Oprah’s Recipe For Failure — And My Solution For Success

Well, she's done it again. If she even succeeds in getting the 40 or so pounds off she gained since her last failed "success," how long until we see another week-long series instructing hundreds of thousands of women on the path to weight loss and fitness failure, peppered with appearances by others who have failed?

My gosh, already. When is she going to fire that Bob Greene?

Alright, let's dig in a bit. First, watch the 5-minute video about how she's changing everything for this year, "Oprah's New Year, New Plan." I watch that, and I can find only about one thing right in the whole deal: time for herself on her own schedule. Duh!

The rest of it is a huge recipe for failure, misery, and probably both. Why is it ultimately destined for failure, for both her and anyone else? It's not sustainable. Hunger will always win in the end, and in the simplest terms possible: she and Greene have done everything possible to stimulate even more hunger and haven't done the things necessary to take hunger almost completely out of the equation. Most human beings would go stark raving mad on this regime — from the awful diet to the boring, grueling workout schedule and routine grind.

Oprah: Sorry to say, but your new plan is dumb. What's more, You are sending thousands of women (and men) who look up to you as an authority down the same dismal road of repentance for past sins through boring, dry, unexciting food and daily assembly-line workout toil that will do little but make everyone even more bored, hungry, and quite possibly suicidal.

In short, this is a guaranteed failure zone for all but very few who are into punishing themselves endlessly. So here's the short list of everything that's wrong, along with what you need to do to get it right:

The Meal Plans

The meal plans are just awful. Filled with low-and-non-fat everything, completely lacking in variety, and just plain boring. If you click though the days of the week, it's endless egg whites, chicken breasts, salmon. Over and over. You should eat in a sustainable manner. About the only positive is that the food is mostly real food. 

The amount of protein looks close, more is better, and you need way more fat. Greene will tell you otherwise, but in my opinion he's making his living towing the party line; you know, the one where 65% of the American population is now fat or obese, and it's their fault, not that of the "authorities" and their puppet "experts" like Greene who continue to herald the low-fat catechism (since it's been so damn successful over the last 20 years & all).

And this 5-meal per day deal is total crap. How many omnivores in nature eat five times per day, regularly, like clockwork? You know what that's a recipe for? Obsession. Everything becomes about food and that next meal. You never give your system a break from the onslaught, insulin remains always elevated, the wham-bam that's going to keep you hungry and irritable.

The Exercise Plans

What you have here is a lot of low-impact, low-resistance, high-rep, boring stuff that's going to get you nowhere — except that you plan to do it 6 days per week and give yourself a whole day off! Yippee!

We've got 30 minutes per day of low impact "cardio," and something you call "resistance training," but with weights so small that it pails in comparison to the "resistance training" you get daily anyway moving your own body around. And, you're going to do a body part per day? Yea, that's functional. Way to stimulate GH production there, Oprah. Looks like you're into light weight with lots of repetitions. It's wrong; it will get you nowhere.

In the end, just as with your diet, you are doing everything possible to stimulate more hunger, and sooner or later, you'll give into it. In total, if you're doing your "resistance training" for 30 minutes in addition to your cardio, then that's six hours spent per week getting, really, no more benefit that you could get just walking a hour per day outside, in nature.

A Better Plan — The Anti-Greene Plan

I suppose I shouldn't pick on Bob so much. After all, who am I? Well, who I am is someone who has the luxury of being brutally honest. The root problem is that the whole weight loss industry is run like a religion. And, like a religion, operates by making you feel guilty for your own nature; and when you feel guilty, you are susceptible to all manner of suggestion (like purchasing ineffective products and services and punishing yourself with boring diets and hunger-inducing workouts).

You need to drop the guilt, first and foremost. You've been lied to. You've been told to eat in a manner and exercise in a manner that sets up hormonal cascades guaranteed to leave you forever ravenous. You can't even believe you've gained this weight, and why? Because you can look back and recall that you were hungry all the time. Weren't you?

Well, I'll leave original sin to the religious, but you are simply not responsible for feeling hungry, and you can hardly be expected, long term, to ignore and deny those feelings. Hunger always wins.

What you need is a proper diet that satisfies you, and you need an activity and exercise regimen that promotes the release of growth hormone. How to do?

  1. Try to eat as much as a gram of protein per day per pound of body weight, so about 200 grams. That's a lot and 150 would probably be fine on the low end. Eat a variety of meats, fatty cuts too. Be intermittent, as though the food is seasonal, just like hunting. Protein is king for satiety. Eat as much protein as you want, as often as you want.
  2. Eat more fat. In fact, 50% to 65% of your energy should be coming from fat, natural fat: lard, butter, tallow, schmalz, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil. Stay away from all others to reduce pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats, and take about 5 grams of fish oil per day in order to further get your omega 6 and 3 ratio to a natural, near 1:1 as possible (the average diet is 15:1 and higher of n-6 to n-3). Eat as much of these fats as you want, as often as you want.
  3. Natural carbohydrate only: veggies, fruits, nuts. As much as you want of veggies (except potato), try to stick with berries for fruit as much as possible, and modestly. Keep it intermittent. No processed food at all. No neolithic foods like grains, corn, legumes, dairy. Cutting them out will reduce or eliminate many inflammatory markers.
  4. Get lots of sleep. Sleep promotes GH release.
  5. Eat 2-3 times per day on days you eat, or, eat once some days, three times others, two times still others, and nothing now and then. This models nature and begins turning on dormant genes that want to you be lean and young.
  6. Begin rehabilitating your broken hunger mechanism with two fasts per week of 24-30 hours each: water, or unsweetened coffee or tea only. Once you get used to this (3-4 fasts), then arrange it so you're doing your workout at at least 22 hours into the fast. Do animals hunt on full bellies? Don't eat until at least an hour after completing a workout. Fasting also promotes GH release. So does high-intensity activity. Working out fasted tips the balance in your favor.
  7. Don't use any artificial sweeteners or eat anything with artificial sweeteners. Abstaining from them for a time will reset your taste to a natural one. Before refined sugar and selective breeding of very sweet fruits, sweetness was not something we got in nature that much. Constantly subjecting your body to it has adverse effects and can actually cause an insulin response even if there's no calories to digest.
  8. Drop the cardio completely (walk outside if you like, as much as you want) and then do full-body resistance workouts twice per week, 30 minutes each, and you go all in every time. Intensity is the key. For an hour per week 2 X 30, you can get intense. Six hours, you're not going to be intense and it's not going to do you any good at all — it will probably hurt, i.e., chronic cardio.
  9. This will take a while to figure out, but you want to select a weight for each exercise that you could maybe do 12-15 reps, then do three sets of 8-10 reps (or whatever you can get on the 3rd). Don't rest in-between sets very much. Do 2-3 exercises at once so you can move from set to set to set.
  10. Do full body every time, and focus on legs, chest, back, and shoulders. Forget arms and abs. These others, especially legs, are the bigger muscles that will stimulate GH release when loaded significantly. Do legs a lot. Lot's of squats, presses, lunges. Keep it all very intense.

And there you have it: ten simple, fun, natural, sustainable-for-life steps that will work for good, guaranteed. I have my own results to prove it (including excellent blood work — case you're wondering about all the fat), heart scan shows little risk for heart disease for a 47 year old, and many others have attained lasting success through these methods.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Tom Moertel on January 15, 2009 at 15:53

    The root problem is that the whole weight loss industry is run like a religion.

    The bigger problem is that the weight-loss industry wouldn't be as profitable if it were effective — no repeat business — so the incentives push the industry away from genuine reforms.

  2. Bill on January 15, 2009 at 17:57

    Carbohydrates Kill People
    I know, that appears to be quite a statement, but it’s true. Refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease, and diabetes. They are the most likely causes of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization.

    Carbohydrates affect insulin secretion by the pancreas and the more eaily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, the more chronic the effect on the hormonal regulation of homeostasis, the entire ensemble of the human body. This has an adverse affect on health, weight and well-being.

    If this sounds familiar to you, it probably is. Science writer Gary Taubes raised these points in his powerful book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. The problem as I see it, is that this book was taken to be more of a diet book than anything else. If one bothered to read the book from cover to cover, they couldn’t help but notice the strong argument that chronically high insulin was the cause of premature aging and all the associated maladies, the so-called diseases of civilization as the Frenchman Tanchou used the term. Yet, all we hear from the diet police are one of two messages: Eat less and exercise more, or cut consumption of carbohydrates and exercise more. Both of these recommendations fall very short in my opinion.

    By the first prescription, people try varying degrees of semi-starvation to no avail. For a time they are able to endure this condition and make smaller versions of themselves, although they often look quite frail and anemic as a result of this exercise. However, it is well known that once the body has enough of this torture, the person will decrease their physical activity and begin to replace the lost calories.

    With the second method, we find a different mechanism at work. Whenever we talk about fat metabolism, there is one question that we fail to ask. What exactly regulates fat tissue? The answer is insulin. Carbohydrates increase insulin secretion, which increases hunger and decreases the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity. Theodore Van Itallie of Columbia University testified to McGovern’s Select Committee in 1973 that “There is an increased need for these vitamins when more carbohydrate in the diet is consumed.” Moreover, researchers have known since the 1930s that B vitamins are depleted from the body by the consumption of carbohydrates.

    In fact, up until the 1970s, carbohydrates were widely considered to be fattening. In the 1800s, the Englishman William Banting went on a carbohydrate-restricted diet and lost considerable weight and started the Banting diet revolution. He went on to write a book called, On Corpulence which he distributed for free.

    In 1957, diabetologist George Campbell suggested an incubation period for diabetes. He found that amongst Zulu populations who worked in the physically demanding sugar cane industry that once sugar consumption reached 70 pounds per person, per year, the diseases of civilization would begin to appear. This same conclusion was drawn by missionary and colonial physicians who worked with isolated populations such as Schweitzer with African nations of the sub-Sahara, Hutton with the Eskimos of Laborador, or Hrdlicka with the Native American of the Great Plain. Once the people abandoned their native fat-rich diets and adopted the European dietary of refined and easily digestible carbohydrates, they could look forward to all the diseases of civilization, starting with dental caries all the way to dementia.

    By the 1960s, biochemists and phsiologists elucidated the hormonal enzymatic regulation of fat tissue and this research implied that carbohydrate-rich diets should be fattening because of their ability to drive insulin secretion which drives fat accumulation. Yalow and Berson won the Nobel prize for their work in discovering insulin’s role as the regulator of fat metabolism.

    However, our health authorities suggested on the slimmest evidence that the hormonal regulation of fat tissue was irrelevant to the disorder of obesity and the conventional wisdom of the prior century was simply wrong. by the 1970s they recommended that we make carbohydrate-rich foods the staple of our diets.

    Of course, here we are, fatter and sicker than ever. There is a much higher chance that one will get sick with cancer than getting obese. If these two conditions share the same cause, this demonstrates that obesity and cancer are both symptoms of the same disorder of metabolism which is chronically high insulin brought about by overconsumption of carbohydrate-rich foods.

    The low-carb diet practitioners of today have merely figured out what William Banting discovered in the 1800s. He knew that if he reduced the number of carbohydrates, this would cause him to lower his weight. Banting had an excuse for his simple explanation: Insulin had not yet been discovered and it would be another 50 years. There were even another 40 years before people began to understand just how important a role insulin plays. Today’s low-carb physicians do not have this excuse. They still insist that low-carb diets are merely a low-fat diet in disguise. Because of the diet’s ability to control cravings and hunger, the subject eats less and thereby loses weight, totally ignoring insulin’s ability to drive fat accumulation.

    Now that Gary Taubes had his book out for a while and was able to read it from cover to cover as a layperson, he realized that the central message of his book was not emphasized enough. In the Afterword to the paperback edition, Taubes invokes Occum’s razor, Newton’’s argument that “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.” In more simple language, if a simple explanation can explain the observatons do not search for a more complex explanation. All chronic disease is not exempt from this rule.

    It’s a fact that isolated populations which do not eat easily digestible and refined carbohydrates do not suffer from these diseases. A counterargument would be that there are also largely vegetarian groups that also do not suffer from the diseases of civilization and this is true. However, when searching for the prescription, one has to take into account insulin and its effect on fat metabolism. Long before we deveoloped symtoms of the metabolic disorder, many of our cells were already tuning out to insulin. They decided that they would not accept any more glucose and this led the pancreas to secrete higher and higher amounts of insulin in circulation. This led to the condition known as insulin resistance.

    Therefore, the only way to properly treat the symptoms created by chronically-high insulin is to lower insulin by removing or restricting carbohydrate-rich foods from the diet. Indeed, prior to the discovery of insulin, this was precisely the way to treat diabetes. Low-carb diet practitioners seized upon this idea and many doctors enjoyed great success with their patients. However, we see that there are still a great many people whom differing levels of carbohydrate restriction still does not work.

    Where did the low-carb diet practitioners go wrong? They were more focused on weight loss and not on health. They failed to “zero-in” on the cause, which is chronically-high insulin. Any diet that does not control cravings and hunger is not a proper diet.

    The first low-carb doctor was not Dr. Robert Atkins. The first, was Dr. Blake Donaldson. Donaldson consulted with the arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson who performed the all-meat, year-long trial with his colleague Karsten Anderson at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Through Stefansson, Donaldson learned of a post-white influenced Inuit district (typically meat-eaters) who adopted a small amount of vegetables to their diet. Therefore, Donaldson came up with a high-fat diet that was mostly fatty meat, yet contained a “hotel potion” of raw fruit and a potato to substitute for the occasional roots and berries of the particular Inuit he looked at.

    Over the course of four decades, he treated some seven thousand patients for weight problems. Most of them lost about three pounds per week on this diet without experiencing hunger. Those who were unable to lose had, what he termed, a “sugar addiction.” He was very frank when he advised his patients that “No breadstuff means any kind of bread. You are out of your mind when you take insulin in order to eat a Danish pastry.” Unfortunately, he didn’t publish his diet and its efficacy through the 1920s and 1930s. This might have caused others to consider the possibility that the quality of nutrients matters more than the quantity.

    Today’s experts are still too focused on weight which is a symptom of the disorder rather than focusing on the effect on insulin which produces all the diseases. As a matter of fact, those who become obese are really the lucky ones. Many people go straight to diabetes without weight gain, yet the cause is the same.

    It’s high time that we stop focusing on the symptoms and go immediately after the cause. Once the damage to insulin receptors has been done, there doesn’t appear to be much evidence that it can be reversed. When insulin resistance sets in, we cannot go back to eating the amount of carbohydrates we used to eat even after substantial weight loss. The message needs to go forth loud and clear that carbohydrates not only make us fat, they have the power to kill prematurely and they cause all the diseases of civilization due to their effect on insulin secretion.
    I just wanted to share this with you i got it from the zero carb forum.

  3. Mark on January 15, 2009 at 17:57

    God I love your blog. Great post.

  4. cube on January 15, 2009 at 19:10

    Folks shouldn't listen to Oprah about anything except maybe how to market yourself to morons who will make you rich by buying your crap.

  5. Harmony on January 15, 2009 at 20:12

    That's some good advice.

  6. nonegiven on January 15, 2009 at 20:20

    Hey, she makes her living by delivering eyeballs to those providers of ineffective products and services.

  7. Scott Miller on January 15, 2009 at 20:40

    Here are ten quick mistakes I see her making that wil lsabatoge her efforts:

    [1] Eating starches and grains.
    [2] Eating low fat foods (like the egg whites rather than full eggs)
    [3] Eating too often…How many omnivores in nature eat five times per day, regularly, like clockwork?
    [4] Using fat-free dressings.
    [5] A stunning lack of variety in salad-type vegetables (pretty much always romaine lettuce).
    [6] Having a killer temptation like those blue chips in the house.
    [7] Stead-pace aerobics violate the power law of human conditioning.
    [8] And doing aerobics too often.
    [9] Slow-twitch-fiber-only strength training.
    [10] Strength training too often.

  8. Fat loss 4 Idiots on January 15, 2009 at 19:21

    Great post

  9. Athanasios on January 16, 2009 at 04:40

    Shoot her an e-mail….

    I think she will be thankful to you and this new way of living!

  10. animal pharm on January 16, 2009 at 12:13


    Fantastic post!

    I'd add…
    –Hormone imbalances!

    (a) Cortisol — insufficient sleep, overworking, carb effects
    (b) Insufficient hGH — low protein, high carb, high aerobic exercise
    (c) THYROID — her Thyroid is being JACKED by all the wheat and lack of Vitamins ADEK, IODINE, MAGNESIUM, ZINC, Saturated Fats, etc
    –Richard — can you relate from your pre-Paleo days?
    (d) VITAMIN D — wheat degrades vitamin D synthesis and metabolism; being indoors; darker skin; being obese (fat soluble vitamins sometimes need to 'saturate' the reserve and stores first before being freed to the circulation
    (e) Estrogen (estriol E3 primarily) — obviously she's perimenopausal. My sister 'M' says today she has the 'bio identical' HRT debate going on… we'll see if they shed on light on Oprah and her 'advisors' like Oz
    (f) Natural Progesterone
    (g) Testosterone — yes women need this too 🙂 fuels libida, affiliation and mood

    THANKS!! Now you need to talk about Steve Jobs…or I might hit that later… *wink* Beat me to it!!

  11. Jeff on January 16, 2009 at 05:29

    Hey Richard,

    Awesome post. As good a summary of a healthy lifestyle as I have seen. Great work.

    One suggestion if I may. Could you into more detail at some point exactly what exercises you do? I would love to see and be inspired by some of your workouts.


  12. Tony K on January 16, 2009 at 09:24

    Good post Richard. By some strange coincidence of timing, I just sent an open letter to Oprah on Emotions for Engineers along with a shorter one to her email. Here's the URL:


  13. Sam on January 16, 2009 at 12:01

    Nice, Richard. Dr. Mike Eades did a post on this same subject with his superb trademark snark – it's worth reading if you haven't already.

    One tiny little nit – I think your protein quantity is too high. The guidelines I've seen are typically .8-1.2g/day/kg or .8-1.2g/day/lb of lean body weight, not total weight. I eat around 100g/day – and I usually eat about 75% fat and around a pound of meat.

  14. J on January 16, 2009 at 12:58

    Richard, great post. You know what's funny. I've added weight this Holiday break….and dropped body fat percentage. You are better off eating in a feast/fast mode, to maximize leanness and muscule building.

    People want to take shortcuts by eating granola bars, health food(which mostly is junk), but its all about natural food. When are you going to post new pics Richard. I was thinking of showing my progress.

  15. Keith Norris on January 16, 2009 at 08:57

    If one is out to make money, you've got to tell 'em (or, sell 'em) what they want to hear. There's not much money to be had in being a contrarian. This failure will be totally on Oprah, though — and I hate that for her.

    But what is it that's said of insanity? Repeating the same actions, but expecting a different outcome? Sheesh.

  16. sticks_and_giggles on January 16, 2009 at 09:20

    Oprah has many more problems than just diet and exercise. She has autoimmune thyroiditis, probably with adrenal fatigue, and has surrounded herself with doctors who believe in using goitrogenic soy and synthetic medicine to treat her. My HPA axis is dysfunctional, so I am hypothyroid and hypoadrenal with sex hormone, dhea, pregnenolone, iron, and vit D deficiencies. I am treating this with bio-identical hormones. But despite low calorie, low carb efforts, I still cannot lose weight. Traditional diets in many countries include complex carbohydrates. Legumes are a staple in Middle Eastern countries. These people are healthier and thinner than Westerners. I think everyone is convinced that "their" diet is the best way to go, but every piece of research on one diet can be refuted with research on another. I think it's a matter of finding what makes YOU healthy. I, personally, am going to incorporate some complex carbs back into my diet to see how I feel. If I don't lose weight… well, I'm not doing it now either, so it won't be anything new.

  17. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 09:37

    Sticks and giggles:

    I actually had, and apparently still have hypothyroidism. I was on synthroid for years, with a TSH of around 9. I stopped taking it at the beginning of 2008 and employed a few other things and weight began falling off. Beginning of last summer I had blood work done and TSH is now 16ish. However, weight continues to come off, I have ZERO of the common symptoms (in fact, I regularly walk in 40 degree weather in shorts and light shirt), and so I am getting set to see an endocrinologist to get actual T3 and T4 levels checked.

    Here's a few suggestions I can offer:

    1. If you do carbs, make them all natural ones like veggies, fruits, nuts (except peanuts — nasty lectins), tubers. Stay away from all grains, legumes (including peas & green beans) and of course, all processed foods with their franken-fats, sugar, and so on. The reason for this is the various lectins, anti-nutrients and other toxins that may be creating an immune / inflammatory response that's below the pain threshold.

    2. For the weight loss, you might try a week or two of meat only, and in this case, the leaner the better. This is a low-fat and low carb methos. This is not sustainable, of course, but it almost always works to kick you over the edge, and then you go right back to a more natural way.

    3. Intermittent fasting. I first learned of fasting through Brad Pilon, EatStopEat. It's natural, i.e., has a strong evolutionary basis, and as I've said, really gives you high resolution into your own hunger. Most people, once they get over the shock of doing it find it to be entirely natural and over time, your fasts will become more intermittent and spontaneous. I've blogged a lot about my own experiences with fasting:

    Hope that helps or gives you an idea or two.

  18. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 09:41

    That's a good letter, Tony.

  19. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 10:17


    I've been thinking of ways to do that. I'll probably take my mini video cam to the gym and have my trainer shoot some clips. Planning on starting that around first of Feb.

  20. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 10:23

    I put up a note on her site just to alert her staff. It would be cool if other readers chimed in as well.

  21. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 10:26


    I think we're still saying the same thing. If you could have your "soul saved" in one religious experience, religion would hold no sway either. It does, long term, because it successfully pits people against their own natures, inducing [unearned] guilt. So, just like the mainstream diet gurus, they peddle an unworkable solution, blame the customer, and do brisk business.

  22. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 10:43

    Bill, thanks much. That's a very worthwhile read. Do you by chance have the URL of the source?

  23. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 10:50


    Great addition to the entry. Thanks for going to the trouble.

  24. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 12:59


    Yea, I read Eades' post, as well as Sisson's and I believe Keith Norris had one as well. All good. All right on.

    The protein guideline being high was merely for a starting point — better too much than too little. You really can't overconsume in even the medium term (over a few days, sure). But lots of protein will kill hunger better than anything, and when hunger is stabilized, one can adjust intake to comfortable proportions. For me, it's all about intermittency. Some days I eat a whole lot, others a little, and most days pretty much right on.

  25. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 13:03

    I should have new pics in conjunction with some workout videos around the first part of February.

  26. Richard Nikoley on January 16, 2009 at 13:27

    Dr. BG:

    Great additions to the basic post. And, you have the medical credentials to emphasize these issues.

    Regarding Jobs, I was set to do that, but I backed off because reports seem to demonstrate a relationship between his pancreatic cancer and the surgery to what's going on now. So, while Oprah is clearly a victim of diet-induced metabolic syndrome, I can't be so certain about Jobs.

    There is this, however:

    Steve Jobs' Diet Secrets

    "And while Apple employees eat healthy, Jobs takes it to an extreme, one employee says, eating dark green vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus, grilled or steamed. Jobs has been a vegetarian for years but his enthusiasm for green may have taken on an extra dimension since his brush with cancer. Jobs has surgery in 2004 to treat pancreatic cancer, and, again, earlier this year, according to The New York Times, to address "a problem that was contributing to a loss of weight." The veg-heavy diet, however, likely will not help him pack on any pounds. "No wonder he's cranky all the time," one Apple insider says."

    Modern ignorance coupled with audacious arrogance. Recipe for disaster. Here's what I'm pretty sure of: if that's his diet, it's not helping him in the slightest, and is far more likely to be exacerbating the situation that doing anything to help.

    Then there's this, from Byron Richards, a nutritionist:


    Seemingly sound nutritional advice, but I say: heat a healthful diet first, then see where you are. And, we know what the most healthful diet is.

  27. Keith Thomas on January 17, 2009 at 13:08

    Richard and all – great post and what a rich thread in response!

    Seems most of the comments come from people like me: a white middle-aged male. We know that African-American and Hispanic populations are more heavily endowed with obese individuals and we know that women's hormone profiles and responses differ from those of males. Furthermore the menopause is a period of hormonal turbulence which males don't have to cope with. It's my guess, too, that the population segment that has the highest proportion of "dieters" is young women who are at the peak of their readiness for child-bearing and so their hormones are pumping like never before – and never again.

    Can we be sure that our diet and exercise recommendations apply to women (and to 54 year old African American women) just as much as they apply to adult males? Female musculature, stature, longevity and skeletons are not identical to those of males. In evolutionary terms women's patterns of activity were different from males and their food intake probably was too (higher proportion of food from local foraging in contrast to males' higher proportion from wide-ranging hunting. Women may also have eaten more cooked food as they would have been nearer a fire than the men who covered distance when hunting well away from the settlement's fire).

    While I am asking this question, although I am sure the paleo diet is as appropriate for children as it is for adults, I would also suggest that the defining characteristics of children's diet and exercise patterns differ from those of adults. Just look at the way children play and contrast it with what adults are doing at the same time – in both hunter-gatherer societies or in our own.

  28. Keith Thomas on January 17, 2009 at 13:31

    Can you post here your contribution to Oprah's site, please? It'd be great to have it on the record when Oprah balloons out again in 18 months time.

  29. Keith Thomas on January 17, 2009 at 13:24

    Found it through Google, Richard:

  30. Richard Nikoley on January 17, 2009 at 13:49

    Good points, Keith. However, I think there is great range in the diet and exercise specifics for individuals, all under a natural, Paleolithic context.

  31. sticks_and_giggles on January 17, 2009 at 22:02

    Thank you, Richard, but I am a woman, and hypoT can be quite a different animal for women than men. Men often have a far easier time losing weight, and some men even lose weight becoming hypoT. Another part of it is, you may have Hashimoto's thyroiditis (like Oprah) and go through hyper/hypo swings as antibodies attack your thyroid. Being cortisol insufficient can also cause men to lose weight while hypoT, whereas almost all women I know with the same condition gain.

    I used to be 110 pounds and a distance runner. Now I am overweight with shin splints. I do not eat artificial sugars or processed sugars of any kind, I have tried low carb, I have tried candida diets, and I am now going back to complex carbohydrates because the irvingia gabonensis supplement I am taking works best–at least according to the studies done with it–on a diet like a traditional Cameroonian diet, including things like plantains and yams. I am trying to ramp up my fiber intake and have also started eating plain oatmeal again.

    TSH is a useless number. Free T4, free T3, and reverse T3 are far better indicators of what your thyroid is doing, and even then, different tissues in the body absorb thyroid hormones at different rates. Not to mention, almost everyone with thyroid dysfunction has some degree of adrenal fatigue with possible salt wasting and sex hormone imbalances. I replace cortisol with physiological doses of hydrocortisone (which has helped me immensely) and am working on increasing my armour thyroid dose. I figure when my tongue is no longer swollen I will be on enough.

  32. AWoman on January 18, 2009 at 11:56

    So, all the Asian people that eat white rice and/or noodles every meal and aren't obese and don't have nearly as much heart disease as us are what?

    This paleolithic line of bull is like every other diet. I'm sorry but carbs don't kill people. That's ridiculous. Not only that but humans have evolved so eating "paleo" don't make sense.

    Exercise, eat what you want in moderation. Enjoy life and stop obsessing.

  33. Richard Nikoley on January 18, 2009 at 12:11

    "This paleolithic line of bull is like every other diet."

    And you're like every other ignorant moron.

    Go away, moron.

  34. AWoman on January 19, 2009 at 07:22

    Interesting how you don't have an argument for the rice that the Asians eat.

  35. Richard Nikoley on January 19, 2009 at 09:59

    "… you don't have an argument…"

    That's what you think.

    Listen, moron; you come in here and your first act is to dis the blog, me, and the many in the general Paleo community who have obtained weight loss and health benefits adopting a Paleo approach. Then you spout woefully ignorant tripe, like, "Not only that but humans have evolved so eating "paleo" don't make sense," which serves only to expose such ignorance. Then, based on your demonstrated ignorance, you issue insulting, platitudinous admonitions that are no more meaningful that "don't worry, be happy" and other such drivel-tripe.

    Ignorance is no sin, but to take the approach you did deserves nothing but my contempt and scorn. So, you're getting it back at you just like you came in here with. I answer hundreds of comments from readers here, and commenters on other blogs as well, and I do so politely and respectfully, even in the face of disagreement.

    But you; you can go straight to hell.

  36. karen DeCoster on January 20, 2009 at 11:27

    AWoman —

    Your "asian people" comment is simplistic and stupid. Hint, hint (since I don't have the time to teach you): think "refined carbs" and low calorie consumption, and then read about this in the Gary Taubes book. Westernized asians – who eat refined carbs and *more* calories – are chunky and soft and getting FAT, by the way.

  37. Dana on February 3, 2009 at 15:04

    They tested Asians vs. Westerners in the WWII era, as in they took dead guys and cut them open and looked at their arteries, and Japanese had just as much arteriosclerosis as Westerners did. Bear in mind that this was at the tail end of the Japanese living their traditional lifestyle on a large scale, and also the beginning of Americans eating more industrialized crap. So one was overlapping the other, yet they had the same health problems.

    However, some folks think that hardening of the arteries is something NORMAL that you will do regardless of the fat or carb content of your diet.

    I believe they have info about this on the Weston A. Price Foundation site. May have been "The Oiling of America" essay.

    Dr. Atkins used to say there were a lot of Asians with rice allergies, too. It's also worth noting that they tend to be small of stature. The ones who are longest-lived tend to be the ones who get a lot of pork and pork fat in their diets (i.e., the Okinawans); vegetarian Hindus, on the other hand, often have heart problems. They get B vitamin deficiencies once they leave India and go live in the West, too; seems that the lower standard of cleanliness of whole foods in SE Asia means they were getting more than a few bugs in the diet before they emigrated!

  38. Paleo Newbie on February 16, 2009 at 17:21

    Just the summary I was looking for. I can't stand Oprah! Mindless crap for the upper middle class drones. I just finished my very FIRST 24 hour fast and feel great after 45 mins of strength training. It got a little hairy around hour 19 but made it through.

    I used to try (I am out of my general medicine internship and into specialty now) to get all my diabetic patients to low carb diets but they cant quit the fast food and refined carbs and barely got any physical activity. I know you are very critical of pill pushing doctors but we don't get much to work with. Also, our hands are tied by medicare practice guidelines (we are reimbursed this way) or malpractice will follow. For example, a 6 month trial of diet and excercise for a patient with high blood pressure before we offer an anti-hypertensive unless the patient declines. In my personal experience, 1 out of every 30 or so patients gave a reasonable effort to get out and walk and change their diet. As such, I just added on the diabetic drugs and anti-hypertensive until control and wean once they do better. Do that, and you get labeled a pill pushing drone doctor. I could debate this for hours but I can't do much unless the patient takes some responsibility. I can't cure double cheeseburgers and milkshakes, but I can give you an extra 10 units of insulin!

    The very fact that you created this blog show that you are not the "standard" patient and have the education and will to do better. You are on the far right side of the bell curve. In my opionon, big pharma and medical guidelines are for the hump of the curve ( the people in the food section at Wal-Mart, 🙂 ) Take care, enjoy Puerto Vallarta. I am going to Riveria Maya next month. Unfortunately, I will still have my belly.

  39. Richard Nikoley on February 17, 2009 at 07:28

    Excellent comment. I'm on vacation but I want to highlight this in an entry as soon as I get a chance. I also need to read it to some T2 relatives who essentially use insulin so they can eat junk and crap.

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