatural to consume even natural sugar in a significant quantity on a consistent basis.

    But, again, this is just speculation, not a firmly held conclusion. And, certainly, I wouldn’t be careless enough to force this speculation down others’ throats, especially if I were the type of person who is unwilling to admit when he was wrong and thereby get the word out to all of those whom he’s led astray.

    -Ben S.

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  110. Ben, I don’t have any problem with binge eating fruit or anything else. I can eat one fruit, two fruits, half a fruit, and have no desire for more. Same thing with juices. You, Matt, and AV have metabolic problems that are far from universal. In AV’s case, I suspect it results from his (allegedly) eating a fruitarian diet for years. Maybe red meat is your problem or maybe you ate too much protein from lean meat without added fat.

    I don’t push red meat onto anyone. I say to minimize PUFAs. Many people do better with lean fish than red meat. In fact, I specifically said that it might be ideal to eat starches with lean seafood rather than red meat. I don’t say that red meat (or any meat) is an essential food. Just because you have a problem with red meat doesn’t mean red meat is bad. Maybe your problem would be fixed by eating nothing but red meat (minimizing the protein and adding lots of suet or fat). Did you eat muscle meats, organs, or both?

    I advocate sugars over starches, because they have specific effects that starches don’t have, like making Mead Acid. There are many studies that show eating starch is not the same as eating glucose. It is not a matter of hard-and-fast rules, but having a high ratio of sugars to starch, which will have a certain effect, esp in the context of a low-PUFA diet.

    Fiber is an anti-nutrients and humans do not have any enzymes that can break down fiber. So, why consume it? Matt has said the same thing many times. If you follow Monastyrsky to his logical conclusion, a low or no-fiber diet is ideal (excluding refined sugars and grains).

    “Fiber is indigestible matter. It takes a cow several stomachs and thousands of times more enzyme capacity and fermentation to break down plant fibers – cellulose, hemicellulose, etc. Humans, however, are not really built to consume that much fiber.”

    http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2008/10/diver-tickle-o-sis.html

    Ben: “Your dietary advice flies in the face of practices adopted by billions across the globe, many if not most of whom are doing just fine.”

    Your idea of doing just fine may not be in agreement with mine, since I see lots of malnourished people who are eating a high-starch, esp high-grain diet. Few of them are muscular and robust. They have either low body fat AND low muscle mass (Japanese people), OR high body fat AND high muscle mass (sumo wrestlers). They are not well-balanced, IMO.

    “For example, you resist the suggestion that dietary fructose from natural sources is no problem, yet advise eating light-colored, solid honeys rather than darker, more viscous ones, specifically because the latter contain more fructose.”

    The fructose/glucose ratio in honey will vary from 0.76 to 1.86 (average 1.23). I have pointed out studies that honey does not cause hypertriglyceridemia and lipid peroxidation like refined fructose mixed with glucose does. So, any suggestion of fructose in natural foods being harmful is asinine, IMO. I have found studies to refute that claim categorically, showing that honey does not have the same toxic effects refined fructose and glucose do I’m not resisting anything. I prefer the taste of solid honeys. A light color is only a secondary indicator. The hardness and the taste is the main criteria that I use to judge raw honey. I do think the monosaccharides are synergetic when they are balanced, but this is just a feeling based on studies (most of which were not using natural foods anyway). If you like liquid honeys, eat them. It may be more healthy for some people.

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  111. “One thing I think you fail to consider is humans’ access to fruit and other natural sugars. One of the reasons why wheat and other similar grains are ubiquitous across the world is that it grows in a variety of climes, including cold ones.”

    People can dry fruit in the sun the same way they dry meat. Raw honey would keep forever. Maple syrup could be used. Milk sugar. Carrots and beets. All those are natural sugars. So there’s really no way to prove that primitives didn’t eat any sugars or that it would be unhealthy for you to eat sugars year-round. We didn’t eat potatoes and grains for millions of years and I see no reason why we need to eat them now. I agree that the billions of poor people in the world don’t have a choice but to eat high-starch diets. The question is what’s better? Rice, tubers, beans, and wheat or fruit, honey, roots, and milk?

    I mean, what do starches offer? There’s gotta be a more logical reason to eat a food than just that we can grow it year round. We can gather fruit in summer to preserve for winter. That’s the fallacy Cordain makes in saying that primitives ate a low-fat diet. He ignores the fact that you can preserve meat and fat. You don’t have to eat it immediately. There are natural ways of preserving it, like pemmican and so forth. Given controlled climate, you can ferment meat just like cheese and other foods. Some primitives also ate rotten meat. The Eskimos saved fat from one animal to eat with another animal that was too lean.

    So, to argue that we didn’t have access to sugars is not necessarily true. You would have to establish that primitives did not have the knowledge to dry food in the sun or preserve food other ways.

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  112. More contradictions, Bruce. You criticize starch for its lack of nutrients, yet criticize those who hold raw milk in high regard, even though it demonstrably has higher levels of nutrients that are lost in pastuerization. This is not AV lore, this is verifiable fact.

    I also think it is funny that you think that Matt and my issues with sugar are not universal, when the overwhelming majority of people, if asked, would tell you that sugar causes issues. Even if this is mainstream propaganda, where did the impetus for that propaganda come from?

    Similarly, if I should be concerned about my inability to eat sugar without binging, shouldn’t you be concerned about your inability to eat starch without having negative reactions? Reactions that are not universal? Maybe you should trying eating nothing but starch, eating it with fat, eating it without sugar, etc. (Sound familiar?)

    Also, I think it’s ironic that you quote Monastyrsky because even he does not avoid starches to the extent you advocate. It appears that he eats approximately 200 grams worth of carbs from white rice each day.

    Your point about poor people and starch is also suspect. Culturally speaking, it is fat and meat which are exorcised in the diets of impoverished people, not fruit. Indeed, in many parts of the world, fruit is the only free food for people to acquire.

    It is also worth noting that refined grains were, until recent times, something available only to the rice. But their diets almost certainly contained more animal products than those of poor people.

    I know it really sounds like I am advocating starches, but what I’m really trying to do is play devil’s advocate with you. I come after you, in particular, because you refuse to accept any views that differ from your own. If I had proof positive that starches were the devil, I could drop them with no regrets. But that hasn’t been my experience.

    I accept that some of your points have merit, but can also seem a number of counterarguments that I think you are too quick to dismiss.

    And again, I always come back to wondering why you eat starches at all. You pointed out that I ate (and may again eat) sugar, but I have not come on here saying that sugar is garbage and should be totally avoided, as you have with starch.

    -Ben S.

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  113. “You criticize starch for its lack of nutrients, yet criticize those who hold raw milk in high regard, even though it demonstrably has higher levels of nutrients that are lost in pastuerization. This is not AV lore, this is verifiable fact.”

    The nutrient losses are minimal and can be compensated by other foods. All foods lose nutrients by being cooked. What are you suggesting, a 100% raw diet? Is milk the same as butter or half-and-half? Of course not. Is rare meat going to cause deficiencies, or well-done meat? I will let you find the studies that prove they will – in the absence of refined sugars and grains, of course. It’s AV lore that raw food is superfood and food cooked at 160F for 15 seconds is deadly poison. It may be bad for some people, esp if they are eating lots of junk food, but where are the studies that isolate variables?

    Humans aren’t cats, so don’t even think about going there. Not to mention that Pottenger’s study never been reproduced by anyone on cats even. Modern cats are reproducing prolifically. What happened to the mass infertility that should now be occurring from cooked food?

    The majority of people can eat a piece of fruit without bingeing. You and Matt have addiction problems. You would get addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, even natural foods. Your problem is not universal and there may be solutions to it. I have never become addicted to any thing. I used marijuana once and never used it again. I can go weeks or months without alcohol, despite having alcohol on hand. I can eat any amount of fruit, or no fruit, without cravings. You have problems. And they’re not universal.

    I would probably digest starches better if I ate them at every meal. But I don’t want to do so. Your argument is circular because you ignore that sugars help the body make Mead Acid and starches do not, just like a low-PUFA diet generates Mead Acid and a high-PUFA diet doesn’t. Mead Acid has many powerful benefits that you can only get by eating a low-PUFA and low-starch diet. Young animals from all species have high levels of Mead Acid in their bodies, esp if breast-fed, due to the lack of PUFAs and starches. When the people switch to a normal diet, high in PUFAs and starches, Mead Acid drops very fast. This makes us more vulnerable to poisoning, disease, etc.

    “Also, I think it’s ironic that you quote Monastyrsky because even he does not avoid starches to the extent you advocate. It appears that he eats approximately 200 grams worth of carbs from white rice each day.”

    That doesn’t prove his diet is healthy. Mead Acid has proven benefits. What are the proven benefits for starches? Where are the studies showing they protect us against poisoning, disease, and toxins?

    Re: Can Mead acid substitute for EFAs or should they be promoted to the status of vitamins?

    Gut bacteria plays a big role in whether people digest starches or not. Germ-free rats are lean – no matter what they eat, because they don’t digest as much energy from starches. More efficient digestion means more efficient fattening. So it’s no surprise that some people lose weight by eating starch and others gain weight from it. However, the questions remain: what are the benefits to eating starch? What is the mechanism for weight loss? Those who fail to digest it lose weight. This isn’t a healthy way to lose weight, any more than eating sawdust, cardboard, and plastic would be.

    “Your point about poor people and starch is also suspect. Culturally speaking, it is fat and meat which are exorcised in the diets of impoverished people, not fruit. Indeed, in many parts of the world, fruit is the only free food for people to acquire.”

    Your nitpicking my arguments apart does not do anything but make you look silly. Never did I say that they did eat a lot of meat, or that they didn’t eat fruits. Poor people generally eat a diet highly based on starches. Eating fruits in the absence of complementary animal food is probably dangerous like eating starches without some animal foods.

    “I know it really sounds like I am advocating starches, but what I’m really trying to do is play devil’s advocate with you.”

    I have no problem with that. Many of my arguments with Matt are playing devil’s advocate, like saying maybe the probems with not sugar are due to “displacement of other foods”, not because sugar will inherently cause disease if balanced by other nutritious foods. Afterall, Price probably called these foods “displacing foods of commerce” because they tended to displace other foods. They were not balanced with nutritious foods. That is why I disagree with Matt when he quotes Price saying “there is no body-building material in natural sugars.” So what if there’s no “body-building material” in, say, honey? Nobody said there was. It’s not all-or-nothing. I’m not saying that you can get all your protein needs from eating really raw honey. I’m saying it is healthier than eating starches, like grains, beans, and potatoes.

    “I come after you, in particular, because you refuse to accept any views that differ from your own. If I had proof positive that starches were the devil, I could drop them with no regrets. But that hasn’t been my experience.”

    My views are backed up by studies. They aren’t something I came up with. Many other people have said the same things, like Ray Peat, Aajonus, Art DeVany, and every paleo diet or low-carb diet guru, who tells people to avoid starches like the plague. Many benefit from that advice and I’ve yet to see you give any proof that starches have unique benefit, esp refined white rice. I’ve heard from people who had fructose malabsorption if they ate white rice and/or potatoes, but when they cut out those foods or reduced them they had no problem eating fructose from natural foods. So it’s just as true to say that starch interferes with sugar digestion as to say the opposite. In any case, I have said it’s a bad idea to mix sugars and starches, so I don’t have to worry about those interactions.

    I eat starches for convenience and to be sociable. The main ones are potatoes and fresh ground 24-hour fermented sourdough bread, which are very unlike white rice and other processed garbage.

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  114. Matt: “If I eat natural simple sugars I must do so on an empty stomach and completely by themselves.”

    What’s the problem? Maybe it’s better to eat foods by themselves, rather than mix them all together and have them fight it out in your stomach. Eating a food alone may give the body more feedback. Look at the self-selection studies. They showed that animals who got to choose their own macronutrient ratios were protected from obesity even when they had access to dry sugar. They couldn’t mix any of the food together. They had oen cup of fat, a cup of protein, one cup of starch, and a cup of sugar. The animals who selected their diet were lean, even when they had sugar available. The animals who were fed Chow became obese when refined sugar was made available. So, even refined sugar is not as bad if you eat it dry by itself as it is when you mix it with other foods. All chow diets are unhealthy – they are less than the sum of their parts.

    Reply

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