RRARF Addendum

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0

As many of you know, over the last couple of months we’ve been exploring a diet that displaces more fat with starch as opposed to eating more or less equal amounts of the two.  When it comes to lowering cortisol, improving leptin sensitivity, improving insulin sensitivity, impoving body composition, raising metaoblism, and keeping fat gain minimal while eating to appetite or slightly beyond appetite – which are basically the objectives of the eating and lifestyle program created in the eBook DIET RECOVERY, starch immediately stands out as being superior to fat in each and every one of those categories.

And of course, the vast majority of the most metabolically-healthy people on earth eat what could be called a “starch-based diet” in which well over half of ingested calories come from some starchy staple – such as corn, wheat, rice, or root vegetables (Asians, rural South and Central Americans, Pacific islanders (formerly), rural Africans, and so on).

This is actually a pretty interesting debate amongst the low-fat plant-based gurus.  I score it:  McDougall 10, Furhman 7, Esselstyn 4,
Mills -2,368, Creepy Bald guy next to Mills 0

Last week I added this “Addendum” to the eBook DIET RECOVERY, the first of many to come I’m sure.  Anyway, this is what was added.  Hopefully this brings some clarification to those who have been confused recently.  To read the rest of the book, go to www.180degreehealth.com


While RRARF (Rehabilitative Rest and Agressive Re-Feeding) is very successful at raising body temperature, improving digestion and overall well-being – one question remains…. Can it be done more efficiently? Can it be improved upon? Okay, I guess that’s two questions.

By more efficiently, I mean with less fat gain and greater lean body mass gain as well as a greater rise in temperature per calorie ingested.

I believe the answer to those questions is “yes.” So what’s better? Getting more calories from starches or getting more calories from fat?

Upon close scrutiny of the literature on overfeeding, a clear picture emerges. Straight studies comparing overfeeding with a high-fat/low-starch diet vs. a high-starch/low-fat diet yields clear-cut results. The higher the ratio of starch to fat when overfeeding, the greater the lean body mass gains and the lesser the body fat gains. Not only that, but since starch is not something that the body can readily store like it can fat molecules, the excess calories ingested MUST force an increase in body heat and physical energy to a much greater degree than fat overfeeding.

The physics of it all is actually quite simple. The most efficient way for your body to store fat is to pack fat molecules into fat cells. For this to happen in the absence of dietary fat means that a great deal of carbohydrate must be converted to fat – triglycerides, before it can be efficiently stored. However, this is a very inefficient process. When large quantities of fructose are ingested during overfeeding, the effect is very fattening because a great deal of the fructose is converted to fat in the liver. However, this is not true when talking about starch overfeeding.

Thus, when the ratio of carbohydrate to fat is very high, and the ratio of starch to fructose (and also glucose in simple as opposed to complex form as is found in starches) is also high, the more of the excess energy is stored into muscle tissue and the less into fat. There are also implications that a diet with a high starch to sugar + fat ratio is protective against heart disease – increasing the HDL to triglyceride ratio for starters. I never thought that controlling the macronutrient ratios in such a way would have such a direct bearing upon body composition, but to ignore the simple truths revealed in the medical literature regarding such a thing would be sheer denial of irrefutable fact.



While choice, personal preference, carbohydrate tolerance, digestive abilities, and more will determine what you personally choose as your version of RRARF, there is no question that eating more starch and less fat by percentage of calories is a route that will produce more body heat and more lean body mass with less body fat than any other method.

Of the starches, those highest in amylose content and resistant starch – such as legumes, red potatoes, corn, and intact whole grains like Basmati rice (vs. those ground into flour as in bread/pasta) – particularly those that have been cooked and then chilled which forms a type of metabolically-stimulating resistant starch known as RS3, are ideal. A version of RRARF where these types of starchy foods are maximized and other foods more or less minimized in comparison is probably the most efficient route to take.

The reasons why that is goes far beyond a larger increase in lean body mass in comparison to fat gains, but incorporates positive changes in the microbial environment of the gut, intestinal production of the most metabolically-stimulating and insulin-sensitizing fatty acids known (such as butyric and propionic acids), and perhaps most-importantly – pronounced appetite inhibition with an increase in metabolism, meaning that weight gain is minimal or weight is even lost eating to appetite while metabolism simultaneously rises (the Holy Grail of health and weight loss).

This is just the tip of the iceberg on the potential benefits of a high-starch diet, particularly one that maximizes amylose and resistant starch-rich carbohydrates. I have tentative plans of elaborating on this topic in exhaustive detail in a future eBook, entitled something like 180 Degree Carbohydrate. Actually, that’s a pretty weak title for such an important topic. I’ll come up with something better hopefully.

Also see 180 Kitchen for a great recipe and meal plan that incorporates resistant starch on a program with a higher ratio of starch to fat.

Further reading:


  1. getting the fat grams down is a bit harder during the overfeeding phase. should I still be cautious of the fat grams or just let it go during overfeeding, I'm afraid I'm feeling squishier every day.

  2. As you know, I'm not a gram counter, but for those that are prone to gain body fat eating to appetite of starch and fat all mixed together, I don't think there's any doubt that reducing fat to a point where you are not gaining fat is an option that can still provide big improvements.

    To make starches more palatable, I recommend mixing several together at a meal (such as beans, rice, and corn – or potatoes and rice), using some chicken stock, and using seasonings like salsa and perhaps some soy sauce for rice-based dishes. Vegetables like onions and bell peppers go a long way in making the food taste better as well.

  3. Okay, this is going to make me sound like a total simpleton.

    But BASICALLY what your telling me is:

    180 = Starch > Fat

    am I right?

  4. And protein, eat to desire? Does this still work if we just eat to appetite and don't force feed? I'm thinking of eating as much meat (mostly lean but there is some fat in 85% ground beef) and starch as I want, a little bit of fruit for a treat, and a little added fat when desired. Sound good?

  5. Q-

    I think ya gots it! To what extent people take the starch > fat thing depends upon them, their preferences, how scared they are of weight gain, etc.


    Sounds good, especially for leaning out. For overfeeding, I really don't think much meat/fish/dairy is needed at all. 1 portion per day is more than enough while eating beyond appetite. I'm actually prefering far less. I feel best when I wait until I really crave animal protein to eat it – which usually ends up being once every 3-4 days.

    • Just found your site. Would love to be pointed to more in terms of research basis and also research on results. At any rate, this particular post I just found, about increasing starch intake over fat intake, but esp increasing resistant starch sounds like you are drifting towards Fuhrman rather than McDougall! If I want the most comprehensive and in depth understanding, which of your paper books is the one to get? I much prefer to eBooks and don’t do Kindle…

      Thank you

  6. Thanks Matt. Good YouTube video too. Do you really think I should use Red Potatoes over Yukon Golds?

  7. I'm still glad I did the old school overfeed even though I gained fat. I think it was very sustainable, which I'm not sure I would have found that with the current low fat, high starch program because I had been low fat dieting for so long. I had actually worked up an intolerance to fat. I would get sick if ate more than a tablespoon or two of butter. Now I can pretty much eat unlimited sat fat and be fine. I still am sensitive to veggie oils which is added insensitive to avoid them. No matter how good that fried chicken tastes it's not worth feeling horrible for the rest of the day.

    Another advantage of the old style HED was that you didn't really worry to much about ratios or anything. I just ate real food in whatever combination to appetite. It really healed my effed up relationship with food. Reading the Gabriel method helped as well. I used to be so paranoid about fat and carbs from dieting for so long that I really need it, the Fuck Diets attitude.

    I plan on doing the starch-based RRARF for a week to see if I make some further temperature gains. Since my temps have sort of reset back down at pre milk fast levels. (Kind of a bummer, but I still think the milk fast has value and I will plan on doing it once a year).

  8. So then from there, more starch = more weight gain?

    Just double checking, thanks.

  9. Oh and my last question, you may have touched on this already but I haven't found it.

    What would be a typical meal for you on this diet?

  10. Matt,
    Great video! Although I do not know if I would give Mills the win.

    I think is merely suggesting eating a variety of potatoes from time to time. Each type is very unique in flavor and texture.

    In a lot of old text books I have read through from the 1700-1900's, animal foods and meats were often called "flesh building" foods. I have found the same to be true.
    If I eat the same constant amount of meat day to day but increase my starch, I maintain weight. It is only when I increase protein animal foods that I gain any significant weight.

  11. Riles, I'm assuming that by "gain any significant weight" you're talking about muscle gain and not fat gain?

  12. Matt,
    Did you see that Scott Abel answered your question on the starch overfeeding? Everyone here that is interested in getting lean and or gaining muscle should read this blog post.

    If you guys are interested in reading the post and Matt's question you can see it here:


  13. Matt,
    I have seen that video several times. It made me a fan of Mcdougall, he was definitely the winner. The other guys just seemed like ideologues.

  14. Mark-

    I eat several varieties of potatoes. I've got yukons and red potatoes in mi casa right now. I think by "red" potatoes the emphasis is "not russet" potatoes. I would imagine yukons and reds to be more similar than different. Yukons have more carotenes too. Bonus.


    You've got it backwards. The higher the starch to fat ratio, the greater the muscle gain to fat gain if weight is gained eating to appetite (for those coming off the SAD, weight loss is more likely).

    A typical meal might be 1 pound of roasted potatoes sprinkled with a little cheese, and a plate of rice and beans with lots of salsa.


    Excellent input. I agree completely. However, many people gain 20-30 pounds, and many people don't try RRARF specifically because they fear weight gain. This also keeps RRARF in the realm of "fringe wacko health movements" along with Vonderplanitz. I intend it to be much more.

    I felt obligated to point out that there are ways of avoiding fat gain. But it is an addendum that comes after the references in the book. The book itself still touts "high-everything" with a little snippet at the end saying that, for keeping fat gain minimal, you might go starch heavy.

    So I think that's a happy medium.

  15. JT which post?

  16. Riles-

    Mills got a score in the negatives. He was the clear loser, not the winner. McDougall pretty much rocked his crotch when he asked him if he'd been to Peru.

  17. Yes, Mark. I am talking muscle gains. I am finding the longer I eat high starch, the more effort I have to put into eating to gain.

  18. Oops, I guess I over looked the negative symbol. I was thinking I might have to do something to set you straight lol

  19. Yeah, I would have needed some serious bitch-slapping if I had declared Mills the winner.

    There, I changed it so it's more obvious that he scored into the negatives.

  20. Matt, as I come from a lower-carb Paleo approach I'm expecting the sleepy post meal blood sugar crash from insulin mis-management. How long do you think it will take before my insulin resistance gets better? I don't want to avoid carbs as you say, just fix my body so I can thrive on them. Thanks

  21. Matt,
    You are saying that increasing heat production is one of the beneficial effects of a high starch diet. But you are again ignoring the fact that sucrose/fructose increases heat prodcution to a higher degree than pure glucose. Last time you said that fructose is dangerous because it increases energy production so much without providing adequate nutrients. This if of course not true. Because fruits contain a lot of them.
    And now you are saying that the more heat prodcution the better the diet. That doesn't sound convincing to me.

    Especially for obese subjects a high starch diet can be dangerous because they can't handle the glucose any more. Also, a lot of people have problems with resistant starch. Most of the tribes that eat a high starch diet cook their tubers very long and ferment their starches because they know that resitant starch can impair the ingestion of nutrients.

    Am J Clin Nutr 1993 Nov;58(5 Suppl):766S-770S. Fructose and dietary thermogenesis. Tappy L, Jequier E. Institute of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Switzer-land. Ingestion of nutrients increases energy expenditure above basal metabolic rate. Thermogenesis of carbohydrate comprises two distinct components: an obligatory component, which corresponds to the energy cost of carbohydrate absorption, processing, and storage; and a facultative component, which appears to be related with a carbohydrate-induced stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, and can be inhibited by beta-adrenergic antagonists. Fructose ingestion induces a greater thermogenesis than does glucose. This can be explained by the hydrolysis of 3.5-4.5 mol ATP/mol fructose stored as glycogen, vs 2.5 mol ATP/mol glucose stored. Therefore the large ther-mogenesis of fructose corresponds essentially to an in-crease in obligatory thermogenesis. Obese individuals and obese patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus commonly have a decrease in glucose-induced thermogene-sis. These individuals in contrast display a normal ther-mogenesis after ingestion of fructose. This may be ex-plained by the fact that the initial hepatic fructose metabo-lism is independent of insulin. This observation indicates that insulin resistance is likely to play an important role in the decreased glucose-induced thermogenesis of these individuals.

    Minerva Endocrinol 1990 Oct-Dec;15(4):273-7. [Postprandial thermogenesis and obesity: effects of glucose and fructose]. [Article in Italian] Macor C, De Palo C, Vettor R, Sicolo N, De Palo E, Federspil G. Cattedra di Patologia Medica III, Universita di Padova. In order to check whether reduced postprandial thermogenesis, as found in obese subjects depends on insulin resistance, the study tested whether the thermogenetic response to glucose in a group of obese subjects and a group of normal weight subjects differed from that obtained using an insulin-independent monosaccharide such as fructose. Nine obese subjects and 6 control subjects were included in the study. An oral glucose tolerance and fructose tolerance test (75 g) was performed in all subjects on different days. Energy expenditure was calculated both in basal conditions and during the test (resting metabolic rate: RMR) using indirect calorimetry expressed per kg of lean weight, as assessed using bioimpedance measurement techniques. Blood samples were collected to assay glycemia and insulinemia. Results show that increased RMR induced by glucose was significantly reduced in the group of obese subjects compared to controls. In the same group of obese subjects, RMR was found to be significantly higher following fructose in comparison to the glucose response but did not differ from that in controls. Data confirm the existence of reduced thermogenesis in obese subjects induced by glucose. The fact that this phenomenon was not recorded in the same subjects following the fructose tolerance test, whose metabolism is insulin-independent, supports the hypothesis that reduced glucose-induced thermogenesis in obese subjects may depend on insulin resistance.

  22. Wow, has this blog drifted from the FUMP days. Maybe you need to rename it 360 degree health ;-)

    So, is the food pyramid OK after all? Maybe you need to dig up Robert Haas' "Eat to Win." What you are saying about nutrient partitioning, etc. sounds awful familiar…

  23. I have to side with Jenny here. I don't have a problem with a starch heavy RRARF if someone is comfortable doing that and feel it works for them. But boy I needed the fat during the first part of my own healing. I needed the butter and the cream. I had been eating the freakin fat-free spreads and I needed the real stuff bad. I noticed the most healing during the first couple of months after I introduced the butter, the coconut oil and the whole milk. Of course, looking back, I probably could have practiced some moderation after the first several months and retained most of the healing. Instead I decided to go the opposite direction and started low-carbing it. *Smacks forehead*

    But I digress. I still think fats are healing foods, and should be included in whatever amount an individual feels contributes to their health.

  24. Hey Matt, I know what you are saying. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have been afraid of the 180 because of fat gain. I can see why you don't want to be seen as extreme or "dangerous" because you want to help lots of people.

    I trust that you will not change your Crackpot (I mean that in the nicest way possible) ways, though and that this community will continue to have a cultlike feel to it.


  25. Never thought I'd cheer for McDougall, but after that take down of Mills, I got out the pom-poms.

  26. Hey Riles,
    In your muscle gains, do you find that you need to eat a lot of protein (Martin Berkhan style) with your starch or do you fall more inline with Matt and only having some here and there?

  27. Yes Carl, 360 degree health would be appropriate.


    It took me about 1 week to overcome sleepy, tired feeling. Going really high in starch made me really sleepy in the morning for a while, but that was it.


    We are talking specifically about overfeeding. When overfeeding on fructose/sucrose/glucose – the excess is converted to fat, which causes less thermogenesis and more fat gain. It's quite simple.

    And my own experience refutes this handily, although I think the cause for massive hunger increase and body temperature decrease when I consume fruit as part of a mixed diet stems from flavor-calorie-association induced rise in weight set point.


    Yes, fat is very healing for someone coming off a prolonged low-fat, low-calorie restricted diet. But a very large portion of people trying RRARF are former low-carbers, and they stand to get more healing from high-carb intake.

    Either way, if you are coming from low-fat/low-calorie damage or low-carb damage and you eat lots of both together to appetite, you'll see a rise in body fat almost guaranteed. Not to say that this isn't healing. It is. It's awesome. But only people coming off of doughnuts and Pepsi lose weight eating to appetite when switching to a high everything whole foods diet.

    I hope to explain this in the next blog post as it pertains to the flavor-calorie theory, which many misunderstood to think that food should be eaten unseasoned, plain, or bland which wasn't the point AT ALL. The opposite in fact, as variation in flavor and seasoning PREVENTS strong flavor-calorie associations.

  28. Sounds good Matt. I don't think I will end up eating as much starch as you but I like the idea of eating jasmine and basmati rice (my favorites), all kinds of potatoes, corn, multi-colored veggies, hummus, meats, some fruit and some fat (butter, avocado, sour cream primarily). A couple spoonfuls of ice cream will probably sneak in there as well, either that or chocolate milk but I usually just have that after a workout.
    Also, I'm really curious to see if after a couple of weeks I can eat some bread and not have stomach pains, that would be nice.

  29. JT, I think Abel responds in his forums, which most won't have access too.

    Could you post his response here?

  30. Matt said:

    But only people coming off of doughnuts and Pepsi lose weight eating to appetite when switching to a high everything whole foods diet.


    Nope, not me! I came from SCD. Too much honey, too many nuts, but whole foods. And had been eating regular whole foods diet for years before that. I lost 15 pounds when I went gluten-free, and probably another 5 or so on HED. Not overweight now.

    Is the motivation behind limiting fats and eating more starch only about not gaining weight? I agree that the prospect of getting fatter turns people off — I gather Schwarzbein has the same uphill battle.

    But IME the fat has been incredibly healing. It made giving up sugar pretty easy. I had been eating good fats before, not avoiding them, but not embracing them the way I did on HED, and still do. I've started eating fruit again (just for the summer) and I have to say that a big bowl of peaches swimming in cream can make me smile for about a week.

    Not sure I'll ever understand why I haven't gained weight eating this way. My metabolism is far from healed, I'm not exercising at all and spend a lot of time in bed. It feels like my body is so happy with a lot of fat (mostly dairy) so I'm sticking with it until it stops working for me. Happy to make sure I eat even more potatoes though. :)

  31. Nell-

    That's cool. But then again, honey and tons of nuts is about as close to SAD as someone can get on an unrefined foods diet (high-sugar/high-PUFA – just like a typical American diet).

    The starch-heavy provision is also about getting better temperature gains with fewer calories, which I can attest to.

  32. @Matt: Yeah, I had my share of fat gain. I still say it's worth it, but I understand if someone else isn't wanting to go through that. And I will say, the latter half of my healing journey came when I started eating more carbs. I definitely feel wherever the imbalance has been is where you'll want to focus on correcting it.

    I read a lot of Seth Robert's stuff after you brought it up here. It's not at all about bland food, especially not all bland food all the time. In fact, that really is just about opposite of what he's talking about. I liked your summary of it and look forward to hear more about your views on the flavor-calorie theory. I've been putting into practice a few of Roberts' suggestions and I gotta say it seems to be helping. Weird, but true.

  33. undertow,

    Registering at Abel's forum (http://forums.scottabel.com) is pretty easy, it takes about three minutes.

    Once you are registered, go to this url: http://forums.scottabel.com/showthread.php?t=3698&highlight=starch+overfeeding, to read Abel's thoughts on the subject.

    (Frankly I wasn't too impressed, and I say that as someone who generally appreciates Scott's work. He did, however, have some interesting things to say about science that I agree with, based on my experience.)

  34. Starch is comfort food!!! yay!

    I like McDougall in the video a lot. He's cool! He can be on my team! (Except he should be nicer to the other guy who also liked potatoes, big or small potatoes who cares, just count them in. they're on our team, don't fight eachother!!! lol.).

    I only wish I had seen this video back in 2006, that would likely have spared me much suffering…..

    Great update to the RRARF program. I'll adjust a bit, but I'll never do low anything again, I'll just eat the food now, anything that I can remotely digest that is…

  35. Hi Matt,
    table 3 in the study you mentioned ( http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/62/1/19 ) is interesting.
    Lean subjects started with fasting insulin levels of 132 pmol/L before CHO overfeeding. After two weeks their fasting glucose was nearly unchanged, but fasting insulin rose to 207 pmol/L – that's an increase of 57%. Thus this study doesn't support the notion that CHO overfeeding enhances insulin sensitivity, it actually showed the opposite.

    Another intersting fact: the level of fasting insulin before FAT overfeeding was 228 pmol/L (!!!) – I guess the wash-out period was too short and some subjects were still insulin resistant from the former CHO intervention. After two weeks of living on additional cream their insulin levels dropped beyond normal (108 pmol/L) while their fasting glucose slightly rose. Exactly what you would expect when your metabolism runs on fat.

  36. Braesikalla-

    But you can definitely see that there are many contradictions to what various idealogies suggest.

    For example, those overfed fat had lower insulin levels and more body fat increase. Low-carbers suggest that insulin makes people fat and that lowering it makes you thin. In this case, insulin made them have more fat and less muscle whereas the carbs gave them more muscle and less fat. That and they had higher blood sugars.

    Also note that the study you're referring to is the one where they used "carbohydrate" and not specifically starch – and by the end the differences were less marked.

    Starch overfeeding doesn't have the same result. Excess starch does not become fat. Excess simple sugar becomes fat, and doesn't improve insulin sensitivity. The opposite actually. There's no doubt that overfeeding on high-fat/high-sugar is totally different than low-fat/low-sugar. Night and day.

    That's why a low-fat diet based on Pepsi and Snack Wells cannot be equated with programs like McDougall's or a starch-based RRARF.

    But in real life, what happens is that insulin levels go up if people are really overfeeding hard, but in the absence of fat any weight gained is almost pure muscle.

    But most spontaneously eat fewer calories, have a drop in insulin, lose fat.

  37. Braesikalla,

    " I guess the wash-out period was too short and some subjects were still insulin resistant from the former CHO intervention."

    Are you saying that two weeks of "CHO intervention" made them insulin resistant? Just curious.

  38. Elizabeth-

    The meat of the theory is that whatever triggers a big hit in the pleasure centers of the brain (probably working almost exclusively through dopamine) is what forms the greatest pro-fattening reponse. But the association and addictivenss of a certain, particular food depends upon flavor consistency as well. Thus, foods that evoke a big dopamine response with ditto flavor are the most problematic and likely to short-circuit the natural mechanisms that keep weight constant.

    Ironically, you'd probably want to keep dopamine receptor sites from upregulating by eating foods that cause a huge pleasure response from time to time, which fits into Joel Marion's Cheat dieting framework really well.

  39. @Matt: So like a flavor refeed? LOL Actually that's close to what I'm doing. On my big refeed day once a week, I definitely take advantage of those dopamine receptor sites (can you say cheesecake?) :D

  40. After watching the video again, I really noticed how similar the delusions of Fuhrman and Mill's are to the paleo guys. They spend their time fantasizing about what the original human diet is instead of looking at what works now.

    My favorite part in the video is when McDougall said that there is a good reason all of the cultures that successfully ate a plant based diet, ate a diet based on starches. If they didn't, then they would have become too weak and frail, and their neighbors would have come and conquered them and raped their women. This should be the litmus test for any diet.

    The paleo guys need to take this seriously as they eat a "paleo" diet that strips the muscle off their bodies. Do they really think that if Grok ate their paleo diet he would have been able to defend himself and his women from the local farm boys who are all bulked up on starches?

  41. JT: You are so right. This ties into the comment last week that Riles quoted about the paleo crowd being certain that all farmers were sick and suffering from disease. Starch eating farm boys would kick paleo butt, I'm sure. Why do you think people bothered with agriculture to begin with? (Some say it was to stay in one place long enough to brew beer, but that seems like an anthropologist who spent too much time in the pub came up with that.)

  42. Great points JT and Jenny,
    Agriculture came about so that there was a dependable and storable source of food so that we wouldn't have to face famines and allow us to live long and healthy lives.
    Plants fruits vegetables and grains are on this plant for us to select the characteristics that are favorable and grow them for future needs. The problem that is faced now is that characteristics are selected for the wrong reasons now like (uniformity, no concern for nutrient content)

  43. Yeah, but Paleo folks believe than the famines were a crucial part of our ancestor's past. Hence intermittent fasting. We're *supposed* to be starving. ;)

  44. Hey guys, did anyone get distracted by the guy next to McDougall with a bad case of 'crazy eyes'?

    Matt: I think you are spot on with this.. ah the aroma of my purple potato just wafted in… makes so much more sense to me than fat loading the diet or even protein loading.. both just send me to the big girl pants.. meaning fat gain almost right away.

    Thanks for always keeping us on our dietary toes around here,

  45. Hi Matt,
    Read your e-book, and I agree with much of it based on my own experience. However, I got confused because recently you linked to the LeanGains blog which advocates Intermittent fasting, with an 8 hour feeding window, and periodic refeeds. Where do you stand on that now, compared to you advice in the E-book to eat 3 meals per day to satiety?

  46. @ all the Paleo comments
    I'm not a Paleo purist but I do like to clear the definition of what is "Paleo". When I say Paleo, I am referring to Robb Wolf, Crossfit Football, and Mathieu Lalonde. There collective view is to eat the following: Meat, fowl, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, roots, tubers, bulbs, animal fats, olives and olive oil, avocados, coconut, herbs and spices. Limit nuts/seeds (o-6 linolaic acid and other stuff) and fruit (fructose). The better nut choices are macadamias and cashews. Berries are the preferred fruit choice.
    Everything else is pretty much on the avoid list. So yes rice and corn are on there but that is debatable. They readily admit that wheat is their number one enemy because of gluten. Dairy is handled on a case by case basis. Butter, ghee and heavy cream are usually fine. The same with cheese and yogurts. Milk is very individual to individual. Most are Leary of the growth promoting properties of it but it's not in the same camp as gluten, excessive fructose/o-6.

    I only bring this up because I don't want Paleo to be painted as something that it's not. Robb an Mat have said many times that they're carb agnostic. They only care about eating foods that won't harm the body. Yes, gluten may not hurt everyone but through their research they believe that is could help most to pull it out. Just as everyone here is progressive in their thinking, so are the good Paleo thinkers. Mat doesn't even describe his approach as Paleo, probably for the common associations people make.

    Please offer up any questions, I have been to multiple seminars by Mat and Robb. When looked at through this lense, I don't see how it is that controversial.

  47. Mark-

    Good points, and there are certainly very reasonable Paleo people out there. It's the belief that we will have our best health if we mimic what was done thousands of years ago that is disturbingly flawed. Agriculture, and lack of famine are huge health advantages, not disadvantages.


    Actually I thought you'd be more impressed with Furhman – as he did argue from the standpoint of what is required to make an ill person well. His basic assertion was that starch-based diet that aren't that nutrient dense are fine for someone in great health, but pointed out that more aggressive strategies are needed for highly obese, or diabetic, or otherwise ill persons.

    This, I believe, is a valid point – and one that brought great sophistication to my own nutritional beliefs when I first came across that concept 4 years ago instead of trying to mimic some kind of "tribe" somewhere.


    I think there is more power to this practice than most realize. If you just avoid those high pleasure foods, your body can still resist weight loss, and you end up doing kind of an exercise in tail-chasing as your dopamine receptors open up and highly-pleasureful food just becomes that much more fattening.

    Like anything, if you could avoid dopamine receptor upregulation by spiking the crap out of dopamine on occasion, you might fare better long-term.


    Thanks. Love ya.

    Anonymous about Berkhan-

    I recognize any and all types of nutritional medicine – and many various strategies to achieve desired results. RRARF is really a program specifically for bringing body temperature up, improving digestion, and clearing up some minor health problems.

    But achieving weight loss, for those who don't just magically get lean eating whatever unprocessed foods they want to appetite, may require very specific methods and strategies that help people lose the weight without a negative adaptation from the body.

    Since the human body is more or less programmed to resist weight loss, some tricks are often necessary for real success – especially if you hope to have any kind of dietary freedom whatsoever once you've gotten lean.

    In that regard, Berkhan's program has some important things to offer.

  48. Haha, that one dude DID have crazy eyes. And what a contributor, eh?

    However, I found it actually pretty hard to gain fat on a hypercaloric high fat diet with moderate protein and lowish carbs (in fact I became somewhat leaner on it). It was also delicious and I looked forward to every meal.

    That, and my energy was always pretty stable.
    That said, my high intensity exercise/endurance is MUCH better on high carb, and it totally boosted metabolic function (faster digestion, less water retention in the face, ostensibly bigger muscles from restored glycogen levels).

    I truly believe both are ok and have their place, as long as micro-nutrition is adequate. The difference is, it's just plain dumb to take on a heavy physical workload on the low carb route.

    High fat high starch? (High fat high sugar even worse) Totally a recipe for fat gain if hypercaloric. Makes it certain that you maintain chronically elevated blood sugar. And, because you still will be predominantly glucose burning from the high carb, dietary fat will have a fast track to your fat stores.

    Sure, glycogen is synthesized more efficiently when there is glucose AND fructose, but what is the point of knowing that? One will still have plenty of glycogen while overfeeding on a high starch diet, and without excess fructose from the liver (after the liver converts fructose to liver glycogen) becoming triglycerides, i.e. body fat.
    - josh

  49. Paleo/Primal did not work for me even though I followed all the prescribed rules. Grass-fed everything, Organic veggies, plenty of good fats, roots and tubers, wild salmon, etc. I felt weak most of the time and eventually insomnia got the better of me. Food allergies also seemed to worsen. Hives, insomnia, weakness . . . give me a damn potato already! Now I can sleep having eaten legumes, starches, grains. I have more energy and fell like my normal self again. Goodbye Grok(RIP)! I agree that the rise of agriculture has created oppressive hierarchies and devastated topsoil and left plenty of environmental destruction in its wake, but at this point, sleep trumps ideology. Sorry Lierre.

  50. Yes Potatoes spelled backwards, ideology is NOT the place where you decide what to eat. Or as I like to say, "keep your morals away from your mouth, son." No sleep for me on low-carb, or even moderate carb up to about 200 grams per day. Then I can sleep. Lierre is a retard – who destroyed herself trying to eat in a morally conscious way and then learned absolutely nothing, as she is still trying to decide what to eat based on some dutiful sense of morality. I can't think of anything that has caused humanity more pain and suffering than ideology.


    You had me totally sold on your comment, which was almost perfect, until you said "high-fat and high starch = chronically high blood sugars."

    The lowest my blood sugar has ever been was overfeeding on a high-starch/high-fat diet, while basically doing pure RRARF old-school style. Fasting below 70 mg/dl, and postprandial after 100 grams carb as starch always less than 80 mg/dl.

  51. Matt:

    "The lowest my blood sugar has ever been was overfeeding on a high-starch/high-fat diet, while basically doing pure RRARF old-school style. Fasting below 70 mg/dl, and postprandial after 100 grams carb as starch always less than 80 mg/dl."

    Do you have any idea what your protein intake levels were at? Would the lowered amount of glucagon due to low protein keep blood sugar lowered as well?

  52. Matt,
    I agree with you on Lierre. I was excited to read the Vegetarian Myth, but it was so bad I could hardly read it. Every point she made had to be justified by trying to relate it to some feminist ideology even though it made no sense at all. It is a shame because it could have been a good book. Maybe you should re-write it and change the title to the Paleo Myth!

  53. Matt, those 2 studies you show are very poor for the topic at hand. First, in the sugar vs starch one, it is pure glucose vs starch, not sucrose vs starch. Second, in the fat vs starch one, it is not specified what kind of fat is consumed, which makes the study mean nothing. Common, I thought you proof-read those things!

    Besides, I read the studies you showed me last time, and they were good; though, as you said, higher triglycerides and not necessarily linked to disease. Remember the Kitavans.

  54. Oh, BTW, in this study: http://www.pslgroup.com/dg/1FCCCE.htm Which "shows" (although the data is not there, sadly) a high sugar diet as a cause for high triglycerides, 40 percent of carbs are sugar IN the low sugar diet?????

  55. Soetop (very clever name, by the way) said,

    "I agree that the rise of agriculture has created oppressive hierarchies and devastated topsoil and left plenty of environmental destruction in its wake, but at this point, sleep trumps ideology. Sorry Lierre."

    The sad thing is that agriculture does not have to result in any of those things. The consequences of agriculture that we see today are more of a consequence of a combination of cultural, political and economic systems than the inherent nature of animal husbandry and plant growing per se.

    For instance, Joel Salatin (PolyFace Farm) seems to have figured out the art and science of maximizing output while simultaneously improving the ecosystem. At least for his geographic location, anyway. Done properly, there is no conflict between agriculture and the environment.

  56. Ha Ha, I meant " Seotatop." Don't know how I ended up typing "Soetop." Duh!

  57. McDougall looks identical to Richard Dawkins.

  58. "I can't think of anything that has caused humanity more pain and suffering than ideology."

    Ideology "causes" nothing because it does nothing –"ideology" is a noun. It is the dogmatic ideologues who cause the trouble.

    There is nothing wrong with having an "ideology" as such. An ideology is nothing more than "a systematic body of concepts about human life or culture." Almost everybody, in some manner or another, adheres to some sort of ideology; otherwise they have no way of making any sense of the day to day interactions with their fellow man or the society in which they live. Ironically, people who disavow ideology also have an ideology. The very act of declaring there should be no ideologies or that ideology causes nothing but trouble is an act of declaring a systematic concept about human life and is therefore itself an ideology.

  59. Matt,
    This flavor-calorie-association thing sounds pretty fancy but I wouldn't set much store by it. There might be something to it but I doubt that is as important as you think it is.
    Fruit doesn't taste good to us because it as an invention of the devil to seduce us but because our body wants it. Starch is okay. But nobody voluntarily eats plain potatos for more than a few days.

    Where is the evidence that overfeeding on sucrose leads to fat gain? It's quite the opposite. Fruits help to maintain healthy body weight while providing extra calories.
    If sucrose/fructose enhances heat production and increases postprandial as well as overall energy expenditure than why should it result in fat gain?

  60. Since we are getting into definitions and ideology now. Can I ask if I am the only (neurotically PC) woman here to object to 'bitch-slapping'?

  61. @Jannis: The flavor-calorie association is not about eating plain potatoes and avoiding fruit. It's about the body associating a particular flavor with calorie density. Neither fruit nor potatoes are calorie dense.

  62. Jannis-

    Overfeeding on ANYTHING if there is fat present leads to fat gain – at least for a while.

    With sucrose, there is more fat present because with sucrose there is more de novo lipogenesis than there is with starch overfeeding.

    Fat overfeeding causes the most fat gain and the least thermogenesis.

    Fruit is only an invention of the devil if you read the Bible lol! Although, Genesis is quite prophetic, as the forbidden fruit grows on the tree with the knowledge of good and evil. I think Adam and Eve were even keel until they tried some fruit, which sent them on an emotional roller coaster starting with the high (good) and the emotional meltdown later (evil).

    I'm joking. But on a high-fruit diet I certainly experience a lot of good and evil on the dopamine roller coaster. It's gotten a lot better though thank God.


    Thank you for clearing that up. Essentially, the brain releases dopamine in proportion to calorie density. The more palatable the flavor to go with it, the greater the assocation with that calorie density. The more repetitions of that, the greater the association.

    It's this mechanism that guided humans to eat bone marrow instead of the muscle meat, to eat starches instead of leaves, and to eat fruits instead of grass.

    But modern food processing has exploited this natural human system by creating foods that are absorbed more quickly, are more calorie dense, and have more flavor intensity and repetition of identical flavors than was to be found in a "natural" environment.

    I fully believe that in the modern era the pleasure centers in our brains that led us to foods insuring survival have now caused addictions in some people that override their natural energy regulation feedback mechanisms.

    A person's susceptibility to addiction is determined primarily by how much dopamine they produce and therefore how open the dopamine receptor sites are. The more open receptors, the greater the buzz when dopamine levels are icnreased by drugs, alcohol, playing video games, Pepsi, ice cream, chocolate, or what have you.

  63. Matt, what's wrong with russett potatoes?

  64. Sydney-

    Sorry, I'm offensive at times I know. I use the term in a purely "suburban white boy comedically infatuated with the image of pimp with big hat and heels and cane with 8-ball on it" kind of way. My knowledge of pimps and hoes stems entirely from watching too much television in my youth, and getting my hands on a dubbed copy of NWA from an 8th grader (when I was in 6th grade).

    Oh and Riles-

    My protein intake was pretty high. I was eating a good 4-6 ounce portion of meat, fish, or dairy of some kind at every meal. If I had to guess on overall breakdown during that overfeeding phase I was guess my per day intakes were:

    150 grams protein (600 calories)
    200 grams fat (1800 calories)
    300 grams starchy carbs (1200 calories)

    Techinically that "high-everything" was still pretty low carb (call it 30-40% carbs)

    Now, 7-day averages, not overfeeding, I'm probably at:

    100 grams protein
    70 grams fat
    400 grams carbohydrate

    Need to do some glucose testing soon, but I haven't been having that +100 mg/dl blood glucose feeling after meals.

  65. Nothing is wrong with Russet potatoes. I don't typically like them as much, but I go through phases where I do like them.

  66. I don't know Matt, I think maybe you're selling old-style HED short. I've got 4 friends doing it, more or less — not so much with the overfeeding but way low sugar, easy on the fruit, plenty of starch and dairy/coconut fat. One has gained weight, two stayed the same, and two have lost. All but one say it's great to be able to eat all they want, even all the cheese and butter and cream and coco-fries they want, and not gain weight but have great skin, mood, etc.

    These are all women, late 30s to early 50s. One had a workup at the doctor's and the doc wanted to know what was going on because all her numbers came back looking so good (CBC, metabolic panel). All were eating mostly whole foods but too much sugar and wine. I haven't convinced anyone to give up coffee. lol

    So maybe you've moved on but you've got some big fans of HED still around.

    I can eat all the butter, cream, and coconut oil I can stuff down, on potatoes, rice, anything, not limiting carbs — and not gain weight. But if I eat ANY sugar, it's an instant five pounds, straight to the belly. I think the same would be true for gluten in my case.

    Anyway. My point is just that I'm not sure everyone's metabolism ever gets to the exact same point, and it may be that the right macronutrient ratio for one may not be the right ratio for another.

  67. Thanks Nell.

    That is an epic comment really, and I agree with you in some regard. That's why I wasn't quick to jump in and make any changes to the ebook but just add a little snippet at the end.

    Macronutrient ratios are highly variable and do depend on where a person is coming from. Depending on whatever imbalance a person has, anything from low-carb to super high-carb can have therapeutic value.

    I too can eat whatever the hell I want from the starch, fat, protein, and vegetable category without gaining an ounce. In fact, doing that, without any exercise, tends to make me lose fat, not gain it.

    And I too instantly gain weight and have an increase in hunger and drop in body temperature when sugar is thrown in the mix.

    I guess I should do an experiment with drinking diet sodas with the HED to see if it's the fructose that causes weight gain or the flavor-calorie association of sweetness combined with a big calorie load.

  68. That sucrose causes fat gain via de novo lipogenesis is a myth without any scientific basis.
    Sucrose helps your liver to make cholesterol if needed – that is right. But that is a good thing. Cholesterol is used to build all the protective steroids. If your cholesterol levels are good sugar won't increase them. It also helps the liver to make T3. Besides it "activates" a gene that will increase heat prodcution. Those are the reasons sugar helps to maintain a high metabolic rate.

    Diabetes Metab. 2005 Apr;31(2):178-88.
    Consumption of carbohydrate solutions enhances energy intake without increased body weight and impaired insulin action in rat skeletal muscles.
    Ruzzin J, Lai YC, Jensen J. Department of Physiology, National Institute of Occupational Health, P.O.Box 8149
    Dep., N-0033, Oslo, Norway.
    OBJECTIVES: In the present study, we investigated whether replacement of tap water by fructose or sucrose solutions affect rat body weight and insulin action in skeletal muscles. METHODS: Rats were fed standard rodent chow ad libitum with water, or water containing fructose (10.5% or 35%) or sucrose (10.5% or 35%) for 11 weeks. Body weight and energy intake from chow and drinking solutions were measured. Urinary catecholamines secretion was determined after 50-60 days. At the end of the feeding period, soleus and epitrochlearis were removed for in vitro measurements of glucose uptake (with tracer amount of 2-[3H]-deoxy-D-glucose) and PKB Ser473 phosphorylation (assessed by Western Blot)
    with or without insulin. RESULTS: Fructose and sucrose solutions enhanced daily energy intake by about 15% without increasing rat body weight. Secretion of urinary noradrenaline was higher in rats drinking a 35% sucrose solution than in rats drinking water. In the other groups, urinary noradrenaline secretion was similar to rats consuming water. Urinary adrenaline secretion was similar in all groups. Insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and insulin-stimulated PKB phosphorylation were not reduced by intake of fructose or sucrose solution.
    CONCLUSIONS: Fructose and sucrose solutions enhanced energy intake but did not increase body weight. Although noradrenaline may regulate body weight in rats drinking 35% sucrose solution, body weight seems to be regulated by other mechanisms. Intake of fructose or sucrose solution did not impair insulin-stimulated glucose uptake or signaling in skeletal muscles.

  69. so, this is what i'm taking away:
    starches are steroids, humans cultivated them for war/survival. it was like an arms race – whoever had the most starch stocks (among other technology) was stronger, more aggressive, more stamina, etc.

    this is what Ori says in warrior diet, too. but he also says the soldiers ate the grain raw.

    starch and red meat would then be the "optimal" diet for this hard working war society, with some fruit or honey for super-quick energy, and intermittent fasting to toughen the system and psyche.

    i think if i were working hard all day, I.F. would make sense because eating too much increases nausea and lethargy from the body's resource redistribution. eating medium to large meals throughout the day would also deplete time and resources, and people would feel better feasting at night as a reward with the rest of the tribe/family. smaller snack-meals would be eaten throughout the day, enough to keep going but not enough to slow down. (this is like a leangains kind of thing, because fasting would increase all those cortisol-ish feelings making you INTENSE and a better worker.)

    of course, all this only works with healthy hormones, adrenals, immune system… which seems to be why many people have trouble, if this is the weak link.

    does this make sense?

  70. No, not at all.
    It sounds like the perfect way to ruin your metabolism and get hypotyhroidism.

  71. jannis, was your comment to me?
    if so, does that mean most non-american countries that eat this way today (there are few now) have hypothyroidism? does that mean the romans and such also had it?

  72. Jannis-

    Sucrose only appears to significantly raise triglycerides (via de novo lipogenesis) and lead to fat gain during overfeeding. During overfeeding, fat is just as fattening, if not more so. De novo lipogenesis is just a way of dealing with the excess.

    But sucrose in and of itself is not some special, fattening molecule. The problem is rising weight set point, which inevitably leads to a person eating more calories than they burn metabolically.

    That's why I'm drifting away from some "fructose is el diablo" kind of stance, because if fructose were the cause of obesity, then no one doing RRARF would gain fat. But some do – especially chronic dieters.

    Also, saccharin, aspartame, and MSG wouldn't cause fat gain, because they are free of both calories and sucrose/fructose (as well as PUFA). But they do, more so than fructose ingestion and certainly more than vegetable oil.

    Rather, the danger in sucrose consumption lies in its impact on body weight set point in susceptible individuals. But sucrose is just one of many things that can have this impact, and entire foods must be considered – not just some white powder, which, in powdered form in isolation isn't fattening at all.

    Cookies, cake, chocolate, dougnuts, ice cream, soft drinks, and brownies on the other hand are a different story.

  73. Yes Darius,
    I don't know if there are still communities that eat that way. Maybe people in Somalia or Sudan who are starving. Nobody on earth would voluntarily eat that way.
    I think the average Roman citizen was very unhealthy. No animal does intermittent fasting unless it is forced to. Some carnivores like lions do it because their food is very energy dense and they eat huge meals.
    But a mostly plant based diet with small meals and intermittent fasting is definitely the shortest way to the graveyard unless you are a modern human officeworker whose only purpose it is to do the same monotonous work every single day.
    Skeletons from that time suggest that Romans had awful posture, crooked teeth and were on average 1.50m tall.
    A diet that is based on grains with practically no animal foods is probably the most unhealthy diet you can eat.

  74. Matt,
    I don't think it is true that sugar raises the weight set point.
    I have spoken to some people that for some reason switched to a very high fruit (sucrose) diet.
    All of them said the same and made the same experience as I made.
    I think you rather have to be careful not to loose to much weight because your metabolic rate suddenly becomes very high.
    When those people subsituted their starch for sugar they had to eat more and more calories every day in order to maintain their weight.
    That's the way sugar works. It intensifies your metabolism and supports a healthy thyroid system.
    The only thing you need to consider on a high sugar diet is that you need more nutrients then before because your body works faster -as it should be.
    Banana girl is a good example. She is very lean, almost anorexic. I think that if she included some high quality protein and animal fats to her diet she would have an almost ideal diet.
    There is nothing wrong with a high starch diet, especially if tubers are the source. But a diet that focuses more on fruits and combines sugar and starch is preferrable.

  75. "But a diet that focuses more on fruits and combines sugar and starch is preferrable."

    And this is based on what??? Your experience and/or Mr. Superman Ray Peat who likes to use a bunch of rat studies to explain how beneficial sugar is to humans?

  76. Fruits are absolutely loaded with fibre, air and water to go along with the sugars. Stop pushing sucrose.

  77. rosenfeltc,
    No, this is based on scientific studies done with humans. I cited two of them above. Read them before you start bashing. Then you can you bring forth your arguments so that we can have an objective discussion.

    Same is true of potatos, Einstein. In fact they contain more fiber and compared to some fruits even less CH.

  78. I've got the subtle feeling that the discussions here are getting less and less intelligent… Matt, what about my critique to the studies you cited?

  79. Those weren't much of a critique El66k. We're not talking about what kind of fats have what kind of impact. We're talking about people here – the ones that gain body fat eating what you would consider ideal fats or fruit with mixed, high-calorie meals, and what they might consider doing to avoid the fat gain.


    I have never heard of a person eating more fruit with high-fat, high-starch, high-calorie meals to appetite with no exercise having a sudden problem keeping weight on.

    The belief that people are not eating enough fruit, fruit juice, and sucrose I find unbelievable as well. Humans in the U.S. for example are consuming more of those foods than ever before in this country's history. How much more do we have to consume to get the sudden hypermetabolic weight loss impacts? Right now we're well over 1,000 calories per day from those sources, per person. Would 2,000 be better? 2,500?

    The American diet is a perfect example of a diet that is rich in high quality proteins, animal fat, sucrose from fruit, juice, and refined sugar, and starch.

    Do you really believe that 15 grams of extra PUFA in the diet is solely responsible for the entire epidemic? If so, why is it that I can eat a high-PUFA diet and lose weight? How is it that Jon Gabriel lost 200 pounds eating a high-PUFA diet? Why don't studies show that PUFA increases cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease?

  80. ok i have been following along here for about 6 months and having great improvements (until recently) along the way aside from the weight gain. but i am not convinced it is all fat gain. and i agree with jenny and elizabeth even with the weight gain i am glad i did the original hed. i felt great with better sleep, skin, digestion, sex and so much more!

    however in an attempt to lose the weight that i gained and going along with recent discussion here i lowered my fat and upped my carbs (potatoes, rice, corn) and pretty much stopped eating meat cuz i drink raw whole milk with each meal. in the free ebook matt said if you are drinking raw whole milk you don't need to eat meat [anymore protein] and i was worried about consuming too much protein and fat if i ate meat. plus the milk is from grass-fed cows and the only meat i can get is store-bought. no thanks i'll pass!

    my concern is that i have noticed that my hair is starting to fall out again and its dry and doesn't look healthy anymore. i used to get compliments about how shinny and healthy my hair was. and my skin is getting dry again. and other things too like what some people have also said but the hair thing is really bothering me. it falls out a lot! anyone else? anyone know why?

    i remember someone here saying that their body seem to rebel when they went low fat. and i agree with lisa e above who said, "I'll adjust a bit, but I'll never do low anything again, I'll just eat the food now"

    i don't think my body likes low anything either. i want to lose this weight but i don't want to lose my hair either besides the other bad side effects. and i just noticed the transparent teeth thing this morning too! before i read it in a comment here.

    i don't know what to do! please help! anyone else having problems with low fat and high carb? or does anyone know what else it might be?

    i think i better go back to the way i was eating. i would rather be healthy with healthy teeth and hair (which to me are indicators to how healthy you are OR NOT on the inside).

    what do you all think??

  81. Matt,
    do you honestly wanna argue about whether excess PUFA conumption is toxic?

    I have checked some sources on fructose/sugar consumption. And none of them confirms your 1000 calories of sugar a day claim.
    And again…we're mostly not talking about sugar but about corn products and crystallin fructose here. Both have nothing to do with the substance that is in fruits or made from sugar beets.

    Why don't you react to my argument that fruitarians are very lean. The consume 3000 calories in form of bananas or other fruits and have no problems. If sucrose leads to fat gain they must gain some fat from so much fruit even if they eat nothing else.

    It's not my point that 1000 calories of refined sucrose a day are reasonable. But sugar is not the cause of the problem.
    If you consume way more than 3500 calories a day including a toxic amount of PUFA plus a lot of refined wheat you will become fat no matter if you eat starch or sugar.

    If you really doubt that there are studies that show that PUFA lead to all those things and supress immunity I can send you a dozen if you wish.

  82. Ah-ok, Matt, still, however, the studies you cited are just plain wrong for the topic at hand.

    Also, about SAD, it is lower in saturated fats than before for obvious reasons (public health campaigns, change of diet of the animals, less consumption of butter, coconut fat, etc.) (http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional-diets/624-changes-in-standard-american-diet.html) it has negligible omega 3, so 15 grams of O6 count even more, is EXTREMELY low on many nutrients like b vitamins magnesium, copper, fibre, fat solubles and others, is full of chemicals and additives, is full of iron, gluten and so on. As Stephan himself said (http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/01/body-fat-setpoint-part-iii-dietary.html) micronutrients alone can help weight loss. In other words, I doubt you can get to the heart of the matter with epidemiological data as things are so complex.

    By "Peat standards", SAD has bad quality protein.

    Just for the record, I don't eat sugar, but I think you're are going to fast with not enough data. Seriously.

  83. *too fast with not enough data. Not "to fast". Oh well…

  84. EL 66K,
    Do you honestly think "public health campaigns" have really changed the way americans eat? Most people I know don't eat anything close to what the government even considers 'healthy'.

  85. I have to agree with Jannis and EL66K on this one. Most of the people I know who are fat and eat a lot of junk don't eat much sugar. They eat lots of high fructose corn syrup and PUFAs. They do not eat a lot of sucrose or saturated fat. It is actually pretty difficult to find foods made with real sugarcane and saturated fats. Matt might be correct, and sugar might be bad, but he hasn't presented any good arguments for it yet.

    Government policy has changed the way americans eat, and it is the reason people consume corn instead of sucrose, and pufas instead of saturated fats. All of the agricultural subsidies for corn and soy are the cause of this.

  86. @Riles: I do have to say I think the fat consumption is skewed heavily toward PUFAs. I rarely come across anyone who has real butter in their fridge, much less coconut oil in the cabinet. No, just margarine spreads and vegetable oil. Not only because their "healthier" but also because their cheaper. Americans may or may not listen so much to the USDA, but they listen to their wallets.

  87. Ha ha. I used the wrong "they're" twice in a row in the comment above. Can you tell I'm tired today?

  88. @Elizabeth

    Did you edit your comment? Cause you did use the correct "their" in the context you used it in ("they're" = "they are" which would have been incorrect :)

    Or maybe it's me who's tired? ;)

  89. @Anon: LOL I'm talking about this sentence:

    "Not only because their "healthier" but also because their cheaper."

    That was totally my bad. But then again I'm usually the only one who notices stuff like this. I'll laugh out loud over incorrect grammar on a billboard and my husband just looks at me like I'm nuts. Yeah, I'm a dork. :p

  90. LOL @Elizabeth

    Yeah I noticed that AFTER I posted that and of course had to laugh at myself!

    See it was ME who is tired!! Thanks for being so gracious about it, but as you can see I am the dork! lol :)

  91. …now back to our regularly scheduled program ;)

  92. If I said: "I've got the subtle feeling that the discussions here are getting less and less intelligent…" it is because of "Mr. Superman Ray Peat" comment, and the one of fruits having air. God help us.

    BTW, Elizabeth, I'm also a grammar junkie, though I make a lot of mistakes, sadly.

  93. How much worse than plain sugar could HFCS possibly be?

  94. Kirk,
    How much worse than starch could sugar possibly be?

    I don't know, and I actually eat a lot more starch than sugar and think that it is healthy. The sugar-phobes that blame all of the modern health problems on sucrose need to realize that most of the sugar in peoples diets are HFCS and not sucrose. You can't blame sucrose for this when people are eating HFCS.

  95. starch is unrefined glucose and both sugar and HFCS are refined ~half glucose/fructose? So I'd say starch>>>>>>>>>>>>>>sucrose>HFCS

  96. I got HFCS out of my family's diet eight years ago. But until last fall, I was pretty liberal with honey and cane sugar. When I went sugar-free for a few months, I stopped the every-night-dessert habit my kids had, and turned it into once a week.

    Well, it was obvious to all of us, once there were enough no-sugar days, what the effect of sugar was. Both kids would get giddy, and then a few hours later my 9 yo daughter would get pissy and then burst into tears over nothing, while my 12 yo son would be all sad and wondering if I loved him. It was pathetic!

    The pattern has repeated enough times that they both agree that sugar has quite an effect on their emotions — and believe me, they don't want to agree, they wish it weren't so!

    For my money, studies are not so useful in measuring stuff like this. It takes experimenting yourself, getting your friends and family to experiment, and getting some data that way.

    Btw, I got rid of HFCS because I was doing the Feingold Diet with my son. HFCS made him totally freak out — violent, growling, crazy uncontrollable behavior. Sugar did not have the same effect at all. I don't remember the details, but the explanation I was given had to do with something in the refining process making HFCS toxic in some way, to anyone whose liver was already struggling.

    • The problem comes from eating sugar in quantity. It actually drives low blood sugar, and de-stabilises it creating the classic swings that so many people suffer from. When my eldest grandson eats a lot of sugar he drops into a hypo very quickly, becomes aggressive and difficult, and crazily, refuses food – the one thing that would bring it back up. Whilst a little probably wouldn’t be a problem, it’s the quantity of pure, neat sugar that, unlike fruit does not contain the fibre and other elements that would help to bring the sugar levels back up more slowly, that Is the real issue. It’s an instant ‘hit’, and again, unlike fruit, contains little in the way of nutrition. When people are constantly consuming it in cakes, pastries, cookies, candy, etc., their blood sugar is doing somersaults all day and night….

      • Only unhealthy people’s blood sugar does somersaults eating the various “triggers” you mentioned. Going hypo after sugar if anything, is a sign of dysfunction.

  97. Out of the loop for a while- i sort of second Mark's comments about paloe. I mean, damn, I eat rice most every day, and dairy a few times a week at least, but i feel compelled to stand up for the paleo perspective, maybe because teh broader non-dietary implications reosnate for me.

    Everyone talking shit about foragers and saying the local farmer is healthier than them: I call your bluff. We don't, that is, DO NOT, see evidence of skeletal or dental deformation in the archaeological record until we start cultivating grains. Lierre Keith may have some self-identifid radical feminist views, many of which I can't abide by, but she's not BSing when she catalogs the devastation that agriculture has wrought on our land, our social structures and our bodies, at least initially. It's not a question of how small farmers today, who actually live and work on the land in the sun and more likely eat real food, compare to modern urban Americans who are afraid of the sun, avoid butter and lead stressful lives without purpose. Just about everyone in human history probably has a leg up on those folks, even medieval serfs. The argument paleo people make is that the lesiurely, egalitarian, ecoligically integrated lives that we evolved in the context of give us health and vitality for the same reason that living natural lives allow wild animals to survive and be healthy, but putting them in a zoo drives them mad and makes them sick. For that reason, we might project, and this is the paleo hypothesis, that the greater we can come to mimicking the context and patterns we evolved into, the more robust and healthy we might feel.

    I don't know anyone who would argue that grains are inherently better than paleo starch sources, that we somehow need brown rice, barley or corn over taro, poi, potatos, yams, whatever. So the argument against paleo on these grounds is either disingenous or not nueanced enough to distinguish between low-carb paleo and a broader approach that looks at evolutionary anthropology.

    As for Salatin, hell yes. But Keith is big on him too, and I would argue that grass farming of teh sort he does is fundamentally different from the agriculture humans have practiced as empires rose and fell and spread across the globe. It regenerates rather than degenerates, builds rather than robs soil fertility. That is not the same as what turned the forests of lebanon into desert and in turn malnourished and impoversihed most of the population.

    I could go on, but not now. Please folks- let's argue fairly. You're nto down with paleo, cool. But strawman and mistaken arguments don't help the anti-paleo case.

  98. Nell, have you heard of salicylate sensivity? It's a relatively common sensivity to foods such as honey or fruits, which can cause those precise symptom you say. If I eat rapadura, or honey, or too much fruits I get addicted and then very depressed. I don't have the same reaction to pure sucrose.

    • But that in itself is a protection. It means that eating these foods is self-limiting. The body doesn’t get these signals from refined sugar. All the elements in the natural foods work together to give the body signals – a bit like keys in a lock. They tell the body what to do with the food. But refined sugar doesn’t give the body those signals so is not naturally self-limiting like food that is complete with all its nutritional elements.

  99. Hi Rob A,

    Yes, I am aware that Keith likes Salatin. That doesn't change the fact that she sounds like a complete loon when she damns agriculture with such broad strokes without regard to cultural, political and economic context.

    I agree agriculture has sometimes had very negative consequences for the environment, although I think people have a tendency to exaggerate somewhat in that regard. However, that is another discussion for another day; whether or not the claims are exaggerated is irrelevant to the fact that, in many respects, Salatin's method is indeed fundamentally different than other agriculture methods.

    Salatin's method illustrates perfectly what I mean by the cultural/political/economic context of agriculture. Salatin is just one man but he has influenced the thinking and methods of many people, not just in terms of how they raise animals, but also in terms of how they buy their food and view centralized and industrialized agriculture vs decentralized and local agriculture. If enough people were convinced to join this would have a dramatic and drastic influence on agriculture in this country –for instance, CAFO’s would disappear, never to be seen again. In short, culture, the sum of how people interact in a society, does indeed have an influence on agriculture.

    I could go on to discussing the culture/political/economic aspect of agriculture, and how failing to address that aspect results in a discussion about agriculture that lacks nuance or sense –such as Keith’s—but I will quit for now because it would be a very long post and I don’t want to take over Matt’s blog, nor distract people from the fascinating discussion they are having about sugar.

  100. kirk,
    high fructose corn syrup contains a little more fructose than glucose, but also a significant amount of a poorly defined mixture of starch-derived polymeric substances. There is practically no fructose as such in the american diet but huge amounts of corn-derived carbohydrate material. The actual carbohydrate content of the corn sweeteners, according to Wahjudi, et al., is much higher than the "fructose" content. The non-fructose, non-glucose content of corn syrup undoubtedly has some toxic effects, besides its caloric value, that have simply been ignored.

    And as JT said, there is practically no real sugar in the american diet. And even if all the products you associate with sugar were actually made with sugar (which is not the case) that wouldn't proofe anything. Because all the prodcuts that contain sugar also conttain huge amounts of rancid PUFA, refined wheat and a million other ingredients.
    You can't look at a donought that contains more PUFA and corn syrup than you should eat in two days and then say that it is the sugar.
    Anyway, I doubt that donoughts still contain sugar.

    Here is something about HFCS..

    ASEB Journal 2010 PN Wahjudi
    Carbohydrate Analysis of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Containing Commercial Beverages
    Paulin Nadi Wahjudi1, Emmelyn Hsieh1, Mary E Patterson2, Catherine S Mao2 and WN Paul Lee1,2
    1 Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Torrance, CA
    2 Pediatric, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA
    The carbohydrate analysis of HFCS is based on methods which first hydrolyze the syrup into simple sugars before quantitative analysis. We have examined whether HFCS can be hydrolyzed under the same conditions suitable for hydrolyzing sucrose. A new GC/MS method for the quantitation of fructose and glucose as their methoxyamine derivatives and 13C labeled recovery standards was used to determine the carbohydrate content of HFCS in 10 commercial beverages. Samples were analyzed before and after acid hydrolysis. The carbohydrate contents in commercial beverages determined without acid hydrolysis were in agreement with the carbohydrate contents provided on the food labels. However, the carbohydrate contents of beverages determined after acid hydrolysis were substantially (4–5 fold) higher than the listed values of carbohydrates. As fructose and glucose in HFCS may exist as monosaccharides, disaccharides and/or oligosaccharides, analysis of the carbohydrate content of HFCS containing samples may yield widely different results depending on the degree of hydrolysis of the oligosaccharides. With inclusion of mild acid hydrolysis, all samples showed significantly higher fructose and glucose content than the listed values of carbohydrates on the nutrition labels. The underestimation of carbohydrate content in beverages may be a contributing factor in the development of obesity in children.

  101. Nell,
    Good example. I made the same experience that sugar improves my mood dramatically.
    Especially for kids natural sugar is a very good option. The metabolic rate of young children is much higher than the adult's. So sugars like those from fruits and milk will support a healthy development.
    Sugar before bed time helps to fall asleep and increases restful deep sleep phases.

    Matt will probably argue that what your kids experience are the effects of "sugar addiction". But I don't think that there is such a thing. Sugar stops tasting especially good when your body has had enough. It is a convenient way to explain a way the positive effects of sugar.

  102. Hey Jannis. Great contributions, really made me think. I'm going to make some changes to my food selection but I want to make sure I have it right when it comes to the sugar category. So unrefined fruits (even bananas) and milk sugars are unlimited but any processed sugar (like liquid sugar in Ben and Jerrys which also has corn starch) along with any artificial sweetener is off limits? I really think this stuff around weight setpoint and the above off-limits foods is really important, thanks for making that point Matt. By the way, I had two meals of rice, ground beef, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and spices in corn tortillas yesterday and my appetite was very satisfied. It couldn't have been many calories but I felt good. Thanks all, good discussion.

  103. Mark,
    Yes that is what I think.
    HFCS is no refined sugar. Refined sugar is the white or brown stuff you get from sugar beets or sugar cane. Those and HFCS are two completely different things.
    Here where I live they still put sugar in the soft drinks. But I think in the US all the softdrinks meanwhile contain HFCS. So I wouldn't touch them. Nor all the other processed stuff like donoughts, cakes, candies, most ice creams etc.

  104. Here in Australia we have virtually no HFCS, at all. All soft drinks (sodas) contain cane sugar for example. Australia is apparently the fattest nation.

  105. Thanks Jannis. I'll stick to fruit when I want something sweet from now on.

  106. When you say things such as "Australia is apparently the fattest nation", you better have data to back it up.

  107. I don't get it Matt, you espouse the Asians, then say that refined starches are bad.

    Asians do not eat brown rice.

    Most Africans gelatinize starch through procesing, to make foods like Fufu (fufu doesn't even need to be chewed, they just swallow chunks of it whole) and like the Pacific Islanders did to make Poi.

    I suspect there is a reason why traditional cultures refined their grains, beyond simply making them more palatable.

  108. Australia is not the fattest nation, but it's up there. Nauru takes the title. I'm not sure what they're (I did this for Elizabeth and you other grammar narcs) sweetener of choice is, but I'm guessing white sugar. Mexico is also very close to the top of the list. Again, mostly white sugar there.

    Rewind 35 years before the invention of HFCS and we still have a massive obesity epidemic. The Pima Indians had a far worse obesity and diabetes epidemic than we currently have anywhere on earth long before HFCS. HFCS just appeared to accelerate it as we began using more, it's more addictive (liquid, more fructose, sweeter).

    And before HFCS you still have people like Yudkin, Cleave, Page, Price, Pottenger, Abrahamson, Pezet, Dufty, Adelle Davis, and Seale Harris bringing forth big points in the case against sugar – much of it stemming from one on one work with helping patients overcome various health problems.

    Everyone has varying degrees of sensitivity to sugar, but for some it's certainly not a matter of once you've had enough sugar it becomes unappealing. Ha! During the pinnacle of my sugar-pounding days I was consuming several ounces of raw honey, a pound of dates, and a half pound of chocolate every day and couldn't go more than a couple of hours without another hit.

    As for fruitarians, they consume a very low-fat diet, get insufficient protein which I believe raises catabolic hormones and therefore suppresses insulin, and generally waste away on the diet – not gain. Elizabeth also pointed out that fruit has low calorie-density when eaten alone, and is therefore not fattening for that reason.

    I openly concede to the fact that fructose and/or sucrose is not, in and of itself, something that makes people fat.

    Consuming more calories than you burn makes you fat, and fructose is one thing in particular that plays into that scenario, as it has a tendency, in hypersensitive people, to raise the set point in conjunction with calorie-dense foods as I will go on to discuss in greater detail because it leaves the other arguments against fructose in the dust and embodies a much larger, more comprehensive explanation for obesity and diseases that stem from it (and why aspartame, with no calories, is more fattening than fructose).

    And as for the 1,000 calories of sugar per day for the average American thing, give me an f'n break. I'm sick of this "can't find anything that supports this" BS line that is being repeatedly flung out there.

    Open your eyes.

    The USDA reports that the average American intake of sucrose in 1999 was 68 pounds per person, and syrups and other sweeteners totaled 91 pounds per person for a total of 159 pounds per person per year coming from refined, added sweeteners. This is 72 kg/200 grams per day or 800 calories daily for every man, woman, and child.

    Most 2010 estimates peg it at 170 to 200 pounds per person per year, with teenagers consuming the most.

    Added to this is the consumption of fruit and juice, which totals 231 pounds per person, about half of which is juice. While no one can put an exact number on calories per day, I guarantee that it more than aptly makes up for the missing 200 calories on the way to 1,000 kcal per day from all forms of sugar combined.

  109. Gabriel-

    I have stated that refined grains are likely not a major player in metabolic disease. That doesn't make them nutritious or an asset in the diet.

    The Asians do benefit from eating mostly refined grain in intact vs. powdered form.

    But as the last post pointed out, the healthiest Japanese for example, eat root vegetables as a carbohydrate staple, not rice, and the difference is striking.

    But many people with metabolic syndrome could go to a mostly white rice-based diet and reverse their disease. It is certainly not the big, bad wolf.

  110. @Cad

    B-vitamin and zinc deficiencies could make your alopecia worse, so it makes sense that leaving out meat had that effect for you.

    If I recall correctly protein is needed in conjunction with the zinc as well.

  111. RobA,
    You make some good points, and have no problem with looking at anthropological data. The problem I have is mostly with the low carb paleo fundamentalists, because I used to be one of them and it almost killed me, and I know it is injuring many others.

    I also think we need to get past the irrational belief that just because it was what was eaten in the past means that it is best for today.

  112. Matt,
    Just curious on how you are doing with the new diet? How is your muscularity, fat loss, energy? The biggest fear most of us have about reducing protein so low is muscle loss. Are you noticing any sort of energy issues with consuming high carb early in the day?

    I am also very interested in what you have mentioned about your starch to sleep ratio.

  113. Certain, more primitive and less domesticated starch sources REQUIRE refining to be at all edible and to rid them of poisonous factors.

    I would be interested to know how these Japanese prepare their tubers, and whether they eat the skin.

    Certainly though, COnnie Chung and a major media outlet are not the most reliable source of anthropological date.

  114. Gabriel:
    I think that you are correct in that refined starches are perfectly fine maybe even better.

    In several healthy groups, the starch of choice is Sago Palm. After sago is refined in the traditional way, it is nearly pure starch with almost no vitamins minerals proteins fats or fiber.

    I would bet that most starches where refined to make them as easily palatable and digestible as possible.

  115. Matt,
    It seems like your only "evidence" against sugar is that we consume much more of it then before.
    That alone doesn't proof anything and you know that. Many other factors have changed, too. So the fact that sugar consumption has increased doesn't mean that it is responsible for the problem.
    Studies on humans and other animals show that sucrose doesn't cause obesity! Your problem is that you don't read them. Every time I post a study that outlines specific benefits of sucrose you are only repeating your argument that sugar consumption is as high as never before. I know that. I also know that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has vastly increased over the last 100 years. Does that mean that CO2 is responsible for obesity? Your opinion on sugar is based on some speculations and personal experience.

    I am looking forward to your detailed explanations on the other arguments against fructose in future posts.
    It would ne nice if you based them on something you can have an objective discussion about.

    Btw, you can hardly call the SAD high in high quality protein. It's mostly lean muscle meat that americans are eating. (approx. 220 lb per year)

    Best wishes!

  116. My honey and I are on the way back from our raw milk run (we "run" to get raw milk, not make our milk exercise). I'm gonna start the new high starch RARRF but I'm not ready to give up my milk yet.

    I bought a new lunchbox to fill up with starch. A wise guy at work asked me where I was travelling to. I am gonna officially start tomorrow. I work outside in 99 degree heat and 100% humidity so say a lil prayer for me ;-)

    Could the extreme heat and sweating have something to do with my temps not coming up?

  117. "Btw, you can hardly call the SAD high in high quality protein. It's mostly lean muscle meat that americans are eating."


  118. What's amusing Kirk?

  119. Hey, Riles, impressive info. I already new that things like tapioca or yucca, which are staples of unmodernized cultures are relatively low in nutrients. I have to wonder however, how the rest of the diet fares. Do they eat mineral rich broths, liver, seafood, vegetables, etc? Is there some components (or lack of) in the sago which make it better than modern starch sources? Is the soil and therefore other sources of nutrients better? How healthy are they?

  120. @Jannis:
    First of all, thank you for stopping by so often and offering your opinion. Even though I wouldn't say that I agree with many of your stuff, you do bring up a lot of good points that are contrary to Matt's opinion which almost always results in a good discussion. Keep it up!

    However there is one thing I strongly disagree with:
    "Matt will probably argue that what your kids experience are the effects of "sugar addiction". But I don't think that there is such a thing. "

    I do think that sugar addiction is a very real thing.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but sugar does stimulate certain neuro-transmitters, doesn't it? So in excess it can most definitely lead to the shutdown of the receptors for those neuro-transmitters, which, as far as I'm concerned is enough to qualify sugar as an addictive substance. (Yes, I don't even know the naim of this neuro-transmitter(s) right now and the subject if probably a bit more complex than I explained, but as far as I'm concerned the basic principle is still valid).

    And even apart from that, there are many reports from people out there from people going through sugar addictions and this certainly cannot all be traced to PUFAs, because there are lots of sweets that don't contain PUFAs (candy)and still have addicting properties. Apart from that, this seems to be anything from a phenomenom which only occured recently which also would make it less likely that PUFAs or even food additives have anything to do with it.

    Does that mean that we all should avoid sugar because of that? Hell no, if that would be the case we all also should avoid alcohol, fat, sex and several others things because they have addicting qualities as well.
    In fact I think that you actually can say that neither alcohol, fat, sugar or sex are addictive all by themselves, because I think in most cases it takes a certain susceptipleness to make the specific substance/activity addictive. Poor heredity, nutritional status and other factors probably have a lot to do with that.

    So what is it exactly I want to say here? I think that it certainly is debatable whether sugar all by itself is a good or a bad thing, but to say that there is no such thing as sugar addiction is incorrect in my opinion.

  121. Also, great comment, Rob A..

  122. madMUHHH, if we follow what you say, then everything is potentially addictive, as everything stimulates the release of neurotransmitter. Just adding that.

    Now, there's something for which I have no data in this moment, though I'll search for it, that I want to add to the discussion. Matt said he gets addicted to fruits and chocolate, etc. Well, all this foods, and even plain candies are full of chemicals and compounds which can cause reactions like that. I've heard of many cases (and I'm one) of people getting addicted to foods containing salicylates, phenols, etc, and having terrible symptoms. I have no problem with, or desire for, white sugar. Do you, Matt? Of course, that's not to say that foods are bad per se, but rather that our petty modernized humans are weak and sensitive, which makes sense given what we all now. The same applies to casein and wheat in susceptible individuals, I think.

  123. I agree with Riles. Traditional cultures have complex, often multi-day process to refine starches to make them easier to digest and more palatable.

    Poi is so pre-digested that it is a liquid, literally liquid starch.

    There are surely trace minerals in these foods.

    But the bulk of the nutrients in these diets came from somewhere else, like shellfish, coconut, fish eye balls, organ meats, eggs, fruit.

    The starch component was to support the consumer more for metabolic, rather than nutritional purposes.

  124. Rob A said,

    "The argument paleo people make is that the lesiurely, egalitarian, ecoligically integrated lives that we evolved in the context of give us health and vitality for the same reason that living natural lives allow wild animals to survive and be healthy, but putting them in a zoo drives them mad and makes them sick."

    I was going to address this last night, but I didn't get around to it.

    Anyway, there is no solid evidence that we evolved solely, as the quote above seems to imply, in the context of " lesiurely, egalitarian, ecoligically integrated lives;" that is more paleo fantasy. Perhaps some of the time, yes, but not all of the time.

    Consider leisure, for example. The only way a hunter-gatherer society can or could be leisurely is if they lived in a region that had an abundance of plants and animals. This might have been the case some of the time, but there is evidence that hunter-gatherer societies were continuously running up against malthusian constraints; that is why they migrated fairly frequently. "Grok" didn't he enjoy the nature-imposed fast –he did not stop to think about how he had "evolved" in the context of intermittent famine, and about how healthy it was. When he got hungry, he and "Grokette" packed up their bags and left, or engaged in violent conflict with other tribes filled with "Groks" and "Grokettes." Yes, such leisure and harmony! If only they knew how healthy fasting is!

    As far as paleo tribes and "egalitarianism" goes: Well, so what? I society that has primitive capital and no industry will, by its very nature, be relatively egalitarian. Very little capital/wealth= very little hierarchy. Big whoop.

    …Well, I think thats enough for now, to actually pick through that fantasy would take a long, long post, and i suddenly grow weary of the whole thing for now. I am going to go "Grok" around outside. Funny how a natural physiological impulse somehow takes on the dimensions of "evolution" in the minds of some paleo twits.

  125. Just rewriting the second sentence in the second to last paragraph so it is a little clearer"

    "If a society has primitive capital and no industry, it will, by its very nature, be relatively egalitarian."

    Now for some fresh air!

  126. I'm addicted to 180degreehealth. Is it bad? :]

  127. Nice discussion about sugar/fructose – even though the tone seems a bit harsh from time to time – but still, exciting debate!


    Watch out that your 180-receptors won't downregulate!

  128. dML,

    I hear you and I don't mean to make the argument wearisome, because I feel some of that too. We might be agreeing more than it seems, based on my word choice. Some people get caughtup in teh critique of agriculture and point to Polyface and otehrs, and say- see, farming isn't all bad. And I agree. What I'm referring to, without having made it explicit, is what Daniewl Quinn would call 'totalitarian agriculture,' what Richard Mannign would call 'catastrophic agriculture.' That is, cultivating grains typically and otehr 'catastrophe'-adapted plants that do well when you clear the land and press re-set on the ecological succession button. Ecological succession in all times and places tends toward a mature, multi-species climax ecosystem, typically forest, except where geological limits stop it (altitude or latitude is too high, the terrain is too rocky, whatever). Grains like wheat adn corn are fantastic 1st tier regnerators of a landscape that's experienced something like a flood or fire. They set roots, grow quickly, stabilize the soil, and provide shade for the next round of species. Left to their own devices, after a disturbance, they create the conditions for their own disappearance, like a scab after a burn on our arm. What 'catastrophic' agriculture does, because we selectvely cultivate those first phase succession species, is to re-introduce catastrophe conditions time and again. That's what tilling is all about. Geting rid of the weeds and shrubs and others species so that our wheat, barley, corn whatever grows undisturbed. But this drains fertility and you can't do thsi year after year into perpetuity without giving back. It's precisely teh giving back that doesn't happen in most farming today, at least by acreage, and that's been teh case for most farming for thousands of years, which is why we have desertifcation following agriculture, and a continued expansion into new territories.

    This is all history, and not controversial. And taht's what I'm referring to, and apologize if my language was misleading. If you want to legitimately point to practices beside this, then we may well be supporting the same thing. My contention is just that the vast majority of agriculture practiced today and through recorded history was quite different from the practices you're pointing to that you and I both like.

    As for forager leisure- that's notcontroversial either. http://www.mnforsustain.org/food_ag_worst_mistake_diamond_j.htm is a good starting point, ans is Marshall Sahlin's 'Original Affluent Society: http://staffwww.fullcoll.edu/amande/sahlins.pdf

    There are disputes around the edges, but the general and accepted acreological and modern anthropoligical picture is that life was more leisurely both in hours spent and in how the people viewed their productive labor (that is, it was not drudgery, and non-participation in productive labor was often not considered 'free-loading,' a term typically used to guilt people into participating in things they don't want in exchange for the necessities of survival).

    And minimal capital did mean minimal social inequality. It's an open question in my mind whether maximized capital and industry are inherently good, or worth the costs ecologically, socially or psychologically for us. But I have no interest in arguing that point with you.

  129. Greensmu said…

    "B-vitamin and zinc deficiencies could make your alopecia worse, so it makes sense that leaving out meat had that effect for you."

    "If I recall correctly protein is needed in conjunction with the zinc as well."

    greensmu, thank you for your reply!

    i was surprised to see a response actually. seems when there’s no (easy) explanation for something people just want it to go away. by the way doesn’t raw whole milk have all the protein i need and wouldn’t i get the other vitamins & minerals i would get from the meat i’m not eating from the other foods i am eating? but no doubt things were much better (awesome!) when i was eating plenty of meat AND fat!

    now i in no way mean to be argumentative or disrespectful in saying this. i love 180 and i appreciate the journey despite where it has taken me. but i don’t regret it because i learned a lot. and i am sharing this because i’m sure there are lots of people out there that can relate to what i’m going to say and will hopefully get something from it – if nothing else than just know you’re not alone.

    i came here (and stayed) because (like many of you here) i wanted to find a way to lose extra body fat in a healthy way and a way of eating that was healthy, sustainable and keep the extra fat off naturally. basically i wanted to heal my metabolism to the point where i could eat (whole foods) without having to think about it or worry about eating too much of this or too much of that with this or that.

    but in the last 6 months i went from a weight that i was comfortable with, to feeling great with many improvements to my overall health, to gaining to a weight that makes me feel (and look) fat. plus now my health is taking a turn for the worst. but again i take the blame for that. maybe i’m doing something wrong? and i should have listened (or kept listening) to my body (real) instead of listening to others (speculation). i realized that i’m not going to find my answers here. i will find them in my own body if i just listen to it. like some of you have said over and over again, we have to find what works for us. so i’m going to go back to listening to my body again. at some point when i was eating high everything mixed whole foods, the weight gain did stop. but going along with the recent low fat strategy talk here, i did it in hopes of shedding the extra weight i had gained. in hindsight i think i should have stuck to what i was doing (how i was eating before) i have a feeling that if i had just kept eating that way my body would have eventually started shedding the extra fat naturally. i felt good and my body felt good and it felt right – i believe that was my body telling me i was doing something right and giving it what it needed.

    anyway something occurred to me.

    #1 matt and others here said that they can eat whatever they want in whatever combination they want (of mostly whole foods of course) without gaining or any other issues. (what the rest of us wish for)

    #2 yet matt says that high fat with high starch (for one) will make us fat. this is not to say that i don’t believe it, but how can that be true if we are to believe #1?

    now i realize most will jump to the argument that #1 is true for those with a "healed" metabolism, which is the objective for most of us here, right?

    so wouldn’t that mean that #2 is only true for those who have a funked up metabolism? something just doesn’t feel right about that. why is #2 stated so matter-of-factly like it is an absolute truth?

    why would it only be true for those with funked up metabolisms? and why is it stated in a way that it applies to most bodies with a funked up metabolism? why would our f’d up bodies react the exact same way (storing fat with that combo) when they are f’d up for different reasons?? something just doesn't seem right with that.

    just trying to understand and make sense of all of this.

  130. RE: DML and RobA's debate

    Surely no one is alleging that all paleolithic hunter gatherers lived lives of leisure relative to neolithic forward.

    I would never trade life in a farm (as boring and as much work as it can be…I have lived and worked on farms) for life on the paleolithic tundra, living in caves huddled around fires and hunting mastodons. No way.

    Equatorial HG's is a whole other type of primitive man than HG's in northern climes.

    To just lump all of paleolithic hunter gatherers into one group is grossly simplistic, as is doing the same with neolithic humans communities.

    I used to be a primitivist a la John Zerzan and Daniel Quinn.

    But I realized there was some faulty logic in demonizing agriculture as the holy grail of human fuck ups.

    It has to go farther back from there. If you want to follow the same logic that primitivists follow, that patriarchy, technology, and the division of labor are all symptoms of the human disease that went hand in hand with agriculture, it becomes obvious that they go hand in hand with pre agricultural humans too.

    Zerzan does follow this further and criticizes numbers, time, language, and even music and art and symbolism in general as all part of the equation. But he still seems fixated on agriculture at times in his writings.

    Some primitivists cite the upper paleolithic as 'not back far enough'. Only the lower paleolithic is good enough for them, this heralded time of no oppression and no inequality among humans (and infinite leisure time). They use this argument against the evidence that humans totally decimated mega-fauna populations through over hunting on multiple continents. But they still do not take this far enough back then, if we are to use the same logic that Diamond and Zerzan and Quinn use.

    I take it all th4e way back. If you are using technology as a barometer, why just agricultural technology? What about primitive tribesman who built better bows and hunted bigger animals than other people? The division of labor didn't start with agriculture. People used skills in weapons, hunting, foraging, building shelters, etc to gain an upper hand and survive in environments where running around naked is impossible.

    No, the fall of man from this ideal noble savage did not begin anywhere near the advent of agriculture. We became hierarchical and exploitative of our environments and of each other as soon as we picked up a stick to hunt a monkey. As soon as we moved into harsher desert and winter climates. As soon as we started hunting big game.

    Just because agriculture supports such enormous populations doesn't mean that humans weren't nasty creatures before we started farming.

  131. subscribing…

  132. I am still a little confused with this high starch/low fat trend. As, although many people coming to PB/Paleo come out of a SAD background, many others come from a wholefood high carb/low fat (unrefined carbs and low PUFA) background and find significant health improvements and weight loss when going to a more primal lifestyle….. is it just simply cutting out the grains that helped them? because the only real difference is maybe they were eating more grains as their starch than Matt's more pro-tuber stance??

  133. Just to give my two cents worth regarding sucrose. After reading David Gillespie's book "Sweet Poison" I cut all sugar (including honey, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners etc) from my family's diet. I now use dextrose instead of sugar when I bake (and my husband uses it in his coffee) and make sure that any processed food I buy has less than 5 gms of sugar per 100 gms. Since doing this we have noticed that my husband who used to be constantly plagued with mouth ulcers and headaches hasn't had a single one and my daughter who was constantly plagued with head colds went six months without one, only getting one when she started adding sugar back into her diet.


  134. Hi Rob,

    For the most part, I would say we agree more than disagree although there appears to be some points of contention.

    In addition, I would like to point out that the weariness I referred to earlier had nothing to do with you, I am actually enjoying our discussion. Rather it stemmed from a combination of things, mostly too much time indoors in front of the computer coupled with the realization that what we are discussing is a vast, complicated subject, and we are starting in the middle of it, neither one of us aware of where the other is coming from: To really "hash things over" we would both have to begin by defining our terms and concepts in a very precise manner. Otherwise, I think we just end up talking past each other.

    Anyway, I have read the Jared Diamond link you posted before. I read it again. I wasn't convinced then and I ain't convinced now. Either by his hand wringing over how agriculture was the "worst mistake in history" or how oh-so-leisurely hunter-gatherer tribes were.

    Yes, I agree that agriculture has caused problems. But as I pointed out before, that is a multi-faceted issue related to culture, politics and economics.* This is something that Jared, like Keith, seems to ignore. For shame! Furthermore, as Gabriel pointed out, why just wag a finger at agriculture?

    I also agree that SOME hunter-gatherer tribes had relatively more leisure than modern societies. However, I think Gabriel's views on the subject are nuanced and very convincing. (Thanks for chipping in Gabriel. I enjoyed your contribution!)

    I leave the last word to you, Rob, if you want it. Not because I am being snarky, but because I am genuinely enjoying what you have to say.

  135. "McDougall said that there is a good reason all of the cultures that successfully ate a plant based diet, ate a diet based on starches. If they didn't, then they would have become too weak and frail, and their neighbors would have come and conquered them and raped their women. This should be the litmus test for any diet."

    This guy is manipulating people who haven't learnt history well enough. By far teritorially-largest empire was created by meat-eating Mongols, who conquered much largest areas inhabited by starch-eaters. And yes, they were raping women, often after killing all man in the city or village. Genghis Khan is estimated to have left over 16 million descendants.

    There were also other nomadic meat-eaters like Huns, Alans, original Turks who were animal herders. Also fish-eating Vikings were wreaking a lot of havoc.

    In fact starch eaters were always a victim category. Not only from surprise attacks of barbarians, but also being exploited and persecuted by their ruling classes, who invairably ate quite a lot of meat. Yes, it's true that a large number of people on cheap food was necessary to build, maintain and defend civilization. But those who benefited from the civilization – the higher classes, kings, aristocracy, priests, merchants – were on a different diet than bulk of the population.

    In modern times we are in historically-unique situation that in rich countries almost everyone can afford this "kings food" like meat. Not only that, we can use globalization to our advantage, by eating valuable food from abroad. Limiting oneself to predominatly grain or potato eating is not reasonable in such situation.

  136. @ DML, Gabriel, & Rob: Interesting conversation, I'm enjoying reading it.

    @ cad: I think your questions are valid and I wanted to try and address them from my perspective/experience.

    High fat combined with high starch is not necessarily always fattening. It seems that it tends to be more fattening if you are eating a hypercaloric diet. From what Matt's said, if you are eating above your energy needs, a high starch, high fat combination appears to be the most fattening. I can personally attest that eating high fat and high carb is not fattening for me–as long as I'm eating at maintenance calories. If I go over my daily calorie needs eating lots of starch and fat, I will definitely gain fat (and certainly did earlier this year). I would say the degree of fat gain would largely depend on the health of your metabolism.

    What Matt's proposing is that high-carb, low-fat diets can potentially be used during overfeeding without causing the fat gain so many of us dread.

    I personally don't enjoy going too low in my fat intake. It doesn't feel sustainable, enjoyable or beneficial to me. I've found a comfort zone of about 30-40% fat. This is where I land if I'm adding enough fat to my food to enjoy it without actively slathering it on everything (which is what I was doing before).

    I honestly feel my metabolism's in a pretty good place these days, but I still can't do the #1 on your list (eat whatever I want without weight gain). I still tend to eat more than I need if I give myself permission to eat as much as I want. Not sure if this indicates my metabolism is still a little off, or if there's something else. Also not sure if eating super low fat would help in that department, but frankly it's so unsustainable for me right now I don't really consider it an option.

  137. EL 66K,

    Yes, The Feingold Diet is for avoiding salicylates. I never believed stuff like a fresh cherry or an apple would cause reactions in my son, but wow did they ever. He would strip off his clothes, run into the street, not able to take in what anyone said. Scary! The salicylate sensitivity did go away after a couple of years.


    You misunderstood what I said about sugar. In my family, sugar makes people happy briefly, then they get weepy and sad — worse off than before.

    Having read most of those sources Matt cites, I'm in complete agreement that sugar is a Bad Actor. And it's quite easy to get real sugar now — it's in soda at Whole Foods and health food stores, and many brands of ice cream, plus whatever anyone cooks at home.

    I'm with Mishkam that almost everyone will discover surprising health improvements by getting rid of sugar. (Not talking about fruit and milk here, but added sugar.)

  138. Matt

    Here is a link to the rat study referenced above by Jannis which shows the obesity outcomes for rats feeding ad libitum up to 15% of sucrose and/or fructose above controls' ad libitum.

    Here is reference 20 in that study:

    [20] Beck-Nielsen H, Pedersen O, Lindskov HO. Impaired cellular insulin binding and insulin sensitivity induced by high-fructose feeding in normal subjects. Am J Clin Nutr, 1980, 33, 273-8.


    The purpose of the present study was to determine whether fructose is the nutrient mediator of sucrose-induced insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Toward this end, male rats were fed a purified starch diet (68% of total calories) for a 2-wk baseline period. After this, rats either remained on the starch (ST) diet or were switched to a sucrose (SU, 68% of total calories), fructose/glucose (F/G, 34/34% of total calories), or fructose/starch (F/ST, 34/34% of total calories) diet for 5 wk. Rats then underwent either an intravenous glucose tolerance test (n = 10/diet) or a euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp (n = 8 or 9/diet). Incremental glucose and insulin areas under the curve in SU, F/G, and F/ST were on average 61 and 29% greater than ST, respectively, but not significantly different from one another. During clamps, glucose infusion rates (mg · kg-1 · min-1) required to maintain euglycemia were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in SU, F/G, and F/ST (13.4 ± 0.9, 9.5 ± 1.7, 11.3 ± 1.3, respectively) compared with ST (22.8 ± 1.1). Insulin suppression of glucose appearance (mg · kg-1 · min-1) was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in SU, F/G, and F/ST (5.6 ± 0.5, 2.2 ± 1.2, and 6.6 ± 0.7, respectively) compared with ST (9.6 ± 0.4). Insulin-stimulated glucose disappearance (mg · kg-1 · min-1) was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in SU, F/G, and F/ST (17.9 ± 0.6, 16.2 ± 1.3, 15.3 ± 1.8, respectively) compared with ST (24.7 ± 1.2). These data suggest that fructose is the primary nutrient mediator of sucrose-induced insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

    The controls in this Beck-Nielsen study eat 68% starch, and the others eat either all sucrose (68%), or 34% starch with 34% simple sugars.

    In this second study 34% would appear to be over double the amount of simple sugars fed in the first study (15%).

    Thus rats may stay slim on an extra 15% simple sugars but become insulin resistant on 34% simple sugars.

    If this has any relevance to human eating, then there are (lower) non-damaging and (higher) damaging %-ages of simple sugars to be established for human eating also – the question is, for populations and individuals, as to what the levels are.

  139. "madMUHHH, if we follow what you say, then everything is potentially addictive, as everything stimulates the release of neurotransmitter. Just adding that."

    I kinda knew that I would get some responses like that regarding my last comment. First of all, i was a bit tired when I wrote that, but still wanted to get that comment out, and second I'm into all that stuff deep enough to know the correct terms for that.

    So, this is how I understood it, please correct me if I made any mistake:
    Sugar does stimulate the release of one or more neuro-transmitters (endorphine?), but if consumed in excess it will cause a release of so much of those neuro-transmitters that it will cause the receptor sites to downregulate to prevent any damage that a prolonged stimulation would perhaps cause.
    Now, I don't know the exact mechanism behind that, but from what I understood not all substances are stimulating enough to cause a shutdown of receptor sites. So, the correct thing to say would probably be that everything which causes a shutdown of receptor sites and thus makes it necessary to ingest a certain amount of that substance to bring the level of those transmitters/hormones back to baseline (at least in the short/mid-term) is addictive. And sugar does have those effects as far as I'm concerned.

  140. @madMUHHH: Just to add to what you're saying, I can agree on the sugar issue, and also that some substances tend to deplete neurotransmitters to a greater degree than others. However, I also wanted to add that if you're in a depleted state, I feel that less "addictive" substances can suddenly drive further depletion when they normally wouldn't in a healthy person, and in fact may be more attractive to someone in a depleted state (for instance, loud music, reading romance novels, watching thrillers, having an argument, etc.). I think someone in a desperately depleted neurotransmitter state will end up seeking all kinds of stimulation, even those we don't normally associate with addiction. I guess this is where Matt's "avoid all things pleasurable" advice (for certain conditions) comes from? Anyhow, I realize the above is a bit of a rambling-thoughts-out-loud post, but it was on my mind.

  141. madMUHHH, I don't know if sugar is really addictive, and if so ,in what conditions, but I think your definition was correct.

  142. LeonRover, do you have more data?

  143. @EL 66K:
    To be honest, I really don't think that whether sugar is addictive or not is really relevant to the topic at hand. In my mind, there is no doubt about it and to me it seems that there are a lot of people who are going through a lot of trouble for which sugar addiction is the only logical explanation. And I think not acknowledging that there is such a thing as a sugar addiction would do injustice to those people.
    But once again, the fact that in my opinion there is such a thing as sugar addiction does not mean that it must be unhealthy or even really "addictive" all by itself. Perhaps it's the same thing as with sex for example. All in all, sex is certainly a healthy thing and even though pretty much everyone enjoys it, there are not too much people who really get addicted to it and my guess, as I said, is that "susceptibility" has a lot to do with it.

    My personal guess is that refined sugar is probably more detrimental than that, and probably much more detrimental than for example caffeine too. But that is a completely different debate, which I don't really care about partaking right now. I'm certainly open to the whole discussion though and think that both sides make some valid points.

  144. Well, madMUHHH, I can't really say if sugar is specially addictive, since I don't know anyone with such a problem, and even when I thought I was addicted, it was really an "addiction" to other components of sugary foods. I don't find white sugar really addictive at all, even though through most of my life I ate tons of it. Of course, the very fact that sugar consumption is so prevalent tell us that it is indeed very desirable, but we don't really know where the problem lies. Matt says it could even be the unnatural flavors. White sugar tastes fine, but not out of this world, and you never find an obese guy eating from a sugar bag. Things are complex, and interesting!

  145. If you're looking for anecdotal evidence, I'm your guy. I'm always trying to eat more sugar. I eat fruit, milk, orange juice (yesterday at work I drank a half gallon), and tons of ice cream. I also put plenty of sugar in my coffee. I used to eat plenty of potatoes, but if you say a piping hot potato is appetizing in the overheated summer than you've got to be in denial. All this sugar and I've rarely felt better.

    I'm American and I eat far more sugar than anyone else I know here. In fact they all tell me it's disturbing and wonder why I'm not obese and diabetic.

    If you look at the world's oldest people, a lot of them have a good sized sweet tooth. Jean Calmet drank sugary port wine and ate enormous servings of chocolate. Buster Martin is a 100+ year old marathoner, and he gets plenty of sugar from his many daily bitters. My great grandmother ate lots of white sugar (she baked) and lived into her 90s, and there's no way her mother and father did not eat sugar.

    Sure, you'll find some fat fucks out there who also pound the sugar. I used to look at them and say, wow, can't they see that that sugar's making them obese. What I didn't realize is that people tastes and instincts are very intelligent. Clearly something is metabolically amiss in the obese, but I now look at a fat person's sugar consumption as a life saving and very intelligent practice. Despite whatever else is going wrong, they're still able to produce some energy thanks to the sugar.

  146. Andrew,

    I have my strongest sugar cravings after eating small bits of fruit or maybe the morning after a late, sweet meal.

    People who drink coffee and stop go through caffeine withdrawals. Now one (Peat) could argue whether caffeine is unhealthy or not, but what about something as obvious as heroine (or alcohol, as a calorie source)? Of course, here, the body is confused. Why can't we look at sugar in the same way?

    …just providing something to discuss…

  147. Well this may be a dumb rational, but the very fact that the conversation about sugar having addictive "properties" is such a lengthy one, and sparks an unending debate is note worthy.

    Lets face it we are not having this conversation about broccoli are we?

  148. Do yams count as potatoes?

  149. I have no idea how people can eat just half a banana. I'd go crazy without the other half plus much more.

    Interestingly, I have eaten tons of sugar, and I've always had good body composition. I've never had or needed braces, but I have had cavities. How are your teeth, Andrew?

  150. John, I understand where you're coming from. I look at addiction as an attempt to substitute for a lacking substance, whether it be sugar, a vitamin, or thyroid hormone. I smoke cigarettes, and since changing my diet and beginning to use thyroid, my tobacco consumption has spontaneously dropped from a pack (20 or so) a day to 2 or 3. There's actually a section in Broda Barne's Hypothyroidism, etc. where he talks about tobacco and alcohol use, and how he thinks that you should start thyroid therapy first rather than simply trying to force yourself to stop using the substances.

    I think we need to step back from the neurotransmitter/receptor picture of our wants and desires.

    I guess if you're trying to differentiate between dangerous addictive substances and natural ones, you could look and see what's been around for a long time. Sugar occurs naturally in milk and fruits, and plenty of people have lived healthy lives while eating lots of sugar cane. The Hunzai (I might have mispelled this) are a hunter-gatherer tribe and they seem to like honey. You can also look at other animals. It's often denied, but there is such are such things as universal biological truths. You can look at monkeys, humming birds, bees,–all sorts of nice animals.

    I understand there's some concern about whether or refined sugar is dangerous: There might be dangerous additives, or the simple lack of nutrients/per calorie might be dangerous. To address these concerns we can look at studies that use pure sucrose and see whether the people and animals suffer in ways they otherwise wouldn't.

    If you're trying to figure out whether heroin and sugar are good or bad for you, you can look at some studies where they give animals heroin and some studies where they give them sugar. From what I can tell sugar is good for. It's metabolically efficient and and spares vitamin D, for one thing.

  151. I am curious about something JT posted above, that eating paleo/primal "almost killed" him. I sure would like to hear more about that if possible(?). I tried following the PB diet for a few months; I lost a few lbs but then that was it, no more fat loss. Now I'm curious about why it might be unhealthy for some people.

  152. Andrew,

    I think it's too complicated difficult to interpret studies much of the time. Regarding what you said about sparing vitamin D. Vitamin D receptor knockout mice have very fast metabolisms. Why–what is going on here?

    Mice on sugar do better than isocaloric sugar plus tallow (both include casein). Does this mean tallow is unhealthy? Mice fed isocaloric diets (unsure of exact diet) do better with cornstarch over sucrose. Again, what does this mean?

    I think looking at specifics can be too tricky to retrieve valuable information. Assuming a 40/40/20 diet, is it helpful to add sucrose, replace some fat with sucrose, replace starch with sucrose, etc? Of course, even testing those doesn't tell the story because of something like possible new, necessary vitamin or mineral intakes. For me it's always nice to hear people personal stories.

  153. @DML and Gabriel,

    Great comments y'all, and I appreciate the thought and precision you're offering here.

    I also used to be a big Zerzan and Derrick Jensen fan, and still am, to some extent, but I agree with you both that there's more nuance in what we see than those folks might account for. I apprenticed for the 'Permaculture Activist' magazine, and the publisher, my boss, read and wrote a rave review of 'The Vegetarian Myth,' and in the same issue's review section offered a similarly rave review of Gene Logsden's 'Small-Scale Grain Raising.' Ironic, of course, given how anti-grain Keith is, but he cited the permaculture maxim that 'the opposite is also true.' That maxim is a variant of physicist Niels Bohr's quote that "The opposite of a correct statement is an incorrect statement. The opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth."

    It's very comforting to live in a world of certainty, with clearly defined borders. But of course, as I have grown somewhat older, I realize that that doesn't correspond to reality all that well. And so yeah, I concede and agree with you that more nuance is important. What exactly is 'agriculture?' is a question I grappled with, for example. Manning's definition is useful and hones in on the most destructive element of what I'm getting at, but I had to come to terms with the fact that humans have probably never simply lived off the fat of the land, and have always actively engaged with their environments, altering it in ways that made sense for them. The key for me now isn't whether or not the land has a big human imprint on it, but what is the nature of that imprint. Acording to '1491,' the Amazonian rainforest is equally a human arifact as the Sahara desert, but so different ecologically as to be nearly incomprehensible. And for so long, all I knew was the Saharas left in the wake of humans, and not the rainforests. But knowing that now brings up all those questions of what exactly are the limits of the truths I once knew. And the picture is blurry.

    That said, I want to hone in on what still seems clear, and there's something still profoundly resonant with the principles of a life lived close to the land and looking at the ways we seem to have emerged in order to provide some context for the dis-ease we experience today. We may not have all the answers, but I don't think we're floating blind in an ocean, with land nowhere in sight. And for that reason, I feel drawn to a paleo orientation. It's not a final prescription, but a great first step in testing the plausbility of an idea. And I guess that's why I feel drawn to defend it, and make sure that conversations about the benefits of agriculture or our way of life don't take for granted that we're simply living at the apex of human history, that everything has progressed to this. We may not be at the end of history either, but making the point that it might be the end of a long road down at least bends the stick back the other way and maybe equalizes things a bit.

  154. Please, to everyone, if you're going to mention studies, data, etc, please try to show it, not just mention it.

  155. EL 66K
    No more data. I was curious about the full study after Jannis provided the abstract. Some of the references were interesting so I read a couple of those also, particularly about rat feeding.

    As far as rats are concerned, it provided another example of Paracelsus' and Claude Bernard's "Toxin Principle" :

    "Everything is poisonous, nothing is poisonous, it only depends on the dose" – hormesis is based on it.

  156. I just typed out a long post and then it was too large and I lost it. Oh well.

    Great points all around. I have to say though, Jensen and his crew seem to me like a cult. Very strange, extremely dogmatic people with certain set system.

  157. You people who eat enormous amounts of sugar must have incredibly strong pancreases. I'm much better now, and can eat a little sugar, but for a long time if I ate any sugar I couldn't drag myself out of bed in the morning and my head felt "cloudy" all day. The body requires lots of magnesium to digest sugar so if a person is magnesium deficient that could be one factor that wouldn't allow them to eat sugar like you do, among other things.

  158. Hello,
    I am new here. Just found this site yesterday…I read the free eBook, then read the new addendum…Seems like it is controversial. I am wondering which way to go here. I am diagnosed as insulin resistant, my fasting blood sugar is about 105. I have been doing a low carb thing for awhile because I saw that even eating complex carbs was spiking my sugar. I have followed Sally Fallon and Mary Enig's work, also have gotten interested in Metabolic Typing theory as well…have considered myself a fast-oxidizer or parasympathetic type…which they say does not do well with carbs…I have done the raw vegan thing as well…consuming tons of PUFA's in the form of nut pate's, etc. to get protein and fat. So confusing. OMG. Like crazy confusing. I did allow myself potatoes and brown rice today and last night…I am open to any feedback, but it seems from the comments on this post that a lot of posters are as confused as I am. Could it be that metabolic typing is more real than is being given credit for here? I mean, perhaps our bodies just respond differently to different macronutrients?
    Anyway, my brain is mush right now. But, I am psyched to have found this site and think Matt Stone is amazing! Thank you for what you have created here Matt!

  159. If there are metabolic types, human science is at a loss to properly categorize them. I think it is evident though that starch foods are not bad for most of the population, so long as some nutrient dense foods are included in the diet.

    In my opinion that includes refined starch.

    I cant safely make a recommendation for your diet Katie. I have never been insulin resistant and only hypoglycemic.

    I can say that activity is going to be most important to you. If you can handle more activity (some people are so sick activity weakens them…they have a long uphill battle) then more is better.

    Not high intensity activity for long durations, but lots of brisk walking, hiking, bike riding, with short bursts of sprinting exercises or heavy(ish) lifting.

    We are designed to be active from waking up until going to bed. Many hours of activity a day. I often walk or bike ride ten miles in a day.

    From all the abuse I have put myself through, and all the metabolic harm I have done to myself, I think what enabled me to survive was my activity level. I have always been hyperactive, and it has preserved me and helped me avoid diabetes.

    Unless your pancreas is not functioning whatsoever (type 1), then activity will improve your sugar assimilation.

    The recommendations of 30 minutes of exercise three times a week are not enough. You literally need four hours of exercise a day at a minimum, in varying intensities.

  160. 4 hours of exercise a day? That seems very daunting. I am definitely too sedentary…so I will work with upping my activity level. How do you feel about rebounding? I have recently started rebounding and love the way it makes me feel. Suprisingly, after having a sweet potatoe, brown rice and veggies for breakfast, with some coconut oil…my blood glucose was a 91 a few hours after…pretty good number for me. Very suprising. There were mornings I had eggs, butter, avocado and still had readings of over 100…so this is intriguing…also, 5 hours later, I am still not hungry yet. I am suprised because, intellectually, according to what I have studied, I would assume I would have been ravenous by now, having had a no animal protein and low fat meal. Let's see what happens.
    Thanks for your feedback.

  161. Yes, what you have studied is wrong Kate. It is a low-carb contortion of science that has somehow infiltrated WAPF and Paleo only because it goes against conventional wisdom, which they are all about. I answered your original question on the Free Ebook post.

  162. A friend of mine was wondering if working daily in extreme heat might have something to do with his temps not going up.

  163. Katie-

    4 hours of varying intensity activity a day, yes. I'm not talking about jogging 4 hours a day.

    Just play! If you have a dog, don't just take it to the park and watch it run. Even just throwing a ball is not enough. Run with the dogs!

  164. Matt, after reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration I agree that the WAPF has gone a little nuts with the fat emphasis. I don't see that at all in Dr. Price's book. Whole foods. Everything in moderation. Don't be afraid of saturated fat, but don't live on it either. That's what I see. Is the fat emphasis due to Mary Enig's contribution and all her research on fats?

  165. Matt:

    As far as I can see you got the idea that starch overfeeding leads to muscles growing like weeds without fat gain from that veganmaster blog. But do you have any convincing evidence? Every overfeeding study I have seen so far shows quite some fat gain. Carbs (especially starch) seems to have a minor advantage but I don´t believe in a huge metabolic advantage of starch. Even in the study you linked the authors say: "the fact remains that obesity can develop from overeating carbohydrate. Advising people that they can eat unlimited amount of a high-carbohydrate diet is not appropriate."
    Is there evidence for your claim besides anecdotes? I don´t think so.

    Why does diabetes exist? The body just can get rid of glucose via thermogenesis, can´t it? In a diabetic, excess glucose can´t be stored (fast enough) so it keeps circulation in the blood.
    That´s exactly what I see when I am eating a lot of carbs. BG spikes to about 130 and stays high quite some time. FBG is also elevated during high carb eating.

  166. Once again, carbohydrate and starch are not synonymous.

    I have not noticed a rise in fasting BG or postprandial BG on a very high starch diet. With overfeeding, I would imagine some increase initially followed by a drop as insulin sensitivity improves and a further improvement once appetite eventually drops from the starch overfeeding.


    It's weird that there's considered to be a Weston A. Price "way" of eating, when the guy traveled the globe and saw 14 totally different ways of eating. More extensive data from sub Saharan Africa and the work of Trowell, Burkitt, Cleave, etc. provides even more data that macronutrient intake is not that significant.

    While Price theorized that it was all about fat soluble vitamins, the bigger theme globally when everything is factored in is that absence of refined carbohydrates is a more universal explanation. Nothing against fat soluble vitamins, but there is no daily requirement for cod liver oil or butterfat to be healthy.

    To discredit the work of guys like Fuhrman, Barnard, Campbell, McDougall because they don't get their fat soluble vitamins is a major hangup that they need to see past.

    They could be holding hands and proclaiming in unison that whole foods rule, but instead each party has its head in the sand regarding various issues (evil animal products or dangers of diets without tons of milk and cod liver oil).

  167. Matt:

    Do you have read at least one study that confirms your claim, that overfeeding starch leads to LBM-gains without (or at least with minimal) fat gain?
    I would be very interested to look into such a study. A link would be highly appreciated.

  168. Sven, if you go to the online book, "Uric Acid an Epitome of the Subject", by Alexander Haig, and look on page 87, you will see his explanation of what diabetes is. He does say it's improper combustion, and he explains why.

  169. Sven-

    I don't know of one study that has specifically tested high-starch, very low-fat overfeeding and carefully tracked the ratio of LBM gains to increase in fat mass.

    Most is inferred from a collection of other studies, one showing that carbohydrate overfeeding produces significantly more thermogenesis and LBM gain in comparison to fat overfeeding with less fat gain than fat overfeeding.

    Another study used a baseline diet and gave a supplement with varying macronutrient composition. Once again, the higher the carb to fat ratio, the higher the muscle to fat gain ratio.

    Another study shows that with starch overfeeding there is minimal de novo lipogenesis compared to what is seen with glucose, fructose, or sucrose overfeeding.

    None of the studies show a very low fat intake, so there is still plenty of fat present to be stored in the form of fat.

    But even the MNP creator states that at some calorie level fat will be stored. It's up to an individual to find their own "sweet spot" where they are gaining the most muscle as possible without fat gain. I would imagine there is a time limit as well before de novo lipogenesis starts to increase, but you gotta figure this would take a while.

    But in terms of sheer basic physiology, fat cannot be stored at a very efficient rate without fat present, and you probably wouldn't see a high rate of fat storage in the absence of fat until calorie intake became way, way too high. Higher than anyone would be likely to achieve on a starch-based diet anyway, so there's not much to discuss there.

    But ultimately it will take some experimentation before the extent of starch-overfeeding's usefulness in achieving lean gains applied in the real world with real people can be fully determined.

    But it is safe to say that the higher the carb to fat ratio and the starch to sugar ratio, the greater the lean mass gains and thermogenesis when excess calories are consumed.

  170. Matt:

    Thanks for your reply. That sounds reasonable.
    According to the carb/fat-overfeeding study you posted, the advantage of the carb overfeeding is most pronounced in the first few days. That would be an argument for some kind of cyclical diet with HC/LF-overfeeding days. Maybe something like the Abel Scott Cycle diet.

  171. Abel's diet is a little more complex than that, as it depends upon full-on intramuscular fat depletion and serious glycogen depletion according to him.

    But yes, I wouldn't want my body to become proficient at turning starch into fat.

    For muscle gaining phases, you'd think 2 days of overfeeding (day of your workout and day after) followed by regular eating the rest of the time would be a smarter and more specific route – and something that could be continued longer than just a few weeks all in one shot.

  172. After all, McDougall still advocates a vegan diet, doesn't he? He must have noticed that people in Peru were not vegans…

  173. Im stuffed on this thing lol. Are we supposed to overfeed ourselves for the month or simply eat as much as we feel like eating?

    Also, would being depressed slow down temperature gains or will this work regardless of depression and stuff?

  174. Has anyone experienced a tightness in his/her throat during the first few days of RRARFing?

    I’m a recovering 24yo paleo guy with hypothyroidism (low Free/Total T3, monster Reverse T3), hypogonadism (basement FSH, LH, testosterone), and slightly elevated cortisol. Today is Day 3 of RRARFing, and while I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in a while and I’m already noticing signs of an improving metabolism and reproductive system, there’s a tightness at the base of my throat, right about where my long-dormant thyroid lives.

    I’m not sure what to make of it… any thoughts? Though I cut out all nutritional supplements (basically the Perfect Health Diet supplements) when I started, taking a multi-vitamin seemed to help with the tightness last night, which was almost interfering with breathing and speech. Could this be my thyroid needing more iodine/selenium to support a reawakening than it’s getting? I don’t think I have any food allergies, and taking an anti-histamine last night didn’t help at all.

    • That’s a new one, although I do know of a couple cases where it’s difficult to swallow food and other problems related to low metabolism. Hoarseness is definitely a recognized symptom of hypothyroidism. I wouldn’t take any chances here if you really feel your airway is being closed off. Be careful. Let us know how it turns out too. I’m very interested in this.

      • Thanks for the quick reply, Matt. I intentionally waited a couple of days before replying to see if the swelling would return. Though I’ve continued to be aware of a slight sensation at the base of my throat since my initial post, it hasn’t been even remotely as tight as it was a couple of nights ago.

        There’s no doubt in my mind that the tightness was accompanied by a healthier thyroid hormone profile than I’ve had in about a decade. I felt phenomenal: energy that was boundless and clean, the mild depression lifted, food tasted great, literal unprovoked bursts of laughter because life felt so good. That’s what we’re aiming for permanently here, though it’s wearing off today. Any idea what could cause such a surge in awesome? (I have middle-of-the-road T4 levels and am not taking any medication at the moment, thyroid or otherwise.)

        (Interestingly, I had another manic period that lasted ~48 hours about 6 months ago. I had recently been officially diagnosed as hypothyroid and took a 6mg dose of iodine (Iodoral) along with 200 mcg selenium in an attempt to jump-start things. My throat swelled up, though it was subtly different: with the iodine, my tongue felt too large for my mouth, and an anti-histamine helped within ~15 minutes. Same elation as the past few days, though I dropped into a miserable reactive hypothyroidism after the mania. This time around, after a couple days of ice cream, potatoes, and pancakes, my tongue was unaffected and an anti-histamine didn’t help at all.)

        Not to derail the RRARF discussion, but what’s the verdict these days for those of us with high Reverse T3 loads? I found some interesting discussion in the comments of http://180degreehealth.com/2009/08/carb-wars-episode-i. It sounds like Harper and I have a similar story. You and me, too, Matt, actually: I was briefly anorexic (under-eating, over-exercising) in 2003 and my health has been off ever since. I emerged from that with 3 years of low-fat eating, followed by 4 years of vegetarianism that declined into misery. Paleo was a godsend initially, but 1.5 years later, the honeymoon is definitely over and, as I said earlier, my hormones are pretty messed up, as is my relationship with food and health.

        Any thoughts on post-anorexics and/or Reverse T3 would be greatly appreciated :)

        • No thoughts specifically about RT3. I think this go-around will be different, as you are bringing about change in a cohesive manner, not just by taking isolated substances. There will be many bumps in the road. I doubt it will be a straight line. Be ready to perservere, and be realistic. This isn’t about achieving perfect utopian health. I doubt anything will deliver that to you. But it is about being able to live and feel normal enough to enjoy your short time here on this planet. And to stop being on some special diet and start being a badass!

  175. Hi Matt,

    I have been having some digestion issues for a while now, mostly it is bloating. I used to attribute this to over eating as I sometimes used to do but now I know that is not the case. I will also sometimes get hiccups after meals. I suspect the cause for this may be low stomach acid, as if I take kombucha with meals I do not get the hiccups. Anyway I have recently pin pointed some of the foods that I know for sure cause me to bloat, they are: broccoli, apples, pears, oranges, onions, and possibly sweet potatoes.

    I eliminate nearly everyday. But my stools often contain tiny undigested bits of food and white specks. (bacteria, maybe?)

    I eat paleo, and have for about 8 months now: grassfed meat, lots of coconut, wild fish, bananas, fruit, veggies, no nuts, or tomatoes.

    I’m 18. I was on birth control for a year, and been off of it for about 11 months now. My last period was 9 months ago.

    I sometimes eat fermented foods: homemade pickles, sauerkraut, fermented carrots, and kombucha. I have been hesitant to include them all the time bc there is just so much conflicting information out there: some say to limit kombucha bc of yeasts and some say to limit sauerkraut bc of thyroid suppressing goitrogens. Soo frustrating.

    Also about a week ago I Discovered a local grassfed source of raw goats milk so I have been consuming that as well, with no reaction from me (yet).

    For the past week I have been researching like mad, trying to get to the bottom of this digestion dilemma. For most people with symptoms such as mine, the recommended solution is to stop eating processed junk, which I already don’t do.

    Despite my research, I am repeatedly coming up empty handed.
    It seems a number of things could be to blame: FODMAP sensitivity, SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome, dysbiosis (gut flora imbalance), ect.

    I have been unable to find a website with reliable and sensible information. Most people recommend buying this book or that book, and give nothing but a vague description. This is frustrating bc it seems like everyone says something different and I do not have the money right now to buy a bunch of mysterious nutrition books.

    So that leads me to why I am writing you: you seem to be in good health and you seem like an open minded out of the box kind of guy. I would love an experienced persons input. It really would mean the world to me.

    I am willing to do whatever I have to: eat, not eat, what I have to in order to heal myself. I just need a push in the right direction.

    For the past week I have been eating very low carb and I am eating raw grassfed meat daily now. However I am concerned because one of the heralded benefits for eating low carb is weight loss, which is not something i desire. Quite the opposite, i am actually trying to gain weight (or at least maintain). I am 5″6′ and weigh 100 pounds. I finally started putting on a little weight in the past few months (ever since a three month vegan stint just prior to converting to paleo I have been underweight).

    In the name of experimentation, i ate a zero carb meat + fat only diet for 3 days. During that time i was not bloated at all, but i was constantly tired, i had brain fog, trouble sleeping, my muscles were tense, i was cold a lot, and i was a bit jumpy. On the third day i tried a small amount of white rice, and i experienced no digestive discomfort whatsoever.

    What is your take on my case? If you have dealt with similar stories in the past i would love to hear about it.

    Any information you give is sure to be of some help, thank you SO MUCH for your time! I really hope to hear from you.


    • Kaitlyn,

      You might consider getting help from Matt, more info here: http://180degreehealth.com/2012/01/get-help

      For a case as specific as yours, having the chance to talk with you would probably help. It’s on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, so don’t let financial constraints impede you.

      Good luck!

      • Kaitlyn

        I also suffer from bloating but since cutting out fibre the bloating has been almost non existent. I am fine eating white flour products, white rice, dairy products, eggs and meat but if I add wholegrains or fruit and vegetables the bloating returns. It’s not the most healthy (or exciting!) diet in the world but I take blackstrap molasses, a mineral supplement called Min Col and vitamin C capsules to (hopefully) make up for some of what’s lacking in my diet.

        As Rob says above, a consultation with Matt would be a great idea (and I intend to book a consultation with him in the near future) but as a short term measure to ease the discomfort, a fibre free diet may be the way to go.

  176. @Rob, that link doesn’t appear to work anymore, so I’ll try to get some advice here (I’m a different Kat, not Kaitlyn above).

    I’m struggling to find any concrete information as to how to go about embarking on a RRARF journey…I see various posts suggesting high carbs in whole form, with no added sugar, and other posts suggesting that you just overfeed and anything goes. I even saw a blog where a woman coming off GAPS was eating ice cream for breakfast as per Matt’s suggestion.

    So what to do? I’m not coming off any particular diet, and I simply want to fix my mildly off-kilter thyroid and tired adrenals without going on some restrictive fad diet. Any paleo-type blog has rubbed me the wrong way and comes across as cultish and pretentious (despite this, I do agree with them that whole, natural foods are best – just not the rest of the BS they so aggressively spew).
    My guess is that the whole ice-cream-for-breakfast idea is more geared toward those who have food-phobias and have wrecked their bodies by dieting…is this correct? And sugar – how does it fit into RRARF? Can we consume waffles with maple syrup, which seems to be suggested sometimes but not at other times? Or do we eliminate sugar and stick with whole grain/starches? are we trying to get in as much concentrated food as possible? If that’s the case, is refined the way to go for a short time? Or is this need for concentrated foods more geared towards those who have emaciated themselves on GAPS, paleo, etc….

    I just want a basic rundown of what methods are the best to follow when overfeeding. If it’s a non-restrictive plan, it seems as though I should just eat a lot of whatever – refined or not. And if I want to avoid ballooning out, I should keep the carb ratios higher than fats/proteins. I guess I’m just a bit confused…any suggestions would be appreciated – thank you:)


  177. I have been focussing on getting my starches from corn tortillas, beans, white rice and potatoes since the addendum mentions that these carbs promote the least fat-gain but most weight gain. I have also cut down on fats and proteins (compared to before). But I am very very tired from the corn tortillas especially. I rrarfed for about 3 weeks (eating whatever, whenever – of course I still have my standards as in nothing not delicious or high-quality). I am now on the higher-carb diet but am just so tired all the time. I have been getting close to 10 hours of sleep a night. Feel less anxious for the most part but just too lethargic. I also have lost a lot of interest in food. I eat because I don’t want to lose the temperature gain. Would you say that once your temperature is above 98.6 consistently, you can ease off on the overfeeding or high-carbing? Any other carbs that people have enjoyed or had success with? Thanks.

  178. Hi Matt
    With your more recent experimentation with more fruit in your diet, would you still agree with your statement below? I know this article is three years old…I have been trying to eat a lot less fat (like hardly any) and more fruit but my temperatures are going down again…Do you think eating more fruit along with lots of starches will make me gain more weight? I am gaining a little still–maybe because my temperature is lower. (I just rediscovered dried MAAAANNGGGOOOS. Oh my.)

    “However, this is a very inefficient process. When large quantities of fructose are ingested during overfeeding, the effect is very fattening because a great deal of the fructose is converted to fat in the liver. However, this is not true when talking about starch overfeeding.

    Thus, when the ratio of carbohydrate to fat is very high, and the ratio of starch to fructose (and also glucose in simple as opposed to complex form as is found in starches) is also high, the more of the excess energy is stored into muscle tissue and the less into fat”

    • You will probably need to eat some salty starches and dried fruit – making the calories more concentrated, to make a lower fat diet work. Too much watery fruit becomes too cooling. I have a book coming out on June 5th that discusses this in great detail for aspiring vegetarians.

  179. Hi Matt,

    I have a few questions, hopefully you can answer them for me :)
    – During rrarf having a high carb/low fat will help prevent unwanted fat gain, but does it provide the same benefits and heal the metabolism as just eating high carb and fat?
    -Also you mentioned that high carb/ high fat is going to guarantee fat gain when overfeeding, but I thought that once you heal your metabolism you can eat whatever and become fat proof?
    – While overfeeding, after your temperature and other things get better can you go back to more maintenance diet, should this be high starch, lower fat?
    – And I was wondering if it would cause increased fat gain to be having smoothies made from real coconut milk with mangoes, bananas etc? Not sure if high fat, high sugar causes increased fat gain.

    Sorry for all the questions, I just wanna get everything straight. I’ve been rrarfing for almost 3 weeks now, and I really do not want anymore fat gain at all. I had always been very fit, 5’6 125lbs, but started having hypersensitivity to a ton of foods, and hands and feet were always cold. My diet was pretty good, but lower carbs, but nothing crazy. I didn’t have any major stress or sleep issues either. All of this has been completely reversed, and my temps are great. I gained about 5 lbs, but I really don’t want a belly! So I guess I just want some guidance as if I should go back to more maintenance calories but keep a higher starch to fat ratio for the long term.

    Thanks again!! Torey


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>