“Protein is the New Carbohydrate,” and Why to Ditch the Low-Carb Catechism (Sorry Jimmy)

Earlier in the year Jimmy Moore graciously invited me in for a second podcast, the subject being the perceived "impatience" the Low Carb movement was beginning to encounter as a relative mainstay of the Paleo (Real Food) movement. I had just published this: Synthesis: Low-Carb and Food Reward/Palatability, and Why Calories Count.

I wished to be a gracious guest, shoot a few points and observations, be conciliatory, and not be too controversial—something I reserve for this blog...something, over which, I have exclusive control and owe no one anything. But I'm not a Jimmy Moore basher, never have been, and still resist anything of that nature to the best of my ability. Why? Because he and others consistently seem to help people in real and profound ways. No interest in silly attempts  at derailing that.

...I'm not a good marketeer. Never have been. I suck, actually. Truth told, I hate trying to sell anything except in the rare circumstance where the value equation is so profound as to be obvious. In other words, if a product or service can't "sell itself"—and you're just the messenger—then I have little interest. Who wants to try to make a living being either embarrassed, or a sheister?

But I learned one essential thing from accomplished marketeers. The A/B test. Let's say you want to sell something. You create a bunch of different ad copy, commercials, or even scripts for salespeople. Then you track results. The one that consistently outperforms best becomes 'A'. That's your baseline; and then you proceed in never ending fashion to create a series of 'B' copy to test against 'A', and when some 'B' consistently outperforms 'A', then 'B' becomes the new 'A'. Wash, rinse, repeat, endlessly. Continuous improvement process. Obvious, but timeless qua rational process.

So as much as I hate to try and sell stuff that can't manage to sell itself, this marketing process has implications beyond selling widgets, information, services. Like, life? Like, diet? Like, exercise? Like, individually construed? ...And that's essentially what I've done over the years since 2007 when this all began. Initially, all I really knew was LC. That was my 'A'. But I didn't name the blog "Low Carb X" or "X Low Carb." I named it Free the Animal (it was named "HonestyLog" for years prior, "UncommonSense," prior to that). I hate closed-ended stuff. Things always change and eventually, you'll have to either become dishonest to prop up your diminishing paradigm, or dump all the hard work. Im always about the open-ended. And I just became even more open ended when I changed the tagline on the blog from something about weight & fat loss on a Paleo diet to "social commentary on the human animal condition." Wide open integration of all relevant and available facts. That's the only deal for me.

Yea, I know...Hard to keep a loyal audience that way. Fuck 'em. Out with the old, in with the new. That's what I always say.

...I have this frequent commenter who's an 'eat less move more (or moore)' kinda guy and he pretty much hates Jimmy, loves an insane miscreant woman, etc. But, he has adapted to me over the months and he rarely goes over the line. Sometimes, often, I yawn at his stuff and he gets plenty of shit from other commenters because he basically sings but one song. At any rate, he did clue me in to a section of a speech Jimmy just gave in Australia to some LC conference or some such thing. Even LowCarb Woo couldn't take it.

This should begin at the right spot, but if not, it's 21:10 into the video.

So after mulling this over, here's what I think.

What next? First, it's carbs you can't eat—ALL carbs, no distinction. And now, what? Protein can be just like carbs? It's chocolate cake? Well, at least that leaves fat and alcohol. Sure, fat is an important macro in natural form that affords metabolic and hormonal benefit, beyond just energy. But it's also not particularly nutritious in terms of essential vitamins and minerals either—the purest grass fed and pastured notwithstanding.

And so I just have to conclude that I really am dealing with a dogma here, attemtpting to explain away the obvious for the sake of the dogma itself...and perhaps, the name of the website, all the books, relationships, allegiances and alliances, etc. Yea, I know. "I told you so." But I don't operate like that. I lost 60 pounds doing LC in a paleosphere. Hard to dismiss. When I hit 175 with cold hands & feet in the winter, not feeling particularly great, I was still not one to lash out and proclaim that LC and all of its advocates are full of shit.

As impatient as I am to call out deserved BULLSHIT immediately, I'm the opposite when it comes to things I think don't deserve my standard treatment. I'm a huge practitioner of discrimination and distinction in the classic sense. So I just needed to figure this out for myself, attain a first hand level of confidence, if not certainty—even if it took years, which it did.

Well, call me confidently certain. I'm going to save all I'm learning about the VHC (very high carb) way of doing things for later. For now, I'm officially classifying LowCarb as nothing more than a good diet hack. It's certainly appropriate long term for diabetics and the super metabolically deranged, but for just normal weight loss or weight maintenance? No, and in fact, most are going to find the potato hack far superior for reasons I'll address over the space of time. (I still do think a more meaty, fatty, LC approach is best for the obese or significantly overweight, until you stall—it's more nutritious, plain and simple.)

So in the end, what we have is a dietary regime (LC) which has been shown in study after study to spontaneously reduce caloric intake substantially. But that's not why people lost weight. "It's the carb restriction." Then, when they stall and find that eating ad libitum fatty steaks smothered in butter alongside cauliflower mashed with butter, cream and cheese, they gain weight, it's....it's....it's...TOO MUCH PROTEIN!

It's never, ever about simply eating less for whatever reason you have been satiated or motivated to do so. Conversely, weight gain in an LC environment is explained by...uh, wait, has it ever been explained? Oh, yea, just now: it's the protein.

It is to laf.

It always comes back to evolution and the subtile science behind it; science grasped by few...and it must be said that many LCers retain the LC moniker and only court Paleo because they just can't identify themselves as evolutionists (yea, I admit: a huge problem unto itself). Remember, 40-45% of Americans not only don't believe in evolution (that would be about 80%, I think), but believe in Young Earth Creationism.

The whole ketosis deal—now "nutritional" ketosis—is instructive, but I'll save that for a bit. You see, everyone lives in a man-made world, the makings of which they attribute to a God, in whose image they have been made.

Thus, man didn't create the concept of species as a classification convenience (while someone proclaims that turtles don't evolve into dogs), God did; a handed down, unchangeable reality. Alas, sorry, but speciation is man made and in many respects is inconsistent and in some unintentional respects, arbitrary. All we really know is that in pure nature, there are cells. And there are organisms made up of colonies of cells. We also know that most cells reproduce asexually, some organisms reproduce asexually, and most organisms reproduce sexually (yippee for us!!!); and even, that some sexual reproduction is an evolutionary dead end (see mules, ligers, tigons, etc.).

In the same way that creationists have a stumbling block in terms of the concept of speciation, so they treat ketosis. Ketones are by-products of fat metabolism. The myth is that restricting carbohydrates "puts you into ketosis." But as human organisms, we're always metabolizing. We're metabolizing alcohol, carbohydrate, protein and fat. All the time. Everyone is always "in ketosis."

So what you really mean—isn't it?—is just that you want more ketones, right? Or, to just state it FUCKING PLAINLY: you want to burn more fat?

OK, and because I'm always happy to help, here's how:

  • Restrict carbohydrate drastically
  • Restrict protein drastically
  • Restrict fat drastically
  • Restrict food (calories) drastically
  • Restrict any combination of the above drastically

Get it? Because carbs are conveniently high up on the hierarchy of what your body metabolizes first, it's the most obvious choice for most. And, in fairness, people love meat & fat, so there's a palatability element. Unfortunately, the very valid hack that implies has turned into an industry that just won't quit or restrain itself—and seems to be intent on spreading its religious-like dogma far and wide.

"Nutritional ketosis" is a non-concept piled upon an existing non-concept.

There, I said it.

Update: Unfortunately, LLVLC Forum members seemed to have missed the message (or, more likely, didn't read the post). It's not about LC, Ketosis, blunting gluconeogenneis being BAD. It's about misattribution of cause to effect. I clarify more in comments below in case that's useful for anyone to help understand my central theme here.

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Comments

  1. Richard – You were at 176 at your lowest on VLC. Now you are at 190ish on something different. You weigh more but who cares? Weight is a number. Health is the ultimate arbiter. Too many people fixate on the scales and judge your health commensurate with the almighty scale. Throw’em out. Here is the question – how do you feel?

    • EF:

      Yea. The forray into the 190s was about the milk & gym. Typical bulking deal. So long since I’d been there, it was my idea of a head start. It’s actually pretty easy for me to be in mid-180s, feel good, look relatively OK for my age. Bit of a belly, but so what in the large scheme.

      However, I feel now as though I might just naturally get into the 170s, maybe even 160s and feel just fine. The potatoes are that profound. But I’ll save these insights for another day.

  2. I’m digging what you’ve been saying. I ditched the low carb approach quite a while ago. BUT (there’s always one right?) I do have to relate the experience of a friend. He was about 300 pounds on a frame that should have been about 160 pounds. He “discovered” Atkins, and was convinced he could eat meat and fat to his heart’s content. Imagine his surprise when he gained weight. That’s when he called.

    I tried to talk about what he had been eating, but he only had vague references. “Keep a food log” was my recommendation. A week later we went over his food log. I calculated he was eating between 300 and 450 grams of protein a day. Wow!

    I gave him some guidelines to reduce the protein to 125-175 grams a day, and increase fat if needed to keep from feeling hungry enough to go off diet. Also suggested that if he had intense cravings for off-diet foods that he allow himself all the fat he could eat until the cravings subsided. I remember one day that he called me after putting away 4000 calories of macadamia nuts! He said I told him he could have all the fat he wanted. Heh.

    In spite of the occasional super fat intakes (he said his favorite was macadamia nuts warmed up in a bowl with butter and coconut oil, eaten with a spoon!!!) he started shedding the weight rapidly. He went from 300 to about 250 in 2 months, then said to hell with it, and was back to 300 in another 6 months. Oh well.

    So while I agree with you on all of your recent observations, I have at least one experience in which low carb didn’t work for about two weeks until the protein was reduced and fat increased. I also feel it’s great for the grossly obese to get them started. But if you’re active, particularly if you’re hitting the weights or doing any anaerobic work, I think you’ll sabotage yourself going low carb for more than a week or two. I think the goal is to be a flex-fuel human. I run on sugar and fat pretty well. If I’m CrossFitting, I’m burning sugar at high rates. If I’m just doing normal stuff, I can go 24 hours without food easily because I burn fat easily.

    Metabolic flexibility is the goal, and one that isn’t served long term by going low carb.

    • It’s hard to tell from a 2nd hand anecdote, Bill, and I know for myself, one of my TV snacks while losing weight was mixed nuts in a bowl, a few heaping tablespoons of either yogurt (Greek, preferably) or cottage cheese.

      Problem is, when I recollect that, I really can’t accurately account for the overall consumption of the space of days or weeks, and I did do the IF thing.

      My only point is that LC is just a hack. Perhaps a bit more for the months it takes to lose until the almost inevitable stall (which I explain in that link in the first para).

      • Totally agree. And, LC is a hack that works best if you’re relatively sedentary or doing VERY low intensity work. Walking, hikes, etc. It’s worse if doing weights, and even more worser (grin) if doing intense anaerobic work. CrossFit, sprints, Tabata intervals will all crush you in short order if eating very low carb. Seems straightforward: Don’t do glycolytic work if low on glucose.

        Where I’ve seen low carb work well was for the super obese who weren’t really up to exercising anyway, excepting a long walk now and then. That’s not the lifestyle I want, so I need a different fueling approach. I seem to run best on meat and ice cream, but there might be a confirmation bias that leads to that conclusion so I can eat more ice cream. ;)

    • Ash Simmonds says:

      Protein is 54% anti-ketogenic, so if you are aiming for elevated ketone levels for either interventional or adaptational or even simply for bio-marker(al) reasons, you need to restrict protein to about equal (in weight terms) to fat or less.

      Jimmy is being a bit elastic with the mechanisms at play, conflating ketone production blunting with blood sugar and insulin – stating that excess protein goes BAM straight to BG via GNG. GNG is a metabolically expensive process, and to think the body turns ALL excess protein to sugar is silly, just because excess protein inhibit ketogenesis doesn’t mean it’s because it’s magically become sugar – there are other mechanisms at play here.

      • Ash, I’m laughing, kinda, at the whole idea of “ketosis” in a daily thing. It’s good to recognize protein as an inhibitor, if “ketosis” is you goal. I just think that is you are fat, you ought to metabolize fat.

        Ketones are an effect, not a cause.

      • Good point; if you are fat, try to burn your own.
        Check out Peter Attia’s ketosis post for a fascinating example of this; a 382 day supervised weightloss fast.

      • Peter is a friend and in fact I owe him a return call.

        Are you talking about the guy who went a year without eating? Had nothing to do with ketosis. Had everything to do with not eating for a year.

      • Ash Simmonds says:

        “Ketones are an effect, not a cause.”

        Yar, that’s why I chucked in the bio-marker thing, there are loads of other benefits to being ketogenic and as far as I can tell not many downsides, but most people focus on the whole fat burnin’ man thing and so for them elevated ketones are a reliable bio-marker that their body is leaking fat.

        Plus I can live on pretty much just fatty steak alone, and “gotta stay keto brah” is as good an excuse as any to maintain a carnivorous lifestyle.

    • I’ll second the notion of being a flex-fuel human. I think the most comprehensive description I’ve heard of this is from DH Keifer with his Carb Backloading. Now THERE”S a man with some aggressive marketing. The marketing really puts me off, but I like some of his notions.

      • “Now THERE”S a man with some aggressive marketing. The marketing really puts me off, but I like some of his notions.”

        Man…if only I could make a living at this because it is fun to do, I love it, etc. Thing is, I know plenty of marketing guys who could write landing page copy that sells ice to Eskimos. I just cannot bring myself to go there. I have to write my own lame, hopefully honest stuff.

        If I want to feel bad about myself, it’s only a bottle of whiskey away.

    • I met a friend last year who lost 220 pounds eating low carb. He looks fantastic and ya’ll will here A LOT about him in 2013. He is a phenomenal singer.

      I am not at all low carb. I think it can work for some people in some cases. But, I refuse to accept advice from someone who says we should all limit carbs.

      I personally eat intuitively.

  3. My first comment here was a defense of veganism as a valid dietary choice, which is, perhaps, not how most would choose to introduce themselves in such a forum. But I felt that my argument would be given a fair read and due consideration because of posts like this – and in fact, because of posts like the last few. Dogma for its own sake is bullshit. It leads people down false paths for false reasons, and in the even that it stumbles upon positive results, the mechanism is so obscured as to teach nothing. And that is the ultimate harm; no knowledge is gained. “B” is never allowed to become the new “A”, no matter the evidence. This is true, regardless of the “A” in question, whether it be low carb or fruitarianism. That is, I’d be as happy to read a post criticizing Michael Arnstein as Jimmy Moore, regardless of were I fall on the dietary spectrum.

    Not that you need my – or anyone’s – approval to think what you think, to post what you post. But regardless, I’m glad there is critical thought here. We can never have too much.

  4. the 3volution of j3nn says:

    I can haz ketones?

    The more I experiment, the more I think the diet should not necessarily be static and predictable. I think each food or combination of foods needs to be in sync with your current needs, whatever they may be. What you need today may not be what you need tomorrow or 18 months from now. Keep evolving and feeding the body what it can best utilize at the moment. I think we often resist what we need in favor of our dietary superstitions.

  5. Jimmy’s presentation aside, the concept of overfeeding with protein is not new. Ron Rosedale has gone into it at length many times specific to glycine metabolism, the insulinogenic effects of high protein feeding and heptatic glucose, MTOR signaling and the hexosamine pathway accelerating aging under heavy protein loads, etc. You can find all of this in a talk Ron did to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians back in 2006. I can almost guarantee that’s where Jimmy is getting this idea.

    Ron’s work is heavily backed by research and some of his own connecting of the dots, so Jimmy’s synthesis of “it’s like eating chocolate cake” is an overdone reduction of a good idea. BTW, no where does Rosedale say “protein bad, ____ good.” He just doesn’t recommend overeating protein and has some of his own guidelines. Along the lines of what you said, Ron is more careful with diabetics and the severely metabolically deranged.

    For more of an n=1 approach, Peter Attia wrote last year about doing better when he went easier on the protein in his ketogenic diet (still got up to 125 g/day, so it wasn’t low protein by any means). He’s still A/Bing his diet to borrow your ad lingo and has added in some IF and more carbs this year as he’s updated.

    • I think Ron Rosedale is on the right track but imo you also have to consider the positive effect of protein on the cortisinol matrix, numerous studies have shown that when eating what is generally considered “too much” protein the glandular synthesis of metabolic pre-aminomemes results in venticular inoculation of the the mitochrondrial inhibitory response, resulting in decreased availability of nano oxides and increased availability of free-roaming anti-oxiditive re-uptake agents, resulting in more fat loss and less loss of muscle tissue.

      While his point regarding MTOR signaling is certainly valid, imo it ignores the corresponding decrease in the Gross-Peterson hypercumulative resistance levels, so the jury is still out on that one.

    • I contend it’s the “overfeeding” that’s the problem, as in over feeding, as in too much total food.

  6. I think dogmas are just plain retarded. LC for diabetic? Not in my case. I’m after having the best numbers ever, lipid-wise, than even before my DX as a T1D. Yep, despite eating the horrible SAD diet.
    Fuck, I work in a restaurant that caters to the SAD. The bigger the glutton, the better.
    Sure, right after my diagnosis, I was able to lower my lipids, glucose, and other D-related numbers by low carbing. Was it sustainable? Hell no!
    It turns out that the price for controlling my BG numbers by LC alone wasn’t worth it. BG swings from fucking green beans? No thanks.
    Yep, I’m a pharma mule, taking a 4 fucking dollar a month drug with insulin to manage my condition.
    That makes me a failure in a LOT of diabetic circles and forums. There is a dogma attached to it – and you touched on it right in your post – that LC indefinitely is the way to go for a diabetic.
    What helped me was to cut the amount I eat. I exercise more, (and work 12 hours a day on my feet.) Numbers are fine, but I have to take insulin. No swings, no worrying about hypos, and weight is stable.
    The best part? My endocrinologist has told me I am a dream patient. No complications, great lipids, liver is back to normal, and glucose is stable.

    • “What helped me was to cut the amount I eat”

      Fucking bingo. By some chance, doing the potato thing, I have been tuned into this aspect more than anything and high potatoes for me means that I’ll barf before I can eat a lot no matter how gloriously I try to prepare them.

      Result? Calmest stomach of my life. I began getting heartburn at like 12 years old, just like my dad and all of my 3 younger brothers.

  7. One of my favorite quotes on the whole thing is that we may not know what the correct diet is but it will probably consist of plenty of fruits and vegtables, suffcient lean protein, and suffcient fatty acids.
    The problem with the above is one of caloric load. Most of us move. Whether it’s better to use fat or whole grain carbs or some combination is in the air as far as health is concerned. I think there was a study in Norway that said the best diet was 1/3 of each protein, carbs and fat. I have my own beliefs on this. The bottom line for me is to avoid all processed foods and eat your vegtables.

  8. blahblah says:

    I know a guy who lost over 100lbs with hcg. He’s kept it off for 4 yrs now with a targeted keto diet. He loves his pizza/beer, nacho/takillya weekends. He’s very content with his eating. Different approaches can work for different folks. I myself ditch the meat from time to time too and eat a huge fruit salad. Feels like I’m eating at a Vegas dessert bar its so sweet.

  9. “Yep, I’m a pharma mule, taking a 4 fucking dollar a month drug with insulin to manage my condition.”

    Say what? You’ve got Type 1 Diabetes (at least that’s what I gathered from your post). You *have* to be a pharma mule. That’s what modern medicine is for – to save people. The only treatment in ye oldy days was a low to no carb diet. That extended people’s lives, but from what I read the story always ended the same: in coma and death. So yippee for big pharma! (Really.) :)

    As for the rest of it, I’m guessing you aren’t really eating SAD even if it isn’t LC. SAD is random eating off modern grocery store and restaurant shelves. You’ve got an awareness of portion control and how foods affect you. If you actually did a log of your carb intake (because your calorie intake is down – it’s all the same), I’m willing to bet it’s still significant lower than “Mr. Random American Eater sort of doing low fat”.

    At any rate, the proof is in the pudding. It’s working for you. I’m not sure why you’d worry about people who post about falling of the wagon for the 5,555th time in a row and then be vocal about how their way is the only way to go.

  10. Random Thoughts:

    Jimmy Moore

    I stopped reading Jimmy Moore a while ago when I realized he wasn’t being honest with himself. He came into LC eating some (well alot of )franken foods. You know, sugar alcohols that are modified to be “indigestible”. Then his blood sugar was oddly spiking.He was also gaining some minor weight on Atkins and boy, was it a head scratcher.

    I pointed out to him in the comments that Atkins actually states you can’t over eat and expect to lose weight. There is a whole section on portion control. What Atkins said was eat a portion if you were hungry. You still can’t eat randomly on low carb and expect to lose weight. Portion controlled LC is simply an easier way to lose weight for the mathematically challenged or lazy (me) or those that would go crazy being hungry all the time (me 5 times over).

    I also pointed out that our stomachs are adaptive. Our stomachs *try* to digest what we eat. (Perish the thought.) So yes, if you eat a whole bunch of “low carb” sugar alcohol foods, expect to have weirdness happen including blood sugar spikes and weight gain.

    And he was the blogger. *sigh* Nice guy (very nice actually) but he stopped being worth the time to read/listen to. :(

    LC Coldness
    I have experienced being cold on LC as well, in Vermont in winter no less. I thought it was because I lost the weight. Now I’m thinking I should have added back some carbs to keep myself at a reasonable temperature. I definitely do better when I have a certain level of carb in my diet. I solved the winter problem by moving south.

    • Amy, the true point of my post is that Jimmy is losing weight again because for whatever reason he has motivated himself to do so, he is eating way fewer calories.

      The punch line to that is no matter what, it can not be about calories. Reduce calories? Call it too much protein.

      Do you get it?

      • Recently, I’ve taken that low protein a step further. I’m doing a low amino acid diet and it has just one simple rule. I eat no amino acids with “l-” before them. It’s perfect for this holiday season!

      • Matt, first rule of jokes is that people don’t have to type. A link to something funny will suffice.

      • Yep, I get it. :) Basically, I’m saying my early encounter with him was pretty similar. He really wants there to be something more “magical” than calorie restriction to lose weight.

        He lost most of his weight following Atkins (so did I). The Atkins plan is a very good one to lose weight as long as you stick to whole foods. (Which basically makes it Paleo). But if you follow the plan to the letter, certain low carb but calorie dense foods cream, cheese, and soft cheeses are limited while losing weight. If it’s *all* about carbs, why limit heavy cream?

        The only thing I’d resist that calories are all the same, which is what many proponents of calorie restriction also tend to suggest. (And it maybe why Mr. Moore won’t wrap his head around the calorie restriction that is inherit in successful low carb weight loss.) I think the first part of your list is dead-on in it’s ordering.

        The empty calories in modern high carbohydrate food are the most logical to cut/restrict first. They provide the fewest nutrients, stimulate the appetite, and create insulin swings that are counterproductive to burning fat. Protein limiting is next because once you don’t need to build/repair tissues it’s metabolized as glucose. Limiting fat would be last as it’s much harder to overeat fat, contains classes of vitamins you can’t get in other ways, and generally leaves your blood sugar in a steady state.

        Bah, in other words- weight loss requires calorie restriction but not all calories are created equal. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Maybe I’ll start a blog… ;)

      • “The only thing I’d resist that calories are all the same, which is what many proponents of calorie restriction also tend to suggest. (And it maybe why Mr. Moore won’t wrap his head around the calorie restriction that is inherit in successful low carb weight loss.) I think the first part of your list is dead-on in it’s ordering.

        The empty calories in modern high carbohydrate food are the most logical to cut/restrict first. They provide the fewest nutrients, stimulate the appetite, and create insulin swings that are counterproductive to burning fat. Protein limiting is next because once you don’t need to build/repair tissues it’s metabolized as glucose. Limiting fat would be last as it’s much harder to overeat fat, contains classes of vitamins you can’t get in other ways, and generally leaves your blood sugar in a steady state.

        Bah, in other words- weight loss requires calorie restriction but not all calories are created equal.”

        Amy, you took the words out of my mouth…
        Love it!

      • “The only thing I’d resist that calories are all the same, which is what many proponents of calorie restriction also tend to suggest.”

        Right. Me too. They are not the same. Some satiate and motivate you to eat less and some make you ravenous and hungry for more.

        You get it, Amy. Now go spread the word far & wide. :)

  11. “Things always change and eventually, you’ll have to either become dishonest to prop up your diminishing paradigm, or dump all the hard work.”

    That pretty much said it all right there. For Jimmy, there is no retreat from LC, unless he wants to get a normal job again. After promoting low carb as a panacea for so many years, any kind of retreat would destroy his credibility. Ironically though, his inability to adjust his stance probably hurts it just as much.

    • David! How the hell have you been, man?

      • Well enough Richard, thank you. Haven’t been writing as much lately, busy with a day job now. Glad to see there is at least one sane person (you) fighting the good fight!

    • On the other hand, realize that some/many of you/us are looking *back* at what Jimmie is teachin’ and preachin’ and saying: “nah, he goes too far.” But, there are still hundreds and hundreds of NEW folks coming to this (LC, primal, paleo) world, desperate (screamingly desperate) for help, a way, a path, ANYthing that might help them lose weight! Jimmie is just that — help for new folks. He’s the life preserver thrown to the drowning; once you get pulled in and are shivering on the deck, you may choose to learn more, go further, get past “it’s just low carb” and on to different options. (Richard, I’m watching your potato-fest with interest, but can’t imagine even coming close to trying it for a couple YEARS still! Or should I write: a hundred pounds still!)

      Just because so many of us have made it ‘further in’ to this sort of knowledge (or is it become more interested in deeper minutiae?) does NOT mean that Jimmie is wrong or useless… He’s the perfect introduction a great cheerleader, a good motivator, and a super-nice guy. (Although I only met him once, for a minute or so, at AHS2011.) Instead of thinking or speaking ill (or even lukewarmly) about your “first teacher,” send a metaphorical bow in his direction with gratitude for his early lessons, even if your learning has now surpassed what he taught you. He’s not asking YOU to restrict yourself or your learning; he’s teaching what HE knows, to people who (maybe) don’t know it, and he cheers them on when they pass him by on their way forward. Yes?

  12. Maybe I will just start eating chocolate cake instead of my post workout protein shake.

    I’m picking up what you are laying down but I am not in the “a Calorie is a Calorie” camp. To say that your body processes a calorie of sugar the same way it processes a calorie of protein is crazy talk. I’m not saying that is what I am getting out of this blog, I’m just stating my belief. As someone who can and has eaten a pound of bacon in one sitting, there is something to the whole low carb thing.

    There is no doubt in my mind that “food reward” plays a part in all of this. When I was full on paleo, not only did I not crave bread and sweets, but the very thought of eating them disgusted me. I think the brain will send the craving signal for whatever you are getting your nutrition. Now I have a weekly binge day. It is a carbapalooza. Pizza, ice cream, candy, chips, you name it. Bread and sweets are now much more palatable. When I eat a high fat meal, I am not hungry for a long time. Meal time comes around and I may or may not be hungry. It is interesting to note what I find appetizing based on what I am eating.

    • Bert, yea, I remember a few times when I ate a pound or so of bacon in a single sitting, while I was losing weight.

      I’ve always marveled at how that 15 minutes in time tends to make me think that’s exactly how I ate 24/7 over the year or so I lost the weight.

  13. So all things in moderation, including moderation. Eat real food. Got it. Right?

    • Now we’re talking, Todd.

    • I’m not really into the moderation bromide. Real food, yes. Sometimes you eat a lot of it, some times a little of it, sometimes none at all. So, if moderation, it’s over a space of time.

    • I’m more of a “some things in moderation, sometimes” kinda guy. There’s no moderate amount of trans fats that I’m gonna be going for.

  14. aminoKing says:

    I’ll listen to Jimmy’s views on weight loss when he hits 176. Until then my advice to Jimmy is lift some weights. His posture looks fucked. Most 250 pound guys I know that lift stuff look half his weight.

    BTW, I’m not a Jimmy “hater” but I have limited patience for people who believe in magic.

  15. Screennamerequired says:

    I know my cold sensitivity increased a lot on low-carb, but complaining of being freezing during mid-summer in Australia? Even the coldest parts of Australia this time of year are really not cold.

  16. Screennamerequired says:

    The chocolate cake analogy was just stupid. Chocolate cakes have more fat calories than sugar. The protein itself isn’t going to make you fat, it would have to convert into glucose then into fat via novo de lipogensis, which isn’t going to happen in any likely scenario, especially when there’s dietary fat that can easily be stored.

  17. First, very good post. I have been following a low carb diet for most of the past 7 years with a more paleo approach over the last year and a half. I have lost 190 lbs from my heaviest weight and am pushing to get the last 10 lbs or so off. Just a couple of observations from me–I am a friend of Jimmy’s and I think he’d be the first to admit he eats less these days–a fact that directly correlates to his change in what he is putting in his body. I agree that for your average Joe, drastic measures are not necessary. I choose to eat less protein and more fat because it fills me up more and calorie restriction to a point is necessary. You absolutely cannot eat the same portions at 339 lbs and 150 lbs and expect to lose weight. I choose to limit carbs because I have some chemical imbalance in my brain caused by too many years of binge eating that sends me spiraling out of control if I have too many. I have, however, found that I can occasionally have a sweet potato or fruit, etc. without that happening. So…long rambling response to say that regardless of research, public opinion, or plan, it comes down to doing what works for you, can be sustained for the long haul, and makes you feel good.

    I enjoy your blog very much!

    • Good on ya, Kim.

      Unfortunately, looks like LCers are just not going to have your discernment.

      http://www.livinlowcarbdiscussion.com/showthread.php?tid=9461

      I have no problem with LC, limiting protein, whatever. My point is that when you reduce protein and lose weight, it’s explained by eating less food, not some magical property of reducing protein. Jimmy and company seem locked into this idea that “calories don’t count,” so it’s always the carbohydrates, well, was. Then when they stall because when they went LC at 220 pounds and spontaneously reduced consumption to that of a 180 pounder, low & behold some months later they weigh 180. And when the go to 190 instead of to 170 where they want to be, it’s some sort of metabolic problem, not the fact they slowly began eating more over time. Then when they reduce food by severely cutting their protein, increasing fat perhaps a bit and lose weight, oh, hey, it’s the magic of “nutritional ketosis,” not that they’re eating less.

      Perhaps once they begin lowering fat too, some people will have a light go off and realize that LC, LP, LF, or any combination is usually going to be a LowCal diet in relative terms and that’s why weight & fat are lost.

  18. Peggy Holloway says:

    For those of us with severe insulin-resistance, like Jimmy Moore and just about everyone in my family (major family history of “Type II Diabetes, ADHD, obesity, mood disorders, etc. related to carb-intolerance), the lower the carb, the lower the protein, the higher the fat, the better. I have been low-carb for 14 years and over the years have continued to tweak my food choices. At age 60 (in 3 months), I am slimmer and healthier than ever since reading “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living/Performance” books by Phinney and Volek and pursuing a constant state of nutritional ketosis, which I did before Jimmy Moore’s current “experiment.”
    As for athletic performance, though I am not by nature an athlete and a female who might be considered a senior citizen by many, I have had excellent results with my physical activity. I cycled nearly 3500 miles this past summer, including two multi-day long distance rides and a century ride which I did in a fasting state. I never stopped for food at SAG stops and ate bacon, eggs, and steak almost exclusively. I had amazing energy and was “biking circles around” those much younger than I. My 70-year-old partner, a long-term biker” also tried nutritional ketosis, lost 40 pounds and got stronger and faster. He is a retired physician with no family history of diabetes, but still is thriving on a ketogenic diet. We are true believers and are scheduled to present at a community health symposium in February where we will promote a high-fat, low-carb diet (with moderate protein for those of us with extreme glucose intolerance).

    • Peggy

      This is all great. I applaud and am happy for you, as well as for Jimmy who seems to have found something that works for him. My only contention is that it has nothing to do with this neologism, “nutritional ketosis.” One can be “in ketosis” eating only refined sugar (just eat few enough calories). Some on this “potato diet” who track these sorts of things have found they are peeing purple. Why? because their calorie restriction is sufficient that they are burning through fat and ketones are a byproduct of fat metabolism.

      The problem is that people seem to think ketosis (i.e., high enough levels of ketones to show up on testing strips…we are all always producing some ketones) is some magical thing that’s a function of carb restriction, but then when they cut carbs to nil and still don’t pee purple, it’s not that they are eating too much and hence not burning enough fat stores, or are gaining weight, but some mysterious metabolic derangement. And now, conversely, when they lower protein and find themselves with more ketones, now it’s from the magic of restricting gluconeogennesis, not from eating less such that they access more fat stores, such that they have more ketones.

      The results are the results and in the end, that’s what’s most important. Perhaps I ought not fret to much that people are explaining it wrong, but damn, it would certainly be nice to hear: “eat low carb, high fat and moderate protein because you will almost certainly eat less on average and over time, will drop weight. Ketones are a good way to tell if you are eating less enough to burn fat stores.”

      • Peggy Holloway says:

        For me, being in ketosis isn’t about my weight. I frankly don’t think about my weight. What is the true phenomenon for me is the ability to keep my blood sugar and insulin levels under control and have this miraculous state of health and energy and complete lack of hunger. It truly does seem like a miracle to me to see Ken and I, at our ages, cycling thousands of miles (through hills, in the heat, and at a pretty amazing speed) with no snacks, and virtually no carbs. We take no medications between the two of us, never see a doctor, and feel like a million bucks everyday. We look pretty good, too, for geezers :), but consider that incidental. What is your take on the Phinney/Volek books and research? Their arguments are persuasive to me, and certainly my own experience corroborates them.

  19. You debunk Jimmy. Carbsane debunks Jimmy, GT, other quacks & she’s insane? Granted, she’s made this her specialty, but she’s spot on, & her info is very helpful. I don’t understand the hate.

    • Scott:

      Truth is, I don’t know specifically what Carbsane says about Jimmy or anyone else. I have no interest in people focussed on throwing out all babies no matter the composition of the bathwater.

      As someone said in comments a long time ago: ” it’s ALL she does.” Well, that goes nowhere with me, ever. I hate value destroyers and those who seem to possess no level of discrimination or ability to distinguish overall value from overall disvalue. In all of this and in spite of it all, Jimmy, for all his faults, has created more value in these few years than will Evelyn in a lifetime.

      She’s a through and through miscreant and I can never promote that. Ever. Nor do I have to or lift a finger in her defense or promotion. So I simply don’t. I tossed out many olive branches to her in the 50-something or 90 something (can’t recall) comments she posted here, literally pleading with her to use her talents to build instead of tear down anything and everything.

      Lead balloon.

      • Personally, I do agree about calorie restriction. Even Dr. A said the metabolic advantage was only maybe a couple hundred calories at best. As far as Carbsane, my only comment is that you can be direct and convicted about something without being just plain ugly and mean spirited. That is the category I put her in. And yes, she has attacked me personally for no good reason other than association, so hell yes, I am holding a grudge. :)

  20. Tim Maitski says:

    First, I think Jimmy Moore should finish his “experiment” with his body before he goes around on speaking tours and writing books. The guy’s been on diets for 3 years or so and is still 260 pounds?

    But it is interesting reading about his results, so I guess he does serve a useful purpose. His lipid profile is exactly what I’ve experienced this year.

    I’m 52 and don’t want to slowly become an old fat guy that I’ve seen many others of my age become. In February, I stumbled upon The Paleo Answer and decided to see if it worked. I went from 225 to 195 in a few months. I ate a lot of fruits and vegetables and kept my calories to around 1700/day. I lost the weight but I thought I still had more of a gut than I really wanted.

    Then in August I stumbled upon all of this low carb/high fat stuff. So I wanted to see if eating LCHF could actually work for me. I also started lifting weights again. I ate 3 eggs and 3 strips of bacon every day. Had coconut oil and avocados and all of the stuff Jimmy Moore mentions in his talk. I maintained my weight over three months and got stronger. I had the NMR lipid profile done and it was very much like Jimmy’s. Great numbers except very high LDL particle count. I had also read Peter Attia’s great series on cholesterol and was spooked by it because his bottom line seems to be that LDL particle number is the thing that really matters.

    I searched for others who had similar results and found a few who said that they got their LDL particle numbers down by really cutting down saturated fats. Something about LDL receptor sites are down regulated by saturated fats.

    So two weeks ago I stumbled upon the guy who ate just potatoes. It sounded like he improved his lipid numbers eating just potatoes so I’m going down that path to see where it takes me. Potatoes are really filling. I’m eating 2 pounds per day and that is an awful lot. I’m also eating green vegetables and some chicken or tuna. I read about resistant starch in cold potatoes and that has me intrigued. But I measured my glucose after a few meals and it spikes up to 150-160 whether the potatoes are hot or cooled for 43 hours. But what I’ve learned is that potatoes are very filling and it’s pretty easy to end up only eating 1800 calories per day if they are a big part of your meals.

    Looking into resistant starch, I stumbled upon beans being very high in resistant starch. Maybe that’s why Tim Ferriss’s “slow carb diet” works. Some talk about your bacteria using resistant starch and then creating a lot of butyric acid which is big in fat metabolism. So I am testing my glucose levels with beans today. I’m hoping that maybe I can do a chili diet that can be very filling, keep blood glucose down and promote the fat burning effects that resistant starch has been shown to have. It will also be very low in saturated fat which I hope will then lower my LDL particle count. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    The bottom line is to keep experimenting until you find a combination of things that work for you as an individual. Use other’s experiences to give you ideas of things to try but you have to find out whether or not it works for you.

    • Tim

      Very cool comment. You get it. You’re on your own. I’ll be 52 in January, incidentally.

      Over the last month I have a half dozen or so posts on the potato diet hack. You might want to look them up.

  21. I don’t get the metabolic disorder argument, to me it is the same as the people arguing the world 5,000 years old.

    Both me and a metabolically disordered person (we happen to both weigh 185 pounds) walk one mile. In walking one mile I burn 100 calories of energy. How much does the metabolically disordered person burn?

    I don’t see how their argument holds water unless the metabolically disordered person burns considerably less than 100, say 50. The only problem with that is it would defy laws of physics.

    • “Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another. ”

      Okay so me and damaged guy are both consuming 2000 calories a day and expending 2500 calories of energy. I am losing weight, while his weight remains constant.

      My question is where is he getting the extra 500 calories of energy? From the water he drinks? From the air he breathes? Otherwise he must be creating energy through his broken metabolism.

      • Metabolic rate is not a constant. There are oh so many involuntary processes going on at any given time, tissue repair, nerve transmission, immune system activity, thermogenesis, etc. The way you eat and act affects your metabolic rate; the extreme example is my friend who was recently diagnosed as hypothyroid. She eats less than I do (though it’s SAD-style) and exercises a lot (mostly “insanity workout” video things) but keeps gaining weight. Those factors plus not sleeping enough and a stressful job have been wearing away at her adrenal and thyroid function (which both play a part in regulating metabolism) so that now she’s got a foggy head, gets sick all the time, and takes a while to recover from strenuous exercise. If we both walk a mile, we’re both expending a similar amount of energy on that task, but in the background she’s spending less energy on all sorts of other functions because her endocrine system is effectively nuts. Whereas mine seems to be fine, and if I eat “too much” I just generate a lot of heat (something I take advantage of in the winter).

        Again, extreme example, but metabolic disorders (and lesser dysfunctions) DO exist and DO obey the laws of thermodynamics.

        That said, I wouldn’t recommend her to cut carbs out of the picture, thyroid would not like that. She just needs to add some good fat, iodine, and get rid of the junk. I’m sure she could lose weight in her current condition if she starved herself. But she’d probably lose it easier if she fixed her thyroid first… (doctors just want to put her on synthetic t-hormone, of course, which becomes a lifelong regimen…)

      • “but in the background she’s spending less energy on all sorts of other functions because her endocrine system is effectively nuts”

        Okay so basically her body is more efficient that mine, given that we both have fully functioning brains, respiratory systems etc. Seems to me this is an evolutionary advantage but whatever.

        In the link Richard posted you have someone saying “Eating 30 potatoes a day won’t work for me” then a bunch of people bemoaning the lack of understanding of metabolic disorder. It’s hard for me to understand because a diet of potatoes will make anyone gradually waste away, there’s just no way to eat enough potato to run a caloric surplus.

        I think we can all agree that to move 185 pounds a distance of 1 mile through bipedal locomotion at a constant speed of 3 mph is going to take a definite amount of energy, metabolic disorder or no disorder.

        So the answer has to be in the energy expended in resting activities, for example the brain alone uses a great deal of energy every day.

        What I don’t understand is why the brain of a person with metabolic disorder is so much more efficient than mine. Assuming we both have fully functioning brains, the only explanation for the difference in our brain-related energy consumption this that their brains are more energy efficient than mine, even though all our brains seem to function in the same manner.

        The same goes for our respiratory systems, why does my respiratory system consume more energy than theirs, even though all our respiratory systems are doing the exact same thing.

        Why isn’t someone whose brain, respiratory system etc. is more efficient than the vast majority of ordinary humans considered an “Uber Human” rather than a person with an illness or disorder? Energy efficiency is a big advantage in terms of natural selection.

      • Eh, you’re not getting it. Her body is spending less energy on, say, brain function not because it’s more efficient, but because it’s performing at a lower level. Her endocrine system “thinks” it needs to put the energy into storage instead of giving it to the brain to make her neurons fire.

        She’s not being more efficient. Her body is cutting back on functions it considers non-essential, because it “thinks” it’s under constant threat. She’s spending less energy on immune function because it’s not running at full capacity, which is why she gets sick so easily.

        That it’s about resting activities was indeed my point, but yes, the folks at the link are being stupid. Of course she’d lose weight with the potato hack. But her metabolic disorder (hypothyroidism) does mean that she can eat and exercise the same amount as me (with no disorder) and still gain weight.

      • “Eh, you’re not getting it. Her body is spending less energy on, say, brain function not because it’s more efficient, but because it’s performing at a lower level.”

        Okay so the brain of the person with the metabolic disorder is not functioning fully, I can understand why that would result in less energy expenditure.

        I would imagine it is a disabling disorder because if a person’s brain is functioning with 2/3 the energy of a healthy human, that person could not hold their job, pursue their education, etc., imo they should qualify for disability benefits. Their brains cannot function at their normal level.

        What about their respiratory systems, are they also incapable of performing at normal levels? Are they like asthmatics?

        I think that losing weight should be the least of their concerns, nothing is performing normally, brains, respiration, immune system, they don’t need a diet guru they need urgent medical attention.

        I don’t think their diet is going to make much of a difference.

      • Dysfunctions occur by degrees, buddy. Downregulated brain function doesn’t have to mean you can’t function like a normal person, but it might mean memory trouble, mood issues, less ability to cope with stress… she’s a smart girl. Impaired decision-making skills for her translates to normal everyday capabilities for half the early-childhood education majors I know.

        Not all aspects of health will be affected in the same manner. Maybe her respiratory system’s fine, I don’t know. Maybe she becomes short of breath more easily (though that’d be more of a circulatory issue). Maybe she does get full-on asthma flareups (more of an immune system issue). As stated, she gets sick far too easily, and is tired all the time even when she gets enough sleep and food, frequently cold.

        If she continues living in this state of physical duress, she’ll manage on a day-to-day basis, finish her education, get a job, etc., but be likely to go by way of heart attack, cancer, etc. long before she needs to after a lifetime of dealing with unpleasant physical symptoms. A dietary change to supply the nutrients her thyroid needs, plus some lifestyle change to reduce stress, would absolutely make a big difference. It has for many with the same dysfunctions.

        I look forward to seeing which point I didn’t actually make in this response you will take and run with far beyond the bounds of reason this round.

      • Okay so she is going to die way before she needs to because of her condition.

        “A dietary change to supply the nutrients her thyroid needs, plus some lifestyle to reduce stress, would absolutely make a big difference.”

        Did her doctors neglect to mention the nutrients that her thyroid needs? Did they just blow it off? “By the way you might want to eat these nutrients .. naw let’s not bother with that.”

        Never mind that, what I want to know is where the excess energy is going. If I remember correctly the start of this is she has a malfunctioning thyroid. Assuming she is eating 2,500 calories a day, and her brain and other bodily functions aren’t working properly due to her condition resulting in her only using 2,000 calories a day as energy, where are the other 500 calories going?

        They have to be going somewhere, are they being used by a thyroid that is revving up too much? The thyroid is burning 12x as much energy as it should?

      • Now assuming her brain and other functions ARE working properly, due to the thyroid condition it stands to reason that MORE energy would be required to maintain proper function, not less.

        So the person should be gradually wasting away given a constant energy intake.

        I don’t see how you get to “I do not function properly, therefore I require less energy to function.” If anything the people who are not functioning properly should require far more energy intake to keep a constant weight.

        If an efficient healthy body requires 2,500 calories a day, the inefficient unhealthy body should require more than 2,500 calories a day just to maintain a constant weight.

        A person with cancer requires more calories to maintain body weight than a person who does not have cancer.

      • She’s gaining fat is where. 2500? 2000? 500? Made-up numbers produce good points? What?

      • Rob, the problem appears to be that you do not remember the points you are arguing against.

        “Now assuming her brain and other functions ARE working properly, due to the thyroid condition it stands to reason that MORE energy would be required to maintain proper function, not less.”

        That’s the point; she is not maintaining proper function. She does not need any extra energy for those functions to work properly. She needs her thyroid to get in line so that the energy goes to the right places instead of adipose tissue.

        “I don’t see how you get to “I do not function properly, therefore I require less energy to function.””

        Turn down the light on your computer screen. Shazam, at that, your computer requires less energy to function while at the same time does not function properly (if you like your screen bright). Getting it yet?

        “If an efficient healthy body requires 2,500 calories a day, the inefficient unhealthy body should require more than 2,500 calories a day just to maintain a constant weight.”

        You’re right, it’s tragic. So many metabolic dysfunctions, verifiably existing right now out in the real world, totally unaware of how they SHOULD affect their victims. You’d better go set them straight.

        I mean, they’re just like cancer, right?

      • Eh, I don’t know about that. Plenty of obese people successfully do exactly that; unless a number of my formerly obese acquaintances are in fact imaginary. Weight loss can be complicated and difficult for some, but for most calorie restriction seems to be at the core of any successful strategy, though many will find it easier with one or another dietary “hack.”

        This does not, per se, mean that eating too much was the “cause” of obesity in those cases. Some get fat eating the same amount as the skinny guy on the couch next to them. But calorie restriction can and does work at getting it off for a lot of people.

      • Well yes, I’d agree with all that. On first reading I came away with the impression that your post claimed that simply restricting calories won’t (ever) produce weight loss. I see now that you were seeking to point out that calorie restriction is not in itself the mechanism; that would be sort of impossible, as there’s no magic process by which 10 calories of twinkie is transmuted into 10 calories of fat and jammed into a fat cell. There are, as you point out, a lot of different processes determining what happens to food when it is digested and enters our body.

        That is why I mentioned that “eating too much” is not per se the cause of obesity. I considered adding further clarification as to what I meant, including a similar point about starving to death while obese, but felt like I had already typed too much.

        My apologies for mistaking your (good) point for another. I have come across claims that you cannot lose fat without restriction fat/carbs/otherabsurdthings and memory of those is probably what led to my misidentification.

    • It’sTheWoo – This is a great set of comments and illustrates why people get so darn confused about this whole weight loss thing.

      To summarize: Metabolically healthy people respond to calorie restriction by losing weight, almost regardless of what they are eating. (Although LC would be one of the easier “hacks” to accomplish weight loss.) People with metabolically difficulties do not always respond to calorie restriction by losing weight. They will instead begin to shut off energy to vital organs and sustain the fat to the cost of their entire body. Those with metabolic difficulties are much more predisposed to become obese and will still have the potential for abnormalities well after they lose the weight. They will probably always need to stay on some sort of specialized diet, as do diabetics to prevent the potential disorder from expressing itself.

      • I’ve always found it interesting how many very long lived, thin, concentration camp survivors from WWII ther are. I’m sure they exist but I don’t recall ever seeing an obese one. Perhaps the fattest were the first to go, because their bodies were incapable of metabolizing super excess fat.

        I’m sure it was all about the carbohydrate restriction. Probably, those folks shunned the rare potato they were given.

      • Maybe this was just a rumor, but didn’t the Nasties make soap from some of the concentration camp people? I would guess they went after the obese ones first.

        It’s sad/bizarre that the state undertakes the worst atrocities known to humanity, but anarchists are regarded as the weird ones. [/nonsequitur]

      • LOL – I’m not arguing that people lose weight when they starving. What I’m thinking of is the less drastic (and more normal, thank goodness) situation of variations in food supply.

        @Richard – I think it’s possible that a few unlucky obese concentration camp victims did actually die first. In Gary Taubes, “Why We Get Fat”, he looked at a study of rats bred to be not just fat, but obese in adulthood. Overall, their organs were smaller than normal rats, because their fat got preferential treatment. When subject to calorie restriction, those organs got smaller still, they didn’t lose fat. If I recall correctly, the rats in the study died still obese.

        It’s totally possible that a few unlucky concentration camp victims were in the ones to first ones to die, completely covered in fat and their metabolism protected that, rather than their organs. And the thin survivors, were just that, survivors because their metabolism was normal.

        Speaking of possibilities – it might be possible that Mr. Moore *is* one of those rare individuals who have a serious metabolic disorder. It would explain alot about both his family history and ongoing struggles with weight. If he had a true metabolic disorder, random calorie restriction alone would only make him miserable. He would have to use extreme high fat dieting if he even had a hope of losing weight and having the energy sent his organs, rather than his fat supply.

        All that said, real metabolic disorders are rare. I tend to think that merely overweight people who are the first to tell you about their (medically unconfirmed) thyroid condition are probably simply eating too much.

      • You know, you’d be a lot less stressed if you’d let people agree with you. ;)

        Really, I do agree that it is possible to restrict calories to someone and not have them lose weight. And that the issue with looking with concentration camp survivors is selection bias.

      • “Let’s also not overlook the fact that it’s entirely possible the conditions causing the modern obesity epidemic simply were not relevant in the 1940s… such as women beginign to have first children at 30 years old, and sleeping 4-5 hrs a night because of technology, and being exposed to supraphysiology leptin and insulin and cortisol because of the diet and weight and age of mother, etc. These all exist today and were absent prior to the obesity epidemic. ”

        Yes and the other issue absent in 1940 was the existence of an abundance of cheap, over processed, sugary food. Even in my childhood, soda was a “treat” because it was expensive and the money needed to be used for food. How does someone *not* get fat if they drink several sugar sodas a day unless they have a metabolic disorder?

        All of the factors mentioned above make it harder to lose weight. They do mess up hormones. But it does not change the fact that calories (particularly in the form of carbs) are virtually unrestricted to even the poorest in industrialized societies.

        I guess what I’m say is that it’s both. It’s hard for people to get obese in low calorie environments unless, like the rats in the study, their genetics tilts towards creating fat, rather than organ protection. Modern living does create crazy hormones. But what feeds it all is the amount of calories accessible to most people blessed to live within the industrialized world. It’s a perfect storm with “life boats” lined with hideous nutritional information. It’s no wonder that we’ve lost so many people to the seas of obesity.

        It’s not one factor or another – it’s *all* of them.

      • LOL – It really was joke. Your comments are good.

      • And to double that response – I actually think between you and Richard you both are explaining most of human nutrition in regards to obesity. Yeah, it’s wishy-washy to say that I think you’re both right, but trust me (not that you know me), I would pick a side if I didn’t think that wasn’t true.

  22. According to Bert Herring M.D., creator of the Fast 5 diet which promotes a daily 5 hour eating window in the day, you’ll go into ketosis during the 19 hour fast, regardless of what you eat in your window.

  23. I think you’re dismissing the terminology of “nutritional ketosis” out of hand. It’s gotten a lot better, but far too many people still jump to the idea ketoacidosis when ketosis in general is mentioned. It seems to me that calling it “nutritional ketosis” forestalls that to a certain degree.

    I do think that the STATE of ketosis is a bit of a red herring for folks losing weight on a very high fat diet. All you can measure is how much fat you’re burning. If you’re eating mostly fat, you have no idea how much of the fat you’re burning is your own vs. how much is dietary.

    I think you touched on it earlier Richard – ketosis is primarily an EFFECT of fat burning/loss, not a CAUSE of it. I think ketosis can have a secondary appetite suppressant effect, but it will never be the primary cause of weight loss.

    • “It seems to me that calling it “nutritional ketosis” forestalls that to a certain degree.”

      Show me one place where anyone touting this has made that point. People have been making distinction against ketoacidosis for YEARS.

      Yes, on the cause/effect aspect. That’s the implicit point of this.

  24. Joyful Fig says:

    Richard, what has Bea’s experience been with the switch to more potatoes/carbs and reduced protein and fat? Also, I think a while back you had mentioned that she might do a post? I keep hoping (though I know she’s uber-busy)! Not like I don’t value your stuff and the input of the other women who read FTA, it’d just be nice to hear from her. Thanks!

    • JF

      She loves the potato dishes. Bea is looking good. As a Mexican raised on a lot of rice & beans, she has zero issues with any amount of carbs and her blood stuff is always excellent. She’s lost a few pounds regularly, but it’s hard to pin that on diet since she’s been stressed about some personal family issues for a couple of months.

      No idea whether I’ll ever get her to write anything for the blog. I keep trying. My dad, too.

      • Joyful Fig says:

        Thanks a bunch. I hope her family issues turn out OK. A post from your dad would be awesome, too!

        Thanks so much for all your writing and critical musings and humor and no-BS-tude and…. and…. Keeps me thinking and experimenting and growing and laughing and…. and….

      • JF:

        My mind changes in subtile and profound ways all the time and it’s my biggest joy in life.

        I simply wish to share the joyful figgishness of it to everyone. Unfortunately, most people don’t want their minds changed on anything, they want their made-up minds confirmed.

        Onward. One mind at a time.

      • BTW, I have a fig tree in my backyard. Did you know that?

        Next year I am determined to make one of those Spanish or Portuguese fig loafs with the pistachios in them.

      • Joyful Fig says:

        No arguments on people not wanting to change their minds or reconsider their perspective. Isn’t life so much easier with certainty, especially if it involves the dichotomy of a ‘good guy’ (us) and ‘bad guy’ (them)?

        *wistful sigh* re: the fig tree….the ultimate fruit! If I could have one (or many!), I would, but Canuck winters are not fig-tree-friendly.

      • Richard, have you tried Fig and Olive Tapenade? I absolute love the stuff.

        http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/top-tapenade-ti/

      • Nope, and I’m not much of a fan of classic olive tepenade (i just prefer to eat whole olives, preferably with pits).

        Anyway, bookmarked. We’ll see how it goes at harvest time next year.

      • Joyful Fig says:

        Thanks, Judy – sounds fantastic. On the New Year’s Eve treats list!

      • For me, the problem is finding the proper thing to carry the tapenade. Sometimes I’ve utilized a spoon :-)

        I do, however, love plain olives with the pits. Then I can nibble the pits to get the last little bit of good bits

      • I do hope you like it as much as I do, JF!

      • Galina L. says:

        Sorry for a long absence, I had been away for a long time and slowly getting back to my routine. I also have a fig tree. Since you drink milk now, I would like to mention that the milk shake with frozen figs is unbelievably good. My neighbors from India shared with me such idea. At least put some overripe figs in a freezer for a future use. Not bad with a Greek yogurt as well. I don’t go wild with such food as a LCarber, but you now can I guess.

      • Joyful Fig says:

        I like your mode of tapenade delivery, Judy. Also works well for salsa, dips, bruschetta, and pretty much anything that most people would use a chip, cracker, or other similar object for.

        Galina, I often freeze figs then thaw and stir them into my yogurt. Throw in a few coconut chips, and it’s a pretty tasty treat.

  25. SockPuppetCoward says:

    “And so I just have to conclude that I really am dealing with a dogma here, attemtpting to explain away the obvious for the sake of the dogma itself…”

    Welcome home, Richard.

    You are to be commended for hanging up your LC/paleo/whatever hat. It’s so true that it is LOW CARB THAT’S THE HACK, not low fat/high volume plant foods. Now go tell it to the Faileos please.

    • I’m not really hanging anything up.

      I just synthesize, make clarifications and proper distinctions. In no way do I think that a plant based diet long term (hack, sure) is optimal, nor do I think an LC diet is optimal for most, but a great hack, and long term regime for some (actually, I haven’t in a long while, just clarifying further).

      I’m all about as much honesty as can be mustered, combined with the experiences of many, combined with the relevant science should it shed light (unfortunately, it’s so agenda driven so often I have to put it at the bottom of the relevant list…a shame).

      • SockPuppetCoward says:

        “I’m all about as much honesty as can be mustered, combined with the experiences of many, combined with the relevant science should it shed light (unfortunately, it’s so agenda driven so often I have to put it at the bottom of the relevant list…a shame).”

        Well your honesty is duly recognized by this Anonymous Vegan Propagandist Coward. I do hope you’ll someday consider re-examining some of the nutrition literature (and some of the Faileo claims) in order to possibly consider a plant-based diet to be, at very least, “more optimal” than high animal protein/fat.

        For now, I’ll just say hat’s off to you for not being a slave to the new high protein/fat dogma and for being man enough to admit your change of heart publicly.

      • :)

        It wouldn’t hurt, you know, to add an ounce or two of beef liver to your diet now and then. Also, oysters on the weekends. They don’t even have a central nervous system. They’re really more plant than animal.

      • SockPuppetCoward says:

        I do add about 30-50g of liver once every couple weeks or so. I’m not a vegan, just a proponent of plant-based diets for nutritional, macro-economic and environmental reasons. Not a hippie, mind you, though I see nothing wrong with giving some peace and love a chance.

        You have a point about oysters, though I don’t like the levels of environmental toxins (PCBs, mercury and dioxin) they contain. I try to stay as low on the food chain as possible (hence plants) in order to avoid the pollutants that accumulate in animal fat and organs.

      • …Just as easy for me to say that I’d avoid plants because I can see claws & teeth, defeat with a gun or a knife, but I can’t see plant defenses against being eaten.

      • SockPuppetCoward says:

        I think the plant defenses thing is overblown in the Faileo world. Primates have been eating plants for much longer than we’ve been eating meat, so I can’t imagine we’re not equipped to deal with daily doses of plant chemicals in our food. Some of these chemicals are even beneficial and prevent cancers.

        And in any case, those plant chemicals are natural and familiar to our species, unlike PCBs, dioxin and mercury.

      • Fair point. It is probably overblown. At the same time, there are plants that kill you. Are you so sure you’re so adept? Do you think it’s a bright line distinction between kill and cancer prevention, or some unknown middle where perhaps the best policy is to eat small amounts of a wide range.

        Or, is is better to focus on one proved already to sustain whole populations, like the potato, with a damn decent nutrient profile and complete protein?

        I honestly don’t know for sure.

        Moreover, there’s no way that some amount of animal product can’t help to complete or optimize nutrition. Problem is, I’m not interested in platitudinal reasons for why not. My problem with the vegans now, primarily.

        More than willing to meat them at 80-90% plant or starchy plant.

        Problem is, they’re “vegans” by definition so they wouldn’t even go 99/1. They’re just an agenda and thus dishonest and thus, a good target of wrath. I’ll be happy to do that, and next time, with an even more powerful message.

        I’m gonna eat your vegan babies and teenagers alive.

        Better lock them up quick. :)

      • SockPuppetCoward says:

        Yes, those are all good questions when it comes to plant eating. It’s basically: Go with a staple food or try to rotate in order to maximize nutrient obtainment/avoidance of natural toxins?

        It’s true that at one extreme, you have plants that just kill you outright. I assume we figured out how to avoid these (yer pal falls over dead, you memorize plant so you’re not next – pretty standard). So if we avoided these plants completely, there’s no reason to have evolved a way to neutralize these poisons. We just didn’t partake.

        As for the ones we ate daily, I say we did evolve bodily pathways to either use or neutralize these natural toxins. And meanwhile, let’s not forget we have also domesticated our produce over 10,000 years in order to minimize the harmful and maximize the beneficial in these foods. Your potato is much better for you now than it was thousands of years ago.

        The vegan thing: I suppose they’re just trying to find some honorable code to live by; basically a religion that worships fruit. I can think of a lot worse religions than that, so they’re not first on my list of Peeps To Be Called Out.

      • Speaking as one, I’m not a religious sort, not interested in being told what to eat by anyone or anything. I don’t give a shit what Campbell or any of the PCRM say.

        I don’t want to eat animals because I don’t want to. I had a chance to shoot a dear when I was younger, and couldn’t. I had a chance to gut a fish, and threw it back. I had a chance to cut a chickens head off, and balked. If I don’t have the balls to take that animal’s life, then I’ll be dammed if I make someone else do it for me. Call me a pussy if you want, but at least I’m consistent.

        As for dairy and eggs, my qualms are of the body, not the mind. I’m allergic to eggs, a real allergy, the kind where my throat swells up and shit gets painful in a hurry. And I’m pretty damn lactose intolerant, to a point that even yogurt doesn’t go well.

        But that’s me. I eat potatoes and veggies and yes, grains, and I fell pretty good about that. If something about that changes then I’ll change with it.

      • But you have no problems tearing innocent plants out of the ground? I see – so the life forms that can’t wiggle or stare back are the ones who get to die for your daily meals. I guess that’s consistent, sort of.

      • I’m not naive enough to think that life can survive without death. There is no new energy in the universe after all – physics and stuff – and so things have to flow from one life form to the next.

        But neither am I naive enough to think that all organisms experience life in the same way, that all life is sentient and can suffer. If you’d like to construct your fallacious argument on that back of such naiveté, then go ahead. I’l carry on.

      • That’s too funny. I’m the one that’s naive – LOL – I always am in these conversations. If I had some of that edumaction, I would totally understand that eating plants is okay because they don’t experience pain in the way animals do.

        Alas, when other people were being edumcated, I naively took up gardening. It turns out that almost every plant bleeds sap when cut (and the bleeding stops in a similar manner to animals). Also, when threatened with drought or some other extreme condition they will stop growing and throw every last ounce of remaining energy into reproduction.

        If I could just get over the naive observation that even if they didn’t feel pain like I did, the plants clearly wanted to be alive. And that will to live was just as sacred and important as my will to live, even if a plant didn’t experience life the way I did.

        But as you say, I’m naive. I’m sure I’ll get over it someday.

      • If not naive, you’re surely condescending. It makes whatever point you’re attempting to piece together difficult to make out. Frankly, I’m still not sure what it is. Since plants have a biological imperative to survive (because of course they do), I should eat animals? That doesn’t logically follow.

        Perhaps plants are sentient; perhaps they feel pain and suffer. But we don’t know, and based on the available evidence, they do not. We know that animals do, however. And so, again, I don’t want to kill them for food. Given that, I don’t feel comfortable buying meat from someone else, simply removing myself from the process, and hence the guilt.

      • Alex and Amy, please explain, what’s guilt got to do with it?
        My brother (strong, healthy guy) faints at the sight of blood.
        However he would never deny himself first aid by someone else just because he can’t do it himself.
        Really, why is guilt the central (or often, the only) part of the conversation about killing animals vs killing plants for food?
        Does it have to be something as complex as guilt that is stopping anyone from hunting?
        How about something more simple and basic, like the natural desire to avoid gore/blood and of course to avoid facing death itself? These aren’t moral qualms.

      • I’m not sure what the first aid example has to do with this, as it’s about preventing, rather than causing, harm.

        To address your main point, I can tell you that blood and death do not, in their own right, phase me, and you can believe me or not. I can’t prove it. But I will say so nonetheless. I’d no sooner turn my back and have a friend behead a chicken than do so myself, even if that option frees me from bloodying my own hands. I spent my summers growing up on my family’s farm, and saw a great deal of animal death, in some cases, quite violent and bloody. The goriness doesn’t bother me, the unneeded killing does. There is a distinction here.

        In any case, this argument can be made about all sorts of semantics, and that was never really my point. I simply feel guilty (to use that word) about another sentient being dying for my food, no matter the conditions of their death. I’m not telling anyone else to feel this way, merely that I do.

      • “Perhaps plants are sentient; perhaps they feel pain and suffer. But we don’t know, and based on the available evidence, they do not. We know that animals do, however.”

        So if anesthetized prior to killing them, would you be satisfied?

        How about oysters? They, like plants, have no central nervous system, so the same arguments that plants can’t really feel pain and suffering as we understand it (i,e, a brain or CNS) would apply to them (and I assume clams, mussels and other such mollusks). Any they are damn nutritious. I think I heard that 2 oysters per week would completely eliminate any risk to vegans of B12 deficiency.

        Then there’s the issue of bugs. Do you let them roam freely wherever? House, shower, car, bed, clothes closet?

      • “I simply feel guilty (to use that word) about another sentient being dying for my food, no matter the conditions of their death. I’m not telling anyone else to feel this way, merely that I do.”

        This kinda answers the questions I just posed, so that will suffice if you like.

      • Frankly Alex, the fact that you understood and dealt head-on with my main point is admirable, so while it certainly doesn’t matter whether I believe you, I do.
        Though, it is not about semantics.
        I think you are fairly unusual, where too many people view their natural aversion to violent death as a weakness and so prefer to dress it up with noble sentiments – the give-away being they are not particularly moral in other facets of their lives, let alone forthright debaters – there is a distinction there ;)
        Thank you.

      • I admire the paleo movement’s focus on meat that has been given a better life, and in many cases, a better end. When I refer to pain and suffering, I don’t merely mean over the course of a very short, very miserable life, for the vast majority of animals that are consumed. No matter the quality of life, the creature still has to be killed at the end, which is about more than the pain of the act itself (which can, as you say, be lessened).

        I don’t kill bugs intentionally, no. I find that keeping a clean house mostly takes care of that. There are still some, of course, but they don’t bother me.

        The issue of oysters is an interesting one, and an idea I can’t deny out of hand. It would be silly of me avoid them merely so I could maintain my label, of course. But at this point, I’m not lacking in nutrition. I know the B12 I ingest is synthetic, but my body doesn’t seem to mind. All of my blood markers are good, but more importantly, I feel good.

        People tell me that this is because I’m a 24 year old male, that I can’t help but be lean, fit, etc. But that’s excuse making, and I don’t believe it. I’ve been eating this way for two years, and have never once felt compromised. To be clear, I don’t think I owe whatever degree of health/fitness I’ve got to my diet, merely that it hasn’t stopped me. I think coffee deserves most of the credit.

      • “rankly, I’m still not sure what it is. Since plants have a biological imperative to survive (because of course they do), I should eat animals? That doesn’t logically follow. ”

        You’re not following because you don’t want to follow me. It’s natural to resist what I’m saying. If you accepted it, you’d be back into a corner of not being able to eat anything at all. I should know, I was there a long time ago. If plants became as equally important as animals in your mind’s eye, then you’ve got both blood and sap on your hands.

        ” I simply feel guilty (to use that word) about another sentient being dying for my food, no matter the conditions of their death. I’m not telling anyone else to feel this way, merely that I do.”

        And this suggests me you have not dealt with your own mortality, despite all the words about understanding energy flows and all that jazz. Someday I will become ash that feeds plants that feeds the animals that feeds the other animals. I’m grateful for lives of everything – plants and the animals- on my plate. They were all important and equally so. There’s no guilt because someday my turn to be food (as well as that of my children and their children) is coming.

        Yeah, that’s all circle of lifish – but that’s how omnivoric humans eat meat in a spiritual way. Vegetarians who tell you they eat that way because “all life is sacred”, really mean “all animal life with a central nervous systems” is sacred.” If life is sacred it is ‘*all* sacred – right down to the smallest microbe.

        “If not naive, you’re surely condescending.”

        Score!! Second name calling in this thread.

      • First of all, I regret descending in to name calling. I’d like to avoid such petty behavior, and keep this constructive.

        I do, however, take umbrage with your assertion that you, better than I, know my motives. I assure you I’m comfortable with my own mortality, and the idea that death feeds life. I don’t believe in “sacred”, so I don’t believe any – much less all – life is. But I do believe there is a fundamental difference between sentient life and non, between plants and animals. And that difference is, to me, pronounced enough to make the difference in what I eat. I see a line I cannot make peace with crossing; you see know line at all. I have no problems with that.

      • Galina L. says:

        Usually vegetarians make an impressions of unrealistic maniacs on me , but Alex seems to be reasonable guy. May be is it some sort of neurosis like the one germophobs have? Like it is natural to live in un-sterile environment if you are not a fetus any longer, but somehow it is bothering them.

      • Galina, come on now! Amy too. Asperger’s much?
        These types of arguments are hyper-intellectualized and ignore the evolutionary reality of plain old Empathy.
        Just like any other human trait, it’s intensity falls on a curve, with some people being much more sensitive than others to the existence and feelings of other sentient beings. For them that’s all there is to it and it is emotionally honest.
        It sounds like Alex feels that way. An animal’s death hurts him and so he will avoid causing it.
        No spiritual underpinnings, no philosophical rationalizations and surely no neuroses required.

    • False dichotomy. Given that there is no optimal human diet (non-hack), they’re both hacks & there’s nothing wrong with that.

      • SockPuppetCoward says:

        Joshua, I’ll be the first one to agree there is no optimal human diet. That’s why “optimal” was in quotes. I was using the Faileo language.

        This also means there is nothing wrong with trying a mostly plants diet as opposed to a mostly animal one.

      • “there is nothing wrong with trying a mostly plants diet as opposed to a mostly animal one.”

        Nope. Not at all. Time, circumstance, availability, convenience, etc. Not dogma, not ideology. Frankly, the potatoes with small amounts of added fat & protein is working great, plus my desiccated liver sups. Milk once per week post workout.

        There are a million ways to do this. Pick one that includes all good real food, plant and animal and the ratios don’t matter. It’s only at the extremes that you need to intervene and pay attention.

        OK, the vegans have somewhat convinced me in this: nothing evil about mostly plants. But even primates and herbivores eat bugs. So until vegans at least meat me there instead of being diametrically opposed to any animal source, not going to work for me.

      • SockPuppetCoward says:

        I can’t speak for vegans, but you’re right that primates eat bugs and even small rodents, and even smaller primates. I’ll go on record as saying I think veganism is an extreme approach to a plant-based diet.

        However, from my reading of our present-day environmental problems, a PBD has other benefits on sustainability that are not health-related. This was my primary motivator when I started eating this way. It in no way has to be yours. But incidentally I also reached my always-elusive weight loss goals, and then some, quite quickly afterward. It was a win-win for me.

      • FWIW, I’m largely motivated by the same environmental concerns and in both wide reading and seeking work/learning on farms, I suspect your non-dogmatic attitude may lead you to a greater appreciation, in time, of the beneficial effects animals have on the environment in alternative systems. In the temperate region where I live, it is not possible without chemical-dependent agriculture to feed people a mostly-plant diet year round. Decentralized agriculture with crops, livestock, and adjunct species managed in a functional ecosystem would mean less erosion, better soil, greater biomass, more genetic diversity, better disease management, and above all better nutrition for the regional population, while being largely independent of foreign resources. Take animals out of the equation and it falls apart; are not nearly all present ecosystems dependent on a variety of life for their health?

        The third world is stickier, of course, but I believe the same holds true there. For example, recent programs have been successful at turning recently-desertified land in africa back into grassland via carefully managed cattle grazing.

        Like no one diet is right for everyone, no one set of crops or livestock is right for every place, but nearly every place is going to need some mix of both in order to arrive at a truly robust, sustainable food system.

      • SockPuppetCoward says:

        Hi Erik,

        I do appreciate animals and their beneficial effect on agricultural systems and their important place in our ecosystem. I never meant they had no use! My problems mostly begin and end with their ranching and raising for food purposes. This is where they pollute the air, water and soil the most. They are also much less efficient and produce much less food than vegetables do for the same area of space, the same amount of petroleum and the same amount of effort. I mean most of the corn and soy we chop down forests to grow is fed to cows. Isn’t this an enormous waste?

        That said, I do agree they can be used to improve soil quality, create biomass and for fertilization purposes.

        Given today’s problems, I think looking backward in time like the Faileos do is simplistic and unrealistic if we are to survive as a species. We have to deal with our present problem, not yearn for some made-up fantasy world that never really existed. We don’t get another chance at this experiment called Life. Time for us to grow up and face what’s coming.

      • “My problems mostly begin and end with their ranching and raising for food purposes. This is where they pollute the air, water and soil the most.”

        This is only truly problematic in the present system, which is essentially extractive in the ways it produces both animal and plant foods as well as, yes, enormously wasteful. Efficiency of individual food sources in terms of space, resource input, etc. is irrelevant if those individual food sources do not add up to an integrated, functional ecosystem. In most of the world, such a thing requires a significant integration of animals, livestock or otherwise. Without them, ecosystems degrade. This in mind,animals die. You could try composting them all, but eating them is probably better in the long run (obviously our own bodies need to be a part of the system as well).

        At the ranch I work on, the cows don’t eat any corn or soy. No petroleum is devoted to their lives except for occasional transportation, which is also true of crops. The space they occupy is also habitat for a wide variety of native plants, insects, animals, and good soil biota, far more than you’d find in a vegetable plot. Better to have pastures AND plots, and most importantly, integrate them.

        I am with you on moving on from the past. Of course the paleolithic is long over, as is early horticulture. But present systems of extractive agriculture, the systems in which raising animals for food is indeed so very wasteful, are going to be a thing of the past as well, whether or not we minimize the role of food animals in that system. The question is whether or not we wish to fade into the past with it, or learning from all parts of the past, build new roads ahead.

  26. According to this article based on research

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2238842/Could-elixir-hold-key-weight-loss-Experts-hope-itll-treat-diabetes-epilepsy-Alzheimers.html

    not only does ketosis help you lose weight, it improves your athletic performance.

    Before anyone accuses me of being a Ketosist, be advised that since 1990 I have followed Clarence Bass’ diet and exercise program, as described in his site and books.

    My diet is 60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% fat, 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. It has given me a 10% bf, which I have maintained for over 20 years.

    My only deviation is that some days 30% of my 60% carbs is junk food and the diet is off on special occasions (thanksgiving, xmas, weddings etc.). I don’t claim Bass’s system works for every one, but it works for me.

    • yes, epileptics fall into the same category as diabetics.

      My post is not anti-LC. It’s anti cause/effect identification in the context of weight loss.

      • I understand and agree with the context of your post. But shouldn’t we bring opposing points of view to make the discussion more entertaining?

  27. Tom Naughton lost weight eating McDonalds exclusively. Albeit not the healthiest of ways, but it shows calorie restriction is the name of the game. You have to find out which path works best for you.

  28. Richard,
    Your post is brilliantly on target.
    There may be a role for mis/over-interpretation of scientific studies and connect-the-dots mechanisms in giving people the confidence to conduct a particular intervention in a rigorous fashion. The analogy is to people overcoming drug/alcohol addiction introducing elements of religious dogma so their behavioral change can be viewed as adherence to some deeper underlying truth. These are damaged people using a delusion to help overcome a possibly fatally self-destructive behavior ; hopefully at some point they can emerge from the fog to see that their actions were about self-preservation and there is probably a simple explanation for why they worked. But if the same people feel inclined to share their enlightenment with a wider audience based on the ‘intellectual’ appeal of their theory or world view it becomes truly dangerous. Much better to provide the simple empirical results and allow people to construct their own hypotheses (if they feel this is necessary) to explain the efficacy (or not) of the approach.

  29. I have been thinking this for a while now and it’s exactly why Weight Watchers works. It dosn’t care about what you put in your mouth, just how much you put in your mouth. As long as you follow it’s funky point system you will alwasy lose the weight.

    • Joe, yes, everyone knows this. Or, everyone should. Problem is that WW is a junk and processed food diet. I’m interested in helping to make this a non-diet diet.

      • My sister has successfully lost and maintained her weight loss on Weight Watchers. With a normal metabolism, calorie restriction works. *

        *Here’s the asterisk bit: At 36, she’s on high blood pressure medication. She breaks out in hives frequently. She’s also sick with sinus issues frequently. She exercises, but middle age paunch and cellulite is starting to kick in. Older sis, doing everything the “wrong way” – LC and then paleo, is on zero medications, is rarely sick, despite suffering from several allergies, and is pretty darn lean (if I do say so myself).

        Long term, “random” calorie restriction without a solid basis in good nutrition will still make life bite, even if you do still fit into those high school clothes. Since I get tired of seeing sis suffer (and having to go WW each Sunday like other people go to church – ug), I’d love to have WW be a non-diet, too.

      • Peggy Holloway says:

        I had just made the decision to never visit this blog again and to get out of the conversation, until I saw the discussion of WW. Please explain to me how it is that my sister followed the lowest point total on WW in the summer of 1999 and walked 4 to 5 miles a day yet in three months gained 10 pounds? Wouldn’t there have been a caloric deficit with that regime? Or, is it perhaps because she is insulin-resistant and 1000 calories of mainly carbohydrate was mostly stored because she can’t metabolize glucose? Is is any coincidence that this experience came just before her diagnosis of “Type II Diabetes?”

      • The problem for me Peggy is that WW, JC, the Subway Sandwich diet or whatever it is that requires willed reduction of calories below some calculated average daily requirement produces weight loss in the vast majority of people who stick with it.

        I’ve done it myself—the “light beer and free happy hour snacks diet,” back in the 80s. Lost about 15 pounds over a couple of months. It was my only “meal” of the day.

        And so you pit that against the relatively few people who claim that they only ate x much, but didn’t lose weight. I’m not discounting that some of those may indeed be some of the extreme outliers Woo often speaks of where whatever hormones are so out of whack that you store the dust you breath in as fat. But I think it’s rare.

        Combine that with the many, many studies that consistently show that caloric restriction produces weight loss.

        Do I think these are good diets? Nope. Do I think they are acceptable short-term hacks, a few months at most? Yep. Does that include the potato hack? Yep.

        What’s the best diet? The one that’s comprised of nutritious, real, whole foods in whatever ratios allow a person to eat that way ad libitum and maintain a reasonable body composition and BF %…10-20 for guys, 15-25 for gals. My suspicious is that for most people, a paleo-like diet that primarily avoids grains, refined sugar, processed food, vegetable oils and somewhere on a carb spectrum from low to moderate is going to turn out best.

        At least it seems that way from reading a lot of comments over the years.

      • Galina L. says:

        I lost weight several times during my life, the last diet I tried in 2007 was LC diet, and the first time in my life I also lost at least 90% of my health problems and ability to catch some seasonal flue once a year, I actually never went off from low carbing. All my life I cook all my food and mostly avoid sweets, so it was not the “real food issue” .

  30. WAY MORE WORKS BEST 4 ME
    WAY MORE carbohydrates…
    WAY MORE protein…
    WAY MORE fat…
    WAY MORE LAZINESS
    WAY MORE SLEEPING
    WAY MORE DONT GIVE A FUCK

    …..

    WAY MORE “TIME APART BETWEEN meals” wink

    in the end is all about TIME.

  31. blahblah says:

    Speaking of aminos, where’s Cow for cryin’ out loud. We need his ancient wisdom on the matter. We always end up hurting the ones we love. :(

    • aminoKing says:

      Where’s Cow? Well Cow came to my place for a BBQ and didn’t leave. It was such a nice BBQ. Cow was the life of the party. She tasted damn fine too!

  32. “When I hit 175 with cold hands & feet in the winter, not feeling particularly great, I was still not one to lash out and proclaim that LC and all of its advocates are full of shit.”

    This happened to me last March. Generally speaking, it was a dreadful experience. What nobody within the Paleosphere has acknowledged is that without a consistent source of iodine in the diet, production of thyroid hormone is drastically reduced. T3 (triiodothyronine) is situated at the base of the hormonal pyramid and without iodine, it cannot be manufactured (LDL Cholesterol + T3 + Vitamin A = Pregnenolone). This failure to acknowledge the critical importance of iodine in regulating thyroid function is the Paleosphere’s Achilles’ Heel.

    You can up regulate the formation of T3 by loading up on carbohydrates, but this should not by carried out ad infinitum as carbohydrates induce more oxidative damage than any other macronutrient due to the fact that they are metabolized primarily at Cytochrome I, the “leakiest” of our mitochondria. Oxidation, over the course of time, will result in systemic inflammation that cannot be mitigated during the winter due to naturally lower levels of Vitamin D. This is why carbohydrates are fine in the spring and summer. We were designed to live within the context of seasonality.

  33. comeAndPlay says:

    Jimmy, just wondering where Richard ever said he was eating “30 potatoes day”? It’s that sort of weak crap I’ve come to expect from Christians. I see it over and over again in “you” people. Come over here and play. What? Are you afraid of the truth?

  34. “The potatoes are that profound”

    wow- potato and profound together in a sentence

    LMAO

  35. She’s says he lowered calories, fat and protein and that his loses are explained by his calorie deficit.

    http://weightoftheevidence.blogspot.com/2012/12/so-much-for-cake-let-them-eat-steak.html

    • Precisely what I am claiming. He won’t admit calorie and not carb restriction was his primary reason for initial loss. He won’t admit that under a Woo ethic of “I have a bad metabolism and hormones are all over the place and I can only store fat” he gained lots of weight eating lavishly ad libitum, just restrict the carbs. And now, as he looses 50 pounds once again: nope, not the amount of food, not even the magic of ketosis. Rather, it’s the combined magic of ketosis and gluconeogennesis blunting, otherwise known by the neologism of: nutritional ketosis.

      As I said in my post: it is to laugh.

  36. tatertot says:

    A couple things popped out at me today I’d like to share.

    On the MDA thread: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread72366-14.html, post 134 on page 14, the person started testing ketones and found herself to be in ketosis after several days on the potato diet.

    And, on MedicalXpress, was an article http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-12-gladstone-scientists-mechanism-calorie-restriction.html about ketosis/calorie restriction and longevity. They described thusly:

    “Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have identified a novel mechanism by which a type of low-carb, low-calorie diet—called a “ketogenic diet”—could delay the effects of aging.”

    How cool would it be if this potato diet turns prevalent ketosis CW upside down. Why do scientists think a ketogenic diet has to be ‘low carb’? Someone should convince Jimmy M. to try the “Potato Diet” with the goal of remaining in ketosis. Seems to me, this ketosis is the real deal, straight from your fat…not fake ketosis from sticks of butter.

    • Tatertot

      My post makes the point. All the Wooo, notwithstanding. Ketosis is a function of calorie restriction, not carb restriction. I’ll go a step further: sever reduction of calories is the primary cause of purple pee. Why are people on high carb potatoes finding themselves in ketosis?

      Because potatoes are ducking filling.

      … I meant to write ‘fucking, ‘ ….

      I’m starting to love paleo blogging again. Had no idea there was so much moron out ther in need of salvation.

      • “The real question is, when did a sanely executed balanced low carb diet become more radical and absurd than EATING ONLY POTATOES? Somehow on the paleosphere this started to make sense, and I’m not sure when that insanity transpired.”

        ItstheWoo – totally. That someone on here switched from Paleo eating where he felt stronger and healthier to eating *potatoes* because of one blood test is crazy sauce. Low carb and Paleo are, at worst close cousins in terms overall nutrition. Either one is pretty rational.

        My mother (early 70s) has been eating something close to the “potato” diet for the last 2-3 years. Calorie restricted but all carbs because nothing else tasted good. She ended up in a nursing home with a B12 deficiency and now can’t remember most of her life. I’ve been bringing her a wide spectrum of vitamins when I can because I’m not in position to get her to eat anything else but a few bites of potatoes. Criminy – there are other nutritional problems than heart disease and/or being a little overweight.

      • ItsTheWooo – Thanks for the heads up. I saw her med list as of 2 weeks ago and there’s nary a vitamin on it. We’re switching docs right now and I’m planning to pursue getting multivitamins (including B12 and Vit. D) prescribed so it’s not so hit/miss and the docs totally know what’s going on.

        It’s hard to know with my Mom on the dementia piece. She’s a strange woman, who in her own way, as always acted child. Neither of her parents suffered from dementia. It’s possible eating poorly could have egged it on, as well as the lifetime of mental/physical meds. At any rate, we’re at full blown slow suicide via poor nutrition now. :(

      • This is what I’m getting out of all of this, too. It’s a problem when something works for a few people and then they’re crying from the rooftops that this is divine law and if one diverges may thy supreme deities smite thee down. If anything, maybe it will show people that strict LC isn’t the be-all and end-all diet approach.

        It’s difficult for your everyday person to figure out what to do when they’re taking everything their favorite health authorities say for verbatim. Like you said, people ate potatoes before and didn’t die. Experiment.

      • I don’t know, Richard, I suspect carb restriction AND calorie restriction have the potential to cause ketosis. I mean, I’ve never done test strips, but during my initial experimenting there were times I would eat tons of eggs, fatty meat, cheese, fat, coconut oil, and really no carbs beyond some spinach or something for days on end. I was getting a lot of calories, but got the same feelings I experience while fasting that I’ve just assumed mean “ketosis time.”

        I’m inclined to think they can both do it.

      • “I suspect carb restriction AND calorie restriction have the potential to cause ketosis.”

        That sounds like a simple explanation.

  37. Um… burning your own fat ain’t gonna work forever. I guaran-damn-tee that doing own-fat ketosis will not delay the effects of aging for anybody – not even the morbidly obese. Even if I only burned 1000 calories a day, I’d run out of fat reserves in 350 days.

    That “novel mechanism” sounds interesting, but scientists & especially the “science press” are as guilty of propagandistic bullshitting as much as the next guy.

    • “Even if I only burned 1000 calories a day, I’d run out of fat reserves in 350 days.”

      Really? That’s fucking cool in the context os an explicitly stated dietary hack.

    • tatertot says:

      You came to the same conclusion as Peter from Hyperlipid, as quoted many times on Richard’s potato series:

      “Running your metabolism on pure glucose would induce, theoretically, an infinite glucose sensitivity and low fasting insulin. If we do reductio ad absurdum you would end up with no fat stores and experience death from hypoglycaemia if you ever depleted your glycogen stores. Mitochondria like (saturated) fatty acids. Fatty acids keep them in control.”

      That’s why it’s a short-term hack to cut some fat…not a new lifestyle choice.

      • “Running your metabolism on pure glucose would induce, theoretically, an infinite glucose sensitivity and low fasting insulin.”

        I think this is the key to why low-carb doesn’t go the distance for so many people. Going low carb for a while induces insulin sensitivity, but in the long run the body switches to be even more insensitive to insulin than the obese in order to preserve the existing reserves for the brain.

        I hereby pre-acknowledge that this does not hold true for all persons.

        I’d imagine that one thing the potato diet does is resensitize the body to the siren song of insulin.

        Insulin. So demonized, so vital.

      • Rob and Joshua.

        Some days ago I came up with a working title for a post that I think you’ll understand:

        “Driving up a hill, 4th gear, peddle to the metal, bogging down.”

        Get it?

      • Hmmmm… Assuming you’re not making a double entendre with “peddle” I’m guessing you might be referring to 4th gear being similar to fat burning, whereas 1st gear might be analogous to sugar burning.

        Fat burning is great for endurance exercise and for just living, but for sprinting/accelerating/short duration high intensity exercise sugar’s got it beat.

        People who give up carbs altogether pretty much surrender access to 4th gear. I think the converse is true as well. People who go too far up the low-fat mountain will struggle to get very far without frequently re-fueling on carbs. Flex-fuel’s the way to go.

      • People who lose weight and keep it off, I think they use low-carb as a tool, not a lifestyle. The ones who try to stay really low-carb all the time, they can’t and their weight suffers, unless their diabetic.

      • We’ve kept a low carb lifestyle for about a decade. I’m not as strict as I used to because it isn’t as necessary now that the weight is gone, but most meals still are meat + vegetables.

        I’ll grant you, though, that low carb is a fabulous tool for calorie restriction. For instance, when I walk into a convenience store I can only consume the following 5 items: 1)Water, 2)Diet Soda (but not a good idea), 3)Slim Jims (scary but meatish), 4)Trail Mix, 5)Low Carb bars (also not a good idea). Note how many billions of calories of modern over processed food I’m *not* consuming, thanks to sticking to low carb. ;)

      • True. I don’t think they go back to what they used to eat, I just don’t think they stay at really low levels all the time, without fail, unless their diabetic.

  38. Oh hello, here is Cow ancient wisdoms on this topics: Jesus God! Humans is hot fucking mess!

    Is unbearable you never-ending yapping on what human has eaten, what you gonna eat, what you should eat, what will happens if you eat it, what you shit gonna look like after you eat it. Just like everything else, you has taken most basic, simple, natural instinct of all creature and turn it into total fucking entanglement of absurdities, perversions and stupidities. And now you has to yap endlessly about how to fix what you fucked. Well is no gonna happen! You crazy ass genie out you bottle and you big fat brains gonna continue to pervert and spin they ridiculous complexities! You FUBAR humans! Okay, has a nice day!
    Love, Cow

  39. blahblah says:

    LOL!

  40. Thank you for the pep talk, Cow. I feel ever so much better now. {wink}

  41. Galina L. says:

    Jimmy also has a business to run, and wild claims sell ideas. Just look at Dr. Davis. I am sure years of telling people how to follow a diet he recommended taught him what to tell in order to inspire compliance. I am a LCarber myself, but I cringe from time to time when I have a chance to notice how LC diets get promoted. I am not about to have a fit about the fact of life that sellers of ideas try to be more engaging than a pubmed article.
    I think Jimmy also address people who are in the same situation as himself – straggling to lose huge amount of weight, managing to balloon even on a LC diet. May be it is better for them to realize that not only chocolate cakes are fattening, but it is possible to eat meat in a such amounts that it will be fattening at the same degree. I always give Jimmy Moore a credit for demonstrating to others that it is possible to gain weight eating too much of a LC food. I am not being sarcastic.

  42. Is it just me or does Jimmy look awful? He has zero muscle tone and all of his fat is abdominal. I really can’t see him being with us much longer, he has no outward appearance of good health. It is sad, he turned me on to the gentleman who helped me lose weight.

  43. Of course there’s a lot talking here about weight loss and low carb, but what about health benefits and/or healing diseases?
    I like to share “some” studies:
    “Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer?”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267662/
    Pretty much impressive, if you take the time to read it all…
    Me, myself have also good results with LC and running performance, just like Peggy a few days ago here in the comments and Volek and Phinney tell you in their book “The Art And Science of LC Performance”, the only thing is I can’t sustain eating like that, because running performance is not that important to me, but if I would be a pro, I would certainly stay in nutritional ketosis :-)
    Here in Europe there are some very famous soccer players who eat very LC and their performance is much better than before!
    And yes Jimmy certainly suffers sometime or often from “cognitive dissonance”, like wel all do…….that’s why I never follow somebody blindly, and that’s why I can still listen to his podcasts now and then….

  44. Richard, I just skimmed over comments, but am surprised it seems hardly any refer to the point that you are evolving in your quest for knowledge and taking a stand against deceptiveness. Good for you! It is so refreshing to see a once lc advocate be open to new possibilities, and not be driven by ego and money. A million thank yous… I really appreciate your honesty. The only thing that should matter is seeking new truths, constantly moving forward for I believe there would be no evolution without the possibility of new ideas.

    Re the nutrition content – I went for nutrition counseling once and was told be mindful of the proteins, they usually contain a lot of calories, especially the fatty ones. Perhaps you remember discussion on the lc blogs regarding KFC’s fried chicken sandwich sans bread, made with cheese and bacon. It was said that this creation was only 350 calories and I thought… like hell it is. Think it was told to me that calories in anything fried should be at least tripled which would make 1 chicken breast at least 450 calories, and there were two… then add the cheese and bacon. And what about that large steak meal talked about on the PHD blog with baked potato, butter and sour cream, salad with blue cheese dressing … care to guess the calories in that meal? These are examples how lc/safe starch dieters can get themselves in trouble because as we now know, calories do matter.

    Keep on Richard… and thanks again!

  45. For me, Jimmy doesn’t haven’t much marketing power. But something in the Volek/Phinney books that he quotes (The Art and Science of Low-Carb Performance especially) really struck a chord. I suggest you at least skim that one if you haven’t yet.

    I will definitely try this potato diet someday when LC stops producing results. Looking forward to your results/”n=1″ post.

  46. Jimmy went on David Duke’s podcast, linked to Duke’s site on his own blog and then defending his actions, which could be taken as showing support to David Duke. That is his right.

    I don’t agree with his actions. I’d like to see the light shined on this particular set of actions, which could reasonably be seen as supporting David Duke and the things that Duke stands for.

    • “defended,” goddammit

    • VW

      I’ve been busy with family over the last days and am only now looking into this. Wowzerz.

    • OK, I looked at everything I could find.

      I have to wonder if Jimmy got pwned here. He blasted it all over the place, “Listen to my one hour podcast with Dr. David Duke.” His website, twitter, Facebook, goggle plus, etc. Now it appears that at least the stuff on his website has been taken down. Perhaps the initial defense of his actions was before looking into what he’s done.

      ….At any rate, at least an error, poor judgment on his part. I’d be surprised if he actually shares the views of Duke or supports him in his supremacist views. I guess we’ll see how things develop.

Trackbacks

  1. Paleolite says:

    [...] Richard Nikoley has covered the subject much in the the way of my liking…  ;-) December 5, 2012, 1:07 pm | Tags: Nutritional ketosis | Category: Kost [...]

  2. [...] this comment which quotes Peter's post about the potato [...]

  3. [...] Paleoish… “…for most people, a paleo-like diet that primarily avoids grains, refined sugar, processed food, vegetable oils and somewhere on a carb spectrum from low to moderate is going to turn out best”  (Richard Nikoley) [...]

  4. [...] Nikoley from the “Free The Animal” blog notes that NK is “just a good diet hack” and not really necessary to shed body fat. New Zealand sports nutritionist Jamie Scott from the [...]

  5. [...] and been sent emails, not one of which I've replied to. I guess some people think that because I recently criticized Jimmy in a post and I'm a shit stirrer in general—willing to say almost anything—that I'm the prime guy to [...]

  6. [...] was the post: “Protein is the New Carbohydrate,” and Why to Ditch the Low-Carb Catechism (Sorry Jimmy). Basically, I was poo-pooing the notion that the reason high fat combined with relatively high [...]

  7. […] Starch…while in KETOSIS…on a ketogenic diet? It's an oxymoronic contradiction in terms, right? After all, isn't the LC catechism that even severely restricted amounts of starch or refined sugar can knock you out of ketosis? And now, with "nutritional ketosis," the recognition that even protein can knock you out? After all again, "excessive" protein is the new carbohydrate in terms of staying in ketosis. […]