The Count the Obese Starch-Eater Game

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Recently I got into a jovial, light-hearted back and forth on Twitter about obesity, carbohydrates, yada, yada.  Some heavy artillery was slung my way, a recent article that, several days later Tom Naughton of Fat Head dedicated an entire blog post to.  The premise of the article was that the whole obesity thing was a Big Fat Lie!  Well, I agree.  But the author concluded that replacing fat with starch was the reason the epidemic of obesity continued to surge in Great Britain over the last couple of decades.  Read the article here for a good dose of low-carbism.   

This conclusion is pretty hilarious.  Has this person ever been to Thailand, or Laos, or Nepal, or Vietnam, or Japan, or Cambodia?  Well, I have been to all of those countries, and no one in their right mind could ever conclude, in a million years, that obesity is caused by eating starch.  In fact, one would be far more likely to come to the opposite conclusion, and probably be onto something. 

In the defense of beloved starch, and to even point out that refined starch at that is not inherently fattening, I sent along the following video, with the instructions to “Count all the obese people on a refined-starch-based diet.”  Hey, refined starch may not be the most nutritious food for maximal health, but it simply doesn’t cause insulin resistance, obesity, etc. – even amongst sedentary Chinese office workers eating more calories than Americans exercising their brains out.  Only a lifetime force-feeder like a Sumo can get fat on such fare.  But note, Sumos do not have the health problems that typically accompany obesity.   

Well, I give you all the opportunity to play the game.  The object of the game is to simply count how many obese starch eaters you can find.  Whoever counts the most, wins!  Watch closely now.  Post your score in the comments section! 


  1. lol Matt, that is some funny shizzle. I did count one fat person in my opinion it was the guy dressed up as the woman. Other than that, I really couldnt tell the difference between Michael Jackson and any of the CPDRC inmates lol

  2. I agree that blaming starch is insane. I eat 4 pounds of potatoes or the equivalent in white rice (carb grams wise) each day. And I have gained zero fat and increased my muscle mass.
    BTW I saw zero obese…

  3. Awesome. No obesity to be found.

    On another note, I just acquired some Fromager d'Affinois! It is quite something…orgasmic, even.


  4. Oooh, I want some orgasmic cheese too, but can't seem to find it anywhere.

    Just wanna add, sumo wrestlers die pretty young, but I think it's due to the stress, training, and the huge amounts of alcohol they drink. In fact, they drink the alcohol in order to get fat.

  5. Hilarious stuff!Where those prisoners given a "get out of jail free" card for doing that?They seem so into it.

  6. i have been eating alot of refined white flour… and a little sugar here and there… i have lost weight… nourishing myself to the full extent still though… I think the cold colorado weather has something to do with it… and maybe the elevation.

    keep up the good work… your destroying it!!


  7. Matt, I have seen this video before, and this is a great way to look at it from a different angle!

    What do you think about donating blood?

    Is it overly stressful on the body? I donated a pint today and feel no different at all. It's funny, the nurses were all commenting on how my temperature was actually 98.6, my blood pressure was only 120/60 and my pulse was 50. They all seemed so excited to see someone with those numbers. They were even impressed in how I filled the entire blood bag in less than 5 minutes.


  8. Thanks Riles. Been killing the starch myself lately. Having trouble getting 4 pounds down, but giving it an honest effort. Lost 2 pounds this week on 400g carbs per day. Starch to sugar ratio of about 16:1

    That's fun. I wish I went to the doctor more often specifically for that purpose. I doubt that giving blood will kill you. Probably will flush out a little excess iron if anything. One of these years I'll go to the doc and blow them out of the water with some blood panels – and post my numbers on the blog. I'm a major "getting blood drawn" phobe though. You tell those nurses about that 98.6 now.

    Glad to have provided you with orgasmic sensations.

    Keep looking girl. That d'affinois is out there somewhere.

  9. No obese here :) Wow Matt you are producing new stuff for us almost daily, thanks for all the effort you are putting into this blog :)

    I am 13 weeks into HED and here is my latest update
    5'6 now weigh 139 pounds, have gained 11 pounds and c5% bodyfat in 13 weeks eating 1800-2000 cals. I can now only fit into two pairs of my trousers.

    Body temp : my temps are 36.1-36.5°C (=97-97.7)in the follicular phase and 36.7-36.9°C (98-98.4) in the luteal phase, no change here.

    Sleep has been improving, at last :)

    Digestion seems fine

    My typical fasting blood sugar is now 85 though just occasionally it will be early 90s. Typically 1 hour after eating it it is in the early 90s though just occasionally it hits 120. The lowest after 1 hour has twice been after pizza at 79 and 81!!!!!!

    Had a blood test today, normal stuff for thyroid etc and asked them to add iodine (though it is not reimbursed)

    My period returned to 28 days having dropped to 26 for three months, which I think is a good sign.

    I am still gaining weight and on a small person 11 pounds is a lot, I feel very, very uncomfortable at a weight i haven't seen in 25 years…. I am not really seeing changes and don't know how much longer I can continue psychologically with the weight gain and no improvements. I do understand this can take months but I was hoping to see some sign of positive change after three months and I never expected to gain so much on calories around 1900. I want to give it at least 6 months because i much prefer eating in a more relaxed way and including carbs again but it would seem my maintenance level for calories is around 1500 if I am gaining so much. I already take thyroid meds after having half my thyroid removed last May, so I don't know what else i can do now. iodine may help a bit of course. I think one of our challenges here is we are in the midst of a trial and unlike the low carbers for whom they can cite 100s of people for whom it has worked, HED hasn't been going long enough to be able to cite lots of people who have improved their metabolism and lost the weight they gained. hopefully within the next year or so we will have many more examples we can cite to encourage others :)

  10. Thanks Jedi. Talk to Riley about upping starch to displace some of the fat in order to keep fat gain at bay. It's worth a try, and may be more therapeutic overall for a long time low-carber.

    Your temps are looking great. You may hold that weight for quite some time before it drops. At 5'6", 139 pounds, I'm not surprised to see weight gain. Seems the skinnier the person on HED, the more weight they tend to put on. Ironically, the thinnest people seem to be the most concerned about the weight gain.

    Very overweight people are seeming to lose weight immediately – as early as a few weeks into it.

  11. Matt, thanks for the tip about upping carbs and maybe lowering fat. At the moment fat tends to be around 50% and carbs around 22 and protein around 28% so yes carbs are still my lowest and i tend to eat too much protein still. I have tried not to be to strict to get away from a dieting mentality but playing with ratios may help. Yes i don't think my temps are too bad either or my blood sugars. IF I could just stop gaining weight that would hep me a lot :) anyways i will look at upping carbs and see what Riley wrote :) You must be up really late as it is 11.30 AM in Nice so am thinking early morning in Colarado, go get some sleep :)

  12. Yes. Super early. I went to bed before 9pm though, so I did get some sleep. Big weekend this weekend. Paid coooking gig for 20 tonight, b-day tomorrow, super bowl on Sunday.

    Plus I was super excited to see what people were going to say at the Fat Head blog about my latest post. Can't sleep through that!

  13. As for upping carbs, my ratios in the past were about 50% fat and 30% carbs. I've now reversed that and the results seem to be pretty good. Like I said, lost a pound or two already within a week, while temps are still steadily creeping up. I've also been religious about low omega 6 eating, as my new dietary experiment of sorts, which may also be an important factor.

  14. That is exactly what I did as well Matt. Switched to anywhere from 50-60% carbs, with about 20% protein. I add enough fat to cook with or whatever is in the meat I am eating. When I switch to higher carbs I definitely leaned out. I don't know if this plays much part of it, but I stick strictly to 3 meals a day with no snacks. I really stuff myself with starch at each meal and have no problem going 5 hours between meals.

  15. Jedi – Don't feel bad about the weight. I've been fiddling with HED lately (as much as I can without actually getting the e-book – though I will soon), and I just hit 139 and I'm only 5'4". What I wouldn't give to have two extra inches in height right now. :)

    Can't believe how much 2 months of low-carbing messed me up. I'm trying to hit 2500 calories per day, which is a lot to me now, but a few months ago I could easily maintain weight at about 2500 calories, w/ about the same macronutrient ratios I'm getting right now (about 60% fat, 25% carbs, 15% protein). I also used to be able to hit 2500 a day no problem, even with just three meals. Now it's a struggle to eat that much without snacks, and even then it's not easy.

    Fortunately my weight has already begun to stabilize – at least I'm crossing my fingers. ;) I just started recording my temps in the morning, with average around 97.5 give or take a couple points. Gaining weight is very difficult for me, so I'm hoping in the end this is worth it.

  16. LOL I meant gaining weight is difficult for me mentally. It's actually not a big problem physically, obviously. :)

  17. hi Elizabeth, yeh I had understood the challenge is in our minds,;) thanks for posting your struggles too and glad to see your weight seems to be stabilising. I wish i could eat around 2500 per day but as I have been gaining around a pound a week on under 2000 I just haven't dared. Let's hope this raises our temperatures and metabolisms into the normal range. I am going to try more carbs and less fat as Matt suggests and see if that changes anything. It is good to keep posting so we can see one another's progress. If 97.5 is in the follicular phase of the month for you then the temperature isn't bad ;)

  18. i am soo utterly confused…high fat and high starch??? saw the fathead blog…

    starch as in not from vegetables? do you eat vegetables because they have fructose and some a good bit? which sources are best?

    where do you get your starches from- what sources are best for a beginner?

    do you stick to adding fat to leaner cuts of meat to get more omega 3?

    it seems pretty hard to come by to get in a good ratio of omega 3:6 even when cutting the obvious fructose and vegetable oil.

    i think you are on to something sir, but you have no evidence persay to back it up besides the people here gaining weight, and yourself, a young relatively active male.

  19. Anonymous-

    Welcome. I've done extensive research that has given me some of these ideas. We're not trying to convince anyone of anything really, just trying to achieve what could be considered the optimal metabolism.

    There are people losing weight, and there are people gaining weight. There are people feeling better, there are people feeling worse.

    There's not a real discoure about any "optimal human diet" here, figuring out how to counterbalance our imbalances through diet.

    And there is strong evidence that getting hardly any omega 6 or omega 3 is better than getting a lot of either.

    I can't describe exactly what the idea is here in a paragraph or two. You'll have to snoop around a bit. But stick around and decide for yourself whether we're getting into something good or not. Others will gladly fire off answers to your questions as well.

  20. Jedi – That temp is in the follicular phase, but it's my oral temp, not axillary. I have a cheap little digital thermometer right now… waiting for a better quality one to come by mail order and then I'll start tracking axillary temps.

    I'll admit I'm a bit uncertain about raising carbs more than I already have, but I can probably go a little higher as an experiment. I really want to try an work on eating what feels right… but I'm not wholly sure what that is yet.

  21. How about grains such as wheat? Any heathy cultures eating non-fermented, non-sprouted, non-soaked grains in significant quantities?

  22. The northern part (the northern half actually) of China hardly consumes any rice at all. It is all noodles and steamed buns there – made of refined wheat flour.

  23. "How about grains such as wheat? Any heathy cultures eating non-fermented, non-sprouted, non-soaked grains in significant quantities?"

    Yes, the Sikhs of Northern India that Robert McCarrison studied extensively for their physical excellence compared to the rest of the country of India. They ate fresh-ground whole wheat chapattis without sprouting or fermenting as far as I know.

  24. I'm not an advocate of eating a refined starch diet, but clearly it is not outright fattening to eat a diet that is low in fat and high in starch, even if the starch is refined.

    Nutritious starches are most likely considerably better as the observation of 20th century health icons like Cleave, McCarrison, Burkitt, and Price have shown.

    Cleave studied Zulus eating lots of fruit, but they were eating an extremely low fat diet.

    I suspect that it is a quantity issue that also co-involves nutrients, just like Lustig expresses in his fructose presentation (and that Alan Aragon misses entirely in the article he wrote about fructose alarmism linked above). Richard Johnson, John Yudkin – they all felt that way about it, and I do too.

  25. There are people losing weight, and there are people gaining weight. There are people feeling better, there are people feeling worse.

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  26. OK, now I'm more confused than ever. High carb and low fat? Isn't that exactly what got us in trouble in the first place? I could have sworn the Metabolism e-book recommended low-moderate starch, low-moderate protein and lots of fat. 4 lbs of potatoes? I don't understand!

  27. @Danyelle, I am too confused

  28. The point is that neither starch nor fat not protein nor calories makes us fat. There's a deeper metabolic reason that needs to be understood and explored. Even if eating starch makes someone fat, if it doesn't make another fat – then what is the difference between the two?

    I don't have all the answers yet, but I'm workin' on it. The revision to 180 Metabolism will be coming out in April if I can get my act together! Lots of new ideas!

  29. From wikipedia:"The negative effects of the sumo lifestyle become dangerously apparent later in life. Sumo wrestlers have a life expectancy of between 60 and 65, more than 10 years shorter than the average Japanese male. They often develop diabetes, high blood pressure, and are prone to heart attacks. The excessive intake of alcohol can lead to liver problems and the stress on their joints can cause arthritis. Recently, the standards of weight gain are becoming less strict, in an effort to improve the overall health of the wrestlers.[16][17] The average height of sumo wrestlers is around 180 cm (5' 11")."


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