The Relative Nutritional Bankruptcy of Good Fats

There’s been a discussion in comments in my last post about the propriety of high fat diets vis-a-vis the nutritional benefit to them in terms of vitamins and minerals. Also, questioning the idea that a high fat diet is necessarily better than a relatively high starchy one. Let’s say 50%, roughly, the balance being made up by protein and carbs, or protein and fats, respectively.

Before everyone gets all antsy, I have no problem with good, natural fats. Nor cholesterol. I don’t think they are to be feared in the slightest. What I’m questioning is the propriety of lots and lots of added fat as opposed to primarily getting them from whole foods like meat, fish, fowl, offal, shellfish, eggs, whole dairy, etc. We all know the stories of people—and I’ve enthusiastically participated in the past—literally drinking heavy cream and chowing down on coconut oil and butter by the spoonfuls. What’s wrong with just modest amounts to cook with or dress a salad and then eat a wide variety of Real Foods to get the rest? Do people literally think that a diet that’s 30% of good fats from their food and the bits used to cook and dress, that they’re somehow going to be deficient in good fats? Moreover, if there’s a decent amount of starches, then the fermentable fiber is going to feed gut bacteria and produce more of the short chain fatty acids to boot.

So let’s do an experiment. I ran some FitDay numbers for 954 kkcal of various fats alone, and then 930 kcal of various starches alone. All of these can be clicked to get the larger size so you can read them.

Coconut oil, olive oil, butter & lard. Note it’s 108 grams of fat and literally nothing else in terms of energy or macronutrients, unless you call 2/10ths of a gram of protein “something.”

Fat Quantities
Fat Quantities

While the nutrition profile is not literally nothing, it sure ain’t much. 10 of the 21 nutrients are zero and most of the rest are 1-2%—and the only three above 2% are all fat soluble vitamins (no surprise). That’s one hell of a lot of energy to take in to get 22% of A, 4% of D, and 33% of E. There’s got to be a better way: like meat & offal for A, getting out in the sun for D plus supplementation, and some nuts, olives, herbs & spinach for E.

Fat Nutrition
Fat Nutrition

Potatoes, black beans, carrots, banana, rice and peas. Roughly the same total calories (24 kcal less), but you also get 5.6g fat and 31.1g protein. Note also that this is only about 200g of carbs, not a “high carb diet” by any means.

Starch Quantities
Starch Quantities

I’m not even going to calculate out the averages because it’s so close to a divide by zero deal that it’s safe to say that this collection of foods is on the order of hundreds of percent more nutritious.

Starch Nutrition
Starch Nutrition

Let me make another point. All of this chowing down on isolated, processed fats, given the nutrition profile, is reminiscent of something else. How often do we mock sugar-water drinkers for making EMPTY CALORIES such an important percentage of their diet? Isolated fat eaten like that is the sugar water of the LC and to some extent, paleo movements.

Remember, nothing wrong with getting your fat but I think it’s plain to see that you want to get it in the foods you eat, from Real Foods. To my mind, LCers and Paleos who pour on the added fat—often in order to avoid eating carbs, because you can’t eat that much protein and vegetables—suffer from the same problem as the vegans who exclude all animal sources. They are both substituting the stuff of far higher nutrition for much lower nutrition. In the case of the vegans, they forego the most nutritionally dense by far (animals) for roughly what you see above. In the case of the fat gobblers, they are foregoing the nutrition you see right above for almost nothing.

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  1. Christopher Sturdy on September 10, 2013 at 15:23

    I tend to agree. My diet is still high in fats (about 50% of calories), but fewer and fewer of them are added. There are just in the food (eggs, avocados, fish, meat). Cream or coconut oil in my coffee, some olive oil on my salad, and coconut oil, butter, or ghee on vegetables (including potatoes etc.) is about the extent of it. I have fiddled around with Bulletproof Coffee, and it is tasty, but I’d rather eat breakfast if I am hungry, or if not, just have a coffee with some heavy cream or coconut milk.

  2. Chris Sturdy on September 10, 2013 at 17:06

    It IS easy to get a lot. I am quite OCD about only adding enough to make the taste optimal. My 50 mL coffee made with a pour over takes 2-3 tbsp of 32% cream (I make it strong). Any less, and it’s too strong, any more, and it’s too creamy. Same for salads and EVOO, veggies and butter etc.

  3. Richard Nikoley on September 10, 2013 at 16:02


    Yea, that sounds about right. One thing, though. It’s pretty easy to get quite a lot. I was pretty surprised that just 4 oz, 1/2 cup = 954 kcal. Hell, I often see people—and I’ve done it too—put that much blue cheese dressing on a single salad.

    Accordingly, I’m going to be mindful of that and perhaps shoot for no more than 2 oz in added fats on already existing meals.

  4. Lucy on September 10, 2013 at 16:23

    ‘fat is good, fat is good’ was my mantra for a while (after i started eating my bacon, fat and all, and licking the plate afterwards). Which is an idea I got from you a while ago, Richard!

    Quite liked all that lovely cream and knobs of melted butter, for a while…

    It helped me transition.

    But then i slowly eased off on the extra added fat just for the sake of adding fat. I just lost my taste for it. Am glad your research suggests I’m doing the right thing.

    Thanks for the research, and the ideas.

  5. Ed R. on September 10, 2013 at 17:03

    It’s beginning to look as if the WAPF way of eating or the Mediterranean diet modified to exclude wheat and most grains may be pretty good after all.

  6. Richard Nikoley on September 10, 2013 at 17:15

    Yep Ed

    I’ve always been pro WAPF with the exception of the grains, sugar, honey (excessive), as well as such emphasis on baking things. OTOH, if you are going to do those things, do it WAPF style.

  7. Lute on September 10, 2013 at 17:51

    I guess my lack of eating extra fat, other than what comes in the food I eat, I was doing it right all along. I lost my weight and have kept it off for a out 3-4 years now. I still drink a couple bottles of light beer a day. Probably would loose mor weight if I dropped the beer. But, what the hell, at 75 you’ve got to have something you enjoy. My any kind of grain foods is probably about 5% of my diet.

  8. BigRob on September 11, 2013 at 09:26

    I agree with you more and more nutritionally Richard. I see the value in VLC as a medical thing for the very obese to kick start them on their way to health, but I think it is important for them to turn to the way of eating that your advocating down the line.

    My question has to do with the timing of these macros. When should we be eating 200 g of carbs? Should we just eat them all together three times a day or should we do as Borge Fagerli advocates and start with fats and protein in the morning (no carbs early) and then after the middle of the day begin eating low fat, and carbs with protein.

    He also advocates eating a lower amount of protein than most people think they need. He has a pretty compelling argument as to why it is not necessary to eat 200 plus grams of protein to gain muscle.

  9. Carlos on September 10, 2013 at 19:37

    Nutrient density can not indicate if a food will have a positive or negative affect on an individual’s health.

    Although the first group all have low nutrient density their possible positive affect on health shouldn’t be discarded.

  10. Richard Nikoley on September 10, 2013 at 20:09

    Carlos, neither does energy density.

    This is not an anti fat post, yet still many will see it that way and go lalala when confronted with plain facts. Nutrients are essential, so it’s not altogether smart in my book to eschew good nutrition in favor of eating excess energy from poor sources of nutrition.

  11. Ron on September 10, 2013 at 21:26

    What about those of us who don’t skim on protein calories, but do eat gobs of coconut oil? Seems to me that there can be a happy medium allowing one to have his “cake” & eat it too. I don’t avoid starches (potatoes/rice), but could stand to eat a few more veggies. Bottom line, I’m LC, but believe I get adequate nutrients despite all the good fat (roughly 60% of calories)… eating approx. 3200-4000 cal./day. I see where you’re going with this, but believe that some people can do alright with a lot of fat. P.S. I’m in the 4th month of my experiment with potato starch, which is no longer an experiment.

  12. Eric Thurston on September 10, 2013 at 22:05

    There are also those of us who are trying to use a high fat diet as therapy for a neuro-degenerative condition such as Parkinson’s. There is evidence that a ketogenic diet can at least mitigate some of the worst symptoms of Parkinson’s or Alzheimers. It is a difficult diet to maintain, especially if one’s partner is eating a more ‘normal’ diet.

  13. EatLessMoveMoore on September 11, 2013 at 12:54

    Jimmy Moore to be on the 700 Club – .

    As in, Pat Robertson.

    And the greater Paleosphere is STILL afraid to criticize this guy??

  14. Raphael S on September 11, 2013 at 01:50

    ‘Fat gobblers’ should replace excessive fat intake with whole foods – agreed.
    [Come to think of it, I haven’t met anyone fitting this description…I’m sure they’re out there, but they hide pretty damn well.]

    Question is: are they better off replacing part of their isolated fat intake with mostly starches or veggies? (assuming our ‘better option’ yardstick factors in total nutrient density per calorie a diversity score out of ~21 or something)

  15. Ash Simmonds on September 11, 2013 at 04:19

    The dumb part of it all is that people are focussing on micronutrients, and obsessing about a given food source providing such and such.

    If all we cared about were micronutrients then we would all just eat liver all day.

    If you are deficient for some reason then sure micronutrients are important to consider – otherwise if you’re just eating a natural food diet with as few neolithic confounders then micro’s are largely irrelevant.

    All the other BS about macros and whatnot is mostly pointless, just aim for low human interference.

  16. lee on September 11, 2013 at 04:47

    I was eating neat butter and clotted/heavy cream for a while when I was first on LCHF but I find eating isolated fats not even slightly satiating and was packing on body fat (yes, even with vitrually no carbs). So gradually I transitioned to mostly veggies, eggs and meat with whatever fat it happens to have on it. Overall, it seems to be far more satisfying. Kefir & salt on salads & veggies is very good and improves the eating experience without covering them in butter.

  17. Raphael S on September 11, 2013 at 05:16

    @ Ash SImmonds
    The fact that humans respond differently to different macros cannot, by definition, make that discussion BS – as the shift in macros usually entails a shift in quantity and/or type of micronutrient as well.

    Yes, a generalised non-neolithic diet should make us micronutrient sufficient.
    Opportunity cost of eating liver every day would mean forgoing other nutrients and not taking advantage of seasonal eating. The most nutrient rich items aren’t “the best” but simply particularly advantageous to include.

  18. Matthew on September 11, 2013 at 05:32

    Just wanted to chime in that a teaspoon or so of wild honey (raw) a day is most likely net positive in terms of health.

    I’m definitely one for nutritional density, but there’s also a lot to be said for the various chemicals, proteins, and enzymes found in whole foods (as you know Richard).

    Like milk, honey is a concentrated whole food source, albeit for a slight less “advanced” organism.

  19. La Frite on September 11, 2013 at 07:17

    I am 100% agreeing with the article. Never thought the high fat diet was really interesting. As a French, a ketosis diet is just too boring … but maybe I am not creative enough without 1000’s of different ingredients borrowing from the whole spectrum of real foods …

  20. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 07:34

    Ha, La Frite.

    That is so French. What with the cheese, butter, cafe au lait made with whole milk, wonderful dijon vinaigrette on butter lettuce (I make it all the time and tastes just the same as when I lived there), pate, and on and on, the French diet is a pretty high fat diet, but it’s preponderantly from the foods or, in conjunction with the foods.

    Most really good foods are pretty high in fat, excepting things like oysters and such. My point is: ca suffice!

  21. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 07:40


    Why not both? What’s wrong with, in general, a protein, a vegetable and a starch? I have no prob with low to moderate added fat (pat of butter, dollop of sour cream, etc). OTOH, perhaps if you’re eating real fatty protein, like ribs, you ease up on the added fat.

    This just makes sense to me. An HG would have never cared about this, but they didn’t have access to food 24/7. The often touted preference for fat makes sense in the context of their lives. It doesn’t in ours, at least not all the time and as a complete lifestyle.

    I reiterate that I am in no way even talking a preference for “lean meats.” Not at all. Eat all the fatty cuts you want, just be sensible about adding unlimited fats (butter, cheese, olive oil, a whole avocado on literally every plate, etc.)

  22. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 07:43

    “There are also those of us who are trying to use a high fat diet as therapy for a neuro-degenerative condition such as Parkinson’s. There is evidence that a ketogenic diet can at least mitigate some of the worst symptoms of Parkinson’s or Alzheimers. It is a difficult diet to maintain, especially if one’s partner is eating a more ‘normal’ diet.”

    Sure, but since when does a therapeutic measure for a serious medical condition mean that’s the optimal path as a long term health or prophylactic measure?

  23. Monique on September 11, 2013 at 08:03

    What a great wake up call! Numbers always speak to me. I try to prioritize nutritionally dense foods over empty calories, without being dogmatic about it — for example, Japanese food is my favourite cuisine, and you will have to pry the sushi rice out of my cold, dead hands. However, I’ve been allowing myself to eat ALL THE FAT for the last several months and what do you know? I’ve put on seven or eight pounds. When I was using fat as a condiment or consuming it via whole foods, my weight was not an issue. Back to basics!

    I’ve never commented before, but I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely — whatever the topic of the day — for the last three years (I’m shy and don’t generally comment where I read). But I have to thank you so much for all that you do here. Your writing has kept me on an experimental path with food (now with RS!) and from demonizing carbs, amongst other things. And now, from overdoing the fat.

  24. John on September 11, 2013 at 08:03

    I read a while back that when people are rescued from a state where they forced into a situation of semi-starvation (like prisoners of war and such), and are offered a choice of foods to eat, buffet style, they will devour all the fats first (like butter, salad dressing, fatty cuts of meat) first, before eating anything else. If true, it makes sense that when someone goes paleo or low carb, they might go a little nuts on the fat too. I remember doing that myself, and loving it. But it did get to a point where the added fat was just too much. I don’t think I’ve wanted bacon in the past year, and I think I’d much rather eat a potato at this point (in the context of a real food diet, of course).

  25. David Brown on September 11, 2013 at 08:05

    I’ve been consuming between 2 and 3 pounds of cheap, pale butter weekly for decades. It’s a major source of energy for me. Mostly, I put lots of it in sandwiches and on veggies. Haven’t noticed any ill effects. We have a 22-year old sedentary Down’s syndrome son. We make sure he gets plenty of butter also. Seems to keep him lean and muscular.

  26. LeonRover on September 11, 2013 at 08:33

    Well Matthew,

    I guess like Mark, Luke John & Moishe, you believe in “a Land flowing with Milk and Honey”.

    Myself, I’ve been Searching for mah Sugar:


  27. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 08:47


    It might interest you that so far this morning, an email from a woman living in France, then a comment by La Frite…French. And now a Monique.

    What’s going on? :)

    Thanks for the kind words.

  28. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 08:55


    I almost never eat bacon anymore and used to devour it by the pound. No matter what, it tastes like I’m eating pure salt, now. As bits in a salad, or sprinkled on something, fine (and I add no additional salt).


    Different strokes and I would guess that with the protein solids and such, butter is one of the better nutritional sources of added fat, especially if raw. There’s no doubt that replacing added fat with protein (add fat, less meat = “nutritional ketosis” if carbs are low enough) will keep one lean. But I do question the propriety of that because it’s eating processed, not whole foods and there’s no way around that fact.

    I should note that since I consume dairy primarily in its whole form—whole milk—I eat almost no cheese (processed food) and butter (processed food). Takes me 2 weeks to go through a single cube of Kereygold, primarily for cooking operations.

  29. Eric Thurston on September 11, 2013 at 09:13

    “There are also those of us who are trying to use a high fat diet as therapy for a neuro-degenerative condition such as Parkinson’s. There is evidence that a ketogenic diet can at least mitigate some of the worst symptoms of Parkinson’s or Alzheimers. It is a difficult diet to maintain, especially if one’s partner is eating a more ‘normal’ diet.”

    “Sure, but since when does a therapeutic measure for a serious medical condition mean that’s the optimal path as a long term health or prophylactic measure?”

    I’m not sure how you get this out of my post?? I am in no way implying that a ketogenic diet or possibly a hyper-ketogenic diet is an optimal path for a long term health or prophylactic measure. I’m well aware that doing a ketogenic diet may have nutritional pitfalls that have to be watched out for. It’s just that this diet may involve packing on extra fats to reach a state of ketosis that works as therapy.

  30. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 09:28


    Fair enough. Please see Part 1 of my post on the Tatertot and Marie N=2 collaboration up later today.


    I’ll bet you’re not as big as you used to be. :)

  31. Raphael S on September 11, 2013 at 09:42

    @Richard Nikoley

    Richard, could you clarify this for me – is the RS you say can be found (for example) in cooked potatoes that have been cooled (to room temp I’m guessing) essentially ‘normal’ starch that ends up in some fibrous form? And that what we are getting from it is actually its fermented by products, not the RS itself?

    Regarding you’re “Why not both?” comment…You COULD argue for equal inclusion of both being better (not a hard case to make) – but my question was comparing the advantages of starches over veggies (or vice-versa)…again not saying that’s the only choice but the question still stands.


  32. Tatertot on September 11, 2013 at 09:42

    When I was deployed to Kyrgyzstan in 2003, I took my mid-tour R&R leave to go hunting for Ibex and Marco Polo sheep in the nearby mountains with a group of local hunting guides who claimed to be direct descendants of Ghengis Khan. They certainly fit the profile of fit, healthy Mongolian mountain men…we could not come close to keeping up with them!

    While we were eating our MREs, they had black tea for breakfast, lunch of pure lard–about 1 pound each, and dinner after a full day in the mountains was boiled potatoes, maybe 4 oz of really tough boiled meat, some raw onion, thick dark bread, and tea with more cream and sugar than tea.

    We smugly ate our military rations complete with brownies for dessert feeling very glad we didn’t have to eat what those poor schmucks were eating…

  33. Raphael S on September 11, 2013 at 09:52


    You describe people who are:
    everything but sedentary
    breath clean air (I’m guessing?)
    are in the sun all year round
    and likely expend a significant amount of energy simply going about daily activities (even compared to the most dedicated die-hard Paleo groupie)
    (maybe) hasn’t been ‘scarred’ metabolically by any type of SAD/Western diet

    THIS situation seems much more accommodating for some boiled potatoes FOLLOWING some degree of substantial muscle & liver glycogen depletion.

    Pretty much everyone I know (born in France, lived in Milan, London and Amsterdam) does certainly not fit these parameters. Maybe discussing starch intake cannot be unhelpful unless a specific context is being kept in mind…it seems to me we already know those starches are more problematic than not for most pre-diabetics, overweights etc.

  34. CatherineAkaCate on September 11, 2013 at 10:00

    My Marine claims they ate lots of local fat almost the entire time on tour #5 (was there in a special ops unit)
    He is about 8% body fat and lost eighteen pounds on The Invasion, eating MREs. More and more they carry tuna in foil packs and drink the oil and avoid the MREs. In Iraq they ate lots of lamb tallow. The worst food award goes to the Georgians who throw all rations in a pot of water and make gulash.
    Anyway, the point is this guys are eating very LCHF, probably because the often eat 1-2 times per day.

  35. Raphael S on September 11, 2013 at 10:13


    PS: got your “Presence of Inulin and Oligofructose in the Diets of Americans1” paper opened in my browser – will make a point to get to it by tomorrow :)

  36. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 10:26


    I’ll bet they didn’t know shit about nutrition, glucose, insulin, macros, LC or anything. They just went with what worked for them.

    I tried to climb Half Dome in Yosemite once on nothing but fat, and I was VLC adapted over some months. It’s about an 5k ascent from the valley floor, something like 8 miles up. Fell flat on my face (figuratively), got leg cramps, had to turn back about 3/4 of the way up.

    The next year I did it on baloney and PBJ sandwiches, and zoomed right up like no tomorrow.

  37. CatherineAkaCate on September 11, 2013 at 10:34

    Actually, now that I ponder this high fat-ness, I realize that when I was in Jordan at the camp a few months back, I ate VERY high fat and one of my main reasons was that I did not have to worry about feeding every time I turned around. Let’s face it, eating carbs can be very inconvenient, time-wise.
    If I can get my hands on some fatty lamb chops, I can easily eat once a day. In certain real life situations, keeping feeding and elimination minimized trumps everything. (sanitation, stress, time)
    Tweaking micronutrients is definitely a first world order ‘problem’ fwiw.

  38. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 10:35


    Cooked & cooled potatoes are retrograde RS. That is, cooking destroys most of the natural RS, like you get in potato starch that’s extracted from raw taters. Cooling and especially freezing (this works for cooked beans, too, and even better) somehow (don’t ask me, no idea of the process) “reforms” a type of RS that’s probably lower in quality and efficacy, but manages to get to the colon.

    Eventually, we’ll have RS purists vs. those who think retrograde is enough, and we’ll be citing studies on how far down the colon it can get before being consumed by our many friends and a few enemies. :)

  39. Kayumochi on September 11, 2013 at 10:48

    If John Harvey Kellogg were still alive and reading this blog he would add PS to his yogurt enemas for all his patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

  40. BigRob on September 11, 2013 at 11:06


    I would be interested in finding out how many of these cultures skip breakfast like these men did. Sounds a lot like the warrior diet. Ghenghis Khan indeed.

  41. tatertot on September 11, 2013 at 11:37

    @BigRob – When they saw our disgust with their lard lunches, they laughed and made a gesture with their forearm that indicated they believed lard made the virile–if that makes sense. They also made the same gesture when offering us vodka. It was as if they were saying, ‘eat this stuff and you will have a constant woody’. Probably similar to my grandpa saying, ‘puts hairs on your chest!’ when drinking whiskey or eating brains.

    Skipping breakfast was very foreign to me. Now, I realize that everything they did was healthier than everything I was doing back then. I wonder, too, who commonly skips breakfast. I feel great all morning just having a black coffee at 7, a big dump at 730, a long walk and a bunch of pullups at 11 and lunch at noon. [I’m making the universal phallic forearm gesture right now]

  42. tatertot on September 11, 2013 at 11:42

    @Kayumochi – you are not so far off:

    Methods “Hi-maize 260” which is naturally high in resistant starch and is optimally fermented to n-butyrate in the colon1 was formulated into 2.0 g suppositories with a binding agent of cocoa butter. Patients were selected on symptoms (blood stained discharge, or anorectal discomfort) for treatment. Suppositories were used on alternative nights for 14 days. Colonoscopic examination of the rectum was performed before and 6 days after completion of treatment.

    Results “Hi-maize 260” produces a concentration of 20.3 mmol of butyrate in the colon. The diverted rectum of three patients showed severe macroscopic proctitis and mucosal appearances returned to normal after 2 weeks treatment. Long term recovery was not assessed as two patients had the diversion reversed.

    Conclusion Dietary fibre suppositories are a convenient treatment for diversion colitis. The healing capacity of fermentable fibre should enable distinction between diversion colitis and ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease in a diverted rectum where further reconnection or proctectomy might be contemplated.”

  43. La Frite on September 11, 2013 at 11:47


    Ah mais non! I did not say low fat diet is better!!! i said ketosis diet: 80% or more fat … no thanks! I like things like:

    – truffade
    – cassoulet
    – gratin dauphinois
    – and OMG! wheat alert: Tarte Normande … have you ever tasted a real one ??

    This is high good fat and high good carb (except the wheat, de la merde oui, mais goutue! :D)

    Bon, ça suffit ;)

  44. Raphael S on September 11, 2013 at 11:55

    @Richard Nikoley

    Ah thanks for that! I think a lot people may assume that what you’re saying boils down to “eat more potatoes and tapioca starch and beans” when (as i understand it now) you seem to be saying “with minimim processing of these otherwise ‘not GREAT’ foods you can extract substantial plasma BG lowering effects [and f*ck anti-nutrient, lectin, phytates babble..]

    Those things are clearly very different. Hopefully the discussion will be steered precisely towards processed (for lack of a better word…retrograde?) RS effects and not high or low carb discussions usually had when discussing normal potatoes and beans consumption

    Im your other frenchy in the comments today :) (i say this out of solidarity, not pride! Same for my ITA or UK heritage hehe)


  46. Kayumochi on September 11, 2013 at 13:35

    Robertson is a crook and liar with Liberian gold mines in the name of Jesus yet … can easily imagine that thousands of his suckers could stand to lose a few pounds and get healthy so Moore would be doing some good …

  47. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 13:54

    “Tweaking micronutrients is definitely a first world order ‘problem’ fwiw.”

    Easy to say after a stint in Jordan. Glad you got enlightened.

    But I love it. I absolutely knew that this post would smoke out discounting of vitamins and minerals in whole food for a preference of refined, isolated fat. So, thanks.

  48. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 14:04

    “Bon, ça suffit”

    Yep. That’ll be about enough out of you, grenouille.

    Now I have too many dishes to make over time.

  49. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 14:10

    “Ah thanks for that! I think a lot people may assume that what you’re saying boils down to “eat more potatoes and tapioca starch and beans” when (as i understand it now) you seem to be saying “with minimim processing of these otherwise ‘not GREAT’ foods you can extract substantial plasma BG lowering effects [and f*ck anti-nutrient, lectin, phytates babble..]”

    Yea, kinda. Go somewhat WAPF, dump the baking goodies shit (just like ignore 50% of the Victory Belt books about “Paleo Treats”)

    Like I always say: I pretty much hate everybody.

  50. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 14:52


    Do you ever have ANYTHING else?

    You’re just a fucking bore. Does anyone ever invite you to dinner, or anything?

  51. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 15:27

    “If John Harvey Kellogg were still alive and reading this blog he would add PS to his yogurt enemas for all his patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.”


  52. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 15:31

    “so Moore would be doing some good …”

    Don’t fuck with the ELMM, the last M being Moore.

    He’s like your neighbor being obsessed with stuff you do he doesn’t like, discounting the fact he chose to live in a neighborhood.

    I completely dismissed ELMM as a single minded bore months ago.

  53. EatLessMoveMoore on September 11, 2013 at 16:47

    Take whatever stance you want, Richard, but until Paleo/LC cleans its own house it will forever be relegated to the fringes.

  54. Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2013 at 21:37

    “until Paleo/LC cleans its own house it will forever be relegated to the fringes.”

    You do crack me up. That’s why I keep you around.

  55. EatLessMoveMoore on September 11, 2013 at 22:07

    Point taken, I suppose. But rather than attacking me, why not deal with what I’m actually saying? Which is (as it’s always been, more or less): Why the magic aura of protection around this stooge? Even Kruse was eventually called out and cast aside. Could it possibly be because he’s helping too many make too much money?

  56. Raphael S on September 12, 2013 at 03:41

    Getting ‘the word out’ about Paleo,/Primal/WAPF, LC, whole foods, cholesterol ‘skepticism’ etc. to a massive audience is a GOOD THING, undoubtedly.

    Doing so in a disingenuous, amateurish, profit-seeking manner, OBVIOUSLY NOT.

    My guess is Jimmy Moore will do more of the GOOD THING than the BAD. Hopefully…

    I can find him many faults, no doubt – but I’m still glad to have Jimmy Moore’s presence in the health & fitness scene.
    As far as my faulty human-emotion detector can sense, he seems like a genuine person with a decent understanding of his own limitations regarding his knowledge on this highly complex topic of health. That isn’t worth nothing in my book…

  57. Dina on September 12, 2013 at 04:38

    So much info, feel like my head is going to explode. Thanks for this article because i’ve always been scared and conscious of fat in food and the cooking. There’s a wealth of good information here, thanks again.

  58. Joshua on September 12, 2013 at 06:26

    I think the difference between Moore and Kruse is that Moore seems like a genuinely nice guy. Kruse is just pure huckster and a pathological liar. Jimmy may be a little bit dumber than Kruse, but I’ll not hold that against him. Moore is obviously not very picky about whom he associates with, but given the vast number of people he’s interviewed/been interviewed by, I can’t fault him a few rotten apples.

    Besides, I’m not a guilt by association kinda guy. I am an individualist and I judge a person on his own merits. The only things I can shake my head at Jimmy for are the times he has changed his past writings in a non-transparent manner and his religiosity. Also, the steak=chocolate cake thing, while accurate wrt their effects on ketosis, was absurd.

  59. Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2013 at 06:53


    Why should I care about the money he makes others? He doesn’t make me a dime…oh, unless someone happens to pick up his book with my Amazon affiliate cookie in their browser. Might be good for a coupla bucks there.

    I do call Jimmy out. See my second to last post, then go see our Twitter exchange yesterday afternoon over it. I just don’t see the need to attack him personally, which is what you really want me to do.

  60. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 08:45

    This turned out much longer than I intended so I’m breaking it up into multiple posts…

    First, I want to say that I agree with the basic point that Richard is making here. Those starchy foods in his graph are of benefit and should not be avoided or feared as the LC crowd does. You can’t argue that those vitamins and minerals are not beneficial nutrients, or that those “processed” fats are low in those same nutrients. And even though Richard is not trying to say that (fats are bad, so don’t eat those things), I think some people will quickly read the article, see those two graphs, and make a leap in judgement without thinking things through. An example is @Monique’s comment…

    ‘What a great wake up call! Numbers always speak to me. I try to prioritize nutritionally dense foods over empty calories’

    You cannot make the claim that those fats are empty calories (not nutrient dense) just because they have low quantities of THOSE particular nutrients listed in the graph. The reason is because, that list of nutrients is FAR from complete. The only thing that can be said about those nutrients is that they are important, and the USDA has a bias towards their importance largely based on past science and common diseases of past decades, if not hundreds of years.

    There are a couple of main subjects being discussed here that go me thinking with a broader view, if a bit out of the box. Lets see what other people think…

    These two subjects are about “nutrients” and “processed foods”…

  61. Raphael S on September 12, 2013 at 08:53

    must’ve missed the steak=chocolate cake thing…

    Jimmy has had all manner of guests on, good on him and good for us!

    Haven’t read/heard enough of Kruse to be sure of anything about him but he certainly does have knack of putting himself verrryyy far apart from how things are usually explained (it’s too damn thick yo!)

  62. Raphael S on September 12, 2013 at 09:00

    I essentially agree with Brad’s point regarding those supposed empty calories (from isolated fat) without specifying context. Our body needs energy and specific nutrients = fat is simply 1 side of that equation (energy, duh!)

  63. Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2013 at 09:00

    “You cannot make the claim that those fats are empty calories (not nutrient dense) just because they have low quantities of THOSE particular nutrients listed in the graph. The reason is because, that list of nutrients is FAR from complete. The only thing that can be said about those nutrients is that they are important, and the USDA has a bias towards their importance largely based on past science and common diseases of past decades, if not hundreds of years.”

    That’s fair enough. Hopefully one day, we’ll have a far larger spectrum of the entire known nutrient range, including thousands of phytonutrients, different fatty acids, etc. Note to database developers: make your data tables very, very wide; not just wide enough to accommodate a column for all the known ones.

    Are we on roughly the same page, now?

  64. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 09:00

    Part 2 – There’s no such thing as a nutrient.

    So, what is a “nutrient”? The USDA would have us believe they are only, or mostly, or most importantly, vitamins and minerals. I think what some people are referring to them as micronutrients. The USDA/FDA have acknowledged other categories of nutrients that are important for good health, and even *essential* for life, like (essential fatty acids) and (essential amino acids). Yet these are not included in the USDA nutrient database? I find this puzzling. Maybe the reason is because of their relative abundance in the food supply? The are everywhere after all, so why worry about them? Or put another way, the lack of abundance of these micronutrients in the food supply, or the average SAD eater, and a difficiency in some can lead to disease or diminished health, so these are the things we should focus on.

    Back to Nutrients. These terms “vitamin”, “mineral”, “fatty acid”, “amino acid”… they are all just labels for a group of similar chemical compounds/molecules. The word Vitamin comes from “vital amine” which translates to a group of molecules that have a beneficial effect on some biological process in the body. Same with the “minerals” in that USDA list. “Mineral” is another term for a group of molecules that have been shown to have a beneficial effect on health, either necessary or life (you’d die without it), avoiding some disease, or just improving one’s health. Their chemical makeup differs as a group from that of Vitamins and so the get a different label. This same thing applies to the terms “amino acids” (proteins) and “fatty acids” (fat). They are just another label for a group of molecules. In each of these groups, there is a sliding scale of importance to beneficial, health promoting, biological processes in the body. Some are VITAL, some beneficial, others not so much, and some can even be harmful. The latter have labels “anti-vitamin”, “anti-nutrient”, etc.

    One way to think about this is to say – There is no such thing as a nutrient, because it’s all nutrients.
    An eggagerated example is water. Water has no “nutrients” or even calories for that matter. Obviously it’s vital for biologic processes in the body. But water is not considered a nutrient.

    Now, let’s look at the primary constituents of fat, even highly processed and filtered fat…

    Myristoleic acid
    Palmitoleic acid
    Sapienic acid
    Oleic acid
    Elaidic acid
    Vaccenic acid
    Linoleic acid
    Linoelaidic acid
    α-Linolenic acid
    Arachidonic acid
    Eicosapentaenoic acid
    Erucic acid
    Docosahexaenoic acid
    Caprylic acid
    Capric acid
    Lauric acid
    Myristic acid
    Palmitic acid
    Stearic acid
    Arachidic acid
    Behenic acid
    Lignoceric acid
    Cerotic acid

    How many of these fatty acids have been PROVEN ESSENTIAL for life? Answer: Lots.
    And how many others are required in biologic processes that are benefical to the body allowing one to thrive? Lots.
    How many of these are listed in the USDA DB as a nutrient? Ahem, Ya feel me?
    The same can be said about amino acids. Hell, even the nutrient de jour for us Animals have focused so much on lately, resistant starch, is not considered important to the USDA.

    Every year, if not every month or week, new studies come out delving into the importance of many of these other nutrients…anti-oxidants,
    fatty acids, prebiotics, probiotics and other micronutrients, and their importance to a thriving human – slowing age related degeration, bones, teeth, connective tissues,
    reducing the risk of cancer or some other disease. Yes we know some of those USDA defined nutrients are important for the same reasons. But it’s difficult
    to argue, and kinda pointless, to say what’s more important, avoiding scurvy, rickets, alzheimers, CVD, or cancer?

    Arguing for a more varied diet of “real foods”, Richard made the comment that “we still don’t know” a lot of things about nutrition, and I agree.
    So eating various NUTRIENT DENSE healty fats, should be a part of everyone’s diet, the same as healthy carbs and proteins.

    That doesn’t meant you should become a fat gobbler any more than you should be chowing down on hundreds of grams of carbs that are high in some nutrients at the expense of others. Sing along with me…!

    Hat tip to Kurt Harris MD. His article “There’s no such thing as a macronutrient” got me thinking in this less myopic way.


  65. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 09:15

    Part 2a… bumped into this but can’t find the source/link. This supports the “we don’t now” thing. Primarily his comment “We can only measure what we can measure, we can only know what we know at any given time.”

    — excerpt —

    So what has the history of vitamins taught us?

    It pays to avoid the tunnel vision that has often dismissed the value of vitamins. A hundred years ago, no one knew what vitamins were. Now we do. Fifty years ago, the Shutes were castigated for using vitamin E to treat heart disease. Today, most cardiologists are astonished at its effectiveness. Ten 10 years ago, everyone thought beta-carotene was the cat’s meow, and no one thought about how other carotenoids might benefit health. Since then, we learned that alpha-carotene, lycopene, and lutein are also important nutrients. We can only measure what we can measure, we can only know what we know at any given time.

    When the first vitamins were discovered, no one had any concept of DNA or the genetic code. Today, we have a respectable but still incomplete understanding the important nutrients in foods, and smart researchers are less inclined to dismiss nutrients they don’t yet know much about. As for physicians, Pauling once told me, “If a doctor isn’t up on something, he’s down on it.” These were profound words from a wise man. To recognize the potential of nutritional medicine, you have to stay “up” on the research and sometimes use a little imagination.

    The future of nutritional medicine holds wondrous possibilities. The vast amount of research and the clinical experiences of many able researchers and physicians demonstrate this. Our view and vision of nutrition may be limited by what we know today, but we should leave the door open for what we have not yet discovered.

    By convention, the term vitamin includes neither other
    The term “essential nutrients” includes vitamins, minerals, as well as essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids.
    This term “nutrients” also includes a large number of other things that promote health but are otherwise required less often.
    Things like, CoQ10, squalene, phytosterols, flavonoids, phenolic acids, glycolipids, corotenoids, and other anti-oxidants.

  66. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 09:18

    part 2c – just to mention a couple that sprang to mind, even without talking about the fatty acids…

    Red Palm Oil:
    All eight forms of vitamin E – 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols.
    * Tocotrienols have up to 60 times the antioxidant activity of the ordinary and more common tocopherol vitamin E found in almonds and other foods.
    high levels of vitamin A, alpha- and beta-carotene
    * fifteen times the beta-carotene content of a carrot and 300 times that of a tomato.
    * Carotenes require fat for conversion into vitamin A. Remember that next time you eat a carrot.
    lycopene, and at least 20 other carotenes

    Cod Liver Oil – 1 tsp
    888 mg Omega-3 EFA
    Vitamin A 90% DV
    Vitamin D 113% DV

  67. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 09:26

    btw, sorry for all they typo’s :)

  68. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 09:44

    That 2A excerpt came from the concluding paragraph of this “Past Present and Future of Vitamins” 1997 by Jack Challem, The Nutrition Reporter™.

    It begins…

    “Through the ages, our views and vision of nutrition have too often been limited by what we knew, rather than by the limitless bounds of possibility and imagination. At nearly every milestone in vitamin research, scientists have assumed they’ve reached the pinnacle of knowledge, only to later realize that new discoveries force a revision of older beliefs. The lesson? Never close the door on the future.”

  69. Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2013 at 09:58

    “it’s too damn thick yo!”

    Did you just out yourself as a Breaking Bad fan?

  70. Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2013 at 10:33

    Brad, on 2a I think.

    This is why I say that since we don’t know, just eat as wide a variety of all real food you can access. That is truly caveman and migratory, all in one, since a huge part of our evolution is our migration to equator, arctic, from sea level to 16,000 ft.

    Just eat a lot of different kinds of real food and stop reading blogs. Relax. :)

  71. Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2013 at 10:36

    It was Erwan Le Core at the MovNat week were I learned the awesomeness of red palm oil as a condiment on just about everything: scrambled eggs, meat, fish, salads with a wedge of lemon squeeze. Totally unlike any fat you’ve ever tasted. Coconut oil is its bitch stepdaughter.

    Get some.

  72. Merr on September 12, 2013 at 10:54

    “This is why I say that since we don’t know, just eat as wide a variety of all real food you can access. That is truly caveman and migratory, all in one, since a huge part of our evolution is our migration to equator, arctic, from sea level to 16,000 ft.

    Just eat a lot of different kinds of real food and stop reading blogs.”

    You may be right but the jury is definitely out.

    Art Ayres recently wrote:

    “The hundred of different species of bacteria in the gut change in proportions to adapt to different foods in each meal. If the diet is fairly constant, then the diversity of the population gradually increases, just as the diversity of species in a tropical rain forest is greater than in a temperate forest. This also explains why gut flora diversity is far less in the USA than in other parts of the world. Americans are encouraged to eat diverse diets in the search for vitamins and superfoods. Each dramatic change in diet makes it hard for the gut flora to adapt and the remaining bacteria are those that are generalists. ”

    I don’t know that Americans eat diverse diets relative to other countries but the point remains that maybe we function best by eating a small number of real foods rather than diverse. Maybe something as simple as 2 TBL of potato starch can mimic a redundant diet. Who knows?

  73. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 11:01

    Stop reading blogs, wtf? That’s like telling Tatertot to stop talking about RS. If I did that, I’d have to wait years to learn about things like RS and parboiled rice from Dr. Oz when it will be his latest “new miracle food discovery!” such as RPO just was. Anyway, I don’t watch TV, so…

    CCO is bitch stepdaughter :-) heh, good one. I agree and just recently started including RPO in my diet. It’s a bitch dragging that IV drip stand around the house though.

  74. Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2013 at 11:27

    Laf, Brad. You’re getting the hang of it round these parts.

  75. Brad on September 12, 2013 at 11:36

    I think Art Ayres, whoever he is, needs to be reminded that nourishing the host takes precedence over the bacteria. More diverse diet = more nutrients.

  76. EatLessMoveMoore on September 12, 2013 at 12:07

    Jimmy would probably be a lot more bearable if he had to earn a living like the rest of us (Paleo trust-funders excluded). It’s the being backed into an untenable corner through endless promotion of low carb-as-religion that has led to all his grotesque self-promotion.

  77. Richard Nikoley on September 12, 2013 at 14:12

    “Jimmy would probably be a lot more bearable if”

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Your clueless audacity makes me laugh. Every time.

    Most people ignore you, ELMM, because they kind you far more annoying and unbearable than they do Jimmy Moore.

  78. Merr on September 13, 2013 at 06:58

    He’s a molecular and cellular biologist. The hypothesis Ayres is making–> Bacteria are the natural source of most vitamins. One of his claims is that by overly diversifying the diet, bacteria become less diversified. I would have thought the opposite. The research in this area is certainly in its infancy which leaves me open to all possibilities.

    I don’t necessarily want “more nutrients”. I want the right nutrients, in the right amounts, at the right time. Are you aware of any evidence that a diverse diet accomplishes all this? A well designed simple diet may outperform a diversified diet for all we know. My point is we really don’t know and should remain open to the possibility that we evolved eating a relatively repetitive menu and now have the guts to accommodate a short-listed menu.

  79. Brad Baker on September 13, 2013 at 08:16

    Part 3 – There’s no such thing as “processed food”

    Yeah, I know. In my attempt to be witty I’m repeating myself and showing a lack of imagination. But there’s a reason for my crazy talk. And that is, hopefully, to get people to think more grey and less black n white.

    Labels, which group things together suck. They promote generalizations, accidental or purposeful glossing over, and misunderstanding, of those pesky little things called details. And in nutrition as with many other things, the tiniest of details can make a huge difference in effect.

    In the realm of healthful eating the word “processed” almost universally is understood to be bad. Very bad. Any food that has been processed is further from it’s natural original state and so almost by definition must be worse for you. As any respectful paleo-head will tell you, it’s because our genes have adapted over eons to eating these natural, unprocessed foods. I don’t disagree.

    To make thinks clearer, let me start with a simple definition of “processed foods”. It is, any food touched by hand of man. In other words, any food that has been altered, in any way, from the original state that it occurred in due to natural selection/adaptation over thousands of years. These same eons that we hosts and our microbiome adapted through.

    So, “processed foods” are foods touched by the hand of man. What does that include?…

    GMO’s – the poster child of processed foods. Frankenfood. Bad. Everyone agrees. Well, except the Cargil, Monsanto, the FDA, and the USDA, but I digress.
    Reconstituted shit – This is the type of (processed) food that the majority equate with the term. The man-made food-like substances that are made from numerous chemical processes used to extract and/or isolate nutrients from *real* food and then optionally re-combine them, usually to form a more palletable yet less nutritious, and almost always more profitable shite. Very much fouled by the hand of man. Vewwy vewwy baaad [E.J. Fudd]

    I think most people would agree with those two.

    But what about these?…

    Fruits, vegetables, and animals. Not that naturally growing banana tree over there. That blackberry bush, or patch of perslane growing under that tree. Nor that bison, deer, or wild boar roaming freely. What I mean is the 99.9% of what’s sold in supermarkets. The ones that man has purposely manipulated through decades if not hundreds or thousands of years of selective breeding. The stuff we eat by the millions of tons – beef, chicken, wheat, corn, potatoes, and all manners of sugary fruit, etc., etc. These have all been touched by the hand of man and therefore are “processed foods” by definition. And if you think that this type of processing has no effect on the nutrients in the food, think again. You can feed the most pristine pesticide free grass to a cow, or flax seeds and bugs up the ass to a chicken, but they will never be the same as a wild pig, deer, bison, turkey, etc. Because you are what you eat has eaten. With very careful and more costly breeding, they may come close, but you will also have to be very particular about from where you buy your food. Are these mainstream, conventional, processed plants and animals harmful or bad for one’s health? Not usually. Are they ideal? I think not. Are they “processed”? Sim senhor.

    And what about these?…

    Probiotics & Fermented foods – Kefir, kumbuucha (spelling?), sourkraut, etc. These are obviously touched by the hand of man despite the chemical process being carried out by microorganisms. These processed foods are universally thought of as beneficial and healthy.
    Prebiotics, fiber/RS, etc. – Obviously an isolated nutrient like raw starch is a processed food. Is it a bad for health? Negatory good buddy.
    Cold pressed, minimally filtered raw palm fruit (red palm oil) – Dr. Oz says it’ll make you live forever and I believe him.
    Cod liver, Fish oil – Because WAPF said so, that’s why!
    Chocolate/cacau and almond flour/butter – Because 10,000 fat paleo eaters can’t be wrong. Oops, sorry. This doesn’t really support my argument. OK, in moderation.
    Red Wine – any addictive substance has got to be good.

    I’m sure there are tons more that don’t come to mind right now of processed foods that can be helpful/healthy in some ways, though not always.
    Once you have come to the understanding that all processed foods are not necessarily bad, you should scrutinize the use of the term “processed” when it’s used to label
    a food and intimate that it is unhealthy merely because it has been created or manipulated by man. As usual the devil is in the details. HOW was it processed and to what extent?

    One perfect example. Dairy products. Setting aside the argument of the relative healthfulness of “dairy” as a food category, let’s looks at processed dairy.
    On one hand you have the pristine natural form that is raw, unpasturized milk. On the other you have heated and chemically treated pasturized milk and high pressure air dried (oxidized) powdered milk. These are fairly easy to tell which is healthier from a nutrient perspective. Then you have things like yogurt, kefir, cream, butter, ghee, whey protein, and various types of cheese from ricotta, cheddar, parm, muzzarella, etc. They differ greatly in the degree and type of processing used, nutrient makeup, and density of both calories and nutrients of all types (vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, and carbs). Every single one of them is “processed”. Are they all unhealthy? I would argue none of them are unhealthy – keeping in mind that well known saying “the dose makes the poison”. In the case of cheese, removing the majority of the water content and lactose from milk and adding fermentation does not make it unhealthy just because it is creating a more concentrated form. Is beef jerky unhealthy? Dried fruit? Grass fed tallow? Moderation boys and girls.

    So… long winded (again) and perhaps redundant/obvious in parts, but hopefully I’ve made clear that “processed food” is a grey term that does not always mean unhealthy.

    If you’re still not convinced, let me leave you with one more.

    Unless you eat only uncooked food, raw food, you are eating processed food.
    Heat is one of, if not THE, most effective form of all processing and heating causes oxidation among other things, especially at higher temperatures, and can even change the chemical makeup of a substance. Cooking can improve or degrade the foods’ nutrients relative to digestion and bio-availability/absorption. It can also create carcinogenic substances.

    So man has been eating processed foods over 100,000 years and has both benefitted and suffered from the effects of processing foods ever since.
    Let’s stop demonizing all processed foods and dig a little deeper to distinguish between which are good processes and which are not. Which man made foods are healthful and which are not.

    You could say, there is no such thing as processed food because it’s all processed.

    Embrace the beauty…

  80. Brad Baker on September 13, 2013 at 09:16

    Yeah, we don’t need to eat Vitamin-C because our gut worms create it?
    One word. Grip. Not one reference to a real study did I see to backup any of Ayres’ claims. He’s a kook as far as I can see right now.

  81. […] and for those who ask, "why increase food choices, I'm fine VLC?" Because…The Relative Nutritional Bankruptcy of Good Fats. Unless you are chowing down on liver, oysters, mussels and the like every week, but are VLC, […]

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