There Is No Junk Food

I typically have 2-3 posts in draft these days. Sometimes it’s because ideas come in on top of each other so I want to at least write a few sentences or paragraphs to get started and not forget. Some of them are for the next in one of my posts series I’m doing. Other times I’m gung ho and either my gung or ho fizzles and I need to either get it back and finish the post, or can it.

Then there’s the other thing, a flash of inspiration and I just know I can make quick work of it, hit publish, and sit back. It should really be that the posts that take days of thought, drafting and editing would be my favorite. Nope.

You can already guess of what kind this post is.

…As has been my Friday morning ritual for nearly a year: I get up, make coffee, and sit down to read this week’s The Arrow. It’s a medium to sometimes long email newsletter by Dr. Michael Eades of Protein Power low-carb diet fame. It’s OK to think of it as Atkins Further Refined and that’s completely accurate. Mike is a friend of mine for over a decade. Since I have my morning coffee with The Arrow, a little Mike story is in order. Of necessity, I drink black coffee, no cream, no sugar. It’s how my dad got me started as a kid.

Back about 10 years ago, my wife and I were in Santa Barbara for a gathering of her family at the Hilton Beachfront Hotel. I gave a shout out to Mike, who lived in Montecito at the time; he and Dr. Mary Dan stopped on over for a lobby chat. There’s a coffee concession and I asked what they would like, and it was Americano. I’m no stranger to various coffee drinks, and I’ve been a fan of [double] espressos since college when such in the early 80s was quite a strange novelty for Americans. But I’d never heard of an Americano. Turns out, it’s a black coffee just like your drip, in appearance. That’s where the similarity stops. It’s actually quite simple. You begin with making an espresso in the standard way, then add piping hot water to dilute it up to the volume of a standard black coffee (or, a little less if you like it stronger…a little more if you like it weaker). It’s a totally better taste. And as a one-off, it’s always fresh.

…And to close the loop on that, it turns out that there is no drip coffee here in Thailand. No. Place. All coffee shops and stands have an espresso machine only. All coffee drinks start by making an espresso first, as the base. So, if you want a standard black coffee…it’s an Americano and it’s on every menu.

Mike’s missive this morning covers a nice engaging assortment of things. It’s part of what I like a lot about it. Single-issue writing eventually bores me to tears and unsubscribing. This morning, it was how a clever Tweet of his went micro-viral. Turns out it’s quite related to the thing I’m writing about now. Then, a section on the struggles of us newsletter / blog writers and in particular, the email aspect of it. I can relate. That segues into his mini-obsession with all things Covid and related, how he was shocked by the global response to it—as a medical professional himself—and still is. Continued caution about how damn quick-deadly fentanyl is and how many it’s killing, which is astounding. Then it’s a damn hilarious story about how he once paraded around in front of now governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, with the seat of his pants torn out. …Then, a nice transition from laughing at himself to mocking mask-supporting public figures caught with their pants down, so to speak….

Then, as if to do his weekly duty, it turns to L/C dieting, and so comes a really interesting series of topics. Those are going to be the focus of what I have to write about today. I must add that I sometimes just skim his diet stuff. It’s only because I’m very well layman versed in them and write in my layman style about them. Today was different in that it struck me in a sort of je ne sais pas way.

It covers really revealing, self-learning using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)—juxtaposed with using HgbA1c to get an average of blood glucose over 2-3 month’s time. Then comes a little rant about food and its opposite, junk…the selected title and banner for this post. And finally, a critique of a recent bullshit study on fasting I already knew was bullshit when I saw it touted a while back.

So, let’s get on with the links, quotes, charts, and my ever-engaging thoughts and commentary. It’s a big fat post, low carb. You will get insights, integrations, and chewing material. You will learn. It’s over 5,600 words and if you’re someone who struggles after years of trying to follow dietary advice from most books, this will save you money, time, and get results if you take shit to heart and mind. I have zero qualms in saying that even at the $50 per year subscription, you’ll save way more than that if you need no-shit stuff that undercuts almost everything else. If not, there’s the test-the-waters monthly at 6 bucks.

Everything I’ll write about is from The Arrow #71. It’s the last 1/3rd or so of the newsletter.

First, in the section on A1c, fiber, net carbs, and sugar alcohols, I was clapping at this part. It’s about using that continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

It’s fascinating to watch what happens as you eat various foods. It gives you (at least it gave me–you may be made of sterner stuff) an excuse to try all kinds of carb-rich foods you might not otherwise eat just to see what they do to your blood sugar.

If you’re like just about everyone else I know who has tried a CGM, you’ll discover foods you thought would raise your blood sugar might not raise it at all. While other foods you thought wouldn’t send it skyrocketing.

In my case, I found out that potatoes don’t particularly make my blood sugar go up. (Must be my Irish heritage.) Now, I haven’t tried going face down in them, but eating a few fries didn’t raise it a blip. Same with eating those little whole baby potatoes that are different colors. Nothing.

I hate to say this, but I found the same thing with Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. After a dinner of steak and asparagus, I tried a small bowl of Cherry Garcia. No real change in my blood sugar. I couldn’t believe it, but it didn’t budge. I figured somehow the steak and asparagus (mainly the steak) were somehow buffering what had to be the blood-sugar-raising effects of the ice cream. The next day, I fasted until about 3:00 PM, then ate a small bowl to see what happened when I had no other food on board. Nada. Same thing. No real rise in my blood sugar.

One night MD and I had sushi. The sushi rice ran my blood sugar up like crazy. But it came down pretty quickly. Now I know I need to be careful with even a small amount of sushi rice.

One day while wearing our CGMs, MD and I developed a hankering for some oatmeal. We don’t normally eat it, but figured if not in the name of science, when? So we ran to the Whole Foods and bought some steel cut oats, the kind that come in a can. The kind that nutritionists always tell you to eat to keep your blood sugar stable.

We brought them home, MD cooked them up, and we added some nuts and butter. Then put a little bit of half and half on them. No sugar–real or artificial. And they shot my blood sugar to the moon. And, even worse, kept it up there for hours. About two hours in fact. Did the same to MD.

That was about two years ago, and we still have the can, but have never eaten them since.

As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. But you won’t know unless you wear a CGM. Or go to the trouble to take your blood sugar with a finger stick over and over and over.

I was clapping because back during the Daze of Paleo—as I’m fond of calling it—it was like pulling teeth to get people to experiment a bit, especially die-hard low carbers. In this short section, Mike lays waste to the notion that even in that realm, you can’t simply find out and so you have knowledge that some seemingly high-carb foods have no detriment to your low-carb dietary goals at all. It obliterates catechism, a primary goal underlying all of my most fervent writing, and I hope that has a tinge of irony.

Nonetheless, I got lots of low carbers to experiment over the Paleo years and report their findings in comments on the blog. Accordingly, nothing Mike reveals about his and MD’s experience is in the least bit surprising to me. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I could have roughly predicted this sort of mixed outcome. And more.

My favorite story is getting low carbers to give the “potato hack” a try. This is when you eat nothing but plain potatoes (boiled or baked, typically) with zero added protein or fat. Herbs and spices are allowed; or, vinegar…and dashes of malt vinegar—of fish & chips fame—was my personal fav. Well, what happens to very nearly everyone is the same.

  1. You develop a curios palatability to plain or nearly plain potatoes
  2. Almost nobody can eat them to caloric energy balance because they’re so satiating
  3. They do not make glucose go crazy crazy and spikes come down quick
  4. Because #2, you’re in a daily caloric deficit on the order of 600-800 calories
  5. Then you pee on a stick after a few days and see it’s the deepest purple you ever saw, even after years of low-carb dieting

I love the story because it fervently shatters a lot of low-carb catechism…or, at least, the teachings and implications of many…that high carbs will necessarily kill you. I support low-carb diets and I’m an intermittent-moderate, to low, to zero myself. I target protein as a stand-in for carbs because they are nearly equal-caloric, 4 calories per gram. If rather, you substitute fat for carbs, you’re replacing 4 calories with 9, more than 2x and in some circles, that could be considered a bit dumb and doomed to failure.

Humble props that Mike had an inkling that the ice cream after dinner might be related to slower metabolizing because of everything else. Then he tried the ice cream alone. Same thing. However, the ice cream alone—when quality, real ice cream—is mostly fat. The sugar calories are a pittance of the fat calories. And, fat is well known to blunt glucose spikes. I would predict that you could change the fat/sugar ratio in favor of sugar and gradually see more spiking, less blunting, and longer clearance—with more total insulin required to clear it.

…Some years back, Masters degree nutritionist Alex Leaf shot me a link to one of his posts on a site I can’t remember, and couldn’t find just now. Fortunately, after an hour of searching various engines with no joy, I started searching my own computer and it turned out I have not cleared browsing history in Safari for a long time—probably because I use Chrome and Brave. (Note to self: selectively clear browsing history with keywords like ‘porn, pussy, unshaven, girl-on-girl.’)

Why you may reconsider buttering your potato

Adding fats to carbohydrate-containing meals is a common recommendation in dietetics to make meals “healthier” by reducing the glycemic response to the meal. The primary mechanism through which fat does this is by slowing the rate of gastric emptying, which leads to a slower appearance of glucose into the blood. Given that postprandial glycemia is an important risk factor for many diabetic complications, it makes complete sense to want to minimize post-meal blood glucose excursions.

However, to focus solely on the blood glucose response of a meal misses the forest for the trees. There is a considerable amount of evidence to suggest that consuming starchy carbohydrates in combination with excessive dietary fat, especially saturated fat, causes an acute state of insulin resistance that may last for hours after the meal. This has been known since at least 1983, when Collier and O’Dea published research showing that adding butter to a potato meal significantly blunted the rise in blood glucose without significantly affecting insulin in young and healthy men and women. Thus, the amount of insulin required to handle a similar amount of glucose in the blood was 3-fold greater when butter was added to the potato compared to eating the potato alone.

There’s tons of references and tons of charts, mostly of that old-time, hand-drawn variety I love. The bottom line—with much evidence to support it—is that while adding fat to carbohydrate does indeed blunt the glucose spike, it comes at the cost of adding a lot of calories but worse: that blunting comes at a cost of a 2-4-fold greater total insulin secretion and a lot longer ‘time under load.’

Perhaps that’s why you don’t find big carbs and fats in the same food in nature. Take a couple of the most fatty foods in nature, avocados and coconuts. Almost no sugar. Take the most sugary, like ripe fruit, dates, and such. Almost no fat.

It would be so super cool if Mike and Mary Dan did this test with their CGM devices. While fasted, eat a load of plain potatoes: herbed, spiced, or vinegared. Then, next day while fasted, do it slathered in a lot of butter, sour cream, and/or oil. The one niggle in such an experiment is that it won’t be equal caloric and that may be an issue in itself, too much confounding. I’d leave it to their smart brains to sort that out, perhaps adjust. I predict their results will flow with the study data Alex posted.

Moving on, calories matter. Does low-carb doc Mike agree? Let’s see.

While I’m at it, I’ll go on a little rant. I would rather eat real ice cream once in a while than eat fake ice cream all the time. Same with bread or anything else. There is no junk food. There is food, and there is junk. I prefer food.

So many people set out to adopt a low-carb lifestyle and instead of reveling in the enjoyment of all the foods they couldn’t have on a low-fat, low-calorie diet, they try to re-create their old diet as a low-carb diet. They buy all these low-carb frankenfoods made with all kinds of sugar alcohols and almond flour and the like instead of just eating a frigging brownie once in a while.

These so-called frankenfoods are invariably loaded with calories, even if they’re sweetened with sugar alcohols or aspartame or sucralose. Almond flour has a ton more calories than regular flour (about half again as many), and that’s not to mention a fair amount of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fat you would be better off minimizing. Again, moderation ought to be the byword.

I think my antipathy to these foods comes about because I can taste the sugar alcohols in them. And I don’t like that taste. If others don’t mind it, then go for it, with prudent moderation. My correspondent above mentioned ice cream bars at Costco in which both the sugar alcohols and the fiber have been removed from the total carb count. I’d wager there is a fair slug of sugar alcohols in there, so they may come with side effects not mentioned in the small print. I probably wouldn’t like the taste, but if someone else dose, go for it.

Just remember, you’re adding calories you wouldn’t otherwise be adding with a standard low-carb diet.

And calories do count. Even on a low-carb diet. It’s more complex than the little explanation I’m going to give here, but you’ll get the idea.

There, I emphasized.

This is what ultimately soured me to low-carb and Paleo going back some years now. No, not as being invalid at all, quite to the contrary. No, it’s plain old fucking money-grubbing corruption and it was all the fuck over all the fucking place and I began seeing it at every damn conference and every damn blog post and every damn newsletter.

Low-carb goodies. Paleo goodies. Keto goodies too (basically a bunch of fat). Maybe you know what I mean. For me, a “goodie” is making a 2-egg plain omelet in butter at 11pm over some TV-watching session. Or, maybe some plain yogurt with a few mixed nuts stirred in. Never ever—for fucking fuck’s sake—some damn “Paleo” brownie or cookie—the biggest damn contradiction in terms that might have ever been contrived. Seriously, a pox on every last one of them and I’ll laugh when they eat Paleo dust.

It’s interesting that the rise in such “goodies” corresponds with waning interest in what’s a generally sound dietary lifestyle. The integrity of the whole thing was obliterated in the pursuit of bullshit, health-damaging profit with a name [Paleo] attached to it. Fucking fraudulent thieves, all of them.

…And then there’s the stupid stuff at the margins and Mike astutely points one out, almond flour. FFS, you shouldn’t be primarily eating baked stuff anyway, but if you do sometimes, or need it for other applications like thickening (almond flour is useless for that), and you want to cut out grains, then use a starch-flour like potato, cassava, tapioca, or rice, etc. Hell, even corn. And, there’s always cornbread with your chili con carne. Just go easy on the butter when it comes out hot from the oven.

…Then there’s the damn ice cream. Baskin Robbins is not ice cream. Haagen-Dazs is ice cream. In keeping with the coffee theme:

I won’t even bother comparing it to any Baskin Robbins flavor. The list of ingredients would add another 500 words to the post and a screen clip would be too long. Suffice it to say that one time some years ago I had a BR franchise near my house and I bought a pint. The next day, I opened the freezer to have a bit. I had placed it in the freezer with the nutrition and ingredients label showing. The ingredients were so long it took up the entire length of the pint in barely legal font size. I tossed it in the trash.

“I would rather eat real ice cream once in a while than eat fake ice cream all the time. Same with bread or anything else.”

Yep. Here’s my personal indulgence here on the very southern southern tip of Thailand’s 2nd largest island, Phuket. Here, there are tons of great Thai and foreigner (‘farang’) restaurants within 5 km. A bit of an epiphany since living here nearly 18 months is how damn good the Belgians are—and that’s after living in France for 2 years in a past life. I know all three restaurants and their owners: Timmy with Viking, Peter with Happy Jack, and Olivier with Shakers.

So, so, so… my visa status here in Thailand is that I have to renew annually but also just show up to immigration every 3 months to report my whereabouts in the Kingdom. There’s two places to do that here. Main immigration, a hellish motorbike ride with a million stop lights, or the little office at Patong beach that’s a fun and carefree drive on the mountainous western coast. Plus, they have a few McDonald’s franchises and since I’m honest, with integrity, I have zero problem admitting that I love the Big Mac sandwich, along with billions of others. So, that’s my every-3-month indulgence…except that…here in Thailand…the double-Big Mac is always on the menu. Double the protein. …I sure wish the fries were as good as they were before the vegans had a hissy because they found they’d been eating tallow (beef fat) all those years. LOL.

So I have zero need of non-food anytime and the only food I ever buy at 7/11 (‘Sewen’ in Thai) is water, OJ, milk, eggs, whole-grain bread, smokey sausages, and bottled cold chicken broth…my favorite energy drink. On the subject of whole grain bread, I think a little is better than none. Whole grains are a curious food because if you think about it honestly, it might seem obvious that the germ is pretty high in trace minerals. Indeed they are. Some of my favorites are manganese, copper, and zinc. A slice or two per day is perhaps better than none, and it’s an easy source. My favorite is to wrap a warm or grilled sausage in one slice lightly toasted with plenty of yellow mustard. that’s it. the other is darker toasted, no butter, then 2 fried, poached, or soft boiled eggs on top, where the yolk is your plenty of fat, enough fat already.

…What else? Oh, yea, vegans and vegetarians. Well, the growing fake-food sections in supermarkets haven’t seemed to be enough and now there’s “Beyond Meat,” whose stock price is down 81%. Simply stated, they suffer exactly the same phenomenon as do all those I’ve been talking about. Likely similar results over time, too, unless they do as Mike says: eat food most all of the time.

To put a spin on it, what if a vegan simply had a meat, fish, fowl, dairy, & eggs fun-fest once a month? The rest of the month, it’s only vegetables, fruits, starches, grains, nuts, and seeds? Who would be better off, comparing to the “vegan” who eats vegan junk all the time? Many years ago a commenter wrote here: “Doritos and Mountain Dew are vegan.” I never forgot that.

For the last item, I was surprised to see Mike critiquing a study I got wind of as well and essentially dismissed out of hand.

  1. It’s not “time-restricted” eating. It’s an 8 hour window. Hardly remarkable
  2. It’s equa-caloric, which goes hand-in-hand with a fake “time restricted”


A few weeks ago a study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine supposedly comparing the results of patients following time restricted eating (sort of another way of saying intermittent fasting) and those consuming the same number of calories throughout the day.

According to the study authors, there was no difference in outcome between the two groups of subjects in terms of weight loss and/or fat loss.

Because the study supposedly compared intermittent fasting to non-fasting, and showed intermittent fasting, which has become quite popular, to be of no benefit, lazy journalists who have no idea how to read a scientific study completely misinterpreted it.

Not to take any wind out of Mike’s sails, but he’s exactly right when he writes “supposedly comparing.” This is the problem with titles, ledes, subtitles, summaries, and abstracts. They are the elements most prone to bias and desired-narrative introduction—even when it’s a decent study.

It’s laughable to call an 8-hr eating window from 8a to 4p “time restricted.” You might as well say something like “comparing the eating habits of retirees to….” I haven’t checked lately, but does the early-bird special still stop at 4pm?

Here’s a true eating window, practiced for life. The rural, barefoot, saffron-robed monks of Thailand. I make that critical distinction because monks are not all created equal. Because the monks rely on the goodwill of the locals for all food, then in urban, like Bangkok, they get no end of junk from Sewen and elsewhere. Out in rural poor, rice-paddy Si Sa Ket just north of Cambodia, they get almost nothing but food. And the spreads will fucking wow you. I give you an example. And it’s at the house I built, its blessing when completed.

Just look at those fat monks! How can it be, because look at all the carbs…EVEN FRUIT!!! I can tell you I’ve been to a number of such events, even at the local temple where they bring the food in and it’s always about the same. All food. No junk.

There’s 2 easy answers.

  1. It’s food, not junk
  2. Their daily eating window is 7.30am for the first meal, 11.30am for the second

There’s an old joke about the follower of the Buddha and his teachings. He goes to his local monk and laments that he needs to lose weight. “Easy,” the monk replies. “Skip dinner.”

…Rushing down to catch the early-bird special isn’t exactly skipping dinner—especially if you fall asleep in the Lazy Boy at 8pm during a rerun of The Price is Right on the game-show cable channel.

It’s easy to find articles about fat and diabetic monks, because if there’s one thing the media does every day, it’s to write toss-the-baby-out headlines…and that’s only when it stops writing bring-the-bathwater-in headlines.

But there’s another thing, too. First off, when you restrict the eating window down to a shorter span like less than 6 hours, there comes a point where you’re almost certain to run a caloric deficit—unless you do something like a ketotard and eat 90% 2x+ calorie-dense fat. So you lose fat, which equals weight loss.

If you want the real shit on no-shit time-restricted eating, you can go down all the rabbit holes you want. I’ll cite just a recent review with tons of references and bits of summaries. The real takeaway is that the time restriction can coincide with circadian rhythm, something I’ve never once geeked out on a bit. Intuitively, it makes sense since we revolve around a sun, the fundamental source of all life. I’ve basically just left it at that and love both morning and midday sun.

Time-Restricted Eating: Benefits, Mechanisms, and Challenges in Translation

Eating out of phase with daily circadian rhythms induces metabolic desynchrony in peripheral metabolic organs and may increase chronic disease risk. Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a dietary approach that consolidates all calorie intake to 6- to 10-h periods during the active phase of the day, without necessarily altering diet quality and quantity. TRE reduces body weight, improves glucose tolerance, protects from hepatosteatosis, increases metabolic flexibility, reduces atherogenic lipids and blood pressure, and improves gut function and cardiometabolic health in preclinical studies. This review discusses the importance of meal timing on the circadian system, the metabolic health benefits of TRE in preclinical models and humans, the possible mechanisms of action, the challenges we face in implementing TRE in humans, and the possible consequences of delaying initiation of TRE.

There’s no end of referenced studies you can glance at or dive deep into. Don’t take my word for it.

Lifestyle-induced metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease, are often associated with obesity, reductions in physical activity and increased consumption of energy-dense foods. Accumulating evidence suggests that when we eat may be another contributing factor to chronic disease progression (Andrzejczak et al., 2011). Lengthened daily eating patterns, in excess of 14 h/day, were evident in studies conducted in the USA and India, with less than 25% of caloric intake occurring prior to 1 pm (Gill and Panda, 2015Gupta et al., 2017). Time-restricted eating (TRE, also known as time-restricted feeding, TRF) is a novel dietary tool that recommends individuals shorten the duration of the daily eating window, without altering calorie intake or diet quality. TRE restores circadian rhythms and imparts pleiotropic metabolic benefits in animal models (Chaix et al., 2014Delahaye et al., 2018Gill et al., 2015Hatori et al., 2012Olsen et al., 2017Villanueva et al., 2019Wang et al., 2018Woodie et al., 2018). TRE also reduces body weight and fat mass, improves glucose tolerance and reduces blood pressure in humans, particularly in those with overweight or obesity (Figure 1) (Gabel et al., 2018Gill and Panda, 2015Hutchison et al., 2019Sutton et al., 2018Wilkinson et al., 2019). The studies to date in humans are limited in size and duration, and the effectiveness and acceptability of TRE in the general population remains unclear. The majority of TRE studies have also initiated the eating window early in the active phase, presumably to maximize the metabolic benefits. This review will discuss the metabolic benefits of TRE in preclinical models and the possible mechanisms of action. We also discuss the likely challenges of implementing TRE in humans and the possible consequences of delaying initiation of TRE.

I believe my favorite and also my ah-ha moment was shortly after arriving in Thailand and I met a dry-fasting nut.

Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even Without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes

It’s what you might call a hyper-controlled study. Impressive.

Intermittent fasting (IF) improves cardiometabolic health; however, it is unknown whether these effects are due solely to weight loss. We conducted the first supervised controlled feeding trial to test whether IF has benefits independent of weight loss by feeding participants enough food to maintain their weight. Our proof-of-concept study also constitutes the first trial of early time-restricted feeding (eTRF), a form of IF that involves eating early in the day to be in alignment with circadian rhythms in metabolism. Men with prediabetes were randomized to eTRF (6-hour feeding period, with dinner before 3 pm) or a control schedule (12-hour feeding period) for five weeks and later crossed over to the other schedule. eTRF improved insulin sensitivity, β cell responsiveness, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and appetite. We demonstrate for the first time in humans that eTRF improves some aspects of cardiometabolic health and IF’s effects are not solely due to weight loss.

This is fucking catechism-shattering on all sides in my view, because they seem to truly want to get to real answers and not fuck around endlessly for a whole whore-career always asking for more money for boom-boom.

We performed a five-week, randomized, crossover, isocaloric and eucaloric controlled feeding trial testing eTRF in men with prediabetes. In brief, participants adopted an eTRF schedule (6-hour daily eating period, with dinner before 15:00 h) and a control schedule (12-hour eating period) for five weeks each, separated by a washout period of approximately seven weeks. Participants chose a habitual time between 06:30 – 08:30 h to start eating breakfast every day, and lunch and dinner were timed accordingly. For example, participants who ate breakfast at 07:00 h then ate lunch and dinner at 10:00 h and 13:00 h in the eTRF arm and at 13:00 h and 19:00 h in the control arm (Figure 1). During the intervention phases, participants were required to eat only food provided by study staff, were fed enough food to maintain their weight, and ate all meals while being monitored by study staff. Furthermore, food intake was matched on a meal-by-meal basis across the two arms to eliminate any confounding effects from differences in food intake or meal frequency. As a result, our trial is the most rigorously controlled trial of IF in humans to date, achieving a level of rigor intermediate between metabolic ward conditions and a standard outpatient feeding trial (in which food is provided, but food intake is not measured, monitored, or enforced). The primary endpoints were glucose tolerance, postprandial insulin, and insulin sensitivity as measured using a 3-hour Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), while the secondary endpoints were cardiovascular risk factors and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Metabolic hormones were added later as an exploratory outcome. Differences between meal timing schedules were assessed by comparing the two within-arm changes against each other; these treatment effects are denoted by Δ.

It’s rarely better than this. It’s quite a read and I’d encourage you to do so. But it’s time to put this post to bed.

In conclusion, five weeks of eTRF improved insulin levels, insulin sensitivity, β cell responsiveness, blood pressure, and oxidative stress levels in men with prediabetes—even though food intake was matched to the control arm and no weight loss occurred. Our trial was the first randomized controlled trial to show that IF has benefits independent of food intake and weight loss in humans. Our study was also first clinical trial to test eTRF in humans and to show that eTRF improves some aspects of cardiometabolic health. Our trial tested eTRF in men with prediabetes—a population at great risk of developing diabetes—and indicates that eTRF is an efficacious strategy for treating both prediabetes and likely also prehypertension. We speculate that eTRF—by virtue of combining daily intermittent fasting and eating in alignment with circadian rhythms in metabolism—will prove to be a particularly efficacious form of IF. In light of these promising results, future research is needed to better elucidate the mechanisms behind both intermittent fasting and meal timing; to determine which forms of IF and meal timing are efficacious; and to translate them into effective interventions for the general population.

I’ve had high BP all my life, seems hereditary with my dad’s family, though they live to very old ages and don’t have strokes or die of heart disease. Or cancer, which is unheard of. They die of being too damn old, pretending they’re not.

…I’ve had a couple of events in the last couple of years to give me pause. I mean: I felt it. I felt agitated, restless, and plain bad. Relaxing didn’t help. We’re talking 200+ over 120+ acute BP. I do have meds, but I don’t take them all the time. I do other things a lot, like fasting in general, and also the eTRF. I’ve also experimented with whiskey consumption at various times. Of course.

…The other day—and this is the second time in a few weeks—I was out at a local bar socializing in the late afternoon, drinking, but had not eaten anything in a good while. I just felt fatigued and tired, drove home, did a BP. 114/64.

Go figure.

UPDATES: two of them.

First, I had in mind to address Mike & MD’s oatmeal experience and forgot. I’ve never done finger poking but I know the difference in feeling when instead of rolled or steel-cut oats, I use oat groats. I get the Bob’s Red Mill. This is the whole damn grain, neither crushed nor cut. Per my friend Tim Steele, I cut the cooking time in about half. I think it calls for about an hour and I do 30-35 minutes, less water. Nice and nutty-chewy, not mush. I like to drizzle a bit of real maple syrup on them. Highest source of manganese on the planet. Anyway, for a time a few years back Beatrice and I were going on a lot of long hikes, hours and miles, plus ascents and descents. Our breakfast of choice was a substantial portion of those oat groats. We hit the trails with water only and the energy was nice and steady for a long damn time.

Second, Mike just emailed this. Nice video on how to make an Americano and includes everything you could want to know about it. Notice how much he loves the word tyranny.

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  1. Lothar Nikoley on May 14, 2022 at 03:40

    Hah, are you trying to tell me I’m “too damn old?” My plan is to be around to see you at 80 years old.

  2. Currin on May 14, 2022 at 05:06

    Saw “vegan crabless crab cakes” at the grocery store today. Took a picture and sent it to a friend who suggested maybe they should wrap the “crabless crab” in vegan “bacon” and stuff it with vegan “cheese.” We laughed and laughed. WTF

    • Richard Nikoley on May 14, 2022 at 13:39

      Vegan tards are an endless source of hilarity, even the clean eating ones.

      One of my many reasons for having a paywall and tight management here.

  3. Alan Andersen on May 14, 2022 at 05:18

    Great post. Reminds me of the old Paleo days. I wish Mike would use his CGM to test artificial sweeteners, in particular, sucralose. I’m a Crystal Lite or a Diet Coke junkie. I would love to have someone fast until 3pm the next day and then drink 16 ounces of Crystal Lite or Diet Coke and nothing else and then see what happens to insulin and blood glucose.

    Everyone like me goes for those franken drinks because of the zero calories, but I’ve read that they also spike glucose and insulin, but the question is exactly how much as compared to the full sugar equivalent. I never can get an answer to that. Only that they do cause some sort of spike, but not exactly how high comparatively.

    And I know, I know, the simple answer is just stop with the chemical concoctions and just drink water or whiskey.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 14, 2022 at 08:48

      The problem, Alan, is that back in the day, many LCers would not accept ANY elevation in BG. So they’re at 90, drink a diet Coke, BG goes to 95, they call it evil, and go on the internet to shout IT SPIKES YOUR BLOOD SUGAR!!!

      I’ve never been interested in the question because whatever the elevation is, it’s going to be small and short lived. It’s not like your pancreas is going to be working overtime pumping out insulin.

  4. Peter Collins on May 14, 2022 at 08:54

    Enjoyed that great read drinking morning coffee with cream

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