Clearing The Air: My Beef With The So-Called “‘Healthy’ Low Carb Lifestyle”

After some months of posting on Resistant Starch and taking pokes here and there at the low-carb & ketogenic crowd, seems it’s drawn enough attention to warrant comment and critique in various places, including comments at my last post: A “LADA” Type II Diabetic Finds “Amazing Results” With Resistant Starch. Probably, this ruffled some feathers, when I boasted:

“It’s only going to get worse and worse for the militant LCers. In fact, I’m going to end up being a better friend to diabetics than all LC doctors worldwide, put together. And, it’s cheap & easy. […]

“Read it and weep, LC Militia. Where is your honesty and integrity? The research began about 30 years ago. About 5 years ago, we got a bunch of poo pooing from the LC-Paleo-sphere. A shame. And to this day, to my knowledge, not even one single prominent LCish advocate has even suggested taking a closer look at Resistant Starch, all while lives are in the balance.

“Double shame. On. You.”

Once I put that up early Saturday, I basically took a break from 95% of the Internet until this morning. Then, checking in, I figured the easiest way to deal with all of it in one shot would just be to write a post. First, let me show you this—it’s a regular thing daily, now—either emails, or comments. In this case, it’s a comment from someone low carbing for almost 50 years.

So I’ve been doing the potato starch thing for about three weeks now. Before I started, my digestion was in pretty bad shape, and I hadn’t been able to do much about it, even with some presumably good probiotics. FBG high 90s, but didn’t spike much. I’ve been basically low carb since the late 60s. (When I was 15, and fat, I put myself on a meat and milk diet over a summer, lost 30 lbs., and have been LC for most of the time since. Haven’t eaten bread or sugar since then, almost 50 years now.) Lately in ketosis most of the time.

Started adding the PS to my morning smoothies (coconut milk, avocado, MCT oil, matcha). Fartage was bad, bad, bad. Poopage also bad, for about two weeks. Then almost overnight both normalized. No fartage, good poopage, for the first time in months. Also, much better sleep (no waking up at 3:00 am, or if so, easily back to sleep). And definitely more vivid dreaming, which is kinda spooky.

So this morning, after a night of way too much Chardonnay, I had a bowl of oatmeal with berries, with some potato starch stirred in. (Usually I have some bacon with the oatmeal, but not this time, or I stir some butter or coconut oil in to slow the starch digestion, but not this time.) Then about an hour later, a smoothie as described above. Two hours after the oatmeal and one hour after the smoothie, checked BG…91! That’s really good for me. I’ve been traveling for a week, so haven’t checked the FBG, but will over the next few days.

So good digestion, check. Blood glucose control, check. Better sleep, check. What’s not to like?

My only beef is that Charles is a guy, and he drinks Chardonnay… He follows up.

And…just had a huge portion of beans at a dinner function. No gaseousness at all. This is really getting strange. How one small change can affect so many things. But I guess totally rebuilding your gut bacteria environment isn’t that small a change, is it?

You’ll have to excuse my perturbation when I see, hear, or get wind of neophytes and/or know-it-alls dismissing, out-of-hand…proclaiming there’s nothing to see here: because of a 6-letter word. There is way, way more to show you and in particular, a number of tests of RS while in a state of ketosis: forthcoming. I’m saving it for when I think I have everyone’s attention.

My first beef with the LC crowd is their ignorant dismissal of Resistant Starch, just out-of-hand. I daresay it wasn’t even close to being warranted, and many LCers are coming to know that on their own and in spite of LC Dogma. So neener neener on that score. I was right, you were wrong. And, the fact that I change my view of things often enough and cop to it right here out in the open, I figure it gives me license to gloat on your asses. So, double-dog neener neener!

I’ll set the stage here by means of a correction of perception, hoping you’ll take the necessary steps to correct yourself—and it has to be technically stated this way; I hope you take the time to really understand: conceptualization and integration of the material of perception (your senses) into your conceptual hierarchy of what you take to be your knowledge of reality…really matters a lot. Careful, when you use metaphors as perception, like a map, the quintessential example of metaphor.

 Take a look here (click it to open the 900-wide).

True Size of Africa
True Size of Africa

You’ve only perceived a metaphor, heretofore.

The mental, perceptive phenomena here is something that’s been observed but not taken into full account by most people who’ve ever looked at maps printed on flat paper—predominantly Mercator projections. Everyone notices the relative massive size of Greenland. What they likely didn’t notice, however, is that because Africa is on average centered on the Equator, and other countries, as in western Europe, Asia and North America are at relatively high latitudes, they’re markedly distorted in projection size with respect to Africa. For a primer on what’s going on, Google around on the different ways maps are projected. I gave you the link for Mercator. Check out Gnomonic as well, an excellent contrast in study. I’m a former navy navigator, aware of this stuff in immaculate detail forever, so I best stop here, or I’ll ramble on. For a simple understanding, observe your shadow at different times of the day, from midget to 30 feet tall. That’s what’s going on, essentially. The other part: children had not been learning about the stature of humans from the projection of your shadow on paper for 500 years. That’s how long they’ve had a false sense of the relative proportions of countries and continents.

Can you imagine any repercussions in the large, in terms of false knowledge combined with other ignorances? Now, expand that to the other metaphors, bromides, and slogans you take as sensory perception, including the entire political sphere. You thinking, chewing, honestly? Yea, the world is pretty fucked up, right?

What does it have to do with LC dieting? For that matter, what does it have to do with paleo dieting and our loose alliance? I’m addressing the false perception I’ve just pointed out and how, just perhaps, it leads to errors of mind distortion.

How often have we heard, on the basis of evolutionary thinking, that agriculture—the last 10,000 years or so—is a blip on the timeline of hominid evolution? If that’s a valid point, then so is the point that the 50-60,000 years since out of Africa is a blip when compared to 4+ million years of bipedal hominid evolution. Taking 4 million years as a baseline, agriculture represents 0.0025ths of that time, and out-of Africa represents 0.0125ths of that time. Huge big difference, eh? It’s like, TEN TIMES!

The rub is that we simply did not evolve for 4 million years on LC diets. Nor, ketogenic diets—at least not in normal circumstances.

Where is a VLC or ketogenic diet most of the time roughly the norm, given living off the land? That’s easy. At extreme high latitudes like the Inuit (whose landmass is highly distorted relative to our African birthplace on maps) or in places like La Rinconada, Peru (16,700 ft), Wenquan, China (16,400 ft), El Aguilar, Argentina (16,000 ft), Colquechaca, Bolivia (15,000 ft), Ukdungle, India (15,000 ft), Tanggulashan, China (15,000 ft), and Pagri, China (15,000 ft). That’s only the ones 15,000 ft and above. You can look up the roughly 40 villages worldwide 12,000-15,000. The highest city of over 50,000 population is Cerro de Pasco, Peru (14,000 ft; 70,000 population).

In all, if you look at extreme latitudes and extreme altitudes, you’re talking a few million people combined, at most. Let’s say there’s 5 million total, which I think is highly generous. That’s 0.00071ths of the world population of 7 billion, roughly.

“”Healthy low-carb Lifestyle!” Beginning to sense the hubris, yet?

So, the other half of my beef is that Low Carb is merely a therapeutic measure. Moreover—and this idea is critically important—I do not believe, given our birthplace of Africa, that we’re adequately adapted to an LC diet long term because of food choices—which would necessarily have to be the case in evolutionary logic. I think we’re adapted because of long periods of paucity or starvation in all food sources among isolated populations that won genetic lotteries. Stated another way: survival pressures, the bread & butter of natural selection. Yet another: Survival of the fittest. This makes sense. Eschewing available vegetable, fruit and starch sources in favor of fat & protein as quotidien norm does not, given that the former are generally easier to obtain.

For those familiar with paleo dietary thought, who isn’t familiar with our go-to HGs, the Hadza? Well, guess what? Those hunters and gatherers prefer to gather honey far above all else, when they can: Tubers as Fallback Foods and Their Impact on Hadza Hunter-Gatherers (PDF full text).

The Hadza are hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. Their diet can be conveniently categorized into five main categories: tubers, berries, meat, baobab, and honey. We showed the Hadza photos of these foods and asked them to rank them in order of preference. Honey was ranked the highest.

Indeed, and there ought be no dispute about it. We are the sons & daughters of righteous mutherfucking survivors under myriad conditions of hardship and what hungry idiot in the heart of Africa is going to eschew honey because it’s dense carbs that’s going to raise blood sugar and give you a spike of INNSSUULLIINNZZ? Answer: Fucking Zero, and I’ll stake it all on that piece of logical reality. But. This is also a very good thing, which is why bottom line, I’m a friend of LCers generally.

It’s simply not the norm as “healthy lifestyle.” It is, rather, a fortunate evolutionary adaptation via paucity and starvation (fasting, in normal parlance) which possesses, as an added benefit, advantages for the billions who’ve consumed too many calories (irrespective of type) over the course of their lives and gone out of the evolutionary milieu envelope of things way too often, because of being afforded plenty—and cheaper and cheaper.

Intermittent Fasting has many therapeutic benefits. Two of the biggest:

  1. Autophagy.
  2. Metabolic reset: hunger modulation, hormonal regulation, etc.

This does not mean that fasting is a “Healthy Starvation Lifestyle.” Get it?

Low carb has many benefits, taken further than fasting in certain metabolic circumstances, while emphasizing those aspects longer term. A rough sketch, in terms of VLC or ketogenic.

  1. A keto diet is adequate for most (we have starvation adaptation thanks to starvation survivors, so ‘adequate’ is key). Yep, we can make essential glucose if we can’t eat it.
  2. A keto diet is optimal for some (‘therapeutic’ is key, here, for some forms of disease, abnormality, or otherwise outlier status).
  3. A keto diet is optimal for many in a short timeframe for weight loss, metabolic reset, neurologic abnormalities (just like fasting—basically the same thing: simulated starvation, which we’re well adapted to, absent McDonald’s & 7-11 in the Savannah 4-1 million YA).
  4. A keto diet is likely not the best choice for most, most of the time: because it doesn’t make ANY evolutionary sense. We didn’t evolve at the arctic circle or above 13,000 feet. We didn’t. We evolved in largely equatorial Africa, for well over 99% of our total evolution.

…I exchanged a nice email with jimmy moore a couple of days ago. See, a young woman emailed me, asking about info and references because her dad has brain cancer and he’s embarking on a vegan diet on a stab. Frankly I don’t actually KNOW if that’s his best course or not. What I do know is that brain cancer uniquely responds to a keto diet (as does epilepsy and a number of other neurological DEFECTS). I gave her some stuff, emailed out with Jimmy in Cc, and he immediately replied and popped up the link for his interview with Dr Seyfried who treats brain cancer with ketogenic diets. I replied back to Jimmy that this sort of thing—my growing disagreements with LC—will never get in my way when I think that’s the way for anyone to consider going. We’re of the very same mind and this is why I never need to attack Jimmy personally; which is a good thing, because I have zero desire to do that.

…I’ve blogged many times in the past about how fasting 4-5 days in advance of chemo puts normal cells into a protective mode. It appears that a chemo dose can be upped substantially, so as to effect a real kill ratio of 5 to 20-30:1, instead of just bare attrition—which is what chemo is: a war of attrition. Kill the cancer, hope the host survives the war.

…I simply don’t think it’s a healthy lifestyle for most, most of the time.

  1. There are proved therapeutic benefits to alcohol consumption. Bring on the “Healthy Drink-All-Day Lifestyle.”
  2. There are proved therapeutic benefits to tetrahydrocannabinol. Bring on the “Healthy Stoned-All-Day Lifestyle.”
  3. There are proved therapeutic benefits to nicotine. Bing on the “Healthy pack-a-day Lifestyle.
  4. There are proved benefits to lysergic acid diethylamide. Bring on the…Hey, you just look like a lizard, I think I can fly; and by the way, why has it taken hours for the clock to register a minute of time?

I’m making a simple, but what ought to be obvious distinction. We did not evolve to eat a low carb diet. We can do it, doesn’t mean it’s optimal or even better than bare adequate. On the other hand, we didn’t evolve to drink sugar water and down cookies and Twinkies all day either.

I’m neither trying to kill low carb, nor elevate paleo. I chose paleo to support, because it’s purportedly about human evolution, whatever makes sense or we discover. So, it’s open-ended; but LC is simply not, and there is just zero way of getting around that. I’m sorry you chose to eschew roughly 1/3 of a valid dietary intake and call it “healthy,” but I simply cannot suborn that thinking.

I have to give creds here to Mark Sisson, though. Just look at his carb chart, and it goes way back.

Paul Jaminet, too. You know. Rice. Safe starches.

My only essential difference is that I’m saying that more like 150g is probably going to turn out best for the very vast majority of you—call it 100-200, so you don’t fucking stupidly obsess. The other difference is that Mark & Paul have food restrictions I don’t, unless they happen to bother you particularly. Paul recognizes billions of rice eating Asians. His wife is Asian. I recognize billions of beaners (my wife is Hispanic).

OK, time for a personal anecdote I’ve been waiting for the right time for. First, years of basic LCing have made it such that basic meat & salad or vegies is the easiest way to go. Yea, I do my food post with pics, but it’s not every day. In fact, we’ve been pretty LC/VLC for years.

A few months back I thought I perhaps I ought to check my BG. Alarming. Fasting BG like 120-130 every day. I debated even telling anyone. I told Bea. She tested. Same fucking deal.

Making long, short, I really endeavored to get out of my LC comfort zone and explicitly added more beans, rice, potatoes to all meals. Fasting BGs are down into normal high 80s to low 90s for both of us, now. I just got fed up with turning a blind eye to physiologic insulin resistance.

What’s “Thank God” if you’re starving—because it may save your life—ought not, in any truly rational person, equate to “healthy lifestyle.” And I don’t give a rat’s ass about the theorized “longevity” aspects having to do with higher oxidation given higher sugar & insulin. You have to look at the entire organism, and you have to do both addition and subtraction, not just the one that suits your wild assed idea.

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  1. Chris Sturdy on September 23, 2013 at 14:16

    Interesting observation at the end of the post re. FBG. Seems if you don’t use it, you lose it, or at least down-regulate significantly.

  2. Tatertot on September 23, 2013 at 16:45

    We were just having a discussion over at MDA about the keto-ness of the Inuit diet. I think there may have been bands of hunters living on animal fat and protein for short periods, but for the long-term, I doubt they were really pure carnivores.

    From the University of Alaska, this description of food stolen from mouse nests for human consumption:


    Fall is the season I start picking mouse foods. Most mouse food is found under the soft ground of the tundra. We have to step on the ground to try and find it. Three types of mouse food are: “UTNGUNGSAAT”, “MARALLAT”, AND “IITAT”:

    We boil “UTNGNUNGSAAT” for awhile until they’re soft. We eat them with seal oil. Eating them with seal oil will satisfy your stomach. Besides eating “UTNGUNGSAAT” with seal oil, we also can add tomcod eggs or liver to them. It is very tasty this way.


    “MARALLAT” are Yupik potatoes that are also mouse food. We boil “MARALLAT” until they are soft just like we boil “UTNGUNGSAAT”. After boiling them, we pour out the broth of the soup and eat the cooked “MARALLAT” in our bowls. We can eat them with dry fish or other Yupik food too. It tastes very good that way.


    “IITAT” is another type of mouse food. They are long and dark in color. “IITAT” are eaten by mice but we also eat them because they are very nutritious. The Yupik people have eaten mouse food since long ago. First, we have to clean “IITAT” very good before cooking them, then we boil them. Then we cut them up and add them to salmon berries for akutaq. We also cook “IITAT” with tomcod livers and with other types of mouse food. We can also add them to seal meat. We start picking mouse food in the tundra in late September. And also in early October. Girls and women pick “IITAT”. IITATThey dig them from the tundra and put them in their grass baskets. Only the women work with “IITAT”. They boil them and other types of mouse food for lunch and supper. They make a delicious soup.


    The word troth refers to the plant known in English as “Indian potato”, “wild potato”, or “wild carrot” (Hedysarum alpinum). The word yeddha’ means “its ridge, its hill.” Linguistically, it can be analyzed as the word yetth “ridge” plus the possessive suffix -a’ (the change from tth to ddh in the possessed form is part of a regular phonological process). Thus the name Troth Yeddha’ can be literally translated into English as “Wild Potato Ridge.” The apostrophe at the end of the word yeddha’ is a meaningful symbol that represents a glottal stop in the Tanana language.
    A description of troth harvesting by the Chena people, very likely in the lowlands south of Troth Yeddha’, was given by Laura Anderson, the last Chena speaker, in her classic woman’s narrative According to Mama (1956:14, reprinted in 2011 by St. Matthews Episcopal Church):

    Sometimes women went poking a long pole in the ground all over. When the ground felt just right there was a mice nest. This nest they dug up and there was a cache of Indian potato roots as big as a big basket sometimes. The women put this in a basket and ate it. The mice got nothing! This Indian potato root people dug, too, and buried it just in dirt. In the middle of winter it had turned just sweet and women peeled off the skin and cooked the white inside root. They would get bear grease boiling and then put the root in.
    The [troth] is good only during the winter, when the natives gather it, digging for it under the snow. It is then round and full, juicy and tender. After the thaw it loses its qualities, becomes hard, woody, and tasteless. It is also used as a substitute for tea or coffee. For this purpose, the root is sliced transversely in segments 1 to 2 inches long; these are divided longitudinally, by separating the fibers, and these are cut again across in small portions, which are afterwards dried and roasted in a frying pan. They are used as tea, in an infusion, and sometimes as a decoction. The beverage thus prepared is said to taste like chocolate.

  3. Grace/Dr.BG on September 24, 2013 at 01:34

    Apologize if I missed this discussion already… What are the ancestral equivalents of RS besides young, new potatoes with high amylose to amylopectin ratios?? What about in the neolithic? There are many…I like many of these…. The GI of the white american potatoe is the worse — GI > 100, worse than white lines of TABLE SUGAR. After boiling and gelatinization into soluble forms (from swollen edemic granules) I have seen GIs of 160-170.

    The GI (Glycemic Index) of all the below RS foods is 30-50, pretty low. This is why I believe the seminal study by Frassetto of UCSF achieved such rapid reversal of pre-hypertension in one of the first Paleo diet studies. Duration of trial was only 7 days (+ 3 day ramp up). No legumes, dairy, grains — just fruit and carrot juice (magnesium-rich). Lots of indigestible fiber but not much RS that I can determine. GI of meat is ‘zero’, like resistant starch. The GI of fruit and carrot juice in the paleo study is about 30-50.

    Mung bean cellophane noodles
    Caribbean white yams

    Basmati rice
    Uncle Ben’s (surprise–mostly amylose)
    Barley (25)
    Buckwheat (54)
    Chana dal (8)
    Bulgar (48)
    Oatmeal (42 to 66)
    Pasta cooked “al dente” (32-64)
    High GI but high RS and dietary fiber (20-30 grams)
    Brown Rice

  4. Ron on September 23, 2013 at 14:25

    Richard – What I don’t understand is why nobody of prominence has even broached the subject (at least that I’ve seen) over the past 4 months. As a LCer, I’m guilty of drinking the kool-aid, but I keep trudging onward because it seems to work well for me. When I read your first blog about RS, I found it very intriguing. I debated it for a few weeks & decided to take the plunge. I haven’t looked back & now find myself diversifying between PS & tapioca starch… soon, I’ll try adding some stir-fried rice, prepared the way TT described. The results have been nothing short of amazing, particularly the TMI aspect. My gut feels different & it feels like it’s operating the way it should. To be fair, I’ve never had gut issues, but there is a marked difference. BTW, my weight & body composition (from all the added dreaded “carbs”) is exactly the way it was back in May (3 yrs. strict “paleo”). My only regret is not having purchased a BG meter. If I were a T1 or T2, I would be all over RS like the proverbial stink on feces. What the hell are people afraid of? Keep up the fight… sooner or later we’ll be reading all about this stuff.

  5. Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2013 at 15:08

    ” in other words- whatever works for ya- which u think u just discovered.”

    First of all, nobody ought to need a meter unless diabetic, at grave risk or it, or, just testing for the benefit of others as I and others have been doing.

    Second, I’m finally simply verbalizing it. Sure, I had a meter way back. This was to show how my BG actually increased up to 115ish, 30 hours into a fast, and then going for a workout. But I had no need beyond that and the strips expired. Now, I’m doing a bit more testing.

    Not to eat to the meter, but how to not have to, potentially even for diabetics–though I’m loath to recommend that, but I think they’ll get the point.

  6. Tatertot on September 23, 2013 at 15:09

    There are two big problems with LC paleo that I see over and over on the different forums:
    – Poor sleep
    – High FBG

    The first has been explained away as the natural sleep pattern of primal man–it’s OK to wake in the middle of the night, even though sleep is one of the most important factors in life.

    The second has been justified because it is only physiological IR. No real need to be insulin sensitive if you stay low carb.

    I think if paleo would have started out with 100-200g/day of starchy carbs we would see none of this. Paul J got it mostly right with his PHD. When Paleo first went in the LC direction, beans, rice, and potatoes were easy targets–unfortunately eliminating these took away any hope of resistant starch in a paleo diet. The only prebiotics obtained on an LC Paleo diet are from non-starchy vegetables, maybe 5g/day. I think we have seen in the studies and in all these N=1’s that 30-40g/day is a much better amount, which can easily be had eating real foods and supplementing if necessary with real starch.

  7. Erik on September 23, 2013 at 16:02

    Perceptual distortion with regards to the availability of carbohydrates in the preagricultural environment is, I think, a huge part of how the whole LC-Paleo ball got rolling, but on an even more visceral level than geographical misrepresentations:

    Take your average civilized western human and tell them to go out into a wild area and feed themselves with primitive tools, and they will have no idea what’s there except that they can probably eat any animal they can kill, and those scarce berries over there are hopefully ok, and maybe some of these green leaves are safe (but they taste so bitter!). You’re probably going to end up with a pretty meat-heavy picture.

    That there are typically generous populations of wild plants with either starchy tubers or starchy taproots in most of the world is what’s missing. Humans did exploit those food resources prior to more convenient starches, even if it means chewing a fibrous root until all the starch dissolves and then spitting out the pulp. Most of the year, those roots are where most of the accessible calories on the land will be found. Grains and beans and fruits and nuts are the delicious, easy-to-eat seasonal bounties that provide the feasts, but the thistle roots and cattail mats are always there.

    Absent that knowledge, it’s very easy for us of the forever-stocked-pantry to adopt the idea of low-carb diets as being ubiquitous for preagricultural humans. Our affluence permits us that perceptual distortion.

  8. marie on September 23, 2013 at 16:25

    That’s pretty much how I see it too.
    Of course we didn’t evolve with the extremely ‘sugary’ SAD and it’s modern grains and industrial oils.
    Once those are removed, the evolutionary adaption that’s the driver is that of starvation, or so I think.
    Outside of specific therapeutic situations, VLC/ketogenic diets provide a lot of their benefits by causing several physiological adaptions that are similar to those of starvation.
    For myself I’d rather just continue periodic fasting and get the autophagy and whole system re-set benefits too.

    So >> structured fasts, moderate carbs, plenty of fish, veggies and meat, some honey, properly prepared legumes and dairy products, no modern grains nor industrial oils, and few refined sugars on holidays/celebrations.
    Hmmm, I think I’ll move to Crete now :)

  9. Rob on September 23, 2013 at 16:35


    Have been on 4 tbsp of PS (about 48 grams a day) for almost two weeks. First 3 – 4 days were great. Sleep, TMI…best ever. But then it stopped, and the horrible fartage started and hasn’t stopped. No perceived benefits at the moment. So I’m wondering, might it be too much? Maybe a randomized cycling of on and off is more appropriate? Did you ever feel like you hit an upper limit? I’m going off it for a bit to see. But either way, you deserve a Nobel.

  10. Paleophil on September 23, 2013 at 16:58

    Richard wrote: “You’ll have to excuse my perturbation when I see, hear, or get wind of neophytes and/or know-it-alls dismissing, out-of-hand…proclaiming there’s nothing to see here”

    Yeah, that is the sort of substanceless dismissiveness that most of them have been hitting me and Tatertot with too. I suspect that some of them know that most folks are not itching to try RS-rich foods, which tend to be low-reward, therefore they may figure they can just ignore the topic and let it blow over, but it’s just a guess. I’ve been disappointed by the lack of substance and I’ve begged them repeatedly to provide some meat to back up the fluff. I’ll happily check it out if they do. I’m a LCer (albeit moderately so now) myself for Pete’s sake!

    “How often have we heard, on the basis of evolutionary thinking, that agriculture—the last 10,000 years or so—is a blip on the timeline of hominid evolution? If that’s a valid point, then so is the point that the 50-60,000 years since out of Africa is a blip when compared to 4+ million years of bipedal hominid evolution.”


    “Nor, ketogenic diets—at least not in normal circumstances.”

    I don’t think we can assume that, at least not year-round.

    “Where is a VLC or ketogenic diet most of the time roughly the norm, given living off the land? That’s easy. At extreme high latitudes like the Inuit”

    Actually, in the wild, orangutans achieve ketosis in tropical regions on a high-carb diet, albeit one relatively low in calories for them (during the seasons and years when their favorite foods are less plentiful), and which includes some carby foods that also provide some ketones (such as barks and fermented durian fruit , . It seems that nature has proven once again to be incredibly complex.

    “who isn’t familiar with our go-to HGs, the Hadza? Well, guess what? Those hunters and gatherers prefer to gather honey far above all else, when they can: Tubers as Fallback Foods and Their Impact on Hadza Hunter-Gatherers (PDF full text).”

    Bingo again! That’s one of my favorite studies that I learned a lot from. I love how it demolishes multiple popular Paleo assumptions (such as fear of honey, fruits, carbs, tubers, legumes AND resistant starch). Granted, I’m biased toward contrarian findings. :) They are so much more interesting than endless repeating of dogmatic mantras.

    “I chose Paleo to support, because it’s purportedly about human evolution, whatever makes sense or we discover. So, it’s open-ended; but LC is simply not, and there is just zero way of getting around that.”

    Yes, that’s one big reason why I chose the handle Paleophil instead of LCphil or Carnivorephil, despite folks urging me to adopt a carnivore moniker instead, because Paleo is more open-ended–it’s whatever we’re adapted to. It doesn’t require assuming we know the final answer.

    Don’t forget Matt Stone. He deserves credit for identifying the RS thing early on.

    “Paul recognizes billions of rice eating Asians. His wife is Asian. I recognize billions of beaners (my wife is Hispanic).”

    I think this is key. I learned a lot from immigrant friends who haven’t yet been brainwashed by the conventional wisdom of American dietary dogma. I’ve found that I can learn a lot from other more traditional cultures about diet and lifestyle.

    “A few months back I thought I perhaps I ought to check my BG. Alarming.”

    This is a good example of why I think EVERYONE should test their BG at least a little and not make assumptions based on how they feel. The results can be surprising. For example, VLC didn’t lower my overall BG numbers, it raised them over what they had been on the SAD.

    A couple of key words are applicable here: hormesis and fractals. Nature is more about these things than chronic VLC or chronic anything.

  11. Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2013 at 18:03

    “Have been on 4 tbsp of PS (about 48 grams a day) for almost two weeks. First 3 – 4 days were great.”

    Rob, what’s your longest and hottest (RS farts can be hot temp wise)? I’ve clocked 30 seconds and about 120 degrees F. Ha, seriously, man. Back off. Give your gut a break. I really got into the mode of the value of this when I did a 3-day away and could not supplement.

    What I took away? Oh, I need to put the other 90% on a fast, too.

    This is one thing I always fear. People are so robot, so gospel oriented. Mix it totally the fuck up, just like food. But get it in your diet.

  12. Chad G on September 23, 2013 at 18:15

    Richard, love this stuff, right on time too my wife and I while LC for a few years now due partially to her thyroid issue and just to be healthier. Have been going more towards Jaminet and the PHD lately and things have been straightening out. While my BG has been 90-95 hers was recently 115 after doing an Atkins induction for 2 weeks. Since then we have been adding potatoes and starchy vegs. Still not sure if I can convince her that beans would be ok, but the biggest thing here that makes sense to me is that the human body has an organ specifically designed to deal with glucose and we would be wrong to ignore that fact. The pancreas is an evolutionarily and metabolically expensive thing to have and not need. RS and safe starches in moderation as it were can be healthy. Like you said LC can be therapeutic but is not necessarily a permanent requirement nor the ultimate diet.

  13. Tatertot on September 23, 2013 at 18:36

    @Rob – There were a couple studies that showed some people did not have the right gut flora to process RS. Maybe you fall into this category. I’d do like Richard said–take a break, but on that break eat tons of probiotics like kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut. Then after a week or so, start up at 1-2TBS a day.

    This is really all kind of new, there is no set protocol, but the basics are that RS should be feeding beneficial bacteria, the kind that don’t produce tons of noxious fumes.

    I had a kind of strange thing happen today. I found a bag of sugar-free chocolate chips in my desk drawer at work, read the ingredients: cocoa butter and maltitol. I looked up maltitol–it’s a sugar alcohol (a polyol–the P in FODMAP), digested in the large intestine. So, I ate a huge handful or two. 2 hours later I was farting so bad I couldn’t believe it! Lasted several hours. Foul gas.

    This was funny to me, when I first started RS about 8 months ago, I would get very frequent outbursts of gas–long 20 second variety farts, but not all that bad in the odor department. This lasted a few weeks and would resurface when I added new types of RS like plantains or green bananas. Lately, though, I almost never fart, maybe like 3-4 a day, and uneventful in odor.

    So what was it about the maltitol? Must have fed a small colony of bacteria that has been hiding down there somewhere.

  14. Tatertot on September 23, 2013 at 18:49

    Wanted to share this with everyone: url-removed/

    The Animal Pharm blog seems to be well-respected by about everyone. This past 5 or 6 blogs have been about gut flora with lots of good graphs and science. Resistant starch is mentioned several times throughout. Free The Animal mentioned in a few comments.

    The author is Dr. B. G., I know nothing about this person, but he said in a comment: “For RS (resistant starch), I think it definitely has a role for healthy gut function. Our good flora in the large colon need it to ferment into vitamins, amino acids, short chain fatty acids and oodles of other beneficial nutrients for us to absorb and utilize. Many of these we absolutely need for optimal health. Obviously I believe many things we are not currently measuring that the microbiota supply to us, for instance, immune function.”

    So, anyway, go have a read..interesting stuff.

  15. gabriella kadar on September 23, 2013 at 19:01

    great geography Africa perspective.

    Too tired to read the rest of everything. The map was worth it.

  16. marie on September 23, 2013 at 19:04

    Tatertot, the author is a ‘she’ :) Dr.B.G. is “Grace”.
    She’s fantastic. I agree her blog is well researched and she writes with humor too.

  17. Tatertot on September 23, 2013 at 19:15

    @Marie – A ‘she’, I should have guessed…that’s why she dissed Richard, but not too badly:

    “Yes — I’ve read some of but I don’t see deep and profound objective improvements. My metrics are different. I like to see hormones (serum or urine), Hgba1c, fasting and postprandial insulin (not just BG), and other longevity metrics… like increase in lean mass, reduction in BF% (body fat%), and improvements in adrenal and sex steroid hormones. Show me your free T…. Show me progesterone and estradiol for both men and women because these are truly j*cked and lead to sustained inflammation and other problems. ”

    Maybe if she keeps reading, she’ll learn something new!

  18. marie on September 23, 2013 at 19:27

    Tatertot, yup!

  19. Richard Nikoley on September 23, 2013 at 19:35


    Here’s Dr BG (Grace) in my backyard last summer.

    We’re good friends, actually, but when we get together, we never really talk about each others’ blogs. She knows I can’t really follow her deal and I’ve told her point blank I think adrenal fatigue is hocus pocus BS. I also see no need to measure tone of hormones.

    I still think she’s the shit, and I love her to death.

  20. Tatertot on September 23, 2013 at 19:44

    @Richard — Well I’ll be danged…she sure has written a lot about gut flora in the past few months! I’ve followed links to Animal Pharm a few times in the past but never bookmarked it, wasn’t that impressed, I guess. I had no idea you two actually know each other.

  21. Ggg/DrBG on September 23, 2013 at 23:16


    This discussion is wonderful and worthy of contemplation why improvements with potato starch (starches + indigestible starches). Is it adrenal dysregulation improving? Is it gut microbiota improving? Is it higher amounts of butyrate (and other SCFA) improving from better diversity in the gut flora or other hormone balancing effects?

    Who knows because you’re not measuring the metrics ;) you’re working IMHO in dark and clueless vacuum full of speculation and whimful hypotheses…. And it doesn’t have to be so with so many easy and convenient functional medicine lab testing available now.

    Woo — I can’t trump ur comments. U rock. I’m a CDE — certified diabetes educator and I could not have repeated anything u said better.

    Richard is fully aware that I’m not LC/VLC or pro 100% ketosis. The thoughts here are mental masturbation (which I like to read so carry on). I wrote the major Paleo de-mything which sums up why. Sure these are wonderful therapeutic diets but for long term they tend to demand a certain level of thyroid and adrenal function. Most don’t have this — hence cold extremities, halt on BF loss, suppressed free T3 and elevated reverse T 3, high cortisol and adrenaline dysregulation.

    Once broken metabolism is fixed, tolerance for starches should resume with adequate cardio activity. If not, something is still broken. Toxins and n6pufa are factors I find. Mercury toxicity and pesticides cause broken metabolism. Who has this? Actually everyone.

    If you are interested in assessing microbiota and status of GI dysbiosis – get the ONE urine and GI fx stool tests. IMHO FBG is simply inadequate. It’s like checking the windshield wiper fluid level for fuel capacity…..


  22. TempestTcup on September 24, 2013 at 13:22

    A warning about possible problems with potatoes and potato starch (I’m using the Bob’s Red Mill)!

    I went on the potato diet back when and had a very bad reaction (excessive menstrual bleeding for weeks due to copper toxicity leading to zinc deficiency). I took zinc and the bleeding stopped immediately. I might be sensitive to nightshades, but I think it is the high copper amounts in potatoes that I am most sensitive to.

    I should have learned my lesson, but then later started taking potato starch for the resistant starch and developed a HS (Hidradenitis suppurativa) bump (very mild – I haven’t had one since I went Paleo) I wondered if it was also copper toxicity and found this which states that zinc salts are a new therapeutic approach to HS.:

    Primal Girl thinks it is nightshades, but it could also be zinc deficiency caused by copper toxicity:

    I guess I will try tapioca starch or plantain starch. Beans seem fine and rice doesn’t have any ill effects, so I will continue on with them. I am cutting out copper in the forms of potatoes (never again) and now I’m going to replace coffee with green tea. I’m really going to miss my coffee :(

  23. yien on September 23, 2013 at 23:36

    “Hello, My name is wooo. You may know me from such films as “I am coming to kill yuo the next time you talk about potatoes at the AHS”. I’ve also starred in “my life with the thrill kill LC hezbollah”.”

    “I also want to emphasize the point: if one is eating a sane and reasonably balanced very low carb diet…”….

    “Of course if you are a paleo hypochondriac..I can see why one would conclude taking in dozens of carbs from potatoes to get a tiny bit of resistant starch is a good idea.”

    wooo, not sure if you are aware of the difference in resistance starch content of potato, cold potato, unmodified raw potato starch, and low carb corn starch wraps? Nor if you are aware of the differences in their slowly digestable and rapidly digestable starch content?

    I don’t see much evidence here that people are agreeing potato starch is superior to other forms of starch. I don’t eat very much potato, nor any PS powder, as an example.

    With regard to your comment -“if one is eating a sane and reasonably balanced very low carb diet”…

    I genuinely challenge you, and all other lc/vlc advocates to put your diet into cronometer and hit all your main micro nutrients. If your diet doesn’t do this (and it won’t), then surely it is BS to claim that it is “sane and balanced”?

  24. Valhalla on September 23, 2013 at 23:40

    Great advice from Tater and Richard.

    A 4 day regimen of 1 TBSP of Bobs Red Mill Potato Starch has CLEANED ME OUT like a snake through a clogged drain. And I have never been constipated.

    Let’s talk about the TMI:

    The junk coming out yo trunk reflects a multitude of health markers. IF the shit ain’t flowin’ then the bacteria ain’t growin’.

    Good luck with your life Woo.

  25. Paleophil on September 24, 2013 at 15:59

    Kayumochi, Hard and crunchy is typical of RS-rich cooked rice, so it’s interesting that that form of cooked rice is preferred in Korea.

    Doug, your open-mindedness is admirable. I wish more of my fellow LCers would like you seek first to understand this topic, then to be understood, rather than the other way around.

    TempestTcup, There’s just 0.03mg of copper in an entire cup (110g) of potato starch . That’s just 1.5% of the 2mg RDI for copper per the US FDA ) in a whole cup of PS. I doubt anyone is eating that much. If the PS caused your HS bump, then there is likely a different reason than toxicity from copper overload.

    Tatertot wrote: “I see no reason why green bananas, rice, and beans shouldn’t become a staple of everyone.”

    It’s too early to assume that everyone can tolerate high-RS forms of those foods. For one thing, there are known allergies to all those foods.

    Wolfstriked, Your experience with sticky rice is not surprising. It is the lowest in RS ( Think hard and crunchy for high-RS rice (akin to al dente for pasta, which is also higher in RS than limp pasta), like Kayumochi mentioned.

    Gordon, Africans have been eating raw wild tubers (and legumes) for millions of years, including some (like rural Hadza, that still do today. Wild chimps and baboons also eat them (and since they don’t cook anything, they obviously eat them raw). The notion that they are inedible unless cooked is a modern one. Most Paleoists are unfortunately not aware of this, so myths like that all “starches” or all tubers and legumes must be cooked unfortunately get passed around and repeated over and over until they become mantras that rarely get questioned.

    I eat raw feral and heritage crabapples myself. They digest fine for me and I actually prefer some crabapples to storebought apples. When I was a kid I bit into a crabapple that was mealy and bitter and I wrongly assumed that was true of all crabapples. I later saw some being sold in a gourmet market and was both surprised and curious. I bought and ate them and they were the best tasting apples I had ever tried. Then I tried another crabapple variety–dolgo–and it was even better. This year I bought some more dolgo apples and they were lousy (so tastiness can vary between seasons and trees within the same variety). Inconsistency is one of the major reasons that wild, feral and heritage fruits and veg became increasingly unpopular, despite their superior health benefits, as societies modernized.

    I know a local fellow who gathers and eats plenty of wild roots. Pigs are a better indicator of what’s edible than most Paleo diet advocates.

  26. Ulrik on September 24, 2013 at 16:38

    In reply to yien (, I put together a lc day in cronometer ) – I even made it strictly paleo. At about 125 g of carbohydrate and 95 g of protein out of 1800 Kcal, it’s lc, but definitely not ketogenic. The hardest part is hitting calcium, but that gets easier with dairy (which I do fine with, personally, but here I opted for more greens + sardines). I’m not sure how more carbs would help you there, and I’m not even sure the RDI for calcium makes sense. (Note: I’ve changed the CRON ranges for the macros to be PHD compatible, but I didn’t touch the micros.) (Second note: I actually eat all of those foods regularly, but of course not in a single day.)

    Which nutrients were you worried about?

  27. Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2013 at 04:49


    While there has been a lot of talk of FBG, some of the threads in other post focus on the post prandial blunting of BG using RS/PS, like a spike of 120-130 instead of 160-180 after eating a potato.

    More on that in an upcoming post, including the difference if one is in ketosis at the time.

    Everyone who’s been involved in this for months knows it’s not only FBG. Just one of the things that seems to improve, even when LC with physiologic insulin resistance.

  28. Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2013 at 04:53

    Oh, Grace, here’s a comprehensive list of the RS content of all sorts of foods.

  29. Kayumochi on September 24, 2013 at 06:33

    PS/RS is my new best friend but I am willing to throw him under the bus at any moment … When you meet the Buddha, kill him.

    My only beef with the LC crowd is their lack of gratitude but one can see that among members of any modern food cult.

  30. Kayumochi on September 24, 2013 at 06:39

    @ Tater, in regards to your sugar-free choco chips … if you ever have the misfortune to eat an Atkins bar, after feeling like you have swallowed a brick you will experience the same fartage – it full of alcohol sugar.

  31. Christo on September 24, 2013 at 07:02

    Great post!
    When I added beans to my “Paleo” diet 2 years ago I had digestion,sleep and energy improvements.
    Rice makes me feel weird,sweet potatoes are OK but beans are where its at for me.

  32. Grace/Dr.BG on September 24, 2013 at 22:14

    Tater — that’s great. Thanks for the Li Li link — will ck it out. Naturally RS is not a flash in the pan! It’s returning to our ancestral roots, pun intended.

    You might enjoy these
    (new post) url-removed/2013/09/feeding-microbiota-non-starch.html

    Yes — I see how processing affects amylose congealing for Uncle Ben’s. You are full of deep and insightful observations and knowledge!


  33. Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2013 at 08:38

    @Wooo 1st comment.

    Don’t even know where to begin. It’s so riddled with assumptions that:

    1) aren’t true, per se.

    2) aren’t true with respect to anything that’s been going on here for months.

    First, given that the guy I quoted lost 30 pounds on an LC diet long before you were born and has largely continued on that track over 50 years, perhaps ought to earn him a bit more than “booze bender” as a characterization for indulging in some WINE (fer chrissakes!) and noticing a difference in the way his blood sugars shaked out RS vs non-RS. It’s hard to truly account for a person’s experience, but I for one have never met a 50-year LCer. Have you?

    “In fact, the liver suppression of glucose thus insulin is why people become ravenous after a night of drinking and will specifically select carbs to binge on.”

    No matter how much I drink over card games on a Friday or Saturday night, I never, ever eat until hungry the next day, which never happens before 10-11am. Ever. I do recall when it was different, though, and pizza crusts laying around were the most delicious thing on the planet. Now, an omelet and maybe a glass of whole milk does the trick. I’m pretty much off bacon. Tastes like eating a block of salt to me.

    Guess who retweets my tweets more than any of my 6k Twitter followers? Bill Lagokos.

    “For people with more of a genetic component, eating potatoes vs strict low carbing is likely to be unproductive. Similarly, for people who have trouble adhering to a strict low carb diet, eating resistant starches instead of high glycemic carbohydrates when they fall off the wagon is also an obviously better option.”

    Half fair. There are comments in my posts which anyone can see, and emails—some of which I’ve published—where even Type I diabetics can eat a potato in combo with Bob’s Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch (a coupla Tbsps stirred in a glass of water 30 minutes before tater seems to work well) and get only a rise to 120-130, vs. 180+ otherwise. Plus, just like legumes, it has the “lentil effect” or “second meal effect,” where post-prandial BG blunting persists for hours, and into the next meal. I have tons of N=1 (well over 100 people have purchased potato starch via my affiliate link, so I know the numbers) actually trying this stuff instead of armchair philosophizing about it using SCIENZEZ! Not a single person has reported that this made their post-prandial or fasting numbers worse.

    “It does not take a fancy bag of potato starch to obtain these results.”

    It’s like $4 per 1 lb, 8oz bag, which lasts a coupla weeks. Yea, very “fancy” stuff. Hell, I wish it was more fancy, like Super Starch. I’d have actually made more than like $0.30 on each Amazon order of 4 bags (down from $16 to $12)

    “I take in lots of resistant starch, because I consume the evil and entirely unpaleo low carb wraps loaded with resistant corn starches.”

    Uh, you’re likely not, though if you switch to hi-amylose Arepas (not low, which have 7 times less), then you’re gold. Corn has very little RS and depending on how you prep them with heat, likely zero. If you’re talking wraps/tortillas, each one is about 2 oz, which would get you maybe 2 g RS, provided you didn’t heat it enough to destroy the RS. Even the 15g of RS at the very low end of the studies spectrum, you’d have to eat like 7 tortillas per day, or about 70g of carbs, not leaving room for much else. Bottom line, corn os going to be a pretty poor source of RS.

    See here:

    OTOH, we do corn tortillas. Here’s some LC ideas:

    See, I aim to help when I can.

    “Eating potatoes and assaulting yourself with unnecessary glucose IMO seems a less effective way to produce this effect for diabetic individuals, when there are specific low carb food products *for* diabetics, which have the resistant starch built in to a much tastier format – a wrap, bread product.”

    Ignorance there. Sorry. Refer to the chart. In order to get any meaningful amount of RS from grain products in general, you won’t be LC. At least please educate yourself, Wooo. You simply have not displayed that you have the slightest clue about the RS content of foods and how best to get it.

    Sorry, but when someone so glibly exposes their ignorance, I just have to point it out. You’re welcome to go rant about what an a-hole I am on your blog, though.

    “a sane and reasonably balanced very low carb diet”

    Begging the question.

  34. Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2013 at 08:54

    @Wooo comment #2

    Pretty non-sequitur.

    If you took the time to actually read the previous posts and comments—Type 1, 1.5, and 2— they’ve have had profound success with:

    1) lowering FBGs (particularly physiologic IR induced by LC/VLC dieting)

    2) moderating post-prandial spikes, often dramatically, such as 120-130 instead of 180+ after something like a potato.

    3) second meal effect were even after one dose of potato starch, BG blunting continues into the next meal.

    I suppose that if one is bound and determined to be LC for LC’s sake, such individual results might be uh, worrisome.

    Hell, one might even conclude that even with all the SCIENZEZ, you’re still dead fucking wrong or, generously, are not accounting for something very important either through ignorance or plain obstinance.

    I’ve actually read many of the papers and more are coming out all the time (dozens of papers in 2013, check Google Scholar). Human, animal…doesn’t matter. Results are always similar and they fall in line with the dozens of N=1’s that have been reported here.

    Here’s 2 posts where I specifically linked up a lot of the science, about 12 papers in one post, about 35 in another.

    Wring hands all you like; postulate all you like. Act like you’re the armchair authority all you like, all while exposing your actual ignorance about RS and the quantities available in foods. Fortunately, people can just plop down $4 for a bag of Bob’s and try it themselves, then roll their eyes at you.

    Sorry to be so frank with you, Wooo. I do respect your vast knowledge, but on this specific topic you strike me as decidedly out of your league, attempting to ‘blind with science’ when a vast majority of what Tatertot and I have done here since the beginning was based on study after study, all saying essentially the same thing.

    There is very much something to see here and for my money, it generally puts the entire LC community in short pants.

  35. tatertot on September 24, 2013 at 09:05

    @DrBG – Awesome to see you here–I have been wading through your gut microbe posts the last few days and can tell you have a deep appreciation for our ‘true masters’.

    I see this whole RS roadshow as a way to spark interest in something that is missing from the LC Paleo approach to eating…prebiotics. When properly fed, gut microbes take care of us. A diet consisting of meat, dairy, fruit and non-starchy vegetables is ill suited to nourish gut microbes.

    You asked: “Is it adrenal dysregulation improving? Is it gut microbiota improving? Is it higher amounts of butyrate (and other SCFA) improving from better diversity in the gut flora or other hormone balancing effects?”

    I can’t talk about adrenal dysregulation, but I have come across numerous studies that point to RS making profound changes in GLP-1, PYY, CCK, proglucagon, and ghrelin. RS has been proven to successfully target the growth of bifido, lacto, and other beneficial bacteria.

    I think the evidence points to RS being a very important part of our evolution–it was present in the staple tubers of ancient man such as taro, cassava, cattail, and potato as well as the flesh of plantains, bananas, and palm. Coprolite studies show huge intakes of RS and inulin to the tune of 100g/day in some populations.

    The trouble with RS in a modern diet, it’s hard to come by without a huge caloric load, which is why I chose potato starch as a test method. Outside of hundreds of studies which used potato starch as a control RS, no one has recommended using potato starch as an RS supplement, and there were certainly no anecdotal reports until Richard got people interested in trying this. Now that we are seeing, anecdotally at least, that people are perceiving better health markers through targeting RS foods in their diet, serious research can be done on humans to determine optimal dosing, optimal RS source, implementation strategies, and the full range of benefits.

    If I could get you to click on one link, it would have to be this one:
    The thesis of Dr Li Li done at Iowa State University in 2010.

    I don’t think RS is a ‘flash in the pan’, but it will become a prominent part of our diet once it is thoroughly vetted by people like you.

  36. tatertot on September 24, 2013 at 09:25

    @DrBG – One last observation – you mentioned your surprise with the low GI of Uncle Ben’s rice. The reason that particular brand is so low GI is not it’s amylose content, but the processing method used to clean it at the paddy. It’s known as ‘converted’ rice. The conversion process involves pressure cooking the rice which…well, I’ll let Wikipedia explain:

    “Parboiled rice (also called converted rice) is rice that has been partially boiled in the husk. The three basic steps of parboiling are soaking, steaming and drying.[1] These steps also make rice easier to process by hand, boost its nutritional profile (other than its vitamin-B content, which is denatured) and change its texture…

    Parboiling drives nutrients, especially thiamine, from the bran to endosperm,[3] hence parboiled white rice is 80% nutritionally similar to brown rice.[citation needed] Because of this parboiling was adopted by North American rice growers in the early 20th century…

    The starches in parboiled rice become gelatinized, then retrograded after cooling. Through gelatinization, alpha-amylose molecules leach out of the starch granule network and diffuse into the surrounding aqueous medium outside the granules[4] which, when fully hydrated are at maximum viscosity.[5] The parboiled rice kernels should be translucent when wholly gelatinized. Cooling brings retrogradation whereby amylase molecules re-associate with each other and form a tightly packed structure. This increases the formation of type 3-resistant starch which can act as a prebiotic and benefit gut health in humans.”

  37. Kayumochi on September 24, 2013 at 09:31

    Those from rice eating cultures find parboiled rice the worst tasting stuff on the planet.

  38. tatertot on September 24, 2013 at 10:01

    Growing up on a wheat farm in Ohio, we had Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice once or twice a month–always with sugar, milk, and butter. When I started traveling the world, I couldn’t believe the varieties and textures of rice I found. I haven’t had Uncle Ben’s since the early 80’s, now I find myself eating Uncle Ben’s instead of the Jasmine or Calrose in my pantry.

    When I was living in Korea, everyone would line up to get the chunks of rice that were stuck to the bottom of the pan it was cooked in. That bit of rice was probably full of RS.

    Stir-frying in oil is done in many Asian countries and increases the RS of all types of rice.

  39. Kayumochi on September 24, 2013 at 10:34

    Koreans have a dish with some kind of purple rice cooked in an iron bowl and the rice that sticks to the sides is the best – hard and crunchy.

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  41. Doug on September 24, 2013 at 11:25

    I would like to thank you/curse you for the upcoming hours of research I plan to do on RS.

    Seriously, thanks for the introduction. Interesting stuff for someone interested in challenging their own dietary beliefs.

  42. Richard Nikoley on September 24, 2013 at 12:49

    Thanks Doug. I’m not interested in being anyone’s authority, unlike most out there. I want people to get interested enough to authoritatively figure it out for themselves and when they do, it’s just the first thing.

    Strange as it may sound, my basic blogging methodology is for people to realize they don’t need me — or anyone.

  43. tatertot on September 24, 2013 at 14:08

    @Tempest – I’m glad you aren’t giving up completely on starches. I believe a lot of mineral absorption problems stem from the gut, so increasing RS is probably a really good thing for you to try, along with lots of probiotics.

    I could probably go a long time without eating potatoes now that I have found such good ways to make beans, plantains, and rice. You can easily get 20g of RS from beans and rice in a day. Throw in a green banana and you almost doubled it. I see no reason why green bananas, rice, and beans shouldn’t become a staple of everyone.

  44. Wolfstriked on September 24, 2013 at 14:11

    kayumochi,parboiled rice is no sticky rice in taste but its got health benefits.Sticky rice causes me severe hypoglycemia everytime.Just had my dinner of pound of chicken thigh sauteed in 3tbsps olive oil w/green peppers,onion,corn,potatoes.Throw in 2.5 cups water and a cup uncle bens rice and 20 minutes later you have the most delicious meal.had a quart of kefir for breakfast also and of course 6tbsps PS.

  45. Gordon on September 24, 2013 at 14:26


    “That there are typically generous populations of wild plants with either starchy tubers or starchy taproots in most of the world is what’s missing.”

    The important thing seems to be that the starchy tubers and taproots, even if they don’t provide a lot of digestible carbs per se, might provide lots of colon-fermentable carb-ish materials. Maybe the problem is that modern humans are so accustomed to digestible carbs that we don’t recognize the raw wild sources of fermentable material as food. If we go eat such items out of the blue we get gassy and decide it may be pig food but it isn’t for humans.

    I always wondered how woodland pigs are able digest all of those raw taproots and crabapples and whatnot they find in the woods when our digestive systems are supposed to be so similar, and those foods don’t really seem edible to a human, at least without fire. But given the percentage of evolutionary time we spent without fire/cooking, it seems like we must have come along by eating a lot of those same foods. The new paleo could be the woodland pig paleo diet, minus the grubs (until the tatertot of grubs comes along).

    I recall people arguing that the fact that our colons shrunk in the course of evolution indicated that we gave up on fermenting things when we gained access to lots of meat and fat and didn’t need to ferment anymore. But I assume that fermenting things like RS requires less colon space than fermenting cellulose as in a gorilla. So maybe we gave up on fermenting cellulose in preference for fermenting more concentrated forms of non-digestible-but-still-fermentable foods. Maybe that’s what our colon size is aimed at. But now by chance everyone on just about every diet has given up on colon-fermentable foods in preference for digestible foods.

    The way the resistant starch info rearranges the puzzle pieces is so interesting I can hardly stand it.

  46. EatLessMoveMoore on September 24, 2013 at 19:12

    I realize you’ve taken great pains to point out that you bear no ill will towards Mr. Low Carb himself, Jimmy Moore, but can you explain why he and other LC drones refuse to publicize this information? Might it have something to do with promoting businesses – books, supplements, meter and testing strip sales, etc. – over sound nutritional science?

  47. yien on September 25, 2013 at 15:14

    Perhaps my challenge to lc paleo advocates is best stated as follows:

    I don’t believe it is possible for your diet to have:

    -all main micro nutrients full and balanced (no excessive levels of copper, A, etc; no deficient nutrients)
    -at least, moderate amounts of RS
    -real food synergy; no excessive reliance on supps —

    -whilst maintaining significantly less than 150g total carbs (on average)

  48. yien on September 25, 2013 at 01:33

    Ulrik – looks very solid.

    Your 122g is about the low level I have seen for someone to hit the %’s. I think if you adjusted to the default level, you would need to be around 130-150g total? Also, as you point out, the particular foods you choose may be unlikely to be everyday / year round?

    Your comment re: “I’m not even sure the RDI for calcium makes sense”, I agree with (to a degree). But it also confirms a long running observation that when a nutrient is missed – it is the RDI minimum that is an issue, not a “my particular diet” issue. Adding milk/yoghurt will also add carbs (as a general comment).

    Also, some nutrients can be too high, as another observation. Possibly worth double checking your A and copper, and just be satisfied yourself that you are comfortable here? Very easy to overdo both of these. Again, to get a balance, often times the solution is to swap fats/proteins for carbs.

    Personally, I pay attention to ratios: copper/zinc, mg/k(potassium)/ca/na, B12/B6/methionine, o3/o6, etc..again getting these to ranges that match studies often requires adding carbs.

  49. yien on September 25, 2013 at 16:30

    I also predict that any attempt to show otherwise will be:

    a) insincere; the author of the diet plan will have never eaten that way (let alone most days)
    b) will prove the point, without any intended irony

  50. Paleophil on September 25, 2013 at 19:45

    I think it’s a safe bet that Troth Yeddha’ has never been discussed at the zero carb forum. :)

  51. Ulrik on September 26, 2013 at 13:05

    Yien, I agree with your points, but to take you up on the challenge, I tried to put together a fairly realistic lower-carb menu. (BTW, Richard, when I hear the phrase “healthy low-carb diet”, I understand it to be in opposition to an “unhealthy low-carb diet” filled with low-carb junk, not as a claim that low-carb diets are inherently healthy.) I tried to keep it realistic, using whole foods. It’s what I’d do if for some reason I cared about eating less carbs. The cronometer result is here:

    57 g of carb, 90 g of protein out of 1800 kcal again. (If we say lc is <= 150 g and vlc is I think if you adjusted to the default level, you would need to be around 130-150g total?

    cronometer’s “reset to recommended” doesn’t work for me for some reason, and I’m too lazy to make a new account, but as I said, I haven’t touched to vitamins and minerals, only macros (including PUFAs).

    > Adding milk/yoghurt will also add carbs (as a general comment).

    If you’re trying to lower carbs, hard raw cheese is better (plus, more K2, yay!).

    > Possibly worth double checking your A and copper, and just be satisfied yourself that you are comfortable here?

    Not too worried about A given adequate D and K2. But I just love fried liver, so I supplement zinc once a week.

    > I don’t believe it is possible for your diet to have … at least, moderate amounts of RS

    Possibly, given the modern food environment. I’m not a lc “advocate”, but I eat less than 150 g personally. That still leaves room for potatoes and plenty of California fruit (you also asked about availability: not a problem where I am). RS is fascinating, and I applaud Richard and tatertot for bringing it to our attention. I like cold potato salad, myself.

    BTW, I’d like to see what and how much prebiotic material were consumed by various HG groups. Richard/tatertot, do you know?

    > a) insincere; the author of the diet plan will have never eaten that way (let alone most days)

    Again, I eat what’s one those plans, it’s easy to do: make bone broth once a week, cook meat and veggies with some fat for most meals. Add fruit and cold potatoes if desired. :D

    > b) will prove the point, without any intended irony

    Maybe. Sometimes supplementation is warranted, e.g., if someone needs to be in ketosis. Magnesium, potassium and zinc might be needed. Is that excessive?

    In the end, I don’t think we disagree, but I wanted to show that a vlc plan can do pretty well when based on an ancestral framework of sticking to real foods, eating variety meats, etc.

  52. yien on September 26, 2013 at 15:31

    Hi Ulrik,

    I put kidney, tongue, liver etc into cronometer, and they give very high levels for all the “bodybuilding” favourite nutrients – eg iron, B12, A etc.

    The epeme custom is only practised amongst males in Hadza society, and only after they have passed hunting tests (ie by the strongest males, and often only after they have killed a big animal single handedly). Conjecture, but possibly they have linked these nutrients and male fitness.

    Frank Marlowe at Cambridge is an excellent source of info on the Hadza. A list of his publications here:

    The source of calcium for the Hadza is baobab. Of any single species, it contributes the highest amount of calories to their diet, and is higher in calcium than most dairy products. It also has some interesting properties regarding blood glucose control, as well as a wealth of other nutrients.

  53. TempestTcup on September 26, 2013 at 05:51


    I might be wrong about the copper, but two different times I’ve eaten a bunch of potatoes/potato products I’ve gotten bizarre afflictions that are treatable by zinc. I’m not very big on coincidences.

    @tatertot “mineral absorption problems stem from the gut”

    Yes, I’ve been working on my gut flora for a few years after a few rounds of antibiotics a while back. This is why I am trying RS; I just forgot about the earlier potato incident! I think that pathogenic bacteria took over and I’m trying to rid myself of them and their biofilms while simultaneous introducing good flora.

    Luckily I have no major problems with my digestive system or bowels; instead it all seems to manifest as inflammation. I may have to go the GAPS or FODMAP route, but would rather do it without all of that fuss.

  54. TempestTcup on September 26, 2013 at 06:02

    Oh, and I ferment a lot of things at home like sauerkraut, yogurt, salsa, etc. I even ferment rice beer, which probably isn’t the best thing for me, lol, but is made with a beneficial mold, Aspergillus Oryza. I’m soon getting a scoby and some kefir grains. My kitchen will soon be beneficial bacteria heaven!

  55. Ulrik on September 26, 2013 at 13:16

    Wow, I think the software wrangled my message there, probably by trying to interpret less than signs as html elements. The second paragraph should read:

    57 g of carb, 90 g of protein out of 1800 kcal again. (If we say lc is at most 150 g and vlc is at most 75, the menu is vlc, but still not ketogenic.)

  56. yien on September 26, 2013 at 14:05

    Ulrik – I’m impressed. I retract my challenge. I was wrong.

    A couple of points I’ll make. The Hadza actually eat far greater than the RDI minimum for calcium. I think any paleo advocate that argues for calcium (or any nutrient), at lower than RDI minimum, as being strictly paleo, still would need to review? I note that paleo people often challenge minimum RDI for potassium and calcium etc, and similarly vegans argue for iron and B12 etc. I think this is more a reflection of a particualr dietary choice and its deficiencies, than a rational science based view.

    This also reconfirms my views on the power of intestine organs. I can’t resist – but does anyone on lc paleo actually eat 15g of tongue a day (every day)? I think they should?

    The Hadza have a tradition called “epeme”, where it is taboo to eat epeme meat alone. Epeme meat being kidney, heart, lung, neck up to and including the tongue, and the genitals. This meat must be shared with at least one other person. Anthropologists suggest it as a key reason for the ability of the Hadza high nutrient intake (sharing high nutrient intake foods, through custom).

  57. Ulrik on September 26, 2013 at 14:34

    Yien – thank you. I think it was a useful exercise to do.

    I agree with you that some people will challenge RDIs irrationally to protect their own paradigms. On the other hand, I think we should be somewhat careful about taking the RDIs as set in stone: different folks will have different needs based on diet, genes, and other circumstances.

    An important point regarding minerals is that preparation matters a lot: boiling transfers minerals to the liquid, so make stews and broths: don’t discard cooking liquids.

    The tongue actually didn’t contribute anything important to the numbers, but I added it because it happens that I’ve just eaten a beef tongue over the past week (about 3 oz/day). Easy to cook in a pressure cooker, and very convenient and delicious to eat cold.

    Very interesting point concerning “epeme” – where did you learn about the Hadza? And what is the source of their calcium?

  58. Gordon on September 26, 2013 at 14:50

    @PaleoPhil: Hah! Thanks for the info. Will have to plant some crabapples.

    Just thinking through it some more, until the RS stuff, I thought of the “gut” as a vague thing, and the colon as just the place where food goes to become poop after it leaves the small intestine, and there happen to be some bacteria in there. Now I think of the colon as the “fermentation system,” a system unto itself, with a purpose, and important effects on all other bodily systems (endocrine, immune, neural, circulatory). That leaves the the stomach and small intestine as the “digestive system,” and maybe the rectum would be the “elimination system” but let’s not talk about that.

    The RS stuff indicates that health improves in all kinds of weird ways when you put your fermentation system to use at the operating level it was designed for.

    Advocates of very low carb diets are essentially (and unknowingly I think) proposing that it is unnecessary to use an entirely bodily system (the fermentation system), despite the fact that it is large, has global effects on other systems, was put there by evolution, and is clearly not vestigial. However, it’s not like the moderate carb Paleo folks are advocating feeding the fermentation system either. Sure, you’re supposed to put bugs in the system via sauerkraut, but what are they supposed to eat once they get there, if you’re on a moderate carb diet based on cooked sweet potatoes and hot (non-parboiled) rice?

  59. Richard Nikoley on September 26, 2013 at 15:43

    Yien, Ulrik:

    You might like these two posts, the 2nd being far more developed than the first and which served as the draft for much further development for that chapter in my book.

  60. yien on September 26, 2013 at 16:06

    Thanks Richard,

    The vitamin A content always stands out to me, with these breakdowns.

    Night blindness is linked to A deficiency. The majority of the big animal kills occur at night, for the Hadza. Typically at water holes (and more often in the dry season, at night).

  61. Ulrik on September 26, 2013 at 16:46

    Yien, I should have realized something was wrong when the caribou tongue gave zero B12 – obviously tongue is rich in B12. I swapped it for lamb and updated the file.

    But this brings up another point: these databases are often incomplete and inaccurate. So it’s fine to use as a rough guideline, but shouldn’t be relied on for precision. An ancestral approach is useful cover the bases – also for nutrients not yet in the databases!

    And to bring it back to RS and prebiotics: we need to consider not only the nutrients in the food as such, but what nutrients become available after digestion and fermentation in the gut. As the saying goes: we don’t absorb food, but the nutrients that result from the digestion of the food.

  62. Charles on September 28, 2013 at 23:02

    @Gordon “The RS stuff indicates that health improves in all kinds of weird ways when you put your fermentation system to use at the operating level it was designed for.”

    Are we now thinking this is the key here? I’m still ironing things out, but the changes in my digestion, sleep, and blood glucose patterns have been significant. That makes sense if we think we have essentially activated a somewhat dormant major system. And yes, all those little probiotic guys now have something to eat.

    I just had a big Mexican meal, eating corn chips and refried beans (along with the chile verde and guac). Blood glucose 124 after meal, two hours later all the way back down to normal. That’s good for me. Just FYI, the tapioca was definitely NOT good. BG up higher than I’ve ever seen it since I started measuring, around 140-ish. Something there didn’t agree with me. And I felt totally starched-out, unlike anytime from the PS.

    Traveling next week, so I’m going to have to continue with the PS. But when I come back I’ll be trying the beans, rice, plantains route and see if the improvements continue.

    Thanks to all of you who are doing this research and compiling the N=Ones. I’m grateful.

  63. Paleophil on September 29, 2013 at 11:36

    I didn’t mean to imply that your symptoms after potato starch consumption are coincidences, and it does seem prudent to try other sources of RS for now. I empathize and just meant that there may be a different cause of your symptoms than copper. In my own experience, zinc supplementation has treated more issues than just copper overload. Zinc also helps the body produce an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase that can have many beneficial effects. Since the copper content of potato starch is negligible, maybe something else, like the solanine and chaconine, could be the source of the symptoms?

    @Charles, 140 mg/dl is decent post-meal blood glucose, especially after a carby meal. It’s apparently when it exceeds 140-160 that it starts to become a concern. While being able to keep BG below 140 would be ideal, if that’s the highest you’ve ever recorded, then your insulin sensitivity is much better than average and something to boast about.

    The tapioca flour is not supposed to be capable of raising your BG very much if at all, as it is allegedly not very digestible in the stomach or small intestine. Was the 140 BG from consuming only the tapioca flour mixed in some water, or did you eat something else with it? What was your pre-meal BG? Was the flour Bob’s Red Mill tapioca flour? If it did significantly raise your BG on its own, that will be of interest, since that would be the first report I’ve seen of a RS source raising anyone’s BG significantly.

  64. MsMcGillicuddy on October 14, 2013 at 07:03

    Somewhere last decade, I switched from a high carb/low fat diet, to a low carb/moderate fat diet and for the first time in years, experienced satiety and weight loss. I don’t believe it was the switch up in macros that really caused much of this, but rather a transition from highly processed food to minimally to no processed food.

  65. MsMcGillicuddy on October 14, 2013 at 07:16

    “structured fasts, moderate carbs, plenty of fish, veggies and meat, some honey, properly prepared legumes and dairy products, no modern grains nor industrial oils, and few refined sugars on holidays/celebrations.
    Hmmm, I think I’ll move to Crete now ”

    marie could write “The Crete Diet” and make millions…isn’t that how these diet books work? LOL

  66. Spanish Caravan on October 14, 2013 at 10:13

    Ms. M, we seem to be witnessing a new chapter in ancestral eating. There was no culture that consistently ate large portions of RS, except perhaps plantains. But that doesn’t mean RS isn’t optimal or ideal. It also didn’t take much for certain ethnic groups to become lactose tolerant (e.g., Europeans and Mongols). It only took a few generations and some people had to die.

    You can adapt to good or even better food sources. One thing I’m wondering is Vitamin K-2 rich foods. I know natto is the rage in Paleo circles. But people dont’ talk about Genoa salami and pepperoni. Cold cuts, anyone?

  67. Ggg/DrBG on November 7, 2013 at 17:40


    I kidnapped Tim ;).

    He’s wrote a post for me on RS, low carb and rectal protection. Lol



  68. yien on November 7, 2013 at 19:11

    “There was no culture that consistently ate large portions of RS”

    Do you mean, except for L2 mitochondrial ancestral populations, living within foraging range of Olduvai Gorge? You know – like birth place of humanity and near to recent out of Africa hunter gatherer heartland etc.

    Hadza consistently eat at 15-30g of RS daily.

    It is one of their most “consistent” food sources.

    It comes from a huge variety of different legumes and tubers (you know, those non-“paleo” food groups) and is also complemented by a large amount of fibrous fruit and berries (other best-to-minimise “paleo” food groups).

  69. […] And here is Nikoley responding to the pushback by the low carbers. Fun reading for the jab-the-sacred-cow tone alone […]

  70. Christoph Dollis on February 21, 2014 at 17:01

    “And I don’t give a rat’s ass about the theorized “longevity” aspects having to do with higher oxidation given higher sugar & insulin. You have to look at the entire organism, and you have to do both addition and subtraction, not just the one that suits your wild assed idea.”

    lol Priceless.

  71. Josh on December 8, 2015 at 23:04

    How long did it take after re-introducing carbs in for your FBG to drop back to the 80-90’s, Richard?

    Presumably there was a period after re-introduction where the numbers went sky high?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 9, 2015 at 08:12

      I don’t recall exactly and I didn’t do many after meal tests. No need to freak myself out.

      At any rate, it happened pretty fast and while I haven’t tested in a while, I’m pretty sure all is fine.

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