After some months of posting on Resistant Starch and taking pokes here and there at the low-carb & ketogenic crowd, seems it’s drawn enough attention to warrant comment and critique in various places, including comments at my last post: A “LADA” Type II Diabetic Finds “Amazing Results” With Resistant Starch. Probably, this ruffled some feathers, when I boasted:
“It’s only going to get worse and worse for the militant LCers. In fact, I’m going to end up being a better friend to diabetics than all LC doctors worldwide, put together. And, it’s cheap & easy. […]
“Read it and weep, LC Militia. Where is your honesty and integrity? The research began about 30 years ago. About 5 years ago, we got a bunch of poo pooing from the LC-Paleo-sphere. A shame. And to this day, to my knowledge, not even one single prominent LCish advocate has even suggested taking a closer look at Resistant Starch, all while lives are in the balance.
“Double shame. On. You.”
Once I put that up early Saturday, I basically took a break from 95% of the Internet until this morning. Then, checking in, I figured the easiest way to deal with all of it in one shot would just be to write a post. First, let me show you this—it’s a regular thing daily, now—either emails, or comments. In this case, it’s a comment from someone low carbing for almost 50 years.
So I’ve been doing the potato starch thing for about three weeks now. Before I started, my digestion was in pretty bad shape, and I hadn’t been able to do much about it, even with some presumably good probiotics. FBG high 90s, but didn’t spike much. I’ve been basically low carb since the late 60s. (When I was 15, and fat, I put myself on a meat and milk diet over a summer, lost 30 lbs., and have been LC for most of the time since. Haven’t eaten bread or sugar since then, almost 50 years now.) Lately in ketosis most of the time.
Started adding the PS to my morning smoothies (coconut milk, avocado, MCT oil, matcha). Fartage was bad, bad, bad. Poopage also bad, for about two weeks. Then almost overnight both normalized. No fartage, good poopage, for the first time in months. Also, much better sleep (no waking up at 3:00 am, or if so, easily back to sleep). And definitely more vivid dreaming, which is kinda spooky.
So this morning, after a night of way too much Chardonnay, I had a bowl of oatmeal with berries, with some potato starch stirred in. (Usually I have some bacon with the oatmeal, but not this time, or I stir some butter or coconut oil in to slow the starch digestion, but not this time.) Then about an hour later, a smoothie as described above. Two hours after the oatmeal and one hour after the smoothie, checked BG…91! That’s really good for me. I’ve been traveling for a week, so haven’t checked the FBG, but will over the next few days.
So good digestion, check. Blood glucose control, check. Better sleep, check. What’s not to like?
My only beef is that Charles is a guy, and he drinks Chardonnay… He follows up.
And…just had a huge portion of beans at a dinner function. No gaseousness at all. This is really getting strange. How one small change can affect so many things. But I guess totally rebuilding your gut bacteria environment isn’t that small a change, is it?
You’ll have to excuse my perturbation when I see, hear, or get wind of neophytes and/or know-it-alls dismissing, out-of-hand…proclaiming there’s nothing to see here: because of a 6-letter word. There is way, way more to show you and in particular, a number of tests of RS while in a state of ketosis: forthcoming. I’m saving it for when I think I have everyone’s attention.
My first beef with the LC crowd is their ignorant dismissal of Resistant Starch, just out-of-hand. I daresay it wasn’t even close to being warranted, and many LCers are coming to know that on their own and in spite of LC Dogma. So neener neener on that score. I was right, you were wrong. And, the fact that I change my view of things often enough and cop to it right here out in the open, I figure it gives me license to gloat on your asses. So, double-dog neener neener!
I’ll set the stage here by means of a correction of perception, hoping you’ll take the necessary steps to correct yourself—and it has to be technically stated this way; I hope you take the time to really understand: conceptualization and integration of the material of perception (your senses) into your conceptual hierarchy of what you take to be your knowledge of reality…really matters a lot. Careful, when you use metaphors as perception, like a map, the quintessential example of metaphor.
Take a look here (click it to open the 900-wide).
You’ve only perceived a metaphor, heretofore.
The mental, perceptive phenomena here is something that’s been observed but not taken into full account by most people who’ve ever looked at maps printed on flat paper—predominantly Mercator projections. Everyone notices the relative massive size of Greenland. What they likely didn’t notice, however, is that because Africa is on average centered on the Equator, and other countries, as in western Europe, Asia and North America are at relatively high latitudes, they’re markedly distorted in projection size with respect to Africa. For a primer on what’s going on, Google around on the different ways maps are projected. I gave you the link for Mercator. Check out Gnomonic as well, an excellent contrast in study. I’m a former navy navigator, aware of this stuff in immaculate detail forever, so I best stop here, or I’ll ramble on. For a simple understanding, observe your shadow at different times of the day, from midget to 30 feet tall. That’s what’s going on, essentially. The other part: children had not been learning about the stature of humans from the projection of your shadow on paper for 500 years. That’s how long they’ve had a false sense of the relative proportions of countries and continents.
Can you imagine any repercussions in the large, in terms of false knowledge combined with other ignorances? Now, expand that to the other metaphors, bromides, and slogans you take as sensory perception, including the entire political sphere. You thinking, chewing, honestly? Yea, the world is pretty fucked up, right?
What does it have to do with LC dieting? For that matter, what does it have to do with Paleo dieting and our loose alliance? I’m addressing the false perception I’ve just pointed out and how, just perhaps, it leads to errors of mind distortion.
How often have we heard, on the basis of evolutionary thinking, that agriculture—the last 10,000 years or so—is a blip on the timeline of hominid evolution? If that’s a valid point, then so is the point that the 50-60,000 years since out of Africa is a blip when compared to 4+ million years of bipedal hominid evolution. Taking 4 million years as a baseline, agriculture represents 0.0025ths of that time, and out-of Africa represents 0.0125ths of that time. Huge big difference, eh? It’s like, TEN TIMES!
The rub is that we simply did not evolve for 4 million years on LC diets. Nor, ketogenic diets—at least not in normal circumstances.
Where is a VLC or ketogenic diet most of the time roughly the norm, given living off the land? That’s easy. At extreme high latitudes like the Inuit (whose landmass is highly distorted relative to our African birthplace on maps) or in places like La Rinconada, Peru (16,700 ft), Wenquan, China (16,400 ft), El Aguilar, Argentina (16,000 ft), Colquechaca, Bolivia (15,000 ft), Ukdungle, India (15,000 ft), Tanggulashan, China (15,000 ft), and Pagri, China (15,000 ft). That’s only the ones 15,000 ft and above. You can look up the roughly 40 villages worldwide 12,000-15,000. The highest city of over 50,000 population is Cerro de Pasco, Peru (14,000 ft; 70,000 population).
In all, if you look at extreme latitudes and extreme altitudes, you’re talking a few million people combined, at most. Let’s say there’s 5 million total, which I think is highly generous. That’s 0.00071ths of the world population of 7 billion, roughly.
“Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle!” Beginning to sense the hubris, yet?
So, the other half of my beef is that Low Carb is merely a therapeutic measure. Moreover—and this idea is critically important—I do not believe, given our birthplace of Africa, that we’re adequately adapted to an LC diet long term because of food choices—which would necessarily have to be the case in evolutionary logic. I think we’re adapted because of long periods of paucity or starvation in all food sources among isolated populations that won genetic lotteries. Stated another way: survival pressures, the bread & butter of natural selection. Yet another: Survival of the fittest. This makes sense. Eschewing available vegetable, fruit and starch sources in favor of fat & protein as quotidien norm does not, given that the former are generally easier to obtain.
For those familiar with Paleo dietary thought, who isn’t familiar with our go-to HGs, the Hadza? Well, guess what? Those hunters and gatherers prefer to gather honey far above all else, when they can: Tubers as Fallback Foods and Their Impact on Hadza Hunter-Gatherers (PDF full text).
The Hadza are hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. Their diet can be conveniently categorized into ﬁve main categories: tubers, berries, meat, baobab, and honey. We showed the Hadza photos of these foods and asked them to rank them in order of preference. Honey was ranked the highest.
Indeed, and there ought be no dispute about it. We are the sons & daughters of righteous mutherfucking survivors under myriad conditions of hardship and what hungry idiot in the heart of Africa is going to eschew honey because it’s dense carbs that’s going to raise blood sugar and give you a spike of INNSSUULLIINNZZ? Answer: Fucking Zero, and I’ll stake it all on that piece of logical reality. But. This is also a very good thing, which is why bottom line, I’m a friend of LCers generally.
It’s simply not the norm as “healthy lifestyle.” It is, rather, a fortunate evolutionary adaptation via paucity and starvation (fasting, in normal parlance) which possesses, as an added benefit, advantages for the billions who’ve consumed too many calories (irrespective of type) over the course of their lives and gone out of the evolutionary milieu envelope of things way too often, because of being afforded plenty—and cheaper and cheaper.
Intermittent Fasting has many therapeutic benefits. Two of the biggest:
- Metabolic reset: hunger modulation, hormonal regulation, etc.
This does not mean that fasting is a “Healthy Starvation Lifestyle.” Get it?
Low carb has many benefits, taken further than fasting in certain metabolic circumstances, while emphasizing those aspects longer term. A rough sketch, in terms of VLC or ketogenic.
- A keto diet is adequate for most (we have starvation adaptation thanks to starvation survivors, so ‘adequate’ is key). Yep, we can make essential glucose if we can’t eat it.
- A keto diet is optimal for some (‘therapeutic’ is key, here, for some forms of disease, abnormality, or otherwise outlier status).
- A keto diet is optimal for many in a short timeframe for weight loss, metabolic reset, neurologic abnormalities (just like fasting—basically the same thing: simulated starvation, which we’re well adapted to, absent McDonald’s & 7-11 in the Savannah 4-1 million YA).
- A keto diet is likely not the best choice for most, most of the time: because it doesn’t make ANY evolutionary sense. We didn’t evolve at the arctic circle or above 13,000 feet. We didn’t. We evolved in largely equatorial Africa, for well over 99% of our total evolution.
…I exchanged a nice email with Jimmy Moore a couple of days ago. See, a young woman emailed me, asking about info and references because her dad has brain cancer and he’s embarking on a vegan diet on a stab. Frankly I don’t actually KNOW if that’s his best course or not. What I do know is that brain cancer uniquely responds to a keto diet (as does epilepsy and a number of other neurological DEFECTS). I gave her some stuff, emailed out with Jimmy in Cc, and he immediately replied and popped up the link for his interview with Dr Seyfried who treats brain cancer with ketogenic diets. I replied back to Jimmy that this sort of thing—my growing disagreements with LC—will never get in my way when I think that’s the way for anyone to consider going. We’re of the very same mind and this is why I never need to attack Jimmy personally; which is a good thing, because I have zero desire to do that.
…I’ve blogged many times in the past about how fasting 4-5 days in advance of chemo puts normal cells into a protective mode. It appears that a chemo dose can be upped substantially, so as to effect a real kill ratio of 5 to 20-30:1, instead of just bare attrition—which is what chemo is: a war of attrition. Kill the cancer, hope the host survives the war.
…I simply don’t think it’s a healthy lifestyle for most, most of the time.
- There are proved therapeutic benefits to alcohol consumption. Bring on the “Healthy Drink-All-Day Lifestyle.”
- There are proved therapeutic benefits to tetrahydrocannabinol. Bring on the “Healthy Stoned-All-Day Lifestyle.”
- There are proved therapeutic benefits to nicotine. Bing on the “Healthy pack-a-day Lifestyle.
- There are proved benefits to lysergic acid diethylamide. Bring on the…Hey, you just look like a lizard, I think I can fly; and by the way, why has it taken hours for the clock to register a minute of time?
I’m making a simple, but what ought to be obvious distinction. We did not evolve to eat a low carb diet. We can do it, doesn’t mean it’s optimal or even better than bare adequate. On the other hand, we didn’t evolve to drink sugar water and down cookies and Twinkies all day either.
I’m neither trying to kill low carb, nor elevate Paleo. I chose Paleo to support, because it’s purportedly about human evolution, whatever makes sense or we discover. So, it’s open-ended; but LC is simply not, and there is just zero way of getting around that. I’m sorry you chose to eschew roughly 1/3 of a valid dietary intake and call it “healthy,” but I simply cannot suborn that thinking.
I have to give creds here to Mark Sisson, though. Just look at his carb chart, and it goes way back.
Paul Jaminet, too. You know. Rice. Safe starches.
My only essential difference is that I’m saying that more like 150g is probably going to turn out best for the very vast majority of you—call it 100-200, so you don’t fucking stupidly obsess. The other difference is that Mark & Paul have food restrictions I don’t, unless they happen to bother you particularly. Paul recognizes billions of rice eating Asians. His wife is Asian. I recognize billions of beaners (my wife is Hispanic).
OK, time for a personal anecdote I’ve been waiting for the right time for. First, years of basic LCing have made it such that basic meat & salad or vegies is the easiest way to go. Yea, I do my food post with pics, but it’s not every day. In fact, we’ve been pretty LC/VLC for years.
A few months back I thought I perhaps I ought to check my BG. Alarming. Fasting BG like 120-130 every day. I debated even telling anyone. I told Bea. She tested. Same fucking deal.
Making long, short, I really endeavored to get out of my LC comfort zone and explicitly added more beans, rice, potatoes to all meals. Fasting BGs are down into normal high 80s to low 90s for both of us, now. I just got fed up with turning a blind eye to physiologic insulin resistance.
What’s “Thank God” if you’re starving—because it may save your life—ought not, in any truly rational person, equate to “healthy lifestyle.” And I don’t give a rat’s ass about the theorized “longevity” aspects having to do with higher oxidation given higher sugar & insulin. You have to look at the entire organism, and you have to do both addition and subtraction, not just the one that suits your wild assed idea.