As we go further down the rabbit hole of exploring the potential advantages of a diet that displaces more fat with more carbohydrate, it’s a good time to bring up Staffan Lindeberg and the 70% carbohydrate/20% fat diet of the Kitavans.
While ironically drinking 6 quarts of milk per day, I read Paleo author Staffan Lindeberg’s 2010 release – Food and Western Disease. Although this book is too expensive for most to purchase, and is about as boring as health and nutrition information could ever possibly be presented, it did have a few gems of very interesting thought.
Lindeberg is most famous for his work on the Kitavans – a tropical area in Papua New Guinea where the islanders reach old age completely free of heart disease, most cancers, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other various forms of “Western Disease.” Their great health is shared by many high-carbohydrate cultures the world over – something documented repeatedly by Hugh Trowell, Denis Burkitt, T.L. Cleave, and other great 20th century health and nutrition scholars.
Anyway, following is a video on Lindeberg, high-carbohydrate diets, etc. with some intriguing quotes following – all taken from Lindeberg’s latest book.
Lindeberg, Staffan. Food and Western Disease. Wiley-Blackwell: West Sussex, UK, 2010.
?In migrant studies, a couple of years after transition to an urbanized lifestyle, virtually everyone has higher blood pressure and blood sugar than non-migrants of the same ethnic origin. The fact that virtually all Westerners will develop pronounced atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries of the heart with age, while other free-living mammals apparently go free of this problem is not often discussed today.
?The long primate history of fruit eating, the high activity of human salivary amylase for efficient starch digestion and some other features of human mouth physiology, as well as the absence of Western disease among starch-eating traditional populations suggest that humans are well prepared for a high carbohydrate intake from non-grain food sources. Although restriction of all types of carbohydrates may provide some benefit for subjects with type 2 diabetes, it seems unlikely that dietary carbohydrate is a primary cause of Western disease.
?In order to increase the caloric yield per workload, root vegetables may often have been an optimal dietary choice. An illustrative example is the Machiguenga tribe of the Amazon, among whom one woman can dig up enough root vegetables in one hour to feed 25 adults for one day. The excellent health status among this and other starch-eating ethnic groups, including our own study population in Papua New Guinea, contradicts the popular notion that such foods are a cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
?The dominant trans fatty acid in margarines and oils is elaidic acid, while trans-vaccenic acid dominates the fat in ruminants.
p. 58 Table 4.1 Percentage of deceased men in USA and Uganda, 1951-1956 with signs of previous myocardial infarction at autopsy?
age 40-49 17% vs. 0%
age 50-59 26% vs. .5%
age 60-69 33% vs. 0%
age 70-79 33% vs. 0%
80+ 22% vs. 0%
p. 116 ? on Kitavans
?It is obvious from our investigations that lack of food is an unknown concept, and that the surplus of fruits and vegetables regularly rots or is eaten by dogs.
?A satiating diet, i.e. one that satisfies the appetite with a lower amount of calories, is a crucial factor in preventing and treating obesity in the population. A Paleolithic diet in this sense appears to be particularly satiating, although this has not been systematically investigated. In our study of a Paleolithic diet, the reported energy intake was 25% lower in the Paleolithic group than in the Consensus despite no difference in satiation as reported by the participants.
?Previously, secular trends of increased body height in the 20th century have been attributed exclusively to improved nutrition, in particular increased protein intake and less famine. This was called into question already in the 1960’s by Ziegler, who showed that the increase in the population’s height in England, Japan, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, USA and New Zealand was strongly correlated to increased sucrose consumption, but not to protein intake. Even observations among Canadian Eskimos point in the same direction. For a 30-year period, body height increased by 4.6 cm among men and 2.9cm among women, while the onset of puberty moved down 2.0 years. During the same period, there was a sevenfold increase in sucrose consumption, while protein intake diminished by 60%.
?In animal trials, refraction changes in the direction of myopia appeared with a diet rich in sucrose and low in protein, which was shown in rabbits and rats.
?The cattle-herding Masai of East Africa should be mentioned in particular. During their traditional nomadic life, the intake of saturated fat from milk has been very high, and they also suffered from significant coronary atherosclerosis, although raised plaques were rare. Despite this, researchers noted a very low serum cholesterol level (3.5 +- .9mmol/L) that did not rise with age. It has been suggested that this would be due to an increased ability to suppress cholesterol synthesis in the liver. However, after urbanization the serum cholesterol levels rose to 5.2 +- 1.2 mmol/L. The usual hypothesis that this may be due to differences in physical activity is doubtful, since men traditionally stop acting as warriors around the age of 25, and later their wives do most of the daily work.
?In order to reduce the intake of phytochemicals, our staple food should preferably not be seeds, grains and beans, and should vary between different types of vegetables and root vegetables.
?Aboriginal populations, who do not consume foods that humans are not adapted for, have a disease panorama that is quite different from people in the Western world. Yet, this is not due to a lack of older persons. Myocardial infarctions, sudden cardiac death from stroke and heart failure are uncommon or missing altogether in aboriginal peoples. The risk factor levels are also very beneficial. Blood pressure is low and does not increase with age as it does for us. Being overweight is not common, and everyone is very thin. Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance do not seem to be present either.
The concept of normality is turned on its head with these types of comparisons. A normal, middle-aged European, with average levels of body weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar has an average risk of dying of a heart attack. While this is ?normal? in Europe, we did not find any such cases in our Papua New Guinea study and no one died of a heart attack. We believe that his is due in large part to dietary habits, although the role of other lifestyle factors need to be addressed as well.
When traditional ethnic groups switch to a Western lifestyle, they suffer from exactly the same ills as we do, including abdominal obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The spread of stroke after urbanization in Africa and Papua New Guinea is only one of several noticeable examples.
?Our diet begins to make its marks on us early in life. Today’s young people are becoming unnaturally tall and most girls are having their first menstruation before they are mentally mature enough to become mothers. Nearsightedness and acne are common occurrences. There is a lot to suggest that these health problems, similar to the most common forms of cancer in the West, are related to our current dietary habits. The mechanisms seem to be solely related to insulin resistance, a disorder that supposedly develops very early in the lives of Westerners.
Really digging your content Matt. Keep it coming.
I just finished reading "Good Calorie Bad Calorie" by Gary Taubes. I was left with the feeling that fruit and all carbs are the devil. I ate low carb for a week and felt like crap! I'm very interested in your high carb diet. Would you mind sharing what you've been eating at each meal? Have your temps changed much?
Btw, I like your haircut =)
This was a great post to setup a question about the merit of 'tubers' over grains. The Kitavans seem to thrive on a diet where the majority of their carbohydrates came from some sort of yam. Is there any reason to think people can not thrive and be healthy when the majority of their carbohydrates come, instead, from (whole) grains ? As you quoted, the author here does not seem to be in favor of consuming large quantities of whole grains or legumes.
Being Swedish myself, I'm so filled with patriotic pride! Way to go Staffan!!!!
More importantly, I hope that his work will be able to help me heal. I'm definitely struggling….Thank you as always Matt for doing the hard, time- consuming work of sifting through this literature for us who are too sick or too busy to do so ourselves…
It's great to hear that high carb was used by the healthy Kitavans so successfully. (Incredible how low their blood sugars were too, it seems we can't get to those levels no matter how hard we try.) It really helps in my personal resolve to stay high carb.
I tried rice the other day for the first time in 3 years, and felt that I prefer root vegetables, primarily from a taste perspective. On top of that, I don't have to soak root veggies either. Saves energy…well needed right now as I'm trying to rest but find myself doing endless dishes, cooking, soaking, grinding etc. over and over….lol…
It's definitely a challenge though to eat as much as I do, rest/loaf, and seeing myself gain weight. It's so contrary to what we're used to interpreting as going in the right direction. But I'm sticking with it. I can only hope that we're still able to heal despite having lived life mostly on refined foods.
On another note, I think Weston A. Price also considered an increase in heigh as a really bad sign. I think he said that it was a sign of poor nutrition of the parents, and that it meant the hips got more narrow, and upper palate narrow and high.
I agree that there seems to be no one magic nutrient ratio, but that the key is quality unrefined, whole foods. And that feels kind of liberating to me, that I don't have to become neurotic and measure everything I eat, but rather can stick to what's natural foods.
I like the "low carb dark ages" concept. lol.
Mike, nice new hair cut btw too. :)
I mean Matt, sorry, I like YOUR hair cut. I'm dyslexic….can I use that as an excuse?
Anyways, I think the reason the author recommends against whole grains, is due to their "phytochemicals" ie the content of phytic-acid in all grains, nuts and seeds. Those are difficult to digest and can interfere with nutrient uptake. Most of them can be neutralized through soaking and fermenting like in sourdough bread etc. But that takes time and effort.
He writes "In order to reduce the intake of phytochemicals, our staple food should preferably not be seeds, grains and beans,"
I think that's what he means, so that we avoid the phytic acid.
Very timely post. I posted this question to JT in a comment on your last post (congrats on almost 300 comments!) and I think it's appropriate to ask you as well. I have been eating close to the Kitavin ratio's for the past couple of days and I feel good (I'm probably closer to 60-20-20). My question lies in white rice vs yams/sweet potatoes. As I'm working on leaning out, I am trying to eat the most nutrient dense food out there to maximize the calories that I do eat. I tend to think that sweet potatoes are nutritionally superior (calorie for calorie) to white rice (jasmine rice is my choice) and therefore I have been trying to eat more of them as opposed to rice. Your last post has also led me to eating more fruit, probably 4-6 pieces a day. By the way, your face looks like it has thinned out since your last video. Keep up the good work, your continuous re-evaluation of nutrition is very intriguing and helps me a lot.
Follow-up here after listening to the end of your video. I am following IF with a 6-8 hour eating window. I'm trying not to weigh and measure everything and just real food to satiety. Some days I end up not eating much food, say 1,500 calories, but I'm not worried because I feel that as long as I get enough protein (~1g/kg of lean bodyweight) and do some weight lifting during the week, I shouldn't be losing muscle. I'm hoping that the high carb intake will be protein sparing and allow any energy needs to be met by body fat (especially during the fasting period). Do you think my logic makes sense in regards to the protein/lifting and muscle loss thoughts? This world of thinking is a breath of fresh air after doing low-carb paleo. I don't miss all the extra fats. Thanks as always.
You should definitely have no problem losing muscle if you strength train and eat a decent amount of protein. Trying to gain muscle may require a slightly different strategy.
Why are you not eating white potatoes? They are full of vitamins and minerals and are literally one of the most satiating foods there is. I also find that they keep blood sugar from crashing. I eat a minimum of 5 lbs everyday. Before the potato famine in Ireland, potatoes were the preferred food almost living solely on them. Because of the surplus there was a boom in the population that had not been equaled. Producing "… the strongest men and the most beautiful women perhaps in the British dominions, are said to be the greater part of them from the lowest rank of people in Ireland, who are generally fed with this root. No food can afford a more decisive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution."
I think that white rice is ok as it is not stripped and refined as much as white wheat flour, but tubers are where its at!
Hey Matt –
I love learning new things with you. It seems like you are always a 1/2-step ahead of me, but I like feeling like we're in line with things.
I want to mention something that I don't see a lot of people talking about in terms of what's better, low-fat, high-fat, high protein, etc., and that's following the seasons, depending on where one lives of course. Seeing as we're both in Colorado, (although you are admittedly high in elevation than I) we experience all 4 seasons.
I think each of these eating plans have their place to ensure health and vitality: but it's all about when.
In the summer, lower-fat/highest-sugar-carb and greens with low to moderate proteins needs is an awesome-awesome way to eat and maintain health throughout the hot days of the year. Like the Harley/Freelea post and your own comments here today that: "hey it's summer! – there's plenty of carbs around" reveals the intuitive nature of this.
Likewise in the fall/winter, when carbs fall away, our bodies naturally want the denser starches, fats and proteins. We retains more water for insulation, just as water freezes below the surface to retain and support life.
In the spring, the first things to grow are bitter greens, astringent and diuretic, berries etc. all to pull out the excesses in the body stored over the winter.
So there might be something to consider… each of these diets work, just only for about 3-4 months each, again depending on what's going on outside.
what do you think?
Again, I'm happy to see you carb-munching :)
Lindeberg is an interesting guy.
I have just now looked at the study "Age Relations of cardiovascular risk factors in a traditional Melanesian society: the Kitava Study" published in Am Jour Nutr 1997 by Staffan Lindeboeg et al.
Table 1 shows that the average consumption of CHO by a Kitavan is 370 gms per day and amounts to 69% of intake as noted in Table 2.
Table 1 also shows the average consumption of fruit by a Kitavan is 400 gms and the CHO content is 50 gms. The FRUCTOSE component of the average diet is low, about 25 gms per day.
I hypothesize that Kitavans retain an undamaged metabolism from youth as a result of not eating a damaging amount of fructose and eating it as fruit with all the accompanying fiber and micronutrients. In addition, the rest of the CHO is good quality food taken from the trees and gardens – it too containing fiber and micronutrients.
They do not eat 30 bananas which have ripened in some hold while being shipped from Central America!
A (Kitavan) apple a day keeps the doctor away —— and the cardiologist and the diabetologist.
Oops, when I said:
"Likewise in the fall/winter, when carbs fall away,"
I meant to say water/sugar rich fruits and veg. Not "carbs" — this is where starches are king!
I'm definitely not looking to gain muscle, just the strength of my current muscle. I'd guess my LBM is around 170 lbs at 6'0" and I'd be thrilled to stay there while weighing 180. Strength to bodyweight ratios are what I like.
I generally prefer sweet potatoes over white. I do think (may be misguided) that sweet potatoes are more nutrient dense but overall I eat more of them because I think they are tastier. Baked sweet potato mashed with ground beef and cinnamon = excellence. I have been trying to eat more potatoes over white rice because I feel it is just a better quality choice. I'm waiting to see if JT can prove me wrong on that one. I think he said he eats >50% of his daily intake in white rice.
I think that carbs are just as important if not more in winter as in the summer. Game is generally harder to find in the winter as opposed to summer.
Many populations consumed an abundance of their starches in the "winter"/dry season as they needed a reliable source of food to survive on. This is why tubers and grains were important, because they are store-able, providing reliable food year round.
Atherosclerosis of Maasai is mentioned, but they do not seem to have heart disease or symptoms. How do we know the Kitavans don't also have atherosclerosis?
We should also discuss the coconut and fish content. It's narrowminded to consider only tubers and say everything good about the Kitavans is due to them…
Hey Riles –
that's why I corrected myself —
"Oops, when I said: 'Likewise in the fall/winter, when carbs fall away,' I meant to say water/sugar rich fruits and veg. Not "carbs" — this is where stored starches are king!" i.e. carbs like root vegetables, (some appropriate grains if you do them) and all the rest of the autumn harvest, etc. become helpful.
I absolutely agree with you… I meant that greens and fruits as found in summer are not available.
The kitavans cannot be eating the same type of tubers as we have available (white and sweet potatoes), or their sugar consumption would be higher.
Anyone who's ever traveled to a tropical country (including the close ones) will find many non sweet and more watery (less dense) starches…
There seems to be an endless variety of tubers, etc. but not in our all American groceries.
Then there is the use of unripe, starchy fruit such as platanos/bananas. How 'bout those green mangoes they sell on the street in Costa Rica….not so sweet.
Maybe we should start foraging at some of the larger ethnic markets. The variety of produce is vastly. different.
Of course, this just disprove Dougie's theory that we are mainly attracted to sweets.
Maybe I'd do well w some of those ethnic ground vegies since white (especially) potatoes give me a bloated, aching belly.
"…the surplus of fruits and vegetables regularly rots or is eaten by dogs."
Well, this lends more evidence to the theory that dogs can live off vegan food. ;)
@Coconut Mama: I did a few weeks on low-carb and, yeah, it made me feel terrible. Great at first, then terrible. This was before I read my (very heavy) copy of GCBC, so when I read it I was very skeptical and left feeling a bit unsatisfied. I still think it's a great book for some issues (i.e. saturated fat, cholesterol, overfeeding, etc.), but it definitely leaves one with a low-carb-is-the-one-true-answer feeling when so many of us here know it's not from personal experience.
Lindsay, I think what you said has some truth to it. Before out of season food was imported, people had to eat what was available at that time. (just read any of the Little House on the Prairie books…)
Matt, I've noticed that you are so much more "polite" on your videos than your writing. Not that you're rude at all- I am ALWAYS laughing when I read some of things you come up with. In fact, in your revised metabolism book, I busted out laughing when you snuck in something about Mary Kate and Ashley- my husband cannot stand those twins' movies and I was so not expecting that example! One of the reasons I got sucked in here is because I just never know what you're gonna say, and since we grew up in the same era, I can so relate! (loved the karate kid comments a few posts down)
Matt, I want to reiterate that I love you for doing the boring research for us! And, when we say things like "I can't do this, it's not working", you don't tell us how we're doing it all wrong and just not trying hard enough (80-10-10). You dig deeper and listen to the experiences of others.
Of course, for those looking for "THE ANSWER", it makes life harder when you keep learning more… I mean flip-flopping about everything (at least according to the paleosphere)!
Anneatheart said: Matt, I've noticed that you are so much more "polite" on your videos than your writing
You're experiencing his in person persona he talks about:
Matt said: "I also have a natural tendency, in person, to be the comforter – putting my own feelings aside to make sure everyone else is happy and comfortable."
In his writing he gets to be the ferocious, fierce, outspoken, and courageous person he is attracted to. I think if it was just audio it could be a little more edgy but the camera lookin at him holds back the beast.
And doesn't his hair look great, oh gawd!
Matt, good direction to go in. I really appreciate it. It's good to see that there's a group of people who have gone ahead of us and proven it's effectiveness in creating and maintaining good health. If the diet's benefits are from high carb, low fat, or low protein, it doesn't matter. But maybe it's because of all three!
Do the Kitavans eat their protein raw? And someone said about them eating coconut. Do they separate out the oil and add that to their diet?
I've been eating several fruit smoothies made with a banana, berries, coconut oil, and coconut water a day, along with an ever increasing amount of potatoes to which I add olive oil, vinegar and lime juice. Yesterday I started to add in 2 ounces of raw beef(I have a hard time with protein, so I try to take it the least damaged way). Today I felt terrible for several hours and got a little scared, but it was just because my body was cleaning out some stuff. At this point I am wondering if dairy is the devil? And, is anyone else using olive oil?
If you eat 2000 calories/day, 10% from fat would be 200 calories from fat, or about 20 grams, 2 TBS, is that right? What percentages is everyone doing, if you don't mind my asking. I don't know if I get up to 2000 calories, I just hate measuring and counting. I think when my brain feels better it will be easier to do that.
@Matt: Your Potachos look good. Just for the record, do you say po-tah-chos, or do you say po-tay-chos?
As far as yams and sweet potatoes, if you have a hard time with beta carotene or estrogen dominance, white potatoes would be a better choice.
As for low carb, I never got so sick so fast as the last time I tried it.
Potatoes are the greatest food. When I was toxic with uric acid, I couldn't even eat one potato without getting a huge migraine.
You can have uric acid deposits in your intestines (when you think of it, that's where most uric acid makes it's first strike, along with a lot of other precipitating factors such as salt, cold drinks, mercury, iron) so potatoes can cause digestive upsets til the deposits are decreased.
I propose a homefries cookoff. I'm off right now to check out Matt's video on the basics.
Happy trails, everyone.
PS: It feels like a breath of fresh air to leave the raw vegan fireworks behind. It was good to look that devil(I don't mean Freelea) in the eye, though. It's great that there were so many people here who had tried it for such a length of time and could give their testimony.
Hey Riles. How do you eat potatoes with low fat? Do you simply salt them or do you use a bit of butter but not drown them the way I do with butter and sour cream.
Mark, I really don't think it matters much if you chose rice, sweet potatoes, or white potatoes for your carb source. If you were going to exclude everything else from you diet it may make a difference, but if you are eating a variety of other things with it, it wont matter. Billions of people live on diets of mostly white rice and are healthy.
There is probably no such thing as a universally "healthy" food. Find out what works best for you. Some people have difficulty digesting sweet potatoes, so it is not healthy for them.
Good post Matt. I'm curious to learn more about low-fat diets. Most of my meals have been quite heavy and it is nice during the warm months to eat foods that are lighter.
Speaking of rice, what are all of your thoughts on Stephan's article about the traditional asian diet?
He seems to believe that white rice has not in fact been a big part of the diet until this century, when health began to decrease. I've just started to incorporate more white rice into my diet and enjoy it, although I'm curious just how long asian cultures have been consuming it as a staple.
@White rice: There are a few articles about traditional diets at the Weston A Price foundation site. I know the one about Japan talks about white rice being a Japanese tradition.
Off Topic: If anyone needs a smile, get yourself to a James Taylor/Carole King concert!
Yes, I generally just boil them in water, then I season them with sea salt sometimes black pepper. I always eat them with protein (generally beef) so it is much akin to a shepherd's pie but pretty low fat.
I sort of agree with Stephen's post but I think that as long as white rice is supplemented with other wholesome foods, it should be fine.
betsy, in your opinion do you think it's possible i healed my low cortisol on the HED but am now experiencing high cortisol?
a couple years back i had all the high cortisol symptoms when i experienced massive weight gain….then i think i was all drained out to low cortisol……now after a lot of healing across the board with HED i'm again having problems falling asleep and have a few new striation bits on the belly
i can't afford the saliva tests right away and i'm confused yet enlightened by everything you've posted lately. where can i find further info?
Wondering about this carb/sugar/starch gray area: corn syrup. Not HFCS that has been chemically and physically manipulated for unnatural sweetness, but the kind that comes in a Karo bottle. The ingredients say only corn syrup, vanilla and salt. When I Wiki-ed it, it says that this form of corn syrup is 100% glucose.
So is having some corn syrup in a pie (coconut crust, not white flour of course) comparable to eating an ear of two of corn, or several potatoes? Or does the processing it takes to make the corn into syrup turn it into a Frankenstein? I wonder.
Something that occurred to me recently is that the problems with high-carbohydrate diets, in modern societies at least, may not have to do with the carbs but the iron that they add to them. Both Eades and Ray Peat have pointed out that iron is a dangerous oxidative metal. I also suspect that it is more dangerous in the from that they enrich flour and cornmeal with, than what you'd be getting by eating meat, which is packaged up in a special "heme" protein, I believe. This may also account for the benefits people experience by avoiding the "gluten" carbs.
Cereal is by far the worst offender in terms of unprotected iron. In almost any cereal, they add WAY more iron than you'd even get in enriched flour products. Could this be why there was seemingly toxic effects of cereal on rats in the trial that the WAPF has mentioned?
I know there's a ton of things to worry about in the way of food additives, but the case against iron seems to be pretty significant. It apparently can block absorption of copper and destroy vitamins in the bloodstream. Here's Ray Peat's article: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/iron-dangers.shtml .
I think it would take many ears of corn. Karo is extremely sweet. It is sugar, of course.
I grew up in the south and karo was in every pantry….along w Crisco!! ( I laughed when reading Sally Fallons statements about lard being used….that was a hell of a long time ago).
I think going low fat is really not that healthy. I feel that way about very high fat, as well.
Matt, when you were doing FUMP, I was experimenting w trying to eat 80-90% fat. You know, kind of that JK, fat slurping plan except w/o the starch.
It was impossible…at least for me. I had heartburn like crazy and felt like a greaseball.
But, when I followed low fat, I was also not healthy and felt crappy. And we are talking whole food, organic whole food!!
I think that fat is important and 50 ish% seems to be where I fall naturally.
It would be interesting to see what a day in the life of kitavan looks like. It is not possible to accomplish the same results w/o knowing exactly what they eat.
Other than coconut, it's probably food we've never encountered….and I am not thinking at all that they extracted coconut oil……
Thanks for this. This may seem like a silly question, but if a person is real active, has caloric needs of say 3500 per day and eats 4500 calories of 80% starch, mostly fruits, and then 10, 10, wouldn't that person add roughly 2 lbs a week of fat on their body? Or is there something else going on here behind the scenes that allows a person to eat beyond his calorie needs with the 80-10-10 and still stay lean?
@jem: I'm sure you're right about them not extracting the coconut oil. I found the study online and it said they did no extracting.
Also, I made a mistake in calculating fat at 10%, they ate about 20%. My brain is not working right today, somebody correct me if I'm still wrong.
While searching online for Lindeberg I found complaints about potatoes; just wondering now if white potatoes are a good choice. I may try to make it to a not too far away Asian market and look for Chinese yams; anyone try Chinese yams?
@Crazy Mother: I don't like to say I don't know, but I don't know enough about HED to be able to figure that out for you. I bet Matt would be able to, especially if you gave him a little more detail such as how long you did HED, if you're still doing it, and are you under a lot of stress.
You can read about traditional diets at http://www.westonaprice.org, if that's what you were interested in. I also have found a lot of helpful information in some books about uric acid by Alexander Haig on books.google.com. He says that insomnia is caused by poor circulation, which is caused by too much uric acid in the blood.
One of the most interesting things I learned from reading his books is why my body would go through changes at different times of the year, mainly at the change of seasons. He also explains why different foods, changes in barometric pressure, different time of day, different time of month(if you are female), different amounts of salt, different amounts of protein,etc.,
cause symptoms to seemingly appear out of nowhere. Also, it seems as though the adrenals, because they sit on the kidneys, are greatly affected by uric acid because the kidneys are greatly affected by uric acid. That's why I so excited about the Kitavan diet. They were okay on small amounts of protein. I hope I don't seem to be rambling,I started this too late in the evening because I watched Top Chef.
De novo lipogenesis – the process of turning carbohydrates into fat is not very common process in the human body like it is in animals. That is way the common Low-carb saying "they fatten pigs/cows with carbs" is not really relevant. This is especially the case for starches as they are able to be broken down and utilized as cellular energy more steadily. Sugars are much more likely to be turned into fat as they do not need to be broken down like starches.
When a person eats over there maintenance levels and glycogen stores are full, excess can converted to fats. Carbs have around a 30% energy conversion loss when converting to fat. Say once again it is not a very efficient process if it does occur.
PUFA's… turn to fat more readily, not carbs…
Half Navajo, do you mean omega-6's or PUFA's in general? I know that omega-3's are often consumed for their fat burning ability. I even abused them myself for awhile, LOL!
Interesting comment about " Today’s young people are becoming unnaturally tall" as I have noticed some of the unhealthiest people I have ever seen seem to be freakishly tall and skinny with bad teeth…… It is weird that a modern diet would cause a growth spurt, is it to do with hormones in the environment today?
"De novo lipogenesis – the process of turning carbohydrates into fat is not very common process in the human body like it is in animals. That is way the common Low-carb saying "they fatten pigs/cows with carbs" is not really relevant. This is especially the case for starches as they are able to be broken down and utilized as cellular energy more steadily. Sugars are much more likely to be turned into fat as they do not need to be broken down like starches."
I think this explanation is BS and has nothing to do with reality. Sugar does not make you fat. Especially when it comes from fruit. In an experiment diabetis could be prevented by feedig animals sucrose instead of starch.
Those of my friends who are eating most "unhealthy" i.e. lots of sugar snacks, coke, juices, ice cream are the thinnest and most active whereas the pasta and pizza eaters are the fattest.
Another interesting study…
"When animals were fed an otherwise balanced diet lacking vitamin D, with the addition of either 68% sucrose or 68% starch, the bones of those on the starch diet failed to develop normally… However, the bones of those on the diet with sucrose developed properly…"
"As far as yams and sweet potatoes, if you have a hard time with beta carotene or estrogen dominance, white potatoes would be a better choice. "
Could you please go into detail about that. This sounds very much like something that could be relevant to me.
(sorry, a bit off-topic)
Matt Stone: Sorry for not understanding completely what's your current opinion on what's optimal diet for most of people…
I would to ask you Matt what do you think of this kind of diet:
Semi-high calorie (2500-3000kcal a day I think), most calories coming from butter, smetana (a dairy product with 20% fat) and potatoes. About 45-70% of daily energy comes from fats, and the rest from potatoes and some meat and some onions, carrots, small quantities of ice cream (with no veg fats).
That's what I eat. Is it a problem to combine high fat and high starch? How would you correct my diet?
I am definitely NOT saying that sugar makes you fat. All I am saying is that in a positive caloric balance sugar in certain situations, is more likely to be synthesized into fatty acids as seen in this study.
'Human fatty acid synthesis is reduced after the substitution of dietary starch for sugar'
It's weird how complicated it is figuring out what we should eat. I've been experimenting for years, and still don't know what my body truly craves.
When I was a raw and fruity low fat vegan, I had the best digestion, energy to spare until a huge crash happened down the road, problems with hair, skin, and teeth.
When I was a very low carber, I had the clearest and softest skin of my life, steady energy levels, never felt that blood sugar crash, but my digestion was a mess, and I couldn't hike or swim without feeling wobbly.
I tried zero carb for a while, which I very much enjoyed, my digestion was perfect – dumping the carbs seemed to straighten that out, but again, taking my kids on a hiking and camping trip left me an angry and tired mess.
I'm on HED now – keeping my Omega-6 levels low low low, eating plenty of starches like sweet taters, fats, and proteins. No refined sugars, no processed foods. I wrestle with blood sugar issues after eating starch. I've been getting headaches. And my skin is a bit of an acne-coated mess. I do have energy to spare, though, and that feels good.
I don't know if detox is a real thing. I'm chalking the zits up to detox. But maybe it's the food.
So now I'm thinking of goin' Kitivan and dropping the fats from my menu. That scares me a bit; when I eat fat, my body feels happy, I can feel everything relax and smile after a heavy fat meal, as if my body is thanking me.
What the hell are we supposed to eat? Seriously, why is it such a conundrum? Why does it seem that there is so little margin for error in our diet?
I also wonder about that whole species-specific diet idea. The crows in my backyard know what they want. The cat next door chases every living critter. These animals know what they want. They hunt, or scavenge, they have deep instinct that tells them what to eat. On one hand, it makes sense that each individual would need their own specific diet due to their genetics, their past. But on the other hand I wonder: Why wouldn't humans have a species-specific diet? And why is it so damn hard to figure out what that is?
@Riles: I also don't think it would be an issue if combined with other good foods. It seems like a fairly neutral carbohydrate source, less optimal than tubers but better than wheat.
@Jannis: I'm not against sugar, but I think one thing to take into a account is that people who eat lots of sweets are often malnourished and so crave sugar for quick energy. If they are chronically eating low calorie diets and eating lots of sugary foods instead of typical meals, they may still be lean. But I do not think it is inherently fattening.
The body can crave sugar when it isn't balanced, but I do think it's possible to consume it without any issues if the body is fine. I've been able to tolerate it better and better over the past few months. I'm starting to get the feeling that this is really what's going on, the imbalance (whatever is causing it) is causing the sugar consumption, which is then getting blamed for the imbalance, when it is really just a symptom of it.
I think a proper comparison really needs to look at pure sucrose vs. pure starch, like the study that you mentioned, Jannis.
Maybe it's because us humans went through so many environmental changes that we are not adapted to anything perfectly. To simplify a bit, first it was Africa which was high-carb, later ice ages which were low-carb, next agriculture with grains etc., and to finish it off, industrial revolution with some very fast and unnatural changes.
So we still have some genes that were selected for the ice ages, some from agricultural period… so no diet can be perfect, or better said, every diet has its own positives. But even in that case there still must be a diet that has the most net positives and I agree we must look for it. :)
I also think we might be epigenetically programmed to survive on what our recent ancestors ate… like the Dutch famine study, where people whose parents went through starvation periods were more prone to diabetes and heart disease. I don't think it's that simple to just say Kitavans ate this or that, so we should also… as their genes are "programmed" differently from ours. Still, no good in being programmed for starvation or SAD I guess, or it might be we can influence this in our lifetimes, for example by eating well.
@madmuhh, http://www.sensiblehealth.com has the best information about estrogen dominance that I've seen. I read somewhere else that if you are hypothyroid you can't convert beta carotene to vit a.
I think the point is that there is actually a very wide margin of error for a human diet. I think if you did low carb for a while without a lot of exercise, you would probably be fine. If you did high carb, low fat (which I did for years) you would be OK provided you got enough calories (which I did not, probably because my fat was too low). Nothing did as much damage to my health and metabolism than doing endurance sports on a calorie deficit. It didn't really matter what I ate, I think. I just didn't eat enough of it.
There are points of agreement here:
eat clean: keep away from processed food, (refined flour, sugar especially), and vegetable oils.
eat enough: make sure you get enough calories in a day, no matter what your mac, rat nuts or whether you are fasting or doing other stuff to manipulate your weight.
completely eliminating an entire macro nutrient is a dead end strategy that leads to short term gains at long term costs. I think it's pretty stupid that people coming here expecting a quick fix after years of eating SAD usually followed by more years of one kind of screwed up diet or another that has trashed their health. Healing takes time, especially when you don't really give yourself a full chance to heal. How many milk dieters spent the month in bed, not even reading books? Um, exactly zero.
In Ancel Keys study it took most of his subjects more than a year to recover from their starvation period. The people who have been here the longest have made tweaks and adjustments in their diet because they are maybe finally able to hear their bodies true desires after years of neglect. I found myself this spring suddenly craving salads. This summer it has been fruit. Some of it is natural rhythms of what is in season in my area, some it is that after an orgy of fat, protein and heavy starch, I just want something lighter in the warmer months.
Jenny, this is exactly what I found after eating disorder recovery. And it took well over a year for my metabolism to recover (which my nutritionist said is what happens – it takes at least a year). I had a few relapses, which slowed things for sure. But over time I tuned into my body, and that's how I eat now. I eat non-processed foods, but I go with my cravings and appetite. WAPF helped me stop being afraid of fats, and HED finally helped me stop being afraid of carbs, and carbs+fat. The book French Women Don't Get Fat helped, too, actually-the concepts of balance and eating for pleasure, without guilt. I feel like my metabolism is pretty much 100% healed now. But, it's been 4 years since the beginning of my recovery-a long road.
Oh, and I limited my overeating in recovery, which I think in some ways was actually a good thing. Other than the first month or so of initial recovery, I didn't go hog wild with food and tried to moderate, not restrict in any way but also not stuff myself. My weight never ballooned because of this (it went up quickly, but not more than around 10 lbs-mostly all in a month), but my recovery probably took longer also because of it. A trade-off, maybe, but I think not getting fat was helpful mentally.
Lots of good stuff here, but one thought: when did it become a "popular notion" that carbs cause obesity and other diseases? That may be popular on a certain segment of blogs, but as far as I know from talking to regular people, the "popular notion" (the one believed by the general population) is still that fat is fattening, period.
I also wonder: how similar is a Kitavan sweet potato to the typical sweet potato in an American grocery store, which was probably grown in California or Mexico and fertilized with chemical NPK fertilizers, sprayed with herbicides and insecticides, and treated or irradiated to help preserve it in shipping? Is it even possible to duplicate a traditional diet without growing all the food yourself? If an underlying cause of disease is a lack or imbalance of nutrients in foods, then it's not surprising that Americans would have trouble finding a diet that 'works' and can be assembled from foods that are commonly available for purchase.
My definition of what is popular is quite simple: has my mom heard of it. Yep, my mom has told me that I will get fat eating carbs. So yeah, it's out there in the main stream for sure and has been since a lot earlier than you might think. (I've seen carb bashing going back to the 1930s in old movies).
My tip for eating potatoes without too much fat: Sauces! The possibilities are endless. I usually go with some coconut milk or tomato juice + butter as the base, add some stock, herbs, spices, salt. That way you can easily regulate the amount of fat you put in and it's also a good way to get all your potatoes covered with some "flavour".
Hey, props to Aaron for recognizing NPK. Your points are right on. I think of NPK as the flip-side of fats/carbs/protein. All we need to grow healthy crops is the right balance of NPK plus some micronutrients. All we need to grow healthy people is fats/carbs/protein plus some micronutrients.
Reductionist science is good but it's inherently limited, and in a field like nutrition, very much so. Sustainable agriculture (sustag) is very much about nutrient cycles and soil fertility. That's a major selling point. You're right that our foods are becoming ever more deficient of nutrients. I think Stephen Guyenet at wholehealthsource has written on this. Even worse, the way most of our foods are grown/raised, the nutrients that are there are usually totally out of whack.
Toss in concepts that most people aren't even clued into: damaged fats, PUFA ratios, nutrient deficiency. Man, no wonder it's tough to eat right, considering that eating is such a social activity.
I bet everyone on here struggles with how to control their nutrition and yet not isolate themselves from society.
Wanna eat at a restaurant? Here's some fatty dipping sauce (made entirely with damaged soybean oil). Oops, you want to eat healthy? Here's some low-fat ranch dressing (made entirely with damaged soybean oil). I'm just like, what's the difference?
Dang, ok, struck a nerve there. I guess I wouldn't be on this blog if I didn't have these thoughts.
Man that sucks…I ate poorly as a kid and I didn't get tall. Only 5'7".
All I got was acne and had to wear glasses.
Well, sorry this has to do with the previous blog post… but I figured that it would be noticed on this one more readily.
Why is it that some endurance athletes are really "flabby", but Freelee and her crew are not? I think someone here posted something about a woman who is a personal trainer that was training for a marathon or something and thought she might lose some fat in the process (she ate 2000-2500 calories each day), but didn't (she just looked flabby, like I said. She fixed this with lifting weights and circuit or interval training, I believe). Freelee lost 28 pounds, and is anything but flabby… and it sounds like she does a lot of endurance exercise. Do you think the flabby woman just made the mistake of undereating, thus leading to the demise of her muscle mass? I'm just very curious about this…
katerina: I think a lot of endurance athletes loose muscle mass when they exercise for more than an hour at a crack, which depletes the body's entire store of glycogen and starts to eat into muscle. They also will loose some fat doing this, but the majority will be muscle. Of course endurance exercise also builds muscle too just at a slower rate than weight lifting. The amount of flab on an distance runner will depend on how much they eat (it's really easy to over do it on the post run meal) and what their weight was to begin with. Most of the distance runners I know have some fat that they can't shift. And yes, it's possible to get rid of this fat by increasing muscle mass. The problem is to try to increase muscle mass and still do your endurance sport. It's really hard. In my last season of trail running, I smoked back so many body builder type guys you wouldn't believe it. They were bigger and stronger, but just couldn't hack runs much over 5 miles, I found.
By the way, all the really good distance runners I knew were very lean, but not muscular. And most runners who are serious now train doing some weights or something to deliberately try to build muscle to counteract the wasting effects.
Those of my friends who are eating most "unhealthy" i.e. lots of sugar snacks, coke, juices, ice cream are the thinnest and most active whereas the pasta and pizza eaters are the fattest.
It's more complicated than that. For roughly seven years, I ate tons of pasta and pizza AND sugar snacks and juices, had horrible lifestyle habits (including almost never exercising, getting virtually no sun, and frequently staying up past 4 AM), and still remained incorrigibly thin (in fact, I went from skinny to even skinnier over those years). Of course, my health suffered in many ways during this time. But I would say my experience demolishes just about anyone's pet generalization about causes weight gain.
Riles (and all 180 potato heads),
With all the potatoes you eat, I'm curious whether you notice any popping or clicking sounds from your joints when bending your knees, going up stairs, doing push-ups, etc.
Nightshade vegetables like potatoes and tomatoes can cause this by inducing calcification of connective tissues and other soft tissue. This was a major issue for me back in the days when I ate spaghetti with tomato sauce every day. At several points, I tried to get a daily routine of push-ups going, but stopped because I was freaked out by all the popping noises my body made. Recently, this had ceased to be an issue after I deliberately cut out all nightshades from my diet, but now that I've reintroduced potatoes, my knees are clicking and popping again when I bend them or go up stairs.
Just curious what others' experiences are and whether anyone has stumbled upon anything (other than nightshade avoidance) that seems to counteract this.
Curiously enough my knees do pop and click a little bit, but they have done it my entire life and I never really ate potatoes in my early life.
I have never had really good flexibility or free from all knee pain(i have abused my knees in the past so they may never be perfect).
But, I have noticed improvement in all my joints going ultra low in pufa's(I'm talking under 5g a day) in the last few months. I can easily tell because of all the weight lifting I do.
When I started my potato heavy diet I was eating about the same amount (5lbs), but I was eating them with the skins. I sometimes had digestive problems. Now, I remove the skins and everything is great. So I don't know what to tell ya.
Hey Mike Jones,
If you're worried about nightshades, then just peel your potatoes (that's where the saponins are) and eat ripe red tomatoes (the saponin content is very little when compared to green tomatoes). Also I would question the possible influence of overall inflammation if you were eating lots of pasta, as opposed to placing the blame on the tomato sauce. Obviously these statements won't work for everyone but it's a place to start.
Riles and Mike, do you eat meat, fish, or dairy with your potatoes?
The protein sources that I eat 95% of the time are very lean ground beef sirloin that I get from my butcher and egg whites. I normally consume 50grams of protein from which ever source I am eating from.
Occasionally I will eat chicken breast or some other cut of beef.
I always eat some form of "meat" with my taters.
"The amount of flab on an distance runner will depend on how much they eat (it's really easy to over do it on the post run meal) and what their weight was to begin with."
Freelee was 28 pounds heavier, and assumably, most of that was fat. She eats A TON of food. I don't think she thinks there is such a thing as "overdoing" the post workout meal. She never restricts her caloric intake, yet she dropped 28 lbs. of fat. How the hell is this possible?? Perhaps Ray Peat is on target with the notion that fruit is extremely efficient at raising the metabolism?
I'd love to know what the body temps and hormonal (thyroid, adrenal, etc.) profiles are of all those low-fat raw vegans… do they exhibit signs of a healthy, high metabolism? That holy grail we're all searching for here?
The trouble with a low fat (starch based) diet is it is tasteless – which isn't a problem for some (super tasters perhaps) but it is for me. Masses of white rice/potatoes with low fat would make me miserable – a bit of egg white or low fat beef is just not going to do it for me. One of the things I like about Matt is he seems to enjoy his food – and cooking. I really could not live happily on a low fat body building (lean protein) diet like you do Riles – I suppose my taste buds mean more to me than muscle building! I wonder what the Kitavans food tasted like? I wonder how they prepared their food. I would imagine their sweet potatoes tasted much better than ours which are too sweet tasting for me.
@Katerina…that was me.
Her name is Rachel Cosgrove and her husband is Alwyn Cosgrove, who is one of the biggest names in the training game, so I would think that her nutrition was impeccable.
Keep in mind that when you train for endurance activities and thus your primary fuel source is fat, your body will preferentially store fat. That is the primary fuel being used so it only makes sense that the body would try to store fat over other fuel sources such as glycogen. If you were taking a long car trip across the desert, it would make sense to fill a few cans with gasoline rather than filling your trunk with coal, LOL!
Maybe Freelee's body is messed up and NOT storing the preferred fuel for long-duration activity. Also people have different body types and she may be be predisposed to a leaner physique. I have a friend that when he is NOT working out, he probably weighs about 220-240 and pretty muscular. When he trains he goes about 260 or 270 and he is just muscular and huge. It's all genetics. It's hard to answer something like that from a picture on the internet and a few posts though. We could make lots of assumptions about her but they would all be just careless guesses without knowing more about her.
@dinosaur, Tim Cahill who is a travel writer/expeditionist (also used to be editor of Rolling Stone) wrote that he had stopped for a rest and was eating with some natives in a rainforest or someplace like that. He gave them some rice and one of the men cried because he had never eaten anything that tasted so good in all of his life. Maybe the Kitavan's diet didn't taste so good either, LOL!
Freelee has a low body fat and flat stomach because she's an endurance athlete. She also happens to maintain a low body weight at 120 pounds. She thinks she's 14% bodyfat but I think she's below 3% bodyfat. If someone even with 3% bodyfat you would still carry 4 pounds of fat. Your body would likely only burn 1 pound of fat at most for an endurance event. You body doesn't attempt to hold on to more fat when you do more endurance. It's just the opposite. You increase your lean body mass and so your body burns more fat. Endurance runners can store twice as much glycogen as well. You can only put on so much muscle (lean body mass) as an endurance runner so unless you put on more muscle through weights and sprinting if you weigh more you may appear to carry more body fat.
After eating the way I have for such a long amount of time, I don't really pay attention to "great tasting" meals. I pretty much eat for function not flavor.
Now, thats not to say I don't enjoy nicely prepared well tasting meals. I cook for my brother and family all the time and they are always shocked how good my cooking is compared to the meals I make for myself.
I wonder too how the Kitavan food tastes. I'm guessing it is similar to Polynesian food, which is similar to traditional Hawaiian.
Also, there are at least 10 different varieties of Sweet Potatoes you can get in the US http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/sp-varieties.html
@Daniel…women have a minimum of 8-12% essential bodyfat. If she had 3% bodyfat, she would be dead. %BF for men and women are different. A guy at 12% BF would be lean, not necessarily ripped. A woman at 12% would be ripped to shreds.
Here's something from Tom Venuto on bodyfat percentage…
:: Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle Body fat rating scale ::
Competition Shape ("ripped"): 8-12%
Very Lean (excellent): < 15%
Lean (good): 16-20%
Satisfactory (fair): 21-25%
Improvement needed (poor): 26-30%
Major improvement needed (Very poor): 31-40%+
Competition Shape ("ripped"): 3-6%
Very Lean (excellent): < 9%
Lean (good): 10-14%
Satisfactory (fair): 15-19%
Improvement needed (poor): 20-25%
Major improvement needed (Very poor): 26-30%+
You may not look muscular or shredded even with a low body fat. If you develop slow twitch muscle fibers from endurance sports you won't look muscular. If you develop fast twitch muscle fiber from sprinting or bodybuilding you will look muscular. So a bodybuilder with 2% bodyfat is going to look different than a distance athlete who 2% bodyfat. Most competetive distance athletes have below 2% bodyfat when they compete. Is it true that women have to be 8-12% bodyfat. It was a myth that guys would die if they were below 6% body fat. Freelee doesn't appear to have any fat on her.
Freelee is not even close to 3% bodyfat. She is probably right that she is at least 14% bodyfat. If you think she is really lean then you need to go check out a fitness competition sometime. The fitness girls are much leaner than her and they aren't even 3% bodyfat. There are girls at my gym that are so lean that you can almost see through their skin, and Freelee is not even close to this.
The main reason endurance atheletes with low bodyfat look bad compared to bodybuilders and sprinters is because they have much less muscle. They are pretty much just skin and bones. If they had a ton of muscle even if it was slow twitch, they would look good.
That is an interesting story about the rainforest native crying because he thought rice tasted so good. I am not surprised that he is used to such a bland diet, most of the documentaries I have seen on indigenous people show them eating a very bland diet.
I got my information from this book:
Bodybuilders are made of 80% fast twitch muscle fibers. Endurance runners are mostly slow twitch muscle fibers. They are usually around 1.38% bodyfat. Maybe the people you're talking about look as skinny as they do because they don't even carry that much lean body mass and so their bones are showing. They would likely be below 100 pounds. Someone that is mostly slow twitch don't look muscular at all.
JT, I'll try and dig up the exact story, but that was the gist of it. If I can't find it, I'll send Tim a message. That story really stuck with me for some reason.
Hi all, just thought it may be applicable to this post to play devils advocate, (albeit to an insy wincy misspelt (word creationist) incy wincy degree) with respect to the 'high everything' approach for women and the understanding that perhaps, there is good evidence for gender specific diets! At any rate, here's to the post I am referring to. . .
. . . this post is particularly of interest to me because, yes, you guessed it, I am a woman! And there seems to be implications for some women encroaching upon a 'high everything' diet with regards to unwanted hair growth, and polycystic ovarian syndrome, which I believe I am in danger of becoming a victim of if i listen to another's logic of how to cleanse my body. Personally I have found that eating high carb, low fat just isn't good for me, neither experimentation with low carb, no carb, veganism, vegetarianism, raw foodism or any other 'ism'. All supposed rationals have rather kindly imparted the little gift that is insulin resistance (going by the appearance of PREGNANT DAMNATION). I can only wish things were a little easier, but they sure aint. I don't think it would be great to adhere to a 'high everything diet' for me personally, I hasten to add though, that I think this blog is fantastico! The reason being, despite perhaps a little subdued by 'High everything', the message, Fuck to diets! . . .
and Fruitarians (especially going by the name of freelee! (i wish i could. . .) Hmmm so, I suppose my provocation, proceeding a mild unchecked rant is with regards to metabolism, individual oxidization and the assumption that there does exist somewhere in the recesses of mind, intuition! Firstly I wonder why it is that, being brought up in a family of four fellow siblings, consisting of three sisters and a brother, why it is that, given largely the same diets growing up, both sisters seem to have had very fast metabolisms, and my body on the other hand dealt with food as satan manifested, riddling the body excreting fat, which in turn is partly why I became so self conscious regarding food. In other words I doubt the idea that by following a high everything diet even for a short time, would have a beneficial effect as intended upon all persons, to heal the metabolism! Some people have more active muscle for instance which tends to stay regardless of food choice; i have some friends for instance who would be considered mesomorph, they are not however gym rats! So I question the idea that one would be able to raise metabolism through high everything approach (even if consuming very healthy foods) with consideration of those that do not metabolize food in some generically applicable fashion which some dietary dogma advocates (or indoctrinates?)
As has been noted health is a complicated subject and has multiple influences impacting upon body and mind. It is with this respect that i deplore the cartesian, it seems, approach to human health, so i do applaud this blog, in that it opens avenues for personal experimentation and exploration, however I also would hope that those susceptible to eating disorders and the disability of eye/ear when encroaching upon the faint boundary separating reason from dogma, to take heed, that sometimes your body knows best if you care to listen to it and attend to it! Sometimes I think the idea of, or practice of 'nutrition' to be taught is a farce, possibly due to the awareness of a predominant message whittling away at the hours of potential change, that the sovereignty of the body, the wisdom of the body is to be found from without, individual consciousness instead governed by some hierarchical equivalent of a paternalistic voice of god who knows best! I believe through my own experience as little as that is worth, that from experience, desire, suffering and curiosity comes understanding and sometimes conscious self fashioning in accordance to ones individuality with ensuing approach towards personal health. I suppose all that I am hoping for is that this individual wisdom can be kept in mind, rather than undermined by such blogging. So to conclude, though my talk may seem stupidly ignorant lacking the basis of 'sound' scientific deductions, perhaps it is helpful to someone who has experienced similarly to me regarding endless procrastination of whom to listen to, to find that when listening to what you feel your body needs, the body responds accordingly in line with your intention. No doubt this isn't applicable to everyone, but for some I perhaps this is so. I hope so. Apologies for any boredom roused. X
Thanks, Riles, and I hope you don't mind if I ask a few more questions. Do you use any fat to cook your meat and eggs? And when you say 50 gr of protein, do you mean a piece of meat that weighs 50
gr, or a piece of meat that contains 50 gr of protein? Do you eat a meal like that three times a day? No caffeine? No fruit? No oil or added fat?
Sorry to ask so many questions, but if this combination can help me, I would be so happy. I'm eating fruit along with potatoes and started to eat some meat the day before yesterday. I had pretty bad foot and tendon pains the first night, but last night wasn't so bad. I bought more fruit today, and now I'm wishing I wouldn't have. I feel spacey, and I don't like it.
Do you think the low fat/enough carbs frees up the liver to make the body's own cholesterol?
And wouldn't it be ironic if the diet that helped me would be "meat and potatoes"!
Glad to share info that may help you out.
Generally yes I eat 3 meals a day. I personally like to space them out to about 5-6 hours between them. I use approximately a teaspoon or so of coconut oil to keep my eggs from sticking to the pan. Occasionally I will eat 1 of the yolk from the eggs.
I consume around 50grams worth of protein from meats at a meal(which is about 8oz of red meat or 12 eggs whites). White potatoes have a pretty good amount of protein in them, quite comparable to milk.
Obviously your protein requirements are probably lower than mine so you could adjust accordingly. I eat a little bit a vegetable in the form of green spring onions and jalape?o peppers to add a little flavor to the proteins. Sometimes I will eat a bit of other green vegetables, but not very often. No caffeine. No fruits. That's pretty much my everyday foods.
I believe that eating a low pufa diet allows to liver to work better. As long as you are eating enough carbs, you should be able to produce all the cholesterol you need for making hormones.
I'm asking you this question because you seem to be more informed on exercise. What would you recommend for a woman to get lean (say 13-15% body fat) while still maintaining muscle mass? Would you recommend HIIT cardio or long distance? Do you have any specific strength training workouts that you can recommend that would create more lean muscle rather than bulky? Also does your post workout meal differ in anyway from your other meals? Calories or otherwise?
Also, and this question is for anyone, has anyone had any success in improving the appearance of cellulite through diet or exercise? I know low PUFA is the priority in this but even so I haven't witnessed any success with this thus far. I'm thin but still suffer with it. Although it may be purely aesthetic it doesn't exactly make one look healthy and young.
That is my 'Recomposition' diet. It allows me to add muscle while leaning out.I personally enjoy eating the same stuff everyday. People think I am crazy but I find comfort in consistency. If you feel you can not eat adequate amounts at one go, I would suggest adding an additional meal or two. I can eat a ridiculous amount of food at a meal, so i dont have much trouble.
Personally I am not a fan of cardio in the traditional sense. I think some sprinting could be beneficial but I find weight lifting to be the ultimate.
Woman do not produce enough testosterone naturally to produce large "bulky" muscle, so you do not have to worry about that with weight training. I think that for anyone looking to lose fat and improve muscle mass, the best weight lifting program is moderate weight and high repetitions – high volume.
If you check out my blog, I have a video on my latest posting that is a great program that I follow and highly recommend.
I would wager than all women going raw vegan for a time will become anemic.
Certain macro nutrients are best obtained through animal sources. ZInc, iron, vitamin A, and copper come to mind. Also B12.
High fruit in the diet is very healthy. Probably aids intestinal health and digestion overall. But without at least supplementary levels of animal foods, raw vegans will suffer in the long term.
The Kitavans ate pig organs. Poleneysians were among the healthiest in the world, and they ate many a chicken liver, shellfish, etc.
What Price established is the common denominator that all populations historically got animal sources of certain macro nutrients. History is the judge. No human populations were ever raw vegans.
Chimp guts are larger than humans are, proportionate to weight. Humans are clearly adapted to more nutrient dense foods with more fat, starch, and protein.
Still, nothing can beet fruit for intestinal health, a host of vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants to counteract the acidifying effect of more nutrient dense foods.
@Anon: You might want to check out callanetics, too. If you can look past the 80's hair and leotards, the original is pretty good for instruction. After a couple times watching it you can just do the sequence on your own without the DVD. If you look on Amazon and different forums, the reviews for callanetics are very positive.
I still do a regular body weight routine at home, but I've been supplementing with callanetics for 45 min once or twice a week for about three weeks. Seriously, my butt is higher. No joke. I've measured.
"Seriously, my butt is higher. No joke. I've measured".
Thanks Will for posting the Tom Venuto body fat chart. Even though I've gained weight on HED and some of it is body fat, it is refreshing to realize that I'm still in the "satisfactory category." My body fat percentage has gone from 21-25 in the past year. Now, I wouldn't say this was a positive, but it is much less depressing to think of it this way versus obsessing about a number on the scale which by all the BMI charts my doctor could produce is obese. I do want to loose fat, but it was trying to get down into Tom Venuto's lean category doing his diet that pretty much put me here.
I've gained 20 pounds but a great deal of it must be lean tissue because my body fat percentage has not skyrocketed.
Thanks Liz for posting the Calenetics link. I've been trying to find something like this for a long time. I'm way more comfortable with 80s hair and leotards than going to the gym and using the squat cage. It's a chick thing, I guess.
:: orders Callanetics ::
To propose an alternate view of weight training than that of Riles, for women, let me give just a bit of background. Most women would prefer to tone their bodies than to increase muscle mass, even though, as Riles stated, they don't have the physiology to get large bulky muscles, they can increase their muscle size somewhat. Just not to the extent that males can. People often say that they just want to "tone up" but they don't exactly know what that means. Tone is residual tension in a relaxed muscle. When your bodyfat is low enough, you will look tighter or more defined…like you are slightly tensing your muscles. To create this tonus, folks like Pavel Tsatsouline recommend low volume, high tension training. This would include a few of the "big lift" exercises (squats, deadlifts, etc.) for very low volume (2×5, 3×3, etc.) with a heavy weight. Here are some articles that talk about this…
And you can find Pavel's entire "Power to the People" book online in it's entirety here…
That will take care of the toning. Burning fat would best come from a combo of different types of running. You can't do HIIT every day because you will quickly overtrain. Mix it up with some quick shorter/medium distance work. Vary your distances and intensity. Anything that is too long loses intensity and makes you a fat burner/fat storer. Allyson Felix, a world class sprinter, basically trains this way (her event distances are from 100m to 400m) and it hasn't bulked her up at all…
Your low-calorie fare is fine if you are not hungry, but you should make a concerted effort to have an overfeeding day once per week. This will give you more positive muscle to fat ratio, and limit the degree of adaptation your body has to a lower-calorie diet.
I'm not into calculations, except for possibly to get an idea. Every now and then I'll keep track of my diet for a day or something like that, but I wouldn't recommend weighing portions or anything like that unless you have a fitness competition coming up in a couple of months.
On Rachel Cosgrove-
Her body is not typical of a triathlon athlete at all. The fact that she was able to gain fat on 2000-2500 calories per day while training for an Ironman triathlon is like nothing I've ever seen or heard of in my life. Interestingly, the leanest I've gotten with that quantity of exercise was when I made a conscious effort to eat as much as possible vs. prior conscious efforts to eat as little as possible. This maintained my muscle mass for the first time ever, and instead of losing weight with no muscle definition increase, I became extremely lean in a very short period of time. I think this is one reason Freelee is not skin and bones like other endurance athletes – she minimizes the calorie deficit.
Having said that, the less lean mass you have, the better at endurance exercise you will be – yet another reason not to think that not all humans during the Paleolithic era looked like American Gladiators.
The idea here is to improve the ability to metabolize all foods. I know that middle-aged women who are overweight are terrible at eating lots of food – particularly combining starch and fat. Options to deal with that include:
1) Lifelong dietary restriction
2) Improving that problem
Thanks for acknowledging my desire to enjoy foods and have a relaxed way of eating. I'm not a bodybuilder. If I were to become one, it would only be out of curiosity. I'm just not interested in spending my time doing that for my own personal enjoyment.
A high-fat, high-starch diet is fine if you are metabolizing your food correctly. That's what's different about 180. I'm not saying it's healthy to eat high-starch/high-fat. I'm saying that if you take action to bring your body temperature up, you'll be able to eat starch and fat in whatever proportions you like with good results – and that high-starch/high-fat is a great tool that can be used to get there. Eat high-fat if it treats you will. Don't stick to it stubbornly if it starts to let you down like it did me.
On Sleeping Problems-
My sleep quality is almost directly proportional to the amount of carbs I get in my diet. The more carbs I eat, the faster I fall asleep, the deeper I sleep, the more vivid my dreams, and the later I want to sleep. Reducing fat and protein and upping carbs might have a very powerful positive impact on high cortisol levels. Stretch marks and inability to sleep are telltale symptoms for sure, but no once can be sure – even with a saliva test, of what's really going on there.
On seasonal eating-
I think seasonal eating is great, and makes a lot of sense. However, I have noted on discussions of human design that we are the most poorly adapted creatures on earth for seasonality. Other primates certainly don't go on low-carb stints. As for me, low-carb is no longer an option. 1 day of low-carb eating almost instantly takes me back to the worst of low-carb – instant indigestion, smelliness, sleeping problems, dark circles under eyes, and physical performance like I have cinder blocks strapped to my feet.
On Calories on low-fat-
I challenge any overweight person to gain weight eating a 80-90% unrefined carbohydrate diet. I think both protein and fat-restriction are the key there… greater insulin sensivitity and increased diet-induced thermogenesis from low protein intake as Riles pointed out in an earlier comment thread.
On Karo syrup-
I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that the primary evil is refining and not the relative glucose to fructose ratio. I've always believed this instinctually, and Richard J. Johnson's ability to recently show that fruit and refined sugar cannot be equated in how it impacts uric acid levels is a great testament to that.
Not the worst thing in the world, and amazing for muscle building.
I say Po-tah-chos, your say po-tay-chos, let's call the whole thing off.
Thanks for the response, good point. I will throw in a day or two (the weekend feels like a good time to do it) where I consciously eat more real food to offset my low-cal eating during the week. This week I've probably been getting around 1,700 to 2,000 calories at 207 lbs. I only lift heavy a couple of times a week and do some sprints while playing softball.
I feel comfortable that as long as I do some heavy weight lifting that I won't lose muscle on a lower calorie diet but I'm still trying to resist the notion that I need at least 1 g/lb of bodyweight for protein to keep muscle while losing fat. Do you know of anything that would give service to this belief? I'm following Johnny at The Lean Saloon who doesn't think you need that much. I usually get 75-100g. If I did overfeeding over the weekend to keep my body from adapting to a lower-calorie amount, do you think 3,000 calories a day would be enough? I haven't had much experience in this so any advice would be great. Thanks Matt!
No problem Mark. I think you'll have best results if you have a massive meal after each one of your 2 weekly weightlifting workouts. This is a practice of Martin Berkhan, and I think it works. Lyle McDonald also advocates this for preserving and even increasing muscle mass while losing fat – even in severe calorie deficit throughout the rest of the week.
Right now I'm practicing something similar. As I lose weight hiking on a very high-carbohydrate/low-fat/low-protein diet I will be breaking periods of weight loss with…
Short full-body weightlifting sessions (casual regimen – once every 4-6 days depending on my schedule and how I feel) with massive food intake for the first few hours following the workout. 2000-3000 calories post-workout is probably plenty to get the overfeeding effect, get a little leptin pick me up, and get better muscle gains. When you are in glycogen depletion from low-calorie eating and hard workouts for several days, nearly all of this excess will be siphoned off into muscle and not fat, which is the body's top priority in a glycogen-depleted state (known as supercomp).
As for protein, 1g per KG of bodyweight is enough to prevent lean losses while in calorie deficit – at least initially. The leaner you get, the more muscle you will lose in calorie deficit no matter what. As you get closer to being very lean, be very cognizant of this. You don't want to lose more than 1 pound per week once you get close.
Just remember, for true success, don't do anything unreasonable to get lean, or you'll have to do something unreasonable to stay lean. Anyone can get ripped eating a low-calorie diet and lifting weights. Staying there with minimil effort is the real accomplishment.
@Will: Thanks for the links. You've given me something to think about.
@Callanetics folks: The videos look deceptively easy, but they do work. I don't think they should replace all other training (though some seem to get good results w/out other types of exercise), but I like it as a supplement. I don't know exactly how it works, but my legs are shaped differently in a noticable way, and that's something I haven't seen with any other program considering I've only done the workout 4-5 times. Plus, it's nice to have something different to do and mix things up a little bit. I'm also starting to think about getting one of those bright yellow leotards… ;)
Thanks for the very helpful info, I really appreciate it. I like your idea of compensating by eating a lot a couple of times a week after a workout. Good point on increasing the protein as I get more lean. I'll keep that in mind as I get there. Thanks again, it really helps.
Matt and Mark,
If you guys are planning on being in a glycogen depleted state, this will inhibit protein synthesis and stall muscle gains. The post-workout feeding window was popular several years back, but it seems like now the big thing is pre-workout feedings to replenish glycogen stores. Many are finding this much more anabolic than post workout feedings. You can't get a good high intensity lifting workout if you are in a major glycogen depleted state.
If you are planning to have a refeed once a week you are better off having it on an off day the day before your major lifting days so that your glycogen stores are full which will allow you to workout at full intensity, and you will be less likely to inhibit protein synthesis.
an alternative to weights http://gymnasticbodies.com/
it is mostly upper body but you can become incredibly strong and you can do most of it on the floor and a pullup bar. big crossover to weights too but weights don't crossover much to gymnastics. i gained loads of muscle doing this because i started HED at around the same time. you just adjust the reps/sets etc to your needs. great forum there too.
That train of thought is interesting, I can see where you're coming from but I'm not sure if I will be in a glycogen depleted state. Even yesterday when I only had 1,700 calories, I still got 250g of carbs. Is that not enough for a guy my size? My workout sessions are usually heavy weight for low reps, pairing back squat with bench for one session and deadlifts with weighted pull-ups for the second session of the week. My only other workouts come from sprints at softball 2/week and MMA class 1-2/week. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks JT!
You don't have to worry about that. Your training volume is extremely low and you are taking in a good amount of carbs comparatively. Matt would need to be more careful because he is doing such a high volume of endurance training which will decrease muscle and deplete glycogen stores.
I'm not advocating full glycogen depletion by any stretch. I doubt I'm glycogen depleted eating 800 grams of carbs per day either.
I also recognize that Lyle McDonald is a fan of doing both a glycogen depleted workout as well as a glycogen repleted workout like you mention in the same "cycle." Seems both types may have their own advantages.
I also eat carb-heavy right before exercise preceding my workout.
There are any number of ways to tweak it, and many people respond many different ways.
In general though, you don't want to be in calorie deficit 7 days per week. That's the main thing. Whether you have post-workout refeeds every 3-4 days or a big rest day with massive Abel-style refeeding once every 7 days is probably a matter of individual experimentation and discretion.
But the key is to not race toward the finish line, losing weight as fast as you can without any thoughts about re-feeding. That's a great way to hit an impenetrable plateau.
OK, Will that is amazing. Pretty much the standard "toning" regime is lots of useless reps with a weight that isn't going to do anything at all. I've seen fit women in pilates videos "toning" with like 2 pounds.
I hear what your saying because most women don't want any size increase in their muscles. I mean try getting a pair of boots to fit over calves with any muscle at all. It's really tough. The fact is if you want to get lean you need to build muscle and loose fat. But you always go through that stage where you still have fat and the muscle is getting bigger and that just makes you bigger and makes you feel heavier and fatter. Maybe guys can deal with stage better, but it really sucks when your clothes aren't fitting anymore because you are just making yourself bigger.
When matt says that anyone can get ripped by eating fewer calories and lifting weights he must not include me in that group. I did that off and and on for years and did see some results but with my broken metabolism it was really hard to maintain those results let alone actually reach my goal of under 20 percent body fat. I was perpetually stuck in that state where I just looked bigger. I had a healthier body composition, but it didn't really show.
I really feel like the whole body building thing really, really let me down, which is why I have an antagonistic feeling about it. Some of you might have picked up on it. To add to it, I was allergic to protein powder which I was shoving in my face in ridiculous quantities which is something I would never have been thinking about if I weren't dipping my toe in the whole bodybuilding culture.
Weightlifting does not perform any magic or sorcery in my life either. Part of this stems from my body's adaptation to massive quantities of exercise in my 20's.
But preserving muscle mass is not a given, and makes a lot more difference than anyone unfamiliar with it could ever imagine.
For example, in my adult life I have weighed 155 with no visible abs. I've also weighed 170 with a well-etched 6-pack. It's hard for people to comprehend that someone could be leaner at 170 than 155, and this is probably even more dramatic for women.
But in general, losing the minimum amount of weight to get lean is the best approach. From an exercise standpoint, this is best achieved by doing a lot of exercise and also eating a lot! Cutting calories in that scenario is a good way to lose more weight and have less muscle definition and MORE negative metabolic adaptation.
Another option is to do it Berkhan style, which is to eat slightly less food to lose your weight, but not exercise much at all – and make sure that any exercise done is muscle-building exercise with meal timing for optimal muscle preservation.
Good explanation Matt. I would love to choose option one but due to my schedule I am choosing option two. Here's the plan:
Two Day's a Week of Lifting following the Wendler 5/3/1 program:
1) Squat & Weighted Chin-Up
2) Deadlift & Bench Press
Two to Three Day's a Week of Sprints during softball or MMA class
Sub 2,000 calories 5 days a week (high carb, moderate protein and fat). Mostly real food.
Two days a week, eat around 3,000 calories to coincide with the weight lifting workouts.
IF for 16-18 hours on most days.
I'm excited to see how this goes.
Keep us posted Mark. I like that your exercise load is fairly small when paired with IF. Lots of exercise and IF is a terrible combination for most people if you ask me.
But on a smaller workload, like Berkhan's, you can probably benefit from it more than you suffer.
If you choose to do a 1-day large re-feed once per week if things aren't going as well as planned, do so between your workouts. For example, lift in a depleted state, then refeed. After refeeding, get your best workout in. That may mean low-spacing between your 2 weekly workouts (2-3 days), but that's okay.
I've always preferred muscle conditioning exercies to cardio, mostly because cardio usually involves lots of impact on the joints and my joints aren't the greatest, particularly my knees and ankles, due to my wonky legs. Plus, if I'm being honest, I've always kind of sucked at cardio. I've always been the slowest at just about everything I try to do with friends (any kind of sport, tag, cycling, jogging, hiking, etc).
I hiked up the side of a volcano about 3 years ago (on vacation) and everyone got to the top before me, including old people and smokers. I was zero-carb at the time, which I definitely blame for most of that pathetic display. My performance is definitely better now, even 30 lbs heavier. Even still, the joint issue remains, so I try to stick to low-impact, as boring as it is.
Who knows if I'll ever be able to use exercise as a fat loss tool.
Thats a lot of carbs man! Are pretty much eating vegetarian?
If you are eating 800 grams a day then you don't need to worry about glycogen depletion. But, if you are doing a ton of intense hiking you are already going to be in a weakened state, especially if you are in a calorie deficit. so if you went and did an intense weight lifting workout on top of this you wont be able to perform as well. You would be a lot better off having the big spike in calories the day before your weightlifting workout so that you are completely fueled up.
I personally don't believe in the magic of the pre and post workout window where you are in this prime anabolic state. I used to believe in it back when I read all of the marketing propaganda from the muscle mags, but my experience now just leads me to believe that what you are doing over the whole week is MUCH more important.
Thanks for your input on potatoes and joint issues. Fortunately, I don't have any pain associated with the clicking and popping; I just don't want to completely ignore it and then find out I have osteoarthritis in thirty years. I may get back into grains as an alternate starch source.
I'm already avoiding the skins as well as all other nightshades because I don't like their taste (except in sauce form, but I can do without it). The clicking and popping is still an issue when I eat skinned potatoes, and I believe it's actually due to the action of calcitriol in nightshades rather than saponins. Good tip on the possible pasta/inflammation connection, but when I eliminated wheat, this issue persisted. Five months later when I eliminated nightshades, it cleared up in about a month. Now seven months later, still wheat-free, I get clicking and popping again within a day of eating potatoes. If I don't eat potatoes for a few days, it goes away. So I think nightshades are definitely the offending food.
I typically eat red meat (mostly organs of late) or salmon at most of my meals, and dairy every day (mostly in the form of raw milk, kefir, and/or butter). So I've eaten my potatoes with all of those.
In connection with your high potato consumption, do you notice your knees making popping and clicking noises regularly? Any opinion (or experience) as to whether this is a non-issue when the metabolism is running at its best?
Good insights. It's always tough to tailor a program to fit a person's needs precisely. Right now, after not lifting weights in 2 years, I don't need much workout energy to tear muscle. That will soon change.
Right now I can really feel the depletion when I go too long eating solely carbohydrate (vegetarian, yes) and/or overexercising. I wake up visibly leaner, but with flaccid-feeling muscles and a little weak, dizzy feeling.
But right now I play it by ear. My physical performance for endurance exercise is as good as ever, despite being 15 pounds heavier and having not exercised in 8 months. This should say something for the power of such grotesque consumption of carbohydrates.
Earlier this week I did a 19-mile hike with 2,500' vertical gain in record time – less than 6 hours. I was tired afterward, but never during. For improving physical performance by eating more carbs, that mission has been accomplished already, with flying colors.
As I continue to get leaner in July, I will increase re-feed frequency and intensity, making sure to get in my workout in the fed state.
Never had problems with taters. I suspect that anyone with acute problems will fare better getting metabolism repaired first, then slowly re-integrating taters and other problem foods. That's what I suspect at least.
I love callanetics! It's way harder than it looks on the tape but I just love it when she refers to our "perfect little peach" butts. I need to find my dvd and get my peach in gear. last time I was into it I was ultra low carb and was really crashing energy wise, it will be interesting to see how I fare now that eat more carbs.
"Earlier this week I did a 19-mile hike with 2,500' vertical gain in record time – less than 6 hours."
That is impressive! I would be in bed for days trying to recover from that.
What is your food looking like? Are youable to keep it at 80-10-10?
Matt, I know you read the book, but wouldn't the high fiber content, which gets converted to short chain fatty acids, in their diet mean a higher ratio of fat to carbohydrate than the one you mentioned? The diet of the kitavans is very different from the rice and sugar diet of JT.
Right now I'm eating as much fruit as I can stand at mealtimes – mostly bananas, fresh pulpy orange juice, apples, mangoes, watermelon, and dates. When I start craving real food, I eat a big, mixed meal – yesterday I had an incredible lunch – 2 half pound cheeseburgers and a rice and pork burrito (well over 2,000 calories).
I let how I feel and what I crave dictate when I eat a large meat and starch meal.
Eating mostly fruit provides rapid fat loss, but can be very catabolic to muscle tissue if you aren't careful.
It is also not sustainable for 99% of people. But that's not to say that you still can't reap the benefits of it without the drawbacks of being on a prolonged restricted diet.
Anyway, we'll see what happens. It's only been a week or so of toying around with it. So far, monitoring physical performance and fat loss, it has been excellent. Moderate carb was excellent for lean-tissue sparing fat loss, but terrible for physical performance.
The fiber is an important factor, but "resistant starch" from the partial amount of ingested starch that isn't fully digested is a greater contributor to total short chain fatty acid production in the gut than fiber.
Legumes and grains tend to provide the most resistant starch – something unaccounted for in most Paleo theories.
Great question, as always.
By the way, I never did get back to you on your ratio of saturates to polyunsaturates question a la Ray Peat.
I could see that being protective, and more significant than total PUFA amount. PUFA ratios are more significant in some respects though, as that ratio is a more direct determinant of Interleukin-6 production and such.
I thought u said a high carb diet for fat loss was the worst possible diet? What about leptin resistance with so much fruit? I've been trying a lot of fruit added lately and I get really hungry and I'm getting some acne too.
So Matt, I'm confused. I have just finished your diabetes book and you really push starch for raising the metabolism. As a Peat fan I know that he (via Lita Lee) suggest lots of fruit for raising the metabolism. Now you are eating lots of fruit … any change in which is the best one for HED. I think I read somewhere that Peat recommends 50% fruit and 50% starch … perhaps I should do that. I don't feel as 'solid' using fruit as my carb in meals as when I use starch but then I feel better initially – not so solid but 'comfortable' when I eat fruit as my carb but tend to feel like I need to eat sooner than when I have starch – despite same calories and despite the fact that I seem to be able to keep going just as long. I was re-reading Schwarzbein – I haven't been a fan due to my deterioation in health on her plan – because it was just too low carb and regimented to be healthy in my opinion – but she does say something I missed before in her maintenance plan (book 3) that you can treat fruit as a free carb if you eat it with a meal which would actually make her eating plan much higher carb and much more realistic for someone like me. So, perhaps the answer is to have fruit & starch at a meal! Any further thoughts on fruit v. starch as a carb and Peat's opinions on fruit?
Also, you recommend an omega 3 supplement in the diabetes book – I thought you were against this as, from what I understood, it is a PUFA. Can you explain.
Ok you guys have sold me. I ordered Callenetics. Even if I don't get the peach butt, I may tone some stomach muscles laughing at it.
@Dinosaur: Do you have any idea where you read Peat recommend 50% fruit and 50% starch? My understanding is that he believes fresh fruit is optimal, and sucrose if there is no available fruit.
I have the same issue with fruits, getting hungry quicker. I think they take less time to digest, which I find is a problem if you are not able to eat huge quantities to stay full for a long time.
Personally I do not like all starch or all fruit, a combination seems to be good.
Did you just order it off amazon?
I said a high-carbohydrate/low-calorie diet was the worst possible diet for weight loss. I am well above basal maintenance calories while exercising.
I'm taking it on faith that fructose in fruit does not behave like fructose in refined sugar, even though my experiences with fruit eating tell me otherwise.
With mixed meals, fruit tends to trigger acne and increased hunger for me as well. I am not eating fruit with meals. Combining sugar and starch does not treat me well either, even though my taste buds steer me there. I am willing to believe that fruit is healing from winding down the adrenals. I certainly sleep much better with a lot of fruit in my diet. Maybe my negatives with it are short-term. I'm willing to entertain that notion, even though I'm far from sold on the idea.
I think substituting starch with fruit in a mixed, Schwarzbein-style meal is a great way to slow down metabolism and increase hunger. That's the effect it has on me. I almost always prefer to each fruit by itself. I'll let you know how everything goes. At the end of the day though, starch is king for raising metabolism. Glucose will always be preferable to anything containing fructose for increasing the metabolism/appetite ratio when it comes to mixed meals due to its effects on leptin, which Ray Peat does not have much to say about.
Supplementing with omega 3, short-term, big dose like I recommend in 180 Diabetes is a good way to overcome huge imbalances in omega 6 to 3 ratios. This is a temporary medical usage of omega 3, not a forever and ever amen glorification.
Sugars vs Starches
Perhaps I'm confused, but starches, from potatoes, wheat, rice, etc. are just long chains of glucose molecules.
Sugars on the other hand usually have some fraction of fructose. Glucose is not very sweet, but fructose is very sweet.
Production of refined sugar and HFCS are at historical highs. Thus I think we are eating more fructose than ever before. We are fatter than ever before, coincidence?
But I think it's more complicated than just fructose. Like the study that Stephan Guyenet mentions in
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/04/do-seed-oils-cause-multi-generational.html>"Have Seed Oils Caused a Multi-Generational Obesity Epidemic?"
Seed oils may have a multi-generational effect.
Sucrose makes us tall
I've never heard the "sucrose makes people tall" argument before. Very interesting.
I've read that fat, especially from milk, is the primary reason for the slow steady growth in average height in industrial countries.
I've also read that when we switched from paleolithic (high fat) to neolithic diets (high dairy/grain), our height plummeted. Love to know how much white flour vs whole grain they were eating.
I've began to wonder what would happen if Dr. Price would have moved people from one culture to another and had the immigrant eat the foreign traditional diet. What would have happened? I would guess they would remain healthy. Suppose you'd also have to do a control where you imported traditional food from one culture to another as transplanting the person could have so many affects on them. (stress, difference environment, different culture)
I think we've always assumed that any person, eating any traditional diet will be healthy, but I don't think there is a lot of evidence of this. Most of the evidence is people A, eating diet A are healthy.
We just don't really know how important physical adaptation to food is. There are also environmental and social factors likely at play as well.
There is evidence that when people immigrate to industrial countries and change from traditional diets to industrial diets that they begin to get the same diseases as anyone else eating the industrial diet. But maybe it's not just the food itself, but the fact that the person is not adapted to it?
The opposite doesn't seems to be nearly as pronounced an effect. That is when we industrial diet people try traditional diets, we get mixed results. We don't seem to get healthy in the same way immigrants get sick.
But this principle is actually talked about by the WAPF. The notion that you have to consider you genetic inheritance is important.
Perhaps the very act of immigration is bad for our health! Because we give up the food we are adapted to. Our environment and our culture.
Diet supports genetics in specific environments. This is why so many species are highly specialized in food selection.
Fat vs Carbs make you fat
Going back to Banting (1860s), everyone knew that "sweets" or "starch" made you fat. This was common knowledge until about 1960s when Keys and the anti-fat message started to take over. The McGovern committee recommendation was the turning point. Fat has been fattening only since then.
"Fat vs Carbs make you fat
Going back to Banting (1860s), everyone knew that "sweets" or "starch" made you fat. This was common knowledge until about 1960s when Keys and the anti-fat message started to take over. The McGovern committee recommendation was the turning point. Fat has been fattening only since then."
I'm not sure that's the whole picture, though. Look at old recipes for sweet and starchy dishes and you'll see they've got liberal amounts of fats involved. Not saying this was always the case, but pies, cakes, pastries and the like usually include a fair amount of lard or butter if you make them the old-fashioned way. And bread was usually eaten with plenty of butter (or bacon grease if that's all you had). Add to this that fatty meats were often eaten at the same time.
So again, it kind of makes you wonder, was it the carbs, or the carb-fat combo?
But wouldn't people during early times want to fatten up, "put some meat on their bones"?? So they are therefore able to make it when times are bad and there is not enough food to go around. You have to consider the environment when you look at traditional diets as well.
Did certain groups face famines during certain times of the year and therefore fatten up as a preventative measure by eating certain combinations of foods? That is after all one of the reasons we do carry fat.
Do you buy organic potatoes? I just wondered because at 5 lbs a day, seems like you might ingest an awful lot of whatever yucky stuff they spray on our food these days.
I usually just buy plain old russets or yukon golds. I have bought some organic ones before and I thought they went kind of mushy more quickly than the regular ones.
I've never read of accounts of primitive people fattening themselves in case of famine.
For one thing, I doubt they could actually do it as their body fat set points kept them thin. Plus overfeeding studies show that you can't really gain much weight if you are already thin doing nothing special (dieting/exercise).
Provided the food is available, people naturally eat to appetite. But of course I believe that many industrial food ingredients hack our appetite.
Check out "Fat of the Land", Dr. Stefansson writes about this. Instead of fattening themselves, primitive people commonly cache up food. Caught fish are dried, oils are extracted, fat is rendered and meat is dried. There are countless primitive techniques to preserve food and food often appears in great abundance for short periods of time (think salmon runs).
While it's true that many recipes with carbs also contain fat, Banting discovered that a low-carb diet was the only diet that would keep him thin. He really got the low carb ball rolling way back in the 1860s.
He still ate plenty of fat and was able to maintain a normal weight. So I don't believe that cutting out starch meant cutting out fat as well and that's why he lost weight.
Organic potatoes don't keep as well as conventional because they are not irradiated to prevent sprouting.
Irradiation of potatoes was approved by the FDA in 1964, so many of those non-organic potatoes you've been eating have been irradiated–sorry :-(
Does anyone have the link to JPatti's adrenal fatigue group on Yahoo?
Hi All… Its Sugar Addict!.
Am in serious need of advice. I have to lose 30 pounds by December or a Dr won't treat me and I may be taken off his list. I don't want to ruin my metabolism and I don't have the time span to experiment….. It's not even as if my body composition is taken into consideration… just a number on a scale. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appriciated! I have a fast dominant metobolic type ( protiens and fats), but I don't think I eat enough when I eat this way ( although I do feel good then) I have been sort of doing HED for a few months and increasing carbs, but as my name suggests… due to recent changes in lifestyle have been swayed by sugar a bit too often, I have put weight on… I seriously have to lose it and the only way I have lost that much before has been through dieting I know is not good for me.. (and yes I did get fat again afterwards!) which I can't do this time as treatment will be continued and it all rests on this weight issue…
I know its a basic and boring problem… but any Ideas??? anyone??? Do you think HED but with lots of exercise can help me? Cheers me dears Sugar Addict!
Doug Graham doesn't support a fruitarian diet, by a weight basis, equal if not more vegetable matter than fruit. He also said on rawkinradio that his daughter had a "crumbly tooth" but that the dentist said it was normal.
So your reviewing Anthony Colpo this summer, have you read his article on the China Study?
Your explanation of the China study seems to rest solely on the book I.E. animal protein was associated with cancer incidence in the China Study. Original monograph showed nothing of the sort. Did you look at the back of the book to see what Campbell based his claims on?
You said that you tried "sprouted quinoa" in a past post, and that its "definitely not made for human consumption", were you eating it sprouted or germinated?
Why do you you imply that there is something negative in eating animal derived purines and fruit together?
I noticed that someone had commented in a previous post that uric acid is connected to joint pain and migraines. To which you responded "I'm certainly intrigued by it – knowing that humans do not produce uricase enzymes to avoid uric acid buildup like carnivores and many other omnivores." This is akin to saying "humans do not have cellulase to break down cellulose" when the bacteria in our intestinal track can break it down, likewise, there is another metabolic pathway that the human body deals with purines from animal flesh.
Humans avoid the overproduction of uric acid in the face of increasing dietary purine intake from meats by decreasing the activity of xanthine oxidase. As the purine precursors, GMP and AMP, are ultimately converted to uric acid there are a couple of key intermediary steps along the way. AMP is converted to hypoxanthine and then to xanthine and finally to uric acid. GMP is converted to xanthine and then to uric acid. Both the conversion of hypoxanthine to xanthine and xanthine to uric acid are regulated by an enzyme called xanthine oxidase. Compared to, for example, bovine animals, xanthine oxidase activity is almost 100 times lower in humans.
Why do you write that fruit gives better performance results? What do you mean by performance results?
@ Paul: That's not really what I meant. Sorry if I wasn't too clear, but I wasn't really referring to Banting himself, but the general belief at the time that starches made you fat. And I'm also not saying that Banting lost weight because he cut out the fat. I know Banting's story and that clearly wasn't the case.
What I'm referring to is the starch-fat combo we've been talking about here on 180 lately. It would appear that in someone with a less than ideal metabolism, that a high-carb/lower-fat diet isn't necessarily fattening, and neither is a high-fat/lower-carb. But somehow the combination of high-fat/high-carb seems to make it easy to gain weight.
The gist of what I'm saying is maybe it wasn't the starch. Maybe it wasn't the fat. Maybe it was eating a high amount of both, which would have been easy if you're eating traditional starchy foods, which are usually served in combination with ample amounts of fat.
I looked up the first article that you sited, and it said that humans don't have the uricase enzyme, and that the lack of it may result in hyperuricemia associated with gouty arthritis. Isn't that what you quoted Matt as saying? Maybe I missed something in the article that you are using it to disprove what he said?
Also, may I ask, if humans take in purines but somehow suppress the breakdown of it by suppressing the action of xanthine oxidase, how exactly is the excess purine metabolized? It has to be metabolized some way.
Jonathan, allopurinol is a medicine used to suppress the action of xanthine oxidase. Have you ever read the list of side effects?
But maybe I am misunderstanding what you are saying.
I answered your question on the Catecholamine Honeymoon thread. As for fruit and physical performance, I mean being able to hike all day with greater speed and less fatigue. Fruit beats fat in that regard.
Don't think genetic heritage is of any substantial relevance. Even dogs can be fed vegetarian diets and thrive. Monkeys can thrive on wheat and milk. These are clearly unsuitable from a design/evolutionary standpoint, yet they get the job done without causing disease.
Agree that sugar consumption increased while starch consumption decreased over the last century – and that refined sugar is a much more likely culprit in the diabesity epidemic than refined starch – or unrefined carbs of any kind.
As for carbohydrate, they are equally non-fattening when you remove the fat. It's very difficult to gain fat eating nothing but fruit, rice, or potatoes. Never heard of someone becoming obese on Doug Graham's 80-10-10 or Joel Fuhrman's diet.
The carb/fat combo. is the most fattening, however, you must have a reduced rate of lipolysis to become overweight eating the starch/fat combination. The root problem is not the food, but the metabolism itself, in which low-nutrient intakes, sleep loss, excess seed oils, and many other factors play a part.
30 pounds is a lot. There are sure ways to get it off, and I can help you with that. There are no sure ways to keep weight off. As any obesity researcher can tell you, no matter how weight is lost, insatiable hunger usually predominates until the weight is restored. You can lose pure fat and no lean body mass though, which will limit rebound somewhat.
"Don't think genetic heritage is of any substantial relevance. Even dogs can be fed vegetarian diets and thrive. Monkeys can thrive on wheat and milk. These are clearly unsuitable from a design/evolutionary standpoint, yet they get the job done without causing disease."
Then please explain why many people can't thrive on a vegan diet, and why low-carb is such a disaster for others. Don't these examples show it is not as simple as "we can eat anything and thrive"? Not saying there is not a wide margin for error, but still.
Also, please have a look at the Dutch famine study, which is very interesting in that regard:
These are all diseases you focus on. This study confirms they are related to maternal diet (and I would say thru its impact on genetics of offspring, so to speak)… maybe these people would be healthy only if they somehow managed to reproduce "famine conditions"? Like avoid all fat etc. I'd be glad to hear your opinion on that.
Check this guy out:
He is promoting a high starch, low fat, low protein diet as being best for muscle gain, and no fat loss. Sounds very similar to what Matt is experimenting with now.
Here are his guidelines:
1) To optimize the efficiency of protein deposition, maximize the ratio of CHO:FAT (75-85% CHO, 5-10% FAT, 10-15% PRO).
2) To guarantee significant increases in LBM: consume more total kcal than you expend.
3) To limit De Novo Lipogenesis, maximize the ratio of starches to sugars.
4) To stimulate protein synthesis in all areas of the body, perform regular muscle work, but not so much that you expend too much energy and thus limit your results (studies show PS can remain elevated for 48 hours; a solid full body workout every few days is enough to capture most of the benefits).
Matt that is interesting because since I have been eating a lot of carbs – mostly fruit as my carbs with meals and a starch with dinner my skin has got progressively worse. I don't know if it is acne – I had acne in my early teens and that was the classic acne – but I have little bumps all over my forehead and chin, flesh colored which don't show in the right light but do show in the bright light. I have noticed women have this skin problem a lot – I don't know what it is called – does anyone know? Anyway, perhaps I should try just eating fruit on its own – how is your skin doing Matt eating fruit on its own? What could be the biochemical reason for this?
Brian H. – sorry I can't recall where I read that. Either in one of Peat's books or a blog. But I know in his Diet for women book he outlines an ideal day's menu and it has pretty standard starches at mealtimes and fruit and milk as snacks between meals. This does actually work out at about 50/50 if you have three meals and three snacks a day. Perhaps fruit and dairy is ok together?
@JT: That has got to be the most unappetizing diet I have ever seen. Not necessarily the high starch low fat, but his particular recipes.
You mentioned that you have a sugary protein concoction in the morning for breakfast. Do you think fruits/sugar/juice on their own can be an adequate breakfast without the additional protein? I can't find much that I feel like eating or preparing in the morning so it would just be much more convenient to have something of the sort. Fried eggs and potatoes are starting to feel too heavy to eat first thing every day.
@Dinosaur: Thanks, I have not read his book, but I had the impression that he would suggest fruits as a primary carbohydrate source. Fruits and cheese to seem to be an enjoyable combination.
Thanks for that link. I do recall reading this guy's blog a couple of summers ago and do wonder what had happened to him. I like the way he sums it up here:
"Why not focus on gaining muscle without the fat? The traditional "2 steps forward, 1 1/2 steps back" approach to muscle gain provides limited results because high fat diets are terrible for body recomposition goals (unless you are training to become a Sumo Wrestler)! Examine the references at the end of this post and you will notice a clear pattern: overfeeding studies using a high fat diet pack on some muscle and a lot of fat."
Some of us here should pay attention to what he is saying. High fat in HED/RRARF mode is not conducive to optimal body comp. I myself have been adjusting my fat intake downwards all the while monitoring the body temps to ensure that progess is being made.
Help a girl out. I can't eat a large quantity of carbs at one sitting, never could. I get full fast, then overly full and its miserable. So normally, I rely on fat for most of my calories. However, after weight lifting, I want to get lots of carbs in, but I don't know the best way to do so. I can't eat a whole big potato or several pieces of fruit at one time (let alone both!). Should I do juice? Skim milk? Maybe even resort to actual sugar to get my carbs up for these situations? THX!
If anyone here that wants to lose weight were given unlimited access to the same foods that the Kitavans eat but also were not allowed to eat anything else – they would lose weight. Their food is just not as palatable as the food that we have readily available. Your aren't going to over-stuff yourself on whatever root vegetables the Kitavans are eating because they just don't taste that good, especially not without some fat such as butter added to them. I think a lot of people that are into reading these nutrition blogs are resistant to the idea that its just eating too many calories that is the problem. They point to people like the Kitavans, who eat ad libitum and don't count calories and conclude that its not how much we eat but what we eat that is the problem. I just don't buy any of this. Its the taste, the palatability! I'm sick of people calling it crap – not because I think its so wholesome and healthful but because its just damn delicious! Pizza is probably the best tasting food on the planet and its cheap and readily available. Burgers are delicious and high in calories and they're cheap and you can get them any time. Kitavans don't have to resist the temptation of burgers and pizza. Buffalo wings – Mmm!! The reason people become insulin and leptin resistant is because the tendency to overeat increases over the years as we really hone in on the foods that deliver the most pleasure and the tendency to overeat creeps up as the years pass. This leads to leptin and insulin resistance. If you continue HED for too long you are just asking for insulin and leptin resistance. I think I should remind everyone hear of the well understood principle behind insulin resistance. Simply insulin is a storage hormone. When cells are full and can't hold any more they become resistant to insulin. There may be some foods that lead to insulin resistance more than others but overconsuming food to the point that the cells can't store any more energy certainly leads to insulin resistance. You don't start gaining weight because you became insulin resistant. You become insulin resistant because you gained weight and your cells can't hold any more. And you gained weight because you consumed more energy than you burned off and you consumed more energy than you burned off because the food tastes really good and its really pleasurable to eat it even if you don't need the calories.
Taylor, you are right about the difference in availability of food (as we refer to pizza, etc) and everyone is talking about sweet potatoes, which have a great deal of flavor….but try some boiled yucca, straight up. It is good but really bland.
Here's something we haven't talked about; coffee. they grow it there so I'm thinking they drink it there. And they probably don't give it a second thought unlike we Americanos (finger mustache) who're always obsessing about whether it's good or bad. They KNOW it's good!!
It's Sugar Addict!
Thanks Matt for your response, 30 pounds is an awful lot… And I know it is wrong to lose it too quickly, each time I try a bit more comes on. If I eat low calorie or low fat I get sick, tired, hungry, shakey, can't concentrate and catch every cold that's going round. If I eat low carb I feel great but after a while I don't feel good, don't eat enough, have no engery. In all cases I end up craving sugars….. I was thinking that I could cut out white flours and sugar completely… still eat lots of real food, but combine it wth exercise. Is there any evidence that this approach could help with required short term weight loss? and hopefully not ruin my metabolism in the long term? Cheers again Sugar Addict :)
could you describe how exactely this ideal daily menu that Peat outlines in his book looks like?
I agree with Taylor's comments on the Kitavan diet.
The average caloric intake of Kitavans was estimated by Lindeberg as being 2200 kCal (9200 kJoules). This is in good agreement for the metabolic requirement for a male of 53 Kgs weight, at the highest level of physical activity as estimated in nutrition and dietary advice (Harris Benedict etc) of 2100 kCal.
They have no temptation to indulge in the sugar and refined carb treats available so readily to us. Their consumption of fruits is such that much of it rots, and the average eaten per day amounts to 50 gm CHO, which I estimate to be no more than 25 gm fructose.
Foods here are more palatable because of monosodium glutamate?
There are many personal anecdotes with carbs. Most of them say that they gain weight after eating carbs. But couldn't that just be the polyunsaturated veggie oils added to the dough? I bet that's why Richard Nikoley hates grains yet loves rice.
And fructose cravings are due to liver glycogen deficiency. Ever wondered why sugar cravings get more intense when people go on a low-carb diet? Ever wondered why so many people crave sugar right after they workout?
My bias here, is that the body has mechanisms to maintain its body-fat set point. If you're too fat, then you can't attract as many sexual partners. So fatness is an evolutionary disadvantage, so it's selected against.
Yes, there are some advantages to gain fat such as during hibernation. But under the right conditions, the body has mechanisms to maintain an ideal body-fat set point so it will appear sexually attractive to others.
I think the statement about the kitavans caloric intake is inaccurate. It is the average for both males and females. Male kitavans average 2500cal per day
And Kitavans are short. According to this study, the average male Kitavan is only 5 foot 4 inches. For females, it's only 4 foot 11 inches.
Taylor, I don't think it is as simple as hyperpalatability being the cause of overweight. Not everybody finds eating to be such a pleasure, for some people it is a pain to have to take the time out of their day to prepare food and eat it.
I think there is a difference between binge eating as a disorder, and the typical poor quality diet that most people eat. I don't doubt that most people can gain weight over their life eating to appropriate fullness, if they are eating crap. Processed foods can be much more calorically dense and certain ingredients can be metabolically damaging. I think it is more an issue of excessive caloric consumption through a disrupted satiety feedback mechanisms, rather than an issue of pleasure causing loss of control. That's how I look at it anyways.
You would probably be alright having some fruit or juice in the morning. The only way to know is experiment and see for yourself. Some people don't tolerate fruit well early in the morning, especially if they have adrenal issues.
Do you know much about that guy? Anybody that has used his program and got results? His blog was pretty interesting, but I have never heard of him before.
I seem to recall he is a college professor, some sort of academic. I did correspond with him, but cannot find the old e-mails. He did have people getting results, posting comments to the effect, but it appears the comments are no longer there.
Further to: veganmaster
Popped into my head after publishing my last comment, but I do remember linking back to a vegan bodybuilding forum where his stuff was discussed and where he himself responded. There were those at that forum that were getting results and this veganmaster, as he calls himself, did defend his ideas with solid evidence.
Guess it is time to start googling!
I have cycled with a Veganmaster diet. I don't do it long term because I eventual crave red meat hardcore but my last go with it I saw just about 9lbs of muscle gain with 2%bf loss in about 4 weeks. The gains were permanent and not just glycogen & water.
I adjust the ratios a little bit, eat egg whites for protein, and coconut oil as the primary fat source. The diet isn't the easiest but is effective.
You can find post by him on Veganbodybuilding.com
me eat… me eat food… me like food.. so i eat it… it makes me a man, makes me a muscular man…. i like to eat food.. when it come from the earth i eat it.. animal… plant,… fruit… i eat it… lets eat….
I'm sorry to say, but Taylor's explanation of the Kitavan's health makes so much more sense than any of the other fructose/O6 hocus-pocus.
Interesting point about hyperpalatability. Seth Roberts, author of 'The Shang-ri La Diet' suggests that intense flavors combined with high calories raises the body weight set point. Matt has a video entry about him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92FxDVCPlaw
This maybe is one way to bridge the apparent divide between the folks who talk about set point and unconscious weigth regulation and those who talk about havign people stop eating so much, especially junk food. The weight set point might be the mechanism by which people lose their 'willpower' to avoid pizza and buffalo wings and all the fattening foods you talk about.
According to the UN FAO the average daily calorie consumption of American men from the years 2001-2003 is 3770. This is contrasted to the Kitava study where men consume an average of 2500 Kcal/day. Its clear that Kitavan men are making no effort at all to limit their calorie intake so why do they consume less? My strong suspicion is that its the easy availabiltiy of ready to eat food and the palatability of the food in the two environments that accounts for the difference. The other thing that needs explanation is why the increased body fat doesn't kill the appetite of the American men. Rob A. – yes my view on it is definitely influenced by Seth Roberts. I believe his explanation of how the body-fat set point rises over time with regular over-consumption of highly palatable food.
I did write about Seth Roberts in 180 Metabolism, not just sticking to fructose and omega 6 "hocus pocus." We don't know what causes leptin resistance, so I wrote about the latest going theories, and the ones that made the most sense – which certainly included increased palatability of food.
What matters most is not total calorie consumption per se, but calorie consumption per unit of body weight. In that regard, the Kitavans eat just as much as anyone else. Their physical exercise is not extreme, an estimated 1.7 times basal calories. Americans, with much higher BMI's, need more calories to maintain their weight.
The question is, how do we get so damn big in the first place? The palatability argument is very real. Simply giving a rat mixed chow vs. isolated foods will create a higher weight set point.
But by the same token, since increasing sugar and seed oil intake since 1900, average age of first menstration has fallen by more than 4 years while height and weight averages have skyrocketed. Refined sugar increases the palatability and addictive quality of food more than anything else (excluding chemical flavor enhancers like MSG, which is also linked to obesity).
Anyway, it's a long and very complex topic that is endlessly fascinating, with countless avenues of exploration.
One thing is for sure though, present an obese person with fibrous, unseasoned carbohydrates, unseasoned lean meat or fish, and no concentrated oils or dairy fats, and he/she will eat far less and begin losing weight rapidly.
In fact, psychological studies with unpalatable foods reveal that the obese eat far less unpalatable food than a lean person when given the opportunity to eat ad libitum among those foods.
This seems like it would work, but it rarely does, because obese people generally find bland food much more disgusting than a normal person does due to the heightened taste receptors of the obese.
They also still see disproportional (to their body weight) drops in metabolism when they do lose weight, and massive reboud hyperphagia and upregulation to opiates released by the brain when calorie-dense foods with a high-flavor intensity are consumed.
Robert Pool's Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic, is still by far the most interesting book written on the subject in my opinion. His solution is right in line with Taylor's, which is to limit the exposure of young people to highly-palatable foods with great calorie density – which is the time in life in which weight set point is established.
The real answers remain more complex than you give them credit for though. For example, overfeeding obese people gives them a dramatic rise in metabolism above what can be expected from increases in lean and fat mass accompanied by hypophagia. It is not a positive feedback loop.
The real root problem is eating more than your metabolism burns, or creating a disparity between appetite and metabolism. In other words, if your appetite is not satisfied unless you eat 3,500 calories per day, but your body only burns 3,450, you will become massively obese over the course of your lifetime.
Could you make a Kitavan obese by feeding him 4,000 calories per day instead of 2,500? The answer to that question is "hell no." No obesity researcher has ever been able to make a very lean person obese. Weight gain quickly stops, and if the Kitavan is allowed to return to eating the amount of food he desires, he will lose all that weight.
That argument makes sense to me. ANd I agree with the 'calories in, calories out' folks that Americans definitely are consuming more calories, and that definitely increases the body weight. Good question though- why does this happen? Why doesn't the negative feedback loop kick in? In overfeeding studies, like the one featured in this documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6-A0iHSdcA&feature=player_embedded people eat more than they need, and typically become sick. They get an overwhelming desire to move more, and food becomes unappetizing. After overfeeding, they lose the weight across the board.
Yet in this case, they ate junk food, too. All sorts of refined sweets, refined oils I'm sure, the whole like. The food they ate was highly palatable, and yet it didn't raise their set-point. granted, it was only one month long, so maybe the argument is prolonged exposure to these highly palatable, calorie dense foods raises the set point. But I'm not sure how to prove that, or what that would look like specifically. Five months, but not one month? A certain quantity of pizza or twinkies, and you pass the threshold?
Also, underlying some of this message is an undercurrent of blame. People eat the 'wrong' foods and are punished by weight gain, and insatiable hunger for more of the 'wrong' foods. Much more compelling to me is the Jon Gabriel explanation that ties a riasing of the set point with a stravation response. In my mind, people in this culture are starved for all sorts of things, needs of all kinds are not being met, and more acutely than ever if skyrocketing rates of depression and dissatisfaction are any indication, and it seems plausible to me that this migth instigate a protective response in some people that manifests as a higher 'safer' bodyweight set point.
Another thing that comes to mind is: what do we mean by high palatibility? That the food tastes goos and people seem to enjoy it quite a lot, and not be bored by it? Because certainly many food cultures around the world don't produce obesity, and also are inhabited by people who quite love their food. So it's not very clear to me what palatability means in this context or whether its presence (or over-presence) is what (parimarily) lies behind obesity and raising the set point.
Riles turned me onto vegan master nearly a year ago. Very interesting thoughts, and yes, that is one hell of an unpalatable diet. Does it work? I believe it probably works fantastically well, and that Riles is not an anomaly.
Essentially, what veganmaster scrutinizes, is low-fat overfeeding. That's excatly what I'm taking a look into right now, asking whether or not overfeeding would be more beneficial on a low-fat regimen vs. the current high-fat one. There's no doubt there would be a greater gain in muscle to fat. But could this still give big rises in temps, improvements in various health problems, etc. My question is simply, is it better or worse?
My hunch is that it is better, and that all the negatives associated with high-carbohydrate diets (such as the typical – "I lost weight but I was hungry and emotional all the time and when I fell off the wagon I gained tons of fat") stem primarily from those diets being:
1) Too low in calories
2) Still too high in fat
3) Too high in refined sugar
Fruit and forehead zits-
When I eat fruit by itself, my skin gets incredibly clear, and I have no negative reaction to speak of.
I had a 1,000 calorie fruit meal following cheese, rice crackers, hearts of palm, and a glass of wine last week….
And woke up to a dozen tiny zits on my forehead for the first time in ages.
Well put Rob.
Increased palatability, as defined by Seth Roberts, takes these factors into consideration…
1) Rate of absorption – think refined carbohydrates, especially in liquid form
2) Flavor intensity – think refined sugar, MSG, aspartame, natural flavors, and articificial flavors found in packaged and fast food
3) Calorie density – think high-fat mixed with refined carbohydrates – refined sugar being much more concentrated than refined starches
Therefore, the highest palatability would be…
A high-fat/high-refined carbohydrate meal with flavor enhancers washed down with liquid sugar.
Is this what people in the modern world that became fat grew up eating? Yes, of course. Is this the pre-conception nutrition of a mother that gives birth to a child that later becomes overweight? Yes, of course.
And once you are fat, it is very difficult to overcome that.
Matt, I think that I would add to those 3 factors, amount of nutrients. Along with the lower palatability of a Kitavan diet, it is more nutritionally dense as well. I believe that the body will desire more food when the food is lacking nutrition to try and get more nutrients. Again, maybe not in all cases but as a generality.
Matt, you said…
"Interestingly, the leanest I've gotten with that quantity of exercise was when I made a conscious effort to eat as much as possible vs. prior conscious efforts to eat as little as possible. This maintained my muscle mass for the first time ever, and instead of losing weight with no muscle definition increase, I became extremely lean in a very short period of time. I think this is one reason Freelee is not skin and bones like other endurance athletes – she minimizes the calorie deficit. "
This is sort of what John Berardi refers to as G-Flux…
Testosterone Muscle: John, you wrote about the idea of energy flux a while back here on Testosterone. For those who missed it, give us a quick and dirty explanation.
John Berardi: G-Flux represents the relationship between the amount of energy you ingest through your diet and the amount of energy you burn through the sum total of your metabolic activity.
Testosterone: So, the old energy-in vs. energy-out thing? And by "energy" we mean calories?
Berardi: Exactly. However, the idea of G-Flux goes one step beyond. You see, in the old model of calories-in vs. calories-out, the discussion revolved around energy deficit vs. energy surplus. So, you'd tally up your input and output and you'd come up with a number.
However, with G-Flux, physiology can be profoundly changed ? regardless of the energy-balance state or that input-output number.
For example, if I were eating 2,000 calories a day and burning 2,500 a day, I'd be in a negative energy balance of 500 calories. And you'd expect me to lose weight.
But if I bumped up my G-Flux by boosting my intake to 3,000 calories, and my expenditure to 3,500, my calorie deficit would be the same. So you'd expect my physique to be in the same state as in the former situation. And a classically trained dietitian would suggest that there's no difference between the two.
However, the research paints a different picture. This boost in G-Flux would most likely lead to an increase in lean mass, a decrease in fat mass, and an increase in metabolic rate.
Just sounded similar to what you experienced.
Yeah Will. That is pillar 5 of the leading theories as to what causes leptin resistance.
1) Omega 6
4) Increased palatability
5) Low nutrient density
180 Degree Metabolism goes into great detail as to why I think each of those is a primary contributor to obesity.
Matt, here's a quick question. In regards to not eating high-starch and high-fat at the same time, how does food combining come into play? Do you think it matters on a meal-to-meal basis whether you're eating starches and fats together?
For instance, if someone is cravings fatty meat, would it be better to go ahead and eat the fatty meat without adding too much starch to the meal and eat the starch in a later meal instead? Or would the end result be the same as if you combined the two in the same meal?
Thanks again Will. I've got to start coming up with more names like "G Flux."
Right now I'm experiencing something even more interesting…
With a lot of hiking but far less than in summers past, and a good round of resistance exercise once every 5-6 days – combined with a high-calorie/low-fat diet, I'm able to enter into Berardi's G-flux again.
However, this time instead of losing fat while maintaining muscle (and losing weight on the scale), I'm actually gaining muscle while losing fat (and NOT losing weight on the scale despite roughly a half to 3/4 inch loss in waist circumference).
If I were to get lean at my current weight, without any drop in scale weight, I'd be pretty diesel.
Another interesting thought is that, if a pound of lean mass contains 600 calories, and a pound of fat has 3,500 calories, you could technically be in calorie balance and actually gain 5 pounds with a 1-pound fat loss.
Yet more reason why scale weight is not the bigger factor.
I wonder if it is easier to gain muscle at higher levels of bodyfat than lower levels of bodyfat? Sure feels like it.
Or, put another way, I wonder if it is harder for the body to gain 10 pounds of muscle going from 190 to 200 vs. gaining 10 pounds of muscle while weight stays constant at 190?
That would be classic carb cycling. Many people have had success with it. Talk to Will about it. He shed 7 inches off his waist carb cycling. I think it's a much better approach than being low-carb all the time for weight loss, or low-fat all the time for weight loss. To me, both sound like dead ends that usually make you crave what you are deleting – while generally yielding imbalances to one side or the other if continued for too long.
Right now I'm kind of doing that – not in structured fashion but just according to my tastes and cravings.
Big slab of ribs for dinner last night!
Thanks for the quick reply, Matt. I guess sometimes I'm still all hung up on Schwarzbein's "eat-protein-fat-and-carbs-at-every-meal" approach. I've heard of carb cycling but not necessarily on a meal-to-meal basis. It would make sense on some level, at least, because I know for me, my cravings vary wildly between meals. Maybe I should listen more to that.
Yeah, I hear ya. I think Schwarzbein is all about blood sugar regulation for those with crappy metabolisms. I don't think it's necessarily the best way to fix issues, just medicate them.
Like I've recently discovered, what used to give you a blood sugar roller coaster ride no longer gives you a blood sugar roller coaster ride once you've improved your health. Eating 5X more carbs than Schwarzbein recommends is a better way to get there though, even if it gives you some trouble right off the bat.
Yes, all cultures tended to mix things all together. Yet, all other creatures on earth eat monomeals and seem to do just fine.
There's one issue I have with the whole palatibility issue. Nutrients!
Food processing aside, food will taste better the more nutrients it contains. A high-brix vegetable tastes better than a low-brix vegetable, because it contains more nutrients. High quality raw grassfed milk is not even comparable to the crap you get in stores, because it is just so much more nutrient dense.
There's a reason why we want to eat things that taste great, because in a natural environment those are usually the best foods we can get. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and one still has to wonder which role spices play in this, as they aren't necessarily too dense in nutrients, but contain a lot of beneficial and healing substances.
That is why I have a problem with the whole palatability thing and until proven otherwise, I don't see a reason to believe that palatability is of great concern as long as one sticks to whole, natural foods.
But on the other hand, fat + starch combined does taste much better and certainly also has the potential to be more fattening. But the question still remains whether this is really a problem of macronutrient composition or a problem of the metabolism, because, as Matt pointed out, there are cultures out there that consume high-carb + high-fat and still do fine.
Hi Elizabeth, that is basically the method of carb cycling that I used. I had zero carb, low carb, and high carb days.
There were two different kinds of meals; high carb/low fat and low carb/higher fat.
– On my zero carb days, all the meals were low carb.
– On the low carb days, a third of the meals high carb, the other two-thirds were low carb.
– High carb days were two-thirds high carb meals and a third low carb.
All meals had protein. Basically the type of meat matched the meal. A fatty steak and a salad and a veggie was a low carb meal. Boiled chicken breast with salsa over rice and a veggies was a high carb meal.
It may sound confusing but once you lay it out, it was pretty easy. But the one big rule was not to eat high fat and high carb at the same meal. I believe that you are supposed to only do it for like 6 weeks at a time, but it worked pretty well for several months, but progress did eventually slow down.
Thanks Will. Excellent response, and a much more sensible and safe way to pursue macronutrient restriction without ending up imbalanced and adapted to one extreme or the other.
I've read that leptin resistance can be caused by lectins.
I think, in general, that leptin resistance seems to be triggered by our counterinflammatory biochemicals – namely cortisol and SOCS3.
Thus, anything that causes inflammation – from lectins, to excess uric acid, to pollutants, to vegetable oils, to various allergens to stress can increase leptin resistance and raise the body weight set point.
i'd hate to see the OG HED get knocked too much. high fat and all it changed my life and made me grow tons of muscle. my weight gain after 3 months on it wasn't more than 20 pounds and i's venture to say most of that was muscle. so many symptoms improved on it.
for someone who is currently addicted to caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods, it's a great transition. everyone loves a big comfort food meal. it's easy to not reach for crap when you're already stuffing yourself with comfort food to begin with.
on another note, i've been self-medicating with Isocort for 5 days now. i've wanted to try it for a few days and finally got some. i am pleased as punch with the results so far. i'm sleeping better and have an even-keeled awakeness during the day that i haven't had forever. i'm not experiencing any of the negative head rush or fast heart beat stuff that some do. i hope it's helping me.
oops, that was supposed to say i've wanted to try it for a few Years
I think I have to agree, Crazy Mother. After 2 1/2 months on HED (well, one month or so of really stuffing myself, the rest more eating to appetite), I just took my blood pressure and heartrate for the first time. My blood pressure since I was a teenager has been 90/60. This time it was 110/70. My heartrate increased from 60 to 85! (Is that good?) And my weight is up about 11 or 12 pounds, to 140.
I'd really love to get my weight back down 5 or 10 pounds (without losing the muscle that I gained).
My temps, rather frustratingly, have not come up much, and are hovering around 97.7-97.9.
I've noticed that my appetite has been less lately, too, partly because I've had a cold, but maybe also because my body is recalibrating or something?
I wonder if it would behoove me to try more low fat meals or carb cycling.
Thanks Crazy Mama-
I agree. Displacing junk with real food and lots of it is amazingly liberating and has come with countless health improvements for a lot of people – myself included.
But I do think most of this improvement comes from increasing calories and cutting out refined sugar, which leaves a lot of room for fine-tuning if necessary.
Make no mistake though, I will always strive to do whatever I can to improve it.
The ultimate would be to bring temps up, eliminate health problems stemming from low temps, and keep fat gain to ZERO – inducing fat loss more reliably (seems like the only people able to instantly lose were coming off of non-calorie restricted SAD).
So – not knocking, just tweaking and refining.
I'll back up Crazy Mother there, 9 months of overfeeding with high starch and high sat fat, have given me many health improvements. I gained 10lbs in the first 3 months and nothing in the last 6, while continuing to eat well past satiety. My body comp is changing to a more preferred look. All while using walking as the only form of exercise.
I just started this week to experiment with less sat fat and higher unrefined carbs, to see if that will get my basal temps higher. Same boat as Golden Papaya, but my morning basal is stuck down in the low 97's.
great. i'm certainly wanting to never gain a pound of fat again.
but, what if some people NEED to gain fat? i've read before of the importance of a baby's baby fat in terms of bone growth. what if some of us have weak bones as part of our ill health? i wonder if the HED still wouldn't be the best bet for some people to begin with.
For an underweight, severely fat-deprived former vegan or something like that – hell yes their overfeeding should probably be high fat, and they probably will not be able to heal unless they gain at least some fat. Ultimately I do feel that fat gain is very comforting to a sick body.
But fat gain is probably a deal breaker for 9 of 10 people in the modern world. If it can be avoided, without negating the benefits, then we should find that way and zero in on how to pull it off.
In general, I believe the higher the ratio of carbohydrate to fat, the more excess calories tend to be deposited into muscle and not fat.
Since a larger portion of fructose is converted to fat, carbs that break down to glucose will theoretically be preferable to carbs from fruit, juice, honey, etc.
But perhaps the type of fiber in fruit (soluble), the nutrient density of fruit, consuming fruit in the raw state, and lack of lectins, phytates, and other anti-nutrients will ultimately make it superior in the long run.
I just don't know yet. With a high-fat intake, I don't think there's any question that most people fare better with starches than fruit. But with a low fat intake, the rules of the game change quite a bit.
Mad, as you pointed out, in the whole foods sense, tasty foods are more nutrient dense. That helps me put into words what I was thinking with this palatability issue. Used to be, when I ate loads of sugar, real food tasted bland. Restaurant food was good, probably because of the extra fat, but not really great (the older I get the less I enjoy eating food out). But now, I find that I really hate most restaurant meals, and seriously prefer my own whole food cooking. It is WAY more palatable, not just to me, but my kids think so too. And yet, I don't use sweeteners, MSG, or even necessarily a lot of fat when I cook. (Garlic, though, yum… I can ward off a vampire at 300 yards with my sweat!) So I think you must be right in that it's the increased nutrient density of the foods we use at home versus cheap restaurant quality food.
But I can see that if you're talking about somebody who's still addicted to sugar and MSG, then palatability does become an issue, because their tastebuds are basically toast, and like drugs, they need more and more to get the same taste sensation.
I decided to try some meal to meal fat/carb cycling for myself after developing the seriously pregnant look (AHHHHHH) which has never been a problem for me before. It's almost a deal breaker for this 9 outta 10 person! I don't mind getting a little fatter, but the seriously huge pot belly is scaring me, I keep waiting for somebody to ask when I'm due. And it all came on in about 3 weeks (after about 3 months of HED). It's only been a few days on the new diet, and nothing has happened yet… sigh… And on a side note, got a half gallon of fresh sugar cane juice (like hydrated dehydrated cane juice!) from the farmer's market yesterday. We've been adding it in little bits to this and that, but that stuff is seriously strong. How do people drink it straight up? I'm feeling pretty jittery right now!
Yeah, perhaps palatability is not the best term.
It's more about what causes the biggest release of opiates in the brain, and that comes back to concentration, absorption, and flavor intensity – all characteristics that real food doesn't have.
What does a 1000c fruit meal consist of Matt? So you recommend trying to only eat fruit on its own to improve my skin? I'm still struggling like Elizabeth to get rid of the Schwarzbein 4 square meal mentality so your comment on that was helpful. Having poor skin is a real downer so I'm willing to try it.
Janis this is roughly what Peat says: fruit on waking; egg and cereal (soaked) with milk or toast (soaked) with butter; snack of carrots and cheese, tuna salad, fruit and milk for lunch; dinner of oyster stew, salad and potatoe or chicken breast and well boiled spinach, fruit and milk before bed.
"Since a larger portion of fructose is converted to fat, carbs that break down to glucose will theoretically be preferable to carbs from fruit, juice, honey, etc."
This generalization is in fact true only in one specific case, e.g. when glycogen stores in liver are full. If they are not, opposite is true, because fructose is preferred before glucose for conversion into glycogen. So if you eat fructose in moderate amounts after exercise, or after not eating for few hours, fructose goes to glycogen stores, and glucose as a fuel into muscles, or wherever it's needed. Because of lower level of insulin it may be that less glucose will be converted into fat.
"But fat gain is probably a deal breaker for 9 of 10 people in the modern world."
And I think that's why we've got one interesting group of people here at 180. We're the 1 out of 10 people who are at least somewhat willing to endure fat gain in pursuit of health.
@ Will: Thanks for your input. That sounds like a pretty doable plan. I may try something like it. It's pretty easy to go low-carb for a meal or two, but going at it for days at a time just does not fit with me at all.
Not exactly on topic, but likely to be of general interest, I think, is this article I just ran across at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7858664/The-girl-who-must-eat-every-15-minutes-to-stay-alive.html
The girl featured in the article eats "small portions of crisps, sweets, chocolate, pizza, chicken, cake, doughnuts, ice cream, noodles and pop tarts" every 15 minutes, out of necessity, and cannot put on weight.
so……..is beer fattening?
I just ate about 800 calories worth of dark chocolate covered cashews – and it wasn't difficult. I tried to stop but they're just so easy to eat, I finished the whole bag. I really wasn't even hungry. I really can't imagine being so satisfied that I don't want to munch on dark chocolate covered nuts of some kind. That's why I am so skeptical of metabolic explanations of overweight and obesity. If all I had was leftover squash soup and unseasoned raw nuts I probably wouldn't have eaten anything until a few hours later when I was really hungry.
Here is the plan I used (actually found in part 2.
Yeah, perhaps palatability is not the best term.
It's more about what causes the biggest release of opiates in the brain, and that comes back to concentration, absorption, and flavor intensity – all characteristics that real food doesn't have.
Exactly – its when you're eating and you want to keep eating because it tastes so good. Its what makes your eyes roll back in your head like Homer Simpson when he's drooling and saying 'Mmmmm'. Real food is good but it doesn't do that unless you're really really hungry, not just, haven't eaten for 5 hrs hungry. But pizza can do that even if you're just regular hungry. Its food that delivers really strong pleasure sensations. When I'm home and all I have is regular food I'm happy with it but when I go to a restaurant and I can order a salad or a bacon cheeseburger, it takes a monumental force of will to order that salad and forgo the pleasure of the bacon cheeseburger. The salad is not bad, at all. It just doesn't deliver the pleasure wallop of the bacon cheeseburger (with ketchup of course, its gotta have generous amounts of ketchup) – not even close.
I see where you're coming from, but to add an opposing perspective, I used to just about go through entire packs of Oreos in one sitting, but now after a year of eating whole foods I feel no desire whatsoever to eat cookies, chocolate, candy, etc. I even turned down homemade desserts last night at what was basically a Weston Price style dinner with tons of grass-fed lamb, organs, butter made from bone marrow, fermented beverages, etc. There was no struggling against myself, no heroic exercising of will power, and even though I feel like I can always eat more food no matter how much I eat, I just look at desserts and feel like they have nothing to offer me. Meanwhile, a couple months ago, I was on a walk and took a detour into Trader Joe's, where I bought a 10 oz. bag of unsalted, unsweetened macadamia nuts (2000 calories total), which I then proceeded to eat in one sitting when–just like you with the chocolate cashews–I wasn't even that hungry. But this is a food whose taste is not nearly as intensely pleasurable as any of the other snack foods I could have picked up (chocolate covered nuts included), and so I would argue that my metabolic needs (and not mere pleasure-seeking) led me to that choice, and I believe this is typically how things work for me now.
Concerning your salad vs. bacon cheeseburger example, I would agree with you there, but would add that beyond superior taste, the bacon cheeseburger also probably offers far superior nutrition (fat and fat soluble vitamins, better protein, abundant minerals, perhaps even some vitamin D in the bacon fat, etc.). And a bacon cheeseburger is still (or at least can be) entirely constructed from "real food." I see little need to exercise "a monumental force of will" to turn it down and eat a salad instead, when, in most contexts, it is probably a lot more metabolically fulfilling than a salad anyway. But if you're looking for a compromise, I'd say eat both.
So speaking of opiate-like addictive food, Matt, do you give credence to the theory that wheat behaves like an opiate in our system? I've seen that bandied about lately and am wondering if it's yet another reason to avoid wheat, or poor science. Or is it part of all carbohydrates have an opiate-like effect (which would explain the PMS-carb link!).
As someone who works with food for a living, I cam say I've had plenty of real food that made my eyes roll back. It's the combination of fat and starch that does mainly does that for me. If you gave me the choice between a big mac and fries and a wine-soaked 3-course meal of seared foie gras, a perfectly roast suckling pig with crackling or prime rib with crispy potatoes and a cheese plate with a fruit compote, I can tell you I wouldn't be choosing the big mac. And my calories would most definitely be higher with the second meal. I'd probably eat twice as much. The real food would be twice as palatable and the wine would definitely add calories, as well as stimulate my appetite.
I've never had a low-fat meal that made my eyes roll back, although you can still make yummy lower-fat fare, if you know how to cook.
And I can't stand ketchup.
As someone who was once obessed with limting opioids, with not-great results, this is what I have to say about the issue:
It's pointless. Considering the number of foods and even scenarios that release opioid peptides in the body, I would say it's not a concern and honestly, it's the same as trying to avoid feeling good.
Yes, all carbs release opoids. Actually a whole host of foods are associated with their own little opioid peptides, even spinach!
I think we can all agree that relying on phony foods and chemicals and drugs that raise your endorphins in an unnatural way are not ideal for our health.
But wheat and dairy have been part of the human diet for thousands of years and by far predate the obesity epidemic. I mean even sunlight and exercise cause your body to make endogenous opioid peptides.
The only reason I avoid gluten is because it doesn't agree with me, digestively. Let's just say everything in my digestive tract comes to a screetching halt.
There are good reasons to avoid gluten grains, especially if you're sensitive to them, but I'm not sure opioids is one of them.
Annabelle you have me salivating… I would take your "real food" meal ANY DAY over a burger ;) and do agree it is the combination of fat+ carbohydrate (+ a yummee protein for me)
Would you put ketchup on Annabelle's foie gras?
Seriously though, your theory still has gaps. Everyone has exposure to the same food in the United States. Investigations have shown that thin people get just as big of a boner for a platter of fresh-baked brownies as an obese person. Some people get fat, while others remain lean. For some, good food makes them want to keep eating, while it makes others really full and not want to look at food for a while (this still doesn't tell the whole story, as overfeeding an obese person has an anorectic effect just like it does in lean people).
With your burger and salad example, if you use willpower and eat the salad, you'll be more hungry in the future for missed calories. If you ate the burger, you'd be less hungry later. There's simply more to it.
I will concede to the fact that Aurora, post jaw-surgery, cannot consume enough food to maintain her weight unless she eats ice cream, no matter how hard she tries. But she also becomes ravenously hungry eating less calorie dense food for a few days. The satiation of less calorie dense food is temporary.
Energy regulation depends upon countless unconcious regulatory hormones and biochemicals. When all the factors are carefully scrutinized, it becomes impossible NOT to look to metabolic explanations for why some people store more of their calories in fat tissue than they release from fat cells.
Consider, simply, that obesity-prone mice, eating the same number of calories as their lean littermates, start gaining body fat…
And then they start eating more. In other words, storing fat makes you hungrier. You don't store fat because you eat more.
On opiates from wheat-
Metabolites of casein and gluten, if not properly digested and metabolized (which is very common amongst those on the autism spectrum for example – a dysfunction of the deaminase enzyme), do function as opiates, and are very psychoactive.
So yes, there are circumstances where these peptides can be eliminated with legitimate improvements.
Oh yeah, and my fruit meals-
The banana is king – it's more calorie dense than other fruits and has more starch than other fruits – which seems to also help improve satiety.
Try eating just fruit for a couple of days and you'll see what I mean about the skin-clearing effect. Night and day difference from eating fruit with mixed meals.
Why does there have to be one explanation for obesity?
There are multiple motivations to eat. Hunger, or appetite, is one. Nutrient deficiency and psychological motivations are also drivers of eating. (Not calling you "crazy" BTW).
People can use food, drugs, gambling, sex or video games to generate neurotransmitters that stimulate various facilities in the brain.
Also, food provides many things besides calories. It has macro and micro nutrients and many substances with pharmacological activity.
The metabloic explanation, as incomplete as it is, still has the greatest amount of supporting data.
I understand that vegie oil is the latest band wagon for ill health but I think it's a huge error to assume that you can drink pure sugar (or eat 100% carb) and be in good health as long as you avoid vegie oils or PUFA's.
Since the '70's diseases of civilization have skyrocketed. Vegie oil has been in use since the 1800's, I think. Crisco, since 1911 ( I use Crisco as an example because i grew up in the south where it was in every kitchen).
Oh, but I forgot, organic, dehydrated cane juice is unprocessed….oh, please.
I am pretty sure that we haven't all burned out our brain cells on the stuff!!
Pancreatic cancer and liver disease have skyrocketed and those were only found in alcoholics and diabetics in the past.
Now we hospice RN's are pronouncing weekly due to these diseases. It is surprising how many of these peop were eating a healthy, whole food diet…for me not really surprising at all.
Matts mixed meals recommendation was probably the best yet at this point. And for me, a lower carb version (not traditional vlc, though).
Low carb worked great for me as it has for many. The difference is, that I added back rather than jump to something completely different as needed.
And since sugar (corn, beet, cane) is high in fructose, it's really splittin' hairs to chose one above the other….There is no healthy sugar.
All I'm sayin' is, pay attention. If you suddenly have acne, don't assume that's detox (a term used way too freely). Look at your food/drink!! That's where it all comes from…within! cysts of any size are not a sign of good health.
If something is now working, quit (or tweak). Don't forge ahead until your health is ruined. That is exactly what I did during my vegetarian years and the health issues are not always overt. If that were the case, it'd be much easier.
From what I remember, the "hydrogenation process" was patented in 1800, but products made this way were not sold for human >consumption< until much later (1900s-ish). I might be wrong. Wiki it if you'd like.
Such generalizing statements, "There is no healthy sugar." might need to be objectively and thoroughly measured before proclaiming them absolute.
Well if even spinach releases opiates, then we are SOL! Didn't know that, only just started learning about this opioid effect.
Foie gras… no can find in Hawaii, they just look at me funny when I ask… drool.
How come some people are easily satisfied with a meal and others eat more? Made me wonder why some are satisfied for awhile with one roll in the hay and for others it sets up a craving for more. I'm just wondering! But seems like the two might be related. Or one video game versus the whole day. Maybe to do with addictions and something missing from life, whether nutritional or psychological?
I don't know if I'm just not eating enough at a time, but eating fruit only is leaving me jittery and hungry, just like you used to be, Matt. Never used to happen to me! Maybe it's related to the sudden big belly (insulin?).
What do we think of this comment I read on a blog today?
Athletes that "carb load" prior to competition have significantly less endurance than athletes that "fat load" prior to athletic events (High Fat Diets Help Athletes Perform, Science News, 1996, 149:18:287).
This seems to be in direct opposition to what you've been thinking recently.
@ Will: Thanks for the links! I remember reading over that a while back but I paid a little more attention this time. I think I'll be trying something like that plan, though I'll probably follow the guidelines rather loosely at first to see what I can handle.
I looked at that study, and there was a 14 percent increase in endurance, which doesn't really seem like that much. Also, 13 of the 25 runners couldn't even complete the 4 weeks on the 45% high fat diet. Its hard to extrapolate much from it.
It is interesting to consider though.
Also, I was reading in the book Biochemical Individuality about an experiment where rats where either given a nutritionally proper diet or inadequate diet with either water or alcohol to drink. Those with the inadequate diet consumed much more alcohol. The same type of experiment was done with sugar and the results were similar as well.
I agree Annabelle. I've had more eye-roll delicious meals since I've been cooking real food with lots of fat than at any other time in my life. It's amazing what you can do in the kitchen when saturated fat is on the menu. The other additives like sugar and msg just exist to subsitute for sat fat in our diet.
I don't buy your, people eat fast food because its good argument, Taylor. People eat fast food because it's easy. Our diet is full of "low fat" convenience foods that are jammed with all kinds of additives to make them palatable. But real food doesn't need as much help. Yams with even a small amount of butter (or bacon!) if they are roasted are incredibly yummy. I already eat them a couple times a week. Same thing with non-corn.
I meant non-gmo corn. Non-corn now that would be a trick.
Riles, I think a double digit increase in endurance is huge. You are looking at a population that regularly tapers down their exercise prior to competition to get a measley 3% gain! I do think it's possible that not enough people adhered to the protocol for a valid conclusion, though. My own experience was that eating sugar during and right after competition made a huge difference in my performance and recovery. And my own cravings have always been for carbs while training for endurance. Fat and protein have to be forced in there, practically.
I don't know a whole lot about running. All the study said was that they averaged 40 miles a week. I wasn't sure if that 14% was for all there training or for a specific event.
I too also crave carbs after exercise. I believe carbs are also craved because they have to ability to blunt cortisol which is induced during exercise.
Is cortisol induced post exercise? Is cortisol induced on a high fat diet during days you don't exercise?
I believe cortisol is highest when you wake up and is also induced by exercise. Scott Abel thinks that it is silly to lower your carbs on off days. He talks about how glycogen stores are very key to anabolism.
I too noticed an increase in endurance on a high fat diet, but NOT an increase in performance.
Like I said, while hiking on a high-fat diet I actually thought my performance was better because I never got tired. It was only when hiking when other people that I realized my speed was drastically decreased. Fat is a great, slowly-burning fuel for long-duration steady efforts. Explosive efforts require glycogen, and glycogen release is greatly aided by a carbohydrate-dominant metabolism.
I agree Jenny. Running makes you crave lots of carbohydrates, particularly first thing in the morning and after a long effort. I agree with Riles that this probably blunts cortisol while simultaneously replacing glycogen lost as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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