The Moderate Carbohydrate Flu

In the week since I last tossed something up relevant to the recent LC and Food Reward goings on, I was highly motivated to retreat to my cave and comfort zone, potato in belly. I had this post in mind almost immediately thereafter, but just couldn’t sit down to write it.

Now I am.

The title is my response to the very strident low carbers who, it seems, don’t recall that some initially going low carb had an adjustment period where they feel “off” in various ways. Lethargy, tiredness, sleep disturbance, increased urination and constipation seem to round out the majority of the complaints.

Low carbers, being ever vigilant, are quick to admonish these various folk that they just need to give it some time to adjust (valid admonishment, I think)…and they’ve named this adjustment period “The low-carb Flu.””

So when I began looking around at the various threads on Mark Sisson’s Forums (I think there were about 4 going at one time, initially kicked off in response to my posts) and the comments on Jimmy Moore’s two posts about my podcast—on the blog and on the podcast site—I noticed something peculiar. While LC folks acknowledge an adjustment period going LC and consider it perfectly normal and expected, they don’t seem to acknowledge an expected adjustment period for someone going in reverse, adding enough “clean” or “safe starch” carbohydrate to take a more moderate approach. That is, there were comments and remarks about how someone ate a potato and felt tired and lethargic afterward. Full Stop…It. Doesn’t. Work. For. Me.

So, I’ve dubbed this little adjustment period “The Moderate Carb Flu.” There you go. In my case, I had nothing of the sort, nor did my wife. I’ll get to how it’s going for me and her, toward the end of the post.

Another issue is Blood Glucose Spikes and the consequent Insulin Spikes. Since insulin is a growth factor for things like lean tissue, I would imagine that acute spikes are not only an OK thing, but a good thing—so long as BG and insulin don’t remain chronically elevated.

Googling around, I find all sorts of information as to what constitutes “normal” physiological spikes in BG. The stuff on your run of the mill medical sites is surprisingly high in the context of a glucose tolerance test, where they give you a pure glucose cocktail and test you at intervals. It’s something like 180 or less at an hour, 155 or less at two, and then 120 by 3. Jenny at Blood Sugar 101 has a different take, but things are still spiking. Click this, and then click the “What is Normal Blood Sugar” image. She wants you 120 or less, 1-2 hours after a meal.

And then there’s Dr. Bernstein, as expressed in comments on this blog, yesterday. Here’s an excerpt of the whole, quoted from his forum.

I advocate normal blood sugars around the clock. If you are not loading yourself with rapid-acting carbohydrate, as most of the population is doing nowadays, and if you are taking the right medications, you shouldn’t go up at all after a meal. When a patient faxes or emails their blood sugar sheet to me, I look at what happens to their blood sugar overnight; and I look at what happens after each meal. How do I see what happens after each meal? I look at the blood sugar immediately before the meal, and the blood sugar two hours later, and the blood sugar before the next meal. I want all the blood sugars to be the same. We adjust the insulin so they are all the same. If you think about our ancestors who had no access to rapid-acting carbohydrates, and who had very little carbohydrate food to begin with and probably relatively little, anyway, they probably had the same blood sugar before and after their meals, and never had any blood sugar rises. That’s what I advocate for us. I advocate it for myself, and for my patients. I don’t think there is such a thing as a normal spike. Studies that were done a number of years ago in Aborigine populations showed that, indeed, there were no blood sugar spikes. These people were eating insects, turtles, snails, and there’s no way they could get a blood sugar spike.”

Granted, he may be talking in the context of diabetics on meds, but the comment itself is clearly of wider context. The commenter also claimed—but did not quote—that Dr. Su of “Carbohydrates Can Kill” advocates similarly.

I have a great deal of respect for Bernstein, his history, his work with diabetics and so on. Su, I don’t know anything about beyond his podcast or two with jimmy moore. But I must say that the idea that blood glucose ought never roam around, stimulating other various hormones to do various things in order to keep a whole complex system like the human body in balance is rather more wrong than a very wrong thing. Accordingly, it’s not worth my time to refute. Go ahead if you like, in comments.

I consider the notion that humans and their primate ancestors didn’t eat carbohydrate to any important extent to have been falsified millions of years ago, before there was any such thing as the notion of falsification. In short, I’m stating affirmatively that some level of glucose and insulin spiking following a meal is not only perfectly normal, but healthy and beneficial, just like it’s beneficial to get your heart beating very fast, now and then. The whole thing, in regard to dietary carbohydrate—pretending as though we never ate it much— strikes me as rather like the Soviets painting non-people out of the picture once they had been disappeared.

Finally, where it’s not obvious hyperbole, can we dispense with hyperbolic nonsense like “Carbohydrates Can Kill?” Hey, Water Can Kill!!! …And not just from drowning.

Moving along, there’s also the metabolic ward study debate concerning the issue of whether calories are the principle factor in body weight loss or if it’s a “metabolic advantage” that goes to low carb. Having read Chapter 1 of Anthony Colpo’s The Fat Loss Bible, then having a bit of a debate in comments typified by this comment excerpt from FrankG, I spent some time this weekend digging into it.

I don’t know anyone who lives in a metabolic ward Richard… do you?

The only way to make calories in vs. calories out a practical proposition for control of excess fat mass is: to measure everythingin and out including breathing/respiration… otherwise you are not dealing with a closed system… and the First Law of Thermodynamics applies to a closed system — hence the need to lock test subjects in a metabolic ward/chamber.

He later references Occam’s Razor, one of my favorite rules of thumb to apply. I’ll get to that later.

I went over both Dr. Michael Eades’ posts contra Anthony Colpo, and Colpo’s posts contra Eades this weekend. Plus, I’ve read the relevant chapter in TFLB.

Here’s Eades’ two principle posts:

  • AC anti-metabolic advantage dismemberment
  • AC Fat Loss Bible critique part II

And Colpo’s:

OK, before we move on, dismiss the mutual vitriol out-of-hand, because you’ll get nowhere if you let that get to you. The fact is, there likely exists no better debate over the issue of metabolic advantage for low carb anywhere. Next, dispense with the notion that you, as a bystander, can’t like both of these men and their work.

See, I fell into this trap myself. I know Mike Eades. We’ve emailed back & forth for a long while. I’ve eaten Sous-Vide with him at his invitation, sipped coffee with him & Mary Dan in a hotel lobby in Santa Barbara, and had drinks with him and Gary Taubes at AHS. I genuinely like Mike and Mary Dan (understatement, and Beatrice thinks Mary Dan is the Cat’s Meow), and I think they’re a tremendous value to the health and weight loss movements. Some of Mike’s stuff on debunking the saturated fat and cholesterol myths, and why we’re meat eaters and not vegetarians is some of the best stuff out there.

…And so I figured Anthony must be wrong. But now I don’t. While I haven’t met Anthony, we’ve had a cordial email exchange over the last couple of weeks and I’ve read for myself (twice) the Chapter 1 of his book that’s in dispute.

And after reading it twice and reading Mike’s and Anthony’s blog posts again (I had read them before), and now having the benefit of my own hindsight through self experimentation (and not just this experiment, but why I lost fat in the first place), I have to conclude that Anthony is right on this issue, and Mike is wrong. There, I said it. I can’t in good conscience call it any way other than how I see it, having carefully spent many hours (again) going over everything.

So if you’re interested, go over it all. But put yourself in the role of a competent professional judge who dismisses all the vitriol and emotion, because that’s what a competent professional judge does; it’s his raison d’être. Then draw your conclusions from the weight of the evidence alone.

FrankF’s comment, cited above, is pretty easy for me to set aside. Most of these metabolic ward studies were crossover anyway (all participants do both diets) and everyone was being measured the same, in varying degrees of detail. There’s nothing to see there, on that score.

A number of things nailed it for me, but here’s the two principle reasons:

  1. Cheating. the issue most raised by low-carb advocates of a metabolic advantage for same. The thing is, it’s very well established that LC is more satiating than HC, and that’s why in free living studies, LC almost always does better. The LC folks spontaneously lower calories because they feel more satiated. So, if you’re going to claim there was cheating going on in these metabolic ward studies, and if you’re right, then who was far more likely to cheat? Are you really prepared to claim that the reason that 26 out of 28 metabolic ward studies (all of them…in English and 3 weeks or more) cited by Colpo, showing the same weight loss no matter the diet, it was because the LC people were cheating, the HC people weren’t, and it washed out the metabolic advantage? C’mon, man!
  2. Occam’s Razor. The thing is, the metabolic ward studies are conclusive and all in line with one-another, save for two that have serious problems Colpo cites, such as a 40% dropout rate in one, and the fact that a statistically significant difference in weight loss in that study didn’t show up until after all the dropouts, and the last five days of the study. There’s a solid 26 of 28 metabolic ward studies that show no significant difference in weight loss among LC and HC diets. Should I repeat that? Some do demonstrate that whatever your macro diet, get plenty of protein, because whether low or high carb, keeping the protein up means that even though the weight loss is the same, the higher protein favors more fat loss and less lean loss. But C’mon. Are you willing to go on the line and say that all of these studies are so cleverly flawed that they showed, not a metabolic advantage for a high carb diet, but no advantage at all? Sometimes, things are just as simple as they seem.

It’s been just over two weeks since I began this experiment with a moderate carb approach, mostly from potatoes and some white rice. It’s pretty much as I reported before, and in the podcast with Jimmy Moore.


  • No weight gain at all, 2-3 pounds lost. Beatrice has dropped five pounds and loves the new regime.
  • Improved body composition, whether to fat redistribution or upper body glycogen replenishment, not sure yet
  • Very surprisingly, no heartburn, except with a bit too much alcohol (as before). I was really worried about this because I’m a lifelong heartburn guy and everyone knows how an LC diet tends to fix that. I have to conclude it’s not starch, but grain based processed foods.
  • Amazing satiation for long periods, which I attribute to my longtime intermittent fasting which has my mind working as it should with regard to hunger. Essentially, no difference, which I consider a win since I’m supposed to get a sugar crash, be ravenous, and pig out.
  • Awesome sleep, usually all through the night or just one head call. I’m sleeping about an hour less on average per night. Bea was having a lot of trouble with sleep for a long time and is now having a good sleep most nights, in spite of the dogs bugging the shit out of her, spoiled brats they are.
  • Very most of all, a renewed sense of purpose and well being. I recognize this could be bright eyedness owing to new things, but it’s not like this is my first experiment on myself, either. The simple fact is, I was drawn to this because in spite of many difficulties in business I was finding it difficult to get motivated in the manner that built my business in the first place. Now I’m making firm decisions and executing as I used to, once again. I hesitate to say that VLC made me depressed. I will say that sometimes, I marveled at who I seemed to be, in my own mind.


  • There’s only one, and that’s that I seem to be less antagonistic and hot headed. People say—even in comments—that I’m nice. Yuk. That sucks.

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. Nigel Kinbrum on March 14, 2012 at 01:18

    Suffice it to say that I completely disagree with FrankG. See

  2. Razwell on March 13, 2012 at 15:19

    Richard, I can tell you this: A man who was one of THE greatest minds in history Richard Feynman said this of science- “that he is not 100 % certain of ANYTHING.” He has different degrees of certainty of various things, but is not 200 % certain of anything.

    What’s gong on with fat loss at the MOLECULAR level? In the molecular world , the physics laws of the larger world do not apply. The molecular level of obesity is omehting Dr. Friedman studies.

    Of this issue, Dr. Jeffrey Friedman has said it is a scientific debate. He himself personally feels a calorie is a calorie for fat loss but is willing to say it is a scientific debate/research question. The answer is not known currently. But he remains a dietary agnostic ALLOWING for the possibility a certain compostion of the diet ( low carb etc.) is superior for fat loss.

    Therefore , I say it is unsettled. But there is no room in science for the extravagances of Dr. Eades’ Australian opponent. Too much uncertainty about obesity .

    There is far too much the First Law of Thermodynamics does not address.

    • VW on March 13, 2012 at 15:29

      Richard’s posts about Colpo have me going over to his site, checking his stuff out. I get there and see posts about some guy called “Razwell.” I assume that’s you.

      Please don’t let this post be hijacked by your personal feud with Colpo, Razwell.

  3. Skyler Tanner on March 13, 2012 at 15:27

    I swear if people who say that the fir st law of thermodynamics doesn’t apply to humans, because we’re an open system, would take 1 minute to actually do a search, they’d find the first law of thermodynamics for an open system:

    “the increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added to the system by matter flowing in and by heating, minus the amount lost by matter flowing out and in the form of work done by the system. ”

    Yeah, I got it from wikipedia. It was that easy.

    • Marcus Diggs on March 13, 2012 at 16:48

      Isn’t the criticism of the thermodynamic theory that it is circular and therefore useless?

      If you someone eats 5,000 calories a day and stays jacked, and another person eats 5,000 calories a day and get fat, the first law of thermodynamics just says that the 5,000 calories was burned in the first person and stored as fat in the second. How is that information useful?

      The question is why is it burned in the first and stored in the second, and how to change someone’s lifestyle so that so her body is more likely to burn than to store. Whether that answer is activity level; internal hormones; external hormones (e.g., ‘roids); genetics; leptin insensitivity; systemic inflammation; whatever.

      When you set up diets and train people, your goal is to get them stronger, leaner, & healthier—for the obese, basically, to shrink their body-fat percentage, right? And there are a slew of lifestyle interventions that you use to accomplish that, only one of which involves calories.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:28

        Indeed, Marcus.

        These are the sorts of questions more worthy of exploration.

    • Sean on March 13, 2012 at 16:49

      Actually, I still say that, more or less. I agree with Robert McLeod’s classic post on the subject. The argument, at least when not made by dittoheads, isn’t that delta E doesn’t apply to humans, but that it is irrelevant to the discussion. McLeod writes:

      Unfortunately, to a physicist this energy balance hypothesis looks like a silly hand-waving exercise, not a serious argument. Frankly I was flabbergasted when I first read this article. 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:

      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.
      Capable of significant mass flows (e.g. respiration).
      Capable of sequestering entropy (e.g. protein synthesis).

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

      This was Taubes’ original argument against calories in/calories out and I personally still find it compelling.

      • Uncephalized on March 13, 2012 at 16:56

        Every possibility exists that wearing a sweater is fattening. Have you or Taubes tested this hypothesis, or are you just dismissing it because it “sounds ridiculous”? Heliocentrism sounded ridiculous too, until some smart people did the math.

      • Sean on March 13, 2012 at 17:07

        Actually, it was Robert McLeod whom I quoted that found it “ridiculous”. You might want to look at the article first before bringing up some bullshit about heliocentrism. Gosh, you are right, sometimes reality is counter-intuitive. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • Uncephalized on March 13, 2012 at 17:40

        I understood that, and I have read the article before. He doesn’t offer any explanation for why he waves the possibility away, either.

        Let me ask the question another way: if the temperature difference between your body and the environment is large enough that it causes you discomfort or hypothermia, does this or does it not represent a significant energy loss from the body?

        If it does, then two interventions are possible: decrease the rate of heat transmission by adding insulation (let’s pretend your body is already at its maximum response in terms of capillary restriction, etc., so any additional insulation will come from clothing), and/or increase metabolism (whether by thermogenesis or shivering/exercising) to match heat losses at the desired body temperature. Which option involves more energy leaving the body?

        Not that you couldn’t eat more to make up for it, but let’s pretend that you were placed in an uncomfortably (but not deadly) cold jail cell and given only water with no food. Do you think you’d starve to death faster, slower, or at the same rate with vs. without a fluffy wool sweater?

        Maybe in regular life, though, being cold a lot of the time kicks an over-compensatory appetite into gear and promotes accumulating more fat. Or maybe not. Either way, my whole point was that this stuff needs to be tested, not just tossed out of hand.

        Also, he posts that entropy-balance formula like it’s big and scary and un-studiable, which it’s not. It requires a lot tools and expense to account for everything accurately, but that’s why people keep inventing big, expensive tools.

        All of this is not to say that trying to lose fat by counting calories is a particularly effective or simple method. It’s much easier to make your body want to take in less and output more than to try to control the numbers manually, which is what LC does well for some people, and where I don’t disagree with Taubes at all.

      • Sean on March 13, 2012 at 18:37

        In your example you are trying to show that all else being equal, the first law of thermodynamics actually exists. No one is disputing that, certainly not me.

        I simply don’t find it compelling that making some small change in diet, something that is still touted by the CW will lead to one losing or gaining that small change times 365 amount of weight in a year because all else is not going to be equal.

        I don’t think the point was ever that the entropy balance formula is un-studiable, or that it somehow doesn’t apply to humans. The point is that the body has a ton of feedback systems and telling people to just skip that scone in the morning hasn’t worked.

        If you want to test whether or not two identical twins in the exact same conditions performing the same amount of work but one eating an extra scone in the morning (or wearing a sweater) will have differing long term results, okay, that sounds like a pretty interesting place to start.

      • Uncephalized on March 13, 2012 at 17:57

        Also, I’m kind of being an asshole right now for some reason, not that that’s out of the norm for me. Sean, my apologies for jumping on you like that.

      • Sean on March 13, 2012 at 18:40

        Hey, thanks, but no need to apologize, you were at the worst being merely flippant 😉

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 18:51

        Don’t do that. Sean’s head is big enough already.

        By the way, anyone decent at chess? I’m RichardNikoley on the Chess for friends app, in case anyone wants to take me on. I used to play a bit, from time to time so I hope I can give you a challenge.

      • Sean on March 14, 2012 at 01:08

        *sputters indignantly*

        I play chess when there’s someone around to play at the local cafe, but I could never get into playing it online. There’s some old guys who meet every night at the local cafe and play about an hour of speed chess complete with chess clock. I tend to screw myself by trying too many gambits, but they are fun when they work.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:47

        I’m actually open to the notion that CRONIC keeping yourself overly warm or ChRONIC keeping yourself cold by drinking ice water (I sometimes do that in the morning over thirst and I do get a bit chilled–but I mean chronic, continual) can affect body comp long term. But, you probably have to override your natural desires to do it, just like hunger.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:33


        I betIve linked that post a lot more than you, going way back.

        But basically, the only real point is that the human and metabolism is really complex.

        Dive into the metabolic ward studies and see that it’s all bullshit, it just is. I don’t care to understand why and I’m happy to leave it to physicists.

        I understand why low carb works, and it does.

        This is new understanding and I ntended to make hay of it, apart from the standard bromides, paleo, LC, foor reward. Think of what we,ve gained and can use. The funeral is over.

      • Sean on March 13, 2012 at 17:56

        Yes, I believe you even commented on that post back in the day.

        I’m not sure what funeral you are talking about, I’m not trashing moderate carbs, I simply don’t find anything wrong with what McLeod wrote. The body consists of thousands of poorly understood feedback systems. The idea that making some small change like not wearing a sweater will cause one to lose weight is not something I find compelling. All other things being equal, yes, the first law of thermodynamics does exist, of course. All other things are never equal, though, that’s the point.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 18:21

        Mc Leod didn’t write o eatingle letter about actual physical experience that was in evidence at the time of his writing, 28 metabolic ward studies in English, 3 weeks or more.

      • Sean on March 14, 2012 at 15:00

        Okay, I admit I need to get up to speed on these metabolic ward studies and other related stuff, and I didn’t really dip into the Eades-Colpo debate, but I’m still goddamned skeptical.

        Also, unlike Uncephalized, I didn’t have to take thermodynamics for my engineering degree (EE for the win!) so I really know jack shit about the subject, except for the fact that it is a very non-trivial subject.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on March 13, 2012 at 17:36

        I discussed the wearing of extra clothes in my blog post Determinants of the Variability in Human Body-fat Percentage.

        Taubes’ argument is just stupid.

    • Uncephalized on March 13, 2012 at 16:53

      As a mechanical engineer who had to spend a fair amount of time learning thermodynamics to get my degree, I approve this message. 😀

      The argument they are generally at least trying to make is that the heat-loss and work-out terms both spontaneously increase in response to added calories in an attempt by the body to maintain more or less constant fat reserves. I’d like to see several metabolic ward studies supporting this argument rather than assertions pulled out of air, which is normally about what you get.

      Also, I for one am capable of consuming calorie-dense, palatable food like ice cream far, far faster than my body could ever hope to compensate for through fidgeting and increased heat output. There has to be a limit to these self-regulating capabilities, and I would guess they are quite limited indeed, only capable of handling the kind of fluctuations caused by mismatch between the eyes and stomach in the context of whole, satiating foods like meats, tubers, and fruit. Put a gluten-free, low-carb “paleo” cheesecake with a pecan-flour crust in front of me and I’ll break that regulatory system just as sure as I would with a half-gallon of ice cream, because “paleo” cheesecake is nearly as bizarre and unnatural as any engineered industrial un-food.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:42

        How come you assume as a normal functioning human being and what you know about mathematics and systems and thermodynamics that your tub of ice cream is going to wash put in increased fidgeting in a way that you can obviously observe, rather than over the next day or two, with subtile things beyond your grasp of observation?

      • Uncephalized on March 13, 2012 at 17:47

        Maybe it would, as long as I didn’t habitually do it again the next day too. My point was that in any given period of time I am capable of eating a lot more than I can possibly burn, and if I do that regularly, I’ll almost certainly put on fat.

        Which is why I don’t eat ice cream every day, or every week, of course. Or paleo cheesecake for that matter.

      • Uncephalized on March 13, 2012 at 17:56

        Also, as an experiment, because I am a self-sacrificing kind of guy, I actually ate a tub of ice cream last night. (OK, I just wanted ice cream. Don’t tell.)

        Aside from undoubtedly losing a few calories in the toilet due to, um, faster-than-normal movement (not used to that much sugar and dairy at once I think), I also have had no desire to eat all day. I’ve had nothing but coffee with some cream this morning, and it’s now nearly 6pm. Functional biological feedback mechanisms FTW. So maybe I’m just totally wrong, but I would guess if I did that every day it would stop working out so nicely. I’m not going to try.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 18:04

        This happens to me about twice per week. I just can’t bring myself to eat until sometime in the afternoon.

      • Uncephalized on March 13, 2012 at 18:36

        Well, early afternoon is pretty typical for me, but just feeling the first hunger rumblings at 6PM is nearly unprecedented.

        I suppose I *could* have been very mildly sick, though I feel fine. That can mess with the appetite.

  4. Tyler on March 13, 2012 at 15:40

    I have been eating quite a few sweet potatoes lately. Last few months at least. A lot of my plates have been over half starch by weight, the rest animal. I find myself eating less spinach or other leafy greens to boot.

    This has been nice. I’ve gained quite a bit of muscle mass, which seems to stick on easier than it was when was lower on the carb scale.

    I’d say I still only get 150g or so from the sweet potatoes. I can’t seem to cram more down than that. A few bananas, apples and pears probably up the total carbs a bit, but I haven’t really been keeping track. Just eating till full.

    I will mention, however, that my hunger is not AS tucked away as it used to be. Granted, I’ve reeled back my IFing to twoish days a week, having 4-5 egg yolks, some coconut oil, and 1tbsp or so of gelatin alongside heavy cream and a piece of fruit for breakfast. But I am actively trying to gain weight. It’s so damn hard to gain weight when not shoveling down the delicious starch.

    I am happy to see the whole low-carb stigma becoming less and less attached to paleo. I hate seeing paleo, low carb, and ketogenic diets being used interchangeably… Especially if you’re someone who doesn’t need to lose weight, or simply wants to improve their current fitness, the idea of going into ketosis isn’t always appealing.

    It’s also so much easier to get buy in from people if you mention simply replacing the grains and legumes with meat, veggies, and tubers (or even white rice). That was you increase the quality of the food and minimize inflammation while not “shocking” someone’s system with the whole macronutrient shift.

    Anywho. Keep up the great work and keep us updated!

    Actually, I have one question for you: How’s your skin been? Notice any complexion changes in your face?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 15:47

      Nope, no completion changes I detect.

  5. Rob A. on March 13, 2012 at 15:51

    Good luck with the experiment, and right on for staying open-minded. And ha!- less grouchy.

    How do you like ‘The Fat Loss Bible’? I generally like Colpo, but do see validity in criticisms of the simplistic calories-in, calories-out model for reasons other have probably already enumerated (hard to gauge how many calories actually are going in or out, doesn’t account for differential fuel partitioning, doesn’t say much about the bodyweight set point, etc.) All that said, it does seem possible that some combination of changing the palatability and satiety of foods, doing resistance and/or HIIT-type exercises, along with being mindful of calories, could work to recompose the body and result in safe, sustainable fat loss.

  6. Sean on March 13, 2012 at 15:51

    Minuses-There’s only one, and that’s that I seem to be less antagonistic and hot headed. People say—even in comments—that I’m nice. Yuk. That sucks.

    Fuck those fucking fuckers. Now I might’ve mentioned something about a more civilized atmosphere in these here parts but I never, ever used the n-word.

    I’m all about free speech and stuff but when people start calling you n*ce that’s really going too far.

  7. Razwell on March 13, 2012 at 15:53

    If we really wanted to lose weight, all we would have to do is to have scientists figure out a way to dial down the way the Higgs Boson interacts with the atoms and molecules in our body- then we all would almost certainly lose MASS.

    Would it come specifically from fat tissue? Who knows.

    Admitting that we do not know much about the regulation of mammalian fat cells is not at all violating the First Law of Thermodynamics- not in the slightest . It’s reach it limited.

    The problem is not the First Law of Thermodynamics itself – it is the extrapolations people from the commercial die industry use from it to make faulty conclusions about the causes and treament of morbid obesity.

    Fat cells which are hoarding lipid moleucles and in an extremely disregulated state are NOT cooperating with the rest of the body – regardless of what it is doing. That is the problem.

    On a remote island with no food , a man like 1,000 pound Manuel Uribe would die of stravation long before he lost any real fat mass. He’d still be grossly obese- although somewhat less. Muslce tissue, brain tissue, organs would all be consumed first.

    We want to understand the regulation FAT TISSUE specifically ( not just weight) ,which is an active endocrine organ, not a passive storage depot.

    The regulation of mammalian fat cells and the chemical behvior of their receptors is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY beyond The First Law of Thermodynamics’s reach. Way beyond.

    I saw a show the other night. Gastric bypass. The man lost weight, but he was loaded with fat. Obesity is a real problem. No effective treatment regime exists unfortunatley.

    Skinnier versions of former fat selves ( almost as fat percentage wise ) is not success. I hope we can treat obesity in the future well and really make these people lose most of their adipose tissue specifically.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 16:00

      OK, Raz, two posts stating your case on this one post. Let’s see if anyone takes you on, but please otherwise be measured and circumspect in your contributions,

      Thank you.

    • paul d on March 15, 2012 at 00:24


      “Obesity is a real problem”. No shit!!!!

      No effective treatment regime exists unfortunatley. “Agreed but only because Treatment of Obesity is a Horseshit idea and there is in fact a solution to obesity!!! Hint – it does not lie in a fucking physics textbook.

      There is a solution and it requires long term and permanent behaviour modification, a huge amount of self-discipline and significant study and self-exploration and focus (nobody can be treated to develop this hence why it is not treatable!!!!). Shove your thermodynamic physics and deterministic reductionism fat cell dysregulation theories up your ass, because while the hormonal mechanisms/characteristic profiles of obese people are coming into focus and study, they are still poorly understood, and obesity and fat gain is a bio-psycho-social-genetically complex beast that is contextual and cannot be attributed to single hormones (i.e. insulin, leptin etc) or any reduced physiological process. The debate at your level of reductionism is – to use a cliche “failing to see the wood from the trees”

      There are people who were formerly obese and have really leaned down to favourable (non-obese)weight ranges. Among those, there are also those who have not become skinny fat in the process and have kept the weight off for an extended period of time. The solution is to study these people not those who are obese and “cannot reverse it”.

      I bet you there are quite a few people who read this blog who have done the same (reversed obesity)and fall into this category. I am one of them and I have not followed a PALEO diet to the letter or been carbophobic to achieve this nor have I ever cross-fitted a day in my life. 85kgs to 62 kgs in 1.5 years and am currently squatting, deadlifting well above bodyweight (NB – I could not lift much above a pencil or a bar when I decided to reverse the obesity). I have cultivated this change and a decent amount of lean body mass from heavy progressive resistance training. At my height and former body composition from years of sitting on my ass and eating shit, I am really happy with this change.

      I challenge you to find anyone who is an exception where the following 2 things in combination do not apply ……

      1. Specific and progressive resistance exercise designed to maintain lean tissue (during weightloss ) or resistance training to increase lean body mass (body recomposition) once weight loss goals have been achieved. Find me one person in a gym anywhere in the world who can lift a lot of fucking compound movement related weight who does not have a decent amount of muscle mass, independently of the amount of fat they carry on their guts and associated areas)

      2. Find me one person who has adopted a favourable and sustainable macro and micro eating approach that fosters weight loss and also enables crucial activity maintenance (typically a small calorie deficit below TDEE adjusted over time) later followed by specific dietary approaches and the potential addition of cardio to achieve lower body fat percentage levels that has failed to reverse fat gain. This approach is based on measurement, alterations and modifications over time to ensure that both weight loss and lean body mass is both maintained and weight loss occurs continuously (NB – I don’t mean linearly in progression).

      Thanks Paul D

  8. Jay Jay on March 13, 2012 at 16:02

    I’ve bounced around Colpo’s site a few times over the years. Definitely some interesting stuff there, but his general tone turns me off. Too damn polarizing.

    I ALMOST bought his book (The Fat one, not the cholesterol one) a couple weeks ago, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    Can anyone give me a Cliff Notes like overview for his big picture thesis, or may even a thumbnail outline of the book? Maybe it will get me off the fence and I’ll buy the thing.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 16:08

      So let me get this straight, jay jay. In order to save a few bucks, like 9 or 10 or whatever, you’re willing to put yourself out ther to have someone spend 15 or so minutes of their time in order to save you that money?

      Ballsey, but if someone’s willing that’s cool too, maybe you’ll have kinds together one day.

      • Jay Jay on March 13, 2012 at 17:34

        Yes, exactly.

        And look, it worked! I don’t think I put an undue burden on anyone.

        Thanks to you guys who replied! I will try to repay some day.

        And you can check out my review of the Hillfit Strength book, if you care. I try to be fair.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:59

        Fair enough, jay jay. And it’s cool you feel like a repay.

        God, how I love anarchy.

      • Jay Jay on March 13, 2012 at 17:48

        And let me add, it’s not the few bucks that I’m worried about saving here.

        It’s the potential hours of reading through what sounds like a very technical manual.

        And then re-reading it, and maybe re-reading again, before I can finally figure out if this is the kind of info I am looking for, and that might make sense for someone like me.

    • Marcus Diggs on March 13, 2012 at 16:16

      Jay Jay, I read his book, and left a long review of it on Amazon. Last I checked, it was the only non-5-star review. That will give you the big-picture thesis of it.

      • Jay Jay on March 13, 2012 at 17:40

        Awesome. I found your review instantly. I am definitely in the 99% (or, more likely the lower 80%…), so I will probably hold of purchase for now. I’m not there yet.

        Thanks for directing me to your review.

    • Hugh Anderson on March 13, 2012 at 17:08

      Here’s the Cliff’s Notes from my notes. The meat of his book comes from the evidence he provides backing up the following recommendations.

      Chapter 1 – Cutting calories is the fundamental determinant of weight loss
      Chapter 2 – Changing what you eat makes your diet easier and favors your weight loss towards more fat and less muscle loss. Fat and protein help protect against hunger.
      Chapter 3 – Six meals is not better than 3 meals. Pick the meal frequency that works for you.
      Chapter 4 – Eating big meals at night doesn’t make you fat. Eat lighter meals during the day. Eat dinner like a king.
      Chapter 5 – Carbs at night are okay. Carbs at day may not be so good. Combine carbs with protein and fat. Low GI carbs during the day
      Chapter 6 – Resting metabolic rate explanation. Gaining muscle does not burn a ton of extra calories.
      Chapter 7 – Vegetarian diets do not cause greater weight or fat loss. Food combining diets do not cause greater results. Varying caloric intakes does not increase weight loss
      Chapter 8 – Calculate total daily energy expenditure, follow calculations for 10 or more days before double-checking your figures.
      Chapter 9 – Shoot for 400-1000 calorie reduction
      Chapter 10 – Determine daily protein requirement using lean mass. Carbohydrate based upon activity level with 75 gram minimum. Use the remaining balance for fat
      Chapter 11 – Eat paleo foods. Meat, eggs, seafood, tubers, vegetables, fruits & berries, nuts, dairy, “safe” cerals (buckwheat, millet, quinoa, white rice, oats).
      Chapter 12 – Don’t eat cereal flours, sugar (except during or after glycogen-depleting exercise), refined vegetable oils, hydrogenated vegetable fats
      Chapter 13 – Assign a larger portion of your calories to your dinner meal. Rotate your foods from day to day. Chicken & eggs, then beef & rice, then pork, etc.
      Chapter 14 – Exercise. Compound movements. Fasted cardio at low to moderate intensity.
      Chapter 15 – Carbs after strenuous training, or during training if it lasts longer than 45 minutes.
      Chapter 16 – Refeeds cause weight gain and do not jump start the metabolism. Take temporary breaks from dieting where you consume maintenance level for 1-2 weeks. If noticeably overweight, take a diet break every 2-3 months. If lean, 4-6 weeks. Keep exercising. When you hit a plateau, recalculate energy expenditure and re-establish a calorie deficit, preferably through exercise.
      Chapter 17 – Lists psychological tips to better handle dieting.
      Chapter 18 – Take vitamins. Multi without iron or copper, plus selenium, fish oil, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, Vitamin D

      • Jay Jay on March 13, 2012 at 17:42

        Wow, that is exactly what I was hoping for! Thank you for taking the time to lay it out like that.

        Based on your post, and Marcus’s above, I am going to hold off for now. It sounds like something I need to work up to.

      • Neal Matheson on March 14, 2012 at 01:56

        It’s not why I eat the way I do but If I wanted to loose weight/look better that sounds like one good plan.

      • Michelle on March 14, 2012 at 08:46

        This just sounds like a combined paleo + bodybuilder approach (i.e., nothing new, but sounds totally reasonable).

        The bodybuilding community has had diet dialed in pretty well for a LONG time now… at least as regards macronutrients ratios and timing. The big difference that paleo brings is cutting the grains and cutting the processed foods (which some bodybuilders do anyway – especially the processed foods)… and maybe cutting dairy… and maybe increasing saturated fat (more beef, fewer chicken breasts) with the latter two depending on who’s version of paleo we’re talking about).

      • paul d on March 15, 2012 at 05:44

        That there is my daily process, works a treat, awesome!!!!!

  9. Razwell on March 13, 2012 at 16:04

    I honored your requests Richard, as you said you had no dog in my fight with Colpo.

    These two posts had different points. Dr. Harris posts a lot- sometimes dozens of comments. Soa all you request of readers is to make different points, correct?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 16:12


      I don’t want to alienate you. Really, and if you’ve see how I can go off, it’s that.

      I’m not going to address Kut’s posts. He posts a couple, WAITS to see if someone takes him up, and responds. He doesn’t respond to every comment with essentially the same thing,

      So far, you have not tried to do that so I appreciate your civil behavior.

      It was never about your message,

  10. Bay Area Sparky on March 13, 2012 at 16:10

    The “one size fits all” approach to the pursuit of understanding is symptomatic of the intellectual shallowness with which we are surrounded.

    Some people cling hard to their beliefs due to shakiness of their understanding… the shakier the understanding the harder they cling.

    Beware of those claiming to be authorities.

  11. Bay Area Sparky on March 13, 2012 at 16:13

    Consider solid views, compare them with your own experiences, make some hypotheses, amend them when you are compelled to.

    Think, learn, use your fucking brain.

    As Richard has advocated numerous times, self experiment.

    We all have things in common with each other… and we all have differences.

    Let’s try not to be so damn shallow.

  12. Marcus Diggs on March 13, 2012 at 16:24

    If this is true “Some do demonstrate that whatever your macro diet, get plenty of protein, because whether low or high carb, keeping the protein up means that even though the weight loss is the same, the higher protein favors more fat loss and less lean loss” and it is a fact espoused by Colpo throughout his book, then why do we bother looking at any weight-loss studies that don’t differentiate between fat loss, lean-tissue loss, and total-body-weight loss?

    Relatedly, riddle me this: If someone went on a 500-calorie-per-day diet that was 10% protein and 45% carbs & 45% fat, and her identical twin went on a 500-calorie-per-day diet that was 50% protein and the 25% carbs & 25% fat, would the fat loss, lean-tissue loss, and total-body-weight losses be identical or different, assuming that the type of foods consumed were identical [or would that even matter]?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 16:34

      First explai to me why a normal human ought go on a 500cal diet.

      This blog is for normal humans, primarily. I know that sucks and monkey wrenches the hypothesizers, but it’s purpose is to do well for people and not jerk you off,

      I trust you are more than capable of doing that yourself.

      • Marcus Diggs on March 13, 2012 at 16:53

        Fine, make it a 1,500-calorie-per-day diet. I chose 500 randomly (although 800 is the level that most studies use). The calories weren’t integral to the hypothetical; the question of whether fat, lean-tissue, and total-weight loss would be different with different macronutrient ratios is.

        I find this site quite useful in all sorts of ways, but auto-eroticism is not one of them. (But that’s just me: Food porn means different things to different people.)

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:38

        Marcus, perhaps you’ve seen my follow on comment by now but at any rate, the met ward studies show weight loss is the same.

        Partitioning can be different, depending upon protein. The more protein, the more the weight loss favors fat loss over lean loss. But that is also not exclusive to LC. You can get the same by an HC, HP, LF regime. But, I’ll acknowledge that in the milleue of things, far more likely that an LCer is going to be getting that extra load of protein, which is why I remain a fan of LC.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:21

      Oh, and by the way, Marcus, instead of wasting my time, how about go the the studies and the the stuff I cite, eh? WEIGHT loss is the same. Partitioning is different, even as I mentioned in the post. PROTEIN.

      Jesus, already.

      • Al on March 13, 2012 at 18:59


        Forgive me for not doing my homework first but I am swamped with school this month – off the top of my head (and this is not to defend any camp), if weight loss is the same across isocaloric diets but partitioning is greater towards reducing fat rather than lean mass with hi-PRO/lower-carb, then something bothers me (maybe this has been addressed – again, I haven’t done my reading).

        If it requires 3500 calories to use up a pound of fat and about 500 (prob less) to use a pound of lean, wouldn’t just a 2 pound difference across different macronutrient diets leading to different partitioning rates equal a much greater energy requirement when more fat is used rather than lean? Eades talks about a 300-400 cal advantage, but these metabolic studies seem to suggest even higher rates. 2lbs a week difference between fat and lean loss would be about 6000cal per week or near 900 cals a day. Or is my math just messed up?

        BTW, for the naysayers, I think 75-(even)200 g of carbs is still relatively low-carb, especially coming from natural sources.

        Thanks for your patience.


      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 19:04

        Al, I’m pressed for time top, so I stopped when I saw your assumption that 3500 cal equals a pound of fat,

        No. 3500cal equals a pound of weight, fat or lean.

      • Paul Verizzo on March 13, 2012 at 19:25


        No, Richard, a pound of carbs is about 1800 calories. Since most of us trying to lose weight, or talking about it, we presume the weight to be lost is fat, 3500 k/cal per pound.

        One reason protein, calorie for calorie, is conducive to weight control is that almost one calorie in four consumed is used in the processing of the protein. The Thermic Effict of Food. So, if I eat 200 grams of protein a day and I record everything on Fitday, the actual amount consumed less TEF is 200 calories less. Fats and carbs have almost no TEF.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 20:55

        TEF is minuscule. Maybe comes into play at 50-60% cal from protein, which most people don’t do, unless BBers or working with Martin Berkhan.

        For the average Joe, it’s not a facttor.

      • Al on March 13, 2012 at 22:39


        I was talking about tissue being catabolized from within, not ingested – so TEF would make no difference in my case. And Richard may be right: it may be minuscule at best.


      • Al on March 13, 2012 at 22:50


        Understanding time constraints on the both of us… how does 9cal/gram of ingested fat and 4cal/gram of ingested lean all of a sudden become equal when catabolizing one’s own tissue? There is simply more available energy in stored human saturated fat than stored human lean tissue. A lb is not a lb in this case. If you lose 5lbs (total weight) eating high carb, and I lose 5 lbs eating low carb; but we find out that I lost 4lbs of fat and you lost 4 lbs of lean – I used up far more energy than you did.

        Can you quickly show me to something that contradicts this?

        Thanks again.


      • marie on March 13, 2012 at 23:03

        AI, my thanks, I see I’mm not the only one with a math head-ache – see my earlier post below. I didn’t understand what you were get at originally until you wrote this now.
        We’re along the same track.
        I can’t yet see my way around it, which I why I’m asking if there’s a known metabolic adaptation that would compensate for the missing calories. Someone Has to have thought of it though, the arithmetic is too obvious to miss.
        I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Richard or someone on this blog will have some pointers…

      • FrankG on March 14, 2012 at 05:33

        As an additional confounding variable: during a recent podcast on LLVLC, Mat Lalonde pointed out that even the 9cal/g for fat and 4cal/g for carbs or protein, are only rough estimates; that do not take into account the different calories in different types of fats, for example… even assuming that they are 100% digested and available. As he puts it “humans are not bomb calorimeters”

      • Al on March 13, 2012 at 23:10

        Hi Marie,

        Sorry for the first and vague post – I dont articulate well when rushed; so I should just calm down and take my time anyway ; )

        This is not all that obvious – shadowed by all these variables, opinions, hypotheses, and myths which surround us.


      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 00:03

        Hi AI – you wouldn’t be studying AI in that school of yours, would you 😉
        Nah, it is indeed obvious (though I confess to an aha! moment myself when it first occurred to me) because the numerical difference is so very big : 3600 C/lb of fat (9cx400g) versus 1600 C/lb of lean (4cx400g).
        It’s a bit more than a factor of 2. So even if only a fraction, say 25%, of the weight loss partitioning was in favor of fat, the ones who ‘lost more fat’ had to have been eating 50% more calories than the ones who lost more lean mass.
        Big numbers. I can’t believe no one would have noticed (so, I’m ever an optimist…)

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 00:15

        oops, its should read : “…say 25% of the weight loss partitioning was in favor of fat, the ones who lost more fat had to have been eating 50% LESS calories than the ones who lost more lean mass “. Phew.

      • Al on March 14, 2012 at 00:22

        Hi Marie,

        “Al” is short for Albert. Where do you get “AI” from?

        Anyway, there’s probably more of a difference that what you laid out since most of lean tissue is water. 7g of PRO/oz of lean, gives 112g/lb; totaling 448cals/lb. Adipose tissue is like 9% water, but someone already factored that out to land at 3500clas/lb, according to my nutrition text. Maybe someone can correct my math, something doesn’t sound right, but if it is…


      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 00:51

        Oh, it’s the font 🙂

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 07:48

        FrankG, you’re right, but he was referring to the variety of fats we eat. However, our body fat, which is what we’d ‘burn’ in weight loss, is made entirely of saturated fat – we’d be awfully wobbly otherwise, eh? 🙂
        That saturated fat is mostly stearic, palmitic and oleic, btw. The energy density is indeed about 9c/g for us.
        Similarly, we are not a bomb calorimeter because of differential absorption of foods, thermic effect (Richard is right of course, it’s very small unless we eat huge amounts of protein) etc etc…all of which again has to do with how we take-in nutrients, doesn’t apply to catabolic state.
        Of course there’s variation between people in how much energy they need, but that’s washed out in the averaging over groups.
        It’s just plumb amazing to begin with that the same caloric deficit would produce (on average) the same weight loss and at the same time that weight has different fat/lean composition, especially because the difference in caloric density is so big so that even a small difference in composition would have a significant effect on caloric requirements.

      • gallier2 on March 14, 2012 at 08:43

        Oleic acid is a mono-unsaturated and body fat therefor is not fully saturated, Furthermore, the composition depends partly on the ingested food composition. As baseline more than 5% of body fat is poly-unsaturated (mainly omega-6). In omnivores like us or pigs the fat composition depends largely on the food composition. Ruminants have more stable fat profile.

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 09:34

        You’re right of course, my bad : oleic is mufa. I shouldn’t have listed it after a sentence about saturated fat.
        And it’s not just oleic (wish it were!) – among that small percentage of mufa-pufa we have other fatty acids as well.
        But that’s all a quibble, no? You imply it yourself, our fat is at it’s vast majority saturated.
        The question was whether ‘fat’ has really approximately 9calories/g. My only point was that our fat really does. It came bak to the math that said that there a greater than 2 ratio in calorie density for fat to lean. Now, if you want to bring that down to 2, or 1.9 or 1.8 even, no problem.

        But since we’re being that accurate, here’s another one : “ruminants have more stable fat profile” – you mean for any one individual animal, right? Because otherwise, CAFO and grass-fed have very different fat profiles. Which is why we like grass-fed, yes? It at least has some omega-3 🙂

      • FrankG on March 14, 2012 at 09:53

        I see your point about catabolism of already stored tissue vs. what we put in our mouths, marie – thanks.

        And this latest series of comments brings me right back to what I recall was an excellent series of posts by Dr Kurt Harris, on the theme of “There is no such thing as a macronutrient” —

        It also further muddies the already murky depths which seem to suggest that we can effectively count calories in vs. stored vs. out — all things being equal, of course… which they rarely, if ever, are 🙂

      • gallier2 on March 14, 2012 at 09:55

        You’re right, it was only a quibble and I didn’t want to imply that the rest you said was wrong.
        As for the fat profile of ruminants, especially concerning omega-3, the difference between grass fed and cafo is not that big. You won’t be getting enough omega-3 with beef even with grass fed. You will get less omega-6 though but not that much either. I don’t have the numbers but Don Matesz had a good entry on that before he went veg*n activist.

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 10:43

        FrankG, yes! They never are.
        And, I keep finding, it seems, that for just about every controversy, Kurt Harris explained it first and best :-). Good fats/bad fats – absolutely. Good carbs/bad carbs. All in the context of what our body considers real food (trans-fats, not).

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 11:07

        gallier2, thank you for that 🙂
        Given the actual way Matesz flip-flopped, I tend to discard everything there as suspect (nothing wrong with changing views when based on new evidence, of course, but the way he did it, he’s fanatical). However, thanks for the alert, I’ll look closer into the omega-6:omega-3 ratios.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 11:16

        The issue is that beef has so little total PUFA it doesn’t matter whether it’s all 6, all 3, or whatever. Insignificant.

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 12:07

        Thank you Richard. Yes, should be obvious, now that you mention it (my 20/20 hindsight works like a charm …)

      • anand srivastava on March 14, 2012 at 04:58

        The thing is that muscles are much more dense than fat. Actually twice as much dense. But fat is more energy dense than proteins, about twice as much. So both fat and muscles have the same energy density by weight. The difference would be because of more air in fat cells I would guess.

      • FrankG on March 14, 2012 at 06:18

        Do you mean to say that if I go to my local butcher and buy 1lb of his extra lean ground and 1lb of suet, then both packages contain the same [potential] calories?

        Surely the “per gram” bit of 9 calories per gram, or 4 calories per gram refers to weight..?

      • Johnnyv on March 14, 2012 at 18:03

        “So both fat and muscles have the same energy density by weight.”
        Errr no!

        Meat is mostly water.
        Adipose cells contain very little water.
        One kg of Fat cells contain a great deal more energy than one kg of lean meat.

        100g of 95% lean beef is 21.4g of protein and 5g fat coming to a total of 137 Calories.
        100g of beef suet is 94g of fat and 1.5g of protein coming to a total of 854 Calories

        Therefore in this example you have a ratio of 6.23:1 fat:lean in terms of calorie difference.

        So if two diets cause the same weight loss but have different ratios of fat to lean then they will have a difference in the calories lost. The diet that spares the lean mass will come out on top in terms of total calories lost.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 07:48


        Sorry. My bad. I was moving through comments quick and didn’t take the time to understand your question. Yea, 3500 cal for a pound of fat.

        I’m still not sure I understand what you are getting at. Realize that when a person overeats and gets “fat,” that about 75% of the gain is fat, about 25% lean. While I don’t know the exact normal partitioning when it comes off, I would assume it’s roughly similar all else remaining equal.

        And according to Colpo, having a good amount of protein in your diet with a sane caloric deficit (you know, a few hundred calories, not 1500) ensures that the partitioning is normal, i.e., mostly fat, some lean.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 08:09

        “If you lose 5lbs (total weight) eating high carb, and I lose 5 lbs eating low carb; but we find out that I lost 4lbs of fat and you lost 4 lbs of lean – I used up far more energy than you did.”

        It never comes out that way in any of the study data I’ve seen. There are simply small differences in the fat/lean ratio (with both fat AND lean being lost in similar proportions already) and if protein is high there’s a slight preference for fat loss over lean loss. But the weight loss is roughly the same.

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 09:59

        o.k., fair. So the solution is that the differences are small and so not obvious/noticeable.
        But unless that slight difference was less than ~10%, it would still cause a noticeable difference in calories (I’m being generous actually with 10% because you’d still have to be seeing an ~20% difference in calories…just using a ratio of 2 for fat/lean caloric density).
        So say the composition difference has to be 5% (a caloric difference of ~10%) for us to really Not see any significant caloric difference (and so not see any significant difference in actual weight lost -because of averaging over at least that wide a range).
        Then, for such a slight difference in composition, do we care about the slight advantage of the diet on composition – are we even sure we’re seeing a real difference in composition.

      • gallier2 on March 14, 2012 at 10:19

        Yes, and this shows probably the biggest problem of these ward studies. By their design, due to their cost, these study can only be short term. The small body composition difference, that is only small at the beginning, will probably have long term effects that these kind of studies will never reveal. Of course the weight will not differ much at the beginning, but what happens after 1, 2 years of the same fare is anyone’s guess, but it won’t be pretty.
        That shitty study that was reported 2 months ago ( showed exactly that when one dissected it correctly. The weight didn’t change much between the groups, but the lean body mass was quite different.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 11:01

        “Then, for such a slight difference in composition, do we care about the slight advantage of the diet on composition – are we even sure we’re seeing a real difference in composition.”

        Not under normal circumstances. If you are doing a Leangains deal, you are both in caloric deficit, eating LC on rest days and HC on workout days and protein 5-60% of total. Then, the TEF of protein (a slight metabolic advantage) begins to be noticeable.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 11:03

        What was interesting is that less weight was gained by the folks on very low protein. Given the tiny metabolic advantage of protein, it would only expect to be noticeable at extremes, like way a lot of protein (for a bit better weight loss) and way a little protein (for a bit less weight gain).

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 11:51

        Richard, thanks for the context, the amounts we’re talking about weren’t clear to me from your “2. Occam’s razor” part and worse, the latest study I’d seen that actually purported to show more fat loss than lean loss (all while trumpeting that there was Same weight loss) showed significant partitioning differences (granted, lean loss increased only when protein was actually deficient).

      • Al on March 15, 2012 at 10:54


        I know I should just shut my mouth and review the studies but… are you saying that after 3 weeks, the amount of total bodyweight lost is similar between different macro diets; and fat tissue to lean tissue lost is also similar? So how did we get started on this thread, i.e., more than twice as much energy in fat than lean tissue ?


        – losing weight while resistance training is a different animal than losing weight without. Of course more lean tissue would either be preserved or developed.

        – giving obese people calorie deficit diets with any macro ratio will cause weight loss. How does this extrapolate to relatively lean individuals who have never been obese?

        – what I would really like to see is not a weight loss study, but weight gain study. How do differing macro ratios cause weight gain in both lean and overweight folks? Lean tissue? Fat tissue? Etc.

        Added some starchy (very green) bananas (50g/carb) in after sessions to no harm so far. Maybe I’m getting 75g/day now, on training days. Haven’t got the will to do 200g like you, but hey, I first hit obesity around age 9.

        The path is always interesting.


      • Richard Nikoley on March 15, 2012 at 11:25

        “are you saying that after 3 weeks, the amount of total bodyweight lost is similar between different macro diets; and fat tissue to lean tissue lost is also similar?”

        Yes, precisely

        “losing weight while resistance training is a different animal than losing weight without. Of course more lean tissue would either be preserved or developed.”

        Yes, but the only difference is in resistance training vs. not, not your macro ratios given training or not.

      • Al on March 17, 2012 at 12:56

        Ok, here’s an example of what I was getting at:

        The only place I see the links to the MW studies is in Eades’ 1st post to AC, at the end. Looking at the Miyashita paper…

        The two groups were put on a high-carb or low-carb diet of 1000cals each. Ratios were 26:62:10 (pro:carb:fat) for high-carb; and 25:39:35 for low-carb (I would have liked to see a third group down to 20% carbs). The key here is that pro is the same in each group – only fat and carbs were adjusted.

        After four weeks, the low-carb group lost 2kilos (4.4lbs) of more bodyweight than the high-carb group. As lean mass stayed the same for both groups, we conclude that this weight loss was fat (visceral fat, as well). Almost 1 and 1/8lbs of fat per week provides almost 4000cals of energy; divided by 7 days gives us – 560cals per day.

        So the low-carb dieters were using 560cals per day more than the high-carb group. Why do folks consider this not a significant difference (because they never had to lose weight?!)? From the study: “These changes in body weight, body fat (%) and LBMwere not significantly different between the low andhigh carbohydrate diet groups… “. What?

        Not too mention the superior blood work (as compared to the high-carb group) and reduction in visceral fat found in the low-carb group during the intervention.

        – I know that calories count, beyond food choice.

        – I know that movement counts, though not for the reasons popularly stated.

        – I know that natural glucose in the diet is not inherently harmful… below a certain individual level.

        – I know that there is a metabolic advantage to keeping carbs below some individually-varied total load.

        Maybe I’ll do one more paper…


      • Al on March 17, 2012 at 13:21

        Ok… I just looked at the Golay paper from Eade’s post.

        In this MW intervention, groups were also fed 1000cal/day diets consisting of either lo-carb: 32:15:53 (pro:carb:fat); or hi-carb: 29:45:26. Again, pro is similar, but the carb amount in the lo-carb group from the Myashita paper is almost as much the carb amount of the hi-carb group in this paper! Interesting.

        We see a similar pattern: total weight loss is about the same in both groups; lean mass was spared; fat loss is 2kilos more in the lo-carb group. Over 6 weeks, this gives us about 3/4lb per week, or about 366cals/day additional energy used by the lo-carb group as compared to the hi-carb group. Again, not a significant difference. Right.

        Remember, however, that this study compared a lo-carb diet to a moderate-carb diet; the Myashita study compared a moderate-carb diet to hi-carb diet. Given that metabolic markers in the two groups in this study were similar (save for insulin), the suggestion of these two studies together would reinforce what you are currently experiencing:

        – there is a point where lowering carb intake provides little, if any, advantage (individually varied). But it still shows that a calorie is not just a calorie. I wish these authors would have discussed hunger levels and participant comfort (or discomfort).


      • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2012 at 13:39

        As I recall from AC’s discussion in TFLB (He diseases and covers all 28 MW studies) half of the loss in the LC dieters was water, making the loss in terms of fat & lean not statistically significant. It should also be noted that though I didn’t count them up, there’s studies where the weight loss and even fat vs. lean was higher in the HC folks (though not statistically significant either.

      • Al on March 17, 2012 at 13:58


        With respect to water, it is accounted for in lean mass. If the researchers measure body fat directly, the amount of change is fat. Water would contribute to , or remove from, total body weight.

        However, with diets of 1000cals and less, even at 70% carb the total load is only 175g/day and since most is being used for metabolism,g lycogen stores would be depleted (though not as much as lo-carb/lo-cal) at this level of cals/carbs as well, leading to changes in water being of little issue in these studies. Both groups would lose their water initially due to glycogen loss, then keep it off. I’m curious to see what Colpo’s discussion entails.

        With respect to your second point, I’m seeing this in the next two studies; but these contain liquid diets with corn oil for fat content. I wonder what sort of wrench that throws into the works?

        I’m still reading…


      • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2012 at 14:00

        I recommend you get a copy of TFLB.

      • gallier2 on March 17, 2012 at 14:24

        Just a little semantic remark. “not statistically significant” doesn’t mean an effect wasn’t significant (in non statistical term). This is one of the big problems with these MW studies, they are so limited in time and number of participants that most effects are not statistically significant (i.e. the trend could be also due to chance) even if their is a real, repeatable and consistent trend.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2012 at 14:27

        But the results do no only favor the LC folks, they often favor the HC folks.

      • gallier2 on March 17, 2012 at 14:37

        My remark applies in both cases, that was not the point of it. It was only to remind that “statistical significance” and “significance” do not really overlap in their meaning.

      • paul d on March 17, 2012 at 14:55


        Nothing is ever simple in the diet and exercise sphere. The tragedy of the responses to your post, is that there is clearly evidence you have referred to, well synthesised by Anthony, in favour of the calorie hypothesis. In response, you get out-right discounting, denial of the information provided, to petty nit-picking on research design etc. Ummm, scientific enquiry goes something like this – develop a theory, test the theory, update the theory in light of new information. Kudos for doing so on your blog.

        I can’t take much more of this confirmation bias, it makes me want to scream. I think I need a blog reading vacation. Keep up the great work!!!! Maybe some of your blog readers will grow with you.

        Paul D

        Paul D

      • Al on March 17, 2012 at 22:29

        Paul D,

        Then go scream, and go on vacation. What the hell are you interrupting us for, you selfish prick?

        But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in assuming that you posted this in the wrong place (hardly). In looking back to this subthread of comments, no one has done anything like what you have accused.


  13. David on March 13, 2012 at 16:37

    Your willingness to post articles like this is one of the primary reasons you’re one of the only diet blogs in my reader (the other is Stephan). I appreciate all you’re doing to help paleo evolve away from some of its low carb roots.
    Thank you

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 17:23

      David, I’m sure Stephan would not mind me saying that in an email from him yesterday, he expressed the same sentiment to me, about me,

      Like I said in a comment in a previous post, the only thing I can do about having looked like an idiot is to stop looking like an idiot.

  14. Joseph Buchignani on March 13, 2012 at 16:56

    Everything you’ve noticed is probably a true effect.

    Less aggressive – yep less meat will do that.

    Better sleep – yep, fat is harder to digest. Not bad for you, just chemically harder. Eating some carbs is easier.

    • mark on March 14, 2012 at 08:30

      “Less aggressive – yep less meat will do that”


  15. Tim on March 13, 2012 at 17:22

    @Richard- regarding the moderate carb flu,(very good point Rich) I experienced something of the sort when I added in the sweet taters to my heavily meat based diet. Gas and some lethargy mostly. I believe according to Paul Jaminet it has to do with decreased bacteria in the gut due to the prolonged period of low carbs. Eventually the bacteria repopulates and gets back to healthy levels so your able to utilize the starch completely again.

  16. Roland! on March 13, 2012 at 17:30

    A big part of these issues seems to be the series of misunderstandings that begun with the “safe starches” debate. Why does a low carber, who may be eating few carbs because of diabetes or something like that, think a food that’s called safe by a paleo would be safe for him/her? The two have nothing to do with one another. You don’t hear the people who are intolerant to nightshades complaining that they tried potatoes after Jaminet proclaimed them safe starches and still got sick, do you? Also, just because peanuts are safe to eat on a low carb diet, does that mean a low carber with a peanut allergy is good to go on peanuts?

    I do think it’s possible that some low carbers may not ever be able to go back to higher carb levels, but I also agree with you that an adjustment period might get them back comfortably. For instance, Robb Wolf recommends that pregnant, lower carb, paleo eating women slowly increase their daily carb consumption before they are ‘forced’ to undergo their tests for gestational diabetes, because having been low carb for some time, they will feel like crap after they slug back that GluCola!

    • Elenor on March 13, 2012 at 20:18

      I wonder if docs would allow a pregnant woman to skip the gestational diabetes test if she actually monitors and records her actual blood sugar? If she could show her b.g. response fasting, before and after meals, and so on, perhaps she could skip the icky “GluCola” and testing?

      • Roland! on March 14, 2012 at 08:53

        Some might, but others (like those in some HMOs) have all sorts of rules and procedures to follow. Even if they knew it was wrong, they might feel obligated or pressured.

    • Beth@WeightMaven on March 15, 2012 at 06:16

      Re going back to higher carb levels, if your pancreas is shot, it’s shot, and yeah, going back to higher carbs is probably not in the picture. But for others I think it’s not just about re-adjusting via increasing carbs (though that’s important) but also considering other ways to restore insulin sensitivity. I’m experimenting right now with low-volume HIIT (3 20 second sprint/recover cycles, 3x a week).

    • Galina L. on March 16, 2012 at 19:54

      I feel so well in ketosis, it is difficult to believe I am unique in that regard. No PMS , constant high energy level, improved concentration and mood. Well, there is a therapeutic reason for me to be in ketosis, but still…
      There are so many ladies around suffering from PMS, menopause and pre-menopause symptoms, mood disorders. For at least some of them ketosis should work too.

  17. Invisible Caveman on March 13, 2012 at 17:34


    Good follow-up post on your progress and continuing thoughts. The “moderate-carb flu” idea is interesting and definitely seems reasonable.

    After your post on the 29th I started my own experiment of just adding more potatoes back in, even though I was still doing about 100g of carb a day. So far, I lost 3 pounds in the first week, compared to 4 pounds lost for the whole month of February. I also felt noticeably more satisfied and/or less hungry in between meals. I’m still doing it, trying to get some kind of potato or sweet potato in every 1-2 days, and I only weigh once a week so we’ll see where I am this Thursday. I was 198 lbs this past Thurs. and I’m 5’11”, probably heading down to the 165-170 range eventually, if I had to guess (I’m down from 255 on Nov. 1st).

    About one plus you mentioned- “Amazing satiation for long periods, which I attribute to my longtime intermittent fasting which has my mind working as it should with regard to hunger.”

    For my N=1, I’ve only been eating paleo (Kurt Harris’ archevore outline, specifically) since Nov. 1st, and I haven’t really experimented with fasting much, maybe two 24-hour fasts and a handful of 14-16 hour stretches, but only because I just wasn’t hungry. So far I find I do better if I eat whenever I feel the need to. Well, since upping the potato intake, I really feel like it’s just the dang potatoes themselves! Again, just my own observation of me 🙂

    While I’m thinking about it, have you mentioned what your “go to” preparation method is when you make potatoes? I’ve read a ton of your food porn posts, just curious how you might rank your favorites.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 08:05

      I try to keep the potato preparations pretty simple:

      -oven fries
      -potato pancakes

      That’s about it, so far. This morning I’m considering stuffing a baked potato with scrambled eggs & bacon.

  18. Marcus Diggs on March 13, 2012 at 18:08

    Fair enough. But at least my point has been made: Any med-ward study that doesn’t distinguish fat loss from lean tissue loss from total loss is useless, or worse. No-one should be following any diet that sacrifices lean tissue.

    I haven’t gone back to see which of the ones Colpo cites do this, but maybe I will.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 18:28


      No need to wonder. It’s established. Do caloric deficit but get about 30% or more from protein and your weight loss will favor fat loss.

      But understan, obese people gain about 75/25 fat/lean, so if you are rally fat, lean loss comes with weight loss.

  19. Martin Zapolski on March 13, 2012 at 18:12

    After posting several times in defense of low carb paleo, on Jimmy’s site and your’s, I realized that these arguments do get a bit silly (and some people are getting waaay to worked up over their positions). Most of us low carbers were fatties, not just slightly overweight, but seriously obese. Of course low carb works for us and we may need to stay on it for life for health and to maintain weight. If you were never seriously obese, or you were always in shape, there is no reason for you to experiment across the gamut of real foods. Even a bit of wheat now, if you can handle it, shoudn’t hurt as long as you stick to real foods.

    Jimmy, who I love and listen to all the shows, through some flames on the fire. Good for his business and smart of him, but maybe not so good for the rest of us. Those of us low carbers who have embraced paleo felt insulted, but it really wasn’t that at all. A healthy human diet includes a range of things – just not the highly processed, extremely palatable, but nutritionally empty companies are foisting on us. Seriously, eat meats, eat dairy, eat fish, eat fruit – be a vegan! Just understand the composition of your diet will definitely shape your health and your body. Do I want to be an ultra endurance athlete? If yes, eat fruits and nuts and keep weight down and relatively low muscle mass. Want to do something else, eat paleo including carbs. But if you are seriously obese, prediabetic and relatively sedentary, the low car paleo is the diet for you. And if you have been seriously overweight, stick to low carb paleo cause the starches are going to do nothing but make you fat.

    The low carb advocates (even Dr. Atkins!) got some things right as did the all the paleo writers and the obesity researchers. We need to stop advocating one implementation of the diet for everyone. It all depends on the individual. If a lean, 25 year old athlete wanted to get nutrition advice to for his/her sport, we would never advocate low carb. If a fifty-five year old man weighing 300 pounds at 5′ 9″, we would never tell him to eat from the safe starches list. We would put him on a ketogenic diet to melt that fat off as quickly as possible.

    Jimmy, great job, you stirred the pot. But you did so by giving it a slightly different twist that wasn’t really there. All the paleo folks would put morbidly obese people on low carb diets. But low carb is just one implementation of a very healthy diet for people across the spectrum of health and activity.

    • M. on March 14, 2012 at 07:28

      “If a fifty-five year old man weighing 300 pounds at 5′ 9″, we would never tell him to eat from the safe starches list.”

      Actually, we would.

  20. marie on March 13, 2012 at 18:40

    Richard, IMO you’ve nailed this one, I’ve had the same results (I won’t quibble about why) with reintroducing moderate starch, mostly potatoes, and your balanced report of the science and engagement of other view points/comments is, well, very nice of you 😉
    Score on : “…hyperbolic nonsense like “Carbohydrates Can Kill?” Hey, Water Can Kill!!! …”
    But maybe score+1 :
    …because adding LOL to moderate potato-induced “happiness” should improve sleep even more, eh?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2012 at 19:00

      Look up the Penn & Teelr Bullshit! Episode where they pulled the dihydrogen monoxide scam on a bunch of ignorant commie wankers who’ll sign any petition if it sounds good to their pea brain.

      • marie on March 13, 2012 at 19:27

        Thank you! Quickly looked through seasons 1-8, couldn’t identify it. Will hunt later.
        Amazingly this still works today on a broad scope of people….

      • Sean on March 14, 2012 at 06:54

        I think it’s in the episode about organic food, but it might be the one about environmentalism:

        “It’s a chemical that is now found in reservoirs and lakes…”

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 08:25

        Thank you! You helped get me laughing…again (yes Richard, I know, his head is already too big 🙂
        But lookit, they’re conclusion is a bit shaky, “these people are joiners, of anything”.
        Sure, clearly they’re joiners, since they signed for something they obviously were totally ignorant about. However, they are joiners of ‘anything’ anti-science. If the unknown had sounded new-agey or just some regular term, not so clearly a scary ‘chemical’, well, they’d probably have asked about it.
        I see it more of an example of the ignorance of science that every kind of propaganda, hippie to conservative to neo-nazi, has turned into Fear of science.
        However much I cringe at hippies, I know that neo-cons fall for it too – my mini social lab being my classroom…of course it only works among the Freshmen, but still, can you imagine what that says about our secondary ed on this side of the pond ? (no, the foreign students don’t fall for it, ever). And we’re one of the ‘highly competitive’ schools -ugh!.
        Is it any wonder no one can figure out what to eat? Or drink, apparently 🙂

      • Nigel Kinbrum on March 23, 2012 at 12:01

        Making us distrustful or even afraid of everything (including our own bodies) is a handy way to control the masses. See Why have we all become paranoid weirdos?

  21. marie on March 13, 2012 at 21:26

    I looked at those metabolic ward studies a couple of posts ago and I’ve come away with the following mathematical headache. If anyone can help, I’d be grateful.
    It starts like this : 1g of fat is about 9Calories and 1lb is about 400g , giving 3600C per pound of fat (rounded to 3500 for convenience). Well, for carbs and protein, it’s about 4Calories/g.
    But then, doesn’t this mean that the same calorie deficit would decrease your weight more if the loss is lean mass than if fat mass – so for example a 900C deficit gives only 100g fat loss but gives 225g lean loss.
    If so, here’s the thing: the reverse is of course true, so for a given weight loss, if it’s lean weight lost then it took a Smaller calorie deficit to achieve it than to achieve the same weight lost in fat.
    Well, Richard has brought to attention the conclusion that on two isocaloric diets, LC and LF, there is the same total weight lost but it’s partitioned differently with the LC diet showing more FAT lost. On the face of it, that’s not possible, it doesn’t add up. So then what metabolic/hormonal mechanism would be compensating? The thermic effect doesn’t work here (in fact, on a high protein isocaloric diet, the numbers would be more unmatched).
    Head. Ache. 🙁

    • Nigel Kinbrum on March 14, 2012 at 01:13

      I disagree with Richard that the partitioning is different.
      If rate of weight loss is reasonable (say, 0.5% per week) and protein intake is adequate (say, 15% of total energy), then weight loss = body-fat loss whatever the rest of the diet consists of.

      On stupid diets (excessive rate of weight loss, insufficient protein, or both!), there are differences in partitioning with different macro ratios.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 08:11

        That very well may be, Nigel, and what I think Coplo was getting at in TFLB is not that a high amount of protein gives some magical advantage but that ensures it’s normal, i.e., mostly fat, minimal lean.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on March 14, 2012 at 08:37

        I agree.

      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 08:38

        Ok. Thanks guys.

  22. Ajr on March 14, 2012 at 02:30

    Great post Rich, it’s nice to see ore self experimentation and less wanking over small differences in opinion and so on. Anyway, I never tried low carb, I kept tubers, rice, and fruit in my diet when I switched to natural foods. Oddly enough, I still experienced all the classic symptoms of low carb flu even though I wasn’t eating low carb, so I suspect it might not be the carbs as much as it is the inherent toxins and chemicals in modern food and the bodies response to the sudden lack of them that’s causing the issues. All that shit has addictive properties, so it wouldn’t be surprising if your body throws a tantrum when I gets deprived of them.

    In terms of weight loss, eating moderate carbs from natural sources has been the fast track to fat loss for me. I started at 215 pounds in January, and as of March 13th, I’m sitting at 185 pounds and fitting into clothes I haven’t worn in a long ass time. My body composition is also improving greatly, as is my strength and overall health/fitness. My blood pressure has improved, I no longer get heartburn and indigestion issues, and nagging pains from old MMA injuries have almost vanished.

    I don’t track calories or anything, I just eat until I’m full. I’ve noticed it’s easy to go 7 or 8 hours between meals without even a tinge of hunger, even going so far as being kinda put off by the thought of more meat and potatoes after several hours of going without a meal. I’m sure there are people that have circumstances where calories become less of an issue, but for an average dude like me it was pretty much “eat real food and get off your ass!”. I’m eating a caloric deficit for sure, simply because I’m eating food that’s highly satiating and packed with nutrients. Basically, the machine that is my body is functioning better on less fuel because the fuel it’s getting is high quality. Eating a SAD diet was like dumping watered down gas and bleach into my gas tank then expecting the car to run perfectly. I was shoving empty calories and chemicals into my face that were not only addictive, but nutritionally poor, so my body was not only artificially hungry but also craving nutrients it needed that it wasn’t getting from such shitty food. Amazingly enough, when I started eating actual food, my body was suddenly getting what it needed so I didn’t need to eat as much. Also factor in the reduction and elimination of addictive chemicals and toxins in the food and it’s a win-win.

    The whole “eat less shit and move more” idea may not apply to everyone, but it certainly applied to me, and I think it could be applied to the majority of people that aren’t massively overweight or suffering from some kid of condition. The majority of Americans aren’t fat because of some odd condition, they’re fat because they gorge themselves on shitty food and sit on their asses all day. A surplus of calories from bad food and a sedentary body are a great recipe for fat gain and loss of overall health.

  23. rob on March 14, 2012 at 02:55

    Re sense of well-being, I was exercising quite a bit on LC (pretty much bonk training), at some point the physical stress becomes mental and emotional stress …. could be age related, I think when I was in my 20’s I could take a lot more before crashing and burning. It would get to where the world seemed like a really dark place with little to offer.

    Since I started starching up I haven’t had a recurrence of that.

  24. scott on March 14, 2012 at 07:01

    Are you going to post your blood glucose data, or did I miss it in the post?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 07:40

      I have not been testing blood glucose, yet. I’ll eventually get down to the store and get new test strips (the ones I have expired in 2008). While I am a bit curious I had no known issues before, so I’m not expecting anything adverse.

    • LeonRover on March 14, 2012 at 08:08

      Given that so-called insulin spiking is the devil spawn of many blogs and comments, I wonder if your fasting and post prandial insulins are available.

      While not diabetic I have my own glucometer since the time my stepson was diagnosed Type 1. I also have had regular blood panels of a general health check nature, which, inter alia, allow me to cross check my meter.

      I have only once had my HbA1c and fasting insulin checked, as the marginal extra charge for these two readings are astronomically high.

      HbA1c 5.1%; Fasting Insulin 3.4 IU.

      I concluded I had no blood evidence of Insulin Resistance.


      I ONLY ever respond to my physician’s proposals in what is oxy-moronically called “preventative medicine” on the basis of a) blood reading, and b) in depth understanding of any false positive consideration of the risk co-factor and any underlying pharmaco-kinetics, biochemical or hormonal model.

      I have never been been intimidated by those who have had a medical school education.

      I knew an abundance of med students in my college days, where we had science courses in common, and later observed the “white coat” syndrome of expert opinion emanating from some, whose laboratory performance had been pathetic.

      OTOH I am wildly admiring of practitioners such as Richard Bernstein, who applied an empirical approach to his own illness in the face of the opposition of the “Diabetic Orthodoxy”.

      Unfortunately, these are in a minority.

  25. Razwell on March 14, 2012 at 07:24

    All of scientific research is to debunk long held dogma. In other words, what we THOUGHT we knew. Education consists mainly of what we have UNLEARNED.

    This is a NEW Dr. Robert Lustig lecture and he takes on the Lyle McDonald et al type people, who do not understand obesity.

    EXCELLENT NEW lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig. He explains obesity in more depth and debunks pervasive Internet obesity myths promoted by Internet gurus.

    Obesity is a chronic DISEASE state for which MUCH is not known. There is so much more to learn about obesity it is mind boggling.

    This is what science has shown. This is verifiable from top scientists and doctors such as Dr. Robert Lustig, Dr. Linda Bacon, Dr. Arya Sharma, Dr Jeffery Friedman , Dr. Douglas Coleman and many , many more reputable scientists.

    And here is an extremely extensive review of the dieting scientific literature. It does not work, and this has been demonstrated over and over:

    The multi-billion dollar commercial diet industry is notorious for taking valid, established scientific laws of the natural world, and running with them in strange directions. The caloric hypothesis is a failed model it cannot explain observed data.

    The First Law of Thermodynamics requires that energy is conserved in the system, and it is . BUT, whether lipids are stuffed into fat cells, processed to extract chemical energy, or simply eliminated as waste is NOT at all predicted by this law- not in the slightest..

    Anybody who invokes the First Law of Thermodynamics in an obesity discusion as an explanation for obesity has no idea what they are talking about and they are talking the laws out of context and attempting to oversimplify an extremely complex biological phenomenon. Obesity is the failure of fat cell regulation with MANY causes , many of which which are not yet discovered.

    The question never was if the the First Law of Thermodynamics applies to humans. The question is if we can INFER from this law the behavior of mammalian fat cells.

    “Nature is SMARTER than we are.”
    – Dr Michio Kaku

    “Nature’s imagination is so much greater than man’s that she is never going to let us relax.”

    – Richard Feynman

    Do you really think the answer to obesity is found in Lyle McDonald et al’s books? Those people have the most certitude I have ever seen.

    • LeonRover on March 14, 2012 at 08:31

      Jesus wept, Razwell, can you bring something positive to the table, rather than engaging in a polemics against others.


      • marie on March 14, 2012 at 10:08

        Yes, for pity’s sake.
        There’s actually some interesting points here and there, but you’re drowning them out with the focus on your view of good guys/bad guys. It’s not star wars, let it go already.

        AND DON’T USE CAPS (it’s not at all like using the italics or underline functions to emphasize key points in normal text, it’s just screaming).

    • Skyler Tanner on March 14, 2012 at 08:37

      There’s your problem right there: you thought McDonald was trying to solve obesity. It’s a strawman to say he’s wrong with regards to solving obesity just because he’s really good about manipulating body composition. He’s never claimed to have the “answer” to obesity nor that all calories are created equal, or that the hormonal milieu doesn’t matter when dieting. He was writing about Leptin not long after Coleman wrote about it; it’s the whole purpose of refeeding when you’re dieting to very lean levels. McDonald gets all of that and applies it to a totally different arena that merely resembles solving obesity because they both reduce fat mass.

      Calories are the globally permissive variable: they have to be there to gain and they have to be missing to lose. Nobody is saying that what the body does with a gram of protein is the same as what the body does with a gram of carb or a gram of fat. Your body does different things that effect the net energy extraction. But the fact remains that calories count: insulin can be spiked every hour of every day and you will still never store air as fat. People get fat on Atkins because they eat way too much fat and protein (and it’s their hormonal milieu that makes them a “non-responder” to the satiety-promoting effects of a low carb diet). Calories count: nobody left Dachau fat in spite a diet of carbs and on-the-verge-of-death stress.

      • Marcus Diggs on March 14, 2012 at 10:32

        Skyler makes two key points that, somehow, people have a hard time accepting together: (1) calories count, and (2) hormones, macronutrients, and other things count too. The battle seems to be over whether these two ideas can exist simultaneously and in harmony, or if they are inherently contradictions.

        I suspect that most people who found paleo/primal/low carb and had success went through their whole lives believing #1 exclusively, then switched to rejecting #1 and believing #2 exclusively, and, because of the emotional connection to the idea that led to so much health and weight-loss success, they feel attacked when Skyler, Colpo, Dr. Harris, Richard, StephanG, etc. emphasize that #1 and #2 co-exist.

        Conversely, there are a hoard of researchers, writers, and bloggers who are so wedded to #1 that they refuse to acknowledge #2. These people happen to dominate conventional wisdom and conventional nutrition advice. And that’s a source of enormous frustration to everyone who has some understanding of #2.

        [On a different note: I agree that we should place a permanent moratorium on using all-caps; let’s do the same with analogies to the atrocities of WWII, whether its Hitler or concentration-camp survivors.]

      • gallier2 on March 14, 2012 at 10:46

        I suspect that most people who found paleo/primal/low carb and had success went through their whole lives believing #1 exclusively, then switched to rejecting #1 and believing #2 exclusively, and, because of the emotional connection to the idea that led to so much health and weight-loss success, they feel attacked when Skyler, Colpo, Dr. Harris, Richard, StephanG, etc. emphasize that #1 and #2 co-exist.

        The problem is, and that’s why the discussion has gotten quite heated, is that these blokes listed above, more or less, accuse the “other” side to believe #2 excusively which isn’t true at all for the majority of the “Taubesians”.
        I think, the problem comes from Stephan’s positioning of his pet theory as a counter to Taubes’ propositions while both hypotheses do not talk at all from the same thing. It’s like saying gravitation refutes electro-magnetism, both models coexist and are linked but talk about really different things.

      • Skyler Tanner on March 14, 2012 at 11:21

        I said this 4 posts ago: it’s like arguing over which leg of the table is most important when they’re all needed for the damn thing to work.

        Context matters.

      • Dragos on March 15, 2012 at 16:43

        Lyle “”it depends” McDonald 🙂

      • Skyler Tanner on March 16, 2012 at 05:54

        No kidding. And I know Raz it banned but FWIW Lyle wrote this 10 years ago:

        “I firmly believe that the future body recomposition is in fixing the brain. Frankly, we ve reached the limits of what we can do to muscle and fat cells with drugs and nutritional approaches.

        The brain is, fundamentally, coordinating the entire system. Yes, the entire system is integrated but the brain is still handling most of it. If your brain is wired badly, there s simply going to be a limit to what you can achieve, especially naturally. Most supplement and drug strategies to date have focused entirely on the rest of the system, without fixing the fundamental problem.

        Yes, fine, we can boost testosterone levels with drugs or prohormones and that has an effect. But that still doesn t correct the overall problem, which is that your body s setpoint for testosterone production (set via the HPTA) is dysfunctional. Finding a way to reset the HPTA would have a greater effect, without a rebound problem.

        I liken it to buying a car with a shitty engine. Yeah, fine, you can put the best wheels, a spoiler, an airdam, all of that on your car but it will still suck. Because the engine sucks. A better engine gives better results overall.
        In this case, focusing only on fat cells or muscle cells or the pancreas is like fixing the wheels and the rest of your car. It helps but it leaves the fundamental problem, your brain, the engine that s driving the entire system unfixed. Altering/modifying brain chemistry to change the basics of the whole system is the future of body recomposition.”

        But he’s totally dogmatic. Yeah.

      • M. on March 14, 2012 at 11:37

        “I think, the problem comes from Stephan’s positioning of his pet theory as a counter to Taubes’ propositions…”

        Stephan, Kurt, and others said that the Insulin Hypothesis was nonsense long before Stephan said anything about Food Reward, but it is telling that you say the problem is that somebody challenged the almighty Taubes. The problem is that too many people put Taubes on a pedestal to begin with, and they just don’t like people saying their worldview is nonsense. Taubesians insist that Stephan and Kurt and all the other sciencey guys that have said IH is nonsense must have some kind of ulterior motives (Stephan wants to promote his “pet theory”, Stephan wants fame and fortune, Stephan’s friends are just standing up for him, etc…Taubes himself said that Kurt was not sympathetic enough to older fat women.)

      • Sean on March 14, 2012 at 15:27

        Hey, M, how does it feel to be so self-righteous all the time? Why not try dialing it back a few notches?

        Maybe you could include the rest of Gallier’s quote before you fly off into a super-tissy?

        “It’s like saying gravitation refutes electro-magnetism, both models coexist and are linked but talk about really different things.”

        I find this to be a very reasonable thing to say. If anyone is putting someone on a pedestal I’d say you are. You certainly seem to find any sort of criticism of Stephan, no matter how balanced, to be grounds to launch into bizarre non-sequitars about Stephan’s “pet theory” and some shit about Kurt Harris and old fat women. You realize this says a lot more about your own partisan hyper-sensibilities than it does to refute anything Gallier said?

        Dude, you might want to consider decaf.

      • M. on March 14, 2012 at 18:24

        “It’s like saying gravitation refutes electro-magnetism, both models coexist and are linked but talk about really different things.”

        It’s like saying gravitation refutes the corpuscular theory of light, but Stephan didn’t say that. Stephan said the corpuscular theory of light is nonsense that no real scientists believe in and is only perpetuated by some diet book authors and a few (ever decreasing) bloggers.

        And then Taubes said “oh yeah!”, and jumped to the front of the line at AHS to criticize FR and to generally be a dick. Then he devoted many of his usually infrequent blog posts to criticizing FR. But okay, it is all Stephan’s fault, and Stephan is “the problem” for “positioning his pet theory” as a “counter to Taubes.”

      • gallier2 on March 15, 2012 at 03:22

        You and Stephan by proxy commit several logical fallacies:
        1. Stephan said the corpuscular theory of light
        strawman argument. You misrepresent what I said and Stephan does the same with what Taubes posit.
        2. that no real scientists believe in
        no true scotsmen fallacy + appeal to autority
        3. some diet book authors and a few (ever decreasing) bloggers.
        appeal to consensus
        4. And then Taubes said “oh yeah!”, and jumped to the front of the line at AHS to criticize FR and to generally be a dick.
        Your timeline is false, Stephan started his refutation to Taubes after the AHS event. Before that, his FR series was positioned as an explanation of behaviour of over-eating not as a refutation to insulin. His removed entry from the 11th august 2011 named “Ancestral Health Symposium Drama” makes it crystal clear that refuting Taubes (at all cost?) got very important from then on. Gary’s first blog entry on that subject was from september the 2nd “”. Gary responded to the attacks of Stephan, not the other way round.
        As for the fact that FR is Stephan’s pet theory, trying to deny that doesn’t cut it. He is co-researcher on Schwartz’ team, his livelyhood depends on this work, it’s his job. For this fact alone, it is the duty of the reader to take that into account when assessing his writings. This doesn’t give Taubes’ a free pass in that regard either.

        Furthermore, this whole conundrum is way out of proportion because too many people fall for the false dichotomy trap. They take sides as if the speakers were football teams and reject anything coming from the other without reflection. Throwing the baby with the bathwater indeed.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on March 15, 2012 at 03:48

        “His removed entry from the 11th august 2011 named “Ancestral Health Symposium Drama” makes it crystal clear that refuting Taubes (at all cost?) got very important from then on.”
        Oh, FFS! Stephan deleted his knee-jerk reaction post after he had calmed down a bit. Have you never said things in haste and then regretted it?

        “As for the fact that FR is Stephan’s pet theory…”
        It’s not his “pet theory” FR theory has been around for ages.

        Your cognitive bias shines so brightly that it’s blinding. It’s a shame, because you do make some good points.

      • gallier2 on March 15, 2012 at 04:27

        His knee-jerk reaction post is the point showing that it is more than only a scientific divergence, there is ego involved. If I had had a real problem with him removing it, I would have called him a revisionist, but that post existed.

        It’s not his “pet theory” FR theory has been around for ages.
        so what? As far as this “debate” is concerned, he is personally invested in it, isn’t he? His whole blogging for the last 2 years circles around that theme. When he was reminded to be careful not to get carried away with it (that was essentially what GT intervention was all about in my opinion) he felt personally attacked.

        It’s a shame, because you do make some good points.
        As for my cognitive bias, I can return the same compliment to you.

        It’s a shame, because you do make some good points.
        I don’t even understand what shame has to do with that, if I make a good point, I made a good point, regardless of my bias. And having its bias bright as a flash is imho better than a sneaky hidden agenda of a weasel worded bullshitter (to be clear I don’t accuse anyone participating (or not) in this dialogue to be one, it was only a rhetorical image to illustrate my point).

      • Nigel Kinbrum on March 15, 2012 at 18:40

        “First of all Nigel, if you want to write ‘favour’ then you might as well write arsehole. Or at least write asshole without the hyphen.”
        I’m so, so sorry. I’ll try harder next time. Was that sarcastic enough for you?

        “Secondly, did you ever actually get around to reading GCBC? You spent a lot of time attacking Taubes, I mean a lot of time, without having read his seminal work, AFAIK. So who is fucking biased?”
        Yes, I did try to read (an electronic copy of) GCBC. Unfortunately, I kept falling asleep due to Taubes’ verbose writing style. Talk about waffle!

        Did you ever read my blog post “Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes”? From what you just wrote, I suspect not. Toban Wiebe’s Notes succinctly stated Taubes’ CIH. Check your facts before jumping to the wrong “fucking” conclusion next time.

        People criticise me without bothering to read what I’ve written. It’s really fucking annoying!

      • M. on March 15, 2012 at 06:02

        “Your timeline is false, Stephan started his refutation to Taubes after the AHS event”

        Neglecting the fact that Taubes asked Stephan to review ‘Why We Get Fat’ prior to publication and Stephan told him he could not agree with Taubes assertions, here is some internet timeline stuff:

        Here is Stephan saying IH is nonsense a few months right before AHS:

        Here is Kurt saying IH is nonsense back in 2010:

      • Sean on March 15, 2012 at 07:50

        M writes:

        It’s like saying gravitation refutes the corpuscular theory of light, but Stephan didn’t say that. Stephan said the corpuscular theory of light is nonsense that no real scientists believe in and is only perpetuated by some diet book authors and a few (ever decreasing) bloggers.

        Yes, Stephan said that no real scientists believe in CIH. How can we tell who the real scientists are? Well first of all they have real sciencey degrees in science, like Stephan does. Also, they work in the real sciencey profession of nutrition research, with their checks being cut by that magnanimous purveyor of truth, the US government, like Stephen does. The real same real sciencey people that gave us the lipid hypothesis. Take a bow real sciencey folks.

        You’ll have to excuse me if I choose to remain agnostic on CIH.

        Stephan is also in the Lustig camp of government employed experts who think the solution to the obesity epidemic is more government intervention. Only this time we just have to get the really smart sciencey guys to tell the government how to intervene correctly and everything will be hunky-dory.

      • M. on March 15, 2012 at 08:43

        Meh. Jimmy Moore is always lobbying government over something, and Taubes is whining about school lunch programs giving kids high glycemic potatoes. Somebody always wants government to do something.

        Whatever the government and CW says about the Lipid Hypothesis, a fair number of scientists disagree with it and have always disagreed with it. Stephan and Kurt and Jaminet and Masterjohn and whoever are not the bastions of CW and don’t believe in the Lipid Hypothesis, but they gave IH a fair appraisal and then decided it was nonsense.

        This wasn’t an extensive argument on Stephan’s part; he was just making a statement that he thought IH was nonsense. About a month before the AHS incident.

        Remain agnostic if you like. My point though is that I don’t believe Gallier’s claim that Stephan is responsible for pushing the false dichotomy or Gallier’s claims that Stephan began promoting FR and pushing a false dichotomy as some kind of retaliation against Taubes being a dick at AHS. Stephan got more vocal about his criticism of IH, but I don’t think that represents pushing a false dichotomy.

      • David P on March 15, 2012 at 09:00

        “As I said before, I don’t know a single person who studies metabolism/endocrinology professionally who takes that idea seriously”

        That is what Stephan actually said, not the term “real scientist”. You don’t have to guess at all who these “real scientist” are. He spells out quite clearly who he means. When you look at the actual quote all those negative arrogant connotations you were attributing to him kind of fall away.

      • FrankG on March 15, 2012 at 09:29

        Robert Lustig MD — Endocrinologist and Obesity Researcher, Mat Lalonde PhD — Harvard research biochemist… as two examples … unless I misunderstand, both of these recognise a significant role for insulin — driven by sugars and refined starches — where “postprandial insulin spikes = fat gain”.

        I’d be surprised if Stephan Guyenet PhD was unaware of these two (perhaps he was unaware back in July 2011?) but I’m also wary of statements along the lines of “I don’t know a single person who…” — that does not preclude such people existing, does it?

        “Postprandial insulin spikes = fat gain” may very likely *not* be the whole story but I think all we can establish with certainty today is that the science is still open for debate… not yet decided, one way or another — even assuming that the conclusion will be simply one “side” or the “other”… I really don’t see why the hypotheses under discussion must be mutually exclusive.

      • Sean on March 15, 2012 at 09:38

        Meh. Jimmy Moore is always lobbying government over something, and Taubes is whining about school lunch programs giving kids high glycemic potatoes. Somebody always wants government to do something.

        Meh, yourself. The ‘everyone does it’ false equivalency argument holds no water and you know it. Jimmy Moore testified in Congress against the Food Pyramid, I’m not aware of what else he has lobbied for, but surely even a lowly, uneducated, backwards, CIH-embracing prole such as Jimmy deserves some respect for that? Kurt Harris wrote a post against Obamacare a few years back and Stephan thinks that experts such as himself and Lustig need to tell government how to intervene correctly.

        Yeah, we are all political animal.

        Yes, Kurt and Stephan and Masterjohn and Binky the Cat (who has a PhD in Nutrition) and everyone else in the paleosphere agree that that lipid hypothesis is bullshit.

        I don’t care what your beefs with Gallier are, you talk about the obviousness of it all, that’s my big beef with you. Stephan said that no real scientists believe in CIH and you bring this up as a positive talking point. Never mind the extreme arrogance involved. Never mind the mentality of Stephan thinking that he and experts like himself just need to fix the fucked up government policies that experts like himself created in the first place with yet more intervention.

        Yeah somebody always wants government to do something, a lot of us want the government to get out of the something business altogether. If I was like you, M, I would point out that all the really smart and enlightened people want that.

      • Sean on March 15, 2012 at 09:56

        Dave P wrote

        “As I said before, I don’t know a single person who studies metabolism/endocrinology professionally who takes that idea seriously”

        That is what Stephan actually said, not the term “real scientist”. You don’t have to guess at all who these “real scientist” are. He spells out quite clearly who he means. When you look at the actual quote all those negative arrogant connotations you were attributing to him kind of fall away.

        Yes, nice catch. I’m mostly attributing the negative arrogant connotations to M at this point as he’s (or she’s) the one who brought up the term ‘real scientist’, and feels like they have the prerogative to discern the real scientists from the unwashed masses. Have we decided to stone Jack Kruse to death? He’s definitely not a real scientist.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on March 15, 2012 at 10:37

        “When he was reminded to be careful not to get carried away with it (that was essentially what GT intervention was all about in my opinion) he felt personally attacked.”
        GT was just being an ass-hole, in my opinion. Your opinion is strongly biased in favour of GT.

        “As for my cognitive bias, I can return the same compliment to you.”
        If anything, I am biased in favour of being impartial. 😀

        “I don’t even understand what shame has to do with that, if I make a good point, I made a good point, regardless of my bias.”
        It’s an idiom, not to be taken literally. I keep forgetting that there are non-English-speaking people commenting on blogs. My bad. <- (I hope you're familiar with that one).

        "And having its bias bright as a flash is imho better than a sneaky hidden agenda of a weasel worded bullshitter (to be clear I don’t accuse anyone participating (or not) in this dialogue to be one, it was only a rhetorical image to illustrate my point)."
        Who is a weasel worded bullshitter, in your opinion? In my opinion, GT fits that description.

      • M. on March 15, 2012 at 10:56

        “Have we decided to stone Jack Kruse to death. He’s definitely not a real scientist.”

        Nah, injecting guys up with female pregnancy hormone and changing your DNA with your thoughts are like gravitation and electromagnetism. Besides, everything goes. Except for the Lipid hypothesis and whole grains. Fuck them. And scientists in some way associated with the government. Fuck them too. But don’t cast aspersions on poor Jack Kruse – he is one of Jimmy Moore’s “go to” low-carb experts.

      • marie on March 15, 2012 at 10:58

        Um, guys? Weighing in on personal conflicts, who said what, when, why… Constructive, it isn’t.
        ….and with that, I’m with channeling Miss Manners today, promise 🙂

      • marie on March 15, 2012 at 11:19

        …*done* with channeling…

      • Sean on March 15, 2012 at 11:22

        Nigel wrote: “GT was just being an ass-hole, in my opinion. Your opinion is strongly biased in favour of GT.”

        First of all Nigel, if you want to write ‘favour’ then you might as well write arsehole. Or at least write asshole without the hyphen.

        Secondly, did you ever actually get around to reading GCBC? You spent a lot of time attacking Taubes, I mean a lot of time, without having read his seminal work, AFAIK. So who is fucking biased?

        Like Gallier, I also prefer open partisianship to the passive-aggressive “neutrality” of Stephan. What this really boils down to in my case is that I don’t find Stephan to be intellectually honest, or insightful.

        Stephan let his mask slip and called Taubes a mere journalist, despite the fact that Taubes has a degree in aerospace engineering from Stanford, but Stephan was simply miffed and deleted that post. It wasn’t indicative of any sort of intellectual snobbery on his part.

        Personally, I’m not a huge fan or Taubes or Guyenet these days, but I refuse to fall into the simple team bullshit.

      • Marcus Diggs on March 15, 2012 at 11:38

        Sorry Sean, you have to pick a side. It’s Gary vs. Stephan, like the Red Sox vs. Yankees or Celtics vs. Lakers or [for Nigel] Tottenham vs. Arsenal. It’s either food-reward & calories or insulin & leptin.

        In the end there can be only one.

      • Sean on March 15, 2012 at 11:53

        M writes:

        Nah, injecting guys up with female pregnancy hormone and changing your DNA with your thoughts are like gravitation and electromagnetism. Besides, everything goes.

        No, actually this is more false equivalency. Remember when you wanted equate Stephan and Lustig and co. who want more government intervention, with all political action by anyone in the paleosphere?

        Same thing.

        I’m not saying everything goes, I’m simply against intellectual fascism. I don’t know much about, Kruse, as I’ve said, but I do have a lot of respect for Robb Wolfe and I listened to his latest podcast where he said that people really need to lighten the fuck up on Kruse. Last I heard, Robb was a real sciencey guy with a real degree in science. So my instinct is to give Kruse the benefit of the doubt even if he is full of shit. Your instinct is to keep out the riff-raff and to equate anyone who doesn’t agree with your proper view to shamanists.

      • M. on March 15, 2012 at 12:28

        “Your instinct is to keep out the riff-raff and to equate anyone who doesn’t agree with your proper view to shamanists.”

        Nah, I may call Taubes pretty silly for saying that Asians don’t get fat because they really eat brown rice (the healthy whole grain apparently) instead of white rice, but I don’t equate him to a shaman. Maybe T. Colin Campbell, but not a shaman. Kruse on the other hand is pretty close to shaman territory. Not necessarily instinct though, about a year’s worth of his comments on Paleo Hacks.

        Your are saying that since you personally have not reached a conclusion (except for the Lipid Hypothesis and whole grains and government scientists) then everyone else should be open-minded until you make up your mind.

      • Sean on March 15, 2012 at 12:40

        Marie writes, “Um, guys? Weighing in on personal conflicts, who said what, when, why… Constructive, it isn’t.”

        Nice try Marie, but this is Thunderdome, “Two men enter, one man leaves.” On the plus side, that’s your line, you can get your skimpy post-apocalyptic clothes and wrist-mounted crossbow from wardrobe, the poofy hair is left up to you…

      • Sean on March 15, 2012 at 13:07

        “Your are saying that since you personally have not reached a conclusion (except for the Lipid Hypothesis and whole grains and government scientists) then everyone else should be open-minded until you make up your mind.”

        Yes, you’ve brilliantly summed me up there.

      • marie on March 15, 2012 at 13:46

        LOL (again!…). Fine. Entertainment value, it has.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on March 15, 2012 at 18:44

        I’m having no more than one hot-link per post to avoid the spam filter.
        Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

    • Hugh Anderson on March 14, 2012 at 09:56

      You say dieting doesn’t work, and yet here I am with roughly 12% bodyfat as a result of dieting, effortlessly maintaining for months and months on end, having benefited from the wisdom of McDonald and Colpo. So I don’t exist? That’s news to me.

      Add some nuance to your stance and then we’ll talk.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 11:20

        Alright, so it’s going to be the same diatribe all over again.

        I really did hope that the—I believe—fair opportunity I gave you to conduct dialog with others would work. Obviously I was wrong. So, yes, I really have no voice but to ban you at this point. I hope you respect that it’s my right to do so and that you not attempt to circumvent it with rotating usernames and IP addresses.

        I wish you well, but this is the end of the line.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 11:21

        Here’s there text of the comment I put up in reply to Razwell’s comment for which I banned him again (and deleted the comment).


        Alright, so it’s going to be the same diatribe all over again.

        I really did hope that the—I believe—fair opportunity I gave you to conduct dialog with others would work. Obviously I was wrong. So, yes, I really have no voice but to ban you at this point. I hope you respect that it’s my right to do so and that you not attempt to circumvent it with rotating usernames and IP addresses.

        I wish you well, but this is the end of the line.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 10:51

      Since when is Lustig’s “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” “NEW”? It’s been around a few years, has over 2 million views on YouTube and I’ve blogged about it.

      He simply gave that same lecture at Google, last August.

      • FrankG on March 15, 2012 at 06:00

        I was also puzzled at the age of that presentation… it is not exactly “new”.

        Here is the most recent presentation I am aware of from Robert Lustig MD; as interviewed by Andreas Eenfeldt MD and posted November 2011 — in it he offers a way for both insulin and leptin to have a role in obesity…

      • FrankG on March 15, 2012 at 06:45

        CORRECTION: in that one – although he does mention leptin — he talks more about the chronic effect of insulin vs acute.

        I had it confused with his AHS 2011 presentation for which, unfortunately, you need to go elsewhere to view his slides — in this he does talk about the relationship between chronic high insulin and leptin



    • paul d on March 15, 2012 at 05:38


      “The caloric hypothesis is a failed model it cannot explain observed data”.

      For a start, a hypothesis can only be rejected or accepted (or in preferred scientific terms you fail to reject the null hypothesis). A hypothesis is often built from a model and is used to make predictions. You

      Again, get your nose out of books, get off your arse, lift some heavy stuff, fast occassionally, move, move, move, eat clean food, manipulate your macros until you get some results, if nothing is happening, monitor your calories and cut em a little more. Foolproof.

      • Marcus Diggs on March 15, 2012 at 11:39

        That last paragraph is gold. And it puts calories in the correct place: Last.

  26. Carlos Morales on March 14, 2012 at 07:36

    Great post, Richard. After losing 130-140lbs on the low-carb diet, listening to any criticism has been difficult. Stating that though, I’ve started to cut down my calories from fat/protein and raising my carb amount through sweet potatoes, berries, and bananas. It brings my total carbs up from 20-40grams to a whopping – at least for me – 120-150 grams of carbs per day.
    The result? I feel fantastic. Though I haven’t experienced any more weight loss (I probably don’t need to lose more weight) I’m much more energetic, have better work outs, and sleep better than I did before. Plus, I’m just not as hungry anymore, occasionally skipping breakfast and just eating less in general. So, I’d like to thank you for being honest in your posts and showing me another way to eat.


  27. mrfreddy on March 14, 2012 at 07:46

    Like I posted on Jimmy’s site, I ate a potato one day along with some meat for lunch (about a third less meat than normal)… a bit later I got a massive sugar rush and I gained two pounds overnight. My knee-jerk response was, uh, no thanks! My knee held firmly in place response now is, well, maybe there’s something to this, I need to experiment more.
    Right now I am trying out my own version of a “simple diet” but without the extra starch. Ie, a low carb simple diet. I seem to do great on very low carb, and it’s a bit hard to accept that maybe I need to change that. But it could be true, so, at some point I plan to add the potatoes and rice and give myself time to adapt, and we’ll see how that goes.

    Btw, here’s a guy who has gone from low carb to something different with great results:

    He said he doubled his fiber intake – not sure in what form tho.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 08:22


      You might experiment with upping the carb intake in a gradual way, like 30g per day for a week, then another 30 for a week, etc., until you get where you’re comfortable.

      What I’ve found is that given I don’t eat grain and sugar drinks, about 200g of carbs from starch is about my natural upper limit.

  28. Pauline on March 14, 2012 at 08:14

    I think it was Dr Wolfgang Lutz who wrote in Life Without Bread who said that lowcarbers have a hard time because of the lack of serotonin which carbohydrates give you with that mood calming effect. He even advocated using a low dose serotonin-boosting anti-depressant when starting his diet which included 72 grams of digestible carb per day. The polish Dr Kwasniewski in Optimal Nutrition recommended one average sized potato with fat each day, this too for the mood calming effect this has on the brain that some glucose gives. I am finding that adding back potato and rice, I sleep right through the night very deeply. That is amazing to me. I have always struggled to lose those last 20 pounds because I find my mood is crabby without carbs but irritable with wheat and sugar and the roller coaster of high/low blood sugar. So the author of Potatos Not Prozac may have been right all along. When I have bacon and eggs with a small potato I feel really calm afterwards and satiated as you say. I do find I have more energy and want to walk a lot more, I don’t know if walking begets walking, ie your body needs more of what it gets regularly, or spring coming to the UK, but it is happening while adding some carbohydrates back into meal plan. Thank you for all the interesting dialogues that have arisen from your recent experiment, we are all learning with you. I did lose some weight going very low carb but always felt very pumped up with it, like my body was slightly stressed out by it so this is very interesting personally for me.

    • marie on March 14, 2012 at 10:22

      Pauline, sounds like we’re “sisters from another mother” 🙂
      What you describe was my experience too, down to the last crabby moody detail.

      In getting past the last 10-20lbs, I credited both the ‘happiness’ effect of moderate carbs for helping me stick with what were already very low calories and the more readily available energy causing naturally more activity…and yes, walking does beget walking, in my case at least. The thing is, on adding back a potato-a-day (on top of lots of veggies and some fruit) I stayed iso-caloric but still lost some more weight. I sure loved that bonus effect – and I can actually justify my love of potatoes now!

    • Jill on March 14, 2012 at 12:34

      I’m the same way. I find that after spending a week or two at low or very low carb levels, I get moody (suddenly very angry or depressed for no apparent reason). It ends up making me not care about my diet, so one weekend, I’ll eat a bunch of carbs, and then the world seems normal again.

      • marie on March 15, 2012 at 13:51

        Jill, nice, same baseline. Our approach is slightly different though, how come you go for occasional weekend carbs? Did you try daily and it didn’t work, in what way? Inquiring minds….

  29. Paul C on March 14, 2012 at 10:55

    I’m not surprised by your heartburn results, and I 2nd your conclusion that it was grains. I went from 1 or 2 Pepcid per day every day heartburn to zero heartburn 24 hours after my first gluten free experiment.

    Gluten had been the only thing I dropped, then I fell back to a regular diet after 3 months and the heartburn returned.

    A year later I went primal (and 100% strict gluten free), and once again within 24 hours the heartburn vanished.

    Now going on three years primal, with the only gluten consumed in that time being one slice of apple pie during one Thanksgiving (followed by several days of heartburn).

    I tell this story to coworkers who have awful life-affecting heartburn and their eyes glaze over as they mumble something about meds and doctors.

    • mark on March 15, 2012 at 07:29

      “I tell this story to coworkers who have awful life-affecting heartburn and their eyes glaze over as they mumble something about meds and doctors.”

      Priceless!! LOL I get this all the time when I talk to people about eating real food.

  30. rob on March 14, 2012 at 16:21

    If blood glucose is the way to keep score then I can’t imagine why anyone would want to play.

    Oh hell yeah, I’m going to kick my blood glucose score’s ass!

    No disrespect intended towards those who have to check it for health reasons, but I don’t see the difference between the blood glucose thing and carrying around a rectal thermometer so that you can be certain of your body temperature at all times …

    • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 16:28

      I don’t either, rob.

      Stephan used a phrase in a post a long time ago: unbridled reductionism. I took it to heart.

  31. paul d on March 15, 2012 at 06:30
  32. reaLife on March 14, 2012 at 19:09

    a must read..still plodding thru it tho.. the art n science of low carb living- j s volek s b phinney new book snippets
    Japanese and European North Americans have a greater tolerance for carbohydrates, there is an adjustment period to adapting to a higher level it and it varies for individuals based on ongoing genetic research.

    Dr Attia + G Taubs if you have seen their websites are working on raising $$ have 150 professionals interested with some to do better controlled studies as old ones were badly flawed to try to settle this hotly disputed debate..

  33. ChocoTaco369 on March 14, 2012 at 19:48

    I’ve been screaming this for months. Welcome to the dark side, Richard – we have cookies! No, we really do! They’re made from rice flour and tapioca, not death meal, err oxidized almond meal, which the LC crowd loves to poison themselves with.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2012 at 20:15

      Never use almond meal. Haven’t on years, for the reason you allude to and plus, using almond meal is rather li,e juicing fruit.

  34. gallier2 on March 15, 2012 at 07:16

    Dr Susan Harmony and sexy jane really look like Razwell’s sock-puppets. It’d be interesting to check their respective IP addresses.

  35. mark on March 15, 2012 at 07:42

    I want that last 5 minutes of my life back

  36. realLIfe on March 15, 2012 at 11:18

    Very lo carb with people who used to be fat likely still have some metabolic disregulation one item is insulin sensitivity response.. but if vlcarb longterm body gets into what is similar to stress which causes reverseT3 n thyroid problems from reading chris masterjohn on k kresser interview while back. Increasing carbs helps thgroid! Check body temp if low on cud have subclinical hypo! So moderate carb is good. Hard part is gtg thyroid optimal without spike insulin over normal for range so u dont gain fat. There are other hormonal interactions i not understand like cortisol which also is a player and melatonin and body rythm which also interact so its damn complicated. Ray peat is the thyroid expert someone tells me to read him.

    • marie on March 15, 2012 at 11:50

      O.k., once got used to telegram style writing wth adtnl abrvtions, I think I understand…. 🙂 and I agree. Here’s an example in support of your reasoning :
      A few people pointed out the same to me (abt. thyroid) in a recent post’s comments. I was looking for an explanation because my experience was that after losing weight on VLC paleo, I was down to very low calories (avg.1400/day) where I stalled and couldn’t lose last 10-20lbs – until I ‘gave up’, adding back 1-2 potatoes (and a bit of fruit and more veggies) though keeping calories same. Surprise surprise, I found after a week or two I restarted losing weight, got down to where I wanted…and was happier and slept better too. Been happy ever since. The cortisol you mention prolly improved due to better sleep and that would have helped too , as would the spontaneous NEAT increase due both to glucose and prolly to thyroid.

  37. josef on March 16, 2012 at 20:10

    Suppose I’m an auditor and Richard hires me because he is applying for a $1m loan for his business and the bank requires him to submit a certified audit of Richard’s company financial statements taken as a whole.

    During my audit I only test his bank statements. I ignore accounts receivable, payables, capital assets, revenues, expenditures, etc.

    However, with my insufficient scope, I produce a report to the soundness of his company. Is this correct? of course not. Why? testing was not sufficient to meet standards.

    You all agree with this (I hope).

    Them why in the world are we accepting the MW studies as the ultimate truth when, by their own admission, are limited in scope?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2012 at 11:53

      “Them why in the world are we accepting the MW studies as the ultimate truth when, by their own admission, are limited in scope?”

      They are actually pretty comprehensive in terms of control and measurement. I don’t know that anyone considers them “ultimate truth” but rather the best quality truth we have right now.

      And the fact that more than a couple dozen of them all show the exact sam thing is important and worthy of serious attention.

      • josef on March 17, 2012 at 19:55

        Congratulations, I’m glad you see the light.

        MWS are a the only rigurous scientific studies we have right now, a starting point for further research but not the ultimate truth!

  38. realLife on March 17, 2012 at 18:03

    all bad pseudoscience based on old ideas… new studies are planned by the author below and others who have raised $$.. he also debunks a study on his sit.

    old associate=causation for more study is meaningless see modern approach

  39. realLife on March 18, 2012 at 10:30

    here is closer to what I wanted to say in the last post.
    Dr Attia speaking
    “Guys, if there is no control group (i.e., a group that does EVERYTHING else the same, EXCEPT the treatment) *and* “treatment” (e.g., eating red meat) can’t be prospectively isolated from all other variables, what we have is not called science. At best it’s called correlation.”
    “this is yet another TRAGIC example of how “nutrition science” has run so far amok in this country over the past 50 years. This type of “study” is in a category of junk science known as observational epidemiology. ”

    he is trying to raise $$ to do the controlled studies and their are some 150 professionals supporting this effort but I can’t find the reference on G Taubes site or the email I got.

  40. PK on March 19, 2012 at 01:00

    Richard, you are not diabetic right? And you are healthy overall? Then there is no need to go low carb or LCHF as I would like to call it. So then there is really no need to bash low carb, right?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2012 at 07:42

      I’m not “bashing” low carb. I thnk my record of posts and my Jimmy Moore podcast make that pretty clear.

  41. Chris Tamme on March 21, 2012 at 11:43

    Glad to see Colpo is bringing you around Richard. I started drinking his kool-aid about 6 months ago and have been adding back quite a bit of carbs in the form of white rice and sweet potatoes, along with some apples and bananas. No weight gain so far and a change in body comp that I am attributing to both the increase in carbs and a body by science routine I have been following for the past 12 weeks.

    After eating low carb for the past couple years it has been tough to find good clean sources and get above 100g/day.

    It is time to seperate paleo from low carb. There shouldn’t be any gimmicks to paleo. It should be about good healthy whole foods. Nothing more, nothing less.

  42. Hilary M. on March 28, 2012 at 13:41

    I feel you on adding carbs back into the diet. I was VLC for about a year and towards the last 3 monhts, I noticed I was lethargic, cranky, depressed and unable to workout at my peak performance. As soon as I added sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, and a banana occasionally, (I dont eat fruit) back into my diet, I noticed a HUGE difference in my atheltic performance as well as my overall energy level and well being. I feel so much better! I also noticed that I have not gained any weight, but instead changed my body composition in adding more lean mass, looking more tone, and dropping my body fat percentage.
    Either way, it is important to keep in mind that everybody and every body is different; what works for one person will not work for others, though I find that if you work out alot or are very active, then clean carbs (starchy veggies or fruit) are a must.

  43. Sugar Isn't The Problem. You're The Problem. - Page 51 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 51 on March 30, 2012 at 16:54

    […] post about this issue. I've believed the same for awhile, so I laughed when I saw him post it. The Moderate Carbohydrate Flu | Free The Animal Yes, "The Moderate Carb Flu." It's simple – do you know that "Low Carb Flu" […]

  44. Issues in Introducing Carbs after VLC for 1.5 years - Page 2 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 2 on March 31, 2012 at 18:44

    […] post about this issue. I've believed the same for awhile, so I laughed when I saw him post it. The Moderate Carbohydrate Flu | Free The Animal Yes, "The Moderate Carb Flu." It's simple – do you know that "Low Carb Flu" […]

  45. Glen on April 2, 2012 at 15:35

    I often wonder WHY someone who’s NOT diabetic (or affected by serious obesity, metabolic syndrome, etc.) would choose to eat VLC…

    I eat VLC (about 45-60g daily in a 3,000+ calorie diet) but an a severe Type II diabetic with impaired insulin production (I guess I’m one of those that burnt out much of my beta-cell function.)

    I used to eat much less- around 20-30g daily UNTIL I lost the weight I needed to (dropped over 100lbs) then slowly started adding some higher-quality carb sources back into the diet… I simply couldn’t handle more than what I take in now – from a glycemic-control standpoint.

    I wholeheartedly concur that people who are suffering from morbid obesity and especially metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes SHOULD eat low-carb, especially during their weight-loss phase. But once weight loss AND glycemic control is achieved, add in the amount of quality carbohydrate that maintains good glycemic control for them.

    I don’t know why anybody NOT suffering from these issues or someone who’s lost the weight and keeps it off would stay very low carb.

    We need a balance of these foods – certainly people should eliminate processed/refined carbs/sugars – everybody should do that REGARDLESS of obese/thin/whatever … but things like yam, fresh fruit (not filtered juice though), potato, etc. can and should be enjoyed in moderation by those that can eat them…

    • Galina L. on April 2, 2012 at 18:49

      I think my example is the answer to your question. I commented on it earlier, but, probably, it is too many comments right now. You may also check

      It is much more in the effect of a VLC diet than a just a weight-loss. For example, I have reached my target weight almost exactly one year ago, but I still limit my carbs because I like how I feel, I resolved all my health issues and everybody comments on how great I look. Richard noticed that he became more relaxed on more carbs, while I would be less energetic, with more unstable moods on more carbs. Besides, I have been eating like that since Nov. 2007, and I got used to it . There are individual differences.

  46. […] ask this because Richard Nikoley has done some extremely interesting self-experimentation lately, purposefully including extra starch in his diet in the form of potatoes.  However, he has […]

  47. […] The Moderate Carbohydrate Flu […]

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