Here is a conversation between and my good bud Andy Bellatti, blog author at “Small Bites.” Andy is pretty convinced that the cure to the obesity epidemic is to eat smaller portions, and get more physical activity. In other words, he’s in the majority and he feels that fringe renegades such as the infamous Matt Stone of 180DegreeHealth are a big part of the problem – watering down the real message and confusing the public. He’s of course anti-saturated fat, cholesterol, thinks meat should be minimized in the diet – aka “mostly plants.” He’s a very enthusiastic fellow, one that me and my bud David Brown have tried to steer away from “the dark side” on big topics such as saturated fat. But he ain’t hearin’ it! Still, our dialogue was very interesting, and worth highlighting, as it gets to the core of that big obesity debate as the numbers continue to grow (67% of America is now officially overweight).
This was all in response to his post on using smaller plates, which encourage one to eat less and thus stave off that pesky obesity thing, a well-known disorder of gluttony evidently.
I address him as ANDY, he addresses me as MATT. Enjoy…
I’m confused. I eat until I’m full, when I’m hungry, every day. If I eat a big portion off of a big plate, I’m less hungry later. I don’t think about calories. I just eat food based on what my body tells me. And sometimes I really eat a lot. The other day I had a whole pint of heavy whipping cream and 2 sticks of butter! But my waist-size is the same as it was my Freshman year of high school (17 years ago). I am one of the leanest people I know, and I exercise very little. I have much less body fat now than when I was primarily a raw-food vegan that ate small portions of fish on occasion. Is it possible that appetite and metabolism are regulated just like oxygen regulation? I mean, I can try to lower my oxygen level, but then I just pant and pant and pant like a dog until I get back to equilibrium. Should I really be keeping close track of my calories?
I don’t see what you are so confused about.
“I eat until I’m full, when I’m hungry, every day.”
So? Are you trying to say that, therefore, you should be overweight? The fact that you are able to recognize your fullness puts you at an advantage over most people.It is completely possible to eat until you are full and not gain weight.Weight loss is NOT about being hungry all the time.
“And sometimes I really eat a lot. The other day I had a whole pint of heavy whipping cream and 2 sticks of butter!”
Assuming this is true (in what context are you eating two sticks of butter, exactly?), it doesn’t have much significance. Remember, in nutrition you are looking at general diet patterns. Some days you may eat more than others, but unless your “high calorie” days become commonplace, it is doubtful you would see a significant effect on your weight.If that were the case, then one day of reducing calories would be sufficient for weight loss.
“I am one of the leanest people I know, and I exercise very little.”
Leanness does not necessarily come from exercise. There are plenty of people who are lean and do not exercise.
“I have much less body fat now than when I was primarily a raw-food vegan that ate small portions of fish on occasion.”
Yes, that’s possible. Going raw does not guarantee lower body fat. It is possible to still consume too many calories on a raw food diet (particularly if, for instance, you consumed a high quantity of nuts, nut butters, olive oil, and avocados on a day to day basis.)
“Should I really be keeping close track of my calories?”
It seems to me like you already are, seeing as how you make a log of everything you eat. I’m not sure I understand your question.If what you are asking, in a facetious manner, is whether calories have anything to do with weight management, then the answer is “yes.” If you, like Gary Taubes (who I have a feeling you are a fan of), think that is hogwash, then answer this question: If you were to consume no more than 500 calories a day for 2 months, wouldn’t you reasonably predict that you would LOSE weight? If, in your mind, calories and weight management are not related, then eating 500 calories a day would not affect the numbers on the scale, right?
I’m just pointing out (plea-ing actually) that the weight management dilemma is not so simple. I mean sure, anyone could eat less calories and lose weight, but that’s a problem if it induces a predictable set of consequences, one being, as obesity researchers call it, “rebound hyperphagia.”
What good is losing weight through calorie restriction and exercising more if doing so makes your body naturally rebel and overcompensate for it later? The vast majority thinks they need to “eat less and exercise more,” but their physiology is stronger than their supposed willpower – whatever that is. People are struggling Andy, and this strategy is not working out. It’s causing a national eating disorder and actually contributing to, not solving, the obesity crisis.
In fact, telltale symptoms of those with obesity are reduced thyroid, and raised cortisol, and restricting calories has been shown to worsen both of those underlying conditions, not improve them. Plus, thyroid hormone controls the utilization of fatty acids for fuel (lipolysis), and the lower it goes the more inefficiently one burns the fat that is trapped on their bodies. There is also much indication that reduced thyroid efficiency is the key underlying factor in the manifestation of many degenerative diseases, particularly heart disease (see Broda Barnes, Stephen Langer, Mark Starr, etc.)
I bring this up because I lived low-calorie/high exercise and am much leaner and more muscular now on high-calorie/low exercise, which has also cleared up many health problems – mostly attributable to the fact that I eat only fresh, unpackaged, unprocessed foods. Sugar intake = 3T total since September.
Andy, I appreciate your enthusiasm for good health, but do not be stubborn. There are people all over the world that are breaking your rules of good health and having excellent results, particularly by consuming large quantities of saturated fat to displace other foods. From an etiological perspective, it is obvious that calorie consumption, exercise, saturated fat consumption, and cholesterol consumption have little, if any correlation to escalating disease trends. It points squarely at refined sugar, flour, and vegetable oils.
Cut those out, and live more healthfully, regardless of whether the diet is “mostly plants” or mostly animals. Then all of the supposed rules and associations that modern studies have found with animal protein, animal fat, and other staples of the human diet since of the beginning of time go out the window. I promise you that is true. Please don’t think of those that espouse such ideas to be quacks, idiots, and arch-rivals of the “food heals” movement. They are not. We are not. I am not. Accept that there are numerous dietary strategies to restore proper body chemistry, digestive health, and treat and prevent illness of all kinds. Including eating meals like my breakfast today…
Green onions and jalapeno fried in 2T bacon grease
6 farm fresh eggs
6 ounces grass fed tri-tip steak
3T raw, grassfed butter
Planned exercise for the day: 40 minutes walking round trip to and from the library.
Let me take your argument piece by piece.
“What good is losing weight through calorie restriction and exercising more if doing so makes your body naturally rebel and overcompensate for it later?”
For someone who takes such issue with generalizations and sweeping statements, you sure don’t appear to mind making plenty of your own. Yes, if people cut calories drastically very quickly, the body does naturally rebel. However, a slow and steady approach to weight loss (think 20 pounds over the course of a year, rather than 8 weeks) generally does not make the body rebel and overcompensate for it.
“the weight management dilemma is not so simple.”
The reason why it’s not so simple is because the emotional factor is, in my opinion, often left out of it. Most nutrition counseling sessions do not revolve solely around WHAT people are eating, but the WHY, HOW, WHEN, and WHERE. Food can be comforting. It can be a friend. It can soothe. It is no surprise, then, that many people who displace a lot of emotion in food have a hard time with weight management.It also doesn’t help that confusing messages like “eat as many calories as you want, just don’t eat any bread!” are out there. I would be interested in hearing, Matt, how you explain the weight loss that has been achieved by people who still ate bread, rice, and pasta. By your standards, that wouldn’t really be feasible, right?
“People are struggling Andy, and this strategy is not working out. It’s causing a national eating disorder and actually contributing to, not solving, the obesity crisis.”
People are struggling because the food environment has gotten harder to navigate. When portions increase — and smaller ones are no longer available — it is no surprise that caloric intake increases. People are also struggling because the basic message of “eat less and move more” is being fogged up by hype, whether it’s low-carb, all-raw, “no red fruits after 6:14 PM” or whatever you want to call it.
“In fact, telltale symptoms of those with obesity are reduced thyroid, and raised cortisol, and restricting calories has been shown to worsen both of those underlying conditions, not improve them”
Again, too vague of a statement. Yes, drastically cutting calories very quickly can have a negative effect on metabolism and thyroid performance. However, I don’t know about many cases where a slow and steady, consistent approach to weight loss resulted in reduced thyroid. In fact, losing weight in and of itself reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers, so I am not too sure about this weight loss/disease link you are referring to.
“Andy, I appreciate your enthusiasm for good health, but do not be stubborn.”
I am not being stubborn. I understand that there are areas of nutrition that are still new and that we are ALWAYS learning new things. Nutrigenomics, for example, will open a door of new discoveries in the field. However, there is basic knowledge that I don’t see any reason to refute or doubt. I don’t see how you can say “weight management is not so simple” when it is a GIVEN that if I cut down your caloric intake to 500 calories a day for 2 months, I, you, and everyone else would understandably predict that you would LOSE — not gain — weight. That, to me, is a pretty simple concept. What is so complicated?
“There are people all over the world that are breaking your rules of good health and having excellent results.”
Hmmm. My basic rules of good health are: “eat fruits and vegetables every day, minimize your intake of heavily processed foods, be physically active, eat most of your grains in their “whole” variety, maintain a healthy weight, and seek out heart-healthy fats.” So you’re saying there are people shunning fruits and vegetables, eating a heavily processed diet, not watching their weight, and consuming boatloads of trans and saturated fats that have “excellent results”? I would be interested in seeing your data.
“It is obvious that calorie consumption, exercise, saturated fat consumption, and cholesterol consumption have little, if any correlation to escalating disease trends.”
Obvious does not seem like the right word. If anything, that is counter-intuitive. So are you advocating a sedentary lifestyle along with excess calories? The same lifestyle that has led to the current obesity epidemic??
“I promise you that is true.”
How?As for your refined sugar and obesity link, I think you are misinterpreting the information. The issue is that sugar is simply empty calories. Hence, it is entirely possible to tack on hundreds of sugar calories to your day and not have them make you feel any fuller. Consequently, it is very possible to down 600 calories of soda and feel hungry 15 minutes later. AKA: Consume an excess of calories.
“Planned exercise for the day: 40 minutes walking round trip to and from the library.”
How is this part of your argument against my recommendations? If you read my blog, you will see that I talk about “physical activity,” which can mean anything from lifting weights at the gym to taking a 15 minute walk in your neighborhood. A 40 minute walk is a lot more physical activity than the average person in this country gets. If you ask people who once lost weight what caused them to gain weight back, you will hear one of two responses: “I stopped exercising” and/or “I got careless about what I was eating and ate more calories.” Alas, you have your school of thoughts and I have mine. At this point, I find it best to agree to disagree. Thank you for participating in Small Bites.
Going down to 500 calories per day will cause dramatic weight gain following the weight loss, and a larger percentage of fat will be replaced than muscle, yielding a poorer overall body composition that consists of less muscle, and more fat. That is the outcome of that strategy. It is not a solution to the obesity epidemic, but a contributing factor.
Humans, to my knowledge, or any other species on earth, never had to monitor caloric intake or exercise level while consuming only fresh, natural, unadulterated, and unprocessed foods. Calories are not the issue. One can consume unlimited quantities of healthy foods, maintain weight, and even lose weight. High carb, low-carb, cooked, raw – doesn’t make any difference. Not everyone succeeds, but most do.
But like the original weight loss information provided by William Banting, even a tiny amount of refined sugar added to the mix (and probably white flour, trans fats, and other garbage as well) makes all the difference in the world because of it’s unique metabolic impact. Banting noted that he would gain 1 pound per week if there were only a few ounces of sugar in his diet.
Read William Dufty’s Sugar Blues. He lost 70 pounds by cutting out sugar and eating as much whole wheat as he could get his hands on. That’s what low-carbers don’t get, and I commend you for sticking it to them. It is a massive flaw to convict an entire class of foods, whether it be natural carbohydrates, or, ahem, saturated fat.
Andy, a diet high in saturated fat can be just as effective for restoring health as any other. In fact, the reason I choose that route is because doing so allows me to avoid sugar, which is, like Banting, “my greatest dietetic enemy.” I will agree that a high-sugar, high-saturated fat diet is dangerous for people predisposed to weight gain and related complications.
Portions sizes are larger because people are hungrier. McDonald’s resisted the Super Size trend started by Wendy’s, then they started losing market share and investors started pulling out. Then they had to respond to that.
A recent study has shown that elimination of refined sugar from the diet results in a reduction of caloric consumption by as much as 25%. But even if I overeat every meal, every day, my metabolism rises to meet that surplus and I don’t gain weight, whether I exercise or not. In fact, I’m leaner when not exercising at all. A lion in captivity that doesn’t have to move a muscle is just as lean and muscular as a wild lion, and lives even longer.
People gain weight when they stop exercising because exercise raises cortisol and triggers fat storage. This is misinterpreted as “not exercising makes me gain weight.” Just like, when people fall off the wagon of eating a reduced calorie diet (even if it’s only 200 calories less than they wanted to eat).
The only way I can gain weight is to eat sugar, white flour, fats, and lots of protein all together as part of high-calorie diet. But even on a low-calorie version I know, over time, weight would start to creep up on me. And if a person’s diet makes them fat, a 15 minute walk into town isn’t going to do a thing. It’s a divergence from equilibrium between appetite and metabolism that leads to excess fat accumulation. If a person gains 40 pounds from age 20 to 60 (typical), that represents a fat accumulation totalling about 9 calories per day. There is no way that if they had eaten one less peanut, or parked farther away from the supermarket, that they could have avoided that. Nor could they have consciously kept track of their energy balance with such precision.
As for eat more, exercise less, look no further than a portion of T. Colin Campbell’s China Study. They ate more calories than Americans, didn’t exercise at all (office workers), and weighed significantly less. As for saturated fat and cholesterol consumption not being correlated with rising disease trends – the consumption of both has declined while degenerative diseases and obesity continue to skyrocket. It’s not proof of anything, but makes the recommendations to exercise more (I don’t need to), eat less (I don’t need to), and avoid saturated fat and cholesterol (I eat as much as any human being in the world) to have a trim figure and be healthy look pretty silly.
What has increased? Sugar consumption, particularly fructose from HFCS and crystalline fructose which have seen outrageous growth in their usage since the late 70’s.
I don’t agree to disagree. If I did I would be in some other business. I didn’t take the time to visit this site because I’m bored or feel like shouting in everyone’s face that I’m right and you’re wrong. It’s about much more than that. There are people that need answers, and options. They need to know the truth – that packaged, processed, refined, modern foods are the cause of disease, and that wholesome real foods of any kind, from grain to saturated fat to bacon (mostly monounsaturated fat) can help a person overcome their health demons.
“So you’re saying there are people shunning fruits and vegetables, eating a heavily processed diet, not watching their weight, and consuming boatloads of trans and saturated fats that have “excellent results”?”
Eliminate the trans fats and ‘processed’ from that scenario and the answer to that question is “absolutely yes, without question.”
Gary (your favorite)
…and many others that at least have found a way to not have to “watch their weight” because it never changes. They have equilibrium between their metabolic rate and their overall desire for dietary calories – just like a healthy young kid. Just like our ancestors, whether sedentary, active, hungry, well-fed, eating mostly whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, or eating a pound of butterfat daily.
the common denominator in the “eat less, eat plenty of fruit and vegies, dont eat saturated fat, exercise more” brigade is will.
I dont think the body is interested in any mental gymnastics at all: its all about physiological response.
And for me there is no “willing” whatsoever: just eat until had enough.
That “enough” is considered by family and friends as a heck of a lot of food. If this heck of a lot of food contains lots of fruit, refined carby suff, or too much carby stuff at all, the body gets bigger.
On the other hand, ample fat and meat to appetite, the odd potato and green thing and it doesn’t get bigger at all.
Will is way over-rated.
I think one issue why there is such disagreement about diet is that some people have a hypoglycaemia problem and some people don’t. Those who don’t have the problem refuse to believe that it exists. If one gets starving hungry after eating carbs and has to keep eating and eating, a person without the problem (who denies the problem) will just see that as greed, whereas it is not.
Thin people think they are thin because they are doing something right, whereas in fact they are thin because they do not suffer from a carbohydrate metabolism malfunction. They think that fat people are greedy and lazy. Whereas they are not.
And it’s always thin people who go on to become nutritionists and dieticians, which is why they’ll never understand the problem.
Well done on your blog, Matt. It is always very interesting.
Wow, thanks everybody for swinging by the “dojo.” Sorry, I’ve got to abuse this karate metaphor as much as possible. Don’t worry, I won’t call myself “sensei” at any point, although you know I’d like to.
Interesting you bring up hypoglycemia, as that is something I’ve been studying relentlessly of late, and am getting some new ideas about it.
I think it can be healed, and that, in fact, avoiding carbs as if they were the plague is a contributing factor to the underlying disorder – a manifestation of low metabolism (low thyroid) primarily.
Broda Barnes was able to cure it reliably with dessiccated thryoid. His patients were shocked when they ate foods that they “knew” would wipe them out, and then didn’t have the slightest reaction.
I’ve had reductions in my hypoglycemia as well, and have now been getting into the whole carb-cycling thing. I’ve gotta say. There’s really something to it, as long as you don’t pound lots of fat and carbs together. Having a carb meal a few days a week, that’s low fat and low in protein has worked wonders, and when seeing that weight loss gurus like Jay Robb are recommending doing exactly that, it strengthens that idea.
Interesting conversation, thanks for posting it. I continue to be amazed by the mainstream’s inability to grasp the foolishness of the calories in/calories out mindset, or what Taubes calls the gluttony/sloth theory of weight gain.
I think if I had simplify the mainstream’s mistake down to its essence, I would come up with the following. Yes, the second law of thermodynamics is true and you have to expend more energy than you take in to lose weight. But the ESSENTIAL error is in assuming we have any control whatsoever over how much energy we take in and expend. We don’t have that control, our body, our hormones, our ?metabolism? has that control. It has a very strong ?opinion? about what weight we should be. It has substantial control over how much energy we take in (by managing our level of hunger) and even more control over how much energy we expend (by controlling our metabolic rate.) With these two tools, it can make us any weight it wants to, regardless of how much we try to resist. We can try to resist the will of the metabolism for a while by eating less and exercising more than the body wants, but any substantial effort to do so will be met with so much force from the metabolism that we will either yield eventually or get very unhealthy in the process of resistance. Our only hope is therefore to change the metabolism’s ?mind? about what is the right weight, instead of trying to fight its will to be a certain weight. The problem with the cals in/out approach is that it attempts to fight the will of the metabolism, instead of changing the metabolism.
I think all of the evidence in the Taubes book that is so relevant and decisive regarding this debate all goes to showing these fundamental points ? that the body has some very firm opinions about what is the right weight; that the body will use its tools of hunger and metabolic rate to arrive at whatever weight it wants to be; that no amount of willpower can overcome the body’s desire to be a certain weight; that weight loss occurs by changing the body’s mind about what is the right weight, not fighting the body’s will.
“But like the original weight loss information provided by William Banting, even a tiny amount of refined sugar added to the mix (and probably white flour, trans fats, and other garbage as well) makes all the difference in the world because of it’s unique metabolic impact. Banting noted that he would gain 1 pound per week if there were only a few ounces of sugar in his diet.”
Banting also had 4-6 drinks a day and he ate bread and cooked food, which may be the reason he had this tendency to gain weight on sugar. There are other diets, like WaiSays, where people often have to ADD sugar to maintain weight. Wai’s diet is mostly raw fruit, avocados, olive oil, hand-shelled raw nuts, with small amounts of raw fish and raw egg yolks. A diet like that is obviously different than Banting’s diet of cooked food, 4-6 alcoholic drinks, and bread. You have to look at each diet as a whole.
There is nothing inherently fattening in sugar. Try to gain weight by eating pure sugar, dry, by itself. I dare you. Sugar is fattening when it’s mixed with a lot of fat, esp high-PUFA oils, lard, and so forth. It’s very interesting that people on the WaiSays diet often have to add in refined sugar to maintain their weight. This suggests the diet speeds up thyroid function immensely, by eliminating stuff like starches, vegetable oils, alcohol, and other crap. Maybe sugar is fattening in the context of the Western Diet, but it’s not fattening in itself. Change the variables and you change the results.
I’ve posted studies showing that “in the absence of fat”, sugar led to a “reduced feed efficiency” and animals fed sucrose were leaner than animals fed starches or complex carbs. There is nothing uniquely fattening about sugar, unless it’s mixed with other foods like PUFA oils, grains, starches, or dairy products.
Also, mixing several foods together (rat chow) does not have the same effect as a self-selected diet of the same foods. If you let rats select their own diet, they will eat differently during the day than they do at night. They will gain less weight, even while eating the same # of calories and similar ratios of food. So, rat chow is inherently fattening and we can say the same for human food that is similar to rat chow, like junk food and fast food and restaurant food. All this garbage is designed to cause overeating and hunger and addiction. You have read “The Shangri-La Diet by Seth Roberts, right? But you’re ignoring his research and his claim that the relation between sugar and obesity is not simple. Sugars don’t cause obesity when fed to animals dry by themselves. When moistened, they do. Banting doesn’t prove that sugar is fattening, except in the context of his overall diet, which included 4-6 drinks, bread, cooked food, etc.
“If this heck of a lot of food contains lots of fruit, refined carby suff, or too much carby stuff at all, the body gets bigger.”
But others eat lots of fruits and juices and remain thin (fruitarians, Wai Says). It’s not the fruit that made you fat. It was all the other stuff you ate with it. Eat just fruit and see if you lose/gain. Eat all carbs and no fat and see if you lose or gain. You have to look at a diet as a whole. You can’t say that “x makes you fat” or or “z is unhealthy.” They’re only bad in a certain context. You are eating lots of fats, so of course you’ll gain weight from too much carbs. Eating cooked food is also a factor. You can be leaner on raw food than cooked food with a higher carb intake, higher fat intake, higher protein intake, higher calorie intake. Aajonus probably eats 5000-6000 Calories a day and he’s as lean as Matt, who 3000 significantly less. There is no such thing as “fattening food.” You can be lean and healthy while eating massive amounts of any particular food. There’s no such thing as a fattening food that’s equally bad in all contexts.
"But others eat lots of fruits and juices and remain thin (fruitarians, Wai Says). It's not the fruit that made you fat."
we are talking about different things.
I know that one can be thin eaing fruit & vegetable matter.
Moreover, the point I was trying to make is so-called will (as all these folk who like to talk about controlling appeite by saying you need to have a smaller plate or eat less fat, or even eat less carbohydrate) has little to do with being slim.
It is direct physiological (neurological, hormonal, bio-chemical) response.
Certain foods, certain combinations do not appear to work (as in weight loss or keeping slim) for some folk and all the "willing" in the world is not going to do it.
Also, how do you explain the tribe Gary Taubes mentioned that fattened the women on milk? (Presumably raw milk.) You can not eat "unlimited amounts" of fats and carbs without gaining weight. Whole milk is a high-fat (50%) and high-carb (30%) food. If you stuffed yourself with milk, raw or not, you would gain weight fast. It would be impossible to do overeat as much on a zero-carb meat diet.
You're bragging that you can eat all you want, but you eat very little carbs. So, the food is just wasted. I've found some studies that said 25% of the calories on a zero-carb diet were lost in the feces. You're not boosting your thyroid, you're just wasting food. The only way to boost your metabolism is to eat food your body absorbs and uses. The body can't absorb fat past a certain amount in the absence of carbs. It's just wasted (as in feces and urine). So, that doesn't prove that your thyroid is healthy at all. You can have a high body temperature and a slow thyroid or a low body temperature and a fast thyroid. Body temperature is quite variable and don't prove anything about health. Normal body temperatures easily vary from like 95-100F.
Here is a study on pigs showing that 25% of energy is wasted on a zero-carb diet. Excreted in feces. The diet was 85% fat, 15% protein, and 0% carbs. The amount of waste probably goes up as calorie intake increases. This isn't supplying the body energy. It's starvation by another name.
To gain weight, it's necessary to have a combination of fat and carbs. Nobody can gain weight eating white rice by itself, sugar by itself, bread by itself, potato by itself, fruit by itself. Add fats and many will get fat. I don't think you can eat high-fat AND high-carb diet without gaining weight, without exercise and/or calorie restriction. All you have shown is that you can maintain your weight on a very-low-carb diet with high calories. But that's not news. Also, you're young and male, so you can get better results than post-menopause women get or middle aged men get with any diet.
So what if Banting lost weight from not eating sugar? He was still fat based on his weight & height. (BMI 26 = 156 lbs, 65" tall.) He might have lost even more fat by eliminating alcohol and bread. I have seen plenty of thin people who eat soft drinks, ice cream, and other foods loaded with sugar. And Banting may have lost just as quickly eating a high-carb diet, like Joel Fuhrman's.
I dont'care what you eat. If you do not burn more than you use, you will not be able to lose weight. Very-low-carb diet (or zero-carb) doesn't increase thyroid function AFAIK. It seems to waste loads of calories in feces – based on studies with pigs (very similar to humans). You don't digest and utilize all the energy, so you lose or maintain weight, even on high-calories. I see this as starvation by another name. The end result is that you are absorbing less calories, rather than eating less calories.
Matt: “I think [hypoglycemia] can be healed, and that, in fact, avoiding carbs as if they were the plague is a contributing factor to the underlying disorder – a manifestation of low metabolism (low thyroid) primarily.”
It can definitely be healed. Anyone who says it can’t is a defeatist. They just don’t have the right tools to solve the problem. In fact, they are probably on the wrong path, avoiding carbs like the plague, which will never heal them. It is like treating acrophobia by avoiding high places. You will never get over a problem unless you confront it. Craving sugar when you eat honey? You should go about a month eating ONLY sweet foods – like milk, unheated honey, orange juice, boiled carrots, maple syrup…
“Broda Barnes was able to cure it reliably with dessiccated thryoid. His patients were shocked when they ate foods that they “knew” would wipe them out, and then didn’t have the slightest reaction.”
Ray Peat is also a proponent of thyroid supplements, as well as progesterone and other things. But I don’t think they’re necessary for healing. The ideal path to healing is confronting problems head-on, as you and I have found.
“I’ve had reductions in my hypoglycemia as well, and have now been getting into the whole carb-cycling thing. I’ve gotta say. There’s really something to it, as long as you don’t pound lots of fat and carbs together.”
I have totally eliminated hypoglycemia, which I used to get on the Primal Diet. Why should you avoid pounding fat and carbs together? Maybe that is what you need to do to heal. Pounding the RIGHT fats and carbs together will not cause weight gain. I lost 15 pounds on the PD by eating like a cup of raw honey a day and coconut oil, cheese, milk, etc.
“Having a carb meal a few days a week, that’s low fat and low in protein has worked wonders, and when seeing that weight loss gurus like Jay Robb are recommending doing exactly that, it strengthens that idea.”
You really need to confront the problem with sugar IMO. The solution I would try is to eat ONLY sweet foods with sugars – milk, honey, orange juice, carrot juice, maple syrup, beets, and so on. Eliminate meat, eggs, cheese, butter, starch, and vegetables. Drink like half a gallon of milk a day, and get all the rest of your calories from simple sugars. Maybe some extra virgin coconut oil, because of its sweet taste. ONLY sweet foods. I bet you would overcome your sugar cravings with about a month on that diet. Strain fiber from juice if cravings persist. Get rid of all fiber if necessary.
J: "I know that one can be thin eaing fruit & vegetable matter."
Joel Fuhrman's diet is another example. You can definitely be thin and muscular on a mostly-vegan diet. But my point is that those who say "carbs make you fat" or "sugar makes you fat" are wrong. The point is that certain combinations make you fat, like you said below. You could eat a cup of white sugar a day and lose weight, if you ate it by itself without other foods. ("The Shangri-La Diet"). I will be glad to challenge anyone to the following bet. I'll eat 1/2 cup of sugar per day (mixed with water with no other foods). You bet I'll be hungry and gain weight. I bet my appetite is suppressed and I effortlessly maintain/lose weight. Before accepting the bet, you should be familiar with Seth Roberts.
"Moreover, the point I was trying to make is so-called will (as all these folk who like to talk about controlling appeite by saying you need to have a smaller plate or eat less fat, or even eat less carbohydrate) has little to do with being slim."
But there are many ways to control your hunger. Seth Roberts found out drinking pure sugar water (or fructose water) BY ITSELF suppressed his appetite and made him lose weight effortlessly. Pure oils have the same effect or eating with your nose clipped. Thousands of people have confirmed Seth's theory, which is based on breaking the body's conditioning to associate taste with calories.
"Certain foods, certain combinations do not appear to work (as in weight loss or keeping slim) for some folk and all the "willing" in the world is not going to do it."
There are ways around those problems if you think outside the box. Anyone saying sugar and fructose are fattening will be hard-put to explain Seth Roberts who was able to lose weight without hunger using pure sugar water or fructose water. The fact is that sugar and fructose suppress appetite if eaten alone. when mixed with other foods, esp starches, they increase appetite. That's why people are fat from eating doughnuts, fast food, cookies and other garbage. The foods are designed to be addictive and fattening.
I had a look at Jay Robb’s site and one of his articles, which was very good. It’s an interesting idea. What has your experience been with the carb-cycling thing? I also recently read a very old version of the carbohydrate addict’s book, which suggests having one carby meal a day.. do you have any experience of that?
Great header image by the way, but I can’t work our what you are holding.. is it a bag of potatoes? Please put me out of my misery!
“Great header image by the way, but I can’t work our what you are holding.. is it a bag of potatoes? Please put me out of my misery!”
It’s a pig’s head. But you’re right that it looks as much like a bag of potatoes.
Bag of potatoes! That’s awesome!
Excellent commentary everyone.
You hit the nail right on the head. We don’t control things like appetite and metabolism. Appetite and metabolism control us.
You are too sharp for your own good. Yes, anything in isolation can provoke weight loss. My point has always been that if you remove the refined sugar from people’s diets, they are almost destined to lose weight, regardless of what they’re eating otherwise. I’ve seen this over and over again in people who have tried it, and without carb restriction is seems to work even better.
Another one of my points is that the sugar, when eaten in a mixed diet granted, is one of the primary causes of the imbalances that lead to hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, hyperinsulinemia, impaired immunity, hypercortisolemia, hyperuricemia, and other facets of metabolic sydrome. The impact of this is cumulative from generation to generation. It’s a disease of the human race. If we keep eating the same, it will continue to get worse.
I tried the Shangri-La diet because it was one of the wildest-sounding concepts I’ve ever heard. I tried it with unflavored oil, like several tablespoons by itself each day for a couple weeks. It did absolutely nothing. It was a joke. I had a couple of other people try it. They said the same.
But even if it really does work, it is metabolic suicide. Tricking the body into eating less is no better than using willpower to eat less. Eating too much is not the problem that needs to be dealt with. In fact, losing weight via starvation (painfully or painlessly), is way worse than being overweight for overall health. This perhaps explains why Seth Roberts looks, not healthy and vibrant, but like a Fraggle that has survived a nuclear blast -barely. (Ok, he’s not that bad, but how could I resist saying that after it popped into my head?)
Yes, zero carb is a form of starvation. You busted my balls on that pretty good.
The all-sugar thing does work, and I do support your argument. When “cleansing,” eating all raw fruits, juices, and vegetables – I feel crappy for about the first 3 days. My teeth hurt, skin is dry, etc. Then I start to come back to life and feel fine. It is a very important tool. I will use it from now on.
I do see the mistakes I made when I too was drinking 2 quarts of raw milk per day, eating raw honey, and having some fruit — feeling crappy – and then blaming it all on the sugar when it was clearly a combination.
And I got the leanest I’ve been other than via starvation by eating high-carb, high-fat as well during my raw milk phase. But I was exercising furiously. I had done that same amount of exercise in the past and not gotten anywhere near that lean when eating other diets, much lower in fat and overall calories by a long shot. Post-exercise, I did not stay lean though, but that’s a typical post-exercise response. Maybe I should blame this on exercise, not diet. Exercise always makes me put on fat and get puffy afterwards, presumably due to higher cortisol levels.
“Yes, anything in isolation can provoke weight loss. My point has always been that if you remove the refined sugar from people’s diets, they are almost destined to lose weight, regardless of what they’re eating otherwise.”
Because they’re eating lots of processed food with wheat, dairy, etc. They’re not eating dry sugar by itself. Fructose and sucrose are appetite suppressive, unless eaten with other foods (esp starches). I have pointed out studies showing it, and anecdotal evidence supports it as well. Nobody ever got fat by eating dry sugar, unless they were eating a lab chow diet, full of processed food, restaurant food, and mass-produced garbage. On WaiSays, a lot of people have to eat sugar just to maintain their weight, because the rest of the diet is fresh raw food.
The folks you say lost weight by getting rid of sugar are anecdotal evidence. The truth is that many studies have shown a strong negative correlation between body fat and sugar intake. When sugar is the ONLY source of carbs, not just when it’s eaten in isolation, you would not see a relationship at all. If people stopped eating PUFA oils and other garbage, the relationship would also be suppressed. I lost weight by eating more sugar. Where is your explanation for that? When I did the no-fiber diet, I ate white chocolate every day, along with SImply lemonade. I lost 10 pounds in a month and maintained the loss effortlessly. Sugar has nothing to do with obesity. White flour and PUFA oils do. On a paleo diet (which removes many confounding variables), sugar won’t cause obesity IMO. And sugar is not the cause of hypothyroidism. It’s vegetable oils and animal fats with an excess of PUFAs, combined with toxins in the food and/or the environment.
“I’ve seen this over and over again in people who have tried it, and without carb restriction is seems to work even better.”
Because they were eating dairy, grains, potatoes, etc. Show me the people eating a paleo diet (esp raw) who lose or gain weight from adding dry granulated sugar (or fructose) to their diet. The problem is mixing sugar with other foods, which causes the other problems. Nobody could overeat sugar by itself. And mixing food together (chow diet) causes radically different effects than eating the same foods individually in a self-selected diet. Just go to pubmed and search for “self-selected diet” or “self-selection” and you will find dozens of studies on this, showing that the ingredients from rat chow are far less harmful when fed individually and ad-lib, rather than in pre-mixed lab chow diets.
“I tried the Shangri-La diet because it was one of the wildest-sounding concepts I’ve ever heard. I tried it with unflavored oil, like several tablespoons by itself each day for a couple weeks. It did absolutely nothing. It was a joke. I had a couple of other people try it. They said the same.”
The oil may not work for everyone. Also, you might not have used enough. Studies have repeatedly proven that sucrose and fructose -not glucose- suppress appetite if eaten alone by themselves (not added to other food). Without trying the sugar water and fructose water, you don’t know what effect the diet would have. Who has developed diseases of civilization from eating dry white sugar from the bowl? It is mixed with other foods, like cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, coffee, etc. With no other food, the appetite would not be stimulated. Why is it metabolic suicide? If that’s true, low-carb is suicide too, because it works through the same kinds of mechanisms, suppressing appetite the same way (limited variety). The reason a person loses weight on zero-carb is not because the food is more satiating. It’s because they eliminate lots of foods. It would be just as easy to lose weight by eating nothing but eggs or cream or even potatoes. Restricting your diet to just one food group will cause weight loss no matter what that food group is. Potatoes would work as well as meat, 99 times out of 100. To say that sugar does not offer satiety is false. If eaten by itself, in the absence of other food (esp neolithic food), sugar suppresses appetite just as much as a zero-carb diet does. They both work through monotony, not satiety, that lowers the set point. You could lose fat just as quickly by eating potatoes (with no other food) as you could eating fatty beef (with no other food).
Low-carb diets are “tricking the body to eat less.” Whether you actually eat less is irrelevant. You absorb less, esp with zero-carb diets, and animal studies show that very clearly – 25% of calories lost through feces. Those calories don’t make your thyroid faster. Your body just lost them down the toilet. And anecdotal data suggests that other calories are wasted, either by excretion or futile cycles. It is very hard to avoid starving yourself, esp on a zero-carb diet.
“Eating too much is not the problem that needs to be dealt with. In fact, losing weight via starvation (painfully or painlessly), is way worse than being overweight for overall health. This perhaps explains why Seth Roberts looks, not healthy and vibrant, but like a Fraggle that has survived a nuclear blast -barely.”
I agree that he looks unhealthy, but he is eating lots of processed fats, wheat products, etc. Fast food and restaurant food are generally unhealthy, no matter what particular horrors they contain. A diet of mass-produced chow will make us fat, while simple food and simple meals will not. Seth takes massive amounts of flaxseed oil and claims health benefits from it. Nobody eating a good diet will see benefits from flax oil, IMO. Only a person eating restaurant cooking oil or other processed crap will. On a healthy diet without rancid PUFA oils, omega-3s are immune suppressive. The fact he has seen benefits from flax oil shows he is not eating a good diet. He eats SAD and eating less of a bad diet will probably degrade health due to deficiencies even though you lose some weight. However he has made some interesting discoveres. I think the best way to do his diet would be to eat one meal a day with noseclips on. Eat real food, like cottage cheese, or something you don’t like to eat, but you believe is healthy. Maybe a shot of potato vodka would work just as well as refined oils and sugar water.
Matt: “if you remove the refined sugar from people’s diets, they are almost destined to lose weight, regardless of what they’re eating otherwise.”
This is like Charles, saying that if you remove eggs and cheese (from a zero-carb diet), you will lose weight. You are not just removing sugar. You’re removing the combination of sugar and other foods, as in sweetened coffee, ice cream, cookies, dough-nuts, candy, and soft drinks. What I’m saying is that nobody can get fat on one a single ingredient. It’s the mix of things that makes people fat. High-carbs and high-fat, esp sugar and starch, with lots of PUFAs and trans fats. Chow diets are uniquely fattening. It would be hard to get fat if sugar was your only source of carbs, eaten by itself, dry. Just as many people have lost weight by getting rid of wheat and/or dairy as by getting rid of sugar. Elimination diets work not because any food is fattening by itself, but because it’s fattening when combined with other things. Nobody got fat eating white flour by itself, sugar by itself, oil by itself, fruit by itself, meat by itself, potatoes by themselves, etc.
Taubes’s notion that carbs are “uniquely fattening” is patently absurd and false. It’s so easy to disprove that idea. Just remove all carbs from your diet, but dry granulated sugar, and see whether or not you gain weight. It’s not the fat or the carbs that cause obesity – it’s the mix. Certain combinations make us fat, like J said. Not certain macronutrients. Even a bad food is much worse when mixed with a lot of other foods than when eaten alone with no other calories. Lab chow is much worse than the same ingredients given to the animals separately ad-lib. Rats on a self-selection diet spontaneously choose a diet with like 58% carbs, 21% fat, and 21% protein. If another group is fed the same ratios mixed together, their health will be worse than the rat choosing what they want. Chow diets are “less than the sum of their parts”, in other words. You would have more health eating dry sugar, cornstarch, casein, oil, and supplements than an arbitrary mix of those (chow). I think that is highly significant. Choice is healthier than no choice.
Bruce – and I’m saying this in complete curiosity – what do you eat, man?
“It’s not the fat or the carbs that cause obesity – it’s the mix. Certain combinations make us fat”
and for yours truly, high fat, protein and modest carbs work well. For me,this choice of fare has completely eliminated migraines – which, as a neurological malady, (the fat smooths the nervous system) – not because it keeps me slim. Thats just a side effect.
Eating fruits alone, or with vegies (if coupled with fat, say butter) may indeed still fulfill the no-migraine issue, but then increased fibre raises a whole host of other things.
But, back to Matt’s original post, these “trained nutritional experts” who say its all about will – just eat small portions, dont be a glutton, etc – are cocking their leg on the wrong tree, as far as I am concerned.
Rather, it is direct physiological response: the nuerological system, hormones, body chemistry, etc that dictates so-called health and slimness and will is not necessary at all.
As we agree, you can eat barrowloads of certain things or certain combinations and you wont get any fatter
I experiment with different things, like Matt. In general I eat minimal starches, fiber, and PUFAs (including animals like pork and fowl which have an abundance of PUFAs). The small amounts of carbs in my diet are from natural sugars like cream, milk, unheated honey, maple syrup, fresh fruit and strained juices.
“The all-sugar thing does work, and I do support your argument. When “cleansing,” eating all raw fruits, juices, and vegetables – I feel crappy for about the first 3 days. My teeth hurt, skin is dry, etc. Then I start to come back to life and feel fine.”
Why do you eat all raw foods? Maybe it’s better to cook some of the food, even if you are juicing things. The raw dogma is over-rated, IMO. Cooked foods and broths can be as healthy or moreso.
“I do see the mistakes I made when I too was drinking 2 quarts of raw milk per day, eating raw honey, and having some fruit — feeling crappy – and then blaming it all on the sugar when it was clearly a combination.”
What do you mean, mixing those foods was the mistake or other foods you were also eating? Also, maybe it would work better with skim milk. Several of the doctors I have heard about using raw milk to treat diseases said that skim milk worked just as well, and sometimes better than whole milk. Bernarr Macfadden said non-fat dry milk combined with citrus juice was very effective in reversing disease.
Read Charles Sanford Porter, and Bernarr Macfadden’s books on the milk diet. They both said skim milk was sometimes better than whole milk. Another hole in Price’s theory that fat soluble vitamins are the key to reversing disease, and the modern belief that PUFAs are “essential.” These two doctors regularly used raw skim milk or non-fat dry milk with fruit juices to reveres diseases. Any simple diet can do wonders for digestion and health. Eating all-raw is just one option, not the only way or the best necessarily.
J, I used to have visual migraines – not like regular migraines, just some visual disturbance (flickering). I noticed that certain foods, esp high-fiber foods, and high-PUFA foods, were a big factor. As I got rid of those foods, they went away & now occur rarely if at all, more than 90 percent reduction at least. Exercise and artificial light could also bring on the visual migraine symptoms. The only thing to do was to turn off all the lights and sleep in a dark room. Diet is definitely involved in migraines, esp the processed modern rat chow-like diet.
Here are some quotes from Charles Sanford Porter’s book, The Milk Diet as a Remedy for Chronic Disease.
“Milk from Jersey cows may be used, but it should be skimmed after standing two to four hours to reduce the amount of cream.” (p 8)
“Many people anxious to gain weight think they should take all the cream possible. This is a mistake, as the fat in the milk does not normally make flesh in the body. The flesh built up on a milk diet is derived almost entirely from the proteins and carbohydrates, namely: casein, albumin, etc., and milk sugar…”
“The fat in cream has little or nothing to do with the cure of disease. Many of my best cases were cured on skim milk, even separator skim milk.” (p 9)
“Skimmed milk is easier for a weak stomach to digest than full milk. Milk from which the cream has been extracted by a centrifugal separator just after milking, is better for dietetic purposes than ordinary skim milks (except for diabetics) and either is preferable to milk diluted with water.” (p 27)
“A diet of two or three quarts of milk, taken in the forenoon and an evening meal, can be used as long as desired. If cream has risen on the milk, remove it. Do not attempt to mix cream with milk, when drinking milk alone.” (p 47)
Here are some quotes from Bernarr Macfadden’s book, The Miracle of Milk: How to Use the Milk Diet Scientifically at Home.
“There is no finer, richer fat in all the world than the butter fat suspended in infinitesimally small globules in the milk. But never, or at least rarely, will the full fat content of milk be digested and absorbed. The unnatural products resulting from the changes in the fat may produce disturbance through out the digestive tract, and may result in sufficient irritation to produce a diarrhea or nausea and vomiting. For these reasons it is quite frequently necessary to reduce the amount of cream considerably.”
“Average milk, with four per cent of butter fat, yields about 675 calories per quart, at 314 calories to the pound. Skim milk, while equally good as a tissue builder, quite as rich as is whole milk in vital mineral salts, and equally satisfactory as a healing diet, contains much less of calory value…”
“However, it must be remembered that the calory is, after all, only a unit of measurement – nothing that contributes to the nutritive value of the food it measures.”
Unbelievable…zero-carb is not starvation by another name. Physiologically, the body may treat fat metabolism the same as if you are not eating, but all resemblance ends there.
Matt, how can you even begin to believe this, based on your own experience with the FUMP diet? Did you feel the same you did during your starvation experience, either physiologically or psychologically? No, you, by your own words and admission have admitted you did not. If zero-carb is exactly the same as starvation, either physiologically or psychologically (in terms of effects-and “affects”) it stands to reason that it should yield the same results. If it doesn’t yield the same results, obviously it is unlikely that it is the same, or even a form of it.
As I posted before, under the “CBS News Fraud – Jan Kwasniewski” entry, I tried the “white death” diet recommended by pro-bodybuilder Serge Nubret, which is just zero-carb, for a month. As I stated there, I gained around 3.5 pounds of muscle in that month- something one could never do on a diet that is physiologically the same as a starvation diet-if one can, somebody explain the mechanism by which this would occur, and then I will concede zero-carb might possibly be the same as starvation.
Bruce, under the aforementioned thread, you asked for more detailed guidelines to Serge Nubret’s “White Death” diet, and stated that based on your reading you could not confirm that is not zero-carb. Well, nonetheless, it is indeed zero-carb. Under Serge’s original thread at bodybuilding.com, titled “Serge Nubret is up in here” (English is not his first language) is where I first ran across his diet, starting on page 433, as mentioned by a poster named Publican who apparently used the diet in the 80’s. At first it does just sound like a reduction of processed carbs, but that is not the case, as stated by Serge himself on page 437 of that same thread-it is actually an all-meat diet. He stated that many people retain their muscle mass and can lose around 20 pounds of fat in one month while following his lifting routine (which is high volume). The basic guidelines are 1.) Do not eat carbs of any sort. 2.) Eat as much meat as you can (he recommends around 2 grams protein for each pound of body weight.) The only tweaking I did was eating higher fat than he seems to recommend, and slightly lower protein-around 1.5 g per pound.
As for the pig study, I fail to see how it proves anything about humans. Humans and swine are different species; it is true that there are similarities, especially regarding the digestive tract, but the same can be said about humans and the cats. In fact, in anatomy, it is more common to use cats as a comparison and dissection than it is pigs.
Moreover, I cannot gain access to the full study; all I have read is the abstract, so I am not even sure if it was well conducted or well controlled. In addition, just because the swine on the ketogenic diet did not use as much of the food intake as the one on the mixed diet does not mean they were starving, for pete’s sake. The abstract itself states thusly: ” The ketogenic diet caused no detrimental effects on thermogenesis or energy utilization. The results of both criteria could be fully explained by the well accepted ideas of the efficiency of utilization of the energy from fat under balanced nutrition conditions. Overall the results demonstrate that a high fat diet has no regulatory effect on the usually diet-induced thermogenesis.” In other words, there was no lowering of body temperature and uptake of energy. They suggest that this could be explained by the “well accepted ideas” effectiveness of using fat for energy when nutrition is balanced. Note: this implies that using fat for energy is more efficient than energy use under a mixed diet. This also possibly explains why there was more energy loss in the faeces with the ketogenic diet: The pigs on the diet used the energy more efficiently than the ones on the mixed diet so what they did not need they expelled in their faeces in greater quantities. The authors conclude by stating overall a high fat diet (at least for swine) does not effect thermogenisis as other diets usually do.
In sum: there is no way one can conclude from this study that a high fat, zero-carb diet is the same as starvation, based on the observations and conclusions of the study. The faeces output is only part of the picture and highly misleading, besides. As for humans- I almost wish I could claim that the swine study has direct implications for humans, because it would mean that zero-carb has no apparent ill effects on body-tempature (read metabolism), and is a more efficient way to eat.
However, the only real evidence we have regarding zero-carb is anecdotal. This anecdotal evidence does not suggest that zero-carb is the same as starvation, or even a form of starvation because it does not yield the same physiological/psychological results, as demonstrated by It doesn’t quack like starvation, walk like starvation, or look like starvation, so probably isn’t starvation or even a form of starvation.
Dang, I just tried to go back to Serge’s original thread, “Serge Nubret is up in here” over at bodybuilding.com but apparently it is now defunct. Sorry, Bruce.
I will try to find the guidelines regarding his diet over at getbig.com so you can read it there.
Sorry about the double post.
Also, the last two sentences of the last paragraph of my first post should have been, with the amendments in bold:.. as demonstrated by THE ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE. IN OTHER WORDS: It doesn’t quack like starvation, walk like starvation, or look like starvation, so IT probably isn’t starvation or even a form of starvation.
I need to learn to proofread better.
Oh by is my face red…I have to correct what I allegedly proofread: where it says “THE ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE” in the previous post it should be changed to read: “…as demonstrated by ME, MATT AND LONG TERM, THE BEAR.”
Now I better quit before I dig myself in deeper ;).
Nice reply DML
I also don’t quite understand how the zero carb diet could be called a starvation diet. It seems the puzzle of keto-adaption (which Bear calls it) and ketosis is either not solved or just not stated yet. I’d like to see more thoughts on that (from anyone in general of course). How long have you been doing a diet of zero carb, and what have you noticed other then muscle gain? (just curious)
I also noticed it’s crazy easy to gain muscle on high fat and more so maintain it.
The Bear got cancer and heart attack due to his wonderful nutritious diet. If you lose 25% of calories (or more) in feces, that’s starvation by another name. Not a refutation of the laws of thermodynamics but simply a refutation that the body is able to digest and utilize calories 100% on a zero-carb diet. You have not proven that Serge Nubret eats strict zero-carb. The pages I saw describe his White Death diet as no refined sugar or grains. That is not zero-carb. He might eat potatoes, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. I will be surprised if Serge eats like Bear or Charles.
Bear didn’t even eat like Stefansson and the Eskimos ate. He said in his 1st post on Active Low-Carber that he ate 60% fat and 40% protein meat. Not the 75-80% fat that Stefansson said you needed. Bear is more concerned with weight than anything related to health and so is Charles. The loss or gain of a few pounds is the only reason Charles needs to eat a food or to not eat a food. He wastes his time doing low-intensity exercise. If he cuts back on exercise, he loses weight – probably muscle since he’s lean. With a healthy diet and metabolism, you shouldn’t lose muscle without exercise.
Zero-carb is starvation by another name, because calories are wasted in the feces and appetite is suppressed. This results in under-eating and underactive thyroid. The long-term result is that you have to limit fat like Bear does to maintain the same weight. Just because somebody looks healthy now doesn’t prove anything about what will happen in 20 years. Unless you eat huge amounts and/or exercise to work up an appetite, thyroid damage is likely as Matt has pointed out. Let’s see who’s healthier at 75 years old and who’s been afflicted with cancer and heart attacks. Zero-carb is like fasting and nobody has proven that fasting is healthy. Sure, it is a good way to lose weight (and muscle if you don’t exercise). But it’s not the ideal diet for a long life.
“At first it does just sound like a reduction of processed carbs, but that is not the case, as stated by Serge himself on page 437 of that same thread-it is actually an all-meat diet.”
Taking 437 pages to mention that strikes me as suspicious. He should said it from the first page that you eliminate carbs, rather than just saying to eliminate the refined carbs and processed foods.
“He stated that many people retain their muscle mass and can lose around 20 pounds of fat in one month while following his lifting routine (which is high volume).”
You could lose 20 lbs of pounds of fat a month on many other diets, like Anabolic Diet or Cyclic Ketogenic Diet. Few could also gain as much muscle as Serge Nubret on a zero-carb diet, and it’s definitely inefficient compared to than other diets like Duchaine’s Body Opus.
“As for the pig study, I fail to see how it proves anything about humans.”
Pigs are closer to humans than any other species, in terms of anatomy, digestion, and hormones. Pigs are used for thyroid, as Matt mentioned, used by Broda Barnes and others to treat humans. Pig insulin is used for diabetic humans. Cats aren’t much like humans at all. They are not a good experimental model for humans, but pigs are very similar. Losing 25% of the calories is not “more efficient.” It’s a waste of food and money and makes you a lot more likely to suffer hypothyroidism and other problems. Plenty of people who eat carbs are not obese or cold and have no problems using the energy.
Also, Charles has complained of feeling cold in his forum. Sounds like a thyroid deficiency due to his ridiculous diet of muscle meats and pavement pounding. That is the anecdotal evidence that counts.
The Bear eating zero-carb has had cancer and a heart attack. The “World’s Biggest Ego”, Charles Washington, complains that he feels cold a lot. But you tell me the diet is healthy. Yeah, right. Show us a few more “healthy” people, DML.
It is irresponsible to blame the Bear’s cancer and heart attack on his diet while ignoring confounding factors such as his many years in smoke filled clubs.
I think you are mis-interpreting Bear and what he's said; I read a really long board of postings of conversations that the Bear was in and he told a lot of what his diet was and what he did/talked about his life. He's not too strict, such as the way you describe Charles. He explained why he had to get surgery for his heart attack (actually it made sense, too – I mean if he's honest in his words) and that cancer does not have a specific cause..(Though I'm weary about him agreeing with modern medicine). I realize he still takes LSD and shit that makes you 'sure about an idea' (basically; the drug makes you think you're always right in a way). But anyway, I think he said he works out only twice a week, can lift a lot of weight, eats dairy, eggs, and meat but only organs sometimes and I think he said milk was "too carby". Anyway, here's a good one with most of his thoughts:
You could scam through it, but it's awfully long. And there's a lot of repetition, unfortunately, because of the people who kept asking the same questions.
He really is proven quite intelligent (though, narcissistic – and I realize he could be making stuff up or even drawing conclusions..but everyone's opinion should be at least considered, seeing that he has been on this diet for 47 years) after I read the whole board and often I found myself agreeing with his theory of "just enjoy what you eat and live" He has a nice philosophy of life, even though his throat (also, think about all the smoke and weed he probably inhaled) cancer damaged his throat reflexes. I do wish he would discuss possibilities more, like his thoughts on Weston Price and different native groups. Of course just from reading about a man who say he has the perfect diet doesn't make me completely agree with it; but I'm not going to say he's crazy unless I've read his point of view thoroughly. And man, that was a long ass read. Haha.
And I know nothing about the other zero-carb guy – but I don't think he would be comparable to Bear. Zero-carb can be just as varied as carb diets, I think. Just like there's not simply just a "carb-diet" (people who think all carbs are the devil) there's not really a said "zero-carb diet" (people who think no carbs are death). It's just way too general to say either would be terrible for someone, or starve that is.
Bear wrote in his initial post on Active Low Carber that he only eats 60% fat and 40% protein. He used to eat 80% fat, but that seems like too much food. The truth might be that he can’t keep his body fat as low if he eats fatty meat. Bear seems to under-eat, and starves himself, based on what he wrote in that thread. Charles does the same, by burning lots of energy with futile exercise. Neither of them is eating a healthy diet IMO. At least Matt says you should eat all you want and not exercise like a fanatic or worry if your body fat is above 10% – as if having low body fat was innately healthy. Given the fact Charles complains of being cold all the time, he could use more fat. Running long distances isn’t natural.
Both Charles and Bear have admitted lots of health problems if you just read them carefully. Charles is an egotistical ass who thinks everyone is “jealous” of him, because he has a six-pack. So do tons of other people, many of whom eat carbs. So what does that prove? He’s “a narcissist of the highest order”, as many people on Pooti’s blog have said. I would not want to eat a diet that had such an effect on my personality. But maybe Charles was an a$$hole before zero-carb. The people I’m used to dealing with don’t have personal skills like Charles and Anthony Colpo. I believe it’s because they’re eating more naturally than those clowns.
“It is irresponsible to blame the Bear’s cancer and heart attack on his diet while ignoring confounding factors such as his many years in smoke filled clubs.”
It’s more irresponsible to blame obesity and other diseases of civilization on eating carbohydrates, while ignoring the confounding factors like refined sugar, white flour, white rice, vegetable oils, and other things. A healthy diet should protect you from cancer and heart attack IMO, and Matt seems to agree. He’s the one saying his diet is the healthiest of all, but his health is less impressive than many people eating SAD.
“Charles is an egotistical ass who thinks everyone is “jealous” of him, because he has a six-pack.”
perhaps a tad harsh: the chap was a fat boy (very fat), now isn’t. He is no doubt revelling in his new body: like a kid in a candy shop (bad metaphor to describe an ardent zero carber, I know)
Like so many, he obviously wasn’t comfortable in his old skin
"Like so many, he obviously wasn't comfortable in his old skin."
He doesn't seem very comfortable in his new skin. What does having a "six pack" have to do with being healthy? They are not identical. Did the people Weston A. Price studied all have six packs? Nope. They also didn't complain of being cold like Charles does. They waded bare-foot in ice-cold water, during the middle of winter, while Price & his wife shivered in their coats. Who was healthier? It's so ridiculous to define health as being below 10% body fat or whatever. Anthony and Charles are egotistical narcissists with toxic personalities. Charles ought to leave his wife and marry Anthony, so they can admire each other's six packs. He said he'd "rather be dating his wife than married to her." So it seems he is not comfortable in his life.
Bear actually (in the forum he posted in) is a huge supporter of fat. …He doesn’t “exercise off” all his calories or starve himself. He even said that meat basically was made up of a lot of fat, so he suggested around 80% calories from fat, for himself, and for other people. He also did not seem obsessed with staying slim. He doesn’t believe that fat can get stored as fat, so why would he fear it? He certainly is nothing like any western dieter, considering his age and physical condition. I’m assuming you didn’t read any of what he had to say, since a lot of it is really good reasoning, I think. But if you’re going to talk about a person, at least get to know who they really are or learn more of what they said first before you judge. It’s a titbit misleading.
I think that it is unfair to claim that Bruce has not read the Bear’s writings, just as it is unfair of him to conclude that the Bear’s illnesses were due to his diet. Bruce did read them closely enough to realize that Owsley does not recommend 80% fat for himself. From his first post on that oh so very long thread
“My diet is usually 60% fat and 40% protein by calories. I used to eat 80/20 when younger and about twice as much quantity of meat also, but that seems too much energy at my age, which is 71- even though I am very active.”
Owsley also claims in that first post “no carbs = no insulin,” one of his many claims that is patently untrue, no matter how good his reasoning may seem.
For those who think that the body cannot store dietary fat I point you to Lex Rooker’s well documented experiment
where he ate a diet of entirely animal foods (raw meat, raw organs, raw suet and sea salt) starting with a baseline of 68/32 fat/protein and had been a constant weight for 2 years. He increased the fat content to 80% while keeping total calories the same and over time gained weight.
Hey man…it’s still a long thread and worth reading no matter how much you think Bear’s diet is wrong…
Also, the man doing that experiment is not doing Bear’s diet, in which, Bear doesn’t recommend organs or salt, which can play a big part in supposedly effecting insulin levels and fat metabolism. Just because the dude ate fat doesn’t mean the fat got stored, his metabolism could have slowed down, especially if he had controlled eating. And again, if you only read some things about Bear’s ideas, it’s really not fair to call him out or his diet.
I read all of Bear’s thread, Chloe. From the first post, he said HE eats 60% fat, and 40% protein, like Sen noted. This is hypocritical, because he tells others to eat 80/20. The reason he did this is his narcissism, IMO. He is willing to starve himself – eating less or exercising more – to maintain a low body fat. Like other people who put low body fat over heatlh, he has probably destroyed his metabolism and caused health problems and cancer by malnutrition. Charles complains of being cold all the time. That is what happens when you cut your calories too much with eliminating foods, eating less, or doing more exercise. Bear starves himself with lean meat, so he can stay below 10% body fat. Charles does the same thing with an exercise fetish and only eating 2 meals.
Sen, thanks for bringing up Lex Rooker’s experience. The question is what kind of weight he gained. Maybe raw meat digests easier than cooked, so you gain more fat and muscle. Maybe the organ meats caused his gain, like Bear would say. Maybe his body needed the fat, and he was starving himself before with lean meat. The whole idea of judging someone’s health by body weight is a delusion, IMO. You can carry more body fat and be healthy. You can be lean and extremely unhealthy.
“I think that it is unfair to claim that Bruce has not read the Bear’s writings, just as it is unfair of him to conclude that the Bear’s illnesses were due to his diet. Bruce did read them closely enough to realize that Owsley does not recommend 80% fat for himself. From his first post on that oh so very long thread.”
Why’s it unfair to blame his diet? He’s the one claiming to eat “the real human diet” and the healthiest diet possible. He says zero-carb will prevent cancers, heart attacks, etc. I agree with Matt a good diet SHOULD protect against cancer and heart attacks. The Bear is starving himself, just like Charles, to maintain low body fat. The Bear starves with 60% fat and 40% protein. Charles starves by eating just 2 meals a day and burning a lot of calories in meaningless exercise. They both put weight above health. They will eliminate a food if it causes them to be a few pounds heavier. They do not even isolate their variables. By eating meat and cheese, or meat and eggs, they ignore the possibility that the mixture might have caused weight gain. They are also ignoring the issue of what kind of weight they gained. Maybe they needed a little more weight for insulation, lest they complain of being cold.
Chloe, not all organs have carbs. There are no carbs in brain or sweetbreads or lungs or spleen, but the Bear says don’t eat brain very much due to carbs. Where did he get the idea there are carbs in brain? The only common organs that have carbs are tongue, liver, kidney, heart. Bear’s posts were full of errors, like saying “animal fats are 90% saturated.” Most are less than half saturated. Only coconut and palm kernel are 90% SFAs.
Active Low-Carber Forums… The real human diet is a totally carnivorous one.
Bear claims on his website that linoleic acid (a PUFA) is a mono-unsaturated fat. He should have said oleic acid, but that is his level of scholarship.
Bear’s Essay on Diet
The Bear is an evangelist or missionary for zero-carb eating, just like Charles. They will say anything to get people to adopt their religion, whether it’s true or not. They love having sycophants who stroke their massive egos. Converts are the worst bigots. Read the Bear’s posts more carefully, Chloe, and you will see all kinds of contradictions which bring his credibility into doubt.
Bruce, nice reply. I agree it is hypocritical to say one thing and do another. We don’t know if he does starve himself per say; he said he has no appetite and feels he should eat less because of his age. He also does have quite a nice outlook on life, I think.
But I disagree all zero carb diets are the same, that’s all. Kind of like lumping all diets which include carbs into a category, which is not good either. Also, no one really knows what causes cancer.
Totally agree about the weight thing; thought about the same things and agree weight should not be the cursor for diet (plus, more weight could mean muscle). And I had mentioned the same thing about organs, I just think it didn’t get quite across like that. They’re supposedly “carby” haha – which is why I said Bear hadn’t recommended them. But seriously, if anyone is going to take advice about zero carb, it might as well be mostly from Bear since the dude’s been doing it for 47 years. The other guy, Charles, seems obsessive (but I don’t know him or have never really read any of his stuff, so I’m just going by what you say).
I got the impression Bear eats below his appetite, to maintain unnatural low body fat. He eats less fats, and half as much meat as he used to eat. He said that men can’t gain weight above like 12-15% body fat on a zero-carb diet. To get below 12 to 15%, you have to restrict calories by eating less or burning more. This causes metabolic damage probably. Why is he not eating as much fat as he did before? I’d say his body fat started creeping up and the narcissism kicked in. Maybe the body isn’t efficient at using fat when you’re young, but the older you get, the harder it is to stay lean on a high-fat diet. I think Stefansson said the Eskimos gained weight in their old age. Maybe Bear saw this first-hand and slashed both his fat intake and meat intake, while increasing his exercise to lose weight. He has said many times that his body fat is very low (I think he said 6%). You can’t do that while eating pounds of fatty meat a day and doing no exercise. Eventually you’re going to get fat, period. The fact that Bear restricts fat and meat to maintain his weight is very telling.
Bruce, I’d like to think, like you and Matt do, that a good diet should protect against degenerative disease, and the evidence from primitive tribes from the premodern world show that it often can, but as you yourself frequently point out we are not living in the “natural” (your term, not mine) world anymore. Perhaps diet cannot fully protect us in the modern polluted world. Perhaps the diet that the Bear was on for the first 20 years of his life combined with rigors on the road and his frequent drug use and stress was what did him in perhaps his diet did delay the inevitable for many years. Cancer does certainly show up in wild animals, eating their self selected diet in an environment that is as close to natural for them as it can be so while I agree that human cancer is often caused or exacerbated by diet we cannot assume that diet is the only cause.
It is very possible that the addition of some carbohydrates would have prevented Owsley’s health problems, [What else could he do, his diet is already low fiber and low PUFA, right :) ] but for you to say that his diet was absolutely what was at fault is pure, unsupportable speculation.
Sen: “for you to say that his diet was absolutely what was at fault is pure, unsupportable speculation.”
I didn’t say it was absolutely at fault. It is more unsupportable to say that his diet had nothing to do with it. Somebody argued that Bear’s health problems might have been caused by drug abuse and smoky clubs. But many other people used those same drugs and stood in those clubs. Did all of them have throat cancer and heart attack? I don’t think so. If his diet is so wonderful, it should protect him more than someone eating carbs.
Bear’s claims that his problems were not caused by diet are also unsupportable. I read one article where he said his heart attack was due to being fed broccoli, as a kid! Talk about unfounded speculation. That is like AV saying that he developed angina at 15 from pasteurized dairy, and not the refined sugar, white flour, and vegetable oils he was probably eating at the time. Yeah, that is an open-and-shut case that broccoli and pasteurized dairy are the main dietary villains!
“[Owsley] Stanley had a heart attack in recent years, but he blames it on the broccoli and other”poisonous” vegetables his mother used to feed him as a boy.”
Aajonus: ” I developed angina at the age of 15 on pasteurized dairy. Angina is caused by heart-tissue contamination.”
Bruce you wrote “The Bear got cancer and heart attack due to his wonderful nutritious diet.”
If that’s not saying that it was absolutely his diet then I don’t know what is.
Heredity, in the form of the diet of parents and grandparents if not actual genetic information, can certainly be a factor as to why others exposed to the same environmental toxins as the Bear did not succumb to the same illnesses. We really don’t have any statistics on people who spent as much time in smoke filled clubs and did as many drugs as he did. It could be that most people did end up with problems such as Owsley. Nobody has the data to say either way.
Personally, I read the statement regarding broccoli to be hyperbole and exaggeration for he has also admitted to eating a fairly standard high carb diet in his youth, not just a few vegetables.
The Bear’s diet didn’t prevent cancer or heart attack, whereas the high-carb diet in Kitava allows them to smoke every day and not have such afflictions. Hunter S. Thompson probably took more drugs in his life than the Bear and the Grateful Dead and all of their roadies put together. I don’t think he developed cancer or heart disease. He seemed largely immune to the effects of those drugs. I do know that a person exposed to second-hand smoke does not automatically get cancer. Statistics on that are pretty clear.
If you want to blame his disease on drug use, you have to prove how much drugs he took and when, then prove that the drugs cause heart disease or cancer – not just prove correlation, but cause and effect. Otherwise, it’s speculation. Many people use those drugs without having cancer or heart disease. Even poisons like tobacco are far less dangerous if you eat a diet like the people in Kitava.
Who knows what Bear ate in his youth. He has given conflicting statements. At one point, he said his parents did not force him to eat vegetables, and he mostly ate meat. Then he blamed broccoli for having heart disease 40 years after the fact. I don’t think he ever claimed to eat a lot of sugar or vegetable oil growing up, so maybe we can rule them out.
In his long thread he mentioned a high carb childhood/teen years. He claimed to not like candy until his teen years, which implies that he did eat and like candy in his teen years. He also claimed that he learned to eat/like vegetables as a teenager.
I feel no obligation to prove that it was his smoking and drug use that caused his problems. You are the one who has claimed to know the cause of his problems. “The Bear got cancer and heart attack due to his wonderful nutritious diet.” I have just pointed out that there are other alternative *possible* explanations and that none of us are in the position to know for certain what the causes were.
Could a Kitavan eat as the Bear did for the first twenty years of their life and then switch to the native Kitavan diet and be cancer/disease free? I don’t know and I’m fairly certain that you don’t either, so it’s not a truly fair comparison.
Let’s not forget a lot of reports can also put words in peoples mouths and take them out as they please…
Bear basically said he’s the only one he knows out of his friends that is the healthiest and not crippled in some way; that, to him, is significance. He believes that his heart attack was caused by carbohydrates (build up of plaque inside the arterial wall – in the muscle layer) and his doctor had said his throat cancer was probably slowed by his diet (it’s more detailed then that, but the site is not working and so I can’t pull his quote).
And actually, he seems pretty sure that vegetable oils are toxic
“Anyway a graph of the reduction in the consumption of animal fats in the diet is the exact inverse of the rise in breast cancer in women. I believe that animal fats, like butter and suet are essential in maintaining the health of a woman’s breasts which are, after all, mostly animal fat.
Whether it is a requirement for the fat or a reaction to the substitution of vegetable oils, most of which are known to be carcinogenous (like polyunsats and hydrogenated solids–margarine), I can’t say.”
We really have more to agree about with him then disagree about, so I think his heart attack and cancer (which he explained from a medical standpoint) shouldn’t be blamed for his current diet (though it is a possibility, but it’s definitely NOT fact). Especially since most bypass patients go back 2 or 4 times and usually continue to have problems. I do think it’s weird that he drinks coffee and uses artificial sweeteners to make ice cream – I just wonder why he thinks caffeine has no effect on the rest of his system. It’s probably because he goes by how he feels, and if he feels good doing something, he suggests it to other people. He goes by mostly what he’s experienced and experimented with through his 47 years of the diet. I don’t think it’s about dogma with this guy, I just don’t. The guy is not interested in “converting” people and he made that clear on the forum; so hey, there are no doubt good things about his diet that can make sense. And though he doesn’t make any sense sometimes, more times then not I found myself saying, “Hm, yeah, that sure is a good argument.”
So here’s to respecting elder’s and experience no matter how much tripping balls they may be or have been.
Sen, thanks for the Lex-link. Fascinating read.
Obviously it’s possible to gain fat on a ZC-diet while changing the macro-ratio towards more fat. I ask myself, why did it happen? Maybe because GNG is inefficient and more energy is lost on the “low-fat-diet”.
Does anyone have on opinion on Lex? “GNG-theory”?
Lex: “Based on what I’ve observed, I have to believe that some portion of all protein eaten is converted to glucose. Now my speculation is that only certain amino acids are converted and others are not – and then, only if they are not removed from the bloodstream by some other tissue to be used for building or repair, before finally making it to the liver where the conversion would take place. If this is the case it would account for the remarkable consistency of the amount converted, be it 58% or whatever. Of course I have no way of really testing this, but it makes sense to me. A corollary to this would be that the overall percentage of protein converted to glucose would be highly dependent on the source of the protein. The amino acid makeup of meat may be such that 58% of the amino acids are the type that the body can convert to glucose, however, protein from plant sources have wildly varying amino acid profiles and often some of the amino acids are missing altogether so the conversion rate would be completely different for each plant source.”
“Could a Kitavan eat as the Bear did for the first twenty years of their life and then switch to the native Kitavan diet and be cancer/disease free?”
Many studies have taken modern diseased people and put them on a paleo diet like the Kitava diet and their health always improves. Why would you doubt that fact? The Kitavans don’t eat sugar, PUFA oils, or grains. Most will improve from those restrictions alone. Also, heart disease and cancer have been reversed. So either Bear’s diet caused the diseases, or did not allow them to heal due to a lack of nutrients or energy. There are definite ways to reverse heart disease. And I’m not talking about Dean Ornish’s stupid nonsense, but studies showing that high saturated fat and low-PUFAs can reverse artery narrowing, while a high-PUFA diet worsens it. Chris Masterjohn has talked about these in his articles.
Chris Masterjohn Responds to T. Colin Campbell Regarding the China Study
Maybe Bear ate too much PUFAs, relative to saturated fat. Maye simply by eating a high-fat diet, he ate too much PUFAs. He was unable to reverse heart problems in 47 years and they just got worse and worse if you accept his excuse that the problems were present before he changed his diet. Many other people have gotten rid of cancer by diet, so you can’t say it’s impossible, or that you are doomed to heart disease because of eating some candy as a teenager. Millions of people eat candy as teens and don’t have heart disease. Maybe the fact he didn’t start exercising until 55 can explain some of the problems. You can’t expect immunity to disease if your body is stagnant and out of shape for 55 years.
“Maybe the fact he didn’t start exercising until 55 can explain some of the problems. You can’t expect immunity to disease if your body is stagnant and out of shape for 55 years.”
I mean Bear didn’t start lifting weights until 55. He claims to have done dancing and aerobics intermittently, but did not start lifting weights for over 50 years. Dancing and aerobics are not good enough for health IMO. High intensity exercise, like Art De Vany does, separates the men from the boys. Bear seems to have spent most of his life as a “week-end warrior” type of athlete, rather than training at the highest possible intensity. Somebody training regularly at high intensity for a life-time is not going to suffer heart attack. Week-end warriors will.
Forget The Fat-Burn Zone (What’s best for fat burn fitness?)
In Search Of The Ideal Aerobics Routine
Escaping The Fat-Burn Zone (High/Low Intensity Aerobics)
Sprints Build Endurance! (Intensity Trumps Volume)
Intervals For (Almost) Everyone
The Necessity of Intensity
…my mom knows a guy who was told he had bad HDL to LDL cholesterol so he started working out harder (already worked out before) and eating “healthier” – he had a heart attack a month later
Yeah..could have been this guy’s diet(though I doubt it would have been extremely as unhealthful as flour, white sugar and polyunsaturates put together)..but just because some studies say high intensity exercise will prevent heart attacks doesn’t mean it will. I also have a sister who knew someone who ran a ton and got to the point where their heart beat was so slow that it caused them to have problems with blood pressure. So even exercise can be a bad thing, especially too hard, or in excess. Adrenaline! Some people don’t need to have stress like that in their lives, especially if they’re already struggling with repair.
Also, Bear did ballet, which is an extremely challenging sport.
“…my mom knows a guy who was told he had bad HDL to LDL cholesterol so he started working out harder (already worked out before) and eating “healthier” – he had a heart attack a month later.”
Probably the “healthier” diet was filled with grains, PUFAs, and other garbage. I believe in high-intensity exercise, like Clarence Bass and Art De Vany espouse. I doubt this person you mention was doing short high intensity work. Probably just more endurance exercise. Art De Vany is in better shape than 30 year olds and he has the health markers to match it. His exercise routine is the main reason for that IMO. I don’t agree with his diet of lean meat, nuts, fish, olive oil, and so on. But his training is sound.
Most people are eating far too much PUFA oils, which causes more inflammation and stress. Ballet is not as challenging as sprinting, running up stairs, rebounding and other exercises. Short intense burst exercise will rapidly transform the body and improve many health markers. Look at the dramatic results people obtain with high-intensity work-outs, like Cross-Fit and P90X and kettlebells. Amateur ballet is probably a lot less challenging than what Art De Vany does. Bear said he was losing strength and didn’t like how his body looked at 55. So, the ballet didn’t measure up to lifting weights and other high-intensity exercise.
“Many studies have taken modern diseased people and put them on a paleo diet like the Kitava diet and their health always improves. Why would you doubt that fact?”
I don’t doubt this in the slightest, but I do recognize that there can be a difference between improvement and 100% improvement/full cure. Just because you’ve gotten better doesn’t mean that enough damage was done to increase susceptibility to problems down the line. In some people a change such as that may prevent future problems, in others it may only delay them.
By the Bears own reports while on the ZC diet he never ate pork, rarely chicken and fish and never any vegetable oils except macadamia nut. I don’t see where the sources of PUFA’s are coming from. Many other people have reversed cancer through diet, but not everyone who’s tried has done so. Nobody yet fully understands cancer and to say at this point that all cancers are potentially preventable or reversible by diet is unscientific. It’s jumping to a conclusion without enough evidence to do so. His lack of exercise is certainly another possible explanation that is worthy of consideration. (But if that was the causative factor then I’m really screwed.)
yes, so much dietary lore is speculative.
Regardless of which forum one peruses, one hears the same arguments on – say, cancer prevention – which is backed up by research or scientific fact which supports the particular eating protocol: zero carb, low carb, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, partly raw, whatever. And on any of these forums there are always vocal proponents with arguments to support their particular belief.
But of course, belief is coloured by perception, and then we are getting into other territory
My perspective on this is that, for starters, Bear’s diet proves that it is not a panacea. We are all looking for a diet and lifestyle that can fix what we did in the past. Not only us, but our parents, and their parents’ parents. If candy and broccoli (wtf?) did damage, we need a diet that repairs it.
One thing not taken into full consideration in this commentary is the fact that nearly all of us have pitiful inheritance. I can’t even visually count my toes without glasses. My teeth are crooked. My spine is jacked. It is not so much a matter of what foods we eat, but what our bodies do with those foods.
As for Bear, he probably had to cut back on fat because his metabolism slowed down. The slower the metabolism, the more poorly the body burns fatty acids and the higher the content of fats in the blood.
Charles is cold because he, like so many who jump on the uber low-carb bandwagon – particularly that paired with an unreplenished amount of physical activity, has slowed down his metabolism. He eats less now, and exercises more than he did when he was fat. Of course his metabolism has turned down the juice. Unfortunately for him and many others, like Atkins or Eades for example, they think it’s all about insulin and that carbs cause hyperinsulinemia.
That is wrong, and will always be wrong, just as the Kitavans prove or virtually any other group of people eating a healthy, primitive diet who also have excellent inheritance.
In fact, health probably has more to do with the metabolic rate – being able to walk barefoot in icy water like Bruce pointed out, or like other kids Price mentioned who, after school dove into the icy water to snatch lobsters, then built fires and ate them as a late lunch. That is health. We’ve lost that. Can eating zero carb help us restore that? Maybe. It might also be counterproductive, and certainly would be for some.
To get down below a certain level of body fat it requires starvation. Plain and simple. There is no diet that will make you look like a pre-competition bodybuilder without starving you in the process.
With that said, and within the context of this post:
There are many diets that can be utilized to prevent and treat various illnesses. But they do so because they are able to restore health and a state of balance within the body. For some, intense exercise can help. For me, not moving a muscle for 6 months was one of the most healing things I’ve ever done. One is not healthy while the other is unhealthy. Both have applications for certain illnesses. Likewise, even if heart disease could be prevented by exercise (which it can’t fully), that doesn’t mean that lack of exercise causes heart disease (which it doesn’t).
But anecdotal evidence is important, not something to be discounted are discredited. If Bear’s life culminated in heart disease and cancer, there is a reason for it. If his diet did not prevent these ailments, they may not prevent them in others. His diet may not have caused these, but it certainly could have contributed. One thing is for sure… it didn’t cure him.
So when Taubes and others state that carbohydrates cause the majority of all diseases, and someone eats no carbohydrates for 47 years and gets the two most common degenerative diseases, that is important. That is a lesson for everyone.
That’s not to say that I didn’t notice many benefits for eating no carbs for a month. I did. It has an application in overcoming illness, particularly digestive illness, inflammation, addiction, compulsive eating behavior, etc.
But I noticed benefits from eating only carbs for a week in the past. I’ve watched someone have profound systemic benefits from doing a 35-day juice fast (Dr. Schulze).
But one thing is for sure…
Trying to eat less and exercise more to fix yourself, as a primary emphasis to achieve health, is typically counterproductive in the long run. High carb or low carb. High fat or low fat.
could not agree more
And Bruce, I think we’re in a disagree-format agreement, if that makes sense
it’s not “agree to disagree”
no it’s “looks like disagree but is mostly agreement”
Good points. Unrelated question.
So I was reading Starr’s book today – the chapter on enviro toxins. He presents evidence that toxins are bad news for the thyroid and health and that they concentrate in ANIMAL FAT. Id this a concern for someone eating a diet heavy in animal fat?
Matt: “One thing not taken into full consideration in this commentary is the fact that nearly all of us have pitiful inheritance. I can’t even visually count my toes without glasses. My teeth are crooked. My spine is jacked. It is not so much a matter of what foods we eat, but what our bodies do with those foods.”
I have 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/19 in the other eye. I used to wear glasses but gave them up years ago, and improved my vision with dietary change. I can now see better than I could 10 years ago. My vision is sharper and more steady. I did not have cavities as a kid, despite only brushing my teeth rarely with water.
Bear and Charles admit zero-carb isn’t a panacea. They say you can never heal the metabolism. Damage is irreversible. That is their mindset. In contrast, you and I both know that confronting problems head on can potentially reverse them. You can adapt and grow healthier. The reverse of zero-carb might repair the carbohydrate metabolism. Avoiding carbs will not heal the problem. It’s a kludge.
Another big factor in disease is lack of exercise, IMO. We evolved for bursts of intense exercise and light activity like walking, not sitting in one place all of the day. Without exercise, the body will become stagnant and atrophy. The decline is preventable, but inactivity is deeply unhealthy, whether it results in obesity or not. If you get your heart to beat at its maximum speed, you will be stronger, faster, better endurance, mroe resistant to heart attacks, etc. If you don’t push yourself to the limit, the body will get weaker with age. Use it or lose it. Grow or decay. It’s your choice.
Holy shit! Matt! Bruce! They’re adding fiber to splenda! What the fuck! I guess it was obvious that was bound to happen. And that I’ve probably watched too many commercials to know that.
Not only that, but the commercials would have you believe that high fructose corn syrup is natural because it’s “made from corn”, that it’s “nutritionally the same as sugar”, and “fine in moderation.” The same must be true of corn oil. It’s fine in moderation. Afterall, everyone in the past was soaking the corn in enzymes, to convert the starch to pure glucose, then adding granulated fructose to that. Corn oil is also made from corn, so I suppose that is natural too. Nevermind that we’d have to eat a dozen ears of corn to have as much fat as a tablespoon of corn oil. It’s still a natural diet. LOL.
I agree that DeVany has good ideas on exercise. Here’s a news story for support – high intensity short duration exercise improves diabetes . http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7852987.stm
Clarence Bass has also written a lot in favor of high-intensity, short exercise. He has even found studies showing it is safe and beneficial for old people after heart failure (75-year-old average). One study compared a high-intensity exercise protocol to more moderate exercise, with walking on an uphill treadmill. The high intensity group did four 4-minute sets @ 90-95% of max heart rate with 3 minutes of active recovery between the sets. The moderate intensity group exercised at 70-75% of max heart rate for 47 minutes. Only one person died in the study – and it was in the moderate intensity group! The interval training group improved in every area of fitness dramatically more than the moderate exercise group and the control group. Other studies have showed rapid reversal of metabolic syndrome by interval training. Bass also points out that Dr. Arthur Agatson has incorporated interval training into his new book, The South Beach Diet Supercharged.
Intervals For (almost) Everyone
The most effective protocol for interval training was developed by Izumi Tabata – 20 seconds at maximum intensity, with 10 seconds of active recovery, repeated for 8-10 bouts until exhaustion. Doing that every 2-3 days will shred your body fast if combined with a sound diet. But only people in excellent shape should do the Tabata protocol. Others should start out with longer recovery times (2-4 minutes at least), to gain fitness.
“even if heart disease could be prevented by exercise (which it can’t fully), that doesn’t mean that lack of exercise causes heart disease (which it doesn’t).” (Matt)
We don’t know that exercise can or can’t prevent heart disease. Maybe the highest intensity exercise possible will prevent heart disease, like “jumping as high and as long as you can.” That is the kind of brutal exercise that Art DeVany does. If you train like that, you can get a great work-out done in less than 10 minutes. I exercised like that and lost weight even while eating high-fat and high-carb. You can rapidly transform your fitness level and body composition. Most people aren’t pushing their limits like that. They are doing light exercise at a leisurely pace like jogging or swimming or biking. They don’t train like their lives depended on it, like a life-or-death struggle with a wild animal, or running from an erupting volcano, or swimming like you were being chased by a shark. That’s what separates people like Art DeVany and Clarence Bass from 95% of the fitness world. They work out like it was life-or-death hanging in the balance, not fun-and-games.
I think its relevant to this thread that many crossfit style workouts are called “metabolic” workouts. The point isn’t to burn calories. Its to have an effect on the endocrine system.
Exactly. How many calories you burn from exercise is irrelevant. How fast you can burn them is what makes you fit. Burning 300 Calories in 10 minutes will do a lot more good than burning 600 calories in a hour, because it’s 3 times harder. I got started doing interval training about 12 years ago, based on Clarence Bass’s site and articles. The claim (by Taubes) that exercise is no good for weight loss only applies to moderate and/or low intensity exercise. Many studies have shown weight loss from interval training, without any change in diet. With improved diet, hard exercise can chisel your physique within weeks or months, as many people on Cross Fit or P90X programs can attest. Anybody who doubts this should read the studies by Tabata and Tremblay.
_As you might expect, the total energy cost of the ET program was substantially greater than the HIIT program. The researchers calculated that the ET group burned more than twice as many calories while exercising than the HIIT program. But (surprise, surprise) skinfold measurements showed that the HIIT group lost more subcutaneous fat. “Moreover,” reported the researchers, “when the difference in the total energy cost of the program was taken into account…, the subcutaneous fat loss was ninefold greater in the HIIT program than in the ET program.” In short, the HIIT group got 9 times more fat-loss benefit for every calorie burned exercising._
HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training.
ET = Endurance Training
Yet another place we, agree, Bruce, is in the need for high-intensity exercise vs. low-intensity, prolonged events.
I think it’s interesting that you mention DeVany, Bruce, as your dietary advice looks quite a bit like his, though he probably consumes more fiber than you’d prefer and avoids dairy, Still, if memory serves, he tends to eat mostly red meat and shellfish and not too much poultry or pork.
I’d be interested in hearing your opinion on his concept of intermittent fasting. If the past is any indication, you won’t hold back from telling us how you really feel.
Also, serious question: What do you do for a living? You seem to find the time to post quite frequently here and elsewhere.
Art DeVany does eat some dairy, but he’s big on randomness: eating different food every day. He’s not a fanatic. He eats a little cheese. Based on this article by reporter Bryan Appleyard, DeVany may eat grains every now and then. When you work out like Art, your digestion is probably more efficient all around.
Evolutionary Fitness: the diet that really works
Art eats more PUFAs than I do from olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, and seafood. He’s afraid of saturated fat. His skin’s wrinkled, because of his high-PUFA diet, combined with lots of sunbathing and the fact he lives in the desert. His diet is not right for a desert environment, IMO. He also eats a lot of vegetables: celery and asparagus and so forth.
Bryan says that Art sometimes eats four pork chops for breakfast. Here’s a clip from YouTube of Bryan talking about the Stone Age Diet and DeVany.
The Stone Age Diet
Intermittent fasting is risky. For some, it might be very beneficial. For others, it might be very bad. I’ve heard from a lot of people who developed hypothyroid and other problems from IF. Some of the people might have eaten lots of refined sugars, flours, PUFA oils, rancid foods, and so on. Some might have caused a lot of stress through high-volume exercise, combined with fasting. The way Art does it is probably best – randomly skipping meals and varying the calorie intake by varying his foods. He doesn’t put a lot of stress on his body by doing hours of exercise a day. He does high intensity, short, and random exercises.
Is it just me? Or does high short bolts of exercise sound kind of fun…like flashback on childhood here. The classic mimicry games of predator and prey…yes?
I find that interesting to say the least.
Yes it does sound like play. Devany and others such as Sisson definitely give an evolutionary rationale for their short fast exercise prescription and often use the play of kids or animals as an example of what exercise should be like. The idea is that exercise stress in a natural environment would likely have been short and acute, not long and chronic. These are two totally different events from the perspective of the endocrine system, the former causing a nice release of HGH and adrenaline and the latter causing too much cortisol. And they recommend that workouts be fun creative and random in nature. I should also point out that both Devany and Sisson recommend, in addition to the highly stressful intermittent activities, long periods of very low level activity, e.g. walking. The place to stay away from is the middle zone, what Sisson calls, “chronic cardio.”
Walking and playing are two totally therapeutic things
Where as, running or endurance work is kind of a fake therapy, because of the addictive qualities of the happy brain chemicals- it’s like the difference between either giving someone a drug when their depressed or making them laugh.
I had to give up intense exercise at 19 when I developed hardcore exercise-induced asthma. I can do some in the tropics, but certainly not in January in Colorado.
I have known many fitness freaks that dropped dead of heart attacks at a young age. Someone brought this up in a dinner conversation the other day. Granted, these were endurance athletes, which seems certainly more debilitating. Overall, I’ve got to go with Broda Barnes on that one…
?As one grows older it is prudent to gradually reduce one’s work as well as exercise. If playing a strenuous game of tennis appeals to you, that is your privilege; however you should give it up when you are made weary by it unless you want to do some heart damage. One should exercise for pleasure, but dismiss the idea that it will prolong life? Stress is the greatest accelerator of atherosclerosis, have respect for it.
Oh, and on the topic of toxins in meat…
Personally, I feel that poor excretion of toxic matter is a bigger concern. Yes, toxins can disrupt endocrine function, but I think this is a theory of those who don’t understand how detrimental refined foods, alone, can contribute to the degeneration process.
Some also believe fats to be more capable of removing toxic matter that’s already stored up.
Matt: “I had to give up intense exercise at 19 when I developed hardcore exercise-induced asthma. I can do some in the tropics, but certainly not in January in Colorado.”
You can perform high-intensity exercise indoors, like running up the stairs and walking down a dozen times, jumping as high as you can for as long as you can, sprinting in place, kettlebell swings, rope climbing, and other things.
Pavel Tsatsouline, I think, mentioned a person who had transformed their house into an obstacle course, with ropes and walls to climb. So just going upstairs to the bathroom or something they would have to climb a rope. Their kid was in phenomenal shape from that exercise, of course. Pavel recommends very different exercise routines than Art DeVany, like repeating exercises throughout the day. He says that “strength is a skill.” So, you squeeze off a few pull-ups here and there, always stopping before failure. You do as many pull-ups or push-ups (or whatever) as you can in a day, never to failure. That kind of exercise does not build large bulky muscles. It builds a Bruce Lee type of physique, that’s rock hard but very lean and wiry.
Broda Barnes: ?As one grows older it is prudent to gradually reduce one’s work as well as exercise. If playing a strenuous game of tennis appeals to you, that is your privilege; however you should give it up when you are made weary by it unless you want to do some heart damage. One should exercise for pleasure, but dismiss the idea that it will prolong life? Stress is the greatest accelerator of atherosclerosis, have respect for it.
You will grow old if you reduce activity with age. High-intensity sprint athletes and strength athletes (like shot put and javelin throwers) stay in shape longer than endurance athletes. Sports are less ideal than spontaneous bursts of effort, like running up 10 flights of stairs, or rebounding, or plyometrics. You want to avoid chronic stress, like running more than a mile, marathons, triathlons, and other nonsense. That stuff is a waste of time unless you plan to compete in those events. Short bursts are better. Burning 300 Calories in 10-15 minutes is better than burning 600 calories in an hour. It will provoke stronger adaptations.
Todd: “I should also point out that both Devany and Sisson recommend, in addition to the highly stressful intermittent activities, long periods of very low level activity, e.g. walking.”
Active sitting is another good option. I suggest a stability ball or a one legged balance stool (like Swopper, Sitness 20, or Via Muvman). These require balance so they give you constant light exercise by balancing and fidgeting.
Also, using the right shoes can increase your fitness. Mark Sisson wears Vibram’s Five Fingers, which are like flat ballet slippers with more protection. Pavel Tsatsouline and many other body-builders suggest thin flat shoes, like Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Stars. MBT footwear are more expensive, but they create the feel of walking on sand. (They have a natural instability, so you have to balance and use more stabilizer muscles). Another I have heard of is Vivo Barefoot. Ordinary shoes are unhealthy, IMO, due to having padding or arch support or a hard bottom that interferes with balance.
“I have 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/19 in the other eye. I used to wear glasses but gave them up years ago, and improved my vision with dietary change.”
What was your vision when you gave up your glasses? Most likely your vision wasn’t that impaired to begin with. For most people with myopia it’s not possible to just give up their glasses (regardless how sound their diet might have become) because they couldn’t work/drive/etc. .
Do you think myopia is always reversible with a sound diet?
“What was your vision when you gave up your glasses? Most likely your vision wasn’t that impaired to begin with.”
I should clarify. My eyes were 20/20 and 20/19 the last time I had them tested (a decade or more ago). My eyes are sharper and more steady now, from elimination of PUFAs and fiber. I think eye glasses and contacts are a crutch that weakens eyes. Many people see their vision get sharper by changing diet, even if the eye tests show no improvement. My advice would be to reduce the use of glasses/contacts as much as possible and pay close attention to the effects of food on vision. I find PUFAs and fiber are detrimental. They’ll consistently cause unsteady eyes and/or blurred vision. Organic raspberries will have this effect, while a glass of juice doesn’t. Isolate your variables. Eat one food at a time, then 2-food combos, then 3-food combos, etc. Lots of people don’t isolate their variables and they fail to identify the cause of a problem.
Many people (like Mercola) claim to have improved their vision with Bates Method, or natural exercises to strengthen their eyes. You probably can’t reverse serious problems resulting from eye deformities, but I think you can improve your ability to work without corrective lenses.
I was perscribed contacts/glasses when I was 13 or 14 and then I just stopped wearing them randomly. When I went back to the eye doctor around age 16, he said my eyes were supposed to get worse but they hadn’t. I think glasses and contacts do weaken your ability to correct vision. I was also into fast food up until 15 or so, then I became a vegetarian and I thought that was why my eyes were better, haha. After the fruit thing and what I’m eating now I can read better from far away I’m pretty sure. But maybe it is only the fact that the glasses and “crutches” are eliminated so that the eyes can heal by themselves. They’re perscribed way too early, I think – I never complained about eye sight till the doctor told me I had to have contacts. I don’t remember my vision but it was barely off, and the contacts were making it worse until I stopped using them. I don’t know if they improved since or are still the same. Both of my sisters need contacts and glasses; my mom needs them to read, and my dad wears them to read/see. One of my sisters can’t see anything without them, and she’s been wearing them the longest (age 19) and always had them in as far as I can remember.
Matt, Andy must have rejected your final post to his blog, where you say that you don’t agree to disagree. Or did you only send that to him privately?
He rejected it, which is what inspired me to post that long-winded reply here instead of having it just be a waste of my time.
Same goes for the “Gerry” response.
Thanks for posting this conversation. I'm beginning to feel like I found this place at just the right time. Just this a.m. I was looking into the new weight watchers plan called Momentum, just to see what it was (not thatI was considering it,because I hold Weight Watchers responsible for about 75% of my current health problems–a high price to pay for the three months of being thin that I achieved on the plan.) If possible it is even more screwed up than their past high fiber, low fat nonsense. Now they've eliminated the "flex points" option (which was that you could basically any food you wanted including full fat dairy etc. as long as you stayed within the points range). the reason I quit Weight watchers wasthat I was on an unending plateau, my digestion was completely screwed up and their answer was to eat more fiber and less fat! Now with their Momentum plan they've eliminated the option of eating anything with fat in favor of the so-called "filling foods" high in fiber and water. They don't address sugar at all, really. You do have to use points for fruit,but since they are so few you can still basically eat fruit all day long. Sugar is only a problem in the calories it adds so a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee (oh and weight watchers loves coffee since it keeps you going when you have no energy from doing their crappy diet) only costs you half a point. So you can eat sugar and fruit and fill up on fiber all day long and those whose metabolisms aren't already broken by the plan will be in no time.
If calories in and calroies out were all their were to it, I would have lost all my goal weight and then some YEARS ago. It's such a lie. Thanks for holding these people's feet to the fire, Sensei.