Commenting Note

I've discovered a problem with TypePad's new commenting platform (TypePad Connect) that those who comment need to be aware of.

If you look at my three comments in reply to the troll on this post, let me inform you that I composed that as a single comment and could not get it to post no matter what (via email, directly on the form, with Safari, Firefox, IE; Mac or PC). Nothing worked. And, what happens is that when you post, the comment just goes away. No error with a return to your compose screen. Nothing. So, if you haven't saved what you've written, it could be lost.

The way I got it all up there was to break it into three parts, and that worked. So, that suggests the problem is with the length -- fabulous news for those who put the most effort into adding value to a post.

So, if this has happened to you, I'm dreadfully sorry. I have alerted TypePad and will keep on them. What I suggest is that when you compose a comment, select the text and copy into your clipboard. For added safety, a good method is to paste it into an email and email to yourself so you've at least preserved your work. I have no idea what length causes this blowup, so you'll just have to work that out each time; but if you're preserved your work you should be able to accomplish it.

Later: Please let me know via email (list on my about page) if you experience any issues with comments.

More Later: I believe I have found the issue (have alerted TypePad). It seems that if your comment has up to four URLs, no problem. If you have five or six URLs (and presumably more, but I only tested five and six), it blow up, doesn't post, and worse, you lose your work unless you've saved it elsewhere. This is probably not an issue for most, as it's rare to put that many URLs in a comment anyway. Just something to be aware of until rectified by TypePad.

Reader Questions and Results

Let's plow through another group. First up is some results from Deborah.

I stumbled across your site probably on a blogroll from someone else (Mark Sisson maybe), and have been enjoying your writing immensely. I'm trying very hard to stick to a Paleo diet (or the Eades plan or Atkins ... anyway, a way of eating based on principles of all three), and I find that it really helps to read all the bloggers. I just turned 56, and have had the same 25-30 pounds on my frame for so long I surely can't call it "baby weight" anymore. The babies are 21 and 19, for pete's sake. My husband, who is most marvelous in every other way, isn't particularly supportive of this way of eating, though at least he doesn't try to sabotage it (he's been told by the doc to skip the chicken skin, lay off the butter, all the usual doctorly advice).

Anyway. Deciding to take control of my own diet, I've finally lost a few pounds (I need to get from 185 or so down to at least 160, which on a large-boned woman who does weight training is, I think, reasonable), by eating protein and fat, cutting the bad carbs (yay, cauliflower) and weight training. And though the fat is now starting to come off slowly, I just feel so much better that I really relate to the posts on your blog about the major changes in well-being fostered by this way of eating. When energy, sleep, concentration and mood improve so drastically, there's no question about falling off the wagon.

Absolutely! Patience. The fat will come off, and in the meantime you get to feel great. As I saif in my email reply to you, you're husband is more likely to "evolve" into a Paleo-like approach as he observes the results you obtain. Be sure to always gently point out when he's tired and weary, and you're not, and can go and go.

Next, minneapolis J asks:

If I just want to grill hamburgers what sauces could I use that are more accomdalbe to paleo eating?

Well, I personally like to do the same sorts of sauces that I do for steaks and other meats (see the Food Porn category). Use a beef stock, reduce, and go to work. The possibilities are endless. Here's a couple of posts showing what I did sauce-wise for ground beef.

Low-Carb Meatloaf

How About Some Food Pics?

Another thing you can do is make your own tomato sauce, or get canned, and then spice it up with various things to make it Italian like, or more wild, such as with rosemary, sage, savory and such. Again, possibilities are endless, experiment, and never do it exactly the same way twice. That's my policy. Let us know how it goes, J. Also, I'll point out that J has decided to do some blogging, so I wish him well with that.

Brock emails:

I know nanotechnology isn't your normal blogging topic, but I thought this was relevant to why we should approach diet as scientists: confidently assuming we can understand with enough data, but humbly assuming we don't have all the data yet. This fascinating protein structure is common to all forms of life (which means it must be -really- important to be genetically preserved through a billion years of evolution), and we have no idea what it's for. Humbling.

It's important, now and then, that I reiterate my profound respect for science, medicine, and technology, as well as my confidence in man's mind, along with its ability to continually gain knoweldge, build, and improve human life.

Frankly, I would like nothing more than to pop a pill every day for perfect optimal nutrition, and plug into the wall to recharge. Well, perhaps that's going a little far; suffice to say that I strongly support efforts leading to "escape velocity".

Next up is Mario:

Great blog. I've been following your progress for some time now. I am a university instructor at UNM and CNM here in Albuquerque, and I must say, your enthusiasm for D3 is persuasive, which is why I thought you might find the following line of thought interesting. Taubes (who's book I know you've read) tells us (p.439) that seasonal weight fluctuations in hibernators suggest that annual fluctuations in insulin drive the yearly cycle of weight. He then speculates that this same mechanism might explain the annual patterns of weight fluctuations in humans as well. He cites two studies and states that "when researchers have measured seasonal variations in insulin levels...they have invariably reported that insulin in late fall and early winter [is] twice as high...and lowest in late spring and early summer." What is signaling these changes? Vitamin D3 may be a likely candidate since it is the one thing we know of for sure that is radically influenced by seasonal changes, especially since its peak synthesis occurs in the spring and summer in temperate climates.

I found two studies to support this notion (though I didn't really look very hard). A study from the Int. J. Clin. Pract. 2003 May, 57 (4) 258-61 evaluated the effect of D3 supplementation on insulin resistance and found a 21.4 % decrease in insulin resistance after one month. Another more recent study in Diabet. Med. 2009 Jan, 26 (1) 19-27 showed a similar effect. In light of your recent trip to Mexico and your extensive reflection and experience with this topic (and supplementation), I was wondering what your reflections are regarding this line of conjecture.

Well, this is probably a bit out of my league, and so those better educated, please chime in on the comments. By coincidence, this very thing was alluded to in Jimmy Moore's interview of Dr. Steven Gundry I blogged the other day.

Enlightened Heart Surgeons and Cardiologists

Bears, for instance, actually become insulin resistant, i.e., temporary T2 diabetic (perhaps signaled by eating sweet berries, length of day, sunlight, internal clock, or some combination). The body seems to know just what to do to pack on massive weight in advance of hibernation.

So, some of the same is likely going on in humans, only the hibernation never comes and the fat just stacks up year after year.

Well, that's it for this session. I'll hopefully be able to get to the rest by tomorrow.

Grassroots Health D Action

Thanks to commenter Dave, who alerted me to a great vitamin D study and service at GrassrootsHealth.

It's called D Action, and for $30 you can get a your vitamin D levels checked. You can do it once, participate for a year for two tests, or every six months for five years.

I just signed up for a year's participation.

The Latest Nonsense

By now, many have heard of the latest "study." Oh, sure. It's already in the news.

We randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four diets; the targeted percentages of energy derived from fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the four diets were 20, 15, and 65%; 20, 25, and 55%; 40, 15, and 45%; and 40, 25, and 35%. The diets consisted of similar foods and met guidelines for cardiovascular health. [emphasis added]

That emphasis hides a lot of sin, I'll bet. Well, no need to guess, as they provide a reference for such guidelines:

...consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruits; choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods; consume fish, especially oily fish, at least twice a week; limit intake of saturated fat to <7% of energy, trans fat to <1% of energy, and cholesterol to <300 mg/day by choosing lean meats and vegetable alternatives, fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1% fat) dairy products...

No wonder "high fat" is only 40%, and I'll bet they had a tough time getting even to that level. If I recall correctly, the average American diet is already about 30% from fat, so what are they showing? They certainly aren't emulating the Tokelauans at 50% saturated fat, or anything. Massai, Inuit? Forgetaboutit.

Well, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, because it's just ridiculous (with a shout out to: Frank M. Sacks, M.D., George A. Bray, M.D., Vincent J. Carey, Ph.D., Steven R. Smith, M.D., Donna H. Ryan, M.D., Stephen D. Anton, Ph.D., Katherine McManus, M.S., R.D., Catherine M. Champagne, Ph.D., Louise M. Bishop, M.S., R.D., Nancy Laranjo, B.A., Meryl S. Leboff, M.D., Jennifer C. Rood, Ph.D., Lilian de Jonge, Ph.D., Frank L. Greenway, M.D., Catherine M. Loria, Ph.D., Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., and Donald A. Williamson, Ph.D. -- hey, guys & gals; enjoy).

Simply A few points:

  1. There's no such thing as a "low fat diet." They're all high fat diets if fat loss is the goal.
  2. The lowest carbohydrate intake of all the diets was a whopping (yea, I can do the media hype, too) 35%. Presuming an average 2,500 kcal intake per day, that's about 220 grams of carbs -- not "low carb" by any means. So, this is merely a comparison between various moderate to high carb approaches -- approaches that leave insulin high and fat mobilization low.
  3. The highest fat intake is only 40%. A true high fat diet is 60%+ of energy from fat. You can't go above about 35% from protein, and that's pushing it (25% is more realistic). Simple: protein remains about the same, and the tradeoff is between carbs and fat. This study was heavily weighted in favor of carbs, particularly when one considers that carbs hammer insulin and fat has little to no effect. High insulin = no fat mobilization.

In conclusion, they proved that all diets with excess carbohydrate are crap and deliver virtually no results for most people. Hopefully, Dr. Eades will take this up. Stephan, at Whole Health Source, hadn't seen it until I emailed him. He laughed, of course, and might take it up.

I'll stay tuned.

Warning: Respond Immediately to Philip Downey’s ([email protected]) Emails

No, really. Seriously. This is serious...

Judge for yourself.


From: Philip Downey <[email protected]>

YOu are nothing more than an internet scammer trying to make money

I really appreciate how you totally IGNORE my emails

You asshole.

2 emails longer than a week

Paleoman did nto live long you nut PLUS Loren Cordain an actual REAL educated man, KNOWS 800 year old Eskimos who ate an all meat diet had EXTENSIVE ATHEROSCLEROSIS





Yea, sorry about that; I've been busy counting all the money I'm making off all of you scam victims. But thanks, y'all. And you keep coming back for more.

Anyway, what's sort of instructive about the sort of person Mr. Downey is can be found in the question I did answer for him (in the order received, so I guess I owe a big apology to Michael, Marc, Liana, madmax, Paleo Newbie, and Ankit, all of whom waited even longer for answers or acknowledgement). The second email, incidentally, was yet another question about what Art De Vany advocates.

I'll simply point out that's it's ironic that I'm the "scammer," yet I am a paid, legitimate subscriber to Art De Vany's private blog and Mr. Downey apparently wishes that I essentially pass along Art's information to him for free so that he doesn't have to go to the time and expense himself. Incidentally, Art and many of his subscribers are very thorough at answering these questions in the comments of his subscription blog.

Alright, enough. For your general amusement, I've copied the other emails that have come in from Mr. Downey this morning. An abuse report has been emailed to Comcast after I warned him to stop, and he sent two additional emails. Finally, why am I doing this? Character matters. This will stay up forever; Googlable, forever. My apologies to the other Philip Downeys of the world, but I suspect those who know this one will understand what they're looking at.

[Read more...]

Reader Questions (Part 1)

I accumulated a number of questions while away, so this is where I'll attempt to deal with them. I'll have Part 2 up tomorrow (I went from oldest working my way to newest).

Michael asks:

I recently subscribed to your blog. I had tangentially followed dietary issues over the years, but never put much thought into what I ate. A few months ago, though, due to some new medicine I was on which decreased my appetite quite a bit, I started eating a lot less and what I did eat tended to be relatively high in fat. I've lost 15 pounds since then. Now, having discovered that there's a whole way of managing diet that lines up with my recent experience, I want to start doing it right. So, what's the best place to start for someone who needs to learn from the beginning about paleo eating? Any advice you can give will be very much appreciated.

Well, I think right here is a good place, as well as my other resources. It's not well organized, but over time -- not much -- you'll really start to pick up on things. I am attempting to organize things better on this page, and I'll try to get some more updates in there soon, but check out the links already there. In the meantime, feel free to ask further questions in email or the post comments.

Marc asks:

Question for on Vit. D supplements. Do you take sublingual tablets or regular (swallow) capsules? Curious if there is a big difference that you know off. Thanks in advance.

First, make sure it is D3 you are taking and not anything else. I take Carlson gel caps, 2,000 units each, three per day. They're the size of a raindrop. According to Dr. Davis, he has had no success with D3 in tablet form. See here.

This next is a comment from Liana. No question, really, but I did want to highlight its importance for you vegans and veggies out there.

Next is a comment from madmax:

This is tangentially related to this post but I am really curious of what you make of this. Is it me or does McDonald just not get it?

Without digging too deeply into it (I've read enough of his stuff in the past), I think he has not given adequate thought or attention to hormonal signals and hunger.

For me, it's about hunger, not calories at all. If you're hungry all the time, and it's usually that deep, gnawing, nauseating hunger when you are, you're going to fail. Now, whether you're fat 'cause you eat too much (McDonald), or you eat too much because you're fat (Taubes), it doesn't really matter in that context. Cure the hunger (Paleo-like does it every time -- as well as fasting), and you will revert to a natural human being in body composition over time.

Next, not a question as much as an admonition from an MD. Paleo Newbie says:

I used to try (I am out of my general medicine internship and into specialty now) to get all my diabetic patients to low carb diets but they cant quit the fast food and refined carbs and barely got any physical activity. I know you are very critical of pill pushing doctors but we don't get much to work with. Also, our hands are tied by medicare practice guidelines (we are reimbursed this way) or malpractice will follow. For example, a 6 month trial of diet and excercise for a patient with high blood pressure before we offer an anti-hypertensive unless the patient declines. In my personal experience, 1 out of every 30 or so patients gave a reasonable effort to get out and walk and change their diet. As such, I just added on the diabetic drugs and anti-hypertensive until control and wean once they do better. Do that, and you get labeled a pill pushing drone doctor. I could debate this for hours but I can't do much unless the patient takes some responsibility. I can't cure double cheeseburgers and milkshakes, but I can give you an extra 10 units of insulin!

Hah! "I can't cure double cheeseburgers and milkshakes, but I can give you an extra 10 units of insulin!" Beautiful, and you're exactly right. Thank Zeus (and all the gods who've come along later) that we have that stuff available. So, I agree. Help them however you can, even if it means giving them insulin so they can eat Snickers bars.

That said, I wish doctors would 1) think more independently, and 2) learn about proper nutrition and give patients the choice: "red pill, or blue pill," to reference The Matrix. T2 patients should know that insulin is an option but not generally a necessity. Looks like you're one of the good ones, Doc.

Ankit asks:

When you have a minute, could you tell me what you have against legumes? I'm curious to learn more, so if you could point me toward any information; I would appreciate. Its my understanding that if I were to remove the toxins via soaking; they would be an acceptable foodstuff. Look forward to your thoughts.

Well, I deal in principles and for a Paleo-like plan, legumes are somewhere on the scale that's worse then dairy (for most), better then grains. I just don't do them much. Yea, a couple tablespoons of refried beans (hopefully with lotsa lard) every now and then. I like things simple, I don't really need legumes (I like animal fat lots better), so it's my choice to avoid them 95% of the time. But, if you do, I believe lentils are the best in terms of available protein and low anti-nutrients. Also, always soak them. The Weston Price Foundation has a good article on that.

Philip asks:

Art seems to really know what he is talking about. Could you tell me how to do an Art DeVany approved workout. What does he advocate for cardio? (I already lift) A long one hour walk with random sprints? How often?

I don't really want to speak for Art, and I especially don't really want to be a surrogate for his paid subscription blog. That said, he explains his workout routine reasonably well in his EvFit essay. Unfortunately, the link to that is not working -- though it was very recently. I've sent Art an email to let him know, in case that was unintentional.

From what I recall, he does a hierarchical workout, i.e., he lifts until a burn sets in, increases the weight and immediately goes again until burn, then increases and immediately goes again. So, it might be something like 12, 6, 3 in terms of reps. Of course, you'll need to figure out the proper weight through trial. He doesn't advocate cardio at all. The heart, he contends, is designed to operate on randomness and not steady state. As for walking, we are of course evolutionarily designed to do a lot of it. I walk 3-4 miles per day and have been doing so for about 7 years. Yes, sprints are great (and Art had a post on it on his subscription blog just today).

Personally, I get good enough results with my trainer (an exercise physiologist), and so have never been that interested to follow Art's exercise advice in terms of weights (though, one day, when I decide to go it alone), so sorry I can't be of more help.

News Flash: Above 40% Dietary Calories From Fat Virtually Eliminates Heart Disease

The data is in:

Picture 11

Now quick, quick, and go see the shocking rest.

(Note: Ancel Keys was an utter fraud.)

And later: I hope everyone gets the tongue-in-cheek about this post...