Metabolism & Digestion: A Key to Weight Loss & Health, Part II

Fooled by randomness

Here is Part I to this series. Let me illustrate the subtitle. Timeframe, context and a lot of other factors go into getting some clue about what the future might hold, and predicting it is a low-probability endeavor; meaning, it’s a high-payoff play for those lucky enough to get it right or a huge loss for those who get it wrong.

Oh Shit  Oh Good  No Oh Shit

So, you have: "Oh, Shit!" "Hallelujah!" and, "No, Oh Shit!." I could go on and on with this, and it all depends on scale…so not to belabor the point from an ex options-trader, let’s cut to the chase. Click to open the BIG version.


That’s the S&P over the last year. So in the figures above, (1) covers June-July, 2009, (2) covers July-August, and (3) covers January-February, 2010.

I’m not going to get into the dynamics of why it’s not even close to linear, the shorter the timeframe you examine (these are all daily bars, called "candles" in trader speak). In my trading platform, I can get down to tics or candles by a few seconds interval, and it’s all over the map on a minute, hourly or daily basis. The level of potential foolishness is unmatched and it’s extremely attractive and addictive for risk takers. Suffice it to say that what you see above is the result of trading transactions between buyers and sellers, all of whom have no idea of what the future holds. in a sense, every last one of them is being fooled by randomness. There are exceptions, but those mainly involve traders holding stocks  or tangible assets who have a good idea of what they’re worth tangibly, taking advantage of fools undervaluing them or overvaluing them (you can play it either way). That’s the basic Warren Buffet, Value Investing, long term approach. I don’t think he ever shorts the market, but he looks for severely undervalued stocks in terms of assets, management and other crucial factors and when he finds them, he buys & holds. But there are others — Bears — who do just the opposite & sell short.

Before I move on to link this to health in the broadest sense — metabolism, digestion and body temperature in the narrow — let me just say that I’m very keen to this sort of dynamic. As a full-time trader for several years, I at times made lots, like 800%+ in six months, once. I’ve also have the educational privilege to have lost over $200K in the space of a couple of weeks. In short, I allowed myself to be fooled.

How did I do that? I’ll give you an analogy: I lost the forrest through the trees. Sure, I had some success with drilling down, i.e., looking at a single tree, discerning the forrest, and getting lucky. But it could not last. When I got into trouble, not only was I looking at a single tree, I was looking at the pattern of the bark on that tree, then the fibers, then any grubs & parasites. I’d have gone microscopic, but it was too late by then.

The point is that a whole lot of the "health" markers we hold dear, thanks to modern medical science, might be serving only to fool us. Just as bad, or worse, it makes us susceptible to opportunists — those who claim to have it all figured out. After all, they have nothing but a steep upward slope over some period of time (they won’t tell you about the intraday fluctuations, i.e., troubled emails from troubled adherents to The Strategy). I’ve seen it in trading, and I’ve see it here.

We now have folks getting their cholesterol measured regularly, they check their BP several times per day, weigh themselves every day or more, get D levels checked habitually…and then there’s the coronary calcium scores, the particle LipoProfiles, and on and on it goes. And, now, body temperature.

…And I’m fed up.

How is it we all seem to be attempting to falsify the "absurd" notion of eating only Real Food, paloesque? One guy calls it — paleo — a "restrictive diet," only a few breaths after admonishing you to stay away from fructose, omega-6 and other odds & ends. Like you need grains in your diet (you don’t, ever; it’s an inferior nutritional choice and that’s not even to get into the huge anti-nutrient load, ignored by the same guy).

Yes, I have been guilty of promoting some of this sensationalism myself by posting lipid profiles & such and posting about all of it. But you know what? The posts that really matter as to my path are: the food and the progress. The food is regular but fairly varied in composition and the progress discounts the randomness of the  +-4 pounds regularly gained & lost throughout this journey.

So the next and likely final post will be about what I think the real issue is in terms of metabolism and digestion. You can go ahead and pig out on High Everything and gain weight (body fat — it’s surely not lean, and that should be noted) in hopes it will "cure your metabolism," or, you can implement a few very effective strategies to ensure that you are getting every microgram of nutrition out of every gram that you eat, not gain any weight, and go forth.

I’ll finish with a laugh. You must know: I laugh at the idea of chasing body temp. It it truly absurd, and a crude, snake oil approach to health. See comments in the previous post for how 98.6 was arrived at. Fooled by randomness… Or, just the same: averages.

So then, what do I say about all those people who report to have bean raising their body temperatures? Well, other than a congratulations with a smirk, I’d say either 1) they were hypothyroid, probably pre-existing, so probably good, or, 2) they’re eating grains and other chronically inflammatory foods and body temperature is rising in response to systemic inflammation, just like it does in response to infection. It could be seen as a rather natural prophylactic measure.

Onward and more later.

The underlying theme of this post is inspired by the seminal insight of now EvFit enthusiast and friend of Art guy, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Fooled by Randomness , a book that changed my life and set me on the path to better.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Dave C. on April 13, 2010 at 19:50

    I find the bit about body temperature rising as a result of low level inflammation and immune response to be pretty interesting. It would be cool if that could be confirmed scientifically somehow.

  2. Scott W on April 14, 2010 at 09:58

    Follow up on Nicole’s comment about regular weighing (from a guy) – absolutely agree and thanks for commenting on that topic.

    I am one of those “fortunate” people who is ready for a worldwide famine. I could do just fine on a desert island, easily gaining weight on fish and coconuts. I have tried it all, and I mean everything, nutrition-wise, and to lose or keep from gaining, I must go FULL paleo, all the way down to step 12 of Dr. Harris’s 12-step plan ) AND strictly limit my calories. Every time I’ve convinced myself that calories don’t matter, I’ve found myself on the wrong end of a 20 to 40 pound weight shift. I carry weight evenly distributed, so it is very easy to not see it for a long time.

    I weigh weekly, measure body parts and body fat monthly and keep it all on a spreadsheet. (Being a bit obsessive-compulsive undoubtedly plays into some of what you’ll read below. I’m aware of that.)

    The full 12-step thing comes in for hunger control. Over the years I have compiled a list of every food that causes cravings or that I can’t leave uneaten on my plate. It’s a long list and it’s easier for me to give up whole categories (such a dairy). I’m currently trying to drop the last half of 40 pounds gained while eating the Optimal diet (I love cream…could drink a pint a day and did…it was freely allowed, right?). I fooled myself for a year that I was mainly gaining muscle. So…back on the “no to everything diet”, as my wife calls it.

    As Dr. Harris notes in some recent posts, it’s not ALL about insulin or babies couldn’t gain weight while breastfeeding or concentration camp survivors couldn’t gain weight eating LC paleo after being released.

    I probably screwed up my metabolism at some point in the past, but my brother and sister have the same issues. Doesn’t matter now. All I know is that eating basically eggs/meat/fish/animal fats (no nuts even – can’t put ’em down) and that’s about it allows me to control hunger, lower calories and drop weight. I only drink tap water (from a well). For me, a 5’8 guy with medium build, I can eat no more than 1,000 kcal/day to drop 2 lbs/week and can maintain on about 1,800 kcal/day or so. All while working out a couple times a week and hiking with my scout group.

    It’s been a lifelong thing. When many of my peers turned into dull-witted morons eating the extremely-restricted rations of Army Ranger School (many years ago), I was just fine. Lost some weight, sure, but actually gave my limited food away to others who needed it more. I don’t want to be CRON, but I also hate being fat so you do what you gotta do.

    If I followed the oft-repeated mantra of “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full” I’d constantly be the size of a blimp even if I focused on real food.

    I know, sample size of one, but there are plenty of commenters on various blogs who throw out their personal results as if they represent the entire population, so here’s a counterpoint to that.

    I do take my supplementation very seriously since I know, especially when losing, that after considering my protein needs I can be very restricted on getting the nutrition I need from remaining food. Blogs like this one (thanks Richard!) and Stephan’s and Harris’s have helped me arrive at a carefully-considered regimen. I can cook but I don’t really get into it, so supplementation becomes even more important if food isn’t all that varied.

    Anyway, although the steps for me have been a little drastic (based on the outlook of modern SAD eaters) I love the “freedom from food.” I’ll take it every day over the pleasure/guilt/fat cycle of giving yourself things that are not harmful by any evidence we can find (paleo) but don’t allow me to control myself.

    OK…this got a little off-topic. To bring it slightly back on top: High Everything Diet? Are you kidding me? That’s how we fattened pigs and lambs for slaughter on the farm where I grew up. I bet the HED trend line doesn’t contain many “down” candles.

    Thanks as usual Richard for this forum and your generous donation of personal time.

    Scott W

  3. epistemocrat on April 13, 2010 at 20:01

    Very nice, Richard.

    Fluctuat nec mergitur

    We need toxicity of information paradox filtering devices while self-experimenting. I’d rather avoid being generally wrong than attempt to be specifically right.



  4. Swede on April 13, 2010 at 21:09

    “they’re eating grains and other chronically inflammatory foods and body temperature is rising in response to systemic inflammation”

    Now that’s some inflammatory language!

    Didn’t Price and McCarrison observe good health in grain eating cultures? I’m not trying to convince you to eat them, just understand that they are not some spawn of satan as paleos love to think. Matt is not a grain pusher, as most grain food available is not very good. But if you are looking, you can find sprouted breads, fresh corn tortillas and other quality products.


    • Richard Nikoley on April 14, 2010 at 15:27


      The only time I’d eat grains, other than as the very infrequent burger or pizza cheat, is if I was starving.

      Since I can buy all manner of meats & fish, and enjoy then with rich sauces I make from bones and flesh, grains and legumes are _garbage_ to me. Eat it if you want, but the nutrition compared to meat, fowl & fish is not even in the same universe.

      And that’s not even considering the anti-nutrient load, phytates and, as mentioned in another comment, the opiod connection.

      • fireandstone on April 16, 2010 at 11:35

        The argument I see from Weston Price enthusiasts is basically that if you just keep adding layers of processing to grains, they’ll eventually become benign and you can chow down, but all you get for your trouble is an inferior and tolerable foodstuff. Even if going through all the hoops meant someone could get away with eating some grains without compromising their health, why would they want to? Food engineering could theoretically make cardboard safe and taste like bacon and cheddar, but that wouldn’t mean it’s something to eat.

  5. Nicole on April 14, 2010 at 04:39

    It’s hard for women to sort out a 4lb. water gain from a I’ve-been-eating-too-much real gain. The only way I can be sure I know what’s going on is to weigh every day and use a trend line. This was much worse when I was actually fat than it is now, but I still weigh every day.

    I don’t want to see that 35 lbs. again, ever, and it’s easy to rationalize away small gains until they suddenly become 10 lbs. and non-trivial to lose.

    The people who suggest you should “throw away your scale” to help you get healthy…well, Matt Stone is one of those, isn’t he? Once a week weighing keeps the Sin/Absolution cycle going for people who do weight watchers, and helps keep the money rolling in to same.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 14, 2010 at 16:00


      I’m not saying don’t weigh, and that’s only an analogy anyway with the body temp nonsense (I’ve gone years at a time without measuring my body temp).

      If you’re eating properly I see no reason to weigh every day. I do it twice per week, right after my workout at the gym. I’ve found that such interval is wide enough that if I see a 4lb increase from my lowest that the next time will be the same or less.

  6. Skyler Tanner on April 14, 2010 at 05:09

    “You can go ahead and pig out on High Everything and gain weight (body fat — it’s surely not lean, and that should be noted) in hopes it will “cure your metabolism…”

    The funny bit is that, depending on your body composition, overeating elicits different responses from the body. Most people go on HED trying to “repair” their metabolism. They’re already overfat and overeating when overfat leads to a majority fat gain. HED if you’re 5% bodyfat, sure, but gross overeating when you’re grossly overfat is a sure way to get even fatter.


    • DML on April 14, 2010 at 10:45

      Actually most people who were overweight already are more likely to start losing weight sooner on HED. Follow the comments on Matt’s blog and you will see I know what I’m talking about.

      People speaking from ignorance annoy me to no end.

      • Skyler Tanner on April 14, 2010 at 11:55

        Re-read what I wrote:
        “They’re already overfat, and overeating when overfat leads to a majority fat gain.”

        Overfeeding, too many calories, gaining weight to repair a “damaged” metabolism. Fat isn’t metabolically active, so when you’re over-fat and you over-feed, the majority of your weight gain (70-80% according to research) will be fat.


        Multiple anecdote does not equal data.

      • DML on April 14, 2010 at 23:37

        You’re right Skyler, I did misread you the first time.

        Whether people want to acknowledge it or not, anecdotal evidence does play a role in science. Anecdotal evidence can be data in the sense that it can be used call a current theory into question. As I have written elsewhere: anecdotal evidence can sometimes be used to question some theory or idea and thus invite further, and more vigorous, inquiry into the phenomenon that the theory attempts to explain. In sum, such evidence can be useful as a counter to the danger of dogma by illustrating that a theory fails to explain all cases.

        For issues of clarity, here are my two working definitions of “anecdotal evidence. 1.) “Casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis” and 2.) “Information passed along by word-of-mouth but not documented scientifically.”

        As for “scientific peer reviewed” studies: I am a physicist and have worked in physics labs both as an undergraduate and then a graduate student for a sum of about 8 years. In that time I have seen at least 3 research papers published –peer reviewed and everything– that had the data manipulated. Two of them only had minor manipulation done to them, and so the main flaw was that the conclusion seemed to have a lot stronger support than it actually did. The remaining one had significant manipulation done to it and the data did not originally support the hypothesis ; so the data was “fudged” with some fancy statistics and graphical manipulation until the data “supported” the desired conclusion. This paper –on nanoparticles and cancer*– is now referenced by other researches as support for their own conclusion. And so a myth is born and perpetuated by the “scientific” peer reviewed process!

        By the way, my experience is not unique to any “scientific” field, physics or otherwise. The recent “Climategate” scandal is an eloquent demonstration of that fact.

        Hence, I always read “scientific” papers with a healthy dose of skepticism.

        In order for my skepticism to be assuaged somewhat, a research paper must meet the following criteria (the following not meant to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list):

        -A reasonable confidence level must be used, especially if it is a paper on nutrition, or any other area of research that has multiple data points and variables that are not easily controlled in the lab. By “reasonable confidence level” I mean something on the order of at least 5 sigma. Generally, anything lower means that researchers could have possibly manipulated the inherent noise in the data until the “data” supports the result they want. This does not necessarily mean the researchers are being dishonest. Lots of other factors can come into play, such as confirmation or observer bias.

        -The study must have been properly designed. For now, I am not going to elaborate.

        -Even if a study meets the above criteria, the results and conclusion presented therein must be supported by at least three other independent studies that have similar results and conclusions and that also meet the above criteria.

        (There are other criteria I could go over, but its getting late..)

        Lots of research in nutrition border on being junk science because it generally fails to meet the first two criteria.

        *I wish I could elaborate more about the research papers I mentioned. Two things hold me back: 1.) respect for the researchers, whom I know and respect as bright, devoted, honest individuals, and; 2.) I have signed a confidentiality agreement regarding the methods and results pertaining to one of the papers.

      • Ned Kock on April 14, 2010 at 15:40

        The point made by Skyler is absolutely correct.

        Most calorie restriction experiments (especially the heavy-duty ones like Biosphere 2 and Ancel Keys starvation experiment) show beyond doubt that, if you gain lost weight back fast, you end up with a higher (often much higher) percentage of body fat than before.

        I understand Matt’s point, but what is the problem with simply maintaining a given weight for a while to give the body a break? Why do we have to “gain” weight (fat, actually) to heal a metabolism?

        Plus, the HED argument makes no sense when you look at the basic logic of it. You lose weight, than you gain it back to “heal”, and then you lose it again … but then there is more to lose this time around!

        This looks more like a downward spiral that makes no sense.

  7. Joseph on April 14, 2010 at 06:48

    This is a very interesting subject whose relevance looms large to me in almost every field of human endeavor I visit since reading Taleb. In the interest of “understanding” something, we take it and reduce it to an omen-reading process, which provides the data that the experts among us argue over. “You’re calibrating the scale incorrectly, Dr. Jekyll!” “I have finally discovered a more effective way to isolate variable y, Dr. Hyde!” Unfortunately, few among us (in any field) stop to question the relevance of the jerry-rigged paradigm that provides the stuff we debate: when in doubt, we just shift the process away toward a different variable (“You’ve ignored x long enough, and look at the horrible [wonderful?] result!”), convinced that the system can be fixed, that our omen-reading process is fundamentally sound (if only we didn’t jiggle the scales every single time). This blinkered approach to things compounds in our modern society to produce monstrosities like “big agriculture” in the US (an amalgam of government agencies and private companies poisoning our food production and consumption process at every level, starting with bad information). How do we stop something so huge, something so entrenched? The bare minimum is to get the word out, spreading good information around. Thanks for doing your part, Richard.

  8. Aaron Blaisdell on April 14, 2010 at 06:49

    I wonder if folks on the HED diet need to hit the head more often? ;) Great post, Richard. Having read The Black Swan, thanks to my serendipitous encounter with Brent “The Epistemocrat” Pottenger, I have found a useful perspective through which to view finances, health, and the world in general.

  9. Laurie on April 14, 2010 at 06:56

    I LOVE ‘Taleb’s “Fooled” and “The Black Swan” books. Humans and proto-humans have been eating meat, eggs, shellfish, nuts and PALEO for millions of years -at least. While the details and specifics may never been known about the minute to minute ‘candles’ of what we ate ‘growing up’…..the long- term, millenial trend is quite clear to anyone willing to LOOK. As Jimmy Moore said, our ancestors were NOT surrounded by Hostess Twinkie trees. OMG
    Mother nature and father time have conspired to let us evolve into what we are today. Cellular evolution has been going on for three BILLION years- give or take a few million. I went to a geology lecture the other night and learned that cholesterol like compounds (steroids) have been found in living creatures as far back as one BILLION years ago. (Nature, Love et al Vol457/5 Feb 2009). There’s a long term trend line one who is interested in premium health ignores at her/his peril.
    How much farther back (how many more billions of years) do we have to go to demonstrate that a few K years of agriculture is nothing but a rounding error (a candle) in pointing to us the direction our future eating should take? Paleo, primal, low-carb is better for us okay!!! And the lowly wheat plant has colonized US. ala Lierre Keith pointed out that opioid receptors in our brains responde to gluten and gluten has been DEMONSTRATED to light up these addiction centers like a Christmas tree……no wonder all the bread addicted defend this inedible non-food substance to within inches of their lives.

  10. Tim Rangitsch on April 14, 2010 at 07:19

    Great post, fine comments. Thanks to all you folks in the Paleosphere for putting the discussions out here for all to see and apply to their own situations.

    The only trouble with HED is the “E” for “everything”. It isn’t the best plan to heal a drug dependancy and a failing marriage by snorting cocaine off a prostitute’s belly, after all.

  11. Ned Kock on April 14, 2010 at 09:40

    I think the numbers are helpful Richard, but only when you look at the big picture provided by them, not one in particular.

    Having some of health-related measures done at the right time (before it is too late) may be life-saving for many people who need to be convinced to ditch certain types of unnatural foods (unfortunately the majority these days).

    One example of numbers in isolation being very misleading are very high LDL cholesterol levels in the context of a high fat diet like Dr. Kwaśniewski’s Optimal Diet (the diet favored by Peter at Hyperlipid). In this context, the high LDL cholesterol can be, and usually is, perfectly healthy:

    But the stress that comes from looking at individual numbers and worrying about them can drive people into poor health. Moreover, most of the numbers we get today come without any analysis, in crude format, and keep us guessing as to what they mean.

    By the way, I once tried using the “Bollinger bands” (link below) approach for trading, for somewhat frequent trading but not day-trading. It work fine for me, on average.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2010 at 09:58

      Sure, Ned.

      I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t look at numbers at all, just advising against obsession in short intervals of time.

      Yep, B bands can be pretty reliable, particularly on indexes and sometimes, even day trading on 5-minute candles.

  12. Mallory on April 14, 2010 at 10:10

    wonderful…buddha puts it nicely to get your nutrients dense…

    “let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”

    one of my alltime favorite quotes

    the whole temperature thing is so totally whacko… given when i was obnoxiously underweight i had temps in the 96’s and only knew this b/c i had weekly check-ups…

    was at the ER 2 days ago for a leg cast and hadnt eatten all day(not smart i know but my stomach was so sick feeling from hurting my knee) and my temp was 98.9… on paleo and fasted in a A/C room i was freezing in…and still underweight- so obviously body temp is just that…a body temp

  13. Ed T on April 14, 2010 at 10:24

    Periodic laboratory tests can be a useful tool if the results are placed into a larger context and their limitations and variability are understood. Seven years ago I set out to increase my HDL based upon the assumption that a higher HDL would reduce my risk of heart disease and stroke, both of which are rampant in my family. And although I’ve never seen a study showing an absolute correlation between raising HDL and the risk of heart disease, I thought “what have I got to lose”?

    A couple of years ago I had transitioned to a “healthy diet” with lots of polyunsaturated fats, tons of fruit and vegetables, soy burgers and oil, etc. My cardiologist was thrilled that I pushed my total cholesterol down to 97! However, my HDL didn’t budge. I was perplexed.

    Shortly thereafter, I became aware that the nutrional advice I had been following may have been founded on good intentions and incompetence. I slowly transitioned to a higher-fat, lower carb way of eating, and I paid for periodic cholesterol tests every several months. I wanted to see what effect the changes I was making in my diet were having on my HDL. I have a medical and engineering education so I like hard data.

    In one year, I was able to increase my HDL from 42 to 76. However, Over the course of the last year, it varies from 60 to 76, but I don’t fuss too much about that. More importantly, I became very interested in how nutrition affected my well-being. All that experiementation would be useless if I wasn’t eating in a sustainable fashion. At 53, I’m in far better shape than I was at 33. I’ve also distilled my lifestyle into a few simple rules-of-thumb.

    1. East only what I could produce in my background (given the time and energy). Or to put it another way, don’t eat anything that can only come from an industrial plant.
    2. I take supplements that have a clearly documented functional role.
    3. Limit strength training to no more than 30 minutes at a time. I have a t-shirt which states it another way, Go Hard or Go Home.
    4. I walk quite a bit, not so much because I like walking, but because my three dogs treat me like a rock star when I offer to take them walking.

    Eating right and exercise are a means to an end. I really enjoy the way I feel almost all of the time.

    I enjoy your blog and others like it. The improvement to my health in the last couple of years is amazing. About the only time I go to the doctor is for routine checkups. Plus, I really enjoy telling my cardiologist a thing or two.

  14. Owen on April 14, 2010 at 15:09

    My first time posting, but have been reading for over a year. This has got me thinking a few issues and I wanted to ask you your opinion on a couples things. I remember you mentioning you were on synthetic thyroid and stopped and then had to go back on when your TSH jumped… and now I think you take Armour if I recall correctly? Did any of these med changes cause noticable physical changes in body temp (either your actual temp or your feeling of being warm/cold)? I ask because I started on a generic version of Armour about a half year ago on the hunch I had a thyroid problem (I had been reading a lot of Broda Barnes) and my cold tolerance, energy and skin have improved greatly, and yet I just took my temp now sitting in a warm room and it is still only 97.9. To be fair I can’t say it hasn’t improved at all because there were times I would come in at 95.8 early on when I was charting it and debating whether to order the thyroid pills from Thailand…

    But honestly this is the first time I’ve cared enough to take it since probably early last autumn. Reading Barnes was helpful because above all he would tell you to medicate to treat the symptoms, not to hit some magic number. So when I started feeling a lot better it was a done deal for me, a similar experience in many ways to when you shift your diet and just feel so much better that the numbers cease to matter compared to the results!

    So I don’t know- maybe some of these people trying to raise their temps are actually hypothyroid and the only thing that will really help is to supplement with the actual hormone? As a sidenote, taking Armour is actually probably one of the most paleo pharmaceuticals you could take, considering it is really just dried, powdered pig’s thyroid which people probably used to eat anyway!

    Oh and relating to your comment about inflammation raising temperature, I remember Barnes writing that when he was the doctor on a milatary base in Colorado it was very common for people to be running low-grade sinus infections (post nasal drip) caused by the dust, which would raise their temp and make an oral temp. read high. Gluten is probably an even better way to give yourself a sinus infection though! Anyway. his preferred method was under-the-armpit when you first wake up and are still in bed if you must know your basal temp.

  15. Owen on April 14, 2010 at 15:13

    Oh I forgot to ask one more thing: when I must consume grain I rationalize that white rice is probably the best (or the least harmful…) Does this stand to reason?

    Potatoes are better any day, but I figure aside from the fact that there are no nutrients and it is pure starch (glucose), I don’t know of any actual anti-nutrients, like phytic acid, in white rice. Is there anyone who has ever read anything that says otherwise?

    • Webster Webski on April 14, 2010 at 19:31

      Potatoes have lots of potassium!

      • James on April 14, 2010 at 20:43

        …and enough starch (glucose) to cause a pretty strong insulin (fat storage/hoarding hormone) response.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2010 at 10:19


      Yea, I was on syn T4 from about 2001 – 2007. Beginning of 2008 as I implemented IF and began losing weight pretty rapidly, I just quit taking the meds. I still continued to lose weight. That summer, I had a test and TSH was pretty high, like 16, but I still felt fine. I continued on no meds for some months, had another test and TSH had come down to about 11, and this time I got free T4 and the active T3 tested and both were in normal range, but on the low side. Then I began to take Armour, got tested again in a few months and TSH had come down to 1. something and fT4 was mid range and active t3 about the same.

      But, over the winter, I got cold hands & feet nonetheless. At any rate, iodine fixed it within days. In fact, I’ve lowered my armour from 120mg to 90mg and feel even better, I think.

      BTW, if you look at some of the comments from part one of the series, average BT is probably closer to 98.3, not 98.6, having to do with rounding celsius data and then converting to F. So, a 97.9? BFD, that’s what I’d say and be happy.

      I am intrigued with the possibility that paleo’s might have normal temps in the 96-97s because they are not eating the pro-inflammatory glutens, lectins, and high n-6 of a modern diet. Would be great to get data on BT reading of H-Gs. It’s also possible that due to the thermogenic effects of saturated fat and protein, high fat moderate protein eaters might have lower basal temps (which rise significantly after a meal) than high carb eaters, like the Kitavans.

      But to just willy nilly suggest that you need to “raise your body temperature” is just absolute bullshit unless there’s a good reason, like hypoT.

      Yea, I think white rice is probably the best in terms of grain. I also wonder about corn. Soaked and/or sprouted corn that’s made into a tortilla with only water and lime seems pretty innocuous in moderation.

      I think they phytates in rice are in the bran, or whatever you call it. I think if you rinse your white rice it pretty much eliminates any phytic acid that might be hanging around from the polishing.

  16. O Primitivo on April 16, 2010 at 03:33

    Dear Richard, I think we’re following very much the same path, and are now at the same point. I’ve also learned about all those “health parameters”, about the fake “lipid hypothesys”, about miracle and fad diets, etc. And I’m also fed up with the official ignorancy we see all around us. We need to take a step further, forget about those “experts” and focus now on primitive exercise, sun exposure, sleep, fasting, etc. In one word, on Lifestyle! My(Our?) greatest chalenge, for the next couple of years, could be to get our body fat percentage down to one digit, or somewhere near that. For this purpose, I’m now focusing much more on strength exercises, besides just running, specially on barbell and kettlebell exercises. Kettlebell training is cool –

  17. Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2010 at 15:53

    What are TIPS?

  18. Megan on April 16, 2010 at 00:48

    Thought provoking post, Richard, thank you!

    Being hypothyroid, raising the body temp still escapes me. If I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t worry about it.

    Some of the comments relating to MS’s HED are amusing. If people actually READ through Matt’s concept they would find that the E in “Everything” applies only to 1) pre-industrialized whole foods 2) balanced ratio of fats, protein, nonstarchy veg and certain carbohydrates (a la Schwarzbein). He also expresses limited caffeine, no sugars, no vegetable oils…etc. He said himself that “Everything” was probably not the appropriate word to use – it’s a specific and limited everything.

    It’s great that we are all doing our part to check out claims, but it is also important to do some actual research first before discrediting something that you haven’t even explored for yourself.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2010 at 09:11

      “Some of the comments relating to MS’s HED are amusing. If people actually READ through Matt’s concept they would find that the E in “Everything” applies only to 1) pre-industrialized whole foods 2) balanced ratio of fats, protein, nonstarchy veg and certain carbohydrates (a la Schwarzbein). He also expresses limited caffeine, no sugars, no vegetable oils…etc. He said himself that “Everything” was probably not the appropriate word to use – it’s a specific and limited everything.”


      I must tell you that what I observe is that Matt and fans don’t like to get pinned down. Thus, “high” only means high until there’s some criticism, then it’s not really “high.” “Everything” only means everything until…

      Well, you get the point.

      I’ve seen Matt post about eating pizza and other grain products and he advocates rice & corn as well. Not “pre-industrialized” foods. That would be Paleo, which Matt has been on a tear against for months to promote his stuff.

      “Nonstarchy veg?” Surely you jest. He’s always eating potatoes. Which is fine, but let’s not misrepresent what he’s advocating.

  19. Laurie on April 16, 2010 at 03:48

    A candle story and its arithmetic chaser.
    T. Colin Campbell conducted his ‘China Study’ over a three day period and concluded that humans are low-fat, non-animal, bread and grain eating vegans. Mother Nature has been experimenting with and developing fauna for over a billion years (‘Nature’ paper referenced a few comments back). Cholesterol like compounds (and ONLY animals make cholesterol) are ‘biomarkers’ in the fossil record of proto-animals as early as a billion years ago. One billion years is 365 billion days. Who is more likely to be correct?- Campbell with his BRIEF 3 day study or Mommie Nature with her 365 BILLION days epic and highly successful LENGTHY ‘experiment’.
    If I were investing money, and if I’d had the foresight to have started a billion years ago, I think I would have made more by now investing with Mother than with T. Colin. 3 days is a miniscule, rounding error, pimple on the universe’s ass, instantaneous candle compared to a 365,000,000,000 days EON. I don’t know about you, but I’m a high-saturated animal fat non-grain eating omnivore.

  20. Dron on April 16, 2010 at 09:00

    Just re-reading Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon and came across this:

    Q: I’ve noticed a slight dip in my body temperature when I am fasting, does this mean my
    metabolism is slowing down?

    I see your concern, however body temperature is not a true measure of your metabolic rate,
    especially when measured orally. This has much more to do with micro-circulation then it does
    with any true measurable change in resting metabolic rate.

    To put it bluntly, if measuring body temperature was an accurate measure of a person’s metabolic
    rate we would not need to do complicated measurements using expensive metabolic carts or
    metabolic chambers in clinical research studies.

    Fooled by Randomness indeed.

  21. Laurie on April 17, 2010 at 05:46

    I asked my email address list to critique my last comment here so I could tell if I was getting my point across. This is what they helped me see.
    I guess what I’m really trying to point out is this. All I keep hearing is “show me the evidence and the studies that prove high-animal fat and protein diet ISN’T deadly to humans today”. Then Campbell (and others) report these ‘studies’ and the blaring headlines are that the Chinese population (and by implication the 1 BILLION people who live there!) PROVES that a low-fat, no animal components, high-grain VEGAN diet is BEST. His study was conducted over that short 3 days. So I went to a geology talk the other day and the’ Nature’ article was mentioned and I was intrigued to say the least. If mother nature has been working on evolving animals for a billion years (and it’s only the billion years that’s in the fossil record, but it could be longer ago) and cholesterol precursors are there, doesn’t that suggest we might want to take a look at our current ‘war on cholesterol’? Isn’t the billion year evolution (and success- the planet is ‘thick with replicating primates’) experiment more telling than the 3 day Campbell claim?
    I’m just trying to jog the current paradigm. Because it’s silly really and dangerous because if you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes true. And from Taleb, I learned we get fooled by ‘recency’. Recent misinformation or lies (ala Ancel Keys) are really bad. And why does the small practicing vegetarian population (about only 2%) suck so much air out of the room and take up so much of our discussion and time? ONLY ANIMALS make cholesterol. YOu cannot get cholesterol from just eating plants.

  22. Organism as a Whole on April 17, 2010 at 07:06


    I agree that grains are inflammatory, due to its gluten, lectins, phytic acid, and polyunsaturated oils.

    It’s probably true for some who eat lots of grains. They became inflammatory after. Their cortisol shoots up. Cortisol decreases insulin sensitivity, so blood sugar shoots up. And because of their high-blood sugar, they start losing water fast. Soon, they became dehydrated, and the body overheats due to dehydration.

    The same thing also occurs to those who’re insulin resistant after a high-starch meal. They became dehydrated too, so their skin becomes dry and body temperature rises due to water loss.

    Matt Stone has a girlfriend who’s insulin resistant. Matt once commented how hot his girlfriend is in bed. Even in the cold whether, she won’t cover herself with any blanket and sleeps with the windows open. That’s abnormal. I think the reason is that she is dehydrated caused by inflammation, so her temperatere rises.

    That’s why I prefer tubers to grains as my starch source. And some people who are on a “high-energy diet” (HED) eat potatoes as the main starch.

    And, in this post, you also seemed to attack carbohydrates. If it’s true, then it’s a surprise that you attacked them as “inflammatory”, when you have defended the carbs in moderation.

    Do you believe that carbohydrates are inflammatory in itself, or are carbohydrates inflammatory only to white people? The latter seems logical, because Europeans lived in a cold climate for the last 50,000 years. Because the cold whether don’t support much plants, whites are more adapted to a carnivorous diet.

    But black people lived in Africa, where abundant plant vegetation grow. There are plenty of fruits and tubers for them to live on. So blacks should be more tolerant to carbohydrates.

    Many paleo dieters say that “paleo isn’t low-carb.” I agree with this point. But they still seem to believe that white people should eat a low-carb version of paleo, and that black people should eat a high-carb version of paleo. So the word “paleo” refers to a low-carb paleo diet for whites, and refers to a high-carb paleo diet for blacks.

    That’s just my opinion. I don’t believe that 50,000 years make much of a difference. But that’s what some believe. Some people say: “paleo isn’t low carb. PALEO ISN’T LOW CARB, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!”, but the speakers themselves are opposed to high-carb, low-fat diets because they are insulin resistant or they are biased against carbs.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2010 at 09:34

      No, I don’t think carbs in an of themselves are pro inflammatory. I have often said that Paleo is anything from zero to high carb, just depends on what works for you, Kitavan, Inuit, or somewhere in between.

    • James on April 17, 2010 at 14:24

      The starchy carbs, with few exceptions (sweet potato) have an acidifying effect on the body’s fluid pH.
      Our pH should be running around 7.4, but most are considerably under that. Just having an acidic pH can cause systemic inflammation.

      “Paleo isn’t low carb, for crying out loud”

      Well, let’s see. By the mid 1800’s, Americans were consuming about a pound of raw sugar per capita. They were harvesting this sugar, at home, using sugar beets. In the 1860’s the sugar cane industry began to take root and by 1900, Americans were consuming around 90 lbs of sugar per capita. Today, including HFCS, Americans are consuming well north of 200 lbs or sugar per capita.

      And the story of the quantity of starch in our diet is much like the story of sugar.

      Periodically, I’ll take 3-5 days out in the bush of central Texas or Big Bend or Colorado Rockies for solo survival treks (eating what I can hunt (usually fish) and gather. If you think paleo eating wasn’t low-carb in contrast to today’s SAD, you’d be horribly wrong.

  23. fireandstone on April 17, 2010 at 13:35

    “Matt once commented how hot his girlfriend is in bed.”

    A general awareness of potential instances of double entendre goes a long way when deciding how to articulate a thought.

  24. suat on April 18, 2010 at 07:43

    hi richard

    there are a lot of studies linking low body temperature to longevity ! have you looked at any of them?

  25. Subcalva on April 18, 2010 at 11:55

    Cold hands and feet are a sign of low metabolism or hypothyroidism and can be cured by taking Armour.

    Low bodytemp is a sign of low metabolism or hypothyroidism and can, according to Matt Stone, be cured by eating whole natural foods. Because that is what HED is in it’s essence.

    From my view it’s the same problem with different solutions.

  26. Our Healthier Living on April 22, 2010 at 16:47

    Very interesting topics.I am looking this type of topics, I need more informations because everyone knows “Health is wealth” is very much known to all and everyone wants good health.That means no one wants to leave this wealth. So, Let us build a food habit discipline, keep pace with work, rest and or exercise to Achieve good health, The ultimate wealth.

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