Ray Peat – Cortisol and Diabetes

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0

“Oxidation of sugar is metabolically efficient in many ways, including sparing oxygen consumption. It produces more carbon dioxide than oxidizing fat does, and carbon dioxide has many protective functions, including increasing Krebs cycle activity and inhibiting toxic damage to proteins. The glycation of proteins occurs under stress, when less carbon dioxide is being produced, and the proteins are normally protected by carbon dioxide.”

I won’t go into this too much, as this was the topic in a recent blog post on sugar and carbon dioxide, but I do believe, especially considering my own experience with both a very high carbohydrate and a very high fat diet, that for things like vasodilation and athletic performance and recovery – a carbohydrate-based diet is vastly superior. Even something as simple as breathing through my nostrils is easier on a carbohydrate-based diet. While it is possible that there is no “best” form of fuel for the human body, nearly all top athletes in the world eat predominantly carbohydrates to increase speed, performance, recovery, and so on. It’s very possible there is a “best” form of fuel for the human body, and that glucose is it.

“When sugar (or starch) is turned into fat, the fats will be either saturated, or in the series derived from omega -9 monounsaturated fatty acids. When sugar isn’t available in the diet, stored glycogen will provide some glucose (usually for a few hours, up to a day), but as that is depleted, protein will be metabolized to provide sugar. If protein is eaten without carbohydrate, it will stimulate insulin secretion, lowering blood sugar and activating the stress response, leading to the secretion of adrenalin, cortisol, growth hormone, prolactin, and other hormones. The adrenalin will mobilize glycogen from the liver, and (along with other hormones) will mobilize fatty acids, mainly from fat cells. Cortisol will activate the conversion of protein to amino acids, and then to fat and sugar, for use as energy. (If the diet doesn’t contain enough protein to maintain the essential organs, especially the heart, lungs, and brain, they are supplied with protein from the skeletal muscles. Because of the amino acid composition of the muscle proteins, their destruction stimulates the formation of additional cortisol, to accelerate the movement of amino acids from the less important tissues to the essential ones.)”

It’s certainly interesting to note in the first sentence of this passage that any fat that is manufactured in the body is saturated or monounsaturated – mostly palmitic acid and Mead acid. In fact, Peat strongly believes that eating lots of carbohydrates, even if they are converted to fat as in fructose being converted to palmitic acid in the liver, is highly beneficial. Palmitic acid displaces omega 6 (linoleic acid), and is one of the tools in Peat’s toolbox for purging the body of excess polyunsaturated fat.

The rest of the passage is all a pretty accurate portrayal as far as I’m concerned, and is the reason why low-carbohydrate diets can be so metabolically destructive if continued long-term. Simply put, a lack of glucose subjects the body to an increased amount of pro-aging, pro-stress hormones. That’s not to say, as JT has alluded to in the comments in the past (despite the fact that he ended up with severe adrenal fatigue after prolonged carbohydrate restriction) that it’s impossible for you personally to not improve your health on a low to moderate carbohydrate diet. It may be very possible that producing a little more adrenaline and cortisol may help balance out an individual’s physiology – where others need to produce less and derive more of their energy from carbohydrate consumption.

But that is just a theory. Experiment for yourself, but watch out for increased pain, irritability/anxiety, cold fingers and toes, loss of appetite, and other negative signs that can occur when you consume a high ratio of protein to carbohydrate at a meal.

“The diabetic condition is similar in many ways to stress, inflammation, and aging, for example in the chronic elevation of free fatty acids, and in various mediators of inflammation, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF).”

I used to believe, like Joseph Mercola and other low-carb zealots, in the Obeaster bunny. You know the story, you eat too many carbohydrates, this stimulates insulin, and if you keep at this long enough the obeaster bunny will come and bring you a basket with lots of sugar (high blood sugar/insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes). Yeah, I like that idea. The Obeaster basket. Perhaps if we started calling “Syndrome X” the “Obeaster Basket” people would finally catch on.

But then I encountered a more accurate depiction of what’s really going on – inflammation and cortisol (from psychological stress, sleep loss, chronic infection, chemical contamination, and any number of other things that can trigger the identical hormonal chain reaction) cause a chronic elevation of free fatty acids, which cause insulin resistance and interfere with glucose clearance. I came to the same conclusion as Peat long before I looked closely at his work, only to discover that he saw it the exact same way (but in much greater and elegant detail) and has for decades. The irony is that to keep cortisol down, it requires frequent carbohydrate feedings – what most diabetics have been led to believe by guys like Mercola as being the CAUSE of diabetes. Many of these “alternative renegades” are swimming in the complete wrong direction. Carbohydrate restriction should be reserved only for those who do not produce sufficient insulin, and even in that case it might still be better to eat lots of carbohydrates and take a larger insulin dose.

“Rather than the sustained hyperglycemia which is measured for determining the glycemic index, I think the “diabetogenic” or “carcinogenic” action of starch has to do with the stress reaction that follows the intense stimulation of insulin release. This is most easily seen after a large amount of protein is eaten. Insulin is secreted in response to the amino acids, and besides stimulating cells to take up the amino acids and convert them into protein, the insulin also lowers the blood sugar. This decrease in blood sugar stimulates the formation of many hormones, including cortisol, and under the influence of cortisol both sugar and fat are produced by the breakdown of proteins, including those already forming the tissues of the body. At the same time, adrenalin and several other hormones are causing free fatty acids to appear in the blood.”

Again, I’m not sure where he gets the idea that starch is a pro-cancer and pro-diabetes substance in and of itself. An insulin spike in the absence of carbohydrate as happens when you consume protein by itself probably shouldn’t be compared to an insulin spike from starch, which is accompanied by lots of carbohydrates to keep the blood sugar from falling. While some people very well may feel symptoms of adrenal hormone activation from eating starch, many feel this activation from eating sugar but NOT when they eat starch. Again, know what it feels like to be having a surge of adrenaline (cold fingers and toes, irritability, appetite suppression, etc.) and try to figure this out for yourself – free of mental interference from biochemical oversimplifications like the one Peat uses in the above paragraph.

“Since the work of Cushing and Houssay, it has been understood that blood sugar is controlled by antagonistic hormones: Remove the pituitary along with the pancreas, and the lack of insulin doesn’t cause hyperglycemia. If something increases cortisol a little, the body can maintain normal blood sugar by secreting more insulin, but that tends to increase cortisol production. A certain degree of glycemia is produced by a particular balance between opposing hormones.”

This is more of Peat’s genius shining through. Many hormones are involved in blood sugar regulation. Insulin sends blood sugar down and cortisol sends blood sugar up. Yet, low-carb authors believe that eating carbohydrates, which generally raise insulin and lower cortisol, is the cause of diabetes. Clearly there is more to the story.

The work of Cushing showed the effects of cortisol excess. The disease Cushing’s Disease, which is basically a severe manifestation of metabolic syndrome that is typically caused by taking corticosteroid medication, shows the basic impacts of cortisol excess in the human body. Abdominal obesity, PCOS, moon face, stretch marks/striae, hyperglycemia/diabetes, increased heart disease risk, high cholesterol and triglycerides – you get the picture. It is very clear.
Houssay was a Nobel Prize winner who, at one point in his career, supposedly cured diabetics with sugar and coconut oil according to Peat. I do believe that sugar could very well be a wonderful anti-diabetic tonic (assuming most cases are caused by excess cortisol exposure, which I believe they are), and not the cause of diabetes as many falsely believe. But most comparisons that I’m aware of hint that sugar tends to cause greater levels of free fatty acids in the blood than starch, which would make starch hypothetically preferable to sugar in the treatment of diabetes based on this assumption.

“Tryptophan, from dietary protein or from the catabolism of muscles, is turned into serotonin which activates the pituitary stress hormones, increasing cortisol, and intensifying catabolism, which releases more tryptophan. It suppresses thyroid function, which leads to an increased need for the stress hormones. Serotonin impairs glucose oxidation, and contributes to many of the problems associated with diabetes.”

Here Peat thinks that tryptophan might have a role in hyperglycemia, and I have a hunch that all of Peat’s villainous amino acids (tryptophan, methionine, cysteine) may be a very big factor in the grand scheme of things. I know personally that reducing animal protein consumption provides the greatest immediate improvement in overt inflammatory issues I’ve struggled with since my early teens (back pain, pain in lower calf muscles similar to shin splints, asthma). These problems seemed to come to a peak during my milk diet experiment, in which I consumed nearly 200 grams of dairy protein per day (dairy protein is one of the richest sources of tryptophan). And, it’s worth mentioning that virtually every book published on reversing type 2 diabetes or claiming to have dramatic success with the disease is by a vegetarian zealot (Fuhrman, McDougall, Barnard, Whitaker, etc.).

““Diabetes” is often the diagnosis, when excess cortisol is the problem. The hormones have traditionally not been measured before diagnosing diabetes and prescribing insulin or other chemical to lower the blood sugar. Some of the worst effects of “diabetes,” including retinal damage, are caused or exacerbated by insulin itself.”

Every diabetic on earth should know that cortisol can and often is a root cause of insulin resistant diabetes. Unfortunately, cortisol tests are very unreliable and do not test intracellular cortisol – something authors Shawn Talbott and Jon Gabriel have both mentioned being more significant than the amount of cortisol showing up in blood or saliva. Malcolm Kendrick reports that those with high baseline cortisol will have low cortisol levels in response to stressors – similar to how those with high baseline insulin will generally have a low insulin response to food. Like I said, unreliable. But the evidence against cortisol is too strong to seek for an alternate prime suspect in the causation of most cases of diabetes.

Of course, the root causes are very individual if cortisol is the chief culprit – as hundreds of diet, lifestyle, hereditary, and psychological factors can cause hypercortisolism. A very individual investigation is the only way to flush out the root cause(s), but in the meantime one can probably make great improvements by focusing on diet and lifestyle modification that is anti-stress and anti-inflammatory (such as getting lots of sleep, staying well-hydrated, increasing meal frequency, eating plenty of calories, minimizing omega 6 consumption, eating plenty of carbohydrates at each sitting, and decreasing animal protein in the diet).

“Antiserotonin drugs can sometimes alleviate stress and normalize blood sugar. Simply eating sucrose was recently discovered to restrain the stress hormone system (“A new perspective on glucocorticoid feedback: relation to stress, carbohydrate feeding and feeling better,” J Neuroendocrinol 13(9), 2001, KD Laugero).”

Got that? Eating sucrose stifling the stress hormone system… Interesting that diabetics often crave sugar like a mofo, but are afraid to eat it because they are under the impression that sugar caused their diabetes. This may be a tragic mistake akin to thinking that water causes thirst, and avoiding it when you are thirsty – only to finally cave into cravings for water and beat yourself up over a lack of willpower. But there is still much controversy here. Like Rosenfelt has been so good about in the comments section of late – there is a study showing an increase in the stress system when ingesting sugar instead of fat or starch. Saying that sucrose lowers stress hormones as if it were textbook truism may be too great of a leap.

“The free fatty acids released by the stress hormones serve as supplemental fuel, and increase the consumption of oxygen and the production of heat. (This increased oxygen demand is a problem for the heart when it is forced to oxidize fatty acids. [A. Grynberg, 2001]) But if the stored fats happen to be polyunsaturated, they damage the blood vessels and the mitochondria, suppress thyroid function, and cause “glycation” of proteins. They also damage the pancreas, and impair insulin secretion.


A repeated small stress, or overstimulation of insulin secretion, gradually tends to become amplified by the effects of tryptophan and the polyunsaturated fatty acids, with these fats increasing the formation of serotonin, and serotonin increasing the liberation of the fats.”

We know that the stored fats in modern humans have become increasingly polyunsaturated due to massive changes in the type of fat consumed over the past century. So at this point the conversation becomes incredibly interesting if polyunsaturated fats really do indeed have such a powerful anti-metabolic and protein-glycating effect. Author Barry Sears who has taken a similar physiological approach to understanding modern disease as Peat has, has dubbed this fat “toxic fat,” believes that storing this fat is actually protective in a sense, and that releasing it into the body via standard dieting can be very poisonous. In my experience, losing fat has been highly detrimental to health and metabolism without exception, and my primary strength has been helping people recover from losing fat, so it’s an interesting point of view. It would be funny if the increasing body fat that Americans see with advancing age was really a great protector against the Standard American Diet. I’ve argued all along that the human body is not stupid, and does the best it can with the tools it is presented with. Keep in mind that in elderly Americans, as was found in the compiled NHANES survey data, the obese (BMI 30-35) have the best mortality and morbidity statistics.

Stay tuned for our next conversation on glycation – a term frequently abused in the carbohydrate witch hunt, and much more about polyunsaturated fat’s role in diabetes.

For more information on Diabetes check out my eBook!!!

 

78 Comments

  1. Andrea Hevener, Donna Reichart, Andrej Janez and Jerrold Olefsky. Female Rats Do Not Exhibit Free Fatty Acid–Induced Insulin Resistance.

    […] In the current studies, we have examined the effects of intravenous lipid infusions (which raise plasma NEFA levels) on insulin action in male and female rats. We conducted euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp studies as well as measurements of FAT/CD36 and insulin-signaling molecules in skeletal muscle samples. Our major findings are that lipid infusions cause insulin resistance in male rats but were without effect on either in vivo or in vitro insulin action in females.

    Reply
  2. As far as gaining fat as the body's way of protecting it from toxins, I heard this little tidbit, "Dilution is the solution to pollution."

    Our bodies dilute the toxins with fat growth to protect it. Makes sense to me.

    Reply
  3. this is the kind of post that helps me the most, i think. i know very well what it's like to have an adrenaline surge as i think i have pretty much lived on adrenaline for as long as i can remember. i have had all of those symptoms daily, multiple times a day! gah! and of course back then i was told i was hypoglycemic and even with that i didn't have a clue what to do for myself except cut more things out of my diet and eat less b/c somehow i felt like i had more control that way.

    so it's good to have a more definitive way to monitor what i need to be eating by looking at how i feel with specific symptoms. i like to have things spelled out for me, haha. also, i have randomly been taking my temp during the day with an oral thermometer and it's been in the high 96's to low 97's. i have yet to discipline myself to take it first thing in the morning. are these temps accurate at all or should i only be looking at the morning one? if they are accurate at all then i'm pretty messed up, well more so than i thought, lol.

    Reply
  4. Matt:

    Have you considered doing a post covering biofeedback? Maybe like a 'go-to guide' for the basics of reading your own biofeedback.

    "Experiment for yourself, but watch out for increased pain, irritability/anxiety, cold fingers and toes, loss of appetite, and other negative signs that can occur when you consume a high ratio of protein to carbohydrate at a meal."

    "Again, know what it feels like to be having a surge of adrenaline (cold fingers and toes, irritability, appetite suppression, etc.) and try to figure this out for yourself – free of mental interference from biochemical oversimplifications like the one Peat uses in the above paragraph."

    Reading through these sections makes me think that a 'go-to' post would really be incredibly helpful.

    I'm just throwing this out there — I have no idea how you'd put it together or what it would entail (which is probably why I'm requesting it in the first place!), and I do feel awkward making a request, but it's something that's been on my mind for a while.

    Again, just throwing it out there. I'm feeling spacey as hell right now, really 'out in the ozone' — I'm familiar with the feeling but I wonder if it can be traced to hormones or even some vague physiological state, for example. I had no idea that cold hands/feet were related to adrenal hormones, for example, before I found this blog, and have lived with them on and off for years.

    In other words, a post covering the constants (if there are any?) as much as possible, with less focus on the variables — like, cold hands and feet CAN come from fasting, but it's not the only cause — the cause is the increase in adrenaline or whatever it is.

    Hopefully I'm making sense. In any case it's just a suggestion.

    Thanks for sharing this post, by the way. Really appreciate it.

    Reply
  5. Jib-

    I'm very excited to do something very similar to what you just requested. I wanted to put together a post on a sort of "healthy eating guide" with 3 components…

    1) Information
    2) Intuition
    3) Investigation

    The investigation part is where you are paying attention to how your body responds, and looking at subtle cues like mood and temps of toes and fingers, etc. Of course those are just short-term indicators, and there are many long-term indicators as well – like sex drive, sexual function, and any number of subtle physiological indicators that things aren't quite right and that there may be need for an adjustment or two.

    Any way, good idea. Hang in there. It's coming.

    Goofy mama-

    I discussed this somewhere on the 180 Metabolism blog earlier this year. Or maybe it was here. I forget. I mentioned that pretty much only Vonderplanitz and myself recommend overfeeding. He recommends it on the basis of diluting industrial toxins, more or less.

    Team Smith-

    Watch the morning and postmeal temps if you can. It is a good monitor for investigating what does keep your temps up and adrenaline down. Body temp can come up dramatically in a short period of time when you get it right.

    Reply
  6. Hey Matt,

    When you reduce animal protein, what are your main sources of protein?

    Reply
  7. Hmmmmmmm……….

    This matt stone fella writes interesting articles……

    Reply
  8. Doesn't fat storage increase with insulin levels?!

    Check out this summary of adipose cell function:

    http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/cells-tissues/fat-cell2.htm

    "The activity of lipoprotein lipases depends upon the levels of insulin in the body. If insulin is high, then the lipases are highly active; if insulin is low, the lipases are inactive."

    Reply
  9. "If protein is eaten without carbohydrate, it will stimulate insulin secretion, lowering blood sugar and activating the stress response, leading to the secretion of adrenalin, cortisol, growth hormone, prolactin, and other hormones."

    This was pretty directly contradicted by a recent study:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20849868

    Effects of single macronutrients on serum cortisol concentrations in normal weight men

    The protein as well as the fat lunch caused a significant decrease in cortisol concentrations when compared to the carbohydrate lunch, and showed no difference from the control condition

    My understanding is that protein stimulates glucagon release to keep blood sugar balanced, thus no need to secrete cortisol. Eating nothing but carbohydrates actually raised cortisol levels for hours after the meal. Interesting to note also that the group fed just water (fasting) had a progressive decrease in cortisol levels in the following hours, indicating that cortisol isn't necessarily involved in maintaining blood sugar during short-term fasting. I guess that is consistent with the study showing that a group eating 1 meal per day had lower cortisol after 18 hours of fasting than a 3-meal-per-day group had after 12 hours.

    Reply
  10. Matt,
    I get the same issues with inflammation, especially joint pain when I consume a lot of dairy protein. This happens the most severe when it is whey protein.

    But, I can eat high protein with almost all lean meat and I never get these problems with inflammation.

    My guess is that your problem is not due to high protein, but from high dairy protein. You probably would have got the same benefits from eliminating dairy even if you ate a lot of lean beef, chicken, and fish.

    Reply
  11. "…..storing this fat is actually protective in a sense, and that releasing it into the body via standard dieting can be very poisonous."

    Finally, a healthy justification for liposuction — vacuum out that toxic fat!

    Reply
  12. Ray peat advocates the use of illegal drugs:
    "In animal studies LSD, and other anti-serotonin agents, increase playfulness and accelerate learning, and cause behavioral impairment only at very high doses."

    Reply
  13. JT, please explain how you are able to properly function while eating all those "villainous" amino acids. I'm sure good ol' Peat would like to know.

    Reply
  14. On the fat as protection note, Jon Gabriel's all about that, both in the spiritual/psychological sense, but maybe physical too. I think he makes explicit connection between inflammation and obesity, suggesting that our bodies swell up to protect an injured area, which in obesity I guess is everywhere. I don't have his book anymore so I can't double check. But that is fascinating, and would also bring into congruence my sense that lean bodies are a sign of heath, and the stats cited about he apparent benefit of being moderately overweight, and also the belief in the body's wisdom, and that fat people aren't 'bad' or whatever.

    Real good post here Matt. I especially liked the section and illustration about Cushing's Syndrome. Super sad too- my mom is textbook Cushing's it would seem based on those symptoms, though diagnosed as diabetic. She doesn't eat real food though, but maybe good on her for ignoring her doctor's suggestion to eliminate sugar. Ah well.

    Reply
  15. In addition to cortisol, pretty much ALL of the hormones play a role in insulin sensitivity/resistance.

    Testosterone increases insulin sensitivity.

    Estrogen increases insulin resistance.

    DHEA increases insulin sensitivity.

    Norepineprhine increases insulin resistance.

    Etc…

    Reply
  16. so much information :P

    Reply
  17. JT-

    I noticed a huge drop in chronic shoulder blade pain a month ago when I ate a bunch of junk food one weekend. I also ate some gelatin that weekend and was of course not working so I figured it had to be one of those 3 variables. Until I read your comment I hadn't even thought about the dairy. I am hooked on dairy and have been for a long time. I rarely ate any that weekend. Thanks for sharing an ah-ha moment with me, I will cherish it always. I will also try cutting out the dairy and see what happens. You may have just earned a free Cobra Kai lifetime membership.

    Reply
  18. "Body temp can come up dramatically in a short period of time when you get it right."

    Yes. Anyone following my (mis)adventure in dietary experiment at my blog knows I lost 11 lbs. and successfully lowered my base body temp to 97.9. Yay. Not a great tradeoff, since I know the 11 lbs is all I will lose before "fat programs" kick in and bring it to a halt.

    But just two days of RRARF Shakes and I'm back up to 98.5 in the A.M. and 99.1 at 7:35 PM (1 minute ago).

    What are RRARF Shakes, you ask? In addition to RRARF Meals, here's the recipe-

    1/2 cup hot water
    2T cane sugar/molasses
    2T gelatin
    1 1/2 cups half-n-half

    Steps:
    1. Dissolve sugar and gelatin in water
    2. Mix with half-n-half
    3. Profit

    Reply
  19. I hope it helps Johnny. I can turn on and off severe joint pain by controlling my dairy intake.

    I have been reading Matt's past comments about how he has decreased protein and reduced inflammation, and the whole time I was thinking it was probably a dairy issue, not protein. Now, after reading this post I am even more sure that is his problem.

    I have found that I can tolerate goat dairy products, and hydrolyzed casein like peptopro without problems. But I would elliminate all forms for at least a month and then add specific types in at different times to test your reaction. I find I can handle occasional doses, but not very frequently, and not isolated cow whey.

    Reply
  20. Brock
    Thanks for the update. I was waiting to hear how you went first before trying it myself. It seems like we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.
    I'm starting to think that perhaps we have to fully heal ourselves from the years of dietary and lifestyle damage, before we can hope to lose any weight permanently.
    Aaagghhh! There's just no quick fix!

    Reply
  21. Off-topic:

    Rob A., I realized that you were interested in those people I had listed. As you have seen, I have claimed that those people have ideas which overlap with those of Ran Prieur. However, that was just a list; I didn't mention specifically how their beliefs overlap with the beliefs of Ran Prieur.

    So I will respond, by apologizing for not mentioning them in detail. Really. I'm serious. I'm serious in my apology, since I should have known to summarize the beliefs of the people I had listed. I should have known that the reader would have no clue of those people I had listed, and would become confused with those people.

    Now, I will let you know of my inexperience with Ran Prieur. I don't know Ran Prieur's writings well enough. In fact, I have never read the entire site. The only writing which I have read were some of his essays. I scanned through most of Ran Prieur's essays, and learned about what he believes.

    But let us know that, through my brief scanning of Ran's essays, I have noticed a certain similarity with his ideas with the other philosophers I listed in a previous comment.

    I will list them below.

    ✗ Ran did an article about "violence." In that article, Ran has argued that "violence" is arbitrary. It's arbitrary in the sense that the term is vague, and subject to interpretation. For instance, the justice system might call vandalism as "violence" despite not calling other things "violent."

    What is interesting about his ideas about the vagueness of the term "violence" is that his idea overlaps many other philosophers.

    One philosopher was John Hasnas. He wrote an article titled The Myth of the Rule of Law, which is basically a summary of Ran's ideas about the vagueness of laws.

    ✗ Another one of Ran Prieur's ideas was his denial of the concept of "rights" in one of his articles.

    His rejection of the concept of "rights" are similar to Roderick Long's ideas about it.

    And that's all I will give.

    My email address is alplex9@yahoo.com.

    Update: You may not be interested in those topics which I listed above. I am just giving ideas which Ran Prieur overlaps with other philosophers. And I didn't read his whole site, so I deserve the blame me if I'm missing something.

    THE END

    Reply
  22. For the last month I have taken Dr Mercolas advice on curing acne. No sugar or grains including rice and potatoes. So far it has worked! I am a 41 year old skinny male who has battled acne for years, and I have finally found something that works. How can this be a bad thing?

    Reply
  23. anonymous,
    I hope you have more success long term than I did. When I went zerocarb I completely cured my acne, unfortunately after 7-8 months of zerocarbs I had a whole bunch of other problems. But I was also trying to be active (soccer, mma, weightlifting) while being zerocarb so I could have potentially created many of my problems. If you plan to be close to sedentary then you might fare better than I did with low carb.

    Reply
  24. Anonymous,

    You can probably keep your potatoes in there. Maybe leave rice out for a bit.

    I went on low carb for my skin to, and now that I am on high carb there is no difference. I eat mostly sweet potatoes and white potatoes with white rice a few times a week too. No dairy, very low PUFA, lots of veggies… leaving skin alone is most important.

    Good luck.

    Reply
  25. I second (third, whatever) that it would be awesome to have a 'biofeedback/how to listen'-type post. I've been wondering quiet a bit about that lately.

    E.g.–my husband is always quite a bit hotter than I am. Sometimes I can't get to sleep because I got so chilled before bed, but he was sitting in a t-shirt. (He's also manically physically active at 62 and has been his whole life.) BUT–his body temps are on the low side, may even be lower than mine at this point, and his pulse rate is superduper slow too. So is his 'hotness' a sign of greater health/metabolism even though he doesn't measure hotter?

    Reply
  26. So, frequent carb feedings trump protein:carb ratio (a la Schwarzbein) with all other variables equal (sleep, no overexercise, etc.) – for health and body composition?

    Reply
  27. @ Matt:

    If meat & dairy causes inflammation what is the protein alternative then?, lentils & beans?, I cant think of another source (& I dont think soy is an 180° alternative)

    Reply
  28. Collden-

    Thanks a lot for that. Damn, can't make assumptions about anything these days. Pretty soon we'll find that carbohydrates raise cortisol the most and fear them. Then we'll find out years later that everyone actually suffers from low cortisol, not high cortisol, and rush to the nearest fruit stand. I can just see it now.

    JT-

    The dairy is definitely a factor. But I seem to get the most inflammation out of chicken and shrimp. Shrimp is probably the worst. I had nearly a pound of shrimp cocktail for breakfast a few weeks back and it got me pretty good. Beef seems to treat me the best, but still not great.

    Ivan-

    Starches and fruit supply most of my protein. Grains are usually about 15% protein. Fruits are usually about 5% protein. An even blend of the two makes my diet about 10% protein if I were to be a total vegetarian, which I'm not. I still eat meat socially and at least a couple times per week at home. I'd like to eat some gelatin for experiment's sake too but haven't gotten into that habit yet.

    Anonymous Mercola acne-

    How can that be a bad thing? Wait and see. I had the clearest skin ever on low-carb for about 4 months. Then one day I noticed some pimples on my back for the first time in 5 years. Then I had some carbs and had the worst break out of my life (which made me even more carb phobic). Years later when my carb intake was the lowest I was getting acne at the tiniest provocation. I didn't fix this problem until I pounded food from all macronutrient categories. There may be better ways to clear up your acne. I can easily clear up my skin on an all-fruit diet or an all-meat diet. Neither is healthy or sustainable.

    Jessica-

    No food has zero protein. I wouldn't recommend eating carbohydrate "by itself," but that can only be done with white sugar and other refined sweeteners, as they are the only sources of carbohydrates with no protein. So no lemonade by itself or something like that – but orange juice or fruit is fine.

    Schwarzbein recommends a 2:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrate, but I see no problems with and tend to prefer a 6-7:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein.

    Jim De Wit-

    You need some insulin to store fat. Without insulin your body just dissolves. But I would think the ratio of fat ingested to lipoprotein lipase activity would be more of a determinant of whether you were in positive or negative fat balance. So the higher insulin goes, the less fat you can eat without storing fat. The lower insulin goes, the more fat you can eat without storing fat.

    On a "high everything" diet you would theoretically have moderate insulin and moderate lipase activity, and should still maintain weight stability, as most do on a high everything diet.

    Reply
  29. Cecil-

    Like I said in the last comment, I get my protein from "non-protein" sources. Rice, oats, wheat, potatoes, fruit, juice – it all has protein. All those sources average out to having roughly 10% protein. If I eat 3,500 calories I might get 50 grams of fat, 80 grams of protein, and 700 grams of carbohydrates or something like that. But that is just some days. Last night I ate a 10-ounce steak for example, and had a cheeseburger for lunch and got in 200 grams of protein I'd say, most of it animal-based. Everything averaged out I probably get 100 grams of protein per day, even with several vegetarian days per week. That's hardly a low-protein diet, especially when calorie and carbohydrate levels are very high. That is very protein-sparing.

    Reply
  30. Cecil,
    Meat and dairy does not cause inflamation. Everyone will have different things that cause the inflammation. For me it is dairy and eggs and high amounts of wheat. Meat does not cause it.

    Matt,
    Shellfish is allergenic for many people, so that could be the cause. You will not know until you start isolating your variables, if not you are just speculating. You will have to go dairy free and elliminate allergenic foods until the inflammation is gone. Then add 1 food at a time until you notice the inflammation pop up.

    Reply
  31. JT-

    I have pretty much been doing that. I will eat nothing but juice, fruit, and starches for a few days and then reintroduce something. I have not found anything in the animal kingdom containing protein that I do not have at least somewhat of a negative reaction to (it manifests as chest pain and clogged nostrils a couple hours after eating). Yet, I have a negative reaction to a diet that contains no animal protein. Looks like I'm screwed buddy! But I can tolerate small amounts just fine it seems, so maybe it's not the food so much as it is the quantity.

    If I just say "ah screw it" and eat tons of everything I do pretty well, but athletic performance, body composition, and breathing suffers.

    I really like your mantra to "find out what works and stick with it." The problem is finding what works. Like I said a couple weeks ago, for now I'm focusing on what keeps my breathing good, nostrils clear, and chest pain absent. It's very clear what that is, and I will be sticking with it.

    Now if I could just get my gums to stop bleeding on that diet I'd be all set!

    Reply
  32. Matt,

    You're right about my comment last post. It was kind of out of left field and may have been a …slight… overreaction. I didn't like how it was casually dismissed though.

    Most athletes eat high carb, but there are still many who don't. I've never noticed a difference, but, as I've said, my training isn't glycogen intensive.

    You did mention one thing though about Peat that I am quite certain he either misinterpreted or misrepresented. Of course he didn't provide a reference, but I eventually found what I wanted. Peat claims that Bernardo Houssay showed rats were "protected" from diabetes moreso with coconut oil & sugar than with lard. The rats Houssay was using were Alloxan-induced type 1 diabetics. MCTs protect the pancreas from Alloxan damage. I would think that implies little relevancy to human diabetics (especially type 2) and dietary diabetes causes. Also, I believe the sugar amounts were controlled, so it's not like it was coconut oil & sugar vs only lard.

    This is definitely something Peat does frequently. I've found his claims to be somewhat inaccurate/incomplete when referring to other scientists' work (Houssay, Marion Diamond, Volkheimer, Natalia Bekhtereva).

    Milk contains tryptophan, but I vaguely remember lactose inhibiting tryptophan absorption, so it may be something else about the dairy.

    Reply
  33. "I have pretty much been doing that. I will eat nothing but juice, fruit, and starches for a few days and then reintroduce something."

    Oh, so what you're trying to say is you're a pussy now?

    What happened to overcoming our sensitivities? What happened to trying to achieve the Bieler adrenal type? What happened to eating everything and anything at anytime to improve our digestion and our bodies response to it?

    You make me sick, you're nothing but a crappy durianrider impersonator who can't even do it right.

    Btw I'm kidding on the aggressiveness of the delivery but the content is real. I mean, what happened to overcoming our weaknesses instead of catering to them?!?

    Reply
  34. I've been eating fresh salads lately, and that seems to be helping. Also fresh pineapple, typically after meals with a good amount of animal protein.

    Traditional Chinese medicine claims that leafy greens help digestion — and I'm pretty sure it has a bit to say about food combining with acidic fruits like pineapple as well — that it helps protein/fat digestion.

    I care more about my personal experience than theories like that, though. And when I try it out it does actually seem to help. My best guide is the appeal of the flavor/texture (crispness/lightness of romaine lettuce and raw onions, dessert-like taste of pineapple after a meal), and how I feel afterwards.

    Placebo effect? Probably, but I also think that things like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have their beliefs for a reason. The systems are age-old and even if there's not much scientific evidence behind their ideas it doesn't mean there won't ever be.

    That said, though I'm a fan of TCM and ayurveda, I more or less pick and choose what works for me as a result of trying out their ideas.

    With so many people popping antacids like candy and doing all kinds of things medicinally, I think it makes sense to expand the focus on diet to more 'medicinal' uses of foods, like various herbal teas as digestive aids or tonics, and some loosely applied food combining principles like eating leafy green vegetables with animal protein to aid in digestion or having acidic fruits with meat/fat to aid digestion.

    The whole system in TCM that connects seasons and organs and flavors and elements is also really cool.

    http://www.acupuncture-online.com/tradition3.htm

    Keeping an open mind is best, in my opinion, which is why I don't prescribe to any particular system — the best people can do is to keep on experimenting and trying things out from all kinds of areas of knowledge and see what works for them.

    TCM reminds me of RPG games with all the elemental stuff. Maybe that's why I like it. Geeking out is one of my favorite things to do so that makes sense to me :D

    And Matt: I recommend oil pulling for the gum bleeding if you haven't tried it yet. One of the good uses for PUFA oils — I use sunflower oil/sesame oil from a local Indian market.

    I used to have a ton of problems with bleeding gums, and my gums are actually receding pretty severely. I've been doing oil pulling every single morning for months now, and on top of that I've been brushing with magnesium oil – nothing else – and flossing with unwaxed floss most of the time.

    The sulcular brushing technique also has been working very well for me. I have a feeling you already know about and have tried these things, but please humor me >_>

    I was skeptical about my oral hygiene antics. But at my last dentist appointment they said my teeth actually were really clean — a lot cleaner than the last time — and I had no cavities.

    But yeah, it's all good stuff. These things helped me a lot and I just wanted to share.

    Reply
  35. John,
    Did the rats recieve the diets before or after they were poisoned with Alloxane? Where does Peat say that coconut oil and sugar are superior to lard alone?
    I only could find this passage where he says this:

    In Houssay's experiments, sugar, protein, and coconut oil protected mice against developing diabetes. The saturated fats of coconut oil are similar to those we synthesize ourselves from sugar. Saturated fats, and the polyunsaturated fats synthesized by plants, have very different effects on many important physiological processes. In every case I know about, the vegetable polyunsaturated fats have harmful effects on our physiology.

    Reply
  36. @ Matt o JT:

    Is it normal to experience water retention when switching to a high carb diet?…how long does it take the body to get use to and get rid of edema?

    Reply
  37. Jannis,

    I think the diets started before alloxan and continued. Peat says something like coconut oil and sugar was better than lard. It doesn't really matter, but I just couldn't tell if he was saying the lard was alone or with protein or whatever–I was just curious about the details.

    But I mean there were several things in his studies that Peat didn't mention or ignored. This is what I remember: Low protein was bad and high was good; beef fat and lard were bad; methionine was good; corn oil was okay; 3 meals were better than 1 meal; coconut oil was very good. And remember all this was in the context of being fed alloxan, so if you can extract anything useful from all that and apply it to humans…I have no clue.

    Reply
  38. RE: carbohydrates raising cortisol. Cortisol is required to get T3 into your cells. Carbs ramp up metabolism, so your body wants more T3 in its cells.

    Anonymous/mercola acne plan: low-carb is not a long term solution. Been there as well, and it is not sustainable or the cure. Reintroduce carbs and it will come back.

    I am almost 2yrs following the 180 winding path, and acne is slowly going away. Makes me think that the 4yr interval for displacing PUFA's in the body is real. Also maintaining a higher basal temp is also key, reducing external stressors and sleeping lots help as well.

    Reply
  39. John,
    But where does Peat say that? In one of his articles, or did he tell you personally? Because in his article he merely says that coconut oil and sugar protected mice against diabetes in Houssay's experiments. Not more not less.

    He does indeed say that coconut oil and sugar will protect people against diabetes, which I believe is true. But he doesn't base that argument only on Houssay's experiments.

    I don't understand why beef and lard were bad, corn oil ok, and coconut oil very good. Doesn't really make sense. How did he explain that?

    Reply
  40. Jannis,

    Okay, I found it–in the diabetes article, he actually says coconut oil>sugar>lard. But there is sugar in all of Houssay's diets, so I don't really get that; I thought Houssay just changed fat types and kept sugar constant.

    Peat doesn't explain it, and he doesn't mention it–that's why I brought it up. He attributes the success to the lack of PUFA in coconut oil, but then the "oxtail" fat should've been helpful too. As I said above, MCTs protect pancreas from alloxan, which seems to be why coconut oil had such good results. Who knows why corn oil or methionine have a positive effect. This is why some people are turned off by Peat though. In the next paragraph of the article he says coconut oil "increases metabolic rate, apparently by normalizing thyroid function," except provides no reference–how can you not reference a statment like that? He's one of my favorite writers because of his attitude and his variety of topics, but he "stretches" too many "facts."

    Reply
  41. Yes, he doesn't provide enough references in his articles, which is funny since he has the studies to do that. Stephan once wrote an article about PUFA supressing the thyroid. He found that claim in one of Peat's articles. He didn't cite any reference so he did his own research and found the studies which proofed that Peat was right. And when I asked Peat for the studies he sent them to me. I have no idea why he never cites them in his articles.
    I think his claim about coconut oil and thyroid function is true, too. A lot people report that they have hyperthyroid symptoms for a few hours after eating coconut oil. And the studies I have seen show that animals eating a high saturated fat diet have much higher levels of T3 and T4 than those eating a high PUFA diet.

    Reply
  42. Jib-

    apparently bitter and sour tastes stimulate the production of stomach acid and bile which is why the salad/fruit would help. i've been having success with half a lemon in warm water with meals.

    Reply
  43. Cecil,
    My experience of that personally was not severe, but I did gain some water, but it has dissipated. But for me the extra glycogen and water loading into my muscles was positive. I am almost 40 pounds heavier, but leaner than I was on a low carb diet.

    The main reason people lose weight rapidly when they start a low carb diet is because they lose the water, not fat. A lot of people gain extra water weight when they up the carbs. Look at bodybuilders who have cut their carbs for a long time and then gorge on them after a competition. THey get extreme bloat. My body needed time to adapt to the new higher carb diet, which can be a stressor. THis is one reason it is not a good idea to swing back and forth between extreme diets. If you are having issues with edema you should see a doctor to see if something is wrong.

    Reply
  44. rosenfeltc,
    I have confronted Matt on the same issue in the past, but I don't think he believes the old dogma anymore. He probably just thinks of the dogma (that you can overcome all dietary weaknesses by overfeeding on them) as a interesting but failed dietary experiment, and now it is time to move on. I think he has matured in his thinking now and is more focused on finding what works for the individual instead of forcing the individual to fit to the system.

    Reply
  45. JT,
    You're probably right, but if what you say is true then Matt needs to write a new blog post saying that is how he feels now, otherwise it is still very confusing for the readers because Matt is still plugging in his free ebook (about RRARFing) in almost every post.

    Reply
  46. So, from reading the last few posts and comments my understading is that for fat loss-

    1) a high carb diet works
    2) no need to increase protein intake
    3) keep fat low.
    4)Sugar in low to moderate levels is ok
    I'm vegetarian and I consume milk for protein etc. and seem to be doing well on it. Should I drink low fat milk?
    I have been following an ayurvedic diet and doing yoga and am losing fat and feeling better.

    Reply
  47. At 1hr 17m in this interview with the Rubins on sugar Ray Peat said that having acne problems after adding sugar happens because sugar activates the thyroid and that makes the skin warmer and more oily, but if you are deficient in vitamin A or some other immune factor then bacteria will grow on your skin.

    He also said:

    Eggs, shellfish, cheese, milk and fruits will all help improve your immune system.

    If your thyroid is low too much vitamin A will suppress your thyroid – they have to be exactly balanced – so some people who take big doses of vitamin A will get symptoms of vitamin A deficiency as well as thyroid deficiency. The higher your metabolic rate the more vitamin A you need and can use.

    Acne is a good indicator that you are doing something out of balance but it's hard to guess without blood tests.

    —-

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/eastwesthealing/2011/04/27/dr-ray-peat-glycemia-starch-and-sugar-in-context

    Reply
  48. Maya, your diet sounds good to me and (more importantly) it's working for you. Stick to it.

    Reply
  49. "The problem is finding what works. Like I said a couple weeks ago, for now I'm focusing on what keeps my breathing good, nostrils clear, and chest pain absent. It's very clear what that is, and I will be sticking with it.

    Now if I could just get my gums to stop bleeding on that diet I'd be all set!"

    Hi Matt,
    I think that one will be totally 'disturbance' free when one is dead.
    But, minimised to a dull roar, that is cause for celebration!
    Kind wishes, J

    Reply
  50. Serotonin's activity of raising cortisol and interfering with thyroid is significant. What raises serotonin (probably more than tryptophan, which might simply be craved when more serotonin is needed) is "learned helplessness", a response to inescapable stress that shuts down the brain and induces apathy. Temporarily this is useful– according to Peat, it's supposed to happen at night, as a response to "the stress of darkness". And apathy is needed momentarily in a fight-or-flight moment that requires quick and possibly dangerous action. But in tune with everything else, a long-term state is unnatural and has repercussions.

    "…believes that storing this fat is actually protective in a sense, and that releasing it into the body via standard dieting can be very poisonous. …It would be funny if the increasing body fat that Americans see with advancing age was really a great protector against the Standard American Diet"

    Yes, you never know if the body is instinctively lowering thyroid activity or whatnot as an intended protective response to something.

    "…and much more about polyunsaturated fat’s role in diabetes."

    Yes, Peat has pretty much directly said that diabetes is caused by PUFAs. Also, there was Chris Masterjohn's recent dissertation on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, something that's commonly concurrent with diabetes. I have to admit, as much as I'd like to think fructose is harmless, your old theory about the temperate zones separating fructose from polyunsaturated may carry weight in this light. Perhaps that's why the Egyptians had diabetes: They ate lots of poultry and olive oil, along with lots of honey, dates, grapes, and melons (and alcohol, raising choline requirement).

    "…none of the animal models, whether they are high in fructose, high in fat, or deficient in choline, actually look like human fatty liver until they are combined together…"

    http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/04/my-new-wise-traditions-article-on.html

    Also, I know there might not be much of Ray May left, but another example of his possible short-sightedness, simplistic thinking, and personal bias is how he calls caffeine "a vitamin-like nutrient" and recommends it for everyone.

    Reply
  51. I'm a 19 year old (skinny) male. I've been eating tons of nuts and seeds for a couple of years now and developed a lot of health problems over the years (probably because of my high pufa-eating habit). I'm experimenting with a PUfA-restricted diet right now. I've just a few questions: how long does it take to actually sort of "detox" your body from these PUFAs? And does saturated fat (from dairy for instance) help in this process?

    Reply
    • Don’t forget seeds contain a lot of Phytic acid and some grain and seeds have lectins all which are very bad for you. If you are going to eat the seeds make sure you eat ones that are have high amounts of Phytase so that the phytic acid will be neutralized. Soaking, fermenting reduces the amount of phytic acid.

      It is said that if you good flora (so your gut and intestines have to be in good condition) then the flora can neutralize the phytic acid, though i would not go crazy on the nuts.

      Reply
  52. Anonymous: Does saturated fat help deplete PUFAs?

    My answer is no.

    It's a common myth that eating saturated fats would displace PUFAs. Yes, short- and medium-chain fatty acids may displace PUFAs faster, but I have no evidence that long-chain saturated fatty acids would help displace PUFAs.

    There are several studies on how a zero-fat diet can displace PUFAs in tissue:
    One human subject: h ttp://jn.nutrition. org/content/16/6/511
    Several human subjects: h ttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC436563/
    Rats and PUFA displacement: h ttp://jn.nutrition. aorg/content/13/4/351.full.pdf

    There is another myth that sugar displaces PUFAs.

    In rats, there are actually several studies which have shown that sugar causes EFA deficiency:

    Essential fatty acid deficiency in rats. Influence of dietary carbohydrates.

    Trugnan G, Thomas-Benhamou G, Cardot P, Rayssiguier Y, Bereziat G. Short term

    […] When rats ate the starch/hydrogenated coconut oil diet, there was a similar decrease in linoleic acid of plasma phospholipids, but only a small effect on growth rate and no change in the arachidonic acid content of plasma phospholipids. EFA deprivation and sucrose had opposite effects on plasma triglyceride (TG) levels: deprivation induced a decrease, whereas the sucrose induced an increase in very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides. The observed decrease in plasma triglyceride during EFA deprivation might result from an activation of lipoprotein lipase during the early stages of deprivation. […]

    Effects of dietary carbohydrate on mitochondrial composition and function in two strains of rats.Wander RC, Berdanier CD.

    […] However, analysis of variance revealed strain and diet differences in the fatty acyl moieties of the phospholipids: sucrose-fed rats had more stearic (18:0) and less linoleic acid (18:2) than did starch- fed rats; BHE rats had more arachidonic acid (20:4) than did Wistar rats. […]

    But don't get too excited about this. The mechanism in which sugar causes EFA is a scary mechanism. In fact, sugar does not "displace" PUFAs. Sugar only peroxidizes the PUFAs. It's the peroxidation which can create a EFA deficiency.

    Short-term consumption of a high-sucrose diet has a pro-oxidant effect in rats. Busserolles J, Rock E, Gueux E, Mazur A, Grolier P, Rayssiguier Y.

    Because sugar peroxidizes lipids, ingestion of sugar could induce oxidative stress, which could induce inflammation and insulin resistance.

    High fructose consumption combined
    with low dietary magnesium intake may
    increase the incidence of the metabolic
    syndrome by inducing inflammation
    Y. Rayssiguier1, E. Gueux1, W. Nowacki2, E. Rock1, A. Mazur1

    h ttp://www.anaboliclabs. com/User/Document/Articles/Magnesium/12.%20Rayssiguier,%20MAGnesium,%202006.pdf

    It is indeed somewhat true that a high-PUFA diet makes people intolerant to sugar.

    However, honey does not increase lipid peroxidation, in contrast to refined sugar.

    Oligofructose Protects against the Hypertriglyceridemic and Pro-oxidative
    Effects of a High Fructose Diet in Rats
    Jerome Busserolles, Elyett Gueux, Edmond Rock, Christian Demigne, Andrzej Mazur

    h ttp://jn.nutrition. org/content/133/6/1903.full.pdf

    But female rats are protected against the pro-oxidant effects of sucrose:

    h ttp://ebm.rsmjournals. com/cgi/reprint/227/9/837.pdf

    Reply
    • Hydrogenated coconut or any hydrogenated oil is bad. So the study is faulty, you need pure coconut oil minus the hydrogenation factor. Again if you eat lots of good unsaturated fats, a decent amount of carbs (zero carbs is not good but neither is too much) sugar in the form of raw honey and fructose via consuming a lot of fruits, and add magnesium, sea salt and Iodine to your diet, you will have no issues. Your body will fix itself slowly but surely. PUFA’s of any kind are bad.

      Reply
  53. I will not be commenting here today, thank you very much.

    Reply
  54. Collden,
    Can you show me the study where they compared cortisol after one and three meals per day?

    Another study from the same authors who conducted the study you cited, did another study in february. In that one, they come to the conclusion that cortsiol response does not differ between carbohdydrate and protein meals.

    Consumption of meals with different macronutrient contents, especially high in carbohydrates, may influence the stress-induced physiological and psychological response. The objective of this study was to investigate effects of consumption of a high-protein vs. high-carbohydrate meal on the physiological cortisol response and psychological mood response. Subjects (n = 38, 19 m/19f, age =25 ± 9 yrs, BMI  = 25.0 ± 3.3 kg/m²) came to the university four times, fasted, for either condition: rest-protein, stress-protein, rest-carbohydrate, stress-carbohydrate (randomized cross-over design). Stress was induced by means of a psychological computer-test. The test-meal was either a high-protein meal (En% P/C/F 65/5/30) or a high-carbohydrate meal (En% P/C/F 6/64/30), both meals were matched for energy density (4 kJ/g) and daily energy requirements (30%). Per test-session salivary cortisol levels, appetite profile, mood state and level of anxiety were measured. High hunger, low satiety (81 ± 16, 12 ± 15 mm VAS) confirmed the fasted state. The stress condition was confirmed by increased feelings of depression, tension, anger, anxiety (AUC stress vs. rest p < 0.02). Consumption of the high-protein vs. high-carbohydrate meal did not affect feelings of depression, tension, anger, anxiety. Cortisol levels did not differ between the four test-sessions in men and women (AUC nmol·min/L p > 0.1). Consumption of the test-meals increased cortisol levels in men in all conditions (p < 0.01), and in women in the rest-protein and stress-protein condition (p < 0.03). Men showed higher cortisol levels than women (AUC nmol·min/L p < 0.0001). Consumption of meals with different macronutrient contents, i.e. high-protein vs. high-carbohydrate, does not influence the physiological and psychological response differentially. Men show a higher meal-induced salivary cortisol response compared with women.

    Reply
  55. Here Jannis

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/85/4/981.long

    The obvious objection to this result is that the cortisol measurements were not taken at the same time of day in the two groups, the 1-meal group took theirs in the evening after 18 hours of fasting and the 3-meal group in the morning after 12 hours of fasting. However, cortisol after 18 hours of fasting (72 ng/mL) was still in the lower normal range as established by other studies in non-fasting subjects, so it at least indicates that short term fasting doesn't lead to elevated cortisol.

    Interesting, the study you cite, seems intake of any kind of macronutrient in isolation will raise cortisol compared to fasting. Not sure how the response to a mixed meal looks.

    Reply
  56. Collden,
    Yes, that's what the first study says, too. Baseline cortisol was always lower than after eating something, no matter which macronutrient. You are right, it seems that short-term fasting is not going to increase cortisol. But the long term results are very different. I think that cortisol's main function is to break down protein for gluconeogenisis. That probably explains why cortisol is highest in the morning when we wake up.

    I think the study above isn't really meaningfull. Cortsiol is lowest in the evening and highest in the morning.

    Reply
  57. My husband has been sujected to varying proportions of food groups over the past few years, including high fat, low fat, lower carb, high everything depending on how I am cooking and his weight has not fluctuated at all.

    Can't we all get to this point without having to lower fat even if it takes a few years to repair things?

    Jane

    Reply
  58. @Organism as a whole, thank you for the comment. great information! LCSFA displacing PUFA was just a random thought of mine. I'm trying to keep PUFA-intake as low as possible for a while and see what happens, because I literally ate the crap out of nuts and seeds for a couple of years now. But anyway, how long do you think this process of "displacing PUFA" is gonna take? Haven't they figured out a mathematical formula (with variables: body weight, amount PUFAs (o:3 o:6) eaten etc.) to calculate this?

    Reply
  59. This is my first comment here, having followed your blog for about the last six months. I've read your Diabetes book and the one on RRARF, both of which have been eye-opening in many ways. However, some of your comments about your recent state of health concern me. The smaller issue is the mention of bleeding gums. A while ago you owned up to only brushing your teeth 2 or 3 times a week, and lately you've been on a big sugar kick. Teeth and gum problems do not necessarily stem from systematic problems – lack of minerals, that sort of thing. Simply brushing and flossing on a regular basis (meaning more than once a day) will take care of this. If you're eating a lot of sugar, at the very least you should be rinsing your mouth out after eating. There's no reason to be looking at your metabolic numbers or your sugar to fat ratios to figure this out.

    However, the other thing you mentioned which alarms me a little is when you talk about chest pains. I know sometimes it's hard to tell if chest pain is just a localized muscle/bone thing or something more nefarious, but I wouldn't just disregard it because you're not 50 years old yet. That doesn't mean you have to run to the E.R. when you get a chest pain, just pay close attention to what you're feeling and figure out if it's just an annoyance or a sign of something important.

    That's all for now.

    Reply
  60. Berny3-

    The slight feeling of pressure in the chest began after about a year of eating low-carb (2006). Before that I never had this problem once in my life. It eventually got so bad that I had to ditch low-carb, along with many other reasons. I've talked to several people who had the same issue develop – chest pains that seem to come and go and be exacerbated by any stressor, including a diet heavy in meat and fat vs. carbohdyrate. I can make it completely dissapear with simple dietary tweaks so I'm not that concerned about it. It's been steadily improving for the last year since finishing the milk diet, which really brought it back with a vengeance.

    As for the gums, it has nothing to do with only brushing my teeth a few times a week. I have been brushing my teeth 2-3 times per week for 5 years now, and the gum issue has only started in the last month after eating very high fruit (which is odd seeing that most think bleeding gums is a vitamin C deficiency, and at 2-3 quarts of orange juice per day I think I'm doing decent in that department!).

    One of the reasons I do this is to keep close track of how my teeth are doing. If there was a great primary warning sign that there is instability and disease in the body it is dental problems. Not brushing twice daily like I did when my mouth was dissolving with cavities in my youth has actually helped me face the realities of dietary failures (like low-carb), which started to hurt my teeth after a couple of years. Anyway, it's helpful. I'll let you know what ends up resolving the gum issue (without changing my dental care – evidence that something physically has changed within my body as a whole).

    Reply
    • No offense Matt but if you only brush your teeth a few times a week, you are not very pleasant to be around. So if you happen to run into me, please don’t breathe in my direction.

      Reply
  61. Rosenfelt-

    Before I ever tried RRARF I had indigestion when drinking a glass of water, and had indigestion after everything I ate. If I ate fruit or something like that I would get hypoglycemic and acne. If I ate meat my body odor would be atrocious. My teeth ached. My digestion moved slowly. I was starting to have increased gas. My mood was turning very aggressive. I had sleep problems.

    I could have played Sherlock Holmes all day, as many people could. But in reality, overfeeding without macronutrient restriction, even on foods of marginal quality that are not RRARF-approved (PUFA-fried food, beer, etc.) did wonders for me. It was a speedy and radical overhaul of my digestive capabilities, the softness and clarity of my skin, my mood, my sleep, my libido and sexual function, and more. Oh yeah and my teeth. Big improvement.

    So yes, just about anyone can improve their health, their digestion, and many food sensitivities along with it. I'm certainly no longer sensitive to beans or water for example – and no longer sensitive to fruit either. Overfeeding did that for me. Other minor dietary experiments took me even further.

    But ultimately, once a person gets in a decent place, I don't see the harm in tinkering around with a few variables and trying to take a good thing and improve upon it on an individual basis. RRARF is one set of guidelines, and there are no two people on here eating the same diet. Some prefer rice, some prefer potatoes, some prefer bread and pasta, some prefer fruit, some prefer juice…

    I don't think there's any shame in making room for the concept of indivuality while still being mindful of the ability we have to overcome sensitivities and weaknesses and break through barriers. And still in the back of my mind I think, "what is off kilter within my physiology that is making me react poorly to animal protein?" I know that restricting it or even minimizing it is probably not the right approach. It might be workable for now, but I'm still mindful of greater possibilities.

    Now I'm going to go ice my balls from your thorough busting of them.

    Reply
  62. Anonymous PUFA rehab-

    First of all, thanks to Organism for that excellent response.

    And yes, there are formulas, developed by Dr. William Lands, that calculate how long it takes to flush out PUFA from the tissues with various intake levels of omega 6 and omega 3.

    You should notice some benefits in the short-term – within a few months hopefully. But to fully purge them it takes many years.

    I agree, and have always argued, that eating less total fat was the best way to achieve it – as eating a high fat diet in general automatically raises total PUFA ingested.

    John-

    Oustanding comment on demystifying Peat. There's no doubt that he takes things out of context to support his theories. I think everyone does it on a subconscious level. But Peat has shown himself to be far from immune to it. That doesn't mean that much of his information isn't helpful or accurate. I believe much of it is, and am only interested in what happens to real people in the real world when integrating some of his theoretical ideas into their diets and lifestyles.

    On that basis, his theories perform pretty well. I believe there is room for improvement and that many need a diet totally different as an "antidote" to their own physiological imbalances, but as generalized templates go, it's at least in the right ballpark. I will continue to emphasize what I think is most useful and accurate of his and challenging what isn't.

    And I really like having you around John. You are a good level-headed and even keel guy to have commenting here. Your input is very valuable here so don't get skittish if you feel you are being minimized somehow. Keep firing back and don't let me go down a road that doesn't make sense. Like Happy Gilmore said to his caddy, "Don't let me do anything stupid."

    Reply
  63. Anonymous, that was a very, very, very nice reply! I liked how you said "thank you", and I like how you used an exclamation mark after saying "great information".

    Anyway, one meta-study states that fatty acids have a half-life of two years in human adipose tissue:

    Hermus RJ, Hautvast JG. A mathematical relationship between the fatty acid composition of the diet and that of the adipose tissue in man.

    h ttp://www .ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pubmed/7355785

    But the study was flawed. It does not take into the fact that humans convert one type of fatty acid to another. It does not take into the fat that humans can saturate and de-saturated certain fatty acids, and that humans can elongate or shorten fatty acids.

    Another example is the different absorption rates of different fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids are absorbed the most, and linoleic acid is excreted in rats. Differing intakes of fatty acids influence excretion, which is another factor which makes the study flawed.

    But here's the most important flaw. Not a flaw in that study, per se, but a flaw in one of the conclusions. You know, a lot of people read that study, and conclude that PUFAs have the same half-life. However, they shouldn't assume that. We shouldn't assume that all types of fatty acids have the same half-life.

    For instance, read my above comment. It suggests that sugar can deplete PUFAs via peroxidation. Thus, sugar can shorten the half-life of PUFAs. But that mechanism is dangerous, because it results in oxidative stress.

    The half-life may be shorter. In fact, read the study on a zero-fat diet in one human subject: h ttp://jn.nutrition. org/content/16/6/511

    There is a surprising fact about his PUFA depletion. Over six months on a zero-fat diet, his linoleic acid in serum has halved!

    This could suggest that the "half-life" of linoleic acid in serum is six months? How could that be?

    Well, see the chart in page 518. His initial linoleic acid concentration was 5.7%. But after six months, it was reduced to 3.2%. Perhaps that the difference was so small, that he was utilizing them?

    So what's the half-life of linoleic acid? No. We will ask another question. Is the linoleic acid concentration in tissue really follows a logarithmic equation? Or a linear one? We know that probably neither is the case.

    So how much PUFAs are you displacing over a year?

    I don't know.

    But here an interesting testimonial by terpol:

    just want to say some something about high starch diet. after general matt stone/ray peat eating for 1 and half years i noticed i lost some fat eating less fat and more potatoes. so i went all out for almost entirely potato diet with a once or twice a week fat and protein meal. i lost 30 pounds in a few months (180 > 150) eating as much potatoes as i wanted and doing no exercise, barely any walking. all of which looks like fat. i look bigger and more muscular now than i did before.

    anyway i'm just saying that very high starch with occasional lump of meat won't strip the muscle off you as long as its potatoes or something.

    and my body, haha. temp goes back forth from 97.7 to 98.7 all day. i'm warm and its low, i'm cold and its high. all my life. must have no fucking adrenals. hopefully a ton of pregnenolone will do something, nothing else has ;(

    Reply
  64. Maya-

    That's a decent approach. There is no reliable template for rebound-free and safe weight loss though. You just have to try it out and see what happens. Keep an eye on various biomarkers of health – speed of hair and nail growth, sleep, libido, etc. as well as warmth of hands and feet and body temperature. If you can keep that all in line and still lose weight, then you have found your personal Holy Grail.

    Jared-

    Thanks for your comment and Masterjohn quotes. Combinations are everything. Everybody wants one, single big bad wolf but you can't pin it all on one thing. Great theory about the Egyptians though. Barry Sears and his theory about the "perfect nutritional storm" (PUFA and refined carbs) just got a boner reading it.

    I don't think I'll hit the caffeine subject though. Too many strong feelings, and at the end of the day if a person really feels like hitting stimulants is beneficial for their health, then more power to them. I'm glad I have no such habit. Maybe someday I'll find it to be the missing link and go off on some controversial tangent that confuses everyone someday. But until then, I will file caffeine into the list of things people consume to feel a slight glimpse of the health and vigor they had in their youth but lost.

    Reply
  65. Organism-

    just want to add that i wouldn't have much stored pufa when i lost that weight, i gained it when i started HED after brief low carbing. and i think my chronically low cortisol may have helped preseve muscle cause i was a slug energywise, not enough protein.

    Reply
  66. I can just say from my own experience that eating many different foods has helped me a lot to do a big step to reach the 100% health. Eating a failsafe diet with just some safe foods will help to cure the symptoms but not the cause. Since i supplement lugols solution i have much less intolerance reactions to food, in fact before the eat all diet a beer would knock me out for 1-2 days. Now after eating all different foods and supplementing iodine has changed everything for me. Watch out your thyroid!

    Reply
  67. One more thing: When you try to heal yourself with just some safe foods, you may reach it or not. Of course digestion should be always taken care of because having diarrhea or indigestion is the last thing you want have on your way of healing. In any case, nurishing your body with all available foods (nutrients) will heal you faster than on a diet with just some specific foods. On a healthy diet i can even eat some junk like snickers, pizza or mcdonalds on a regularly basis and not feel bad with it.

    Ray Peat has some interesting articles but i would not offend him because of his work. His suggestions make sense for me and you just need to pick up the suggestions you need from every "health guru" and put the pieces of your own puzzle together.

    Reply
  68. @Organism as a whole, Thank you again for taking the time and the extremely helpful response. really appreciate it man. my system is pretty much broken, i can tell you that. so I guess it will take some time to normalize. even if it takes me decades to get there, well, it doesn't matter.
    I actually come from Holland, you know, the country where you can smoke pot legally. smoking pot without getting caught! the country of gouda and edammer cheese, although the supermarket shelfs are literally filled with vegetable oils now. people here are drowning their french fries in mayo!
    I accidentally stumbled upon this nutrition science through some of these "experts" who're distributing tons of misinformation. One of the leading figures here, martijn katan, is claiming that rapeseed-oil is a health-food…. like seriously, these guys can go suck a dick or something.(excusez le mot) Anyway, again, thank you for the help. time to start displacing some PUFAs!!

    @Matt, I'll cut the total fat and up my starch-intake. Make sure this site stays alive man, it does make a difference!

    Reply
  69. Matt/Organism As a Whole

    "In my experience, losing fat has been highly detrimental to health and metabolism without exception, and my primary strength has been helping people recover from losing fat, so it’s an interesting point of view. It would be funny if the increasing body fat that Americans see with advancing age was really a great protector against the Standard American Diet."

    By the same token, wouldn't losing body fat speed up the process of purging the body of "toxic fat?"

    Reply
  70. Hi Matt, great to stumble on your blog! Have you heard of Freedom of Access to Medicines (FAMEDS)? The non-profit leading the effort against the FDA from disproving Avastin this month as it is working for 17,500women with Metastatic Breast Cancer taking the drug. Please sign and share the urgent petition: http://fameds.org/petition.php

    Reply
  71. Ray peat does not advocate high starches, that is the wrong conclusion/inference to draw. What he states is that sugar and fructose are not bad. He actually advocates eating less starch. When eating protein he suggests that you combine in with fruits to reduce the effects of tryptopham

    The following is a quote from one of his recent articles

    I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various “connective tissue diseases.” This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption. In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements. It should be remembered that amino acids, especially in eggs, stimulate insulin secretion, and that this can cause hypoglycemia, which in turn causes cortisol secretion. Eating fruit (or other carbohydrate), coconut oil, and salt at the same meal will decrease this effect of the protein. Magnesium carbonate and epsom salts can also be useful and safe supplements, except when the synthetic material causes an allergic bowel reaction..

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

    Also its not dairy that is the issue, it is the type of dairy product you consume. In the US almost all the feed is in the form of Grain and many animals receive a lot of vaccinations/ and so called other preventive treatment via shots. However it is the grain part of the dieat that is part. Pigs fed corn and soybeans had lard that was mostly composed of polyunsaturated fats.

    Polyunsatured fats in any kind (omega 3, 6 or 9) are bad for us. If you eliminate this and eat healthy unsaturated fats, with protein, some carbs and include sea salt and fruits in your meal you will reduce or even elimiate the insulin issue.

    In regards to dairy when i was in South America recently i ate loads of raw cheese, drank bottles upon bottles of raw milk and cooked everything with butter (raw most of the time) and used sea salt (unrefined as much as i could). My blood work hdl, ldl, triglycerides, sugar, etc was the best it had ever been in over 11 years. Upon coming back to the US things started to change even when I used organic. SO one has to be careful of what the animal is fed and not put the blame on just dairy. Food in the US is pure crap. I have visited many third world countries and every time I go there i feel better no matter what i eat, especially dairy.

    Reply
  72. Ray peat does not advocate high starches, that is the wrong conclusion/inference to draw. What he states is that sugar and fructose are not bad. He actually advocates eating less starch. When eating protein he suggests that you combine in with fruits to reduce the effects of tryptophan

    The following is a quote from one of his recent articles

    I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various “connective tissue diseases.” This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption. In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements. It should be remembered that amino acids, especially in eggs, stimulate insulin secretion, and that this can cause hypoglycemia, which in turn causes cortisol secretion. Eating fruit (or other carbohydrate), coconut oil, and salt at the same meal will decrease this effect of the protein. Magnesium carbonate and epsom salts can also be useful and safe supplements, except when the synthetic material causes an allergic bowel reaction..

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

    Also its not dairy that is the issue, it is the type of dairy product you consume. In the US almost all the feed is in the form of Grain and many animals receive a lot of vaccinations/ and so called other preventive treatment via shots. However it is the grain part of the diet that is very bad for health. Pigs fed corn and soybeans had lard that was mostly composed of polyunsaturated fats.

    Polyunsaturated fats in any kind (omega 3, 6 or 9) are bad for us. If you eliminate this and eat healthy unsaturated fats, with protein, some carbs and include sea salt and fruits in your meal you will reduce or even eliminate the insulin issue.

    In regards to dairy when i was in South America recently i ate loads of raw cheese, drank bottles upon bottles of raw milk and cooked everything with butter (raw most of the time) and used sea salt (unrefined as much as i could). My blood work hdl, ldl, triglycerides, sugar, etc was the best it had ever been in over 11 years. Upon coming back to the US things started to change even when I used organic. SO one has to be careful of what the animal is fed and not put the blame on just dairy. Food in the US is pure crap. I have visited many third world countries and every time I go there i feel better no matter what i eat, especially dairy.

    Finally

    It can take up to 600 days to get rid of Old PUFA stored in the body. One way to speed up the process would be to seriously increase your intake of Coconut oil. Also take magenesium citrtate at least 450 mg a day, some zinc, Selenium, Iodine (at least 12-14mg) and some B complex. You can get the Iodine from lugol’s solution. Japanese consume an average of 12.8mg a day (note this an average) of iodine and have the lowest rates of cancer in the world

    Reply
  73. Thanks Saul for the comment

    So how looks you diet now?

    I added dairy to my diet and I am not sure , but my skin looks not good , a lot big pimples…

    Reply
  74. Maria

    I also recently spent a few months in Ukraine and had lots of farmers cheese, drank milk and no real problems. However I also ate a lot of honey, fruits and potatoes. For meat I mostly used bones to make broth and then used the broth to make soup. This way i got a lot of gelatin and also helped me eat more veggies that I added to the soup.

    In the states i look for milk that is Rbst free (no growth hormones) and I will generally use whole instead of low fat because in low fat they add extra Vit A (synthetic kind, which might not be good).

    Food is definitely not good in the US compared to many other 3rd world countries.

    Here i eat the following

    Gelatin 15-25 grams or more a day ( in powder form)
    Bone broth soup (cook bones for 3 hours, not more)
    Cheese lots of it
    Drink Milk, but base on my needs. Sometimes I will have 4-5 cups maybe even 6 cups sometimes just 2-3 cups.
    I eat cucumbers and tomatoes and put a little parsley (this is my salad). some people may not do well with tomatoes or cucumbers so experiment and see what works for you. You could simply eat green beans but cook them well. I sometimes do this and might green beans for days
    I eat a lot of potatoes but when i do i use a good amount of butter and salt to taste.
    and lastly lots of fruits (melons, peaches if they are juicy and not starchy, water melon, plums, some grapes but do not eat the seeds, Papayas and mangoes).
    I consume roughly 1-2 Tsp of salt a day sometimes more ( raw or refined sea salt. I mix and match. became a little worried about raw sea salt because heard it could be full of heavy metals now. so perhaps pink Himalaya salt might be better to mix with some refined sea salt).

    I tried having coffee twice a day with meals, sometimes it works for me sometimes it does not. So its something i use on and off.

    Exercise moderately by walking fast (but i make sure that its not so fast that i am forced to breathe out of my mouth. You should pace yourself so that you are still breathing out of your nose).

    Supplements are VIt E, Vit D, Some Vit C, Niacinamide (for stress), zinc and some B complex.

    But from what i have found out that nothing helps as much as keeping your stress low. The best diet with a lot of stress is not going to produce great results. In that sense if your stress is low you can at lot more crap and be healthier then someone who eats perfectly but is extremely stressed out.

    Just mix and match and slowly listen to your body. nobody knows what is best for you, only you know what is best for you. You can get some ideas by reading and listening to what others have done, but then adjust it to your needs. for too long we have been made to believe that we know nothing but in fact we are the best doctors as no one knows your body better than you do. All you have to do is to take the time to listen to it

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Taking on Carbophobia « Ancestralize Me! - [...] Matt Stone on Cortisol [...]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>