Sloth Metabolism

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“Their metabolism is so slow that they may take a half a minute to move a leg a few inches. Their digestive system is so slow that they need only defecate about once a week. They even sneeze slowly.”

Some people still don’t get it. When I say “it” I mean the centrality of a high cellular metabolic rate in disease prevention, body composition, and overcoming many common health problems big and small as discussed in how to RAISE YOUR METABOLISM.

Big names in “alternative nutrition” like Mark Sisson and Joel Fuhrman, who make relatively sound general dietary prescriptions (eat nutritious foods at the exclusion of most junk), have both negated the importance of metabolism – and even believe it’s good to have a low metabolism. Everyone else shrugs it off, typically because they have convinced themselves that they are the healthiest person on earth, and when they see that their body temperature is low they say either:

a) Body temperature must not matter
b) It might even be good to have a low body temperature
c) Matt Stone is a douche
d) All of the above

It’s time for a simpler example to establish the real differences between high cellular metabolic rate and low cellular metabolic rate. After all, that’s all that I’m really concerned with. If you are talking about total calories burned, the best way to “raise your metabolism” is to get as muscular and fat as you can possibly get, like Sumo wrestlers that have the highest metabolic rates of any humans. But I doubt that’s what most people are after. Most people want to be lean, energetic, not have to spend all day sleeping, and otherwise not live like a sloth – or look like a Sumo.

Speaking of sloths, isn’t it cute that the mammal with the lowest metabolic rate (other than hibernating animals which are so lifeless as to be almost indistinguishable from a corpse), is the animal most notorious for having next to zero vitality, vigor, speed, and strength?

The sloth has the lowest metabolic rate of any mammal – and the body temperature to show for it at about 93 degrees F supposedly. Of course, in the modern world we blame our sedentary lifestyles on laziness or modern convenience. Well, my eight year-old niece has access to plenty of couches and televisions and computers, but after spending a week with her I fully understand why she eats 2,500 + calories per day and literally has a little visible (slightly) 6-pack. That kid cannot sit still, and can be hot even when sopping wet in cool temperatures. That’s what happens when you eat ice cream in quantities equal to the size of your head on a daily basis.

Anyway, tail wagging the dog people, tail wagging the dog. I just wanted to say that. I’m not fully sure what it means.

And speaking of tails, does anyone know if sloths have them? I’m not sure. I am sure that I googled “sloth metabolism” (who hasn’t really?) and found a nice article featuring factoids such as sloths having a body temperature of 93 degrees F, a transit time of up to 30 days, they sleep 14-16 hours per day, have very little muscle mass, strength, energy, or speed – and otherwise spend most of their time conserving energy just like a human in hibernation/famine/starvation mode does.

So when I paint a portrait of certain things being quite simple – “Oh, raise your metabolism and your digestion will get better and you’ll probably eradicate constipation for life by the “turd” week of following THIS GENERAL PROGRAM,” in many cases it really is precisely that simple. Not all of course, but a high percentage of cases.

Take sloth digestion for example. They eat, and the food takes 30 days to get out the other end because they digest it so slowly. In a reduced metabolic state, the bowel transit time slows down to extract as many calories from the food as possible. It stays in the gut fermenting and putrefying, causing gas and irritation and inflammation and toxin absorption, bacteria proliferate (in humans this might cause bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, or SIBO – in turn causing fructose malabsorption, hypoglycemia, yada yada), stool moisture decreases causing stool hardening typical of the constipated, this causes gas and more irritation – potentially wearing away at the intestinal wall and causing serious problems and who knows what else, straining to expel stools can cause hemorrhoids, fissures, diverticulosis, and varicose veins, and on and on and on and on. It is all interconnected to metabolic rate.

The only question one needs to ask is what kind of health experience are you looking for? Do you want to have lots of energy? Strength, endurance, and vitality? A decreased need for sleep and rest or an increased need for sleep and rest?

To me it seems painfully obvious. The modern diet, lifestyle, and other factors seemed to have combined somehow to cause an epidemic of slothlike metabolism. Yes, a sloth metabolism epidemic. That’s what we’re looking at in the world today. This is why a nurse I spoke with recently said that she saw a body temperature of 98.6 degrees F or above in an average of ZERO out of 150 daily readings. Yet, although this body temperature is now an extreme rarity, at one point this was so normal that it helped to establish 98.6 degrees F as normal. We ain’t what we used to be.

Fixing it requires a well-strategized approach in my view. Just eating some nutritious food and not trying to break any records running marathons is probably helpful for a lot of people, but getting out of sloth metabolism and into a state in which your body’s cells are producing energy at a high enough level for it to translate into massive increases in overall vitality probably takes more than that.

If you’d like to know how a low metabolism translates to poor fertility and low sex drive I encourage you to research the bear with the lowest metabolic rate. You know, it’s the one that is about to go extinct because of the horrible and biologically-inappropriate diet it evolved to eat during the Paleolithic era (almost entirely vegan, 99% bamboo). It’s the one that zookeepers can’t figure out how to get to have sex, much less reproduce – the one they are now resorting to showing pornographic images to in hopes of getting them in the mood.

The biggest question is, how appropriate is a Baby Ruth candy bar for a Sloth?  Will it help, or will it make your friends insist that you do the truffle shuffle before entering their home?  I would think potatoes and coconut oil would be more helpful, but I’ll be damned if I’m not enjoying the heck out of some juice and key lime pie right now.  I don’t want to eat foods with a low calorie density like sloths, panda bears, and koalas – regardless of what that might do for my huggability.

Of course I’m terribly torn.  On the one hand high-calorie density foods with a pornographic nature (pornographic foods Sally Fallon calls them – a great term) seem to short-circuit the homeostatic weight regulation mechanism, causing those sensitive to “conditioned hypereating” to eat more without a rise in metabolism.  Yet, the pornographic foods (within reason – low-PUFA sans chemical flavor enhancers), make me strong like bull.  We’ll save that for a future masturdebate I suppose.


  1. First comment!

  2. Haha- that said, it's an interesting question you pose at the end. Will eating mroe calorie dense foods like ice cream and quality pie help speed up the cellular metabolic rate? Hard to say. I think as it stands the rceommendation for higher starch still makes sense to me, but what a masturdebate!

  3. Matt, do you have any data on average body temperatures around the world? As in, how do the current body temperatures differ between hunter-gatherers, people living on various traditional diets in third world countries, people eating the SAD, and so on. It would be interesting to see.

  4. I think empty calories might work kind of like jumpstarting a car. It might be useful at first but a well-running car shouldn't have to be jumpstarted every morning.

    I'm very skeptical about empty calories, because I would imagine that healing the metabolism — not just raising it — would require a lot of nourishment via vitamins and minerals, in order to carry out the necessary tasks in that healing process.

    Jumpstarting the car will get it going, but it isn't going to fix the battery.

    Of course, we're not cars, and that example might sound completely stupid with more research and understanding of the human body.

    The questions I have now are: How to maintain the increase in body temperature, and/or what mechanisms in the body are responsible for maintaining that higher body temperature, after a higher temperature has been achieved after a period of RRARFing.

    And also: Do empty calories influence the long-term success of RRARF? If so, how so?

    I think it sounds a lot like the 'whole foods are good for you before you have a damaged metabolism; not so good after' theory. Like if your metabolism's 'running hot,' raw vegetables, beans, and things like that might not be a big deal, whereas if you're 'running cold' that might wreak havoc on you.

    I wonder if there's a point where pornographic foods can be beneficial — make you feel STRONG LIKE BULL! — but only if you're metabolically fit enough to reap that advantage. In other words, empty calories being good for one person, but not for another. Like for one person it jumpstarts the car, and for another it just floorboards everything with a huge drop in the gas tank as a result.

    Lots of cupcakes in a digestive tract that takes a long time to produce a bowel movement would probably be a lot more problematic than they would be in a digestive system that moved them right along. I wouldn't get paranoid about it if I was just an average person but for someone struggling with a lot of health problems it might be worth examining more closely.

    Future masturdebate indeed. I look forward to reading, as always.

  5. Samuel-

    I would trade a testicle for some hard data comparing say, Kitavan body temperature or metabolic rate adjusted for lean body mass, age, and gender with that of peoples with high incidence of heart disease – such as Australian Aborigines.


    I think with a high metabolic rate you can get away with anything. As metabolic rate tends to slow with age – especially in Western nations for whatever reason, we start to have more problems. I'm sure nutrients play a role in long-term metabolic degradation with aging, as does PUFA, as do many environmental pollutants, and the list goes on and on.

    Overfeeding with lots of rest is the quickest way to snap out of it, but the question remains about how "strict" this overfeeding needs to be – or if it is better to do it slowly (doubtful).

    Could 1,500 calories of ice cream which yield the same satiation as say 900 calories of fish, greens, and potatoes be better? Or is it worse because it takes more calories to fill you up?

    Pretty much everyone would favor the high satiety foods, as most presume that eating too much is the root cause of all ailments. That makes me want to examine the opposite point of view – naturally.

  6. I still have stubborn constipation even with an elevated body temperature. My underarm temp right now is 97.9. I eat huge mixed meals without stomach upset. I eat kefir, beans, raw greens, and all the obvious stuff. High fat, high starch, protein mainly from eggs, dairy, seafood, broth, and beef organs. No junk food because even a little exacerbates the problem.

    How do you explain this, and what should I do? I think my gut flora must have been badly damaged by years of antibiotics and refined foods, and an elevated temperature isn't enough to override this. Pro- and prebiotic foods help a little with frequency, but I'm still straining to shit out little rabbit pellets.

    I think gut flora might deserve more attention than we usually give them. I suspect they have a huge impact on metabolism regardless of one's metabolic rate. For example, I know someone who had regular periods restored after a long and aggressive round of antibiotics following major surgery. During this time, her appetite plummeted, she lost weight (from a normal set point), and her metabolism presumably fell, if it changed at all. Her diet did not change significantly, except to eat less, but her gut flora obviously changed dramatically, and her periods returned to normal after years of irregularity.

  7. Epic picture as usual Matt! Hey you guyyyyyyyssssss….

    On the topic of sugar/empty calories:

    What do you think about the argument that refined sugar, even in small amounts, has been shown to have a very dramatic effect on lowering of the immune system?

    I think that alone would nullify any positive metabolic effects, unless I'm missing something.

  8. speaking of faster metabolism requiring more nutrients. i read something about the buteyko method and body oxygenation, basically the higher the body oxygenation the more efficient the body is and the less nutrients are required. it is on this site somewhere, tons of info if someone wants to work it out

    my control pause is 5sec (cortisol problem i'm working out) and i'm doing pretty well so i don't think it is everything like the guy on that site claims. however in most cases i think it reflects metabolism and thyroid function, especially since it has been declining generally from about 60sec a few decades ago to i think 30-40sec nowadays, and is another interesting piece in the puzzle of health

  9. For constipation try unrefined apple cider vinegar, works 60% of the time every time.

  10. Thanks, DJR, however, I tried that for a time and it didn't seem to help.

  11. BTW, ive been on the protein/veggies diet for a while now, lost too much weight. In the beginning it was good but if i didnt work out my body weight would go too low. If i workout i can atleast maintain my weight, which seems to tell me that my body was in a catabolic state. My body temp was pretty low too, but i could eat those veggies and protein all day long and not gain an ounce. I can actually eat anything i want and barely gain any weight. I started to play around with my diet for hair loss reasons.

    In the last week ive tried upping my sugar intake as well as my complex carbs. Body temp is right around 98 now (was 96.5-97.5 before), pulse rate 60-70. At first i felt good. Glass of oj and milk gave me a noticeable pump. But the last few days ive been tired and sluggish, and a bunch of red bumps have appeared along my receding/thinning hair line. Wondering if anyone else has experienced this? Might be that im eating too many complex carbs in the morning/afternoon. Body is focusing its energy on digesting the carbs?

    Been consuming some organic molasses as per the blog post. Said to help with thinnning hair. Ive tried everything for my thinning hair over the last 2 years, you should see my cupboards full of supplements, oils etc. Im only 27 btw. One thing ive noticed is, my sex drive has gone up from what it was, morning woods on the rise.

    Anyways im hoping this sluggish feeling will fade because im really looking forward to trying this. I think its what i need to make progress in the gym. Im looking for muscle mass. Im 180 at 6'3 lean, would love to be around 200. Highest ive ever been was 192, that was 5 years ago. Lowest ive been is 168 which was 6 months ago (scared the shit out of me).

  12. Another thing that can work is fresh lemon and some aluminum free baking soda. Squeezed full lemon and 1/2 a tsp of baking soda mixed in a glass of water.

  13. Mike,

    I experience the same thing occasionally even though I'm consistently over 98F.

    You could try adding magnesium to your diet, or some black strap molasses in warm water (as it contains high amounts of magnesium). I prefer magnesium citrate caps.

    Someone was commenting about this recently as well in one of the last posts.

  14. Michael,

    Thanks for your suggestions, however, I've been using transdermal magnesium chloride for a few months, plus eating what should be a pretty magnesium-rich diet (including black strap molasses), still without much luck.

  15. So what has caused the drop in body temperature over the last 40 years? Do we know? I'm guessing that fructose is no longer a suspect. I guess that just leaves PUFAs.

  16. I haven't been overfeeding. It's hard for me to eat in the morning. But I did reintroduce carbs into my diet, mostly rice and potatoes. My morning temp has risen by about a degree. But I've also got sore breasts, some morning stiffness and woke up mid-morning soaking wet. That's no fun.

  17. I think the metabolic rate slows with age due to decreased prana/qi which is easily circulated by healthy organs when someone is young. As people age, the effects of a bad diet and stress compromise the efficiency of the organs.

    I think prana/qi are synonymous with the metabolism. Fat is just stored toxic energy and stress is the root of it. People eat high sugar/fat combos when stressed, this is just an effect.

    And that's at the heart of the problem most people are having. Concentrating too much on the effect and not the cause.

    I'm just starting to see things in this new light. Seeing others recommend refined sugary foods on facebook was enough for me to give up entirely on confused 'experts' and look into outer space for answers. For real.

  18. Mike Jones: I too use transdermal magnesium chloride, although I use it transdermally just as a deodorant. Otherwise I use it for brushing my teeth and help clearing up zits/pimples when they come along.

    Have you tried magnesium chloride flakes taken orally? Swanson makes magnesium chloride flakes; you can also get 'nigari' flakes. I no longer measure — I just eyeball an amount. The ratio is something like 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon per quart or so.

    You just stir that into the water until it dissolves completely, and drink it.

    It does have a mild laxative effect but I don't know how much. It's hard to tell because the doses I take aren't consistent and my body is probably used to it by now. But I definitely recommend trying that — it also makes the water taste much better in my opinion.

    A good swig of the magnesium-infused water first thing in the morning might help.

    Beyond that, I would definitely imagine that gut flora has a lot to do with it. Isn't fecal matter mostly bacteria?

    You say you have kefir; one thing you could try is saving up spare grains over time and eat those on a daily basis. You can also use spare grains to make 'kefirkraut,' and the native microflora of the cabbage and whatever other vegetables you have in it (I want to try asparagus and broccoli and radishes sometime soon) can probably only help, in addition to the fact that you'd simply be getting more beneficial bacteria.

    Also, you mention eating huge mixed meals with no stomach upset — that's good, and that could be a result of upping your metabolism, but maybe trying something like a mono-meal of kefir would be worth it. Like for one meal, just drinking a quart of kefir, or however much you felt you wanted, to appetite.

    Your body may be wanting to push things through quickly — and it might do that if your gut flora were in optimal condition. This is just a guess, of course, but the gut flora thing seems to me to make perfect sense as to why you'd be constipated with a healthy body temperature. My temperature has been around 95.9 – 96.1 but I only have constipation when I have things like pizza (and too much of it) or stray too much from my normal diet.

    If you're up for it, I also really do recommend stacking up some books or cinder blocks or something on either side of the toilet, and getting used to using the squat position. It's helped me tremendously. This is probably not the primary issue if you're having rabbit-esque stools, but every little bit helps.

    Your digestion sounds robust from a metabolic standpoint but it does sound like a microflora issue to me. Of course, what do I know! But it sounds like it would make perfect sense — and maybe focusing on eating more fermented foods would help. Fermented vegetables would probably be the most applicable because you can use them like condiments.

    Kefir, viili, sauerkraut/'kefirkraut', the kefir grains themselves — and experimenting with mono-meals of things like homemade kefir or yogurt…hey, it's just a guess, but it might be worth trying. I'd try it for breakfast on an empty stomach.

    Ever since I got into kefir, my interest in fermented foods exploded. I think you're onto something with microflora having something to do with all of this, and it probably has a lot to do with all of this. Body temperature is probably tied to it but your case might be proof that they work best symbiotically but can work independently of one another.

    Can you have a high body temperature with deranged gut flora? I have no idea. I wouldn't think so, but I'm not exactly an expert on this stuff. And your case does sound really suspicious. I wonder if the area of derangement has something to do with that — if it can be farther along in the digestive tract, so you're digesting your food efficiently to a certain point, which keeps your metabolism high, but things get screwed up somewhere along the way out?

  19. DJR (Danny R., I'm guessing?),

    You sound somewhat similar to me. I'm 27, 6'3", 172 pounds, and have to really make an effort to gain weight. My weight issues are rather more extreme than yours, as I've been as low as 145 (meat/fruit/veggies) and only as high as 176 (milk diet). I lost an alarming amount of hair near my lowest weight during one month in 2009 after I gave blood for the second time in only ten weeks. Just prior to that month of hair loss, I had also foolishly tried using a bunch of coconut oil for shampoo. And earlier that year, I had been shot up with radioactive iodine on more than one occasion for an MRI, which could have had something to do with the hair loss too. At any rate, I've given no blood, put no coconut oil in my hair, and had no more MRIs since then, and thankfully my hair stabilized and has remained stable after that one upsetting month. So those are some things, from personal prejudice, that I'd encourage people to avoid for the sake of their hair, but obviously the positive actions to take are a lot more variable, individual, and tricky to pinpoint. I've been lucky my regimen has worked for my hair; count yourself lucky that yours is working for your sex drive, which is something else that's eluded me.

  20. Mike Jones:

    Also, I think of viili and raw milk. They say you should use pasteurized milk to maintain your viili culture, because the competing bacteria in the raw milk can alter the viili and change the texture/consistency and even ultimately take over.

    The viili starter is kept 'pure' by using pasteurized milk, and to make raw milk viili, pure starter is simply added to raw milk, and when it's done the entire batch is consumed, not using any to make a new batch.

    The mono-meals of something like kefir or homemade yogurt *might* be like a temporary break, like the opposite of an antibiotic — you're not on it for the rest of your life, but just something to clear up an issue.

    The idea would be that if you're eating mixed meals with no stomach upset, you still might be providing food for the bacteria that are overpopulating your digestive tract — and those bacteria could be competing with the bacteria in the fermented foods you consume along with those meals. Taking something like kefir and kefir grains in relatively large doses, by themselves, might provide a direct route to combating the bacterial overgrowth by starving them of their food source while introducing competing bacteria at the same time.

    I remember reading somewhere of someone calling "Torula kefir," one of the yeast strains in kefir grains, the 'cannibalistic sister of Candida albicans."

    It wasn't this website but this is interesting nonetheless:

  21. Amen Kash Money!

    Starting a Tai Chi class soon. Should be a blast!

  22. 93 degrees, huh? Sounds like the sloth is another 80/10/10 star athlete!

    From Dr. Graham's article "Cool Running":

    On a low fat raw vegan diet, a typical athlete will have a resting temperature of around 93 degrees. (S)he can warm up as much as desired, play as intensely as possible; the true fever will likely never be reached. Clear thinking becomes the norm, rather than the exception. Efficient functioning is most readily achieved when body temperatures run healthfully, in the lower 90's.

  23. I know everyone here worships potatoes, but after eating lots of potatoes for 4-5 months I started getting hypoglycemia -kept having to eat due to fast stomach emptying. Recently I started eating lots of fruit and sugars, and gave up on the potato. I still get hypoglycemia like attacks after eating a potato for some reason but they are not as bad.

    Anyone here also experience this? I'm trying to figure out why this happened. I did eat them with lots of butter so maybe too much saturated fat in the blood. After adding fruit back almost all the hypoglycemia and night hunger is gone, most likely due to increased liver glycogen. Could the potato thing be due to the way its cooked, I cooked them in a steam cooker and ate 2-3 daily.

    Also, after eating sugars from fruits or other sweeteners, I feel really warm and energetic, and as I get hungrier I tend to get colder.

  24. hmmmm you just help confuse me more when it comes to food…

  25. Magnesium citrate, what works for me:

    Olympian labs brand, three caps and one vitamin C tablet (500 mg?) between 8-9 pm. Bedtime for me is usually 9:30. Give it two or three days/doses to gain maximum effect. ;-)

  26. Matt,
    I have been doing PACE since you recommended it a while ago. It's a great workout and I love that it's so doable, even though I've struggled with low energy since having my baby 18 months ago. I read the book and Al Sears recommends eating low carb for a couple of weeks to get the fat "melting off." I went through and re-read everything you'd written about low carb diets and definitely get that it's not a good idea in the long term. What about short term like Al Sears recommends? Would you see any damage to the metabolism from a couple weeks of low carbing? Or do you think he's right on exercise but wrong on diet?

  27. Hey Mike Jones,
    The "Water Cure" did it for me.
    Was constipated for a out ten years. Nothing helped but HUGE amounts of butter, almost two sticks a day.
    Then on a whim I tried drinking half my body weight in ounces of water daily, and within a week I was fine, no trouble since.
    Most people think it's silly or dangerous, but I'm sold.

  28. Mike, it's old school, but I say prunes work the best for keeping things moving. And coffee.

    I agree with the gut flora thing for the long-term, though. Maybe a good pro-biotic would help. Bio-kult is supposedly very effective.

  29. Ah "Matt Stone is a douche", everybody's favorite meme. Heh. I subscribed to it at one point before I learned to use this site like I do with Mercola: a source of ideas.

    I second the magnesium citrate. Not just for poo but also for body temperature. The stuff is needed for generation of ATP, thermoregulation and a ton of other stuff, and even the RDA seems a bit weak. I like to get about 600mg per day. Brought my temperature right up.

  30. "…Sears recommends eating low carb for a couple of weeks to get the fat "melting off." Would you see any damage to the metabolism from a couple weeks of low carbing?"

    Hi Chanelle
    for what its worth, not trying to be the contrarian but I think one needs to veer away from aiming for dramatic short term successes. Drastically reducing overall calorie intake or going super low carb often does produce spectacular results. But the body has a wonderful ability to balance things out, and the quick 'win' is often counterbalanced with less desirable results (which may include subsequent weight gain or fat storage) down the track.
    I would be more inclined to look much further ahead. Slow gradual results can be less of a 'shock' to the body and it manages to regulate itself without such dramatic balancing effects.

  31. JR, thanks for your thoughts. I'm getting to the 'desperate' point…. Never a good place to be. I'd love to hear more thoughts on this.

  32. Narendra-

    the only thing i could think of is that you aren't eating enough haha. i'm on a rice kick now, but i would go through a 10 pound bag every 2-3 days for 6 month there. i found that the more i ate the more balanced i felt. over time any blood sugar problems largely went away.

    i always cook my potatoes in a ton of fat so i don't think that was the problem. every once in a while i would get crazy hungry and start eating more and more, but during these periods i'd always lose a pound (i'm assuming fat as i'd "feel" leaner and slightly more energetic) once i calmed down and had been eating a comfortable amount of food.


  33. Btw, I thought I'd commented on the interval training post. These posts are coming so quickly I sometimes can't keep up!

  34. This is getting very interesting, but, Matt, you should totally start putting references in your articles, it would make things easier (and more believable). For instance I couldn't find proof for "Sumo wrestlers that have the highest metabolic rates of any humans". I would love to see more studies for that, but almost all I could find is that they eat no breakfast, drink a lot of beer and are more prone to "western diseases" and dying early. EXCEPT for this study: "". According to it, sumo wrestlers do have a higher total metabolic rate, but a lower one in proportion to their weight:
    "RMR (resting metabolic rate) was significantly
    higher in Sumo wrestlers than in non-athlete students
    (P 0.01). Conversely, the non-athlete students had significantly
    higher RMR/BW (RMR adjusted to body weight) and RMR/FFM (RMR adjusted to fat free mass) values than the
    Sumo wrestlers."

  35. Cool–some mind-reading going on, apparently: this pretty much answers the message I sent you!

    So, what's the consensus on underarm versus sublingual temp measurement? Last I checked, sublingual reads much higher than armpit…

  36. Mike Jones:

    I have always suffered with constipation and have recently found that adding a couple of portions of ripe soft fruit daily to my diet, such as an orange, some pineapple or mango has immediately relieved this.

    I also have to stay away from refined grains as even one portion of white rice, bread or pasta bungs me up.

    I also drink kefir and find that if I leave it for longer than 24 hours before straining or let the grain to milk ratio get too high then this constipates me.

    If you are into fermenting, what about experimenting with fermented fruits/conserves?

    Rochester – UK

  37. Narendra-

    you could try eating fruit with potatoes, or rice with potatoes, to get some immediate energy. i find an orange or 2 before eating potatoes is often much more satisfying than just potatoes.

  38. I've just finished reading "Your Body's Many Cries For Water" by the late Dr "Batman" Batmanghelidj.

    You need to read this Matt.

  39. Mike Jones said,"I think gut flora might deserve more attention than we usually give them. I suspect they have a huge impact on metabolism regardless of one's metabolic rate."

    Jib said, "because I would imagine that healing the metabolism — not just raising it — would require a lot of nourishment via vitamins and minerals, in order to carry out the necessary tasks in that healing process. "


    I've been thinking about these two things quite a bit lately… I've been wondering more and more about the likelihood of all these issues that most people seem to have being symptoms of nutrient deficiencies, in particular of the trace elements.

    I've been mucking around on a project growing vegetables using hydroponics and happened to come across a guy named Maynard Murray who wrote a book, "Sea Energy Agriculture."

    Basically, he said that the reason that people, animals and plants are unhealthy is because of the state of the soil – in general, it's extremely deficient in trace elements. He says that the soil is deficient due to most of the nutrients ending up in the sea (through runoff and due to the fact that the nutrients aren't returned to the land in the form of excrement), and that sea water basically has the perfect nutrient profile (he says that sea animals don't suffer metabolic or degenerative diseases – not sure about that) as this is where all runoff ends up.

    So in a nutshell, he did a load of experiments whereby he grew vegetables with diluted sea water solids (which contained every known element) and observed that the plants were much larger, healthier and had a better nutrient profile. He wasn't the first to talk about this, but something he talks about makes me think.

    Quite a few people have mentioned magnesium chloride and other ways of getting trace elements into the body. It seems to work for some, but not for others. Some researchers, such as Murray, stress that minerals in their ionic/inorganic state are not assimilable by the body. He says that they have to converted to an organic state, be bound with a carbon molecule, to be utilised (such as when plants take them up and we eat the plant, or when we eat the animal that ate the plant). Microbes do the conversion – certain types of bacteria and fungi, AFAIK. He and others say that in many cases consuming them in their ionic form can be toxic, even lethal. Others, such as the WAPF and Mercola, recommend the liberal use of minerals in their ionic/inorganic form by using unrefined salts such as Celtic sea salt and Himalayan salt. They say that the body takes up what it needs and that it's all safe, as you're taking in the whole gamut in the proper ratio.

    So which is it: safe, absorbable and beneficial; or not able to be utilised and even toxic?

  40. Some excerpts from an interview (maximumyield dot com/article_sh_db.php?articleID=638&submit=Go):

    "Plants can't use organic or tied-up elements, and animals can't use inorganic elements, or shouldn't. Salts are the only real inorganic compounds we take in. We know that salt for the most part is a toxic material, sodium chloride. It produces swelling in tissues, and your doctor will take you off of it if you have any swelling, heart disease or if you're pregnant. He does this not knowing why, except for his awareness that salt produces swelling. The reason it produces swelling is because it's tied-up in an inorganic form, and you, being an animal, can't utilize it. If you take carrot juice, or many different vegetables, they contain sodium and chlorine that you can tolerate without any harmful effects whatsoever, if it's tied-up right, in an organic form.

    Take iodine, for instance. We do take some inorganic iodine and form a potassium iodide in salt. Here too, the iodine shows an opposite effect to that produced when it's tied-up organically. If you eat organically tied-up iodine, it increases your metabolism. If you take potassium iodide, salt, it's the compound we use to step down the metabolism. We do know, however, that inorganic iodine prevents us from having a certain type of toxic goiter. This is probably due to the fact that iodine is indeed hooked-up organically in small doses in plant life in your intestine. In the same way, we know that ruminant animals can tolerate large doses of inorganic salts, because the protozoa and bacteria in the stomachs of the ruminant animal can tie these things up.

    We do the same thing with iron. If we take ferric chloride, which is an inorganic iron, we do not get the benefit of the iron as such. It has to be absorbed by the bacteria of the intestine, then released as an organic tie-up before we can utilize it. In other words, the idea that animals have to have organically tied-up elements is still true. We can prove that anytime an animal benefits from the ingestion of an inorganic substance. It is because it is made organic by the action of either the fermentative juices or bacterial life in the intestine."

  41. Regarding iodine, I recall a few people talking about Lugol's on here a while ago. I've tried it, and it didn't do anything positive for me. The above might explain why – I'm pretty sure my gut flora isn't ideal (whatever "ideal" is).

    So, to me it seems that gut flora makes or breaks it. Depending on the state of it, and the way in which we're getting our minerals, we could be either be poisoning or healing ourselves. Could be raising or lowering our metabolisms.

    For another interesting look at organic v inorganic minerals, have a look at: naturalnews dot com/022309_sea_minerals_nutrition.html

  42. Sorry, those 3 posts above are meant to be read as one!

  43. By what mechanism does PUFA kill the metabolism and wreak havoc? Has this been covered before? It seems like an accepted dogma around here.

  44. Anonymous:

    I remember reading something about Revitin — some kind of toothpaste — that mentions bacteria in the mouth feeding on things like calcium and magnesium. I'm sure if you do a search on it you'll find something — just interesting to note while we're discussing this.

    As far as ionic minerals go: being a kefir fanatic, I wonder if adding ionic mineral drops to the milk when you're brewing kefir would make the minerals assimilable during the process of fermentation. I don't know what effect this would have on the kefir grains themselves but I can't imagine something like 1/2 teaspoon of ionic minerals would harm them.

    I think fermentation is a valuable practice for the reason that it emulates the ruminant's digestive system. We obviously don't have four stomachs, but through fermentation we can have two, so to speak.

    Of course, ripening kefir under airlock (fermenting the strained kefir for another day or so) would probably be the 'safest' way of seeing how adding ionic minerals to the kefir would work.

    I think I'm going to try this. I'll probably just add it to the milk itself, kefir grains and all, and if it doesn't have any adverse effects on the grains, it's a go for me. I drink kefir every day anyway.

    Really though, this could be done with sauerkraut (on Dom's 'kefirkraut in-site' he mentions how people used to use limestone as a follower to press the cabbage down so it would remain submerged throughout the fermentation process — and limestone containing magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate, through the action of lactic acid bacteria they would be converted into the assimilable forms of magnesium lactate and calcium lactate)…or lots of other things.

    On that note, I think this all needs more research. Clearly there's some confusion if there is no scientifically proven difference between the body utilizing salt from carrots or salt from sodium chloride. Two camps have differing views on that — the only way to know which is right is through more research.

    Although the fermentation thing does make a lot of sense, and someone can say that sodium chloride is toxic, but who would say that carrot juice is toxic? Maybe it's similar to the metabolism thing in the sense that if you have healthy gut flora, you can absorb minerals in the inorganic state due to successful bacterial fermentation/conversion in the gut.

    And if you don't, they could be left inorganic and become toxic to the body. Of course, that's just a wild guess, and it also brings up the question of how healthy do your gut flora really have to be to mark the difference between healthy and unhealthy utilization of minerals in the inorganic state?

    P.S. We aren't rats, but I found this interesting:

    The title of the study is:

    "Atherogenesis inhibition induced by magnesium-chloride fortification of drinking water"

  45. I have a feeling the high metabolic rate of sumo wrestlers is due to their much larger than average muscle mass. I can't remember where I read it but the argument was that increases in muscle mass are accompanied by increases in body temperature. Makes sense as we know muscle mass is metabolically expensive.

    Veiled Glory,

    How do you do it? 9:30 bed time?! I've struggled with going to be early (when I'm supposed to) more than anything else, and I know it's MAJOR in so many ways. Usually 11pm at the earliest, more like midnight on avg though. What's the trick to getting to bed so early?

  46. Michael,

    Ha, bedtime! I get up (on work days) at 5:30 am. By 9 pm, I am a pumpkin. Weekends/non-work days, my cat pounces me by 6:30 am so sleeping in is non-negotiable.I hate to say it, but I am naturally one of those "morning people".

    A tip I often pass on is to turn off screens an hour before you want to sleep. If I go straight from screen to bed, my mind races and I take a good half-hour to wind down.

    One thing I have noticed with having an early schedule is that I am a regular donator at the porcelain throne. The gut prefers a predictable schedule!

  47. Thanks for the reply VG!

    You're right about the gut — and the body and mind for that matter — preferring a predictable schedule. For the short periods I've been able to pull off an early bed and rise time, everything has been better.

    Good advice about powering things down before bed. I've found it helps to unplug all electronics in the room to have a better sleep once you're sleeping as well. Picked this up from Poliquin, he uses it with his pro athletes all the time. They report instant results.

    I've never been a morning person and even if I was up at 6am, I always find a way to stay up until 11pm or beyond. Ugh.

    Even Scott Abel has talked about one of the best changes you can make for your health, with immediate body composition changes without doing anything else, is getting your sleep right. I really need to make this happen.

  48. BTW, don't forget it's April Fool's everyone. ;-)

    For everyone that loves the 'ol potatoe, someone forwarded this to me and I had to share it with you guys:


    Well, a Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other,

    And finally they got married, and had a little sweet potato,
    which they called 'Yam.'

    Of course, they wanted the best for Yam.

    When it was time, they told her about the facts of life.

    They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she
    wouldn't get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself
    like 'Hot Potato,' and end up with a bunch of Tater Tots.

    Yam said not to worry, no Spud would get her into the sack and
    Make a rotten potato out of her!

    But on the other hand she wouldn't stay home and become a Couch Potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her Shoestring cousins.

    When she went off to Europe, Mr. And Mrs. Potato told Yam to
    watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland and the greasy
    guys from France called the French Fries. And when she went out West, to watch out for the Indians so she wouldn't get scalloped..

    Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow path and
    wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds, or the
    ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade
    on all the trucks that say, 'Frito Lay.'

    Mr. And Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that's Potato
    University) so that when she graduated she'd really be in
    the Chips.

    But in spite of all they did for her, one-day Yam came home
    and announced she was going to marry

    Peter Mansbridge.

    Peter Mansbridge!

    Mr and Mrs. Potato were very upset.

    They told Yam she couldn't possibly marry Peter Mansbridge
    Because he's just…….

    Are you
    ready for this?

    you sure?



    Here it is!




  49. @ Michael: I think getting to bed early is a habit. I have been going to bed before 10PM for years now, pretty much my whole life. It just comes easily as I always find the evenings boring and I am never productive during them. I guess this subconsciously triggers off sleep. The opposite goes for mornings as I enjoy the quiet and refreshed feeling of being up early, so having an early bed time works has a double incentive.

    On nights I find that sleepiness isn't kicking in I find reading in a dark room with a torch light gets me off to sleep every time, so long as I am not hungry.

    Honestly though I think sleeping early or getting to bed early needs some incentive or boredom which pushes you seek nothing but sleep. You are never going to be in bed before 10PM if you enjoy doing stuff in the hours after.

    Don't know how much sense that made, but hopefully it will help.

    @ Anonymous: I just read your 3 comment post on minerals and it is mega interesting, need to re-read to get my head around it all but its a fascinating topic.

  50. Anon

    I thought I wasn't eating enough too, but I would eat 4-5 times a day and 2-3 a night until my stomach filled to capacity… the problem was that in 30 mins-1 hr the food would have passed from the stomach. I know this cause I could literally feel it pass and sucking in my gut would make the top part of my belly go in while bottom protruded. Even after eating all this food, I only needed to let the dogs out only twice a day just like always.


    I tried fruit before potatoes but same results. My theory is that my liver glycogen was at 0, so the body would pass along food at faster rates hoping to get more energy. For now, I'm avoiding potatoes but will introduce them later on.
    Got good results with them but that plateaued around 2-3 month range. Now sugar and white man's food seem to be doing it for me.

  51. Matt,

    You're so right that metabolism is key and I thank you for putting this message out into the world.

    Pardon the length, but this post has basically turned into my first official progress report.

    When I found your blog a few months ago I had been suffering from "Sloth Metabolism" for a few years. Some of your descriptions really rang true. I checked my temp at that time and it was 96.8º – not as bad as some, but I was very familiar with coldness – especially in the hands and feet – and other symptoms of low thyroid / metabolism.

    At that point I had been on WAPF / low carb for about a year. I have since realized that it was also high in PUFA through things like peanut butter, mayo and tortilla chips. Before WAPF, I was eating college dorm buffet food for two years and had some regrettable habits like cereal w/ soy milk at almost every meal. Man, do I wish I could take that back.

    Curiously, that's about the time I started to really notice cold hands / feet and shedding / dandruff / hair loss – at like 20 years old – which was a major bummer, but on a positive note it was eventually one of the main motivators to try a new approach.

    I began RRARF in December and noticed some improvements. I embraced carbs, especially potatoes. I had an increased appetite and always ate when I was hungry. I improved my sleep patterns. I cut out peanut butter and veggie oils. I didn't really have a problem with sugar but I did cut out chocolate. My temperature rose to about 97.6º but it leveled off there. I gained about ten pounds. (I am a 22 yr old male, 5'10", 175 lbs, average build.)

    The biggest improvements I have gotten from you and RRARF were probably in my knowledge / understanding: seeing the idiocy of dieting, calorie restriction and macronutrient restriction; seeing the connection between stress / starvation response and low metabolism / fat gain / declining health. I know that I will never encourage or endure hunger or deprive myself of a macronutrient and it amazes me now that we ever thought those could be beneficial for our health.


  52. But in terms of my actual diet, I have made some recent changes on top of RRARF that seem to be providing even more health improvements.

    I was getting sick of eating the same stuff, so your latest wave of articles & my discovery of Ray Peat came at a perfect time for me and I was open to trying something new.

    I added fruit juice / sugar and ate less potatoes and rice. I started consuming coconut oil regularly. I have been eating more dairy and less meat and including gelatin with the meat.

    Coconut oil was a revelation. It was awesome to experience its immediate warming effects – which I understand to be a temporary, rehabilitative effect as described by Ray Peat

    Sugar / OJ has also helped to improve energy and warmth – not to mention the psychological benefit from setting myself free from the bondage of another major nutritional renunciation. Haagen Daz ice cream for a guilt-free dessert – Hallelujah! Especially after virtually eliminating sweets / desserts for various reasons for so long.

    That sugar is okay just seems obvious to me now – yes fruit, but even refined sugar. It's not nutrition, it's energy. So make sure you're getting your nutritional needs elsewhere and your body will use sugar for easy available energy.

    Also, I quickly learned not to overdose on sugar – too much sugar too fast makes your blood sugar soar and then crash and that crash has all the predictable symptoms of hypoglycemia: nausea, jittery & shaky, etc. So your body does have a built in mechanism for regulating sugar intake – just ask any kid on Halloween. But sugar with a meal or the slow intake of a sugary drink doesn't cause this problem.

    The biggest revelation of all for me has been the realization that being Sloth-like was not a pre-determined part of my personality. I had been experiencing it for a long enough time that I began to believe that lethargy and depression were just a part of my personality… which was a bummer :)

    I used to only have rare and brief experiences of vitality, motivation and life-embracing joy – that "I'm gonna conquer the world" feeling. But now I have that feeling more often and for a longer duration.

    I wouldn't say that I am "cured" yet, but I have experienced enough to know that it isn't "me" – that poor mood can be (among other things) a result of poor nutrition / health.

    I have experienced a direct correlation between nutrition, warmth and mood (and weather / sunlight) that has set me free from the false belief that my mood and therefore my quality of life is genetically pre-determined.

    Obviously situational, psychological and emotional factors are still major influences over mood, but nutrition / health / warmth / weather / rest & activity cycles seem to set the baseline.

  53. Rocket-

    Already have, kind of dumb. I do drinks me a lot of water though. Nothing against it. Big fan. Just not retarded about it.


    Yeah, desperation is the emotion that precedes the greatest health catastrophes. I think Sears is wrong about diet. It's almost creepy that he would recommend a diet that discourages glucose oxidation while recommending exercise that encourages glucose oxidation. Carbs are the fuel for high-intensity exercise.

    Cool Running-

    Un-be-frickin-lievable. No wonder all those 811rv's don't menstruate and complain of being cold and having no sex drive. It's also no surprise that they are endurance athletes that measure the success of the diet by their performance. For endurance exercise, you want a diet that can slow down your metabolic rate and strip off muscle mass and fat more effectively than any other. 811rv is the prescription for that.

    Mike Jones-

    I second Jane's recommendations. Raw fruit is the most laxative of all foods. When it comes to gut flora, I think the most important thing is providing plenty of food. I take a Field of Dreams approach to gut flora (build it and they will come). Raw fruits and vegetables are almost always going to have a lower digestibility than cooked foods, leaving more residue to farm your flora. Doooo it!


    Ditto. The fat has something to do with it, but it's really a slightly reduced metabolic rate that prevents you from handling both potatoes and fat simultaneously. But sugars have a big role to play. I don't think one can achieve the optimal metabolic rate without total glycogen saturation in both muscle and liver, and a starch-only diet may not be able to achieve that no matter how hard one tries.

  54. Michael-

    Big ups on the commontater contribution. It reminds me of my father when I was a kid…

    When we'd go to the grocery store and I wasn't looking he would grab a large Russet potato and hold it in one hand about 6 inches below his navel…

    "Hey Matt," he would say, and I would turn around to look at him.

    "It's a dictator!"

    Ah, parenting at its finest.


    Yep, glad you're enjoying the ride. All normal experiences. My story is very similar, especially with the mood thing. I used to have crazy mood swings and just assumed that was who I was. Then a change in diet showed me that wasn't true at all, and that one of the most fundamental aspects of what I condered to be "me" wasn't me at all, but something totally alterable. After that I pretty much felt that there was probably nothing that in some cases couldn't be altered by diet and lifestyle manipulation.

    And ice cream. There is no question that it is the most metabolically stimulating of all foods. Nothing increases body heat and pulse rate like ice cream. Absolutely nothing.

    I like sipping the sugars too. I can consume a huge amount of sugar without any hypoglycemia (like 300 grams in one sitting, but I usually don't take in more than 150g), but it's best when I slowly consume it over the course of an entire hour. Just a wee bit at a time. Couple pieces of fruit here. Glass of grape juice there.


    Yeah, the unpleasantries of transition are a bee-yotch. Experiencing lots of negatives particulary an increase in physical pain are VERY normal. Take that 1 degree body temperature increase with glee and don't abandon ship at a little breast tenderness. With a little fine-tuning and persistence you'll be able to solve such minor riddles, if they don't just disappear altogether over time.


    Yes, I know it's hard to believe that 500-pound people that eat 10,000 or more calories have the highest metabolic rate. Would you like to also see a study showing that Saint Bernards have higher metabolic rates than Shitzu's? Or can we go ahead and make some assumptions there as well?

    Like I said, being big is the best way to increase the number of calories you burn per day, but this doesn't equate to health or a rise in body temperature – which I view as something that only stems from an improvement in cellular energy production (mitochondrial activity).

    A small dog will have a higher energy level (by far), a higher heart rate (by far), a higher body temperature, and will eat more calories per ounce of lean body mass than a big dog. This is why they live longer and have fewer health problems. But technically, even though they have a much higher cellular metabolic rate, their overall metabolic rate (calories burned) is much smaller.

    This is why we have to distinguish between the definitions of metabolism. There are finer points to it, and it must be adjusted for lean body mass, age, gender, body fat levels, and other factors to really determine whether a person's metabolic rate is truly high or not. Graded with those pivotal adjustments, Sumo wrestlers will have very slow metabolic rates.

  55. Anonymous PUFA question-

    PUFA interferes with thyroid hormone production, prevents cells from getting T3, the active thyroid hormone into the mitochondrion where it stimulates cellular energy production and respiration, causes excess inflammation known to decrease metabolism via increase in cortisol – which slows down metabolism on several fronts including interfering with leptin.

  56. Sugar and immune system-

    Doubtful that a drop in leukocyctes or whatever they use to make that judgment for a few hours after having some sugar is sufficient evidence to indict sugar.

    In fact, I suspect that sugar increases growth hormone production – which can preserve and regenerate the thymus gland. Remains to be seen.

  57. Glad to see some discussion about micro flora since I have been trying to correct those issues for years. Finally got testing done and working with a doc to get it all fixed up. Although there is a total catch-22 here. How can you overfeed successfully if you can't digest your food to begin with? From my n=1 experiments you have to break the cycle by fixing the microflora/(and/or taking hcl/enzymes) or boosting the metabolism with drugs or both. In my own experience caloric intake has 0 correlation with temps in the morning so I've always been skeptical of the overfeeding = higher metabolism equation. I've also seen 0 correlation between taking straight T3 and morning temps. 0 correlation between thyroid hormone levels from labs and temperatures. This is so much more complex and nonlinear. . I'll let you guys know on my blog once I hit the 98.6 (during the day I can go as high as 99 easily and have for years). Adrenals seem to have as much to do if not more than thyroid with regard to metabolism. recomposition dot blogspot

  58. Thanks Matt, for your response and your blog.

    My mid-day temp: 98.7º and "Feelin' Good" !

    Sing it with me (and Michael Buble):

    For what it's worth, here are my current nutritional guidelines, heavily inspired by Matt Stone and Ray Peat:

    – Principles –

    The Big Three
    1. don't restrict calories: eat when hungry, eat till full
    2. don't restrict a macronutrient: eat fat, protein and carbs in equal amounts
    3. avoid unsaturated fat as much as possible

    The Others
    • fat & protein: animal sources are generally superior
    • fat: the more saturated the better
    • meat: balance muscle meat with gelatin from skin, collagen and bone
    • carbs: for energy, not necessarily nutrition; fruit & sugar are good for you
    • usually eat carbs, protein and fat together: only fruit / juice / sugar is okay by itself – just not too much at one time

    – What to Eat –

    • fat & protein:
    – red meat (i.e. ruminant animals: beef, lamb, deer, etc.)
    – eat meat with gristle / collagen or bone broth – all of which contain gelatin
    – diary: milk, cheese, cream (including ice cream that has no additives: Haagen Dazs!)
    • fat: coconut oil and butter
    • protein: powdered gelatin & shellfish
    • carbs: fruit, fruit juice, sugar

    • fat: olive oil
    • fat & protein: eggs, pork, poultry
    • carbs: unenriched white rice, potatoes, wheat (in that order)
    • veggies: but, generally, eat vegetarian animals which do the digesting / toxin filtering for you
    • chocolate, tea / coffee with milk & sugar

    • grain / seed / nut / vegetable oils
    • beans, raw grains, nuts & seeds
    • packaged, junk & fast food
    • additives / chemicals: aspartame, guar gum, carageenan, nitrates, dyes, etc.
    • synthetic vitamins, enriched/fortified foods
    • fish: including salmon & tuna (too much PUFA)

    – Note –

    Avoiding Unsaturated Fat Means
    • grain / seed / nut / vegetable oils: corn, soybean, canola, etc.
    – used in junk food, packaged food, baked goods, chips, crackers
    – used in salad dressings, sauces and condiments (including mayo)
    • nuts, seeds, grains & beans
    – in raw form
    – nut butters (like peanut) and nut / grain "milks" (soy, almond, rice, etc.)
    – breakfast cereals, granola and food bars (granola, Cliff, Nutrigrain, etc.)
    • limiting pork, poultry and eggs which are higher in ratio of unsaturated:saturated fat than red meat & dairy
    • cold water fish: salmon, tuna, etc.

  59. my 4 year old son has what looks like the beginning of a Hemorrhoid (swollen blue vien). He does not seem constipated in that the stool is soft and it comes out with ease, but sometimes he can go 2 or even 3 days without going so it is often large and it seems something is amiss with the digestion to be causing a Hemorrhoid. I'm guessing that the volume and weight of it sitting there for more than a day is causing pressure.

    I've tried adding fruit, which at least seems to keep it soft but doesn't always keep him regular. he still breastfeeds occasionally, has homemade kefir, a mostly whole food diet and limited refined carboydrates. I feel at a bit of a loss as to what to try next.

    Any suggestions appreciated.


  60. sirhc, why do you avoid beans? Good for flora, if prepared properly.

  61. undertow,

    re: avoiding beans

    Well I have to admit, I don't enjoy the taste of beans that much and I don't want to deal with preparation so it's easy for me to live without them. That's the biggest reason I don't eat them.

    But it is also my understanding that their nutritional value is surpassed by other (tastier) carb / protein sources and that their limited nutritients are not worth the detriments from toxins, allergens and difficult to digest substances (even though these are probably less of a problem with proper preparation).

    But maybe the indigestible factor is also why they're considered good for gut flora. I don't know.

    Fiber and other difficult to digest substances are said to be both good and bad for flora and/or digestion for that same reason. I've seen arguments on both sides of that debate and haven't quite figured that out yet.

    But I'm no expert on the matter and since I don't really have any serious digestion issues the main reason I don't bother with beans is that I never went out of my way to eat them and so I won't miss them at all.

  62. as far as the whole "high satiety foods vs low satiety calorie dense foods"…

    when i eat potatoes till i'm SUPER FULL i have a tendency to feel a little cold and my metabolism doesn't increase despite eating until i'm super full.

    when i eat rice until super full i feel hot and my metabolism shows a slow increase. like, on average 0.2 a week. just now i read 97 8. Last week I was at 97 6.

    i've been slowly over eating for the past 7 months or so and have only recently seen significant improvements since over eating rice. like, i eat until it gets to the point where i'm uncomfortable (usually taking a good week of eating 4-5k kcal daily), then i naturally back off for a good 2 weeks. Rinse and repeat. I don't know if it's "better", but i seem to be minimizing excess weight gain as well as the very uncomfortable feeling of being stuffed all the time.

    i'm gonna go on a limb and say that low satiety nutrient dense foods are probably best for re-establishing the metabolism. i have a hard time shaking the idea that what ive got to accomplish should be done with whole foods. however, it seems the establishing leptin sensitivity is quicker than establishing metabolism, so low satiety calorie rich processed food may have it's place as far as making the job of the over eating easier.


  63. I'm having similar experiences to you Sirhc. Overfeeding on mostly starch the last few months has definitely helped, but taking the plunge and going head first down the sugar route recently has got me some really impressive results that I just can't ignore.

    I suffer a bit from anxiety, and I've found that eating sugar at times when you're majorly stressed out has a amazing calming effect. (hyperactivity my ass)

    oh, and I agree with your point that sugar is just energy – I tend to eat sugar mainly at the start of the day and then eat a more conventional starch one towards the end. I find this gives me a good balance while still getting some key nutrients in.

    A couple of questions though;

    -Why was it that when I was on a fruit based diet in the past I felt freezing (which is mainly sugar based no?)

    -Any suggestions on what to eat/how to mix it up a bit. Been eating just plain sugar/molasses or even at times just processed junky chocolate (gasp).

    -I'm quite eager to try this whole gelatin stuff that everyone seems to be banging on about – can I just buy from the supermarket, or is there some finer points I should be checking for.

    Cheers for any help.

    *Oh, and I just gotta finish by saying a big thanks to you Matt and this 'ere site of yours. Without it I would no doubt be getting thoroughly sodomised by 'Grok' down in the Paleo dungeon
    right about now. (That was the last health regime I was on – that did get me some results at first but then just left me confused and sicker a few months later when my body quite rightly rebelled against the carb restricting lunacy!)

  64. Jane,

    Drop the kefir. Acidophilus capsules, yogurt, kefir, any of these will always constipate me, creating huge stools. Ray Peat isn't a big fan of adding bacteria cultures to ones diet, as he considers them toxic.


  65. sirch, Thank you for posting such a comprehensive list.

    Michael, I am required by virtue of my citizenship to appreciate any joke that has Peter Mansbridge for a punchline.

    Paul, Wow, fructose?! What to do? Stop swallowing or balance the ratio by keeping a sugar bowl next to the bed?

  66. Thanks Coyote,

    I find that 36 – 48 hour kefir constipates me but 24 is ok. I know people who's diarrhea from IBS has stopped since taking kefir so it could make someone prone to constipation worse.

    I will try eliminating the kefir and yogurt from his diet and see if that helps.

    Thanks, Jane

  67. Coyote,

    If you can remember off hand, could you direct me to Ray Peat's opinion on adding bacteria culture to the diet? I searched his site but couldn't find anything related.

    Thanks, Jane

  68. Re: progesterone

    I've noticed some women here seem to take progesterone. Is there a way to boost progesterone naturally?

    I have slightly short cycles (25 days) although I have a 12 – 13 day leutal phase and ovulate regularly. I suffer with PMS and my body temperature could be better.

    Could overfeeding sort this out without supplementing with progesterone?

    I planning a second baby so would like to resolve this beforehand if possible.

    I've recently started taking supplements to address mineral deficiencies identified through hair mineral analysis.

    Thanks Jane

  69. Skeptical Eater, clearly you are using a neolithic position of disease. You should ask Mark Sisson how Grok would have done it.

  70. If you don't eat cold water fish or take cod liver oil how do you suggest balancing the omega 3:6 ratio?

  71. Matt
    "And ice cream. There is no question that it is the most metabolically stimulating of all foods. Nothing increases body heat and pulse rate like ice cream. Absolutely nothing."

    Why is that do you think? The sugar? The dairy? Or simply the ease at being able to get in as many calories as possible in such a short time?

    A couple years back when I decided to pack on body weight and bodybuild I never did it the conventional way of 6 small starch/ lean protein meals way.

    Never appealed to me.

    Generally did my eating intermittently with huge calorie meals. Nothing brings on the sweats more than a high calorie meal, so I would be inclined to say that is the case with the icecream.

    One of my favourite meals that packed tons of calories was 500ml milk + 10oml cream and two scoops of protein. Not too dissimilar to icecream if you switch out the protein with sugar.

    Nothing increased my heat output/ metabolism more than downing those drinks.

  72. 1 – Do you (or Barnes, Starr) have women concentrate on luteal or follicular temps? Since my luteal temp went up to 98 but my follicular is still 96.8, it seems like follicular is the one to look at?

    2 – I read that several root veg are goitrogenic: sweet potato, rutabaga, turnip. I saw contradictions about whether cooking deactivates the goitrogens. I want to eat a lot more sweet potatoes (like make them a daily staple) but not if they're going to prevent my thyroid from uptaking iodine, I think that's what happens. Know about that?

  73. Narenda,

    What are your stats? Age, male/female, nationality, body fat percentage?

    Reason I ask is because I'm familiar with what's happening to you with the potatoes.

    I believe you've become hyper-responsive to insulin. Someone who is overly responsive to insulin tends to either over-secrete insulin in response to a carbohydrate meal, or be so sensitive to the insulin they produce that they clear blood glucose too quickly resulting in a state of hypoglycemia.

    Your stats above will give a better idea if this is what's happening.

    Are you also really hungry again shortly after eating one of these potatoe/carb meals?

  74. Coyote, mark me down as also interested in what Peat has to say about probiotics in the diet. Haven't seen anything on his site about that.

  75. Peat doesn't like the the overproduction of Lactic Acid caused by ingesting all the fermented foods especially those which are dairy based, acidophilus etc…. He notes that they may also cause anxiety in some people, this has not been my experience though in spite of suffering from anxiety in the past.

    I am sure the Peat followers who comment here can shed some more light on this.

  76. I think I secretly knew Matt wouldn't recommend following Al Sears low carb plan. But I needed to hear you say it, so thanks Matt.

  77. Okay, but damm, would it be so hard to reference at all? I'm a sucker for references.

  78. Jane,

    Yeah, Chris has it right; it's the lactic acid that Ray Peat considers toxic. He believes bacterial lactic acid is worse than the lactic acid produced inside our own bodies from stress. So he says to avoid yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, etc. He considers lactobacilli to have short term protective effects, such as after antibiotic use, but long term the lactic acid functions as an alarm signal just like bacterial endotoxins, thus increasing the aging process. He thinks bacterial endotoxins are a very big cause of aging.

    Now he's also against internally created lactic acid, thus he's against endurance type exercise, for it shuts down the CO2 producing energy state and shifts to the lactic acid producing glycolytic stress state. Too much sprinting or weight lifting would do the same thing, so ingesting lot's of sugar after a workout would be essential in order to blunt the stress response and thus prevent the lactic acid stress state from taking over.

    Ray Peat's web site contains some of the articles from his newsletter, the article “Lactate vs. CO2 in wounds, sickness, and aging; the other approach to cancer” explains his ideas on the dangers of lactic acid but it doesn’t mention lactobacilli. I've been subscribing to his newsletter for years, so the lactic acid thing and yogurt is something he's mentioned from time to time.

    Hope this helps,


  79. Thanks Coyote! I've been taking acidophilus probiotics for a long time now, looks like I may need to reevaluate that.

  80. So ive been feeling run down for the last few days. Coughing up a lot of phlem. Cant remember the last time i felt like this. Thing is my body temp is right around 98.5 but i dont feel that good. Im wondering if its related to the increased intake of sugar. Anyone else have similar issues?

  81. Anyone heard of Ori Hofmekler? I used to follow his diet. He says sugar is bad and protein is the proper fuel source etc.

  82. @Jane, look at the article on Ray Peat's website "Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer's, Colitis, Immunodeficiency." You can also do a search for "yogurt" and the article will come up.

  83. Argh. Just posted a long comment on follicular vs. luteal phase and it got zapped.

    Check out Katie Singer's _The Garden of Fertility_. Seems like all the examples from fertile women have a coverline within Barnes' healthy range. Anovulatory cycles and the example of thyroid disorder have coverlines well below (like 97.4).

    On another topic, anyone have experience donating blood on this diet? I had a terrible experience on Saturday after having several great experiences on LC/HF last year. :/

  84. Bless you Matt, for finally reaching the Goonies in your tour of 80s cinema masterpieces.


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