The Calorie Myth Part 3 – The Basics

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I didn’t have time to write a full-on post today, but wanted to keep our Calorie Myth series going.  Here is a video on some of the basics of the simplistic “eat less/exercise more” approach to weight loss – and why this approach is an ineffective long-term strategy with negative physical and psychological side effects…

 

90 Comments

  1. This is such an easy topic to rant on. Have to have you on the podcast early next year, so we can drop some truth bombs.

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    • Your use of the phrase “truth bombs” is the best setup for this ever… Sounds good Mr. Groxton

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      • I forgot he said that. Haven’t really followed Sean much since about 09. I am a wee bit jealous of his JERF.

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  2. I’m cured….though not really overweight, I’ve gained some lbs b/c of both diet and exercise in the past. Stop the micro-managing and just enjoy good healthy food without all the “fear”and compulsive counting. Gone is the “hunger” that used to appear right after eating a substantial meal or even in the middle of the night. You are so right on the money.

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    • Thank you for this! I am the person that decided to lose weight and did it by restricting. Lost 70 pounds which is great but everything that happened to my mood etc… is horrible. I hate that I cannot stop counting, I hate that I am always tired, I hate that I am cranky most of the time, I hate that I waste so much time counting. It truly has consumed my life. I have 3 children (1,3 and 6) and I feel like I am not mentally there for them and pretty much have zero energy to play, which just makes me feel more miserable. The guy at VitaminWorld today asked me what my resolution was and I told him that it is to stress less and stop counting! Thanks Matt for all your great articles, it’s great stuff to read and makes me feel better :)

      Happy New Year!
      Jennifer

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      • Jennifer,

        I feel your pain. I only recently stopped counting calories, weighing food, etc. Buying that damn food scale was one of the worst things I did…it consumed me…I got aniexty going out to eat and not being able to weigh or accurately count things. It’s hard, but I just stopped…it’s been great, although I still catch myself mentally adding things in my head sometimes…trying to weed that out as well. I also stopped the Paleo/low-carb thing and it’s been great…back to all the banned foods…potatoes, rice, corn, oatmeal, the occassional cookie binge, etc., and haven’t gained at all. So much for the Sisson “insideous weight gain” exceeding 150 carbs a day. :) I wish you well and hope you can relax a bit with this stuff…like you I thought I never could…take the first step!

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        • John,

          Different Jennifer here, but wanted to say I couldn’t agree with you more. Your experience with the food scale and counting mimics mine completely. I too gave up the Sisson 150 carb max rule and have not gained an ounce. I too still find myself counting in my head, but I quickly stop myself. It will take time to undo all that needless brainwashing fear. Have you noticed a shift in the paleo movement lately? It seems the once hardcore anti-carb paleo proponents are now coming around to eating carbs granted it’s what they call “safe starches” but at least they can see that carbs aren’t the downfall of all humanity. I keep thinking how I was so much more healthy when I was free with my food choices. I use to eat what sounded good to me when it was time to eat. On all these extreme restrictive diets you no longer eat what sounds appealing to you or something you could even remotely stomach(still wondering how I ever let anyone convince me that raw meat and bone marrow is the best). You eat what some person on the computer says you should eat. There goes using your own intuition and instincts, probably one of the biggest traits that made our paleolithic ancestors survive their world. We never hear the paleo gurus discussing that factor…do we? I guess it is easy to prey on those of us who are so desperate to heal ourselves. Okay… end of rant!

          God bless!
          Jennifer

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          • Jennifer,

            Thanks for your reply. I totally know what you are talking about. You nailed it with “There goes using your own intuition and instincts, probably one of the biggest traits that made our paleolithic ancestors survive their world.’ Well said!!!

  3. I’m just curious on why the metabolism starts to slow down, when a person was never dieting in the first place. I have been extremely active my entire life, and was always involved in three sports at school so I was never dieting, and I was very in shape – to the point where I had a “6-pack.” Once I started puberty during my freshmen year, I just randomly started gaining weight in my belly and love handles, even though I was eating the same and doing the same amount of activity. I know hormones were obviously involved, but what caused my body to put on that amount of fat? It wasn’t like I was stick skinny where I needed to put on weight to have a period, because I had that athletic build where I carried lots more muscle than most other girls (and still do). After that, was when the dieting and restricting began, which was hell since I was so active.

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    • Dieting is just one form of physiological stress. There are hundreds of others. Not enough sleep. Depletion of vitamin and mineral stores. Pregnancy and childbirth. Traumas and stressors from being too busy to death in the family to overtraining, injury, or surgery. Infection is another. The list goes on and on. There are many paths to throwing your metabolism off. Dieting just happens to be one of the best ways to do it.

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      • I can totally relate to this. I gained 25 pounds after a back injury — Wipe-Out style :-\ It took a year to recover and I still have not been able to lose the extra weight.

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  4. I buy all this, I really do. I wish I could just trust my intuition and “get there” in time, but when I recently tried this approach I started to put on weight and called it off.

    I feel like if I were on a desert island for a couple years with food and a pile of books, alone, I could nail intuitive eating.

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    • Steph if you eat adequate protein with your carbs and fat it is possible to slowly ramp up calories over time so the metabolism adjusts accordingly without weight gain. I have done this before and gotten my calories up to 3000 without gaining weight. once your metabolism is up there you can just eat freely

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      • Callie, thanks for this tip! Recently I’ve been craving – and eating – a bit more protein. I’ll watch what happens.

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  5. I like reading blogs about health/fitness but I generally pass on video blogs because I can’t skim read them.

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    • Yep, I have to agree. So much language in talking is “filler” and once I trust the source, I’m just looking for new nuggets of knowledge.

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  6. Great video Matt…thanks for that. How many days a week do you think someone should exercise, for maintnenace or slow but progressive weight loss? Also, between resistance training and HIIT (or PACE) type workouts…is one preferable? Right now I am doing 6x a week with Sundays off…it’s starting to feel really forced but I am “afraid” to cut back to 3-4x a week. Right now I do three days of bodyweight/resistance and three days of intervals (alternating these with each day). I know this answer might be depdendent on the individual but curious about your thoughts? Thanks.

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    • Most people’s problem is being in too much of a rush to lose fat. You don’t lose fat all that quickly doing 3 short workouts per week, but that’s all you need. Working out more than that can burn more calories and cause more initial fat loss, but as you press forward it wears you out, you have a harder time losing fat, and often encounter more rebound and burnout. I like to see people start losing fat doing very little, only adding to the load if they want to for fun. 3x per week is plenty. All one really would need would be maybe 1 hard full body weightlifting interval training session per week. But I personally like doing more because I really actually like exercise. And I like routines. What I do every day or close to it is easy for my body to get used to.

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      • Thanks Matt…I am in no hurry…my issue is that I already lost all the weight I want to lose but I am still doing the 6x a week workout program I was doing when trying to lose weight. I am trying to find the maintenance balance but old habits die hard…I still don’t think I am eating enough, even though I introduced more foods (carbs in particular) lately. I was feeling good the first few weeks but I am getting occassional dizzy spells again, often when standing…which I had almost constantly when I was more restricted. Not sure why they are back…or the cravings again…had another midnight craving again last night (twice this week…I use to have none!). Wish I knew what to do!

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        • John,

          do you eat around the same time every day? as well as eat to your appetite? eating at different times or less than you need can cause the midnight snack attack.
          I do fear you may have went about your initial loss in the wrong way and usually 99 times out of 100 the “forced method” results in the weight coming back. I say this because you mention trying to find the “maintenance balance ” so I assume you are speaking of calorie counting. true balance is not achieved at the end of your fork. I’m working on a comment spam solution and I’ll be posting up a url to some blog posts that might help you. hopefully within a few hours.

          I also agree with matt 3 times a week is plenty. Rest is a very important part of ridding yourself of excess fat.

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          • Chief,

            Thanks for your reply. I appreciate it…I am somewhat new to this site (I have read Matt’s Diet Recovery book and just bought the Metabloism book but have yet to read it) and value your posts a lot.

            A quick rundown…I started a “diet” in what will be a year ago next week. I have gone from ~385 lbs to ~197-202 lbs now. To lose this much weight, I more or less followed a strict low-carb type plan (not Atkins low) and did daily workouts (for the first 7 months I did 7,000 meter rows, seven days a week on my rowing machine…torture but it was what I knew having rowed in college). From months 7-12 I added in a Airdyne Bike and started some light bodyweight/dumbell routines. Until a month or so ago I was still working out seven days a week…now I am doing six days a week, Sundays off, with bike intervals T, Th, and S and bodyweight M, T, and F. In terms of diet, like I said, I was doing low carb forever and HATED it…did the Sisson Paleo bit over the summer as well…I NEVER had a cheat day or meal for the first 10 months and have only recently started “cheating” on Sundays. Suring this time I also fell into the unhealthy habit of strict calorie counting…weighing food, etc. Thanks to Matt’s book I have started carbs again…fruit, more veggies, rice, corn, potatos, and oatmeal (instant) mostly. For the last 6 months or so I have had bad dizzy spells when standing lasting from a few seconds to 15 seconds…really cold all the time (I use to be the guy wearing shorts in winter, now I have to wear a jacket in the office…HAHA)…just rundown. I noticed since eating more carbs a lot of this has toned down, but still exsits. In fact, this morning I had a really bad dizzy spell out of nowhere which I thought was odd since I haven’t had one in several days and just had a cheat breakfast. Also, the last two months I have been doing M-F IF where I skip breakfast…only eating a medium lunch but a large dinner (what is your take on the importance of breakfast?). Also, I do all my workouts in the morning due to how my lifestyle is…5:30am.

            Sorry…I know that was long. Basically, I know I likely did this the wrong way. I tell my wife I wish I found this site first. So I am now at the weight I am OK with (trying to add some muscle back…boney in some spots) and trying to maintain while not feeling run down.

            Would love any tips…big questions are:

            1. Should I lay off the IF and eat three meals a day?
            2. Should I cut my workouts from 6x a week to 3x a week, and if so, should i focus on cardio intervals or resistance (or one after the other?)
            3. Should I dump the cheat day and just eat more normally?

            Thanks a ton!

          • I have not eaten before 2 pm in a quite a few years (except for some “fat gain on purpose” protocols for fat loss experiments) I don’t feel breakfast has any magical properties other than eggs being quite nutritious regardless what time you at them :) .I have yet to see any of my clients needing breakfast in order to get their metabolism rocking. I believe Matt feels strongly about breakfast having benefits. I only advise it with kids and young adults.

            from your last comment I would say, you might be in for a bit of fat gain in order for things to be set straight. I’m sure you can avoid it altogether but it would be difficult for me to properly advise you in a comment. I would definitely move to three workouts a week focusing on resistance training, especially because of the boneyness. Muscle is your primary “furnace” for heat and metabolic activity so if you can stimulate enough growth and cellular activity and obey your hunger at the same time you may blunt a good portion of the fat gain. I would ween yourself off of the cardio n keep 2 days of it for a week or 2. but cut back on the overall amount for sure.( see Matt’s moronathon post here http://180degreehealth.com/2010/08/marathon-more-like-moron-athon-smarter-ways-to-exercise)

            you may want to make it more of a cheat meal instead of cheat day if you IF. If the cheat meal allows you to eat pretty sensibly as far as keeping your blood sugar stable the rest of the week and mostly eat whole foods then it may help in numerous ways. I know it can help people get out of the diet mentality a little at a time and it can be a path for some to overcome emotional eating and crazy craving issues that come from telling yourself you cant eat something. I’ve experimented with cheat days and I think they can be a very useful tool maybe not a permanent strategy in the typical application especially if you are the type to go hard on a cheat day and feel sick the day after. you may even want to go with a cheat meal right after serious resistance training and do it 2 times a week no real big difference between 1 vs 2 cheats especially with IF involved.

            If you eat at the same time every day most likely the midnight snacking is either one of 3 things

            1.) not enough calories at your main meal/drastic calorie changes from day to day especially in conjunction with time of day

            2.) lack of internal balance,ie blood sugar circadian rhythm, electrolytes, ( I have not studied rbti but the “numbers” seems to be in line with my thoughts on this matter)

            3.) Television commercials or thoughts or other stimuli of the instant availability of food ….think of it this way back in the day your body is designed to make you try to eat some berries as you hike around in case there is none further down the road when you are nutritionally starved .. nowadays Pizza hut food porn replaces the berries and as long as you are in a restrictive state you described,( calorie counting/working out like a madman/ice cold things will kick in to make you crave things. get tivo or download all your tv needs or just quit the “modern world” altogether … :)

          • Thanks Chief…lots of good information here. I will try to cut back on my workouts and lessen (or eliminated) the MAXercise (as Matt likes to call it) workouts I do on my bike. It’s definitly hard…as much as I now know that working out for weight loss is dumb compared to working out for the hormonal change, it’s been so ingrained in me it’s a mental hurdle I have to overcome. I will focus on resistance…I have my own body, a few medicine balls, and a set of dumbells, which is all I need I guess. :)

            As for your advice on breakfast, thanks! I am typically not hungry until around noon which is when I first eat. I should have mentioned that I do eat clean all the time, except for the cheat day. For example, lunch might be some carrots, some plain salad greens/spinach, 3 boiled eggs, a cheese stick, some nuts, a banana and some jerky…dinner would be 1lb grass fed Bison patties, snap peas, rice/corn/baked beans (pick one), an apple, some berries. I don’t go too nuts on Sundays…I had breakfast but it was healthy…for lunch I did 4 slices of pizza and assorted Chinese for dinner. So to clarify, you think just 1-2 cheat meals (not a cheat day) during the week might work? Should the days I do them be randomized, or just do it when I think I need it?

            I think the cravings are more 1 and 3…maybe moreso 3. With kids we definitly have food items in the house I don’t eat and I do find myself thinking about them sometimes, even when lying in bed…that and I tend to read tons of health/obesity books so I think my mind is focused on all of this a lot.

            Thanks a ton for your input!

          • I’m officially trying the no breakfast thing, primarily in your honor Chief. And to experience how the transition feels for myself. I will probably snack on some fruit until buffet time and still eat fairly early – like between 5-6 pm to start. For my main meal that is.

          • Cool…let us know how it goes!

          • I’m honored even if you had me scramblin since last night . ahem cough cough (dick) I tend to snack at times but fruit I usually save for a fast breaker all in one shot 30 minutes before eating. It tends to just throw of my timing of meal placement. I’ve dome some “grazing “continually on fruit n it seemed to work better. Also these “habits” are activity dependent

          • I used fruit as the fast breaker today. Seemed appropriate. Like my empty glycogen tank would soak up all that sugar if I ate it solo as a meal primer. Found some great stuff on the pivotal role of increased glycogen storage in insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome this morning after calling bullshit on something Art DeVany wrote in his book. I suspect that the combination of fasting, feasting, and high intensity exercise is a great formula for expanding glycogen storage.

          • that has been my theory but i never bothered to look for any magic papers or mouse studies on increased running wheel time or some other shit.

            What did Mark Dailyapple’s grandpa say in his book that made you say bullshit ?

          • It was the worst thing ever. He thinks people with insulin resistance have more muscle glycogen. One of the low-carb myths is that people have high blood sugar because the cells are already full – from eating all those damn carbs you see. But it’s the opposite. This study shows that post-meal muscle glycogen synthesis was 60% lower in insulin resistant vs. insulin sensitive subjects. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1924794/

            Insulin senstive people turn their food into muscle glycogen and feel like superheroes. Insulin resistant people turn their food into triglycerides and feel shitty.

          • Chief,

            I’m curious. Is eating most of your calories in the evening just your personal preference or do you believe that it’s superior to eating most of your calories earlier in the day?

          • In my experiments I have seen an improvement the 4 to 9 pm range ( waking at 7am -11) but like i always say the difference is not the end all be all and 80% of the benefits are just avoiding food for a period of time weather it’s AM or PM.
            Mostly I find it very difficult to do the bulk of eating in the AM and the body just fights most people. Perhaps with RBTI precision it might be easier but I have no experience.
            primarily I think it comes down to a little better muscle growth and metabolic stimuli eating in the evening but the fasting blood sugar and “calorie meter” benefits happen regardless of time.

            I have 3 fasting posts and a few exercise posts that may shed a little more detail coming up in the next few days.

          • Thanks Chief. Definitely looking forward to your posts on fasting.

          • Workin on the edits right now..

          • Chief,

            Forgot to answer your first questions…yes, I do eat around the same time everyday (actually I am still a bit obsessive about eating at the same times). No, I don’t eat until full usually. Like I sad in my long post above, M-F I do IF and lunch is my first meal…it’s around 700 calories or so…dinner is usually 1,200-1,600 calories.

  7. Nice vid ! and I like to see myself at the end of your video ! I am the first next suggestion ahah

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all 180 followers !

    Martin V.

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  8. Yo! Did you by chance also find my (currently under construction but not very well hidden? lol) main page as well? I used the breathing analogy too. Hmm? Haha. Just curious. Mine was slightly different but same point. And there are others lol. You’ll see… if you hadn’t already :)

    Anywhat…

    Really good vid!

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  9. Macaroons were on sale for a dollar a case. 290cal x 8 servings x 8 cases =18560 calories for 8 dollars. note bade? Egg protein, coconut fat, and sugar. What if I ate this with ice cream? Would I get a fever? =P It has a little chocolate on the bottom though, an rbti no no? Too bad.

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  10. I been eating a lot of brown rice puffs with vitamin D milk and or Kix for quick meals. I just felt I had to express myself of this because ever since I started reading about health and nutrition like 7 years ago I dubbed cereal eviiil. Enough protein in that for a hard worker?? Perhaps I need to add more…buut..mozzarella with cereal doesnt make sense does it? But nor does Groats and sour cream =)

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  11. why the carb breakfast in rbti where can i read in detail about this?

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  12. 1. Please stop with the acronyms that are not defined anywhere on your site.
    2. Please include a sentence summarizing the videos — you’ve so kindly given many sentences introducing videos, but then nothing summarizing what the video actually says. Many folks cannot view videos with slow internet connection, or at work, etc.

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  13. Lightbulb….ON…..
    I really respect the work your are doing, Matt. This post hit home for me. I can recall in my teens and early 20′s coming to the realization that I would lose weight when I stopped stressing and forcing it. My mind, body and stomach NEVER liked it when i would diet/restrict foods. But what did I find myself doing this week, at the age of 40? Planning a wonderous diet plan of food restriction to get the body composition I had back before I had to put my 16 yr old cat to sleep, move homes and deal with my boss passing away suddenly in the course of 1 month. Hmmm, maybe I can give myself a break.

    I am at a loss of where to go from here. I still find myself wanting to eat the junk food at work (it’s what I do when I’m stressed) but feel like if I restrict it it will get me in trouble and lead to a binge.

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  14. Wrong blog, but I remember in a recent post you mentioned that you had constipation with dairy proteins on ur raw milk stint.

    I’ve eaten everything from 0 carni to 80/10/10. Right now I’m on a relatively low residue low-er carb diet n have been for quite a while. Despite what a lot of the veg-heads like to claim a low-fiber diet is definately not constipating (in my experience). The thing that I’ve noticed when experimenting with raw cheese is that it’s the only animal-food which has ever given me crazy constipation. I can eat a pound of fatty grass-fed steak and have a 3 wipe ez-breezy cleanup. I’ve eaten over 20lbs of raw cheese over the years and this is a fact for me.

    Even when drinking enough liquid to equate it with drinking milk I still get the constipation, so I know it’s something unique to dairy protein. Any solid theories on why this might occur?

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  15. Thanks for the great video, Matt. Good stuff.

    This probably isn’t the right place to post this, but have you ever come across any info on atrial fibrillation in your studies? I tried searching your site but didn’t see anything. My otherwise-healthy hubby got admitted to the hospital tonight for the second time in 3 years for a fib. Docs all say the same thing, ‘there may be no apparent cause.’ Well we know that’s not true, and I was just wondering of you might be able to point me to a good source. Thanks, Matt. Keep up the great work!

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    • This reply is a few days late, but assuming you still see it… you might want to check out FixLowBodyTemp.com. The guy there says atrial fibrilation is an adaptive response.

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  16. I have been following this forum for several months now and have found it extremely enlightening and enjoyable. I have noticed that the majority of followers have food/diet issues but have not seen, well, really anything, from anyone with food/pain issues. After I was severely injured in 2000 (and am still disabled from that injury), I noticed my diet consisted of primarily carbohydrates (mostly cold cereal and toast) because that was what I craved. It wasn’t until a year or so later that my brother, an RN who specializes in pain management gave me a fabulous book on the same subject that I learned about carbohydrate/pain relationship. Carbs increase serotonin levels, which reduce pain and inflammation. And if I remember correctly, protein decreases serotonin levels. These days, I eat more than cold cereal and toast but I find I don’t often crave meat, but when I do, I eat it. Happily and with gusto. The body does know what it needs, we just have to learn to listen to what it’s saying.

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    • 3 days before I graduated from college, I broke my right foot into more pieces than they could count, I of course was in denial, and walked on it for three days because I had to graduate, I didn’t have time for the emergency room. Anywhoo, after I graduated, I went to get an x-ray because my Mom insisted. They took a picture, and voila, I had shattered most of my toes, there wasn’t enough bone to put a pin in, so there was no point in surgery. But, here comes the interesting part, I was instantly not hungry at all. I would drink just two Sprites/day, and I ate 2 Little Debbie Cloud Cakes. After that I felt so full, that I wouldn’t eat again until the next day. I wanted to eat, food appealed to me, but I felt full. It was soooo bizarre. I did lose 35 pounds sitting on my butt watching tv. I wasn’t allowed to do anything else. The bone healed extremely well. But, basically, I’m just saying the same thing, the body wants what it wants. That is all there is to it. It will do what it wants to do, and ain’t nobody pushing it around.

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      • That’s definitely interesting. When I become sedentary my appetite really falls too. I imagine in your case that some of the trauma and inflammation was blunting your appetite. But who knows. I think it’s pretty normal in nature when an animal is sick or injured for it not to eat. And I think this could have an important therapeutic effect. Proponents of fasting certainly think so.

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    • There is a lot of compelling research that points towards eating more late at night leading to increased body fat reduction, as well as more well-maintained lean body mass. But I can’t deny the fact that eating light in the evening had a tremendous weight reducing effect – although I did have to do some weight training to keep from losing muscle mass I noticed – unlike when I first went on a high-protein diet years ago.

      But I don’t necessarily think this is just because I was eating late at night, but because I was triggering an intermittent fasting effect, and when that effect is triggered, I would be fully willing to believe that fat loss is superior when most of the food is consumed at night – not during the day. Make sure to read Martin Berkhan’s post on this at http://www.leangains.com. I may experiment with flip-flopping my daily meal pattern out of curiosity soon to see if I notice anything appreciably different between the two.

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      • It depends on the person, I tried that IF thing for a couple of days and put on two pounds of belly fat. Tain’t pretty. So, I don’t skip breakfast at all. I think it might depend on your own natural circadian rhythm. I’m a morning person, I’ll admit, an annoyingly morning person.

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    • Matt can correct me on this if my understanding of the importance of the light dinners on RBTI is wrong. We eat the light dinners so that when our body is doing it’s most restorative healing(at night while we sleep) it isn’t using all it’s energy digesting or burning that large meal you ate. Instead it can put all it’s energy towards repairing/rebuilding those damaged parts in your body. RBTI isn’t about fat burning, but about remineralizing and treating/preventing diseases. I know as a society we have been taught to equate low body fat percentage with health, but we need to remember that even those with “ideal” body compositions get very scary diseases. For example Lance Armstrong. Having a little extra fat is a lot less scary than being faced with an untimely demise due to disease. Now if we could reevaluate our priorities and what we believe to be beautiful and realize that it is a much better investment to cultivate the spirit than the physical. I always think about the ones I love most and how their body/physical looks bare no weight on my love for them. To me they are the most beautiful things I’ve layed eyes on. I wish I loved myself that much growing up and had not wasted any of life’s precious and fleeting time with that of so called physical perfection. I guess we are our own worst enemies. My only hope is that we as wonderful human spirits can learn to be true to ourselves in every sense of the word and I think then we can truly be at peace and really enjoy what this world has to offer. It really does take much more work cultivating ones spirit, but considering that’s the only thing we take with us when we leave this world, I figure what better way to use my energy. If I’m not good to myself how could I possibly be any good to others! I say to the ones I love that if they saw themselves the way I see them then they would never doubt themselves and if I saw myself the way the ones I love see me then I would never doubt myself!

      God bless!
      Jennifer

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  17. “One of the most underappreciated evils in the world today.” You’ve nailed it there. I’ve come to the conclusion that thinking of food in terms of calories is totally abnormal for the human, and may be the original mistake that introduced so much dysfunction into our relationship with food.

    From my reading, research, and personal experience, I understand that many of our systems are broken – weight homeostatis, insulin regulation, leptin regulation, fat accumulation, etc. But the primary system that’s broken – and the one that must be healed first for any of the others to stand a chance – is our relationship with food. (And by that, I don’t mean any kind of woo – I mean rediscovering the natural, healthy way for the human to think about and understand eating.) A good start to healing that would be forgetting we ever heard the word “calorie.”

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  18. I’ve been reading “The Don’t Go Hungry Diet.” Seems to be along the same lines. Earlier you referenced your weight lifting workout that you do once a week. I’m sure you’ve posted about it somewhere, but can you give a brief outline of what you do? I love lifting weights, but can only make it to the gym once a week to do it.

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  19. I think there is one thing which hasn’t been adressed yet..
    During my holidays I’ve tried the RBTI eating schedule – which somehow worked fine for me. It has some advantages, e.g. you’re not feeling stuffed when going to bed.
    BUT who the f… can implement an “epic lunch” in an usual working day?? I mean, when I eat, I eat. I enjoy it. I want to have time for it. I like to eat with my family. I like to relax after eating. And this is definitely not fitting in my ( or any other’s ) 30-or-45-minute-lunch-break.
    What I’ve noticed also is that my night sleep isn’t as good as when I’ve started the RBTI schedule. Prior to these new eating times I was a late night eater ( more or less fasting at daytime ) and I somehow miss this post-meal baby sleep feeling after an “epic dinner”…
    And I think there is something true about better exercise recovery when eating before going to bed. I can tell, I’m a bicycle messenger ;-)
    And no, I’m not coming from the “I’m-obese-and-want-to-lose-weight” – corner but quite the opposite.

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    • I’ve thought about that too Lars. And when I work with people one on one I take this into account. I even told a guy last night that he should go with the flow of his life and natural tendencies and eat his main meal of the day late in the evening. I think workable solutions can be built for any lifestyle and schedule. I would like to toy around with altered eating schedules myself in 2012 to see if that is really true, or if there really is some inescapable principle behind the RBTI eating schedule that cannot be altered with the expectation that similar results can be obtained.

      Reply
      • Lars, my thoughts exactly!

        Can’t wait to see your results from altering your eating schedules, not just on weight, but on other aspects of health, e.g. digestion or skin etc. Can’t wait for more in 2012 in general. Thanks for this Matt (:

        Reply
    • Lars, I agree with you completely. After starting RBTI my sleep started getting worse and worse, and I have recently switched to eating a lighter lunch and my big meal at dinner and I have been sleeping better and feeling better overall.

      I noticed after stuffing myself at lunch, I would just want to lay down and take a nap but I had to go back to work and it wasn’t working out very well. Now after eating a huge dinner I can lay down and go to sleep if i want

      Reply
  20. Ok, I know this is completely off topic but I can’t find any answers any where else. I just found out that I’m pregnant with number five and I just started doing RBTI about 2 months ago. I haven’t gotten a test kit or anything, I just have a refractometer. I drink the lemonade, take Vit. E, B-12, B-6, Calcium Glutonate and Min- Col. So far my sugars are always so low that I cannot drink straight distilled water, I just drink juice instead. I quit drinking any juice or lemonade after 3:00 but now I’m terrible thirsty in the evenings and in the night, I must need to hydrate more, but I’m not sure how to go about it on RBTI. I just gave in to my thirst and drank water when I felt like it last night. I’m also not sure if I should be eating differently, too. I know I probably need to take more Cal-Glutonate and Min-Col for the baby, too. With my last baby I did a Weston A. Price diet and had the best pregnancy, labor and postpartum period ever, but I gained tons of weight and still have not lost it, so I’m terrified of ending up with 20 more pounds on my body after this baby. I sure hope someone can help, I want to do the best for this baby and myself. Thanks.

    Reply
  21. Matt,
    Pretty OT here as well..
    My fingers (and feet, but not as much) get freezing cold after a meal and doesn’t get warm again until several hours later, no matter what I eat (high sugar/fruit, high starch, high protein, or a mix of those..). When I first got off LC 1,5 years ago carbs made me really warm but not anymore (And not since trying the RBTI meal schedule, which I did for 4 months but have not been doing for the past month or so)
    I’ve cut back severely on workouts, only doing short weights/HIT sessions 2-3 times/week now. Not hungry in the morning either so when I eat breakfast I have someting small around 9am usually cereal/fruit with raw milk and eat bigger in the afternoon.
    My cold hands are annoying the crap outta me!!!!!
    Please help ^_^

    Reply
    • It sounds like food is crashing out your sugars. I would definitely eat meals with a lower water content for the time being (pancakes better than oatmeal, cookies better than fruit, for example), and be careful not to take in too much plain water or liquids of any kind. I would also eat more food, and loosen up with the RBTI eating schedule. The appetite suppression of it is too strong for some people – which will cause your metabolism to drop and hands and feet to get super cold.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your reply..
        Ugh..eating is just not fun anymore.. For a month I’ve been eating whatever (and whenever) I’ve felt like, including lots of junk like ice cream, pizza and chocolate, but for a week now, I’ve just been out of an apetite and I get full from small ammounts (protein makes me dead full, it used to give me the sickest cravings for sweets). Of course, my 1 month eating spree has put on a good 10 lbs (yeah yeah…we’ve all been there).

        I drink water when I wake up in the morning, usually I have 2 glasses of milk with my meals an sporadically water between meals or right before if I’m thirsty. Barely drink abything with my short workouts (and I used to drink heaps) and usually only milk in the evenings.

        Bought your latest ebook last night and set my alarm this morning so I could have breakfast at 8. MAde a big bowl of oats with banana and strawberries, ate half (and a glass of milk), the thought of eating just made me sick and preferably I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything until late afternoon… Funny is, I NEVER leave food! Never! If it’s on my plate, I eat it. Guess there is a first time for everything huh.
        (what I really wanted this morning, if anything, was toast with cheese, but I’ve been eating that daily (usually for lunch) for months, thought I’d try something new, my old best friend oatmeal)

        Interesting though, back in my BB days (and 6 meals/day) I’d always exercise fasting in the morning, followed up by breakfast no later than 8, After LC and IF (and LCHF combined with IF) just really messed things up, bu something must have happened since I don’t care much for food anymore…(and I never thought that would happen)

        At first I thought it’s my body telling mei t’s been fed enough, but that doesn’t make sense either since fingers are super cold (and weight isn’t budging)

        Should I cut down my milk as well?
        I started drinking a bit more water after skipping the “strict” RBTI-meal schedule and felt better by doing so, and most importantly, I stopped looking 20 years older in the morning tue to major puffy eyes.

        thanks so much

        Reply
        • Ugh, forgot to mention a certain degree of constipation and also bloatedness especially after whole grains and/or vegetables and/or fruits and/or meats.

          Reply
  22. matt i just saw your reply to me a few posts back it, i thought you hadn’t replied but it appeared a while after. it was about fluctuating body temp and cold hands/feet. you asked what makes me crash. i don’t crash. 2k cals of ice cream and fruit for breakfast, feel fine. any kind of meal at any time of the day, feel fine. perfect digestion and energy, not the slightest bit sleepy.

    the only things that ever make me feel properly warm (+ able to sweat, relaxed and calm, and not soul crushingly depressed) have been rhodiola and 5-htp and only at certain times of the day. i’m extremely sensitive to ambient temperature, if its ice cold then i’m ice cold, if its hot i’m too hot. usually feel cosistently warmer towards the end of the day. so i think my problem is neurotransmitters, serotonin especially.

    basically i want to say that there is more to feeling cold than metabolism, not for most but for some. and you can fix a lot with food, but for some not everything. i remember being 10yrs old eating loads with loads of energy but ice cold. so some things are just broken

    Reply
  23. It is better to eat the biggest meal in the afternoon because of digestion. This does not work for everybody. Eating the biggest meal in the afternoon is a best practice not a rule. Rules apply for everyone. The true no-no’s are rules, but only the true, not the extended list. The single most important rule in RBTI is: Go by the numbers. The second most important: The numbers never lie. If the numbers show that the gap between meals (energy intake) is too large for someone don’t take a larger meal in the evening, because rhw numbers indicate you are worse of in the morning after a light diner compared to a full diner.

    Reply
  24. The body gives signals when you can drink more. Being thirsty and/or a dry mouth are indications that you can drink more. When you have a Brix of e.g. 3 around 15:00 this also gives an indication that you can drink more. If the Brix is most of the time too low you can consider decreasing the amount of fluid per half hour/hour.
    drinking lemonade is not one of the rules that apply to everyone. Some have an intolerance of allergy for it. I would not drink it if I don’t know my pH’s and/or conductivity number.

    Reply
  25. Matt wrote:
    “I’ve thought about that too Lars. And when I work with people one on one I take this into account. I even told a guy last night that he should go with the flow of his life and natural tendencies and eat his main meal of the day late in the evening. I think workable solutions can be built for any lifestyle and schedule. I would like to toy around with altered eating schedules myself in 2012 to see if that is really true, or if there really is some inescapable principle behind the RBTI eating schedule that cannot be altered with the expectation that similar results can be obtained.”

    That has been something that I’ve been putting more thought and research into lately – for both personal reasons and for educational/professional research.

    Lunch being the main meal (and eaten before 2pm) a la RBTI, just may be best – especially in terms of healing for those who are in pretty poor health – for which the “full on” RBTI protocol is best suited for.

    And Jacqueline made some interesting points about “rules” VS basic “guidelines” of RBTI. I’m (still) curious if the “2pm rules” were rules so much as just guidelines – also whether that particular rule originated from Challen or from Reams.

    Anyway, it’s also important not to stress over it or add stress. If trying to eat on a schedule which isn’t realistic for your lifestyle, just adds stress, then that’s gonna be counter-productive. Matt wrote, “one cannot stay on RBTI forever even if it was proven to be the holy Almighty of all things health. There are other things in life besides your health, which is part of living a healthy life.”

    I agree.

    As for eating the main meal in the evening…

    With regard to Martin’s post “Is Late Night Eating Better for Fat Loss and Health?”
    http://www.leangains.com/2011/06/is-late-night-eating-better-for-fat.html

    I personally don’t put much weight (ha!) on those studies – in terms of which meal schedule is superior for fat loss or health. But they do certainly lend to the debunking of the mainstream “late night eating” myth – which was really the point Martin was making with that post. He didn’t really intend to serve them up as any kind of scientific proof that late night eating is necessarily superior for fat loss or health – as much as to just debunk the myth that “late night eating is fattening!’

    At the end of that post, Martin wrote:
    “I understand that these facts might be hard to swallow for some people, given everything we’ve heard about late night eating being bad, fattening, and so forth. But then again, we hear a lot of strange things in the fitness and health community. Rarely do these old wives’ tales mix with reality; think of all the myths about fasting, alcohol and meal frequency, for example.”

    And… interestingly, in his Leangains Guide, Martin doesn’t recommend the ‘fasted AM & fed PM’ way of IF for maximum fat loss or health reasons per se. He just went with what generally fits best with people’s lives – the majority of whom have 9-5 jobs. Because of their jobs, for them, it’s easier to skip breakfast and eat a modest lunch. And then eat the biggest meal of the day at dinner because that’s when they get time to cook and sit down and enjoy a “full course meal” with their family, friends, etc. But there’s no reason a person can’t tailor it to their own lifestyle and schedule. And in fact they should, so they will have the best chance of success and adopting it as part of their lifestyle.

    Here’s what Martin says about the eating schedule in his Leangains Guide…
    – start quote –
    “My general position on the fasted phase is that it should last through the night and during the morning hours. Ideally the fast should then be broken at noon or shortly thereafter if you arise at 6-7 AM like most people. Afternoons and evenings are usually spent in the fed state.

    However, the fast could also also be broken later in the day depending on your personal preferences and daily routine. I personally tend to break the fast as late as 4-6 PM since I work well into the night and rise later than most people with normal jobs.

    The recommendation for fasting through the earlier part of the day, as opposed to the latter part of the day, is for behavioral and social reasons. Most people simply find it easier to fast after awakening and prefer going to bed satiated. Afternoons and evenings are times to unwind and eat. For adherence reasons during dieting, I’ve also found that placing the feeding phase later in the day is ideal for most people.”
    – end quote –

    Martin and many of his followers/clients do seem to find the late night eating (fast in the AM & feed in the PM) way of IF to be superior for fat loss – as his and their results seem to suggest. But remember that the ‘majority’ do it the fasted AM & fed PM way. So not enough there for a balanced comparison.

    Interesting side note: Like some peeps here have noticed, some of Martin’s readers do report better sleep when eating biggest meal at night. And also a seemingly natural decrease in the number of hours of sleep needed.

    I personally don’t need as much sleep either – about 6 hours is pretty typical and plenty for me. But I have noticed that since recently switching from eating most of my calories in the evening, to a more RBTI-like eating schedule (for comparison’s sake), I went from sleeping soundly through the night – and consistently & automatically waking about 6am – to waking up at about 3am just about every night now. Hmm?

    Anywhat… just thinking aloud. Well I guess this would be “thinking online” :)

    Reply
    • I noticed the opposite switching to late night eating! Now I’m waking up at 3 and sleeping horribly!! Just like RBTI dictates I would. But maybe this is just self-fulfilling prophecy.

      I suspect it is in large part transitional. I like to set my schedule based on when the buffet either A) Stops serving or B) Increases in price due to the switch to dinner

      But, you know. I have the luxury of allowing my schedule to revolve around where I’m gonna eat at lunch. It does cut into my sunbathing time though, so I’ll have to weigh all the pros and cons.

      Reply
      • Haha. How long have you been eating on Chief-style meal schedule?

        I’m sleeping horribly too. And I’m not totally convinced that it and my new waking up at 3am thing has anything to do with when I eat. I ended up eating most of my food after 6pm last night – just because the day got away from me – and I still woke up at 3am.

        I even considered the possibility of it being because it’s winter and my body freakin’ hates the cold weather! And it definitely lets me know it. It rebels!

        Reply
        • Just a few days. I’m trying to ease into it by waiting longer and longer each day to consume food. Made it to 3pm today and then had a massive chowdown. But sleep is still all wacky. Was up to 2:15am last night before I finally got sleepy. My sugar was in the basement and I kept having to munch raisins.

          Reply
    • Here’s something else from Martin’s Leangains Guide that I found interesting…
      – start quote –
      “The feeding window should be kept somewhat constant due to the hormonal entrainment of meal patterns. We tend to get hungry when we’re used to eating and maintaining a regular pattern makes diet adherence easier. If you’re used to breaking the fast at 12-2 PM and ending it at 8-10 PM, then try to maintain that pattern every day.

      On rest days, meal one should ideally be the largest meal, as opposed to training days where the post-workout meal is the largest meal. A good rule of thumb is to make meal one on rest days at least 35-40% of your daily calorie intake. This meal should be very high in protein; some of my clients consume more than 100 g of protein in this meal.”
      – end quote –

      Interesting. The consistent meal schedule AND the first meal (12-2pm) ideally being the ‘largest’ meal – both agree with RBTI.

      Reply
      • Meant that eating the ‘largest’ meal earlier in the day (12-2pm) as opposed to evening… being in agreement with RBTI.

        Reply
      • Consistency is probably the most important, even if it doesn’t fit the magic RBTI meal schedule. Because of my human guinea pig tendencies, I would like to do as Chief seems to do – which is sort of see how far I can go with the concept of eat more food less often. I mean, wolves eat a third of their bodyweight once a week. Now who doesn’t have time to make dinner once a week? Haha. Kidding. Mostly.

        Reply
        • Will be interesting to see how things play out with that.

          As a result of MY human guinea pig tendencies… after some experimenting and research, some things are starting to click for me. I like (and so does my body) the IF approach. And I’m actually liking the RBTI-style meal schedule. So I also like the idea of combining some of RBTI guidelines with IF. And tweaking it all to my body’s natural tendencies and personal preferences :)

          So, my plan (or new experiment lol) is…

          Since I tend to not be hungry in the AM, I’m gonna break my fast between 12pm and 2pm with a huge Chief-style feast (either at home or preferably at a buffet) as my biggest meal of the day. Then I will have a lighter meal for dinner around 6pm. So my fast will be from about 7pm through the night till about 12pm the next day = about 17 hours. That fits my body’s natural tendencies to fast and my personal preferences.

          Both the biggest meal before 2pm and a light meal for dinner being within RBTI guidelines. And of course I plan to continue to avoid RBTI top 5 no-no foods. No problem. Haven’t missed ‘em.

          Reply
          • I dont know if I could “chief style ” at noon and do any heavy stuff in the afternoon .. I usually do relaxing things or office type work after feasting, not like I’m stuffed to the max too much to move but I’m certainly not hitting the gym or swimming… and the nice sunshine in the afternoon is a good time for motion.

            let us know your observations

            does RBTI require a waking time to establish the 2 pm rule?
            sadly i think most of the meat and potatoes conversations on rbti occurred on facebook. I’m clueless as far as RBTI

          • Will do Chief. And good points about post-feast activities. I don’t usually feel “stuffed” though either – usually more like satisfied.

            I missed all the facebook RBTI convo too. I don’t do facebook lol.

            Not sure about the wake time affecting the 2pm rule. But from what I remember, according to Challen, the 2pm rule is based on the sun. I could be wrong. Matt?

            I personally usually automatically wake up about 6am – that is when my sleep is not all messed up… like it has been lately.

          • “I personally usually automatically” Haha! I need to go to sleep! :)

          • I would like to eat big at night Chief-style. But the Indian buffets are only open for lunch. Too bad you only have Ryan’s and Cici’s in Georgia. The Indian restaurant in Sarasota is the shit. And the people that go there are much better looking. But it costs twice as much!!!

          • It was Stevie-B’s! Haha. But you’re right there are Cici’s too. And there are many more better buffets here than those and Ryan’s :)

          • Doh! Shame on me! Stevie-B’s rulz! Hot wing pizza – best thing everrrrrr!

          • But Georgia still sucks!!

          • Yeah at least my little piece of Georgia does have Stevie-B’s hot wing pizza going for it. Oh and speaking of how much (you know!) I’m hating Georgia…

            You are such a tease! Constantly flaunting your tropical paradise with the relentless comments of sunbathing on the beach and the bevy of badass buffets down there! :)

            This now much colder weather up here has me even more ready to leave Georgia behind for a warmer clime. Heck I would even say screw the east coast altogether. Go back to the west coast and hang out with Patti in Cali. My beloved Sir. George’s Smorgasbord Royal Buffet out there is gone, but I’m sure I would find a new love.

            BTW, woke up at 8am. That was about 6 hours sleep. Don’t seem to need to sleep longer than that. And yes I woke up California-weather dreamin’ :)

            K, I’m off to get ready for my ‘break-fast’ of Chiefy-like feasty proportions!!

          • Mrs. Chews highly rated Chinese buffet…. FAIL

            Chinese food sucks. But my fortune cookie told me I’m goin’ places!

          • What a coinkydink! I am too!

            Yeah Chinese buffets are definitely not my first choice… nor even in my top 5. Now a Sushi buffet might make the list – as long as it’s ya know “real” Sushi :)

            The really good Sushi buffets have a lot of other goodies too.

          • I have travelled all over, pounding buffets, so far chinese buffets have been mostly FAIL worst offenders everywhere in Manitoba = FAIL everywhere in British Columbia = EPIC FAIL ….. best places : quite a few places in montreal and one random restaurant in Moncton New brunswick get my thumbs up, one in Dayton Ohio that wasn’t a buffet but I turned it into a buffet a la carte because it came highly recommended.

          • The worst Chinese buffet fail experience I think I’ve ever had was on an Indian reservation haha.

        • I agree the consistency is key, and if your doing things right you end up naturally eating at the same time and fasting at the same time anyways it just happens like that when everything balances out.

          Reply
  26. A lot of us come from a background of extreme dieting do we not? I hope that nobody will dehydrate themselves unknowingly doing rbti wrong or something =( Be careful everyone! PS, not knowing much about rbti, the whole, fruit, juice thing i’m always hearing about confuses me! You know, cuz of the whole, leptin resistance, doesn’t raise leptin, blood triglyceride blah blah =) I will learn someday nevertheless..

    Reply
  27. @Chiefrok
    On RBTInotes.com there is a forum with topics like RBTI & exercise, my experience so far, potatoes, no-no’s etc.
    Also the RBTI Yahoo Group has interesting topics.
    You can find some basic info on rbti.info

    Reply
  28. Jacqueline , thank you
    I gave it a glance over a lil’ while back but I did not get much and Im not a fan of digging through forums. Do you have a synopsis somewhere that might take my lazy ass 3 mins to at least understand what people are talking about ?

    Reply
  29. RBTI Analysis is a tool that we use to measure the residues and components in samples of urine and saliva. This enables us to see where the body is out of balance and how to design a program to help you achieve optimal health. RBTI is named after Dr. Carey Reams the scientist who through extensive laboratory testing and mathematics came up with what he called the formula for perfect health.

    We test a total of 7 values;
    the Brix of the urine which gives an indication of your oxygen levels as well as available energy.
    The pH of the urine and saliva show how effectively nutrients are being absorbed. It also gives an indication of which calciums your body needs to bring the body back into balance.
    The UREA’s are measured to determine how well protein is being broken down in your small intestine and if the body needs potassium.
    We also measure the conductivity and cell debrix.
    It are not the individual numbers but more how they relate to each other that tells how your body is doing.

    In RBTI we try to provide the nutrients so the body finds it’s way back to health. We are no MD’s, are not practicing medicine and do believe there is a time and place for everything.

    The key is to test how well a person is doing, change the diet accordingly and retest to see how well the process is going, and how good the recommendations were.

    It is both science and art, but more science. No two body chemistries are alike. What works for one does not work for all. RBTI is about creating a program that works for you, not for the next guy. It is tailor made to fit your needs.

    We use different meters to be able to test:
    http://www.rbti.info/The-Basics/rbti-testing-equipment.html
    http://www.rbti.info/Getting-started/3-refractometers-tested.html

    On RBTI.info there is an explanation how to test every value.

    Reply

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