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Why Am I “Attacking” The Low-Carb and Paleo Diets?

I’ve most recently put up yet another couple of posts that many perceive as me attacking the Low-Carbohydrate Diet, The Ketogenic Diet, and The Paleo Diet.

I suppose you could say that, but those saying it ought at least juxtapose my approach now, with my approach back when I was all the rage over my brutal attacks of low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat, white meat & fish only, grain-based diets, vegetarian diets, vegan diets…grant whores…etc.

For those who don’t see that, allow me to explain. Here’s some reading material.

Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a threefold manner, was stated by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus as comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis. Although this model is often named after Hegel, he himself never used that specific formulation. Hegel ascribed that terminology to Kant.[34] Carrying on Kant’s work, Fichte greatly elaborated on the synthesis model, and popularized it.

On the other hand, Hegel did use a three-valued logical model that is very similar to the antithesis model, but Hegel’s most usual terms were: Abstract-Negative-Concrete. Hegel used this writing model as a backbone to accompany his points in many of his works.

The formula, thesis-antithesis-synthesis, does not explain why the thesis requires an antithesis. However, the formula, abstract-negative-concrete, suggests a flaw, or perhaps an incomplete-ness, in any initial thesis—it is too abstract and lacks the negative of trial, error and experience. For Hegel, the concrete, the synthesis, the absolute, must always pass through the phase of the negative, in the journey to completion, that is, mediation. This is the essence of what is popularly called Hegelian Dialectics.

Well, I’ve just always used Thesis —> Antithesis —> Synthesis because it sounds rather elegant, is more easily light-goes-on graspable by the average guy, and that’s how I was first exposed to it over 25 years ago. And, I’ve always referred to it as Hegelian Dialectic for the same latter reason.

There’s another way to look at it, however, and it fits rather well when we’re talking generally about dietary recommendations around some central theme or combination of themes (e.g., low fat, low cholesterol, grain-based…FDA Food Guidelines). We’re talking about Dietary Narratives. So:

[Dietary] Narrative —> Counter-[Dietary] Narrative —> New [Dietary] Paradigm

…At which point, the new paradigm splits up into some number of different or competing narratives with different emphases, whole new narratives emerge by various implications of the new paradigm, or new science raises new questions. In dietary parlance, Grant Whores trash all their grant applications in draft and begin drafting new ones. At any rate, the NDP gives rise to various DNs, any number CDNs emerge to counter them and a NDP comes out of it. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

So, back when I was attacking all of the bullshit of SAD, FDA guidelines, industry recommendations to eat a lot more of what cheap crap they package and peddle, and such fringe-ass fucktardedness as people eating less “animal” than grazing cattle, it was simply such a target rich environment that there was no need to quarrel with low-carbers or paleos. But here’s what’s most important about that: I saw it as counter-productive to attack LC, Paleo, or any of its advocates beyond nit-picks…BECAUSE WHY? Because both, separately or combined, were themselves excellent as a Counter Dietary Narratives to all the bullshit, and so for the other part, I promoted them heavily as counter-narratives far better than the conventional “wisdom.” Do you see?

Then, now see this. In my view, all the low hanging fruit has been scooped up by LC and/or paleo and saving the world is just not my bag, man. I’m a Darwinian. Better to just have a lot of paleo babies and let the Idiocracy do what it does. Life is short. I spend my efforts on people with at least enough brains to understand that a plate of whole, real food is superior to Pop Tarts and Hot Pockets, washed down with sugar water…or the refrigerated processed vegan food section at “Whole Foods” Market. Plus, there’s enough attention and anecdote out there that nobody hasn’t by now heard of the LC or paleo diet.

There’s more. The way I see it, now we have the dominant counter-narratives of LC and/or paleo being such purists, so intransigent, that’s it’s them, and not all the others, predominately, who are standing in the way of a new, synthesized paradigm. Over the years I’ve been observing, I’ve seen the CW side back off or change course on a number of things (absolute fat, saturated fat, more meat, eggs, butter over margarine, cholesterol, and others). In a sense, CW is leapfrogging LC and paleo by assimilating and integrating some of the best ideas and science that make the most sense, and going straight to a new paradigm; while LC and paleo expect to incorporate nothing much at all, and still uphold themselves as the best competing narrative. I predict this will fail and they’ll be increasingly marginalized into irrelevance.

I see signs of this all over. Even just last week, this article (Paleo diets = weight gain) covering this study (A low-carbohydrate high-fat diet increases weight gain and does not improve glucose tolerance, insulin secretion or β-cell mass in NZO mice). Yep, it’s a mouse study, which everyone jumped on immediately because it challenged stuff that’s taken for granted per the bias in the LC and paleo communities. Yet, Peter at Hyperlipid references mouse studies all the damn time, has been doing so for years and years (and he’s a veterinarian), and how many of you have seen the folks who came out of the woodwork last week to bash this study ‘because: mice,’ bash Peter? See? If a mouse study can’t falsify or even call into question your biases, how then can one substantiate or confirm them with a different mouse study?

Low-carb, gluten free cake, anyone? It’s special. You can eat it, and have it too. See, the knee-jerk is to find anything to get adherents to not even look. Sure, they’ll link it up in order maintain a semblance of objectivity, people could read it—but most don’t really want to—but given almost any plausible reason, they’ll breathe a sigh of relief and just not go there. Mission accomplished. Want an example? Peruse 100% of the comments on Nora Gedgaudas’ take-down post. Who would wager money that any important number of those commenters absolutely read the whole study, or even the article? I doubt a single one. It’s all hand-clapping over a performance and expressions of gratitude over Nora being so diligent in relieving everyone of the imperative to think for themselves. Believe me, I’ve been there, on the receiving end of claps for telling people what they wanted to hear, and in a certain style.

But do you mean to tell me there’s absolutely nothing of potential value there, in that study? How about for someone like me, who has seen many of the same physiological responses reported by hundreds of commenters on LCHF diets over many years now? And what’s more, seeing the same people improve by getting to more of a rational…dare I say balanced…whole and real food diet that includes plenty of fat—but sensible amounts—and plenty of carbohydrate—but sensible amounts—primarily from  whole cell carbohydrates (e.g., sugar is an acellular carbohydrate).

…Anyway, the foregoing puts me a in a conundrum. By introducing things for Paleo folks to think about, like potatoes since 2009, and a handful of other things since (resistant starch, legumes, honey, and even true whole grains recently), I have endeavored to improve the Paleo narrative by offering a slightly-counter narrative for incorporation. And on the method side, I’ve offered that there can be a wide spectrum, from pretty low carb to pretty high carb, pretty low protein to pretty high protein, mess with those primarily—and try to ditch most of the added fat. I believe it’s a formula for success all around, keeps the paleo deal ahead of the competition, etc.

I’m happy to recognize that there are a special few out there, and probably others, who have tended to “nudge the narrative.” I’ll credit my three favorites: Sisson, Wolf, and Kresser. Denise Minger is great too, but she just doesn’t publish much. Feel free to give mention to others in comments. Then, of course there are some, primarily on the fitness side, who’ve never really bought the purest LCHF version of LC. Tons of those, but my favorites would be Keith Norris, Skyler Tanner, and Clifton Harski.

I’m still enthusiastic about encouraging paleo to nudge forward, keep improving the narrative so that all the really important stuff (Real Whole Quality Food; quasi-evolutionary context; cook at home!) doesn’t get co-opted and just called The Real Food Diet (probably already exists, but paleo is sexy and incorporates other lifestyle elements).

And please, folks, please don’t allow your commercial endeavors to become so important, so out of your control, that they lose all meaning beyond the marketing hype needed to meet a bottom line or bask in profits at the expense of integrity.

However…to my mind, the low-carbohydrate diet has such a systemic flaw that I find it unsupportable, except, and importantly, for therapeutic measure…such as weigh loss in extreme obesity, severe metabolic derangement, diabetes control for some (particularly those whose brains and diligence don’t function well as a pancreas), and the handful of other conditions where LC has demonstrated therapeutic efficacy, such as epilepsy.

The systemic flaw in my view is treating all carbohydrate roughly the same. And you can’t get around it. It’s not the Low-Some-Moderate-Some-High-Some-Carbs Diet. A carb is just a carb. Some number of grams of table sugar = some number of grams of potato. They’ll make distinctions for protein and fat, but not carbs, because it’s the low-carb diet. By definition. This isn’t workable, and the first thing paleo movers and shakers ought do is distance themselves from it and stop promoting it by proxy. That said, I see no problem with, let’s say, a lowish-carb diet, and I think that was even Atkins’ original vision. That often enough describes me, that and moderate carb, with occasional forays now into even high carb, low fat (but from whole, cellular carbohydrate—to make an absolutely necessary distinction).

And I must just say it: I think the recent descent into virtually zero carbohydrate, low protein, and insanely high fat by circus-clown jimmy moore and his ilk is just shameful. At 80%+ fat, with protein limited to 15% in order to be truly ketogenic, you are flirting with problems of malnutrition down the road. Run the numbers yourself. Moreover, it’s a gut starving diet, which compounds the potential malnutrition, since gut microbes help malnutrition in a number of ways. How many times did you hear LCers and Paleos warn vegans that they may not have B12 problems now, but just wait for 7 years down the road?

Literally the only glimmer of hope I see is Mike Eades’ most recent post where, he said:

As you might imagine, my bias falls in with the notion that the increased carbs are a major force in the hugely increased rate of obesity. You might be surprised to learn, however, that I’ve always had a little niggling doubt that carbs alone were the cause.

Why have I had niggling doubts? Because of observations I’ve made over the course of my life.

When I was a kid growing up in the rural Ozark Mountains, everyone I knew ate sugar. A lot of it. Everyone, and I mean everyone, ate bread at every meal. As far as people then were concerned, it really was the staff of life. Same with potatoes, though they weren’t eaten at every meal. People celebrated holidays and get togethers with pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, etc. Most folks started off their day with a bowl (or two or three) of hot or cold cereal with milk and sugar on it.

That’s acknowledgement of falsification at best, a serious confounder at least. Unfortunately, I just now scanned through the 120 comments so far, and I’d say 90% or more were only about how to avoid the bad fats (presumably in their same LCHF regime). Now, I want to be fair and not pin more on Mike than he may have intended. He’s saying that he’s doubting that carbohydrate is the sole cause of obesity. More importantly, he’s not saying he thinks a vegetable-oil free diet but with whatever carbs could be as healthy or healthier than a low-carbohydrate diet, which is fair.

Absolute health is hard to pin down, and I personally believe any normal individual can be perfectly healthy in wide ranges of real foods from all macronutrient groups, in all kinds of ratios and all kinds of mixing things up. But see, there again, I’ve excluded low-carb from most of those possible mixes (and so does every single Blue Zone on the planet, blowing LC out of the water in terms of disease and longevity…so far as we know yet and I doubt there’s be any revelations about Inuit). paleo need not be excluded as a friend of any Blue Zone—save for the vegetarian religious cult—and really ought to be talking about Blue Zones a lot more and perhaps, HGs a lot less.

In conclusion, there is no path to being right, only towards a place called less wrong. This is the whole elegance of the dialectic process I so embrace. Being wrong —> less wrong is baked in the whole cake if you proceed honestly. This is not a process that ought be dominated by looking for things that support you being “right,” but for things that make you right in the only instance you can truly be right: when you find something that proves you were wrong. Then you’re less wrong, and you keep going, to find out what else you’re wrong about, ad infinitum.

Update: The Potato Diet Day 10 Update: Weigh-In, Meals, Workouts, and Blood Glucose Measures

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

56 Comments

  1. pzo on February 23, 2016 at 06:49

    This is why, even though we are 180 degrees apart politically, I never miss a post here. Solid, rational, willing to question yourself analysis.

    While I can be pretty arrogant in my position on something in a forum, show me solid evidence why I’m wrong and I will admit that I was in error and stand corrected. Heck I did that just a couple of years ago! Actually, about five days ago.

    NO one can ever get thesis 100% right. Ever, and especially in something complex like nutrition. Extreme positions (vegan, raw vegan, zero carb, all starch, no oils, etc.) are by default, wrong. Not even by the science, which they always are, too. These are beliefs, just food and not a sky god. It’s interesting the number of food extremists that are also conventionally religious, in my observations.

    Your post about potatoes and satiety was the catalyst, coupled with my own experiences and observations over the years to post this over at MDA: Summary: Time to take fats off of the satiety pedestal and replace with carbs.

    Yes, as you say, LC is very beneficial for certain people. Like me, losing weight. And with a lot of insulin resistance, pre T2 diabetic. But per anti-thesis, a lot of it coming from you, I often incorporate a bit of lentils or pintos into my daily fare. It sure doesn’t impact my weight loss, and I know I’m better off for them, with increased satiety, too.

    Howz this for a confounder and perhaps new anti-thesis’? It turns out our blood isn’t uniform: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/health/not-every-drop-of-a-persons-blood-is-the-same-a-study-says.html?emc=edit_th_20160223&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=57753271

    • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 08:03

      Thanks for starting that thread over at MDA.

      It’s a hilarious read, though. While a few agreed with you, the rest is all “protein is the satiety king” BS.

      No, it’s not, and all they had to do was read that post and follow the links (and they did not, clearly). Potato is the most satiating food ever tested in controlled conditions.

      These folks can easily prove it to themselves. On one day, after a normal eating day and 12 hr fast, commense to eat nothing but meat, ad libitum, for the entire day, to satiation. Stop when full, start when hungry again. Record total caloric intake.

      Give a few days of washout, then do the exact same with boiled potatoes, salt and/or vinegar only. Eat em however (mashed, slices, or just comp down on the spud). No added fat.

      I guarantee you that the caloric intake of the later will not only be less than the former, but fucking off the scales less.

      Go ahead and copy this up if you like. I predict there will be zero takers for such a test. They’ll give excuses but in reality, they don’t want to know anything that turns their world upside down.

      This whole way of “thinking” is essentially the same on any forum I check, whether LC, Paleo, or Vegan.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 08:13

      Oh, and when they go “yea, but I could fill up on cardboard, you need NUTRISHUNZZZS!!!” show the ignorant this:

      https://mobile.twitter.com/rnikoley/status/701925260388495360

      Thats a cal-cal nutrition comparison between my 2 lb of boiled potatoes yesterday (780 cal) with 11 oz of grilled steak (785 cal).

  2. Skyler Tanner on February 22, 2016 at 17:17

    Hey hey, first comment.

    If I’ve nudged anything forward, it’s that being less obsessive leads to better results. An evolutionary context works for me because it lets me be less obsessive. Of course, you’ve heard Keith and I talk about being thrown off Paleo island because beer + smoked meat = awesome AND not paleo. Literalists and completist shit their pants, but I’ve been a “principles over programs” guy for a long time now. YMMV.

    • king of the one eyed people on February 24, 2016 at 00:50

      Do what works best, not what you believe in the most. Change your mind as much as you need.

      Btw Richard. I want you to vote for Trump. This is the best chance you’ll get to be proper cunt to all the establishment whores.

  3. Nils on February 23, 2016 at 00:51

    Hi Richard,

    I won’t go too deeply into the mouse study, but the ‘diet’ they fed them isn’t called healthy by anyone, except maybe Jimmy Moore ;-).

    The problem with LC as you said it is that they’re truly dogmatic, for some reason those guys don’t seem to be out there to get the truth. They’re just attacking the establishment, even Mike Eades, with his own experience, still refuses to see he’s been wrong all along, but at least he has the sense to call himself out on it.

    Many ‘paleo’ types like Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet have been moving towards ‘moderate’ fat, whatever that is. I remember Sisson posting about questions, where people were wondering if the 3% carb in an egg yolk was problematic, he scoffed at it!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 07:11

      Yea, I understand the study likely isn’t great, doesn’t prove anything. I was more getting to the knee jerk response (rather than try to learn even a tidbit), the duplicity in shouting “mice” when if it’s mice that bolster a bias, then it’s a qualifying footnote at best, and worst of all, people just taking these dismisals at face value so they don’t have to think for themselves.

  4. sassysquatch on February 23, 2016 at 02:33

    As someone that makes a living by training athletes and health enthusiasts, I rarely give out diet advice any longer. I’ve just been wrong, too many times, with bad advice I’ve handed out in the past.

    If they do ask, I basically say, “just eat real, whole foods.” AND, “Check out what BLUE ZONE populations eat!”

  5. golooraam on February 23, 2016 at 08:05

    great post Richard… though I’m a high protein/no carbs guy most of the time… I have learned from you there is no need to gob on extra macros (translation gobs of fat) onto already fatty meat… the whole foods approach is working for me if I keep my selection of food small… I tend to start to add calories in bunches (bacon, sour cream, butter, etc…) when given too many choices, so not blaming cold potatoes or even brussel sprouts, it’s just that I personally find it easier to have foods that taste best to me calorically unadorned… for me that’s rare steak with salt and lamb with high quality Dijon and sardines with cholula

  6. Jeff Nimoy on February 23, 2016 at 08:11

    You said it all when you said “Absolute health is hard to pin down…” Darwinism always wins. Another great post, Buddy!

  7. Robb Wolf on February 23, 2016 at 09:41

    I appreciate the shout out Richard. I do my best to prevent this stuff getting written into stone tablets (I bring you fifteen…..no, Ten! Ten Commandments!) Heuristics are enticingly prepared for deification however, so that’s a constant struggle. I think I’m a bit unique in that my own health and performance is best met AT the lower carb side of things. 100-200g on hard training days, many weekends spent at “keto levels” as a reset and i motor along pretty well in old guy jiu-jitsu etc. What may be unique is I’ve not let what works for me become the “answer” for everyone else. I also spend a LOT of time around cops and soldiers and cannot describe the benefits of a KD for these folks. It’s stunning. TBI/PTSD systemic inflammation. Does not tend to be a “forever” option but I get prickly when the tool is attacked. You did a great job of highlighting the therapeutic effects, but i think we need a united front in several of these areas.

    Now! I am going to hold you feet to the fire on that mouse study however. That was a bit of forced starry-eyed pragmatism IMO. That study was dog-shit. Mice with a predilection for obesity, fed what has been well established to be an obesogenic diet, (oils and sugar) is called “paleo?”

    CrossFit, Paleo, the Ancestral Health model is nipping at the heels of things like big soda. Cokes “Exercise as Medicine” program which is a sprig of the ACA (trainers can get reimbursed from insurance) tells you to “have a coke and a smile, just run a mile” is making the case food does not matter, exercise does. This is bullshit. gov subsidized, Fed QE3 fiat currency floated bullshit. All of this has taken serious heat due actions within CF and some key folks in the paleo scene. This is potentially game changing stuff…not sure what my point is other than while we clearly need to convey the nuances of these messages, I think it’d be a shame to burn it down in the process. I’m always trying to strike that balance.

    One final parting thought: I’ve noticed that some folks in “the scene” who very much self identify was “socialist” have largely turned their backs on “the retarded paleo scene” as the nuttery is arcane and beneath them. The market oriented libertarians seem to remain in the fight and actually affect beneficial change. they tend to sell some shit to folks, this is true, but the motivation seems to be “if I can help a lot of people I’ll likely make decent money.” I just find all that interesting.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 10:26

      Hey Rob. Thanks for weighing in. Just a few things:

      1. I kinda like to do it all, _around_ the principle of mostly whole foods mostly prepared at home most of the time. Some days are zero carb, most days moderate but right now it’s HCLF (mostly boiled potatoes, see link #2 of my previous post mentioned up top; OFF charts satiation from boiled taters with very good nutrition for a single source). I view protein as a relative constant at 15-30 if you’re sane. So, carb and fat should be inverse if not balance, LCHF or HCLF. But emphasis: whole food cellular and not acellular carbs.

      2. I agree about the inflammation thing. That was the most stark thing for me when at 240 bloated puffy I went LC Paleoish in 2008. Stark contrast in the face within days.

      3. My point with the study (and I used that because it’s the most recent instance) is the tendancy is always to knee jerk and get something out quick to the troops so they can sleep well at night and not have to think for themselves…rather than saying well, this potentially raises some questions, but not as many as they think, and there’s flawed methodology. Of course, you see the same thing in every diet-fan forum, from ZC to Vegan.

      3. On Coke, don’t know if you saw it but Colpo did a post a while back that showed that for serious training and competition, plain Coke outperforms all of the other energy drinks. 😉 Just an aside there. I enjoy a few craft, cane sugar sodas in some months. Funny, I can get a 4-pack of some Izzy (friut juice and carvonated water) and sometimes drink the 4 in 2-3 days, other times 8-10 days. Depends.

      4. Fuckin’ commies. I am so sick of leftists and socialists and SJWs I’m burnt out. You are literally dealing with economic illiteracy to such a degree that it makes them truly fucking stupid, and to such a degree that they are beyond the stupid threashold, the point where you are so fucking stupid that you lack the ability to even suspect that you might be stupid.

      Cheers man. Hope to see you March 9, if you know what I mean. 🙂

      • sassysquatch on February 23, 2016 at 10:46

        Colpo’s article that mentioned coke as the preferred recovery drink for competitive biker’s was excellent. He was really going after Lustig (and others) that refer to refined sugar as ‘poison’.



      • John on February 23, 2016 at 11:02

        I was going to mention the Colpo article – glad you guys did!

        OTOH, Colpo was talking about a different situation that Robb is. Colpo spoke of Coke as recovery for cycling. Robb is talking about Cycling as recovery from Coke.



      • Robb Wolf on February 23, 2016 at 11:51

        John- Exactly! These guidelines are being set up to support the eat whatever you want, just work it off” which i think might have a negative inflection point in there.

        Richard-
        The economic illiteracy gig will either drive me into local or state public office or completely off the interwebz. I’d put that at a 50/50 gig at this point.

        The colpo piece is interesting…BUT. there seems to be this rush to paint a one size fits all story here. Sugar is bad, no, it’s benign. Is it a dose consideration? Might other factors play in?

        Check this out:
        http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/02/04/383628551/new-clues-to-mysterious-kidney-disease-afflicting-sugar-cane-workers

        Guys in their 20’s are being killed by a “mysterious” rapid onset of kidney failure. Something which has changed is instead of drinking water these guys now drink a sugary sugar cane extract. Dehydration+ rehydration with sugars might not be a great thing (I have some inside track on research indicating just this). Might we get a performance bump? yea. Might there be a downside? Yea, there could be. I’ve talked with John Welbourn (10 year NFL vet, started every game) about the TBI’s, suicides and general cluster of playing in the NFL. He tended to do the Anabolic diet (cyclic low carb) throughout his career, hated gatorade and although he had some abnormal brain imaging after his career, he did some aggressive ketosis, fish oil and other modalities and the brain imaging, cognitive performance all come back “normal” now. I have always seen elite performance as possibly a deflection point away from health and longevity…this may very well be the case here. I’m no expert on this stuff but I suspect there may be a LOT of nuance to this story.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 12:30

        Don’t go into public office! Stick with honest work!

        Huh on the kidney thing. It made me think of a blog post by the UK LC Doc guy, the one with long hair–can’t recall the name–some years back about how plain water to rehydrate after hard liquor dehydration was protective. Not sure if kidneys were included.

        Would be interesting to see if anything regarding heavy hard liquor drinkers who drink a lot of water vs a lot of sugar water.

        Yea, just an impression, but it seems to me that high end professional big bucks athleticism isn’t the optimal path to health and longevity in the nether years.



      • John on February 23, 2016 at 12:35

        Super athletes fall into that “brightly burning candle” category. You can get it ripping by blowing oxygen at it, but that doesn’t change how much wax there is.



      • Karl on February 23, 2016 at 13:42

        I don’t drink coke. Yet, my oldest daughter , when she was 7 or so, had an eating disorder. It became so bad that she did not retain any food at all and we had to bring her to a hospital, she was getting skinnier by the day and had no energy. Doctors there never found the cause, but after a day or two without success of feeding her, they gave her coke. And after another two days surviving on coke, she slowly returned to health. Now she’s a healthy mother and she, nor her children drink coke.
        It’s a strange concoction. This week I wanted to remove old carpet glue on tiles. Used an expensive product, did not work. Used coke (and diet coke actually!). It works perfectly.
        When I was an officer at sea, we used to carry small drums of some poisonous substance, destined for Coca Cola factories. Don’t know if it was used in the drink or for other purposes.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 13:57

        Karl, that reminds me of the Internet meme that goes around sometimes about all the household and industrial uses Coke is effective for.

        My tongue in cheek reply was always: “Yea, and just imagine what stomach acid would do!”



      • Karl on February 23, 2016 at 14:07

        I saw that once. Though it was a mixture of alcohol and stomach acid, from a guy that passed out on the floor. It makes a hole in a vinyl floor after about 8 hours.



      • Matrixik on February 24, 2016 at 02:07

        Something about drinking during exercise
        “How much exercise is too much? | Tim Noakes | TEDxCapeTown ”
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lzs5wpLkeA



    • pzo on February 23, 2016 at 13:16

      Mexico, with the highest sugar consumption and diabetes level any country, is under the boot heel of the soda companies. Same “exercise more” solution. And, of course, the equivalent to our Surgeon General is right on board, bought and paid for.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 13:26

        Yep, sugar drinks are ubiquitous there and you can’t blame the downstream problems on HFCS because they don’t use it. Cane sugar only. In fact, there’s now a substantial market in the US for Mexican Coke and other popular US brands, as well as Mexican brands, because they use cane sugar. The only difference. Even my local Safeway now has a section for the Mexican stuff.



      • pzo on February 24, 2016 at 07:36

        Richard, it appears that HFCS is making it’s way into the soft drinks there. At least, I noticed it in some imported bottled products here in the USA some years ago. I will be near a mercado today, I’ll go see what’s there. Or, darn, I just might have to go back to Cd. Acuna for more fun, I mean research.

        When I was there last month, I was astounded at how pervasive the soft drink industry is. EVERY food establishment has a branded vertical refrigerator. The bars use them, adding beer to the soft drinks. You order food, they presume you want a Coke, too. And rarely did I see diet sodas, almost all full octane going down fat Mexican’s gullets.



  8. John on February 23, 2016 at 11:18

    Richard,

    Your focus on finding truth is the reason yours is the only “diet related” blog I read consistently.

    I’ve been at a place for a while where I find any additional knowledge I gain could be characterized as “hobbyist minutia” and doesn’t really affect my eating. I know what works for me. It is super simple, yet pretty much makes everyone I talk to say “thats the opposite of what you SHOULD do” about one thing or another – depending who I’m speaking to.

    I say “I eat 2 meals a day, no snacks, no sodas. I tend to include protein in every meal but sometimes notice I’m really in the mood for a giant plate of not protein, or sometimes just a bunch of junk. The days where I follow a large pizza with ice cream, I only eat one meal the following day.”

    Vegans say “too much meat”
    Paleos say “too much bread and grains”
    Bodybuilders say “too infrequent of meals”
    LC’ers say “too many carbs”
    LF’ers say “too much fat”
    Everyone says “too much dessert”

    And what I hear a lot from all these people, who are typically carrying more bodyfat than I, is “you’re too skinny.”

    I reply “I deadlift 350 pounds for reps at 150lbs BW (5’9″), and watch bigger guys at the gym do less weight – this is just how I look.”

  9. Waltermcc on February 23, 2016 at 13:04

    Richard,

    I was happy to see ‘balanced’ in your post. I have always thought that balance was the big thing sacrificed with the animal fat scare.

    I am genetically predisposed to substance addiction, having quit alcohol in 1987, nicotine in 1991 and sugar in 2009. If I was like my wife, I would still have Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Puffs in the pantry to go with the half and half and cream. Horrors!

    And I still like my buttered toast with the one slice of thick bacon and one jumbo fried egg. That is not a huge meal for a 6’3″, 175lb male. However, many days that is all I have until dinner.

  10. William on February 23, 2016 at 13:41

    Hi Richard

    I just wanted to check if you’re still working on the Intestinal Fortitude book and, if so, when is it likley to be available?

    I’d be very keen to get reading your views on how best to treat autoimmune diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis via diet. I’m guessing you may have a different approach to the much touted ‘no starch diet’.

    Thanks
    William

    • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2016 at 14:19

      Reworking it into 2-3 cheap ebooks. Maybe more. I just have no interest in some huge tome that takes months once I even get it done, so that it’s all out-of-date with the fire hydrant of science coming in daily on the topic.

      This way will make it more dynamic and easier to get out updated version over time—and advantage even over my various series on the blogs which are too much to maintain for currency…but that’s OK for a blog.

      That said, I’m steering clear of any specific advice beyond here’s ways to mind your gut, here’s things poor gut heath is associated with (lots and lots of auto-immune), so target your gut and see what happens.

      …As an aside, ever downed 5 cloves of raw garlic, just peeled? I tried that yesterday. Downed them like pills. Pretty stark results. Let’s just say that this morning was quite a pleasurable experience TMI wise. To switch things up, today I downed the same amount but sliced them in half, lengthwise. We’ll see.

      I’ve had many anecdotes in my comments from people who are hooked on swallowing raw garlic. I never thought much of it as I’ve taken garlic pills and never noticed a thing. Not so with the real thing.

      • Fay on February 24, 2016 at 06:03

        Richard, what was your experience with the cut cloves? I started taking raw garlic last week, smashed and waiting 15 minutes for the allicin to form. Hard to choke down more than one this way. Supposed to be a necessary step, but is a real pain in the rear at times. I only used one clove, and also noticed benefits TMI-wise. I am switching to whole or cut up just enough to get down without choking. By doing this, I could get down more than one. Seems like the body could make use of it this way just fine. Would love to hear your thoughts again as you continue experimenting with the garlic.



      • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2016 at 10:33

        Very good. Slightly better.

        Not sure about that allicin thing. Everything I’ve read seems conflicting, like the allicin is gone a few minutes after crushing. I’m going to keep doing it this way. 1 clove sliced lengthwise 1 or 2 times, depending on size, and they’re about the size of a 1g capsule each. Easy to swallow.



  11. Karl on February 23, 2016 at 13:55

    “Then you’re less wrong, and you keep going, to find out what else you’re wrong about, ad infinitum.”
    This is not just an awesome post about healthy diet, but a statement about how to live your life.
    I have a son who is struggling with “purpose of life” questions for the moment, big time. Being atheists, there are no comforting fairy tales to give us a false narrative of meaning. But, even for my son, realizing he has to find his own purpose, the above statement might just work.
    Thanks, Richard.

    • John on February 23, 2016 at 14:19

      Karl,

      Stefan Molyneux’s videos on YouTube have helped me a lot to find meaning, as I am a young guy without fairytales to believe in.

      He says something to the effect of “atheism without philosophy leads to nihilism” and has many videos and books on finding meaning in life and morality without the belief in a sky father.

      • Karl on February 24, 2016 at 10:49

        Thanks John, an interesting guy, to say the least.



    • sassysquatch on February 24, 2016 at 05:16

      Karl – Your son’s ‘purpose’ in life is to be alive. What else is there? That doesn’t mean life will be easy….life is just the way it is.

      What causes misery and suffering is the thought that life is happening ‘to me’. But really, life is just happening. Nothing personal.

      Humans have the strange need to ‘believe’ in something. A belief is nothing more than an assumption. To me, I see no difference in an atheist or a Christian. You are both assuming you are right. Me, I don’t know anything, that’s the beauty of it.

      • Karl on February 24, 2016 at 11:08

        Thanks sassyquatch, I have never had doubts in my life about the meaning of life, or the lack thereof. Most in my family are not religious and we never seemed to have a problem with that. Now my son does. And, without going into detail , the situation is serious. I am at a distance, which does not make it easier and though he is at an age to take care of himself, as his brothers and sisters do, as a father you still feel the need to help. And in this particular situation being a non believer makes it a tad more difficult to give a direction. Personally I have enough with the natural wonders of evolution and the complexity of life in a biological and a social sense. But I guess a religious father would have a ready made answer, which for us is off course out of the question.
        But back closer to the topics on this blog, I think that his life style, and wrong food choices, play an important role. I experienced it myself how real food can change you. Even the simple act of cooking your own (real) food makes you healthier in body and mind. I’m convinced that years of mainly junk food can bring you down mentally.



    • richard hall on August 8, 2017 at 16:37

      I’d introduce him to Jordan B. Peterson who is on YouTube.

  12. king of the one eyed people on February 24, 2016 at 01:42

    I laugh when I see mouse studies quoted as evidence for human conditions. Mice have tails and can lick their own balls. Do you have a tail? Can you lick your own balls? I didn’t think so!

    • pzo on February 24, 2016 at 07:40

      You’re right! I can’t! 🙂

      But I did know a girl once with the longest tongue ever. She said her brother was similarly endowed and he always had girls around him. Why is that?

      • king of the one eyed people on February 25, 2016 at 00:41

        I bet he wasn’t licking his balls with his tounge. That’s for sure 🙂



  13. MG on February 26, 2016 at 03:21

    I just eat two main meals per week:
    five days a week I’ll have Brown Rice, Rosecoco Beans, Peas and Boiled Unpeeled Potatoes (the whole meal served Cold; thank you Tim Steele);
    and two days a week I’ll eat Oat Bran Porridge (served Hot!).
    Obviously, I eat a lot of other foods, but these are my principal meals.
    So, thank you Dan Buettner and thank you John Mcdougall.

    • pzo on February 26, 2016 at 07:50

      Sounds masochistic to me. Cold, no less.

      Hey, go for it. Forget all your evolutionary DNA. Faith will always trump science, right?

    • MG on February 26, 2016 at 09:04

      pzo, haha!
      the secret to enjoying Beans & Rice? add Ginger, Turmeric, Thyme, Cherry Tomatoes and lots of Red Onions (boiled and drained, of course).
      the result: at least one perfect bowel movement per day (sometimes two); totally cured my constipation.
      the secret to enjoying Oat Bran Porridge? add Sultanas and Prunes.

  14. pzo on February 26, 2016 at 09:24

    No secrets needed to enjoy my paleo diet.

    Honestly, I have eaten boiled potatoes or black beans cold. No issue with just getting down to it from time to time (“When your microwave is too slow.”)

    But every day? No thanks.

    I don’t think I’ve ever boiled an onion, either. Why? Or am I opening the thread to more space used off topic?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 26, 2016 at 12:08

      Several things I love cold, right out of the fridge:

      – Beans

      – Pizza

      – Leftover Chinese Food

    • MG on February 27, 2016 at 04:02

      To each his own.
      All I can say is that what I eat makes me happy. I don’t know about you, but I just eat like a poor peasant, and I love it!

  15. […] Why Am I “Attacking” The Low-Carb and Paleo Diets? […]

    • Ante Krstić on April 1, 2016 at 11:10

      Hi Richard,

      I really like you researching, few years back i even bought you blogbook, but it think you are wrong on LC diet.

      Have you look at a work that have done Volek, Phenney and D’Agostino? Some of them are more than 20 years in it, and they think that ketogenic diet is key to enhanced longevity. And mice study that you are referring to is really full of holes.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 1, 2016 at 12:37

        Interesting. All the longest lived cultures on earth, every single one, consume plenty of carbohydrate. Which makes sense, since we’re omnivores and there is a far greater abundance of carbohydrate rich food in nature than either fat or protein (unless you include termites 🙂

        Sorry, I just don’t buy it and generally view the very low and ketogenic versions of low carb on par with vegan fantastical fantasy thinking. Lowish or moderate carb is much more reasonable and consider that Atkins even considerd 120 g daily on the upper end of LC. Now you have people getting a case of the vapors if they get close to 30.

        Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. And so far, all the LC populations we know about aren’t particularly long lived or extraordinarily healthy.



      • Ante Krstić on April 2, 2016 at 03:19

        I agree,but ketogenic diet needs more time to proof itself. I myself really like the idea of Norman Walker, some say that he lived up to 120 y.o. On juicing, mainly from veggies, no grains an limited fruit. And there is emerging evidence that mitochondria from plants are giving some extra advantage on our body, but that have to be more researched. There is also interesting research of Joel Wallach.

        On the other hand since we have all genes that are connected with our ancestors from ice age, and there are no carbs when winter comes, LC seems logical. According what i have read, greatest warriors have been in ketosis and they war much better, performed better than today’s olimpic champions.



      • Richard Nikoley on April 2, 2016 at 10:21

        Sorry, I consider most of what you wrote there plain nonsense.

        No other way to put it.



      • Ante on April 2, 2016 at 12:19

        No problem, you are guru here.
        But i just have one qustion. Have you ever been in nutritional ketosis and for how long?



      • Richard Nikoley on April 2, 2016 at 12:25

        I’ve toyed with ketosis since reading Atkins in 1991.

        The potato hack is by far the easiest way to get into very deep ketosis. Can you explain why?



      • Ante on April 2, 2016 at 14:03

        Ok, i will try with potato. I will monitor my b-ketones and glucose. Is there some potato that i should avoid? In my country there is mostly brown potato sort. Since potato are heavily pesticed must i search for bio?

        So correct me if i am wrong. I have to eat for few days only boiled potato, that is coold down?



      • Richard Nikoley on April 2, 2016 at 14:25

        Before you do, get and read the new book that just came out this week. Available on Kindle.

        https://freetheanimal.com/2016/03/the-potato-hack-is-making-potato-great-again.html



  16. Richard Nikoley on March 3, 2016 at 12:53
  17. […] Why Am I “Attacking” The Low-Carb and Paleo Diets? […]

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