A Longevity Juxtaposition: Ron Rosedale vs. Arthur De Vany

longevityThis is a post for health science geeks.

Yesterday, I posted about how focussing on lean protein—while trading off fat and carbohydrate—might do two things, particularly in the context of overweight folk who might, both, want to drop the weight…while, also, resetting or reprogramming their neurological “setpoint” that motivates biological insatiable drives to want to defend or regain it via re-overeating.

After that post, a friend sent me a link to a 30-min presentation by Dr. Ron Rosedale at Low Carb Vail, February, 2016: The Early Ancestral Connection Between Protein, Cancer, Aging and TOR.

I was able to go through it this morning, with great interest. It was sent as a friendly counter to consider, against my post yesterday—and not as an appeal to authority (you’re wrong, here’s why). That’s always much appreciated. I don’t blog about 90% of the stuff I see out there, whether I agree by one bias, or disagree by another. As a non-geek who loves to synthesize geeks when I see constructive dots to connect, my greatest passion is to connect two opposing views—whether ideological, or biased, or whatever, with some synthesis (Hegelian dialectic) that makes sense to both.

The video immediately reminded me of  a presentation I saw a few months back, by Arthur De Vany: Renewing Cycles, which compelled me to watch it again, back-to-back. I’ll embed both videos below, but before that, let me outline how I view them both, juxtaposed.

  1. They both essentially rely upon the same established cellular biochemistry and genetic biology.
  2. They come up with thoroughly different interpretations, though Ron is way more specific with proscriptions. Art is way more specific with prescriptions. In other words, Ron tells you what you should not do, while Art tells you what you should do (mostly by implication).

Here’s the two videos, embedded. Ron’s is just over 30-minutes, and Art’s, just over an hour (Art is just about 80 years old). The time tradeoff is a standard movie you might want to watch. The dollar tradeoff is the savings of $40 for two at the theater—after you’ve paid for tickets, popcorn, and drinks.

Hopefully, you watch both before taking in my bias in the matter. Please consider disciplining yourself to do that.

Stop Now! Watch both videos and develop your own biases, before reading mine, and also, since there are spoilers.

OK, here’s my take on the whole thing, beginning with what I would call my meta or macro view of things.

First, Ron’s presentation is, in my view, unbridled deconstruction, leading to dis-integrated reduction of picked elements. We see this all the time, Dave Asprey’s ironically named “Bulletproof Diet” being a prominent and popular manifestation. Pick things that can be called toxins or agitators (gluten, lectin, saponins, and on and on) and just avoid them and ironically claim “Bulletproof” status.

In Ron’s case, he sees some of the problems of  both chronic consumption of carbohydrate and protein in which they could play a role. Well, that leaves one option. So, Ron’s proscriptions (avoid carbohydrate and too much protein) lead to a prescription by default, since you’re left with one “option:” eat isolated fat.

My other meta or macro problem with that is nutrition. Just scroll down Marty Kendall’s Optimizing Nutrition FB group, or his newest, the Nutrient Optimizer, and the latter is very telling. Scroll down.

In a 10,000 foot view, you can see vegans doing better than many high-fat keto dieters, and vice-versa. Why? there is essentially no difference between them, but core ideology. Both often have gross acute nutrient deficiencies, on a quest to become chronic, and most will. It’s kinda too dumb for me to spend more than a 3-sentence paragraph on. Ok, four sentences: veganism suffers from missing dense micro-nutrients in animal products. High-fat keto suffers from a processed diet of isolated fat, and isolated fat has almost no micronutrients.

So let’s juxtapose that with Art’s presentation. It’s completely stochastic in approach (neither prescriptive nor proscriptive at the mean), which is another way of saying random—but in an existential context, as well as a human context: neither the universe nor Earth is particularly malevolent, and humans have an ability to play dodgeball. In other words, the human element of stochastics is that we can potentially identify patters and trends, and have a reasonable shot at some of us perceiving a limit. Fibonacci and Pareto are other means of slightly educated guesses at a limit, especially when human action is involved. Thankfully, survival as a human in tough circumstances—where limits are of crucial importance—are perhaps more widely reliable than options day trading.

Art’s is a completely different, infinitely more elegant approach. It’s reduction and deconstruction and avoidance (Ron) vs. integration, struggle, and embrace of survival through reduction of damage and repair of damage (Art).

It’s static and doctrine vs. yin-yang ebb and flow.

Everything we observe in nature points to the latter, not the former. Consider even the ebb and flood of ocean tides. I’m no marine biologist (but have had many successful salt-water aquariums, including reef tanks), but it’s not hard to imagine the ebb tide as a clearing out of concentrated degradation by-products (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates) to be diluted and processed for all the co-feeders in the open sea—including the biggest mammals on earth—while the flood tide brings in fresh nutrients—all while the surf action shakes everything up for renewal and regeneration. The moon may perhaps be the most fundamentally crucial thing to human development…not just something to walk on.

In terms of yin-yang, observe that it’s often reported that there’s a ‘J’ curve associated with alcohol consumption. Too much, too often, is bad, but moderate consumers often fair better than abstainers in epidemiological studies. The fable of the girl and the three bears is just right. What if, as a thought experiement, it turned out that someoone who smokes a cigarette or two per day lives longer on average than someone who smokes none?

In his presentation, one of Art’s best lines is that it may be the natural toxins in vegetables that may be why they’re healthy. He’s talking about hormesis, there, but what is the underlying mechanism? Well, its immune system exercise, for one. But, what else, perhaps? For example, what if the adverse effects of gluten is, say, loosening “tight junctions” in the gut, allowing for the acute, intermittent better absorption of phytochemicals and polyphenols?

Alright. What I think each dude means, if I were to discern proscriptions and prescriptions.

Ron’s Proscriptions:

  1. Avoid carbohydrate
  2. Minimize protein to bare minimum

Art’s Proscriptions:

  1. Avoid losing lean mass
  2. Avoid reconfiguring body fat composition from subcutaneous to visceral

Ron’s Prescriptions:

  1. Make up the rest of what you eat with fat (my biased interpretation: and unless you eat mostly coconut, palm fruit, and avocado, you’ll have to make up the difference with processed fat from animals).

Art’s Prescriptions:

  1. Moderate your insulin and TOR baseline by having a good baseline feed/fast cycle. (my biased interpretation: 12/12 minimum, is a good place to start; 10 fed vs. 14 fasted is better)
  2. Episodically, create a cascade of autophagic repair (my biased interpretation: a 24-48 hour zero calorie fast every week, to two, or a month)
  3. After an acute period of starvation, repair (my biased interpretation: lots of lean protein, little fat…starch, little to no added fat, as preferred)

So, you have seen my bias and you’re welcome to argue against it. I’ve given you all the biases I can think of. What’s important is not what you think about that, but how you act.

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. Evolutionarily on March 25, 2017 at 02:16

    Chris Masterjohn touched on the smoking as hormesis topic in his podcast, however IIRC the dose is significantly less than 1-2 a day:

    • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2017 at 03:14

      I just pulled that out of my ass as an off the cuff contrast with 1-2 packs per day (20-40).

    • Hap on March 25, 2017 at 10:31

      In my field….people are really starting to push back on the LNT (low no threshold theory) of radiation exposure.
      The evidence turns out to be poor and hormesis is beginning to receive its due. The damage of adhering to LNT is substantial.

    • Hap on March 25, 2017 at 10:49

      I would like to know whether AD still recommends and takes oral glutathione supplements.

    • Art De Vany on March 26, 2017 at 17:30

      Does he understand anything? Masterjohn wrote a hack review of my book that no publication would put out, but put it on his blog. He does not understand ectopic fat or evolutionaryily conserved, just to reprise a few points from my Facebook page.

  2. Art De Vany on March 24, 2017 at 14:42

    Richard, some of your finest work. Your discussion of phases of the moon is right on because that would determine when women could harvest mussels and other ocean-based sources of PROTEIN. One could argue that a woman’s cycle is, in part, a metric for tidal flow and opportunities to forage the shore for protein. The ocean sources of protein led to protein autonomy for women that freed them of reliance on men for their, and their child’s, protein requirements. As a result, they became more deliberate in their choice of men and this may have triggered runaway sexual selection for high quality men. It takes a bigger woman to birth a larger brained child, and superior protein sources led to larger women and decreased sexual dimorphism. I would only add that language was developed during the Post-Toba cold with the need for better communication and cooperation. As I said in my talk, men who used language better did better.

  3. Hap on March 24, 2017 at 17:06

    Bruce West PhD….wrote a somewhat difficult book (primarily because of the math) on one of the main cognitive mistakes in medicine….the search for central tendency and average (and worshipping as the ideal)….instead of understand variation and apparent randomness which underpins vigor, and exploiting that for health prescriptions. he quantifies the benefit of stochastic system behavior.

    I see certain behaviors , like periodic fasting or interruption of regular feeding cycles, as similar to a patient on a respirator. The early respirators were built to regulate the breath cycle as rigorously regular. In that scenario patients died. However, when variable deep “sighs” were built in to the program, the patients survived and did well. Take your pulse…is it really regular? Of course not, it varies in the beat count per minute (even at rest) and also there is interbeat variation. We now know that without heart beat variation, the heart/person is sick. this variation is the hallmark of non linear dynamic systems.

    so I get glassy eyed if someone says, avoid inflammation at all costs, suppress it…or absolutely avoid toxins, eat natural foods, I know they are completely full of shit. Don’t go in the sun, don’t get x rays (even dental)…..and on and on. This is where I get off.

    Your post is right on target.

  4. Tim Steele on March 24, 2017 at 17:13

    I’m curious what Art De Vany thinks about Valter Longo’s new research into longevity, betting big that longevity and overall health hinge on periods of starvation. Are Longo’s patented starvation rations ( just the thing we’ve needed, or just the next bust in health movements? Longo believes that we can mimic fasting by eating less than 800 cal/day.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 24, 2017 at 17:45

      He does mention Longo in his talk.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 24, 2017 at 17:48

      He also mentions Debray. Dealt with an email earlier where that was another question.

      I think it’s safe to conclude that Art is at least aware of their respective work, not ignorant of it.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 24, 2017 at 17:52

      …Beyond that, I had a recent email change with Ray Cronise who also pointed out that Longo is trying to collect patents.

      Hopefully, he’s being Tesla like.

    • Paul on March 24, 2017 at 19:04

      Richard and Tim,

      Why do you think there is such a pre-occupation with “longevity” in the nutrition field. I am not in the research area, but my observations are that beyond a certain age, the susceptibilities to disease seem to increase exponentially. Coupled with that are marked drops in quality of life. Why the desire to extend life into a zone where trying to stay alive ushers in utter misery and high degrees of dependency (loss of freedom) and a large burden on society and or the previous generation of family. The goal seems quite stupid to me.

      The preoccupations of nutrition bloggers with the spurious and drastically overstated “potential” of disease manifestations due to departing from proscribed or prescribed dietary rules also seems to tie in with a cultural fear of death, and a really poor capacity to understand risk. Does a high fat diet really confer any material advantages over another approach where not a single fuck is given about macros but strength and body composition are maintained by both individuals through cico and exercise. I deep down think a lot of nutritional advice (aka stay in ketosis and or only eat clean food) ushers in boundaries and rules that are the opposite of freedom and likely despite the effort and obsession needed for compliance create little favourable movement along the continum of estimated “risk curves” which are in turn conflated with absolute outcomes.

      I think the three of us recognise the drastic and quite incredible immediate and or short term impacts dietary manipulation can have on health parameters and wellbeing and the continuation of these behaviours (exercise, a prebiotic rich diet, occasional fasting) etc can have on arresting quality of life decline as we age. I do think people drastically overstate the material impacts of dietary manipulation on future end of life probabilistic life expectancy outcomes and fuck up a lot of social and eating pleasure along the way,

      I do complicated data mining estimations of risk, using ensembled data mining algorithms with 1000s of variables and I am not that great at estimating either the frequency or magnitude of risk across millions of data points.

      Paul d

    • Art De Vany on March 26, 2017 at 17:26

      I have seen his several videos and read most of his papers. Fast mimicking just means that mTOR is not activated and muscle glycogen stores are depleted. That is easy to do without a 2 or 3 day fast by firstly not accumulating muscle glycogen in the first place through exercise and glucose restriction (Paleo), secondly by depleting glycogen through fast twitch muscle (a glucose hog), and thirdly, by weight lifting during a 1 day fast, as I do. All your glycogen will be gone from your liver and your muscle. Does this research not make glycogen repletion, as runners rush to do, stupid as I have said for years?.

    • Hap on March 27, 2017 at 20:23

      I am not sure exactly what fast mimicking can and cannot achieve. If only mTor inhibition and glycogen depletion, then why not fast and get the full effect? (whatever that may be) it’s not that difficult…as you point out. You can get mTor inhibition without using a fungicide….try Metformin, or a panoply of stuff that can be effective through various mechanisms (probably mostly by AMPK activation) and does not require a rx. Valters’s diet will be expensive.

      Metformin also has many other actions, including gut biome alteration.

      Therapeutic metformin/AMPK activation blocked lymphoma cell growth via inhibition of mTOR pathway and induction of autophagy(Nature)

      It does seem that a rush to glycogen replenishment would turn off all those “clean up and repair ” processes.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 27, 2017 at 20:38


      Art has always been a true fast guy.

      Perhaps there’s some talking past going on.

      OTOH, if Longo’s “fasting mimicking” stuff actually works therapeutically, and especially for folks who will never read Art, me, you, or any number of others, but find help, then I’m not going to complain and I’ll bet none of are.

      We are the elite, even though we could all die any minute.

    • hap on March 27, 2017 at 21:22

      He did not answer regarding glutathione supplementation…kind of hoping he would. When I was first introduced to ARt’s writings, this glutathione thing was de rigeur with him. I looked into it and even bought Guardian….spent a lot of time on the phone with that eccentric pathologist in NY who created “Glutathione Science”. I bought the stuff, even though the research stated oral supplementation futile. Recently, there were able to establish it does work, at least it gets into cells after oral administration. FWIW…have not taken in a couple of years.

      I wonder what issues Valter will get into with the FDA….when he starts putting people on the fast mimicking diet prior to RT or Chemo? Who is going to pay for that? Will the drug companies support or strongly oppose? the folks will do it….shit, they have cancer and what to lose is probably the thought . Luongo protocol calls for 2-3 days of fasting prior to chemo….a big plus for a mimicking diet.

    • GTR on March 30, 2017 at 08:01

      @Paul – ” I am not in the research area, but my observations are that beyond a certain age, the susceptibilities to disease seem to increase exponentially.”

      Check for therapies that try to restore thymus function. It drops after around 65.

    • Paul on March 30, 2017 at 16:57

      Thanks GTR,

      I suspect after years of intentionally staying way below my set point in leanness my thyroid is fucked.

      I used to take a bucketload of supplements and worry about blood profiles and metabolic functioning and toxins and dangerous nutrients and other food related bogeymen.

      Now my fate is all in the hands of randomness unless I need acute medical intervention to stay alive. My genes + exercise + nutrition = my fate.

      I judge my state of health now on energy, strength progression, ease of movement, and mood etc and the internal mechanics remain unmeasured and unobserved.

      A focus on a “healthy life” was meant to improve my quality of life, not put me at war against a set of real and or imagined disease risks and toxins.

      I suspect as I hit mid 50s. and if and when my bodyfat becomes harder to maintain I may need to worry then about thyroid.

      Cheers Pd

  5. Tim Steele on March 24, 2017 at 20:01

    Paul – I think it’s great that De Vany, Rosedale and others are looking into ways to help us age better. Big Pharma is not interested unless it can be made into a drug, telomere extension, for instance (

    It’s hard to monetize ideas that revolve around diet and exercise unless you have a protocol, book, or product you can license, such as Longo’s low-calorie fast-mimicking meals. Just eat potatoes if you cannot “fast” without eating. Why spend $100’s monthly on food to make you starve? Nutritional Starvation. Quick, trademark that term!

    I think that people in their 50s and 60s need to be very worried about longevity. These are the formative years for old age. Spend your 50s and 60s obese with metabolic syndrome and you’ll be lucky to see 75. Exercise and eat right and you can look like Art De Vany at 80 or Jack LaLanne at 98.

    • Paul on March 24, 2017 at 20:45


      Sorry I was not clearer. There are two separate issues I convoluted.

      I am in full agreement that we should aim to minimise our individual and “controllable” age related quality of life deterioration. I think that nutrion and exercise are the only big ticket items we have available to us and are within our immediate control.

      I am talking about the relationship between increasing protocol strictness, the downstream challenges (social and otherwise), increased difficulties with adherence versus the additional health benefits. I just question the extremes of some of these protocols along with their validity and wonder whether there are clear and additive benefits for the often difficult and often painful trade offs. Anyone who has “successfully” dieted down to an extremely low level of body fat really gets what I am talking about because the challenges of any form of dieting and adherence become horribly magnified at low body fat levels beyond the set point.

      I have fasted for many years and do it easily. Others find it horrible and it leads to horrible bingeing and restrictive cycles (aka ED related characteristics).

      The orthorexic mindset (I know it is not a valid medical diagnosis) but it succinctly describes the madness scattered through dietary dogma that ushers in a whole host of mental and emotional isdues around food, prepping food, macro and micro tracking, nutrient avoidance etc.

      The other issue is the end number. The age we die. To me, the preoccupation of living a strict austere life to gain a few months or even a year at a time when you are shitting yourself in nappies, losing your mental faculties etc and overly dependent really seems like a counterproductive painful investment.

      Paul d

    • Tim Steele on March 24, 2017 at 21:11

      I get what you are saying. For me, eating a whole-food, high-fiber diet is a pleasure. I make games of eating at a restaurant, I can usually find something healthy on any menu. I take joy in exercising because I know what it’s like to be hobbled to the point you cannot exercise.

      Where I draw the line is with supplements and technology. I’m not gonna wear blue-blocker glasses or treat my thyroid with near infrared. I’m not going to sleep with aground-wire tied to my toe. I take Vit D and K2 in the winter, and some raw starch powder…otherwise it’s all food. “Bio-hacking” is just marketing weird stuff to paranoid people.

    • Hap on March 27, 2017 at 20:27

      Pretty funny Tim…Nutritional Starvation.

      But fasting is not starvation, it initiates an adaptive response to enable survival…

      CR….the way I read it….is semi starvation. And no cycling allowed.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 27, 2017 at 20:41

      CR is fundamentally dumb.

      That is why I have never spent more than a minute on it.

      It’s a demonstration of how far unbridled deconstruction and reduction can go.

      Happens in philosophy and economics too.

    • Hap on March 27, 2017 at 22:29

      Mount tam has the rights to rapamycin and rapalogs (analogs). Trump g
      Has bought into so called geroprotection based on peter thiel belief can only save the health care system with old age health. Now all the big tech titans and investors in California are longevity freaks and trump to staff a friendly FDA to these ideas. They skewer him but he’s certainly very favorable to their pocketbooks.

      Monetize…….noooooo problemo

    • Richard Nikoley on March 27, 2017 at 22:55

      Who is “Mount tam?” Are you talking about the mountain north of SF I’ve flown my hang glider off, as others do, landing on Stinson beach?

    • Hap on March 28, 2017 at 07:48

      Mount Tam Biotechnology in Novato….headquartered in the Buck Institute for regenerative aging research.

      Maneuvered to obtain the commercial rights to develop rapamycin and its analogues, initially to treat SLE and eventually cancers.

    • Hap on March 28, 2017 at 07:59

      If you want to see an informal unauthorized list of mTOR inhibitors for personal consumption, can check out on

    • GTR on March 30, 2017 at 07:21

      @Tim – artificial means not only can lenghten telomeres, but also stop transposones, overactivity of which is also one of the mechanisms of aging, and influences cancer risks. Currently it can be done by old-generation antiretroviral drugs (eg. Efavirenz). Or more non-mainstream substances, like ABT263:

      @Paul – diet and excercise can also be enhanced by artificial means. Food can be tested for toxins or nutrition, and it is already done. For excercise you can use machines. Read Doug McGuff to check why they are better. You can also use heart rate variability monitoring during excercise to prevent overtraining.

      One can also potentiate natural substances with artificial delivery means. Like MitoQ which is just a Coenzyme Q10, but with the transport method that gets it directly to the mitochondria. Or various types of curcumin with alternate digestion/transport mechanisms that are available.

  6. thhq on March 25, 2017 at 05:55

    Among the prescriptions I don’t see activity. I’ve lived most of my life on the Northwest coast, and have read a lot about Salish hunter gatherer culture. Those mussel/clam/oyster gatherers carried their children with them several miles a day, and gathered food every day without regard to the phase of the moon. When they weren’t gathering clams they were stripping bark and roots to make baskets, picking berries, weaving and cooking. They were constantly active. O’Keefe et al estimate Paleo energy expenditure in the range of 1000 kcal/day, and directly connect this to reduced mortality late in life.

    If you live like this you don’t spend much time thinking about anything other than food. Any food available, whenever, wherever, and you walk in a 100-200 mile radius to get it. Fasting is never a desirable state. Our digestive systems have developed to support 2500-3000 kcal/day eating, and we need activity to match.

    • thhq on March 25, 2017 at 07:27

      As I listen to Rosedale I’m happy to hear someone as full of it as I am. I ask myself the question “If Ancel Keys was publishing papers at age 97 was he a closet fataholic like young Rosedale says he had to be to live that long?”

    • thhq on March 25, 2017 at 08:04

      I’m more pleased as I listen to DeVany, eating a cherry hand pie and drinking coffee. I’m in the middle of a 6 mile walk and the ghrelin called my name….the effect of the increased metabolism.

      If lean mass preservation how is it measured? And how is it maintained? Metabolism and eating IMO. The metric I’m paying most attention to is waistline to upper thigh ratio. Below 1.6 good, below 1.5 better. Bodybuilders aim for much less, but that’s beyond what walking and biking will do. I am pushed toward this by my father’s massive heart attack at age 88. His legs were thin as pencils and he wasn’t eating or moving around much. Like Devany says he had lost too much lean mass.

    • thhq on March 25, 2017 at 09:12

      I left out that substantial benefits in heart health accrue from upper thigh circumference in excess of 24″. So that sets waist circumference around 36″ as an upper target.

      Not surprisingly women can achieve these ratios more easily than men.

    • Paul on March 25, 2017 at 20:09


      I have been doing a little experiment the last month where 25-40% of my food intake is in the “forbidden” food realm. Heavily processed, lollies, chocolate, ice cream, sugar buns, packets of crisps etc eaten to moderate satiation (never counted). Managing cico and having minimum protein requirements of 1 gram of body weight per kilo (terribly low), I have found has had largely immaterial impacts on body composition and wellbeing while I am exercising. Provided I have some time away from eating here and there I seem to be able to maintain an ok baseline of health. I also have a minimum amount of fruit and vegetables and meat each day so I am not all in.

      From the dietary nutters, the inevitable cancer, compounded by a heart attack and or stroke is just around the corner, and a cascade of internal damage I can’t see and feel is occurring right now. Observation ally, I am just starting to see a loss of lean mass because I also stopped exercising recently to see what difference it makes. This is where I really am starting to notice it more. I have also just begun to notice some mild headaches on Occassion, and more of an inclination to remain sedentary.

      I am going to run my own little n= 1 for the coming 6 months. My default position is that all dietary dogma is bullshit unless I can prove to myself otherwise. I am starting with a baseline of eating what I want when I want and then gradually introducing a constraint. The first one will be exercise, then it will be protein (high), then it will be prebiotic rich foods and a wide range of fibres. Monthly incremental changes.

      There really appears to be a range of changes where big gains happen, and the rest is just a big step change for very little gain. This is the investigation I am undertaking

      I am also finding myself writing large posts on here, and starting to find I am boring myself, and starting to feel like one of those people where a simple discussion or blog post inspires a narcissistic long winded TLDR testimony of a nutritional journey nobody gives a fuck about.

      I call it blog comment pollution (-:

      Time to step back, STFU and head into a lab. Thoughts are thoughts, ideas are ideas, and the lived experience and integration of these ideas via embodiment are another thing. I feel like a bible basher in a city mall testifying about God when deep down I know that I don’t know (-:

      Cheers Paul d

    • weilasmith on March 26, 2017 at 08:56

      paul d said: “I am also finding myself writing large posts on here, and starting to find I am boring myself, and starting to feel like one of those people where a simple discussion or blog post inspires a narcissistic long winded TLDR testimony of a nutritional journey nobody gives a fuck about.

      I call it blog comment pollution (-:”

      hilarious- i think we are twins. i love to take the my mind pollution and transfer it to anyone’s blog but my own, which i already forgot the log in for. from past experiments when i was younger (pre 38 years old), i could eat pretty food pyramid like, and as long as i did something high intensity aerobic for 30 minutes, my appetite would modify automatically and i would lose weight.

    • Art De Vany on March 26, 2017 at 17:35

      I favor your point of view. Though calories were scarce episodically, humans lived in a rich sea side biome when they escaped the Toba volcanic winter 75000 years ago, an episode just 2500 to 8000 humans made it through. So, I would say episodic starvation with great energy expenditure (while hungry), a cold climate, sea food mixed with land-based animals now and then, with a rich biome of plants are the “norm”.

    • thhq on March 27, 2017 at 05:41

      I’m a clam digger, so the Salish women interest me. I have a century old S’klallam clam basket as a muse. It’s free draining and would have held at least 100 lbs of the hardshell clams they dug with sticks. Their basketry is invariate over 3000 years, and similar antecedents have been found in Anatolia ca 10,000 years old.

      So what you have are extremely hardy women with a very long collective memory. Pack mules that made their own packs. And further south their collective memory reestablished Asian agriculture using indigenous plants like maize and potatoes.

    • thhq on March 27, 2017 at 06:30

      Every one of their baskets is related to food collection and storage, whether for clams, berries, roots or dried salmon. We talk about the Bronze Age and the Stone Age, but the Basket Age sustained the whole works. The basket makers and users got the human race through tens if thousands of years.

      Unfortunately baskets do not protect you from catastrophes like viruses and tidal waves. The Salish were literally decimated in the 1830’s by fever epidemics. Entire villages died off. But the relict population survived to thrive again. Women that carried 100 lb clam baskets had no problems with 100 pound flour sacks.

    • thhq on March 27, 2017 at 07:22

      Caffeine is a wonderful thing….

      For a moment juxtapose Rosedale or Atkins with a Salish potlatch. If you have no heat-resistant cooking vessels it is almost impossible to render fat. Cooking on direct flame incinerates it. For the Salish fat was very scarce and precious, and came mainly from sweating oily fish (hooligans or smelt). At a potlatch precious things were given away or destroyed. One big entertainment was throwing precious oil on the fire to get an explosive burst of flame.

      Now how would Rosedale or Atkins explain this 10,000 year celebration of fat-free health? Ignorant savages?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 27, 2017 at 07:47

      When we did that long series here on the Inuit, it was easy to see from the writings of all the explorers (except the opportunist Steffanson) that the arctic natives used most of their fat for light and heat through the long, cold, dark winters…not to eat.

      But guess who all the high dietary fat fans listened to?

    • thhq on March 27, 2017 at 09:01

      Fat was so highly valued by the Salish that they used if for perfume. Even storage containers like bladders and cooking baskets were luxuries. They ate a relatively high fat/protein diet because of cooking their meat at low temperatures. Steaming clams in kelp filled pits and drying their salmon. Pure fat is a modern industrial product, like vodka, flour and table sugar.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 27, 2017 at 09:38

      Incidentally, the most honest thing Vilhjalmur Stefansson ever said was when he pointed out that a diet rich in meat was not a longevity diet. Quite the opposite, actually—Stefansson said he observed that the Eskimos aged rapidly.

      From: “Adventures in Diet,” Part III, By Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Harper’s Monthly , January 1936

      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. I would say the community, from infancy to old age, may have had on the average the health of an equal number of men about twenty, say college students.

      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.

      It has been said in a previous article that I found the exclusive meat diet in New York to be stimulating – I felt energetic and optimistic both winter and summer. 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.

      Stefansson even wrote an article in JAMA hypothesizing on why they age rapidly.

      As much as Stefansson lied about so many things, at least he was honest that his high meat diet wasn’t intended to be a longevity diet. His diet was apparently designed to “speed up” or stimulate the body and make people feel more alive. It’s impressive he acknowledged that a stimulated metabolism is not the same thing as “longevity.”

      Stefansson clearly didn’t care about living a very long life. He just wanted to live life at full volume, in his own way.

    • thhq on March 27, 2017 at 10:13

      I admire the Salish women, but the men were also constantly active. If the women were mules, the men were galley slaves in long canoes, out spearing seals and netting salmon. The Makahs hunted small whales.
      All without metal implements. While the women were making baskets the men were felling cedars and hollowing them, and spliting out planks with stone wedges for longhouses.

    • thhq on March 30, 2017 at 08:54

      This is the Anatolian culture I see replicated by the Salish. Early Neolithic, still on the transition from late Paleo. ca 12,000 years ago.

      However pottery was used further south, so the asiatic pioneers could come from a later period…or maybe acquired skills as they migrated across India, China and Siberia.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 30, 2017 at 12:07

      “If you live like this you don’t spend much time thinking about anything other than food”

      Excellent point, btw. It’s not often considered that there was hardly any time to invent much useful technology when most of the day is spent hunting/gathering and preparing food.

      It’s fashionable, these days, to talk about what caused our bigger brains (the current mainstream theory is that cooking polysaccharides led to increased calories, for bigger brains). But, a bigger brain is rather limited in what it can accomplish if all its time is spent focusing on food.

      It’s an interesting thought experiment. Without more convenient foods, there would be no “free time” to research and invent new technology. We’d be trapped in the stone age without convenient foods of the Neolithic—as we see with traditional HGs who never really found that free time.

      I think it’s funny how some people want to turn back the clock, based on extremely vague and incomplete interpretations of what people may, or may not, have been eating a million years ago (i.e. it’s “Ambiguity Fallacy”). If one really wants to know what promotes longevity, they should just observe what longevity populations (Blue Zones) do who are living today. Seems a little odd that people cast real world evidence from populations aside in favor of making a wild guess on vague and incomplete ancient habits that are virtually impossible to recreate, without giving up all one’s free time.

      Just something I’m chewing on.

    • Paul on March 30, 2017 at 17:03

      @ Weilasmith,

      Haha. Maybe we can combine forces and turn the comments here into a blog away from our own blogs.

      I suspect we are indeed twins (-:.

      The rest of your comment resonated with me.

      Cheers pd

  7. Hap on March 26, 2017 at 22:15

    Not sure I have thought this out. However, I am deeply skeptical of mimicking the entire spectrum of molecular responses to fasting by eating “special food”. Perhaps there is some adaptive mechanisms engaged but not the same. Mimimicking implies at its core…..looks like….but really isn’t.

    Jury out.

  8. Duck Dodgers on March 27, 2017 at 07:47

    Art said: “humans lived in a rich sea side biome when they escaped the Toba volcanic winter 75000 years ago, an episode just 2500 to 8000 humans made it through.”

    Art keeps referring to this, as if it were fact or common knowledge. However, the Toba theory is not taken all that seriously these days. And even when it was presented, during the 1990s, it was a highly controversial theory.

    BBC: Toba super-volcano catastrophe idea ‘dismissed (2013)

    The idea that humans nearly became extinct 75,000 ago because of a super-volcano eruption is not supported by new data from Africa, scientists say…

    This puts a nail in the coffin of the disaster-catastrophe theory in my view; it’s just too simplistic,” she told BBC News…

    “It was an exciting idea when it was first suggested but it just hasn’t really been borne out by subsequent advances,” he told BBC News.

    The BBC article also suggests that genetic bottlenecks are mainly attributed to migrations out of Africa.

    See also:

    LiveScience: Supervolcano Not to Blame for Humanity’s Near-Extinction

    “Now researchers have found that the evidence shows Toba didn’t actually cause a volcanic winter in East Africa where humans dwelled”

    The Toba Wikipedia page also covers a number of major problems with the theory:

    Wikipedia: Toba catastrophe theory

    Other research has cast doubt on a link between Toba and a genetic bottleneck. For example, ancient stone tools in southern India were found above and below a thick layer of ash from the Toba eruption and were very similar across these layers, suggesting that the dust clouds from the eruption did not wipe out this local population. Additional archaeological evidence from Southern and Northern India also suggests a lack of evidence for effects of the eruption on local populations, leading the authors of the study to conclude, “many forms of life survived the supereruption, contrary to other research which has suggested significant animal extinctions and genetic bottlenecks”. However, evidence from pollen analysis has suggested prolonged deforestation in South Asia, and some researchers have suggested that the Toba eruption may have forced humans to adopt new adaptive strategies, which may have permitted them to replace Neanderthals and “other archaic human species”. This has been challenged by evidence for the presence of Neanderthals in Europe and Homo floresiensis in Southeastern Asia who survived the eruption by 50,000 and 60,000 years, respectively.

    Additional caveats to the Toba-induced bottleneck theory include difficulties in estimating the global and regional climatic impacts of the eruption and lack of conclusive evidence for the eruption preceding the bottleneck. Furthermore, genetic analysis of Alu sequences across the entire human genome has shown that the effective human population size was less than 26,000 at 1.2 million years ago; possible explanations for the low population size of human ancestors may include repeated population bottlenecks or periodic replacement events from competing Homo subspecies…

    …The exact geographic distribution of human populations at the time of the eruption is not known…However, archeological finds in 2007 have suggested that a hominid population, probably modern Homo sapiens, survived in Jwalapuram, Southern India. Moreover, it has also been suggested that nearby hominid populations, such as Homo floresiensis on Flores, survived because they lived upwind of Toba

    In 2016, scientists published research that, “Lake sediments suggest mild volcanic winter after massive Toba eruption.”

    To say that “just 2500 to 8000 humans made it through” is just a wild speculation that hasn’t received very much support, as the science continues to settle out.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 28, 2017 at 10:18

      Sure, thhq. That’s exactly what one of the quotes that I cited said.

      My point was simply that there’s no evidence that the Toba eruption resulted in a situation where “just 2500 to 8000 humans made it through.” That’s just a wild speculation that has become less and less realistic over time.

      Of course, any adaptation is interesting.

      thhq said: “Genetic adaptation, such as lactose and gluten tolerance, takes multiple generations over hundreds of years”

      You are mischaracterizing how tolerance works. While it’s true that humans can be genetically intolerant to gluten or lactose, for various reasons, in reality we don’t have to evolve much in order to tolerate things like lactose or gluten. Otherwise, our immune systems would be useless and we’d never be able to try new foods. The fact of the matter is that we are constantly tolerating unfamiliar foods and we mainly only need our flora to evolve to eat such foods—and that happens quite quickly.

      You may be surprised to hear that the milk-drinking Masai mostly have lactose intolerance—despite drinking a liter of dairy per day, for millennia.

      Lactose malabsorption among Masai children of East Africa (1979)

      Data are presented in this paper that show that 1) the Masai regularly drink considerable quantities of milk without apparent symptoms, 2) milk is an important constituent of the Masai diet, and 3) 62% of 21 Masai examined were malabsorbers of lactose as measured by the lactose tolerance test. This finding of lactose malabsorption in a nomadic cattle raising and milk drinking people is interesting and is contrary to the views often expressed by anthropologists and others.

      How many hundreds of generations have they been drinking dairy for? And yet, still the majority are lactose intolerant. There was no need for cultures to wait “multiple generations over hundreds of years,” to tolerate cattle dairy or grains—the flora simply adapted very quickly. Your flora could quickly adapt to eating trees if you lived with Sami people for a few weeks. No special genetics required.

    • thhq on March 28, 2017 at 09:07

      Duck, it’s not a matter of the magnitude of the catastrophe. It’s the recovery that is most interesting. How did the Salish population recover from what was in greatest likelihood a yellow fever outbreak? Quinine, which was already known at the time but not available to them. Recovery from a catastrophe happens over days and weeks. Genetic adaptation, such as lactose and gluten tolerance, takes multiple generations over hundreds of years.

    • thhq on March 28, 2017 at 09:20

      I had friends out fishing the day St. Helens erupted. They got caught in the ash plume. They survived (a story of perilous pickup driving) but what is more interesting is what had happened to the fish when they went back a year later. They were still there in the ash-loaded lakes but they were very skinny….and easy to catch…

    • thhq on March 28, 2017 at 13:17

      The road goes ever on Duck….

      Selection takes generations. Paleos that couldn’t digest vegetable proteins like gluten were left behind, their starving and dwindling numbers disappearing as Neolithics crushed them under the evolutionary wheels and occupied their former hunting and gathering grounds. Today we are left with a relict population with real gluten intolerance problems, and a much larger population that imagines they have gluten intolerance problems. I wonder how well Wheat Belly sells in the French and Italian editions, in places where wheat bellies don’t often occur. Only in America.

      The Salish and Inuit are evidence that Neolithic regression to a quasi Paleo state is possible. Not better, not worse, just possible. Faced with a diet that is primarily animal humans adapt within hours.

      Regarding those ash-challenged trout. They had big heads and small bodies. The brains are the last thing to go.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 28, 2017 at 20:34

      thhq said: “Paleos that couldn’t digest vegetable proteins like gluten were left behind”

      thhq, are you doubting that animal guts have acid/enzymes which break down proteins…any vegetable proteins? Or that some of them require cofactors which have been removed from whole foods?

      Proteins, such as gluten, that you eat get denatured by your stomach’s hydrochloric acid. Glutenin is a long protein that is easily digested by common enzymes. Gliadin, on the other hand, is densely packed with a low surface area, making it difficult for any enzymes to digest it. Thus, gluten is digested into long amino acid chains, called oligopeptides, rather than the di- or tri-amino acids that otherwise occur with normal protein digestion. You might say that gliadin is the RS of the protein world—it’s sort of like tightly-packed starch that can confuse the immune system in some individuals.

      In other words, there is no special gluten digestion gene or selection that needed to take place because we never became particularly good at digesting gliadin in the first place. The problem with gluten is not the digestion, it’s the tolerance. Tolerance is an immune function—a healthy body with healthy flora is able to constantly tolerate whatever proteins we stick in our mouths. That’s oral tolerance.

      You might be surprised to learn that even dogs can digest gluten in a manner very similar to humans.

      Dogs and humans didn’t need to evolve or “select” over generations to digest gluten proteins—HCL simply denatures it and the enzymes we already have for digesting meat proteins attempt to (poorly) digest gliadin. Incidentally, Without transglutaminase (meat glue), it is believed that gliadin is less immunogenic, and may not stimulate T cells as effectively (Barker & Liu, 2008).

      Some dogs have celiac, but that’s because a gluten-intolerant dog’s immune system erroneously attacks its gastrointestinal tract when it comes into contact with gliadin and (believed to be a symptom of modern microbiomes). Same thing happens with humans.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 28, 2017 at 20:55

      Also, consider what Richard wrote, in his article, above:

      “what if the adverse effects of gluten is, say, loosening “tight junctions” in the gut, allowing for the acute, intermittent better absorption of phytochemicals and polyphenols?”

      The theory Richard is referring to is that the “problem” with gliadin causing damage to the gut and loosening tight junctions may actually be a benefit that possibly explains why gluten was once considered to be the healthiest of all vegetable matters. Doesn’t make any sense until you think about it backwards.

      Phenolics are notoriously difficult to absorb (and quickly excreted), unless you have some kind of trojan horse (gliadin) that can help carry it past the gut wall, to cells that need it. Conversely, modern chemicals/processing added to refined flour (typically devoid of phenolics) may be hitching a ride on that transport system—causing damage.

      In other words, sometimes something that looks quite bad may actually be why it’s good in the context of whole foods, and particularly bad in the context of refined/processed foods.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 05:59

      Here’s a pretty good interchange between Kresser and Lalonde Duck.

      The whole thing is interesting, but to me it’s the relatively small number of generations it takes to select for something like lactose tolerance. Since I’m half Norwegian it’s interesting to know that it took about 8000 years for Nordics to go from 0% lactose tolerant to 95% in the population.

      What about cereal grains, which came to be a primary source of food over the same period? Did we have an instantaneous ability to use them as food? At Catalhoyuk ca 10,000 years ago goat and sheep bones are found, along with grain, and cooking was done on hearths in the stack dwellings. Grains are not very digestable as food by humans unless the starch is heated above the ca 60C gel point. So IMO grains did not become food until we developed the wherewithal to cook them without incinerating them.

      I agree with you that the Paleo problem with wheat was probably not the gluten. It was more likely the indigestible uncooked starch. By the Neolithic period we had figured out how to roast grains even if we did not have heat-proof cooking vessels to boil them. The basket/hot rock method works, but it’s a huge effort to boil water that way to generate very much cooked starch.

      I’ve speculated that grains were probably domesticated as animal food before humans figured out how to eat them. I have no evidence other than that ruminants digest them easily without any processing.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 06:56

      Duck you often express a sort of reverence toward whole foods. While whole foods certainly contain useful nutrients, tubers and grain only exist as foods because of manipulation. They are both modern confections. 10,000 years ago they weren’t foods at all. So why would eating a potato skin or a grain hull impart more benefit than hash browns or spaghetti? The major nutrient in grains and tubers is the starch, not the indigestible fiber or incidental vitamins and minerals. For essential nutrients we have mollusks and fruit, both of which were eaten for millions of years before we discovered how to make starch edible. Whole grain is a poor substitute for an apple or an apricot.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2017 at 07:41

      Raw roots and tubers have been in the diet a long time.

      Check out the posts here on tigernuts (e sedge tuner, easy to harvest a day’s worth of nutrition in a couple of hours, have a macro profile like whole milk, and a micro profile like red meat…can be eaten raw), discovered by observing baboons pulling them up and eating them.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 08:53

      I read the Kresser/Lalonde interchange all the way through. It’s all over the place. Some I liked, but when they went all-green-farmer-bad it was way over the top. Saying that wheat doesn’t contain any nutrients ignores the starch. Calories are still fuel. Glucose is not a rock. I don’t blow off western civilization as blithely as they do. You can’t jam the French into a Paleo mold, or evaluate their “failed” grain-rich diet using a Paleo kaleidoscope. They’re just too damn healthy to ignore.

      The beets left in the garden are leafing out again. The arugula survived the freeze and is going crazy in the rain. Almost time to till it up and start over.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2017 at 09:31

      ” Saying that wheat doesn’t contain any nutrients ignores the starch.”

      Plenty of ways to get starch, and the potato is King there.

      Grains deliver complexities of important minerals, always completely ignored.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2017 at 09:35

      I keep having to post this because since I have been doing so for a couple of years, not one single person has ever referenced it back to me, which is part of why I hate people, mostly.

      They’re just all bla bla bla.

      It would be great if Art took a look at this. Why? Because it’s written by economists.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 11:04

      thhq, first of all, you say that grains were not foods before 10,000 years ago. That’s false. Please see Angelo Coppola’s timeline of the Paleolithic consumption of grains.

      You also make the error of over-simplifying how whole foods work. If the benefits of whole foods were simply a balance of vitamins and minerals, then we’d just pop a multi-vitamin and be done with it. You’re missing the rest of the picture.

      All whole foods (a seed or nut, dairy, honey, a cricket, a whole carcass, etc.) contains the proper balance of nutrients and bioactive components necessary to support a life and counteract the very internal stresses endured by that life. For instance, a seed has to balance the ROS from its own sugars. It does this with bioactive compounds that the consumer of that seed will also use to balance the ROS from the seed’s sugars. And when we cook and digest those components in one meal, the bioactive components complex together and support/counteract the overall stresses that are endured from the meal itself. One of the reasons for this is that virtually all metabolic cycles are very similar—whether they be a clam, plant, seed or animal. Thus, if you want to have the components necessary to digest a particular food, it helps to consume the entire food so that you have the same components the original life form had. Those components extend far, far beyond vitamins and minerals.

      If you really want to know why a “whole grain” is superior to eating the endosperm, bran and germ in separate meals—you have to take the time to understand the components, their composition, and how they interact with each other.

      Whole grains aren’t believed to be healthy only because of the vitamins and minerals. They are healthy because there is an exhaustive list of bioactive compounds that form a complete package that interacts within the cooking and digestion process to form a highly effective medium for promoting health and dealing with stress.

      See: New hypotheses for the health-protective mechanisms
      of whole-grain cereals: what is beyond fibre?

      (I recommend Figure 4 to see an illustration of the synergy I’m trying to convey to you)

      To give you a little taste of this concept, consider the following in grains:

      • Phenolics found in the hull will complex with starch to form slow digesting starch that keeps BG in check.
      • Gluten is a nanocarrier of phenolics, making them easier to absorb (see GliSODin®, for example).
      • Vitamin E is protective of oxidative stress from PUFA
      • Damage from gluten is related to Vitamin E deficiency and Mn deficiency.
      • Whole grains are a good source of Vitamin E and Mn.
      • Phytic acid, from grains, is both an antioxidant and a nanocarrier of flavanols.
      • Fiber in whole grains blunts BG spikes and slows digestion of starch.
      • Fermented oligosaccharides support a properly functioning immune system, needed to tolerate gliadin.

      There are literally dozens of examples like this, in whole grains alone. If you ate these components separately, the synergistic effects from complexing would not work as well—which is why studies on isolated food components (gluten, casein, sugar, etc.) are misleading.

      Honey is quite healthy, but if you ate all of the components of honey separately, it would have a very different effect on the body. This is why bees combine the dozens of the components together. Without that “confection” processing, the individual components are much less useful.

      This is not to say that some cultures haven’t figured out ways around this. I’d say most ancient traditions are based on supporting this concept in one way or another. The Japanese are able to eat white rice with no major issues—they do this by eating white rice with other foods, like seaweed (i.e. the phylorotannins in seaweed complex with refined starch). Europeans consume a lot of phenolics with refined flour (i.e. phenolics from fruit, tea, coffee and chocolate complex with refined starch). The Masai eat their meat/blood with milk and tree barks (i.e. the bark is a good source of micronutrients missing from muscle meat, and the calcium, tannins and sapponins complex with free iron).

      My main point here is that people who just focus on vitamins/minerals generally overlook how the complete package of a “whole food” works, and they ignore the effects of complexing within the cooking and digestion process. Most of the damage from any particular food component—whether it be gluten, casein or excess free iron—is generally counteracted by another food component in that same meal. That’s the very essence of whole foods, and it’s a concept that few people think about.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 11:25

      Duck my point is that we’re way overwonking this. I like Kresser and Lalonde, and I like your comments on grain history and volcano mortality, but we live in the here and now. Why do French people live so damn long? Is it the cigarettes and wine, or those high gluten white flour baguettes, or walking a lot, or club jazz, or duck confit? You better do them all in a proper Franco re-creation, which is scant on whole grains and heavy on white flour and rice. As K/L say above on correlation and causation, you don’t want to miss a factor of importance because some wonky belief system took it out of consideration.

      Ancel Keys did his own Italo re-creation for 40 years, and tried to sum it up as the Med diet. The use of olive oil was accidental. Pre Italy Margaret’s recipes never use it. But olive oil’s monos are a critical part.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 12:17

      thhq, whole foods is not some “wonky belief system” lol—it’s the foundation of healthy diets. A French white flour chocolate croissant—or a white flour “Tradition” baguette with a cup of coffee or wine—is really not much different from eating whole grains. They are just trading wheat bran for cacao and/or coffee/wine phenolics and nutrients—particularly when combined with other whole foods (dairy, legumes, etc), as the French do.

      My simple point is this: Yes, you’re completely correct that you don’t have to eat whole foods if you live exactly like a French person (or follow any traditional diet, exactly). But it’s a heck of a lot easier to just eat whole foods to obviate the need for following those traditions to the letter. But, if you’re immersed in those traditions, go for it!

      You can call it a “wonky belief system” (lol) but you’d be ignoring decades of research and observations showing the clear benefits of whole foods (whole grains vs refined, fruit vs isolated fructose, sugar vs honey, casein vs whole dairy, PUFA vs eating an egg or whole nut, etc.).

      I don’t believe it’s controversial to say that refining and isolating components from foods can often be problematic. Many cultural traditions are probably just biohacks to successfully get around those problems.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2017 at 15:41

      “Is it the cigarettes and wine.”

      The cigarettes. Hormesis. You have no idea how many French people “smoke,” but less than a cigarette per day.

      It’s true, but I’m just idly speculating.

    • art (but not that art or the other one) on April 1, 2017 at 03:49

      ‘All whole foods (a seed or nut, dairy, honey, a cricket, a whole carcass, etc.) contains the proper balance of nutrients and bioactive components necessary to support a life and counteract the very internal stresses endured by that life.’

      Such a simple and elegant argument. And devastating because simple and elegant. Utterly undermines 90% of the dogmatic trifles we see cast about. Great stuff, Duck.

  9. Justin Owings on March 28, 2017 at 06:56

    Loved Art’s presentation. Love his frame for aging as being a busted concept—it’s all about accumulated damage. The eating of mitochondria was also a nice bit of humor.

    One thing his lecture left me wondering about: eating lots of protein creates busted protein byproducts that your body has to process. What’s the effect? Is it that your body gets better at eating protein and perhaps better at fasting/autophagy? Or is that hard on the body? I’d be curious what he’d say about that.

    Whenever I talk to people about my diet, I almost always hone in on fasting as being the most important part. To me, the sine curve of life—the ebb and flow—is the way, the truth, and the light. Really, all living systems function with this back and forth that is directionally towards some objective. Cybernetics—automatic control systems. Is that not what lifeforms are?

    So we steer our way through which means we go one way for awhile, then correct course and go the other way, and zig zag our way to some point.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 28, 2017 at 10:45


      Protein degradation in the large intestine: relevance to colorectal cancer (2000)

      Colorectal cancer is the second most common form of cancer death in Western countries. Diet has been implicated in the aetiology of this disease. Epidemiological evidence suggests that diets high in meat and fat and low in fermentable carbohydrate increase colorectal cancer risk. One mechanism that could explain the association with meat is increased colonic protein metabolism due to increased protein intake from high meat diets. Products of colonic protein degradation and metabolism include ammonia, phenols, indoles and amines which have been shown to exert toxic effects in vitro and in animal models. These compounds are present in faecal samples suggesting that they may exert gut mucosal effects. Human studies have shown that colonic protein metabolism via the gut microflora is responsive to dietary protein as faecal ammonia and urinary phenolic compound concentrations increase in response to increased intake of protein rich foods. Other toxic metabolites from dietary protein precursors such as N-nitroso compounds and sulphides are also formed. Recent work has shown that diets high in meat, fat and low in fibre increase human faecal water genotoxicity. It is likely that metabolites from colonic protein metabolism contribute to this increase in genotoxicity during high meat intakes.

      And that’s just the protein from “high meat intakes.” The pro-oxidative effect of heme iron in both processed and (cooked) muscle meats is also believed to play a role colorectal cancer.

    • hap on March 28, 2017 at 18:26

      Duck Dodgers

      I opened my email notifications this morning to what I thought a very big surprise. In the Journal science, the research published basically concluding that only about 28 percent or so of cancers are related to environmental “toxins” or pollution or smoking. 3 percent are hereditary..the rest are related to random somatic mutations!!! Not all this other shit like meat meals or metabolic screwups and byproducts of whatever.

      I am not a geneticist and have not combed over the methods in this research. However, I have a YUUUGEE problem with it. The authors say some stuff that is perhaps counter intuitive. There are all these replicative DNA errors which in somatic cells , which somehow pass under the radar of our garbage cleanup system, and rampantly causing cancer. My understanding is that it is pretty difficult to get real mutations that do anything, let alone account for 2/3 the cancer in human beings. Lots of issues come up here. First, is it really the mutations that cause cancer or are they just associated with the cancer, which when it is growing results in all sorts of mutations? that’s sort of in line with the mitochondrial dysfunction hypothesis, basically saying the cancers are related to dysregulated mitochondrial respiration and switch to “aerobic glycolysis” etc. (Warburg). I don’t know that I can buy the idea that cancer is related to random mutations which escape repair…. without additional explanation.

      Their conclusion….early detection and intervention and something called secondary prevention.

    • Hap on March 29, 2017 at 11:19

      I’m going to take a crack at answering my own conundrum…..which is essentially the tension between the genomic and mitochondrial theories of a broad spectrum of pathologies, including the biggies….cancer and wayward cell damage over time. The “random” mutations reported in Science , IMO (and those of others) are downstream effects of cytoplasmic insult and mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction. Chasing down the pathways of signalling that are screwed up by these mitochondrial inspired ROS mediated mutations is not working….mainly because not the root defect.

      How the mitochondria come to this is another matter, but it is not based on DNA replication errors resulting in mutations. Those come later. In this, I would have to agree with Dr Seyfried, who appears to be a champion of mitochondrial disease. AD alluded to this in his above talk, why not go with it?

      The question is, what are the practical implications…..because some of us are going to face the music and we should have a strategy when the doctors come with the poisons. BEtter yet, what strategies to fend all this off? I think it is pretty obvious……see what Richard wrote in his hyperbrief “Arts Proscriptions”. At least that is a huge leg up starting point.

      The article in Science will be hailed as a “win” for genomic medicine. I don’t see it. I see trees and no forest.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 11:42

      Hap, I like your thinking. I agree that something smells fishy when the conclusion is that our bodies are just randomly making mistakes, and that big genomics is our only savior. I have no proof of what I’m about to tell you, and it’s pretty controversial, but here’s my wild guess.

      DNA is way more complex than anyone realizes. It can literally store enormous amounts of data (petabytes per gram, IIRC)—and we have no idea what most of that data is doing. DNA also appears to operate like a telepathic tower that can “sense” its environment. Imagine, if you will, the histones in DNA that control our epigenetics, like toggle switches. For decades, scientists have known that these histone toggle switches can be influenced by weak electromagnetic (EM) waves. Thus, the energy around us, and in us, appears to influence our epigenetics.

      If we think about this for a moment, it becomes plausible that our DNA may be able to be controlled remotely. It’s not impossible that pathogens or even imbalances in our own EM biofields could be influencing our epigenetics. (Can meditation modulate histones in this manner?) There is even research that shows:

      Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields cause DNA strand breaks in normal cells (2014)

      The possible carcinogenetic effect of the low frequency and intensity electromagnetic fields are still under debate, the data being controversial. Studies in this field suggested that exposure to low frequency and intensity electromagnetic fields could alter the DNA integrity, which could trigger the initiation of carcinogenetic processes or could accelerate the development or spreading of already present cancers.


      What I’m saying here is that the so-called “Random DNA ‘Mistakes'” purported in that article may not be “random” at all. It may very well be that the “mistakes” are caused by interference, from some external force. Big genomics will attempt to fix these mistakes, with whatever methods they come up with, but my wild guess is they are missing the underlying cause of these so-called “mistakes”—possibly some kind of external attack or interference that perhaps either directly or indirectly targets our DNA.

      Just a hunch of mine. Again, no evidence to back that up and its very controversial.

    • Hap on March 29, 2017 at 15:17

      You really went off in a “riff” with my post. Howver, it’s a very lonnnnnnng stretch from EMF messing with DNA and a mysterious “external control”.

      Lets’ stick with something sort of real… does appear that DNA is a basic code system with incredible flexibility to interact with the proteins and other molecules it defines, and in a control or feedback system create tremendous abilities to meet unanticipated demands. It seems somewhat more realistic that the dirt you play in and food you eat might be able to modulate DNA function and response…than meditation. But I don’t exclude it. I mean neural circuits can be altered and receptors up or down regulated and all that.

      then there is the issue, especially in information theory (Shannon) of what is random. It turns out that at some level what by all respects is classifieably actually “information”. But you need the “key”. So I do not know what to say about random mutations except to believe they are random and probably for all intents and purposes, should be ignored with respect to root causes of disease.

      So….I am not yet throwing away my cell phone. Someone calling might be my wife, who is more important to pay attention to (consequences) than demons/gremlins with frequency modulators and mal intent.

      You guys are really getting into the weeds in this post. No major problem with that. But I refer you to Richard’s CLiff notes of the proscriptions.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 15:48

      Lol. I actually wasn’t suggesting we get rid of our cell phones. Actually, I was more suggesting that, for all we know, either pathogens could be using weak signals to manipulate our DNA, or that our own biofields could have internal disruptions that promote DNA issues. My point is really that we really don’t know one way or the other. We only assume something is a “mistake” because we don’t have the ability to know what might be causing that mistake in the first place.

      Makes no difference if the example I gave is real or not. Was just to show that any potential realistic cause of the so-called “mistake” isn’t even considered by the paper.

    • Hap on March 29, 2017 at 19:46

      Big genomics is like Climate Change……
      A darling of the government trough for funding.

  10. K9 on March 28, 2017 at 15:19

    Apologies for the link drop Richard, but you’ll like this one:

    Finally victims of genital mutilation are speaking up. People need to see the hideos treatment of wemon that takes place in the name of religion.

  11. Tim Steele on March 29, 2017 at 09:42

    Good discussions! Most starches do not need to be cooked to be digestible. Wheat and most grain starch can be digested easily by humans in the raw form. Only a few special starches cannot be digested raw (RS). Here’s a really fun paper to read on starches and their importance in human diet (click “pdf” to see full):

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 11:38

      Tim, you get a lot more useable calories out of gelled starch than you do chewing a raw seed. And the cooked grain doesn’t break your teeth. Grain is processed to make it cook faster. My rice cooker takes an hour to swell and split barley, 15 minutes to cook white rice. In Neolithic pre cooking vessel days the seeds were even harder to cook than barley.

      Potatoes interest me a lot, especially yellow Finns. How in the world transplanted Asiatics hit on them as a cooked food source is beyond me.

    • Tim Steele on March 29, 2017 at 12:17

      Sure, chewing whole grains would be ludicrous as a meal, but pound them on rocks and add a bit of water and you have a highly digestible food with no cooking needed. Most cultures have a history of eating some type of raw starch…tiger nuts, sago, acorn, plantain, cattail, fufu, poi, etc… Indian excavations from Ohio where I grew up always unearthed acorn and corn grinding implements. I think we need to give the paleo people more credit for ingenuity in obtaining food from what was around them. I agree, cooking changed everything, probably for the better. But then mechanization and purification changed it all again, for the worse.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 12:26

      thhq said: “Grain is processed to make it cook faster”

      Again, that’s an oversimplification. Cooking makes the calories and nutrients in whole grains more accessible for bigger brains. Many scientists now believe cooking (plants/starches) was the main driver of bigger brains.

      There are papers showing that cooking uncracked whole grains will result in more RS1 than milled grains, but at the expense of lower absorption of nutrients and calories. Finer milling will increase the absorption of calories, and nutrients, at the expense of RS1.

      It’s a trade off.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 12:34


      Making flour is processing. Cooking is processing.

      Don’t wonk it so hard.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 12:42

      thhq. I’m a wonk. What do you expect? 🙂

      If you don’t want a wonky discussion, then don’t start one as you just did. lol

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 12:47

      And going on with my other thought about grains, putting grain in an animal is processing. They don’t need millstones or cooking to use it. You can feed them with it year-round. And they love to eat it. The proverb “do not muzzle the ox while it is threshing” comes out of that culture. Grain is good for making domesticated animals.

      At Catalhoyuk there is no evidence of grain-grinding. There are few rocks around the formerly muddy lake. But there are bones of early domestic animals, and grain was being collected.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 12:52

      Um, That’s because cattle are ruminants. They have their own internal processing systems.

      C’mon, thhq. Don’t wonk it so hard. 😉

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 13:07

      Actually, Mozambique (~105,000 years ago) did have evidence of dozens of tools that were found that point to humans using and processing grains.

      Mozambican Grass Seed Consumption During the Middle Stone Age (2009)

      A large assemblage of starch granules has been retrieved from the surfaces of Middle Stone Age stone tools from Mozambique, showing that early Homo sapiens relied on grass seeds starting at least 105,000 years ago, including those of sorghum grasses.


      As did grindstones from Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic ~30,000 years ago and Israel – 23,000 years ago. Recent evidence suggests that the cultivation of plants began 11 millennia prior to the agricultural revolution—pushing back small-scale farming to around 25,000 years ago (or two-and-a-half times further back than the current mainstream Paleo narrative).[1]

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 13:48

      Sorry Duck at Catalhoyuk they were still wild aurochs. Trophy heads they displayed in their living rooms decorated with their plentiful mud. The Mudstones. No cattle at that point.

      Goats and sheep they had. Our modern sheep loved grain more than alfalfa. A special ruminant treat just before lambchop time.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 13:51

      We were tidier with the bones and didn’t throw them in the alleys like those early Turks.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 13:55

      We also never got in the practice of burying grandma in the floor holding her mud covered severed head.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 13:58

      If you’re going to do Neolithic re-creation you need to get it right.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 29, 2017 at 15:28

      I always wondered how many grains those wild aurochs were taking in when grazing on wild grasses that were allowed to go to seed. These days a lot of farmers hay their fields and rotate the livestock in and out of plots—not often letting the grasses go to seed. But, in the wild, they’d certainly get some grains into their diet. Though, obviously it wasn’t at such high quantities and wasn’t limited to grains.

      Intersting thing about grain-based diets for livestock: Before enrichments, the livestock had to be let out to pasture, to get their B vitamins, in order to sustain their appetites for pure grain-based diets. (A diet deficient in B vitamins results in loss of appetite). Once they put B vitamin enrichments into the grain, the animals no longer needed to graze for their vitamins—they could stay in their stalls indefinitely. If they didn’t have enrichments, they’d be forced to have a more diverse diet in order to sustain an appetite.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2017 at 15:49

      “But then mechanization and purification changed it all again, for the worse”


  12. thhq on March 29, 2017 at 12:49

    If I wasn’t a wonk would we still be having the discussion? I’m surprised Richard hasn’t shut it off yet.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2017 at 20:48

      Gemma, In spite of my crazy luv for you, this is all kinda meh for me.

      I don’t think we’re even close to getting a grasp on the outlier “why” of human evolution, in the context of purposelessness.

      I just really can’t get to a place where the evolution had much to do with it as a driving force.

      But what if human action, like say beginning a few 10k years ago began controlling evolution? Light force, at first, and now you can make arguments of profundity.

      They even say we’re fucking the climate, but that’s unbridled hubris.

    • Gemma on March 29, 2017 at 23:10

      “Gemma, In spite of my crazy luv for you, this is all kinda meh for me.”

      Richard, you brought Pareto in a longevity post (in one sentence with Fibonacci?). Muh Pareto indeed. Pareto’s approach is destructive. Nash is a much bigger deal, that’s all I wanted to say with my comment. Search a solution where everyone benefits, it must be there, these types of equilibria are everywhere.

      “I just really can’t get to a place where the evolution had much to do with it as a driving force.”

      Define “evolution” then we can go forward.

      By the way:

      “neither the universe nor Earth is particularly malevolent”

      Just say it loud. The universe is benevolent. (Einstein was rather confused).

    • Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2017 at 07:14

      “I’m surprised Richard hasn’t shut it off yet.”

      I think it’s great, so far, anyway.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2017 at 07:23


      Oh, I don’t think it’s benevolent, either. It’s just there and in important respects, humans have influence over it. Not total control, yet, but the influence is growing.

      So, perhaps there is a greater need for a philosophy of ethics now, since humans are unique in that they consciously choose values. Not as automatic as they are for most species in the wild.

    • Gemma on March 30, 2017 at 10:14

      “So, perhaps there is a greater need for a philosophy of ethics now, since humans are unique in that they consciously choose values.”

      Yes, the need for a philosophy of ethics has never been greater than now. And also the need for an action in the name of the right values and freedom, a revolution, if you will. Another 1776, otherwise the insane billionaires end up realizing their genocidal plans.
      And then, not before, the suppressed tech and know-how will be released at last, including health improving and life-extension technologies. (GTR will be in the 7th heaven).

    • Hap on March 30, 2017 at 14:19

      “I don’t think we’re even close to getting a grasp on the outlier “why” of human evolution, in the context of purposelessness.”


      Perhaps the purposelessness….is not so purposeless.

  13. Gemma on March 29, 2017 at 14:33

    What a post, and everyone talking past each other in the comments. And Pareto mentioned… I need to add Nash for a better equilibrium.

    Host Demise as a Beneficial Function of Indigenous Microbiota in Human Hosts (Blaser, 2014)

    “The age structure of human populations is exceptional among animal species. Unlike with most species, human juvenility is extremely extended, and death is not coincident with the end of the reproductive period. We examine the age structure of early humans with models that reveal an extraordinary balance of human fertility and mortality. We hypothesize that the age structure of early humans was maintained by mechanisms incorporating the programmed death of senescent individuals, including by means of interactions with their indigenous microorganisms. First, before and during reproductive life, there was selection for microbes that preserve host function through regulation of energy homeostasis, promotion of fecundity, and defense against competing high-grade pathogens. Second, we hypothesize that after reproductive life, there was selection for organisms that contribute to host demise.”

    Makes sense, no? The microbes first nurture us, then they kill us and eat us.

    So, what to do?

    “Our hypothesis assumes that the indigenous microbiota serves two functions for the hosts that they colonize (Fig. 1). First, during reproductive life, there is selection for microbes that preserve host function, through regulation of energy homeostasis, promotion of fecundity, and interference with competing high-grade pathogens. Second, we postulate selection for organisms that contribute to host demise after reproductive life. We hypothesize that, while harmful for the individual (during the postreproductive age, when there no longer are genes to pass on), such interplay may be salutary for the overall population in terms of resource utilization, resistance to periodic diminutions in the food supply, and epidemics due to high-grade pathogens. Such a hypothesis can help regulate local host population numbers to maintain equilibria under conditions of resource limitation and fluctuation. This hypothesis may be especially relevant to isolated prehistoric human communities, where the fates of the indigenous microbes and their hosts are rigidly tethered. Host community demise would lead to microbial extinctions.”

    The key part is here:

    “As such, local communities that have equilibria between colonizing microbial populations and their hosts that maximize overall host fitness have the greatest probability of long-term survival; we have previously postulated that these relationships take the form of a Nash equilibrium (22, 40, 41).”

    Life is a game in a jungle. You have to play, take risks etc. but first of all, NEGOTIATE. May food be one of your weapons.

    • Hap on March 29, 2017 at 15:01

      Yeah….starve the fuckers. It’s called FREE WILL. If the ship is going down, take the captain too.

  14. Paul on March 29, 2017 at 16:04

    In the spirit of keeping my contributions shorter, these differences of opinion on nutrition are best resolved internet style.

    Forget science, Post body progress picks. The person with the best set of ABS, lowest body fat percent and the strongest one rep max in the deadlift (real or otherwise) wins.

    • thhq on March 29, 2017 at 16:15

      But always keep Jim Fixx in mind….

    • Hap on March 29, 2017 at 18:53

      Yes…I’ve gone from 26 percent to 24 percent BF. Put me on TV.

    • K9 on March 30, 2017 at 08:59

      Paul, this is so true. You speak truth my friend. Also, do not listen to people who have chicken legs – Grecian body proportions only.

  15. GTR on March 30, 2017 at 06:05

    Any discussion about aging is incomplete without the mention of Programmed Aging theory.

    Verberates architecture itself has a capacity for an organism to live 400 years for cold-blooded ones, or 200 years for warm-blooded ones. And the longest-living ones eat high-protein diet, do a lot of oxidation, move quickly, in case of sharks even non-stop, live a dangerous life, and get more damage than a human office worker.

    So yes, you can have aging-via-damege, but at 200+. Aging at 60 for humans or especially aging at 40-50 is not that. Organism is still functioning well, if it wanted and was allowed to repair itself, it should be able to do it. Programmed Aging Theory claims that aging is a slow-suicide process written in our genes, similarly to other processes eg. puberty are programmed. This is a very slow, systematic process, a type that human brains have problem finding out, stupid as they are.

    The motivation for programmed aging can be multiple. My simplistic, kindergarden version of this theory could be like this:

    You have one species that is at some kind of a local optimum. Big “architectural” changes having a negative impact, thus being selected out. Genes of such species would benefit from long-living units, keeping the architecture that is in such local optimum intact, safe. This may explain longevity of sharks, turtles and so on.

    Then you have a species #2, the one that has a great potential, is in conditions that are open for changes and improvements. Such species is able to score a major victory against other ones, if it uses its potential to improve in order to become better than those competitors, even one stuck at local optimums. What is an improvement, a progress? It’s a replacement of current units, with new, better units. This includes both creating new, better units, and a timely removal of old units (that are worse units when the new improved generation arrives). Improvement is like replacing computers every 3 years with a new generation, even if they can electrically and mechanically withstand 7 years.
    In case of evolution you have multiple mechanisms of providing a new generation – eg. a sex drive. Also many mechanisms to assure a new generation is improved – sexual selection, assortative matings between the best individuals, natural selection against those that are not up to the pair.
    So when the new, genetically-superior generation is there, successfully made, and grown to a reasonable functionality, with the worst individuals selected out by dieseases, predators etc. then what is left is to get rid of the genetically inferior old folks. Otherwise, they will prevent the, new genetically-superior ones from taking off, by preventing them from getting resources via having more experience, or even fighting them directly. The immediate solutions can be used – some species die after reproducing – but these are risky. What if the young don’t make it anyway, even with those superior genes, because of some virus, or increased predation? That’s why slow-suicide ways of getting rid of old generations are better: that decrease the quality of individuals with time, but don’t kill them. If the new generation makes it, and is good – it wins competition both via superior genetic potential, as well as getting the experience of the old balanced by such affirmative action. The units of new generation that are so bad as to loose competition even to such artificially crippled old ones won’t improve the species, so they don’t survive. And if such big dieoff of young occurs because of something (predation, diesease, famine) – a species can rebuild from those artificially crippled, but still functional old individuals. So such slow-suicide (aging) model has won in many species, including humans.

    For different, and perhaps better versions of such theory you can read Josh Mittledorf’s book “Cracking the Aging Code”. Some demo of the contents is here:

    Programmed Aging Theory has big consequences. It means that so much hyped natural approaches won’t work, as aging is natural. That artificial, scientific, medicinal is a more hopeful approach, as it doesn’t care about the goals of machine. In artificial I include not only fully synthetic methods, but also things like artificial implementation in one species natural things from other, very long living species, eg. genetic manipulation of shorter-living species that replaces their genes with the ones from longer living species, or add some signalling molecules to the blood of shorter living species, to mimic the blood ratios of longer living species. As well as using technology to reset/rebuild age-destroyed systems (telomere lenghtening, thymus rebuild and so on.).

    • Duck Dodgers on March 30, 2017 at 08:13

      “And the longest-living ones eat high-protein diet, do a lot of oxidation, move quickly, in case of sharks even non-stop, live a dangerous life, and get more damage than a human office worker”

      It’s worth pointing out that carnivores don’t cook their food, and they eat the whole animals raw that are already balanced in nutrition. Carnivores eat raw protein and raw heme iron. When one eats raw meat, you’re eating raw flesh that flesh already has all of the components in place to keep metabolic oxidation in check. For instance, cooked heme iron is well known to easily oxidize and is easily acquired by pathogens. Whereas raw heme iron is encapsulated by an antimicrobial prophyrin ring that keeps the heme iron stable and prevents it from oxidizing. Cooking also results in a good amount of protein oxidation and aldehydic products. And that doesn’t even begin to cover lipid oxidation in cooked animal foods.

      Taken together, this is perhaps why carnivores don’t get bowel cancer or high pathogen loads from all meat diets. And reducing cooking fuel consumption in cold environments aside, it also appears to explain why carnivorous cultures tended to eat their meat raw.

      Since the shark doesn’t cook its meat, it’s starting its digestion process with a highly stable meal, that doesn’t pre-oxidize or continue to oxidize in digestion like cooked meat does. Additionally, carnivores have much shorter intestines, relative to their body size, than omnivores do. This results in a shorter bowel transit time for carnivores—eliminating the amount of time the high protein meal can stick around and cause damage.

      In other words, the shark’s natural habits and internal systems are designed to significantly reduce the oxidation from a high protein and high heme diet.

      Just wanted to point out that overlooked, but key, difference.

    • Duck Dodgers on March 31, 2017 at 11:15

      Another thing to consider about Western meat consumption. Unlike a carnivore, or HG, in the wild, all of the meat we eat is stored in refrigerated rooms for weeks even before it becomes available to the butcher. This is done to allow the meat to go through rigor mortis and tenderize before it can be butchered.

      Here’s a 2016 review paper on iron in meat. In addition to covering deficiencies, the paper touches on the problems of getting too much iron from meat (adult males only need 8mg/day). It also covers the oxidative differences between raw and cooked meats pretty well.

      Heme iron in meat as the main source of iron in the human diet (2016)

      Iron as a catalyst of lipid oxidation in meat

      During postmortem changes, the natural antioxidant system that prevents living cells from lipid oxidation becomes increasingly weaker, which accelerates the lipid oxidation processes. The cessation of blood circulation in the body shifts metabolism from oxidative to glycolytic during the conversion of muscle to meat. This results in lactic acid accumulation, which reduces pH from 7.4 to approx. 6.0-5.5. This is when the structural integrity of muscle cells is compromised as a result of proteolysis and protein denaturation, releasing iron ions from hemoproteins and low-molecular-weight compounds, which may become catalysts. Iron initiates lipid oxidation by generating, via the Fenton reaction, reactive oxygen species capable of abstracting a proton from unsaturated fatty acids. Free iron ions may bind to negatively charged phospholipids (such as phosphatidylcholine) in cell membranes and catalyze the breakdown of pre-formed lipid hydroperoxides. The lipid hydroperoxides are further decomposed oxidatively to form peroxide radicals or, by reduction, to produce alkoxyl radicals. These radicals may initiate new chain reactions, and alkoxyl radicals may further decompose to produce aldehydes and other secondary products of lipid oxidation…In addition, heme proteins that initiate lipid oxidation in biological membranes may impair membrane function, decrease fluidity, inactivate membrane-bound receptors and enzymes, and increase permeability to ions such as Ca2+

      Free iron ions released from heme and ferritin may be considered as the main catalysts of lipid peroxidation in both raw and cooked meat

      …The [human] body’s iron metabolism should be strictly regulated by iron-binding proteins to ensure that no free iron exists.

      …Heme iron may initiate lipid oxidation in both raw and cooked meat (Hęś, korczak 2007). Additionally, the meat cooking process inhibits the activity of antioxidant enzymes and releases iron from heme, leading to its oxygenation.

      This further underscores the difference between Western cooked/refrigerated meat consumption and that of a carnivorous animal.

      A shark doesn’t have to deal with any of that. The shark gets fresh/stable raw heme iron, fresh/stable raw lipids and fresh/stable natural antioxidants in its raw meat—and the full balance of nutrients by eating the whole carcass. Today humans eat mainly muscle meat that has undergone significant oxidation and is a source of free iron that needs to be “strictly regulated by [our] iron-binding proteins to ensure that no free iron exists.”

      I’m a big fan of hormesis theories, but it’s worth recognizing that the wild obligate carnivore—or Paleolithic human—isn’t really dealing with the same kind of stress as a modern Western meat eater.

    • Hap on March 31, 2017 at 16:46

      Yes…so the point has nothing to do with obligate carnivores or Paleolithic humans. the point is that we eat x, y, and z…..and what adaptations do we have that makes this work in current context.

      What happens to the iron coming from a skillet?

    • Duck Dodgers on March 31, 2017 at 18:38

      What adaptations do we have that makes this work in current context? Well…

      If I recall, one of National Geographic‘s critiques of the Paleo Diet™ is that while HGs want to eat a lot of meat, they aren’t successful most of the time they go out and hunt—even though they have advanced bow and arrows. And Richard has previously posted evidence that HGs eat a lot of carbs outside of the camp, while hunting. So, it seems reasonable that HGs weren’t eating enormous levels of cooked meats.

      Carnivorous cultures like the Eskimos ate a lot of fresh/frozen raw meat—and they crave the taste of antioxidants with their meat (labrador teas, introduced in the 19th century). The Masai always eat their meat with Acacia Nolitica bark—which is rich in iron-balancing Manganese and has a very high concentration of tannins and sapponins (antioxidants that bind with free iron). They also consume a lot of dairy, which interferes with heme iron absorption.

      Obviously these cultures don’t do this because they are thinking about iron. They do it because high-iron meat tastes better to them when combined with bitter antioxidants. This is why a steak tastes good with a red wine—rich in bitter tannins and sapponins.

      As for the iron from a cast iron skillet?

      Wikipedia: Cast-iron cookware: Health effects

      An American Dietetic Association study found that cast iron cookware can leach significant amounts of dietary iron into food. The amounts of iron absorbed varied greatly depending on the food, its acidity, its water content, how long it was cooked, and how old the cookware is. The iron in spaghetti sauce increased 2,109 percent (from 0.35 mg/100g to 7.38 mg/100g), while other foods increased less dramatically; for example, the iron in cornbread increased 28 percent, from 0.67 to 0.86 mg/100g. Anemics, and those with iron deficiencies, may benefit from this effect, which was the basis for the development of the lucky iron fish, an iron ingot used during cooking to provide dietary iron to those with iron deficiency. People with hemochromatosis (iron overload, bronze disease) should avoid using cast iron cookware because of the iron leaching effect into the food.


      The RDA of iron for an adult male is 8mg/day. So, cast-iron isn’t that great for a non-anemic male. Giving blood a few times a year is one way to deal with the excess. Helminths used to be ubiquitous. But, helminths promoted an upregulation of iron absorption to counteract the blood loss. Still, it’s unlikely people ever had iron overload when they had helminths.

      Anyhow, other than giving blood, I’d say the adaptations you’re asking about are mainly traditional pairings (red wine, barks, teas, dairy, etc.) which act as a tasty biohack to rebalance what’s lost in the muscle-to-meat process. But since there’s no way to expel excess iron, you have to bleed to remove the excess.

    • thhq on April 1, 2017 at 04:29

      Late reproduction probably has a lot to do with the longevity of fish like sharks and sturgeon. Everything is slowed down.

      Then there are the much longer lived mollusks. They continue to grow slowly and almost perpetually given the right conditions. Like trees do, even putting on countable rings on their shells.

  16. K9 on March 31, 2017 at 11:57

    Richard, any update on the neighbours or has it gone private? Resolved perhaps?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 31, 2017 at 14:14

      No, I just decided to keep it private until after the hearing April 13.

    • Hap on March 31, 2017 at 16:38

      Good idea. Lawyers have a way of inventing narratives out of irrelevant facts/non facts….and frankly you don’t need any more of than you already got.

      Lying in court is definitely a daily occurrence and sometimes quite artfully done.

  17. Joel on April 3, 2017 at 07:38

    I keep reading that nearly all health issues result from: “EXCESS, UNBOUND IRON that hangs out in the myoglobin of the muscle cells”

    • hap on April 4, 2017 at 08:24

      IRONMAN….has no health issues, and he is definitely unbound.

  18. Hap on April 4, 2017 at 08:31

    Perhaps we strive to live longer…so we can find more happiness and try to forget all this shit we had to endure.

    Programmed Aging be damned.

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