Don’t You Wish You Were As Smart as Lyle McDonald?

Well here’s the whole thread on his forum — currently at three pages worth of posts — about this post of mine and a couple by others (Castle Grok & Don Matesz). And in response to Nige, a valuable comment contributor here and author of his own excellent nutrition blog, pointing out the value of this blog to over 50,000 visitors per month, Lyle McDonald responds:

It only proves that most people are very silly and easily convinced by logical ‘sounding’ arguments.

So, I guess that’s what he thinks of you all. Now go line up and buy his books.

While it’s certainly true that the level of visitors here doesn’t singularly mean anything in terms of validity, you will note that this isn’t a commercial site either (unlike McDonald’s). I spend no money on promoting this site — it is through people telling friends & family that it has grown 500% in the last year or so. And how about the quality of the visitors? You’ve all seen how many PhDs & MDs comment here. There’s at least a dozen combined, and these are people who are involved in diet and nutrition issues and have been for years. Then again, McDonald thinks Gary Taubes is "full of crap;" so whatever, I guess.

I’m doing this because I’ve taken off 60 pounds nice & slowly, have increased strength dramatically, and it’s been not only easy, but very enjoyable. So it’s sustainable for me for the first time in years of trying and failing and, I suspect for a great many others. Is it the only thing that will work? No. Will it work for 100% of people? I seriously doubt it, even if they do everything right. It has worked for 100% of my family members of about a half-dozen who’ve given it a shot with results of 20 pounds to over 40 pounds lost and in the case of my mom, gotten her off insulin for her type 2 diabetes.

Lots more success stories here.

And it’s a pretty easy approach for those who just want decent lean health. While I’m sure that McDonald’s various approaches work for those who apply them correctly, I’ve purchased and read one of his books and it’s a complicated, disciplined plan to follow. Will it work? I have no doubt that it will for some, perhaps many. But he seems to hold that the only way to recompose one’s body is through his methods, and if he doesn’t state that explicitly (I don’t know), then isn’t it implied when so much of what he does is to criticize others? Even approaches that work for lots of people? He must have a shortcut key for this phrase that ones sees over and over, directed at about anything that isn’t authored by McDonald.

…it’s total garbage and utterly stupid.

Everything, save Lyle’s stuff, is "crap." Oh, and you’re "very silly" for being "easily convinced" and doing something that works for you, sustainably long term, rather than follow some complex and arduous program from one of his books, excellent and effective as it might be.

The final point I’d make is that Lyle isn’t even a reader here and never will be. So what does he know about what I’m really out here advocating? Even one of his trolls that showed up over the last few days was ignorant of just about everything, arguing against things I’ve never said or suggested — and he actually came to the blog. Lyle wouldn’t stoop so low, because everyone’s a moron, except him.

Have you read his "Mean Forum," (Monkey Island) the one you have to register (free) to read? Wanna know what Lyle McDonald really thinks about you and just about everybody else? Be warned, however, if you’re offended by vulgar language and dirty pictures.

Now I’ll leave you all, so you can rush right out and buy his books.

Later: Oh, I almost forgot. Apparently Weston Price, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, who travelled the world for better than 20 years to study what non-industrial peoples actually ate and to compare them with those who had migrated to civilization, is also full of crap, a moron, or whatever in McDonald’s eyes.

Like the paleo guys who like one of the researchers but not the other, becaue the one is anti-saturated fat. Which the cultists know is good in absolute terms. Because a dentist 50 years ago said so.

such goofs.

Did Price ever say that saturated fat is good "in absolute terms?" I wonder what McDonald actually knows about the cultures studied: "Some of the cultures studied include the inhabitants of the Lötschental in Switzerland, the inhabitants of the Isles of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, the Eskimos of Alaska and Canada, the Native Americans, among the inhabitants of New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Nukuʻalofa, Hawaii, the Masai, Kikuyu, Wakamba and Jalou tribes of Kenya, the Muhima of Uganda, the Baitu and Watusi of Rwanda, the Pygmies, and Wanande in the Congo, the Terrakeka, Dinka and Neurs of Sudan, the Aborigines of Australia, the inhabitants of the Torres Strait, the Māori of New Zealand, the Tauhuanocans, Quechua, "Andes Indians", "Sierra Indians" and "Jungle Indians" of Peru."

Did McDonald ever actually read the book or is he nearly completely ignorant about it and the depth of Price’s findings? Does he know anything about vitamin K2 Menatetrenone (MK-4) — "Activator X" — and its role in malocclusion, dental carries and periodontal disease?

Did McDonald expose his ignorance?

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  1. I’d rather buy your book . . . how long do I have to wait?

    • As long as it takes. While I have a decent outline going and lots of stuff written, I really am somewhat stuck on the overall approach in trying to make it not only helpful, but fresh.

      I’m up at my cabin for the week and plan to be working on it. And thanks for the vote of confidence.

      • I recommend a popup book. I’d like to give it to a few people and watch it give them a swift kick in the ass.

  2. Your quote from McDonald reminded me of the Mike Myers “All Things Scottish” character from SNL–“If it’s not Scottish, it’s craaaap!”

  3. Wow, if that group had written “The Wizard of Oz”, there’d be no Tin Man or Cowardly Lion.

  4. Alex Thorn says:

    It’s probably no accident that Lyle’s avatar on his forum is a chimp with its fingers in its ears – “I’m not listening, nah, nah, nah”! What a tool!

  5. I have followed Lyle Mc Donald’s blog for over a year and I have come to this conclusion.

    His methodology works great if you are under 30 and have a perfect blood sugar/insulin control system. And the reason his methodology works is with those people ANY methodology works.

    For the rest of us, yours and your gurus’ methodology is the only one that is effective.

    • I really think Lyle gets shoved into the “convoluted diet scheme” category when his best book is “The Flexible Guide to Dieting.” It’s really easy to follow and, for what most individuals who follow this blog are after, it’s in the same neighborhood.

      Lyle is incredibly well read and has been at this a long time; I’m not surprised he is jaded.


      • Here’s my deal, Skyler. I do not understand why when there is so much truly damaging stuff out there he has to ridicule “Paleoman.” Why? feelings of inferiority?

        And in some of his latest posting on that forum: “I’m right and he’s full of crap.” Really, telling people it’s OK to eat real food of natural fats, meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, maybe a little dairy and natural starches if tolerated is crap? Really. He’s just spouting off in complete and total ignorance about what this site advocates.

        Perhaps you’d care to educate him a bit?

        I have a very strict policy of not publicly criticizing anyone out there that’s got it mostly right and is really helping people (unless they attack first, of course). For instance, Jimmy Moore gets lots of flack for his processed low-carb fare. While I will criticize those sorts of foods I won’t direct it at Jimmy. I don’t want to harm anyone who is doing good work and I think Jimmy is, and I know a lot of people progress from low-carb to Paleo.

      • I never understood the argument of “paleo man didn’t have a computer.” It’s a non-sequitur that misses the point for what most people I’ve had contact with believe about eating paleo. It’s a really simple to remember “junk food elimination for dummies” concept; I know people take it literally and maybe that’s what his beef is. The “only way” paradigm advocated by early, extra-vocal paleos seems to have fallen by the wayside, understanding the fact that there was no single paleo diet. This was my point in bringing up his other book because the advice isn’t different than that being championed here or elsewhere insofar as eating real food because it has more vitamins/fiber/micronutrients/etc. for health and body composition.

        I stick to Lyle’s technical/research-based discussions. I have no interest in changing his mind.

  6. Read that thread there and it remind me a lot to Colpo’s blog. A wanker guru full of himself and a

  7. band of groupies around.

  8. At least Colpo had the science mostly right (but lacked the most important quality: humility). That’s what I like at your attitude, you are vocal and sometimes rude but still show humility and acceptance of your limits.

  9. Richard,
    Who cares!!!! Please do me a favor and don’t waste anymore of your valuable time on this kind of stuff.
    I’m saying this selfishly, as every post like this one, takes up the time of one where you would be sharing your quality thoughts and insights. Or good rock video perhaps 😉

    Best wishes to you and your family for an amazing 2010!


  10. Great post.
    As a massage therapist/nutritional-fitness counselor, I run into his type constantly. Someone sees a slightly different or complicated way to apply a standard practice, brands it as their own “new technique” then tries to justify it by selling the commons back to you with their name on it.
    All I can say is that I’ve lost #30 of fat, built some quality muscle, got rid of some severe mental sugar cravings, and feel a whole lot better. If that makes me a dipshit, so be it. I will happily continue to be a dipshit and improve my health in the new year and offer the same to the many who come to me utterly without self esteem having sold their soul to the CW and who see the light after a few weeks of this new practice.
    Thanks again for all your effort and entertainment.

  11. David Marcon, DC says:

    Stumbled upon your site via Twitter. I have to say that the Methods of McDonald are common among so called experts ( not a slam directed at Mc Donald as much the title expert) writing diet plans for bodybuilders under the 35 yr mark. I utilized such an individual last year for a competition and lost a lot of weight along with a lot of muscle. Going on my own using Paleo diet and the training methods of Doug McGuff and John Little I am holding more lean mass at a higher body weight. Nutrition is not a science in the strictest term because no one can determine the capabilities of each individuals body. Long term damage causing maladaptations, hormonal function, etc.
    Keep up the great info and let the results of the users be the reward.

  12. I saw the Price bash… I’m not exactly sure why he would bash on Price? Clearly that man did his homework. WAPF also advocates grain eating, just sprouted is all.

    I use to visit the McDonald forums (both) some, but the echo chamber of incomplete sentences and every other word misspelled never really quite did it for me.

    Lyle himself is very researched in some areas, so I cherry pick his stuff these days.

    “You’ve all seen how many PhDs & MDs comment here”

    Yes we have and they’re generally supporting and not criticizing you. Not that it means everything, but I don’t recall see people with credentials over on his site?

  13. Hey Richard,

    Lyle seems to be “hit and run” style like you, but is less charming I am afraid. I know lots of “not invented here” types at work and had little patience to subscribe to his blog more fully.

    Keep up the good work.


  14. I read the thread. How obnoxious! Sounds like a bunch of children fighting on the playground. I know everyone says he’s well-researched, but by the sounds of that thread, he’s truly (as his avatar hints at) choosing to be willfully ignorant in this case.

    I have say as well, that they all seem to be using the strawman argument: Setting up a false image of what paleo/primal is all about and then attacking it. Argument from ignorance instead of knowledge. Case in point:

    But the paleo guys want to thiink that our ancestors were like tarzan, swinging through the trees and wrestling bears to death.


  15. Lyle McDonald – “they talk smack about me all the time with the same asinine arguments that everyone else uses against me. The same ad hominems and logical ‘sounding’ arguments that fool the fools.

    Lyle McDonald – “Because a dentist 50 years ago said so.

    Hehe…The irony of it all.


  17. Look, this conflict is pretty clear to at least my (cynical) eyes. Lyle can monetize his “expertise” much better than he could monetize anything Paleo.

    The more “sophisticated” you make a “program”, the easier it is to package it and sell it.

    When I have people interested in Paleo, I simply direct them to this blog as well as Keith’s, and Kurt’s and others well known by us. And I tell them this is the best/simplest way to do Paleo:

    Kurt has 12 steps/recs that beyond simple. And he accurately qualifies them with:

    “If you can do step 1, that is about 50% of the benefit and alone a huge improvement on the standard american diet (SAD) By about step 6 you are at about 75% , by step 9 about 80% and at 10 you are at 99% for most people.”

    That’s it. Dead simple.

    BTW any of you folks out there following the war that has now broken out between CF HQ and Robb Wolf should realize the same thing is happening there. CF HQ can better monetize Zone products than dead simple real food Paleo recs.

    Last thing, I’m a libertarian and I don’t begrudge anyone trying to monetize their time and expertise

    — be it Art de Vany (I didn’t subscribe to his closed blog cuz I thought he was way too into himself),

    — be it Richard (I’ll probably buy his book, especially if it is available in digital format)

    — be it Robb Wolf (have done telephone consult with him)

    — be it Lyle McDonald

    BUT let’s call a spade a spade. This is what this about. Lyle has to savage the Paleo stuff cuz he cannot monetize it as well as his secret sauce type stuff.

    C’est la vie.

    • Good points, Patrik, as always.

      And I don’t begrudge Lyle his money either, I am quite sure he helps a lot of people and he should be able to make a living or even get rich off it.

      But if I ever do get a book in print, I do intend to make it simple and the money be damed if that’s the way it is. And I sure am not going to slam anyone else’s book or methods, providing they’re doing good, and I think Lyle, at least in his actual info for sale, is doing good.

  18. I should also add, now that I have read Lyle’s thread, he is diametrically opposed to Paleo/Taubes-ian paradigm as he comments:


    “Yes, a point I sort of mentioned in today’s piece: humans can adapt to just about any diet and if there is a problem with the modern diet it’s probably more of quantity (too damn much) than quality per se.”

    I couldn’t disagree more.

    • Suppose he’s right that it’s ULTIMATELY about caloric consumption. And there’s plenty of studies and anecdotal evidence to suggest that for both low-carb and paleo, people seem to spontaneously reduce caloric intake.

      So why make a big deal about supposed “metabolic advantage” and why go around calling everyone a moron who does?

      Whether it’s hormones that better regulate fat accumulation/dissipation on paleo/low-carb, or hormones that better regulate hunger, the result seems to be the same.

      One of the most frequent reports of paleo practitioners, including myself, is that my hunger has completely changed. It’s not a matter of keeping myself from “eating too damn much,” it’s a function of not being hungry enough to bother, just now.

      • “One of the most frequent reports of paleo practitioners, including myself, is that my hunger has completely changed.”

        Agreed 100%. The character of my hunger/appetite is completely different than when I ate grains.

      • For me, it’s a matter of threshold. A little bit of grain is no problem, but I experience the most intense gnawing hunger a couple hours after eating a significant amount of grain, and that was the driving force behind my overeating. When I shifted toward paleo, satiety lasted much longer, and hunger became merely a gentle impulse to eat. The weight loss was completely effortless because there was no intensity of hunger screaming at me to stuff my face.

      • John Campbell says:

        All the non-paleo eaters make too much of individual differences me thinks – as in – “your weird diet works for you, but – blah blah”.

        But having said that, I oinked out on grains the day after Christmas – my turkey was to die for, but so was the stuffing and I indulged in more bread than I have in probably 18 months. Today, the day after, no cravings – my gut was not great last night, but today I just ate meat, eggs and a bit of fruit.

        Obviously there are individual differences, but way overstated to my way of thinking.

        But I agree that hunger is completely different with eating paleo – same with cheating. I make a conscious choice to indulge in the forbidden fruit now and then. I enjoy it – do not regret it – and easily return to normal eating.

      • I’ll have a burger now and then, with the bun. A coupla slices of pizza too, but even more rare. I find that so long as I make it a single cheat, I have no ill effects, and it doesn’t make me ravenous for more, as it used to.

        In fact, I’ve found it surprising. At least for me, if I keep those cheat very far spaced out, I get no ill effects i can detect.

        That said, I’m more and more at the point where I don’t really know why I bother with them.

      • @KGH

        “When you are selling complexity, anyone selling something simpler is a threat.”

        As always, you have a knack for turning a phrase. This is spot-on.

        And like I said, exactly what the CF HQ/Zone versus Robb Wolf battle is about. Robb advocates almost 100% of what you do in your 12 step post. Get quality food and don’t worry about the micro-details, weighing, measuring, etc etc

        Don’t buy Zone fish oil, go get the Costco stuff.

        Compare bottles (this is not even apples-to-apples — where I think Zone would fare even worse.):

        Zone Fish Oil



  19. My favorite quote that shows McDonald is either a fool or a mercenary liar.

    “Gary Taubes has sold 10X the books I ever will, selling lies and nonsense to people..”

    Could one possible make a statement that makes one sound any stupider?

    When you are selling complexity, anyone selling something simpler is a threat.

    Ignore McDonald and his minions and their straw men flame-thrower attacks.

    • I don’t want to start another shit-storm, but I believe that Taubes has got it wrong re: Glycerol-3-phosphate.

      See my November 24, 2009 5:46 AM comment in Diet, Carbs, Fat and Weight Loss.

      Cheers, Nige.

      • No, let’s not do any shitstorm, Nige. And not why I included you in the post.

        I’ll read that post. Art Ayers is an amazing blogger and while I can follow most, so much of he he does and my fav non-wife Chick Dr. BG does, is so over my head. Then again, so was everything when I started. I just keep plugging.

        I really appreciate the several of you who hang around here as well as Lyle’s place. You’re the ones who really get what I’m doing and understand I’m no threat to Lyle. He doesn’t need to dis Paleo.

      • @Nige

        Regarding “shit-storms”.

        I don’t think that any reasonable person cares or is offended if you (or anyone) makes a reasonable argument that argues that Taubes is wrong on Glycerol-3-Phosphate or any other matter.

        This is necessary and moreover, desirable. As such a debate, advances our body of knowledge and thinking — my guess is that Taubes (like anyone else) is wrong on 50% of everything — problem is we don’t know which 50%. :)

        Shit-storms come about when people like Lyle McDonald employ ad hominem attacks and construct straw-men to knock down — ironically, complaining that the other side does the same.

        As I mentioned elsewhere before, one can surely construct many reasonable arguments AGAINST Paleo and FOR whatever-it-is-that-Lyle-espouses, and not indulge in the modes mentioned above.

        But Lyle has shown no indication of doing that. Clearly, he is not a truth-seeker.

      • The problem is that the glycerol-3-phosphate issue is fundamental to Taube’s hypothesis that “a calorie isn’t a calorie”.

        When push comes to shove, a “meat, leaves & berries” diet, for many people, improves their health and usually also results in either recomposition or weight loss. That’s the most important thing.

        I, being a nerd, get picky over the details of how it works (which is what got me interested in diet & nutrition in the first place).

      • @Nige

        Very interesting. Why not contact Taubes directly and ask him about it?

        (I have his email address and can forward it to you, if you are interested.)

      • O.K. I’m wondering if my email address is in my profile somewhere. I don’t want to post it on an open forum. If you can’t find it, I’ll post it here in a modified form, hopefully one that web-bots can’t decipher.

      • @Nige

        I couldn’t find your email address, I will send Taubes’ email address to Richard whom you can then email to get it. Please keep us apprised of his thoughts.

      • Sure, I’ll relay.

      • @Richard

        Thanks much.

        Hopefully, Taubes and Nige will have a meaningful exchange of ideas about this.

      • @Nige

        Regarding your comment, where you write:

        “Anaerobic activity is very inefficient and uses pyruvate at a very rapid rate. A deficiency in pyruvate up-regulates all of the up-stream processes, including GLUT-4 transporters so as to maximise pyruvate production.

        This explains why resistance training with weights greatly increases muscular insulin sensitivity and why resistance training with weights when depleted of muscle glycogen can cause precipitous drops in blood glucose level.”

        I am not going to pretend to understand the biochemical pathways — but shooting from the hip (and perhaps blindly), I have now thought for a few years (ever since being exposed to Paleo-type thinking) that exercise helps with weight-loss not through calories “burned” as is commonly held, but through an increase in insulin sensitivity. It looks like you are proposing a mechanism to that effect.

      • I might add that for myself having done most of my intense weight lifting fasted (upwards of 24-36 hours) that I ALWAYS have a significant rise in BG if I test fasting BG before the workout (80s, generally) and then after (105-115).

      • That could be a Somogyi rebound, which is somewhat catabolic due to the stress hormone release.

      • Hmm, but my fasting insulin is low and fasting BG low too, and only increases in response to the high intensity training. Anecdotally, I experimented with this when Brad Pilon (Eat Stop Eat) reported the same result as did other practitioners of fasting.

        Couldn’t it just be plain gluconeogenesis? As a low-carber anyway, I’m in ketosis with depleted glycogen a lot, probably once per day because even when I’m not doing the weekly extended fast, I find it almost impossible to not go at least 14-15 hours ever day between last food of the evening and first of the new day.

      • A fasting BG in the 80s (4.4mmol/L in our currency) isn’t low enough to promote a Somogyi reaction. However, during your high-intensity training (when your depleted muscles start to suck glucose out of your blood), that’s when it goes low enough.

        GNG is one of the processes involved in a Somogyi rebound.

      • Got it. Thanks. Now I’ll have to look into it more.

      • My understanding is that this is a result of the Cori cycle, but I could be wrong.

      • Well, Kim, not fully understanding either, this makes more sense to me as to what’s going on in a fasted workout where my BG ends up significantly higher post-workout, and also how I can make hunger come and go at will, like a toy.

      • Increasing the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin is the best way to get nutrients into muscle cells rather than fat cells. Therefore, resistance training shifts partitioning towards muscle gain and away from fat gain. This may not affect body weight significantly, but it’s great for recomposition.

        As you may have gathered, I’m in Lyle’s (& Anthony Colpo’s) camp of “a calorie is a calorie”, so any weight loss caused by resistance training is due to a combination of more calories burned and less calories eaten, as resistance training tends to suppress appetite. Endurance cardio tends to increase appetite due to increased AMPk. I was going to hyperlink to Lyle’s AMPk article but is down at the moment.

      • My position on that is #1 that I’m not sure, #2 that if there really is a “metabolic advantage” to high-fat rather than high-carb that’s it likely varies by individual from none to a lot with most on the lower end and that #3 more important anyway is how almost everyone on [particularly] paleo reports a significant decrease in appetite.

        Accordingly, I tend to stay away from that debate. And, even if Taubes is wrong, I still GCBC is a major advancement and if for nothing else, highlighting the shoddy science. The fact remains that low-carb and paleo is very effective for tons of people and that’s far more important than having to be RIGHT about the specific underlying mechanism.

      • “Accordingly, I tend to stay away from that debate. And, even if Taubes is wrong, I still GCBC is a major advancement and if for nothing else, highlighting the shoddy science. The fact remains that low-carb and paleo is very effective for tons of people and that’s far more important than having to be RIGHT about the specific underlying mechanism.”

        Agreed. Think back to Semmelweis. He didn’t have the mechanism (germ theory) but his recommendations changed medicine forever.

      • @Nige

        I dunno. How are you defining “resistance training” vs. “endurance cardio” ? I know, for example, my appetite goes through the roof post CrossFit WOD — which seems to bridge the two somewhat.

      • @Patrik

        Resistance training is something you can do for only a few seconds e.g lifting a very heavy weight, sprinting at full speed. How long do you do a CrossFit WOD (WorkOut of the Day?) for?

      • @Nige

        Depending on your levels of strength and conditioning WODs vary from 3 mins to 45mins. However, I would say that most are 15 mins or so.

        I enjoy the quicker yet more intense ones such as “Grace”.

      • Patrik said…
        “Depending on your levels of strength and conditioning WODs vary from 3 mins to 45mins. However, I would say that most are 15 mins or so.”

        As it’s 4:30AM here in England, I really should go to bed! A 3 to 45 min WO counts as Endurance so appetite is likely to increase. Does the 3min WO increase appetite less than the 45min one?

      • “As it’s 4:30AM here in England, I really should go to bed!”

        Me too. Although I am here in California. :)

        “A 3 to 45 min WO counts as Endurance so appetite is likely to increase. Does the 3min WO increase appetite less than the 45min one?”

        Maybe, however, I don’t think that anyone in CrossFit or in the strength/conditioning communities considers anything less than 45 mins/hour as endurance. Certainly not WODs that are 20 min less, which is sort of the bright line between “high-intensity” and “met-con”.

        Any WOD that you know will take more than 15/20 mins, you significantly ratchet down the intensity versus those that take less time.

      • Also, why would resistance training suppress one’s appetite? It makes no sense to me.

      • Patrik said…
        “Also, why would resistance training suppress one’s appetite? It makes no sense to me.”

        Don’t ask me. Just accept it as magic!

      • It’s my experience that in doing a fasted workout I’ll be hungry going in, and within five minutes hunger goes away, and then I can bring it back and lose it again at will by varying intensity. I found deadlifts to be like nothing else in bringing on hunger in a crash. But as soon as I move on to something less demanding, hunger leaves.

        Then, when the workout is over hunger almost always goes entirely away for 1-2 hours.

      • Don’t ask me. Just accept it as magic!


        Unfortunately, I am not wired like that! I have not found resistance training to suppress my appetite nor does it make any sort of sense to me, that it would or might.

      • I’d guess the hunger suppression is because of the post-exercise increase in BG, which stimulates insulin release, which suppresses appetite via its effect on the arcuate nucleus. And hunger would continue to be suppressed for an hour or so due to GNG and/or lactate recycling. But after that you’ll be hungry!

      • @Nige

        Question for you. If it is “a calorie is a calorie”, then why are we in the midst of an obesity epidemic right now? Why are we over-eating now versus anytime before?

        Why didn’t this start, say, in 1860?

        I would posit, and I think I am representing the Taubesian/Paleo view on a broad level, that the low-fat misinformation cascade starting in the late 1970s/early 1980s has something to do with it. Namely,

        1) It shifted the USA to more carbs, at the expense of fats.

        2) Those carbs induced us to consume more carbs which we then stored as fat, which in turn, drives consumption of more carbs.

        — which is Taubes point — we aren’t fat b/c we overeat — we over-eat b/c we’re fat.


      • Patrik,

        This is a convoluted way of saying “hormonally it’s easier to gain fat when you’re fat.” I wrote a piece last year about how obese individuals have impaired glucose and fatty acid uptake. ASP and insulin are elevated in these individuals even in a fast, so cutting carbs is an easy way to lower calories and reduce one part of the equation.

        This doesn’t deny the fact that calories matter: you can’t make something out of nothing.


      • Alex Thorn says:

        There is so much wrong with the idea of a ‘calorie is just a calorie is just a calorie’, particularly the way it is actually applied to diet and weight control by those who believe in it almost as an article of faith, that I just can’t believe how it keeps coming back to haunt us!

        A calorie (or ‘gram calorie’ as opposed to a Calorie or ‘kilogram calorie’) is the unit of energy (heat) required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree C at one atmosphere of air pressure. It is equivalent to approximately 4.2 joules (the correct SI unit). In food, it is one thousand of these (the kilogram calorie) or the kilocalorie(Kcal) that is most often seen on nutritional labels.

        So, the first error is that protein and carbs have 4 kcals per gram while fat has 9 kcals per gram (this is already a rounded figure). The calories in fat vary depending on its level of saturation. The more saturated a fat is the lower the calorie count. A highly saturated fat probably has around 6-7 kcals per gram, whereas a highly polyunsaturated fat it closer to the full 9 kcals.

        The next set of errors comes in the way the ‘calories in, calories out’ equation. As Taubes points out, there is an assumption that the variables are independent whereas they are actually dependent. Experiments have clearly shown that, whenever calorie expenditure is increased, calorie intake increases and vice versa or, when calorie intake is increased, calorie expenditure also increases (sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously via NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and vice versa.

        Then there is the thermic effect of foods – macronutrients like protein require the expenditure of up to one third of their calorie content in order for their energy to be released via digestion/assimilation.

        Proteins (amino acids) and fats (fatty acids) are also needed as raw materials for the synthesis of hormones, enzymes, cell membranes, tissues, etc. Carbohydrates (specifically glucose – which is what most dietary carbohydrates end up as) are only a fuel source that must be oxidised or stored.

        High dietary fat intakes, in the absence of high amounts of dietary carbs, tends to up-regulate fatty acid oxidation which leads to the formation of dietary ketones which still have a calorific value when excreted (as excesses often are in the urine and breath) with a value of 5 kcals per gram.

        For all of these reasons we can see that, depending on the make up of the diet, not all the calories we consume are either oxidised fully for energy or stored as fat – some is lost one way or another or energy in excess of the initial value of certain macronutrients has to be expended for them to be synthesised into other forms besides storage fat.

        As already mentioned, another way of looking at the ‘calories in, calories out’ equation – as Taubes explains it – is that a change in body fat storage influences the number of calories consumed or expended. Body fat storage is controlled via insulin and it is carbohydrates that have the greatest influence on insulin levels.

        Dietary calories may very well count once they are actualised from the potential stored in the foods by digestion and assimilation but you cannot balance the equation quite so simply by merely measuring the quantity you put into your mouth and the amount you expend in exercise. We are not a closed, artificial system like a weighing scale or a furnace. We are an open, natural, biological, dynamic system that does not strictly obey the equilibrium thermodynamics of nuts and bolts physics.

      • A diet high in high-GI carbs causes wild fluctuations in blood glucose level in a lot of people (myself included). The more insulin-resistant someone is, the more unstable their blood glucose is. See Blood Glucose, Insulin & Diabetes. The highs cause progressive damage. The lows cause ravenous hunger and subsequent overeating. So yes, low-fat high-refined carb diets are “heavily” to blame.

        You’re much less likely to overeat when a) you have stable blood glucose so you’re not ravenously hungry a lot of the time and b) you’re eating meat, leaves & berries as these foods are more satiating. It can be done, though!

        This is where I & Taubes differ in opinion. Dietary fat can be stored as body fat, so eating too many calories on a low-carb, high-fat diet can lead to body fat gain.

      • Yes, it’s complicated! This may be a bit (or a lot) of a cheek, but I’m going to refer you to a couple of articles by…..Lyle McDonald!

        Is a Calorie a Calorie?

        The Energy Balance Equation.

        As for kcals lost as ketones in urine, breath & sweat. I calculated that someone in moderate ketosis has ~7mmol/L of ketones in their urine (I have some urine testing strips and have chosen the figure for moderate ketosis). As one mole of acetone (the ketone which is excreted) weighs 58g, this means that there is 0.406g of acetone in 1litre of urine. If someone urinates on average 2litres of urine/day, this means that they have lost 0.812g of acetone. As acetone contains ~5kcals/g, 4.06kcals are lost/day. Assuming that an equal amount is lost in breath and sweat, that means that the total amount of energy lost/day by being in moderate ketosis is…….12 kcals! Not a lot, in the scheme of things.

      • “This is a convoluted way of saying “hormonally it’s easier to gain fat when you’re fat.” I wrote a piece last year about how obese individuals have impaired glucose and fatty acid uptake.”


        Great. I think we agree – but how did these individuals get fat in the first place? In other words, why the obesity epidemic now and not earlier, if a calorie is a calorie is a calorie is a calorie?

      • @Nige

        The post you pointed me at is not helpful as Lyle hedges:

        “Is A Calorie a Calorie?

        So is a calorie a calorie? Yes and no. Based on the data, my general feeling is this:

        1. A sufficient protein intake will always beat out an insufficient protein intake, no matter what you do. Since all of the diets described in this book are based around sufficient protein, this is a non-issue.
        2. Assuming caloric intake can be controlled (and protein is adequate of course), shuffling of carbs and fats tends to have a minor, approaching negligble effect.
        3. There might be exceptions at the extremes (folks going to single digit bodyfat or extreme obesity) but that doesn’t apply to the majority of folks.”

        BTW no way is point #2 likely to be true.

      • It’s difficult for me to accept, at least for ME. When I began all this and even before I was fasting, I was losing 2-4 pounds per week by just going really high fat. I ate my three meals (you know the drill: meat, butter, eggs, cheese nuts) and then would graze for 2-3 hours in front of the TV to boot on cheese & nuts, primarily. Given that the shift from carbs to fat in terms of volume yields another 4 kclas per gram shifted, I just don’t see it, particularly in light of the fat I was shedding. No possibly way I was in a 7,000 to 14,000 kcal deficit per week for those few months when the weight poured off.

        It’s got to me more hormonally and metabolically complex than that.

      • Nige:

        Don’t be shy about supporting or quoting McDonald. 90% of my complaint is his style, not that he disagrees.

        I fullly admit I’ve learned from him, but I feel he is completely closed off from learning from ANYONE else, at least unless they’ve managed to secure a study grant.

      • Patrik said…
        “2. Assuming caloric intake can be controlled (and protein is adequate of course), shuffling of carbs and fats tends to have a minor, approaching negligble effect.
        BTW no way is point #2 likely to be true.”

        In metabolic ward studies, subjects’ energy intake is rigorously controlled. Replacing fats with carbs may not affect body weight significantly (ignoring water balance changes) but it almost certainly affects the amount of begging for food by starving hungry subjects in the high-carb, low-fat group! So point #2 is true as far as body weight is concerned.

        In free-living people, subjects’ energy intake increases as carbs replace fats.

        In terms of body weight, a calorie is a calorie. In terms of just about everything else, it isn’t.

      • Richard Nikoley said…
        “It’s difficult for me to accept, at least for ME. When I began all this and even before I was fasting, I was losing 2-4 pounds per week by just going really high fat.”

        How much of that 2-4 pounds a week was body fat loss and how much was glycogen+associated water loss? Did the rate of weight loss you got in the first week continue in subsequent weeks? It usually slows.

        For those that are suited to low-carb, high-fat eating, it’s magic. For those that aren’t suited (the insulin sensitive ones), it’s horrible.

      • Nige:

        The only way is to trust me and given my propensity to post “gawd awful” cholesterol number people allow me to post who have been following paleo, I have no interest in misleading, and I’m not even commercial, so there’s no financial.

        I’m saying that my glycogen was long gone, so the water effect was long gone.

        Here’s the quick & dirty. In May ’07 I began the intensive weight training, twice per week, 30m per session. But my diet was still not so good, though I understood low carb and was that way a lot. In Sep/Oct I went Paleo and rapidly began weight loss, 2-4 pounds per week, but I was pigging out, just on protein fat. It wasn’t until 3 months later I began fasting.

        Initially, the weight loss continued at the same rate. Then it slowed by the time I was at 40 lbs or so. Since then, weight loss decreased to about 1-2 lbs per month in spite of significant reduction in cal intake, as I’m just not hungry. I rarely eat more than two meals per day and I rarely grave in front of the TV at night.

        So, I have two “paradoxes.” I was losing fasted with high cal fat intake with some intensive fasting (eventually) and now and losing much slower (but I’m zeroing in on goal), fasting less, and eating way, way less.

        It’s very complex and I believe foolhardy to make any cetain pronouncements for any individual. Nobody can convince me that MY OWN LOSS is attributable primarily to reduce caloric intake.

        It’s patently FALSE in my personal case, and I’m pretty confident that had something not been going on I don’t fuly understand that I’d still be a fat bastard.

        And I haven’t even addressed the five years I walkes 6,000 miles, reduced calories, went hungry and gained 30 MUTHER FUCKING POUNDS,

        And this gets me to the point: You guys you have to BE RIGHT are FUVCKING PEOPLE.

        I’m sorry, but as a former super fatty, it FUCKIGN pisses me off.

        Look, I’ve had a few scotches at this point, I’m just airing, and I always apreciate you, Nige.

      • Let me take another stab, former being somewhat of a rant (I’ll leave it as is so people can see how bad I can get :). Now that I’ve had a hearty bowl of chicken soup I’m in a far better frame of mind — and I’m on vacation, so more alcohol than normal.

        Here’s my deal: not only do I think this needs to be evaluated individually, but we must separate the obese from non-obeses, and individually to complicate matters.

        I was 60 pounds over a normal weight, probably 80 from being way lean,

        Is it possible fat metabolism works differently depending on how much fat you hold? What if fat, especially visceral, operates like a tumor? Nobody is going to dispute that a huge tumor doesn’t change dynamics. Who is not familiar with advanced cancer patients who lose weight no matter how many calories they take in — WHILE IN BED!!!


        OK, there I go again. But, I wrote about it, some time ago.

        What if a large fat store makes things different, i.e., once it crosses a threshold, you can build fat even in caloric deficit (if you’re eating sugar) and can lose it equally as easy (if you’re not)?

        That has certainly been my personal experience. In the face of walking religiously, 3-4 miles per day and eating plenty of “healthy” grains & sugar and going hungry, I continued to gan, and yet when I cut the grains & sugar I could not eat enough to keep fat from coming off to the tune of 2-4 pounds per week?

        As I have gotten back to normal at 60 pounds lost so far, I eat a LOT less, less frequently, and yet the weight comes off far slower, at a rate now of about 1 pound per month.

        I think that the cal in/out thing applies to people within a normal range of body fat, and that excess cals are required initially to get them to excess fat, then fat takes over like a selfish tumor and calories are irrelevant with high sugar in the diet, and conversely, high fat in the diet for weight melting off in spite of calories, but only to a point.

        Consider that, Nige. It’s far, far more complicated and complex that you or Lyle think. I think.

        Have you ever been a fat bastard? Has Lyle? I doubt it. and that explains more than anything, I think. To suffer over a decade and gain weight helplessly, then lose it effortlessly? C’mon, man. Is being RIGHT that important?

      • @Nige

        I think we might be at the point where we are simply talking past one another. – and this disagreement may just have its root in semantics. But let’s try to get to an understanding:

        In metabolic ward studies, subjects’ energy intake is rigorously controlled. Replacing fats with carbs may not affect body weight significantly (ignoring water balance changes) but it almost certainly affects the amount of begging for food by starving hungry subjects in the high-carb, low-fat group!
        So point #2 is true as far as body weight is concerned.
        In free-living people, subjects’ energy intake increases as carbs replace fats.

        I interpret that as a calorie carb is not the same as a calorie of fat, if dependent on what sort of macro-nutrient calorie (protein, fat, or carb) I am ingesting affects my energy intake. And I think you, I and Taubes are in violent agreement here. To wit, carbs drive one to eat more carbs.

        In terms of body weight, a calorie is a calorie. In terms of just about everything else, it isn’t.

        Okay, I am not sure what you mean by that.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        This is the old ASP (acylation stimulating protein) argument again, isn’t it?

        I think this is a last ditch, desperate attempt on the part of the low carb/high fat naysayers to save their casein the light of real world evidence that people eating high fat/low carb diets lose flab hand-over-fist compared to those taking the traditional low calorie, low fat, high carb route (and with less discomfort and more dietary adherence).

        In all the studies quoted to support the ‘ASP can make you fat on a high fat diet’ argument I have yet to see one where the methodology didn’t include both insulin and glucose in the mix. If ASP can make you fat in the absence of raised insulin why is it type I diabetics who make little or no insulin are mostly rail thin by the time they are diagnosed?

        As I understand it, ASP’s ability to store fat is short-term and allows fatty acids to flow back out again for use as an energy substrate because, without the insulin it cannot block HSL (hormone sensitive lipase) and prevent lipolysis.

        By relying on this system you actually only store body fat at a level and within a time frame that maintains a comfortable fat storage ‘reservoir’, which we have evolved to maintain against unexpected food shortages and famine conditions.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        As I said there are numerous ways the body can dissipate excess energy if required to do so – ketone excretion was just one. I also listed TEF, NEAT and synthesis of amino acids and fatty acids into something other than fuel or fat! It all adds up!

      • “Is it possible fat metabolism works differently depending on how much fat you hold?”

        Yes and hormone drives are all over the place. Leptin doesn’t do shit anymore because people are immune to the signalling, insulin sensitivity isn’t there, FFA uptake is reduced, etc.

        “Have you ever been a fat bastard?”

        Close. I’ve been anywhere from 25 to 40lbs heavier than I am now. First time I ever went on a diet was Zone-ish scheme. 40% carbs is high to paleos but not high compared to SAD. Lost 25lbs in 12 weeks. At 40lbs heavier I was carrying more muscle but also a bit more fat. Using a low carb scheme I lost 16lbs the first month and 10 more over the next 7 weeks. Personal experience being much heavier and losing fat on both high(er) carb and low carb diets.

        It’s very complex and I believe foolhardy to make any certain pronouncements for any individual.

        Yep. We’re learning more and more about individualization at a biological level (as opposed to a mere disposition). I think you might have seen this already but there is a certain inherent insulin sensitivity issue that is just now being tracked with data:

        Obese women who were more insulin sensitive lost fat better than women who weren’t on a “high carb” diet. Vice versa for women with low insulin sensitivity and low carb diets. I find it fascinating.


      • Richard Nikoley said…
        “Have you ever been a fat bastard?”

        Oh, yes. Even now that I’ve slimmed down (on a lowish-carb, highish-fat diet), my BMI is still >30, but having a long body & short legs doesn’t exactly help. I like eating too much! Antway…

        When push comes to shove, it doesn’t really matter how the magic works as long as it works. It’s my nerdy nature of having to know how everything works that drives me on, which can get quite annoying LOL! So I’ll give it a rest here and slog it out with Taubes elsewhere.

      • Patrik said…
        “I think we might be at the point where we are simply talking past one another. – and this disagreement may just have its root in semantics.”
        I think so.
        “And I think you, I and Taubes are in violent agreement here. To wit, carbs drive one to eat more carbs.”
        “Okay, I am not sure what you mean by that.”
        Under strictly controlled energy intake conditions and for body weight, a calorie is a calorie.
        Under free-living conditions, a calorie isn’t a calorie.
        As far as health, wellbeing etc are concerned, a calorie isn’t a calorie.

      • Alex Thorn said…
        “This is the old ASP (acylation stimulating protein) argument again, isn’t it?”
        No. I’m suggesting that fat cells can make as much glycerol-3-phosphate as they need by becoming sufficiently sensitive to the basal serum insulin that’s present in healthy people. People with untreated type 1 diabetes have insufficient serum insulin to make anything work properly, but they are a special case and represent <0.1% of the population.

      • I believe Christopher Gardner addresses this in his lecture, where insulin sensitive do better on higher carb and resistant on lower carb. Interesting indeed.

      • Under free-living conditions, a calorie isn’t a calorie.
        As far as health, wellbeing etc are concerned, a calorie isn’t a calorie.

        Fair enough. Again, I think we agree more than we disagree.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        You might find this interesting:

        It actually looks at the ‘metabolic advantage of low carb/high fat diet’ from a non-equilibrium thermodynamic standpoint – something I have long argued should be done as the usual equilibrium thermodynamic arguments used are not really applicable to natural, open systems in biology like humans, animals and other living things.

      • From :-

        “L22 is the sensitivity of the glycerol-3-phosphate flux to the availability of carbohydrate (or other sources) which may also be controlled by hormonal levels.”

        According to my theory, glycerol-3-phosphate availability is independent of carbohydrate availability.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        From the same link:
        “The key substrate for TAG synthesis is glycerol-3-phosphate. Because adipocytes normally have very low levels of glycerol kinase, the flux of TAG is dependent on processes (J2) that supply glycerol-3-phosphate: glycolysis or, under conditions of starvation or glucose deprivation, glyceroneogenesis, a truncated form of gluconeogenesis.”

        It would appear that during fasting, for instance, humans can recycle ~75% of FFA iberated by lipolysis back into triglycerides in both adipocytes and the liver using glyceroneogenesis to supply the glycerol. That seems to imply that that there is still a net loss to oxidation of ~25%.

      • Alex Thorn said…
        “It would appear that during fasting, for instance, humans can recycle ~75% of FFA iberated by lipolysis back into triglycerides in both adipocytes and the liver using glyceroneogenesis to supply the glycerol. That seems to imply that that there is still a net loss to oxidation of ~25%.”

        You want FA oxidation when you’re fasting. It’s not relevant to caloric surplus. Note that proteins produce an Insulin Response, although not as big as the Insulin Response from carbs.

        Fats slightly increase the Insulin Response (to carbs).

        Doh! I said I was going to give it a rest!

      • Alex Thorn says:

        Proteins also elicit a glucagon response, which tends to have opposite/complimentary effects to insulin. Fats do have an incretin effect on insulin response to carbs – hence eat fats not carbs. Also, even when not fasting, increased fat intakes – in the absence of carbs – increases fat oxidation.

      • Alex Thorn said…
        “Proteins also elicit a glucagon response, which tends to have opposite/complimentary effects to insulin.” The glucagon response increases BG and the Insulin Response decreases BG leading to an overall Glucose Response of approximately zero for proteins. The Insulin Response is there to get stuff into cells.

        “Also, even when not fasting, increased fat intakes – in the absence of carbs – increases fat oxidation.” You can’t increase fat oxidation beyond 100% of total energy expended. If someone is sleeping/lying/sitting, they’re only burning 1-1.5kcal/minute depending on bodyweight. This gives a maximum rate of fat oxidation of 0.11-0.17g of fat/minute.

        Eating fat doesn’t significantly raise metabolic rate…..or does it? Maybe Richard & others who do really well on “meat, leaves & berries” do have a significant rise in metabolic rate on eating fat. After all, we’re all different! Anyway, I don’t want to argue for the sake of arguing. If it ain’t broke….

      • Alex Thorn says:

        Nige: I think you missed my point. I was not talking just about the effect of glucagon/insulin on blood glucose levels but pointing out that a concomitant release of glucagon – with the modest release of insulin – due to protein intake mitigates the deleterious effects of insulin on many organs and tissues.

        Specifically, in the context of the discussion on low carb/high fat diets:

        “A protein-rich meal leads to release of both insulin and glucagon. The latter stimulates gluconeogenesis and release of the newly formed glucose from the liver to the blood stream. The very moderate rise in insulin associated with the protein meal stimulates uptake of the sugar formed in the liver by muscle and fat tissue.”

        The primary fuel source for gluconeogenesis is fatty acids and the glucagon released in response to protein consumption encourages the lipolysis required to liberate fatty acids from adipocytes in opposition to the modest insulin response:

        “Glucagon secretion increases when blood sugar levels are diminished, countering insulin’s effects upon glucose and fat metabolism. One might expect that glucagon would have a negative paracrine action on ß-cells, but that is NOT the case. Glucagon does affect these insulin-secreting cells, but that effect is positive! That is, glucagon released between meals primes ß-cells so that they release INCREASED amounts of insulin WHEN GLUCOSE LEVELS RISE.”
        Both quotes:

      • I probably did miss your point.
        You said…”The primary fuel source for gluconeogenesis is fatty acids…”
        I thought that glucose could be made from the glycerol backbone of fats but not fatty acids.

        When I clicked on , Firefox put a gold star next to it. I already had it bookmarked but had forgotten all about it!

      • Alex Thorn says:

        Amino acids and glycerol. etc. are the raw materials which are converted into glucose via gluconeogenesis but fatty acids are the fuel that drive the process – not that fatty acids are themselves raw materials that get converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis. However, odd-chain fatty acids can be converted into glucose:

        “Fatty acids cannot be converted into glucose in animals with the exception of odd-chain fatty acids, which yield propionyl CoA, a precursor for succinyl CoA.”

        You will also read, at the above link, that ketosis also goes hand in hand with gluconeogenesis precisely because the oxidation of fatty acids in the liver provide the energy that drives gluconeogenesis. Ketones are the by-products of incomplete oxidation of fatty acids in the liver.

        This is why I stated that fatty acid oxidation increases on a high fat/low carb diet – as we are not consuming large amounts of carbohydrates for direct conversion to glucose, we have increased indirect synthesis of glucose via gluconeogenesis, which requires fatty acids for fuel – thus increased fatty acid oxidation compared to someone eating a high level of dietary carbs.

      • Fascinating! I found β-oxidation of odd-numbered chains.

        Does Butter contain any propionate? NutritionData isn’t of any help.

        This blog post is turning out to be very educational.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        My understanding is that odd-chain fatty acids occur very rarely but I’m sure dairy is one source where they have been detected:
        “Odd-chain fatty acids from 5:0 to 11:0 have been detected at trace levels in the triacylglycerols of ruminant milks, but not elsewhere in conventional esterified form, as far as I am aware. ”

      • Mind you, C4:0 is turning out to be good stuff. I noticed that WAP have changed their website</a< (I had to re-do all the WAP links in my blog!). They're happy because they eat butter.

      • Alex Thorn says:

        Yup! One of the best changes you can make is replace vegetable margarines and seed oils with pure, natural butter (a very good source of butyrate)!

      • Anchor & Kerrygold (both bright yellow) FTW!
        I also use EVOO & VCO.

      • Dave C. says:

        Alex seems to have given a pretty well written essay on the basic metabolic issues with the “calorie-in, calorie-out” idea. Sad that it has apparently been ignored in this thread. At a very basic level, the calories to grams of fat argument is overly simplistic because you are talking about the conversion of a unit of energy (Cal) to a unit of mass (g).

      • Dave C. says:

        Nevermind, I just don’t know how to follow a comment thread. lol

  20. The machinations the “complicators” will come up with to make their brand of Kool-Aid the only path is amazing to me; being from “down south”, I can tell you all about evangelicalism, and the LM crowd has all the trappings. Which makes me respect Rob Wolf all the more for having waved the Crossfit/Zone train goodbye. He could (I’m sure) have leveraged quite a bit of coin by dancing to Barry Sears’ fiddle. More power to him. It’s a hell of a lot harder to make money in the Strength & Conditioning game than selling the perverse complications of a dead-simple diet.

    That said, though, LM does know his stuff on the diet and on the training front. And I realize that he’s chosen to make a living in a difficult and competitive environment, but that in no way justifies berating other theories. He loses much face, as does Greg Glassman, by not engaging in civil debate. But then again, we all know why debate of this nature won’t come about. Cha-ching…

  21. ” I can tell you all about evangelicalism…”

    Oh my, could we ever have a conversation. Here’s where I spent year one of college:

    Left after the year when I was nearly expelled for ditching classes in the afternoon one day, heading to a natural waterfall and 40 ft dive into a pool (Georgia), and consuming some measure of alcohol. :)

    What a story, having the “dean of discipline” visiting my dorm at O-dark:30 and interrogating my like an SS officer. Someday, Keith; over a beer. Or two or three.

  22. I have trouble believing that anyone who would discredit Price or Taubes, especially in such a casual and dismissive manner, has a true appreciation for optimal health. I guess that makes me a “brainwashed cultist.”

    I agree, the monkey avatar with it’s fingers in it’s ears is very appropriate. I like some of McDonald’s stuff on fitness, but it’s too bad that he has to be so close minded. I wonder if he even realizes that Price was an advocate of fresh whole grains.

  23. Just back after a Christmas trip. Interesting to see this. My blog has come in for some quite unpleasant and juvenile abuse from Lyle and his friends over recent months, especially when I interview any HIT guys.

  24. As a former fat broad, who also was a fat kid when there was only one fat kid in the class (as opposed to today), I completely agree with you Richard. Weight loss, insulin sensitivity, metabolism, all that is different for those of who have been very over weight or who were over weight for a long time. I think it makes a big difference for someone like me who has been overweight my whole like (45 years) UNTIL now. Everytime LM or Colpo or any of these young, never been a fat bastard types, go on about what the metabolic ward studies prove, I scream at my computer screen “Excuse me but who are the subjects of these metabolic studies?” Young, never been over weight people. HELLO? And exactly how does the effect and food and macro ratios have on these people relate in any way to my body? The metabolic ward studies only show what happens to young, lean people. The rest of us got fat or were fat because our bodies are not like these people!!

    • Amen, Sharon.

      Anybody who doesn’t tell you that you’re on your own to figure it out is either delusional or trying to sell you something — without follow up for effectiveness and potential refund.

      My aim here is humble. I truly don’t know what you need. I know what I need and provide a forum for others to express their needs and somewhere in there I would pray to god if I believed in one that the few who find it so difficult can gather enough information to put the jigsaw together for themselves.

      And dammit, it’s probably the best anyone can ever do without personal and knowledgeable coaching.

  25. Aw, I kind of like Lyle McDonald. I don’t interact with him directly and I haven’t paid for his books, but his website has been such a fantastic resource for me.

    The thing that is absolutely priceless to me about McDonald is that he understands how dieting works for athletes, and especially for female athletes. Most of the outspoken online paleo leaders are 40+ dudes, formerly gone to seed, who are speaking to an audience of their (former) peers, i.e. mostly 40+ sedentary-or-close-to-it dudes who want to “look good naked” and maybe ditch the lisinopril script. The Eades and Robb Wolfe obviously have good experience working with females, but there too their primary client base is the “look good naked” crowd (as Wolfe freely admits). I’m sure that with a couple of personal consultations I could learn as much or more material relevant to my situation from Robb Wolfe as I have from McDonald — and absolutely no complaints about Wolfe charging for his valuable expertise! — but I certainly do appreciate being able to learn so much for free. I also particularly appreciate his realistic (one might say negative) expectation-setting in some areas and I’ve sent female friends to him for a reality check when they start moping about not losing weight at the rate (or along the smooth curve) that websites or Weight Watchers group leaders seem to imply they should.

    McDonald doesn’t push complexity. He simply explains the complexity that exists and how it might pertain to your situation. For you guys, your situation is pretty simple: you have a pretty straight-ahead goal that is within the realm of natural operating states for your bodies. For physique competitors who are trying to manipulate their bodies into states that aren’t natural, and for athletes who are seeking to understand and properly fuel the energy needs of frankly unnatural competitive activities, a more fine-grained picture is required. It’s really no big deal.

  26. Richard!

    Huge fan of the site, keep up the great work. So, Lyle finds the paleo concept suspect because there is not perfect consensus on topics like saturated fat? So, by this logic, we need to jettison quantum mechanics:

    I generally like Lyle’s stuff but I think he is developing some Meme-envy.

    • Thanks Rob, and likewise. And thanks for that shout out in episode 8 of your paleo series. I’m going to have to alert my readers to that (how many you going to do?). really great stuff.

      BTW, here’s best of luck over that CF deal. While I don’t understand it all, looks to me like they’re rightly afraid of you. Because you have better solutions and answers.

    • Well Robb, there are legitimate scientists who dislike QP because you can’t test it in any way shape or form. So to juxtapose it with paleo, which has been tested by real scientists, undermines your argument.

      Speaking of meme-envy, I hope you keep coming out ahead in this CF nonsense.


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