One Thousand Nails in the Coffin of Arctic Explorer Vilhjálmur Stefansson, and His Spawn

This is yet another Duck Dodgers post….

He and I collaborated over answering Dr. Mike Eades’ tweets in counter to my post: To Reiterate, Just In Case You Missed It: No Elevated Ketone Levels in the Inuit. Duck came up with most of it.


Ask any ketogenic dieter about the Inuit’s eating habits and they’ll tell you to “read Stefansson.” Ah yes, Vilhjálmur Stefansson—easily one of the least capable Arctic explorers and well known for stretching the truth. One of Stefansson’s early claims to fame was his supposed sightings of “Blond Eskimos” in Western Nunavut—a claim that was later debunked by DNA testing.

In 1913, he set out to search for a “hidden continent” for the Canadian government which he believed to be concealed by the polar ice cap. He made the mistake of purchasing the Karluk—a retired whaler that was completely unsuitable for an expedition into the Arctic. Within three months, the Karluk became trapped in the Arctic ice, and Stefansson deserted 22 men (and two children) who were aboard. He just turned and walked the other way. Eleven of those men died before a rescue party finally saved the survivors.

Despite the expedition being fully backed by the Canadian government, it is now known that Stefansson skimped on purchasing quality supplies for his men. He bought subpar polar gear for the party and inferior tinned pemmican, which was the primary staple of any polar expedition. Historians now believe that improperly prepared pemmican contributed to the deaths of two of the party and the illness of some of the others.

Years later, he launched a book tour promoting “The Friendly Arctic,” where he set out to challenge the notion of the Arctic being a harsh and inhospitable land and promoted the idea that the “friendly” Arctic was open for development. He had the audacity to claim that the Karluk disaster not only wasn’t his responsibility, claiming the men who perished would have survived if they knew how to live off the land the way he did.

In 1921, Stefansson convinced four men to settle the same Arctic island where the Karluk members perished and within two years the four men died. Once again he shirked responsibility, blaming their incompetence—rather than their misplaced trust in him.

Rudolph M. Anderson, a zoologist and member of two of Stefansson’s expeditions, wrote, “Stefansson is the outstanding humbug in the exploration world at the present time—a persistent, perennial, and congenital liar who for years has made his living by sheer mendacity and skill in handling words.”

The idea that anyone would take dietary advice from Stefansson is mind-boggling, but in his 1946 low carb diet book, “Not by Bread Alone,” Stefansson Westernized the mostly raw Inuit diet by promoting a cooked, all-animal-food-diet including dairy and eggs. Never mind that the Inuit diet relied heavily on raw marine mammals and tended to look a lot like this…

The things kids do these days

To give you an idea of Stefansson’s mendacity, here’s how he dismissed the Inuit’s raw meat consumption:

From: Not by Bread Alone, by Vilhjálmur Stefansson

“If we compare the whole diet of a strictly carnivorous group of Eskimos with the carnivorous portion of our diet, they would be found to eat, on the average, a higher percentage of raw or rare meat than we do. But if we compare our whole diet with theirs, remembering that our milk and cream are sometimes raw, our fruit and vegetables frequently raw, our eggs usually soft-cooked while Eskimos invariably cook theirs hard, and that our roasts are more rare than theirs though their boiled meat is more rare than ours—if we consider the whole picture, we doubtless use nowadays a far higher percentage of uncooked food than did the pre-white Eskimo world.”

And never mind that those raw meats were what made them feel warm and strong.

Rather than providing an accurate representation of the Inuit’s dietary habits, Stefansson was more interested in winning over converts—and he stretched the truth whenever it suited him. The fact that nobody trusted Stefansson is why the year long Bellevue Experiment was performed in the first place.

[Editor’s note: Tim “Tatertot” Steele, who lives in North Pole, Alaska, tells me that the natives uniformly regard Stefansson as a liar. Of course, they’re munching canned Pringles when the say that. But it was passed down.]

Yes, “read Stefansson” if you want a Disneyland portrayal of the Inuit that isn’t supported by scientific observations and appeals to Westerners. Stefansson’s cooked and Westernized version of the Inuit’s diet became the cornerstone of future ketogenic diets—every single one pointing back to Stefansson as if he was a reputable source.


Stefansson—who died of a stroke at 82 (though, surprisingly, he lived longer than a lot of other VLC authors)—made the fatal assumption that land mammals and marine mammals are similar. They aren’t. They are entirely different, and the difference is tantamount to different species classification. The Inuit were exploiting unique carbohydrate properties in these marine mammals that aren’t found in land mammals.

It turns out that marine mammals that spend a good deal of their time diving to great depths have significant glycogen stores. Sperm whales make routine dives to 400 meters for 40 minutes and can reach a maximum depth of 2000 meters (6,560 feet, or 1.25 miles). Narwhals make some of the deepest dives recorded for a marine mammal, diving to at least 800 meters (2,600 feet) 18 and 25 times per day every day for 6 months, with many dives reaching 1,500 meters (4,900 feet). Narwhals have been recorded diving to as deep as 1,800 meters (5,900 ft, over one mile). In addition to making remarkably deep dives, narwhals also spend more than 3 hours per day below 800 meters—this is an incredible amount of time at a depth where the pressure can exceed 2200 PSI (150 atmospheres).

[Editor’s note: most of your grilled Paleo land food lives its entire life at 1 Atmosphere, or nearly so.]

During their deep dives these marine mammals run out of oxygen and switch to their unique glycogen-based energy stores. They store large quantities of glycogen in very odd places, but it typically gets concentrated in the skin and organs. Researchers have discovered significant “glycogen pools” in the narwhal’s arterial thoracic retia. Ringed seals have “large quantities of glycogen” in a gelatinous material near their sinuses. A sperm whale’s blubber ranges from 8—30% carbohydrates, mostly believed to be glycogen. The hearts and brains of weddel seals have concentrations of glycogen that are two to three times that of land mammals. Furthermore; in marine mammals, these organs tend to be larger in proportion to the total body weight than in land-based mammals.

In 1973, George and Ronald wrote about the harp seal, “All the fiber types contained considerable amounts of glycogen…it is postulated that the seal muscle is basically geared for anaerobic use of carbohydrate as an adaptation for the animal’s diving habit.”

In a paper on diving marine mammals Hochachka and Storey wrote, in 1975, “In the terminal stages of prolonged diving, however, even these organs must tolerate anoxia for surprisingly long times, and they typically store unusually large amounts of glycogen for this purpose.”

Perhaps what’s most disappointing is that Stefansson never bothered to clearly explain the Inuit’s favorite sweet-tasting whale skin dish (muktuk), that was already known by scientists to be a carbohydrate-rich food. In 1912, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) had reported, “the skin [of the narwhal] contains a remarkable amount of glycogen, thus supplying sufficient quantities of a carbohydrate to cure the scorbutus. The walrus liver also contains much glycogen.”

So, this idea that we can compare glycogen content of a [grilled, braised, stewed, or otherwise thoroughly cooked, long after dead] cow or human to that of what the Inuit were eating is entirely misguided. We’re talking about marine animals that need large quantities of glycogen to complete their extended deep dives.

[Editors note: It’s almost like we’re talking about the other 2/3 of the planet earth!]


It’s well known that glycogen does not survive very long post-mortem. So, it was no coincidence that the Inuit often consumed glycogen-rich foods quickly and froze whatever they couldn’t consume. Peter Freuchen, a Danish doctor and member of the 5th Thule expedition based at Melville Peninsula from 1919-1925, wrote that when a whale was brought to the beach at Repulse Bay everyone feasted on large quantities of the skin until their jaws became too sore to continue.

After a hunt, seals are quickly cut to expose the internal organs. Kristen Borré writes in her 1991 report for the Medical Anthropology Quarterly, that “one of the hunters slits the abdomen laterally, exposing the internal organs. Hunters first eat pieces of liver or they use a tea cup to gather some blood to drink.” This was no coincidence. The parts of the animals with the most glycogen were eaten quickly.

At the time of death, the glycogen and free glucose in beef muscle contains approximately 6g of glucose equivalents per pound. As explained above, diving marine mammals have much more glycogen than land mammals. When we consider that the average Inuit consumed 5 to 10 pounds, or more, of raw fresh or flash-frozen meat per day, it should be clear that they were consuming a lot of glycogen.

[Editors note: no matter how you want to slice the blubber, they are not in ketosis, and it takes a long fast to get them there. Inuit are off the table for ketogenic low carbers. Find another ketogenic society, if you can.]

But, of course, the Inuit consumed other carbs, too. They consumed berries, seaweed, nuts, corms, and tubers—such as yupik potatoes, boiled polysaccharide-rich seaweed, glycogen-rich winter mussels. See the Disrupting Paleo series for a more indepth discussion of these foods and their importance in the Inuit diet.


What about the glycogen in the foods that weren’t consumed rapidly? If only the Eskimos had access to extremely cold temperatures where they could rapidly freeze chunks of meats immediately after hunting… Hmmm… Kidding aside, the Inuit not only consumed fresh raw meat, blubber and skin that was rich in glycogen, but they also consumed it flash frozen—thus preserving and maximizing its glycogen.

Interestingly, Clarence Birdseye—who invented technology for “flash freezing”—learned about it from the Inuit. According to Wikipedia, “He was taught by the Inuit how to ice fish under very thick ice. In -40°C weather, he discovered that the fish he caught froze almost instantly, and, when thawed, tasted fresh.” He recognized immediately that the frozen seafood sold in New York was of lower quality than the frozen fish of Labrador, and saw that applying this knowledge would be lucrative.


You might be wondering why the USDA Nutrition Database lists known glycogen-rich foods like muktuk or beluga whale liver as having either zero or virtually no carbs. There are two reasons. The first reason is that glycogen tends to rapidly degrade post-mortem. This makes it especially challenging to measure, in a lab environment—particularly since nutrition scientists tend to not do their own slaughtering and butchering. The second reason might surprise you.

When measuring carbohydrates, the USDA and international Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) standards for nutrition data have decided that the standard procedure is to not measure the carbohydrates in a food sample. (Say what?) Yes, you read that correctly. Carbohydrates are actually inferred to save money and to highlight dietary fiber.

From: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations : Methods Of Food Analysis

“Total carbohydrate content of foods has, for many years, been calculated by difference, rather than analysed directly. Under this approach, the other constituents in the food (protein, fat, water, alcohol, ash) are determined individually, summed and subtracted from the total weight of the food. This is referred to as total carbohydrate by difference and is calculated by the following formula:

100 – (weight in grams [protein + fat + water + ash + alcohol] in 100 g of food)

It should be clear that carbohydrate estimated in this fashion includes fibre.

The problems and errors that come with this calculation are well known. In fact, even the FAO does not recommend using subtraction for determining “available carbohydrates.”

From: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: Methods Of Food Analysis

“Obtaining values by difference should be discouraged because these values include the cumulative errors from the analytical measures of each of the other non-carbohydrate compounds; these errors are not included in direct analyses.”

And it’s not just the FAO that has noticed this. You can read about the problems of erroneous carbohydrate analyses from the subtraction method here, here and here. Each of these papers explain that the gold standard for measuring carbohydrates is to actually measure the carbohydrates by direct measurements.

You might wonder why the international “standard” is to infer carbohydrates. The first reason is that carbohydrates on nutrition labels are designed to highlight dietary fibers. By inferring carbohydrates, nutrition labs can be selective as to which fibers are counted. So, that candy bar with resistant oligosaccharides (maltotriose and maltotetrose) wouldn’t be labeled as a significant source of dietary fiber.

The second reason is to keep the labels neat and tidy. For instance, CHOAVLM is a carbohydrate analysis method that actually measures “available” (glycemic) carbohydrates, thus it excludes resistant fibers. CHOAVLM is typically expressed in monosaccharide equivalents and includes free sugars plus dextrin, starch and glycogen…

From: Impact of different macronutrient definitions and energy conversion factors on energy supply estimations

Therefore, if CHOAVLM is used, the sum of macronutrients in starchy foods often exceeds 100g. For example, 100 g starch expressed in monosaccharide equivalent weights 110 g. On the other hand, when calculating carbohydrate values by difference, the sum of macronutrients always equals 100 g food weight. Even though, chemically, the grouping of carbohydrates is unambiguous, five definitions of carbohydrates are in use in food composition databases and labeling regulations leading to different values and thus inconsistencies and possible confusion.

So, the subtraction or by difference method yields a nice and tidy number that won’t exceed the weight of the food. It makes the nutrition label less confusing but inaccurate.

…And this is why you see studies analyzing the nutritional content of the Inuits’ whale meat or blubber with the “subtraction” method, finding virtually no carbohydrates. And then you see other studies that actually measure the carbohydrate content of whale blubber with direct measurements and discover significant quantities of carbohydrates. In fact, the study that actually took the time to measure the carbohydrates by the direct method [Editor’s note: “direct” is euphemism for actually measuring] concluded that a large portion of the carbohydrate is probably glycogen still present in the blubber more than a day post-mortem. This is rather impressive since glycogen should degrade quickly from an animal, post-mortem.


The obsolete and overly-simplistic observation of the Inuit eating lots of fresh and raw marine mammal meat, and equating that with eating lots of cooked steaks and hamburger meat can no longer be considered valid. The Inuit were not eating like a Western low carb dieter—that much should now be abundantly clear.

The Inuit had a unique situation where they could find glycogen-rich marine mammals and flash-freeze them by cutting them up into chunks—preserving their glycogen for long periods of time. And then they would often eat those chunks still frozen and drink a little tea to help thaw the ingested pieces. You can’t easily reproduce that kind diet anywhere else.


Editor’s [second to last] final note:

What Duck Dodgers has done here is going to potentially help millions of people, once word spreads; and it’s going to spread even without my help. You’re going to spread it, and you’ll not be able to help yourself, because it’s truth, you wallow in wrong, and people you love wallow in wrong. It’s going to make them realize—in terms that are far from uncertain—that they have been wrong.

But I must say this, and I just want too. For a long time I’ve thought the whole thing is evolving. Stuff like this, and the gut biome, I’m more than sure of it. I’m making a commitment to be conciliatory, even though my tendency is to hubris. One big reason why I can’t wait to guest host jimmy moore’s show on April 28, just a few weeks away. You’re not going to miss it even if you try.

This is not about any bad people. It’s about people being wrong, and everyone is a member of the club.

Update: Hoping to persuade Dr. Mike Eades to dig deeply into this after his tweets from the last post about the Inuit not being in ketosis, demonstrating excellent glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, but then demonstrating awful glucose tolerance and insulin resistance when put into no-shit ketosis, I tweeted out last night after publishing and got a reply this morning.

Screen Shot 2014 04 08 at 9 49 17 AM

I tweeted back “Welcome to the club, then.” There’s a problem with that sort of out-of-hand dismissal, from the perspective of PGH (Pretty Good Honesty). I have been a strong proponent of low carbohydrate dieting and lifestyle going all the way back to 2007 when I began blogging about Evolutionary Fitness, upon discovering Arthur De Vany. I promoted it, interviewed about it, shot a thousand pics of my food. I often ignored reports in my own comments—especially from women—reporting “issues.”


When I got to a weight of 175, about 10 lb. from my 165 goal, unless it was about 75F, I had ice cold hands & feet. Just didn’t really feel that great, anymore. Eventually putting on 10, then 20 lb., those problems rectified somewhat, but not entirely. Something wasn’t right. Long story short, simply adding some starch—no, not sugar drinks and pastries—fixed everything right up. We’re not talking swinging for the fence, but a mere 100-200 grams daily of rice, potatoes, legumes, more often 100-150. Now, when the wife unit is away, I can sit in the house with the furnace off, at 60-65F and have no problem at all.

Let me summarize my irritation in this:

  1. I am far from an enemy of LC, or “biased” against it. As example, jimmy moore knows this, and I’m gearing up to record my guest hosting of the Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Show that will air April 28. And I will do it professionally; i.e., what his audience actually is and does, with a view to helping them benefit from resistant starch. Sooper duper “bias,” there.
  2. Some elements of LC didn’t work for me and I have thousands of anecdotes in my comments from others similarly questioning. Namely: chronic LC. Sporadic LC, even ketogenic (like intermittent fasting) are not only A-OK in my view, but probably healthful measures. I go ketogenic on average of once per week or two by not eating for 30-40 hours.
  3. In that previous post that Dr. Mike sent out a bunch of tweets on, he/they seemed to miss the entire thrust of the post, which was: look how good their glucose tolerance is on their normal diet, and how bad it is when put into deep ketosis.
  4. Instead, it seemed to me to be a bunch of quibbling over whether or not they are really in ketosis or not, measuring methods, etc.; when the whole thing is staring you in the face. After an 82-hr. fast, quibbles over whether or not in ketosis ought be disregarded by any honest person. And the difference in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity are beyond stark. Today, anyone who spikes at 300 BG under any circumstances would be diagnosed clinically diabetic.
  5. Not one single up to 140-characters from Dr. Mike on that issue.
  6. And now, on this last post. Duck and I originally began to focus on those issues of whether in ketosis or not, the distraction of measuring, etc. What’s the point in that? Why did the Inuit have to have crossed some line? Bias, perhaps, because some have staked so much on it—it’s folklore at this point? Perhaps a different bias than I have, being biased against feeling shitty on LC while achieving a state of not burning a lot of body fat, anymore, at about 49 years of age?
  7. It’s “one thousand ways of confirming [my] bias” to simply point out that heretofore, nobody in this general LC/Paleo community has pointed out that the marine mammals the Inuit hunted as top prize have huge glycogen stores all over, owing to their completely different evolution in inner-space—that have some doing extended dives a mile deep in the ocean? It’s confirming my “bias” a thousand ways to point out that their entire body composition is so unlike land mammals as to realize that classification by species has human classification tendency limitations?

Ever heard of Ada Blackjack?

Ada Blackjack Johnson was born in Solomon, Alaska. Early in her life Blackjack relocated to Nome, Alaska. She married and gave birth to three children but only one survived past infancy. Her husband left her destitute, and she temporarily placed her son in an orphanage. Soon after, in 1921, she joined an expedition across the Chukchi Sea to Russia’s Wrangel Island led by Canadian Allan Crawford but financed, planned and encouraged by Vilhjálmur Stefansson.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”078688746X” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”fretheani-20″ width=”100″]

[easyazon_link asin=”078688746X” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”fretheani-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Ada BlackJack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic[/easyazon_link]. From the book description:

“The last third of the book details the battles by Stefansson, who comes across as little more then a tireless self-promoter, to protect his belief in the Friendly Arctic. Stefansson’s detractors – including the man who led the 1923 relief expedition – were determined to discredit him. The families of the men who were lost, of course, want answers. And caught in the middle of this tragedy is Blackjack – praised at first for surviving the doomed project and then vilified before having her reputation restored.”

You get to decide for yourselves, but I’ll just tell you what I think anyway. When something reaches folkloric proportions, as has Vilhjálmur Stefansson in various LC communities, it means that there’s literally nobody asking questions, anymore. Instead, they actually see any detraction as from an outsider, and those questions are dismissed as confirmation bias. Hilariously, I might add.

Who ya gonna trust, since you weren’t there?

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  1. Phil McCracken on April 8, 2014 at 03:02

    Let’s not forget also that Stefansson was funded by the Institute of American Meat Packers for his all-meat diet trial (which caused diabetes in his trial partner, Karsten Anderson).

    Kinda not surprising that he took lots of liberties when he recounted what he saw the Inuits living on. He was just another grant whore.

    • Frank on April 8, 2014 at 08:59

      Two normal men were given glucose tolerance tests after both had lived for 1 year on lean and fat meat exclusively, (protein 120 gm., 2600 to 3000 calories) and later after a general diet. Following the meat diet there was a diminution of the tolerance to glucose as demonstrated by the blood sugar curve of both men and a glycosuria of one man. After 2 to 4 weeks of a general diet the blood sugar curve presented no abnormalities and the urine was sugar-free.”

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 14:36

      This study in which Dr Eugene F. Du Bois was himself the co- author, mentions that…

      “E.F.D.B. was a physician, American, married, aged 45, and in excellent health. During observation, he lived at home and came to the ward for his meals and the calorimeter studies. This subject went through a preliminary period on a general diet lasting 4 days, then for 10 day she ate nothing but meat. His appetite was poor and he required a number of days in which t9o adjust himself to the strange diet”

      …but the main focus of the trial seems to be the “two men” VS and KA. It is not clear to my reading, that Dr DuBois intended to last the year, or was just trying out the diet temporarily? Perhaps to act as a control for the initial blood tests?

    • Phil McCracken on April 8, 2014 at 11:27

      Pretty scary, IMO. Thanks for the quote.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 12:42

      I think you rather missed my point. A single “failed’ OGTT after a year on an LCHF diet did NOT make Andersen a Diabetic.

      Also you might be interested to read the linked study, which was not written by Stefansson but rather, so as I am aware, by unbiased researchers.

      If we are questioning the credibility of other sources we should at least try to seem credible in the attempt.

      FWIIW Stefansson did write regarding the grant from the meat packers…

      “Then one day while talking with the gastroenterologist Dr. Clarence W. Lieb, I told him of my regret that I had not been able to take advantage of the Mayo check-over. Lieb said there were good doctors in New York, too, and volunteered to gather a committee of specialists who would put me through and examination as rigid as anything I could get from the Mayos.

      The committee was organized, I went through the mill, and Dr. Lieb reported the findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association for July 3, 1926, “The Effects of an Exclusive Long-Continued Meat Diet.” The committee had failed to discover any trace of even one of the supposed harmful effects.

      With this publication the Lieb and Pearl events merge. For when the Institute of American Meat Packers wrote asking permission to reprint a large number of copies for distribution to the medical profession and to dietitians, Lieb, Pearl and I went into a huddle. The result was a letter to the Institute saying that we refused permission to reprint, but suggesting that they might get something much better worth publishing, and with right to publish it, if they gave a fund to a research institution for a series of experiments designed to check, under conditions of average city life, the problems which had arisen out of my experiences and views. For it was contended by many that an all-meat diet might work in a cold climate though not in a warm, and under the strenuous conditions of the frontier though not in common American (sedentary) business life.

      We gave the meat packers warning that, if anything, the institution chosen would lean backward to make sure that nothing in the results could even be suspected of having been influenced by the source of the money.

      After much negotiating, the Institute agreed to furnish the money.”

    • John on April 8, 2014 at 13:15

      Also, there was a third participant of the Bellevue experiment, Dr. Eugene DuBois. He only spent 10 days on the all meat diet, as he found it difficult to adjust to it.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 14:40


      “…then for 10 days he ate nothing but…”

    • Richard Nikoley on April 8, 2014 at 16:57

      Frank G:

      It’s hilarious that you don’t even get it.

      He was not eating fresh raw marine mammals.

      “we should at least try to seem credible in the attempt.”

      Go fuck yourself, sir.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 8, 2014 at 17:34

      “Also, there was a third participant of the Bellevue experiment, Dr. Eugene DuBois. He only spent 10 days on the all meat diet, as he found it difficult to adjust to it.”

      Clearly, he just wasn’t doing it right. And Stefansson had nothing to gain. Zero bias about Stefansson.

    • Phil McCracken on April 9, 2014 at 04:25

      Frank G, you’re all over the internet quack sites with your LC-supporting claims, and you take offense to any idea that doesn’t agree with Gary Taubes or VLC dogma. You completely missed the point of Richard’s post here.

      In regards to Anderson’s glycosuria, it says in the literature that he didn’t have it before the experiment and developed it during the meat eating trial. Are you saying if he does it for 20 more years it will somehow miraculously become good for him? That this is not a sign of a man developing diabetes?

      What the hell planet are you on?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 08:11

      “You completely missed the point of Richard’s post here.”

      Well, so did Dr. Eades. So there’s that.

    • Phil McCracken on April 9, 2014 at 08:55

      Two of a feather…

  2. rs711 on April 8, 2014 at 05:34

    I don’t consider myself a special snow-flake but have measured myself to be in ketosis after eating a sweet potato, a few tea-spoons of honey, an apple and other grams of carbs from other sources in one meal. I used the Ketonix acetone breathalyzer, KetoDiastix for acetoacetic acid urine strips and Precision Xtra for BhB blood strips. It seems very likely that my ‘ability’ to be in a state of ketosis when consuming around 100g (or >) of carbs daily is a function of my metabolic flexibility, activity level and gut microbiome composition (amongst other things).

    Since all of these factors aren’t well understood nowadays even in ‘ideal lab’ conditions, I for one certainly wouldn’t feel confident putting a figure on the % of time these Inuit populations (or any others for that matter) were in or out of ketosis. Even IF they were in ketosis 100% or 0% of the time, this still wouldn’t answer the questions relating to the health effects of being in a state of ketosis.

    I think a lot of value is added to understanding the anthropological, exploratory side of nutritional history (as you & Duck Dodgers have spent time refining) and also in finding the nitty-gritty aspects of appropriate estimation of carbohydrate content [thanks for that btw, very good to know].

    Stefansson’s (et al.) type of data is still ‘observational’ – very useful, but inconclusive (by definition) for providing answers to some of the questions we’re asking. Maybe we’re not the right questions?

    • LaFrite on April 8, 2014 at 06:16

      How long after the meal did you measure this ? I cannot help but think that I would be worried if it was me. Using ketones when blood glucose is available post-prandial seems a little abnormal but again, I don’t claim to know much about metabolism, etc.

    • rs711 on April 8, 2014 at 08:41

      If I recall correctly, once I measured about 10min after a meal and another time around 30min. I was surprised as I thought they’d go up and then drop. My BG readings can be sub 90 and even sub 70 post-prandial (even when fruit &/or potatoes are included). I’d need to control timing and meal composition more exactly to confidently interpret the meaning of this BG response. If anything, this reinforces the fact that N=1’s always contain loads of hidden information I’ll likely never glean (even if it’s about myself). Furthermore, I’d speculate that my body likely has ready-to-fill glycogen ‘sinks’ now, that fat helps mitigate glycemic response and that – in my case at the very least – carbohydrate restriction compared to most SAD dieters has improved my response to sugar (somewhat unsurprisingly). Much biochemistry principles would predict this and it seems to fit well with paleoanthropological/evolutionary biology looking at our food environment and the inherent scarcity characterizing it for eons.

      Counting back from 100 in 7s, mood, energy & concentration were all fine – so I’m not worried, just well curious! :)

      What makes you think ketone usage is strange when glucose is available? Off the top of my head, it’d makes more sense to me that the body would divert glucose to brain and muscle tissue and reserve the more ‘efficient’ ketone ‘fuel’ when not eating, no?

  3. Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 08:05

    I want to make clear that I am not calling the efficacy of ketogenic diets into question. People who need to be on a ketogenic diet can do very well and it helps them. That has nothing to do with this post.

    However, whenever the long term safety of ketogenic diets are ever called into question, the generic fallback has always been to “read Steffanson” and look at the Inuit who supposedly ate no carbs. That fallback argument is no longer valid.

    In my post, I mentioned that Steffanson died of a stroke at 82 and that “surprisingly, he lived longer than a lot of other VLC authors.” I’m hesitant to mention this, but here’s what I found when I tried to look into it.

    William Banting (1796 – 1878 = 81 years)
    Dr. James Salisbury (1823 – 1905 = 82 years)
    Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879 – 1962 = 82 years : died of a stroke)
    Dr. Blake F. Donaldson (1893 – 1966 = 73 years)
    Dr. Irwin Maxwell Stillman (1896-1975 = 79 years : died of a heart attack)
    Dr. Alfred Pennington (1903 – 1959 = 56 years)
    Dr. Herman Taller (1906 – 1984 = 78 years)
    Dr. Richard Mackarness (1916 – 1996 = 80 years)
    Dr. Robert Atkins (1930 – 2003 = 72 years : died of complications from head injury)

    The average of these lifespans are below what we should see on a SAD diet. I’m sorry, but as informal as that survey is, there is something very wrong with those results.

    What I also found odd is that the obituaries for many of these docs were missing from the modern public record. Whether that simply be from poor/inaccessible archives or widows resorting to damage control and hiding the true cause of their deaths, I don’t know.

    Interestingly…low carb author Dr. Wolfgang Lutz lived to 97 years old (1913 – 2010) but he wasn’t VLC as he targeted 72g of carbs—or the glycemic equivalent of 0.8 pounds of potatoes per day.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 10:53

      Looks like Blake F. Donaldson’s death was also from a heart attack.

    • Michael on April 8, 2014 at 11:15

      Not a good example.

      Taking a look at the ages I saw there I thought that it was a pretty good result with the exception of Pennington. The table you show doesn´t really tell us one way or the other, it tells us average additional years of life if you made it to a specific age.

      If you look at the avg life expectancy at 0 years when most of these people were born, they all do quite well. Even if you perhaps took and avg that they started their diet experiments at the age of 40, on the whole they do much better than average. An example is Taller, 1 in 1946 he would have been 40 years of age and on avg he could expect somewhere around 30-31 years of extra life ~ death at 71 years of age. He lived to 76 so does better than avg.

      So while VLC living may or may not be unhealthy, this table certainly doesn’t support the idea that is inherently unhealthy.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 11:57

      Sorry Michael, but “average life expectancy at birth” is a completely useless statistic when speaking about old white men writing books. Life expectancy at birth is only useful for discussing child mortality — which we are not discussing here.

      All of these men made it to their 50th birthday. And therefore, their lifespans should have been an average of 80 years — particularly since they claimed to be leading “healthy” lives.

      When discussing life spans, it’s much more accurate to look at life expectancy as an adult.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 12:50

      Given that we don’t know each individual’s circumstances — including family history — and that you are talking “average” longevity across populations, I don’t see what is wrong with what seem some pretty decent lifespans. I see several in excess of 80 years there and most are close to it. As was mentioned by another commenter, it is not just absolute age but quality of that life. Again we have nothing to go on.. least of all to be implying that their diets led them to an early death.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 13:02

      I’m just pointing out that they didn’t appear to give themselves any advantages over a SAD dieter. Their results look almost identical to SAD, perhaps slightly worse given that they average to 75.8 years of age and the average 50 year old male should really live to 80. Two had heart attacks and one had a stroke.

      Typically when someone writes a book about how their diet is so much better than a SAD diet, you would think that they would have no problem beating the average. Those guys could barely even muster par for course.

      I agree it’s not all that scientific, but come on. We should see a few who were well above the average if we are talking about a sample of VLC gurus that are supposedly very “healthy”.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 13:11

      You are right about one thing.. this is NOT all that scientific.. it is speculative at best.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 13:20

      And yet, the fact remains that none of those guys were able to extend their lifespans well beyond the average.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 13:28

      Which is why you include Dr Atkins in your average.. knowing full well that his death had nothing to do with his diet?

      What age were they when they started their diets? What preexisting medical conditions did any of them have? What family history of CVD? etc.. etc…

      You are clearly attempting to make your point by capitalising on this gutter press approach to science. “I also found odd is that the obituaries for many of these docs were missing from the modern public record.” If this is the ultimate measure of success then I guess we have to wait a few years to see if your diet is as good as your word eh?

    • EF on April 8, 2014 at 13:29

      Long time low carb advocate Barry Groves died at 77 – just another data point.

      • Sam Pepys on January 4, 2016 at 12:55

        Just for the record, he was fit and healthy when he died. It’s not about age of death. It’s about dying young as old as possible.

    • John on April 8, 2014 at 13:32

      I think it should also be pointed out that Banting wasn’t zero carb, either. According to his self reported diet, he ate a few servings of fruits, had some vegetables with dinner, and even some bread products (a small biscuit with breakfast, and some rusks with tea, which were like hardened bread or a cracker). His meat might have had higher carb content than modern meat as well, since it most likely wasn’t stored or aged as long. And certain meats weren’t a part of his diet- both pork and salmon were banned. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume he was near Lutz’s 72 grams of carbs.

      Also, alcohol was a significant part of Banting’s diet. He had 3-7 drinks a day according to listed diet, mostly in the form of dry wines, although vodka, gin and whiskey were consumed as well.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 13:36

      FrankG, the average american dies of accidents too. So, it’s only fair to include accidents in both averages (all-cause mortality, right?). Fact of the matter is that these guys could have been eating SAD and probably would have lived just as long.

      A sample of VLC doctors simply suggests that there’s nothing particularly wonderful about any VLCr’s health that makes them live any longer than the average Amercian.

      Long time low carb advocate Barry Groves died at 77 – just another data point.

      Good find! The more data the better. Still looks like no better than SAD-level lifespans.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 13:43

      His meat might have had higher carb content than modern meat as well, since it most likely wasn’t stored or aged as long

      Unless he sourced his meat by sneaking inside a slaughterhouse to steal his sides of beef, I highly doubt it. Most of the glycogen disappears from meat within a week. A slaughterhouse wouldn’t sell meat before then even at the earliest because the muscle would still be fairly inedible for a Westerner. (Basically it would still be “muscle” not “meat”).

      Remember, it’s the breakdown of glycogen into lactic acid that tenderizes the meat. The meat doesn’t get tender without that conversion of glycogen into lactic acid.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 13:46

      “I’m just pointing out that they didn’t appear to give themselves any advantages over a SAD dieter.”

      I’m 53 years old now… I was diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome (including Type 2 Diabetes) in 2003. I followed the established wisdom and was rapidly going downhill — even using an insulin pump to maintain BG control. I started an LCHF diet nearly 6 years ago. By every measure my health has improved. My Father is active and independent into his 90’s, so clearly the genes are there but I don’t in my wildest dreams, expect to make it that far… I am damaged by years of SAD and still less than perfect (but very much improved) BGs. For example a small cut on my skin can takes weeks to fully heal.

      Has my diet given me an advantage over SAD? I would say resoundingly that “yes it has!”. Does that mean that my lifespan has been extended when compared to the average population.. not likely… BUT I am expecting (barring slipping on the ice and breaking my skull) to live a much longer and healthier life than if I had continued to follow the standard advice.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 13:48

      And furthermore, cooking should degrade glycogen. Glycogen is a polysaccharide that has a lot of glycemic alpha-bonds (it’s “animal starch”) and cooking tends to degrade polysaccharides. Cooking degrades pretty much everything. If you want to preserve your starch, it pays to keep it raw. I doubt Banting (or any Westerner) was eating much raw meat back then.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 13:52

      Has my diet given me an advantage over SAD? I would say resoundingly that “yes it has!”.

      Good for you. I fully acknowledge that VLC has its place, from a therapeutic standpoint, for those who need it. No one is arguing otherwise.

      But does a healthy person without metabolic syndrome increase his/her lifespan by adopting VLC? I don’t think you or anyone can say that it does.

      And I don’t think the Inuit can count anymore as some kind of proof of health.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 14:07

      Are you purposely missing my point? You cannot compare an individual’s lifespan to population averages without first considering that individual’s condition.

      As for the rest, where do you see me suggesting VLC? But I would confidently say that an LCHF diet is probably a better bet for an healthy lifespan than SAD.

      Regardless of your opinion the Inuit were never a “proof of health” but they still do in my opinion at least (based on their traditional diet) serve to show that a person does not have to eat to the “food pyramid” to be healthy.

      For what it is worth, I actually spent time living with the Inuit in Northern Canada… this gives me an interesting perspective on some of the blanket statements I see being made here.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 14:29

      You cannot compare an individual’s lifespan to population averages without first considering that individual’s condition.

      Sure I can. I just did. I got a group of doctors who advocated a certain lifestyle, looked at their date of births and their date of deaths, and found nothing remarkable about their life spans. It’s a casual observation.

      Anyway, FrankG. Sounds like you have it all figured out. Good luck to you.

    • GTR on April 8, 2014 at 14:38

      Also Banting come to LC in order to fight obesity. So his expected longevity should be deducted from the data of obese adults, not average ones.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 14:38

      And you think that this flippant approach to science is a good way to be taken seriously as a credible source? Good luck with that…

    • Michael on April 8, 2014 at 14:39

      Correct, but you did not say that. You have picked an arbitrary value in then extrapolated and even then really does not show much if anything of interest. What would be very interesting is if we had data that included the number of healthy years people lived. On the current SAD people who would have died much earlier are kept alive via modern medical interventions and from what I have read, this healthy lifespan has begun to shrink.

    • Michael on April 8, 2014 at 14:45

      The reality is they did much better than the average which if you take out the early childhood mortality would probably be somewhere 60 yoa. As you move up, you are looking at a smaller and smaller group of longer lived indivduals, whom for whatever reason, diet, luck, good whisky, outlasted the vast majority of their peers.

    • Peter C on April 8, 2014 at 15:38

      My experience exactly but at age 58. SAD shot my life to hell for 56 years of that. VLCHF puts T2DM into remission dramatically but I’ll probably never reach anywhere near 80. Will people remember me as the low Carb proponent who died young or call the SAD diet for the damage done. I suspect the former. A sample of 10 such people would amount to seriously skewed data. Sheer speculation.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 8, 2014 at 17:39

      Frank G.

      Careful, your anti-bias bias is showing.

      I think Duck’s point is pretty simple. Were are the massive centenarians who are VLC? Simple question. In fact, every single one I know about has been a basic omnivore.

      So boring.

    • ron on April 8, 2014 at 19:35

      The average lifespan for a man born in 1900 was 46.3 years old.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 8, 2014 at 20:50

      Re time with the Inuit, too precious to share and contradict? You just have to keep it to yourself and Let us know that you know, and that you could if you wanted, or something. I guess.

    • GTR on April 9, 2014 at 09:05

      The idea is that one either follow a default diet of his surroundings – that’s at least easy, inexpansive, convenient, doesn’t require time, learning etc. – or chooses to follow some non-typical eating patterns – spending some resources, sacrificing something – but expecting results considerably better than typical.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 11:52

      ron says:
      The average lifespan for a man born in 1900 was 46.3 years old.

      I hope you don’t honestly believe that grandparents weren’t very common in 1946. That would be pretty dumb.

      Lifespan at birth is a completely useless statistic unless you’re discussing child mortality, which we were not. I was using life expectancy, which is far more accurate:

    • Helen Lee on April 9, 2014 at 13:31

      I think you make a really good observation, but I wonder if an even better bit of information would be about the quality of their life in their older age, and some family history about lifespans in their ancestry.

      Personally, I’d rather drop dead at 75 than linger in a nursing home from age 83-86. Now, I’m not saying everyone who is 86 years old requires full time care or even assisted living, but I do think that our medically interventionist society has contributed to a situation where people are living longer, but with low quality of life. My grandfather lived to 89 on the SAD… but he also had Alzheimer’s, congestive heart failure, a pace maker, multiple heart surgeries during his time here on earth, and could barely get out of bed at the end. And he was an active, horse of a man before the start of his (seemingly suddenly triggered) decline. If he had died at 83 or 84, he would still have lived a long life, but would have been spared much of that suffering (still on the SAD). We would have been sorry to see him go, but it would have been better for him.

      I don’t know that current life expectancy really tells us very much about general well-being. And I wonder if it’s possible that the men listed simply lived to a natural age (assuming they didn’t linger at the end and went quickly – i really don’t know). For people like my grandfather, the medical intervention starts in their 60s and 70s when the problems are seen as fixable. Perhaps these men didn’t have those earlier problems?

      I guess I’m just playing devil’s advocate here – I’m not by any means low carb (at least intentionally – i don’t put a lot of effort in one way or the other in terms of macros. i just eat what i want), but I do know that I will be happy I ate whole foods for the bulk of my life if I drop dead at 75. Of course, if I die at 86 after battling dementia and heart failure, I will be PISSED that i didn’t eat more donuts, and will definitely make up for lost time then.

      Again, I think you make a really good point. Not trying to be contradictory.

    • Adrienne on April 9, 2014 at 13:47

      Robert Cameron, author of The Drinking Man’s Diet (60 grams of carbs per day) died at 98. Martinis and steak — I’ll drink to that.

    • MC on April 9, 2014 at 21:35

      “I’m just pointing out that they didn’t appear to give themselves any advantages over a SAD dieter.”

      To be fair, a lot of those on a modern SAD who live to an old age, aren’t doing so well, health wise, leading up to death. So even if they live to be 100, if the last 35 years of their life are filled with problems ranging from obesity to dementia, then I wouldn’t say VLC diets offer no benefits over a modern SAD.

      I say modern SAD, because a traditional SAD from 1850 might have been a lot better than VLC.

    • Justin Jordan on April 10, 2014 at 11:24

      Well, no, that wasn’t the point he made. The point he made, explicitly, was that the sample of low carb advocates he chose lived, on average, less than the expected lifespan.

      Which may or may not be true, but isn’t a conclusion you can draw from what he posted. The actual answer there is tha you can’t, really, draw a conclusion one way or another unless you actually DO want to confirm a bias.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 11, 2014 at 05:55

      I agree it doesn’t prove anything. It was a casual observation. Still, I found it interesting.

      I suppose if every VLC author lived to 95+ my guess is you would find it interesting. But that’s not what happened, and that made you guys angry or upset. And I’m sorry. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s just a casual observation. Get over it.

    • Carolyn on July 9, 2018 at 07:32

      Dr. Wolfgang Lutz, author of “Life without bread” (who recommended 72 grams of carbs or less), died at the age of 93.

    • Jean Bush on July 28, 2018 at 19:18

      We shouldn’t forget that genetics also determines how long we live, irrespective of the cerebral or other “accidents” of organ functioning. Longevity & health have far more bio-markers then diet alone. As I’ve endlessly pointed out to Taubes & other HFLC fanatics on Twatter.

  4. Energy! on April 8, 2014 at 09:46

    And what was their quality of life in their later years? I have several relatives who lived/are living into the high 80s and up, but with pretty severe deficits from diabetes to joints falling apart to Alzheimer’s, etc. I realized that the longest and best final years were in the previous generation, not my parents’. For example, one great-uncle lived at home till he was 99 and fell off a ladder. His wife (my paternal blood relative) lived to be 102 and cooked for herself well into her 90s. Her brother lived to be 103 and was mentally sharp to the end. My mother’s aunt lived to 98.

    People always tell me I have good genes for longevity. However, my parents’ generation, born in the late teens and 1920s are not lasting as long or as well. My ideas for why include the usual suspects for primal/paleo/ancestral diet peeps such as the introduction of margarine, seed oils, processed grains, canned/boxed stuff, the loss of locally grown food, and the rest of the degradation of our food supply. To think that some babies are fed soy formula and all that canned “food” is frightening. Oops, almost went on a rant, my apologies.

    I admire how tough and smart our ancient ancestors had to have been and just love to learn more about how they lived and especially, ate. Thanks for the post!

    • Richard Nikoley on April 8, 2014 at 15:17

      “I admire how tough and smart our ancient ancestors had to have been”

      _HAD_ to have been. They didn’t have anyone telling them what to do.

      One could build a Yoda quote around that.

    • Energy! on April 10, 2014 at 04:57

      Try not. Fix your gut or do not fix your gut. There is no try.

  5. N on April 8, 2014 at 11:33

    So how many carbs Inuit were getting per day from glycogen? Do the carbs ingested as glycogen affect the insulin/blood the same way as does a potato?

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 12:19

      Glycogen is known to be very glycemic (it’s also known as animal starch). Very fresh or flash-frozen liver will spike your blood sugar. It’s difficult to know exactly how much glycogen they were consuming. They had other sources of carbs too, as discussed in the Disrupting Paleo series.

      And a 1972 study said:

      The Point Hope inhabitants represent one of the few remnants of the Eskimo whale, sea, and walrus hunting cultures in the world…Average total daily caloric intake was approximately 3,000 kcal [calories] per person, ranging from 2,300 to 4,500 kcal. Approximately 50% of the calories were derived from fat and 30 to 35% from protein. Carbohydrate accounted for only 15 to 20% of their calories, largely in the form of glycogen [animal starch] from the meat they consumed.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 8, 2014 at 12:49

      Another great quote from that 1972 study, in case you were wondering about the ability to flash freeze lots of meat and the potential for non-Eskimo foods to skew the tally:

      The Eskimos’ economy has depended heavily upon hunting of sea and land mammals and fishing. The Point Hope inhabitants represent one of the few remnants of the Eskimo whale, sea, and walrus hunting cultures in the world. Each summer the village or Point Hope captures from three to seven (40-ton) whales. The meat and fat are distributed among the villagers and preserved in continuously frozen subterranean caches (undoubtedly, the world’s oldest and most dependable “deep-freezer”). Additional food items obtained from the ocean include seal, walrus, and small amounts of fish caught during brief migratory periods in the spring and early summer. Additional food is obtained from caribou, available in summer, and an occasional polar bear trapped during winter months. Grain products and simple carbohydrates are virtually absent from the diet, as they must be imported from a great distance at considerable cost.

      This is the same study I quoted in my previous comment that concluded that the Eskimos consumed “15 to 20% of their calories, largely in the form of glycogen.” Keep in mind that these estimates were performed before many of the “significant” discoveries of glycogen stores in marine mammals, as described above.

      Eades thinks this is poorly researched? He must be joking. For over a century (see above), the scientific literature has been telling us that the Eskimos exploited glycogen in their foods. Meanwhile, Stefansson simply dismissed it and Eades naively believed him.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 13:04

      “Heinbecker studied the tolerance of Eskimos to carbohydrate. His subjects, by necessity, lived on a practically exclusive meat diet for years, before their carbohydrate tolerance tests were made. In spite of the fact that their diets were low in carbohydrate, the results of the tests indicated that they assimilated carbohydrate well. The blood sugar curves were within the normal range and the urine remained free of sugar. Is it possible that Heinbecker’s subjects derived sutlicient carbohydrate-forming substance from the protein in their diet to keep the insulin producing mechanism sufficiently stimulated to handle large quantities of carbohydrate? His Eskimos consumed about 280 gm. of protein, 135 gm. of fat, and 54 gm. of carbohydrate of which more than half is obtained from the glycogen of the meat. This seems a likely explanation.”

      It is also important to consider that the Inuit consist (consisted) of multiple and widespread Arctic and Sub-Arctic populations, that are not homogenous, nor do they all have access to the same food. There would have been considerable regional and especially seasonal, variability… so for example some locations may have had access to wild blueberries towards the end of a very short summer season but they would not have had access to them year round.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 8, 2014 at 17:26

      Excellent find, Frank.

  6. N on April 8, 2014 at 11:37

    Also, were they metabolically as damaged/insulin resistant as we are today having consumed so much sugar and fructose?

    • brazilbrad on April 8, 2014 at 13:09

      LaFrite, there you go talking nonsense again. Don’t be bringin’ in that she-ite about exercise affecting things. We all know it’s only the diet that matters :-) laf. If you got some time to burn go read about “mytokines”. Kinda blew my mind… now they are talking about skeletal muscle being an excretory organ – the largest one in the body in fact – that is communicating with and affecting other processes throughout the body. Hope they learn more about this stuff in the near future.

    • brazilbrad on April 8, 2014 at 13:22

      sorry, I meant to say “Myokines”. That link is wrong. 2nd try…

    • brazilbrad on April 8, 2014 at 13:30

      Dr. Doug McGuff has some info/blog-posts on myokines and links to some studies on his blog. He’s a big proponent of HIT style lifting and strength training in general and owns a gym (I think), so yeah he’s biased, but still very cool research direction going on.

    • dr j on April 8, 2014 at 14:03

      this is the overview paper the good Dr D McG references

    • LaFrite on April 8, 2014 at 12:25

      I guess their traditional lifestyle implied a lot of moving, physical activities, and no snacking, slouching on a couch with popcorn, doritos and a coke to sip from while watching some dumbing TV program. Physical activities and no snacking all day long on processed crap must have been excellent for insulin sensitivity. Moreover, considering the amount of pro and prebiotics they were eating, I am sure that insulin resistance was virtually unknown.

    • FrankG on April 8, 2014 at 13:07

      Traditionally there would have been times of intense activity but also long lulls in between, with minimal to no activity. Look to the Inuit games for examples to see how they whiled away long dark winter months indoors. Even hunting seal with an harpoon at a breathing hole, would require standing stock still for hours on end

    • LaFrite on April 8, 2014 at 13:28

      wow, these myokines! a lot of “nonsense to digest”! :D

  7. Jer on April 8, 2014 at 12:36

    Not too surprising that Eades is upset. It disrupts his business model of advocating low carb. It is kind of funny though, that he is now on the side of what I believe Mark Sisson describes as “Conventional Wisdom”,or those who prescribe based on incorrect data that has been perpetuated so long it becomes unquestioned fact – stuff like high cholesterol kills (actually low has higher mortality rates) and statins are good.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 8, 2014 at 16:23

      Jer, if it’s all the same to you, I’m going to continue to try to Move Mike, but respectfully. He’s largely doing the same for me, respectfully. But, I get it. Being as well known as Mike (and I’ve met him in person a few times and he’s a royal delight to be around—epitome of gentleman) he has WAY more overhead than I.

  8. Josh on April 8, 2014 at 13:36

    the problems i see here, and all over paleo blogs, are that authors are trying to relate every problem back to diet all the time. of course people will feel better with a bit of starch if their mitochondria are broken…they need to recycle energy more quickly because PPP requires time and rest. you need all the factors to align if you are going to do low carb for wellness. sleep, seasonal cycles etc etc. there is no one diet for optimal when enivironmental factors dictate that the system must function otherwise.

  9. Tuck on April 8, 2014 at 14:36

    Glycogen in meat breaks down to lactic acid, which the body then uses to make glucose. So what’s the net metabolic difference in getting glucose from eating lactic acid from glycogen versus the glycogen?

    Your body converts lactic acid in glucose all day long…

    • GTR on April 9, 2014 at 00:28

      @Tuck – Isn’t it that gluconeogenesis that is done in the liver has a limited rate, below organisms use of energy even at rest (not even including their higher energy utilization at rest due to the heating requirements)? So it wouldn’t provide benefits like immediate repletion of your own glycogen stores just after hunting, the feeling of warm after eating (reward that motivates to hunt?) etc. Besides their diet is so high-protein that this limited gluconeogenesis capacity would be used anyway?

  10. gabriella kadar on April 8, 2014 at 18:15

    It’s gotta be difficult to be right all the time………and then maybe wrong. Ouch.

  11. gabriella kadar on April 8, 2014 at 18:18

    I especially like the throat/breathing singing contests and the ear pulling contests.

  12. tatertot on April 8, 2014 at 19:29

    Here’s an interesting tidbit. You know how underground tubers were supposedly ‘fallback food’ for early humans? Well, Eskimos had fallback food, too.

    They built miles of simple stone walls, not really even walls, just ‘guide rocks’ to influence the migrating caribou’s paths. These rocks guided the caribou to a steep cliff where the hunters would jump out and scare the animals over the cliff, their buddies at the bottom would club the beasts to death.

    This was done at the start of Winter when very cold. The caribou were left here, whole, flash-frozen, for months. If Winter was hard, ie. no seals, whales, walrus, fish, they would go and drag a caribou back to camp and eat it. Most Springs found piles and piles of unused, rotting caribou that the polar bears found and ate.

    This was apparently an ice-age trick of much renown, they’ve found these same caribou herding stones at the bottom of the Great Lakes which were once just Great Valleys before the glaciers melted.

    • LeonRover on April 9, 2014 at 07:18

      ” fallback food” ?


      As is said on Summer Time vs Winter Time:

      “Spring back, Fall forward”.

      Had caribou the Haggis-epigenetic expressiveness of Scottish Highlands’ sheep shanks, they had been able to contour left or right and so escape.

      German immigrants to mid Texas tried to introduce the variant, but the sheep didn’t thrive due to lack of mountains and the Spring diet of Indian Paintbrush & BlueBonnet.
      These days, boundless and bare the lone and level lands stretch far away: nothing beside remains save the tradition of dancin’ the Schottische:


  13. Per Wikholm on April 9, 2014 at 11:24

    Thanks Richard & Duck for taking the diet debate one step further with this post. I have translated some of it and linked to this post on the Swedish LCHF-site

    I think your ad hominem attacks on Stefansson went a little bit ower the edge and could have been shortened but I do understand the purpose since Stefansson by some is regarded as some kind of Jesus. Keep up the good work!

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 11:59

      Thank you Per. My instinct to go after Stefansson was twofold. One, as you surmised, the VLC Stefansson-is-Jesus camp needed a wakeup call.

      The other was that he was a publicity whore who knew that he could tell whatever narrative he wanted to, and the press would eat it up. But what the Jennifer Niven books point out is that he was doing it at the expense of others who ended up suffering the consequences. He really didn’t sound like a great guy. The media sure loved him though.

  14. dr j on April 9, 2014 at 18:13

    1. With respect, it is pointless discussing this with Dr Eades. A discussion with Dr Art Ayres is likely to be fruitful, engaging and fascinating.
    2. The reason is that most all macromolecules intra/inter cell level have a glyco unit connected. The line where carbo/glycans components becomes discrete units appears not well understood.
    3. But we are at a point where this is changing due to refined measurement techniques and macromolecule modelling software developments: for example, The Human Gylcome is becoming a priority for The National Academy of Sciences.
    4. One can see this comprehension emerging in abstracts like this-

    Carbohydrates (glycans) are complex cell surface molecules that control multiple aspects of cell biology, including cell–cell communication, cancer metastasis, and inflammation. Glycan biosynthesis requires the coordination of many enzymes, but how this is regulated is not well understood.

    5. Engaging with Dr Eades on sous vide cooking of glycoproteins might elicit a very entertaining discussion where international cook scientists can join in. eg

    john in oz

  15. Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 06:56

    The Twitter argument with @DrEades and his supporters is getting too vitriolic for my blood. I think I’m probably bowing out on that front.

    Eades’ main point seems to be that glycogen instantly degrades from glycogen -> glucose -> lactic acid.

    However, it’s well known in the beef industry that this takes time.

    This timetable is still used in the beef industry today. In fact, that’s why beef hangs in slaughterhouses for many days. Lactic acid producing bacteria help eat the resulting glucose and convert it into lactic acid, which tenderizes the muscle and turning it into meat. This is not an instantaneous process by any means. This slaughtering process has been taking place for centuries.

    If it were an instantaneous process then “cold shortening” wouldn’t exist in the beef industry. “Cold Shortening” is what happens when an entire warm carcass is chilled too quickly — trapping remaining glycogen before rigor mortis has happened (and no, liquid nitrogen is not needed to trap this glycogen).

    Cold shortening is well known in the beef industry. As postmortem muscle is chilled, the degradation not glycogen slows and the complete stopping of degradation of glycogen happens at at -18ºC (0ºF). That’s what I (and Clarence Birdseye) meant by “flash freezing”. Liquid nitrogen is not needed for this.

    The beef industry doesn’t like “cold shortening” very much, so they either need to slowly chill their beef over many days — allowing all the glycogen degradation to happen on that time table (above) — or they need to use “electrodes” to stimulate the muscle and speed up this process (a process mainly employed by factory farms to keep the product moving quickly). The need for those electrodes would not exist if the process were as instantaneous as Eades suggests. Other meats like pork degrade more quickly, so every animal is different.

    If the conversion were instantaneous, then slaughterhouses without electrodes wouldn’t need to keep their beef hanging for many, many days to complete the conversion of glycogen to lactic acid (again, with the help of lactic acid producing bacteria). If it were not for these carbohydrates in fresh postmortem muscle, the tenderization process of converting muscle to meat would not take place.

    So, the actions of the beef industry clearly go against what they are saying.

    And finally, even if glycogen did happen rapidly, the first product would be glucose. Bacteria would still need to convert that glucose to lactic acid. If an Eskimo eats a flash-frozen muscle, any potential rapid degradation on thawing should be to glucose first.

    Regarding blubber,

    I told no lies.The sperm whale study clearly says “8-30%” carbs in blubber on page 9, a day postmortem.

    Blubber is well known to be other things than “fat”. If it were fat, they would call it “fat”. But they don’t. Blubber is very unique.

    Anyway, the facts speak for themselves. People who work in slaughterhouses have known about this for a very long time. Not much else I can say.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 10:12

      Glycogen degrades to lactic acid from enzymatic activity in dead meat, not bacteria

      Sorry Tuck, but you are dead wrong about that. While there is some degradation by enzymatic activity, the bacteria are essential for tenderizing meat by feeding on the glucose in meat.

      From the first paragraph on the page:

      Lactic acid bacteria utilise glucose at the meat surface. When the glucose is exhausted, they begin to metabolise amino acids in the meat

      Why is this so hard to understand?

      Go ahead and Google “”>Glycogen beef lactic acid bacteria and you’ll find well over a million detailed beef-industry related papers and discussions about this.

      Furthermore, the table I posted in my previous comment details the breakdown of glycogen to glucose breakdown over time.

      My apologies for being curt, but I’m getting sick and tired of telling people to read the scientific literature about this. It’s all there.

    • Tuck on April 9, 2014 at 10:36

      “Breastfed infants are in ketosis? I doubt it.”

      “After birth, the neonate must make a transition from the assured continuous transplacental supply of glucose to a variable fat-based fuel economy. ”

      “Metabolic adaptation at birth.”

      “THE HUMAN NEWBORN INFANT undergoes major metabolic changes during the transition from fetal to extrauterine life. Although glucose appears to be the major energy fuel during fetal development and an important precursor for glycogen and lipid depots, the newborn infant rapidly develops the capacity to oxidize fatty acids and ketone bodies as fuels alternative to glucose.”

      “Comparison of serum carnitine and ketone body concentrations in breast- and in formula-fed newborn infants”

    • LeonRover on April 9, 2014 at 07:53

      Pish, pish “Thweeths to the thweeth, farewell”.

      Before the more exact glycogen measurements in sealmeat and edible parts of deep diving mammals were available, it was the Study ON Stefansson – Bellevue – which concluded that about 10 gms/day of meat glycogen was eaten by Stef. In addition, I estimate the rusks added 20-30 gms per day, to give a respectable Bernstein-like amount of “ketotic” CHOs.These Bellevue numbers are what Dr Eades et al. refer to in their communications.

      (I also note that the same commentators who use Bellevue completely ignore Kitava, including Lindeberg.)

      Since the ACTUAL Inuit (Ennui Diet) CHO intake was much more than that prepared in Bellevue’s kitchens it is not surprising that Inuit measured blood ketones were so low. (Were Kitavan ketones measured by Lindeberg ?)

      Modern supermarket meat labels present this item as CHO free. Why ? Because as shown on FTA, CHO is not measured as glycogen is presumtively not present.

      As you say, facts speak for themselves – in lawyer speak:

      Res ipsa loquitur.


    • LeonRover on April 9, 2014 at 07:56

      PS “CHO is not measured, (comma) as glycogen is presumtively not present.”

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 08:36

      LeonRover, you made my day. Thank you for pointing that out.

      I must say I was taken aback by the dogma and lack of intellectual curiosity from that crowd. Truth is you can ask any butcher or meat packer worth their salt why beef carcasses need to hang for days in cold storage warehouses — they all know it’s because the glycogen and glucose take time to convert to lactic acid. It doesn’t happen quick enough for them. And it begs the question…

      Why does my butcher know more about postmortem glycogen than Eades?

    • bernhard on April 9, 2014 at 08:46

      Duck Dodgers
      Why? Bad question, takes people out of their comfort zones and makes them aggressive. Same with (inability of) giving up long held believes, dogmas etc.
      Those dogmas may be wrong, all evidence pointing there, yet the dogma keeps me within my long known comfort zone, so f* the evidence.
      It’s all about fear, I guess.
      Btw. Great job you are doing.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 09:25

      Duck, that’s “after postmortem,” or you’ll disappoint Gabriella’s adventures into questions of metaphysics.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 09:35

      “Great job you are doing.”

      Duck is very, very special. I want to see a cage match between he and Tatertot. :)

    • Tuck on April 9, 2014 at 09:55

      Glycogen degrades to lactic acid from enzymatic activity in dead meat, not bacteria. The body continuously recovers glucose from lactic acid, this is a basic metabolic function.

      So I don’t think it’s safe to assume that meat that has lactic acid rather than glycogen has no carbs. What’s important is what hits the blood stream…

      Mind, even human infants receive bacteria from the mother that produce lactic acid in the gut. Those would be ketogenic infants, btw. :)

    • Duck on April 9, 2014 at 10:00

      Interestingly you can ask Google “what is Cold Shortening” and it will tell you in big block letters without even referring you to any pages:

      Cold shortening is the result of the rapid chilling of carcasses immediately after slaughter, before the glycogen in the muscle has been converted to lactic acid.

      No liquid nitrogen needed in a slaughterhouse to trap that glycogen in a warm carcass. Just a very cold warehouse that people walk around in, in heavy jackets.

      I just can’t believe the lack of knowledge that was coming from that Twitter discussion. It’s just embarrassing.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 10:09


      Just in case you thought you wasted your time. Just saw this in the FB comments:

      “George Curry You know I am a big fan of Eades, have enjoyed his blog and twitter posts over the years. The glean began dim a little off his star with how poorly I thought he came out in his debate with colpo. And this latest “debate” with you and duck dodgers has somewhat sealed the deal. Have always respected what I thought was his objective scientific approach to issues regardless of the source, what is the best interpretation of the facts. Loved how he promoted denise minger and her critique of the china study. What is incredibly and sadly ironic is that he “one thousand nails” post would have been just the type of post I would have expected from Eades. I got caught up on the twitter debate last night, the best he could do was to claim that stefansson’s obit was on the front cover of the NYT? Seriously, that is the best you can come up with? Sorry, but in tennis parlance, the whole debate is game, set, and match in yours and duck’s favor.”

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 10:12

      “Those would be ketogenic infants, btw.”

      Breastfed infants are in ketosis?

      I doubt it.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 10:15

      Richard, Thank you for that.

      Last night was enough to keep me off of Twitter forever.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 10:16

      Duck is very, very special. I want to see a cage match between he and Tatertot

      I would easily sacrifice myself for Tatertot, Hunger Games style.

    • tatertot on April 9, 2014 at 10:22

      Should I change my name to “Tate-niss”

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 10:23

      You go, Duck. Have patience, grasshopper. :)

    • Tuck on April 9, 2014 at 10:40

      “Correspondingly, by 42 hours of age, serum ketone body concentrations (β-hydroxybutyrate plus aceto-acetate) were higher in breast fed (5.9 nmoles/ml) as compared with formula fed infants (3.0 nmoles/ml).”

      From the second study.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 11:14

      Tuck, If you are interested in the science, I’m seeing two postmortem processes outlined beginning on page 19 of this handout.

      Retail cut of meat. Conversation of muscle to meat. Physical properties of meat, PSE, DFD

      The first process outlines Glycolysis (Glycogen to glucose to pyruvate to lactic acid (anaerobe))

      The second process outlines ATP decomposition/breakdown.

      Furthermore, and once again, the amounts of these in beef muscle are outlined in this beef industry table. As you can see the glycogen doesn’t disappear instantly from the postmortem beef and the glucose actually rises a bit.

      Interestingly, there’s also the microbial degradation that also happens right after slaughter, which likely contributes to the numbers in the table…

      From Wikipedia: Chemical process of decomposition: Carbohydrate degradation

      Early in decomposition, carbohydrates will be broken down by microorganisms. The process begins with the breakdown of glycogen into glucose monomers

      And I would suppose that glucose that comes from the first step in glycolysis would become some bacteria food. Anyway, the contribution of bacteria towards meat decomposition has been well documented.

      Anyhow, my apologies for being curt with you before. I didn’t enjoy the Twitter discussion very much. I much prefer real science, and I can see you are interested in it as well.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 12:08

      Nice evasion of the question, Tuck. Thanks for confirming that no, infants are not in ketosis but perhaps for a very short time as normal survival adaptation, once placental GLUCOSE gets taken over by dietary LACTOSE.

    • Tuck on April 9, 2014 at 12:14

      LOL. You’re the one evading, my friend.

      “Find another ketogenic society, if you can.”

      So you wanted an example of people who survive in ketosis: all breast-fed infants.

      That’s a fairly large tribe… ;)

      As you know, what’s important isn’t what goes into the mouth, but what is in the blood. And apparently they’re chock-full of ketones.

      Must be why they’re so cute.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 9, 2014 at 13:06

      I’m seeing ‘Suckling Ketosis’ described as a “mild” ketosis in humans, but in rats it’s more pronounced.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 14:50

      Tuck, have fun with convincing people that there’s a ketogentic aspect in the transition from placenta feeding to breast feeding and thus, people should be ketogentic for life. I’m sure you’ll do quite well.

  16. Adrienne on April 9, 2014 at 10:37

    If a person writes books implying that their diet is protective against heart disease, stroke etc and then he or she dies of one of such diseases at arguably earlier ages than those on SAD, then I think the information is certainly relevant and useful for people. How much importance people want to give this information is up to them, but I agree that it is certainly relevant — not dispositive — but absolutely relevant.

    As other posters pointed out there are so many other variables such as family history, genetics and so many other factors that are arguably more important than diet — pollution, smoking, stress, grief, plus the obvious fact that it’s common for a person not to practice what they preach. The late Dr. Groves has a bit on this regarding Stefannson where he writes that Stefannson ate a SAD diet from about 1927-1955 during which time he gained excess weight and experienced joint problems Cutting back on calories allegedly didn’t do much, so he reverted back to the all meat diet until his death in 1962. If that is all true, then maybe big extremes in diet and anything else later in life is a bad idea. Or maybe when your number’s up, your number’s up.

    Regarding genetics and grief, the Weston A. Price Foundation London Chapter web site claims that Dr. Groves died of an inherited heart defect which killed both his father and brother. His brother died 6 days prior to Dr. Groves. If that information is accurate, then perhaps diet was virtually irrelevant in his case. Reminds me a bit of 3 great uncles on the Italian side of my family — all slender, athletic and eating a traditional cuisine of Rome — home cooked, no junk. All three men dropped dead suddenly in their late 40s to early 50s of massive sudden heart attacks. One had been given a clean bill of health at his yearly physical just a few few days before he dropped dead.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2014 at 13:40

      “f a person writes books implying that their diet is protective against heart disease, stroke etc and then he or she dies of one of such diseases at arguably earlier ages than those on SAD, then I think the information is certainly relevant and useful for people. How much importance people want to give this information is up to them, but I agree that it is certainly relevant — not dispositive — but absolutely relevant.”

      Adrienne just attained “smart girlfriend” status with me.

      Shorter Adrienne: C’mon, you can’t not at least think about it, however you score it.

      “Or maybe when your number’s up, your number’s up.”

      Yea, watch Ps & Qs, but otherwise, enjoy. All my grandparents and a great grandmother lived into the 80s, all smoked. A couple drank like fish, especially my favorite 4’10” LaRue. You didn’t mess with LaRue, unless you were me.

      God, but I miss that woman putting a finger right up in my face and calling me a smartass!

  17. Ulfric Douglas on April 9, 2014 at 12:58

    “One of Stefansson’s early claims to fame was his supposed sightings of “Blond Eskimos””
    I mean, I reckon there weren’t any but … isn’t the middle one in your inserted meat-gnawing photo blond?

    • Duck Dodgers on April 10, 2014 at 06:47

      Looks like more of a brunette to me since the saturation of the colors appears to be enhanced in that photo, to make the colors pop more. A real blond would be lighter than that. Truth be told, there aren’t many true blonds left in the world. I believe it’s a recessive trait that gets weeded out fairly easily over time.

    • tatertot on April 10, 2014 at 08:21

      I’d say those girls look more like Siberian reindeer herders than Eskimo.

  18. GTR on April 9, 2014 at 13:56

    It looks like Europeans have not understood Eskimos for the last few centauries. There’s a a TV Documentary – Secrets of the Dead – The lost Vikings – that shows it was the norm in Medieval times too. The question – Vikings and Inuit both settled on Greenland (Vikings had been first) – Vikings went extinct, Eskimo survived. Why? The attempt to answer it is at about 36 min. in the video.

  19. Pd on April 9, 2014 at 16:11

    Tatertot, Duck and Richard,

    What has struck me as the key to all this is that long term, VLC diets can have negative consequences for people.

    What I like about this series of posts is that you gents have presented a possible way out for people whose blood sugar control degrades.

    Just like VLC can help some people get blood sugar issues under control a clever intervention of starches, gut flora repair etc can also produce seemingly encouraging results.

    For people who proactively attempt to improve health markers through nutrition this is another tool.

    Kudos to you all.


  20. Duck Dodgers on April 10, 2014 at 07:19

    Beluga whales and dolphins, which don’t even tend to dive very deep (although beluga whales were found to be capable of diving to at least ~700 meters) were also found to have significant glycogen pools. This is a good quote, which pulls some of the puzzle pieces together…

    Renal cellular and tissue specializations in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

    In this report selected examples of subcellular specializations and tissue structures of the bottlenose dolphin and beluga whale kidney are presented which illustrate some unique renal adaptations of cetaceans, and other subcellular structures are depicted for here the first time by electron microscopy. Large reservoirs of glycogen in the cortical proximal convoluted tubules, some unique bundles of medullary blood vessels, and the well-known sporta perimedullaris musculosa of the reniculi are considered to be specialized adaptations in the kidney which may facilitate cetacean diving behavior…

    …One observation of this study, i.e. the presence of circumscribed glycogen reservoirs within proximal convoluted tubule epithelial cells, was quite similar to earlier reported findings of intracellular zones of glycogen concentration within ringed seal and harp seal myocardium (Pfeiffer & Viers, 1995) and findings of intracellular reservoirs of glycogen in the bowhead whale heart (Pfeiffer, 1990). Vogl & Fisher (1976) also reported glycogen pools in the arterial thoracic retia of the narwhal, Monodon monoceros. In each case such enlarged reservoirs may help support anaerobic glycolysis of the cells involved during conditions of systemic hypoxia associated with prolonged submersion. This morphologic evidence of specialized glycogen reservoirs in the cetacean kidney cells and elsewhere supports the chemical finding of two to three-fold enhanced glycogen levels observed in Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddelli) cardiac tissue (Kerem et al., 1973). As part of the diving reflex, both renal and cardiac function are greatly reduced during submersion. However, these organs have inherent high metabolic demands and must remain resistant to reperfusion, free radical-induced injury, and in the case of the kidney, to the cytotoxic effects of concentrated urea

  21. Tom Scott on April 9, 2014 at 18:21

    “blond Eskimos.”
    “While the inhabitants of the Totempolar region spoke a half dozen mutually unintelligible languages, physically they diverged but slightly except in individuals. With the exception of a few Haidas who had red hair, all had coarse, straight black hair…”
    Haidas reside in the southern Alaska panhandle and Queen Charlotte Island in Canada.
    Yes, Tater, I lived in Alaska for 27 years. Retired from EAFB in 1980. You know the “elephant cage?”

    • tatertot on April 9, 2014 at 18:42

      Tom – Do you mean the 69 ‘ate her first’?

  22. Harriet on April 9, 2014 at 19:50

    I couldn’t understand how I had to have less and less carb to get less and less effect on my blood sugars. I never measured my blood sugars using gadgets as I tend to get overly driven by actual data leading to more stress. instead I went by symptoms. After 5 years on a lowish carb paleo diet I was having more and more problems with my blood sugar symptoms and it was getting more and more difficult to control them. After 3 months on PS and other resistant starches I’m becoming more stable with fewer symptoms. Still waiting for the breakthrough to health but with the number of health problems I have I am likely to be one of the 10% who actually need professional help. In the meantime its paleo plus RS plus botanicals for possible parasites plus the Primal Defence and AOR-3. Still waiting for the Prescript assist to arrive. Who knows, that might be enough.

    • tatertot on April 9, 2014 at 19:55

      Hi, Harriet – Glad to hear you are still doing good! Have you gotten your gut biome tested yet? Is that a possibility? It may change your life! Who knows what lurks within.

  23. christophdollis on April 9, 2014 at 21:56

    Bold point 3. And put some asterisks above and below it—that way they can’t miss it.

    I was just sharing a little bit about this (well, related, because I hadn’t yet seen this post) and more about resistant starch and the microbiome to two interested RNs in person. Will share it with a couple doctors over the next week.

    The amount of carbohydrate in our diet varied (by latitude mostly), but it wasn’t zero. And we did spend most of our evolutionary-development years on the African Savannah.

    I’m sure Inuit, northern Europeans, etc., are probably not as well adapted to a high-carb diet as others. But a VLC diet long term? Tough to adhere to—and probably for good reason.

  24. Duck Dodgers on April 10, 2014 at 12:16

    Here’s an interesting comment from the Swedish translation of this post—translated to English via Google Translate.

    I don’t have any expertise with ketosis, so I’ll leave that to others to hash out — though, Per Wikholm did highlight this comment as an appendix to the post, so he must of thought it was worthy of discussion…

    From: Hur ketogen var egentligen inuiternas kost?

    APPENDIX 2014-04-10: See Peters comment below. There are diet registrations on the Greenlandic Inuit that shows a protein intake of 250-300 grams of protein / day. This corresponds to about 1.5 kg pure meat. With such a high protein intake so you will quickly fall out of ketose. Partly because the protein is highly insulin-enhancing and partly to the excess of protein (which the body does not need to rebuild muscle and other cells) in significant part will be converted to glucose in the body.

    The other thing I would add is a link to a television documentary about Greenland. The Vikings got there first but died out in the 1500s in connection with the so-called Little Ice Age. The Inuit arrived there much later, in the 1300s but survived because they relied on hunting and gathering while the Vikings could not let their food supply based on domestic livestock that had been pickled and eroded soil. What is essential here, as I have not had an eye on, is that the Inuit entry on Greenland is so recent – 1300s. That will simply not to claim that indigenous people have eaten ketogenic / carb-like diet in an evolutionary perspective. Especially as both protein consumption and obtained about a significantly higher glycogen intake is pointing in a different direction. The mythology of the Greenland Inuit ketogenic carb-diet boils down to … nothing at all!

    Here is the YouTube link to the documentary

    / Per Wikholm

    Peter: I would add and emphasize that it published a series of blog posts on the subject on the above page, including links to studies showing that the Inuit in principle was never in ketosis. Except right after that, the study’s sake, they forced to fast for more than a day.

    Just that Inuit are an example of indigenous people eaten extremely LC and proliferated in ketosis is something that LC community made ​​use of as evidence that it is a normal condition for humans to burn ketones 365 days a year.

    The reason they are not in ketosis is not because they occupy little fat without eating much of protein, according to the above page to diet logs on Inuit where registered protein intake of 250-300 g / day. About 1200 kcal from protein, about as very from fat and a smaller part from carbohydrates in various forms.

    But that does not suggest that LC and ketosis does not work for metabolic disease causes people. But perhaps not all the time.

    Richard Nikoley, who has the blog in question, will be a guest host on Jimmy Moore’s podcast at the end of this month and will probably talk a lot about the benefits of regularly eating moderate amounts of starchy foods.

    • Jim on April 11, 2014 at 00:50

      Duck Dodger:

      Forgive me for asking, but do you have any academic credentials?

      You are very cocky, glib, and spew out data as if it is indisputable.

      I despise academics. I am an engineer with a bias towards common sense and real world solutions.

      However, your dismissal of Dr Eades makes me want to puke.

      This bullshit about glycogen in meat is beyond the pale. If you ate an average American, sated on a typical high carb junk food diet, freshly killed and butchered, perhaps their would be a significant glycogen component in the meat.

      The kinds of wild critters up in the Article regions are in a daily struggle survive. No way they have glycogen rich meat or organs.

      This whole Intuit (Eskimo) glycogen deal is much ado about nothing.

      And layoff Dr Eades! He is one of my heroes and a great man with a solid track record who has actually accomplished real things.

      What credible basis do you have?

    • Duck Dodgers on April 11, 2014 at 05:44

      You are very cocky, glib, and spew out data as if it is indisputable.

      I am simply referring people to real scientific data. Interestingly Dr. Eades didn’t show any.

      I despise academics. I am an engineer with a bias towards common sense and real world solutions.

      Oh, that’s wonderful. Your mother must be so proud of you!

      However, your dismissal of Dr Eades makes me want to puke.

      I have a lot of respect for Dr. Eades. I didn’t dismiss him. I simply corrected him. Even great men make mistakes. I hope you realize that Dr. Eades isn’t an expert in everything. I did a lot of research and simply showed Dr. Eades numerous studies that showed he was mistaken. I don’t see what the big deal is.

      This bullshit about glycogen in meat is beyond the pale.

      Quite the contrary. Glycogen is a very real component of freshly slaughtered meat. As LeonRover pointed out above, even your beloved Stefansson was shown to be eating 10 gms/day of meat glycogen per day in the Bellevue Experiment.

      If you ate an average American, sated on a typical high carb junk food diet, freshly killed and butchered, perhaps their would be a significant glycogen component in the meat.

      The kinds of wild critters up in the Article regions are in a daily struggle survive. No way they have glycogen rich meat or organs.

      The scientific literature very clearly says otherwise. Multiple studies have confirmed it. Click the links in the article above and you’ll see for yourself. What do you want me to tell you? You can deny reality if you like. Whatever gets you through the day.

      This whole Intuit (Eskimo) glycogen deal is much ado about nothing.

      If you say so. But from my mind you seem to have a complete lack of intellectual curiosity. Here I am presenting numerous studies in my article (click on the links) with real scientific data and all you can muster is a poorly worded dismissal and insults?

      A scientist does not whine and dismiss the data that is presented to him. A real scientists reads, discusses and learns. Isn’t that the point? Or would you rather just dismiss contrarian opinions and defend your own dogma without reading any scientific literature? The choice is yours.

      And layoff Dr Eades! He is one of my heroes and a great man with a solid track record who has actually accomplished real things.

      I have nothing but respect for Dr. Eades. Really. I agree he’s a great guy and has done a lot for people. But, I put a lot of research into this article, citing over a dozen scientific studies to support my case. When he outright dismissed the article, I continued to show him real world evidence on Twitter and scientific data that explained why he was mistaken. Dr. Eades never once showed any scientific evidence to refute anything I put forward.

      I’m sorry if presenting scientific data is difficult for you to swallow. I really am. But scientists have known about glycogen in freshly slaughtered meat for ages. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies on the effects of aging meat and speeding up the glycogen degradation process. It’s a very well studied aspect of food science and it takes a few days to play out. Diving marine animals require extra glycogen to complete their extended dives.

      My recommendation for you is to pull your head out of your ass and read some of the scientific literature, rather than worrying about the feelings of one of your heroes and protecting dogma. I like Dr. Eades a lot too, but if we are going to be scientists, then we should be willing to read the scientific literature and act like scientists.

    • quattromomma on April 12, 2014 at 07:06

      Jim—I am also an engineer with 22 years experience in manufacturing and supervise a group of engineers. An engineer who relies on common sense and ignores readily available data is a disgrace to the profession.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2014 at 17:52

      “Could you please answer my question about your academic or other qualifications?”

      For shame:

    • Jim on April 20, 2014 at 14:38

      Thanks Duck. I will work on extracting my head from my anus. Can you come over and help if I can’t get the job done.

      Could you please answer my question about your academic or other qualifications?

    • Jim on April 20, 2014 at 20:04

      What the fuck?

      Can anyone give a simple answer to a straightforward question? What fucking credentials does Duck have? Do you people really want to follow the lead of some guy who may be blogging from the basement of his parents home in his pajamas?

      Richard, you and Duck are prime examples, of a new breed: Internet Sophists.

      Your motto being:

      If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with bullshit.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2014 at 21:17

      “Can anyone give a simple answer to a straightforward question? What fucking credentials does Duck have?”


      He writes in English words, and also happens to arrange those words into conceptually understandable units generally referred to as senesces, paragraphs, sections, chapters, and articles.

      Now, I understand that you, Jim, are simply looking for an authority upon which to hang your hat, and make comparative notes, but unless you’re admitting at the same time that you can’t read and understand English, then I can’t see your point.

    • Jim on April 20, 2014 at 23:36

      What the hell are “comparative notes”?

      Man, I wish I was as smart as you folks that live in the Bay Area. Must be the close proximity to Berkeley which gives you such wisdom!

      Given your defensiveness, an intelligent observer must conclude that this Duck character has no credentials, academic or otherwise, in the fields of biochemistry and human physiology.

      Richard, I respect you and like your blog. I even buy crap on Amazon through your link in order to partially, in a very small way, pay for the pleasure of reading your stuff.

      But man you got to be careful lest you become a legend in your own mind.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 21, 2014 at 09:04

      “What the hell are ‘comparative notes’?”

      I’m quite certain that it means that you engage differing viewpoints, take notes. Compare them. I’m just guessing though, because the only letters I have after my name are B and S.

      “Man, I wish I was as smart as you folks that live in the Bay Area. Must be the close proximity to Berkeley which gives you such wisdom!”

      I was at Berkeley once! It was September of 1984. I drove up from SWO school in San Diego to help preside at my mew Marine cousin 2nd LT’s wedding (he and his bro are both graduates, one Navy ROTC and one Marine-option NROTC). I was the one who got to swat his wife in the ass with my ceremonial sword, in dress whites.

      Anyway, that’s all I ever think about when someone says “Berkeley.” Oh, sorry, guess I’ve digressed. You were trying to make a point by means of erroneous associations, last I looked, like where I happen to live.

      “Given your defensiveness, an intelligent observer must conclude that this Duck character has no credentials, academic or otherwise, in the fields of biochemistry and human physiology.”

      Actually, there’s no defensiveness but quite the contrary. For all I know Duck has zero credentials you’re looking for. Of course, this makes it easy for you to dismiss his words, sentences, paragraphs, etc., written in plain English and heavily referenced.

      In other words, I’m giving you exactly what you want. You should be thankful. Zero credentials. Duck is actually a beggar on the street with a penchant for writing and looking up shit in the local library. And you’re right, it is weird because that sort of thing magically makes the words, sentences, and paragraphs he uses in English mean something other than it would mean if someone with lots of letters after their name wrote it. Moreover, I think it also converts those references he cites into a language that has not yet been discovered and nobody can comprehend it.

      “Richard, I respect you and like your blog. I even buy crap on Amazon through your link in order to partially, in a very small way, pay for the pleasure of reading your stuff.”

      Thank you, sir! I truly appreciate it. Always remember that my principle endeavor with this blog is to get people to think for themselves. I would rather a person think for themselves, make lots of errors and modify their behavior than to follow an authority who happens to be right.

    • Jim on April 21, 2014 at 19:38

      You are most welcome.

      Please keep on doing what you are doing. It is working.

  25. Duck Dodgers on April 10, 2014 at 07:40

    Unbelievable video of a whale being carved up during the summer (no flash freezing of course):

    Amazing to see the enormity of the organs.

    As you can see, this whale was caught in August, and flash freezing was obviously not possible. Average temperatures there were ~45º, well above freezing that time of year. However, they also had more carb sources that time of year. The fresh raw meats, blubber and skin from this animal would have been rich in glyocgen, but they would have “cached” the leftovers and buried it to try and keep it frozen.

    Cached meat probably wasn’t a good source of glycogen, but it did have sugars in it. The glycans (glycoproteins, etc) in those cached foods would have hydrolyzed into sugars, but unfortunately, nobody really knows how much since it’s never been accurately measured with direct measurements afaik.

  26. dr j on April 10, 2014 at 14:04

    NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT) study area from March 2015 through March 2020.

    A call for comment has been made. Write to the Admiral in charge and propose a project for full post mortem studies of glycans etc at timed intervals .

  27. Michael44 on April 11, 2014 at 16:45

    Thank you Duck Dodgers for this info! Fantastic. And thanks to you Richard – (of course =) ).

  28. GTR on April 13, 2014 at 17:36

    The information below is slightly off topics – but it’s about carbs and hunter gatherers: it turns out that some plants have a flexible physiology – their external characteristics change based on factors like temperature or CO2 level. To make story short – wild ancient corn ancestors, when planted in conditions similar to what was happening at the end of the glaciation has many characteristics (but not yield) similar to modern corn, rather to modern wild corn.

    This brings out more questions than answers – are other plants like that? Especially ones in Africa and Eurasia, where earlier human evolution took place. If so, these would present a “modern like” carb food source for humans and hominins, but with more effort required at collecting them (lower yields, need to find them).

    Notice that although most human evolution time was in a cold times (glacials), that there were many hotter periods – interglacials, and the previous one (Eemian) featured anatomically modern humans; as well as Neanderthals (both meeting in the Middle East then), while earlier had advanced homo species too (like homo erectus). Hot periods would naturally present more plant carb sources than glaciations, the latter forcing to rely more on animal foods.

    Notice that before that, before the ice with some hotter periods there was this nice, moderately warm (2+ C hotter than contemporary interglacial) period called Pleistocene, before that an even hotter period called Miocene at the border of which when hominin-chimp/bonobo split occured.

    Some dietary gurus try to somehow associate ancestral or paleo-time diet with the one that was like in colder climates, during ice ages, thus references to Eskimos as models for animal-based food? That’s only partially justified – most of modern sapiens evolution was happening in Africa and Arabia – that were not ice covered even during bigest glaciations. There were those hot interglacials too, even for Neanderhals (2-4% ancestors to Eurasians) or Eurasian Erectus. So the plant food that contain carbs were available in the places where most of the human evolution took place.

    To be fair to the ice first big the improvements in the human intellectual parameters seem to be associated with the colder times – starting from split from the chimp as a result of the climate drying due to it getting less warm, ending at the cultural revolution somewhere 50k years ago – during the glacial, when people had those bigger brains than todays average. But these too might be dependand on previous hot boom times – first during the hot times (easy plant food availability) population enlarged, diversity increased – then during following harsh cold/dry times only the most capable were selected.

    But Eskimos are not a good model even for glaciated Eurasia. In glaciated Eurasia there was actually more sunshine than today, because of less cloud cover (drier climate). So plenty of energy for plans available. It’s the air temperature that was cold, also CO2 was low and a dry climate was not that conductive to plant growth. Overall conditions were very different from contemporary Arctic.

  29. grace on April 18, 2014 at 03:31

    When Inuits eat the frozen sliced meat along with their tea, does these meat still have glycogen still?

  30. Norm on April 19, 2014 at 05:36

    1000 nails in the coffin of misrepresentation and exaggeration of Duck Dodgers…

    • Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2014 at 13:24

      Did Dr Eades confirm your bias for you, Norm?

    • Jim on April 19, 2014 at 19:03

      What Dr Eades did was demonstrate, in gruesome detail, the folly of untrained amateurs dabbling in the field of human physiology.

      In any event, who gives a flying fuck about the ketogenic status of the Intuit?

      You have gotten way off base here. Seems like you are scrambling for a scientific basis to justify your own lack of dietary discipline.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2014 at 19:09


      Your confirmation bias that Eades confirmed for you, combined with your double face-plant ignorance is to an extent that I have already wasted too many figer strokes in a reply.

      “the folly of untrained amateurs dabbling in the field of human physiology.”

      You demonstrate that you and people like you are literally the source of all human misery.

    • Jim on April 19, 2014 at 19:35

      That makes a lot of sense!

      Have you ever admitted you are wrong?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2014 at 22:16


      “Have you ever admitted you are wrong?”

      Do you realize you’ve just exposed your ignorance as to this blog?

    • Jim on April 20, 2014 at 14:39

      Sometimes ignorance is a virtue.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2014 at 17:50

      Not this time, Jim.

    • Jim on April 20, 2014 at 20:06

      Opinions are like assholes…..everybody’s got one.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2014 at 21:12

      “Sometimes ignorance is a virtue.” – Jim’s opinion

    • Jim on April 20, 2014 at 23:50


      It is kind of cool to be the source of all human misery. Never knew I had such power.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 21, 2014 at 09:11

      Feel the power, Jim.

    • Jim on April 21, 2014 at 19:45

      Do you have the number of an exorcist that serves the Tucson area?

  31. Gemma on April 19, 2014 at 23:02

    The very last thing I needed today: a biased article on confirmation bias by Dr. Eades.
    It is Easter, let’s sacrifice some ducks.

  32. […] One Thousand Nails in the Coffin of Arctic Explorer Vilhjálmur Stefansson, and His Spawn […]

  33. GTR on May 2, 2014 at 12:00

    Looks like Stefansson is on the agenda again, this time in “Be More” magazine

  34. Kaiyaque on August 14, 2014 at 12:42

    ” One of Stefansson’s early claims to fame was his supposed sightings of “Blond Eskimos” in Western Nunavut—a claim that was later debunked by DNA testing.”
    Stefansson’s claim to have sighted Inuit who had physical characteristics similar to Europeans, including abundant beards, wavy brown or light hair, straight noses, narrow faces without the typical Inuit’s broad cheekbones, etc, was not “debunked” at all by the DNA testing. The tests did not find a relationship between a group of Inuit with no apparent European ancestry and a group with known Euro-Inuit ancestry. Not having read the study, I don’t know if the scientists chose their subjects of the first group from “pureblood” Inuit who had European features. Even they were careful to say that their study did not disprove Stefansson’s theory. To quote one: “[Agnar] Helgason says his preliminary findings show there is no match between the Nunavut and Icelandic DNA.
    ‘Stefansson’s hypothesis doesn’t seem to be supported by the data at this point in time,’ he says. ‘But I wouldn’t want to give a final death certificate for Stefansson’s hypothesis at this point in time.’ (Source, CBC News Posted: Oct 28, 2003)
    Stefansson’s book “My Life with the Eskimo,” published in 1912, a popular account of his experiences during his ethnological survey expedition to the central Arctic coast of North America of 1908 to 1912,not only outlined his observation of Inuit with Euro-like features, but included two photographs of them. They certainly do not share facial characteristics, at least, with the other Inuit he photographed. (Incidently, Stefannson did not like the term “Blond Eskimo,” preferring “Copper Inuit,” from their term for themselves and their use of copper nuggets to make tools and ornaments.
    I have found that silly little men often try to tear down those greater than they with lots of poorly researched and smearing vituperation. It is sometimes true that the heroes of the past had clay feet. Robert Scott could be said to have murdered his South Pole party by his refusal to use dogs, despite much evidence of their usefulness in Arctic exploration. Robert Peary was an exploitative monomaniac who probably lied about reaching the North Pole. Stefansson certainly did not suffer fools or perceived incompetence. But these men were also great in their vision and endeavor, if flawed in their humanity, and the attempts of tiny-minded, pissant midgets to wipe out the good that they did does more to show how small the detractor is than how vulnerably human the hero was.

  35. Marty K on July 19, 2018 at 10:35

    Meat diet aside, Stefansson was a horrible man A callous self-promoter, his character was clearly revealed by his abandonment of the Karluk and the Wrangel Island “colony” scheme.He blamed others for the catastrophic outcomes of each of these. The author of this blog mentions these horrific episodes, but I’d like to echo & expand on how criminally negligent he was. He lied & misled people to get them to participate in each expedition, and he showed no public concern — and no doubt had no private qualms — about their fate. He asserted that a trip over the ice from Wrangel to Siberia wound not be difficult which was a baseless and ignorant assertion. He should have been the subject of four wrongful death lawsuits, at the very least, following the Wrangel Island “colony” affair.
    How could any of this man’s observations be credible on any subject?
    I have only contempt for him.

  36. Emily on March 28, 2019 at 06:52

    I just couldn’t read anything after “ask any ketogenic dieter…” trust me. 90% of the ketogenic population has no idea who you’re Talking about.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2019 at 10:13

      Emily, you should check out “Richard Nikoley’s Ketotard Chronicles” group on Facebook.

      It’s a riot, and, 100% of the real deal Keto folks are fans. We make fun of the stupid shit.

  37. The New Neander's Physiological Literacy on June 13, 2019 at 08:59

    Nicoley is poor judge of character. I read Stefansson’s books and watch an intereview with him in the late 1950s. Stefansson has a very sharp mind and conversved it in his late 70s.
    Stefansson is not a liar. Stefansson is a smart man, a prolific and interesting writer and a risk taker.
    Stefansson gave a fair account of Eskimo diet. Stefansson’s account matches other sorces, i.e. Schwatka’s and William H. Gilbert’s.
    Stefanson had a bias but we all do to different degrees. Stefansson made several mistakes in his life, undertook questionnable goals. It is not an exception and many very intelligent people can make similar mistakes.
    Rudolph Andersson was constantly sabotaging Stefansson during their Arctic expeditions. Stefansson remained polite and diplomatic when he was describing this in his books.
    I recommend Stefansson’ books. It is a fascinating account of how people lived and interacted in the Arctic, – Eskmo and Westerners, White and non Whites (there was a guy from Samoa in the Stefansson’s expedition who later settled in Alaska, as well as other guys from all over the world who did ok on high meat-only diet).
    The New Neander’s Physiological Literacy at wordpress com

    • Richard Nikoley on June 13, 2019 at 10:43

      Oh go fuck off. You, sir, are a poor judge of character. Stef was an opportunistic lying scumbag.

      And you haven’t done your research. There are about 17 posts in this series on the Inuit NEVER being in ketosis. You can find them

      Take your bullshit somewhere else.

      You’re a fucking idiot, too stupid to understand your ignorance. Read all of the 17 posts, then fuck off.

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