Serotonin and the Carbohydrate to Protein Ratio

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There is always some war going on against a certain hormone or biochemical. The most common of course is probably cholesterol, which plays many essential roles in the body that you will die without. Another of course is insulin, yet another hormone that low-carb gurus have gone to war against and tried to pin every known disease to. Estrogen also comes to mind, as does cortisol.

One concept I’ve always appreciated, and that I thought distinguished authors like Barry Sears and Diana Schwarzbein from either low-fat or low-carb dogma was insisting that the RIGHT amount of our essential hormones and biochemicals is the great secret to the best health a person can achieve.

Sears developed what he calls the Zone. This zone is a place where insulin and its counter-hormone glucagon exist in balance. To manipulate this balance, you focus on the ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Sears, without any real basis, established this at 1.5 to 1. Schwarzbein is more flexible and takes other factors into account, but is very blunt about never going below about a 1:1 ratio “no matter who you are or what you think” and suggests that a 2:1 ratio is probably ideal if one had to choose.

The reason I bring this up is simple. Along with this carbohydrate to protein ratio which has a big impact on the insulin to glucagon ratio, you also have various neurotransmitters associated with that as well.

In an insulin-dominant state, your serotonin tends to rise in proportion to the drop in adrenal hormone activity. You could call this the fed state, and it is characterized by feeling full, calm, at ease, and relaxed – even sleepy when you really eat a big meal. When you are in a glucagon-dominated state (glucagon is hormone that is secreted to raise blood sugar, unlike insulin which does the opposite) your adrenal hormones by definition are active. This happens when no food is available, typically several hours after you’ve eaten. You hear reports of extreme mental focus and energy amongst intermittent fasters during their fast. Yes. This is because insulin is low, and glucagon and therefore the adrenal hormones are working overtime.

I too experienced this with my initial entryway into a low-carb diet. A low-carb diet (low carbohydrate to protein ratio), quite simply, lowers insulin and raises the catecholamines that give you energy and mental focus. I just couldn’t believe how I could go and go and go all day and NEVER feel drowsy or hungry. It was remarkable.

But after enough time passed, the dark cloud started moving in. I couldn’t sleep. I developed dark circles under my eyes. My sex drive decreased and other ominous signs. But worst of all, my mood became atrocious. Normally a lax, easygoing kinda guy, I reverted to behavior I had in my youth – a temper like the Tazmanian Devil.

After going low-carb long enough my temper became outrageous. Some little idea would set me off and I’d stay up all night sweating in furious anger and fantasizing about inflicting harm to “x” thing or person that I was obsessing over.

But within 24 hours of embracing carbohydrates fully, that disappeared completely. No more sleepless nights. No more dark circles. No more irrational anger. And the sleep. Good lord did I sleep. And I too, like many others, experienced major fatigue after meals for the first 1-2 weeks. The happiness was blissful. I lived up to my nickname of “Stoner,” with a constant smile on my face, a sensation of deep peace and relaxation, and my eyelids half closed.

Anyway, the point of this post is to be mindful of your carbohydrate to protein ratio. Personally, I don’t believe that there is one magic ratio. Rather, I think this ratio can be exploited to do remarkable things – like give yourself great energy and focus during the day and amazing sleep at night, simply by tweaking this ratio at certain times. Not only that, but you can use this ratio to determine what puts you in the good mood, no-cravings, stable energy “zone” throughout the day.

Too many carbs in relation to protein and you have too much serotonin and you feel sluggish and unproductive. Too little carbs and you feel anxious, jittery, nervous, and quick to anger. A big hit of ice cream or alcohol and you’ll send your serotonin on a wild roller coaster and are destined to be out of optimal emotional balance. Even keel is the goal.

This concept was brought up months ago by JT and others. That idea was simply to eat more protein early in the day and less at night. This makes even more sense when you scrutinize our circadian rhythms (next post will be on resetting those rhythms), and how those with metabolic issues and obesity almost ALWAYS have the circadian rhythms backwards – waking up feeling tired and not hungry (low cortisol, high serotonin), and going to bed hungry (craving calorie-dense sugary foods, white flour products, and alcohol specifically) and not tired (high cortisol, low serotonin). This can mostly be attributed to, I believe, the delicate balance between serotonin and cortisol – which is impacted most heavily by the carbohydrate to protein ratio of the last meal you ate, as well as calorie intake.

Of course, the whole concept behind Kathleen DesMaisons’s program for overcoming addiction as discussed in Potatoes Not Prozac is eating starch, WITHOUT accompanying protein (a few bites of a baked potato) before bedtime to assist in getting tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier where it is converted to serotonin, then melatonin – helping you fall asleep, have incredible dreams (you wouldn’t believe what Tom Skerritt was wearing last night!), and overcome addiction. I think this practice goes way beyond just addressing addiction though.

Also it’s important to note that your body and brain have a remarkable ability to adjust. For example, when I started eating very high-carb/low-protein (about a 5:1 ratio) in June, my sleep was incredible at first. However, the longer I continued at this constant level, the more carbs and the less protein it took for me to be able to get a good night’s sleep. Protein just became too energizing and carbs became increasingly less relaxing/calming.

But the last couple of weeks I’ve fine-tuned it and discovered that it’s very easy to get the best of both worlds – energizing protein early in the day and calming carbs at night. I’m not talking about extremes of carb cycling here either – just going from say roughly a 2:1 ratio at breakfast and lunch to a 4:1 ratio at dinner.

This is really an interesting self-experiment to try for yourself if you are curious about the power that minor changes in meal composition have over mood, energy levels, sleep quality, and more.

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168 Comments

  1. Tom Skerrit???!! Whoever's having dreams about him is probably drinking metamucil before bed…

    Reply
  2. Good post Matt. I like the idea of a zone. I'm not talking about the zone diet, I'm just talking about a middle ground based on your own individual needs. I have mentioned before that through the years I have learned to find a middle ground in most things in life. I don't like to lean too far in either direction as I find that a constant imbalance usually leads to problems. I believe I have found what works for me (it works too good I suppose….if I were looking to lose weight…lol). But it is basically staying in "my" zone. And that is based on all kinds of information from all sides. And based on my "middle ground/zone" things change slightly from time to time but all based around the same philosophy. I happen to have other issues I am trying to control, but if not for that, I have found my zone to maintain weight, mood, energy etc.
    Good stuff

    Reply
  3. Hi Matt,
    I am at the 30 day mark since starting RRARF…I focused on the higher carb version…I have experienced better sleep, clearer skin, lost the circles around my eyes, felt calmer, my temp did not go up too much, a few points, it did reach 97.6 just before menstruation, but has come down to 97.2 since…it was about 96.9 a month ago. So, my question is, what now? I am wondering what to focus on from here. I have about 60 pounds to lose. I look forward to your response.

    Reply
  4. Hey Matt. this is a really timely post as my family is really dealing with some sleep issues. My husband has not been sleeping well. It throws everything off. I will try a 2:1 carb ratio at breakfast. (Eggs and toast, maybe? Eggs, bacon and grits?) and a 4:1 ratio at dinner. (Three ears of sweet corn and a small slab of lean meat.)

    Reply
  5. So that's 2 units carbs to 1 unit protein by weight, or by calories?

    Reply
  6. posting to get the comments emailed :)

    Reply
  7. Helping you overcome addiction, giving you the greatest sleep of your night, is there anything the potato can't do?

    I've been thinking about incorporating that "protein timing" for a while now, because I also have noticed that I seem to be more awake when having more protein for breakfast. However I've been struggling with the logistics a bit. Actually right now I have quite a low protein breakfast with one or two eggs and maybe some milk and a moderate protein dinner. Eggs for me simply are the perfect breakfast food, but I really don't feel like eating tons of eggs for breakfast which makes getting enough protein a bit harder. Maybe I should swith that stuff up. Eat eggs for dinner and also prepare the protein for breakfast at dinner time. Is it okay to keep cooked seafood in the fridge overnight? I consume quite a lot of shrimps and lean fish and until now I've been kinda hesitant to store it in the fridge and not eat it directy. Maybe I should just switch protein sources.
    So Matt, JT or Elizabeth (those are just the ones who I know incorporate this already), how does a typical dinner/breakfast look for you?

    Reply
    • Hi madMUHHH, Try stilltasty.com (I’m in no way affiliated, but it’s helped me a bunch) – you can search for any kind of food and they will tell you how long it will last outside, fridge, freezer, and what is the best way to do so

      Reply
  8. Matt,
    Great post, i think the circadian issue is key. Have you read the Circadian Prescription yet? He pretty much recommends a protein shake for breakfast and a high carb low protein dinner with a dessert if you want. I have been doing this with a balanced meals during the middle of the day.

    Jenny,
    Try going vegetarian for dinner. Sometimes even something sweet can help as well. The best thing I have ever done to induce a deep sleep is Bikram Yoga at night followed by a vegetarian dinner. Best sleep ever when I do this.

    There are few good books out on the circadian rhythm, and how to manipulate it.

    Reply
  9. Hey all, and Matt. Its been quite awhile since Ive posted here. I havent even been able to go through all the comments of the past 10 posts or so, too busy at work.

    I love the way your posts are going Matt, theyve become even more informative, giving good examples. Though now all the older folk that come here are going to hate you because you said you were a 'Stoner' even though we know you're not! ;-)

    Quick question, that could have been addressed in the past posts, so let me know if its already been asked. With as many carbs as is being recommended currently, and knowing that saliva has the starch breaking down enzyme in it, do you recommend chewing the bejesus out of our carbs before swallowing? How much does it matter and how much of this enzyme is in our saliva? Would one have to chew a lot more if they had a drymouth type of condition where they produced less saliva?

    Thanks Matt! Keep it up. Also, you should do a breakfast week or month on your 180 Kitchen blog. Show us a bunch of awesome, easy breakfast meals since breakfast seems to be a problem for many.

    Reply
  10. Madmuhh,

    Cooking extra protein at dinner and saving a big portion for breakfast and lunch the next day is a great strategy. i cook fish and eat it the next day quite bit and I have never had any problems. but, i am not a food safety expert so you might want to check with someone who is.

    I don't eat eggs, so for breakfast usually i will have a protein shake. Sometimes chicken/turkey breast/fish with a small amount of rice.

    Reply
  11. A big bucket of Palmer popcorn before bed helps me sleep like a baby.

    Reply
  12. @ madMUHHH

    Why not blend the eggs raw with the milk, or eat them out of the shell Vonderplanitz style? I can eat lots of eggs that way in one sitting without a problem.

    Reply
  13. No thanks, I prefer my eggs cooked – at least the egg whites. I probably even could eat several eggs for breakfast without a problem, but I'm still trying to keep PUFAs low, so I don't know how ideal that would be. And I definitely do not wanna throw away any egg yolks.So egg whites alone wouldn't be ideal either.

    Reply
  14. In my opinion you shouldnt worry about not eating eggs because of PUFAs, they dont have THAT much, really, and if you are otherwise eating a decent amount of good fats you should be fine. I think the extra protein and calories will be worth the extra PUFAs. Just my opinion though

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  15. I also used to subscribe to the theory that eating a carb-heavy dinner to have insulin/serotonin spiked and parasympathetic dominance by bedtime would be the most conducive to good sleep quality, especially since it does tend to make me very sleepy in the afternoon. But then I tried moving back my dinner by several hours, to the effect that I would instead be way past the fed state and the insulin/serotonin peak by the time I went to bed. Doing that actually improved my sleep enormously. I now fall asleep much quicker and almost never wake up in the middle of the night like I used to during the HED.

    Don't know how to explain that other than that the blood sugar swings you get during the fed state could disrupt sleep. Other than that, if I understand Ray Peat right, he's arguing that serotonin actually negatively affects sleep and that the not-quite-sleep sluggishness it produces prevents you from going into real deep sleep.

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  16. I remember I would always tell people to eat rice or potatoes if they were having trouble sleeping. After the initial pick up there would usually be a crash. But this *Doesn't* work for people who already eat an all day high carb, high glycemic index diet. Carbs in the gut release serotonin, but high GI carbs do it better. Hence the pigging out many do when trying to go low carb – the body fighting back and wanting its drug it had for many years. Sugar. Thats where the sugar high then crash comes from.

    What going low carb did for you was to enhance the sensitivity for serotonin production. And it's no doubt that you had anger problems after a lifetime of high carb and then going low carb. Your body cannot adapt that fast and it recognizes that it wasn't getting serotonin as much anymore. If all low carb did was make people angry, we wouldn't be here right now because our ancestors would have killed eachother. Our body is really adaptable as you say, but it takes time.

    I'm not defending low carb, as I don't think it's necessary or enjoyable. In fact I am HED right now and enjoying the 98.6, but we need to recognize these things.

    I remember when I first tried ZC for a couple months, and then afterwards ate some rice and potatoes..I was out on the couch in a drug like stupor, stoned. LOL

    Anyways

    Your idea of daily carb cycling is *ALMOST* like intermittent fasting, IMO. Ori Hofmekler does this same thing, and says so in The Warrior Diet, saying one should eat only small amounts of fruit, nuts and bits of meat during undereating for energy and then overeat with heavy carbs/protein at night. He says it primes your body for nightly serotonin release to create melatonin and get you to sleep. And that it also gives you the non sluggish energy during the day once you become accustomed. And I say that just for the sake of discussion, I am not following that diet as I am trying to gain weight and its too hard to do eating greatly only once a day.

    But I do think if you are looking for energy during the day and a salivating serotonin bomb at night, intermittent fasting is a good idea.

    Peace and potatoes!

    Reply
  17. I don't have any problems falling asleep but quite often I wake up at around 4 in the morning experiencing a clammy feeling and my heart racing. Often I have a surge of hunger pangs in my tummy as well. From surfing the net the thing that ties in best seem to something called the "dawn phenomena" that many type2 diabetes patient suffers.

    I'm not diabetic or anywhere near it from the health checkup done at work every other year. I did the lowcarb thing until last Novemeber sometimes when I started reading this blog regularly and since then upped my carbs but I haven't measured how much I acutally eat neither in carbs/fat/protein nor in calories.

    I would very much like some input on this or maybe it's in your coming serotonin posts, Matt?

    Reply
  18. "Ray Peat right, he's arguing that serotonin actually negatively affects sleep and that the not-quite-sleep sluggishness it produces prevents you from going into real deep sleep."

    Yes, serotonin can dramatically decrease the quality of sleep.
    My gf took an serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The doctors said that she would probably not sleep so well.
    And indeed she never slept a night without waking up. Sometimes she couldn't sleep at all.

    That ice cream or sugar "will send your serotonin on a wild roller coaster" is nonsense.
    What do you think is serotonin's role in the endocrine system, Matt?

    Reply
  19. "I wake up at around 4 in the morning experiencing a clammy feeling and my heart racing. Often I have a surge of hunger pangs in my tummy as well."

    I think that means that your cortisol and/or adrenalin levels (cortisol always rises during the night) are very high. If you drink a glass of OJ and eat some cheese that will probably help.

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  20. Aww, Tom Skerrit. I once sat behind him in a little restaurant on Lopez Island, WA. And then I got sick from the clam chowder.

    Anyway, this makes so much sense. I've known about DesMaison's principles as they apply to addiction for a while, but didn't think to use them for myself in such a targeted way. Thanks Matt!

    I second the idea of doing some 180 Kitchen breakfast vids. It would be nice to find some real life examples of what 2:1/4:1/5:1/etc. actually looks like.

    Reply
  21. Subcalva!

    I have had this very problem (waking at 4am). No fun! For me, it was serious digestive issues: something (inflammation, stress)was preventing me from properly digesting and absorbing nutrients from food, so my liver glycogen reserves were WAY too low in the middle of the night, causing blood sugar to drop severely and cortisol to rush in to try and raise it back up (to no avail). This is why you wake up and feel hungry. Cortisol should not wake you up until 7 or 8 am. Taking digestive enzymes helped for a while, but getting gluten out of my diet and cutting back on cow's milk cheese is what really did the trick for me. I also addressed the inflammation directly by lowering omega-6 intake and eating more fish. So the problem is in your gut.
    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  22. Hmmm, this serotonin deep sleep talk is bringing up some questions in my mind.

    If I remember it correctly, the deep sleep phase is also the phase at which you are dreaming. So is Matt's (and my) increased ability to remember dreams a sign that we are dreaming more and thus are having either deeper sleep or more deep sleep? Or does it have nothing to do with deep sleep at all and just shows that one is able to recall dreams better? Which leads me to the question what exactly is causing someone to remember his dreams? Is it a hormonal issue? Which hormones are at play here? Complex but definitely interesting stuff.

    Reply
  23. Okay, so I have been semi-RRARFing and semi just eating to appetite (maybe a bit beyond). I am surprised by the amount of calories I have an appetite for. Does 2100-2300 sound normal for a 125 lb, 5'5" 20 year old female, college student (hour-ish of walking/day) that exercises for 30-60 minutes 4-5 times per week?
    If I eat "beyond appetite" I wait until I'm hungry again to eat… but idk if i'm overeating, I've just been doing this so I can get reacquainted with my appetite after a period of on & off macronutrient & calorie restriction.

    Opinons?

    Also, how to kick a bad peanut butter habit? I know the PUFA ratio is kinda awful.

    Reply
  24. For the person waking up with severe hunger pangs and a clammy feeling, I suggest what other people have…to remove gluten and other inflammatories from your diet. I used to have that in my standard american diet days and I know it was caused by eating too much wheat dairy and sugar. Polyunsaturated fats probably had something to do with it as well. I don't get them anymore.

    Reply
  25. Jennifer,

    I love peanut butter and for years ate it everyday. I couldn't go without my midmorning peanut butter and jelly (just a little jelly) sandwich everyday. I know this is no help but I just stopped altogether one day a few months ago. I stopped the bread, the peanut butter, the jelly, sugar and anything that contains sugar among many other foods. I haven't looked back. No cravings or urges and no problems. But then again I did the same thing with cigarettes almost 30 years ago. My attitude for giving up things is it's a fight. You wanna fight with me? You ain't gonna win. Cigs, food or whatever…I will win and feel good about it.

    Reply
  26. madMUHHH,

    As far as I know, "deep" sleep (slow wave sleep) is not the same as "REM" (rapid eye movement) sleep, in which you are dreaming. The "types" of sleep cycle throughout the night. I'm not sure why certain dreams are able to be recalled. Sometimes I remember multiple dreams from the same night–sometimes just one. I know you should remember a dream if woken up during it though.

    Reply
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  28. madmuhh,
    I think it has nothing to do with how deep your sleep is. Most people only remember the dreams they have in their REM sleep. REM sleep is a very light sleep which is not restfull. That's why you only remember the dream you had before you wake up most of the time. I remember my dreams much better if my sleep was bad.
    So maybe it is because your sleep is very light.

    Reply
  29. Oh boy, I need some sleep help, I want that post. I'm getting about 5 hours a night because I just don't sleep, despite the whole high carb thing. It makes me exhausted during the day, but I can't fall asleep. I've always been like that. But now I have to be up by 7 every day, so no sleeping in. I suspect this could be why this new weight just won't budge. But I'll try to shift our meal to protein in the morning instead of at night.

    Reply
  30. Jannis,

    Have you experimented with combinations of sugars, fats, and protein for sleeping? As you probably know by now, I'm skeptical of sugar's benefits, but I do incorporate many of Peat's ideas into my diet.

    I like to eat pork skins before bed, which have little tryptophan and are salty. Sometimes I'll scramble egg yolks with butter and cream: that works well for me too. Meals based on coconut milk make me quite tired soon after, but I'm betting that's an insulin + tryptophan/serontin reaction considering coconut fat induces a significant insulin response (I should really focus on reducing tryptophan).

    Reply
  31. @Jannis and John:
    Thanks for the information. Guess I mixed something up there.
    However, from what I can tell my sleep has gotten a bit deeper lately. I can't tell whether deep sleep accompanies remembering my dreams or whether only one of those happens at a time for me though. I don't pay that much attention to it.

    Reply
  32. John,
    I sleep really good when I have some cheese and just a little OJ before bed time. It doesn't really matter what I had for dinner. But when I leave out my cheese snack before bed time I sometimes wake up a few times during the night.

    I don't think that this tryptophan-serotonin-melanin theory is correct. You probably know what Peat thinks about that. But it's also my own experience that has shown me that a lot of meat (very rich in tryp.) late in the day causes my sleep to be really bad. I think tryptophan and serotonin, which interact very closely, are in fact one major cause of bad sleep. I don't subscribe to Matt's idea that "getting the tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier" is something that will increase sleep quality. Gelatin and thyroid for instance help a lot of people fall asleep. Both are tryptophan and serotonin antagonists.

    Reply
  33. I'm travelling so I won't be able to comment much, but I'll try.

    Glancing over these first comments I will say that 98.6 is very observant. That's why I thought this topic was interesting enough to address. Eating high carb all the time made the sleep effect of carbs sort of wear off over time. Very interesting for sure – and nearly every former low-carber notes crazy fatigue after reintroducing more carbohydrates, which goes away if they are persistent.

    Collden-

    I too seem to sleep better when I go to bed in that state where I am neither full nor hungry, usually a few hours away from eating anything. If you do eat a starch or sugar-based snack by itself late at night – whabam! The dreams are crazy, but I wouldn't say that my sleep quality is better. DesMaisons talks about this in great detail and understands it very well.

    It's probably best to go to bed, not with high serotonin or low serotonin, but balanced amounts. It's those who suffer from low levels that really NEED that serotonin hit prior to bed. Needing to drink to be able to fall asleep is one of the earliest signs of alcoholism – and I would argue that needing something sweet late at night to be able to sleep is the same phenomenon.

    Gina A. –

    Are you suggesting that Skerritt tainted your clam chowder? Was he dressed in full Indian chief regalia or was that just my post late-night cracker dream?

    Dawn Phenomenon-

    The dawn phenomenon is definitely real, and is usually attributed to that big rise in catecholamines at the 4 a.m. mark. If you want to experience it in full, go on a very low-carb diet for a couple weeks and then drink alcohol right before bed. Gets me every time. But on a high carb diet I don't experience this with alcohol or sugar.

    Starch at night (such as Palmer popcorn, a frequent dinner of mine) helps with this. Not eating too much late at night helps too. Just eating a good dinner around 6pm and then hitting the hay early without food. It takes awhile to adjust to this though.

    Hawaii Girl-

    Next post will be on resetting those circadian rhythms somewhat. We should all be energized during the day and tired at night. If you are not, this is a sign that something is off-kilter if ya ask me.

    JT-

    Agree that a vegetarian dinner is great, and is almost required to get into the 4:1 + ratio range.

    Reply
  34. "Also, how to kick a bad peanut butter habit? I know the PUFA ratio is kinda awful."

    I was a peanut butter fiend before I came here. I had at least one sandwich a day, often PB toast in the morning as well. I just stopped craving it once I began eating more saturated fat from animal products. Real milk, cheese, butter and meat for the first time in years. I had been on a low-fat diet for ages, so when I finally started not worrying about fat, I stopped giving a rat's about PB.

    Reply
  35. Thanks for the PB advice. Ideas about calories? I have seen anything from recommendations of 1700- 2400 on different websites that calculate that sort of thing. And it's not as simple as eating to appetite when your appetite is screwed. I'm just worried if I keep overeating my appetite will keep getting larger and larger and I'll never be able to reign it in to stabilize my weight.

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  36. Thanks for the PB advice. Ideas about calories? I have seen anything from recommendations of 1700- 2400 on different websites that calculate that sort of thing. And it's not as simple as eating to appetite when your appetite is screwed. I'm just worried if I keep overeating my appetite will keep getting larger and larger and I'll never be able to reign it in to stabilize my weight.

    Reply
  37. Jannis,

    should high intake of tryptophan be avoided or is it enough to counterbalance it with gelatine?

    Reply
  38. Peanut butter… I always hated that stuff, until I learned that it's "healthy" and I ate it for the vegetarian protein and the good fats, ugh… I kinda liked the taste of peanuts cooked with sticky rice though.

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  39. I like the fat free powdered peanut butter. I think it tastes great, even my little nieces like it, especially when I reconstitute it with maple syrup. I cannot tolerate regular peanut butter because the PUFAs make me feel sick, but I do great on this.

    Reply
  40. Hans,

    In rats, tryptophan restriction retards growth and slows "aging;"
    it seems to cause an increase in serotonin "receptor" sensitivity; it impairs plasticity of retinotectal axons (which is apparently bad?). From a traditional diet context, I'd guess we eat too much. Maybe eat less, but not none (which is damn hard anyway)?

    Reply
  41. @madMUHHH: I try to get a lot of protein in at breakfast but it's not always easy. A couple eggs with cheese and a glass of milk helps get the number up higher. Sometimes I make a protein shake with either a few eggs or whey protein to boost that number a little. Breakfast is usually 25-35 grams of protein if I try. Lunch is easier for me, since I feel more like eating meat at that time (meat for breakfast doesn't sit well with me). Chicken and rice is a favorite then, and it's not hard to get 40 grams in one meal that way, which is a good amount for me. I don't worry about the PUFAs in eggs so much–eggs are just too awesome of a food to let a little natural PUFA get in my way! ;)

    @Kelly: Yep, popcorn is an AWESOME bedtime snack.

    @Jannis: I've tried the OJ with dairy before bed and it really does help with sleep. We've been hitting the OJ pretty hard around here lately. My husband loves it during working hours with his physical job. It's like real food gatorade for him.

    @Jennifer: Are you eating plenty of carbs? The only time I crave peanut butter is when I'm not getting enough calories or carbs. Otherwise I could care less about the stuff. And like Jenny said, make sure you're getting plenty of the right fats, too. As for 2100-2300 calories that seems within the range of reasonable. Getting reacquainted with your appetite is always a good place to start. And just to give an example, I weigh about 140 and exercise about three times a week for 45 minutes, and I can maintain weight at 2400-2600 calories (if I'm eating plenty of coconut oil, that is–I think that stuff about coconut raising the metabolism is the real deal). A pretty decent calorie calculator says I need about 2,100 so those things aren't really that accurate. They don't account at all for your individual metabolism. You gotta figure that one out for yourself. ;)

    Reply
  42. So why does PUFA's/Omega 6 get such a bad rap?

    Reply
  43. OMG that powdered peanut butter is awful. It's beyond nasty, it's inedible in my opinion.

    Reply
  44. How can powder be butter? lol
    Just kidding.

    Reply
  45. Tom freakin' Skerrit. Dude lives in Seattle. Teaches acting classes there. He was awesome in Top Gun!

    Before I found this blog, I was eating carbs, but feeling guilty for it. I couldn't understand why I was so 'addicted' to them. Have been 'addicted' for my whole life, to starch. I remember I used to order biscuits and gravy with a side of French toast at diners.

    Now I understand, that I have always been what doctors label 'ADD', and the starch was necessary for me, in high amounts, because I move around and am more active than most people. It's not a problem or a disease.

    Reply
  46. Oh one more thing, I have gleaned from my research online that primitive societies usually have starch for breakfast. Could be wrong. It would be interesting to know what the Kitavans eat for breakfast. The French do well on bread and butter with coffee.

    I have been eating starch for breakfast lately because I never feel like cooking meat. Maybe I'll try two eggs for breakfast tomorrow with less starch.

    Reply
  47. Matt, what role, if any, does fat play in serotonin levels. For example, if one goes lower in carbs for their first 2 meals then high carb for their dinner, should fat and protein kept high the first 2 meals then tapered down throughout the day. Is it possible to get the best of both worlds by going high fat/moderate protein/low carb for the first 2 meals, then let's say a quick workout at the gym, followed by a high carb/moderate protein/low fat dinner? Just curious on what role fat plays in insulin/glucagon/serotonin levels because to get the necessary calories in a day fat is a wonderful source and makes going low carb during the day very manageable. Thank you.

    Reply
  48. Interesting entry, Matt. When I was high fat(don't think it was particularly high protein) I experienced the lack of sleepiness and buzzy energy. But meal composition doesn't seem to effect on me now.
    I wanted to turn people on to good resourse on phytic acid- Phyticacid.org. Amanda Rose had a good ebook you can download for $11.97 but alot of the info is on the site. She got some fab graphs! Theres lots of different techniques for dealing with phytic acid and alot of info about how much is in foods and how much phytase as well.

    Reply
  49. How can you not like the powdered peanut butter?!? I love it and so does everyone else I know that tries it, especially the little kids. It is a great low fat vegetarian protein source.

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  50. Tommy,

    Ray Peat is the one who has all of the anti PUFA information. It is not just omega 6 that is bad, peat thinks omega 3s are bad too.

    You should check out his site. He is very interesting and a true radical.

    Reply
  51. Hans,
    When you are still growing you need tryptophan. Adults also need some tryptophan, but far less than children. Tryptophan is essential.
    But you should always balance it with the other, anti-inflammatory amino acids. I always eat some gelatine with my meat or fish.
    Traditional living culture eat the whole animal. We eat just the lean muscle mass. Gelatin makes up about 50% of the protein in an animal, so the tribes that Price observed had a very balanced amino profile.
    Tryptophan is the only amino acid that has been proven to cause cancer. But that's only when it's consumed in large quantities with no other amino acids.

    Tryptophan causes an increase in serotonin action. That's another reason why you should avoid eating too much of it.

    Reply
  52. Elizabeth,
    Glad it helps you. I think cheese is even better than the other dairy products. Peat says it has the ideal amino acid profile for adult humans.

    Reply
  53. Jannis,

    thanks. I meant limit it, not totally avoid it which I would think is impossible anyhow. Recently I was doing a banana fast / feast with about 4kg of bananas a day and I was thinking if that weren't problematic in terms of the high tryptophan in the bananas. Also thinking of durianrider here. After that I tried some gelatine and it did indeed seem to help with the sleep.

    Reply
  54. Hans,
    I have recently seen an interesting paper that looked at the serotonin content of certain fruits. Bananas contain very much of it and they can chronically increase serotonin levels. I wouldn't eat too many bananas. Other fruits are better.

    Reply
  55. John,

    I wasn't going to completely avoid it, just wondering if having bananas (as mentioned) or milk (more recently) as my main source of protein would be kind of a tryptophan overkill.

    I'm still wondering about the milk though. It seems to make me go to the bathroom more easily which is nice, but also seems to give me brainfog and clog the nose sometimes. I can't find raw milk nowadays but when I could it was just the same as pasteurized. Maybe even worse reactions for whatever reason.

    Reply
  56. Jannis,

    that's interesting. How about dates? Bananas and dates seem the only fruit that can provide a decent amount of calories. Maybe mango and durian, too, but they're too expensive here.

    Reply
  57. Dates and figs are fine! Especially for people who have digestive problems. They contain no sucrose but glucose and fructose as mono-saccharides.

    Reply
  58. Great post Matt!
    This so explains why I can never fall asleep on a low-carb dinner. I always have to eat something before i go to sleep and I will wake up during the night too, if i haven't had proper carbs. This really explains my constant struggle at night. Eat less in the morning (more protein) and get more alertness. Eat more dense (more carbs) at night and sleep better. I'm going to try that tomorrow!

    Reply
  59. This works big time and is what my natural instincts sway towards in terms of diet. In the morning I crave a small bit of starch with some fruit and some high protein dairy like cottage cheese or greek yoghurt (meal is small but ratio must be 2:1 or 1:1) and for lunch I definitely prefer to have something with a decent amount of protein like a deep filled sandwich.
    Dinner is the time where wholesome carbs are craved, those comforting starches to calm as the day unwinds.

    It is funny how this is the reverse to what conventional bodybuilding wisdom would have you do fro better body comp, which would taper off the carbs throughout the day. Anyhow sleeping good and feeling good trumps abs any day of the week ;-)

    @ Subcalva: I have the exact same thing as you with the 4AM waking and have had it for years. Really cannot figure things out. I wake up wide awake and unable to get back to sleep unless I eat something, then sometimes I will fall back into a light sleep for an hour or two. The videos GIna.A linked to are interesting but I am not convinced my problem is die to inflammation in the gut, more likely just burnt out adrenals which can't deal with the low blood sugar, as the problem started when I got into heavy diet and exercise……
    Anyhow I am hoping the problem will solve itself with time and a good nourishing 180 style diet.

    Reply
  60. Chris, try some OJ and cheese before bed and see if it helps.
    If you think you have problems with your gut than you should eat one or two raw carrots or some bambo shoots a day. The fiber can dramatically improve the condition.

    Reply
  61. Question: If you wake up hungry but then the feeling goes away after about 30 minutes without eating, does that mean anything? Thanks

    Reply
  62. Hans and Jannis,

    It's weird that Peat says cheese has a good balance of amino acids because according to nutritiondata.com, the proportion of tryptophan is every cheese I checked is higher than [all cuts I checked of] pork, lamb, and beef. It's possible it's incorrect, but I think that site is pretty good. Are there other places we can find amino acid breakdowns?

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  63. John,

    I think it's pretty well known that milk makes you sleep well because it has a lot of tryptophan? So naturally the same would apply to cheese? I don't know much about Ray Peat's views except for reading his article on gelatine a while back and what I've read on here. I'm not big on cheese, I like the taste a lot but it's like a brick in my stomach.

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  64. Jannis,

    why is it orange juice, not apple or some other juice? What's the difference?

    Reply
  65. Jannis, I agree gelatin rocks. I've been making lots of food where I cook the cheaper cuts of meat and bone all day in a slow cooker. That renders out a lot of gelatin. You can tell when the food cools down it has almost a viscous quality. A lot of places they still cook like this. Put a whole fish or chicken in a stew and just cook it all day on low heat. The bonus in this is not only is the taste superior but you can really use cheap meat. I've been using the cheap chicken thighs without the skin. I can feed six adults for about a dollar a piece this way. The only downside is you have to fish out the bones before serving, which is a pain.

    Reply
  66. Tommy, you should go look through Matt's posts on Omega 6. It's not just Ray Peat who is bringing up this imbalance. Cutting the vegetable oils and nut butters is an easy way to address this imbalance. I think Peat isn't "against Omega 3" so much as he doesn't believe in supplementing with fish oil. He recommends supplementing with vitamin e to protect against the occasional restaurant meal.

    I think the strategy of reducing/eliminating the amount of highly processed veggie oil you consume just makes sense. It's clear this stuff is toxic garbage that's been pushed on us unwillingly for a century. Fuck Crisco. And nut butters, I mean, come on. You can live with out them. Especially once you introduce yourself to bacon.

    Reply
  67. Jennythenipper,

    That's where I get confused. I consume omega 6 by way of nuts. I have about a handfull of walnuts mid afternoon and about 15-20 almonds split between the am and around 7:30 pm. I have 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day and I take fish oil. Other than that I don't use veggie oil (or any foods that contain any), I don't eat any processed foods or anything that I can think of at all that would contain any processed PUFFA's. I can't see (or believe) that eating a few nuts per day being bad. I don't see a great "imbalance." At least not for me.

    Reply
  68. John,
    That's a very good point. Even wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan) shows that there is a higher tryptophan content in cheese than in beef or chicken, which makes me very confused now…

    Unless cheese also has a higher level of the other amino acids so maybe the balance is better in cheese than in lean meat?

    Reply
  69. "Jennythenipper,

    That's where I get confused. I consume omega 6 by way of nuts. I have about a handfull of walnuts mid afternoon and about 15-20 almonds split between the am and around 7:30 pm. I have 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day and I take fish oil. Other than that I don't use veggie oil (or any foods that contain any), I don't eat any processed foods or anything that I can think of at all that would contain any processed PUFFA's. I can't see (or believe) that eating a few nuts per day being bad. I don't see a great "imbalance." At least not for me."

    Wonderful! You're not one of the people who really needs to worry about it. Whole nuts as long as they are fresh contain quite a lot of vitamin e which can counteract the problem. Most american males eat 20 grams of PUFA a day which is way too much. If you don't eat processed foods, or eat out at restaurants and don't use veggie oils when you are at home, you have nothing to worry about. For someone who has been eating a lot of PUFA for years and wants to address the omega 6 to Omega3 in their cells, then cutting out nuts makes sense.

    Matt recommends Macadamia nuts for nut lovers, and I've incorporated those and love them.

    Reply
  70. Also Tommy fish oil is probably a waste of money that might be not so good for you. There are definitely some issues with supplementing with it. If you eat real food the balance of oils you are getting should naturally sort itself out. You should be able to get adequate O3 by eating the healthy diet you already eat.

    Reply
  71. I only take the fish oil because of my coronary artery issues. The docs would prescribe me lovaza which is basically the equivalent of the store bought triple strength fish oil capsules. I just take the cheaper store bough fish oil at higher doses.

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  72. Forget OJ, may as well go for the Dr. Pepper, lol

    Reply
  73. rosenfeltc,

    Just look at the amount of tryptophan per gram of total protein: it's higher in cheese than meat.

    In the site you posted, it actually shows the tryptophan percentage for many foods.

    Peat said the Agricultural Research Service isn't reliable, but he didn't offer another source, and I don't know any either…

    …in any case, to be safe, stick to gelatin I guess.

    Reply
  74. I believe Peat does not favor eating a lot of muscle meat because of the high amount of cysteine.
    Apparently to much cysteine is anti-thyroid.

    Reply
  75. Tommy,

    since you have the heart issue, I'd consider cutting out the nuts / almonds and olive oil and replacing them by fresh coconut / dessicated coconut and coconut oil or palm oil, tallow, ghee, or butter if you can handle dairy. That way you'd avoid more omega-6 and also the potentially harmful fish oil. Why not have a herring or a mackarel once in a while, I'd say they beat fish oil capsules in taste and also in health benefits any day.

    Reply
  76. Question:

    Does "fish oil" include fremented cod liver oil or is that considered a different beast?

    Reply
  77. Hans wrote:
    "since you have the heart issue, I'd consider cutting out the nuts / almonds and olive oil and replacing them by fresh coconut / dessicated coconut and coconut oil or palm oil, tallow, ghee, or butter if you can handle dairy. That way you'd avoid more omega-6 and also the potentially harmful fish oil. Why not have a herring or a mackarel once in a while, I'd say they beat fish oil capsules in taste and also in health benefits any day."

    I use extra virgin coconut oil and I have sardines once per week. I don't eat much fish because of the mercury/chemicals and my distrust of fish in general (and Alaskan salmon is too expensive). I'm hesitant eating the sardines because I generally don't eat anything canned. Once and awhile I will get a can of Sokeye wild Alaskan salmon. But again the can issues. I know….I'm weird….lol

    I'm looking into the fish oil thing and may start moving off it. I will experiment with just diet. But like I said, without eating much fish I think my omega 3 is lacking.

    Reply
  78. Hans,

    Cod liver is different than fish oil in that it has more nutrients and is more of a "food," but the bottom line is it has a relatively high percentage of polyunsaturated fats [compared to butter, coconut, milk/cheese]. There's obviously a difference though between eating two tablespoons and eating one teaspoon. Remember every food has PUFAs, so the small amount in cod liver oil shouldn't worry you.

    Chris Masterjohn has written on the topic, but I don't think there are studies comparing differences in already small consumption (1-4%). There definitely are studies that show benefits of consuming small amounts though.

    Reply
  79. I'm not completely sold on the fish oil being a bad thing issue. I may give a shot to cutting it as a trial but I'm not yet convinced. Yes, the studies for fish oil may have been backed by the fish oil industry but whenever I look for studies on the benefits of coconut oil (which I'm trying hard to believe in) I find they are all backed by coconut supporters!
    No mater what the cause, it is always the same. People will find studies to back whatever it is "they" are into and studies to discredit things they are not. Both sides always provide convincing arguments. There are many studies to support fish oil and as a matter of fact the FDA approved Lovaza as a prescription med (and it works) to lower triglycerides and all it is is prescription fish oil in high doses. But they still refuse to approve coconut oil citing unconvincing studies and controlled studies. But I use coconut oil and am sincerely hoping it is good and soon to be widespread.
    But again….for those against something they will find all the studies to support their belief. For those "for" they will find all the studies to support their side.
    I'm left still not so convinced. I've seen more good than bad come out of fish oil. I'm still on the fence.

    Reply
  80. I don't think fish oil or omega 3s are bad per se, if they aren't consumed in excess. Still I think that most fish oil counterproductive. As long as you aren't buying a product that is of very high quality and is stored right, it will most likely be at least partly rancid. Real fish beats fish oil any time in my opinion.

    Reply
  81. Tommy,

    What do you mean by studies that "support"? Fish oil supplement interventions show increased insulin sensitivity and lower triglycerides (this doesn't necessarily equal improved metabolism). Coconut oil interventions almost always show decrease adiposity. Saturated fat in general is liver protective.

    If you're looking for ways to slow aging, which I think is a main indicator of metabolic health, the experimental results are less clear, as we would need tightly controlled long term studies. But, it makes biological sense that a higher proportion of saturated fat is better. Lots of great traditional cultures eat much fish and/or coconut, but their goal is not to simply consume high omega 3.

    Anyway, the only tough question is whether it's helpful to take fish oil to "balance out" a meal of grain-fed protein or not. I myself think a consistent small amount is good. Drinking fish oil by the cup is a bad idea.

    For coconut oil, it probably matters little whether you consume coconut vs butter vs cream vs tallow (assuming good sources of each). I eat a lot of all of them.

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  82. Tommy,

    Are you taking any thyroid?

    The great doctor Broda Barnes was convinced that a lot of heart attacks and disease were caused by low thyroid. Ray Peat believes this as well.

    According to Peat and Barnes, the most important supplement for someone wanting to be heart healthy is thyroid.

    If this is a major concern of yours you might send Peat an email and see what he thinks.

    Of course i think you should keep working with your doctor and following his advice

    Reply
  83. This is my typical shopping:
    Fresh Veggies and fruit, mostly organic. Then over to the bulk bins for organic brown rice, organic quinoa, Organic rolled oats (if I need them) and organic flax seeds which I grind at home.
    Raw walnuts (a little less than 1/2 lb for the week) and less than that of raw almonds.
    Next is, organic soy tempeh (2 servings worth), four 5 oz Fage greek yogurts.
    No salt cottage cheese.
    A few bags of frozen steam in the bag vegetables (brussle sprouts etc.) A 1 lb package of raisins. Dried kidney beans or lentils depending on the week.
    If I need it I buy whole milk kifir which I use a tablespoon as an acid meduium when soaking my grains and beans. Olive oil if needed, same with coconut oil. A spray bottle of pure Balsamic vinegar (no other ingredients).
    Then I go to the farm and buy my grass fed ground beef and my pastured chicken and eggs for the week. Also raw milk. Then across the road to the other farm that has the bees for my raw honey which I use in my morning coffee (I also have a coffee after lunch). Other than that I have no sugar.
    I soak my beans/lentils, rice and also my oatmeal with an acid medium. Sometimes my quinoa also.

    That's everything. Anything I eat comes out of those ingredients. the only packaged stuff is the yogurt, Tempeh, olive oil and coconut oil and balsamic. But obviously they all have no ingredients other than what they are. Added to that I take 18-2700 mg dha/epa per day. Also one scoop of casein protein powder mixed with my raw milk and a banana mid morning. The powder is clean and no other ingredients. I take my heart med and a statin.

    As note. Jack Lalane swears by supplements. He takes 50 per day of all kinds of stuff. He is 95 and still works out 2 hrs per day. Personally I have always been against until my heart attack. I'm just trying to raise HDL and insure fluffy LDL. I would have assumed that my recent drop to 43 triglycerides is due to the high fish oil consumption.

    Reply
  84. I forgot sweet potatoes…I buy 3 per week. And as I said in an earlier post a can of sardines. I buy the same stuff every week and make the same meals.

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  85. Tommy,

    is there no fresh or frozen fish available where you live? I can get fresh mackarel and sometimes herring, sardines or shellfish, and a bunch of other stuff frozen from supermarkets. There is also wild catch fish available at Asian foodstores. Most of the time I eat frozen pollock because it is dirt cheap. Sadly I can only get fillets, not the whole fish. They had some frozen wild salmon which was dirt cheap too, but it's gone now… The world was a better place back in those days. Well, the best was in Taiwan where you can get a whole small tuna for about 5$, cut as sashimi with the head, skin and bones in a bag for making soup at home…

    I don't really eat canned fish if I have a choice.

    Reply
  86. Ah yeah and the cheesecake-like sweet potatoes, the purple yams, bamboo shoots, shark skin, huge oysters… the mangos and durians… it's a nice place!!!

    Reply
  87. I haven't seen frozen. The only wild fish in my area (that I have found) is Alaskan salmon and at times it is $24 per lb. When it isn't it is still $15 or $16. The cheapest I've seen it was $14 per lb. And I have only found one place that sells it.

    Reply
  88. Today I had an epiphany (nothing new but new to me). Starch is a metabolic fuel for the intestines. Since I stopped eating high protein/fat, my digestion has been better and better.

    TMI warning.

    I have been having perfect BM's. No toilet paper needed. I am sure part of this is because I am eating a lot of Kimchi (I live with Koreans and get free homemade Kimchi).

    But I think also it is because when I was low carbing, I wasnt giving my guts enough fuel. Intestines are muscle so do they need glycogen too? Seems logical. But also the flora need carbs and fibers to thrive. I doubt that the flora can eat up a lot of protein and fat.

    Reply
  89. Gabriel

    I had found the same effect as you. But it definitely takes time to adapt.

    Do you eat mainly rice as your starch or is it a mix of things?

    Reply
  90. Gabriel
    I can relate to what you say! When I first stated eating grains my gut went wild- I could even hear it striving away, and feel it! It took quite a few weeks to adjust. Complicated by the fact I was eating a store-bought sourdough 'craft' bread. I was getting a mild gut ache, and the only totally 'new' food was the bread. I did 48 hours grain-free, then introduced soaked porridge, and then other whole gains. After about 2 weeks I tried the store-bought sourdough bread again (I'd had some left- it was expensive so I froze the left-over) and my gut ache came back straight away. I was only eating 1cm slices, 2-4 per day so wasn't pigging out on it. This surprised me that such small amounts had such strong effects as I can usually eat anything- even processed food with no obvious effects.
    I have been using the coffee grinder for grinding my grain but it sprays flour all over the kitchen and takes alot of time to get much flour. Amanda Rose at Phyticacid.org backs up Matt's view that fresh grinding is number one. We know those polys go racid quick. Fresh ground grain just tastes so much better, too. I am about to make the leap to buy a grain mill- cheapest good quality stone one is £200! I've been wanting to do this for about 2 years but its alot of money. I suppose I have to look on it as an investment.

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  91. Also Gabriel
    I had the most vile smelling bms when I started the grains! I thought this cannot be good. But now my bms have gone back to not (particularly-my shit don't stink!) having smelly bms. I drink about a pint of raw milk homemade kefir daily, which I imagine is like kimchi in supporting gut flora.

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  92. Riles-

    I am eating mainly white Korean rice, and white rice noodles. Not a lot of potatoes lately as they are not as convenient.

    Additionally I have been eating some pastries from coffee shops, and also some Mexican food. They are convenient and my schedule is hectic.

    So I guess I have been eating a variety of starch sources but mainly rice.

    The 'house mom' where I live has rice in the cooker all day and gallons of home made kimchi in the fridge.

    Sydney-

    I don't seem to have that problem with wheat products at all. Interestingly, my mom decided I was allergic to wheat as a kid because she sad I would eat it compulsively (gorging on cake at birthday parties) and allegedly I would have mood swings after eating it.

    Looking back though I suspect that I was probably more active than most of the other kids and needed to replenish glycogen stores more often. Also I remember 'gorging' on white rice when we would go to get Chinese food.

    I think refined starches are better for me because I have a high level of activity. They are absorbed more easily I believe. If I ate all the rice I eat now but as brown rice, I might have too much fiber. There is a such thing as getting too much fiber. Especially insoluble fiber can interfere with assimilating some nutrients.

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  93. But I could be wrong.

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  94. I also gorged on bread and chinese food, but I sincerely doubt it was the glycogen.

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  95. I also gorged on bread and chinese food, but I sincerely doubt it was the glycogen.

    Reply
  96. Tommy, If you look around you will be able to find frozen wild fish for MUCH cheaper. I can get it really cheap at all of my local stores. Tilapia is a good farmed fish that is environmentally friendly and low in toxins and mercury.

    Gabriel,
    My experience has been the same as yours. My digestion is much better on a high starch diet than it was on high protein and fat.

    Sydney,
    Can you elaborate a little more on the benefits of the fresh ground wheat and why it is so much better. How has it affected you differently?

    Reply
  97. "never going below about a 1:1 ratio “no matter who you are or what you think”

    What is that in reality? Two cups of rice and 1 cup of protein? That seems incredibly high?! Am I calculating it wrong or something? I don't even eat one cup of protein per day, let alone per meal….It wouldn't work for my uric acid issues.

    I also don't sleep well anymore. I fall asleep fine but wake up at 4 am and can't fall back asleep. Not sure it I'm perhaps getting too little vitamin D. I read somewhere that low vit D can disturb sleep.

    Also, I never had a cavity in a tooth my whole life….then I went low carb …got my first cavity….so that proves it once and for all: low carb is NOT good for health…..

    Also, I have a stone mill that I hand grind my grains in. And my 20 years of chronic diarrhea disappeared once I went on RRARF. So, yes, carbs seem to be very healing for the intestines.

    Reply
  98. I started RRARF at the beginning of September, and have developed some bad rashes on my face…left side of my mouth and between my eyebrows. I'm not eating any gluten, but I had been low-carb for a quite a while. I've added corn products, brown rice, and potatoes. Anyone else experience this, and any suggestions? TIA

    Reply
  99. Erin,
    I have not experienced what you describe, but I know that Matt mentions that when you first start RRARF, you many experience some uncomfortable side effects until your body adjusts…I don't want you to ignore something that may be a big problem, use your gut intincts, but it may just be a healing crisis.

    Reply
  100. "Instead of sugar-phobia, people should be having fat-, oil- and animal food-phobias."

    lol not really…

    "Sugar Damages Teeth"
    @anonymous McDougall link

    Interesting…

    That (if correct) maight be why traditional cultures seem to prefer starches over sugars.

    I don't think his recommendation to add sugar to starches is good. From what I have read, a sweet sensation turns off the amylase production in the mouth, which is undesirable when you're eating a lot of starch.

    Reply
  101. my post was a bit garbled…

    @anonymous McDougall link

    Interesting…

    "Instead of sugar-phobia, people should be having fat-, oil- and animal food-phobias."

    lol not really…

    "Sugar Damages Teeth"

    That (if correct) maight be why traditional cultures seem to prefer starches over sugars. I mean "sugar is bad for the teeth" is what I heard all the time as a child, and WAP's work seems to confirm that.

    I don't think his recommendation to add sugar to starches is good. From what I have read, a sweet sensation turns off the amylase production in the mouth, which is undesirable when you're eating a lot of starch.

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  102. I think he means using a bit of sugar to eat your healthy starch is not a bad idea. He uses the example of adding a tsp of sugar to make your oatmeal more enjoyable. McDougall seems to have a very good perspective on carbohydrates, thanks for the link was a great read.

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  103. "[...]WAP's work seems to confirm that."

    How is that?

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  104. Erin, when I went gluten free I started to notice that corn was a good alternative – I didn't actually get around to eating much of it which was lucky because when I had a blood test it showed that I was highly allergic to corn. I had never had a bad reaction to the corn I did eat but then I hardly ever ate corn – a couple of cobs in the summer and the odd bit in a salad/chili etc. in the winter. Perhaps if I had started loading up on the tortillas, polenta, popcorn etc. I might have developed a bad reaction. What I'm saying is that you could be allergic to something else that has become a staple in your diet that didn't used to be.

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  105. Didn't Price feed his vitamin D kids sugared jam and orange juice?

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  106. JT I haven't been eating alot of fresh ground wheat simply because its such a pain to grind the berries in the coffee grinder. The grains I have been eating more are oats, barley and rye, I buy the flakes and they grind easier and I make porridge too. These flakes will germinate so my thoughts are that I am not getting rancid grain oils (as in stale store bought flour). Its still early days but the main benefit is I'm able to eat more, am chronic meal skipper, I can face bland food early in the day. Just getting more calories has made me feel better. And temps are up. I ordered my grain mill on the net today so will definately be eating more wheat soon. According to Amanda Rose wheat and rye, and I think barley, only take 1-2 hours soaking to lose almost all their phytates. Where as oats and corn(unfortunately as I love them!) take alot more soaking and acidifying to lose phytates. One good thing though is rye has alot of phytase so you can use it with low phytase grains. Hans Can you remember where you read that sweet sensations turns off amylase? Sorry I can't seem to figure out how to paragraph! The paragraph button takes me to 'google account' below.

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  107. Where's freakin Matt at? He's as bad as the President.

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  108. Andrew
    Did Price feed his kids orange juice and jam? If so, thats interesting as I wouldn't have thought jam was a nutrient dense food but maybe it was for the calories for these undernourished tykes?
    Under the influence of the Peatees here I have incorporated freshly squeezed fruit juice and honey into my diet. Trying to keep my calories as high as I can. I am presently restricting my foods to only pure foods, which means a restricted list as I can only get certain foods where I live (get pastured, organic meats- mostly carcasses and liver from a farmer on the net). I did a loooong internet search and finally found unfiltered, raw honey. Its a 2 1/2 hour trip there and back to the shop- luckily I have a pensioner's free bus pass so its a free day out!

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  109. I am not an sugar-Nazi or anything; I avoid it merely because it no longer appeals to me. Ever since I started eating whole foods, my craving for sugar went to zero (which is a huge deal for someone who used to lovvvvee sugar). I will have sugar on occasion of course, but it no longer has that same effect. When I pass up desserts now, I don't feel like I am depriving myself of something amazing (if I passed up a nice steak however…) I think our body craves sugar when it is malnourished and underfed- it associates sugar with a calorie. But sugar has no vitamins, minerals, healthy fats… its just pure flavor. My body now wants food that will nourish it, not just give it energy. So adding sugar to my starches just sounds weird… salt is good though! Just my experience of course.

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  110. I am not an sugar-Nazi or anything; I avoid it merely because it no longer appeals to me. Ever since I started eating whole foods, my craving for sugar went to zero (which is a huge deal for someone who used to lovvvvee sugar). I will have sugar on occasion of course, but it no longer has that same effect. When I pass up desserts now, I don't feel like I am depriving myself of something amazing (if I passed up a nice steak however…) I think our body craves sugar when it is malnourished and underfed- it associates sugar with a calorie. But sugar has no vitamins, minerals, healthy fats… its just pure flavor. My body now wants food that will nourish it, not just give it energy. So adding sugar to my starches just sounds weird… salt is good though! Just my experience of course.

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  111. I am not an sugar-Nazi or anything; I avoid it merely because it no longer appeals to me. Ever since I started eating whole foods, my craving for sugar went to zero (which is a huge deal for someone who used to lovvvvee sugar). I will have sugar on occasion of course, but it no longer has that same effect. When I pass up desserts now, I don't feel like I am depriving myself of something amazing (if I passed up a nice steak however…) I think our body craves sugar when it is malnourished and underfed- it associates sugar with a calorie. But sugar has no vitamins, minerals, healthy fats… its just pure flavor. My body now wants food that will nourish it, not just give it energy. So adding sugar to my starches just sounds weird… salt is good though! Just my experience of course.

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  112. @Jannis

    Because Price noticed the absence of tooth decay before and the prevalence after introduction of "modern foods." He usually mentions sugar, jams, white flour, and canned food. All the other factors remained constant, so what's your explanation?

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  113. @Andrew

    Where did you find that information? I'd say that's highly unlikely as he repeatedly names sweetened jams among the modern foods he considered harmful.

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  114. @Jannis

    Please note that I wrote "seems." It seems obvious to me and I'm sure Price saw it that way (i. e. refined sugar -> tooth decay.) I'm not trying to attack you or something, I just can't imagine what your interpretation of Price's observations would be.

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  115. Ok, Price noted that the introduction of modern food was responsible. That doesn't mean that sugar has anything to do with it. I think wheat is very dangerous for your teeth. But I think I was not what those people were eating but what they were not eating. Price cured tooth decay and other diseases simply by adding high vitamin butter oil to the diet. Price recommended adding sugar to cereals, for example.

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  116. Where did he recommend adding sugar to cereals? In chapter 15: "It is important to emphasize the changes that were made in our modern dietary program to make this boy's nutrition adequate for recovery. Sugars and sweets and white flour products were eliminated as far as possible." Just as an example.

    I think I remember quite clearly that he recommended to limit all sweeteners, including fruit, and he also said that the healthy people he had a look at did the same. He does mention in a lot of cases that they did eat fruit though.

    Maybe Price would have allowed some sugar to be used, but that was a concession to the patient's taste buds, he certainly didn't think it was beneficial.

    You're right though, Price had the theory that the modern foods were bad because they replaced nutrient dense foods rather than being inherently damaging. I think I confused his views with that of Melvin Page.

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  117. Hi Matt!

    -Again great post!
    I "found you" about a week ago and have went full on with the HED. I have been reading your blog non-stop since! You are answering all the questions about health that I have always myself questioned! On the note, I have a question to you;-) Being a former bodybuilder, I gained a fair bit of muscle over the years. I don't really have a desire to be a "muscle-chick" anymore and have progressively eaten less and less the past couple of years (not ending good!) My question to you: Is it possible to get your Leptin back in balance, without having to gain back the same muscle volume as before? I am easy eating about 4000 calories on the HED without even going heavy on the fat. My fear is that my appetite wont subside and I will continue to eat meals the size of a toilet seat, until I again are the muscle-monster I once was. Does my body hold on to that weight set-point forever? Is it not possible to go further back?

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  118. Hi,has anyone here read 'The 3 season diet' by John douillard?I found it quite similar to Matts RRARF.mmmm… may be not much.

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  119. I did read the whole "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston A Price and in that book he did NOT mention feeding his vitamin D kids jam and sugar. However, he noted that those kids did eat that at home where he could not control their nutritional intake, so he was able to see that their cavities healed despite them eating jam at home. Also, he wrote other books that I did not read but he was opposed to jam and sugar, no question about that. Also, if cavities and other health conditions were cured by butter oil, I'd be well by now. I'm not.

    Sheila: Your appetite will most likely come to a sudden stop once your leptin levels are high enough, usually takes about a month. That's what happened to me and that's common apparently.

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  120. Jannis
    Why do you think that wheat is dangerous for the teeth?

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  121. @ Lisa

    Did you read Melvin Page? He is somewhat similar to Price, but his emphasis is on balancing hormones and thereby minerals. He writes that tooth health has something to do with the balance between phosphorous and calcium. I was always wondering why I have never had a cavity (except the one and only cavity during low-carb!!!!!!!!!!), while the rest of my family have many. We ate the same food, and I ate loads of sugar and wheat, so I'm sure there must be some other factors.

    Page recommends avoiding sugar, alcohol, caffeine etc., also milk (but not butter, cream etc.) Otherwise, his approach is not doable on a diy basis because there is a need for a lot of testing that isn't explained in the book.

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  122. sydney,
    It's the acid that is in wheat attacks your teeth and can cause severe problems very quickly.

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  123. Concerning Price,
    Just because he revealed some very important things doesn't mean everything he said is correct.

    He was a hughe grain fan. But Stephan made it clear that too much wheat etc. are probably one important factor in the development of degenerative diseases.

    "The basic foods should be the entire grains such as whole wheat, rye or oats, whole wheat and rye breads [...]"

    He also said that "Canned fish such as sardines, tuna or salmon are all excellent"

    I think those canned fish foods are some of the worst foods that can be eaten.

    " The protein requirement can be provided each day in one egg."

    That's pretty optimistic, too.

    And by the way, he didn't recommend cutting down on sugar only. He also wanted people to reduce starch.

    "Cut down on starches and sugar"

    All quotes are from page 492.

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  124. Jannis

    In the previous comment thread you said that every animals taste reflects it's needs. Why, if wheat is so bad for us, does it taste so good? I'd say most people would prefer a piece of freshly baked wheat bread to a piece of fruit.

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  125. Wheat tastes good? You gotta be kidding me!
    Price recommended adding sugar to the cereals because nobody would eat that stuff without it because it tastes horrible in it's natural state.

    I would always pick the orange or mango if had the choice. There is only one situation in which I crave bread.
    When I have been starving for several hours I sometimes crave for some white bread or baguette.
    That's because refined starch gets absorbed rapidly and increases blood sugar far more quickly than sugar does.
    But that craving quickly disappears when I have something to eat so that my blood sugar becomes stable.

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  126. Jannis

    Cows love the taste of grain, it drives them wild, even though it is ridiculously destructive for them. Ask any farmer,
    if a cow breaks into a grain bin they will often eat until they bloat and die. Even much smaller rations, on a
    long-term basis, fattens them, overburdens their liver, and generally wears them down. All this despite the fact
    that they love the taste of grain. They evolved to eat large quantities of grass, they haven't adapted to a large intake of grass seed (grain),
    which had always been severely limited to them.

    You made some statement along the lines of "if sugar were so bad for us, would nature be stupid enough to make it taste good to us?" Looking at cows we can
    clearly see that nature is capable of leaving a disconnect between a species taste and which foods promote optimal health.

    There are many naturally occuring foods in nature with a sweet taste (fruit – relatively rare). It make sense that we are partial to sweetness. But aside from honey
    (very rare in nature) we were never exposed to any concentrated form of sugar. Over the past century refined sugar has been unleashed on us in unlimited
    amounts. I can't say with absolute certainty that sugar is as poisonous to us as grain is to cows (you certainly don't have to look far for intriguing evidence),
    but looking at their situation, I think the best bet would be to avoid sugar as much as possible. There is not an iota of evidence suggesting that sugar is essential
    in any way, so i have no problem doing this. I'd rather emulate any of the dozens of healthy, non-industrial cultures who thrived without it. Hedge my bets so to speak.
    And I certainly won't be using my tastes as a guide.

    Note: This is entirely in reference to refined sugar, which you seem to advocate to some extent. And as far as wheat or whatever else not tasting good. That is no guide
    to me either. Aside from fruit, which in nature is not remotely as palatable as our cultivated, selected varietes, there isn't any natural food that is overly
    tasty.

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  127. Roberto — you nailed it.

    The "If you crave it, it must not be unheathy" nonsense just kills me. Ask a drug addict about that logic. It doesn't stand up to the slightest bit of analysis. Fortunately I've only seen it used by a few people here desperately trying to defend sugar. Let's hope it doesn't catch on — imagine what the Corn Refiners Association would do with it. :-)

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  128. OK, seriously, the defenders of sugar should just stop. Just because sugar doesn't kill you does not make it a health food. Honestly, the only thing I have heard about sugar being good is that "it is a quick energy". OK… so what? Does it have vitamins, minerals, will it make your hair shiny, your teeth strong, make your skin glow… yeah I didn't think so. Its a damn empty calorie with no other benifits than it being a freakin calorie. I can get calories plus necessary health benefits from real, unrefined food, thank you. I am not anti sugar, but dammit, would people stop trying to promote it as a healthy, beneficial element in the human diet???

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  129. Kilton9

    Exactamundo!

    Jannis

    I will also add that the palatability of any food is relative to the diet you've had the greatest exposure to. I've no doubt that children who've grown up with a heavy sugar intake, would find unrefined wheat distasteful without it. Find children starving in Ethiopia, however, and unrefined wheat would likely be getting rave reviews.

    I experimented with raw veganism once. Until then, I never thought plain, boiled brown rice could taste so good. If I fell off the band wagon and had a bowl, I felt like I'd just gorged on a box of Krispy Kreme.

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  130. Interesting.

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  131. Roberto
    Having grown up in the countryside any 'natural' pasture will have lots of grain bearing plants (not 'severely limited') and these seeds form early in the season. So I can't see how grains can be bad for cows. If eaten in natural proportion with leaves, bugs, dirt etc. Grains on their own maybe but thats an unnatural diet.
    Jannis
    Taste is individual. Grain flavour to me is subtle. I like the sweetness combined with the slightly bitter undertone. Fruit sweetness to me is cloying. Arguing from taste is a dead end. And if you mean by acid in wheat, phytic acid, that is eliminated from a mere hour's soaking!
    Samuel
    I checked out your link at Stephan's site. In the comments there were quite a few criticisms of the methodology of the sited study. Someone even sited an article in a med journal that phytic acid was preventative of osteoporiasis in women! Not the first time I've read pa might have a good side. According to Amanda Rose pa in oats and corn is much less amenable to simple treatments compared to wheat. In rye pa is not a problem at all. Oats were eaten by heathy Scots in Price. I don't know whether or not they were fermented. It has been argued that before mass agriculture grains would have been damp and so naturally 'pre-soaked'. Modern grains are treated to prevent fungal infection in storage, so are unnaturally dry.
    For me personally, coming from a WAPF high fat diet and having similar symptoms as Matt on his FUMP diet, paleo has nothing to offer. I do understand people here sticking to white rice and root veg for carbs. Especially as they may have damaged their digestion from past diets. But as a chronic undereater I could never eat so many veg, especially during the day. I don't like white rice and its not nutient dense. Theres so much conflicting information that I want to find out from my own experience. And as Matt says its hard to believe wholefoods that people have been eating for many generations can be unhealthy, at least for everybody all the time.

    I have ordered Adele Davis's 3 books from the library, which I haven't read for 35 years. It was her book 'Lets Cook It Right' that started me on my wholefood journey. She makes some (IMO) major errors but at least she not enthralled by ideology like most modern nutritionists seem to be. I had forgotten how dense her writing is, its like Price and he took me ages to read. So I won't be getting my info from the net and following links for awhile. Of course I will always have time for 180 degrees! If I find anything new or interesting about grain/carbs in Adele I will post.

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  132. Roberto
    Having grown up in the countryside any 'natural' pasture will have lots of grain bearing plants (not 'severely limited') and these seeds form early in the season. So I can't see how grains can be bad for cows. If eaten in natural proportion with leaves, bugs, dirt etc. Grains on their own maybe but thats an unnatural diet.
    Jannis
    Taste is individual. Grain flavour to me is subtle. I like the sweetness combined with the slightly bitter undertone. Fruit sweetness to me is cloying. Arguing from taste is a dead end. And if you mean by acid in wheat, phytic acid, that is eliminated from a mere hour's soaking!
    Samuel
    I checked out your link at Stephan's site. In the comments there were quite a few criticisms of the methodology of the sited study. Someone even sited an article in a med journal that phytic acid was preventative of osteoporiasis in women! Not the first time I've read pa might have a good side. According to Amanda Rose pa in oats and corn is much less amenable to simple treatments compared to wheat. In rye pa is not a problem at all. Oats were eaten by heathy Scots in Price. I don't know whether or not they were fermented. It has been argued that before mass agriculture grains would have been damp and so naturally 'pre-soaked'. Modern grains are treated to prevent fungal infection in storage, so are unnaturally dry.
    For me personally, coming from a WAPF high fat diet and having similar symptoms as Matt on his FUMP diet, paleo has nothing to offer. I do understand people here sticking to white rice and root veg for carbs. Especially as they may have damaged their digestion from past diets. But as a chronic undereater I could never eat so many veg, especially during the day. I don't like white rice and its not nutient dense. Theres so much conflicting information that I want to find out from my own experience. And as Matt says its hard to believe wholefoods that people have been eating for many generations can be unhealthy, at least for everybody all the time.

    I have ordered Adele Davis's 3 books from the library, which I haven't read for 35 years. It was her book 'Lets Cook It Right' that started me on my wholefood journey. She makes some (IMO) major errors but at least she not enthralled by ideology like most modern nutritionists seem to be. I had forgotten how dense her writing is, its like Price and he took me ages to read. So I won't be getting my info from the net and following links for awhile. Of course I will always have time for 180 degrees! If I find anything new or interesting about grain/carbs in Adele I will post.

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  133. If you by all means want to try the potato, you'd better try sweet potatoes. Normal potatoes are nightshades and may harm you (i.e. leaky gut / autoimmune diseases) http://bit.ly/a9Gvjk VBR

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  134. I'm not saying that something is ultimately bad for you just because it doesn't taste good in it's natural state. I don't think that rice and potatos cause any problems.
    But if something tastes good in it's natural state, like fruits, honey, cane etc, than this is very strong evidence that it is made for us.

    Ok, cows love grains. That might be true. Allthough I am not sure if they would choose the grain if they were offered some fresh gras.
    But anyway, cows have been domesticated and altered it many ways for thousands of years.
    Besides, you have to consider that those cows live in a cage all their life. That might alter there food choice. Emotional stress is a main factor in the development of harmfull addictions.

    A lion would never eat a banana and rabbit never eat a piece of meat.

    And I think the comparison with the cows and the wheat is flawed, because sugar has no destructive effect on human health.

    Anon,
    Sugar doesn't give you "quick energy". It gives you permanent and stable energy. Starch can cause severe hypoglycemia. That is something most people, including Matt, neglect. Sugar can correct that problem.

    "We have evaluated the acute effects of orally administered 100-g loads of fructose, sucrose, or glucose given as drinks and of 100-g loads of fructose and sucrose given in cakes on the postprandial serum glucose, insulin, and cortisol responses in seven subjects with reactive hypoglycemia. We defined reactive hypoglycemia as a serum glucose nadir of 65 mg/dl or less, symptoms compatible with hypoglycemia occurring at or after the serum glucose nadir, a hypoglycemic index of greater than 1.0, and a rise in serum cortisol to greater than 20 micrograms/dl after the serum glucose nadir. The data demonstrated that (1) pure fructose given as a drink resulted in relatively flat serum glucose and insulin responses and did not cause a hypoglycemic reaction in any of the subjects, compared with the glucose drink, which caused a hypoglycemic reaction in any of the subjects; (2) ingestion of pure sucrose as a drink elicited significantly flatter serum glucose and insulin responses than did the glucose drink and was associated with some episodes of chemical hypoglycemia and symptoms, but did not result in a hypoglycemic reaction by our definition in any patient; and (3) ingestion of fructose cake led to serum glucose and insulin responses that were lower than those caused by ingestion of sucrose cake, but ingestion of neither fructose nor sucrose cake led to a hypoglycemic reaction by our definition in any patient. In conclusion, the use of fructose as a sweetening agent given either alone, in a drink, or with other nutrients in a cake resulted in markedly flatter serum glucose and insulin responses in subjects with reactive hypoglycemia. Fructose may thus prove useful as a sweetening agent in the dietary treatment of selected patients with reactive hypoglycemia."

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  135. Jannis

    I'm sorry but that study in no way supports your assertion the sugar is better for blood sugar control than starch.

    Starch isn't even used in their analysis, they are comparing pure fructose, glucose and sucrose in liquid and 'cake' form:

    "We have evaluated the acute effects of orally administered 100-g loads of fructose, sucrose, or glucose given as drinks and of 100-g loads of fructose and sucrose given in cakes"

    From what I gather, the results were:

    Fructose = Good
    Sucrose = Not Quite as Good
    Glucose = Bad

    It makes sense that fructose led to more stable blood sugar. More often than not fructose is converted to fat in our bodies not sugar.

    Perhaps pure liquid (or "cake")glucose does lead to hypoglycemia. This does not concern me as I have never in my life drank pure, liquid glucose. And I hope you don't think liquid glucose is analogous to whole food starch. It is not. I am aware that starch is pure glucose in polymer form. But whole food starch sources also contain fiber, various amounts of fat, protein, water, vitamins, minerals, resistant starch, etc…That's a completely different scenario…Even white flour is incomparable to liquid glucose…But comparing a potato or oatmeal to pure liquid glucose? That's like comparing the effects of: a) Throwing a log in a fire. Or b)Throwing saw dust in a fire.

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  136. And to be clear, the fact that fructose has little impact on blood sugar does not make it healthy. There is good reason to believe, as Matt has often illustrated, that fructose worsens insulin resistance. Which, after all, is the core problem with diabetics – allowing their blood sugar to spike is not the root of their illness.

    Recommending fructose to a diabetic may very well be offering them a Trojan horse.

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  137. I would love to see a head-to-head comparison of a group of people eating all of their calories from pure sugar on a prolonged basis, versus a group eating strictly potatoes. Two months, perhaps far less, and I guarantee potatoes will be the victor in this starch vs sugar debate.

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  138. No, I think the effects would have been the same for those people if they had used starch. Starch eaten alone gets absorbed very quickly and has the same physiological effect in the blood stream.

    The effect of fructos is not becuase it gets converted into fat but because of the fact it inhibts the action of insulin. The problem of hypoglycemic people is that their blood sugar system can't handle the excess insulin which is released after the ingestion of a big glucose load. In this case it doesn't matter whether you eat starch or pure glucose.
    For a healthy person with an intact blood sugar system starch is absolutely no problem.

    "There is good reason to believe, as Matt has often illustrated, that fructose worsens insulin resistance. Which, after all, is the core problem with diabetics"

    I think a lot of diabetics have no problem with their insulin. Blood sugar is dertemined by many other factors than insulin. Adrenalin, cortisol, GH, Throid,
    and minerals such as potassium or sodium control your blood sugar beside insulin.
    I think the core problem of diabetics is hypothyroidism paired with an excess of stress hormones. Since all diabetics can't efficiently use their glucose they are all technically hypothyroid.

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  139. Roberto,
    yeah that would be very interesting. But you can't do it like that. Potatos contain a lot of minderals and vitamins. So you either have to use pure glucose and sugar or compare potatos and fruits.

    I already posted a study like that in the last comment section. The groups that ate sugar or starch and sugar weighed significantly less than the starch-only groups.

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  140. Sugar, at best, is neutral in it's health effects (personally i think is poisonous). It contains no vitamins, no minerals, no fatty acids, no protein. To whatever extent you eat it, sugar represents a nutritional void in your diet.

    Perhaps refined sugar might (big might) confer some benefits in the context of an otherwise unrefined, nutrient rich diet. Personally, I have no interest in exploring these unlikely benefits as I feel great eating primarily starch with some fruit.

    But as a staple it would destroy any living creature who relies on it. It is nothing. It is one molecule removed from an infinitely complex natural world that our bodies are still hard wired to.

    Most importantly, no culture has been found eating vast amounts of industrially refined sugar in good health.And certainly not the high fructose corn syrup in Ray Peat's coke. Countless cultures, however, have thrived on starchy staples. That to me speaks volumes more than any study you can throw at me.

    We were in better health before we had such boundless access to sugar. Whether or not sugar caused us to deteriorate is irrelevant to me. We don't need it and it has no favorable track record to date.

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  141. Jannis

    From the introduction to the Wikipedia article on bread:

    "Fresh bread is prized for its taste, aroma, quality, appearance and texture."

    Yes, I think it's safe to say that various wheat products (bread, pasta) are widely considered to be delicious. Look at the absolutely central role they play in french and italian cooking, those greatest lovers of good food.

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  142. @Jannis

    "He was a hughe grain fan. But Stephan made it clear that too much wheat etc. are probably one important factor in the development of degenerative diseases."

    Yeah but Stephan's just one guy saying that and others say different things. His recommendations are pretty much WAPF anyway, which I don't think you'd agree with at all.

    Btw, eating unrefined wheat in the for of chapati / roti has been a traditional practice in healthy groups in India and Nepal. Not that I'd eat gluten grains on purpose though.

    " The protein requirement can be provided each day in one egg."

    Price also reommended eating lots of legumes, so the egg would be the animal protein recommended, not the total protein in the meal. It does sound quite low, however.

    "And by the way, he didn't recommend cutting down on sugar only. He also wanted people to reduce starch."

    Price was against refined starches. The majority of the healthy groups he examined, however, ate loads of starches, so I don't believe he could possibly have been anti-starches per se, especially as he recommended eating grains as you said yourself.

    "Price recommended adding sugar to the cereals because nobody would eat that stuff without it because it tastes horrible in it's natural state."

    Where did he "recommend" that? I don't really believe that's true. Along with Andrews false notion that Price "recommended sugared jams" for his "vitamin-D kids", even implying that Price thought those were healthy… that's pretty much disinformation.

    Also, why do you think people couldn't eat cereals without sugar? Lots of people do and have done that all the time. Personally I'd prefer savoury porridge over sweet any day. I prefer savoury food anyway, except when I have been skipping meals or exhausted otherwise.

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  143. Do a google search on "weston price nutrition" and you can find the Nutrition… online for free to read

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  144. "Most importantly, no culture has been found eating vast amounts of industrially refined sugar in good health"

    I would be careful with that belief. I think all the high cultures—Mayan, Chinese, Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, etc.—used sugar cane and/or honey, and many cultures have traditionally used dates and other palm tree fruits and juices as staple foods. I have never heard nutritionists talk about these as traditionally important foods. In Mesopotamia dates were so abundant that they were used to feed horses. The Arabs might have been the first to industrialize sugar production on a large scale.

    Of course you shouldn't use refined sugar as the main part of your diet. It contains no minerals and vitamins, but fruit does.
    And fruit contains more minerals and vitamins per calorie than starch sources.
    The point is that the dissacharide sucrose has many physiological advantages over pure glucose – starch beside it's effect on blood glucose.

    I don't think there are enough facts to have firm opinions about
    the conditions of human origins and diets but shoots and roots are often very good sources of sugars—bamboo shoots, lotus roots, burdock roots, for example. Compared to rats, we are weak in amylase, and even cats have amylase, but aren't big starch eaters.

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  145. For anyone, who's too lazy to search. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration can be found online here

    "No, I think the effects would have been the same for those people if they had used starch. Starch eaten alone gets absorbed very quickly and has the same physiological effect in the blood stream."

    I think that is a very, very optimistic way of looking at it. And even if it were true, refined and unrefined starches would still be two completely different beasts, so I think it is worthless to argue about the effects of unrefined starch by looking at pure glucose. My two cents.

    And speaking of the Egyptians. Weren't they quite unhealthy compared to most other primitive cultures and tribes having many of the diseases our society has to battle with now. As far as I know they refined sugar as well as oils.

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  146. "Mayan, Chinese, Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, etc.—used sugar cane and/or honey"

    Yeah but that was hardly their main source of calories.

    "traditionally used dates and other palm tree fruits and juices as staple foods"

    Still not as the main source of calories. Except maybe for the Arab nomads who lived with their camels in the desert? I don't really know about that though.

    "shoots and roots are often very good sources of sugars—bamboo shoots, lotus roots, burdock roots, for example."

    How could you get a decent amount of calories from those? I don't think that's possible.

    It seems like you're making a case for using some sugars in the diet, and those aren't even the highly refined white sugar we have today. I don't think anyone on here would disagree with eating some fruit, some "natural" sweeteners and even a little refined sugar.

    How that transfers to refined sugar being a healthy food, however, is something I don't understand. You can only argue for that using studies, but everybody is using studies, there are many different studies and different people interpret them in different ways, so I find that rather confusing.

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  147. Jannis,

    Me:

    "Most importantly, no culture has been found eating vast amounts of industrially refined sugar in good health"

    Visualize 'industrially refined sugar' in big bold letters…

    You:

    "…used sugar cane and/or honey, and many cultures have traditionally used dates and other palm tree fruits and juices as staple foods…"

    "…shoots and roots are often very good sources of sugars—bamboo shoots, lotus roots, burdock roots…"

    I don't understand how you cannot recognize the distinction between pure sucrose, refined in a factory (let alone HFCS extracted from corn using god knows what chemicals), and these whole foods that happen to contain sugar.

    The fact that sugar — as part of a complex whole food — is not detrimental, is no reason to give the green light on refined sugar. Apples contain cyanide, I suppose I'd be safe adding pure cyanide to my grocery list then.

    And even if the Egyptians or Mayans somehow refined their sugar to some extent, I somehow doubt they were washing down Mars Bars with 2 Litre Big Gulps.

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  148. @ roberto

    about the all sugar diet
    i think in the book sugar blues by william dufty mentioned shipwrecked sailors who ate their cargo of nothing but sugar for like ten days and only part of the group survived when it should be easy to last without food that long.

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  149. Yeah Dufty mentions those sailors, but then again, the book is full of anecdotes and a lot of hands-down fantasy (about the sorceror women for example), so while I think it has a lot of valuable information to offer, it would work better if he had provided reference for those kinds of stories.

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  150. Hans,

    I found some frozen salmon. The only problem is that is says "Wild caught sockeye" but in small print on the back it says "product of USA processed in China." That's confusing and I don't like it!!! LOL. I don't trust stuff from China. Bought it anyway.

    I just got back from an 8 day cruise. I didn't have much control over my food choices but I did the best I could. I gained 8 lbs (finally) which made me very happy. But as soon as I came home and reverted back to my normal eating, I lost 4 lbs in 2 days! I really hate this shit. I actually think I'm eating more food at home than I was on the cruise…go figure. I am also contemplating getting off the statin.

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  151. tommy lol
    gotta love product labels !

    Hans, your right about duffy, i was just thinking this might be evidence that such a study would be unethical. also as you said earlier studies have their flaws … especially when you cant say for sure who backed it financially.

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  152. Can you cite example of foods that offer good protein? Thanks,

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  153. I notice that when I cut back too far on carbs, I wake at 4 am with a nasty revved feeling and nauseated. I tried to go low carb high fat for higher BG fasting level, and had the opposite reaction! Going back to balanced carbs, less veggies and fiber, less fat than I was doing, and going to drink my milk. I feel better, and seem to be getting better that way.

    My digestion got worse on the low carb thing as well. Milk actually improves my BM's! So does veggie juice. Less fiber is great.

    I like starch. i love potatoes, and especially yams. Goin gto add these in with good butter and salt!

    Has anyone else had good experience with this for adrenal related issues?

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  154. Anyone here checked out "the big Breakfast Diet" by daniela jakubowicz ? I know a lot of it could be compared to a really shitty BM … but she does have some interesting things to say about circadian rhythms/food ratios in relation to when different hormones are produced and used in our bodies.

    Basically her plan is a BIG breakfast (making that the starring meal of the day) that includes a good hunk o protein, carbs, fat and something sweet (she says the sweet early in the day helps stave off later cravings??) This dose of early morning protein is really supposed to keep you goin all day long, but then you have lunch with some protein, some carbs, some fat … and then dinner is very small, hopefully because you're not all that hungry. And at dinner you want low-carb veggies, maybe a little protein, no fat and little to no carbs. She also recommends dairy products earlier in the day which I have heard from other sources.

    Her reasoning behind this has to do with the way our bodies use the different macronutrients during the day – early in the day the body burns protein & carbohydrates as muscle energy, and as the day goes on we burn less and less and by the evening/night our energy is taken from fat.

    She says that you don't want to eat many if any carbs at night because that will actually screw with your serotonin-melatonin levels, and the next morning you will have a hard time getting out of bed. Whereas early in the day your body is able to use the carbs and burn them as muscle energy as opposed to nighttime when they are just stored as fat.

    Not sure if all the research behind this is 100%, but it doesn't seem too far off of what is already being discussed here and might just be a missing link for those of us with sleeping problems?

    I've definitely noticed the difference in having all day energy with a good hearty breakfast * I'm just starting to experiment with the dinner part of things.

    cheers * Laura (columbus, ohio)

    Reply
  155. Hey Laura-

    I have checked that out, and love the general idea. In fact, you could go so far as to say that I'm currently on a "big breakfast diet."

    Only, I think she has it backwards. If you want to not be hungry all day, breakfast should be mostly protein and fat with just a little starch and nothing too sweet – although I have noticed that a big pancake breakfast can keep me going all day pretty well too.

    I prefer re-loading carbs at dinner time, which helps with sleep, winding down, and what not.

    In fact, my breakfasts of late have been about 1500-1700 calories – mostly from beef with a little side of fried potatoes and veggies, while lunch is something small or nothing at all and dinner is more like 1000-1200 calories, starch based with a small amount of meat. I think this version of the "big breakfast diet" would be much more effective at achieving what she wants to achieve.

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    Reply
  157. “Of course.” It didn’t seem like that phrase was used enough times, so here it is one more time. ;-)

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  158. When we say 2:1 carbs to protein for say breakfast, is that the grams of pure carbs needed, so I should subtract fibre (or perhaps fructose even) or carbs as given by say the USDA database including fibre? Furthermore, does it not matter whether we are talking a boiled potato or a steamed potato? (the latter having a higher glycemic index but still the same amount of carbs otherwise.)

    I have noticed such great improvements in my life ever since I realised how I was often eating too much protein in the evening (and generally throughout the day). Just made me utterly depressed and I wasn’t even eating that low carb (150g per day).

    Two further questions:
    What would you recommend for fat intake per meal?
    Is it OK to eat a pure carb snack/ snack with carbs and fat (but no protein) between meals?

    Many-many thanks!! Your site and recommendations seem amazing. Only two things make me weep. The fact that I shouldn’t be eating walnuts (?), which I just adore and that soya milk is also not so good (?) but my porridge without soya milk is just not the same wondrous meal it is with it…

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    • This is a pretty old post. I often eat pure carby snacks, or at least very carby with little protein, like fruit for example. Or juice. These are fine between meals and in the evening. As far as ratio talk, I tend to steer the average person towards a higher ratio of carbs to protein. I personally eat more like a 5:1 ratio of carbs to protein typically, and may even do better with an even higher ratio (adding in more fruit basically, as this is about the only way to achieve that).

      I wouldn’t worry about fat intake. Take in some, but no need to purposefully add buttloads of butter in fear of developing a fat deficiency if you know what I mean.

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      • Thank you!

        But you still eat lower carb-protein ratio (say 2:1) for breakfast and lunch and higher for dinner? (4:1) Or what ratios would you suggest for the average person for the main meals?

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        • It really depends on a person’s daily rhythms. I would eat more carbs when you are cold and less carbs when you typically feel the hottest. For most people this will be more carbs in the morning and more protein in the evening during the normal diurnal body temperature peak. (note; not everyone follows this pattern – some have totally opposite pattern).

          I ended up eating a very high ratio at breakfast and less in the evening and faring better. And a much higher overall ratio, having gone seemingly carb crazy since writing this post. I would say my average carb:protein ratio is more like 5:1 or even higher some days.

          Reply
          • Thank you! So what you are saying and doing now is exactly the opposite of what you wrote above??

            I definitely have problems with having cold hands and I tend to get v depressed on low carb diets, have mood swings and apathy then, I also have insomnia and brain fog no matter how I eat (right now). I may benefit from going all out on HED/RRARF as you advise in your free e-book.

            But you seem to be changing your mind, regarding things I have to say. Do you now say that sugar (sucrose) is not so bad? One thing that seems consistent through your posts is that we must eat high carbs of whole foods.
            Eating more carbs in the evening and less carbs in the morning seems to make more sense to me than the other way round. But then please just briefly, what is the alpha and omega of the diet you’d recommend for a healthy person, briefly? What macronutrient ratios, when, what to cut out completely, what to be cautious about etc? Or is there a recent post on this?

            PS I am not really a healthy person, so should probably go RRARF, but then again I so love having a slim body now that I’d be disinclined to risk losing it and then not be able to get rid of all the disgusting flab again.

  159. I have often thought of trying what you suggest, most protein eaten early in the day and carbs at night but this goes against the “grain” of what addicts should do. Eating carbs at night just makes for wanting more carbs. I have found eating pretty much 1:1 for carbs/protein in the a.m. is really well-received by my body. I also don’t need much dinner (if at all sometimes) I do go through insomnia though. Still working on that. I’m about to give the potato b4 bed a try. It’s not many carbs or cals. so what the heck.

    Reply

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