When Confirmation Bias is the Landscape, Dialectics is Your Path to Better Truth

I woke up yesterday to a bit of a surprise. Mike Eades, MD, has a new post up concerning a Twitter debate he had with one of my frequent commenters and a collaborator for a few posts I’ve published here, with a view to better understanding of things like the gut biome (glycans, “animal fibers”), carbohydrate intake (fresh kill, raw meat and sea mammal glycogen), glucose tolerance, and chronic ketosis amongst a good testing ground: the Inuit. The Twitter debate was spurred by one of those posts. Here they are:

Since they live at the margins, the cool thing about studying the Inuit is very simply—from a scientific-methodological perspective—that there are fewer confounding variables to consider.

However, in Dr. Eades’ view, pointing out inconsistencies in the standard narrative surrounding the Inuit constitutes “confirmation bias” and “cognitive dissonance,” while holding to the standard narrative and dismissing many reasonable questions, facts and interpretations is a demonstration of impartiality and cognitive consonance.

You may have noticed in the way I write that I don’t go out of my way in pointing out bias. And while I appreciate pointing out logical fallacies in argument, I’m not much of a policeman about it. The Dialectic is the reason, specifically Fichtean or, Hegelian Dialectics. Rooted in the Socratic method of inquiry—and distinguished from debate and rhetoric—it’s how I have predominately viewed and engaged in human discourse for over two decades.


The Synthesis then becomes the new Thesis, and the process repeats ad infinitum; not in circular fashion, but rather, a spiral fashion where each cycle represents more knowledge, better understanding, get’s a little closer to the truth. As such, I never have to worry much about someone’s bias. Let them be as biased as they like and then synthesize new understanding from competing bias. Someone’s comment on a post of mine might be 90% logical fallacy—or just mostly bullshit—but 5%, or 1% decent antithesis from which which a synthesis might emerge and in turn, a new, more complete thesis.

…Or, you can waste endless hours debating who’s right and who’s wrong; who’s biased and who’s impartial; who’s cognitively dissonant and who’s consonant. Or, you could be making progress recognizing that in all likelihood, you’re both right, both wrong; both biased; both living in some measure of dissonance and contradiction—in different proportions, contexts and perspectives—and there’s a synthesis dying to get out if you could both simply embrace intellectual honesty.

Getting the hang of it?

Let’s consider for a moment that this blog—with its 4,000 posts and 80,000 comments over 10 years—is basically just one huge-ass Dialectic where, most posts are in some way either theses—to advance or support some bias I hold—while the others are antitheses—to advance my bias counter the bias of others. And where, very importantly, the comment threads drive the whole thing. Moreover, most of those posts—because it’s a blog, there’s competition for mindspace, and there’s an entertainment element—are encapsulated within my own style of rhetoric. But the rhetoric is not ultimately important, merely my attempt to get you to read—which is why I was just as passionate in my anti-starch posts several years ago, as I am in my pro-starch posts today. If you don’t try just as hard to get people to read and consider your thesis or antithesis, then what’s the point?

There’s a few simple antitheses I’d like to offer concerning Dr. Mike’s post.

  1. Someone can be 100% biased, but still be the most right upon critical evaluation of relevant facts; while the so-called impartial saint can be more wrong. In other words, charges of bias or cherry picking are actually non-sequitur, or red herrings. Such accusations can also actually be a diversion tactic, when one is uncomfortable about new information, or a better understanding or integration of it. Or, rather than engage in cognitive dissonance, accuse your opponent of confirmation bias.
  2. Demonstrating that someone is biased is not the same as supporting an alternative hypothesis. For example, hearing for the 10-thousandth time that Ancel Keys confirmed his bias in cherry picking his Six Country Analysis (not the same as the Seven Countries Study) does absolutely nothing to support the alternate hypothesis (antithesis) that saturated fat in abundance is good for you and is heart protective and healthful.
  3. Ironically, if you look at the comment thread as I last saw it at about 50 comments, it’s largely a lot of people saluting their authority for helping them to confirm their bias, in a post about confirmation bias!

As to point three, I happened to see this tweet by Nora Gedgaudas linking to Dr. Mike’s post:

Finally! A voice of reason in the ‘resistant starch’ debate: Thank you @DrEades

There’s only one problem. Mike didn’t mention resistant starch one single time in the post, nor was the post about that in even a peripheral way. I got from several sources that at the recent Paleof(x)—where Nora, amongst many others, spoke—VLC is basically considered over as part of the Paleo paradigm—at least in terms of top dogma. Too many antitheses—many involving the practice of starch eating, and they are backed my many n=1 (and just try to tell someone that your thesis or antithesis trumps their n=1). So, perhaps the embrace of Perfect Health Diet levels of safe starches, combined with the whole irresistibility of  resistant starch, has many who’re holding to a VLC thesis of paleo somewhat uncomfortable.

To summarize, don’t waste your time pointing fingers at cognitive dissonance or bias; and besides, neither Duck or I have a bias against low carb (he lost 40 lb, I lost 60 on LC). Rather, we simply want all relevant information integrated into the general narrative, not just brushed aside in some pretense that this is all settled. Instead, embrace the primary thesis that we’re all human, reject the antithesis that implies there exist pristine impartial superhumans that rise above such tawdry faults, but be intellectually honest and listen to every antithesis you can get your mind around. This is why I read every single comment posted to my blog and follow virtually every link included. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been sent down a rabbit hole that eventually caused me to form my own antithesis, from which I could have a synthesis, and a new thesis (Marketers: this is the essence of A/B testing). Not the absolute truth, just a step closer.

And if you’re smart, you understand that the journey (dialectic) is infinitely more important than the destination (absolute truth).

Alright, so lets get into some specifics about our Antithesis or, why these questions, objections and interpretations are reasonable and need to be integrated into the Inuit narrative in order to achieve a better understanding of how they do (or don’t) inform sound dietary and health practices in the modern world.


Owing to the environment, the Inuit ate very little plant matter, thriving instead on the flesh of land and marine animals. Their diet was high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate. As such, they spent much of their time in dietary ketosis. They exhibited pristine health and therefore 1) high dietary fat, and particularly saturated fat, is good for us 2) very low carbohydrate intake, leading to a state of perpetual ketosis is good for us, and 3) dietary fiber is likely not very important to modern health.


1. While it’s true that  the Inuit did not thrive on plants, there’s reasonable evidence to suggest that they knew much about plants, made use of lots of them, sought them out, and prized them. Here’s a comment by botanist Arthur Haines on a PrimalDocs post.

That said, the Inuit were not strict carnivores, they were omnivores who consumed the lion share of their calories as animal foods. However, they consumed a relatively diverse selection of greens, fruits, and roots when they were available during the growing season. They also stored many of these same foods in oil-filled seal pokes for preservation. Greens included species of dock, willow-herb, rose root, sea-sandwort, and saxifrage. Fruits included baked-apple berry (a raspberry relative), crowberry, and cranberry. Roots included alpine sweet-vetch. It is estimated that 50% of some arctic indigenous population’s vitamin C intake were provided by these plant foods. Further, they ingested medicinal phytochemicals through these greens and fruits that would have fought inflammation, sickness, cancer, etc. Just as there is no indigenous group who was entirely vegetarian, there was no group that was entirely carnivorous.

Melissa McEwen, in a post from 2012 about the book, Plants That We Eat: Nauriat Niginaqtaut – From the traditional wisdom of the Inupiat Elders of Northwest Alaska, wrote:

Perhaps Anore Jones is part of a conspiracy, but if she is, it seems to be fairly usophisticated, because almost none of her book’s content has been disseminated online and it contains recipes that use such crowd-pleasing ingredients like seal oil and fish heads. Her book is called Plants That We Eat and it’s 240 pages, which is curious for a culture that supposedly eats no plants. If it’s fiction, she’s done a rather miserable job and I suggest you read Borges’ The Book of Imaginary Beings instead.

But I doubt it’s fiction. She lived in Kotzebue with Inupiat for 19 years and has numerous photos of them preparing plants. I think people with plant-free anecdotes may have either not spent enough time with the Eskimos or might have not had enough contact with women.

She also quotes Jones from the book:

My grandmother would always dig the roots of roseroot when she could. She buried them in sand and grass on top of a high knoll. If hard times came when we were short of food, we’d know they were waiting. As long as we had seal oil, we could eat them. – Bessie Cross, an Inuit who Anore interviewed […]

In a good berry year the otherwise green tundra actually has a blueish cast from so many berries. Even after people and all the creatures have taken their fill, the berries will still be thick. They freeze on the bushes and on the ground for the mice and ptarmigan to eat all winter and are there, dried and sweet, for bears, birds, and people to eat next spring. It’s such an enormous wealth of food, but one never to be counted on, for in a poor berry year you will walk all day and not find enough to taste. Then the animals that ate berries must find other foods and some must eat each other. […]

The root of the yellow flowered oxytrope (Oxytropis maydelliana) has been eaten from Sealing Point in the historical past. It is also known as aiqaq and eaten in Anaktuvuk Pass and Canada. It occurs nearly all over Alaska and Northern Canda but is eaten only in certain places.

A.E. Porsild, former Chief Botanist of the National Museum of Canada, in a paper entitled Edible Plants of the Arctic, written for the Encyclopedia Arctica, a project guided by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, wrote:

Among the Eskimo–the most widely distributed race of arctic aborigines the dependence on vegetable food varies from group to group according to tradition and according to what plants are available in the area occupied by them; thus, to the most northerly tribes the use of vegetable food is purely incidental and largely limited to the partly fermented and pre-digested content of the rumen of caribou and muskoxen, whereas in the diet of the Eskimo of southwestern Greenland, Labrador, and western and southwestern Alaska, vegetable food constitutes a regular, if not very large, item.

2. In addition to the plants they ate when they could, they got significant fiber from animals (see the first 2 links in the list at the top of the post; also, here). This is part of why it’s difficult to compare their meat-eating diet to ours because they typically ate nose to tail, and they ate it fresh. Fresh, the animal—even the blood—is chock full of “animal fibers,” just like raw mammalian milk, that feed gut bugs.

3. Another source of carbohydrate for the Inuit was the glycogen in fresh meat, eaten raw (see the 3rd & 4th links at the top of the post). While this seems to have been Dr. Mike’s chief consternation in the debate, I find it mysterious because there’s no comparison to fresh and raw vs. hung and aged (glycogen depletion is the reason meat producers age meat—it’s analogous to ripening fruit—and they use things like electrodes to speed the process). Moreover, owing to the demands of diving for long periods to great depths, sea mammals have significant glycogen stores. Whale blubber has been measured to be as high as 30% carbohydrate! Perhaps that’s why they call it blubber, and not simply, fat.

4. If the Inuit really are in perpetual ketosis, as Dr. Mike seems determined to uphold as a critical part of the thesis-narrative, then what state were they in when fasted for a few days, and their glucose tolerance went to hell in a hand basket (see the 3rd link at the top of the post)? While thriving normally, they could handle a bolus dose of glucose and not spike over 140, demonstrating absolutely normal tolerance to glucose that’s gold standard in the modern world.  After a few days of fasting, the same bolus dose gave them glucose readings to 300 and at the 3-hour point, they were still above 230. In the modern world, this earns you a clinical diagnosis of diabetes. So what gives?

Moreover, how does that mesh with the thousands of comments on the blog I’ve had from LCers over the years, and that meshes with my own experience and the experience of my wife and close family; where, after a long time LC, you have morning fasting numbers of 110ish—when 80-90 is normal—and if you do happen to take a bolus dose of carbs—like a piece of birthday cake—you spike to 200 or more?

More, moreover, how does that mesh with the experience of myself, wife, close family and so many commenters that by simply nudging up the carbs to Perfect Health Diet levels, everything resolves within days?

5. Dr. Mike also seems to insist that the Inuit were moderate protein, when the studies I posted  (see link 3 at the top) demonstrate otherwise. The average is 250 grams of protein. Try it daily. I have, as part of a Leangains protocal over about 6 months. It is very difficult unless you just drink it. But, if you’re cold because you live where it’s about the coldest place on earth inhabited by humans, and you have to work real hard to survive, then it makes sense. 250 grams of protein daily is not even close to “moderate protein.” Just try it.

Moreover, given the brain and other-organ requirement for glucose, is high protein the real, underlying “golden helmet” for perpetual VLC? More moreover, given what jimmy moore has demonstrated with his “nutritional ketosis”—that demanded that he cut the protein to low-moderate levels to get and stay in ketosis—mean that’s why researchers in 3 studies spanning over 40 years did not find ketosis in Inuit?

I might could go on, but let’s just take the 5 points above and see what kind of Synthesis we might derive, in comments. Gotta let you readers have some fun.

Let’s wrap this up. Let me be clear about Dr. Mike Eades first off. I am simply unsatisfied in his answers and the way he’s characterized it in his post. I’m not “disappointed,” which is the condescending characterization so many indulge in, but I won’t use. I think it’s still safe to say we’re friends. I hope so. Mike has helped millions of people, I acknowledge and recognize it.

But nothing is settled, ever. I prefer it that way.

Be open to all the antitheses, especially from people who accept much of your thesis-narrative. For example, just recently, the whole question of starch intake and what caused brain size explosion has come into question. Check into Nutcracker Man, and how it’s a misnomer; because, what he was eating was an endless supply of soft sedge tubers under weeds we commonly refer to as tiger nuts. Check into how the nutritional profile is off the charts.

Check into how C4 plants give us a better, more consistent understanding of a great deal. Early man as mostly carnivorous never made complete sense to me. I was around a lot of animal hunters, bird hunters, and fishermen when I was a kid.

I’ll leave you with a very gentle video by a very gentle man, Arthur Haines. The Myths of paleo or, in my parlance, the various antitheses.

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. Stuart on April 20, 2014 at 18:57

    This is more fun than watching Myth Busters on TV. Only watch the idiot box when on the machines at the health club doing some interval training.
    I have the fine doctors books along with Paleo books but never became a VLC freak or a safe carber and just muddle around the middle ground where I’m doing relatively well but can use a few tweaks here and there. I’m an ApO-E3/4 genotype who will never do well on LC and must find my own niche.

  2. Regina on April 20, 2014 at 19:03

    I love Nora but am unsatisfied with her tweet. I was wishing she would engage more. But even though I enjoyed her book immensely and find her quite brilliant and lovable, I want her come into the discussion more. Instead, there is just the, ‘thank you Dr Perlmutter’ or ‘thank you Ron Rosedale’ or ‘sorry Paul Jaminet; there’s no such thing as safe starch.’ It sounds like doubling down instead of real investigation.

    • Anon on April 21, 2014 at 10:07

      I heard that she is currently juggling several book projects along with her full time clinical work. She probably doesn’t have much time left for social media. I believe Nora’s heart is in the right place.

    • Bret on September 9, 2014 at 19:36


      Over 4 1/2 months later, I would add that the road to hell is paved with hearts in the right places.

      Or something like that.

  3. Paleophil on April 20, 2014 at 19:28

    Richard, Have you seen Arthur Haines’ video on cattail pollen yet?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2014 at 20:54

      Paleo Phil.

      Unwittingly, I have apparently been a big Arthur Haines fan for a while–Since TT Tim sent me that video nearly a year ago.

      My fandom was realized explicitly when a Twitter follower indicated Arthur had done a presentation at Paleof(x) and pointed me in a few places.

      I’ve been around long enough to know when I’m dealing with an honest man of good will.

  4. marie on April 20, 2014 at 20:03

    After all the pathos, it’s strangely cognitively consonant to read this post on Easter Sunday 🙂

    Tiens, a tid-bit towards keto-counterevidence: unless you are glycogen replete, it does not take two days of fasting to produce measurable ketones.
    In fact, if you are already glycogen depleted, such as on a VLC diet, it takes less than a day. Anyone who measures these thing knows this, but after all it’s just math.
    So every bit of actual research on the Inuit is consistent with no sustained ketosis, apart from never measuring any.

    In the larger synthesis though, ketosis or not doesn’t matter at all.
    There’s a bigger story relating to the gut biome that overshadows any macro-ratios in any diets.

    Apparently no matter what H-G group you look at, even a heavily meat-eating one like the Inuit, they too fed their gut microbiome with soluble fiber, both plant and ‘animal fiber’.

    So unless I could reproduce that diet well (not even close!) I’d better make a point of feeding my gut appropriately with what’s accessible to me today.

    Cellulose ‘fiber’ in leafy salad veggies isn’t soluble and doesn’t do that at all. Resistant starch and inulin do that the most. Of which, resistant starch is by far the easiest to source in necessary quantities.

    Hmm, after synthesis comes distillation?

    • gabkad on April 22, 2014 at 19:39

      This all started with resistant starch and it’s beneficial effect on gut function, gut microbiome, colon health. Clear cut evidence has been presented that bacterial fermentation in the gut provides health promoting short chain fatty acids for optimal colonocyte health, keeps the muscles of the colon in great shape and prevents disease. Also that beneficial bacteria are capable of out competing pathogens when probiotics are combined with a variety of fermentables.

      The Inuit were to all intents and purposes considered by all of the people who studied them to be healthy. They couldn’t have been healthy if their guts were a mess. Thousands of years of messed up guts? Doubt it. They would even have obtained their soil based organisms quite simply.

      Has anyone eaten a large quantity of beef cartilage and discovered that it causes great beefy type fartage? Or next time, pass on the pork side rib meat and eat the cartilage instead. The bacteria have a great feed. Make beef broth with lots of joint bones and chew off the cartilage and tendon afterwards. You don’t even have to eat it raw. If you think potato starch makes you fart, give cartilage a chance.

      So figure that raw animal fibre would even more robustly feed the gut microbiome.

      It would appear that no matter where humans have found an ability to live on this planet, they’ve managed to obtain those foods which give them a good robust digestive tract.

      I wonder if the Inuit told fart jokes on cold nights in the igloo. I bet they did!

    • tatertot on April 23, 2014 at 10:08

      Gemma – You and Duck are two of a kind…with a little bit of scientific scrutiny, I found what ‘real’ traditional Eskimo food looks like:

      “Akutaq (Eskimo Ice Cream) Ingredients:

      Fish (white fish, pike, or any kind of salmon) 3 to 4 pounds


      Vegetable oil


      Berries (blue berries, salmon berries, cranberries, etc.) 1/2 gallon to a gallon

      11/2 cup flour
      3/4tsp baking powder
      Oil to fry in
      Sugar and Cinammon
      Melted Butter

      See, you just need better search terms! Obviously you are skewed by your non-scientific pea-brain.

    • tatertot on April 22, 2014 at 20:13

      I wonder if the cold preserved the undergarments of paleo Eskimos…we could search for skid marks. If we find them, we can stick them in the face of the keto apologists.

      But, in all seriousness, I’ll bet the ancient Inuit night was filled with farts and dreams. Have you seen the old videos of Nanook of the North? Those were some hardy, wide-jawed, people. The product of 1000’s of years of living off the land.

      Another thing that Duck Dodgers touched on in several of his ‘shoddy science’ posts was seaweed. Seaweed is probably the best prebiotic known to man and we are just now learning to unlock its secrets. No way in hell the Inuit would have ignored this food source.

    • tatertot on April 23, 2014 at 10:58

      Oh, I signed the petition:

      “The petition, entitled “Alaska Back to Russia”, was created by an unnamed Anchorage resident on Thursday, and has gathered signatures from Alaska and several other states. It cites historical evidence of previous visitors and claimants for ownership of the territory.”

      I can see Russia from my house!

      But, seriously, modern life has surely taken a toll on people from both sides of the sea. Lots of injustices done in the name of politics and modernization.

      I’ve talked with lots of Alaskan natives, and for the most part they don’t really like living a traditional lifestyle, they want modern conveniences. There are numerous groups trying to keep traditions and languages alive, but I doubt there are more than a handful of people living a true subsistence lifestyle. Lots maybe that think they are, but so much knowledge has been lost over the last 200 years it will never be regained. Even ‘traditional’ fishing methods rely on traps and nets introduced by the Russian fur traders.

      You have all sorts of people trying to ‘live off the land’ but it is laughable, really. To live off the land here, you’d need the experience of thousands of years of trial and error passed down to you. Living for 6 weeks on Ramen noodles and M&Ms is much different than building large societies and trade routes.

    • marie on April 22, 2014 at 21:09

      Seaweed? Yeah, they might have stumbled over that somewhere between fishing and seal or whale hunting….sigh.

      Yet, arguing about “ketogenic or not” really is a bagatelle.

      It truly doesn’t matter if they were ketogenic, they could have been, for all the difference it makes to the important information :
      they ate significant amounts of ‘animal fiber’.
      No one disputes that.

      It just hadn’t been widely realized earlier that those animal parts are a fermentable substrate for the gut biome.

      Even if anyone quibbles about just how much plant fiber they were getting and starches/roots, berries, seaweed….
      The ‘animal fiber’ is still considerable.

      Now, try to eat today all that ‘animal fiber’ ?
      Not easy to get, even if someone is willing.

      Yet, sourcing abundant RS and inulin, even seaweed, that’s bloody easy.

      I just don’t understand why anyone would Not try it ?!

      What’s so threatening about it?

      If someone feels a problem with it, that may even be diagnostic of a gut microbial dysbiosis.

      Especially why wouldn’t someone who’s ketogenic try it?

      Someone who gets so little of the beneficial soluble, fermentable ‘fiber’ in their modern ketogenic diet.

      Or, they could try to actually eat like 19th century Inuit, off the hoof (and fin :))

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 09:23

      I have searched around what the people on the other site of Bering Strait, namely Chukotka and Yakutia (Russia), would be eating at present and in the past. It seems there is more nutritional tradition still intact, as the imported food from elsewhere is expensive. Great online source, a lot in English, all confirming Duck’s hypothesis of omnivore eating even in these harsh conditions. Many plant sources, roots, fruits, leaves, barks stored for winter in a very creative way. And do not forget there has always been a lively trade, the coastal people traded their food sources with the inlanders.

      If you have time, see for yourselves:

      Chukotka (tourist guide with pictures)

      From “The Dishes of Peoples of Yakutia”
      this must be yummy: “Vil’mulimul’ [Вильмулимуль] – Reindeer blood, kidney, liver, ears, roasted hooves, and lips mixed with berries and sorrel and stuffed into a stomach, which is dried and then saved in cold storage and fermented over winter to provide a rich spring food, full of calories and vitamins. This food is made by many northern peoples.”

      Climate Change Adaptation: Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples Inhabiting the Arctic and Far North Marine Hunters of Chukotka

      on the Plants:
      “The Eskimo and coastal Chukchi use around sixty types of land and sea plants in their diet. Half of those plants are used in food on a regular basis. The languages of the Yupik Eskimo do not have a general word for the whole plant, but instead have individual words for its edible parts, for instance, the stem with its leaves or the root. Anything that is not used in food is called “grass”, or “flower”. Gathering and preparing plants for winter is an important responsibility of the women and is even called “women’s hunt”. Seaweed is an essential part of the diet; hunters also gather it on their way home after hunting sea mammals.”

      and it would be fun to read this one (abstract only)
      Traditional foods in the diet of Chukotka natives
      “The traditional diet of Chukotka natives consists of caribou meat, marine animals and fish, depending on the place of residence. All meat products or fish are eaten with local plants: roots, green leaves, berries or seaweed. Local foods are usually eaten raw frozen and dipped into seal oil or melted caribou fat.”

      And, lastly, see, what you get by clicking this link: cherrypicking from the vast online photo source by keywords: inuit berry picking

      That’s about it.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 23, 2014 at 09:40


      Nice find, in terms of solidifying conformation bias.

      BTW, have you seen the recent science where the land bridge over the Bering Straight was inhabited for 15,000 years? Given that, one would assume a lot of “cross pollination” rather than simply a quick migration where everything previously learned is behind.

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 10:22

      And one more piece of gem, almost 200 years old, from my treasure hunt:
      Narrative of a Pedestrian Journey Through Russia and Siberian Tartary: From the Frontiers of China to the Frozen Sea and Kamtchatka, volume I

      by Captain John Dundas Cochrane (do not forget to google him:
      “John Dundas Cochrane (1780–1825) was destined for the sea from an early age, but is best remembered as ‘the Pedestrian Traveller’. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, he set out on a six-year tour of France, Spain and Portugal on foot. When in 1820 the Admiralty turned down his offer to explore the river Niger, he decided instead to walk round the world via Russia, Siberia and North America. On his arrival in St Petersburg, the Russian government gave him money to continue his journey using sledges and canoes where necessary, but he abandoned it in Kamchatka, marrying a local woman and returning with her to England. This account of his travels was published in 1824 and was immediately popular, going into several editions. By no means a scientific survey, it is full of interesting anecdotes and observations about a then unknown and mysterious area of the world.”
      and his father 🙂 too

      The book was published in 1824, worth reading (Long live the google books)

      Some of his observations on fish eating:
      “I always ate of raw fish, as well from choice, as from a wish to conform to the manners and customs of the natives, confident that time and experience must have initiated them into a knowledge of what is best for their climate.

      The manner of dressing their food is by boiling, when wood can be procured, which, however, is not frequently the case during the winter season. They then generally consume frozen meat or fish, which, with them, as with the others in rein-deer coun tries, is considered a necessary and extravagant luxury ; warm and raw marrow is also their greatest delicacy.

      The scurvy rages during winter with the poorer and consequently with the greater, proportion of the inhabitants of the Kolyma, because they, the poorer sort, cannot afford to eat raw fish, it being an article of luxury. It is true, that a most prodigious quantity of fish is caught on the banks of the Kolyma, but it does not follow that such a quantity is eaten raw ; indeed it is only a very small proportion that can be so consumed, and that quantity is naturally bought up and retained by the more wealthy part of the community. Herrings are the principal productions of the Kolyma, and are retained for the dogs. Red salmon constitute the next quantity, and are universally used by all classes, by being boiled, or dried up into youkola. The nailma, and, I think the osioter, being white fish, are the only species that are eaten in a raw state ; while mocksou and mock son are expressly converted into youkola, one for man and the other for dogs. There is also another reason why the poorer classes cannot partake of raw fish ; it is not only dear and scarce, but it is a most extravagant mode of eating fish, for a person can consume three times the quantity in a raw state, that he can either boiled or in the way of youkola. I hope this statement will be understood by my readers.”

      And on putrid meat eating:
      “As we continued our melancholy route, we fell in with two white bears bound to the north, but fear, probably, on either side, kept us apart. Still along the Okota, we reached twenty-five miles, the horses enjoying very fine pastures, but our provisions entirely at an end. The rains had again overtaken us, and were rapidly swelling the rivers. Of the last of the rein-deer, the flesh was so far gone that I could not eat it ; the Yakuti, however, are so fond of putrid meat, termed in England game, for indeed it was nothing else, that they finished it, regretting only that it was so little in quantity.”

      And there is a volume II:

    • tatertot on April 23, 2014 at 10:36

      Great find! I love reading stuff like that. I fell into the ketogenic diet trap by reading Vil. Staffanssens “Adventures in Dieting” taking it all as gospel truth. I soon realized my folly when I went to the Arctic Ocean and realized there were thousands of square miles of berries of all description blanketing the landscape and also found some old documents at the University of Fairbanks describing what ancient Eskimoes really ate. Yes, they had a meat heavy diet, but it was very kind to the gut. The stuff Duck dug up on ‘animal fiber’ was a huge piece of the puzzle we had all been missing.

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 10:44

      And Captain Cochrane is fun to read:
      “Lord Byron swam the Hellespont, and John Cochrane the Okota. Of the two feats, mine was surely the most difficult ; his lordship was neither fatigued, hungry, nor cold, nor compelled to his undertaking ; while I had each and all of those evils to contend with.”

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 10:46

      Hey, Alaska-man, high time to learn something from the Russians!

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 12:22

      Re Bering Strait:

      Interesting. Captain Cochrane also wondered of the connections between Asia and America, as he writes:
      “In closing the account of this strange people, I may mention two remarkable circumstances : a kettle or cooking utensil is in their language called cookie, but whether the word proceeds, as I conjecture, from the remembrance of the name of Captain Cook, who first supplied them with that utensil, or from the English word denoting the use it is applied to, I admit to be a question.”


      “The other circumstance to which I allude, is the occasional migration of large armies of mice, either from, or to, this continent and America. Of the annual movements of these small but numerous animals in the peninsula of Kamtchatka, I have little doubt ; and contrasting or weighing that knowledge, with the circumstance that most of the clothing of the Tchuktchi is embroidered with the skins of mice, I consider the assertion of their annual migration as perfectly warranted.”

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 13:01


      “Oh, I signed the petition: “Alaska Back to Russia”

      Oh, an petition or some kind of Putin’s mischief? The Czar wants his land back? So we shall hear no more from you? FB blocked, Twitter blocked, FTA blocked…

      “To live off the land here, you’d need the experience of thousands of years of trial and error passed down to you.”

      Wait! So it is not possible to eat Ketogenic Inuit diet without beeing Inuit?

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 13:12


      Off topic, on Alaska and Russia:

      Did you know one of the main political advisors to Putin is Alexander Dugin, author of:

    • gabriella kadar on April 23, 2014 at 13:20

      Richard, didn’t they have kayaks? sheesh. People think that everyone had to walk. They did not.

      Anyway, there’s that guy, Karl Bushby, who walked around the globe and had to wait 6 years for the Bering strait to freeze up so he could walk across. He was promptly arrested by the Ruskies.

    • gabriella kadar on April 23, 2014 at 13:22

      Gemma, you are awesome.
      Or maybe I have confirmation bias since apparently we are all like lunatics in the asylum before the introduction of Haldol.


    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 13:57

      Gabriella, I had to google Haldol. Am I a lunatic, then? 🙂

      Re: Bushby. Similarly Knud Rasmussen (there is his book I have kept since childhood just now on my table) traveled across North America by dog-sled (1920 or so), visited many Eskimo tribes, collected etnographic material and finally crossed the Bering to speak to the Chukchi in Russia but the authorities never let him. He had to go back.

  5. Duck Dodgers on April 21, 2014 at 14:51

    I’d like to congratulate Dr. Eades for pulling a fast one on his readers. In his haste to discredit me, he made two colossal blunders.

    The first is claiming that glycogen only degrades to lactic acid. In fact, what he didn’t mention to his readers is that glycogen degrades postmortem through glycolysis and ATP. And the first step of the glycolysis pathway is the degradation of glycogen into, wait for it… glucose!

    From: Muscle and Meat Biochemistry edited by A.M. Pearson, Dec 2012

    The major role of glycogen in postmortem muscle is release of glucose, which can be used to replenish the high-energy phosphate compounds. Thus, glycogen is largely degraded and is mainly responsible for the formation of lactic acid in muscle, which accounts for the pH decline that occurs in postmortem muscle. Therefore, glycogen is ultimately responsible for the changes in the properties of muscle that accompany the drop in pH as glycolysis proceeds. These changes are reviewed later in this chapter.

    In case you think that this is some kind of fluke explanation, I assure you it’s not. You can read more about it here and here and here.

    Sorry Dr. Eades, but glycogen does not degrade directly to lactic acid. There’s a pathway. And a fair amount of glucose is created through glycolysis on the way to lactic acid. And in fact we see this in beef industry time tables. If you click on that link, you’ll see that glycogen takes days to fully degrade into lactic acid in beef — particularly at colder temperatures. And one of those byproducts is glucose rising in the process before it too is degraded into lactic acid.

    His second colossal blunder is this statement:

    The upshot of all this is that when animals die, the glycogen in their muscles quickly degrades to lactic acid. The only way this process can be halted is to immediately flash freeze the tissue with liquid nitrogen to halt the glycogen to lactic acid conversion. Since that happens mainly in the lab and in special flash freezing facilities, any meat you purchase at the store or from your local farmer or that you kill yourself will not contain any glycogen to speak of.

    The glycogen to lactic acid conversion upon death is all really basic science, not in dispute by anyone.

    If you read closely, you can see the Dr. Eades is appealing to his own authority, and not providing any credible evidence to support his claims. In essence he decreed himself correct and his readers applauded him as they confirmed their own biases (oh the irony).

    What Dr. Eades apparently forgot to mention to his readers is that he is describing the process known as “rigor mortis.” And it’s common knowledge that rigor mortis is not something that starts “immediately.” In fact, rigor mortis takes time to set in and glycogen is depleted during this “pre-rigor” state. Anyone who has ever watched the first half of a CSI episode should know this.

    Secondly, this idea that glycogen depletion can only be halted with liquid nitrogen is not supported by any scientific evidence. It’s complete science fiction. If that were true, than the term “cold shortening” would not exist in the meat industry. Dr. Eades apparently doesn’t want to discuss “cold shortening” because by doing so he would have to admit that glycogen depletion could be halted by slaughterhouse chill rooms that can barely replicate mildly cold arctic temperatures. Factory farms use “electrical stimulation” on beef carcasses to speed up this pre-rigor time period because muscle that simply hangs in a slaughterhouse does not degrade its glycogen quickly enough for their chill rooms. The process of glycogen degradation is too slow for them.

    Yes, scientists use liquid nitrogen to stop glycogen degradation in the same way that duck hunters use a shotgun to kill a duck. It’s not necessary, but they do it to eliminate any error for instant results. The truth is that glycogen depletion stops at -18ºC, which is hardly difficult to obtain in the arctic.

    And let’s not forget that his beloved Stefansson was calculated to have eaten 10g/day of meat glycogen in the Bellevue Experiment eating land mammals. So much for unobtainable dietary glycogen.

    Next, Dr. Eades makes the mistake of running his calculations using land-based mammal meat. If he actually took the time to read the articles (see links above), he would have known that land-based mammals are not the same thing as diving marine mammals. Diving marine mammals have significant carbohydrate stores in their blubber, skin, organs, and to a lesser extent their meat. That’s correct, most of the glycogen in diving marine mammals isn’t even found in their meat. Dr. Eades seems to be oblivious to this or is purposefully ignoring it.

    But here’s where Dr. Eades is proven flat out wrong in his quest to discredit me. I’ll forgive him for this particular mistake since I know he’s not a marine biologist. But, it turns out that whales are particularly unique when it comes to their pre-rigor state and ability to preserve their glycogen:

    From: Lawrie’s Meat Science by R. A. Lawrie, David Ledward, p 92, (23 Jan 2014)

    A much delayed onset of rigor mortis has been observed in the muscle of the whale (Marsh, 1952b). The ATP level and the pH may remain at their high in vivo values for as much as 24h at 37ºC. No adequate explanation of this phenomenon has yet been given; but the low basal metabolic rate of whale muscle (Benedict, 1958), in combination with the high content of oxymyoglobin in vivo (cf 4.3.1), may permit aerobic metabolism to continue slowly for some time after the death of the animal, whereby ATP levels can be maintained sufficiently to delay the union of actin and myosin in rigor mortis.

    Did you get that? Glycogen isn’t even tapped for postmortem glycolysis for as much as a day postmortem because aerobic metabolism can be maintained for as much as a day!

    In other words, that enormous difference between land-based mammals and diving marine mammals — that allow these divers to spend hours deep under the surface of the ocean — appears to be responsible for preserving the glycogen perfectly in whale meat for extremely long times.

    The facts speak for themselves. The Inuit were hunting a very unique class of carbohydrate-rich mammals in a very unique environment, and eating those mammals in a very unique way (raw and fresh or frozen).

    Sorry Dr. Eades, but I’m afraid you’re dealing with a situation that cannot be replicated with land-based mammals.

    • Gemma on April 22, 2014 at 12:18

      “One of the more comprehensive reviews of all the available literature at the time was from a paper by H.M. Sinclair in 1952.
      Dr. Eades, unfortunately, decided to ignore all this research,”

      And that is a mistake, indeed, since “A Review of Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet” by Westman references Sinclairs paper describing the traditional Inuit diet as one meeting the definition of LCKD:

    • Gemma on April 22, 2014 at 00:21

      @Duck Dodgers
      I’m expecting Dr. Eades to thank you for linking such nice papers and commenting that you probably either did not read or did not understand them. He’s the expert here, no? I also tried to bring the point of the complicated glycogen degradation process influenced by many variables (temperature, pH curve, rate of chilling, the animal species, muscle type, etc.) in his blog’s comment section and via Twitter. Frustrating.

    • DuckDodgers on April 22, 2014 at 02:00

      Gemma, I hear you. No matter. The facts about diving marine mammals are out there now. And there’s nothing he can do about it.

      Sperm whales have 8-30% carbohydrates in their blubber. Diving marine mammals have much higher glycogen stores than land mammals. Whales can maintain postmortem aerobic metabolism for a day at 37°C, thus preserving their glycogen for extended periods. That’s remarkable for such a warm temperature. Absolutely remarkable. The results should be even longer in colder temperatures.

    • Gemma on April 22, 2014 at 02:08

      Hey Duck,
      did you know that “cold shortening” was first time observed on whale meat? (By Marsh, the meat scientist).

    • Gemma on April 22, 2014 at 02:45

      Nobody can move forward without acknowledging the effect the gut microbes perform via fermentation of (animal) fiber. Thus seeing the raw meat consumed by Inuit only as a certain composition of protein/fat/carbohydrates leads to wrong experiments (Bellevue) and conclusions.

    • GTR on April 22, 2014 at 03:10

      In his post Mike Eades provides his definitione of real science:

      “In real science, which is, sadly, not practiced all that often, researchers attempt to discredit their hypotheses, not confirm them. Only after repeated efforts to prove their own theories incorrect, do true scientists start to consider that they may be on to something.”

      Do you think that in this article he does a real science according to his own definition? That is he repeatedly tries to prove his hypothesis incorrect, discredit his hypothesis?

    • Duck Dodgers on April 22, 2014 at 07:56

      Do you think that in this article he does a real science according to his own definition?

      I had the exact same thought.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 22, 2014 at 09:04

      Gemma, not sure if you noticed, but Eades doubts that the Inuit ate 5 to 8 pounds of meat per day. He cites two sources from the 1800s that are somehow acceptable, despite the fact that he criticized Richard for referencing old studies from the early 1900s. Unfortunately for him, most of the Inuit research suggests that they ate a lot of meat.

      One of the more comprehensive reviews of all the available literature at the time was from a paper by H.M. Sinclair in 1952.

      Dr. Eades, unfortunately, decided to ignore all this research, referencing only studies from Schwatka expedition from 1878-1880 and from a report from a Siberian trek in the mid 1860s in addition to loose observations from Stefensson.

      But if we look at other observations we see…

      The Diet of Canadian Indians and Eskimos
      By H. M. SINCLAIR Laboratory of Human Nutrition, University of Oxford (Page 76)

      The Eskimo is apparently able to digest and absorb very large amounts of protein and fat at a single meal. In times of plenty, 4 kg [(8.8 lbs)] of meat daily is a common amount and much is taken at a single meal : they do not usually take food in the morning. Consumption of larger amounts such as 15 kg [(33 lbs)] has been observed on occasion, and Ross (1835) considered that an Eskimo ‘ perhaps eats twenty pounds of flesh and oil daily’, which I suppose is possibly 46,000 Cal. Parry (1824) thought he would test the capacity of an adolescent Eskimo ; the food was weighed and, apart from fluids, he ate in 20 h 8.5 lb. meat and 1.75lb. bread (about 15,700 Cal.) and ‘ did not consider the quantity extraordinary ‘. But this is trivial compared with the feats of the Siberian Yakuti who eat 25-30 lb. meat daily, and there is no record approaching the 35lb. of beef and 18lb. of butter (providing about 112,000 Cal. and occupying a volume of the order of 54 gal.) alleged to have been eaten in less than 3 h by each of two Yakuti (Simpson, 1847.)

      As much as Dr. Eades wants to deny it, many researchers have observed extremely large protein intakes among Eskimos. But, he just dismisses it.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 22, 2014 at 09:18

      Eades also fails to realize that the food varies from season to season. For instance, seal was the main source of food during the Winter. The Sinclair paper, above, discusses some of these seasonal food targets. Seal was one of the few year-round foods for the Inuit.

    • Gemma on April 22, 2014 at 12:26

      Oh yes, let’s go East into the PE (Putin’s Empire). More about this hungry Yakuti:

      And on cuisines of Siberia:

    • Duck Dodgers on April 22, 2014 at 15:22

      And that is a mistake, indeed, since “A Review of Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet” by Westman references Sinclairs paper describing the traditional Inuit diet as one meeting the definition of LCKD

      Strange that they would have cited Sinclair. He believed that the Inuit diet couldn’t have been ketogenic (see the bottom of page 75 of Sinclair’s paper).

      The Diet of Canadian Indians and Eskimos
      By H. M. SINCLAIR Laboratory of Human Nutrition, University of Oxford (Page 75)

      There is in fact nothing unusual about the total intake of aliments ; it is the very high protein, very low carbohydrate and high fat intakes that have excited interest. It is, however, worth noting that according to the customary convention (Woodyatt, 1921 ; Shaffer, 1921) this diet is not ketogenic since the ratio of ketogenic (FA) to ketolytic (G) aliments is 1.09. Indeed, the content of fat would have to be exactly doubled (324 g daily) to make the diet ketogenic (FA/G>1-5).

    • Regina on April 22, 2014 at 18:43

      “No matter” is correct. You do a marvelous job defending your research in one lucid sentence after another. “The Inuit were hunting a very unique class of carbohydrate-rich mammals in a very unique environment, and eating those mammals in a very unique way (raw and fresh or frozen).”

    • Jim on April 22, 2014 at 20:55


      You have about as much chance of winning a debate with Dr Eades as a one legged man has of winning a butt kicking contest.

      The man showed you up as a fool. Now take your licking and try to learn something from it.

    • Gemma on April 22, 2014 at 21:26

      “Strange that they would have cited Sinclair. He believed that the Inuit diet couldn’t have been ketogenic…”

      And they were not, the measurement showed no ketones on a daily Inuit diet. But the conclusion would be they were ketoadapted, see, like well-oiled machines! This makes no sense anymore.

    • DuckDodgers on April 23, 2014 at 00:37


      Not sure what you’re talking about. I’ve offered at least two dozen studies and even more scientific observations that support my hypothesis. Dr. Eades just offers unsupported misdirection and insults. You seem to be no different.

      Your lack of intellectual curiosity speaks volumes and your undying willingness to buy into his unsupported dogma says even more.

      Good luck to you (you’re going to need it).

    • Christoph Dollis on April 23, 2014 at 01:37

      Jim, your idiocy is exceeded only by your vacuousness.

      I like you. You’d make a great potted plant.

  6. Christoph Dollis on April 21, 2014 at 01:03

    I have yet to read the rest of the post, but I have to stop and comment on this:

    The Synthesis then becomes the new Thesis, and the process repeats ad infinitum; not in circular fashion, but rather, a spiral fashion where each cycle represents more knowledge, better understanding, get’s a little closer to the truth. As such, I never have to worry much about someone’s bias. Let them be as biased as they like and then synthesize new understanding from competing bias. Someone’s comment on a post of mine might be 90% logical fallacy—or just mostly bullshit—but 5%, or 1% decent antithesis from which which a synthesis might emerge and in turn, a new, more complete thesis.

    and say, brilliant. I have increasingly learned the truth of this over the last few years.

  7. snakes on a plane on April 21, 2014 at 05:34

    In the past 6 months or so you have become vastly more pragmatic and measured in your approach Richard. This is good. I like it. I also think this approach will pay you big dividends elsewhere in your life.

    • snakes on a plane on April 21, 2014 at 05:38

      Of course, if you’re disagreeing with me though, I’d prefer you to just call me a cunt and be done with it.

    • Bernhard on April 21, 2014 at 06:21

      This page definitely needs a “like” button.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 21, 2014 at 06:54

      “Of course, if you’re disagreeing with me though, I’d prefer you to just call me a cunt and be done with it.”

      Well snakes, sometimes you have to dispense with the antithesis and go right for the synthesis. 🙂

  8. Arthur Haines on April 21, 2014 at 05:49

    Richard, you beat me to it. Great piece of writing. I have yet to find evidence that any group of indigenous humans have spent long periods of time in ketosis. As such, anyone who advocates for such a diet is advocating for a new diet, and diets new to human existence often turn up with unintended (and not always beneficial) consequences down the road. Further, we don’t know their effects on the next generation (i.e., can said diet produce healthy and well-formed children, what happens to genetic expression in the next generations, etc.). I’ve seen some wonderful writing that supports the use of low carbohydrate diets in healing from various disorders, but that doesn’t imply such a diet should be used by everyone, all the time.

    People who want to consume and advocate for a ketogenic diet are free to do so (and may have good reason to do so in certain situations), but to claim that it is an historical diet does not appear to be supported by evidence. Me personally, I am focused on avoiding new diets (i.e., I want to provide my body with those foods we have been exposed to for extremely long periods of time AND those foods that have been shown to produce healthy and well-formed children). I enjoyed reading this very much. Ktankeyasin (take care of yourself).

    • Richard Nikoley on April 21, 2014 at 07:02


      Privileged to have you post. I was unaware that I’ve been a peripheral fan of your since way back when Tim and I were figuring out the whole resistant starch thing and one of the things we looked at was pollen. And I was like “we have a home up in the cedars and pine, and I don’t see how that yellow and green pollen dust gets collected.”

      Then Tim found a YouTube video about harvesting cattail pollen. Guess who? 🙂

      Truly, I’ve been mesmerized by some of your videos about how much food there is to gather out there, how very far agriculture has taken us away from a true Paleo diet. Not that we could go back, but I think it pays to be appraised of the realities and to work Paleo as honestly as possible.

      I see a really great potential for you by doing road shows to various parts of the country where you take people on gathering field trips in their local grasslands, forests, even mountains. You put that together and I’ll be your bitch to promote the hell out of it. 🙂

    • Christoph Dollis on April 21, 2014 at 09:47

      “Richard, you beat me to it. Great piece of writing. I have yet to find evidence that any group of indigenous humans have spent long periods of time in ketosis. As such, anyone who advocates for such a diet is advocating for a new diet, and diets new to human existence often turn up with unintended (and not always beneficial) consequences down the road.”

      Not only that, but to implement such a diet with modern foods would almost certainly entail even less prebiotic fibres (and other important dietary elements) than ancient people in ketosis would have, however temporarily, been consuming. So yes to the unintended consequences thing.

    • Jim on April 21, 2014 at 13:39

      If indeed a ketogenic diet is completely new and has no historical basis in hunter gatherer societies (as noted by Arthur) does that not mean that a keto diet cannot be considered “paleo”?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 21, 2014 at 16:07


      Yes, and point blank and this is what the Inuit show.

      A ketogentic diet is starvation. Not what any ancestral society was ever trying for, it’s just an adaptation. Even in the most difficult place to live on earth they successfully avoided chronic ketosis like the plague.

  9. Tammy on April 21, 2014 at 06:40

    I agree with this post and view the whole anti-SAD genre of dietary wisdom as this huge body of knowledge that continues to grow. In this argument, I think everyone has a valid point and individually each idea can be considered and tested. I am the same as others, I did great for a long time on HFLC but I did get to the hyper-sensitivity point. I’m just relieved to know that I can do something about it, and relatively easy. Thx Richard

  10. John on April 21, 2014 at 07:00


    250 grams of protein without powders is hard?

    Are you whining about eating the equivalent of 9-10 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (“1/2 breasts”) per day in addition to the other food you’d need to eat sufficient (500-100?) calories?



    • Richard Nikoley on April 21, 2014 at 07:09

      Hey John:

      Yea, that’s what Martin Berkhan called me when I wined about having to down 270g of lean protein on a workout day, keeping it lowish fat. I got a break on the 4 rest days though, where I only had to down 230g, and could eat fattier cuts.

    • John on April 21, 2014 at 07:50

      Yeah I followed the protocol for a while. The hard part for me was planning a day’s eating to account for such high protein, in the context of keeping the other macros at appropriate levels.

      As you say with eating fattier cuts on rest days – on both workout days and rest days it still takes a lot of effort to keep protein so high with real food and still maintain fat at the right level. Isolated powders let me consume mass protein, and keep macros “right.”

  11. Gina on April 21, 2014 at 10:33

    I poked around on Eades’ blog for the first and last time today. It’s like fundamentalist religion over there.

    I did learn that if you are having problems on a ketogenic diet, if it’s not in you’re head – which it probably is – you are cheating. And if you’re not cheating (you probably are), then you need to eat more fat or add supplements or take a sleeping pill or drink some coffee or wear a sweater or pop an ibuprofen, etc… Anything but add a single gram of carbohydrate. If you do instantly “cure” yourself by adding carbs, then you are an addict and there’s nothing to be done for you. You will die fat and alone.

    • gabriella kadar on April 21, 2014 at 16:32

      Gina: Hallelujah! You have seen the light. It’s a spotlight on the ProteinPower Guru.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 23, 2014 at 08:01


      I just deleted your insulting comments toward Gina, Gabriela and Duck.

      If you can’t be civil, please consider commenting elsewhere.

  12. Stacie on April 21, 2014 at 11:11


    Richard….Given all the diets you’ve tried, what diet would you recommend for a woman who is trying to lose 30lbs? The quicker the better too? If this was your wife asking… what would you tell her?


  13. Jennifer on April 21, 2014 at 12:01

    I ran across this site/blog strangely because of my concern for absorbing certain carbs/starches. I am always intrigued by new findings and also by myth busters. Here’s my issue. I have Celiac Disease and although as the above mentions we did not consume wheat thousands of years ago we did consume other types of grains..which I would be interested in trying. Trying to follow the traditional “Gluten Free Diet” as we call it, did not at all work for me. In my frustrations I came across “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”. This focuses on removing all modern grains and potato because of there starch factors due to the fact that they leave behind undigested sugars which in turn feed the “Bad Bacteria” whom are presumed to cause the big “D”. It’s premise is that of starving the bad bacteria and adding the good way of homemade yogurt. This as for many has worked in restoring my health. I do believe in the right “GUT” that the theory of certain starches being beneficial could be. But I am confused by what little I have read, that the undigested sugars are feeding the “Good Bacteria”… So are you maybe saying this is good only if the gut is not damaged or overtaken by bad bacteria. I apologize I may not have read enough to be sure that what I took from this is correct, but I would love some insight…
    Thanks for any info!

  14. PaleoJew on April 21, 2014 at 14:52

    This is a quote directly from Weston Price “Nutrition and Physical Degradation”
    “The food of these Eskimos in their native state includes caribou, ground nuts which are gathered by mice and stored in caches, kelp which is gathered in season and stored for winter use, berries including cranberries which are preserved by freezing, blossoms of flowers preserved in seal oil, sorrel grass preserved in seal oil, and quantities of frozen fish. Another important food factor consists of the organs of the large animals of the sea, including certain layers of the skin of one of the species of whale, which has been found to be very high in vitamin C.”
    I don’t know about cognitive dissonance but there can be no doubt Eskimos had a certain amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Weston Price saw it first hand! All native groups he studied ate varying amount of carbohydrate,protein and fat and enjoyed good health until adopting a typical western diet replete with sugar and white flour. That is the true enemy of health.

  15. Beans Mcgrady on April 21, 2014 at 17:43

    Duck, do you just enjoy people not getting the reference of your handle? (you never correct them)
    Did no one but me watch looney toons as a kid?
    This was the most egregious part of Dr.Eades’ post

    • DuckDodgers on April 22, 2014 at 01:04

      Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m from the 24th and a half century. I just laugh when they miss the reference.

    • Mark. on April 23, 2014 at 04:54

      You think he’d have gotten that the name is a parody of Buck Rogers even if he missed the Daffy Duck reference. Sigh. I guess Buck Rogers is yet more obscure than Warner Bros. cartoons of old.

  16. GTR on April 22, 2014 at 01:42

    That Eades guy clearly avoided to provide any direct measurment result that would show that Inuits are in the ketosis, and for what percent of the day. Basically the only argument that can prove his point. Anything less is not enough, as background knowledge about people tells us that people as species statistically are not in ketosis if not starving/fasting, and the only direct measurment results for Inuit provided give the same result as for the rest of the world – not in ketosis. We also know ketosis is a delicate state, that needs to be maintaned outside of starvation scope, not just one of the common states of human organism.
    He also makes some assumptions, one example being deriving suppsed characteristics of Inuit fat metabolism from how it behaves in modern Americans – that is most likely white people, while we know there are huge differences between various populations. For example whites have some unique Neanderthal genes,
    “Although Neanderthals are extinct, fragments of their genomes persist in contemporary humans. Here we show that while the genome-wide frequency of Neanderthal-like sites is approximately constant across all contemporary out-of-Africa populations, genes involved in lipid catabolism contain more than threefold excess of such sites in contemporary humans of European descent. Evolutionally, these genes show significant association with signatures of recent positive selection in the contemporary European, but not Asian or African populations. Functionally, the excess of Neanderthal-like sites in lipid catabolism genes can be linked with a greater divergence of lipid concentrations and enzyme expression levels within this pathway, seen in contemporary Europeans, but not in the other populations. We conclude that sequence variants that evolved in Neanderthals may have given a selective advantage to anatomically modern humans that settled in the same geographical areas.” ”

    while Sherpas use more glucose for the heart than other people

    “CLIMBERS envy Sherpas their ability to thrive on thin mountain air. Now Canadian researchers have discovered how Sherpas’ hearts use oxygen more efficiently than those of lowlanders.

    When oxygen is abundant, heart muscle cells get most of their energy from burning free fatty acids, breakdown products of fat. While these fatty acids yield more energy than any other foods, they are relatively wasteful of oxygen. Glucose has a lower yield but is more efficient. Peter Hochachka and his team at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver believe that Sherpas’ heart muscles rely more on glucose than on fatty acids. Using glucose, the muscles can produce up to 60 per cent more energy for every molecule of oxygen. ”
    Basically extrapolating Europeas -> some population living at extremes is not justified.

  17. sally on April 22, 2014 at 04:44

    Thanks for introducing me to Arthur Haines; quite an old soul.

  18. MC on April 22, 2014 at 08:02

    The debate over the Inuit, I think Duck is probably right, but I think he’s as biased as it gets, to the point of not wanting to ever admit he’s wrong, even when he knows he is.

    It’s just an observation from my discussions with him.

    Eades might have the same problem.

    • GTR on April 22, 2014 at 13:00

      Shouldn’t Vitamin C be underlined too? We primates have a mutation, that makes us unable to intrenally produce Vitamin C, while it is still required for basic function of our organisms. Thus in natural environments we are obligate plant eaters. So a mainly-fat diet is possible mainly thanks to supplements.

      Sources of Vitamin C:
      Possible “advantages” of the mutation – easier conversion of fructose to fat:
      Internal production in various animals:

    • Duck Dodgers on April 22, 2014 at 08:25

      Thanks MC! Unlike Dr. Eades, I’m confident enough to admit my biases. My bias is that I have a hypothesis and a belief that all indigenous cultures prized their carbohydrates. It’s hardly an Earth-shattering hypothesis. And I’m seeing evidence to support that hypothesis in every culture I’ve come across.

      So, I’ve simply looked for evidence to support that hypothesis. If that’s the definition of confirmation bias, so be it. If Doctor Eades, or anyone else wants to prove that hypothesis incorrect, they should provide some actual evidence that counters the evidence I’ve presented. So far I just hear whiny dismissals and overly simplistic explanations on a rather complex subject. It’s rather disappointing actually and it strikes me as stemming from a lack of intellectual curiosity.

      And mind you, my hypothesis does absolutely nothing to minimize the efficacy of a very low carb diet for those who need it. If someone needs to avoid carbs, I support their choice to do so. So, this hypothesis should hardly be a threat to anyone.


    • Duck Dodgers on April 22, 2014 at 08:43

      And as for challenging my own biases, I try to seek out cultures that supposedly ate no carbs and challenge myself to figure out if and how they obtained carbohydrates.

      Most recently I stumbled upon the Sami people of Northern Scandinavia, who supposedly just ate some berries and some flat breads. They appear to be rather low carb. But, upon closer inspection, I found that they had a hidden carbohydrate staple, in addition to their prized berries.

      They ate lots of tree bark when carbs weren’t available.

      From: Bark – healthy and tasty! (via Google Translate)

      A special status in elderly Sami cuisine consumed dried or roasted inner bark of pine. This part of the bark, i.e. the thin layer between the wood and the thick outer bark is rich in carbohydrates, vitamin C and minerals. It also has cholesterol lowering properties…

      …The use of the inner bark as a food supplement has been all over the Saami settlement area, Sápmi. Bark has also been used as a foodstuff among Siberian peoples and of Native Americans in North America…

      ..The bark is harvested in large quantities during savningsperioden in late June and was put up in storage for the winter…The bark could be eaten fresh, and was perceived then as a delicacy. Dried and chopped into flakes mixed it in various dishes. Bark flakes were a common ingredient in fish, meat and blood soups and broths…

      …Pine bark has in no way been nödföda but on the contrary been a coveted staple resource.

      It’s kind of like a game — find the prized carbohydrates for every culture.

    • Gemma on April 22, 2014 at 22:53

      @Duck Dodgers

      Great find, the bark. Which inspires me to put a link on How to eat a tree:

      and an incredible wiki page on famine foods which looks like Tatertot’s shopping list. I just hope he doesn’t eat cats.

    • Heather on April 23, 2014 at 06:32

      My mother line (my haplogroup) is V according to 23andme. V runs about 40% among the Saami. So this is kind of cool to me. Thanks. (V is also popular among the Scottish folk and my mother is Scottish).

      “The Saami
      The Saami, also known as the Lapps or Laplanders, are an indigenous ethnic group of northern Scandinavia and Russia’s Kola peninsula. Because their language belongs to the Finno-Ugric linguistic group, which appears to have originated in Russia, they were previously thought to have come from northern Asia or the Urals. But genetic analysis, including the detection of haplogroup V among the Saami, indicates that they probably migrated to their homeland from southern Europe after the Ice Age.
      Haplogroup V appears at levels of about 40% in the Saami, and like the other two common haplogroups in the population, H1 and U5b1b1, it clearly originated in Europe. The haplogroup appears to have expanded from Iberia through central Europe after the Ice Age. It is found today at levels of about 10% percent in the Maris, an ethnic group living along the Volga in Russia, which suggests the Saami may have approached their Arctic homeland by traveling up that river and its tributaries toward the Baltic.
      The high frequency of V in the Saami is due to the population shrinking to a small size several thousand years ago, then subsequently expanding. It is not known why this occurred. However, when this happens, some lineages randomly become more frequent while others disappear. Because of this V is more common in the Saami than other Europeans, including their Scandinavian neighbors.
      A distinctive archaeological site – a cemetery on an island in a lake near St. Petersburg – suggests that ancestors of the Saami may have reached the Baltic region as much as 8,500 years ago. Saami groups in far northwestern Russia buried their dead on lake islands until the mid-19th century.”

    • Duck Dodgers on April 23, 2014 at 08:12

      GTR, I’ve been impressed at how often Vitamin C seems to coincide with carbs in nature. Vitamin C is found in liver, potatoes, whale skin, tree bark. These are also fairly carby foods.

      Additionally, chronically low insulin levels has been tied to Vitamin C degradation and loss, even when Vitamin C is supplemented in the diet.

    • Bret on July 20, 2014 at 19:00

      Unlike Dr. Eades, I’m confident enough to admit my biases.

      In one of the comments, Dr. Mike said he was done reading FTA. My first thought was, “Well, that will certainly aid the cognitive dissonance, won’t it?”

      If I wasn’t such a puss, I would have posted that. But I will post something else below here shortly that will be close to the same level of retort. It will just be more reasoned and less trash talk. (Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with the latter.)

    • Bret on July 20, 2014 at 21:29

      Something’s missing above.

      How about, “Well, that will certainly aid the cognitive dissonance reduction, won’t it?”

  19. Duck Dodgers on April 22, 2014 at 08:10

    Good lord. More bad news for Stefensson fans.

    If anyone thinks that the Jennifer Niven books on Stefensson (Ada BlackJack and <The Ice Master) weren’t enough to make your skin crawl, Gisli Pálsson’s, Travelling Passions: The Hidden Life of Vilhjalmur Stefansson extends even more questions that weren’t previously considered.

    From Review: Gisli Palsson, Travelling Passions: The Hidden Life of Vilhjalmur Stefansson

    Stefansson was a shameless self-promoter who was clearly an engaging and dynamic speaker and a wonderfully clear and lucid writer. Such self-promotion was born of the necessity to make a living out of his work, but in the process the quality and credibility of his work suffered. His “scientific” anthropological output is slim: one report for the American Museum of Natural History which was never finished and had to be completed for him by the museum director (he was away on another expedition at the time) and the rather peculiar ethnography, My Life with the Eskimo (1913), which reads more like a travelogue than an ethnographic report…

    … Pálsson establishes that while he was engaged to Cecil Smith, Stefansson had an intimate relationship with an Inuvialuit woman, Pannigabluk; intimate enough that the couple had a son, Alex. While Stefansson’s relationship was well known in the North both to Inuvialuit (their cultural mores provide no reason to deny it) and northern administrators (Alex always used Stefansson as his last name), Stefansson himself consistently denied any such relationship. Pannigabluk is virtually erased from Stefansson’s published accounts, and while she appears frequently in his diaries, no mention is made of any relationship between the two. A critical entry that may provide insight into the relationship is crossed out in such a way that even Vatican palaeography experts cannot decipher it (p. 109)! Stefansson is listed as Alex’s father in the Anglican baptismal records of the time. Pálsson goes into careful detail to explore whether, at any time or to any person, Stefansson may have actually admitted the existence of his son in the North. The evidence is largely negative. This is despite the fact that he might have continued to support both Pannigabluk and Alex through a Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) account, although there are no HBC records to support this.

    Why should we care about the sexual adventures of an anthropologist one hundred years ago? It is precisely because it is now clear that Pannigabluk acted as Stefansson’s primary cultural and linguistic interpreter, and that much of the data in Stefansson’s ethnography comes from Pannigabluk and her (evidently very strong) opinions. This means that the information that has been constituted as the baseline data on the Mackenzie Inuit is limited in scope, and raises the critical question of who was Pannigabluk and what was her position in Inuvialuit society? This is a much more difficult question to answer, but it now challenges researchers in the field to take into account this bias and re-read Stefansson’s work with new lenses.

    Hmm… I can’t imagine why the New York Times obituary writers didn’t mention it. 🙂

    • Paleophil on April 22, 2014 at 20:59

      Gisli Palsson is a Professor of Anthropology, so he will be difficult for VLC and ZC proponents to dismiss. To sum up, it’s Stefansson’s opinions vs. those of…

      – Gisli Palsson, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iceland
      – Ada BlackJack (and her family), the Iñupiat Inuit “female Robinson Crusoe,” sole survivor of one of the ill-fated expeditions conceived of by Stefansson
      – Weston A. Price, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, who also observed and wrote about Eskimo peoples and reported that they ate ground nuts, kelp, berries (inlcluding frozen berries in the winter months), flower blossoms and sorrel grass
      – Alaskan Tatertot Tim Steele, who reported that indigenous Alaskans who know of Stefansson hold a low opinion of him
      – Bear Grylls, British adventurer, writer and television presenter, who filmed an episode of “Man vs. Wild” in Alaska and said of wild Eskimo potatoes: “many people say it’s the most valuable food source in all of Alaska” (Season 1, Episode 3, “Alaskan Mountain Range”)

      Why should we believe Stefansson over these other people? And let us also not forget that even Stefansson tends to be misrepresented by ZCers and VLCers. Stefansson acknowledged in Fat of the Land (p. xxvi) that Labrador and Alaska Eskimos ate vegetables and he wrote of the Holiday Diet (aka the Dupont diet) that he called “nonfattening”: “even with a few things like lettuce and potato, we may well name this regimen for the Eskimos.”

    • Paleophil on April 23, 2014 at 04:08

      PS, I don’t think Stefansson was absolutely wrong or right about everything, but somewhere in between (like most imperfect human beings), and I’m not trying to imply that those people disagreed with him on absolutely everything. I found Stefansson’s writings to include some interesting contradictions of zero carb dogma, like those above. Read what Stef actually wrote, rather than rely on ZC interpretations.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 23, 2014 at 14:00

      Paleophil, I found this entry on Eskimo potatoes that you wrote awhile back.

      That’s pretty interesting! When I did some more digging on the tuber (Hedysarum alpinum) — which is also mentioned by Richard in the beginning of this article — I found that that particular tuber was one of the most coveted staple foods for Dena’ina People, who (Tim, correct me if I’m wrong here) were the original inhabitants of Southcentral Alaska. It seems the Dena’ina People arrived in Alaska sometime between 1,000 and 1,500 years ago — while the Inuit are descendants from the Thule, who arrived 1,000 years ago. If the Inuit have only been living this lifestyle for 1,000 years, that makes them a very modern culture. The Inuit certainly aren’t a “Paleo” culture by any stretch of the imagination. Heck, Christianity is older than the Inuit and Thule culture.

      At any rate, the wikipedia page for these potatoes (Hedysarum alpinum) says:

      From: Wikipedia: Hedysarum alpinum

      Alpine sweetvetch is an important source of food for many types of animals, including black bears, grizzly bears, American bison, moose, Dall’s sheep, and caribou. Bears are adept at digging up the nutritious roots. The roots are a primary food for grizzly bears in some areas, such as Banff National Park. In parts of Alaska this plant is a primary food for Dall’s sheep and caribou. Many small mammals, such as voles and short-tailed weasels eat it, and a variety of birds nest in alpine sweetvetch habitat.

      Native Alaskan peoples used and still use the plant for food, particularly the fleshy roots. The roots are said to taste like young carrots. The Inupiat people call the plant wild potato and obtain dietary fiber from the roots. Alpine sweetvetch is the most important food source for the Dena’ina people after wild fruit species. The Eskimo train dogs to locate stores of roots that have been cached by mice.

      So, from what I’m seeing here, the cultures that inhabited Alaska before the Thule and Inuit coveted these tubers.

    • Gemma on April 23, 2014 at 14:17

      Deepening my bias by googling for “edible arctic plants” which reveals this paper, sorry if already posted.

    • tatertot on April 23, 2014 at 14:22

      Hey, Duck! I’ve been playing around with Eskimo Potato for years, munching them every fall. I read this article in our paper several years ago and remembered thinking, ‘boy if only they knew how bad carbs were’ ha! What an idiot low carbing makes of us. I should have seen right away that low carbing on purpose was idiotic and we need to take advantage of natural carb sources. I’ve never seen a nutrition breakdown on Eskimo Potatoes but I’ll bet they are rich in RS and/or inulin. Here is article describing importance of Eskimo Potato to the natives of the inland part of AK:

      And we even have a wikipedia page:

      But here’s the real kick in the butt. An invasive species of vetch, called Bird Vetch, has taken over the landscape and has been declared an invasive species subject to much use of government herbicides and eradication programs. It looks exactly like Eskimo Potato except for the root. Last year, the state sprayed 1/2 mile of road that was my primary Eskimo Potato patch because they thought it was Bird Vetch.

    • Arthur Haines on April 23, 2014 at 14:45

      Dear Duck Dodgers,

      Hedysarum alpinum is a circumpolar species. It is represented in North America by subspecies americanum, but subspecies alpinum occurs in the Old World. There, the practice of gathering from caches of rodents (such as voles) was also documented (such as the Barabin Tatars of western Siberia). It is likely this practice of consuming these rhizomes is much older than what was practiced by Alaska natives. For some groups, it was customary to leave an offering (such as smoked fish) to the rodent that had gathered the rhizomes (as a show of gratitude). Best wishes.

    • Duck Dodgers on April 23, 2014 at 15:02


      Thanks so much for offering your expertise to this complex discussion. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

      I’m glad you mentioned the offering. Tim had mentioned “mouse food” a few weeks ago, but truth be told I felt bad for the mice that worked so hard to complete it’s Winter cache, only to have it stolen by humans. At least they weren’t completely heartless about stealing those mouse rhizomes and knowing that kind of gesture existed brought a little smile to my face. (Though, I’m sure the mouse was still peeved when he got home to find his rhizomes missing!)

    • Paleophil on April 24, 2014 at 04:03

      Bear Grylls claimed that Eskimo potatoes are still recognized as “the most valuable food source in all of Alaska.” My guess is that “Eskimos” of any era would have tried to get at least one of two important foods: sea mammals or underground storage organs like Eskimo potatoes.

  20. David on April 22, 2014 at 09:45

    Richard, what happened to your LLVLC Show appearance?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 22, 2014 at 10:24

      Nothing. It’s recorded. I need to get the intro recorded, then get the files and show notes off by the 25th. It airs on the 28th. It’s on Jimmy’s schedule.

  21. rob on April 22, 2014 at 11:24

    Re the reference to resistant starch “debate” in the tweet, to some people on the net such a debate actually exists, but for the vast majority of people in the real world there is no debate, they do an n=1 and either it is beneficial for them or it isn’t, there is nothing to debate.

  22. Moreorless on April 22, 2014 at 19:50

    His blog post shouldn’t be a surprise. Long winded blog posts to distract from the debate are his style. It’s embarrassing people can’t see through his reality evading schtick.

  23. LCHF_Graham on April 23, 2014 at 14:05

    I wonder what comes next? An endorsement of the 30 bananas a day crowd? Sugar as a new health food?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 23, 2014 at 16:06

      “I wonder what comes next? An endorsement of the 30 bananas a day crowd? Sugar as a new health food?”

      Thanks for illustrating where your thinking is at, that it’s all about being on various sides and in terms of the ones you’re counter to, there are no distinctions to make.

  24. LeonRover on April 24, 2014 at 05:23

    Thule is SOOOOOHHH romantic and so Final.

    Edgar Allen:
    “By a route obscure and lonely,
    Haunted by ill angels only,
    Where an Eidolon, named Night,
    On a black throne reigns upright,
    I have reached these lands but newly
    From an ultimate dim Thule –
    From a wild weird clime, that lieth, sublime,

    Out of Space – out of Time.”

    (Fave of Michael Connelly also.)

    This band the Ultimate favourite of Andreas Eenfeldt:


  25. Gemma on April 25, 2014 at 01:34

    Today’s quiz: Who wrote following lines:

    “I have in my diaries and notes many a case of suffering and death caused by scurvy in the Alaska and Yukon gold rushes. […] When he [the miner] recognized his trouble as scurvy he made such efforts as were possible to get the things which he believed would cure him. Apparently the miners had the strongest faith in raw potatoes.
    The broadest conclusion to be drawn from our comfort, enjoyment, and long-range well-being on meat is that the human body is a sounder and more competent job than we give it credit for. Apparently you can eat healthy on meat without vegetables, on vegetables without meat, or on a mixed diet.
    While meat eaters seem to average well in heath, we must in our conclusion draw a caution from the most complete modern example of them the Eskimos of Coronation Gulf, when he was anthropologist on my third expedition, that the two chief causes of death were accidents and old age. This puts in a different form my saying that these survivors of the stone age were the healthiest people I have ever lived among.
    The danger is that you may reason from this good health to a great longevity. But meat eaters do not appear to live long. So far as we can tell, the Eskimos, before the white men upset their physiological as well as their economic balance, lived on the average at least ten years less than we. Now their lives average still shorter; but that is partly from communicated diseases.
    Perhaps it may be considered that meat is, overall, a stimulating diet, in the sense that metabolic processes are speeded up. You are then living at a faster rate, which means you would grow up rapidly and get old soon. This is perhaps confirmed by that early maturing of Eskimo women which I have heretofore supposed to be mainly due to their almost complete protection from chill – they live in warm dwellings and dress warmly so that the body is seldom under stress to maintain by physiological processes a temperature balance. It may be that meat as a speeder-up of metabolism explains in part both that Eskimo women are sometimes grandmothers before the age of twenty-three, and that they usually seem as old at sixty as our women do at eighty.”

    Dr. Eades did not know the answer in 2006, see in the comments:

  26. Charles on April 26, 2014 at 11:28

    I’ve said from the beginning of this long conversation that we are going to start looking back at traditional diets (like that of the Inuit) and realize the importance–maybe the critical importance–of food sources we dismissed in the past as fill-ins and throwaways, because they were low in caloric value, or in the micro- or macro-nutrients we saw as important or essential. The lens we are looking through has defined a “Vitamin RS,” and knowing (or hypothesizing) that it is as essential as any other essential nutrient, we’re going to start to notice, and assign importance to, things we hadn’t noticed before, like Duck’s evidence of glycogen from meat, or wild eskimo potatoes. We are operating in a very different paradigm than Dr. Eades and the LC crowd, and people operating within different paradigms often find it challenging-to-impossible to converse. As Thomas Kuhn suggests, we may have to just wait for them to die out…;=)

    • Richard Nikoley on April 26, 2014 at 11:45

      Indeed, especially with abject morons like Danny Albers, if you saw his comment.

    • LeonRover on April 26, 2014 at 12:28

      Oh, Yeah, Danny – AKA Primal, a younger bro’ of Ollie.

    • Ataraxia on April 26, 2014 at 12:40

      Oh no, not a moron. That characterization is being generous.

      Danny Albers is a bold-faced liar.

      There is no way he doesn’t know that this site first pointed out the benefits of Potato Starch for Ketogenic dieters and championed it for that purpose ever since.

      No way he missed the repeated statements all over this site acknowledging the benefits of Therapeutic ketogenic diets and even of transient ketosis or fasting.

      No way he ‘missed’ that the naming problem of ‘starch’ was identified right here at the start, from the negative reactions of various VLC advocates who thought it would get digested like normal starch.

      He is trying to put the shoe on the other foot.
      Of course, it doesn’t fit.

      Unless someone is both blind and lazy.

      So he knows he’s only appealing to the ignorant who need ‘talking points’ and who won’t do their own homework.
      He’s welcome to them?

    • tatertot on April 26, 2014 at 12:56

      Hi, Atty! Thanks for calling the ‘man’ out, he needed it. I’m starting to see a trend of people doing hit and run comments about the things we have dissected thoroughly in the past year…persorption, auto-immune flares, joint pain, nightshade intolerance, etc… We didn’t hide anything, and in fact when we started all this it was in part to crowd-source a reason for it to be a bad idea or put it to rest forever.

      RS was ‘discovered’ 30 years ago, and would pop up periodically, but no one could ever come up with a way to get more than 5g down a person’s throat in a day. Now we have a way to get 40g without much effort.

      At this point, it’s not about potato starch, but gut health. If the Danny Albers of the world can find convincing arguments against a healthy gut microbiome, I’m all ears.

      I don’t mind people slamming potato starch or RS, but they could at least offer a similarly effective prebiotic…and they are out there. Ask Ducks Dodger, he knows!

    • Duck Dodgers on April 26, 2014 at 14:30

      That’s right tatertot! If you look around the Interwebs enough, you’ll find people with some very challenging gut problems who tried RS, failed, and instead of giving up found greater success trying some very interesting alternative prebiotics: GOS, FOS, Larch, RS, Plantain, Apple Pectin, Inulin, Polyphenols, NAG, Beta-glucans, and we are finding more sources of these all the time.

      “Gestalt” has been exploring all of these alternative prebiotics on his blog and mentions them here on his excellent RS post:

      The most fascinating I’ve seen so far from him is tree-based prebiotics. Larch Arabinogalactan is basically ground up tree bark. At first I thought this was an unnatural product for humans, but as we’ve been discussing above, it turns out the Sami people of Northern Scandinavia ate lots of tree bark. That was how they got their prebiotics (and carbs)!

      And guess what? Supposedly it’s very gentle on the stomach and well tolerated by those who don’t tolerate RS all that well!

      Supposedly Larch produces a lot of propionate, which RS actually doesn’t produce much of. So, it’s on the other side of the prebiotic spectrum. For some people, that can be particularly therapeutic depending on what their conditions are.

      Thorne’s Arabinex is one option and Eclectic Institute Larix is another. Normally the Larch instructions say to only take a little because it offers amazing immune therapeutic properties in small doses. However, Gestalt has tried it in larger quantities (~3 tbsp/day) to harness its prebiotic powers and has had very good success with his challenges.

      I think one of the reasons RS is so exciting for the average person is that it is extremely cheap and easy. How can you beat $3.99 per pound?

      Larch and other prebiotics can be quite expensive to use on a daily basis — but it can be worth it for those with challenging issues. And the added cost can be justified in the same way that a daily Starbucks is. And once you see the therapeutic power of some of these other prebiotics, it’s extremely easy to make that justification.

    • Charles on April 27, 2014 at 17:44

      The Maasai diet included tree bark. And as I said above, a lot of these things are going to start to make sense now, and tell us how these diets actually worked over generations.

      “e Maasai make everyday use of the bark, seeds, leaves and roots of many trees, shrubs and plants for medicinal purposes, both for themselves and their
      livestock. Many traditional Maasai remedies are effective. For example, orupanti, pl.i-rupanti is the commiphora tree (Commiphora zimmermannii). It is used as medicine for children, the roots for treatment of snake bit, and the leaves infused in water and the liquid drunk in case of fever. The leaf stalks heated in the fire are chewed to relieve toothache. The bark cooked with meat is said to prevent indigestion. The bark is also chewed and the juices swallowed to relieve constipation, abdominal pain and stomach ache.”

  27. Charles on April 27, 2014 at 17:46

    From WebMD:

    Arabinogalactan is a starch-like chemical that is found in many plants, but it is found in highest concentrations in Larch trees. Larch arabinogalactan is used for medicine. Most of the larch arabinogalactan you will find in stores is produced from Western Larch (Larch occidentalis). However, larch arabinogalactan can also be produced by other larch tree species.

    Larch arabinogalactan is used for infections, including the common cold, flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, ear infections in children, and HIV/AIDS. It is also used to treat liver cancer, as well as a brain condition caused by liver damage (hepatic encephalopathy). Some people use it to provide dietary fiber, lower cholesterol, and to boost the immune system.

    In foods, larch arabinogalactan is used as a stabilizer, binder, and sweetener.

    How does it work?
    Larch arabinogalactan is a fiber that ferments in the intestine. It might increase intestinal bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, and have other effects that could be beneficial to digestive tract health. There is also information that suggests larch arabinogalactan might boost the immune system and help prevent cancer cells in the liver from growing.

  28. Bret on July 20, 2014 at 19:38

    Without intending to kiss Richard’s ass to a nauseatingly shameful and overt degree, I must say that this post is absolute music to my ears (g.d. it! music to my eyes (much better)).

    Cognitive dissonance and confirmation/selection bias are important issues to be aware of, no doubt about it. But invoking them in a debate is neither a punch line nor a trump card. “Thou art reducing thine dissonance and indulging in bias, and thus thou art inferior to me…mwahahahaha!” Sorry, Mr. I Enjoy Smelling My Own Farts Beyond A Reasonable Amount (this refers to a hypothetical person, not anyone in particular), but you are still a human being, your number twos still stink, and you are just as susceptible to those follies as any other stinky-turded human being.

    Otherwise, as the brilliant and funny Tom Naughton pointed out in his brilliant and funny speech about the Wisdom of Crowds, you would never formulate any beliefs. You can’t hold opinions, discover things, or live life in general without doing so, so just stop with the “I am above all that crap” crap. You’re not. Even if you’re a doctor. And trying to fool yourself into believing you are only discredits you.

    However, in Dr. Eades’ view, pointing out inconsistencies in the standard narrative surrounding the Inuit constitutes “confirmation bias” and “cognitive dissonance,” while holding to the standard narrative and dismissing many reasonable questions, facts and interpretations is a demonstration of impartiality and cognitive consonance.

    Could not possibly agree more. The post REEKED of this, and the fact that it did not occur to Dr. Mike was, in light of the respect I have held for him for a long time, truly baffling to me.

    …Or, you can waste endless hours debating who’s right and who’s wrong; who’s biased and who’s impartial; who’s cognitively dissonant and who’s consonant.

    Which is exactly what Dr. Mike led himself into doing with that silly post. I doubt it occurred to him that he would end up defending himself along these lines from some of his own commenters.

    As long as we realize we are (ahem) biased–as people who spend inordinate amounts of time discussing bias often seem unable or unwilling to do–we can give ourselves permission to be biased! It is part of our human nature. As long as we treat new, potentially contradictory information with curiosity instead of hostility, our intelligence and our bias can coexist relatively peacefully.

    That strategy seems a hell of a lot smarter and less hypocritical than shaking our finger at others for possessing flaws that we ourselves clearly possess also.

  29. Bret on July 20, 2014 at 19:46

    I submitted the comment below a couple of days ago at the blog post under discussion at, in a thread that was started by commenter annique, who made some very thoughtful and intelligent comments. The blog says the comment is still awaiting moderation, but I would not be surprised if it mysteriously never penetrates the moderation barrier. It is, after all, much less worshipful than the typical comment over there. But I spent a lot of time typing it (mainly because it is long as hell), so I hope Richard will not mind my sharing it here. If Dr. Mike does end up allowing it to post at, I will clarify that here.

    I agree with Annique that the protein consumption is the 800-lb gorilla in the room here. We can go back and forth all day long about how long glycogen survives post mortem, but the point seems irrelevant at best in the context of a diet that contains >200 g/day of protein.

    On that note, I find myself squirming a bit to find Dr. Eades saying:

    I don’t think the Inuit ate five to eight pounds of meat per day

    …without offering any evidence to support that claim (more precisely, without offering any evidence to refute the existing documentation, such as on p. 2 of this ACJN report). The only explanation I have seen for this skepticism–and if I have missed another or others, please forgive my error and point me to them–is that raw meat is difficult to consume period, let alone in large quantities. This explanation is wholly subjective and speculative in this discussion of the diets of other people, who may not share that opinion. Also, I don’t find it illogical to suppose that extremely active specimens who expend lots of energy (a) fighting like heck to survive in the primitive environment of an extreme climate, (b) maintaining their own body temperature even when sedentary, and (c) raising the temperature of the food and water they consume, would have an easier time, perhaps significantly so, consuming raw meat than those of us who live in undeniably greater comfort and tolerate much less disparity between our food temperature and our body temperature. But, I am speculating (in regards to speculation), so I’ll move on.

    I’ll have to go with the existing documentation and assume that the Inuit were consuming between 225 and 262.5 g/day of protein on average (30-35% of 3000 avg daily kcal per the same AJCN article linked above). I feel any other assumption would not be rooted in data and thus expose me to justifiable accusations of selectively distorting the available information to fit my own bias–unless, of course, I could cite any documentation to corroborate my alternate claim.

    Another statement from Dr. E. causes my head to itch:

    And I’m not sure that the protein in a lot of fatty meat would interfere with ketosis. Why would it?

    Well, unless I am incorrectly reading the first Bill Lagakos post that Dr. E. linked above, this is why: (emphasis mine)

    Why must protein remain in the lower end of the spectrum for ketosis? Dietary protein and/or amino acids are necessary and essential for survival <– fact. When taken in excess, some are stored as glycogen, some are oxidized. Ketosis relies on a need for “fat-derived fuels.” If liver glycogen is full, then some of that glycogen reduces the need for said fuels. Further, ketones are derived from hepatic fatty acid oxidation; if liver is getting plenty of energy from oxidizing amino acids, it certainly won’t need any from fat.

    Oddly, in the second article, Dr. Lagakos patently contradicted his own words quoted above, concluding that “high protein” in fact does not interfere with ketosis–“high” being defined as 129 g/day in a Dr. Phinney experiment.

    I’m afraid I can’t make the connection between an experiment showing steady ketosis from 129 g/day and assumed ketosis in the Inuit with a consumption of (at least) 225 g/day…the latter daily rate being 74% greater than the former. Ketosis under the latter consumption rate is not only contradicted by Dr. Lagakos’ comment quoted above, but would undeniably be doubted or at least questioned by most people who are familiar with the basic nuts and bolts of nutritional ketosis, including Dr. Phinney, who wrote with Dr. Volek on p. 66 of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance:

    …significantly over-consuming protein can be problematic because some of these extra amino acids can be converted to glucose in the body, raising insulin levels, and thus driving down ketones and suppressing fat burning.

    …and then proceeded to recommend (ibid) that people set the upper limit of their protein intake range at 1.0 g per lb of lean body mass per day. Even if the Inuits were super buff He-Man beasts, the average lean body mass would not even come close to 225 lbs. (Admittedly, I cannot find very solid data out there on the Inuits’ average height, weight, or body composition. I feel I am making a reasonable claim here, but that is for you all to judge.)

    Lastly, Dr. E. has suggested in this post that a lack of direct evidence of Inuit ketosis could be explained by the supposition that a lifetime of ketoadaptation caused the Inuit to produce ketones so efficiently that readings did not register. While I cannot prove that is not the case, I doubt Dr. E. in turn can prove that it is. In the absence of evidence, this explanation seems little different from a random grasp at straws to weave a consistent narrative. In other words, it looks to me like the same sort of device that Dr. E. accused Duck Dodgers of employing in their debate. You’ll have to forgive me, but this reminds me of the instances in which Ancel Keys explained evidence contradicting his hypothesis in primitive African tribes by saying those peoples’ physiology had strayed from that of civilized cultures, and thus we could not hold them to the same metrical standards as the rest of us. This is not a 100% level comparison, because Dr. E. is using speculation to proffer a hypothesis, rather than to resist hard evidence (as Keys did). But at the same time, he is proffering this hypothesis to justify his position in a debate, and so the lines are largely blurred. Therefore, the comparison is not 0% level, either. Suffice to say, if Dr. E. could demonstrate with some documented data somewhere that a long period of ketoadaptation has this effect, that would certainly help eclipse my (what I feel is more than reasonable) skepticism of such a claim.

    I respect Dr. Eades and likely always will. Anyone who overcomes the inert blob of the federally funded/regulated/bullied medical bureaucratic dogma on his own initiative and then writes books pointing out the emperor’s nudity is, by definition, a stand-up guy (or gal, in the case of the many women who have done the same). I mean that with relentless sincerity, as putting oneself out there in such a way exposes one to endless criticism, including potential violence or threats thereof from zealous kooks who just want everyone to shut up and color. It is not my intent to smear Dr. E. or insult him here, nor to defend or praise Duck. Certainly, Duck is a fallible human being and displays flaws consistent to that human effect.

    But, after reading this blog post, most of the accompanying comment section, and much of the other information out on the web on these topics, I am concluding that Dr. Eades is a human being too with the same sort of flaws. His arguments have not been particularly compelling, as demonstrated above, but instead seem to indicate the same sort of blind spot he is accusing others of holding.

    More pertinently, I don’t see any convincing evidence (that’s the real key here, isn’t it?) that the Inuit’s native diet promotes ketosis. To argue otherwise in a scientific context would be to substitute my own speculation for scientific data, and I think we have had enough of that.

    • Duck Dodgers on July 29, 2014 at 10:02

      The only explanation I have seen for this skepticism–and if I have missed another or others, please forgive my error and point me to them–is that raw meat is difficult to consume period, let alone in large quantities


      The literature suggests that it’s the other way around — it’s supposedly easier to consume much larger quantities of raw meat. It’s the cooked meat that’s difficult to consume in large quantities.

      For instance, Gemma uncovered this very interesting quote:

      From: Narrative of a Pedestrian Journey Through Russia and Siberian Tartary: From the Frontiers of China to the Frozen: Sea and Kamtchatka

      The scurvy rages during winter with the poorer and consequently with the greater, proportion of the inhabitants of the Kolyma, because they, the poorer sort, cannot afford to eat raw fish, it being an article of luxury. It is true, that a most prodigious quantity of fish is caught on the banks of the Kolyma, but it does not follow that such a quantity is eaten raw ; indeed it is only a very small proportion that can be so consumed, and that quantity is naturally bought up and retained by the more wealthy part of the community. Herrings are the principal productions of the Kolyma, and are retained for the dogs. Red salmon constitute the next quantity, and are universally used by all classes, by being boiled, or dried up into youkola. The nailma, and, I think the osioter, being white fish, are the only species that are eaten in a raw state ; while mocksou and mock son are expressly converted into youkola, one for man and the other for dogs. There is also another reason why the poorer classes cannot partake of raw fish ; it is not only dear and scarce, but it is a most extravagant mode of eating fish, for a person can consume three times the quantity in a raw state, that he can either boiled or in the way of youkola. I hope this statement will be understood by my readers.

      Once I read that, I could see that Sinclair (1953) had figured it all out — the Inuit really were eating such large quantities of meat. And, as he points out, they had to in order to burn enough calories to stay warm.

      Sinclair shows other published evidence of large quantities of raw meat being consumed. But, I haven’t seen any reliable published evidence that it’s difficult to consume large quantities of raw meat. And if you’ve ever consumed sashimi, you know that it’s very easy to consume very large quantities.

    • Bret on July 29, 2014 at 11:08

      Thanks for sharing, Duck. That is interesting indeed, and illuminating besides.

      As I was reading down the comment section over at, I was mystified that anyone, let alone the blogger, would argue with apparent sincerity that the documented raw meat consumption data is inaccurate simply because he personally believes raw meat is difficult to consume–taking no account of the extreme climate, the lack of other food options available, differences in personal taste, etc.

      It seemed so ridiculous, I was half convinced it was a joke, especially in light of the discussion topic that the whole blog post was named after. But there’s no doubt in my mind now that he was 100% serious.

    • Duck Dodgers on July 29, 2014 at 11:33


      If you look at the Raw Paleo Diet and Lifestyle Forum you’ll find people sharing their stories of eating raw meat on a regular basis. Of course, none of them need to consume 4,000+ calories a day (like an Inuit adult might), so few seem to eat those large quantities. And yet, you will find a few of these raw meat eaters consuming between 2 to 4 pounds of meat per day.

      And, if you read through their posts, you’ll notice a common theme. Many of them claim that cooked meat feels unnatural in the stomach and does not digest well. And because of that they say they can’t tolerate very much cooked meat compared to the amount of raw meat they consume.

      One theory is that raw meat comes with all of its enzymes necessary for its digestion. Whereas cooked meat requires the body to produce its own enzymes.

      But, there you have it. People who don’t need even need to expend as much energy as an Inuit are easily consuming 2 to 4 pounds of raw meat per day.

      And if you are living in the Arctic, producing your own body heat and internally thawing the frozen meat you eat, you’re going to have even greater energy expenditures. Somehow the VLCers don’t want to deal with these realities.

    • Bret on July 29, 2014 at 23:25

      Somehow the VLCers don’t want to deal with these realities.

      Of course they don’t. They’re defending a dogma for the benefit of their egos. Why would they ever admit that they don’t know everything?

  30. Duck Dodgers on July 29, 2014 at 10:04

    By the way, Gemma’s quote was published by Richard in this article, with further explanations on diets at extreme northern latitudes:

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