The Calorie Myth Part I – Raw Food Weight Loss

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“When Atwater burned foods in a bomb calorimeter… he assumed that humans could use all the energy present in a food and digested in the body.  If foods burns in the bomb calorimeter, Atwater seemed to conclude, it produces the same amount of energy value in our bodies.  But the human body is not a bomb calorimeter.  We do not ignite food inside our bodies.  We digest it, and we use calories to pay for this complex series of operations.  The cost varies…”

~Richard Wrangham; Catching Fire

Tis the season for people to start making New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight.  Oh what fun!  And so, I figured what better time to do a multi-part series on the huge scientific fallacy and oversimplification that is, for lack of a better phrase to describe it, The Calorie Theory.

For a half decade I have been tediously challenging the idea that cutting calories can lead to sustainable weight loss.  If the medical literature is any indication, it is not.  Sure, there are success stories, and there are methods that involve being at least somewhat calorie conscious that may indeed work – due to the combination of factors involved in the system as a whole.  But overall, from a statistical point of view, cutting calories in an act of “intentional weight loss” is a useless, short-term fix at best.  And, “the single greatest predictor of future weight gain” according to Paul Campos at worst.

And in the process of trying to illuminate this fallacy, I really strove to find a way to eat a lot of calories and either stay lean or actually lose body fat.  Instances where I, for example, ate 4,000 calories of raw fruits and vegetables and still lost body fat was something that I looked at as being evidence that calories are definitely NOT the only factor involved with weight loss.  Or how about the example of the gorillas in captivity that DOUBLED their calorie intake and still lost a considerable amount of weight?  And of course everyone wonders how the raw vegans like Freelea and Durianrider manage to eat more calories than is normal for males and females of their age, height, weight, and activity levels and still look like emaciated prepubescents.  Or hey!  What about that Jon Gabriel guy who eats “whatever he wants,” but always adds lots of live foods and whey protein and has lost 200 pounds?  These all seem like very interesting contradictions to the calorie theory.  Do they disprove it in any way?  No.  Because these phenomena are all very easily explained.

It appears that I, as I so often do, have overlooked some important variables that aren’t normally accounted for in The Calorie Theory.  While I (and Stephen Guyenet) have talked at great length about palatability, and how factors in palatability such as water content, fiber content, calorie-density, sweetness, chewing time, and particle size affect the number of calories we have an appetite for automatically – it seems there is something else about these foods of great importance that make them very different from other types of food…

We absorb fewer calories from such foods.  And the difference is not small.  It’s huge.  The biggest differentiating factor probably being whether a food is raw or cooked.

This may not seem like a major thing, but in a world where the calories in a doughnut and the calories in raw apples are on an equal playing field, this turns the entire world of calorie counts and food labels completely on its head – because you absorb a lot more of the energy in 500 calories of doughnuts than you do 500 calories of apples.  And, thrown in there with that, is the huge variability in the digestive capability of one person compared to another.  One person might absorb 400 of the 500 calories in a bag of raw apples while another can only absorb 250.

This is even more important as it pertains to humans, as humans have the weakest digestive tracts of any creature.  Our digestive tracts have changed over the millenia to be small and weak for the same reason our muscles have (compared to other primates especially)… because we don’t need them.  Why divert energy to stellar digestion (diverting energy from brain development as some researchers such as Leslie Aiello and Peter Wheeler have proposed) when we can chop and cook and blend and crush the heck out of our food to make it maximally digestible?  For the same reason, humans have really small mouths per pound of body mass compared to all other primates – most of which spend 5-8 hours per day chewing.

So what about the gorillas that doubled their calorie intake and lost tons of weight?  It turns out gorillas only absorb about 50% of the calories they ingest from “browse” or leafy matter – the natural diet of a gorilla (and keep in mind their digestion of plant matter is vastly superior to our own).

What about Jon Gabriel who eats lots of raw nuts and seeds, sprouts, and eats everything in a big, giant salad?  With lots of protein?  We absorb fewer calories from protein due to the increased cost of digestion, and fewer still from raw foods – to the point that the Giessen raw foods study done on raw foodists showed a horrifying frequency of underweight and amennorhea directly proportional to the degree in which the percentage of the food eaten was uncooked.  This obviously explains away the raw vegan waifs as well, along with the known hypermetabolic effect of protein restriction and calorie-wasting effect of fat restriction.  Big parts of the 80-10-10 Low-fat raw vegan diet.  Oh the irony of calorie restriction bashing while inadvertantly restricting calories!

There is much more to the story here than meets the eye, and it all makes for very interesting thought for food.  Thanks to highly intelligent author Richard Wrangham and the fair maiden that gifted his book to me on my 20,000 mile pee parade this summer.  Enjoy this passage from Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human pertaining to the human inability to absorb sufficient energy from raw foods, with a subtle condescension that is beyond priceless…

“To judge whether the energy shortage experienced by raw-foodists is biologically significant, we need to know whether raw-induced weight loss interferes with critical functions- ideally, for a population living under conditions similar to those in our evolutionary past.  In the Giessen study, the more raw food that women ate, the lower their BMI and the more likely they were to have partial or total amenorrhea.  Among women eating totally raw diets, about 50 percent entirely ceased to menstruate.  A further proportion, about 10 percent, suffered irregular menstrual cycles that left them unlikely to conceive.  These figures are far higher than for women eating cooked food.  Healthy women on cooked diets rarely fail to menstruate, whether or not they are vegetarian.  But ovarian function predictably declines in women suffering from extreme energy depletion, such as marathoners and anorexics.

Raw-foodist men sometimes also report an impact on their sexual functions.  In How to Do the Raw Food Diet with Joy for Awesome Health and Success, the author, Christopher Westra, wrote:  ‘In my own experience, starting on living foods brought about a change in sexuality that was dramatic and completely unexpected.  In just a few weeks, the number of times per day I thought about sex decreased tremendously.’  Westra believed that seminal emissions are designed to remove toxins from the body.  After a few weeks of a raw diet, he said, the intake of toxins had fallen to the point where ejaculation was no longer necessary.  In a similar way some raw-foodists regard menstruation as a mechanism for removing toxins and therefore regard its cessation as a sign of the health of their diets.  Perhaps it is unnecessary to note that medical science finds no support for the idea that toxins are removed by seminal emissions or menstruation.

Reduced reproductive function means that in our evolutionary past, raw-foodism would have been much less successful than the habit of eating cooked food.  A rate of infertility greater than 50 percent, such as was found in the Giessen Raw Food study, would be devastating in a natural population of foragers.  And since the Giessen study was of urban people enjoying a life of middle-class ease, such dramatic effects on reproduction are mild compared to what would have happened if these German raw-foodists had been searching for food in the wild.

Most raw-foodists prepare their food elaborately in ways that increase their energy value.  Techniques include mild heating, blending, grinding and sprouting.  Any system of reducing the size of food particles, such as grinding and crushing, leads to predictable increases in energy gain.  The German raw-foodists also had the advantage of eating oils produced commercially by industrial processing.  Koebnick’s team found that about 30 percent of the subjects’ calories came from these lipids, a valuable energy source that would not have been available to hunger-gatherers.  Yet even with all these helpful conditions, at least half of the German women eating raw foods obtained so little energy from their diet, they were physiologically unable to have babies.”

 

113 Comments

  1. Oohhh I feel a comment coming on

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  2. I second that emotion Pip. I was never more emaciated than on a raw vegan diet. Thank GOD I was not attempting to procreate at the time. I shudder to think what would have happened.
    xo
    the non raw hag

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  3. Does anyone know how Angela Stokes-Monarch was able to give birth to a healthy baby after being a raw vegan for so long? Was her diet completely vegan during pregnancy? I have been following them because I want to know what their fate will be. I think if they truly are 100% raw vegan I think its an experiment.

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    • Good question. I do know raw vegans that have procreated.. but the kids look horrible. It is sad. Should be against the law to do that to kids.
      I will say that they sell animal source foods on their site and lest you think they are ‘hippies’ they are so not. They are quite wealthy and educated. So perhaps there was more than salad going on, at least for her.

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    • Janelle, I think her and her husband are frauds. Matt won’t post his blood results yet he says they’re perfect. I’ve written about them and David Wolfe on my blog. all frauds, all hucksters, and interested in nothing but your money. they are 100% full of shit and their most recent product push, Adya Clarity, turned out to be toxic. don’t trust a word out of their mouths!

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      • Yea I really questioned their authenticity after that happened, I’m glad I never bought anything from them when I was trying out the vegan thing. That didn’t last long, but I was always curious about them. I do know that they sell Daniel Vitalis’ products and they don’t talk much about whether or not they have ever included the animal foods in their diet. I know they can afford the best diet so even if they were 100% vegan it would seem they’d have better chances of conceiving and having a healthy child than your average person in America that doesn’t have access to all those foods easily. I guess we’ll never know if they will all be 100% vegan.

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  4. I’ve never tried the raw food diet fad, although I did read up on it. I just could never imagine myself eating a diet like that. So happy I did not become obsessed with ALL diets…just most of them.

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  5. “One person might absorb 400 of the 500 calories in a bag of raw apples while another can only absorb 250″. From my totally unscientific point of view this has always seemed inherently obvious to me. I know too many thin people who eat like horses and too many fat people who eat like birds.

    But the “scientific” viewpoints always seems to be that the fat folks lie about what they eat or are just plain deluded. The old “sloth and gluttony” paradigm. Could their bodies actually handle the calories differently? Oh no, totally impossible. They lie. :-)

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    • The higher the proportion of protein in the food, the higher the cost of digestion. Based on animal studies, we can expect that the costs of digestion are higher for tougher or harder foods than softer foods; for foods with larger rather than smaller particles; for food eaten in single large meals rather than in several small meals; and for food eaten cold rather than hot. Individuals vary too. Lean people tend to have higher costs of digestion than obese people. Whether obesity leads to a low cost of digestion or results from it is unknown.” ~Richard Wrangham

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    • We are missing one important point: parasites..

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  6. I think it’s also pretty tough to eat a ton of calories on a raw vegan diet. You could eat 500 calories worth of donuts in one sitting, no problem, and be hungry for more. Personally, if I ate 500 calories worth of raw apples, I would feel bloated and ill.

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    • It’s a double whammy. The less palatable a food is, the less you want to eat of it, AND the fewer calories you absorb. This is why weight loss can be so dramatic on a raw vegan diet, in addition to the big loss of lean mass which equates to faster total weight loss than what would be achievable if you were just losing fat and that’s all.

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  7. This is very true, calorie absorption is a huge parameter. On my year-long raw foods venture, I ate three large meals a day. Probably not nearly as many “calories” as I should have been having, but I know the absorbed amount was even less. It takes a lot of energy to process raw cabbage and carrots into usable energy. Much less than for processed sugar, or even more natural cooked sugar sources.

    Now, I eat just about whatever, as long as it involves some combination of eggs, beef, potatoes, and butter. I’ve eaten 8-9 potatoes per work day (4 days per work) mashed with tons of butter, for about a year straight. This is at my sedentary job, and counts as two meals for me. I’m 6’1″ or maybe 6’2″ and 172lbs. My lowest was 142lbs on the raw foods diet. I’m thin now; was really scary back then. Those potatoes are easy to absorb as far as I know. I’ll sometimes get a whole tin of Jennie’s macaroons and eat them for a meal, which should be about a thousand calories of MCFs and sugar. I find that even though I eat so much, I can go much longer without food than most people. I’ll often have two smaller meals per day while working harder on the weekends, with little effect, though not preferable.

    A coworker gave me this hat and a box of potatoes at work: http://i.imgur.com/deHhq.jpg

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    • Teran,

      I’m gonna tell you straight up, and this is not a lie or an exaggeration. That hat is the best damn hat I’ve ever seen. When I clicked on that picture I almost died of laughter and said, and I quote, “Holy F$#%%^& S%^&!!!! Your coworker is perhaps the greatest person ever. Definitely more awesome than me or anyone I know.

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  8. if angela is the internet bi racial family with 5 kids all raw vegan, i think already her kids have crooked teeth from lack of mineral uptake.
    hey, grassfed hag – i’m 56 , in nor cal, born in Pasadena. ‘sup? i think rbti will cure your leukemia.
    howz everybody’s rbti goin’? i got a water distiller, i really can taste how this is the good water.
    taking min col, and lemon juice in water when i feel i can handle it – i have kidney congestion from years of dark chocolate as one of the basic food groups – and those pesky emotional issues.

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    • I’m hoping Santa will bring me a water distiller this year. I’m so freaking excited. Florida has what could quite easily be the most disgusting tap water in the universe.

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      • No actually Chicago does….I feel like I’m drinking from a swimming pool. Been on fence between a distiller or reverse osmosis…

        Don’t delete my comment….I’m a long time lurker,admirer and non commenter…not a trol ;-)

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  9. Menstruation and nocturnal emissions to get rid of toxins? Where do the babies come from, then? That’s some science! Anyway, the more I read stuff like this, the more I’m glad I decided against restricting fruit at all. I’m also a fan of raw veggies, eat a salad most days. Maybe also explains why I probably eat >2200 kcal day, to maintain. When life gets busy, and I eat lots of pizza and bread and desserts, little produce, I gain quickly. I’ll have to think about this.
    But surely it’s common knowledge that fiber interferes with digestion, no? I wouldn’t know how to quantitate it, actually, these are the first numbers I’ve seen.

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  10. I’d say it would be a good idea to try to make your digestive system into an incinerator… one that burns hot so you can get maximum calories from the food you eat… and I’m thinking much of Matt’s standard advice would help with that.

    Also I believe it is Jon Gabriel that says you need both energy and nutrition from food, So I’m guessing too that foods that you don’t get calories from, might also be those that you don’t get all the nutrients from…

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  11. So even if you do eat a lot of raw foods and salads, a lot of the “goodness” is getting flushed down the crapper? Considering how expensive a lot of that is, perhaps it makes more sense to cook your veg, eat a smaller volume, and get your money’s worth? Maybe if Durianreindeer turned his bananas into smoothies he wouldn’t need to eat 30 per day.

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    • I find for me, I don’t like a half-empty belly, so I eat a reasonable volume of food. If I eat lots of veggies, I’m fine. If I eat lots of pizza, grilled cheese, or empanadas, I get fat. I don’t care for large slabs of meat, don’t like large piles of grains, and that doesn’t leave much, other than processed food, or my lovely fruits and veggies. I believe that I’m healthier for this habit (and my exercising ways). I don’t think I have inflammation problems, I seem to be quite healthy, and I’m not going to get my poo analyzed.

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  12. It seems obvious that you can not uptake a lot of nutrients/calories from raw veggies, nuts, seeds, and sprouted stuff. But would this also be true for soft types of fruit like bananas, oranges and others?

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  13. Even with lots animal products it’s rare for anyone to do a long-term all raw diet. In the long-term, the vast majority of people do better with at least some, or large amounts, of cooked foods. We seem to have adapted to cooked foods, although in my experience, some foods like dairy are much more digestible in their raw state.

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  14. Zero indigenous and “ancient” tribes were raw vegan. That says enough in itself. Those people were much more in tune with their bodies and the earth than we are now. Read “The Wheel of Health” about the Hunzas, and see how longevity is attained…

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    • in traditional chinese medicine, raw food is meant to be avoided because it taxes the body!

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      • Same with Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, cooked food is better for digestion. Cooked food certainly digests more completely.

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  15. Good article…I saw you metioned Jon Gabriel…I just read his book and to be honest I am not sure what I thought about it…especially the emphasis on thoughts/meditation and listening to his CD. Seems pretty “far out” to what I am use to. Has anyone tried this? Looking for opinions on his method in general…thanks!

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    • I found listening to the cd to be a good way to become overly fixated on your weight. The best way to lose weight is not even thinking about your weight, and then suddenly finding that your old pants fit again. I think Gabriel offers some great insights, but I’m getting into the habit of making fun of his orthorexia lately. Because I’m a dick like that.

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      • HAHA…well said…thanks for your input. The book was going well until he started talking about being fat because you were in a past life. Oh well. I read that book and Eat to Live, which pushed a vegan-type diet I will pass on. So I am back to reading my favorite book…Diet Recovery by you. :) I am coming off a year of mostly low carb and trying to eat somewhat normal to again…adding lots of fruit to start and some rice and corn. Darn Paelo ruined my tolerance for carbs. Thanks Sisson!!!

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      • Matt (or anyone),

        Forgot to ask…what other books do you recommend? I’ve read:

        1. The Gabriel Method
        2. Eat to Live
        3. Carbophobia (short, but awesome)
        4. Health at Every Size

        Thanks!

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        • Dude I haven’t even read Carbophobia if you can imagine such an atrocity! If you like obesity related stuff, you’ll like…

          1) The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos
          2) Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata
          3) Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic by Robert Pool
          4) The Don’t Go Hungry Diet by Amanda Sainsbury Salis
          5) The Hungry Gene (forgot her name)

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          • Thanks Matt…will tackle #1 and #4 next…after Intuitive Eating, which I am finding relates to me well at this point.

    • Meditation in general, (I never did check John gabriel’s cd out) is a good thing and can have tremendous results in relation to bodyweight management but not as a tool to create extreme paranoia or self induced aversion to calorie dense food. It’s way more useful to come to terms with not focusing on calorie counts or tour weight in general.

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  16. “20,000 mile pee parade”…..I did some undercover work and discovered the RBTI community is heavily invested in Porto Johns!

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    • Haha! You were one of the highlights of said journey Mr. Elliot.

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  17. Did the “Fruitarian” thing years ago for about one year and had butt ugly acne. Just thought I was cleansing….how stupid! My body is transforming as never before with consumption of “junk” food. Feeling pretty buff and my clothes are fitting better, not playing the numbers game with the scale and feeling the freedom at last. Issues with calorie counting has disappeared by eating a wide variety of good food to appetite and I’ve learned to trust my body to do the right thing. Thanks Matt.

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    • Nice Heather…I am trying to get to where you are right now. Any pointers? My issue is that I have been low carb for so long – and did lose a lot of weight – but was always cold, dizzy, etc. I want to worry less about these silly food rules I have developed (what to eat…when to eat…weekly weight checks). Can you give me an example of the type of food changes you made? Thanks!

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    • I’m really curious about this acne thing. For a period of time, I ws doing quite low-carb, high fat, you know paleo stuff, but i wasnt that strict with myself, I would do rice and sourdough sometimes. Since reading 180degree and listening to my body cravings, I’ve decided to do a diet change, eatin alot more carbs in the form of white rice, which just seems very natural to me because I’m asian. WHat I’m experiencing now is a comeback of my acne, which I’d been totally clear of for years. I think I’m cleansing, or my body’s adapting, but now what you say is making me worried.. does this mean I’m doing the wrong thing??

      Weight and calorie counting has never been much of an issue with me, though I must say I’m very obsessed about nutrition. I’m trying to wean myself off it, but it is difficult. I am improving though, I feel, I’m a lot more food obsessed in a good way now, not in terms of how healthy they are, but how delicious they taste. But it’s going to take a while before I can be totally carefree about it ): esp with my struggles with the recurring acne, and digestion

      (I hardly eat anything raw but I would still classify myself as constipated, so I think there is also more to it than just simply cooking your food. maybe I’m eating too much vegetables. maybe I’m overanalysing again. as usual. urgh!)

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      • I have encountered many tales of people’s acne either re-emerging or showing up for the first time ever when coming off of a prolonged low-carb diet. My skin was incredibly hypersensitive to carbs when I was on a low-carb diet. In fact, the worst breakout I’ve ever had in my life was after eating a Snickers bar while on a low-carb diet. My entire forehead was ruined by it. But I was able to overcome it. I can eat anything and still have clear skin.

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        • that’s really really encouraging to hear!how long did it take you to reach that stage of eating everything and being healthy and acne-free? I feel so sick of it sometimes i just wonder whether I’m doing the right thing. speaking of which. how do you know whether your body’s response is just a period of adjustment/cleansing vs your body telling you that’s not right?

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  18. I’ve been eating according to RBTI with focus on eating fairly healthy but at the same time having a few treats. I tend toward hypoglycemia so am keeping an eye on my Brix and have been keeping it between 1 and 2 on the refractometer which kills appetite. I’ve never felt so “at peace” with food in my life. Have suffered some abuse as a child and stuffed my emotions with food. Not anymore. Yes, I did the low carb thing last year and it really messes the metabolism up and I did four months of RBTI before I started losing weight. It’s like an onion, peeling off slowly now in layers. Trusting your body to do the right thing and focus on satisfaction rather than hunger. I was hungry at night for the first few weeks but Matt explained things so I could get the concept and relax about the changes. I was incredibly obsessive about food and “nutrition” , now I enjoy life and just let things happen. You are probably cold and dizzy because your metabolism has taken a hit from low carbing. That’s fixable with patience. Some people feel RBTI is too restrictive, but for me, I have more choices than ever and never feel deprived. I’ve tried just about everything imaginable over the last 30 years and I can finally say I’m off the diet bus and it’s not that I was ever really overweight, just obsessed. No more counting!

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    • Thanks…great information…glad it’s working out so well for you! I don’t know anything about RBTI but will look into it. I was even not eating fruit because “Grok” rarely came into fruit…man, looking back…ugh. I read in one of Mark’s posts somewhere that if you have been low carb for a long time to eat a lot of fruit at first to get carbs back…I’ve been doing this and with some other additions (brown rice, corn), the dizzeness is all but gone and I feel warmer…not “there” yet but definite improvement. My biggest mistake was buying a food scale, which I only recently weaned off of and I am so glad I did. That was obsessive and unrealistic…I remember going out to eat panicking about what the calorie count was in this or that and felt helpless without the scale. That’s no way to live for sure. However, if you subscribe to the belieft that all that matters is the calories you take in vs. your RMR, it’s easy to get hooked on scales. I still do mental counts out of habit, which isn’t the worst thing, but I am trying now to eat more…and make sure it’s good food. My diet has pretty much always been clean since I started (although I’ve had a few binges the last two Sundays…once I eat something “bad” it’s like I can’t stop eating and no matter how much junk I eat I am never full…wierd but I have to be careful). For example, my lunch today was a bag of baby carrots, some plain salad greens, three boiled eggs, some pork jerky, 8 macadamia nuts, a banana, and a bosc pear. One of these days I’ll work up the guts to jump on the lunch runs everyone at works make while I eat in my desk…HAHA.

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  19. Food choice will vary according to your blood sugar levels and pH readings. I find that my body tells me what it needs. Sometimes it outright candy and other times just some complex carbs like grains and or fruit will do. One way to tell what your blood sugar is doing is the color of your pee (too dark, means it’s high) and how often you need to go. When I’m too low, I’m going every 1/2 hr but when I’m just right it’s every two hours. I do make sure to eat some fresh veggies for both lunch and supper and if I’m on the run, I plan ahead and take a few sticks of celery in a ziploc bag. Okra is a real biggie for me. I buy the frozen stuff and just slice it up and put some Salsa on it. It’s all about easy and simple food prep for me, nothing fancy. One tablespoon of Olive oil with lunch and supper also ensures appetite control for later in the day. I use fresh garlic grated and covered with olive oil which keeps well in the fridge and satisfies the taste buds for sure. Have got rid of all traces of sea salt from my cupboards as well. Organic corn and cornmeal or items (like cheezies) made with this are also very pleasing. For sure, check out RBTI and make other choices than pork and nut, seeds. Yes, some relaxed social lunching is very healing. Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day. Matt has lot’s of info for ya. I would highly recommend his RBTI into package to start. Those binges will disappear quickly. Hope this helps John.

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    • Yes it helps, thanks…I will check out Matt’s RBTI package now. I should mention (and I know Matt has been experimenting with this lately) that I do 18 hour fasts M-F…so lunch is my first meal and dinner my last…on weekends I eat the standard 3 meals a day. I never snack and workout at 5:30am M-Sa with Sunday’s off (I wish I could workout later but that’s the only window of time I have where I know I won’t be interuppted…HAHA).

      Thanks again.

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    • “I find that my body tells me what it needs.”

      Okay, so this is what I don’t understand. If your body tells you what it needs (which seems like common sense), why the need for the ‘refractometer’?

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      • Perhaps for some folks who don’t understand the ” language” of the body . The refractometer ” translates ” so they may learn what theyre body is telling them to do. I have yet to pee into Any instrument to get results and I eat what it ” tells” me to.

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  20. I have found RBTI is equal to doing a liquid fast daily for liver detox. I’ve been tracking some blood vessels in the whites of my eyes with amazement. Very powerful stuff. I always eat breakfast and lunch followed by a light vegetarian supper no later than 7pm. Breakfast is very important even if it’s not huge. Sometimes I make an organic soy drink with some instant Espresso and a smidge of maple syrup and a dot of molasses. It’s all about preference. Buckwheat flour has also helped me with not bruising as much. I use it to make mini ginger/molasses muffins, unfortunately I don’t use a recipe. Variety of grains is important, not just wheat, wheat, wheat. As far as working out, don’t beat yourself up about that. Overexertion can actually prevent the metabolism from healing. Most days I go for a brisk 30 minute walk (with the odd 30 sec race with my dog) and do five minutes of muscle toning. A good old fashion game of tug of war would be the better choice of exercise. Just returned from Mexico and enjoyed playing volleyball on the beach and for the first time in months was able to play without taping my knees in place. I’m 54 but have a much younger body, tough old buggar! RBTI is all about remineralization and the proof is in the pudding for me. I’m getting stronger every day.

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  21. Damn Matt, you are voraciously writing lately I can’t even keep up with the reading. Making my slow to post ass look bad. Plus we think alike at times, I’m gonna look like a blog copy cat, I too have a multi- part focus on calorie fixation. Lol Did you find my ” tester blog” in cyberspace ? Lol if you did not, you will seriously laugh when I’m done editing and I post up the URL.

    Today is a special day, was trying for today but I think I will say
    Jan 1st 2012 … I’m launching a bunch of shit that day So make sure your pajamas are clean

    Loved this post and the comments … Raw vegans can only exist in the modern burger king mcdonald’s era. Can you imagine attempting to produce enough raw food in grok land without the souped up agriculture system. Never mind not being able to leave behind any baby groks to keep the “ultimate diet” of mankind rolling.
    My all out banana experiment costed me n my brother a good chunk of change more than a buffet and then ended up eating at one after anyways lol imagine the work in collecting enough salad to eat without the adapted digestive system if a gorilla to boot. There would be no time to create a significant culture grazing all day. Maybe pray to the salad gods eat and dream of food get up and do it all over again.

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    • Today is a special day- happy solstice y’all. Here comes the sun…

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      • Was supposed to have a bday bash today. Homemade buffet tomorrow instead
        I’ll take pictures of the yummy stuff. Turkey and cornbread here I come!

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    • I totally found that tester blog in cyberspace! Bring it back!

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      • Share the wealth Chief! Don’t be shy and don’t let Matt be the only reader damn it!
        Happy and Merry to y’all.
        love deb xoxo

        Reply
        • Sorry deb. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I set the deadline to cram it all in for the new year. The tester Matt read was filled with insane punctuation and spelling errors and other as well as 1000 spam comments a day… I can live with them in a comment but I need to be sure everyone understands properly and I’m no writer like Matt. I have a few other non blog related issues that held things up which I ll get into later.
          Anyone interested in doing a final proof ? For a sneak peak. I need a guinea reader. Email me

          Reply
          • Guinea reader? Yeah that would totally be me. What’s your email again Chief?

          • Found it from your older comments.

          • email is justaskchief (at) gmail.com

  22. My main diet is potatoes too at the moment! with sour cream, butter, cream cheese, mozerella, chipotle’ tabasco, salt etc… I don’t use everything together all at once but I will have a variety of those things mixed in. Recently started to try and overfeed to raise my temperature and it think I’m too extreme of a person because its been giving me heartburn. I eat a lot, but I mean, not to the point to where i feel sick or anything. And wow, ejaculation as a means of detox LOL

    Reply
    • Bob,
      Heartburn is not volume dependent as far as food goes. If not I would be dealing with that daily like I used to during my non buffet years. It has much more to do with your body not running properly And being out of balance.

      Reply
  23. This might be a ridiculous question, but what exactly happens to the food that is not digested? is it just excreted as the waste…like an “I DIDN’T EAT ANY CORN!” scenario? haha :D

    Also, if you don’t digest half of a given amount of food, does that mean every part of the food is wasted, macronutrients and micronutrients…like nothing?

    Reply
    • Sometimes little guys naturally living in your gut , feast like kings. Also if you throw a bit of history in the mix. People in the flat lands used to burn buffalo poop instead of wood as calories = heat. The poop had undigested calories.
      humans are capable of the same digestive inefficiency. Obviously sticks of celery do not come back out intact like corn, partially digested does not mean assimilated. In some cases even fully digested does not either. The reason doctors say you need fiber to help with number 2 is because it is a “mass of stuff ” that helps push things along by giving the digestive track something to grab on to as it does it’s thing. This fiber is made up of things that can’t be broken down and asimilated by humans.

      Reply
  24. I think Wrangham underestimated Atwater in his quote at the top of this post. In his calorimetry experiments, Atwater put all of his subjects’ feces into a bomb calorimeter, so he always accounted for the proportion of energy that is not absorbed during digestion. He was able to measure energy balance (in vs. out) with less than 2% error, which is remarkable since this was in the late 1800s. These were extraordinarily precise experiments that no one has replicated with greater accuracy since, that I’m aware of.

    Reply
    • Thanks Stephan.

      Reply
  25. Some really great insight in this post. I always assumed the ‘weight loss’ on a raw vegan diet was because there’s so much damn fibre in everything – which leads to a situation where despite not feeling your hunger satisfied you literally can’t eat another bite from feeling so stuffed ! That and the protein deficiency causing muscle loss I guess.

    Reply
  26. Thanks for the information CHIEF. I listened to that joshrubin blogtalkradio show last night, partially. You guys had mentioned something about if the body is in the stress response not enough hydrochloric acid is produced and can cause improper digestion etc…This makes perfect sense. My job is metal recycling, and although I would like to, a big lunch probably isn’t a good idea. I’m assuming since I’m lifting heavy things and running around at work, my bodies energies are diverted from the stomach causing my hearburn. I suppose eating in the most relaxed state is the best. I had pizza for the first time in like a year today. I wonder if it’ll give me acne or diarrhea like it used too…My favorite foods wheat/dairy I avoided for so long =\ I wonder if my job would keep me from achieving a lower body fat than if I just sat around, with all the running around etc…causing cortisol? I’m done typing =) MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! and a HAPPY NEW YEAR ps, I ate a whole keylime pie, except the crust, that stuff is way too sugary =\

    Reply
    • Bob, as an amazing coincidence, I have done the same type of work you speak about. I use to do the day to day work of a metal recycling business I own with my brother. In my experience it is not your job causing you to have weight gain or lack of loss and to the contrary I would say lifting fridges and bikes and I beams would actually help.
      It may be your perceptions and approach to tasks that may be the cause of stress not the actual work itself and this would apply to the way you personally approach any job.

      Reply
  27. Matt, here to say thanks again. :) I am steadily getting so much better! :)
    I ditched RBTI, except for my lovely refractometer.

    I took up RRARF! This has been a great blessing. I have gained 8 pounds, and so much
    more energy. :) I don’t care for the weight. I am now 118 pounds.(5’3″) I like the feeling of 110.
    But, what good is it, if you are to sick to enjoy life.

    Today was the best day (for energy) that I have had in a very long time. :)

    I no longer get up five times a night to urinate! I am sleeping soundly. I am so
    much warmer. Too, I don’t remember the last time I have had to spend the
    day on the couch!!! My hair has quit falling out like crazy!

    I’m thankful :)

    Curious about when to slow down on the over feeding? There are still days when I
    fight to keep my brix up. I don’t feel well below about 2.5. I feel fantastic at about
    a 5. I know RBTI says this is not good. So why does it feel so right for me?

    Something else that makes it hard to know when to stop the overfeeding. I have never
    had much of an appetite. I still don’t. Now, I eat to have energy.

    Oh too Matt, thanks for encouraging me to continue to eat sweets. I can now enjoy
    cookies etc… without a brix crash! Yes!

    Reply
  28. @ Betty
    I believe you misunderstand the RBTI concept perfectly, but are far from alone in that. Fact is that many don’t explain it that well, and as a result some like you follow a bit of it that surely backfires. As you know the perfect Brix in RBTI is 1.5 if all other numbers are perfect. If your numbers are not perfect 1.5 and even 2.0 can be very low blood sugar. And as you likely know you will feel bad with low blood sugars, meaning that those like you who start out with a fix on the perfect numbers and start decreasing their Brix will feel pretty bad, pretty fast. In many low Brix causes insomnia because the body tells you to eat something.
    Remember that in RBTI for most with not perfect numbers 5.5 is the division between the tendency towards high and low blood sugars. The closer you are to perfect, the more your system prefers oxygen over sugars, and the less sugars it needs.
    If you needed to get out 5 times a night, it should be clear that you did have a proper drinking schedule. The thing with RBTI is that every program is tailored to fit your chemistry. To me it seems clear that your program did not fit your chemistry. There is nothing wrong with RBTI, but sometimes there is something wrong with how people are doing it, especially when they believe specific recommendations are general ones. That not only includes the drinking schedule, but also the dietary advice.
    Anyway, great that you are doing better on RRARF.

    Reply
  29. Sorry for the typing error. I meant If you needed to get out 5 times a night, it should be clear that you did not have a proper drinking schedule.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jacqueline.

      I only followed RBTI for about 3 weeks. During that time my brix remained very low
      averaging .5 Every fruit, syrup, sweetener, the lemonade, and the supplements caused my brix to remain horribly low. It was clear I was losing energy. Doing RBTI I was extremely weak, nauseated all the time and, passing whole food in my stool. My body was not strong enough to handle the supplements or, the lemonade. I was already in a weak state before starting RBTI. Thanks to RBTI, I did learn that low brix has been my problem for several years. It had finally taken it’s toll and, I was having terrible brain/body symptoms. I literally lived most of my days on the couch. Once starting RBTI, I lost so much more energy that I couldn’t take care of myself.

      It has been a few months now. Thankfully God had mercy and, my body is now
      doing much better. :) One day when I feel I have gained enough reserve energy, I will attempt RBTI again.

      Reply
  30. What about raw animal products? Why does the “raw” idea only mean vegetables to so many people? Our ancestors certainly ate raw meat, raw eggs, and maybe some raw diary. Those on a Primal Diet, like myself, typically gain weight if starting underweight, and overweight people easily lose the extra pounds. Several tablespoons of raw hamburger have more vitamin C than an orange! The most nutrient dense way to go is with raw animal products — like the Paleo dude’s used to eat.

    Reply
    • Yes, raw meat, dairy, and eggs are far less digestible than the cooked version, which is why all species gain weight much more quickly on cooked vs. raw foods when the calories are equal. Cooked food is more completely digested than raw food. With eggs it’s even more extreme, as in head to head comparison 94% of the protein in cooked egg was digested while only 51% of the raw egg protein was digested. We are also very different from how we were in the Paleolithic era (even though all Paleolithic data suggests that as much food was eaten cooked as possible, and if it wasn’t we wouldn’t have been able to develop the large brains that we have today, much less anything else our species has accomplished).

      Reply
      • Yeah, if my brain gets any larger I will have to get an extra large I love potatoes hat to fit it! hee hee
        Taters RULE!
        deb xo

        Reply
      • Hey Matt, that’s surprising about the eggs. I always heard raw yolks were supposed to be more digestible than cooked. Chris Masterjohn apparently eats them, so who can argue with that? Also, are you saying pasteurized dairy should be easier to digest than raw (even skimmed), too?

        Reply
        • Masterjohn eats them because he doesn’t want to consume oxidized cholesterol, I believe. Milk is already very easy to digest compared to solid food. It’s baby food basically, which is one step up from it because it is soft with small particle size. Pasteurized dairy isn’t “cooked” per se. If you want to make milk really digestible, bring it to a boil like they do in Ayurveda – to enhance it’s digestibility.

          Reply
  31. You are retarded. Stone your brain is stone.

    Reply
  32. I think we cooked our food in the garden of eden, we were made in the image of god we can so we did.

    Reply
  33. Sorry, that was off topic and made me seem a bit crazy “oh well”.

    Reply
  34. Hey Matt,
    So I am a bit confused. Are you advocating or not advocating raw foods as part of the diet. The thing that always bothered me about the food palatability theory is that making foods palatable is exactly the point. That’s what traditional cuisines do. That’s what cooking does. That’s what all the traditional methods of food processing do (besides also serving to preserve): curing, soaking, grinding, etc. What does grinding do? It reduces particle size. So the point seems to be to make calories as digestible as possible and then eat enough of them, which also makes some people gain weight. But if we make them undigestible, it just becomes a roundabout way to perform appetite controlled calorie restriction, but all the negative side effects are still there. So what is this really saying about the food palatability theory?

    Reply
    • I’m glad you picked up on this. I wanted to point out that there is no metaphysical quality to raw foods. But there is an actual straightforward reason why there are so many amazing “raw food weight loss” stories out there – amongst humans and their pets. I think raw foods could very well have a role to play in fat loss for those whose health is significantly impaired by their excess body fat. The negatives shown in this study were mostly attributable to being underweight, and having too little body fat, which would be easily cured by some pizza and ice cream thrown in there with all that raw food.

      And as far as palatability, palatability and digestibility move together in tandem. I think they both have a major impact. If you eat 2,000 calories of highly palatable food, your body wants more than that, and when you deny yourself food when your body is craving it, metabolism slows and the body moves towards enhanced fat storage. I truly believe it works precisely like that.

      If you eat 2,000 calories of raw, unprocessed, hard, tough, large particle size, and high water content foods, you’ll most likely be forcing a lot of it down – eating way beyond appetite to get it all in. I think this probably gets the body out of “starvation mode,” at least for a while until your body adjusts to the new type of food you are eating.

      So, even if total absorbed calories are identical, I think the “metabolic advantage” would most likely go to the unprocessed foods, and it would be significant. And I don’t think it has anything to do with vitamin and mineral content per se – or that is not the primary deciding factor. I think it has more to do with what Stephan and I talk about – which is the action that takes place in the reward centers in the brain.

      Reply
  35. I’m assuming that if fat people truly get more calories from each food item digested than a skinny person, it’s from a similar mechanism as how the body absorbs iron; when a person is iron deficient their body absorbs it at a much higher rate than those who have plenty of iron. So, a person’s body who is starved at a cellular level will attempt to more fully digest their food for more calories/nutrients/minerals.

    However, lately I’ve been finding that I feel better eating more processed foods (i’m still eating a large quantity of my daily calories from whole foods), however my gut has been distended since making an effort to reduce stress in my life (sleeping more, reducing electronics usage, etc…) much like the child in this picture appears.

    http://img.medscape.com/thumbnail/migrated/451/597/iim451597.fig1.gif

    And it seems the better I feel/more consistently relaxed I become (I have had terrible chronic anxiousness for 3-4 years now) it becomes worse. Now, I don’t have a terribly high amount of body fat, about 15%. What the heck? Any advice? I haven’t been able to find anything useful and this site is the only place I trust from decent leads. Thanks for any input.

    Reply
    • Stomach distention is usually from excess gas production, which can certainly be from packing a ton of food into a system with a slow transit time (which is often accompanied by gastroparesis, aka delayed stomach emptying). Over time you may find that this improves as your metabolism reaches its full potential.

      As far as absorption differing between two individuals, those with a low metabolic rate will tend to pick up more energy from the food they eat. My stool volume for example decreases dramatically as my body temperature goes down – to the point where I only eliminate a few ounces a couple times per week in extreme situations. Whereas in my current condition I might pass 1-2 pounds per day – even eating most of my calories from highly-processed, low-fiber cooked foods (I’m basically on the Santa Claus diet right now – mostly milk and cookies).

      I could actually go on quite a tangent about this because it is very interesting. But I don’t think fat people = high calorie absorption/thin people = low calorie absorption. I think the metabolic state is the deciding factor, and you can have a high or low metabolism at any weight.

      Let me know how the swollen belly comes along. If it doesn’t improve, there are certainly more options besides trying to force the transit time to speed up via overfeeding and understressing. I would continue to experiment with more processed foods and fewer whole foods on that front.

      Reply
      • You should do a blog post on this. I think it’s one of the things many people here are still overlooking. I got my bowel movements to occur more regularly eating a higher volume of mostly unprocessed foods. I had regular bowel movement going from the time of the Wise Traditions conference until a week ago. That’s about a month and a half. The Santa Clause diet has not been as kind to me, although it has not been terrible.
        I’m interested by the idea that once you have things very in order again, you can throw a bunch of crap in the furnace and not rock the boat too much. And also about the thing you said above about unprocessed foods inducing weight loss as long as you’re not triggering any of the body’s energy protection mechanisms.

        Reply
        • I’ll have something up in a few, discussing it a little more. Would love to talk about the digestion aspect some time too.

          Reply
    • I have been having a similar experience with processed foods as of late!
      I have had a weak digestive system for awhile now (from restricting calories, carbs, and a “paleo” diet) and am an introvert prone to anxiety. I found myself feeling light headed a lot, having no appetite, as well as having trouble concentrating and following a thought through to the end. I added in starch and after 6 months things were only slightly better, so I decided to add in fruit, thinking it would be easier to digest. This actually made me spacier and more anxious.

      Entirely by “accident” I ate a bunch of processed junk at thanksgiving (and went on the leftovers diet for a few days afterword) and felt much better. Since then I’ve been adding maple syrup, honey, and molasses to my diet which has helped IMMENSELY with concentration, digestion, gas, anxiety, and energy levels.

      I cannot be entirely sure of the reason, and this little sugar experiment has only been going on for a month, but it sounds like we have similar reactions to food so I thought I would share. Do you have a history of dieting? My stomach used to do that too. Cutting carbs would mitigate the effect but did not address the root of the problem. Gastroparesis is the medical term for delayed stomach emptying.

      Reply
      • Processed junk food can be the ultimate rehabilitation food for someone with low metabolism and low sugar symptoms like yourself. That doesn’t mean you need to eat it forever, but it can definitely jumpstart things.

        Reply
  36. Do all comment’s “await moderation” or am I special for some reason unknown to me?

    Reply
  37. Chief I apologize for implying that my job has been hindering weight loss etc…It’s been a real battle for me since starting my job in June. I wasn’t eating enough carbohydrates in the least starting off. I guess you could call it, I was trying to do a Sisson approach while working my ass off. I get motor oil, anti-freeze blah blah on my face sometimes and wholy crap did I break out. It was making me miserable. I would get light headed, (no yawning that I recall though?) and just couldnt wait for the days to end. I also had weird sweating episodes. I then started to incorporate more carbs into my diet at night (If anyone follows Kurt Harris, he talks of starting to be underweight while doing a strenuous job so he upped his carbs with rice krispie cereal and was able to maintain again) and that started to help keep my weight up, but somedays I would feel good, and others I would still be light headed. Now to get off track a little bit, I used to do the Acne.org regimen for my face, which made it possible for me to pretty much eat what I wanted. I don’t exactly remember how that stopped, but I think I was much happier then lol. Recently started up the Regimen again, and said screw it, I’m going to give into my cravings and have whatever the hell I want (couple weeks ago still avoiding most grains, gluten though) I’ve had whole cheesecakes several times, whole boxes of cereal etc….lol My temperatures are definitely up. (oral temp this morning 97.7) When I started this I suppose it made sense that atwork I felt like shit. Starting off I was soooo tired and I didn’t understand why lol. But no light headedness though. So I now suppose that was from my adrenals shutting down. I’ve had pizza, beer, last night had tons of junk food for the EVE and didn’t stress about it (not even about the lowfat pumpernickel dip which probably had garbage soybean oils and blah blah =) Still haven’t had any cramps from the gluten or lactose which I suffered all my life (i’m not assuming my digestive issues are over but a little surprise I haven’t had to purge from the other end yet) I have had a crazy journey and it stemmed from unhealthy family members, me being overweight, migraines everyday, chronic hypoglycemic episodes, sweating problems, rosacea, and then finally when i was 18 four years ago, my hair started to fall. Like Matt says, the more you read, the less you realize that you know. and boy…have I torched my body trying these different ways of eating. What gave me the most motivation to look good was my hair falling out. I was getting extremely self conscious and feeling hopeless the days I’d have bad acne, and see my hair falling out too, I wanted to die, I am not kidding. My head isn’t exactly the best head to go bald with either lol. I am very sorry this was all just a ramble but I figure someone might be interested in reading it…I have pictures of my being big, balding, acne, and all that stuff, so maybe sometime I will have my own website helping people =P I’ve gained seven pounds in the past couple weeks, (probably the majority starting this past holiday week, I don’t see my hair falling out these days anymore (wasn’t falling out much low carb though either) I’m still doing my benzoyl regimen, but it’s great to know that when I gorge on something, It’s actually giving my body the ability to regulate its processes, strengthen my immunities, my GI tract, instead of thinking its making me fat, filling me up with toxins, worrying about what I ate and if its going to make my break out in the morning. Oh my lord stress is the devil. I hope there are plenty of people that have typed this much without using proper form =D More on my progress in the future. I don’t even care if I get fat at the moment its amazing. AND my head is shaved and looks goofy, and I don’t even care.

    Reply
    • Hey Bob,
      Thats what this blog is for. It’s like self help for all us self-obsessed orthorexics. It’s not easy to come out of that, mentally or physically.

      Reply
    • The lightheadedness and “hypoglycemia” type of feelings are clear signs of metabolism being subdued. Quite normal and common. All of the calorie restriction subjects in Ancel keys’s study reported these problems. They go away quite quickly when you eat up. Glad to hear about the dairy and gluten issues becoming nonexistent too. That is huge. So many people think they are incapable of getting there, but often it is an easy fix. And amen to shaved, goofy-looking heads!

      If you are concerned about gaining fat, you’ll probably find eating more at breakfast and midday and less in the evening (which is natural if you really eat hard earlier in the day) to naturally lower your desire for food without negative metabolic consequence. Just throwing that out there. Because someday you are gonna wake up forgetting about all the health improvements and want to be lean – or at least stop gaining body fat.

      Reply
  38. I eat a largely raw vegan diet and am not thin or unhealthy inspite of a heavy workload.

    I am sorry to read some of the self-assured vituperous responses here. We are all on a journey, we do not have enough science or experience to know exactly what the perfect diet for health and longevity is for everyone. I do think that different people have different metabolisms, issues (maybe weak digestion or low gut flora) and ancestral diets that have some bearing on how our bodies deal with food we eat.

    I was not well when I started eating a raw food diet and so very quickly I became so much better and vibrant – absolutely full of energy and love of life, love for life. So for me it has been a lifeline. I sometimes experiment with adding cooked foods back in, but invariably I do not feel as good. The one thing that I think is absolute magic is drinking 2 -3 pints of green juice first thing in the morning. That makes a huge difference – and I haven’t found a person for whom it doesn’t make a huge difference. This juice usually contains a head of celery, a cucumber a couple of apples, and a knob of ginger and as many greens as I can get in there. Of course there are many variations, but this is one I come back to again and again.

    I wish you great health and much happiness!

    Reply
    • How long have you been eating that way? Have you lost weight since you started doing it? I find that many, myself included, had a miraculous initial response to eating a raw or primarily raw foods diet. Same with a lower carb “Paleo” diet. But these benefits seldom lasted for more than a year before health problems either returned or new health problems emerged. But during that first year when so many health problems vanish and the person becomes part of a “movement” to save humanity with their magic dietary revelations, the person often gets lost in the movement and becomes what I call a “hyperchondriac.” The first commenter here, “Pip,” is a great case in point. She spent 7 years or so on a raw food diet, was a leading voice of it in the U.K., worked as a raw foods chef for many famous raw-fooders, had a huge social and professional raw foodist network that she was entrenched in, etc. How did this happen? She had all of her health problems disappear or improve in the first 6 months of a raw food diet. The next 6 and half years were a slow descent into the total obliteration of her health, which included lack of menstruation just like the statistics Wrangham refers to.

      The reason I write what I do is to provide alternative viewpoints to the brainwashing people receive about these magic diets being cure-alls, when the dangers are immense and poorly understood by basically everyone outside of this site.

      Reply
      • From Lisa’s site…
        “I started eating 100% raw food early in 2007 at the age of 46 and was amazed at the incredibly fast changes that happened in my body. First of all I found that I had more energy, and I was more alert. Then, very quickly, the incredible stiffness that I had been experiencing went. I found that I was more motivated generally, not so lethargic, particularly in the evenings. My skin came to life and my hair and nails started to grow much faster and healthier. Then over time, I lost weight. I lost over 3 stone and reduced to the weight that I was as a teenager! And I never counted a calorie – not once!”

        “Now I just want to tell people about eating more raw foods in their diet, especially raw foods, and just what a difference eating live food can really make to your life, how much more alive and vibrant it will make you feel!

        Wishing you health, happiness and much love!
        Lisa ;o)”

        Weight loss is significant. If we assume that Lisa carried 40 pounds of fat, that’s like eating a raw foods diet plus 40 liters of pure lard on top of it. That’s a big deal from a calorie standpoint. If she lost that weight in a year that’s almost 400 calories per day coming from her body that she can no longer count on now that she is fairly lean. This is one reason why I think low-carbers do much better if they are fat, and are destroyed by the diet much more quickly if they are lean. But the same is probably true of those on a raw diet, vegan diet, or otherwise.

        Reply
        • Yes.

          Weight loss isn’t necessarily a sign of good health. In Lisa’s case, her weight (fat?) loss ‘could’ be an indication that her body isn’t absorbing enough calories from “raw” and “live” foods. So… the body “lives” off of body fat and lean body tissue to make up for the calorie deficit.

          Which by the way, probably explains why Jon Gabriel is starting to look like, well, death. His body is eating him from the inside out.

          Reply
  39. Thank you everyone for your feedback! I believe eating less at night will help, (rbti? haven’t read much about that yet, but I don’t want to cuz I’m poor and can’t afford a kit haha) but can someone explain why Berkhan says the opposite? aand I have a quick question, is there a good blog post or some other place I could be referenced to read about sumo wrestlers? lol. I assume they either eat things that cause leptin resistance or they just ignore they’re satiety altogether errrrr vegetable oils kill their thyroid? Hope everyone had a beautiful holiday.

    Reply
    • I don’t think that Berkhan necessarily promotes fasting in the morning, though it seems to work best for him and for his clients. He seems to be more concerned in debunking the myth that large evening meals are inherently bad. He even goes further to say that the evening pattern is superior:

      Calorie-controlled studies looking at the effects of distributing a fixed caloric load differently throughout the day are scarce; … These tell a much different story than the one found in dietary epidemiology. While short-term studies (15-18 days) do not find a statistically significant difference between early and late meal patterns, long-term studies (>12 weeks) show that late eating patterns produce superior results on fat loss, body composition and/or diet adherence. This might be explained by more favorable nutrient partitioning after meals due to hormonal modulation.

      Reply
  40. Can’t believe I missed this post! This might be the place to ask something I’ve been wondering about for a while.

    So, I’ve known several long-time raw foodists who were _not_ thin, although they may have lost weight from pre-raw. But my question is this: two pre-eminent sources of calories on many typical raw food diets are fruit–tons of fructose–and nuts and seeds–tons of omega 6–the two _major_ culprits in many current stories of fat gain. Do we think that long term, raw vegans who eat lots of nuts and seeds especially will end up fat? Or is this the real reason why so many raw vegans end up swearing off nuts because they overdo and say that they feel sick from them?

    Reply
    • Most nut and seed vegans end up really frail and puffy and sick and lethargic kind of like David Wolfe. I really don’t think the fructose story of fat gain carries much weight. All of our other primate cousins seem to be total fructovores with no problem whatsoever. I’m sure it could be different when comparing Mountain Dew to wild jungle fruits. And different comparing sedentarism to foraging. And salad dressing to nuts and seeds for that matter. The differences between these things and the context is huge.

      Reply
  41. Meaning that the omega 6 in nuts and seeds is less of a problem than in salad dressing–yes, that’s what most people like to say. I just heard a David Wolfe clip talking about how “amazing” baobab fruit is! Of course, it’s in the durian family…

    Reply
  42. Corena wrote:
    “Which by the way, probably explains why Jon Gabriel is starting to look like, well, death. His body is eating him from the inside out.”

    It seems Matt is saying that incorporating some raw foodism might actually be a good way for someone who is obese to lose weight, without huge metabolic side effects, but the question is what do you do with a lean person who is now totally brainwashed and refusing to believe that their diet which miraculously made them lean, is now the source of new health problems.

    Gabriel’s plan involves brainwashing yourself into believing that raw foods and lean meat are good and carbs like bread and potatoes are bad. I pretty much switched him off when he talked about imagining that bread and rice were maggot infested in order to keep from eating them. That’s a level of crazy I don’t need. It’s ironic because the one thing that he said, that I find myself referring to mentally all the time is, “I made a decision that I was never going to (restrictive calorie) diet again. That I would be happy if I was the weight I was for the rest of my life.”

    Reply
    • That was perfectly put Nipper. Perhaps you shoud write this Jon “Man Down” Gabriel post.

      Reply
  43. So Matt, in regards to the after effects of calorie restriction (meaning rebound hyperphagia and excessive weight regain), I guess the “during effects,” if you will, of both inadvertent CR and forced/deliberate CR are similar due to a lack of energy within the body…I mean things such as loss of libido and loss muscle mass, those things that are non-vital, etc.

    Now, would you say that the after effects of CR only occur in CR that is forced? I mean, if someone had reduced calorie intake inadvertently and suffered the effects of low energy absorption in the body, but started to increase calorie intake, I imagine hyperphagia and excessive fat gain would be nonexistent and that the body would simply use the increased energy from food to increase muscle mass and libido and what not. However, with forced CR, the body is trying to fight back, and uses cravings and hyperphagia as a weapon. Would you agree?

    Reply
    • I think there is a huge difference between experiencing ravenous hunger and cravings and not eating vs. not being hungry and not eating. Biologically, one is destined to produce less stress and less rebound than the other. At least that’s my hunch. But I’m sure there are exceptions to that rule, such as really shitty diets (ZERO CARB) totally shutting down your appetite.

      Reply
      • I’d probably have to agree with you. Thanks for the response brobocop!

        Reply
        • No problem Rambro. Errr, wait, that sounds like a gay porn name.

          Reply
          • Haha

  44. The sickest I have ever been in my life was on the raw foods diet. I actually went to Hippocrates “health” institute in florida to learn more about it and get “healed” . My period completely stopped, I became horribly depressed, had no energy and eventually (4 months later) ended up in the hospital with bleeding ulcers all through my colon. Mind you, I called Brian and Anna Marie Clement (founders and directors) and they told me that all of these symptoms were my body adjusting to a “whole foods diet”. Are you kidding me??? I abhore raw food propaganda and the delusional people who promote it. It is seriously a sickness in and of itself and I am CERTAIN that anyone claiming to have eaten that way for decades or during a pregnancy is LYING.

    Reply
    • My sentiments pretty much exactly. Thanks for sharing Sarah. Glad someone besides me hasn’t lost their marbles over all this raw food BS.

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    • The unhealthy low-sugar, high-fat, nut-based Hyppocrates diet is absolutely nothing like the very healthy fruit-based, high-sugar, low-fat 8-1-1 diet meant by this article. In fact it’s its exact opposite.

      Reply
    • Yet they are both refered to as “raw food diets” vene if they’re opposites. It’s very confusing.

      Reply
    • you have truth problems. Whatever happened to you had nothing to do with apples and lettuce and some nut and seeds. Such statements are just nonsense. If you don’t like that way of eating and you think you stop menstruating is total bunk. Other factors must have been there that you are not telling the people. You really need to detail what in the world you were actually eating during such period, and most important what in the world where you eating prior to your failed attempt to raw food. What was your diet like in the last ten years to such raw eating? Where you eating lots of animal products? where you drinking alcohol? where you in recreational drugs? If you answer to those are no, and now you say raw food is the culprit, then you are not honest.

      Reply
  45. Matt Stone is wrong here. Maybe he didn’t read the Giessen study carefully. Nowhere it says that raw foodist where failing to absorb the calories that they were eating. Rather, what it says is that they were simply failing to eat enough calories!
    If you have a little bit of familiarity with the raw food movement, this should be expected. Most low-fat raw foodist eat an absurdly small amount of calories. It’s very common when you ask a low-fat raw foodist what they eat in one day, and then you do the math, you find out that it’s less than 1000 calories! Naturally they fail to menstruate and ejaulate, even if they absorb all their calories perfectly!
    The reason for this is simple. Low-fat raw foodist eat raw fruit and vegetables, so they must eat a huge volume of food to get enough calories. So it’s easy for them to feel “full” and think that they have eaten enough when they haven’t. This doesn’t apply to raw foodist who eat calorie dense foods such as nuts or animal foods. However, the Giessen study also states that the raw foodist they examined were mostly of the kind that eat only fruit and vegetables, not calorie dense foods.
    When fruit-eaters do understand that they need get enough calories, they have no problem doing so. The followers of Durian Rider do get enough calories and do menstruate and ejaculate regularly. Therefore it isn’t true that our hypothetical raw eating ancestors would have starved. Besides, our raw eating ancestors would also have been able to eat calorie dense foods such as nuts seeds and meat, so the Giessen study wouldn’t have applied to them.
    Regarding gorillas, statements such as “It turns out gorillas only absorb about 50% of the calories they ingest from “browse” or leafy matter – the natural diet of a gorilla (and keep in mind their digestion of plant matter is vastly superior to our own)” make me wonder whether the author knows what he’s talking about. First of all, an all leaves diet isn’t exactly the “natural” diet for a gorilla. Gorillas in the wild eat a diet of mostly fruit, supplemented by leaves and insects. This is an important detail because it means gorillas need not be good at getting calories from leaves. More importantly, gorillas can turn plant cellulose into calories. Humans can’t. When plant calories are computed for humans, cellulose calories aren’t factored. Since the amount of “human” calories in leafy greens wouldn’t be enough to sustain any primate, in the sense that no primate would be able to eat enough green to sustain itself without converting cellulose, one can assume that the calculations on caloric intake for gorillas were done considering cellulose, otherwise they would have made no sense. So all this shows is that gorillas only convert some of the cellulose into energy. This isn’t surprising since cellulose digestion is completely different from sugar protein and fat digestion being performed by bacteria in the colon. So it isn’t about incomplete “absorption”, it’s about incomplete bacterial fermentation! How can the author infer from this that human are bad at absorbing not cellulose but rather sugar protein and fat whose digestion require no bacterial activity?
    Does the author have any actual evidence that human are bad at getting calories from raw foods? Other than his personal experience on a raw food diet? Which proves nothing to me, because yes, I do agree that the calorie model is flawed and that it’s possible to lose weight on a high calorie diet, but this doesn’t mean that one can’t extract sufficient calories from fruit, unless Matt Stone lost his sex drive while eating 4000 fruit calories.

    Reply
  46. I’ll never eat a raw diet again, EVER, but anything other than what they propose Hippocrates would be better. It was zero sugar . As in ” if you eat a Fu#%ing apple you are a worthless drug addict” zero sugar. I’m a nutritionist and an acupuncturist now so I can’t in good conscience recommend a raw, fruit based diet to anyone but if it works for you then rock on

    Reply

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  1. Reference Articles « The Pantry Book - [...] Stone’s site 180degreehealth.com series on calorie myth http://180degreehealth.com/2011/12/the-calorie-myth-part-i-raw-food-weight-loss http://180degreehealth.com/2011/12/the-calorie-myth-part-2-%E2%80%93-digestibility [...]
  2. Health Articles « The Pantry Book - [...] Stone’s site 180degreehealth.com series on The Calorie Myth http://180degreehealth.com/2011/12/the-calorie-myth-part-i-raw-food-weight-loss http://180degreehealth.com/2011/12/the-calorie-myth-part-2-%E2%80%93-digestibility [...]
  3. History of Food | The Edible Advocate - [...] We don’t digest cellulose well. So a plant-food’s mineral properties are (often) not truly assimilable until after cooking. They …

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