The Moderate Starchy Carbohydrate Experiment

Saturday toward the end of my post I proposed another of my self experiments.

Alright. Time for a bit of self experimentation. Today is Saturday, 2/25 and as providence would have it, I’m recording another podacst with the great low-carb diet advocate Jimmy Moore next Friday, 3/2 (rather than the usual months, it will air a few days later, like the 5th or 6th, I believe). Jimmy believes in the health and benefits of low-carb, but so far as I can tell, unlike many others, never prescribes it for everyone and is always open to the possibility that an individual might do better otherwise.

So as soon as I publish this I’m heading off to the market to get myself a load of white sweet potatoes and regular white potatoes, and for the next week and perhaps beyond, will make them a staple of my diet. So, for example, breakfast might be a sweet with a little butter and a couple of fried eggs. Lunch, one or two potatoes with some meat, maybe some fruit. Dinner, likewise. And rather than track any numbers I’ll eat to satiation and hunger, just that it’ll always include a potato, with lesser portions of fat & meat.

So next Friday I’ll get to report to Jimmy how it’s going in terms of energy levels, sleep, feelings of well being, satiety, weight and body composition. Anyone else up for the challenge?

So here’s how I have modified my initial intentions in bold. First, since I’m going to be on with Jimmy, I thought it would be far more valuable to actually have numbers to demonstrate what my actual ratios are. Second, as of this morning, I have added white rice to the mix at least initially, to see if I have roughly the same response as potato. If not, then I’ll drop the rice going forward. If I can’t tell much difference, then I’ll keep the rice in the mix for variety. But I expect that over the week the majority of my carbs will come from potato.

I did get started Saturday afternoon, but it was leftovers, so I didn’t bother to log that. The log begins yesterday, Sunday. I’ll get to that in a moment. Initially, I really had no idea what my target level of carbohydrate would or should be, but fortunately, a good clue was provided by Skyler Tanner of Skyler Tanner in comments.

It’s funny how he kept talking himself in circles but really kept showing me what I already know: nobody has a firm grasp of what they mean when they say “low carb.” Everyone assumes Atkins but I generally like what Dr. Jeff Volek, a low carb researcher, comes up with:

“In describing diets in narrative, I’d use as a starting point the NHANES data showing that carbohydrate consumption before the obesity epidemic was 43% of total energy… My suggestion is that any diet nominally less than that, say 35-40%, be considered a “low-carbohydrate diet,” although the caloric level if substantially different from 2000 kcal would have to be indicated.”

The reality is that we’re trying to become what John Berardi describes as follows: “we’re trying to teach the body to become a carb storage machine (thus, giving most of them after the workout so they are preferentially stored in the liver and muscle vs. burned as fuel) and a fat burning machine (thus, keeping carbs lower the rest of the day, taking fish oils, etc).” This way you have enough carbs to allow for good workouts, minimizing the use of protein to make carbs to optimally burn fat, but not so much that insulin is compromising lipolysis or preferentially oxidizing glycogen over fatty acids. Of course we’re doing both to some degree all of the time but we’re trying to swing the pendulum in that direction.

Lower carbohydrates I can get behind but not “low” as a blanket statement under all circumstances. An endurance athlete is going to need a hell of a lot more in the way of carbohydrates than a person whose day goes like this: drive to work -> sit in cube -> drive home -> go to sleep.

Anyone who says they they have a 100% clear answer doesn’t know how much they don’t know…it all depends. Context matters.

So there I basically had my answer. I would try to keep carbohydrate in the range of 40-50% of caloric intake roughly, on a daily basis (with little concern at individual meals). Moderate, reasonable…not high or low.

So here’s how it worked out yesterday.


  • 2 cups hash browns
  • 2 fried eggs
  • 3 slices canadian bacon
  • 1 cup of fruit (melons & berries)


  • 2 beers :)


  • 1 large baking potato, mashed with 1 tbs butter and 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 3 oz turkey breast
  • 1 cup of chicken stock reduced to sauce, with a dash of white wine and pat of butter

Here’s how it breaks out (and I didn’t log this until today, so I’m amazed at how just eating to satiety and desire, I pretty much hit the target near where I wanted).

Calories and Ratios
Calories and Ratios

I’ll be abstaining from alcohol the remainder of the week.

For breakfast just a bit ago, I had about 2 cups white rice, 2 fried eggs on top, 2 tbs of butter and a banana. Comes out to about 10/37/53 for protein/fat/carb.

So far I’m very surprised at how it’s going. In roughly 2 day’s time, not only have I not gained any weight, but looks like somewhere around a half pound has come off. This is surprising because being LC most of the time and fasting now and then, I fully expected to gain a few pounds in water weight as the glycogen tanks got topped off in the liver and muscles. And indeed, the muscles in my arms and shoulders “seem” a bit more “pumped.” The other surprises, so far:

  • No heartburn (taking it easy on fat & protein?)
  • Improved feelings of “fullness”
  • No post-meal drowsiness (quite the opposite, in fact)
  • Slept straight through for 6 1/2 hours last night without waking once, which is extremely rare
  • Improved mental attitude

In terms of the attitude, outlook, well being, etc., I’m certainly open to the possibility that’s placebo, confirmation bias, wishful thinking, or whatever. Time will tell. Thing is, when I was losing the fat initially a few years back, I very much recall walking on cloud nine most of the time—but it’s really been a long time now I’ve just not felt that same way. Then yesterday, in small glimpses and snapshots, it felt familiar in that way again.

The other thing is just kind of a renewed appetite and excitement with the pleasure of food and eating, knowing that it may not just be a couple of potatoes or cups of rice per week, but on a daily basis, which both enhances the flavor, variety and texture of meals (I love the texture of mashed potato, for example) and lightens the cooking load, since these things are a cinch to prepare, making the meat dishes last longer.

Well, it’s only been two days…so at the risk of getting ahead of myself and being accused of unbridled bright-eyed exuberance, I’ll sign off now.


  1. Jason Sandeman on February 27, 2012 at 13:47

    I would be interested to see if you would do somehing like test your blood sugars. Test before your meal, then at the 1 hour mark, 2 hour mark, then 3 hour mark.
    Given your metabolism is probably pretty awesome, I can imagine you have a spike that goes up to close to 180 mg/dL, but by hour 3 it would be around 85 mg/dL.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 13:50

      Yep, I’m about to head out to get a new battery for my glucometer. Test strips are way out of date (2008) and I really don’t want to pop for new ones. Do you think that will be a huge problem?

      In looking around about glucose spikes, it seems that a spike up to 180 by the 1 hour mark is perfectly physiologically normal, causing to wonder if a lot of LCers who are not diabetic are unnecessarily freaking themselves out by expecting their BG to never rise above 110 or so.

      • Jason Sandeman on February 27, 2012 at 14:50

        Well, if the strips are out of date, you can’t guarantee the readings will be good. Catch-22. As an aside, you could get a free meter by buying the strips up here, not sure what the deal is in the States. My Aviva is a 60$ value that I get for “free” by purchasing the 85$/100 test strips. Each test works out to $0.22 after my insurance co pay.
        As for the spikes – I have heard so many arguments my head spins. Some people maintain you should NEVER go above 110 mg/dL, others are not so strict. I have personally tested non-diabetics who have gone as high as 165 an hour after eating, only to be back to normal an hour later.
        Me? I used to think I knew, but I’ve been humbled time and again by my own body. I followed the “never spike above 115” crowd, went VLCHF, but GAINED 23 lbs in 1 year, (eating mostly 80/20 primal.)
        I am actually on my own little science project. Around the Time Steve Cooksey was having his troubles, I saw my Endo – and I was challenged to the CDA/ADA Exchange program. I balked at first, but as my endo put it – the way I was going gained me weight, and mostly in my belly.
        So, I took on the challenge. Today is day 27. I eat MODERATE carbs, using the exchange program, and yes, I even shoot up to cover those carbs. (I’m a T1 Diabetic.) I also went on Metformin (Yay heartburn!)

        Here are my results so far. Lazy ass – no exercise mind..

        Lost 2 inches on belly, down 8 lbs.

        I eat around 250g carbs a day – mostly from whole wheat, potatoes and rice. (No processed shit for me.) I am going to introduce moderate exercise next – but that is my weight and belly size.

        Even more weird – now that I have introduced the starches into the diet – I have actually got better control now. I thought my insulin needs would go up – but they haven’t. They’ve gone down.

        I am all confused myself. I thought I knew what was going to happen, but it turns out I am again humbled by science.

        In the end though – I agree that perhaps things aren’t all cut and dried as LC’ers make it out to be. My hypothesis right now is that the restriction of so many carbs leads to carb intolerance – which can spell metabolic disaster as well.

      • Jason Sandeman on February 27, 2012 at 14:52

        Crap – sorry for the rambling Richard – LOL

        One other thing to note is that almost all meters have a variance of 20% in the readings. This is well known in the DOC, and the manufacturer’s know it as well, and don’t care. So, there is that to think on as well, when you have a reading of 180, it could actually be 144, or up to 225.
        The meter I find the most accurate is the Accuchek Aviva. (The one Dr Bernstein promotes anyway…)

      • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 15:29

        Very interesting. Wow.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on February 28, 2012 at 06:16

        “Even more weird – now that I have introduced the starches into the diet – I have actually got better control now. I thought my insulin needs would go up – but they haven’t. They’ve gone down.”
        How about this for an explanation? You now have a well-controlled glucose input to your circulation via diet, which has suppressed the poorly-controlled glucose input to your circulation via hepatic glucose production.

      • Jason Sandeman on February 28, 2012 at 06:40

        I think I understand what you are saying… basically instead of relying completely on Gluconeogenesis for my glucose needs, I am providing the glucose from my diet, and covering it as needed by my insulin use.
        The part that is weird to me is that by all the VLC retoric out there… I should almost implode… “Carb UP!” and “Shoot up” are supposed to be bad for diabetics. Turns out there is NO one-size fits all.

        Funny thing is that it is not simple as people make it out to be. That’s why I enjoy Richard’s testing and experimentation. Instead of resting on one paradigm – he pushes the boundaries and calls bullshit where he sees it.

        Turns out that perhaps them “minions” over at the ADA might not be completely wrong about the diet. Now, they aren’t completely right either… but so far I am listening because what I am doing works.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 13:03

        It is not controversial that increasing starch consumption will lead to increased insulin sensitivity, thereby making control with a given amount of insulin easier to achieve. Even diabetics can benefit from some carbohydrate increases above the zero carb level.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 13:14

        The main fault in LC dogma is the belief that IR or even diabetes are caused by carbohydrate or glucose or insulin “spikes”. These states RESULT in being carbohydrate intolerant, but they are not caused by carbs per se.

        It is unquestionably true that LVC causes carb intolerance and that the highest levels of carb consumption induce the highest insulin sensitivity.

        None of this means a type II cannot get come control by reducing carbs from a high level, but at some point the body will adapt to very low carb levels (in order to protect the brain while fasting) by increasing insulin resistance. At that point you will be chasing your tail to go any lower, as the less carb you eat, the more insulin you will need to dispose of it. A vicious cycle ensues.

        The most important step to improving IR or if possible reversing any of the signs of metabolic syndrome or diabetes, is to stop the energy imbalance (overeating) that actually causes metsyn.

        So whatever diet makes you lose fat is best. If a low fat diet does it better than low carb, then that will have a better chance of reversing diabetes than a low carb diet, even if you are eating carbs.

        It is not carbs that cause diabetes. It is ENERGY IMBALANCE manifest first via elevated serum fatty acids, long before blood glucose elevates.

        Whether you get your fuel from animal fat or starchy veggies, the important variable is CALORIES.

      • scott on February 28, 2012 at 13:32

        Can you expand on this Dr. Harris: “It is not carbs that cause diabetes. It is ENERGY IMBALANCE manifest first via elevated serum fatty acids, long before blood glucose elevates.”

        Can you have elevated serum fatty acids without an energy imbalance? Are there no lean type 2 PWD?

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 14:35

        Energy excess – too many calories – first shows up as elevated serum free fatty acids or NEFA. It is actually NEFA that first cause the cellular damage to pancreatic beta cells that lead to type II.

        Energy excess is bad whether from carbs or fat.

        Can you be thin and be in energy excess? Yes, we call that skinny fat. I suspect that such folks have elevated visceral fat but relatively normal BMI, personally.

        Can you have elevated NEFA without energy imbalance? No, not pathologically elevated.

        We are not talking about fatty acids in the DIET, we are talking about levels in the blood.

      • scott on February 28, 2012 at 15:03

        I thought FFA (from diet) could also impair beta cell function. If this is not the case, then I will have to consider becoming more macro-nutrient agnostic.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 15:58

        Well it can if it is contributing to energy excess. But based on my reading and understanding, the point is not whether you focus on fat or carbs for fuel. If you ate a carb heavy diet to excess, it is still the NEFA that start to inappropriately elevate before the glucoregulation is lost.

      • scott on February 28, 2012 at 03:17

        If you’re already rationalizing gluco spikes, why bother with the strips? Maybe you should have base a1c checked, and compare in 6 months?

        The potential problems of this diet might not be something you feel. Can you sense a chronic illness coming on?

      • Jason Sandeman on February 28, 2012 at 06:11

        Well, the A1C test is weighted more towards the previous two weeks prior to the lab test. It’s a good marker to see if you have glucose disregulation, but that is it.

        The reason for testing the BG levels post-prandial is that a person can see in real time how it affects his glucose level, ans that rate that it goes down. Testing in 1 hour increments will give a way better picture of the effects of the glucose load than a test that is an average glycated hemoglobin count.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 06:27

        “If you’re already rationalizing gluco spikes, why bother with the strips?”

        To ensure the gluco spikes are perfectly physiologically normal, of course. If you think that glucose and insulin doesn’t or shouldn’t spike with the ingestion of carb or protein then your argument is with basic biochemistry, not me, so take it up with them.

        ….I guess everyone has to “rationalize” somewhere. Like so many LC and VLC folks complaining about why their fasting BG is _chronically_ in the 100-110 range.

      • John on February 28, 2012 at 07:53

        If I remember Wolfgang Lutz’s book correctly, you want a sharp spike followed by a sharp drop (without going hypoglycemic). If you didn’t have a sharp spike and drop, it was a sign that you had too much insulin circulating regularly. Fasting glucose at about 80 with a spike to 160 to 170 is supposed to be healthier than, say, fasting at 120 to a spike of 140. Also, his daily carb limit was 72 grams, and said there was no need to go much lower than that.

        As for myself, I do love the potatoes, and really haven’t noticed much weight loss difference without them. I fast for 24 hours once a week, and I’m sure there will be days where I just eat meat and veggies (or even just meat) cause that will be how it works out, but I’m going to eat fairly freely of the safe starches from now on. My guess is that I’ll end up in that 50-100g of carbs range.

  2. Joseph Buchignani on February 27, 2012 at 14:18

    My prediction: You will continue to eat paleo friendly carbs (rice, potatoes, etc) ad libitum and your feeling of rejuvenation and contentment will continue. You will not gain weight.

    Low carb ain’t optimal. Just possible.

  3. Bill on February 27, 2012 at 13:00

    Good stuff Richard. I find the moderate carb to work best for me. Aroun 220-250g of carb, 70-85g of fat and 70-80g of protein is where I sit most days. Gives you the best of all 3 macros without going overboard and favoring one over the other.

  4. Justin M. on February 27, 2012 at 13:05

    I tried a variant of this experiment a while back. Without changing anything else (fat, protein…etc) I just added an extra potato to every meal or so. I ended up noticing the same things you’ve reported. I also felt stronger than usual while working out. It’s been three months now, and I’ve felt so good that this experiment became permanent for me. Glad to hear it’s working for you too!

  5. Susan on February 27, 2012 at 13:18

    Look out, next thing you know you will be on Matt Stone’s pizza/cereal/donut diet! :)

    But seriously, I do have a question. How much are you limiting fat? Are you going for specific ratios of fat and/or protein? It has always been said it is the fat/carb combo that bringeth the pounds. You usually use a lot more fat, yes? I can’t eat rice/potato without a proper drenching of butter.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 13:23

      “How much are you limiting fat?”

      I’m basically keeping it real, which is to say, not going out of my way to pile on the fat. So, for example, my eggs were fried in butter yesterday and today. I opted for leaner canadian bacon instead of regular bacon and if I had regular bacon I might go with only a half of the normal starch portion for that meal. Last night, I used a tbs of butter and a tbs of sour cream for one mashed potato and with the salt and the sauce was just fine. There was another tbs of butter in the sauce.

      Before, I would go out of my way to use lots of fat.

      • Darren on February 27, 2012 at 14:26

        Are you still going with the daily coconut milk based shakes?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 14:28

        No, and those were only daily for a while. Intermittent after that.

  6. Misty on February 27, 2012 at 13:20

    I look forward to your results Richard. I too am getting ready to do a “safe starch experiment”. I wonder, did you have any physical activity or are your results strictly dietary?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 13:24

      No physical activity over the weekend except walking, but plans are to hit the gym twice this week and to have one fasting day.

      • Misty on February 27, 2012 at 14:00

        Nice! I look forward to seeing your results!!

  7. Jarick on February 27, 2012 at 13:23

    Would be interesting to hear your activity levels as well as measurements like waist and hip or something.

    I wonder if periodically we should all just change our macro ratios occasionally.

  8. Chris Highcock on February 27, 2012 at 13:24

    Interesting. Since reading Paul Jaminet’s book and thinking it through, then re-examining some of my assumptions on the basis of Stephan’s work I’ve been including potatoes, tapioca and white rice in most meals. Wheat and other grains are still excluded. I’ve been enjoying my food more and am leaner than I’ve ever been. Low carb was simplistic, the key for me was excluding toxins – principally gluten.

  9. CP on February 27, 2012 at 13:36

    I think you’re right on the money. I grew up on rice, potatoes, green plantains, yuca (cassava) and the like. As long as it’s not some overly processed and packaged variation of the real thing and the cooking’s done mostly at home, I would think that the chance of negative effects would be slim to none provided there’s balance. People all over the world have historically eaten this stuff, and the epidemic of obesity is both fairly recent and easily traceable to our propensity for eating too much crap in a box (or bag). It goes without saying that everyone’s different, and some might have a different experience.

  10. Bryce Lee on February 27, 2012 at 13:40


    I’ve gone this route too, and with similar effect. I started playing a little fast and lose with white rice and sweet potatoes, but became stricter about omega 3s (fewer nuts, nixing any fried garbage) and ive dropped to account 177, having lived at 180-182

  11. Canadian Eh on February 27, 2012 at 13:50

    I find with more starches I eat less proteins and fats naturally. When I was LC I would have bigger portions.

    Something interesting to look into is carbs and athletic performance.

    If you look at the diets of world class athletes, especially those that need explosive bursts you tend to find they eat a fair amount of carbs.

    Basketball, hockey, MMA, track and field, skiers.

    Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt were known to eat lots of carbs. Lance Armstrong too I think.
    And Bruce Lee.

    Perhaps there’s a correlation between the amount of high intensity work and carbs.
    These guys were all super lean and fit, but they trained like maniacs.

    • Michael on February 27, 2012 at 16:22

      Respectfully I would just like to clarify an issue regarding energy pathways. Explosive bursts rely on ATP and ATP-CP (Anaerobic Alatic) for energy. Stored glycogen doesn’t come into play until about 10 seconds into the effort. After that muscle glycogen would come into play to restore the ATP.

      So Bolt’s 100 meter races, all ATP and ATP-CP. His 200 meter races would require tapping into stored glycogen to resynthesize the ATP.

      Olympic Weightlifters, jumpers and throwers are all going to be working in the first scenario.

      • Txomin on February 27, 2012 at 23:03

        Thank you for the info.

  12. Debbie on February 27, 2012 at 14:07

    Richard Carboley. I like it! for me carbs are number one on the fuel hit parade. Not afraid of meaty fatty goodness, just with all my exercise stuff the carbs really do the trick. Keeps my fingers and toes warmer too.
    Looking forward to your results,
    Deb “Spud” Young :-)

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 14:11

      Interesting about the cold hands, feet, or fingers & toes. I get that sometimes, but only in winter and only when relatively cold outside or in the house. Yesterday, with potatoes only, warm & toasty all day long. Today, with the rice this morning, coldish.

      I may drop the rice and stick with the spuds for the remainder of the experiment. Also got a bit of heartburn after breakfast this morning as well. So, so far, a tentative thumbs down on the rice as compared to the potato. More nutrition anyway.

      • Joseph Buchignani on February 27, 2012 at 14:21

        Rice shouldn’t cause heartburn. Maybe all that fat you ate yesterday was the cause. Or maybe because You’re shifting your dietary composition, your stomach acid may be compensating in some way.

      • Debbie on February 27, 2012 at 14:47

        Well, with the Chinese people I live with ( hubby and well, my daughter 1/2 chinese :-)) Rice is pretty much a staple here. My Irish/German self loves some taters though, got a sweet one waiting for me now! Might be that potatoes are more your style.
        Us European descent types are born that way.

  13. Bill on February 27, 2012 at 14:27

    It’s also nice to see people embracing the middle ground… For so many it’s either high fat or high carb and the other macro is demonized. Why can’t people see that maybe the middle ground is the sweet spot rather than carbs vs fat

  14. Kent on February 27, 2012 at 14:38

    I got myself in to trouble trying to maintain VLC while exercising 4-5 days a week last year… Carbohydrates are just so demonized by the Paleo community, I figured it was for a reason. It took me getting to the point of drinking upwards of three gallons of water a day to try to stifle my unquenchable thirst and not being able to sleep more than a few hours at a time before I made a switch.

    Since reintroducing (relatively) large amounts of carbohydrates (250-300g workout days, 150ish off days) I’ve been much happier, I sleep like a baby, and my lifts are all improving. Too bad people always need something to point a finger at…

  15. Chris Highcock on February 27, 2012 at 14:50

    I wonder what Jimmy Moore will make of this! I hope he doesn’t just blame his “broken metabolism” but reassesses low carb as it seems many of us have as we have started to examine the science more deeply. Paleo is not low carb (or not necessarily low carb) and there is a danger that low carb is trying to hijack it at the moment to take advantage of its popularity. That is a shame

    • Kurt G Harris MD on February 27, 2012 at 23:10

      Unfortunately, paleo and low carb have fully embraced each other and now have a love child to be named paleowoo…

      Paleo has basically disintegrated as a scientifically credible movement even faster than I thought it would. Not only has paleo 2.0 (macro agnosticism) not taken hold, it has actually regressed further back towards Eaton’s original mistaken conceits about macro ratios and to boot is now busy embracing synthetic Choprain nonsense like that emitted by Jack Kruse, who is literally completely scientifically incoherent.

      I’ve been eating 30 -50% carbs for nearly two years now in the form of bananas, white rice, potatoes etc. and have not gained an ounce from when I ate 10% carbs. One upside of this is it is much easier to keep your n-6 low than on a fat based diet.

      It’s never been about insulin or macro ratios, rather about avoiding non-foods and limiting reward.

      As far as Jimmy goes, he simply can’t reassess low carb, even though he has already had countless guests explain to him that the CIH is wrong and why. Jimmy is basically boxed in at this point.

      I used to think he was just a friendly, neutral “journalist”. He is not. He is a creationist agenda pusher who earns his living based on people buying low carb dogma and he will avoid admitting he is addicted to food as medication until it does him in.

      • Jason Sandeman on February 27, 2012 at 23:24

        +1 on the Paleo/carb comment. I also agree the low carb dogma suffers from being painted into a box too. Can’t speak about who Jimmy is, but that’s that.
        Dr. Kurt – I feel like a person who goes super LC for long periods of time develops a carb intolerance. They basically become trapped by the dogma they are in. Have a slice of bread, and they’re fucked.
        Have you seen this trend as well?

        When I first was diagnosed with T1D (LADA) I had some heavy resistance from years of misdiagnosis. I got my numbers under control after that by following the LCHF WOE.
        It was after everything got regulated thT I got into trouble. It’s only now that I’m back to eating “carbs” and “shooting” up that my sustem is getting back to normal.
        Now I can eat rice, take what little bit of insulin I need to cover it an have my post prandial back down to a non-diabetic level within the 2 period.
        This is with 50% of my diet based on carbs.
        I thought my insulin needs would go up – but they are going down.
        You also hit the nail on the head about food reward. Part of the reason I gained so much weight on Paleo/LCHF was the mistaken assumption that I could eat whatever the fuck I wanted – because calories didn’t matter, or so I thought.
        Now, even though I am NOT following the LCHF – I am losing weight. It’s by calorie restriction – and eating non-processes stuff. No deep fried foods, no candy. I eat rice, and even GASP! Pasta.

        The difference? I eat a proper portion size. At dinner, that’s one cup cooked. That’s 45g of carbs. Honestly, in the past, I’d eat around 3-4 cups per bowl – that’s 180g carbs.
        Instead of loading up on the pasta – I also eat salad, fruit, vegetables.
        Eating until I am sated has made all the difference.

        Anyway – sorry for rambling. I’m a big fan Dr – and well said!

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:28

        “I feel like a person who goes super LC for long periods of time develops a carb intolerance. They basically become trapped by the dogma they are in. Have a slice of bread, and they’re fucked.
        Have you seen this trend as well?”

        Yes definitely as a mental phenomenon, if not a physiologic one.

      • Ash Simmonds on February 27, 2012 at 23:21

        To avoid the Paleowoovement, how about something simple that any sane person can understand – and most will agree to?

        Say something like LO-HI – ie, Low Human Interference.

      • Chris Highcock on February 28, 2012 at 15:07

        Jimmy has responded

      • Ash Simmonds on February 28, 2012 at 15:15

        Paleo just jumped the shark.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 16:07

        The shark has jumped the shark.

        (so fucking tired of that meaningless bromide)

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 16:06

        This is exactly why I respect Jimmy. He is not afraid to put stuff out there. Even when he invited a bunch of us heathens to comment n the objection that paleo isn’t christian or something. I’ll read it later.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 16:55

        Jesus Christ.

        If that doesn’t prove my point about the low carb amoeba trying to access the DNA of the paleo organism by swallowing it, what does?

        The main point we are discussing here is not that VLC can cause a Euthyroid sick syndrome like state. That is not disputed by any serious student of metabolism. The point is that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH CARBOHYDRATES QUA CARBOHYDRATES as a food source.

        You can lose fat on LC or on LF or on low cal, whatever.

        The point is that the idea that carbs are poison, or that they damage your metabolism, or cause diabetes, or burn out your pancreas, these idea are all pseudoscientific nonsense promoted by people who, down to the last person are SELLING SOMETHING

        Jimmy is completely and willfully full of shit. I am no longer fooled by his southern aw-shucks schtick. To the degree that he is teaching people that you can eat as much as you want as long as it is low carb, he is hurting people.

        For money.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 18:32

        Well, I just skimmed the comments on Jimmy’s post.

        I was looking for a single thing and didn’t really see a single mention of is directly (on comments seemed to allude to it). It is ONLY about “carbs.” Seemingly, a loaf of Wonder bread (or Julien “High Gluten Bread”) is whatever many potatoes or however much cassava or taro or whatever that equals. Equivalent.

        I’ll make a note to it and be absolutely sure to mention it in our recording on Friday.

      • Chris Highcock on February 28, 2012 at 01:20

        Thanks Kurt. Good to read you and I hope you get time to blog again soon. Jimmy M has a problem in that to divorce from low carb would destroy his business.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:27

        One should always take care what to title your show in case the ground shifts underneath you.

        “What will we call the Hrothgar-wrecker when Hrothgar is wrecked?” (John Gardner)

      • Chris Highcock on February 28, 2012 at 01:47

        That is just about the best analysis of Jimmy Moore I’ve read.

      • J. Stanton - on February 28, 2012 at 03:40

        “Unfortunately, paleo and low carb have fully embraced each other”

        As you well recall from the evolution of your own diet, first paleo hitched a ride on low-carb’s coattails. Then it gained an independent existence. Now low-carb is returning the favor by hitching on paleo’s coattails.

        Every successful movement accumulates hangers-on. That’s how you know you’re successful.

        “Paleo has basically disintegrated as a scientifically credible movement even faster than I thought it would.”

        Speak for yourself. You unhooked yourself from the train as it was leaving the station. That’s your prerogative. Meanwhile, the rest of us are still working hard to research, inform, and educate.


      • Uncephalized on February 28, 2012 at 10:51

        JS, glad to see you chiming in here. I agree that Kurt seems to be getting fed up with the whole movement over something that’s really not central to it and is only a problem for a portion of the people involved.

        Seeing your post reminded me to check in at, and lo and behold! There is a new post! Always makes for a good day. :)

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:15

        I am fed up with the parts of the movement that are scientific nonsense. Unfortunately, that is not only a lot of what I read initially (DeVaney and Cordain) and continues to grab mindshare (Kruse and now Rosedale??)

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:25

        “As you well recall from the evolution of your own diet, first paleo hitched a ride on low-carb’s coattails. Then it gained an independent existence. Now low-carb is returning the favor by hitching on paleo’s coattails.”

        A dubious favor, in my opinion.

        “Every successful movement accumulates hangers-on. That’s how you know you’re successful.”

        That might be your definition of success but it would not be mine.

        “Speak for yourself.”

        I am speaking for myself.

        “You unhooked yourself from the train as it was leaving the station. That’s your prerogative.”

        And not a moment too soon. But thanks for acknowledging my freedom in that regard.

        “Meanwhile, the rest of us are still working hard to research, inform, and educate.”

        It might sometimes be better to stay silent than to “educate” people on things that are made-up or wrong, or denigrating certain bona fide researchers in the obesity field.

      • Nance on February 28, 2012 at 14:54

        JS, as one of your hangers-on (and an admirer of Dr Harris as well) I appreciate your involvement and communication. I am reading/listening.

      • Uncephalized on February 28, 2012 at 10:38

        Kurt, “paleo 2.0” is not dead. Plenty of us are eating paleo by eliminating non-foods and NAD foods. Richard is a good example. Plenty of us are happy to change our habits for the chance of better results. for my part, I gave up on low-carbing when I stopped losing fat with it. Now I just eat food.

        Not everyone is on board with the VLC crowd. A lot of us think Jack Cruze is a nutjob. I enjoy reading your thoughts too much to let you go away with the mistaken impression that everyone is following these zealots and not hearing your message, or the Jaminets’, or Richard’s, etc.

        By the way, have you quit blogging or are you just on a break? It’s been a while since I’ve seen an update at Archevore, which at one time was one of my go-to reads.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 10:46

        For my part, I count myself more optimistic than Kurt but hey, that’s the way things go. I’m encouraged by this comment thread for one and by my counting, have yet to see a comment from anyone saying that they upped the carbs from quality sources and it didn’t work for them. Quite the opposite.

        Even more surprising is how many seem to have been doing this for a significant time. I don’t get out to the other blogs and comment threads much as I’m too busy tending to this one, but I have to wonder if it’s just been an assumption that most paleo peeps have been and are really LC in the classic sense.

        Well, least they know they’re not only welcome here, but encouraged.

      • Uncephalized on February 28, 2012 at 11:11

        Well, I will say that upping starchy carbs hasn’t *finished* working for me yet. But I am getting stronger and better-looking every month so it obviously isn’t doing me any harm. :)

      • VW on February 28, 2012 at 11:14

        I don’t know much about much, but that Kruse guy is truly borderline insane. It seems to me that Dr. Harris sees that people willingly follow Kruse and it bothers the hell out of him to the point that he’s sick of this whole mess.

        To the extent that it restores your …uh…. faith in humanity or something like that, Dr. Harris, just know that even dummies like me realize that Kruze is an idiot. I believe that many of my fellows dummies realize this. Surely.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:49

        I don’t actually think Kruse is all that popular. It is just discouraging that he would be at all popular with, say, the the decision makers of the AHS, which purports to be some kind of “voice” of the movement.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:12

        I did not mean to say that no one eats that way. I should have been more clear. What I mean is that the headliners of the movement have not embraced Paleo 2.0 in the way I hoped, and that rather than Paleo rejecting low carb dogma and belief in the CIH, the opposite has happened. Low carb is trying to incorporate paleo as a stylish modification and many of the headline leaders of paleo remain skeptical of potatoes. Just look at the absurd savaging of Stephan Guyenet by the hangers on of Taubes’ carbohydrate insulin hypothesis to see what I mean.

        And few want to admit that everyone is fat primarily because they are trying to entertain themselves with food, and it has bollocks to do with insulin or “damaged mitochondria” or micronutrient deficiencies. These are all revisionist fantasies promoted by those who don’t want to give up the Taubesian conceit that you can eat as much as you like as long as you minimize X or supplement with Y, or whatever.

        One only has to look at AHS 12 and various big name paleo labeled events to see what I mean.

        Certainly in terms of dietary practice myself, Stephan, Chris Kresser, Melissa and Emily Deans, and Richard are all in the Paleo 2.0 camp. But we are not in any way at the sharp end of the movement right now, it seems to me.

        Paul Jaminet still clings to a belief in macro ratio “optimality” that is different from the rest of us. But in practice his recommended carb levels are Paleo 2.0 as well.

      • VW on February 28, 2012 at 11:17

        Yeah, but doesn’t this just mean that it’s all still evolving, even if it’s not where you’d like to see it? These things ebb and flow, and there will always be a substantial representation of those who lack your ability to put this stuff together.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:56

        Let me be clear. “It” can evolve to be whatever it wants to be. I am not upset about it. If I were you probably see a blog post or two : ).

        I remain as interested in dietary and medical science as ever, I am just not interested in promoting the meme of “paleo” anymore, whatever it may come to mean.

      • WyldKard on February 28, 2012 at 14:36


        Then continue to promote the “Archevore” meme and disregard the “Paleo” label. I also didn’t agree that we needed to distance ourselves from “Paleo” when you first wrote about Paleo 2.0, but seeing as how fragmented the community is becoming, I’m starting to think more and more that we need an independent label that’s not “tied” to the Paleo namesake. Sadly, no matter how much the Paleo community evolves, it will never entirely be free from Cordain’s “Paleo Diet” aura, either because of internal confusion, or confusion created by the media. “Archevore” is a natural jumping ground, IMO, and you’ve done well to create it. I know I’m not alone in wishing that you remained a vocal member of the community – we need more people like you!

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 16:01

        thanks for the sentiment. I do appreciate it.

        Perhaps ancestral health is still somewhat viable, but I am happy to just have plenty of thinkers and fewer “unifying” themes…

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 11:36

        Kurt says:

        “And few want to admit that everyone is fat primarily because they are trying to entertain themselves with food, and it has bollocks to do with insulin or “damaged mitochondria” or micronutrient deficiencies. These are all revisionist fantasies promoted by those who don’t want to give up the Taubesian conceit that you can eat as much as you like as long as you minimize X or supplement with Y, or whatever.”

        It is interesting to me, and has been since the Guyenet/Taubes kerfuffle at AHS11 (and in disclosure, I had a drink w Eades and Taubes that night in the hotel bar, and have exchanged a number of emails with both Stephan and Gary since) that while it is very easy for paleos to recognize the food NADs, they don’t recognize the psychological ones (for lack of a better term).

        I think there’s basically 3 reasons the ancestors didn’t get fat:

        1. They couldn’t…owing to scarcity (eek out survival vs. the migrate trade off).

        2. They wouldn’t…owing to plenty (as a French navy officer related to me 20 years ago, describing his experience in Tahiti and why they never stock up…”On en a” – we have it; meaning, they have all they need whenever they want to get off their asses, and so tomorrow, or the next day, is good enough — another trade-off not exactly like the McDonald’s drive through or supermarket)

        3. There were only real foods.

        Hopefully we never have to address #1. A neolithic advantage we should all get behind because the alternative is horrific and obesity is better.

        Paleos seem to really envision only part of #3, often limited to an LC paradigm (#2 IFers I suppose simulate #2).

        So another way to envision the Stephan/Gary debate is #2 (Stephan) vs. #3 (Gary, with the added assumption that real foods are low in carb).

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:52

        good observations

      • Nance on February 28, 2012 at 15:01

        Just for the record, Dr Harris, I have been following modern nutrition–which is what I call it since in my view it’s cutting-edge not old–for 10 months. I never went VLC, never stopped eating a wide variety of whole foods and never counted calories and yet I somehow managed to lose about 40 pounds with 20-25 still to go. I still stop at your blog every day even though I know there isn’t a new post, and I have personally referred a number of people to your Archevore Diet as well as’s Eat Like a Predator. You are part of my success and I thank you.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 16:04

        Thanks Nance.

        I do think the current iteration of my diet is a good signpost and I still refer people to it as well ; )

        As my own diet has had wide variation in macro ratios, it still lacks processed non-foods, excess sugar and highly palatable concoctions. And my initial weight loss has been maintained for over 4 years.

      • jj on February 28, 2012 at 22:46

        Dr. Harris, I’ve followed your writings for a while now, and I have to say that this is totally consistent with what I respect about your work. (And Melissa & Richard in particular to.) Fundamentally eating is about food, not tweaking, not macros, not supplements, not any of that messing around.

        No matter what name you call it by, there’s clearly starting to be a division between people who fundamentally take a foodist approach and the people who really just want to pretend they’re micromanaging their biochemistry.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 23:19

        “pretend they’re micromanaging their biochemistry.”

        Bless you, JJ, for using that word PRETEND. I’d a said jerking off, but then the women would have criticized me for being male centric or something.

      • jj on February 29, 2012 at 11:01

        I’ll be blunt, I think a big part of the problem with those micromanaging approaches is that your biochemistry is smarter than whatever quack you’re reading on the internet. You can make some really good macro level changes, but if you really think that tweaking the shit out of your leptin with diet and cold baths is going to only affect leptin and not the millions of other biochemical reactions in your body, you’re sorely mistaken.

        As a lady-person myself, I’m fine with you calling it whatever you want. I’ll call it make-believe.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 12:10

        Oh oh, Kurt.

        You’ve been outed in MDA Forums. Quoting this comment:

        “Oh my god guys! Kurt Harris is a sinner too! I enjoyed his blog but now I can’t listen to the ravings of a man who worships the starchy devil.”

        “BLASPHEMY! Have fun with your diabetes and slow death Kurt. Now I need to get back to my morning prayer session.

        “‘In the name of the Atkins,the Taubes, and the holy roast….'”

        Tongue in cheek, obviously.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 12:11

        oops, here’s the link:

      • Ajr on February 28, 2012 at 14:28

        I got annoyed and started being an ass just for fun. For the record, I’m a big fan of Kurt’s blog and I enjoy a rational voice like his in a world that can so easily be dominated by dogmatic nonsense. Eat real food, exercise, and enjoy life, it’s literally that simple for me.

      • Primal Toad on February 29, 2012 at 11:08

        “Eat real food, exercise, and enjoy life, it’s literally that simple for me.”

        Brilliantly said Ajr.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 12:58

        Ha Ha

      • Emily Deans on February 28, 2012 at 15:59

        For me, Kurt, the rational side of the nutrition and lifestyle information you espouse is a touchstone. It is so easy, even for me, who ought to know better, to be fooled sometimes by big words, biochemistry, and certainty. I hope that in the end, like you, I help people to be less naive.

        In the large picture with lean Kitavans and lean Inuit and lean French and obese real-food eating middle aged farmer’s wives we can find some truth. I don’t understand an island genetic Kitavan argument for high-carb tolerance as their closest genetic relatives who move on to the Western diet will, like most Asian and African and Native American peoples develop diseases of civilization within half a generation.

        It is not carbs. It is not fat. There is no rational way to hold onto those paradigms for more than the time it takes to read a few books on the subject, or a few blogs.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 16:10

        Thanks Emily. You know how much your opinion means to me!

        Regarding biochemistry and such, I am confident that I do understand more of it as time goes by, and I am increasingly convinced that biochemistry explains far less of our current dietary and health predicament than a general view of food as culture affords.

        The EM2 (or EEA if you prefer) seems less defined by foods and more by other things that are missing.

        Worms and Dirt, for instance…..

      • Razwell on February 28, 2012 at 13:01

        Hi, Kurt

        I like Jimmy Moore, he is a genuinely nice guy. Unfortunatelly, obesity probably runs in his family. He is finding out that voluntary factors such as eating healthfully and exercising, ( while great for health) do not substntially affect weight over the long term, as retired top obesity scientist Dr. Douglas Coleman has pointed out many times.

        Jimmy is always going to struggle, unfortunatley. Science still needs to learn much about obesity and body weight regulation. I think lower ( key word lowER- not extremely low) carb might be a good option for his health .

        For Jimmy ,and people even worse off with obesity- simply losing much weight , let alone maintaining it, is going to be much harder and MUCH different compared to a regular person. It is not at all the same thing. The degree of difficulty is immense. Many make the assumption if they can lose 10 pounds that ANYBODY can- when the scientific reality is that it’s not the case. For people who struggle with true ,medical obesity – it is much diferen for them

        There is somehting different about morbidly obese people that resulots in obesity INDEPENDENTLY of caloric intake. The failure of baritric surgery ( average BMI is still 32 to 30 clinicaly obese) to strongly implies this.

        Morbid obesity is unbelievably, hellishly, ungodly complex. And that is an understatement. Morbid obesity is a disease state.

        I wish Jimmy well. He is a good dude. :)

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 13:24

        Sometimes obesity is dead simple, but still hellishly difficult to beat. Jimmy eats the way an alcoholic drinks. He has an eating disorder and will not those fat on any macro combination as long as he is in the kitchen concocting paleo desserts to make himself feel better.

        I wish Jimmy well, too. But I also think his neutral “persona” is somewhat dishonest.

      • Andrew on February 28, 2012 at 15:35

        “I’ve been eating 30 -50% carbs for nearly two years now in the form of bananas, white rice, potatoes etc. and have not gained an ounce from when I ate 10% carbs.”

        “Just look at the absurd savaging of Stephan Guyenet…”

        “And few want to admit that everyone is fat primarily because…”

        I’m generally nonplussed by framing paleo in the context of weight gain and fat loss. While I respect and appreciate the contributions and analyses of Dr. Harris, Dr. Guyenet, et cetera, I find myself decreasingly interested in perspectives implying “paleo” as “diet” verb rather than “diet” noun. Kurt hadn’t previously struck me as leaning that direction, but Stephan’s focus is obesity specifically. I’m equal opportunity in this regard; Taubes and Dr. Kruse aren’t on my regular reading list.

        The debunking by epithet that occurs every time some journalist calls paleo a ‘fad’ irks me, and the focus on the weight loss angle just plays into that. Sure, there are a lot of obese people who need help, and humans love a good before and after picture, but thinking about food choices in terms of diet (v.) tends to fail regardless of content.

        Whether paleo diet is used as a noun or a verb, it isn’t a cure-all for humans living in boxes. Feeding tigers in the zoo evolutionarily appropriate raw meat doesn’t magically make them models of the species. Trotting elephants around at the circus doesn’t make them think they’re living a privileged life. All perspectives on health that fail to account for total ecology will be doomed by their self-imposed myopia. Reducing health to an equation of food input and exercise output may be a step away from our pills as solutions culture, but more steps are needed. The science used to support or debunk paleo minutia suffers similarly.

      • Emily Deans on February 28, 2012 at 16:05

        It is just that without the widespread ravages of acute infectious disease and the very frank vitamin deficiencies of the past, obesity is the most obvious manifestation of our lifestyle disconnect to our genes.

      • Skyler Tanner on February 29, 2012 at 08:08

        Couple that with an improved body comp having so many positive downstream effects that its hard not to focus on it as the first order of correction.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 16:15


        “MovNat” 2.0, or something.

        I get the anarchist perspective about the whole thing, I really do. But have of us have far less time on Earth than you do. I welcome you to change the world in the time you have, and I believe I have a decent grasp on the sort of things you have in mind, and I understand your forthcoming expedition to exactly reflect these values.

        In the meantime, I’ll get as many bowling pins set up for you as I can.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 16:32

        Hi Andrew

        “I find myself decreasingly interested in perspectives implying “paleo” as “diet” verb rather than “diet” noun. ”

        I could not agree more.

        Indeed, I think some of the box-like behaviors you write about so aptly and certain other cultural practices trump food in a significant way.

        “Kurt hadn’t previously struck me as leaning that direction, but Stephan’s focus is obesity specifically”.

        In defense of Stephan, he is careful to say when he is looking just at the phenotype of obesity and when he is speculating about other aspects of DOCs. You have to go back to some of his earlier writings about Lands and such for more, that is true. But Stephan is in the thick of actual obesity research and is trying to make it lay accessible. He is doing a good job of it, in my view.

        For my part, I see obesity as sign of energy imbalance and I think more things are mediated by simple energy imbalance than when I started in all this. Even fructose I now think of more as an energy excess enabling NAD via hyper palatability (liquid drinks, etc.) than a Lustigian poison a la alcohol.

        It is an open question how much we should pay attention to obesity. I get an impression that in paleoland there is still a belief that FOOD QUALITY trumps all. That is, that if you eat the correct things, you cannot or are unlikely to eat too much of it. And if you do eat too much GF beef and pastured butter and are still obese, it is OK as long as your “labs are good”.

        So it is not that I think obesity is the only or even the main show, just that I think it matters more and explains more (esp at the level of visceral fat distribution) than many in the community think.

        I seriously think isocaloric junk is healthier than micro rich paleo fare to excess. This is kind of a radical opinion, I know, but has me even re-examining the NAD idea- backing up to enlarge the box to include things that are not foods as NADs. NADs are probably mostly behaviors.

        As Emily says below in her comment, obesity is the low hanging fruit that stares us in the face.

        I agree there is more to health than BMI, but dealing with energy excess seems a necessary first step before micro optimization and funny looking shoes. Kind of like the sleep and addiction arguments. Necessary but not sufficient.

      • Jason Sandeman on February 28, 2012 at 16:57

        Bam – +1000000 to Dr Kurt’s comment here.
        Obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders are categorized as “simple,” yet are anything but. I tire of both ends of the argument, LC vs HC when it comes to diabetes and obesity being “solved” by one paradigm. If it honestly worked, then we would be faced with the reversal of the problem.
        The other problem I have with mainstream “paleo” or even LC+HC is the underlying assumption that the layperson is “stupid,” and their problems can be chalked up to their “silly choices.”
        That shit makes my blood boil. I was dx’ed as “borderline diabetic” at the age of 13 – and I couldn’t GAIN weight to save my soul!
        There I was 5’8″ – 145 lbs soaking wet. I was the same weight up until 25 – when I became a full fledged chef.
        I lived the LCHF diet at thT time by necessity. My diet? 18 hour work days – coffee, cigarettes, bacon, meat, fish – and the occasional veggie or fruit, if I was cutting it.
        Oh yes, and lots of coca cola. (It was free where I worked.)
        At first all was fine – I ran like a mofo doing functions and shit – running up stairs, setting up buffets, etc.

        It’s when I stopped moving so much that the problems started. See, I was still taking in the same caloric load – I was used to eating that way. Then the weight started coming on. This on the “Paleo”ish diet with the coca cola.

        People may argue it was the coke that did me in. See, they make it too simple. There are so many variables that it’s almost impossible to say what it was. Ironically, it’s when I cut coke from my diet and switched to water that my weight kept melting off – and I found out 60lbs later I was diabetic.

        Dr Kurt – I’m also inclined to believe our environment has a LOT to do with things. We all have cellphones, GMO foods, pesticide use. Do you agree that may be part of the puzzle too?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 17:28

        Jason: I have a similar experience. 1984 I go to my first ship, USS REEVES in Yokosuka, JA. 3 years. At sea, I was on the bridge watch (the guy standing in for the Captain). Typically, it’s either a 3 section (4 hours on, 8 off) or 4 section (4 hours on, 12 off) rotation, 24/7 for as long as you’re at sea. Never gained a pound (you never sit down on the bridge of a warship).

        Then I went across the pier to 7th fleet staff duty. Desk job, no watch rotation. Put on about 10 in 2 years.

        Then I went on an exchange tour with the French. 2 years of bridge rotation again, plus quality French food. Lost that 10 and more.

        Came back to the states and sat in a chair trying to be an entrepreneur and gained about 20 in a few short months.

        But still, the eat less move more does not work. This was not anything about exercise sessions, it was a day in and day out work paradigm. It can’t be duplicated 3-4 times per week for an hour or two in the gym.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 19:09

        Yes but the most important parts of the altered environment are not toxic chemicals or GMO foods. There are parts of our genome that are literally missing.

        Commensal organisms and saprophytic bacteria are necessary to regulate our immune systems, for instance. They have been murdered over the past century and we are paying for it in spades.

      • Dan B. on February 28, 2012 at 19:25

        That is the most fascinating concept ever, makes sense too… I feel that antibiotic usage was one of the worst things I could have done to my body. One particularly bad “falling from health” period in my life was right after 2 separate, long courses of Cipro within about 6 months. It took me 2-3 years to clear up several subsequent health nuisances, concurrent with my discovery and adoption of “paleo”. I am still not 100% convinced I have been the same since…

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 19:39

        Unfortunately, flouroquinolones can be nasty and have long term effects independent of their effects on your gut biome.

        Tendon ruptures and permanent neuropathies have been reported.

        Why cipro?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 20:18

        DanB. In about 1988, 7th fleet staff on USS Blue Ridge, we had a staff dinner in Hong Kong at a Mexican Restaurant (of all places – but there was drunken dancing on tables). I had some sort of a seafood enchilada or something and the next morning woke up to intestinal distress that lasted for months.

        I sometimes think I have never been totally the same since.

      • Dan B. on February 29, 2012 at 06:50

        I took Cipro for a month the first time for acute (painful) prostatitis. It did clear it up. About 4-5 months later I got horrible food poisoning in Italy. 4 days of pure hell trying to tough it out… at 2am I finally went into the hostel reception room: “ospidale, ospidale!!” Spent 2 days in some Florence hospital where no one spoke English… trying to mime “explosive diarrhea” haha it’s quite a story actually. Then they stuck me on Cipro (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was) for another 2.5 weeks or so.

        Later that year, I developed hardcore cystic acne, terrible reactions to certain foods, and a persistent often crippling malaise.

        Yeah, I have read some pretty terrible things about Cipro since…

      • Neal Matheson on February 28, 2012 at 23:32

        “I find myself decreasingly interested in perspectives implying “paleo” as “diet” verb”

        Great stuff Andrew, though the point has since been well addressed, I do find there is way too much emphasis on loosing weight in the evolutionary world. I eat the way I do to 1; stack the weight in my favour with reference to degenerative disease and 2; avoid brain dysfunctions particularly altzheimers. I live the way I do to in order to be more congruent with the evolutionary parameters of our species, for me and us.
        Obese people I know have issues around food not helped I suppose by a social context which has issues around food. Obesity anorexia veganism all stmptoms of a wierd conflation between morality pleasure etc etc and food.
        Having said that the kids my daughter knows are all being fed iced biscuits and sweets now.

        The main disease of the neolithic was in our heads.

      • Neal Matheson on February 28, 2012 at 23:36

        Balls I forgot to add teeth. Not free in the UK so I take very care of them. and they are a bit of a priority.

      • Neal Matheson on February 28, 2012 at 23:38

        double balls, I hadd little to know sugar as a child (mum was described as cruel!) and didn’t get fillings until I discovered (what you guys call) soda and beer!

  16. Lute Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 14:58

    it’s getting too complicated. I’ve always been a meat and potatoes kind of guy. throw in some eggs, vegetables and fruit. Of course also used to eat a lot of bread, veg. oils and processed foods. I like the 2 beers added for lunch, although i’ll usually wait till after 5 o’clock, but then, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Sometimes I’ll even eat some baked beans or chili.

    I’ll just continue doing it the way I have been, that is, cut out the grains (except for an occasional burger or sandwich or SF sourdough), processed foods and franken oils. I’ve always included some potatoes, even when I was loosing weight. But decided to cut the veggies to either some veggies or a salad, but not both.

  17. Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 15:32

    “did you cut back on the protein to maintain total calories within a certain range?”

    I cut back on both protein and fat to make room for the carbs. Not to maintain calories but basically to have a portion size that looked about right for my appetite.

    • Steve on February 27, 2012 at 21:36

      Thats one of the big things for me in living LCHF, I don’t consider calories, serving sizes, etc. I just eat, if I eat to much I will be less hungry later, it just takes care of itself. It is interesting to see all the people and their personal versions of these diets, from a taste standpoint I would love to incorporate some of this, but from a dead simple perspective I just cannot bring myself to do it.

  18. Russell C on February 27, 2012 at 16:17

    Hey Richard,

    I know you gave an interview with the bulletproof executive guys recently. Dave seems to be a fan of high fat low carb. What do you think if his eating system?

    Cheers from Osaka

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2012 at 16:24

      “What do you think if his eating system?”

      Well since that’s pretty much what I am, until this experiment, it’s fine. I recently had dinner with him, Patrick of PaleoHacks and Grace aka Dr. BG of Animal Pharm. He had a big steak, double veggies, and brought his own kerygold butter to put on both.

  19. Chris Sturdy on February 27, 2012 at 16:54

    I have been tracking my food again recently and my average carb intake is over 200 g per day (for two weeks with almost 40% of total daily calories from carbs). Of course, all these carbs are “real”, no processed food or bread etc. with no untoward side effects. Eating real food carbs adds a lot of options for meals when you aren’t fretting about including sweet potatoes, plantains, or other fruits as a regular part of your meals (not that I ever really worried, I’m just tracking it now).

  20. Ash Simmonds on February 27, 2012 at 17:14

    LOL check out your pie chart – I hereby declare this approach The Peace Sign Diet.

  21. Christo on February 28, 2012 at 09:24

    Matt Stone was right all along. Low carb may be appropriate to address certain conditions but less than optimal for long term,especially active young people.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 09:27

      “Matt Stone was right all along.”

      Yea, like, for instance, a few months back when he was telling people to gobble down sugar.

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 10:04

        What would be the difference (especially as far as glycemic index goes) between telling people to gobble down sugar and telling people to gobble down potatoes?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 10:09

        Huge difference. Namely, fiber (same goes for whole fruit vs. juice). Glycemic LOAD is what’s relevant, and potatoes are on the low end of the scale. The fiber prevents rapid assimilation. Index is merely the amount of sugar by volume or weight while load incorporates time.

        I forget where this was, but it’s an anecdote about sugar plantation workers. The rich owners who made use of their product had high levels of diabetes while the workers had none. They chewed on sugar cane while the rich folk spooned refined sugar down.

      • Uncephalized on February 28, 2012 at 11:14

        They also burned thousands of calories a day harvesting and processing sugar cane, a brutally laborious occupation in a hot climate, so there is that, too…

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 11:32

        An orange has a GL of ~5. A potato has a GL of ~14. Or ~ the GL of 3 oranges. I don’t think anyone would generally want to eat 3 oranges a day, all year long, and expect to lose or maintain weight. It also doesn’t seem to fit with a paleo way of eating.

        And unless I read you wrong, you’re suggesting eating MORE than one potato per day.

        If I did that, even with my currently vigorous workout schedule, I’d soon weigh what you once weighed. Which is one reason why I stopped doing that.

        I eat a potato (sweet) now and then, but eat them every day? I don’t think so.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 11:49

        I can’t speak to your experience, Joe, and I don’t know what your body comp or metabolism is, but check out the other comments here. People are speaking of eating the equivalent of MANY potatoes per day and leaning out.

        I’m eating 2-3 potatoes per day and have not gained an ounce going on 3 days, not even water weight, apparently, from added glycogen storage with required water to bind (why initial weight loss in a glycogen depleting keto diet is initially all water).

        And since when wouldn’t someone eat 2-3 oranges? Now, a dozen or so that it would take to make a big glass of orange juice? Ah, see?

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 12:30

        “I’m eating 2-3 potatoes per day and have not gained an ounce going on 3 days”

        I was able to eat like that for many years, too, Richard. Then, one day I looked up and discovered that I was almost 300 pounds. I’m 6’2′. I weigh about ~190 today. And I haven’t felt this good, or looked like I currently do, since the day I got out of the Marines, many years ago. My body fat is ~10%. My metabolism must be pretty good. I actually can see my abs (first time ever!). At 70.

        “And since when wouldn’t someone eat 2-3 oranges?”

        Since he decided to lose weight, become healthier, or watched Dr. Lustig’s video: Sugar, The Bitter Truth.

        Besides lots of grain-fed meats, eggs, butter, coconut oil and a few nuts, I eat lots of leafy green and cruciform veggies, some berries, a sweet potato from time to time, ditto avocados, but that’s about it for carbs. My BP is usually around 105/68, my other numbers are great, too.

        Anyway, it’s working for me, and I never try to fix what ain’t broke.

        I applaud your courage in experimenting on yourself, because I do (and did) a lot of n=1 experiments, too, but eating potatoes every day isn’t going to be my next experiment.

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 12:43

        Make that grass-fed meats. :(

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 13:47

        That’s fine, Joe. I used to weigh 60 pounds more than now. But it’s the last 10-15 that have plagued me so I’m trying different things. I’m 51.

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 14:25

        Richard, my last 10-15 pounds plagued me too, but I just stuck with it (goal: a less that 25 BMI), worked out a bit differently (less jogging, more sprinting, for example), drank more water, messed around a bit with different carbs, ditched all cheeses, etc., and just slugged it out (reminding myself to be patient, which is not one of my virtues!) until I got there.

        Good luck in getting there yourself!

      • VW on February 29, 2012 at 05:48

        I’ve always had about 10 that I COULD stand to lose, but never really much more than that. (Except for my vegan years. :( )

        I feel the same whether I’m carrying that 10 around or it has temporarily gone away, which it does on occasion.

        At 46, I’m happy either way….. at 178 lbs or at 168-170. Sure, I can see the difference in the mirror, but I feel the same either way.

        Maybe that extra 10 is okay for us?

      • rob on February 28, 2012 at 12:10

        According to the package a pound of potatoes has 330 calories, how many pounds do I have to consume to get to 1800 calories a day?

        If I ate nothing but potatoes I would drop weight like crazy because nobody can eat that many potatoes. I defy anyone to eat 5 pounds of them in a single day.

      • Jc on February 28, 2012 at 12:51

        I think it can be done. (And this is from a guy who cooked up five pounds of mashed potatoes last night…the discussion on FTA reminded me that I hadn’t eaten mashed potatoes in a very long time.) With two sticks of butter (but no milk), it’s almost 300 calories per “serving” of which there were twelve in the batch. I’ll likely have four or five of these today without any effort at all.

        But I guess you said “nothing but potatoes”, not “potatoes and butter”, so never mind all of this.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 13:26

        Don’t have time to check for links, but Jimmy Interviewed a researcher who did like 60 days on potato only and dropped 20 pounds, I thing. Stephan also mentioned him. Not optimal, but illustrates a point, I suppose.

      • Tim Gwaltney on February 28, 2012 at 12:26

        Gain weight by 3 oranges a day? What is that around a 100 carbs? Get real man. A pound of sweet potatoes is roughly a hundred carbs as well.

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 12:35

        It would be ~ 100 carbs if those were the only carbs you consumed, but that would mean no leafy green or cruciform veggies, berries, avocados, nuts, etc., right?

        That’s not “real” for me.

        But there’s no reason they can’t be “real” for you. We apparently just have different goals and objectives.

      • Tim Gwaltney on February 28, 2012 at 13:02

        I agree u have to do what works for you. That’s awesome you’ve found what does. I was just saying that balooning up 2 fat bastard off of roughly 330 calories from carbs sounds a little far-fetched. As somebody said earlier when u an increase calories from carbs u tend to decrease calories from protein and fat so it ends up leveling itself out

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 13:13

        “I was just saying that balooning up 2 fat bastard off of roughly 330 calories from carbs sounds a little far-fetched.”

        That’s why I didn’t say that. :)

        By the way, I don’t count calories, just carbs, and then just barely. My diet doesn’t vary much, week to week. I eat roughly the same foods, over and over again, with just enough variety to keep it from getting boring (it’s hard to get bored with grass-fed ribeyes!).

        I eat more carbs and protein (from shakes) on workout days, but then it’s back to “normal” intakes.

      • rob on February 28, 2012 at 14:23

        I eat veggies, last Thursday I had a four hour drive and I didn’t want to be tempted to eat junk food so I munched on carrots. TWO POUNDS OF CARROTS. That got me all of 300 calories, which is less than the number of calories I had burned before dawn broke … same deal with broccoli, cauliflower, etc., some days I eat 3-4 pounds of that stuff, and I was starving because I was burning calories a lot faster than I was consuming them. Plus I was farting like a hippopotamus.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 14:26

        Those two beers for lunch on Sunday gave me amazing fartage. 2-3 beers is normally about a 6 month intake.

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 14:36

        I couldn’t eat 2 pounds of carrots if you put a pistol to my head! And if it was a matter of survival (see: SERE School), I’d eat BUGS first, including maggots plucked off a dead deer carcass. :)

      • Tim Gwaltney on February 28, 2012 at 14:43

        Ok man, u said that u used to eat like richard “2 to 3 potatoes a day” and u got up to nearly 300 pounds. I’d say that classifies as Fat bastard (Austin powers movie) status. Again 2 to 3 taters is still just over a 100 carbs. U obviously believe in the carbs equal fat gain theory. That’s not an absolute truth. Many people on this very blog have leaned out even more when they added a good portion of starch 2 their low carb diet. On top of all the healthy cultures who have consumed higher carb diets from unrefined carbohydrates yet remained lean..I don’t know how u can compare a potato 2 table sugar. Ones a highly processed man made product while the other is unrefined straight from nature, Completely different. Whoever told u that is a moron

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 15:41

        I got to almost 300 pounds by eating just about anything in sight, not just a lot of potatoes. Indeed, I was a fat bastard, by any measure.

        But, yes, I believe that EXCESS carbs (and wheat, in and of itself) can make you fat (I prove that almost every day), refined or otherwise. And when those carbs happen to be high in sugar content, very unhealthy too, as Lustig’s video clearly (at least to me) illustrates, especially from a heart-healthy perspective.

        I think you should focus on what works, or doesn’t work, for you, rather than what works for me. If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t be doing it.

        By the way, IMO, there are very few “absolute truths” in the world, and few, if any, pertain to the human diet.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 16:20


        Have you tried carbs in the form of potatoes and other starchy vegetables only, to the exclusion of everything else in sight?

        I ask because I was a fast food, pizza, sunflower seed junky (a bad per night, in front of the TV).

        I’m in day 3 of doing the potato thing, a little rice. I can tell you that today, I went off diet. That is, I basically only desired some turkey, canned black olives and now am munching on carrots. Even as much as I love mashed potatoes with butter and cream, I just wasn’t motivated to put it together today. And I feel GREAT!

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 17:09

        No, Rich, I haven’t. Nor do I think I could do it. Nor even why I would want to do that. Only starch? I don’t think so.

        Maybe as an experiment, just to see what would happen. But then again, what I’m doing is working better than I could ever have hoped for, so I can’t see why I’d want to change that.

        Also, for many of those years that I ate everything in sight, I felt great, too. And then one day I woke up and didn’t feel so great, and realized that I had done a lot of damage to my metabolism, health, and fitness. I have no desire to ever do that again.

        I have a friend who’s a vegan(!), and he also claims that he feels great.

        I guess it really is different strokes for different for folks, eh?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 17:42

        I meant as carb source, up to say 30-50% of calories, not only starch. In other words, exclude confounding variables from other non-real-food carb sources.

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 18:13

        I just don’t think I could do that, Rich, and again, I don’t know why I would even try, except as an experiment. I’m doing GREAT the way I’m eating now.

        You implied that those last 10-15 pounds (that you presumably want to lose?) are slow in coming, so I can understand why you’d be more amenable to experimenting, and hope that you eventually find success.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 18:15

        Absolutely. I don’t mean to imply you should for any reason other than if you like those foods and would like to have them in your diet regularly.

      • Joe on February 28, 2012 at 19:15

        Rich, I’d like to have cannoli and pizza (and a lot of other things!) in my diet, too, but don’t think it would be a good idea.

        On the other hand, I do have sweet potatoes in my diet (especially when I can find the Okinawa variety), and regularly, if by “regularly” you mean once a week or so.

        At the ripe old age of 70, I’ve finally learned that I can’t have everything I want. And I’m okay with that.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 20:02

        Not to belabor the point, but I am talking about carb sources from real food only.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 20:04

        Oh, yea, also, I was doing the once or twice per week thing too. Now it’s every day, with, at least so far, no fat or weight gain and potentially a little off. I simply like the huge added flexibility this affords me.

      • Tim on February 28, 2012 at 21:23

        like I said thats good man that you found what works 4 u. I wasnt trying 2 convince u 2 change anything. I personally eat a low carb diet 2, difference is I get my carbs from starch everyday. All I was getting at was when u say “I don’t think anyone would generally want to eat 3 oranges a day, all year long, and expect to lose or maintain weight” and apply the same 2 eating 2 or 3 potatoes a day. That gets people scared of eating carbs which can be unhealthy for a lot of people. Low carb diets arent the answer for everyone

      • Joe on February 29, 2012 at 06:58

        Great! I hope it keeps working for you. It just doesn’t work for me.

        Side note: You said you haven’t gained any weight. But you haven’t lost any weight either, right? Isn’t your goal to lose another 10-15 pounds?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2012 at 07:11

        There’s a back story to this that I’ve blogged and commented about before.

        In Dec of 2010, just over a year ago, I suffered a cervical disc herniation that gave me chronic, debilitating pain in my neck, right shoulder, right deltoid and right arm for 3-4 months straight. Couldn’t sleep, focus, cook—you know the drill. Being pissed and not caring, ate a lot of crap “comfort food” (burgers, sandwiches and the like, mostly) and went from my low of 175 to about 190. Now at 185 for quite some time and haven’t seemed to be able to shake it, though admittedly, my fasting and workouts have not been nearly as disciplined or regular as before, and I’m taking it substantially lighter in the gym until I’m absolutely sure I’m good to go. Had a rep lapse in mid-summer after a day of working on a ladder on stuff over my head, so that really gave me pause to take it slow.

        Anyway, I’m giving this a shot at helping me take off those pounds, so we’ll see.

      • Joe on February 29, 2012 at 15:12

        Hey, it’s worth a shot. It really sucks when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, especially when it comes to a physical limitation or injury. That was the main reason I took things really slow, to hopefully prevent an injury. It’s also how I’ve basically discovered that weight loss is much more about diet than exercise.

        Good luck!

      • Ash Simmonds on February 29, 2012 at 15:15

        Indeed, I was a chubby runner – fit, but fat – until last year when I scienced my ass up.

        Gave up cardio, gave up eating shit – boom, 15kg/30lbs disappeared in 2-3 months.

        Feel like an idiot for not knowing this for the past 15 years… #facepalm

      • realLife on March 3, 2012 at 14:40

        well Joe could have some allergy to certain foods or a hyper insulin sensitivity to certain foods where the metabolism reacts in such a way as to accumulate fat. one way to check this is to consume the suspecting food and take ones blood glucose one hour later.
        I once tried a so called low carb pasta and my blood sugar went way up as I was allergic to wheat and avoid it like the plague now.

      • jay jay on February 28, 2012 at 13:27

        I think many folks have suffered from some of the anti-carb propaganda that tells us that a carb is a carb is a carb (A picture of a slice of toast and 2 spoonfuls of sugar with an equals sign between them, from a certain wheat-o-phobe’s tome, comes to mind).

        But the differences in the way carbs from different sources are processed by our bodies can certainly have an impact. The glycemic load probably touches on some of this, but I suspect the differences are even more profound. But it’s been 25+ years since my last organic chemistry class, so I’m a little rusty on the processes right now. Maybe Dr Harris can provide some insght.

        We do know fructose and sucrose are metabolized completely differently in the body. And I suspect the same thing applies to starches. I know that the processes for converting white potatoes versus sweet potatoes into alcohol are vastly different. Different enzymes must be employed at various temperature levels in order to break the different starches down into chunks the yeast can ferment. It only stands to reason that the two different types of potatoes would be processed differently in our bodies as well.

        I also know that different strains or rice have different starch profiles. Again, I can’t recall the names of the various starches off the top of my head (too much sake?). But I think most people can visualize sushi rice, which stays soft and sticky after it has cooled, versus standard “Chinese food” rice, which becomes hard upon cooling, and can’t easily be rendered soft again. So it wouldn’t surprise me that there are differences in the way our bodies process something as apparently generically standard as “white rice”.

      • Phillip Upton on February 28, 2012 at 15:20

        Personally, I think the big difference between a potato and sugar is NOT the fiber, but the rest of the nutrition. Including the protein profile. (They have all the essential amino acids)

        You really can damn near live off of them.

        Can’t really say that about sugar. (not to mention that starch is multiple glucose molecules bound together vs. sugar being a glucose AND fructose molecule)

      • Dylan on March 4, 2012 at 11:27

        “I forget where this was, but it’s an anecdote about sugar plantation workers. The rich owners who made use of their product had high levels of diabetes while the workers had none. They chewed on sugar cane while the rich folk spooned refined sugar down.”

        It was in Good Calories Bad Calories, that I know of…

    • Bill Haverchuck on February 28, 2012 at 09:45

      Why did the Paleo community fall out with Matt Stone in the first place? (he’s tends to be derided quite a bit). Someone mentioned a while back to me that he tried to push the carb based approach to Jimmy Moore, and that was the catalyst of it all.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 10:18


        I’ll tell you why. Go see his post from yesterday promoting his new book, the 12 myths of paleo, or something like that. See Stone always operates by getting attention trying to deride and smack down people who ought right be allies, at least in health, well being, trying to do the right thing, etc., at least within a certain range or paradigm. This is why I don’t launch off by dismissing the clear value of LC. I’m simply acknowledging that it may be more of a short term rather than lifelong thing as might have been envisioned. There is no doubt that VLC has saved countless lives.

        I’ll never trash it. I just want to help put it what I consider is a better perspective. God bless someone who’d obese, finds low carb, drops a ton of weight, etc. It’s very, very effective for the fat & obese. I just think it has limitations so that’s what I’m exploring as honestly as possible.

        I don’t need to knock others to tilt myself up. Yea, I rant on the SAD and bullshit nutrition advice bought & paid for, but that’s a whole other thing.

        And if people would check the record, I have never or rarely criticized Stone on his knowledge, experimentation, etc. It has been on his approach, as outlined above. Basically, he cozied up to a bunch of us in paleo/LC and when we reciprocated, all of a sudden there’s blog posts, tweets, etc., about how damaging our advice was, diagnosing us over the Internet with “low body temperature” and other stuff (see the “Poor Jimmy Moore” post, for example).

      • Anonymous on February 28, 2012 at 16:24

        Yep. Well put. He can’t help himself. He has to be the savior, rescuing people from the bad advice of others. Mostly others who, like Richard said, should be his allies.

      • Kurt G Harris MD on February 28, 2012 at 11:33

        If Matt Stone were a weatherman, you would find that he had correctly predicted 12 of the last 3 big storms.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 11:54


      • Tim Gwaltney on February 28, 2012 at 12:45

        Check out his recent posts of the health benefits of eating breakfast cereals like frosted flakes and drinking soda to heal oneself and then moving on to real wholesome foods. If that’s not ass backwards than I don’t know what is. Dudes turned into a joke. I think general mills put him on their payroll. He used 2 quote weston price all the time about the dangers of processed foods and how they contributed to the diseases of civilization but since signing his deal and promoting highly processed foods he’s back tracked and blames it on increased stress loads. Who would of known I could of kept eating my fruity pebbles and hog N daz ice cream 2 heal myself. All I really needed was some wooooosaaaaah’s. He changes his stance on shit more then I change my underwear.

      • Gina A. on February 28, 2012 at 13:29

        Wrong. This irks me to no end! People think that Matt Stone is “telling people to gobble up sugar” or only eat b’fast cereal and soda, or pizza and beer, or what-have-you, and that is patently false. If you were actually reading his blog in a somewhat sequential fashion, you would understand that he has NO blanket recommendations for all people, because everyone’s needs are different.
        For someone who has strictly and severely restricted themselves from eating certain things for a prolonged period (whether that be carbs or fat, pizza or ice cream, restaurant food or breakfast cereal, or whatever), often eating the very foods that were restricted can be extremely therapeutic and stress-relieving. I mean, I think we all understand the value of meat and fat for a long-time low-fat vegan or vegetarian… for a while. But too much of those things can later cause problems too. It’s all about BALANCE. Being an overly-restricted eater is not healthy… even if you only eat the “healthiest” food on earth. Matt Stone would never ever recommend that everyone eat *only* pizza and ice cream. I mean, c’mon, that’s just ridiculous. Let’s get our facts straight. However, *for some people*, things like pizza and ice cream are exactly what they need to lower their stress hormones, rev up their T3 production, and get the metabolism and body temperature up as quickly and safely as possible.
        Personally, it’s been a great relief to be given “permission” (in a sense) to eat some (gluten free, organic) cereal again…and my body is thanking me with higher temps as of late.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 13:44

        “For someone who has strictly and severely restricted themselves from eating certain things for a prolonged period (whether that be carbs or fat, pizza or ice cream, restaurant food or breakfast cereal, or whatever), often eating the very foods that were restricted can be extremely therapeutic and stress-relieving.”

        How convenient. I’m sure he’ll sell a lot of books.

        Damn me for not thinking of that! What an idiot. Here I could be telling people that they can eat everything that made them fat and put them on meds in the first place. But no! Not me. They get potatoes and white rice.

        Well, guess I’ll never be a marketing exec or snake oil salesman.

        For the record, and even though some close friends buy into it, I have always bit my tongue over all this hormone hocus pocus and in particular, the one that makes me belly laugh: adrenal fatigue, as though there’s some clinical definition or something.

        Just goes to show. Come up with some silly word or phrase, say it often enough and sure enough, you’ll have people beating a path to your door swearing they have the symptoms.

      • Skyler Tanner on February 28, 2012 at 13:49

        I try to explain to my clients who get caught up in this nonsense that true “adrenal fatigue” is addisons disease…and they can test for that.

      • Lee on February 29, 2012 at 01:59

        I know you guys love the Durianrider in here, though he has some classic one liners. One in particular that is apt for Matt Stone,

        “Tell people good things about their bad habits.”

      • Tim Gwaltney on February 28, 2012 at 15:19

        @Gina- In the words of the late great low carb guru “Kevin Geary”your putting words in my mouth lady. I didn’t say ONLY eat breàkfast cereal soda and icecream. I was one of those sick people that your talking about. It wasn’t until I eliminated those things and ate a well rounded paleo diet that includedd starches was I able 2 heal myself. Eating those foods made me sick as a dog. I didn’t want to givé that shit up but I knew they were the culprit. Healthy people really shouldn’t be eating that stuff but they can get away with it. 2 tell soméone who is in poor health 2 eat ice cream frosted flakes and sierra mist is just plain stupd. One of the ladys that Matt is supposedly helping over there was saying how she had poor health and was talking about her new diet that matt helped her make up and it included drinking her pepsi for the day. I’m no rocket scientist but get f*ckin real. If someone isn’t responding and healing to a particular whole foods diet than that most likely means they were eating the wrong whole foods. The pepsi lady was going on how she ate whole foods but never got healthier. Whole grains and everything. There’s so much variation when it comes 2 healthy eating. Some People give up because its so confusing. Did she try eliminating grains ? Sure didn’t sound like it. Now she’s drinking cola and thinking she’s doing herself justice. Wish we could do an experiment and see how many sick people get well by eating that garbage. Matt saying he’s helping so called people doesn’t mean shit.

      • rob on February 28, 2012 at 18:47

        It’s a big universe and we all have different goals, I hope that you are successful in achieving your desired body temperature.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 19:44

        “I hope that you are successful in achieving your desired body temperature.”

        If you dindn’t mean that to be funny, #FAIL

      • Tim on February 28, 2012 at 19:17

        @Gina- re-reading my first comment I can see how u thought I was saying hes promoting only eating crap food. My apologies, thats not what I meant.

        This is Matts direct quote from his website in his comments section.

        What I encourage people to do is get their bodies working correctly first – most importantly getting them into a healing, parasympathetic-dominant state. After that one might even be able to thrive on cooked porridge. For someone in a chronic stress state, porridge is rough. Crash-a-roni. And it fills you up after like 300 calories. A 1500 calorie breakfast of doughnuts, Frosted Flakes, pasteurized milk, and orange juice is far superior from a short-term metabolic perspective than a bland, gut-filling bowl of oat groats with a 70-calorie hard-boiled egg. That’s a prison ration, but people get filled up on it. Most think that is superior, but for someone with a body temperature well below optimal it definitely isnt.

        If that makes sense than I guess 2 each his own but it doesnt make a lick of sense 2 me. Eating shit made you feel like shit in the first place, so lets go ahead and feed u some more shit 2 heal u. Make sense?
        I know eating something that u love like pizza can in a way increase your mental well being because u enjoy it but if your a person thats sick and has a hard time handling toxins in general and are in need of precious nutrients your doing more damage than good. A temporary rise in body temp doesnt mean squat if the next morning your right back where u started or worse. Thats more like a bandaid, your not getting to the root of the problem. The key is finding the RIGHT whole foods diet that gives you the raw materials to keep you at normal body temp all the time. Its like a diabetic eating whatever they want and using insulin injections 2 give themselves temporary relief. Ive heard Matt say he still has bouts of low body temps. Doesnt sound like hes found the answers. Eating the shit that got u there in the first place is only going 2 hinder u further. They say the main key to good health and bad health starts in the digestive tract. If a person cant digest whole foods properly theres obviously damage done 2 that area. what do u think doughnuts and frosted flakes are going to do 2 your stomach lining? Help heal it? According 2 matt it is. and then Ill be able 2 eat my porridge.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 13:37


        Don’t forget the pocket protector for the take-along thermometer. Gotta know what that body temp is at all times because, you know, we’re much smarter and more clever than our metabolisms.

      • Tim Gwaltney on February 28, 2012 at 16:27

        Lol thermometer pocket protector haha

  22. rob on February 27, 2012 at 18:42

    For a snack I like the 1 pound microwaveable bags of fresh (i.e. not frozen) potatoes, nothing to wash and they are ready in 6-8 minutes. They also have 1.5 pound bags of sweet potatoes.

  23. realLife on February 27, 2012 at 18:48

    for body composition you might want to check yourself on the tanita innerscan scale and see if you can visceral fat and how % body fat etc. changes.

    I occasionally use rice noodles.
    you are within the safe carb limit of 200 calories as per Paul Jaminet on Perfect Health Diet’s guidelines..

    my naturopath believes in cycling from this higher carb to ketogenic.. he is saying long periods of very low carbs will cause thyroid and andrenal stress.

    you will find something on that connection in this discussion

    I am on a similar path and you should find positive changes.

  24. Jay Jay on February 27, 2012 at 20:31

    BTDT, and still loving it about six months in. I went a year and a half totally low carb, then started adding potatoes (sweet and white), some fruits (apples, bananas, pears, peaches, cherries, berries), and white rice.

    No problems at all with taters and rice. Sweet potatoes make me blow up, as do all of the fruits except berries.

    I’ve even crossed the line to some processed food: Tinkyada white rice pasta! Awesome stuff, and no ill effects that I can discern. I just need to keep the pasta as an accent, and not the focus of the meal. I don’t measure anything (eat to satiety), but would guess my carb intake is 150-200 g on a high carb day. 100 typically, with a couple days a week intentionally down around 50g. Works wonders for me.

    Alcohol is absolutely a wildcard though. Good for you for taking it out of the mix for this experiment. It is way under studied IMO.

  25. Ash Simmonds on February 27, 2012 at 20:40

    Drunkard here, I study alcohol a lot, and intend to participate in much more further study.

  26. Andy on February 27, 2012 at 20:50

    I think fermented drinks like alcohol are definitely paleo.

    At least I think they should be. And, after a few margaritas, no one can convince me that they are not.

    The Masai drink frickin’ blood, for God’s sake. No way do they do that sober.

    Have a cold one for me, Richard!

    • Ajr on February 28, 2012 at 05:06

      The Masai love their booze. They routinely get plastered on alcohol made with fermented honey from local bees,so I imagine being full of bee venom and booze makes drinking blood and milk easier. The farts in their huts must be horrendous though.

    • Uncephalized on February 28, 2012 at 11:12

      I brew mead from local honey and consider it a fully paleo endeavor. :D

      • Ajr on February 28, 2012 at 13:06

        I don’t blame you man, it’s a delicious drink that is sadly unappreciated these days.

  27. Skyler Tanner on February 28, 2012 at 13:02

    Glad to see my bothering the piss out of you on twitter lead to a lighthouse of sorts.

    I’ve always been a big fan of Berardi (tried to get him to PaleoFX, actually) because he had a great piece (on T-nation of all places) years ago that basically amount to your “Sea level to 16,000 feet” analogy:

    He’s generally low-ish carb on non-workout days (~20% kcals) and higher on workout days (basically sticking starchy carbs post workout like leangains had you do). He also made a couple great rebuttals to the recent “my plate” that would be hard to argue with under most circumstances (e.g. I’m not keen on the “pasta and bread” in the starches):

    Here’s a guy working with elite athletes using very paleo principles to allow for very high performance without the health expensive of stupid-amounts of carbs.

    FWIW I think you’ll be fine after this and will travel to that nice middle: some days low carb, some days high carb, always real food, always healthy.

    • Ash Simmonds on February 28, 2012 at 17:57


    • Skyler Tanner on February 28, 2012 at 18:57

      Yes that’s an older article; Berardi has a whole series on his experiments with fasting. Remove the “Eat every 2-3 hours” part, remembering these are big general guidelines, and is there really anything you totally disagree with? Nitpicking is fun but as good guidelines they’re really hard to argue with.

      • Ash Simmonds on February 28, 2012 at 19:15

        “1) Eat every 2-3 hours”

        Ok, ignored. Mostly. I find it unnecessary to eat more than once or twice a day.

        “2) Eat lean, complete protein with each meal”

        Lean? Fat is good. Complete protein, ok sure – we need our nutrients and stuff.

        “3) Eat veggies with each meal”

        Unnecessary, but worth doing.

        “4) Eat “other” carbs only during and after exercise”

        Not sure what “other” carbs are – refined sources I’m guessing?

        “5) Eat a balanced fat profile containing 1/3 of each type of fat”

        I bow to Kurt Harris here, hopefully I’m not butchering his extensive post, but I try to get as much fat from grass fed ruminants as possible, and then whatever else comes incidentally via butter and olive oil etc.

        “6) Ditch the calorie-containing drinks”

        Apart from wine and gin! :)

        “7) Use whole foods as your primary source of nutrition”

        Indeed, I call this Lo-HI – Low Human Interference. However I’m largely carnivorous (personal preference) so it’s not an issue, however I do love me some broccoli and bok choy now and then.

        “8) Have 10% foods”

        No idea what this means.

        “9) Develop food preparation strategies”

        What? Like, um, cooking them?

        “10) Balance daily food choices with healthy variety”

        Here’s a balanced diet: if my steak balances on the table, I eat it.

        Ok, so most of it is technically fine, but jeez it’s a lot of “habits” to build/maintain, when a far simpler one is just: eat quality meat and veg, avoid processed crap.

        If you need to add food to something in order to eat it, it isn’t food.

      • Skyler Tanner on February 29, 2012 at 06:30

        As someone who works with people on a daily basis, giving them habits to aim at, very specific things, is often much easier than big concepts. I know it sounds strange but people can very easily screw up “Eat real food.” Really.

        Now to address your points:
        1 (or 2): He’s certainly not saying “low fat,” which is what you seem to be taking away from it; rather “lean” protein is an emphasis on the more protein rather than more fat. It’s not “low fat.”

        2. I pretty much agree with this.

        3. Starchier carbs come after a workout as opposed to when we’re sitting on our duff writing on Free the Animal. ;)

        4. Berardi’s background is in biochemistry, so he’s not anti-satfat. It’s a guidepost that, with his emphasis on DHA/EPA intake, gets people within striking distance of Dr. Harris’s suggestion.

        5. Hear hear!

        6. Ditto.

        7. Berardi is 90/10 with regards to compliance, hence “10% foods.”

        8. For people who are busy and tend to fall off their wagon when not prepared. Us advanced folks worry much less about this.

        9.AKA eat what’s fresh and in season.

        It’s a Bruce Lee thing with clients (really): when they’re a novice, there’s just eating; when they’re intermediate there are food rules, habits, ratios, guideposts; when they’re advanced there’s just eating. They wouldn’t be coming to me if they were at step 3. ;)

  28. Neal Matheson on February 28, 2012 at 00:35

    Hi Richard,
    I saw you wote to Anthony Colpo, I really like him and his utter destruction of many health “experts”, I use him as my Go-to for people asking what to eat for health. I bet Dr Brill wishes she never responded!
    I use the Hadza for my guide though the evidence in Europe does point to low carb the hadza exhibit a very good level of health and have been very extensively studied. I tend to eat more meat than they do on average. I used to work all day in a very physically intense job and run and lift on top of that. Despite the heavy workload I still had more to spare than I wanted.
    I went to a lower ratio of carbs when I quit that job and the extra weight has gone despite neither working or working out as hard as previous. I can skip meals with ease (unlike my wife) and generally feel pretty good.
    I eat one highish carb meal a day and some fruit.
    Carbs being some kind of fat making poison has never made much sense to me but as a composition of diet I find that carbs (and dairy) are very easy to over-consume. As I can’t workout anymore than I do (walking and 20 mins a day) I keep carb consumption lowish as I suspect overconsumption of this macronutirent is actually the cause of the obesity epidemic. I believe the statisitcs bear this out. I also have to admit I eat fewer carbs for my teeths sake too. Though this would seem not to be too ush of a problem if we look at some Africans or Melanesians.
    I prefer white rice but Im not sure that it’s worth adding as their seem to be more nutritious starches available, I lived in Asia for years and years and find many of the claims of good health do not tally with my experiences there. Thin, sure.
    It will be interesting to see how this experiment pans out.

    • rob on February 28, 2012 at 05:42

      I was glad to see that too as I have been a closet Colpo reader for a few months. Colpo is still down on Martin Berkhan but I doubt he has read much of Martin’s stuff … they both have pretty much the same approach to eating and training, Colpo just eats more often than Martin.

  29. Felix on February 28, 2012 at 02:10

    I would guess that you will lose weight, gain muscle and feel better. Enjoy your potatoes.

  30. Nicole on February 28, 2012 at 03:40

    Although I’ll eat the occasional potato from time to time. What you’ll really have to watch for is the latent symptoms. After the carbs build in your system for a week, you’ll find that symptoms may start then. Skin symptoms seem to hit me most after I’ve been overdoing it for a couple of days. Interesting article.

  31. Patrik on February 28, 2012 at 19:56

    Wow. This is a fun comments thread. Interesting on many levels. Let me see if I can throw a few ideas into the mix.

    What if there are >>>significant<<< and novel environmental factors today that we have no evolutionary history of, ergo, aren't adapted to these factors in any manner at all? And they have great explanatory power in terms of modern health outcomes? And they aren't on our radars at all (in the current version(s) of Paleo?

    If, and this is a BIG "IF" this is true – this could be interesting starting points to explore two very interesting ideas:

    1) Mycotoxins. Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Diet has talked about how he believes wide-spread mycotoxins endemic to the way to we produce food these days are responsible for many poor health outcomes. And without accounting for mycotoxins in our diet – no matter how Paleo/Weston Price/Ancestral one gets — it probably won't help. Dave talks about his ideas and mycotoxins here:

    2) Stress. This is Ray Peat's "thang". I used to think Peat was a total nutcase because I was exposed to his ideas via some legitimate nutcases who hung out on PaleoHacks and everything he argued for when counter to Paleo-type thinking. I had a chance to meet (and get to know) the very intelligent and very funny Danny Roddy who has become a cogent re-interpreter and synthesizer of Peat's ideas and he is making me re-think many of my long-held assumptions.

    A recent post of his:

    Are either Dave Asprey or Danny Roddy right? I. Don't. Know.

    Are they serious, intelligent people worth paying attention to? Yes.

    Are their ideas worth exploring? Hell yes.

    Last thing, if we are really truth-seekers in regards to health/fitnes — we should try to argue these ideas with a little less emotion at times.

    Some of you Paleo gurus reading this comment should follow Paul Jaminet's example – I haven't had a chance to meet Paul Jaminet yet — but I am VERY impressed with his polite and respectful approach in argument/debate on his blog, other blogs and on PaleoHacks.

    I keep having to bite my "virtual tongue" when I see a bit of Paleo Guru hysteria i.e. "I am more right than you. Ergo I am "scientific" and anyone who disagrees with me is "unscientific" and prone to dogma*.

    *Dogma in this case being defined as the set of arguments being used against me.

    PS We're all wrong to some degree. None of us in this thread has anything close to a silver bullet when it comes to this stuff.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 20:25


      Thanks for stopping by, first.

      At a point, for me anyway, I’m only a seeker of acceptable health and body comp. I have far too many other thngs to do than to wonder about things I likely have little to no control over and I’m simply willing t miss the boat.

      And if I do, I’ll simply admit I missed the boat.

  32. The Lazy Caveman on February 28, 2012 at 20:18

    “Context Matters”

    Skyler Tanner gets a huge gold star.

    What’s most disturbing to me in all discussion on health and diet, looking both at conventional wisdom side and the low-carb/paleo war, is that most folks seem to have forgotten that context really matters. It’s easy to make sweeping statements on macronutrients, but really, for the large part, macronutrients mean nothing in the context of someone who is not insulin or leptin resistant, doesn’t have micronutrient deficiencies, or hormonal dysregulation; this much is evident from study of tribal populations.

    Unfortunately for many of us, we do have those problems, but in a certain ways, macronutrient tweaking can help reverse dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and weight setpoint issues. To me, the big issue on Taubes vs. Guyenet is that neither side seems willing to acknowledge that the careful application of context would create a pretty powerful combined working theory. That is, if someone who is perfectly healthy eats a hyperpalatable, hypercaloric diet and becomes insulin resistant, then hyperinsulinemia is a problem, and sugar or starchy carbohydrates may not be the best choice if reversal is the goal (the “Paleo 2.0 thinkers definitely understand this). And it’s also naive to think that the path back to “normalcy” is a true reversible reaction; those only exist in the lab. In other words, if excess calories from poor quality carbohydrate sources got you to a sick state, it doesn’t mean that a hypocaloric diet with good quality carbohydrates (or none) will get you back.

    What’s important to realize (in the context of weight-loss, since that is the predominate reason people change their diets) is that low-carb Paleo is a blunt tool that will get you far, but it is not a panacea, and it will not do the optimization for you. Dr. Harris, I agree with the large majority of what you write, but when you tout the merits of starches over green vegetables, for example, without acknowledging the context of a person’s micronutrient status or digestive health, your message unintentionally does a disservice. Or the Jaminet’s “safe starch” recommendation; someone who has major blood sugar regulation issues due to underlying cortisol dysregulation may end up just getting worse with even a moderate amount of starchy carbs if they don’t address the context of what’s causing the issues in the first place. It’s important to do plenty of research and work with a practitioner you trust in order to get to the root of things.

    Bottom line, my recommendation for folks is:
    – transition to a nutrient-dense diet (call it Archevore, Paleo, Primal, whatever), which will likely be significantly lower carb than you’re used to
    – eat enough starch to fuel your exercise
    – sleep
    – get your micronutrients in line
    – get your leptin and cortisol in line
    – fix your digestion
    – make a list experiments you can run on yourself and follow the scientific method. One of those experiments should be playing with macronutrients via safe starches.

    As for the long-term effects of low-carb, again, context matters. For some, staying low-carb in perpetuity will be no problem, provided everything else I listed above is in check (think Inuits). For others, they will see degradation in thyroid status, insulin resistance, and/or coristol dysregulation (think Pima).

    I’m going to cross-post this at Jimmy’s site too, because we all need to get back to what’s really important at hand: making fun of Durian Rider and his 30 bananas.

    • Joe on February 29, 2012 at 07:01

      “I’m going to cross-post this at Jimmy’s site too, because we all need to get back to what’s really important at hand: making fun of Durian Rider and his 30 bananas.”


  33. Greg on February 28, 2012 at 07:24

    I did the strictly De Vany style no carb thing for over two years, then added back in potatoes and white rice over the past year. More rice than potatoes. Now I’m isocaloric to what I was before, but at 30% carbs/day. A1c the same, weight the same, but its easier to eat out with friends and the grocery bill is a little cheaper. For me real food + strength training + walking is the ticket to health.

  34. Razwell on February 28, 2012 at 07:28


    I have noticed nothing but benefits so far from eating and including bananas, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and , peas , carrots. When I include white rice it smooths me out a bit, but oatmeal has a very good effect.

    Dr. Aubrey DeGrey said that VERY low carb diets increase oxidation and can *possibly * age a person faster. He is a scientist from Cambridge University who studies the aging process and has a video about living to 500 , avaliable on YouTube or my blog.

    I do genuinely like the inclusion of these starchy things now and then. However, like yourself I will strictly monitor my body’s response. Some people might get heavier if the starch gets to incredible levels – others might not.

    P.S. My brother’s bodybuilding diet included much sweet potato and least processed oatmeal. I can say that much, that starch was in there. (But included NO extremely processed refined carbs- extremely strict about this.) And my brother looks A LOT better than a certain ego – inflated Aussie Internet guru who never won a pro natural bodybuilding card in his life, both size wise, definition wise and symmetry. I can say this unbiased as my brother and I argued a lot in the past and were competitive with each other.

    Huge IFBB pro bodybuilder Eddie Moyenz was very impressed with my brother’s NON streroid completely natural physique. I might do a post about him with his permission. And you can be sure his pictures are not photoshopped, because they are directly from the contest available on the Internet. Several IFBB pros have commented his symmetry is awesome.

    He also could deadlift 410 for 5 sets of 6 reps , at age 19 in 1996, at a bodyweight of only 180 pounds at the end of a hard workout .

    I have been following my brother’s diet and so far so good. No bad effect from sweet potatoes.

  35. Do Carbohydrates Ever AID weight loss? - Page 26 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 26 on February 28, 2012 at 08:34

    […] […]

  36. Razwell on February 28, 2012 at 08:47

    *Correctional note: IFBB professional bodybuilder Eddie Moyzan. I don’t know why I kept calling him the other. Whoops. LOL !

  37. Cathi on February 28, 2012 at 12:13

    This post has been great!! This is why I love this site and Richard. Richard, you are a uniter, could you please run for President? I’d vote for you a hundred times!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2012 at 13:29


      Unfortunately, you are only allowed one say in 300 million, so that’s why in practical terms I would never bother with voting.

      On a principled level, I could never do that to you or anyone else. See, I have the “audacity” to “hope” that you actually have a far better grasp on your life than I ever could, even if I camped out on your doorstep instead of whining and dining my whores in arms in DC from an elliptical office.

      • jay jay on February 28, 2012 at 13:51

        Unless she’s from Chicago.

        Hell, there are DEAD people there with more than 100 votes!

  38. Dara on February 28, 2012 at 13:23

    Thanks for sharing this, and I have really been enjoying your posts lately! Eating starches at every meal is the only way I’ve been able to remain paleo while pregnant. My weight gain is at a very healthy minimum, and my energy levels & moods are better for everyone as long as I keep the carbs comin’. (all in the form of starchy veggies and fruits – my body hates me when I include any grains at all.) All that to say, from my own experience, potatoes aren’t the devil. Carbs aren’t the devil. They are here for us to eat and use as needed. Above all, listen to your own body and give it what it needs.

  39. Sean Booth on February 28, 2012 at 15:44

    I’m interested to see how this turns out for you. I recently swapped a ketogenic diet for one along the lines of leangains while still staying paleo to improve athletic performance and recovery time, but I have noticed a lot of other benefits. I am now sleeping a solid 8-9 hours a night instead of the broken 6 hours I was getting before. I have also tamed the wierd stomach issues that went along with an almost 0 fiber diet.

  40. Fred B on February 28, 2012 at 15:47

    I’m coming in late here, but after 1.5 years of eating “low-carb” Paleo with dairy and looking pretty damn lean, I increased carbohydrates from Paleo sources (and some white rice) and haven’t gained body fat at all. It may seem obvious, but if you go “low-carb” you’re cutting out the pro-inflammatory, weight-gainers too (sugar, wheat, corn, soy).

  41. […] Posts RSS ← The Moderate Starchy Carbohydrate Experiment […]

  42. Insomnia and Ketosis -- How to make it better without more carbs???? - Page 2 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 2 on February 28, 2012 at 19:53

    […] heavy cream). If that sounds like a bad idea, I recommend checking out Richard Nikoley's recent moderate starch experiment. If you look at the FitDay breakdown, he comes out with only 210g of carbohydrate at the end of the […]

  43. Steven on February 29, 2012 at 14:19

    As most people seem to be claiming macronutrient indifference, why has seemingly become a trend for people radically increase their consumption of carbohydrate foods–I know STephan referenced to it a while back and now Kurt has admitted to it as well. I think it seems obvious, though, why paleo is committed to promoting low carb, the food sources are much better at repleting the modern deficiency–the spotlight is probably on those pesky fat soluble vitamins due to decades of phat-fobia. I admire the eschewing of macro ratios, but it seems totally unscientific–macros “could” be important, when not regarded in isolation, from a hypothetical standpoint of increased efficiency, as well as the empirical evidence that we often source (i.e. kitavans 69% carbs, masai 75% fat…etc.). I haven’t read too much about pristine health in any peoples consuming 50% carbs, and there may well be a reason for it–take a look at the masai, they have an obligation to their warrior diet from their teenage years until past their 30’s, which is when their rates of aortic fibrosis greatly increase (based on an old post of Stephan’s on the masai); suddenly the balancing of the original diet with honey and bananas to produce a more balanced macro ratio seems the arrow piercing achilles’ heal? I don’t know, I’m just speculating. But I am really interested as to why many intelligent people are increasing their carbs, seemingly without a logical reason to do so…

    • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2012 at 17:51

      “why has seemingly become a trend for people radically increase their consumption of carbohydrate foods”

      What’s radical? Like, going from whatever to half or 2/3 or what a SAD eater consumes, but in potatoes, not Hot Pockets and Coke?

      (see my latest post, and point #3, in particular)

      “I haven’t read too much about pristine health in any peoples consuming 50% carbs”

      Name them. At least the ones Easting carbs like the 70% Kitavans.

      “But I am really interested as to why many intelligent people are increasing their carbs, seemingly without a logical reason to do so…”

      Oh, right, Life and enjoyment of same isn’t logical. Forgot that for a second. We’re to toil away at the alter of the new God of sacrifice: Paleo. New & Improved God. (They all are; It’s evolutionary)

      • Steven on February 29, 2012 at 18:08

        “Name them. At least the ones Easting carbs like the 70% Kitavans.”

        Well like i said, my knowledge of any of these cultures is virtually non-existent, which beckons the question of whether they exist or not–I learned of the Ache Indians of paraguay which eat a higher fat diet compared to other tropical tribes, but I can’t find too much data on their health besides their leptin levels which mean very little. But the masai after the age of 30 serve a perfect example of a diet that’s more moderate in carbs (in between high and low carb) and they have a spur in aortic fibrosis lesions I mentioned after the age of 30.

        Not sure if I offended you (tone kinda seems to indicate it), but I wasn’t trying to, not even in the slightest. I was just trying to understand why a bunch of people were increasing their carb intake rather spontaneously; This was before your most recent article.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2012 at 22:35

        Sorry, Steven, not offended or anything. I get impatient at times when dealing with many comments in a row.

        I apologize. I’ll keep this in my inbox and take a fresh look in the morning

  44. […] I was previously eating here. Two days later, I gave an update and macronutrient breakdown here, demonstrating that I'd gone from about 50g carbohydrate per day to about 200, or 40% of intake, […]

  45. Thoughts on higher carb « Grass-fed bison on March 1, 2012 at 11:33

    […] So the big rage in the Paleosphere recently has been experimentation with higher-carb approaches, usually based on some combination of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice.  Richard Nikoley in particular has sparked a sizable conversation recently with this: and  The MDA forums have picked up on this, and things are getting heated.  Strict low-carbers aren’t exactly welcoming of this (for the most part, there are exceptions) while droves of people are coming out of the woodwork to say they’ve been experimenting with  higher-carb successfully.  I’ll admit, I’m one of those people.  A few months ago, I noticed that on days when I ate a lot of sweet potatoes, my abs looked more defined the next day.  Since then, I’ve been toying around with my carb count.  I have no clue what the numbers are; I’ve just been eating more.  Since then, I’ve put on muscle at a faster rate, taken some fat off my frame (and at 5’9 and 135 pounds, fat isn’t exactly something I have in abundance) and overall I’ve felt more energized and healthier, just like when I first started eating Paleo.  To anyone willing to experiment with this, I highly recommend doing so.  Odds are, you’ll find yourself with some pleasing results. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Carb Count, Self-experimentation | Leave a comment […]

  46. […] it has been a slightly weird couple of days. On a total lark when feelin’ fine after potatoes, I took on a grin, sucked it up, and emailed Anthony Colpo. …Listen, I’ve had a bit of […]

  47. Razwell on March 4, 2012 at 08:07

    Rcihard, regarding sleeping difficulties: Few people have more experience with this than me. Due to severe asthma – really bad- I had to use prednisone often at strong doses. I am sure this disregualted sleep for the long term. Before my asthma kicked in and before prednisone I always slept well. It’s been a bit since I used it, and the effects are less.

    What I have noticed for sleep with myself is this: sunflower seeds, and spinach, flax and fish oil helps. Perhaps the manganese and magnesium do the trick?

    I agree carbs help especially sweet potato- but for me, at least, the above mentioned items do the most.

  48. Chaohinon on March 4, 2012 at 14:59

    Y’know, it’s striking just how….erm, BALANCED that fitday report is. Plenty of fat to keep your hormones happy and your dick stiff, but not so much that it’s easily getting stored – with an even split between poly, mono, & sat fats. Plenty of carbs to keep your brain functioning and your gas-tank full, but not so much that it gets stored too easily. Plenty of fiber, but not the point where you’re force feeding yourself roughage. More than enough protein to build/maintain muscle, but again, not so much that you’re force feeding yourself.

    To paraphrase Robb Wolf, it’s almost as if this shit actually works.

  49. Carbohydrates and Weight Loss – Richard Nikoley Experiments on March 6, 2012 at 06:05

    […] His results will be reported here. […]

  50. Nada on March 7, 2012 at 10:48

    ‘In looking around about glucose spikes, it seems that a spike up to 180 by the 1 hour mark is perfectly physiologically normal, causing to wonder if a lot of LCers who are not diabetic are unnecessarily freaking themselves out by expecting their BG to never rise above 110 or so.’

    ”Fasting glucose at about 80 with a spike to 160 to 170 is supposed to be healthier than, say, fasting at 120 to a spike of 140′

    But what about all those studies showing blood glucose spike above 150 mg/dl at any time after a meal is damaging for the internal organs?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 7, 2012 at 11:38

      “But what about all those studies showing blood glucose spike above 150 mg/dl at any time after a meal is damaging for the internal organs?”

      Since by all of them I assume you mean a lot, so perhaps you could reference one or two.

      I understand that chronically elevated BG damages organs, but I’ve never heard such a thing for normal physiology.

  51. Nada on March 7, 2012 at 21:33

    You are right .I was actually referring to the studies shown on Jenny’s Blood sugar 101 site.Like this one here .

    ‘Elevated 1hPG [one hour plasma glucose] in NGT [people with normal glucose tolerance] and pre-DM subjects is associated to subclinical inflammation, high lipid ratios and insulin resistance. Therefore, 1hPG >155 mg/dl could be considered a new ‘marker’ for cardiovascular risk.’

    But like you said I haven’t found any study on a BG spike after food not being a part of normal physiology.

  52. George Henderson on March 11, 2012 at 18:09

    What if these benefits from “safe starches” are arriving now because of months of ketosis beforehand?
    What if eating this much starch a year ago would have just been inflammatory and caused an appetite binge, but paleo ketogenic eating in the meantime has fixed up the insulin system?
    Don’t be too quick to trash the old diet – it maybe the case that “you can’t get there from here” except through ketosis.

  53. George Henderson on March 11, 2012 at 18:26

    @ Jay Jay, about the difference between hard and sticky rice; well probably science cannot say yet what this is, and what the reasons are, but there likely is a difference.
    John Yudkin used to say that raw sugar is just sugar with a tiny trace of minerals and some dirt. Kurt Harris paraphrases this saying of Yudkin’s when he writes about honey (was this intentional?).
    From the immunological perspective there is no such thing as dirt; everything is potentially active.
    The type of “dirt” in the rice – the mitoRNA which elevates cholesterol, for example, or differences in proteins – could well be influential, even if we’re unlikely ever to know for sure what this means to us as individuals.

  54. realLife on March 11, 2012 at 19:18

    well let us consult Dr Bernstein the expert on diabetes from his discussion board.
    “This person should read my book, DIABETES SOLUTION, or at least read one of my eBooks. I advocate normal blood sugars around the clock. If you are not loading yourself with rapid-acting carbohydrate, as most of the population is doing nowadays, and if you are taking the right medications, you shouldn’t go up at all after a meal. When a patient faxes or emails their blood sugar sheet to me, I look at what happens to their blood sugar overnight; and I look at what happens after each meal. How do I see what happens after each meal? I look at the blood sugar immediately before the meal, and the blood sugar two hours later, and the blood sugar before the next meal. I want all the blood sugars to be the same. We adjust the insulin so they are all the same. If you think about our ancestors who had no access to rapid-acting carbohydrates, and who had very little carbohydrate food to begin with and probably relatively little, anyway, they probably had the same blood sugar before and after their meals, and never had any blood sugar rises. That’s what I advocate for us. I advocate it for myself, and for my patients. I don’t think there is such a thing as a normal spike. Studies that were done a number of years ago in Aborigine populations showed that, indeed, there were no blood sugar spikes. These people were eating insects, turtles, snails, and there’s no way they could get a blood sugar spike.”

    The technology wasn’t available to check blood sugar until the 19th century. By that time, it was common that people ate fast acting carbs, grains, sugars, etc. When the technology was finally developed to check blood sugars, because of the carby diet, blood sugars spiked after meals, and this was considered “normal,” because that’s what always happened. So, a “normal” range was established for PP blood sugars, etc.

    But what wasn’t taken into account was the consequences of these excursions out of homeostasis over the lifetime of the person. Certain disease states are considered to be normal aging of the person, rather than what it really is, the abnormal consequences of elevated PP blood sugars which the beta cells had to release to correct the abnormal excursions from blood sugar homeostasis. Over the years of a lifetime, the beta cells finally can’t take any more stress from the blood sugar spikes, and they start to fail, and finally end up in failure, and we have become a Type 2 diabetic, or even a Type 3 diabetic (alzheimer’s), etc.

    It’s very misleading in that when people can’t see the effect of the stress on the beta cells doing their job to restore homeostasis, meaning their blood sugars don’t go up, therefore they can eat whatever they want, they think they are safe, over time, it does catch up with them in one form or another. The protein structures in their body, their skin, their red blood cells, the lens in their eyes, the proteins in their joints, etc, become damaged from glycosylation, sugar becoming permanently attached to these proteins. This is how the A1c test came about…sugar becoming attached to the proteins in red blood cells.

    The lesson here is, it is not normal to have after eating blood sugar spikes, and there are consequences. It’s just that it might take years to fully see the consequences, and by that time, oftentimes, it’s too late; you are stuck with the consequences. “

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2012 at 08:51

      As much as I’m a fan of Bernstein in his work with diabetics, I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about here. Blood glucose spikes are only physiologically “normal” because all “normal” people eat them and have BG spikes as a result?

      Well, yea, I suppose….

      Humans have been eating carbohydrate most of the time and in most places on Earth since the dawn of time.

      It’s bizarre. What just popped into my mind how in the USSR when some well known figure became an enemy of the state they’d go back to all the official photos of party and military folks and make the person disappear.

  55. realLIfe on March 12, 2012 at 11:25

    WWell dr Su ‘carbohydrates can kill’ wrote similar things to berstein .. just takes decades to degrade your pancreas get type 2 .. look at vegetarians they accelerate the process.
    l Cordain said on j moores more c arbs ar e atheletes
    runR100 miles a week. DamndumFone excuse typos

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2012 at 11:32

      Real life

      I reitterate. Humans have been eating carbohydrates for millions of years.

      This stupid hypothesis was falsified millions of years before someone came up with it.

      It’s more wrong than a very wrong thing, ad not even worth an attempt at refutation.

  56. realLife on March 12, 2012 at 12:13

    Advanced Gycation End Products plus more result in going beyond the normal variation
    see reference ..chart of the normal daily glucose variation based on a study by Christiansen of 21 non-diabetic people in their 20s and 30s. Their fasting glucose level was around 80, and their typical meals ran it up to around 120.”

    now the facts are clear… maybe muddy for some.

    nope we have not been eating carbs for millions of years its only during agricultural times which is really a small slice of our history and that is where disease has crept in gradually degrading our health so that it appears normal. it is commonly said it was the last 10,000 years of many 100,000 of our evolution of the genome that grains/carbs were introduced and we departed from our hunter/gather existence.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 12, 2012 at 12:36

      You’re simply deluded.

      Have at it and do have fun in your delusions. I’m wholly uninterested in correcting your ignorance of paleoanthropology.

      No, correct that, I firmly hope you remain ignorant,

      Now go fuck off,

  57. […] then there's Dr. Bernstein, as expressed in comments on this blog, yesterday. Here's an excerpt of the whole, quoted from his […]

  58. Not a sheep on March 22, 2012 at 20:09

    I love the top bloggers on the scene……………with their border collie herding their sheep (readers) around the pasture as they blow their horns in the lush alpine meadows, and the sheep keep following, the collie keeps check, and the “buy my shit” link gets longer and longer on their blogs.

    Then every once and a while, we get the comical enjoyment of watching all the sheep herders bicker back and forth, flexing their egos on the interwebz, patting each other on the back, as their sheep get all confused and don’t know which way to run.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 22, 2012 at 23:20


      I just love how you’re not a sheep. No sir.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 22, 2012 at 23:25

        And oh, buy one for a whoping 4 bucks, and give five away for fee. I’ll be in a red Farrari in no time, stupid dumbshit, douschbag, Little Lamb.

        Now go fuck off,

      • Ash Simmonds on March 22, 2012 at 23:27

        Ferraris are so passe, get a Lamborghini.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 23, 2012 at 05:06

        You obviously haven’t seen the new California, yet.

  59. […] I was previously eating here. Two days later, I gave an update and macronutrient breakdown here, demonstrating that I’d gone from about 50g carbohydrate per day to about 200, or 40% of […]

  60. […] The Moderate Starchy Carbohydrate Experiment […]

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