Ray May

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While we’ll be interrupting “Ray May” for a guest post by Brock Cusick later this week on the role of TXNIP in body weight and glucose regulation – today is the official start of Ray May.  So kick back and let’s eat some hay, sit by the bay, we just may, whaddya say?

I asked the peanut gallery if they would be interested in a month of Ray Peat immersion, scrutiny, translation, and celebration, and the peanut gallery threw back many a thumbs up, often two at a time.  One gentleman threw 3 thumbs up, getting excited about the ice cream cone, shown left, that sometimes appears on Ray’s site – http://www.raypeat.com/.  While I’m not looking to spark anyone’s new orthorexia or guru-itis, I will say, my honest opinion of Ray Peat and his work is that it is at the highest magnitude of excellence.

I spent years looking at every perspective I could, only to determine that stress hormones and low metabolic rate were the predominant causes of disease – both minor and major.  By the time I got to Peat, well, he was already there and had been for years – but he was able to put forth all kinds of new layers of complexity that I had never before put together.  It was humbling, but has also been vastly re-affirming (which is quite dangerous, haha!).

If you understand anything about Peat – and few understand ANYTHING about Peat because his writing often strikes people as overly complex and off-the-wall while in total disharmony with mainstream beliefs about, well, everything… understand that Peat, while imperfect like all of us in his ability to make conclusions, is a truly big thinker.

Peat, more than any single researcher before or since, really understands the relevance of cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, and endocrinology in terms of the complexity of their relationship with nutrition, stress, lifestyle, thoughts, learning, seasons, light and darkness, and just about any other stimulus you can think of.  Taking all this into consideration in the most comprehensive view of human health and function his mind is capable of grasping, Peat has come up with some very interesting thoughts, viewpoints, tips, and pointers on how to restore and maintain health and vitality.  In my opinion, his work will one day receive the true recognition it deserves, perhaps decades from now in the way Weston A. Price’s work has been so fully resurrected.  It’s really that good, and as his understanding continues to grow, so does the comprehensiveness and clarity of his work – the mark of a true man of science.

So, brace yourself as I put together dozens of mini-posts celebrating, translating,scrutinizing, and discussing small snippets of Ray’s work.  By the end I think you’ll admit, while Ray isn’t right about everything (who could be?), the old timer is really onto something with most of his conclusions.  And some of the quotes I’ve gathered are just plain legendary…

“Once we accept that knowledge is tentative, and that we are probably going to improve our knowledge in important ways when we learn more about the world, we are less likely to reject new information that conflicts with our present ideas.”
~Ray Peat




  1. What a titty tease!

    I thought you were going to get into the good stuff with this post.



  2. Great quote.

    I'd be interested in your take on Peat's views on fiber.

  3. Tyler-

    Definitely will be one of the most interesting discussions. Do you eat fiber for butyric acid production, which facilitates T3 transport into the mitochondrion (a VERY good thing)? Or do you avoid fiber for fear of feeding bacterial proliferation and the production of endotoxin?

    And what about beans/legumes? Anti-thyroid nutrients in them – but they yield the most pro-metabolic byproducts during digestion of pretty much all foods?

    What's a health nerd to do? I think there are many paradoxes and contradictions in Peat's work that need some hashing out. We'll get there.

  4. Thanks, Matt.

    And somewhat related perhaps, is how do you square Ray's views on starch with the apparent success for health and weight with so many folks on McDougall? The numbers and stories of the star McDougallers at his site are pretty impressive.

  5. you got time to lean, you got time to clean, come on now boys!!!!


  6. Tease! Raying Mantis!

    I'm looking forward both to elucidation of some of the interconnected issues that Jared Bond talked about in the comments on the previous post, and to some hint of what his insights look like in the real world, what his followers are like.

    Having been around a bunch of Aajonus-worshipers (to the point that I tried his plan myself for a bit, to my longterm regret), I'm wary of a researcher/guru who says things that are so far opposite on so many subjects.

  7. haha "one gentleman threw 3 thumbs up" .. this really made me laugh.

    Looking forward to all this Rayness.

  8. I don't want to speak too soon as it has only been a matter of weeks, but I have been following the Ray Peat "food guidelines" and I have to say I am feeling the best I have in years. I seriously think all my problems have been hormone related and Ray's ideas seem to address hormone issues head on. Will keep updating as I go along.

    Plus, I seem to have effortlessly lost the weight that I put on when eating starch.

    I too would love to hear Matt's take on Ray's views on fibre.

    Also, Ray mentioned on his blog talk with the Rubins that he will be doing a newsletter on fibre, does anyone know when his newsletters will be available for sale again??

  9. Mishkam, very interesting. What would you consider to be the most important changes you have made to your diet? Lots of sugar and gelatin?

  10. I want to hear about the fructose/insulin relationship. Insulin as a hunger hormone (or the opposite) and why we should or should't worry about that, glucose raising leptin where fructose doesn't etc.

  11. Ever thought about trying to set up an interview with Peat? I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd love it if you could make that happen.

  12. Not sure if this is the right place to do this, but I thought I'd ask some advice. I'll just lay out my situation and see if anyone has any thoughts.

    I downloaded all of Matt's e-books and have been working through them. The first one I read was the free e-book that talks about revving up the metabolism by eating lot of everything but in particular starchy carbs and low-omega 6 foods. That's the diet I originally intended to follow.

    I'm about Matt's age (love all the 80's references btw) and I've been doing this for a little over a month now. I noticed that when I was really cramming myself full of food I lost all desire for snacking, I started feeling warmer, no more cold fingers and less frequent cold toes, and this "lump in the throat" feeling in the thyroid area mostly went away.

    One downside is that I have been really "sumoing up" which isn't really my cup of tea. I have tried on two separate days now to do go the MNP route, but so far I've found it impossible to pound that many carbs in a single day and end up resorting to a mixed dinner for more calories.

    On the weight issue, I can't figure out if I'm collecting fat in unusual places or if I'm also gaining muscle along with it or what. I feel like when my arms are at my sides they don't go down as far as they used to, so that's either underarm fat (lol) or bigger arm muscles. Pretty sure it's the former, unfortunately. Feels weird. Also, my pants are getting tighter but in different places from normal. Don't know what to make of all this but it's definitely an odd feeling.

    My body's weight set-point may be as much as 20 pounds in excess of where I currently am since I once weighed that amount years ago. I'm kind of afraid of getting back to that point and gaining even more and never getting that spontaneous weight reduction.

    Another downside is I get this skin rash that is absolutely 100% related to my carb intake and I believe is a result of poor carb metabolism which I want to fix. I've noticed it goes away at times while I'm still eating lots of carbs and I generally feel better at those times. So I'm just wondering if maybe my body is slowly correcting poor carb metabolism and I should just keep pounding carbs.

    The only other problem I've noticed is I had a bad bout of reflux which may have been partly because I got to where I was eating too close to bedtime, but also might have something to do with eating lots of potatoes. I remedied it by eating dinner earlier and taking a bit of baking soda in water before bed as needed.

    So far the positive effects I've experienced outweigh the negative.

    The only daily supplement I'm taking is B-6 (most days – sometimes I forget). Not sure yet whether it has a noticeable effect.

    I have been doing very minimal exercise when I feel like it, otherwise I am sedentary.

    I've also been eating some fruits when I get sugar cravings (mostly mangos and a few bananas), and I've developed a thing for chocolate pudding as well. Strange, I know. I know these items are theoretically to be avoided with what I'm trying to do but I haven't been overly strict with myself.

    As far as starches, I've been eating whatever I feel like. Lots and lots of potatoes, lots of rice (white basmati, occasionally unprocessed brown rices), squash, beets, and corn. Also have been eating lentils. I swear sometimes I feel like I can eat so much rice it's disgusting.

    The only other thing that comes to mind is most of the time I eat large amounts of food at each meal but I still have a nagging little bit of hunger. I try to satisfy it with fruit or sometimes veggies but it doesn't always work. I'm wondering if I might be making it worse with the fruit and sugar.

    Anyway, that's long and rambling but if anyone has any pointers or thoughts feel free to drop them on me. Thanks in advance!

  13. Why don't you talk about why someone why Schwarzbein claims she became diseased while following this diet.

    But, she stayed skinny.

  14. E

    In answer to your question re gelatine and sugar, I have been having bone broth on a daily basis (thanks Deb!!) and also having a custard type pudding with eggs, milk, a little sugar and gelatine. I haven't been going too mad on the sugar as I don't really have a sweet tooth.

    I have cut out ALL starches and above ground veges, have a raw carrot everyday, lots of dairy products, coconut oil, eggs, grape juice, grapes, mandarins, coffee with sugar, gelatinous meats, pumpkin, green tea and before bed I have a mug of warm milk with a tsp of sugar. Since I have been doing the warm milk before bed thing, I have been sleeping SO much better.

    I think Mr Peat might know what he is talking about :)

  15. Sounds tasty!

  16. Wow you're really going to be running the comment gauntlet with the Ray May series!

  17. come on now boys!!!!

  18. Ray may, YAY!!

    “Once we accept that knowledge is tentative, and that we are probably going to improve our knowledge in important ways when we learn more about the world, we are less likely to reject new information that conflicts with our present ideas."
    ~Ray Peat

    I love this! I will smack it right in the face of someone I know who is very close-minded and thick headed! This person still believes in things he read in book 30 + years ago -for all he knows, the earth is still flat!

    A little update on my sugar attempt -Even though my skin is still not clear, it's much better than when I first started. When it was easter, I ate half a bunny wabbit in one go (250g) and had NO breakouts next day! Seems like my glucose clearance is improving..
    While I still have many issues, things definitely happened like I expected -things turn worse before they get better, at least in my case. I believe the more problems you have with your glucose metabolism, the more your gonna suffer in the beginning.
    It should be interesting to see how I go a month – 2 months from now ;-)

  19. What kind of diet were you on before Sheila?

  20. KIRK-

    Just strictly starch as my source of carbs. After introducing sugar, my skin started breaking out like crazy. When I went from low carb to a starch based diet, my skin acted up too (just not as bad as with sugar) but eventually calmed down.

  21. JT, to be fair, Schwarzbeins teenage diet wasn't exactly like Peats, it was very high in both refined sugar and other refined carbohydrates and low in fat and protein, neither of which Peat recommends. Actually I think Peat considers a high protein intake one of the most important factors for a healthy metabolism.

    Her experience is instructive though. While on the high-sugar diet she couldn't gain weight no matter how much she ate, then when she switched to a lower carb higher fat diet she started to feel a lot better, but also put on weight rapidly despite eating 1000-1500 kcal less per day. The Many fruitarians appear to experience the same thing, that on such a extremely high-sugar diet they cannot put on weight no matter how ridiculous amounts they eat, but they do become sensitive to weight gain on every other kind of diet. I also had the same experience personally (gained nothing while eating 4000-4500 kcals on a high sugar diet, then I actually started to put on fat when I went back to lower sugar and calorie intake). Finally you see the same thing in rats where eating a 60% sucrose diet for several months produces absolutely no weight gain compared to rats fed a normal diet – but the sucrose fed rats then gain way more fat on a high-fat diet compared to normal mice.

    I've tried the high-sugar frequent feeding thing (sipping on juice throughout the day) for a week now, and while the more frequent feeding has eliminated most problems with headaches and energy, I still don't feel good. Circulation to my feet has recently gotten very poor after being great for several months and my chronic foot pain has unexpectedly gotten considerably worse. Yesterday I felt cold all over and had ice-cold feet all evening despite eating more than 4000 kcal and 700 grams of carbs (like 4 quarts of juice). I'm thinking that a low protein intake might be the culprit as with all this juice sipping I've had very little appetite for things like milk, eggs or cheese.

  22. I found Lita Lee's dietary spread an easier interpretation of Peat. She has the latest recommendations buried in her January Newsletter.

  23. Oh, I would also be interested in the progesterone raising effect. :-)

  24. Sheila, did you mean fructose instead of glucose in your previous post?

  25. Collden,
    She followed a diet like Matt is promoting. Matt likes a lower protein version, but you are right about Peat, he like a high protein intake.

    Schwarzbein stayed skinny on the high sugar diet, but gained weight when she got on the high complex starchy carb diet that was low sugar. She did not gain weight on a low carb diet, and she didn't start doing it until many years later.

    The interesting thing is that even though she developed multiple diseases following the high sugar diet, she stayed really skinny eating as much as she wanted. This is common among girls with eating disorders too who eat pure candy diets. I've known a few girls that ate like this to stay skinny. I'm the same, I need to eat starch to get any sort of anabolic growth effect. Peat points this out as well. Matt used to argue about this with me in the past when he thought sugar is the cause of obesity.

  26. KIRK-

    I actually meant both sucrose, fructose and glucose. I have been eating all of them.

  27. "Oh, I would also be interested in the progesterone raising effect. :-) "

    Yes, me too!

    One thing I've noticed with my juice/gelatin experiment was that my PMS was markedly better last month than it has been in the last few years. Still, I'm hoping that month 2 will be even better. One thing I have difficulty with is drinking juice straight away in the a.m. It just upsets my stomach. I've always been this way. So I've been starting off with fruit and then having juice mid-morning, um right about now actually, and it really does give me a constant energy level. With the juice I don't even think about needing tea or coffee, though I do still crave them in the afternoon, during my sleepy time.

    One thing about this that is a bit of a downside, I've noticed if I don't eat very frequently I get headaches. Yesterday I got a killer headache because I delayed lunch by an hour. Not fun. I definitely don't want to go back to the eating 6 times a day nonsense. That's a prison of another kind.

  28. Collden,
    I too experience the extremely cold feet and colder body with too much orange juice

  29. First I want to say that I'm a huge Peat fan. His writing is great to read, and I love his attitude, but he doesn't seem to practice what he preaches [in regards to the quotation]. I recently had a back-and-forth with him that led to vitamin D. Anyway, he said there can be issues with estrogen. I've heard this as well, but the majority of things I've seen show aromatase inhibition, increasing testosterone, and lowering prolactin–when I sent the studies, he just stopped responding; I'm not the first person to have this happen either.

    So the goal is to decrease the degree to which our lives revolve around food, but now I see that some have to carry around fruit juice to sip on all day to feel okay??? Is it better to decline lentil soup at a party because it's not paleo or to carry around a jug of juice to prevent brain fog and headaches? As has been the case for a long time now, why is this idea still being pushed where if you don't eat a certain amount of carbohydrate in a day, your balls shrivel up and you can't function? Sometimes I eat lots of sweet potato varieties, sushi rice, lentils, etc, and sometimes I have fewer than 50 carbs for the day. There's constant low carb and orthorexia bashing, but also constant talk about the need to always consume lots of carbs.

  30. John,
    Good points about Peat, and I am also a huge fan of his writings.'that is concerning that he is so closed minded about anything that may disprove his theories.

    I have come to realize that his weakest arguments are those concerning hormones. He is only a theorist in this regard and I have seen that practitioners who actually work with hormone modulation have different views. Empirical results and practice always should trump theory. It is even more concerning to me that their are people out there using this as the basis of their views.

  31. "if you don't eat a certain amount of carbohydrate in a day, your balls shrivel up and you can't function"

    Ha ha John! For some reason I found this extremely hilarious (oh the picture in my head!) -I almost spilled my juice!
    Oh how I cherish the funny moments of this blog ;-D

  32. John is right though.
    Personally i'm thinking of bringing my protein back up to 1 gram per pound cause my lifts have been dropping even with a lot of oj. I'm thinking of just using the oj on days were I have exercised too much and I just cant get enough meat, potatoes etc… to fill my daily calories.

  33. Rosenfeltc,
    Same with me man. I've had to up my protein back up to 1 gram per pound too. I get weaker and softer when my protein drops even if I take in tons of carbs. I have also noticed that my brain function declines when my
    Protein gets too low. This was not a happy discovery on my part because I prefered to be vegetarian.

  34. JT,
    Why did you want to be a vegetarian?

    Interesting about your opinion that lower protein affected your brain function, cause lately I seem to have noticed that I'm not doing as well at memorizing things in my studies and I'm having trouble getting myself to focus on studying (as you can see I'm reading the 180 degree blog instead of studying).

    I was actually thinking that it was probably due to the increase in sugar at the displacement of saturated fat and cholesterol but maybe the lower protein plays a role as well.

  35. "Why don't you talk about why someone like Schwarzbein claims she became diseased while following this diet.

    But, she stayed skinny." – JT

    We have to be very careful with peat's dietary recommendations.

    They are geared mostly towards changing hormones/metabolism and have physiological assumptions backing them up.

    I don't think he's the same as someone like Aajonus vonderplanitz who promotes a diet as an ideal regardless of the person. Your physiology fits the diet with people like him.

    Diet seems secondary to peat, It would be missing the point to package his ideas up like it's some kind of diet.

    *cough* Josh rubin *cough*

    Anyways just eating lots of sugar for no reason other than "it's good for you!" will probably be hit and miss for most.

  36. Where's that Peat quote from by the way?

  37. Jenny, yes, frequent headaches was (is) the biggest problem for me on a high-sugar diet, that and my eyes get very easily irritated, I can barely wear my contacts any longer without veins popping up all over the retina within hours.

    Funny thing is that Peat has written about this and seems to be very aware of these symptoms as signs of stress, but he has never suggested that too much sugar could actually cause them. Sugar is always anti-stress in his writings.

    JT, yes, and it does make one doubt that eating your way to a higher metabolic rate is always going to result in stronger metabolic health. If eating a high-sugar diet makes it almost impossible to gain weight while you're on it, but makes you highly susceptible to weight gain if you go off it, that sounds to me like you're building up some kind of hormonal imbalance similar to the chronically elevated catecholamines on a zero carb diet – the consequences of which you'll feel as soon as you give your body a chance to correct it. Who knows if artificially raising thyroid activity with a bunch of sugar isn't just setting you up for thyroid receptor downregulation and hypothyroidism as soon as you go off it.

  38. Greensmu,
    I think Peat is promoting an ideal diet independent of the individual physiology. Pretty simple to sum up:

    1. Sugars are the best form of carbs with fruit being the best source. Sucrose is better than starch. Starch is 3rd place with potatoes being the best form.

    2. Protein is important, get at least 100 grams a day. Dairy and gelatin are best sources. Not goodto eat too much muscle meat or whey protein because tryptophan is too high.

    3. Fat type is important. PUFA is evil including the omega 3s. Saturated fat is best, especially coconut oil.

    4. Medications are needed by everyone. Thyroid medication is most important because everyone is hypo. Caffeine and coffee is very important for everyone take. Pregnenelone is needed by everyone as well. Most women need progesterone.

    This is pretty much it. Not difficult at all really. He pretty much gives everyone the same advice who emails him. He just says to drink more orange juice and milk.

  39. Yeah I gotta mirror JT's thoughts in recent posts. The problem is that for people with Adrenal Insufficiency in that the adrenals cannot produce enough cortisol the diet Peat suggests is a big mistake. I have low cortisol and feel crap when I relax my adrenals, especially in the morning.
    What helps? Balanced meals of starch, protein, fat and some sugar…. For me thats the most anti-stress combo.
    Can anyone explain how Peat's ideologies are compatible with those who struggle to produce catecholamines?

  40. What I find really hilarious is that everybody keeps mentioning how Peat is ahead of his time when in reality he is stuck in the past, refusing to accept any new evidence of studies that contradicts his ideology which is based off mostly off a bunch of rat studies or in vitro studies that don't always reflect what happens in human beings.

    Not only that, but everybody keeps repeating that sugar calms down the stress hormones because Peat says so yet the only evidence I've found of this from the study that Peat-loving-Jannis wrote about on the Proline blog which showed the opposite in the women that ate the higher sucrose diet.

    Even funnier, is that Broda Barnes' low carb diet gets dismissed as a "pro-thyroid/pro metabolism stimulating" diet because he made his patients take thyroid glandular yet we all accept Peat's teachings as being pro thyroid even though he himself has to take thyroid on a daily basis.

    Oh but Josh Rubin is having sooo much success with Peat's teachings with his clients (and he has clients all the way in Israel), lol ya right. If anything Josh Rubin has found a way to treat his clients as experimental guinea pigs and get paid for it.

  41. Peat is a bastion of contradictions. White sugar lowers cortisol? I cannot find a publication that supports the proposition that a high-intake of sucrose lowers cortisol. Eating sweets may help you sleep better, though (and sleeping better reduces the chance of insulin resistance).

    Also, coffee is healthy? This contradicts his cortisol advice. Coffee raises cortisol levels for 12 hours!

    His stance on fiber is bizarre.

    His views on salt are pretty spot on though – the science doesn't seem to appear to support the notion that a low salt diet is healthy.

    Peat is clearly a very smart man, but some of his conclusions seem questionable. His almost religious belief that PUFAs are "toxic" at *any* level seems far fetched. If this is the case, almost all food except fruit is toxic.

  42. whole milk, cheese and eggs are also high in tryptophan, espcially if you drink 1 quart of milk per day as Peat recommend.

  43. I like where everyone is going with this. Lots of good arguments being brought up, as they should IMO.

    Why has Matt stopped addressing them?

    John made a great point about carrying juice around all day to sip on. Very OCD.

    I've made the argument as well that if you have to counteract all the tooth-destroying acid from the juice, how healthy can that be?

    rosenfeltc, I have to second your
    opinion on Rubin. He makes me laugh, in a sad way.

    BTW, it'll only cost you $1,000 (minimum) to have him "experiment" on you! Sounds fun.

  44. Michael,
    A $1k minimum! Wow, I didn't think it would be anywhere near that. What all do you get for that? I told Matt he should start getting some clients too, he could make a lot of money.

  45. Matt wrote:

    "While I'm not looking to spark anyone's new orthorexia or guru-itis"

    Haha- the suffix '-itis' means inflammation of. Certainly Peat nor Matt would want that. :-)

  46. Great comment, John, on all points. On protein, this is where real intuitive eating comes in, because you'll naturally crave protein if you need more. I do, at least. And the idea of always carrying around OJ is totally silly. I refuse of live in food prisons these days.

    Anything is fine in moderation, and at a party you should be able to eat anything you want, even total junk. The rest of your diet should be healthy enough to balance that out. All things balance out if you let them.

  47. Hey Matt,

    What's your explanation these days for why sugar cravings seem to blunt so dramatically eating high starch high fat like RRARF? At one point you said sugar just isn't all that appealing when you're not starving, implying that starch really was the preferred fuel for our bodies, and when given ample amounts of it, we don't crave sugar.

    Now sugar might be ok because it plays an anti-stress role? Sugar cravings are no longer just an indicator of starvation?

    Or is it because of that study Jannis cited that sugar may increase calorie consumption but does so along with lean mass and possibly growth hormone, and revvs us up for a monkey rather than gorilla metabolism, and has the fringe benefit of higher palatability? Is that what Ray May leading toward?

    Still, how to explain the blunting of sugar cravings on RRARF? That RRARF is actually leading us somewhere sub-optimal? Somewhere, according to that study, with lower activity level, lower calorie consumption, and less lean mass?

    Curious your thoughts, hombre.

  48. Flaunt-

    Follow along with us on the blog for a while. I think you'll find incorporating a little bit of the exercise ideas, as well as lightening up about the diet now that you've gone through the process of raising body temperature to be helpful – including playing around with eating more sugars instead of starches and eating more often.


    Generative Energy

    Rosenfelt and Mark-

    Excellent critique. Don't worry. I'd make myself sick if I too became a thoughtless Peatard. Ray May is not about getting down on our knees and asking Ray which testicle he would like to be licked first.

    Ray has plenty of inconsistencies and aslo hasn't integrated a lot of new findings. His bias against exercise seems to stem mostly from his status as an intellectual and a non-athlete. Exercise can play a huge role in lowering the stress hormones for example.

    The contradictions of his are endless. Plus, he villianizes certain things and champions others, but most foods have dual qualities. Like yams. Do we avoid them because of the carotenes? Or do we eat them because they are anti-estrogenic?

    Plus, his views of hormones as being sort of strictly "good" or strictly "bad" is inappropriate when it comes to individualized approaches to health improvement.

    I mean, the guy thinks insulin increases hunger and somehow lowers blood sugar upon starch digestion, which then in turn activates the stress hormones. That's just inaccurate. Insulin is an anti-hunger hormone that shuts down the catabolic hormones, and starch has shown time and time again to prevent the drops in blood sugar that activate stress hormones when compared to sugar (as Jannis pointed out, and as many have experienced in real life).

    And then he says that tryptophan is bad and recommends consuming lots of one of the highest tryptophan foods on earth – milk.

    Or cortisol and adrenaline are bad, so have some coffee and chocolate!

    Anyway, we'll hit these and many others along the way.

    Still, many recover their health really well by following his advice. Others don't fare well at all. I assume he has many great contributions and many silly tangents. Hopefully we can separate the two over the coming month.

    Orange juice sipping-

    I drink orange juice when I'm thirsty. I have a biological need for hydration. Am I orthorexic if I go to the water fountain between mealtimes?

  49. Rob-

    Avoiding sugar lowers cravings if you are well fed, mostly because your reward centers upregulate.

    I think what plays the biggest anti-stress role is eating what you want when you want to eat it. If you are craving steak, eating sugar probably will not lower stress hormones. If you are craving sugar, or let's say, ice cream in particular, satisfying that urge is probably the ultimate in lowering stress. Same of salt, or drinking when you are thirsty, or resting when you are tired.

    Just as we know that exercise you enjoy lowers cortisol and unwanted exercise raises it.

    I think getting farther and farther away from some template and being in tune with the body's needs on any given day or moment is a far more sophisticated approach – and way more enjoyable.

    Like if you don't sleep well, you will need more carbs that day – and your appetite will tell you that.

    Or Rosenfelt trying to drink more juice when he is craving protein and seeing a drop in strength and energy. This is just a bad idea. Without ideas about what he "should" be eating this would have never happened to him.

    I too know when it's time to eat meat or a big hunk of concentrated protein. What I don't do is eat 6 ounces at every meal because my mind tells me that I "need" that to function or keep my blood sugar stable or what have you. I gain muscle mass very easily eating 80-100 grams of protein per day on a hypercaloric, high-carbohydrate diet. Someone else may not be able to – either because of their unique physiology or they are just not able to eat enough to remain anabolic on 80 grams of protein.

  50. Matt, I'm really curious: where's that Ray Peat quote from? An article?

  51. ray peat — guest blog?

  52. Regarding Ray Peat a lot of people are saying that he doesn't pay attention to new research, however if you look at his articles they all cite studies from the last few years like 2008 and 2005 etc.

    He lives in the past in the sense that he believes that the philosophy of biology was fundamentally changed during WWII from stuff like biological warfare etc…And genetic determinism as the causes of disease instead of looking at systems as a whole such as metabolism.

  53. Right, John and JT. Ray Peat clearly doesn't think that HIS knowledge is tentative, like the need for a high protein, low-fat, low-PUFA (natural and otherwise), high-sugar diet. My life doesn't revolve around food. I can skip meals or go 10+ hours with no brain fog, hypoglycemia, etc.

    Rosenfeltc and JT, the problem may be that you are not eating enough FAT and CALORIES with the sugar to spare protein. Low-protein and low fat and/or low calories will, of course, make you lose muscle and get weaker. What if the situation is reversed? High-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie, and low-protein all or mostly from animal foods (1g / kg or less). Did you try that? Or are you knocking low-protein while eating low-fat and low-calories? You need the fat to keep calories up and maintain weight, esp on low protein and low-starch.

  54. Colldén:

    "If eating a high-sugar diet makes it almost impossible to gain weight while you're on it, but makes you highly susceptible to weight gain if you go off it, that sounds to me like you're building up some kind of hormonal imbalance …"

    You're talking about somebody with an eating disorder eating candy as their main food. Such a diet gives energy, but no material for repair and body-building. Of course their body will rapidly gain weight when they quit that diet. The cells are starving. What happens if the same person eats a high-fat low-protein high-sugar diet of fresh, ripe, and unrefined food?

    "Who knows if artificially raising thyroid activity with a bunch of sugar isn't just setting you up for thyroid receptor downregulation and hypothyroidism as soon as you go off it."

    If people go off ANY diet, they're likely to have more sensitivity to all foods they have avoided. Ask a fruitarian or Primal Dieter. Paleo dieters have said they get sick if they just SMELL bread. The goal of any diet should be sustainability. Don't start the diet if you're not willing to eat it the rest of your life. Eating forbidden foods every now and then might prevent some of these problems, using the 80/20 or 90/10 rule. A diet of fresh, ripe, unrefined sugar wouldn't cause the same problems as a raw fruitarian, candy, or pop-tart diet.

  55. You are really nailing these comments Mercury.

    Of course, another simple explanation is that the more carbohydrate and less fat you eat, the more fat oxidation is suppressed. Eat a bunch of fat, and it becomes body fat quickly until the body turns on fat burning enzymes to use it as a fuel source and prevent it from accumulating in the tissues.

    Same with low-carb from the reverse perspective.

    Sustainability is the key word here. The only pound lost that counts is a pound lost doing something that you can do indefinitely. This rules out starvation as a weight loss strategy for sure.

  56. I feel "diversify your toxins" has more wisdom than most of Ray's one sided and extreme views. Avoiding foods makes people weaker and more sensitive. Eating a few things as staples makes allergy, deficiency, and addiction more likely.

    Chris Masterjohn said a while back that "Epidemiological studies would be really interesting in populations that had no cultural beliefs about what constitutes a healthy diet, if ever those populations could be found…"


    Here's another good quote that Ray Peat and followers should read.

    "90%+ of internet people just go to different sites to reinforce their opinions. They’ll basically never yield a point or an argument. They MAY be interested in learning and intricacies…but ONLY as it buttresses their earlier opinion. IOW, they are not critical thinkers."



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