Metabolism & Digestion: A Key to Weight Loss & Health, Part I

The Evolutionary Angle

This has been brewing for more than a week, originally under a completely different title, but I couldn’t get past the first paragraph without reflection. Procrastination is a virtue — in the proper context — and so I’ve just been chewing on it; thinking, reading stuff here and there, emailing some of my go-to people for references, thoughts, insights and it has ballooned to a multi-part series.

Now moreso, after what I leaned this morning. At first, what I had in mind was only going to be peripherally related to Mr. Matt Stone. I hadn’t even planned on mentioning him as I didn’t want to get tiresome. Let the implications fall where they may. But now he has his reworked ebook out on Metabolism. There’s now no way to do this series without acknowledging that. It would be silly and weird, and I’d rather be tiresome than silly and weird. What great choices I leave for myself… Let me get a few things out of the way. Do I begrudge Matt his living? No. If you want to read the book, buy it and read it. Will this series serve to promote his book for free? Probably. Will I buy it, read it and review it? Maybe, once I judge feedback in comments over at least the first 2-3 parts which are pretty well mapped out. Am I concerned about promoting values I’m at odds with, at least in part? Well, my dispute with Matt is really more about his style than his content, quality of thinking, quality of work, diligence and so on. Being rather abrasive myself, I can hardly be hypocritical enough to dismiss his work without doing my own, at least in the way I do it which, as far is I can tell, is way different than he does his.

Finally on this subject, you have Matt’s interview with Jimmy, and mine — if you haven’t listened already. Do I think Matt did a good job outlining his approach? Yes. Do I agree with lots of it? Of course, but I disagree with important elements, which is what this is all about. Is his interview nonetheless worth listening to? Absolutely. And mine too.

So, please, let’s not waste any time in comments about the propriety of my approach. It is what it is and I’m in for the haul. Let’s go. There is absolutely no point in sweeping this under the rug. Matt has obviously garnered some attention from a contrarian stance which he’s chosen to take, or feels his research has led him. He’s right or he’s wrong, and having any fear or trepidation over which one is just silly — kinda like not being able to face the fact of human mortality, constructing all manner of fantasy to hide from it. Let’s confront it and see where it takes us.

Is obesity, seemingly inexplicable weight gain, and ill health a function of diet? Obviously yes. Can it be cured or ameliorated by diet, by what you eat (or don’t eat)? Again, obviously yes. I think Matt and I would agree. So, where do we part? It’s in the how.

As a paleo blogger and lay student of evolution, anthropology and natural selection — far more than of health and nutrition vis-a-vis current science, medical research and stacks of books — I have a certain time-saving luxury. I tend to dismiss out-of-hand studies, papers, hypotheses, blog posts, podcasts, newsprint, and books that clearly contradict one of the most established fields of human knowledge: evolutionary biology and its underlying natural logic of natural selection. Humans are animals. Being as well established as it is, it’s my position that the onus of proof is upon those who, when contradicting clear implications of our evolution, do so, i.e., clearly lay out how human evolution is either toast, or got it wrong in a particular area. And none do, because they likely can’t. Their research, studies, books and whatnot exist in a scientific vacuum for me. And that makes them less than worthless, and I’m being girly generous. …By the way, I often find myself in need of kindling for a campfire…

From this point forward I’m just going to assume some familiarity with Matt’s ideas. Judge for yourself, but to summarize how I think of it, it’s kinda like the guy with only a hammer and so everything is a nail. The hammer is body temperature. Get that up to the 98s and it means you have a good functioning metabolism and everything should start taking care of itself. Yea, I’ll accept the criticism that this is likely oversimplified. As I said, I’m assuming familiarity.

I think this is unfounded. I don’t think there is any basis whatsoever that I can find to suggest that body temperature correlates well with obesity or health. As I can recall from my fat days, any time I felt like I was coming down with something and checked my temp it was 98.6 or higher. Hell, I was always running hotter than hell, or at least my vision of it. …A prime motivation to turn things around. And how exactly did I lose 60+ pounds with a "slow metabolism" while at the same time getting 300-400% stronger in the gym eating low-carb paleo and fasting my ass off, even working out severely fasted? Was I an anorexic male with a workout fetish? Do anorexics double and more in strength? Could something else be going on? …You betcha, and that’s what this is all about.

Our ancestors go back to surviving the ice ages and way beyond — and please, stop a moment to consider what that must have been like, without a single scintilla of modern convenience. How should I elaborate? It’s cold. It’s always cold, freezing; harsh, and there’s little to no plant life for a "plant based ‘moron’ diet." Get out your thermometer…but not to see how freezing it is outside, or even in your cave or makeshift animal-skin tent, but to test your underarm temperatures. Gotta watch that Shwarzbeinesque "metabolism." You may need to go out and dig up some starchy tubers from the frozen tundra. …Oh, wait…

Now, I don’t mean to dis Shwarzbein. Frankly, I’ve not read her. Doubt I will. If she’s talking science in an evolutionary vacuum, of which I get the sense of from her fans, no need — dismissed. If she’s not, no need either, ’cause I’ve got enough already. I pretty much don’t value much that doesn’t explicitly — and I mean explicitly — account for human evolution. …Going back to mudfish that breath air might be nice from a deep evolutionary perspective. I’m serious, and I’m always prejudice…on the lookout for non-accounting "science" that glosses over or overlooks the fact of human evolution, so I can look elsewhere.

Here’s what I think: we have no concept of how sturdy, long lived, and robust is our genetic lineage. See, I come from a different perspective entirely. We’re so susceptible to the neolithic because it’s so new to us. It’s the equivalent of another ice-age, nearly back-to-back from the one we already survived. Will we survive it? Not you, but the human race will; but that’s also thousands of years off, yet. Whether or not you choose to "do your part," evolution will march on. Either we’ll emerge as tubs of lard working in cubicles, but perfectly healthy and well adapted to Pop Tarts, Hot Pockets and Cheetos as primary food sources — mutually-sexually attracted to the physically grotesque — or sexual selection will win out (one can hope), and we’ll select over time for those who can eat neolithic crap and still look good & attractive (what choices!). Have you considered this? I look upon the obesity epidemic — from an evolutionary context — as a full on assault on sexual attraction as a prime driver to propagate our species. Long live hot babes.

So much for body temps & overeating for libido. On that basis, just bring on the scotch!

I’ll end this part by ending the banter a bit and ask you some questions which, I hope bring on some good dialog in comments. Remember, comments are all read, and it could change the direction of things. But feel free to comment on any aspect, as you always do.

  1. Is chasing a constant body temperature akin to chasing a constant heart rate?
  2. Is average heart rate and basal body temperature inversely correlated?
  3. How about blood pressure?
  4. Do different healthy people at different times and in different circumstances possesses different heart rates, blood pressures, metabolisms, body temperatures?

I’m not arguing for having a "low" basal body temperature. I simply don’t know what that means. I searched far & wide for data on pure H-G average temperature plots and didn’t find. If it exists, I doubt two things: 1) that it’s unequivocally the same for individuals and, 2) that there’s not some variation by season, environment, diet.

I dont think it’s wise to chase any constant. That goes for food, movement, heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, or, body temperature. Eat real foods, eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Go until you’re hungry and then some. And sometimes, some, some and some more; then eat. Eat as varied a diet as you can, from real foods, including as much animal fat and seafood as you can. Think tide pools. Think kelp washed up on the beach. Would you have eaten it if very hungry?

I’m sure they did too. Seafood is critical, I believe. I’ll get into that more, later.

In part II I’ll begin to reveal the how, and lots of it is based on my own self-experimentation over the last week or so. Stay tuned.

Part II

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. Jeromie on April 9, 2010 at 18:02

    In a review of GCBC, I found this quite interesting:
    “This conservation of energy argument is on the same scientific level as the ridiculous “drink cold water to lose weight” idiocy. A human organism is:
    1. Not in thermal equilibrium with their environment. Last time I checked I have a body temperature around 38 °C and spend most of my time in 21 °C rooms.
    2. Capable of significant mass flows (e.g. respiration).
    3. Capable of sequestering entropy (e.g. protein synthesis).

    Is wearing a sweater fattening (by insulating you from your environment)? ”

    Found here:

    Food for thought, I guess.


  2. Chris Robbins on April 9, 2010 at 18:22

    “Is wearing a sweater fattening (by insulating you from your environment)? ”

    I believe there’s a theory that that could be possible due to brown fat previously thought not to exist in past infancy. Brown fat is only activated when you are cold & possibly shivering but when it is activated burns some mean calories. Apparently, also, thin people have more brown fat than obese people. I suppose, also, if we didn’t live in air conditioned (climate controlled) houses we’d eat less in the summer, too.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 22:52

      You might want to search the blog for some of my fasted, intensely exercised experiments with 5-12 minutes in 40 degree water baths.

      I’ve been able to lose upwards of 5 pounds in a single day doing that. Not consistently, but 3+ is consistent.

      Some of our ancestors spent a lot of time being excruciatingly cold. i can assure you that 12 minutes n 40 deg water gets to be excruciating.

  3. Laurie D. on April 9, 2010 at 18:35

    Coincidentally, I listened to the Jimmy Moore – Stone podcast on the way home today. Several things struck me as false. First, body temperature is a set point average. Human body temperatures come in a normal range, just as heart rates, blood sugar concentrations, hydration %s, etc. do. The 98.6 degree set point comes from old data gathered by a doctor named Wunderlich in the 19th century. When researchers at the Univ. of Md took similar data, they found the set point to be 98.2 and recommended that the age old factoid be changed. (

    Second, Stone recommends taking body temperatures in the morning. These are the lowest of the day – body temp rises throughout the day. He also recommends armpit measurements. These are notoriously inaccurate.

    Third, body temp averages lower as you age. No doubt Stone will blame this on slower metabolism, but I think it may be a means to slow aging a bit. Higher metabolism rates = faster aging. Not what I want.

    Finally, average temps are affected by age, race, and even gender. )

    Throughout Stone’s interview, he implied several times that people were not intelligent enough to figure things out for themselves. Apparently he did not do much research either. It took me 5 minutes to google up several research-based citations on human body temps. Give me some more time and I should be able to find evolutionary bases for varying body temps as well.

    Laurie D. (apparently you have several Lauries reading your blog these days, so I’ll add a last initial)

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 22:48

      laurie D:

      “It took me 5 minutes to google up several research-based citations on human body temps. Give me some more time and I should be able to find evolutionary bases for varying body temps as well.”

      Please. Much appreciated. While that has not been nor will be my focus (surprise in store!), I certainly would appreciate a good debunking just on that alone.

    • Ncole on April 10, 2010 at 06:42

      Of course there’s an evolutionary reason – so we can use fewer calories.

      If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a loss, burning fewer calories is not what you are trying to do.

      I started to pay attention to the whole body temp thing after Tara Parker Pope’s column on how it was the new normal. One should always do the opposite of what she says. She’s 100% CW, and is often dangerously wrong.

    • Don Wiss on April 10, 2010 at 12:46

      The problem isn’t that the data is old. The problem is the way it was rounded. They took the temperature of 10,000 people and averaged them. Then they round to the nearest whole degree centigrade, or 37C. Then they converted that to Fahrenheit and got 98.6. It is possible that the average was actually 36.78C before rounding. Were that so then the actual average was the 98.2 found above. The 98.6 makes it look like it is a highly accurate number when it isn’t.

      • Laurie D. on April 10, 2010 at 17:58

        You’re correct, Don. Old data isn’t bad data and I didn’t mean to imply that. It’s interesting how things become conventional wisdom though. If I ask any class of students what the normal human body temperature is, all will answer 98.6 F. It’s become a factoid, even though in reality, it is just an average of a range and is actually closer to 98.2 F.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2010 at 10:12

        Right, and since it is an average, then there’s a range of normal, depending upon individuals and environmental factors. There’s no normal body temp for all human beings.

      • Michael Gold on April 16, 2010 at 18:50

        Here’s a little more info on body temperature, if you want to look into it more (this is as far as I got; I didn’t look into the studies themselves, etc.):

  4. Garth Whelan on April 9, 2010 at 18:36

    To the sweater bit, when people are hotter, their bodies are less efficient, which adds yet another dimension.

  5. Juan on April 9, 2010 at 18:36

    Thanks for posting that link. I’ve seen that review and it’s good. As a clarification for those who don’t wish to seek it out, though, I should say that, as regards the quotation, it’s from a review by a physicist favouring the notions espoused in Gary Taubes’ book, Good Calories, Bad Calories (GCBC) in general. The quote refers, in particular, to that idea that a “calorie is not a calorie”. Or, more accurately, it refers to a common criticism of Taubes’ hypothesis by those who want to reduce the whole thing to the 1st law of thermodynamics. That is; that”energy in = energy out”.

  6. Alejandro on April 9, 2010 at 20:11


    from reading your article I get the feeling that we evolved in a harsh cold weather. This is contrary to what I have read, which points to a climate with fluctuations of dry and wet seasons. I most admit I have not done extensive reading on the matter. Care to point to some reading?


    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 21:52


      Nah, I pulled the idea we survived and evolved and selected through an ice age totally outa my ass.

      • Alejandro on April 10, 2010 at 09:53

        Hahaha, lol, well yeah, but that was not the only environmental pressure.

      • Alejandro on April 13, 2010 at 21:54

        Mark hit the spot with this post:

        His writings only support the idea I presented, the environmental pressure of cold weather was much lower than that of dry and wet seasons.

        I think a big proportion of the paleo community is misguided when thinking about cavemen in harsh winter climates (how you describe it in your post). In reality that cold, harsh, winter environment is almost as new to us as grains are.

        I’m interested, I will do more reading about this soon.

        So hey, yeah, maybe you did pull it out of your ass. 😉

      • Richard Nikoley on April 14, 2010 at 15:37

        I disagree with your interpretation and I don’t think that’s what Mark was talking about. Mark’s point is that we shouldn’t discount tropical and african regions in favor of a Inuit diet and I’ve been saying this foever (“From equator to Arctic Circle”). Said it ’til I’m blue in the face.

        However, given all the environments in which we did evolve, clearly cold icy ones are the toughest, and hence, result in far more environmental pressure and likely greater genetic response and adaptation.

      • Alejandro on April 14, 2010 at 16:11

        It’s the toughest because we are not adapted to it. Ask a polar bear and you will get a different response (if you get it to talk, it’s a tricky thing).

        Our ancestors lived million of years in a warm tropical weather, then a group went north and lived in a different environment, which only happened in the last 100,000 years. Not only is <100,000 years not much compared to our evolution but the new environment is the challenging environment, the one we are truly adapted to is the previous one.

      • Gina on April 14, 2010 at 17:54

        Let me tell you- living 40 some odd years in upstate NY and then moving to Hawaii 5 years ago- what a big difference in health and happiness. It may be tougher economically but the life energy saved by not having to shovel and dig out day in and day out and then in a blink of an eye be in sweltering humid conditions- is enormous.
        Where I am air conditioning, no heat only a ceiling fan and occasional blanket.
        Why I wonder did they migrate north?

      • Sonagi on April 14, 2010 at 18:58

        People with very pale skin like mine are unsuited to living in pre-modern tropical climates. Even with gradual and regular exposure, our skin never really adapts. It takes on a permanent red cast, often with freckles or age spots. I noticed while living overseas that white Australians in particular seemed to have prematurely aged skin. This wasn’t from intermittent sun exposure because these people were out in the sun regularly.

        As Richard correctly noted, a harsh climate forces rapid evolutionary adaptations. Exterior skin color is a visible adaptation. There are almost certainly others not visible or apparent.

        Colder climates are less hospitable not only to humans but to reptiles, insects, and parasites that may menace us.

      • Sonagi on April 14, 2010 at 19:01

        “then a group went north and lived in a different environment, which only happened in the last 100,000 years. Not only is <100,000 years not much compared to our evolution but the new environment is the challenging environment, the one we are truly adapted to is the previous one."

        Actually it would be more correct to say environments. Even tropical environments differ somewhat and the differences among subtropical and temperate enviroments multiply as one moves away from the equator.

      • Gina on April 14, 2010 at 19:35

        Tropical environments vary even on our small islands…on Big Island, Hawaii I spent a day in snow freezing cold (below 0 F with wind chill factor) in a winter parka to hang out in the telescopes and sunset in a bikini swimming in the ocean!
        Living near the ocean is not only warmer it is close to the source of food 🙂

      • Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2010 at 10:33

        “we are not adapted to it”

        Who, you? Perhaps, Alejandro. My wife is hispanic and she does not fair well in the snow and such. Me? My ancestry is northern European and I can spend all day in the snow. Any sort of activity and I’m down to a t-shirt. Actually, I love being in sub-freezing weather, doing some activity and peeling down to a t-shirt.

        That’s typically how it goes when I shovel 2 feet of snow off the deck at our cabin in the mountains.

      • Gina on April 15, 2010 at 15:28

        Well that explains why I lived the first 1/2 of my life in Upstate NY (one half Irish) and this second 1/2 in Hawaii (one half Cuban). I feel complete.

      • Sonagi on April 15, 2010 at 15:44

        I hear ya, Richard. Working up a sweat in cold weather is so invigorating. I put on a short sleeve-shirt and yoga pants and moved mountains after Snowmaggedon.

      • Alejandro on April 15, 2010 at 19:40

        Fair enough, I get your point, although I feel it is a bit sketchy to say it’s ideal since that’s not where we originally come from and have only spent a relatively short period of time compared to our whole evolution (100,000 years vs. 2 million years ). It has definitely worked for many. I personally do better when I have some carbs, mostly tubers. This has not kept me away from having single digit bf%, but I’m only 20.

        Gina, coincidentally, I am Cuban (born and raised).

        PS: Richard, I said we are not adapted because you wrote the cold environment is the toughest, it is not a reflection of personal preference. If an animal that is truly adapted to a cold environment is moved to a tropical environment it will have a really hard time. It will probably die. For that cold-adapted animal, a tropical environment is in fact the toughest.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2010 at 20:56

        The point’, Alesandro, is that humans are extemely adaptable. Survival of ice ages is a big pat of that, even if your own lineage didn’t.

        How would you fare on ice sheets? Well, your brain is your chief weapon so even is you shiver more than us pale-eos, you’d probably do just fine.

        There’s a lot of knowledge to tap into. That’s what brain-weapons are for.

  7. GoEd on April 9, 2010 at 21:11

    Is body temperature the answer to all our problems? I don’t know.

    However, for me personally the body temperature seems to be inversly correlated with hypo thyroid symptoms (TSH is the same independent of temperature, so probably no connection between the thyroid gland itself and temperature in my case but rather something to do with how well T3 is utilised in the cells). My cholesterol also dropped about 80points when the temperature went up 0.5 of a degree, so it ceartainly seems that in some cases (my) a low body temperature is a marker for that something is not quite right. How did I raise my temperature? Iodine supplementation and upping my carb and calorie intake (note that I’m not going crazy on carbs but maybe around 125g a day or so mainly from potato, fruit and in some cases oat meal).

    Treatment of different conditions based on body temperature seemed to yiel pretty good for Boroda O Barnes and his followers.

    Again I don’t know if body temperature is the magic bullet, but I think its an interessting topy and would very much welcome more research in this area.

    Thanks for a good blog

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 22:07


      That’s cool. I don’t measure body temp, and I never will unless I suspect I have significantly higher temp, and even then I’m the sort who just waits it out. Always have.

      I’m against the notion of fooling myself.

      Suppose that one day I feel great, on top of the world, but note my BT is in the 96s or 97s? Now what do I do? Conversely, what do I do when I feel lousy, but I’m running 98.6?

      This is essentially what I’m arguing against.

      I reject the notion you can go wrong with Paleolithic foods exclusively. Yes, individuals have different carb needs and being hypoT for many years before even going Paleo, I too supp iodine. I cycle carbs, going from zero to moderate and back.

      But that’s just me.

      Point is, individuals feel good and bad and fucking awful at different times and places in their lives. I think real food is the best long terms mitigator, not a thermometer.

  8. d on April 9, 2010 at 21:18

    I’d just like to respectfully point out that there is scientific basis for viewing body temperature as important. Matt Stone didn’t come up with the body temperature idea himself. Broda Barnes had amazing success rates treating patients with thyroid and monitoring the patient’s morning temperatures. Barnes thoroughly documented the correlation between temperature, thyroid function, and health. More recently, Ray Peat, Mark Starr, and a number of others have expanded upon the Barnes-thyroid tradition and added their own ideas to the mix. If you disagree with Matt about temperature, you’re really disagreeing with Barnes. As I understand it, Matt’s take on temperature and metabolism is something like this: Like Barnes and Peat, Matt believes that body temperature is important, but that you can use diet alone to increase metabolism. As it stands now, the “Matt Stone Stance” on metabolism is a theory that if under-eating slows metabolism, then over-eating will speed it up. I’m not trying to argue for or against him here, but simply trying to map it all out.

    As for the evolutionary principle, I really do understand where you’re coming from, and it’s pretty reasonable and sound. I would just like to point out that our concept of traditional ‘Darwinian evolution’ has been justly questioned in a number of scientific articles. ‘Epigenetics’ (RNA encodes onto DNA, reverse transcription, etc.) is probably a good place to start looking if you want to expand on our theory of evolution. Also, I see the ice age brought up a lot, but just because humans adapted to a particular environment or diet does not mean that these are ideal conditions.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 22:34


      No dispute that body temp is important.

      That’s not my argument, which I’ll develop over the series. What I’m concerned about is people getting themselves fooled by randomness, both in terms of their feelings of well being and as related to BT.

      My next post will be largely on that subject, how easy it is to be fooled by charts. People who rely too much on charting their weight, BT, or anything else could be setting themselves up for problems.

      As far as a decidedly low BT goes, I’d agree that could mean something. I’m going to propose an alternate means of dealing with that, that does not involve gaining the poundage so many seem to do with Matt’s prescriptions. I’m still waiting for even one objective, no-shit case of a single person who has gone the course. That is, gained the weight, lost it while still eating HED, and can keep it off, eating HED.

      Otherwise, it’s just a temp diet even assuming it works at all for anyone for step one and two, but not sustainably. Nobody into Paleo should be the slightest bit interested in any such thing (and this is a largely paleo blog, I’ll remind).

      I’m sure that in the end, it will work for a few, as nearly all diet prescriptions work for some. But does that say anything about metabolism, or more about the fact that some people really get off on following _something_ and some things are more attractive to some than to others?

      • d on April 9, 2010 at 22:58

        Richard, I agree: I’m also waiting for a single person to follow the prescription with good results. I think the over-feeding is an interesting idea based on some sound principles, and, hell, it might even work, but I’d say there are much better ways of speeding up your metabolism.

        I’m really not following Matt that closely, but I was under the impression that this over-feeding game was a sort of side project, or another dietary experiment. In the end I really appreciate Matt’s dedication to dietary experiments.

        If you take out the over-feeding, you and Matt eat quite similarly. You both eat real food, and you both (as far as I can tell) try to minimize fructose intake. I’m in a bit of a different camp, since I do a Ray Peat-inspired diet. But really that’s not even al that different: Meat, organs, milk, cheese, fruit, and broth would be the natural version. I eat plenty of processed gelatin and sucrose, though, so I can’t really be counted anymore as eating only real foods. After De Vanny’s, your blog was probably my main into into healing myself through food. Anyway, I just want to let people know that I understand all the paleo arguments, and at one point followed them, but at the moment I’m eating sucrose and doing fine. Now for my long term health? Will my liver expand? It’s a possibility, but from what I’ve read I’d have to have way more PUFA than what I consume.

        Looking forward to the next metabolism post

      • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 23:25


        That’s cool, and I’m not dissing Peat simply because I pay no attention. Luck of the draw, I’m listening to others who don’t seem to get Peat. I’ve know of him for a coupla years. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong, only that I’m willing to take my chances.

        Referencing the post, I find it very hard to believe that a reasonable intake of PUFA via seafood couls be at all bad.

        Ancestors, & all. They didn’t have any papers, only hunger.

      • Nicole on April 10, 2010 at 07:32

        I’ve had great success stabilizing my weight following Ray Peat’s suggestions, but I also use all whole, mostly paleo, foods (I eat dairy and tiny amounts of sugar in 85-90% cocoa chocolate bars). I eat more fruit than most of the internet paleo crowd (carbs between 75-100g per day), but a lot less than the vast majority of people. Cutting down on PUFA generally seems to have really made a difference for me.

        I don’t really understand your objection to consistently gathering measurable data. I can tell you that whether my hands and feet are warm or cold does *not* seem to correlate with my body temperature. How you feel on a given day is marvelously subjective. What my fasting BG, body temp, weight and pulse are in the morning … not so much.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2010 at 10:42

        “I don’t really understand your objection to consistently gathering measurable data.”

        Part 2 will largely be about the potential folly of doing just that.

      • DML on April 9, 2010 at 23:19


        This post is not going to be very in-depth, I just want to say this…

        I have told you before that I have improved my health and ultimately lost weight doing HED; for instance, read my comments under “Richard Nikoley has ‘Low Body Temperature’ and ‘Edema’ You be the judge” post. Why do you keep claiming that nobody has accomplished this using using HED?

        By the way, the overfeeding part of HED is not meant to be a life-long practice. The overfeeding part is only done until body temperatures come up and/or appetite decreases. I point that out because it appears that some people actually think that HED entails a life-time of stuffing oneself. Not true!

        Note: I question if HED will work for everybody, too. Frankly, however, paleo doesn’t work for everybody, either.

      • DML on April 9, 2010 at 23:30

        Oops, I meant “body temperature” not “body temperatures.” D’oh!

      • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 23:38


        Setting aside history, we’re Paleo here, right? This blog, OK?

        The prime idea is sustainability, even though I loath how that word is used by…commies. Even if temp-HED does work to restore a metabolic problem, I’m still going to be…how shall I say it…Meh. I’m looking for a way of life that one simply needs to get on and adjust with carbs and a few other elemetnts long term. No need to put on 15 pounds & more, though I remain super skeptical that even that would work for most. You are the vr first to claim on thins blog it has worked for you.

        While I can’t claim to be a dedicated reader of Matt’s, I’ve not seen it there, either, but I have seen it littered with worrisome comments asking when the weight gain is going to reverse, particularly from women. Moreover, I have emails. From people and also, particularly, professionals who people have gone to for help after putting on 15-20 pounds following HED and tossing the towel. Needless to say, I’m less than impressed.

        Rather than get in faces as before, let’s get the other parts of the series up. I think I have a better idea to solve any problems that exist. So stay tuned.

      • DML on April 10, 2010 at 00:07

        Ok Richard, I’ll stay tuned.

        However, there are other people who have benefited from HED. Look up Brock Cusick on Matt’s blog, among others.

        It is noteworthy that I seem to be an exception: most people do not seem to be seeing any benefit from HED until 6+ months. I saw improvement after about 2.5 months. Just something to consider…

        Moreover, it seems that the ones that are reporting back with success are the ones that stuck with it and did not “freak out” over the weight gain.

        Ok, I’ll be quite now and wait for the next post.

      • Nicole on April 10, 2010 at 07:47

        Matt has messed with Schwarzbein’s ideas to come up with the HED. She suggested that eating a balanced diet with carbs (fruit, grain, potatoes) and protein balanced at every meal combined with as much green veg (she doesn’t count those as carbs) as you like would get your hormones back on track.

        She’s talking about 20g (for a small person) to 40g (for a very big person) each of protein and carbs per meal, and no meal skipping. She says that it’s possible to gain weight at first, but I’m pretty sure she means 5-10 lbs not 20-25 lbs and she’s talking, at least in part, to chronic cardio gym bunnies that are physically thin but feel like crap.

        She says nothing about body temperature. I think that’s all coming from Broda Barnes. The very low PUFA is coming from Ray Peat, AFAIK.

      • anand srivastava on April 12, 2010 at 07:53

        According to GCBC, overfeeding trials also did not succeed in raising weight. So its not like HED will cause people to put on 15-20 pounds of weight. It will depend on what you are eating though. I would think that eating paleo to excess will only increase the body temperature.

        Having said that, I don’t see much point to it, than to do it intermittently just like IF. Intermittent overfeeding should help in the weight loss just like IF.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 12, 2010 at 15:21

        I agree completely, Anand. We should never do anything chronicall. Some days you should eat 1000 cals more, some days 1000 cals less, and some days, nothing at all. And cycling carbs is a good idea too, from zero to 200 and all in between. Eat a variety of food in a variety of quantities and proportions.

    • Katie on April 11, 2010 at 18:48

      Epigenetics and natural selection don’t “clash”. Plus, there is more to evolution than natural selection like sexual selection and random mutation (the reason that genetically linked, fatal diseases will never simply be bread out).
      Anyone who studies biology knows that evolution is somewhat complicated and most of them are not ignorant enough to put it all under the title, “Darwinian”. “Paleos” follow the modern definition of evolution and we probably recognize epigenetics more than the lay scientist anyways (one could argue that Weston Price was the fist man to witness epigenetics at work). Gene tags are not widely taught in school yet, not even in a genetics primer class. Imagine if they taught lessons out of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration for simple examples… ooooh If I become a teacher I am SO going to do that.

  9. d on April 9, 2010 at 21:23

    GoEd, As I understand it, the liver needs glucose to turn the inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into the active substance (T3). I suspect that some people will do great on a diet lower in carbohydrate, and some people who are already hypothyroid will get a little worse if they try to restrict sugar too much. At least that’s what I think happened to me.

    Also, Richard, I’m glad that you pointed out that you did lose weight while being hypothyroid and cold, and that you were warm while fat. I know plenty of fat people who are constantly hot, yet exhibit many classical signs of hypothyroidism. We probably haven’t figured it all out yet, and the situation is a lot more complex than we think it is. I’ve also read that hypothyroid people might compensate with adrenalin, resulting unexpectedly warm body temperatures at certain times of the day.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 23:04


      I solved the cold hands/feet problem in days with iodine. Now they sweat sometimes, so I have an opposite problem on my hands (and feet:).

      Also, I’ve found that when I eat my first meal of the day, usually 11am-1pm, I have a huge initiation of heat that comes on within minutes. First meal of the day makes me break into a sweat, provided it’s high fat. Otherwise, no.

      • mallory on April 10, 2010 at 08:32

        me to!!!! i sweat after every meal…good post…waiting on more food recipes 🙂 🙂

      • anand srivastava on April 12, 2010 at 07:57

        I sweat a lot after a hot meal. That happens even if I am eating at near freezing temperatures out in the cold.

  10. d on April 9, 2010 at 21:29

    Laurie D,

    “Higher metabolism rates = faster aging. Not what I want.” As Ray Peat writes, we don’t yet know how metabolism relates to aging, but it looks likely that a faster metabolism does not equate to an earlier death. Most of the studies that support this ‘burning out early’ idea are based on calorie restriction. And the calorie restriction studies don’t hold up much weight when you look at the studies that compare a heavy-metal free diet to a calorie restricted one.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 23:08


      Until some of the people I seriously respect like Guyenet, Dobromylskyj and others begin paying attention to Peat, I’ll continue to ignore him.

      I have only so much time. And, I’ve been fooled by way-out-there guys before.

      • d on April 9, 2010 at 23:20

        Even if you don’t read Peat, he’s correct is saying that we don’t know about the metabolism-aging link. The heavy metal / calorie restriction studies were not Peat’s–he’s just quoting them.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 23:42

        OK, fair enough.

        I guess I’ll take my chances. …Although, I have no idea how heavy metal entered the discussion. Perhaps you’re referring to seafood consumption?

      • d on April 9, 2010 at 23:53

        My bad for not explaining the heavy metal bit. I was under the impression it had been discussed all over the paleo sphere before, but in actuality I probably read it somewhere else. Here’s how it goes: They figured out that calorie-restricted animals lived longer. Then someone figured out that if he removed heavy metals (mostly iron) from the animals diet (yet fed them a normal amount of calories) the animals lived just as long as the calorie-restricted animals. So they came to the conclusion that the absence (or reduced quantity) of toxic substances in the food results in increased lifespan, rather than the actual slowed metabolism.

        As for the PUFA in seafood, I think the argument goes like this: Fish in warmer waters store more saturated fat than fish in the cold (if cold water fish stored saturated fat they wouldn’t be able to move–Guyenet’s talked about this idea in relation to plants and their unsaturated fats). If we evolved in a warm climate, we’d have been eating mostly saturated fats. And as far as I know, shellfish don’t have much fat.

      • Organism as a Whole on April 10, 2010 at 09:44

        I agree with “d”. We all know that high metabolism will increase body temperature. However, a high body temperature actually reduces the overall oxidative stress on the body!

        Because a high body temperature reduces infection, it prevents the inflammatory response to infection. Less inflammation reduces oxidative stress.

        So speeding up the metabolism will actually reduce the overall level of oxidative stress!

        From an evolutionary standpoint, this also makes sense. Why has the body evolved to burn calories by increase body temperature rather than storing the excess calories as fat? A high body temperature is evolved for a reason: to fight off infection, because infection causes inflammation and oxidative stress.

        The body has evolved to maintain a high body temperature to reduce oxidative stress in the first place!

        I might be wrong about this, but that’s just my theory.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2010 at 10:24

        “Because a high body temperature reduces infection, it prevents the inflammatory response to infection. Less inflammation reduces oxidative stress.”

        I think you’re likely reversing cause & effect. We know the a “fever” is in response to infection and/or inflammation. In fact, it has been show that wounds (inflamed) produce fever-inducing factors.

        Yes, the fever is part of the body’s defense & kill skill set, but it certainly doesn’t suggest it would be beneficial to run a slight fever as a prophylactic measure anymore than taking antibiotics to “keep infection away” would be prudent (and we actually know what happens from over-prescribing antibiotics — germs evolve around them.

        Now, I have some specific ideas about the impropriety of chasing BT above what a healthy person would be at on natural diet of real foods, but I’ll save that for part 2 or 3.

  11. epistemocrat on April 9, 2010 at 22:14

    Hi Richard,

    Did you see in Nora’s book her notes about how hypothyroidism is healthy because modern medical standards are unhealthy? I can look up the page number if you want it.



    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 23:10


      I’m about halfway through the book (as with about 10 others). I don’t doubt it, based on n=1.

      You’re gonna love part II. You’ll immediately forward it to Nassim, I’m sure.

      • epistemocrat on April 10, 2010 at 08:05

        Great, Richard.

        I am looking forward to it.

        The Evolutionary Angle has been battled-tested for millions of years, back to our fish and pre-fish ancestors. That’s an important time-scale perspective to always remember when it comes to sorting out this little blip on the world history timeline that we’re living out right now.



  12. Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2010 at 22:59


    I’ve spent many days, for a month or more at a time in dogshit hotels in places like the Philippines, Thailand and elsewhere at various time of year, from monsoon to hot as hell.

    My pref is to adapt to no AC, but with a ceiling fan over the bed and just a bedsheet, and an open window, nd a blanket available if it gets chilly. I can adapt in about 3 days and then I’m good to go.

    I have always have some level of congestion, suffering from sinus allergies since I was a kid. Always kept nose spray in my bad for that. Now, having gone off grains, no problem. Slight congestion signals dehydration and I just drink a glass of water.

  13. d on April 9, 2010 at 23:57

    Also, Richard, don’t you take Armour thyroid? I’m curious: did the supposedly-deadly reformulated product have any effect on you? I’ve heard such bad things about it that I’m taking something else instead.

    I guess I should add as a side note that I don’t think that taking thyroid means you have a bad diet. As far as I know, traditional cultures ate the thyroid glands.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2010 at 11:12


      Yes, I’m on Armour. Don’t know much about the reformulation. I take 3 30mg pills per day, down from 4 and I might drop it to two. The iodine seems to have produced amazing results and far from having cold hands & feet, they are sometimes a little too warm. But I don’t really know if that’s related.

  14. Alex Thorn on April 10, 2010 at 14:19

    # Is chasing a constant body temperature akin to chasing a constant heart rate?

    Yes. And like chasing the ‘ideal’ total serum cholesterol level!

    # Is average heart rate and basal body temperature inversely correlated?

    Doubt it. I found some data here:

    Using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient* (sometimes referred to as the PMCC, and typically denoted by r) I got, for the males, r=0.04 and, for the females, r=0.08, which means there is next to zero correlation between body temperature and heart rate!

    *The correlation coefficient ranges from −1 to 1. A value of 1 implies that a linear equation describes the relationship between X and Y perfectly, with all data points lying on a line for which Y increases as X increases. A value of −1 implies that all data points lie on a line for which Y decreases as X increases. A value of 0 implies that there is no linear correlation between the variables.

    • LeonRover on April 11, 2010 at 15:17

      Incidentally, the JAMA Mackowiak – Normal Body Temperature, page 1579 – paper states that:

      “There was a significant statistical linear relationship between temperature and pulse rate (regression analysis, P<.001), with an average increase in heart rate of 4.4 beats per minute for each 1 degree C rise in temperature." The study was based on 700 readings taken from 122 men and 26 women.

      So, Alex Thorn, your doubt is strongly supported by the study's conclusion of a positive correlation between the variables.

      The frequency distribution of the 700 readings is represented by a Gaussian of mean 36.8 C and S.D. of 0.4 C. This means that about 68% of the the readings fall in the interval 36.4 C to 37.2 C, while about 95% fall in the interval 36.0 C to 37.6 C.
      It was also observed that individual daily variability raged from a "tight" 0.05 C to a "wide" 1.3 C.

      This suggests that any Broda Barnes data be subjected to a similar analysis before relying on a statement that 36.6 C to 36.8 C represents either the population "metabolic health" or an individual's "metabolic health".

  15. John Campbell on April 10, 2010 at 00:28

    Looking forward to a lively discussion. I find it hard to believe that body temperature is some master marker of metabolic health by itself. Our bodies are surely more complicated than that.

    As Einstein was reputed to have said: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”.

    My experience with the paleo diet has improved my health immeasurably. I am now into my third year of this. Last winter, my first full winter of this transformation, I did experience cold hands and feet and tolerated the cold less well than before. As I live in Canada, north of Frostbite Falls of Bullwinkle the Moose fame, I know of what I speak. I had never experienced this before.

    I tried the simple fix of kelp pills – voila – this winter, I am back to normal. My diet continues to include occasional carb binges up to 100 gm per day perhaps, but I really have no real clue. I reject the control and command model that Art DeVany so eloquently rejects. I am just a slacker who can’t be bothered to compute my food intake. There are many days which the carb level must be less than 20 gms. I am often, if not usually, in ketosis and I feel great running on the fat. Either the kelp is helping or I have adapted to the paleo diet better now than I had last year.

    Richard, I am with you. The science intrigues me, but my head spins at the complexity and ignorance in the field of nutrition and metabolism. I agree with you that the broad principles of following our evolutionary past are too compelling and logical to ignore. Native Inuit certainly seemed to do fine on a paleo diet in unspeakably cold and harsh conditions.

    • Laurie D. on April 10, 2010 at 06:56

      Exactly. One of the things that I am constantly trying to get across to my Anatomy students is that we cannot look at a factor or organ or system or hormone or whatever in the human body (or any living body) in isolation. I’ve spent a lot of time reading related blogs since August 2009 when I started this primal/paleo thing (and 2 years of time before that reading gluten-free blogs) and it’s amazing to see how one element or another is touted as the key to maintaining health: remove gluten, casein, lactose, fructose or add Vitamin D, iodine, B12, magnesium, potassium, copper, or regulate insulin, leptin, cortisol, etc. And now, Stone with measuring body temp. The point is that they are all interrelated and important. The problem is that we don’t know what are chickens and what are eggs! And just like chickens and eggs, there can’t be one without the other.

      As for me, I lost over 15 lbs so far eating 80/20 primal, but the best side effect is that I feel amazing. Hmm, yes, I suppose I could go high everything again and get back the migraines, weight, aches, fatigue I had before. But I’m thinking I’ll just go with what works and not worry too much about why it is working.

      • Organic Gabe on April 10, 2010 at 09:08

        Well said, Laurie, looking at individual aspects as if in isolation doesn’t make sense.

  16. Swede on April 10, 2010 at 03:02

    I had success on the High Food diet, based on Matt Stone’s blog and ideas.

    I was hardcore paleo for a while, and it was all right, but I did not feel as good as I feel now after eating a lot and gaining some weight. I like to think of the body as more dynamic than a machine. Give a car gas, and it gets it’s usual mileage. I think humans adapt to a positive nutrient balance: ie, the more gas you give it, the better it runs.

    Has anyone ever heard of the “leblouh?” That’s the tribal fattening practice that is popular in some African countries. Read this for more info: I think that really shows that, with a healthy person and diet, gaining weight is a lot of freaking work!

    As for Matt’s position, it has been that one should only overeat until they feel better, which may take several months or so, depending on the person. For me, it took about 4 months.


    • Melissa on April 11, 2010 at 10:00

      I think alot of people don’t feel well on paleo or low carb diets because their bodies are so use to (or addicted your choice) to the effects of sugar and carbs. Also there are just some people who need a little more carbs to feel a sense of well being. I think the importance is to stay away from the processed foods with chemicals and all types of sugars. If the “eat high everything” diet includes eating fast food, junk or the trans fats oils I think it’s a poor choice in the long view of things.
      If it’s just adding some more grains or fruit or dairy to your diet that’s whole than I can completely understand.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2010 at 11:19

      “I think humans adapt to a positive nutrient balance: ie, the more gas you give it, the better it runs.”

      Hmm, so maybe Matt should rename his diet: The Trabant Diet.

  17. Gina on April 10, 2010 at 03:17

    Having read Broda Barnes back in the day…there*is* much to pay attention to AND it (body temperature) is not any thing more than another single number to simply be aware of. Just like cholesterol, BP, heart rate, we cannot put too much emphasis on ONE number or reading. This is simply disordered thinking. The body is complex and highly unique even within what the norms can be. I believe that how we feel and how we can make changes as individuals is much more important than any one single number. It is our own work to do as individuals…we must each understand the onus is on us alone to be healthy…not achieving a random number of anything!
    Amazing how one can be so easily led astray by a random number or for that matter much of CW.
    Awareness, non-attachment, more awareness and action.

  18. Laurie D. on April 10, 2010 at 18:24

    “Do different healthy people at different times and in different circumstances possesses different heart rates, blood pressures, metabolisms, body temperatures?”

    After doing a little searching around the interwebs, I found some interesting research, some of which was done in the 60s that indicated the answer to this was “yes.” Here’s a couple of them:

    Blood pressure differences – this is just an abstract, but implicates that blood pressure is influenced by geographical location and/or climate:

    Since I have submitted this twice (it had more links and rejected the message as spam) I’ll try again with fewer links per posts…

  19. Laurie D. on April 10, 2010 at 18:24

    Round 2:
    This one relates body type (short/squat vs tall/lean to body temperatures and geographic location:

    and another excerpt:

    Just an excerpt and I am not paying for the full text but this one again points to climatic factors on human evolution:

    More exploring later…

  20. Laurie D. on April 10, 2010 at 06:42

    I grew up in an non-AC house and live in a house now that was built in the 1840s. We installed ceiling fans in the living room and upstairs hallway several years back and we have a few floor fans if needed. We do have a window AC for those nights that are just intolerably muggy. We do have heat in the winter 🙂 The mid-Atlantic area can be horribly cold in winter and extremely hot and humid in summer with everything in-between. I seem to be able to adjust to most temps though I prefer hot over cold. My husband, who grew up in an AC house, cannot stand the heat. My students, most of whom have never spent more than a few minutes outside a 70 degree room, cannot take ANY change in temp. They cannot stand hot or cold. Completely anecdotal, but I think the ability to tolerate changes in temp might be due to what you have experienced during your lifetime. We may be raising a generation of people who cannot adapt to extremes of any kind in climate. I always think it is funny that you never see the folks who want to stop climate change (like that can be done) propose that we give up our ACs. How many of us have had to put on sweaters in mid-summer in over air-conditioned buildings? But I digress, as usual.

    • Sonagi on April 10, 2010 at 15:49

      Teens in my Virginia town either have tons of brown fat or risk hypothermia in the name of fashion. I often see girls wearing flipflops to school on chilly mornings with temps in the 40s. The husband of one colleague actually hid his daughter’s flipflops to keep her from wearing them in the winter like her friends. Many of our school buildings, even our newer ones that are only 15-20 years old, have irregular temperature control with some areas warmer or cooler than others or cooler, then warmer at different times of the day. I dress in layers and have advised my students to do the same as I have only 2 extra jackets in my classroom for students shivering in sleeveless shirts.

  21. gallier2 on April 10, 2010 at 07:19

    I have more and more the impression that Matt and the HED proponents are embarqued on a total red herring, and in fact it certainly is the fault of a lot of “paleo” and “low-carb” people. What they have “discovered” is a thing that serious low-carb Doctors knew already for a long time (AFAIK Dr.Eades mentioned it years ago, Dr.Lutz definitly knew about it, Barry Groves also had some article about it): you have to have adequate (energy wise) nutrition to be able to shed weight. Even if overweight, you have to ingest enough protein and energy for your metabolism. If you chronically are under your adequate metabolic rate, your metabolism will slow down, and that is where most people here on these blogs are missing the point. It’s the tendency, when one is losing (btw to lose hasonly one o, sorry for being a spelling nazi) weight to over-do the regimen. One could see it as a case of orthorexia, we eat good food are not very hungry and tend to not eat enough.
    I experienced it myself several times, when I lost weight and stalled I had the tendency to eat less and less making the stall worse, the only way to break the stall was to up my intake for several days and then the weight loss started again, even if I gained 1 or 2 kilos on the way.
    When cooking I noticed also a tendency to be too cautious with the high calorie ingredients (cream, butter, lard, eggs, etc…) and am always surprised how few calories are in the food if I happen to make the calculation for checking.
    So, my opinion is, HED is nothing more than the rediscovery of the obvious, eat adequate energy and the body will not try to switch to “conservation mode” , nothing more, nothing less.

  22. Aaron Blaisdell on April 10, 2010 at 07:53

    “Either we’ll emerge as tubs of lard working in cubicles, but perfectly healthy and well adapted to Pop Tarts, Hot Pockets and Cheetos as primary food sources — mutually-sexually attracted to the physically grotesque — or sexual selection will win out (one can hope), and we’ll select over time for those who can eat neolithic crap and still look good & attractive (what choices!).”

    LOL! Great description. When I look around while walking in any American mall, your observation is spot on and something I’ve noticed, too. There’s a greater and greater disparity building between the good-lookin types and the blobs. I see a revised edition of H.G. Well’s Time Machine is needed. But instead of Eloi and Morlocks living above and below ground, respectively, there will be FreeAnimals living out in the sun on the beach or pastures, and Blobs living in office cubicles and commuting long distances by car. They’ll become completely different species, but I wonder who will feed on whom? I’m betting it will be the Free Animals that live off the blobs.

    • Aaron Blaisdell on April 10, 2010 at 21:54

      Laughter is the best antidote to weeping.

  23. Rick on April 10, 2010 at 09:05

    Can we start calling him “Fat Stone”? Sorry, I know its banal, but I couldn’t resist. And really, I’m only half kidding. So many people seem to be falling for his nonsense, maybe they don’t realize that he is gaining significant amounts of weight and name calling would actually help.

    His latest thing is that caffeine makes you fat, because it causes insulin resistance. Just like butter, which also makes you fat according to some. Left out is the fact that both of these substances stimulate the release of free fatty acids. Oh well, why let this information get in the way of some good fear mongering (sales).

    I just saw someone I follow on twitter post about this, and they are now cutting caffeine out of their diet. The result? They are hungrier than usual, and ate breakfast when they normally don’t. I’m sure they aren’t worried. Hunger and weight gain are normal while the body heals. I think they had eggs though…a dry baked potato probably would have been better.

    Really looking forward to the series.

  24. Tim on April 10, 2010 at 14:11

    I also read Nora’s book and she makes so much sense. She writes that low body temperature and reduced thyroid levels are characteristic for long-lived animals and humans. Low thyroid can be a sign that something is wrong or it could also just be a sign of metabolic efficiency which leads to a longer lasting engine. Or that’s what she writes anyway, I wouldn’t have a clue myself 🙂

  25. james mooney on April 10, 2010 at 19:30

    Faster metabolism = faster aging. . . . how can it not????? I used to love Art Devany but he seems to come from the ivory tower these days with his “GH and steroids don’t really help” theory when they obviously do. Due to the increased, and phenomenal blogging recently by other people, he has pretty much priced himself out of the paleosphere these days. He simply does not post enough with pertinent information to warrant 5o bucks a year. Just my opinion…..

    • Sonagi on April 10, 2010 at 20:17

      I quit reading Devany, too, when he disappeared behind the subscription wall. I’ve been waiting three years for his book to come out while he peddles 7-hour ! DVDs of his lectures. I much prefer books as a self-paced medium and convenient reference tool at hand.

  26. james mooney on April 10, 2010 at 23:01

    It also seems that many of Stone’s followers are looking for a way to not eat paleo. I think it might be hard for some at first to get away from all that sugar. I go to Stone’s blog because he posts regularly, and I get a little pissed if my favorite bloggers don’t post often enough, often forgetting the fact that they have jobs and lives. I seem to see a lot of “thanks Matt, I am on HED now and feel great! Sure I went from 243 to 258 but the fat will just melt off soon enough” shit. I have yet to see the HED pan out for anyone, whereas I see complete transformations of low carbers and paleo people.

    Sonagi – you are right, and same here! I actually bought the subscription but totally not worth it! I suppose Devany won’t mind being an economics guy. He will either step it up or lose subscribers. Being a former “student-athlete” myself, I have seen the remarkable things that exogenous hormone boosting can do. You can publish alllll the theoretical papers you want disregarding it but it don’t make it so.

  27. Ned Kock on April 11, 2010 at 09:09

    There is one possible measurement, or set of measurements. that is rarely taken into consideration in any dieting or lifestyle context: sense of well being, perceived relaxation etc.

    In short, perceptual measures.

    Measuring them is tough because perception measures, by their own nature, have error built in. This is why we operationalize them as “latent variables” in behavioral research (see, e.g.,

    Our bodies are very good at telling us when something is wrong. But we tend not to listen. Some of us are interested only in “hard” measures – e.g., heart rate, blood pressure etc.

    A mix of both would be more appropriate.

    • Gina on April 11, 2010 at 15:41

      Right on Ned! Our bodies *do* tell us. Now we need to learn to listen!

  28. Melissa on April 11, 2010 at 09:53

    This may already have been mentioned but I always had the notion that having excess fat would make your body temperature higher.
    My husband is a bigger guy and he’s always steaming hot- hands, feet everything.
    His sister who is tiny and thin and eats whatever she wants is always cold and layering clothes on.

    This could just be an insulating effect of fat and the actual metabolism having nothing to do with it. I think body temperature and metabolism is more of a correlation than a causation.
    Right now my hands and feet are cool but I”m also sitting in a cold basement typing on my computer. If I go and lay in my bed in about 10 minutes I’ll have rather warm hands and feet. Does this effect my metabolism? Somehow I doubt it.
    Somehow I think taking the body temp constantly might make me just as paranoid as if I weighed myself daily and multiple times a day. It’s really not indicative of anything because most weight loss happens over longer periods of time.

    • Sonagi on April 11, 2010 at 10:54

      I don’t know that heavier people actually have higher inner body temperatures. The insulating fat just means that less heat is lost. Besides fat, there are also sex differences in body temperature maintenance. Women’s bodies tend to conserve heat around their organs at the expense of their limbs while men’s bodies tend to distribute heat more evenly.

      • Melissa on April 11, 2010 at 17:02

        So then temperature could also be linked to gender rather than just metabolism!
        Being hot doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to lose weight quickly, there’s a list of other factors that you have to consider as well.

    • Gina on April 11, 2010 at 15:38

      “Somehow I think taking the body temp constantly might make me just as paranoid as if I weighed myself daily and multiple times a day. It’s really not indicative of anything because most weight loss happens over longer periods of time.”

      Excellent thought! This is why weeding out the desirable changes from disordered or compulsive behavior needs to be addressed. Many an eating disorder started with the desire for better health. Getting off track with compulsive behaviors and rituals is truly dangerous and awareness is the key.
      Good for you to be so cognizant of the scale and the thermometer and their possible mind games 🙂
      Get the info, track your health, make more changes …just beware of the compulsions for certain *magic* numbers, foods or ideologies to make everything right.

      • Melissa on April 11, 2010 at 17:04

        I think it’s the same with any type of numerical measurement you can think of Gina!
        Be it blood pressure or blood sugar. It’s okay to check on it, but I’m not sure if I agree with checking on it constantly unless you have to because you’re a diabetic and want to rule out what foods spike your insulin.

        I weigh myself every two weeks and that way I’m always either fine at the same or down. I wouldn’t even consider having a weigh scale in my house.

  29. Keith Norris on April 11, 2010 at 10:22

    The only practical use for tracking body temp., imho, is in evaluating an athlete’s skid into an overtraining state. Anyone who’s tracked body temps can tell you that there is a wide range between healthy athletes’ fully-recovered (i.e., after a period of light training, or “off-season”), as well as a range (though tighter) within the same athlete. A consistent drop from average baseline is one indicator that an athlete is becoming overstressed — be that from training or other “stressors” (cortisol promoters). Note that this is simply one indication, another tool, to use when evaluating the affects of an intense training program.

  30. […] Metabolism & Digestion – A key to weight loss & health […]

  31. David on April 12, 2010 at 11:14

    I’ve been a diabetic for 25 years. I’ve eaten every which way that has been recommended if it seemed there was a prayer of it working. From my viewpoint, when we speak of HED or paleo “working,” it should be made clear whether or not we are talking about a population that is relatively healthy or not. When I was initially diagnosed, the ADA diet did actually help my numbers come down because, as high as the carb count was in that diet, it was still a good bit less than I had been eating. But that, and every other diet I tried failed to control my blood sugars over time. This included diets that were supposed to wake up my metabolism similar to HED. Eating paleo enabled me to get off insulin, Byetta and metformin and I’ve now been off them for a year. It was not about weight loss. I only lost about 10-12 lbs. If you get your blood sugar under control then your weight will get under control automatically. Healthy people arguing about what is best seems a bit theoretical to me as it usually comes down to success or failure at weight loss. If you are ill, you can get lab results to tell you what is working. If you are a diabetic, you can stick your finger any time and see what is going on. A type II diabetic’s body whose pancreas still has some function is not of a different order than a healthy person’s. It’s response or lack thereof is just exaggerated. So it seems logical to me that the diet that is most successful for diabetics would benefit any healthy person as well.

  32. Britt Kern on April 12, 2010 at 12:17

    I haven’t seen this brought up much, but the arguements on body temp seem to be primarily involving men so far, so that may be it…. Female body temp varies widely depending on hormones. If one is going to declare a particular body temp is necessary, more information is needed. Are we talking pre-ovulation (when temps are generally low) or post (after a 0.5 degree or more jump)?

    As I’ve been tracking my temps for six months now (trying to get pregnant), I can give you some solid before and after paleo data.
    Pre paleo (2 months): temps pre-ovulation maxed hovered just below 97.6 consistently, post-ovulation was around 98.2.

    Post paleo (4 months): temps pre-ovulation jsut below 97.6, post ovulation was right around 98.2

    Bottom line, no difference AT ALL. I hearby call bullshit on the idea that a paleo diet drops temperatures (at least for me). Add in that I’ve lost over 15 lbs and 7% body fat, and I’m voting for an increase in metabolism rather than a decrease.

    In case anyone’s keeping score, I’m on a medium-low carb paleo diet with IF. Meats, veggies with dinner, very low or no carb breakfast, and generally no lunch unless I’m being super active.

  33. Hillary on April 13, 2010 at 08:41

    I read somewhere years ago (cannot recall where), that “feral children” that had been discovered were seemingly impervious to the cold. For example, those children like Kaspar Hauser, who were grew up in the wild with other animals, were not at all uncomfortable playing outside in the winter with no shoes and no jacket.

    The speculation was that a lot of our dislike of the cold is a learned behavior and not necessarily natural.

  34. Brian H on April 13, 2010 at 18:55

    I’ve been recently following Matt’s site and read his recent e-book, I found that it contained a lot of helpful information. I don’t know enough about overfeeding and measuring basal temperature to agree or disagree with whether this is an appropriate approach to improving health, but he puts a lot of emphasis on taking care of ourselves and moving away from harmful dieting approaches which I think is important. I also appreciate the tone of your post, which seemed very fair despite the tension between both of you.

    I’ve always been extremely sensitive to the cold, and my hands are freezing during the winter even after coming inside for an hour. I think I also felt colder while following a raw vegan diet a couple of years ago, although I’m not sure because this was during the summer. I’d like to know what the cause of this is so that I can make the necessary changes.

    I’m curious to read your upcoming posts in this series, good job.

  35. […] the idea of chasing body temp. It it truly absurd, and a crude, snake oil approach to health. See comments in the previous post for how 98.6 was arrived at. Fooled by randomness… Or, just the same: […]

  36. jon w on April 16, 2010 at 18:31

    I have never worried about my body temp. But I have noticed since being on low-carb paleo I tend to get cold more easily. Sitting all day in a 70F room I need a jacket and hat. Any activity is fine at cold winter temps, but just not sitting. Of course sitting all day isnt natural, but the temp never used to bother me when I ate junk. Is this a common issue? thyroid or iodine related?

    I like this: “Eat real foods, eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Go until you’re hungry and then some. And sometimes, some, some and some more; then eat.” But I would add, “sometimes feast: eat, eat, and eat some more”

  37. d on April 16, 2010 at 20:46

    I just got the book Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness by Broda Barnes, and was astonished to see that Barnes was recommending a high-fat diet for weight loss as much as 50 years ago. His idea was that you lower carbohydrate until weight loss is adequate, and then raise carbohydrate to within the normal range.

    As to feeling cold while eating low-carb, your liver, as I understand it, needs glucose to convert t4 to t3.

  38. DavidFlint on April 17, 2010 at 09:38

    Gallier2 I think you make a very valid point. I think some of us become too focused on losing fat and reducing calories. The lesson I have learned from Atkins and Paleo diets is that the best way to reduce calories is to focus on the hormones of the body and once this balance is right the body will itself decide to take in the right amounts of calories. When I started doing paleo and IF I was using this perspective foremost with great results. Some two years later after closing in on <10% BF I began to feel a bit listless and fatigued.

    I then heard an Interview with Lyle MCdDonald over at Jimmy Moore's Podcast. The inteview was among other things about Lyle's ketogenic diet but one thing that struck home was when he talked about doing refeeds. Refeeding or overfeeding is probably something that IS common knowledge among many of the paleo crowd but I had somehow forgotten about this.

    Personaly I think of it as IO (Intermittent Overfeeding) since it matches with IF (Intemittent Fasting).

    Just as IF was hard to do at the beginning I also struggle a bit with IO when I do it, since its actually not very easy to eat alot of calories when using natural foods. What I am using is potatoes and bananas combined with butter or cocoa fat to once or twice a week really ramp up my calorie intake. I estimate at those days I am eating about 100g of carbs and about 200-300 g of fat.

    I have found that my strenght training has picked up after beginning with IO and the IF is also easier. Since the IF is easier this means that if I notice that I am gaing more fat than muscle, I will have an easy time to extend the fasting period once in a while. I really dont know if combining that many carbs with fat is healthy but from the way I feel it has given me alot more energy.

  39. GoEd on April 17, 2010 at 20:04


    Interessting that the liver would need glucose to convert T4 to T3. Do you have a reference for this? I’m interessted in reading more about this.


  40. turbogirl on May 23, 2010 at 09:29

    OK first of all I am getting in on this comment thing way too late, but I have some things I’d like to write. No, I have never taken my body temp first of all. I have experimented with different “diets” over the years and a few years ago I lost a great deal of weight. I liked seeing the numbers on the scale go down in spite of my health declining so I really low carb’d lost more weight then hit the wall. Since these health problems I have been looking for the answer the my weight gaining woes. IF–the sugar binges are bad so that does not work for me. Carb cycling the same thing I just go nuts on the high days. Then came the Weston Price people–drinking whole milk again and eating butter and cream I felt a little better, but still low energy. Then I stumbled upon Matt Stone and tried a little HED–not a huge over feed, but allowed myself for the first time in years to have a baked potato and some corn–energy levels rose and I just don’t crave sweets like I used to. I think there is a 2fold answer here (for me anyhow) the starches I had been denying myself filled me up in a good way so I didn’t go crazy for cookies and ice cream (plus I can go much longer between feedings now and feel calm I used to nosh constantly) second I’m eating more in line with probably how my grand parents ate–aka–REAL FOOD. And clothes are a little looser–I just listen to my body instead of forcing my will on it.
    and it has a relaxing effect–hey what am I going to eat for dinner? Uh, REAL food!

    When I was so high protein I always had to supplement with powders now I find when I use a little powder I feel an energy drop. And now I see those powders are full of junk! Even when I switched to the cleanest I could find I still felt an energy drop. So I didn’t go crazy overfeeding–just a few days is all it took to find I was feeling fuller longer and the sweet cravings have subsided–I still like a little dark chocolate, but I feel this is more of a habit than a craving right now. I’m also experimenting with eating a low PUFA diet and cutting down on fructose.
    I’ll see what effects this has in the next few weeks.

    As for higher metabolism equals aging–that is true. Animals with fast metabolisms and heartbeats like rabbits live short lives, while turtles with slow metabs and heartbeats can live to be over 100. People complain about their metabolism slowing down when they get older and it’s a mixed blessing–on one hand you have typical weight gain on the other hand it slows down the growth of cancer and tumors.

    One question that ALWAYS comes up in my mind when reading paleo type’s blogs is WHY they believe we have to eat like a paleo-person, but accept un-paleo things like cars, medicine, computers, electric lights??? Science has proven time and time again that we have not EVOLVED fast enough to keep up with technology.
    Maybe my dad had the right idea when he used to say he was going to go live in a cave with bears:)

  41. Jeff Morgan on July 29, 2015 at 00:02

    First I want to thank you for the iron enrichment blog.

    Second what if you are wrong about evolution? You are asking to see proof and an accounting for something that may not exist, at least in the deep sense. It just seems like willfull ignorance to maintain such a burden. Does someone have to know about three weeks ago to tell you about today?

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