Monday, June 23, 2008

Opioid pictures

No, it's not Afghanistan, that's the A34 in the background. The NHS had (has?) a diamorphine supply problem since our foray in to the opium fields of Afghanistan. Now we're in to grow your own!

The surrounding fields are far less recreational but could be far more damaging!

No surprise people like bread, it's acting on the same receptors as the poppy juice....



Anonymous said...

Am I a moron?

So I divided out my daily needs (calories/protein/fat/carbs) based on Optimal Diet, and I know precisely what I need for each of my meals.

Naively I wanted a lazy lunch. So with Fitday at hand, i proceeded to eat a huge dark chocolate bar and some heavy cream. Perfect "meal", about 1000 calories with P/F/C all in perfect ratio.

Well, all afternoon I had chest pains and have felt nauseous.

Anyway, comments please. I guess some things aren't meant to be taken literally, i.e. chocolate isn't real food.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right, iwfc... Since eliminating Lindt 85% chocolate, my bowel movements are smaller and I'm feeling better. Jan Kwasniewski has stressed that animal fats should be the main part of the diet. I'm very cautious with dairy, using ghee and butter mainly. Unsalted raw butter and cheese if available.

For oils, I use the 76 degree melt white coconut oil that Ray Peat is recommending. Spectrum's naturally Refined Coconut oil is OK, but you can get "76 degree melt white" for <$2 a pound online. The other oils I use are good macadamia and small amount of hazelnut, palm, avocado, and olive oil. Cocoa butter may be good, it's very close to beef suet in its fatty acid ratios. But I am staying away from chocolate in all forms as an experiment. It is high in fiber and residue and I do best on a low-residue diet. As close to no-fiber as possible.

Gyan said...

Is it OK to consume UHT cream?
The Western Price people oppose it but I find many of their ideas implausible eg many sidebars of Nourishing Traditions book (by Sally Fallon)--such as mosquitoes bite people who consume high-sugar rather than high-fat.
I ask since here it is easier to get UHT cream rather than fresh cream.

Peter said...

Hi IWFC0dN7oN.NyycUvuSp2UfBTUwR_Fo-,

Re you current first question, I have no way of telling whether you are a moron or not, there is currently insufficient information. My main concern is whether you are a troll or merely lack interpersonal skills. Neither implies low IQ.

In amongst the discussions posted here there are comments that it is quite possible to consume too much fat in a single sitting. I have certainly achieved this with fermented cream, but more commonly with belly pork in a particularly palatable form, eaten rapidly for various practical reasons. Nausea is definitely the main discomfort. Kwasniewski cites this as a problem if one tries for "all calories in a single meal per day" eating pattern (mentioned as his preferred option, but hard to do).

The chest pain is interesting, this link suggests angina is unlikely as the explanation.

Beyond that we have no information. I note that my lunch today is, by pure chance, a third of a pint of double cream and 4 squares of 72% cocoa chocolate (supply problem with the 85% stuff).


Unknown said...


For health reasons, I believe that the reason that the Weston A Price people are against Ultra High Pasteurizaton is that the high temperature relative to regular pasteurization, denatures the protein to a greater degree, making it less digestible. For cream which is mostly fat and not protein this is not as great a consideration and so UHT would be okay. For karmic reasons UHT is bad because it is generally what is done by big industrial producers of diary. So not only protein denaturization but all the other things that the big boys do and to which you do not have a clue are also happening. Your smaller and hopefully grass fed diary producers are much less likely to use UHT and are more likely to do all the other things right, e.g. omega 3/6, cleanliness of production, etc. Plus you are helping the little guy. I buy non UHT when I can get it, and if I can not then I buy UHT cream. You do the best that you can.


Peter said...

Hi Gunter,

I tend to choose potatoes despite their neolithic status (like modern chocolate I guess) partly because I quite like them, they're very cheap and I find it easy to limit quantitiy and combine with a high fat load to limit glycaemia post prandially. They are great for soaking up the fat in the bowl...

More paleo veggies to do the same job are sweet potatoes and yams. I tend to find sweet potatoes a bit too sweet, though they are nice in moderation. The fructose load is not too horrendous. Yams are good but seem to have a fair phytoestrogen load...

Gut function is functional! Very occasioanlly I will be windy after potatoes, especially if undercooked.

The resistant starch is of little interest. I must eat some for the occasional windy days after potatoes. This is accidental, I've no intetion of feeding my gut bacteria more than I have to. Glucose certainly bypasses them and sucrose does if sucrase is working (ie no gluten). A lot of the approach I have to my gut microbiota is in the Fiaf posts. A little butyrate is OK from a little fiber. No point going over the top. If you search to comments in hyperlipid using the google bar at the top of the page there is a set of comments discussing Fanatic Cook's love of resistant starch and her puzzlement about diminishing returns. Gut bacteria control our metabolism pretty effectively when we eat fiber or resistant starch.


Peter said...


The other minor worry about UHT cream might be advanced glycation endproducts. Mixing protein and sugar at high temsps probably produces lots of these. Whether they are important is the next question. Probably dose related...


PS have to agree with Porter, you do the best you can. Mind you, I occasionally make kulfi icecream for no better reason than I like it, mmmmmm AGEs do taste good!

Anonymous said...

I looooooooove to read your blog, and truly appreciate the time you take to answer all our questions (I also was curious to know your opinion on resistant starch).
Thanks Peter

Anonymous said...

Bruce and Peter - Thanks for the feedback I really appreciate it.

Currently I am in roughly day 5 or 6 of my start of a high fat diet. Previously my F/C/P ratios were roughly equal.

Days 2 and 3 of my start are when I had some headaches, and that was my first post here. I took one aspirin each day and that fixed it. Since day 3 however the headaches are gone completely.

My problem now is more serious - chest related discomfort. The high-fat social stigmas are creeping back as I contemplate whether I'm going to have a heart attack in my 20s (I say this half jokingly of course).

Peter, you wrote that the "one meal of all the day's needs" can cause problems. I wonder if my 3 square meals are still too big. Here is what I calculated to be my daily needs:

Ratio: P 1 : F 3 : C 0.8

Height: 6'2" = 188 cm

Conversion to needed protein grams: 188 cm - 100 cm = 88

Based on that my daily needs are 88g protein, 264g fat, and 70g carbs.

I use those figures and divide by 3 to find each meal's requirements: 29g protein, 88g fat, 8g carbs

So far my diet has consisted of eggs, heavy cream, bacon, Lindt 70% chocolate which I am now temporarily cutting out, unsalted butter, and pork (not cutlets but similar).

If any of you have ideas please share. I hope I don't need to go to 5 or 6 meals a day because the fat is too high per meal. That would be really discouraging.

Overall, I feel pretty good though. My testosterone levels and calmness feel very high. It's just this chest pain now which is very worrying.

I'm actually starting to get hungry as well. I can't imagine that 3000 calories isn't enough but today I craved some junk food which I haven't since I started this diet. I have leaned out a bit as well and the last bits of fat seem to have disappeared.

ItsTheWooo said...

Peter - Yay someone else who believes in chocolate for lunch! I tend to eat chocolate + nuts + cream, chocolate + cream isn't as much fun :).

ItsTheWooo said...


Your signs and symptoms (headache + chest pain) sound consistent with increased sympathetic tone resulting in vasoconstriction. The headache is a result of constricting vessels in your head and the chest pain is produced by constricting vessels in your heart.

To confirm, I suggest taking your blood pressure. Are you aware of what your normal blood pressure is? IF this is caused by too much SNS, you can expect your BP to be higher.

Are you taking any stimulants? Perhaps you have changed your caffeine usage?

It is possible eating so many calories, comprised entirely of fat , is sending your sympathetic nervous system into overdrive... similar to what might happen if someone had hyperthyroid. Energy - fat storing ability = SNS overdrive = vasoconstriction = increased heart rate, headache, chest pain, increased bp...

The other possibility is that this way of eating is inducing insulin resistance which is actually increasing your insulin levels. This would be contrary to what you are trying to acheive but it is possible since fat rapidly induces insulin rsistance. Insulin is pro-inflammatory and increases sympathetic tone. This is a major reason why BP immediately responds to low carb diet, and why hypertension is one of the earlier indicators of metabolic syndrome... lowering insulin will also rapidly lower BP.

If this is the case, I would lower the calories of the diet, and slowly taper up as tolerated. 1000 calories seems really excessive, especially of all fat.

LeenaS said...

Isthewoo and Peter:

Another chocolate addict here o/
Although cream-cocoa mixed with coffee is my breakfast, not lunch.

Peter, thanks for info on JK's preference for one main meal only. Namely, that is what I have been doing since last August, with cocoa breafasts and some nuts with butter and tea for lunch.

Works fine with me.

Stephan Guyenet said...


I was put off by the sidebars in Nourishing Traditions too. Some of the stuff on the WAP website is out there as well. Don't let that tarnish the basic ideas though. Despite her alternative streak, I think Sally Fallon has a lot of things right. First and foremost, basing her information on Weston Price's findings.

Manda said...

re: the nausea after consuming too much fat in one sitting---have definitely experienced that! i make a shake every morning with 1 cup cream, a little milk just to make it mix well, and 6 raw egg yolks. the cream i get is raw and quite a bit heavier than any other cream i have seen. i have to spoon it out of the jar.

it pretty much lasts me until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. sometimes i can sip on it all morning, but i usually slog it down so i can get on with life. :)

i eat a potato every night (i wish i knew how many ounces they are--intending on getting a scale one of these days--dr.k suggests no more than 3.5 oz) with at least 4 tablespoons butter and a handful of grated parmesan. we usually have some sort of meat with it like fatty steak or pork.

these are the only ways i know of so far to get lots of fat in me. i must still have some psychological issue with fat even though i have been making myself eat it for the past 3 years since i learned about the WAPF.


Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for the response.

I just took my blood pressure twice, first was 120/79, second time was 129/79. My BP has typically been normal over my lifetime, I believe 120/80 is the average and I think my numbers tend to fall there.

When you say sympathetic is that what you mean or do you mean parasympathetic? I guess if like you said my sympathic activity has shot up then that's a bad thing and that worries me because I don't want to stop the diet because long term I think the benefits outweigh problems during transitioning.

I also have had cramps for "no reason" in my calves the past couple days. There were posts on this site when I searched about cramps during transition and I believe Peter said that's Mg or K depletion.

Anyway, I am thinking I need to up my carbs and lower my fat a bit and perhaps and overall decrease in total calories. Hopefully this helps me through transition without having a heart attack.

I believe tachycardia runs in the family and I may have it. Perhaps this diet just isn't for me if it risks my heart health?

Thanks so much to all.

ItsTheWooo said...

Hi iwfc...
The sympathetic nervous system is the one that is associated with these kind of symptoms (headaches and chest pains from vasoconstriction).

Seeing as your BP is within your normal range, this is a good sign; however normal BP does not necessarily disprove it. Has your baseline heart rate increased?

Like you said cramps in the legs can be related to mineral deficiencies, usually calcium but magnesium is also likely. The diet you are attempting to eat has the potential to reduce blood glucose and insulin, which in turn promotes mineral loss and dehydration.

This diet, for the same reason, can also reduce serotonin levels in the body. There is a relationship between reduced sodium and cramping in legs especially at night (called restless legs syndrome).

Another possibility for your discomfort and aches (particularly the nausea) may be hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar plus high fat burning can result in nausea and food aversion (paradoxical hypoglycemia). Headaches and chest pains may also be related to hypoglycemia, because hypoglycemia activates the SNS (so you see high OR low blood sugar can cause these symptoms, and either is possible when we change our diets).

I don't mean to discourage you from reducing carbs and increasing fats. All in all it sounds like typical symptoms one might experience upon initiating a low carb diet - the symptoms go away with time.
I'm not sure what kind of diet you were eating before, but a lower carb and higher fat diet is probably the best way for all people to eat from a long term health perspective.

To ease your symptoms, I suggest the following:
- slightly more carbs and smaller meals (this will help the hypoglycemia and nausea; SLOWLY transition to the low carb diet)

- A mineral supplement, extra sodium, calcium, magneisum, and potassium (this is an absolute MUST, because inducting a low carb diet has been known to induce arrhythmias from dehydration... to the body it is physiologically similar to fasting in terms of what it does to insulin and minerals/electrolytes)

- 5-htp to increase systemic serotonin levels (if the minerals don't help with the leg cramps at night, or the aches and pains and feeling of uneasiness, 5-htp most certainly will because reduced serotonin is the major reason for them)

Mark said...

iwfc - sounds like your chest pain is a placebo effect.

Your response so epitomizes the idea that a high fat diet results in heart disease - that some strong degree of placebo/hypochondria is setting in.

I don't like using the term hypochondria, since it has such a negative stigma. But I don't mean it in any condescending way. We are all susceptible, as human, to placebo and hypochondria so much so that drugs need to be tested against placebo to determine effectiveness beyond a base placebo effect.


ItsTheWooo said...

Mark - he is probably not having a heart attack, but iwfc has a constellation of symptoms which are actually pretty common when people start low carb diets.

Headaches/chest pain
Leg cramps

Causes of which are all temporary and/or easily correctable.

Anonymous said...

Everyone -

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your contributions.

Peter - Thank you for running the site and for your helpful comments and frequent updates.

I've been checking this site multiple times per day especially now that I'm starting this dietary change, and as I work through these complications.

itsthewoo -

You have been extremely helpful. I will now cut down my meal sizes a bit and bump up carbs. I tend to be extreme so I jumped full steam into this way of eating vs. my old diet of just a week ago when I was eating hundreds of grams of carbs per day.

You are right in that I have had the following negatives thus far:

Headaches/chest pain
Leg cramps

I am pretty in tune with my body especially now since I'm already more relaxed with high fat, and I've always been athletic. I'm pretty sure these aren't placebo effects.

I have started some supplements - my multiple vitamin, and I bought some potassium and magnesium. The sodium and calcium I didn't get because I feel that the bacon and heavy cream have them covered.

Half Navajo said...

Just to throw my two cents in...i just keep my ratios of fat protien and carbs to what Jk says in each meal i eat. I don't worry to much about trying to get the perfect total amount of calories and grams of fat and protien and carbs for my weight right in a day. Most of the time I'm in a calorie deficit, but i am never hungry and my energy is high.

Anonymous said...

I just realized my spreadsheet had a typo where I divided carbs by 9 instead of 3, so I was eating only a third the recommended carbs per day.

So my plan of upping carbs thanks to some help from you folks looks like it was the right move and caught my mistake before I realized it.

Will keep everyone updated, thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Douglas Porter, I would not use any cream, unless it had no carrageenan or other additives. If there is one ingredient (cream), fine. That's my basic rule. With sour cream, I only get those with a single ingredient. Here's an article about carrageenan and some other worthless additives. They have no reason to be in foods. They probably cause disease. Enough said. I don't get food that has any pectin added, either. Nor any foods with chemicals of any kind.

If I had no choice but to get cream with carrageenan, I would try using a very fine tea strainer, which may remove some of that waste. I prefer half-and-half, which has only cream and milk on the ingredients.

IWFC... I would suggest using Lindt 85% chocolate or a similar product, lacking soy lecithin. The only four ingredients should be cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla or vanilla beans (not vanillin). There are also 99% and 100% bars, but you have to let your taste adapt slowly to the higher percentages. Figs are good at balancing the 85-100% bars.

Why are you eliminating the butter? I think you would do better with it than cream, since it's usually less processed with fewer additives. Why cut out pork? I would try to get it unprocessed (like pork belly, ribs, or ground pork, with no additives).

Gyan said...

The leading cream brand here has only 25% fat. So I guess it is loaded with carrageenan.
We do get pretty good milk--6% fat and only pasteuized (not UHT) so perhaps I can make cream on my own.
Could somebody advise how to make cream from milk. I guess I need to churn it a bit.

Anonymous said...

"A mineral supplement, extra sodium, calcium, magneisum, and potassium (this is an absolute MUST, because inducting a low carb diet has been known to induce arrhythmias from dehydration..."

This does not sound good at all. I suspect that raw meat will hydrate better than the cooked meats which most people eat on low-carb diets. Water-rich fruit or dairy products could give more hydration. I think many people would benefit from raw juices if for no other reason than the hydration and minerals. If you can't deal with a juicer, the next best option is 100% juice not from concentrate. If you can't do that, try frozen concentrate, pref using distilled water. I don't drink tap water due to fluoride and chlorine and other poisons. I prefer juices low in sucrose, like grape, cherry, blueberry, pom, cranberry, etc.

Pure juices are not fattening, IMO. They increase thermogenesis vastly and I can feel it just like eating fats. Raw juices are best. I doubt anyone has gotten fat on fresh raw juice or pulp-free juice. The lack of fiber (and PUFAs) in pure juice revs up your metabolism immensely. I don't drink much water. I get my water mainly from foods. I hope in the future low-carb gurus will see the fact that raw carbohydrates do not fatten like cooked ones do. It is obvoiusly not fruit and natural unprocessed honey that make people fat. It's bread, pasta, flour, and refined sugars. Period.

gunther gatherer said...

Hi Peter. Thanks for your (un)common sense with regards to fiber and resistant starch. As always though, it leads me to another question:

I've read the FIAF posts as well as other material regarding gut bacteria and how to limit them or make them work for you so that they use fat instead of store it, and have really limited fiber to almost nil per day. This has been for the last two months.

I'm having trouble getting to my goal BMI of 22 though, and I wondered if you could tell me why. I'm currently at 23.4 (height 5´8), but either these gut bugs are indestructible mutants or I'm doing something wrong. The last 9 lbs of fat to my goal simply doesn't budge.

Did this happen to you? Is there a lag time or swings in weight after initial weight loss and until you reach your goal? Did you set a BMI goal when you started and chart progress? Did exercise make a difference either way?

Sorry for the barrage of questions. I'm interested in knowing how to tweak things to set a more regular eating pattern and lifestyle.

Thanks again!

gunther gatherer said...

Actually, how long did it take you from start to finish to "settle" your weight and health issues, once you found JK?


Anonymous said...

Do you do vegetable juices in a juicer or just fruits?
I love Ray Peat articles, ans actually have been in contact with him, he really says that fruits (fructose) is bot the problem.
Love your website

ItsTheWooo said...

Bruce k - Regarding raw meat and drippings... I personally prefer my meat rare and love drinking the juice drippings as well as broths and eating bones etc... I don't know if most people share this preference, however, so it is more practical to recommend fluids and mineral replacement.

Regarding juice...I assume that you've never had a weight problem, lol? The metabolically normal response to sugar is energy, so I assume you must never have been overweight or hypoglycemic or anything like that if fresh juice gives you energy too.
But as someone who used to be morbidly obese, hypoglycemic, with PCOS, at an early me, sugar is sugar is sugar to someone who actually has glucose metabolism abnormalities. THere is NO difference between "raw" and other juices.

For people who are naturally leaner, sugars do give them an energy rush. Fats do as well. For a normal person, food is food, all gives energy. It is hard for them to understand people like me (who never get sugar rush from sugars and only get a rush from fats without carbs - I actually become depressed and physically lethargic eating them - If I am mood cycling, I can eat carbs to help decrease agitation and physical hypomania for example, whereas most people only get more energy doing that).

I agree that fruit is better than starch, because fructose and fiber requires less insulin to metabolize it than do starches, because starches are way more glucose. Like, I can handle 10 carbs of berry juice better than 10 carbs of rice carbs.
But, there ain't no way I'm "feeling it like fats". My body doesn't work that way. Hypoglycemia, obesity, erratic moods bound to result. I will never, ever, get an energy rush off of carbs. I've been alive for 25 yrs and it's yet to happen. But, if I eat pure fats, I definitely can feel an energy rush (and warning, trader joes has been known to induce TEH MANIA if I chomp on a bag of nuts on the way home ohnoez).

Stan Bleszynski said...

iwfc... wrote:

I also have had cramps for "no reason" in my calves the past couple days. There were posts on this site when I searched about cramps during transition and I believe Peter said that's Mg or K depletion. Anyway, I am thinking I need to up my carbs and lower my fat a bit and perhaps and overall decrease in total calories. Hopefully this helps me through transition without having a heart attack. I believe tachycardia runs in the family and I may have it. Perhaps this diet just isn't for me if it risks my heart health?

Muscular cramps are very common typical symptoms during transition stage! Increasing carbs to the nominal amount (0.5-0.8g/kg body weigt) will definitely help! I too used to experience tachycardia (that can explain chest pain) when starting OD (9 years ago) in the first 6 months, occasionally (twice) but I made a mistake of trying to be holier than the Pope and skipped all carbs altogether.

Reduce fat and protein as well in the beginning, to 0.5g/kg because in the first couple of weeks your body is going to "eat" enough of your own aminoacids from the enzymes you no longer need. So, you do not need to eat as much as 88g of protein a day, probably a one-half of that will be enough. Do not count fat (doesn't matter at all if it is 1.5 or 3g/kg/day) but just eat enough not to be hungry, but no more than that! After a few weeks you should add more protein. And do not skip carbs! It is all to easy to do that but try to maintain ~50g a day (potatoes, rice, avoid beer and anything with fructose, avoid chocolate in the beginning as it may have some strange effect, at least it had on me). Keep in mind that after a few weeks this all will normalize and you won't look back. You will fell stronger and healthier than ever! Also be careful about another transient effect: lower blood clotting factor, means higher risk of bleeding. Refrain from violent sports like boxing, bungee jumping etc or anything involving concussion risk (especially to the head), during the transitionary period.

Stan (Heretic)

Stan Bleszynski said...


You wont get a heart attack on a high animal fat low carb diet, especially not if you are in your 20-ties. According to Arkadia doctors, your risk of a common trombotic MI would probably be down by a huge factor, the only remaning risk is bleeding and congenital.

Unknown said...

ItstheWooo & Bruce K

ItstheWooo said,

THere is NO difference between "raw" and other juices.


I agree that fruit is better than starch, because fructose and fiber requires less insulin to metabolize it than do starches, because starches are way more glucose. Like, I can handle 10 carbs of berry juice better than 10 carbs of rice carbs.

Porter says several things.

1. In my mind, fructose is the devil. It may not yo yo your blood sugar which is a good thing, but it is a load on your liver, similar to alcohol. I believe that fructose will make you fatter than glucose even though the insulin spike is not there. It all depends on the state of the gylcogen stores in the liver when the fructose is ingested. Search Peter's blog for more info. Fructose straight or derived from sucrose, I believe is unnatural to humans in any kind of sustained quantity over time. If you read about different primitive cultures at first contact with Western explorers, they got very little fruit over time, generally speaking no sucrose, and they all got a lot of physical activity. There was probably not a single sucrose molecule for multiple millenia in the Eskimo diet.
This is one of the biggest if not the single biggest factor that is killing modern peoples. Practically speaking fruits as we know them today do not exist in nature and all other sweets also did not exist in quantity over time.

2. There is also a qualitative difference in raw juices and other juices for health. This probably has to do with things other than the carb content. Max Gerson cured cancers on raw juices and he was very particular about how the juices were made so that they were fresh and not oxidized. I think that the curative powers of the juices that Gerson made was probably in spite of the fructose content that they may have contained. Gerson also did a lot of coffee enemas to cleanse the liver, sometimes several/day. Take care of your liver, for you will miss it when it is gone.

3. In my opinion a small amount of glucose from a starch like a potato especially if you have enough physical activity so that liver and muscle glycogen stores are partially depleted and ready to receive it is less hard on the body than fructose.


Peter said...


Looks like two days at work and an evening shopping for the weekend's food and most of the bases get covered.

Ifwc, the calculation error and extreme low carb ultra high fat looks to explain most of the things you mention...

ItsTheWoo, the serotonin connection to restless leg is interesting. Adding carbs to raise insulin will raise blood tryptophan levels, primary precursor of serotonin. So you can sort cramps without resorting to mineral supplements...

Kwasniewski is also very keen on bone broths and OD is only OD with offal included too. Liver bacon and onions tonight. Quite a vitamin mineral load there.

Despite the lack of problems from honey I still can't bring myself to regard fruit as junk food and fruit juice as an insulin spike. Fine if you are happy that way, but where's the need?

The intervention studies in western populations using LC may still be of limited duration, but those intervention studies on western populations comparing real Food with junk food are currently non existent. Possible excepting the Lyon Diet Heart Study. Step one AHA diet is ultra rubbish, the meditteranean style diet was pretty rubbish too, but did encourage real food as well as Astra-Calve's gloop. Maybe this could be supportive of fruit juice. Not for me though.

Gyan, That's not cream! Buy the milk, let it stand, skim the fat off the top, that's cream! Bulking agents, no thanks!

It'sTheWoo, I'm not sure that dehydration is the correct term, there is a marked release of water from the liver as glycogen is lost, but this drops straight in to the circulation. It seems to be the excretion of this excess water through the kidneys, to maintain fluid balance, which takes potassium out with it. During the transition period, one to two weeks, there is some logic to using high potassium vegetables rather than potatoes. JK certainly doesn't forbid cattle fodder and specifically recommends it for diabetics.

Gunther, I'll have a think about your questions, my transition was in 2003 and I didn't keep notes...


gunther gatherer said...

Thanks Peter, it would be great to know what to expect on the way to one's goal, and it would probably cut down on the repetitive questions you'll have to answer about it too.

In reading the comments here, I notice I had restricted carbs to almost nil per day as well. I wonder if that's what's stalling my progress.

Where and why would the potato or glucose a day come in to create fat loss? I don't get it. Isn't no carbs even better than 50g/day?

Thanks, G

gunther gatherer said...

I have an observation about hunger for those, like me, who are feeling like fat loss is stalling...

Weight loss picked up and hunger fell when I TOOK OUT butter and cream.

Wondering why I was still hungry after eating quite a lot of butter, cream, egg yolks, etc., I went through the comments again and found Peter's almost off-handed remark about MCTs and how they raise insulin. I'd say this subject deserves it's own post, because it may be the difference for many of us whether high fat works or not at successfully lowering insulin.

So finding out (after several months of frustration at lack of weight loss) that butter and cream, and coconut oil BTW, are all high in MCTs, I cut them out so see what would happen.

Bingo. Reduced hunger, higher resting energy expenditure when seated at work (more alert, jittery legs, higher body temp, etc.), and even more restful sleep. I agree that butter and dairy fats have better PUFA profile and essential vitamins, but if you're having trouble with fat loss, maybe at least cut down on them and use lard and beef drippings a bit more.


ItsTheWooo said...

gunther gatherer - I don't now if it is appropriate to attribute the change to MCTs or to an overall decrease in insulin resistance from lowering calories and fat. All fat causes insulin resistance, and over feeding fat (even if relatively carb free) can there cause weight gain (or in your case failure to lose weight and a trend toward consumption).

I notice something similar. If I am not hungry, not lethargic (i.e. no sign of need for food) BUT if I force myself to eat anyway... I become quite lethargic after eating, followed by hunger and unstable glucose. It happens with all food, but the worst is fat, possibly because it is so energy dense and also induces insulin resistance (and the lack of hunger, lack of lethargy implies my blood sugar is already normal therefore fat would only dramatically increase insulin). It's actually better for me to snack on carbs like fresh cut veggies when I"m not too hungry and just want to mindlessly chomp on stuff. That will not upset my blood sugar because it contributes no fat and virtually no sugar energy either.

gunther gatherer said...


I didn't reduce fat or calories, I simply subbed lard and beef drippings for dairy fats. That's why I think weight loss problems could stem from dairy fats. Everything else stayed the same in my eating patterns.

The MCT discussion appears several times in the comments on this blog, and it's agreed it has been proven to raise insulin. Hence the correlation with stalling weight loss.

All I'm saying is maybe people could try it if their having problems like I did.

Peter said...


It gets even worse on a logical basis when you get down to fine control of the last few pounds of fat and a few more pounds of muscle. From odd snippets on and off blog it's pretty clear that the serious muscle building people use either exogenous insulin or carbohydrate induced insulin for its muscle anabolic effects. The exact way in which they do it seems to vary from the "carbs don't matter" camp through various sorts of carb cycling on a LC or restricted carb background. So people who wish to increase muscle mass while eliminating fat mass do use insulin for this effect. My feeling is that you are then fine tuning, by serious resistance exercise, to make the muscles more sensitive than fatty tissue to insulin, hence you can have the anabolic effects on muscle without the adipose storage effect.

This becomes a technique for achieving a certain physical status, and the people who do it seriously certainly get results. One of the thoughts which occurred to me when you mentioned the stall in the weight loss of the last few pounds was perhaps there was too little insulin from very LC eating to get this effect. Under heavy exercise JK allows up to 100g/d of carbs. As always there is no explanation, but this may well be it. Insulin does build muscle as well as store fat. Of course anyone who does serious body building will easily be obese by absolute weight or BMI measures as muscle is so heavy cf fat.

Back when I started LC eating in 2003 it was June, I had a lot of free time, and I was endurance cycling and heavily kayak surfing. The latter is highly anabolic. I dropped my weight very rapidly from somewhere around 68kg to 59kg and body fat disappeared. It became quite uncomfortable sitting in the car for any period of time and I pretty soon decided that 62kg was better and over a year or two after that I drifted up to 64kg which is probably what I want to keep.

The substitution of long chain FAs for MCTs is very interesting. My initial response was that it was not the MCTs but a casein effect on craving and appetite. I strongly suspect that I personally crave casein as I had an odd effect when I ran out of fermented cream on a long work day without access to cheese. Had a splitting headache all day (unheard of nowadays). Got home, ate casserole, still the headache. Ate cheese, headache went. Now I need to repeat this without a placebo effect (hard!) and I don't want to. I'm wondering why I like my fermented cream (added milk to feed the bacteria) so much...........

Back to MCTs. Did you increase carbs at the same time? Increase exercise? If you really did change nothing else then you may well come back to an insulin derived effect on fat.

This then comes back to the mass of anecdote about MCTs as weight loss supplements. I struggle with the logic here and have to ask myself how often this is the only change made at a given time. I've never gone and looked at the hard science of this so don't know how good or bad it is. I stumbled over the MCT insulin effects when chasing insulinomas (insulin secreting tumours) for effects of hyperinsulinaemia on insulin resistance in conditions of normoglycaemia. Answer here seems to depend on who did the study.

ItsTheWooo said...

I find it very interesting that the calories and fats stayed the same gunther. Like peter said in his response, it might be something dairy specific that is responsible for the difference.

The reason I resist this is because I know from personal experience that butter and cream and coconut oil are very big metabolic boosters for me. I had no idea they contained MCTs (I knew that about the coconut oil) but now this makes sense.

I have an odd reaction to cheese, especially creamed cheese; I do definitely get an insulin spike from it if I eat it in an excessive quantity (meaning a few oz will affect me, but a smaller amount of <1 oz will not).

I tend to think it might be something in the dairy doing it. After all, dairy is meant to make baby animals grow; insulin is anabolic; if milk-derived products increase insulin, it could be expected.

I wonder if non-hormone treated animal dairy would make a difference?

A good way to test if it is dairy or MCTs is to try your experiment again, EXCEPT replace the butter and cream with coconut oil. I'd be very excited to see your results!

Lee said...

I have lots of problems with dairy including elimination, increased ear wax, increased teeth tartar, emotional problems, waking at night and tiredness. I assume that it is the A1 casein (ie from cows)since I am much better with sheep & goat dairy.

Peter, where did you get the JK exercise information? I have his two English books but I don't recall it being there.

Linda said...

Hi Peter,

Been enjoying reading through old posts on your blog for a few weeks now. Excellent blog, imo, with great scathing humour besides. :)

I've just started trying (again) to follow a low carb, high fat diet. My boyfriend thinks I'm a bit mad, I've been trying to convince him carbs are the new fat ;)

Anyway, I've also had the classic symptoms of headache, nausea and muscle cramps. My biggest worry is actually that I'll start losing weight - my parents were both super skinny at my age, regardless of how much we eat. My dad's still very underweight. I suspect it's either metabolic, or we have some sort of nutrient-absorption problem (Gluten?!).

I'm tackling this by simply keeping an eye on weight and eating a bit more calories for my size, so I can hopefully put on a bit of weight.

My fat consists of using extra butter at meals, cream in coffee and by itself, milk, animal fat and eggs. I can't imagine cutting out cream and butter, so hopefully I'm not affected by the MCTs mentioned above.

Any advice as to easy/convenient sources of fat as snacks that I can take to work? I'm constantly tempted by free snacks, cola and lunch at work, so I'd like to have something to replace that with. I'm thinking containers of cream, nuts, chocolate?

gunther gatherer said...

Thanks Peter and itsthewooo for the helpful hints. You're right Peter that I'm fine tuning now that I'm nearing my ideal weight, but I'm by no means a muscle head...

You're right also that I was restricting carbs to almost nil in the attempt to tweak JKs diet and get rid of the last 9 pounds. It didn't work, and that's why I was becoming confused. MCTs could be the problem, but then as you say, maybe it's actually not ENOUGH insulin. If this is true, I'm doubly confused because I thought we were trying to lower that as much as possible.

And how does the insulin know where to be received and where not? Why would it preferentially go to muscle instead of fat? If JK's diet can rid the morbidly obese of hundereds of excess pounds, why wouldn't it rid a non-obese person of the last 9?

I suppose one has to weight train then in order to benefit from the raised insulin, otherwise you'll just gain fat? But I'm interested in knowing why simply restricting carbs does NOT completely work to rid the body of fat. It's not like I was eating a lot of calories either.

Before I took out MCTs for my experiment, I was eating almost no carbs, and STILL hungry all the time. It didn't make sense.

Maybe you and itsthewooo are right, that it's the (even greatly reduced) casein in cream and butter that raise hunger and even insulin in certain individuals. After all, milk was made to make a small calf into a huge cow in a very short time. Why wouldn't it have a similar effect on us?

I'm not sure how convinced I am that regular intense exercise is good for you in the long term, so I am loathe to begin a weight training program just to get rid of the last 9 pounds. But Peter you did it without that, so could satisfactory fat loss really be a matter of just adding a potato or some chocolate to one's diet?

Confused (but thankfully not hungry),

Anonymous said...


What I like most about this "diet" is that the temptations are the least of any i've seen on other diets.

You don't have to be a nerd about it, but I suggest at the start here that you register a free FitDay account and track your protein/carb/fat counts for each meal. I don't think you're eating the correct ratios and/or enough if you have those impulses.

For me that was one of the most surprising things - I've had only 1 craving and I'm around junk all the time. That craving came when I had my ratios messed up due to a typo in my spreadsheet.

Conclusion: Newbies - be nerds, plan out your meals and cook a little in advance if possible.

Linda - Good luck with the transition - I had the nausea cramps and all but am slowly losing any negative sideeffects

Dr. B G said...


I understand your frustration b/c I've been there too -- I have to be thankful for my little experimentation -- gained some weight that perhaps I needed (ie, saved $6000 for ...ummmm.. cosmetic enhancements) but I agree excessive cream/cheese (perhaps ??opioid peptides) may have an affect for some people on the spectrum (not excl me).

Don't be deceived -- Peter does a lot of exhaustive physical work -- naturally it is what our bodies are intended to do -- physical manual labor (not just typing on this blog for our edification/ entertainment ;D *heh*).

AND he used to be a marathon KAYACKER.... (not just the wittiest yak-er on the blogosphere)

Don't underestimate the value of strength training. You do need to train the muscles and body to 'liberalize' energy occasionally -- ie get rid of your last stubborn 9# of fat colonies. Personally I like both short intense intervals and long spans of low intensity... This seems to work the best for most people that I know.

Don't give up and keep experimenting -- I think as our bodies shift toward more efficiency and vastly different energy sources -- there is a lot of tinkering to be had!


gunther gatherer said...

Guys, this is fascinating. I may have found the culprit for the constant hunger associated with my dairy products...

Opioids are in dairy. Not just wheat!

This could redeem the coconut oil MCTs then. Not sure, but I'll but it back in my diet and see what happens.


JohnN said...

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, the constant hunger that Gunther mentions may just be low blood sugar. It will take time for the body to adjust to the new fuel source.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

What about saponins in the potatoes...they are very toxic...would you be concern about them....and what effects do they have in your health.

I am aware that fruits and vegetables develop their own toxins to defend themselves from predators and that tuber develop less toxins but they do contain a lot of saponins (sometimes described to be close to snake venum when is included on dog food)...are they that harmful for humans?



Anonymous said...

Dinner party question --

It's been about a week now that I've been eating high fat.

Any tips for a dinner with some friends that I'm going to? I'm guessing there will be a main course and one or two sides but as typical probably mostly carbs and a little protein and very little fat.

Do I eat a ton of fat before I go and then eat a little of everything at the dinner? Any strategies welcome :)

Anonymous said...

Slightly off-topic:

Anyone read up on vitamin B17, specifically related to cancer prevention/treatment?

emil henry said...

Very interesting.

I think I'm struggling to digest all the fat (70-80 % of total calories). 2200+ calories daily and still dropping weight --- even with small amounts of exercise. Any suggestions? My diet is very low carb, with occasional dairy on holidays.

Peter said...


I usually just skip carbs for the day in the lead up, keep protein low and then you can eat a decent portion of the meat served, enough carbs to make up your allowance and top up with butter when you get home if you feel you need to. A day without calculations is no big deal, green leaf veggies when eating out are no issue, go easy on the potatoes and don't clear your plate if you want to avoid being offered extra....

When we eat with friends/relatives we know well, they are used to me spreading butter on my roast beef. On the veggies is more socially acceptable!

Re B17, I have Chaitow's book but it looks like the apricot pips he talks about with the Hunza may be like the red wine in the French paradox. The Hunza ate a diet based on (without checking the book, I'm on day 6/9 at work without seeing home or the internet much!) lamb and apricots which are PUFA free. Not sure how many apricots were eaten a year....

There is lots of B17 in lentils but the middle East does not seem to be cancer free.


Dr K suggests 40-60g/day of carbs for most people, below this weight gain can be hard for some people. On Dr Bernstein's 30g/d carbs it's even harder to maintain. He suggests added protein as he is dealing with clinical diabetics and wants absolutely meticulous BG control. Covering protein with neutral insulin is much easier than covering carbs.


Peter said...

Hi Hela,

I'm aware of the concern about the toxins in potatoes, they are nightshade family after all. The main reason I don't shun them is that they are one of the bulk carbohydrate sources used in the Danish vegetable elimination study. Whatever toxic effect they have, it doesn't show in lipid, protein or DNA oxidation markers. I am personally unable to detect any obvious effects, in marked contrast to the toxins in, say, Henbane.

On a broader front, while I have reservations about essentially all fruit, I still definitely eat strawberries (which I believe have a thyroid toxin). We all have a functional liver to deal with moderate amounts of plant toxins. Keeping it healthy with minimal fructose and PUFA seems to let it get on with sorting out the saponins....


emil henry said...

Thanks for the advice, Peter!

Any particular tips on a) high fat + constipation, and b) fat metabolism (deriving as much fat in the gut as possible)? Probiotics? Giving high fat more time to work its magic? I'm still afraid I'm not fully digesting all the fat I'm eating, but I might be wrong.

By the way, doesn't lactose promote insulin secretion?

Brilliant blog.


jensen r said...

as a longterm eavesdropper, thought I would open the door and say g'day. Enjoy the blog - and after months of web fossicking in the past, in an attempt to find a dietary solution to migraine and allergy - this site is one of a very small number that I now peruse regularly.

Pre low carb/high fat I endured migraines every 6 weeks or so, now: nada!

I am - and pre low carb/high fat too - a slender unit (67kg @181 cm) and dropping my carbs down to 30-50 gr a day had the effect of further weight loss. More importantly, I would be scratching around hungry all the time despite the large amounts of fat. Raising the carb level to around 70 odd grams per day, alleviates the nervy tetchiness yet still provides the benefits and would nevertheless qualify in most circles (including Lutz) as low carb.

Peter said...

Hi Emil,

High fat and constipation, yes, give it time. Kwasniewski claims that it is impossible to absorb more fat than you need for your ideal weight. Another of his very marginal statements, but possibly true. Depends what you mean by ideal weight I guess. I also feel you also can't comment on fat mal absorption without gluten elimination. But if you really don't absorb your fat you will hit the Olestra effect, which is NOT constipation and not under voluntary control. You wouldn't want to leave the smallest room in the house! Back to constipation, an old comment is that you can make bricks out of mud and straw. You can't so it with pure butter at core body temperature. So fiber avoidance and time. Your gut will adapt.

Re lactose, yes, I'd expect an insulin spike, that's why I feed the lactose in my milk/cream used for yogurt production to some lactobacilli to avoid this effect. The yogurt is probably a probiotic and I'm not anti this aspect. Though I don't rave about it either. I'll take any K2 the lactobacilli produce alongside the lactic acid. I have to say I'm a little bit worried by how much I enjoy my yogurt. As Gunther pointed out, lots of opioids in casein! But then there are minimal problems from opioids unless your supply is interrupted...

Make sure you get adequate carbs. There are lots of hints from the comments all over Hyperlipid that you can go too low. Inability to store fat would be one. You need a bit of insulin to get fat in to fat cells. That's the best place to store it. No need to worry about excess fat storage if you have free access to the store cupboard!

Welcome Jensen,

My wife envies you the loss of migraines, it's altered but not eliminated them for her. Yes, we need some carbs, hard to pin down exactly why, but I guess there has to be a reason why we crave them so much.


Ed Terry said...

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Dark choloate is fairly high in theobromine which is structually related to theophylline and caffeine. Theobromine does have more of an effect on the heart than caffeine does. Althogh it does increase heart rate, it also dilates blood vessels, which explains why blood pressure didn't change significantly.