The Calorie Restriction Myth

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Check out my eBook on how to RAISE YOUR METABOLISM, I’m not exactly a fan of low-calorie eating.  While I’m tempted just to say, “aw man, calorie restriction.  That is so dumb, that is really dumb, fo real” – I figured it would be better to seriously address calorie restriction as I see it.  Recently I wrote a summary of the importance of metabolism that should be appearing on another site soon.  In that summary I addressed calorie restriction briefly, which I have included below.

The infatuation with calorie restriction is actually a fantastic example of some fragment of research taken out of context and the subtle nuances ignored – and more importantly, it’s applicability in real people in the real world unacknowledged.  Of course, when calories are restricted, everything is restricted – you can’t say it’s purely the restriction of calories as opposed to the restriction of methionine, or polyunsaturated fat, that yielded the prolongation of life.

But far more important than just some academic discussion about the subtleties, an animal in a laboratory is not a human being with free will and free access to unlimited amounts of calorie-dense food.  A two-word summary of calorie restriction with real human beings living in today’s society is “it backfires.”  Recommending calorie restriction for health and longevity would be like forbidding condom use and recommending abstinence for dealing with population control and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  In theory it would work with 100% effectiveness.  Laboratory study would reveal time and time again that abstinence leads to a birth rate of 0.  I think you see what I’m saying.

Anyway, these are the main points of contention with the silly idea of calorie restriction for health enhancement and longevity.  #5 in particular is a unique point that is lost in translation between laboratory and real world…

An increasingly popular myth is the idea that it’s good to have a low metabolism – and that if we burn energy more slowly we will live longer. Much of this stems from laboratory research showing that severe calorie restriction (like eating half of what you normally eat) prolongs life in several species like fruit flies, rats, monkeys…

But, like most research, this prolongation of life is taken completely out of context and then turned around and applied to adult humans living and interacting in the real world. It ignores aspects of drastic and game-changing significance like…

1) The only people successful at permanently reducing calorie intake by at least half are those that develop an eating disorder (and dieting at a young age is the top “risk factor” for developing an eating disorder), the deadliest known psychological disease that affects 11 million Americans alone, mostly young women – and globally has killed more people than the Holocaust.

2) Humans are surrounded by endless abundance and temptation for food, and with real people in the real world, cutting calories by half leads to massive rebound hyperphagia (pigging out – as is seen in yo-yo dieting and every human calorie-restriction trial ever conducted).

3) Calorie restriction experiments are done with animals from birth. This is a hugely significant difference, and the bodies’ of the creatures can develop at a rate that makes the low calorie intake sufficient – but this calorie intake is insufficient and causes rapid degeneration when the calorie level is cut after adulthood has already been reached. Comparing calorie restriction from birth to calorie restriction begun in adulthood is a completely invalid comparison.

4) Calorie-restricted laboratory animals display many characteristics of neurosis, anxiety, and social/behavioral disorders (like those with eating disorders). Thinking that cutting calories will lead to a long and prosperous life in a human is total fantasy that ignores what science and real world observation has already shown us.

5) A laboratory is a sterile environment, and even if the calorie restricted animals lived longer and did have a verifiably slower metabolic rate (pound for pound I don’t think they do), it’s hard to compare this to the real world. The real world is filled with opportunistic organisms and other pathogens, and a high metabolism controls the strength of the immune system completely. A high body temperature – a result of a high metabolism, protects from invasion just like a fever wipes an infection out. More importantly, it is obvious when looking at the real world what happens when food becomes scarce – famines lead to widespread disease and infection at astronomically higher rates.  Of course, the body of research connecting degenerative disease like many autoimmune diseases and cancers to various infections is growing rapidly.

“In some animal forms, at least, chronic undernutrition prolongs the natural life span.  It has been suggested that the natural life span is fixed, not in time, but in terms of total metabolism or some function of the rate of living.  But in man severe undernutrition makes him look, feel, and act prematurely old.  There are also changes in basal metabolism and in sexual function which resemble those produced by age.”
-Ancel Keys

“Calorie restriction is friggin’ retarded.”
-Matt Stone


  1. A person could come up with a more scientific sounding phrase with bigger words but it wouldn't be better than "Calorie restriction if friggin' retarded." Nicely said Matt, nicely said

  2. Yay Ancel Keys is back on the blog.

    An excellent point Matt. If those lab animals could talk, they'd be saying get me the fuck outta here and give me some goddamn fooood you jerks!

    It's like that Bette Midler movie were she was held prisoner and she lost weight and everyone saw that as a good thing.

    Yeah, I'm just admitting I watched a Bette Midler movie.

    I'm glad you are enjoying your time off from the comments. Tell your niece the correct pronunciation of "autobahn" is "ow-toe-baaaaaaaahn." Kraftwerk 4evs!

  3. "Calorie restriction IF friggin' retarded."

    Words of a former calorie-restricter, eh? ;)

    lubz ya, matty

  4. I can vouch for the prematurely old thing. Been there done that. When I was 19 I was going on 85. At 21, I think I'm now going on 22 instead of 88. My body temperature is still in the low 96 range, but eating to appetite and just eating a lot more in general (compared to practically starving before) is a miracle.

    Still too anxious to buy condoms and I've never seen a woman naked (in person), but lately I've sexually been feeling the equivalent of Simba roaring on Pride Rock after he killed Scar.

    Somewhere between that and this song:

    My quality of life is all over the place, but as a whole, it's infinitely better than it was when I was so malnourished and wanting to die all the time.

    You know, this could make for a great inspirational movie. A "soldier" on the "battlefield," down and out, unable to move — and after 'aggressive rehabilitation' the movie ends with him standing in front of his long-lost girlfriend, at full attention with his head held high. The song I linked would probably work pretty well with the ending credits.

    Making immature sex jokes is also evidence to me of my increased vitality. Caring less about public respectability as a result of making said jokes might also be an indicator. As long as I don't start running around naked in a trenchcoat lined with russet potatoes and a picket sign saying "Eat the Food: Free the Beast" I think this would be a plus overall.

  5. i think the problem isnt 'restricting calories' but the problem is mentally noting your doing so. once you make the mental 'restriction' thought/idea/force then you have problems. many people according to conventional standards 'restrict' their calories but the thought of restriction NEVER crosses their minds.

    i think there is only a problem with calories, or food in general when what you think becomes your reality. if you think something is bad, it is gonna be bad for your body. if you mentally assume you need 'x' calories, it is implying restriction. whatever the case, how your brain processes your food thoughts is where the problem is because it will effect how your entire body reacts to food regardless of what the food is or how much is there or isnt.

    people need to LOSE the mentality attached to dieting and food and amounts and calories.
    even with your promoted RARFER or whatever, you're still allowing people to mentally note a 'force feed' tactic to get over the 'starvation' mentality. both are gonna end in bad results because both are still obsessing the mind with food thoughts, IMO.
    nutritional yeast, molasses, oxtail, liver, fruit, starch whatever the next big 'thing' is in your diet experimentation is always allowing peple mind to have that ever obsessive 'food thinking' going on and one post turns into people flippin out because they had been eating potatoes and OMG now your eating fruit, they freak, get confused, bodies crack out on them all because of the mind-food-obsession.

    MANY MANY readers here need to 'just read' and not come looking for a diet plan, a food chart, an 'allowable' food or a 'bad food'. it is this that is causing the problems. its NOT the food, its your MIND

  6. Amen to that Matty!

    The effects of calorie restriction are so widespread and detrimental. For instance:

    Take the bodybuilding/fitness world for example, a world of extremes to begin with. Everyone, including the ones prescribing the usual "cutting" diets knows how harmful they are to people, yet they continue prescribing them to get their clients in shape regardless of the consequences.

    From thyroids shutting down, women losing their periods, hair falling out, premature aging, severe sodium restriction and dehydration, people passing out on stage, adrenal fatigue, etc, etc.

    Plus, these retarded diets usually are paired with massive amounts of steady-state cardio to boot, further exacerbating the problem of the diet.

    Because this is a world of such extremes, the above health effects (and much more!), come about in as little as the usual 12-16 week cut for a show. 12-16 weeks to sometimes completely destroy aspects of that person's health for life.

    Now, factor in that this happens even to elite bodybuilders and fitness competitors, with genetics dramatically more robust and hardy than the usual persons. Like in the top 99.99th percentile.

    Many of these competitors aren't even restricting their calories that much, usually just a few hundred cals under their calculated maintenance levels. So consider what happens when Average Jane or Average Joe restricts calories, and pours on steady-state cardio! Especially in the fashion most people do — IE cabbage diets, low carb diets, keto diets, juice diets, and so on.

    "Calorie restriction is friggin' retarded." is right.

    Enough said.

  7. Mallory:

    You make a lot of good points, but as an extreme example, can inedia/breatharianism work? If someone completely believes that he can live on air and sunlight alone, can he do it?

    My opinion: I don't know. I think it's possible. Nothing's impossible. And for all I know, the only reason nobody can seem to do it is because no one's been able to completely get the subconscious idea out of their head that we need food and water in order to survive.

    That's what draws the line, though: and that would be an ultimate control to determine the validity of the idea that it's all in our mind. Can living on saltine crackers and water suffice? That's food and water — sustenance. Is it just our belief that it can't sustain us that leads to its 'inability' to sustain us?

    I'm not being saracastic, by the way: I'm being serious. And again, I think you made a lot of good points. This is something I've been having trouble coming to terms with and I'd like to know a little more about what your thoughts are on that topic.

  8. My mind skipped over it the first time and just corrected it. Unless it's supposed to be "if friggin' retarded." If if is correct, then maybe it could be "calorie restriction if friggin' retarded, is better than watching LaRusso's retarded self on dancing with the stars". Either way it's CRIFR, that's the main point here I think, CRIFR.

  9. Jib said…
    You make a lot of good points, but as an extreme example, can inedia/breatharianism work? If someone completely believes that he can live on air and sunlight alone, can he do it?

    My opinion: I don't know. I think it's possible. Nothing's impossible.

    The laws of physics called; they would like to have a word with you.

  10. Nipper-

    What effects would Kraftwerk have on the metabolism?


    Thanks for that. I generally agree. This fruit experiment isn't about radical switches as some interpret, but more about deleting yet another restriction and stopping fructo-phobic nonsense.


    Typo be gone to the rescue! It was just a Freudian slip ("if" as in intermittent fasting).


    Please. You are degrading the professional image of this blog with your immature sex jokes. By the way, what kind of bees make milk?

    Boo bees!

  11. "You make a lot of good points, but as an extreme example, can inedia/breatharianism work? If someone completely believes that he can live on air and sunlight alone, can he do it? "

    Ha! Now that's an interesting topic. Actually, I am gonna play the whacko here and say that I am fairly convinced that breatharianism is possible.
    But I also am fairly convinced that any normal person who would try that would utterly, utterly fail, regardless of how strong they believe in it. It probably takes a lot of mastery in energy cultivation before anything like that would be even remotely possible.

    For me at least, it is a fact that the body can gain energy from non-food sources, that's one key aspect of eastern meditation practices. But that said, it's a long way from just soaking up some energy and being able to exclusively live on that.

    @Rocket: Just curious. In what way do you think that this violates the basic laws of physics?

  12. Oh and Matt, that joke was awesome!

    Totally silly, but awesome. Totally cracked me up.

  13. I'm a breatharian. I inhale all my food.

  14. An interesting discussion is appetite vs calorie intake. Stephan mentioned a study a while back that was interesting where rats on strawberry and vanilla Ensure ate less and were leaner than chocolate Ensure rats. When the chocolate rats were restricted (to same calories as strawberry and vanilla), a starvation response was noted, even though all three were consuming the same calories.

    • I think chocolate is “uniquely fastening,” as Gary Taubes might say, even if you go with the 85% or higher dark chocolate, because it makes me get more hungry & thirsty. I feel better not eating it and my weight goes down effortlessly. I notice I can not eat a lot of ice cream if it doesn’t have chocolate or coffee, too.

  15. Definitely John,

    That's why I developed that idea of the Appetite to Metabolism Ratio (AM Ratio).

    I wasn't solely about raising metabolism. One can raise metabolism binge eating on Oreos. But if you gain 30 pounds doing it that doesn't exactly do much for you.

    You can see that theme in Stephan's Masai post as well – they had to cut back their caloric intake and even doing that they still gained fat and complained of hunger…

  16. A la Ray Peat

    Although Clive McKay's studies of life extension through caloric restriction were done in the 1930s, only a few studies have been done to find out which nutrients' restriction contributes most to extending the life span. Restricting toxic heavy metals, without restricting calories, produces about the same life-extending effect as caloric restriction. Restricting only tryptophan, or only cysteine, produces a greater extension of the life span than achieved in most of the studies of caloric restriction.

  17. @madMUHHH:

    Er, I didn't comment on this topic.
    Perhaps you meant Brock?

  18. madMUHHH said…
    @Rocket: Just curious. In what way do you think that this violates the basic laws of physics?

    Seriously? This is a serious question? How about the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics? Just sitting there breathing, you expend energy. By transferring heat from your body to the air around you, you expend energy. Where does that energy come from? Sunlight? Do you have photosynthetic skin and absorb moisture through your lungs? Perhaps you have roots?

    I have never heard of a "breatharian" before but the very idea is friggin' retarded. If there is "energy pouring in through an invisible hole in his pallete", where is that energy coming from? At what spectrum does it radiate? Where is the entropy well that "pays" for this energy?

    I can't believe anyone would believe this for two seconds. It's a disgrace to modern education.

  19. Brock:

    The most modern and expanding field of all science is quantum physics.

    Many scientists, and the majority of people, believe in the existence of psychic and spiritual phenomena.

    In the opinion of myself and many others, mainstream (ie old school) science's inability or unwillingness to accept the existence of these things is what's holding us back the most.

    Quantum physics has already explained many of the things old science hasn't been able to, disproved many other things we all thought were fact and will continue to do so. Including psychic and spiritual phenomena, whether we like it or not.

    There have been many reported cases of people ceasing food and water intake and living for a very long time. Dos it fly in the face of old traditional physics? Hell yes! But in makes sense when viewed in the light of new physics.

    The only disgrace of modern education is that we keep being told to ignore the things most of us believe to be true, because old science hasn't been able to prove (or disprove) it's existence. Yet quantum physicists that are proving these things to be real are constantly scorned and segregated.

  20. Bahhhh! Stupid blogger errors are always deleting my comments.

    Once more:
    Michael already pretty much made the point I was about to make.

    That stuff definitely cannot be explained by classical physics or chemistry, but as quantum physics showed, the world is infinitely more complex than basic physics and many classical physical laws simply are not valid on a quantum level. And apart from that, I still don't see why this has to violate the laws of thermodynamics. Just because we do not know exactly where the energy comes from, does not mean it automatically gets generated out of nothing.

    But back to quantum physics. Michael already pointed out that there are some interesting parallels between quantum physics and Easter philosophy. And this is not just me saying that:

    "..the creators of quantum theory themselves quickly appreciated how closely their new physics followed the model of Eastern mysticism. Many of them began studying the wisdom of the East in order to better understand their own brainchild. Niels Bohr visited China in 1937. When he was knighted ten years later by the king of Denmark, he chose the t’ai chi (yinyang) symbol as his coat of arms to acknowledge the harmony between ancient Eastern and modern Western sciences."

    From: The Magus of Java

  21. @Michael

    Detaching science from real world empirical data is an elitist bunch of crap, created by professional scientist types.

  22. Also, I agree with Michael that there is a lot of dogma within classic science regarding anything spiritual or paranormal.

    If anyone here got an hour and a half to spare this is a very interesting presentation on the subject:

  23. This reminds me of something really interesting that I've been meaning to mention…

    In eastern traditions, taking Yogis for example, they place their dietary choices on the amount of good energy that a food has. The Chinese do something similar, using Chi or Qi in foods as their guide.

    The premise is that because everything is energy, eating foods abundant in this cosmic energy is the healthiest form of eating possible.

    When I've looked into this, there were many similarities between what we're beginning to believe is the most healthful diet, and what these ancient traditions have always considered to be so.

    Matt, have you ever looked into this and found similar parallels?

  24. I saved a news article once that was about a study that showed greater longevity in mice who had a HIGHER metabolic rate. Apparently it was that their mitochondria are more efficient and use less oxygen.

    Some support for sane nutritional practices. It is quite not all right to eat more food if your metabolic rate is going to stay low due to unhealthy food, but that doesn't need to be the case.

  25. "Actually, I am gonna play the whacko here and say that I am fairly convinced that breatharianism is possible….
    It probably takes a lot of mastery in energy cultivation before anything like that would be even remotely possible."

    Hi MadMUHH
    if we step back a bit first – for what its worth – I would say even regarding practicing a calorie restriction diet is not 'mastery' as such either. The body is a wonderful intelligent organism that has its own ways and means of bringing about balance. Forced to rely on dramatically reduced calorific intake it regulates itself accordingly. Now of course the side effects and symptoms of this Matt has spoken about at length and may not necessarily be pleasant, but nevertheless the body has a 'wisdom' in place to deal with these situations.
    There is no 'mastery' in this at all, apart from navigating through an initial period when urges to have a bloody good feed arise and even then its not 'mastery' as such that makes it possible but time. And then these hunger urges are greatly diminished.
    As to breatharianism, the body WILL adapt to no intake of food or water also. It will follow many of the inbuilt adaptive balances listed above. Then after a certain period it will perish and cease functioning. Death.
    Those eastern teachers worth studying speak of liberation of the need to do anything to be liberated.
    Kind wishes, j

  26. GROUP ONE: The world is full of mysteries.

    GROUP TWO: How can you say that there's nothing in the world that's scientifically measurable?

    GROUP TWO: There are things in this world that are scientifically measurable.

    GROUP ONE: How can you say that there are no mysteries in the world?

    That's how I interpret the argument between science and subjectivity, anyway. Neither side is wrong; they're both right in their own ways. It seems to me to be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what either side is saying more than anything else.

    On an unrelated note: Brock: that thing you said about photosynthetic skin and absorbing moisture through the lungs was fucking hilarious.

    And I don't think things have to be taken too personally, either. I have problems with that — it's really hard for me. Being able to find the humor my dad commenting on my wispy beard — calling me "Pube Face" — was a step up, though.

    I'll share two koans that sum up the opposing sides I'm thinking right now:

    The Real Miracle

    When Bankei was preaching at Ryumon temple, a Shinshu priest, who believed in salvation through the repetition of the name of the Buddha of Love, was jealous of his large audience and wanted to debate with him.

    Bankei was in the midst of a talk when the priest appeared, but the fellow made such a disturbance that Bankei stopped his discourse and asked about the noise.

    "The founder of our sect," boasted the priest, "had such miraculous powers that he held a brush in his hand on one bank of the river, his attendant held up a paper on the other bank, and the teacher wrote the holy name of Amida through the air. Can you do such a wonderful thing?"

    Bankei replied lightly: "Perhaps your fox can perform that trick, but that is not the manner of Zen. My miracle is that when I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel thirsty I drink."


    A samurai once asked Zen Master Hakuin where he would go after he died. Hakuin answered, "How am I supposed to know?"

    "How do you not know? You're a Zen master!" exclaimed the samurai.

    "Yes, but not a dead one," Hakuin answered.

    Matt: It appears that we're trading jokes…tit-for-tat.

  27. -Brocki:

    "The laws of physics called; they would like to have a word with you."

    There was a yogi, sometime last year in the news, who has been living without water or food for almost his life. Scientists actually observed him go without water or food at all…

    The laws of reality called; wait… they didn't they are made up.


    many other sources if you google

  28. Forgot to mention: that's real calorie deprivation…

    You guys come up with a name for the 0 cal diet.

  29. Yes, and Uri Geller bends spoons with psychic "energy." And Benny Hinn cures cancer, didn't ya know? It's all true 'cause they say it is.

  30. Micheal,

    Brock mentioned thermodynamics –an established branch of classical physics that holds true for all mechanical and biological systems on the "macroscopic" scale.

    Quantum mechanics adresses the wave/partical duality and the relation and interaction of matter and energy, and most generally departs from classical physics only at the "quantum realm." At this point, the ONLY known cases in which qunatum mechanical phenomenon have been discovered in the macroscopic realm have been in cases of extremely high or low temperatures and energies.

    In short, thermodynamics still holds true for boilogical systems. There is nothing that is currently known about quantum mechanics, in theory or practise, that would lend support to the belief that people "living for a very long time without food or water" are somehow, someway "fl[ying] in the face of the old physics" because of some "mystical" quantum mechanical phenomenon.

    I'm not denying the existance of the "psychic and spiritual phenomena" or the possibility thereof. But knowledge, in this case, quantum mechanics, should be applied correctly and in its proper context.

  31. Michael,

    I apologize for spelling your name incorrectly in my proceeding post.

  32. this blog gets weirder and weirder every post

  33. I've heard more than one person claim that much of the longevity benefit of caloric restriction can be attributed to iron restriction.

    This could be one of the reasons women outlive men, since women regularly lose iron during menstruation. There are also studies showing men who donate blood have fewer heart attacks.

    Maybe this is subconsciously the reason so many people are leery of red meat. I bring this up having just consumed half a pound of juicy bloody steak. So you can run and tell that home boy.

  34. There are people on here who seriously believe that there are people who can live for years without food or water? Seriously? Some of you actually believe that?

  35. In,

    Iron restriction seems to increase plaque stability. Maybe a problem with studies measuring iron though is that many people (rats too?) get almost all their iron from fortified foods. This would seem important.

    Do traditional Maasai and Mongols eat so much dairy because they don't have enough meat or because there is an advantage to doing so? The Inuit actually had very high iron intakes (A and D too…obviously omega 3s) and, as most know, there are accounts of them appearing to have accelerating aging. Maybe it has to do with very low carb, maybe with those high nutrient intakes, maybe a combination; or, maybe they actually don't age faster…I don't know.

  36. Basically the main idea that I've heard, such as from Ray Peat, is that calorie restriction only appears to prolong life because the toxins (or lack of vitamins) in the regular feed of lab animals cause prematurely short lives, which are then considered the "norm". These toxins include polyunsaturates, an overdose of the suspected amino acids, and iron. In particular, iron may have been why the rats who were fed cornflakes all died before the rats who were fed just the box (or nothing)– a study that the WAPF references (but was not actually published, so who knows). If that story's true, that's the only reason I can think of.

    But Matt brings up good points– species are different (especially drastically different species such as fruit flies, lol); and also, there may be a different effect if underfed from birth– although researchers do not take into account quality of life.

    (In the case of the monkeys, I wonder if they were properly counting the calories from the fiber?)

    On the breatharian debate:
    Ha! I wouldn't bring quantum physics into this. As J.R. and DML said, it would be more of a biological adaption, if it were possible for humans, than some contradiction of known physics. Certain frogs (toads?) can live for 10 or 20 years in hibernation. One frog was reputedly resurrected after being sealed in concrete for more than 20 years. The frog does this by slowing its metabolic rate to next to nothing, I presume, which is pretty amazing. On which point, it's interesting to note that hibernation is probably the main influence behind the "lower metabolism equals longer life" idea, regardless of these studies.

    Regarding quantum physics, there's some strange stuff they've found, but the world we live in still remains entirely predictable and explainable with our current understanding. Maybe it's like Einstein's theory of relativity– it only changes our understanding of things under very extreme circumstances. I don't look at the world in a magical way just because of "What The [bleep] Do We Know".

  37. Yes- this comment thread was hijacked by fellow energy hippies- sweet!

    I say this sincerely- I love that stuff. Dunno what the answers are, but man, the sense of possibility astounds me, and flies in the face of those who would do violence in the form of evidence based coercion. Love it. Keep on keeping on friends and skeptics alike!

  38. Def' not a hippie, I don't even smoke weed haha.

    I just wanted to point out that it's not a healthy scientific standpoint to look at this with such a close-minded view. That's what I like about Matt's blog so much, his open mindedness and that of the people who comment here.

    I didn't say what I did to get into a debate about the understanding of quantum physics, as it's much more complex than wave/particle duality.

    So I digress. Let's get back on topic :)

  39. I love all the directions this vortex is spinning in. And as a veteran of the ED front line, I need to keep reading this stuff, so thanks for bringing it on.

    Speaking of my veteran status in that regard, I have to tell Mallory that his (?or her–why doesn't English have a gender-neutral pronoun?) suggestion isn't entirely true (although the perception of restriction can definitely be debilitating, as you said). When I was a strict raw-foodist, I saw several friends of mine _develop_ eating disorders from inadvertently restricting calories and being too obsessive about 'rawness.' And I saw a couple others pull themselves back from the brink by adding things into their diet at the last minute.

  40. Jared Bond,

    I brought that up the other post. It doesn't make much sense because calorie restricted animals eat more per g of bodyweight. Therefore, they'd be getting a proportionally higher amount of "toxins" [per unit bodyweight–obviously the amount is equal per cal consumed]. As Matt said, the important thing is that reducing those components does extend life. But, it does mean that there is something about calorie restriction per se that works. What would happen if we restricted calories with low iron, low methionine, etc?

  41. "I didn't say what I did to get into a debate about the understanding of quantum physics, as it's much more complex than wave/particle duality."

    You brought it up, and I get tired of people hiding behind obfuscation and weasel words when they use science to try to prove a point, particularly quantum physics.

    Actually, what I gave in my previous post is the definition of quantum mechanics that is accepted by most physicists although some would maintain that in order to be rigorous I should have said "gives mathematical description…" instead of "addresses the…"

    But you're right; it is more complex than that; most subjects and branch's of science are more complex than their definitions or the criteria that defines the area of study. So what? Every area of knowledge must be applied honestly, without obfuscation, and in its proper context, otherwise one is engaging in nothing more than pseudo-science.

    I don't discount the psychic and the spiritual, and I agree many scientists are too hasty to deny it. Nor do I deny that quantum mechanics opens up the possibility of exploring such things on a level that classical science never could. However, some people who are trying to claim a link between "Eastern Mysticism" are being dishonest and engaging in a form of pseudo-science themselves. For instance, Fritjof Capra, the writer of the much acclaimed "The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism" does just that. He starts with a reasonable discussion of quantum mechanics –a subject that is strange in and of itself– but fails to clearly articulate where the "strangeness" of the science of quantum mechanics ends and the strangeness of Eastern Mysticism/Philosophy begins. In short, he meshes an actual science, quantum physics, with metaphysics (Eastern Mysticism") and takes advantage fact that Quantum Mechanics is indeed strange, and it sets the mood for other strange things, such as Eastern metaphysics while failing to be clear about where one begins and the other ends.

    Moreover, in his original edition he used the "boot strap" model of strong-force interactions to build his case. The model that better explains such interactions, the "Standard Model" is now the accepted model, but in later editions of his book, Capra continues to use the outdated "boot-strap "model while ignoring the "Standard Model." Note well that the "Standard Model," as it is currently understood, actually weakens Capra's case considerably. In short, Capra is being dishonest and engaging in obfuscation and pseudo-science. The same accusation can be fairly brought against many others engaging in the "quantum physics, Eastern Mysticism" theme.

  42. Hey, Matt!
    I think I know the reason why so many comments are disappearing. There's a new spam filter integrated into blogger and I guess it regards many normal posts as spam.
    You can check that new feature out at your blogger dashboard and perhaps fine-tune it a bit so that it doesn't delete normal posts.

  43. @J.R.: I am not talking about calories when I refer to "energy mastery". People who just eat nothing are bound to fail, as are people who restrict calories, we are on the same page here.

    What I was basically talking about was the energy that is referenced in just about any traditional culture, whether it was called qi, prana, mana, pneuma or whatever. Based on my own observations and subjective experience, I have come to the conclusion that this kind of energy is a fact and there are some people out there who are able to do astonishing things because they have learned to cultivate that energy. Whether being able to survive without food is one of those things is a different question and whether that actually would be a healthy thing is a very different question again.

    @DML: You are probably right about that. Some or many of the connections between quantum physics and Eastern philosophy might be made up, might not hold up to closer scrutiny or might be artifically reinforced.

    And I also agree that the science world in generally is too hasty to deny even the possibility of such a phenomenon as qi, simply because it might not be that easily explicable with classic physics or even contemporary science. That certainly is not the way to make scientific progress.

    So simply dismissing something, because it flies in the face of classic science is not always the way to go in my opinion, even though a lot of doubt is certainly appropriate. But if this study (), especially the part about the alteration of radioactive decay is any indication, we might actually need more than just classic physics to explain such phenomena.

    (Also, I am not the biggest scientific study geek. So, DML or anyone, feel free to chime in on this and tell me what you think of that study and whether it's valid)

  44. Sorry, I had to remove the link, becasuse otherwise, the comment would have been deleted again. I hope this works now:

  45. Yo Matt and All,

    I've waited to post this for awhile because I wanted to give it some time to see if it would hold. About 10 months ago at 198lbs(I went from 165lbs on low carb to 198 pretty quickly doing HED. I was 188 before low carb) I decided to try the HGH diet as recommended by my Dr. who said he was having great sucess with it. Though I was very skeptical, I lost 32lbs in a month(back to 166) and effortless lost another 10lbs(156) even after I stopped the diet over the next few months. No "rebound" gain at all…..the opposite in fact.

    From that point on I would gain and lose 5lbs or so eating mostly natural foods(not "health foods" and I admit I eat out frequently). So I was going from 152-158 mostly. Then I gave the green light to more sugar in my diet and went from 153lbs to 166 in less than 3 weeks! 10lbs came back in about less than two weeks! Now, I have to say I didn't eat just fruit though. I started eating fruit and then started giving in to "sweet tooth" cravings. I've slowy lost 3 pounds from cutting out the sweets and keeping the fruits and eating reasonable portions.

    I mention this because I doubt very much the "HCG" had any magical effect. I think the weight was lost because I ate 500cals a day for 21 days and incrementally increased my cals up to 2000 over the next few weeks and then just ate to appetite. My blood pressure went from 140/90 to 125/75. My Testosterone went from 300 to 550 and 9 to 24(total and free I think they called these). Energy went up, mood improved. I was *really* worried from being a longtime member of this board that I would have the "rebound" effect. Plus, every time I went off Low Carb to a "normal" diet I did gain lots of weight.

    I think eating HED helped my body use carbs again better. Still, my experience is clearly that cutting calories works and so far it's the *only* thing that has worked with no rebound. I think the key is to not do it for two long(do it for a few weeks to a month tops). Let your body get used to your new weight for a while(3-4 months or more). Then maybe have a short RRARF period(1-2 weeks,even 3 days might be enough) and eat less for another 2-3 weeks. Eating to appetite I think is the key to a long, healthy life, but quite frankly I don't see it working to curing obesity(didn't work for me). It's what you do to *maintain* your weight. Plus, I think one has to really be honest what eating to "appetite" really means. You need to eat slowly, chew your food good and stop well before stuffing yourself. Stuffing yourself and stretching your stomach seem to be counter productive. I'm not really into counting cals either, but it did work when doing the HCG diet(an extreme diet). I find just eating a little less than appetite works well to slowly lose weight.

    I don't wish to be a contranarian here(not like I've ever been or ever will be a frequent poster anyways) but I really can't imagine that my body works significantly differently than the average. Plus my Dr. who is a really good guy in my opinion(and I'm very critical and skeptical) says so far no one has gained back more than half the weight they lost on the HCG diet and most don't even gain that back. Though, he has only been using it around 2-3 years so time will tell.

    Formerly Low-T Aaron. Now Regular-T Aaron

  46. Hi Matt,

    Hope you are well. I'm still improving. Weight is still a struggle but I'm pretty stable at 135 pounds now. So only 15 pounds above where I started from.

    I have two questions that I wonder if you or anyone else here on the list could give me your thoughts on:

    1. First of all, I have developed an addiction to macadamia nuts. This can't be good, can it? Or is it ok to indulge in it until the cravings go away on their own? I don't eat huge amounts but still (I eat perhaps one cup every three days). I do like them an awful lot, think about them more than normal and I know they are high in Omega 6 so I try to restrict them for that reason.

    2. I recently did a blood test to check my food allergies. It came back totally normal to my HUGE surprise. I even tested normal on dairy and wheat. (And soy and nuts that I years ago tested very allergic to via a similar blood test now comes back normal?) Not sure what to make of all of this but I wonder if you know if it's possible to have problems digesting casein and react to it cause it's undigested, even though I'm not actually allergic to it? Or is it only hard to digest it if one is allergic to it?

    Just to let people here on the list know in case you run in to this in the future with other people: My depression is pretty much gone. It immediately got better once I quit taking the egg shell calcium and then improved to normal over a few weeks time. I am certain it was the egg shell calcium that caused my depression.

    OK, that's it for now. Take care all happy RRARFERS!

  47. Hi I'm new and have read Matt's entire blog over the last month while dramatically increasing my carbs. This is after 9 years of following a low'ish carb diet full of PUFAs. I've also been working my way through Ray Peat's articles.

    I'm curious as to Matt's (and other's) take on high sugar fruit and white sugar as recommended by Ray Peat.

    I tried adding some tropical fruit two days ago (a kiwi with breakfast, a slice of mango with cheese as a morning and afternoon snack), and dammit, my sugar cravings are back for the first time in nine years.

    Has anyone else had this experience? I think I'm going to have to cut it out and go back to starch for carbs, yet this seems to contradict Ray's advice for increasing leptin.

    At any rate, thanks for all this fantastic research, Matt. I am blown away that I can eat potatoes again without gaining weight. (I'd still love to lose some though).

  48. @ AD

    I'm not interested in losing weight, rather in not losing it. But I'm with you there on that stretching your stomach isn't good. RRARFing has definitely helped raising my metabolism, but I noticed that after that I had still been eating way too much ("to appetite") when I went on an intercontinental flight. Before boarding I was thinking that the airplane meals wouldn't be enough, but I decided not to pack anything extra anyway because I felt like I just couldn't be bothered with it. On the plane, the expected hunger didn't come. Actually I felt great, not hungry, not stuffed either. So now I'm eating much less calories than I did before. I haven't calculated them, but I might be eating less than 2000. Just eating "to appetite," even though that's somewhat hard… On the one hand it's hard to tell, on the other hand I have this "finish your plate" mentality so deeply ingrained I don't know if I can ever lose it. My metabolism seems to be doing OK so far and my digestion is thanking me many times over.

  49. @Skeptical Eater – Just for interest, please note that kiwifruit (kiwis are birds)are not tropical fruit. They grow in a temperate/subtropical climate like New Zealand's or their native China. However, mangoes are tropical.

    Annette (non-bird Kiwi)

  50. Lisa E -
    Macadamia nuts aren't that high in PUFA's. They have 1.6% in comparison to say walnuts that have 52.5%. I still eat them. If you feel that you're "addicted" to them, then perhaps there's something in them that you really need, like saturated fat. Have you added coconut oil and butter into your diet? I used to be totally addicted to these cheesy chips that were high in saturated fat and as soon as I added enough coconut oil and butter into my diet my cravings "magically" disappeared. I'm finding that when I have cravings for certain foods, there's usually something about them that my body really needs. I don't deny myself cravings, I try to figure out why I have them. I really crave fruit in the summer because I actually get low in potassium. I crave chocolate when I get PMS or am just low in progesterone. I'm now supplementing progesterone and all cravings for chocolate and coffee are gone. There seems to be a reason that goes beyond being weak willed or bad habits.

    That's great to hear about your depression being healed! I was talking to my brother tonight and he can't believe the change in his mood and motivation since RRARF. He was seriously depressed and is on a disability pension because of the depression. He has stopped drinking alcohol – he needed loads to calm his nerves. He is in the process of trying to give up smoking and more incredibly he wants to start looking for a job soon. After 10 years of debilitating depression and a cocktail of anti depressants, in just a few months of good nutrition his life has been restored. Who knew that nutrition and the mind were connected?!

  51. Skeptical Eater -
    I recently started drinking pure orange juice with my meals and my sugar cravings very quickly disappeared. I was previously eating a small cup of icecream for dessert most nights and now I don't even think of it. I get full on a lot less food and have no desire for any more sugar. Perhaps you are either not eating enough calories generally or you have not healed your metabolism and gotten your temps up? I did RRARF/ETF for about 6 months prior to adding in the OJ. I'm actually surprised at how much I'm enjoying the OJ without feeling like I'm needing sugar hits.

  52. Hans -
    I don't believe in the fallacy that if you eat too much food you'll stretch your stomach out and you'll always need to eat more food to fill it. Your stomach is a muscle and can return to it's normal size after being "stretched". If the size of your stomach determined your appetite, then why is it possible to still feel hungry after huge binges on junkfood or feel full on smaller amounts of nutritious food? Or why is it that people who have had gastric surgery, to reduce the size of their stomachs, still feel ravenous no matter how much they eat? I now feel that when I "binge" on chocolates that it takes far less chocolate to end up feeling like I've overeaten on them, and I've stretched my stomach big time on RRARF. Overall I am eating far less quantity of food and calories since RRARF without any effort or hunger.

  53. Just as an aside for those who might be interested, I was talking to my brother about how impressed I was initially with Jon Gabriel after I first saw him on TV a few years ago. The thing that got my attention was that after losing an extraordinary amount of weight he had very little loose skin. I of course bought the book! In our discussion tonight, the realisation that it had to do with inflammation hit me. Gabriel was diligent in taking loads of fish oil to reduce inflammation. Not that anyone here is recommending huge doses of fish oil but reducing PUFA's in our diet may be enough to reduce the loose skin through weight loss. Cellular inflammation is one of the factors contributing to the loss of dermal elasticity. I hope that that encourages people to have patience to first fix their health before worrying about losing weight especially rapidly. Your body needs time to adjust!

  54. Hey Matt, I was wondering what's your take on plain old periodic fasting?

    Other question I have for you, not really related to this topic (didn't know where else to ask) is hypothyroidism and hashimoto's. I have a friend who suffers from this condition. Do you think rrarf would be of any help with this? I suggested eating more starch (with good fats) to her but she was a bit sceptical because usually it just makes her feel bad afterwards.

  55. Oh, just one more thing, if your worried about your teeth from drinking OJ, it's the acidity that weakens your teeth not the sugar. Josh Rubin recommends rinsing your mouth with water and bicarb soda to reduce your mouth's PH levels after drinking OJ. I also like to occasionally brush my teeth with a mix of coconut oil and bicarbonate soda which really soothes and heals inflamed gums.

  56. Juho,
    I have hypothyroidism and I've needed to reduce my thyroid meds since being on the diet. Also I have not put on any weight and in fact lost some weight and gained muscle without exercise.

    I don't have Hashimoto's but it is basically inflammation of the thyroid. This diet avoids PUFA's which in turn reduces inflammation – killing two birds with one the stone!

  57. Killing two birds with the one (matt) STONE!!!
    hahaha ;)

  58. Princess: I'm amazed that the psychiatric profession ignores nutrition to the extent it does. I can relate to what you said about your brother — for most of my life I've lived with severe and suicidal depression, extreme mood swings, and down the road had a brief psychotic episode/nervous breakdown and was committed to a mental hospital on two occasions.

    Main point: I hope the significance of nutrition is more recognized in the psychiatric profession in the future, and that medication is ONLY used as a last resort, or if the person being prescribed the medication is aware of all the alternatives and can make a well-informed decision for himself as to whether or not he wants to try them.

    Big difference between "If you don't want to try any alternatives through diet or lifestyle, I can prescribe this medication for you, and we can take it from there and you can tell me if you want to stop and try something else, or if it's working out for you," and, "I really think you should take this medication. It'll help you."

    That last one sounds benign, but I don't think it is at all. I had no idea about nutrition when I was a young teenager and I just took the antidepressants/antipsychotics they gave me without any knowledge of any alternatives. I wasn't capable of making an informed decision, much less aware of the possibility that throwing those drugs into the equation was like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

    "Can't sleep? Here, take this antipsychotic."

    I think (most of) these people mean well, and are only trying to help; but so are a lot of dietitians telling people to restrict calories, drink lots of water to feel full, and avoid carbs like the Plague.

    An atypical antipsychotic, like Zyprexa, which I was on, proved to knock me out pretty well. The underlying problem never went away though, and I doubt I was getting quality sleep with that stuff because I felt absolutely terrible all the time. Well-rested, healthy and stable people don't hack themselves up with razor blades and end up in mental hospitals.

    I know people who love their meds, and I'm not knocking them. Even if they can be harmful, if it really helps someone and the side effects are worth it to them, I have no problem with that. I just have a problem with there being no publicizing of concepts like nutrition and lifestyle in mainstream psychiatry, and the abuse in psychiatric facilities that dehumanizes people like me.

    Anyone would feel crazy if everyone around them was telling them they were crazy, and just repeated "We think you need medication" in response to the most logical, well-thought-out explanations of why you want to try changing your lifestyle and do behavioral therapy instead, and how you want to explore other alternatives before trying medication because you've had bad experiences with it in the past.

    I said I didn't want medication and it was just like, "So you're saying you don't want help."


    If knowledge about the realities of nutrition were more widespread, maybe there wouldn't be so much 'passive-abusive' eye-rolling at people in psychiatric wards suffering from extreme psychological pain — maybe people would take them more seriously and treat them like human beings instead of invalids who are too 'out of their heads' to be capable of thinking for themselves.

    And yeah, these comments do go "way off topic," but that's one thing I love about this blog. It IS a health/nutrition blog, but I guess the comments are just representative of how much these two things apply to every other area of life.

    After all, I couldn't be typing this right now if I didn't have that huge bowl of oatmeal I just ate. Energy's gotta come from somewhere ;D

    (And now, back to the immature sex jokes)

  59. @ princess

    "I don't believe in the fallacy that if you eat too much food you'll stretch your stomach out and you'll always need to eat more food to fill it."

    It's fact, not fallacy, check out this study:

    For me, filling the stomach too much reduces breathing volume and worsens posture.

  60. Competetive eaters are an extreme example, but people like Ori Hoflmakler (or whatever the spelling, the Warrior Diet guy) or Chief say they can like 7,000kcal in a meal. My stomach couldn't hold that much food. If I drink nine cups of water, the limit is reached.

    Anyway, that wasn't the point of my original post anyway. What I meant was that it may be advantageous to eat meals that don't exceed natural stomach capacity in the long run, i.e. eat till satiated instead of force-feeding yourself. That's what I meant by stretching the stomach.

    I think that's pretty much in line with the original RRARF concept. It was meant for a month or two, but some people make a permanent WOE out of it.

  61. subscribing

  62. Wow, Princess, that's fantastic news about your brother. I am not surprised though, I've seen lately how deeply nutrition can effect mood disorders. I still can't eat dairy due to it. It makes me depressed within hours. No allergist will believe me but I think they are just incompetent.

    Thanks for letting me know about the macadamia nuts. And I agree there is probably something I'm wanting more of, like fats or something. I do eat a lot of butter but I can't do coconut oil anymore since it causes insomnia. I found my life long chocolate addiction disappear overnight once I got on RRARF.

    I have gotten my temps up but lately I've been trying to loose weight so I've been eating less calories. I think that's probably why the cravings for macadamia nuts started. I shall eat more.

    Jib said:
    "I'm amazed that the psychiatric profession ignores nutrition to the extent it does."

    I'm studying psychology right now and I asked my teacher if there was any connection between nutrition and depression and he said no there was no such known connection. The textbook also ignored nutrition. It's just not part of the education at all.

    Also, Jib, I'm so sorry to hear about your suffering. It reads much like my own so I can relate to your journey.

    Btw, something that people don't know is that medication is able to stop depression in 60% of people. But cognitive therapy is also able to stop depression in 60% of people within a month. That is NEVER talked about. Regular psychotherapy however is not very effective for depression but cognitive is as good as medication. It all just shows how the pharmaceutical companies have taken over.

  63. Btw Matt, I meant to compliment the new images of you on the page. They are really great and give the site a different feel. I actually had to stumble upon your site about 10 times only to immediately leave it cause I figured it was some kind of body builder page. Then on the 11th time I actually read some of the text and obviously realized that this was in fact a blog for a girl like me. lol.

    I got laughed out at class in school the other day when the teacher paraphrased me saying "well, (insert smug laughter) I doubt that gaining weight and eating more would lower your weight set point…. followed by laugher from the entire class." Oh well, can't say I didn't try….lol…

    We were discussing eating disorders and the profession seems to be aware of the existence of a weight set point. But beyond that….not much serious openness or discussion….

    Matt Stone wrote: "Of course, when calories are restricted, everything is restricted – you can't say it's purely the restriction of calories as opposed to the restriction of methionine, or polyunsaturated fat, that yielded the prolongation of life."

    That's a great point Matt….

    I wonder if the Eskimos can survive and thrive on a super low carb diet because that's what they ate since birth?

    " Laboratory study would reveal time and time again that abstinence leads to a birth rate of 0.  I think you see what I'm saying. "

    lol, that's very funny! Also, though, I am one of those crazy individuals who is able to starve themselves for years and never, never falter (total anorexic personality) and even though I was on a severely restricted diet my health was awful (insulin resistance, pre-diabetic, low body temperature, no sex drive, hair falling out, mood swings, fatigue etc.) . So even if I was in a laboratory I'd not be thriving on a low calorie diet.

    I also learned in school that people who suffer from Bulimia, ie they binge eat regularly, are not suffering from nearly as many medical issues as do pure anorexics (who never binge).

    Throwing up only gets rid of about 50% of the caloric intake so any binge will add calories to the body. Of course they have severe dental issues and some other things, but the list is super long with anorexia and super short with bulimia. I thought that was interesting.

  64. Princess

    In what form are you supplementing progesterone?

    My daughter has been advised by a Naturopath to use progesterone cream to try and cure PCOS, so just wondering if that is what you use?

  65. Princess, thank you. I tried having OJ with meals today instead of fruit, and the sugar cravings have disappeared. I'm looking forward to eventually figuring out why this makes sense.

    Jib, great post on depression.

  66. Jib
    I think doctors are loathe to suggest dietary changes for anything because people can't stick to them. The only problem with the current medical knowledge of healthy eating and lifestyle is that it's short sighted. Exercise and motivation is difficult to maintain when you are malnourished and subsequently depressed. Also the first thing they recommend is low fat. Our brains are 70% cholesterol! The first change I had made in my diet was to add coconut oil. Just that one change made everything else possible. I can't believe the change it made in my mood and desire and motivation for a healthy ifestyle. I previously ate low saturated fat except for my insane cravings for a packet of cheese Twisties every day. I think I may still have a packet buried in the back of my cupboard somewhere that I've forgotten about!

  67. Hans
    I believe you'll always need to eat more only if you don't get enough nutrient dense foods. When your body is craving something, you'll always feel hungry until you get it. Sure one can overeat to the point of feeling uncomfortable. Doing RRARF is only short termed because it is very difficult to continue overeating nutrient dense foods for more than a month or two. Competitive eaters usually are bingeing on nutrient poor food like hot dogs. Even if you could stretch it out to the point of no return, why is it that gastric bypass/lapband patients still feel incredibly hungry after reducing the size of their stomach? There's more to it.
    The stomach is basically a second brain. It has intelligence.the health of our stomach affects pour moods. Even if we don't know what we need, our stomach does. The stomach remembers the quickest way to get what it needs. Not enough calories? Then cravings for the most calorie dense foods you've ever eaten.

  68. Lisa E.
    I think coconut oil is so very healing. Perhaps if it affects your sleep to bring it in slowly. Half a teaspoon in the morning for a few days. Then if that doesn't affect your sleep to increase it slowly over a week or so. If that's too difficult then maybe instead of eating it you could use it on your skin? I've been using it on my face for a few months and my sister who hadn't seen me for a while asked me if I had had botox! It is fantastic for the skin but the benefits also permeates the skin. I think persisting with it is very worthwhile.

    Also heres a link you might be interested in reading regarding malnutrition and anorexia.

  69. Skeptical Eater
    I'm glad that helped! Apparently Ray Peat says one must always balance protein with sugar (fruit being the best) because protein alone lowers blood sugar and you need the sugar to better metabolise the protein. So when he eats protein, he eats sugar with it: about 1:1 fruit to meat, and about 2:1 fruit to cheese. Orange juice is great because of it’s potassium and magnesium content.

  70. Lisa E
    One more thing, about your dairy intolerance. Ray Peat says the reason for people's negative reactions to dairy (if the milk isn't contaminated) is from either preexisting gut damage (from gluten, for example) or from a low thyroid or protein deficiency problem. People who are under stress from low thyroid or protein deficiency have considerable trouble adapting, but with gradual changes (adding dairy back in) the tissues will adjust and do what they have to do. Perhaps your body has some more healing to do before you are able to slowly add the dairy back in?

  71. @ Lisa E – When I first started eating coconut oil in any substantial quantities I experienced pretty bad severe insomnia also. This seems to be due to its effect at releasing stored up thyroid hormone.

    I persisted and now can eat coconut oil without any problems. Try having it for a few days in a row and you will find that the problem can be overcome pretty quickly.

  72. Mishkam
    I keep trying to leave this comment but it keeps disappearing.

    I use cream. You want to use a bio identical progesterone not a progestin like in birth control. Digesting capsules don't fully get used by the body. You also need to use larger amounts, like 200mg per day at least initially, than most would recommend to clear out the oestrogen dominance. This can initially make things worse until it clears the oestrogen receptor sites.
    Ray Peat recommends eating a raw carrot daily, particularly a raw carrot salad with coconut oil, for both its bowel-protective and it's anti-oestrogen effects.
    This site sells a very good cream at a decent price. It also has a lot of good information.
    wwww dot progesteronetherapy dot com

  73. Hey Princess,

    it seems you are very into Ray Peat, so I wanted to ask you what guidlines Ray does have in regards to nutrition?

    Stuff like how much protein you do should it. Maybe a ratio should be nice.

    I only know that he doesn't it grains. Mostly fruit, meat (rotation-like) and fat, but don't know how much it should be?

    And what about greens and the most important, once he said unsaturated fat is bad and should be limited, that's clear for me that he meant PUFAs of course but what about MUFAs?

    Thanks in advance!

  74. If you want to use progesterone, I would suggest Peat's Progest-E from Kenogen. It's pretty cheap and it's natural progesterone in a vitamin E solution, which helps to absorb it. I have heard from a few people that they had very good results with it.

  75. Lisa E, Princess, Skeptical Eater:

    Thanks for the support :D

    Lisa E:

    There's a book called Depression Free for Life. I think the author is a practicing psychologist or something along those lines. He's very into supplements (particularly amino acids), and though I haven't read the whole book, what I did read was very interesting.

    It might be worth telling some of these harder-headed people about it — it just might open up their minds to the concept of nutrition in relation to mental health.

    Also, I'm sorry to hear that you were made fun of. Even when you know you're right, or at least being more open-minded than everyone else, it still hurts.

    And the cognitive therapy helps for sure. I also am convinced we can give this to ourselves through things like meditation — and I don't mean 'doing' meditation as much as I mean understanding what meditation is, and learning how to love yourself and accept yourself and get grounded/centered despite the difficulties in your life.

    I remember a post Matt made about the "Stress RESPONSE" — it isn't the stress, but our response to it. It made me think of our response to psychological stress.

    For example, I'm very isolated, and that is a stress — but depending on how I think about it, my response to it is different. I also think the longest term solution to any psychological problem is coming to terms with it in our own minds. I've had periods of extremely poor health but was able to maintain a good attitude by examining my thoughts and reshaping my perspective.

    Who WOULDN'T be depressed in a world where people laugh at other people like they laughed at you? People get the idea that they're completely worthless, or stupid — if that false idea isn't recognized for what it is, and uprooted, mental problems will probably keep on coming back over and over again.

    That's what I'm working on, anyway! Just some ideas.


    Coconut oil has helped me too. I remember when I first ate it, I got really flushed and felt really hot. That went on for a few days or so before I got used to it (it might've been 2 years ago by now).

    My health isn't great, but it's easy to take for granted how much better I'm doing compared to a few years ago. On a scale of 1-10 I feel like a 4 or 5 now, but compared to a 1, that's a big improvement, you know?

    RRARF…I'm excited about really giving this a shot. I THOUGHT I was, but I haven't tried being sedentary. I just injured my arm doing some shadowboxing and I think this is a good time to take a break and call it quits for a while. The only problem is my job, which is like 99% lifting and carrying boxes, rugs, merchandise, etc. If I can tell them what happened and be able to just cut boxes and lift the smaller merchandise I should be okay though.

    "Just man up and do it." Hooray for living in a society that completely disrespects human biology and natural urges. Anyone remember getting up at 6:30AM to go to school and not being allowed to eat during class?


  76. I'm really glad that Matt addressed this topic as it is one that has been on my mind since discovering the 180 Degree website. Obviously the theory of calorie restriction and its benefits is at 180 degree odds with the notion of overeating, rrarfing and its benefits. Whilst I continue to be fascinated by the 180 Degree philosophy a number of questions continue to plague me.

    I work as a personal trainer and for many years have successfully helped clinets lose weight long-term partly by coaching them to (shock horror) reduce their calories. In particular I have found that most people I coach have strong and often disempowering emotional attachments to food and often eat as a way of self-medicating rather than fuelling their bodies.

    Just had a really unpleasant argument? Reach for the cookies. Got to the end of a really stressful, tiring day? Double portion of lasagne as a reward. Looking for something to do to pass the time? Where were those cookies? You get the picture.

    By helping people recognize their emotional eating patterns and find empowering alternatives, clients tend to reduce the amount they are eating not by prohibitively restricting calories but by being conscious of what they actually need. I can tell you from experience I have worked with many, many people who have successfully kept weight off by eating less. It is possible to eat less and not only not develop an eating disorder but have an enhanced relationship with food!

    Having said all of this, I would estimate about a third of my clients do not respond to eating less or any of the traditional models of weight loss. There is obviously so much more going on than simply calories in – caloires out. Which is why I find this site so interesting and informative! I just wanted to add that it is possible to successfully reduce weight and improve health long term AND improve ones relationship by eating less.

  77. I love all the comments.

    Peatites – I have some questions. I'm interested in trying gelatin at night bcoz my biggest problem is still going to sleep at night, and staying asleep. What kind of gelatin is good? Plain old Knox, or something else?

    Second, my hubby has constant outbreaks of cold sores, and this weekend both my 9yo son and I got them too. Which sucks majorly. As I was trying to figure out what might have triggered it, dietary-wise, I kept coming across high arginine, with the specific recommendation to avoid gelatin. So have any of you gelatin users had this problem with herpes outbreaks? Does Peat address this anywhere? That wasn't the cause for us since we haven't started taking extra, but it makes me nervous.

  78. "There was a yogi, sometime last year in the news, who has been living without water or food for almost his life. Scientists actually observed him go without water or food at all…"

    Holy crap. I almost cannot stop laughing whenever I come across someone who believes Prahlad Jani hasn't had any calories since before Hitler invaded Poland.

    Then I realize the believer might have some sort of job where they're in charge of something important that might affect me… Damn, that kills my giggles.

  79. Princess and Jannis

    Thanks for the progesterone tips.

    Much appreciated :)

  80. Sylwester
    Just as a disclaimer, I'm not an expert on Peat and as you know it's really hard to get an exact diet protocol.

    On MUFA's, he doesn't say much about them. His recommendations on oil are coconut oil and butter; olive oil and macadamia nut oil sparingly. The top sources of MUFA's are canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil and avocado, and the only one he would recommend using is the olive oil sparingly as the others are high in unsaturated fat.

    "Animal proteins, and fruits, because they contain the lowest levels of toxins, should form the basis of the diet. Not all fruits, of course, are perfectly safe–avocados, for example, contain so much unsaturated fat that they can be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic." He avoids most vegetables due to their intrinsic toxins and prefers for a cow to process them for him. Root/tuber vegetables are okay if cooked for about 40 minutes, and fruit-vegetables (tomatoes, peppers) are okay if you're not allergic to them.

    I can't find exact percentages of protein but apparently he eats about 120 to 150 grams of protein per day.

    I personally don't like to work within rigid guidelines and I'm basically following 180D but with the recent addition of OJ with my meals. Basically I eat meat and potatoes fried in coconut oil and butter and a glass of OJ until I'm satisfied/full. It's only been a week but I think the addition of the OJ has taken my diet to the next level. It looks like my weight loss has started up again after being static for a number of months. My only complaint would be the high acid feeling in my stomach from the OJ. Not sure if that will go away by itself.


    I've never had a cold sore in my life. I only occasionally have gelatin. I make the bone broth and freeze it and cut it into pieces to put in with food. I've never felt any real benefit from it but I've also never been consistent with it either. I've not seen anything from Peat about cold sores specifically. Although cold sores is an inflammation and gelatin is anti-inflammatory and you usually get cold sores when you are stressed or run down so perhaps it can only help? "A generous supply of glycine/gelatin, against a balanced background of amino acids, has a great variety of anti-stress actions." "….inflammation…. can be prevented or alleviated by glycine." – Peat.

    Hope that helps!

  81. Catty Placcid,

    I think it is easy to emotionally eat on junk food, particularly sugar, but not on healthy food that contains a protein, fat and carbohydrate.

    For example,if I am physically full, I could not eat a cheese salad sandwhich, but could probably eat biscuits. I don't have biscuits etc in the house because I think I would eat them even if I wasn't hungry.

    I kept my weight off for 4 years through slight calorie restriction, but I don't think I was really eating to appetite. My body temperature was low and my hair mineral analysis came back with low mineral levels, despite eating nutrient dense food and consuming virtually no processed food or refined sugar for at least 2 years.

    In one of Matt's radio interviews, he talks about it being healthier to be at or above your weight set point. This makes sense to me and offered me a possible explanation of why things weren't right e.g that I had been below my weight set point which has been raised through 20 years of dieting.


  82. @Anon:

    "Then I realize the believer might have some sort of job where they're in charge of something important that might affect me… Damn, that kills my giggles"

    Good luck living without any electricity

  83. In the August 2010 Adendum to RRARF ebook, Matt states…

    "When large quantities of fructose are ingested during overfeeding, the effect is very fattening because a great deal of the fructose is converted to fat in the liver. However, this is not true when talking about starch overfeeding. Thus, when the ratio of carbohydrate to fat is very high, and the ratio of starch to fructose (and also glucose in simple as opposed to complex form as is found in starches) is also high, the more of the excess energy is stored into muscle tissue and the less into fat."

    With the recent discussions on sugar and fruit, are the above statements still believed to be true???

    Matt and anyone?

  84. FWIW, princess you said :

    the brain is 70% cholesterol followed by coconut oil being an amazing addition to your diet…

    coconut oil is cholesterol free. you added saturated fat, but not cholesterol

  85. I've recently incorporated a Tbsp of blackstrap molasses to hot water on a daily basis for the last three weeks. I've noticed that I have to urinate much more frequently than before despite drinking the same amount of liquids overall. Does anyone have any insight as to why the molasses might be causing this? Is it related to adrenal health or a normal reaction to taking in more sugar?


  86. I don't know if I can get on board with the idea of OJ…

    IMO, if something like orange juice needs to be counteracted by bicarb soda because it's rotting your teeth, how can it be considered healthy? Dental decay is a very logical and surefire sign of underlying health and nutrition problems. Or in this case is it a "two steps forward, one step back" kind of scenario.

    As for Peat's eating guidelines, here's my cliff notes version I've put together from various sources:

    Avoid: PUFA, hard to digest starches, additives (guar gum, carageenan, aspartame, nitrates/nitrites, etc), allergenic fruits (mango, starfruit, grapefruit), whey

    Protein: At least 100g per day – Milk and dairy products – cheese, potatoes, eggs, shellfish, gelatin with meals for amino acid balance, muscle meats not as often as others (and with gelatin for balance), white fish (not farmed), grass-fed meats and dairy/eggs whenever possible

    Sugar/carbs: Fruit, fruit juices, potatoes, white rice OK, cane sugar
    Fat: Refined coconut oil, butter, ghee, dairy, other animal fats, small amounts of olive oil or macadamia nut oil

    Misc: Unrefined sea salt w/ 48 natural minerals, raw carrot daily for bowel-protective and anti-estrogenic effects, coffee w/ cream and sugar good and safe, Hagen Daz Five ice cream (only 5 natural ingredients), vinegar for antiseptic effects, chocolate w/out additives, Vit E and salt safest supplements, most important vitamins are Vit D, C, E and B vitamins, magnesium?, possibly supplement with dessicated thyroid if needed, and progesterone and/or pregnenolone.

    Exercise: Weight lifting only form recommended. Weight lifting helps the muscle cells produce anabolic steroids, which lowers cortisol.

    Meal Frequency: He doesn't say, but to paraphrase Matt Stone: "increased meal frequency keeps cortisol and adrenaline lower, and ensures fat lost is due to increase in thyroid and not increase in catecholamines."

    I'm sure there's a few small details missing here, but the important stuff is all there.

  87. malpaz:

    According to Peat, the coconut oil is promoting the conversion of excess cholesterol produced through diet (things like saturated fat and sweet fruits increase production of cholesterol) into the important hormones like pregnenolone.

    So the addition of the saturated fat is having a direct effect on cholesterol levels, although in the case of coconut oil it's actually lowering them through the conversion.

  88. Yea the Durian Rider guy definitely makes you think. But isn't he very athletically active? And wouldn't that be a factor in his case?

    Anyway I'm not saying I believe that fruit/fructose is fattening, as it's certainly hard to believe, given the recent discussion. But what concerns me is the accuracy of the rest of the statements I quoted above.

    I am RRARFing, primarily for health reasons, and hopefully automatically shed extra bodyfat at some point. But I'd like to minimize additional bodyfat gain in the process. But is high starch to low fat still the best way to do that? I'm confused now. Is anything in what I quoted above accurate??

    Anyone have personal experience with this or advice they can share?

    PS. @ Michael: thanks for those cliff notes. Helps a lot.

  89. Anonymous Andy:

    On the molasses/sugar issue…

    In my experience sugar can act like a diuretic. Carbohydrates in general have this effect, especially sugar.

    I inquired to Ray Peat on this issue, as in my case I woke up with muscle cramping for three days straight. His reply was:

    "If your diet is just barely adequate in calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, increasing the metabolic rate with a thyroid supplement, or by shifting from PUFA to more sugar…"

    Turns out it was partly being caused by the higher sugar intake, but the main culprit I found was my B-vitamins.

    For some reasons, some vitamins and minerals when consumed (probably because of an excess of them in your system), tend to increase urine production to rid your body of the excess. This IME also seems to have a diuretic effect, causing more urination.

    Perhaps the molasses is having a combination effect on your body in this way. IE the added sugar and the vits and mins.

  90. Confused-

    i would say go as low fat as comfortable, 20-30% maybe unless you have been really restricting it for some time. also don't be afraid of fruit and rice, potatoes are great but sometimes you just dont want them, dont force it

    i have made comments in previous posts about losing fat with whats basically fat cycling. it has consistently worked for me (around 10% bf now), and i can go back to relatively low fat (20-30%) after with no regain or any other problems.

    if you are eating close to equal fat and carb i think your chances of automatically losing fat are not too high unless you are fairly active

  91. Confused, yes it's still up in the air AFAIK.

    Consider that Matt was very much anti-Ray Peat just over a year ago in his comments on blogs like Diet-Fucked, and seems to now have come around to many of Peat's ideas and practices. He may be revising many of his beliefs on this matter, but as far as RRARF is concerned, the high starch/low fat is still a good starting point.

    You don't have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going. If Matt decides his plan needs tweaking later on, you'll at least be well on your way with the current RRARF plan.

    On the fruit makes you fat issue, I've noted in the past that pro bodybuilders used to diet on mainly fish and fruit.

    In fact, Rod Koontz, former Mr. USA would diet himself and many clients to contest condition on such a diet.

  92. Thanks for your reply Michael.

    "For some reasons, some vitamins and minerals when consumed (probably because of an excess of them in your system), tend to increase urine production to rid your body of the excess. This IME also seems to have a diuretic effect, causing more urination."

    This makes sense to me given that I am in good health and have a diet along the lines of what 180 recommends. I recently added in the Molasses out of curiousity than anything else. In line with your comments, my stool is also much less firm than before.

    I will likely stop as having to go to the bathroom so often is very annoying.

    Thanks again!

  93. why is it ok to restrict fat but not carboydrate? I thought the point of this approach was not to restrict any food group? Won't restricting dietary fat in order to loose body fat make the body dependent on low fat in order to stay lean, so if we start eating more fat again we gain the weight/fat back?

  94. what is fat cycling?

  95. @ Terpol and Michael: Thanks guys I think I understand now.

    And Terpol, I will look for your previous comments. By fat cycling do you mean like eating higher fat once or twice a week, while eating low fat and high starch rest of the week?

    Thanks again guys, you all are awesome!

  96. yes that is pretty much it. i did it for a few months with starch, then plateaued and went 2 months (didnt need to, just was a bit bored of low fat plus it was winter) of adding plenty of fat (mainly coconut, dont know if i'd have gained back if it was something else) with no regain and no problems, then started again with fruit and starch which works better. it takes time to adjust to it, at first just low fat meals then work up to days at a time with at least 1 fat refeed per week. nothing fixed, ive often happily eaten 2k calories before bed because i went a little long without a refeed

    and of course its key to not lose the ability to eat fat + carb together without gaining weight again, something which i think you should have before trying this a la rrarf. i also dont think you need to eat equal fat and carbs unless youve been starving yourself or something. 40% fat at most for the benefit of it

  97. Jane – Thanks for your comments. Your absolutely right, its much easier to emotionally eat junk food, often sugary food or just very energy dense, nutritionally devoid food like Maccy D's.

    My experience is often people who are overweight often eat beyond appetite, they often are unaware of where their appetite starts and their emotional eating ends.

    It could be that the people who have lost weight have done so by cutting out nutritionally devoid junk, but i also am open to the idea that they have lost weight just by eating to appetite which often means that they have simply eaten less. I am yet to be convinced that people cannot successfully lose weight by very slight calorie restriction, particularly if they have been overeating to begin with. I don't think this is a massive stretch to believe this is possible.

    Fructose and Fruit – The past couple of months i have been eating zero sugar, very low fruit diet, with moderate amounts of starchy carbs (root vegetables) and organic meats. I have felt a much more balanced sense of energy, emotions, and little to no desire to snack on sugar.

    In the last couple of weeks i have incorporated more fruit and even on a couple of occasions some Organic ice cream (inspired by the Peatster). Since then my cravings for sugar have returned, in particular i've started to have that post meal desire for a dessert and my energy has been more scattered. Its early days but the fruit/sugar thing doesn't seem to be working for me at the moment.

  98. @ Terpol: Thank you so much for your replies and for taking the time to reply. You've been a huge help!

    PS. You too Michael, thanks again!

  99. You're welcome, (no longer) Confused. :)

    Terpol, thanks for the details on how you're cycling fat as well. I find it similar to carb cycling, or what I'm doing with workout and rest days.

    Rest days (ie non-workout days) are generally lower calories (slight caloric deficit), higher fat and lower carbs.

    Workout days are much higher than maintenance cals (700-1,200 cals above rest days) to enhance muscle gain and increase leptin sensitivity, with much higher carbs and lower fat — especially with the higher starch/carb meals after workouts to limit de novo lipogenesis.

    On any day my meals are usually fruit based for carbs for my first 3 meals of the day, and starch based for the last 1-2 meals of the day with these also being my largest meals.

    This plan is a hybrid of a particular bodybuilding fat loss plan, combined with Ray Peat's and Matt Stone's principles with a little influence from Martin Berkhan in that I don't eat for 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast.

    So far it's working really well. Feeling great, muscle mass is coming on nicely, fat is slowly coming off and my body temps are constantly over 98F. Pulse rate is also coming up slightly.

  100. Oh, BTW Terpol, I wanted to comment on something you said in another post…

    "fat loss for me is all about macronutrient ratios."

    A famous bodybuilding nutritionist always says something very similar to this.

    "Macro nutrient ratios play the biggest part in the physique of a bodybuilder [replace that word bodybuilder with "human being"]. You can completely change how you look and feel all with a change in macronutrient ratios."

  101. I have found that to be true in my experience as well.

    Great stuff guys. I really appreciate it. Now I can go back to at least thinking I know what the heck I'm doin :p

  102. Lisa E,
    Congrats on the improvements and getting rid of the depression. That seems pretty major to me.

    Catty Placcid,
    The whole psychological aspect to food is interesting. I know the tendency to eat junkier when not feeling the greatest, emotionally or physically. I've been trying the alternative path of really trying to go with the flow. I think this ends up with more sugar just because it's there and healthy food is always a time hassle. At the same time, I prefer real food as much as I can get it, and my weight is stable. On the other hand my elimination and sleep quality are not that great lately.

  103. Aaron F,

    I agree the danger of going with the flow is that often people end up eat unconsciously and emotionally. My experience is that people who are overweight often eat junk but also eat beyond appetite. Eating more consciously and consequently eating less (reducing calories) can have a profound change in a persons health and weight.


  104. However, on a couple of occasions recently, I recently ate a fuller than usual meal at other people's houses, followed by desert (which I ate when I was already full) and the result was that I wasn't ready to eat again for 5 – 7 hours, as opposed to the usual 3. So although I ate more than usual, possibly due to emotional eating (because the desert was there and I couldn't resist temptation even though I was full), because I didn't then need to eat for a lot longer, it seems like I my appetite adjusted and I ended up eating the same calories as I would usually have done.

  105. Excellent article, Matt. Caloric restriction truly is retarded.

    Obesity is strongly associated with malnutrition – immensely.

    Wishing you well.


  106. Excellent article! Caloric restriction experiments actually do not show that caloric restriction prolongs life. What they show is that if animals are kept in unnatural experimental conditions and provided unhealthy food with high calories, they tend to consume excessive calories, become unhealthy and die sooner than they should. I don't know why people interpret the results of their experiments the other way around.

  107. Straw men (irrelevant to actual CR studies):
    1. Reducing calorie intake by at least half (your points 1 and 2). In reality, the CR studies don't involve reducing calorie intake by at least half.
    2. Eating disorders. (your point 1). In reality, CR'ers don't have or develop eating disorders.
    3. Rebound hyperphagia. CR'ers don't go there, and it's false that it occurs "in every CR trial ever conducted." (your point 2).
    4. CR experiments done with animals from birth. (your point 3). They're also done with humans beginning in middle age, with very positive health and risk factor outcomes. Check the literature sometime.
    5. CR lab animals show psychological problems (your point 4). But of course CR studies with humans don't involve being locked in a cage, e.g., and CR'ers are reportedly as happy as anyone (though there is an adjustment phase of a week or two).
    6. Immune system (your point 5). Your conjectures are contradicted by controlled human studies showing improved immune functioning with calorie restriction. (Google "calorie restriction" immune).
    7. Famine. (your point 5). CR'ers eat nutritionally dense food.
    8. "Calorie restriction is friggin' retarded." After you a) graduate from junior high to high school and b) learn how to research scientific abstracts, I think you'll change your mind. :)
    Just keepin' it real. Have a good day.

    • Anonymous, there is no proof that calorie restriction works in humans it that it works by reason of calorie restriction as opposed to restricting toxic foods, metals like iron and lead, pesticides, pufas, certain amino acids, flour, sugar, curb syrup, etc. There are many gerontologists practicing CRAN or CRON. One wrote a book called “the 120 year diet” and died at 79 of some chronic disease, ALS I think (Lou Gehrig Disease). He and others complained of being cold all the time, constantly hungry, DREAMING of food, losing their sex drive, etc. If that’s not poor health, I don’t know what is. They had poor immunity, too, iirc, like constant low-grade cold, and mood problems.

      Anyway it is pretentious to write a book called “the 120 year diet” unless you have lived 120 years by eating it or show that everyone who did live 120+ years ate as you claim they should. Don’t die before 80 with some chronic, degenerative disease your plant-based low-calorie diet dogma could very well have caused.

      I think Matt is using words CR and famine interchangeably (see Ancel Keys), but that makes sense if you look at the symptoms and severe Calorie Restriction is an eating disorder that only few people can stick to truthfully with no cheats. Also intermittent fasting, toxic metal, and protein restriction (methionine, cysteine, or tryptophan to be exact) have an equal or greater benefits in studies of animals.

      Maybe you anonymous cowards need to do more reading, Matt has read a book a week on health for years a well as many blogs and studies What have you done besides learn to read “study abstracts”? LOL. Try reading the full text studies and human CRAN/CRON testimony & thinking critically while you’re at it? To compare Matt to a junior high student makes you haters look like arrogant and pretentious douchebag. F off.

  108. Utter hogwash. You're assertions, sir, are excuses. Caloric restriction has literally hundreds of human based research studies that prove it's long term effectiveness.

    Furthermore, your assertion that only people with 'eating disorders' can achieve long term caloric restriction is nonsense.

    JAJSB—-Just another junk science blog.

  109. Where are you getting these facts from? I had severe heart disease that required surgery that has since REVERSED itself since I started a proper nutrient calorie-restricted diet. NO DRUG IN THE WORLD WOULD DO THIS! And I can tell you I have no anxiety. In fact, I feel quite good! The studies in CR animals don’t show long-term anxiety either. And calorie restriction from adulthood has proven to work in these animals as well – your article is totally off! Again, what are your sources for these accusations?

  110. Why is quantity of life always held up as the gold standard. Surely quality of life is more meaningful. I bet those poor lab animals would rather die sooner with a full belly than living half starved and miserable for a while longer. I know what I’d choose.



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